Thursday, January 31, 2008

Catching up with pictures

Every time I tell people about the work we're doing on the house, they say, "Take 'before' pictures! Document your work!" So we have.
One of the first things I did in preparation to move in, after giving the place a good scrub down, was to paint the living room. Mr. Unreserved did the spackling. In this picture, you may be able to tell that I was painting the ceiling:

This picture gives a general idea of how the living room fireplace side turned out.

That was taken after the floors were screened and polyurethaned and the new ceiling fan was installed. I'm still figuring out what to put on the mantle.
I didn't bother taking pictures of the kitchen. It merely went from yellow to beige, mostly to clean it up a little. I haven't yet taken the "after" pictures of our room yet, but that's on the list for a sunny day.

Since just after Christmas, I've been working in the girls' room.

And during:

In that picture I've painted the ceiling and touched up the plaster on the walls. It's far from perfect, but it'll do for now.
People ask me, "Where do you find the time to do all this?"
My secret:

Since I employ preschoolers as slave labor, it gives me more time to do crafty things.
I dyed a merino/soy silk blend of fiber with a dye kit from ProChem and Dye:

It sort of looked like a rainbow colon lying there on the rug like that. I spun it, Navajo plied it, and knit it using the "Palette" pattern from Knitty.

I like the way it came out, but I can't say I'd do it over again. I didn't really like the way the soy silk spun. I hope the recipient liked it!

Since I finished that project ahead of schedule, I was able to bail out my brother by knitting his assigned giftee a hat/scarf/fingerless gloves set:

I found the hat pattern free online here, and made the gloves and scarf to match.

I blocked that off, and moved on to my final hand-made Christmas gift - Dad's bar mirror. I purchased the mirror from Michael's, and the etching stencils and cream from Etch World. Gosh I love the internet. I used Word to help me with the layout and font for the center lettering, which was cut out of contact vinyl with an exacto knife. This was great fun! If you look closely in the reflection you can see the faux marbelized slabs of drywall we've employed to close off the fireplace until we can have the gas burning insert installed.

Don't worry, it's not all work and no play for the girls. I let them take a break from painting now and then:

And then there's nights like tonight, where I vow to put down the stencil brush for an evening and snuggle the kids until they fall asleep in my lap. Those are the best.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Claire is snoozing on the couch. She is doing this at dinner time despite the fact that I spent an hour trying to get her to take a nap this afternoon* to no avail. She was snoring due to her odd position on the couch, so I moved her. This woke her up. She sat up, took several pulls off her empty bottle, set it down, said "ding ding ding ding ding," rolled onto her tummy, and went back to sleep.

*Last night she was up at 1:30 and pretty much hourly all night. When she slept, she slept on my head. I couldn't stomach the though of going to work today (no, we don't have MLK day off, thanks Employer) and called in a precious vacation day. I love that I can call in vacation days at will (within reason - I had no pressing deadlines to meet today). It makes them seem even more decadent. I had planned to finish painting in the girls' room. Instead I played with the girls and baked pies. Mmmm, pie.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Houston, we are go for heat

Another house project conquered! The girls' room is now heated.
Now to finish painting and carpeting. While we're at it I ordered new beds for the girls. Claire is almost ready to leave the crib, and Anna only has a mattress set on a frame. I'm looking forward to seeing how the room turns out. It's the motivation that keeps me painting.

Meanwhile, I'm the happy owner of 2lbs of icelandic roving. Spinny fun!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Blatant refusal to acknowledge there are only 24 hrs in a day

After being banned from their playroom for a day, the toysplosion is back to more manageable levels. The girls are currently playing their favorite game - "Choo-choo." This is a fairly simple game. Anna runs around the house in a circle yelling "Choo Chooooo!" and Claire grabs on to the back of her shirt and follows. This can go on for upwards of half an hour and usually ends when the choo-choo gets going too fast and the two of them fall on top of each other and cry. Lather, rinse, repeat. Who needs toys?

I got a bunch of spinning done yesterday while Mr. Unreserved worked on the floor in the girls' room. This was my excuse from not painting. I can't paint trim while the floor project is in progress. I had worked up such a good amount of momentum in painting the walls last weekend, but I don't know where it all went. The trim is still. . . colorful.

The floor project is a quest to fill in the gaping hole in the floor (kept carefully boarded up when not in use) that is the result of having a radiator reinstalled in that room. Why the original one was missing when we bought the place is a mystery. All the plumbing is in place now. Once we get the floor built back up the plumbers will come and install The Beast. The Beast is a 32 fin 56"x22"x12" cast iron behemoth that we managed to catch on Craigslist for $50. Unfortunately The Beast is so large and heavy (estimated at roughly 800lb) that the workers are going to have to crack it in two to get it up the steps then reassemble it upstairs. This adds four times the cost of the radiator to the project, which has already been a money suck. I must remind myself that the expense of the ongoing projects is reflected in the (comparatively low) price we paid for the house. Also, I like ramen.

I'm about to have another project competing for my time. I've ordered the pattern for the girls' Easter dresses. "Already?" you say, "It's only January." I am well aware of that. Are you aware that Easter is the 3rd week of March this year? It's pretty much as early as it gets. I've got a track record of time consuming dresses to uphold. I figure I might as well because in five years they're going to want to be wearing the 2013 equivalent of low-riding yoga pants with "Princess" printed across the ass end. I've got to enjoy the cute while I can. This year's matching dresses involve a ruffled old style button down dress under a pin-tucked pinafore. No smocking this time. I saw the pattern two years ago and have been waiting until Claire is big enough for the smallest size (2). I'm thinking the most difficult part of this project will be finding suitable fabric, seeing as the local JoAnn's has little more than polar fleece, quilter's calico, and home decor fabrics. If I have time after their dresses, I may make one for myself. I haven't done that in years. Two months from now when I'm tearing my hair out and berating my sewing machine I can look back on this post and see what stupid optimism looks like. I blame my multitasking work-aholic perfectionist parents for infecting me with their particular sickness. (but only because of the snickering from the last post)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

It's a toysplosion.

The girls have a playroom. This is a good thing, as it keeps us from impaling our feet on Legos and having to clear baby dolls off the furniture so as to sit down.
The playroom is complete and utter mayhem. I understand that toddlers and preschoolers aren't going to be good at putting things away. I don't mind that there are toys about. What bothers me is the pointless and gratuitous toysplosion that happens in the playroom.

There are bins. There are shelves. There are places for books, puzzles, and games. There are places for dress-up clothes and toy kitchen items. There are places for art supplies and cds and play-doh. And the girls' favorite thing to do is to trash the whole place with thoroughness. The books are knocked off their shelves. The games are opened and their contents scatter to the four winds. (it's a drafty house) The blocks are tossed, the toy box emptied, the bins upended. Crayons are dumped. Tonight they took it to a new height and upended both the art desk and the play kitchen. Flipped them upside down and tossed them across the room.

The result is puzzles with half their pieces missing. Games rendered unplayable. Mr. Unreserved says, "We can still play that game - all the pieces are in here somewhere." Yes, that's what I want to do with my spare time. Scour along the walls and under the furniture for enough tiny cherries to play Hi Ho Cherry O. Assuming the spinner is ever found. I wouldn't be irritated if the mess was from playing with things, but it's mess for mess's sake.

I am 100% certain that this is nothing new and I am not alone. I'm just not sure what to do about it. The girls need to be taught that this isn't acceptable. (You can quit snickering now, Mom.) Part of me thinks that the trashed toys are punishment in their own right, but I know the girls don't care. There's such a bounty that if they can't find enough body parts to build Mr. Potato head, they'll just go back to coloring themselves purple with markers.
Hm. . .

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Birthdays - check. May I please go back to work now?

Things I have done on my "vacation":
Skim-coated the girls' room
Sanded the girls' room
Cleaned up the dust from sanding the girls' room
Painted the ceiling in the girls' room
Painted the trim in my room
Cleaned the house
Shoveled toys
Loaded and unloaded the SUV for holiday festivities
Baked five varieties of cookies
Baked two birthday cakes
Baked two pepperoni rolls
Cooked a broccoli casserole
Put together a veggie tray
Aborted a batch of guacamole due to unsatisfactory avocados
Bought wine
Bought beer
Bought and installed a shower head
Bought groceries
Bought Christmas gifts
Bought birthday gifts
Went yarn shopping
Knit a heel on a sock
Finished a hat, two fingerless gloves, and a scarf
Etched a mirror
Listened to the girls whine
Umpteen thousand times
Wrapped gifts
Took videos
Took photos
Charged batteries
Changed batteries
Watched the 5th Harry Potter movie
Slept in, sort of (if you count dozing among flailing children "sleeping")
Knocked down fevers with acetaminophen and ibuprofin
Dressed and redressed children in various cute outfits
Brushed, trimmed, washed, brushed, and brushed the dog
Played Memory, Hi Ho Cherry O, and the Very Hungry Caterpillar game
Built puzzles
Played with baby dolls
Ate, drank, and made merry

Am I ready to go back to work tomorrow?
I think so.

About me

  • I'm Sarah
  • From Pittsburgh, United States
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