Sunday, March 02, 2014

More Adventures in Home Improvement

About a week and a half ago the light burned out in the ceiling fan in the craft room. Needless to say, light is pretty important in the craft room, so I ran out and bought a new ($10 halogen) light bulb, and it still didn't work.  After a new battery in the remote and a bit of experimenting, I concluded that the receiver needed replacement.  However, I really hate that ceiling fan.  It is a 52" fan in a small bedroom, the light always flickers, it takes a stupid lightbulb, and doesn't give off a lot of light.  Also, it's a very contemporary design in my early-20th century arts-and-crafts house.

And...while investigating the situation, I found this:

I am not convinced this is the best way to install a ceiling fan.  Neither is my Home Improvement book from Home Depot.   I decided that this was the ideal time to ditch the old guy and get something more appropriate.

(Also, note the highly-stripped screws.  Thankfully, removing them wasn't a big deal.)

And an appropriate box:
Much better.  Ahh.  Messy, but closer to code.

And the finished product.  More appropriate style and size, and three non-halogen 60-watt bulbs.  And no stupid remote to eat 9v batteries!

I went looking for a white lamp, but decided I liked this one so much better than the white option.  Oh well.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

How do Those House Makeover Shows Do It?

Over my Thanksgiving break, I used the time to turn my second bedroom into a functional craft room.  It had turned into a gigantic walk-in closet of crap, and I wasn't able to use it for anything.  It's not a huge room, but it's ample and should be room enough to get some use out of it.  One corner is Sadie's crate and pen, but the rest was up for a change.

Before: I have nothing to say about this.  It was just a mess, although the panoramic view makes it look worse.

After:  Much improved!

Click to make big enough to see the numbers...

1:  The bookshelf that used to be back by the window.  Now it blocks off Sadie's space from the rest of the room, and creates a little nook where I can put the spinning wheel when I want to spin.

2: Ott floor lamp.  Hoorah for good lighting!  Very important in a craft room.

3: A few things behind the new Ikea bookshelf, the carrying bag for the spinning wheel and an extra large ball-winder.

4: yarn, yarn, and more yarn.  There's more under the bed.

4*: sweater quantities of yarn in bins on top of the bookshelf.

5:  Crates that have been modified with solid bottoms and casters that nest.  These were made by Paul for Janet (per Janet's instructions.)  They're filled with fiber, as they were when they were in Janet's studio.

6:  Janet's spinning wheel.

7: This is, I think, a microwave cart.  It's eligible for upgrade in the future, but does a fine job right now of holding spinning and weaving equipment.

8:  Another item that's subject to upgrade, but is working for now.  It's home to general craft supplies and sewing stuff.

9:  This is a table from Ikea that is sold as a dining table, but is a perfect craft table.  I put felt pads on the feet so it can move around easily, without the added height of casters.  It has six drawers and two gateleg leaves.  When both sides are up it is big enough for cutting out fabric, or blocking sweaters.

10: And the best part of the whole thing -- Grandma's sewing machine has a home that isn't the basement.  Or the floor in the dining room.

The desk is cleaned off enough to use, but I didn't include it in the picture.  It's not perfect, but I think "usable" is a valid goal, which I achieved.

I still have a few pieces in the dining room that need to get moved, but for the most part, the dining room is no longer the craft room.  Next steps: organize/straighten up the dining room and make it look less like another storage closet.

Another thing I'd like to note: the Ikea bookshelf actually has leveling feet, which is important in an off-kilter house like mine.  I'm so glad.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fit to Flatter and Revelations!

I'm a long-time listener of the Stash and Burn podcast.  I'm not always current, but I do listen eventually.  In episode 127 Nicole interviewed the author of a new book, Fit to Flatter, Amy Herzog.  It was an interesting interview, and Amy also talked about her new Craftsy class of the same title.  I pretty much bought it right away, and I must say it's been quite a learning experience.  I plan on buying the book shortly.

I feel like I've always understood the math and construction techniques needed to adjust sweaters to fit, but I've not quite known what those adjustments should be for myself.  I certainly have resisted the need for waist shaping (as I am nearly as straight as a person can be) with a fair dose of animosity towards those preaching in the Church of Waist Shaping, as they nearly always have a lovely hourglass shape.  Amy preaches waist shaping, but recognizes that not everyone has a waist and makes recommendations that are realistic and practical for me.  Also, Amy's approach to picking a size and making adjustments from there has been something of a revelation to me, although it makes perfect sense and I'm not sure why I wouldn't have thought of it before.

I'm very excited to knit a sweater with this new information, although I do have a few in progress already.  My question is: do I knit a completely fresh sweater?  Do I rip out one that I never wear and fix it?  I'm not sure which is more compelling.  Using stash is a good thing, but so is using a sweater that is languishing as moth food in the back of my closet.


BTW, I have enjoyed the two Craftsy classes I've taken.  I like the format and support materials around them.  I am not a person who needs a lot of teacher-student interaction, so for me these are almost as good as a class taken at Stitches or the like.  They have some very good teachers providing the classes now as well, and I highly recommend them especially for classes that you will not have access to in real life any time soon.  For example, someday I will take Shirley Paden's class on sweater design.  I don't think she's ever come to Stitches Midwest (my main source of knitting classes) and Craftsy is cheaper anyway.  Win - win.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Neither Fast Nor Easy

I'd put this on Facebook,  but most friends wouldn't understand.
After nearly finishing the body of this sweater I realized that I made a mistake when dividing for the sleeves.  Instead of ripping it out, or leaving it alone, I pulled out the two rows where the mistake happened, and now I'm grafting it back together.  Yes, this is a row of seed stitch I'm putting in.  I'm not sure which would have been faster: this way or just re-knitting.  This is a pain!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Be the Match!

Do you know how easy it is to be a bone marrow doner these days?  I didn't, until a co-worker's son did it, and I learned all about it.  Waning are the days of painful injections into your hip bone.  Now it's more like a mega-blood donation.  No sedation!

Also, it's super easy to get on the registry.  Just go to, and give them some information.  If you qualify, they send you a kit and you send them back some cheek DNA.

Here's my kit, ready to send back.

It was easy too.  Just swab the inside of your mouth, put a bar code label on the stick, and secure it in the foam bit.  Then do the next one.  It was kind of like a little craft project, and you all know how I love craft projects!

Go!  Do it now!  It's really such a small inconvenience to save someone's life.  I hope I get a call.