Monthly Archives: September 2006

almost finished deck!

deck in the morning almost finished  the new stairs stairs, rt front view of stairs

9/29-added new photos of the stairs

I am almost finished with the deck I added to the cabin. I should have replaced it last year, but finances being what they are, I waited til I stepped through a couple of rotten boards, right outside the door. Nope, didn’t get hurt, as the deck is low enough to the ground that I didn’t fall, but ended up with one foot on the ground and one still on the deck.

Since I had to repair the deck, I thought I might as well replace the rotten stairs and extend the deck. I really thought I would fall through them first! The first job was to remove the stairs, replace the rotten wood on the deck, and make a frame for the additional deck. I did that in July. I waited to finish the deck, because the electrical cords to ex-boyfriend’s mobile home were in the way. He finally unhooked the mobile home Saturday, so my Sunday was spent attaching the deck to the cabin, putting the 2×6 flooring on the deck, and building the stairs.

It was much simpler than I thought it would be. I basically just copied the existing deck. Since the 2×8’s underneath the cabin’s floor didn’t extend out, I had to screw the deck to the cabin, and put a support under the front corner. I’m going to add one where the two decks join too, as it looks a little wonky to me. There’s also a 2×6 screwed into the cabin underneath the part of the deck that’s along the wall, for more support.

The stairs were a little more challenging. I had seen a deck stair made out of a 4×4 box with rocks, at a friend’s, and really liked it. The challenge was to make mine out of scrap lumber, and I needed two steps, not one like at my friend’s house. I also should have used 2×4’s or 2×8’s, since I wanted my steps to be 8″ high. But, I mostly had 2×6’s, so I used a piece of 2×2 and one lone 2×4 from my scrap pile too. The stairs took a whole box (100) of screws, and most of the afternoon to build, but once they were in place and filled with rocks, they rocked!

I love running up and down the stairs, the dog loves running up and down the stairs! I thought I’d keep jumping off the deck, like I have been all summer, but they are the perfect height, and width, for running up and down. I still haul water in 5 gallon jugs, so I left a gap on the right side, which is just right for throwing them onto the deck. I really like the rocks in the boxes; but there is quite a bit of dirt mixed in with the rocks. I’m going to let the rocks settle for a couple of weeks, then stuff in some large river rocks on the top. I think it’ll look nicer, and maybe I can choose rocks that will make a pattern or design.

And last but not least, I need to finish screwing the deck boards down. The edge closest to the cabin is done, but the supports in between the ends don’t have any screws at all, and the end by the stairs only has one screw per 2×6. And I put all the screws in by hand, so I do what absolutely has to be done, then take a couple of days to finish the screws.

When I get the money, and yes, I’m saving for it, I will replace the entire deck and the supports underneath. My plan is to take off the arctic entry (I want to make the garage into a new room, and put an arctic entry in the front of the cabin), and extend the deck around to the back of the cabin (probably the whole width of the cabin, 12 feet). Along the edge of the deck, I want to add stairs and flower boxes, so I can get off the deck without a) jumping, or b) going allll the wayyyy totheend, and then I won’t have to wrack up my knees getting up on the deck either. It’s an ambitious project, but it’ll look cool when it’s done!


Bitchin’ Mittens!

Bitchin' Mittens!

This is my entry for Bitchin’ Mittens… only, what? two weeks? late… They didn’t turn out quite as bitchin’ as I had invisioned, but at least they match my new hat! I used a pattern from the “Alaska Mitten Book with Patterns”, which is available from the Cooperative Extension Service. It’s a selection of mitten patterns, for the unbelievable price of THREE dollars! Printed on heavy weight paper, these patterns should last a long time. There are adult, youth, and child sizes.

6×4 Lives


I just joined Sharon Boggon’s 6 x 4 Lives postcard challenge. There is a Flickr group for collecting images of the postcards. I really need to get some made and send out to friends, so I thought this might help motivate me. My first one (for the challenge) was made quite a while ago, and needed just a little finishing, which I did this summer. Still haven’t sent it, as the person I made it for, and I, have had a falling out. So I don’t quite know what to do with this one. It’s a photo of her grandson… might send it to the baby’s mother.

I’ve made a few postcards, and the response from the recipients has been wonderful! They’re so easy to make, and I’ve been experimenting with different backs, to see what’s easiest for writing on. I had thought to do this as a little side business, taking photos around Fairbanks and of tourists, and turning them into tourist postcards. That’s why I’ve been experimenting with different backs, but I finally decided that I didn’t want to spend my weekends hawking these postcards to the tourists. I do like the paper-backed postcards though, so will continue experimenting.

Fair projects

I’ve added pictures and a little more information to my previous post, Tanana Valley State Fair.

For those of you who’ve never entered your local fair, I strongly urge you to try it. It can be a lesson in humility! As I learned this year; ALL of the comments I got back from judges said that I really needed to work on my finishing! But they also all said that my entries were unique and the handwork was excellent. It was so much fun to run around and see my entries and compare them to others’ work. I wasn’t necessarily happy with some of the judges’ decisions, but once I read all my comments, I understood the placings. Next year, boy that finishing is going to get a lot more attention! And I am not going to wait til the last minute to figure out what to enter. And if those aren’t famous last words… I’d better get going on my fair entries NOW!

So enter your local fair! It’s fun, it’s entertaining, and it’s educational!

Podcasts I listen to

I keep myself entertained at work (I’ve been doing some really boring stuff for several weeks now & I need all the entertainment I can get!) by listening to several different podcasts. I thought you might like to give a listen too.

The very first craft podcast I listened to is Craft Sanity, by Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood. She conducts an in-depth interview, in an hour and a half long format, with a huge variety of artists and crafters. Her laughter is infectious, and she’s a very down-to-earth, yes-I-make-mistakes-too kind of person. A young mother, with a full-time job, two toddlers and a husband, and she knits and crafts as well. I don’t know where she finds the time to put together a podcast, maintain a website, and keep up with her family and job too! I love listening to her and learn a lot too. The website has links to the interviewee, and often there is a project from them too. Craft Sanity.

CraftyPod is a much shorter show, but just as informative and entertaining as Craft Sanity. Sister Diane, a Church of Craft organizer, interviews 3 or 4 crafter/makers in a 20-30 minute show. Jam-packed with ideas, fun, and information, Sister Diane is an island of calm in a crazy world. Again, there’s a huge variety of interviewees on her show. Her blog has links to artists/crafters and projects discussed on the show, and is a great resource. CraftyPod.

A new podcast, for me anyway, is Lime and Violet. The sexiest women alive talk about-yes, I am listening to a knitting show! But they are hilarious! I have no idea what they’re talking about half the time, but it is FUNNY! Knit crawls, socks that rock, seriously, Kilt Boy, and Yarn Porn make up a good portion of each show. I’ve listened to some of their shows more than once. Their blog has all kinds of knitting links, which mean nothing to me, but it’s a pretty funny blog, so take a look anyway. Limenviolet.

new hat!

whipup view 1 - winter hat view 2 - winter hat

whoo hoo! a new hat that counts as four…

  1. it’s my Whiplash entry for the hat challenge, in the Design category
  2. it’s my latest Wardrobe Refashion project, as I finally retired an old jacket I made years ago (the zipper finally died and I never did like the style)
  3. it’s supposed to go with the mittens that didn’t get made for the Bitchin’ Mittens challenge (but I will make them, I need a new pair! they’re done!)
  4. and I think it counts as a “finish what you have” project, because I found the blue polar fleece lining when I cleaned off some shelves this summer (even though I didn’t get it done in June)

The pattern is from the Cooperative Extension, but (after a quick online check) it doesn’t seem to be available any more. It’s a “musher’s trapper’s hat”, designed for winter activities. I made one several years ago, and in a fit of spring cleaning and generosity, gave it to a friend who’d lost a very similar hat, and almost immediately regretted it! But she really likes the hat, so I couldn’t ask for it back :-).

The new hat only has one layer of polar fleece, as two seemed too warm, at least when I was skiing. I’m not sure it’ll be warm enough; I’m thinking a layer of flannel or a wind-resistant fabric between the polar fleece and the fashion fabric might be a good idea.

The embellishment is very simple; I used the scraps from cutting out the 6 sections (conveniently shaped in a sort of triangle) and sewed them down with a zigzag stitch. I pinned the rickrack in place, then sewed the hat sections together, making sure the ends of the rickrack were caught in the seams and covered the zigzag stitches. I attached each zag (zig? zigzag?) of the rickrack with a bead, sewn by hand. It took about 1/2 hour to attach all the beads, and I hope it adds a little spark (which of course you can’t see in the small photos! select each one to see a larger picture). The chinstrap is velcro, with the “attaching part” covered with a scrap of fabric, sewn onto the velcro with a zigzag stitch. I went over the edges several times, since they’re not turned under.

The tassel is two yarns wrapped together and tied with a piece of very narrow blue ribbon, which I also used to attach the tassel to the hat. The ribbon is tied in a square knot inside the hat, before the two layers were sewn together. I’m a little worried about sending it through the wash, so I’ll probably tie it up in some netting or maybe just take it off at wash time.

Anyway, it was easy, fun, and I fulfilled several goals at one time!