Sunday, May 15


More progress!

Now I'd better move on to some of my actual chores ;)

Thursday, May 12


I was hoping to get this in for WIPWednesday, but that's OK.
I got back to stitching and I'm done with Aries (the best of all of the signs)!

I'm almost done with Taurus as well - since I got a month behind, I started stitching them both at the same time - just stitching all of whatever color I was working on.  I need to do the nebula star thing and the flowers for Taurus and I'll be caught up.

I doubled up the back stitching in the horns because I couldn't see it well enough, and I wish I had done it for the thistle stems, but they seem OK anyway.

I can't decide if I'll get back to stitching something else, or if I'll just keep plugging away on this piece.  It makes me happy and I"m a fan of "screaming" rotations rather than planned things.  I'm thinking if I do that, I'll still stick to my plan of stitching the sign for the month, and when I'm done with it, I'll just work backwards, so after Taurus will be Sagittarius since the mystery started with Capricorn.

I'm also still plugging away at yoga.  I did a person 40 classes in 40 days challenge for my 40th birthday.  And on May 6th, the studio started a 20 in 20 challenge (though 5 of the classes must be circuit for you to "qualify" as a finish).   I'm up to date on the 20/20 except for the circuit classes but I've been feeling super run down lately, and I'm not sure what's going on.  I can't tell if I'm fighting a low grade something, but it would definitely curtail any crazy activities, like the "stadium run" they're doing Saturday for 2! circuit "credits."  We'll see ;)

Thursday, May 5

The TV Liquor Cabinet (aka: the best TV channel ever)

I've been a bit MIA of late, partially because I've started going to a lot of yoga, but mostly because I've been having too much fun.   I went on a Chesapeake Bay fishing trip, I had a lot of birthday parties, and I finished up my retro TV liquor cabinet/bar.

The original TV:  A 1972 Zenith.   I found it for $20 on Craigslist ("found" = spending weeks and weeks hunting and jumped on this as soon as I saw the posting).   I thought it would be easier to get a hold of one of those giant wooden beasts more prevalent in the 80s, but it turns out people gobble them up to turn them into dog beds.   I even saw a bunch of converted dog bed/TVs when I went to the flea markets to try to get a retro set.

You have to take it apart (of course), and I didn't detail that so much.  This is all of the pieces from the gutted unit sprawled across the garage/workroom.   

The screen/CRT was the heaviest.   Fun trivia:  Sometime in the 60s as a "safety" feature, they started making the tubes implode when crack instead of exploding.  On one hand, I was sorry to miss out on the 60something TV, on the other, it was nice to know that this would literally not explode in my face (not that I didn't wear safety goggles, gloves and other equipment - If I'm going to die, it's going to take more effort than exploding a TV).

Unfortunately, the dude selling me the TV was kind enough to plug it in to make sure it worked OK, and the most dangerous part of these units isn't the exploding/imploding vacuum tubes, but the charged capacitor, which can hold enough electricity to actually kill you.  I checked out many a youtube video on how to safely discharge the unit before removing it.

In the very foreground of the photo you can see the circuit boards and some of the wiring.  I just tore it all out rather haphazardly, and, of course, disposed of it properly with the county's waste management program.

I sat/stood/bounced on the particle veneer top to see if it would support my weight.  My ultimate plans were to put a small(ish) aquarium on top of it, and with the huge weight out of the inside I wasn't so worried about structural support, but the top was a bit bowed in.  Ultimately, I just decided to replace it with something sturdier.

So this is it, totally torn apart, there's a board in the bottom just as a test thing.  You can see the table saw in the background.

My next problem were these supports.   Initially (for whatever reason), I thought they were a super dense plastic, but no, they're metal (of course).    They supported the vacuum tube and held it in place.  This is one of the upper supports (they were on every corner of the frame), which I left, but I needed to cut the lower supports, or they would be in the way of the bottles on the bottom and could cause accidents (bottles being shuffled might hit them and fall over), never mind the actual lost floor space.

I cut straight through them with a metal cutting blade on the Dremel.  I decided to cut the three "prongs" only and not the whole molded out base.

I used scrap wood from the Murphy/Wall bed project to make the risers.  They're not ideally spaced (they're a little over an inch taller than I wanted), but scrap wood is free.  And I didn't feel like cutting down the length of the wood.   I nailed them together and primed the heck out of them.  Ultimately, I'm happy with the height.

I realized that the spray paint I was using would blow out into the front of the unit and stain the outside facing, so I went ahead and used a glorious amount of tape to protect the plastic fronting from overspray.

I also primed and spray painted the new top that I cut to the same dimensions of the old top.   I used edging tape to finish off the edges so it would look pretty.

This is actually the underside of the top
I also sectioned off the deeper side of the unit where the channel knobs and other things were located.   I did it for two reasons - 1. I didn't want bottles to get lost off to the side 2. It gave me a little cubby where I could put the wiring and other stuff (for the lights and eventually for the aquarium power strip).  I used more scrap wood to create a platform and a ledge so it was only 8" from the top (vs being all the way at the bottom.

The cylindrical-ish thing is attached to the channel changing knob.  I kept that all together and in one functional piece in case I wanted to go back and fit it so that changing the channels changed the color of the LED lights.

 I did not a get a proper picture of it, but this is the whole unit being painted.   I finished the inside, so I also protected that with plastic (overspray).   Before I painted, I glued/clamped the top for at least a day to let the glue dry on the top.   I then used caulk around the edges to give a nice smooth/complete finish around the edges.   Most people really can't tell that the top didn't initially belong with the unit.

I spray painted this with Rustoleum's Oil Rubbed Bronze.   I have a lot of accessories sprayed with it, and it matches the "espresso" finish that most of the furniture is.   And I just had a lot of it on hand (this whole project only cost me a bit of plywood, a bit of wallpaper, and maybe one can of paint because I used what I had on hand).  I did learn an important lesson about sanding this paint, it gummed up pretty badly, but I fixed that.   And didn't sand so heavily again.

Pro (blog) tip - put furniture up on small paint cans and you can spray the feet without any trouble, too.  And that's a bit of left over tack cloth.  I cannot over emphasize how important it is to get all of the dust/bits off before painting.  It keeps everything smooth, and tack cloth just can't be substituted.

The whole set up for a few days.  I would only do a very thin layer of paint, and you can see that the garage door is cracked for the fumes (I didn't want to leave it open overnight).  It's also a better shot of the little cubby I made from behind.

Last spray down of the whole unit!

I put some wallpaper on a board cut to fit the rear and nailed that on.  I didn't paint it or finish it in any other way, since you can't see the back anyway.

I did *not* get a picture of the LED lights, but I have one of those four strip units from Ikea (can be found at this link).  I might get more, but I don't think it needs to be brighter.   I have attached (with some double sided sticky), the light switch to the top right corner, so the lights are easy to turn on and off.

And here's the final product - I'm so utterly happy with it!  And I get the bonus of kitchen space for my myriad appliances (the liquor was being kept in the kitchen cabinet before this).

I could watch this channel all day.
 And not that you can see from this picture, but this is the wallpaper I used for the back, I ordered it from Spoonflower as a sample (I didn't need much).  It's called Enchanted Universe and it's by nouveau_bohemian:

It's a nice splash of interesting turquoise that gives a fun background that you don't really notice unless you look closely.  It lightens up the dark piece by a bit, and I like it.  I was looking at other projects online and I liked it when there was a pop of color.

And just in time for the liquor cabinet debut, a friend brought me some of my favorite tequila from Texas (they don't sell this here).

So, Tada!  And now I'll get back to other projects and maybe a bit of stitching.

Tuesday, April 12

TUSAL - April!

I nearly forgot TUSAL!

And after all of that work I did for a new ort container!   I cut down a Dumante bottle - it is very, very thick and heavy, which I like, because there's nothing I'm good at so much as knocking things over.   Dumante, btw, is apparently pistachio liqueur (I took the empty from a friend)

You can see plenty of Captain Kirk in there, but the top is all Zodiac ;)

Thursday, March 31

#TBT - Mirabilia Holiday Fairies

Way back in the day, when they first started coming out and were really hard to get a hold of, I started collecting (and stitching!) the Holiday Fairies by Nora Corbett (for Hoffman Distributing).  They were Limited Edition (I wonder if that's still true?  I see a number of them for sale new?).  These were kits that came with 32 Zweigart linen, Kreiniks, Crescent Colours threads, and any of the beads you would need.    Initially they seemed to sell out really fast, but I had a local needlework shop (Judy's Stitchery in Harlingen) that ordered them for me, so I managed to snag them all pretty easily.

I tried to stitch them in order of the holidays to start, but burnt out after the third one.

The first one I completed was also #1 in the collection - the Christmas Elf Fairy.   I do love the little Christmas tree that she was carrying.   The only issue I had with it (and I had this issue with all of the kits) is that the Bella Rosa thread used for the skin was super pink.   Because all of the kits came with full skeins of all needed colors, and I didn't need very much, I took the lightest of the skeins and tried to use that for all of the fairies.

I really also like the reds in the dress.  It's just so freakin' sweet.
I finished this one on December 10, 2006, nearly 10 years ago!

Miss Valentine Fairy is probably my least favorite, but I'm not much of a pink person, and I"m not a huge fan of her ratty looking skirt.  I do think it's cute how she's holding what I think of as a giant heart box of chocolates, but so much pink!

I finished her second on February 8, 2007

I love the Easter Fairy because of the adorable robin's egg blue actual egg she's holding.  I think this one is probably the twee-est of the whole series.

She was finished on April 28, 2007

And of course, I actually have already blogged about the others in the series I most recently finished:

I haven't decided how I want to finish them yet.  Because of their size, I think a simple frame would work, but flat folds would also work.  I'm a little worried about flat folding these, though, because they were a bit costly and I do really like them.   It'll eventually, maybe, end up as framing, but for now they live in a portfolio book, which I can leaf through to look at my finished and unframed pieces:

Monday, March 28

Long weekend progress mishmash

So the great state of North Carolina gives its gubmint employees Good Friday, but as we're all non-religious about it, they call it "Spring Holiday."   It's an improvement from when I was a gubmint employee with the great state of Texas, whose governor would call for Good Friday to be a holiday sometime around 11AM that Friday.  That was always terribly annoying, because as a bench monkey, all of my experiments took hours upon hours, and by the time they're started, you're trapped at work, governor decree or no.  So at least we get to plan ahead around here.

Friday's plans were:  To work like a madwoman on my TV/liquor cabinet.

Actuality was me cross stitching, watching TV, and generally doing nothing.    Which then put me a day behind, so I was totally going to make up for it on Saturday, only I didn't.  But I did cut some glass and drop things off at the E-recycling center and the thrift store.

Sunday I went to friends' house to help unload a kit Cobra and inventory all of the parts (wheee!), and I tried to frantically work on my TV, only now I'm behind, especially considering we're throwing a huge party on Saturday to celebrate our birthdays (otherhalf and I have a birthdays 2 weeks apart and we're both turning a "milestone" this year).   I may just have to get around to finishing it on Sunday, because I don't want to rush the project.

But in any event, I finished WWCKD, and I finished the inner ring/planets for Zodiac Mystery (which is officially being put up until April):

And I cut a bunch of glass for fun (with my Dremel - Either I'm an idiot or I can't follow directions, but the fire cutting/scoring firing/etc. methods all ended up with nothing to be proud of and lots of cracked glass) - now I have (more) candle holders and vases!   And a new ort container, but I will wait to debut that until the next TUSAL:

I tried using the "fire" cutting method on this one and ended up with a mostly shattered bottle, which is why I cut this one so low, but I love these painted bottles!  And now I have a candle holder :)
OH brings me pretty flowers from the market, and now they have pretty vases - I love the Bombay Sapphire bottle, but I don't drink gin (anymore), so I bought two empty bottles for about $5 on ebay ;)
And the Easter Puppy came to the house...

Friday, March 25

#WWCKD - Happy Dance!

Well, I finally finished #WWKCD (which of course, is short for What Would Captain Kirk Do). The pattern was by John Lohman, and the book it's from is titled "Star Trek Cross-Stitch: explore strange new worlds of crafting."
It can be found on for as low as 2.98 used (my copy was a gift from someone, who purchased it used, which I'm 100% on board with, because I don't need a new book to abuse!).

There's a Jean Luc Picard pattern in there I'll get to eventually, too, but I've had just about enough stitching on black (and of course, my next work project is a WIP on black,, I do have good lighting there).

The one thing that nearly killed me was the black on black stitching - the collar, hair, shadows are all black on black, not just negative space, and wow, was that rough.  

There was a priest at "my" (my grandparents') church when I was in high school that cross stitched NASA/Space scenes on black, and as much as I did not like Father George, I have a whole lot more respect for him now!

But on my day off, when I was going to spend 100% of my time on the TV Liquor cabinet, I got a nice finish in.

I plan on finishing it with a black frame and black mat.  Hopefully I'll get that done, soon, to hang in my office.  This is definitely one of those "much better from further away" pieces! :)

What would Captain Kirk Do?
Finished 25 March 2016

And a gif, because I cannot help myself.