Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kitchen boogie?

Hmmmm.   As I sit here quietly minding my own business, I can't fail to notice that there are dogs in the room (waving the laptop around to get rid of the smell!).  It's positively evil.  Goodness gracious me.  I think I need to reconsider their diet again. 

Speaking of diets....  Patricia of Parrot Nation posted her new Chop video today.  It's a great way to see all the varieties of Chop people make for their birds.....and you can boogie to the Canned Heat while you're at it.  ;-)  Pat had requested photos, so I sent one of Charlie and a few of the two batches of Chop I've made for him so far.  Charlie shows up eating macaroni from a freshly made batch of Chop at 3:41, and the bags ready to go in the freezer and a bin of ready to be bagged Chop show up at 2:50, 3:49 and 4:37.   I gotta get me one of those "got chop?" t-shirts!  Don't you think?

Ok.  Enough of the fun stuff.  All day today was spent slaving boogieing in the mess kitchen.  While The Tramp started on the wall paint I put up the paintable wallpaper that will serve as our backsplash.  It's weird stuff to work with but in the end I managed to make a pretty good job of it.

When it's wet it looks like lace on the wall.  It's pretty transparent and you can see the old wallpaper and blemishes right through it.  Paint will take care of that I'm sure.

The last piece of wallpaper didn't even need to be trimmed.  It. Just. Fit.  How cool is that!  My angels were watching over me today.  :-)

Then we swathed everything we care about in plastic and got ready to tackle the popcorn ceiling.

Dogs were banished to the sunny back porch.  Not that Ngaire was pleased about it.  She stayed at the door trying to look pathetic but we took no notice.

As I start to paint each of these ceilings it never fails to amaze me how not white our ceilings are.  This ceiling was the easiest so far.  The popcorn actually stayed up there as I rolled (rollered?)!  A major victory in our war against the evil popcorn.  :->

So this is where we stand as of now.  Ceiling done, wallpaper drying, first coat on the walls.  Phew.

See how dark everything beyond the kitchen is?  Not for long.  Light, bright colors are going to invade this whole house.  I can't wait!

The ceiling still looks a bit diseased where we tried to patch the popcorn.  I may try to mess with it some more when the paint is completely dry.  Or I may not.  You gotta pick your battles, ya know?

Tomorrow I boogie at the sewing machine!  Yay!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

It's the small things

You gotta find joy in the small things.  Right?  I've been moaning about my shoes lately.  Sewers know, it's hard to sew in big clunky outdoor sneakers or shoes.  Socks or bare feet are the best.  But it's winter, my feet are cold!  So I wear my socks, over that a pair of The Tramp's wool socks, and my fuzzy slippers.  It's warm, but I'm tired of schlepping around the house all day in my slippers.  I've been on a quest for something light, no clunky treads, no fall-off-my-feet mules, just normal shoes.  Yesterday I met my fellow Patchwork Memories sewers for a nice social lunch at Noodles.  We're a great team!

And afterwards I explored the shopping center for shoe stores.  And ( I was so amazed) I found exactly what I need.  Nice flat sneakers with a smooth sole.  I was so excited I bought two identical pairs!  So comfy and now I feel like I'm actually dressed for the day when I go to work in the Sandbox.  It's those small things......

As soon as picked up the camera and stuck out my feet Ivy was right there.  As usual, she's looking for a foot rub.  One of the small things that make her day happier.  :-)

 Oh dear.  I stopped.

Let's see.  Small things.  Oh yes!  Small grands.  Grand #4 is nine months old.  Hard to believe!

And we got a great photo and little video of Grand #3 in New Zealand practicing flower arranging.  Apparently he is very much into picking  and giving flowers right now. :-)  Sweet.

Today was warmish...not cold anyway...and we mostly worked on the kitchen project.   We did sit out on the porch in the sun at lunchtime.  That's our Maisy.  Enjoying life in her small way.  The humans obligingly provided her with a cushy pile of canvas drop cloths in the sun. 

And you are bothering me why??

Ok.  You can take my picture.

But I'm keeping an ear out!

We don't need a drop cloth to enjoy the sun.  The important thing is that the humans are eating hot dogs up on that table.

The hot dogs are gone?  I don't want to cuddle.  I want to go back to my drop cloth!

I went around the kitchen again this morning doing the fingernail scratch test on the woodwork.  We decided it was really only the doors that needed to be re-sanded and re-primed.  A smaller project than I had feared.  Yay!  (I think)  This time we were smarter.  Plastic drop cloths taped up over doorways, cabinets, and in the pantry, and safety glasses, ear protection and new face masks.  The Tramp did most of the power sanding as the noise got too much for me.  When he was done I washed everything down with TSP.

It worked really well!  The primer went on so much better.  :-)

 The walls are primed too.

And the ceiling patches have been re-popcorned.  Sort of.  What a comedy.  First we tried the stuff in a spray can.  Oh MY!  It was like spraying runny oatmeal.  Yuck.  It was all over us, the counter, the cabinets, the floor, in our hair.....but not the ceiling.  Sigh.  So we went back to the store to return the nasty icky stuff and got some pasty lumpy stuff instead.  Urgh.  Now the ceiling looks diseased....but at least it's up there.  Maybe it'll look better in the light of day.

There's always hope.  :-)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Gray (Grey?)

The question has been asked.  Why did I use a gray background?  You want the long answer or the short one?  ;-)

Ummmmm.   Because I could?  :-)  Kind of.  Well no.  Not quite.  Maybe.  I suspect I was using a very labor intensive method of sizing and placing photos, but since I'm a Photoshop novice, I went with what I could figure out that worked!  After laboriously choosing them from the over 22,000 pictures I have in iPhoto (can you believe it???  my goodness!!!) I cropped and tweaked the photos in Photoshop.  In order to make some of them square I had to add to them rather than subtract.  Those strips on the edges of the photos were coming up bright yellow!  (you can see it on the left page, second row, second picture)  I struggled to remove the yellow and after some gnashing of teeth I managed to change it to white.  (separate strip, second photo)  I finally figured out how to color it a more neutral gray.  (sewing machine photo in the last house)  Yippee!  Of course I have no idea how I did it.  Heh.

Then I placed the photos into an InDesign document.  That, I know how to use.  The house window is 20mm x 20mm.  I sized the pictures down to 22mm x 22mm, but I was still worried about white showing at the edges so I made the page background gray.  Also probably.....because I knew how!  

I treated fabric with Bubble Jet Set etc and printed it all out along with some quilt labels.  The quality of the photos?  Eh.  Not so great.  (the labels were beautiful!) But who cares, right?  It's for fun!

End conclusion:  I really didn't need the gray, the extra mm around the photo was plenty to keep white from showing, especially as this is foundation piecing.  Also, if I print any more I'm going to go back to printing on my nice Moda muslin and see if the details show up better.


Is nearly over!  How did that happen???  Sheesh! 

Work has come to a standstill in the kitchen.  I have the most horrible feeling we didn't do enough to prep the woodwork for painting and may decide to do some serious sanding this weekend.  (Sigh) 

In the meantime we work around the mess feeding the dogs, baking bread, and general cooking.  Awkward, but doable, though the disruption everywhere is starting to get to me. 

To ease my frustration with the rest of the house I did some serious clean up in The Sandbox this week.  I finished this apron too.  :-)

I hadn't been sewing the little houses for at least a week because I was working on this project.  Cropping, resizing and printing family photos on fabric to go in little house windows and doors.  It took days, but now I have some to play with!

And play I did.   House #16.  The Tramp makes no excuses, his favorite color is hot pink.  He loves how it discomfits people that he has a pink cover on his cell phone!  So he gets a pink house.  :-) 

The photo I used is one of these.  Yep.  That's a wolf.  A real 100% wolf.  And it's in an enclosure during a festival on the town green in New Jersey.  Gulp.  It was a wolf and wolf-dog rescue group trying to raise awareness of how wolves and wolf-dogs are not pets.

How amazing is that.  The wolf-dogs were a bit smaller but this guy was huge.   Very tall, with immense feet (by way of comparison, look at The Tramp's size 13/14 foot)...and look at the size of his head!  Holy cow.  I actually went in there to take the pictures!

Ok, he says.  I'm done.  Photo shoot over.

House #17.  What's a house without a sewing machine???? 

And how cool is this!  Yesterday I discovered my church back in New Jersey spotted the houses on my weblog and decided to make a house quilt to go with "The Blessing of Housing" project.  Wow.  What a neat Lenten mission.  They are raising money to support an IHN family for one year, and want to give the family a quilt made with love as well.  They are making the houses double the size of the original pattern.  I made one this evening.  I'm so used to working on the little bitty ones this one seemed so big and clunky to sew.  But it came out just fine and I'd like to make a few more.  I'm just smiling all over about the whole thing!  Thank you Jeanneke and Jantine!

Lastly, we received a few grandchildren photos this week.  The boys have new raincoats and The Sailor Son snapped a few quick pictures with his cell phone.  The pirate and the firefighter.  Too cute.

I guess it was a long day!

And this is Stardust getting ready for her first outing in the snow.  :-)  We are promised her nine-month pictures this weekend.  I can't wait!

Off to bed for me.....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A day with Harry Potter

Today I put the sanding block and paint brush aside to concentrate on some sewing.  Two Harry Potter movies later we've made some progress!  I'm soooo glad to be finished sewing all those squares together.  Just the borders left to do.  Yes, that's a stack of Harry Potter movies.  They were really cheap at Wally World so we grabbed them all.  We're just missing the very last one.

Yesterday I spent the day up on stools or down on the floor sanding and priming.  It was a gorgeous day and we worked with doors and windows open.  Ya gotta like January in the Carolinas!

The mess is getting on my nerves but I'm so glad to be finally working to brighten this place up so I'm trying to grin and bear it.  Ugh!  The sanding in the kitchen has sent dust all through the dining room.  Look at that floor.  And this is after an initial vacuuming.  Everything on the tables needs to be washed now too.  Sigh.

The living room has been hijacked too.

I'm sure Charlie is glad to be out of the dark kitchen.  Even though we were leaving a light on for him all the time, sunshine is much nicer.  It would be way too hot in front of that window in the summer though.

Well dang.  He's blocking my breakfast view!  But Maisy still has her sunbeam.  :-)

 We are excited how the room has opened up.

On one of our several runs out to Lowes and Home Depot we considered new light fixtures.  I'd like them to at least match each other.   We'll keep looking.

I'm not crazy about the floor tile either but we're going to live with it for now.

I didn't realize how really silly that clock looks!  :-) 

Sanding, sanding, sanding sanding.  This time I kept the vacuum cleaner at my side!  Oops.  I missed a spot.

Maisy found herself a patch of sun and stayed out of the way.  The other dogs worried and fussed all day.  It's funny how it tires them out. 

Not a bad day's work......well half a day, with all the running to the store.  I can't wait to get back to it.  Maybe on Friday.

We also drove up to North Raleigh to pick up this little china closet I spotted on Craigslist.  It'll go in the kitchen to hold all the glassware that no longer has a home.  The previous owner painted the inside.  I'm still thinking about it but I'd really like to paint the whole thing.  It's not a valuable antique by any stretch of the imagination.

Mom wants to put the Singer 201-2 into a different cabinet than the Spinet cabinet it's in now.   I have this #42 cabinet in the garage.  Mom likes it so I need to get it cleaned up for her.  The top is pretty rough but the inside is in great shape.  She plans to leave it open all the time anyway.

The Tramp will be pleased to get it out of the garage.  :-)