Friday, March 16, 2012

Home Improvement: Entryway

A terrible thing happens when you're a homeowner. It starts with some innocent browsing of real estate websites, where you type in what you paid for your house and look at what's for sale for that price now. Pretty soon you find yourself sprinting to the computer whenever you see a new for sale sign in the neighborhood and sneaking into open houses (or maybe that's just me).  We're certainly not planning on moving any time soon, but that doesn't stop the drooling over other people's garages and hardwood floors.

I know I need to calm the freak down and just bask in my house's awesomeness (and probably stop watching so many episodes of House Hunters.) For example, how many houses have you seen that have their very own built-in handmade coat hook wall? I have one of those!

There is an awkward entrance area in the living room right as you walk in the front door. Before, it didn't have anything in it, besides this wobbly lamp and a whole bunch of shoes (not pictured, because I staged this photo to make it look pretty.) Oh, and the walls were orange.

But now, we have our very own FOYER. Do people even say "foyer" anymore? No? Let's call it an Entryway. The board and batten I did all by my little self, and it was my first project using a miter saw. I'm pretty sure the neighbor hates me now because I didn't have a nail gun, and had to pound tons of nails into the wall by hand. There are tons of tutorials on how to install board and batten, so just google it; I used a mish-mash of all of them. I did replace the baseboard, but you can skip this if you have taller ones. I used 1x3 pine for the vertical pieces and 1x4 for the horizontal, and didn't install any boards, only batten. The wall is just painted and looks fine because it's smooth drywall.

The wall color is Benjamin Moore "Alpaca", the choice of which obviously had nothing to do with my fiber-based hobbies. I made the wreath, using this tutorial, out of a boring book on Joan of Arc. Don't worry, I checked out the reviews online first to make sure I didn't want to read it first.

The two framed pieces of art I made; they list all of the places Jason and/or I have ever lived. It's a lot: Virginia, Arkansas, Delaware, Maryland, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona, Missouri, Washington, Georgia, Ohio, California, Montana, and Ireland.

Here's where I got everything, just in case you're interested:
  • Bench: Overstock
  • Fabric Bins: Home Depot
  • Half-moon table: World Market
  • Basket, lantern, and vase: TJ Maxx
  • Coat hooks: Lowe's
  • Frames and key hooks: Ikea

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Fresh Off the Wheel

Whenever I mention spinning to a normal human, they almost always assume that I'm talking about the type of spinning you do in a class at the gym. Bike spinning might make you stronger, but it certainly won't make you yarn. And yarn is what it's all about.

This fiber is 100% merino from Pacific Wool and Fiber, a birthday gift from last year. I had a full 8 oz., which is rather a lot of fiber. It was my first spinning wheel project, and I spun it into 3 fairly thin singles, which took my entire life.

The yarn came in somewhere around a heavy fingering or light sport weight 3-ply. New spinners, I'll tell you a secret - 3-ply is much more forgiving to uneven singles than 2-ply. It is more work, but it pays off in the end. I'm not sure how much yardage I ended up with because I haven't measured it, but I'm hoping it's at least 600 yards. I'm thinking about making a stole or shawl, so that I can use up all the yarn, perhaps Woodland Shawl or Sakura.

Next up is what I'm calling "my circus yarn", Merino from Woolgatherings [prepare to spend money if you click on that link]. In contrast, this spin only took about 8 hours total, basically nothing in yarn spinning years. Although the colors look jumbled up in the skein, they are actually fairly long color repeats, so the resulting knit will be striped. I have about 330 yards of sport weight, any ideas? Other than rubbing it all over my face because it's so soft?

Currently on the wheel is a superwash wool and nylon blend, intended for socks, but I guess my brain just stopped working when I ordered it, because I forgot that nylon is plastic, and spinning plastic is terrible. So squeaky!
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