Month: November 2014

Knitting again.

So, about two years ago, I posted about my triumphant return to knitting. No more hand pain. Whoo-hoo!

Some of my needles.  Many of these were gifts from long-time knitters, duplicates they wound up with through the years.

Some of my needles. Many of these were gifts from long-time knitters, duplicates they wound up with through the years.

And then I started a new job that turned out to be a lot more taxing than I thought it would be, which left me without the focus and concentration required for the things I like to knit: cables, lace, ribbing, circular stuff that requires a fair amount of counting. Sad.

Especially since I have a good-sized yarn stash and collection of needles. Plus I finally gave myself permission to frog some unfulfilling previous work… A hat I started during my first marriage. A glorious plum alpaca tank top in a difficult ribbing pattern that didn’t fit. A scarf that just… yuck.

Now I’m at a different job. And I have the focus (and free time) to knit again. I’ve also had a few of my favorite ladies express an interest in learning to knit, which makes me all warm and fuzzy and amped up to get them started.

I’m currently cranking away on a pair of fingerless gloves:

Fetching, a free pattern from knitty.com

Fetching, a free pattern from knitty.com.

I’ve also commissioned my friend Carole to sew a knitting needle organizer for me – I sent her cute fabric and a sketch… I can’t wait to see what she sends back. I’m all kinds of fired up to knit more gloves and such.

Bright lights, big city

A few weeks ago, Tim and I went to Las Vegas to meet up with Becky and Andrew. We had a good trip… a variety of planned and unplanned activities, including the Mob Museum, Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere, a trip to a ramen restaurant, dinner in the Airstream, and loads of people-watching.

My favorite part of this trip, however, was easily the Neon Museum. It’s an hour-long guided tour that offers a unique perspective on Vegas history.

The Neon Museum sign incorporates elements of famous Vegas signs - a nice nod to history.

The Neon Museum sign incorporates elements of famous Vegas signs – a nice nod to history.

The whole space has tons of great visual appeal. Even the unrestored signs have wonderful color and architectural components. Here are a few of my favorites:

Loved the oranges and blues in this grouping.

Loved the oranges and blues in this grouping.

Signs weren't limited to the casinos... this one advertised a long-time Vegas eatery with only two items on the menu. You guessed it- steak and chicken.

Signs weren’t limited to the casinos… this one advertised a long-time Vegas eatery with only two meals on the menu. You guessed it: steak and chicken.

Binion's Horseshoe Casino

Binion’s Horseshoe Casino.

Giant cocktail glass, anyone?

Giant cocktail glass, anyone?

Star detail.

Star detail.

The Sahara sign.

The Sahara sign.

Cool font.

Cool font.

Color and contrast.. sharp shadows.

Color and contrast.. sharp shadows.

Next time I get to Vegas, I’m hoping to hit up another kitschy attraction: the Burlesque Hall of Fame. I haven’t made it there yet, despite my best efforts. I’ll try again in January!

 

The desk is done!

One of the things I decided to do when I accepted a job working from home: make a new desk. I know nothing about desk-building, but I’m pretty resourceful (and stubborn) and Tim has lots of tools, and how hard can it be, right? Yeah.

So, six months later, I have a desk.

I knew I wanted something funky that combined different woods and metal. I like interesting juxtapositions. And That was about all I had in mind when I started. I visited Bingham Lumber in Brookline, New Hampshire to pick out wood for the desktop. Everyone there was really helpful, and I loved their reverence for old wood. I opted for walnut and some white oak.

Tim decided that the top part of the desk really needed to be smooth, well-joined, and functional, or I would go crazy trying to use it every day. He joined the three boards for me and sanded everything down to a beautiful silky finish.

Tim sanding the top of my desk.

Tim sanding the top of my desk.

frame.

Simple frame.

Then I put a frame on the underside of the top to offer some additional stability (and a way to attach legs). I didn’t get fancy with the frame, just used some 1″x2″ we had in the loft in the garage. I planned to wrap the edge of the desk in molding that would cover that frame later. Next, I had to sort out the legs. That took a while. I knew I wanted some kind of metal, but wasn’t sure what – and I knew metal would be harder to work with than wood. Hmmm. Maybe just some kind of metal element? Old brackets? Fence parts? Rusty something interesting?

Trench grates. Awesome steampunky industrial heavy intricate trench grates.

They're 7.5 pounds each. Beefy.

They’re 7.5 pounds each. Beefy.

How do I incorporate these puppies into the legs? Uhhh… yeah, I had no idea. I went to Home Depot and started looking for wood that could work. I found some 2″ square poplar in a length that felt desk-height-y.

trying out ideas for the legs.

trying out ideas for the legs.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of recessing the grates into the legs. Tim and I could do it, but it would have taken a long time and probably ended in marital strife. Things really stalled, as neither one of us was looking forward to a weekend of meltdowns.

My attempt at illustration.

My attempt at illustration.

Then the wonderful and talented Jack Younger had some free time and took pity on me/us. He even understood my wacky drawings… Yeah. Bonus points there.

While Jack was working on the legs, I gave the top of the desk a few coats of Tung oil to bring out the grain of the wood. The legs and the molding got different flavors of Danish oil to create a variety of tones and add depth… I wanted all kinds of grains and hues in this desk. No matching here.

Leg parts, drying after Danish oil baths.

Leg parts, drying after Danish oil baths.

Finally: assembly time. Tim spent the day helping Jack with studio projects, leaving me alone so I could work at my own pace and figure things out for myself. It took longer than I expected, and some of my plans changed as I tried things and found that they didn’t go quite as well as I thought they would.

Those galvanized plates holding the trench grates in place? Not part of the original plan, but worked well with the concept of different woods/metals together. Also, they kept the trench grates from falling out on my feet.

Those galvanized plates holding the trench grates in place? Not part of the original plan, but worked well with the concept of different woods/metals together. Also, they kept the trench grates from falling out on my feet.

Finally, after a day of sawdust, sweating and swearing, she was done.

The final product, on location.

The final product, on location.

A closer view of the top.

A closer view of the top.

It’s a standing desk, so I needed to raise the monitor to a more comfortable height. Cigar boxes from our neighbor were just the right size and let me incorporate more cool wood into the design. I’m thrilled with the way the desk came out – everything about it is funky, unique, and functional. It’s exactly what I wanted. So cool to have an awesome work space that I MADE.

Next up… converting the old desk into a glamorous vanity.