Sunday, May 29, 2011

DIY: New Table and Chairs

My Aunt Nancy left me a dining set when she passed away several years ago, but at the time I didn't have anywhere to put it.  Not long after that, my Gramma passed away, and she also gave me a table and chairs set.  The set my Gramma gave me was wrought iron with a glass top.  It was very pretty, but not very practical for a mobile lifestyle.  When I divorced my first husband, I had every intention of joining the Army, so I let him keep the dining set that my Gramma left me.  I preferred to let him keep and use it than to take it with me and have it break during one of the many moves I anticipated.  While he and I were incompatible for many myriad reasons, he loved my Gramma, so I knew he'd take care of the dining set.

Fast-forward a bit to yesterday.  Dining table and chairs was on my list of things that B and I don't have, yet.  I had all but forgotten the table and chairs my Aunt had left me.  My step-sister had asked about them a while back, and I told her to use them if she wanted to since I didn't need them.  I assumed she had, but I had assumed wrong.  They were still sitting in the trailer out behind my Gramma's old house.  Unfortunately, Aunt Nancy had painted them a dusty shade of blue.  You remember the ducks that were so big there for a while?  The ones with the blue scarves and bows around their necks?  Yep, that color blue.

So my next project is an endeavor to remedy the unfortunate color of the table and chairs.

Last night, I used a spray on stripping agent to get the 40+ years of varnish off the table top.  It failed horribly.  So, I went to Wal-Mart and picked up this stuff called Citristrip Gel to try today.  It works.  Hoooo boy does it.  It had the paint oozing and dripping as if it were fresh.  This is both good and bad.  Good because the paint is coming off at last.  Bad because it's oozing and smearing and not coming off clean.

This led me to both good and bad discoveries.  Good:  the table top is beautiful under all those layers of varnish.  I can stain it and seal it with polyurethane, and it'll be gorgeous.  Bad:  the chairs and table base are not the originals.  They're pressed wood, or something like.  It looks like finely powdered saw dust formed and pressed into the shape of real wood.  That means that I can't stain it.  The chairs and table base are destined to be repainted.

I wish I had known this *before* I put stripping agent all over three of the four chairs and the table .  Now, I have to get all that stripper off, and still repaint the majority of the dining set.

I've been taking pictures, but I'll wait till the entire project is done before I post them.  Tomorrow I plan to finish getting the stripping agent off.  Hopefully that won't be an all day affair.

Cigars, cigarettes,.... Cookies?

What is it about the 30's and 40's that is so classic, classy, and yet very sexy?  They weren't anything near as revealing as our modern day sex symbols, but when I like of sexy those time frames are the first things that pop into my head.  Pin-up girls and cigarette girls, to be more specific.  That time frame in history was also very patriotic.  The whole country was unanimously rallied behind out troops.  Pamphlets like "Cooking for Victory" and "Make do and Mend" were being distributed.  Hair styles reflected this, too with "Victory Rolls" or "Victory Curls", and Rosie the Riveter, an icon encouraging women to step up and aid the war effort from home, still holds a place in, if not pop culture, counter-culture.

So, when my imagination started wandering toward things to do for B's homecoming, it automatically started skipping happily toward that era for ideas.

Have you ever heard the phrase "You get a hero cookie"?  Maybe it's just a local colloquialism, I don't know.  My dad used to say it when one of us did something above the bare minimum without having to be told to.  But there never was any cookie.  It was just a turn of phrase.  But what if there was a hero cookie?   A super yummy, chewy, gooey, homemade stack of cookies?

Backtrack a little bit:  Cigarette Girls.  I got side tracked.

I love it!  Why?  I don't know.  I just do.  I want legs like that!!  Hmm... sorry, side tracked again.

So, now we've got the idea of hero cookies, and we've got the sexy iconoclastic image of the cigarette girl in our heads.... and we moosh them together.  That became the basis for my idea.  Instead of cigars, cigarettes, and programs, I'll be giving away "hero" cookies!

Earlier this summer, I went clothes hunting with some friends.  We went to a place in Atlanta known as Little 5 Points.  It's basically counter-culture heaven.  It's also home to some of the coolest second hand and consignment shops EVER!  You wouldn't believe the stuff you can find there!  And I found this amazing dress.  Think Marilyn Monroe's white halter, but shorter and black.  It falls just a little above the knees.  And to finish it off I found these adorable peep toe pumps.  The dress was all of $14, and the shoes were $30.  If I'd bought the outfit brand new, it would've cost more like $90 instead of $45.  Total score!

But, where in the world was I going to find a cigarette tray?  And, what was I going to use to advertise the contents of said tray?

Insert a trip to Hobby Lobby.  Yes, I know, hobby and craft stores are often way more expensive than necessary, but I was careful.

Nearly everything was on sale.
The three little American flags were 3/$1
The three spools of ribbon were 3/$1
The three bottles of paint were 3/$1
The two small wooden stakes were .30/ea
Theres a galvanized tin watering can/coffee pot back there in the back.  It was $2
The wooden forms were $3/ea
The craft paste, bag of pebbles, paint brushes, and the cellophane goodie baggies were the most expensive.
The pebbles were $3, the brushes $5, the paste $2, and the goodie bags $3.

But, the paint brushes can be used again, the tin will probably become a toothbrush holder in my bathroom, or a utensil holder in the kitchen, and the goodie bags... I was willing to pay for convenience and looks.  I didn't want to have lumpy, mal-formed packages of cling-wrap wrapped cookies all over my tray.  I wanted it to look neat, and pretty, and well put together for our boys when they come home.  Each baggie will have a few cookies in it, and be tied with either red, white, or blue ribbon :-D  It's going to be awesome!

But, first I have to turn this pile of goodies into an advertisement.

 First things first:  base coats of paint on the forms.
Then I had to paint them up cute.  Unfortunately, my handwriting is awful with a pen/pencil.  Paint is even less cooperative, so my letters don't look nearly as neat as I would like.  But I'm thinking that the redeploying soldiers aren't going to be very persnickitty about the neatness of my lettering.  I was careful to put 13 stripes, in the correct order, and 50 stars on my little painted flag, though.
 This is a better example of the atrocity of my painted lettering.  HERO looks awful.  But, again, it's not a professional job, and I am confident my cookies will knock their combat boots clear off!

I'll add the day's date on the other stake once I find out what it actually is going to be.  I'll most likely be taking paint and brush with me to paint the night before.  Luckily, the paint dries literally in minutes.

Final phase of sign assembly:  letting the paste set.  The craft paste I used said it dries in minutes, but to allow several hours for a solid bond.  So, I squashed my signs under some relatively heavy objects over night.

I arranged the signs and flags in my little tin pot, and filled the pot with the pebbles to hold everything in place.  I guess I could've gotten pebbles from the creek, but I didn't think of that until after I'd already gotten home with my bag of goodies.  Ta da!  This will sit on the back of my tray.  But, I had to figure out how to get a tray.  I thought of going back to Hobby Lobby to see what types of serving trays they had, but I really didn't want to pay their prices or spend the gas money it would cost to drive almost 100 miles round trip.

I Googled all kinds of trays.  Still didn't like the price tags that were being put on what is, essentially, the bottom of a box.  So, I went to the go-to gal for all kinds of wood working and minor carpentry:  my step-mom.

She gave me a piece of her scrap lumber to use, and even marked out the cuts for me (for which I am very grateful).  I would've figured out how much leeway to leave on the ends of the side boards to make my sides frame up right, but I would've probably messed it up at least once.  Her help made the project go right the first time, so no wood was wasted.  I have my own power tools, and I actually do know how to use them!  So onward to the next phase of the project!

 The rectangle up top is going to become the bottom of the tray.  It was a stray piece mom had laying around that just happened to be about the perfect size.   The board at the bottom will become the sides.  A square rule, measuring tape, pencil, and hammer are going to be pretty much all we need to make this thing happen after we get the board cut.
I figure everyone here knows how a box is shaped, so I didn't take progress pictures of nailing the tray together.  The various sides of the tray were nailed on with about 1/2 inch of overhang at the bottom to act like risers in case I needed to set the tray on the ground or something.  Mom said it'd be best to do that, since the homecoming is outside.  If the ground is damp, my whole tray bottom won't get damp, just the bottom edges of the side boards. 
 Mom suggested using cookie cutters and a jig saw to cut out cute shaped handles in the sides.  But I don't have a jig saw, per se.  I have a reciprocating saw.  Unfortunately, my brother-in-law borrowed it, and now none of the blades are anywhere to be found.  I didn't fancy trying to carve out cute shapes with a reciprocating saw anyway.  What I *did* have was auger bits for my drill.  I guess that's what they're called.  Boring bit... something like that.  It cuts a plug out of the wood, instead of just drilling a hole.  I sanded the insides of the holes with 320 grit sandpaper so they would be nice and smooth and wouldn't fray my cord.
*insert catchy jingle music here*  Assembled, now it needs paint.  (Now that the project is actually completed, I kind of wished I'd stained the wood instead of painted it.  I think it would've been prettier.  But hindsight, 20-20... you know)
 This looks a bit yellow in the pictures, but it's more of a creamy color.  It reminds me of buttered toasted bread.  Not bread buttered with margarine, but real butter, then toasted under a broiler to make it that yummy creamy gold color.  I shouldn't be typing this while hungry...
When B came home for his R&R in January, I had him a present waiting.  It was a scarf and hat made from baby alpaca wool.  The yarn was this amazing blue.  The colorway said "navy", but this yarn is no more true navy than I am true white.  It was multi-faceted with indigo, navy, royal, electric, baby, lilac, violet, and all kinds of other various shades of blue and some purples imaginable.  All together, it makes this intense, rich, lovely blue that I can not capture on my camera to save my life.  I've tried.  I had just a tiny bit of yarn leftover, and I never throw away perfectly good yarn, not ever!  So, I cut what was left into lengths about 2/3 longer than I was going to need and wove it into a cord.

 I also found a piece of red leather-ish stuff that might once have been a belt.  I folded the ends over and stitched loops into them, then tied off my cord in two places in the middle so I could cut it.  The cord was doubled, then looped through one of the neck strap and one handle of the tray they way you would loop a brace of rabbits together to sling over a saddle horn.
 And so.... I have a cigarette tray :-)

All that's left is the cookies!

P.S.  I hate these bathroom mirror pictures, but I'm alone quite a bit.  I didn't have anyone to take pictures for me.  But!  My sister-in-law will be back in town in a couple of days, so I am thinking about getting dressed up in my homecoming get-up and talking her into taking pictures.

This leaves us with one final question.  What is a Hero Cookie anyway?  I guess, in theory, a hero cookie should be exactly what the hero in question wants it to be.  But there's no way in the world I can make a different cookie for every redepoloying soldier, and I want to bring enough cookies so that every one of them can get some, if they want to.  Since there's really only one solider that's MY solider, he's the hero my cookies are going to be tailored for.  He loves ... ok he LOVES peanut butter.  He'll eat it by the jar, with a spoon, with nothing to go with it.  During the early part of the second half of his deployment, he was chatting with me on MSN messenger.  the conversation went something like this (I know I've forgotten bits, but these are the essential bits.  I specifically remember him goading me by hinting I might not be able to one-up her lol):

B - I have a challenge for you, if you're up to it.
Me - Oh yeah?
B - Yeah, my pilot's wife sent these peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  They were really good.
Me - Ah, ok.  You want me to show her up huh?
B - Well, only if you think you can.  I mean... these were some damn good cookies.  Probably some of the best I've had.
Me - Uh huh.  Challenge accepted.  Wait about two weeks.

It takes about two weeks for mail to reach him, and I remember him mentioning how soft and chewy the cookies were that the pilot's wife sent.  So, they had to be good and gooey so they wouldn't dry out and be crunchy when they reached him.  Here's the recipe I used.  B said that the people who were lucky enough to snag one said they tasted like love mushed up and baked.  He said mission accomplished lol

1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c peanut butter
1 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c regular sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
2 Tbsp water
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 & 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat oven to 375

Cream together the butters and sugars, then add the eggs one at a time.
Stir in the corn syrup, water, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, soda and salt, then stir slowly into the butter mixture.
Add the chocolate and stir.

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet.

I do NOT recommend using an electric mixer for mixing in the flour and chocolate, unless you are fortunate enough to have a countertop/stand type.  This dough gets really thick.  I accidentally broke my hand mixer on these cookies.  If all you have is a hand mixer, use a spatula or just your hands.

I rolled mine into balls a little smaller than ping pong balls and baked them for about 9-12 minutes.  As soon as the bottom edges start to turn golden, pull them out.  Let them cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two before trying to move them.  Don't stack them until they are completely cool.  They stick together.

These cookies are the height of gooey goodness.  They can be cooked a little longer to have a firmer bite.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bells for the Bells?

Here's one of my recently completed projects.

His favorite color is blue, and bells have a rather sentimental ring in our house *grins*  so, I thought Bell Lace in blue yarn would be pretty appropriate.

The bells are kind of hard to see, because acrylic yarn doesn't really block.  It will relax with use, though, and the bells will become more visible.

Abbreviations:  CO = Cast On, K2tog = Knit 2 Together, sl 1 = Slip one stitch purlwise, psso = Pass Slipped Stitch Over, YO = yarn over

Bell Lace from 365 Knitting Stitches a Year Perpetual Calendar by Martingale & Co.

CO multiples of 8 + 3

Row 1 - (right side of fabric) K1, P1, K1, *P1, YO, sl 1, K2tog, psso, YO, P1, K1, P1, K1 (rep from *)
Row 2 - P1, K1, P1, *K1, P3, K1, P1, K1, P1 (rep from *
Row 3 - Repeat Row 1
Row 4 - Repeat Row 2
Row 5 - Repeat Row 1
Row 6 - Repeat Row 2

Row 7 - K1, K2tog, *YO, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, YO, sl 1, K2tog, psso (rep from * TO LAST 8) YO, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, YO, sl 1, K1, psso, K1
Row 8 - P3, *K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P3 (rep from *)
Row 9 - Repeat Row 7
Row 10 - Repeat Row 8
Row 11 - Repeat Row 7
Row 12 - Repeat Row 8

Repeat these twelve rows till your project is the size you want, then bind off.  

Christmas and Roller Coasters

Days keep creeping by one by one.  I feel like I'm waiting for Christmas without knowing exactly when Christmas is.  I may have said that once already.  Christmas is going to be anti-climactic for me this year.  I'm not into Christmas, anyway, but this year, June/July is going to be the best thing since... well since forever lol.

I'm a follower on a few spouse forums, and I read the things the women are saying.  They make me wonder.  The emotional roller coasters these women go on, while I understand them to some extent, I don't understand them.  Yes, I'm worried about him.  Yes, the wait is interminable.  Yes, it's difficult to be so far away.  I haven't heard his voice since January.  I don't really dream of him being here, anymore.  I dream of texting over MSN messenger and messaging over Facebook.  Sometimes I'll wake up with my phone in my hand and a bunch of gobbledygook typed on the screen.  I've even accidentally called friends and co-workers in my sleep trying to message him.  But, I've never broken down in hysterics, didn't have to run from the airport blinded by tears, haven't sat up bawling my eyes out or obsessing over his physical well-being.  When he tells me things that could've resulted in him being hurt or worse, I have that momentary tightening in my stomach and adrenaline spike, but that's quickly gone, and everyday things continue.

This is his/our first deployment.  I haven't exactly become used to or conditioned to it.  So, what's the deal?  Why is it that when I read these posts by these other women going through similar situations as me I feel almost like responding with "What the hell, woman?  Man up!"  How do their men handle it?  Or do they hide it from their men?  Because I just couldn't imagine being over there, dealing with all the stresses of separation, plus the stress of being in a hostile environment and possibly a combat zone, *plus* having to deal with my other half being an emotional wreck all at the same time.  I think that would have to be hard on the person deployed.  Reading their posts, I primarily wonder two things:

1)  Was I just programmed to better handle the stresses this type of life brings with it?  Either through nature or nurture or a combination of the two?  My dad had always been off and on deployed, for all intents and purposes.  He contracts, and some of his contracts are security sensitive, so he can't talk about them.  He goes to work, and we might not see him for a week or two.  You get used to it, I guess, or you get unstable.  And, my family has always been a bunch of pine knots.  We're hard headed, hard people, and tenacious as bulldogs.

2)  Am I just somehow emotionally neutered?  And is this a bad thing? Does it mean that I love my soldier less than they love theirs?

I don't think option 2 is true.  I think that I'd walk through hell if I had to, and maybe just to prove I could.  I know my fight or flight response is a little rigged.  I don't think of flight first, usually.  My first instinct is to fight.  When I'm confronted with an emotionally intense situation, it's the same.  I get angry at it, and I want to tackle it, put my foot on it's neck and growl at it or something.  I don't like to feel defeated, and crying, depression, sadness, those things make me feel weak and defeated.  They make me feel like life is somehow getting the upper hand and I'm losing my place in the pack.  So I think I just squash it, stomp on it, and beat the emotions before they can beat me.

I also find things to do.... like new projects, hah!  I'm going to knit myself into a repetitive stress injury if I'm not careful :-P  And, I think I may have gone a little off the deep end with the "oh my gods he's coming home soon" happies *grins*

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Double-Duty Double-Backs

2 Washrags & a Scrubbie

Staggered Fern Lace
Double-backs suck.  Just thought I'd put that out there.  I worked from 3pm - 11 pm and had to be back at work at 7 am to work until 3 pm.  I live 55 miles from my job, so there's really no point in even considering coming home to sleep.  By the time I get back home again, I've been awake over 30 hours and am pushing worthless.  But, I generally have several hours to kill in the parking lot waiting for my next shift to start.  Most of the time, I'll go to the gym for an hour or more, take a nice long shower, go run some errands (shopping, getting gas, etc.), then kill the remainder of the time reading or knitting.  Last night I skipped the errands (primarily because I left my wallet at home), and just knitted.  I came home from work today with two new washrags and a scrubbie :-).  The orange washrag is the staggered fern lace I mentioned yesterday.  The pinkish one is just me playing with knits and purls, and the scrubbie started out as a horizontal eyelet rib, but I ran out of yarn.  I didn't want to unravel it, so I ran the long tail from the cast off through the eyelets and scrunched it up, then crocheted the remainder of the tail into a loop for hanging it up by.

The lace looks a little warped, but that's just because it's not been blocked.  I didn't see much point in expending the effort to shape it perfectly when it's destined for the dish pit.  I still have unimaginable balls and scraps of yarn left to play with.  Unfortunately, most of it is acrylic or some other form of synthetic fiber.  If I had more natural fiber scraps and oddments, I could make hotpads, towels and oven mitts.  I'm thinking I may end up with a funky colored bath mat, maybe, or a psychedelic mud rug for the front door.

Anybody have any suggestions on what else might be appropriate for acrylic?  Theoretically, acrylic can be used for hotpads and mitts, but it can melt if it gets too hot.  Melted plastic on skin, counter tops, and/or cooking utensils is not happy.  It might be OK for putting under a casserole dish.  It's not very absorbent at all, so it's not ideal for towels.  It seems like acrylic was really made for washrags lol.  It's tough, colorfast, and abrasive enough to get dried on foodstuffs off of cookware, but soft enough to be appropriate for non-stick coatings and other easily scratched surfaces.  It's also really good as an exfoliator in the bath or shower.  And, since it's an artificial fiber, it doesn't seem to harbor mildew and mold like cotton washrags.  I just really don't need *that* many washrags.  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Housewares & Sundries

I've found myselfs in possession of quite a lot of yarn.  See, if I'm honest, I'm a fiber and fabric junkie.  I love the stuff.  I love looking at it, petting it, and daydreaming about what I might make with it, if I only had the time.  I've got pounds and pounds of yarn.  Not all of it whole hanks or balls, most of it strange cast off colors and oddments that people gave to me whike cleaning out some older relatives things.  I found out that a coworker threw away a whole 50gal trash bag ~full~ of yarn, and I nearly cried! Awful!  But really, what was I going to do with all of it once I'd hoarded it?  Because at the time I was amassing this ridiculous stash of superwashes and polyfiber blends, I certainly didn't have the time to do much with it.

I find myself in need of washrags, dish towels, potholders, hotpads and other sundry housewares.  The best part?  I can knit passing fair, and like it.  I think I was born in the wrong century, honestly.  I'm playing with stitch patterns I haven't been brave enough to incorporate into larger projects but have wanted to try.  Not a bit of it matches anything at all.  There's no color coordination hapoening here, either, but I bet you won't see many other staggered fern leaf lace washrags in neon orange in the kitchens you visit! ;-)

I can't seem to make my phone cooperate in uploading pictures to a post, so I suppose I'll have to wait until I have access to a regular computer to share.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Waste Not, Want Not

That ought to be a simple enough concept, don't you think?  It's something we've probably all heard a million times, just in the first decade of life.  But do we really ever listen to these little quips and phrases that our elders toss out periodically?  I don't think we do, at least not as a culture or society.  Everything in our world is disposable, from the utensils and serving ware we use and the napkins we wipe our chins with to our children and our spouses.  We're a society based on instant gratification, and anything that takes work or a time investment must not be worth having.  Wait... what?  Doesn't that sound backwards to anyone else?  Since when has it been the better part of valor to stick your hand out and yell "gimme!!" at the world like a spoiled toddler?  Then, when things don't go our way, stomp our feet, throw a tantrum, and break what we have so we can go get a new one?  That just doesn't sound anything like what my Gramma taught me.  We'd spend hours shelling peas, or peeling apples, or stewing grapes.  We'd spend days in the kitchen canning, freezing, and jellying.  We'd sit on the back steps and skin frogs, clean fish, and dress squirrels.  We'd get up super early to chase chickens out of the roost so we could get eggs for breakfast, go down to the well for water, and spend afternoons quilting, piecing, and mending.  No, I'm not over 65.

What happened to that?  I know we all wear rose-tinted glasses when it comes to our childhood.  Well, a lot of us do at least to a certain extent.  But I remember doing this as late as 1994-1995, when I was 14-15.  I wasn't a totally typical teen, but I was obnoxious and obstinate.  You'd think I'd balk at doing all that stuff that resembled work, but I loved the time with my Gramma, and I still adore cooking and crafting.  I hope that I can bring half of the skill she taught me to the table when I start this new venture.  My friend Terri said that it's amazing what comes back to us once we start using it again.  I sure hope she's right, because I'm going to need all the help I can get!

I'm excited, though.  Excited and a little scared.  I don't want to fail at this.  I've got some really high standards to live up to.  My Gramma was a trooper and as role models go, I don't think many people could've had a better role model than her.  She worked hard from before sun up till after sun down.  She never complained, and she's the reason why they lived as well as they did on a sergeant's pension.  I never once heard her complain, either.  She believed that anything worth having was worth hard work, and you only get out of a life what you've put into it.  The gods never did give her half of what she put in, I don't think, but that never deterred her, either.  I really want to make her proud, and I want to take good care of my husband.  He's never had an easy row to hoe, himself, in my opinion.  I want to be able to take the hoe from him for a while and let him go sit in the shade for a minute with a glass of lemonade.  I've hoed some overgrown rows, and none of them have made me turn around, yet.  I don't plan to let this one get the best of me, either.  I want to take this situation that could be tough, and make it into something we can both be happy with.  I want to be my Gramma :-)

In the waste not, want not vein of thought, I was thinking about all the change that we basically throw in the trash can every time we use a paper towel.  I've been packing a lot recently, too, trying to get as much done before he get's home as possible.  That way, when he does finally get here, all I have to do is load up and roll out.  (But I'm not excited at all... it's only over a month away.  YeeeeeEEEeeeEEEe!!!  It's like waiting for Christmas!!)  I've been paring down my collection of stuff, too.  Particularly clothes.  I've lost 85 lbs since the end of 2009, so I have a lot of stuff that just absolutely does not fit anymore.  While rummaging around and tossing stuff, I found a stack of kind of dingy old white t-shirts.  I am supposed to wear them under my uniform in summer, but I usually wear wife-beaters instead.  T-shirts are just too blamed hot in these Georgia summers.  By summer, I mean anything after February, pretty much.  I was going to toss the t-shirts in the Goodwill basket, when I checked the label:  100% cotton.  Sweet!  I knit, crochet, and sew, and I was thinking about getting some fabric or yarn to make some dishrags, towels, and napkins out of, but I've decided to hack up my old t-shirts instead.  They're plain white, so the bottom rectangle of the shirts are going to become napkins and paper towel substitutes.  I can dye or embroider them, if I'm feeling really artsy-craftsy.  The irregularly shaped yokes and sleeves will become dust rags and cleaning cloths.  I've started cutting them up, but I probably won't get them hemmed till I move.  Everything is boxed up, right now, with the exception of a few hanks of yarn and some knitting books.  But it's a start on that waste not, want not.  I wonder what other stuff I can repurpose or reinvent out of my old clothes and other bric-a-brack?

I'll try to take pictures of projects as I go.  I may not get them all up until after I move, but we'll see.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New beginnings

This is going to hopefully be a chronicle of my expedition into the unfamiliar territory of The Bon Bon Club.  You might be wondering what, exactly, is The Bon Bon Club.  Housewifery, my friends.  That foreign concept left back in the 50's alongside the discarded bras of the 60's, which heralded the emasculation of the modern male and ushered in an era of microwaved dinners, children raised by strangers, and a devolving society with no sense of self, no sense of personal responsibility, no identity, and few morals.

I've been working since I was 13.  I've always prided myself on never having to be taken care of, on always paying my debts, and on being a very independent woman.  You could say I'm independent to a fault.  I don't ever like to admit I can't do something on my own.  But I recently married a soldier.  He'll be coming home from Afghanistan soon, and his duty station is about 1000 miles from where I live.  I had two, options:  go with him, or get left behind.  I don't see two options there. There's no way in the world I'm staying behind. So, at least temporarily, I'm a member of The Bon Bon Club (an affectionate play on an inside joke between a couple I'm growing to love dearly).

There won't be any bon bons, I can tell you that.  There will be every attempt made to be thrifty and frugal to ease the financial burden that is going to fall on my husband.  I'm going to revisit a lot of the things my Gramma taught me, and hopefully learn new tricks along the way.  June 18th is my final day in the working world, so wish me luck!  Wish US luck!