Category Archives: All Things Crafty

Punching the List

Punch list update! 

The short story, we bought a house, made a repair “punch” list, closed a business, inherited a quilters will, a crafters will, my favorite maiden aunt died and my beloved got sick.  Then he died, all within three years. Breathe.

My beloved managed to slice a good portion of the 100 item punch list before he was promoted to engineer for Jesus full time.  The twenty five items he completed were big ones that would have been costly for me to hire to complete.  He rewired walls and the main panel, replaced rafters, installed two sprinkler systems, built a staircase, installed a floor in the two lofts and more.  I am so thankful for what he managed to complete!  The 76 items left loom over me like an oncoming freight train.  I budgeted for them carefully and set a priority for each item and began to tackle them one by one. 

Saturday morning I was able to put the final coat of paint on the trim around a sliding glass door and hang the blinds.  This was the completion of a long drawn out item that included: repairing water damage to the wall, removing its cause, associated black mold, insulation and drywall, some wiring and replacing a damaged outside light fixture.  I lost the alarm, electricity, light and phone on that wall due to the water damage.  The patio cover on the outside of the wall had to also be removed and the damage to the stucco repaired and trim replaced.  Research and technical advice on how to proceed were required to proceed.  It also required I face my Kryptonite, multiple trips to the big box hardware stores where the service is less than desirable when you don’t know what you are doing!  I am sooooooooooo happy that this wall is done!!!!!!!

I haven’t been brave enough during the last few months to even look at the outstanding punch list.  I could only deal with one overwhelming task at a time so, what was the point.  Today I opened up the Excel spreadsheet to move the wall repairs to the completed page and do a review/update of my remaining tasks.  There are some larger ticket items on the list that include:  insulate attic, tile the master shower, replace kitchen window and associated water damage on that wall, replace water damaged kitchen cabinets, remove two crumbling cement pads, replace patio pad, new patio/balcony (old one is removed), new construction of walkway from bedroom to landing in loft.  There are a total of 30 items, the rest are easier and lower cost.  The budget for the entire list is $33,960.00.  I feel so broke just looking at it!  Items that I complete myself will lower the cost but take longer.  Welcome to homeownership.

A review of the completed page revealed that I was completing the tasks at a rate of one a month.  Good right?  At this rate, I will finish the list in almost three years.  I really need it done in two so I can retire and transition to a fixed income.  That means I need to complete seventeen tasks this year, thirteen tasks in 2017 and four tasks in 2018 for a total of 34.  The last four tasks are looking like they may have to just stay a wish and a dream. Reality is, I may not have the money to complete them.

Who knows, if I am brave enough and talented enough to actually finish my three novels and sell them, it might just work out.  My home is no longer the horrible looking pit it was when we bought it in a short sale.  It’s still in the needs improvement  category but I have two neighbors that have usurped me in the “worst” house spot. Each item I can complete on the punch list only improves the look and value of my home. 

The land of optimism is a much better place to live than the dark side.  There are more sane people there.



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Filed under All Things Crafty, Grief, Homeowner, Projects, Writing

Anxious Much?

I was raised by a bitical woman (bitter + critical = bitical).  That explains where I learned to fail so well but it does not explain why, equipped with this knowledge, I can’t seem to shake it off.  I ended the relationships that were so toxic and damaging to me completely when my beloved died and they (plural) saw it as an opportunity to attack me personally when I was at my lowest.  I had all but ended relationships with them before but, without my beloved protector and personal encourager, it was no longer possible to have contact with them.  That is their problem, my problem remains but is different.

I set wonderful goals with appropriate steps to complete them; good time frames and even plan outside influences to create my success.  I have great technical plans and then I fail to follow through until completion.  My big girl pants just don’t seem to stay on as long as I need them to.  I shoot myself in the foot on a regular basis and when I get close to the goal line, I fail to finish.  I have volumes of stories that have never seen the light of day. This blog is the first time I have freely let my words leave without rushing to pull them back and protect them from harm.  It is a learning experience for me and, perhaps because I have so few followers, I’ve been able to let it go and be myself.

NaNoWriMo has been a great experience for me to “turn off my inner editor” which is really a technical writer and the child of bitterness.  Coaching others to complete the 50,000 word count has helped me grow and throw out my inner bitical critic. Seven years as a staff volunteer for the San Francisco Writers Conference has provided me with healing encouragement and hundreds of success stories and relationships with people who are happy to see me when I walk into the room.

To stretch those new confidence muscles even more, I have started my own critique group and am going to submit two short stories for publication in an anthology.  It is not so important that I get accepted for publication as it is I actually submit it.  I sent one of the stories to a beta reader.  Not just any beta reader but, one I consider to be a true American hero.  He served as an Army Ranger and later as an undercover police officer.  He gave much for his country, including the life of his mother when his cover was blown.  He is quiet, humble and extremely smart.  The story deals with PTSD, a subject he is an expert on.  I highly value his opinion.

I sent the story to my friend yesterday at 5:00 p.m. and was awake most of the night.  My anxiety level was sky high.  I expected one of two things; he would read it and politely say little or nothing or attack it with a full offensive.  Neither happened.  The time stamp was 10:27 p.m. the same day and he liked it!  His wife liked it! He gave me 12 suggestions (some I should have caught if I wasn’t so anxious).

It is time for me to succeed!  I have awesome friends and an awesome God!  Now Tessa, let it go and get it done.

Worry for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

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Filed under All Things Crafty, Grief, Homeowner, Life Lessons, SFWC, Writing

Keep on Flooring


So what do you do with a 55 plus year old widowed granny.  Put her to work on the chain gang installing flooring!  I am my own taskmaster and the end to this epic 1,300 sq. ft. project is on the horizon but not quite in sight.

It all began back in October when I completed my research on what type of flooring I wanted.  I decided on a sustainable product that was readily available and on sale.  I ordered it from my local big box store in person and oopsie the store employee checked the wrong box.  It was an easy mistake, I wanted click lock and not solid.  Arrgh, it took multiple managers and three months to correct the mistake.  I received the flooring in mid January and had to put the project on hold for my daughter’s wedding.  Needless to say I was not happy to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s as well as wedding festivities on an ugly slab of concrete!

I have officially passed the halfway point and am almost to two thirds.  Yea me!  I go home from work almost every night and try to do 2-3 rows of installation.  I usually have a quick lay down of thirty minutes to relax and detox from the stress of the day first, grab a bite for dinner and then get cracking!

It is not especially hard work and I occasionally have help from a friend who has even more trouble getting up and down than I do.  Fortunately DaHve has the experience of being a retired contractor.  The daughter has dropped in a time or two to swing the rubber hammer as well as one or two grands.  Almost everyone has had a small hand in this project.  My “son” ish and his wife as well as 4 of their children did all the carpet tear out for which I am soooo thankful.  That was a dirty awkward job I am glad I did not have to lift a hand for.

Soon my floor will be this beautiful expanse of wall to wall bamboo!  I can’t wait.

If I can do it, you can too!

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Filed under All Things Crafty, Family Times, Foster Children, Projects

Rosie and the Bird Brain

Framing Begins

Concrete Walks on concrete

Concrete Walks on concrete

What have I been up to lately? Well H1N1 has been making it’s way around my office, so far everyone except one employee has recovered. It’s surprising that a very fit 30 something woman has been so very ill. It just goes to show, you can never take your health for granted.
Work goes on at the little homestead! My handyperson, Dahve, (pronounced Da-ah-ve) has been guiding me through the steps to build a 10 x 12 shed for my gardening equipment. It will be wonderful to have my rototiller, lawnmower and gardening hand tools all in one place and out of my garage. My goal is to be able to actually park in said 2 car garage!!!
Dahve loaned me the slab frames and put them up with help from my future son-in-law. We hauled rock from the other side of the property and filled the frame with loose aggregate. We poured the concrete and just after it was finished, my hen named Concrete had to add her signature. I didn’t have the heart to smooth out Concrete’s footprint in the concrete!
The next Saturday it was time to start framing. Not as much work as I expected with Dahve’s air driven nail gun! It took two Saturday’s for us to frame all four walls. I can’t wait, this Saturday we will frame in the window and start with the concrete siding. Yes, more concrete, since the shed is up against a neighboring fence, we decided to go with the most flame retardant material there was, concrete paneling.
The hardest part so far, unloading the truck with the paneling and studs!

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Filed under All Things Crafty, Garden, Urban Farming


Musk Ox

I’m back from my vacation to Alaska!  Re-Entry has been an extreme problem.  I just can’t seem to catch my stride yet.  The packing and repacking to leave pretty much wrecked the house and the 3 cats (mine and a friends) were less than happy to be left behind.  It’s been a week and the “surprises” have been tapering off and the bad kitty behavior seems to be settling down now.  They get to sleep all day while I have to go back to work.  It takes me until 9:00 a.m. to get my eyes fully open.  I did manage to squeeze in about 1,500 words yesterday on my post apocalyptic story. 

The weather in Alaska was very similar to SFO Bay Area so we felt right at home.  We tromped all over Ketchikan, Skagway, Juno and Vancouver.  Back on board our cruise ship, it was great to just lay in a deck chair and stare out at the glaciers while sipping hot cocoa and eating ice cream!  I was very apprehensive about a Cruise Ship with all the bad press.  I have to say that being onboard the Diamond Princess was nothing but a great experience!

Internet connections were scarce or costly during the trip so I will write in a later post more about our trip to fill you in.  My traveling companion was Sarah Mocchini ( and she was so much fun!  Everywhere we had a port of call she dragged me to all the yarn and fabric shops.  Oh darn, had to buy some fabric to bring home!  I learned all about Qiviut (musk ox yarn) and actually got to touch some of the unspun fibers and fondle the finished yarn and products.  It is a hollow fiber without scales.  That means that it will not felt like wool and it is incredibly light and soft.  It is one of the rarest fibers in the world and is a homegrown Alaskan (and Greenland) commodity.  The musk ox does not like to be domesticated so they fence off a large area and pick the fibers up from bushes and herd them through a shoot to pull the fibers free as the oxen travel through.

The musk ox is called “oomingmak” by the Alaskan Natives which means “the bearded one”.  The musk ox is an ice age mammal that was once endangered and is now thriving in the semi-domesticated farms in Alaska and Greenland.  It is the softest fiber I have ever touched and its insulating capability far exceeds that of wool!

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Crafty People — Festival Season has Officially Begun!

I managed to get out of the San Mateo Festival for under $200.00, a miracle as they had so much to offer. I particularly drooled after a Koala Cabinet that was 6″ higher (I’m tall) and a desk that folds down a full size bed without having to clear everything off the desk! The colors were amazing, so much food for the imagination.

Stitches West was a little disappointing. My preconceived notions didn’t match up. The Santa Clara Convention Center is a great venue and was filled with more yarn than I’ve seen in one place. But the bargains were just not there. I did manage to find two and enjoyed the tactile touching of the fibers. I was prepared to spend quite a bit to supply Sarah Mochini with raw materials but came home with only 650 grams of fibers. We’ve just gotten good at finding bargains elsewhere!
Soaked up experiences, sights and sounds to enrich my writing. Stitches West definitely had some colorful characters walking around, even some of the vendors were colorful, one gentleman just might make it in a story down the road.

The best part of the two trips? Spending time with my best friend, I am blessed to have her in my life!

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No time to write today….

 I’m taking off work and going to the Bay Area Quilt, Craft & Sewing Festival at the San Mateo County Event Center, (1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo).

The colors, the art, the ambiance and my wonderful friend, Dian.  Should be a great afternoon of just letting the stress fall away and enjoying the day with someone who loves me.  The sun is shining and bonus day was yesterday.  What the tax man left, I’m off to spend! 

Enjoy your day and tell someone you love them, hug someone just because!

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