Aug 272015

Six AteMice.
Thought I’d make more than one at a go this time, and made seven. One was sent off to live with Scrappy Kitten and my niece. These are the remaining six. Why am I making a handful of AteMice? Well, one was needed for this Cat, below.

Flowery Scrappy Cat.
While sorting through surplus supplies to throw away, I ended up with a stack of flowery, pastel scraps of fabric. These aren’t at all my style or preference, but they were sitting there, coordinating together, and I figured someone else would like them well enough and put together this flowery Scrappy Cat. Its legs ended up quite skinny and it doesn’t like to recline. This photo doesn’t capture it, but the eyes are made of shell buttons and reflect light beautifully. The left button is original style, the right one is more modern with a black, plastic backing. This Cat has a magnet in its left paw and holds a flower.

I’ll do a full photo shoot for it later. I was a bit afraid that if I showed pictures for it, someone would immediately want it and I’d be left with zero Scrappy Cats again. That is fine, but I’m trying to keep a few items on hand, for reasons.

Other secretive projects are ongoing, but on hold for the weekend. I’m having a four day, at home, art retreat starting tomorrow. Since I can’t reasonably afford thousands of dollars for an actual, away, art retreat (and really, the cats need daily care and playtime) I’m staying home and doing this by myself. Cheaper, no travel, and I don’t have to put up with people! All good! I’ve set up new creative projects for myself each day and will excuse myself from normal production progress and from housework. I have an artist documentary to watch and will be stuffing the cupboard with easy meals. There is an arts festival with shopping visit planned, as well as a micro-hike and sketching session so I won’t be inside the house for four days straight. I may or may not blog over the long weekend – I haven’t decided yet, but I know I’m limiting any computer use to a single hour a day so I can minimize distractions. We’ll see how this all goes.

Aug 242015

Besides way more bunnies around lately, here are some other things from my morning walks.

Things seen along the morning walk.
These plants are referred to as hen and chicks, or properly sempervivum globiferum. I’ve seen them around often, but was unfamiliar with them.

Things seen along the morning walk.
They reportedly grow best in well-drained, rocky soil in full sun, which Cheyenne can provide plenty of.

Things seen along the morning walk.
Their flowering stalks made me take notice and look them up. Now, you know more about them, too.

Things seen along the morning walk.
Mushrooms have been popping up, as they tend to do quickly and all over.

Things seen along the morning walk.
This funky looking mushroom was in our front yard. Don’t see these guys often, but they are good at sudden appearances. A stinkhorn.

Things seen along the morning walk.
The sidewalk edge weeds usually remind me, unpleasantly, that I need to do some yard work. Then, I saw that weird red leaf on this guy and I was pleasantly surprised.

Things seen along the morning walk.
And now the sun is rising later each day. A couple months until hoodie walks and tissues in the pocket. A few more months and I’ll be back to treadmill walks inside.

Between a short hail storm and some determined squirrels, we haven’t a single apple on the tree this year. Grrr!

Aug 212015

The Captain, using the catwalk.
The Captain was the first across the catwalk. So far, it has been successful in keeping the cats off of and out from behind my monitors. It has had, expectedly, been of no assistance keeping them from trying to eat my paintbrushes.

Moxie, stalking through the door.
Slick caught Moxie stalking him from the other side of the door.

Nora, happy.
Nora is the fastest purr in the west and she would like you to pet her belly.

Oz, in my spot.
This is my spot on the sofa. Oz likes to use it when I’m not there.

Friday snuggling with The Captain.
Friday is my workshop companion cat. When I am sewing and push her away, she pouts on top of the badge station. When The Captain takes her spot, she simply snuggles on him.

I hope the cats lead you into a fine weekend.

Aug 052015

All the Frontier Days craziness is passed and the county fair is almost out now, too. I’m glad the static is clear. At one point, we ended up downtown while the Gunslinger show was on:
Gunslinger show
They have a little skit they play out; this is the bit where the guy on the right has shot the hat off the guy on the left, then offered his hand in friendship. Shortly after that, they argue more and have a wild shootout in which they shoot up all the background actors, set and all the props, but don’t manage to hit each other at all. Amusing, but loud.

Jul 302015

From the morning walk:
Metal yard sculpture fore, gargoyle aft.
What first caught my eye was the gargoyle in the background. I was disappointed it was in shadow, meaning I wouldn’t get a good cell shot of it, but then I saw the smaller creature right next to the sidewalk and had to take the shot anyhow. It is like every movie that has ever shown a small character surprised that their threat worked, only to find that the real threat came from the scary thing behind them.
I like it.

Jul 282015

Another thread sketch, this one based on a drawing from the sketchbook. This one was much more appropriate for free motion work. No or few straight lines.

Thread sketching.
Instead of my favorite Aurifil thread, I am using a box of rayon embroidery threads I bought by mistake. I dislike the feel and weight of them, and they’re shiny. Shiny is fine and there are places for shiny, but these threads are not to my preference. But, I have them, they are good quality and I will use them. This is only sketching; using up extra supplies is a plus.

After the thread work was done, I took to some of the spaces with Inktense pencils and some textile medium. I got too much liquid in a couple spots, which led to color bleeding past the stitch lines, but it doesn’t look bad and I’m learning from this. The background color is a light gray, but I took this photo in dim lighting with my cell, so it might show up oddly on your monitor. Lighting for that area is on the list. Lots of things are on the list, so sometimes you get low quality photos like this because I think they are better than no photos. So there.

I’m enjoying thread sketching. Soon I will have all the desk things removed from the sewing area and can do some more.

Jul 272015

The desk is all done, the catwalk is installed. I have placed my ‘hutch’ which is a set of steel drawers likely meant for a wood or mechanic workshop, but it lives with me now. You can see the drawers at the top of the below pic. The computer and accessories have been installed and wired up. It is best not to think about how unpleasant wiring computers and peripherals can be – otherwise you might put it off. Ugh. But, it is done now and my subwoofer sounds so much thumpier on my concrete workshop floor. Yesssss!

Now comes the part where I have to sort things into the desk drawers and metal drawers. Part of this is gathering up the miscellaneous items I’ve had strewn about the house while I spent the past couple years in my semi-permanent/ temporary office-area crammed into the library/storage/closet area. I’ve been using whatever spaces I could find or make, so I’m rather scattered, item-wise.
I gathered up all my loose Sharpies from every place. Here they are. These are all my Sharpies not commited to specific kits (only a dozen of those anyhow). After lining them up, they all underwent testing before being sorted into metal drawers with appropriate labels. One item set down. About 20 or so more to go.

Jul 242015

From my morning walk, found on a sidewalk.
Chalk art on sidewalk.
Not done by me, of course, but neat. This is located a couple blocks from the CFD park, so I think it will get a lot of relevant interest. CFD has a few more days to go, then we’ll be back to normal summer.

Jul 232015

Desk assembled.
Drawer handles installed.
Computer cabinet vent created.
Cable runs spaced.
Desk top refinished.
Monitor arms and monitors installed. (protective covers still in place)
Monitors above desk.
Cat walk painted and marked.

Might get this area done this week. Hopefully.

Jul 212015

It is that time of year again. I guess.

I didn’t get the workshop completely done in 2014. Fabric cabinets, sewing top, ironing board, badge press case, and about halfway on the computer desk. The fabric shelf/cabinets could use a touch up of paint here and there, but I’m happily using them and spent a number of spread out days filling them. I’ll show another picture when they’re completely full, which will be soon. The sewing table top you saw and you know I had to rip it all out, since it didn’t work out. Sad. The ironing board you saw, and it has been excellent. I have used it heavily; in fact, I might need to recover it around the end of the year – I didn’t smooth out the corner of the board and the sharpness is wearing through the fabrics where they are brushed past often. I didn’t post about the badge press case, but you can see the boy cats sleeping on it. The desk, well I have no posts or pictures of the desk, which I’ll get into in a minute. So, those five things. Actually, five workshop projects is not bad at all, for a workshop I’m still actively creating in. It was faster and more productive when the room was a raw shell. Any and all progress looks amazing when you’re starting from dirt and rubble. I also did make a metal working station, but I’m going to be taking it out and redesigning that area, so I’m not counting it. Plus, I didn’t photograph it, so you can’t even see what I’m talking about.

For 2015, I have so far done NOTHING on the workshop. Hard to believe, but nothing at all. I even went back and checked the blog in case I forgot something, but no. I’ve made quilts, done lots of crafty things, experimentation projects, many walks, a handful of hikes, no workshop work. Huh. That is all changing now.

The computer desk was one of four projects that had me stuck. I built the body of the desk and the top. That gave me a place to sit with my laptop, and do some painting (art, not furniture) while I built the drawers for the desk. So, I built the drawers. And I hated them. They were stupid and bad. So, I rebuilt the drawers. And I did not like them. They were less stupid and less bad, but they were not good. The second set of drawers lay piled inside the desk body shell for months. Many moons passed and dust gathered. I could not bring myself to rebuild the drawers again. Three tries was more than I could bear for a project I didn’t want to do to begin with. That was project wall number one.

The above-sink wall cabinet was project two I was stuck on. Because of the pipe fuckery that had to happen behind the wall (since the plumber did NOT put the pipes out far enough, as we patiently explained to him, with measurements) there are non-standard studs in that area. I had to essentially create an external support based on the studs that were there. Once that tragedy was complete, I found that the repurposed cabinets I had planned for there were now a teensy bit too protruding due to the support structure. DAMMIT!!!! I really, really like those cabinets, too. They are sentimental to me due to the way Slick and I acquired them. Instead, I tossed up a couple basic shelves to hold the chemicals, soaps, salts, and dyes that I use in that area. The whole thing saddened me and I put coming up with a better solution to the side for a while. Many moons, in fact.

The third progress-defiant project was the wall cabinet area in the middle of the north wall. My sentimental repurposed cabinets wouldn’t fit there and all the other cabinets and cabinet pieces I have hanging around wouldn’t work the way I wanted them to. I wanted half depth glass fronted cabinets and was faced with the conclusion that I was going to have to build them myself. My standard form of construction is to use .75″ MDF and pocket hole joins, which is efficient, fast, cheap and sturdy. It isn’t exactly pretty, and it ends up being quite heavy. While I do have standard studs in this wall area, I was concerned about my creation of significant weight with glass doors on it living above my head at that workstation. Again, I put it off and threw some temporary shelves up to hold things in the meantime. Many moons passed.

The last project block was the spandrel. Last year we had the electrical system to the house upgraded, which included new circuits for the workshop. All the work was done, excepting the actual connection of the circuits to the new, upgraded box, so the new circuits pulled their power from the old, existing circuits and left wires and temporary cabling hanging precariously in the spandrel area. You can’t repair wall holes or build out spandrel finish walls with open wiring hanging around, so the area waited as many moons passed.

Thus, I was mired, if you will, in the mud of project difficulties. It is now fully summer in Cheyenne and the thought of cutting wood, covered in sawdust and sweat, in the evenings for these remaining projects was like a … well, no. I don’t need a comparison. I simply did NOT want to do that, at all. I’m tired of building, trying to solve these problems, tired of cutting and painting wood, tired of sore muscles and sitting on the floor assembling things with my admittedly excellent drill. Tired of cleaning up workshop sawdust and recovering projects from being moved, stored, moved, stored, dusted off, forgotten, lost, moved, stored, and found again. I don’t want to fucking do it anymore. I want to be a lot more done than I am now. I don’t mind waiting around until I feel like hanging paintings and cat luxuries, but I do mind not having a desk or proper storage.

The solution was Ikea. I went online to their store, picked out some base cabinets with varying drawer sizes, a few glass-fronted wall cabinets, and clicked ORDER NOW. That was it. Well, almost. It took a few days for the items to be shipped from the warehouse, then a few more for a delivery to be scheduled. That happened last weekend, then I spent the rest of the weekend assembling the desk and tossing out the original, desk body shell I built. The new drawers are wonderful. Better than mine, easy. Once I get the desk and the accessory pieces in place (monitor mounts, computer moved, drawer items, cables ran, catwalk installed so the furry monsters don’t climb on my monitors, speakers, keyboard tray, etc. etc.) I can move on to taking down all those temporary shelves, and assembling and hanging wall cabinets. Beautiful, already made and partly assembled glass fronted cabinets just like I wanted. Also, Slick took some time to connect the spandrel wiring, so now I can go forward with enclosing walls, some sound insulation, and all the niceties planned for that area.

Once more, creative work in the workshop has stopped. All my temporary desk items are on the ironing board and my laptop is sitting atop Gretchen’s case. The desk base is done, the desk top has been sanded and refinished (I gave it a vicious scratch a couple weeks back!). The rest of the work for the desk should be complete this week, if I can keep my motivation up. Work is trying very hard to kick my ass lately and next week will be a true trial of my inner reserves. If I can get my desk area done before next week, I can hold that happy knowledge in my head as a source of respite while playing Work.

I hope to have some workshop progress pictures to share soon, if for no other reason than to show myself that I am doing something!

Jul 182015

With such a wet spring, I’ve had to be on an aggressive weed watch this summer. Today, I found this:
Yea for pretty flowers that I didn’t have to do anything for!

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