Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sunset - Fairmont Ridge

Foiled in the Foyer

I finished the painting the front door last night. The door itself turned out pretty good but I must say that overall we are both displeased with the foyer. My intention was to have the foyer be a nice very light beige with the same white trim color that is going in the rest of the house. However the beige I chose doesn't contrast quite right. It's too white-ish and not the right tone and consequently it just looks like mis-matched whites. DH would prefer to extend the brown paint from the living room into the foyer, but I think that would make it too cave-like in that tiny little space and that the living and dining room being that color is enough. What do those of you who have seen it in person think?

I don't really plan on re-painting it soon, but I was planning on using the same paint in the hallway, and now I'm thinking selecting a new color is in order. Darnit, I'm grouchy today!
It's only Wednesday and this week at work has been crappy. I'm going to visit my parents this weekend - it's always nice to see my dad...but I'm bummed about missing the warm weather we are scheduled to have.

I think I'll take next Friday off. I intend to build our raised beds that weekend, and I think it will take more then two days to do everything it entails. We got the clover and chamomile seeds in the mail so I'll be seeding the grass areas, both in front and back as well that weekend. We are both excited about the prospect of the alternative to traditional grass, and I think our neighbors will esepcially appreciate it seeing as we rarely water our grass so it dies in the summer and looks hella ugly. The clover is much more hardy and drought tolerant, and it enriches the soil with nitrogen. AND it has wee little white flowers. The kind that bees like - not so good for bare feet - but otherwise adorable. From what I've read it grows very quicky and can eventually take over what little regular grass there is now. Gypsy Junk...I still need to borrow your tiller and seed spreader if that's okay with you! Oh and I should probably take back my chicken wire, as I need some to line the bottoms of the raised beds. I can hardly wait until next weekend!!

I think we have a mole/gopher! Ugh. I found a small tunnel and the dogs seem to like to paw at it and dig little holes around it. I suppose I need to buy a trap. I think there are sonar ones that just drive them away...but I'm skeptical. Obviously no poison can be used. My friend at work told me that they (they live on a small organic farm in Marin) use these traps you bury that have little claws that come out and grab their necks and kill them. Icky, but poison free. Ooh...maybe I should just release a gopher snake in the yard! Somehow I think that my doggies would kill it.

Well gee - I guess I should work. /Sigh. I'm not feeling the mojo this week. But I have a list of lame stuff to do so off I go to do it. Hasta la vista, baby.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Another fast moving weekend

What, monday already? The weekend was excellent. I finished Sophia's blanket on Thursday night. I can't tell you how relieved I am to be done with it. Incidentally, little Sophie turns 11 monthes old on the 1st of March. /sigh. Never again will I tell someone that I'm making them something until it's done and I hand it to them. But it turned out cute for the most part. I still need to wash and block it.

The Stitches West convention was fun. It was overwhelming the color and texture to be had every which way you turned. I saw gazillion things I might have bought, but I had given myself a budget and bought only a small necklace at a wonderful notions booth (by far the best set-up of any booth in the place) and 1100 yards of a gorgeous wool/silk/something blend in a warm variagated tone. The picture is a bit flat and doesn't do it justice. But it was a deal, as it was marked and priced as 400 yard skeins and when they weighed it up they realized it was 550 yards each, but still only charged me for the 400 yard price. I normally don't buy pricey yarn as I only dabble in the needle arts and I have a large stash of woolease and acrylic. But I plan on learning to knit this year, so I'm going to save this gem for when I'm ready for a solid knitting project. According to the girls there is probably even enough for a sweater.

Aside from yarn related endeavors, I had a pretty busy weekend. We had two lovely evenings on Friday and Saturday night hanging out with some friends. I worked on prepping the front door for painting...boy is that door screwed up - it really should be replaced but we have too much else going on right now so I'm just giving it a face lift. I need to caulk some weird cavities it has this evening and then it will be ready for painting. I also continued working on prepping the bathroom for painting. The first step is to scrape all the old paint off of the tile with a razor blade. I mean seriously dude...haven't you ever heard of taping things off? The previous painter of this bathroom has created tons of arthritis inducing work for me. WHO paints like this??? Sloppy!!

Ugh. I'm still debating on the wall color too. I've narrowed it down to a couple different greens that DH liked. You never can tell sometimes until it's up on the wall. One green I'm concerned might be too yellow and the other I'm concerned might be too minty. But I'm overthinking it. Paint is cheap, and if we don't like it I can re-do it. I want to get it done soon. Many rooms to paint still! And our spare bedroom has a strange odor and I'm starting to get paranoid that it's mold hiding somewhere. We might have a specialist come take a look.

DH installed a ceiling fan in our dining room on Saturday. It was a bitch from start to finish. Finding a fan that fit in the room and hugged the ceiling was a pain. We finally found one that we mostly agreed on. It took a while to install, mostly because it had a strange humming that was almost unbearable. It was fine until we'd put the base on and the base would rattle. We were on the verge of taking it down and returning it, when DH fashioned some little rubber braces that helped keep it steady. Also once the fan blades were on that seems to weigh it down a little. In the end, it is quiet and works perfectly and we like the way it looks, even though the oiled bronze finish was a little starker then I originally envisioned...I actually think it works with the kind of warm ecclectic decor we have going on. Note the skateboard gallery I hung on the dining room wall to please DH, in homage of his skateboarding skills. He could have been a pro skater had he focused on it - and I'm not just saying that because he's my honey. All his friends say its true as well. He is magnificant on a skateboard.

Well another week is here and I have a to do list. The weather should be clearing up today! Yay! Ciao...

Thursday, February 21, 2008


How can it stand still and move so swiftly at the same time? Sometimes I just can't wrap my mind around it. I glance in the mirror and see how it has passed. Suddenly I realize how badly I don't want to grow old and wither, but there is no way around that! I worry about all the time I've wasted...yet so often I just find myself spending free time sitting aimlessly in front of the computer or the TV and spending work time mindlessly delivering work that is too easy for me. What is next? But enough of that. I will cast this gloom aside and rejoice, for it's Thursday - usually my most productive day of the week at work...and almost the weekend.

The full lunar eclipse last night was groovy. I tried to take pictures of it, but alas my camera is not up to snuff. I think that perhaps at some point I need to invest in a good camera. I'd like one of those digital SLR hybrid deals with some special lenses. My point and click is great for so many things, but it's already far outdated mega-pixel wise. Maybe if I read the instruction manual, I'd better understand how to manually adjust it and take pictures at night or closeups. But still I don't think that would sate my desire for a new one. I've been thinking about it for a while. Hey Gypsy Junk - do you have any brand or model suggestions?

I'm eager for the weekend. I believe the girls and I are hitting up Stitches West one day or the other, which should be fun. Other then that I'm fixin' to be deep in the vortex. I simply MUST finish painting the front door and we MUST install a new light fixture in the dining room. It's funny how when you get out of the habit of working on stuff every single day, that it's hard to get started again. It should rain all weekend though, so if I manage to not spend too much time in front of WoW, then hopefully progress will be made. I'll let you know how we do. :-D

Monday, February 18, 2008

Day to Relax

Dundracon was great fun, and very tiring. I played in games both Friday night and Sunday morning - and enjoyed some board/card games in between. My friends tried their darnedest to coax me into a Sunday evening game...but I felt done. I can only handle one uber-late night in a weekend (and even that's a stretch!). The weatherman said that today is the last day of nice weather for a little while, so I wanted to be fresh and enjoy a day in the yard.

I finished moving the edging to create a new border bed at the back of our yard. It's not perfect (gasp) but I've decided to let that go. I based the measurements off the fence, which you'll see in the pictures, is decrepit and probably not entirely straight in places. However it's good enough and a damned sight better then the way it was before. We plan on putting hardy, drought tolerant perennials in this bed, and I think a potting table will sneak in there as well.

I pulled the oddly placed granny brick from the middle of the yard and reused it. This ran smack in the middle of where there was a step up in the retaining wall to the back of the yard. Not a very sensible place for a border. Either side of the odd border is also a slightly different level. Our plan is to level the ground to the right of the line and install two north/south angled raised beds for vegetables. Eventually I think we'll put another bed to the left and there will be a nice gravel walkway surrounding and in between all the beds. Aside from the patio, this is the part of the yard that gets the most sun.

As you might notice, what this yard needs most is a new fence. But we aren't quite ready for that yet. Plus the aged fence has a strange mossy patina to it, which I find visually pleasing somehow.
Half the yard will still be taken up by grass for the time being. It's good for dogs and kids to play on and it's fairly shaded by the lemon, persimmon, apple and lilac trees. The notable exception being an area against the house where another raised bed will go for more edibles.

I need to get these beds installed fairly soon! I started some seeds inside - some herbs, tomatoes and peppers. I need to start some lettuce too, but I'm thinking maybe I'll seed that directly outside. It should probably go in soon, but I don't have anywhere to put it yet where it won't get trampled! I have carrots, eggplant, beans and squash that all say on the packet to seed directly in to the soil as well, but when it's slightly warmer. So I've been researching bed design and so far I like this article by Sunset. I'm pretty sure I can build them all by myself, if DH will help me use the saw.

Speaking of which, he just got home so we're gonna eat some din din! Until later. Happy dead president's day.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hizzle Valentizle

This week has been relatively quiet. Rather busy at work, and not so at home. The great news is, I got dismissed from jury duty. YAY! I had to leave work yesterday to go to court and ended up home while the sun was still shining. So I ventured back out in the yard to work more on the border stuff. I'm almost done! My back is sore from it though. I've done nothing else this week house-related which is fine. I think I deserved a break. Tonight DH and I are going to see Buckethead as our Valentine's Day outing. It should be fun. As sick as I get of Buckethead (DH is obsessed) he actually really does put on a great show. I have tomorrow and Monday off as well! But not much will get done this weekend, as it's Dundracon time and I'm gonna go get my nerd on. I anticipate much dice rolling, junk food eating, meep-meep avoiding, and sleep-deprivation ahead. Monday will be a day of rest and perhaps of tales to blog.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Lovely Weekend

This weekend was great! The weather was phoenominal and what I'd been longing for. I had a lovely afternoon with some friends on Saturday and I spent plenty of time playing video games and enjoying the weather. I did manage to get the dining room rug shampooed on Friday afternoon, and got the dining room set up that evening. We are lacking in chairs still, which I think I'll shop for after payday. We also have to install a new light fixture - yet to be purchased. And the entry way requires some touch ups and the door painted. But other then that I can say Finite ~ at least in regards to the living/dining areas. (I won't mention my dirty little secret, which is the mantle, which needs painting but I don't plan on doing it *any* time soon so shhhh don't tell).

Please don't mind my scummy old rugs and my white trash slipcovers. :D Those will do for now. It's quite comfortable in there, which is exactly our style. And I'm in love with the stained glass. There's DH...busy making plans to ride his motorcycle. Fun Fun. I suggested that since we at long last had a dining room table, that we should make use of it to do a puzzle. He loved the idea of course and went and bought a thousand piece puzzle Saturday night. We sat down and got started and then I remembered - "oh yeah, I hate puzzles". I simply don't have the patience for them. I gave up quickly and haven't returned to it. He, on the other hand, has the darned thing like a third complete. Heh.

The lovely weather didn't allow for painting (which is why the entry way still has stuff left to do). Instead it beckoned me outside for some yard work. I've thought extensively about the layout of the backyard, to the point of drawing a to-scale map of what I want. I was careful to consider DH's tastes. He likes clean, straight edges, gravel - very very tidy. I prefer a cottage garden ambience. So I tried to design something that would appeal to both our senses and I think the plan is good. When I actually got him out there and was drawing things out in the dirt he got a notion of the plan and seemed excited and pleased.

Part of the plan involves straightening the edge of the bed that runs along the back of the yard. It's quite crooked, too wide and is of varying materials. We calculated that it needs to be about 3' out from the posts of the fence to allow a nice large bed and to allow the raised beds that we want to put in the middle to be more spacious. Before yesterday- the bed size ranged from 4-6 feet depending on where you were in the yard. The below picture kind of can see the wavy line on the left is the metal edging, and the line on the right is where I've marked the location for the new edging. I do plan on using circles poking out in a couple spots so as not to disturb the roots of the lilac trees (which are budding!)

This effort will make the border nice and even all the way down. Half the back and all of the front is edged with what I call "granny brick". It's that brick stuff that has a scalloped top edge. Well DH doesn't like it and wants it gone gone gone from the front yard, to which I agree. However, I don't dislike it the way he does. I find it old fashioned but servicable and I figure we can recycle the bits in the back yard and most of what is in the front yard and use it as the border back there. It will save a good deal of expense, not to mention waste of some perfectly good materials. About half the back already has it, though it does need to be moved back a foot to allow for the new dimensions - which I set to doing yesterday. Tough work, though the timing was perfect and the soil was neither too damp nor too dry.

I'm glad to say the soil seems very rich, if a bit clay-ish in spots. I did a little planting in the bed by the patio as well. I've been kicking myself for not planting spring bulbs over the winter so I cheated and bought some tulip sprouts at Target and planted them so that they'll poke up through the Nasturtium that already stood. (Granny loved Nasturtium btw - the whole yard is crawling with it. I pulled out quite a bit but left quite a bit as well. I'm rather partial to it) I also planted some dormant mums which will flower in the fall, a large iris-ish plant (i forget the proper name of this shrub, but it's flowers remind me of irises and it's terribly hardy), and sprinkled a good many butterflygarden seeds which I bought in Ireland. I'll probably add a few other things eventually to this bed, but it's a good start. I'd like it to be evergreen and having something that flowers during every season. I also indulged in some daisies for pots. I *love* daisies!

That's pretty much my weekend. This is a rather long post, but I think Monday's are good long posting days. I actually have a couple of other things to note. I finished Sophie's blanket other then pulling in the ends and doing a quick border. I even went and bought (*groan*) yarn for my next project. Yeah yeah. I know.

I also read quite a bit. I'm reading Children of Hurin, which is a posthumous publication by Tolkien - edited by his son. Reviews when it came out last year cited it as "readable", which if you've read Tolkien's non-LOTR works you'll know what that means. I didn't find it as readable as I'd have liked to begin with. The story is set 6500 years before the tales of Frodo and Bilbo and the language is OLD - more akin to the Silmarilion then the LOTR for sure. And the names of peoples and places all ran together. I stuck with it though, and after a few chapters I started getting used to the cadence and stylings of the old speech and now I do, in fact, find it very readable. The main character is complicated, easy to both like and hate - and boy does he have a rough time of it! I'm about half done. But so far I would recommend it, if you have the patience to settle into it.

I've lingered long enough. I may get stuck with Jury Duty (I find out Wednesday or Thursday) so I should get extra caught up at work just in case. Keep your fingers crossed for dismissal!


Monday, February 4, 2008

The Saga of the One and Only Hair Clip

Once upon a time - long long ago - in a land not so very far away, there lived a young maiden named Princess M*. Now this princess was a lass who wore her hair rather long, which she usually quite enjoyed. But alas! Fate was unkind to M, and sent the evil witch, Genetica to bestow upon her an evil curse. Oh, how all the maidens in the land feared Genetica's curses! Poor poor Princess M! For the curse the evil witch bestoweth was none other then the dreaded recurring-bad-hair-day curse. (*gasp*)
For many a sad year M wandered the lands, dreading the days that the curse would show it's evil work. How she longed for the curse to be lifted! She spoke to a wise old crone, who said once cursed with the dreaded recurring-bad-hair-day curse one could never be free of it. But all hope was not lost. The crone spoke of a magical item that though could not lift the curse, would rob it of much of it's power. "Princess M", she whispered hoarsely, "you must seek the One and Only Hair Clip".
M searched and searched, for many years for the magical clip. At long last one glorious day she found it! She happened upon the magical kingdom of Wal Green. And there is was...a light shining from the heavens upon it. And she paid the toll keeper of the kingdom, so that she could take the clip from the fair land and thus she went forth with the wondrous clip in her hair.
For many a year she lived in joy with the clip. It's powers were great, and it kept the evil of the curse at bay. The magical clip was sturdy and had a beautiful tortoise shell color. It held her hair perfectly and comfortably in place. She could fashion her hair using the clip in different ways....sleek at time, and quirky at times. She could even wear it when she was swimming. It was the perfect thing...and she almost never even thought of the curse. It truly was the One and Only Hair Clip.
All was well until one terrible horrible day...she stepped on the magical clip! She cried out in horror as its teeth broke off under her huge foot. It was the worst day, ever. With a sad heart, she traveled back to the land of Wal Green. They had similar hair clips, but none were the One and Only Hair Clip. She traveled even to other lands...Targetia and Longsland...but only found sad and flimsy imitations of the One and Only.
"Woe is me!" cried the princess. For the next several years she tried many non-magical clips. Most of them looked like the One and Only Hair Clip. She would be joyous thinking she'd found the one...but alas...they all turned out wrong. This clip was too small. That clip was too big. The other clip was too sharp. Some pulled her hair. Some fell right out. Some broke too easilly. None were the One and Only.
Poor poor Princess M. To this day she wanders soulessly from land to land. She spends all her kingdoms gold on different hair clips and cries every time the recurring-bad-hair-day curse works its evil ways. And so it will continue...until the end of her days.
the end
*names have been changed. Any resemblence to characters in real life or fiction are completely intentional. No clips were harmed in the telling of this story.

Grrr Monday.

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. Ours was good. I spent a bit of the weekend in the vortex. I painted the entry way. The color I had selected was "soft white", which looked quite beige against our trim color when I was examining the paint chips. Once it was on the walls it didn't look nearly as dark as I'd hoped. I'm not sure there will be quite enough contrast to please me. But I don't really want to spend even more money on paint right now, so I think for the time will have to stay. In fact...I think the hallway will be the same color, as there's almost a gallon left still and I'm hoping that will be enough to paint the whole hallway. I haven't yet painted the trim, so once that's on there maybe it will look better then I'm thinking. It does look nice and clean.

I also painted the fronts of the closet and hall doors - two coats! They turned out lovely and I plan on doing the backs and inside jams tonight and tomorrow. Several small items on the to-do list have been lingering...which made me miss my mark of finishing the living area by the end of this past weekend. But was superbowl weekend and we left the vortex long enough to attend a very enjoyable super bowl party yesterday. It felt great to get out and be social!

So this week will be devoted to finishing the doors, the trim in the entry way, steam cleaning the dining room and maybe we'll even shop for the new light fixture. Those are the outstanding items and then it's bathroom time! I did pick up the paint chips and hung them all over the bathroom walls. We shall ponder them.

I almost forgot to mention, while putting off steam cleaning I did some other cleaning instead. I went through all my sewing and yarn supplies and further consolidated them. I also cleaned my notions box so that I can actually find things in it. And I emptied an entire container full of junk - throwing some away, putting some in the goodwill pile, and finding new homes for the rest. I inspired DH, and he added quite a bit of stuff to the goodwill pile we are building. So adding to my list for the next week is to tackle the art supplies and video game junk next!

The sun is shining, the acacia are blooming and I can almost taste spring. It will be time to plant seeds soon. To all the three lovely ladies who read this blog...mabye we should have a seed planting party in a couple of weeks?