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Archive for the ‘Stuff’ Category

Oh hey, a blog!

I am nothing, if not inconsistent!

It’s been almost two years since I wrote anything here!!  I’ve gotten married, changed my name, and already had my one-year wedding anniversary.  I got a certificate in Paralegal Studies.  My husband quit his job – it really was killing him – and we hope to get him back out into the job market in the next few months.

I’ll be participating in my very first 10K in April, the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K, and I’m trying really hard to build up my stamina in the meantime.  I’ve found some really awesome products to encourage me to get moving despite the chilly weather, and I hope to share them with you in future posts.

Hopefully not as far apart as this and the last post were…


Gushing on Customer Service

So I happen to be a bit of a stationery geek. Pens, papers, stamps, cards, stickers… The list goes on. I’m a huge fan of the dip pens, y’know, quill and ink style? I’ve got a beautiful pen holder with a glass inkwell, and I keep a nice blue feather quill pen in it. Ravenclaw, represent!

Anyway, when I received the pen/inkwell holder, I was working with the inkwell and without much provocation, the lid snapped off the hinge. I was devastated, as it was only the first day I’d had it. So I did what any respectable online shopper does: I wrote a review. I kept it short and light; I loved the product, but it had broken & I was disappointed. That’s all, I didn’t expect anything, I had done it to myself.

The next day, I receive an email from the company: We’re sorry, we’re sending you a replacement. I was thrilled!! That’s true customer service. Reading and responding to your customers, in any way you feel necessary. Even if it’s just, “hey, sorry about that, here’s like 45% off your next buy!”

The company’s called Nostalgic Impressions, and I suggest you visit them for any fancy stationery products you may want.

Back After A Year


It’s actually been over a year since I’ve written anything in this blog.

It’s not like there hasn’t been anything interesting to write about – on the contrary, lots of stuff’s happened.

  • July 2011, I lost my job.
  • November 2011, Thanksgiving.
  • December 2011, Christmas.
  • January 2012, New Years’.
  • February 2012, My birthday, my boyfriend’s birthday. He turned 30, I turned 29.
  • March 2012, I got a new job.
  • April 2012, I had my 2012 Ford Focus for a year. We filmed the second Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences book trailer.
  • May 2012, Balticon.
  • June 2012, I was asked to join RavenCon’s staff as their Social Media person. My boyfriend’s sister-in-law had a super-girly baby shower.
  • July 2012, We went on vacation to the Outer Banks.

This month, there’s another larger, more co-ed baby party for my boyfriend’s brother and sister-in-law. I’ve only gotten one of the four knitting projects completed that I wanted to give them, and I really have no excuse. I just haven’t been knitting. Knitting’s become a little more painful than I’d like it to be, particularly in my shoulders. I’ll just have to deal, if I want to finish anything else for the baby.

Maybe I can start writing more frequently. We’ll see.


Trials & Tribulations of Self-Construction

When one decides that an object or piece of equipment that is desirable for a task or hobby is just far too expensive to purchase from a merchant, one has a few options. They can forgo the purchase, & muddle through their task or hobby without it, or they can resort to more constructive means, and create the object or equipment themselves. This is the road seemingly less traveled, and the road I took this weekend.

I started learning to knit at the beginning of March this year. It turned out that I enjoy knitting quite a lot, and managed to finish an 8 foot long scarf after a month and a half of work. Since then, I’ve begun “stashing” – storing yarn of various color & texture for projects that I have in mind, and started several shawls and a knit bag. In the short months I’ve been learning this craft, I’ve purchased an electric yarn winder, which will turn loosely wound balls or skeins into tighter center-pulled balls I can stack & store without them rolling around like mad.

The winder itself is a great tool, but I found that often I will get almost to the end of a skein, and manage to get the last few yards into a tangled mess. To solve this problem, most knitters use a yarn swift to hold the skien and wind it with their winder. Imagine a merry-go-round for a loop of yarn. The problem is that most yarn swifts are upwards of sixty to seventy dollars, plus shipping. I have yet to find a craft store that sells the yarn swifts in any shape. My solution – I’ll make it my damn self.

So, making a list and checking it twice, I made my way to the Home Depot. While being asked at almost every aisle “Do you need help?” or “Can I help you find anything?”, I managed to find everything I needed. I’ll put a list of everything I got at the end, just so you don’t have to wade through it here. The construction was fairly simple, and it was my first time using a hand saw at all and a power drill for something more than putting a screw into the wall. The main construction took only an hour or so, and I got my boyfriend to be my extra set of hands while I was sawing and using the drill.

The finishing touches I completed today, which included putting little plastic feet on the base, to lift it up high enough so the bolt under the base doesn’t make the whole thing rock, sanding it all down, and fitting more pegs for the swift arms. I have 8 total, so I have extras if they get lost or broken.

The first test run I recorded video of, and it can be found on my Facebook page or YouTube. I had to stop recording after a bit, because it turns out I had one of the arms on wrong, and it snapped a bit. Okay, so it snapped completely. But I fixed it!! I pumped that break full of super glue and stuck that bad boy back together again!! So it’s fine now.

The thing is, I’m not sure I’m going to need all the length the arms of the swift have. But I’m going to leave it as it is now, to see if I ever use the pegs further out from the center, and if I don’t, I’ll hack the ends off and drill a few more holes further in on the arms. I do think I will keep the base the size it is, because I feel that the base should be larger than the arms are.

I’m really proud of my project. If anyone wants the instructions for how to make their own swift, I can write that in a separate post.

Anyway, here’s my list of what I used for the swift:

  • 7 foot length of 2×1″, cut into 2 3-foot lengths & 2 1/2-foot lengths
  • 2 lengths of 3/4″ square wood that were 3-foot each
  • 3 washers, 5/16″
  • a wing nut, 5/16″
  • a bolt, 5 inches long, 5/16″
  • a dowel rod, 5/16″ cut into 8 6-inch pieces
  • 4 little plastic nail-in chair feet
  • a metal bolt spacer, I’ve forgotten what it’s called
  • 4 small nails
  • a 5/16″ drill bit
  • a hand saw & miter box kit
  • a rasp/file
  • a couple of sanding blocks

Feeding the Trolls

The New York Times, & this article is trying to get the 20-somethings riled up, in an attempt at who-knows-what. Ratings, readership, subscriptions, blah. Who cares. Point is, it’s working. Not really a bad thing this time, since the article is wrong on so many levels, as a lot of commenters point out.

Sociologists traditionally define the “transition to adulthood” as marked by five milestones: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child.

Okay, so maybe that was a standard 20 or 30 years ago. Today? In this modern age, that doesn’t always work.

– Completing School – Okay, how far? Are we talking High School? College? 2- or 4-year? Graduate school? While most of us are fairly adept at graduating high school, there are a lot of us who were unable or just unwilling to attend college. College costs a lot. Those costs, should we choose to accept them, typically come in the form of loans. And those loans make it hard to…

– Becoming Financially Independent – This aspect of “growing up” is becoming more and more of a stumbling block, the further you go on the higher education ladder. Loans are hefty. You pay them off over time, but that still takes a long, long time. Then what if you need a car? A credit card for emergencies? In my mind, a person is not financially independent until they can afford to live entirely on their own, despite whatever loans they have. That may be different from what the article defines, but I think it would extremely difficult to live on ones’ own if they had rent, student loans, credit cards, car loan, & other bills & utilities to pay. Some people will most likely not ever be financially independent, because they’ll have roommates, significant others, or spouses with whom they’ll share rent and other monetary responsibilities.

– Leaving Home – Lack of sufficient income and job opportunities are two major reasons for not being able to leave home. But what about those who choose to stay home not because they can’t leave, but because to leave would be detrimental to their parents, whether financially, physically, or emotionally. With families who may have begun later in the parents’ lives, their 20-something children may find it difficult to leave home, lest their parents health suffer. This concept would also hinder…

– Getting Married – It would be a little difficult, in my mind, to date and eventually marry if I were burdened by lack of job opportunities, ailing parents or siblings, attempting to repay loans or any of the other issues that were previously mentioned. Those issues aside, some people just aren’t the marrying type. They much prefer their independence and the freedom to do whatever they want whenever they choose.  On the other hand, those who have found their love may not choose to marry straightaway, choosing instead to cohabitate for a time to ‘test the water,’ waiting until an appropriate time to marry.

– Having a Child – This event could occur either before or after marriage, and again, some people are not the child-rearing type. Women, with more choices for prevention, can choose to delay the childbearing process until they are ready, instead of letting Mother Nature make the choice for them.

When I grow up…

As far as I’m concerned, I’ve completed two of the five milestones. I’ve completed school as far as I chose to go, and I’ve moved away from home. By no means have I become financially independent, I have yet to marry, and last I checked I have no offspring.

I’m okay with that. I’m happy, I have my hobbies, I’m slowly ridding myself of debts, & I’m living with someone I love very dearly. So as far as I’m concerned, at 27 years old, I’m grown up enough. Will I ever reach the other milestones? Maybe, but I’m not rushing it. Besides, anyone who has “grown up” will always tell someone younger than them not to rush it. So why not take the advice of your elders, and not rush it?

All About Balticon 44

Okay, so maybe not. But I had a fantastic time. I have no interest in going over all the various awesome and amazing events of the past weekend at BaltiCon, so you’ll have to trust me that it was awesome and amazing, and you should have been there yourself.

The Geek Prom was fantastic, and Viv and Chooch are the best party throwers I know.

I gave out all the Pokemon tee shirts I created for my friends, and they were very well received. Now that they’re complete and out the door, I’ve set myself to wondering what tees I will create next. I have a few in mind to make single runs of for myself, and a series of three shirts for the three main podcasters of Girls’ Rules – Viv, MA, and me. They will come eventually. I’ll start on the stencils soon, and once I get the tees I’ll obviously start on painting.

I’ve decided that this convention is not going to be this year’s last. If I can get away with it, I’m going to try & worm my way into going to Otakon on July 30th with MA, Dan, & Paulette Jaxton. Also, it is my hope to find my way to PhilCon in November.

So that’s all. Keep an eye out for my Balticon 44 review on The Nerd Signal.

Poké Paraphernalia Progress

For this scene, I will be in a Victorian dress, with my hair up and makeup all done. “Oh, woe. Woe.” As I fall, looking exhausted, onto the nearest fainting couch with an arm draped dramatically over my face.

No, it’s not really that awful. It’s just getting my ass in a position to get the shit done. And I can act better than that.

I’ve finished the text, which is the most difficult. Eight shirts, eight text stencils. Twelve letters each. Six letters that needed a floating empty space. But it’s done.

See them here.

All that’s left is eight pokéball stencils. Only two types, which is a bit of a relief as far as design goes.

I’m hoping to have each one done in an evening, which should only be eight days. Probably not in succession.

And then comes another, smaller project. I’m looking forward to it tho. I enjoy making shirts.