Today was short projects day (or at least that was what I meant when I started the day). After all, if I am engaging in avoidance behavior there is nothing that says I can’t be productive while doing so. I am not the only one so inclined, Kris informed me that her house had never been so clean as when she was working on her dissertation. Therefore I am in excellent company.
First there were the Llama faces.
which will go on stuffed llamas. I have had the fabric and pattern for several months.
Next, there was this totally insane sleep mask (which I never wear but I know those who do) which just seemed like a great way to test out embroidery files from that particular source.) the good? Well digitized. The bad – totally inadequate instructions ( never, ever, have instructions that say essentially – you know what to do…. since if I was absolutely sure, I would not be reading the instructions. What was not obvious was the finishing process – opposite of many other companies. This is actually better – if you know to place the backing on top, sew the last color, cut and turn inside out. Which leads me to ribbons placement. Me? Elastic would make more sense.)
At the same time as starting the above (which, at 52K stitches was not going to be completed for a while), I decided to get serious about a quilt which is still shy the quilting and binding.
which meant a bajillion pins and a few bleeding fingers before I could start.
Hours later (which included breaks, breakage, bobbin winding and the clipping off of dozens of little threads –
And, as if that were not enough –
a set of towels which will be presents in a couple of weeks –
and a set for us, since we aren’t going anywhere for a while.
and that is dog as well as flamingos. Dani says it isn’t really a harness – just LED bands that continually change color which is a really good idea when your dog is rather hard to see in the dark. Unlike the flamingos – it doesn’t take solar energy to activate her brightness.
and I added McBeth to the t-shirts completed so far –
and before you make any comments about Golden Bears – yes I know this bear is not brown. Get over it.
My backer kit from the PDX Broadsides kickstarter arrived.
This is a Filk/Folk group from Portland Oregon which I first heard at WesterCon a few years ago. I have a number of their other albums (electronically from BandCamp). The best track on the album is Rewind. I suggest you take a listen. Not that thrilled about the rest of the tracks – excellent quality, I am just not in my 30s. The t-shirt is from an earlier album/track Ultimate Riot.
or should that be owl followed by shirts? Nah, the shirts were completed long before dark when I started on the Owl
Feeding my puzzle addiction, I discovered a new purveyor of wooden puzzles. This particular manufacture has only a few available, and, as it turns out, they are made in China. Less expensive than the US made ones certainly. But the quality of the puzzles is certainly not the same standard. The owl wasn’t all that difficult to assemble, but the pieces didn’t fit as smoothly as I would have liked.
The shirts – the theme today was books.
there is the elegance of reading
which didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped
and then there is the reality of what is appealing to certain members of the family
and before you scratch your head – the clothes pins are to keep excess fabric out of the way and avoiding it being caught either under the hoop or in the stitching area. I know this because…..Both shirts still need to be washed and a few threads trimmed. It is all progress as I am working my way down my bin of “garment blanks.”
We had a break in the middle of the day – I had a sewing machine in for service. George proved that his feet are up to par since he drove both down and back. Remember that we have a standard transmission, so if he was going to have foot pain, I am sure that it would have been triggered by the drive.
My skin normally starts to crawl when I even think of facing the traffic into San Francisco from my side of the Bay. Since this is Thursday, George has an appointment at UCSF.
Taking a deep breath, I made an early run to fill the gas tank. Trust me, the very last thing I want to do is run out of fuel on the Bay Bridge and become “one of those idiots” who impact traffic with their rudeness. I think you understand. So, full tank of gas (petrol) followed by a coffee stop at Peet’s for human trip fuel before heading back to the house to grab my passengers. Since Alex had to make a run into the city today, I had the three of us–the magic number for the HOV lane. Rather than committing myself to having to get off at the Fremont Exit, I skipped picking up a fourth passenger at the North Berkeley Ride Share and just headed out.
My least favorite part of the trip, if one could say that any portion of the trip was all right, is having to work my way across five lanes of traffic to get to the HOV lane from the University Avenue entrance. Three of those lanes are Oakland bound and they are by far denser than the right lanes. And, hello – this is California where a turn-signal doesn’t seem to mean much of anything. I can actually be appreciative of large trucks, they never ride the bumper of the vehicle in front of them so there is usually space that I can squeeze into.
Once we hit the HOV lane, it was clear sailing all the way to the San Francisco side of the Bay Bridge. Even the traffic up Olivia wasn’t that bad. All in all, we were at UCSF in less than an hour from leaving home, an unheard of fast trip for rush hour. George is stable, getting a bit stronger everyday. It would be really nice if his red blood cells and platelets were recovering as fast as his white cells, but I guess we don’t get to have everything. He has been shifted to weekly visits from twice a week, so that is excellent from my point of view.
After we returned home, I spent the afternoon organizing my studio a bit more and machine embroidering lace doilies, just because I could. And, they are pretty mindless with few, if any, color changes.
and no, there is nothing in this post about sex, the government, or politics. It is my summary as I sit here with an ice pack on my wrist wondering why I wanted to put together rolling carts. It is not that I can’t do it, mind you, but why I wanted to. Did I think I was a mid-20s guy with strong hands and wrists (think Engineer Guy who is currently in Connecticut happily working and likely playing with lasers).
Perhaps I should go back to the beginning and explain myself? Right.
Phase one was cleaning up the studio. That totally chaotic room that I had claimed as mine when we relocated to the US West Coast from Germany. I have no clue how I had planned to jam in spinning wheels, a loom, sewing machines, a serger, needlework frames and supplies for all of the above. Oh, yes, and a dress form, ironing board, some kind of working surface and perhaps the knitting machine that has been boxed now for 15 years..
You see the problem? I also shipped a couple of plastic bin storage containers on wheels. Next I added a couple of small drawers cabinets;
oh, yes and bookshelves – tucked those in along the wall with the worst of the slanted ceiling. As I mentioned last month,, I did a major cleanup and organize–donating several good size boxes of crafting supplies and some containers to the local arts&craft recycle shop.
Then my new sewing cabinet arrived, which meant moving things around once again. Next on the list is getting the shelves organized, the piles off the floor and into clearly marked containers, and realistically culling. Having vertical storage seemed like a great idea in a room which has zero for closets. Hence, my purchase of a couple of carts on sale from JoAnn’s on a day which boasted discounts plus free shipping. They arrived on Saturday, abandoned next to our mailbox and had to be hauled up to the house.
Each one of these lovely little things came in pieces/parts + screws and fasteners. I can put things together – easy, peasy. If I have the tools. Several hours of searching led me to the conclusion that the red tool chest was somewhere, probably in the garage beside hundreds of kilos of other stuff. It simply was not worth spending hours excavating. Indiana Jones I am not, and we currently have the garage of doom. One day if I am feeling brave, I will share photos. Meanwhile, there I was–all those parts and me without a screwdriver.
Monday when I hauled the boxes (cursing about the weight) up to the second floor, I put together the first cart. Not that hard, just attach cross pieces to the side frames (two of them on the bottom) place this assemblage upside down on the reverse side of the top and fasten with four bolts (Allen wrench provided), turn right side up, add wheels.
Today I decided to take the plunge and buy a screwdriver. Heck, while I was at it, I bought a set since I wasn’t sure exactly what size I would need and had a sneaking suspicion that there just might be more than one size involved. Oh, was I right. Construction went something like this:
take side piece #5 and attach to back piece #7 with two screws from the bag labeled #14. Now take side piece #6 and attach with two #14 screws to the other side of piece #7, insuring that the grove in all pieces is on the lower edge. Now slide in bottom piece #9, putting that grove to good use..
With me so far? Next attache connector #10 on the inside of each forward side piece with screws from bag marked #15. Next find that Allen wrench and use it to fasten bolts #13 through the connector to the front piece (#8) making sure that the bottom is securely in its grove. Finally, fasten drawer pull #18 to the front of the drawer (with the screws provided – magnifying glass recommended by me. 10 screws, five pieces of particle board and two bolts. I needed three sizes of screw drivers in addition to that aforementioned Allen wrench.
And that is just the first drawer. As the instructions say: Repeat steps to assemble three more drawers…..
It took an hour. Not all that mentally challenging, just hard on my wrists. After finishing the first cart, I decided to hold off on the second.
Instead putting together a small six draw cart (metal) that I picked up at Costco today (much cheaper, FYI). The side pieces were fastened together with four cross pieces. The attachment being a bolt and padded washer on each side. Allen wrench, turn – Repeat. Pop on the wheels, tighten them down. Stand up right, slap on top, slide in baskets. Less than 15 minutes from start to finish, including loading the baskets with stabilizers and interfacings.
I think my fun meter is pegged.
and no, this is not a discussion about spinning wheels. Perhaps something on that a later day.
Instead, this is more about my complete lack of being able to get much of anything done for the last several weeks (other than taking George in and back to appointments), doing some basic house work, taking out trash, running loads of laundry. When a major bit of excitement is a trip to the grocery store.
We are alive, he is getting better every day. But it is a slog.
From Artifact Puzzles comes another delightful design from Justin Hillgrove. The box titles it “Overwhelming Odds” but I just adore the sense of humor. Perhaps you remember all of my go-rounds with rubber ducks? No? Never mind, just be aware there was a time when there were rubber ducks invading the hot tub, the shower and making cameo appearances in the kitchen.
and yes, it comes WITH its own little duck
Then there are Ecru puzzles – this one has pieces with a complicated structure, a definite trend toward cats
and looked like this when completed (note, this is one of those “mystery” type puzzles…)
the challenge here was two fold – first not knowing what the puzzle would look like when completed. The second was that 90% of the pieces are identical in shape. Even more fun to have to pull out a piece when you realize that the color isn’t exactly right for that location …..not
I am not sure why a skunk wanted to live in our neighborhood. It is not car free, people free, other animal free. But apparently this particular skunk has been hanging out down the back hill from our house for the past several years. I saw it a couple of times on the stairs and gave her a wide berth.
Unfortunately, that skunk decided to chitter at one of Dani’s dogs. A German short-hair pointer, she doesn’t have much of a sense of humor about being scolded by an animal she thinks of as pray. Alex had the dog on the leash, the skunk scolded, the dog took off.
It was a draw – the dog got the skunk, but not before being sprayed.
It is a day or so later. The dog has been bathed, groomed and both upstairs and downstairs have been aired out several times. There is still a definite whiff of skunk in the air.
We are not amused.
actually isn’t all that hard.
A lot of driving involved to and from UCSF. Household tasks. A baseball game or so. Not much else.
But I suspect August will be more of the same.
And, in many ways, being stuck at home in July is my norm. There are few, if any, professional meetings held in July. I don’t cruise in July – just too many families with small children and a complete lack of any decent deals on sailings.
a while back, Alison gave me this small squash plant in a pot.
Since the chance of me doing any gardening are less than zero, it went to live at the Eldest’s house. She gardens. She has raised beds. And, most importantly, she loves fresh veggies grown in her garden. Carefully transferred from pot to bed, provided love and water, it has taken off…and is living happily with her other plants
Done! Well almost. Mostly? Quilted anyway
The embroidery had been finished for a while. It was just tackling the quilting.which I did by the “quilt in the ditch” method, carefully outlining each square.
Since there are six girls, each done four times each with rows of blank square between, could be considered a lot of fiddly work
the backing is bright – Perhaps too bright? Anyway – it is a soft and lovely polar fleece which just asks to be be cuddled.
Now, to see if I can get the Eldest to turn the edges and sew the binding for me…..
I am not going to provide a picture of my upstairs studio/craft/sewing room prior to my recent organizing and cleaning spree. Let me just leave us with – it was not pretty. I was able to walk through the room, sort of. Other than the fact that all the items in the room are actually in excellent condition and useful, it could have been a demonstration for an episode of craft-hordes.
I have supplies for: quilting, sewing, cross-stitch, machine embroidery. Oh, and knitting and spinning. Does that sound like a lot? I never think so until I write it all down and look at it. Familiar with the abbreviation “SABLE?” Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy. You get the idea. If I devoted all my time and effort for the next, oh, let us say 10 years, I could not complete everything on my “want to do list.” Practically speaking, it means that I need to hone down that list, share supplies with others so that I don’t feel guilty, complete all those UFOs and otherwise develop a more realistic view of what I can manage.
Right. And then there are those two papers which are hanging over my head….
Back to the more fun of creativity. End of last week and over the weekend I spent time cleaning and organizing. Dani helped me move several boxes of cables, electronics and “who knows what” down to the garage. I relocated the contents of one cupboard and proceeded to fill it will all the hard copy audiobooks which freed up some shelf space. Taking the time to put all the embroidery threads back into their boxes – I marked the top of each in order to better locate particular colors –
That was the easy part. More complicated is the fact that the room is upstairs with a ceiling that slants on both sides (if I can locate a picture of the room before the 2014 renovation. For whatever reason – most of the photo links vanished when I imported ww.proseknitic.de to this site about three years ago. One more thing on my “todo list” – find those photo archives, upload the photos and activate the links…
I was delighted to find that there was still a nice hard wood floor in reasonably good condition once threads, debris, and the occasional spot of temporary adhesive had been removed (hint–it isn’t all that temporary when used as manufacturers’ recommended amounts..)
Among the projects completed today are these –
they have been added to the Georgia bound box leaving me only short 1 item….
Oh, right. we made the run to UCSF this morning. In spite of leaving home at 0800 it took barely more than an hour including a coffee stop at Peet’s. The secret was to drive by the North Berkeley BART and pick up a ride share passenger. This meant HOV lane and reaching the Embarcadero Exit 25 minutes after leaving the house. The rest of the time was devoted to wending our way through the traffic choked streets of SF without getting back on the freeway. Everything went excellently, George was able to walk from the car up to the clinic, around while up there and back which meant the old wheelchair has been removed from the back of the car and is now residing in the garage. Next week should be the last of the 2x/week visits.
Ok, not 60k, just 59159 stitches comprised of 7 different colors with 12 thread changes.
It took a while, but Robo was completed just shortly after 1300.
I have this sewing machine that is also capable of embroidery. Over the last two years I have accumulated various assorted items (towels, t-shirts, napkins, placemats, quilt squares) that are all lacking in “that special decorative touch.” To add to my insanity, there are a couple of websites (EmbroideryLibrary and UrbanThreads) that sell professionally digitized designs that stitch out perfectly.
You can see my dilemma, right? Besides the-oh so tempting sales, there is the occasional design that just announces that it perfect for [fill in name].
Which lead this afternoon to knocking unannounced on a Alison’s door with yesterday’s stitching project. This particular flower has a special meaning for her. And I could happily decrease my stack of towels by two.
This evening I completed the next two projects on my list-
They should be in the mail to Georgia later in the week. After that, I need to plan for my next victim. I have been told this is all “creative procrastination”. Oh, those outstanding papers. Right. 1 August start; expect whining.
The Eldest is amused, but not enthralled by my flamingoes. She has an extensive side garden but has given me the evil eye when ever I have suggested “improvements.” Apparently, our tastes don’t exactly match. She is also the cat mom to Onyx and Ghost. When I saw this particular item while flamingo shopping, I just couldn’t resist.
Passing both the sniff and taste test (Cat Scan), I still don’t think this particular solar beastie will stay in the house.
Otherwise, I added a bit of color to my sewing area while planning my next embroidery projects.
the whole flamingo thing started in 2003 when this particular set of wind chimes, seen hanging from an internal second floor window here in Berkeley, arrived in the mail while I was serving in Kuwait
I still don’t have a clue as to why Carmen thought I needed a wind chime. No one ever spent time outside except in transit between trailer, office, mess hall, meetings. I arrived just as we were headed into the warmest part of spring where temperatures often hit 40*C by lunch. It definitely
severed served as a conversation starter, hanging from my ceiling light in the middle of the room.
A bit later in the year, the flamingo was joined by a menagerie of origami animals courtesy of Pat. Unfortunately, I can’t offer a picture as they hid from packing when getting for my move back to Germany in summer of 2004.
Since that time, I have been gifted the occasional flamingo ornamented item, such as birthday candles, dish towels and a pair of leggings. I have, on occasion, also purchased the occasional flamingo decorated socks. Additionally, I have accumulated a number of machine embroidery files, should I really, really need to add a flamingo to something.
If I want to be honest, the whole flamingo thing started in 1978 when George and I received a couple of pink plastic flamingo lawn ornaments for a wedding present. We included them in our house hold goods for years, but some time in one of those transAtlantic moves they were lost.
The single metal flamingo that was standing guard over the lemon tree when we purchased the house is still in its location atop the retaining wall. Looking down, it can see my own flamboyance of flamingos, four with solar collectors to light the night and the other two anchoring both ends of the small area between the patio and front door.
which means 6 weeks post stem cell transplant.
George is doing better each day. The traffic into the city. wasn’t all that bad. His blood work was all stable which means we completely avoided having to hang out for any transfusions. I survived the battles with Wahlgreens (local pharmacy put one of his meds in as a routine refill and didn’t call the supplier. The tech was disgusted – said the pharmacist both should have called and has to be the one that calls – to take something out of the routine drop ship so that it is expedited. As a result, I made a detour to the same chain across the street from UCSF who, of course, carries this particular med in stock. Makes sense since I think they have 1-3 patients a day going home on it.
A detour through Heath Ceramics on the way home netted me a couple of thirds and a creamer/sugar bowl set of seconds.
Then I worked on clearing out more in the sewing room, actually found the iron (don’t tell anyone that), planned the next “kids” quilt and watched the Twins-As game. Which the Twins won by dint of more home runs than I wanted to see….
some how, in my willingness to ship off Engineer Guy to six weeks of internship in Connecticut, I forgot an import point. One of his main contributions to the household since returning from school in San Diego has been taking over most of the routine household tasks. Those simple but annoying things. He was taking out the garbage (this is California – recycling here requires sorting), 90% of the cooking and, most importantly, cleaning the kitchen.
He caught a flight on Saturday, spent the weekend with his sister in New York, then caught a train on Monday morning. Happily back working But not here. So there I am, washing dishes, loading and unloading the dishwasher, and taking out garbage, trash, and watering the lemon tree.
(whine, whine, whine)
Yesterday I worked on sorting out and cleaning the studio/sewing room/storage area while the Eldest did some sewing. I had been thinking about doing a bit more today, but abandoned the idea in favor of heading to the Coliseum to watch the As wipe the Mariners off the map and out of the park. Our pitcher was, frankly, not great. Theirs we’re worse. Two of the As clobbered a pair of home runs each. End result? 10:2 with 10:8 as far as hits. And, amazingly enough, no errors on either side. For the fans listening on the radio – RF149’s apologies for the lack of drummers. Four cowbells and a woodblock just can’t carry the same level of sound.
the kind delivery guy actually managed to drop off the box containing this metal bird at the downstairs door. I am impressed. Not tossed in the bushes, not left next to the mailbox, and certainly not left in the driveway where someone might run over it.
The only downside of this pretty pink creature is the tail feathers. They are not suppose to rotate. But I am sure that they should be facing out, rather than toward the bird. Now, if the small bolt by which the tail feathers are attached were the right length, that would be the case. But it is too short to hold the wing nut in the correct configuration leaving me with the choice of a bird with a naked rear or one with the feather pointing forward.
In the manner of Joe Pike (in the series by author Robert Crais) – forward is the only direction to travel.
I am working on shoveling out and organizing the sewing room as I am finally investing in a decent sewing cabinet which arrives next week. Since it might be nice if I could get it up the stairs, through the hall and into the room….. otherwise, some knitting, machine embroidery, and the As game this evening….