Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Raising a cup very high to a celebratory New Year's Eve breakfast

My plans for today were to meet friends for breakfast, go back to their house for a short visit, go grocery shopping, thus replenishing a mostly bare refrigerator, go home and drop out of site until about next Wednesday.

As I entered my car, the snow commenced. In fact, it still is snowing. going on seven tonight, and I left for breakfast at nine this morning.  I announced at breakfast that I would skip the visit to them and go straight to the grocery store if it was snowing when we left.

Sadly, this made half of them unhappy, especially because it was snowing and I did cancel. They do not walk in my shoes, or up my stairs with groceries, or behind my snow shovel, so I was OK with my decision.

I tried to help Lynn understand my decision by sending her a picture of my car when I came out of the grocery, 

and my drive after I shoveled the deck and steps and all just to bring in groceries.

Not to mention that walking on that stuff scares the bejeezus out of me.

And for lunch for several days, chocolate creme sticks. I learned I can put one in the microwave for 9 seconds and have it emerge with the dough part barely warm, and soft, and the chocolate and the filling intact. 

Nor has it stopped snowing. Nor have the streets been plowed. I have lifted a couple more cups of coffee today.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Such a storm last night!

A terrible storm overnight woke me often, but could not keep my eyes open. It was not thunder, lightening or rain that woke me, but just plain noise. Finally I rolled over to see if the alarm would ring soon, and the alarm should have rung almost two hours before.

Le chat can no longer attract my attention in the morning, if he even ever tried. He now spends his nights elsewhere in the house. It's the same as removing a fifteen pound bag of sand from one's ankles. Shin's. Knees.

I moved through the house cursing clocks set askew by the power outage. I have two "atomic" clocks that keep the proper time. One is battery, one is electric. Neither is an alarm clock! Think about moving to the kitchen for the morning coffee, and time is flashing green all about you. Not a good start.

At lunch time I decided my current book, The Old Ways, by Robert Macfarlane is not for me. Shame. I've read so many of that genre. Not to mention, the front page after front page of two and three line praises of the book leaves me thinking I should soldier on. Which I will not. It moves to the right pile, and from the left I will next select Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods.

Tomorrow I'm going to New Year's Eve breakfast with Lynn and Jim. None of us are still up at midnight, and wouldn't know where to go if we were.

Spoiler alert: I'll be done with cerise this week, and on to a new color. I took down plum and turquoise green. Or any other color. I'm happy to compile votes. Also, that turquoise green is less like any color by that name! But I can't decipher it.

And since I was out and about today, here are the "ponies" for Dave. They're working on a new piece of the field.

And now I'm off to work on the new tab, Good Ideas.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Not weaving today

I've been reluctant to mix news of new towels into my real blog, and not to worry. On the whole, I will not. But I've fielded so many questions. Plus the frequent question, "Where is France?"

Francis is in HoChiMin City. I had an update from his distressed mother on Christmas day, and from FaceBook today. Sinking to FB distressed me! He dealt with his increasing mal de mer by hiring a car on Christmas day, to make up the seventy five miles he was short on his ride, to date. 

Subsequently, he "upgraded" to a motor bike, and appropriate gear. Knowing France deals in much the same way as our Uncle Bill, I imagine that will be an interesting story. And, OMG, I just made the genetic connection. France's name is William Francis. I think his blog is by Wm. Francis. Enough of that.

After today, if there are new towels on offer, it will be announced at the end of the blog. So, there is my future spoiler alert. That shelf has intimidated some would be towel owners. So much thread! Will she live long enough to weave a color I like? Or daughters? Or husbands?

These two charts are all the colors available to me at the moment. I will post them on a new tab page, along with another project I have in mind. Let me know what you think.  

If the stock number is underlined, I have it. If you want it, I'll order it. Any thread I have to order will be ordered when I need to order more warp.

I've been asked if I have scrap and what do I do with it? Yes, I have scrap. Until now, I've stacked it up. Now I will sell it, on the new tab. At the moment, I have two selections:

Look at the new tab, Good Ideas, when it goes up.  And speaking of good ideas, I began weaving again, eight years ago, to make clothing for sale in my little space at a gallery in town, River Light.
That venture ended when we sold the old house and consequently my studio space.

I've been asked if I have any yardage for sale. Yes, I do. It will find its way onto Good Ideas, too, before long.

It rained all day today. Cold hard drops, with a metallic sound against plastic bins. The high temperature was sixty, and the same is forecast for Monday. It was pleasant to look out on at lunch time, but not after that.

I did not leave the house today. I wandered from one end to the other, organizing thoughts and "stuff" for the blog, packing and invoicing towels. Tomorrow I will go to the post office.

Spoiler alert: Lime green towels are on the shelf.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Books I can't keep open

Books now are simply words to me. Some engross me, some not so much. All books I read straight through, at least twice. Or listen to, at least twice. Right now, I have in mind books physically in my hand.

I don't mind buying books. They are reasonably priced anymore, paper and hardback, and I can give them away to anyone who picks one up from my kitchen table and looks interested. Or, I donate them to the library. The real library; the little travelling library is having trouble getting off the ground.

And finally, considering the amount of time it takes me to absorb a book, and the short time it lingers before it is gone like a Monarch, like a sunset, like a birdsong, I tend to limit my printed books to books gleaned from The New York Times and such like sources. 

I let my fingers wander through the CleveNet library audio collection; I make the wildest selections. But the books I pay for, inexpensive as they are, are decently curated.  And occasionally, shabbily manufactured.

Reading time is mealtime. I have other things to do the rest of the time I'm awake. I can spend an hour over a meal and a book. Especially a book that lies open, with minimal book weights or page holders. I'm OK with the salt and pepper shaker holding pages down, but not my entire hand. I have food to eat, for crying out loud.

I've just finished two excellent books constructed so badly I can barely describe how sadly that impacted my opinion. One I read my obligatory twice, the other I should, but can't, just now. Both are stained with melted butter and jam, wiped away as best I could.

The Odd Woman and the City, by Vivian Gornick, probably should not have appealed to me, but did. The miles she walked, often enough with a friend, the observations she fitted into place, reminded me of the miles I drove from show to show, sometimes with Ann, and the opinions we worked through, worked out, in the front seat. 

But the paperback book is so badly made, it is a black mark on the author, as well as the bookmaker. It's like selling a poorly constructed garment, which I could not knowingly do once, let alone over and over.

The other book, Negroland; A Memoir, by Margo Jefferson, is a hardback, so difficult to use my hands ached. I read it once only, and that is a shame. I think it is an important piece of history. It was of a childhood similar to mine, by a different race. I only began to understand the whole of the author's point toward the end, and realized its importance as I let the book close and knew I would not be reading it again soon

I wonder what is the relationship of a printed book to its author.

And PS: I have given over the problem of Malware and the Trojan Horse it thinks is in one of the blogs I follow to my computer guru.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Bits of news

Towels:  Blue Cobalt towels are done and listed on the Towels for Sale page. The name is so interesting. Is this cobalt to the blue, or blue to the cobalt? Ah, those Frenchies. Have to love them.

The next set of towels will be lime. Can't go too wrong with that.

Gerbera Daisy: The last time the Gerbera appeared here, there were four blossoms and possibly a dozen full leaves left. This morning:

What next? I guess the corner of a dark closet, until spring. I'm rather short on dark corner closets. How about a paper bag?

David M. Gascoigne, I presume? I do enjoy your blog and your birds. Alas, my firewall no longer likes you. I am no expert on things internetty; can you help me with this message from Malware:

This site can’t provide a secure connection
travelswithbirds.blogspot.com sent an invalid response.


Instead of pictures, I simply have that ugly "M" bouncing around. And, Windows Network Diagnostics says the same, not a secure connection. Anything I can do?

A lovely day today! I went outside with muffin tins to lend to my neighbor, and for the first time saw this knotty little cartoon face in my deck floor:

And finally, Toby seems to be feeling better. Alternatively, he's hallucinating:

His fish had quite a workout this morning. No, it's not real.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

A cluster you know what sort of day

I got out of bed this morning with a list of seven must-dos. The first did not involve cleaning up a trail of cat barf, but I did. In the mantra from the childhood of my offspring, "if you find it, you clean it up." If Toby is no better in the morning, I'll call the vet.

Here he is, staring at his food, though he ate nothing all day. Did a good job on his water bowl, however.

The second did not involve snow moval, but that happened, too, with the broom, followed by salt. Yesterday's downfall of several inches set me back the usual fifteen plus a bunch of ones, there was so much, and I had places to go. Nowhere to go today, and only a couple more inches, so I saved some money and did it myself. Car still undone. Spread some salt, too.

I wanted to weave before I expended good energy on dumping my credit card company. I had an idea I wanted to try out to extend my weaving hours and days.

Fourteen or fifteen years ago, I broke L1. Like every bone I ever broke (and there have been a few), I heard it and I felt it. I don't know why I feel the need to keep mentioning that. "They" issued me a corset, and what a lovely job it did, except for fastening it up with fourteen hooks and eyes. 

Doctors with no clue about standing in eye watering pain, attempting to fasten all those freaking little hooks. One day I looked at my sister and said we had zippers in the studio up to the job. If I pinned them, would she sew them? That big Consew scares the bejammers out of me. 

I almost can't believe I've kept it, except as a souvenir.  I've lost so much weight since that accident, I wondered if it would fit, even laced down as far as it goes. But now it's winter, and on top of all my winter clothes, it does fit, strapped all the way in. So I wove the usual two hours, and instead of quitting over back pain, I put on the corset, pulled it up and wove another hour, leaning on it. Tomorrow I may put it on first.

Then I spent the first half of the afternoon ditching the old credit card company. They still have not acknowledged even receipt of the signed email.

And, the ayes have it. I spent the second half signing up with PayPal. I have a couple more hoops to jump tomorrow, but then I should be living in a perfect world of credit cards!

While I was out yesterday (in the snow!), I got a picture of the matched pair from Trapp Family Farm.  Doc and Dan are enjoying the remains of the cover crop Mark planted in this field.

And no, my list is not cleared. But tomorrow, after I weave, will be much better, Toby notwithstanding. 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Some change must be made

My dear loom needed a drastic change today. I had to reverse the treadle tie up from jack loom to counterbalance. I inadvertently gave Beth the wrong tie up yesterday.

Jan came to help me, after cards today. Her caveat was she would not be the one on the floor. "Don't worry," she said. "I can get you up."

When we had the tie up changed, she pulled me up from my back to sitting position. Then I used a stool to get to my knees. Then I used a chair to stand. I think I will buy a gait belt, used to lift folks from their butt to their feet. Having one on hand will forestall ever changing the tie up again.

Another change must be made in my method of doing business. The credit card company I selected is not good for my purposes. In fact, I now wonder whose purpose they suit, as their computers will not talk to google or yahoo to send an invoice. 

I set aside time tonight to call their Sales Administration Department, and found the number was not set up to take phone calls, yet. Excuse me! I am or will be in touch with the couple of you this problem is putting off. Your orders are still packed, and I'll figure this out.

And one more bit of excitement! I received a very large shipment of weaving thread from the factory. I ordered one pound, or two tubes of each color, straight down the color chart, by name and number.

I received a packing list and two boxes of beautiful colors, not one of which I did not like. However, the tubes are not labelled. I must match them back to the color chart. I will be scrupulous about that now; I'm sure I'll live long enough to replicate some.

There's lots of good stuff left. The shelf of thread on tubes is stacked three deep.

And I wove a tiny bit of Blue Cobalt before I called it a day. That's its name in the catalog.

Friday, December 13, 2019

A whirly week

The first week is over, except for the parcels waiting on the shelf for payment. Thank you all, it was fun. And such a learning curve. I will be calling more than a few vendors this week to see why they did not provide the service they sold.

The new loom sits in the exact spot held by the Artistat at the beginning of the week.The trade was initiated when I patted the little Artistat and ventured to my daughter I really was beating it to death with production weaving. 

Beth called Jessica, and Jessica agreed at once, "Your mom should have her loom back." I sent the Artistat down to Jessica. Look, it still has the door knob stoppers I put on to cushion the beater.

Here is the Mira, in no more space, but with four feet on the floor, and four spanners, and solid maple and a good Canadian pedigree, ready for a thousand towels. At minimum, more towels than I can ever weave!

The harnesses look all cattywumpus because they are not yet tied up to the treadles. I leaned over to do that Thursday night, and discovered I could not pull the treadle pin.

Beth called to see if she could come down this weekend to help.  I said only if she could bring an agile youngster to lie on the floor and tie up the harnesses. She announced she still can do that. Of course she can! She's in the vicinity of the age when I started my second career, weaving.

Today, after two doctor appointments, I loaded the spool rack and threaded the tension box. Tomorrow, first a trip to the post office, and then I will begin winding on the new warp.

Tom Stephenson asked how far it would stretch if I tied all the new thread end to end. I wondered if he would think I was evasive, saying I'd get back to him. I knew all the parts, but was far too tired to hunt up a calculator, or look up some distances for reference.

I bought 74 half pound tubes. A half pound tube of this grist has 1,680 yards. 74 tubes x 1,680 yards are 124,320 yards x 3 feet per yard are 372,960 feet. At 5,280 feet per mile, that is 70.64 miles.

I read that no part of England is more than 75 miles from the sea, and the English Channel at its narrowest is 21 miles wide.

Fortunately, when I tie the thread end to end, it is only to keep on weaving.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Since I can do absolutely nothing about it....

How strange this month has been, moving from one event to another. Now the month is a third gone.

I went to my small Boston Township Bazaar. The organizer offered to set up one of their standard six foot tables for my use. I thought that was perfect, until I considered spreading a few towels over six feet. I asked my sister to share the table.

It worked out very well. So well, in fact, she hopes to share a table with me next year, and have Tom along, selling his world renown back scratchers.  We knew artists from all over the country and some of the world, and anyone who spent the night with us went home with a back scratcher.

A lot of people had a good time, including some well mannered rain deer.

As you know, I was weaving away, planning my future, when my daughter surprised me by arranging the return of my wonderful old counterbalance loom. Having it would be worth the extra week it might add to my weaving schedule.

The opportunity arose for a good deed to be inserted into the moving of the Myra from Cleveland by inviting an old friend to move the loom. A friend from nearly forty years ago. A few extra days were added to my start-up, but what the heck.

Actually, I did suffer some mental "heck", because that's just how I am. Today I just tried "breathe in, breathe out" for several minutes. Tonight I learned the big switch would happen tomorrow. The universe heard I have enough thread on my shelves to weave 444 new towels.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

I am so pisscited!

Years ago, exhibiting at a show in Virginia, a customer came in with a young girl skipping, twisting, looking, saying over and over as she clung to her aunt's hand, "I am so pisscited! I am so pisscited!" If it included a knot in her stomach and a little buzz in her ears, then so am I.

I have turned the towel business into two separate pages; one with instructions and one with towels available for sale. I hope it is self explanatory, but if not, please ask me. I set up a separate email account for towels, to be sure those emails do not get mixed into and maybe lost in all the other email.


I just received a shipment from Brassard of thirty four colors to weave into towels. I have enough of each color to make a dozen towels.

That is the good news. The less desirable news is, I have no loom. I expect the big exchange to occur this coming week. I certainly hope so. This certainly is not the optimum start to a fledgling business, but, it is what it is. 

I will pack orders in the order received. I certainly expect to run out. There only are fifty six towels on the shelf at the moment.

If you see any glaring errors, or a way I could better say what I have to say, please feel free to suggest a correction.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Playing it by ear

Late, late last fall I took pity on the Gerbera daisy at the bottom of the steps.

It bloomed constantly all summer, and there it was in barely past freezing temps, overnight and all day long, trying, trying to maintain a new bud. Somehow I hoisted all twenty or thirty pounds of it, and got it into the house, one step at a time.

From then to now I have enjoyed the two red daisies, and trimmed the leaves as they yellowed.

I took my scissors this morning to tackle the dwindling number of leaves. and there are two more little buttons, peering up so hopefully. "Thanks for bringing us in from the cold!" Those two daisies have been in bloom going on six weeks now, in spite of the diminishing foliage.

It's enough to drive me to Google, for a crash course on my responsibility to the little thing. So far I have learned it has so many deep roots I probably cannot repot it. That wasn't going to happen, outdoors or in.

I should give them plant food regularly. I wonder if that would have kept their leaves growing? Another "it ain't gonna happen". When the blossoms are done, it may rebloom. It may not. And more useless information on the care and feeding of the gerbera I brought in from the cold.

Then I walked around back, in search of dead leaves.

And here we have new little daisy number three. I thought I was being kind to the extreme when I hauled those two current blooms in from the cold. Now, who's killing who with kindness? I expect in the end I will have three (or more) stalwart flowers, standing alone in a pot of dirt. Wait, excuse me, that was good potting soil.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

My heart says "What an amazing trip!"

I knew my grandson was off to Vietnam, with his bicycle in a bag. He left Thanksgiving day. He intends to ride the Ho-Chi-Min trail. Today I thought, it's been a week, and give or take a couple of days in the air and clearing customs, France still must be a day or two down the road. So, I checked in. In irrepressible France mode, he's on day three. Or perhaps he's sleeping. 

France is an interesting and quirky fellow. I'd say he's a hundred years removed from his time, but he's too easy with the electronic world for that to be true. He will be celebrating his eighteenth birthday on the road. Christmas eve, in fact. You might be interested in his adventures, and he's putting his travels to electronic pen and ink.  We're just two days in, so go on back and start at day one. 

And back to my adventures, little to report. A few odds and ends to gather up for the Township Bazaar come Saturday, and a few more than that to lift the curtain on the little shop of towels and some more when I get out of bed on Monday. 

I think, since I don't get up any earlier than I must, I may lift the curtain on my way to bed Sunday night, and hope I am a real shopkeeper come Monday morning.