Servin' it Up! Kiss my grits!

September 01, 2004 binary

My Ride with Aladdin

One of the lessons I've learned as an experienced home owner is to be patient with the process of renovation and never underestimate how long it takes to get anything done. Especially when the kids are home. So I took advantage of their current cranky presence by hauling them out for a round of shopping. Not for new school clothes or new school supplies or new school shoes. No, we went shopping for rugs.

I did not hold out a lot of hope for finding rugs that appealed to them and to me. I knew compromise would be the word of the day. Imagine my delight when Max saw this one on our first store visit and said "This is the one. I really like it!" Truth be told, the name "Grey Matrix" probably had a lot to do with his attraction. I love the subtlety of the colors and the modern design. A more sophisticated choice than I could ever have dreamed possible.

Liv is always a tough customer. We had no luck at the first rug store so I took her out the next day for another round of shopping. (It helps that Jordan's Furniture in Natick hands out Mardi Gras beads. A dish of vanilla mint soft serve sweetened the deal.) We found her rug at the last store visit of the day. I explained to the saleswoman that we were on the hunt for a Very Special Rug for a Very Special Girl. Could she please help? She patiently showed Liv the rugs on display. Liv maintained a very cool exterior. I've learned that if she shows no emotion, it means she doesn't like it. Rug after rug, no flicker of the eye or flinch of the shoulder was to be seen. The exasperation was mounting. Then this gorgeous bluey-purpley-silvery rug came into view. She looked up at me in sheer triumph with the biggest smile she could possibly flash. True rug love. I couldn't quite believe my good fortune. I had resigned myself to some cutesy-girly-pastel-y, slightly tacky rug. My relief was indescribable.

One of Sam's main gripes about the new house is that there is "too much wood." Sam is a wall-to-wall man. The boy loves a carpeted house. However, the only carpeting in this current house resides in the basement. (A particularly noxious shade of blue that makes my skin crawl whenever I walk by. I've learned to pretend I'm blind when I'm down there.) However, Sam does not sleep in the basement. Yet. Sam was the lone holdout. Nothing we saw seemed to fit his style. Then he found the Guggenheim's. I would do almost anything for this kid. Except spend $2K on a Guggenheim rug for a 9 year old. You want your Guggenheim, Sam? You can get it when you're 30 via your own personal MasterCard. But I must've rubbed Aladdin's lamp just right in a past life because hanging next to the modernist rugs was this modest striped rug. He found it first and instantly knew it was his.

I've often wondered if my need for a visually appealing home will have any effect on them. I no longer need to wonder, do I?

Posted by Kerstin at 09:36 AM | Comments (10)

August 30, 2004

Of Termites and Boys

There is precious little knitting to report this week. I've been picking up Sam's sweater when I have a minute here or there. This is the first time I've knit a sweater with this type of construction. The front and back pieces are knit separately and joined at the shoulders. The stitches for the sleeves are picked up along the armhole edge, knit down to the wrist and then seamed up the side. Very easy breezy. But not for this knitter. Apparently, the sleeve decreases are too close together making for a very tight sleeve fit. Sam did his best scarecrow pose for about 10 minutes last night while I fought with the Denial Devil. "It'll work," the Denial Devil whispered seductively in my ear. "Who the hell are you kidding?" yelled the Conscientious Cupid in my other ear. I finally tried it on Liv and found that the sleeves were indeed perfect for her. Only this sweater is not for her. Cupid 1, Devil 0.

I b & m'ed (bitched and moaned) about the ripfest that was required. Liv heard me and offered her services. "I'll rip it for you, Mama!" Somehow it's a lot less painful when she does the ripping. Rip it, Liv, Rip it!

Sandy? This pic is for you. I took your advice and went back to the old house yesterday for one last photo session. These are the marks Max made on the inside of HIS closet door to document the growth of his younger brother, Sam. This is the evidence of brotherly love I will show them if they ever reach that stage where they can't stand each other. Notice I said "if" and not "when." Keep hope alive.

Today we close on the old house. We've given our attorney the ability to sign for us (you know how attorneys dig their power) so that we can skip out on the process. I'm holding my breath until 10 am. Because it ain't over until the attorney lady sings. There is one outstanding "issue" on the house and I fear it will cause some trouble this morning. I won't go into it here except to say DO NOT BUY A FANCY SCHMANCY FISHER-PAYKEL DISHWASHER. I've spent more money on that damn thing in the last month than I care to admit and the bottom dish drawer still does not work properly. The buyers are new house owners and don't seem to understand that a significant portion of their earnings will go towards maintaining their "new" house. They don't comprehend yet that a non-working dish drawer will be the least of their worries.

After all, we found out last week that termites have been partying like it's 1899 in our "new" house. And for those of you who live in New England and have sold your home's soul to the Denial Devil, let me be the one to say: There is a very good chance that termites reside in your house, too. This is the third house we've owned. The third house with resident termites. You haven't heard? They make for exciting house pets.

Is it too early to have a peach margarita? Chomp, chomp, chomp how much to buy google company!

Posted by Kerstin at 07:15 AM | Comments (16)

August 25, 2004

Wild Knitting

Want a garden like mine but you don't have the land? Knit one! Just think ~ no grimey fingernails, no bee stings, no weed control. Put down the garden trowel and pick up the needles! (It's easier to dispense advice than heed it.)

We have a good rare/used bookstore in town that I manage to visit once in a blue moon. It's better than Ebay, I'm telling you. Now that I live closer to the bookstore, it'll be easier to check out their craft book section on a regular basis. I found Wild Knitting last summer along with Ida Riley Duncan's Knit to Fit and Gertrude Taylor's Complete Book of Knitting. (I'm a year behind in my blog writing, so boot me.) Wild Knitting was published in 1979 (I remember it well) by A & W Publishers (they make a fine root beer) and was edited by Angela Jeffs (haven't heard of her, have you?).

Some garment embellishments just never go out of "style" for long. Take for instance, holes. This dress looks remarkably similar to a Phildar sweater pattern that came out this spring. I'm thinking a holey dress would be just the ticket to liven up the company Christmas party. Of course, it wouldn't be complete if I didn't knit up a . . .

cigarette with matching lighter, natch. (Want to know how to knit a flame? I do!) I wouldn't recommend this pattern to a knit novice. If you don't know a thing about gauge, you'd wind up with a phallic looking cigarette. It just wouldn't do if the boss's wife was seen in public taking a hit on an oversized "smoke" now, would it?

In Summer Time, Summer Time, Sum, Sum, Summer Time News ~

What would summer be without a drive-by from the neighborhood ice cream truck? The first time I heard the jingly jangly music coming around the bend, I hightailed it into the house and found a buck for each kid. What did they ask for this time when I told them the truck's appearance was imminent? "Can we have TWO bucks, Mom?" "Pulleeeaaassse?"

It did earn me the Mom of the Moment award.

Posted by Kerstin at 05:00 PM | Comments (13)

August 20, 2004

House Mouse

Click on the pic to see a knit in progress.
How exciting!
Or not.

Welcome to my knitting room. When Pete first saw this room two months ago, he said "It's YOUR knitting room!" Mom is right. There aren't many men around like my hubby. See the green door? If the colonial life gets to be too much, I have my own personal exit route. When Liv gives the tour, she points to this door and exclaims "Mommy can escape here!" Let's escape right now!

Mommy's Sanity Asylum

I know, I know. It's a fairy tale life. My real name is Snow White. I didn't tell you? Yes, this is the view I see as I sit and knit and blog. This little house has been used for the last few years as a garden shed. I want to turn it back into a playhouse for the kids. But first I have to rid it of toxic waste. Does the work never end? Let's not dwell on the answer.

Having a waterfall right outside one's knitting room door makes for a very active bladder. Gurgle, gurgle leads to trickle, trickle, leads to flush, flush. Since I'm gonna live here until I'm carried out feet first in a pine box, you might want to buy stock in Depends. Want more stock tips? Buy low, sell when you're high. I could've saved Martha some jail time, oh yes indeed.

The previous owner said that one year a fish magically appeared in this pond below the waterfall. He was convinced one of his kids was playing a joke on him, but they all vehemently proclaimed their innocence. The "Jesus fish" swam all summer and died when the pond froze over that winter. I haven't seen any reborn fish, but we do have a little frog that splashes about. Let's hope Stella doesn't find it.

The hammock is to the right of the playhouse and is surrounded by a perennial shade garden. This space needs some work so I'll be thumbing through the garden catalogs this winter. In addition to the side gardens, there are floral beds that run along both sides of the fence across the entire front of the house. But, wait, that's not all. There is also a "serpentine" bed that runs from the pergola in front of the house down to the street. Since we have almost an acre of land in front that garden bed is very, very long. A real snake in the grass. Anyone want to come over and pull weeds? No smokin' on the job!

In Blog-Maintenance-Is-A-Pain-In-The-Ass News ~ There is still one hotlink out there that is eating up my bandwidth at a furious pace. I contacted the blogger a couple weeks ago and she still hasn't taken down the broken image on her site. Thus, I've run out of GBs again. I confessed to Pete this morning that I was very tempted to let my host suspend my site whenever I ran out of GBs for the month. His reply? "NO! You can't do that! I'll pay whatever it costs to keep you up and running. You'll lose your audience!!!" Since I'm blogging mostly for my own entertainment, I'm not really worried about loss of readership. Heck, I only "know" a tiny percentage of my readers anyway. If I disappear during the last week of the month, you'll know why. But I'll be baaaaack at the start of the new month.

In My-Outgoing-Mail-Server-Is-All-Screwed-Up News ~ If you've sent me an email and haven't gotten a reply, it's because my email has been messed up since I re-registered with the cable company. I'll get it all straightened out eventually, just wanted you to know that I'm not ignoring you. Julia Funny Child? This house is not quite 20 years old, so we can't bond over ancient plumbing issues. But we can still be friends, right? Claudia, DEAR? I'm supposed to trust you enough to send you my new address? Think again. Same goes for you, Gibson Girl. Can't fool me with the "I want to send you something" line. Unh huh. And for those of you who asked about a *partay*? Yes! There will be a knit bash! Don't know when, but we will definitely put this house to good use.

Have a fantastic weekend, lady bugs!

Posted by Kerstin at 10:10 AM | Comments (44)

August 17, 2004

We're Home!

I'm contemplating renaming this blog "At My Homestead's End." This house requires a whole new juggling act and it's gonna take some time for me to find my groove. Do we love it? Do pigs love mud? We ADORE this house. It is so incredibly beautiful that I've had to kick Pete out the door the last two days. It's one of those comfortable places that you never want to leave.

Come on over and I'll whip up lunch! Aesthetically, this kitchen is perfect for the house. We thought the limited counter space meant that we would have to renovate, but it is definitely growing on us each time we set foot in it. The oiled cherry countertops are kind of funky and the cabinet space is limited, but for some odd reason the floor plan actually works. A very pleasant surprise. I've rediscovered a love of playing in the kitchen and have found myself leafing through cookbooks again. There is so much I love about this house that if I shot 50 photos, it wouldn't do it justice. Let's just say, we'll be throwing some major parties here over the next few years.

I bought quite a few of the previous owner's furnishings before we moved in. This sheepy rug of theirs seemed a very good omen, how could I resist?

As you can imagine, not much knitting has been going on here. I've picked up the needles the last couple of nights and settled down to a night of Olympic tv but I've fallen asleep after only a few inches. I'm a little worried that I'll never find time to knit again. Say it ain't so! The move went smoothly and I've made great progress in unpacking. (Thanks, Mom!) But there's a ton more to do and my social calendar is very busy the next couple of months.

What's behind the green door? Next time you visit, I'll give you a tour of my knitting room and the gardens outside my door. (As I type at my desk, I can hear the waterfall gurgling down to the tiny pond outside. Good thing there's a bathroom across the hall.) I may not have much knitting to show for awhile, but I have one hell of a house.

It's fun. Oh girl, is it FUN!

Posted by Kerstin at 11:57 AM | Comments (50)
Blog Menu
New England Knits

Karen just finished her Charlotte's Web at Needles and Wool. Check out her gorgeous colors and her treatment of the fringe. Very nice.
Revelation at Life de Luxe! Phildar =
Fil d'Art = Thread of Life. I never knew,
did you? Check out the new Tendances here.
Spotted at Fred Flare: paper diner placements. Turn your kitchen into a greasy spoon today!
Looking for a beautiful new pattern? Knit up
J Strizzy's pretty tee, Dreamy Creamy
. The pattern can be found
in her right sidebar. Love it!
Clara is currently modeling her Rebecca Peach Jacket. She's pretty in peach!
There's a new mag
out called Wild Fibers. Want to raise angora rabbits or cashmere goats? This mag is for you. Indulge your
fiber farmer fantasy today!
Koigu Contest! Warning: Teresa's contests are never easy. Are you up for the challenge?
City Knitter is now serving up peppermint swirl soft serve. Go have a lick look!
Tired of knitting? Haul out your sewing machine and read up on Mariko's most excellent pillowcase tutorial. Be a supereggplant today!
Visit Hey Lucy and
giggle over Mort
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Sally (July 21).
Felting is Fun!
Have you seen Nanette's 'I Love a Parade' hat? Check
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Yarn for sale! Buy Leigh's Phildar Oxygene so her kids can eat mac and cheese for a change. Feed the starving children of Philadelphia!
Blog Contest! Where should Norma go on
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. Aug. 1st deadline! Hurry!
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Julia of Moth Heaven
thinks Knitting Can
Be Sexy in her
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The Woolen Rabbit
just had babies! See
her July 19th entry.
Check out Clara's Carla! See her entry
for July 12. So pretty.

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