crafts · decorating · home repairs · house · knitting · Life

busy weekend

The parlor has now been diversted of all wallpaper, sealed, patched, primed, and coated with two coats of “Delicious Berry” by Behr (as copied by Sherwin Williams.)  It needs another coat, which I will be adding after I finish writing this!  New outlet covers have been purchased and are ready to go, and I am so ready to call the piano movers!  I love this color, which is hard to see here, but imagine a beautiful plum that makes the room feel cozy and warm.

I must love the color, because my current knitting project fits right in.

It occurs to me that my color tastes have not progressed much past the fifth grade, whenI was obsessed with all things hot pink and purple (preferably at the same time!)  Tempest is fun and easy to knit, and it’s going pretty quickly when I have the time – not often on this super busy weekend!

I also have a garden now… I can’t believe it either!

And closer…

My Mom (the gardening queen) helped out a lot here.  I wish I had a before shot, but picture a sad brown mess with scattered elm seedlings (there is an enormous 100 year old elm in front of the garden wall.)  We haven’t gotten to the other side of the walk yet, but fortunately we have narrow lots here!

I have also picked the other paint colors for the first floor.

Sapphire by Ellen Kennon paints for the dining room.  I’ve already bought my paint and will probably start here on Tuesday.

Chartreuse, also by Ellen Kennon, for the foyer.  This color changes between gold and green in different lights.  It’s exactly the same green as the lightest shade in the fireplace, and I think it’s going to go really well. This will be painted after the dining room, but as it is yet another wallpaper room it will be a challenge.  We are having a housewarming party at the end of August, and I hope to have the downstairs painted by then.  I am still wavering on the kitchen color – I love the bright kelly green I picked out, but I am being tempted by a wicked berry red which I love so much against the bright white trim.  We will see – I am filled with energy right now, I am making everyone around me tired!

crafts · house · knitting · patterns

Fall knitting yay!

Around late July I usually get tried of summer knitting, and I’ve finally gotten there this year!  This year has convinced me of the supreme uselessness of short sleeved cardigans – they may be cute, but I am guaranteed to be freezing in the air conditioning.  And… I’ve finally gotten my yarn out of storage, as of yesterday, just in time for the Fall kniting magazines to come out!  First though, I’ve started a new cardigan, Tempest from Knitty.

Sorry for the lousy picture, but it’s rolling like mad.  I’m using Mountain Colors Bearfoot sock yarn, a fabulous mohair/wool blend that is just too nice for my feet!  This is coming out a little small, so I’m thinking about ripping the little bit I’ve got and starting over on a size larger needles (that comes out a little big, but I can knit a smaller size – because this pattern has such a great range that for once I’m not the smallest!)  I may also go ahead and knit a hem now, because I don’t want to pick it up later.  I’m also a little worried about the colors being crazy, but I do love them.  I’ve just never knitted a sweater with variegated yarn, even though this is subtle (it is two colors striped.)

First let’s talk about Knitscene, which I walked to the Knit Nook on a day when it hit 100 degrees to buy (such is my fall knitting dedication!)  I think it’s a fabulous issue – I have made several sweaters from previous Knitscene mags, but lately they had been leaving me cold.  This issue has 4 sweaters that I love!

The first is Connie’s Riding to Avalon.  I love lightweight hoodies, and I love button details.  The DK gauge isn’t too small, and I think it wants to be made from the indigo dk wool I have been hoarding for over a year now!  The 2nd is the Opulant Raglan, by Wendy Bernard.  I can’t wait for her book to come out this fall, her designs are always wearable!  I love the caftan dress, but I also cannot imagine how much stockinette that is, so unless I am gifted with a knitting machine I will pass.  The last is the bordeaux jacket, an adorable asymmetrical crocheted jacket.  I’m definitely making this, I can see wearing it often!

The next magazine to release a preview is Interweave Knits.  I have made so many things from this magazine, and I have really enjoyed it in the past year, but this issue is not really for me.  There are too many jackets that would not flatter me, and not enough fitted sweaters, and what is fitted is not my style.  I know the trend is towards larger knits, but this is not a trend that will work on me.  Having said that, the vests are adorable and will probably be knit (I love vests!) and I also really like Eunny’s stole (although I bet it is super boring to knit!)

Finally, Rowan has released Rowan magazine 44. I disliked 43 so much that I sold my copy after a week, but there are quite a few designs I like in the new magazine.  It has 3 stories, but one of those is just variations on the other 2.  I only like one of the other stories, Nostalgia, but I really love it.

Dear Rowan: This is what you should be doing.  Not all the crazy “Wood nymphs lounging around in giant tunics” patterns you have been publishing lately.  You should publish lovely detailed designs that flatter women.

I may be biased, as I try as much as possible to dress like it’s still the 1940s, but I want to knit every sweater from this story.  Kim Hargreaves will also be releasing two books this fall, and I am also very excited about those, although I have stalled on “Joy” again, and I’m not sure it will be finished.  I love the sweater, but the way the pattern is written is making me batty, and there are several others in Nectar that I want to make, including “Ripple,” now that I have my baby cashmerino back in my house.

Tonight we are priming the music room for paint (almost there, yay!) and I will be restarting tempest, unless I get tempted by something else.

crafts · home repairs · house · knitting · Life

The dog days of summer

I’m so glad that we’ve moved into a house with central ac – the temperature has hovered around 100 degrees all week, thought it is raining today so I have hope that it will cool down a bit.  The heat makes it impossible to do anything outside, but inside I can set the temperature and pretend that it’s fall already (I’m dying to start my fall knitting… I need to find a copy of the new Knitscene, and I can’t wait for IK!)

Things that are keeping me sane through the house mess:

My coffeemaker (I love my coffee maker, a hamilton beach model that doesn’t have a pot – it keeps the coffee warm inside and you use a dispenser.)  And – socks in July!  I started this pair awhile ago, simple stockinette over 60 st with an eye of partridge heel.  The yarn is neopolitan by Yarn Pirate, and I can’t believe how nicely it is striping!  This is about the extent of the difficulty I can handle right now, although I am happy to announce that I now have a yarn closet!  Our bedroom has two closets, one  walk-in and one about the side you expect from an old house.  Marc is using the closet in the guest room so he won’t bother me in the mornings (he leaves much earlier than I do) so I get the small closet for yarn!  I’ve set up storage cubes in the main space of the closet, and as soon as I get the rest of my yarn back from storage (hopefully this week) it’s going to be exciting!

On the house front, I have begun my work with the parlor/music room.  This room has to be finished first so that we can move in my baby (grand.)  The first thing I did was remove the chair rail, which was attached with about 3 nails anyway.  Then I took down the curtains.  You may recall the curtains – huge floral monstrosities with a box valance that weighed more than I did.

The window in this room is over 5 feet wide, but you couldn’t tell with these babies in place.  The curtains apparently fell down at one point, so the POs nailed the box back in place using a plank of wood and three 6 inch long nails.  When we finally got that apart we saw that they were trying to cover up the damage to the drywall from the previous curtain failure.  That’s ok – I already have to patch from the old thermostat and a few places where the wallpaper bonded to the drywall.

I pulled the wallpaper down, which was thankfully easy – it was strippable vinyl, and left behind nothing but a lot of glue.  Right now we are engaged in scrubbing at all the walls trying to remove the glue, and once I’ve gotten as much as we can I’m going to cover the entire thing with Gardz sealer to prevent any residual glue from leaking through the paint.  There is a fair amount of drywall repair to be done as well, although thankfully no giant holes.  I cannot understand wallpaper – it’s so horrible to remove, not to mention that this paper was solid colored, leading people seeing the house to say “At least you don’t have wallpaper!”  Actually, there are 3 rooms with this same paper.  Must have been on sale.

The paper was applied right after the house was drywalled, so it’s roughly 20 years old.  It’s actually applied underneath all the trim in the room, as well as behind the bookshelves, although it was cut away behind the individual shelves.  I don’t like those bookshelves too much, but I’m keeping them because it looks like they cut into the drywall when they were building them (about 10 years ago, according to the records the owners left behind) and I’m not fixing that.  I’m trying to decide what color to paint the backs of the shelves.  Right now I’m leaning towards the same color as the wall, in order to minimize their impact, but I’m not totally set on that.  I would also consider painting the shelves themselves – they do not match the rest of the trim in the room, which bugs the heck out of me, and they aren’t made from a super nice wood or anything, although they are solid.

Thanks to everyone who wrote to help me out with my foyer dilemma – I am leaning towards an amber/gold color.  It does look great with the wood and the green – I’ve just always avoided yellow, but this isn’t really a yellow.  Plus it looks good with the berry color in the parlor (thank goodness I’ve not changed my mind on that color – it looks fabulous with the wood and with my piano!)  I’m wavering on the dining room, and now leaning towards a sapphire color.  The room gets such an incredible amount of light from the south that many colors look gray and chalky – but I’ve been leaving a set of sapphire colored prints in there while we work on the foyer, and they look amazing both in the light and against the wood.

In case you can’t tell, I’m having a great time.  I think, having grown up that way, that renovating houses is in my blood.  I hope the house is happy to have someone who cares about it again!

house · Life

In process – need color advice!

It’s been two years since I last moved, and I had almost forgotten how long it takes to get things in place!  We have everything now, and we are in the process of putting things away.  I am preparing to begin my work, starting with stripping the wallpaper (only one layer I think) in the parlor and the foyer, and then painting those rooms.  I have changed my color palette for the house quite a bit.  All the woodwork in the house, except for the kitchen and bathroom, is natural wood.  The PO (previous owner’s) stripped the woodwork, but never really got around to finishing, so after painting I will stain and seal the wood.  Natural woodwork really looks different against paint colors, so I’ve decided to go with a craftsman look, using a lot of the colors in the Sherwin Williams Arts and Crafts palette.

I’m painting the parlor a deep berry color (Behr Delicious Berry) but I’m totally stuck on what to paint the foyer.  The dining room will be the 2nd color in the third row of the color card above – sort of a medium blue green.  The foyer contains a beautiful green tile fireplace, but what color to paint the walls?  The POs added a chair rail (which I do not like and will probably remove) and were clearly of the idea that light colors would make the house brighter, which hasn’t worked – this house needs rich color to come alive.

The ceilings are also paneled in the foyer and parlor, which I love.

The infamous fireplace, looking into the dining room.

The rooms are not as connected as they look here – there are a set of pocket doors in the way, as well as a stairwell.  Right now I’m thinking about either a darker blue, a hunter green, or a deep red for this room.  I was thinking neutral, but I now own sample pots of every single neutral under the sun, and they all look dingy in this room, which most of the day gets little natural light.  The foyer is large (11’x16′) and will be used as the waiting room for my piano studio, so the color in here matters.  I know I seem anxious, but oh my gosh I hate that awful salmon color it’s painted right now!

I want a warm rich feeling… any ideas?  This has really been driving me crazy every time I walk through this room!

cats · house · Life


Just a quick note to say thanks for all your well wishes – they must have worked, because we started moving into our new house on Saturday!  It was a little nerve wracking, as moves always are (our movers showed up an hour early, and we are still moving the things they forgot!)

Friday we will close on our condo, so hopefully soon we will be all done with this whole thing, and get to settling into our new house.  My Dad (who renovates old homes for a living) will be around tomorrow so that we can form a game plan for the work to be done.  I will post more with detail on the house and what we’re doing soon.

I took the advice of several of you and preset several feliway diffusers in the house for the cats, and then did not separate them (we did get an extra litter box, bringing us to 4 boxes.)  We filled two of the boxes with the cat attract litter, and they’ve barely touched the others, so I think we will be switching to that permanantly.  Sarah Jane seems to be doing very well so far – I don’t want to get too confident, but she is able to get away from the other cats, and she has already claimed a new chair for herself.

That’s all for now – more later!


Not a good day

This morning we had to be out of the house at 8:30 with all three cats so that there could be a house inspection on our condo.  I barely made it to my Mom’s with the cats when I got a call that I was going to have to go into work (in theory I am off on Thursdays, although not so much lately) because the time sheets I thought were due tomorrow were due today (chalk it up to much stress this week, I am usually organized!)  Marc had to drive me because I’ve injured one of my eyes and can’t see well enough to drive.

We returned from that and had our final walk through on the new house.  We get the final statement of our closing costs, which are a ridiculous amount higher than we were told we would need earlier in the week (tens of thousands higher.)  Then we find out that apparently we were not informed by our loan officer that they will not release funds for 3 business days, so we are not to get possession until Wednesday.  And this is a legitimate bank, you wouldn’t think they would be pulling this, but… we can afford it and will get the funds back when our condo closes, but still… I feel we were deceived, and we do not know yet when we will be able to move, we are negotiating (we have movers scheduled for Saturday, but it’s uncertain yet whether that will happen or not.)

Finally, I am stressed about work.  There are changes, and I am really afraid of my position being cut back.  I may be just being paranoid, but… it has not been a good day, so I am entitled.

I tried to take a nap but I couldn’t… so much stress.


kitteh help needed!

I’m having something of a cat behavior problem, and I would love any advice!

Here is the culprit, looking properly guilty of course.  Sarah Jane is a house cat who escaped her owners (or was abandoned) for an unknown period of time before we took her in.  She’s the sweetest cat I’ve ever had, and we love her to death, especially my husband.

When we first got her she was using the litter box, but would have occasional accidents.  We took her to the vet, he diagnosed diabetes and put her on medicine, and her sugar levels are now under control.  We started (after a few weeks) trying to introduce her slowly to my other two cats, Leon and Dionne.   They didn’t like each other, but it seemed like they were learning, so eventually we let her come and go freely.  Then she started having a lot of accidents in the kitchen, very near the litter box in there, but not near enough to be an accidental miss. (we have 3 boxes in different rooms.)  I took the cover off, and she used it for awhile, but finally started up again.  We finally had to lock her in the bedroom again and consider how we could introduce them again.  Lately she has been occasionally peeing around the baseboards near her litterbox.  I moved her box to that spot and she hasn’t had another accident yet, but I am sure it is coming.

I should mention that she is very fearful of my other cats.  She seems to be getting used to Leon, who at this point just ignores her when he sees her, but Dionne hates her.  Dionne will come up to the bedroom door and shove her paws under it, trying to get at Sarah Jane (all our doors are very short, I think there must have been carpet here and someone chopped off the doors.)  I don’t expect love, I just want them to ignore each other.

Sarah Jane has been tested (twice) for any medical issues other than the diabetes, and she is clean (no infections, crystals etc.)  She did have a major problem when we switched her to a wet diet (wellness core) and now we have to mix medimucil into her food (poor kitty!)  She developed some issues with that problem I think, as I know the box was a source of pain then, but she does use it most of the time, so I don’t know what triggers that.  It’s pretty obvious to me that it’s territorial.  She is not a timid cat, and does not back down from Dionne, who usually runs and hides after initiating a confrontation.

We are moving on Saturday, and I’m not sure the best way to introduce the cats to the new house.  I’m hoping that with twice the space they will be able to ignore each other more, or that they can each claim their own territory since it will be new.  Sarah Jane loves to sleep in our bed, but I am just not willing to put a litter box in my bedroom again, and once her box is in a room you had better not move it (trust me on this one.)  We were thinking of startng her in the guest room, since she seems to like having her own space, and letting her out at intervals (at first with the other cats locked in our room until she gets used to things.)

Of course, all this is complicated by the fact that we are moving, and we have been showing the house (traumatic for the cats.)  I haven’t tried to reintroduce them very much because I thought they were under enough stress.  We love Sarah Jane no matter what, but wouldn’t it be nice to not have to clean up disgusting things every other day?  We have tried feliway (did nothing,) taking the lids off the boxes, moving the boxes, getting more boxes, every cleaning product under the sun etc.  We are at a loss.  We are, however, very grateful not to have any carpet in this house, as hard surface floors are easy to clean.

crafts · Crochet · knitting · Life · Thrifting


I’m at home tonight, ignoring all the fireworks.  July 4th is my least favorite holiday – it involves picnics and sudden loud noises, two things which I don’t really enjoy (and yes, I know… everyone loves a picnic except me, but I have major bug phobia.)

Instead I have started the packing process (half our things are already packed away in storage, so it really isn’t too many boxes) and I’m still working on babette!

I still have lots of squares to go, and I’m starting to feel the need for another break… I don’t want to burn myself out.  I don’t think I ever before understood how long it takes to make a blanket, but you all have my respect now!  Maybe I will try working on Joy some more (I stopped because the denim was hurting my wrists and the pattern was hurting my brain… I wish more Rowan patterns had charts!)

Last weekend we visited Marc’s family, and we managed to hit some of the thrifts there.  For some reason they have better Goodwill stores there.  Ours, while cheaper, are always junky and overcrowded with poorly organized stuff.  I got some t-shirts for the upcoming home renovations (I always look for the strangest ones to get paint on) and I also found one of my favorite thrifted books ever.

It’s a sort of guidebook to being a wife, and while I suspect that even at the time of publication (1964)  it was outdated, I still think it’s super fun!  It has a whole chapter devoted to picking out furniture for your new home, and includes such admonitions as “make sure to get furniture large enough for your husband!”

The chapter on furniture arrangement helpfully shows you how to display way too many things over your sofa.

I think it’s funny that the random letters on the wall thing seems to have come back, and whose family didn’t have a giant key on the wall (mine did – and you could hang keys on it too!)  I seriously covet the sofa, even in a drawing.  Our sofa (see above) was reasonably priced, but it’s still too overstuffed for my taste.  Ah well – I had to get one large enough for my husband, right ladies?

The book has lists of things to outfit your kitchen, and a chapter on setting a nice table (tablescapes!)  It also contains a number of recipes, and the photos accompanying these are predictably bad, as they always are in these old books.  But the recipe below… even the nicest modern camera couldn’t make that look good.

Why yes… those are indeed brussles sprouts in a cranberry rice ring, why do you ask?

crafts · Crochet · decorating · house · knitting · Life

Still here!

Yes, I am still here!  I’m even still knitting (well, crocheting) but I have been working almost exclusively on Babette.  I have finished 7 out of 10 sections.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t make for the most interesting photos, but I’m getting there!  It’s a good project for right now, because I find myself totally unable to focus on my other WIPs (I did finish the back of the Ocean Pearls Cardigan, but then I decided to take a break because I kept snagging the yarn.)

I really want to start the February Lady sweater, but I’m holding back until I finish something else.  Stress in my life always gives me startitis!

We close on the house next Friday (the 11th) so I’m in desperate packing/planning/list making mode.  The good news is that it looks like we have sold our condo, and for a better price than our first offer that fell through (contingent on the inspection, of course.)

I have made even more paint swatches, and I’m itching to stick them up in the house and live with them for awhile!  I also wanted to show a picture of our new (old) stove.

Sorry for the terrible photo, but it’s a Chambers stove (I usually tell people it’s like Rachael Ray’s stove and then they get it.)  It’s in working condition and needs only a few minor repairs – it belonged to Marc’s aunt and was cooked on every day up until a few months ago.  The finish is in great shape, and it’s obviously been very well cared for.  I have wanted one of these for a very long time (we had a retro stove like this at one point and I loved it,) so I’m happy to help keep it in the family!  It’s still in his Aunt’s house, so we will go up with a truck after we move in to pick it up (we will also be visiting the Cincinnati Ikea at that time… I have been making a list for that as well!)

Once we move in I will be able to show more.  My plan is to go room by room, starting with the parlor so that the piano can get moved in.   I’m so excited to get started!
And I promise… next post will contain actual photos of my WIPs!