Meat & Potatoes #3

Wasn't in a talkative mood this week, so didn't say much about anything.  Just played lots of good tunes:
  1. Florence + The Machine--Addicted to Love
  2. Maximum Balloon with Karen O--Communion
  3. Rain Machine--Leave the Lights On
  4. Tunde Adebimpe--Unknown Legend
  5. TV on the Radio--Don't Love You
  6. Tegan and Sara--Where Does the Good Go
  7. Neko Case--Outro with Bees
  8. Sea Wolf--Middle Distance Runner
  9. Big Joe Turner--Little Bittie Gal's Blues
  10. Melissa McClelland--Cry On My Shoulder
  11. Iron & Wine with Calexico--Burn that Broken Bed
  12. Sufjan Stevens--Heirloom
  13. Talking Heads--Sax and Violins
  14. Paul Simon--One Man's Ceiling is Another Man's Floor
  15. Al Green--Take Me to the River
  16. Janelle Monae--Cold War (Wondamix)
  17. Marvin Gaye--What's Going On
  18. The Juan Maclean--Love is in the Air
  19. DJ Shadow--Midnight in a Perfect World
  20. Eyedea and Abilities--Paradise
  21. Arab Strap--Cherubs
  22. Broken Social Scene--Stars and Sons
  23. Jason Collett--Love Song to Canada
  24. Elliot BROOD--Oh, Alberta
  25. Devendra Banhart--Now that I Know
  26. Monsters of Folk--Man Named Truth
  27. Harry Nilsson--Put the Lime in the Coconut


A Lick of Paint (and Then Some)

When I moved into my cabin a couple of weeks ago, my land lady casually mentioned that if I wanted to repaint, she would pay for the supplies.  I couldn't get the idea out of my head (actually, I have mentally renovated the kitchen over and over again) and came up with all sorts of reasons why I shouldn't, but then went and did it anyway.

Here's a before shot of the kitchen area:
The dirt-coloured paint did a good job of hiding the dirt, but it was rather dull to look at, and I expect would be rather depressing when we get only a few hours of daylight in mid-winter.  Other walls in the cabin are painted white, and are scuffed, full of old nail holes and draped with cobwebs.

The worst part (or, one of the worst parts) has been getting things clean enough to paint.  This is what it looked like behind the stove and refrigerator:
Another difficult part is dealing with the poor job that the previous painter did when she put up the dirt-grey:
Hiding all the poor edging is taking a lot of work because one coat of white isn't fixing things.  And unfortunately I am not the kind of person who can let it go.  I have been crawling into the cupboards wearing my headlamp in order to do a good job of even the least-visible corners.  It's not that I'm a perfectionist--I just have high standards (and a sore right shoulder--good thing my yoga classes started up again this week).

Here's what it looked like after one coat of the new colour, Nasturtium:
The colour is absolutely gorgeous--very much worth the absolute chaos that has reined in the cabin since I started this project.  Everything that was in the cupboards is now on the table and even simple meals have been a challenge.  I have also been painting the pony-wall that separates the kitchen/living area from the bed"room" (the cabin is pretty much a one-room deal), which made a mess of my closet space, too (and by closet space I mean a dowel hung from the ceiling by two chains and a large plastic bin).

Yesterday I put on the second coat of Nasturtium, and was able to move the fridge and stove back into place.  Today I painted the cupboards and trim on the pony wall--fortunately it is just a matter of a single coat--and now am just going to wait a couple of days for the paint to cure before I restore the kitchen.  And then it's on to the rest of the space.  I started with the hard parts, and am hoping that the remaining three walls will be a little easier, at least in terms of stuff in the room--less to move will be good.  I will also be repainting the bathroom, but as I start working full-time as of tomorrow, the repainting may be a longer term sort of project.



I didn't mean for this to happen, but somehow it did.

I bought a sewing machine.

Yesterday morning, I got up  bright and early to go to a garage sale.  Last weekend I had good luck at a sale, and found cute green and white curtains for my cabin, as well as a very pretty green, red and yellow bull's-eye plate--all for the low, low price of $4.50.  I went to yesterday's sale hoping for the same sort of luck: to find a few small, inexpensive and useful but attractive things for the home.  Major furniture was not part of the plan.

But when I spotted the sewing machine past the old skis, behind the tables of unappealing junk, perched on its own little hinge-top table, my heart skipped a beat and I just knew.  I had been thinking of getting a sewing machine--some plasticky new thing with a cover that could tuck away under the bed when not in use--but was reluctant to invest in another activity, when I've already got so much yarn and knitting projects on the go (not to mention this new rag rug thing, although I think rugging will be an infrequent venture).  I certainly didn't intend to buy a vintage sewing machine with its very own attached table.

Part of the appeal was definitely the retro look of the machine.  The model is very similar to the machine my mom has (I used to use it when I was in highschool to make pajama pants) and the table itself is just so pretty.  It didn't take me long to decide that the ugly, rickety set of shelves next to the door in the cabin was going to get moved outside to the shed, and that the sewing machine would easily take its place.

It just tucks into the corner underneath the coat hooks, behind the heater and without an inch to spare by the door.  For the most part it will stay burried under piles of books from the library, heaps of shawls, outgoing mail and materials for my radio show.

I will have to pull it out into the middle of the room in order to use it--adding wheels to the legs might be a good idea.  It did come with its original manual, and all sorts of different attachments, like a button-hole thingy and a few extra feet.

I even have a sewing project winging its way towards me.  Last weekend I ordered a birthday present for myself from Purl Soho (because if there is anything I know how to do, it is indulge): two skeins of Cascade Baby Alpaca in Pacific, and one of their adorable Lovely Liberty Coin Purse Kits in Amber, with an extra purse frame in Jade.  The coin purse looked small enough to hand-stitch without too much agony, and will now be a total breeze on my new machine.  Shipping from New York to the Yukon will probably take forever, but I think I have enough on the go at the moment!


Meat & Potatoes #2

This week I played:

  1. Electric Light Orchestra--Mr. Blue Sky
  2. TV on the Radio--Staring at the Sun
  3. Arcade Fire--Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
  4. Cake--Never There
  5. Maria McKee--The Way Young Lovers Do
  6. Wilco--Someday Soon
  7. Jill Barber--When I'm Makin' Love To You
  8. Jenn Grant--In A Brown House
  9. Pedro the Lion--I Am Always the One Who Calls
  10. Jeff Buckley--Lover, You Should Have Come Over
  11. Emmylou Harris--Bottle Let Me Down
  12. The Tragically Hip--Bobcaygen
  13. Valery Gore--Consolation
  14. The Chantays--Move It
  15. Joni Mitchell--Carey
  16. JJ Cale--Call Me the Breeze
  17. Beirut--Brandenburg
  18. Sufjan Stevens--To The Workers of The Rock River Valley Region, I Have an Idea Concerning Your Predicament
  19. The Decemberists--The Crane Wife 3
  20. Creedence Clearwater Revival--Fortunate Son
  21. Eric Clapton--Motherless Child
  22. Smog--Held
  23. Human Highway--The Sound
  24. Deniece Williams--Let's Hear It For the Boy

And I talked about:
  • the Little House on the Prairie books
  • Galore by Michael Crummey
  • The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket
  • and the importance of cleaning behind your refrigerator

And shared Fanny Farmer's recipe for Welsh Rarebit:

1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, in small dice
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Cayenne pepper to taste (or Rooster Sauce!)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup beer
4 slices toast
Combine the cheese, butter, mustard and cayenne pepper in a heavy-bottomed pan, a chafing dish or the top of a double boiler.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cheese has melted.  Beat a little of the hot cheese mixture into the egg, and then return the egg-cheese mixture to the pan.  Add salt to taste.  Add the beer and cook 1-2 minutes more, until very hot but not boiling.  Spoon over toast.

Finished Object--Percy

Sometimes I am colossally stupid.

The other day, I got to thinking about Percy (Ravelry link).  I knew I had knit one last winter, but realized that I never found it in amongst my other scarves and shawls when I moved recently.  So where was Percy?  Had I lost it?  I was pretty sure it was finished, but couldn't remember wearing it anywhere.

Last night when I needed a break from rug making and flipping through The Gentle Art of Domesticty, I went on a Percy hunt and dug through my bags and bins of knitting stuff.  I found my Percy squished into  a ziplock bag with unrelated yarn from two other projects at the bottom of one of my plastic bins.  It was finished--except for the finishing.  All I needed to do was weave in the ends and block it.  So why, oh why, didn't I do that six months ago?

Of course I pulled out my yarn needle immediately (that, at least, I could find quickly), but kept stopping to admire my Percy.  It's fabulously gorgeous--knit out of the Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace that I bought in New York last December, in a silvery purple shade called Pewter--and somehow I can't believe that I really made it.

I do remember working the nupps.  Nupps are sort of unforgettable, even though one may wish to forget them.

I did the ends last night, and pinned it out on my bed to block this morning.

Hopefully it will be dry by tonight, or I'll be sleeping on the futon in the living room.


The Rugs Beneath Her Feet

The floor in my cabin is painted plywood--painted grey, with bits of the weird flesh-tone it was previously painted showing through on the worn parts.  I don't mind the rough, mottled look, but it's chilly on the feet, even with socks or moccasins on, and even though it isn't even properly cold out yet.  The cheap and easy (if time consuming) solution is to make some rag rugs.

On Tuesday I hit up the thrift store and the free store at the dump, and brought home some old sheets to use for the project.  I did some googling and settled on the "toothbrush" or "Amish knot" method, mostly using these videos for instruction, with some reading from an assortment of random websites to add some theory.  I opted for a toothbrush rag rug versus a braided one because I didn't want to have to do any sewing, although really the toothbrush method is sewing--it's a buttonhole stitch repeated over and over again--using the rag strips as your thread.

I have completed one small rug already.  One bedsheet (queen or double, I am not sure which) yielded a round rug with a 20 inch diameter (roughly), to which I added a border using strips from a bedskirt.  It turned out a little wonky: it doesn't sit exactly flat.  I made two mistakes: I didn't do enough increases (or increase evenly), and then switched the material I was using for the inner "cord" when I got to the border.

Attempt two is going much better.  I am using two sheets for this one.  I am using this funky jungle print sheet to make the inner cord and the occasional accent stripe:

While this pretty floral sheet will form the main pattern of the rug:

It's going well so far.  I increased really agressively in the first few rounds, and made sure to do so evenly all around, so it is very even, flat and regular-looking.

It's not quite like getting to go to Ikea, but it is rather more satisfying. 

Currently out from the library...

Top to bottom:

Little House on the Prairie--Laura Ingall Wilder
By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept--Elizabeth Smart
White Teeth--Zadie Smith
Difficult Loves--Italo Calvino
The Happy Isles of Oceania--Paul Theroux
A Dead Hand--Paul Theroux
The Age of Wire and String--Ben Marcus
The Gentle Art of Domesticity--Jane Brocket


Meat & Potatoes #1

This week's playlist:

  1. Joe Cocker--Feelin' Alright
  2. Neko Case--Runnin' Out of Fools
  3. Iron and Wine with Calexico--History of Lovers
  4. Conor Oberst--Sausalito
  5. Slow Club--Giving Up on Love
  6. The Postal Service--We Will Become Silhouettes
  7. Sufjan Stevens--The Henney Buggy Band
  8. Jay Malinowski--There's a Light
  9. Bonnie "Prince" Billy--May It Always Be
  10. Joanna Newsom--Good Intentions Paving Co.
  11. k.d. lang--Lock, Stock and Teardrops
  12. Justin Rutledge--Come Summertime
  13. David Allan Coe--You Never Even Called Me By My Name
  14. The Rolling Stones--Under My Thumb
  15. Bruce Springsteen--I'm On Fire
  16. The Band--Ophelia
  17. John Paul Young--Love Is In The Air
  18. David Garza--Slave
  19. Fiona Apple--Extraordinary Machine
  20. Josh Ritter--Good Man
  21. Death Cab for Cutie--The Face That Launched 1000 Shits
  22. Modest Mouse--The World At Large
  23. Devendra Banhart--This Is the Way
  24. Great Lake Swimmers--Your Rocky Spine
  25. The Arcade Fire--Rebellion (Lies)
  26. David Lee Roth--Just Like Paradise

Just bragging...

Almost finished, but still lovely with shortened stems.