Working Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Today, I am going to work on my internet which is, uh, intermittent.  Also cleaning up outside because we have another mega-storm heading our way on the weekend.  One damn thing after another.  Then I’m going to make a fire in the fireplace and bake some pumpkin cupcakes.

What’s on your Make-It List?  Better yet, what did you make this week?

64 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, October 24, 2018

  1. This week it appears I really am going to finish novella #18. It’s been a little tricky because it is set earlier than any of the other stories in the series, and introduces five characters who are important throughout the series, one of whom has his own stand-alone story. So at a certain point I had to stick it in the freezer with the gin, and go fix my timeline (now 2003-2018 and with going on a hundred characters, and dozens of events, good grief, or should I say ARGH).

    Fun problems to have. 🙂

  2. Done with Special Olympics today. Oldest child made his first basket! And then proceeded to do a bunch in a row! And then did none when the actual camera was on him 😉
    It’s okay, I’d rather experience it than take a picture of it. I feel like after 3 consecutive weeks he now gets what’s going on. He grabbed the basketball and was trying to make shots even when it wasn’t his turn. I’m glad we have two visits.

    No cookie making today (chocolate spritz are already made and stashed in the freezer), but perhaps a run. My parents are coming, so I think I’m going to focus on cleaning before they get here and then they can bond with grandsons while I run.

  3. This past week, with no familial obligations (October being a big birthday month in this family), I gave myself permission to be a quilter. I took off work for an afternoon and quilted the blue bargello quilt top that had been lying around. I then bound it over the next two days. I also put some borders on a panel with puppies, and got that quilted on Saturday. After I bind it, it will probably be gifted as a baby quilt for one of two upcoming greats. And yesterday, I went back to the longarm shop and donated and quilted a baby quilt for Quilts of Compassion, which tries to provide quilts to people in areas hit by disaster.

    I spent Saturday afternoon and Sunday working on a new pattern – Hazel the Hedgehog – which will be another child’s quilt. The pattern allows for putting glasses on at least one of the hedgies, so I’m at the point where I need to decide. Any votes?

    I did pick up my entries after the end of the State Fair, and read the comments. I’m dismissing the one that criticized the quilt for having the backing fabric not be harmonious with the front. I think the giant polka dots behind the quilt with swiss dots was perfectly fine for what I wanted it to be. It’s for my sister who loves polka dots, and I wanted to give her all that I could. (no, I’m not bitter at all!)

    I’ve been keeping up with a crochet-along blanket, which started joining the pieces this morning, and getting to the end of the crochet wrap. I’ll post a picture of that when it’s done, but it’s looking good so far.

    So, a pretty productive week, as far as crafts go. Also making strides with the domestication of Stanley the stray cat. We’re bringing him inside most every evening, and he sleeps leaned up against me on the bed. It’s probably time for me to get him a collar and register his microchip (he had one, but no one had ever filled in who he belonged to). He’s got the softest fur, and really great manners. He purrs all the time. We just need to know that he knows how to use the litter box inside, and stop wanting to go outside. Friday, when it’s a cold miserable, rainy day, he may be incentivized to stay indoors.

    1. Argh. Judges’ comments. I once got a comment about my corners not being square, and the edges ruffling a bit, except that when it was laid out flat on the floor, they were square and there was no ruffling. Something about how it had hung in the show (not by me) had caused the apparent distortions, I think.

      1. My favorite judge’s comment was pointing out that a skirt I designed (looks like the logo for Welcome to Desert Bluffs), well, the sun is positioned RIGHT at what turned out to be the crotch while wearing it. I just laughed. Can’t argue with that.

        When I was in design school I got marked off for having “too large” detaching zippers on my pants. I said I don’t drive and had limited shopping options and what was I supposed to do, go to Britex in SF? And the TA was all “Yes.” Oh, come ON.

    2. I have this hedgehog pattern (and her rabbits) but haven’t tried it yet. I vote the dark blue one gets glasses.

  4. Pix from the Great Scrap Basket Clean-out of 2018 are posted to #workingwednesdaypix here:

    Three-plus days of sorting (the basket is empty now, although a lot of its contents were simply sorted by color and added to the appropriate fabric bin, but at least the visible clutter is gone now) and making little quilts — nine pieced (many of the units within the quilts were pieced and just needed to be laid out and joined, or else extremely simple blocks were made from the scraps, four-patches or simple nine-patches or log cabin variations), at least two more made into “kits” to finish later, and some of the tops have pieced backs as well. I’ll post individual pictures as they’re finished. Which may be a while down the road after my quiltmaking marathon.

  5. I’m firing the gas kiln this weekend, so will be working on glazing today (pottery, if that’s not clear). But first, I have to find my way out from under this warm pile of dogs.

  6. After a long gap, I’ve finally posted a Working Wednesday pic ( I went exploring up a side valley from Lake Vyrnwy on Monday, as part of a long-term project. Managed (just) to find my way, and didn’t end up in the water, as I did when I explored the same valley from the opposite direction a year ago.

    Went exploring with my camera again this afternoon (same project), and found some promising spots to revisit nearer home. They’re threatening a cold spell from Friday, so I’ve been keen to enjoy the warmth while it’s here.

    Finished another freelance job today; need to chase harder for a follow-on. But I’ve been busy going through the paperwork for my house purchase; waiting again now on answers to queries – although there was quite a lot of good news: the windows and roof have been replaced in the last few years, for example. Also researching what I’ll need to buy and the work I’ll need to do if/when it goes through.

  7. Getting my newfound love of sweaters in perspective.

    In anticipation of winter, bought some new cotton sweaters the other day. Super warm ones. Not usually a big fan of sweaters because they tend to be bulky and heavy, but these are light and fab. So fab I went back and bought more. Now that I’ve run out of room for any more for me, I’ve been trying to convince hubby to get some for him, too. Once I’ve filled up his closet, no doubt I’ll be trying to get my son to expand his collection. Did I mention they’re really fab & comfy?…Think I’m making some good headway on this perspective thing:)

      1. Lol. This is when I need an Instagram page:) Tried to get links but no go, so in lieu will say also good deal on sale at J Crew factory outlet. 100% cotton, various styles but totally rocking the cowl neck ones in pink and white and the V-necks in grey. Super soft and loose. Pretty sure these with leggings will be my official winter outfit;)

  8. There are quite a few good vegetarian pre-made fresh foods sold here. I buy things like pasta or couscous salads or grilled veggies.

    I’m buying more than I think I am. It’s a dent in my savings that I don’t need. So I am trying my hand at making them at home. First up was Greek pasta salad with halloumi instead of feta.

    Home cooking and slow cooking are good for me, but I realise how ablelist it is to scoff at pre-made, or peeled-and-cut products. People don’t have the capacity for some of the tasks. Or, as the idea for units of energy is – spoons. Some days I don’t. So I need to get myself better organized when I do have the time and energy.

  9. All the mundane stuff as well as blowing the dust off a solid draft and seeing what I can see. Even if it feels like I can’t write, doesn’t mean I’m right.

  10. I made lunch.

    LOL, I help cook for our local school booster group that meets each Wednesday. Today was our turn. Oven-baked parmesan pork chops, cheesy potato casserole, green beans, salad, rolls, and dessert. All YUMMMMM! And leftovers for supper.

    I’ve also been working on quilting and machine embroidery. I’m taking a ME class, and I’m a bit behind. But on Saturday and Sunday, I sat and played catch-up. Just a few more to do to be all caught up.

  11. I made an instagram page! (nancyyeagerauthor)

    I followed #workingwednesdaypix and everyone (I think) who has posted there. So far on my page, I’ve only posted some cat pics, my ONE photo from my five-day retreat in Albuquerque, and my novella book cover. Which, while I didn’t technically make it myself, took a lot of years off my life, so…

  12. I finished my reversible Aggretusko hat last night.

    I also managed to force myself to work on applying for jobs, which makes me want to die.

  13. I’m bracing myself for my eldest son’s thirteenth birthday (and struggling a little with the idea of being the mother of a teenager). He’s got his birthday party on the weekend, and when it comes to birthday cakes my sons do not do anything by halves. I think they get that from me. So, I’m currently figuring out how to stage an entire video game battle scene on a cake, which would be much easier if I could find any figurines or other merchandise for his game of choice.

    1. Which game is it? There are loads of merch out there for video/computer games, I’m sure you can find something 🙂 probably even cake-decorations, if it’s a popular game. Fortnite? Minecraft? Something like that?

      1. It’s Halo. And where I am, the options for merch are limited if I don’t have the time and energy for a trip into Melbourne CBD before the party. So I have to get creative. The things I do for my boys…

        Also, I have observed that each year, whatever theme my boys want for their parties and cakes, there will be next to nothing available. The following year, there’ll be stuff everywhere. So, the year my eldest wanted a superhero party you’d think it’d be easy, right? That was the one year there was not a thing on the shelves related to superheroes. The year after, Avengers came out and it was all over the place. The year he wanted a Halloween party, I couldn’t find a thing. The next year, Halloween started to become a Thing in Australia and now we’re tripping over Halloween merchandise. This year – Halo. So next year, if you’re into Halo, you can thank me when all the merchandise shows up everywhere.

        1. He’s an early adopter/trendsetter. Invest in the things he’s interested in (make party decor to sell) and make a little more money! 😁😎

        2. Ooooh! Being ahead of the zeitgeist could be a very profitable skill in the future! Ask ’em what stocks they are feeling right now, LOL.

        3. If all other options are a no-go, here’s a store in Melbs called Minotaur that’s very good on comics, games, books, films and merchandise. It has a website and I think that they do online ordering. You might find something there.

  14. Today was a busy day. Appointment at the house doctor to check strange spots/rash on my arm. Still unknown what it ism but at least I got a salve. Then off to the bank for some errands there, back home to let plumber in… Made hamburgers for dinner (homemade) and after that we had a small gathering with the above- and under-neighbours for insurrance things and the reparations that need to be made to fix the leak in the bedroom. Currently working on my OhnoI’veprobablymadeafoolofmyself-anxiety after this neighbour-date. Also after visit to the bakery and the bank. Sigh. I know it’s good practice but I can’t help wondering if that will ever change, that post-interaction anxiety-thingy.

    Sloooowly working on mosaic coasters, same fascion as the notebooks I shared earlier this year. Have an almost-finished set of 6 with white, grey and black mosaic joined with silver foam clay (didn’t have enough mosaic for the last one), and am now working on a set with mixed colours of the “glitter mix”-mosaic. Not sure yet which colour clay I will use for inbetween the mosaic, but probably white. Will share pics…maybe next week or so.

    On another topic: I was skipping around on Google yesterday and bumped into a bunch of interesting recipes for crocpot/slowcookers. I’ve understood a couple of you own and use those. Is a slowcooker something you’d recommend? When and for what are you using it, and are they worth the money? Is there any special brand I should look for, if I’d check for one? And what is a reasonable price for such a thing? Loads of thanks in advance!

    1. I’ve got two, in two different sizes that were relatively inexpensive – probably $25 or less. I find they are great for things like stews, etc. I set them up in the morning, and when I get home there’s something warm to eat waiting for me. If I was buying one now, I might look for something that had a delayed start. I’m often out of the house for 10 hours at a time, and something that is supposed to cook on low for 6 hours will get a little overstewed – although most of the time that doesn’t really matter.

      The InstantPot (and corollaries) do have the programmable options. They are designed to do a lot of different things, as so are more expensive. YMMV.

      One thing I did find was a crockpot prep site, where you could do prep for several meals at one time, and put the results in the freezer. The day before you want this meal, you pull it out of the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge. Then that morning, dump the thawed contents into the pot and go. That was really convenient the one time I did it.

    2. Slow cookers can be very useful, and don’t have to be expensive. I think I got mine at the grocery story for less than $30. (It is a Proctor-Silex.) They are great for things like spaghetti sauce or soup that you want to cook for a long time without having to fuss over them. Applesauce is insanely easy–just chop up apples in 8ths or so, add sweetener if you want (I use maple syrup) and a sprinkle of cinnamon, and stir a couple of times during the day.

    3. Love my slow cooker! The one feature I would look for is that you can set it to Warm after the meal is cooked. It is actually quite easy to overcook food I find, so being able to set the length of cook time and then have it switch to Warm is great if you are working away from the house.

    4. Yes! Have used crockpots for decades and own 3. I do pulled pork, chili, stew, on and on. So many great recipes out there. Most used appliance in my kitchen and worth every nickle.

    5. Thanks for making my day with all these positive replies! I have one friend that owns a slow cooker, and she is not overly excited about it, but whether that has to do with the slow cooker itself or her cooking skills, I dare not say. Having read your experiences with them now, I might invest in a slow cooker too. It’s the perfect time of year to try it out. I’m all for stews and soups and whatnot that needs (and deserves) time to get delicious slowly. I had heard rumours slow cookers were perfect for stews, but sauce and soup was a new one. Don’t know why I assumed soup wasn’t an option, stupid of me. 🙂

      Will ask MIL if we can go on a slow cooker-exploring round so I can feel how they look and see if they are manageable for me (i.e. not just touch controls or similar). I also need to figure out which size to start with. Sounds amazing to be able to make slow-cooked meals without everything burning to a mess in the bottom of the pan. Everything gets a little too hot on our gas stove, even on the small hob, so things like chili never really gets the time it needs to become amazing instead of just very good.

      Thanks for your advice! <3

      1. I’m also a big fan of slow-cookers. Makes awesome mulled cider in addition to other things mentioned, which is great this time of year. And I make pumpkin/squash jam/butter — like apple butter, but made with pumpkin or squash, tastes like pumpkin pie, for topping ice cream or yogurt or pancakes or whatever. Also makes great filling for a layered cake.

        Anyway, I’d recommend the sort of average size. Not sure what it is in quarts. Four maybe. Not the huge one (which I use to make mega-batches of chili and soup for freezing, but I find it overheats a bit, although that may just mean mine is defective), and not a mini one. Perhaps scour thrift shops and the like, maybe Craigslist or freecycle, since newer models all seem to be touch control instead of a knob. The smallest ones tend to have only one temperature (instead of high and low), which is fine for certain purposes, but not for general purposes.

        Oh, another thing. If the house is a little stinky (I’ve got 3 cats and 3 kittens at the moment) or stale from being closed up, you can put some water with some cinnamon sticks and cloves and citrus rinds (if you have any) in the slow cooker to simmer for a bit to de-stinkify the air without adding icky chemicals or an overwhelming perfume.

        1. Plus they don’t heat up the kitchen in hot weather. I cook whole chickens in them a lot. Peel some garlic cloves and toss in the cavity, salt, pour on some bottled lemon juice, maybe add some rosemary, go away for eight or ten hours. Don’t add any water to a chicken or you’ll have soup.

  15. Slowly getting the kitchen put back together so when the kids come home for Thanksgiving someone will be able to cook. Hope it’s not me.

    I made egg salad with eggs that were probably a little too old. I am now regretting that move. I hate to throw things away but now that it’s just me it takes me to long to eat perishables. I don’t like to go to the store very often so… old eggs. Rats.

    I will have to go to the store soon or I’ll be eating the dogs’ dinner, but I lent my car to my friend again and I’m too lazy to walk the six miles to town and then back up the hill. I don’t think Amazon sells bananas.

    1. My trick (I’ve always lived alone) is to eat the same thing three or four nights in a row. Saves on mental effort and makes buying ingredients practical. So if I buy half a dozen eggs, I’ll be having French potato omelette for three nights; or spaghetti carbonara for four nights, then an omelette. I cook from scratch most days, but this cheat makes it work for me.

      1. I make my own freezer meals. Big batch of something, freeze most of it in pyrex freezer bowls (color coded so I don’t have to put labels on) and make two meals of the rest. The only thing that doesn’t work on is anything with sour cream because I go face down in anything with sour cream. My willpower, it is nil.

    2. I was curious so I checked. Amazon does sell bananas, both regular and organic.

      I am working on my French. We are going to visit family in Tunisia next year and I am taking the opportunity to relearn French. Or possibly learn it for the first time if I remember my grades correctly.

  16. I am keeping the boys on schedule and trying to keep the house from collapsing into mess while my beautiful wife is out of town at a conference, so my make-it list is pretty much just “keep things going” at this point.

    However, I’ve been putting up small, Halloween-themed Missed Connections articles over on my blog. It’s not a lot of writing, and it’s not any of the projects I’d currently like to be working on, but they’re fun and at least I’m writing something.

  17. I’ve been working on putting together a women’s fiction (with humor, aimed at an older audience) submission, including synopsis. Need to finish off the last off the pages we’re sending and write a pitch paragraph. I hate pitch paragraphs. Then I have to finish off a nonfiction book proposal for a mainstream goddess empowerment book for women. (I just added a section for specific goddesses to use to channel rage and Hoping to get them both to my agent by the end of the week, but I’m moving very slowly.

    Also need to write a ritual for my group’s Samhain (Halloween to you Muggles) celebration this Saturday.Hoping to be outside around the bonfire as we usually are, but the weather isn’t looking good…

    Mostly I’m working at not falling apart, with reasonably success.

  18. This week I made a new garden bed for sweet peas. I also tidied and planted up the old garden bed for vegetables, and now have far too many cherry tomatoes left to plant. They may have to go in the bed with the sweet potatoes…

  19. I’m still nursing my cold, using some very rare consecutive days off for sniffles instead of adventure, or at least yard work. But I am figuring out my new 2 in 1 lap top, and how to use the Bamboo pen I also purchased. Interesting. It even has a fingerprint reader, zowie!
    I’ve had rebuilts and hand-me-downs that froze and moved like molasses. It’s fabulous to have a new PC that runs so smoothly and quickly.

  20. I formatted the first 2 books in the series I’m writing so I could read them on my Kobo (totally different experience than reading on my laptop) and was pleased with Book #1. But Book #2 needs some tidying up. I want to do all this before starting my next round of edits on Book #3, which I just finished this summer.

    That being said – is it okay to ask if anyone here is interested in beta reading or critique partnering? I’ve been searching for years for a good match. I write contemporary romance (sometimes with suspense, but not this series). Jenny, if this is inappropriate please let me know and feel free to delete this post.

    1. This is fine.
      The only thing I object to is new people dropping in only to plug books. You’re an established part of the community and you’re asking for help, which is what community is about.

  21. I made an interview! with the horticulture director of San Diego Botanical Garden, rated one of the world’s best and going upward. Hort director is fabulous, local vegetarian kid who started out as composter for the garden and moved along educating himself into adulthood and current position. Twin passions are education and preservation. Too much fabulous material! I made my handwritten notes into a WORD document. Now I’ll have to make a shape.

  22. I made 53 pieces of recycled paper, which will be cut into fourths for table place cards. I used to make paper all the time, including with schoolkids, but it’s been awhile. I enjoyed noticing how my body remembers all the moves.

  23. The frost revealed four rather large (but green) pumpkins. I started kind of late! So, my big work for the week was to haul the two largest (the largest is probably 20 to 25 inches tall) over to my porch! Since they are green, I don’t dare carve them until the weekend; I think when they go rotten, they’ll go fast. I’m really looking forward to cutting them up!

  24. I’m on vacation. Yesterday I didn’t get out of my jammies. It was wonderful. Today I had to go in for a business meeting, but it was at a restaurant so didn’t feel like work at all. Later I had dinner with a dear friend whom I see too seldom. Laughter and tears, it was so great to reconnect with her and just let it all hang out. Tomorrow my sister is coming in from out of state. This has all just been a gift.

  25. On Sunday’s post, I talked about having put in an offer on a house. We got it!! I’m so excited!

    So now I’m making paperwork. Alllll the paperwork. We’ve got 2 weeks to organise a building report, confirm insurance, finance and the tenancy agreements, and check a bunch of council docs. It’ll be a busy couple of weeks.

    1. That’s brilliant, Reb. Be thankful for such a swift process, even if it’s intense. They torture us with a snail’s pace in the UK.

      1. Yes, I’ve been reading your posts with sympathy. It’s not easy here but the speed’s definitely a good thing. It’s all pretty freaky, really. Good luck with yours!

  26. I placed orange yarn on top of the figure of Mr. Tomato Head my granddaughter made and put in the refrigerator the last time she was here because it was starting to resemble “Chucky”. Then I placed it on the shelf on top of the kitchen range and surrounded it with my harvest figurines (pilgrims, Indians and scarecrows) and sent it off with a text to my family, grandchildren for Halloween.


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