DIY: a thrifty alternative to the screen door.

I love screen doors, but I hate having to open and close them all day long, every time a cat or a dog wants in. Or out. Or in again. Years ago I devised a solution…curtains instead of screens!

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I love the way they waft in the breeze.

Dogs, cats & people go in and out as they please, all day long. Okay, a few bugs, too, but not too many. Not even enough to wrinkle your nose at.

014We needed a new one for the front door, so yesterday I went to the thrift store, spent $2.00 and came home with three lace curtain panels.

016The one I decided on for the front door wasn’t quite long enough, so this afternoon I sewed a sleeve from a fun pink and yellow print from my stash. The colour of happiness is pink (with yellow.) Did you know that?

013And because it’s so friggen hot today, I couldn’t be bothered to pull out my Janome and fuss with setting it up. All those cords, and a foot petal and all. Jeeze, Louise.   I used my pretty Singer hand crank instead.

009I like the way the pattern sort of mimics the lace. And I love the bright colour of the quilting cotton.

006Do you want to make one, too? Here’s how I did it: I used a tension rod on the inside of the door frame. An 8″ strip folded in half makes a generous sleeve. Be sure to leave at least an inch of space between the bottom of the curtain and the floor; otherwise, people and pets will step on it and pull it down. Don’t worry, it’ll still keep 99% of the bugs out.

021Voila! Beautiful and under $2.00. My little hippy heart is so happy! Take that, retirement budget!

Enter the MOOC: free online education

“You can go downtown,” I used to say to my son, “but you can’t just hang. You have to have something to do.” I abhorred the thought of my kid just hanging around Main Street, looking bored. 

I’ve felt sort of like one of those teenagers these last few weeks. Just hangin’. An aimless Hum-de-dum-dum, not wanting to do any of the things on my to-do list. You know the feeling.

Before I retired, I yearned for unstructured time. Now that I’ve got it, I find myself yearning for some structure! Thus my feelings of contrariness.

No, I don’t want to go back to work, so don’t even suggest it.  I just want a little something-something in the way of a schedule. Because I’m not as good with unstructured time as I thought I was.

In my working life, I was an administrative assistant at Yukon College.  One of the great things about working there was being totally immersed in an atmosphere of teaching and learning.  In fact, practically my entire life revolved around teaching and learning. I taught dance classes for 15 years, I traveled “outside” regularly to pursue my education as a dance artist and teacher and I took an assortment of college courses in the evenings.

As I sit here writing, I realize that that’s what’s missing. Teaching and Learning! Especially the Learning.

Enter the MOOC.

MOOC is an acronym for Massive Open Online Course. These are (non-credit) university courses that are open to anyone, anywhere. As long as you have access to a computer and the internet, you can take a course. And best of all, the courses are free!

Part of retiring early (early 50s instead of mid-late 60s) was accepting the challenge of learning how to live successfully on a tight budget. So you can imagine how attractive the word FREE is, especially when followed by the word EDUCATION! Lol!

The other day I discovered The Open University’s Future Learn program. Within minutes, I’d signed up for a course: Start Writing Fiction.  The course starts at the end of April, and I can’t wait for class assignments, assigned readings, critical thinking and deadlines! I realize that makes me a bit of a geek. Too bad, so sad. It’s the way I roll. I might even sign up for a second class!

If you are interested, here’s the link to the courses Future Learn offers.

What would you like to learn?

Another Vintage New Look 6510: are you kidding me?

Well, what can I say?

007It was Valentine’s Day and for the very first time I was going to a Big Band dance as a general audience member and not as the bari player! A gal needs a new dress for such a monumental occasion, don’t you agree? I mean…I held down the bottom end for what…17+ years… and never heard ’em out front! Not once! Calls for a new dress, don’t ‘cha think?

003And reason #2 (as if I need a reason #2 to sew a dress): the Big Band is in Whitehorse, duh! Which meant that I was going home back to my beloved Yukon for a whole week! In February! Whoot whoot!

Valentines Day 2015I had a fabulous time! My in-laws were there. My sisters-in-law & brother-in-law was there, my niece was there. My number-one-son was there. My girlfriends were there!

006Yes, these photos are taken on the deck of our little cabin in the woods at Fox Lake. In the Yukon! On a very balmy day, I might add! Excuse the wrinkles…suitcase, you know. And while I do have an antique iron at the cabin and can heat it up on the wood stove, I don’t have an ironing board there anymore. (note to Whitehorse friends…if you see a cheep ironing board at the Sally Ann, grab for me!)

014Why yet another version of the vintage New Look 6510 shift dress? Because I only decided to sew the dress the day my flight left. Yup! You read that right. I woke up in the morning and said to myself, “Nita, you have 3 hours. You should sew a Valentine’s Day dress.” And of course the only dress I have ever sewn is this one, and I knew I could do it fast.

013I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the dress as one piece. So I split it at the “adjust length here” line. In retrospect, that was the wrong place. I should have split it at the natural waist. Because when I wear a belt, it sits up on the bottom of my ribcage. Not the most comfortable spot to wear a belt…

008And because I am Thrifty Retirement Girl (♫ insert super-heroine music ♫)… guess what? The dress .25. YES!!! I made this dress for twenty-five cents. Out of three pillowcases. Yes, pillowcases. From the thrift store. Ha Ha!

004Gotcha!

(this post is dedicated to my friend Cynde who just can’t get over it, lol!)