Sunday, April 15, 2018

I can do this. I'm allowed.

I stopped working a 40 hr/week job almost 13 months ago. It stopped being the job for which I applied, for which I was trained, and in which I was interested. So I stopped doing it. We were lucky in that we could afford for me to do that; I understand just how lucky we are!

But my work ethic didn't stop, and the hardest thing I've found to do these past 57 or so weeks has been to indulge in just the sort of activity I longed for when I WAS working: sitting all day in the recliner, enjoying the rainy weather, snuggled in with my cats, reading or knitting or sewing or watching Netflix or playing word games. Essentially: doing nothing. Nothing at which I could look back and think, "Yep, today was a GOOD day. I got so much stuff done!"

So occasionally I have to remind myself: "I can do this. I'm allowed." Then I refresh my cuppa, snuggle back into my comfy recliner (the cats have kept it warm), and continue encouraging myself to just be retired!

Laptop is open, but ain't nobody logging on!

You have my permission to do this too. You're allowed.
Bye bye!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Simple pleasures

"My 96 year old father-in-law says that when the internets crash, the person with all the pencils will be king." (Comment by Tiffin)

When I started working at the lab, there was an old-fashioned hand-cranked pencil sharpener attached to a back wall in an obscure area. It was such a good sharpener that I would willingly take the time to search it out and use it when my pencil points became dull. Favoring mechanical pencils mostly, this didn't happen often; so rarely, in fact, that I worried each time that I wouldn't find it again.

It was reminiscent of grade school, and it worked. The little hand-held jobbers that appeared over the years just seemed to shave off lopsided hunks of wood, then break the lead (Felix Unger: "Graphite!"), then shave off more wood, then break the lead... until nothing remained but a broken-leaded stump which was then, finally, thrown away--still-good eraser and all. Usually all in the space of 5 minutes.

This throwback was the real deal, so when the lab underwent a massive remodel/reconstruction and it was in peril of being discarded, I grabbed it and took it home. It languished in the embarrassment that was (under) the work bench until The Big Redo, but as soon as I uncovered it again it was installed at the end of the bench.

If the person with all the pencils will be king, the one with a working sharpener will be Grand Vizier. This beauty puts a lethal point on with a couple of turns of the crank. It's such a magnificent point that I'm finding myself searching out real pencils now, recalling my high school days of balancing bank statements, writing reports, and building up that "accountant's bump" on my right middle finger.

I might even invest in a package of those angular eraser caps too.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Seeing red. Seeing spots. Seeing red spots!

I just took on a job for a friend (the Lead in my quartet) who's nurturing a new business: Downsize My Home. She asked me to create some work aprons with her logo embroidered on the front. Of the 11 aprons that can be cut from the endbolt of muslin she purchased, I embroidered 6 today.

I was thrilled with the first one off the machine and ironed it carefully, easing the fullness of the stabilizer onto the fabric once I took it off the hoop. For a final flourish, I gave it a good steam burst to really give the adhesive an extra boost.


This iron has been doing heavy-duty duty (snicker--she said "doody doody") for the past couple of weeks while I made 16 (SIXTEEN!) of these bags (linking to what I found to be the best of many tutorials):
Every bag was embroidered with the name of its new owner. Note the fun bi-colored zipper!

Using up the trimming from the 100' roll of mesh I bought for the cabana bags. Liner and outer shell have this as the bottom.
The bags are heavily lined with stabilizer, and I went through several cups of water while I steamed yards of the stuff onto yards of fabrics. It's not as though the water's been sitting there for months with nothing to do but rust the innards of the iron!

Yet rust it did, and I didn't take the precaution of 'bursting' onto a rag or the end of the ironing board. I could just kick myself. If a light bleach solution doesn't solve this, then I'll give it to my friend with apologies and explain it was the prototype. Luckily, she contracted me to only make 10 aprons, so this is technically an extra. Still, I was hoping I could give her a little more for the money she's spending.

Update: She's thrilled! She grabbed the spotty one for her own, and even paid me more than the agreed-upon price for the bundle o' aprons. The bleach basically turned the unbleached muslin into bleached muslin wherever I applied it, and did nothing to fade those damn spots. Out! Out!! (Channeling Lady M.)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Lucky, be a Lady

I've been spending this past week outside, working on a long-term backyard project. Making good progress, I might add, but that's not the point of this post.


The owner tells his dog, "Lucky, that's our neighbor!" and I say, soto voce, "That's not MY neighbor. I didn't pay for her!" For reference, I've been her neighbor for her entire doggy life.

The dog doesn't understand English. She only understands sounds, and it suddenly occurs to me: he just spoke to that dog in a caressing voice (meant to appease me, no doubt), which immediately rewarded Lucky for her behaviour.

I started listening to what was going on next door:


"Lucky! Inside!" Reward for barking at me: she gets to be with her humans, her toys, her food, air conditioning/heat (depending on the season).


"Lucky! Look what I've got!!" Reward for barking at me: a toy or a game!

I doubt that dog has ever learned the meaning of "NO!"

That fucking dog has been trained her entire life to bark at me.

Friday, March 23, 2018

in which (Mostly) Everything Goes Back

First, let it be known that I am a Wench with a Wrench. I own tools and I know how to use them. In fact, the literal last time Hubby bought jewelry for me, I returned it and bought a reciprocating saw and a table-top miter saw with the money. I mention this because getting this garage put back together wasn't simply a matter of rearranging pieces. Some adaptations were made, thanks to the plethora of saws and other tools I had at my fingertips.

Truly, the best kick in the butt I got to getting this garage into a workable condition was being forced to move nearly everything out of its place. From there, I could view that corner as a blank slate, a clean canvas, and fill it to suit our needs, not what had always been.

There were 2 non-workable and large items in the previous configuration: the work benches. One (on the left wall) served only as a horizontal surface on which to dump stuff, and took up valuable real estate in the process (as well as blocked off a portion of the main bench). It was moved to the back porch, which really did need another horizontal surface on which to store a large table saw. That's fodder enough for its own post!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Garage redux/redo, Part 1

When last we left our intrepid explorer, she was staring at a partially empty garage:
It hadn't always been so. In fact, the intervening years had not been kind. At some point I had taken a 270° series of shots so I could make plans in my comfy recliner of how I was going to fix this increasingly-unworkable room.

Shelves, cabinets, and pegboards abounded, but they only seemed to add surfaces on which to dump more crap.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Stringin' along

I cannot open my blog one more day to the sight of TFI. This has been sitting in Drafts; time to finish my thought and get it published!
I've been playing with more "neutrals", still getting comfortable with Bonnie Hunter's definition of the term. I also wanted to try a new-to-me technique of making string blocks: using a fabric foundation square instead of telephone book pages. The nice thing about string blocks for donation quilts: there's no wrong answer!