Sunday, April 20, 2014

It started with a table

It started with a table. 

A few years ago, I decided to replace my kitchen table. I wanted a new one, and the chairs that came with the old table were wearing out.

I got the new table, but the charity that came to take the old table & chairs wouldn't take the table because one of the nuts that holds the top to the legs is seized, so the table is hard to transport.

I put the table in the former  spare room (which had been mostly empty since the bed was moved when Wanda moved in) and used it as a sewing table.

As you can see, it was hardly ideal for that purpose, and it takes up a lot of space. About a month ago, I decided it was time to get rid of it. I went online, and discovered that IKEA sells a shelf/desk combo that would be perfect.

Last week, I went and checked it out in person. The model had 8 compartments, but I was able to confirm the larger shelf (with 16 compartments) would work fine. I bought the pieces and brought it home.

That was Tuesday.

On Wednesday, it occurred to me that painting around the desk would be difficult. I'd either have to live with the paint that was on the walls, or paint before I put the desk together.

Since the boxes for the desk were sitting in the middle of the living room, there wasn't much room for procrastinating.  And we were about to go in to a long weekend where stores would be closed two out of three days.

I went on to the Benjamin Moore website and started looking at colours. I found a few I liked and started playing with their sample rooms. Specifically, I looked at how the colours looked on rooms with black furniture, since the desk I just bought was black. 

The winning colour was Tangelo, with French Vanilla trim. I bought the paint Thursday night.

Friday morning, I cleaned out the room and started to paint. I got two coats done on the ceiling and three on the trim (because the trim doesn't meet the ceiling, so I didn't need to wait for the ceiling to dry.)

Saturday morning I started on the walls. I got about 3/4 of a coat of primer done before Wanda got home from her exam. She helped me finish a second coat of primer and two of paint.

Today I cleaned up the newspaper and washed the floor, then I started on the desk. It was surprisingly easy to put together, although I did have to get Wanda to help me again.

I think the room looks pretty good.

Now all that's left is to put the rest of the stuff back in it.

Oh, and to get rid of that table.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Rag quilt

About a year and a half ago, my Pathfinders made pajamas.  There were some leftover flannel scraps, and I also made pajamas for a bunch of people that Christmas, so I had enough flannel that I needed to do something with it - but nothing big, because the pieces I had weren't big enough to do much with.

I decided to make a rag quilt.

First, I cut squares of flannel.  I also cut squares of polar fleece, because I had lots of scraps of that left from various projects.  I put one piece of fleece between two  pieces of flannel and sewed intersecting diagonal lines across the square. I kept the flannel the same on both sides for ease of assembly later.

I then assembled the squares into blocks of 4 squares.

Squares and blocks

I then cut the seams down, and assembled the blocks into rows. I had 6 rows of 5 blocks each.

I sewed the 6 rows together. Cue more seam trimming.

Quilt before binding

I couldn't leave the edge like that, but there was no way on earth I was going to trim it. My hand is bruised enough as it is. I decided to bind the edges.

A YouTube tutorial later, the binding was done. Here's the finished product from both sides.

Seam side down
Seam side up
Not bad for a bunch of fabric scraps.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Don't think about pink elephants

My boxing classes take place on the gallery above a pool run by the city. We all use the same change rooms.

Recently, two signs were posted in the change room. The first one prohibits the possession of any device capable of taking pictures, including cell phones.

You can imagine how well people comply with that one.

The second sign prohibits taking pictures in the change room. Despite the fact that it's much more reasonable, every time I see it, I want to take a picture of it.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Smart Alec

I'm a bit of a smart alec at the gym.

(Please ignore the chorus of people saying I'm a smart alec anywhere.)

Three days a week, I have an instructor who finds it amusing. It's a very joke-y class in general, and having fun distracts us from how hard we are working.

During Tuesday's class, we ended with a foam roller stretch. They look like Nerf toys, but they are very serious. You sit/lie/roll on the roller to release muscle tension - and, if you're me, you spend most of the session trying not to fall off. The theory is that if you find a place that hurts more than usual, you concentrate your efforts on that muscle.

Yes, it's just as fun as it sounds.

Anyway, that's when this happened:
Instructor: "and, if you find a place that's uncomfortable, just stay there."
Me: "With all due respect, that's terrible life advice."

He laughed.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Today would have been my Gitrandma's 95th birthday. She died almost 20 years ago, on Christmas Eve.

(When I was a kid, my cousins and I used to sing "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer". We didn't sing it that year.)

This improperly-scanned picture was taken in September of 1994. Grandma was sick, but she was just beginning to notice symptoms. 

The picture was taken the day we celebrated my grandparents' 55th anniversary.

Earlier that year, I spent a week out at the farm with them. I helped them paint the kitchen and shampoo the carpets, and while I was there Grandma and I went through some of her old pictures.

There was one of her mother, who had moved to New York State in the 30s and ended up driving a bus. There were pictures of their old horses - Grandpa knew exactly what horses they were. There were her wedding pictures, and she told me that she and Grandpa got married in the afternoon even though they couldn't eat before hand (because at the time, you couldn't eat at all before receiving communion). They couldn't get married in the morning, because if they did they'd have to feed their guests two meals, and they couldn't afford to do that. She had several pictures - a few where they looked nice, and one where the wind was blowing her veil and dress around.

We were planning to get them a clock with family picture on it for their anniversary, so I stealthily pocketed some of the pictures. I wasn't stealthy enough, because every time I stole the nice wedding picture, she found it and took it back.

The clock has the windy picture on it.

It might have been that visit when I asked her whether she was born in the morning or the afternoon (because of the whole April Fool's thing). She didn't know - in her day, she said, kids didn't ask those questions.

Happy birthday, Grandma. No fooling.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The plumbing post

Last ... well, let's say last fall - water started backing up out of the floor drain every time I did laundry.

I solved it by wearing shoes.

Well, maybe "solved" isn't really the word.

In December, I finally called a plumber, but things didn't fall into place until January.  He came, and realized he needed a bigger cable to snake the pipe, so he had to come back again.

He arrived again near the end of January and snaked the pipe, but it didn't work.  He said that it felt like the pipe narrowed outside of the house and I should call the city.

I didn't.

You see, the city would need access to the main clean-out pipe, and the people who'd owned the house before me put a handy wall in front of the clean-out pipe.  The wall needed to be modified, and I had camp, and then I was away, and then a friend was in town, and I just didn't have time to deal with it.

I continued wearing shoes, as that was a much easier solution.

As I mentioned, I cut a hole in the wall on the weekend, so Monday I called the city. 

They asked if I was going to be home for the next three hours. I said no, and they said I needed to call when I was going to be home for 3 hours - and I could call after hours, because they work then.

Yesterday, I got home from work by 5 and called, and they suggested I call back today because it wasn't an emergency. (It wasn't an emergency on Monday, either.)  She gave me the extension of the right department so I didn't have to call the general line.  I don't blame the woman I talked to yesterday - I was totally fine with calling back, but it would have been nice to get better information the first time.

This morning, I called the extension she gave me at 7:30, because that's when she had told me they opened. They called back at 9:45. On the bright side, they had someone here by noon.

He experimented and determined that the issue wasn't outside of the house - it was inside.

Despite the going in circles, this was good news - digging up a pipe sounds expensive. Before he left, he explained what kind of equipment was needed to fix this - basically, it's a snake with a blade on the end.

(Um, plumbing snake, not a live snake. That would be both scary and ineffective.)

I emailed plumber #1 and he said he didn't have the right equipment. He suggested plumber #2. I called plumber #2. He arrived at 5:45 and left at 6:45.

It's fixed.

I'm totally doing laundry in my socks this weekend.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Getting things done

As much fun as the cruise was, there was one part I didn't enjoy.  The day after we were in Mexico, my sinuses went into overdrive.  The nasty side-effect was that I started coughing. It was a terrible-sounding cough - which is not fun when you're in public places.

Or any other time, really.

I got back and gave it a couple of weeks. It didn't improve.

I googled it, and found out that dairy can make it worse, so I cut out my morning yogurt. That was about 2.5 weeks ago.

Yesterday I started feeling better.  I can breathe normally, and I cough a lot less.

As a result, I got a lot done this weekend.  Nothing too exciting - cut a hole in a wall to get at the plumbing clean out (more on that later), put up some hooks that fell down in ... September, I think? Made buns. Flipped the mattress on my bed (and, coincidentally, found a sock in the pillow case I was taking off the bed and a dishcloth in the sheet I was putting on the bed).

Little things, mostly, that I haven't gotten around to doing in a while.

It was a good weekend.