There is a previous post on Ty’s office, but this one examines my studio. Ok full disclosure, I like having things in boxes until I really, really need what is in the box. Also in the dome there were closets galore, and here there are only four closets!
So there I was one day just trying to get done what I wanted to get done, and Ty comes home to say there is a great shelving unit at the St. Joseph’s Flea Market next door. He saw it on the way home because they leave much of the furniture outside. The store was closed for the next two days and we just hoped it didn’t rain on it.
Tuesday morning the store opened, and we walked the sturdy, 6ft tall oak shelf half of a block to the tower. Once scrubbed down, scraped of wasp’s nests, and brought inside, Ty was all about getting me unpacked. While I put away most of our tech gear, dvds and tapes, he hefted bins full of my crafting items into one closet, and re-arranged another shelf.
He came up with some great ideas for displaying my musical instruments and moth-proof acrylic yarn. Yes, the man can cook and he’s got a mean sense of feng shui.
What’s left? Well as you can see from the picture below, I don’t have a real computer chair yet, but the bin is the perfect height, and keeps me from slouching too much. That open swift on the top of the back shelf? That was Ty’s idea.
We also have a closet full of wall hangings that need to go up, and the quilt may go on the wall too.
This morning I had to go through all of my papers trying to find one specific document. It took almost an hour to find it, so the paper organization isn’t perfect yet, but as far as yarn/fabrics/instruments/av club multimedia go, I’m pretty sure where everything is. I guess that makes it home.
Well that’s about the entire studio, except for Darth Vader wearing my derby hat.
While the rest of the world leaves the office to have a beer at 4PM CDT, I continue to work. Yesterday, I was put the finishing touches on my crazy quilt.
OK OK, full disclosure here, after Ty and I went swimming and had a picnic lunch at Beaverfork Lake yesterday, I came home and finished the quilt. (This is probably why I look so tired and shoulder-tastic in the the pictures.) Every day for the past week, I woke up and said, “Today is the day that quilt is getting finished.” Other things kept coming up. My mother visited, a new computer, laundry day, you know how it goes.
Work for this quilt started in 2003 when I began cutting up old pieces of clothing to try out a bargello technique. I started working on it again in 2005, and then the crazies fell in in 2008. Yes, they may call it a crazy quilt because it looks crazy, but after completing this one, I can now confidently say you may actually have to be crazy to start one.
In showing the quilt to a couple of folks, number one question is, “Where did you learn to do that?” As with most things, I didn’t really learn directly. When I was in elementary school, every Saturday, the local PBS station would have a show, “Sewing with Nancy”. She did a bargello show once where you take these long strips of fabric, sew them all together, and then cut them the other way and stagger them in a wave. When she cut them into equal pieces and staggered them at equal lengths, the show was pretty boring, but then she must have had a few cocktails and started cutting at willy-nilly widths and sewing at irregular intervals. It was compelling TV.
The book is very helpful, but leaves a lot to the imagination. A few pictures or diagrams of the actual quilting stitches would have flattened the learning curve more. I am still clueless about machine quilting and walking foot quilting. Guess I am going to have to google it. The part on basting/pinning the quilt sandwich and starting stitching from the center was very helpful. I also stitched this quilt much more than I had to, but I really like the results.
The Naughty Secretary Club: The Working Girl’s Guide to Handmade JewelryNew book link if your reader blocks it. The Naughty Secretary Club is an awesome jewelry maker out of Austin, Texas. For years, she has been coming up with inventive jewelry, mostly made out of recycled bits of paper or plastic mixed with clear epoxy. Recently though, they’ve been on the bleeding edge of the “revamped vintage” trend. Bookmark this site for great hand made gifts. The book comes out in August, and I’ll be waiting with my toxic epoxy and resin chemicals and molds to figure out how to do this stuff the “correct” way!
Just in case you didn’t know, I’m “between jobs” right now by choice. We made the move, and are settled in, and there are a certain amount of things I feel I need to get done before my next phase of employment begins.
Today we found an independent insurance agent in dowtown Conway, his name is Chase. He was very helpful, and even re-ran a bunch of numbers for us a couple of times. He had to ask a few weird questions, and we were happy to answer them. He asked if I was employed, and I said I was between jobs. He said to Ty, “You’re working at Hendrix, right?” We were surprised that Chase knew, but it turns out after seeing Tyrone’s email address is his name @tyronejaeger.com, he went to tyronejaeger.com and found the information. Wow, look at that! Getting that website has done a little marketing for us!
Now we just need something to sell.
Anyway, we got the paperwork back for our insurance and Chase asked us to look through it for spellings, etc. Names, addresses, previous addresses, employment…next to Ty’s name was “Hendrix College Professor,” or something like that in all of its multiple word capitalized glory….and there it was, right next to my name, “homemaker”.
My mother works for a non-profit international exchange student company, AYUSA. She is in charge of the central states region, which encompasses the Dakotas to Oklahoma, north-south, and Idaho to Nebraska, west-east. Sometimes she goes on international trips, sometimes domestic, but she always tries to bring something edible back for her workers.
She was nearing the end of her stay here in Arkansas, and still was coming up empty-handed. She really wanted to find some sort of barbecue sauce, or hot sauce to send. I told her I’d start a company called “Arkansauce” to meet her needs alone. What do you know? It exists!
But we were looking in the local supermarkets, not online.
This is where I’d like to highlight some of the differences between grocery stores in The South, and grocery stores other places. I’ve seen a sign like this in so many stores!
Somewhere in Little Rock, I saw a chalkboard with “CANNED” written in to the place where “can” once was. It was in reference to green beans, I believe. Locals probably read that and think “damn yankees”. Otherwise they only sell can peas, can corn, can green beans, and can gravy down here!
Also, next to the oatmeal are boxes and boxes of grits in designer flavors like “butter” and “three cheese”.
In the end my mother ended up finding some fry bread from Oklahoma and some hush puppy mix from Arkansas to send to her crew. It was a bunch of fun checking out where all the new sorts of food originated. It was funny to see that most of the “soul food” selections were actually boxed in New York City (cue salsa commercial cowboys). Some of my friends have recently been interested in doing a 100-mile-diet during the summer where you can only eat things from a 100 mile radius. I think that would work great down here, where tomato season is already in full swing. Places like Nebraska and upstate New York fare tougher because of the shorter growing season and you really realize you are paying more for the winter heating and health insurance of everyone that touched your produce.
My mother’s job is bringing her on a whirlwind tour of the central states. She ventured over into Arkansas yesterday and we took her around town and Hendrix Campus, where Ty will be the vising writer in residence.
This is the Murphy Building, where his office is located. The building also has the offices for the Murphy Foundation, study rooms for students featuring overstuffed furniture, slate floors and fireplaces, as well as apartment housing for shorter term artists in residence.
Here is the view from the back.
This is the view from out of his window. That’s not mulch in the brown area, those are pecan shells. Some have argued this is the best view on campus.
In Nebraska, we start container gardens and regular gardens in April or May, and start seedlings indoors as early as February. This year I wasn’t able to do any seedlings because of the move. In Arkansas, everything has been picked over by June. I couldn’t find a tomato tree for under $14!
The first week I just started some seedlings. Even though the deck is on the north side of the building, it gets sun all day long.
The second week it finally rained, and I bought a tomato plant. I planted some okra, and it grew a half inch after the rain.
The third week we cheated and bought some bigger plants to catch up.
My best container gardening find has been cheap second-hand Styrofoam coolers. Most large planters are $4, and even more for attractive ones. I like the look of the Styrofoam, it is light, I’m saving it from the landfill. Maybe I’ll paint it someday, I like how spray paint dissolves the outer coating of Styrofoam. Note the drainage holes at the bottom of the cooler. There are beets in this planter, maybe I’ll put some carrots in the other one.
We have a two-story set of stairs with two landings appropriate for plants, however the owners, Covington Properties, were unable to paint the stairs before we got in. Right now I only have one plant out there in case they decide to paint the stairs next week. We’re hoping to put more out there soon.
It has become a trend on the internet to make some sort of favorite list, or to list things that you’ve been up to, or things that you are excited about. I’ve got a backlog of things to post, so I’m trying out this list thing.
Crafting: the crazy quilt!
I’ve got about 4 square feet on one edge to finish before I start binding it. Going to take a look at some of Conway’s quilt shops to find the right fabric.
Woot.com is a great site with one-item-per-day sales, mostly on tech stuff. Everyone so often, they have a woot-off, where they sell their leftovers and otherwise really good deals. Almost bought a computer yesterday, but by the time I made up my mind to get it, they were all gone!
This book has nothing to do with the recent movies of the same name. Don Delillo is one of my husband Tyrone’s favorite authors. The book so far is very descriptive in a surprising and quirky way. It starts out with a professor at a small liberal arts college at the beginning of the school year. I only know about two other events in the book, the “Airborne Toxic Event”, from which a hip indie band takes their name, and a scene where a child touches the television. Tyrone examined that scene in his dissertation, I don’t remember why now, but it was very interesting at the time.
This song made me drag out the guitar and sing it in the curved ceiling atrium while Ty went out running yesterday. Small and big screen movie star Zooey Deschanel sings like country when country wasn’t cool. She evokes all of the 50s and 70s country leading ladies: Patsy Cline, Linda Ronstadt, Connie Francis. M Ward backs her up with guitar, vocals, and his trademark whistling skills. Mike Mogis is even featured playing his steel guitar.
Try a sample!
Watching: Twin Peaks The Definitive Gold Box EditionJust finished this David Lynch classic. My mother and my sister really got into it when it was first shown, but I always had marching band practice or something. I didn’t understand why they liked it so much until I saw the episode with “the Giant”. I watched the first season later on Bravo in college, but they never broadcast the second season. The mystery runs deep in this show with murder, embezzlement, and mystical plots, while it almost parodies the modern soap opera with a bunch of cheesy love stories.
Bread-winning: Amazon AssociatesOther blogs I’ve read will suggest books, music, movies, magazines, or other gadgets. Often, they link to them at amazon.com. The associates program gives me a cut of the sale if I link to an object and someone actually buys it. If you need a gift card, I can get a cut on those too, so I’ll have a post on that later. Anyway, this is my first post trying it out. Let me know if you have any problems.
I really wanted to make cookies, but I didn’t want to be over an oven for a long time. The bars were really thick, and I don’t really like oatmeal in cookies, but it was good in the bars.
We went to the Little Rock Farmer’s Market last weekend.
A nice vendor named Jane showed us some fun houseplants, and we ended up getting a few hanging baskets. She called this one an “African Tobacco Pipe” plant. It has hanging boughs that look like the center plant, only with a curved “pipe” bottom. If you know what it is let me know:
This one is a succulent, String of Bananas, String of Pearls, Banana Vine, Necklace Plant Senecio radicans. The mother plant that Ty has in is office is 5 feet long!
Sedum Burrito! It jiggles! Yes I have a thing for succulents. Need to divide the Hens and Chicks when my mother visits this weekend.
Buying: @ St. Joseph’s Tent sale tomorrowJust across the way from us is a huge second-hand store. It seems that in the south, if you have an on-going second-hand store, it is always called a “flea market”. So here is a picture of St. Joseph’s Flea Market Tent Sale preparation.
Notice that there aren’t any tents, just tarps over the tables.
When we started planning the layout of the tower, we took into account the fact that Ty is the outdoor person, and at times, I could be confused with a cave-dweller. This meant that Ty got the windowed room for his office, and I got the less windowed room for my studio.
Ty’s first order of business after unpacking and doing all the weird mailing and set-up stuff you have to do for a move, was to get back to writing. He got up early one morning, facing the morning sun, and found he could not write in the blinding southern glare. I stopped unpacking and started working on a solution.
We went to Lowe’s and bought 3 screw-to-fit shower curtain rods. The metal casings around his windows, and cement enclosure everywhere else really prevented us from using any sort of traditional curtain rod. At the fabric store, we looked for thick, low priced fabric that wouldn’t wrinkle when the curtain was open. We settled on a green polyester after a sun test at the front of the store.
Then came the construction! I looked at some patterns on the internet for tab curtains. Most of them suggest 10-inch tabs! That seemed excessive to me, but maybe we just had a smaller rod. I cut the fabric to fit the length windows plus 8 inches. I whip-stitched the selvedge end over, and then started creating the 8 inch tabs. The fabric width was 63 inches, 62 after whip-stitching. Each curtain had 15 tabs spaced about 1 tab per 4 inches, and then one on the end.
After the tabs were made, I hung up the curtains and just pinned them to fit. After hemming the ends, they were finished. Retrospective: cutting and sewing the individual tabs took the largest amount of time. Next time I may have to experiment with huge grommets instead. However, after watching the Twin Peaks Gold Edition box set, Tyrone is probably very happy to have silent drapery runners, and not having to resort to (SPOILER) cotton balls and oil.Ty says he really likes these curtains, and that they go with his human aquarium theme.
…and there were boxes and boxes. In the living room, boxes!
In the kitchen, boxes!
In the crafting room, boxes! (Yes the computer chair is a rubbermaid tote.)
In the office atrium/people tank all has settled. Tyrone is quick to unpack like that. My mother is coming down for a visit this weekend, and bringing the rest of his books. Notice the cool green curtains. I threw those together last week. I was in the middle of unpacking, and just not sure how to set up my studio. A project was needed to put me into the right arm’s length mindset, and the green curtains really helped to triangulate that.
Here is Ty on the roof, happy he’s unpacked. On his birthday, he put out the tiki torches. Now the tower seems more like a fortress at night when we have them lit. Pictures of that tomorrow!