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Monday, January 15, 2018

Cold Snap This and That

Still hanging out here at The Sticks... keeping busy.  

During the early month cold snap we put away our Christmas decorations and did some general neatening.  I had to bring my small bonsai into the garage because it was just too cold for them.

We started the second KonMari.  I'm not as ruthless as some, so I definitely need another go around with it.  Hitting areas in my studio this time that haven't been done at all... like ALL writing/drawing instruments.  Seems I have a bit of a problem with Sharpies...

Not even Persia can escape!  I pulled out all her toys I could FIND (she is a cat, after all...) and went through them.  You can see I don't spend much on cat toys.  About half of her above stash disappeared.

The leaf?  SHE put that in her toy box!

Then we got a 2 day break from the cold.  It was lovely.  

We used the warmth to open the windows to air out the house.  The Christmas decorations were taken back to the shed and the winter decorations were brought in.  We cleaned up the garage (it really needed sweeping out badly) and bonsai were pushed out the garage door.

But all good things come to an end.  You see that cold and snow for last Friday?  

It hit.

Friday morning we woke up to this.  Ice glaze.  I walked over to the road to see if it was as bad as I thought.

It was worse.

Then it snowed 2.5" on top of the ice.

Persia was NOT impressed.

We were VERY happy to see this Saturday afternoon.  But it was still undriveable until Monday (today).  The salt, chemicals, and sunlight had to do their work.

So we waited and amused ourselves by working on the KonMari.

Found this in the pantry.

Doesn't a loaf of hot bread sound perfect on a cold winter day?

Yeah, we thought so too.

I'm going to tell you a secret...  That beer bread mix was at least 8 years old!  It was a gift from a friend and was misplaced when we moved.  Once found, I just didn't get around to making it.

So Himself whipped it up.  It turned out deliciously perfect.

Plus I've been working on all of my January challenges... some more than others.  But I still have half a month left so life is good.

Well, it is time to see if the road up our hill is passable.  I need eggs!

Just So You Know...100% Cotton!

This label was on a new pot holder from IKEA.  Made me laugh!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

On Time for a Volcano

Talk about being at the right place at the right time!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Broan Range Hood Fix

I am the unhappy owner of a Broan range hood and was a family member.  

We own different models... however we have both had the same problem.  The light bulbs for the hood are basically the exact same size as the hole they fit into. 
Not a problem putting IN the bulb.
BUT it can be a huge problem when you are trying to replace the bulb.  Essentially you can't get your fingers around the edge of the bulb to unscrew it.  Not enough space.  So you have to apply a wee bit of pressure to create some friction to get the bulb started...

... which causes the extremely weak connection holding the socket inside the hood to pop loose. 

Now you have the bulb and socket rattling around INSIDE your hood with no way to get to it outside of major hood surgery.

Both myself and the family member had a 'one eyed' stove hood for several years.  Customer service advised calling a repair man.  The family member got sick of it and bought a new range hood... NOT a Broan.  I can't afford that option.

So I fixed it myself.

I worked a piece of thin string around the light (it had to be thin so it would fit thru the hole at the same time the bulb was there).  The string had two long tails hanging down.  I used the string to apply downward traction while I pushed up (VERY CAREFULLY) on the bulb to get that friction to make it turn.

It worked!!  Took a few tries and a bit of time, but it worked.

To keep it from happening again, I put in LED lights with the cooling fins so it sticks BELOW the hole.

Below... where I can easily unscrew them!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Great KonMari of 2018

Did you know that January is “Get Organized Month”?  So it is fitting that this is the month I do my second KonMari decluttering.  I’m starting to see too many things that are NOT bringing me joy...

By serendipity a few months ago I found a Face Book group called Nourishing Minimalism Yearly Decluttering Challenge with the challenge (at the time) of “2017 in 2017”.  The group’s goal is for members to declutter out 2017 items in the year. 

I came late to the dance so I’ve been waiting for this year’s challenge of 2018 in 2018.  Well... truth be told... I started my count down on 15 Dec and I will work thru to 14 Dec 2018.  I got tired of waiting.

As with any group, there are members who are seriously working on it and there are those who are playing mind games with themselves (like counting EACH piece of paper or individual twist tie they declutter).

Decluttering for me means that an item is removed from my household.  It can be trashed, recycled, donated to charity, or given away... it just does NOT live here anymore.  Nor will I be obsessive in ‘getting rid of’.  Teri’s idea of minimalism is not ‘Spartan’... it is ‘cozy’ and 'can find what I am looking for'.

So I am playing with a stricter set of rules... ones that will mark real results. 

1. It has to be a real physical object.  No digital photos or electronic files.  (Sheesh... I’d be done 500 times over by the end of this month!!)

2.  No counting individual pieces of paper or photos.  I weighed a ream of paper and found that 1 pound is a third of an inch stack.  That is a good measurement and easy to figure.  So one pound is "one" item.

3.  Normal trash from daily living does not count.

4.  An item that broken and was replaced does not count.

5.  Something that comes in quantity (such as a box of nails) counts as one item.

I wonder when I’ll hit my 2018?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Challenges For January

I’m ready for my January challenges!  Here’s what I have lined up:

1.  Home – Time to KonMari again. A year has passed and there is definitely more to let go.

2.  Yard – Not much... it’s January for Pete’s sake!  However, I will get the lilacs, myrtles, and hibiscus pruned.  They are getting to be beasts!

3.  Kit – I’ll be doing a ‘shopping’ kit that will consist of a price comparison notebook and a coupon file.  I've done this before and it is well worth the effort of setting it up.

4.  Fitness – Starting back with my “Sloth Running” (I’ll get there when I get there!).  I have signed up for a 5K in mid-March so it is time to get real with this.  I hope to do a 5K each month IF I can find one near by that supports a good cause.   #USOTenMiler   

5.  Appearance – This month’s focus is hair and skin. Between being "a woman of a certain age", the stresses of the 2nd half of 2017, and having dry skin in general I need a lot of work on this!  I may take me to a spa for a day. 😉

6.  Spiritual – Get back to serving Him properly and with intention.  This month it is time to start being grateful again.  

7.  Assemblage/Mixed Media - My first month will be focusing on configuration boxes, shadow boxes, and rigid mountings. 

8.  Creative Focus Project – Quilting.  I'm starting two projects this month.  One is the is the 3 decade old sampler quilt which I WILL finish.  The second is a quilt that will use blocks, fabrics, and scraps from Himself's family heritage.  Of course I won't finish them in January but there will be a good start and I will aim to finish by next New Year.

9.  Writing – Write a haiku piece in octave form for the EHC writing contest. 

10.  My photos – Cull and organize the hard drive photos.  A daunting task as I've done about 4 different mass saves that I have to pick thru to find the few unique photos in each.  Uff-da!  Goal is to have only 2 complete copies - one on the external hard drive and the other on my lap top.  And to have it organized in such a manner that new photos can be easily transferred. 

11.  Photo albums – Finish my 2006 Mexico trip album journaling.  

12.  Photo books – Finish my 2011 Scotland trip album.  This is another biggie as there is just SO much to go thru.  

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Look At The Sky - January


Well, this does not happen often....there are TWO full moons in January 2018 which is somewhat rare in itself (two full moons in the same month result in the second being called the "Blue Moon"), and each one of them just happens to be near its closest point to Earth in its 27.5-day orbit around our planet!  Two full moons, two Super moons and one Blue Moon.  Look to the sky on 2 Jan and on 31 Jan. 

AND there is a total lunar eclipse on the 31st for north-western North America, the Pacific, Asia, and Australia.

The Planets for January:
A VERY COLD month, and mostly devoid of bright planets for the early evening hours this year.  Two very interesting very close conjunctions take place this month!

Mercury - Mercury is very close to the eastern horizon in bright dawn skies, and is very closely in conjunction with the ringed planet SATURN on Jan. 13, much like Mars and Jupiter (below); after mid-month the innermost planet will again move eastward toward the horizon and be hidden by the sun's glare at late month.  Both Mercury and Saturn will rise about the first light of dawn, 6 a.m., on Jan. 13 - in SAGITTARIUS

Venus - our brightest planet will not be favorably placed in either morning nor evening skies this month due to proximity to the sun - in SAGITTARIUS.

Mars - A spectacular sight awaits all during the first two weeks of this year, when bright reddish MARS moves eastward in the very early morning skies and appears to overtake mighty yellow JUPITER.  For each day after the first of the year, look for Mars to edge more toward Jupiter until the two are actually within the SAME telescopic field of view, only 0.2 degrees apart on January 7.  Both rise at about 4 a.m. local time and will be high above the eastern horizon before morning twilight.  Mars will be much smaller (less than 5" arc) in the telescope against huge Jupiter (over 40" arc across) but both will be brilliant and in stark contrast in terms of color; Mars will continue a slow trek each following morning toward the east. - in LIBRA

Jupiter - Now rising in the EAST about 4 a.m. local time, the largest of all planets will be high in the east at dawn, although not so large as it will become as the earth-Jupiter distance decreases over the coming will be high enough for telescopic observations by dawn.  See MARS above for the spectacular telescopic conjunction on Jan. 7 - in LIBRA

Saturn - Very low in eastern skies and rising about 6 a.m. local time, the ringed planet will make its yearly debut in predawn skies by mid-month; see MERCURY above for info on the Jan. 13 close conjunction! - in OPHIUCHUS

Uranus - distant planet Uranus is overhead about 6 p.m.. local time and is setting in western skies as midnight approaches,  It shines at magnitude 5.9, bright enough to spot in good binoculars if one knows where to look; use a good planetarium sky program or GO TO telescope to locate this distant world; by sunrise it is high in dark skies and will show a faint, blue disk in large telescopes - PISCES

Neptune  - look for faint Neptune in large telescopes at mid-month south and far west of overhead about dusk local time.(mag. 7.6), setting about the time the skies get dark. - in AQUARIUS

Pluto - at magnitude 14.3, our most distant planet ( is a planet)  will not be visible in telescopes because of its proximity to the sun.  - in SAGITTARIUS

METEOR SHOWERS for January 2018:  .

Observe when the moon does not interfere and attempt to observe AFTER midnight for most meteors to be seen!  There are a few notable meteor showers that peak each January:

January 3-4 - QUADRANTID METEORS - The moon will be at a nearly full phase and dominate the skies for most of this evening for this year's showing of this meteor shower.  Always a chance for quite a show...the best that January has to offer each year, but in 2018 the moon will hamper observation of these meteors.  With an incredible short and fast maximum peak of 40 or more meteors possible, it will come and go in a flash (about the time that the sky reaches peak darkness after sunset on the 3rd.   In some years under dark skies, observers have seen up to 600 members of this stream per hour, all traveling at a medium speed of about 41 kps.  Most are very faint, remember, and distinctly blue in color, so fast film is desired if photographing these meteors.  The meteor shower emanates from near and north of the bright star Arcturus in the constellation of Bootes, rising in the northeast about midnight.

January 15-16 - DELTA CANCRID METEORS - Sounding more like a disease than a meteor shower, the Delta Cancrids rise in the east about the same time the sun sets in the west...thus it is nearly directly overhead at midnight each year, in the constellation of Cancer.  The shower radiant is actually just slightly west of the bright and well-known naked eye star cluster, Prasepe or the "beehive."  Only about four meteors per hour can be seen from this shower under good conditions, and this year's NEW MOON  will be absent from the sky throughout the night after about 10 p.m., thus making this a terrific year to observe these meteors ; I suggest setting up around 7 p.m. local time on Jan 15 for best views.  Cold, but fun!

January 18 - COMA BERENICID METEORS - Also coming from very close to a naked eye cluster, the Coma cluster, this meteor shower rises about 10 p.m. (again, NO MOON on this night for this one!) and is directly overhead at pre-dawn.  These are among the fastest meteors known....65 kps (compare to the Quadrantids, above)...BUT expect only a couple of these swift interlopers per hour.  The moon is absent and skies dark for this one if you observe after 1 a.m. local time,  so this is a good year for observing this shower; perhaps some splendid streaking meteors might be visible for those who brave the typically cold nights of January.