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Monday, April 28, 2008

It's greening outside but not inside

Obtaining plants has been proving to not be the easiest thing. All the taller (3-5') plants were either too weird, too wide, or too costly. And there was nothing like a rhododendron or dieffenbachia or even a fern to be found. Not that we could see, anyway, so I'm calling the nursery today to see if they do, indeed have said plants.

I just want to green up the rooms some. without having to put cut flowers in all the rooms before each showing - not asking for the moon.

And outdoor plants - well I got some wax begonias for the 2 urns on the porch,


but the flats of impatiens looked tiny for $12 each. And I'd need about 20 flats to give any kind of presence to the front beds. The hanging begonia baskets were $4 less than if I bought individual plants, so I'll just carefully extricate them from their baskets, no biggee.

We did manage to get more mulch - whoopdidoo - and his new grill (happy husband).

I'm did more painting yesterday - 2 windows, 1 door and frame and a baseboard section. 5 more doors and bits of baseboard await me today.

Here's what's been popping up almost overnight

Lilacs budding

Bleeding Hearts and I don't know what is behind it

We just call it the white bush


Happy Spring Blooming to all!

Friday, April 25, 2008

preparing for warmer seasons, more house prep

preparing for warmer seasons
It was SO warm the other night, I couldn't sleep, nearly at all. Wide awake at 2 am, I went down to sleep on the sofa, which was no better. I was entertaining all kinds of thoughts as to where I could sleep.

I thought about the cool kitchen floor, but that would startle hubby in the morning.

I thought about the basement, but it's too yucky.

I even thought about sleeping out on the back porch, off the kitchen, but figured it would be my luck to be peed on by some birds.

Ya'll know I need it cold in the bedroom - 57 is perfect in winter, I'll take 60 in spring and summer, but try and get 60 in spring and summer - ha!

We have a window fan, but it's not enough on a warm night. All our oscillating fans have slowly been dying over the years, but we haven't replaced them - til now! I found a deal on Vornado 12" oscillating fans and ordered 2. Shoulda been here yesterday, according to the tracking info The Fedex truck went past this house 3 times! and no fans. But they came today.


Surprise!

In Pieces!

If I'm feeling inclined later, I'll give them a go, otherwise, Mr. Mechanical can do it tomorrow.

We also need to sell the jet-engine-loud AC we bought last year and find a quieter one - before summer hits and I lose my mind from lack of sleep.

Of course, when I went researching online for an AC that actually says it's quiet, dontchaknow that the one we have is the same model! They've got to be kidding!

house prep work
Hubby finished up all the spackling, sanding, priming and painting of walls and ceiling the other day in bedroom 2. We need to keep a momentum going if we're ever gonna get done and relist the house, but with only meager sleep, all I could manage was to scrub the woodwork. Today I vacuumed and mopped the wood floor, then painted half the woodwork in that room before I tired out - doesn't take much these days.

To add to yesterday's uselessness, I spent hours working a crochet edging on the new afghan, then decided I didn't like it and ripped it off. I've figured out what would look better, and have begun again.

This weekend? Gotta get 4 tall (small tree-sized) indoor plants, 5 small indoor plants, mulch for the front beds and tons of impatiens mixed with wax begonias or coleus, if I can. Hubby's finally getting a new bbq grill, as his present (very old) one is an eyesore out back.

We don't make a habit of buying pricey home items until something actually kicks the bucket, but this is being financed by his birthday gift $, one of those store gift cards you get after racking up points on a credit card, and some dough from selling some radiators he had and can't use He's been wanting it so long, I'm glad this works out. He'll be a happy griller and the prospective buyers won''t go - eww, look at that rusty old barbeque they have!

He's still shopping around for carpet. But that's not gonna happen this weekend. It'll probably be next weekend's entire focus, as I need to dismantle my office - no email, no internet - aack!, as well as my shipping room and the family room, then put it all back after he's done laying the carpet. I see exhaustion coming!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nappy Time, Designing

I never used to nap.

Napping was for old people. Well, I must be old, because napping has become an inviolate part of my days. I'm sure it's just the hormone fluctuations, but it is weird to just lie down on the loveseat and be out like a light for an hour or so.

Hubby, in particular, finds this new behavior to be very funny, as I never napped in my life. I was always a busy bee from morn to bedtime. Now, every time he sees me stretched out, he laughs.

Designing
I'm finishing up the 5th panel for the new afghan design. Then comes seaming and the edging.

And as I am nearing the end, my mind has been wandering to worsted wt. wool yarns. I'm thinking about working up some colorwork designs, and have been trying to decide on a yarn. I always begin mental work on new projects before finishing the one I'm on.

I'm also trying to steer clear of heavy worsted wt. yarn - my fav - and use worsted, so to be more desirable to knitters.

One of the best pair of mittens I've ever knit for myself - see below - used Lamb's Pride Worsted. Nice snug gauge of 6 sts/1". I adapted EZ's Winter Spruce pattern, from Knitting Around. The traditional Norwegian flap thumb never appealed to me nor felt comfortable, so I changed it to a gussetted thumb, for better ease of movement.


But these days, there's also Ultra Alpaca, Aussi Worsted, Naturally Nazareth and Lana D'Oro to consider. I'm guessing the alpaca blends will add some haze to the fabric, just like the Lamb's Pride, which may or may not be desirable. The Aussi Worsted is soft, the Naturally Nazareth is sturdy.

The only yarn whose retail price I'm not sure of is the Lana D'Oro, as I'm only finding one online shop that has it, but it's in a 50 gr put-up, when my brand new color card says it's in a 100 gr put up. So, I'm at a loss as to the real put-up and price. If that online shop is right and it's $8.50/50 gr, that's too pricey, not when the Ultra Alpaca is the same mix, same price and 100 gr. Anyone purchase it recently and can give price and put-up?

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

still prepping house, new mattress topper

It's heading for the 70's today and staying a few days - wahoo!

Does that mean lolling about in the sun - not on your life - it means slate walks get scrubbed, the garden gets cleaned up (even tho I'll not be planting again this year), the front of the house and the porch gets hosed off, the 7' long front door mat gets cleaned, the front hall hooked rug gets a soaking, and I can open some windows and begin the touching up of woodwork and window trim around the house.

Today, DHL delivered the 3" Serta memory foam queen size topper for our bed, from Overstock.com. We've been needing a new mattress, as hubby in particular is feeling the effects of the one we have, but the budget doesn't have room for such an expense, not with our needing to spend dough getting this house ready to sell. So, when I saw the 3" topper at 64% off, I couldn't not get it. Who knows, maybe he'll like it enough not to need a new mattress for a long while yet.

But where did they leave the very heavy box? In front of the garage! Not on the front porch or even the back porch. So, little ole weak me hauled the box from the garage, up the back steps into the house, through the house, up the stairs, down the hall, then proceeded to extricate it and the 2 pillows which came with, from the box and slowly let it unfurl (as the instructions say) on the other queen bed, to air out.

I tried it out. I think it will do his bod good, though it might take awhile getting used to the mattress adjusting to one's every move!

Off to work, as it's only - aack - 13 days til May 1st.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Long time no write

This past Saturday was my birthday - 49 - am sliding into AARP-land - no, no, no, no, no!!

Hubby took me shopping. Shopping is always a hit or miss thing and most often, it's a miss. But I did get half the things I needed - another bra in white just like the one I have in black, which is almost infinitely comfortable, as in I can wear it most of the day without it bothering me! I've never had a comfortable bra, 'til now, and what a treat it is, I can't tell you.

And, finally, after a couple of shopping failures, a pair of size 6 straight leg pants - really soft fabric, covered waistband - how I hate itchy bits at he waist! - and, just the right length, which they called "short". Ahem, excuse me, I'm not short. I'm 5'4", which is average.

I also need shoes and a dress for those blue-moon occasions when I need to look nice. I tried on the large floral Isaac Mizrahi cotton dress in Target. Loved how it fit, liked the pink color of the flowers (though bright) but the green they used was far too acid for me. If they had just had a muted version, more old-fashioned roses, instead of the on-acid dipped version....

And shoes - ha - both Kohl's and Target had nothing. So, a 50% success, and that''s as much as I can usually hope for.

Sunday was a waste - from 3 pm to bedtime spent in peri-M hell. It continued on Monday and surely will test me later on today/this evening as well. Doesn't matter what I take or which cream I use. When they say that peri-M and M majorly change a woman's life, they ain't joking - I cant work at all when I'm laid up with this nonsense, never mind write a blog post! I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

On the knitting side of things, I bought 3 patterns from a long-standing *country-style* designer, to see how she sized for children. I had read a forum post from a fan who loved the way the sweaters always fit perfectly, no matter the size. So, I wanted to see for myself.

To my horror, a stranded lice-patterned (traditional-style) pullover was knit in PIECES. The sweater is a folk sweater, Norwegian-derived, always knit in the round. How many knitters WANT to knit colorwork on WS rows for the whole thing?

If you knit it in the round to the armholes, you then have 2 choices, knit the yoke back and forth or add armhole steeks and continue around. I prefer the latter. I think the latter scares too many knitters, STILL, after ALL these years! I mean, knitters have been doing it in wool knits for eons, so why do knitters fear that it won't work?

If you choose the former, at least the amount of flat knitting is far less than if you knit the entire thing flat.

I could go on about the patterns, but I won't. I rarely (like this is the only time) buy other designers' patterns, so I'm not familiar with the formatting, style and verbiage of other designers' patterns. It does make me very proud about the quality of my patterns, though.

Off to see how much I can get done today before crashing and burning....

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

sock tree, need garden feedback

As I don't like walking through the dog's area to get to the line to hang things up, I'm more likely to pin up socks and small things on the lilac bush off the kitchen entrance. Hubby thought my "sock tree" would make a good blog photo, and I was willing to oblige.


Work continues on house prep for relisting, but I'm stuck on the front beds. I know I said I was gonna put in masses of impatiens. But now I'm, #1 - not sure it wouldn't look too uniform and #2 - the beds really need a massive tilling and de-rooting of the maple trees' surface roots that have taken over and I doubt I'm gonna have the time to do bed renovation.

In past years, we've just put red cedar mulch in the beds and left them plantless, instead, putting plants in the 2 large white urns up at the porch entrance. I'd undo the beds completely, except grass isn't going to grow fast enough, never mind blend in with the lawn as it is.

For an idea of the size of these things, the 2 front-walk-bordering beds are each about 2.5' wide and 30" long from porch to street, with a 15' ell each along the front of house - it's a lot to plant, and worse yet, it's only part-shade and some parts of the beds get more light or sun than others. If only the roses weren't choked out by the maples...

Then I thought, why not place low rectangular planters (esp. white ones, to match the house trim and the 2 large urns) on the beds, spaced evenly down all lengths, and fill them with the impatiens, keeping the red mulched beds in their untilled state?

Would this look goofy?

I don't have nearly enough gardening mags or tomes to see if it's been done before. I'm thinking it might look interesting, but need some feedback about the idea! I don''t want a goofy first impression on the house! I'm trying to sell it, not make people laugh at it!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Last of Potter

I know I'm probably the last person to read it, but yesterday I began the Deathly Hallows, reading from early afternoon to bedtime, then finishing the last few chapters this morning. Hubby watched, in amazement, yesterday, as I read, and read and read, devouring the 759 pages. This is how I read. It's the way I read as a child - all weekend long. Then, like waking up from a dream, thrust back into daily life.

Which, for me, today, means cleaning the bathroom, doing laundry, then starting the 4th of the 5 needed afghan panels.

Hubby has a friend here today who's helping with house prep for relisting - namely, cleaning all the storms inside and out - no small job with 40+ windows on this house.

So, off to clean, though my head is still in Potter-land...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Early April

Early April here in the mid-Hudson Valley is nothing to write home about - no greening up yet, no flowers, not even the Forsythia. Soon, but not yet.

The only difference between early April and winter (besides the lack of snow) is that the pond has defrosted, which means the peepers are at it every night. It's not noisy by the house, but as soon as you walk past the garage and turn the corner, the cacophony hits you! It IS nice to finally hear the birds chirping again - winter is so quiet.


It rained today and I was lucky to catch some droplets hanging on the white lilac buds.


Back to knitting on the 3rd of 5 panels for the new afghan design.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April's Gonna Fly By

It's spring, alright! Snowing yesterday, rainy, then sunny today and 54 degrees.

This will be mad rush month, though rush is a relative term. And I'm not talking about new designs, which will soon retreat into the background of my life. It's to prep the house for relisting.

I'm not capable of rushing anymore without it taking its toll, so maybe I should say that we're aiming for as many FP's (finished projects) as possible. But glitches always rear their heads.

The fireplace insert idea isn't working out - antique fireplace dimensions are not the same as modern insert sizes.

And putting in the pantry with appliances may not get done, simply from the lack of free time. We DO make generously optimistic TO DO lists, but need to accept that we're not young anymore with endless energy and optimal health.

But there's still tons to do, even without these 2 projects. I love April (as it's MY month, even if it still tends towards nasty weather here), and I do fear it will go by in a wild blur this year, for all the work we have waiting.

It's not a month for looking down and enjoying much green, which isn't there, as what IS there is winter's mess - all brown, dead leafy, twiggy, branchy, and willow frondy. Add strewn gravel from snow plowing. Add piled up road grit, sometimes so high, you'd never know we have bluestone curbing at the road. Add kicked over and broken bricks lining my front garden beds, from shoveling and just the fact that brick is porous. All of which needs cleaning up.

One has to look up at the change in light and be content with that, until May's greening takes over, if we survive to see it!

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