Monday, October 15, 2012

Two months--part two

It may be shocking to some, but knitting has been put on the back burner lately. I'm still working on things, but not very quickly. I've been:

Sewing. As I mentioned two months ago, I've been itching to sew lately, but needed a better place to put my sewing machine. A hunt for a good vintage sewing table led to the discovery that antique sewing machines are plentiful, usually work as if they were new, and really cool. One thing led to another and I have my sewing table for my sewing machine and also a beautiful antique treadle machine from 1923. I got this machine for a really good price because it wasn't working. All it needed was to be oiled well. The cool thing is that Singer set the standard for sewing machines a hundred years ago, so this ninety-year-old machine takes the same bobbins, needles, bobbin cases, and even presser feet as my BabyLock sewing machine that I bought new seven or eight years ago.

Obviously, the table top is not antique. I bought the sewing machine on Craigslist and the treadle irons at a flea market kind of place here in town. The top is a remnant piece of laminate countertop. It came with the irons, but you can get them for really cheap from home centers. I kind of like the granite look, but I wish it had some drawers underneath.

I love sewing with it. There is something nice about the rhythm of treadling, and it's fun to make something and realize that it didn't take any electricity. Well, except for the lights and the iron. But the actual making-up part of it cost nothing. I still have to break out the other machine when I need to do zig zag stitches, but 90% of the time, this will work.

My project this weekend was organizing my pantry. There's a company out there called Shelf Reliance and they make these fancy-schmancy shelving units that organize tin cans so that you can easily use the oldest ones first. But they're really expensive.

I signed up for a food-storage newsletter a month or two ago. Every couple of weeks they email you something simple you can do to get food storage started or more organized. Two or three weeks ago, they sent a link to a pattern that you can use to make rotating can-storage racks from cardboard boxes.

I can get good quality boxes free from work, so all I had to pay for was a utility knife (box cutter) and glue (I used hot glue). The boxes work well and I'm pretty pleased with them. I made a couple following the directions as they were, and then started making them with one rack more. It makes better use of my shelf space, but also means that I can load the boxes from the front instead of the back. I did find that the instructions for the vegetable can size seem to have the back panel about half an inch too wide, but that was an easy fix.


Anyway, I could blather on and on about the things I did--a quick, unexpected trip to Salt Lake to say goodbye to my grandpa, a weekend trip to St. Louis to hang out with my besties for Time Out for Women, for example--but I don't want to give ALL my secrets away.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Two months went flying by--part 1

Where do I start?

First of all: Name change. I started this blog a few years ago primarily as a place to talk about the things I was knitting, and now that I'm using it as more of an expanded general blog, it needed to be renamed. Obviously, if you're reading this, you're not still looking for my blog on the other address.

I'm on my third foster dog (and that may be changing to my fourth soon). Katie went to jail--quite literally. She's been taken up by a program that works with prisoners in the Kentucky State Penitentiary. The prisoners take care of the dogs and put them through quite a rigorous obedience training program, and it's a win-win all around. The dogs enjoy the work, and they "graduate" from the program well-trained and are much more adoptable. The prisoners are learning job skills that could help them find work when they are released, not to mention the benefits of being able to focus on and care for something other than themselves while in prison.

Dog #2 was Heart. She was a terrified, malnourished little thing when I got her, so frightened of everything that she wouldn't even walk on a leash; you had to carry her from the car to the house. I only had her for a couple of weeks before someone called to adopt her (and I hear she's doing GREAT!), but she had totally come out of her shell and was beginning to fatten up.

Untitled Heart
Heart's coloring is proof that eyeliner does make your eyes look bigger!

Current foster dog is Badger, a short little senior mutt who loves attention. His name is definitely appropriate, because he's got really fuzzy stiff fur and shuffles around like I imagine a badger might. I've also got a foster cat named Kiwi. She has beautiful big eyes and she's a snuggler: if you pick her up and hold her against your chest, she'll tuck her head up under your chin and put her paws on either side of your neck like a hug and purr and knead. *melt*

BadgerKiwi--up for adoption!

Badger may be moving on soon. Someone had expressed interest in adopting him last week, but hasn't returned my phone call lately. Or I may be trading dogs with another foster family; they have one that doesn't get along with kids as well as they'd like, but since there are no kids at my house, it's not a problem.

I enjoy fostering these dogs and cats. Especially in Heart's case--it was so rewarding to see her fatten up and it made me ridiculously happy to watch her come running from across the yard when I called, remembering how she wouldn't even walk with me when I first got her. So...if you're looking for a dog or a cat, I know people who can hook you up.