14 February, 2012

project 7: closet shelf relocation

The positioning of the shelf in closets has always bothered me; I feel it is an awkward height in that full-length garments cannot hang freely, while the shelf itself is too high to be really useful and that there is usually a lot of wasted head space in the top of the closet. So I decided to reposition the shelf in our closet. It's a quick job, really, once the clothes are taken off the rod and the boxes (or whatever) are taken from the shelf.
-I first removed the clothes rod, then loosened the screws holding the two rod holders into the board supports on either side, and then loosened the center hook/support (which supports the rod and the shelf).
-Then I used a hammer to knock the shelf loose from the shelf supports and took that out as well.
-Finally I pried the shelf supports (3 boards) out.
-I figured out where I wanted the shelf to be; in my case I made it even with the top of the closet opening, so there would still be room for the boxes I use for socks and such up there; then I hammered each support back into place, using a level to be sure everything matched up and wouldn't be crooked. At least, it wouldn't be crooked in relation to gravity; there is a good chance it is at least slightly crooked to the rest of the closet.
-Then I retightened the rod supports and put the rod back in. I had to do the rod before the shelf because the rod acted as a brace for the shelf supports; I think the walls are a little uneven and I wanted to be sure the shelf would reattach in the same way it had been positioned before, and I realised that if I put the shelf in first I would not be able to wedge the rod back in once the supports and shelf were fastened together.
-Then I placed the shelf back on top and hammered it back in to place. I repositioned the center hook; it was originally offset slightly, and I put it in the center of the closet. With two equally sized doors it seemed really silly to have the rod divided up unevenly.
I filled up the shelf with my boxes (I use the old version of these boxes to store socks and things; very handy) stacking them 2 high, which leaves a few inches of headspace, which is fine as it allows for easy maneuvering of the boxes. I rehung the clothes and voila, all set. Now I can install a shelf at the bottom, or a rail, for shoe storage, and our longer garments (winter coats, bathrobes) hang freely. I even have room for a hamper in there now.
It was a simple project, although I do wish I had waited until Milt was home, so he could have assisted me, as I wore myself out on that project. Completely worth the results though :)

happily, -nava

project 6: fruit trees

I have been waffling about getting fruit trees for some time now, and finally decided to just go for it. Adin has a pomegranate that may or may not be dead (I'm giving it one more spring, and then we'll see) so I had him choose his own tree; he selected an ultra-dwarf cherry. We also got a fig (for the baby) and an ultra-dwarf nectarine. Milt planted them in our backyard and so far they are doing ok. Of course, it's only been a few days, but we have high hopes for these little guys (and they are little). I want to get a few more varieties, and I am going to ask my parents for cuttings from their quince and plum trees as well. I also have some yucca cuttings waiting for me to figure out where to stick them as well. An orchard in the making! A short, heavily pruned orchard in a smallish yard, and it's going to be amazing.

happily, -nava

project 5: build garden beds

Milt actually built the beds, and I am so happy (and thankful) that he did. We got 16'x8" decking boards at the hardware store and had them cut into 2 3' and 2 5' lengths. Then Milt got out the power drill and started assembling. It has taken a while, since the rechargeable batteries for the drill don't hold much of a charge, and it's been raining a lot now (after 1 week of gorgeous weather), but he has been working hard. Each one gets a 'floor' of cardboard and then 3 bags (6 cubic feet total) of soil; we've been doing a mix of 2 enriched + 1 potting soil for each. He is going to take the old boxes we built, combine 2 of them into 1 and use the 3rd frame for a low bed for potatoes, and we are planning to put in a greenhouse and a playhouse where those beds were. A month from now those beds are going to be FULL of plants!

happily, -nava

project 4: start seeds

Well, my camera is still MIA (it did surface briefly during Shabbat, of course, and has vanished again) so I'll just do the posts now and update with pictures later. I don't like to edit/update posts, because then they show up multiple times in people's blog feeds, but oh well.

Project 4! I decided it was time to start some seeds, so I pulled out all the seeds I have and got to work. We bought 3 'windowsill greenhouse' kits from the hardware store; these came with individual soil pucks in a plastic tray with a clear tray to cover it and act as a greenhouse. I filled up all the pucks, then gathered the clear trays and every other usable piece of clear plastic (mostly containers from loose spinach) and filled those with newspaper seed pots. I made these out of one of our many phone books, wrapping two pages around a toilet paper tube, tucking in the end, then smashing the end flat to keep it mostly secure. Milt filled them with potting soil and they are going well. It's been a week now, and I filled up another spinach container with more phone book pots and repotted some of the seedlings that were getting crowded. It is too cold and unpredictable outside to even think of transplanting out there just yet; I even have a weather forecast that is predicting snow later this week. Crazy!

Here is what I planted:
Amaranth (I also plan to direct sow later in the spring)
Arugula (sprouted and all repotted)
Basil (2 varieties)
Beets (4 varieties)
Broccoli (sprouting)
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage (2 kinds; 1 European, 1 Chinese)
Carrots (assorted heirloom variety pack)
Chard (planted today in the space vacated by the spinach)
Cucumbers (3 kinds inc. 1 gherkin)
Kale (2 kinds; both are sprouting, I repotted 2 of the seedlings)
Lettuce (2 mixed varieties of leaf lettuces, so about 8 kinds)
Lobelia (planted today in the space vacated by the arugula)
Peppers (5 bell, 2 habanero, 3 others)
Pumpkins (3 varieties)
Spinach (3 kinds; 2 have sprouted, one was repotted for more room)
Squash (4 varieties)
Sunflowers (5 kinds; the edible variety has sprouted)
Tomatoes (12 varieties; I have a lot of plans for the tomatoes this year)
Watermelon (3 varieties)

I also have 3 kinds of potatoes, 1 asparagus, and 2 strawberries waiting to plant. I direct-sowed my old, shriveled garlic and onions outside; they may come up, they may not, we'll see. I have several kinds of poppies and 4 boxes of mixed flower seeds waiting to be sowed as well, and about 12 different types of bulbs waiting for the rain to stop so I can get them in the ground. So exciting!

happily, -nava

06 February, 2012


The projects are still in full swing, it's just that I misplaced my camera. I think one of the boys snuck off with it, so they could take pictures, but no confessions yet so I will just keep looking. Here are the recently completed and in-progress projects:
1. Assembled a Havdalah set
2. Challah cover for Shabbat
3. Matzoh cover for Pesach
4. Started our seeds for the garden
5. Built a raised bed (We have supplies for several more, but our cordless drill needs a new battery; the 2 we have do not hold a charge for more than 10 minutes anymore, so it is slow going there). Also planted very old onions and garlic in that bed; we'll see if anything sprouts.
6. Sorted through my recycling (that's going to be one thrilling photograph)
7. Planning my wardrobe (this is preparing for March; I've decided to spend March not just making/mending/modifying, but building myself a cohesive wardrobe that I love. Most of my clothes are getting very worn out, so now is the time.)

There are others, I am sure, but I'll document them as I go. I've also been taking full advantage of the spring weather we've been having; full sun, windows open, clothes hanging outside to dry. It's been beautiful. Weather forecast predicts clouds starting tomorrow, but no rain until Saturday at the earliest. It's been wonderful.

-happily, nava

03 February, 2012

project 3: redo owl bank

A few months ago Adin knocked his clothes dresser over on top of himself. Thankfully he was not hurt, at all (it landed on a rocking horse), but he did shatter an owl bank they had in the process. After about a month I glued the pieces back together and covered the whole thing with tissue paper and mod podge. Then it sat in the garage while I decided what to do with it. A few weeks ago I finally painted it, and it turned out like this.

I was not loving it. Then Milt came home and asked "why didn't you make it into a Totoro?" Genius. So I did.

Project 3: Completed! Project 4: In Progress

-happily, nava

02 February, 2012

project 2: update etsy

Updating my etsy shop may not seem like a big deal, but it is for me. First, I am continuing to hope that it will at least pay for itself at some point, Second, I had to rephotograph a few things and actually photograph a few other things, and Third I had to finish one item that has been waiting for finishing for, oh, a year. No, longer. So that is what I did.
I grabbed the neglected tutu and finished it up, then I had a live model photoshoot for all of the skirts (except the one adult sized one I have), then a few shots of the previously unphotographed skirts. I know I have another one somewhere in the garage, but for now I am not going to try to dig it out. It will get unearthed soon enough. I then took all the photographs, edited them, and voila, shop updated. I am debating relisting the patterns I have or my floral essences, but right now what I have up is enough. Here is one picture from the photoshoot:

In other news, we had more sunny skies and temps in the upper 40s/low 50s today, so windows open! Hanging clothes to dry! Boys playing in the backyard! Lots of Vitamin D absorption! It was wonderful :)

Project 2: completed! Projects 3 & 4: In Progress
-happily, nava

01 February, 2012

project 1: secure pantry

The majority of the closets in this house, including the pantry (and excluding the under-stair area) have sliding doors. This wouldn't be a problem except that 1) the doors hang from a track and were not secured at the base, so the boys looooove to swing them in and out and push between them, freaking me out. 2) the track system/ wheels are bent or otherwise distorted to the point that the doors in the pantry and one closet will not stay on their tracks, which make things interesting. As in, loud, cumbersome, and dangerous. Also, we have been battling mice (and winning, slowly, but winning) and the doors as they are now leave a sizeable gap along the floor, which means that mice can get into my pantry. EEEWWWW. Granted, so far they can only get in to the floor area, where I don't have any food, but still. The mice needed to be excluded (I'm sure they disagree), the doors needed to be secured and, oh yes, the doors needed to be securable (as in, lockable) so that two little boys would stop serving themselves whatever they saw and then leaving it to rot on my kitchen table. Also in my living room, on the stairs, in their bedroom...etc. The madness had to stop.

So, I got some strips of wood, had them cut to size, went back and got the correct width when I found I had a 2" wide board instead of a 3" wide (grrr), and built a track system of my very own, based on the danish credenza my mother owns. So far, so good. The doors stick a little, as the bottom corners have been roughed up, but, the gaps are gone, the doors stay in the doorway, they are moveable, and they cannot be swung to the point that the Ikea safety latch can be popped open. Hooray! I am going to sand the doors a little and wax them and the tracks (and paint them), but those are tasks for another day. A day in which I have money and go to the hardware store. Here is the really awful picture, because I really didn't feel like trying to move our table out of the way in order to have a better angle. I did move it a little; usually the chair shown is right against the doors if someone is sitting there, so the chair at the other end is pinned against the back doors right now, but that's ok. You can see the remaining beadboard waiting to be installed on the left, which is also on my list, but I'm tired of sawing things so that's gonna wait a bit. I also have to get the trim for that. All of this is on my list.

Project 1: Complete! Projects 2 & 3 are in progress. Yay!

-happily, nava


My goal to get my house (ok, excluding the garage and laundry room, because those are PROJECTS) clean by the end of January is 90% complete. At first I was a little disappointed because I really wanted to start with a clean slate, however, I have my house back. It's clean, and the only messes are clean laundry to put away and dishes to wash. Amazing! The house feels so much better, the kids are happier, I'm happier, it's great. Today I'm going to finish up putting away things and get a couple projects done involving hanging doors (pantry and boy's closet) and possibly a couple other things, but we'll see.

We also got our state tax refund yesterday, which is wonderful, we can get caught up on all our overdue bills (lot of little bills and unexpected expenses that aren't terrible, but still frustrating on a budget as tight as ours). I read a lot of economic blogs, and several say that you shouldn't give the government a loan, that is, you shouldn't hand over that portion of your paycheck without thinking just to get it back come refund time. Thing is, we don't. We just make so little that even with all of our withholdings exemptions we still get refunded. Now, it isn't exorbitant; we aren't getting rich (clearly) off of "the gov'ment", but it is enough to get us back on track financially and rebuild our financial safety net, at least a little bit. The goal is to have a fully-funded emergency fund, but right now it's about all we can do to keep a little aside for emergencies and keep up on bills. We are slowly getting out of debt, and we have everything we need and more, so our financial life is pretty good, no real complaints here, and once we pay off all our bills it will be even better because I won't have that stress over 'how are we going to pay this one this month' anymore. My biggest relief this year is that once we get our federal refund I will be able to pay our midwife and other associated bills in full. Oh, that's going to be so great.

Other news, we finally got contacted about our case file to be foster parents. Apparently it got left behind somewhere and the local office jut received it (almost 4 months later). Thing is, now Milt is not so sure he wants to be a foster parent. Right now, I agree; baby on the way, getting our house in order, we need to focus on our family as we are right now. We're going to be discussing with the worker the process of completing our certification and then putting us 'on hold' for actually taking any children until the time is right. I hope he'll come back around, and I know we both care about these kids, but timing really is everything. Still, good to know our case is active and we weren't disqualified. :)

Alright, time to get some work done!

-happily, nava