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Category Archives: DIY

Little Gold Dust Woman

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My urge to DIY has been snowballing.

I have already been working at knitting a throw blanket for my bedroom, and have also added a cushion cover to the mix.  I’m probably going to hack some kind of valance out of red bandannas, pretty much just by using clothespins to rig them over the blind frame.  I’ve also set aside a couple of flat sheets and a pillowcase that I’m going to try playing around with dye and a shibori tie-dye technique.

And then a couple weeks ago I suddenly got hit with the urge to start dressing a little more like Stevie Nicks – seriously, the whole swirly-skirts, lacey-shawls hippie 70s thing.  I poked my nose into eBay looking at what they had for lace shawls, but then realized – hey, I have a crapton of laceweight yarn and I know how to knit.  And so now I am looking at patterns to knit myself a lace shawl. I especially am on the lookout for something that will use this gorgeous hot-pink-and-deep-blue yarn – I just got a peasanty top at a thrift store in that hot pink, and am thinking it’s just what I need to throw over my shoulders when I wear it with jeans.

And I also spent part of an afternoon last weekend browsing in a junk shop in Williamsburg, just to see what they had – I’d been in once before just to look, and walked out with a genuine donabe pot they had balanced on top of an old foot locker and were selling for only twenty bucks.  This time I was looking more at all the silver and glassware, thinking of ways I could put them in my window to catch the light.  But I put that off to later.

And then I got home and on a whim, I dug out a lot of craft stuff from when I was in a papercrafts phase in the early 2000’s; scraps of fancy rice paper, cardstock, stamps.  I browsed scrapbook sites to see if I could finally do something with a backlog of travel photos I’ve been piling up, and am seriously considering a voyage to a Michaels’ in town.

…this kind of energy and frivolity is something I just plain haven’t had or wanted to do in about ten years.   I’m thinking this is a very good thing.

Spring after Long Winter

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So.  I’ve said a couple times that it’s been quiet in here, but I owe a bit of an explanation – the day job situation has, for the past couple years, pretty much sucked.  Not because of the place I work – on the contrary, I probably screwed myself a little insisting on staying in a place I loved when other factors were less than ideal.  First I was a temp; the job itself was great and I got on wonderfully with my boss.  But the pay was….well, it was temp pay, and there was only one week paid time off for holidays, sick pay, or vacation time.  So I spent what little free time I had at home, afraid to do anything because oh my god it will cost money.

Then I finally got a full time job where I work, for a different boss in a different department – and I got on great with everyone there too.  But the actual work I was doing was a huge, huge switch from what I’d been doing (office management-type clerical to human resources data analysis), and I have spent most of last year feeling like a huge idiot because i don’t understand how human resources works and i need to deal with a whole computer system on top of it but i must not freak out because i don’t want to lose this job aaaaaauuggghhh

However.

Over time, I got more comfortable with it.  And, working in human resources means that your boss looks at you funny when you don’t use your vacation time, which has been a really good foil for me; I’ve had a bit of a temp mindset for too long, where I don’t use free time because there usually isn’t much, but the paid time off I have has quadrupled from what it used to be, with a boss who eggs me on to use it.  (Human resources people get that people actually need free time.)

So that super-austere phase I’ve been in for two years now – while I was still recovering from yet more austerity from a few years prior – is slowly wearing off.  And thank God for that too – because I’ve been in survival mode for way too long.  A lot of the fun and relaxed things that made me me all got put on hold – cooking, exploring the city, travel, writing.  But things are coming back.  It’s like a few little shoots finally poking out of the ground after a really heavy winter, or after a forest fire.

And one of the surest ways I know this is…I have suddenly gotten the urge to redecorate my bedroom.

Now, I’m not really one of those lifestyle bloggers who is always posting DIY crafts and design tips.  My crafting talent is way more….aspirational than anything else; I can knit okay, and a simple dying project worked once, and I can do some extremely simple handsewing, but….quilting? Painting? Ceramics?  Forget it.  Most of my projects are either smudged, or the colors are all wrong or the nails break or something.  I even once managed to screw up spray painting something a single color.

But.  I have been squinting at my bedroom lately, wanting to change things up a bit.  Switch out a couple pillows, maybe pile on a couple of cheap throws.  Soften the windows up with a valance of some kind.  Get more art.  Actually do something with all of the craft shit I purchase because I think that maybe it’ll work this time.  I did have some success making a puppet theater for my niece and nephew this Christmas (even here, I ran out of supplies twice and there are a couple places where it’s obvious my lines are crooked), so there is hope.

So right now, there are some actual DIY projects in the works.  Fortunately they should all be simple – I’m starting a couple of knit cushion covers and a big blanket, and there’s a couple of plain bedsheets I’ll be trying to tie-dye using a sort of half-assed shibori method.

Part of it is because of spring – I want to clean old shit away, bring in things that are fresh and new, and also try to use some of what I’ve got in fresh new ways (or just get rid of it; there will be plenty of that going on too).  But part of it, too, is because I finally have the space and trust to start letting in a little joy again.

And tonight that joy is just so happen going to take the form of refinishing four random tins with….spray paint.  Wish me luck.