Five Questions Friday: My Boss is a Jerk

Q: What are somefive-questions-doll-pickles-basket common misconceptions people have about being a Basket Maker?
Eric: That it’s easy, hence the phrase “I took underwater basket making for easy credits.” Mostly, when I’m asked what I do and I say I’m a basket maker,  I get a confused look and that’s usually the end of the conversation. Until my wife jumps in and explains what I do, better than I can.
(editor’s note: If you know Eric, you know that self-marketing is not his strong point. He does not talk about himself! But he’s getting better since I told him it’s about his product! Not him. When I remind him of that, he shines since his craftsmanship is amazing and he knows it! Sounds like a good post for the future – how to talk about yourself as an artist and your work!)

I think people give little thought about baskets and just see the cheap imports in the stores. Not all baskets are equal, like not all furniture is equal. It takes a lot of time, concentration and skill. It’s far from easy. Do you know no one has figured out how to build a machine to make a basket? Every basket, even the cheap ones, are made by human hands.
(editor’s note: I did not know that basket making has never been automated before I met you. I cannot believe that some baskets are only pennies from cheapo stores. From someone who has only made about three baskets in her life, I can say that it is very difficult and time-consuming. That’s why I have only made three baskets… I like stuff easy and quick. Walk in my studio and you will see about 15 unfinished projects all going on at once.)

Q: What do you consider to be the best “perks” of your job?
Eric: Not having a boss is number one. My usual motto is “I like working for myself, but my boss is a real jerk.”

Q: I’m “publicly” thanking you for taking Chance to the vet yesterday. So how was it at the Vet’s office?
Eric: I almost moved this question to “what annoyed me the most this week.” What a racket these folks have going. “Hey pal, I’m only here to get a few shots so he can continue to go into boarding when needed. Can you try to let me get out of here under a couple hundred bucks?”

Our dog is as strong as an ox with more energy than Lance Armstrong after a blood transfusion and these guys had a list of over five hundred dollars worth of tests and meds they wanted to give him. They also figured out a way to split up the shots so that they can get you in there twice a year. No wonder we’re both “starving artists.”
(editor’s note: I think we should change that phrase to “Starving Artists with a Dog.”)

Q: What’s for dinner tonight?
Eric: Don’t know, whatever is in the fridge. Can you say “Who eats breakfast for dinner!” (Refer to the post here to see what Eric is referencing.)

Q: What annoyed you this week?
Eric: The New England Patriots is number one. Since we will be in Georgia staying with friends at the time of the Super Bowl, we were hoping for a dream matchup of the Pats and Falcons, but nooo! Now all we have to look forward to is the half time show, fried pickles, the commercials, beer, chicken wings and oh yeah, there’s a football game going on.

(editor’s note: Did I throw you off with the title “My boss is a jerk?” te hee. I bet you thought you were going to read a long rant. Nope. We are both our own bosses. But I’m sure we could fill a few posts with rants about each other!)

Images above from:
Basketry Degree Diploma Doctorate Certificate
Voodoo Boss Office Kit: Doll And Executive Spellbook
Fried Dill Pickle Mix, Gluten Free

Got An Ugly Ceiling Light Fixture?

We had the same problem: the dreaded ugly light fixture that came with the old house you bought but you don’t have it in the budget to replace it.

So I needed to come up with a creative solution and a quick fix. As you can see, this light fixture is so tiny. And it’s up high and oddly close to the ceiling. Who would install such a tiny light fixture that high up? And there was no more wire to pull it down lower as well. Maybe that’s why it was installed at such close proximity to the ceiling — they ran out of wire! So the fixture had to stay stagnant.

And, I need to add, that this tiny little tacky fixture is in our dining room! Yes, the dining room. So I needed the “fix” to be something a little more substantial.

While out “thrifting,” I found a large, modern lamp shade for $7.00.  It was large enough to cover the entire fixture and the swooped shape was subtle and would work well juxtaposed so close to the ceiling.

I had some cream colored fabric on hand and it matched perfectly. And I like how it had a “basket weave” design, however, it was a little more difficult to work with. I would choose a more sturdy fabric instead of the delicate one I used here if I had to do it again. (I would’ve also ironed the piece of fabric better so you couldn’t still see the fold! I’m a basketmaker’s wife. Not a domestic goddess. Ironing is not my thing. Neither is cooking and dusting.)

To attach the fabric, I turned the lampshade upside down (the same position it will have when it’s mounted) and pinned the piece of fabric to the inside bottom. Then I stitched it from the outside so I could ensure that my stitches would be nice and even — this is the side that will be illuminated and if it’s all crooked, it will show!

I then rigged up an advanced system to attach it to the existing light fixture — as you can see, my technologically advanced system was simply string and large safety pins.  Initially, I intended the pins to be temporary so I could find the correct spot where the shade balanced properly on the old fixture base. But my “temporary” system is still in place. I’ll eventually get to stitching some more permanent hooks. Probably when one of the pins gives way and the shade falls onto the dining room table, I will find the time.

I removed both of the glass hurricane covers from the old fixture so the bulb was exposed and then inserted 3 “s” hook onto each of the existing chains that was holding the lamp. I slipped the lampshade onto the old fixture and inserted each side of string onto the “s” hooks. And that was it! My only cost was the thrift store shade and about an hour of time.  (I probably should have spent some extra time dusting the old fixture. Or photoshopping the dust out of my images.)

It’s not going to win any design awards but it is a huge improvement from what we initially had! That tiny fixture was so noticeable and an eyesore. Now, with the new “lampshade fixture” nobody notices the light at all. Exactly what I wanted!