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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Desk Chair Recovery: Part One

Labor Day weekend was go weekend for reupholstering my desk chair. I've blogged previously about needing to add more foam to this old chair and the cover that was on the chair no longer fitting.

I had the fabric, I had my upholstery thread and needles, and I had advice from a woman I work with who actually took upholstery classes and redid more complex furniture than a desk chair. I steeled my nerves and set out to get it done.

I thought I had too much fabric and I should have ordered less, but after I laid out the old cover, drew a chalk line around it, and then drew a second chalk line about 6 inches out, I realized I did not have too much fabric. It's a good thing I ordered two yards.

I originally was going to use my rotary cutter, but when I saw how the fabric behaved to simply being unrolled, I opted for pinking shears instead to avoid fraying. I think this was the right decision and I'm happy I thought of it. I'm a new sewist and I've never done anything with upholstery fabrics before, so it was a learning experience.

I had a huge box of 100 clips. I used almost every one of them to clip around the circle of fabric before sewing. Curves are difficult for me to sew still and this massive thing is all curves.

I dug out the sewing machine and realized it had been so long since I'd used it that I'd forgotten how to wind the bobbin. I had to pull out the instruction book and curse my way through a few tries to get everything ready to go.

This seam is supposed to be wide enough to thread a wire through like I had on the previous chair cover. Now I need to execute this. Time to sew.

I didn't worry about top stitching because this part will be underneath the chair and no one will ever see it and it's easier for me to sew with the seam up than invisible to me. The woman at work who knows what she's doing said to go around twice, so I did. The second time was easier and I picked up the little areas where I missed fabric the first time.

Here's the fabric side of the seam. Now all I have to do is string the wire through and put it on the chair. It should be a piece of cake!

Spoiler alert: It was not a piece of cake. I needed to recover from this before I could revisit it in a blog post, hence the delay. Stayed tuned for Part Two of my chair adventures.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Review: Top Gun Maverick

I'll try not to give spoilers, but the movie has been out for a minute.

Over the weekend, I felt like watching a movie. Usually what happens is I go to Prime or Netflix, scroll around endlessly, give up, and watch something I own or watch the backlog of TV shows I have on the DVR. This time, that didn't happen.

Amazon had Top Gun: Maverick available for Prime members, which means free to watch! It took minutes to find and start the movie.

Top Gun: Maverick is the sequel to Top Gun which came out sometime in the 1980s. Sorry, too lazy to do a search for the info. Both movies star Tom Cruise. I will admit that I am not a huge Cruise fan and tend to avoid his movies, but I'd heard good things about the sequel and I did like Top Gun, so I decided to take a chance.

Pete Mitchell (Cruise) is a test pilot in the Navy when he receives orders to return to Top Gun and train a group of pilots on a difficult mission, one that only he has the skills to teach. Among the young pilots is the son of his friend Goose, who died during Top Gun training in the original movie. He's not a fan of Captain Mitchell.

There's also a side plot about a former lover he left behind at Top Gun--not the scientist from the original movie. She's never explained and it's never explained when or how he met the new woman.

Overall, I liked this movie. I would have preferred a little more focus on the younger pilots and a little less on Cruise's character, but I already admitted I'm not a fan of his. Maverick flew circles around the kids the entire movie and I'm not sure they ever bested him in any exercise, which also gave it a flavor of being all about Cruise and only Cruise.

That being said, it was exciting! The climax had me on the edge of my seat and I was like whew! when the climax ended. I feel like the scenes after the final climax needed a little more wrap up, especially the romance between Maverick and the bar owner, but that part almost felt thrown in to the movie anyway, so I'm not calling it a major flaw.

I'm giving it 4/5 stars. It was an awesome way to spend a couple of hours.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Themes and Brands

I was listening to a publishing podcast about branding while I was driving home from work this week. The branding conversation usually leaves me feeling overwhelmed because there's just so much there.

And the overwhelm frustrates me because I was an advertising copywriting major in college. This should be the kind of thing I vibe on and yet it's not. Not anymore.

But I was thinking about the types of books I write regardless of subgenre. As in I think all my books have this whether they're romantic suspense, paranormal romance, or science fiction romance. There were two things I came up with:

1. While my stories have a foot in reality, they're a little over the top.

My favorite movies are Speed, The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, and The Terminator. They all have action, adventure, and romance. And they all also require the suspension of disbelief. All fiction calls for this, but these movies need a bit more. This is what I like to watch. This is what I like to write. So if a reader is looking for gritty realism, I'm probably not their author.

2. My heroes and heroines always work together even if they don't necessarily get along with each other. At least at first.

This was never something I wrote intentionally, but I noticed it as a pattern in my writing a few stories in. For example, Wicked Salvation. Griff and Cat do not like each other at the start. They might be attracted to each other, but if she didn't need his help, there is no way she'd be hanging out with him.

Same for Griff, but for other reasons. He has never been able to walk away from a woman in need of assistance. He wants to walk away from Cat. She irritates the hell out of him, no matter how much he wants to sleep with her. But if she's hellbent on her ruby rescue plan, he can't let her do it alone because he knows how much danger she's in.

Another piece of them working together is that they learn to like each other before they fall in love. Again, not something I deliberately set out to do, but in hindsight, yes, it's important for a relationship for the couple to like each other, so it works for me.

But while I have these two things that cross my books, how does this build a brand? I don't know.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Weirdness and Bling

I have a crazy amount of apps that count my steps. Four of them. What's even crazier is that at the end of the day, none of them agree with each other. Literally, no two are alike.

A couple of them show ads. :-( I don't like this, but I don't look at them often enough to pay to get rid of them. One of them, though, showed an ad that startled me. It was for drug rehab.

Do enough people who use fitness trackers have a drug problem to make this advertising provide a solid Return On Investment (ROI) or is this one of those things where the advertiser just buys space and an aggregator shifts it out to whatever apps it thinks are best? I have no idea, but it wasn't an advertiser I expected to see.

I've been doing shorter lengths for the virtual races because there's one through the Amazon rainforest that I bought and that one is long. Okay, there are two versions. One is sort of long and one is really long, designed for cyclists and marathon runners, but I'm planning to do the really long route because I want to see as much of the Amazon as possible.

But because this race will take most of a year to complete, I'm trying to finish all my other races first. I'm doing them shortest to longest. I have a few more left to go before I can tackle the Amazon.

I finished London, though, and I finished Conquer 2023. Conquer 2023 allows you to set your own distance--I picked 1300 KM--and I ran it concurrently with my other races, so it wasn't an actual race. You know I like my race bling!

Thursday, September 07, 2023

Chair Project: Mini Update

I'm feeling a little daunted right now.

The upholstery fabric arrived. I ordered two yards without really paying too much attention to how long the fabric was. It's almost as tall as I am. One yard would have been plenty. I guess I have a lifetime supply of chair covers.

Today, the upholstery thread, needles, and the twill tape arrived. It appears as if I'll be short on the twill tape, but I'm not sure I need it. I ordered it because the original office chair cover used it around the seams.

Now what?

I assume I roll it out and use the original cover as some kind of loose template? I need it slightly bigger since there's more cushion. I need the sides longer, too, for the same reason.


I'm not in procrastination mode while I psych myself up to tackle this. Why did I think I (a brand new sewist) could do this?