Category Archives: Personal

Basement Project Plan

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South WallOver the past couple of weeks, Brad and I have been putting all of our time and effort into getting this basement finished and liveable. I’ve really been neglecting my work-at-home situation to get it done, and Brad has been heading over to the new house to work every day before or after work, depending on the shift he’s on that week. Slowly but surely, it’s coming along quite nicely! It is very time consuming, and yet easier than I had expected! I’ve decided to make this brief checklist and game-plan for anyone who may be interested doing a little basement work. I hope this helps!

  • Electrical wiring
    Luckily, this step was completed before we moved in, therefore we have utility boxes along the west wall of the room. Rather than covering these up with a wall, we will be creating a floating shelf along the entire wall to encase the electrical outlets.
  • Deep cleaning
    After removing all of the debris from the room, clean every inch of the walls and floor with bleach. We also cleaned the ceiling with a toilet brush, with the intention of leaving it exposed.
  • Sealing off leaks
    This is an issue for many basements, as many conditions are required to keep a basement leak-free. This article on The Money Pit is very informative and includes a few suggestions for fixes.
  • Staining/finishing the ceiling
    There are many other options for ceilings, but we decided to tear out the insulation and leave our bare ceiling exposed for a more rustic feel. If you intend on doing this, it’s a good idea to remove any staples or nails that may have been used to attach the insulation. A flat-head screwdriver works well for this.
  • Priming & painting the walls
  • Painting the floor
    Because our room has a fireplace along one wall, we have purchased a carpet that will leave this area of the floor exposed, and have decided to paint the non-carpeted areas.
  • Laying the carpet

West Wall

To be completely honest, we are cutting some small corners here and there budget-wise. This has actually resulted in taking us more time to get everything done. Specifically, we have to stain the entire ceiling before we can lay any kind of carpeting, and it’s incredibly tedious.

We are also faced with the challenge of creatively hiding the exposed wiring and cables that run through the basement, and we have a very interesting idea planned for these as well! There happened to be a giant wood-burning stove in the middle of the floor with a chute that goes right up into the fireplace, and a week or two of firewood stacked along one wall, among other things.

Southeast Corner

At first I was worried that this room would be never be finished or fit for humankind, but now when I close my eyes I know it will be the beautiful modern yet rustic masterpiece that I’ve dreamed of. While this list certainly covers many of the basics, I have so many design ideas to put in motion! I’ve made a Pinterest board specifically for this project titled The Basement-to-Bedroom Project, so be sure to check it out to get a better idea of my design and follow along! I haven’t posted all of my ideas & inspirations just yet, and I’m sure I will continue to keep it updated with more projects that I’ve got in mind after the basement is liveable. Thanks for reading, internet!

On Moving and Moving

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I’m excited to announce that Brad and his family and I are moving! The property is nothing short of wondrous and has been well kept, but it still needs a bit of love to make it liveable. We’ve all been putting very much time and effort into restoring this charming house into the beautiful space that we envision it once was.

The front yard, however, is not the focal point of the property. Behold the view from the living room window.

This sparkling pond is also located on the property, as well as acres and acres of land on which we can explore, hunt, or fish, if we so choose. The well on the right of the photo has a small garden sitting atop it, which protects both the garden from being eaten by small mammals, and also small children that may be thrown into the well.

Brad and I are currently working on finishing the house’s basement. This will allow me to have a studio/craft room outside of our bedroom! I can’t wait! Our ultimate goal, however, is to move the two of us into this lovely little cabin just to the right hand side of the pond.

This is going to be a much bigger job than the basement. It’s completely gutted and at this time it appears that it’s being used as a tool shed. This doesn’t stop me from picturing myself waking up and enjoying a cup of coffee on that porch and overlooking the pond every single morning for the rest of my life.

So this is what’s been keeping me busy this week. The good news is that it’s got me brainstorming a bunch of DIY posts!

The bad news is that it seems I’ll be putting off shifting my blog to Blogger, as I discussed in My Break-Up with WordPress just last month. I’ve still got quite a bit of fine-tuning that I’d like to do before the blog move, which will have to wait until I get settled in after the house move.

While I’ve certainly got a lot on my plate right now, I’m definitely going to be showing off some before, during, and after shots along the way. Thanks for reading!

Aprons and Eye Candy

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Today I’ve been working on some aprons for the Christian Academy. It’s funny how I can put off making inventory for my shop for so long, but when I know someone’s relying on me I tend to work a little harder, at the very least.

This reminds me a bit of Marie Forleo’s “catch a flight” technique. If you can wake up at 4:00 AM to catch a flight because you know it’s leaving with or without you, you can wake up at 7 AM to work at home. Yeah, it works the same for me. If I can work this diligently on something for someone else, I can surely work up the gumption to do it for me, for my business. I’ve gotta remember this feeling and try to be just as motivated every day, and with future projects. Anyway, let’s get back on track here…

I’ve had quite a few snags with this project. First, I only had universal and leather needles on hand, so I opted for a leather needle, assuming the universal ones wouldn’t hold up. That was a terrible idea. Leather needles are made to cut thicker, non-woven materials, and therefore have to be able to cut as they sew. This makes my straight stitches look really wavy on the underside of the material. Now I’m using denim needles, which are suited for sewing through layers of woven fabrics without cutting and damaging them so much. Problem solved!

Then this happened:

What you’re seeing here was after a little bit of panicking and tugging and a lot of pounding my head against my sewing machine. My needle came right out and was jammed down into the throat plate. The hard part was getting it out of my fabric without making the hole bigger. This is why you need to tighten the screw fully when switching needles! I’m glad the damage wasn’t noticeable, because it certainly wouldn’t have been reparable if it had gone in just a little further. But, a disheartening mistake like this is one of the many reasons I keep this guy close by whenever I’m sewing, just when I need a little pick-me-up.

I made this pincushion forever ago, but recently acquired the eye-pins in a big bag of old buttons I got this summer! Now he’s got a customizable face!

All in all, I’m glad I made the progress that I did. It took me two days, but I finally finished the first apron today. Once I had done this, I figured the next 7 would be a breeze. I was still in the process of cutting out the rest of my pieces when I had to call it a day, but I’m excited and ready for tomorrow!

Afterwards I enjoyed an early dinner with my two favorite people, Brad and Katie. As we were heading out of Burger King, I realized I wanted a picture of Brad in his spiffy new work clothes before we got on the road. I even had the pleasure of snapping a shot of him without a goofy face on. Even Katie made a special appearance in an accidental photobomb.

I don’t know if she’s giving us a wave goodbye or trying to cover her face to avoid the picture. Either way, I’m pretty happy with this shot. My guy can be pretty darn handsome when he wants to be.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention that I’m less than 50 page-views from hitting 1000! I’m so excited! I hope you’ve enjoyed my sewing anecdotes! Thanks for reading, internet!

Featured Project: Croc Clutch

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Yeah, that’s right. I’m starting another Featured Project. Something about knowing when to fold ’em and whatnot. Truth is, I’ve put my dress off for way too long, and with Fall right around the corner, I’ve no more reason to pursue any more pretty Summer dresses. For now.

No, now I’m getting on track with this clutch that’s been giving me all sorts of trouble. I’m making it out of some thick polyvinyl-like croc material, and my sewing machine hasn’t taken to it very well. So far I’ve read that I can combat this issue in two ways.

  1. Use a sewing machine needle meant for leather while sewing with the exterior material.
  2. Use interfacing to help the material slide during machine-sewing.

I found these tips on this very helpful post by Christine  of Chris W. Designs, which has helped me learn more about sewing with thick materials such as faux-leather and vinyl.

So this week I’ll be cranking out my croc clutch version 2. This time I’ll be using the same materials from my first draft, but with the newly acquired knowledge from the aforementioned post, and basically make a little crocodile muslin. Also, my machine has been cleaned and oiled very recently, so hopefully version 2 will be a very informative rough draft with version 3 being Shubette Handmade-quality.

Tomorrow, however, my mom is taking Brad and me back to Ohio to pick up our Jeep! I’m glad it’s finally fixed. We had our little accident over a month ago now, and I’m excited to finally get our wings back. Thanks for reading, internet!

My Updated “About” Page!

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Hey, folks! Today I’ve updated my About page! I thought my previous one was a tad bit drab, so I thought I’d pop in and make it a little more me and a lot more descriptive. Now it includes a brief rundown on what my blog is about and goes into a little more depth on, well, me.

As of yet, I haven’t added any pictures of me to this page, but that will be happening in the near future, I promise. I know you’re dying to see me. Anywho, thanks for stopping in today, and be sure to check out my recently updated About page. You’re the best.

Birthday Reminiscing

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I can’t believe it’s already the end of July! My favorite month is already slipping away. With a birthday like the 4th of July, it’s easy to get lost in the ever-so-romantic practice of blowing shit up. This year Brad and I stocked up with some really nice fireworks and put on a great Independence Day display for his family. Really, we bought too many fireworks. We’ve been lighting things on fire nearly every day for two months and still have leftovers. That’s me and a sparkler.

All in all, it was a really great birthday, and I even got to have breakfast with my grandma, who was visiting from Michigan. Brad and I then came home to spend the rest of the night with his family, where there was a lovely surprise waiting for me:

What you see here is a crafty birthday cake. This is the prettiest cake anyone has ever made for me, and it was made with extra love and deliciousness by Brad’s mom, Millie. She had originally planned on using the spools of thread around the base of the cake as pillars to support the second tier, but had made a wedding cake too recently and the supplies she would have used hadn’t been returned to her. It’s still by far the coolest crafty button sparkler cake ever.

As soon as it was dark enough to start lighting fuses, it was time for cake.

Warning: Do not blow sparkler sparks at your boyfriend while he’s holding your birthday cake.
Disclaimer: All pictures with me in them throughout this post taken by Alex Meyers.

Adventures in Toledo

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While Brad and I had the misfortune of crash landing in Toledo, we found ourselves with an excellent opportunity to explore a new place! Here’s some of our highlights!

We waited a very long time for our cab to show up, which we had called earlier that morning to reserve. Eventually we called the taxi company to see why they were running late, and the woman on the phone said “Sorry, we’re all booked up. You’ll have to call someone else.” We had chosen that company because they gave us the lowest estimate. We couldn’t afford anybody else. Luckily we were offered a ride to Toledo from a lovely woman who called herself Mystic. She was truly a lifesaver, and refused any payment we offered her for her kindness. If you come across this post, Mystic, thank you so much; you will be remembered forever.

When we arrived at the bus station, we got our tickets and had our bags taken care of. Then it was time to get something to eat!

We stopped at this very spiffy sports bar called Table 44. The service was great, and they played soft jazz as we enjoyed our meal. We happened to be the only customers in the place, but it looked as though it would have been pretty packed if we had wandered in at night.

As an appetizer we ordered these “potato cups,” which are generally filled with cheese, bacon, and scallions (the latter we asked to exclude).

Afterwards we took a long walk around Toledo to kill time until we boarded our bus and found ourselves near some docks along the Maumee River. We walked along the river and found this pretty lady overlooking the river, too.

I guess she decided she would have better balance without the flip flops. Eventually we decided to head to the nearest dollar store we could find to get some headphones for the long bus ride home when I spotted my very first real-life yarn-bomb!

And the second! I was so excited that I just had to get some pictures.

We noticed that the people in Toledo are considerably nicer than the people in the Wilkes-Barre area. Everyone we encountered along our walk was very pleasant, and I didn’t feel like so much of a tourist running around with a camera and a bad case of sun burn. Although we had a bad experience, it was nice to get some unexpected traveling done.

Bonus! Did you spot Brad and me in the pictures above?
Hint: We’re in two separate pictures.

My New Year’s Resolution: A Mid-Year Review

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Hello there! At the beginning of this year, I wrote this post regarding my new year’s resolution. In it, I basically stated these two key points:

  1. Open my creative business. Status: Achieved! (Sort of) I listed my very first item in my etsy shop, therefore declaring Shubette Handmade open for business!
  2. Make and list a new item every week. Status: Abandoned/Failed. Very early on I realized that this exercise would not be a good move to make for my business. I wanted to put quality time and so much thought into my projects, and one week to design and construct a new product didn’t seem like enough.

My main idea was just to put myself out there. The more I make, the more people will see, the more my business will grow…right? Shortly after(I did say somewhere in the previously mentioned post that I’m rather fickle) I decided that I don’t want to make crap. I wanted the items that I would be making and selling to be of the utmost quality. I didn’t think I could provide that kind of quality and I let this keep me from making anything for fear that it would not be good enough.

So here are my Resolution Amendments:

  1. Sew every day. If I want to sell items that I sew, I need to keep my skills sharp. I should be doing some sort of sewing-related activity every day. I certainly have enough projects piled up to work on at least one thing for an hour a day, even if I’m just doing something trivial like pre-washing and ironing my fabric.
  2. Sew better. This goal is inherent to the primer. If I’m putting in the hours and the effort I will get better at what I’m doing.

Looking back, I’m starting to feel like all of my blog posts are about doing it better and making it happen, but none are about me doing and making. I’m realizing that my blog is not as big of a priority to making my business happen as making things and improving my skills before I start my business is. This business is my goal, and I’m not going to mess this up.

What had happened was…

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Hi there! I’m here today to talk about some setbacks that have occurred that have got me feeling a little low. At the end of June, Brad and I went to Michigan to attend my family reunion. The reunion was a wonderful event and I may have become a little lax in posting to my blog during that weekend. It was remarkably hot the entire trip and the sun was constantly shining. That is, until a very brief rain storm on our way home that caused us to hydroplane. We were driving in the left lane when we started sliding to the right, and then we spun counter-clockwise until the back of the Jeep collided with the median wall.

I remember it happening so slowly, clutching the handle across the dashboard for dear life, my eyes closed tight, braced for impact, thinking Why haven’t we hit yet? It took us forever to hit that wall. Our rear window and the one on the right side in the back were completely smashed out. We also have a very bent axle and lost a few things as we hit and then slid down the median.

Luckily, neither of us were injured and my mom was traveling only a few miles ahead of us when we crashed. We were towed to a place not far from the Toledo airport with a hotel just a short distance up the road. My mom, step-dad, and grandma were waiting there for us when we arrived in the tow truck, but with my niece in the car with them, they only had enough room for one person to come back home with them. Brad and I decided to stay together at the hotel and find our way home the following day. That was an uncomfortable adventure all on its own.

This train of events had left me feeling rather drained and depressed, and I must admit that I neglected my blog for far too long. Eventually, however, one must come to realize that happiness won’t find you if you’re hiding from it under your covers; one finds happiness when she gets off her ass and looks for it herself. Even when your car looks like this and is all the way in Toledo.

I hope you like how I lazily edited out the phone numbers in these photos. It just seemed appropriate to exclude them, I guess. And hey, we found out that the Jeep isn’t totally destroyed. Before we know it, we’ll be back on the road to Toledo to bring her back home. Things are starting to look up, and I’m glad I still managed to get my monthly feature published(despite it being a little late). Thanks for reading, internet.

Photo an Hour: Traffic Control

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Hey, internet! I’m back! I spent all last week in West Virginia for work, and I totally let my blog go. I did, however, do some exercises to help  me find my niche and really focus my blog, and make some more changes since I’m all sorts of fickle. More on that later. Today I’d like to give you a little peek into my life, or more specifically, what I do at work through the creative lens of a photo-an-hour. Here we go!

8:00am  I’ve been standing here for an hour already, and I just had this great idea to take these pictures. This is my taper. It’s called a taper because it is the line that indicates one lane tapering into another. It’s a pretty easy concept, but I’ve seen some terrible looking tapers in my day.

9:00am It’s time for a bathroom break! Since I’m out on a country road in the middle of nowhere, there aren’t any public bathrooms around, and I couldn’t get a ride to the Porta-John, so I managed to climb down this very steep hill and hide in the tall grass.

10:00am I’ve been moved up the road a few hundred feet, and now I’m overlooking this cute little cottage. Later in the day I would be able to move closer and discover that it’s a garden shed.

11:00am The weather was very nice on Friday, but very sunny and very hot. Around this time there was a slight breeze I managed to capture.

12:00pm Tiger lilies.

1:00pm This is my Rite in the Rain Waterproof Notebook. I originally wrote this blog post in this little notebook, and it is amazing. The pages themselves are waterproof as well, which is 100% necessary. I once got sprayed by one of the water trucks on site with a thick black notebook in my pocket, full of tons of notes and ideas and doodles. My notebook was completely destroyed, and I was absolutely pissed. It will never happen again.

2:00pm There were at least 3 dogs on this road that just roamed free. All of them were very friendly and it was so much fun to watch them run around and play with each other and chase deer. On this day I tried so hard to get a good picture of the two that were playing near me all day, but they would never sit still for long enough, so this was the best I could do.

3:00pm I’ve been moved again, and I’m in a cozy little spot with a patch of black raspberries so close I can pick them. Too bad they’re not ripe yet.

4:00pm Oh, and this is my lovely mountain view from the little stretch of road I’m on with the raspberries. While it’s very nice, I wished I were in a less open area with a lot more shade.

Well, there you have it! By 5:00 my phone battery was dead, and by 6 I was on my way back to the hotel. I was pretty far from the actual road work that day, so it was all rather boring and I didn’t manage to get any shots of the equipment. Also, I wouldn’t have enjoyed being caught by the inspector or foreman while snapping photos. Mostly, when I’m out flagging I’m spending a lot of time alone, looking at the little things in nature and enjoying my time outside. It’s nice to have time to myself to cherish the great outdoors, and I hope you have the chance to do the same. Have a great week!