Sharing the fun and creativity in my world and encouraging the same in yours.

Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

The Night Before Delivery

(A nod to Clement C. Moore’s The Night Before Christmas.)

The Night Before Delivery

Twas the night before delivery
When all through our home
We were sweating, trying to sleep
but tossing and turning, dreaming of gnomes.

The area was cleared, laundry was done and removed
For we had received a phone call with news…oh, what news!

What had planned to be a Wednesday delivery
Had been moved up to Tuesday. Oh gee!

So Hubby in his boxers and I in my pj’s
Had finally settled down for a cozy night of sleep…NAY!

When out in the driveway there sounded a loud beep!
I rushed to the kitchen and made ready to greet.

Opening the garage door I threw up the switch
Turned on the light and I began to twitch!

***

The sun on the pavement and bright white truck & van
Made my heart flutter as my eyes tried to scan.

Hark! What to my tired and bleary eyes should appear?
But a van and two trucks with five workmen in gear.

With a tall young driver, so prompt and polite
I knew in a moment, everything would be alright.

More rapid than greyhounds, introductions were made.
And he pointed and shouted and called them by name.

“Here’s Todd. Now Dave! Now Michael and Dixon!
Now on to the plans we have for a fixin’.
To the inside of the garage and the side of the house!
We need to detach, remove, install and replace for her spouse!”

As bees set to work on cleaning the hive
When they carry the debris to the outside,
So on to the old units the workmen encroached
With a truck full of tools and the Supervisor’s approach.

And then in a flurry, I heard the men chatter
Then the clinking and clanking of wrenches and hammer.

As I withdrew to my home, and was closing the door
The Supervisor quickly said, “There is more!”

***

He was dressed in his uniform, so clean and so pressed
A striking comparison to me who was so rumpled and depressed.

A clipboard and pen were ready at hand,
He went over the details, waved over my land.

***

His eyes were so bright! His smile so happy!
His demeanor so nice! Whereas I was quite flappy!

His voice was too pleasant for me at this early time.
And I almost swore that he may have mimed!

But the clipboard he held with pen tight in his hand
Was bouncing and moving as if in a band.

He told me of supplies, measurements, time, and expectations.
With barely 5 hours of sleep, I’m not sure I heard all the information.

He was fairly thin and agile, a right pleasing good fellow.
And I laughed when he told me I would soon be able to mellow.

A flick of his head to his workers, the four
And he was off for supplies for an hour or more.

When he came back with supplies, the workers they pounced.
They were ready to finish. They grabbed, strolled and bounced.

And turning again, he drove off with a wave,
And I turned and walked wistfully back into my cave.

***

Then the team called me out, the new HVAC was installed!
And they all drove away. I was so glad I called.

 And I heard their comments so clear in my head,
“Happy Sleeping to you!” The four of them said.

Copyright 2012 – All rights reserved.


Hedge Planting Disaster

When I look back on this hot and humid summer, one of the most disappointing yet comical gardening lessons I’ve learned is that hedges don’t necessarily like sunWho knew?

Oops! Lesson learned.

You see, I was in need of a change and wanted to get my hands dirty and didn’t have any money to spend.  Rather than rearrange my living room furniture, I felt the need to re-arrange my yard.  It would be great, I decided.  I needed to get outside more, I wanted some physical activity.  Yup, the decision was made and I was on a mission.

There was an added benefit.  It was something the family could do together.  You know,sweat together, stay together”?  I recruited my son, who was home from college and my husband, who came up with the idea of creating a fence with them, and we spent a few hours out in the hot sun digging them up, then transplanting them into new holes.

Wheelbarrow in hand, we also used our neighbor’s extra compost in the holes.  Hey, they begged us.  More than a month prior to this, they had an entire truckload of compost delivered, and found it was much more than they could use.  They were desperate to get rid of the pile near their driveway.  I happily complied.  See?  Everything was working out.  It would be great! 🙂

I couldn’t wait to move these darn things; I hated those hedges along the front of the house.  They were growing toward the sun so were quite askew and a couple were downright scrappy on the backside (see photo).  I thought that if I gave them full sun on all sides, they would fill out and create a nice, inexpensive (FREE) border fence for our side yard.  Logical, rational thinking, right?

And, as someone who has worked for a plant nursery and grew up on a 2-acre piece of property with access to even more acreage…hence, a medium farm and many gardens…well, you’d think I’d know better!

Well, it turns out I’ve never planted hedges before so it never dawned on me that some hedges might NOT like full sun!  I’ve planted hundreds, no, thousands of vegetables, plenty of flowers, even some trees but I’ve never planted hedges.  And that part of my brain that KNOWS all plants have different sunlight needs? Yeah, that part simply did not kick in…at all…as you can see. 😦

Yeah, yeah, go ahead and laugh. I hear you anyway.  It’s okay.  I can’t help but chuckle and shake my head myself.

What gardening and/or planting lessons have you learned this summer?  Please share so I know I’m not alone in this…please. 😀

Copyright 2011 – All rights reserved.

How Much Do Typists Charge?

(Updated: 10/30/2014. Although fees for transcription work haven’t changed in the last three years, I did add a couple of qualitative statements to update this post for accuracy’s sake.)

In August 2011, @literaticat posed a question I’ve often seen. As I tweeted, my Virgo side came out in me, (which is very easily done since I am a Virgo), and I inundated her with information. I thought it would be of interest to others asking this same question, hence, this post.

She asked, “Do you pay by the page or by the hour? How much?” and “How long…” would it take someone to type 250 pages? Like all things in life, there are general guidelines and rules and there are always exceptions to those rules. This is one of those cases.

In my experience, most typists (someone who transcribes work from tape or paper to computer), proofreaders, and editors charge by page. There are some, however, who do charge by hour.

Also, depending upon the project and client, sometimes they will calculate a fee for the entire project for you, if it’s more convenient. Many variables go into that lump sum project fee.

If it is strictly transcribing with no proofreading or editing needed, the going rate looks to be about $1.50-$5.00 per page. Most of the freelance writers I know charge between $1.50-$3.00 per page* for straightforward transcription services.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: This cost per page means per finished page. If you give your typist 10 pages and it results in 12 finished pages (after editing, proper formatting, etc.), you pay for 12 pages.

Factors that the typist or transcriptionist considers in their rate quote:

  1. How difficult is the handwriting/voice or notes to transpose?
  2. Is there special formatting required? (contracts, master’s thesis, dissertation requirements, etc.)
  3. Is this a rush job?
  4. Does the work require proofreading and/or editing?
  5. Is it in a specialized field where one needs to learn or already know the jargon like in the medical or technical industry?

These are just some of the many questions you can expect to be asked and which need to be answered to calculate the cost of your project, whether by page or by hour.

The industry standard in the writing world is 250 words per page even though we all know there are some books out there in a variety of new sizes these days.

Let’s go with 250 words per page divided by 90 wpm (words-per-minute) = 2.78 minutes per page x 250 pages = 695 minutes = 11.58 hours.

So, it would cost $375 at $1.50 per page for 250 pages to be typed and it would take about 12 hours to complete.

Sounds like a lot but these figures are actually lower than what some transcribers are charging and getting paid, according to the EFA: Editorial Freelancers Association. For example, in a highly specialized market and the knowledge needed, technically and/or medically, some freelancers charge $5.00 per page:  250 pages x $5.00 = $1250.

Now, the amount of time it would take someone to type 250 pages has a few factors involved. Along with those 12 hours, you, as the client, need to add in several hours for the typist to proofread their own work to give you quality results. And that’s what you want, right? Quality results.

Hard at work writing for two blogs, and see that view? Great for thinking and brainstorming!

Don’t forget to consider that you can’t expect someone to type 4-to-8 hours consecutively, non-stop. Ever hear of carpal tunnel, my friends? It’s painful and I speak from more than 35 years of professional typing experience as an executive secretary and writer doing transcription, proofreading, editing, and writing work for a variety of people and companies.

You don’t want to rush the job so much that the person puts in 3-to-4 hours of straight typing only to have carpal tunnel set in and they can’t finish the rush jobPlan ahead!!

The transcriber typing at 90 wpm should be able to have a 250-page project transcribed and proofread in 4 or 5 days, realisticallyIf they can give you the completed work sooner, then great!!  🙂

For comparison, someone who types 45 wpm would need almost 24 hours to type these same 250 pages. They would probably need 7 or 8 days to complete transcription and proofreading.

Please do visit the Editorial Freelancers Association to see in a clear table form the range of fees typists (transcribers), proofreaders, editors, writers charge. Remember, you are paying this person for their training, years of experience, expertise, time, and effort as well as for their knowledge and usage of the English language. Appreciate these facts when quoted a price-per-page or price-per-hour.

To put things into perspective for those thinking that $1.50 per page is too much:  30+ years ago, I typed pages (on a typewriter!!!) while in college for other students and I charged $1.00 per finished page which included light editing and proofreading.

So I don’t think $1.50 per page for transcribing your work** into a clear format onto a computer in the year 2014 is bad at all for an error-free, white-out free, permanent electronic piece of work. It’s actually on the extremely reasonable end of the range!

**Again, it’s important to note that the cost per finished page increases if you want your project proofread, edited, and corrected, and/or if there are any other special requirements and/or factors involved.

Note: All of these calculations and figures are guesstimates based on a number of outlined factors and not on an individual client’s or transcriptionist’s needs, requirements, expertise, and talent. These figures are provided strictly as some sort of guideline for those interested in hiring a transcriptionist/typist. I hope they are helpful.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

UPDATE: As of 2015, I am no longer taking any editing, proofreading, transcription, typing, or writing work.

Copyright 2011-2016.  All rights reserved.

Window Boxes vs. a Garden

Red Hibiscus - We still have this plant!!

While living in apartments, I was successful growing cherry tomatoes in an outdoor container (we had a south-facing, full-sun front door).  That same location was also great for hibiscus as long as I kept the plant adequately fertilized.  I have, however, missed having a full vegetable garden.

So when we bought our first house 10 years ago, I couldn’t wait to plan and plant our first full-size vegetable garden.  But first, we had to deal with the trees.  I call them ‘balls-on-a-stick’ pine trees because they are tall pine trees with hardly any branches until the top. Then they form kind of a ball of branches and needles.  It really does look like a ball on a stick.  And the needles?  They are LONG, at least 12-16 inches in length!  We spent months getting rid of the three-foot deep side yard of pine needles when we moved in.

The trees, themselves, were dangerous in many ways.  A lot of them were very close to the house.  In fact, you could step on either our front or back porch and casually reach out and touch the trees.  Their pine cones, when green and dense, would come plummeting down from above, and my son and I almost got hit a few times while walking in our yard.  Also, during any sort of windy storm, parts of dead branches would literally spear themselves into our roof.  After a few patches, my husband was getting tired of repairing our roof and I worried about even larger branches crashing right through it.

One day, during a particularly active thunder and lightning storm, a HUGE lightning strike zapped the tallest pine tree in our yard.  The tree removers guesstimated it was about 130 feet tall, almost too tall for them to remove.  That strike scored a winding trail down that tree and I waited with bated breath to hear and feel the crash of the entire tree (or a very large branch) smash onto our house.

We were lucky, nothing fell but that strike took out our a/c, fried the motor on our dishwasher and my computer modem, fried the two phone chargers…everything but the fax machine (go figure!).  When we took a look around the yard, we noticed scars of previous lightning strikes on a number of the trees and it was decided:  the trees had to go.

We spent thousands of dollars removing 29 trees and felt much safer both indoors and out.  I was thrilled with finally getting some sun in our yard for my garden when we discovered roots!  Oh, the roots in our yard!!  They were everywhere and ran barely one-to-two inches below the soil and deeper.

Ok, let’s face it, it’s not soil here in Florida, it’s sand.  Every time we tried to dig, we were jolted to a stop by a root.  Some were only 1/2-inch in diameter but others were up to five-to-six inches in diameter!  We also discovered the soil was in very poor condition due to the acidity of the pine needles.  I had to reconsider growing a traditional vegetable bed.

I decided on raised beds and some container gardening but then the recession hit and the vegetable garden had to wait.  However, I wasn’t giving up altogether.  I designed simple window boxes for flowers.  Beautiful flowers!

See how much fuller the left side is of these Red Impatiens? That side gets the morning sun. 🙂

It was a family project.  I explained the design to my husband, he built them and secured them to the house, our son painted them and helped me staple in the liners.  I filled them with soil, then planted and watered the flowers...and Voila!

Unfortunately, the window box near my office didn’t fare so well.  Between slugs chewing the young growth and squirrels digging in it (at times, I thought I’d break the window banging on it so many times to keep them out), it’s had some flowers but not as full as the window above.  And, the third window box?  Here, let me show you what happened:

Poor plants. 😦 I really do need to yank these things out of there.

Something ATE my flowers!!!  The only thing I can think of that could reach this high (there’s nothing to jump from around it) would have to be deer.  I did hear about some deer bounding through some neighbors’ yards several years ago but it’s not like we live in a rural area.  It’s a regular neighborhood.  Lots of houses, pleasant-sized yards.  Deer…they’re the only thing I can think of that would nibble all the flowers off my plants.  😦

Despite these annoying yet sometimes humorous setbacks, and the fact that this isn’t the diverse vegetable garden I ultimately want, it is a bit of gardening that brings joy and beauty to our lives, even if it’s only until an animal eats them. 😀

Copyright 2011 – All rights reserved.

There’s a dragon in my computer!

As I scanned the photographs I had just taken for my Writing Page, I was surprised to see a dragon peeking at me from inside my computer!  I can only guess that the sketch of a dragon my son drew many years ago (see to the left of my computer), has finally come to life!

Click to enlarge to get the full effect.

  Ummm….Now what?

Copyright 2011 – All rights reserved.

Progress!

Peeking in to get an update?

With six topic pages completed (About, Costumes, Gardening, Money-Saving Tips, Projects, and Recipes) and two more to go (Solutions and Writing), I’m feeling pretty darn good about this creative blog!  I’ve already come up with several drafts for future posts as I’m learning to hold back on some information and ideas.

I like to talk and I like to write…and it shows.  My posts can be 1,000-2,000 words easily but I’m learning to tighten them up and save some information for the next day or the next.  I think that’s an important lesson for me or anyone blogging.  If you can get two-to-three posts from one post, do it!  It will save you time, energy and bring your audience back for more. 🙂

I’m not sure I’m going to try to structure my posts as I attempted to do on my other blogs.  It doesn’t seem to work for me.  What I am shooting for is this: writing at least two blog posts per week.  If I end up blogging every day, then woo-hoo!!  But if I blog twice a week?  I’ll still celebrate my accomplishments for that.  Oh, and I’m not setting any particular days either.  I know one writer who publishes her posts twice a week on established days.  That doesn’t seem to work for me either.

I’ve also seen one blogger who is very well-known but she only posts once a month due to the labor-intensive creative aspect of her blog entries.  It’s an entire week’s worth of cartoon strips that she draws so I can understand that it’s a lot of time and work for her to post, and you know what?  It works for her!

So tell me, do you have a set schedule and does it work for you?  If not, then do you blog when the mood strikes or certain events occur in your life, or as time allows?

Copyright 2011 – All rights reserved.

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

Welcome!

For several months now, I have written drafts of pages and blog entry ideas for this fun, new blog.  I’ve noodled around with all the settings, transferring photographs from my old computer to this one, taking new pictures, and letting my mind work out how I want to share my experiences, projects, and knowledge with you. 🙂

Sneak Preview

Included in this creative space, will be all sorts of fun adventures in the following topics:

  • Costumes (and other sewing projects like place mats, Christmas stockings, etc.)
  • Gardening and nature
  • Money-saving tips (I save between $10,000-$12,000+ a year in many ways and can’t wait to share them with you!)
  • Projects (designing furniture like a file bench, office desk, creative interior painting, and some crafting)
  • Recipes, (including dairy-free and egg-free meals) 😀
  • Solutions for every-day tasks
  • Writing (fiction and non-fiction)

Included in each post, there will be wonderful photographs taken by my talented son and a few taken by me.  I hope you enjoy your visit! 🙂

If any of the above topics pique your interest, please subscribe to see what’s new!  Thank you! 🙂

Copyright 2011 – All rights reserved.