Monday, January 12, 2015

TIme Elapsed

So the end of 2014 really wiped me out. I ended up with three rolling and simultaneous work deadlines, a fairly heavy load of knitting, none of which was for me, and a harebrained idea that I had to fix up a vintage dollhouse by Christmas Eve. It was already somewhat painted on the inside, so those are the surfaces I touched. I didn't mess with any of the natural wood. It turned out really cute, and hasn't looked this orderly since December 25. The studio is nowhere near "finished," but it's mostly functioning. I haven't had the time to spruce it up or fully organize it, but it was great to have a place to stash and work on Christmas gifts. I really need to order a space heater though. Winter has unmistakably arrived. It's definitely taken a while to get back the desire to be creative and to write and to do anything in my spare time but sleep.

This weekend though, I cast on a new pair of socks from the wonderful and slightly over my head Sock Architecture (affiliate link) book by Lara Neel. I did the long wedge toe based on the exercises in the beginning of the book, and I already like the fit much better than my first pair. I also finished knitting the two fronts of my Bleecker Street Cardigan, and I even ripped out and redid both of the sleeve caps. I've been putting off that rip for months, but I was just in the right headspace to sit down and do it. I'm glad I did. There was another mistake aside from the one I ripped for, so re-knitting made the whole thing assemble much more easily. Which it is now, mostly. I'm just attaching the neckband, and then I'll be starting the ribbing along the bottom where I left the provisional cast on. I ended up with just shy of three balls of yarn left. I won't use it all. I'll rib till I get bored or I feel like it's long enough. Then I'll block - it's curly as hell - and photograph the finished object. I can't wait to wear it. It's been so cold here.

As for me and the blog in 2015? I don't know. I haven't felt much in the mood for twice weekly updates, so I just stopped. I'd rather post nothing than post nonsense for the sake of it, you know? I feel both inspired and overwhelmed by the resolution or goal or theme of the year posts I've read elsewhere. Part of me would love to say "I'm going to knit a pair of socks a month!" and the other part of me is like, well, good luck with that, not going to happen. I guess my main goal for the year is to roll with it. I want to be kind to myself and not set myself up for disappointment. Realistically all of this is my hobby. I was feeling pretty burned out by knitting for my Etsy shop this holiday, so for now I think I'm just going to stop. I took down all the custom listings right before the holiday order deadline, but not before I over-committed myself. I'm not going to shut the shop down altogether, but I think I'm going to take it in another direction, as the mood strikes. No definite plans to share right now, I'm going to do it more as I'm moved to. I'd forgotten how nice it was to knit for me, so I'm glad I had this weekend to rediscover it. I knit about 21 things (mostly PAIRS of things) for Etsy sales last year, and just 12 for my nearest and dearest. For now, I'm hanging up my commission knitting hat, no pun intended. Perhaps selfish is my 2015 theme. Or taking care of the home front. It's actually not as bad as it sounds - part of what's been on MY list and gotten pushed down a lot is knitting newborn and preemie hats for local hospitals, and I just haven't had the time to do it. Perhaps as soon as I cast off my sweater, I'll cast on a little hat. Yes, I think that feels right.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Holiday Gifts!

Hi everyone! My brain is getting altogether scrambled with alternating deadlines every week at work, which is leaving little time or desire for blogging, but I wanted to pop in with a couple of announcements.

First of all, the USPS has released the holiday shipping deadlines!

Given this, I've updated the information for my Etsy shop.


Need it by Christmas? The USPS shipping deadline for Christmas delivery is December 20. My made to order items (most of the knitted things!) have a 2 week lead time, so the order deadline for MADE TO ORDER is SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6. If you are ordering "READY TO SHIP" items (this will be noted in the item title), the deadline is THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18. Thanks so much for your understanding!

I'm busily knitting away on a couple of current orders, and I'm getting down to just a few things that are ready to ship! So no pressure or anything, but if you were planning to place an order for Christmas, the deadline is fast approaching!

And on that same note, I've been featured in a holiday gift guide! How cool! Thanks Suzanne!

Anyway, I'm hoping my brain recovers from all this work soon, but I don't really expect much before the new year!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Renting a Rug Doctor

My very first job was at the local Pick N Save grocery store. I was a cashier and service desk clerk, and I worked there for....3 years I think? Over that time, one of my responsibilities was to help people rent that little red carpet scrubber machine....and now (a bunch of) years later, I'm the one making the rental.

Honestly I'd never given it much thought. I don't remember my parents ever using one of these in the house I grew up in, and later on they built a house and had a crew come in and scrub everything from time to time. I DO know that on the day I rented the Rug Doctor, I was in a really foul mood. You see, I'd finally picked out a rug for the "den" area of my remodeled studio. ((link to rug) When it arrived, I wasn't certain it was the ONE, but I spread it out thinking I'd either get used to it or I'd return it.

However.....disaster soon struck.

All of those white spots are the result of an unhappy cat - not sure if it was unhappy bowels, attitude or both. This discovery made ME so unhappy I couldn't deal with it, so my husband did, and he was rather aggressive on the Resolve and not so much on the rinsing, so those white spots are not only discolored, but also rather crusty. I went down several times with a bucket of water and a scrub brush, and this was as good as I could get. I thought maybe it was actually bleached, but I decided to give it one more chance with a heavy duty scrubber, and re-evaluate my options after.

I got the medium sized bottle of the Oxy-Steam Carpet Cleaner solution (I opted against the pet formula because the pet portion of the stain was already gone. I also opted against the upgrade version of Oxy-Steam because it was bigger and I didn't need that much, and I was already irritated about having to spend any money on this in the first place.) My total cost was $50, including a $10 deposit. Operation was pretty simple. It was easy to remove the whitish reservoir to put in the diluted solution, and it wasn't heavy at all to pull. It operates by pushing a button to get the water and scrubbers going while you pull it backward. If you don't push the button, it runs as a heavy duty vacuum. One thing I'll say is that if you're doing a rug, you need another person to stand on the edge so the whole thing doesn't get pulled back into the vacuum, which has pretty strong suction. Obviously this isn't an issue with carpeting which is attached to the floor! I also had quite a lot of excess water, even after going over it a few times with just the vacuum function, so I ended up laying it out on the concrete portion of the basement to dry so as not to cause the vinyl flooring to pop up with all that moisture sitting on it. I also draped it over a coffee table to get some air to the underside after a day or two.

The results?

I'd give it a solid "decent." With the comparison of the before and after photos, you can still see the outline of the original stain. Everything feels the same texture now - no more crusty spots - and it's not quite so obvious in person where the problem areas are. Part of the issue honestly is probably the rug itself. It's viscose, and has both sheen and direction to it. It's sort of like microfiber in that you can rub your hand on it one way or the other and see its path. I'm hoping that both with regular vacuuming and a coffee table in the middle (you can see one of its bright footprint on the upper right above, which also demonstrates that this rug shows tracks if you breathe on it), that the rug will be ok in the basement studio. If I had endless money, I'd replace it with something else, but I don't, so I can at least rest in the fact that it's definitely CLEAN, even if it doesn't look perfect. I also wouldn't buy a viscose rug again. This is just NOT a "messy person" friendly material.

To sum up - Rug Doctor = I'd use it again if I had to, but I hope I don't have to! Viscose rug = not thrilled, wouldn't buy again.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It may not be pretty

...but at least I'm moving.

Slowly, slowly, I'm staining, painting, polying. My usual problem with painted/poly-ed surfaces is that I get too impatient and don't allow enough drying time between coats, resulting in a sticky surface. That won't be a problem this time! I can basically get a coat on something every couple of days....and I'm sure it's about a week by the time I get back around to the beginning.

It's a good thing I'm in the mood (sort of) for painting. I keep turning around and finding spots like this that I just straight up missed when I had this color out for touch ups.

I rented a carpet scrubber to try to solve the unspeakable horrors done to my rug. The jury is still out on whether or not it worked - it's taking a long time to dry despite dehumidifiers and fans pointed in its direction. An afternoon rest outside caused, well, a frozen rug. I did learn that you can't JUST shampoo the middle part of the rug where the nonsense happened. As it started to dry, there was a definite visible line where I'd scrubbed and where I didn't. Luckily I'd prepared for such a thing and had enough time to RE-scrub before returning the machine. Long story short....I don't recommend a viscose rug. I'm not sure anyone will ever be allowed to touch it if it comes out of all this looking ok.

As I have absolutely nothing finished to show you, I'll leave you with this. What is wrong with the world. The My Little Ponys of my day were nowhere near this terrifying. Or....vertical. I'm so confused.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

making progress like molasses

I don't know what it is, but I am in a capital F-Funk.

Everything I'd like to do seems to be preceded by a whole bunch of other tasks, some of which I want to do, some I really don't, and others I'm not sure if I can.

I want to do more sewing to both grow my shop offerings and to make a bunch of personal things I have in the queue. To do that, I need to finish the sewing studio. To do that, I need to finish the cutting table. To do that, I need to assemble it. To do that, I need to finish painting the bases so that I can attach and stain the top. I've managed to get exactly one coat of paint on one of the cutting table bases. I'll need at least two coats of paint, and another coat or two of poly. That single coat took forever. Even mother nature was laughing at me as she rained down falling leaves into my wet paint, and now it's too cold outside to even finish the job.

So to do that, I need to clear space in the studio itself, but it has inexplicably become overrun with toys as well as all my junk because I haven't finished out the shelving yet, so I have nowhere to put anything. To do that, I need to figure out what to do about the rug so that I can face being down there. (I finally ordered a rug several weeks ago. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, so I was trying to get used to it. In the meantime, the cat had several large disgusting incidents all over it. My husband tried to clean it up, but used way too much cleaner and way not enough rinsing. I've tried scrubbing at it with water several times, but I fear the whole thing may be ruined, which really pisses me off. Last ditch effort may be renting carpet scrubber to try to fix it. And probably drinking a bottle of wine to take the edge off.) To stop this from happening again, I need to actually HANG the door that I purchased to prevent it in the first place. To do that, my husband needs to modify the door. I don't feel like I can do this myself because he started modifying the frame, and I expect he had a correlating plan to do the door the same way. So all that being said....I just feel stuck. I feel like there are just too many things, and they all feel overwhelming.

I'd like to be on top of the laundry situation because not being on my game is spiraling out of control over the rest of the house.. To do that, I need to clean out the laundry room which is currently filled with both scraps of and full sheets of drywall. I can't physically move the 4x8 sheets by myself (probably), so instead I just get frustrated that they are in my way. I'd like to move them into the garage, but to do that I need to either organize it or face the fact that no, we will not be parking a car in there this winter. All of this basement/laundry disorganization prevents me from other issues, like storage of outgrown clothing, what else can or should be moved to the studio from the former office/now playroom. There's this crazy domino effect, and I seem to be the only person bothered by it. But I feel like it's more than I can tackle on my own. I'm not great at asking for help. Maybe it's because I have this insane rolling list in my mind (yes, even more than I've outlined here!). There's an order that I feel things need to be completed, and I think I'm just crap at communicating said order. Plus it's not like time is this unlimited thing, and my timeline never seems to align with those of the people I need help from.

Usually I can get out of this sort of cycle by just writing things down, or talking it out or something. But it's not working for me this time. This time I just feel overwhelmed. Rather than feeling motivated by my list, I feel sort of crippled by it. 

So I feel stuck. And in a funk. And altogether crabby about it.