Tuesday, April 29, 2008

First Step

We have been contemplating some redecorating around the house. We've been here almost 15 years, and most of the decorating in the public areas got done shortly after moving in. The downstairs half-bath has been redone recently, but the family room and kitchen (and attached areas such as the entryway from the garage, the hallway, the staircase) are all sporting their 14- year-old looks. We are tired of it! Things look dated and tired and worn and well, you get the idea. It's time for some fresh decor around here.

This morning, these arrived on my porch:

Inside were these!
8 place settings in 7 Fiesta colors (I got 2 sets of green because....well, you know why! I'm all about the green) I also got 4 extra dinner plates and 4 extra bowls. I ordered all of this Sunday evening and Tuesday morning here they are! This website has great prices, free shipping over $100, and is obviously very fast! They have every serving piece or Fiesta accessory you will ever want or need. I'll be going back for more now that I have the basics. I went to Kohl's yesterday and got a serving platter and 2 large bowls, since Fiesta is on sale 55% off this week. I would have gotten the place settings there too, but they have the place settings with cup & saucer, and I wanted mugs instead.

Don't they look oh-so pretty in my dishwasher?

I can't wait to put them into the cupboard. They are clean now, and look how pretty!

I emptied out and washed down the cupboard this morning. Our kitchen is done in apples and green checkerboard at this time, and I had done some Gallery Glass (imitation stained glass) on the glass doors of this cupboard to match the wallpaper border. I've always loved how it looked, but that wallpaper will be coming down soon, and I want just clear glass now so I can see my new dishes!

Like this:

I thought it would be as easy as removing the glass from the doors, peeling off the designs, washing the glass and putting it back in the doors. Well, the Gallery Glass was acting like glue, and it was quite difficult to get the glass out of the doors. We finally did though, with the help of a hair dryer. One door is still down and needs to be put back together and put back up.

These new dishes are the catalyst for the overhaul in the kitchen. I don't think it will be long before the wallpaper will come down and new paint will go up. I'm thinking I'll use the yellow color from the dishes as the wall color, with one (or more!) of the other Fiesta colors for trim, doors, etc.

So, one cupboard is emptied and washed down, and refilled. Now it's time to go through the other cupboards, drawers, etc. Empty them out, throw some stuff away, put some in boxes for Goodwill. Wash everything down, organize and replenish them. I'm hoping to gain extra space by weeding out some junk, and getting things nice and fresh, ready for that new paint job that's coming soon!

The family room redo will be very soon too. I am sooooo sick of the wallpaper in there. NO MORE WALLPAPER! I'm deciding on a color scheme. I like the chocolate/lime combo, but I'm not sure if I can convince Mike of that one. I think with some turquoise or coral accents it would be quite nice! We'll see....we might come up with something completely different. Whatever it is, will be a huge improvement over what it looks like.

This is what it looks like now:

See what I mean? Blech....

No knitting news at the moment. I haven't picked up my knitting since Friday. I did manage to add $90.00 to my Rhinebeck fund though. I played cards with my SILs on Saturday and Lady Luck was on my side! Yay!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hot Cocoa Jacket

The yarn for my Hot Cocoa Jacket (designed by Jordana Paige) arrived from Webs yesterday. YIPPPEEEE!!! I cast on last night and seem to be the first one on Ravelry to start this pattern. I'm quite excited to be knitting myself a sweater....the first one in decades! Of course, being the hot-blooded woman that I am, I won't be able to wear it indoors (I can barely stand a long sleeved t-shirt during the winter, let alone a sweater....this is unfortunate, but it's the way things are). I have held off on knitting myself a sweater for just this reason. But there were several times the past fall and winter when I was outside and I thought to myself "if I had a nice sweater, this would be a good day to wear it". So when I tried on this sweater at Threadbear last weekend, I knew I had found "the one".

You can see me wearing it here (nice shot of me with my eyes closed and a blurry hand, but just look how it gives me a WAIST!). The design is very flattering, and that is the thing that sold me. Of course the yarn (Rowan Cashsoft DK in the Lichen color) is really nice to knit with too. I'm going to love this project! (we'll think about assembly when the time comes...I don't want to spoil my enjoyment with such thoughts so early on).

Thanks, Jordana, for a great design! Thanks, Amy and Jillian, for another great book! Thanks Rob and Matt, for hosting the book launch party!

Wish me luck on getting it done by birthday/Rhinebeck time! (I think I can, I think I can, I think I can............)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hooray for Jacob!

Today the top 15 fifth-grade spellers in Jake's school competed in their final Spelling Bee to determine who would represent the school at the district Bee. Guess who was the winner!?!?! Yep, Jacob! We're so proud of him. He was just beaming when he came home from school today.
Jake said when the principal made the announcement to the students on the PA today, he commented that the spellers were so good that at the end they had to break out the 6th grade spelling words. Jake's winning word was 'antibiotic'.
He and the runner up will compete against 10 others from the other 5 elementary schools in our district. Jake is pretty confident...he has not spelled a single word wrong in all of the classroom spelling bees all year. WTG Jacob! Good luck at the District Spelling Bee!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Will spring come to stay?

This morning there is a sparkling layer of frost over everything outside, but it will melt fast as the sun comes up higher, and we are supposed to get to a high of around 60 today after temps in the 20s this morning! Brrrrr!

Sunday morning I woke up to snow flurries swirling around outside. I was hoping it wasn't going to amount to anything, since I was off to Lansing for the book launch of More Big Girl Knits at Threadbear. I headed out before 11am so I could be there by 1pm. As I drove north, I saw some cars coming my way that had a couple inches of snow on them! Yikes! But the sun came out, the snow stopped, and it turned out to be a pretty day. Cold, but pretty. (Later that day my friend Maria sent me an IM saying she was sweltering in 100 degree heat out in California! Crazy weather!)

The book launch party was fun. Amy and Jillian are just fun to be around. There was a very boisterous group of ladies who had gathered to try on the sweater samples from the book. Everyone was oooh-ing and ahhhh-ing as the sweaters were modeled. "Oh, that looks GREAT on you!" was heard over and over and over. It was nice to have the sweaters there to try on, see how they look on you, before deciding to go ahead and knit one of them. Things got really loud and there were screams of laugher more than once during the afternoon. Maybe everyone was on a sugar high from the beautiful cupcakes and cakes that we were all enjoying.

I have been wanting to knit myself a sweater for several years, but nothing really caught my eye as "the one" that I wanted to knit. Well, I found "the one" on Sunday. It is the Hot Cocoa Jacket designed by Jordana Paige. (Scroll down to April 4 to see the blog entry about the sweater).

I tried it on, and it was quite flattering. Someone commented that it was a "butt buster" sweater, and it actually gives me a nice waistline. It is the textured diagonal lines, and the nice shaping that does it. It didn't hurt that the sweater was knit in Rowan Cashsoft DK and just felt divine to the touch. I considered alternate yarns, did lots of searching around on Ravelry for reviews of substitutions, etc. I found good and bad reviews of all the yarns I considered, and in the end, decided to go ahead with the Cashsoft. Several reviews complained about pilling, but I have a nice sweater shaver if I need it, and will be very careful when washing the sweater. I am a warm person to begin with, and absolutely cannot wear a sweater indoors. This will be something that will be worn more as a jacket on a cool day, and hopefully will wear well. The color I ordered is called Lichen.

I am going to cast on as soon as I get the yarn. I want to make sure it is done by October for my trip to Rhinebeck for my birthday. I will have other projects on the needles during this time, but I want to allow enough time to see that it gets done by fall. Some people don't knit in the summer, some cut way back. However, I think I knit just as much in the summer as any other time of the year. I just don't want to have a wool afghan in my lap when it's 90 degrees! I can certainly handle some sweater pieces though.

Right now I have a pair of socks on the needles (almost done!) and I started a lacy scarf from the Piecework magazine my mom gave me last week. It's called the Stork's Nest scarf. I'll share the socks when they are off the needles, and here is a sneak peek of the scarf:

In other areas of my life.... springtime means my chaufeurring is stepped up a notch. Kaitlyn has track practice or a track meet every day after school. Jake has baseball practice a couple times a week, and the games will start soon. Mike has been working later with his new job, so is not able to help out much in this area, and there are times when I am trying to juggle overlapping schedules and trying to be in 2 places at once. It can be rather frustrating at times, but I'm glad they are both doing something to keep active. I am going to have to miss Kaitlyn's meet today since it is about an hour away and Jake has practice. My mom and dad are going to go to her meet (they live closer) and maybe Mike will be able to catch the end of it and bring her home.

Last night the Red Wings played their 3rd game against Nashville in their first playoff series. The Tigers were also playing last night. We started out watching the hockey game, which was going very well. We flipped to the baseball game to see we were losing 5-0. Ugh....not another game where we get blown out...the season is not going well, after all the hype before it started.

Well, I don't know what happened, but we were flipping back and forth between games, and it was at almost the exact moment that the Tigers started turning it around and getting some runs that Nashville scored twice within mere seconds against the Wings to take the lead. The Wings ended up losing a game that looked like they might win, and the Tigers came back from being down 5 runs in the game (twice!) to win 11-9! I hated to see the Wings take a loss, but boy-oh-boy, did our boys of summer need that win to give them (and their fans) a boost! The Tiger bats were hot last night....after quite a few games were they were ice cold. I surely hope this is the beginning a new trend, and that this season just got off to a slow start. Hopefully it is going to be as great as anticipated. Please?

And boy, do we love playoff hockey! Never a dull moment!