Monthly Archives: November 2015

Love My Garden

We waited ten years to rework the front yard. 

We are done until spring. Just in time to shut off the irrigation system for the winter. 

Lessons learned:

  • I did not buy enough plants. Kurt added two to three times the numbers of plants. Of course that means more money. 
  • I bought the wrong plants. The house & garden  is symmetrical. But the microclimate conditions are almost opposite. Ranging from full sun, hot & dry on the left to full shade on the right. No plants do well in both conditions. So the left & right rhyme in color and texture. 
  • Kurt found better plants. I think he had fun looking for unusual things. 

As a DIYer, I was out of my league. Very happy the professionals did all the heavy lifting. It was fun to be out there working along side them. But better that I could give up when the aching started. 


Right side:Kurt & JC wheelbarrowed 4 truck loads of soil.

I did get a compliment from JC, “She’s a hard worker.”  That feels good. Even though I whimp out after a few hours of digging. 

Kurt did a great job. 

David, the brick layer, did a fabulous job. 


Right side:David & his crew bricklaying

I now believe we have one of the nicest front yard in the neighborhood. 


Right side:Stones removed, trenches dug for footings


Right side: footing poured


Left side finished


Right side finished


Re-focus on the Garden & Studio


Pansies just planted

In the South, we plant pansies in the fall. It seems counterintuitive to plant such delicate flowers now. They survive minor freezes and frost and are about the only color until Februray.  

Garden renovation started

The old stone wall was been removed. I’ll be transporting some of them to Mom’s garden. 

The 4 guys spent all day digging the trenches for the footings. It’s a tiny yard by all standards. But with 12 year old crepe myrtle trees, digging has been difficult. 

I’m so glad I’m not doing the digging. 

Next step, rebar will be laid in the trenches, the footings poured, and then the brick layer does his magic. 


In the meantime, I hope to focus on that custom order. I finally found the perfect lining. 


Fabric & trim selected

Shapes have been cut. Pockets started. I hope there’s enough scrape to make her & myself a zippered pouch.  

Custom bag started


Knitting Dilemna #1

(I’ve numbered this post with no immediate plans for a 2 or 3. But I’m just going to assume there will be more to come. Sigh….)

You see I love the idea of gradients, the ombrĂ© look from light to dark and the rainbow look from one color to another. 


Wilhelm von Bezold’s 1874 Farbentafel, Wikipedia

I loved this when I learned to paint in watercolor in high school. (It’s one of the first exercises.)

I loved it when working for the fiber artist, Jan Newbury Myers. 

I thought about painting my dining room walls in a tonal gradient.

I even learned to dye gradient yarns at this year’s SSK retreat from Gale Evans.    
 Apparently, I can’t have enough of them. 

I love the Crazy Zauberballs, Painted Desert, Noro. They are in several WIP project bags. 

Mountain Colours, handdyed, Infinite Twist Helix, Fiber Optic Paintbox

Here’s where that declutter book’s advise to gather everything of that category together. I might have averted this dilemna. 

Two months ago I saw the bifrost pattern, by Cate of Infinite Twist. It’s designed to use three of her gradient cakes making a full spectrum rainbow. Clever me…(pride comes before the fall)…I wanted something different. So I ordered two of Dusk (the two cakes in the center of the picture). 
Here’s where I get into trouble. 

I forgot to order a contrast color to alternate inbetween. 

I forgot that in my stash is a beautiful cashmere gradient from Fiberoptic. The SAME red to blue gradient but not quite the same.  

So what do I do?
Making them into one project?  Infinite Twist is DK. Fiber Optic is fingering. 

I actually think it would diminish both. 

Give one project as a gift? 

Neither are of superwash wool, so breaks my most important knitted gift rules. 

3-4 Ply some silk/merino lace AND overdye it. My least favorite natural dyed yarns for the last workshop. (Yes I am crazy. This is my favorite option at the moment.)

Run to my LYS for a possible contrast color?

Order the third skein from Cate?

Current plan.  Swatch.

Then see if there’s something perfect at the LYS. If not, take ALL my possibilities to knit night, plead insanity and ask for advise. 

Zigzagging Again

I’ve been zigzagging again. Didn’t get either the cross body nor the client hobo bags done last week. 

Instead, I needed to do something that didn’t take a lot of brain power or physical stamina. 

And it was a WIP (knitter speak for Work In Progress). Really it was an unfinished house project started in March that haunted me ever time I walked through the hall. 

Back in March, we replaced our front doors and saved the old ones.  I had high aspirations to use the old ones as a big decorative piece in the dining room. But it took up too much space. Moved them to the hall. Again it took up too much space. And there it stood in the hall since March.  These are not doors I can move by myself on a whim.  They are 8′ tall oak and probably weigh 80 lbs. 

Then finally decided the breakfast room would work. 

The breakfast room HAD to be the LAST place I had them moved. 

But before they were moved, the room needed painting. 

The room was painted before our last trip. Yep, I painted the ceiling blue. 

Painting walls in progress

And I still had to do the glass mirroring. 


Makeshift spray tent

I did that last week when the weather was perfect for opening windows & doors. I’m not completely happy with the outcome. But at this point, it’s good enough. Lesson learned, don’t clean the glass with rubbing alcohol. It actually leaves a residue that evaporates the spray paint. Mental gymnastics wasn’t possible last week. 

Here’s the process I went through:

  • Cleaned the glass thoroughly with rubbing alcohol. (Big mistake)
  • Created a makeshift spray tent from plastic drop clothes using bulldog clips. 
  • Wearing a chemical respirator, sprayed as directed thin layers of Looking Glass on the back side. (Found at big box craft stores, not at home improvement big box stores)   
  • After 9 layers and still not completely covered, I switched to a matte black spray paint, which I had on hand. I should have gotten a silver spray paint instead.


Spray masks are SO comfortable. NOT

This whole spray job scrapes off the glass with a fingernail. I assume it’s from my first mistake using alcohol. At this point, I don’t care. I’ll deal with it, if and when we move to another house. 

This past weekend, we (hubby) ‘installed’ the doors in their permanent location. I’m happy with the results. 

The total effect is just OK. Not the showstopper I had hoped. The main thing: it’s done. I can move on to other things. 

Finished project