The garden is in proper spring mood now – the peach blossom is through, as is the bloom of the sour cherry. There are the first strawberry blossoms now:

and, much to the delight of bees and bumble-bees, the borage is also in flower already:

Theoretically, these are edible leaves, and they are said to be delicious in combination with cucumbers – but somehow I’ve never really warmed to them. They are a bit too hairy for my palate. I still enjoy having the plant in the garden, though, as they are blooming nicely and for most of the warm period; the flowers make a nice edible decoration on salads, and the insects love them, too. Plus it comes back year after year, sowing its own seeds, and if it is somewhere that I don’t want it, removal is rather easy. So altogether, it actually is one of my favourite plants!

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Some things are really and truly timeless – such as some problems. Distraction, for instance. Unfortunately, I do know this problem really well, from my very own, very personal experience. I am easily distracted sometimes (and if I have work to do that is really boring, or that I really am not too keen on doing, distracting me is that much easier).

Having a timeless (and therefore probably also very common) problem, though, at least means that one can feel in good company. For instance, in good company with medieval monks, who looked for solutions (or techniques) for this as well. Which is, amazingly, documented in an early 5th century text… that you can read more about at Aeon. Including a few hints on how the monks and nuns tried to minimise distraction, more or less successfully.

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I have finally finished and blocked my Vodka Lemonade – now it’s only the last few ends that have to be woven in, and it will be ready to wear!

All blocked!

I have not yet decided whether I will stick with the “worn-open” version that it’s intended to be by the designer, or whether I would like to have a closing option – and if the latter, what it will be. Some small and unobtrusive press studs? A slim, hidden zipper? Some kind of brooch, or a hook-and-eye closure? I tend towards the zipper, though – provided I can find one that is a good length (or can be cut to a good length) and that is a fitting colour. Ah, decisions, decisions…

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I’m off to the Nadelwelt – in case you are going there, you can find me and Margit at booth F2.3, just like in the last years.

I haven’t managed to fire the next batch of spindle whorls before the fair, so they will have another few days to hang out. Possibly that is a good thing, too, because then they will definitely be completely dried out, and that results in less losses due to cracking.

Here they are, all hanging out on the table:

It’s a clay that fires up to a light grey colour. Actually it’s two clays that fire up to a light colour, as I have used up the last of my previous batch. Some of the whorls are already made from the new clay, which is looking a little bit lighter in the unfired-but-dry stage, so I’m very curious to see how it will look when fired. The bits that are not in a reducing atmosphere, that is…

This time around, I have also played a little with some decorations on some of the whorls. Most of the decorated ones are closely modelled after extant finds from prehistoric times, and a few are modeled after finds from the Celtic era. I did try to match both the form and the size as closely as possible, and found once more that there are forms I find very easy and natural to do, and others that I have not figured out the perfect method yet. So there’s more to learn… which will have to wait for the next batch, though.

For now, I’m looking forward to the firing, it’s always a fun thing to do, and it’s always exciting to see how they all turn out!

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I’m prepping for the Nadelwelt fair – checking all the things that need to be checked, charging all the batteries, topping up the stock stuff that needs to be topped up.

Also, of course, packing the overnight things – which always include the Three Magic Wellness Things: the travel yoga mat, my current knitting project, and something to read (which usually means the e-book reader). It also always includes, of course, the washbag… which this time around put me in front of a slight problem.

As this is also what goes with me on cycling and paddling holidays, and has to fit into rather small bags for that, my washbag is supposed to stay as small as possible. Unfortunately, over the years, it has grown a bit, due to my wanting to take some additional stuff. Such as a pair of glasses for when the lenses are out. Or more skincare products. Age, here, is definitely leaving some traces!

So in the quest of keeping it small and manageable, most of the things are packed into small containers. Which means my soapbox is an old small box for peppermint candies, and it will only fit a very slim piece of soap. Which, in turn, means I occasionally transfer a piece that has shrunk enough into my travel washbag, and replace the shrunken piece with a new big one.

This time, the small piece came from the soapbox that I take with me to the bouldering gym… but the new piece of soap, bought from a soapmaking manufacture, was so large that it didn’t fit that box either. A quick internet search later, and now I know how to divide a piece of soap.

The easiest way to do this without the soap splintering is to heat it up in the oven, at about 100° C for at least half an hour; this softens the piece. Then you can either cut it by pressing through it with a very sharp knife, or try using a piece of thin, strong string, or – probably the best method – cut it with a thin wire. I used the wire from a cake cutting device that hangs out in our kitchen, and it worked very well indeed.

One quarter of the huge piece that I had to cut apart, and the cake-cutting wire device thingie. Which, by the way, also works fantastically on cake.

So now my soap round-robin is done (and I have three more pieces that will fit the box, too) – on to the rest of the packing!

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The Most Patient Husband of Them All has a few days off, so I’m going to be slacking a bit, too – and that means a bit of time off the blog, too.

So have these flowers:

and I will be back again next week on Wednesday!

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I’ve taken out the lightfastness test on April 18, and I can now say that in my opinion, the fastness is smack dab in the “3” range – and I can see no difference between the fading with different metals.

But decide for yourselves:

So… lightfastness test: done.

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