Saturday, August 9, 2014

What to do with your Basement

I have a copy of the 1934 booklet put out by the Public Service Company of Northern Illinois, titled "Your Basement  What to do with it .... How to do it"

"The Jazz Age is past and American Home is coming into its own again, as the scene of a more wholesome, closely knit family life. Surest is the question that children and parents alike are asking, "How in the world can we find space for all the home parties, home hobbies, home pleasures that we want to enjoy?"

Seventeen different suggestions are given, but the one that caught my eye first was this one:

Theatre and Pistol Range

Click to embiggenate any of these ...

" ... archery practice, pistol shooting and the presentation of home movie shows."


The construction of the back wall is interesting.

Sorry about the quality of the images. If there is interest, I can try to get scans.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

America's Night Out

Last night Sweet Daughter and I attended our local "America's Night Out", and as I've done every year we've gone, I open carried. Last year the sheriff asked if I was a LEO. I said no. He asked why I was carrying then, and I pointed at SD who was participating in some activity, and said "To keep her safe. And make your job a little easier." He pretty much grinned and gave me a metaphorical thumbs up. I like our sheriff.

This year the only comment I got was from a boy about 10 years old.

"Is that a gun?"


"Are you an AGENT??"

"No. Agents don't have 'Hello Kitty' stickers on their magazines."

"Then why ...?"

[Pointing at SD] "To keep her safe. And me, too. I can't run as fast as I used to."

And then I told him about some of the guns I shot at NEBS last weekend. I think his poor head was going to explode as he tried to process the concept ... middle aged mom ... pistol ... machine guns ...  And since our county has one middle school, and one high school ... maybe he'll spread the word about SD's crazy mom, and the boys will be less of a problem in another few years .

The fire department did a demo where a pan of bacon was set on a stove on "high" and left to catch fire. There was a good speech on how fire needs heat, fuel and oxygen to burn, and how eliminating one will put the fire out. Then they explained why water was a bad idea for a grease fire, and threw some on the bacon flambé. It made a beautiful cloud of flame ... and then went out. They put out a grease fire with water.

So, they tried again (all the while emphasizing that just getting out of the house in case of a fire was also a very good option). This time was to demonstrate how a grease fire will catch the cabinets on fire. This also failed, but as I pointed out to an EMT standing next to me, this was a new mock-up of a kitchen. That cabinet had not been saturated with cooking grease for the past ten years. We were shown how to put out a fire with wet towels, flour, and/or a fire extinguisher. All good things to see demonstrated, even if our fire department stinks at actually setting things on fire.

Another demo was done with our new K-9. We have two now. This one actually got put to work earlier in the day, when a gentleman walked into the courthouse and asked if there were any warrants out for his arrest. This was checked, and answered in the affirmative, and the dude turned and ran. Ruger got sent after him, and performed admirably.

"Ruger?" I asked the EMT next to me. "Why is it always 'Ruger'? Why isn't it ever 'Hi-Point'?"

The next demonstration was almost watching the removal of Diet Pepsi from the lungs of said EMT. At least he has a sense of humor.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Weekend

So, I did this.

Of the 59 hours I was gone, over 25 were spent in a vehicle driven by somebody who has a "road rage" tag on his blog. The trip was never boring, I can say that much. The stream-of-consciousness that at times just fell out of my blogfather's mouth was staggering. And entertaining. And I learned a few new compound words.

All the nice things people say about this event and group of people are true!

I got to meet Maj. L. Caudill, USMC (Ret) in the flesh. And he fired my Brown Bess.

This was a great idea. Muskets get messy.
I shot lots of stuff, and to be honest ... I'm still trying to sort the blur that was the weekend. As always, everyone was very generous and helpful. And ... towards the end of the day, we prepared for the bayonet charge.

"That's not a bayonet ..."
I brought these:

Sweet Daughter was brought along to the thrift shop to help pick out the victims. Clifford (we both HATED the TV show) obligingly erupted stuffing when shot, but the scary doll with the dead eyes and bunny rabbit nose JUST WOULDN'T DIE.

So, time to run them through with a bayonet charge. The doll ended up skewered right through the head, and Clifford?

" ...pour encourager les autres"
The bunny doll still didn't seem damaged enough. And that's when I spied a red paw. It was Elmo from a previous shoot. So the undead zombie doll was dispatched to keep Elmo company.

Maybe somebody will bring a flamethrower next year, and we can kill it for good.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Water update

I woke up on Tuesday morning at 4:30, wondering how much water was in my back yard. Once the sun came up, I could check! Increased flow in the driveway ...

And in the new "creek" in the back yard.


I called the county back ... it turns out there was a worse leak that needed attention on Monday. Tell that to my back yard ...

They showed up about 10:30 and started digging. It didn't take long for them to figure out that they couldn't shovel water faster than it was being replaced. So they got in their truck and left. About a half hour later the returned with a truck that had a pump and a holding tank.

By now, all that clay they dug up was finding its way to the bottom of my driveway and was clogging the drain in front of the garage. No way I was leaving until the water stopped in case my garage flooded and I had to figure out what wasn't in a plastic tub and needed to get moved.

They finally got the truck pumping faster than the leak so I went to work. I came home to find the leak repaired, but the access to my water meter now well above grade. Probably because of all the dirt ended up here covering my drain:
Of course, the county has said nothing about the damage in my back yard, or come to get the two bright orange traffic cones they've left by the water meter.
I'm thinking since I've already begun digging the trench, I might just want to go ahead and extend the drain hose down to the edge of the property. Once I fill in that giant underground hole ...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Water, water everywhere ...

Last February I found a very nice note of my front door from my county meter reader telling me there was a leak on my side of the meter. Called a plumber, got it fixed and went on my merry way.

Until this morning when Sweet Daughter and I were headed out the door at 8:00.

I dashed up to where the water meter is, kicked off my black heels, pulled the cover and saw more water gushing out than last February. Still in my office clothes, I grabbed a bucket and started bailing. Now, in February, the meter reader explained that he was supposed to tell me that we are not supposed to use our own meter key to shut off the water. So let's just say I managed to stop the numbers on my meter from moving. I took SD to day camp, came back and there was more water than before. So, I called the county and informed them of the leak and that it sounded like it was on their side of the meter ... since I had my side repaired in February.

According to a neighbor, they send somebody out at 10:00 and they did ... nothing.

All that water coming down the driveway? It empties into the back yard. Which is now a swamp. And it's continuing to flow faster and time goes on. SD and I dug a trench when we got home to sort of direct the flow a bit.


You can't really tell, but the water is coming out faster than if I had a garden hose on at full blast.

I'll be calling the county when their office opens in the morning. And frequently thereafter, I'm thinking.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

How to make inexpensive 18th century shoes for kids

Well, not make, exactly, but how to make "acceptable" ones on a budget.

The hobby standard is to use black oxfords with black tights or knee socks. Not cotton Mary Jane canvas flats, but lace-up shoes. They sort of disappear, or at least become neutral instead saying "LOOK AT MY PURPLE CROCS UNDER MY GOWN!"

Black oxfords can be picked up at Goodwill for a couple of dollars. If you look closely ...

... you can see the padded ankle and the huge clunky heel and the laces, but it general, it doesn't detract from the overall outfit.

When I made the white cross-barred muslin gown for Sweet Daughter, I knew I'd have to step things up a bit. She was going to need white stockings and the shoes were going to be noticeable. I found these shoes,

and thought "What the heck? The price isn't awful, and they have a round toe with no seam, and sort of a buckle ..." The tongues turned out to be absolutely ridiculous, and so I trimmed them back. But not enough ...

And they scuffed terribly after only being worn two days.
They were absolutely "\costume" quality.
So I decided to spray paint them red with Fusion paint designed for plastics. I cut the tongues down some more, masked the heels and soles, and sprayed them red. I figured when they get scuffed up again, I''lljust give them another squirt of red paint.
I ordered some inexpensive oval brass buckles (well inexpensive compared to real shoe buckles) and substituted them for the cheap rectangular pot-metal ones. The shoes are till scuffed, but they look a LOT better.
An easier way to make more passable shoes is to take a pair of  thrift store oxfords and cut them down. See the lower profile? Cut down past the first row of grommets. You can touch up the cut edge with a black Sharpie.
Then cut away under the second row of grommets. Cut away so that you have finger-shaped tabs and tie with a silk ribbon.

Same pair of shoes ... after being cut down and before. Quite the difference, eh?

The next project will be thrift store shoes cut down and painted red!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Once in a while, you hit the jackpot

I started researching images for Sweet Daughter's "turban" to go with her muslin gown, and hit the mother lode. Reinette had already compiled an amazing collection of images.

Here are a few images (all shamelessly stolen from the above site) to whet your whistle.