Saturday, November 25, 2023

Office Party

As promised, pictures of my completed IKEA build from last Saturday! Here's the view from my office door, looking at the work area as opposed to the Zoom Background area I showed a few weeks ago.

Side note before we talk IKEA: the lighting! There is a ridiculous amount in this room. Three bulbs in the ceiling, two serious wall sconces, the matching table lamp, and now a second table lamp. The room is only 5.5' x 8.5' - you can see the corner of my IKEA standing desk on the right, to give you an idea of how small it really is - but I had hoped to sew in here and do other crafty things, so when we were renovating we had it majorly wired. And you know what? I really do use all these lights at different times. It was totally worth it.

The new addition is a Hemnes shelf unit - intended really for a bathroom but perfect for my office needs.


To the left of it I have a Hemnes bookcase (not pictured because you can only contort so much in a doorway.) I really wanted a second one for symmetry but it was too tall for the wall sconce I have no intention of taking down. I was sad about that, because the solid sides make it easier to hide clutter from my work area. 

As it turns out though, the open structure has its own perks. Specifically, access from the sides. I hadn't planned this but once the unit was in place I realized I could have a designated planner area and get my gel pens and markers off the desk entirely.

Bonus: I finally have a place to display the Group of Seven and David Milne prints I was gifted last year and love to look at. Probably I should get around to taking them out of their plastic wrap but in the meantime, they do a great job of inspiring me while hiding messy things I need to get at every so often. Because let's be honest. The two white bins I bought for this purpose were not enough for that job!

Another innovation I had with this makeover was my 'whiteboard'. A lot of writers will use a wall as planning space, sticking up Post-It notes to work out scenes and make sure their narrative arcs work well. I didn't have wall space for that when I was working in our front window, but in the office I have these two sconces... and in the basement, a long piece of leftover baseboard trim already primed white. 


It only took about half an hour to put them together with some bristolboard, washi tape, and blue and white scrapbooking string. No holes in the wall either. I just set the baseboard trim over the sconce plates and I was done. I'll probably start using it next week, when I dig into the second draft of my most recent project.

The desks are unstained rubberwood, sourced from Wayfair, and they are so great. The primary one is four feet wide, which feels generous in such a small space, and 18" deep. The one running under the window is just 16" deep, but it's five feet wide which allows me to have the table lamp plus loads of space for spreading out pages and notes when I'm reviewing a printed manuscript. I sure didn't have that luxury in the dining room, unless I took everything off my desk and shoved it onto the dining table.

I'm still not quite there with this office. I'd like to get rid of more cluttery bits from the boxes, for one thing, and streamline my art supplies, for another. But I'm enjoying the space and grateful for it.

Overseeing it all, and guarding the boxes with my notes and pages for other projects, is my wooden monkey:

He was a gift from my older brother, who died when I was a teenager - he was great at gifts and I still treasure the things he chose for me. I was probably eight or ten when he picked up this little guy. His curved hands and feet mean he can hang off things and it's fun to pose him!

Okay the sun is shining and it's time for us to get on with our days, so I will leave you with this picture of how cosy and cute my planner area looks at night.

Thanks again for spending this time with me and I'll see you next Saturday!

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Project day

It's Saturday and once again I am finding things while looking for something else. Specifically, my missing sock needles. 

This is the cuff of a fingerless mitt I was making from sock yarn scraps. And when I say scraps, let's just acknowledge that the whole project looks like it's *been* scrapped.

I do intend to get back to this because I've made two other pairs in this mitt design and I wear them a ton. But it's been so long since I worked on it, you better believe there was a huge sigh of relief when I saw my pattern notes tucked into the same bag. 

There was also a huge gasp when I realized I pilfered the second set of needles for socks when they still had a job to do:

I bet you're gasping too. I don't know what I was thinking! But I can tell you what I'm thinking now - the stitches seem to be holding all right, and I don't have any other sock needles handy to slip through them, and I had something else in mind for today. So I'm just going to leave them be and hope for the best.

About the 'something else'...

Every time I see somebody posting online about their makeover projects, I think of sunny Saturdays and pushing everything aside to tackle a mess and make a room beautiful again. With coffee and good music and possibly paint and/or a friend. I don't really drink coffee, but do you know what I mean? It's so appealing. And with the major office redo here, that's spilling into a whole-house extravaganza, I needed to make changes in my workspace storage.

Long story short: I shopped at IKEA again - this time for an open sided shelf from the Hemnes line. It's meant for a bathroom but too bad! It's gonna line up with my Hemnes bookshelf, which is now gonna be a linen closet, and pretend to be office decor. I'd show you the finished look but it's almost three and I haven't actually started assembly yet. Maybe next week. 

Right now I'm just excited that IKEA has changed the way you order online, such that I was able to make the purchase before midnight and pick up from a 24/7 locker system as early as three hours later. I woke up to a sunny day and a giant box in the hallway all ready to build, because Pete is a morning person and picked it up for me.

Meanwhile, I think the scrappy sock mitt will look cute when it's done, don't you? I like the way the colours are lining up.

Probably if I was smart I'd find a way to adapt my design for a full-on thumb, and then just keep knitting the top till I can do a nice angled tip. I'm content slipping them over a pair of gloves that would be inadequate on their own, but I still dream of waking to a day with time for tinkering in it. And I do love my stripes, don't I.

Okay I'd better go get assembling. Hope you have a fun day in progress - thanks for spending part of it with me! See you next week.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Making adjustments

It's getting to be that magical cold-weather time of year where I live, and that means two things.

I get to wear my beautiful handspun twined mittens, and I get to feel guilty about the matching hat. Yay!

Or rather, ugh. I had such good intentions with this hat, and way too much confidence in my abilities to knit a garter band and pick up stitches for the rest. Not sure if you can see the problem in this photo, so perhaps we'll try another angle:

There is a LOT of ease on top. I think the handspun was just too heavy to flop properly, because the crown decreases are perfectly flat, a critical element I did get right.

Ignoring the fact that wearing this hat makes me look like the stem on a mushroom, I even did this elaborate trim feature:

I still really like this element, even though it's wasted on this hat. I look awful with it on, and it keeps sinking and shifting as I walk, too. It's way too big. If I had one of those gazelle necks I could tuck my long hair into it and stride out of the house looking like I have an attractive hat on. Sadly I was not so blessed. So I'm going to have to find a way to make the hat smaller. I see two routes to this destination.

Option A: tuck the excess inside the band, and stitch it down.


Option B: fold the excess over the band, and stitch it down.

And at this crossroads, I have stopped. I'm not sure which is better, and also, I need to dig out my leftover handspun so the stitches don't show. Otherwise I'll have to do decorative stitches that look like they were done on purpose, and that's another area where I'm more confident than adept, heh.

I do think it's worth it though, don't you? I mean this hat is WARM. The halo on it is incredible. The colours are beautiful. And, you know, I handspun this yarn and everything.

The good news is, we're doing a whole-house overhaul at the moment to accommodate home offices. I'm sure to find the leftover yarn in my travels, and when the work is done, I'll have a few more cosy nest options for actually doing the alterations. If I'm really careful and lucky, I'll be out in style in January. A girl can hope.

Another hope: that you are having a great weekend. Thanks for coming to see me, and let's do this again next Saturday!

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Office Talk

This week I reorganized my office, even to the point of moving out the velvet daybed so I could have an L-shaped desk to supplement my standing desk. Having just spent two days in there enjoying all that hard surface area for spreading out papers, my hips are expressing an interest in having the daybed back. But how I can I give up this perfect Zoom background?

Once I get seating sorted out, I'm sure this new design is the way to go. Among the items that stayed are this photograph, which I've displayed in my work space since my high school years when I found it in a charity shop.

I once used Google Images to find out where it was taken and noted it down, then put the paper away carefully so I'd always remember, and then forgot where the paper went. But I do know it's a cathedral town in England. I'd like to visit it someday in person but really, just this framed photo has always been an inspiration to me for some reason. I'm so glad somebody took the trouble to take it, frame it, and donate it rather than tossing it in a bin.

Other things I'm pleased to keep handy are this coaster from the London Underground Museum (a gift from myself), and jewellery stand from Anthropologie (a gift from a friend.) They're like monograms for my desk, reinforcing this tiny room as mine to work in.


Then there's my painted metal tray, dating back I am guessing to the 50s or maybe 60s?

These were very popular for a time and people maybe even served drinks on them, judging by the scratches. All I know is, the colours are great. I found it at an antique market for cheap and have always loved looking at it, but it's a challenge to display so it doesn't often get pride of place. At the moment, it's taking advantage of the seam in the standing desk. It's playing nicely there and not getting in the way at all so I'm going to leave it there a while.

I got this kitchen wall shelf at an antique market too, and painted it to match the walls when we first moved back after the renovation. Before that I'd painted it yellow, so this is much more sedate. Perfect for showcasing a shifting display of things that please me, like my collection of pocket-sized Filofax planners.

On the bottom shelf I have placed a napkin holder my mum once gave me (currently storing two packs of small size blank greeting cards) and a pair of mittens her mum once knit. Also, my Strunk and White! I refer to that thing with grammar-related questions ALL the time, when I can find it. Now that I've got it out front and centre again, the finding it part should not be an issue.

Okay I'd best be on my way if I'm going to get in a Saturday afternoon walk. Hope your weekend is going beautifully! I'll leave you with a closeup of these pretty roses, and I thank you again for spending a little time with me. See you next week, sameish time, same place.

Edited to add:

A friend reached out after reading this and suggested my mystery photo is of Durham Cathedral! And she's right, per photos I found of near-identical views. Now I want to go visit even more because I bet the tea shops nearby are fantastic.