Sew: ball of confusion

Like many women of a certain age, my love affair with Pinterest waxes and wains. It’s directly proportional to the amount of time that I need to spend waiting for something or someone. It is a major time vortex. If I’m not careful, I can be in there for hours, pinning recipes I’ll never make and holiday crafts that I’ll remember long after Christmas is past. It’s a late night guilty pleasure, much like some lovely chocolate or some nice leftover snagged out of the fridge.

Pinterest is also my messy filing cabinet. My armchair travel agent. My restaurant critic. My dreams of crafty magnificence. My tentative plans for the big 50th birthday trip I’m planning for Bruce. And of course, a slew of sewing projects for the day when I finally allow myself to get onto the sewing machine and mess around.

There’s also a board devoted to the Gs. And to this blog, though I am massively behind on my pinning (sorry, Frances, and everyone else who loves Pinterest and would prefer to find my updates there).

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Gidget the black and white dog with her partner-in-crime George • photo by Bruce

As you may have gathered, Gidget, the newest G, is the youngest and remains to this day a “handful”. We thought we were done with her  crate (which takes up far too much space in our office/tv room), but every time we put it in the attic, she shows us that she really needs to be in solitary confinement when there are no humans in the house. I assume her four legged siblings are too busy napping to administer any discipline or tell her that she’s an idiot if she pisses off the two-leggeds with the opposable thumbs that can open the magic cold food box, the treat cabinet and the food bin.

In any case, Gidget needs to be busy. And don’t let that sweet and innocent look fool you, she likes to tear stuff apart. Maybe “de-stuff” is more accurate. Dog beds. Dog toys. Stuffed animals. She loves to make it snow fluff all over the house.

So I decided that a ball of confusion might help her with her drive for mayhem. While it’s not really a “sew” project, it’s as close as I’ve gotten in a while:

8. For a dog who loves to tear apart stuffed animals, make a durable activity ball with a Hol-ee rubber ball, scraps of fabric, and treats.

So first, you get a Hol-ee rubber ball (thanks, Bruce!):

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Then you need strips of fleece or some other durable-ish fabric that Gidget won’t destroy immediately. I chose my funky dotted (yet extremely hole-y) bathrobe that I got for free from Ulta when I purchased a whackload of ever-so-necessary cosmetic products around Mother’s Day, Christmas or another important retail holiday.

 

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Next I broke out the wedding gift sewing box that truthfully hasn’t gotten much use in 19 years, except when Bruce needs to fix something of his (sorry, Mom, you know I’m hopeless as a housewife):

 

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Then I started shredding up the bathrobe. The good thing is the sash was already cut to desired thinness. It just needed to be cut into more manageable pieces. The rest of the robe was another story. Let’s just say, we have enough bathrobe to make another ball or restful with clean strips once the current strips are too slobber covered to restuff.

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First strip is wound up and inserted into the Hol-ee ball:

 

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Crammed full of carefully coiled bathrobe strips, ready for Gidget to rip out:

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Once the ball was ready to go, everyone except Guinness seemed very interested because it was a new toy:

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Gidget seemed interested:
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But in the end, the leader of the pack decided to test it out first to make sure it was suitable:

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She was pretty proud of herself:IMG_5286

Since Sunday, there have been strips of cloth all over the house. I keep stuffing them back in. And sweeping up the fringes. While Gidget is interested in this ball of confusion, it appears that Godiva and George are the biggest fans. (Guinness does not play with toys at all.)

And if you’re expecting a gratuitous dog photo today, I’m afraid that you’ve gotten so many in this post that you’re not going to appreciate another. So instead, I leave you with a gratuitous garden photo that’s foreshadowing:

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Black eyed peas: they’re what’s up next

 

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So: weeknight workout

No, silly, we’re not going back to the gym…yet. Tonight will be another exciting evening of brute strength and blunt force. And dual shop vac/Monster vacuuming action. Oh yes, more of the same fun we had yesterday pulling up smooth edge, tearing out trim, destroying ill-conceived “closet organizers” and “shoe holders” so that the flooring install can go swiftly and smoothly (and so the nice men are not installing the new floor on top of 47 years of dust and dirt).

Bruce and I went to Home Depot at lunch to get some supplies that we will probably need tomorrow night (I may put the bird net up over the tomatoes tonight, just as a fun break and chance to play in the garden for a few minutes). Or maybe if we’re ambitious we’ll get to the next step on our destruction tour de force tonight. Nothing like planning ahead and reducing the chance of excuses for why we can’t do something.

I also need to figure out where to put a bunch of my clothes since the dresser is in the garage at the moment. Nothing like piles of clean laundry on the sofa. Doesn’t it scream “adult homeowner”? Maybe I can scavenge some cinder block and a few boards and make a college style bookshelf. Or perhaps some nice trash bags could be pressed into action. Sigh. It will all be over on Sunday, May 5.

Surprisingly I am not all that sore from the weekend’s shenanigans. Bruce is but as he says, he’s been sore for weeks now. It may be a slight exaggeration but I doubt it. Last night while we were sitting on the patio enjoying a glass of wine after yesterday’s labor, Bruce said something that shocked me: “You know, I think after we get all of the projects that are currently underway done, we should probably take a break.” I almost fell over, but that might have been exhaustion or wine fumes getting the best of me. Maybe I can get back to sewing this summer!

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break from DIY talk: gratuitous George de-fluffing a toy photo since empty rooms are not that photogenic

Speaking of dogs, one of the Gs is visiting the vet tomorrow afternoon. Guinness seems to be having a mouth problem of some type. He’s eating and drinking pretty normally, but he is pawing at the right side of his mouth. His lower lip looks like he may have bit it (or perhaps someone else may have during a roughhousing session or fly catching expedition).

the patient

the patient prior to the mouth situation

Since we don’t know how old he is or his medical history before he moved in with us, we’re thinking that maybe he’s got a toothache. He’s not really letting us check it out much. Don’t worry, he’s always good at the vet and will be sweet to the vet and the vet tech(s) because he knows they’re going to help him. He’s no stranger to clinics after all. And since of course, I’ve done a bit of web research I’m going to take his temperature and see if he’s running a fever (could be an infection then). His vet is pretty awesome but she was only available tomorrow afternoon since Mondays are the busiest vet days (they close at noon on Saturday until Monday morning). Poor big boy. Maybe we’ll just give him wet food tonight and give his mouth a break. I’ll let you know what the vet says.

Must get to work. If you hear loud sounds in our neighborhood after 7 pm, just close your windows.

 

So: started with fabric 2

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Today we continued work on the Mortroski Midcentury Lounge. First order of the day was to install the firescreen/doors. We really haven’t used our fireplace at all since we moved here, partially because we weren’t sure if the tree limb over the chimney was ok, but also because we were not comfortable with just a chain screen separating curious dogs and dog toys from the flame.

The tree has been examined and adjusted by an arborist so we are green lighted to turn on the gas!

We’re very happy with this solution. It should also help with energy efficiency by adding an additional barrier against the surface of the sun heat we get here.

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Next we hung the rod and curtains. Happily we do not have to hem the bottom but we do still need to attach the panels in twos (we have 4). On tomorrow’s to-do list!

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The Gs were good supervisors. Even stoned Guinness wanted to be near the action. (He’s doing much better and even mustered a run to the front window and some barking at a neighbor dog this afternoon. Thank you for your wishes–the medicine and rest are working well for him.)

Tomorrow we have fine tuning to do: caulking, touching up, cleaning, pillow fluffing. And we’ll have a whole new room by the end of the weekend.

So: stupid Hallmark holiday

Woman holding heart, close upIn the Mortroski Midcentury, we’re not big fans of today’s Hallmark holiday. As I mentioned yesterday, it’s cards only between us.

That doesn’t mean we don’t share the love with a whole lot of other people.

For me, it’s not a party without cupcakes. And if you check out my LinkedIn profile, my coworkers expect me to show up with them. So holidays mean cupcake baking the night before the “party” (and when I say party, realize that it’s a bunch of art directors and writers with beers and snacks, nothing fancy).

So, I got to work:

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I spent part of last evening with Duncan and some friends…

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(my secret to fluffy white cupcakes is high speed mixing for exactly 2 minutes)

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(my other secret weapon: a cupcake portioner so I get the 24 cupcakes out of the batter that I need)

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getting baked

Bruce was also busy last night. Because of our other projects around the house, we didn’t get the wine bag we needed to get done started or finished last weekend. So Bruce decided to take on that task and it wasn’t very easy (Bravo, Bruce!):

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Bruce had lots of supervision: Godiva (brown), George (yellow), Guinness (black)

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Cursing at Morty and the fabric

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the final product — a bag of wine from the 3G Network for their pal Tracy (isn’t it pretty?)

Meanwhile, I got the cupcakes out of the oven so they could cool off.

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24 plain old white cupcakes. boring!

And iced them up, knowing they would disappear in mere moments.

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festive sprinkling and finished product. fun!

Today’s creative department Anti V-D Gathering was a smashing success. However, unlike some parties we have had or attended, no cupcakes were thrown or actually smashed. Most were in fact eaten as everyone complained about the stupid Hallmark holiday and all the chocolate around the office that was causing them to break their New Year’s resolutions and/or Lenten sacrifices.

After all of that frivolity, what’s on the schedule for tonight? An elegant dinner of leftover chili with a side of festive home projects! The ordered online curtain rod arrived today so perhaps we will have a Valentine’s Day curtain rod hanging! Or maybe a Valentine’s Day fireplace caulking! Yeeeeeeehaaaaawwwww!

In the Mortroski Midcentury, we do Hallmark holidays right!

Sow. Sew. So?

Summer Stocktank

2012 was start of the Mortroski Midcentury Urban Farm. We broke ground on St. Patrick’s Day, with one raised bed crammed full of the crops we thought we could handle: bell peppers, mild jalapeño peppers, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, radicchio, and a bit of lettuce. We didn’t know that we’d accidentally plant Ghost Peppers (naga bhut jolokia), the world’s hottest peppers. And we didn’t know that we were starting the garden about a month too late for the Texas weather.

Over the course of the summer we expanded. We now have three raised beds and two stock tanks and plan to add another raised bed and stock tank this spring.

What we didn’t know, we learned. And we learned that even if we knew, we didn’t. Even when we asked how to do something better, the most seasoned Texas gardeners would often shrug their shoulders and say, “I dunno, the weather’s the problem.” Or cabbage worm. Or squash borer. It’s really a combo of science, hard work, and miracles that anything grows here at all.

Our 2012 harvests were pretty good—certainly better than I expected since I had no idea what I was doing. Maybe it was naiveté. Maybe it was dumb luck. Not sure, but we’ve kept it up and even on December 30, 2012, we’re harvesting.Yesterday it was collards, mixed salad greens, and kale. And it snowed on Christmas and has been below freezing for at least 4 days. Today it was finally nice enough to uncover the farm.

We’ve been boring our Facebook friends with photos and updates on the urban farm for long enough so we decided to bring the adventures in gardening here. And we’ve decided to take gardening to another level and start sowing sees instead of purchasing transplants. We’ll let you know how that goes, but fingers crossed, it will go as well as this fall’s seed crops (mixed salad greens, baby bok choi, beets, carrots).

And then we decided that we needed another challenge and bought ourselves a sewing machine. We start our first sewing class next weekend. You’ll hear about that too.

It’s hard for us to be quiet about stuff that gets us riled. So, you’ll hear about whatever that ends up being too.

Thanks for reading!