Boldly As It Is

I’m having such fun playing with my new camera. I’m testing out the free apps available for the iPhone so I can edit pictures on the go (one less excuse not to blog!). Hilariously, my computer is so old that I can’t use iCloud to wirelessly share photos between it and my phone. Talk about a generation gap. 

Anyway, here’s Camera360 in action:

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This is the greek circle in our wonderful “towne” center1 . I love it. It’s filled with kitschy little boutiques and high-class, once-in-a-while restaurants. The very bricks seem to smile when I walk over there, and as it is an easy walking distance from work I often do a little window shopping during my lunch break. It’s a great place to practice photography, but I have to get over being camera shy first. I swiped the photo above in a hasty second before shoving the phone back in my purse and checking to see if anyone saw me. Not that the people there care, but annoyingly I do.

 

Anyway, this is actually a productivity post. Yes, I’m info-dumping on you and not even trying to hide it. Shameless. My current projects include a simple Pink Blouse, New Look 6628, in a slightly stretchy cotton. My grandmother helped me place the pattern and cut out the pieces (in *cough* August *cough*). I’ve completed the front and back and just need to tackle the collar and button band before putting the whole thing together.

 

Then there’s the Floral dress:

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Look at that french seam! I’m aiming for a wearable muslin for this. Honestly I think the fabric is better suited for pajamas than day wear; however, I’m hoping that with the right accessory I can make it outside-appropriate, because this dress is going to be stunning. At least on the inside. Using Project Runaway 2848, the garment has those long, uninterrupted vertical seams which I love, and kangaroo pockets, which I’m conflicted about. Pockets are always good, and these are just the right size, but do I really want a pouch right on my stomach?

I’m less indecisive about the yards of yummy fabric now safely stashed in my closet. My grandmother gave me A LOT of fabric when I was down there last. I don’t have plans for all of it yet, rather I’m focusing on growing my skills and techniques. My sewing goals right now are simply to learn how and to get a better grasp on all the spatial awareness/3D stuff which I’m constantly blanking on. I do want to get into the habit of matching fabrics and patterns. My first real knitting project, I attempted to make delicate, finger-weight wristlets out of the bulkiest yearn in the store. I still struggle with this tendency to ignore the potential of my materials in pursuit of a imaginary final result. Which brings me to slowing down. As a product-crafter I’m always trying to rush through a project and cut corners. This might possibly work for experienced seamstresses, and moms, but can only mean complete disaster for this spatial-lightwieght. So meticulous attention to detail and a journey-over-destination mentality are major priorities.

Of course, the real joy is the finished object . . . . . .

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  1. the ‘e’ has no sound but lots of weight

The Sight: a Sketch of Distinction


In front of my house is a step. The step goes down once, hesitates for a moment, and then joins the sidewalk proper. People walk up and down the sidewalk all day with their dogs and never look to the right or the left, but if they did happen to glance past the sidewalk’s edge they’d see a little strip of green, a little white picket fence and then, beyond that, the lake. The lake is amazing, having both reeds and a little peninsula to give it distinction from a mere water reservoir. The green banks slopping down to its edge, and the half circle of trees which form a backdrop for it, all add to its pastoral dignity. It is also populated by ducks and Baltimore Geese. Where these go when the lake freezes over I do not know, but the moment it thaws you can be sure they will be back again, paddling around in it. Now that the days are getting warmer I notice the ducks are not as active in the afternoon, but they’re still there in the mornings. The geese seem to have finally left for good, but then who can tell with geese.

The sight of geese and ducks no longer seems special enough to take pictures of, although they lend my house that quiet air of untouched country-side which, in the suburbs, is more precious than a thousand feather beds. But Wednesday the ducks were replaced by a more esteemed visitor. I almost missed it, walking down the sidewalk and not looking either left or right, but something always pulls my eye to the lake and there it was. Glorious, but unfortunately, not showing me its best side – and besides, my grouchy little camera was sulking that day and refusing its batteries. So  I sighed and moved on, wanting to share my excitement with someone but unable to.

But Friday morning, when I came out of my door, there it was again. A magnificent sight in such a humble little neighborhood as mine. I grabbed my camera, with it’s newly charged batteries, and snapped a quick picture. It came out like this:

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Undaunted, I adjusted a setting and snapped again. It came out fuzzier than the last time. I switched to manual and focused in~out.

Bluuuuuuuuuuuuuur.

Certain settings would let me see the unbelievable thing on the LCD screen in lurid detail, but try as I might whenever I pressed down to take the shot, the focus would shift and the whole photo would be gone – lost in a beautiful indistinctness. After ten minutes the camera grudgingly gave the photo below, and though at first I thought it was just as bad as all the others,  now I don’t know but I rather like it. After all, it captures the surreality of the moment, the hazy aura of imperial pomp. The more I think of it the more it makes sense on an artistic level. Of course something this majestic  would be undefinable, and an exact representation of the moment could only be conveyed by admitting that that very representation was unattainable. And so I present to you a sight so rare even cameras tremble, The Emperor of Fowl:

As Unattainable as Perfection

First Snow



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“. . . a gleaming carpet of faery was springing up everywhere.”

– The Wind in the Willows

 

It’s the first snow in my new house. I love the affect of snow, although sadly it does not show off my pond as well as ice does, or the still calm days that make it a dark mirror full of grass and tress and sky – a sky so much closer and personable than it’s distant original. Snow is just like faerie dust, sprinkled over the world to hide the slumbering limbs of the trees and make the brown plants sparkle. From my garret window the world was still and gray, but when I opened my door to take pictures with The Camera, I found a world full of light. I tried to master the “manual” focus:

Branch in Semi-focus

But crouching on my doorstep trying to get the focus wheel to spin got cold fast. I closed the door on the new world and turned to toastier pursuits. Fifteen minuets later, when my hands were finally wrapped round a warm mug of oatmeal, the sun poked its head above the tree line opposite my house. I have great windows for dawn, and so I couldn’t resist trying to take a picture through the plastic and screen.

It’s a pretty dramatic beginning, isn’t it?

Bento with a Friend

This post is brought to you by a new friend

Get the picture?

He’s a little shy, and there were twenty inches of fingerprint grease on the mirror, so I’m afraid this blurry little picture is all your going to get of our new companion. I’m still learning about him myself and haven’t even picked out a name for him yet. What do you think? He’s on “loan” to me from my brother, who has a nicer, bigger camera now.

Thanks to our new and nameless friend I was able to snap a photo of this rare sight:

Heavily edited for your protection

Fish, rice with umeboshi, broccoli, and Spring Soup

Yes, an actual bento. I take packed lunches with me to work everyday, but even when it’s good food and well thought out, I somehow never seem to be ready to put it together until the last minute, and then there’s no time even for pretty. I’m trying to combat this, because it really is more lazy thinking than anything else, and to do so I have been adding to my freezer stock. Is it strange that I love the word stock? The idea of laying away, storing up, putting down – all of these just seem so romantic to me somehow, and preforming them gives me a feeling of contentment like warm honey in my soul. This must be how farmers feel about their freshly sown fields, or knitter’s about adding to their stash. Deep down inside, every human being is part squirrel.

The stock item in this photo is the green soup. It tastes like spring, but not much else. It’s celery and cucumber with a bite of lime and an avocado’s worth of creaminess, yet despite the fact that the first bite brings with it the promises of May, I can’t say I’m impressed. It’s not bad, but it’s so unmemorable that I’m always surprised to taste it and find it’s not bland. This picture is of Monday’s bento. I’ll be eating the soup again today with spicy lentil balls 1. My mom helped me bake this concoction, and I have about 5 dozen of them in my freezer now. With a little cheese, these spiced beans make the soup into something that actually taste like a meal.

 

 

 

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  1. In case you’re curious, I doubled this recipe, omitted the sesame, and used white rice because I didn’t have any brown. I didn’t have any coriander either. Doubling the recipe had the unintended side effect of surpassing my pot’s capacity, and I ended up having to cook it down in two batches. I don’t think I ever did get it to the correct dryness. When  I defrost these in the microwave they tend to crumble into soft clumps. Guilty confession:  I had them for breakfast this morning with a little honey and two fried eggs.