Friday, September 28, 2007

Sadness and Joy

Hovering somewhere in between.

Most of the people that regularly read this blog (and let me know they do) know that we have been trying to add the pitter patter of little two legged feet (no not the birds though I want some) to the Villa for a couple of years now. Without success.

There have been procedures and surgeries and more procedures to no avail. While we haven't given up,
we may be taking a step back for a little bit to figure out our next course. Foster care is an option, adoption is as well. Being adopted myself and being a birthmother, I believe I have a unique perspective to offer on that front. Perhaps we shall complete the triangle.

So yes I'm down a bit. We had an ultrasound last week for a different situation and it indicated that this month MIGHT be different, so it's doubly hard right now. But on the flip side, I can hopefully get the other situation taken care of before an actual pg gets in the way of any potential treatments.

The joy comes from knowing that I have good friends that are rooting for us. As well as friends that let me play with their children and sometimes let them stay for sleep overs so I get my baby fix. There is a reason I own a portable crib and a ton of quilts and baby clothes and cloth diapers and pacifiers and baby bottles and spoons and bowls and...

Okay, I may just be a little too prepared.

Admittedly it hurts when I find out another family member, c
olleague or friend is expecting, but I can be happy for them at the same time. Generally because it means I get to make them something.

Speaking of which. I finally finished the booties for my co-worker Phillip and his darling new daughter. She's only 2.5 months old. They'll still fit. I think. I hope. The pattern is really stretchy. We shall see.

Cat Bordhi's Baby Life-Ring Socks in Koigu. Done using two circs (3.25mm I think), worked both booties at the same time. This is the closest I've gotten two items to the same size ever on circs.

Now to get them to him since he doesn't work in my office.

Have a wonderful weekend. My house is clean and neat and more importantly staying that way. We have a friend coming to visit from out of town that will stay in the RV, which is NOT clean, so I have to prep that this weekend. But an RV - even our monstrous 35' Dream Machine - is a heck of a lot easier to clean than a whole house.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

All things Italian

or the many ways Jenn really is a sucker at heart.

My husband is half Italian and I love him dearly. We fauxed his new office in Behr's Bellagio Faux technique using colors with names like:

Italian Opera
Luxurious Villa
Amalfi Fantasy (still have to look that one up)
Sunset Riviera

We also fauxed the ENTIRE OUTSIDE of our house last year to make it look vaguely Italian Villa-ish.

Sensing a pattern?

So it should come as no surprise that I got sucked into Tuscany by Ms Amy R Singer. Didn't help that Ms T jumped right into the lace fray with me. Romi would be so proud.

Now T and I don't do lace. We
dream of doing lace. We own lace needles. Boy do we (okay me) own laceweight yarn - most of it in Rowan Crack a.k.a. Kidsilk Haze and some Crystal Palace Kid Merino. But we don't do lace.

However I got Ms Singer's 'No Sheep for You' through an awards program at work and we both took one look at Tuscany and the simple chart and decided to forge our way through.

I cannot tell you how many times she has had to restart it (because I don't know), but I am currently on trial 4.

Started it once on Addi's 8 (NOT LACE) with the Zephyr and couldn't decipher the two rules posted with the pattern. Said I don't care and forged on and realized I did care and frogged it back.

Please don't ask how I messed it up the second time. I've managed to block that memory. But think dog on lap, TV on and dog intent to eating Mom's lace needle. Tug of war ensued. I lost, dog got crated, Tuscany got frogged. Okay, so I haven't actually blocked it. Give me some time.

Started it in a yarn I could see better just to figure out the pattern with size 6 Lace needles and low and behold I thought I got it. Used my trusty markers to help me remember which way is the purl side (purl goes with purple), which made a huge difference.

So back to the Zephyr (after stealing the lace needles) and OMG what a difference the lace needles make with that yarn. I am no longer cursing it with every K3TOG I come to.

I am now finished with the first pattern repeat. And I just realized (okay about 8 rows back) that on the black I apparently shouldn't read a lace chart and watch TV at the same time (or have the needled attacking puppy on my lap). Those cute little symbols in the last 8 rows of the chart are NOT K3TOG, but the funky slip 1, K2TOG, PSSO stitch.

Sigh. So the black is not right either, but most importantly here, the Peacock Zephyr is. At least for now.

So if you're a designer and want to suck me in good, just give it an Italian name.

I'm sure I'll give it a whirl at least once, if not a time or four.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

In Retrospect (pic heavy)

Last week was a pretty busy week in my household.

The office was almost finished. There were a couple of events to take notice of and some road trips in the works.

Last Tuesday I came home from work early because I wasn't feeling so hot. Perhaps it was fate, but I found this cute little darling attempting to cross one of the busiest roads in town at rush hour.

Her name is Stella and she belongs to Mary, who was smart enough to tag her and chip her. She came home with me after I stopped and picked her up and pissed off a few cars and bicyclist getting to the side of the road before she got run over by something and left a voicemail with her mom.

Turns out Stella gets to go for a bike ride most days but this day Mary needed to go pick up her car and thought Stella was secure in the yard. Such was not the case. But all's well that ends well. Thankfully there was a phone number and Stella was able to hang at my house for a little while till her mom returned my call and came and got her. I love seeing doggies go back home.

Wednesday wa
s gloriously uneventful and the blah feeling from the day before was mostly gone.

Thursday was my wedding anniversary. 4 years to hubby honey. He had guitar class that night and since he'd missed the first three and I got him a new guitar for his class, it seemed appropriate that the first time he used it was on our actual anniversary.

I stayed home and watched Under the Tuscan Sun. Cute movie, total chick flick. Hubby curled up on the sofa with Scrat the Brat and watched the end of it with me.

Aren't they cute?

I love all my dogs,
and most people that know me, know that Cliff the Mutt is first and foremost my baby.

But Scrat the Brat is
just the best snuggle dog because he'll just curl up beside you and wait till you're ready to do something more exciting like play ball.

Friday I turned 37. I wasn't too excited about this since we are still trying to have kids and the age increase just makes it that much harder.

Hubby got me the most gorgeous dress for our anniversary. Someone apparently told him (google is his bud) silk is the present for four years.

Even better IT FIT! It has to be hemmed (I did some resourceful tucking Friday night so I would trip over the 3" heels) but other than that it's perfect.

So we went to John Ash for dinner.

While it's a lovely restaurant (mmmm Calamari), I have to say my saltimbocca is much better. :-) Thank you food 911 for that recipe.

Saturday dawned early and if you read my last entry you'll see what we did that day.

Sunday is the day Romi is waiting for info on. Taunya and I had made plans to go to the California Wool and Fiber Festival in Boonville. Turns out it's part of the Mendocino Country Fair and Apple Festival.

I don't have any pic
tures of inside the festival itself. We were WAY too busy drooling over all the yarn and fleece and rovings. You would not believe how soft Yak can be, and dog fiber is truly not smelly. So I guess it's just my dogs that stink.

T and I scored the following:

That beautif
ul green is my first purchase ever of Zephyr Wool Silk. It's is totally gorgeous and the color is peacock.

However the real find was the Handmaiden SeaSilk in Mineral. OMG that stuff is so very soft it's impossible to describe. All T and I could do was stand there petting all the different colors.

I bought the Peacock Zephyr on the first circuit of the room. I just couldn't help myself and it was only $10 a skein (that's 1200+ yards for $20). Mine, mine all mine.

Second circuit of the room we end up back at the booth with the Seasilk. I was going to get the color Glacier - because is had this gorgeous turquoise with brown and cream, but the Mineral kept calling to me, because it was just so pretty.

T spent forever picking two colors: the Bronze to the left and the Cornflower to the right. The Bronze and Mineral are in the 400 m lengths and the Cornflower was in the 600 m length.

T is making Amy R. Singer's Tuscany shawl with the Cornflower. I absolutely fell in love with the Bronze after it was wound and it turns out T's daughter S, really really liked the Mineral color the best, so a swap was made. I am the happy owner of Bronze and S will probably get a Clapotis out of the Mineral for graduation.

We headed home via Ukiah (I'm sorry but downtown Ukiah is a ghost town on Sunday afternoons) with a stop at Powell's in Healdsburg to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Got to T's house and hung out and knit for a little while and watched her kitty babies worship the sun.

Then I went home and helped hubby honey finish the office for Monday.

Boonville was great. The fair was tiny. Hubby did a wonderful job on my birthday and anniversary.

With the hard part of the office done, perhaps I'll be able to blog on a more regular basis.

As it is I have requested hubby get a house cleaner in to do a thorough cleaning (because boy did we let it slide while finishing the office) since we are having a couple of friends over for dinner Saturday night.

If that doesn't happen I'll be scrubbing the house from one side up the other on Saturday morning.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Irony is NOT Lost on me

but ironing is a whole different story.

Saturday rolled around (I'll get to the rest of last week later) and thus begins Operation Move In.

The walls were ready. Office furniture, wall tiles, work surfaces, wall rails, panels, etc were inventoried.

Then comes prepping to hang everything.

See those w
ooden strips? 3/4 inch plywood cut down to 2.5" widths, by at least 8' lengths. Thank heaven for the table saw.

Each one is anchored into the wall studs where a screw for the wall rails have to go. That's 10 screws per rail for the tall ones. There is close to 300 screws
in the walls of the office now. But better screws, than drywall anchors which we all know bite big time - especially when putting stuff with lots of weight up. And work surfaces aren't light.

By the end of Sunday, Ken had his office mostly done ( we need more tile adaptors to hang the rest of the panels (I know honey - tiles - but they look like panels).

And mine was actually looking pretty good though you cannot tell due to the fact that I really cannot focus the SLR we have.

The irony here being that we went through all that trouble with the paint job, just to cover half of it up.

We got network and phone functional so hubby could start Monday in his brand new space.

At least one dog is very confused because every morning when the other two (who cannot be trusted out and about) go back in their room, he heads to Dad's office in the house. But that room is empty now. So this morning he went and stood outside our bedroom door just waiting for 'Dad' to emerge.

Unseen in my space is the floor just to the side of that separate wall (with the paper towels on it). There would be to two doggy beds all ready for the boys when they go hang out with 'Dad' at the office.

Dare I ask hubby when the gutters are going up since rainy season is just around the corner?

T and I went to the California Wool and Fiber Festival in Boonville yesterday. You'll get to
see the new additions to the stash tomorrow. Right after I figure out how to make my Flickr photos display on this stupid thing.

Monday, September 10, 2007

In the home stretch

The walls and ceiling are finished (except for the clouds - your imagination is still required for that).

Faceplates are on the walls. Data and phone have been sent out to the new server closet, from the old server closet.

Looks like hubby is ready to start moving stuff out there.

He finished the ceiling and baseboards yesterday, as well as cleaned the floor and ran the data and phone up and through the attic and out through the well room, into conduit, up into the shop attic space and down more conduit to the new server location. From there a patch panel will route cables to assorted jacks in the two rooms.

Doesn't the paint job on the walls look nice? We did that Saturday.

I like how the baseboards separate everything, so you can admire the floor or the walls without overwhelming yourself with the color variations between the two.

Wanna know what I did yesterday?

This is what happens when Jenn decides she needs to clean out her car and all the bags she's carting around creation.

There's that iPod cable I keep misplacing. And I found three tape measures, three pairs of scissors, my number 2 bamboo DPNS and a bunch of tylenol.

Then when I got all that cleaned up I played with my beads. They are supposed to be stitch markers.

Which ones do you like best ( and yes I know the peachy one would look better with a copper crimping bead but I cannot find mine, so silver it is)?

Click on the pic to see more detail. I don't have Romi's lightbox, so bear with me. I'm NOT a photographer.

Let me know what you think. I'm new at this.

Friday, September 7, 2007

For my RFO Docent counterparts

Two posts in one day.

Pics of the shirt samples as promised. Click on them to see a bigger (much bigger - consider yourself warned - pic)

The T-shirts

A closer look at the artwork

The sweatshirts (the sweatshirt type with the blue lettering is the only one available, the other was used simply to show the black artwork).

Check your email for more information.

Pick a stone. Any stone.

Except that one. Or the couple hundred stacked up behind it in my front walkway.

Called hubby before I left work yesterday to let him know I was getting more ceiling paint.

He was kind of down about the stone that I had okayed earlier this week. Turns out it wasn't really prepped for inside use, in that all the holes and pits and caverns hadn't been filled with a resin and then buffed to a lovely shine.

I happened to pick outside stone. Sigh.

He also wasn't happy with the way the floor was going in or the 'glue' the guy we got to do it chose. I don't blame him. It hadn't set in 24 hours, which is just insane.

So, I told hubby to swap the stone. Go back to
the original one we wanted and see if we can get it in the thickness we want - 1/2 or so, rather than the monstrous 1" thick babies. Those things are heavy.

He hits the Home Depot site and says go check this and call me when you get there. So I go to my favorite Home Depot out of the 4 that are within driving distance of my work and home. Murphy strikes again.

Out of the 4 choice
s I had, I had to pick the one that had completely gutted their flooring display for newer models that weren't set up yet.

So I head to choice number two, but not before seeing choice number one had a bunch of Travertine on clearance up front, but not enough for our floor. Keep looking.

Hubby meets me at the second HD. I point out a couple of ceramic choices I like. Then I tell him that the first HD had a bunch of the Travertine that he was then drooling over at the current HD, but I didn't think they had enough of the right shade (turns out there are 3 shades of the Tavas and I have to pick shade 1).

So find someone that actually works there to call around and see which stores what what quantity. It also turns out that those three shades all have the same SKU number. Gr.

Hubby heads to choice one after we bought all that choice two has, 4 boxes (36 square feet) and I head south to see how much choice three has. My store only had 6 boxes (54 square feet) of the stone. But choice one actually had 48 boxes (9 sqft per box, you do the math - I'm tired) so we may actually have enough.

So we're back home taking care of animals and knowing I
need to get more paint on the walls.

Thusly the wall painting begins. The basecoat had to get up on the main room walls so I'm not working around hubby while he's laying the floor, after ripping up the stones that were laid yesterday.

This is what happens when you are doing something you usually enjoy but are so tired and beat and your hands and arms are dead from everything else. You ignore a clock of any sort and just go till you are finished.

We now have a really nice base coat on the main room walls all ready for the first faux top coat. Right after I finish the ceiling that hubby started.

And no I didn't go all the way to floor. There will be mortar, and stone and grout and baseboards to cover that up. But it is primed.

Yes the ceiling is blue, very blue, lots and lots of blue.

Windjammer blue to be precise. Now just imagine lots of fauxed fluffy sponged on clouds all over it.

That's the tech area ceiling that I painted Wednesday night. Hubby finished the install of the skylight yesterday while I was at work.

The main room lights (full spectrum indirect natural light) are on back order for now, but the skylights and portable halogens are doing the trick.

Considering I crashed at 1am, no knitting happened, heck dinner didn't even happen. Sleep happened, but not nearly enough.

Maybe I'll get caught up on that next month.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

So close and yet still so much to do... (pic heavy)

Or How I Spent my Summer Vacation...

Heads up, this is long and has lots of pictures

That one little open door is the entrance to where 75% of my time was spent the past week or so.

Day one Wednesday:

Well the day started out on a really really bad note, in that
Mother Nature decided that 2 years of trying and 2 surgeries later, I am still not worthy enough to be expecting. So lots and lots of tears. I'm fine or at least I will be.

The rest of it was a huge blur of deciding what needed to be done to finish Operation Shop as far as county permits went, follow
ed by my ten millionth trip to Home Depot, followed by seeing just how hard it was to hang sheet rock on a ceiling when you are

1. 5'2"
2. Severely lacking in upper bod
y strength
3. In lots of pain due to Mother Nature's early morning punch

It wasn't as bad as it could have been since hubby did most of the lifting and I fought with the drywall screw gun.

Day 2 Thursday:

Sheetrock and more sheetrock. Sheetrock the ceiling, sheetrock the walls. Can anyone tell me why the walls couldn't be done with the board oriented vertically, rather than horizontally?

Hubby also wisely decided that hanging the sheetrock over about 1100+ square feet of space ( that includes the ceiling folks - the shop ain't that big) requires at least another person so we had help. He and the helper lifted and screwed everything into place while I cut sheetrock. The stuff is evil and there is still white dust everywhere.

Day 3 Friday:

Inspection of said sheetrock hanging. Gr. Blasted county guy throws a wrench in the plan by arguing about use space and fire protection and you name it, so we have to wait and we
don't get finalled.

So we start mudding and taping the seams. After Thursday I hated sheetrock. After today I despised the mud - th
ough it cleans up real easy.

I ran a couple of errands while we decided if we were throwing clothes in the RV and drivin
g as fast as we could to Tuscon for Ken's reunion. Keep reading...

Then we realize we have to pick a floor. So it's off to WZ for me to pick up stone samples since the owner of said place is hanging out at my place today using my driveway to do something or other related to stone. Ask hubby if you care for details. lol

Anyway we only finished mudding and taping one room, before I boycotted and collapsed into a chair.

Day 4 Saturday:

In an attempt to save his marriage ( and he quite possibly succeeded ;-) ), my hubby utilized Craigslist to find professional help in the mudding and taping of said walls.

So I got to start playing with paint samples (since we picked the stone for the floor) and had yet another trip to Home Depot while our new friend John played with mud and tape and trowels.

Back home to create said paint samples so we could pick a
color. We decided to go with the Bellagio Faux Technique from Behr, even though it means there will be a ton of paint on the walls.

Wanna see what we picked?

The one with the fan will be the main office space color. That is Sunporch base with Italian Opera TopCoat and Luxurious villa Top coat.

The other one will be the tech area.

That is Clamshell base with Amalfi Fantasy Topcoat and Sunset Riviera Top coat (see the theme yet?)

Day 5 - Sunday:

We have to have the walls ready for the top coat of mud. What kind of texture do we want? Yes I'm st
ill playing with paint samples trying to get everything right.

Our guy Jo
hn finishes at noon and heads on home while I fight with paint. He comes back later with a sheetrock sample that he's put 4 different textures on to help us decide. Does this guy love his work or what? So hubby says, paint the sheet rock sample and then we'll decided. So that's what you see in the pics above, one side in one color set, one in the other, we chose both.

Day 6 - Monday

We have to finish electrical today. Period. Because tonight we call for our final inspection. We also
have to have the mud finished so we can start painting tomorrow.

Which means ANOTHER trip to Home Depot (I am so sick of that place) for more mud and a ton of paint. The lady behind me in line wasn't too happy since I ordered 9 cans of tinted stuff. She should have perhaps stopped letting her cart run into me and I would have been more inclined to let her go in front of me.

Our friend Nathan and his gf Tina came over to help. I asked her to tackle the outside trim while I ran errands and Nathan helped hubby start the office panel inventory so we know if we have enough stuff to set up our cubi
cles in the new space.

Then I'm back and after a quick run to the grocery store (we're having tri tip!) it's up in the attic rafters to pull the electrical wires done the rafter to the sub-panel box so we actually have lights and electricity out there.

There has to be an easier way to lose a couple of pounds rather than baking in 10' high attic rafters in 90+ weather. Did you know that your knees could sweat?

Got eletrical pulled and started the grill. Tri tip really is just so good.

Spent the rest of the evening putting on faceplates and outlets and switch.

Call for final. Eep

Day 7 - Tuesday:

Last day of vacation for me. Hubby is hooking wires up to the subpanel. I'm buying faceplates and more breakers. Inspector shows up early. Sigh.

Missed it by that much. Wouldn't sign off with the panel hot and not finished. Said he'd come back at the end of the day.

Scrubbed the floor (all that dust and mud), finish the electrical, remove all the faceplates. Start tap
ing for the priming job. Find out we can get 500+ square feet of stone for the floor super cheap if I go and take a look at it and okay everything.

Inspector comes back and signs off on the shop. Woo hoo! No more county. The permit is closed, no more inspections. It's ours to do as we please.

Back to WZ again to fight with pallets of stone and track down a guy to actually install the floor. Back home with 6000 lbs of stone - did I mention I have a really big truck? - and the installer guy and floor starts to go in.

You better ooh and ahh over that door. It caused endless fits picking it out.

Hubby primed the space with the paint sprayer while I was at WZ. I simply came home and finished up any spots he missed while they started playing with all that stone.

500 square feet of stone is a lot of stone.

Look at all that, and that's only two of the pallets worth.

We spent the rest of evening doing clean up and finishing the Herman Miller inventory and laying out all the panels and how everything look in the new space. It's gonna be gorgeous.


Saturday the light of my life was kind enough to realize that if I didn't get an outing that didn't involve, dust, dirt, mud, paint, stone or landscape yards I was going to hurt somebody.

So I got to go up to Windsor to the Knit group at the LYS and I finally got to prove to Rosemary that I really do exist ::vbg::

Where I worked on this.

It's a hat in RYC Cashsoft Aran in dark grey with some very subtle color work in a lighter more steel grey color. Gotta love a yarn diet if for no other reason than it forces you to go through your stash and remember the cool stuff you have and what it was for.

More on Operation Shop tomorrow. While we aren't finished, we are making progress. One ceiling got painted last night. Can you guess what color?