July 23, 2011


Lilly, our precious little neighbor - the two-year-old who can put a smile on anybody's face - who's laugh is infectious, had a birthday this month too!

I had long been planning my gift for her - ever since Susanna visited in April and we both purchased the book BIG LITTLE FELT UNIVERSE. It took me a couple of months to narrow down what I wanted to make, but in June when up at Papa's house for a project weekend, I got busy and made this:

A basket full of fruit and vegetables (and a mouse - eeek!)

My favorites are the carrot and head of lettuce. The carrot pattern is in the book, but the lettuce wasn't. There was a pattern for a leaf of lettuce, however, so a little imagination and I was able to turn one leaf into a whole head of them.


This mouse is similar to the one I made my Mom for her birthday.
The pattern is available here.

The basket was crocheted out of Wool-ease Thick & Quick.  It's a bit of a squeeze to fit everything into it, but I figured that since she's two these toys will end up all over the house soon anyway!

July 21, 2011

Time Out: let's celebrate

In the midst of our current home project scramble, Mike had a birthday!

Though we plan on celebrating with our family at the end of the month, we couldn't let his actual birthday pass by without some acknowledgment. So we celebrated with pizza and cannoli!
But before Mike could sit back and relax with his Italian delicacies, he had to help Papa and I move and assemble furniture, as we attempted to put the house back together after drywalling, painting and carpet installation (note new shelf in above photo).

We fired up the cob oven on Saturday and made all sorts of delicious pizza combinations: my favorite was the Prosciutto + Figs + Blue Cheese.

We even got to finally introduce Rebecca & Ryan to our cob oven!

Though a little tentative at first, they quickly realized that char & ash only serve to enhance the flavor.

We continued Mike's birthday celebration on Sunday with a birthday party for 2-year-old Lilly, our beautiful neighbor and friend, and a child who has some fantastic facial expressions.

July 12, 2011

Meoww... grrr... Meow

While we work on painting the house, poor Roople has been relegated to the basement and yard. The paint is almost dry, so in no time at all he'll be back roaming the house and tearing things up.
Needle-felted Roople in Maneki Neko form.

Roople probably doesn't mind the basement too much, as he only has two objectives in life: to annoy me, and to eat. Since his food is in the basement, he really only misses out on annoying me.

July 8, 2011

The Dream... is a little more realistic now

Weeks have passed - feels like days. Mike and I have spent the last several weeks working on the upstairs bedroom. We've been working on it over the last few years, but there have always been more pressing matters to attend to. With an impending visit from Sara and Bobby in three weeks, we set a deadline of having 2 bedrooms by the time they arrive. We don't have any illusions that the room will be finished, but "habitable" is our goal (we feel we've reached the point where our guests might be a little sick of sleeping on our couch).

With this goal in mind, Mike finished all the electrical last month, and with the help of our friend Bobby they got all of the eave insulation installed. Next came the plumber to make sure that our plumbing was set up for a sink in the upstairs room. Then Mike and I spent a couple of crazy nights ripping out trim and scraping paint in preparation for the drywallers.

Insulation - the cat kept sneaking up here to sleep in the insulation then would itch like crazy all day.

Mike hates small spaces - but he suffered in the little space over the kitchen in order to get the last of the insulation in.

 Pink Panther insulation installed - drywall next!

 The little cubby on the left is a built-in shelf for shoe storage and the door on the right provides access to the eaves, if needed.

Over the fourth of July weekend the drywallers arrived to finish the insulation, install, tape and mud drywall, and finally to put a light orange peel texture on all the walls. They finished on Sunday afternoon, at which point Mike and I, along with sister Susanna who graciously volunteered to come help us paint, jumped right into the project.

 Susanna masterfully taped with her trusty "green frog" tape.

A coat of Kilz

We managed to finished priming upstairs on Sunday afternoon.

 Photo from the top of the stairs - closets on the right.

And we got almost two coats on the walls by Monday evening!

 Mike made sure that there were lots of electrical outlets so that we can arrange our furniture in a variety of configurations.

 These closets are 3x the size of my current one downstairs.

The large alcove will be where our sink goes and the small alcove to the right will be built-in shelves.

We've got carpet installation scheduled for next week, then we get to work on the baseboards and window trim - the end is in sight! While this work was going on upstairs we also had contractors in to patch all the holes we put in the wall downstairs when we redid the electrical. They patched, then floated and textured the walls to give them a consistent finish. Susanna got primer and one coat of paint on those walls by the end of day Monday, then continued her generosity by extending her train ticket home by one day so that she could put the last coat on the walls on Tuesday while Mike and I were at work.

Thanks Susanna!

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