Stones and Festivals

Crafting Content will begin after ***********

This summer has been full of fun and festivals, okay so just three festivals so far but they were all enjoyable. I attended a rib festival, there were several lovely booths full of home made merchandise. I purchased three wooden signs, one is in a Harry Potter theme and states “When in doubt, go to the library”, another speaks to the geekdom in this house and the third is a lovely relief of a dragon in pinks and purples. I also attended a Celtic Festival which was amazing. I splurged and managed to find a Utility Kilt that actually fits me. There were also lovely crafts available. For one of my two last hurrahs of the summer I attended an independent dyers festival about an hour from home, near my old stomping grounds.

The independent dyers festival was so much fun. I met up with a friend that I had not gotten to see in over a year, and we had several hours enjoying each others company. I discovered another spinners guild nearby my new home, watched a sheep shearing, and purchased a few lovely pieces. I did finally get a blending board and there was an inexpensive rug hooking frame that I picked up as well.

I understand my own likes and dislikes enough to know that I am really loving the stones and shapes that I have been collecting lately. From Skulls, Dragon Skulls, Pyramids, Spheres, Mushrooms, Shaped jars filled with chips, I am loving them all. The ‘Money’ Trees are simply gorgeous, and I am filling my home with these lovely stones. While I do not worship the stones I do have a low level belief that God put the stones on this earth for a reason and that Eastern Medicine has some things accurate. I believe that certain stones resonate and that God put them here to help us if we listen and can understand what He put them here for.

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For some reason crafting has been taking a backseat in my life recently. When I do craft I really enjoy it, but I’m finding my motivation level is low. On the other hand I have recently found out that if I craft while doing something else I get more done. Example, a friend of mine called me, I don’t usually talk on the phone so this was unusual. While on the phone I went upstairs and took the time to press the blocks that I had chain pieced several days earlier. After they were pressed, and I was done with the call, I took the time to finish making that part of the quilt I had been trying to accomplish. I also spin more when I sit and chat with a friend, I completed over 2 ounces of a batt while chatting with my friend at the fiber festival.

I finally bit the bullet and purchased a blending board. I am so happy I held out and purchased from a small, local vendor. This 120 TPI board will help me create beautiful yarn. I used it as a quick way to add some sparkle and turn a slightly compacted bit of roving into rologs, like rolags but bigger. I will be able to turn that into a lovely, lofty yarn. I really enjoy how I am able to pack the fiber onto the blending board. It really is not a replacement for a drum carder or hand cards since it achieves a totally different purpose. In addition I purchased some washed fiber I will have to run through my drum carder so I can spin it later.

All in all I hope that I am out of my creative slump and that I can remember to take time each day for a creative pursuit. Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Prioritizing FTW (For the Win)

I not only got the name of the contractor, I went to the quilt shop with my friend as well! This is the fabric I purchased, 1 yard each of 6 rainbow colors, 1/2 yard of a print that looks very Hungarian (Mom was Hungarian so my sister and I are 1/2 Hungarian), and an 1/8th yard of a cute purple that looks like it has black thistle plants on it. (One of my dad’s cousins married a very proud Scotsman, and they have been great so if I can make them a wall hanging I will). I will get into my crafting for the week after the **** but first an update on my prioritizing.

I called the mechanic recommended by a colleague and seconded by another colleague. They are going to do an oil change and look at my front bumper Tuesday morning. Yay! My friend that accompanied me to the quilt shop sent me the contact info for her contractor on Monday night, when I called him Tuesday he offered to come on Thursday to look into what I needed done. While talking with him on Thursday he kept saying, “Oh, that’ll take me a couple of hours and shouldn’t cost above 1k, no real reason to redo the entire bathroom I’ll see what’s going on underneath when I get there. Oh the flooring will cost X (less than the price that was quoted for finishing 1 room), we can get that done whenever. Your garage is under a $100 fix. The sliding glass door, I can get a door and get it installed and the house fixed up in a couple of hours. Your front porch, we’ll jack it up, figure out what is going on, and get it fixed.”

All of the fixes that I was planning on doling out over the course of the summer, because I thought the bathroom alone would be 5k, he is planning on having finished in 2 weeks, and for a lot less than I had planned. The flooring will take a little longer because I need to pull all of the staples out before he can put the flooring down. I think I have one room staple free but I’m working on my bedroom first because I would like that finished ASAP. So, he is fixing my toilet on Wednesday and maybe doing something else, this is my day off so I’ll be hanging around the house. Then on Friday I will let him in before I leave for work so he can take out the very drafty sliding glass door and install a working regular door. I am so excited because this, combined with a garage door, will allow me to actually use my backyard. This is all very exciting and a bit overwhelming. The overwhelm keeps going.

When I got home from work on Friday I had my garbage can on the sidewalk in front of my steps leading up to the house. To clarify, I did not put it there. Someone, likely a passive aggressive neighbor, did. Fine, the snow is likely done for a while, I’ll move my can back around the side of the house. This also prompted me to assemble my manual mower, just a huge cutting blade with a handle that rotates as you push it along, and mow my lawn. This is when I realized the damage the previous owners dogs left behind in the form of brown spots where no grass will grow. I bagged up the leaves left over from last year, realized I have a lovely flower bed in the back yard, and looked into disposing of the yard waste as well as how to repair my lawn. The city wants $3 per bag of yard waste and compost costs $7 a bag. With this in mind I looked into getting a rotating compost barrel, yes it cost me $80, however that is 8 bags of yard waste and compost. Considering how many plants I’m planning on growing this year the compost barrel will be paid off by the end of a season or two. Since I do not use most of my driveway, it is an old house and the driveway is at an angle to the garage, I am going to put the barrel near the garage. For repairing my lawn I discovered a Scotts brand product that claims it will repair and reseed my lawn. Last night, Saturday, after I was done with my day of shopping (more about that soon) I used a weed digger I purchased to aerate the brown spots. The product is supposed to be waiting for me at home so I hope to put that down tonight. Now, about shopping!

I’m going to go in reverse order since I went to the quilt shop first and I would like that to segue into the crafting portion of this post. So given that I’ll lead the shopping segment with: I found a living room chair! After going to three different furniture stores I finally found a chair that I don’t feel I have to heave myself out of and better yet it has both lumbar support and a separately adjustable headrest. I can recline, adjust my lumbar support for my lower back, and raise my head so that I can watch something on TV all at the same time! I didn’t even really know that is what I was looking for! Admittedly the gold/tan color is not my favorite but it might brighten up a bit against the background of my purple room, better than the dark chocolate color that was my other option. Before that I managed to find three dresses that I like and two shrugs that I can use (since I hate sleeveless I need something to cover my upper arms). This means that I have enough outfits that currently fit me to take me through until the winter when I can pull out my sweater dresses again. I plan on going to the laundromat on Wednesday so I can freshen my sheets, wash my quilt, and probably wash my wool dresses for storage. Before the dress and furniture shopping I hit a bookstore, I am a librarian (lol), and found a book I look forward to exploring titled: Sarah Payne’s Quilt School. This segues into the first part of the shopping on Saturday, the Quilt Shop!

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A friend of mine is moving, she wanted to make sure I could find the local quilt shop before she moved. We had a lovely trip and I purchased too much fabric. In the picture at the top of the post you can see a rainbow of 6 colors of fabric, I purchased a yard each. I’m not too sure what I am going to do with this fabric, however I could not resist them. The 6 yards cost me what 4 would have from other retailers, so when there was a full rainbow I had to try. I’m going to look in the Sarah Payne book I purchased from a bookstore later in the day to see if there is a pattern that would look good in these colors.

I did not get much crafting done however I did realize that if the only thing stopping me from knitting up the hat is that I hate doing the ribbing then 3″ of ribbing is going to have to be enough so I can move onto the next part. Speaking of moving on, I did make some progress on the tapestery I have been weaving since last July (I had to look at when I bought the loom since I had it in my mind I had been working on this for a couple of years).

As you can see the edges are not very even and there is a wide mish-mash of different types of weaving in there. This is my sampler piece and I could not love it any more! It is amazingly colorful and has a lot of movement to it.

Okay, that is about it for me this week, so much exciting news!

Remember to take time for yourself and Live Life a Little More Abstract!

2 AM Brain

Starting off, I hope that everyone had a Happy Easter, Happy Passover, or a lovely weekend. I took a 3 day weekend and went through all the stages. I signed my taxes and went out to eat one day. Bleached my kitchen cupboards the second day. Went shopping for spring clothes and got caught in a snowstorm yesterday. This morning at 2am my brain decided that I had forgotten a notice about jury duty, that I could not find so I emailed the county I moved from to check I don’t have a warrant out for skipping jury duty. (The house closed though it took an entire week for the money to get to me).

What do you do when you wake up at 2am and your brain will it let you sleep? Well you hide threads on your sewing projects so that you’re ready for the next stages. I started making a lunch box and needed to hide the threads before I can put the zipper in, so I hid threads until my hand cramped.

I hope to get more done this week, until then remember to live life a little more abstract!

Why Not Go All in?

So when I start something I tend to go all in. Case in point, I decided to give English Paper Piecing a try. Learning one type of quilting at a time wasn’t enough for me apparently.

Lesson 1. 1.5” hexagons measure 2.5” across and 1.5” on each side. this means that getting a jelly roll so you have 10 coordinating fabrics of 40+ inches each….does not work. Oh well.

Lesson 2. Why plan one extremely complicated pattern for your second try at English Paper Piecing when you can go for 2?

To clarify these lessons, I am having an absolute blast with English Paper Piecing (EPP). I have finished 2 flowers and have most of the pieces cut out for Tula Pink’s Nova Quilt Pattern. I purchased the pattern and papers as a kit from Amazon along with the Acrylic templates to cut the fabric out. I think I could have done fine with cutting the fabric, though not very fast, without the templates however I plan on doing some fussy cutting for the second quilt and the templates will be invaluable then.

The pattern, there are a lot of small squares to this
The paper templates are amazing, however it is going to take me forever to get the fabric pasted on

It has taken me several hours to get most of the pieces cut out for my trial version of the quilt. I love the colors and I am looking forward to seeing how it will turn out. Right now I am working on pasting the 170 tiny paper triangles onto the tiny fabric triangles and tacking them down with the fabric glue. I use Wonder Clips to hold the three points down to ensure a good seal, then stack about 10 in the clip for about 15-30 minutes. Then I make sure each triangle will separate, since I like using a good amount of glue, and stack them in the box. About 3 hours in and I have about 100 of the 170 ready to go. Of course this is just the first of 7 shapes, it is also the most abundant. After this the numbers drastically reduce per shape, the largest has only pieces 11 to it.

I do have this quilt finally completed, there is a flower on the back and writing on the front to hide where I messed up the binding, however I love how it looks. It is really just a lap sized sort of thing, however I adore it. I have also made some progress on following patterns and made the 29″x29″ heart below, I am hoping to add other squares and sashing to make this a 90″x90″ piece so I can use it as a queen sized quilt.

I had a quilt night at my library and my machine kept jamming up, despite just having been serviced I was spitting mad. Luckily enough one of the patrons, the step-mother-in-law (ex?) of one of my supervisors, had a Janome LE she was not using and offered it to me. She would not take anything in return, which was very nice of her. I made the heart up in the week between classes, since I had the idea floating around in my head, just no reliable machine to use! Eventually I am going to have to consider getting the Janome professionally seen to, however I might see who else does that in the area.

If that were not enough I also have been doing some work on my house. This is crafting related I promise. A couple of weeks ago I went to a friends house for a sewing day, it was amazing. Her set up was so inspiring I immediately went looking for something similar, and promptly got sticker shock. A week or so later and I found a sale at Michaels that would go along with my $10 coupon, and for under $100 I had a table that was 55″ unfolded by over 22″ deep, and waist height. I have found that as a responsible adult, I have to trick myself into doing stuff, lol.

In this case I was not able to assemble my new table until I had called the garbage company to arrange pickup of the carpet pieces from the third floor AND hauled the carpet to a point where taking them out the afternoon before pick-up would be easy. (I have to put them out after 4pm the day before, no earlier.) Right now they are on my front porch, looking really ugly, however I did not really have anywhere else to store them until pickup.

Well, now that the carpet is done, okay so I still have one more small piece….and all of the padding…and the linoleum that someone put down on top of the hardwood floors…other than that the carpet is done, I could assemble my new table. The plan was, yes was, for me to use the good table to sew and a card table with adjustable height to press and cut. I put the card table, well it is a bit closer to picnic table length, up and started to do some cutting. Only to find that even at its highest the table is a bit too short for me to comfortably cut on it. I think it’s a good height if I am sitting at it, however, so this might become my sewing station instead. The rolling cart however, with the 55″ width when unfolded, is just at my waist height making it virtually perfect for cutting and pressing. While assembling this I had to run downstairs and put two different bandages on, one was due to the folding nature of the particular screw driver I was using, and I still have to tighten a couple of screws down before I trust that flap for cutting. Other than that the entire thing is assembled.

I also have an origami rack in the odd corner, right now it is going out into the room, however I think I will turn it to nestle into the corner to give me more room around my sewing table. You can see that the white table has considerably more height on it. The floors are a bit scarred looking, I was thinking of seeing how much it would be to get them professionally refinished, however someone pointed out it might be better to just get a faux wood laminate or something similar over top. This wood is so scarred and there are such gaps between boards I think the entire floor would have to be relaid and there is a lot more that needs done to the house before that. (Such as a new roof, heater/air conditioner, etc.).

I am very happy with these wall storage pieces. The spool rack is from amazon, but the other rack is from 5-below. I was able to bend out the hooks on the bottom so they can fit a pair of scissors and some other small objects. While I love the look of table top storage rack things, I knock them over. I just do. This is a similar problem I am going to have with acrylic ruler storage…I knock them over. There are some really neat ones with slots and places for pins…One bad bump and I have pins all over the floor along with ruler (just my luck I would break one).

My sewing room is coming along wonderfully. I hope that I will be able to keep the other pink desk in there so that this can be a multi craft room since I have too many interests to make a room for each one. When the second leaf of the tall white table is unfolded I cannot get by the pink desk. If I move the white table or the black table then I lose maneuverability. If I move the pink desk any closer to the window I cannot get into the closet…which I am only worried about so that Orkin can make sure I don’t have mice…but that is important to me. I might move the pink desk back into the corner and make a nest of tables with my resin and possibly paper craft supplies by the pink desk. The white table is just about 1″ to shallow for the entire width of my largest cutting mat, which frankly sucks, however I believe I can live with that (and being careful about cutting) since it completely fits my pressing mat.

That is about it for my big news. I am loving these new crafts, and using the momentum to make progress on other things. This is my active cycle, which according to traditional wisdom this should be the end of my resting cycle but whatever, so I am going to lean into it and enjoy while I can. This week I am taking the second in a two part book binding class and the first in a two part embroidery class. While I have a full week of work ahead of me it is exciting to know that I now have some room and freedom to explore. I still do better when I plan my days out and stick to them within the parameters given, I have the freedom to change those parameters as well. No pet or person waiting on me to get home, no major obligations other than to myself, work, and my bills. The freedom is a bit heady, I can get involved in other organizations without worrying that it will cause problems for my ill mother or that it cannot be worked around my crazy work schedule (I now have a regular work schedule). It has taken a bit over a year for these facts to begin to sink in, now that they have I ensured that I would be available for every meeting of the 3 guilds I belong to as I could. 2 meetings of one guild occur during major events at work I need to be at. Okay, enough pseudo therapy for right now.

I hope to have more crafting news for you next week, until then Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

The Universe Was Not Finished With Me Yet

*Very little crafting content in this post, it will begin after the ***

So, I didn’t post last week. I usually post while I’m at my side hustle job, I do my work but there are periods of down time. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to my side hustle last week, well, let me back up a bit. Not this past Thursday but the one before that we put our old house up for sale. The realtor recommended we give it the weekend and start looking at offers the following, this past, Tuesday. My sister and I agreed. A friend/colleague from my side hustle job wanted to get together so we did a shopping trip that Saturday, February 12th. We had a bit of fun, I showed her my new house and she assured me that it does not smell of cat (yay!). As we were getting ready to end the night, she was going to try some Skinny Syrup Mermaid Flavor since I had some and wanted her to be able to try it before purchasing a bottle. She let me out and I started walking up the neighbors driveway, and I fell….hard…landing on the wrist where I had previously snapped a ligament. I hopped back up and tried to ignore the pain, thinking I would put a hot pack on once my friend had left.

She asked if I was alright, brought in my purchases, and all in all was amazing. I served her the flavored water, it tastes like coconut and all things tropical I love it. Then I noticed that a bulge was protruding from the back of my bad wrist, heat and ice were not going to do the trick. My friend took me to the urgent care center, we were seen within 10 minutes. It was a bit of fun hanging out with my friend, especially since ( a week later) I know that it was just a sprain. Since I was in pain, and did not feel up the the hour drive the next day (or another 8 hours of work followed by another hour drive) I called off of work/side hustle last week. This resulted in my, effectively, sulking for the entirety of last Sunday…which I needed. I slept a lot, rested my wrist, and generally had a very relaxing day. This past Tuesday we accepted an offer on the old house (we had 2, one was 66% of asking price and one was 100.5% of the asking price, so we accepted the full offer). Then came prepping for the inspection, which was just yesterday, and now we are going to wait for the next steps.

I’ve only given myself enough time to breathe today and realized that I was trying to work ‘full speed’ through my fallow period. Since I have so much going on I was trying to force myself to be productive instead of settling down and dealing with life as it comes….okay, since I have tomorrow completely off I’m going to rest, read, relax, and enjoy myself. *whew* That’s a load off of my mind, and probably what the universe was trying to tell me.

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I did discover that I can still use my sewing machine while wearing a wrist brace and with a sprained wrist. I am not really sure why quilting is hitting me so hard as the craft I want to do, but I am going with it right now.

This is my curvy log cabin quilt squares, well half of them before the final trim. I am supposed to trim off the last white section to square up the blocks…however I am seriously thinking about leaving that part on for this half of the blocks. For the second half I plan on reversing how they look, putting the white sections toward the center, and for that I will trim the white down to a square. I know, there are wrinkles everywhere, and I am certain there are ways to prevent them…I just don’t know what those are. I am not sure what I am going to do with the finished blocks, though I am really leaning toward a sampler quilt. I have a 108″x108″ backing piece that I can use to create a queen sized quilt. I also have two panel pieces that I fell in love with that I need to figure out what to do with. At present my quilting station is sufficient, but irritating so I am also looking into ways to make that situation better. Fortunately, for my wallet at least, there is not enough room for me to pick up a Create Room Co. Dream Box, though I’m still looking at their sewing station.

***This is going to be about home decoration, while craft room organization is a big part of that the actual crafting content is done***

As I am finding out looking for home furnishings, furniture of any quality is quite expensive. A really nice work desk is about $700, I can get similar from Amazon but I have to think that the quality will not be there. Of course I just did some more looking at the Dream Box, as I have been for the past three years or so, and discovered the Dream Cart. I will do some measuring and look into it further, however it looks like a reasonable solution. While it does not have the recessed sewing machine storage or the specific thread storage it does have two leaves that operate independently of each other, one can be used for pressing and the other for cutting. There is storage in the center column, on both sides so that it can easily be used from the ‘front’ or the ‘back’. Frankly if this works out the way it appears that it will I could see this becoming a great writing desk for me as well, but back to storage. I have full-sized origami racks, which I adore due to their portability and capacity.

They are also metal and rather…industrial looking. For right now they are doing great at storing the decorations I inherited, and cannot bear to part with right now, from Mom. That is taking up over half of my computer room right now, yet I do not see a way around that at present. I thought about putting the decorations downstairs, but I would need the smaller origami racks, and I would need about 4 of them, since they run 75 each I’m not willing to pay $300 right now for storage I can get elsewhere. I may decide to store them on the third floor if I do not find another use for that area. I have most of the carpet padding out of my final bedroom, plus I purchased curtain rods to install.

It is a bit difficult to drill holes to install curtain rods with one really good hand, so that has been put off a little bit. Even once the rods are installed I will have to find appropriate curtains to install, specifically blackout curtains. I think I have what I would like chosen, they are only about $45 per pair and I would need 5 sets. While I love the idea of weaving my own curtains I acknowledge that is not realistic; at least not for me to weave curtains that would be light proof.

As you can probably tell from this long and rambling post, organizing a craft room/house is quite a set of compromises. You can absolutely get furniture for under 1k; the main issue is you will likely be re-purchasing that furniture over and over again as it breaks.

I think that is enough rambling for today. I am going to take this week to enjoy my fallow period and work on finding what will relax and recharge me while trying to listen to what the universe is telling me. One of those messages seems to be ‘Don’t make any large purchases right now’; so I hope to spend time enjoying what I already have.

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.**

Rolling On

Yesterday I attended the Western New York Fiber Fest with a friend that I used to work with. She has two boys, one under 5 one under a year, so I was happy to get her out of the house and doing something fun for the day. We had an absolute blast, I purchased some fiber (not that I needed more) to spin up for National Spinning and Weaving week in the beginning of October. I am so pleased with the mixture of fibers and colors I have to play with, hopefully they will provide a good distraction. On another topic altogether, I have been trying to label things for organizational purposes. Unfortunatly those hard, plastic, sticky labels with punch type on an inexpensive machine; yeah they don’t stick to anything for me. So that creating cute & functional labels is easy, and actually likely to happen, I plan on purchasing a Cricut. Originally I was going to get a Cricut Joy, however with the release of the 3 series the Cricut Explore 2 is only $20 more than the Joy, so I will be ordering one of those.

My supervisor and director have both agreed to allow me to bring my Saori loom to work so that our patrons can have fun weaving rugs for October. I hope to be able to drag it down there tomorrow. Of course the only reason I’m in a hurry to get it to work is so that I don’t start another project on it, lol. I am almost finished with the rug piece, I wound up dismantling some of the toothbrush rug so that I had enough yardage to create this floor rug. It is so exciting to be this close to finishing the rug and allowing a lot of people a chance to play with a floor loom.

That is about all the news I have worth publishing right now. I did realize I’m going to need to rip out every project I have going on that requires sizing since I have changed so drastically, yay.

Remember to Live Life 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.

Interesting Week (not really)

Now, before I start writing this post I would like to remind everyone that I have Never claimed to be a good, or fast knitter. That being said, it took me 8 days to knit the cuff for the second Anne of Green Gables sock by Paper Daisy Creations. I really love the pattern, I will be starting the lace portion today, and I adore the color in the Purl Soho yarn I purchased on clearance when I visited Los Angeles with my sister in 2019.

17 rows of knitting using pink yarn on size 2.25mm Addi Flexi Flip Knitting needles.

I have been spinning on the lovely green wool I received, it spins up like a dream. The pin roving drafts so smoothly it is practically effortless while also being very meditative. I am really enjoying the process. The 2 ply sample I created looks great, however I believe I will wait to see what next months box brings me before figuring out what I want to do with this single.

MAFA (MidAtlantic Fiber Association) is having their Bi-Annual event this June as a Virtual event. This means that I will finally be able to attend. I had to skip Maryland Sheep and Wool since they mostly had their classes during the week and…well….I still have to work. Fortunately one of the classes I wanted to take is a class learning how to make Sprang Lace. I contacted the instructor early and our conversation was a bit weird. I asked her if I could purchase the loom kit she was selling as a part of the class even if I miss out on getting into the class. She responded that it wasn’t really a beginner Sprang class (then why are you selling beginner supplies as the supplies?!?) but I could take her 6 week course over zoom to learn Sprang in preparation for the class. Well since the course was several hundred dollars, and at 4pm on a Thursday I had to pass. Instead I purchased the loom through a source she recommended and the video she produced. Now I am going to spend the next month teaching myself Sprang so I am ready for her class mid-June.

The only other crafty related content is that I am trying to figure out what I want to do in regards to spring/summer wear. Originally I was thinking about purchasing cloth to make a few skirts and blouses for myself, not only to learn to sew and be a bit more eco friendly, but to have clothing that fits. There are several flaws in that plan however, the first being that eco-friendly cloth costs at minimum $20 a yard and a skirt seems to take about 3 yards for a plus sized skirt. The Victorian Walking Skirt I am in love with would take over 5 yards and is intended to be lined. $60-$100 for a skirt, plus the cost of the pattern ($10-$20) would probably be worth it if I have a one-of-a-kind skirt that fits me. However, I am also hoping to get down to my goal weight, then have surgery to remove the excess skin. Yes, I know that the end goal is still about a year away. However, it seems sort of wasteful to spend that much money on a single piece in my wardrobe that I would hope to outgrow in a year (well lose enough weight same difference). Admittedly, I spent more than that on my current shoes. However, I wear those shoes every day and will polish them to be put away for the fall and winter next year. Because of this dilemma, I believe I am going to purchase relatively inexpensive pieces from Dharma Trading Co. that are made out of natural fibers in a relatively eco-friendly process. They are not the best in the world, and I am still going to have to do some dyeing and possibly modifying to have them looking the way I want them to, however this is better than purchasing all new materials.

I spent yesterday gathering all of the clothes in the house and washing them. This morning I set my ‘get ready for work alarm’ an hour early so I could try on the clothes while clean and almost ready for work. I found out that most of the clothing I have been unable to wear because it was too tight, is now too loose. There are a couple of scoop neck shirts that I have to pin in such a way that the neckline looks sort of like a keyhole neckline. This accomplishes two positive things and one negative. The positives are that I do not have to worry about my bra straps showing, and I do not have to worry too much about the odd stray hair (PCOS Stinks), however since this is not the original neckline it does tend to pouch out a bit looking weird. I tried to look up modifying necklines, I might have to see if there is such a thing as taking a dart out of a neckline. The only other major modification that I plan on making is to figure out the correct way to take in some of the width of my pant legs. I’m probably going to look at the Curvy Sewing Collective or similar sites. I understand that there are plenty of heavy people that carry their weight in the their thighs and legs (one of my friends and colleagues has this figure), however I carry mine in deposits on my back as well as an apron on my stomach. This means that I have rather shapely legs that are very lost in voluminous pant legs.

Okay, that is about it for the week. Knitting Socks, signing up for learning new skills, and trying to figure out a spring wardrobe. I am fortunate that I already have quite a few clothes, hopefully I can modify them to fit well with how I would like to present myself. I hope that everyone has an amazing week.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract.