Saturday, October 29, 2011

Crowd Control In a Civil Society

If you were wondering what kind of crowd control standards we require in a war zone (which I believe Oakland is NOT):

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Now That the Tourists Are Gone

During the summer on Cape Cod the beaches are full of tourists. There is no parking, all of the beaches require stickers and/or payment for parking, and dogs are not welcome. I got around some of the issues last summer because I was living within walking distance of the shore, and I had the benefit of a yacht club membership. If I got out early enough or late enough I could get the dogs out for a walk on the beach without anyone from the yacht club complaining. Next summer I'll get a sticker for the Mashpee Town Beach, use my old strategies for Falmouth, and visit where I please after 4:00 pm (the magic hour for free access!).

Until Memorial Day the beaches are free and the locals are out in force to enjoy them. We bring our dogs, park where we please and enjoy the solitude. Yesterday I went to the Sandwich Town Beach by way of their beautiful boardwalk across the marsh with Roxy. It's about a 15 minute drive from my house. Although I heard a comment that there were a lot of people on the beach (good weather with rain coming later this week) I was seldom where I could hear the voice of another person.  The locals go to the beach all winter and so will I. The water here is not really warm enough for me to enjoy swimming, and walking on the beach is enjoyable in all weathers.

Yesterday we visited at low tide - lots of exposed rocks and tide pools which Roxy did not care for - she was relieved when we moved further up on the beach where she had more comfortable footing. She loves a walk on the beach - there is always a chance of finding some fragrant dead thing and she's very interested in gulls.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bits and Bobs

I've been surprisingly consistent (for me) in posting blog entries with one, or at least limited, topics. It's not really like me - I love a good tangent better than I should. I ended up with a lot of odds and ends pictures, some of which I upload to Flickr and some I just let hang around on my computer until I need a little something for a post without much visual interest. I am not counting the random Roxy pictures because someone I know rather well does not feel that a post is complete unless there is a picture of The Amazing Roxanne. I had such a fractured day yesterday and had some interesting pictures to go along, so I thought I might indulge in an oddly assorted post.

Yesterday I was out & about a fair amount and the pictures I took of my various activities do not go together at all. First I went to the fall open house at the Little Farm on Cape Cod with my knitting group.  The farm owner is a new member of our group, and her farm is just lovely. We got to see various farm animals - the usual horses plus alpacas (one was a teeny new baby!) ducks and masses of chickens. The chickens were in their run, but responded very enthusiastically to my offers of plantain leaves. Big fun and of course I NEED my own chickens. There were all kinds of chickens in the pen but I'm featuring this picture so Richard can enjoy the beaky terror (Say thank you!).  The weather was perfect and we all had a great time. Joan keeps a little store in the farm where local products are for sale - handspun from the farm's alpacas and also hand dyed yarn, local honey and jam, jewelry, bread, goats' milk soap (very nice for dry skin and free of all kinds of additives) and other goats' milk products. It's a sweet little store and the locals who produced the merchandise were on hand to answer questions and visit with us.

After I came home I needed to run up to the pharmacy to pick up some antibiotics to treat a tick bite which did not look good to Doctor Lisa. We arrived at the better safe than sorry position based on the comparison of effects from an unneeded dose of doxycycline vs the effect of Lyme Disease. Lyme if very common here and nothing to play with. On the way to the drug store I passed a cranberry bog and noticed that they were doing a water harvest. I had promised my friend Sharon in Oklahoma I would send her a picture of a cranberry harvest if I saw one. Of course it was the one time in the last three months when I had neither camera nor phone with me, so back I went to get both.

her head is in the bush but I got the tick. No fair!
While I was out taking cranberry pictures I stopped to take pictures at Wakeby Cemetery aka Sandwich Goodspeed Cemetery. I pass it often, in fact there are a lot of these tiny old plots all over the Cape and they are all interesting places. I had always intended to stop in and take a few pictures, so with camera in hand coming back from the bog I stopped to take a little peek and a few snaps.

There is still knitting going on. I am currently reknitting a hat that I made this spring. I chose the wrong size and it was like a wastebasket on my head. I just clipped the top and am now knitting the new (4" smaller version) right off the old giant one.  Too lazy to reskein it!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

There Will Be Knitting

Given the number of times I have been visiting yarn stores and farms it's about time I posted something like a finished knitted object. I actually have two finished objects to post for an exciting change of pace.  You'd think the astonishing output this month would indicate I will be running short of stash yarn, but not so. Todays visit to the Little Farm on Cape Cod yielded a lovely sunshine colored hand painted sock yarn to replace anything I may have accidentally used up.

One is the Birthday Cowl by Nova Seals, knit in a delicious merino and silk blend from Manos del Uruguay. I picked up this yarn at Black Purl during the Cape Cod Yarn Crawl. The cowl is very pretty and a fast knit. The other is a pair of socks from the Cookie A pattern Wanida in a bright turquoise yarn from Regia that has been marinating in my stash for some time. The original pattern has one more pattern repeat on the foot than I ended up doing (I was not sure about the foot length), but otherwise no changes.

We are enjoying beautiful fall weather here, so I have been outside walking in the woods a bit. This week Roxy and I took a walk in the Boyden Farm Conservation Lands. The reward for that so far has been a deer tick bite. I am currently "enjoying" a prophylactic course of doxycycline which has to be taken on an empty stomach, guaranteeing nearly instant int3nse nausea 9with sweating).  I am assured that Lyme Disease is worse but it's hard to imagine how. I do wear long pants and long sleeves whenever I go walking in the woods but that's not always enough protection.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Maybe This is What They Meant

Once again I have not been raptured.  I thought they were talking about was being taken bodily to heaven but maybe this is what they meant?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Before and After Six

At last our sofa is delivered and taking its proper place in our living room. We have not had one for a while and I was looking forward to having one. That the one be bought was my absolute first choice is just icing on the cake. This is the room whose color scheme so distressed me - flesh pink beige trimmed with flat band-aid. The room has been getting better little by little since we moved in. The rattan chairs are reupholstered chairs from Shana's parents home, vintage 70's with a fresh face. The coffee table is the one that has been following us around for twenty years, also vintage 70's. Shana's mother really wanted us to have it because it's a really nice piece, but we were afraid its large scale would overwhelm our small house. Turns out Inace was right about it. The little stools are also vintage with fresh cushions. We bought the sofa, drapes and rug at Pottery Barn; I made the tiebacks from supplies of my own that I brought from Oklahoma and shells we picked up on the beach in Florida.  The glass table we bought  nearly twenty years ago at Dillards. The bookshelf is an older piece, and the plant stand came from Inace's house. The pillows on the sofa are a combination of purchases made on Newbury Street in Boston and Greece.

 I started planning the room from the Chagall print above the sofa. The colors in the print are too strong to literally base a color scheme on, but the idea of combining a lot of different blues and greens make it the obvious inspiration without going all "clown car". The colors in the Chagall are repeated across the room in a different way in the floral print, with the books putting some weight on that side the balance the sofa. I'm really pleased with it and hope to be entertaining soon.

I was in such a hurry to get pictures up before I have to take off for work that I have featured a bit of protruding rug pad and an entire vacuum cleaner (Dyson Animal - superb!) in them. Please pretend you don't see them and I will upload improved pictures to Flickr when I can!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Little Change that Makes a Big Difference

Before we even had picked out a house to put it in we had purchased a little white and crystal chandelier for our bedroom. It's been in a box for months - the promise of a pretty bedroom for us. The house we bought had a ceiling fan the size of a helicopter (a very nice fan but not at all my taste and much too large for the room) which because of the way it was wired had to wait for an electrician to replace it with our chandelier. Today was the day! I think our chandelier is a perfect fit and adds a little more charm to our room. All of the lamps in the room feature sparkly crystals, so that big brown object on the ceiling did not add a thing.

Because of the peculiarities of our house's wiring when the new lamp was installed no other lights in the house would come on. I nearly fell out the back door in conniptions, but after another run at the problem the electricians set things to rights and things are now all working correctly; our pretty bedroom is complete except for a teeny bit of painting I'll probably do tomorrow morning - the bit of ceiling that used to be covered by the fan and is not covered by the much smaller lamp base, and the baseboards.

Roxy was also very pleased because she has grown to love having workmen in the house. She was quite disappointed when I put her outside on the lead and entertained the neighborhood with barking until it started raining and I brought her in. I'm afraid any pretensions she may have had to being a watch dog are proven totally false.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Before and After Five

After having stripped a lot of it to the studs the bathroom is finally finished, except for the vanity drawer pulls and a window treatment. I am currently haunting Spoonflower for a suitable print. I have scoured the local Joann's and will be hitting the other fabric sources on the Cape, but I suspect I may be looking for this fabric for some time.  The colors in the floor and shower are a little uncommon and I want something outstanding to go with them. This may not be the final wall color, but this is the one I wanted and because I had nearly a gallon of it I went ahead with it because having the walls half painted was so much worse and it was depressing me. In the picture the new color looks just like the old, but it's just a trick of the flash.  The old color was a dingy kind of grey. The new color is the same pale grey I used on all the rooms on the back side of the house.

We started with a beige fiberglass tub enclosure and  grannyish stick on tiles that probably came from the 70's. We took out the tub and replaced it with a nice big ceramic tile shower with a glass tile trim. The beige toilet came out; the white toilet was installed. We removed the old oak vanity with the beige sink and replaced it with a grey stained rustic pine with a quartz top (ECO, color crystal ash) and white sink. The faucets and shower heads are brushed nickel with a bamboo theme. None of them show in my pictures - you'll just have to take my word for it that they are spectacular! The floor is Marmoleum (color #3403 Asian Tiger). I love the shower. Some people think for resale you should never remove the only bath tub, but for our personal use the shower is so much more what we wanted.

The pictures on the wall are sunset pictures I took during a vacation on Marco Island, where we used to vacation every summer.  The terrarium is my own creation.

This week I also made a little makeshift bird feeder out of a soda bottle - it's not much to look at but it draws loads of adorable little birds in the morning, as does the suet feeder I have on one of the back yard trees. Of course the fat squirrels are very interested in both.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Before and After Four

With the kitchen counters in and the sink hooked up I'll call this one finished. We were able to keep the existing appliances in place, which allowed us to spend a little more on our finishes. Eventually the appliances will need to be replaced, but for now they are adequate for our needs (except that the stove isn't pretty). We used our old kitchen table, and repurposed an existing small piece of furniture for kitchen linens. The cupboards are neither large nor numerous, but we have plenty of room in the basement for things that are not in daily use. Those less frequently used  items live on steel shelving at the foot of the stairs where they can be easily accessed. We changed the walls from mint green to pale grey, although you really can't tell from these pictures.

The original floor was stick on tiles from the 60's in a strange parquet pattern which carried on down the hall. We replaced the tile with Marmoleum (color 3412 Rembrandt Palette) in the kitchen and bamboo flooring to match the living room and master bedroom in the hall. It's stylish these days to put hardwood floors in the kitchen, but Marmoleum can take more of the kind of treatment a kitchen get, plus it is very easy on the feet and legs. It's a sustainable, naturally antimicrobial product made of linseed oil (like Grandma's lino!) wood flour and pine resins with a jute backing. I love it underfoot. We went with a sheet product, but it also comes in tiles and is made in all kinds of colors. I'm hoping I can use a steam mop on it, but that  jury is still out.

Our counters are Curava (color Jungle Moon), which is made of cement, seashells, and recycled glass. It's beautiful, durable, and environmentally sound. Care is pretty much the same as any natural stone, with a yearly application of a sealant. I'm really excited about our counters - they are just gorgeous. I had never seen the material in anything larger than a sample, so I was not sure how it would look. I thought it would "read" black from across the room, but it looks like a glowing chocolate/golden brown. We are keeping the  original knotty pine cabinets (built on site in the kitchen) because we like the look and the new counters bring out the best qualities of the cabinets. The cabinets need a little freshening up, which will be a pretty easy job.

We replaced the existing smallish and shallow double sink with a really big double sink which because it is undermounted actually uses up less counter space than the old smaller one. We picked out a faucet with an integral sprayer and a single control - tres stylish!

The painting is done but I still have to make window coverings and someday change out the old ugly light fixtures. I'm not sure what I want yet, and there is really no hurry because I'm short and I can pretend I don't see them!  I must note that in the pictures the junk on the front of the fridge does not add a great deal of style.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Installation Station

This morning - no counters at all!
Finally our counter tops were installed today. Both the bathroom vanity top and the kitchen counters were installed. At one point I had two crews in the house working on separate counters. Both counters are gorgeous, but we do not have a working sink in the house until tomorrow morning. The sinks have adhesives and silicon which have to cure for some time before the plumber can hook them up without doing damage. I can admire them, however.  By the time I come home from work tomorrow everything should be done except for one threshold.

Bringing the big piece of counter inside
I underestimated how good the kitchen counters would look - it's beautiful material and reads quite a bit lighter than the previous charcoal grey/black laminate. Also since the edge does not hang over the front of the cupboards more of the cupboard front is visible, giving it a more open look.

The finished product
 The floor man was here with material for two thresholds (I had told the designer we needed three) but did not have the equipment he needed to make them fit properly; he'll finish the job tomorrow. When the designer came today she said that the floor man had told her we did not need a threshold between the hall and the bathroom, and when the installer and the homeowners say different things she trusts the installers. Grrrrr. From the bathroom side the surface is only off by about a quarter of an inch, but it looks uneven and very unfinished. Also there is a sharp edge which can hurt your foot if you're shuffling along in the middle of the night. She should have listened to me. However, it is not a huge deal and she will order what is needed. The drawer fronts needed to repair the vanity and the material to finish the kick plate are here. Our contractor will make that repair (I was assured by her that I would not be paying to effect those repairs since we had paid for a completely finished vanity).
Installing the bathroom sink
Still on the list are several projects. A new light fixture is needed for the bathroom, probably this weekend so I can hang the mirror back up and paint (I need new mirror clips because one has gone missing). Then I will need to decide on fabric and make a window treatment for the bathroom. Once that is done we will select some kind of inexpensive but striking piece of art for the room, and call it finished. The little mirror that is on the bathroom wall now is going around the corner to the hall, where the scale of the wall suits it better.

The giant ceiling fan needs to come out of our bedroom, to be replaced by a white chandelier which we already own. This requires the services of an electrician because of the way the ceiling fan is wired.

The bathroom counter in place
For the rest of the upstairs, we have four other ceiling light fixtures slated for replacement. They are the big glass and brass units that look somewhat like boobs hanging from the ceiling. It's not an urgent issue, but they are ugly. Maybe new ceiling fixtures will be our Christmas gifts to each other?

Roxy sulking on the porch
The bathroom vanity needs pulls or knobs. We'll go shopping for those at our leisure and I will install myself.

The guest room needs window treatments, which will just be a matter of some measuring and picking up the fabric. We'll be going with something like a ticking stripe, so I feel confident that I can get that an Joan's in Hyannis. I should be able to make them in a day (two if I don't have an uninterrupted day).

Poor Roxy had to spend the whole morning sulking on the front porch in the sun. She wanted to come in and "help" but I was mean to her!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Something for Nothing

Because both of us use my desk for bills and scheduling, I knew I needed some kind of pinboard for the area to improve the function of the area. When I was out yesterday looking for towel racks and other items of bathroom decor I looked around and not only did not see anything I wanted, I saw nothing at all in that line. My original idea had been a ribbon board, but I thought some kind of cork board would answer my needs better. Then I started looking around the house to see what we had. I was thinking MDF, but we didn't have anything like that. It wasn't long before my eye fell upon some extra ceiling tiles in the corner of the laundry room. My thought was that with the right kind of fabric I could make a ribbon board of it. All of my fabric was given away or sold before we left Oklahoma City, so I started thinking of what I had that could be cut up to cover the ceiling tile. There were two possibilities: a set of king sized sheets that are waiting in the shed for a project to come along, and T shirts. The T shirts won because the sheets were not a color I can use for this project. My library is blue and yellow, so a navy blue T shirt promoting the Star Spencer Bobcat football team was pressed into service. I used the front of the shirt because I liked the logo and think it adds something fun to the pinboard, but I could have used the back if I wanted it to be plain. I was going to staple it, but I happened to have a can of  Super 77 spray adhesive that gave me a good smooth surface.  This was a better choice because ceiling tiles are not all that sturdy and staples might have broken it.  I cut off any part of the T shirt that stuck out over the tile edge and proceeded to cover the edges. The edges got a trimming of white grosgrain ribbon (my go to notion) around the top and folded over to cover the sides of the ceiling tile with  Sobo craft glue applied with a small brush to the ribbon and the raw edges of the ceiling tile. The ribbon stuck to the T shirt surface right away, but it took a while to get the glue to the desired state of stickiness to hold the ribbon flat to the sides. I just kept running my fingers over it to force the crease and get it to stick smoothly. I finished it up be making some custom pins by attaching some little shells I collected in Florida to T pins with  E-6000. Voila - cute, functional and FREE! The whole project took about two hours start to finish, including scrounging around for materials.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Before and After Three

Lots of things will be installed this week, so more before and afters should be coming later in the week. Today I am going to show you our bedroom although there are a few things still to be done.

The previous owner was a big fan of lavender. I think she was actually planning to paint her next bedroom the exact same color. People who have known me since junior high might recognize the color of the "before" as I think it was the same color as the bedroom I shared with Judy back in the day. The previous homeowner had the foot of the bed toward the windows, which meant the head of the bed would be next to the hall and in order the reach the far side of the bed one would have to walk all the way around the bed. There was a television bracket mounted on the wall between the windows. There was also a mirror mounted over the head of the bed. Window treatments were lace valances and mini blinds.

The biggest change we made was to pull up the carpet and put in bamboo flooring. The next most noticeable change was to paint the room a rich medium grey. We moved the bed to the window wall because I did not want my head to be in the hall, and put the dresser under the existing mirror. Long lined linen drapes went on all of the windows, with the drapes carried over between the windows behind the bed.

There are still a few things to be finished. We will be putting some kind of frame around the mirror and adding some art to this wall. There is currently a gigantic brown ceiling fan over the bed which will be replaced by a sweet white wrought iron chandelier with sparkly crystal drops. We had hoped to have the chandelier installed already, but the fan is hardwired in without being attached to a wall switch and that is not going to work. We'll have to have an actual electrician out to make that installation. I need to finish painting the baseboards, and we are looking for a vintage runner or dresser scarf in white embroidery or crochet for the dresser. We have not yet decided the fate of the night stands. They are kind of pretty, but walnut. I am thinking of painting them white and changing out the hardware for something with a little more sparkle.

The last picture is a detail of our bedroom lamps: vintage beauties that fall somewhere in between gorgeous and hilarious. I'm afraid the pictures might be a little grainy and dark, but I was trying not to use the flash.