Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Table

Last fall I started my very first solo 'reno' project -- I decided to refinish our dining/computer table. This is a 20yr old, very solid, Ikea table Chris has inherited from his parents. Over the years it's gotten a lot of abuse and love. Recently however the top of the table has started to peel, chip, and generally loose bits of it's varnish coating. The tipping point for myself that it was loosing it's varnish by becoming splinters in my hands. So very uncool. So I decided to do something about it.

I've done a few wood stripping projects with my best girl Neda, and what I've learned is this:

  1. Chemical strippers burn like a mother-fucker when they hit your skin

  2. And no matter how careful you think you're being, you will get burned, dozens of times if you are anything like me

  3. Hand sanders, like most machinery scare me (to the point of refusing to use them)

  4. They also aren't the easiest things to control

  5. Gauges in tables also suck, and are much harder to get out than they are to get in

As a result of past experiences, and because I'm a little crazy frankly, I decided to sand the table top by hand. Just me and some sandpaper. What was I thinking?! If I do this again, I'm definitely going to suck it up and use a chemical. It would have gone soooo much faster. Still, the experience overall is very positive, so I don't regret my choice. I feel the table it more mine now because of all the time, effort and determination I've put into it.

It took me quite a few sessions, with sore muscles, raw fingertips, and a lot of dust, but I got it done - eventually.

Me, After 3 hrs of Hand Sanding
Just in case you didn't' believe me about the dust - I looked like this at the end of every session with the table

Trouble was, I kinda started the project late in the year. The cold weather hit us much quicker than I thought it would. So by the time the table was 95% sanded, it was just too cold to open up the apartment to finish it, ventilation being key.

Last week (or was it the week before now? I can't remember) we had some really nice weather, so I took to my table again. After another 4 hours of hard labour sanding the table top, it was finally ready to be finished!

Sanded Table

I picked polyurethane because it was fast, and frankly because it would take far fewer coats to get a reliable surface. We do eat and compute off this table, any finish needed to be able to stand up to our wear and tear. Took me two days of coating, and letting it dry, with ever window and door open in the place, and a fan blowing out the noxious fumes - man does that stuff smell vile! Kills brain cells too, if not ventilated. I spent most of my time out or on the balcony to negate that possibility.

The end result: Almost Like Glass!!!
Finished Table! So Proud!

I'm so proud. Honestly, I'm thrilled with how it turned out. The polyurethane tinted the wood just enough that it's the exact same colour of the legs! Or, more accurately, I didn't sand down past the finish time had put on the wood! Yay! I think it looks great. I could not possibly be happier. It's so smoooooooth! :D Go me!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Knitting FO Parade - 2008

I can't believe it's been sooooo long since I've talked about/shown off my knitting! It's not like I haven't been knitting; I have! Doh.

Here it is May 2009, and I realise I've not shown you anything since last summer!!

Time to set things right!

September 2008

I knit Sushi! And even made it a little bento box to complete the look. I didn't have/use any patterns, I just went by pictures I found on the internet. I knit this as a birthday gift for a friend that loves sushi. I'm incredibly proud of how it all turned out.

Sushi in Box

Especailly the Ginger Rose:
Ginger Rose and Wasabi close-up

I knit a sweater and hat set for Chris' newest nephew, Cooper. I used Knitty's Trellis pattern, but modified it a little, and designed or unvented as EZ would say, a hat to go with it. I knit this in Mission Falls Supwerwash wool. It was my first time working with it, but certainly not my last! It was such a pleasure to knit with! And to touch! There just aren't words for how soft and luxurious this yarn is! And it's soooo reasonably priced too!

Cooper's Sweater And Hat

Cooper's mommy, and her mommy both loved it! She even took pictures of him in it later in the fall! I was thrilled. I got to see him in it too, when Mommy and son came to visit in January. It looked soo cute on him! :D I love seeing things fit, and mommy's happy with my work. It makes it all worth while when my work is appreciated, I tell you what.

October 2008

I knit a Jester's Hat, and matching mittens for Chris'other nephew, Callum, for his first bday. I've only met Callum once, when he was 5 months old. I had no idea how big to make either the mits or the hat. So I guessed. I found 'averages' online, and guessed somewhere in the middle. I made the mittens in the smallest size pattern I could find, and hoped they'd be small enough (the pattern said it was for 2-4 year olds, so I made them a little shorter and hoped it would be enough). Lots of hope went into this one. Lots of fretting. I'm happy with how they turned out though. I think they were cute as could be.

Bear in hat and mitts, my fave
Seen here being moddeled by my teddy bear, Shakespere.

Hat and Mitts made for Callum

Sadly, I have no idea how they fit/if they really ever fit as my numerous requests to know were never answered. :( Not even a thank you. *sigh* I figured if they were too big when he got them he'd likely grow into them by the end of winter. They live in Montreal, winters are long there. I think he did grow into them. I hope he got to wear them... But like I said, I don't know as they never said boo to me about it. Very unsatisfactroy ending for me. Only stealed my opinion that knitting for children should be avoided!

November 2008

Sweater Curse Defeated!!

Finally, I finished Chris' sweater! Just in time for hime to wear it to my Family's Christmas party. I was as proud as any peacock! It's perfect! Or at least as perfect as I could get it. Once I saw him in it, and saw him smile, tearing out that one damn sleeve seven times was worth it. It fit like a glove! He looks so smashing in it too, I think, anyway.

Chris modelling his sweater

December 2008

Suprise Christmas knitting! I didn't think I was going to knit anything for Christmas, then I got the bright idea to knit slippers for Emyele, Cooper's mommy, and send her a kind of 'comfort' package. I based the size of the slippers on my feet since, from all the pictures I could find on Facebook of Emyele, she looked to be about my height. Again, I hoped I was gussing right. I unvented a pattern for the slippers since I couldn't find what I wanted. I knit them in a lovely grey wool blend that was machine washable. I was tickled pink with the result. Just what I envisioned.

Slippers for Emelye

Slippers, Me Modelling
Me modelling

They kinda remind me of Medival boots - something I didn't realise until I put them on. They were nice and warm too! They were also stretchy, so hopefully if her feet were bigger or smaller they'd still fit. Once again, I have no clue how they fit as I never got an answer. *sigh* I guess that means they were either not liked, or didn't fit. Very disappointing, but what can you do right? Mope. That's what I do!

I had a migraine one day in December, the kind that makes me feel like I'm losing my mind. That kind of pain. To distract myself I was on Ravelry pattern searching and found this pattern (Goldfish, I believe it's called) while looking for something else entirely. It made me smile. I had to make one. It was my bright spot through the pain. And now I loves him. My little Dope Fish.

Dope Fish! My fave pic

Dope Fish - Side View

I was so amused by my little fishie that I brought him home to show my mom. Both my parents got a kick out of him. He made them laugh and smile too. He's a charmer, my little Dope Fish. They always seem so impressed that I can knit things like that. heh. Anyway, my Pa suggested it would be a good toy for a baby since he has little fins that little baby hands could grab on to.

When I heard that Emyele was bringing Cooper to come meet Chris' family, I knew I had to knit one for him. I figured, even if he wasn't too interested in him, at least Emyele might get a kick out of him. I didn't take pictures of the second one. They are nearly identical. And frankly I finished him like the day before we went to meet Emyele and Cooper. I had just enough yarn in the same ball I used for mine to make Coopers. I was a couple yards away from not having enough. It was very nerve wracking as it I was knitting the fins on, I tell you what.

For New Years, Chris and I went to a Silly Hat New Years Eve party at a friends house. The idea was we would all wear silly hats. I bought Chris a sombaro, I think they call them. He looked so so so amusing. I giggled and laughed and clapped like a school girl seeing him in it. I have to say though, I do think mine was the silliest by far. I knit a raw chicken in the form of a viking helmet!

Viking Chicken Hat on backward

Viking Chicken Hat - Side View
Side View

I cannot take credit for the idea at all. I found it on Ravelry. The pattern was a little vague in how to do the decreasing and how to do the drumsticks, so I had to kinda make it up as I went along. The earflap instructions were aces though, and I'm very glad for it as I had no clue how to make them. I think it came out wonderfully myself. Everyone at the party liked it too, so that made me all more pleased.

That was the last thing I knit in 2008. I actually finished it on Christmas eve on the bus to Hamilton. Hopefully sooner, rather than later, I will post about the sweater I made my mommy. It really is lovely, and I'm ever so proud of it. But for now, this post is long enough!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I'm really dreading going back to that place (mentioned below). I do not want to face that woman again. She crushed me. Although I think her expectatins are totally fucked up, I'm still feeling shitty and vulnerable, and she's going to make me feel worse. It's her gift.

I spent all last night beating myself up for being useless for two and a half years, I really don't need her help making myself feel worse.

I couldn't escape it, even in sleep. I just dreampt horrible, embarrassing/belittling things. I couldn't help it. I just kept thinking about how I was fired. How I should have seen it coming. How I've not been able to find any kind of decent employment since. I feel like an utter failure, professionaly.

I do not need that woman feeding my negativity. But she's so fucking condescending. The look she gave me when I told her the lowest salary I would accept, the lowest I could live on independantly. She looked so incredulous. How dare I think I could get that much. What. The. Fuck. Honestly now. I used to make the equivalent of $16/hr; I was paid a salary like the university graduate I am. From what I can tell, that's pretty standard for administrative assistant types. But I'm aiming way too high to even think I could get that kind of work?!

I do not want to talk to her again. She makes me angry. But in person I'm afraid she's just going to make me feel miserable, hopeless and useless again. I don't need that! I can do that all for myself thank-you-very-much.

I was looking for help, and instead I got the destroyer-of-hope. Gr.

I'm supposed to be going to an interview workshop there today. I really really don't want to go. But I guess I will. I feel like I have to. I may never go back there, however.

I have no 'game face'. I don't know how to wear a mask and pretend I'm someone and something I'm not. I don't have that kind of armour anymore. I don't know how to just shrug off her condescenion or her hope-crushing skills. I know she's wrong, but it still cuts like a knife. I have so little self-confidence as it is. *sigh* I don't need her feeding my worst nightmares!