March 31, 2008

Artist in Exile

Here at 5:45 p.m. I am still in my stitching room, which I entered at around 9 a.m., although I left long enough to admire work, to consult on questions, to fix a snack and to use the bathroom. Otherwise, I've stitched, blogged and emailed all day, just me, the cat and the bunnies. What a pleasant day! This is one of the projects I worked on: Lemon Tree Sampler by Praiseworthy Stitches. I've somehow lost the Tin Bucket GAST I was using for the roof. And I never bought the two colors for the house because they weren't in the list of supplies but in the paragraph under "model information." I'll have to pick up all three when I go to the needlework shop later in the week. So I worked on the lemon tree while the workmen toiled in the house.

The guys working on the floors asked what happened to cause the floors to be removed just 8 months after they were installed, and I explained, pointing out Pink and Elvis in their cages in the stitching room. They said they wouldn't keep a rabbit or any other pet who had done such damage, which seems to me to be a matter of closing the barn door after the horse escapes. They didn't understand, and they gave each other significant looks that indicated they think I've recently arrived from Mars. I have to admit, looking at the cages, and Yazziebear in my stitching chair (I didn't evict her after all, since I had another comfortable chair) and the cat box in the corner and the big pile of stitching projects, that they're probably correct. Oh, well. It's good for business! Speaking of Mars, here's one of the light fixtures I selected for the kitchen. Very modern. Poor BF, who'd prefer traditional or country or something, isn't thrilled with it, but that's my end of the house to decorate. Given my way (I won't be), I'd decorate the whole house in mid-century modern (without the hideous green or orange fabrics) with lots of lucite and glass.

I had a little scare with Pink today: a plastic bag with a project in it slid off the pile and landed next to the cage. Pink grabbed it while I was out of the room, dragged it into the cage and chomped on the bag. Eeek--he regularly chews holes in his big towels, so he could have wiped out a whole lot of hard work. Wow--one more thing I'll have to watch with that guy.
"I'm a tortured artist in exile."

"Next stop is the garage for us, chum. You're a pink-eared idiot."


Sue and I have been emailing about the pastel 7-oz. tins of Whitmans sampler chocolates. We can't find them. So seeing that it's my vacation and all, I have adopted the Whitman's tin quest. Sue reports that Giant and CVS don't have them (Sue lives about 75 miles from me). Sue, CVS and Giant in my area don't have them either. But! I think I'm getting warmer. I went to Rite Aid yesterday. Nothing there, although I did have to fight the urge to pick up some Peeps and some Cadbury cream eggs 75% off. But nay, nay--there's a quest to follow and no time for wallowing in a sugary haze. I may be getting warmer though. I found 12-oz Russell Stover tins at Hallmark yesterday. Are they too big? Are there projects that use those? And the little polka dotted tins--probably too small. I will note that Russell Stover and Whitmans fall under the same corporate umbrella. I'm going to check their stock and see what risk factors are mentioned in their annual report. We have a little stock-picking project in my accounting class this semester: I'm given $250K of play money to invest in whatever way I choose, and come the end of the semester when the gains and losses are figured up, I'd like to be ahead. I'm thinking John Deere since the farm sector is doing well.

The gentlemen are here to put the house back together after our unfortunate incident with the rabbit teeth and the plumbing. It's very noisy and busy, so I've retreated to my needlework haven, only to discover that somebody is already occupying my stitching chair. An eviction is going to be necessary, I think.

March 30, 2008

Sunday Sampler

I finished Karen's Neighborhood with a little bunny in the right-hand lower corner. The bunny is eating the rose border; however, I did not allow the bunny near the house, to wreak havoc.

I'm heading up to NoVa in the next couple of days to kit up this little sampler, by Sisters and Best Friends, "Cat Person." It comes with the little purple buttons and I have the fabric, but I need to get the threads. I'm looking forward to stitching this week as I hang around the house with the workmen, and I'll be pulling out some WIPs and no doubt, buying a few more at In Stitches when I go up there. I may even post a little more frequently! And cook, and maybe even clean... Today I'm headed out the door to buy the ingredients for a mushroom lasagna recipe published by the Washington Post this week. It looks complex, tasty and messy--the kind of thing I wouldn't normally do on a Sunday.

"Where's the sampler called "Rabbit Person?"

March 29, 2008

Another Brick in the Wall

I'm so pleased today! It's the first day of a one-week vacation, albeit a vacation I'm taking because the house has to be put together after the great flood of '08. And I'm trying out a new-to-me broadband service using a Sprint AirCard. It was easy to install and is a lot better and faster than what I was using. I skipped school this morning and stayed home to stitch on the Neighborhood RR. I'll be done with that tomorrow I think!
Here's Karen's block around 8 a.m.

And here it was around noon. I did some more after that, but took a break to go shopping for new light fixtures for the kitchen. Monday a.m. will see a group of people to put the house back together after Pink's little incident with the plumbing fixture: a plumber, an electrician and some flooring guys.

It is truly spring here now. The cherry trees in DC are blooming right on time for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Here's a bouquet from my yard for Bunnies' Guy and Bunny Lady at A Houseful of Rabbits in the Pacific Northwest, whose buns are seeing snow, for Carol, who woke up to a blanket of snow in New Hampshire (Carol, it's pretty, but brrrr) and for all of you who are experiencing frozen stuff and cold temperatures! Spring is on its way, I promise!

March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

A little stitching this week:

Here are the Easter bunnies, helping to pack an Easter basket for a little girl, one of our neighbors, who likes to come over and visit the buns. Here's Pink, sampling the "grass." "Mom, this grass is awfully dry."

And here's Elvis, patting the grass into place. This morning when we deliver the basket, I'll put new paper grass in it, just in case. "My favorite jelly beans are the orange ones."

March 16, 2008

I Dreamed I was a Ship on the Ocean

It's been a stormy week, but the ship seems to be righting itself. The very worst, aside from the knowledge of how stupid and preventable our little flood was, was the equipment that was brought in to dry us out. The machines roared and the wind blew and the heat rose (the technicians measured 116 degrees in the closet) and the big dehumidifiers sucked all the spit out of your mouth almost instantly. The noise was constant and deafening; it thrummed through the floors around the clock. We fled to the other end of the house and slept there, but we could still hear it. When they pronounced us dry this morning and took away the machines, we could have wept in relief. It's spring break from school (although not from work), and I feel as if I'm on vacation now.

I celebrated with a little work on my accounting midterm in the quiet and with some stitching on Karen's neighborhood.

Our tiles will be put back in the next couple of weeks, and until then (when we have plans for an elaborate Fort-Knox-like enclosure for each of the buns), the bunnies are caged and not very happy about it.

"Let me out. I have Easter eggs to pack!"

March 14, 2008

One Small Miscalculation: Whatever Can Go Wrong

I'm home from work today, frogging this project. I went to Paris two years ago between jobs--my first-ever trip to France, and my first-ever European trip alone. It was a wonderful trip, and I did some truly inspired shopping. I skipped the lines at the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower in favor of haunting the small (and large) shops for which Paris is justly famous, and exploring far and wide by the Metro. I bought this chart, by Compagnie des Ouvrages, called Le Loup, Le Renard et Les... (essentially Aesops Fables) either at Celimene Pompon or at Le Bon Marche, Paris' grand department store which sells needlework, sewing notions and groceries along with haute couture. Why don't we still do that? When I got home I started the design immediately and got most of the way through one block (there are nine) and realized that somehow I was just one stitch off. I put it away in discouragement; the mistake was such that it screwed up the dimensions of the whole block, and I decided to frog out a large part of what I'd put in. I figured I'd get to it one of these days, and today is that day, since we have an enormous frogging project going on elsewhere in the house.

Here's a picture of a bunch of workmen frogging the tiles in the master bathroom floor. In July I took a week off and we had a number of floors redone in the house. We had ceramic tile laid in the master bath and the master closet. We were so pleased with our tile; it doesn't discolor like vinyl does over time, and water wipes up easily. Except our floor couldn't withstand one small miscalculation: Pink. The master bath toilet is in a small alcove with a separate door that I left open. Pink lives in the master bath, not caged. Although his cage with food and litter box and bedding box is in there, he's free to run around. After all, it's tile. What could he harm? At one point BF pointed out the water supply tube, running from the wall to the toilet and mentioned that he thought we should protect it from bunny teeth and I blew it off. It's PLASTIC and the bunny prefers wood, and after a half-hearted attempt to bunny-proof, I didn't bother with it. Last Monday, BF left the house during the day (normally he works from home) to visit clients, and when he got back, water was running down the wall of the kitchen, out the light fixtures and down through the ceiling. Investigating the source, he came upon the supply tube a hole in it, spurting a continuous stream of water into the bathroom. The water was rolling across the tile and disappearing between the wall and the floor. It ran beneath the bathroom floor and the master closet and on into the guest bedroom where it was partly soaked up by the (new) carpet and padding. Then it rolled on down the walls into the kitchen. It had probably been going on for a few hours.

So the nice men at Service Master came Tuesday and set up fans and driers and pulled big holes in the ceiling and wall of the kitchen. Today the insurance adjuster came and tallied up the damage. Meters established that water was trapped under the tile floors, so they had to be broken up so that the subfloor can be dried. Virginia has strict laws about water that may lead to mold. So I've been listening to the sound of breaking tile all day. Fortunately, the flooring will be fully replaced, so other than the hassle and the deductible and the knowledge that it was my own stupidity and laziness that caused this MESS, all is well. Sigh.

Here's Pink in his cage back before the deluge. See the nice tile floor? Poor Pink is pretty smart for a bunny, and he knew something was wrong. Even though his side of the bathroom was dry, he was hiding behind the toilet, standing in an inch or so of cold water when BF came home.

"If I'd known it was wrong, I wouldn't have done it."

March 09, 2008

Sleeping with My Head in the Sink

I have a job interview in Richmond this week and I decided to have my hair spruced up, trying to appear a little less loony than I am, so off I went to the hairdresser yesterday afternoon. I was tired, so while the hair dye did its magic, I sat in a comfy salon chair at the hair-washing sink, nodding off over my needlework. One of the shampooers suggested that I might like to take a nap with my head in the sink bowl and my neck propped up on a rolled-up towel. The chair and sink are angled just right so that it's more comfortable that you'd expect. My hair turned out well, and I left the salon rested--well worth the money. Before I fell asleep I worked a bit on this, so it was an altogether productive two hours:

Here's a little shot from the "pear cam." The bradford pear in front of my house is beginning to blossom. (To all of you who got snow in the last day or so, I thought this might cheer you up.) I'll show a picture of this branch from time to time over the next few weeks. The cherry trees in DC are beginning their show also; as usual, the trees around the office buildings where it's warmer are starting out first. Cherry blossom time makes me cringe: it attracts huge crowds and jams the highways, adding a half hour or more to my commute at night. The trees are pretty but just not worth it, as far as I'm concerned. There was a beaver or family of beavers one year who were doing a lot of damage to the trees. Frankly, I was pulling for the beavers, but the Park Service trapped them and carried them off to somewhere else.

Chester: "Dude! You should dye that white hair; it makes you look old!"

March 05, 2008

Peaceful Paradise--Midweek Edition

I went to the LNS this weekend, all good intentions, to buy just a few skeins of Crescent Colors to start kitting up Windy Hill by Praiseworthy Stitches. I brought along an old friend, Lemon Tree Sampler, also by Praiseworthy Stitches, and wound up kitting that up also. I'm thinking that other women have to hide their mad purchases from their significant others in giant bags in the trunk or suit bags in the closet. Not me: I can carry home my shameful over-expenditure in an unobtrusive bag tucked into a small purse. And I don't have to tell you what it cost for, oh...30 skeins of GAST, WDW and CC, do I? Tsk. All of which is pretty funny, since my purchasing weakness generally only involves needlework and running shoes, and my favorite trail runners and regular running shoes have both been discontinued, so I can't buy any of those until I sit and try a bunch on.

Anyway, having bought the floss, I started work on Lemon Tree because I loved the way the Saffron WDW (or is it GAST) looked against the brown R&R Reproductions 40 ct. The light on thse projects isn't the best because they were shot at night under the light of the Ott Moon.

And I did a little more work on Peaceful Paradise. Pretty soon it'll be back to working on letters.

"I don't know anything about lemons. I'm waiting for the dandelions to come up."