Swing and a Miss

It was a slow day yesterday. I did my usual slow stitching. Sometimes while I'm slow-stitching, I get so sleepy. The same thing happens when I'm reading. When Mike left to make a trip to the hardware store, it was easy to just slide down on the couch and take a morning nap. Things didn't really get under way until around noon.

My first sewing room task was to make the second block for June's CTC sew-along. This block is called "Christmas Logs," and it was created by Pam Mildren. The instructions for the block are right here. I had a little trouble with this block, possibly because I didn't follow instructions for trimming at different points. (Nah!) It's supposed to end up at an unfinished 12-1/2 inches, and mine was 15 inches when I finished. (Yikes!) Not to worry. I just trimmed some off of each side, and it worked out fine.

Here are the two blocks made for June.

I'll link up to the party at the end of the month.

With all the monthlies finished, it was time to get a start on Clementine's pawtrait. I was working from this photograph of Clementine, taken last month.

I like this picture of her, but I found some problems as I tried to work with it as a pawtrait. For one thing, there are too many shadows for it to translate very well into a "posterized" image I can work with. Also, I really want the cat to be looking directly into the camera for their pawtraits, and she was looking off somewhere else here.

Nevertheless, I went ahead and started making the transparency that will serve as my template. And here's where I often drive myself crazy by adding in too much detail. First, I tried drawing it from the "posterized" image, but found myself once again adding in the tiniest little details. It's hard to know what to add and what to leave out. In the end, I drew it from the original image where I wasn't tempted by so much contrast from the different shades of color.

When I was finished, I had this. The "right side" notation is to remind myself to reverse the transparency when I trace it onto fusing medium.

After that, I chose some fabrics. Batiks work best for the iris, and, of course, black for the pupils. She has light green eyes, and so these are the fabrics I chose.

Then I dug through my bins of oranges, tans, whites, grays, and browns and pulled out this pile of fabrics to work from.

And by then I was getting kind of tired of hanging out in the basement, so I wandered outside to see what Mike was up to. As I mentioned yesterday, he figured out he could build nesting boxes for the violet-green swallows for a fraction of what it would cost to purchase just one ready-made. He had three finished.

We did a little research about these. They need a 1-3/8 inch opening to allow the swallows to enter, but small enough to keep the marauding starlings out. Also, it needed some holes for drainage and ventilation. Here, he was working on the fourth house.

The right side of the box will pivot outward to allow us to clean them up at the end of a nesting season. (It's very important to provide maid service at your birdie hotel. A mini-fridge with snacks is also appreciated.)

While he was finishing up the fourth nesting box, I wandered around the garden and was delighted to find the calla lily opening already. I've counted four flowers on it, and the first one was nearly open when I took this picture. (I haven't checked it yet this morning.)

For dinner yesterday, I tried the most yummy sandwich recipe. There were daikon radishes in our last CSA share. I've been collecting recipes for some time, and I found one that used the daikon in these Shortcut Banh Mi with Pickled Carrot and Daikon. If you've never heard of Banh Mi, then don't feel bad. It seems to be new on the food scene and originates from Vietnam. I had it once in a restaurant, and one of my fellow CSA members made it last year. When I found this recipe in the NY Times, I decided to give it a try when the daikon made its first appearance. And this was really good.

I used regular Hoagie rolls for the bread. They seemed a little soft, and I really think this sandwich should be served up on something more like a crusty baguette. Since I couldn't find that in an individual sandwich size, I lightly toasted the Hoagie rolls to give them a little more substance. That worked fine, and we really enjoyed these sandwiches. I'm not sure if you'll be able to click on that link for the recipe from the NYTimes. If you can't open it, then email me and I'll send it to you.

After we went to bed last night, the Clementine pawtrait started bothering me. I wasn't really happy with the photograph I'd chosen. There were too many shadows, which made it difficult to pick out details. This morning, I started looking again at some of the other photographs I'd taken over the past year or so trying to get a good image of shy Clementine. In the one below, Erik got a death grip on her so I could get a good picture of her. I like this picture because she's looking directly into the camera, and because there's plenty of detail in her nose.

The posterized version worked well too. Plenty of detail to work with without getting carried away in the weeds.

On the other hand, I really like this one below. She's a little older in this next image, and filled out a little from her more kittenish self in the images above. I like the eyes better on the earlier image, but I like the image below for being easier to work with and for showing her whole beautiful self with no hands or catnip in the way.

Here, I've posterized it, and it's pretty easy to see the gradations of color in her fur.

I have an idea to start with the eyes from the kitten image and then overlay the body from the later image to get the pawtrait. That's where I am as I write this, but I might still change my mind. We'll see where I end up at day's end.

For now, the kitties are downstairs taking sunbaths. Since Smitty always hogs the kitty pole in the mornings, Sadie has staked her claim to the sunbeam on the stairs. Her black fur gets toasty warm lying there.

It's going to be a mostly sewing day, although I'm going to try to get a few housekeeping chores done too. Maybe I'll get out for a walk. And maybe Coyote Man will do something today. It's hard to be patient, but I'm getting the message that trapping coyotes must be handled delicately.

5 comments from clever and witty friends:

Marei said...

Bahn Mi!!! Bill & I have eaten hundreds of these delish sandwiches over the years. It's our favorite. The bread is the MOST important ingredient, and you have to have cilantro! Lose the carrots...add sriracha, hoisin & jalepenos and you'll have a sandwich made in heaven. BTW bahn mi also has pate on it. The baguette & pate are thanks to years of French occupation.

Quilting Tangent said...

Have Mike put a dowel as a perch by the holes. The birds want a front porch to hang out on.

Annette Mandel said...

What news from the coyote trapper?

piecefulwendy said...

I fall asleep when I stitch or read too. It often ends up as one of the loveliest naps, all restful and whatnot. Those blocks are cute, and I like your fix to the block ending up a bit large. Haha. I'd do the same thing. That sandwich looks tasty! Be sure you do some research on how to safely clean bird boxes, as far as protective clothing to wear, etc. It can be a messy business. C'mon Coyote Man, get the deed done!

quiltzyx said...

Mmmm, nap sounds lovely right about now. I'm on the M-F 12 hours working just now, plus 7 hrs Saturday & 3 hrs. on Sunday. But at least I will have all day Thursday off! This will go on through 7/8, then Cathy will be back from her family vacation to Ireland.

Mike's bird houses look great in process. Yay Resident Engineer & Builder!

I had a Bahn Mi from a food truck once & remembering enjoying it. Probably not something I would make for myself.

Trimming those blocks seems perfectly reasonable to me!