A few things done

I have been working away at my shawl for the KAL, and will get a photo of that tomorrow, hopefully a sunny one!

Meanwhile, here is the one I finished last week.  I wanted to get a photo that showed the colors and size – a good 6 feet in wingspan!  I flows and drapes so nicely.  The wind was blowing, the sun was shining, the birds were feeding and chirping and paying no attention to me whatsoever.  🙂  I spotted this little Downy woodpecker finishing off the suet, not ten feet away, and caught a few shots of him, too. (You might also note that the snow, a backdrop to all I photographed lately is GONE!!!!! 🙂 )

shawl on railing 3

shawl on railing 2

shawl on railing with shadow

woodpecker 4

woodpecker 3

woodpecker 2

I eventually stopped photographing the bird, and brought the shawl in.  Not having a dress form, I used a chair to drape it.  Doesn’t it just hang beautifully?

shawl on chair

This weekend I finally finished two collages I have been puttering away at – both are for sale on the Etsy site (SalpalCrafts).  I made one for myself a couple of summers ago, with niece C the younger when she was here, and I love it.  Had some paper scraps left and of course, boxes and boxes of shells and sea glass. Since the summer is apparently taking its sweet time getting here, I thought I would encourage it with these reminders of how nice it can be.  🙂

ocean front

seashells front 1

I have several more of these little canvases, and many ideas.  Some don’t turn out so well, but they can be painted over.  I have one upstairs that is on its fourth rendition.  I might like it soon.

Other finishes include a few more bracelets, necklaces, and earrings which I hope will soon be found for sale at J and B Atlantic. 🙂

A has been working away all week in the basement, and at last, after nearly 7 years, it looks like we might have bookcases built into the loft soon!  She has been puttering away with a fancy miter router thingy, and today the adjustments were perfect, and she created a bookcase box.  Naturally the first one goes in the craft room, as she assumes it will not be perfect.  After this, the next 6 go in the loft.  Which means I get to clean it out and paint it, and then paint them, and then we get to unpack the boxes and boxes of books and make that space the quiet reading place it was always meant to be.  I guess that means that next week I should be doing painting prep, huh?  Of course, I will need breaks from that and will knit. Of course.

Tomorrow we head to Mom’s for a much belated Christmas dinner.  Really. For more years than I can remember, Mom has cooked a delicious prime rib for Christmas.  This year she decided it was too much work, and she didn’t want to spend all that time in the kitchen, so we had mac and cheese and saw more of her. (Yes, we could help her with the meal, but she just decided no one should have to do it.) Now it isn’t Christmas, so she is gathering us all and will cook for us.  There are three birthdays in the next couple of weeks, so I am sure there will be some presents and cake to deal with, but nothing like the big Christmas frenzy.

I’ll bring my shawl, but it will kill me to miss out on all that scarf knitting time in the car.  But as Niece C the elder is likely to be there, I can’t bring it along, her birthday is a month away, and I would like it to be somewhat of a surprise.  🙂 Plus I would hate for her to see the unblocked thing and think it ugly, when we all know that curling lumpy mass will turn out to be an elegantly stitched, perfectly beaded heirloom lace scarf after blocking.  🙂  Better she just see the finished product.

Monday, A goes back to work, and I take the kids to the vet for their annual check up.  Won’t they just love that?

What are you up to this fine day?


My days feel kind of aimless this week.  Clearly, I am not yet used to not working or thinking about work or working to not think about work.  But I am trying!

Yesterday I did do a tiny bit of work, in prep for today and tomorrow when I actually do have to work.  But I also ripped out the red mittens which were coming out giant sized, reworked the chart and started again; spent some time in the craft room thinking about valentines, but making little headway on them; went to the Post Office, the grocery store, the library, and I voted in our little special election (wind turbines or no?  That is the endless question on which we vote regularly.)

Our library is teeny weeny, although the building is lovely, the contents are often lacking.  But this was a good trip – the book I need for March book club (The Orphan Train) is out but they reserved it for me, and the lone copy of the Opinionated Knitter was in!  It now is on my coffee table.  I read all the interesting bits last night, and will go back and absorb more of it this week. I just adore Elizabeth Zimmerman.  She is so blunt and forthright and reminds me very much of my Gram.  And what a brilliant knitter – she takes things right down to the simplest form, then builds them up again.  Amazing. Imagine knitting while traveling on the back of a motor cycle?  Now THAT is knitting in the wild.

Yesterday I did not clean anything.  I think doing errands earned me a break.  🙂  Monday I cleaned the bookcase in the bedroom.  It took a long time, and I didn’t even stop and read!   I emptied it completely, dusted everything, reorganized and shelved all the books there and on the nightstand and in a stack beside the bed (on my side, naturally) and thought it looked quite nice.

A didn’t notice. When she asked what I did and I told her, she laughed, and we talked about how differently we “clean”.  I hate cleaning.  She hates clutter.  So her cleaning is to clear up the clutter by moving it out of sight.  I clean by ripping things apart and reorganizing them, cleaning every bit before it goes back.  What does this mean in our house?  We often have piles tucked away and nothing is in its place but the house looks picked up. The bathrooms are usually clean because I DO clean those regularly. A couple of times a year I go crazy because of all the piles tucked away, rip them out and do what I can to clean and organize.  I do too much of it at once, then am tired and sick of cleaning, and so the cycle begins.

I am using this time of less work to try to break that cycle and do a bit of my deep cleaning each day.  I hope that if I can get the house clean and organized gradually, it won’t be such a  major chore to keep it that way. And I hope by doing one thing a day, I won’t hate it and feel overwhelmed, but rather like I am accomplishing something.  We will see.  🙂

Today is different – I have to go into the office around 10 to work with a volunteer printing mailing labels – show her how the system works, etc.  then I am meeting with her and another tax volunteer to answer their questions as they get ready to take the test.  Those are the only reasons I am going to the office, BUT…my boss has already asked me if I would help him update a monthly report spreadsheet, and I said I would.  What else will I wind up doing while there? Time will tell.  I think it will be easier to not work there when I don’t show my face.  🙂

Anyway, I hope to be home by 2, and spend some time in the craft room this afternoon.  A is traveling up to Aroostook County today, so she will be late getting home.  That means I have time to mess with paper and paints. 🙂

Friday list and Saturday plans

Wait? What, it’s Friday? You mean today? Right now?

What am I going to be doing today?

Well, we can start with a trip to the vet in an hour, with three cats.

Yes. All 3. At once. In crates. In the car. What was I thinking whan I made THIS plan?

After that, it will likely be cleaning up my cat scratches and trying to make peace with the three of them.

Then, as it is raining, probably I will go work in the craft room. Crimson Crow is coming over next week to help me “clean sweep” it and organize it and reduce stashes. I am not sure what will have to go, but it might involve some tough love. It would be nice if we could actually walk into the room, or there was one flat, cleaned off surface on which to work.

Laundry, of course, and the PO. A went to the grocery store last night, so that is not critical.

I also want to do some yarn dying – I did a small tester on Monday while I was home sick, I like how it came out, so I will do the rest of that yarn the same way – it can be simmering in the crock pot while I do other things, right? I used black cherry Kool-Aid and a tiny dab of blue food coloring and got a really pretty burgundy color. The yarn is a fine alpaca that I inherited from Cousin Nancy, in a light creamy/slightly beige colorway. I cake dyed the sample, but might do this one a bit differently. We will see. The good thing is that if I don’t like how the shadings come out on the first try, I can always wind it up and dye the whole thing the dark color.

If it stops raining, I will go out and do some digging on the pool area, I need to work on that every day. Even if it is just a shovel full.

That’s it. Not too exhausting this week! I need time to knit, of course. 🙂

Tomorrow is exciting! We are headed south and west, to the land of conspicuous consumption (Freeport) where A will drop me at the yarn/bead/fabric store I spotted there a few weeks ago. She will continue on to South Portland to her version of a yarn store – Rockler – for wood crafting supplies, and router bits and the like. That will give me at least two hours in the store. Mmmmm. A review will surely follow in the next few days. Then, she will pick me up, and we will explore the shops of Freeport. I don’t really want to go to LL Bean – not because I don’t love it, but because it is so HUGE that if I go there, it takes up all my energy and I don’t feel like shopping any more, and so I have NEVER GO IN ANY OTHER STORES IN FREEPORT. This trip, I mean to see what else is in town. This COULD get expensive, I suppose. Unless everything is for skinny young fashionistas who only wear black and beige. Then I will rush to LL Bean and look at tents and jeans and Adirondack chairs.

Sister-in-law L will be with us, she is searching for that perfect “mother of two grooms at a picnic wedding” outfit to wear to the big shindig in July. I am not sure if she will haunt Freeport while I yarn shop, or visit with her sister on the trip to South Portland. But I hope we find her something in that right blend of “casual day but an important event” I think she is still in a happy state of shock that both boys got married in such a short time frame.

Well, time to go cram cats into crates… wish me luck!

Vacation Friday list

This week, A and I are planning a road trip with L. We have spent a lot of time with her this week, I think she will miss us when we go back to work next week!

We leave around 7:30 am and head to Portland. This is an excursion we promised her for her birthday last month. The main focus of the trip is the Cryptozoology Museum, but we will do lots of other things while we are there. Not really sure what a Cryptozoology Museum is all about, but L has been wanting to go. I’ll post and let you know more when I find out!

While we are there, we will go to Rockler so A can scope out a few more things, including router bits and clamps (on sale). So exciting as the more she spends, the more I can maneuver into craft supplies. lol.

We will go to the yarn store there that carries Quince yarn so I can see it, touch it, drool over it, and be able to order it by mail, with a clue what I am getting. I MIGHT have to buy just a little bit…

And we will go out to lunch somewhere in the Old Port, and then we will do a bit of shopping (probably the window variety) there and make sure we stop in at Papier Gourmet. L heard that they often have odd envelopes and things on sale. So we will probably buy things in there. 🙂

I emailed my sister to see if she can join us – no answer yet, but we will call her when we know about lunch, and see if she can join us. I think little E will be in school, so she may just be wallowing in peace, and not want to leave the house. But maybe she will want to visit with grown-ups and no 6 year olds. 🙂

On our way out of town, we will go to Trader Joe’s. I have never been there, so it will be a fun experience. We will have a cooler in the truck, so we can get almost anything we want.

Yes, you saw that right – truck. A has finally gotten the vehicle she wanted to rent last weekend – her 4 door Toyota Tacoma truck. She is excited to be able to go on such a long road trip with it, and not just to the dump and back 50 times. 🙂 Sadly, it has to go back on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. As she said “poof, the magic will be over, it will turn back into a Corolla”

That’s what Friday is all about this week – lots of fun! And lots of knitting, I will get to keep quite busy with 5 hours in the car. Can’t wait to show you what I am working on now, but that is another post.

deja vu – snow storm!

It isn’t Nemo, but it might as well be! Snowing hard, blowing hard, we are not going anywhere. I managed to sit and knit most of the day, mindlessly watching TV – reruns of cop shows, and women’s basketball. Watched part of the Tennessee Vanderbilt game. A. spotted Robin Roberts and Pat Head Summitt in the audience – glad they are both well enough to enjoy the game! Also glad ESPN has figured out that the sports world does contain people who care about women’s basketball – which, of course, is thanks in a great part to Pat Summitt. But, since I am a die-hard UCONN fan, Geno, too. 🙂 Still can’t cheer for Tenn., even as I realize what Summitt has done for us all. And, if Robin likes her, she can’t be that bad. 🙂

Made good progress on the red sweater – done with the body, working my way down the sleeve now, decreasing regularly, so the rows go faster and faster.

Not much else going on around here – A started the bookcases for the loft – I helped her get the big sheets of wood through the table saw, so I can say I helped build them! That project should let us unpack the books, at LONG last. And it means I will have to paint the loft before they go in. So I might start that in the next week or so. Or I might put it off. I am feeling pretty lazy today. which is OK, as tomorrow I will get a workout, getting the car out to go do a tax return – otherwise, it is a holiday for us. Glad to have the time to clean up the dooryard thoroughly.


One year later than we had hoped, but today we brought it upstairs and put it together, and it is amazing.  Storage, comfort, good looks.  And WAY cheaper than the Pottery Barn one that started us thinking in this direction. The plans are from Ana White, although we modified the trim to the beadboard, it is very much her plan. You can get plans from her website at http:.ana-white.com.
Our next project is a new headboard, of our own design.  It will be cool, and all the progress on it will be posted here, as you might imagine.

I can not wait to fill all these drawers!


Saturday Road Trip!

In the middle of Biggest Loser I said to A “When this is done, we are going to Big G’s deli”  I see the ads on TV all the time, and I have heard from people who have been there that the food is yummy, the portions ridiculously huge.  I decided we needed to go there. I was hungry.

Well, Biggest Loser was done last week, but with all that company, we couldn’t go.  Even though a new round of Biggest Loser started yesterday, we decided to go now, so we could have time to lose the weight.

So, since we were going on a road trip anyway, I decided we would take the long way, and go find Chimney Farm in Nobleboro, where Henry Beston and Elizabeth Coatsworth lived.

We invited A’s sisters, S and L, and headed out this morning.  It is a rainy, foggy day today, not beautiful for scenery, but not bad. On the way to Nobleboro, we had to go through Waldoboro, where Borealis Breads is located.  So sad, we had to stop and buy some yummy cookies and breads.  If we are going to not diet, we should do it thoroughly right???

Following that pit stop, we found the farm pretty easily.  Couldn’t see the view because of the fog, but I loved the farm – it looks real, somehow, not picture perfect. But it is not open to the public, so we looked at it from the road, read the little plaque on the barn, and headed north to Winslow and Big G’s.

A beautiful ride, in spite of the weather – went on roads I either have never been on or not in a long time.  Big G’s was interesting – very industrial looking – big warehouse type building.  Inside, it was confusing!  There is a giant menu board that would take a week to read and comprehend.  But it is organized by the main sandwich ingredients, so I went right to Roast Beef, and found the Bill Cosby.  Yum!  Hold the onions, add some horseradish and I was good.  We grabbed a whoopie pie and a cookie, each the size of dinner plates on the way in. We finally figured out how to order, and did so.  I was asked did I want a whole sandwich or a half?  I said “How big are they?” and she pointed to a basket that is at least 8 inches square.  I ordered half.  Glad I did – holy cow, that thing was FULL of meat, cheese, veggies.  I ate less than half of what I got, and brought the rest home.  The others had similar experiences, except L, who was NOT asked if she wanted a half or whole, and so got a whole.  I think she will be eating it for weeks to come!

We left there and crossed the bridge to Waterville, and went to the Yardgoods store, which I knew had fabric and yarn, but which I did not know also had scrapbooking supplies! I was in heaven.  They have good quality fabric and yarn, which is nice, as not too many places around do, anymore.  I wandered around a lot, but finally left with only some new glitter glue and a rubber stamp. But there was so much there I wanted.  If I had time to use it all, I might have succumbed, but I have enough fabric and yarn to last a life time – maybe – and I don’t NEED more stamping supplies.  Although… there were plenty I wanted, and which will now haunt me until I get them.

We came home through Belfast, and stopped at the potters store so S could look for more of her favorite ornaments.

Got home after 2, still overly full, so no supper tonight!

Once we got home, S and L headed out, and I changed over the laundry (still doing sheets and towels!) and then I headed downstairs to put another coat of paint on the first two boxes of the bed.  Yesterday I filled the nail holes and primed them – tonight I sanded them and put the first coat of finish paint on them.  It should be dry before A starts doing any cutting tomorrow.  At this rate, we will be on that bed sooner than planned, as we aren’t painting the whole box, just the front, and on the end one, the sides too, it is pretty quick.  The prep work takes longer than the painting, as usual. This is so exciting to us, we can’t wait to have real furniture!  A thinks we have other projects for her to work on next, but I am thinking that the headboard should be next. Maybe I will do it myself… 🙂

Tomorrow is a big day – we meet up with brother-in-law M and his big truck at Lowe’s at 8 am, and A gets her new table saw, the one she has been drooling over for years.  We saved our points on our credit card for the gift card to get it – it has taken ages.  She will be making lots of sawdust after this! When we get home, I will probably do some cleaning while she plays with her new toy in the basement, then I will sneak upstairs to the craft room.  Sounds wonderful to me right now!

old fence – Chimney Farm, Nobleboro Maine
plaque on the barn at Chimney Farm

I made it!!!

Never thought today would get here, but I survived.  Sleepless nights, headaches, more meetings than one person should have to attend, work piling up all the while, doesn’t it sound fun?

Yeah, I don’t think so either.

But it is FRIDAY, I have an eclectic list to get through, and so I am listening to an eclectic array of music – I think I have Gordon Bok, the Four Preps and Carousel cued up in the cd player.  We’ll see how that fits with my mood today.  🙂 so far I have heard Julian of Norwich followed by Santa Catalina… felt odd even to me, and I chose it!

So today’s list:

  • Laundry – all the sheets and towels that got used last weekend. A did the clothes last night, so I have a head start!
  • Hair cut – desperately needed, I hope the barber shop is open. (if you are reading this and want to save money – see if your local barber shop cuts women’s hair – it is SO much cheaper than a salon. I pay $8 bucks to get my hair cut.)
  • VOTE!  I can’t wait any longer.  Then, when I get the calls trying to convince me to change my mind, I can tell them they are too late. Hello, WORLD – I made up my mind a long time ago and NOTHING has happened to make me change it, I can’t conceive of what that would so LEAVE ME ALONE!! Thank heavens for the DVR – we only watch shows that we recorded so we can speed through the hideous ads.
  • Grocery store.  Sigh.  Biggest loser ended last week, we have enjoyed it this week, but we started again this morning.  Amazingly, I only gained 2 pounds this week!  That includes last week’s activities, take out galore, pizza, chocolate.  Now it’s back to basics.  They once again put A on a different team from me, so we will be back to trash talking around the kitchen.
  • Pharmacy, dump, etc.  The only usual chore I don’t think I need to do today is the hardware store – how can that be?
  • Finish the darned pool.  It is dry this morning, but will rain later.  If I don’;t get it done today, I am going to give up and cover it with a tarp and hope for the best. It is getting too cold to hang around in shorts and bare feet messing with water.
  • stain the last deck railing board.
  • This one is BIG – prime the new bed!!!  A has two of the three boxes complete and ready for me to paint.  If I get them prepped for painting and primed today, while she isn’t down there making dust, we will be that much closer to getting it upstairs where it belongs. She thinks maybe by Thanksgiving???
  • This is ambitious and probably won’t happen, but it is that time of year – Christmas card making.  I have the design in my head for this year’s card, I have to see if it will really work, and NOT be 200 million steps like last year’s were.

So I had better get cracking, huh?

Rainy Saturday

Yesterday went pretty much as planned, EXCEPT I almost forgot book group!  We haven’t met in so long, and we rarely meet on Fridays, so it really slipped my mind.  Luckily, one of the group emailed me about a ride, and I saw it in time!  We met in Cherryfield, and everyone was there – very rare.  the book we read, Gold by Chris Cleaves was a fast read, but we all struggled with the black and white characters. So we didn’t really talk about it much.  But we did pick our next several books, and dates, and I will write them down! Next is Quinlan’s Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake.

Today, as it is RAINING AND COLD, instead of going sailing, we are sitting in front of the fire watching all the season premiers of our favorite shows.  However, earlier today, I processed the grapes wonderful sister-in-law L brought to us last night. Her neighbor is cleaning off his grape vines for the winter, and said she could take all she wanted.  She gave us two huge bags full to make jelly.  This morning I picked them all, mashed them and cooked them.  Now they rest, and chill, then tomorrow they go through the food mill, then in the cheese cloth overnight.  After I picked them over, I weighed the pan – 31 pounds!!!

I took photos, and you should be so proud – same day I did it and took them, they are coming off the camera!

A also helped me rip the boards to complete the planter, but I haven’t gone back down stairs to put it together. there is still more weekend left for stuff like that!

fresh picked grapes
ready to clean
one collander at a time; canner almost full!
ready to mash!
after simmering, new color of grape mash cooling

It finally got here

I am so glad it is finally Friday!  A got home from a week in Jackman last night, the kittens and I were all happy to see her!  Between work and her being gone, the week was a wee bit stressful.

Today is a beautiful morning, but they promise a change in the weather, so we might not go sailing tomorrow… which leaves our 2nd back up date of Columbus Day for the big sail.  I am sort of hoping tomorrow is just a bit gray so we can go while it is still sort of warm.

I have to spend a little time in the craft room this morning  (shucks!) to finish up some October pumpkin themed things for the bulletin board at work, which I will be heading off to do later this morning.  Staying for pizza lunch and then coming home, hopefully, to work on finishing the cedar planting box – I have the wood, just have to cut it and put it on, then the box is ready to put out! There WILL be photos of my first woodworking project, do not worry.

I also have to finish putting the pool to bed – not sure if this will happen this weekend, because I need some dry days to do it right – there is just a skim of water in the  bottom to get out, and then it has to dry and get folded up for storage in the cellar.

So it promises to be a weekend full of fun things to do, and I don’t even know what A will add to the mix!

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