Friday, July 20, 2012

It's done!!

I can't tell you how happy I am that the workmen are finally out of my house.  Not because I didn't like them. They were clean (always sweeping up after themselves), courteous (knocking for us rather than just coming in the house), and efficient (they finished 2 days ahead of schedule despite the rain and electrical delays).  There is just something about having strangers in your house who make it uncomfortable to go get your morning Cheerios in your pajamas.  No traipsing through the house in just a towel because you left your clothes in the dryer at the other end of the house.  That feeling like you should be there in case they had any questions.  And the hammering at 7:30 in the morning was a horrible second alarm clock.

But they are done and out of here and now my work begins.  Yesterday I purchased the new fan and light units and bought the paint (Cinchilla).  Today I wrote the final check and moved my stuff into the room to start painting.  I got up on the ladder to blue tape the windows and realized I only had two feet of the 1" tape available.  So down off the ladder and yet another trip to Home Depot to give them more of my money.  Fortunately I only needed 1 roll of blue tape and a pack of daylight mini spiral lightbulbs.  Of course I have a feeling that Sunday, when Dan puts the ceiling fans in, that we will be back at the store for something.

This afternoon will be up and down the ladder while I get the top of the wall cut in.  Why is it I have three kids who are afraid of heights (stares up at the ceiling whistling).  OK, I don't like being up high either (see previous posts) but someone has to go up on the 9 foot ladder.  Having very short arms doesn't help, though because it means I have to climb up and down the ladder a bazillion times to do the entire room.  I wish I had one of the library ladders that are connected to rails and someone could just push me around the room as I needed to get to the next part.  That would be cool and fun and I would probably have three kids wanting to help then.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


The tile is in.  Although I'm a bit confused about the walls.  They don't look "finished" to me.  I can still see some of the sheetrock and definitely can see the tape over the seams as well as the putty covering nail holes.  Is this right?  I can feel that there is some texturing to the walls, but it doesn't seem very thick and I'm concerned about painting or even priming over what is there.  But the floors look fantastic.  I'm in love with them so much.  I can't wait to have the baseboards installed and get in there to paint. 

Of course it is raining which means it could be a few days before we can get in there.  I don't know how long the weather is going to keep holding things up.  The contractor has been running an industrial fan in the room for the past few days while it has been raining so hopefully that will help things dry out quicker. Why do I have to keep waiting?

In knitting news I think I have decided to make Heatherly Walker's Threnody as my Olympic event project.  I've got some lovely Sweet Georgia Yarns' Merino Silk which is a heavier fingering/sport weight yarn.  The colorway is Oxblood.  Very nice pattern with a very nice yarn.  It will be gorgeous and fun.  I may even plan my fall wardrobe around this piece.  I guess I should start preparing by doing a gauge swatch and get the yarn wound. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Decisions decisions

Each time I think I have made the final decision concerning the room I find that there is yet one more decision to make.  What more does one need to decide on other than windows, texture, curtains, paint, and tile?  Oh yeah grout.  There are about 30 different shades of grout for tile. Five different shades of grey and white isn't always white.  I chose Dolorean Grey.  I'm half tempted to scribble OUTATIME in the grout somewhere just because I am weird that way. 

The next thing I had to decide on was lighting.  UGH. Isn't it enough that I decided on the white light switches?  Now you want me to actually pick out lighting to go with them?  I'm almost at that point where I don't care what goes in the room as long as it gets done.  But being the dutiful (read: Gemini) person that I am I took myself around and looked at lighting.  I am considering that the ugly combination ceiling fan and light fixture should be replaced with yet another set of ceiling fan and light fixtures only because that room doesn't stay the coolest in the summer.  Although who knows, now that it has all new insulation and the windows and doors are set correctly it might not be half bad, but I would hate to pick out some really cool lights and then later find that I wish I had chosen fans instead.  I really like that white lotus blossom light above, but I don't think it is going to be neither practical nor bright enough for the room.  This fan to the right is a bit more practical and has the look I'm sort of looking for.  I'm thinking of adding in some track lighting where my desk will be but haven't decided if I like this sort of track lighting or if I am going to go with a simple lamp on the desk. I suppose I should have thought of that when Dan was doing the electric wiring. 

In other news I have found that I can do some writing editing while sitting on the couch.  While not ideal it is working for now and it feels good to be writing again.  Ideas for my next book are twirling around in my head and I think I have the main plot worked out. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

Back to some real life blogging and trying not to think about how messy my house is.  Today's Ten on Tuesday (topic supplied by Carole at Carole Knits) is 10 Everyday Things that Make You Happy. 

1. Cereal and milk for breakfast.  I'm not even very picky about what kind of cereal.  I like everything from Shredded Wheat to Fruit Loops.  But the milk must be Fat Free.  Anything else just tastes like cream

2. Tea. Preferably black with caffeine.  Although a lovely herbal tea with mint or orange or berries or lemon is nice too. 

3.  Merino yarn.  Now for most people they wouldn't see this as an everyday thing, but in my family this is something that gets touched and worked on nearly a daily basis, so it fits well into this category.

4. Books. See number 3. Words are one of those things that just brings such delight in my life.  A good book truly makes me happy.

5. A kitten sitting on my lap.  I have a new kitten.  Her name is Katy.  Actually her full name is Katelyn Elisabeth and she gets called both Katy and Buffy.  She answers to neither, so it doesn't matter much what she gets called.  But she is small and black and purrs loudly and often and brings me great happiness when she is curled up on my lap sleeping (and not eating my yarn).

6.  My Dansko shoes.  I love my Danskos.  They are comfortable and keep my feet happy when I'm working.

7.  Birds at my bird feeder.  I enjoy seeing the different birds that visit my feeder each day.  Anything from little tufted titmouses (titmice?) to the common Brewer's blackbirds.  My Petereson's guide helps me identify some of the rarer birds.

8.  Seeing one of my friends game alerts on my cell phone.  Whether it is playing Words with Friends with JollyPyrate or Draw Something with my friend Erin.  It's a happy little chime that reminds me that I have friends and they are taking time out of their days to think about me.

9. Mail in my box.  There is nothing more heartwarming than opening the mail box (that real one out by the street that the postman drives to and delivers stamped envelopes) and finding a hand penned envelope addressed to me containing a little card or snippet of something cheery.

10. Someone doing the dishes without being asked.  Or any household chore actually.  A load of laundry or picking up the living room or sweeping the floor.  It's nice to have one less thing to worry about and know that someone else did it for me.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tile is easy

Who knew that picking out tile would be a thousand times easier than picking out paint?  I must be fair in saying that there are fewer choices of tile from which to choose, but still I only wavered between two different tiles rather than around twenty different color choices of paint.  I'm going with Marazzi twelve inch  Orizzonti Sunset ceramic tile.  It's a kind of reddish orangey sandy color with just enough grey in it that it will look nice with the color I picked out for the walls but not so stringent that if I decided to repaint I would be stuck with a particular color scheme.  Oh, did I not tell you? I picked out a color!  This is very exciting. 

(Drum roll please).  After viewing over one hundred different shades of grey (and I don't want to know what that book would be about) I finally settled on a color.  It's called Chinchilla.  Kind of like the fuzzy little woodland creature. Although not so fuzzy or little.  It's a twelve foot by twenty-one foot room with peaked ceilings.  I'm thinking at least two gallons of paint and lots of blue tape.  I'm thinking of having a painting party and inviting a few friends over and buying pizza and cold margaritas.

I've also found the type of shelving units that I want in the room  and they are the same ones (under a different name) that Home Depot sells for almost half again as much.  I found them at Target and I think they will meet the needs I have in the new hobby room.  Imagine these shelves filled with bins of fabric, yarn and paper crafting supplies rather than a Kitchen Aid mixer and paper towels  Although now that all my fabric and yarn are neatly contained in matching plastic totes I may not put them on the shelves and save the shelves for such things as bins of ... well, other things.  All my crafts do require tools and I'll need a bookshelf to put all my knitting, crochet, sewing, and writing books on.  I'm looking for a similar shorter cart to utilize as a combination ball winding and drying rack.  I like this one:

I must say that one of the really nice thing about this blog these days is that I know that Dan is reading it.  With his being at work and then my being at work our communication time is cut and I'm too visual of a person to try to explain things to him on the phone or via text.  Now that the room is starting to look more like a room and less like something from some bad home improvement show I'm feeling more optimistic about it all being finished.  Although I still want it all over with.  And like now!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

50+ Shades of Grey

I'm not talking about the book here, folks.  I'm talking about paint.  Yep.  I decided that I wanted to paint the room a nice light gray.  Something that would pair well with white, yellow, rosy reds, aquas, and pinks.  One would think this would be an easy task, right?  Oh you are so wrong!  I went to my local Home Depot and went home with twenty-six different shades of this pallid color.  One knows that one never selects a color for a room at the home improvement store.  You have to take it home and tape the sample to the wall and stare at it for a while.  Then when you think you have the right color you go back to the home improvement store and you get a two dollar can of test paint and spread it on a three foot section to see if you like it larger than the two inch square sample you started with. 

One would think that out of twenty-six shades one would find the right color.  One would be sorely mistaken if one actually thought that.  So, as it happens with home improvement projects, I ended up at Lowe's.  From there I brought back twenty-two more (and different) shades of grey.  Still there was something lacking.  I toddled on over to Sherwin Williams and brought home yet another handful of paint chips to try to find that perfect shade.  This just wasn't working (and the Sherwin Williams employee was not even the slightest bit amused with our references to the best selling vaguely literatured erotica trilogy). 

Where does that leave us?  Going to look at fabric, of course!  Isn't that they natural progression from paint chips?  I happen to fortunate to live in the same town as a mecca of fabric.  It's called A&E Pharmacy.  Now from the outside A&E Pharmacy looks like a run down small town barely hanging on pharmacy.  In fact when you step in the front door of A&E Pharmacy and see the baskets of make up leftover from the 1980's and the sun bleached pink flamingos in the window you might be tempted to turn around and run the other way.  But if you can get past the dusty packages of Crunch bars and the wilted greeting cards you will find a treasure trove of fabric.  Some of the most beautiful quilting fabrics all lined up in fabulous collections begging to be bought and sewn.  And that is where I start to find that perfect grey paint.

Shopping for fabric with me is not a job for the weak or faint-hearted.  I start with a shopping buggy (that's what we call them down here in the south - buggies - carts to those of you further north, although those of you in Great Britain probably know exactly what I am talking about).  I begin by throwing everything that catches my eye into the buggy and don't think about whether or not they go together.  I go on impulse.  Then when the buggy gets too heavy to push or too tall to see above the tower of fabric, I go through each one and decide if it is a yes, a maybe or something I'm not completely in love with.  If I don't find the right fabric I keep doing this.  I only had to go through two buggies of fabric before I found the piece that was going to help me choose the right color paint.  And this is it (along with a paint chip I found that brings together all the colors I like - kind of).  Here's the mill for those of you that are into that kind of thing (like I am):

I finally have the selection narrowed down from the collection above down to this:

This fabric is going to be the valance to these three windows:

I am so ready to stick a fork in this project and call it done.  I'm weary of all the boxes and "stuff" (I'm being kind here) stuffed in my dining room and spilling out into the rest of the house.  The floors are coated with sheetrock dust, fiberglass insulation straws and grime from going in and out of the new room.  I can't breathe in my house, I wake up stuffed with red itchy eyes, and the house smells of staleness.  I have no room in which to create and my desk is currently disassembled so Dan could get into the attic.

Maybe I need to run away and come home with everything is finished.  Sigh.  I guess I best stick around.  I mean there is tile to pick out and walls to paint.  Of course at this point I could just wallpaper the entire room with all the paint chips I've amassed. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

It's Electric!

The one thing that scares me about home remodeling, in fact probably the only thing that scares me about home remodeling, is electricity  So what does my spouse want to do?  Yep Electric work.  He ran all the electric in the new room and then decided to install a box for said electricity in my new hobby room  Which of course meant I was somehow involved  I got the joy of standing on a ladder (I'm short for a reason - the universe knows I don't like heights) and reaching into a dark scary space in the attic (I have fairly rational fears about attics as should everyone - and besides I'm convinced there is a Dalek living in mine) and reach for an electric cord.  Ever since I was a child I have had a fear of being electrocuted.  Don't try to tell me that there is no way that I could be electrocuted by a wire that isn't connected to anything.  I mean, it could come in contact with some live wire up there and zap me into the next universe.  I wouldn't laugh if I were you.  Dan found a live cut wire just sitting in the attic today.  And a hidden junction box behind a wall in the garage that had poorly connected aluminium and copper wires just twisted together.  I am surprised my house hasn't burned to the ground yet!

But now this wire:

is now in the attic and connected to this box:

In other news, despite the rain the majority of the walls have been taped.  There is one wall left to do (the wall where we (ha! I say we like it's some royal we as if I am actually really doing anything with the electric aside from sticking my arm into scary places and grabbing fat bundles of wire) are doing the electric.  Hopefully by next weekend the guys will have the ceiling and walls textured and I can get on to painting.  Tune in tomorrow where I will be discussing my Fifty Shades of Grey.  (And fabric shopping at A&E Pharmacy.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Moving right along

Inside walls
Despite the rain things are really starting to come together.  They finally finished framing and got the windows installed.  The outside sheeting has been put on and some of the siding.  Yesterday Dan was able to get into the room to get all the wiring run, but today is the "how to get the room wired day." They are also putting in the insulation and finishing up the outside siding.  Then there is taping and texturing and blowing in the ceiling. 

Outside walls
We've decided that we are going to do the flooring ourselves.  I guess that means we have to take one of those Home Depot courses so we can know what we are doing.  It will mean a huge savings in the budget and it will be good practice for when we want to put the new flooring in the kitchen and dining room area.  The good news in that is your getting to read all about the trials and tribulations of that experience. 

Meanwhile I am going stir crazy to create.  The knitting project I have on the needles, while relaxing and mindless, is not allowing my creativity to be used.  I have this desire to sew or do some big baking project or work on my book.  Even my computer has temporarily been packed as my desk is directly under the access to the attic and needed to be taken down. 

Look a wire thingy
I've been doing a bit of helping out.  Yesterday I had to look for wires coming through the wall.  It was quite fun except for standing on a rickety ladder with nothing to hold onto and having to hold my iPhone up with one hand so I could see when the feed was coming through.  I felt pretty proud of myself that I didn't fall off the ladder.  Although that would have made for a more interesting blog entry. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Starting over!

After a long period of dealing with insurance agents, contractors and pest control people we are finally starting fresh on the room.  We had several people come out and look the place over to give us bids on the room.  Out of the four contractors who came, one said it was too big of a job for him, one gave us a bid, one never even bothered to get back to us and the fourth contacted us a week after he said he would to give us a bid on the day we had the one contractor start the job.  It is kind of exciting to begin this project. 

We decided to ditch three of the windows in the room to allow for more wall space (ok, more storage space for all the yarn, fabric, and paper crafting that is going to go on in this room).  It will make the room a tad darker, but not so horridly so that it won't be liveable.  We are going to have ceramic tile laid on the floors and there will be new exterior siding.  I've chosen a slate blue-gray color for the outside siding.  It's not as blue as I had wanted, but it will do. 

For the inside walls I'm thinking of a light gray.  We've fought over several shades.  Some are too blue, some too brown, some too green, some too yellow, some too dark, some too light.  I keep reminding myself that it is just paint and if I don't like it I can easily repaint.  Perhaps I should go fabric shopping instead and find curtain material that I like. 

Yesterday's progress included tearing out an entire wall and putting up some new studs.  It was so weird to see my azalea bushes through the walls and then have everything boarded up again.  They got the remainder of the sheetrock down the insulation out (they used their hands and no shirts or face masks - ew!) Today they stripped off the popcorn ceiling and finished removing part of a wall.  There wasn't much they could do today as we are having torrential rains and thunderstorms.  Isn't the lovely yellow dumpster great?  I love having construction stuff all over my yard.

I keep reminding myself that this will be a fabulous creating space when it is done.  I just have to get through this.