Done Done

The lace hat is completed, washed, dye set, blocked and dry.

Now I've picked another hat above my current skill set. It is the Koolhaus hat that all of the cool bloggers are knitting. I want to make it for a friend that was recently diagnosed with cancer and will start chemo soon. I picked a pretty periwinkle heather for her. She wears bright funky jewelry to cheer herself up, so I think a springy hat might be good.

In other news, the kitty is not happy that the obsession with knitting has continued. She likes to sit on top of whatever I'm currently knitting, so she has been kicked over to Ben's lap every night for weeks now. Here is how she feels about it:

taken by Ben

Kiwi will also not like us leaving for Spring Break for 8 days. We are going to sunny California to visit my in-laws. I'm excited for sun and warmth, but I'm more excited to knit on the plane and to visit yarn shops. Is that strange?

New Snow, New Hat

I actually completed the lace hat over the weekend, but it is blocking now, so photos will follow.

As soon as that hat was done, I picked up the easiest, smallest project I could find.

I made the baby beanie from tilli tomas. It is supposed to be in Flurries yarn with glass beads. Very pretty, but I didn't have any. Therefore, I used the Wool Bamboo from Classic Elite in celery. I used 72 stitches on size 5 circular with the magic loop method (my new favorite!). I had to decrease 2 stitches in the row before the regular decreases start, but it turned out fine.

We had another snow storm last night.

I thought I was sick of snow, but it is too pretty outside to feel that way. It is warm enough that the snow is snowman sticky. Maybe I should make a baby snowman for the hat.

Kitchen Renovation

I have hated the decor in the kitchen for over a year and a (Who puts carpet in a kitchen?!? Who puts navy blue wallpaper in the tiniest kitchen ever?!?), but I always found another house project to work on. I procrastinated because I knew it would be unpleasant having the kitchen torn up. I also knew I couldn't do it during the gardening season, the harvest season, the canning season or the baking/holiday season. So, that basically leaves January and February. Unfortunately in my household in Wisconsin, we get a nasty case of the Februaries that sometimes starts in January. Ben and I wander around the house in a grumpy or anxious mood for a few weeks until we can see the signs of spring. Housing your dining room furniture in the bedroom and your kitchen appliances in the living room, doesn't help at all.

This is the kitchen minus appliances as of January 28th. Nasty carpet and toxic asbestos tile underneath.  Later, we would find out that there were another 2 layers of tile under that!

Carpet still in place

(Funny sidenote: In September I had frozen some tomatoes. I then thawed them to can them with another batch from the garden. I had an off-brand Ziploc commercial moment when the bag busted open all over the floor. I knew we were replacing it, so I cleaned the mess, but didn't scrub it all out. Our kitchen looked for weeks like there had been a massacre.)

Here is the bottom layer of subfloor.

Carpet and asbestos removed

These are pictures after wallpaper removal,

Wallpaper removed

priming the rough walls


and then filling in the divots with plaster.


Lastly, here is the kitchen with new flooring and the trial of new paint on the walls. We liked the paint, but I'm still working on the second coat, trim, hardware and repainting the cupboards. I'll post another picture when it is done.

New flooring and trial of new paint

Flooring Extravaganza

I've been very busy with home renovation projects. I think I've exited hibernation phase into cabin fever, but my version of cabin fever is to drastically change my surroundings until I feel better. Here was the carpet in the kitchen as of January 28th. The same nasty, stained blue-gray stuff was in the sunroom.

kitchen floor before

This is after the asbestos guys removed the toxic flooring.

After asbestos floor is removed

Then we had to remove the particle board layer--a messy job until late into the night.

Messy work

Clean subfloor

Then my brilliantly talented contractor neighbor helped me install the hardwood floor we picked out. The pneumatic nail gun was fun, but temperamental. We had to keep close watch on toes (all of the time) and eyes (when we had to turn it upside down to fix it).

Hardwood 1/2 installed

Hardwood intalled

Lastly, you see that Kiwi likes the new floor in the sunshine.

Happy kitty on new floor

P.S.: Happy Valentine's Day. I've been feeling the love for the new paint and flooring in the kitchen (I did say drastically change the surroundings). I'll post pictures of that soon.

Skiing, thinking

Ben and I went for a ski today at the Turtle Creek Floodplain today. It was cloudy, and we went 2 hours before dusk. We saw 3 does and a great horned owl. The owl flew right over my head, so I was able to point it out to Ben when he came up behind me. It was gorgeous and was new to his bird list.

The rhythmic motion of skiing and the pattern of your breath make it a perfect time to reflect. Life moves so fast in this time of gadgetry and complexity. Is blogging really a productive use of time? The object of simplifying your life is to slow down and notice more of what goes on around you. Today, I noticed and reflected a little more because I was thinking in terms of the blog. Moments of beauty and quiet are good to capture.

This picture is from skiing in the floodplain earlier this winter on a sunnier day.

Cooking Extravaganza

We are having our kitchen floor removed on Monday and it won't be replaced until next week. I've been cooking all day to prepare. I made 1-1/2 batches of tomato kale soup, 2 batches of African ground nut stew and some raspberry ice cream. yum.