Another craft

I have been crafting my entire life. I don’t normally just start a new craft unless it is something I am interested in because I saw a video, or I saw that someone had something that I thought was cool and wanted to learn how to make it myself. I have never picked up a craft that I had no interest in, until now.

A friend was going through all of her craft supplies in her craft room and she literally drove over to our house and dropped off 3 bags of things. 1 bag full of books, 1 bag full of magazines and 1 bag with tools, all for Polymer Clay.

I did buy some polymer clay for a project many years ago that never really turned into anything because I honestly had no clue what I was doing, so I basically wasted a few bucks, which I don’t mind because it was only a few dollars. My friend who dropped all this stuff on my front door said she bought all of these before she retired thinking she would be interested in this craft, but it has been 10 years since she retired and the packages are still sealed lol. She played around with some clay and used the roller, but she didn’t really do much.

So now I have all of these supplies, what should I make? Well, I decided to go to YouTube to find out what I can make. I discovered you can make canes that you can then slice and you could make them into earrings or necklaces. There was a cool cane that was in the shape of a leaf and the person curled the leaves and put holes in the end and attached them to a chain. Another person made this really neat Dragon scale bead. Then another person showed how to make a rose. That was cool.

At first I was thinking, I can’t do this, I am not creative at all. I just find a pattern and make it, and this is basically the same idea. You find a pattern and make it happen. I really want to make roses, but rainbow roses. I also want to try that leaf pattern and I was thinking, I could make candy cane earrings, pumpkin earrings, heart earrings and many other things. I’m even thinking toilet paper earrings, you know, because of the toilet paper hoarding lol.

This is something I think I will enjoy. But… I don’t have all the tools that I need, so I bought a couple things on Amazon, like a clay conditioner. It’s like a pasta roller thing. You put the clay through and it rolls it out flat and then you fold it in half and put it back in and fold it again and again to condition the clay. I have carpal tunnel syndrome, so I can’t really do that by hand. This one was really inexpensive at just $21 plus tax. I bought the Darice Studio 71 Polymer Clay Press on Amazon and Polymer Sculpey Super Slice that has handles. Trust me, the handles are something I need. I’m clumsy and cut myself easily.

I really look forward to making things out of Polymer clay, but I want to watch a lot of videos to basically use as a study tool so I know what I’m doing what I get started, in theory lol.

My time in quarantine

We’ve been living under quarantine for a little while now and I’m sure people are going stir crazy. This is nothing new to me since I am disabled and am home all day every day anyway, so it’s business as usual.

I have kept busy though. In December and January before all this started, I was making Valentine’s Day Box Cards with my Cricut because someone wanted 5 of each of these 5 designs to send out to her friends and co-workers. Then in February I started working on Easter Box Cards and the same person wanted 2 of each of 10 designs. I like to make things, and it was my pleasure to make these for her.

After Easter I decided it is better if I don’t make any more cards because at that point you really can’t trust anyone. I mean, I don’t know if the people who receive the card would trust that I didn’t have Coronavirus, so I thought it best to just be safe and not continue working on them for everyone’s safety. I haven’t gotten Coronavirus, but the recipients don’t know that.

We were told to start making masks for ourselves to go out in public, and I really wanted to, but my life partner didn’t want me to make masks because he thought a regular piece of fabric isn’t going to do any good, you need a N95 mask. Well, once he realized that we aren’t allowed to wear those since they are supposed to be reserved for medical professionals, then he was ok with it. We bought some masks from our local post office which is inside of a pharmacy, and those were nice, but I wanted to make some masks with a design that I liked.

The one that you see I am wearing was the pattern they sold at the post office / pharmacy.

The top right mask is a mask that I made out of what was supposed to be a quilt block I made for a dining room table placemat. I added some small paracord buckles that were not adjustable. My life partner loved the idea of using buckles and he wanted me to make masks for his family (bottom left) but make them adjustable because obviously I don’t have their head sizes since they are back East, and even if they told me, I am not sure they would’ve been right, so I thought it was best to use the bigger buckles that are adjustable. The fabric stores were all out of fabric, and we went to Walmart, but all they had for fabric was bed sheets, so that’s what those are made out of.

Bottom middle was fabric I had on my Zabuton (square meditation pillow) as like a pillow case. I thought it was such a fantastic pattern, so I made one for both of us with that. When that fabric is available at Joann again, I will buy another 2 yards to replace the pillow case.

Bottom right is a unique pattern that my aunt really loved. She actually shared an image on Facebook of a mask that a company was selling for $20 for 1 mask with that pattern, and I just so happened to have that image on my hard drive since my old Nook has that skin on it. So I thought it would be cool if I could make her a mask with that pattern, so I bought some printable colorfast cotton fabric that goes right through a regular printer that takes 8.5×11 sheets of paper. It is actual fabric that you can print, cool right? It’s just that it cost $18 for 10 sheets, so basically each mask cost me $9 to make. I made one for my uncle and one for my aunt and I had to make the bias tape with 8.5×11 sheets, which means I had to use 2 sheets for enough bias tape for 1 mask. I used the bottom middle fabric for the inside because that stuff is very thick and stiff and I can’t imagine putting that against my face.

So other than making some box cards and face masks, I haven’t really been doing anything different. Watching YouTube on my TV with my Roku, watching movies and TV shows with the Roku channel and Hulu and playing Terraria.

My birthday is coming and I will be turning 50 and I will most likely be turning 50 in quarantine. What a great time to turn 50 lol. Oh well, it’s ok. Not that big of a deal since my birthday hasn’t really been celebrated since I was a kid. But at least I’m still alive considering I should’ve been dead 20 years ago, so yay for getting old when I was told that was never going to happen.

How to knit socks from start to finish

Have you ever wanted to knit a cool pair of socks, but don’t know how because you’ve never knitted, or perhaps you do know how to knit, but have never learned to make socks? Well, I learned from watching many videos on YouTube. I’ve shown this image above to all my socials and it seems like several people say they wish they knew how to knit socks, so I decided I would make a video teaching how to do all the steps from start to finish. It’s an intermediate pattern, but I show you as a beginner.

I like to use Premier wool free sock yarn that I bought from the Michaels website. I’ve bought sock yarn from Michaels and they are wool which means they get hot fast and those are meant to keep your feet warm when you are in the snow or perhaps just when you are sitting at home and your feet get too cold, or if it’s just winter and your feet get cold easily. Well, Premier wool free sock yarn is great for wearing with shoes.

However, for this video I just used regular yarn. The tools I use for the Premier socks are a 9 inch 2.75mm or US 2 circular knitting needles. Preferably ChiaoGoo with the red cable. 5 double pointed knitting needles of the same size (the set usually comes with 5) a size 2.0mm crochet hook for fixing dropped stitches, stitch markers and a needle for sewing the Kitchener stitch. The circular knitting needle I used in this video was a 12 inch 5mm US 8 circular knitting needle with matching double pointed needles and a size G crochet hook and of course stitch markers and yarn needle for sewing the Kitchener stitch.

The pattern is available on the Premier website, but in the video I tell you how many stitches you will need for your sock depending on the circumference of your foot. I will show you how to do the loose long tail cast on, rib stitch for the cuff is 1 1/2 inches, then 6 inches total including the cuff before you start the short row heel. then you knit the foot and measure from the back of the heel for your foot size, but make sure you are measuring minus 2 inches because the toe is 1 1/2 inches and you want there to be a stretch, hence the last 1/2 inch. Finally the last thing to do is the Kitchener stitch to sew the toe up and then weave the tail of the yarn into the perl bars.

So here’s the video. Enjoy and let me know how it works out.

Roku Update

Yesterday I wrote about having no choice but to cancel our cable so we could use a internet based cable service, and now today I have some new information.

I didn’t really look into how much everything was when I bought the Roku Stick+ for the living room. Like, how much is our cable bill, internet bill and home phone? Would I really be saving money by getting rid of our cable? The answer is apparently no.

Our cable is $72.49 minus a promotional discount of $32.50, so I’m actually only paying $39.99 for cable, which if you think about it, that is cheaper than any of the streaming services. What is making our bill higher is actually the cost of the equipment rental. I am paying $8 for each of our 2 cable receiver boxes, plus another $10 for the DVR service on one box, plus an additional $12 for Tier 1 which is additional channels we never even watch.

Our internet is $75 minus $10 for the bundle and $10 for promotional discount making our internet $55. Our phone is also $30 minus $10 for the bundle. So if we got rid of our cable, my internet would go up and so would our phone.

My life partner tried the Roku with our cable providers app (or channel as Roku likes to call them) and he hates it, so he doesn’t want to get rid of his receiver, but he will keep his Roku for those times when his services starts to cut out and become impossible to watch. He can just switch to the Roku and use the Spectrum app.

I, on the other hand am perfectly happy getting rid of the DVR service and my cable box. The DVR is in my room, so I’m the only one benefiting from that, and that is $18 that I would be saving every month, plus $12 from the Tier 1, that makes a saving of $30 a month. Plus, I will be quitting my gym membership which is another $20 a month, so right there I will be saving $50 a month.

I already bought another Roku for my bedroom for watching our cable service. Since I typically have 2 shows on at the same time some nights, I can watch those 2nd shows on the apps on the Roku. Like, one night I might have something on the Travel Channel and The CW, so I can just watch one on cable, and the other one on one of the apps the next day. I do that with Hulu anyway where I watch all my Fox and NBC shows, so I can just do the same thing with the CW or Travel channel.

Our promotion will be ending soon, I think in December, and they currently have a promotion for $99 for 1 year for cable, internet and phone, so we will save even more money then. The money I will be saving from not having DVR + my cable receiver + Tier 1 + my gym membership will pay for the Roku sticks over 2 months. I’m excited for this change and because in January I will have more money for groceries and other stuff.

Let’s Try That Roku Thing Again

In January 2011, my life partner and I decided after talking with one of his family members that we would quit cable and get 2 Roku’s because I had complained about the price of cable. This guy said “Well, you watch your shows on the DVR anyway, right?” No, actually, we watch live tv. In fact, at the time we didn’t have a DVR. I knew they existed, but we didn’t have one. I have one now, but we still watch live tv.

In 2011 I received our Roku’s and returned them simply for the fact that the one in the living room didn’t connect to our WiFi which is in the bedroom. I didn’t think the signal was strong enough, but the issue was deeper than that as I explained in this post. https://xanapus.com/2011/01/04/our-roku-boxes-arrived-today-theyre-going-back-tomorrow/

Well, that was 2011, this is 2019 and we have once again decided to quit cable, but there are a couple reasons for this decision.

1.) The price is way too high. Nearly 2 years ago we went to our cable service provider and said we need to change our service because I was paying $170 a month for our cable/internet/phone bundle. They told us there is a special that for 2 years we would get their $30/$30/$30 deal which came out to $90 a month, plus extra for a package my partner wanted, the DVR for one room, the cable box for another room, the WiFi box and the digital phone box. Our total bundle came to about $120 or so. I was fine with that, but then they told us at the end of the first year that our bill was going up because that 30/30/30 thing was only for 1 year, then it would go up to $170 and that is STILL a discounted price, which means when our special is over, my bill goes up even more.

2.) Our channels are constantly getting pixelated and it’s maddening, especially when the channel goes out and it doesn’t even record my show. When I’m not home and then I come home to find out it didn’t even record my show(s), I wonder why the hell am I paying $170 a month for this? We thought it might be our cable boxes, but I’m pretty sure the issue is our cable wire. That’s the only thing that makes sense to me because the app never has that issue.

I discovered there are so many different cable streaming services you can pay for that are cheaper than cable. They are mostly all around $50 or so.

Hulu + Hulu TV is $45 a month and you can stream on 2 devices at a time and they give you a DVR that is only 50 hours worth, and for another $5 you get ad free.

YouTube TV allows you to have 6 users while allowing 3 streams at once, plus an unlimited DVR for all accounts for just $50 a month.

Sling is cheaper at $25 a month, but you don’t get a lot of channels. They have 3 options, each option has specific channels, or both options for almost double the price. It also comes with 50 hour DVR.

For right now we have a Roku Stick + in the living room that works and I didn’t have to call anyone for help, and our cable service’s app is installed, as well as YouTube TV, Sling and Hulu to get us prepared for the switch. We have to decide which one is better, I like YouTube TV better.

The TV in the bedroom is a smart TV that already has Hulu and YouTube TV installed, but our cable service’s app isn’t available, and neither is Sling. I have to keep using my cable box, which is ok for now, even though I will still have trouble with pixelation. I can watch my shows On Demand if I have to. If we do go with Sling, then I will probably have to buy another Roku Stick +.

This is a huge change. No one likes change, especially when they have to remember how to get to their favorite channels, but once you get used to the change, you can pretty much adapt to anything if you are willing. I am willing, but I can’t say that about my life partner who hates change more than I do. We will see. All 3 services have a trial, so we can decide which one we like before we get rid of cable.

Tell me in the comments if you have cut the cord and went with a Roku or similar device and which internet service you are using. I’m curious to know which of these 3 services are better.

Update: Yeah, things have changed. Please read the new post.

I’m knitting socks!

This isn’t the first time I’ve knitted a sock. The first sock I ever knitted was the one in the image above, and I never made the matching sock because my hand was in so much pain from making this one because of my carpal tunnel, that I just ended up putting the second one off, and then I guess I just never made it because I forgot, and then I lost the sock yarn lol.

So this time I am actually making a pair, but I’m working with regular yarn because it gets so cold here in the winter because we don’t have heat, so rather than wearing 2 pairs of socks all winter, I thought I would knit socks with yarn so they are like feet sweaters lol. I should clarify, we used to have central heating, but then the heater stopped working and now we have space heaters. The one in my bedroom is a portable radiator and it puts off so much heat that I have to turn it down because it feels like summer in my bedroom. The living room space heater is bigger, but since it blows heat like a fan, it only blows enough for a tiny space, so even if you are sitting next to it, your feet are still frozen if you’re not wearing socks.

I made 2 different socks and I messed both of them up, so those didn’t end up making the cut. My life partner didn’t like them anyway because he wanted dark, and I had this green yarn, so that’s the color he chose. I did mess up on the heel because I didn’t do a even 3 way split when doing the heel, I kept going one too many rows, so that’s why it’s so pointy, and believe me, it’s not comfortable lol. Since I made that first one that pointy, I have to make the matching one exactly the same. I do plan on making more and doing it right lol.

I made this first one going cuff down to toe, and I did it using the magic loop method, and I switched to DPN’s (double pointed needles) for the toe. I am still working on the matching sock because my hand has been in so much agony from all the failed socks, then this sock and now the sock I’m working on. It’s taking longer because I have to keep resting my hand. For the 2nd sock I decided to start making it using the DPN’s, but then I decided I wanted to buy some sock sized circular needles. I also bought actual sock yarn, so for the sock yarn I bought a 9 inch long 2.75mm US 2 size circular knitting needles, so I figured I would also buy 9 inch long 5mm US 8 size circular knitting needles for the yarn socks, but that turned out to be a mistake because 9 inches is not long enough. You can see in the regular sock yarn there is a stretch while it is on the circular knitting needles, but the regular yarn is bunched up too much and it just made it more difficult to knit, so I bought a 12 inch long 5mm US 8 size circular knitting needles, and as you can see from the pictures, it made a huge difference.

So after I finish with this green sock, I really want to go buy some more variegated yarn. My favorite is called Painted Desert. I think that will look awesome as a foot sweater lol. The regular sock yarn is Premier wool free sock yarn in the following styles. I saved the screenshots from the website of the finished sock so you can see and then took a screenshot of all 3 of them together.

I honestly don’t know why I bought the Petunia or the Vegas Lights. These were the only 3 available in the listing on the Michael’s website. Of course after I bought these 3 colors, they added more colors to the same listing that are more masculine that I really would rather have, but such is life I guess. Perhaps I will make those 2 pairs to give away. I found them on Amazon for the same exact price and free shipping with Prime, so maybe I will get them there since it’s faster shipping, that is if my hand is still alive when I finish making these.

Anyway, I like making things that are actually useful, and I can’t wait to see the Painted Desert yarn as a sock. Maybe one day I will find the sock yarn for the first sock I ever made so I can make the matching sock.

CPAP Therapy and the myAir App

I started using my new CPAP machine in late June 2019 and I just wanted to post an update on my progress.

When Aprea Healthcare told me that I wasn’t going to get a BiPAP machine, I was freaked out because I have been using a BiPAP machine since 2005 and I thought the CPAP, which is called CPAP because it’s continuous air, BiPap is for bidirectional air, I though the CPAP was going to make it harder to sleep, but this new CPAP is actually not that bad. I am able to inhale and exhale normally.

The mask they included with my new machine was the nasal mask that I was used to, but this new mask was a bit different. The old mask had the cushion and pillow, unlike the new ones that just have the pillow. Here is my old mask with the cushion and pillow on the left, and the new pillows with 3 different nose sizes on the right.

I never had a problem with the old cushion and pillow masks, I could breathe through both nostrils just fine throughout the ramp stage (when you first start for the night, your machine starts out with a low pressure and that pressure slowly builds up to the final pressure over time to allow you to get used to the air) and beyond. This new mask was just too restricting for me. I started with the medium, which was installed on the mask frame when I received my new machine, and decided to use the large one on the 2nd night, but I still had a problem getting air during the ramp stage. I called and set up an appointment to tell them I’m having trouble and they told me I could get a different mask before the first 30 days are up, so I went in and they suggested this new nasal pillow which goes into your nostrils, and that one seems to work better, but there are side effects, like me pulling on the hose while I sleep which causes the air to leak.

The guy at Aprea Healthcare suggested I use the medium nasal pillow, but it’s too small and when I wake up, my nostrils are in agony because both pillows have literally gone inside my nose lol. I switched to the large, and haven’t had any pain. It REALLY sucks waking up in pain.

So this is my update. I’m doing good with my new CPAP machine. I wanted to post something so people will know that if you have been using a BiPAP for a long time and the Sleep Apnea company that sends you a new machine refuses to give you a new BiPAP, but instead only wants to give you CPAP, don’t worry, it’s pretty much the same thing. You can breathe easier (that was my pun for the day lol) knowing it works for me, and I was adamant about getting a BiPAP. If you find that you have trouble with CPAP, tell them and they will work to get you a BiPAP. It was like pulling teeth to get this CPAP, so I’m not even going to try to get something else.

Oh and here’s the myAir app screenshot. I love this app because before I didn’t have any data, this new machine actually sends the data to this app and now I can see what happens when I sleep.