Monthly Archives: January 2014



Another beautiful day, sunshine, not bad for January. I was cooking up the chicken root soup as Raven arrived a little late from dancing. She brought a cloth bag of catnip from her garden, Betty and Rosie didn’t care, but Pepper got into it, stoned cat.


Good soup, stew really as I thickened it with flour, onion, mushrooms, chicken, carrot, parsnip, potatoes, fresh green beans, garlic and garden herbs, everything organic including chicken broth, maybe not the wine. Tasty stuff, served in the back yard dining room with a view. I should get a picture of that, maybe tomorrow and paste it in.

As I cooked Raven worked on detailing the front P arch, complaining about the heat, in January (?).


She later moved to the back working on the D side corner gilding all the way up, a bit left to do.


I spent the day at the sewing machine working on the red cushion covers. Had a heck of a time, hit the zipper and bent the needle, dang, one more needle left, last one. Then the machine started jamming, stuck with the material in it, opened it up down under and had to use a hammer to nudge the shaft just to get it loose. I oiled it, made a world of difference, running smooth now.


I hand stitched the zippers shut.  New full bobbin, forgot to lower the foot or turn on the feed dog, oops, jammed again. Finally got everything in order. I finished out the first cover and we stuffed it, me on the cushion compressing it as Raven put on the cover.  A nice fit. I finished out the second one as it was getting late. We stuffed it and got a picture as the sun hit the horizon.


Raven headed for home with soup for tomorrow as the sun set. A fine day.



Another fine day. The furnace is acting up, I vacuumed it and was checking it out as Raven arrived. The weather is beautiful, Raven wants to do more detailing with the break. I’m hungry, I’ll cook lunch, a chicken root stew, potatoes, carrots,  parsnip, onion, garlic and herbs from the garden, all organic, tasty. Raven had a big breakfast, ate later, I munched as she painted the back arch using the stencil I carved, but reduced the width considerably, it looks Arabic but cool. She couldn’t find the old corner stencil, cut a new one and covered the entire corner in a wave of patterns, looks really good.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The sewing machine is out of wack, looping underneath, a tension issue. I modified the feed from the huge spool up to a hook eye but it’s not right. The sewing machine store had an offset deal, I put in a couple nails, added a piece of cardboard to catch the lower thread, that helped but the thread comes loose, bent a nail up and adjusted the tensioner on the machine, it’s  working. I played with the  stitch length and zig-zag functions all good.

Time to change to the new zipper foot again, all this on a piece of muslin, it works on the right side. OK. I go in and watch the youtube video again on zippers, looks easy, not really.  The video says get close to the zipper coils, no, stay halfway out to prevent jamming. It’s difficult unzipping around the needle, nudge the stitch out a little more on the first run, avoid catching the thread in the zipper, it’s hard to clear. On the second run you’re making the center fold. That’s tricky to keep it even and straight, one section got twisted, good thing it will be against the wall.

I got all the zipper panels made, laid them out on the bench and remeasured  to 4 inches, zipper to center, cut to fit.



They’re a little offset, but with a 1/2″ seam and an 1/8″ requested smaller fit there is room to fudge.

The vacuuming seems to have fixed the furnace for now it’s working, a good day.



I was weeding the garden again as Raven parked. Vardo day begins.  She unloaded, returning my bat out of hell pendant I loaned her for her role playing mystery party. She told me about it, sounded fun.

As the landlord wants pictures of the garage front and back for flood insurance, Raven helped me move the last big pieces of the old trailer bed around to the side. We also moved my home made dinghy ‘Axford’ over and dragged the old futon down to the dump pile. It’s clean now, ready for a picture.

Raven pulled out some stencil pics that need cutting and started with the Exacto and cutting board, tedious work. I tried hooking up the new zipper foot I bought for the sewing machine, it fits fine and will work great on either side of the needle. The tension is all screwed up as I changed the spool feed to up to a cup hook instead of spooling as it hung up often. Now the thread is catching down under the bobbin. It needs some tweaking but it’s cold after yesterday’s rain.

I head in to help cut stencils instead, grab the Med Louke stencil not knowing what that means, a lot of three leaves and puffy flowers. This evening I looked it up at the site where we found it, red clovers, ah.

Getting hungry, I bought bagels, lox and cream cheese as Raven had requested, sounds good. That, avocado and shredded carrots made a fine meal.

Raven finished a rose cut out as I got half way. I noticed we have too many small stencils, we should have two large and one small door to finish.  I went out to the vardo and brought in the cardboard stencil folder. The rose and red clover are supposed to be large prints in the back of the folder with a vine print on the small door, dang.  We need to start over.


Break time, we walked down to the river, no mugwort left after the frost, it’ll be back in the spring. We saw a red tail hawk land in the tree, beautiful, took off again just for us.  We walk home.

At least the bigger prints have more clearance between the cuts. We both got half way done again. Here is the print from the back but flipped with Paint.



And the originals topside


Clovers and Roses. Meanwhile Raven mentioned she’ll need to get a crystal ball. I smiled and dug out my wizard bag, old jewelry stuff I’ve made long ago. I have a few small crystal balls I made, not really big enough, but fun to break out old art works. I gave her a marble size quartz ball (pocket size) and a raw piece of amber to play with.

We got quite a bit done in preparation for painting the last three cabinet doors, an error but useful smaller stencil.  I’ll need to tweak the sewing machine tension to get it right again, that will happen.  Warmer inside, with Metal music Ozzie stuff. A fine day.



I put the drip coffee maker and grinder in the vardo with a carefully measured 8 tablespoons of Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee beans in a bowl with 4 cups of water in the machine. Just then Raven showed up, perfect timing.  Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is the very finest coffee in the world, none better, even the Hawaiians admit it. I ground the beans in 2 batches and loaded the maker, turned it on. Note, this is the first pot of coffee made in the vardo of the finest coffee there is, that’s something. I also made some drinking chocolate in the kitchen by melting some in a pan on low and adding half and half a little at a time. We set up the chairs in the sunny driveway with the high stool as a coffee table. Sipping fine coffee and separate demitasse cups of chocolate, contemplating how to put shutters on the front window.

We’ll need some special hinges so they’ll open out and still close to protect the glass on the highway. It will cover detail paint when open, but oh well.

Raven started painting the cabinet doors with the completed stencils. I set up the saw horse door bench to lay out the burgundy fabric for the outer bench cushion covers. When we bought the fabric, it was to the end of roll at 4 1/2 yards, my calculations put it exactly there with a little extra on the width, but tight. I laid it all out using the blue tailor chalk , we have enough and left overs enough to cover the 8 inch pillow foam.

Lunch time, I cooked up an organic chicken stew, carrots, red potatoes, garlic with garden onions, oregano, thyme, parsley and rosemary, a dash of white wine, flour thickened. Served with raw carrot sticks, rice crackers and cornichon pickles, tasty.

After lunch I broke out the scissors and proceeded to cut the fabric. The bigger shears hurt my thumb, I found a pair of Gary’s hospital shears, much better, cutting on the chalk lines, first the zipper panels and long outer edges, finishing with the top and bottom panels.  This took some doing and most of my day. It’s ready to sew but we’ll need a zipper foot in the sewing machine, less than $5 at Joanne’s Fabric.


Raven finished painting two more cabinet door stencils, applying the paint, then freeing the stencil for each color to let it dry a bit and not stick. As the Daisy stencil needed to be finish cut, she did that, then painted it as well. Low on white paint, she found the marbleizing kit we bought at Salvation Army has a bottle, perfect, another door complete.

cab detail 2

Just three more doors to stencil cut and paint. Sew the cushions next. We did a lot, including a christening with the finest coffee in the world. Raven prepped the benches for sleep mode, finished off the stew and headed for a movie as I write. She has a jam session tomorrow. A productive day.