Monday, September 23, 2013

My Brother is Learning How to Sew

My brother sent me a text message this morning with a simple request: 

"Do you know anyone with an extra sewing machine?  I want to learn to sew to save money."


Well, NO, I don't know anyone with an extra sewing machine.  But YES, you should buy one and YES, I'll help!

I called him up and logged into Amazon, and noticed that I had nearly $80 in unused Amazon Points (I have the Amazon Visa card and buy EVERYTHING on that card- I usually get about $50 back a month.)  My brother and I shopped the Warehouse Deals and found a nearly brand new machine that retails for $250 on sale for $93.69.  I used my points, and my brother ended up with a nice machine for $20 and change after taxes.

Here's said machine as seen on Amazon

So, yeah, Warehouse Deals.  Shop them.  They can be a bit tricky to find on Amazon's site.  When you're searching for an item, go to the right of the screen and click on the link that usually says "X New & Used From X Price" on the bottom of "More Buying Choices." 

Scroll down and see if you can find that same item that you're looking at through the warehouse- sometimes, it's as simple as the item is missing a box, or perhaps it was returned and can't be sold as new.   You can save a lot of money that way.

And here I was just going to buy a David Tennant cutout for my Doctor Who party I'm having in November with those points.  This one, in fact.

But now my brother will have a chance to learn a new skill and hopefully save some money.   I'm feeling pretty great about that.   And I'm looking forward to showing him the ropes.

In the meantime, I'm having fun browsing the internet for all sorts of tutorials that he might find useful.  For example:

1. Denim Fabric Basket Tutorial, from Threading My Way.

He could reuse those shredded jeans and make baskets out of them! These would be awesome for gathering notebooks, tools, tape measures, etc in the shop.  They're cute enough that he could really use them anywhere in the home.   Hello, extra storage bins for the nursery!  Especially if he lined them with this Dr. Seuss fabric.

2. Potato Grow Bags, from

Bags, used to grow potatoes.  No more digging in the soil to harvest your pommes de terre! This would be a great project for him, as he's an avid gardener (he keeps talking about growing potatoes- maybe next year he'll give it a shot), and he would probably enjoy a fast, confidence building project.  

And 3.  Baby Blocks!

I've got a bunch of foam left over from my own woodworking and sewing project (from that aforementioned loveseat project) that would be perfect reincarnated as play blocks for my brother's son.  Also, it'll teach him some stitching skills.  WIN.

So, there you have it.  My brother is learning to sew, and I think it's awesome.  He's also an avid builder, welder, DIYer extraordinaire (and yes, also an amateur boatbuilder- he started building his very own boat this summer!), so I'm very excited to see what great things he creates with this new tool.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Behold, a wild life summary appears!

I've attempted to post several times, and canned each attempt after getting frustrated with every post.  Nothing felt right.  Everything was disorganized and jumbled.  I have so much to say and yet none of it seemed important.

So, here we are, 6 months since my last post.   Let's summarize all the good/bad/whatever stuff!


Rio The Boat ( is currently being neglected.  I pushed pretty hard on the build over the summer, and ended up getting burned out by how much of life I was missing by focusing on a hunk of plywood that doesn't quite float yet.  The build is SUPPOSED to be fun, and when you're outside in 90F weather with high humidity, wearing long sleeves, jeans, and a respirator, it really, really sucks.  And when you're being accosted by spiders (this year, the spiders are everywhere, you can't walk 20 feet outside without getting tangled in a web), you can't help but get a little frustrated.   This is coupled by the joy of forgetting that you have epoxy on your hands and you, reflexively, try to get a spider/beetle/wasp off of your head, and instead smear epoxy all over your hair.  GOOD TIMES.  No, I haven't given up.  Yes, I still am proud and happy that I'm building a boat.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so why rush it?!


I'm a three-time aunt now.  My brother and his wife had a little boy on March 14th.   He's pretty cute!

My mom was married in Reno to her sweetheart of five years last month.

My husband's Aunt Bev entrusted us with her 1987 VW Westfalia, Casa Rodante, which we drove down to the aforementioned wedding.  It was amazing.  It's such a cool bus that I want to dedicate a post to it.  In the meantime, though, have a photo of its awesomeness:

Yup, custom plates in honor of Bev. 


Casa Crustante is serving us well.  BUT, there are things we need.   1.  Privacy from the nosy neighbors.  2. A Garage  3.  A big fence.  We don't like the area enough to invest in it.  In summary, we'll be moving in a few years.  More on that later.

Remember the property I grew up on?  Well, the land that raised three generations of my family was sold to the S'Klallam tribe for a paltry $285k.  I have, since moving out to the Seattle area, have wanted to move back.  It's where I thought I'd raise my own kids and grow old.  Now that it's no longer in the family, I had spiraled out a bit and have been struggling to figure out where I am supposed to be.   I know this may sound foreign to those of you without a long family history of staying in one spot, but that land was very important to my brother and me. 

The Condo:  We're renting it out right now to some friends, but will be placing it on the market on January 1, 2014.

Aaaand.. there's a bunch of other crap.  But that's it for now.  The weather is shining, the pull to make sawdust is strong, and I've got couches to build.  Yes, I'll be posting about that, too! Look, I've got three things to follow up on, now.  So stay tuned.