As previously noted, I've finished the two projects that had been languishing for a year. I have a vague idea of what I want to design next, but nothing concrete. I'm trying to finish up my Jean Hilton piece, "Turnberry Ridge," which is coming along nicely. I would have included a picture, but I managed to leave my camera at my niece's house in Berryville last week, an hour and a half drive. I may just have to go out and buy a new camera. Why not? The current one is getting old (2, 3 years?), and I need one with a real zoom in order to get good enough pictures to put all the inventory online. Good rationalization!
What I'd really like to do is design a canvaswork piece, the first of a possible new series of bugs. I was thinking of reworking my Jewel Bugs for canvaswork, but I'd rather do something entirely new.
The only problem, of course, is I'm pretty new to this canvaswork thing. I don't have very large stitch vocabulary yet, which I think is a prerequisite for designing such a thing. To improve that, I'm taking a class at Waste Knot Needlepoint in Arlington, a fiber and stitch notebook. It will teach me how to use the various Rainbow Gallery fibers by teaching 70 stitches. Both aspects of this appeal to me. My knowledge of special fibers for needlepoint is fairly slim, although I did learn a lot while running my shop. It's a 4-session class that meets every 2 weeks, starting in September. I can hardly wait.
My inspiration for the bug has come to me recently during my daily (well, I try for daily) walks. I aim for 2 miles every morning; note that I said "aim." I find myself ruminating as I walk because I never seem to remember to bring my iPod. These ruminations take the form of working out a solution to my inability to get going on various things I must do, writing the perfect haiku, and just processing the sounds and smells I experience.
For the past week or so, I've noticed the rise of the song of the cicadas. It's not deafening, as during the hatching of the 17-year cicadas. It's an unmistakable undercurrent as opposed to a roar. Curious as to whether it was the advent of the 17-year brood, I Googled "cicada" when I first noticed the song. Looking at the pictures of the new adults emerging from their shells, I was taken by the beauty of their wings and carapace. Keep in mind that I pretty much abhor all bugs, particularly the large, flying type that thinks nothing of lighting on your back and going for a ride until someone notices and brushes it off. This may be the perfect bug for my canvaswork piece.
The intricacy of the wings makes it all the more imperative that I improve my stitch and fiber vocabularies. I know there's the perfect combination to achieve the effect I can already begin to visualize. I just need to learn what it is. I mean, how hard can it be?
It's finished! I finally designed the two bookend pieces of Gingko and stitched them. I'll take it to the framer tomorrow morning.
I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I'm not so happy with the photo, though. The fabric color is just not right. It should be a lovely yellow. Eh. I'm hoping that when it's stretched, framed, and devoid of all the wrinkles and shadows, I'll be able to get more accurate color.
Now all I have to do is finish the chart. Donna LaBranche (needleworker not in paradise) came up with the blackwork fills over a year ago, so yesterday we figured out which ones they were and for which leaf, not as easy as it might sound. Donna also stitched the center panel.
Today's plan was simple. Sit down at the computer and finish the inventory needs assessment for making the transition to the Scarlet Thread online store. How hard could it be?
Well, I got Excel started up but haven't opened the document yet.
I had such good intentions, but first I had to check my e-mail and various Internet sites. That done, I remembered, as the window AC unit cycled up, that I have to get that window replaced ASAP, as the recent rainy days have revealed that my stop-gap measure to prevent leakage did not work. The wall's so wet underneath that I pushed a nice quarter-sized hole completely through the plaster/wallboard/whatever-it-is-that-isn't-drywall-as-we-know-it-today. It's a very nice, round hole and would make a perfect peephole if you wanted to peer into that space between the wall and the exterior wall, which is very dark btw. When my friend Steve, the painter, came over yesterday to check it out while it was raining, the paint peeled right off and the water dripped right down the wall. Gah!
So I found the number of the window-replacement place recommended by someone in the neighborhood and called to see how long it would take to get a new custom window installed. Because the house, being built in the mid-1940s, has no standard-size anything. Unfortunately, I'm faced with the same response from this window company as the original one I contacted — the one that replaced all the other windows in the house a dozen or so years ago — I can't put the window AC back in a new-style window. So that sucks.
Let's see. We're now entering what is fondly called the "dog days" of August. Oh joy! One of the hottest times of the year, and I'm looking at the very real possibility of no AC. I can only hope that the uncharacteristically mild summer will continue and not revert to the norm. I don't do well in the heat and humidity we all know so well in the DC metro area.
So what are the alternatives to a window AC? I could go with a portable unit, but that is both unsightly (has an exhaust duct that must be vented to the outside) and more inefficient than the window unit. Scratch that idea. Central AC is out of the question both economically and physically. My house is very small. My heating system is the old-fashioned boiler with radiators. No ductwork and way more construction than I care to do to install the requisite ductwork.
Last choice: the split ductless AC system. I'm not sure whether it's really less expensive than a central system, but my impression is that it is. It's installed at ceiling level and the works are primarily on the outside of the house. I really only need it on the ground floor. I have a window unit in the upstairs bedroom.
So I call the HVAC company that services my boiler. I seem to recall that the service technician mentioned this system as a possibility a few years ago. Hallelujah! They can send someone out to give an estimate this afternoon, and if it's doable, it can be done by the end of next week. I'll just seal up the window, put a screen in front of it to hide it, and wait for a new window at the end of the summer.