Sunday, April 19, 2009

Curiouser and curiouser...

'Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it's getting!'
The White Rabbit, to himself
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

I'm late. Really late.
When last I blogged I was planning on writing the next day. Which I did. But for whatever reason (one I can't fully explain), I didn't feel like publishing anything that day. Or the next. Or any other. Right up until today, right now.

Right now, I'm feeling as though I should, though, so I will.

Since the last time I posted, we've cooked quite a bit, practicing several new gluten free dishes. We've made GF bread several times, and Dan seems to have perfected the GF sandwich bread loaf. Occasionally, we'll pick up a loaf of GF bread at Whole Foods, but both of us enjoy baking, and store-bought never really compares to homemade, does it?
Fresh gluten-free French toast made with homemade bread by Dan,
& fresh butter (collaborative).

As you can see above, we made butter, which SuperCat found amazing - she wasn't sure how we were going to get butter from whipped cream, but we did and she loved it, staring into the mixer as it 'churned'. It was incredibly easy, and I'm working on a tutorial to explain the process.
Homemade butter in the KitchenAid mixer

I took a class with the Division of Wildlife, and earned my Hunter Safety Certificate, so that I could apply for a hunting license in my state. I applied for my first license a few weeks ago; pronghorn (aka, "antelope", the ones that play with the deer on the range in the song), but won't know if I get one for several more weeks. Quite a bit of the meat we eat ( which is organic, very low fat, hormone & antibiotic-free) comes from antelope/elk hunted by Dan, so it will be nice to have another try at the tag lottery every year.

I've played endlessly with my favorite three year old, who is beginning to blossom wonderfully when she draws, and who has the most vivid imagination of anyone I've ever seen. Like most afternoons, we listened to her play in her toy kitchen today, making food and drinks for her dolls. She is a joy to listen and talk to.

She's taking swim lessons now, since we joined the YMCA after the first of the year. I'm trying to exercise, but still finding it pretty difficult. I start physical therapy this week, so we'll see if that helps any. Here's to hoping that it will :)

I've sewn and crafted quite a bit. I made seven skirts in one day for the SuperCat. She helped choose the fabric (mostly 1930's repro designs), and she chose all of the notions (thread color, buttons, and ribbon trim). I've discovered that her eye for matching colors and textures is much better than mine is, even at her young age, which is wonderful, since a natural eye for colors and textures is invaluable.

Supercat's new blue skirt made with reproduction 1930's fabric.

Detail of blue skirt made with reproduction 1930's fabric.

I joined a knitting group, and I've all but finished a large fuzzy knit wrap for someone (don't know who yet), plus a scarf I'd been working on forever for our oldest. I started some bright pink amigurumi rabbits (crocheted), which just need to be stitched together and stuffed. I've recently become interested in drop spindle spinning, after seeing a lady at knitting using one, and Dan got the materials this weekend to make one for me (doweling, wooden disk, and a cup hook - easy peasy). He got enough to make more than one, so we'll end up with a low whorl (the disk thingy) and a high whorl. High or low refers to the position of the whorl on the shaft (the dowdle rod). Here's are illustrative photos and a description: Types of Drop Spindles (^)

Last week, I joined a quilting group, and am working on eight squares in the Broken Plate pattern, "cut loose", meaning that they were cut in an imprecise way. It was liberating to make something that is perfect in not being perfect, as all of the quilting I've done in the past has been as straight as I could make it. I learned more in the first quilting class than then sum total of what I previously knew about quilting, mostly due to a very patient friend who is a natural teacher. Like: how to properly use a rotary cutter and mat (there's a right way and a wrong way?!?!?). And: iron on the front of the pieced fabric, not the back (makes a huge difference in how the fabric lays). And so on.

I designed, made, and completed around two dozen butterflies for Connie Pelkey's (^) polymer clay Bug Swap, picked the twelve I liked the best, and mailed them off well before the deadline. Yay!

Simply putting the Bug Swap on my list of activities doesn't really give it the weight it deserves. It has occupied a place front-and-center in my mind from the time the email arrived saying I'd been accepted into the swap, until the morning I put my butterflies in the mail.

One of my butterflies before shipping.
My hands are pink because I'd been working with Pysanky dye the day before.

I'm always nervous about sharing my work, and often feel conflicted over it. I tell myself that I could have done better "if only" (if only there were more time, better planning, different materials, a different design, etc). The swap was a leap of faith; happy I took it.
Another of my swap butterflies.
These are from the first batch.

A learning experience, for sure.

That's it for now. As I finish this, I have no idea what kept me away for so long; I promise it won't be such a long absence next time.

This is the place where I thank John for reminding me several times that I need to write :)
Thank you, John!

'Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop'
The King to the White Rabbit
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll