Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Bench Is Complete

I had this bench for about four months before I started working on it. I've been messing around with it, off and on, since April 2013, and now because of the glory that is a snow day, the bench has been completed....finally. Besides, I need to do something besides shop online...eBay and Amazon can be a dangerous combination! :)

As a refresher, here is the before picture. Excuse my shadow. It was late in the day when I took this picture and my back was to the west.

This is the after picture. I used curtain tiebacks to secure the cushions to the arm supports. I also bought four more to take apart and use as trim to hide the staples in the back cushions (the back of the bench is actually completely open through the wood, so it basically looks the same on the backside).

My friends lovingly this "the toilet," because I actually turned it into a bench with shallow storage space under the cushions. There's a hinged lid in the center of the bench. Originally, there were just batting, springs and horse hair under the original fabric.

There's a handful of things I would have liked to have done differently/better, but this is the first piece of furniture I've ever redone so I'm still pretty proud of it.
  • I want to go hang gliding in Kill Devil Hills, NC.
  • I want to see the archelogical dig at the Jamestown Settlement.
  • I want to go to the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.
  • I want to see KISS in concert, in the make-up.
  • I will get a job at some kind of animal shelter, and I'm going to be damn good at whatever I end up doing there.
  • I will get at least one old, beat up piece of wood furniture, save it from going to the landfill, and refinish it. 
  • I'd like to go on an LCAC ride with my husband before he transfers to his new command. I had to cross this one off finally, because Shane left this command already. This bummed me out. I never got a ride on an LCAC out on the bay. Some of his family members did, and even though I offered to take any number of half days off from work, I never got to ride.
  • I will go to see the Booth Trail in 2013.
  • I will go to Natural Bridge, VA and the Shenandoah Valley and stay in a cabin in the woods.
  • I will go to Hiddenite Gems, an emerald mine open to the public, in NC.
  • I will go to the Richmond Zoo and the Virginia Zoo (they have done a lot of remodeling and I haven't been there for a several years).
  • I will go to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
  • I want to go to Tokyo some day. I would like to go to Hiroshima as well, but I've heard that Americans are unofficially unwelcomed there, and I don't blame the Japanese people if that's true.
  • I want to see the pyramids and sphinx in Egypt.
  • I'd love to see the Mona Lisa (she's in the Louvre in Paris) and The Scream (there are a couple, two of them are in Munich).
  • I want to go to London, and maybe look for the TARDIS and the Doctor.
  • I want to go to San Diego to see my best friend, go to Comic Con, wear a costume, take lots of photos, find an awesome looking Spider-Man so I can give him a hug for just being Spidey, and then walk a beach on the Pacific Ocean, looking for shells.
  • I'd like to go to a taping of "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" if we ever go to California.
  • I want to have at least one great, wildly creative crochet pattern published in a real book somewhere.
  • I'd like to have our yard be featured for our Halloween decorations with a local tv station, so people might understand you don't have to spend big bucks on decorations and still put together a great display (I say this because we don't go as crazy for Christmas decorations).
  • I'd like to win a challenge on Craftster.
  • I'd like to compete on Craft Wars on TLC. I had to cross this one off too, because I'm pretty sure it's no longer on the air. I can't find any updated information on it.
  • I will finish the Jedi costume finally and I will join the Rebel Legion. I have a few more things on the way to complete my costume.
  • I will finish the doll house I started several years ago.
  • I want to go to Ohio and see Ralphie Harper's house from The Christmas Story.
  • I want to see Weird Al Yankovic in concert, and maybe even the Bangles if I ever get to California.
  • I want to see the Barenaked Ladies again, the next time they come to Hampton Roads.
  • I want to take my friends to the Virginia Safari drive through park in Stanton, VA. 

Having Some Brighter Days?

Earlier this month, I started a new job finally and was able to leave the hospice behind. I started a job as an office manager for n HVAC place (I'm still working at the arts and crafts store on the weekends) and really had been looking forward to the new job. A brand new environment, new tasks, new people, New Year...why wouldn't it be good?

The plus side is that I'm no longer dealing with death and people who are terminally ill.

The downside is that on the second day at the new job, it became a hostile environment by the business owner, although not towards me. It's towards the ONLY OTHER CO-WORKER THAT I  HAVE. (I was lied to about how big this company is.) I just hate hearing someone being bashed like that, especially to me, when I don't know that person all that well. it's extremely uncomfortable. I feel like I went from the frying pan into the fire. 

This guy has unrealistic expectations for what I can do. He doesn't want to pay for Hoot Suite, so he wants ME to write him a program that does the same thing, so he can have it for free. If you have to do Twitter and Facebook separately, it takes too long, doncha know. 


There's nothing about my resume that should lead a person to think I can write programs or create software. He has brought it up a few times. I figure if I've told him I don't know how to do that, just once, that should be enough. He just laughs and tells me, "You'll do it."

I need to get the hell out of there. I walked into the Twilight Zone again. I've also found out he has a habit of letting his office managers go. I don't think this was a case of not looking before I leapt...this guy and I started talking in September and I put him off. I looked him up online the best I could, before meeting him. He was completely normal and nice, until that second day when he let his freak flag start to fly.

I keep having to remind myself there's no more death here, and that's what I'm hanging onto right now.

I finally had a decent day yesterday, after spending four or so dark days here. I kept thinking about my mom, almost obsessing over her being gone, even dreaming about her. There were plenty of nights where I just sat and cried. I don't know where this is coming from, but last night was at least tear-free.

I decided I need to dig out one her many recipes that I brought back with me. When I decided what I wanted to make, that's about when I started having rough nights, so maybe that was why. But anyway, I've made two batches of freezer pickles from the recipe Mom had.

I always thought this was a recipe that she got from my paternal grandma, but I was wrong. This actually came from a woman named Ardel that lived in Missouri. Her husband, Roger, was a farmer, I believe, in Unionville, MS. Roger would allow deer hunters to come hunt on his land. My father was one of them. In time, he became friends with Roger and Ardel, and they'd let him come stay in their very large home with his friends for their annual deer trips. We went down there as a family once when I was in eighth grade. I think both Roger and Ardel are both gone now.
  • 2 qts of cucumbers, sliced thin (I left the peel on)
  • 1 large onion (optional), sliced thin (I left this out)
  • Bell pepper strips (optional), julienned (I did add these, in red, yellow and green)
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar (I used a lot more than this, because according to Mom, you need to cover the cucumbers and peppers with the vinegar.)
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard seed
Put the cucumbers, onion and peppers in a large glass bowl. Sprinkle on the salt and toss well with your hands. Let stand for 2 hours (I kept it in the frig), turning every 20 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Add the sugar and toss again. Let stand until the sugar is dissolved. You don't need to stick back in the frig for this because the sugar is going to dissolve very quickly. Add the vinegar and mustard seed, and then freeze.

There wasn't any directions as to how long you should keep them in the freezer before eating them, after taking them out to thaw, of course. Mom said her secret (because her freezer pickles always turned out better than Grandma's) was to let them sit in the vinegar for longer than any recipe says. Grandma didn't let her's sit very long. But I've read they can stay fresh in the freezer for up to a year.

I had some freezer pickles when I was back home last. As I was making mine, I caught a whiff of them after I'd had them sitting in the frig, waiting for more vinegar, before they went into the freezer. I know I'm on the right track with making these, because somehow, they smelled just like the ones Mom had made last. :) It was like a weird smell of home (but they don't smell like regular store bought dill pickles).

Monday, January 27, 2014

I Don't Have Big Ole Giant MAN HANDS

I've been hanging onto this pattern for the longest time, and finally sat down to start making women's two-tone crocheted gloves. I have thought these were the prettiest gloves I'd ever seen. They were going to be black suede and pink wool. But there's just one problem...

...I have normal sized, woman's hands...not hams on the ends of my wrists.

Seriously, this pattern makes a glove that would fit the back of a hand, from wrist to the start of the fingers, that measures 6.25". WHAT? The same area on the back of my own hand only measures 4".


The weird thing is this is a vintage pattern; I just don't know how old the pattern is.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Yay For Me!

I was lurking around the internet this morning when I saw I had an email waiting for me in my Craftster account. Guess zombie yard gnome was named a 2013 Featured Projects in the Home Sweet Home category of Interiors & Exteriors!




Strangely enough, this is a big deal for me. This is almost as good as winning a competition on Craftster, which is one of the entries on my bucket list. :) It kind of serves as a reminder to me that I should keep posting stuff over there at Craftster.