Tuesday, December 23, 2014

House Project #5.5: The Wood Stove!

It's 37 degrees out; a few days before Christmas (Happy Festivus!) and we're already enjoying the first thaw of winter. Lovely. But it's made better by the fact that I now have the wood stove in. I love wood heat. I grew up with a wood stove, and there are two in my mom's house now. Someday I'd like to have wood heat be my primary source, but for this house, it will be supplementary, and for this winter, it will be sporadic - on the weekends after skiing, or on damp, grey days like today. Since I hadn't planned to have it in this winter, I didn't order wood, although my mom was kind enough to let me have a bit of hers. I may try to order a cord later in the winter, but it's non-essential, so I'll probably just wait until summer.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

On my needles: Braided cowl

Three orphan/leftover balls of yarn, three different stitch patterns, one braided cowl. Stay tuned for the finished piece!
Because I need the challenge: three different stitches, simultaneously knit.
Oh, and I resurrected the Christmas light garland that I started a while ago (okay, okay, it was last summer's knitting project). It only has a few lights left - surely I can get it done for this holiday season?
Barely three lights left. Man, sometimes I'm such a procrastinator when it
comes to finishing projects!
(And no, I haven't quite finished the sunshine socks from the CO trip with the school - just a few rows to go on those!)

Furniture Face-lift: Dresser and Jelly-jar shelves

A coat of paint can make a world of difference for some pieces of furniture. And, when the local hardware store sells paint returns for pretty cheap; most gallons are $5, and most quarts are $1, I'm usually not too picky about the colors I'm getting for cheap.

Luckily I've scored some decent colors (I am kind of picky!), and earlier this summer found a gallon of light gray and quart of purple. I used the gray as a primer coat on the front door I scored, mainly to cover up the red that doesn't quite go with the house color. The door still hasn't been hung, but we're getting closer.

There are two pieces that needed a little face-lift now that the two rooms have been painted: my dresser, and a shallow shelf that is going to go in the guest croffice. The gray was perfect for both pieces and against the room wall colors, and the purple was a good accent against the gray for the dresser

House Project #7: Back Bedroom

I finished painting the back bedroom just before Thanksgiving. I was house sitting through the holiday, so could leave the place in a bit of shambles (sorry sister!). From the look of the living room last week, you'd have thought I was a hoarder. There was a bit of a path here and there, and boxes and tubs and furniture all over the place. Of course, looking into the two rooms getting painted showed they were nearly empty, negating any hoarding fears.
Here's the room when I moved in. Curtains are long gone, and the cover of the
baseboard heating unit has been straightened

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

House Project #6: Front Bedroom and Guest Croffice

Back before my sister moved in at the beginning of September, I painted the room she's living in.
Front room, prior to moving in; the drapes are long gone - I put up a mini-blind
and added new curtains.

Friday, November 14, 2014

On my needles: Sunshine Socks

Remember the two skeins of yarn I dyed with mom on Mother's Day last year? I knit up a cowl with the skein that we dyed purple, blue, and green, but the yellow and orange sock yarn skein has been sitting, project-less for a while now. Since I've learned to always travel with something to knit (thanks, mom!), I figured I may as well get started on something small and quick, and what better to bring while traveling than a pair of socks. A three hour and a half flight from DC to Denver yesterday, and I'm already this far on the first sock:

They'll be a pair of simple crew socks, with a K1P1 rib cuff and a K3P1 rib throughout the body of the sock. The pattern is the Yankee Knitter Designs Classic Socks pattern, which is pretty much my go-to at this point. It's easy enough to remember most of the instructions for my size, and easy enough to modify with different stitch patterns and in how long I make them.

There is enough down time between proctoring study halls, wandering around the village, and (hopefully!) skiing a day or two, that I should be able to get most of the way through the pair.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Front Walk Facelift

The original path; functional but underwhelming.
The flagstones were all partially overgrown with grass.
The majority of the academy students, save the youngest group and the Nordies, have all headed off to November ski camp in CO. I'll be headed there next week, but for the time being, I have some time on my hands. Granted, it should be used to wrap up first quarter grades and comments, but really, I have until Monday at noon. Plenty of time!

So, with an hour or so to kill today while it has been lightly spitting snow, I figured I may as well finish up the front path. I gave you a little preview last week, and then picked up the sand and sorted out the flagstones earlier this week. You're in for a bit of a long post, but it's mostly pictures!

Let's rewind some, since the preview was missing a lot of the key work that had already been done. I have been planning to redo the walk for a while now. It isn't my favorite part of the yard, and while it functions perfectly well, I wanted to clean it up and feature the really nice flagstones more prominently.

This summer I acquired a big ol' pile of 1-inch gravel that I planned to use to surround the flagstone. Add in some free bricks from my sister-in-law's mother, and all I ended up paying for were the five 50-lb bags of sand I used to help settle the gravel. I love low cost projects! I finally got motivated last week to get started. We're well into stick season, which means it could snow any day, and the temps were cooling off. Motivation enough to get the path done.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy (Belated) Halloween!

This year the sister and I went in on a joint costume. I came up with idea earlier in the year, and with a little planning, some tween-dress shopping, and last minute embellishments, our costumes were complete.

Guess those 90s ice queens!
Perfection on skates

Thursday, October 30, 2014

In Progress: Front Walk Sneak Preview

It's nearly the end of October, and given that snow could fly any day now (we had snow on Halloween a few years ago!), I decided I should probably get started on redoing the front walk. Mainly the issue is that the pile of stone that will go around the slate stepping stones is dead center on where the plow will push the snow off the driveway. I don't want to move it twice, so I may as well do the walk, right? 
Rough walkway! 50 bricks in, 60ish more needed
(And what's up with the paint job on the fascia?
Someone ought to do something about that. . . )
Earlier in the week, on Monday, I pulled up the slate stepping stones, cut the edges, and pulled out the excess sod. Yesterday I got the first load of bricks that will edge the walk. I still have a bunch to do - pick up the rest of the bricks, buy sand for the base, but I am certain I'll be able to get it done in the next week or so, especially since the kids all head out for their ski camps next week!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Grape Jelly!

Yesterday we were at mom's for most of the day, helping get several cords of wood put up. One of the big old maples on the west side of the property had been taken down last January and we finally got around to moving and stacking it all. Long morning, but we got it all done! Mom is psyched and will have wood for a few winters yet.

Along with some leftover chocolate cake from lunch, Mom also sent me home with a half-gallon jar of grape juice from the grapes that they have growing on an arbor near the barn. I used about three cups of it today to make some grape jelly, ending up with seven small jars.
Seven jars of jelly and a whole bunch more juice to use up

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Random Repairs: Garage Door Weather Seal Edition

This is what my view was for about 30 minutes straight last night:
I went cross-eyed several times.
And my right knee fell asleep. It was not comfortable.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Strawberry Bed: Revisited & Revised

Remember back in May, when I made this for the strawberry plants that my students had planted (then abandoned when school ended) in the spring of 2013?
little strawberry plants, all tucked in - they're practically lonely with all that space


We're in the midst of the annual September Ski Camps here at school. The Nordies are across the pond in Italy. The Alpine crew is down in Chile for some spring skiing. I went along to Chile as a studyhall proctor and injured-kid wrangler a couple of years ago. While it was a great experience - you can't beat skiing in the Andes above treeline - spending 15 or so days "landlocked" at a resort that is shutting down for the summer and that is a 2 hour bus ride from Santiago wears on you.

I certainly wouldn't turn the trip down again (hello, skiing in South America?!), but there's something appealing about staying home and having a quick break before the craziness sets in. And yes, it pretty much sets in from the moment the students all get back and doesn't let up until graduation in June. This year it was extra crazy as the Chile trip happened unexpectedly early (as in, the trip was moved up a week or so as we started the year. . . we spent the first week of school not knowing when they would actually head down!). The plus side is that we get an "extra" week in the fall before the November Colorado trip happens. The minus side is that I actually had the semester planned out before school started and the early departure threw a wrench in those plans. That's what I get for being prepared for the year! It's nothing I can't adjust for, but annoying nonetheless.

Monday, September 1, 2014


So technically the official year-iversary isn't until mid-October (when the paperwork FINALLY went through and I actually owned the place), but it's been one year of living here. It seems kind of crazy, and I still can't always believe myself when I tell someone I own my own home (who does that??), but it's exciting to know I've made it this far, and when I look at the mortgage bill every month the balance seems to be a little bit less.
then. . .

Friday, August 22, 2014

New Shelves! The Backroom/Man(less)cave edition

The backroom/man(less)cave has become a catchall for storage bins, paint storage, recycling center, pet feeding zone, yard-sale pile, and general miscellany collection area. There is some semblance of organization, but nothing substantial. Basically, just zones where things that are kind of similar in theme are generally placed. The biggest issue has been the stacks of bins and tubs against the back wall. I've been stacking them a two or three high, but they've started to inch their way forward into the rest of the room. Add a bunch of stuff my sister has begun moving in ahead of her move and it was finally time to do something about the space.
this place is a little out of control. . . good thing I don't actually want to get
anything out of those tubs right now!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Kitchen/Dinning Area Update

I have a minor obsession with vintage Pyrex and have slowly been acquiring random pieces over the years. I definitely use some of them, especially at the holidays or when going to potlucks, but quite a few have been tucked away in cupboards, unused and unseen. I love the patterns and have been debating adding a shelf to the kitchen/dinning area to display the pieces.

Earlier this summer I grabbed a board from the collection of wood left in my dad's barn. It's a 1 x 8, about 6 1/2 ft long. The brackets are 6 inches on the short side, 8 on the long side. The board was primed already, and I wanted it to match the rest of the space so I added a few coats of the cupboard and trim paint. The board was sitting in the garage for a few weeks until I finally got motivated Friday night and Saturday morning. On Friday night I initially hung the brackets too high, so Saturday morning I started over. A little measuring, leveling, and drilling, and the shelf is up!

Monday, July 28, 2014

This & That: Catching up and Making plans

still getting strawberries!
It's been a busy month; I've been working most days, had a friend visit for a weekend mid-month, and just this weekend attended a wedding of a friend/coworker. It's a rain day from work (like a snow day, but for gardener's in the summer), so I'm trying to motivate to get some things done, or at least organized. I haven't been very crafty lately - it's hard with the weather being so nice, and there being plenty to do in the yard (lots of free plants from work!), and the loooong list of house things I should/want to be doing. At the very least, here's a little update of craft & house projects I have been working on (or plan to be!).

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Veggie Garden Update & Flower Beds Tour

Nearly two weeks later, and the veggie garden is coming along. Almost everything is starting to come up, although I replanted some cuke seeds, added some pea and bean seeds, and the spinach. The cukes, peas, and beans are new seeds this year whereas the spinach are a few years old. One hill of beans are coming up and about half the peas are, so it's not a big deal if the other respective halves don't make it. I can always find greens at the Farmer's Market, so I'm not so worried about that seed stock, either. The carrot seeds seem to have migrated between the rows, so I might add more of that in the next few days, too. I've added some onions, leeks, a pot of mint (absconded from an out-of-control patch at a gardening job), and as of this weekend, sweet basil and nasturtium. I also put down burlap bags over the garden cloth, they were free, which beats buying wood chips! All-in-all, everything is pretty happy so far!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Fashionably Late to the (Veggie Garden) Party

I've been meaning to get a couple of veggie beds in for a while now. I even staked one of the plots out when I set up my strawberry bed. Now that we're past Memorial Day, when it's generally safe to plant, I have been feeling more motivated. And then I went and bought these the other day, which obviously need a home:
So after several weeks of staring at the front lawn, and twice mowing the area I'd selected, I decided it was time to commit. My neighbor had offered to come over with his tractor and tiller attachment, but we never seemed to have the same 10 minutes available. Another friend offered the use of their small garden tiller, so on Wednesday I finally went to pick it up. On Thursday evening I did a quick go-round to scratch up the grass on the surface (and make sure that I could get the tiller to work).

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Strawberry Bed!

the fruits of the students
labor last summer. . .
get it. . . fruit. . .
Last school year my Bio students begged to grow things in the spring. They had lofty aspirations of growing watermelon and other somewhat-exotic fruits and veggies, but settled for marigolds and a couple packs of strawberries that I randomly found at the hardware & garden store. They all dutifully tended to the seedlings from our return from April break until the last few days of school when they promptly forgot about them. Not one of them wanted them. Not even for their moms, even with Mother's day in the mix! And they wonder why I say no to class pets. . .

Everything did surprisingly well, and I couldn't bear to toss anything. The marigolds ended up in some of the barrels around campus, as well as over to my mom, and the strawberries went to a friend and into a few random pots that I had laying around. I didn't have high expectations, although they managed to survive the hot summer, and even bore some fruit after we made the big move to the new house in September!
obligatory artsy fruit-in-the-hand photo
(last fall's crop!)

Another Yard and Garden Update

Spring has finally arrived. We've had some warm days and cool nights and everything had just about exploded. The Mad River Valley is a week or so behind the Champlain Valley, where my mom lives, and every time I was over there over the past month so so, I was jealous of how green and springy it looked. With all the warm weather I've been spending a bunch of time working on the yard - it's hard to stay inside with the sun shining! Of course, I've already had to mow - twice in the back!

Here's a yard and garden tour, starting out back:
start of the new backyard border bed

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

New Yard Toy!

Vermont has this great web-based community board called Front Porch Forum, organized by town or region (I'm part of the Mad River Valley FPF), based on your street address. It's a pretty sweet free service - a community bulletin board for the digital age. I've scored a few things as well as sent other items to new homes, found a roommate, read about lost-then-found dogs, heard about - then attended - some cool free events, and learned tonight that someone got a kayak stolen from their yard (definitely not cool!). If you're in VT, and not on FPF, you're missing out, and frankly around here, it's more exciting than my facebook feed most days.

Why the excitement? This:
A nearly-new, less than two year old wheelbarrow! For $35! From a really sweet older woman who needed to get a two-wheeled rig. I'm so dang excited. I know, I need a life, but seriously - no more dragging the big blue tarp around, or filling the blue recycling bin. Given how much needs raking from the yard and garden, I'm super excited to have scored this. Now I just need to find the time to get the yard work done. . .

Sunday, April 20, 2014

House Project #5: The Living Room

It's been a while since the last major house project, in which I painted the kitchen. I didn't do much over the winter aside from assorted curtains and hanging some pictures and paintings. Well, I'm delighted to report that I've finished painting the living room! This is the other third of the main room of the house. One third is the kitchen and the other third is the reading nook. I wanted to get this main space finished since this is where I spend most of my time, be it alone or entertaining.
the "front" half of the living room. great light! terrible carpet & drapes.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Early April Updates - Projects Completed & Things in Progress

The snow is finally melting - I have a yard again! Well, almost. The ground is still quite frozen, so my plans to start laying out the gardens are on hold.
the melting snow has revealed that I still have a lot of leaves to rake.
and I'm so close to being able to take the holiday lights of the little front shrub -
however, the extension cord is still buried under a 2-ft plow pile
I'm on spring break - we are lucky to have two weeks - and am staycationing this year. I have more enough to do around the house, and not enough money in the bank to travel anywhere beyond my parent's over the mountain or possibly a trip to Montpelier or Burlington. But the sun is out today, and the temps are supposed to get up into the 50s this week!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sprucing Up the Walls. . .

not really wall-related, but I did wind the
yarn blanks that mom & I dyed in May.
future mittens?
Happy March! Winter is still hanging on around here - we got a little bit of snow today (fresh powder SB & MRG!), and it's supposed to be wicked cold tomorrow. I don't mind it - I'm a huge fan of winter and am always reluctant to see it go, so hopefully we have a few more weeks left!

I'm slowly chipping away at little house projects. I've been hanging photos, maps, posters, etc. that have been collecting over the years and have been unearthed in the unpacking process, sewing curtains, agonizing over what color to paint the living room half of the main space (which actually won't happen until April, I'm sure), setting up the guest room (now that the brief foray with a roommate is over), etc. Here's a little update on what's been done the past few months.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Crafted Exchange & Another Crafty Pay-it-forward

I love making/crafting things for other people, and as a crafty gift-giver, I also appreciate receiving crafted things from others. I bet Billy through some friends in town he was visiting earlier this winter and discovered he crochet's. I think we are kindred fiber-crafting spirits. Out at the bar one evening, he decided he really liked my argyle headband, and I decided I liked the bright pom-pomed hats that he's been making like crazy. So we decided on a craft exchange!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Fruity Wall Art

Remember Crafternoon in Driggs? While on a ski vacation to Driggs to visit some college friends, I went a little crazy with my friend K's watercolors and made a slew of fruit & veggie-themed cards. I've since used most of them (it was three years ago, after all . . . wait, THREE years? Eesh, time flies!), but had a few still in my card collection. This year I've (kind of) committed to slowly working my way through my stock of craft supplies, and so I decided to turn a few of the leftover cards into wall art with the help of an 8x10 canvas I also had on hand.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Knitting at the Olympics!

And why wouldn't you knit whilst waiting for your teammate/athlete to take their run?
TV screen shot courtesy of my friend B
Clearly a die-hard knitter who never passes up the opportunity to get one more row in. . .

Saturday, January 25, 2014

New Toy.

A brand new, all-mine circular saw and a good bread recipe. What more does a girl need?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Featured Post at New Dress A Day! And, a fun little wall-hanging

Almost famous!

Until this weekend I had pretty much forgotten that I'd submitted my summer sweatshirt re-size to Marisa over at new dress a day.

On Saturday I had an epic marathon day of parent conferences (28 in nine hours!), so needless to say I was feeling slightly overwhelmed and a bit beat by the time I got home around 5pm. Imagine my surprise and delight to open an email from Marisa saying that she had selected the sweatshirt re-size I had submitted to her in the summer to be featured on her blog on the 18th!
there I am!
Head on over and check it out, as well as her many other posts. Marisa started several years ago with a year of daily low-budget/no-budget dress transformations and now she's kind of a big deal. I'm excited and honored she picked my project. It's almost like I'm famous now, too.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Project Updates: Knit Edition

I've slowly been going through my project bags and baskets and bins in an effort to finish the various knitting projects I've started over the years, or to revise projects that have been finished but sit dormant. A little round up of things I've checked off the finish & fix list over the past few weeks, or that I've been motivated to make some progress on.

Entrelac Infinity Scarf 

This was a "regular" scarf that I had knit from two skeins of this colorway, plus a third skein of a close-but-not-close-enough colorway. The other skein had too much bright red and pink to really blend well, and I just wasn't happy with it. I completely ripped out the scarf and reknit it with the two matching skeins. I sewed the two ends together and viola! An infinity scarf - and just the right length (diameter?) for doubling over to create a cozy cowl. The pattern is an entrelac stitch, which creates a bit of a basketweave pattern. I'm digging it right now although it uses a bit more yarn because of how it is constructed. The yarn is variegated, which gives the blocks of different color but the pattern can be done with any number of colors for each square or triangle.
new cowl!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Lightening the Load: A Bit of Housekeeping for the New Year

so much space. and it's all mine. 
Since moving into the house I've realized that I have a lot of stuff. At times all of it (most of it) has held some value to me, and plenty of it continues to hold value. But a lot of stuff I've held on to "in case I need it." And "in case" hasn't happened yet. Of course, now that I have a house, a tiny part of me is trying to reason that I have all this space - I may as well spread things out! But I don't necessarily need to have to spread out - I like having the space.

But it's also the new year, and I'm feeling a bit like I need to lighten the loads that make up parts my life. That and I like a good method of procrastination from things that should be done, like cleaning, or lesson plans or grading.