Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Assorted Natter

I like my baby sewing machine. Its kind of noisy, and only has one speed (not particularly fast), and probably wouldn't appreciate heavier fabric/more layers, but it works fine for the seams on doll clothes made out of calico/quilter's cotton. It seems machine manufacturers have pretty much settled on one style needle and two of plastic bobbins, so although I bought a package of needles to keep with this machine, it wasn't a necessity (have both style bobbins on hand). Being only about 5 pounds in weight I can indeed pull it out and put it away with minimal effort. I may see if I can find a small battery-operated LED light to put on it, if I get around to it. Otherwise I just use my phone's flashlight function while threading the needle.

Been working on doll clothes, but as mentioned previously, also trying to take it easy on my wrist. Have two outfits finished that I need to iron and send to their new homes (gifts, not purchased).

Still haven't built the frame to hold LED lighting around the light tent, but that's scheduled soonish. Nor have I gotten a chair for the drafting table. I have, however, procured a self-healing cutting mat for it.

I decided that a large mat would be a useful thing for cutting out doll clothing (which I have a couple small mats for already) and paper for bookbinding. I was originally looking at Olfa mats at JoAnn, but fortunately thought to check the Dick Blick website. I got a 36" x 48" non-Olfa but well-rated mat for less than a 24" x 36" Olfa mat from JoAnn (largest size they carry). Came flat, and fits perfectly on the table, given space taken up by the clamps for the drawing arm and the area the arm occupies when parked to one side. It arrived yesterday, and garbage day was today, so the several acres of cardboard packaging went out this morning, thus a win all around.

Sunday I worked on cleaning up the dining room some more, attacking the shelves by the doorway to the kitchen with the help of Robin's muscles and long arms. Several boxes of old paperwork, specialty cookware, and other odds and ends that don't need to be immediately accessible went to storage. Several other items went out to the curb. In the space cleared off we re-arranged a bit, added a bunch of rolls of leather, and most of my bookbinding equipment, plus some doll clothing stuff. The result was both more open floor space and clearing off the drafting table. Which Robin promptly used to put up the light tent to take pictures of some miniatures.

My hope is to get the two bins of potion bottles and other glassware out to the trailer, but haven't gotten sufficient Round Tuits yet. We'd been keeping them in the house because I prefer they travel not in the trailer for fragility reasons, but there's no reason they can't sit in the trailer while parked.

Have a convention program book I need to start work on, for the annual floodplain manager's convention in March. Last year the old iFruit desktop conked out (well, no longer had the intestinal fortitude to run current Adobe software) and I had to finish the book on a laptop, with the new desktop machine arriving a day or two after the book went to the printer. Headdesk, headdesk.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Little-Bitty Bits of Progress

No chair for the drafting table yet.

On my book of poetry project, I dropped the file and paper off at the printer I've worked with for Windycon and MuseCon in the last week of December, and Friday I got the news that the printing was done (I said it was not a rush job). I decided to just have them UPS them to me, and they were delivered today.

Now that I know how many copies I have (they ran a few extra for setup on their end and mine), I can order board for the covers. And Saturday I stopped at PaperSource and failed to resist various designs of decorative paper for the covers.

Last week I ordered some PVC connectors, 3-way elbows, which are essentially box corners, to make a light frame for around the light tent and snake jungle gyms. Saturday morning we picked up some LED strip lighting for the light frame project.

A week or two before Christmas I messed up my right wrist, and it has slowly been getting better, Saturday and Sunday I dug out doll clothing parts, and then found more parts when re-checking small storage bins I'd previously checked the day before, and finished a couple kosode. I've been careful not to do too much and throw the healing back, and seem to be succeeding.

I, um, also bought another sewing machine. Yes, the big industrial beast, serger, and two standard/home-scale machines were not enough. I started looking at small portable machines, thinking that something small and light and not a big deal to haul out and set up would be nice for doing the short straight seams I do by machine on doll clothes.

I ended up ordering a Janome Sew Mini, which is 1/2 or so of the size of a regular machine, and weights in at only 5 pounds (a couple/few standard machines I saw weights on while browsing were in the 25-lb range). It does several stitches, but I expect I'll only use it to straight-stitch, with maybe the occasional zig-zag to finish edges. Only one speed, but for what I want it for, I think that'll be ok. The bits I machine-sew are typically only 2 layers of lightweight cotton, occasionally 4, so I don't need lots of power. It got good reviews, and takes standard Janome bobbins and needles. Thanks to Amazon Prime, it'll be here tomorrow. I am awaiting it eagerly.

(No, I am not a big fan of Amazon for Reasons, and will probably continue to try very very hard not to buy books from Amazon. But Amazon hit the sweet spot on the price/seller-trustworthiness curve, using Amazon Smile benefits MuseCon, so there we are).