Friday, February 16, 2018

Page Layout and Other Natter

Long Weekend of Page Layout and Other Natter

I took a snow day last Friday, and had Monday off (Lincoln’s Birthday), so I got a fair amount done on the floodplain manager’s conference book. Last Friday evening I sent out a draft that has “Joanna Goanna” and “Tanami Womapython” as plenary/luncheon speakers, with pictures and text. I’ve gotten replies from 3 or 4 people . . . and no comments on Joanna and Tanami. I’m not sure if people didn’t actually look at those bits, or if they figured that those are bits to be edited. 

Last night I packed up the two tiny booklets I’d made, as an Etsy customer bought them. Apparently thew weren’t too silly or expensive, and I should make a couple/few more.

Today I got an order for two pairs of “deluxe” black skirt hikes (fancy dee rings), and discovered that I had zero pairs. Carp carp carp. Fortunately, I have enough dees to make more, and the hard part turned out to be finding the plain 1” dees. At least those I could have gone to Tandy for in the morning. I got the two pairs made, and strips cut for more, plus some in brown and small brown plain skirt hikes. The order is packed and ready to go out to the mail box in the morning. I’ll mark, punch, and assemble the rest tomorrow.

Bedtime now.  

Monday, February 5, 2018

A Little This, A Little That

I’ve talked to the chair for this year’s floodplain manager’s conference, determined that I do have a set of information I thought I needed, and have given him a timeline for the conference program book.
I received the sports team fabric order, and placed a second order with, as some team fabric was on sale yesterday, and the website was showing 2 yards of Northwestern fabric available. So I tried for that, plus Purdue and Western Michigan University (Purdue and WMU being family alma maters). Also received my corrugated plastic signboard sheets for backing fabric with paper, and said paper. 

Yesterday I cut out the covers, linings, and endsheets for some more booklets for sale. I wanted to do more on them, but decided not to push my luck in terms of aggravating my back. 

I also discovered that I’m out of dark brown bookcloth. One of the booklets I was working on needs a dark brown spine to use the two pieces of paper that make up the cover. If I’d realized I was out I’d have ordered more when I ordered the paper for backing fabric, but I didn’t so I didn’t and there we are. IIRC Dick Blick usually has dark brown, and is not too far out of the way to stop on the way home from work . . . when traffic isn’t crawling due to snow.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Virtual Progress

Not a lot has happened the last couple nights in the way of work on books. Last night I pulled the trio of covers I wet down and put in the press to dry and flatten out. They came out nice and flat. Sadly, they didn’t stay that way. 

Wednesday I ordered a bunch of sports team fabrics to make book covers out of from, along with paper to back it with, and corrugated plastic sheets to do said backing on. Unfortunately, JoAnn turned out to be out of about half the fabrics, so Thursday I placed an order at for most of the ones I couldn’t get from JoAnn.  And after a discussion with Xap about the Fremd spring craft show being at about the start of baseball season, the order included several pro baseball team fabrics. Ron suggested I make a book that has Cubs fabric on one side, Sox on the other, and Cardinals on the spine. Ultimate rivalry bait! I may just do that, especially since I had to order 2 or 3 yards of each of the baseball team fabrics. 

I’m thinking that it’s about time to renew the attack on the dining room, since pretty much all Ron’s truck stuff is back out of it (came home between Roehl and Schneider). It would be really nice to be able to use my drafting table again. Especially for, say, cutting down pieces of paper and fabric for bookbinding projects, since it has a nice big cutting mat buried under all the stuff piled on it. 

Given Ron and Robin’s schedules, which is home only a day or so a week, and that Robin has definitely become a nocturnal beast, the dining room going to take a while. I probably could do most of it myself, but that would take even longer yet. The goal for this weekend is to get input on my proposed room layout, which I e-mailed to them on Tuesday. The room layout question involves getting rid of some shelving and replacing it with The Grinch and some smaller shelving, which is part of what I need their sanity-checking on.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

New Toys . . . er . . . Equipment!

My mini book press and cradle arrived today!  Merry Christmas, me!

My larger book press has four screws, and springs to keep the top plate up. The mini one doesn’t have the springs, as mini books are typically thin enough that springs wouldn’t compress enough, so it comes with a pair of blocks (my larger one also came with blocks for shipping/storage).

Sharpie for scale. The cradle included the aluminmum hole-spacing template and another awl. Here’s a pseudo-action shot:

I’m ridiculously excited with these. But that’s what Christmas presents are for, right?  Thanks Mom!

Also tonight I got 7 of the booklets I photographed last night entered into inventory and posted on Etsy. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Quick Update

My cover boards for my Kipling books, cotton/linen tape, spine reinforcement fabric, and fine linen thread came today!  Nothing photogenic, sorry; but now I have no excuses not to work on the books.  :)

I also got my latest purchases into my spreadsheet so I can figure the costs/prices of the stack of finished books I have waiting to be listed on Etsy.

And tomorrow my mini press and punching cradle should be here.  Wheee!!!!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

On Again, Off Again

I got a bunch of booklets done, and listed on Etsy, which also includes taking pictures, figuring out costs, prices, and getting them in my point of sale software inventory. Then I got a bunch more done, that I need to do all those things some more. And still need to list more pouches (which already are in inventory and have pictures), and doll clothes (in inventory, no pictures), and still need to investigate a doll-specific on-line sales site. However, a couple weeks ago I did something to my back, and it was Not Happy. Like prescription-strength NSAIDs and muscle-relaxant Not Happy. In the interest of not slowing down recovery I’ve been avoiding bookbinding or machine-sewing, or time at the computer. I’m better now, and I think I can re-commence work on things, if I’m careful. 

I decided to register for Fremd HS’s spring boutique in April - at very least I’ll have a lot more booklets, and booklets did sell. Ron and Robin did get merchandise bins in from the truck, I think when they were home for Christmas. Gridwall is still in the truck, and probably will be come April. I probably should decide if I’m going to do sports team fabric-cover booklets are not, and get some fabric if I am. 

I got a pick-your-own Christmas present from my Mom, and since I’ve made several little-bitty books out of scrap, I decided to get a “mini” book press and punching cradle from the same guy I got my bigger ones from. They should arrive Tuesday. (This type of press is essentially two boards with screws to keep things squashed flat - an upgrade from a stack of boards with weight on top). I don’t really *need* the mini versions, but Christmas presents can be frivolous, right? 

Before my back got cranky I pulled out my Kipling book interiors and collated them. The book board (a specialized cardboard relative) for covers, fabric for spine reinforcement, and linen tape to sew the signatures on should be here tomorrow. I got a few extra pairs of board, which I can use for books for sale. I could have cut board for covers myself, but the cost to have it done was worth having it done (probably on a big board shear). 

I’ve got a trio of book covers that I made using wheat flour paste re-drying. They wrinkled/warped rather badly, and time in the book press didn’t really help, so Tuesday I sprayed them liberally with water, and put them in the press to dry.  I checked them Friday and they weren’t quite dry, but seemed to be flattened out, so back in they went (after pulling out the paper towel I’d put on each side and inside). Around New Year’s I got a 2’ x 4’ sheet of 1/2” thick PVC, and Ron cut it down for me, so I can layer up multiple things in my press. I also had him cut some smaller pieces for the mini press, although I may go back for a piece of 1/4” thick PVC. 1/4” would probably have been fine for in the bigger press, but it had a little more flex than I wanted. 

Got my sales tax returns filed today. A little late, but I forgot to have Ron poke at the point of sale software data for me the last couple times he was home, oops. Not so late/enough money due that there was a penalty, though. Next step is Otter’s income tax returns. 

While out running errands today I stopped at Papersource and commited shopping. I was going to start some more booklet covers, but got distracted by doing the sales taxes and hunting for a very-dead-mouse-ish funk in the snake enclosures. Did not obviously find the source of funk, which seems to have abated, hoping it was just a case of particularly odiforous metabolic end products. 

I need to poke this year’s floodplain manager’s conference chair tomorrow, it’s about time I got started on the book. He e-mailed me and the board about conference abstract formats, etc. on Tuesday, I responded and asked a question, but haven’t heard back. Probably got busy with work-work. 

Last weekend Ron hooked up a second monitor to the desktop, and I cleaned off the desk. Ron didn’t do anything, but the desktop is recognizing the second monitor now. Not the larger one we were using, but next time he or Robin are home I’ll see if they can haul it down and see if it works. If not I’ll use the smaller one and not complain - a smaller second monitor is better than none, and when doing a book I mostly use it for various InDesign menus. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Making Books

Booklet production continues apace. 

Starching fabric heavily with spray starch (two passes, ironing between) then gluing it like paper worked better for me than using fusible stuff. Using almost any kind of fabric is going to require some ironing to remove creases, so applying spray starch before ironing is a minor step. The first fabric-covered booklets have a paper inner side; and last night I made a cover that’s fabric for both layers. I glued it together, and it seems to be holding. If necessary, I can sew the two layers together. 

My ream of 11” x 17” paper was originally supposed to be delivered by 8:00 or 8:30 pm on Saturday. At about 8:30 I checked, and Amazon was saying so sorry, sometime Sunday. I checked Sunday morning, and discovered that it had been delivered at 11:11 pm Saturday night. At least there was no precipitation. Unfortunately, I’d mis-read the description and got text-weight paper, not cover stock. 500 sheets should have been a giveaway. I’ve started using it for an inner lining for covers for booklets made out of lighter weight decorative papers or light-colored fabric that need help with opacity, so it isn’t going to waste. 

Sunday morning I did what I should have done originally, and ordered a package of larger paper from French Paper Co. It’s something like 12” x 19”, 200 sheets. But I’ve got some other paper from that particular line of French’s, I like it, and I know it’ll work. It was delivered this morning, according to UPS tracking. Which is good, as I have several booklet covers in-process and/or waiting on it. French packages well, UPS usually props things up so they’re under the eaves, and it seems to be a dry day out, so it should be fine sitting on the front porch all day. 

My thread and lined interiors arrived yesterday. Some of the covers mentioned above are for said lined interiors (I could start on covers for one size, as I have some that are graphed, and the text-weight 11x17 to use for planning), so yay. Annoyingly, I seem to have ordered white thread instead of the green I intended to get. Headdesk, headdesk. I partially blame the listing on Amazon, it was annoyingly difficult to select a color. At least white is a useful color, even if I do have lots of natural-colored linen, which I consider Close Enough to White, Dammit. 

Sunday I sewed up some of the booklets using dark brown thread and turquoise blue perle cotton I have on hand, and last night I sewed some booklets with cream (instead of green) thread that just arrived. Pictures posted on my G+ feed.

I’m missing some spools of my nice colored linen thread, I expect they’re lurking in the disaster that is the dining/work room. The thread I just got is waxed polyester, and probably would make bookbinding purists/snobs cringe, but for booklets it seems to work fine. I was thinking it was cheaper than the linen, but I need to double-check the actual prices per meter - the small spools of linen are more expensive overall, but the small spools of polyester are very small - only 25 meters. 

Last night I finished up folding some covers for pre-made interiors (waiting on the large cover stock delivered today), and made the interiors and covers for three smallish books out of scrap. The plan for  tonight is to try making wheat paste, which is cooked flour and water. It’s supposed to be a better adhesive for some applications than PVA (white glue), so I’m going to give it a try. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Another Day, Another Post!

The craft fair at Xap’s office yesterday went pretty well. Lower total sales than the Fremd HS craft fair, but the whole thing was only 2 hours long and the cost was much lower, so I think that makes it the more profitable of the two. And Xap and I had homemade tamales (that another pair of her co-workers were selling) for lunch, homemade cookies for dessert, and I had the last two tamales for lunch today. 

We had one 6’ table yesterday, and I had a bright idea and put the belt bins on their sides along the back edge as a riser (with a tablecloth). That didn’t technically add horizontal display space, but it meant that things on the riser weren’t hidden by things in front of them. And I tucked the cash box and my iWhatsit in one of said bins, for extra clever. The nice thing is that we can do the riser trick with the belt bins even with belts in them. 

Since I only used short gridwall, we got everything in and out in one handtruck load. Which was good, as it was hecking cold outside. 

After a stop at the grocery store on the way home, I started poking at making booklets with fabric covers. I got the parts for two made, doing the covers two slightly different ways. The first one I tried fusing the fabric using Wonder-Under. I’m not sure if the stuff is finicky, or I was just at the very bottom of the learning curve. The fabric I used is light-colored, and so the turn-in under the green cardstock flyleaf shows slightly, and still required some gluing (or would have required placement of additional Wonder-Under). 

The second one I folded the fabric around a piece of cardstock, gluing down the turn-ins, and then glued down the flyleaf sheet (also cardstock). The turn-ins don’t show through, and the double layer of cardstock is stiffer than the first one. It didn’t require much more fussing about than the first one, and no use of iron, trim, fold, iron some more, so I think I’ll probably proceed with some variation of that process. I’m thinking of adding some spray starch, and going with text-weight paper instead of cover-weight for the interior sheet, both of which should help me get better corners.

The two covers dried under weights last night, and looked decent this morning. I’d also made the interiors last night. The two covers only used one fat quarter of fabric. I’ve also got an idea for adding a center fold reinforcement/bookmark. 

Today I ordered a ream of cream-colored 11” x 17” cardstock so I can make covers for grid paper interiors I bought, and other things where I want/need bigger than 8-1/2” x 11” heavy paper. I also ordered lined interiors in two sizes. I suspect that I might have sold some more books at the craft shows if the pages were lined rather than blank. So I’ll do that. And the cost to buy them printed, folded, and trimmed is quite reasonable.  

This evening I made the covers and interiors (folding and collating) for two more booklets. These have paper covers. The paper I used has a light-colored background, and I used dark brown cardstock for the cover lining/reinforcement, so I tucked a piece of plain printer paper into the covers, so the foldovers are between the printer paper and cardstock. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Still Here

Err, oops, I fell off the internet, blogging-wise, again. 

At the end of October Robin left the nest to go to work for Werner, and hasn’t been seen since. Ron resigned from Roehl, so everything that was in his truck came home, and much of it landed in the dining room. And then cleaning up the living room and kitchen for Thanksgiving resulted in more stuff in the dining room. Ron’s gone to work for Schneider, which got some stuff out of the dining room, but it’s still a mess, and pretty much unusable. Sigh. 

We did the Palatine High School craft fair at the beginning of December, and it was a complete fail, sales-wise. The weather also sucked. This Saturday was the Fremd High School craft fair. It was much much bigger than PHS’s, and much better attendance. I think the proportion of nice stuff was higher, too. Unfortunately, we didn’t do very well-sales wise. One of the sales was a set of two kosode to an absolutely adorable little boy. I wanted to hug and squeeze him and love him and call him George, but settled for making him happy as all the profit I wanted. :)  And he had really good taste and picked out the red kosode with the pandas.

I suspect I could have sold my “Happy Narwhalidays” book, except that the interior is dark green and red pages, so it needs a silver, gold, or other light-colored pen to write in it. I should pick one up and sell them together. 

We have some ideas for things that will probably sell better, though, if I keep trying craft fairs. Ron pointed out that things that sell well at craft fairs are probably going to sell well on Etsy, too, so I should proceed with them. I was going to try to make a couple things yesterday afternoon, for the craft fair thing at Xap’s office tomorrow, but I got sidetracked.

While rooting though bins in the storage locker for cotton duck, I also  shopped the stash for lightweight cotton for doll clothes, and upholstery fabric (originally bought for satchels) for slipcovers for the bolsters on the couch. When we got home we used the duck to make a woodcarving apron for Ron. Then I made the slipcovers for the bolsters since I wasn’t getting to doing Otter-ish things. More natter about those on the personal blog.

While we were at the storage locker I also found the very short gridwall hooks that I was pretty sure we had. They were already in an ammo can and pretty much filled it, so when I got home I emptied another ammo can, and transferred slightly longer hooks and cable ties (after making some quick & dirty fabric bags for the cable ties) to it, as the plastic bin they were in had broken on Saturday. Ammo cans may be heavier and opaque, but they have handles, latch securely, and are almost indestructible. I also have magnetic labels for them . . . somewhere Otter’s stuff.

On the doll clothes front I’ve made a prototype Korean-style outfit, and determined that it needed only minor tweaks. I’ve got several more cut out and started assembly work on them. Part of the Korean outfit is an underdress, that is, essentially, a simple sundress. So I’ve got several of those cut out and underway in almost-solids, too. 

Sticking with “ethnic” doll clothing, I made a prototype Afghan nomad dress, aka a doll-sized version of my Very Loud Dress. The prototype fits my doll, but needs modification to reduce the neckline opening, and to extend the center back opening to make it easier to get on and off. The modification leads to an interesting assembly challenge that I’ve pondered and think I’ve decided how to address, but I haven’t cut another one out yet. 

On the more general-public-friendly merchandise front, I need to make some more simple little blank notebooks. I’m also thinking of making some with fabric covers. If that works out, I may suck it up and . . . sigh . . . make some with sports-team fabrics. At the two craft shows I saw vendors with photo album/scrapbooks with team fabric padded covers, which is partly where I got the idea. But making them with blank or notebook interiors will make them more “mine” - I don’t want to do exactly what other people are doing.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Mostly Sewing Natter

My idea for storing skirt hikes is successful. They were already on (essentially) very short belts in a bin in the front entry, so I scrounged up some not-for-climbing-carabiners (formerly for sale along with leather key fobs), and I’ve hung the belts up from the edge of the metal shelving in the front entry. Now it’s easy to grab the right one, and frees up space in the bin. 

I was home sick Thursday and Friday (and also Tuesday) last week, and cut out a bunch of Halloween doll clothes, from the recently purchased fabric and the stash of stuff I’d previously bought. I tinkered with my patterns (which exist only as numbers in a spreadsheet) so hopefully this batch will fit American Girl dolls better. A couple kosode have seams up the center back, to use some pieces of fabric that were sufficiently long, but not wide enough, except for veeeeerrrry thin dolls. 

I’d bought some black broadcloth for a project that probably won’t happen, and used that for a few things. I got the machine-sewing done, and started the hand-sewing, which involves folding and creasing and pinning. WTF was I thinking when I bought it??? (JoAnn’s Symphony Broadcloth, 65% polyester, 35% cotton)  Horrible horrible stuff. Really thin, my hair-clippy things won’t hold it at all, even three layers plus a layer of quilter’s cotton. Enthusiastically frays (although not as bad as brocades). Won’t hold a crease. BLEAH!  

Yes, I am a fiber snob. I despise most man-made fibers. So sue me.

I finished one kosode where I used the broadcloth for the collar, and am finishing another one where I machine-sewed on some more for trim, and have the collar of it.  But I’m going to toss the two under-kosode I cut out of the broadcloth, and send the rest, about 4 yards, away to a relative who might be able to use it. Last night I poked in the dining room and found some black-on-black floral cotton I knew I had, and at lunchtime I did some on-line shopping and ordered some solid black 100% “quilter’s cotton” and a print of grey swirlies on black, also 100% cotton. I picked them up on the way home, and can cut out new under-kosode from fabric that won’t make me crazy. Much better!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Progress Progressing Progressively

When I last posted, I had made pretty good progress on the dining/work room. It’s still pretty much at that point - there’s a floor, the floor is mostly clear, and I can roll things around.

I also could, and did, set up the 4’ diameter round table last weekend for cooling racks for the baking binge.

Quite a while back I used some Ikea Hejne utility shelving to make a plant rack for the succulents at the day-job. In order to allow expansion, I had some spare shelves at the office, and uprights at home. I haven’t needed to enlarge the succulent garden, so I brought the shelves home for possible use in the dining room or spare bedroom. 

Although, if I’d get a round tuit and drill drainage holes in the bowls I got to use as succulent pots, I probably could use additional space in the succulent garden. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it, and the shelving bits are inexpensive if I end up needing more.

I did get hardware sorted, and all the belt hardware put away in Max, along with some wide belt tips that were already in Max.

Then I had to sort the stuff that was in the drawer in Max where I put the belt hardware. It’s packed in small tool drawer dividers in a couple bigger bins, in the dining room.

I took pictures and posted some of the belt hardware on Etsy.

I just realized that I forgot the belt tips (headdesk, headdesk).

I took pictures of a bunch of belt pouches. 

Then I dug out some more-or-less Halloween-y doll clothes, ironed them, and got pictures of them laid flat and on a doll, and listed on Etsy.

I also listed a couple Halloween-y books.

In other Ikea-for-the-win points, I’ve been using a tablecloth I grabbed on a whim for use as fabric as a photo backdrop, and on another trip I found an artist’s maquette to display doll clothes. 

Need to work on doll-size clothes hangars, since the first craft fair is only a couple months away. Instead of working on doll clothes, which I’ve been doing lately.

I stopped at JoAnn on Saturday for little safety pins and small spools of black, white, and navy thread to keep in my small (hand-sewing) box, instead of the biiiig spools I buy of those colors, and had a fail in the Halloween fabrics. I was saved by coupons that stacked on top of sale prices. Also the fact that doll clothes don’t take a lot of fabric.

The havana brown skirt hikes have been selling, so I made some more on Saturday. I also made some red ones. And I think I have come up with a slightly better way to store them.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

State of the Shambles

I didn’t get much more sorting done in the dining room during the weekdays last week. But on Saturday I slogged through stuff on the floor, and found the floor! Things were moved around (cleaning: lots of moving things around). Things were thrown out. Many rolls of leather were put on shelves (were previously living by the sewing machine, but that spot wasn’t easily accessible), and the top of the drafting table was gone through. I think I have the majority of the hardware in need of sorting located. The top of the drafting table is not exactly clean, but it’s more orderly now. I’ve decided the Workmate-clone can go back to the basement (after several years of use as a small workbench), and hopefully Robin will remember to do so. 

On Sunday I packed up the molds for hard pouches we don’t make any more, and the pieces for a miniature western saddle, clearing space on a set of shelves and in the scrap bins. After that, I sorted through scrap, and packed up the shearling we don’t use very often any more (was in a bin). And then I remembered another big bag of scrap that I had just moved on Saturday, and sorted through *that*. I sorted scrap into three types - straps, garment, and everything else, and by size - large enough to be potentially useful vs. too small/mangy to bother with. I also set a small pile aside for possible use as small soft pouch fronts, along with pieces from a pretty bison side that I want to keep together (and am having ideas for). 

And then I swept the floor for the Nth time with the new broom. 

The box of shearling went under the drafting table, and can be pushed back into the corner, as it’s light. The box of molds and saddle parts will probably also go back there, but not as far back. There’s still room in the box, which I expect to be able to fill - there’s another couple old molds that may turn up (or may have already been banished to the basement, we’ll see as I clean), and if they don’t, I’ll probably find other things that can rationally go in the box. 

Looking at the multiple shelves that go up to the ceiling, I briefly wondered what in the world I was thinking. Oh, yeah, I had no idea when we ran them up that high that I wouldn’t have Ron around regularly to retrieve things off the highest ones. Fortunately, we have a good stepladder. I think I’ll probably re-arrange what’s on which shelves, with additional consideration of what can go in the depths behind/below the drafting table, so I have the things I’m more likely to want within reach without the stepladder, and lighter things up higher (so it’ll hurt less when (not if) I test gravity.). 

Meanwhile, Robin has started working on the spare bedroom. It’s got a ways to go, but there’s improvement there, too. I’m thinking my bookbinding equipment may go up there to live. This would be rational, as it’s where the letterpress equipment lives. I’m not sure there’s room, we’ll have to see how it goes. 

Once I find my squares, of which I have two somewhere in the dining room, I need to go through the scrap bin(s) again and make reinforcements for soft pouch bottoms, belt loops, and straps for the dees that go on pouches with the belt loops. I’ve got a lot of light-colored belt loops already, but some people don’t like light-colored loops on black pouches. Ok, whatever.  

I’ve been meaning to sort hardware and put the belt-related things away in Max for days now. May or may not happen tonight, but I expect it will happen by the end of the weekend. 

Summary: The dining room is less shambolic. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Change of Plans!

Remember how on Sunday I said that the first step on the project to re-arrange the dining room was to go through all the stuff on shelves and see what could be gotten rid of? And that I needed to sort all the hardware from The Grinch that had ended up dumped in the dining room - with the definite implication that hardware-from-Grinch-sorting would come before shelf-content-sorting? 

Yeah . . . not so much.

Yesterday morning I was thinking of the dining room planning, and had an idea. I quickly pulled out my paper models and shuffled things, and left a note for Ron and Robin asking if it might be possible to swap the drafting table and the shelves the splitter is mounted to by the end of the day (since Ron went back on duty this morning)

Ron said yes, and while he was eating lunch with me, stated that he would be pulling up the dining room carpet while things were moving around - we’d talked about it Sunday evening.

When I got home from work the kitchen was pretty much impassible. I found the dog bowls and food bin and fed the dogs dinner outside. Puppy porch picnic party!  Fortunately, by that time Ron and Robin were down to cleanup stage, so I retired to the living room while they got everything back into the dining room, then I was able to finish making dinner (started in the morning in the crock-pot, fortunately).

The dining room is now a complete disaster. Everything that was on the floor is still on the floor, and even more higgledy-piggledy. They ran the shop-vac, but Robin and I both remarked, independently, that it looked like it was going to take about a half-dozen more times. And we’re still finding mouse poop from the (expletive) fugitive that we had for a while. Tonight I decided to sweep, as I thought it would kick up less dust than the shop-vac. Good idea, but we don’t seem to have a broom. Must procure one tomorrow.

Looks like I can get reasonably sturdy laminate flooring for as little as 99 cents per square foot from Lumber Liquidators, if I’m not fussy about color. I’m not fussy about color.

This morning I had another idea, although one less likely to as much upheaval. I’m thinking of moving the leather splitter from the shelving unit that its currently bolted to over to The Grinch, if it will fit next to the small tool drawers I was going to stack on The Grinch. Max has enough dead space between the top drawer and the top surface, AFAIK The Grinch has the same general design and also would have space.

All that will have to wait, though, for the all-the-crap-on-the-floor sorting, stuff-on-shelves sorting, and brush-pile-destruction. Brush is scheduled to be dealt with this weekend. Sorting to begin Real Soon Now and continue . . . until I slog through it all. Started sorting the crap on the floor and hardware tonight. I considered putting belt hardware (which is most of the hardware I found and sorted) away in Max, but I decided to wait and see how much more I turns up as I keep cleaning. But that hardware is sorted into little tool drawer tray thingies and packed in a Rubbermaid bin, so short of a gravity test it should stay sorted. 

I also kinda committed to helping Robin make room in the spare bedroom for a painting station - which shouldn’t be a huge project, as it will mean straightening up the room and shifting contents so he can open up at least one leaf of the drop-leaf table that’s already in there and get to it. Which needs to be done Real Soon Now, as Robin should be ready to test for his CDL by the end of the month, and moving his painting to the spare bedroom is part of dog-proofing his room and making it easier for me to get in for skink-care.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Still Working

Oops, got a little behind blog-wise.

Labor Day weekend I finished changing out rings on belts, listed them on Etsy, and got them put away. In order to do so I got four small bins, a lot like milk crates, but a bit smaller, and lids for two of them - nice bins, feel sturdy, and stack either with or without the lids. My plan was to put belts to go to craft fairs in three of the bins and use the fourth for other things, but I’ve got enough belts that some that won’t go to craft fairs got packed in the fourth. 

The new bins and the bins from the Things that pouches are packed in are a bit wider the top of Max, which has a lip, so I got a board to put on the top of Max. Unfortunately, Home Depot’s panel saw (the board is 18” wide) was broken, so Ron and Robin cut it for me while they were trimming lumber for Gimli-proofing the fence yesterday. 

After dinner yesterday I measured the dining room and all the furniture, leather carts, etc. Today I drew the room to scale, and drew and cut out all the furniture, etc., and started sliding things around. I’m thinking of taking down the shelving made with two-by lumber and half cinder blocks, and bringing in Max instead, and would like to rearrange the room so the space is more usable. I’m also starting to consider pulling up the carpet, which would make it easier to move the leather carts and other things with wheels. That would, in turn, give me more options when rearranging. 

Whatever I end up doing with the dining room, the first step is going through what’s on the various selves and determining what can stay and what can go (not necessarily disposed of, but moved out of the room). Probably won’t start that for a bit, next weekend Robin and I need to rent a chipper/shredder and deal with the back yard full of brush piles. 

This afternoon Ron and Robin helped me spelunk in the trailer. They pulled out The Grinch and the two Things, and I rooted around in the Things. I pulled out jingle bells, satchels, and purses to take to craft fairs; and more pouches to list on Etsy. The first craft fair we’re scheduled for isn’t until November, but I didn’t want to wait to pull stuff and have the weather and yard conditions turn bad. I also moved all the remaining pouches and other merchandise into one of the Things, and we put two of the three big bins of glassware into the other. I also emptied out The Grinch. The Grinch went into the trailer first, then the Thing with the glass bins, then the Thing with the pouches, etc. Bringing The Grinch into the house isn’t a given, far enough away in time that it made sense to put in the back of the trailer. 

Next up on my to-do list for Otter is to sort the hardware out of The Grinch, and move some of the belt hardware to the shallow drawer in Max. Also putting away the merchandise to go to craft fairs. Then photographing and listing more pouches, and figuring out where to put these. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Progress Impeded, but Not Halted

A good chunk of Saturday morning was diverted from doing things Robin and I had been planning on by a sudden need of brush-clearing to find a doggy escape route from the yard. And then Saturday afternoon napping happened, as a result of said brush-clearing. I did, however, make new collars for both beagles, after Gimli broke his old one (I had noted it was getting worn and stretched and would need replacing soon). 

After the brush-clearing and around Saturday napping, and another nap and dog escape on Sunday, I did manage to finish listing the pouches I have in the house. While rooting around the dining room for tools to make dog collars, Robin found the screw posts and Ron had removed some copper rivets from braided belts last week, so we got some rings changed out on belts, and got those added to the Etsy  listings. And I got all the pouches, belts, and skirt hikes in or near Max, and Robin suggested I also put shipping boxes on top of Max, which makes sense, and has been done.

Monday morning bright and early I got the first Etsy order since starting the listing binge, yay! The buyer was hoping to be able to get the things before Friday to deal with an unexpected wardrobe issue, so I packed the order up and got it in the mailbox before leaving for work (instead of waiting until evening). My initial estimate of Wednesday delivery was confirmed by the USPS tracking this morning.

Yesterday afternoon I ordered more belt rings, as I’m completely out of large ones and the supply of small ones is also grim. 

Next up, deciding if I want to start working on the process of prepping and listing doll clothes, or getting Robin to go spelunking in the trailer for more pouches. Pouches (and belts) are a solid market, especially if we can locate a bin of black, so I’m leaning that way at the moment. Most of the pouches in the two bins Robin had previously pulled were not-black, as it happens. Or since I’m home today, I could help with the spelunking. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

More Progress!

Last week over the course of a couple evenings I finished the giant pile of skirt hikes, and updated the Etsy listings with the new quantities. Which resulted in running out of plain rings for 1-3/4” belts, and the supply of rings for 1” belts is low. So I won’t be replacing corroded large plain rings on belts until I can get some more. Ron had an idea where the screw fasteners may be hiding, but they weren’t there. Drat.

Saturday I finished photographing and listing belts on Etsy, using the variations options for colors, but not widths  - I have one skirt hike listing that has and size, and thus price, variations, and in creating it determined that I don’t like doing listings with multiple price-point variations. That’s for the green skirt hikes, which I only made two pairs of, so not worth the effort of splitting. I also condensed a bunch of belt listings variations for color or buckle style. 

After finishing up with belts, I photographed the pouches in the house, hit three hard pouches with heat to remove scuffs, then re-photographed them. In the evening I edited the photos. Sunday I created a set of draft listings to use as templates and started listing the pouches. 

With Ron’s help I’ve worked on re-arranging some bins in the front entry and dining room, so that all the merchandise for sale ends up in the same area, and sorted the skirt hikes and put them on really short belts to keep them sorted. We also pulled the last of the belts with rings that have been, or could be, corroding out of The Grinch. Today Ron changed out the ones with small rings (and I updated the number available on Etsy appropriately), and pulled the copper rivets out of the braided belts that are getting their rings changed. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Busy Busy Busy!

Oh my goodness! *Another* Post?!?  Yes, yes indeedy. It was a busy weekend (and the last two posts were written toward the beginning of last week). 

As mentioned, Saturday morning I cleaned up the drafting table and took down the light tent/PVC light frame to bring Max in. With Robin’s help, we made room in the front entry, extracted the glass bins, I got in the way by trying to get them out to the porch, and Robin brought Max in and got it into position. And while he was moving the glass bins to the trailer, he also dug into one of the Things and brought me in two smallish bins of pouches! 

After that I sorted belts that were in the house, and then gritted my teeth and pulled all the belts out of Max to work on. Then I started the process of listing them on Etsy. I started with the easy ones, where I already had listed that type, and just had to check the listing and adjust quantities. Then I moved on to new ones, which went something like this:
  • Take some pictures (less than a dozen, for the most part)
  • Edit pictures 
  • List the belts from that batch of pictures on Etsy, mostly by cloning and editing existing listings
  • Put that group of belts away in Max

Max had the “One of Everything” set, so that meant a *lot* of belt styles to list, but often only one of any type. Which is tedious, but it gets the listings created. Each different color of leather (1 black, 3 browns) gets its own listing for each style of belt. Which apparently I could handle with “Variations”. Headdesk, headdesk. So I’ll be going back and doing some consolidation, and probably re-taking some pictures. Anyway, I I did not make it through all the belts - I had some buckled ones and all the braided ones left to go. On continued reflection, I'll finish listing the belts I have in the house (using variations!), then go back and revise and consolidate the listings I've already done. 

Saturday I wasn’t using the light tent, because I wasn’t up to putting it back up and schlepping stuff to the dining room. 

Sunday I put the table, frame, and light table back up, re-clearing the drafting table (which things moved to in order to bring Max in), and cleaned up a few other things. And then I sorted the remaining belts onto the drafting table, which did empty the recycle bin that normally gets used as a laundry basket, but got appropriated for Otter stuff about a week before MuseCon. I did not, however, get as far as working on more pictures and listings of belts. I did get housekeeping done and worked on doll clothes. And found three more finished sets of kosode, and put some fabric I bought before MuseCon not-quite-away, but approaching it. 

Friday night as I was going to bed I was thinking about craft fairs, and how to set up, and realized that hanging doll clothes up on gridwall would make them more visible and interesting than laying on a table. So I’d need hangers. I had an idea how to make some, if buying pre-made wasn’t going to work out - but I resisted googling for doll clothes hangers and staying up even later. Saturday I did look for doll clothes hangers, and didn’t particularly like what I found - either plastic and cheap-looking, or more than I wanted to pay (since I have over three dozen pieces/sets for sale). Plus, kosode are square-shouldered, so slope-shouldered hangers are sub-optimal. Plan B! Cup hooks and dowels. 

I debated long dowels to cut to length myself vs. pre-cut, and square vs. round. The problem with round dowels is holding them for drilling pilot holes for screws - Ron commented that you just make a V-groove jig to hold them, to which I replied that making the jig was more than I was up to messing with. So I ended up ordering 12” long 1/2” square stock. I’ll cut them down to 6-8” long. Talking to Ron on Sunday (when we had the jig discussion), I said I needed a little-bitty router table to round off the edges. Ron suggested a rounding plane. He also asked me how much they were going to cost to make, so that I’d know how much to charge if customers want to buy them, and suggested clear wipe-on varnish. Dammit dammit dammit. 

We have, IIRC, wipe-on polyurethane, and I ordered a rounding plane. Only 1/16” radius, but I think the style will work better than the ones that will do 1/8”. And if I want more taken off, I’ll stop at Rockler on the way home one day and get one of the 1/8” radius ones - taking two passes to get there is probably better anyway, and the rounding planes aren’t expensive. So I’ll be making a bunch of doll hangers that are a little nicer/more finished than I was originally planning. Now I just have to figure out the best way to hang them up to dry after finishing without touching each other. 

I have around a dozen and a half belts that need to have their old rings removed and replaced. Most of them are because of corrosion, and I can just cut the old rings off as close to the old rivets as possible, as shortening the belts by a couple-few inches is minor. But there are several braided belts, which I want to upgrade to fancier rings. Those need to have the old rivets removed, as there’s not enough un-braided leather to allow amputation of the old rings and rivets. I was going to work on the plain belts yesterday, but I couldn’t find the screw fasteners we’ve switched to from rivets. I may, as Robin terms it, invoke “Summon Missing Object” by stopping at the Leather Factory and buying some more. 

Aaand, while typing the above about the hangers I realized that the hooks I ordered have a white vinyl coating and a stop/shoulder, with a screw length that’s longer than 1/2”. Which is fine for me, I just wouldn’t put them all the way in. Not so much if selling them. So I (hopefully) cancelled those hooks and ordered different ones, with screws just under 1/2” and an antique brass finish (nicer). At worst I have to return the first hooks, which shouldn’t be a big deal, as they were ordered through Amazon (Prime and Smile finally sucked me in). The second hooks are a whole cent and a half more expensive (per hook), ooh ooh.

Tonight I raided the scrap bin for black leather strips to make more skirt hikes. I got enough cut for 20 or 22 pairs, and then remembered a green belt cut-off, so I attacked that, and got two more pairs worth out of it. So far I’ve only made skirt hikes from black leather, although I am willing to make brown ones if requested, I just don’t want to keep track of multiple browns. But for the green I’ll make an exception. While I was in the dining room cutting strips to width Gimli kept coming in and pestering me. He doesn’t really grok this leatherworking-in-the-dining-room thing (yet). When I moved out to the living room to cut strips to length he was happier. Probably because he can snuggle. :)