First Harvested Palm Nuts

February 18th, 2015

On January 25 I was given some palm cuttings. This is one of the small cuttings.

Palm Cuttings

Over the weekend I harvested the first of the palm nuts.

Palm Nuts Detail

Palm Nuts

So many possibilities. I could use them for coding. I could stitch them together. Have want to try using a water soluble stabilizer to hold bits together for stitching. Or I could use straight pins to attach them to a surface to make fabric.


Work In Progress–One and a Half Years

February 18th, 2015

I was diagnosed with Pernicious Anemia several years back. Each month I receive an injection of B12. I have been saving my B12 vials and syringes thinking that they might become art materials. Now, maybe some of the vials have found a place.

I was working on a design for a woven piece to cover a bathroom window. I looked at several materials that would be the least likely to mold. While looking through my materials I ran across the B12 vials. Unfortunately, I did not have enough for the window design. Got to thinking about the importance of those little vials, each vial represented a month in my life.

For whatever reason I tend to use certain numbers: 3, 5, 9, 11, 18, any grouping of 3 or 9. When I looked at coding the word life, I could use 18 vials. Each vial would be bound in a square that 9 spaces by 9 spaces.

One and a Half Years Layout

Recently ran across the Medieval Mosaic embroidery stitch and liked it quite a lot, but it is four long, 4 short. Not one of my numbers. I added an additional to each.

Slightly Altered Medieval Mosaic Stitch

The stitch would cover nicely if I had not planned to use waxed linen. This is a work in progress using waxed linen.

Waxed Linen Stitches

Waxed linen didn’t feel right with the vials. so, got out a skein of cream wool. I laid in a background of a zig zag stitch, then added the Medieval Mosaic stitch over it. This is the result–

One And A Half Years In Progress

And a detail–

One And A Half Years Detail

There needs to be more of a difference between the yarn color used for the dots and dashes. I have some lovely bamboo yarn that might work better.

I suspect that when the border code is completed the current yarn binding the vials will be more apparent. The border code will be: One and a Half Years. The code will start at space 17 on the top, and procede clockwise each space a dot, dash, or spacer. The rest of the border will be stitched in cream wool. There is also a 3/4″ border that will either be bent and stitched to become a frame or bent the opposite direction to elevate the piece from the wall.

When the stitching is finished, it will be time to age the piece.


Some information on pernicious anemia:

Johns Hopkins Medicine

National Institutes of Health–National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


New Potentail Art Materials

January 25th, 2015

My neighbor trimmed his palms. The cuttings were on the way to the dump. Instead, some will become art material.

Large palm nuts:

Large palm nuts

Stored in my greenhouse:

Large palm nuts bunches in greenhouse

Small palm nuts:

Small palm nuts

The palm nuts will be a great new material that I can use for coding.


Lichens found on an olive branch:

Lichens on Olive


Interesting information found here:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Corporate Document Repository: Date Palm Products


Brain Injury and Donation

January 21st, 2015

Yesterday The Fussy Librarian and BookGorilla had an offer for a book written by a person who wrote about their brain aneurysm experience. I read the chapters posted on Amazon. Then I read the reviews. One reviewer recommended My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey. Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. is the author.

The first person I knew who had a brain injury was my nephew. He was 18 months old and while in a diabetic coma sustained brain damage. The second person was a woman I worked with who had a brain aneurysm. Members of my family have been diagnosed with dementia. Whether it is an unexpected injury or the gradual loss of function with dementia, brain injury does change the person. Their family and friends are altered by the injury as well.

Last night I started reading Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey. In the introduction she stated,

Within four brief hours, through the eyes of a curious brain anatomist (neuroanatomist), I watched my mind completely deteriorate in its ability to process information. By the end of that morning, I could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of my life.

That scares the hell out of me. The thought that people can be aware, but not to be able to do anything about it.

Scientists are researching how brain injuries occur, how to reduce the effects of the injuries, how to treat the injuries, and perhaps even how to prevent them. Brain donation, as part of organ donation, gives scientists the material they need to conduct their research.

In an interview with Jill Bolte Taylor, she was quoted as saying that when one becomes an organ donor the brain is not included. Special arrangements need to be made. The Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center was mentioned in the interview.

There is a list of brain and tissue banks available on the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website.

Two members of my family donated their brains for research–one was for dementia, the other was for restless legs syndrome.


Vegan Replacement Boots

January 17th, 2015

It is often difficult to find vegan friendly footwear. I have been wearing the same vegan Garmont boots since 2002. Recently the soles began to crumble and fall apart. I would have purchased a new pair of vegan Garmont boots, but a replacement does not exist.

I was unable to find someone to replace the soles of my Garmont boots, so I gave Shoe Goo a go. After the adhesive cured I noticed that the areas around the adhesive began to crumble. I suspect Shoe Goo would be great for making certain types of repairs, but it is not really intended for making new soles.

I went on a search for replacement boots. It is easy to find hiking boots, but not vegan hiking boots. Finally, I found a pair of Merrell boots that are vegan friendly.

All of the reviews that I read stated the Merrell boots were true to size. I ordered a pair from Title Nine. Unfortunately, the pair that I ordered was a tad snug.

The boots were on sale and when I checked the website for the larger size, many of the sizes were no longer available. I phoned Title Nine customer service. The person I spoke with was quite helpful. I placed a new order for a half size larger, and then I packaged up the original pair for shipping back. The new pair arrived in a few days.

Merrell Boots

When I slipped them on they fit great. I wore them around the house for a couple of days. Yesterday I wore them on my first hike.

Yeah, they really have bold and bright colors…


While on the hike I noticed this cool bark. At first glance it appeared to have been deliberately attached to the tree.

Cool Bark


Regret Quotes

January 11th, 2015

“Regret. It piles up around us like books we never read.”

…is a great line from the movie, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recuit.

A few other regret quotes I have accumulated–

“…stained dark with regret and long-time abandonment.”

from Painted From Memories by Barbara Forte.

“…anger dissolved in a sigh of regret…”

from Deceptive Cadence: The Virtuosic Spy by Kathryn Guare.

“…time of early evening when the world seems trapped in melancholy, and all its regrets for all its mislaid plans for the day spelled in the fading clouds…”

from Where She Went  by Kate Walbert.

And from The Gray and Guilty Sea-An Oregon Coast Mystery by Scott William Carter.

“…no room for even a sliver of regret”


New Year’s Traditions and Rituals

January 3rd, 2015

Apparently, part of my NY’s tradition is to wear my gray vest and favorite hat. It is the hat my brother gave me at our sister’s wedding. The vest was a gift as well.

NY 2014 and 2015

I was even wearing the same scarf this year, but removed it before walking to the beach. It was too warm for it.

What does that say about me? Two years, two photos, nearly the same?

Pretty sure it has something to do with loving my hat and always feeling comfortable wearing my gray vest.

Both have been with me for nearly 14 years. Why replace something that works so well?

And there is a high probability that at least day a month I will be wearing the vest, and more often wearing the hat.


2015 January 1

January 1st, 2015

One of my few traditions is to visit the beach on the first day of the year. Today was a great day–sunny, warm, and no snow to be seen.

Looking for holey rocks–

New Year 2015

Holey Rock

It was low tide so critters could be seen–

Critter 1

Critter 2

The sea grass would make a great art material–
Grass


Spice Finches

December 31st, 2014

New to our gardens–

Spice Finches

They are Spice Finches or Nutmeg Mannikins. The scaling on the chest is so beautiful.

Spice Finches

Spice Finches

Spice Finches

Some Spice Finch information can be found here–audublog.


Fire Starters Then and Now

December 31st, 2014

Two years ago I made fire starters for folks who have woodburning fireplaces. I used pinecones from my garden, cedar shavings (result of running cedar planks through a planer), wax, twine, and cinnamon sticks.

Firestarters 2012

This year I thought I would try something a bit different. I have boxes of dried plant materials from my garden. I collected and dried them to use in my work. I haven’t found a need for them. I had thought about tossing them in the recycle bin, but decided to use them for fire starters.

Firestarters In Progress

I lined some old muffin tins with cupcake papers and filled them with dried materials and cedar shavings. Then used cotton twine for wicks. The wicks are bound around cypress pods. Then the lot was topped with paraffin.

Firestarters Detail

I also made a few pinecone fire starters.

Firestarters In Basket

Placed the fire starters in baskets lined with tissue and filled with cedar shavings. Everything can be used for starting fires, including the baskets.


I was curious how the fire starters would work, so, I set some alight.

First a cupcake fire starters–

Firestarters Cupcake 1

Firestarters Cupcake 2

Then a pinecone–

Firestarters Pinecone 1

Firestarters Pinecone 2

Firestarters Pinecone 3

I had more fun watching them burn than making them!