Time stops for no one

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve had a series of posts lined up, just needing photos or links addedthen some time passes and another post topic comes up…then more time passes…we can see where this is going. In short, I’m so freaking behind in posts that I could either forget those posts entirely, make a mega post with far too much info or just give a breif synopsis, which is what I’m going with.

First up, the basement. It is done and I couldn’t be happier about it! We will be eating red beans & rice for the forseeable future to pay for it, but our house will no longer burn down from the ancient knob & tube wiring or the shitty job some moron who clearly didn’t know the basics of electrical safety did. Al, the Electrician did an awesome job in making everything safe. Contractor Neil & his crew did a fabulous job with all the non electrical & I look forward to having him back in a few years time to do the kitchen reno. Chris & I have our bedroom set up downstairs so now the kids can each have their own rooms. By the weeks end, we should be done with the cleaning & painting the kids rooms. We had hoped to have them all set up by the end of October, but we hit a bit of burn-out so had a bit of a break.

(Please ignore the chaos, we are slowely getting the bits and bobs organized)

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My Girl Cave is everything I wanted it to be and more.

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In keeping with the creativity thing…I’m once again participating in NaKniSweMo. This time I think I stand a good chance of finishing too! I’m knitting Comfort Cardigan from some well aged Auracania Nature Wool Chunky from the stash.

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I also learned how to make moccasin’s earlier this month, but that will become it’s own post. My plan is to try to get back into the habit of weekly blogging, so things don’t pile up again & so my Mum can keep better tabs on me & my antics.

Do you hear that?

Neither do I…and it’s wonderfull. As of Monday, I’ve got the house to myself for a few hours each day. Correction, other than Al the Electrician and Neil the Contractor banging around in my basement, I’ve got the house to myself. I don’t mind the banging from the basement as that means we are getting that much closer to finished. The reno ground to a bit of a halt while we were waiting for an Electrical Inspector to come by and either give us a gree or red light. I was having quite the internal freak out that the inspector was going to find some teeny tiny thing in a deep dark corner and announce it all had to come out & the house be condemned. Unless the inspector was on crack, this was not going to happen, but I was freaking none the less. Yesterday, the inspector dropped by and gave Al the green light and my electrical panel a sticker.

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Let me show you the neat and tidy panel in it’s glory:

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I should have taken a before photo, the panel was not that organized prior to Al’s coming by. Neil figures everything will be done in another week and then we can begin the painting, shuffling of bedrooms and getting things back to normal until we reno the kitchen…but that won’t be for a few years, we need some recovery time.

With opportunity comes some surprises

When we bought our little house eight years ago, we figured we would live here for 5 years then sell & move closer to the downtown. As time passed and the real estate market in this city got nuttier, we realized that plan was not going to work for us and we found we were totally okay with it.

Now that we have been here almost a decade we are finding more home repair jobs that are beyond our ability to fix on our own so we have had to make a list, check it twice of home repairs that will need to be dealt with over the next 10 years.

In April we had a surprise bathroom reno, one morning tiles decided they didn’t want to be attached to the wall any more leading us to discover a pipe in the walls had leaked, soaking the plasterboard. With the assistance of my BIL, the bathroom was taken down to the studs, which is when we found the knob & tube wiring… Initially we figured that this was all there was to be found and as our home is 65 years old, finding some was to be expected. We figured it was a simple bit of minor electrical until we went to isolate the breaker the bathroom ran on, which was when we discovered that the back half of the house ran on 1 breaker and the front was on a 2nd breaker. The only items on their own breaker were the stove, the furnace & the a/c unit…this totally explains why I couldn’t run the toaster and coffee maker, which are on opposite sides of the kitchen at the same time with out tripping the breaker!

With this discovery our initial reno plan had to go on hold until the electrical issues were resolved and we couldn’t resolve them until we had full access to the basement which wouldn’t happen until my sister no longer needed to use the apartment down there…we took comfort in the knowledge that the bathroom looked great and the new tub’s 14″ soaking depth!

Shortly after all of this, my sister got a job closer to her house and left the job she had in the city and her little apartment in our basement. For the first time since we moved in we had the WHOLE HOUSE to ourselves and could deal with the electrical! I was a little light headed with possibility!

The contractor was called in, he insepected the space, budget was discussed, plans were made, a dumpster was ordered and I spent about a week taking my basement down to the cinders.

Before the hammer dropped…

The nicest of the 6 layers of wood paneling. If there hadn’t been wiring issues and the whole basement had been finished with this paneling, we would never have touched it, but as they say “if wishes were horses…”

Some of the other styles of paneling:

While I was tearing down the wall with the sliding door that seperated the bedroom from the living space in the apartment, I found a hinged door had been sealed up in there…Other peoples reno’s often boggle one’s brain.

Deep in the throes of the demo.

One week and two very full dumpsters later, the basement was down to the blocks, electrical was hanging down everywhere and I looked like I had been beaten with a 2×4, which really wasn’t too far off the truth!

Last night the electrician came in to tidy up the wires that were hanging down so the contractor & his crew could safely work with out risk of electrocution. This “little” pile of wires is just the stuff that was hanging down and a small fraction of the k&t.

The basement looks considerably tidier and safer, without all the wires hanging down!

What are we going to do with all this new space? Well, the electrical work will take up the lion’s share of the budget, but since any future reno work will rely on our having proper wiring, we are taking the time & spending the money to have it done right the first time. Luckily, since my house is a bungalow, the majority of the wiring is in my basement ceiling! This makes life way easier for Al, the electrician as everything is exposed and there will be minimal poking of holes in my main floor walls. Neil, the contractor will be building Chris & I a bedroom along the back wall, a utility room to house/hide the furnace & water tank and put up some framing around the other walls so we can drywall down the road when we have some more money. The rest of the space will become a play room for the kids, the old kitchen space will now house my loom & craft supplies, Chris will get a proper painting space for his hobby but most important of all, we won’t be crammed up in the first floor of the house!

 

Wild Hair

More often that is probably good for me I get “ideas” which quickly become “obsessions” or as I like to call them “Wild Hairs up my Butt”. These “hairs” most often have a fiber/textile focus, in my pre-fiber junkie days they covered the gamut from piercings to learning guitar, Chris is much happier that I have a focuse now. A friend once theorized that these obsessions are probably a low level manifestation of manic depression seeing as I have a family history of that illness. It’s an interesting theory, there may be some stock in it, but that’s besides the point. The point is that I have a wild hair up my butt that should last me through the summer and it’s pretty awesome!

Allow me to outline my plan (which contrary to Dr. Steph’s plan, it will not be me giving all my Indigodragonfly yarn to her!):  Kim dyes yarn, she dyes REALLY AWESOME YARN! and she & her man Ron give these yarns REALLY AWESOME NAMES! Put awesome yarn colours with awesome colourway names and have these awesome yarns made by a local-ish (based in Haliburton) small company, my resistance becomes futile. The fact that Kim and Ron are REALLY AWESOME PEOPLE is just icing on the cake & I think I just used up my awesome quota for this post…

It appears I have amassed a respectable collection of this AWESOME YARN (sorry, needed one more), a fair amount of which is fingering to lace weight and I’m fond of shawls, put these two things together and I’m feeling a Summer of Shawls coming on. I’ve made stabs at Summers of Shawls in the past & failed miserably mostly due to over commitment & a complete inability to accept that I cannot bend the space time continum to suite my needs. Drawing on these previous failures and my brand new mad knitting beaded lace skills I picked up in a recent beaded lace class with Laura Nelkin at Lettuceknit, I’ve set a goal (that sounds much better than ‘a plan’) of knitting three shawls with Indigodragonfly yarn between now & Labour Day.

The Shawl & yarn combos are as follows:

Aestlight Shawl using MCN Lace, Drusilla colourway – I started this in September 2011, it some how got buried in the Closet of Shame where it was excavated from the stash during the big stash organization binge I went on in January. I’ve hit a tricky part that I can’t quite make sense of yet which was probably why it was set aside way back when.

Colour Affection Shawl Of Nerd Awesomness using MCN Sock, Did I Listen to Pop Music Because I was Miserable or was I Miserable Because I Listened to Pop Music; and two skeins of  Merino Sock in Also, I can Kill you with my Brains and Bunnies, Bunnies! It must be bunnies! This shawl combines two of my favourite nerd/geek shows & a favourite book/movie.

The last shawl is Faberge, using a skein of MCN Sock in Did I listen to Pop Music… and a skein of Merino Sock in Slutty Thursday Things & it’s got beads! I have some charcoal seed beads but after the class with Laura, I’m concerned that the metallic lining on these beads may wear off & cause problems with the yarn or bleed/leach something onto the shawl. I really should just steele myself for a run up to BeadFX for the type of beads Laura reccomended and bring along a non crafting person who will slap my hand when I get distracted by something shiney or start getting “ideas” then before I know it, I’m some how $100 lighter than when I came in.

With my bathroom reno coming to an end and with it the subsequent chaos & upheaval it creates in ones life, I plan to get back to a semi regular blogging & crafting schedule as I have quite the backlog of stuff to show & tell like how I finished my first big weaving project, the new veggie patch & probably some other stuff…

 

 

 

A nice little distraction

My little house is in a slight state of chaos as we are in the throes of a bathroom reno two years ahead of my schedule. Some tiles decided to fall off the wall and we discovered that the drywall behind it was anything but dry. Last Monday my brother in law and I started the demolition and discovered an unexpected surprise which will be increasing the reno costs and extending the time my house will be in chaos.

Thankfully, I have fibery pursuits to help take the edge off.

I’ve had a slightly productive few weeks of knitting and am more than a little behind with the documenting it. In March, I finished what is quite possibly my favouritest sweater. EVER!

Warriston by Kate Davies, knit using 2 & a bit skeins of Cascade Eco. I love it, it’s warm & comfy, everyone should knit one.

My little cousin turned 1 this month so I knit her a little cardi and an Aviatrix hat.

There are a few other things to share, but I’ll save them for my next post so that this one doesn’t become a massive, rambling behemoth.

Fingers crossed by weeks end I’ll have my new bathroom containing a tub with a 14″ soaking depth and be getting ready to fix the not so little unexpected surprise we uncovered. It’s a good thing I have a nice little yarn stash as I don’t see there being a yarn category in the budget for some time…

 

 

Oh right it’s a new year!

Because I have spent nearly my entire working life in the service industry I have very different (often negative) associations with almost every holiday on the calendar. There is nothing like seeing people come to near fisty-cuffs over the last baguette at the bakery or witnessing families who have clearly spent way too much time together freak the hell out on the poor holiday hire who has very politely informed them that their level of membership does not allow 15 guests and it also expired 3 years ago. The stuff I’ve seen is enough to make me weep for “society” and to seriously consider relocating to a very remote cabin in a very remote part of the world with a very large dog, an even bigger gun, my books, loom, spinning wheel, yarn…you get the picture.

Of all the questionable behaviour and annoying habits/traditions of the Holiday Season, the one I do try to hold to is the New Years Resolution. Perhaps it’s a bit of residual who knows what from my years as an active pagan (I lapsed into a comfortable solitary practice years ago when the kids arrived as getting out with a newborn is like mounting an expidition to Mt. Everest) but there is something very nearly electric and palpable about a new year! I get the same excitement and anticipation at the beginning of a new school year. It’s the combination of a fresh, new start and the heady scent of possibility that I look forward to.

My first resolution is always: Start as you mean to go on! This can be harder to keep than you think! After that my resolutions vary depending on what I want to accomplish and improve over the year.

For 2012 I’m going to look inward (in a sense) and return to some old practices that served us well but fell to the way side. Two of my resolutions that I’m most excited for are my decision to improve my textile/craft skills either by challenging them or taking a course and to fill the holes on The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred list.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

It shall be fun to complete the list and I have a very dear friend who will probably quite willingly assist me with #37, #45 & #73…

Wish you all a very happy & safe New Year and hope that you too were able to start as you mean to go on.

 

 

And then we got to the Fair Grounds…

Saturday morning saw the lot of us up and at’em. After some breakie,an incident with the coffee geysering out of the bodum to scorch me and a subsequent shower we were off…

 

 

 

 

 

(Robin on the left, Tonya on the right & I’m the shadow in the middle)

There was a 2 mile long queue to get into the fair grounds. If you look closely at the photo from the previous post, you can just see the line of cars to the right of the intersection way off in the distance…That line of cars was moving surprisingly fast and we were on the fair grounds far sooner than I expected. Parking located, weekend passes purchased, we scatered like buck shot into the barns & stalls! I will make another post about the shopping so this does not become a mammoth post! Suffice it to day trying to do Rhinebeck in one day is overwhelming, I strongly suggest purchasing the weekend pass so you don’t feel like you are under the gun and can wander aimlessely.

         
         After about 5 hours of wandering, we were ready to head back to the house for a bit of a rest before dinner, we made a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up provisions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were greeted to a nice roaring fire that Robin & Audrey had started as they arrived back at Casa Del Rhinebeck before us.

 

 

 

 

 

Purchases were shown off, dinner reservations were made at Luna 61 and I introduced the beauty of Hendrick’s Gin. As it got close to the time of our reservation, we trundled off on foot to Fab Yarns which was conviently located across the road-ish from the restaurant! It’s a lovely little shop with lovely owners who carry Indigodragonfly and a pink leopard print fun fur carpet bag that may have had me squealing with glee….but I put it down and bought a skein of yarn instead…

Dinner was great, company was beyond wonderful and we found a local hard cider that made us all swoon, and it wasn’t because most of us had a few G&Ts on board and were possibly high on yarn fumes…

Back at the house after dinner we restoked the fire and compared notes on the day. Sunday was a bit of wash, rinse repeat of Saturday but sadly Robin & Audrey left us to return to Pennsylvania and work on Monday morning. Tonya, Emily and I enjoyed some Republican pizza & beer (unsure of the beer’s political alignment) for dinner and spent the rest of the night knitting in front of the fire.

Monday, we packed up, sorted out our travel knitting, made a pit stop in Woodstock for tie dyed shirts & found some amazing sandwiches at a cheese shop and a few bits of yarn bombing, then headed for home.

       

        

We are already planning for next year…

 

Ketchup…

Oh it’s been some time since I’ve fed the blog and now there is way too much stuff to catch up on.

My new gig as a mostly SAHM is working for us. The kids are happier, we are eating better and now that the kids are back at school, I’m getting a nice bit of quiet time which is leading to a HUGE upswing in my fiber time…Oh I have missed this!

Over the summer I knit a Classic Baby Surprise Sweater, 2 baby sweaters using the super great  Mossy Jacket pattern, a toque, some booties, a Hitchhiker scarf/shawl, a February Lady Sweater and because the baby I knit the BSJ for arrived much larger that I had expected, I’m knitting her a Striped Smock Top out of some Noro Silk Garden. There are photos of all these, but they are not stored on the computer I am writing this post from…will have to get into the habit of just using one PC for all my stuff!

The looms have seen action as well! There was a baby blanket and three scarves completed. I’m trying my hand at Leno and getting ready to warp the big floor loom to weave a few blankets as gifts…

The only habit that hasn’t seen any action is the spinning, which is sad really as I saved up & sold a few things to purchase a SideKick, the wheel I have been waiting for!

Now that things are settling down around here, I’m looking forward to getting back in to the swing of blogging regularly, seeing my fiber production & resulting stash reduction pick up more speed!

 

 

Well…That went fast!

It really is true that the older you get the faster time seems to pass…and suddenly you realize that you have a serious back log of blog posts that you kept meaning to finish but somehow didn’t.

So this is going to become a squash post where you get the highlights of those incomplete posts…

For starters, I have a 4 month contract full time job…it’s good & I like having weekends with the kids & Chris…

I failed to complete the knitted toys for the kids, I do plan to finish them, but not right now…

There was some fiber related Christmas crafting with the kids…

Only two balls were broken, I consider that a majorly successful craft venture.

A friend pissed me off so I knit him a hat out of cashmere on 3mm needles in 5 days…you really had to be there to understand the logic behind that. He was appropriately appreciative to be granted a place on the Yes-knit list… then two days later, in classic boy fashion made a dumb-assed comment that has landed him on the no-knit list.

There has been other knitting completed and many more started…I need to work on my project monogamy as I have a feeling it will increase my number of completed projects.

I’m sorting out my knitting goals for this year, but that’s another post for another day…

And finally, war between me and the neighbourhood squirrels has begun over my bird feeders…

Girl who gets crap done!

That’s the theory I’m running with.

My school break was not the restfull break I was hoping for. The plan was to pick up some extra shifts at work, go through my clothes to sort out what fits and what is too big, donate the too big clothes and to get a bunch of WIPs off the needles, crochet hooks and looms. Due to Mother Nature having a sick sense of humour, only some of that was accomplished and relaxation became an abstract concept as we had carpenter bees munching the house (they were chemically evicted) and the basement flood with (thank the Gods) rainwater during a particularly heavy rain storm which led to a two day clean up. I may have done some heavy drinking and heavy petting of some of the finer examples of yarn in my stash to keep me sane…

In hindsight, I have taken these events to be blessings in disguise (or something along those lines) as particularly in the case of the flooding, it led to a bout of decluttering as a dumpster was required. Now that the house is a bit less cluttered, I’m a bit less edgy…but am still longing for a studio to set up my looms (yes, plural, DON”T JUDGE ME!!!!) with shelving to hold the stash, making it easier to find what I need when the fancy hits.

Amidst all this chaos I did manage to get two projects off their respective tools. The Colonnade shawl from the previous post and this little number came off my Cricket loom:

The yarn is Noro Sekku that Abi and Liam gave me for a birthday gift. Although I love the effect of the yarn, in the future I wouldn’t use it for warp as the less spun parts tended to drift apart under the tension of the warp due to the silk and cotton being slippy type fibers without much give. Have a bunch of Noro Kureyon Sock I’m going to experiemnt with next as I have a theory that the wool will create a stickier yarn with a bit more elasticity.

Breakage issues aside, I do love this scarf and look forward to wearing it out as a rustic accessory once this heat wave has broke!