I have the most unreasonably boring closet and too much jewelry.

Real quick, before I get started--- Maybe this is a weird post from what I normally do here, but if you're just stopping by here, please consider leaving me a comment on this post. I really like to blog and I know I have some YouTube and Facebook followers from my Meandrous business that stop by sometimes and just lurk. I'd love to be able to connect with and chat with some people, so please, don't be shy and say something! I've asked a question at the end that I hope might make it easier to get the ball rolling a bit.

I've written before about wanting to move into a tiny house and about my plans to actually build a tiny house, but in the mean time I live in some peoples' idea of a tiny house- 980 square feet.

It feels ridiculously too big now that I've put my mind to tiny living and even though I feel I own (especially now that I've started thinning) way less than the average American nuclear family, I still feel it's far, far, far too much.

This is my closet!

There is nothing interesting in my closet. I have the remnants of a wardrobe that doesn't fit my style anymore on one side and a bunch of purses I like to look at but don't really use in the other. Two very handy organizers are almost empty.

Now that I'm looking at having to build a lofted house on wheels instead of designing my own cob house, I have no idea what my closet space will look like. But I'm not picky. I could probably shed most everything. I'd really like the idea of having just a few clothes I could wear over and over and match with anything.

I felt very inspired after watching this video to cut out tons of clothing and go for natural fibers::

Hop to 4.11 to near where she's talking about where her clothes came from. While I don't think I'm up to the task of locally sourcing my clothes, I AM donating all my clothes except a few interchangeable pieces and all real fibers and goaling to not buy any clothes that aren't second hand. Anyway, the video is a great watch about all kinds of organic dyes if you're looking for something to watch. It inspired me to want to try my own hand at natural dying. I never knew it could be so colorful.

But all this talk about cutting out the excess and living a simpler life with fewer possessions and....


I'm totally a jewelry junkie. And when I recently self-employed myself with one of those direct sales jewelry companies, I ended up with thousands of dollars worth of show jewelry to wear and present as a part of my pitch. I loved, loved selling jewelry because I love retail and I ... yeah... love jewelry. But even though all the products were made in America and claimed to have XYZ good quality standards I would just CRINGE at how many times my customers would end up coming back with snapped bands or wearing plating. I couldn't stand the thought of not being able to have any hand in quality control to people who I was essentially using MY reputation for to vouch for other peoples' work.

In the end, I decided to retire early on but I miss it. I already miss it very much. I love face to face interaction with customers and I just don't get that on the internet.

But this is about getting rid of jewelry.

Clothes? Plates? Stationary? Toys? Shoes? Even books? No problem. I can scoop possessions up without blinking an eye and put them into donation or garage sale boxes. This jewelry? Not... ... not so easy. I wanted to hold on to SO much of it!!

I did some of the normal stuff hoarders do. "yeah, I don't use it NOW but if I ever wanted it, it'd be really hard to find again/expensive to buy again" or "maybe I should keep it and use it in another project!" Some pieces I decided flat out I get to keep. Whereas this wasn't from the company I worked for, Santa and Gilly Claus made it for Flora for her first Yulchristmahanukwanzaakah.

It's a little locket to hold her milk teeth when she starts to lose them. The little charm hangs out from under her pillow to make it easier for Tooth Fairy to pull out.

In the end I did... uh... so so, I think. On the left are the things I definitely want to sell. It's important to me to sell as many pieces of jewelry as I can. It's all practically new, if not completely mint, and every dollar they bring in is one more dollar to my 17,000$ estimated cost of building my house- a pretty big dollar upgrade happens in houses on wheels to what you'd pay for Cob!

The middle tray is... maybes. I sort of wish I had the ovaries to get rid of them but... there's memories or maybe I wish I still dressed that way. Stuff I have to really force myself to think about, to cut the sentimentality from the true desire. The right is stuff I definitely want to keep.

The middle box is piled with bead type necklaces, long layering necklaces, and even handmade necklaces that make me feel nostalgic to see them. It's piled up just about as high as the ones to sell, making my sell pile suddenly seem less cutthroat and impressive.

This is the way I used to dress. Lots of pearls, florals, big, big, big stones, always sparkly. Do I want to hold onto these because that's a great pearl bead necklace that layers well and goes with everything or because I still feel fondly of that time in my life?

This is what I'd definitely like to keep. There are a lot more metals, neutral pieces that could go with anything, as opposed to strictly fashion jewelry. Some of the pieces I'm surprised that I picked out because I didn't love them before.

Is this the stuff I feel actually represents the way I dress now? Or do I look at the kind of Earthy themes, pops of color, and vintage, artsy pieces and just think 'that's what I aspire to'?

Is keeping wishful thinking jewelry the same thing as keeping skinny jeans or is it planning ahead for what I see as a commitment to really downsize and live a more natural life?

Maybe it seems silly to some people. If I really want to live a natural life and downsize, I should just scoop it all up and sell it or donate it. I know there are a lot of people who don't think of the way they dress or adorn themselves as being the same as self expression, but to me it is. To me it's not about looking fashionable or up to date or even just generally put together, but about wearing colors and cuts and items and accessories that allow a person to look at me and go "OH! I know what kind of person she is."

Oh well. It's a silly thing really to dwell on like it's deep and full of  mysteries. Very First World Problems of me, so forgive me the indulgence. : )

Is getting rid of things hard for you? It used to feel almost impossible to me and I used to just own PILES of stuff. Obviously I still have a hard time on some things, letting them go. 
Is getting rid of some things easy for you, but not others? What are the things that are hard for you to let go of and why?


Time to haul out the stock

Yo! This page got picked up by spambots! The post wasn't particularly interesting enough to warrant the 37,000+ hits it currently boasts, so I decided to delete the contents and replace it with a bunch of ads for my business! If you computers and rare biological individuals want to comment ads to your site for diarrhea cures and tips for window cleaning, go ahead, but you're going to be forced to see my ad for what is arguably some of the most baller fairy jewelry up in these internets.

Have a nice day and specialty imported rash creams from Shanghai to all!

Love, Meander


Garden of Miniatures Preview

So this is a little late in coming, considering this comes from a small project I put together for my gran's birthday back in May but...

I made her a tiny garden!

All of the plants and accessories were in miniature. Some were purchased dollhouse accessories, like this set up...

But I did custom up a few tiny additions as well...

I took some video of the parts I was using as a scale reference for anyone who's curious about miniature garden parts or how craft store dollhouse parts compare to some of the specialty miniatures I got from a tiny garden shop online. I'm going to try to edit it and put it up some time this century, despite how intimidated I am of participating in YouTube these days...

I'll include a post with the snapshots from making the miniatures for funsies after I mix the video n...n

Cheers! : D
(And P.S.: Check out my new Etsy uploads, if you like! Thanks!)


Scheduler Remake

Here's my planner::

I like the looks of it inside, but it's way plain for my tastes on the outside. I thought I might get some kind of scrapbooking sticker to decorate the front, but then I was in a big hurry and didn't have time to really search.

I grabbed a bunch of sparkly ones because with the swirly and lace, I figured maybe there was something I could do with it. In the end, I'm not actually in love with it. But little rhinestones like that will fall off left and right so I figure I'll just recover it in a few weeks anyway and maybe by then I'll have a better idea.

Howeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever.... The inside rocks, I think! I got a few handy mini materials so I don't have to dig around in my bag for something to write with.

Because I had already spent a lot of money on supplies (that colored pencil set was 9$! As much as the planner was in the first place!) I didn't want to spend more money on fancy mounting supplies. I was trying to think of a low cost, fast way to to it without just tucking them in there all loose but that wouldn't be permanent. I found some Command Strips in the closet and thought, well, why the hell not?

Without any idea how to mount tiny pencils, I tried a piece of sticky putty like you can use to attach posters or whatnot to the walls and made a thick pad to bury the pencils in. Putting something sticky on top of something sticky felt a little Xzibit too, so that was fun. : D The pencils hold well, but you can still peel them out without residue and without the putty losing shape.

I LOVE the tiny pencil sharpener and eraser in the pencil set! I'm sure the tiny pencils will fit in the sharpener too. n...n And little llama post its. XD Rad. Although you maybe can't see, the little black pencils have a bright green Swarovski crystal on the end where an eraser might normally go. NAICE.

I just love all the tiny sized, super convenient stuff. And the fact that I didn't have to sew cases or pockets when I really wasn't in the mood is the best part. It was probably the quickest customization I've ever done. I'll either have to find a place to attach an ID and debit or sew a little wristlet bag to dump the scheduler in. Something like that.

On a side note, when my sister is in town, she takes the lead on dressing Flora.

I think it's a nice one. : D

And here's my sis. I think you can see the style inspiration. n...n

And finally...

I have been collecting some little bits of things to make a bird cage with. I think it'll be my next project.


Pysanky Eggs 2012

I tried Pysanky eggs last year with enough success that at least they didn't blow up. Since I still had all of my supplies, I thought I'd see if the dyes were still good. They'd been capped in canning jars and although two or three had a weird scum in them, basically they still worked. I just drug a paper towel through the odd jars and they came out easily and still had a good color to them. (Damn, I'm classy!) Not bad for one dollar dyes.

So, after scoping the internet for a design to try (I'm still terrified of trying a geometric design x...x) I found this poppy design from a place called Living In Season.

I was not terrified! : D

The dyes (I linked a place to buy them above- although if you're in Seattle area you can get them at the University Bookstore.) are really, really, REALLY intense. And, when in powder form, they're even scarier.

In fact, as an example, after I made the four new colors I had this year, the counter looked okay but I knew it wouldn't be...

After running a rag over it, it picked up all the fine powder particles that would have ended up on peoples' hands, dishes, and who knows what else. People will be pissed if you accidentally dye them with egg powder. So my lesson learned has been to wipe -everything- at least twice when dying eggs or making dye. Even if it looks clean, do it twice anyway.

Even the scissors, which looked totally clean, had this on the fine edges of the blades.

The colored bottles would look really neat to do 'pretty photography' with, but I was shooting this at 10pm and there isn't enough light for creative photography in that type of situation. We have houseguests and all that so I just wanted to wait until everyone was in bed before taking up the whole table. A lot of my art is going on late at night which is fine for actually doing art, but doesn't mesh with the 'How To Be a Sweet-Ass Blogger: Taking amazing photos' handbook. Whatevs.

....This is really a crap load of supplies just for one egg. : D

So as I mentioned in last year's post, there's the super cheap kistka (Shown far right) which I don't feel heats or pours the wax well. For not much more (around 3$) you can get the plastic handled ones with the metal cups and varying sizes of tip and they rock way harder.

You can see the difference in control from my example egg- which I always make to remind me of which kistka makes which line. The evil funnel kistka totally wastes your time and makes sloppy lines x...x Not to mention it has a wood handle and I'm afraid I'm going to catch it on fire all the time.

So anywho, here I am doing my egg... minding my own business... it's probably 10.30pm at this point when my kid wakes up (or rather lets me know she NEVER even bothered sleeping cause she's a punk.)

I figure maybe if I let her do one, after it she'll be more apt to sleep. After she got the gist, I just let her have it and to choose her own dyes. Though I did have to encourage her a lighter color when her first choice was green. She chose yellow, pink, and black but I had to sweet talk her into blue because I was still cleaning the black dye.

Even though I carefully supervised her and helped her get the egg into the dyes and made sure she didn't hold the kistka in the flame too long, she basically did it all herself. Admittedly I was pretty proud when she found the wax wasn't coming out and she heated the cup again and returned to work. ;....;

I think that if she took that well to doing the Pysanky eggs, then when we dye the hunting Easter-game eggs she might really love it. It's nice when kids get to the age that you can see them understanding what's going on and actually enjoying it, I think.

Anyway, after her egg, I managed to get her to agree to sleep, as long as she got to do it under the computer desk. Whatevs. : \  I progress!

Oh yeah. I live dangerously : D

So, in case anyone's not clear on how Pysanky works, it's like batik. (Or so I hear. Batik is still on my list to try.) You start with your base color- white of the egg or an initial dye- and then you apply wax in areas you'd like to stay white and dye it. I've added additional lines on this egg once it was yellow (from above when it was white) so that when I dye the next color, some yellow will be spared. You continue in that way.

In between the yellow and red I did light green, coloring in the leaves and other green areas with wax before dying red. Then I'll color in the red poppy petals and dye the whole thing black to finish it. You just need to work light to dark, obvs.

After the final dye, you hold the egg in front of a flame and then wipe the melted wax off. From the first wipe I realised I probably should have ignored the example egg I was looking at and lined the green with yellow and lined the red with orange. But it's too late.
At least in my experience if you make someone an egg, even if the colors aren't what you'd do next time, they're usually just happy for the thought. So it's not like I'll toss this one or anything.

After the dying and cleaning you varnish the egg, then drill them and empty them (or be brave like Ukrainian badasses and leave the egg natural and wait for it to dry out over a few years and hope that shit doesn't explode.) 

Our eggs are done! I'd like to keep practicing them- not only so I can give them to my friends (the poppy egg is going to be for my neighbor) but because I think it would be nice to make a video about them. Last year that I looked there weren't a ton of videos on YouTube on the topic.

Next I have to suck it up and try one of those geometric eggs and just take a deep breath and not panic. I'm sure all it takes is patience and attention to detail.


Nice old wringer

So, as I mentioned in my wax tablet post, I'm a fan of those old school things that probably seem outdated and unnecessarily complicated in this day and age.

Something about laundry... is that I hate it. Despite the amazing and convenient breakthroughs in laundry doing that supposedly make it quick and painless, I just hate it. It's the biggest task to me! Oddly though, when you make it harder and more involved, I don't seem to mind it. I don't know what the logic is, but washing my clothes by hand in a bucket with a plunger-style agitator feels kinda satisfying. Like, tossing in a few items and plunging a few minutes feels relaxing. Using a machine just feels like a huge production. Trust me when I say that I know that sounds backwards. Take home message: I don't know why, but I like hand washing clothes.

I don't like wringing them though. By hand it's really tiring and they never get very dry. So I had plans to get a wringer of my own when my dad heard me talking about washing by hand and brought in his old gran's wringer to show me. So I insisted it now belonged to me cause I'm rude like that.

I didn't get much of a shot of it first because I was just eager to jump right in and clean it up. You can see the line between where the roller is white and where it's the color it was when he gave it to me.

After a really gross pre-lim washing in which I tried to not imagine what kind of 80 year old filth was on this thing...

...he gave me the idea to just go take it apart and use those intense steel brushes on a drill to buff up the parts.

And after a crash course - which it turns out I didn't really need because I've used a drill plenty and it's not any more complicated than running the bristles over the parts - I took over.

It's pretty damn amazing, the difference it was making.

Only, as it turns out, there are quite a few parts and that shit was going to take a long time. Especially when some of them needed a steel brush and elbow grease. x...x

My dirt says hello.

This shit is gross. I should have worn gloves. Admittedly, the idea of just shelling out the 170$ for a new one is kind of sounding like a not altogether terrible idea, but after the dust and surface rust is removed, this will probably be a lot sturdier and more quality than current models. x....x

And now, after cleaning it all up, I'll need to construct some kind of a stand with no construction skills. GO ME.

All this freaking work just so I can spend more time and work harder on washing clothes : D But what can I say? It's actually sort of relaxing. And hand washing really does help things last longer... I suppose that can be my excuse. And, I suppose, by restoring and repairing the antique, rather than buying new, it's a handy dandy opportunity to learn some new stuff like using steel brushes, taking things apart and putting them together, and doing some minor construction. So that's not all bad!

Anyway, I'm still just wringing by hand at the moment, but I'll post a pic when I get it all going : D Because you care about my laundry. But it's my blog, so there.