I spend a third of my life at work…

So why wouldn’t I want to look at something beautiful during that time? 

I’ve been working on this project off and on for a couple of weeks. Let’s just say, I’ve never used Mod Podge and it’s been interesting – and sticky! πŸ™‚

It’s going to be a new telephone riser. My office gave me one of those black metal ones to use, but it was just slightly narrower than my laptop, which went under, that it was a small annoyance each day. (Was able to give it to someone else who wanted one, so no waste.) I also have a desk doohickey that allows me to sit or stand, so I wanted one that was a bit taller than the normal 4″ or so.

Here’s the item I started with, a very cookie-cutter white box: 

cookie-cutter white organization cube


Here it is assembled the way I’ve decided to configure it: 

modified!

I’ve trimmed the backboard so the bottom section is open (computer dock and cords will be going in there), and won’t be using the bottom shelf and one vertical divider.  To keep the backboard up, instead of following the force of gravity, I filled in the grooves below it.

I’ve also filled in some of the other grooves; those won’t be used and since the inside of the grooves is dark brown MDF color, they were a visual distraction. Here I used caulk, but it shrank and cracked in a very ugly way, so I later filled right over with drywall compound. 

I’m pretty much at figuring out where I can use an aerosol spray sealer in my house (um, it’s 19Β° and -1Β° windchill right now – not going outside).

More later!

Fitting V9040

This is cut to the length for View C, which, while normally not quite long enough for a robe for me (I like them to the ankle), will do for this one. I was planning to add a tier, but the swishiness equals weightiness, so I’ll be leaving it. I used 3/8″ seams on the back pieces, and 1/2″ on the sides, as well as leaving out the front waist darts, but it’s otherwise a straight 14. 

 

Front, with those lovely pockets!

  

Swishy skirts mean plenty of room for the junk πŸ˜‰

 
The shoulders will need to come in a bit for the coat, and a bit of extra ease added at the bust and waist for it to go easily over layers, but I think fitting this is coming along.

More coat/robe progress

Vogue 9040 has such a cool way to do the pockets! They end up in a horizontal seam at the waist. The tricky part is being very precise with where you end your stitching lines. 

 

Left hip pocket

  

Left fronts sewn together, with the pocket formed

  

My “secret” birdies inside the pockets!

 

Winter coat, part uno

I hope you all had a great new year! In the 2016, I’ve decided I shouldn’t wait until projects are finished to blog about them. πŸ™‚

Although I’ve had the materials for a good while, I haven’t had a lot of sewing time lately, and plus it hasn’t been that cold until very recently. 
With the new cold snap, and more potential for actual winter weather coming, plus feeling very inspired by Debbie’s (of Lily Sage and Co) stunning winter coat, I’ve started a  winter coat. I’ve been cutting pattern pieces this afternoon, and will be making a lengthened version of the coat out of fleece initially. It’s not quite the same hand as the lovely wool blend I’ll make the actual coat out of, but I think it’ll give me enough sense of the fitting changes I’ll need, plus, since it’ll be extra long – I’ll get a bathrobe out of it!

 

the bathrobe fleece

 
Obviously, I won’t go through the trouble of facings, linings, and trim, on the robe, so hopefully it’ll be a fairly quick make, but it will give me a good start. I’ll be using Vogue 9040, View C, for the coat (lengthened to the ankle for the fleece muslin). There’ll be some special touches to come for the coat as well, but I’ll share those later.

Readying for cold weather

Hmm I really do need to get back to sewing too, but some things are just easier and more enjoyable to do when the weather is still reasonable! (Although I do still have a cut-out-ready-to-try pair of pants on the sewing table waiting for me.)

This year the hubs & I are going to try our hand at having some produce in the garden overwinter. After a bit of research, we hit the local Home Depot for a pile o’PVC. 

1/2 -inch PVC

We also got 1/2″ rebar in two-foot lengths. Luckily, most of them were not bent much, and didn’t have a lot rough edges sticking out – there was just enough room inside the PVC for the rebar! – although we did end up having to use a ten-pound sledge on one to smooth it out a bit.

We hammered the rebar into the ground, then used those stakes to prop the PVC.

the hunk of wood didn’t take well to the hammer

 

Sliding a PVC pipe over one rebar, bending it over to other side and sliding it onto the opposite rebar gave us hoops. Adding a cross piece gives structural stability as well, and that was attached with zip ties. It’s too warm yet to put any plastic or garden cloth over the hoops (that is not a complaint, Mother Nature!!), but they are ready when it’s time. 

hoops, hoops, and more hoops

 

The further garden (Blair Block) has kohlrabi and garlic, the closer one (Squish Square) is full of young beets. It sounds like you can’t really start plants in the cold – at least outside – but you supposedly can at least keep the existing ones happy enough. It’s a first try for us, so we’ll see how it goes.

PS You can kind of see Martina at the far right – full of kale seedlings. We’ll be trying floating row covers on that bed, and assuming that the groundhogs won’t be around to get the hog’s share like they did this summer!

For Julia

Ok, ok, I’m posting! πŸ™‚ Warning, photo heavy.

So Joaquin has been upgraded to a hurricane and is supposed/likely to bring some pretty fierce rain this coming weekend. Seems like a good weekend to tuck in with indoor stuff. So tonight, I prepared.

No, I didn’t hit the grocery and ransack the milk, bread, and toilet paper aisles. (Hubby made a Costco run this past weekend, so we’re pretty well stocked.) 

A few things made the evening list.

  1. Postpone clothing donation pickup in case Friday is bad.
  2. Call my sister to reassure her that so far all is well with the weather.
  3. Run sprints in the backyard with Maxtla. Since I didn’t get home from work til close to sunset, these were kind of in the dark, but not too bad. I was nearly immediately ready to change my mind but he was having too much fun. We did it again a little later too.
  4. FINALLY mix up a batch of soil blocking mix. This was solidly in the dark. We have a motion sensor back porch light, and I used a headlamp. I’ve decided I cannot further convince the neighbors I am crazy: 

    Headlamp halo

     

Yeah, changed into grungies and started making block mix, in the dark; what can I say? It’s remarkably like mixing up dough ingredients, but with some of the ingredients measured in buckets full, instead of cups and spoons.  

the soil measure

  

soil, peat, & compost

  

next, blood meal, lime, greensand, & rock phosphate

  

I didn’t think it was as appetizing as Maxtla did.

  

Unmixed bits kept turning up (ha) as I dug and stirred and folded (er is that too “kitchen” a term? same movement though.)

  

Maxtla is a very patient pup, most of the time. We did sprints after I noticed him sitting so forlornly! I think he forgave me.

  

This is looking really homogenous.

  

During the sprints, we got sidetracked. I remembered some raspberries were soon to be ripe, so I picked them. 6 1/2, biggest haul yet! (Scruff planted it this summer.)

  

The raspberries were guarded.

  

Ok! 7-8 gallons of soil block mix, ready to go – hope the pickle smell doesn’t stick too long. But the bucket $$ goes to a good cause.

 
But in any case, the soil blocking mix is now ready. So this weekend – blocks! I’ll try them with micro greens now, up in my lovely IKEA containers, and vegetables in the spring.I also have a pair of pants that have cut out ready to sew for what feels like ages. Hopefully I’ll get to start those as well!

PS It’s my turn to bring breakfast tomorrow for our team’s weekly meeting. Better go decide what to make now!!

Whew

Finally managed to reset my password. You know how sometimes you have a small task that you just never seem to get around to? 

My phone WordPress app managed to forget my password somehow, and that’s where I primarily write & post from… so I’ve finally dug out the ol’ password from my files and gotten it reset and ready to go.

I’ve finished some projects (sister’s 50th anniversary dress for one), started others, and basically have a bunch of things to blog-catch-up on.

In the meantime, I’ve been obsessed with the frogs growing up in our backyard whiskey barrel lily pond!

Parent:   

One of the babies: 

“Women can’t drive those!”

Sunday I packed up LME and drove to my sister’s in North Carolina for our birthday. It’s not a huge trip by any means, but it’s the longest I’ve done – approximately 325 miles each way – and I got back this afternoon.

  (Lisa is telling the dogs to get back in the yard, but it still ended up the best of the pics. Very sunny & we were squinty.)

I haven’t done much other than the occasional commute recently, so I wasn’t sure how tiring it would be. I definitely took  a wind beating – LME is a stock Triumph Bonneville 2014, so no wind protection at all. I way underestimated how 8+ hours of that would feel, LOL, and according to my sister, as soon as my head hit the pillow at her house, I was OUT. 

First lesson: I definitely need to strengthen my arms – forearms some, but amazingly, my triceps are the most sore! (I mean, yes, my butt hurts after 16/17 hours on a motorcycle this weekend, but it’s the same as a sore overworked muscle.)

On the plus side, tomorrow is Day 1 of the July kettlebell swing challenge – so even though it’s not really an arm workout, they’ll get some work just holding The Harpy (27#). I’ll also be doing some extra work on the pull up bar (with assistance bands) so between those, hopefully the next long trip will be easier. 

Second lesson: some ideas just need to die. Not motorcycle riding, LOL; it actually was a great trip and in spite of the exhaustion and portended-and-overly-prepped-for-but-thankfully-nonappearing rain, it still ended up being a good idea in the light of day (unlike some other 2 am decisions). But in 2015… There I was at a gas pump just finishing filling the tank, and a gentleman walked over commenting on the bike. He literally jumped a little when he recognized I was female and said “women can’t drive those!”. His shock was so genuine, I played it off like a joke (because, really, there I was riding it). But it occurred to me he might actually believe that, which is more what astonished me.

Heads up, sir, not only do women drive motorcycles, the first woman to cross the United States on a motorcycle did so in 1915 (with her mother, no less). 1915!

In the pits

Apologies for not getting a post up on Tuesday this week. It’s been just a little crazy lately. I’m getting better at managing the timing so please be patient with me! πŸ™‚  

Caroline, a colleague, had told me several times about U-picking at Homestead Farm, but I never quite made it to pick. About a week or so ago, the topic came up again on Skype chat, and she mentioned she was planning to pick tart cherries that weekend.
My ears of course perked right up, and Caroline graciously let me invite myself along (thanks, Caroline!). I adore cherries of nearly any kind except maraschino, which really? Dyed? Anyway….  

 I hadn’t ever actually seen cherries on trees that I recall either, but I was not disappointed in their gorgeousness:

 Montmorency:          

And Jubileum: 

We spent nearly two and a half hours, and I picked about 17 pounds of cherries!! (Caroline stayed after and also picked blueberries, so I’m not sure how much her box full ended up being.) I neglected to take a photo of the full containers, but if you look at the pic above with me in it, it’s two of the containers I’m holding, plus two additional that are slightly smaller. The darker cherries are semi-tart, and called Jubileum. The brighter ones are very tart, and are Montmorency. There was a third variety as well, but I don’t think I ended up with any of them.

I’m not 100% sure what I’ll do with them yet. In the meantime, I’ve pitted and frozen them. Pitting 17 pounds took nearly as long as picking 17 pounds did!

  
Can you kinda see the juice in the bottom of the pit jar? I strained that into a glass and topped with soda water. No, I did not pay close enough attention, and even though I only got the glass about half full of soda water, adding soda water to other things often results in a minor volcanology modeling; pink fizz went all over the counter, but the remainder of the glass was the best cherry soda ever!

Tomorrow morning I’m off to North Carolina to celebrate my birthday with my twin sister. (As long as the weather holds, I’ll be taking off on LME. Whee!) The cherry pits are soaking, and my husband will drain them and spread them out on a baking sheet to dr for me, so I can figure out what’s next when I get back. I’ll be googling how to make those cherry-pit microwave heat packs – there’re definitely enough pits to make a small one, but I also definitely don’t want rotten pits. I’ve heard they keep the heat longer/better than rice bags, but wow are they expensive in the store, so I haven’t tried one. Now, how can I not try, with free pits? πŸ™‚