Saturday, 20 April 2013

Sunshine at last

It seems like we've been waiting for spring to arrive for such a long time, but suddenly over the last few days the cherry trees have burst into blossom and things in the garden are beginning to wake up.  It's still not safe to tackle painting the front door as there are still some frosty nights (amazing in late April here near London) but today we had glorious sunshine.

I treated myself to an afternoon off and spent over three hours lounging in the garden - for once blessedly free of the war cries of the neighbour's homicidal grandchildren.  I read - I'm reading 'North and South' by Elizabeth Gaskell and really enjoying it.  This was prompted by renting the mini-series starring Richard Armitage after seeing him play Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit.  The mini-series didn't make a lot of sense (although I would watch Richard Armitage even if the sound were off) but the book is great.

And I did some cross stitch - I finally finished the background of a shadow box that I've been dabbling at for several years.  Now I just need to stitch the quilt that goes on the little brass quilt stand. I'm going to stitch my quilt on some blue evenweave linen so it stands out more.

And I did some knitting:  a few rows on my Quilt Sampler mittens - I'm about halfway up the second mitten now.

TV knitting this week has been working on my Alice Starmore Marina pullover.  I seamed up the sides, but because I knit this on the machine and didn't plan for how the repeat fell at the side seams, the match at the seam is not great.  It's ok on some of the bands, but fairly obvious on the flower band. It doesn't help that I tapered the shape by three stitches going up the body.  Although as it turns out, I needn't have bothered as it is a bit loose at the waist but fits well at the bust.

I've picked up and knitted the v-neck band and one armhole, I am following the 'recipe' for the colour changes in the band and really like how it looks. I picked up 1:1 on horizontal sections and slanted sections, and 2:3 on vertical sections.  After I picked up the back neck, I decreased 4 or 5 stitches evenly across the back on the next row so the band didn't stick up.  I did a double decrease at the centre front of the v-neck.  The armholes could have been deeper but generally it's a good fit and looks great. I'll knit the second armband next and then pick up for the bottom band.  You can see the lilac acrylic waste yarn currently anchoring the bottom live stitches in the picture.

Decorating and gussying-up continues apace.  Earlier in the week I started work on my bedroom, which is the master bedroom.  That was the last of the carpeted rooms so I went ahead and made three appointments with carpet companies to quote on recarpeting the house.  After finishing the decluttering and rationalising the closet contents and rolling all the quilts, I filled all the holes in the walls in my bedroom, scrubbed it all down and touched up the paint.  I also tackled the ensuite and the family bathroom:  pulling down the damaged corner tape over the windows, redoing them with new joint compound, sanding that down and repainting several times.  I had to repaint both bathroom ceilings as the white paint we have doesn't match the old ceiling paint, but I was able to touch up the walls without having to repaint them entirely.  More holes to fill in the walls of my bathroom.  I've also cleaned the inside of all of the upstairs windows with UVPC cleaner I bought on Amazon - fabulous stuff that makes the white plastic look almost new.

I did a mega shop at Argos (like a Target) to replace various tired household goods.  I bought two new ceiling light fittings and wired those in to replace the two I took down which are going with us.  I bought a new bathroom mirror and screwed that to the wall of the ensuite.  I replaced two laundry hampers, the kitchen bin, and three pedal bins in the bathrooms.  And the cat got a new scratching post as she had shredded her old one (in between shredding the sofa cover).

Outside I've painted the top of the wall that runs along our entrance to freshen up the white paint, scraped down the bubbling render on the neighbour's abutting garage wall and repainted that, scrubbed down our entrance porch, and replaced the hardware on the inside of the door (the outside hardware will get replaced as well but I'm waiting for better weather so I can paint it first).

So the only rooms left to do are the lower hallway, and the kitchen.  As we are going to have a tremendous upheaval for re-carpeting, which will involve filling the kitchen with all of the living room furniture, I think I wait on decorating although I can start cleaning the cupboard interiors. I've had two carpet measuring visits so far, and they've come back with fairly similar quotes, and the third company is coming on Monday.  So hopefully we can get the carpeting over with by early May.

In between the work, I've been doing paperwork-type stuff:  househunting on the internet, chasing up the plumber to get the darn part for the leaking hot water tank (he has finally gotten sick enough of my phone calls and actually ordered the part and says it will come next week), getting our household insurance altered to cover the substantial amount of possessions now in self-storage, and talking to the NHBCC about paying for our failed window panes in the conservatory.

So not much job-hunting going on, although I do read my job-ad emails every day and have been twice contacted by agents who want me to apply for things.  DH and I both think that I don't have time to work full-time at the moment, although it feels a bit unnatural not to prioritise job hunting.  If I see a part-time job that I could do, then I would apply for it.

Hope you are getting some sunshine where you are.


Daisy said...

You're making me feel exhausted! I'd be interested in what your carpet quotes turn out to be? We need to do all of our upstairs and I have absolutely no idea whatsoever how much to budget for! Plus the horrific idea of moving everything to get it done.

swooze said...

What great progress! Would love to see pictures.

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