Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fruits of Kitchen Week (and Patio Week) plus the introduction of the Roaming Bag

Katie is proud of herself for re-installing the kitchen shelves, now that the floor is reliably stable.

Whoa! The dishes are no longer scattered all over the place!
Hayden is grateful, but her mind has skipped ahead to improvements to give the place a little more style. This past week was Kitchen Week, so Hayden's not the only one with kitchen improvements.

Manuel is pleased that his refrigerator finally has a handle!

Now that's a handle that will stand up to Super Bowl parties!
He's also proud of the kitchen dresser's new feet. This cabinet came with little spindly legs, one of which broke off the first time I dropped it. After several failures at keeping the leg glued on, I snapped all of the legs off -- which was way too easy -- and now I've added wooden beads to be bun feet. Making the front ones more prominent is deliberate.

This cabinet has got the buns, hon.
Manual and Abigail also finally got cushions for their patio furniture the week before this past one -- a project I've only been intending to get to since last March.

Just the place to sit with a book on a winter day in Phoenix.
The patio dining set got its cushions, too, plus "backs" to the chairs to make them look less minimalist. I thought about doing ties on the cushions but wasn't really into it.

Pull up a duck and have a seat!
The "patio" under the snack set is a laminate sample from Floor and Decor, which is a showroom straight out of those decorating shows where everybody oohs-and-ahhs over marble, whines about the price, and then chooses something cheaper that's supposed to look just as good. (There were couples engaging in tense debates about mosaic tile borders when I was there, but no camera crews.)

Because the Steampunk Orchid, the Moose Lodge, and the Chicken Coop all live on a wicker unit, I really needed something solid under their assorted outdoor furniture. Mat board turns out to be absurdly expensive, while laminate samples are 50 cents to $1, depending on size, and I don't have to commit to any specific layout. If the interlock edges start to bother me, I can always cover them -- but I vote for considering them to be drainage ditches. Phoenix neighborhoods are rife with drainage ditches, as when it rains, it really does pour -- those ditches turn into fast-running streams, but they keep the flash flood potential somewhat under control.

Here's another one creating a pocket park in half-scale land.

Uh oh! Looks like a chicken from the Chicken Coop has escaped!
Big Head Maude is thrilled that a $1 laminate sample is just the right size to give her a full-length patio.

How many chairs will I need for a patio party?
The troubling question of how to fill out the blank spot on the kitchen wall was answered with a lime-colored Streamline Moderne washer from Marx. It must be a front-loader.

Things move... kitty TV!
The various stashes got new boxes, thanks to Michael's marking photo boxes down to $2 each. These are out-of-the-closet because between Etsy/eBay items awaiting listing or sale, fashion dolls awaiting rehab, and the last bits of things needed for almost finished projects... well, if I resolved the sale items and the almost-finished projects, I'd gain at least a shelf-and-a-half. Even so, having the boxes as "decor" makes it easier to work on projects.

The 1:6 scale stash is labeled "Barbie," even though my dolls mostly aren't Barbies,
because the shape of the word is easy to distinguish on a label.
The giant raffia ball isn't escaped decor. It's one of the cat's toys. I thought that, being a large cat, he might appreciate a large ball.

I also found a use for the tiny boxes that I bought on sale at Staples a while back. Each one is dedicated to accessories for a room, so as rooms come up in the rotation, I can take out a teeny little box and work through it.

Hmmm... rubber ducky... are bathrooms up next?
Michael's shares a plaza with a Marshall's, which I'd wandered into mostly because the clearance signs were so frantic. As I was shambling down a random aisle, my eye was caught by the most perfect large tote bag for my large toting needs. For the past 15 months of bus-riding, I've been hankering after a bag that would hold my laptop, a coat, and a reasonable amount of shopping without having the straps break after a few months, without adding 10 pounds of bag-ness, and without costing a mint.

Behold: The Roaming Bag!
This turned out to be a laundry bag. I decided that for $10, I didn't care what it's original purpose was. One of the perks of being 6'1" -- other than always being able to reach the top shelf -- is that bulky things don't overwhelm me. This should read as simply a large tote bag on me. . . and if it doesn't, it still can't be more depressing than the point in an expedition when I have six mismatched bags dangling from my hands.

I used the Roaming Bag to take some things to Goodwill -- goodbye, Frankendollies from the unwanted pieces left after successful body transplants! -- and then decided to test the Roaming Bag under conditions of actual roaming.

Of course, I had to see how Kmart was doing at going out of business.

You won't be trying on the last few clothing styles left.
With eight days to go, most of the store was cleaned and vacated. Markdowns had reached 50-60%, but it was clear from the nature of the dregs that anything worthwhile had been sold to a liquidator or sent to another Kmart store. There's just no way that bargain-hunters would have left only racks of really appalling purple tops in the women's clothing section or wiped out every single greeting card. So if I go back this coming Sunday for the final day, it'll be as a tourist rather than as a shopper.

At the dollar-ish store around the corner, I spent $3 on a hat that may finally put the kibosh on sexual harassment on the bus.

I shall name it Spike.
The store owner told me that he'd been skeptical about stocking that style, but it turned out to be his best seller.

Since there was still space in the Roaming Bag, I decided to brave the Food City next door to the dollar-ish store. The last time I was in a Food City, years ago, it was a scary place, but so many people rave about the produce.. and, it turns out, with reason. When I chopped an onion this afternoon to make chana masala, it was juicy. I haven't seen a juicy onion in the entire time I've lived in Phoenix -- not from Safeway, not from the chi-chi-mart, not from Ranch Market, not from the standard local supermarket chains. These splendid onions were four pounds for $1. I'm willing to haul myself to south Phoenix for that kind of deal, especially when it's just a straight shot on the 0-Central.

On the walk home from my bus stop, it was so nice to have just one neat, tidy bag over my shoulder -- but full of all sorts of useful household items. Longer bus trips will be so much easier now! Indeed, I'm thinking of taking a Greyhound bus to Tucson to ride their new light rail system.

Meanwhile, cleaning out the closet meant I found the Oxy-10, so Daniela is getting the treatment.

Do I really have to hold my leg in this position for an entire week?

The as-yet-unnamed Chic brunette tries to comfort Cloe in her affliction at having had her new outfit started on Saturday morning and no progress made since.

We had fabric chosen and everything, damn it!
Cloe's outfit has to get done this month because it's my best fit with the current Pinstrosity Challenge (A is for aqua!), and I'm hoping that once I've gotten momentum, I will just glide into the planned outfits for Ynez and Shira. ("Gotten momentum" is a euphemism for "worked out the cutting methods for the garments I want to make.")

Clothing the horde should be a major theme of January, while Bathroom Week brings long-awaited faucets for the Steampunk Orchid and an outhouse for the Chicken Coop. Plus, if we get a stretch of pleasant weather, there'll be some sort of fashion doll travelogue.


  1. Great post! Everything AND the kitchen sink. You are making great progress. I'm anxious to see Chloe's outfit. I love the colors.

    1. Aw, thanks! It's going to be weird when I finally get Manuel's cottage finished. That project has dragged on forever.

  2. Wow, great progress! I love how Daniela has to sit with her leg in the air. Oh, she is going to get tired of that!

    1. Poor Daniela already looks profoundly bored! And we haven't had much sun to make the Oxy-10 work, either.

  3. I wouldn't mess with anyone wearing that hat either. I should get a hat like that, lol. Another awesome post! I've never had a front loading washing machine. I didn't know they were so entertaining to kitties.

    1. The real question will be how many SoPho thugs I meet on the bus, wearing the same hat...

  4. Awesome post! You did a lot, great jobs done, I love the kitchen and the cabinet with new legs! Haha, you got a great kitty TV :-). Looking forward to the new outfit!

    1. Thanks! It's bizarre how many months I stared at that cabinet before suddenly realizing it could have bun feet from beads already in the stash.

  5. Hi Smaller Places, a great post! You had quite a busy w.e.. The front loading washing machine works well also as "kid under three" tv....guaranteed for hours of entertainment....LOL
    I love all the dioramas and also the fabric you picked for Chloe's dress!
    Kisses Billa

    1. Thanks! It was all so busy that I came home and went to bed early on Monday.

      Cloe likes her fabric but wants actual clothes now.

  6. So much to love...your progress on the kitchens, the patio cushions, the new tote bag and hat. Best of luck with the Pinstrosity challenge.

    1. Thank you! A week later, I am finally getting back to sewing. #longweek

  7. Oh my goodness....I'm just discovering your blog and I love it. I've always had a weakness for miniatures. I'll be coming back to see you often!

    1. Aw, thanks! Your blog provides my "aspirational" goal to work (slowly) toward with sewing.

  8. The kitchen looks great and I love the chair and lounge cushions.

    1. Thanks! I'm still faintly surprised that I got them done.