Julie's Web Journal at Stately Barrett Manor


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Writing. Technology. Life.





SoonerCon schedule
Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett
Next weekend is SoonerCon. It's one of our favorite conventions, and this year looks like fun. When isn't it? I hope I never find out. 

I'll have items in the Art Show. Bid early and bid often, either on my items or those by any of the fine artists in attendance. 

Here's my schedule:

Friday:
4:00 PM, Ballroom C: Companion: Girl Friday or Emotional Liability?
Who is the Doctor without the Companion? Would Doctor Who be a successful show without a Companion? Does the Companion create unneeded sexual or emotional tension in the story arcs of the series?
With: Cyn Burton, Bev Hale, and Caroline Spector

Saturday:
9:00 AM, 10-Forward Cantina: Koffee Klatch  with lots and lots of people. Come join us for coffee and conversation. 

2:00 PM, Joyner: Successful Steampunk Cosplay
A DIY panel for beginners. What is Steampunk? What is needed to effectively pull off the Steampunk look without breaking the bank or looking off our chump.
With: Bev Hale, Elizabeth Snicer, and Ynhared

3:00 PM, Mann: Dr Who: The Anti-Antihero
The Doctor is the best person, er, Timelord ever. Sure he makes some mistakes but things seem to work out as they were meant to in the end. Is the Doctor's ultra-goodness his best appeal? What gives him such cross-generational staying power?
With: Tim Frayser, Ethan Nahte, and Allison Stein

5:00 PM, J Stage: Radio Show Rehearsal
Here's your chance to be a radio star! Our show this year is "Game of Groans, A Further Adventure of Sam Shade, Private Mouth."
With: Paul and Chris Barrett

8:00 PM, J Stage: Masquerade
We'll be live on stage during the break to perform the radio show!

Sunday
11:00 AM, Ballroom B: Commission Work: The Joys, Pitfalls, and Just Plain Weirdness
It is hard enough for the artist to do their work when they are trying to realize their vision. Commission work can be even more treacherous. Discuss why it is so hard to create someone else's vision.
With: Jerry Bennett, Peri Charliflu, Tim Chessmore, Dell Harris, and Vincent Villafranca

1:00 PM, Cain: Manners and Morbidity
Ever notice how the Victorians were super polite and refined, but they also liked to take pictures of dead people and make trinkets from human hair? This panel discusses the dichotomy between the hallmark manners and etiquette of the Victorians and their curious mourning customs from a modern perspective.
With: J. Kathleen Cheny, Sheri Dean, and Ynhared

Hope to see you there!


Filed under: Conventions            
6/17/2014 8:12:40 PM
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It's Friday. Have A Cat
Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett
In honor of Friday the 13th, here's Midnight at the Small Catnip Collider.

06132014_midnight.jpg


Filed under: Pictures   Cats         
6/13/2014 3:52:15 PM
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Spring Has Sprung Like A Big Springy Thing
Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett
Well, at least the plants are starting to bloom.

Here is our smoke tree:
2014_0415_2.jpg

These blooms will eventually turn purple.

And look, Chtulhu has a bloom!

2014_0415_1.jpg

Cthulhu is our elder aloe vera plant. We keep him in the garage during the winter, and if we get lucky, there will be a bloom in the spring. Soon, Chthulhu will produce pups spawn.

We also have a few rose buds at the side of the house. 

Tags: Pictures

Filed under: Pictures   Flowers         
4/15/2014 12:28:12 PM
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Spring Has Sprung Like A Big Springy Thing
Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett
Well, at least the plants are starting to bloom.

Here is our smoke tree:
2014_0415_2.jpg

These blooms will eventually turn purple.

And look, Chtulhu has a bloom!

2014_0415_1.jpg

Cthulhu is our elder aloe vera plant. We keep him in the garage during the winter, and if we get lucky, there will be a bloom in the spring. Soon, Chthulhu will produce pups spawn.

We also have a few rose buds at the side of the house. 

Tags: Pictures

Filed under: Pictures   Flowers         
4/15/2014 12:28:12 PM
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(Un)Happy Tax Day!
Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett
Finally got all my taxes finished, filed, and accepted by the IRS. Then today I realized I'd forgotten all about making a quarterly tax payment. Fortunately, today is the deadline. I guess there are worse things that could happen.

This morning I ran across an article by Bob Sullivan on the self-employment tax, and how it might hurt America in the next 15 years or so. If you're thinking about freelancing or starting a business on the side, this is a must read.

What most people don't understand when they start out (and sadly, some people who hire contractors don't either) is that the self-employed pay a higher percentage of income taxes. Here's what happens: When you work for someone else, your employer pays half of your employment tax, and you pay the other half. That's your Medicare and Social Security withholding. The total employment taxes are 15%. You get to pay this on top of your income taxes. And if you're not making enough to pay income taxes, you're very likely still going to pay self-employment taxes. 

This is why I put away 30-50% of income (after expenses, of course) away for taxes. The amount you set aside may vary based in your family income. See the disclaimer below.* The IRS has all sorts of complicated helpful forms and publications on their site.

I always put away more than I think I'll pay. Why? Because freelancing is a "feast or famine" job, and my handmade business is seasonal. Also, I'm overly paranoid when it comes to taxes, and I'd rather have more than I need than be caught short. The leftover money can also provide a small cushion in case of unexpected expenses. 

Also keep in mind that you'll be paying taxes on a quarterly basis, which is why you want to set something aside as your money comes in. 

When you're determining your rates for freelancing or your prices for goods, keep taxes in mind. You don't want to be hit with a nasty surprise.

*Disclaimer: I am not a tax professional, nor do I play one on TV. Your situation is probably different than mine, and you really should do the math and/or see a tax professional on your own. Your mileage may vary, etc. 



Filed under: Taxes            
4/15/2014 10:35:44 AM
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(Un)Happy Tax Day!
Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett
Finally got all my taxes finished, filed, and accepted by the IRS. Then today I realized I'd forgotten all about making a quarterly tax payment. Fortunately, today is the deadline. I guess there are worse things that could happen.

This morning I ran across an article by Bob Sullivan on the self-employment tax, and how it might hurt America in the next 15 years or so. If you're thinking about freelancing or starting a business on the side, this is a must read.

What most people don't understand when they start out (and sadly, some people who hire contractors don't either) is that the self-employed pay a higher percentage of income taxes. Here's what happens: When you work for someone else, your employer pays half of your employment tax, and you pay the other half. That's your Medicare and Social Security withholding. The total employment taxes are 15%. You get to pay this on top of your income taxes. And if you're not making enough to pay income taxes, you're very likely still going to pay self-employment taxes. 

This is why I put away 30-50% of income (after expenses, of course) away for taxes. The amount you set aside may vary based in your family income. See the disclaimer below.* The IRS has all sorts of complicated helpful forms and publications on their site.

I always put away more than I think I'll pay. Why? Because freelancing is a "feast or famine" job, and my handmade business is seasonal. Also, I'm overly paranoid when it comes to taxes, and I'd rather have more than I need than be caught short. The leftover money can also provide a small cushion in case of unexpected expenses. 

Also keep in mind that you'll be paying taxes on a quarterly basis, which is why you want to set something aside as your money comes in. 

When you're determining your rates for freelancing or your prices for goods, keep taxes in mind. You don't want to be hit with a nasty surprise.

*Disclaimer: I am not a tax professional, nor do I play one on TV. Your situation is probably different than mine, and you really should do the math and/or see a tax professional on your own. Your mileage may vary, etc. 



Filed under: Taxes            
4/15/2014 10:35:44 AM
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Still Alive
Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett
Wow, I didn't mean to let this sit fallow for a month. But it's not entirely my fault. First, I had computer issues. The hard drive started acting up big time. We put in a new drive, replaced the (also) faulty CD-ROM drive, then installed Windows 8. It worked ... until it didn't. This was not a Microsoft problem, though: I managed to track it down to a really old version of a program that I like. So now I guess I get to upgrade. I have another program I can use instead, so there's no hurry on the upgrade.

The plumbing problems are best not mentioned. No, really. No one mentions plumbing unless they have to, right? Then there was the minor(ish) finger injury. That kept me from typing with any accuracy for a while.

Plus, I've been busy working on new items for Steam Cat, and plodding along with book plotting. At some point I'm just going to have to sit down and write, damn it. 

Anyway. I'm back - I hope. 

It's a gorgeous day here, but too windy to get out and work on the patio as planned. I needed some thread, so I worked that errand in with a thrift store run. But of course. And oh, yes. I found stuff!

First, this lighted makeup mirror:

214_0411_1.jpg

It's probably from the 1930's, and still has the sticker from Acme Specialty Manufacturing, which is still in business. It needs some touch-up paint, but it still works. Someone added a new cord in the 60s, but everything else is original. It works, too. 

Unfortunately, I didn't have a coyote to pose with it, so that's Gwladys Pendelbury modeling today's second find:

214_0411_2.jpg

214_0411_3.jpg

This hat probably dates to the 1940s. It's absolutely gorgeous. Like many thrift store hats, the veil is practically gone. The stitching is all by hand, and it's amazing work. 

There's not much on the web about Evelyn Varon. She apparently started in France about 1914 and then moved to New York at some point. I've seen hats as late as the 1970s that carried her label.

I like going to the store where I found this hat. They have what I affectionately call "bags o'crap." The take small items, bag 'em up, and you buy the whole bag. Even though the bag is clear, it's sometimes hard to see what's in it. I've hit some amazing fabric and trim jackpots there. Anything in the bag that I can't use I just donate back. The bag I grabbed today had some fabric of dubious value and a lovely vintage fur collar. I draped the collar on Honoria Glossop and took a picture:

214_0411_4.jpg

Lovely!

I also bought a set of plastic cups that look like large coffee shop cups that I will use to display the coffee sleeves I'm working on for Steam Cat. I want to display them on cups, but I don't want to use branded paper cups or ceramic cups at the next show. Ceramic cups + cement floor = disaster. Why yes, I am a klutz. 

Have a good weekend!

Tags: Pictures

Filed under: Pictures   Vintage   Hats      
4/11/2014 3:39:00 PM
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Comments so far: 0 | Permalink



Still Alive
Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett
Wow, I didn't mean to let this sit fallow for a month. But it's not entirely my fault. First, I had computer issues. The hard drive started acting up big time. We put in a new drive, replaced the (also) faulty CD-ROM drive, then installed Windows 8. It worked ... until it didn't. This was not a Microsoft problem, though: I managed to track it down to a really old version of a program that I like. So now I guess I get to upgrade. I have another program I can use instead, so there's no hurry on the upgrade.

The plumbing problems are best not mentioned. No, really. No one mentions plumbing unless they have to, right? Then there was the minor(ish) finger injury. That kept me from typing with any accuracy for a while.

Plus, I've been busy working on new items for Steam Cat, and plodding along with book plotting. At some point I'm just going to have to sit down and write, damn it. 

Anyway. I'm back - I hope. 

It's a gorgeous day here, but too windy to get out and work on the patio as planned. I needed some thread, so I worked that errand in with a thrift store run. But of course. And oh, yes. I found stuff!

First, this lighted makeup mirror:

214_0411_1.jpg

It's probably from the 1930's, and still has the sticker from Acme Specialty Manufacturing, which is still in business. It needs some touch-up paint, but it still works. Someone added a new cord in the 60s, but everything else is original. It works, too. 

Unfortunately, I didn't have a coyote to pose with it, so that's Gwladys Pendelbury modeling today's second find:

214_0411_2.jpg

214_0411_3.jpg

This hat probably dates to the 1940s. It's absolutely gorgeous. Like many thrift store hats, the veil is practically gone. The stitching is all by hand, and it's amazing work. 

There's not much on the web about Evelyn Varon. She apparently started in France about 1914 and then moved to New York at some point. I've seen hats as late as the 1970s that carried her label.

I like going to the store where I found this hat. They have what I affectionately call "bags o'crap." The take small items, bag 'em up, and you buy the whole bag. Even though the bag is clear, it's sometimes hard to see what's in it. I've hit some amazing fabric and trim jackpots there. Anything in the bag that I can't use I just donate back. The bag I grabbed today had some fabric of dubious value and a lovely vintage fur collar. I draped the collar on Honoria Glossop and took a picture:

214_0411_4.jpg

Lovely!

I also bought a set of plastic cups that look like large coffee shop cups that I will use to display the coffee sleeves I'm working on for Steam Cat. I want to display them on cups, but I don't want to use branded paper cups or ceramic cups at the next show. Ceramic cups + cement floor = disaster. Why yes, I am a klutz. 

Have a good weekend!

Tags: Pictures

Filed under: Pictures   Vintage   Hats      
4/11/2014 3:39:00 PM
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Comments so far: 0 | Permalink



Thursday Sees A Little Better
Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett
Well. Got the frickin' laser beam treatment on the left eye yesterday, and I am seeing some improvement. 

I would be lying through my teeth if I told you I wasn't feeling some anxiety about this treatment. Oh, everyone says it's a piece of cake, and they were right. But still, it was the waiting for this that did me in. This procedure had been postponed twice because the machine was off undergoing some repairs. So yeah, I was just a bit anxious.

Dr. B. and his staff were great, and he talked me through the entire thing before I even sat down at the machine. 

But still. Twenty shots from a frickin' laser beam. In my eye! 

Yeah, I'm still a little freaked out, but it's not the fault of the doctor or his staff.

There is improvement today, and I get the impression it will take a few days for the virtual dust (or at least the new floaters) to settle.

Anyway. I'm glad it's over and now I can try to get down to work!

Tags: Life

Filed under: Life            
3/6/2014 9:20:54 AM
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Comments so far: 0 | Permalink



Thursday Sees A Little Better
Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett
Well. Got the frickin' laser beam treatment on the left eye yesterday, and I am seeing some improvement. 

I would be lying through my teeth if I told you I wasn't feeling some anxiety about this treatment. Oh, everyone says it's a piece of cake, and they were right. But still, it was the waiting for this that did me in. This procedure had been postponed twice because the machine was off undergoing some repairs. So yeah, I was just a bit anxious.

Dr. B. and his staff were great, and he talked me through the entire thing before I even sat down at the machine. 

But still. Twenty shots from a frickin' laser beam. In my eye! 

Yeah, I'm still a little freaked out, but it's not the fault of the doctor or his staff.

There is improvement today, and I get the impression it will take a few days for the virtual dust (or at least the new floaters) to settle.

Anyway. I'm glad it's over and now I can try to get down to work!

Tags: Life

Filed under: Life            
3/6/2014 9:20:54 AM
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