Monday, August 31, 2009

A Moment of Horrified Silence

Ah Gentle Reader, today we encounter our Intrepid Heroine as she realizes it is the last sunny day but one before an entire week of Autumn rains. What does this say to her? Time To Paint, of course!

Having already patiently primed the porch rails and washed off the upper boards, Our Intrepid Heroine at last turns her attention to the object she has been waiting for--yes, Trim Paint! That soft and lovely vanilla cream color, all satiny in the can, oh anticipation, you are about to be fulfilled!

And so Our Intrepid Heroine gathers a spiffy brand new paintbrush, the plastic pouring lid *one size fits all gallons* and a gallon of paint, and trundles them outside along with the doglet. Fastening the doglet's leash to an out-of-the-way rail, she sets to with great excitement, and Opens The Can, then places the plastic pouring li... *ahem* then places the plast... well, it seems that "one size fits all" is no more true for gallon cans than for clothing!

Placing the plastic pouring lid aside for later Return and Exchange, Our Intrepid Heroine gazes adoringly into the paint can.


Acrylic paint certainly separates more than oil-based paint, Gentle Reader, but being Intrepid, Our Heroine stirs with a will *and a paint stick* until she has the most amazing, creamy, so-thick-the-paint-stick-stands-completely-upright-in-it, delicious looking creamy paint... almost, she thinks, like frosting, and she cannot wait to try it out!

Ahhhhh... feel the glide of the paintbrush, smoothing that luscious Trim Paint over the primer coat. Ahhhhh... see the gloss of the paint as it melds together. Ahhhhh... enjoy the rhythm of the work, so much easier than the primer was.

What's this? It seems, Gentle Reader, that we have come already to the rail where the doglet is! That's alright; we'll go around her. Painting merrily, we make great headway around the porch, until a neighbor stops by to say hello. Oops! It seems the doglet is not pleased with his presence. Ooops! It seems the leash goes farther than we thought. Oooooops! It seems we have some 'splainin' to do, Lucy! Our intrepid heroine grabs a handy painting towel!

Excuse us, Gentle Reader, we shall be right back.

Ahem, now, where were we? Ah yes, the smearily spotted doglet is now unhappily barricaded on the other side of the front door. T
hinking to herself that she might as well have done it in the first place, Our Intrepid heroine has now painted the area formerly left undone in order to prevent the spotting of doglets. Hrumph.

Ahhhhh... but see how the paint has covered the wood! See all the progress! See how it looks just like....

Er. Just like....


Notice, Gentle Reader, that after the multiple coats of Patient Oil-based Priming, and the smooth application of lovely satiny Acrylic Trim Paint, Our Intrepid Heroine has successfully turned her natural, rough-cut cedar porch rails into... yes.... wait for it.... oh yes indeed.....
vinyl siding.

There will be no pictures of this miracle of modern science today, Gentle Reader, because Our Intrepid Heroine refuses to let go her forlorn hope that possibly the paint will do as acrylic paint so often does, and change colors as it cures.

And now if you will excuse us, Gentle Reader, Our Intrepid heroine has a headache and is going to go lay down.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Quiet Time

Quiet time... or What I Did This Summer....

This is a mat from Treasures in Crochet, Book 296 from Coats and Clark, 1981. It isn't named, although I think of it as the optical illusions mat. These are nine lucky-clover-shaped motifs joined together; see in the center it looks like four circles? I didn't crochet any circles. Makes me smile! The mat was a special request from Gryph, who saw the pattern on the cover of the booklet and asked for it. Someday there may be more motifs added, but for now I am on to Yule gifts.

The main doily hasn't been blocked yet and REALLY needs it--tis the center of a round tablecloth, extremely lacy, and bigger than I can smooth out without a blocking board. It's actually what took up most of my crocheting time this summer, before I made Gryph's mat. Once I block it, there will be a pic.

I'm calling this one "Gothic Arches" because the original name really didn't suit it. It's from a free 1947 pattern I found called "Spiderweb Lace" that I cannot find now *blink* who knew it could disappear in a week? Well, anyhow, here are two sites for free patterns.

This edging was QUITE the challenge for two reasons. The first was that the publisher evidently assumed a high skill-and-experience level on the part of the crocheter, and the second is that it was meant to be sewn into fabric--most likely pillowcase seams. Giving it finished edges on the sides was a challenge, and so was getting it to block properly.

The way the pattern was written, the center loops are done first, then the entire bottom half is done, turning each row and working back and forth. Then the top half is done in the same manner. It was extremely awkward and I wasn't satisfied with the way it came out, especially since, in order to make the 7-chain strands arch properly the pattern called for "long treble crochets" to make the fans.

Now I ask you, who can keep the gauge consistent, motif to motif, row to row, top to bottom, when it calls for something so nebulous?! So I rewrote the pattern.

It wasn't exactly successful. *wry smile*

You can see that my attempt to make the 7-chain strands arch properly was not best served by the changes I made--look how those motifs skewed! I used double trebles to keep the gauge consistent, but I also worked in rounds rather than back and forth.... and you can see that I didn't realize I had an even number of loops in time to correct it. (That's an easy fix when you're working back and forth; you just undo the few extra stitches when you come to them.)

I think the worst problem with this experiment is through the center. One reason the motifs skewed the way they did is that the center is rigid and has no give to it. As far as I can tell, that's because I worked in rounds.

So, in the version which is on my hook now, I am making the center loops my way, a long row of them to fit my desired measurement (and definitely an odd number, I counted twice!) and I am working back and forth in rows, but instead of "long treble crochets" I am using quadruple crochets. We'll see if I have to take this one apart as many times as I did the other two!

Oh! And I bought "Cebelia" thread from DMC.... ohhhhh my.... I have never used such nice thread before! Now I see what the price difference is about... no fuzziness, no splitting, just smooth tight thread all the way. Tis like heaven!

Friday, August 28, 2009

long, long summer

I was sick for most of the summer, unfortunately, but I did manage to get the porch rails primed. I've washed off the inside boards around the porch ceiling (what DO you call those, anyway?!) and we have just two more boards to scrape and prime before we start painting with the trim color, cream.

We do still have to wash off the house walls and caulk the cracks (there's a special mortar caulk for brick walls) before we can start painting the house itself. The body color will be a very pale blue.
It doesn't show very well in this pic, but I've started priming the back porch and rails also.

We had the roof patched this week--big relief! Now we can start on patching the wall where the bricks fell.

It's funny about walking the doglet. When I lived in Phoenix, I always walked on the sidewalk and she walked in the grass--it was almost always dry. When Gryph and I lived in apartments here, I walked on the sidewalk and lady walked in the grass. Even if the grass was wet, my feet stayed dry.

Now we have a house and I walk her in the yard.

The WET yard.

In my little canvas shoes.

Aren't weeds funny things? These think they are flowers. Dunno what they're called, but they tried to eat our gas meter... not so good! Anyhow, I take them down periodically with a weedeater, but dang... they come back thicker than ever! How come veggies don't do that?

No matter what it looks like, I promise you this next pic is not of Autumn leaves. Those are mushrooms!
And that wasn't all of them, either; they were scattered in a diagonal spread near the oak tree. Makes me wonder if a dead log stayed there for several years! Anyhow, when these get broken open, they're a sickly sulfur yellow.

Know what this is? Amazingly enough to me, it's ivy blossoms! I didn't know it would do that!

Here's another pic to give you an idea of the scale. We thought this tree was dead because it was so smothered in ivy, but it leafed out and grew vigorously this year.

I owe you pics of the rest of what I've done with my summer, but I want to block them first. I'm happy to say I have two Yule gifts finished already, except for the blocking! And while it's been nice to have hours for uninterrupted crocheting, I really do hope that Fall's cooler temps will allow me to get back to work on the house repairs and painting.