YAY! What a great day!

K on treeToday, S got some amazing news! She got her dream job! She’s now working as the assistant to the event coordinators at a performing arts center! She’s been wanting to work in the performing arts for a few years and has finally gotten her opportunity! She’s starting early next month and I’m so proud of her!

Let’s take a moment to clap in congratulations for my incredibly smart sister. Yay! >clap! clap! clap!<

She’s very excited because she feels like our recent cross country move has turned out really well. The Artist and I have nearly been here for a year, and it’s time for us to find a new place to live. Though our apartment has been nice, we feel it’s a little small for our family, so we’re looking for a house we can rent. S has been doing a lot of that work because she likes doing research on real estate, and she’s found some really pretty ones. We’ll end up in a much nicer place when it’s all said and done.

In other news, I’m working on a new project that’s going to take months, but I’ve finally started and am very excited. Yay! The Artist made me some pretty text art, and I’ve started knitting a blanket with the text art on it. It’s gonna be awesome when it’s done! But I really haven’t gotten anywhere. It’s using lots and lots of yarn at the same time. I’ve only gotten started, and I’m already using 17 different “balls” at once! I put balls in quotes because mostly what I’m using are small amounts of yarn wrapped around clothespins. That helps keep it from getting too tangled. (Though of course it’s getting pretty tangled anyway).

Here’s a picture so you get a better idea:

Knits McGee!

Happy crafting!

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How to Make a Skirt Guard So You Can Be a Pretty Bike Lady, Part 2

S on SnowdoniaAfter K got her awesome old bike, she asked me to make her a skirt guard so she could also be a pretty bike lady. And I was happy to oblige. I love making stuff!

In case you didn’t know, I’m really excited about K’s bike. Back when I first introduced you all to bluebird, I mentioned that I got her because I fondly remembered my mom’s beautiful blue bike with brown handlebars and saddle, and that bike is K’s new Ole Biddy.

The reason for the second tutorial here is that Ole Biddy’s rear rack is not shaped the same as Bluebird’s. For my skirt guard, I was able to attach the fabric directly to the ring on my rack that was designed to hold bungee cords. K’s new rack, as you can see below, had no such loop.

So clean and so fresh!At first, I was worried about how I could attach the skirt guard, but I found the perfect thing! We had these clip rings from college when K had made a tapestry into a curtain.

We decided that a burgundy skirt guard would look beautiful on Old Biddy to bring out her stripes. After holding up a bunch of things we had to her, we realized we needed a brown burgundy, not a purple burgundy, found the appropriate color in the Artist’s Pantone book, and headed out to the thrift store. We picked out a sheer burgundy tunic with embroidery and edging that we thought would go great with the 70’s styling of her bicycle. Here is the shirt with the clip rings:

shirt before

After playing around with the shirt, we decided that we wanted to use the embroidery along the top edge of the fender, so I cut straight up the back of the shirt.

back cut open

Then the sleeves were in the way, so I removed them as well.

sleeves removed

I sewed a few sets of snaps to the edges of the former neckline and made a new seam down the length of the sleeves, cutting off the back portion. This allowed the top part to attach to the bike:

front snaps

Next, I hooked that curtain ring onto the fender:

curtain ring

Then I pulled the extra fabric through the rings and pinned where it should end. I cut off the excess and hand sewed the fabric around the ring, being sure to tuck in the raw edges. And then I was done, and she went on a ride. And it was a fail.

fail

As soon as she started riding, the fabric all bunched forward so that it didn’t cover the back portion of the wheel. That wouldn’t be helpful for a ride in a flowy skirt, so I added a couple more snaps to hold it down.

final snap

Skirt guards are the awesomest!

after

Refashion Friday: White Tank Top

S on SnowdoniaWe’re going home to see our Mom and Dad this weekend for Father’s Day and my Dad’s birthday. So I’m busy packing and making the house clean. So I decided to do a quick refashion.

Not every refashion is about taking clothes and making them drastically different. Sometimes it’s just little tweaks to make them fit better in your wardrobe. That’s the case for this week’s tank top. I’ve had it for a long time and I’ve always liked it, but the length has always been a problem for me. Since when is it that tank tops are so long?

white tank top too long beforeI assume it’s made that way to be worn over leggings to yoga class or some such. However, I don’t really leave the house in leggings (dance pants sometimes, but this tank top is too long for them, too.) But it’s just too long to wear with a skirt, as you can see. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense considering my entire wardrobe is skirts and dresses. So far when I’ve worn it, I have basically just pulled the bottom up to where I’d like it, but it’s just got too many folds to look really nice:

white tank top scrunched before

A chop was in order.

chop!I folded it under, and I wanted the bottom to look like it was made that length, so I outfitted my sewing machine with my handy dandy walking foot and twin needle.

twin needle

And now I have a shirt that is a much better length for skirt wearing!

white tank top after

And thus completes this week’s terrible to wearable, completed in less than an hour.

white tank top before and after

 

 

 

Add an awesome bike to the family! (Including a lot of upgrades)

K on treeSo I know you have been waiting a long time for this, but I finally have a bike! The rest of the family has had one for a few months now, and I’ve been totally left out waiting for someone to go pick up my bike from my parents house.

See, when S and I were children, our mom had this really pretty bike that she got at a garage sale. I remember it being so awesome because it was pretty and delicate, not stupid and sporty like all the new bikes in the store. (My bike was pretty too then, cuz it was all metallic purple and stuff, but it was still pretty sporty since that’s the kind of bike you get at department stores, and, let’s be honest, children don’t need expensive bikes.)

The bike was a pretty blue. I think it’s probably from the late 70s, and I knew my mom still had it in her basement, even if it hadn’t been ridden in at least 10 years. So I figured instead of buying a new bike, I’d wait and pick up Mom’s bike and see if I could get it fixed up for a good deal less than the new bikes. Plus I’d have an awesome vintage bike with sentimental value (love you, mommy!).

S and the Architect went over on Memorial Day weekend and picked up my bike. Ol’ Redneck’s dad had done some work on it to make it look a lot better, but the brakes were clearly still in need of replacing, and we were a little worried about safety.

This is what it looked like when I got it:

IMG_0099 (1)As you can see, the shape of the bike is awesome! What’s a little harder to tell is that it’s kinda rusty all over. She kind of complained loudly whenever you rode her (still does actually), which is why I’ve named her Ole Biddy.

Oh, and here’s a gratuitous picture of the bike all packed up and my mom’s dog, A Dubs, trying to ride her. But seriously, A Dubs, I know you like attention, but that’s not how you ride a bike.

A Dubs! That's not how you ride a bike!So the first thing I did was take it to the bike store to see if I could get it in working order. They said for about $100, they’d fix up the gear shifter and replace the brake pads and tires, which was all that was really needed to fix ‘er up, and that they’d even add a rear rack for that much! Yay!

So after a week of waiting some more, I went to pick up my bike. Good news: she looked pretty! Bad news: the had run out of brake pads, so she still squealed. But he said he had cut them a little, which apparently helps to be sure they work in the meantime until the new pads come in from the distributor. Here I am riding her for the first time without feeling like I’ll die!

Ridin' a bike

Though, you can tell how she’s complaining with my facial expression. That Ole Biddy does not like to be ignored! So after we figured out that it would be a totally usable bike, S and I spent a weekend morning cleaning her up with some old soap pads Mom gave us. They really worked like a charm! It was amazing! With almost no effort, we wear able to get a lot of the rust off, leaving a glistening shine instead of an allover rusty glow!

Here is the washing in process:

washy washy

And a complete after view, looking sparkly!

So clean and so fresh!

Bling!

After that, it was really like a facelift for the Ole Biddy, making her look a lot younger and fresher. Now that the safety issues were (mostly) fixed, there was only one thing to do: find a basket. So we went on a long (16 mile) bike ride down to an antique mall to pick out a new basket for her. Along the way I discovered that this old seat was EXTREMELY uncomfortable. I knew that the springs were rusted, but there was something inside that was actually poking right into my bones. So we tried to stop by a bike store to buy me a new saddle, but they didn’t have any I liked, so I ordered one and dealt with the pain. (That saddle still isn’t in, but they felt bad for me and lent me a Brooks saddle for the meantime, so at least that’s a perk). Oh, and in case you were curious, this is the horrible image of the inside of the Hannibal Lecter torture device seat, under the faded faux leather:

Hannibal Lecter will eat you from you bike!The horror!!!!

Anyway, we got a cute basket, which the Architect cleverly installed with some wooden boards, screws and metal fasteners, and now I look super pretty on my bike! Here’s a picture from a picnic the Artist and I went on for our 6th anniversary!

Bike bike bike

And in keeping with the bike theme of our lives right now, I got him a rather appropriate anniversary gift: excellent panniers for his bike. They are awesome because they roll up, so they don’t have to be taking up space if you don’t want them, they have a detachable shoulder strap so you can carry them into the store if you want, and they have a lock so you can lock them to your bike if you don’t feel like taking them into the store with you. Luckily he was quite happy with the anniversary gift, and I’m quite happy with our relationship, and everyone is happy about their bikes.Bike bags

 

Our Little Family FAQ: Groceries and Budgeting

S on SnowdoniaI figured I would continue on with the posts explaining our family dynamics and such with a post about budgeting and groceries. Our system is to split pretty much everything in half, and each couple deals with their own half.

Google docs is our friend. We have two family documents set up, one called “Shopping List” and one called “Who owes who what.” Anytime someone pays for something for the house, which is usually groceries, but also includes rent and other miscellany they add 50% to their column. We have one column for K and the Artist, and another column for the Architect and me. At the end of each month, we tally up what each couple owes the other, find the difference, and then pay up. The Architect and I pretty much always owe a big chunk of money to K and the Artist, because K pays the rent.

As for groceries, anytime someone uses the last of something, they add it to the Shopping List. Our cooking schedule is that the Artist cooks on Mondays, I cook on Tuesdays, the Architect cooks on Wednesdays, and K cooks on Thursdays. The weekends are usually eating out, cooking whatever we find in the kitchen, or eating leftovers. Each weekend, everyone decides what they are going to cook and puts the ingredients they need on the Shopping List. Then on Monday either the Artist or I goes shopping.

We have a chalkboard menu in the kitchen where we list whatever we’re cooking. It often has funny names, like stuffed baked potato extravaganza or whatever’s in the house pot pie.

Each couple deals with their own budgeting differently. It’s easier for the Architect and I, since we’re married and have joint banking. It means that we don’t ever owe each other money, which K and the Artist do sometimes. But on the other hand, K and the Artist have budgeting much easier because we have WAY MORE student loans that make a pretty big dent in our money.