Sunday, February 19, 2017

A light fixture and a small blackboard

I spent a few days tinkering and came out the other end with a hanging light fixture for the living room.  Socket and cord salvaged from a floor lamp, cover for the cord made of scrap burlap, a shade of garden fence wire, scrap fabric, and scrap plywood. It is hanging from a chain that I strung between two beams. I also made a conduit of wood through which I am running an extension cord up the wall--that is the part that I am least happy with, as it was tricky to put up with the cord already in it. I also ended up having to take the cord off the socket several times; now I can almost tie wires in an underwriter's knot without consulting my fix-it reference book.

It was a series of technical puzzles to solve, which required persistence. The light looks too small and high for its location, but it needs to be, to keep it out of monkey reach. It would be wise, in most cases, to make a cardboard mock-up first.

The new light makes a huge difference in the room; it was one of the missing pieces.

I also made a small blackboard sign, out of scrap plywood painted black with acrylic paint. With some chalk dust wiped over it to mellow out the surface, it looks nice. I used the scroll saw to cut it; I never did get the hang of using a coping saw without having the blade twist all over the place. Some of the Victorinox Swiss Army knives have a nice saw blade, wickedly sharp.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Coming together

We bought a chest freezer, 7 cubic feet.

Our landlord bought a new washer, with a discount because the old washer was one of the models that was recently recalled for "exploding". The new one is a front loader, which is surprisingly difficult to load and unload. It gets diapers cleaner than the old one did, but still doesn't wash diaper covers, shower curtains, waterproof mattress pads, or tennis shoes. Last fall, I bought a plunger-type Rapid Washer at a flea market, which helps a lot with handwashing the larger items. I still use an antique washboard to scrub the diaper covers.

We had an infestation of pantry moths, I am not entirely sure that we are over it, but we were already keeping most pantry items in glass jars, metal tins, or large buckets.

I have been mopping up some smaller projects, like hemming a pair of pants that has been waiting for more than a year.

Also, I made some progress on the chair re-upholstering. All that is left now is putting on the trim over the tacks. I think I will be buying decorative tacks, and perhaps craft glue, to attach it. The chair is now in place in the bedroom; I needed to make space in the basement for the freezer.

I repaired several books, some needed packing tape (buy a good brand, cheap packing tape is miserable to use), and one needed a cardboard tube glued into the spine.

My husband and I have put in our seed orders.  Also, we've been reading a Joel Salatin book, and are getting more excited about growing and cooking our own real food.

I found this article on Energy Management by Personality Type very helpful.

Last month, I worked through a book of little art exercises, called Creating Art at the Speed of Life. It was a lot of fun, and I ended up with several art journal pages that are worth keeping. This month, I am taking a break from art, and working more on music...I have over time accumulated enough knowledge of music theory to be able to sort of, almost, play songs on the piano with a combination of playing chords and playing the melody by ear. You get better at the things that you do.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Step one

I signed up for The Nester's Cozy Minimalist course. It is offered only sometimes and costs $39; well worth it, in my opinion, if only to keep me from making a few dud purchases. And as it is also helping me to set up a room to support the purposes that I want to accomplish in it, then the course is worth far more to me than the sticker price.

So I am working on my living room. One very obvious need in this somewhat large room is for more lighting; there was one working lamp, one not working, and the rest of the light comes indirectly from adjoining rooms.

I had tried a couple of times before to fix the floor lamp, which was a curbside find with a halogen bulb. It would work for a second, now and then, but that was it. I did some cautious tinkering, with no improvement. Finally I used my pocket knife to scrape the corrosion or carbon off the bulb contact points, which did the trick. The room feels very different now at night with a light source in that corner, much more functional and comfortable.

It is still too dark at the other end, which is tricky considering the location of the outlets and the need for everything to be monkeyproof.