Saturday, June 27, 2015

Random post #1

So here's the plan.  I'm going to do a few random incoherent posts.  I figure if I'm not aiming for coherency then maybe I'll actually post something.  We'll see how this goes.

This is a sewing project I did.

I decided I needed a new wallet.  I'm told this is really more of a clutch but I'm sticking with calling it a wallet.

I went to the fabric store with the intention of buying 1-2 yards of fabric.  I figured I'd need maybe a half a yard and I assumed I'd screw it up and redo it at least once.

So I went to Budlee, which I'd heard has very good prices.  After rummaging around for a while I settled on this fabric.  It's black on one side and blue on the other with a small grid pattern of the opposite color.  When I went to pay, it was $1/yard so I decided to get 5.  The guy was very liberal in his measuring so I really ended up with more like 7 yards for $5 so I was pretty happy with that.

Then I had to actually make it.  I'd seen this video tutorial but I didn't love the layout of the card holder part of it.

So I decided to make my own pattern.   I use the word pattern very liberally.

Random scribbles is really a more accurate description.  But they were good enough.

And if for some reason you thought you want to read my scribbles, I didn't actually follow them.

I made a first one but it had issues.  I made a list of stuff to fix and made it again.  And actually fixed about half of the things on my list.

One side with the carry strip.

Other side with the slider for clasp.

Some pictures of the inside.

There's the card holder slots.  The first version didn't quite hold them well enough.  I made the slots slightly narrower and also 1/4" deeper per slot.  I took the fabric width and just made as many slots as I could with it.

There are pockets behind the card holders.  One is for cash, the other is for random crap.

On the outside you can see zippers.  One is for my phone.  The other is for more random crap.  The first version, I stitched too close to one of the zippers and it didn't open and close properly.  This one at least I can open the pockets.  I meant to put the zippers the other way but I'm OK with them where they are.

Other stuff
  • Construction on this one is definitely improved over the 1st version.  I am not in love with it but I think it's good enough that I don't feel the need to do it again.
    • This time I got the fabric fairly well squared up.  The grid i a little under 1/4" squares so it shows when the seams aren't straight.  Not perfect but a lot better than the last version
    • I don't love the way the inside looks wrinkly.  On the 1st version I only interfaced the outside but the inside was really soft and floppy.  It's better but the wrinkliness is not great.
    • On the first version I trimmed the seam allowances.  On this one I did not.  The seam allowances give it a bit more rigidity but it also makes it pretty thick.  I'm not sure I love the thickness.  I keep pressing trying to make it thinner but I don't think I'm winning.
    • The zippers open and close yay
    • I meant to make a loop that I could hook my keys on.  Both times I have forgotten about it.  I give up.
    • The stitching at the ends of the closure strap is not great.  On the 1st version they were pretty terrible, all wonky like a 5 year old did it.  At least I got the lines straight but I decided to curve the ends of the strap, which I kinda failed at sewing.
    • I meant to topstitch a box with an X to reinforce the carry strap but I forgot to do it.  Both times.
    • All the card slots plus the interfacing on the inner and outer layers plus the zippers makes for a super thick thing to sew through.  At times my presser foot was all the way up and still struggling to feed it.
    • I have so much thread and bits of fabric all over the place.  This is a woven so with each cut, I ended up with bits of stuff coming off.  And I was too lazy to clean it until after.  Much of the lint is inside the bag.
  • Any thoughts on what to make with the like 6 yards I have left?
OK that's all I have to say about that.  What should my next random post be?

Sunday, June 21, 2015


*tap tap tap*


*uncomfortable silence*




I may be back.

*more uncomfortable silence*

I thought about starting a new blog because I'm thinking it'll be different than before.

But then I couldn't think of a good name that wasn't already taken.

Not to mention I'm not actually sure what it is I'm going to write about yet.

You're weird for reading this blog that hasn't been updated in over a year.  And even before that, maybe a half a dozen posts in the last like 5 years.  You should probably clean up your feedly subscriptions or whatever it is you're using.

OK so what is it that I'm going to write about.  

I can't say I know what that is right now.

Option 1: Food and crafty stuff

Option 2: Random rants, more like a journal.

Option 3: Anything that comes to mind.  An incoherent combination of anything/everything.

Currently I'm favoring option 3.

OK.  I'm posting this.  I'm debating deleting this and trying to actually write a post that's actually about something.  But right now I'm not so sure that will actually happen.

If you're reading this, say hi.

Or maybe don't.  I'm not sure.  I might prefer not to have an audience.  But google analytics will tell me you're there so I'll still know.  So I'm back to say hi.  Or don't.  Or give me ideas on what I'm doing here.  Or don't.

OK I'm done.  Bye.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Chai Tea

This is the chai tea recipe I made today.  Not sure if this is gonna be my final recipe but it's at least a decent start.  I will probably cut back the tea since I'm pretty hopped up right now after having this after like 3 hours of sleep last night.  If I'm feeling motivated maybe I'll do a few more batches to get a better understanding of what each of the spices is bringing and then work it out with the scale.

What started this is I got green cardamom pods.  I got maybe a half a cup of them for $0.50! You know you're jealous.

Based off of this recipe

Chai Tea


12 oz water
1 (1-inch) piece cinnamon stick
 2 green cardamom pods, smashed
4 whole cloves
1/2 star anise
2 quarter-sized coins fresh ginger
1 heaping teaspoon black tea leaves
sweetened condensed milk, to taste


Boil the water.
Steep all the ingredients for 15 minutes.
Heat as needed to keep just below a boil.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Look I'm writing a post!

So I made eclairs.  In case you couldn't tell from the title.  Though if you couldn't tell from the title then you probably aren't reading this.


Pastry cream.  Chocolate glaze.  Some sort of shell.  What's not to like?

So here are my not so glamorous glamor shots:

I followed this recipe.  Well, for the most part.  Because I'm mentally incapable of following a recipe.

I didn't have any cream and the eclairs were in the oven when I realized it.  So I used some butter with the chocolate for the glaze.
Oh and I used home made vanilla extract rather than steeping the vanilla bean.  And probably some other little things that I can't think of.

It's good to bake again, like from scratch.  It's been a while.  Well, I've done some savory stuff but baking pastries is just mentally different.  I should make some cookies.  Or pie.  mmmm I should make pie for Pi day.

On another note, I've started my first batch of seeds.  Tomatoes, tomatilloes, peppers, a few other random ones, I forget which else.  Right now they are seeds on a damp paper towel sitting on my heater.  I'll transfer them to seed starting soil in a few days assuming I have some sprouts going by then.  Hopefully I'll do better this year with seeds than the last few years.  And hopefully the snow will melt sometime.  My raised beds are 10" tall but I can barely tell where they are because they are still covered in snow.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Purse Organizer

Ready for a complete non sequitur post?  Too bad. 

So I bought a sewing machine a few months ago.  Thus far, I've hemmed pants, made a lot of balls of thread and a couple other little things.  I forget what else.

My mother bought this bag.  Can you guess where?  A tough one, I know.

It's a nice big bag that can hold lots of stuff.  The base is 14 1/2" wide, to give you scale.  If I'd been thinking, I'd have taken the picture with something in it to help give scale but I didn't.  And I'm too lazy to get a ruler out and retake it.  I'm nothing if not a dedicated blogger.  hah.

The trouble with this bag, the reason why it hasn't been used in the 2 years since it was purchased,  well, one of the reasons anyway, is there are no pockets in it.  It's just one big bag.  And if you try to use it, everything just gets lost because it's just a black hole.  Because it's black.  And everything disappears into it.  Get it?  Aren't I hilarious?  Aren't you glad you are still reading this blog?

So like I was saying, I made an organizer for it.  Yay.

So here are some pics.  I just noticed the string hanging off of it.  I'll trim it but I am again too lazy to retake the picture.  And the price tag on the sketch book. And the random junk in the background.  At least I wiped down and took off most of the other junk on the counter.  Maybe I should start a new blog, the half ass blog. Seems appropriate.

It's made out of mostly bubble wrap.  Everything that looks white in the pictures is ironed down bubble wrap.  You can google it to get real instructions and an actually well written interesting blog if you actually want to do it.

I put a divider in it so you have a section for tall things like a thermos or water bottle and a section for papers, books, computer or whatever other random crap you want to carry.

To do it, there is an outer layer and an inner layer.  Each layer is made into the bag shape and then put together and the top is folded down and top stitched.  I think it's fairly standard process for making a bag.  Again, there is this wonderful thing called google that can give you real instructions and less snarkiness.

The pockets are polyurethane.  It's a really tough, stretchy, clear film.  The pockets along the top on the outside are about 4" deep and divided into a bunch of different size sections for all the random crap that can be shoved in them.  There are also big ones on the inside for more random crap things like power cords.  The side pockets are we'll call it pleated for larger thicker items; in my mother's case it will be for her glasses in a big thick case.  I have no clue where you would get polyurethane if you want it.  The wonders of working in plastics is you can take home scrap and turn your house into a horrible hoarder stash have supplies for all sorts of crafts.

I meant to sew the side pockets into the seams but I forgot about them when I was putting it together.  I ended up top stitching it because I wasn't going to rip the seams and redo them.

I did the stitching in black to make it easier to see where all the pockets are.  I'm not sure that is actually working because once it's in the bag, it's pretty dark and you can't see much but I tried.  Also, the black thread was already set up on my sewing machine.  But I found a good story to tell so we'll go with that.

This is actually the 2nd version I've done.  The first version was too tall.  And a bit too wide.  The stitching quality was close although I could argue this one is a little better.  And I added a bunch more pockets.
Yay I actually wrote a post.  Still no guarantees that I'll hit publish....

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hello World

It's been a long time since I've posted anything here.

In some ways, my world has changed a lot.  In other ways, it hasn't changed at all.

So what am I doing back here?  What is the point of this post?  Where am I going with this blog?  Is this one post and then I'll disappear again?  I'm not sure I have any answers.

So what's changed.

I've moved.  Not since my last post but the last few were just posts for the sake of having posts and pretty crappy so let's pretend they don't exist.  I have a single family home now rather than a townhouse.

I have a reasonably large garden at my new house.  My main garden area is about 20'x20' plus I have a couple smaller side plots.  Though I don't seem to have the enthusiasm I had my first year.  Hopefully this year I'll clean it up well this year and get more into it next year.  Assuming I'm still here next year.  Which I guess stands to be proven.

I've thought about getting a beehive but right now it's way too much commitment.  Just think of all the honey and the better garden.  But I can't handle that much commitment right now.  It's like getting a pet.  But yummier.

I have a large nice kitchen with decent appliances.  But I seem to use it less than I used my kitchen in my apt 5 years ago that was less than a quarter the size of my current kitchen and crappy appliances that my pans barely fit on/in.

I have a new job.  Well, it's not really new any more since I've been here over 2 years.  And it's not really a new new job, it's a different but not all that unrelated job and with the same company at a different location.  I seem to end up doing a lot of the same stuff as I was doing in my old job, which I guess is one of the things I'm struggling with.

I'm getting old.  I'm now in my 30's.  In the last couple years is the first time I've had coworkers who are younger than me and not entry level.  Some of them are even somewhat competent.  That's strange.

I'm also not the new kid.  Once upon a time, I expected everyone I worked with to know what they are doing and be better at their job than I am at mine.  Not any more.  Which I guess is another thing I'm struggling with.  The world is not as competent as I once thought, which is disheartening. 

Like this post, in a lot of ways I am feeling very aimless.  I am feeling pressured to want things that I don't want.  Whether it's to get married and pop aliens out of an orifice that is clearly not sized for that, or to want to do the things that I've already done or move into roles, the thought of which, make me feel like my soul is drowning in a vat of hydroflouric acid.  I know that these are things that I don't want but I don't know what it is that I do want.

So I guess this post is about just getting started and figuring things out.  Trying to figure out what I want, rather than identifying the constraints of what I don't want.  Figuring out where I want to go, literally and figuratively.  What I want from life.  What I want to do.  What I care about.  What matters.

I seem to be at a turning point.  I guess it's a matter of what's next.

I started this post 2 months ago but never published.  I feel a little exposed.  I know this post is no where near as personal as many other blogs but this is much more than I typically share.  I'm not quite sure how to end this post but if I don't hit publish, I probably won't ever.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Spray Paint Remover

In my infinite brilliance, I decided to do some spray painting.  Maybe I'll even post pics when I'm done.  If my track record is any indicator, then it's pretty clear I won't.

Anyway.... like I was saying, I did some spray painting.  For some reason it made sense in my mind to hold the stuff in my hand while spray painting.  I know, I'm brilliant.  By the time I finished, I had a pretty freaky looking hand.

At this point I came inside and tried scrubbing at it with hand soap.  Nothing.  Couldn't even turn the soap faintly gray.  Then I tried the dish soap.  Still nothing.  I used my tried and true scrubbing toothbrush and still nothing.

Now I was starting to get concerned.  I have no problem having a few paint spots on me but having my whole hand pretty much black would get some pretty odd looks.  Because people don't think I'm strange enough as it is.

That's when I started searching the internets.  It did not look good.  Because of the fine mist of spray paint it's really hard to clean off.  And the oh so helpful tip of cover yourself before you spray paint.  Because that really helps with my alien black hand.

Fortunately someone mentioned that most spray paints are oil based so an oil based cleaner may work.  How have I managed to ramble this long without getting to the point?

So here's my trick.  Sugar scrub. 

Rub it into your hands until the paint loosens up.  The oil of the sugar scrub will help dissolve the paint and the grits of the scrub help get everything moving. 


After all the paint is dissolved into the scrub, use soap to actually wash away the oily painty residue.

Here's a bonus tip: don't stick your hands in a hot skillet.  It's just stupid.  Yes, that explains the bandaid in the pictures