Sunday, December 28, 2014

So Much for Time Off

So holiday weekends, long as they may be, somehow don't lend themselves well to getting things done because there are people around who oddly enough expect you to spend time with them. Mothers and such.

I did manage to complete a class sample though.
And this thing which keeps on reminding me of an astrolabe even though it honestly doesn't look much like one at all.
Realistically I expect it to be a pendant though I've made absolutely no provision for any kind of suspension. I hate to break the shape by shoving a jump ring in there somewhere and I suppose at worst  it could just be a slider-type pendant since it has four spaces.

Apparently I have this circles-and-space theme going here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Just a Rope

I just had the urge to make this rope longer than usual, so it puts the pendant (which I had lying around in a drawer; it wasn't alone let me tell you) just nestled in the cleave - or more correctly, the cleave that I'd have if I wore Erin Brokavich-style bras or else had the wherewithall to make an actual cleave.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

And Also

The register cover I bought for the new bathroom floor was too short (I have oddly long registers and the only style/colour that the big box hardware stores have is matte brown or perhaps white) so I spray-painted the old one. Bad picture, but it's a hammered dark silver or pewter or nickel or something.
 And the ceiling exhaust cover which was a dingy cream received the same treatment. Do you know how hard it is to spray paint something on the ceiling which doesn't really want to snap off completely (it felt as though there were wires involved) and not get paint on the ceiling and also manage excellent even coverage? Well I don't know because I wasn't able to achieve perfect and perfectly eve paint coverage but I think it'll do anyway.
 My daughter's cat had surgery and looks less than plush with the shaved bit on her leg for the IV. Like a cheap poodle imitation.
And then I made a class sample.

I'd always intended to put a marble or beaded bead inside the other one I made, but I forgot in time to actually do it. Ditto the head pin on which to suspend it.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

So Close

The bathroom would be essentially done by Wednesday evening, Thursday morning at the latest.

They assured me.

Then they called to say that there had been a setback: one of the shower doors shattered as they took it out of the box.
 So I have a crappy shower curtain on a tension rod until the door can be delivered. Which could be as long as two weeks. Or more - they originally took five weeks and I'm thinking slow and steady led to a cracked door so glacial might not be the best way.

The tiles on the shower well are pretty too, aren't they? Tiny little grey squares, all at a slightly different level, all a slightly different tone.
But I've been sleeping in my own bed since Thursday and it's glorious, let me tell you.

The bathroom? No mould, that's for sure, and it looks better than before and it does the job. Apart from the couple of things I wanted that they absolutely would not could not do unless I paid a boatload extra, it's ok. I'm glad I didn't pay a boatload extra because their attention to detail is, well, inattentive. Edges and corners and joins are not as neat and straight and perfect as I'd like but hey, I couldn't do it myself so I guess it'll do and overall I'm happy.

Remember these?
The cabinets finally got stripped all the way down, new tray guides added, painted, joined, wheels replaced and trays inserted to the point that they're usable though the doors are still not on. Or even finished. But at last my beaded jewellery isn't compacted into an overflowing very much smaller space. Realistically though it's only a matter of time until this is filled too.
 This isn't quite done and I either need to order some low trays or else move some of the guides so that I can use the tall trays that won't fit in the short spaces.
 I came across a picture from 1978 (I'm the one on the left).

When you're eighteen you'll live forever, always be healthy, never have responsibilities, and always be facing a future where there's always time for any plan you might make or goal you might have. You can't imagine that the bonds you make could last through decades and thousands of miles, marriages and divorces, children's births and parents deaths, not quite the same, not so entangled, but still special.

I wonder if the magic of being that young is the lack of awareness of just how enchanted the moment is.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Small Step Then a Giant Leap

I'm not sure exactly what I did all of Sunday but it involved uncountably many trips up and down the stairs.
 This was such a fun project which turned out better than expected.

I gathered three frames and some random wooden shapes. Flat things and a hinged box and a miniature birdhouse. I spray-painted everything shiny metallic gold.

Snagged a bunch of paint chips from Home Despot and glued them (inexpertly; there's rippling) to the what's-what in the largest frame.

Glued the gold things to the paint chips.

No picture but I glued a sprinkling of beads from the box of beads that happens when I'm too lazy to sort out beads that have fallen down/mixed themselves up but too cheap to throw them away into the hinged box. I need to make sure that the beads that didn't get glued get disposed of because otherwise you KNOW that the box will be opened immediately after the vacuum cleaner has been put away and there will be enough seed beads on the floor to be annoying and gritty if barely visible.
 I realised that I didn't have a decent picture of the lamps lit, so now I do. I'm rather fond of the effect. I might think about pendant lighting in the same style.
 I made another pillow. With a rather sloppy flange, but I suppose it's effective? Good enough anyway.

 On Monday I started the Countdown Planning/Worrying in earnest because Things Are Closer Than They Appear.
After work on Monday I expected to see major progress, but all that had happened was that the tile on the walls was all on and they'd put the last of the tile on the corner of the bathroom floor where for some lame reason ("once the vanity is in you won't see it") they had previously decided not to bother. I mean, what if I decided I didn't care about storage and just put in a pedestal sink instead? Problematic, that's what.
Shower floor still not tiled.

Window not framed.

So I went and finished a class sample. I have deadlines too you know.

Today after work I thought that some stupid friend of my son's had rudely left his car in the driveway, but instead this very nice young man (no one my son knows) was finishing the grout.
The window is framed and the shower floor is complete and my new vanity top is in and lovely and man it's looking gorgeous even though there's still caulking and some work on the walls that needs to happen.
I bought a funky new brushed nickel register rather than bothering with the old one and paint because I'm beginning to have had enough of painting.


I'm feeling quite a bit more confident about the whole notion of completion. The plumber will be here tomorrow to connect up the sink, re-install the toilet and install the shower fixtures. After that all that remains is the shower doors, the baseboards and perhaps some touch-up painting.

It just might be OK.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Slowly in the Right Direction

Not a huge amount of progress on the bathroom, but at least my heart didn't sink at the end of the last couple of work days. Except for the fact that it was supposed to be done by now.

They painted the ceiling and most of the walls (there's still a little work to do around the wall tiles - of which they ordered way too few - which remain incomplete).
The floor has been grouted and I'm in love.

The finished sample at the tile shop used very pale grout to garish effect, so I wanted to be sure that there wasn't horrible contrast between the tiles and the grout, and that the contractors didn't use the same pale grout as for the wall tiles, and I'm very pleased with my choice (Delorean Gray. Reminds me of Back to the Future - wasn't the car a Delorean?)

I'm clearly going to have to do something with that grungy old floor register with the chipped white paint. I have some perfectly nice hammered pewter spray paint that will work.
 I'm amused (and slightly concerned) at the extractor fan vents which are full of terracotta-coloured tile dust from cutting the wall tiles.
Speaking of hammered pewter spray paint, I decided that I didn't like that colour on the table and lamp I made for my daughter's room (in which I'm sleeping for the duration of the bathroom redo) so I'm changing them to a sort of medium bronze which I like much better.
And (excuse the awful picture) I finally finished the velveteen coat (note the beaded buttons) with coordinating (the coat has a rear kick pleat) skirt. I wish I'd bought more fabric because I'm not nuts about the length of the coat and I wish the white cat who gets offended if you try to brush her didn't think it was a perfect bed and I wish I'd seen the collar on Connie's coat two weeks ago (although I think perhaps she only bought it a week ago) but otherwise I'm happy with it.

The original pattern had narrower sleeves, side seam pockets and a shawl collar (the green coat I made last winter was made from the same pattern, unaltered except for the length and missing kick pleat which I actually like better) and I much prefer the sleeve and pocket alterations on this one, but the jury is still out on the collar.

Or perhaps I'll spend some time making shirts. I seem to be a bit short on shirts.

I probably have fabric in the stash for another version.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Better Now

I'm not sure what they did yesterday. Some vague odds and ends concerning drywall I think.
 But today when I came home, there were glass shelves!

The tiles are really not as pink as they appear - I think it's the red stuff reflecting off them. Or on them. The actual colour is more of a warm grey - not towards beige, but more towards purple, sort of looking at purple in the distance rather than coming anywhere in purple's actual vicinity.


Definitely grey.
 And a lip that won't contrast with the floor (which in the picture is covered with some brown stuff).

I needed that.

I was already irritable and then someone had the bright idea to blast Christmas music at work. It's bad enough being subjected to it any time you want to buy something for the last two months of every year, but hearing it at work is as close to a hostile environment as I've been in since I worked for the company that did library software which had the worst company culture I've ever experienced.
The bathroom though? Coming along nicely.

 In the beadwork realm I found a stabilizing edging that I like so even though I'm too tired to actually finish the piece (and I may not like those colours together and if I don't, I should in fact not finish it) I feel better about the whole thing.
Although I think what you see is not the whole thing but merely a component though we'll see how that one turns out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Not Thrilled Here

So they started tiling the wall and that's OK except I'd wanted the tiles longwise vertically and not horizontally but I guess I can live with the horizontal.


I mean, the whole reason I chose the same tile for the bathroom floor as for the shower floor (which I guess they're putting in after they've done the walls) is that I wanted a smooth unbroken expanse (a very small expanse since it's a minuscule bathroom) of ALL THE SAME TILE. Like up and over the lip of the shower (which if you'll recall I wasn't too keen on either but that seemed to be an endemically losing battle which wasn't worth fighting) but I pretty much hate the pale wall tiles forming a nasty barrier between the two floors.

At the very least I dislike it exceedingly.

And since they're already running two days late, if I ask them to do it over it's going to be even later which is going to make me even unhappier so I suppose I'll have to suck it up but I'm.





Monday, December 8, 2014

Better But

So as not to be one of those people who ignores things that go right in favour of complaining bitterly about things that don't, let me just say that I'm super-psyched about my new floor.

Ungrouted, and not safe to walk on, but it's every bit as awesome as I'd hoped, and will be fabulous with the wall tiles..
The red? Dunno. Perhaps it's some sort of waterproofing agent. I do like the smear on the wall above the shower though.
 And this is my bedroom, completely uninhabitable, though they kindly threw a drop-cloth over my bedding. Which needed laundering before they arrived, but it's the thought, right?
 So on to the bitching and moaning.

When I originally met with the contractor, I was fairly insistent about built-in shelves in the shower for shampoo and whatnot. Little curved corner shelves like in my other bathroom. Super convenient.

Then we talked about a recessed shelf which would be tiled with the floor tiles (I wish) which had to be scrapped because of the exterior wall and no studs between which to recess the shelf. There was something vague (from them) about reconsidering the shelf situation.

I loves me some google when it's quiet at work or I need to quiet my head, which led me to the conclusion that the best (in terms of what I find aesthetically pleasing) solution would be built-in corner shelves of beveled glass, and (foolishly) waited for them to get back to me with suggestions or questions regarding the built-in shelf situation.

Which they did not.

They called me today to ask for more money, and I asked about shelves. They sounded confused and suggested something very ugly. I countered with "Hey! Glass shelves!" and they said "Uhhh we can't, we don't know" and so I said "Fine. I'll pay the next-day shipping charge, only it's too late for next day for real because you contacted me three minutes before I had to click the Next Day Please button and now we can't get them until the day after" and they graciously said "OK thanks. Please mark the spots where you want the shelves to go so we can tile the wall and leave space for the shelves" and then a bunch of excuses about well we couldn't put the recessed shelf in so what did you expect us to do it's not our fault.

I think you know the answer. (Hint: be proactive).


I'll get my glass shelves in the end.
So this is the thing I was making over the weekend that I'm not loving. Yes, it looks awesome if you slide your eyes past quickly, but if you stop and look at the mess of beads facing you, you can see that they don't FIT and are pushing their neighbours away so they form a wave which is just not very useful.
Still, it's better than the one I made before that which was all kinds of wonky and just too plain which is why I added all those other beads.

Next time. I'll get it right next time.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Things That Are Not Finished

Days Four and Five.

New floor, shiny copper pipes, metal in the basement under the new floor, a mudded-in shower pan (at least I think that's what they call it).  I still don't understand why contractors here can't make the bathroom floor transition invisibly into the shower floor using a door with a waterproof sweep like everywhere else in the world, and even a few other parts of this country. I hate the stupid lip but everyone looked at me like I was mental when I described what I wanted, and glazed over as dollar signs floated past their eyeballs.
 Not only is my bathroom non-functional and my bedroom well-nigh inaccessible, but there's cardboard over much of the floor in my house and boxes of tile and packages of grout and sheets of hardibacker in the dining-room.
 There's plastic down the stairs and into my studio, and plastic drop-cloths all over the back basement.
The cats are pretty freaked out.

I blame those facts on my inability to bring most of my weekend projects to fruition. Also my belief, founded on absolutely nothing in my reality, that I can get done more hours' worth of activities than waking hours at my disposal. That's the definition of religion, isn't it? Unshakeable belief in something for which absolutely no solid proof exists.
At least I was able to complete the clasp on this kumihimo necklace.
I didn't get this thing finished. (Well I sort of did, but the embellishments I added weren't quite right though the shape absolutely was and I need something to finish it off and move it from Cool Geometrical Shape to Decorative. So, Not Finished).

I didn't get the velveteen coat I was sewing finished.

I didn't get the coordinating skirt finished.

I didn't get my furniture refinishing project finished, though in all fairness that one's a long shot as it's been in progress since the summer. In fairness, it's not progressed much at all, mostly because I ignored it for about four months but still.

It'll be awesome though, and in a couple of days I expect to have two new garments, and a few days after that (she said brightly, ignoring all the setbacks and being very loose about the semantics of the phrase "a few days") I'll have a new bathroom too.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


Finally finished the clasp on this one - it had been waiting for completion for a week or two or three or more. At least a few days and probably under a month, but I don't really pay close attention.
In Real Life, the rope doesn't look quite so green next to the pendant but more of a slightly warmer deep blue.

In other news, I'm hard-pressed to see much progress in the state of my bathroom-to-be. There's a board on the floor that wasn't there yesterday, and I'm hoping that the leak in the new stack is fixed. They're promising that the shower floor will be tiled tomorrow which sounds quite exciting.

I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Not Beading or Knitting or Sewing or Painting, Not Even Slightly

I live in a house that was built in the Fifties and has not had much in the way of updating done to the bathrooms. The second bathroom is OK, but my bathroom has essentially no drywall (it's dissolved away from leaks), the tile is nasty and soft, there's black mold and the wall is bubbling under the shower head, so even though I'm not doing a full renovation, it's pretty extensive.

Day One (morning).

Day One (evening).

Not so great.

The tub was supporting the floor because the subfloor is pretty much only splinters and spit, so the floor has to be ripped out and up and away (the contractor had planned to tile over it).

When they removed the tiles, um wall, behind the sink, the pipe between the sink and my stack FELL OFF. Just as well it was almost completely clogged (I would flush it with boiling water once a week to get my sink to empty) because the pipe also had a great big hole on the underside which would otherwise have been leaking invisibly into the wall.
 Day Two. The floor has been ripped up, and the wood underneath it was even worse that the part underneath the tub.
 And I have a brand spanking new stack.
The cats are not loving this.

Day Three. One day behind so far. Inspections for the new stack and more plumbing with shiny copper pipes and more PVC, and we know how I feel about PVC.

So I stretched the truth: in fact I made another paper ball for the repainted room and strung it with beads and crystals from the other hook in the ceiling.
I'm starting to feel a little anxious about not having Made Enough Things for too long (the paper and bead hangy thingy just doesn't quite count).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Before the Food Coma

Thanksgiving here in the US seems to be all about excess. For most humans - even males - one Thanksgiving dinner on the day is sufficient, although due to various family configurations with their attendant obligations, many people will bravely attempt to consume more than one.
 Cats just don't get it. They would rather sit in boxes than try to figure it out.
I spent a few hours last night ensuring that the most important course (dessert. You had to ask?) would not fail, as well as getting a couple of side dishes out of the way, so I was able to spend some time this morning on a necklace. I'm completely in love with the colours: various antiqued metallic shades.

I think I'm ready to tackle the rest of the food prep.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

All These Things

I don't know. I mean, I've been here, but I've not so much been sitting with time to blog so I guess I've been silent.

The room is completely painted though, ceiling and walls the same beige (and the baseboards too, I've been pressed for time, contrast - if any - can come later) and it looks decent.

I bought a new duvet cover and sewed a not even slightly ruffled dust ruffle because when it comes to daybeds all you can find is cream or white broderie anglaise which I just cannot. It's not even slightly hard and really doesn't take more than an hour or so. And you get to choose your fabric (you can see it below in the pictures of the table and the lamp).

I did a very small amount of beading while I considered my Room Strategy.
 I changed the way the rivoli is captured in the star-shaped pendant because it just looked BAD before.
 I made a couple of beaded beads as class samples for the class I'm teaching on Tuesday. I'm nuts about the colour ways - I might offer them as kits at Bead & Button next year.

I knew I needed to be completely ready in advance (except for printing out the instructions) because my daughter was going to be here for a week and while a new coat of paint is nice, it wasn't enough.

So I've been making things for the second bedroom.

At some undetermined point in the future I'll sell this house and when prospective buyers come to look at it, the rooms need to be furnished, need to look clean and at least halfway decent, and a room with only a crappy bookshelf and a daybed with really ugly linen isn't going to cut it and since I'm getting some work done on the house (and for about a week until I got a second opinion was under the impression that I absolutely had to get a new roof this instant) I was wanting to not have to spend a bunch of money for furnishings which I don't actually need.
I thought a pair of tables/nightstands might be useful, so I started with PVC, some wood and metallic spray paint and ended up with something that's not ghastly, though it's not quite as steady as I'd like - but I have Thoughts on how to fix that.
The room has an overhead light of course, but I had only one ugly lamp and a matched pair of tables really needs a matched pair of lamps.
PVC again. It's just so easy to work with, though I confess that cutting four-inch pipe isn't the best work I've done in my life. I'm just not very good with a hacksaw.

I'd never used one of those drill bits that makes big holes. It's kinda fun actually. What I really needed was a 5/8" drill bit because I wanted to glue clear iridescent marbled in the holes, but I didn't have one so perhaps another time. Plus the glueing would take too long; I was finishing the second lamp after my daughter arrived.
Meanwhile I finished another pendant which is very two-dimensional, but I was somehow hoping that with the addition of another colour a three-dimensional aspect would be added but sadly it wasn't. It looks like just a flower, but it's supposed to be a five-fold version of the thing that many people think of as a Celtic knot.

I know.

It misses the boat completely.

The lamp also needed metallic paint to match the table.
This picture is with a CFL bulb in it which would simply not get beyond the pink stage of illumination so I eventually swapped it for an LED bulb which is far more effective. It casts interesting blobs of light on the walls, even without the marbles, and illuminates quite well.
Once you start looking for instructions on how to make anything with PVC pipe, you will in fact find instructions on how to make just about anything with PVC pipe, though there are all sorts of dire warnings about how you will burn your house down if you wire your own lamps. I think I'm safe though, as I wired two lamps in my house about twenty or more years ago, one of which I use every day, and so far (touch wood) my house is unburned.

But I was extra-careful because I was tempted to have the bejeezes scared out of me by all that hellfire and brimstone talk. OK, fire only, but still - the tone was the same.

The idea for the lamp was from a pendant light I saw, which I was actually considering making as there are two hooks in the ceiling that I neglected to remove, and have been considering how to put them to good use. The problem is that they are just hooks in the ceiling, not supported or connected to any sort of joist and as four-inch PVC pipe is pretty heavy, as are LED bulbs, a DIY swag light turned out not to be on the cards. I could just see it falling down along with a chunk of ceiling and that amount of patching might just be beyond my capabilities.
I did find something to make to hang from the hooks though. From paper. This one is approximately basketball-sized. I'm still working on the next one. Or two.

After all that my daughter announced that she couldn't possibly conceive of sleeping in a twin bed and so has moved into the guest bedroom for her visit.

And her cat doesn't remember her anymore.