13 December, 2007

sew crafty

Fall and winter are slow seasons at work for me, which is perfect because with the turning of the leaves I often like to curl up with some creative projects and get ready for the cozy months. This year however, pregnancy has unlocked some hidden reserves of creativity, and I find myself passionately working on projects at every free moment. While the summer was all about making little drawings, the fall has spawned a brand new fascination for me - sewing. I could only manage to sew a straight line when I bought Amy Karol's book, Bend-the-Rules Sewing, which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to learn to sew quick, easy, and friendly projects. Nearly all the projects below are from her book.

Zoe's birthday hat, from felted wool sweaters.

Baby bibs for a friend (Oona's are in the production line)

my growing belly, and my current favorite fabric sack.

a new bag to hold crafty supplies

and holiday stockings, of course

This is a quilt I made for Oona. I started hand sewing all the patches together last winter, took spring and summer off, and then finished this winter. I machine quilted the whole thing together.

And Timon's sew crafty too - we spent last sunday threading cranberries and popcorn for a garland for our tree.

Happy Holidays!

13 November, 2007

Fall Harvest Party

Some people have baby showers. We have wine tasting parties with friends. With local cheeses from Murray's, a good selection of right and left bank wines from Bordeaux, Keely's homemade butternut and acorn squash soup, pumpkin risotto, roasted veggies, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin cheesecake among other sundries, you can see why we called it a Harvest Party instead of a baby party. This was a celebration of Keely and the large bump in her belly as well as the last fall party before the holidays over take us all. Local family and our close friends showed on a day with blue skies and colored leaves.

How we managed to cram 13 people into our little living room space is beyond me. Especially since we had a cradle taking up wall space for the first few hours. The cradle was quickly filled with onesies, blankets, and stuffed animals. Also, I forgot to take any photos until the end of the night, so please pardon the poor quality.
Jack's bot fly story in action

Allen ponders which bottle to try next.
Should it be the 1995 St. Julien, or the Shiraz from down under?

Once Dan and Mike got started on sports, well,
let's just say they had their own party.

To the Oona!

After everyone left and we successfully convinced ourselves to leave clean-up 'til morning while Tucker and Keel tried out the new stroller. I can safely say the Bugaboo is the new favorite toy in the house. We've been thinking about sneaking out at night to push it around Campwoods in the dark. I don't really want to be caught pushing a luxury stroller around with our cat in it, but Keel can't wait much longer.

02 November, 2007


Given all the hullabaloo going on right now, we took the losers' way out of Halloween this year and skipped all parties and didn't even get properly dressed up. You probably know this is Keely's favorite holiday of the year, so it was a big deal to skip it. We also had a good excuse. We now live in a place where the kids actually come out expecting mountains of candy. So, we stayed home, carved some pumpkins, and hid behind the front door with a big bowl of candy until the little ones rang the doorbell.
I only managed to snap pictures of a couple trick or treaters, but they were cute. We had gangsters, geisha's, princesses (obviously), clowns, and many more. It was also a good night to reconnect with neighbors. All the parents with small children came around. And once the trick or treaters were mostly done (well after dark), we shared dinner with our close neighbors, Mike and Rene.

Some recent pics of the house:

Keely's pumpkin art

Trick or Treat!

Also, our new stove is doing it's job. The amazing feat of keeping the whole house toasty without turning on any of the other heat sources. Hopefully this will keep the bills down this winter. That and all the other insulating winterizing I'm doing around doors and windows and in the basement.
The newly decorated entry space with ventless natural gas stove.

23 October, 2007

The Nursery

Finishing the attic space meant we could move out of the other bedroom and finally create our guestroom/nursery space. Since we don't really have much for the nursery yet, it mostly qualifies as a nursery space because of all keely's recent art. She's into baby art lately, all kinds. There's even a new stuffed elephant, not pictured, that she recently made without even a pattern. Anyway, this room will soon enough have some sort of bassinet and a likely a pile of washable diapers in it. In the meantime, guest get quite the playful room. Apartmenttherapy.com just posted a short story on our nursery.

You can see our first effort at a cork floor. it has a great feel. the rug definitely jazzes up the room with colors that pull from all parts of the room.

a close up of keely's wall art. the bed frame is an old family heirloom that my mom had sand blasted and painted for me when i finished college.

this corner is a place holder for the rocker we don't have yet. still looking around for that. but you can finally see keely's mobile hung up where it belongs.

The batik that Keel brought back awhile ago from a minority village in southern China.

at the end of the bed is our old dresser (civil war period). but what we want to do is find another place for this (in my office?), so that we can move the tropical aquarium in here. we really want living things, fish, cats, plants, in the nursery. the white noise of the filter and air pump will probably be useful for a newborn sleep schedule as well.

keely's first venture into the world of sewn paintings. her own design. we had a good time picking out fabrics in a little shop in soho.

we don't want our nursery to be too plastic. so the "adult" art goes in here too. this is a Green Tara tanka painting that we brought back from Tibet. the Green Tara is the goddess of compassion.

We like this view just for the cute neighbor house in the window.

Our new attic space

Well, it's been a month of steady work with Josh at the helm. I've done what I could here and there, but Josh, our master carpenter friend, is the expert. In any case, you have to check out the details below. It's come a long way from what it was when we moved in. With renewable cork flooring, occasional reclaimed wood, two new skylights, and lots of innovative design ideas for the removable parts.

keely napping. nothing new here.
notice the chandelier above the opening.

we love the skylight directly overhead when we are waking up in the morning.

view from the other great hole in the roof.
we live under gigantic red maple trees. the leaves are just beginning to turn.

the old trunk that was sitting out in the mud when we moved into the house, now cleaned up and dried out, miraculously stores all of our camping gear. old leather suitcases i bought in grad. school at a salvation army store for $5 stores art supplies.

detail of Josh's excellent railing joints. because of the tight space for moving large furniture like the bed, this railing is designed to be easily taken apart. that means everything needs to fit tight and strong together, but disassemble as easily as possible.

we used a simple but elegant system for the railing. 1/8" steel cable through the 4x4 posts and anchored on the ends. posts are bolted into the floor, but removable. trim around the opening is designed to look good even if we take the railing off. the darker trim boards visible on the bottom here is reclaimed cedar that josh brought from another job, ripped down, rounded the edges then cut to fit. the top boards are new cedar and the posts are spruce. i've still got to rub tongue oil into them all of them.

we've laid down all cork flooring. fully sustainable cork is a great green product. flexible, not as hard as hardwood floors, easy to install, and it looks great. we have a different pattern for the nursery floor. also, what is not shown, but probably the hardest job in this renovation, is the new subfloor. the old floor was 4 inches higher in the middle than the sides and also sloped the other direction as well. josh leveled the entire thing. crazy good carpentry.
just look at that level subfloor. kuddos to whomever can locate the can of Bud. yep, we are doin' it Hoosier style.

in the small round window josh nicely trimmed it with a small shelf. we were lucky enough to have a gift of one of josh's prize violets to dress it up.

but before all that work, it was this...

at one point we had the attic decorated on the bare plywood uneven floor as a guestroom. not bad for a dark attic space. but we've taken it up a notch.

keel and i are happy with the finished product, though we of course have paint touch up, some staining and oiling, and a few more trims pieces to finish. renovation is never done.