Sunday, December 30, 2018

Birthday blogging

The Christmas season is full of festivities, including family in the house, theater and the good food of the season.  Somewhere in there I squeeze in a little art making.  I bounce around between projects to keep all of my projects moving forward.  I pulled out my weaving-in-progress that features keys in the background and started imagining what the bird cage would look like.  I stretched and sketched--the background weaving was stretched into a frame and I sketched the bird cage that will emerge in the foreground.
  Then I could measure out the wire pieces that will make up the cage and the door.  I also started to make the swirly shapes that will adorn the structure.  But then when I have all of the components designed and cut, I can’t just leave it in a pile and so I started to put together.  Its not finished – but I really like the look of it so far.  The cage, with an open door, will also feature a summer tanager, suggested by Cinny Schrodt.  The orange red of the bird should really pop against the brassy key background and the black cage foreground. 

My down-time breaks over the holidays have also given me time to keep poking at my Mexican sunflower petals.  My pile is getting bigger, but I still have a lot to go.  I won’t count because I think I’m still on the uphill slope of the hundred petal target, but it’s good to see my bowl getting fuller. 

My ongoing dyeing projects took a turn to coffee browns this week.  I’m an avid coffee drinker, specifically morning espressos to balance out my breakfast pie slices.  About a year ago I discovered that my blood pressure was elevated, so I decided to deal with it through diet.  I cut out caffeine and took the salt shaker off the table.  
I’m happy to report that my blood pressure is back to normal, which means I can drink more coffee than I used to, albeit decaffeinated.  Jim now makes me two double espressos almost every day.  That’s a lot of ground beans that usually feed the compost pile.  I decided to redirect the flow into a bag that I keep in the freezer until I had enough grounds to try dyeing with them.  I put the month’s worth of grounds in the dye pot and boiled it for an hour, making the house smell wonderful.  After steeping overnight I then strained the brew through giant filters intended to be used to filter oil, which worked well.  I put in some freshly washed fleece, brought it to a boil, and left it to steep overnight in the glory of the second-hand coffee.  It turned out to be a lovely maple syrup brown color—it’s a good thing I love Midwestern browns! 

The Christmas season brought us first Tommie (although we had to go pick him up), who baked a huge batch of cookies with Shaunacee, his accomplice in baking.  She knew the secret length of baking time to make the diablo cookies perfect—this was the peak year for those delights.  Grandma and great aunt Lois came next, flying in from Michigan for Christmas.  They helped eat the cookies and put together a jigsaw puzzle.  Christmas gifts brought lots of surprises—Jacob got authentic lederhosen and the turntable he has been pining for.  
Lois got a beautiful bracelet and watch that she eagerly showed off when she got home to Michigan.  I got a beautiful bowl made by Marcy Neiditz that I think might be destined for display rather than use.  
But most important we had a lot of laughing and silliness in the house.  We all went to Cardinal’s Beauty and the Beast on boxing day, and the performance was delightful as usual.  The pie fairy really came through too, bringing a Raspberry pie for Christmas dinner and a tart cherry pie for my birthday yesterday!  
I even had slices from two different pies on one day!  Let’s just continue that trend into the new year, shall we?

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

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