Realizing That Prioritizing is a THING

This is more of a realization post than a crafting one, other than finishing sewing a lunch bag, I have not made any progress on any of my crafts in the past week. Stay tuned for (hopefully) crafting content next week.

I want to do everything, I even have the skill to do most of it. What I really lack right now is time and motivation. Fortunately I know how to deal with both of these obstacles as soon as I get motivated to do that, lol. This week I need to call for an oil change in my car, and see if they can get the front plastic bumper to stop dragging on the ground when I turn corners, you can hear me from a mile away. This is with a new mechanic since I have moved, which is why I keep hesitating but I cannot justify an hour drive to go to a mechanic I trust…believe me I have tried justifying that but it doesn’t fly with gas prices the way they are. That is my easily solvable problem.

I was informed about an initiative that will help fund my new roof, when trying to contact someone about that I was informed it will be about July until they get applications created. I’m likely going to need someone to put some emergency shingles on my roof until then, I’ll fill out an application for the grant then minute I can because I would like a permanent solution rather than temporary. There is also an initiative about heating and cooling that I might have to go for even though the smart thing would be to wait a year or two since my furnace works alright however I am not sure the initiative will be valid by then and I would rather not risk an emergency heating and cooling problem. The main effort that I need to accomplish is getting the floor in my upstairs bathroom leveled and a new toilet installed, there was some mention of renovating the entire bathroom but I’m not sure how much more that would cost then fixing the toilet and installing shower doors. Tomorrow I am going to a quilt guild meeting and hope to get the name of a contractor I can contact then, if not I’ll have to go to the local home improvement store (that is not a chain) to find someone to do the work…not a chain because the chain does not do the work I need…I checked.

Once the floor is level and I have a working bathroom on the second floor I can begin to move myself up there and actually, well, live in my house rather than just the living room. Of course I also need to still pull the padding out of the third floor and pull up the tack strips from where the carpet was. When I was leaving my family home I jam packed a storage unit with everything I thought I wanted to keep, I was also (I thought at the time) pretty ruthless in what I wanted to keep. It turns out that I was probably pretty liberal in what I wanted to keep, yet I hesitate in getting rid of anything else until I feel settled in the house…but I am not sure I’m going to feel settled when an entire room is basically jam packed with storage totes. At present I am torn between taking them up to the third floor once I have that cleared out or trying to use the third floor as a quilting room. Since I am planning on trying hand quilting the first and third floors are the only two with enough room to consider putting a quilting frame. I’m still hand washing my clothes, though I did invest in a rack to try drying my clothes outside. To do that I need to get my back door fixed up so I can actually use it…..some days I love that I get to organize my house just the way I want it and others I feel like I made a huge mistake in purchasing something that needs so many little (and big) fixes. Only time will tell how I feel about the house in the long run, I believe that once I have these major events completed (the bathroom, the roof, back exit, and heating/cooling) I will feel more inclined to like the house.

Time, that is another constraint. I work 6 days a week, I know of people that work 7 without any real break, but at present I do not have to do that. In two weeks the semester will end on my side hustle, and I will ask my supervisor if she wants me to stay on the books until the new semester or put my resignation in at the end of this semester. I know she wants me to stay as an emergency contact, however it would take 5 hours of work to pay for the gas and an entire day off is worth more than a tank of gas and $30. While it feels selfish to have that attitude I am beginning to understand my self-worth as a person and as a librarian. An entire day off, 10 hours because the job is an hour away from where I live, is worth more than the gas it takes to get there and $30. By reclaiming this day I will be able to take a day to rest and a day to get things accomplished, or feel like I have more time to socialize and spend time on weekend jaunts around the city.

Three other priorities that I am working my way through are: Diet, Exercise, and wardrobe. Between November of 2020 and September of 2021 I lost 70 pounds. Since October of 2021 I have gained back 40. This means that the summer wardrobe I purchased last year does not fit me any longer, as well as meaning that I am better off trying to stick to my Nutri-System diet than do it on my own. As with everything that is easier said than done. I did join a gym, however I am being rather precious about when I go. If it is snowing and I will need to go to work afterwards, I’m not going to sweat at the gym, go out in the snow still sweaty, and shower for work. The last segment is wardrobe.

This is the hardest for me. I want to have a sustainable capsule wardrobe that fits me. Since my size is currently fluctuating, I cannot justify spending over $100 for a single piece that I am not sure will flatter me. This means that, in the immediate future, I am still contributing to Fast Fashion though I am still trying to ensure that my footprint is as light as I can afford to make it. I have purchased a skirt pattern with the intention of learning to sew my own wardrobe using eco-friendly fabrics…which cost about $20 a yard…and the pattern takes 6 yards…so we are back to $120 for a single piece that I am not sure will flatter me…wait I spend $11 on the pattern….so $131. This means that for now, until I have a better handle on my style and a steady figure, I am going to have to stick with second-hand and clearance options purchased in moderation. For the entire winter I cycled through my three wool dresses, tights, and two dresses that were heavy enough to wear with wool tights. This means that I essentially wore a uniform, which kept me from having to make any drastic decisions about wardrobe. With a limited number of pieces I will be able to do the same throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall. As soon as it looks like snow is no longer on the horizon I plan on running my wool dresses through the laundromat and packing them away in a vacuum sealed bag until Autumn.

I woke up this morning, at 11 pm, 2 am, and 5 am. I thought that my body was trying to reset my sleep schedule, however I now realize that I am using one or two days off strange sleep patterns to mess up my own sleep schedule. I plan on going to bed at 10pm and setting my alarm for 4:30am. This gives me time to do anything I need to do in the mornings before work. If the weather looks like it will hold out then I will try to go to the gym in the morning, if not the gym then I will try to go onto the third floor to pull up some of the carpet padding. This is where I have to figure out my priorities.

There are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Right now I work 6 of them, in 2 weeks I will only work 5. At present my priorities are: Work, Me, Friends and Family, then House. I am going to spend the rest of spring and the summer figuring out what these priorities mean to me. Feeding my own soul involves spending time with my friends and family. I have made arrangements to spend a weekend at a family reunion, and there are 2 fiber festivals I plan to go to with a friend this autumn. I have invited another friend to come to Erie so we can visit a quilt shop next Saturday, if she says at the meeting she cannot make it then I will contact two of my other friends to see if they can make it. If no one else can come, I will still go to Erie, the quilt shop, and possibly some furniture stores. For myself, because it is alright to do something like that for myself. That is the lesson I need to get through, also that this diet is actually a good thing. That one is getting harder, I need to spend some time focusing on that concept.

That is the end of my self-reflection…hopefully for quite some time. These thoughts are exhausting, figuring out why I am doing what I am doing takes a lot out of me. Having an understanding to my motivations and a written list of what needs to get done and in what order is invaluable. Sharing it makes it more concrete to my mind. Hopefully by next week I can let some of the mundane go and get back to living my life in a way that is A Little More Abstract. (Thereby getting my creative mojo back!)

Construction Tips

A pry bar needs to be hammered underneath the tack boards around the edges where carpet was tacked down. Once the bar is under you can lever the nails out, the hammer is so much better than trying to manually force it in. A floor scraper doesn’t look like it is going to work for me, so I’m going to return that. Pliers are great for getting staples out of the floor where the carpet was tacked down. In theory I know about some wood filler for some of my floor problems, I might leave that to the professionals. My front porch buckled when it rained, this looks like a quickly solved problem with hacking off 1/2 inch on a board…probably in the spring.

Cat stains that soaked through the padding can do some serious, stinky, damage to wood floors. Cleaning vinegar with essential oils, I have lavender due to moths, seems to neutralize the smell. I also used some lysol wipes to sort of scrub the floor and put some baking powder on top to absorb some of the scent. Since I cannot afford to get the floors finished yet, one job I’m not doing on my own, I will put down an inexpensive sprayed on topcoat to keep things from getting worse and seal in some smell.

If your sewer backs up, wasn’t that fun, don’t call a plumber right away check with your city instead. This tip could have saved me $200 and possibly gotten the problem completely fixed. I will have to wait for the next problem to get that sorted out.

A mortar bit is needed to make holes in older homes, however it is really worth it to be able to hang shelves, curtain rods, and hopefully pegboards.

This has been an amazing year of learning and empowerment. May that continue in 2022. Remember to live life a little more abstract.

2021 Wrap-up

This had been an amazing year. Starting a new full-time job, purchasing a new home, and learning all sorts of DIY projects.

With my full time job i now have the opportunity to plan for months and years in advance. previously I planned days and weeks in advance, these days I have most of my 2022 main programs planned and a couple of things to work on in 2023. I have been able to ask that I be allowed to schedule around a couple of things i want to do, some craft classes and my guild meetings. I’m not ’taking time off’ though I could if I had to, just not working the Saturday’s were having meetings and the I have a class scheduled for Stitches online in January.

With my new home, I am learning more every day. I did lose two boxes of yarn and books to moths and one had signs of mice. Since my unit is empty, and I’m not too mad about the losses, this was a pretty good experience. My new house is ready for me to completely customize.

DIY jobs are so much work however, they are so satisfying when they are done. I’m still sleeping in my living room, I did finally order a frame for my Queen bed, and I love looking at my amazing purple paint every day when I wake up! I’ll give a rundown my my new DIY discoveries in my next post.

2021 was amazing, 2022 will bring more amazing opportunities and challenges. For the new year I will be able to customize my new home, actually get my budget under control with a steady paycheck and steady bills, as well as selling my old home. I hope that you have a great new year and I will write again next week.

Until then remember to live life a little more abstract.

Busy Life = No Posting

Sorry I’ve ghosted you again. Between the movers, my contractor, and the holiday I did not manage to post here for a couple of weeks.

My contractor did manage to get the quarter molding installed, it looks great. I wrote out a check when I got paid, put it in my mailbox…and a week later found out that my mailman did not take it. Oops. It got mailed last night.

The movers managed to get all of my big pieces moved from my old house to my new house in 5 hours including an hour travel time, this was awesome, though it did cost more than the original estimate.

I received a check for the items that they sold, it was a nice amount, I thought I was half a house payment ahead…then I found out that almost the exact amount had been withdrawn from my account for some sort of adjustment to my escrow account, well that sucks. Something else for me to check into on Monday along with cancelling cable at the old house and contemplating setting up cable at the new place…except that my unlimited data on my cell-phone plan is doing well for my tablet and cellphone. If I can get Roku and possibly my PC to route through that wireless signal…hmm. It looks theoretically possible, I have an older mac so it might take some fiddling around, but if I can save that $75 a month I’d like that.

My holiday presents to family (well our holiday presents since I go halfsies with my sister) were ordered this morning. That almost maxes out one of my credit cards, but if I manage to get my storage unit cleared out this month it should not be too bad. Well, what really took up most of my purchasing power was the washer and dryer I had to order…that won’t be delivered until the end of January, yay. If I did not need them, and they were at the best price I am ever going to get, I would not have bothered. The red mechanics cart worked out really well. It doesn’t hold a lot, my impact driver, paint sprayer, and accompanying paraphernalia on one shelf and some other tools on the second. I just realized I should get my license changed to my new address soon…I wonder how much that’ll cost, okay under $20 that’s not too bad.

As you can tell from how scattershot this post is I’m trying to keep all of my balls in the air and it has me a bit all over the place. I completely forgot about Frederick Must Die.

**Talk about Mice and Violence Against Mice, please skip if this is triggering for you**
The Thursday before Thanksgiving I ordered a lovely potroast dinner from the corner shop and took it back to the old house for a relaxing dinner. I went in, set the container on the stove and turned around to put something in the fridge, to see a little body scurry across the dining room and into the kitchen behind something I had yet to get to the new house. I screamed, put my dinner in the fridge (didn’t eat that night) and started panic texting. I then decided that it was early enough for me to do this myself. I made sure that the room I was sleeping in had no signs of invasion, blocked any cracks in the doorway, and went out to buy peanut butter and snap traps (I don’t catch and release, once they know how to get into houses I just kill them, if that offends you..well you do mice your way and I’ll do them mine.). I set up eight traps in spots where I thought they’d do the most good. I had two handled by the morning, I thought it was over. On my way out the door I saw one scurry from the living room behind the loom I had on the floor to be transported to the new house. I called Orkin, was told they couldn’t get to me for two weeks due to the holiday and if I put gloves on that might make a difference. A friend also told me that marshmallow fluff was harder for them to get off, so that might help. The movers came later that week, no other catches had happened so I was barricading myself into the bedroom, and I discovered that there was at least one mouse down in the basement. All the while I had been scouring the house, loudly stomping and hollering, trying to find out where they were staying. I moved the two fluffernutter traps downstairs after the movers had finished, and waited for Orkin to arrive. I called Orkin twice to confirm, once because it was after 4pm and I still didn’t get a confirmation of a time. Turns out he was having a bad time at one of his appointments and was still coming. When he arrived, he was very patient about my near hysteria. I’d been hiding in my room, stomping when I entered the house, and hollering to scare anything lurking around, for two weeks now. I’d been feeling trapped in a house I’d lived in for 30+ years. There were no signs of mice upstairs, he couldn’t find anything. Then downstairs, the fluffernutter trap had caught one, and he could not see signs of anything else anywhere. He looked everywhere and could not find a thing. Orkin rocks, since this was just a ‘consultation’ I didn’t get charged (he even took Frederick Must Die with him to dispose of). Lesson 1: If you have someone doing work in your house or taking things out of your house, do NOT let them prop any doors open or leave the garage door open, especially if you live in the country. Lesson 2: If you are physically capable of setting traps and know that the entry point has been handled then just do it yourself, wearing gloves. In the case of my new house, I’m keeping Orkin hired just to keep myself safe from all sorts of pests I didn’t have in my old one, but for my old house I know that everything is sealed so I’m not bothering there. It has been a very busy couple of weeks.

**End of Mouse Content**

I spent the last two weeks ordering door dash, however my stomach and wallet don’t like that too much. It’s a bit insane to be spending $20 all the time for barely enough food for two meals. This means that cleaning my new kitchen, cupboards, pots, pans and all, just went much higher on my priorities list. Fortunately there is a microwave at work so I can use that and I can justify $1.5 for a bagel when I consider that an entire meal.

Another fun thing that happened: Thanksgiving week I took my garbage down to the corner before I left for work on the day that it was supposed to be taken, this is well before they usually pick it up. I didn’t think anything of it still being there the next day since I might have put it down too late or something. However when I left for work the next week, this past Monday, I was furious to find the garbage still there. I called the company and was told that my service (along with a lot of other people) had been cancelled because it was too far out of their way. A message had been left on a random old number that they had and that was how I had been ‘notified’. I said that I could have sworn I paid the bill, they said no you didn’t. So when I received a bill in my e-mail yesterday I was quite angry. I still don’t have my computer, which has my log in to this account, hooked up yet however I knew I paid the bill, I just checked an they didn’t send me a bill for November, which just makes this stranger. I’m going to have to try to log in again when I get back to my new house, it has all of my current billing things.

Honestly, all of this is getting to me but I just remembered why I didn’t post last week. I had a problem patron, well Security and I had a problem patron. From the beginning, due to a dramatic uptick in COVID cases the library board decided to re-implement mask requirements for the library. Now this library that I work at is an association library. They just became publicly funded this last year, however the library itself (and all contents and employees) are owned (employees are not owned) and managed by our Board of Directors, not the city/school district/county/state. This means that we are not government employees, the library is a privilege (that we try to make available to everyone), not a right. We had a patron and their family come into the library without masks about a week after the policy change. They breezed in and when my colleague on the desk told them that we were requiring masks the woman went off on her spouting about constitutional rights, etc. Of course my colleague had taken a course in constitutional law, but she wasn’t going to argue with someone obviously there to just stir up trouble. To make a very long, and irritating, story short, security got involved, I was securities backup, and it was very frustrating. Further action was threatened, our attorney has been consulted and the rest isn’t my business. In the Two Years and now Four Libraries I have been dealing with this masking nonsense, I hate them too and don’t know of anyone that likes them, this is the first time I’ve encountered this kind of animosity. Thank goodness most people are reasonable and understanding.

In short, yes it’s been a busy couple of weeks. In addition to getting some of my storage unit unloaded I have been able to set up my Saori Loom and taken some time in the evenings to relax and weave a bit. I also have my spinning wheel, Lady, set up and I spend some time spinning. There are several knitting and crochet projects that I have unearthed during the move and I hope to get some of them finished before looking into a new obsession, okay another new obsession. I already started something…quilting. The only real problem is I sort of….really suck at it. I love the idea, I can make half-square triangles until the cows come home. I even have the 4 at a time and 8 at a time methods down. The only problem is when I try to do anything to make those half-square triangle blocks into something else like the pinwheel I lose my points. Instead of nice clean points meeting in the middle I have these flat pieces. I think part of it is that I’m starting with 5″ squares, making 8 half square triangles and then trying to piece these 2″ squares made from two triangles into a bigger square again. Perhaps if I start with larger pieces I’ll get the hang of it better. I’m going to try to make a simple 9 square patch first, I think that is just sewing some 5″ squares 3×3 to make a 9 square patch. If I like that I might do something like a log cabin, or some books for a bookcase quilt and worry about half-square triangles later.

This has turned into a very long catch-up post, however it has also been good for me to look back and see all that I have been fighting through for these past two weeks. I have a tendency to forget troubles once I’ve gotten past them, then I wonder why I’ve been stressed this past however long. Well, in this case, I have had reasons and it is good to see them in black and white. Now it is time for a new week, a new month, and a new outlook. Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Progress Update

**This was supposed to be posted 2 weeks ago, apparently I forgot to hit publish. Sorry. I’m going to preface updates with ** and end with the same so you know what is old vs. new information.**

Okay so everything is going to be about my houses for a while. The dehumidifier was still there so yay for that. The toilets are going to need a little more work than originally planned. The one downstairs had leaked in the past but that seems to have been fixed, I can use it with impunity. The one upstairs needs a more solid piece of wood underneath. Hopefully my contractor can get a sturdy piece of plywood and fix that this week.

**Well, I had originally given the contractor a key to my old locks, however when I had new locks installed I did not give him a key. In the last two weeks he has not done anything, ‘I don’t know when you’re going to be in town.’ So this week I’m going to text him every morning when I arrive in town and call by 10 am, to say, I’m going to be in town until X, let me know if you want me to let you into the house.’ If that doesn’t work I’m going to ask for an invoice for the supplies he purchased so I can hire someone/do the work myself. Yay.**

Painting is hard and takes a lot more time than you would think. I spent about 3 hours painting the top floor of my new house, it is about 2/3rds of the way done. Right now I think that the larger (more expensive, supposedly better) roller is not better than the smaller one. While the smaller foam roller does not cover as much area it does seem to put the paint on smoother and with fewer strokes. The accent wall on the first floor is now finished, I will work on the lighter color probably next week. I realized that this upcoming week I need to concentrate on getting the bedroom I plan on sleeping in painted and the carpet ripped up, ASAP. Hopefully the bed will be delivered on Friday, so I have a few hours this week to get the room painted and the carpet ripped up. Tuesday I should have new locks.

**Paint sprayers are awesome. I do not care what the contractors told me, with the paint sprayer I don’t have any light spots, roller marks, or anything. They suck up paint like nobody’s business but it is well worth it for the 1 hour I need to tape an area off and 1 hour (including clean up time) I need to get a bedroom painted. I need to scrub up some woodwork I accidentally sprayed on, however I sort of want to change the woodwork anyway at some point. I have 1 room left and I even painted the upstairs hallway. The carpet has not been ripped up yet.**

There are two looms I am looking to get rid of, someone was supposed to pick one up yesterday, they did not show and now they are supposed to come on Wednesday. Unfortunately for them, if they do not show I’m letting the cleaners just take it. I’m done screwing around. According to my realtor I should have all of the stuff I want to keep in one one area so that the guys doing a sweep can just….blah, blah, blah. Honestly I literally don’t have time for that. I’ll try to pack up all of my smaller pieces so that they can do a larger sweep and I can move the smaller stuff into Jamestown this week, but I’m not fussing over everything. There are some pieces I’ll tell the movers/sweepers/whatever I want to keep and they’re just going to have to deal. Sorry.

**The mover’s did not get everything accomplished. They managed to take away the sell-able stuff, however this was what I considered the least important of the jobs. Then I didn’t hear from them for a week, which ticked me off. It turns out they were quarantined, I was not exposed, so they are really running behind. I am going to call tomorrow to see if I can schedule them to move my stuff. I hope so.**

Can you tell that a week later and I’m still exhausted? I decided to let two things go, I’m not worrying about my diet, though I am still trying to eat more fruit than sugar, and I’m going to take things as they come. The week after this I have taken two days off, Tuesday and Wednesday, so that I can do whatever I need to do. Since the bed should be in my new house by this Friday I am going to try to spend Monday, Tuesday, and possibly Wednesday in the new house. I knew I forgot something, the MICE! One of my colleagues mentioned that they had any new house sprayed for bugs before moving in, this sounded like a good idea so I called Orkin. I was informed that they don’t do a general preemptive thing, but I could get a free look over to see what is going on. I’m glad about that since I, apparently, have a few mice. It is standard, almost everyone has one or two especially in old houses. I’m not happy, but I do understand. I plugged in a sonic thing that should irritate them enough to try and move on, I also bought four more to put everywhere. I have my contractor putting in spray foam to keep them out since Orkin was able to identify where they are probably coming in. I also have a bi-monthly appointment with Orkin to keep things under control. I’m quite pleased about this since they really don’t cost that much. I’m half-expecting another shoe to drop about that, but I’m holding my breath for right now.

**Orkin did come, close up the holes and set traps. Since they did that a week ago I have not seen any signs of mice. I took the two days off to get a lot of painting done and scrub up the living room floor. I also started moving some racks and items from storage into my new house. I hung curtains in the living room (I need longer curtains) as well as the shower rod in the bathroom.**

The contractor recommended a tank-less water heater, I mentioned that the person at Home Depot said that the water would only heat up 40 more degrees than the temperature it was when it was pumped in, and that this could mean very cold water in the middle of February. The contractor said that the water lines are all below the permafrost line since they are from the city and the city would never let them get cold enough to risk freezing (which honestly makes more sense to me).

**The only big purchase I am looking to make, except for the repairs to the roof and moving costs, are a washer and dryer. There are actual savings going on for Black Friday deals, I did a comparison to the price when I looked two months ago, on the consumer reports top rated versions of Energy Star washers and dryers. Since I did buy a paint sprayer, extra doorknobs, and I already had an impact driver, I decided that I would need a tool chest to keep my tools in a central, organized, location. Yeah, No! The least expensive version I could find was around $300. Instead I went with a Mechanics Cart, 500 pounds holding capacity, steel, and under $100 with very good reviews. I will let you know more when it arrives, until then I am very excited to get the organizing part of my new home journey under way. One of the things I wanted my contractor to do is put quarter molding around the edges of my living room, since he has not done that I am sort of hesitant to start taking things out of my storage unit, but I’m going to have to start that process soon anyway. Other than that, I’ve been knitting on a pair of slippers for my new home. My best friend’s boyfriend invited me to share his family’s Thanksgiving, we went to high school together as well so it isn’t that strange, and I decided to pretend I’m humanly social and attend. I’m worried but not going to panic over it. Yeah, that’s life. I hope to have another update next week for you. Until then, remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.**

Rant, no crafting content

Hello This is going to be a rant about what is going on in my life, there will be no crafting content. There will be some home repair content, but most of this is a rant.

I need motivation. I have spent the last three years since mom died trying to get the house cleared out. I closed on a new house closer to where I work on Monday, it needs to have the toilets fixed before I can move in and the locks replaced before I start leaving possessions there. Unfortunately I will call the locksmith on Monday and it is unlikely he will be able to get there this upcoming week, I have my fingers crossed for next week. The same is the contractor that will come to look at the toilets on Tuesday, I wish he could get them fixed on Tuesday however I believe it will be another week before we can get that arranged. This has pointed out that I probably need to take a long weekend in November to plan on dedicating four or five days just on working on the house.

This is where my first two sentences of the second paragraph come into play, I have spent 3 years (almost to the day) trying to get the old house cleared out. The storage unit is stuffed to the gills and I still have bookcases and random items left to move into the new house. My realtor wants the old house swept cleaned, well she wants it in a week but with the toilets and locks being a major issue that is not happening. It was very demoralizing to realized that after 36 months of work I still had a lot to do in the old house as well as the work to do in the new house. Oh, I didn’t explain that either.

In addition to the toilets and the locks, the last owners had cats. You can tell because there is not only a disgusting smell, but on the carpet on the top floor there is a piece of feces (which I obviously did not see during any of my walk-throughs). Fortunately after I get the carpet ripped up, which does not seem hard, I should be able to eliminate most of the smell. I plan on painting the walls of those rooms first to eliminate the need for drop cloths, then rip up the carpet. Since I have no working bathrooms in that house my work is limited to an hour or so at a time. I had myself convinced that I could just concentrate on getting the new house ready, slowly move some of my larger items like the bookcases and eventually the queen bed, as I was able to discover how much room I really had in the new place and where things were supposed to fit. Now I realize that I do not have as much time as I thought and without new locks I am worried to leave anything there. I will actually be surprised if the new dehumidifier I left there on Friday is still there when I go after work on Monday.

I also yelled at my sister, for which I cannot really be sorry. Saying that you love me and wish you could be there to help doesn’t really help. Especially when you are here, the two or three times in the last three years since mom died, you don’t actually help me it is all just false platitudes. I do not mind admitting that I am tired. Physically and emotionally. The realtor was Saturday. I went to an early dinner with my friend, hung out at the bar she works at for a little while, went back to the house, got a good nights sleep. This morning I started moving things into the master bedroom. I found the drop cloth I’ve been looking for and started painting the TV stand that shade of green I want it so that it stands out against the accent wall in my new home. I’m still tired, emotionally and physically, I want to curl up into a ball and sleep for a month so that all of this will go away. But that isn’t going to work, so I need to Woman Up and GET SHIT DONE! No one else will for me, so I’ve got to do it.

Okay, rant over. I have to get both houses ready on my own, just by taking it one day at a time. I’m going to focus on doing what I can, letting go of what I cannot, and actually taking a week for vacation sometime in January to just rest.

Hope you have a great week.

Falling into Autumn

Yes, I know that the title is quite cheesy. A quick update on life then into a craft I managed to work on during the past few weeks. The carpet dried quite well and the new dehumidifier is going strong. I do not believe that the carpet will need to be ripped up since I cannot detect any funky smells. This weekend I plan on putting the last of the kitchen and plastics I want to get rid of down to the curb for people to take and scrub the kitchen floor. This really is the last step to getting my house on the market, I’m nervous but excited.

Onto Crafting! In August I discovered something called Bengala Mud Dyeing. Well I could not let that go without looking into it further. One of the colors available went with the color scheme I am hoping to put in my new Living Room. To that end I decided I was going to dye 3 sets of Linen Curtains for the living room.

I started by running the plain, new curtains through the washer and dryer as I would anything else. I don’t really believe in babying my clothing/furnishings. By figuring out the weight of the curtains I decided I would need about 1/2 a cup of pre-fixer to dye all of the curtains. I used the grey water from my rain barrel to soak and squeeze the pre-fixer into all of the curtains. I let them soak overnight since I did this before I went to work one day. The next day I rinsed all of the curtains, again with grey water.

After that I let them sit for a few hours while I worked on other things. Later the same day I used some plastic storage containers to dye. Putting one piece of curtain, there were six total, into the container with enough water to cover the curtain. I then put some dye into the container and began to massage the mud into the fabric.

The massaging did take considerably longer than the 3-5 minutes recommended. I believe I massaged each piece for 10-20 minutes each. This was quite a bit of fun, and the results were quite interesting. I suspect that there were places that I did not manage to get enough fixative into the fabric since some of the panels look a little tie dyed.

My top recommendation, other than patience, with this type of dyeing is to not be disappointed in how dark the results are until you have thoroughly dried your pieces. I ran mine through the dryer and the very pale salmon color turned into a decently dark shade.

Each panel does look a little different, however I believe that they will be lovely in my new home.

Next week will be an update on my new Saori Loom and how things are going with that. Until then remember to live life in a way that is A Little More Abstract.

Unexpected hiatus and revelations

Very little of this post is going to have to do with crafting, the first paragraph I will update on my projects and the rest is going to be about the move, my weight loss journey, and revelations about clothing fit.

I’ve made quite a bit of progress on the gusset of my second sock, and reading an article about sock knitting tips caused me to realize that I want to make a plain foot. I’m having a ton of fun spinning small bits of yarn that I hope to use for crewel work. I decided to practice sprang using worsted weight acrylic yarn, partially to get a longer warp using less yarn, partially to have really thick yarn to work with.

Onto packing and moving content. My sister and I did not get as much done as I had hoped, though papers are pretty much sorted out. Next weekend I am going to have four days off that I am going to spend hopefully concentrating on getting things completed. I have not yet been able to rent a storage unit, however the basement is mostly cleared out and I can store things there. I have started wet vaccing the carpets. I also found that if you don’t touch your fly tying equipment in 15 years, it causes moths. So I now have that baking in my car, and the stuff that actually got touched by moths has been eliminated.

My sister and I did some shopping while she was here. This is going to get into personal clothing content, so if you don’t want to hear about brassieres you might want to stop reading.

In the past couple of months I have noticed that my bras seem to be more padding than actual bust. I thought that I had lost weight in my bust region, it turns out that if the band of your bra is too big you will not fill out the cups. Now that I have a band that fits around my torso properly, I am wearing a bigger cup size than ever, and the girls look better than ever.

Six months ago when I begin this journey I was 60 pounds heavier and wearing a 3X. Now I am capable of wearing a large, for the most part, however due to the excess skin around my torso I do not have a significant change to my profile unless I wear a tight belt like object right underneath my bust. I am currently questioning whether I am ever going to be wearing anything other than a large, because even some of the larges do not fit over my shoulders. To be honest this is very demoralizing, and I do understand that skin reduction surgery is going to help quite a bit with my profile. I also understand that that is likely over nine months away. I hope to lose another 30 pounds over the next three months and then my understanding is that I have to maintain that weight for six months before they will do the surgery. I completely understand this and don’t anticipate a problem with it. I’m starting to get a better understanding of what regular foods I can eat and how to maintain the diet.

To be frank a lot of this has me looking much more seriously into creating my own clothing. Altering what I already have is not a realistic concept, simply due to my lack of knowledge and inability to focus on reading a tailoring book. To be blunt I am so much smaller than I have been in years and finding out that ready-to-wear sucks has me quite, not depressed but with the potential to be in a bad place mentally. I used to think that it was simply that plus size clothing was horrible, now I realize it pretty much all is. If the regular sized large fits me so badly, it makes me think that I would have to be in a medium or smaller to look decent. I know that this is not true, so I am going to find some patterns that will fit me. This is not a great time for me to start this with moving and everything, however for my own morale I believe it’s something I need to do.

OK, I have to get ready for work now but I wanted to get this post out I’ve been meaning to for a week. I will update you as things change, but for now remember to live life a little more abstract.

Progress and Planning

Crafty Content at the top, no photos this week.

I’ve been touching on a lot of different projects while deciding what is staying out and what is getting packed away. I found a plastic box of mostly forgotten fibers that I am spinning up one after the other. These fibers are all going onto one bobbin. Once that bobbin is full each fiber section, I am putting drastically different colors next to each other to keep the different fiber sections easy to see, they will be plied back onto themselves for crewel embroidery floss, or to be used for color-work knitting in the future.

I am using different colors of my tatting thread to make a warp for my sprang loom, since I want this warp to be wider it makes sense to use up bits of thread I have lying around. This is one of the longer term projects I plan on keeping out.

I did order and receive the special thimble I will need to work on the Sashiko kit I received for Christmas. I plan on keeping the kit out as well as my sewing machine for any alterations I can make to my clothing in the next couple of months.

A few more rows have been worked on the gusset of my second sock, it looks like I will not get through all 4 however getting 2 completed by the end of May is still quite the accomplishment. That is about all for the crafting content, though much of my moving has to do with crafting since crafts are my hobby.

Most of what I have been working on is packing. While I have adjusted my plans some, it doesn’t make much sense to be in another city when I still have a lot of cleaning to do in my house, the basics remain. I need to pack what I plan on keeping so that it can go into storage. This will free up a lot of room and mental space for me to begin getting rid of what needs to be eliminated and cleaning places that I have not been able to get to for years. I love mom, she however, has 10+ boxes of Christmas decorations that we have not taken out in years. That is before all of the other decorations for Easter and Halloween. I plan on keeping the pieces that she made as well as the family ornaments from years gone by and getting rid of the rest of it. I am even thinking about re-packing one of the boxes I already packed simply because I have realized that I do not really value the stuffed animals within. I’ll keep one to remind me, then get rid of the rest. The decision makes me feel free and relaxed rather than anxious. Going through all of the paper that has built up over the years…that is another story. That has me stressed out. My sister is planning a series of bonfires as we sort through and burn the papers we do not need to keep, it should actually be a bit of fun.

That is about it, I have a very busy week ahead of me. I am trying to take some time every single day to get some crafting done so that I do not burn out. Right now I think I have gone as far as I can with the packing and I will wait until I get some breathing room in the house before worrying about the rest. Okay, that’s a lie. The handyman will be coming Monday to take some things from the external garage to the dump, then I plan on moving several plastic boxes out to the garage so I have room to get the bed set up for my sister to have somewhere to sleep on Wednesday night.

Until next week, remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Life Derailed (in a good way)

First, since this seems to be of interest to people, for the first time since I was in High School (maybe middle school) I am under 200lbs. Nutrisystem really does rock. Next is a life update, so if you just want crafting content skip to the row of *********.

On Thursday I spoke with a financial advisor, he was supposed to be advising me on my 403b non-profit retirement account, instead I wound up spilling essentially the entirety of my financial concerns to him. He really helped me to see that I was ignoring the obvious solutions in favor of not having to ask for help, essentially being a stubborn, independent cuss. Due to his advice, my sisters advice, and an offer (and advice) from relatives, I am going to be putting almost all of the household items I want to keep in storage, moving to an apartment closer to work temporarily, and putting my childhood home up for sale. I hope to get all of this done by July, I’m thinking of seeing about an ‘I’m selling the house’ 3rd of July party so my friends, work colleagues old and new, can see the house and I can see the fireworks over the lake one last time, before I actually put the house officially on the market. There is about a million things I need to do first, however I have already started packing up. My sister is coming to town in about 10 days to sign some paperwork and we will probably work on getting some things taken to a storage unit at that time.

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If you skipped to the crafting content, the long and the short of the above paragraph is that I will be moving into an apartment temporarily and putting a lot of stuff into storage.

This past week was quite busy. I had a lot of fun with the crafting I was able to do, and a few cranky moments as well. Let’s start with the bad news. I had to put almost all of my wool yarn into my upright freezer as well as the freezer attached to my refrigerator. I saw a couple of moth corpses in some wool I pulled out of another area of the house and when I started to spin a bit of wool that had been stored downstairs a bug I am afraid is a carpet beetle fell out (it was dead, I simply became concerned). I have not been as attentive to the wool downstairs as I should be, one of the main reasons I need a smaller place, I just cannot get to everything. I am trying to keep myself looking on the bright side. I purchased a big bottle of lavender essential oil to keep the rest of the fiber/yarn (the stuff that did not fit) from getting into trouble. Since I will be moving and putting items into storage this is going to give me an opportunity to choose a couple of kits/projects to leave out and then I ‘have to’ work on them since I am going on a buying hiatus until I am settled into a new house. My sister does not know it yet, however I am going to make sure that my kits are near the front of the storage unit just in case, by some miracle, I finish the projects I am leaving out I will have access to some new ones without having to purchase anything.

I loved playing with my new Sprang loom, the technique is fun and easy! Well, mostly easy. When doing Sprang do NOT EVER take out all of your skewers holding the rows in place. I was getting to the middle and my fingers were not fitting very well with the skewers in so I decided to take the skewers out for the row…then messed up and I was not able to go back because the skewers were out. I cut down the middle and wound up tying the ends to make two shorted pieces. They are a great lesson and I love the structure. They are also not wide enough to be useful even as a misers purse since my fingers cannot get into it when it is sewn together. Oh well, the next piece will just have to be wider, I also plan on practicing with a circular warp to make the piece longer as well. I might as well just jump off the deep end!

When you boil up orange peels you had in the freezer for natural dyeing, try to then use the resulting dye before a week has gone by…I had to throw it out because some mold had decided to start growing on the surface. Lesson learned.

The sock heel flap is knit, now the entire thing is on a circular needle so I can work on the gusset. That is as far as the project has gotten, technically I have this entire month to finish this sock and knit the other two so I am giving myself a little bit of grace, however this gusset had best be finished by next week.

Okay, I think that is enough for one week. Next week will probably be me whining about having to pack everything (I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with my drum carder or Sizzix Big Shot). Until then, remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!