me: portrait

Shower thoughts....

because it's me. :heh:

So. A few weeks ago, the husband and I were discussing all the empty office buildings around, due to "WFH", and the implications for the economy. (Sucks to be a commercial landlord right now....if everyone is working from home, they have LOST a ton of money. Ex: My former employer had a very, very small office space in a strip mall (800 s/f, IIRC)....$1500/month rent, + insurance, + utilities. They're shut down, now, as are EVERY OTHER OFFICE in that building. 30 or so offices. We had the smallest office the math.)

Anyway. I was thinking about that this AM, and realized something. EVERYONE currently working from home.....IF they are using their own, personal computer, are, technically......CONTRACT LABOR, not employees.

This should.....worry you. Because, as a contractor, the company does not pay their portion of Federal withholding (including Social Security and FICA), nor are they required to pay for insurance. Or vacation/sick days. A smart accountant.......well, switching over would save the companies a ton of money.

IF you bought a new laptop/are using your own computer - and the company didn't reimburse you; and
IF you are not being reimbursed for the extra electricity/water/use of your WFH office space/office supplies...

you are, TECHNICALLY, a contract worker - NOT an employee.

This......has a bunch of implications for you, the worker. IF the company realizes this, and decides to *act* on it.......

You will owe 100% of the federal withholding, instead of the 50% you currently have withheld from your paycheck (the employer pays the other 50% and gets to take the write off.) IF you don't pay quarterly, you will owe penalty and interest.....:sigh: It also means you can be let go with no reason - they just drop your "contract" - which doesn't have to be written, BTW. Husband is a contract electrician....he can be let go at anytime, with no repercussions. He can also quit at any time, with no repercussions. He has no written contract - and I never have, either.

Honestly, I'm surprised it took me this long to think of this. IF a company can make a profit without having to pay rent/taxes/utilities on their office space......why wouldn't they? IF they can also save money by using contract labor instead of employees....again, why not? From the company viewpoint, it's cheaper to use contractors instead of having employees that will expect things like: IRA's, 401k's, vacation pay, sick insurance........from a fiscal standpoint, it makes sense. Save money - which is what every CFO wants, because saving money = increased profits.
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me: portrait


So. Thanksgiving was great - Himself did most of the cooking! 3 pies: Pumpkin, Chocolate Cream, and Pecan (YUM! The bourbon was a nice touch....), plus the bird itself. He helped me with the green bean casserole (from scratch; no cream-of-anything soup here!), mashed the potatoes, and shaped the bread. I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast....Mom brought the stuffing. It was a good meal!

The kids and I have been slowly cleaning the goat barn - it's been 2 years. :sigh: We're having to remove 20" of packed in's dry, so that's good, but it's pretty solid. We're all getting a good workout! We do about 1 hour/day, 2-3 days/week; we've done about 1/4 so far. It's getting there!

We've also been gathering firewood. It's been COLD recently - 31* yesterday AM! Too cold for me - even Loki has needed a sweater lately. :lol:

I've been busy in the Studio - my contract job is gone, probably for good thanks to the 'fraidy cats. (C'mon, the CDC has all but admitted that flu numbers are the driving force - that's why they are no longer counting flu cases. It doesn't take a genius....add in the fact that NO politician is actually following their own rules......:rolls eyes:)(OH, and don't tell me you actually believe death certificates - they are fudged all the time. FIL died of "COPD" reality it was a heart attack. MIL died of "congestive heart failure". Nope - it was a combination of acute renal failure and an allergic reaction to morphine. DH#1 was homicide; it was first ruled suicide, then changed to accidental. Yes, we have evidence pointing to homicide. I gave up fighting the system when it was changed to accidental. My point is, cause of death isn't always what's on the death certificate. When you add in free money for every Wu-flu case...well, it doesn't take a genius to see what's gong on. Look into the vaccine.....there's evidence that it might cause fertility problems, as well as genetic problems due to the fact that all 3 current ones are chimeras. LOOK IT UP, people! If you're a Believer, check out Revelations.....yup, the masks fit the Mark - it doesn't say that the mark lasts forever. HOWEVER...any vaccine related issues will show up 6+ months after injection. And will last....well, forever. And vaccine companies are immune (sorry!) to lawsuits. IF you have a reaction, too bad, so sad - you have no recourse.)

ANYWAY. I was in a mild panic - yes, G-d will provide. Thing is, *I* have to participate. I was concerned....until I woke up one morning last week *knowing* I needed to put my sewing machine to work. So.....we are adding plushies to the shop. I have 2 nekkid chibi plague doctors ready to be dressed, and 1 more needing stuffing, and 1 more cut out and embroidered. Then 1 Alien Child ready to a bunch of hip holster purses. I need to get over myself, get photos, and get them listed. Wish us luck!

Not much else going on. The Lord has provided us with a full freezer, and I have a buck in with the 4 chosen does. My embroidery machine is humming along nicely - things are good. G-d is Good!
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Whee! What fun!

I've been a busy little fiber-addict lately! I finished a hat for the gift box, have 1 sock almost done, and have started another gift-hat.....but the big thing is:

I have actually sewn 4 bras! 1 of them fits almost perfectly, 1 is slightly too big, 1 is.....well, the pattern is.....a disaster, and 1 is drying (haven't actually tried it on yet.) This was emergency sewing; last week I realized I had 1 working bra - and it was on it's last legs.

I went digging thru my patterns.....I have bra patterns. Most are for wired bras - I do NOT do wires. Nope - don't try to convince me, I have yet to find a wire that actually fits my bust. I've tried - back when I was working I spent a few months buying up bras from every vendor I could find that had my size, most of which had wires. Inevitably, the wires were removed within a month due to pain. :sigh: So. NO wires. I didn't feel like trying to convert these patterns to wireless, so I went shopping. (Before I go any further, I have sewn 2 bras before. I didn't finish them - 1 was obviously not going to fit, the other I misplaced the top elastic. Still, I have SOME experience.)

I found a source online who had pdf patterns. She had just released a new wire-free pattern....after a bunch of dithering, I plunked down my $17 and printed out the instructions. I spent a good 30 minutes measuring myself (every designer has her own system, and requires various measurements. No big deal, right?)....and then couldn't figure out WHICH file to print. I emailed her:

"So. I am a 40 F/G (let's go with G for now),with a bottom curve of 6.5". I go into Adobe to print.....and there is no 40 G. There are layers at 101, 133, etc......ALL of which have size 40. How do I KNOW what size to print?

I printed all of them, in color, and decided to cut just the 40. But...on the cradle, the colored lines do NOT match up - the bottom curve is no where near 6.5". I even cut the bottom curve out, laid it on top of the pattern...and it's off."

Her reply:

"Please follow the measuring directions on the Instructions. My patterns do not use standard Bra sizing for more accuracy.

The patten is based on a mix and match concept. You may need one size for the cups and another size for the cradle. So many of us do NOT have breast measurements that fit the RTW standard. Cradle size is based on your breast root trace - not ready to wear size.

You can be assured the patten has been thoroughly tested. Remember that the pattern has seam allowance included so the cut lines may not match but the sew lines will. Perhaps include a photo of the issue you are encountering? "

Not very helpful AT ALL. :bangs head: I finally figured out her...system: You have to take your HH (bottom curve) measurement, in CM, and remove the decimal. So, for me? I had to open the file named 165. That's not confusing, or anything, right??

:Sigh: It only got "better" from there. 1 of the pages in the pattern has to be printed landscape, the rest are portrait. I had to dig down into my printer options to find "Automatic page" so that I could just hit print.

Then I sewed it up. It......doesn't fit. The cups are loose and wrinkly, meaning they are TOO BIG. (And I went with what appears to be size F, not G, because I had feelings....) The band....oh my. The back band is 8" tall. The finished bra looks like something designed by NASA engineers on their days off - it's quite industrial.

It also damn near killed my beloved machine. It did NOT like sewing the elastic to the bottom of the cradle. AT ALL. It made all sorts of clunks..........and this is my beloved 1960's era Singer. The machine that laughs at 3 layers of denim. Granted, I am using what I have on hand, so this bra is 1 layer of lycra and 1 layer of light-to-medium weight power net......she has you double up the cradle, and enclose the seams of the back band - so at that point I am sewing thru 5 layers......of fabric that will NOT lay flat, even after being hit with a steam iron and clapper.

I went back to etsy and grabbed Merckwaerdigh's e-course on bra-making for $22. BEST $22 I ever spent. It's clear, it's concise, and when I emailed her to see if I could use it to make a wire-free bra, she quickly responded with "YES! Just make sure the cups go up far enough to contain all the tissue!".

I used the same fabric on #1 as I did on the disaster. The cups are a bit too big, so Mom gets to try it on. I then switched to a different knit (sort of a thin t-shirt type, I think), with powernet in the cups, sizing down 1 cup size. Wonder of wonders, it FITS. Almost perfectly - the bridge isn't flush with my sternum - but a quick web search informed me that on wireless bras that's not unusual. :happy dance:

This morning I made another - this one I used cotton lawn (woven) on the cups and cradle, and lined them with swimsuit lining (I know, but it's what I have on hand. I have about 1.5 yards of the powernet left, and I NEED that for the back and for lining the cradle.) A quick try-on showed it fits, but I didn't take the time to evaluate it - I had spray-basted the lining to the cups and it was too stiff to get a good fitting.) My goal is to perfect the fit, then knock out a few more. I have 4 more finding kits (I bought a bunch from at the beginning of the year - $7 for all the elastic, straps, sliders, rings, and hooks and eyes you need for 1 bra is NOT a bad price!), and 1 kit. I don't want to touch the kit, though, until I KNOW I have the perfect fit.

Next month I hope to have enough "spare" funds to hit - they have the best prices on powernet and stabilized tricot I've found. I'll be able to whip up a few more bras, then in January I can pick up more finding kits and get them finished, THEN I can start on perfecting Herself's fit.

Bras are relatively easy sews, and fast - I can go from picking out fabric to dropping the finished bra in the washer in 3 hours - including waiting for the basting spray to dry a bit before sewing! A bit fiddly, but nothing too difficult. The hardest part - so far - is getting the fit right.

Sorry about no pictures....but I'm not really comfortable showing the entire world my underthings. :lol:
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It's photo time!!!!

Again. Because......well, I've been busy. TOO busy, but that's all on me. :sigh: I.....fell back into the addiction. Yarn fumes are dangerous. :nods:

Why do I say that? Because.....well, here:

cherry socks

cherry socks close up

I started these the minute I finished the hat, and finished them last Friday. Photos were taken Sunday, when the socks were nice and I immediately cast on another pair (this one is textured, so 1 yarn only. Easy-peasy.).....but had to set them down shortly after. I, um.....well, I'm halfway down the leg of #1, and can *feel* it, so......

I started a new hat yesterday, to take the edge off. It's on larger needles.......but.....I need an intervention. :lol:

Anyway. These are the Cherry Dream socks. I've had the pattern for years, even dyed up the yarn and "kitted" it 3 or 4 years ago. I just didn't need cherry socks - but Herself, now - Herself wants to sew up a cherry-themed Lolita dress. So.....she now has socks to go with. :lol:

Pattern was easy. But! I have apparently become a much looser knitter - my normal is to use size 2s.....this pair? Size 2s were HUGE. I went down to size 1.5 - which for color work has NEVER worked for me. Now? They are a wee bit loose - on ME - but work. The plain sock I started? I stuck with the size 1.5s, but reduced the stitch count from 72 (my "normal" for years and years!) to 64.

AND THEY FIT. :gulp:

This opens up more patterns for me, boggles my mind. ALL the other socks in my drawer are size 2s, on 72 stitches for color work, and size 1.5s on 72 stitches for plain/textured. an interesting departure, but I'll roll with it.

I think I'm going to put the socks in time-out, and knock out a few hats. Hats are on larger needles, with fatter yarn........but I don't need a lot of hats. The current one goes in the present box, but.........

Anyone need a hand-knit hat? :seriously: Wool only (but willing to dye up some of my special base yarn - Cashmere/Merino blend - if you need scratch-free. Seriously - there is BUTTER out there that is scratchier than this yarn!), prefer color work (to keep me intrigued)........I am willing. Otherwise I might drown in hats.....:lol:

Yes, this is a serious offer. I have....well. A bit of yarn in the stash. In.....a few colors. And I have......a few patterns. :lol: It'll keep me amused, out of trouble, and help rehabilitate my hand/wrist. I will TRY to knock them out before the holidays, but please remember I'm dealing with recovery here. :smile:

So. Hat, anyone???
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I seem to be on a roll.....

because I just finished something I started on Sunday evening - well, finished it yesterday. Photos today - I had to wait for it to dry from it's bath and block. :lol:

thistle hat front

thistle hat side

This isn't for me; it goes into the "present box" that is woefully empty this year. Normally, I stockpile things for gift-giving.....this year, since I couldn't knit, I couldn't think of anything to gift. I'm trying to make up for lost time......I just started a pair of socks for Herself. Again. I started yesterday, but that little voice told me "too big! Abort!"....I measured it against a pair of my socks, and yeah - it was about 2" to big. :blink: I haven't been that far off in...well, years! I went down a needle size (from 2 to 1.5....:eek!:); this time the cuff looks a bit more reasonable. I'll be restarting the color work in 6 rounds, so we'll see then.

I did bugger up my wrist this AM......I mowed the back yard. I don't use the self-propelled part of the mower, because I figure mowing is the best form of full-body cardio I can get. Normally, it hasn't been a problem. This AM however, I ended up with a weird.......tingly feeling, almost like how you feel when you bounce your hand on a trampoline. The kinda......"sproing-y" feeling, with a bit of pins-and-needles thrown in. Really weird and off-putting. It's still kinda..weird feeling now, almost 8 hours later, so I don't know what's going on there, but I'll watch it. :Sigh: I just got my knitting back, too!!!! :pout:

I need to get dinner going - tonight is spaghetti night. The challah is done and cooling, now to start the sauce.

Have a great one!
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It's photo time!!!!

I know, I know - this is the lazy way out. But....I finished Himself's scarf last night!!! And - AND! Herself actually sewed an entire outfit!!! 95% by Herself!!!!!!

:deep breath:

Let's start with Herself, OK? I'm SO proud! (OK, so it's not a style or fabric *I* would have chosen, but that's OK. She did a pretty good job!)ETA - the blouse is bought; we haven't found a good pattern yet.

Herself dress back

Herself dress front

Herself dress side

Dress pattern is the infamous Simplicity 8444 ("infamous" because a bunch of Lolita's got their petticoats in a twist; seems that a large company can't put out a Lolita dress pattern without "stealing" it. Um. Yeah. Whatever. :lol:). The pattern is OK, the instructions....are a little bit obtuse. Herself didn't want to "wing it" - she wanted to follow the instructions. She ended up winging part of it, because neither of us understood what the instructions said. I knew what we were supposed to end up with, so I talked her through, and I serged all the edges (my serger intimidates her.) We added the waist ties; she cloned a pair from one of her purchased dresses.

The major difference in ours and the pattern, though, is that I did a rolled edge on the underskirt ruffles. The pattern wanted a 1/8" hem.......right. MUCH easier to simply let the serger roll it. Also, the pattern doesn't have you finish the raw edges of the TOPS of the ruffles......:shrug: I did a fast serger edge and we went from there.

The hat is from Choly Knight; it gave her a bit of trouble, but she did ALL of it herself.

Why yes, I AM a bit chuffed! :lol:

Now, for my turn: a closeup of Himself's finished scarf!

Cabled scarf closeup

Pattern is the by now ubiquitous among knitters "Irish Hiking Scarf". Yarn is something-something Shepherd's Wool I got at Tuesday Morning a.....few......years ago. It's nice; not super soft, but bouncy. The marbling kinda hides the cables, but it looks really, really nice.

All 7' of it. :blink: When I picked it back up, I was at 24", maybe. I think.....I think I got back into the rhythm of it pretty quickly. :lol

Oh, and one more photo of what I had to put up with this morning while heading out to my Studio:

Duncan zoomies

ALL the dogs had the "zoomies" this morning. I was able to capture the Dunnelstan in full zoom. :lol: I spared you the joy of having him AND Chloe running into me......THAT was fun. At least I didn't fall!
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You Guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know this probably doesn't mean a lot to most of y'all, but....You Guys. YOU GUYS!!!!!

I can KNIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

See, I am a Knitter - knitting isn't a hobby, it's a lifestyle. Sounds weird, right? But.....for the past....20+ years, up until the Incident, I had a knitting project on me at all times (except sleeping and bathing, because that would be weird. :lol:) 20 minute wait at the restaurant? No problem - let me turn the heel of my sock. 3+ hour wait at the IRS (ugh) - Cool! I can get the leg finished! Hours upon hours upon HOURS at the Social Security office? Let me work on my never-ending sweater! (an aside - I don't see how there can be a lot of Disability scams - they were VERY thorough on Herself. Multiple meetings, plus 2 hours-long evaluations with their own was tedious. And thorough. And something I never want to do again!)

The past year has been very difficult for me - my coping mechanism has been unavailable. I don't know how "normal" people cope with lines and long waits. Reading helped, but....I devour books. (3 250 page novels per DAY. Yes, it's a habit. Yes, I comprehend what I'm reading. I very very fast. Always have.)

Yesterday, I ran out of books. :gasp: Herself has taken over the Studio so sewing is out for now.......and I couldn't play any video games because it was Family Battlefront 2 night. I looked at my knitting...and thought "what the heck - if it hurts, I stop."

It. Didn't. Hurt.

I knit for a solid 40 minutes before I got ouchy. 4 pattern repeats on the scarf that was supposed to be last year's present for Himself. I'm SLOW, but......knitting.

I am SO thankful, y'all. Slow is fine - I don't have to rehome my stash! (Seriously. I have......yarn. Enough that I probably don't have to buy any more for....almost the rest of my life (as long as I only knit socks or scarves. Sweaters...I'll have to buy, because I don't have any sweater amounts in my stash. :lol:)

Just wanted to share.....I can knit again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Here, have another!

Because machine embroidering is FUN! :lol:

I forgot to give the details last time, so:

Pattern is Style Arc's Melody blouse. It's very similar to the Twig & Tale Breeze, but it has a back yoke, and it's looser all over, with a hi-lo curved hem. The sleeves are supposed to be 3/4 with elastic, but I *hate* elastic (it's a necessary evil in undergarments, but outer clothes? I prefer gathering and cuffs/binding, thank you very much!) It's supposed to have a collar, but I like the look of the stand by itself.

Fabric is another piece of the Irish Shirt-weight linen from Fabric Mart, this time in lavender. It's gorgeous fabric, and the motifs seem to fit. Herself picked out the embroidery thread - she has a good eye for color.

crane front washed</a>

crane back washed</a>

crane sleeve cuff

The front embroidery came from Royal Present embroidery They have *beautiful* stuff, and an etsy shop - the files are actually cheaper on etsy than they are on their own site, for some reason. Most of the files are larger - at least 5"x7" - so you have to make sure your machine can handle it. The back and cuffs came from Emblibrary - I LOVE their stuff! They have such a huge selection, and the prices are competitive - especially when they run sales!

I need to work on some household stuff next, while I wait on bra straps and elastics to come in. Fun times! Machine embroidery is addictive stuff, I've found - I have to keep telling myself that everything does NOT need embroidery on it. :rofl:
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I made another thing!

Well, more than 1, but I'll spare you the photos. Mostly. :lol:

I finally received my order of Irish Linen from Fabric Mart (it got lost; it went ALL over the Northwest US, almost to Canada 2x before finally realizing that Texas is not, in fact, Up North. :sigh: The first thing I did was sew up a new shirt for Himself, wherein I learned quite a few things:

1. Irish Shirt-weight Linen is, in fact, ultra fine, whisper-thin, and lovely. It takes a steam press perfectly, and is a joy to sew up - and wear.

2. Irish Shirt-weight Linen is, in fact, of the devil. It takes every chance it gets to wiggle off-grain - both before AND after cutting. I quickly came to the conclusion that perfection was over-rated. :bigger sigh:

3. Embroidering on Irish Shirt-weight Linen is.......well. It embroiders beautifully, it's just keeping the blasted fabric on-grain while trying to hoop up and actually embroider that is difficult. After a LOT of back-and-forthing with the designer of the project I'm about to show you, I ended up doing a metric butt-ton of pre-embroidery work.

a. Starching the ever-loving crap out of the entire yardage with HEAVY spray starch, and ironing it 2x, with heavy steam

b. Hooping with medium-weight cut-away stabilizer, AFTER using basting spray to secure it in place (normally, I use medium weight tear-away, and no spray.)

c. Praying. A lot. during the actual embroidery.

The results? Well.....take a look:

celtic dog back

The back, before washing out the Crayola washable marker. If you sew and don't use these to mark your fabric, you are missing out. Nice, solid marks that wash out - usually the first wash. (Red/Pink and yellow seem to hang around a bit longer. The rest of the colors are gone. Ditto with Cray-Z Art washables, if you want to go cheap.)

celtic dog cuff 1

celtic dog cuff 2

celtic dog front closeup

celtic dog front washed

See? No marks! :lol: (You can kinda get an idea of how I set up my files; I mark any seam lines/topstitch lines, then mark the center point of the design. For 2-sided bits, I try to have at least 1 mark go all the way across; on this design I couldn't, because I had to tilt the design to get the effect I was after. It's easier when the horizontal line is the same all the way across the piece.)

The design isn't perfect - the outline still wavered a bit, but it's a LOT better than my first go thru (a t-shirt made from the leftovers from Himself's shirt. Unfortunately, not only did the file not line up correctly, I misaligned the left and right sides of the collar, so it's......wonky. Perfectly wearable as a work shirt or sleep shirt, but.......not what I want to showcase here, y'know? :lol:

*This* is why I wanted an embroidery machine. Back when we did Ren Faires all the time, there was a vendor (House of Dra) that sold lovely embroidered pirates/mens/poets a price I could NOT afford (a shirt like this? Would have run - in the 90's - about $175+. The "economy" shirts, with just a simple knot on either side of the neck slit, started out at $75.). I LOVED her stuff....but could't justify the cost. I can see *why* they were so pricey - it's not that easy (for me, anyway!) lining up all the different motifs - I can definitely see the appeal of a much more expensive machine, with a much larger hoop! I'll stick with my PE800, though - it does beautiful work!

I'm working on another shirt now - this one in lavender linen, with an Asian motif (cranes and lotus blossoms. the files are *gorgeous*!). Pics when it's done!
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I told myself I wasn't going to talk about this again...

but then I ran across of 2 very, very interesting websites. :sigh:

The first website breaks down how much Federal grant money (NON-repayable; basically a free handout) each State gets per case - NOT confirmed, case, just case. In Texas, it's $184,000.

The second is direct from the CDC. It's how much individual providers have received, SO FAR, as "provider relief". I've been reading it.......please explain to me why orthopedic doctors, or CHIROPRACTORS, or gastroenterologists can claim funds. They do not deal with *respiratory* viruses. Which this, supposedly, is - again, coronaviruses are the medical name for *the common cold*. Respiratory.

Follow the money, folks. This has never been about saving us common folk. The death rate has never been as high as the media reported - Canada Health even reported that they inflated their death rate by *50%* per their own website - page 3, specifically. I could understand 10%, maybe 20%, but *50%*????

Once again, I have to ask - if this....."pandemic" really were as deadly and as infectious as the powers that be have been claiming, such that we MUST shut down everything.....WHY are they inflating the numbers??? I know that a few weeks ago, the San Antonio Health Department walked back 3,500 cases that they had overstated.......seriously?

I just.....I can't even.