Saturday, November 12, 2011

Painting, working, and remodeling (another catch-all post)

Once again I have neglected my poor blog.

I've been working at the Tulsa City-County Libraries, though, so I have a good excuse! I've also been busy quilting, and the kids have been home sick a LOT in the past two weeks (which means I get very, very little done).

I've been volunteering at the South Broken Arrow library for around three years now, I think. Over the summer I trained as a substitute, and I've had an absolute blast going between the two Broken Arrow libraries. They've called me a few times for some of the other ones but I'm very intimidated by Hardesty so I've turned those down. It's a huge regional library and I'm not quite confident enough of my knowledge to tackle that one, but I will once I get a little more experience.

The bad part is that my stack of books to read is now almost three feet tall. That's not a bad thing except that I'm frantically trying to catch up on my quilting. I'm about six months behind on posting customer quilt pictures, but hopefully I'll get my act together soon.

Last weekend we decided to finally tackle the utility room, which has bugged us since we moved in seven years ago.

Here's how it looked after we moved the washer and dryer out and Greg took out the baseboards. (They'd been butted together instead of installed properly, so that had to go!)

Yes, the walls really WERE that dark. They'd been painted with a flat paint that came off when rubbed with a damp paper towel, so that was pretty bad.

Greg repaired some damage and sprayed a new texture, and then Gillian and I sanded it down and she vacuumed. Greg got a drywall mud that claimed to be less dusty, and I think it actually was--more seemed to end up on the floor than in the air, which is a very good thing.

Here's Gillian, being a HUGE help:

The previous owners have done all kinds of head-scratch-worthy things, such as painting the smoke detector in place, as well as just painting the wallpaper. Sigh.

Luckily the wall paper was only on one wall and seems to be *very* well adhered, so we went ahead and put the texture on over it.

Here (below) you can see Greg taking off the trim around the door--it had been installed rather horribly and had all kinds of caulk in the corners--the top was sucked into the wall while the sides weren't, so there was about a 1/8" depth difference among the three pieces. It looks SO much better now.

And you have to notice the wallpaper that's underneath the current stuff (be sure to enlarge so you can see it in all its glory):

We've been talking about redoing parts of the kitchen (taking out the drop ceiling, among other things) but knowing that there's *another* layer of wallpaper is a little disheartening.

Back to the good stuff. Here's the final paint on the walls:

Doesn't that color look so much better than the old, dark color? It's absolutely amazing what a difference new texture and color have made in that space.

At this point I'm incredibly behind on my quilting, especially since I've spent the last 11 hours in bed, shivering and trying not to throw up. I'd *so* hoped that what the kids had was going to pass me by, but no such luck.

My family is coming here for Thanksgiving, and I need to finish ALL of my customer quilts before they get here since we're putting my sister in the quilt room. I hope I'm over this illness in the morning so that I can quilt like a mad woman over the next six days!

I hope all of you are having a great weekend, and be sure to wash your hands properly and often! There's lots of icky stuff going around.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

I'm back!

Back to blogging, that is. :-)

I have no excuse, really, for neglecting my blog, other than catching up becomes overwhelming after a while and then inertia takes hold and, well, no blog posts.

Since my last post it's been five months. School ended, it got really, horribly, nastily hot, and my enthusiasm for most things went out the window. I don't like heat. But life goes on, and I've managed to get a few things done.

The biggest thing I've done lately is converting my Roman Maze quilt pattern to PDF and listing it on Etsy! I took a new picture of the quilt, since it's been a few years and digital cameras have improved quite a bit since I took the original picture.

Here's the new cover pic:

I've had quite a few requests over the years for a PDF version, but the stars hadn't aligned in the proper formation until I realized that Etsy would be MUCH easier than trying to coordinate things through my web site. Now the challenge is going to be converting my other patterns and getting a new pattern out (I designed it back in 2003, but then we moved, Ryan was born, and the hard drive died, so it's been on the back burner until now).

Let's see, on the knitting/crocheting/spinning front, I've managed to finish a few things.

I participated in the Tour de Fleece but only managed to finish ONE skein during the tour:

That's a fingering-weight merino two-ply yarn, and it's actually plied from stuff I'd spun a few years ago but hadn't ever plied. I had 8 ounces to begin with and it was early enough in my spinning career that I hadn't done a great job and put it aside. I managed to spin up the rest of it and chain plied it for this gorgeous bulky skein:

It's fun to see the effect of the two different plying methods on the same roving. (The colors are nicer in person on the chain-plied skein.)

So that's my one skein I started AND finished during the tour. I did spin on other things, as you can see in this collage.

About halfway through the tour the kids and I went to Idaho. I did get some roving—quite a lot, actually—while we were there, but I didn't get any spinning done. (Pictures of Idaho to come.)

I crocheted a necklace/bracelet with pearls:

I wear it as a necklace sometimes, or as a bracelet wrapped around my wrist six times.

My first crocheted sweater, a Butterfly Cardigan, using yarn left over from a sweater I knit for Greg about five years ago:

I finished a small shawl using my handspun:

The roving is from Dawning Dreams, and it yelled at me from across the room at Fiber Christmas in July a few years ago. The pattern is Holden Shawlette.

I started a pi shawl and my plan is to put sleeves in it to make a cardigan:

I'm a lot further along on this project than in that picture, but it looks like one big messy pile of yarn at this point so I'm not taking a pic until it's blocked.

There are a few other things I've been working on but I'll post pics of those another time.

In other domestic news, I got into making my own yogurt:

It's really good and really easy! I use this recipe, except that I use the crock from my crockpot, and I use the insulated cover that it came with and put the whole thing in the oven, and I don't strain it any more.

I'm woefully behind on posting pictures of customer quilts but hopefully I'll get my act together on that soon, now that the kids are back in school again. (YAY!!!!)

Happy Labor Day to my U.S.-ian friends, and everyone else, I hope you're having a great weekend!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

SPRING! (ish)

Oh my poor blog, how I've neglected you.

I've got excuses.

Good excuses, even.

Family life is busy, especially with all of Gillian's activities (and we won't mention mine, all right?), and then we all got sick.

I spent 10 days being totally, utterly worthless. I got the coughing illness that was going around, and *of course* it turned into a sinus infection. And of course I waited too long to go to the doctor (I get delusional that I can kick it without outside intervention, and it NEVER happens). So by the time I saw the doc, my left cheek was making this "crackle" sound and then a pain would shoot down the back of my neck. That's something new for me. I'm totally O.K. with it never happening again.

They X-rayed my face and pronounced my left sinus to be "severely impacted." Normally she'll push on my face a little to gauge the pain, but she didn't even come near me this time. It's not good when you impress the doc. Two steroid shots and a heavy-duty antiobiotic later, I'm feeling a million times better.

Just FYI, my daily routine includes a steroid nasal spray and a neti pot. I'm also a huge fan of Mucinex, and most of the time I can fight off sinus pain.

For those of you in my Facebook friends (those who haven't blocked me, anyway), I apologize. Apparently when I'm running a fever my whine filter becomes non-operational.

So, enough of that. On to spring!

We actually haven't had much spring around here. We've gone from winter to two days of "oh, spring is here!" then right back to winter for a week, and now we've slammed straight into summer. Like high 80s. And LOTS of wind.


I don't like wind. Or heat.

On the bright side, we have some absolutely gorgeous flowers:

Greg's woodworking project has been building a box for Ryan's toys. Ryan needed no encouragement to get in the box.

Here it is after the pre-stain, from the back.

Yesterday Greg mowed the lawn, and his shadow needed to help, so Greg let him steer. (I have no idea why Ryan is making this face, but I couldn't resist.)

Of course Gillian had to get in the action, and she actually pushed the pedals, too!

Things around here are really dry, but we're starting our garden. (That would be the royal "we" as I have almost nothing to do with it. I can't rake or till, so I'm not much help.)

Tonight we went shoe shopping, and I came home with these AWESOME shoes:

Greg is mystified, but he bought them for me anyway. :-) I love how steampunk-ish they are, and they're surprisingly comfortable! It's not often when I can find shoes like this that fit my huge, wide, Hobbit-shaped feet so I'm pretty thrilled. The cap on my bottle of happiness is that they were half off!!! There's no way I'd pay $80 for a pair of shoes, but $40 was totally do-able.

Greg keeps asking where in the world I'm going to wear them. My response: "where WON'T I wear them?" LOL! They zip up the inside of the foot, so they're fast to get into and out of.

That's it for my catch-up-post-of-randomness. I hope you're all having a great weekend!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Busy busy busy

Today was supposed to be a day to recover after a long week, but I'm still exhausted. LOL!

Gillian started soccer on Tuesday and I think it's going to be fun for her. That meant that on Monday we went out and got her new soccer shoes and shin guards. Now we just need new socks (the old ones don't cover the pads all the way up her shins) and a new ball since her old one is too small. Ryan also got a new bike since his old one is waaay too small for him. His new bike is the same size as Gillian's current bike, although the lowest seat height on his bike is the same as the highest on Gillian's bike. I suspect she'll be getting a new, bigger bike for her birthday in May.

Wednesday was bowling (I didn't do well, but that's all right), with knitting that evening.

Thursday was supposed to be soccer again but it rained so the field was too muddy. The task of the afternoon was making the entries for the Twinkie Decorating Contest for the school carnival. The kids quickly decided that they'd rather eat the frosting than really work on their entries, and I did my damndest to be a good Mom and not do their entries for them. ;-)

Friday was the school carnival, and once again I'd drafted Greg into helping me run the Twinkie Contest room. It's the best job of the whole carnival because it means I set up the tables with the Twinkies on them, help judge, then sit in the room during the carnival and make sure no one touches the entries. Very cushy job! We didn't have as many entries this year as last year, but then we only got the notices out a week before since we had two weeks out of school due to weather.

The kids totally wore themselves out at the carnival and were asleep within minutes of their heads hitting their pillows. (Yay!)

Today I did a few things around the house, and Greg continued working on the awesome shelves in the garage:

He's going to make cabinet doors to go on those and it's going to be *fabulous.* The main purpose of the shelves is to get the luscious wood up off the garage floor, and I think Greg was a little surprised that the storage area at the top is already full of wood.

While he was working on that I ran the Bag A Nut (yep, that's its actual name) and picked up the old, bad pecans in the front. I picked up about 50 pounds of them, I think, and I'm tired now. I found three (yes, THREE) good nuts. I hate pecan weevils. There are still a whole bunch of bad nuts on the trees, unfortunately. It's been a strange year weather wise and I think it's bothered the pecan trees.

I hope you all are having a great weekend!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

No more snow!

Last week we were snowed in, and this week it's—literally—in the 70s. Yee haw for Oklahoma weather!

I didn't get a whole lot done during Snowmageddon 2011, unfortunately. You'd think being home for two weeks that I would've, but I got almost nothing accomplished. The kids got recharged, which is a good thing.

The one project I managed to do start-to-finish was a pair of chokers. I've been wanting to make this pattern for a while, and finally I just sat down and did it:

The top one is my handspun and the bottom one is some Koigu. I love that I used all stuff from my stash on these. The pattern is from a semi-local fiber friend, Dawn, and can be found here.

I finally managed to finish a pair of socks that I started back in September:

I got smart and measured the socks before I wore them so that I won't have to constantly try them on when I get close to the toe shaping. Yay for me! (You'd think I'd have figured that out a long time ago, but I've always been so stoked to wear them that I've never taken the time to do that.)

They're my standard 64-stitch sock with a Catherine Misegade's heel. I love that method!

Speaking of feet...
My MIL sent me some fun shoes! (She sent shoes for the whole family, actually, but this is MY blog so I'm showing MY shoes. LOL!)

It was actually warm enough to wear them on Thursday to pick up the kids. :-)
Isn't that a gorgeous color on my toes? That's Isla from Zoya, and I'm in LOVE with their nail polish. Not only does it *not* stink, but the colors are fabulous! It's probably a good thing that they don't sell it within a five-mile radius of my house. LOL! (Please ignore the pasty-white legs and bathrobe.)

My awesome hubby bought me some rings for a belated Christmas present, and they arrived today!!!

(I'm modeling them on my left hand since I'm right handed and I have a HORRIBLE time taking pictures using my left hand—the camera is definitely made to be held with the right hand and NOT the left.)

That top one has a lot of neat sparkle. It's definitely more flashy that the next one:

I think they're so cool! They came from this Etsy shop, and he was very patient with me when I asked him a really stupid question. (I was so excited about getting these rings that I forgot how to read. ROFL!)

Greg has been trying some new things in bowling and they're really helping his game. My game continues to plod along in the 130s-140s, but I'm pretty happy about that. One of these days I'll get a 500 series and they'll be able to hear me squee-ing from the moon. :-)

Greg's project for the weekend is building some cabinets in the garage to replace the plastic cabinet we've been storing paint in, as well as creating some lumber storage. He's got a pile of gorgeous wood from his Dad and we need to have a better way to store lumber so that it's usable! Here's the start of the project:

He's going to get a planer and then look out, because I'm expecting some beautiful wooden things. :-)

Friday, February 04, 2011

Snowmageddon 2011

We have a lot of snow.

A LOT. (Not alot, that's a whole different thing.)

How much snow do we have? Well, 14" + at this point.

Here's looking out across the cul-de-sac to the neighbors' house, with the kids helping Richard shovel the driveway:

I took this picture to show the impressive drift at the corner of the roof:

The one along the fence is cool, too.

Here's Gillian's snow fort that she made using the snow from the driveway:

So that was February 2nd.

Today we got MORE snow:

I figure we got about 2" more, judging from the arms of the chairs.

The kids have been out of school Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and today. I suspect there won't be any school on Monday and possibly later since they're predicting more snow, and none of the neighborhoods around here have been plowed. This is a record-setting amount of snow and this area just isn't equipped to deal with it.

The grocery stores are pretty impressive--I've *never* seen the entire egg, bread, meat, and milk sections decimated, but there is NOTHING left on the shelves. Greg managed to time it just right this afternoon and got four dozen eggs at Braum's, thank goodness! I hadn't realized how many of my favorite recipes use eggs until we were down to five eggs.

Thank goodness we've not lost power so far! The 30-something hours we were without power a few years ago was sufficiently traumatic that we've stocked up on mini-propane tanks for our indoor-safe heater, but I'm hoping we keep power through the next wave of ice/snow.

Despite the kids being home I've managed to get a little bit of quilting done. This one, actually, was finished a few weeks ago but I'm just now getting to posting about it. This is Carolyn Lamp's quilt. She bought the blocks (minus centers) at a garage sale and put them together. I think it's a gorgeous quilt!

Aaand now Ryan wants my help with taking a bath so I'm off to do that and get back to quilting.

I hope everyone is staying safe and warm!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Yellowstone slideshow

I've just made a slideshow of *some* of the pictures from the trip to Idaho--this is mostly just the ones from Yellowstone. I promise to do a summary post (or five) soon!

For now, the slideshow:

If you click on it, it'll take you to Picasa where you can see them embiggened. (I highly recommend that!)