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An unscheduled weekend, and yet I feel completely overwhelmed by it. I've decided it's time to clean and resume living like adults after our summer of slovenliness. Both front and back yards are in desperate need of weeding, pruning and lawn cutting, that task alone could take most of a standard weekend. Then the indoors needs to be dusted, tidied and vacuumed. Bathrooms need to be cleaned, laundry needs to be done and put away, and it's high time we parted with some of the junk in the junk room and organized those things we actually want to keep. I'm not sure if we should try to do all of it and completely exhaust ourselves, or attempt all of either indoors or out or try for a bit of both and end up with mild improvements in each area but not show-home perfection anywhere. There's also a whole mess of organizing and childproofing. So much to do, only one long weekend in which to do it, then I'm back to life as normal, with Jason at work and me baby-wrangling all day.

In the week leading up to my planned weekend of cleaning I've been poking at the mess and trying to minimize the work for the weekend without having any real expectations of myself. I've managed to get caught up on a bunch of laundry, do some work with the kitchen and purchase and assemble a new desk for myself. Am most pleased about that desk part. The kitchen cleaning involved a phrase I never thought I'd utter... so during baby's naps yesterday I scrubbed the beagle blood spatter off the walls. Yeah, I still hadn't gotten around to cleaning up after the big fight they had right before we got home from Pennsic. Done now, and except for the dent on Anna's nose and the wedge missing from Lizzy's ear tip you'd never know anything had happened.

Yesterday I was surveying the garden and trying to figure out where to start when I spotted what at the time I could only describe as an "oh shit!" spider.

cut for phobias )

Turns out it is a Black and Yellow Garden Spider and is beneficial. It kills flying things like mosquitoes (which may explain my complete lack of bites this year) and doesn't harm people or pets. Scares the bejezus out of you if you're not expecting to run into it though.
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Have spent the morning mulling over the concept of a baby-cart for Georgia. I think I've got it all worked out so tomorrow I will go and pick up the lumber and maybe I'll start playing with it over the weekend. I figure it will run be about $60 for parts, then another $30 for the mattress and maybe a bit more to cover it with a pretty fabric. Or I might just end up making some very expensive firewood, we'll see.

Also in the plans is cutting out more Eura dresses and an apron or two. Might even go and cut out the first apron right now while G naps.

In other news, the house stinks. It smells like garbage and I have no idea where it is coming from. I have dragged the garbage out of the garage and aired it out. I have taken out the kitchen garbage, I have run the sink disposal and put lemons down it and I have searched the fridge for bad food. I've opened the windows (and it is shittingly hot today I might add) and burned scented candles and still I am defeated. Off to take another pass at it I guess...
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I cheated a bit, I passed the ugh point by throwing it in a bunch of boxes and tossing it up on top of my shelves. Not the most visually appealing solution to the problem, but far better than them all being piled up around the floor. Still have 3 metal strips to hang (that you can stick magnets to) and a couple of pictures and some things to hang my rulers and hold up the ironing board and the room will be complete! I promise to take pictures when it's totally done.

I did get to get in there and actually use the room today which was awesome. It's not that I haven't sewn since moving, because I certainly have. It's just that I've been doing it amid piles of junk, working on the very corner of my desk, stepping over things to move around the room and generally feeling cramped and overwhelmed when I entered the room. Now everything is organized, in theory I know where it all is (in truth it will take me a few months to get used to the set-up and remember where I decided to put everything, but it's a start) and it's quite relaxing to work in there.

Sunny came over today to help me work out a cutting diagram for a Eura dress. Despite our best efforts it still came out just a touch on the skinny side. Totally wearable, but I'm hoping future versions (where I don't cut a 6" strip off the side of my fabric because there's a massive flaw there) will end up fitting better. On the upside, I now know that I can make a dress for myself out of less than 3 yards of fabric including shrinkage. I might even be able to get away with 2.5 yards depending on the shrink, as long as I'm left with 82" to work with (which is exactly what I had today). How cool is that? Just have to get it hemmed and finish up the embellishment around the neck and it's ready to be packed. 1 down, 4 more to go I think. Then a few aprons and as many dresses for Georgia as I can fit in to the time.

On the downside, very little fabric left to turn into something for Georgia today. I figure that 6" strip might make a nice little apron dress for her if I'm willing to do a bit of piecing.

Anyway, off for my 4 hours of sleep. It's nice that my body is finally back to the point where I can function on less than 8 hours. Not that I should be making a habit of it, but it's nice not to crash.
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I've hit the Ugh Point in my efforts to clean my sewing room. You know how when you're cleaning and organizing you put away the things you love first. Then the things you think are just okay but are easy to find a home for. And finally you get down to the point where all you have left are things that you look at and go "ugh". It's the stuff that you could maybe throw out, but if you hold on to it you might find a use for it. Or the things that are an awkward shape to store. Or the weird odds and ends that simply don't fit into your organization scheme anywhere so you can't really figure out where to put them that you might have a chance of finding them again if you wanted to.

The curtains are hung, the wall of fabric is all stacked and sorted neatly and I've stashed as much ugh as I could into boxes and baskets, and still I have junk on the floor and not a single surface is entirely cleared. Sunny is coming over tomorrow to help me fit a euro dress (not that much fitting, I'm just having trouble figuring out the math with the gore that runs from wrist to ankles) and she brings with her a very mobile but very young baby so I really have to have the place spotless. Up to now we've just closed the door to that room, but that won't do when the whole plan is to work in there. I'm thinking I might just call it a night and tackle it again in the morning.

In other news, the yard warming party went well on Sunday, though not entirely as I'd planned. I got the house mostly cleaned, with just a few dishes and the mopping of the kitchen floor left to do. Outdoors it was perfect. I hadn't refinished every piece of furniture yet but it was all perfectly serviceable and nicely arranged. It was an ideal set up except for one little thing I hadn't counted on... the muggy hot weather. People showed up, said "nice yard" and immediately fled to the air conditioned comfort of the kitchen. The kitchen where there are only 5 chairs. Not exactly ideal for a group of 15 people. At any rate, everyone got fed with plenty of everything left over. Everything wrapped up around 8 as planned. It's still not completely cleaned up (I've been too tired to face dishes and G was a bit cranky today so I was all for using that as an excuse).

Saturday was a local SCA thing. Jason elected not to come. Georgia and I attended. I mooched my way through the pot luck meal. I had intended to just run home to eat as we lived a mere 10 blocks away or so but someone insisted I borrow a plate and eat since there was more than enough to go around. I figure I had enough karma points as I've hosted a few things at my place and had a free eats table at an event here when I was pregnant. There was live music which G enjoyed. And other children which were at times a pleasure as Georgia found them interesting and at other times an irritation as they insisted they should be able to play with Georgia's things without letting her touch any of theirs and they were often not as careful as I'd have liked them to be around the baby. G bit me while I was feeding her as I tried to move while doing it so I've been a bit tender for the last few days. Seems to be clearing up after what has felt like forever, but which I realize is only 2 days. Used one of my fancy new slings to back carry her for a large portion of the event and she seemed very pleased with that arrangement.

The gentleman I'm speaking to is Stefan of Stefan's Florilegium. Really nice guy and one of my favorite people here. And one of the few people with whom I was not talking politics that day.

The event concept was an interesting one. It's something they call "land court" and the idea is that you petition the B&B for land for your persona based on your titles and the taxes you promise to pay by your intended use of the land. I was asked to head up the local fiber arts guild so promised I would use whatever land was due to me to raise sheep. I was given the 400 acres accorded to my status and an extra 100 for the promise of woven trim to be given as largesse. I was also gifted with 100 acres to hold in trust for Georgia. They had someone calligraphing names and the size of the plot on charters (like scrolls but photocopies on nicer than standard paper) which I thought was really cute. I had mine displayed on a bookshelf but I see that it has moved so I should probably ask Jason in the morning what he has done with it. You then get to write in on a giant map of the city and surrounding area where you would like your land to be. Very cute concept and a bit of fun persona play.

Other than the actual in-court stuff people spent a great deal of time discussing the mundane. Especially the health care thing. Very polarizing issue. The native Austinites all seem in favor of the plan. Anyone who has moved in from the more conservative parts of the state (ie everywhere else) seemed to actually believe the whole Obama death panel bullshit the republicans have been throwing around. One guy actually said something to the effect of "my wife and I are resigned to the fact that we'll die under this new plan because the funds will be allocated to certain races and on a priority level by age and there just won't be anything left for us if we need it" Funds allocated by RACE?!?!?! What kind of crack is this guy on? He followed up that gem with "this bill will kill the insurance companies. Maybe not immediately but in the next 10 years. And then it will all be handled by the government" My retort was "and you say that like it's a bad thing." He changed the subject very quickly when I stated that I'd done some research when I was pregnant that indicated our infant mortality and maternal mortality rates were the worst in the civilized world, even when you take the uninsured out of the equation, and that we also spend the most per capita. How can a system in which you spend the most but get the least be a good thing? He quickly changed the subject after that. Typical republican. When faced with actual data and facts that don't fit their world view they just pretend they didn't hear it. Much better to blindly believe the hyperbole and outright lies coming from their leaders and Fox Newscasters. *sigh*

People keep pointing out that their health care must be good because people come from other countries to get care here. Yes and no. There are 2 types of people who come here for care... people with the money to buy whatever they need and the people who enjoy the charity of coming from a third world nation with some kind of strange affliction that will get the attention they need to get people to donate to their transportation and treatment. Of course it's better care than what the person in the third world nation is getting, and that other person is coming for one of 2 things, either they are too impatient to wait for something non-critical in their country's socialized system or they need some cutting edge thing that is only being done here. That's not to say that all the cutting edge work is being done here either, just that the particular thing they need is. But the truth is that people do the exact same thing in Canada except for the queue jumpers. We also have third-worlders come and get charitable donations to have treatments performed in our system and people coming to enjoy cutting-edge procedures being performed only inside our borders. But we also get Americans crossing the border into Canada to get health care less expensively than they could in the States. If the system is so great why would someone with access to it choose to go elsewhere eh?

On one hand I feel very strongly about health care and don't mind letting people know where I stand. On the other hand I feel like the people on the other side aren't going to listen to me anyway, so other than stating that I disagree with them (just for the purpose of giving them an idea that maybe they are not as much of a majority as they'd like to believe) I don't see much point in having the discussion. They are never going to convince me that the for-profit model is the right way to do things and I never see myself getting through to them so it's rather a lot like banging my head against a brick wall, and at the end of the conversation I always have a head ache like I've been doing just that. There are so many things that I feel so strongly about that are coming in under that "too frustrating to discuss" category (abortion rights, gay rights, women's rights and the importance of labor laws that promote healthy families and support equal opportunity for women).

However, even when people share my views, and there were many there that did, it's still not the kind of talk that puts you in a medieval mindset.

to sum-up: socialized medicine = good, idiot rhetoric-spouting republicans = bad. Talk of nothing but modern politics at an event = bad.

G baby spent most of the event playing happily on my cloak on the floor and charming everyone that walked past. Everyone complimented her on being an excellent, well-behaved baby, which of course she was because we were out in public where she could flirt.

Finally, a bit of Georgia news. Jason insists that she did her first sign on Saturday. He thinks that she asked to be changed twice that day. He noted that she didn't struggle or squirm as much during the change as usual, which confirmed his opinion that she'd asked for it. She hasn't done it since though, so I'm not sure if it was intentional or that her hands just made the gesture by accident. However today she definitely accomplished something that she hadn't before. I had her standing holding on to the rail at the side of her crib while I ran her diapers down to the laundry. When I came back a minute later she was facing a different direction and holding on to a different rail. Later in the afternoon she repeated the feat while I was watching, side-stepping her way along the railing from one end of the crib to the other, screeching with delight the whole way. Step one of cruising is complete. She's still got a ways to go before she's walking, and she has yet to master pulling herself up to a sit much less a stand, but the days of a relatively easily contained child are coming to a close. She's also getting much closer to a crawl. The tummy still drags on the ground but she can really motor around the floor now, crossing the entire room to the exact spot she wants to get to in a minute or less.


May. 24th, 2010 03:01 pm
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So I've made a new friend down here and we're getting along very well. She's in the SCA and we share many of the same interests. I've also got her tempted into trying the cloth diapering thing and when we went shopping last week I discovered that they've come out with a brilliant little kit that will get you enough for 2 day's worth of diapers for a mere $100. Wish that was around when I started. That said I do enjoy trying all the different kinds of diapers that are out there. Anyway, this weekend while I was trying to clean the temptress sent me a pdf with a knitted soaker pattern. It's not like I've never seen these patterns before. And it's not like I could use the particular pattern she sent anyway (it was for knitting rovings, not yarn so the gauge would have been all wonky) but she tempted me and now the house isn't clean like I wanted it to be and I've got a soaker 1/3 knitted on the needles. I'm very easily distracted, especially if it gets me away from the crappy jobs like cleaning.

At last

May. 20th, 2010 03:32 pm
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For years I have wanted a sewing room of my own. At my parents' place I had to share my sewing space with the "teenagers social room" in the basement. This meant that a lot of the time I had to share it with my sister, and even when her and her friends weren't over, there were non-sewing things like couches, bookcases of books that weren't mine, a TV, and any time anything was cluttering up my Dad's office that's where it got dumped. There was also the plants that came in for the winter, complete with all the sap and stickiness that wasn't great for sewing either.

In Edmonton I had a room, but the heating situation was sketchy, the layout was poor, I didn't like being all alone upstairs when we moved Jason's computer downstairs, and it was also the dumping ground for all the clutter that didn't have a home anywhere else. To make matters worse, all the fabric ended up in the basement under everything else we stored down there. It was a major production in an unlit space to look for fabric.

Since the move I've had a really nice, dedicated room but the treatment has been much the same as in the past. Dumping ground for all things without a home. This week I'm finally putting an end to it. I've bought some proper curtains so I'm not on display in the front window any more. I've bought pretty shelving to store all my fabrics on so I can get rid of the ugly stack of rubbermaid bins. I'm hoping this helps me to "shop at home" instead of running off to the fabric store every time I have a project. Really, at this point I should have enough on hand to do something with what I've got. Seeing it all laid out like this might also help me to finally part with those ugly pieces that I really will never use. Up to this point I've been using the "well it's not like I could get to it to use it before" excuse. Time to get over that.

Got me a lovely pair of Expedits in birch. Even managed to get one half off because it was dented in the box. Unfortunately it is on the side that faces into the room, but it's so little and I've put it down at the bottom corner up against the wall so no biggie. Got one shelf assembled LATE last night. Today's task has been to bolt it to the wall and fill it with all the junk from the other side of the room so I can move out the ugly white rubbermaid pantry and assemble the second shelving unit. I'm through all the stuff in the pantry and am slowly hacking away at the stack of rubbermaid bins.

Baby is down for her second nap so I've got a chance to make some good progress here. Wish me luck.
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Blogging to you today from my lounge chair on my fabulous new patio. G is on a play mat at my feet yanking happily on the laptop cord and the sprinkler is misting me as a gentle breeze blows through. Anna is looking suspiciously through the dog door at the sprinkler and there's butterflies fluttering all around me. This my friends is the life. It simply doesn't get any better than this.

As I finally have the virus cleared up (I think, knock on wood and all) it's high time I posted pictures of the final result. I'm not going to post a before. I'm sure you can all imagine what it looked like. Flat, rectangular yard, filled with weeds, a greying wood fence and a plain, too-small concrete patio. Except for the occasional wildflower there was nothing inspiring about it, and the weeds this year managed to choke out most of the wildflowers that we had last year.

I'm still not quite finished the work. There's more patio furniture to be refinished (4 chairs for the dining set, the big table a side table/foot stool thing and 2 arm chairs) and arranged but most of the planting is done and it's certainly close enough that you'll get the idea.

Click for a larger version of this image.

more pics under the cut )
In a few weeks we'll host a "yard warming" party. I figured I should give the lawn a little while to get established first, not to mention giving me time to get the tables and chairs ready. I'll probably post pics of the party and you can see "action shots" of the yard then.

To all my friends in Edmonton who are buried under a late spring blizzard, you have my deepest sympathy and all I can say is I'm eternally grateful that I am not there to share this moment with you.
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I aspire to be a good neighbour, but the truth is I'm only good as long as it doesn't inconvenience me. Our landscaping is finished at last, and it is everything I dreamed of. The wind rustles in the bamboo in a soothing, zen-like way. The scent of jasmine is both thrilling and relaxing. I delight at the tiny spots of colour from the little flowers on each and every bush. And the prospect of a fresh, weed-free lawn thrills me like only a woman who has cleared three garbage bags of weeds from a yard can be thrilled by such a thing. Everything is beautiful and perfect and self-maintaining. And this is where the problem comes in... there's a sprinkler system, which is doing a lovely job of getting my plants all happy and damp, but the run-off from said system is flooding the neighbour's yard.

Now I think that the real source of her problem is the builder. They didn't grade the property correctly and water just pools between the houses along the bottoms of the fences. It was doing it on the side I share with Rhonda and Greg before I had all this work done, and now it is doing it on Maria's side of our shared fence. It never created a problem between Rhonda and I as it was obviously the fault of the builder and a particularly wet spring, so I could hardly resent them for it. Maria says the problem is worse since I had my work done, but I suspect it is the same as it has always been, as she has always complained about it, it's just been more noticeable since the work was done because I've been applying water daily. Funny thing about poor drainage, you only notice it when there's something there to be not draining. Of course the existence of this non-draining water is clearly my fault, so I'm not entirely blameless here.

The builder should be fixing it. In fact they have been by several times now to "fix" it, but so far their fixes haven't really done much of anything. They've just been tossing dirt on to the surface of her grass, making her dogs a muddy mess every time it rains or I water. Which was bad enough when it was just rain, but the daily deluge of my sprinkler system is getting her down and she's getting tired of the mopping.

She hasn't been too vocal or demanding with her complaints, which is why I'd feel really bad just ignoring her problem completely. But I also don't want to ignore the watering I have to do to get my plants established. I did just pay a small fortune for this retreat of mine and I don't want to lose it over fears of getting her floors a bit muddy.

I can fiddle with my system, maybe watering twice a day for less time would be better? Maybe I can find out when she goes to work and locks the dogs up and water after that? But that still doesn't solve the problem that this is simply poor drainage. I can't control the rain after all, and while it hasn't rained in a few days and might not rain much all summer, it will be back in the fall.


And yes, pictures of the finished yard will be along shortly. I'm just re-finishing all the furniture and when it's all out there and completely done I'll take some pictures. That might also give the bamboo a bit of time to get over the shock of planting and green up.
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The backyard is finally done. Still need to follow up on a few nagging details (the guys broke a board on the gate and left a bit too much gravel in the front yard lawn for my taste) but I will take and post pics this weekend for sure. It's everything I dreamed of when I asked for the back yard to be done. It has also resulted in a surprising turn of direction for phase 2... I wanted a pergola over the hot tub for privacy, but I'm thinking I would rather have the open view of my yard than save the neighbours from viewing the naked hot tubbing. I just think a pergola would make it feel cramped and right now it is gorgeous and serene. Phase 2 is probably still 2 years down the road though, so plenty of time to think about my options.

Beagles seem to agree with the changes so far. Anna has found a new favourite spot to sun herself and they haven't eaten anything other than a few mouthfuls of mulch.

All that's left to do is the annual oiling of the patio furniture and we're off to the races. G has been a bit ratty the last few days though, so I figure I won't do that until the weekend when Jason is here to entertain her.

Tonight's project... new title/banner for my website:

Oh, and the hunt for living room storage was totally successful. I even managed to assemble it and put it to use already. Go me!
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Super-productive week. I managed to get the fence very near done. All that remains is to replace the one board I broke while painting. I also seem to have managed to lick this virus without an OSRI so I'm pleased as can be about that. I just realized this weekend that it's about the first time I've felt like I had my old energy levels since I got pregnant. Nice to have things going back to normal at last. And just in time to start the mountain of sewing for Pennsic.

Posting from ikea where I've just enjoyed a cheap brekky and am off to hunt for living room toy storage for G. It will be nice to have somewhere to easily stash the stuff when she goes to bed so we can feel like grown ups again. Wish me luck on the search.
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It looks like I'm about half way on the fence project. Just a little under 2 sides done with the roller. Still need to finish one whole side with the roller and then go back and do the detail/brush work on all of it. It's a humid day so I'm still waiting for the dew to dry before I can start today. Also rain is threatening, so it's me vs mother nature today in addition to being against the clock. Just what I needed *sigh*.

On the bright side, the second attempt colour looks great and covered the old one no problem. Pictures to come when it's closer to finished.
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I decided to take the plunge and see if I couldn't get the fence painted while the guys worked. I've got 2 days to do the whole job and I think it should be possible. If everything goes right that is. I chose the colour last week in a lightning fast decision without actually bringing the paint chip home or looking at it in the sunlight. Not that I think seeing a 1x1 square would have helped much. Anyway, I'm 1 gallon into my work and a little over half of one fence done and I HATE it. I wanted a black-brown stain similar to our indoor furniture. Jason wanted a red-brown stain like our outdoor furniture. He wasn't even with me at the paint store so heaven knows why I let him win. Aaargh.

I have him coming home for lunch so I can steal the van, run out and buy a replacement. So here's a question... I was using a semi-transparent stain. If I'm going to cover the existing experiment I'm going to have to go opaque. Will I have to finish the section of fence I was working on in order for it not to look weird or will I be able to recover by just painting over it?

Update a few hours later... no one at Lowes knew jack about covering up a bad stain choice. Surely I can't be the only one who has ever made that mistake? Anyway, have decided to go with a solid stain in "chocolate". Wish me luck.
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At 7:20 this morning the guys broke ground outside. There's about 5 guys out there right now. They've ripped up all the grass where the patio will be and have started laying stones out for the edges of it. Last night I noticed that there were some new wildflowers out in the yard that weren't there last year. Unfortunately with the baby I just didn't have the time to get out there and save any of them. *shrug* if they were there they came from somewhere else in the neighbourhood, so maybe this weekend we'll go hunting.

Between the power tools outside this morning and G waking up 4 times last night I'm pretty trashed today. Off to see what I can get done while exhausted.
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Michael has shown up to start on the landscaping. I'd hoped to get the fence painted before he started so I wouldn't have to work around plants. Bought the stain and everything and then it rained off and on for the last week. Even on the days it didn't rain it never got the fence dry enough to paint. Something I'll have to do later I guess.

In related news, hounds make terrible guard dogs. There's three guys out in the yard, only one of which they've ever seen before (Michael) and they haven't so much as stirred from their beds to see where the voices are coming from. Never mind alerting me or objecting to the foreign presence.

This weekend I accomplished some things but certainly not everything I had wanted. My wish list of accomplishments included painting the fence and backing up files and reformatting my computer. The fence I have an excuse for. The computer on the other hand is totally my bad. I looked at it and have done some sorting to figure out what needs to be backed up but I haven't gotten around to it at all. Have I mentioned that all virus-writers should die, painfully, in a fire?

What I did manage this weekend was waffles for breakfast for Jason on Saturday (he's persistently sick so I wanted to give him something that wouldn't irritate his scratchy throat), Dinner Sunday night and leaving the kitchen spotless after it, and finally making a mobile for Georgia. What I actually ended up making for her wasn't really original or as complicated as all the ones I made for friends. She's got butterflies made from glued together felt and a bit of cereal box cardboard to stabilize them. I didn't do a single embroidery stitch or stuff them or anything. It's also not finished quite to my satisfaction yet. I was eager to get them up and didn't have exactly the right supplies. I'd like to hang them from a hoop but all I had was wire, so they're on a wobbly wire ring at the moment. I'll re-hang them all later this week after I get out to the craft section at Wal-Mart. On the bright side, Georgia is clearly impressed with this addition to her room. On first viewing she giggled happily and grabbed at them and she just can't take her eyes off them. Jason even had a hard time putting her to bed last night because if they caught her eye while she was drifting off she'd snap awake and just stare at them. I'm sure the novelty will wear off in time. I'll take and post pics once I've upgraded the hanging apparatus.

Off for some breakfast, knitting and whatever else the day brings.
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One of the reasons I wanted a house (other than the usual "it's an investment" and "buying a house is what grownups do") is because I really want to have a hot tub of my very own. Spending a bit of time in the whirlpool at the health club was always one of my major motivators for actually going. Having one of my own that I could enjoy in the great outdoors and without having to commute to get to it would be even better. And if it's mine there's none of that pesky dress-code stuff ;)

Anyway, Jason and I negotiated and he's agreed to let me have my hot tub. Shopping for this thing has to be one of the most sucky things I've ever had to do. It's a lot like buying a car. It's hard to compare models. You have to take the time to test drive them. The average person knows little about the guts of the thing. And dealers don't post their prices anywhere so you have to haggle, bargain and hope you're getting a good price. And like cars, there seems to be a HUGE variation in price for what on the surface looks like a similar product. In the case of cars I've never been a huge fan of luxury. I go for the base model of the vehicle I think will be practical and reliable and that meets my base comfort needs. With the hot tub I don't even know what my needs are. And the test driving is a major hassle. You can't test out the models at one dealer and then go and test at another dealer the same day because getting back into a wet bathing suit is sucky.

Today I tried Hot Springs and I have no idea what to think. The salesman seemed like a nice guy and it seemed like a good product, but he made at least one claim that I can verify is false. He claimed that a particular tub was listed as a Consumer Reports "Best Buy", only as far as I can tell CR has never done ratings on hot tubs. That one falsehood makes me doubt the whole "our tubs are worth the extra" sales pitch and makes me reluctant to spend the substantial premium that they want for their product.

We'll go check out Jacuzzi some time later this week or next. After that I just don't know what brands to look up. With just these two brands I have no idea which model I truly like and what would be the best buy. Adding any more will probably not help, but I feel like I really should shop around just in case. Then there's the whole issue of coming up with a landscaping plan in the yard to accommodate this thing.

It's a lot of money, a big decision. While using a hot tub is supposed to be relaxing, buying one is ironically turning out to be very stressful. I'll be happiest when it's all over, though even then I'll probably feel a bit guilty about spending so much money on this.
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I now officially have more finished objects than WIPs. And even the WIPs are mostly done. Georgia's doll needs a dress, but that's going to be sewn, not knitted, so the knitting is done. The rollerbooties have been re-purposed as Christmas ornaments so they've moved to low priority. The one mitten I made for Georgia doesn't fit great so I'm not sure I want to bother making a second one. My hat just needs a pom pom. The socks and bags are still legitimate long-term WIPs.

That said I'm thinking of taking a week or two off knitting to tackle some other projects. I've got fabric for baby gifts for the neighbour and I really should get those done before the shower.

Speaking of the neighbours, they came over yesterday and the day before and I am really suffering as a result. They own cats and of course that set off my allergies. Also, on Sunday when they came over Greg was wearing too much cologne and it's rubbed off on the couch where I always sit, so that's setting me off too. Not to mention I hate the smell. I'm torn about whether to say anything or not. It's unpleasant for me to smell this days later, but it's also one of those things you're not supposed to criticize. A few months ago my family confronted my Nana about her over-perfuming and she was genuinely and deeply hurt and felt like it was a personal attack (and no, I'm not just thinking that's how she felt, she was very clear with all of us about the subject). I wasn't there for the confrontation and she did ask me my opinion about it later. I can't remember if I stood by them or sold them out on that one.

In other news, Georgia hates when I sneeze while she's feeding. Pulls off to glare at me for interrupting her meal. And heaven forbid I cough to open the lungs a bit (seems to help me breathe when the asthma sets in). She's settled very nicely into Jason and my schedule. She likes to go to bed some time between 10:30 and midnight and wakes between 6:30 and 8 depending on how hungry she is. She plays in her crib by herself for a while every morning (we can hear the thumps of her kicking and sometimes she squeaks her giraffe or gets the music toy going) before calling for us. Life's good. I'm settling into this whole "being a mom" thing. The laundry is piling up, the kitchen is rarely clean and I haven't vacuumed in weeks if not months. But I'm happy and so is Georgia, and I'm thinking that's all that matters in life.
norsegirl: (Default)
I've done some poking around on Ravelry this week and it is a really amazing site. It's just incredible being able to look at a pattern and then see what other people have done with it. The amount of variation you can get from the yarns available not to mention the modifications people make to patterns makes for a truly incredible source of inspiration and knowledge. It's also wonderful to be able to preview all the patterns available in a book you're thinking of buying and finding free patterns so this hobby doesn't have to cost quite so much. And further to that, to see the results of the patterns other than just the images in the publication. It's absolutely fascinating to see that sometimes something just looks good because the photographer was skilled and no one else seems to be able to make a wearable garment from the pattern.

Today's finished object is a birthday gift for my mum:

I'm absolutely delighted with how it turned out. She's been very attracted to that color family lately. I hope this particular version wasn't too bright. It was hard to find a super-soft yarn in the exact color I wanted, and in the end super-soft won out over perfect color. It feels AMAZING knitted up and I am very pleased with it. It's a surprise for her so I hope she likes it. Need to mail it off this week so it gets there in time.

This coming week I hope to make a dent in my other knitting projects ahead of the Ravelympics. I'm not sure if I actually want to participate in the Olympic-themed knitting thing. I do have a bit of a moral objection to the Olympics, as I expressed when the last one was running. At least this one isn't happening in a state controlled by a ridiculously oppressive government, however it still represents a great expenditure of public funds that benefits few people. That and I find it boring as hell so I probably won't be watching it. Maybe I'll watch the opening and closing as that is more "arts" than sports. Anyway, the Ravelympics is just having a goal to cast on something as the flame is lit and finish before it goes out. The item itself does not have to have any sort of Olympic tie-in and you are not required to watch any of the Olympic coverage at all. It's really just choosing a project, setting a goal and then achieving it. You can work in "teams" so you can discuss your project with others online and maybe get support. The idea is to choose something that will be a challenge, but one that you can achieve. At this point I don't really have enough experience to know what will be sufficiently challenging to fill 17 days of my time. I don't want to try for something too easy and be done in half the time, but I also don't want to set a ridiculous goal and feel bad if I don't succeed. There's also the Georgia factor. On any given day she can suddenly decide that she NEEDS to be held and I'm simply not going to be allowed to do anything else all day.

I'd like to get at least 2 of the current projects finished before I tackle anything new; the hat for me and the felted tote. The socks are going to take forever and I don't need those needles for anything else, so I'm happy to let those drag on for a while. Next I'm thinking I'd like to attempt a sweater for Georgia. There's a felted purse with a maple leaf I could make as an Olympic tie-in for the above mentioned Ravelympics, but I wonder if I'd actually use it or if I'd just be making it out of patriotism and wouldn't do anything with it when it's done. I've also got my eyes on some felted alphabet blocks for Georgia that would be really sweet.

In other news, we spent today working around the house as Jason was home so we could take turns entertaining Georgia and do some two-man jobs as well. Moved the small desk out of the living room and up into guest room #2, or "the blue room". Right now it's just the room where furniture that is unwanted anywhere else has gone to live, but it's a big room, so it still doesn't feel crowded at all. It just doesn't feel decorated either. Moving the desk out was meant to make room for the swing, but right now the spot is awaiting vacuuming, so there's just this big space there making the living room feel oddly off-balance.

I also hung the prints I got for Georgia's room back before Christmas, so that was excellent. All the bookshelves are finally bolted to the wall and I find myself in the unusual position of having more storage space than stuff to store! I'm sure that won't last long. Also hung my necklace organizers in my closet today. I've really missed being able to see all my jewelery and it has definitely resulted in me wearing it less often. Now I just have to find it all. I have quite a bit hung up right now, but I KNOW I'm still missing some of my favorite pieces. I imagine they are packed somewhere for a trip and never got unpacked as I didn't have anywhere better to put them.

I also did a neat modification to a cheap Ikea clock that I am rather proud of:

The red second hand was really jarring when I held this clock up against the wall in Georgia's room, so I decided I'd try to snap the cover off. As it turns out it popped off quite easily. I took some lime green acrylic paint to it and I'm rather pleased with the result. A splash of paint on the second hand and a few dots on the face of the clock and suddenly a $3 Ikea clock looks like it was designed for her room!

Need to spend tomorrow doing some hard-core cleaning as we've invited the neighbours over for dinner. The main floor is a mess, so it will probably take all day. I'd be elated if we got it all done though. At the very least I'll have to get the last of the Christmas stuff sorted away and get the kitchen cleaned.

And now a little photodump of all my babies:

Georgia has decided that the fuzzy blanket is the best thing ever.

Sophie the Giraffe makes a pleasing squeak when you chew her. Not from the squeaker but from her gums working on the rubber.

Beagles still get photographic attention despite the new addition. At least when they're being super cute.

Busy week

Jan. 11th, 2010 11:56 am
norsegirl: (Default)
I've now got 3 projects on the needles. I'm not sure if it's a better idea to do something start to finish before starting something else, or to have a lot of projects on the go so I can rotate when I get bored. I guess we'll have to see how many of these actually get done and then I'll be able to tell.

I'm still working on the black holiday hat I'm making for myself to match the one I made for Georgia. It's about half way done I think. Haven't even seen it since Wednesday.

Wednesday after the knitters meeting I stopped in at Jo-Ann's for more supplies and cast on my first pair of socks. I got this lovely merino/bamboo/nylon wool for that project. Took a long time to find a sock yarn in something other than acrylic. And while that would be good and washable, I'm pretty sure acrylic would not be good for your feet. I'm working on ity bity #2 needles so it is taking FOREVER. Because of the time involved I'm thinking these might be the only pair of socks I ever make. In two solid evenings of knitting and a little bit of extra time here and there I've only managed about a quarter of one sock - sigh.

In a reactionary move to my frustration at the slowness of knitting the socks, on Saturday I cast on the beginning of a felted bag. It's a lovely thick wool that I'm working on #9 needles, so it's going relatively quickly. It is also a massive amount of knitting compared to previous little projects like hats and mitts and ornaments so I have no idea how long it will take. I'm taking a photo every evening so I can track my progress. I'm hoping it will make a good diaper bag. I've tried two diaper bags now and I'm just not sold on either one. I'm not sure exactly why I don't like them though, or what I would rather have in a bag, so it's hard to decide what I should make or buy for myself to solve this problem - sigh.

Also in the queue in my brain are "podster" mitts for myself (with a flip-back flap on the thumb so you can ipod with your hands covered) and version 2.0 of rollerbooties for Georgia. I'm also tossing around some ideas in my head for designing my own pattern for a baby blanket. If I come up with something really good on that last one I might even try to sell the pattern as that would be a nice little side-project. Even if it just paid for supplies it would be a help.

This week I'd like to maybe visit some of the other yarn shops here in town. I've given myself a one-box limit for my knitting stash and I'm just a little over half full right now, so I'll have to be careful what I buy. My craft room is a complete disaster from all my other passions and projects, so I think it's good to set some limits on myself right from the get-go this time.

This weekend we got a love seat on sale for cheap at Ikea, so we finally have proper seating for more than just the two of us in our family room. I think I'm also going to move my desk out of there and up to Lauren's room as planned so we have a bit more breathing room around all the baby stuff. There's all kinds of half-finished projects all over the house. Time to list them all just so I can wrap my head around it:

- secure bookcase at top of stairs to wall
- hang organizing hooks in my closet
- move desk upstairs
- filing
- hang new pictures
- hang clocks in Georgia's room and the game room
- finish putting away Christmas decorations

The kitchen is also an unholy mess, so maybe now while Georgia's napping is a good time to address some of this stuff.

Oh, and FYI, with the holidays and all I have fallen WAY behind on my friendslist reading. I went back with a few of y'all (mostly new moms who don't have time to post ;) but for the most part I think I'm giving up. If anything important happened that I should know about, drop me a line.
norsegirl: (Default)
Halloween night was quite pleasant. First Halloween in a place that is actually ours and it was a nice experience. I got all my Halloween decorations completed, the primary purpose for which was to protect the garden and as far as I know it worked. Oh who am I kidding? I love Halloween and have just been waiting to get my hands on a house of my own so I could go all-out on it :)

Today I managed to finish the decorations, carve the pumpkin, toast the pumpkin seeds, make Georgia's costume and my own and actually go out for Halloween. Oh, and a load of laundry, but that is hardly exciting.

Yes, I know the picture is blurry. Didn't realize that until we were both out of costume though. Might need to buy a new, more reliable camera. This one keeps taking blurry pictures lately.

Georgia and I left Jason at home manning the candy bucket and went around the neighbourhood and stopped at houses with decorations. I took Rhonda along. It was fun. First time I've been able to go out for Halloween without a coat or gloves. I remember some years in Ontario where it snowed at least lightly. Not the kind that stays on the ground, but enough that if you are wearing gloves you can catch the flakes and get a good look at them before they melt. In Alberta we had serious snow one year that didn't melt until March, though I can't remember exactly which year it was.

We had somewhere between 30 and 35 kids this year. Not that many really. There seemed to be about 5 or 6 houses in the neighbourhood decorated up as much as mine and Rhonda's. A few people made a tiny effort (one "feature" decoration, anything from an enormous inflatable to a string of lights). Probably about half the neighbourhood had lights off and wasn't playing, which is a bit disappointing. One house not only went all-out with the decorations, even covering the entire lawn with spider webs, but they also had a BBQ out in the driveway and were making a party of it. They invited us to stay for hot dogs but I can't eat and hold a baby, so we declined. Maybe next year though.

Georgia seemed to enjoy the walking door to door. She's currently out of her costume and on the floor playing with her baby gym. Yet another great Craigslist purchase :)

gratuitous baby pictures behind the cut )
norsegirl: (Default)
Anna has taken up a not-so-silent protest on the weather. This morning she refused to go outside when she was retching. I chased her around the kitchen trying to get her to go outside, but even while working on puking she is a fast and slinky creature. She finally ran into her cage and I decided that was an acceptable place for barfing and we were all good. When she was done she demanded a cookie for working with me and coming to a compromise. I didn't figure that was the best thing to do for her tummy though, so she's now sulking in her bed.

Jason tells me last night that there were blossoms all over our lemon tree. He didn't mention it until 4am when the wind started and was so strong that it blew things off our patio and rattled our windows. The rain started around 4:30 or so and though I haven't ventured outside to look yet, I'm sure the flowers must be miles from here by now. Bummer, I would have liked to see them.

Earlier this week we went shopping for new plants to put out front. The African Daisies aren't responding well to the wet and they're annuals so I figure it's time to rip those suckers out. One of the mandevillas died and the other is looking okay but not great. I'm not sure if I should pull out the still living one so I can plant something new and matching for the porch. Matching is nice, but I hate killing things. I'm a big softie so I'll probably just go and buy another planter. In November I'll probably winterize the garden by bringing the hibiscus inside. Once I make all those changes there will be no flowers out front other than the bottle brush. While the bottle brush has perked up significantly in the wet weather and is pushing out some very impressive blooms, I'm thinking the garden needs a bit more colour than that. So far we've picked up some mums to replace the daisies and I'm thinking the front edge of the bed would benefit from some snapdragons as they seem to do well here. We've bought the mums and the mulch, we just need the snapdragons and some peat moss. And for the rain to stop so I can actually get out there and do my gardening. I'll take some before and after pics if I ever get a chance to get out there and work.

As for the photographer mentioned in the last post... they called this morning and canceled. Which was fine by me. The place is an embarrassing disaster as I still haven't managed to get my shit together since the trip home. I'm not sure if I'll rebook or not, but I'm happy to have the day to clean and maybe bake and just chill at home.

Yesterday was a frustrating day of accomplishing almost nothing. Had a cavity filled at 10am and the freezing kicked in to full potency around 1pm, 2 hours after the dental work was done and right around when I was dying of hunger. Made for a shitty, uncomfortable lunch that I couldn't enjoy at all. Spent the entire afternoon with my face feeling tingly and itchy and knowing that I wouldn't feel scratching and that it wouldn't help the itch and might result in me hurting myself so I had to try to control that instinct. In the end I decided to just sleep it off and got absolutely nothing done all afternoon. Georgia wasn't impressed either as apparently mum in pain is not terribly attentive. All said, I think the freezing caused more pain and discomfort that the filling. Next time I'll skip the freezing.

Georgia is making up for yesterday's frustration by insisting on lots of attention today. So I might just get nothing done today either. I guess I'm okay with that.


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September 2010

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