What a difference a food makes

I switched dog food.  OH MY GOSH.  What a difference.  In one way it’s bad (Chloe is even MORE frenetically happy and bouncy) but in all other ways it’s good.  My oldest dog is perky and says she’s comfortable again.  My youngest dog is getting the nutrition she needs and is less worried about food.

If you’re wondering, I switched to Diamond Adult Dog Beef and Rice.  No corn, no soy, no wheat.  25% protein, 15% fat.  Everyone’s put on weight . . . okay, Chloe and Patsy didn’t need any more weight, so plus side, I can cut down on their food just a bit.

So what if this food is more than two times more expensive . . . <sigh>  The result is definitely worth it.

Plant wall update

Selective picture taking

It’s time for a plant wall update.  Now before you go “oh! Wow!”, note that this picture is of only the lushest part of the wall, not the entire wall.  And the ficus is growing in a pot next to the wall, not in the wall.  Hmm.  I wonder if a ficus would grow in the wall . . .

Let’s take a look at the whole thing.  It’s looking good, but it isn’t overall as lush as the more focused image.  One of the problems with shooting with flash is the lighting up of the background felt.  It isn’t that obvious in person.

The big picture

I’ve done some pretty severe trimming of a begonia and a philodendron in the upper right to expose the Cape Primrose (just over halfway down on the left) so it has a chance to fully recover from the aphid infestation.  Of all the plants, I think it was the hardest hit.

There’s a lot going on in the wall right now.  One of the begonias is blooming, new growth is everywhere (except the hoja and the peperomia) and the plans are overall happy and healthy.

Blooming begonia, lengthy heliocerius, happy wandering Jew.

I really like having plants in the gutter.  I want to pull this relatively small gutter and put on a larger one.

Some of the plants in the wall I’m really blah about.  I’ve got a succulent in there that does not inspire me.  The peperomia’s got to go.  The waffle plants are leaving me uninspired.  I love the viney things, the coleus, rain forest cactus and ivy.  I love the begonias.  I think I’m going to start pulling things out of the wall I don’t care for and add more of the things I like.  I’d love to add a couple rex begonias and more varieties of philodendron.  If I could find a monstera cutting I’d add that, though I know it would be a disaster.  The leaves are almost 2′ long.

The small/grow close to the wall plants have mostly died out due to lack of light.  I need to get in a do a thorough cleaning, getting rid of dead growth.  I’ll do that when I start pulling out and chucking plants in prep for adding new ones to the wall.  The top and left side of the wall is getting inadequate light.  I can’t do anything about it right now, but I’m aware of the problem and will get it resolved eventually.

Shoe one step one

Shaping the first layer

By now you should know that I don’t do much “normally”.  I research, I see what others have done, I think a lot and I dive in.  Here’s the first splash into serious shoe-making, sink or swim.

I had some cured leather (neither vegetable nor chrome tanned) I’ve cut to act as the form for the bottom of the shoe.  Okay, maybe that’s the wrong way to say it.  The last is actually the form for the shoe, but once the last’s taken out, I want there to be something that stabilizes the shoe lateral, a second stabilizing connection between the sole and the lining/upper.

If you’re wondering why all the cord instead of nice tidy row of finish nails to hold the leather in place . . . I neglected to get the right size finish nails on my last foray to town.  Maybe next time, assuming I remember to put it on the shopping list.  For now, I’ve had to settle for a couple horse shoe nails and bounteous amounts of cord.  On the plus side, that seems to have worked pretty well.  I think I could have done nearly the same thing with a cut up t-shirt in less time, something to try next time.

Sans cording and nails

Here’s what I have (tentatively) decided to try.

The leather you see wrapped around the bottom of the last is being shaped to the last.  Once it has completely dried, I will trim and skive it so the top edge is a uniform height and the thickness graduates to nothing at that level.  Once the trimming and skiving is done, I will set aside these pieces of leather to be added to the assembly later.

Next step is to start normal shoe construction with a leather layer on the bottom of the last that ends at the edge of the bottom.  This layer is skived/rasped at the edge to graduate it to nothing as it comes around the corner from bottom to side of foot.

The upper will be constructed of two layers (outer and lining) with a welt (around ankle and lace opening) and tongue.  The upper is then stretched over the top of last and the lining is pulled down over the bottom of the last where it is stretched, shaped, trimmed and rasped to a harmonious and flat meeting with the initial sole.

At this point I will insert the leather form I created at the beginning, gluing it into position.  As well as stability, this will provide some base line waterproofing.  Toe and heel counters are then added using judicious applications of Barge cement.  Then the sole will be applied to the bottom of the assembly and the upper outer will be pulled down and stitched to the sole.  I’m thinking I’m going to have to have one more layer of leather before the sole is applied.  If I stitch this layer of leather to the previously formed shaper, then apply the shaper to the last, then apply the sole and attach the upper to the sole catching this additional piece of leather, the build will be ultra solid but hopefully not too stiff.  The sole and upper outer will then be trimmed and finished and a sole bed liner will then be added to the inside of the shoe.

I can see a couple problems with this approach but I won’t know how it will wear until I try it.  I am hoping to produce a shoe with a lot of lateral stabilizing support that isn’t too rigid.  I’m a little concerned that I didn’t make the initial shaped leather tall enough at the sides and back.  We’ll have to see how they wear.

So here we go . . . sink or swim.

Two part lasts

While they lack to sophistication of complex break apart lasts, they have all the necessary function.

Lorr’s making more than one set of lasts for me.  This set has been cut into two so they can be removed from boots, which is my first project.

Wadly and I are headed to Lorr’s Saturday.  I’ll get a little more detail on exactly how he did the molding, what product he used for the mold and what he used as a mold release agent.

Lots going on

I’ve got a lot of stuff going on right now.  Lorr has lasts ready for me.  I need boots for a clinic I’m doing in January (www.axwoodlibrary.com).  The comfy slip-ons I have are SO not going to work for that activity.  Getting boots made is a priority.

I’m in the middle of building a sawdust stove (www.norishouse.com) so we stay warmer when the cold weather hits in February.  Hopefully that will be done by this weekend.

All cut and ready to go

I have a mariner’s compass to finish for LouAnn, a border to put on my confetti stars quilt and two bog coats to make, a simple reversible one for LouAnn and two-color one requiring quite a bit of applique/prep for my friend Mickey.

I’ve promised another bog coat in purple and black to Mindy with her farm logo, but it’s not going to happen right away.

I need an escape from all the complicated stuff, something I can mindlessly sit and sew while admiring the pretty colors without thinking too hard.

I’ve been planning a square dance quilt for my bed for a while.   When I cut fabric for square dance blocks for borders I’d cut extra and add to my collection of fabrics for this quilt.  It takes 106 to make a queen sized quilt and I’ve got 120+.  This block is super easy to sew, pretty and just what I need to give me some busy work.

Mold making

"I made a box and then I filled it"
"Now it's full of product. I'll pull them in the morning."

Pretty new lasts!

My son, bless his heart, has taken on the task of molding my lasts.  He makes molds at his work so has much more knowledge in this area than I.  I know he struggled with how to make the molds, trying different things before reaching this pinnacle.  Success at last!

I sent him a text asking what he used as molding material.  He replied saying “some industrial crap.  Any off the shelf latex will work.”

These pictures were taken with his phone and texted to me.  The fuzziness is, I’m sure, smudges on the camera lens.

I’m so ecstatic about having lasts that match my feet!  <grin>

Cordwaining videos

Andrew Wrigley makes shoes.  He also has a really nice set of videos on YouTube on making shoes.  So far he’s uploaded 5 parts which includes all the clicking (pattern cutting), skiving, dieing, decorating and stitching of the uppers.  He is doing it all using common tools.  The first video is here.

Wrigley’s videos are the first I’ve seen that show how to construct the uppers.