Thursday, September 25, 2014

Light

The angle of the light has changed.

It must happen gradually, but every year around this time it seems to happen all of a sudden. One day I'm sitting in the chair by the window with a book, and then I look up and the late morning sun is falling across the books and floorboards in a new way, lighting up a beauty otherwise easily missed.

I've been in something of a funk the past week. Due in no small part, I'm sure, to the whole sleep situation around here. (Last night various babies woke up approximately 9:30,11:30, 12:00, 1:30, 2:30, 4:30, and after that I don't remember. That was particularly bad but if you cut out two or three of those wakings you have my average night. So maybe this post isn't going to make any sense. I am drinking lots of tea. I blather on about sleep too much on my blog. Sorry.)

So yes, tired. But also just discontent. I would look at a room I'd just cleaned and straightened, everything in its place and all in order, which usually brings such a feeling of satisfaction. And I'd think, This is as good as it gets?! For whatever reason home felt shabby and not good enough.

Truly, this is not how I usually feel. I love our home. But the to-do list in my head was wearing me out with its constant, insistent pressure. I felt dull, like any beauty I encountered would just sort of roll off my back with a shrug and a "meh."

I know myself well enough to know that I'd probably get like this no matter my situation in life. If it wasn't motherhood it would be the daily grind of any job. Our sense of beauty is something that has to be tended to, and I haven't been doing a good job of that lately; and life is largely comprised of mundane moments anyway.

But at that light an ache blossomed in me, a familiar autumnal longing. I felt a little more alive, a little more myself. And the mundane was a little more lovely once again, in that angle of the light.

I think I try to wax poetic about the fall too often, but I always feel that this time of year is so full of hope and grace.

And we are picking apples tomorrow*, so I am very excited.

*I keep thinking today is Friday. We are, in fact, picking apples this weekend. :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Too much paint!

1. Our dining room is no longer pink!



We definitely have more work to do, but oh, what a difference!Hopefully we'll get the new light installed sometime next week, then we'll work on finding new sconces. But we have our dining room back! No more plastic sheeting on the table, no more furniture pushed into the living room, and no more pink! The new color is called Martinique Morn. We're pretty happy with it.


2. I still want to paint a navy/indigo blue sideboard or china cabinet for this room, but Keith thinks if I put a big blue something in here that we'll be limited to palette of blue and green for the whole room because other colors won't go. I'm not sure that I agree ... what do you think?


3. Taking down wallpaper is addictive. I am repressing the urge to get wallpaper out of ALL THE ROOMS. (Blue checked in the twins's room. Dogs in Michael's room. Yellow in the kitchen. Varied shades of pink in the bathrooms). It's near-instant gratification, second only to putting that first coat of paint on a wall. (Least satisfying, to me at least, is that coat of primer. So anti-climactic!)


4. But ... it's also a lot of work. I think we could've knocked this out in a weekend, except we're limited to working while the kids are asleep. It took us a week and a half. When it comes time to paint the kitchen, we might just hire someone else. Our kitchen is HUGE, and there are a lot of nooks and crannies to get wallpaper off/paint on. It would take us at least a month.


5. Speaking of the kitchen. We really do need to redecorate the whole thing eventually, but where do you start? Cabinets? Floor?


Probably the floor, right? It's a bit Dr. Seussical for our tastes. But more importantly, when the previous owner built it in the old garage (which is why our ktichen's so big), she didn't put down any subflooring over the concrete. Which means the kitchen floor is hard, REALLY cold in the winter, and now there's a big crack down the middle of it. But that is a really big project--and definitely not DIY. So we can't just "redo" the floor without it being a huge thing.

And yet if we start to work on other parts of the kitchen first, that floor is still going be there. In a very not-passive way.

BUT. My mother-in-law pointed out that you can pain laminate and tile ... which might be a good temporary solution. It sounds like a lot of work in its own right though ... does anyone have experience with how well painted floors hold up in high-traffic areas?


6. Anyway, when buying paint for the dining room, I brought home a few chips of deep teal. I think I'm going to pain our kitchen block teal and stain the top. Which will make our pink-and-yellow-kitchen even more colorful. ;) But happy colors for the coming winter sounds okay to me.


7. Okay, I think that's enough of that. :) Head over to Jen's for more quick takes!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Geese, Pies, and Feast Days (SQT 21)

1. It feels so good to sit at a computer and type using a regular keyboard. My husband finally fixed some internet issues and set me up an account on the working desktop! No more trying to type on a tablet touch screen! (To those whom I've communicated with up til now, I apologize for the typos. Know that even the effort of typing is a sign of my regard for you. ;) )


2. Now for a very important question: has anyone ever bought a goose? I mean, a goose that's plucked and ready to stick in the oven. I am determined to roast one for Michaelmas this year. But I have a feeling it's not something one picks up at the local Giant Eagle. And I can't really imagine a local butcher having geese in stock either. So if you've ever bought a goose for roasting, let me know how you managed to find it please? :)


3. Speaking of feast days, it was this guy's on Wednesday:



We had buttermilk pie (because I had some I needed to use up in the fridge) and he got to taste it after his twin was in bed.


4. Normally I shower during the twins' morning nap. Dominic woke up yesterday before I had the chance, so I brought him downstairs to play with Michael. I took a three minute shower in the upstairs bathroom and when I got out this face was peering through the door at me.

A huge bruise on his forehead and I-have-no-idea above his lip.

Now he's up those stairs ten times a day. Rather than putting up a baby gate I am trying to teach him to come back down the stairs on his own. We'll see ... the gate may yet go up.


5. Gregory's still just sitting there. Sometimes he tries to will himself forward to no avail.


6. Remember our pink dining room? Now it looks like this.



Yes, that's plain old drywall. But it's glorious. The room is already so much brighter--that pink was eating up all the light!

(You'll notice that the outlets are painted pink ... and we also have to remove wallpaper from the plates.)


7. On that note--I'm off to prime some walls while my husband paints the ceiling!


Linking up at Conversion Diary.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Tale of Four

Still linking up to the yarn-along, although two days late. I haven't had access to a working computer. Despite the fact that we have three desktops. (And the reason I didn't have access wasn't because any of them were broken or techincally not working, but because they were in various phases of being updated or .... something. The hazards of being married to a computer person. :) )

Anyway.



One of my goals for this month was to knit the boys vests for the colder weather, all from the trusty Milo pattern. I started with Dominic's, picking the 1 year size since his birthday is in November. I knew it would be a bit big, but thought that wasn't a bad thing.

After I got about halfway through the shoulder straps, I thought perhaps I'd actually measure him. His chest was 2 inches smaller than the size I was knitting. In other words two whole sizes off.

And I kept knitting. I wanted it to be a little big, right? (Note to self: a two-inch difference on such a small person is NOT "little.") Well, I finished the shoulder straps, started on the body, and realized the torso of the vest looked quite a bit bigger than the torso of my baby.

And I decided to keep on going. I don't know. I knew I needed to rip it out and start over. But I didn't. By the time I was ready to knit the ribbing I found a post by the pattern designer, Georgie Hallam, who emphatically instructed knitters to measure the child's chest and if they wanted to knit it "bigger" to add length, not width. I knew there was no way Dominic was wearing this vest this winter--it practically could fit Michael--so I should've kept knitting and set it aside for next winter.

And then I bound off. So it's the perfect length for a one-year old but wide enough for a two-year old. (It would maybe reach Michael's belly-button. Maybe.)

I really can't explain this vest. I knew what I was doing wrong and kept doing it all anyway. So at some point I'm going undo the bind-off and make it a little longer. Just maybe not this year ... I don't really want to look at it.

Michael's vest, however, turned out beautifully. Although he kept saying he wanted yellow, and pointed out to me that I had yellow yarn on the shelf. (Not the right weight. Sorry kiddo.) But he likes it anyway.

Soon I will cast on a red vest for Gregory. And I've dug into the stash and found some DK weight to knit a fourth Milo for Dominic, this time in the 9 month size.

In the meantime, I've been taking a break by working on some leaves. Thirty down, eighty (or thereabouts) to go.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dining Room--Before

Now that I have time to do more than nurse babies and change diapers (our twins just turned nine months old!!), I've been itching to do something about our dining room. Itching. So I hope this "before" will soon be an after--or at least an "in progress."


You may recall that this room is a rather shocking shade of pink. It has a beautiful picture window--the only window that lets you see straight into the house from the road--and in the evening when we're eating dinner the pink literally glows out into the dusk. Neighbors can't help but slow down and gawk at us while they drive by.


We've had paint chips sitting on the desk for a while now, and we've decided to ask Keith's dad to bring us the wallpaper remover next time we see him. So we're hoping to get started on this very soon--if not this weekend, then the next. Ideally, I would like to have everything done by the end of September so we can have friends over for a Michaelmas goose. :)


I imagine that the layout will stay the same for now. It's very bits-and-pieces; furniture that doesn't have a home anywhere else lives in here. Someday I'd like to get a used buffet or china cabinet and refinish it. After we paint, I'm hoping to hang some sort of shelving for my teacups, and put a little more thought into what goes on the walls and where.


Keith really dislikes our chandeliers (we also have one in the living room), so we're going to be taking this one down and replacing it with a drum-shade pendant. Eventually we'll replace the sconces too, or else just get rid of them. And then there's this switch plate. 



It's pretty, but very ... feminine, for a house full of boys. ;) And it really doesn't go with the wallpaper at all ... bronze with pink?

Eventually I think we also need to do something more substantial about the windows, but I'm not sure what. We like the natural light and truthfully, I'm not that concerned about privacy since we live on a very quiet street. But they just look kind of under-dressed, don't they? Or am I overanalyzing? The curtains are from Ikea--inexpensive and very pretty.


Michael has his own little corner. :) Both chairs are cracked from adult men sitting on them, but he doesn't seem to mind!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Knitting for Autumn


I've been on a real leaf-making kick, but yesterday I decided to switch gears and knit up a Milo vest for Dominic. This tweedy blue is quite lovely--it's called Seasalter. Gregory shall get a rust-colored vest ("Cardinal"), and Michael an asparagus green (aptly, "Asparagus"). (I am hoping there is enough green leftover to knit a leaf for his blanket, of course. :) ) All my boys shall have vests to layer in when the weather takes a turn towards cold.

And just some light reading for now. My "to-read" list keeps getting longer and longer, books that I must either buy or find at the library (probably in e-book form as our local library doesn't have a good adult selection at all ... I miss our old library very much). But then I remembered I had this book sitting in the stack on the end table. I am enjoying it.

Linking up with Ginny!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Knitting, crawling, leaves

Taking a break from scrubbing the kitchen floor to blog! It's been bugging me for a looong time, and we're having out-of-town company this weekend which finally gave me enough incentive to tackle it. :) 

This week is the Steel Valley Yarn Crawl. Do you remember those leaves I was knitting, and how I ran out of scraps for them? I decided that the yarn crawl would be a perfect time to buy yarn for Michael's leaf blanket--one skein at each store and I should be set for a while. 



What I didn't count on was how hard it is to build a color palette as you go ... especially if your first five colors came together randomly. Luckily fellow knitters are always ready with opinions about color. :) Here is the palette so far ... what do you think? 


About the green yarn on the far left ... I'm not sure if I want to use it for the blanket, or a Milo vest for one of the boys. It's a (non-super-wash) blend of merino, alpaca, and silk, which is not exactly the best for a blanket on a little boy's bed. 

I am thinking I want one more shade of blue--perhaps a little richer and deeper--maybe a brown, and then several more shades of green. 


Babies like to yarn crawl too! Taken by a friend. :)
(The baby that actually CAN crawl was there too, but he wasn't allowed on the floor. Except that one time I let him on the floor and he ate a tag and forced me to buy the skein of yarn it belonged to. Horrors.)

I'm a bit disappointed that I won't be able to make it to one of the stores. It's over an hour away, and a weekend daytrip is out because of our guest. Sigh. :( Maybe next year!

Linking up with Ginny.