Monday, May 30, 2005

Here's what I've been doing...

After months of procrastination, I went to the lower level bathroom on Saturday afternoon to tug on a corner of the wallpaper and see just what I was getting myself into. Well...less than 90 minutes later, all of the wallpaper, including the ceiling wallpaper, was stuffed in a garbage bag out in the garage.

In 27 years of homeownership and wallpaper removal, that has to be a record!
Here's a photo of the stuff that came down. I wanted to be sure and document that the ceiling was indeed papered in foil.


foil walls
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Standing in this room was a bit like being inside a gift wrapped box.

Today I will wash the old glue off the walls. Then I must wait for either dh or ds to repair the huge hole in the wall. This was created when we had hot water heating installed a couple years ago.

I've picked my colors at Behr paints. Look up the color named "river bank" and you'll see the color for the walls. The green walls will look good w/ the white ceramic tile flooring and fixtures. It also cooridnates with the carpeting that we put in the rest of the lower level in January. If you still have the Behr link open, type in Toffee Crunch and you'll see the color I want to paint the living room.

Fiber pursuits are kind of on the back burner. I'm almost finished with the red socks that were posted awhile ago. The baby surprise sweater and cap have been mailed. And I've been thinking of making a wall quilt to go over the fire place in the lower level. Something kind of geometric...the paint colors will provide the base tones. Just haven't decided on the accent colors yet.

I have a log of other Memorial Day thoughts I could share...but not just now. Maybe later.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

More on plans...

I'm still focused on the planning thread from my last entry. There are things I would like to accomplish this summer. Some are fiber things, some are house things, some are reading/study things. So I'm tapping into Julie Morganstern's methods for organizing my workspace and my time.

Organizing:
The primary workspace of concern is the sewing room which is a 10' x 10' room with a small walk in closet. I have a large, old fashioned steel desk in there (the kind that has a pull out typewriter surface on either side, above the drawers), along with the sewing table (holding both the sewing machine and the serger), a 2 drawer file cabinet, a chest of drawers, 2 large 6.5' tall book cases, and two stacks of Sterlite bins. The walk in closet is FULL of fiber (spun and unspun), dyes, and esoteric fiber tools.

Julie's suggestion for organizing a room is the kindergarten model. Each activity has a center, where all the tools and materials for the activity are located where the activity takes place. It's clear, even after purging all that I care to from this room, that it's big enough for sewing, designing, and storage. That's all.

I need an additional space for bible study, journaling, and planning. Even though there's a desk in the sewing room, it's just not conducive to those activities. So, I'm staking out the corner in a small spare bedroom. There's a little alcove in there, right beside a window. I want to install another 2 drawer file and desk like worksurface in that cubby.

The looms and the spinnning wheels will stay in the dining room...which seems to work out pretty well, except for the table loom which is currently on the dining room table. I wish I could figure out a place where I could put up the table loom and/or the knitting machine periodically. If I put together the new study cubby, that old metal desk would be a prime candidate for the table loom and the knitting machine when needed.

So...that's the space organizing component. Now for the summer task list:

Fiber projects to finish:

- dh's vest only needs the button hole and armhole bands.
- Fulmar needs 1/3 of one sleeve and the remaining sleeve to be knitted.
- There are 2 yds. of cotton chenille warp remaining on the 36" loom.
- There are about 5 more samples to finish weaving from the big twill workshop.
- The blue/turquoise/purple merino wool is waiting for me to finish carding on the drum carder.
- I need more cormo combed and spun to weave with the singles.
- There are about 3 more summer outfits to sew, one being the natural linen jacket/blazer.
- The red self patterning socks are about 3/4's finished.
- There's still some polwarth and corriedale fleece that needs to be washed.

This finish list is to prevent the onset of a case of startitis. At least 3 things have to come off of that list before I will list things I want to start working on for the summer.

On the home front: I want to strip the wallpaper in the lower level bathroom (silver foil, incuding the ceiling...ugh!!) and paint it. I also want to strip the wallpaper in the living and dining rooms and paint them before installing new carpet before September.

I figure that all of this will keep me pretty busy for the next 3.5 months.

And on the family front:
My son is still looking for a summer job, 2.5 weeks after getting home from college. Southeast Michigan is definitely in a slump. Today he was called in for a second interview to work for a business that does machine embroidery and screen printing. The job would be some computer graphics and programming, general grunt work, and possibly some embroidery. Apparently the owner who interviewed him was intrigued that a young man would be interested in this job. Ds said he noticed that the interviewer was definitely looking for a reaction when he said, "You might have to do some embroidery work." Ds replied, "Well I've done some cross stitch, which I know isn't the same thing. But my Mom taught me to use her old sewing machine when I was in 4th grade and it was kind of fun."

I'm a little surprised that of all the applications he's submitted, he's most interested in this job and really wants it. Then again, I've been telling him all his life that it all comes back to textiles.

If I had my way...he'd get the job for 25-30 hrs. per week, then I'd put him to work with the paint brush after I get the wallpaper stripped. However, I don't often get my way....

Keep a good thought on the job front for him.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

If you fail to plan....

You plan to fail. In my experience, that's pretty close to the truth. If I don't have a plan, nothing happens. Right now, I find myself with all sorts of good intentions but no plans.

May is a month of transitions. The last weaving guild meeting of the '04-05 year was Thursday. I planned to attend it. Even had a bunch of yarn and a 36" 8 dent reed to take to the 'moth market' and raise a little spare cash. The plan failed.

Instead, spent the day waiting around for service tech guys for the cable/internet service to arrive. That plan failed as well. Between Thursday and Friday we had a total of 6 service and repair technicians traipsing through our house and our yard trying to figure out why the cable modem wasn't registering with the ISP. At 6:00 PM yesterday I delivered an ultimatum: "Get this system up and running by midnight or pack up all this stuff and take it back where it came from."

At 7:50 PM we had 2 tech guys at the house. At 11:10 PM, our internet service was installed. I'd give you the laundry list of things that have gone wrong on this install since May 2. But the list would be much shorter if a listed which steps went right: 0. Not one single step of the way went right. And they still have to come and bury the cable...which will be in 7-10 days. If someone doesn't end up cutting the cable with a lawn mower between now and then. Mark my words...it'll happen.

Back to plans:
I have a lot of things I would like to accomplish over this summer, probably too many things. I do not have a plan, just a series of "oh, I want to...." thoughts rolling through my head. But I can't seem to make myself sit down and map out a plan, a schedule, or even a list. Part of the problem is that there's an equal amount of "oh, I have to..." thoughts rolling around in my head as well.

Is this what they call artist's block? And can one have such a malady if they don't even claim to be an artist, simply an artisan?

I've spent enough time on this globe to know that one of the best cures for this is to just DO SOMETHING...anything.

So, here's what I'm going to do:


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I'm going to throw these fabrics in the washing machine.

While that's happening, I'm going outside to finally plant this flat of pansies and violas.


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Then when I come back in the house and the fabric is in the dryer, I'm going to throw a small turkey in the oven for supper. After that, I'm heading upstairs to the sewing room to play with these fabrics and my new Sulky machine embroidery threads to see what I can do with some of those fancy stitches I have yet to try on the new sewing machine.

If I'm lucky, I'll end up with a new table runner for the kitchen. If not, I'll have learned a thing or two about my sewing machine and embroidery threads.

Does that sound like a plan?

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Latest Baby Surprise Sweater and Cap..



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Finally a finished object to post on the blog. I'm thinking about picking up at the ends of the sleeves and adding a little ribbing. These sweaters always look like they are too short in the sleeves to me. Then I will put it in the mail for baby. She's not due to arrive until next month.

Continuting in the "knitting for babies" vein, I have purchased some yarn to knit a little boy's gansey for a baby gift that I never got around to knitting. He soon won't be a baby so this is what the finished item will be:


Sirdar Chino Knits #50256
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Am still vacillating between is this a cold or is it spring allergies. Symptoms wax and wane.

Spent some time spinning yesterday. The wheels have been neglected for much of the past school year. It seems like ds coming home from college has inspired me to sit at the wheels and treadle once again. It's probably just an instinctive attempt to keep my foot out of my mouth and let him readjust to living in a house rather than a dorm? I'm sure it won't be long before I will feel like throwing shuttles, tromping treadles, and swinging beaters really hard! If you've had a an adult child return home, I'm sure you can relate.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

In a perfect world....

I would post a photo of the latest Baby Surprise sweater (which is complete) and matching hat (which is not). But it's been rainy and the hat isn't finished hence there is no photo.

Also in this perfect world, I would not have woken up this morning with the beginnings of a head cold. This time of year it's usually allergies...but this is definitely a cold. Thank heavens for Zicam, which I hope will make this short if not sweet.

Finally to continue the perfect world fantasy: the cable modem connection would be up and running. But as it turns out, the yahoo subcontractors that buried the cable to the house used too small a gauge of wire for distance and the tv's and computers to be serviced in this house. Although we have now have reasonable tv reception (and too many channels IMO) the computer is still on dial up. So we will wait for 12 to 14 days for a subcontractor to come out and make our yard look even more like the gopher from Caddyshack lives here.

On a more positive note, I have found some really neat resources through some other blogs. I'd like to encourage you to go over and look at In a Minute Ago
for a bunch of links to online weaving and related textile resources. While you are at her site, click on the patchwork button in the right hand column to browse through some interesting and well documented quilt squares.

Another tidbit to make weavers happy: Peter Collingwood had given Ralph Griswold permission to put The Techniques of Rug Weaving and Rug Weaving, Beyond the Basics on line. Both books are OOP. I'm lucky enough to own the second edition of the former title. To check out the weaving resources that Ralph had made available online, checkout Ralph Griswold's Archives

Finally, for some inspiration and some good old fashioned fiberartist's "eye candy" go check out Daily Writings at The Artist's Loft


Well..that should be enough to keep you busy until I get on the other side of this cold.

Monday, May 02, 2005

What to tackle next?

The denim jacket is finished and was worn to a luncheon yesterday with a matching skirt. The jacket will also get a workout on Thursday when I have tickets for the Community prayer breakfast, lunch plans with a friend, then dinner with the women of the ELCA. I don't remember ever having a day with plans for eating out in the company of friends for all three meals. I keep thinking of that marshmallow eating game: "One chubby bunny, two chubby bunnies....."

No photos.....I haven't mastered the art of photography of garments on a hanger yet, (if indeed it can be mastered). Is photography a good enough reason to want a dress form?

I spent yesterday evening cleaning up the sewing machine and serger after the sewing spree. The little vacuum that has the hose and a teeny tiny nozzle came in handy for the denim lint in all the nooks and crannies. Then I spent some time trying to impose order on the rest of the room. There were some samples and swatches that needed to be catalogued and a few magazines in need of filing. I found the article on fitting yourself for a pair of jeans....and I AM going to do this. I want a custom fitted, comfortable, flattering pair of jeans without a 3 figure price tag. But the linen jacket will come first.

The weaving guild's "moth market will be May 19. So I culled some balls and cones of yarn that will not be missed from my shelves and bins, then changed the bug repellent strip in the wool closet. Once again stood in awe at the amount of wool I have accumulated for spinning. Well, maybe aghast is a better word than awe. I'd love to continue on my sewing spree.....but if I don't start getting some spinning done, we'll have to call in Rumplestiltskin!!!

Meanwhile, I'm on the home stretch of a Baby Surprise sweater for one of my nephews' new baby. I promise photo's of that before the week is out.

Ds is in final exams week at Purdue, finishing out the home stretch of his freshman year. Wow, where did that time go? We are bracing ourselves for a garage full of boxes for the summer and a significant leap in grocery bills after next weekend.