Showing posts from February, 2016

Cockade A Doodle Doo!

… A few weeks back, I took a class with Candace Kling , an astonishing textile artist, based in the Bay Area.  She's an enchantress and master-craftsperson, who specializes in works made of ribbon. This class was a personal reward, for having completed two months of gargantuan hand-sewing.  (More on that in an upcoming blog post.)  It did seem really crazy, to celebrate the end of a gigantic sewing endeavor with a hand sewing class.  What can I say?  I'm a glutton for punishment. Not that this class was a punishment.  Quite the contrary.  It was mind-expanding, in a Moebius-strip, bend-the-fabric-of-space-and-time sort of way.  (I love this sort of thing .) What was particularly delightful about this class was the emphasis on historic models.  Candace brought along some lovely vintage pieces, and we worked from vintage instructions that she had de-mystified.  So, I was learning a new-old skill.  I can't think of anything better. Armed with my new

Moving the Furniture Around

… Robb and I have been enjoying the process of outfitting our little 1925 bungalow.  Slowly, we're finding furniture that's sympathetic with this tiny house.  It's challenging, because modern furniture is gigantic, and overwhelms our modestly-sized rooms.   To this end, Robb and I attend a lot of estate sales.  We joke that we have the taste of ninety-year-old college professors.  Mostly, we buy hand tools and kitchen stuff -- the sort of objects that make people say "they just don't make things like that anymore." This weekend, Robb and I went a little crazy, and bought two tables.  (I know!  Buying tables!  I'm a Wild Woman.  Stand back, everyone.) The challenge is to not overwhelm the house in crap.  So when we buy furniture, it's generally replacing something else.  In this case, we replaced two particle-board shelves with a glorious mahogany Art Nouveau table, and replaced a work table I salvaged from the trash at work wit

Wake Up! It's Tuba Sunday!

Every February in our neighborhood, there's a morning we call Tuba Sunday.  The neighbors hire a brass band, and they play a raucous (and honestly, very skilled) multi-houred set in their back yard.  It's brassy.  Its's percussive.  It's really, really, really loud.  And it starts at 7am. Every dang year.   I do love the fact that I have neighbors who regularly hire live bands for backyard parties. But seriously, brass-and-drums are a bit challenging before we've had our coffee.  (For the record, this year's band seems to be comprised of a couple of trumpet players, at least one clarinet, and a snare drum. No actual tubas this year.)

Monday Garden Update

There's a feeling of spring in the air!  One of the Lucases (Maria, I think) has resumed laying. Judging by her behavior, I think we're going to be getting eggs from Isabella any day.  Every February, we have a delightfully warm week before winter recommences. As I always do, I'm worrying about our fruit trees. Will we get a freeze, and lose all the blossoms?  Will the bees be flying at all? Because of my hectic schedule at work, which eats up so much of what should be my personal time, I missed the scion exchang e this year.  However, the grafted plums from previous seasons seem to be doing quite well.  Our first-year asparagus is looking pretty stressed. I've never started asparagus, so I'm not sure what's typical for young plants. I anticipated tiny shoots.  But I was surprised that they all bolted so quickly after emerging from the ground.  I expect this kind of feathery growth at th

Of Smoke and Smog

I think panoramic photography was invented as a way of making cats even more amusing than they already are. Smog was certainly obliging.  Robb has been re-pointing our chimney. He and I have (pretty much) given up on the idea that we can have a functional fireplace. The firebox (I think that's the right word) is just too small. It would cost a fortune to install a decent-looking wood stove that would fit our house.  Besides, it's only a matter of time before California outlaws wood fires, because they pollute the air. We figure that it's not worth spending money we don't have on something that we won't be allowed to use.