Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Can't. stop. knitting.

I made these before Christmas, and just rediscovered them in the craft closet.  Finally seamed them and felted them and I LOVE them!  My first non-baby project in a while.  These are all for me, especially because I was able to block them to fit my stay-puffed-marshmallow-foot!

I am in bliss.

Front room so far

Here's the front room as the previous owner had it

Then we removed the florals and found this

The wallpaper, which we were fond of didn't extend through the whole room, so we patched it. And kept it only on the three windowed walls.  So here's what it looks like now! Complete with gold mirrors!

needs some finishing touches and the upholstering has been put on hold for obvious reasons, but thought we'd give you a peek :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In other news...

So now that my blogging has moved from Texification over to here, I find myself not writing about anything but home stuff.

So here's a little freestyling about life stuff!  The baby is due in just over a week, so every day I wake up and say "Come OUT!  Don't you want to come out now??"  This doesn't seem to be working.  He would prefer to attempt an escape from my ribs, but eventually he'll figure out that this is just inefficient.

People ask me if I have any cravings... anyone who knows me knows that yes.  yes I do.  But they're not pregnancy related, I just really like to eat certain things.  There are some things, though that I've eaten more of lately, like

salted edamame.  I eat this almost daily.  I love it.  Also Yoplait pear yogurt.  Also strawberry ice cream.

We are all packed for the hospital, thanks to Drake-- we went out and purchased items for the labor bag on Sunday and bags for the labor bag.  Drake had very strong feelings about what type of bag he wanted.  He's very very organized these days.  We merged lists from our childbirth class and some internet sources, to be sure that we have everything we could need.  I still have to make a mix of "soothing music." This will likely be Radiohead "In Rainbows" and a smattering of other songs.  I will not listen to the elevator/spa music that was suggested in our class.  I find it stressful.   Am I alone here?

In short:  The nursery is ready, the bags are packed, Drake is installing the carseat tonight, the sweaters are knitted, we are ready!  Now we just need the baby to figure out that there's no way out through my ribs...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ape preview

soon he will be stuffed and winging his way to the nursery! 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Front room mirrors

Mirror one

Mirror two

As you can see, they are slightly different colors, but that's nothing that a little of this won't fix...

There is a bit of damage to the frame work on mirror two:

But fortunately, it's a paired set, so we have mirror one to make a mold and create a new piece!

With that in mind I set out to find an appropriate molding compound-- one that wouldn't stick to the frame work, and would a clean mold with a great capacity for detail.  There was only *one* option between the three stores that I visited (Home Depot, JoAnns, and Michaels) InstaMold:

I followed the directions for a "strong" mold and ended up with this:

Lumpy mess.  Can't make a mold with a lumpy mess.

Tried again with the recipe for an average mold:

Better!  made two molds, and stuck them on mirror two

But I worried!  Look how lumpy it is.  this is not what I expected at all.  I worried that the consistency of the mold would really end up showing in whatever casting I made.  

Uncastable.  It just won't work.  In the end, I concluded that InstaMold is a craft-level project, that might be just fine for making a fun craft project with your kids, but just won't do for a restoration job.  With that in mind, I turned to google and found this product.  Looks like exactly what I'm looking for!  A putty that is specifically made for restoration.  

Sorry that I don't have a good "after" this time!  I did clean and paint the frames, so you'll get to see them up on the wall, even though they will not be repaired right away

Friday, March 26, 2010

Look what I won

I've mentioned before how I love the blog Young House Love, and now I love them even more because I just won a nursery art giveaway!

One of the pieces in it has been in my nursery inspiration folder for months now:
It's from PennyPeople on Etsy, and I love it.  very fun and colorful.

What a lucky boy he is!  While the whole rest of our house remains bare-walled and languishing, sometimes covered in remnants of lime-green or plaid wallpaper, his room is an oasis of loveliness, with clean neutral paint and bright colorful graphic art!  When Michelle and Ross and their sweetest baby Cameron came to visit we all ended up just sitting on the floor in the nursery.

Look what else is included from Phil Barbato on Etsy

hee hee.  So CUTE.  and you can customize all of the colors which, of course, I did. It was so fun and interactive to plan out my own little gorilla with Phil and his wife Meghan.  They're even sending me a photo of the raw materials.  It's like a super-awesome handmade artist build-a-bear experience! 
I'd pick this over build-a bear ANY day. 

Front room wall paper SAVED!

You may remember the Front room from when we first saw the house:
Lovely, but a little too old fashioned for our tastes.  We immediately identified this room as the piano/music room-- eventually a baby grand goes right where that desk is.

As with every other room in the house, Drake immediately pulled down the floral wallpaper, and we found this:
And as he made his way around the room, we found that a good deal of it was *really* well preserved!

You can see (especially around the LH window) where little pieces of it peeled away, but our hope was that we would be able to peel huge panels off of the Right wall, and preserve enough of it to patch up and keep the three windowed walls.  Sure enough:

So last weekend, we set about the patchwork.  I cut out small pattern repeats to match up with the sections that were damaged (like this one)

Then we taped the patches over the existing wall paper:

Then we made a mixture of Elmers Glue and water-- about one part glue to two parts water-- and we painted it under the paper and over the paper.  Then we smoothed it with a trowel.

All that remained was trimming around the edges, and doing another coat of glue on top of the patch paper, to smooth the edges into the original paper, and now we have this!

Very excited that it worked out!  And we're getting closer and closer to finishing this room.  The couch and chair upholstery will have to wait, since I plan to do that myself, and cannot possibly do that while 38 weeks pregnant... :)  The other walls in the room have been painted, and we've been working on these:

A pair of antique gold framed mirrors that we scouted out on Craigslist :) 

This whole room has been full of unexpected surprises!  Definitely the most "traditional" room in our house so far.  We both tend toward more modern styles, but the house threw this wallpaper into the mix, and we decided that we would take it and run.  Improv adventure room!  
here are a couple of files from my inspiration folder to give you an idea of where we're heading:

Are there any rooms in your house that totally blindsided you?  Cause we sure didn't see this coming, and are kind of flying by the seat of our pants here.... We're looking forward to seeing where this room takes us!  

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nursery Video Tour!

To pre-answer your questions, yes I do have a cold, but I promise I'm fine. Also, clearly the toy storage cube is 9 cubes, not 6 cubes... I blame pregnancy brain. The Webster's Alphabet Cards that I refer to wanting to hang on the wall with the grate are these. The Marimekko escape from the zoo finally makes an appearance in all its glory! Also, no I won't appear in the video. :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

And I'm spent.

So, based on my post from earlier today,  here's what I managed to accomplish.

  1. I did the video tour for the nursery (will post tomorrow morning.)  I nearly trapped myself outside of the nursery with the Flip camera inside in an attempt to get the Pack N Play out of the room.  I wedged it into the door and thereby myself into the bathroom, and after a brief panic attack, figured out how to remove the changing table add-on and was free. 
  2. I *attempted* to repair the mirror frames, but failed miserably.  I attribute this to products, not skill.  The molding compound was just not cutting it.  Perhaps I'll try it again with this.  It really was awful and I tried twice.  There will be a post about this too.  A big failure post. 
  3. I gilded the frames.  They just needed a little extra shine, so I cleaned them up and did a very light coat of gold paint.  (Don't worry I wore a mask and opened all the windows and doors.)
  4. I took apart the back porch footstools and saved the pertinent pieces of fabric to create a pattern.  (only one puncture wound to my hand, thankyouverymuch.) I was going to cut all of the pieces from the new fabric, but lost steam after cutting the material for the cording, so that's all she wrote on that one.  
  5. I did clean up, but then I got a bit of the molding powder everywhere, and the whole dining room table is covered with newspaper and the two mirrors, and there is thread and dust all over the living room floor from where I took apart the back porch footstools.  So you would never know that it actually was clean at one point....
I also interviewed our pediatrician and wrote my short bio for the Ohio Light Opera program book.  
not bad.  

Now I shall perhaps knit a tiny hat or booties.  We'll see.  Or nap.  or watch HGTV, or do all three.

What She Wanted and What She Got

The title of this post is a song that my character sang in Victor Herbert's Sweethearts which I performed with Ohio Light Opera ages ago.  It always makes me laugh, because it basically says, if you're still single it's because you're too picky, so "don't be too particular."

The day we recorded the studio session (the final recording was mixed from live performances and a studio session) I was really sick, and the producer said "Alta, it sounds like you just smoked a pack of Lucky Strikes, and I LOVE it.  Can we please do a take of your number?"  and I refused, but then was later persuaded on the grounds that he "promised not to use it if it was awful."  Which it was, and he did.  The things we do for operetta.... (and yes, that is a chicken on my hat in the photo.)

This is all to say that I start every day that I have at home with a list of things I'd like to get done (What she wanted).   And at the end of the day, I'll have accomplished little if anything from the original list-- except for extended napping which is never on the list in the first place (What she got).

So, let's take today for a real-time example.  Today I have the day off, because I've cut back my teaching to just two days to accommodate my students who are going to the State contest on Friday.  So, my list of things that I'd like to do today are as follows:

  1. General house pick-up-- shoes away, dishes away, sweep etc. (Drake vaccumed on Friday so that's good enough.)
  2. Repair and Re-Gild the really awesome mirrors that we scored from Craigslist last week, so that Drake can hang them up in the nearly finished front room.
  3. Do the video tour of the nursery, since it is appropriately sunny, and you all have been so patient.
And now the bonus list, because I've become more realistic about my energy reserves....
  1. Recover the footstools of the back deck furniture.
  2. Walk to the Frame store downtown and get some picture wire to finally hang the Paint Paper and Push print that we had framed last month.
  3. Take photos of our cute downtown while on the walk to the frame store.  
Now, I'm leaving you so that I can go and attempt to do these things, and I'll check back in tonight with an update of what actually happened.  If somehow manage to accomplish all of these things, it's basically a week's worth of posts.  Wouldn't that be lovely?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Brief absence due to actual work and progress

Now that Drake is home, we have been project-ing up a storm.  Only a few short weeks before the baby comes so we've been prioritizing projects and Drake has been working overtime (both at *actual* work and at home.)

Posts Coming Up:

  • The nursery is finished!  the elephant is up, it's awesome and I love it.  The nursery is definitely the best room in our house.  I am waiting for the next sunny day, and I'll post a little video tour using our new Flip HD camera.

  • The front room has been painted, the wallpaper has been patched, and today we are fixing up some really lovely gilded mirrors to glitz up the place before we give you some after photos.
In the meanwhile:
Drake LOVES sweater vests, so thought I'd make a little matching one for the baby :) 

And here's the back with a little button.  This is the only sweater that I made in newborn size... I know they grow fast, but I wanted to have SOMETHING to put on him right away :)  photos of handknits are always much better with actual babies in them!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The great thaw

It's starting to thaw out around here, which means that I've turned my eyes to the outdoor work that wants do-ing.

First of all, it's rather fun to see all of the things that have been buried under the snow since we moved in in January.  In addition to a hanger, a set of size 7 circular knitting needles and 5 newspapers, we have also found

Many many many fairy statues...

A few saints who met unfortunate ends at the hands of our killer icicles...

Poor Front Door St. Francis lost a foot

There's another St. Francis on the south side.  He's still standing strong

Then we have creepy rainbow frog-- an unfortunate erosion on his face makes it look like he's flashing his vicious teeth at you

And finally, hobo gardening gnome.  You can see his toes through his shoes

So there we have it!  all of our current garden "accessories" finally revealed!  I'm sure you've been wondering what was under all that snow.  

I have been browsing through garden catalogs and trying to read about plants that are native to Michigan.  Thinking about a garden plan, though for this season, we may wait and see if there are perennials which may show themselves.  If not, we always have these "all-season" options which have also revealed themselves in the thaw... 


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Nursery Safari wall

Wee Gallery makes just the cutest black and white art cards, which I have already made into two mobiles, and when I returned to Green Baby to purchase the mobile kits, I noticed the cutest wall decals...

Here's a little closeup :)

These are on the crib wall.  They're removable too-- so the animals can graze and migrate at will :) 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Vintage postcard zoo

Do you remember the post I did about how to hang collections of art? 
I actually had a chance to take my own advice...

I laid out the frames and arranged them how I wanted them, then traced the frames onto a cut up grocery bag.  Then, I taped the marked bag on the wall, and put the nails in the center of the top lines of the frames.  I pulled away the paper, and all the nails were perfectly placed.  Voila!

So, here is the vintage postcard/zoo animal medley for which I just acquired frames on Saturday. I went with simple black frames after considering green, white and a reddish-copper.  I don't know, the black seemed classier and more classic to me-- especially since the cards are not very baby-ish.  I like the result very much.

Slowly but surely it's all coming together!