One of the things the DH and I did this year, was look at our heating situation. We have an old oil furnace at Chez Siberia and even without the issue of ‘buying foreign oil’, the thing is old. But replacing it would not change several issues involved with furnaces in houses:
1) They are all electric started so when we lost our power in the winter time, we also lost the heat.
2) Replacing it with a more efficient oil furnace would only make our burning foreign oil even more efficient. Cleaner, but still foreign.
So, we replaced our major source of heat in the house with a wood pellet stove in the living room with the oil furnace as a back up in case the weather got so horribly cold that we could not keep the house warm enough.
The is just one problem with wood heat – it’s dry. Really really dry. Like dries out your nose and your skin and makes you cough and gives you winter itch dry. So, we needed a source of moisture. (more…)
One of the aspects of our consumer economy is frankly the way we treat everything as disposable. Whether it’s clothing, kitchen equipment, or furniture, a lot of it is made so badly and cheaply that fixing things that go wrong is either impossible (you can’t get to the guts of the thing) or the parts to fix it with are more expensive than what you paid for it. But sometimes it’s worth it. Here are two examples:
I know a lot of people out there LOVE to go to thrift and consignment shops. Sometimes it’s for the bargain hunting and sometimes, it’s for vintage. But sometimes, what they’ve got is…just…not….perfect. And yes, Aunt Toby knows I covered this sort of thing before, but I think it bears repeating and re-demonstrating, which is when things are not perfect, (more…)
One of the great annoyances of life is not having an umbrella when you really need it. Another one is to open it up and find out that, damn, one of the attachments at the edge has broken off, or is missing, or has rotten out or something else. We’re not talking about damage like the picture at the top. that’s a total blow out and although with some manipulation, you might be able to get all the ribs back down, I’m not sure that anyone can turn it back into a usable umbrella. (more…)
The sheets supposedly chosen as being the finest (whatever that means – ‘best quality? Most comfy? Hardest wearing? No clue) in the world are supposedly made by Thomas Lee. They are 500 threat count pima cotton. best sheets They cost $239 regular/ $179 on special. That’s one fitted, one flat, and two pillowcases.
Now, it’s not that Aunt Toby and the DH are willing to sleep on burlap sacks. A good closely woven cotton (ok, perhaps with a bit of poly in it) sheet set is a joy to sleep on (more…)
I know for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s still summer (for my readers fro the Southern Hemi- file this away) and it’s rather difficult, especially given the temperatures experienced this summer, to think about winter, but it’s out there. And for those of us for whom winter has, ahem, a ‘special meaning’ (as in it can get so cold that you’ll freeze the insides of your nose), soaking up the warmth is really nice.
There are places in sewing an article of clothing that I like to call “drop dead points”. These are places where if you make a mistake, you might as well pitch the entire deal as trying to fix the item becomes truly onerous. The first one is at the cutting out stage; if you don’t measure your important bits on the paper pattern, you could end up cutting out the wrong size. Even if it’s too large, it’s a pain in the neck to fix. One of my favs is putting on a waistband. There have been a number of times when I’ve made slacks or a skirt which ‘seemed’ to fit me perfectly and then after I put on the waistband, the item looked hideous. (more…)
So, let’s say that you are holed up in an abandoned farm house and the zombies are attacking and the zipper on your fly breaks. Now, Aunt Toby realizes that perhaps at this moment you are not worrying about your pants falling down while a zombie eats your brains, but you never know. Here’s a way to repair that fly, keep your pants up so that you can pay proper attention to the zombies and perhaps get a few damaging licks in before they overwhelm you. I mean, Shaun would have made sure his fly was all fastened up..Right? (more…)
Aunt Toby’s repair basket probably has at least as many pairs of blue jeans that do NOT have rips or tears in them as she does the other sort. They are there because of ‘zipper failure’. Do not ask me why this happens – these zips started out life as vigorous metal zippers but many times lose the pull or the top stop or something and then the only thing holding the owner in is a hardy sense of decorum and the top button. And perhaps some safety pins. It’s really quite annoying because most of the time the zip fails before anything else fails and because we all see replacing a zip in an already finished garment as being too much work, the jeans end up in the repair basket or thrown away.