Monday, June 25, 2012

Redecorating and Retreating

One thing I forgot to mention about my trip to Ontario: I had planned to do lots of walking, reading and knitting, but the first day I was there I saw how the wallpaper that #1 and I had put up when they moved into that house in 1996 was peeling badly.  I suggested that for a project while I visited I would remove the peeling paper and paint the walls.  That suggestion was quickly approved.

I really enjoy redecorating rooms, especially if they're looking somewhat grungy.  So I set to work on Saturday (which happened to be a rainy day anyway).  I peeled off the old paper and washed away the bits that were left from the underneath parts.  Then I patched the walls.  There was a bit of old paint left, but most of the walls seemed to be bare plaster.  To minimize the bump where the paint met the plaster I spent a lot of time and elbow grease sanding down the edges of the painted part.  That was a really worthwhile thing to do.
Because the ceiling had a lot of water stains, I used some Zinsser white for the first coat, to block the stains.  Then I bought a gallon of Behr paint and primer, pure white to second coat the ceiling and first coat the walls.

#1 had a few pots of paint left over from some bedroom redoes--about 1/3 gallon light blue, 1/3 gallon light pink.  I mixed them together and they made a really lovely lilac, but it was a little too intense.  Fortunately there was another 1/3 gallon white from another project.  When that was added, the lilac was really precisely the right shade to complement the tiles.  It took two coats to completely cover the white.

The final step was to paint the fronts of the drawers and doors beneath the long countertop.  A little scrubbing of tiles and floor and the whole room was just simply spiffy!  What a treat to see the change! It made a great project which was much more interesting for me than just sitting around lazily.

 This morning we were completely fogged in.  When the fog lifted all the filmy spider webs were revealed, a delicate beauty.  (There's a bit of reflection because I shot this picture through the window.)  It reminded Jim of his childhood, walking to school and disrupting the spider webs with a forked stick.

Over this past weekend I had the joy of attending an Art Retreat at King's Fold, a beautiful centre northwest of Cochrane.  There was rain for most of the weekend, but that didn't really bother us too much.  This is the view from the dining room, and on a clearer day you can see the mountains in the distance.   For my project impetus I was given Psalm 139, "You have searched me, Lord."  I had taken along my laptop because I felt strongly that I wanted to do some composing.  I was able to complete three pages of a four part choral anthem with organ accompaniment, covering the first six verses of the Psalm.  I so much enjoyed the whole experience; it was very positive and the work flowed along in an exciting way.  I hope to return to that composition and bring it farther along at some future date.  

For now it's time to do some cleaning and baking in preparation for a visit from Jim's nephew and his wife starting on Wednesday.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Home Again and Bye-Bye

I had an excellent visit in Ontario with Dear Daughter #1 and her daughter, celebrating our granddaughter's graduation from Brock University with a four year nursing degree, Honours, with first class standing.  One interesting and strange thing about the graduation was the chancellor's speech.  After a few sentences, I remarked to DD#1, "He had too many bloody Marys for breakfast!"  He seemed to wander through his remarks, at one point referring to Einstein as "you know, that relativity guy!"  Another time he lost his place and had to hunt for it, but the most remarkable thing was this sentence: "The secret to creativity is, 'Hide your sources!'"  DD#1 and I just gaped at each other.  Did we really hear that?

Another unusual experience was being confined to the plane for 65 minutes after we landed at Hamilton airport.  There was a storm with lightning in the area, and because Hamilton does not have jetways, but instead a large, metal ramp that they slide up to the plane, there is a rule that no one is allowed on that ramp if there is any lightning within 5 miles.  This was NOT a fast-moving storm, so we all patiently waited until it had moved off.  What was remarkable about that experience was also that nobody complained.  We all just waited quietly until the all clear came.  I guess most of us thought this was a well-justified precaution.

DD#1 and DG#1 and I had lots of fun going out for meals, eating in (DD#1 is an excellent cook), and going shopping together.  DG#1 was looking for a new dress to wear to her cousin's wedding on Saturday.  DD#1 and I just happened to find some nice things also.  Then we went to Boston Pizza for a relaxed supper.  That was the night Wallenda walked across the falls.  We stayed away, and later watched it on tv.

I got home last Saturday evening, and the Dear One was glad! to see me.  We had a relaxed Sunday and then on Monday evening had our annual Employee's Barbecue.  Because the weather was so stormy we ate indoors.  That's actually easier to set up than hauling everything out to the deck.  The biggest hit of the meal were the tiny loaves of bread that I made instead of serving dinner buns.  We had a good time all together.

Tuesday I did oodles of laundry, catching up on almost two weeks from the last laundry day.

Wednesday I started "spring cleaning" the living room (on the first day of summer).  Didn't get too far but did get all the couch and loveseat cushions washed, hung out to dry, ironed and replaced.  The hardest part is stuffing the cushions back into the covers!  Washed the curtains, too, and one wall.  Well, the rest will keep until I get back to it.

Today I'm off again, this time to King's Fold, a beautiful retreat centre west of Cochrane.  Dear friends of mine are the director and his family.  I'm excited to see them again, as it's been a whole year since we visited.  And I'm really looking forward to a challenge and an art project.  I'm hoping to do a little composing on my laptop music program.  If not, it will be a watercolour project.  We'll see

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Good Apple Year

Here are three of the apple trees in our large backyard deck, all blossoming to beat the band!  It looks as if it will be a good apple year here.  The tree to the left is an old crab apple that was here on the place when we moved here in '99.  Those apples make very nice apple sauce if you wait until the frost has gone over them.  Farther back in the centre is a Dolgo crab apple.  They are somewhat oval, small and very red.  They also made a good sauce, but it's quite tart.  The tree to the right is a Kerr apple/crab.

Here's a close up of some of the Kerr blossoms.  Aren't they beautiful!  This tree fruits every other year.  On the in-between-years it produces just a few apples.  This year a good crop is due.  These apples make beautiful juice--clear and deep pink.  I'm pretty sure I've posted pictures of several quarts of just canned Kerr apple juice.

I use a steam juicer for most of my juicing.  It produces "steaming" hot clear juice, about four quarts for each full load of fruit.  I can drain the juice directly from the juicer into the sterile jar, top it with a lid, and because it's so hot, it will soon seal itself.

It's not a good year for asparagus, though.  We usually eat asparagus every other day for quite a few weeks in the spring.  This year the stalks are few and skinny.  Many are too tough to eat.  I think it was just too dry the end of last summer and into this spring.

You know those nice hand knit socks I sent to my Sis for her birthday?  They were too big, but they didn't go to waste.  They fit her husband and he loves them, so they became a present for him.

On Saturday evening I started a new pair for Sis.  They are knitting up extraordinarily fast.  It's an easy pattern from that is called "Broadripple" after an area in Indianapolis that I visited as a child.  We had cousins living there, and I especially remember the sportsplex with an indoor swimming pool.

I used this pattern once before, but they turned out so small I had to give them away to someone with daintier feet than I have (good Dutch 10 1/2's, or European 42s).  So I added a few stitches here and there to the pattern, and they're turning out very well.  I've actually gotten quite far up the leg since I took this picture this morning.  The yarn is from Mary Maxim, Aloe Sock Yarn, the colour is "Desert Sky."  It's a fun knit!

Tomorrow morning I'm flying to Ontario to be there for #1 Granddaughter's graduation with a four year nursing degree.  I'm looking forward to having a good visit there with DD#1, DGD#1 and DGS#2.  Don't know if I'll be posting at all while I'm there, so I'll see you in a little over a week.  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Not Sure About This

I finished the first of the "Double Heelix" socks yesterday.  But I'm not sure I want to keep it.

See where the knitting needle goes through the toe? It show how much too long the sock is.  That's my fault.  I had been knitting furiously along on the foot part and realized it was too long.  After taking out 10 rounds, I knit the toe part--with stripes like the heel.  That wasn't in the pattern.  I like the stripes on the toe, but it is definitely too long.  That could be fixed by unraveling several rows and reknitting--a not impossible task.

The pattern called for only 12 rows of ribbing on the cuff.  I knitted 40 rows of ribbing, but it still feels too short.

So now I have to decide: do I unravel the toe and reknit, and then add rows to the ribbing until I'm happy with it, or do I just take it all out and revert to a more traditional toe up sock?

By the way, there's a very interesting video on YouTube by Cat Bordhi (among others she's posted) about Jeny Staiman's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.  I used it on the bind off, and it's just great for socks.  If you're a sock knitter, go check it out.

Also on where you can find the "Double Heelix" sock pattern, there is a video available by Jeny (the designer) showing exactly how to start the spiral of the heel.  A little tricky to catch on to.  Well, for me, anyway.  I had to watch it many times before I could actually knit the heel.  But it was invaluable help in figuring out the pattern.