Tuesday, March 19, 2013

gettin springy

Just some photos today.  Mostly.  The last week or so:  
:: Springy day on the riverbank.  (That said, the last three days have been a return to winter.)

:: Some handknits from the last few weeks.  (My hat is the "Amanda Hat" on Ravelry.  I love how the texture works even with variegated wool.)
There is a new baby in town!  (I've made...9 of these now?)
I went on a felted bowl extravaganza.  We have three on the dining table.  I had to make a pink one for bugs, of course, and a purple one for Hazey just to be fair.  Juniper loved placing what looked like baby hats into a lingerie bag and into the wash, then pulling out felted bowls.  Right now, her pink bowl is on her dresser with a big rock in it.  But it has also spent a significant amount of time in her Ladybug Backpack.  (Lately, all things Holy end up in the Ladybug Backpack.)
Crocheted more Easter eggs now that I have two egg-hunting chickens (and we can leave those plastic eggs in China).  In case you're wondering, nearly all of my knitting takes place during family outings in the car and, occasionally, naptime.  
:: Taken just before he shaved, I came across this image of my cave-man and cave-girl:   
:: And my man came across me rowing a boat with my blue slipper:
:: Then I came across these two sisters and their complete joy for one another:
^Hazel is our little climber.  She is constantly climbing and falling off of things.  In the year and a half that we've owned this child's table, this is the first time I've seen Juniper on top of it.  

:: In an abundance of sunny spring (over)optimism, I tucked some seeds into a jerry-rigged, half-assed cold frame.  This morning, underneath a sleeping bag, it was frozen solid.  (Warming up this afternoon though...so we'll see.  I'm still hopeful.)  Come on peas, favas, spinach, lettuce, cilantro, radishes and kale!!!
In a more reasonable effort, I tucked some tomato and pepper seeds inside the house.  
Juniper helped.  
Wishing you all a wonderful First Day of Spring tomorrow!  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

our house: before and after

I really love our house.  Although there are a few things I would have done differently had I been the original architect (more south-facing windows, for example), our house is nearly perfect.  It's cozy, homey, practical and cute.  The places where we spend most of our time are bigger (kitchen and living room), the others smaller (bathrooms and bedrooms).  We have a sunken mudroom/laundry which is nothing short of a godsend in Wyoming.

I've never shown before-and-after photos of our house.  Now that we've lived here a year and a half and we've owned the house for almost 2 years...I thought this would be a good time.  Plus, we're trying to refinance which means the appraiser was here the other day and our house was actually a little bit clean.  I took photos.  

Mainly, this house lacked an open kitchen and a good, solid place to sit and have a family meal.  We wanted to change that.  Also, we can't abide by carpet and linoleum, so we fixed that while the fixin' was easy.

Living room before:

Living room (with added-on dining area) after:

Kitchen before:

Kitchen after:
(The tiled area to the right of the wood beam was added-on.)  

In the two bedrooms, we painted, replaced doors, and installed "rustic" hickory flooring. (In the bathrooms and mudroom, we laid tile.)  Our bedroom before:

Our bedroom after:

I don't have before photos of the kids' room, but it pretty much looked like ours.  Kids' room after:
^See the light fixtures?  We tore those out of a million dollar home that was slated to be burned down.  Crazy, I know.  We replaced all light fixtures, fans and curtain rods for free.^ 

Upstairs, we added on to the loft.  What existed originally is our guest-bed/ play-area/ exercise area.  Before: 
 ^Juniper was Hazel's current age when we first looked at this house, oh my!^

Original loft after:
^Okay, so not much has changed there.^

It was important for me to have a studio space.  A project room.  A place for my computer, sewing machine, books.  So we extended the loft another nine feet and viola.  Before:


No one ever expects this little nook of a bathroom to lurk behind that chalkboard door (no changes here):

Looking back toward the living area, stairs and bedrooms.  Before (it was all cathedral ceiling):

After (now, there is a flat ceiling over the couch and ending at the chair where we extended the loft):  

The only major external change to the house (now our kitchen and dining area):
As they say, a house is never finished.  We still have lots of little finishing work as well as bigger, grander dreams (a sunroom off our bedroom???!!!???).  But for now we are just peachy.    

Sunday, March 10, 2013


My better half has been gone for a week.  On day two just before naptime, Hazel slipped off the mudroom stair and bonked her head.  She screamed while Juniper whined about somethingorother, and the phone rang.  It was the florist.  She needed directions to my house.  Actually, she had to repeat that question five times before I could hear her.  My first thought was, Who in the hell would send me flowers?  And then, Oh.  And I told her, through the crying and whining, "You know, this is why I'm getting flowers."

I can think of only one other time my husband has sent me flowers.  Well, maybe two.  Mind you, he brings me bouquets of hand-picked wildflowers all summer long.  But buying?  No.

I've mentioned once before in this blog how I came upon the pen-name Clove (my real-life name is Gretchen).  To make a long story very short (for the longer version, click here), my man and I have been exchanging love notes since the very first days of our courtship.  I don't think I've ever had a note addressed to Gretchen.  I've always been Clove, but only--ever--in writing.  We were often away from each other in those early days and would slip notes into socks, books, toilet paper, tackle boxes...and the tradition continues.  He has always found the better hiding spots.

The flowers came with a card.  The card read: "Bookshelf.  The Life of Birds."

First thought: Huh?  Second thought: Oooh.  I ran to the bookshelf, pulled out his old biology textbook and shook out my letter.  I didn't notice the chapter it had marked, but later he told me the note was tucked inside "The Care and Development of Young."
I have never appreciated flowers as much as I do these.  Like song, they changed the entire attitude of our household.  We needed flowers.  And I needed a love note.
Juniper chose one hot-pink daisy for her room.  

:: Over the last week or so...
We've been enjoying the waxing sun, the way these almost-spring rays creep further into our home like hopeful pea tendrils.  It's infectious.

:: Bear-love continues.  

:: To date, my favorite of J bug's watercolors.  The work of a wild, free soul.  In her words, "Bear den, bear tracks, and the moon."

:: I finally made Juniper a baby sling which she uses for animals.  The bear, yes, also turtles and big horn sheep.  

And now I need to sew one for Hazel.

::  We started a window box of basil (well, as you will soon see, I haven't poked the seeds in yet).  This was the first time my kids have seen dirt since early December.  I didn't anticipate the reaction.  Talk about infectious.

:: My cousin stopped by!  The last time he stopped by my Wyoming stead was 14(?) years ago.  It was summer, he arrived on a motorcycle and sporting a purple fro.  This time he was donning a handlebar mustache, fresh off the ice of Antarctica, and on his way to paddle the Inside Passage for the summer.  Love my family.  And, like fresh dirt and spring sun, his presence was infectious.  

:: Wyoming's version of a celebrity sighting.  Our resident herd of mountain goats have come down close enough for even my non-telephoto lens.  Typically, you can spot them by the gang of paparazzis on the highway.  Anyway.  They are so fuzzy and cute and often perched precariously on a cliff.  

:: In a fit of pre-spring ferver I shoveled 18 inches of heavy slush off the wrong garden bed.

:: Juniper's favorite play area of late is our loft, where she strips naked and jumps off the futon into a pile of blankets--I mean "the pool."  Hazel climbs atop the chest, dangles her feet and tumbles in with a squeal.  At our last playdate, it took about 2 seconds for Juniper's friend C to strip down and join in.

:: And then, late Friday night, my man returned.  The sun is shining, the snow is melting and we spent yesterday on a warm riverbank, fishing, picnicking, and lizarding around in the sun.
^My flowers included irises, of course.