Monday, December 20, 2010

I Need Your Input, Please!

I think, if I can ever get a painter to show up over here, I may have my kitchen finished before too long. (Long story; one was supposed to be here at 9 this morning and I didn't hear until after 3 pm that evidently he has been ill since Saturday........riiiiiight.)

The colors are white, black and red:  white upper walls, ceiling and cabinets; black chair rail, and red beadboard wainscoting.  My floor is black commercial vinyl tile and my appliances are white.

I have gorgeous 1" black and white gingham with which to make cafe' curtains and valances for the two windows; they will be hung on black iron decorative cafe' rods; these, in fact.

The cafe' curtains are easy-peasy; two pairs of lined panels on the lower portion of each window.  It's the valances/toppers I'm having trouble with.  I have plenty of fabric to do either of the following:

Simplicity "Can Tops" pattern, View B at upper left on pattern envelope


McCall's "Home Dec-in-a-Sec", the valance in the lower left on the pattern envelope

Which do you all like better?  I plan to bind the edges of whichever one I make in red bias to match the wainscoting, and all pieces will be lined and weighted where appropriate.

I guess for purposes of comments, we'll call the Simplicity pattern "Can Tops" and the McCall's one "Gathered Swag".  And since I don't have a whole lot of regular readers (yet), please consider sharing this post with your online friends and ask them to come and weigh in. And yes, when all the work is done I promise to post photos!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What Went On At Our House Today

We're getting some snow.  At midmorning Lightning McQueen went out to collect the eggs, and a gust of wind caught the door to the chicken coop and blew it shut.  Normally that's not a problem, but this time the latch flipped and went right into the eye bolt.  I heard him yelling, and thought he was just whooping and hollering out there in the snow.  After several minutes I went to the back door to tell him he really needed to bring the eggs in, and this is what I saw:
I went around to where I could see the latch side of the coop door, and :

So I had to let him out.  I'm very thankful I had the presence of mind to get the camera before I went outside, because it just wouldn't have been the same without the pictures, don't you agree?

Lest you think it's only he who does things that are worthy of being photographed, here's Birdman making some snickerdoodles after lunch:
They were delicious.

And here's a shot of Velvet in her natural habitat:

If it stops snowing I may go out tomorrow at some point and see if there are pretty trees with snow on them to take pictures of.  Nothing much is moving in my neighborhood; I suppose the snow removal crews are busy with the main streets in town and will get to me when they can.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Two Smiles in One Day!

I just read this article about how (at least with relatively short words) correct spelling is pretty much not related to comprehension.  This made me smile because when they were handing out 'spellyness' before Velvet was born, she thought they said 'smellyness' and took a pass.  Also explains to me why she can read what she writes perfectly well.  So I feel validated in my decision not to be an ogre and drill, drill, drill correct spelling until we have tears and draaaaaaamaaaaaaa.

Besides, why else would spellcheck exist, if it isn't to help people like my Velvet?

I'm Smiling

this morning, because last week I finished the socks I made for a friend's mother-in-law and mailed them off to her, in plenty of time to be able to give as a Christmas gift.  I woke up to a private message on a board where we are both members, that they had arrived safely and that she thinks they are very nice.

I am very thankful that I have little opportunities to use the talents God has seen fit to grant me, to do nice things for others.

In other knitting news, I also finished the "Sunday Swing" socks (photo coming; I've already worn them and the next time they go on my feet I'll take a picture) and over the weekend I knit Velvet a pair of "Fetching" fingerless mitts.
The yarn is Patons Soy Wool Stripes, and I used US5 dpns.  I plan to knit a pair for myself soon; they go very quickly and by the time I'd started the second mitt I had memorized the pattern and was able to just knit.  the only changes I made were to only knit 15 rounds between the last cable crossing on the wrist and the thumb, because Velvet has small hands.

Last night I copied and enlarged charts and cast on the "Cobweb Lace Stole" from Interweave Knits' Spring 2008 issue.  I'm using a US4 circular needle and Skacel Merino Lace 100% wool yarn in a dark taupe color.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Price Check #2

Here's another price-check post for you.  I shopped at Giant Eagle.

Pillsbury Flour, 5# bag, $1.99
St. Ives body lotion, 2/$6 (I think this is something like a 16 oz. pump bottle)
Tuna in water, store generic, 4 oz. $0.79
10-grain hot cereal mix, Bob's Red Mill, $3.99
Birdseye frozen vegetables, 16 oz. bag, $1.00
Betty Crocker Snickerdoodle mix, 2/$4
Progresso Tomato Soup, 2-serving can, $2.39
Potato/onion frozen pierogies, store brand, $2
Radiatore pasta, store brand, 1# box, $1.39
Windshield scraper/brush combo, $1.99
Zhena's Gypsy Tea, Red Lavender, 20 bags, $6.99
Ground round, family size pack, $1.99/lb.

Gas is $3.06/gallon for regular unleaded.  Some places in town it's as high as $3.16.

Getting Ready?

How are everyone's preparations for Christmas going?  So far I have managed to keep Philip's Fast to a reasonable degree, although we haven't gone completely vegetarian.  I'm keeping to the Roman Catholic definition of fasting, which means one 'regular size' meal, the sum of the rest of what I eat not equaling what I have for the regular meal, and also having vegetarian meals on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday as prescribed by the Rule and Constitutions of the Confraternity of Penitents.  I'm also keeping up with daily prayer, both the Liturgy of the Hours - Morning and Evening Prayer, with the Little Hours said all together at midday, plus Night Prayer before going to bed; and the Kathisma Psalter about which I posted earlier.  I really enjoy praying the Psalms.

What I haven't done is put up the tree, decorate the house and do a lot of baking.  I have some Moravian Sugar Cake to bake before Christmas, and I'm more and more tempted to go to a tree lot on the 23rd or 24th and buy a tree with a pretty top to cut off for a tabletop-size tree........we have less and less space and I just dread rearranging the entire first floor to have a place to put an artificial tree I don't really even like anymore.  It's too large at the bottom and not nearly tall enough. I need a 9-foot skinny tree, not this 7-foot poufy Norway Spruce that I have.  Not that the existing tree isn't pretty - it is, it just won't fit anywhere any more.

I guess I'm so busy with both the daily things that can't stop just because it's going to be Christmas soon, and also with interior preprations for the season, that I have no energy left for externals.  So, my heart is preparing but my house looks as if it's occupied by people who ignore Christmas. (I was going to say pagans, but I remember reading somewhere that there is some sort of pagan winter-solstice thing that happens right around Christmas, although I don't suppose a tree and stockings are part of what one does to prepare for that.  Is it Lughnasa?  That involves dancing or something, I think.  My, how I ramble.)

Also it will be my birthday soon and I wish it could be different this year, but it won't, so that's that.

In reviewing this post I see several things I could link, but I'd rather just post and go do something else.  I might edit in the links later.

A Futile Wish

They make frost-free freezers, self-cleaning ovens, irons and coffemakers, why can't they come up with a self-cleaning house?  I don't necessarily want mine to be ready for a photo shoot by "House Beautiful", but I always pictured myself living in a house where I could welcome guests at any moment if someone just decided to drop by.  The reality?  I need at least 3 hours notice, and that only gives me enough time to transfer the clutter to somewhere the potential guest(s) won't be.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I don't get it.

You'd think, with the economy as bad as everybody says, a person could get a contractor over here to bid on a job.  So far I've had two no-shows and neither one has bothered to call and say they weren't coming.  Have calls in to two more, we'll see how that goes.

Just in case you were wondering, I still need prayers for that special intention.  Thanks!