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Archive for February, 2008

Over the past week I’ve been busy finishing up birthday presents, having my entire family home, having my kids go on a sleepover, getting to go out with my husband, going to visit in-laws, having book-club, working on new things for the shop, and a house project. This is the project I have been putting off for years. We gutted our kitchen, including the walls and ceiling, before this project. Of course, L1 is now back at work and the project isn’t finished. That is often how things work in our home. I am hopeful it will be done before the equinox because I can’t stand the current state of messiness in my house (more so than the usual kid-occupied home that we have!).

What is this dread project? Painting our front hallway and stairway. Painting, you scoff. What’s so bad about painting? Usually, nothing. But when the previous owners painted over a bad wallpaper job, the project turns odious. Some pictures to let you be glad you’re not doing this project:
The Hallway Make-Over Begins! L2 scrapping the paint L1 puts the steamer to good use Wallpaper removed!

Right now we’re stuck at a coat of primer. Then there’s all the trim to be painted, too. I’m sure I’ll share when it is done because I’ll be such a happy person. And hopefully I’ll post more frequently, too. As part of our electricity project, the computer to which we download our photos is off most of the time, and I don’t want to turn it on just to download photos. And really, I know blog posts are better with pictures.

Feel free to share any improvement projects (home or otherwise) that you may have wished out of your life!

As an aside, I love that diamond panel of glass in our front door. 🙂

*******Added on 2.27.08*******
Mama & L4 paint 2 Mama & L4 paint 1 L1, the Happy Painter L1, Super Painter!

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Kilowatt Update, Week 1

Last week I announced that we were embarking on a kilowatt usage tracking experiment. Some background information:

  • Our house is 1864 sq ft., built in 1948.
  • We have natural gas heating and hot water.
  • We have energy star for our fridge, dishwasher, washer & dryer, dehumidifier and chest freezer. (If there was energy star for ovens & cook-tops, we’d have that, too.)
  • For some time during the past week we have used our dehumidifier (click HERE to see why) and a rented wallpaper steamer (more on that sometime soon).

Kilowatt Stats:

  • Total usage for the week = 125 kw
  • Daily Average = 17.86
  • Projected yearly use based on the past week’s usage: 6500 kw
  • Projected monthly use based on the past week’s usage: 541.67

We get 200 kw from wind power every month as an option through our energy provider. We’ll see what happens now. We are hoping that remembering to do things like the hard off at night is going to help further reduce our usage. I encourage others to try this–it’s an interesting study in what we actually use rather than just seeing the dollars in the bill each month. We might be doing the same with our water usage next. Stay tuned!

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Monkey Feet!

Yesterday, minutes before KAB arrived for our birthday outing (her b-day, my half-b-day, a few days late) I finished her present, a pair of Monkey socks. The pattern was fun to knit and I love the way they came out. The gratuitous pictures:
KAB Monkey Socks Monkey Close-up
Stats (because I’m missing working outside of the home a little):

Pattern: Monkey

Yarn: Great Adirondack Yarn Co. Soxie

Color: Um, see the picture?

Needles: US 2s

Notes: I did one less pattern repeat on the leg because I was concerned about running out of yarn. Serendipitously, KAB doesn’t like socks too long. I learned this after gifting them to her. So happy for us both with that pattern alteration. I also did a slip stitch heel instead of the regular SS because I just like they way it looks. 🙂

I swear, one of these days I’m going to knit myself a pair of socks. In the meantime, I have to finish my the second sock for my MIL for her b-day, and then I started a pair of L3 so that I could teach KAB how to knit socks. My boy has been wearing the socks I knit him 3 years ago still because he loved them so much, despite the fact that the heel was in the arch of his foot. They have transferred to his sister’s drawer now, unbeknown to L3. Now that I’m making him a new pair, hopefully that will ease the realization that he truly can’t wear the other pair anymore!

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Puppy Love

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Electric Meter

We’re going to be doing a little test around here the next couple of weeks. We’re going to keep track of our electricity consumption to see just how much we are using. Though we do meter reads, that doesn’t make it real enough. We’re also going to try and remember to do more hard shut-offs of our electronic devices, too. Though I unplug my laptop every night, we don’t do a hard shut off of the router or the TV power strip. This test was inspired by a book I have been slowly reading for the past several months called Living the Good Life: How one family changed their world from their own backyard.

The book chronicles a family’s 6-month experiment with sustainable living. It is written in a journal style and it great to pick up and read in small bits and pieces. That’s good since I end up doing that with a lot of books. A sampling of those I am currently reading:

  • Living the Good Life
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
  • Affluenza
  • The History of Love (an audiobook, actually, for bookclub!)
  • The New Rules of Lifting for Women
  • The Puppy Whisperer
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek (with L3)
  • Garden Spells (a novel, not garden book)

What are you reading now? And has anyone (besides you, AG!) ever done any testing of their electricity consumption before? Any tips for decreasing consumption (besides things like turning off lights, unplugging things, and energy star appliances)?

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A Whole New World

I bought a serger.

Serger!

Or rather, a portion of our tax return did. With it I have conquered my fear of sewing knits. I made L3 a hoodie t-shirt today! My sewing horizons are expanding and I’m really excited about making more clothes for the entire family in the future, as well as having more clothing in my shop.

Hoodie for L3 L3 Modeling the Hoodie

Other random bits of sewing and life:

PJs for L4 made from thrifted fabric, cost $.50 (Maybe, maybe less!)
L4 Jester PJs
Homemade brownies and ice-cream, yummm
Mmm, dessert

Finally, today was another Ravelry knit meet-up. It was great fun–I even made some decent progress on the two pairs of socks I’m currently knitting (more when they are done and/or gifted).   I love Ravelry for many reasons, one of which is the new people I have gotten to know and the book-club I’ve joined through it. *happy sigh*

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Sunset from the dining room window

We’ve been in our home for over five years now. Every time I sit at the dining room table I look out the window, actually find myself just staring out the window. You’d think I wouldn’t be so enamored of the view after so much time, but I still love it, in all its seasons. I took the above shot last month, but it looks quite similar outside right now.  I’m so happy we found a place that I love.  We don’t have any fancy landscaping or a perfect lawn, but still it all just captures me.

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