It’s Starting!

I was up at the ass crack of dawn today.

Why?

Because my contractors are coming out today to start on my craft room!

I’ll be flat out exhausted by this afternoon, but it is well worth it. I’m not sure my kids are going to agree as we’ve realized we might run into some logistical issues. Noise is going to be a big one for pretty much everyone because Hubby, MC and BG all are doing video meetings.

Another one I’m going to need to discuss with the contractors is potential power outages. They will be adding electrical so the power will go down at some point, but I have no clue when or how long. My fingers are crossed for this week as MC has tests next week.

The photo is of the current unfinished state of the stairs going to the basement. I still haven’t decided exactly how I’m going to do any flooring on the stairs as that isn’t part of what the contractors are going to do. I might want to get on that.

Christmas Goodies Collection On Redbubble

I’ve been playing again. And having way too much fun with it.

I’ve designed a few new prints for Redbubble, this time with a Christmas goodies theme. There are 4 different background colors for the same pattern of Christmas trees, snowmen, santa and gingerbread men.

Part of the fun of these is that I also did the individual items so they can be mixed and matched or coordinated together.

Normally I stick mostly to the various products and rarely focus on the clothing options because the photos just don’t do as well on those. But with these designs, they all are mostly fun on EVERYTHING. I especially love the fact that you can do up a whole slightly cheesy, but still cute and fun outfit with the leggings.

And as always, there are masks!

So if you are looking for something a little different this holiday season, these might be just the thing you need. Or if you are looking for something different for gift ideas for others, check out all the other non-Christmasy items as well!

Oh, and Redbubble currently has a sale going on. Use the code DEALS2020 at check out to get 20% – 60% off your purchase.

Snowman On A Starry Winter Night: On Redbubble

I again didn’t have the energy to do much of anything yesterday, but I did feel up to playing a bit and this was the result. As with most of these, I have this up on Redbubble if anyone is interested.

I’m apparently ready for the holidays!

Snowman On A Starry Winter Night

Starry Winter Snowman Apron
Starry Winter Snowman Apron
Starry Winter Snowman Card
Starry Winter Snowman Card
Starry Winter Snowman Fitted Mask
Starry Winter Snowman Fitted Mask

Craft Room Project: HVAC & Wall Drawings

Today was a rather productive day. And kind of exciting as well.

I now have the HVAC installed in the new space! Damn, but that was LOUD! I’m so glad that neither Hubby nor BG had meetings going on at the time because it really wouldn’t have been possible.

I also completed the bulk of my drawing on the walls fun. It is really rough, but mostly accurate. I ran into a couple of issues that I had to correct, which was the whole point of the exercise, to make sure my designs would work and to help me with the final layout of outlets and lighting.

Back Wall Layout
Back Wall Layout
Workbench Wall
Workbench Wall

Above are the designs for my back wall and my workbench wall (where most of the cabinet work is going). Below is the design drawn in place on the walls. As you can see, it is really messy, but it does allow me to see that my design is going to work as I’ve laid it out.

Cabinet Design Drawn Out On Walls
Cabinet Design Drawn Out On Walls

I also had to do some very basic outlining on the floor, though it is almost impossible to see in the photo. This is because I don’t have a wall to draw on there. This was mostly so I could mark placement for the outlets on this wall. Or at least have reference points to where they will eventually go (on the left side of the below photo).

Portion Of Back Wall And Floor
Portion Of Back Wall And Floor

This is the layout for the currently non-existant wall. This is the partial wall that will remain open to the rest of the basement.

Left Work Table Wall
Left Work Table Wall

The flat designs aren’t great to be able to tell exactly what I have going on, but it does give an idea.

Being able to walk down the stairs and see this as a mostly life size design I can walk through is amazing. I’m thrilled that the HVAC pieces are done. Now it is down to waiting on my contractor. The only thing I have left to do before they start is to finalize my lighting and possibly get them purchased. The rest of my part now has to wait until I have electrical and walls in place.

Garage Workbench: Done!

This is SO not pretty, but… it wasn’t intended to be. I also didn’t get any before pics because that whole thing was a disaster before I started working on this and I wasn’t going to share the nasty.

Anyway!

The two cabinets were originally separate and on crappy plastic legs. They are now connected and have locking wheels.

The benchtop is my old jewelry bench, which is getting built new when I redo the craft space. I made some major modifications, taking down the short tool walls and extended the surface so that there would be a full overhang of the cabinets underneath. The surface is attached to the cabinets so the whole thing can easily be moved when I need to do a bigger project (like the cabinets).

While it is kind of ugly because I really only used scraps or repurposed stuff I already had with the exception of the wheels, it was the absolute perfect project to test out all of my new tools except my router. I think I have a decent handle on most of them now. Even the nail guns!

I has nail gun. I. am. BADASS!! 🤣🤣

Craft Room Project: First Router Attempt

While this so isn’t perfect, it absolutely blew apart my expectations for my first ever attempt at using not just a router, but bits that are apparently on the finicky side to use. I’m actually really happy with this little mess! (Sorry for the less than stellar photos, I just nabbed them quickly with my phone and didn’t realize how bad they were until I got them loaded!)

The first thing I attempted was cutting the tongue portion of what would become a tongue and groove join. This after more than an hour reading the directions and figuring out the basics of attaching the bit and adjusting depth and all the other VERY different nuances of using a router than any other power tool I’ve used so far.

First Attempt: Tongue Cut
First Attempt: Tongue Cut

As you can see, this is really wrong as that tongue isn’t supposed to be wedge shaped. I was working on figuring out how to keep the router flat on such a narrow piece of wood and obviously failed on that pass. I was still thrilled that it came even close to what I knew it was supposed to look like.

The second one of these came out much better, but was still not perfect.

Second Attempt: Tongue Cut
Second Attempt: Tongue Cut

It isn’t supposed to have that angled divot in it.

Second Attempt: Tongue Cut - Placement Goof
Second Attempt: Tongue Cut – Placement Goof

I’m totally okay with not perfect at this point. The tool is doing what it is supposed to do and the tongue piece itself came out wonderfully. The problems with this cut can be solved with a little practice and I’m good with playing some more.

The other part of this join, the groove, was surprisingly easy and came out mostly clean.

First Attempt: Groove for Tongue Joint
First Attempt: Groove for Tongue Joint

Part of why I’m surprised this came out as cleanly as it did was the fact that the router tended to hit in places and jerk a little. I think those were places where there were knots in the wood. This was probably close to a 3 foot long cut and it only had one noticeable wobble in the groove.

Wobble Oops on Tongue Groove
Wobble Oops on Tongue Groove

Considering this was the first time attempting this, I’m thrilled as this was the piece I was most concerned about being able to pull off.

The true test of how well this little play session was is seeing if those pieces actually fit together. And yes. Yes they did!

First Attempt: Joining Tongue & Groove
First Attempt: Joining Tongue & Groove

It was such a nice, snug fit, I wasn’t certain when I first tried it that it was going to work. Then it just snugged in perfectly.

First Attempt: Joining Tongue & Groove - Close Fit
First Attempt: Joining Tongue & Groove – Close Fit

The above picture makes me excessively happy in that it not only fit together, but it LINED UP! The surfaces of both pieces hit at the same spot. Sure, the edge of the one is a little rough, but a little sandpaper or a file will fix that completely.

Being able to pull these cuts off is a critical piece to building the cabinet doors. If I couldn’t pull this off, then I was going to have to look into a much more expensive option of getting a table saw and special blades. I’m almost certain after this experiment that I’ll be good with that I currently have.

The cool thing about this is even if it isn’t perfect, I’m still probably going to be good. I’m going to paint the cabinets, so any small things can either be fixed with wood filler or I might even leave some of the imperfections and keep these looking a little more rustic. The wood I use on the cabinets is also going to be a much better quality than what I used here. It will probably cut more cleanly than these did because of that.

I still need to practice more and try and work out some of the kinks to make sure the cuts are cleaner than what I got today, but this was a promising start.

Next up to test out and play with will be the nail guns. I think that all the playing I need to do to get ready for the cabinets is going to be its own project. I have enough wood, I think I’m going to build a small storage box for outside. If it is ugly, that’s perfectly fine, but it will give me the practice with all the new tools that I need.

I’m so happy with how everything worked out today!

Now I just REALLY need to hear back from this last company on a bid. I sent an email yesterday, so hopefully that will get a response soon.

Contractor Search: Color Me Surprised

To be completely honest, after the mess this has been from the start and the number of no shows or no call-backs I’ve had, I’m actually really surprised the guy showed up for today’s appointment. And on time.

Even more surprising, especially after that questionable first phone conversation, he seems to be a decent guy. Knowing how I felt about this guy after that call, I really didn’t expect this appointment to go well, but it really did.

I don’t have numbers yet, so I’m not jumping ahead of the game yet, but I liked what this guy had to say today. I like their process. I like the fact he didn’t try to pressure me in any direction and just took what I asked for and got the clarifications he needed and left it at that. It was kind of refreshing, actually.

I also adore the fact that they are only about 3 weeks out on their lead time as opposed to not being able to start until January like the last company is.

It is still going to come down to numbers, but today left me more hopeful than I’ve been about this project after all the bumps and sticker shock so far.

Halloween Ghosts And Jack O’Lanterns on Redbubble

I have a couple of new designs done for Halloween masks out on my Redbubble shop. The only difference is that I liked these designs for more than just the masks, so there all kinds of fun goodies to choose from.

Like travel mugs and aprons.

As always, I’m game for design or image requests if you are looking for something in particular. Just drop me a note through my contact page!

Contractor Search: First Bid – Sticker Shock

I have gotten my first rough estimate to finish my craft room space and… I’m kind of speechless.

Hubby and I did our research, so we had a kind of broad price range to expect this project to come in around, or at least a close ballpark figure. Remember, I’m supposed to be doing a large portion of the work myself, some of the big expense portions if you consider the cabinet work.

The number I was given today? It was 4 times higher than I’d really kind of hoped, but maybe only about 3 times higher than the top of what I expected. That wasn’t including the VERY high estimate I got from our HVAC people to take care of the ventilation portion of the project (again, wasn’t expecting that cost, though I will note part of their estimate included things I did not ask for, so this number isn’t completely accurate).

I’m so shocked and discouraged right now it isn’t even funny.

I know that a portion of this, the electrical, is going to be kind of a beast because we are going to have to expand our panel to accommodate the new load. I fully expect this piece to be on the bigger end, but… just wow! Not even CLOSE to what I was figuring.

What makes it even harder to swallow is the fact that this bid was from the only company that I have liked so far. Partly because the others haven’t even bothered to return calls. Or show up. What is left in my line up is Misogyny Guy and two other companies that haven’t returned calls to even set up appointments yet. I never heard a word from No Show Guy.

I have no clue what I’m going to do from here. One option is to have an electrician come in and take care of that part, but still do everything else myself. I’ve not done any framing before, but been around projects that have had it done, so I understand some basic (though probably not nearly enough). I’ve helped with drywall in the past, but not done it all by myself. What parts I did, I really disliked and is why I wanted to hire out that part.

I really need at least one other number before I can make any decisions, but there is a very real chance that this project, that I’ve already bought stuff for, may not get done. Or at least, not done in the way I want it. I may have to completely rethink my plans.

Not feeling overly happy today.

Contractor Search: Update

Contractor #1 was the “Little woman” guy.

Contractor #2 is going to be known from here on out as “no show dude.”

I actually dig in before even calling these places looking at BBB and other review sites. #2 has quite a few amazing ratings. In all the ratings I’ve seen there was only 1 negative and it was about being a no show for an appointment. With so many great ones, I really chalked it up to a possible miscommunication.

Yeah, not a good idea. Well over an hour past the appointment time and no show, no call, no text.

So glad I rearranged my day for this!

Ugh! There are reasons I absolutely abhor trying to find contractors and getting bids.

“Little Woman” Mindset?

I’m making calls to get bids on my craft room. I’m talking to this one guy. He’s getting my info, you know, basic stuff like name address, phone. Then he asks me a question that just throws me for a loop.

In all my times of calling various different companies for various different jobs over my 20+ years of being a homeowner, I’ve NEVER had anyone ask me this question.

“Is there a Mr. Fox? I’m going to just put his name down, too.”

Um… what?!

Now, this could be an entirely innocent question of someone wanting to make sure they have the names of anyone they may talk to, but… that just felt like a “Little woman, the men need to talk” kind of a question.

It is going to be so interesting when he comes out to give me my bid and I’m the one he has to deal with. It’s going to be even more interesting to see how he reacts when he realizes this “little woman” knows how to handle power tools and really kinda knows what they hell they are talking about.

I’m trying really hard not to make assumptions here and am giving this guy the benefit of the doubt, but it isn’t looking good so far. That question just made me feel icky about this particular guy because WHY would you ever risk making that assumption/stereotype?

What if I had a wife? Or I was single? Or hell, maybe I just was a very feminine sounding dude? Or recently widowed? It’s kind of like asking a woman when the baby is due just because you see a rounded stomach (and yes, I actually had someone ask me this question when BG was like 10, and no, I NEVER wore that shirt in public again). It is SO not something you should ever do. If you want to ensure you have names for other people you may need to talk to, ask “Is there anyone else that will be involved with this project and can I get their names?”

Sadly, I do need to still get a bid from him because I’m struggling to find a contractor. Apparently either 1) all the companies in my city want to only work in the rich counties and while mine is far from a slum, it isn’t THE rich county or 2) everybody and their brother are remodeling right now and they aren’t taking on new jobs. #2 is partly a problem because I don’t want them to do the whole job, just the framing, electrical and the drywall finishing, which may not be enough to entice a company to take on my project.

This is so not an obstacle I thought I’d run into.

Only The Beginning

I spent the bulk of my day yesterday working out cabinet and shelf layouts for my craft room. I got probably one of the hardest spaces worked out, the one that ties all the sides together. It was kind of like trying to figure out an extremely difficult puzzle and the most obnoxious brain teaser combined, but managed to do it. I still have several sections to work out, but they aren’t as tricky or problematic.

Once that is done, I can finalize my lighting and electrical layouts, which means I can move forward with finding contractors to start the parts I can’t do myself. I still have the specific interiors and storage elements of those cabinets to do, but that can be done at any time and won’t impact any contract work.

I have all the tools I’m going to need either here or on their way and Hubby and I went ant picked up my counter tops the other day. I learned that this is so NOT going to be a one person job and that I just might die before it is all finished and I can enjoy it because those suckers are HEAVY!! I’m still feeling it a couple of days later. And that was with help hauling all 4 pieces to the basement.

It feels amazing to finally be making progress!

*There isn’t any context and the colors aren’t correct, but this is going to be the layout of my back wall.

Craft Room: Back Wall Design
Craft Room: Back Wall Design

Orderly And Logical… Yeah Right!

I think it is completely typical of me that I can’t do things in any kind of “normal way” and my craft room project looks to be right in line with MY normal.

A project like this should really have a nice linear kind of a process. Come up with a design plan. Research your resources like contractors or materials. Get any needed quotes and schedule work or start buying materials if you are doing it yourself. Begin working. Simple, right?

Yeah, that isn’t exactly how I’ve done things.

I have struggled so hard with the design for starters. I have SO many things that I do and I needed to take all of them into consideration when laying out my workspace that it was nearly overwhelming. That was just for a basic layout. I also had to figure out good lighting for all those different types of work.

If I do any silversmithing, I need the right kind of direct light for the little details, but I also need to make it dark enough for when I’m firing something to see the color changes in the metal. While that direct lighting would also be perfect for sewing, I’m not getting any fabric even close to my nasty jewelry bench. Not happening! They need to be very different spaces. But I also needed really good general lighting for the whole space.

In an effort to try and solve that problem, I bought a really nice main light fixture and installed it in my completely unfinished space just to see if it is going to work (it is, thank goodness). This alone has already messed up that linear process as I’m buying and installing stuff well before other needed things have been done.

I couldn’t plan out the rest of the lighting, which is needed to be able to get a quote from a contractor, until I figured out exactly how I was going to lay out the rest of the space. That meant I had to figure out how I was going to tie that nasty jeweler’s bench and firing station (two separate pieces) into the rest of the space. Both pieces are kind of just pieced together. My workbench is really just a top that I’ve got sitting on an old desk. It’s functional, but not even close to decent looking.

That made part of my decision making even harder. I really wanted to try and make use of what I had and keep my overall cost down to reasonable, but what I had wasn’t great for different reasons depending on what it is. The jeweler’s bench top, firing station, random cabinet that was designed as a microwave stand, a crappy folding table, an industrial looking but also crappy storage cabinet that originally lived in my garage, an old dresser, and a very nice, but not practical antique dining table that is in need of refinishing. None of which gave me any kind of real storage I desperately needed.

I’ve kind of just been sitting on a lot of this for a while now. Ever since I got the light fixture a couple of weeks ago, I hit a “no progress” wall that I couldn’t get past.

Then I saw a photo of a room, no clue what it was actually for, but it gave me the base inspiration for the finished look I really wanted for my space, something I hadn’t been able to come up with until then. And a look that is SO very different from anything else in my house, which is odd for me.

It gave me a real direction to go and I was able to start working on some real design plans. It helped to funnel me into a direction, but I was still scattered. I still had to work out how much I’m doing myself and how much I’m having done. I did manage to settle on doing all the cabinet, flooring and finish work myself (after hours researching tools and material costs), and having all ventilation, wiring, framing and drywall done for me.

Deciding that, I told Hubby to let me know when we got coupons from our home improvement store, so I could start buying the tools and get them at a discount. We got a coupon like two days later, so I already have tools on the way (even though I’m SO not ready for them yet!)

When looking into options to get my bench top to tie into the rest without being ugly, I was forced to consider a full on rebuild. I was already planning on building a base, but I was struggling to get it to work with my existing top. My options were, leave it as is and have it stand out like an ugly sore thumb, attempt to add a surface that would tie into any other surfaces I’d use in the space, or I could completely rebuild.

The first option was already out for me because I really need this to be a calm, cohesive space or I’m always going to feel out of sorts in it like I do now. That and the look I’ve settled on is awesome and I didn’t want to mess that up. The second option is the less expensive option, but it wouldn’t be exactly the same because I have to have a surface that can tolerate the heat of a torch, which limits my options. Those aren’t options I want for my other surfaces giving the space too may colors and textures even if they were similar. The final option would be so much better aesthetically, but would cost more and go against the whole trying to use what I had.

I spent the last week doing research on materials so I could decide on which option I was going to choose. I wasn’t liking my options for resurfacing my bench top, but I had a couple that might work. In the process of looking at full rebuild options, I ran across some butcher block kitchen counters that had an incredible deal going on right now. After spending the day attempting to work with the available sizing to see if I could even get it to work and then figure out how expensive it was going to be, I now have a basic counter/table/workbench layout set and counters on order because I’m going with the rebuild option.

So I am going to have tools and surfaces purchased and here, but I haven’t even begun to play with the actual electrical layout or the rest of the cabinet designs, let alone researched and gotten quotes from contractors. I have some vague ideas of finishing the design, but I’m nowhere near ready to even think about starting to build.

I’m so backwards sometimes!

As crazy and chaotic as I’m making this, I’m absolutely in love with how it is unfolding so far. I’m going to be able to stain and finish those counters to match want I want to do on the floor. I don’t have flooring picked out yet, but I have the general color and look I want.

I also discovered that my existing bench top will work perfectly in our garage for a true tool workbench. I need to modify it and my firing station a bit, but the materials will be used. Right now I have plans for nearly all of the stuff in my current space, even if it isn’t in that space, so that is also a huge bonus.

I’m giddy that I’m finally making progress.

Redbubble Halloween Masks

I have been toying with this idea almost since I set up my Redbubble store and I saw they did masks. I mean, come on! If you have to wear a face mask, especially around Halloween, you’ve GOT to have fun with it!

TJ Fox’s Halloween Masks on Redbubble

Skull Mask
Skull Mask

The skull mask came from the idea of doing the concept in face paint. That was my initial goal when I started working on it, but I ended up with something a little different, but still fun. I’m still considering a couple of designs based on different face paint concepts, but am trying to figure out how to pull them off.

Smirky Jack O' Lantern Mask
Smirky Jack O’ Lantern Mask

The jack O’ lantern faces were one of the first designs I planned to work on. This is one that I may still do up a couple of different concepts besides the two I have so far. They combine one of my favorite fall activities, pumpkin carving, with the fun of playing in Photoshop.

Goofy Jack O' Lantern Mask
Goofy Jack O’ Lantern Mask

And my deepest apologies to those that hate clowns. I just could not resist! Maybe since it isn’t a full face, it isn’t so bad?

Clown Mask
Clown Mask

As always, if there is a design you’d like me to work on, feel free to let me know! I’m always open to doing something custom.

Twilight Lighthouse on Redbubble

I had so much fun with the Night Sky Silhouette piece I did a while back, I wanted to play some more. Sadly, it took me way too long to carve out the time to sit down and work at my computer, but I finally managed it!

I’m SO thrilled by this one! Even more so for the fact that I didn’t have to try and drag it through three different programs to get the finished piece. I learned how to create my own brushes, which was so awesome and also such a pain (then I lost it when Photoshop crashed on me, so I really wasn’t happy that I lost over an hour’s worth of work.)

Of course I also now have this up on Redbubble with all kinds of fun options to choose from.

I love the concept of the stark silhouette against a vibrant background. I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot more playing with this concept in the future.

TJ Fox On Redbubble: Photo/Art Prints And Fun Products

One of my most recent and ongoing projects has been setting up a Redbubble store. The goal was to have a place to offer prints of many of the photos I post here, but there are so many other cool things you can get from them as well.

This is ongoing because I still have a ton of photos to get modified and uploaded, but I’ve gotten a small start. You can now find prints and more in the TJ Fox Redbubble Store. I plan to get some art and design style pieces mixed in along with the photos as well (only a couple at the moment), but those are going to take just a bit longer.

So yes, you can get photo prints in all the typical shapes, sizes and formats: art prints, framed prints, canvas, cards, etc. But you can also get other fun stuff as well.

And these are just a tiny sampling. There are SO many more items.

Oh and masks! Did you see the fun masks?!

Funky Flowers On Green Mask
Funky Flowers On Green Mask

Even though I ended up with all the trials and mistakes on the masks I made for everyone else and I already have a good size stash, I know I’m going to still have to get a couple of these. I love the fact that I can wear my personality and my art in such a way.

I think that was part of my issue with Fine Art America when I tried them. While they offered a lot of fun stuff, there weren’t a lot of things I’d actually want myself. I’m not finding that an issue on Redbubble, which is probably unfortunate.

There are even puzzles!! And yes, I’m evil enough to make that repeating pattern from the mask above into a puzzle.

End of an Iris Puzzle
End of an Iris Puzzle

And if there is ever something I’ve posted here on my blog that you’d like to see in the store and isn’t, please feel free to send me a note and I’ll do what I can to get it out there for you. I do currently have a long list of images I intend to upload, but I’ll bump any requests to the top of my to do list.

I’d also be willing to discuss any custom art or art for a specific product if you like the idea of something but aren’t finding a design or image you love.

Please take a few minutes to go browse all the other awesomeness that’s in the shop. Feel free to brag about that awesomeness to others and share the link until someone yells at you for spamming (or not, don’t want you to get into trouble).

All the love that is spread is greatly appreciated!

Elongation

I spent the majority of my day yesterday going through the 150+ photos I took of MC and making necessary edits. I’m still not quite ready to send them off for prints as I still have to go through them and decide which ones I’m getting for his final “package” of senior photos. I’m hoping to get that done today and crossed off my project list so I can start on getting a few others marked off as well.

I had played around with another project before I did his photo shoot. It’s started, but I still have a whole lot I want to get done, sooner rather than later, so that’s next up on my list.

Sadly, or maybe not, that project list is ever evolving and growing as it is my creative project list more than anything. I think I’ve taken it a bit to the extreme as I’ve set up an MS Excel workbook to keep track of it all. I have a sheet in there for my list and then additional sheets for the bigger, more detailed projects and all the ideas and pieces that go along with it.

It is kind of a hilarious example of how incredibly organized I can get and how utterly contradictory I can be at the exact same time because so many other things in my life are the antithesis of organized. Organized chaos is really the theme for my life.

Dance Masks

And… they are frickin’ DONE!

I absolutely love them, but they were a bear and a half. I broke/bent 5 of the 6 needles I had originally thought I’d had. Right before I started sewing yesterday I wanted to have the others on hand but couldn’t remember where I put them and ran across a couple more packages while I was hunting. It relieved a whole lot of stress when I did, but I still panicked when I managed to mangle two of them back to back early on.

Working with the sequins material was a pain because of the needle issue and I had to go so slow over the thicker areas making it take longer. These also produced a lot of fuzz  and dropped a ton of sequins making me stop and clean out the bobbin area a couple of times.

Between the issue with the needles, having to stop to coat the needle to try and prevent that issue and the stops to do a little cleaning, I think I was having to hit pause about every 5 masks.

I had expected a more solid sequins material when I ordered it, but it is really transparent and the cream lining shows through. While I still think it is an amazing look, I’m extremely lucky that it still works with the costumes or I’d have been up a creek.

When I went to bag these up, my heat sealer shorted out and died on me as well. I had to yet again get creative to solve the problem. I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful to have an iron.

These will be getting handed off this afternoon with the full understanding that there is a very big chance that almost no dancer will actually choose to wear one on stage since it isn’t required. I’m okay with that. If by chance even one chooses to, then I’ve helped. If someone decides it is just really pretty and opts to wear it off stage or anywhere else, then I’ve helped.

It would be stunning if the entire group loved them so much they wanted to wear them on stage (they really would look amazing even if it is SO different), but this is reality and the chances of that are sitting down near zero.

BG really likes it and is strongly considering wearing hers on stage. I’m overjoyed that I’ve been able to give her something to make her feel better about making that decision if she does go that way.

Yes, it was a whole lot of effort and stress for the end result, but every single tiny bit helps and I’m okay with that.

Gerbera Daisy: Last Year

Sharing this one from last year because I’m almost ready to have new pics again this year.

I’m in mask mode today trying to finish up the 58 I have pinned and ready to sew. I have 60 in all, but two of those were tests to make sure they’d work. After the first one, I yet again modified my design to try and make it even better than the original. I will have pics of these because they look amazing and are going to be beautiful with the opening tap costume. At least for those that opt to wear one.

BG is hanging on the edge of that right now, even knowing there is a very real chance she will be the only one on stage wearing a mask. I’m really proud of her for taking this seriously and really thinking about it.

I brought up the fact to her that I completely forgot about her flowers that I do every year because I was so caught up in the mask thing. She said she really didn’t want flowers this year because she didn’t want anyone making an unnecessary trip to the store just for flowers. It makes me sad, but she is adamant that this is something she wants to not do this year. Again, I’m proud of the fact that she is thinking beyond what is right in front of her right now.

I still have so many thoughts and concerns about the whole thing, but it is only days away and I don’t see it not happening at this point, so it is do the best we have with what we’ve got. And why I’m in mask mode again.

Off to sew my fingers to the bone. Please keep all digits crossed and ask the karma gods to be nice to me today so that I don’t break the remaining 6 needles I have for my machine that replacement needles are no longer made for, at least not until I can finish! I really do not want to have to get a new sewing machine today.

End Of An Era

Yesterday saw the official end to our annual haunted garage that we used to do every year for Halloween. Even though we didn’t actually put the walls up last Halloween and was the beginning of the end, it didn’t become official until yesterday. I took advantage of the beautifully cooler day and tore the walls apart.

Broken Down Halloween Walls
Broken Down Halloween Walls

Why is it that destruction is so much faster and easier to do than creating and building? What took me nearly an entire day or better to build was in pieces in about an hour.

It was sad to see these go. We had nearly 10 years of fun and wonder and joy doing the garage every year, but it was just time to be done. It was pretty shocking they even lasted that long considering they weren’t all that sturdy to begin with.

The kids are all older. MC hasn’t been interested in it for a few years now and BG, while perfectly content to dress up with me, just wasn’t nearly as excited about it anymore. It also lost some of it’s joy when the few kids we would get showing up just didn’t seem all that interested in it, some even going so far as to be that bratty kid that thought it was fun to mock and put it down.

Once I decided I definitely wasn’t doing this anymore, I was itching to get these taken apart and reclaim the area of the garage where these needed to be stored. Six 8 foot by 8 foot wall sections take up a crap ton of space. Especially when that space is used for all but maybe 2 days a year.

I spent the day yesterday breaking these down and then cleaning and rearranging the garage, a desperately needed project. I now have a wonderfully open and accessible garage that will hopefully stay that way for a while.

I also have a huge pile of wood I need to get creative with, which is going to be a challenge as most of those boards are really warped or even cracked in places. As of right now, I’m pondering the idea of making an outdoor storage box with most of it. I’ve yet to decide for sure.

While it was really sad to do this project, it was also a relief. It was always a lot of work, but also a whole lot of fun. The fun will be missed. All that work? Not one little bit.

Now to figure out what in the world I’m going to do with all the decorations we used in that haunted garage.