Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Ready to Dye!

After 25 years I finally have a made-to-order dye kitchen. I started out this dye thing in our kitchen while the boys were at school. I would make a mess coloring yarn and spend an hour scrubbing everything down with bleach and Comet.

But then we patched together a dye space in a corner of our basement. We recycled kitchen cabinets from our local fire department who were updating their kitchen. I got an old stove from someone who was getting rid of it, bought two hot plates and called it my 'lab'.  

The before pics look like a crime scene! 

Gutting the old kitchen

Alberto and Gerardo are two of the nicest guys you'd ever want to hire. They worked for us while we were away this summer and just did an amazing job on everything. In this project I worked side by side with them so I was sure get it just the way I wanted.

Making progress!

These counters and tables are the bees knees! I had them make two large tables, each measuring 4 1/2 feet by 4 feet, put on locking casters so I can move them around easily for felting. 
I can now make a huge felted garment.

Moved in and ready to go.

Crafters….just look at that jewel of a surface!!! 
Nine feet of emptiness to fill up with your craft of choice. 

I made four nuno felt shawls yesterday as it was so easy to spread out and everything was at hand. 

Before my dyes were mixed in a variety of jars and containers. I bought 16 of these plastic gallon jars and 16 1/2 gallon jars. What a difference! Can't believe it took me this long to do this.

There's a large shelf under the rolling tables for all my fiber that I dye.
Bins from Target

First dye job

Loving how easy it is to move the very heavy, very hot yarn to the washing machine for its spin cycle.

All my dyes are within easy access.

And look at all those lights! Too many lights is just enough.

Now I just need to get to all this yarn. It's not going to dye itself!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Wedding Weekend

Just when we thought we were home for the summer, ending our 9 weeks away, we jumped in the car and drove to Boston for the weekend for our longtime besties' daughter's wedding party.

It took place at their lovely home in Hingham.

They had just completed a major garden renovation, planting thousands of perennials over an acre of yard. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and everything looked spectacular.

The ceremony took place under the pergola at the top of the hill. We all just gathered around the gardens.

There was a tent for all the festivities in the lower part of the garden.

They had simple farm tables, which I loved and would like to duplicate.

The tables had zinnias and wild flowers.

Seating vignettes were set up all over the garden.

The bar was a couple large barrels and a huge slab of wood, festooned with twinkle lights. 

The portapotty was pretty fancy. Separate boys/girls with running water, lights and even music! Unfortunately, it failed pretty early on and we had to use the house bathroom.

We've known Rick and Fiona for nearly 36 years. They were our 'best' people at our wedding. 

We got the garden party memo and both dressed in floral dresses.

Dancing commenced immediately after the ceremony.

I failed to get a photo of the bride and groom but here are Fiona and her daughters, Caitlin and Sheena. Sheena is in the middle and it was her wedding.

Even though it was such a long drive and short visit, it was a joy to share this day with them.

On the way we were really hankering for a lobster roll. Thanks to mapquest, we found a place right off the interstate, a little drive in type place that had very good lobster rolls. Love this type of place!

We broke up the trip by staying at our friend's place in Connecticut. Scott and KK live in a very similar house, built in the mid-1800's. KK is an artist and is finally getting her own studio, moving out of a small bedroom in the house. 

She'll have this entire upper floor over the garage. She paints very large paintings so the window on the right will become a large door to hoist canvasses up and down. 

I always love going to New England. The architecture is lovely, the gardens beautiful and the scenery soothing. Since Houston does nearly all the driving, this is what I do, knit, knit, knit. We're a good team!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

While In Seattle...

While in Seattle I was able to see my friend, Karen and her hubby, Ted. I hadn't seen Karen for nearly 8 years! She's a long time friend of mine. We met while we lived in Florida 38 years ago. I was preparing to have a baby at home, in the large Victorian house we lived in. Karen rented a cottage on this property and was redoing a 1949 Coupe to resell and use the money to buy land near Flint Hill, Virginia. She was there for the birth of Aramin, making a 'birthday' cake in the shape of a butterfly. She left the next day for Virginia, in a 1946 2-ton flatbed truck. 

The following year I visited her in Virginia and fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains, which precipitated my move to Virginia. We've kept in touch over the years, with her moving from Virginia to Maryland to Oregon then Washington. In each place she restored a house, sold it and moved on. About 8 years ago, she met Ted, sold everything, bought a beautiful teak sail boat from Canada, restored it and sailed up and down the west coast and finally back up to Canada, living on the boat for a couple years. 

Four years ago she and Ted bought a 'lot' in a neighborhood in Seattle with a tiny cottage on it. Ted is an architect and designed this house to fit the site. While living in the tiny cottage at the bottom of the yard, they started construction at the top of the hill and when they reached the cottage, they tore it down, moved into the new part and continued building. 
Pictured above is the understated front of the house.

Fours years later, Karen is still working on it, putting up drywall, tiling and doing lots of finishing work. She is a perfectionist and it shows in her workmanship. This is the side of the house, cascading down the hillside.

Karen and Ted are thrifters extraordinaire. All the furnishings in the house are either from Craigslist, yard sales or the awesome thrift stores that Seattle is known for. This midcentury table is from Craigslist which they got for a steal. It came with 6 chairs.

While at their weekly thrift store visits, they found two chairs exactly like the others. 

The house is full of light ...

but also very private as they have put in all this greenery and over the four years, it's filled in nicely.

The stainless steel sink was bought at a close out and the fridge came with no doors! So she made doors and painted them.

Karen does all the tiling and I especially like this idea in their master bath. The tub is against the wall but you have to walk through the shower to get to the bath. So there's just a drain in the floor in front of the tub and a big shower head overhead. Genius!

In every house Karen has redone, she has dug out for a pond. This house is no exception. They had to do MAJOR excavation, bringing in large equipment to fix drainage problems and tons and tons of rock.

This is looking down from the bedroom balcony. 
I was so impressed with the house, the use of recycled, found, repurposed materials. I like the modern, industrial, midcentury look about it and look forward to seeing it finished. I think this will be there forever home.

We took a little tour of the lock in their neighborhood. There were 3 boats in it so they were being raised up while we were there.

This sculpture is nearby. This is where the salmon make their way upstream and there's a viewing window where you can watch all varieties of salmon swimming upstream.
So this concludes my most fantastic summer. Italy, England, and biking along the Pacific Coast Highway. Seeing friends in all those places, making new friends along the way and enjoying life to the fullest. I'll probably never have another year like this one, so I appreciate it all the more.