picklesink

A mom, a dad, and two nutty kids.

What’s ha-pinning?

What, me? NO! I don’t know what you’ve heard, but I would never…NEVER!! I SWEAR!! I mean, probably never… NO! There are FOUR LIGHTS!!! I’ll never crack so OMG JUST STOP ASKING OKAY OKAY OKAY FINE I DID IT I JOINED PINTEREST NOW ARE YOU HAPPY???

How do I feel about Pinterest, you ask? I hate it. HATE IT. In a weirdly irresistible way. Do you remember Choose Your Own Adventures? I despised those books. I would read them through once the way you were supposed to, and then I would go back, choice by choice, to read each of the other possible paths in a logical, step-wise fashion, until I had uncovered all of the possible permutations. Pinterest is one giant, frustrating, inescapable, Choose Your Own Adventure. Trying to take it all in is like, as my big brother so aptly described the internet in 1995, drinking from a fire hose.

As a blogger, I decided that I needed a Pinterest presence, so I joined, but I have composed a Pinterest Code of Conduct  to keep my usage under control:

1. I will NOT travel more than 2 layers deep from any 1 pin (if I click on a pin, and it shows me a board, and I click on another pin on that board, I will NOT go any farther).

2. I will ONLY repin those DIY or craft ideas I can envision myself ACTUALLY DOING in the foreseeable future. Or ever.

3. I will NOT repin a pin without first clicking through to the original link, thus saving myself from the embarrassment of repinning something like this

Water marbles

Screenshot of infamous “water marbles” pin.
©PicklesINK 2013

with the caption, “Water marbles! Crazy how a few kitchen ingredients will make these. Weird, I can’t wait to try,” which when clicked, directs you not to the instructions you are expecting but instead to an article decrying the whole concept as a video hoax.

4. If I try something, and it doesn’t work, I will comment on it to save others the frustration. (WD-40 to clean your burner pans? DOESN’T WORK. Just FYI.)

Signed ______________________

I encourage you to take the Pinterest Pledge too!

Having waded through Pinterest for a couple of weeks, following the rules I set for myself, I do have one amazing success story — yesterday, combining ideas from a couple of pins (how to make a skirt out of a men’s shirt and how to make a child’s dress out of an old t-shirt), I FREAKING MADE A DRESS FOR MOLLY.

My to-do list for this week included:

To-do list

To-do list excerpt:
– learn to sew
– make cool stuff
©PicklesINK 2013

Simple enough, right? I had been looking at tutorials for how to make grown-up tank-top/t-shirt/men’s shirt dresses and got all excited to make one for myself. Then I tried to wrap one of Ian’s old shirts around my waist and realized that for it to work, either my hips had to be a size XXXS or the shirt had to be an XXXL.

New plan: Dress for Molly!

Molly in dress

Molly in upcycled shirt(s) dress.
©PicklesINK 2013

Without further ado, I present to you:

How to make a toddler dress out of a child’s t-shirt and a men’s dress shirt.

Please note I am the most NOVICE of sew-ers so my sewing instructions will be vague and the terminology probably entirely inaccurate.

You will need: scissors, child’s shirt, men’s dress shirt, sewing machine, pins.

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Child’s shirt, men’s shirt, scissors (not pictured: sewing machine, pins)
©PicklesINK 2013

1. Cut off the child’s shirt 1″ below where you want the skirt to be attached and cut off the men’s shirt just below the armpits or just below the pocket if there is one.

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Where to cut child’s shirt
©PicklesINK 2013

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Where to cut men’s shirt
©PicklesINK 2013

2. Sew a gathering seam on the men’s shirt: Set your stitch length to a long setting (4 or 5) and sew a seam all the way around about 1″ below where you cut. Knot one end of both threads and then pull on the other end, sliding the fabric back on the thread to gather it. Gather it until it is the same circumference as the bottom of the child’s shirt and then spread the gathers evenly and knot the other end of the threads. If I’m not explaining this well, Google it or check your sewing machine’s instruction manual, but you probably know how to do it better than I do!

3. Pin the top of the men’s shirt (now the skirt) and the bottom of the child’s shirt (now the bodice) together with the outsides facing in to each other.

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The inside of the dress at the waist seam.
©PicklesINK 2013

4. Sew this seam together. I tried to do this with a straight stretch stitch, but I don’t think I was particularly successful (it doesn’t really stretch) and still seams (heheheheh) fine. Now turn it right side out and admire your work!

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Finished dress. PRAISE ME!! PRAISE ME!!
©PicklesINK 2013

5. If there is a pocket, and if you want to, carefully detach the pocket from the leftover piece of men’s shirt and reattach it to the skirt (Molly LOVES pockets, so this was the highlight of the dress for her).

6. Show it to everyone you know, either in person or through the use of social media, because you are SEW FREAKING AWESOME!!!! <—- see what I did there??

Who knows? Maybe there’s hope for me and this Pinterest thing after all.

~ karyn

Four lights

There are FOUR lights (Pinterest logo).
©PicklesINK 2013

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Not to toot my own horn, but I am friggin’ SUPERWOMAN!!

A few days back, in the middle of a marathon laundry session, my front-load washing machine started gushing water out of the soap dispenser drawer. I shrieked for help and Molly and Ben raced upstairs and brought me back every towel in the house.*

Now, the last two times I have had appliances break down on me (washing machine and dishwasher), I called a local appliance-fixing guy named Dave, who each time spent about 15 minutes unscrewing a panel, unclogging a hose, and laughing at his own sexist jokes, charged me $300, and left, both times leaving the panel off and saying, “Yer husband can put that back on when he gets home from werk.” I mean, don’t get me wrong, he was nice and all…

So this time I thought, “What the hell? I’ll give it a shot. The worst that happens is I can’t fix it and have to call someone anyway.”

The next step was of course to contact my old pal Google for inspiration. Google said, “Hey babe! Been missing you! We should totally catch up some…what? Washing machine issues? Wow, so much for small talk. Whatever. Anyway, I know this guy…” and turned me on to the most entertaining washing machine repair video ever. No joke. Watch it through to the end.** Awesome, right?

Armed to the teeth with information, I dropped the kids off at school, dug up Ian’s socket set, and went to work. This is the machine, soap dispenser drawer removed. I’ll recap what you already know from watching the best video ever – When you start the wash cycle, water flows from the pipe in the wall into the “ceiling” of the soap dispenser thingy and dribbles through little holes into the soap/fabric softener drawer, then flows out through a hose which feeds into the drum. If the water is coming out the dispenser drawer, it is most likely because that hose is clogged.

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Washing machine (right) with soap dispenser drawer removed.
©PicklesINK 2013

The first step is to remove the washing machine cover. There are 3 hex cap screws/bolts (Some of my engineering-inclined readers may have differing opinions on the terminology so I included both. For their clarification, the items in question are threaded with a tapered end and a hexagonal head requiring the use of a socket tool rather than a screwdriver.) on the back of the machine that must be removed, and then the metal lid lifts off.

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Washing machine with cover removed. The white rectangle on the left is the top of the soap dispenser.
©PicklesINK 2013

The black rubber hose in the centre plugs into the drum casing but is not attached with any other hardware, so it just pops in and out. I thought at first that was the hose in question, so I pulled it out and checked. It wasn’t clogged so I plugged it back in. Since I thought that was the only hose, I then removed the panel at the bottom of the machine to check the drain trap. A clogged drain usually results in the washing machine just refusing to drain or to start at all, so if you have that problem, make this the first thing you check. It’s a good idea to check it occasionally anyway as a preventative measure.

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Bottom panel removed. The white cylinder is the drain trap. Quite a lot of water comes out when you take the lid off it – I needed more than just that one towel.
©PicklesINK 2013

That also required the removal of 3 screws and then a little bit of wiggling before it popped off. The white thing that looks like the Eye of Sauron is the cover of the drain trap. If you twist it anti-clockwise, stinky water will start dribbling and then pouring out, and if you remove it all the way (I recommend putting some sort of container underneath), the rest of the water plus many small objects you never knew you had lost including usually a couple of dollars in very dirty coins will emerge. It’s a good idea to place a fairly large shallow container underneath to catch the water before you open it (unlike I did).

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Containers of narsty water, 2 small socks, and several coins.
©PicklesINK 2013

After emptying the drain trap, I put the cover back on, put the soap drawer back in, started the machine, and…as it turns out, I had not in fact solved the problem. Remembering my Youtube friend’s need for a flashlight, a lightbulb went on over my head and I thought, “Eureka! I didn’t check the right hose!”

On closer inspection, there is another, larger hose from the main part of the dispenser that you can’t see from above. I felt around inside (sticking my hand under that white box you see in the second picture and reaching towards the front of the machine) and found it, unplugged it (by feel), and lo and behold, a small, wadded up blue sock fell out, rather the worse for the wear for its adventure.

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The hose in question, as seen by my camera and flash.
©PicklesINK 2013

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The sock that was at the foot of it all. I toed you I could do it!
©PicklesINK 2013

I stuck a finger through to see if there was anything else (there wasn’t), plugged the hose back in (again by feel), and started her up again, and Ta-da!! Success!! No more gushing water, it only took 45 minutes, and I saved $300 and the possibility of assault charges if Dave-the-repair-guy had made another crack about Ben’s kitchen toys being “women’s tools.”

Then, because I’m a jerk, I sent Ian this text:

Screenshot_2013-05-08-11-01-55

Text reads: So…Um…Remember when I said I thought I could fix the washing machine by myself?

~ karyn

*I hereby confess to a slight degree of plot-enhancing hyperbole. When I told the story to Ian, Ben corrected me. They did not bring me EVERY towel – as he correctly points out, there were still many dishtowels in the kitchen.

**My favourite part is, “I’ll try to find flashlight to see if I show you hose better. Just bear vith me vell I find flashlight…*camera pointing at floor and bumping around* Ah. Here is flashlight. Sorry about the vait.”

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