What I’m Working On: Simple Solutions

Brace Covers

As you know, my elbow pain has been causing me some serious strife here. I’m unsure what is going to happen next, but today I let go and went on an excursion to begin beautifying my very conspicuous, not-so-attractive braces.

I went to my very favorite place (aside from the bookstore, the library, and the coffee shop, of course): the fabric store! My mom taught me how to sew when I was very little, and I am incredibly grateful that she passed down her 4-H wisdom to me! (Quick confession: I dream of living in the country so I can send my future children to 4-H and we can cook and sew together! So idyllic, so calm, so homey…ok, back to suburbia we go!)

I picked the three fabrics pictured above: the left is a subtle zigzag pattern on a faded-denim color knit, the middle a happy pattern with coral, yellow, and brown, and the right a very stretchy turquoise, coral, and green polka dot. I’m planning to make two brace-covers with each fabric so I have one for each arm.

When I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt yesterday, I noticed that the space between the end of my sleeve and my brace was uncomfortably obvious, so these covers will have a ribbon to attach to my bra strap with snaps and will tuck right under the edge of any short-sleeved shirt for a comfortable, patterned solution!

I hope to have at least one set finished before I go to school, so I’ll post the finished product soon! I’m excited about this solution.

Ergo Workstation on a Budget

I’m currently working from my permanent residence before I go back to school, and I like to be around my family while I can. Growing up, I always did all my homework at the kitchen table, and my mom’s watercolor workstation was right across from my seat. It has always felt like an inspiring place, and when I get writer’s block or suffer from the dreaded curse of procrastination at school I frequently turn to my roommates and ask if they wouldn’t mind squishing our very own kitchen table in the common room. It’s where I do my best work!

But that also means that I’m sitting on kitchen chairs without a keyboard lift, ergo arms, or anything else I’m supposed to use when I work! So I’ve devised a couple quick fixes for a lack of ergonomic comfort until I return to the dreaded dorm desk:

This back support was $10 at Target, and it keeps me upright and without lower back pain for quite a while (or at least as long as I want before I get distracted!). I’ve clipped it right on to the back of the chair, and in that respect a kitchen chair is actually a great choice –  the back of the chair was narrow enough to strap the support on without stretching it but wide enough so the support doesn’t slide around. to get the best words on the page.get, and it keeps me upright and without lower back pain for quite a while (or at least as long as I want before I get distracted!). I’ve clipped it right on to the back of the chair, and in that respect a kitchen chair is actually a great choice –  the back of the chair was narrow enough to strap the support on without stretching it but wide enough so the support doesn’t slide around.

I’ve started to use a wide-grip pen for writing. It sounds so simple (I suppose that’s the point, though :)) but it makes a world of difference. Instead of spending my entire working time typing, I periodically switch to the magical yellow legal pad and do some drafting or revising there. I prop the pad of paper on the edge of the table and the edge of my laptop (so I can still reference my screen) and scribble away without any hand discomfort – none of the bones in my hands have collapsed when I use this pen. It’s that amazing (it should be for $7… yes, I splurged, but no, I don’t regret it for a moment).

And the magic yellow legal pad? Just give it a try next time you’re having trouble coming up with the right sentence order, syntax, or even starting a brainstorm session. There’s something about that yellow paper that makes the ideas flow faster… I think I feel like my words are less precious when I write on yellow paper and therefore I’m more willing to scratch them out and begin again.

P.S. The reason I do a lot of writing is because A) I write these posts, inane though they might be! B) I received a grant to write a long paper to submit to a journal on 20th-century feminism, and C) I work for a website that posts book reviews and reader guides for children’s literature.

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