Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Drilling, Painting and Humidity - Oh my!

I fear that this will be a somewhat annoying post, as I don't have photos available (yet) for posting. Some of them have been taken, but they aren't yet online.

Friday evening, after touring a project under construction, I came home prepared to start my first project of the weekend. Only to find that both batteries for my cordless drill needed to be charged and R was interested in going to a movie. So we went to see The DaVinci Code. It was okay. Afterward we had Coldstone Ice Cream. That was great. :-)

Saturday morning (well, late morning) I started my first project for the weekend - putting pulls on the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen. I had made a template a few weeks ago, so I basically able to dive right in and start drilling holes. I did take the time to clean the cabinet doors and drawers when they were removed, which added some time to the project but was definitely needed. I considered cleaning out the cabinets while I was at it...but I wasn't that motivated.

Once I got on a roll, and had an understanding of the different challenges of the different kinds of pieces (the drawer fronts are as thick as the built-ins, requiring a wider hole on the backside for the screw-head to be recessed) I realized that I didn't have enough pulls. I did a little searching, thinking that I had purchased enough for the kitchen in two batches, but I couldn't find them. Hopefully, I only bought as many as they had when I first choose them and never went back to get more. If not, someday I'll find a bag of 20 pulls somewhere in the house...

While we were at Home Depot, I bought paint for the second floor bathroom and a test color for the foyer. R also got some supplies to continue with his hardware stripping procedures. I finished all but the last 5 pulls by the end of Saturday. Leaving the large glass doors for when R could help me take them down and the 3 built-in drawers, which turned out to be pretty quick work. Even with sleeping in and brunch at our local coffee shop, I was done by early afternoon.

The next step was cleaning up after myself. :-) I removed all trace of sawdust and woodchips from the living room, kitchen and while I was at it I vacuumed the first floor hall and lower set of steps because they just really needed it.

Next, we considered the task of moving the large dollhouse upstairs, but decided that it was more than R and I could handle alone. And it also involves protecting the stained glass window on the landing. Getting the house up there is going to be a tight squeeze...making me kind of glad that I didn't ask the not-totally-competent moving guy to take it up there when he delivered it.

After a quick trip for dinner and groceries, we set our sights on the second floor bathroom. R cleaned the shower floor and replaced the seal that wasn't in good shape. I cleaned the walls and otherwise prepped the room for painting. Stewart seemed concerned that we were expending so much effort in his favorite room.

Monday I primed the trim and walls, and put two coats of paint on the walls. (That is such a simple sentence that represents so much work...) The whole weekend was warm to hot and fairly humid. It was most uncomfortable up on the ladder, but since it tends to be much more humid in July and August, I'm really glad I didn't save this job for then. (And I'm thinking more and more that if I get some more done in the next few weeks I will probably try to avoid doing too much work around here in the worst heat and humidity of summer.)

So the trim still needs to be painted and I think a few of the pieces of hardware that R stripped yesterday need a little more time in the stripper bath. The second floor is kind of a disaster at the moment - between the stuff removed from the bathroom and all of the painting tools. I think I will be taking another 3-day weekend soon. They're very productive!

Friday, May 26, 2006


I just got email saying that my Plymouth Encore is shipping this afternoon.


Guess they didn't get my email about canceling the order. It just means more yarn for Dulaan items, right?


Since R had plans last night, I decided to use my first free evening in a while to go to my LYS and try to solve me problem. The one I went to is much larger than the one downtown, and I figured it would have a better selection to choose from.

I was right. There were actually a number of machine washable options that came in the two colors I was looking for. Even Baby Ull, but I really wanted a yarn bigger than DK weight.

I settled on Cascade Sierra - a 80% cotton/20% wool blend. The label claims that it should be handwashed, but I see no reason for that. There is less wool that the Plymouth Encore that I had planned to use.

I walked a significant part of the way home. The weather was nice, it was light out and although I was not wearing the best shoes for a 75 minute urban walk, it felt good to stretch my legs.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I'm going to cry.


I'm sure you're all tired of hearing about the yarn saga. But it continues...

Last Friday I emailed the company I ordered from to ask about my order. No response. I send another email first thing this morning, and I finally get a response late this afternoon.

Apparently they sent me an email on May 11th (the day after I placed the order) to tell me that one of my colors was on backorder. I didn't get the email and it is *still* on backorder.

IF I would have received the email on the 11th, I could have cancelled the order and placed it with a different company. A company which will also do expedited delivery, although it would not have been at such a good price per skein. But I would have had it by the 15th or 16th.

IF they would have responded to my email from Friday with this news (maybe they did and I didn't get that either? What other emails am I not getting?!), I could have done the same thing and had the yarn by Tuesday or yesterday.

NOW if I place an order, I would have to pay $20 for overnight delivery plus the 30% more for the yarn and I wouldn't get the yarn until Tuesday because of the holiday.

I checked the LYS downtown and they have only one skein of one of the colors I wanted (just like they did on May 10th when I placed the order).

I'm really not sure what to do at this point. I had accepted the fact that the present would be late, but I had assumed I would at least be able to start it before the shower occurred. *sob*

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Not. Here. Yet.

There is still hope for an afternoon delivery, but the yarn for the shower gift hasn't arrived yet. I think the likelihood that the bride can open this gift at the shower is now infinitesimally small. I'm fast and there is a 3-day weekend coming, but I wasn't planning to spend the whole weekend knitting. Really.

I've decided that the stripe order will be
2 - 10 - 4 - 6 - 2 - 4 - 14

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dinner Invention

It was too sweet for Rudy, but I think with more meat and rice, and fewer tomatoes and corn it would be okay. Or maybe peas instead of corn. The meat was really tender and tasty, so its worth another shot.

Here's what I did...

Heat olive oil in non-stick pan, add pine nuts and 1 clove pressed garlic. When nuts and garlic begin to brown, add beef stir fry. When I could barely see any more pink on the meat I added 3 medium tomatoes. Once the tomato juice was boiling, I added the rice and enough water to cover. When the rice was nearly done, I added a package of corn that I had warmed in the microwave. I added salt and pepper, and cooked it all together until the liquid was gone.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Should have

I really should have gotten more done around the house this weekend. But really, the weekend is over, so there is not point stressing over what I didn't accomplish. I DID make some progress on gifts for two friends having babies. And I got to spend time with friends and with my husband. And I slept in both days. I also got the house tour stuff done that I needed to do (except for printing) and I found two wood chairs for the dining room at an Estate Sale on our block. The caning in the middle of the seats is not in good shape, but they cleaned up nicely and I have more of the dining room chair fabric if I decide to fix them myself. (Which seems likely)

So not a bad weekend, but there was probably some knitting time that I should have spent doing one of the things on my list that I want to get done before our party in June. :-)

Oh, and that yarn I ordered still hasn't arrived. No clue what I'm going to do. I'll probably try to sprint through it and see what I can get done before it needs to be mailed next week (*shudder*). And if I don't make it, it can be a "shower" gift that doesn't actually get opened at the shower. Oh well. I need to work on the wedding present, too...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Why not LAST night, too?

I'm thrilled and relieved that the Reds squeaked out a win today. I just wish they could have done so last night. The number of times that they loaded the bases and scored 1 or 0 runs was incredibly frustrating. I just didn't see the team play that I've been reading about. Same goes for the game I watched on TV Tuesday night, although that one was almost worse because Harang really only had one bad inning, too, and he threw a lot of strikeouts.

Despite his less than stellar performance, I was impressed by Arroyo. He is clearly very confident and he's not one of those pitchers who has to take a lot of time between pitches or who worries tremendously about base runners stealing. He's clearly there to pitch, no to dawdle around the mound, which I find impressive. His last couple of innings he was pitching the way I expected to see him pitch the whole game - in command.

Oh well. It was a good game last night until White came in *and* we only got rained on outside before the game. :-) Glad I went with friends and not alone!

(still waiting for yarn to arrive for shower gift...*tapping foot*)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Not even planned

I just looked at Reds.com and found out that when I go to the game tomorrow night Arroyo is going to be pitching! The only reason I chose tomorrow night is because it is "ladies night" at PNC Park and I thought it might be more interesting for my friends. I'm even more psyched than I already was!

PLEASE don't let the game get rained out!

The Reds are currently 1 game behind the Cardinals who are starting a series against the 1st place Mets. Seems like a great opportunity...

Panicking...a little

The yarn for that shower gift isn't here yet. If it doesn't get here by the weekend (ack!) I don't think I'll make it...

Nora the Brave

I'm not really sure how well I slept last night, since I was surrounded by three cats playing "let's make an Amy sandwich" all night. I know I woke up at least once and had to untangle my from Stewart while trying not to disturb Nora at my hips and Effie up by the pillows.

At 6am, there was a noise in my office that woke all 4 of us up. Effie raised her head and then put it back down. Stewart stood up, but stayed on the bed with his eyes glued in the direction of the door. Nora was the brave one, and immediately went to see what was going on. And when I got up to see what had produced the noise, she walked around with me and chatted a little. Stewart did not leave the bed until it was clear that I thought the coast was clear.

I finished the front of Double Scoop (http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEspring06/PATTdoublescoop.html) last night. My first real intarsia project. My first attempt was poor and I didn't totally understand what I was doing. I did a little reading yesterday and got a much better understanding of how it works.

This morning on the bus I bound off the first of the Cherry Tree Hill socks. 11 rounds of ribbing on the second one, and I can bind it off, too. Pictures soon.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Two sightings today

First this evening I've seen what I assume is a new Miller Lite commercial. There are a variety of men in the commercial - the first one of note is Jerome Bettis. This wasn't my first sighting. Later in the commercial was an appearance by Aron Ralston. He was the RA on my friends' floor freshman year at CMU.

The second sighting had to be verified at tvtome.com. Kim Director is playing the crazy ex-girlfriend of Eric Delco on CSI: Miami (don't ask me why I'm still watching this show, I don't know.) Kim played the Witch in a production of "Into the Woods" that I was assistant stage manager for my freshman year at CMU. It took me a few minutes to figure out why she looked familiar, and even once I did I wasn't sure I was right. Don't know if she's lost too much weight or if its just because I haven't seen her since 1995.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Knitting Photo Dump

I'm not taking any more pictures of knitting projects or progress until I get caught up on the photos I've taken already and promised in the past. Above is the orange cabled vest, before I made it narrower and knitted around the armholes and neck. A final picture is still owed to you, my loyal readers. :-) It was based on the Veste Everest pattern from the Fall 2005 Interweave Knits.

On a similar note, the next photo is of a 2/3rds completed clapotis. It's done now, but the only finished photo I have at the moment is from when it was blocking and Nora decided to throw up on it...

Much progress has been made on these socks since this photo was taken. The pattern was inspired by Grumperina. She hasn't posted the pattern, but I was basically able to figure it out from looking at the close-up photos that she had posted previously. The pattern is not as easy to see on the variegated yarn, but it looks better than this photos makes it appear.

I do have to say that the length of sock that I am getting out of this one skein of Cherry Tree Hill yarn is impressive. These are already the longest socks I've ever made, and I still have quite a chunk of yarn in my skein. I'm at the point that I need to add calf shaping, because I don't want the socks to be too tight.

These are the Trekking XXL socks. I love them. There are two more skeins of this brand of yarn waiting in the wings. The yarn is soft but solid, and I just loved the colors and striping of this skein. The four or five times that I had to reknit the second heel to get the striping to match on the two socks was totally worth it. :-)

The purple socks below are made from a superwash wool sock yarn from brown sheep that I haven't seen anywhere since I made this pair. This was my first pair of two-at-a-time toe-up socks on metal needles. I liked the fact that I could make a pair of socks from one fairly short skein and make them as tall as possible. I wasn't so crazy about magic loop, although I will be giving it another chance since I did it with a pair of needles that had a shorter than recommended cord.

Last is the beginning of the fair isle bag from Sally Melville's "Color" book. I've decided that there isn't enough contrast between the variegated Noro yarn and the brown body color. I also think the fabric is too dense to felt well and because of the density, it is puckering in a few places, so I wouldn't like it unfelted either. This will be frogged and I'm going to start over with a darker brown yarn and a needle at least one size bigger.

I feel better now. At least until I take some more photos. ;-)

Knitting Group Quandry

I think I explained in the past that I encountered two women within a couple of weekends of each other who each had the names/emails for 7-10 knitters interested in a group meet-up. I suggested combining the groups and meeting at the coffee shop in our neighborhood. Both agreed and one suggested the second Thursday of the month. Now, Thursday isn't great for me, but I got the impression that it was good for the people on her list, so I agreed.

Last month, we had 7 people come and go over the course of 2 1/2 hours. Tonight, I was there for 1 1/2 hours and no one came. Now, I sent a message to the neighborhood email list, so I know that half the group was reminded a few days ago. But I don't think that the other "half" of the group was reminded.

My dilemma is really that I don't want to be the organizer of this group. I realize that it isn't a big responsibility...but I don't want anymore responsibilities right now. The house tour and other neighborhood things I do are enough. I just want a knitting group in my neighborhood, at my coffee shop that I can show up at once a month. But I have the feeling that if I don't step up and run things, this group won't get off the ground. Argh.

The only good news, is that if I do decide to take the reins, I'm going to change the date to Wendesday or Monday...because that works much better for me!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I got an invitation to a bridal shower 2 weeks ago. I had a nice idea for a knitted gift to make the couple and then I promptly forgot to do *anything* about it until today. Oy.

Let's all pray that my WEBS order gets here quickly (they don't have an overnight shipping option, & my LYS didn't have what I needed) and that I can knit like the wind!

I hope there isn't anything else important that I'm forgetting.

Last night I was floundering a little bit about what knitting to work on... Guess its good that I didn't start a sweater or anything. Although I do have two gauge swatches for yarn that I want to turn into sweaters at some point.

Monday, May 08, 2006

1st Big Demo Session

I decided to take Friday Off - I knew the weekend was going to be too busy to get much done, I needed the extra sleep, and R was off all last week and it seemed like it would be nice to have a day off together. After a slow morning, lunch at our local coffee shop and a walk around the neighborhood, we came home energized enough to start doing some demo work on our third floor. We ending up working on the removal of the carpet and tack strips, the pad and staples, the "bar" (well most of it), two layers of wallpaper, a couple of light fixtures and an outlet/switch.

Demo Photos

Saturday I had a show and we helped some friends move. Sunday we visited a friend's new cabin. So we plan to return to the demo later this week. Bulk pick-up is next Monday morning, so the more we can get done, the better!

Reds - Still in First!

Knitting - Progress on the Cherry Hill socks continued this weekend. I'm working my way up the leg. From the amount of yarn I still have, it seems like I could make knee socks! We'll see which runs out first, my motivation to keep going or the yarn.

Show - What I saw on Saturday was Golda's Balcony with Valerie Harper. It was very good. And lunch afterwards with my friends was very nice, too.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Celebrating a decade with tuna

The only reason that Nora (or any of our cats) care that today is the day that I celebrate Nora's 10th birthday is because they will get tuna tonight. Honestly, we don't know the real birthday of any of our cats - although Nora's is the one we are closest to knowing. The woman I got Nora from knew that the litter was born in late April or early May - so today's date is not exact, but it is close.

Because it would be difficult in a number of ways to give tuna to one cat and not the other two, last year we decided that all of the cats can celebrate Nora's big day. But it also means that Nora's is the only birthday that is "celebrated". Last year they were all pretty adorable - clearly demonstrating that the tuna is better than the wet canned food. Once the food was put down, all you could hear for several minutes was the clanging of ID tags against the pyrex bowls. And when the cats finished licking every drop and morsel from their bowl, they checked the bowls of the other cats for any scraps that might have been left behind.

Stewart turned 2 sometime in March and Effie will probably be 17 (or around there) later this year. Stewart is not overly interested in food, he would much rather be pet or played with, but even he is part of the herd of kitties that follow my every step when I make myself a tuna sandwich. So I think he will enjoy tonight's festivities, too.

Knitting - I've made two or three more hats since my last posting about them...although the last couple still need to have their ends woven in. Since I was at the theater every day last week (Monday through Sunday) there hasn't been time to plan my next couple of projects or interest in working on the sleeves for the pink pullover. I need to make the house a little less messy before I can devote time to project planning and stash diving. ;-)

Reds - They are in first place and Arroyo pitched a complete game last night. Overall, the pitching has been impressive this year (not just Arroyo - Harang, Clausen, etc) and the offense has been the kind of offense we've been expecting for years, and on top of that Griffey will be back in the lineup soon. I'm looking forward to the games at PNC Park in mid-May. The Reds are wrapping up two series with their main division rivals and the worst they can end up after today is tied for first... Also, I plan to sign up online for the chance at All-Star tickets. My chances are probably pretty low, but I will at least try. I'm not willing to pay thousands of dollars for tickets on eBay.

Books - I really like Big Girl Knits from Amy R. Singer and Jillian Moreno. By their definition I'm just on the borderline to be a "big girl" because I think some of the sizing is too big for me...but it doesn't matter. This book has great guidelines for how to measure yourself, how to get handknits to fit and how to add shaping to get any piece of knitwear to fit *your* body. Besides, I have two of the three "Bs" and their guidelines for fit for each of the three "Bs" are excellent. (For example, I never considered that I shouldn't carry a tiny purse or bag, because it just makes me (and my arms) look bigger!) This is a great book for any woman who wants to make knitwear that fits properly on her curves, no matter what size she wears! (For the non-knitters who are curious, the 3 "Bs" are Boobs, Belly and Butt)