Real Estate Boom!

I made a sudden and very unexpected real estate acquisition this week! How big of an acquisition it is would be purely in the eye of the beholder, though. 😉 I’ve been a member of the local Freecycle group for a few years, but nearly all my activity has been getting rid of things. However, when someone posted a partially built dollhouse kit a few days ago, I couldn’t resist pouncing on the opportunity to get a nice sized house. Next problem is finding a good spot for this new treasure.

Bleuette Sweater 015

It’s the Vermont Farmhouse Jr. kit from Real Good Toys, and it’s very much a handyman’s special. It was started by a little girl of about 10 years of age – about 10 years ago. She abandoned the project, and the house has been sitting in the basement for a good while. Over the course of time, the windows, doors, and stairs disappeared. The shingling is half done and needs to be removed entirely.

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The porch appears to have been in place at one point in time, but it’s reverted to pieces in a box.

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And there was what appears to be a toxic waste spill in the attic…

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But just look at the potential! The shell is intact and solid, and there is no redecorating to do! Both of the lower floors divide into two rooms, and the attic can be sectioned as well.

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Having not planned on having such a nice big house to play with at this point in time, my mind is spinning with options of how to dress it out, but for now, I’ve not arrived at any definite plan of action – except that I know the woman of the house is a creative lady, so there will have to be some sort of sewing, knitting, and/or art area in here somewhere. 😉

And speaking of miniatures and sewing… I just finished a little tutorial on making realistic looking sewing patterns “in use” for miniature scenes. You can access it through a direct link in my sidebar or click here. Have fun! And let me know if you try it. I’d love to see your finished projects!

Published in: on August 31, 2009 at 2:31 am  Leave a Comment  

Three Bags Full

If there were such a thing as scratch and sniff blog posts, I can assure you, you would only scratch today’s once!

Fleece 1

For some reason, the photo just doesn’t do this justice – in fragrance OR in appearance. When I opened the bag this fleece was packed in, I was overwhelmed – and not in the best sense of the word – and it took less than 60 seconds for all six cats and the dog to find me and my new treasure, too! I’ve bought several fleeces over the past year, but so far, I’d had terribly cold feet in regard to actually washing them – in large part, I think, because not only had I never even seen the project done, but also because the fleeces I’d picked out were all really neat fleeces, and I was terrified I’d mess them up in some manner. In June, I cured that problem by purchasing a nice enough, but plain white, fleece. Opening the box sealed my fate; I HAD to wash it. There would be no living with my pets otherwise!

So, I made an emergency run to Walmart, where I purchased three mesh laundry bags, some Dawn dishwashing liquid, and a pleasant smelling bottle of hair conditioner. Once home, I started the washing machine filling with hot water, and holding my breath as long as I could, I started stuffing fleece into the mesh bags, determined not to wonder what I was actually touching. Being a fleece washing virgin, I chose to minimize my possible losses by not putting too much wool in the washer at one time.

Fleece 2

Coming back 15 short minutes later, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It looked like the Mississippi River had detoured through my washer, and I started wondering if I would ever really want to put my clothes in there again. I emptied the water and briefly spun the bags, and while the machine refilled, I examined my fleece. Amazingly enough, I really hadn’t damaged it, and in fact, I had to admit it already looked (and smelled) better. Now I was feeling braver!

Fleece 3

Three soaks and spins, followed by a last balmy float in a hot lavender scented bath left me with wool I was no longer afraid to touch – and I have to confess, I was feeling pretty proud of myself as I hung the bags out on the clothesline, too! Of course, once it was dry, reality set in as I realized that it was still very full of VM (vegetable matter). At least it was clean VM, I reminded myself, as I started picking through a small bit of my now soft and pleasantly scented wool…

Fleece 4

It took me 4 different days to complete, but I now have the entire fleece washed. I’ve not picked nearly as much as I’ve cleaned, due in large part to time being a rather finite commodity.  There is an entire pillow protector stuffed full of wool (and VM) teasing me into teasing it clean, a job which I’m oddly enough enjoying. What IS picked is such fun to squish on my way past it, though. 🙂 As much as I’m looking forward to spinning this stuff, it really feels like a project unto itself just to have made something so pretty and lovable from something that smelled so hopeless not too long before. What a lovely adventure – and pleasure to think that it’s only the first chapter of the story!

And I don’t often do this, but… I chose the title for this posting with more than my fleece in mind. I just finished reading Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann, and I have to say that it was such a delight! The premise of the book is that a shepherd is found murdered, and his sheep take it upon themselves to solve the murder. Though this might sound somewhat far fetched, the sheep really don’t act out of character for being sheep – assuming you can, for the time being, accept that sheep converse on a much more logical plane than you have believed in the past. What makes this book such a fun read is the author’s incredible sense of humor as she leads us through the thought patterns of the various members of the flock. Sheep without a shepherd can truly develop some interesting theological viewpoints! I frequently found myself laughing aloud at the conclusions they drew from the evidence at hand. Subtle comments about such things as the human flock that visited the meadow or the human mothers bleating at their children are sprinkled delicately through the story and keep the reader thinking from the sheep’s point of view. It’s been a good while since I had such outright fun with a read, and I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves sheep, wool, yarn, or just a good and entertaining book.

Yep, Still Remodeling…

I’ve been receiving queries about how the remodeling is or is not progressing, and I guess it has been a good while since I’ve posted any sort of an update. I keep hoping for something truly exciting to report, but there is so much going on around here that it’s more baby steps than strides. DH isn’t as inspired this year either. However, there are some definite positives since my last report.

We’ll start in my sewing room…

Mantle with plinths

I actually finished the mantle last fall, but we weren’t able to get it into the house until this summer. The project isn’t entirely finished, but I have to confess I’m really loving the look so far! I’ll do a full post when everything is done, as there are a number of details I want to share. Right now, the next step involves me and a bench grinder. No comment about how exciting that is… See, I bought some antique fireplace tiles on ebay, and was somewhat ripped off due in part to my naivety in the matter, and part due to the seller… What should have been an over abundance of tiles turned out to be not quite enough, as part of them had been dipped in acid to remove the mortar from the back. This procedure did a fantastic job on the mortar, but  apparently also dulled the surface. That maybe wouldn’t have been awful if they all looked alike, but the others had shiny faces and tons of mortar. Only the shiny ones were numerous enough for the project, so now I’m having the “joy” of turning this:

Sewing Room tiles pregrind

into this:

Sewing Room Tiles postgrind

And it’s a reeeeeeeally boring process! All I can say is that this had better look utterly fantastic when I’m done!!!

I’ve also managed to squeeze in some painting time, at last finishing the high shelves in my sewing room. This is an outdoor project, and it has to be worked around the weather, mowing neighbors, evening mosquito time, and DH filling the air with sawdust. Somehow, though, I did manage it, and they are up and waiting for the curing time to run out so I can reload them – and mark one more big step off the list. 🙂 They look so nice that I keep popping into the room just to admire them.

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And just as a reminder as to why this makes me so happy, I started out with paneling, black brackets, and bare wood shelves. Look a little better than before?

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I will just skip the laundry room, which has gone nowhere since the last section of tile was laid in the spring. The next set involves a hole for the drain, and that doesn’t seem to be happening. I’ll say no more…

The nook is plodding, but happening. It’s not moving anywhere near the speed it did last year, but positive things are happening nonetheless. Last fall saw the completion of all the DVD drawers, but work stopped short of building the enclosure to hold them. That was the first woodworking DH did this summer. Now it’s my turn, and there is a ton of painting to do! Good thing is that if I work on just a piece or two at a time, I can do that inside, so I won’t be hampered by the same constraints that slowed the shelves. Now it’s just a matter of squeezing the project into my schedule when I can.

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Next part of the nook is to build the little cabinet where the TV will sit. The bottom portion will house the spare office supplies – a desperately needed space for which I’m exceedingly eager! The outer cabinet is done, and currently DH is working on the drawers, which are on heavy duty pull outs to handle the weight of paper reams and such. I gave up trying to get pix without cats, as this has proven to be a favorite installation for them. Tyg was extremely unhappy when I started painting it. The odor wasn’t to his liking. He’s taken to sitting on a box about two feet away from it, staring rather forlornly. He’s not going to appreciate the rest of the drawers being added either, I don’t suppose…

Secret Sister July 003

Tyg – official inspector of anything shaped like a box. He used to have the prettiest face of all our kitties, but his dreadful habit of constantly rubbing and marking has worn the fur off his nose – not a good look.

Tyg in nook drawers_renamed_8016

I guess this passes inspection…

Secret Sister 004

Tyg’s sister, Doodle, disagreed with him. She’s sure this is her private bath chamber. I’ve spared you the bathing beauty pix and shared wild cat instead.

Tyg - if there's a will

Adding the drawers didn’t change Tyg’s opinion. He still loves “his” cave… and I’m trying not to feel too guilty about giving him the boot…

And much to my discredit, I’ve yet to paint my new studio doors from last summer, so nothing to show there.

So that’s it on the world’s slowest remodeling projects for now. Anyone want to guess when one of these will actually be finished?

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