Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Well, the final toll:

11 Princesses
9 Spidermen
9 Fairies/Imps/Sprites (with wings)
8 Witches, or variations based on a loose definition of "witch"
7 Ninjas
6 Deaths, or variations on the theme
5 Football players (2 of them little ladies)
4 Pumpkins
4 Ghosts
4 Vampires
3 Wizards
3 Hookers (No lie. Teens.)
3 Cheerleaders
2 Batmen
2 Ladybugs
2 Skater Punks
2 Knights with armor
1 Sith warrior
1 Supergirl
1 Beyonce
1 Ron, Anchorman
1 Borat
Several assorted and non-memorable Disney characters
And only One Harry Potter.

No clowns, thank god. And no zombies. I have to say I'm a little disappointed in that. And only a couple lame-non-dressed up, way-too-old-for-it teenagers/twentysomethings. They only got one tootsie roll. Or crusty Bit-O-Honey.


Sunday, October 28, 2007


Since it rained on and off all day Friday and Saturday, we worked on the kitchen this weekend. Not much good working outside on the siding and painting. The drywall on the walls and the drop ceiling above the big island is now sanded, primed and painted. I LOVE IT. B got the new pendant lights hung today while I was at work. What a guy.

SO...Here's the view from the kitchen out into the dining room. The walls and coving in here are a nice pale blue color. B wants to put the flat screen tv we're buying when we win the lottery on a swing arm on that blue wall. That way he can watch Prison Break while cooking me lavish four course dinners in a cute apron. He's multi-talented like that. I'm not kidding. You all know about his divine cheesecakes, right? Unbelievably good. Especially the tiramisu cheesecake. Mmm... Oh, and me? I'll be in my own little pit-o-yarn knitting hats and Rabbits and Bears (oh-my). And watching CSI reruns on Spike.
I just realized while looking at these pictures that the shape of the glass shade of the pendant lights match the el-cheapo Home Despot dining room fixture. Hmmm. That's going to have to change anyways.

Here's what we got from the dining room looking into the kitchen:The coved ceiling will have crown molding going all the way across the top and continue around the dining room. That's why we didn't bother painting all the way up. It's really going to finish off the room.

Here's a better look at the upper part. I still keep staring up at the lights. So shiny. They match the stove perfectly. Sorry I didn't take any good pictures of it yet. You can kind of see it in the background by the window. Just a smidge of it, though. It's the perfect stove for making decadent cheesecakes. Mmm... cheesecake.

Up next: the subway tile back splash for the counters. We'll post more soon. Love to all!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Norman and Harold

Harold is the orange bunny I made last week from Jess Hutch's pattern, and here's Norman, complete with legs and arms! Burke had Honey the Bunny, so I guess Harold's like a little survivor bunny for me with his purple heart.

Next are more friends for Harry and Norm. Maybe even a Bobby Bear. I'll keep you all posted.


Okay, so I already told you fine folks about eminent deaths of sanders around here. What is the cause of this death you ask? It's death by dust. Concrete dust. It's like baby powder, and since the counters are dyed black, it's like black baby powder. Notice the layers of it on the poor shopvac, let alone on the floors. I have less sympathy for the floor tiles since I know they will soon be replaced with something infinitely more pleasing (and a whole less dusty).There is so much dust, even B is covered, except for the rubber glove marks, as noted by the example below. Another tip for concrete sanding: wear gloves. If you think drywall dust can dry your skin, you haven't seen anything until you've sanded concrete counters for hours on end.And here's the results of all that sanding and all that hideous dust. Beautiful, level, shiny, sealed concrete counters. By the way, when you are trying to get on top of the dust control, also plan on sacrificing a mop. The water turns the dust into sludge, which you then have to scrape up with a putty knife. And then remop about thirty times. Then you'll have to mop again once you sneeze black soot all over your semi-clean floor. Not so great.
Luckily we are officially DONE with concrete sanding dust. Finished. Finito. Vertig. Fini. After we finish the rest of the drywall in the kitchen and foyer, our house will officially be dust free. Then I will only have to contend with NORMAL PEOPLE dust, like dog hair pills that collect under the couch, and the kind of grime a little spritz of pledge and a swish of a cotton cloth can tame. Ah, it's the simple fantasy that keeps me going.

Next will be installing the backsplash. I'm going to use white subway tile again. I think it'll work well with the age of the house. It's classic material used in a modern context.

I'll post better pics soon... with a good view of our beautiful new (old) stove in place...

Meet Norm

My friend's son (N) turned one last week. So, meet Norman, a buddy for little N. I modified the Jess Hutch pattern in the ears (Burke's bunny pattern I used) and presto! A little bear-like friend! All I have left to do is stuff and assemble, and then pack him up for the little guy. I used the heart tag that I traditionally sew onto the gnome hats instead of just sewing the heart directly onto the knitting. I think it'll be more secure that way.Plus it's a good way of sharing the love.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Yarn and yearning

Fall is here. The leaves in the park are changing and the sky was overcast today, and the temperature is dropping this evening. This barometric change coupled with the call that my beloved yarn has finally arrived at my favorite yarn store has unchained the Beast of Knit. In the past few days I've finished a scarf, knitted two hats, finished one bunny and started on another toy.
I picked up my yarn a couple of days ago, and want to make bright orange and green and yellow ocher bunnies. I'm fixated. I want to knit them with button eyes and button hearts, like this one I made while Burke was still safe and sound in his little water world. Every child should begin life with a bunny. Sigh.

I think it's time to send out another box of hats to the NICU. I keep running across more and more hats I've stashed here and there as I dig through the crates of yarn. They're beginning to pile up again. This time I'm wanting to include some bunnies. Maybe some kittens, too. I guess this is how it's going to be as we're entering a new season without our son. B fixated on the progress of the house (he's currently applying yet another coat to the counters to make them PERFECT), while I'm becoming fixated with the handcrafts; I've been thinking about this method of processing my grief. It's as if the act of creating items of comfort for another person's struggling child will somehow return a bit of comfort to me. Well, no... I think it's simpler than that. I think it's just the sheer act of giving that brings a dullness to the constant ache in my heart. Just enough to give me a small reprieve.

Well, time for a cup of tea, and back to my needles. I have a pair of arms to knit up. And maybe a nice set of long ears.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust...

Well, a disadvantage to finishing concrete counters is that you kill orbital palm sanders. We are currently on number three. If you're looking for a recommendation, we'd tell you to buy a Rigid R2600 5" orbital palm sander, available at the Home Despot for about $70. Powerful, consistent, and best of all, the exhaust fits onto a standard shop-vac hose. Less mess is always better! We used the last one until it began whining and smoking this weekend. It still wants to keep working. Poor little thing. The one issue with the Rigid palm sander is finding replacement hook and loop pads for the machine. The Despot does not sell them. You cannot buy them from Rigid. Sigh.

Rigid tools come with a lifetime warranty, so I'm assuming they want you to send it in to get the parts replaced. It probably takes several weeks (down time in this project we do not have). However, I also assume sanding concrete voids the warranty. Anyways, the one for Ryobi fits well enough to use for its short life.

We are spending the weekend trying to get the counters done and sealed. B and I started sanding after work this week.
We've put on about four skim coats. The skim coats are a mix of portland cement, concrete dye, and "milk," a concrete fortifier.
B mixes it until it is the consistency of frosting, then uses a float to apply it into the low spots.

B is currently hand sanding the last skim coat this morning so we can seal the counters. At 6:14 in the morning. In his robe. Yes, we are ready to be done with this project.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


The front is DONE DONE DONE!!! Now on to the twenty five other things that need to be completed. At least the front gutters don't look as bad as they are in this photo.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Photo updates

Well, not much time to write today; B was stung by a bee while bringing the trashcans back from the curb. For those that don't know, B is pretty darn allergic. Not quite EpiPen allergic (unless it's anywhere near his face or upper chest) but enough to cause his index finger to completely swell into a Michelin Man pointer for the next couple of days. Poor guy. So, I've just fed him some benadryl and have about 22 minutes, 16 seconds to get him to bed before the coma takes effect. Here's a few photos from the weekend...Mary, patron saint of rotten trim... may the lavendar and mint sweeten your day.

The second side in progress... two coats of primer and starting the yellow.

The second side at the end of the day, with two coats of yellow.

I thought I had taken some shots of the front of the house (we finished it last night) but then I remembered it was dark when we came in and I couldn't. I'll get to those in the next day or two. Progress in the kitchen continues with more sanding of the counters and drywall. Oh, and thanks to A, who helped with picking the new color for the kitchen during her weekend stay!
Yikes, B is drooping... time to post and run...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Depressing Chili news.

Well, we've tried to keep the chili cook off running every October, but this year's chili cook off has been delayed. We REALLY don't want to say canceled. So, delayed is the word of the day.

We've been spending every evening after work and the past three whole weekends painting the exterior of the house, and we just can't get caught up. We don't even have the stove hooked up yet (waiting to finish the counters until the painting is done since painting weather will probably not hold out) so even if we DID manage to get the yard cleaned up enough, get the fliers and t-shirts made, get the bathrooms stocked and the house clean enough to not give folks the willies when they look into the corners, shop for favors, make the trophies and prizes, buy the kegs, get stuff set up, B would still have to cook his chili off-site. And you all know how much he loves to leave the house.


Yes, we're just as depressed as the rest of you. We're just too tired every night to focus, let alone do things like look at calendars and realize it's October already.

The good news is the front of the house is now done as well. YAY!

So, all that's left is to take down the scaffold on the front of the house, hang the cup hooks for the Christmas lights, replace the front gutters, scrape and repaint the trim on the back side of the house, finish the last of the cedar shingles on the back of the house, seal the new cedar shake on the back of the house, (that we're NOT painting), shingle the porch roof, replace the BACK gutters, buy primed trim, paint and hang it, power wash the brick, fence and deck, stain the fence and deck, replace the window trim on the east-facing side, clear out the back yard of the last of the debris, and then move back to working on the kitchen. Oy-veh...

Updates soon, we promise.