Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to the Blogs

I can hardly believe it has been a month since I have written in the blogs, but it has been a fun and work filled month. The house seems extra quiet after the holidays, especially since my husband is back at work for the first time in two weeks. The machines are quiet after a month of toy and gift production, and any noise from the animated tree ornaments has now gone back into the holiday boxes for the year. This posting marks a couple of firsts. It is the first posting for the Fabulous Pants studio of 2009. It is the first posting from my desk that was abandoned when our office became a dumping area for still unpacked boxes. It is also the first of my December in review postings. Many things were accomplished last month, including making almost all of the gifts we gave to others and getting them out on time. Only one gift is unfinished, and I am planning on working on that like mad for the next few days to get it finished up and out the door to my father-in-law.

It was a good holiday season here. Dan and I decided to spend one Christmas with just the two of us. It was relaxing, and a tiny bit lonely with out all the family around. I did make my first attempt at my Mom's Christmas coffee cake. I did it a bit differently than she does because I had the luxury of time and a house that was not going to be filled with a zillion family members. I did all the beginning steps of the recipe like she does up until the second rise. After all the shaping, I place the cake into the fridge for an overnight slow rise. It did a great job and turned out perfect and hot on Christmas morning. (My mom bakes hers all in one step the day before Christmas.) Here is mine right before I frosted it and seconds later it was demolished by my husband and I.

So to begin the monthly catch up session, I thought I would let you in on the few things that I did that were Fabulous Pants related. I worked on several sheets of wrapping paper in case of any last minute holiday orders. I have found that making my own wrapping papers is not only relaxing but very satisfying. I like the mindlessness of stamping over and over again for designs. I usually do very regimented stamps every so many inches because I found that my attempts at randomness did not work that well. That problem may have been solved with some of the reading I did over the break for learning new techniques for the shop. I am a subscriber to the magazine Threads, but I never seem to get time to really sit down and read any of the issues. I finally did that a bit, and they had a great technique for creating randomness when making designs. They suggested pitching pennies out onto the work surface and placing your designs where the pennies fell. I am going to hopefully give this a try in a few days when I catch up on other things to see how the technique works out.

One of the biggest projects that I did this break was going through all the fabric I own and organizing it. I have gone into all the big bins and refolded, photographed, organized, repacked, and written a file up on all scraps and pieces. It took me three days of lighthearted effort to get it accomplished. My work on organization motivated my husband to finally tackle all his boxes and items that needed to be put away in the office area we share. We both took all the items off of our desks and decided to start fresh. We filed papers, placed items in order in boxes, and played keep toss with other things. One of the things we decided to toss was my old computer, so I am now writing to you on a lap top that we bought for the both of us to use. The hubby is now on his new and much improved laptop we got him for Christmas. It is nice to be back on my split keyboard with a real mouse and for the first time dealing with dual head monitors. I think I am going to get used to this set up! :) We even hung some new lighting in the office area that was basically unusable at night due to it being a dark corner away from any light sources in the apartment. It is now so inviting and nice back here I cannot see myself working anywhere else when doing computer related work.

Another shop related thing that was accomplished was the tune ups of the sewing machines. While attempting to see what happened to make the serger needles and throat plate not line up, we found that the needle clamps were actually broken inside the housing. Needless to say, no pants can be made until the replacement parts show up sometime in the coming days. It was somewhat upsetting, but I am glad we figured it out now rather than trying to limp the machine along and having something very catastrophic happen to the loopers or other parts of the machine.

On a happier note, I got a some very awesome presents this year. Dan completed my Tori Amos catalog, which makes me a happy girl. I do not have all the singles, but I do finally have all the major albums I would want. He also got me an AeroGarden. Now I know that it seems kind of cheesy, but he and I have joked about getting one ever since we saw one in the SkyMall catalog when we where headed out to California for the first time to see where we would live. For a long time, he joked about making it my housewarming present. Well he finally made good on our joke and got me one. It is actually a pretty neat hydroponic kind of plant system. I of course could not just do the easy thing and plant one kind of pod like you are supposed to. I of course wanted to mix and match even though they make it seem like you cannot. I decided to use some of my lettuce packs and two of the three tomato packs.

The seeds that we bought were out of date by a year, but I thought I would toss them in and see what happened. They did in fact germinate, and in the time that was stated on the pods. I ended up doing one of each starting feed in the water, and when the first feeding comes up, I will do the same with the regular feeding packets since it seems to be working. I do have the lights and water circulation meeter set to the tomato setting and not lettuce. Here is a picture of the garden up close after a week.

The one pod with the plastic lid off is lettuce. It has grown the fastest even though it was not the first to sprout. The back two pods are the tomatoes. I will take more pictures as things get bigger. I look forward to this continuing science experiment in the kitchen. It even makes Dan happy as it reminds him of the Land exhibit that used to be in Disney World. I guess they used to do all sorts of food hydroponics in this particular display, but he seems to think that it is not there any longer.

Well I guess I should get into some other work now. The house really needs to be cleaned after some major neglect from me, and while it is wonderfully organized right now, it is also rather dusty. I also want to get some more work done on the computer with the Etsy store to prepare it for my next time away. More on that soon.

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