Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Promise Made and a Promise Kept

Pretty sad looking, huh?

This old Gooseneck Rocker is probably well over 100 years old and has seen more travel than most people. We don't really know where all it may have traveled before it came into Vern's possession, but he has had it since approximately 1983 and it has made its way from Texas to Minnesota to Illinois.

It's been in this sad condition for the past nine years as we could never figure out quite what to do with it. Most people would have figured out pretty easily what to do with it - set it out for the trash and have it hauled away.

But this chair had a promised attached to it. Vern got this from a fellow Air Force family when they were moving. The woman who owned it at the time was about 50 years old, and the rocker had originally been her grandmother's rocker. Her own mother had been rocked in this chair and it's pretty easy to say that her mother had rocked her and she had rocked her own children.

However, they were moving and just couldn't take the chair with them, so she entrusted it to Vern who had fallen in love with the comfy old chair. The only thing she asked was that he promise never to get rid of it.

And he has kept that promise. However, as the years went by, both time and frequent moves took their toll on the chair, and it was eventually nothing more than something in the garage that was always in the way.

Recently, quite by chance, I was given the name of an older gentleman in our area who does upholstery work, so we packed up the Gooseneck and took it to him, preparing ourselves to hear "I'm sorry, there's nothing that can be done to save her."

But Mr. Fritz (just Mr. Fritz - we never learned his first name) worked wonders on her. He brought her back to life and back to her original beauty.

She now has a place of honor in our home, right by the fireplace. Just right for rocking and just right for knitting.

I wish we had a way to let Sandra know that the promise has been kept and that her grandmother's chair is still being treasured.

Monday, January 14, 2008

But now I get to brag on his awesomeness

We found this undermount television/radio/weather band unit on clearance and DH got it for my craft area because he remembered that I mentioned I wished I could watch TV while I'm sewing. Not only did he get it for me, but he also installed it, AND got the satellite hooked up. It's some sort of a record that a project gets purchased and completed in the same day!

I wasn't slacking while he did this though. I was reorganizing our bathroom cabinet. This cabinet is sort of a temporary solution to the shortage of storage in our bathroom. Eventually we will remodel this bathroom too and add some sort of a closet, but for now, it's at least easy to find what we need.

And while it does bug me a little that everything isn't stored in cute little matching baskets, I made an effort to repurpose some storage containers that we already had.

Martha's got nothing on me. Well, except for cute little matching baskets, that is.

He's trying to kill me

What is it about his personality that he can always find "just one more thing" to tear apart? Last week I thought we were done with all the tear out and headed in the "putting it back together" direction.

The man is going to make me have a stroke if this keeps up.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Excuse Me Ma’am, You dropped a stitch.

Every knitter has bad yarn choices in their stash. It may be something that was on clearance or just attracted their eye in that special way or it may have been just an uninformed choice of a new knitter. I’m a little appalled at how fast my pile of bad yarn choices has grown, but that seems like it might require more self-reflection than I’m willing to give this issue.

My goal this year is to purge my stash from those bad yarn choices – one way or another. And while one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, I am not at the point (yet) where I’m willing to just give them away.

Last night’s stash busting efforts were a little frantic. I’m not sure why, but all of a sudden, this innocent looking yarn began to bug me, and I knew that I had to get it out of my stash quickly.
On the surface, it’s not a bad yarn. However, it’s not a great yarn either. It’s an acrylic/wool mix and super soft, but it’s also one of those yarns that you just know is going to end up in your eyes and up your nose every time you wear it. I also only had two skeins of it, and I wasn’t willing to add to my problem by buying more just so that I could get rid of this. I don’t even know what I had in mind when I bought it. For all I know, it jumped into my basket and I unknowingly brought it home. Sometimes, it’s honestly that random.

I scoured Ravelry (Ravelry, oh how I love you) and several knitting books for ideas. I even resorted to considering crochet, but then I remembered that I only know one crochet stitch. Honestly though, I was that desperate to finish a project with this yarn.

I finally settled on a dropped stitch scarf (I need another scarf like I need a hole in my head). It met all of my needs, and most of all, it went quickly.

Now I’m off to make a matching hat from the other skein. To cover that hole in my head.

Dropped Stitch Scarf
Approx. 120 yards of bulky yarn *
Size 13 needle

Cast on 15 stitches (or any odd number)

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Knit
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: Knit
Row 5: (K1, YO) to the end, ending in a K1
Row 6: Knit, dropping the YO stitches
Row 7: Knit
Row 8: Knit
Repeat Rows 5-8 until desired length, add two more K rows and bind off.

*Let’s be honest here – this was a stash busting project. Use whatever weight yarn and whatever size needle you want.

You can also do as many yarn overs as you want, although I tried doing three and it scared me a little how long the drops were. I could just see getting snagged by every single thing I walked by. But if using your scarf as a fishing net for small children and electric cars is your idea of a fun night on the town, then go for three!

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Swept Away Part II

The flooding in our area is pretty extensive. Some towns are reporting the worst flooding they have ever seen and that hundreds of people have been evacuated (which in the case of these small towns, is significant.)

These photos are from the closest town to where we live. Fortunately, we aren't as affected since we don't live right on the river.

Because I can tell you that I'd be mighty upset to see my new cabinets floating down the river.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Swept Away

This is the creek that runs through our back yard. Except that it never has this much water in it.

This is our dock. What? You say you can't see it? It's under there somewhere.

(This is what the dock usually looks like)

Our area is experiencing record flooding. Thankfully, we only have a little water in our basement due to a massive drainage project that we added to the yard and basement a couple of years ago.

Oh, and this is what we think of the people who owned the house before and assured us that there were never, EVER any problems with the house.

Not that we're bitter or anything.

Glue and Screw Day

Now that the bubonic plague has left our home, it's back to work on the kitchen.

We're starting to put things back together instead of tear them apart. The new underlayment is the first step to our new floor, and today was "glue and screw" day.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Welcome to the House of Pestilence and Death

Does that sound overly dramatic? It wouldn't if you were here. Vern is sick. Really sick. Sick enough to call in sick to work, which never happens. As a result, it's pretty easy to jump to the conclusion that I'll get sick too. It would be hard not to with all the coughing, hacking, and wheezing going on around here.

Surprisingly, there is very little whining going on. I think he's afraid I'll blog about it. I would never do that.

As a result, not much got accomplished on the house this week. We barely managed to make a decision on the flooring. I am, however, now an expert on all things tile. I can tell you the difference between ceramic tile, full body porcelain, porcelain glazed, slate, marble, and tumbled marble. I also understand PEI hardness ratings thanks to my husband's superior googling skills. I know all about underlayment, subfloors, and a new product called Ditra.

What I can't tell you is when this damn floor is going to get finished so we can install the cabinets.

Speaking of the cabinets, our kitchen designer came out here today, and although there are a few problems to be resolved, it's not nearly as bad as it was at first glance.

I'm pretty sure that no matter how long it takes get it resolved, the floor still won't be done. After all, it took us months just to make a decision. You don't seriously expect the installation to go quickly, do you?

So, since I have nothing to share in the way of photos of the remodeling progress, I'll share a few photos from Christmas.

This is a project that I gave a sneak peak of a while back. My dad is Scottish and very proud of his family heritage. Several years ago, I designed a flag of our family crest but it has gotten old and tattered, so I made some modifications to the design and made a new one for dad this year.

The finished project.

And here is my 85 year old dad opening some of his gifts. It's always so cute at Christmas, because he gets down on the floor to open gifts just like a little kid.

And last, but not least, we had a visit from the elves this year on Christmas Eve when they brought the traditional "Christmas Eve Jammies."

Now, I'm off to find the good drugs if Vern hasn't gotten to them first.