Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm a handyman lady

After painting the bedroom, I was pretty sure I would never paint anything again. It took three days. Then, about 24 hours later I decided to paint the bathroom. Who knows how the human brain works?
I painted it the same color as the bedroom, Fudge Bar by Behr. While I was thrilled by the new look of the bedroom, I was less thrilled with the bathroom. It's fine, but I'm just not overly excited by it. One thing that surprised me: I painted the whole bathroom in a matter of hours. I guess I'm becoming an expert.

Here is the bathroom before:
bathroom painting

Here is the bathroom after. It's kind of like those people makeovers where you think how they cleaned them up all nice for the after picture, so it's hard to compare. The bathroom was really dirty before, but after I painted I cleaned it and put away the junk:

bathroom painting

I have this sheer shower curtain, and I bought a brown liner to go under it. Then I came across these shower curtain hooks and that's what inspired a color scheme of chocolate/turquoise -- kind of desert-like. Only in the end, I had more of an aqua/greenish look to the accessories. This is partly because of the "artwork" on the walls that I already had and because I don't want to buy new towels.

bathroom painting

I found these counter accessories for half price at Target. They have little cutouts in the ceramic, but it's hard to see here:

bathroom painting

I also decided to replace the knobs on my spare bedroom furniture. I like the original wooden knobs, but after many moves, some of the knobs were stripped and wouldn't stay on, even with glue. The night stand is permanently missing 2 knobs and the dresser has one that's only setting there, but falls off if you touch it.

bedroom furniture

I switched to these metal knobs:

bedroom furniture

Sunday, July 27, 2008

One small corner of my house is done

After several days, I have finally finished painting this one spare bedroom. The walls look like chocolate ice cream, and every time I'm in there I want to lick them. The baseboards and doors look like vanilla ice cream, and I would want to lick them, too, if not for all the chocolate.

OK, here are the before pics:


And the after pics:

home repairhome repair

At the last minute, I decided to paint the ugly assemble-yourself bookshelves that were an ugly fake-wood brown. It was too close to the wall color and I thought this would stand out a bit. It was a huge pain, and I did a really bad job of it. You can't tell in the picture, but the fronts of the shelves have horrible spots where I peeled them from the plastic and there were globs of paint they had been sitting in.

home repair
Notice its sidekick, the green lamp, is gone. Gone, gone, gone.
home repair

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Long live the appropriately used apostrophe!

I am currently reading "Eats Shoots & Leaves" (and I'm a few years behind the rest of the literate world on that, I know). It's a wonderful, funny book about why punctuation matters. Unfortunately, I don't believe the people who actually need the book will ever read it. And the ones who savor every word of it already know that punctuation matters, right?

Just for fun lets write a paragraph with absolutely no punctuation at all and see how fun it is to read it do you like this is is it fun because its really hard to type this way really really hard and yet there are so many people who type this way online all the time i'm not sure why because it actually takes more effort to write badly it seems

Hmmmmmmmmmmm. I think that I have proven that punctuation matters, so those of you who type the way I did above should go buy the book. Go! Now!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Socks and paint

I finished my first pair of socks. They are quite ugly, thanks to the yarn I chose, but I was determined to see them through.

Here they are on my new, homemade sock blockers. You dampen the socks and let them dry on the blockers for optimum shape-age.

socks, knitting projects, knitting

I made these blockers with a $2 plastic place mat, saving myself a good $20-$30. I used the instructions found at Little Sesame Knits, but I was lazy and took shortcuts. Notice my cat is a running theme in these photos. She is everywhere it all times.
sock blockers

The other thing I did this weekend (my weekend, which does not coincide with everybody else's) was paint one of the spare bedrooms. It was really hard for several reasons, one of which is that painting is really hard. People act like it's fun, but there is not one fun thing about it. Another reason it was hard was because it was like 100% humidity the last few days here, and therefore the swamp coolers are rather ineffective. I'm not one to exaggerate, but I think it was hundreds of degrees in there. The final reason it was so hard is because it's a smallish room with BIG furniture. So it was kind of like a puzzle to move it a little this way and a little that way while I painted. Here is an example of the mess. In order for a small lady to move that big ol' bed, I had to take the mattress off.:


(another kitty)

In a few days, I'll present before and after pics! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Let me go!

Another way I'm trying to simplify my life is by cutting back on all the Web sign-ups I have. I have a piece of paper jam-packed with user names and passwords. Much of it is related to business-promotion and having profiles at every possible place. But I never log in or use them. There are also lots of other misc. places I have logins for.

I decided to start closing them down -- not just ignoring them. I can't believe how hard it is. 99% of the places do not have an automated option to close your account. If you spend enough time searching, some have instructions on how to do it buried somewhere. Many don't. Lots of places require you to contact them, and then they take days to respond, if ever, and plead with you not to go.

My advice is to think twice about signing up at various sites, because they don't make it easy for you to go.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Burstyriffic goodbye


I have decided to start closing up my shop, Burst of Happiness.

The reason? I have just decided it's the best thing for me right now. There are other interests that I've wanted to have more time for, including sewing for myself, practicing my design skills, knitting more complicated things, dyeing yarn for those things, taking up golf again, working out more, getting things done around the house. The list goes on.

The business has been lots of fun! I enjoyed it so much, and it was a thrill every single time somebody bought something. To think that they liked my stuff! But it's also tons of work to sell in that manner. To sell online, you are lost in a vast Web of millions of sites. You have to constantly be online promoting in one form or another. You'd be surprised at how much promoting and card handing out you can do just to end up with one sale.

As soon as I backed off of all that effort, my sales came to a halt. I just don't have the time to put into all of that.

Locally, it's really hard to sell. The only shows I have considered worth my time, and by that I mean selling more than one thing, have been at an art studio where people are expecting to spend more money. Consignment has also not worked well -- I haven't found the right place, or, admittedly, put the effort in to do so. But it's not very easy to make a profit when you are making one bag at a time by hand. Once you hand over 40%-50% of the sale price to the shop, you basically pay for supplies and make nothing. That's why consignment or selling to boutiques hasn't been something I've pursued much.

Anyway, I feel really good about this decision. I thank everybody who has supported me in this venture!

I've marked everything in my shop down at least 15%. Prices are already in effect at my etsy shop. To change my prices on my Web site is much more time consuming, so I'm just asking people to email me for a new invoice.

This is a great chance to get nice items on sale, so tell your friends or start shopping for Christmas!

The Internet is not a luxury

It's pretty much what I live for. After my monitor was zapped by the storm, my dear husband went to Costco and bought a floor model of a 22" LCD for $100 off the regular price, and it's good as new.

Yay for wasting time staring at a screen all day!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Today a huge rain storm hit. It was fun to watch. It just poured and poured minutes after I returned from my bike ride.

Then I went upstairs to the computer and found my monitor was zapped out. It was plugged into a surge protector, and the computer appears fine, but the monitor was blinking and smelled like it was burning.

I don't know if this is something we can fix. It's four years old, so it's had a good life, I guess, but it was a nice LCD and I don't want to buy another.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A huge feat for Robynkind

OK, so you know how I got a bike? And then I found that I live in the midst of many hills, which made bike riding hard? Well, this has proved to be a huge challenge for me, and one that has quickly changed my fitness level, and my thighs.

First I conquered a smaller hill near my house and I felt great about it. But there was still the Hill of Doom. Very close to my house, which is on the Albuquerque/Rio Rancho border, I can hit a street that takes me down into the village of Corrales for a nice flat ride through a more rural area. There's a bike lane and the lovely aroma of cows. I like riding this area, and to get there is a nice, breezy downhill ride. But what goes up must come down, and it seems to work the other way, as well.

At some point, I have to go home, and the only way back into Rio Rancho is a steep climb. I have found no path that isn't. So I'd been taking this street back up that is quite steep in parts. Then it curves and becomes a, I swear I'm not exaggerating, 45 degree angle. It's unbelievable. So, on the straight part of the street, I'd make it up about 1/3 of the way and then have to walk the bike, all while gasping for oxygen and feeling quite dizzy. Then I'd reach this particular tree and the road would flatten out for a bit. So I'd be walking about another 1/3, then get on and ride a bit. Then I'd reach the Doomiest hill of all -- the 45 degree one. I'd ride till I was going so slowly that I'd almost tip over. I would be gasping so loud, I'm sure people could hear me from a mile away. My head would pound and I'd be dizzy. I felt like I'd vomit. I'd get off and push to the top, where it meets with another street and then I'd turn left. But no point getting back on here, because it's immediately another hill, albeit a short one. At the crest of that one, it was smooth sailing the rest of the way home.

Well, today, I was riding up the straight part when I realized I was already past the part where I usually had to get off and walk. I was already to the point where I would get back on and ride! I did it! I did it! I rode to the 45 degree angle and had to push, because even an Ironman could not ride this part, I am sure of it. I got to the stop sign, but instead of turning left and walking the last hill, I got back on and rode it.

I rode home in a huge state of joy and excitement. I think all these painful workouts are paying off! Plus, I've lost about 4 pounds in the past several months, which may not seem like a lot, but I didn't have much to lose -- just a little jiggle. I'm looking a world better in the legs and I'm very excited. I'm even not TOO scared about being photographed in a skort for my newspaper article on golf wear.

Simple Sweater Drives Knitter to the Brink of Insanity

I've been working on the A-Line Sweater from "Runway Knits":

Runway Knits
Runway Knits

It's a simple sweater, but I've made many sloppy mistakes, and therefore I've spent as much time fixing mistakes as I have making the sweater. One thing I would consider if I were doing it over is buying a longer pair of circular needles for the body of the sweater. Trying to work with nearly 100 stitches of super bulky yarn on 14" needles is aggravating. They were packed on. But I had to buy some short circulars for the sleeves, and those ran $25 for Addi Turbos (my cheap ones broke immediately). I didn't want to buy more needles, so I just suffered instead.

I've made some mistakes, such as forgetting to purl the second stitch of each knit row, which probably means my fronts will curl up. I think for the most part, though, it will be very nice. Here is what I have so far, though it's nothing to look at. I've been working with a lot of gray yarns lately and I'm tired of the gray, but I wanted versatile colors for my sweater and recent handbag.

It's being knit with a superbulky wool yarn, Brown Sheep Burly Spun.

knitting projects, sweater, a-line sweater,Runway Knitsknitting projects,knitting projects, sweater, a-line sweater,Runway Knits

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A novel idea!

I just had a crazy idea: what if -- get this -- I wore my glasses while driving?! What would happen? So I tried it. And I'll be damned if things weren't a whole lot clearer! I'm not sure why it hasn't ever crossed my mind to wear them when I'm not sitting at my desk, but I will try this more often.

On another note: I played golf yesterday. I hadn't had any desire to play golf in the past few years, but I was inspired after Mark (the golf editor at work and my husband) asked me to do a piece on women's golf fashion, which I've whined and moaned about at great lengths (the fashion, not the story). It was actually one of the things that made me feel very uninspired about golfing. I will show you my article after it runs, probably this Thursday, but the amazing outfits made me feel like maybe golf could be fun. I still had to go dressed as a doofus, because I don't actually have any of these amazing outfits, but inspiration is at hand...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

I'm a little older, a little flabbier

Here's a blast from the past -- one that my husband insisted I put on my blog. It's embarrassing, yes, but I will do it for the sake of giving you a chuckle.

Here's the deal: My mom was cleaning out some drawers of old stuff. And I mean old. She called to ask if I wanted any workout clothes. I said, "Do you mean like the thong leotards people wore in 1990?" Yes, that's what she meant. I went to get something from her and she hands me a bag of clothes that I might like, but won't let me look at them until later. That's when I found this lovely surprise -- a genuine 1980s workout outfit! She also threw in a splatter-paint bandana for good measure.

I look, well, not good in this outfit, but I might point out they are padded bike shorts. Yes, yes. These are padded everywhere, all over the thighs and everything, so really, none of that is me. I'm very, very slim underneath those extremely padded shorts. Seriously.