Thursday, July 30, 2009

Careful What You Wish For

A wee note:

At suppertime last night rain began to fall - and not just outside.

It was bucketing down through most of the entire back of the house. Master Bedroom, Ian's room, Upstairs Hall, Kitchen and into the basement - BUCKETING all over the electrical panel.

I called the contractor who showed up immediately, unfortunately he couldn't get hold of any of the tradesmen so Nigel and I had to assist him in trying to secure the house from the rain. Earlier the tradesmen had set up loads of plastic sheeting across the roof, but the rain was falling so hard and fast that it was just pooling into a massive lake over the entire back section of the house, where all the shingles had been removed. I need to mention that the contractor was a bit puzzled when I called, as he only lives a few minutes away and it wasn't raining at all in his neighbourhood.

We climbed up to the new second story on rather slippery ladders and used brooms to push most of the water off and into the back garden, by the time we'd accomplished that, the rain had slowed to a mere shower rather than a downpour, and had slowed to a trickle inside the house.

Big hoorays all around, and Nigel pointed out that I'd accomplished one of my 101 goals - standing out in the rain and getting completely soaked (Number 10).

I'll confess that I had been envisioning something a little more romantic/cathartic when I set that goal, and not a mad dash through mud and nails, hoping that the house wasn't about to explode into an electrical fire.

I've been looking over the other "things" on my list and some are beginning to look ominous, like #13 candlelit dinner, well that could be a power outage, #47 climb a tree, ummm, bears have been known to stray into the city, and #20 donate blood, perhaps I should have specified The Red Cross and not the local wildlife.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Of Mice and Monsters

Pretty flowers in the garden.

This is the new view from the upstairs hall window. Certain views make the reno look enormous, others make it look too small. Perhaps that means that it's JUUUUST right.

Walls being assembled on the second story.

Work is beginning on the rooftop. This is very tricky. The house has sunk a bit on one side (very common around here - did you know Winnipeg was built over underground rivers and an awful lot of swamp land?), every measurement has to be spot on if the reno is going to be level. All day yesterday and today there has been the sound of mad hammering and sawing and then silence as they get out their pencils and papers to calculate the next series of cuts.

Let's all give a round of cheers for professional carpenters who know what they're doing. Hoorah! Worth every penny.

I finished four characters from the Alan Dart Medieval series.

Three knights and the nursemaid.

Here's the nursemaid before:

and after:

Mum fell in love with these little mice and wanted to make them all for Thea and Aaron when they came to visit, but knowing that she couldn't finish them all before yesterday (when they arrived), she instructed me to make a few. Mum made eight, I made just the four. They were tons of work - sewing all those tiny pieces together! Quite sweet though. I've been instructed to send them on to Toronto for their return.

I also finished my creature I had mentioned in this post.

He's made with a wire armature and then a skin is knitted on to his frame (Gads! THAT was fiddly work!). I had had a vision of him in my head for a long time, and as he got closer and closer to being completed I liked him less and less.

Does that make me a terrible mother? If I think my little monster is ugly?

I keep putting him away, then looking at him again a couple of days later to see if I've fallen in like with him. It hasn't happened yet. He's still ugly.

Perhaps he needs bigger buttons for his eyes...I shall think on it...

So as not to dwell on this, I started a new Clapotis. This one is being done in Handmaiden Sea Silk in a colour called Stardust. It's a beautiful, deep, shimmering charcoal-petrol colour. I had ordered the yarn from Wolseley Wardrobe and it took weeks to arrive. They tell me it was specially dyed just for me.

This I know I like.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fair Bits

A canola field. Proof that it's summer despite the dismal weather this last week.

There has been a fair bit accomplished on the reno (in between torrential downpours).

Two views from inside - last week.

Floorboards baking in the sun.

The dogs baking on what they believe is the new deck. They're mistaken.

Holy Smoke! Walls! I experienced a moment of thinking the space was too small. I've been assured it's just an illusion.

What will be a back door.

What will be a laundry room window.

What will be a bathroom window.

Soon to be a window over a kitchen sink, also, further down the wall, patio doors.

Looking out the upstairs window - brackets going in for the second story floor joists.

I've accomplished a fair bit of knitting lately.

The Big Needle Wrap that was suppose to take an evening and in fact ate up nearly six weeks has been finished for a while. I had put it away for Autumn, but it was so unbelievably cold yesterday Elly was wearing it.

The Tangled Yoke Cardigan now has a sleeve as well as a body.

Also, a different mouse from the others I've made.

One of the knights from Alan Dart's "Tails of Yore" pattern set from Simply Knitting.

I'll be making a few mice from this series of patterns, which I'll show and tell another time.

This afternoon I'm off to see the new Star Trek film at the IMAX. Ooooo...50 foot Spock!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

101 in 1001

Here's my list:

1. Bake a loaf of bread from scratch.

2. Try at least one new recipe every week for twelve weeks.

3. Donate a goat.

4. Complete a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Completed March 11, 2010.

5. Have a picnic under a tree.

6. Get a pedicure.

7. Make homemade salsa.

8. Organise digital photos and files. Completed the Files (only) - December 18,2009.

9. Clear out basement, send lots to charity.

10. Stand out in the rain and get completely soaked. It was tempting to make this a "dance naked to the rites of spring", but Nigel blanched. Completed July 29, 2009.

11. Clean out closets and donate old clothes.

12. Buy a new wardrobe!!! Please see number 64.

13. Have a candlelit dinner.

14. Spend three days wandering Winnipeg taking pictures.

15. Plan a trip around seeing a concert in a different city.

16. See at least three exhibits at the WAG. Bugs Bunny - March 21, 2010

17. Visit three cities I've never been to before. Chicago this autumn. New York? Paris? Glory! Saw Chicago September 17-20, 2009. Very nice!

18. Read a book on manners. Try using a few.

19. Sign up for bookcrossing - drop five books.

20. Give blood. I'm borderline anemic - I'll have to eat a lot of spinach and liver in the weeks leading up to this.

21. Join bone marrow transplant list.

22. See one film a month at Cinematheque for one year.

23. Buy a little black dress.

24. Watch the sun rise.

25. Give up soda for six months. Started August 1, 2009. Completed January 31, 2010

26. Buy new glasses. OK, I know, I'll need them replaced before 1001 days are up anyway, but you know, I need some easy ones.

27. Buy prescription sunglasses.

28. Go to bed by 11 pm every night for a week.

29. Fast for 24 hours.

30. Learn how to use my camera flash.

31. Read 6 novels in three months. I use to read like a demon as a child, but almost never read fiction nowadays.

32. Read a book in the park.

33. Take one photo a day for one month.

34. Go one week without spending any money.

35. Paint a picture.

36. Make a donation to an art gallery.

37. Make a short animated film.

38. Go to the theatre.

39. Watch 6 films in 24 hours.

40. Watch five musicals I've never seen before.

41. Throw a party. Not in my nature - this will be a major achievement.

42. Attend a party. I DO get invited, but almost always jam out.

43. Watch a movie trilogy back to back.

44. Go 48 hours without touching a computer. It doesn't count if the computer is acting up.

45. Get my own laptop.

46. Fly a kite.

47. Climb a tree.

48. Spend all day in my jammies.

49. Buy a suit.

50. Talk to someone famous. I'm regretting not chatting with LeVar Burton when I had the chance. Fool.

51. Bake a pie from scratch.

52. Donate $5 for every goal not completed.

53. Knit a fairisle sweater.

54. Eat no refined sugar for one week. This must not coincide with numbers 51 or 78. Amazing! I did it! March 6 - March 18, 2010 (almost two weeks)!

55. Keep track of all finances for one month. I know, I know, it's shameful.

56. See 3 concerts.

57. Go to the ballet.

58. Go to the opera.

59. Go two weeks without using the credit card.

60. Catalogue all books and DVDs.

61. Bring my own shopping bags without fail, for six months. Started July 16, 2009. Completed January 16, 2010 (and have no intention of stopping).

62. Bring a travel mug to coffee houses without fail, for six months. Started July 16, 2009. Completed January 16, 2010, no problem!

63. Buy a piece of original art.

64. Drop a size. Starting from tomorrow - I've actually already dropped a size from last autumn. Could actually stand to drop a few sizes, but nevermind that.

65. Plant a tree.

66. Sew a tote bag.

67. Watch the sun set.

68. Buy a new bed. Completed December, 2009.

69. Learn beginner's conversational Norwegian. You'll have to trust me when I tell you this goal is completed.

70. Sew a quilt.

71. Finish the Asian Ladies cross-stitch. Begun a couple of years ago.

72. Take a road trip somewhere other than Fargo.

73. Learn to use a drop spindle. Purchased one July 29, 2009.

74. Sign up for TKGA Masters Knitting course.

75. Post everyday to the blog for two weeks.

76. Hike through Spirit Sands. Completed August 30, 2009.

77. Buy no new yarn for six months. I'd considered twelve months, then reconsidered. Started September 1, 2009. I did it! Completed February 28, 2010.

78. Bake cookies every Friday for eight weeks.

79. Design and knit a knitted object.

80. Upload a short film to Youtube.

81. Write a heartfelt note to someone. Not the sort of thing I would EVER do.

82. Make homemade jelly.

83. Buy fresh cut flowers every week for six weeks. I think, perhaps, in the dead of winter.

84. Stop swearing for six weeks. Damn it.

85. Make a collage.

86. Wear a Hallowe'en costume (on Hallowe'en).

87. Wear a different hat everyday for two weeks. I use to be known for my hat-wearing! What the hell happened? Oops - must stop swearing...

88. Bring Betsy out to visit.

89. Put together two emergency kits - one for home, one for auto. Gads! How long has THAT been on the "to do" list! One is in the trunk of the car as I type! - December, 2009

90. Buy a ukulele. I've always wanted one, and since they're popular right now... Completed August 26, 2009.

91. Sign up for a beginner ukulele class.

92. Watch Nigel's complete boxed set of Kubrick films.

93. Watch Nigel's complete boxed set of Herzog films. My Best Fiend - completed July 25, 2009.

94. Go one week without reading, watching or listening to the news. This will be hard for me.

95. Sleep under the stars.

96. Jump on a trampoline.

97. Sign up for a Pilate's class.

98. Visit Jane in Toronto.

99. Get another tattoo.

100. Overwinter an impatiens plant. Successfully.

101. Grow a pumpkin.

Some are seasonal, a few won't be considered until after the reno is finished, many I've done before, quite a few of them aren't really all that challenging just things I really should get around to, but the plan is to have the list completed by April 12, 2012 and that's starting as of tomorrow.

Wish me lykke til!.

...that's good luck in Norwegian...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Going By in a Blur

The summer, which seemed to take forever to start, is now going by at high speed.

Wednesday past was Canada Day as well as wee Ian's 13th birthday, and now he's off in Toronto on his first solo journey - to see his cousins. The trip seemed a long way away when I booked it back in March, but suddenly it was upon us. In the rush to get all things ready to go I neglected to give him his Auntie's phone number in Toronto. It was a tense moment while I waited for a call saying they'd recognised him at the airport (there's a big difference between last year's 12 year old and this year's teenager - in appearance only, his personality is still goofy as you can see in the snap). All ended well though, or rather, all began well. We'll have to wait and hear how things go.

I promised in the last post that I would weed the side bed (which I did!) and show off the lovely perennial garden that's been with the house for years; sadly, the one-two punch of the early spring thaw and late spring cold snap seems to have left little more than weeds (which I removed). I dashed out and bought and planted replacements for what I remembered had been there, but I'm afraid they don't look like much at the moment.

Here's an annual instead:

It's some kind of daisy, I'm not sure of the name. I think it should be called Mid-20th Century Daisy, as it's got that crazy sunburst/quasar thing going on.

One perennial that survived was this blue pelargonium:

a beautiful blue.

Our ceramic ducks survived.

To be fair though, they survived because I brought them in for the winter.

I was out thrift shopping earlier this week and came across two ceramic cookie jars.

One shaped like a wee cottage. Quite, quite adorable, but not vintage.

Also, this one. A true vintage one, Elly agreed that the deer eating the fruit was absolutely superior to the cottage, which, though very sweet, is a tad bland. Now sister Jane and brother Ian can correct me (since they're older and therefore have more childhood memories than me), but I'm certain we had a cookie jar identical to this growing up. Please confirm.

Everyone knows that the last thing I need is a new project, but I've only just heard about this one, which started sometime back in 2005. 101 goals in 1001 Days. The gist of it being, you set yourself 101 goals to be achieved in 1001 days - very straight forward. Since 1001 days is a little over two and a half years you're expected to set a few lofty goals as well as some easy ones. For example, someone might plan to run a marathon (not me) and also plan to read every Harry Potter book (already did that). Also popular choices are one's that challenge you to do things that are, perhaps, out of character, say, a shy person setting a goal to strike up conversations with three strangers.

As I turned this over in my mind, I thought it might be good to get some perspective on my weaknesses, so I asked Nigel, "What do you think is my worst quality?". After a long pause he said carefully, "...but you're perfect in every way." Since this wasn't the answer I was looking for I thought I'd put it to the kids. Immediately Ian chirped up, "I know! It's your temper!", to which Elly replied, "No, no. She's too fat!"

Ah, kids...good thing I didn't get mad, or I would've had to sit on them.