Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Garden Projects 2019

Hey gang! I hope you're having a productive spring. It's definitely been a busy one here. I've been working hard bringing my dream garden to life. First project on the list this year was building some raised beds inside the garden wall. Last year I did raised rows, but unfortunately, a record breaking rainy year meant my soil and seed was widely dispersed, and the beds were flattened. Plus several fresh springs around our yard make it a bit boggy. So I built a formation of raised beds, with a pea gravel path running between them.

Once they were in place, it was time to work on my favorite, this year's garden trellises. This year I opted for a mountain range.

I added tiers to the middle bed, to give it a little more dimension.

You can see signs of life brewing! Oh my goodness but I do love spring.

Once the garden was built, seeded, and well on it's way, I decided to turn my attention to the rest of the yard. I finally built something I've been longing to build, and arbor at the entrance way to our house.

Stay tuned for updated pictures as things grow and bloom!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Wood Stove Project

Dave and I decided to gift ourselves a wood stove for Christmas. Exciting right? Well, it was exciting for me. No I have a cozy new place to knit, and we have back-up heat in case of a power outage...a must in the mountains. Best of all, it gave me an excuse to build something new and beautiful.

This beautiful tile was 30% off. I built a slightly raised hearth, and also tiled the wall. Tiling the wall was not easy, as it was most definitely not flat! But a little elbow grease and some thick concrete backer board solved that problem. But I am most excited about the wood storage tower. If you've ever waded out in deep snow over and over to fetch firewood, I'm sure you'll understand why.

A Kid's Dream Bedroom

Last summer we moved to the new house. This house is my dream house in so many ways. Nearly every room was an upgrade. For my daughter however, the move was a bit of a downgrade. At our last place she had the entire 2nd floor to herself, including her own gigantic bathroom. At the new house, her room is the smallest and farthest from the bathroom, which she is now forced to share with me. The room has some nice attributes though. It is situated in the back corner of the house, probably the most private room, and it has a lovely view of the mountains and creek from both windows. In the evening she can see the sunset over Grandfather Mountain. But the room is still tiny, especially after we stuffed it full of her old bulky furniture. She's not much of a complainer. Even at 14, she's probably the sweetest, most laid-back human I know. so if anyone deserves a room makeover, it's Sophia. Sophia chose the color palette herself, and I love it.
My initial plan was simply to build a loft, and give her a studio space underneath. The loft was fun to build. I found inexpensive decorative ceiling tiles, and incorporated them into the design. Building into the corner allowed me to streamline the bed, forgoing bulky corner posts, without sacrificing stability.

Creating usable space under the loft was a little more challenging. I came up with the idea to build some mountain-themed bookshelves. Then we added a colorful rug, and some large velvet floor cushions, as seen in the first photo.

Once the loft and sitting space were finished, I moved on to building a desk into the window. It's a simple design with a farmhouse base. 

But my favorite part of the new room is the secret compartment that I built into the desk, although I suppose it's not so secret now!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Garden Review

It has been a few months, I am well aware, since I have updated you on new projects. Summer is a busy time here, especially with the new house. It was my first year with a new garden, an exciting new adventure, but with a whole new set of challenges. So I think I'll just do a quick summer wrap-up.

The Gate
Our new house is very popular with the deer. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I can look outside at any moment and spot anywhere from 1-20. In fact, I just looked up from my computer, and spotted 3. So obviously this doesn't bode well when you love growing vegetables. I knew as soon as we bought the house, I would need a garden fence. And the the idea just kind of spiraled out of control from there, and next thing you know, all of the neighbors were asking "What the hell is she building back there?" I love my new garden. The fence worked like a charm. But my favorite project of all this year is definitely the garden gate.

Isn't it just lovely? Here are a couple of in progress photos.

And of course, the usual yarn trellises were back in action.

We had a good harvest.

The Rest.

Our yard here is very pretty. It's not big, but we have a creek that runs along the side of the property, with a fresh spring in the corner. It babbles over rocks and through thickets. A line of old apple trees line the top of the property. And the house came with a some really pretty old scrubs and plants. We have tons of dallies and azaleas.

I built a bench near the spring facing the sunset.

I think we're all caught up now. There is more to share soon. I'm remodeling my daughter's room, then the focus will probably return to knitting for the winter.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

It's a Learning Process

Now that I have a snazzy new studio in my attic, and an area for woodworking in the garage, I suddenly find myself with a whole new world of project possibilities. No longer does project mode mean taking over the dining room table for weeks at a time, or assembly pieces on the living room floor. It really is life changing for me, and in some ways, the prospect is paralyzing. I have lots of ideas, but where to start?

For a while I've been wanting to experiment with hollow 3D lace, but this involves some problem solving. What to use as a stiffener, and how to get the knitting to hold it's shape? Ideally, I'd like to find a way to make objects that could be used outdoors, so they need to stand up to the elements. The shaping brings up a whole different set of questions, but for now, I decided to do a little experimenting, and start with the first problem, making my knitting rigid.

Leaning back on my love of paper mache', I decided to start with an obvious project, hot air balloons!
The shaping was pretty straight forward with a latex balloon, which left me free to concentrate on pattern and structure. I decided to modify and old circular lace tablecloth pattern, by reducing the repeats from 8 to 6. The remainder was basically spontaneous lace knitting, but I'm happy with the design. One the knitting was complete, I decided to start with a diluted white glue concoction. I soaked the knitting in the glue, then blew up a vaseline-covered balloon inside. This turned out to be a challenge. The vaseline made the balloon very difficult to tie, and of course, I wound up with glue all over my face! But in the end, it worked! I let the glue dry for 3 days, then when I was satisfied, I popped the balloon. It held it's shape, and looked beautiful, but the balloon was a little too easy to dent. I wanted something fairly rigid. After doing some reading, I opted to spray down the entire thing with polycrylic. Unfortunately, wetting the knitting seemed to sort of melt down the shape again, so I had to quickly reinflate another balloon inside. After a few hours, the balloon had dried, but unfortunately, it was less rigid than ever. After throwing a 2 year old tantrum in a 42 year old sized body, it was back to the drawing board. By now I had a glue and polycrylic soaked lace apparatus that looked like a half squished over-ripe cantaloupe. Not awesome! Reaching for the tried and true can of polyurethane, I reinflated yet another balloon, positioned the project carefully, and coated the entire project with a sponge. I let the poly cure for a few days, and at some point the balloon inside popped on it's on, but it had worked. The project was hard as a rock. There was one major drawback however, the poly had a severe yellowing effect. So one problem solved, but another created. But I will try again. I think I'm going to experiment with some different mediums. We will see what happens!

In the meantime though, I am enjoying the balloons hanging in my studio, even if they look a little antiqued.

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Pattern: Baby Braided Ankle Bootie

I'm very excited about how these turned out! I think they are a relatively quick and fun knit. You can find the pattern here.

Also, because I know others find knitting to be the only cure for these dark and cold January days, all of my knitting patterns in the Revelry Store are 50% off for one week! 
Promotion expires on January 19.