Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Daily Done: June 23-26

On June 23, I plucked up my courage to face... the sonic toothbrush. :o

At my dental visit on the 19th, the hygienist recommended a sonic toothbrush. While I love using power tools in my DIY projects, I was not keen on the idea of a power tool for my teeth. But I'm willing to do just about anything to keep my teeth healthy, so I did some research online and dropped $120 on a Sonicare Flexcare Plus from Amazon.


It arrived on Tuesday the 23rd in an innocuous-looking brown box. I carefully read all the instructions and then reluctantly carried the Terrifying Teeth Trembler Tool down the hall to the bathroom.

I added a small dab of toothpaste, pressed the power button... and sonically dispersed toothpaste in my face and all over the mirror. Wow, that was stupid. :P Note to self: Put the Terrifying Teeth Trembler Tool in your mouth before pressing the power button.

I tried again. Figuratively and literally gritting my teeth, I managed to get through the two-minute cycle of brushing. IT WAS REALLY UNPLEASANT. Not pain, but an intense vibration as if my skull were a tuning fork.

Now four days later, I am happy to report that the experience does improve. I'm still working to master the technique, but the vibration is much more tolerable and the two-minute cycle no longer feels like an eternity. I think it might even be worth the tolerance curve because my teeth feel super-duper squeaky clean and are even a little bit whiter.

During the rest of the week, I took additional steps in my quest for better self-care. I made an appointment for a haircut. I arranged a consultation with a dermatologist. And most importantly, I made an appointment with the orthodontist.

I've been wanting to correct my overbite for ages. But it was only for cosmetic reasons, and there were always other things to spend my money on (such as the house, the house, the house, and the house). Now, however, the dentist thinks that my imperfect bite might be a contributing factor to my receding gums. So orthodontia just got pushed to the top of the priority list.

My plan is to go with Invisalign. I can take the aligners out to brush my teeth, ensuring there are no sneaky cavity makers hiding behind a piece of metal. This is a hugely important factor for me. I've never had orthodontia, so I don't really know what to expect. Nonetheless, I'm almost looking forward to it. I've always been self-conscious about my large front teeth.

Anyone had Invisalign? How did it go?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Daily Done: June 22

On June 22, I tried my hand at iron-on appliques. Hard to believe, but I didn't have a single item of clothing with a bat applique! :o

I used a thrift store skirt which I was not totally in love with, just in case I ruined it. I cut a bat shape out of scrap fabric and ironed it on with fusible web.

It worked well, so I started on a couple more projects which I'll show when finished.

Bat applique... Done!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Daily Done: June 20-21

On June 20 and 21, I got lots of things done.

I loaded up all the to-be-donated items that I had pulled out of the basement. I did housework and lots of laundry. I did some ironing while watching a documentary on the intelligence of crows. I did some shopping as a chore (groceries) and some for fun (Hobby Lobby). June 21 was overcast, so I took advantage of the cloud cover to do some outdoor chores: washing the windows, mowing/hacking down some grass, spraying for bugs (damn earwigs!). I bought a new faucet for my new bathroom vanity.

Yes, my life really is THAT exciting and glamorous. Kardashians, smardashians! They're trying to keep up with ME!  ;)

Okay, so nothing I did was particularly fun. But I accomplished a lot, including buying some supplies for projects I'm looking forward to.

Feeling of accomplishment... Done!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Daily Done: June 19

On June 19, I went to the dentist for a cleaning and checkup. It didn't go well. :(

Usually, I'm in and out in 30 minutes. My teeth and gums are healthy, there's not much plaque or tartar, all is well. But not this time. My teeth are okay, but my gums are receding.

Now, gingivitis is not normally considered a catastrophe... but I freak out at the very idea that there's something wrong with my teeth. I had lots of trouble with my teeth as a child, practically from the time they came in. At 18 months old, I had to have all four of my top incisors pulled. I then went without front teeth until age 6 or 7 when the permanent incisors grew in (huge, as if to make up for lost time). I had baby teeth that didn't fall out on their own and had to be pulled. I had many cavities. I had two painful experiences with wisdom teeth before having them all pulled (without the option of sedation). Around age 22, I needed a cavity filled, but the dentist could not get the tooth numb.

I frequently had nightmares about losing all my teeth. Most of my childhood memories are fuzzy, but I still remember in vivid detail the waiting and exam rooms at the dentist's office.

Thankfully -- and I mean I am truly grateful for this -- after the cavity trauma at 22, I had no real problems with my teeth until this year. So why the problems now? The main reason is simple: I have not been taking good care of myself.

This shortcoming manifests itself in things that seem shallow -- I haven't had a haircut, I don't paint my nails, I wear the same three shirts over and over -- but those are indicators of a deeper problem. I've stopped putting effort into my appearance because I'm resigned to the fact that nobody cares. I don't mean "appearance" in the sense that I was ever trying to be beautiful or sexy or pleasing to someone's eye; I mean that I used to make an effort to present myself well. But lately, I don't seem to care.

Well, as loony as it may sound, if there is one thing that can push me to make real changes to my lifestyle, it's any kind of threat to my teeth. :P

Wakeup call heard loud and clear... Done!

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Daily Done: June 15-18

Very little to report about June 15-18. I was unwell for part of the week. I took a sick day Wednesday and struggled through work Thursday.

I did manage to make a few decisions about the bathroom remodel and to place an order for a vanity and a cabinet. They're plain, but I have some GIY plans. The ideas are a little risky, and it's entirely possible that I will ruin one or both of the items. :P But I won't know until I try!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Daily Done: June 14

On June 14, I (almost) finished removing the tile floor in the bathroom. I've been working on this project in stages for a a while.

There were three different types of tile; not just different shades of beige, but different textures and materials. I guess this was a deliberate design choice by the previous homeowners and not a shortage of tile. The bathroom is small and it wouldn't be hard to find 25 of the same tile, even at a reuse store.  (You may note they also paired a beige toilet tank with a white bowl.)

The floor was a perfect example of how not to lay a tile floor. The tiles were not level, providing some sharp raised corners to trip over. The tiles weren't lined up properly, so the grout lines were crooked. Worst of all, they didn't plan the layout well. There was a big gap alongside the tub; they filled it with grout. That's the brown line on the left side of the picture.

The floor had to go. First, the fun part. Hammer time! I love demolition. :D

With the tiles gone, I was left with the thinset/mortar/whatever the heck they used to set the tiles.

For unknown reasons, there were two or three different types of thinset. You can see in the photo below that most of it is a sand color and was applied with a small-notch trowel. But in the upper and lower right part of the picture, it's a darker color and was applied with a larger notch trowel. Some of it scraped off easily. Some of it did not. After briefly laboring with a hammer and chisel, I called in reinforcements in the form of a carbide grout remover blade for my oscillating tool. I love power tools.

Even with a power tool, the job wasn't quick. Some of the thinset/mortar/kryptonite powder was practically indestructible. When it was finally all gone, I had a good laugh at the guide lines they had drawn on the cement board. (Why they didn't just use the pre-marked grid is another mystery.) No wonder the tiles were crooked. :P

All that remained was the ridiculously wide strip of grout alongside the tub. I was a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to remove it without scratching the tub. But I was able to pop it loose in large pieces with my hammer and mini pry bar.

There are still two tiles left under the toilet. Obviously the toilet will have to be taken off before I can remove those. Then the new floor will be laid and the new toilet installed. As the house only has one bathroom, that operation will have to carefully planned.

Terrible tile floor removed... (almost) Done!

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Daily Done: June 13

On June 13, I cleaned out my basement. While it certainly wasn't auditioning for an episode of "Hoarders," it was far too cluttered for me. I had brought things down and just left them near the door too many times.
Clutter! Argh!
stuff piled on the floor = unacceptable
disorder = unacceptable
The basement cleanup was actually a multi-objective mission. Objective one: Despiderwebbing. Practically every time I go to the basement, I walk into a strand of spiderweb. I curse "Damn spiders!"and then spend two hours feeling like I have spiders all over me (though I never see any actual spiders).  I've learned to wave my arms around in front of me as I walk, which I'm sure makes me look totally sane. :P So before I spent any time in the basement, the spiderwebs had to go. I made quick work of this task with my trusty Shop-Vac.

Objective two: Set up the table which came with the chairs I bought off craiglist a while back. It's ginormous and will make a great work table. But the table top has been propped against my garage wall since I bought it. Why? Because I can barely move it. That mo-fo is HEAVY. One reason is that there are steel slides underneath which allow the table to be split so leaves can be added.

The good news is that I could take off the slides by removing some screws. 36 screws. With a power driver, of course. I love power tools!

With the slides off, I could easily carry the two halves of the table down the stairs one at at time. I reconnected the halves and put the slides back on. 36 screws. Did I mention I love power tools?

Then I attached the legs, which are held in place by a bolt and nut. A square nut. Maybe there's some great reason to make nuts square, but I had never seen a square nut. And I certainly didn't have the right tool - power or otherwise - to tighten the thing. I had to make due with pliers.

Finally, I righted the beast and added the leaves. The table will make a great work surface in my "saw shack."

The saw shack is a corner of the basement where my chop saw sits. I hung plastic to create a third "wall" behind the saw.

Across the front of the "room," I hung a piece of plastic on magnetic hooks stuck to the metal beam. I can easily pull it closed to keep sawdust from getting on everything in the basement.


As an aside... If you look closely at the picture of the table, in the bottom left corner you can see a footprint. It's one of several. Whatever that white stuff is on the floor -- it's not paint and it's not something loose that can be vacuumed up -- somebody was walking around in it barefoot.


Objective three: Banish the creak. There was a spot on my floor that creaked when you stepped on it. Not a sound like a squeaky floorboard, but a sort of groaning creak that somehow sounded like metal. It was such a disconcerting sound that I would often walk around the other side of the room to avoid stepping on that spot. Investigation revealed that the cause was another of the previous homeowners' home "improvement" projects.

When they built a dividing wall, one stud was cut too long, and it ended up directly under the metal HVAC duct. The stud bowed the top plate (the horizontal stud) up and squeezed the duct between it and the floor above. Every time weight was put on the floor, increased pressure on the duct caused the groaning sound.

I was afraid to cut the stud because an electrical wire was stapled down the entire length of it. There was no slack in the wire, so I couldn't pull it out of the way. Eventually, I had an electrician disconnect the dubious DIY basement wiring. With the wire no longer live, I felt safe to cut the stud. It was not easy! Because of the pressure on the stud, the saw kept binding. Luckily, the wood was already cracked, and eventually I triumphed with a combination of sawing and hammering. I ran upstairs and walked across the floor... no creak! :D I might have danced a little.

Objective four: Get rid of a few things and organize the rest. After the ordeal with the table and the battle with the stud, this was the easy part. :) In one area went furniture to be refinished.

In another, various items to be used in future projects.

Across from the shelves, assorted pieces of wood. The stack of small crown molding at the bottom was a great find at the reuse store. It's new, I paid $4 for the whole stack, and there's enough for the entire bathroom. :)
The wood storage is simply pieces of 1x2 that I screwed to the studs.

Behind that, seasonal decor items and empty boxes. I'll save some of the useful boxes and break down the rest for recycling.

Now the basement is once again within acceptable neat freak parameters.

Tidy basement... Done!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Daily Done: June 9-12

On June 9, I transferred my computer files to my new laptop. I finally replaced my 8-year-old Sony Vaio, which had slowed to a frustrating snail's pace and was running so scorching hot that I set it on a ventilated stand and kept a small fan blowing directly on it any time it was in use.

I actually replaced it a few weeks ago with a Dell... which turned out to be a lemon. :( It made my Vaio look like a cheetah and refused to run any program other than its library of 100+ apps (about 3 of which were useful to me). After spending hours Googling the error messages (on my Toshiba Chromebook, which I LOVE), I finally accepted that there was something really wrong with this machine and then spent more time purging all my files so I could return it. I was afraid I'd have to fight with the store to take it back, but the manager was super helpful. She even checked her inventory and pulled from the stockroom a $650 HP Pavilion which she sold to me for $289. :D

After working with the HP for a couple weeks to ensure it, too, was not a citrus fruit, I finally transferred all my files. I also caught up on posting, even at long last adding a profile picture to the GIY Facebook page.

One June 10, I went to a social engagement... a very rare occurrence for me. A former coworker hosted Margaritas on the Porch at her home. I was surprised and delighted to receive the invitation, and had a great time.

On June 11, I accomplished a few necessary but utterly un-post-worthy things like grocery shopping and laundry.

One June 12, I vegged. I'd had a tiring week at work. I cooked a hamburger (iron!) and watched a  PBS show "Super Skyscrapers." Because my life is THAT exciting. ;) Then, inexplicably, I was hit with a terrible feeling of emptiness for my dog. In general, I have been handling her loss quite well, but I suddenly felt incredibly sad. So it was off to bed for the tried-and-true remedy of a good night's sleep. Bean Sidhe always enjoyed a nap.

many years ago, on the afghan my mom crocheted for me her granddog
a few months ago, cozy on the warmth of the electric blanket
The second picture is poignant because I feel like I could just reach out and pet her, and she'd rub her face back and forth on the blanket, as was her habit. That's also the precise position I found her in the day she died. I had to look very closely to see that she wasn't breathing. Then I touched her paw and it was cold. Even so, when I picked up her little body, I half expected her to wake up and look at me. But of course she did not.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Daily Done: June 8

On June 8, I finished decorating some boxes which I will use for storage in my office armoire. Like the tissue box cover from a couple days ago, I decoupaged the boxes with scrapbook papers and matte Mod Podge.


Decoupaged boxes... Done!

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Daily Done: June 7

On June 7, I embellished a lampshade with venise lace. I began with a plain white lampshade.

I glued the first row of lace along the bottom of the shade, then added a partially overlapping row above it, and repeated for a total of four rows. Sorry for the lack of process photos. The glue was super sticky and I didn't want to risk handling the camera. :P


I can't quite decide if I like it.  What do you think?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Daily Done: June 6

On June 6, I decoupaged a tissue box cover. I started with a plain wood cover purchased from a craft store.

First, I glued a square of paper to the top of the box.

Next, I cut a rough opening in the paper above the hole in the box. I cut several small slits in the paper all around the perimeter.

I folded the slivers of paper down into the opening of the box, gluing them with Mod Podge.

Then, from the inside of the box, I folded and glued the bits to the wood.

Lastly,I glued paper around the sides of the box and gave the whole thing a coat of matte Mod Podge.

I have been assembling an office armoire (more on that later), and I needed to have tissues handy when I'm working there. I also needed to raise the lamp, which was too short. Turning the box on its side solves both problems. :)

Decoupaged tissue box cover... Done!

Honored!

GIY: Goth It Yourself was listed in 15 Unrivalled Goth Fashion Blogs of 2015 by The Black Rose (coincidentally, the shop where I bought my first "real" goth apparel about 18 years ago). They wrote Goth It Yourself is one of the most interesting blogs online today.

Wow. I'm gobsmacked. All that for my little ole blog. I am honored. Many thanks to them and to you, my awesome readers. :D

I'd like to post more fashion, but I struggle to get decent photos. I use the camera timer, but the photos aren't sharp because the camera has nothing to focus on when I press the button. Maybe a remote control is the solution?

To those of you who post excellent outfit photos - any advice on getting great photos without spending a small fortune on equipment?

my velvet and lace skirt from Black Rose

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Daily Done: June 3-5

On June 3, I cooked a hamburger (iron!). Considering how rarely I cook, this almost counts as an achievement in itself. :P Good thing, too, because I didn't do much else. I was crashing from the caffeine buzz of migraine meds and went to bed super early.

On June 4, I made some clothing repairs. I'd caught two of my skirts on my New Rock boot buckles and ripped the lace. Typical goth problem, right?! ;) So I stitched the lace back on. I also replaced "sprung" elastic in a waistband and completed an unfinished skirt by adding lace at the hem.

On June 5, I continued with sewing projects. A while back, I'd made a skirt with a new pattern, and the waistband turned out wonky. So I pulled out the elastic, restitched the waistband, and re-inserted the elastic. Then I re-hemmed the skirt, adding lace trim. Now I'm happy with the skirt, which is made from a glittery bat fabric.

EDIT: I got a few queries about the fabric. I bought it at Jo-Ann; looks like it's still available online.
 

Five skirts put back into active wardrobe rotation... Done!