Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Books and Bookbinding and Dining Room Un-Progress

Dining Room

No significant progress on the dining room over the weekend.

I did measure the space between the drafting table and the wall, and looked at horizontal surface options for that space.

Moved my tubes of rolled paper and book cloth to the dining room.

Moved some largish flat sheets of paper bought for book projects into the paper drawer of the drafting table.

Ron had an idea for taking pictures of merchandise, or more precisely, lighting them. The original idea was to put the light table up in the dining room, but the drafting table took that space. Ron has a light tent that can sit on the drafting table, though (and is also easy to put up/take down). 

In any case, the lights he has are bulky. He started thinking about alternative lights, and I made a comment about LEDs, and now we have a possible plan, based on some under-cabinet LED light strips we put on the shelves above our bed at the beginning of summer. The idea is to make a cube out of PVC pipe, holding four of the LED strips, which sits around the light tent. If we make it to knock down into two squares and some cross-bars, storage shouldn't be a problem. Found the light tent, next step is to pop it up and measure.

Books & Bookbinding

Apparently I've just decided to shift bookbinding natter to this blog, mostly.

Made a book for a Christmas present for a relative over the weekend. It has a couple issues I'm not entirely happy with, but not horrible. The block (interior) was pre-made, so I had to make the cover and case it in (attach interior to cover). I meant to pack it up and get it out in the mail yesterday morning but the bed's gravitational field was too strong and I ran out of time. 

I've been working on a book of poetry (not mine) in InDesign, last week I sent a PDF to the printer I've worked with for MuseCon and Windycon with questions about doing what I would like with it. Called with a follow-up today, got a partial "no", which I have a work-around for, and should be hearing back on the revised plan tomorrow. 

Over the weekend I submitted a quote request to a place I've been buying supplies for custom board cutting for covers for the above project. If I'm going to be binding mumble copies, I either need a board shear (not likely, given budget and space considerations), or I'd rather pay somebody to do the cutting for me. Cutting paper and book cloth is easy. Book board . . . not so much. Each cut requires multiple passes with a sharp utility knife, and one blade (segment) is only good for a couple/few cuts. 

Placed an order Sunday for more pre-printed book interior pages, paper for covers and endsheets, and, um, another shade of brown thread (yes, really), for Sooper Seekrit reasons. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Accomplishment Accomplished: Dining Room & Drafting Table

Yesterday morning I worked on the dining/work room some more. It isn't done, but it is to a reasonable hiatus point.

Last year, late summer/fall we had a feeder mouse escape from the doom of the hungry snake, and a couple weeks ago I saw it again, headed toward that room (how do I know it was the same mouse? The local field mice aren't black or that big). Little jerk has apparently been spending a lot of time in the dining room. It doesn't smell mousy, but there were . . . bits of evidence. Thus the drive to make sure I got the shop-vac out before the drafting table came in.

Yesterday morning I got the Gamma Seal bin of breakfast oats (which the mouse had *not* gotten into, but still needs to be evaluated for staleness) moved to a spot closer to the kitchen (intent was to get it into the pantry, but Robin, Organizer of the Pantry, says that will be a significant job), and the case of self-centering punches and the pouch molds put on the shelf where the oats were. Also condensed the leather stash, and in the process of doing those things found more hardware. Sob. I got that packed up and moved to the other side of the room with the rest of the hardware.

Went through glassware and kept a few things (for potion bottles) got rid of some, and have a few to go to a new home. Other things were put in the cleared space on the shelves above the sewing machine. My push yesterday was to get as much as possible up off the floor, to make room for the drafting table.

Ron exercised his Tetris skills and got all the manga and coloring books (which have been scanned in for electronic coloring) into one box. Got rid of other cardboard boxes, in favor of plastic bins, and now I even have more empty bins than when I started the cleanup.

Late morning we went to fetch home the drafting table, with a stop at the storage locker to drop off various odds and ends and pick up the Christmas tree and accessories. Disassembly of the table wasn't too difficult, as we brought plenty of tools, plus zippy bags and sharpies. I also added a good compass/divider, a nice stack of vellum paper, and a set of technical pens for Robin, to our purchase list.

Got home, invoked Jimmy John's while Robin brought table pieces in, and after lunch assembly began. Ron was able to put the table back together with less assistance than it came apart. It's a very nice steel-framed table, with a sturdy tilting top, and two drawers - one deeper with a tray one for pencils, etc., and a wide shallow one for paper.

It was a good thing I cleared as much space as possible - the table is big - the top is about 5' wide, and over 3' deep, and overhangs the back edge of the frame when down flat, with a rail for a drawing arm that is then clamped to the back edge. I was hoping to tuck the drafting table in next to the window, but it has to be out in the room about a foot for the top to clear a bookshelf when down. Even the green vinyl surface of the table (which I knew was replaceable) is in good shape.

I didn't see a stool near the table when we picked it up, and our friend didn't mention one. The two desk-type chairs in the dining room are too low. Way too low for me, mostly too low for Ron or Robin. The big steel-framed bar stool Robin so kindly lugged up from the basement is too high (So now I know I need something taller than 22" and shorter than 30" seat height, which most drafting stools fall into, based in my on-line shopping yesterday.) In the interim, I've asked Robin to look for a wooden stool that he's pretty sure that's in the basement, which may also be too tall, but if that's the case at least it isn't as awkward to schlep to find out as the bar stool.

The cleaning fairies come tomorrow morning, so there was a definite urge to deal with the disaster that is the rest of the first floor of the house - much of it as a result of working on the dining room. However, Robin's spent all day helping our friend clearing out the house the drafting table came from, so Ron and I got dinner at Culver's, and the cleaners will have to clean around all the clutter.

Back in the dining room, I still need to go through the big set of Metro-clone shelving, I suspect there's more things I can get rid of (like an extraneous clock radio and an adding machine), and/or space to be freed up. Also need to see what I can do with the shelves holding rolled leather, and half of the shelves above the sewing machine. Neither of those are likely to yield lots more space, but they're good candidates for incremental improvement.

I've had a couple ideas for the space between the drafting table and the window, for holding things one might want handy, especially if/when the top is at an angle. First step is to break out the tape measure. And we pointed out to Robin that the table is big enough to run several of his miniatures skirmish games on (they use 3' x 3' space).  And when I got home this evening there was a star field gaming mat sitting on the table (have to see if it will fit in the big drawer, which will keep it nice and flat). Note to self, put a "do not lean" label on the rail for the arm.

I give up, see G+ for the pictures I took yesterday, hopefully I can post before this app crashes again...

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Plans, Accelerated

Due to my inability to resist buying a (used) real full-sized drafting table, which we are picking up tomorrow, cleaning up the dining/work room became rather more urgent.

Got home from errands a bit after 1:00, and started work. I got the workmates cleaned off, and many things put away. Unfortunately, many little things. The tool drawers are higgledy-piggledy now, but they can be neatened up later. I have a lot of bags of hardware, which have been semi-sorted into bins. 

The big wood-and-concrete block shelves are staying, which as I said last time was okay. But I made a significant amount of room on the bottom shelf, and have packed it full. I have filled a large paper shopping bag with recyclables, and have a not-insignificant amount of rubbish in a 5-gallon bucket. Several loose rolls of leather have been re-rolled and secured with stretch wrap.

The kitchen is cluttered with things to go to storage. Also one of the workmate, the round folding gaming table, and a few other odds and ends. Therefore, dinner was pizza. 

Ron tried to get me to be done for the evening by plying me with alcohol - a lambic before dinner, and hard cider with. But I was stubborn, and did a little more work afterwards, getting all the books onto shelves. And now I have a bin full of manga to go to storage (unless Robin wants to keep some here at home and finds somewhere to put them).

Tomorrow morning we go to pick up the drafting table, probably with a stop at the storage locker. The table is going to have to be disassembled to fit through doors, don't know how exciting that will be (haven't seen it in person). Don't know if I'll get much done before we go, but I do want to get the shop-vac into the room and hit the floor. We'll see how much I can get done in the afternoon. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

State of the Otter

Hello? Hello? Anybody out there?

So, last time I posted was October 2015. The last event Otter Necessities was at was WindyCon - in 2015 (November). Yeah, I've been quiet for a loooong time.

And Otter Necessities-wise I've done . . . pretty much nothing. 

Over the last few years I'd developed quite a loud and unceasing internal monologue. What I didn't realize, until I got it under control, is that the internal monologue was related to depression. The drive to Make All The Things was a way to shut the internal monologue up - or at least keep it occupied with the task I was working on (as in, narrating it). 

For over a year now the internal monologue has been ratcheted way down, to what I assume is about what any/everybody has as an internal though process. And the quiet in my head has been really, really nice. Even if the drive to Make All The Things went with it.

And on a less introspective side, we'd been doing a lot of conventions, and were getting more or less burned out and needed a break. We'd taken a year or so off at least once in the past. Giving up on one-day events and going to only weekend-long things helped, but the trade-off is/was losing whole weekends. 

Also, age: We're not as young and strong and invincible as we used to be. Backs and knees and ankles and whatnot get cranky. I don't like sleeping in strange beds. Staying up too late makes me cranky. Yadda yadda yadda.

Anyway, it's been lurking in the back of my thought processes that we need to decide what direction the business is going to go, and words along those general lines finally got said earlier this week. Ron pointed out that Otter Necessities really is my baby, and is leaving it largely up to me. 

I *think* that I'm going to work on shifting business over more to Etsy; which means taking and editing pictures and creating and editing listings, but which is much less stressful on the body. I can put up 2 or three things today, some more tomorrow, etc. Etsy sales are fairly easy to process/pack up (at least with USPS flat-rate shipping), and toss in the mailbox. I do need to come up with better book-keeping for Etsy sales, but that's not a huge issue.

Ron suggested that if we make room in the dining/work room he can put the light table and a tripod with camera up, and make it easy to get good pictures. I've also been meaning to put doll clothes and books (I've been playing with bookbinding again) up, which means getting a bunch of pictures so I can list a reasonable assortment of whatever at once. 

And whatever I decide to do with Otter, the dining room is a complete disaster - a year of being used as a storage space has made it relatively impassible (although Tommy did go through it to the front entry, while on his cable, one evening). 

So, my plan is to start attacking the dining room. It may start as soon as this weekend - at very least, there's a six-foot table in there that can go over to the storage unit (and while we're there retrieve the Christmas tree and accessories, and look for the light table). I'd already planned to take the week between Christmas and New Year's off, with only one day's worth of possible plans for that time, which I may have just filled. 

After shifting easy/obvious things to storage I think I'll clear off and fold up the two Workmate-and-clone workbenches. Which sounds easy enough, but that "clear off" bit isn't as easy/breezy as it sounds. After that, see if I can find shelf space for a couple piles of books (leather, horse-tack, and military/history-related) that were evicted from the dining room. Plus some other things that have been sitting out/on the floor. 

I have possibilities floating in the back of my head on how to accomplish things, we'll see how plans work out when confronted with realities. I was thinking of replacing the last piece of Metro-style shelving in the room with nicer wooden bookshelves that we have in storage, but on further thought the Metro-style stuff is deeper, with may be very useful. Or maybe the heavy-duty brick-and-board shelving will be modified or replaced. Or not, which is also ok. That room is never going to be pretty. 

I think I've mattered on long enough at this point, we'll see how it goes once I actually get started . . .