Working Wednesday, January 30, 2019

As we turn the corner into February, Lee is back with her project-a-day post on her blog, and I for one intend to embrace it this year. I haven’t drawn in years, and yet I now feel the urge to do so, in part because I’m looking at You Again which now seems to be an Edward Gorey story. Big Gorey fan here. Doing Gorey-inspired drawings of the You Again characters seems like a good way to brainstorm the book, even though mine will be awful, at least in the beginning. I also want to look into doing the cartoons for the character section of Writing/Romance. So one a day? Yes, please. Must go find my sketchbook this afternoon and pencils and my Mars Staedler eraser without which I cannot work. Very excited, so thank you, Lee!

Are any of you going to play along?

Oh, and what did you make this week?

78 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, January 30, 2019

  1. This week, I finished off the second baby blanket, and put binding on one of the quilts. The second quilt awaits. I also unearthed a previously made baby blanket that I can now gift (a baby shower next weekend). I’m glad I’m not feeling compelled to make another before then! Hooray for sanity!

    With the crochet off my hands for a moment, I picked up my knitting project – a scarf in alpaca wool. I like the idea of knowing the names of the animals who’s fur I’m using. The tag even included a picture of them. Thanks Miller and Kizzy!

    Meanwhile, I’m trying to convince Stanley the stray that being inside all day in the cold weather is not really torture. He’s not convinced.

    1. Kate – I want to thank you for your thoughts on repairing the linen. I think I’m convinced that the fusible will be the way to go.

      1. (Haven’t seen the earlier thread so if this is redundant please ignore.) Having used fusible to mend something, I recommend getting a knit fusible as the plain stuff stiffens the mended spot and creates hard edges. Also, pinking shears are good for the edges to make it less abrupt.

  2. I want to do Lee’s project by taking a picture each day in my new garden – although my mind’s objecting on the grounds of all the other stuff I need to do in February. Will try.

    This week I bought a house, weeded half the garden, took over my tools plus cleaning and decorating stuff – and the makings for tea breaks for my handyman, decorators, etc. I’ve removed the dozens of hooks in the walls (the previous owner had loads of knick-knacks and photos on display), met the carpet fitter and handyman, and yesterday helped the handyman to remove and stack all the laminate flooring.

    This has revealed an ugly concrete floor in the dining room, where I thought there was quarry tile (that’s just in the back half in the living room, it turns out). So I’ve now got to buy flooring for the dining room, where carpet isn’t practical because it’s the only way to get from the garden to the street, so I’ll be hauling compost through there. I’m probably going to get sheet vinyl; lino’s only available via mail order, and is more expensive. I hate fake things and boring neutrals, so I’m not lusting after fake wood vinyl tiles, etc. Will have to have fake ceramic tile print, probably in cream. It’s annoying to have to spend money on something you’re not enthused about. I’m sure colour’s about to come back in fashion, but it’s not hit the mass market yet.

    The painter starts tomorrow at eight, then I’m expecting three people via Freecycle to collect what they want of the laminate flooring, and my surveyor to assess the damp now the quarry tiles are uncovered and advise me about using carpet in that room.

    I’m wedded to my lists, crossing off and adding to them all the time. Very grateful for all the great people who are helping me. And glad I’m not trying to juggle freelance work as well.

    1. This is wonderful! Congratulations on getting the house and getting in!

      What progress!! I’m looking forward to reading your post that says, all the work is done & you are all settled in. Although, probably not as much as you are. 😄

    2. At last you have your own house. Three cheers for you.

      Have you looked at inexpensive ceramic tile for the dining room? Since you have a concrete base already. While not inconsiderable, you mostly have the cost of laying the tile. Ohhh. I just remembered. The marble tile in the kitchen that we just remodeled cost a fraction (literally) of the cost of ceramic tile. I think the ceramic tile (plain, white subway tile) cost about $35/sq. ft and plain, white subway marble tile cost $10/sq. ft. I paid more for the tile setter than I did for the marble tile. I was surprised. I thought stone would be more expensive.

    3. I’m with you on keeping things in natural material. Did you know you can paint concrete floors? To look like anything actually from a plain colour to stamped pretty florals to flagstone. May want to check out some online images before putting money into covering it up. Way cheaper & very resilient. Separately, I just put some lovely porcelain long tile in my bathroom that looks like grey/white wood worn floors. Even has texture. Totally loving it and also resilient:)

      1. Your bathroom tiles sound like what we’ve been putting through our little farm cabin. They look fabulous, and they mean I get the wood look but I can just mop straight through the whole house. They’re a challenge to cut, but DH and I are getting the hang of it now.

        1. Lol, we wish we could put it over whole house. Very beachy feel and lovely long plank floors goes with everything. We did the main house in tile years ago but now wish they’d sold this one back then because we can’t justify the expense of changing the rest. Your cabin must be so cute:) We love the easy clean of it but, like Jane, did wonder re falls & such yet the tile actually takes area carpets super well. Worry more about tripping into granite countertops in kitchen and banging head;) Where I’m not as keen on tile floor is for yoga etc. because it’s super hard surface under mat so need thicker mats but not a biggie.

    4. I think your idea of ceramic tile in your dining room over the concrete is a good idea. I’ve redone our living room, kitchen, dining room and two bathrooms with tile as our home in south Florida is built on slab with a high water table in our area. This makes tile the best choice for us. What I’ve learned in the process is probably what is guiding your choices – suitability to the existing substrata, suitability to the intended use, ease of maintenance and long term durability. Some things we considered were size of tile (bigger tiles have fewer grout lines), finish on tile (no shiny finishes for us as water and shiny floors lead to slip and fall), and color.

      While you’ve said neutrals are boring to you, I think you’re wise to go with a subtle pattern on your tile. You can always bring in color with an area rug, or by painting or papering a feature wall. It’s so much easier to change a wall or rug in five or six years, but tiles are another story. And there are so many tiles with a subtle pattern that aren’t boring.

      Good luck with your decorating and gardening. Now you get to make your house your home.

      1. Thanks, everyone, for these good ideas. I’m wary of hard surfaces like concrete and tile because of dropping and breaking things on them, or even falling. They’re so unforgiving. Although I can see that aesthetically and in practical terms otherwise they make a lot of sense.

        I’ve just researched linoleum again, and done some more brainstorming: and realized that in fact I should live with the bare concrete until I’ve got the structural work done in the garden that I’m planning once spring arrives. So panic over! And I’ve got as long as I want to look at all my options. By then, too, I may know whether or not I’m going to redo the kitchen (which this room leads into).

        I love the way it feels when you get to a good decision!

        1. I second your concern about the potential falls on concrete floors. My mother fell on her kitchen floor. Not too bad of a fall, with nothing broken thank goodness, but there was some blood loss. Of course, it was concrete, so the floor cleaned easily.

        2. One consideration is cost. I know: what is money to us poets. But over concrete the floor guys will likely have to lay down some kind of sub-flooring like plywood to put in linoleum or vinyl. It turns out that laying vinyl can be significantly more expensive over concrete. In our ground floor of concrete we opted for quarry tile because of this.

          I think you are really smart to wait until you have the other more immediate projects done. If you wax the concrete, it will give it a more of a finished look while you are making up your mind. A couple of area rugs will also help it look finished and the color from them will draw the eye and you won’t notice the concrete as much. Concrete has been the hot material for counter tops in my area. It is as expensive of counter top as you can put in, as much as quartzite or more, but it is considered very avant-garde.

          Living with the floor for several months will tell you if a hard surface is unbearable for you. In a room you are doing a lot of work where you are standing the hard surface is painful on your joints. It is why I opted for hardwood floors in the kitchen.

          Just last night I knocked a glass over on a tile floor and shattered it. Of course, I have wood floors in my kitchen and have knocked things over on it and broken them too.

    5. Congratulations on the house purchase!

      Years ago, I worked with a guy who said that 90% of what you ever do to a house gets done in the first six months. I’m not sure that’s true, but there’s a kernel of truth to it.

      I visited a house a number of years ago where the floors were made of concrete. I’m trying to remember whether they were scored into tiles or just a single, smooth sheet, but I can’t recall. I do remember that it was sealed with some kind of resin, and very attractive.

      Enjoy your six months!

      1. I think he’s right: inertia tends to settle in after that. So I’m ignoring the standard advice I keep being given, to do things gradually. Especially since I have some money to invest now, but expect to be quite poor in the future.

    6. Congratulations on your house purchase!

      We put a ceramic composite tile in our entryways–it’s a tad warmer and more resilient than pure ceramic, and we haven’t found any problem with breakage in 5 years. I love it, and would use it again in a heartbeat.

    7. Congratulations on purchasing the home! And have fun making it your own, with YOUR design choices and your colors.

    8. Congrats on your house sale finally going through. I hope you’ll love it there. You’ll have made it all yours in no time.

      Also freecycle (and Facebook free sites) are just the best.

    9. You got the house!!! Congratulations!

      Could you paint and seal the concrete? Might be a stopgap measure until you could Dane to for flooring you like better.

    1. I spy with my little eye a tin ceiling panel in the last screen shot, is it for the ceiling or wainscoting?

      1. Still not sure!! I was thinking ceiling in the kitchen, but then I liked the way the plain ceiling has washed up, and I might need the tin (it’s faux tin, but I still love it) in the two front rooms which have, at the moment, long acoustic tiles which I haaaate.

        Something will become clear!

  3. I love Edward Gorey! My mother had Edward Gorey mugs and Edward Gorey pictures around the house when I was growing up. Also she would often watch the opening of PBS Mystery just for the Edward Gorey credits (My dad would watch the actual show ;-))

    I’m not much of one for drawing, although we do have a few of those kids’ “teach yourself to draw” books and sometimes it’s fun to sit down and sketch something for the boys. I only like the really cartoony/doodle type drawings. I don’t have the patience for more realistic drawing.

    The boys have a full day of school (not even a snow delay, yay!) and I *should* try to be productive, but truthfully it’s been a bit difficult lately.

    We took Youtube away completely in our house (even from the grownups!) b/c there was too much inappropriate stuff that we couldn’t filter out. The younger neurotypical (nonautistic) son took to it much better than expected and is happily playing Angry Birds, FortNite, trying out new kids’ movies, etc.

    My older guy on the spectrum is having a harder time. Youtube videos were just about his favorite things in the whole world. They helped him self soothe a lot of the time and we just haven’t found anything to quite take its place. He’s really struggling and we’re doing our best to help him, but it’s going to take time and patience and a lot of careful attention. And this was the norm when he was a little guy, but I’ve kind got out of practice of that 100% focused kid attention and it’s more than a little draining. Now they’re out of the house, I kind of just want to marathon Jane Autsten adaptations and chocolate. But I will at least do dinner prep now because it means less stress later.


    1. You might like the drawing books from Ed Emberley – Both my daughters found them enjoyable. The directions are easy to follow, and hard to go wrong, and result in charming little square illustrations of pretty much everything. The elder daughter used that style to illustrate several posters for school, well into high school, to great acclaim!

  4. Since everyone seemed to want a dog in the novella, I’ll be posting a Riker update on Instagram. He’s nine months old now. Smart as anything and choosy about the rules he’ll follow.

    No work updates. Our school is under renovation that’ll last many months. It means moving classes in stages. So I’m going to be massively decluttering. I already dehoarded last year. But, methinks that this is the universe giving me a sign. It’s time to let it go. Move with a minimum. Return with less. 😉

  5. It’s a balmy -47 degrees in Minnesota this morning. Another day of cooking and baking to warm the kitchen and keep me busy.

    Children are good for being stuck in the house. I had them run up and down the stairs yesterday to burn energy. It wasnt enough because the Monopoly game later became ugly.

    Husband went to see Neil Young in the Cities.

    I’ll keep on down the line because there will be school tomorrow and 30 degrees on Friday.

    I’m going to make more chocolate almond biscotti and curl up with the dog.

    1. I remember rearranging the living room and dining room to make an indoor obstacle course, timing each trip through.

      1. Great idea. I’m going to try that.

        Right now the boy is using his tobii to make them do different activities…crab walk, bridge, run in place, jumping jacks, etc.

        A tobii is an eye gaze computer that talks for him. He’s non-verbal so the tobii is one the coolest pieces of adaptive equipment.

        They turn down his voice and he turns it back up…that’s not as cool.

        I’m off to make an obstacle course. Thank you MJ. The boy is going to time them and chaos will reign.

  6. Last March I decided to build a new desk for myself, inspired by the picture of Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s desk that Jenny posted here. (Thanks, Jenny!) My dad and I built it, a friend made cantilevered legs so I would quit taking out my knees when I turned my chair, and this week – finally, finally, after almost a year – my new desk is finished and installed in my office. I love it. It makes me smile every time I look at it. And now, (at least in theory) I have time to work on other projects, like making a new quilted purse. I won’t be able to do one project a day, but maybe one every week or so. Hooray!

  7. I joined instagram so I could participate in the daily art thing. Am going to produce digital art. I’m learning Affinity Photo and Affinity Design – it’s like Photoshop but without subscription servitude. Will probably focus mostly on typography which I adore with a nerdy passion.

  8. First, what I’ve accomplished this week can be mostly seen at

    I was at a quilting retreat this weekend and got quite a bit done. I managed to get the baby blanket quilted on Sunday. I intend to get the binding on today as I have an unanticipated holiday. Due to the extreme cold, campus was shut down.

    Second, I too will join Lee’s challenge. I have a quilt that is just for me and so it never gets worked on. The next step is to lay out the blocks which at the moment are really half blocks, and sew them together and trim them to size. I think I will use some time from this bonus holiday to lay out the quilt, and then my daily goal will be to join one pair of half blocks and trim it. It was between that and crocheting one row on the Grinda shawl I started.

    At the quilting retreat, there was one quilter who was doing a temperature quilt. It’s a really neat idea that works really well with Lee’s challenge if you plan ahead. I think I will do one in 2020. The temperature quilt that was being made was using the log cabin block with 32 logs where the center square was black and any extra days were also black. You predesignate a fabric for a 10 degree temperature range, so 0-10F dark purple, 11-20 light purple, … 91-100 deep red. Each log represented at the date of the month, so 1st log = 1st of the month. Then the color fabric chosen was based on the high temperature of the day. So January 1 might have had a high temperature of 28F so the fabric used was the one for the 20’s. If I plan ahead, then next year I can have it be something that I sew one log on a block each day based on that day is high temperature. We decided at the retreat to call next year’s temperature quilts “2020 vision.”

    1. The teal and yellow quilt is gorgeous!

      The vision quilt reminds me of the “commuter’s delay” scarf that’s been showing up on social media, where the color of each day’s knitted row corresponded to the length of the train delay. The German train company bought the scarf for $8,600, which the knitter is donating to charity.

    1. I love azaleas – especially the old-fashioned, elegant ones, such as the basic yellow-flowered one whose flowers smell of honey.

  9. I made a fire this week. With temperatures setting record lows, I see more fire making in my immediate future. Other than that, feeling un-ambitious, so just admiring other people’s accomplishments.

  10. I haven’t made anything this week. Just shoveled snow, went to work, and made sure the bird feeders are full. I will be making frosted banana bars for our Super Bowl part at work Friday. Does that count?

  11. Most of my “spare” time in the last week has been spent on the ebook and print copies of my next release (Jenny, once it’s all set up properly I’ll let you know, as I’d love to have you share it here).

    I love the control of indie publishing but it does suck up what would normally be my writing time. Yet there is something very satisfying about the hands-on approach of doing all my own files.

  12. I’ve just finished knitting a pullover for my younger daughter. Now I’ve got the finishing to do – weaving in the ends, a bit of seaming, washing and blocking. It’s snowing here and I’ve made a big pot of lentil soup which we will eat with grilled cheese sandwiches, and I’ve got a banana bread with chocolate chunks in the oven.

  13. I’m going to attempt to make up some kind of game for Kai each day. He’s so smart and so active he needs to be kept busy, and the weather here is atrocious so we can’t just go outside and play. (Correction: I can’t hang around outside in sub-zero/twenty-mile-an-hour winds. He seems to like it just fine.)

    Anyway, so far we’ve done:
    o Trail of cheese
    o Hidden treats
    o Obstacle course made of tipped over furniture

    Open to any and all ideas!

    1. Have you seen musical canine freestyle videos – dog dancing? May not be right for Kai now – who, by the way, is indeed lucky to have you! – but the videos are fun to watch.

    2. I do very basic agility just for fun with my dog. Get him to stand inside a box, or on a sturdy stool. I also love the clean up game – scatter his toys all over the room and get him to retrieve each to you. I started with the basket right at my feet so when he lets go of the toy it falls in the basket. Once he’s got that, move the basket further away, then start to hide it so he has to find it before dropping the basket. Any kind of training like that is mentally tiring – almost as good as a run in the snow! 🙂

      1. I think so. My yoga instructor was telling me this morning that she drags a toy around to make a scent trail and then hides it at the end of the trail. He’s kind of a Nosenstein, so hide and seek makes great sense. (Pun unintentional.)

  14. I got a snow day from work (yay) and holed up and made earrings. I even made some for myself. Didn’t clean a thing, start my taxes, etc. but I had fun.

  15. *Sigh*

    I was sick. I accomplished nothing since last Wednesday, except get just well enough to take the daughter out for Sunday Dinner. Went back to work yesterday, and accomplished some more nothing. Today, I completed two on-line training modules prerequisite to attending In-Service Training starting next Tuesday. Fifteen more modules to go, plus a First Aid and CPR Refresher.

  16. I’m making a mess. That’s what happens when you’ve been in a house for 15 years, raised kids and pets, and now have to sort and pack and clean to present a good face to prospective buyers. Usually, I love sorting and organizing, but right now, it just exhausts me.

    Ah, well, this too shall pass. But sooner if I get on it.

  17. Did massive amounts of weeding/garden tidying over the weekend – now when I walk into my front courtyard I’m not met by the weeds that sprang up from our recent rains. Have more to do in the yard, but it looks like more rain this weekend. Since we don’t have subzero temperatures, I’m not allowed to complain at all. 🙂

    Then I took husband to see two sofa pillows I’d spotted in an upholsterer’s window, which led to us ordering new sofa cushions for our sofa/daybed. (If you give a mouse a sofa pillow, he’ll want new sofa cushions…) So now I’m looking at Ikea linen-like curtains to finish off the update (if you give a mouse new sofa cushions, she’ll want new curtains…) This has all been on my list of 100 for the last little bit, so nice to knock those items off.

    And I have a cute little knitted swatch that is getting better as I practice and watch You Tube videos for guidance. Closing in on ready to start my real project!

  18. Huh, can’t remember what I did last week. Except drive to the city, (well burlington, which is Vermont’s version of a city,) Pack up DS, load the car, drive him 40 minutes past my home to his father’s place, and got home just as the freezing rain started. Then I got to unload all his stuff. He’s in the Netherlands now, doing a semester abroad.

    I’m sure I did writing this week, but I’m thinking I didn’t do that much.

    I want to join Lee’s challenge, but I’m not sure if I should work on quilts or sketching. I’m thinking on it.

  19. This week I successfully helped my musician friend find the correct harmony and chords for her musical composition. She will debut it in a performance before a live audience tomorrow.

    I’m joining Lee’s one project a day for the month of February. I’m setting a very low bar: something creative every day (drawing or painting, photography, music, writing); using materials that I already have on hand. I’m very excited about it. (I still haven’t joined Instagram but I will do it).

  20. Watched a beautiful sunset a while ago. Days are getting longer and almost February. Baked strawberry and Apple pie and in the oven now is a recipe I saw on Food Network. It was from one of Valerie Bertineli shows. Take apart flaky biscuits and split them in half and then in half again. Put shredded mozzarella cheese in each piece and roll up and put in a greased 6 inch cast iron pan, make a sauce out of melted 1/2 cup butter, add sliced scallions, red pepper flakes, sprinkle of salt and splash of white wine vinegar. I hope comes out ok or I’ll be disappointed after separating those biscuits.

  21. I figured out the menu for February’s supper club event. (We’ve decided to make it a monthly thing.) This evening I will be making pastry. At some point I will need to do some work on the baby blanket I started for my friend back in October… Preferably before the baby arrives.

    1. I just looked at the pattern for the baby blanket again and realised that whoever wrote it expects me to flip it over at the end of every row and only knit from the right, rather than knitting from both directions. Which means I now have several inches of blanket in the wrong stitch. (This is clearly the pattern’s fault and not mine for not reading it properly in the first place.) I suppose I could just reverse the stitches on the pattern, but their way is prettier than this would be. ARGH.

      Experienced knitters, can I reuse the yarn if I unravel the damn thing and start over?

  22. I invented 3 new dinner recipes and they were all delicious. Carrot and ginger curry, red cabbage and peanuts, and roast kumera salad. Kumera’s a New Zealand sweet potato.

    I’m very pleased with myself; I don’t normally do that much healthy cooking in a week or get that kind of success rate when I play with recipes. I think we’ll have the carrot and ginger curry again tonight.


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