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helwen: (Due Consideration)
A method used in dry places for watering plants with minimal water loss. The most popular searches bring up the terracotta pots (olla pots), from South America I think, but the method goes back to BCE times in China. And of course there's permaculture sites that talk about it as well.

The olla pots are not cheap. Even regular terracotta pots are not inexpensive, but sometimes you can find them at transfer points/dumps. Or look at the garden center for chipped ones -- they're going to be underground so who care what they look like? I've also found sites where people used regular pots and put the pot plate on top of the pot (just make sure there's a small hole in the plate), and sites where people caulked two pots together. Your local Freecycle may be a place to look for terracotta pots as well.

Water needs to be able to pass through the sides of the pot, so no plastic or glazed pots. Although I did notice that some people paint part of the pots sometimes - to direct the water flow I'm guessing.

I'm trying out a small pot in one of my pots, just because it worked out that I had space in a pot to do that yesterday. Didn't have a clay pot plate to use as a cover, so cluged a cover with an old CD and some Gorilla tape.

Plants still have to be watered, via the pots, but the release of water is more regular and if the pots are appropriately sized one shouldn't have to water as often.

Some sites for more info:

Info and diagrams and stuff:

The pretty version of pots but has decent photos of the process:

Picture of pot with potplate: https://myfolia.com/journals/102148-completed-clay-pot-water-jar-irrigation-system
helwen: (Due Consideration)

Steampunk event at the Carousel Museum in Bristol, CT this Saturday!

Classes and workshops from 10am - 6pm, Cabaret from 7pm to midnight. More details on classes, etc. at the link above. I'm hoping to get in on one of the hands-on workshops. Books are great, but sometimes it's nice to work on something and have someone right there to point out problems and solutions.


For those interested, showing your ticket at the Mark Twain House and Museum on Sunday gets you $6 off your admission. It's well worth going -- gorgeous house, folks there who know not just about the family but about the times they were living in, etc. This is in Hartford, CT: https://www.marktwainhouse.org/


We're only going for the academy on Saturday, as that's a long enough day for us. It'll be a nice additional "celebration" of our anniversary, without being overly tiring.

The carousel museum is worth seeing on its own merits, including being able to see some of the carousel animals being restored.


And we won't have to leave for lunch, as [livejournal.com profile] bytchearse will be there, running Oak, Ash, and Thorn Tavern. He's planned the various menu items so that they're not only tasty but easy enough to make GF. It's a relief not only to have one less thing to worry about while we're on the road, but to actually have food I can look forward to eating!



Jan. 5th, 2015 11:08 am
helwen: (Due Consideration)
We spent New Year's Eve quietly at home, as we were both working on recovering from colds. Saturday we drove to NYC and spent several hours at primarily two exhibits, Death Becomes Her: Mourning Attire, and Chinese Albums. Good stuff. Took some pictures with the tablet, but still working on getting them off of that.

The "greenhouse" has been relatively satisfactory, although figuring out how to keep the porch warm enough at night continues to be a bit of a challenge. We put up a curtain at the far end of the porch, reducing the space to be warmed by 4' x 8-1/2' and it's much easier to get it to and maintain 40F most of the time. We kept it stable in part by opening the window between the porch and the downstairs bathroom, keeping the door to that room closed, plus a couple of strings of old-fashioned holiday lights. On colder nights we'd fill some additional bottles I got out of storage and some other containers with hot water and put them out there before bed. The racks of jars and bottles I set up do help, but the porch just doesn't get enough light on cloudy days. I think if I had three times the number of containers, it would work, but the space has some limitations in that regard.

With the coming cold snap this week (down below 0F), we decided not to take a chance, and moved all the more tender plants indoors. That's most of what was on the porch, but I'd kept the space in the dining room open after the family gathering last month, so it was quite do-able. I also moved the less tender plants against the wall of the house, near the window, although I closed the window.

Before all that though, I wanted to use the long table that now has plants on it, to work on organizing the sheet music. Yes, once we stopped going to Concentus practices, we basically put the music to one side and ignored it. So yesterday almost all of the copies of sheet music were alphabetized and put into folders. I need to make a few more folders today, and L still has the singles/masters to organize, but it's a huge dent in that project.

I also emptied everything out of the music cabinet yesterday, and started the re-organization for that. Today all the instrument instruction books will go in, and I'll label those drawers.

I will also exercise today -- I'm trying to get in at least 40 minutes of aerobic exercise, at least three times a week. It's hard to do this time of year, what with the asthma and all, but I'm fending off the annual winter weight gain. I'm also working on building muscle, because I've decided to work on being able to do a handstand this year. I've been practicing one-minute planks and added in some mobility/weight training things. There isn't a lot of point to handstands, but it's something I'd like to try and is giving me the motivation to do all the exercises I should be doing to strengthen and protect my shoulders, and to reduce stress on the knees as well.

Tomorrow is L's and my 20th anniversary. Still haven't planned anything in particular, but we did have a nice trip to NYC recently, so maybe just a nice dinner together will be sufficient :) After all, the best part of this is that we still have each other.
helwen: (Steam)
Video of all sorts of warm-air-powered engines (Sterling variants):


Things of beauty.

On a practical note, there are a few places that use a Sterling engine to make use of waste heat from manufacturing to do things like heat the building.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Went to two kung fu classes this past week. We'd planned on a third, but L's work exploded, and really, it was probably a good thing not to go Friday, as my right knee was jamming. We want to be able to go again this coming week, after all.

Yesterday it rained pretty much all day, and also we went to a funeral, so aside from doing a bit of trimming around things in the grove first thing (before the rain came) and bringing the turmeric inside, that was it for useful from me...

Today is sunny again, so laundry, dig in front of the barn, and sewing. And maybe cleaning and testing the printer. Have to cover the ginger tonight, as temps will be dipping below 40F.

[EDIT: And finally get some veg out of their pots and into the ground. Kale will be much happier there.]

L will be taking out the A/Cs today. Haven't used them for a bit, and shouldn't be needing them again this year, so they're basically cold temp weak spots now that could kick on the heating system.

Climate March in NYC next weekend. Tempting. Also a local SCA event...but we're behind on work here at home -- and really, D*C didn't make that much difference, at least as far as work on the barn is concerned, because it's mostly L's bailiwick at the moment. *sigh* Maybe we should hire someone to come dig the greenhouse foundation...there's just a lot to do here. Well, we'll see what the week brings. I'm thinking of finding out if some of my poorer friends want to go to the march but can't afford the bus ticket, and helping out that way.


Jun. 29th, 2014 11:28 am
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Up and at'em early yesterday. Alternated between a number of activities to keep from getting too overheated. Still, we pushed it hard enough that today was a later start.

Finished clearing out approx. 3 foot x 10 foot space in the crescent bed. Dumped the garden cart full of phlox, nettles, etc.

We did a dump run, picked up an old rush loveseat there -- needs cleaning and a new seat, but structurally sound. Got some greens at the farmers market and touched base with nephew C and niece E. (note: I was referring to her as B, but her name actually begins with E and I have another niece whose name begins with B)

Dug up all the Iris and the rest of the Daffodils in front of the barn. Got almost all the Daffodils in, except for some that I'd put in a pot last week. Got a little more than half the Iris in.

More work with cleaning some clothes that had been in storage and gotten compromised. Some will be given away, some turned into bags, some worn, and one thrown away because after two washes and sun dries it still smells. Fabric is weird. Going to have to delay cleaning anything else I find, if I find it this week. Breathing is challenging enough without dealing with that.

Did some mending.


L dumped the garden cart for me the second time I filled it -- I'd gotten it over to where we're building up the bank but was running out of steam at that point. He moved more parts of one of the greenhouses over from the neighbor's yard and trimmed back the Holly bush, discovering another fountain pedestal inside it, which he moved over as well. He also spend some time vacuuming inside the trailer.

He installed the new downstairs a/c, which seems to work pretty well. We use them as little as possible, but it was obvious after having it on for a few minutes that taking a short break from outdoor work was a good idea -- that's when I got my mending done.


Headed down to G'fld to get some things for the shop vacuum and had dinner out since we were down there. Realized when we got home that we'd missed having lunch :P Had a nice ginger kombucha to finish the day.

Today I'll be making up some Waldorf salad, so we'll have something ready for if we get too involved in a project and don't feel like cooking. Plus, not heating up the house any more than necessary.


Overall, the past several days have been productive, despite the heavy air. Energy seems to be higher, mood is good, meditation and singing, feeling better on all levels than I have in quite a while. Seems like a good trend to strive to continue.

Be well all.


Jun. 23rd, 2014 10:54 am
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Town clothing swap was Saturday. We did the clothing pickup for Thursday and Friday, helped with setup Friday night -- longer than I should have as there was something there to which I was allergic. Yes, I'd taken my allergy meds. Saturday morning, made a modified Waldorf salad (no nuts), then helped at the swap for 1-1/2 hours, which was almost too long, even though I'd taken extra precautions. Some perfume or something, who knows. Picked up a few things, which are airing out on the line, including a fake fur coat that might come in handy for a future costume. And yes, gave away some things as well. More to come in that area...

Family reunion was pretty good. This was for the Gray side, which hasn't happened since 1973. The one that happens more often is for the Coyne family (Marian's side).

Still had daylight so L mowed next door, and I repotted the last of the herbal six-pack, watered a bunch of plants, and sundry other things. The two baby Sage plants turned out to be five, which are now currently in one large round pot, forming a solar cross.

After much thought, we seem to have finally chosen where the grove will go.


Sunday morning did not go well for a number of reasons, and I regret my part in it. It's complicated and not going to go into it more than that.

We got some hinges and door latches for the barn. Lyle took down the two dutch doors on the west side of the barn and re-worked them to get one better-working dutch door, although I know he wants to do more on it.

I worked on clearing some of the work areas of stinging nettles and greater celandine, as well as removing all the garlic mustard and a few dandelions that were trying to take over a couple of the blueberry bushes. The blueberries are coming along nicely! Garlic mustard is invasive here, and can change the chemical makeup of the soil such that enough of it can damage and/or kill hardwood trees. Not sure if it can do the same to blueberries or not, but they don't really like to be over-crowded with damp-gathering leaves around the base, so there you go.

Re-worked how the spare windows and some other things were arranged in the carriage house so that I could get a 4x8 piece of plywood free for use. I can't carry it of course, but I could lift one end and pull it along. L used it to make a door in place of the second dutch door. Some point down the line we'll no doubt replace it with something better, but the primary goal this year is closing up the barn and carriage house however we can afford to do, and it works.


Right ear has been bothering me for a few days; went to see the PRN this morning. Might be topical allergic reaction to something I came in contact with, or possibly early stage of a yeast infection (inner ear thing). Trying 1% hydrocortisone first, then if need be, antibiotics.

L has an MRI appt. tomorrow morning for his neck and right shoulder.


Some sewing happened too. Only thing completed was two bags for the local area's bag share program, which I handed off to one of the women who has the tags for them. Some stores have bags for shoppers to use to take their goods home, if they don't have a bag of their own and want to use a re-usable bag. Then when they can, they're supposed to turn the bag in to one of the participating stores. For the most part it works, but bags can get lost or worn out, so some of us go through fabric scraps or old clothes and make bags. These two used to be the bottom half of some hanging sleeves on an old Burgundian dress I had, so it was nice to finally get them out of the house and put to good use.

Put the corset and skirt for the snow queen outfit onto the dress mannequin and took the waist measurement for the next layer.


Jun. 9th, 2014 12:12 pm
helwen: (Due Consideration)

Elmer's and Farmers Market in the morning, which shouldn't have taken hours but did -- ran into a few friends, including one who's moved back to the Pioneer Valley this year and was on her way to Shelburne Falls -- had some good chats.

Got some more Lavender, a Chocolate Mint, and also some Basil from niece B. Oh, and some Dill!

In the afternoon we went to a baby shower for nephew L and his partner M. Lots of people, lots of presents -- will be sending a check to help out with filling in the gaps.


Busy of course, with ongoing sorting and moving things about -- mostly trying to put some like things together...

All Ginger are now out, as well as the 2 Rosemary, the Ashwaganda, and a few Turmeric that may or may not make it -- I'm having trouble getting a feel for those last, so maybe that will just be something I buy. I really don't need to have that many southern plants :P

Brief sweep of the area in the radiant room where a bunch of the plants wintered over, by the double doors. They're double-glazed and we have storm doors outside of them as well, but when the sun gets going, the heat still gets through. Great in the winter, not so great right now. Yesterday it got into the 80s (F), so I took some insulated fabric and used spears and staffs to hod it up against the doors. Obviously I'll need to make curtains for the doors, but it'll do for a little bit.

Made three curtains from scratch for the triple windows in the living room. Made two curtains from old ones for the office -- sheers to cut glare, set in from the heavy solid ones already in place. I still have one more curtain to make for the office, from the parts I cut off for the first two.

Picked out materials from the stash to make an insulated wall hanging for the office -- the first of many to come. As our weather continues to change, the house is going to need more help keeping us cooler and/or warmer.

We're also talking about moving some of the cabinetry in the radiant room. Currently a double unit and two singles are put together on an inside wall; we should be able to move them to outside walls without too much trouble -- aside from patching any points the previous owners used to anchor the units to the wall. This would also reveal an electrical outlet they covered up...


L moved some of the stuff I'd staged in the barn last week for going into the trailer. Not easy, as BIL R had okayed the town dumping some stuff at the farm, and they chose to do that right behind our trailer...

L did some more mowing in the evening -- making sure the path and parking was ready for the trailer.
helwen: (Xena)
Going to a vigil in Greenfield, Thursday evening. Kinder Morgan is doing a presentation on their proposed pipeline at the John W. Olver Transit Center at 6pm. The presentation starts at 7pm. Any and all friends are welcome to join me and Lyle there!

Some folks will be gathering at 5pm on the Greenfield Common, across from Bank Row (assuming permit for that is confirmed -- otherwise a person will be there to re-direct people to the Transit Center).


Spread the word!! We want to get as many people as possible to this event. This will be a golden opportunity to clearly show Kinder Morgan and the State of Massachusetts that we DO NOT NEED and DO NOT WANT a dangerous gas transmission pipeline in our midst! (Did you know we have three (3) import stations in MA but only use one? We really don't need this.)

You are encouraged to make signs to state your opinion!

This will be a peaceful and respectful event. Our intention is to simply show by way of many people standing and bearing witness that we are large and resolute. Please join us!


Kinder Morgan/TGP -- the proposed pipeline would go through Ashfield, along with many other places, including conservation land, from Canada through NY to Dracut, MA in the eastern part of the state. It would be carrying fracked natural gas. They have a poor safety record (no surprise, if you know anything about the oil and gas industry). There is no real benefit to the people, only danger from spills, leaks, and explosions. There is certainly no benefit to the land.


May. 12th, 2014 11:05 am
helwen: (Due Consideration)
L did set up the table in the basement but it was late so I didn't do anything with it. Saturday I moved all our egg cartons and flats so they're on or under it, with some space to spare. Space shuffling continues, esp. as the trailer probably won't get moved until end of May...

We did finally get some fiddlehead ferns in pots; not in the ground yet as we needed to clear a space and it's taking time. Maybe today?

Started cutting out the obi pieces, realized the linen isn't stiff enough so I need to dig out some interfacing.

*sigh* Really need to plant some seeds in pots for the veg garden. Maybe today?

Have had enough sunny weather that I can dry laundry outside these past few weeks, a definite plus.

Going to a vigil in Greenfield this coming Thursday. I've taken plenty of political action over the years, including phone calls, letter-writing, and causing a little trouble for the state, but this will be my first time being at a political action in-person. More on the vigil in my next post.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Didn't enter the fabrics-store contest, as we ended up working on clearing up the area around the greenhouse for the neighbor's first house showing, plus some yard work in the front yard. Oh, and we moved a fancy metal arbor over to our place (has gates and side planter stands), as well as a really cool fish statue. It can be a fountain but I like it just as it is.

Did move a bunch of things both before the showing on Monday. Tuesday it was cold and wet, and then we had snow overnight. Wednesday afternoon though, I made several trips. I moved a couple of loads of smaller stuff in the garden cart and also carried over a couple of metal trellises, two tall tripod planter things, and a couple of those planter boxes that are metal ribs that you put coconut coir matting in them. Not sure as I have a use those last, but there are more of them in the greenhouse (L brought a couple more over today), but maybe somebody does.

This morning we wanted to make a trash run to the transfer point, to take some recycling and trash, and especially one of the bags that smelled of something truly nasty -- and better first thing in the morning, while it was frozen and not yet completely hideous to be near. As it was, we drove with a couple of the windows partly open :D

After breakfast, L had a meeting so I worked on sorting through the bags that neighbor D had filled as trash, pulling out what could be recycled and what might still be used by us or other folks. One of D's business plans had been to make silk floral and holiday arrangements, so a lot of the current bunch of trash I'm working on is ornaments, flowers, straw wreaths, and fake evergreens. Most of it is trash, unfortunately. While none of it is really needed in our world of too-much-stuff, it's doubly sad that most of this was and never will be used...

I did save one little evergreen "tree" so far, and a bunch of ball ornaments. The latter aren't in great shape but they're whole, so I can remove the dust and re-paint or otherwise cover them. There's a lady in town who does a cancer research fundraiser at her family Christmas tree farm every year, so these would be perfect for that. I also found some sort of berry wreath thing that is mostly trash but has some interesting beads on it, so I'll take those off first.

Anyway, we took a total of 4 bags of trash to the transfer point today, and quite a bit of recycling (plastic and paper mostly, but also a little metal). L commented on the first three bags we took on the first trip this morning that that was the equivalent of about 6 months' worth of trash for the two of us. Of course, what's in the greenhouse has accumulated over many years, but still, interesting.

L also moved the pressure waterer today, so it'll be easier to get in and out of the building now.


The one issue I have with doing all this is that I don't really have the energy for cooking, but we need to keep moving on this because I saw a hornet the other day. There are some old wasp nests in the greenhouses as well as some old snake skins, so we want to break up the habitat before they come by to try to set up house this year.

Once we have everything out and sorted, I can maybe invite folks to come over and pick through anything we don't want to keep for ourselves.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Not quite sure how, given that not a single shovelful in the area I'm working in is without a rock or five to run into, but still moving. My new rock pile is getting larger... Not done yet, of course. And, probably won't get further with it today.

Saturday was beautiful and we got quite a bit done. Sunday started out rainy but by afternoon it had dried out enough we went out to get more done -- me by the milk house and L in the pasture area, west of the barn and carriage house. Got some work done, and then a couple showed up next door and were looking at the bags of mulch -- some of which were ours, so I went over to say hello. We got that sorted out, as well as learned a few more things about the area as they used to live nearby. They're helping our neighbor D to remove some things from the property, as she has been trying to clean up to put it up for sale.

She tried to save the house when it would have been better to put it up for sale at least a year ago. Not hard to understand though, as she'd lived there for 40 years, but her husband passed a few years ago after an illness, and she is in poor health (bad back, among other things), so it's just too much house for her at this point. One of the areas she was just getting to recently was the greenhouses in the back yard, which is full of garden and silk flower-type stuff. Much of it is now trash, although there are still some treasures and useful things. We took over moving stuff out -- it won't all get cleaned out immediately, but we moved the bags of trash she'd filled so far over to our place, plus a bit more yesterday.

The house is officially on the market now, and she has someone coming to see the place in the late afternoon today, so we're trying to make sure it's as presentable as we all can manage. Looks like we'll be buying the greenhouses. We're also paying for the trash, so to speak, because we offered to take it to the transfer point for her and non-recycleables have to be paid for, but she really doesn't have a lot of money, unfortunately. We're getting a very good price on the greenhouses -- we'd pay her more if we could, but she's happy with the price she's asking for them, and we don't want to get over our heads. We're also going to end up with more garden stuff than we need, but I'm sure I can find homes for whatever we don't want to keep. Oh, and she also threw in a pressure waterer that's in one of the greenhouses, yikes.

Anyway, I'll be over there in a bit to do some yard work and move some more stuff out of the green houses, so there's my exercise for the day.

And today, I really _must_ soak in the tub!


Oh, and somewhere in there yesterday, I sewed the front and back seams for the body of the black kimono -- three times for the back seam as I kept putting things together incorrectly. Some days I can do amazing things, and sometimes basic stuff defeats me :P


Apr. 12th, 2014 07:11 pm
helwen: (Due Consideration)
We thought about going to the open kwoon at our kung fu school, but the weather and the ground are perfect for working -- so much to do, and only a small window to get it all done in.

L and I both worked earlier today on moving rocks away from the barn walls. He found the remains of a tool -- needs a new handle and a little hammer work, but quite salvageable. Some of those rocks you see were removed from against the barn last year, but quite a bit is from work this year. You can see the damage that was caused by rain hitting the rocks and going in against the wood and rotting it.

This is the old kiddie sand box that was next to the barn, which was full of small bushes. One had succeeded in punching through the bottom finally -- it will be getting recycled.

Some days back when L was working on uncovering more of the milk house foundations, he found an old rug piled up on top of the foundation. Today I decided to take a look at it, which was a bit of work as roots had grown through it, holding the folds together. Surprisingly it isn't in as horrible shape as one might expect after who knows how many winters outside. It has holes, to be sure, but I'm thinking it can at least be salvaged for use in the barn.

L then made great progress in the pasture, including digging up a good part of one of the old fences, the bottom of which was buried and weighted with rocks. I worked on removing the raspberries, nettles, garlic mustard, etc. from around the milk house foundations. Slow work, as the ground is full of rocks with a wide range of sizes. In addition to the rocks I also found an old orange plant marker pole and a scraper/putty knife while digging.

Here's a pic of the milk house foundation. In the foreground is a pile of soil that was inside the sand box. In the background you can see a retaining wall, part stone and part concrete. That's ours, plus about 10 feet of the land past it.

Here's a closer pic of the foundation, so you can see the cooling area -- yes, the stainless steel mixing bowl was found there too, along with miscellaneous bricks that are not part of the original structure.

L found what was probably the cover for the cooling section, but unfortunately it had been put outside, near the river. Amazingly it was still intact enough to tell what it was and where it would go (basically serving as a temporary floor when you weren't accessing the space), but not good enough to re-use.

The sun has been lovely; I dried laundry on the line today; second time in a week!
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Tuesday evenings there's a craft gathering in town at Elmer's Store. Nothing formal usually, just folks hanging out working on their stuff. Occasionally there's a workshop. It's nice to touch base with folks, and sometimes you get to meet someone new, while having a little company as you work.

Got some hemming done, and also found out a couple of people are looking to get qualified/certified for butchering poultry. That would be handy, down the line, as another local resource.


Apr. 6th, 2014 11:26 am
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Welcome back to LJ, [livejournal.com profile] freya46!


Attaching neck band to silver/grey kimono; should be able to finish that today sometime.

Yesterday there was some decent enough weather so we got pots from the hardware store, and I dug up some sand near the river. I also checked out the kale, which is sad but alive, and I trimmed a bunch of stuff around a tree near the river and pulled some grape vines out of it.

L lopped off a good part of the Crabapple branch that was going toward the house -- no ant highway this year! Took a while for him to cut that bit down into manageable pieces to take to the brush pile. Then he pulled some more of the grape vines out of the tree I'd been working on. The vines need digging out, but the ground is still too hard for that. He thinks we can keep that tree for now, as the trailer will be passing in front of it, not through it to get to its parking destination.

The Crabapple tree will be coming down this year. It needs more sun than it's getting, and the trees shading it are good for summer shade for the house and are in good health (Shag Bark Hickory and a young Sugar Maple). Since the only direction the Crabapple can go to get sun is toward the house... We have a Serviceberry that's been waiting patiently for its new home, and it loves partial shade, so it should be happy in the Crabapple's location.

The Hickory needs a few branches trimmed, but that will likely be the job of the power company (resting on lines).


Today I'll be potting up some baby green tea plants I got :)

I also plan on taking some of the mulch hay and laying out out in the lower yard. I'll make sure to place some of it under the kale, to see if that helps them perk up a little. They're in their second year, but I'm hoping for a few more leaves, and also some seed. If any of it can go to seed that would be great, because then I'd have seed that's more suited to damp ground. Even though we're moving the beds to higher ground this year, folks are saying it's going to be a wet summer, so adapted seeds would be good.

We should also tackle the turkey today; it was on sale, so I got it (before we finally got the date for the chickens). So since I needed freezer space, I took it and put it in the fridge for a few days. Finally roasted it, and now we need to take it apart so it takes less space and I can freeze some of it. Well, we can at least start today; L has a hay delivery to make, and yard work is best done in the sun!
helwen: (MacGyver)
Found the pics from when I was documenting how I made the lower half of the sleeves from the floral dress into flowers, so I thought I'd post them here.

Should be mostly self-explanatory, I think. I left the buttons on as sort of like stamen/pistil bits. Near the end of the pics you'll see that I made a stem/calyx/base, because I wanted the flowers to stand up a bit and face outward, not upward. It's kind of hard to explain exactly what I did in some places, but I essentially created the petal effect by gathering and folding in a puff, then twisting the fabric to create the folds I wanted, and then stitched them into place.


On the detachable mini-bustle

I didn't take pics of the construction for that, unfortunately, but I'll take a couple pics it and the attachment system at some point.


Mar. 20th, 2014 11:44 am
helwen: (MacGyver)
Tuesday I finished attaching rings to the lavender floral dress, and um, something else but I forget what it was...

Tuesday and Wednesday I did a quick spritz of coating on the bat girl comb. Back and hip are being more bothersome than usual, so not too much activity on any front, although I did do a little research on netsuke, inro, ojime, etc. because I wasn't sure how to use the bat netsuke. I'd forgotten all about inro, actually -- not sure I'll have one or go with a soft container, which I've also seen. Yes, it's for a costume, not re-enactment, but modeling things on actual Japanese stuff will give a better feel to the total "look" -- and Batgirl does need to have a "utility belt" ;)

Soaked in the tub yesterday and will do so again today; still working on making that a more regular thing, as I really should...

Had L take some pics of the re-vamped dress; will work on posting pics, not only of that but some from the development of the dress as well. Going to see if a friend has any pictures of me in the dress as I originally made it...
helwen: (Due Consideration)
So, on Tuesday (March 4) I did cut out the body part for two bags but couldn't find anything I liked for the handles.

Started moving some things off the shelving in the pantry to new homes, including getting some odd bits sorted out from each other and to their new homes. Like a lot of my craft supplies, it's rather a mosh because of trying to work on multiple projects in an inadequate space for so many years, but eventually I hope to severely reduce the chaos.

Made a little space in the basement; more to come over the next several months.

Went to craft night in town:
- Mostly disassembled the lavender bodice, to get it ready for the next stage
- Started work on making another bag, which will feature artwork from an favorite old t-shirt on one side
- Was going to do a repair job on another item but forgot my needles at home, oy


Was kinda vegging...tired and cold; worked on more sorting and moving. There's now enough space on one of the shelves for some food and cleaning supplies. They're at opposite ends of the shelf with space in the middle. When I get another shelf clear, I'll separate things into food and non-food, but for now I'm just trying to get temp-sensitive stuff off of the radiant floor :D

Worked on the t-shirt bag



Made straps from some scrap fabric and sewed the first two cloth bags. These two are going to be part of the Bagshare in our area, so it's more stuff out the door, yay!

Day's not over yet....
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Here is the free dress I got from a friend, which is getting used as part of the project. It's size 7/8, which I am not, but that's okay. The skirt overlaps off-center, which is one of the reasons I picked that cute Lolita dress that I posted a little while back as an inspiration piece.


I separated the bodice from the skirt, cut the skirt to half its length, and have been using the lower part to make ruffles, fill out the upper skirt more, and up-size the bodice.

The bodice is lined but the skirt isn't. As originally designed, one would wear a slip with the dress, so no problem. But my plan is for an opening in the front, so I made and attached an underslip to the skirt, from another one of the white Holyoke curtains.

The purple pleated ruffle on top of the edge ruffle I made from the same linen fabric as the ruffle skirt -- make a long strip of fabric, sew it into a long tube, press it flat, pleat and attach. The lace trim is some funky 1980s stuff I found on etsy.


Pinned the overskirt onto the ruffle skirt and pinned a piece of lace onto the top, just to give a general idea of the direction this is going. The top is going to become a bolero jacket, with some sort of ruffle going around the edges, over a white blouse.


I'm not sure I have enough of the dress material left to use that for the edge ruffle; if not, maybe a nice lace ruffle would work... I want to put a pleated ruffle on top of that, along with the lace trim, to go with the over skirt. And of course now I'll need a nice white blouse underneath the jacket, but that's okay, as I'll then have a blouse I can wear for everyday wear. I'm much happier with this reworking of my original plan; two layers on top just feels more balanced. Also, I'd rather not have a synthetic against my skin, both in general and specifically because Dragon Con will be warm with all those people there...unless it's a microfiber designed to wick moisture away from your body, synthetics usually just aren't worth the time of day.

Yay March!

Mar. 3rd, 2014 11:04 am
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Hey, I might be getting the hang of posting again... managing about once a week so far...

Decent weekend and birthday. Quiet this year, which is fine. Made our annual trip to the hot tubs at East Heaven :)

Apparently March is Art Every Day Month. Not sure exactly what I did on Saturday craft-wise -- took pictures of some stuff though. Oh, and started to play with making a decorative "comb" for my Batgirl wig. Sunday I finally finished a skirt; could have finished it Friday but wasn't in the mood for fiddly stuff.


Ignore the top; that's an attempt at expanding the top up from size 7/8, and then I realized I really didn't want that fabric next to my skin so it's going to become a jacket.

The ruffles are of a linen fabric I bought online a few years ago and then was afraid to use, as it's a bit more delicate weave of fabric than I generally wear. But I knew it would be perfect for the My Little Demon Pony project, so I finally brought it out of storage. The supporting fabric for the skirt is a curtain I'd made for our house in Holyoke. The windows are all differently-sized in our new place, so I've been re-vamping or re-purposing the old curtains as I go. So the skirt has a white foundation...matching would've been nice, but I didn't want to spend the money on either new fabric or dye, and I overlapped the ruffles a good bit, so it should be okay.


I'd forgotten the rules for elastic, so I started off using too much, and then had to pull it in twice, to get the skirt to stay up. The skirt also has a bit of weight to it, with all those ruffles...

Here's the waist band with no elastic. It's a wider opening than my actual hip measurement, but I want it easy to put on, thanks.

And here's me trying to get the elastic down to the correct tension...

The length ratio is about 2 (clothing item) to 1 (elastic).

Since my measurements are a moving target, especially this year, fitted clothing of any kind is a bit of a bear. I didn't want to do an adjustable opening in the back, like one of those laced openings, because I have ruffles going all the way up to the waist. If I had an adjustable opening, the skirt would lay flat there, and I need even support all around for a nice silhouette, as one of the ways I plan to wear this is under another skirt.

I also made the skirt knee-length. Originally I had planned to make it shorter, but I love the fabric and would like to wear it for every day wear at some point, not just costume, and I'm not a mini-skirt-wearing person in general.


helwen: (Default)

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