Monday, February 28, 2022

Unicorn Hair

    As promised, here are the photos of my new awesome hair color. Tracy did an amazing job on it, as usual. I gave her free rein to put the colors in in whatever way she wanted, and her choices were amazing!
   There are different layers of colors all throughout it. No matter which way my hair moves you can see so many colors. I love my unicorn hair!
     Yesterday was the first day back to school after the break. And it went really well. I laid down the law about the phones in several of the classes. I said that they were only going to be allowed to have them for the first 5 minutes of class and then they had to put them in the pockets on the wall. No one wanted to put them in the pockets so I warned them if we saw them even once they were being taken and admin was being called. No more games. Time to learn stuff. So one of the classes, after they finished their work, were having silly conversations. I was fine with that but asked if they wanted to play one of the games I have. They have all been so obsessed with their phones that they never acknowledged the fact that I bought games for the class. So I taught the group how to play Monopoly Deal and they had a really good time. Without phones. 
     The other new thing was having masks being optional. Massachusetts lifted the mask mandate and the school committee voted to have masks be optional in school. I am choosing to still wear mine for a couple of reasons. One being, they are still recommended. The other being I want to be supportive to the kids who are choosing to still wear a mask. I told one class in no uncertain terms if I hear any of them harassing another student for wearing a mask they will be written up and kicked out of class. This also is not a game. 
     One more day down, 4 more until the weekend, and 70 more until the end of the school year. I've got this. 


Sunday, February 27, 2022


     Parade dolls are always really fun to make. Especially when you don't have a ton of guidelines. I was told black and silver, maybe with some fringe on the sleeves, very blingy. Can do! I did actually put fringe along the sleeves... and the back... and the front of the doll. I also added crystal designs on both pant legs, on the sleeves, the front and back of the doll. When I resized the hat I used silver blingy ribbon for her hatband. I also used wider pieces of the same ribbon for cuffs and collar. This doll is blingy and fun! She also has a blinged up belt, we can't forget that!
    The back view of the doll is fun too, and I think no matter which way she is looked at the fringe will look amazing. She is definitely a really blingy doll and can't be mistaken for anything but a parade doll. Now I am almost inspired to make myself my own parade doll. Almost, not quite. 
     Yesterday I went to see my friend Tracy and she did her magic on my hair. It is amazing! I can't wait for you to see it!

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Yellowstone Dolls

     Sometimes I get an order for somewhat unusual dolls that are not that unusual. This pair is meant to be a couple of the characters from Yellowstone, which I have never seen but now kind of want to. But it will have to wait. I still have almost 14 seasons of Supernatural and the rest of season 3 of In the Dark. Anyway, Beth Dutton was not unusual really, but her hair did take a bit of extra time. And it is definitely bigger than I wanted it to be. But you do what you can do in 1:9 scale. Rip Wheeler is also pretty much a basic doll, he just needed a coat. And that coat sure did give me issues. It was not a complex piece, but the first one I made was way too big and bulky, would not lay right, and was beyond frustrating. So I decided to just make a new one. Sometimes you really do just need to start over for everything to come together properly. They worked out in the end and I am pretty pleased with them. 
     I realized months ago that I pretty much have no time to read any blog posts during the week. I end up catching up on the weekends, or every other weekend. Apparently my life really has gotten so busy that I can't manage to read a couple of new posts a day. That is just one of the things I can't really fit in regularly. I also sometimes can't fit in any reading of books or leisure activities. Not that I really have a good definition of leisure activities, lol. This past week I managed to keep up on the blog reading pretty well. It was nice.
      So my break has been excellent and productive. I am hoping I can continue on with at least some amount of doll work. Though I am almost sure at this point that I am either rescheduling or canceling my March live sale. We'll have to see how things turn out in another couple of weeks. 

Friday, February 25, 2022


    The other day I was laughing about the word "vacation". I still don't really know what that means. The dictionary says it is "an extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling." Well that didn't help. More words I don't understand. Leisure... nope, apparently that is not in my vocabulary.

    I had a week of from school and that really just meant that I had time to do other things. And space in my head for happy thoughts, like not having to get up at 5:00. That is a very happy thought! I spent several days working on purging different areas of my house. Mostly it was a hobby purge. I did not go through everything in great detail, so I will have to do more in the future. But I got a good start on things. I do still need to get photos of most of it and eventually get them listed for sale. But today is not that day. Anyway, the purging has been going well and so has doll work. Though yesterday I did have a lot of struggles. I just did not want to work. I did work, but I also took a bunch of breaks. I shoveled snow as well. And since it was the churned up plow stuff, AND had been coated in freezing rain (or something... ice pellets?) it weighed a lot. I did a ton of squats in my driveway. But I got that plow line cleared out so Ethan would be able to get back in the driveway when he got out of work. And I got a workout I didn't want.

     Anyway, I have in fact managed a bunch of doll work this week. I have been twitchy about it several times and took a lot of breaks. I wanted to do the work, sort of, but I also wanted to just read. But work must go on. One of the dolls I was working on at the beginning of the week was this cowboy. He has on the order with the hunt seat rider and also should have been done a week or two ago. I have just really been struggling to do anything. I do kind of want to know what it's like to have real time off. But then I also wonder, what would I do with it?   
    So the cowboy got finished and the customer asked if I could tweak some things with his shirt. I did manage to get his collar open a bit (it fought me, but I won) and I added the pockets. I do really like the look of the pockets. They may go on more shirts in the future. Or likely, I will mean to put them on and forget. But I think it's a good look. 
        I did get a good amount of sorting and extra cleaning done this week, and got a bunch of dolls done as well. I have not been slacking off. I also never really felt like I had too much to do, or that I was not doing well at the things I tried, and basically I felt like I had so much time. And I did a lot. But it never felt like the days were crowded, if that makes sense. 

    So I guess, "vacation" is not feeling like I have no time for anything. "vacation" is sleeping decadently late (7:00 or 8:00 a couple of times!) and going to bed super late (like 10:30). "Vacation" is not stressing about the time, or how much I have gotten done, or how much more there is to do. I really have enjoyed my week off from school and I am kind of bummed I have to go back on Monday. Can we just have another week off?



Thursday, February 24, 2022

Time With Friends

      By now, everyone knows that my job is stressing me out and between my job and my business I don't have a lot of time for myself. I also don't have a lot of time to see my friends. Maybe that is also just an adult thing, I am not really sure. Yesterday Liesl came over and we had an awesome visit. She helped me out with some horses that had some issues that needed fixing
    First up was Enchanted Eve, my Victrix. She always stood on the far end of one of the shelves and the silly girl decided to bump herself up against the shelf bracket. And she gave herself a little boo-boo on her hip. Liesl waved her magic wand and now this horse is perfect again. It looked like a paintbrush, but I know it was a wand...
     She also touched up Bootlegger. He apparently was mostly just a bit grubby, but Liesl cleaned him up and touched up anything that needed attention. Now this performance machine is back to perfection. He could even be a halter horse if I was into that sort of thing.  Liesl really is amazing. I miss the days that we would get together and just work on whatever our projects were. That was a once a week thing for a good long time. It's been a while. But promises have been made to do that again soon. I always have something to work on after all. 
     While I was digging out horses and purging the closet the other day I finally got the horses out from the packed-wrapped-in-parchment-paper experiment. I know there were some naysayers when I started the experiment, but I am calling it a huge success. I had multiple horses packed up, in the closet, in my non-climate-controlled house (as in, we don't have AC and it gets hot and humid AF in the summer) for many months. They went into the closet in September and we still had plenty of hot and humid weather. I remember this because the beginning of the school year was rough. Some of my classes had AC (and I was freezing!) and some did not and it was sweaty for sure. Anyway, here was the original blog post about the resin storage experiment. As the post states, this was the extension of the experiment to see if I could repeat the findings that started with Hazard Pay (a horse, if you didn't go read that other post). 
      I checked on Flash in the Sky and she is still as lovely as when I wrapped her up and put her in the closet. Enchanted Eve was too, other than the boo-boo she went in with. And Hazard Pay? No worse than when he went into the closet a year or 5 ago (I have no idea when he went in). Even better than that, Liesl did some more magic and FIXED THE DAMAGED FINISH! I forgot to get a photo, but it was definitely magical. Yesterday was definitely a good day for horses, but an even better day for a visit with a friend. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Hunt Seat

     I have amazingly, finally, managed to get some dolls finished this week. The past couple/few months I have been really struggling with motivation and energy, and the break is really doing amazing things for me. I am still doing a ton of stuff, but I finally feel like I am getting things done. Which is awesome. One of the dolls I have managed to finish this week is this hunt seat doll. She has been in the works for weeks, and I just have not been able to manage getting her done. I even finished her on Monday, a day when I traditionally can't do even the smallest speck of doll work. I like vacation. 
       I didn't much feel like working on purging yesterday, but I did it anyway. I went through the closet in the living room a bit. Not quite as much as I was originally thinking, but I found the other crystal horses and pulled out my motorcycle from the props bin. I had this weird thought when I had the props bin open that I should just sell everything. I am not there yet, but the thought was there. Anyway, I gathered the things from the living room closet and the horses that have been living in Travis's closet. I didn't have enough time to get any photos of any of it, but it got pulled out... and put in the back of my car. Hopefully sometime before this weekend I will have time to get some photos of everything so I can list it for sale. I think I am going to start with everything in a blog post, just as if it was a live sale catalog. Though it will be for sale straight from the blog, first come, first served. And anything that doesn't sell from the blog in a few days I can start to list in other places. That seems like a good plan to me. I am going to have a fairly good variety of hobby items available. Maybe even by this weekend. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Hiding Kitties

      I have been in a pretty good mood for the last several days. I don't feel harassed, super stressed, behind on anything, or like I am losing my mind. I've actually been semi-relaxed and really productive. I like it. It also makes me kind of sad because I don't know that I can get this good feeling to last when I go back to work next week. But for now I am happy and getting things done. 
      I am going through a major everything purge again. I decided I would try to tackle at least one area a day this week. Sunday I got really firm with myself and got photos of the clothes that were in the back of my car. I have either put aside, delivered or mailed everything that was claimed. I did forget to put the rest of the clothes in a donation box, but I will get there. 
     Monday I got out a box of crystal horses that I have been storing for years and got photos of all of them. Well, almost all of them, one of them I think I am keeping. But when I get everything pulled out that I want to list for sale, almost all of my crystal horses will get listed. Unfortunately, many of the boxes were damaged in storage. The horses are fine, their foam is fine, but many of the boxes got wet... and now are not any good. Does anyone know if the lack of box really knocks down the value of the Breyer crystal horses?
    Yesterday I meant to go through the closet in the living room, but that didn't happen. I did go through my mess on the kitchen table, sorted it, got rid of some things, and made the rest of it a lot neater. Then I went after the tack room. Again. I decided to pull out several tack pieces to let go of. I still have plenty, but I now have a neater tack room. Again. I also can see all the kitties that are hiding in the room. There is a little scratching black kitty behind the feed can. 
      I love the little stretching kitty hiding under the saddle rack. And of course the kitty lounging in the middle of the room. 
     I have had this little calico for longer than any of the others. She likes to hide out in different spots in the room. I do like my little (almost) 1:9 scale kitties. 
         Today the purging will continue. I am hoping to finally get into the closet today. I know there are some horses that need to come out of storage. I have a couple of different ones that I want to get into the closet. I want to find the rest of the crystal horses, and whatever Breyers are hiding out in there that I am going to let go of. I think only Firefly and Hawkeye are in that closet. Who knows. My props bin is in there and I want to go through that. I am sure there are at least some things I want to let go of. I know that I don't have nearly as many things as some collectors, but I do have a lot. And even if I let some things go, I will have a lot. But I am definitely OK with having less. 

Monday, February 21, 2022

This Time I Really Did It!

      This time my "I did it!" is actually about my NaMoPaiMo horse. I checked him out the other day, decided I liked how the color and shading looked, so it was time to work on details! So then of course that didn't happen for a while, lol. I really am super busy, and burnt out, these days. 
     But Sunday night, all of a sudden I wanted to work on him. So I grabbed my paint and my pastels and got to work in my horrible lighting. I thought he was looking pretty cute, but it was hard to tell (we really do have horrible lighting, lol). 
    But I kept on going and even went out and sprayed more matte finish on him. In the dark. I practice "no fear" painting. And finishing. 
     Yesterday we had sunshine and it was the moment of truth. Does he look like garbage when I can actually see him? The answer is no, he looks amazing! I really love how his nose came out especially. 
     This was the first time I have painted a chestnut horse and the first time I have done gray hooves. I wish I had gotten them to be a bit more detailed, but they are not too bad. 
I would also love to get the eyes to be more detailed. But they are super tiny! I am sure it can be done, and I will do it, just not today. 
     I didn't actually work on this horse all that much. I started out with a really good session that was a couple of hours. The next session was pretty great too. And then... I didn't have time or motivation for a good long stretch. But in the end, my simple chestnut horse came together in a way that makes me really happy. He is not anywhere near as detailed as the horse I painted last year, but I love him a lot! I am a winner!

Sunday, February 20, 2022

The Purge

      I finally got started. The purge has begun. So here's the thing about me. I am not a hoarder, but for my whole life I have sometimes struggled to let things go. Some of it is wondering how to get rid of certain things. Clothing is fairly easy. If it's in good condition, toss it in a donation box. But what about books? Books are actually pretty hard to rehome. Even libraries rarely take books these days. It's kind of insane. And used book sellers online MIGHT take books, but they will usually give you a few cents per book (unless it is a fancy hardcover book, and then you might get a few dollars), and you need to have a certain $$ amount before they will send you a shipping label. At least the one place I found that buys used books. Other things are also tricky to rehome. Because of all that I sometimes end up holding onto things far longer than they are useful to me. And then I wonder why I am still holding onto them. But then I think about all the money that was collectively spent on the things... and they stay. Maybe I can sell them? Lol, sometimes, but not always. And sometimes when you list things for sale they sit for a good long time before anyone wants to buy them. 

     Anyway, I often go through purge phases where I start going through everything I own, a bit at a time, and I work on downsizing. I feel that I have gotten out of hand, again, since the last really big purge I did. I have so much random stuff that I never see or use. It's time for more things to go. One of the things that I really wanted to move out was a large (very large) bag of clothing that has been living in the back of my car, since I have nowhere else to store them. Most of it is LuLaRoe stuff. When I bothered to dress up for school, I wore a ton of LuLaRoe stuff. It was really comfortable, which is definitely a bonus. But then 2020 happened. During the shutdown I wore my usual clothes, which is jeans and T-shirts (unlike many people I still wore real clothes when we were home). When we went back to school hybrid, I stuck with jeans and T-shirts. 2021 was the same. And then this year I have been in jeans and T-shirts as well. I did wear some dresses when it was hot at the beginning of the school year, but mostly I wear what I always wear. My school doesn't care, and I am most comfortable being me. I still have a pretty good sized collection of LuLaRoe clothing, but I pulled out a bunch of things... and then went into the back of my car with everything else. But yesterday was the day I finally did something about them. 
     I have actually had a lot of stuff listed on ebay or Mercari (or both) for months. But I would sell maybe one piece and then the stuff would sit for months. So yesterday I got photos of everything and texted them all to Elecktra. I said to pick out what she wanted, I put her choices aside, and after removing the photos I sent the rest on to a friend. After she chose I sent them on to another friend, and another. And now the rest will go in a donation bin. I was happy to rehome a bunch of stuff to friends and now I am ready to let the rest go. There comes a point where I stop thinking about the money I spent and think about the space I could have. 
     Not everything is going to be like that. I am planning on pulling out Breyer horses to sell. Potentially a couple of resins and customs. Maybe some tack. I mind even see about letting go of some miniatures. I have a lot. I need to find some time to get to that. I can do a little bit at a time though. I don't need everything to be cleaned, sorted and listed or rehomed all at once. It feels nice to have finally gotten started. And it feels productive. I wonder if now I can get any doll work done...

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Motivation Killers

      Yesterday I meant to start going through things and purging again. But instead we had a very important home project that needed to happen right away. In the cold. And the wind. There was also a bit of snow. But we got it done and hopefully we are done with that. Which would be great. 

      What I wanted to do yesterday, and what I was sort of mentally prepared to do, was go through things to get rid of. I have a whole ton of LuLaRoe clothing in the back of my car (because I have no room to store it inside) that I don't wear and would like to rehome. I have some of it listed on ebay, but it has been there so long, and I only sold a couple of pieces, I am about to the point of just putting it in a donation box so it will go away. I have another batch (also in the car) that I never found motivation to get sales photos of, the thought of doing ads is mentally crippling... so I am thinking of taking some quick and hopefully not horrible photos to just send them to a few friends. And then, donation box. I want my space back. The clothes are taking up valuable space. 
      I am also going to sell a bunch of horses. I am going to list my Firefly and Hawkeye, my Breyerfest Ansel and Dani, and probably a couple more, as well as some stablemates. I may sell a bit of tack, or potentially some props, I haven't decided just yet. But I want things to go. But before that can happen I need to get photos of them. Being out in the cold for a few hours pretty much killed my motivation to do anything.
      I did manage to make Ethan a birthday cake. His birthday was on Thursday, but both of us were at work, and we have different schedules, so I only saw him for a couple of minutes before I left for work. Adulting is weird. He said after proper research he will choose not to work his birthday next year. I said that I am definitely not going to work on my birthday if I can help it. Every year I have gone in to school on my birthday some kid, or some class, has found a way to make it horrendous. I have enough of those days without it also being my birthday. So, we'll see. 
     So my plan to dig things out to take photos of them, so I can list them for sale, just didn't happen. But I still have a week before I have to go back to school. Maybe I can find some time and motivation to get some projects done. 

Friday, February 18, 2022

I Did It!

     During February, "I did it1", usually means that I finished my NaMoPaiMo horse. But that is not what I did. I still need to make some time to work on the last few details of my horse. I think the body color is nice, and if I give him eyes and hooves, maybe the smallest bit of white, he should be done. But I have to get to that part. It hasn't happened just yet. 
     No, this I did it is about dolls. I did it. I finally got out the sewing machine and got some doll clothes sewn! I should have gotten these dolls finished at least a week ago, but I just could not make myself do the sewing. But I finally managed it. It seems like a really big deal. 

     So I took that bit of success and I went into school yesterday for the (almost) half day. I was giving all of my classes time to work on any makeup work they had to do. I took a whole lot of my time going into aspen and writing everyone a sticky note telling them which assignments they are missing. They are all fully able and capable of logging into aspen and doing the same thing. I had kids sit through the entire short class period doing nothing. Because the makeup work wasn't in their folder. Well, I don't know where it ended up, but if you are missing something, maybe ask me, since I am only a pretty good mind reader. It's hard to do well when you have 13 different kids all at once. Anyway, each and every assignment is also posted on Google Classroom. No one really has any excuses for not doing their work. 
    I made it through the day without anyone making me angry. I told several of my classes to be prepared because after break we would be using phone jail. I said that the phones have been abused for far too long. I reminded them that if they refused I would just call an admin. I am not playing these games anymore. If I have to turn into the mean teacher, I will do it. If the only way I can teach them is if I am strict and no fun, that will be fine. 
    So after the kids left we had professional development. But I got to skip it to do teacher stuff because I don't have enough time. I got things scanned so I could get them on Google Classroom, adjusted different assignments, and then I tried to figure out what to do next in algebra after we get through the next 2 units. We are getting into the scarier territory. So I was looking through the book and realized that there are a lot of equations with fractions... and I am pretty sure these kids (most of them, if not all) really have no idea how to do math with fractions. So I guess that will be the next thing. If I can at least give then a good, strong foundation of these skills, maybe they will have an easier time in geometry next year. I am glad I don't have to do geometry... not a math that I like. 
     Now I am on vacation for a week and I am thinking that besides doll work I am going to be doing a whole bunch of purging. I want to go through and get a bunch of horses photographed and listed for sale. I think it's better to sell some than have stuff sitting in boxes. I might even go through tack and props. I just have had very little interest in anything to do with showing. Maybe the tiniest bit of downsizing would be OK. We'll see. Over break I also want to read. Lots and lots of reading. And sleeping late! That will be excellent. 

Thursday, February 17, 2022

This is Not Sewing

       So the other day I passed the rule in most of my classes, no more cell phones in class. I said they would be given 5 minutes at the beginning of class, and MAYBE 5 minutes at the end. They heard that they could have 5 minutes at the beginning of class and then be immediately back on their phones once they rushed through their work that they cheated on. No. Hard no. I did tell them if many individuals continue to try to cheat and abuse the privilege of having phone time, they will all have to put their phones in phone jail. I am sick of these games. Many of the kids are actually trying to learn the work. They are struggling, because it's a weird concept (sort of) with a bunch of rules in it. So they ask for help. And when the paras and I are helping, the ones that put in maximum effort to cheat will pull out their phones and look up the worksheets. I am an overworked substitute, so I don't have time to make/create all of the worksheets. Not everything I need to put on a worksheet is in the worksheet creator programs. So I find worksheets. And then the kids go find them and copy the answers. And it makes me mad. Finding ways to get around them cheating should not be part of my job. But apparently it is. 

     Now there will be new rules. Many of them won't like it, and I really don't care. I am trying to teach them and having to try to police the cheaters while simultaneously trying to help the kids that are trying to learn, is not always possible. So now they will be required to show their work. And if they don't, it's an automatic zero. Sorry, not sorry. It's a math class and I need to see your work, so if you make a mistake I can try to figure out what you did wrong. Do I care that you don't like to show your work? Not even a little bit. You can write out your steps, even if you are doing part of the work on a calculator. That is a thing. I also honestly don't care if they get the problems wrong. If they do, it just means they need some help figuring things out. Getting things wrong is an opportunity to learn. Finding the answers to the worksheets online and copying down the answers and pretending you are a math genius is not actually helping. And the argument of "it doesn't matter as long as I get my work done" is total BS. Yes it matters. The reason we are doing PRE-Algebra in 3rd term of Algebra 1 is because you don't have the skills to move forward, because you are too busy cheating. 

    I know it might seem like I am in a bad mood, but I really am not (today). I am just frustrated a bit. And baffled. So many kids are willing to put in maximum effort to cheat. Why not just put in the same amount of effort to try to learn... so you don't have to cheat? I don't understand that. It is also still causing me some pretty serious burnout. The frustration, the amount of work I do while I am at school, and the weather. It is all piling up and making me want to do nothing when I get home. 
     Which is why I have a photo of cat beds and the title of this post is "This is Not Sewing". Cat beds are cute and fun, but don't actually requite any sewing. I have been meaning to pull out the sewing machine and get two doll outfits sewn for a week. And that hasn't happened. I am just not motivated to do it. I don't know why. My newly repaired machine should be just fine. I should be able to fairly quickly get the clothes done. And then... they will be done. I will have to dremel some dolls before I can get them dressed, but I need to get the clothes sewn. I need to do anything in relation to getting them done. I really am struggling to make myself work on dolls. I am not even sure what it is. I need to snap out of this. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Cat Beds

     Tuesday I struggled a lot, as I mentioned. I struggled to keep a decent mindset, I struggled to get things done. It was not a fun feeling. Even playing with new tack wasn't fun really. A tiny bit maybe, but not really. I did manage to get two lonely cat beds made. Which was nothing like sewing, but it was better than nothing. 
     Yesterday was a better day. It wasn't an amazing day, but it was not a bad day. I started off the classes that had the most issues with the cell phones by telling them I was giving them 5 minutes on their phone at the beginning of class, and then maybe 5 minutes at the end, but other than that, no cell phones. I reminded them that they are not entitled to have their cell phones. The school policy is no phones. I figured giving them a small bit of down time and a brain break would be nice. If it gets abused, the phones will go away for the entire class. Which they have been informed of. The class that complained got to have the assistant principal come in and remind them of what I had already said. That the rule is no phones. That it is a privilege to be allowed any phone time at all. Things went OK. There were some other issues, kids thinking they were getting away with things (which they were not) and they were dealt with. I am trying to teach, I don't have the time to fight the losing battle against the phones and kids who think they are being sneaky about things. I want them to learn something. I want them to engage with each other. I want there to be class discussions. We had those when I started. Then the phone thing got out of control. Well, I do not have "welcome" written across my forehead (and for anyone that missed that, I mean I am not a doormat) and I won't be treated like that. Don't confuse my kindness for weakness. 
     In other fun school news, we were supposed to do a lab in chemistry yesterday. And we did, just not the one that was planned. A teacher friend was going to come down and run a lab with us. But her plate got overfull and she just didn't have the time. So I pulled out another lab I found, dug through the lab supplies cabinet I had barely played in, pulled out all sorts of things, and I tweaked a lab that was designed for elementary school kids (I think) and put more into it. Maybe not quite high school, but close. And the kids were thinking about things, making predictions, engaging in the lesson, and using (some) scientific equipment. And it was good. No one misbehaved or fooled around. The phones were away and I got to sneak in a "there is not always a right or wrong answer" which I have been trying to convince these kids of all year. Science is about trying things, not just spewing out facts. 
    Anyway, pretty good day yesterday and I am hoping for a repeat today. Just today and then a short day (for the kids) tomorrow. And then vacation. Almost there. 


Tuesday, February 15, 2022

New Tack

     Yesterday was a pretty bad day. Vacation is next week and I think a lot of the students feel I should give them the week off from work... before vacation. I do not assign piles of work. I want to make sure there is plenty of time for everyone, no matter how quickly or slowly they work, to do a good job. But many of them are just not bothering. They are so distracted by their phones. If I turn my back for a second, the phones are out. It is incredibly frustrating. I made a deal with them all, when I took over the classes, that when they were working independently, they could listen to music. They had to have only one air pod or earbud in, and it could not be loud enough that we could hear it. More than fair, since the school rule is NO cell phones (like that happens...). But now too many of them are taking advantage. They have the phones out all the time. They thing putting them down on the desk (usually face up) is what I mean when I say put them away. They say that they are listening... as they are staring at their phones, but then they immediately ask what we are doing, what this or that is (that I just taught them, and repeated 4 times). We have talks about respect at least once a week (one class it is at least once a day). And I am tired. I am tired of fighting against the phones. I am losing that battle. They are not paying attention. Their attention is at the very least divided. Then they say the work is too hard. A week into beating a subject to death they ask me if I taught them this stuff. Well I tried to, clearly that didn't work. I heard that Chicopee schools just passed a new policy that no cell phones are allowed in the high school. The kids have to lock them in something at the beginning of the day. I wonder what it would be like to have no cell phones in the classroom. In the past two years the kids have forgotten how to be in a classroom, forgotten how to learn, spent too much time on their phones, have been using their phones to cheat (and not doing it well) and I am tired of it. They won't listen because they figure that we will help them (we will, but they get upset when we don't just give them the answers) and they think they can just look it up online and copy down whatever the first thing is they see, even if they have no clue what it means. I'm very tired. 
     Anyway, I came home from school and was just so down I couldn't even function. So I took a nap. It did not really ease my tiredness at all. Then I got up to play with the new tack that Joan Yount made for me. 
     When I got Astrid, I realized quickly that she was going to need a bridle made specifically to fit her. I have pony bridles, but they were not quite the right size. I am really bad at skiving leather lace, so I ordered a bridle from Joan (who is really excellent at skiving leather lace!) and she did a fantastic job!
    Astrid now has her very own bridle, which should look perfect with either of my pony saddles that I have. I like that she has a bridle that fits now. I think I also needed to make her a western one... but maybe I had one that fit already. I don't remember. 
     Another thing I ordered from Joan was a western side saddle. Because I don't have one. And now I do, so that is one hole in my collection filled. 
       Western side saddles are very strange things. But they are interesting, and definitely a new challenge. 
     I played around with this doll for a while, trying to get her to sit properly. I snapped her leg off at one point, stuck it back on, moved her some more. Checked from the side, checked from the back. I had no idea if it was right or not. So I sent photos to Fabian, who said I did a great job. I think I will still give her bendy legs, this process was a huge pain! And I will make her clothes too of course. 
      So I got a couple of new pieces of tack in and I am still not excited for showing. I don't know if I have just totally lost interest or if I just need a break from things. I am definitely down this week, vacation can't come soon enough, and I am really struggling. I had a couple of really excellent days, but those seem to be few and fleeting. I hope I can snap out of this soon. 

I’ve Got Nothing

      So this morning I realized I had no post for today. So I checked my photos to see if I had anything I could talk about. The short answer is no, I don’t. The last things I worked on were the dog beds, and I already talked about those. I could talk about being cold and wishing it was Spring, but I have already done that. So I pretty much have nothing.

     Yesterday was not a bad day at school but it was not a spectacular day. I had some classes that were fine, except for some temper tantrums (I wish I was kidding) about things that should never be an issue. Especially in high school. There were some pushing of boundaries, which may result in the kids getting a lot more work. If you can’t handle some downtime appropriately, you will lose it. I had an issue that could have been a big issue, so I asked admin to come visit my classroom. There was some really excellent teamwork that made it all work out well, while allowing education to continue for everyone. But it should never have been a thing. And I have weird issues with one of my classes often.

      Anyway, it’s Tuesday, we are halfway through February and I have not had a chance to work on my NaMoPaiMo horse since last Tuesday. Maybe today I can squeeze in some time to work on some details.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Ethan is Amazing

      I came to a decision when my sewing machine stopped working yesterday. I was not going to bring it in for repairs again. I have already put a chunk of money into repairs and replacing the foot pedal a couple of times. It is not a high end machine, it seemed like a poor financial choice to keep on putting money into it. Like at the end of my Dodge Neon's life I just kept having to repair it all the time (OK, that thing needed to be repaired often, the entire time I had it) and in the end I paid more for repairs than I paid for the car. The big difference is I never much liked the Neon. I really love my Husqvarna sewing machine. 
    So I looked into replacing it. And of course the exact model I have has been discontinued. Which doesn't mean I couldn't get a NIB model of the exact same variety, for a lot less than it originally cost. It was something to think about. And I would think about it. But while I did I asked Ethan if he had any interest in seeing if he could figure out what is wrong with it. Ethan can fix or build anything. And if for some reason he couldn't fix my sewing machine, it was not going to be any worse than it already was. He started fairly simple and worked in the bobbin case. Where he found the problem... or it appeared that way. At the very least he fixed a small problem and everything worked again (sort of) for a minute. But the machine bound up again. So this was not the big problem. 
      So then he opened up the machine some more. He looked around and we turned the wheel over and over, watching for things that looked like they were not doing what they should be doing. This was not the issue. So he opened up the machine even more. 
     After a bit of time looking things over he said we should plug it in. Ethan is so much braver about things like this than I am. But he was an auto mechanic for a lot of years, which is a lot bigger everything than anything in my sewing machine. With the power on he watched things and sped things up and slowed them down. With the faster speed he got it to fail faster. Still binding up. So he would do some other mysterious fixing things and I watched all the moving parts. There are SO many moving parts inside the sewing machine. It was neat to watch. 
     I honestly have no idea what Ethan did, but he fixed my machine. I tested it out by finishing 2 more dog beds. Everything felt the way it is supposed to. Nothing was binding or shaking in unusual ways. All back to normal. 
      I am really happy that I don't have to buy a new sewing machine. I really do love my Husqvarna and it makes me happy that I will have at least a little bit more time with it. I have no idea how long it will last but at least I have it for now. 


Saturday, February 12, 2022

Progress of Sorts

     Yesterday, the title of my post was 4.5, which I never explained. That is how many days of school are left before vacation. I really have 5 full days, but only 4.5 with students. It seemed like a good time to do the countdown to break. Other things I talked about yesterday was the endless sorting of the fabric drawer. Part of my issue is a similar problem to every crafter of any type that I have ever talked to. I buy more than I can use. I already had a full drawer or a variety of different kinds of fabric, and then I got more. So now my full drawer is very overfull. So not everything could live in there. The organizing and sorting took a long time. These days everything seems to take a long time. But it was important to get it done. It will make finding fabric more easily for a week or two. 
     Since I have been struggling to get work done, and I had some time and sort of felt like sewing, I got out the machine to get to work. But first... I lost one of the pieces I needed for some doll clothes. I looked everywhere for it. Except on the floor directly next to my chair, which is where it was. That long search and bit of frustration almost made me stop and put everything away. But I kept going. 
       I was on the last bit of a bareback pad... and the machine bound up. The wheel wouldn't turn even. So I figured I would have to bring it in for repair. Again. I was afraid how long they might end up keeping it this time. But I put it aside and pulled out the backup machine. I really do not love my Singer like I love my Husqvarna. I love my Mom's Singer. That thing is amazing for tiny sewing. My Singer is so-so. It can do it, sometimes, but it can be very frustration. And many of the things are in a different place than my Husqvarna, so I have to really think about things while I sew. Which is not fun. 
     In the end I finished up the one bareback pad (well, the sewing part) and these 6 dog beds. All done with new fabrics I got at the estate sale. I am glad I got a bit of something done, even though it was super frustrating. I have really been struggling to get anything done lately. 
     Now the only concern is that to bring the machine in is going to cost $89 at minimum. If it needs any parts that will of course be extra. So now I had to think, do I want to get more potentially expensive repairs done on a machine I have had for at least 13 or 14 years. Which is lame by old sewing machine standards, but maybe not so much by newer stuff? It has lasted longer than any other machine I have had. I have had to replace the foot pedal twice... should I just keep fixing it? We'll talk about that tomorrow. 


     You know how I have mentioned I seem to not be getting much doll work done these days? That is still true. This sandwich baggie full of things is the entirety of the items I have finished for my next live sale. That live sale is at the end of March. I am definitely struggling to get things done these days. 
      Yesterday when I got home from school I figured I would spend a nice chunk of time working on things, trying to get a nice chunk further along than I am right now. That sort of worked... and sort of didn't work at all. I did manage to get some more work done. I had to pull out, sort, and organize my fabric drawer. Again. That always takes much longer than I think it will (or should). And it never lasts all that long really. Partially because putting things away neatly would require me to pull the entire drawer out. It's placement is sort of awkward and doesn't make that particularly practical. So I clean and sort the drawer, and then I mess it up. It would be great if I could follow along with the rule of put it away once, but the storage drawers are not in a convenient place for that. Lack of space often makes everything so much harder than it needs to be. 
    Thursday and Friday of this past week were really excellent days at school. I got a good amount of work done, all of the classes were pleasant, I finally convinced kids I have been trying to help to let me (and sometimes they will even ask!) and things have been quite pleasant. I figured that with all of the good energy from good days I could come home and use that to get some doll work done. lol, I am so funny! Nope. I came home and used that good energy to do whatever I felt like doing. Which was not doll work. I was somewhat OK with that, other than I really do need to get things done sooner or later. While the school is paying me a tiny bit extra for teaching it is nowhere near enough to just drop my business all together. So I will need to push through my tired, my burnout, whatever is going on. But I won't make myself crazy getting things done. The March live sale might be light on items to purchase. I just don't know yet. 
     Yesterday I did do an OK job on getting things taken care of. I did not pull out the sewing machine to work on the sewing I need to get done for a doll order. I did cut out the pieces to make a bunch of dog beds. I also cut out the padding to make a bunch of cat beds (dog bed padding too). So I will, apparently, be working on pet sets next, lol. I still have some bareback pads cut and ready to be sewn. So now I have some bareback pads that need sewing, some doll clothes, and a bunch of dog beds. I still have not finished the repairs/upgrades on my youth doll either. So I definitely have things that I can and should be doing. It's just that getting things done is such a challenge! But I can do this. 
     I think my plan for this week is to see about finishing up the 2 dolls I am currently working on for an order and at least getting all of the pet beds done. So 2 dolls and 16 beds. The dog beds are fast, now that the pieces are all cut out. And they are all done on the machine. The cat beds require no sewing, but have a lot of pieces (and some that still need cutting out). For those sets I also need to make pet food bags, rope toys, mice, feather toys and there might be something else I am missing. I also still need to make all the stuff that goes with the saddlebags. But I am not going to aim for all of this. Not at all. I will aim for finishing 2 dolls and 16 beds. If I get more done besides that, it will be a bonus. If I don't get that much done... I don't even know. I need to make this work. 

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Technology is Cool

     I teach a lot of science. Biology, environmental science, and chemistry. I have taught biology and environmental science before, chemistry is new to me, but I have an amazing teacher helping me and she is awesome at chemistry. That definitely helps. I also teach algebra 1. Which is a little bit scary. When I started this particular temporary (lol, sure) teaching gig, I asked to go back to basics, like, super basics, to make sure the kids had a proper foundation to work on everything else. With the go-ahead I have been at least fairly successful at building a proper foundation. Some of the math is simple. We all agree that multiplying and dividing negative and positive integers is way easier than adding and subtracting them. Pretty soon though we are going to have to distribute. I have done distributing of course, but probably not in almost 30 years. But I figured, I KNOW how to do this... until I looked at some of the problems on the worksheet and the answers that were on the answer key. Um... how do I get to THAT!
     So then I remembered that some of the kids have this photomath app on their phones. Which actually annoys the crap out of me because then I have no idea if they can actually do the math or not. But I thought I would look into it and see if the app would not only solve the problems, but tell me HOW to do them. Well, one of them at least has that option. So I took this weird problem, -7c-3( -6 + 5) and I took a photo to see how the app works. 
     When you click on "show solving steps", you can actually learn how to do the math in the app. Holy crap that is cool. It broke it down and showed me just how to do it, all of a sudden it made sense. Or at least I thought it did. So I tried another one. 
     This was another somewhat weird looking problem that I was not 100% sure about (and we haven't even gotten to really hard problems yet!)
      So I got the photo and clicked on solving steps and all of a sudden I also knew how to do this scary looking problem. And since I know how to do it, I can teach the kids how to do it. I am currently foreseeing many of them needing a lot of days to work on this stuff. But that is OK. We will go just as slowly as we need to. I want them to actually learn the stuff. I'm weird like that. 

      Yesterday was a pretty excellent day at school. I definitely have plenty of rough ones which make the really good ones that much nicer. But all the classes were good, I got some kids to do some of the work they were missing (extra work! I am so mean!) and I helped a kid finish their work when they looked like they just couldn't handle any more. I helped another redo part of a quiz to get a better grade, and all in all it was my favorite kind of day at school. No one was mean to anyone else (where I could hear it at least). I got to teach and people were listening and interacting with the lesson. I got to help kids with their work. Definitely my favorite kind of day. I wish all of them could be like that. 


Wednesday, February 9, 2022


     When I made barn girl I forgot that I was supposed to not only dirty her up, but also distress her jeans some. I also meant to put some straw her in her hair, but I forgot all of it. So I went back in and fixed that.
    It really is not a challenging thing to add wear to denim. I usually grab a file or sand paper and just sand a bit. Easy.
     Distressing jeans is also weirdly fun. Trying to make sure the wear looks believably realistic can be a challenge, but making things look used is interesting.
     Yesterday was another challenging day. I didn’t slack off at school but I still felt like I wasn’t really getting things done. I hate when that happens. I had another class that was incredibly frustrating and I sat at my desk and tried to sort out who was doing/saying what. You can’t write a kid up for being annoying. Or for talking instead of doing their work. I got home and I did a tiny bit of doll work. But I am honestly so mentally exhausted when I get home that it’s hard to function. I need a break. 6 and a half days until vacation!