15 October 2017

Wildfires in Wine Country

It's been a long week in wine country in Northern California due to all the wildfires burning in various counties.
Wildfires are a fact of life here, it hardly ever rains between April and October. In previous years, there were plenty of  fires in the general vicinity, but not anywhere near us and never as many of this time. And we almost made it this year, too. Almost, but not quite.
Sunday was very, very windy. We had driven to Sacramento to visit the flea market and vendors there had to secure their treasures to keep them from blowing away. Everybody joked about it.
On the drive home, through Jameson Canyon, we saw smoke ahead of us. We figured the location was the local airport and hoped it wasn't a plane crash. A brush fire, we learned later, quickly brought under control.
The wind was still blowing hard when I went to bed. I woke up around 1:30 am with the wind still howling and happened to look out the window to find this:
Crummy picture, I know, hard to take pictures in the middle of the night with the phone zoomed as much as possible. I woke up DH who told me he had been up past midnight listening to reports of fires breaking out in several locations. I went on Facebook to post the above picture and we lost power almost immediately afterward. All that made for a bad night. I think I checked the location of that fire every 5 minutes for close to an hour. Lucky for us, it never came any closer, but it did burn down a winery near us - Signorello winery.
This is what we woke up to on Monday morning:
At least one visible fire in the hills and lots of smoke. The fires moved, but the smoke was a constant for days. Our electricity stayed off for 40 hours and we had no cell phone service and no wi-fi. We managed to call our daughter in Oregon Monday night and reassure her that we were safe. DH drove to another town on Tuesday to talk to her again and was told she had posted updates on our situation on FB because there were posts from concerned friends.
On one of our drives around town to recharge our electronics - just in case cell service came back - we took shots of a very red sun
other people taking pictures from even better vantage points.
and a positively apocalyptic looking sky:
The red sun, too, was a constant for days:
New fires kept breaking out, this one to the West of Napa.
The following pictures show the smoke from the Atlas fire to the East of Napa:
 
And yet another weird sun picture:
Thursday morning brought a beautiful sunrise and a much clearer day:
The Atlas fire to the East:
And fires to the West, towards Sonoma:
This became a necessity around town:
All the cool people, or, at least, the sensible ones, in town were wearing masks whenever outside. I didn't the first couple of days and developed a nasty cough. I'm okay now, but, if anything like this ever happens again, and I sincerely hope it never will, I will wear that mask from Day 1 on.
Saturday, again, dawned clear:
The wind had shifted to off-shore and all the smoke was being blown towards the ocean.
But, while the fires in Napa county were slowly being brought under control, a new one started in Sonoma and was working its way over the hills towards Napa:
This was the view from our driveway:
Ironic that the sky is bright blue against the smoke from the growing fire.
Here is another picture of the same fire later that day:
But, as of today, there is good news, at least as far as Napa is concerned:


Evacuations for the city of Napa are lifted, it never was a hard evacuation, just an advisory for part of the city, but still ......
The town of Calistoga which was evacuated several days ago is no longer under a mandatory evacuation order, residents are allowed to return home. Six people died in the city of Napa (many more in Santa Rosa and other counties), no structures were destroyed inside city limits, in the county, on the other hand, it was much, much worse. Most people living on Atlas Peak lost their homes, as did those living in Soda Springs Canyon. There are still evacuations in the outlying areas in Napa County.
I have heard that there are/were 10,000 fire fighters involved in fighting the about 20 fires in this area, including some from as far away as Australia. The staging area for them was on the fairgrounds with plenty of tents and mobile homes set up to accommodate them. I saw columns of fire trucks heading towards the fairgrounds every time I had to go out.
PG&E has a huge contingent of trucks S of town. They managed to restore power to just about everybody by now.
As I said, it's been a long week around here, even for those of us who were only peripherally affected. Nobody I know was injured and I think nobody I know lost their home. Several people we know were evacuated and the only one who still does not know whether his home is safe or not is our mechanic (DH's car - the only one we had easy access to while the power was out - gave us problems and will have to be replaced soonish).
Here are some facts and figures and much better pictures than mine about the fires.

28 August 2017

The Remains of the Day journal

I finally finished this one. I bought the class for it almost 2 years ago, worked on it for months and then got stuck. Couldn't decide whether I should sew in the 2 signatures the class called for or the 3 I had made and just let it ride.
Well, it finally is done - with 2 signatures which simply felt better.
Lots of pictures, few words, I hope. And I did not take pictures of every page, we'd all be here for hours and I'd tear my hair out uploading and editing.
The cover, fully closed and tied.
With the tie undone.
Still the front, with the flap open.
The back of the journal cover.
I limited myself to fabric in my scrap baskets only. Nothing out of the big stash upstairs, no yardage, no new purchases.
The inside of the journal withe the first signature, I used gift wrap I found at my favorite re-use center in Berkeley/Oakland. Quite a lot of other papers came from the same place.
More re-used paper plus a pocket made from a sheet protector. There is a lot of sewing involved in this journal, papers that wrap around the edges of the pages, papers to fill in gaps, papers to close open edges of the sheet protectors. That was a big part of the class - sewing together papers to make a full page and took me quite a bit of time.
The journal includes quite a few security envelopes, both whole - opened up - and repurposed as shown above.
A page from an old Sears catalog and a page from a notebook from the re-use center with some decorative bits sewn on.
The interesting paper on the bottom is actually from a salami wrapper. My husband had won the salami in some contest and I held on to the wrapper for ages, long before I had ever heard of junk journals. On the right is another sheet protector pocket. The blue dotty paper is from a gelli print I made, copied and cut into strips. There are quite a few of those included in the journal.
Another re-used security envelope with a heart sewn on top.
A guest check, a real one, I usually use blanks, but this one came from a visit to a favorite pizza restaurant from a visit to central Oregon to see our grandchildren.
More old Sears catalog and another Target envelope, plus map paper.
The beginning of the second signature. Ledger paper and a heart doily.
Another spliced together page, more ledger paper.
Here I used a petty cash receipt as a pocket/tuck spot.
Pages decorated with paper, fabric and a doily.
Another pocket made from a page protector with a map page showing behind. I took pages from an old road atlas.

Map with a goose from a children's book.
A fabric doily.
Some vintage ephemera sewn to a page. I did not have much when I started this journal. Much better supplied these days.
Map and dictionary page sewn together.
Another page decorated with both paper and fabric. On the left is yet another page protector pocket.
An old bingo card.
The spine. I used 5 hole pamphlet stitch to bind the journal.
The view from the top. Two signatures with the threads left showing.
The class, BTW, is called "Remains of the Day" by Mary Ann Moss. It's an older class, I am late to the party, as usual. It was a great learning experience. I knew very little about journals, junk journals, collecting papers, sewing papers together, ephemera etc. etc. when I started this class. Maybe that's why it took me so long? I know I agonized over the cover for weeks, finally came up with something I liked. I made many more pages than I needed, that's why there is a whole signature left over. Who knows, maybe I'll make more pages and another cover, now that I know what to do. But, then again, there are plenty of other classes to take and more things to learn. I find I like learning bookbinding techniques, the various stitches involved in holding papers together and Mary Ann Moss teaches more of those.
Here is a link to Mary Ann Moss' blog, the links to her classes are easy to find.
Whew, apologies for the length of this post, obviously not few words. Sorry!

27 August 2017

I made a book

A tiny book, really small: 1" x 1-1/4" to be exact. I learned how to in an online class with Leslie Marsh through Artful Gatherings. The class was excellent. If I hadn't procrastinated so much to get started, things might have gone more smoothly. But, in my defense, I took another class during the same time period and thought I should start with that and working on two such different projects doesn't really work for me.
So, anyway, it is almost finished, just needs a chain. And I definitely need to make at least one more because I made mistakes on this one. I won't even tell you about that.
So, here are the pictures:
The front of the book, brass with solder and a small filigree soldered on.
The spine. The pages are sewn in using coptic stitch which was new to me and which I actually really enjoy. Leslie did an excellent job of demonstrating and explaining.
These are for size comparison. And, BTW, the papers inside are coffee dyed paper and an old book page.
Just another look with the book open.
The book pages came from an old German book, obviously, it's old writing. What surprised me, when I took out the pages, was that they weren't sewn in with thread but held in with a thin wire. Strange!