Something new from Your Organ Grinder

Sometimes you just have to make something new.  Making new products is always a gamble but there is an absolute joy in making something new.  That feeling when you are working on something new and it is going well.  That is what I live for.

I picked up some of these hoops a while ago (and recently grabbed more).  I’m slowly choosing anatomy to fill them using calico and the stem stitch, one of my favourite embroidery stitches.  I think the next one will be a kidney.

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My desk

I’d be moaning to Andrew, my partner, about wanting a proper upstairs computer for a while.  I had a laptop but when I used it for work it always crashed (every 5 minutes, no kidding) and it was a laptop.  Andrew found me a Brix on Gumtree and we got that going. Cue setting up a monitor, keyboard, and mouse at the dining table.

I knew I wanted a desk that could slide under the couch so I could go full-on couch potato when working in Inkscape and Fusion360. I find working in these programs a little stressful so I wanted to be able to lean back and relax whilst working.

I showed Andrew a few examples of what I was thinking.  We decided on the shape below. To the left is the unpainted desk, to the right the painted finished version.

The top of the desk is varnished Plywood.  The legs that slide under the couch have “castor cups” underneath to slide around the floor on. The body of the desk is 50mm by 25mm RHS (Rectangular Hollow Section Steel) painted with some shitty no undercoat paint, not the best choice as it isn’t great quality but it’s good enough for now.

I’ve already got heaps of couch time use out of the desk as well as been watching iView and weaving tutorials.

And the boy loves it too.

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The photography struggle is real

Ugh!  Taking product photos.  It’s one of the biggest challenges of selling online.  Each improvement in photos means I want even more improvement next time and then when it’s not working out, well that stinks!

I’d been taking really terrible photos for a while.  The colours were off and the products were not clear.  See, I’d been sitting somewhere slightly different and didn’t even realise this was the problem until one night just before I went to sleep (and was lamenting my terrible shots and how I might fix them) it came to me, I’d been in the wrong spot!  Phew, I’ve changed back to the old spot.  The pics still aren’t perfect but I’m working on it!

 

 

I got a Fitbit

A couple of months ago I got a Fitbit Charge HR. I was keen to get one as I’d recently started doing a couple shifts in a cafe and was keen to know how many steps I was getting in a 3 hr shift (it’s up to 6000 on a busy shift!) and I’ve been doing Ellen Barrett Live workouts since the beginning of the year and wanted to know how many calories I was burning and how much activity it was adding to my day.

What I found out was this…

  • Wow!  I don’t get nearly as many steps as I thought from my morning walks.
  • The cafe shifts can bank me up to 6000 steps, if I walk the 7 minutes (each way) to and from work I add another 1500
  • My workouts add active time but I don’t burn as many calories as I thought. They are almost entirely in “fat burn zone” though.
  • I cannot believe how many steps I get on the weekends when I head it to my main job (Hands On Brisbane), it is wayyyy more active than I thought!

Just after I got it I had an eye infection and was scratching the hell out of my eyes all night.  I’d wake up with itchy, gluey eyes and rub and rub them.  Looking at the sleep log in the app I was able to see just how broken my sleep was and the periods I was awake rubbing my eyes.  I could also see how restlessly I was rubbing them whilst still half asleep.

Other people have mentioned the benefit of the sleep log to show to their doctor where their sleep pattern is at and how much sleep they are getting. I’ve also noted that I don’t need quite as much sleep as I though, or get as much sleep as I thought.

The one HUGE benefit is the extra motivation it gives you to get up and get moving.  You want to beat yourself, you want to get involved in challenges and beat others.  You want to see just how many steps you can get and how much activity you can do.

So what’s the down side?  For me it is the comfort of the device.  At first it was so uncomfortable.  The heart rate monitor is raised at the back and really uncomfortable at first.  Perseverance pays off and within a week you don’t notice but if you then take it off for a while you have a short readjustment phase.  On top of that the fit is not great.  Even though I got the smallest available the part holding all the electronics is large and it doesn’t wrap well around the wrist.  I have noticed that the Charge HR is currently in sell out mode so perhaps a new version is on it’s way that fits better.

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I would only recommend a fitbit to those who are already motivated to move and workout.  I don’t think it will magically get you moving but if you do want the added bonus of tracking your activity (and you’re already motivated but want a little extra) then one of these is probably a good investment.

 

How to Pickle Beetroot

So, for those that don’t know the Beetroot you buy in the supermarket that is in tins and jars is pickled.  You might be reading this and saying “well that’s obvious,” but I’m telling you because a lot of people I told that I was pickling beetroot did not know.

I’d been pickling the odd beetroot here and there  but on a solo trip to the fruit shop my partner decided to buy about 5 kg’s of beets.  We often head to our fruit shop, Rochedale Markets, and come home with large bags of stuff.  We once bought 12kg of lady finger banana’s for $5.  All of our family benefit from that and I ate so many banana’s!

Back to the Beetroot.  So, at first I’m like FML, I don’t feel like pickling that many beetroot and left them sit on the bench for a couple weeks.  Beets have pretty good longevity so they were still looking fine when I eventually did these 5 jars.  There are still about 1/3 of the beetroot left.

Ingredients
Fresh Beetroot
1 tablespoon Salt
2 tablespoons Sugar
750ml Apple Cider Vinegar
300ml water

Specific Tools
Glass Jars, sterilised
Measuring jug

Peel your beetroot and slice.  If you have large beetroots (too big for the jar) quarter them.

Boil your beetroot for about 3-5 minutes. It gets a bit softer with 5 minutes, or 3 minutes for crisper beets.

Fill your jars with the boiled beets.  FYI, the boiled beets stained my hands a horrendous dark brown so wear gloves if you have a job where people might see (and judge) your hands, they look disgusting.

Boil the Salt, Vinegar, Sugar and Water. I like to reserve red liquid that the beets are boiled in (about 100ml) so my vinegar mix is red but this is not necessary.  Also, if you need less liquid just use the same ratio’s for the smaller amounts.

To make it easy for you pour your boiled liquid into a jug and then fill out your beetroot jars. Put the lids on nice and tight.  The buttons on the jars might pop themselves down once the jars cool but if not you can press them down during the process and they’ll stay popped in.

Allow to cool and refrigerate.  If you are a slowpoke to eat things you ma want to put on the date you made it.  They don’t last long enough in my fridge to bother.

Homemade pickled beets really are yummy so if you’ve been thinking about it (and looking for a recipe) just do it! You won’t regret your pickled beets.

Bees!

We’ve had our vege garden for about a year now.  In that time we’ve had a bumper crop of Cucumbers (there are probably still 12+ jars of pickles in the fridge!), Corn, Radishes, Kohl Rabi, Potatoes, Wasabi Lettuce, Bok Choi, assorted herbs and Rocket.  I’m sure we’ve grown other things but I can’t remember them all!  (Oh, Tomatoes, I forgot Tomatoes.  We had so many tomatoes!)

I’ve loved having Rocket in the garden as I could go out and pick leaves whenever I wanted and Rocket is so yummy in salads and on sandwiches.  About 6 weeks ago it started to grow long stalks and get flower buds.  They are now about 60 cms tall covered in flowers and we’ve also got seed pods forming (yay!)  I’m still picking Rocket to eat but I think this crop is almost done with.

Something I didn’t expect was how much the native bees would love the Rocket flowers! They are swarming over them.  I stood out there yesterday to snap some pictures so my partner could see how many bees there were.  As the sun soon disappeared and so did the bees so I was out at the right time.

We’d love to get a bee hive eventually.  I’ve always loved bugs and would love to have a hive and learn more and see more of them.  If you’re after a hive here’s a great resource, Aussie Bee.

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The DeadlySpawn

The below VHS movie has haunted me for decades, first as a child because of those teeth and in recent years because I could picture the cover but didn’t know what the movie was called (I thought it was called teeth!)

As a child this VHS cover always grabbed my attention in the video shop.  I would always look at horror movie covers and the gruesome images on the back even though I wasn’t allowed to borrow them.  The stuff of nightmares for me who used to think ghoulies were in the toilet and gremlins under my bed would grab me.  This particular movie cover really stuck with me.

Two decades later my sister gives me Teeth to watch and it made me think of this movie which I thought was called Teeth, can you see why!?!?  And that sets me thinking about this movie on and off for  several more years,  unable to ever find it until last night after 30 mins searching I use the magic words “horror VHS covers” and there it is!

I never did see The Deadly Spawn, it was probably damaged and removed from the video shop well before my mum would let me borrow horror and I don’t much feel like buying it now  (the DVD doesn’t have the same case).  But maybe one day I will buy it and print out this cover to go around the dvd, so I can continue to be scared…

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