Monday, December 18, 2006

This Completely Rocks

If you haven't heard of FlyLady yet, you're in for a treat. FlyLady and her crew help folks help people develop routines to handle the mundane chores of life, so we can focus on what we *really* want to do. What's more, this is free. Sure, you can order great stuff from the Fly Tool Shop, but it's not necessary. (We especially like the feather dusters and the timers.) The proceeds from those sales support the website so it stays free.

As a creative and attention-challenged person, I have found FlyLady to be a *wonderful* help in making sure my kitchen sink is shiny, food's in the fridge, clean clothes are in the drawers, and the bathrooms are not scary gas-station places. Nothing beats staggering into the kitchen first thing in the morning and finding a clean counter and a shiny sink!

Here's a link to FlyLady's website so you can check her out for yourself:

A long while ago, I promised to post pix of the bookshelves in the office with my art they are in all their glory. It is really nice to have most, if not *all*, of my art stuff put on shelves where I can find what I'm looking for and get to it easily. Thank you very much Jerry!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

This Sucks (also filed under WTF?)

Qwest phone company management:
1. for not having a disaster plan in place prior to The Great Puget Sound Windstorm of '06, especially for LifeLine customers
2. the morning after the windstorm, when there were widespread power and phone outages, for sending employees out to install DSL lines instead of making sure little old ladies have working phones

This Rocks

Ecover - *great* brand of household cleaners - they make a lovely dish soap (I previously used Dawn brand, which I considered the best - Ecover's is better!), as well as dishwasher tablets and rinse aid. Their ecological cleaning products are very competitively priced, work well, and don't have weird chemicals in them. Check them out here:

My newfound appreciation for electricity

OK, so we had it pretty cush. I mean, one house around the corner from us had their roof blown off, down to the rafters. A tree fell on someone else's car, and another tree stabbed a 2" branch through someone elses' roof. OUCH! Last Thursday's huge windstorm knocked out power for 700,000 homes in Western Washington, and ours was one of them. We were without some of the conveniences of the modern age from 5:30 p.m. Thursday night (about 5 minutes after Jerry arrived home from work) to midnight, Saturday night.

In the 10+ years we've lived in Olympia, this is the first time we've been without power this long. I believe the longest we lost power prior to this was during the Ice Storm of '96. Back then, we were living in a dumpy duplex rental. About the only thing positive about that place was that it was on the hospital grid, and even if the power did go out, it was never for very long.

Though we now have a gas furnace, it requires electricity to actually blow the warm air into the house, so it got mighty chilly mighty quick. The coldest it got in the house was during the day on Saturday, when it got down to 45 degrees. At least our gas stove and gas water heater still worked, so at least we had hot meals and showers.

Our neighbors on each side of the house, Mark and David, each had generators, and very kindly let us tap into them to power the fridge so we didn't lose any food, and Saturday afternoon, David came over and wired the furnace so we could hook *it* up to the generator as well, enabling us to heat the house again.

I tell you, this was a real wake-up call for us. We're fairly self-sufficient, but we realized that we're pretty haphazard about disaster preparedness. Not good, especially when children and animals are depending on us for their survival. eeeek.

Last night, by the flickering light of candles, Jerry and I sat down and made a list of what we need to consider for our Disaster Plan. The first thing we did was make a list of our needs. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that getting a disaster preparedness kit ready is our new number one priority project.

Monday, November 13, 2006

mid-November musings

Found a message from the Toymaker in my in-box today - always a delight to see what this talented artist is up to. Here's a link to her website where you too, can download cool paper toys and sign up for her newsletter:

Working on charms for Dawn Sellers' swap - they're coming along nicely, but I'm loathing the length requirements - it's cutting down on the dangle-ability of my design...but then again, they *are* charms, so I guess they've gotta be on the smallish side.

Also gearing up for Christmas and all of those winter birthdays - have some soap made, but thinking about making more...

It's very cold here, and has been raining for the last couple of weeks - the garden is looking OK - not much swiss chard left - looks like it got hit pretty hard by the frost, and the summer lettuce is definitely on its way to the compost pile. The kale is doing well, as is the winter lettuce, and the thyme, is, well, thyme. The kids' chives croaked a while back, but they're usually the first thing to return in the spring. Didn't get *any* garlic planted this fall, but I suspect I still have a week or so in which I could get the bulbs in the ground - we are such garlic lovers around here, it's in almost every meal!

Took the kids and the dogs on a walk today, and came back with a campaign sign that someone missed picking up. I'd been threatening to go grab a bunch after the election to alter for yard signs, since the things are darn near least I got one...will post a pic when I get around to altering it.

Jerry finished getting the bookshelves together, and almost all of my art supplies are on the two in my office, and we've got books on the two in the dining room--getting my old favorite books out of boxes makes me feel like we've finally moved in, and it's only been 4-1/2 years! Jerry *also* finished putting the sheetrock up in the laundry room, and he is *this* close to finishing the project. The only stuff left is to mud and tape, texture, and paint (a pale butter yellow). He's planning to paint the concrete floor (a sage green) next summer, so it'll have a fighting chance to cure properly.

OK, I'm off to make dinner - it's a low-fat creamy veggie pasta courtesy of Leanne Ely, the Dinner Diva - check it out at - I've got the vegetarian menu mailer subscription, but she's got a bunch of different menus to choose from, as well as sample menus.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

It's freezing here in OlyWA (my tomato plants are officially dead), and the trick-or-treating forecast is for numbing cold. I'll be sure to have the hot cocoa ready for my little goblins when they get back tonight. Archer is 4 this year, so it'll be his first really memorable Halloween. He's very excited, and we've already started the candy-trade bargaining...I *did* offer Legos for candy made with wheat and corn, but that was a no-go for him. The Big Guy wants the sugar, no ifs, ands, or buts about it...I'll have to get some extra Mentos and Reeses for trading purposes. Emily is pondering a girlie pirate costume, and Arch is still thinking he wants to be a race-car driver. We'll see what delights Value Village and Goodwill hold in store for us.

I've completed and submitted my Halloween ATC cards for the Altered Art Swap group, as well as my January calendar page. Now, I just need to get going on my Mystery Swap item (still ruminating on this...I think a few beads will be involved at some point) and my Dangly Fairy for those swaps.

I also signed up for two charms swaps, one hosted by Dawn Sellers, and the other by Amber Dawn. I'm in R&D on both of those and experimenting with materials and techniques to see what the final design will be. Since there are a few folks participating in both swaps, I do believe I'll be making different charms for each swap.

Poppy and Victoria came over Sunday, and we did R&D on our wire and bead baskets for our upcoming class - I'm pretty happy with my basket so far, but there are some little dangly beads that I want to put on it, and I can't find them, so my basket is on hiatus until I can rummage through my bead stash again...I'll post a pic when it's done.

OK, I'm off to do my FlyLady routine, and then we're heading into town for costumes and candy.

Cheers and have a great Halloween!