General

First World Problems 

It’s been a while since I posted, so I guess it’s time. 

I’m still practicing my violin and going to lessons every two weeks, and I feel like I’m progressing with it pretty well. Each time I see my teacher, we move into something more difficult, which is both challenging and exciting. My current homework is to play a somewhat random string of notes across all four open strings. Each time I play it is a bit better, but it’s not quite perfect yet. 

The pawn shop where my friends works for a cello in that I desperately want, but I only have $65 I can spend, and they don’t take sewing machines so the only thing of value I could pawn (my serger I never use) is a no go. Of course this led me to a new problem. 

I thought for sure that I wanted an f-style mandolin for Christmas but after trying several of them, I decided it doesn’t call to me and I’d rather save for a cello. Of course that’s a much more expensive instrument so it may take a while to actually get. 

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Crafting · General · Health · Music

All The Things

I’ve had another violin lesson with the lovely Faustina, and I still love it. Its challenging, but in a good way. My next (3rd) lesson is this Friday and while I’m struggling with my C note (2nd finger, 3rd string), otherwise I’m doing okay. I really should devote a little more time to practicing though. An extra half hour a wek would really make a difference, and that’s really only 5 minutes more a day if I practice 6 days a week.

My guitar I bought that I shared with you previously has been rehabbed, though I did have to rig up a fix for one of its issues. I replaced the tuning heads, the nut, the saddle, and the strings and bridge pins, but discovered after it was strung that there’s something not right with where the nut sits, and my strings were all touching the first fret. I poured, cured, and trimmed a small bit of clear resin to pad under the nut to raise it just a bit to keep the strings of the first fret. I also discovered after all of that (time, effort, money) that the neck is cracked. But it seems to be straight on the front side and playable so I will ignore it until it either gets worse or actually breaks. I’m doing the beginner’s group lesson at Guitar Center on the 17th. It will be a busy day as I will be doing that in the morning, we’ll be taking my FIL shopping after that, and then most likely going to a party in Palmdale.

My FIL has had a knack for scheduling his appointments at the only times I am actually busy, so I made and printed out calendars for him that show all the times I am not available… and he still manages to schedule things for the wrong days and times. *sigh* He scheduled one for this Friday right before my violin lesson…. there’s no way we will have time to get to his Dr’s appointment, then go out to eat, drive him home, drive back to Lancaster, and get to my lesson before 4pm, so I said we will have to go eat before the Dr’s appointment. I know he doesn’t want to get up that early but I did say noon or before 1pm when he was scheduling it and of course he scheduled it for 1pm.

When I go to my next Dr’s appointment I am asking to be taken off of the Trileptal. I don’t feel like it did anything to curb my mild mania, and honestly, I don’t want to take something that seems to do nothing for me. I closed my last credit card down so its going to take a lot of effort for me to do any crazy spending now, and really that’s all I do now if I’m somewhat manic.

I finished this blanket this morning- it was supposed to only be a baby blanket between 36″ and 42″ wide but nope. Once again my color plan took over and it grew and grew. It would be great over a couch or on a twin sized bed. I had to buy another skein of the red to finish it because I literally ran out with 15″ to go before it was done. Ugh. Oh well. At least its a nice red.

 

We are trying to eat a bit better and I stocked up on fruits and veggies this last shopping trip. There will be no excuses for eating like crap. When I bought all the groceries yesterday, the cashier rang up almost all of my fruits and vegetables wrong, but it ended up being to my benefit and I really didn’t feel like correcting her with almost every produce item she typed in.

 

 

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Music

First Violin Lesson

This afternoon at 3:30pm, I met with Faustina at Tapp’s Music for my first lesson. I was nervous, especially after I looked her up on The Book of Faces and realized she might not even be 18 years old and is likely ridiculously brilliant. After expressing my worries to some sympathetic ears who basically told me a hundred times that she has likely practiced 10,000 hours or more to get to that point, I felt like my head was in the right place, it was time to go, and I went.

Faustina was friendly and professional from the beginning of our meeting. She took the time to go over the anatomy of the violin, run over some very basic music theory, how to tune it, and show me over and over again how to hold it and the bow. Holding the bow I got okay but the actual violin is another story. That will take some practice.

I had to buy a copy of the book she teaches out of, which was fine, and it was only $6, so that was a plus. And she gave me some homework- practice playing a progression of notes on one string (D – E – F# – F# – E – D) smoothly and with an even tempo. One of the things besides proper form that I will really need to work on is applying even pressure with the bow, not too much but not too little, to get a nice sound without mashing all the strings.

The entire time she was so patient with me and she never made me feel inferior in any way. I’m really glad I gave her the call and set up the lesson and I’m looking forward to meeting again in two weeks when hopefully I can actually play the thing she set me to, and maybe a bit more.

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Music

When Packing Items to Ship…

Take Goodwill’s example! It took me ten minutes to unbox this but I’m glad because it meant my item was safe and well-protected during shipping.

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This is a huge box. If it was thicker I could fit our 85 pound dog inside it.
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Tons of packing paper. The pile I pulled out was bigger than the dog.
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Bubble wrap. They did not skimp on you.
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More bubble wrap and a second box to protect the body. I’m liking this a lot!
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Finally unwrapped. Missing the nut and parts of 2 tuning heads.
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Missing the saddle and bridge pins… and strings of course.
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She’s pretty but the remains of that “HELLO My Name Is” sticker have got to go!

There’s some nasty scratches on the side of the lower body and a few chips in the finish of the headstock, but overall I’m pretty pleased with it.

Replacement parts ran me about $80 + tax, but according to the reviews I read, once the parts are replaced I’ll have a pretty nice guitar. I’m looking forward to putting it together and learning to play it though it’ll be about a week before the parts and strings get here. I’ll probably sign up for a group class at Guitar Center to help myself get a feel for things.

And believe me when I say I am done buying instruments for now! Hopefully for a while! hehe

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General · Music

Things I’ve Bought Online

So I made the mistake of rediscovering the Shop Goodwill website. Not only are there bargains to be found, there are some pretty crazy things listed if you take the time to look. And it combines my love of auctions with my love of thrifting.

Mattie’s paying me back, but I won him 2 big lots of mixed Legos (about 30 pounds of them total) for about $150. We got the first lot of them yesterday and holy cow! Check it out.

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The box is slightly longer then wide and about as tall as it is wide- and he had already taken some Legos out of it. Lots of good pieces of all different shapes and sizes, though there were a few random Duplo blocks and a couple Legos that had been damaged- some were burnt? Weird. The other two boxes I won him are about 1.4 times this amount total, so he’s going to be sorting them for a while.

On Saturday evening, I checked to see what was listed at Integrity Public Auction, a local auction house. Sometimes they do internet only auctions, and sometimes they allow absentee bidding for live auctions. The current auction when I had a peek was for absentee bidding, and I saw something I couldn’t resist and had to bid on. I ended up winning this little beauty for $20 and picked it up on Sunday afternoon.

 

Its a little soprano and maybe even brighter in color in person. It sounds a little plinky but I still like it. I’m having some trouble not muting the strings a bit with my forearm when playing it- its teensy size is really throwing me off! I wasn’t supposed to buy another uke because I actually have one from Goodwill on its way to me now. It should be arriving on Wednesday- another soprano.

One last auction find for today. Here’s some history. I have always loved violin and fiddle music. They make me happy. But its a notoriously difficult instrument and also expensive. I’ve been looking though and I found what I hoped would be a great deal on eBay. I bought it and I spent about a week freaking out that it would be destroyed in the mail.

Finally, yesterday, I received this box. It took me about ten minutes to get the end of it open, but it was definitely packed securely and the inside was lined with chunks of Styrofoam and wadded up plastic.

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This was what I felt like I had been waiting half my life for.

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I finally got it out of the box and opened the case. I was so worried that maybe it got trashed in the mail, but nope, its perfect.

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I then took it over to Tapp’s Music and asked them to give it a once over and tell me if anything was wrong with it and if it was a suitable beginner’s instrument. It passed muster, so then I asked for contacts for instructors to teach me how to play. I left with two business cards, one for someone who teaches classical violin and one who teaches violin and fiddle. I called the fiddle lady when I got home and set up for my first lesson this Friday. I’m super excited!

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Music

Mountain Dulcimer Progress

I shot this quickie video last night, and for a few days I’ve been able to peck out several easy songs in he drone style no problems. Yesterday afternoon I started trying chords, and this is the result after practicing Amazing Grace a few times. My tempo is way off, but its kinda recognizable and so much easier than I thought it would be.

I am loving this instrument and can’t wait to be able to play more complex pieces!

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Music

Mountain Dulcimer

Me on Friday afternoon.

“I think I’ll go window shop the thrift stores. Not spend any money, just look. There are 5 thrift stores nearby.”

*visits first 3 and doesn’t buy anything*

*visits 4th and buys bedsheets for $3*

“Okay. I’m doing alright. We actually needed those.”

*goes to #5 and sees a stringed instrument that is pretty but doesn’t know what it is. It’s $45. finally puts it down and goes home *

*goes back to the store and offers the lady $35, which she refuses. Buys a pizza. Goes home and eats pizza with Mattie*

*goes back and buys the thing. it’s a mountain dulcimer.*

*goes to YouTube to find out what it’s supposed to sounds like and orders new strings for it*

So now I own a 1996 Dulcimer Factory DF1 Backpack mountain dulcimer that I don’t know how to play. But I watched several videos and I think its within the realm of something I can learn, so that’s okay.

 

Its pretty and the sound holes are leave and butterfly shaped. Its got a few scratches on the back of it, and there’s some sticky residue on the fretboard where someone had put stickers, but I can clean that off when I restring it.

I would love to be able to play this song. So pretty and so bluegrassy. 🙂 I love bluegrass music. <3

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