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!