Mar 30, 2007


Dear blog reader,

I know you are waiting for a new post. Believe me, I am waiting for inspiration. To tell you the truth, I have thought of nothing but sleep for the last 5 days. Maybe it's the fact that I gave up pop for Lent and am suffering a chronic caffeine deprivation. Maybe it's the fact that depression/anxiety is an epidemic in Holland and every patient seems to come to me to unload. Maybe the left-over fumes from our polyurethane are slowly killing my brain cells. Maybe I'm grieving the skeins of yarn I have not been allowed to purchase. I'm just dog tired. I mean really, I haven't picked up my pointy sticks in a week!

I'll cross my fingers for a jolt of energy for next week. A Chicago bachelorette party is on my schedule for this weekend. Although that won't provide me with sleep, at least I'll have some blogging material.

Your somewhat devoted blog poster

Mar 27, 2007

It was all worth it.

The fourth coat of polyurethane was put on yesterday morning, dry by 9 pm, and the floors are officially finished.

We're so happy we had them redone. The finish is smooth now and the poly-coat is free of debris. It looks great. The only imperfections now are not even worth mentioning. We're ready to have another house warming party!

Now our next project is to get the vegetable garden in order. We started shoveling out the gravel this weekend. We quickly realized a wheel barrow was a necessity and made a run to Meijer. Our backs are still screaming at us.

My cherry tomato seeds are already starting to bud. I can't wait to eat my own fresh veggies.

Who saw Dancing with the Stars last night?

Heather Mills - you shock me! What a great mambo. I seriously can't tell which leg is fake when she's dancing. I also thought Billy Ray Cyrus was amazingly improved. What a fun show.

No knitting today. Too busy with Junior League errands, doctor's visits, and moving furniture back upstairs. But I listen to knitting podcasts....lots and lots of them. Hopefully I'll knit soon.

Mar 22, 2007

So far so good.

Back to the bat cave for the night.

Our new barracks

The re-sanding of the floors starts today. So last night was our night of moving everything back to the basement. Brian managed to set up quite the "pad" for us so that we wouldn't lose our t.v. or computer privileges. Thankfully, it's not too cold right now because there is an evident lack of heat in our basement.

I have a finished knitting project to show off. This is the baby kimono sweater from Mason Dixon Knitting. It was a straight forward pattern and turns out so cute...freakin' adorable if I say so myself.

I love baby projects because they typically take less than a week to make and are always cute. It's too bad they fit the baby perfectly....for about a week.

The pattern called for two ribbons to be put on for the closure. I preferred one because two seemed busy (plus less sewing this way). I think a large safety pin would also look cute - the kind with little chicks or bunnies on them.

Mar 20, 2007

The Secret is Out.

Now that I have FINALLY given my mother her 50th birthday present - I can post about it! My very first lace project, the Flower Basket Shawl from Interweave Knits, was always meant to be for my mother. She celebrated her 50th birthday on March 8th. Unfortunately, we were on vacation. I wanted to make her something that was very special, as she is to me.

The lace was a fun project, challenging and beautiful. This was also the first time I used silk yarn.

You all saw several of my progress pictures. When I finally completed it and took it off the needles, I was left with a crumply heap of yarn.

I ordered a new set of blocking wires and wool wash from and went to work. Each point needed to be blocked. I also had to measure each side to check for symmetry. It took up most of the bed when it was all stretched out.

I finally understood why it was called a "flower basket" shawl when I noticed this shape.

I love the simple elegance of it. It is as light as a feather, so it just lies over your shoulders like a breath of air. I'm sure it would look great with a casual white top or a formal gown.

My family met in Lansing on Sunday to have a belated birthday lunch. My mom seemed to like the shawl and has plans already to wear it to a nice dinner with my father's co-workers. I hope to see pictures of the shawl in action!

Happy Birthday Mom!

Mar 19, 2007

TOK is the King of Wii

People may call the new Nintendo Wii system a lot of things, but I'll call it a kick-a** party game. Brian and I attended a co-ed bachelor party this weekend and brought the Wii along. For those who aren't familiar, this is the new video game system where the remote is moved through the air to control the actions on the screen. Brian only has the Wii sports game that came with the original system, which includes tennis, baseball, bowling, golf and boxing. I enjoy baseball the most, because it really takes some great hand-eye coordination to hit the ball. Bowling is unrealistic because I've made a gutter ball only once....I wish I could say that for real life.

What everyone seemed to love more than the game was making their "Mii." You can make your character look just like you, down to the shape of the eyebrows, height and weight. They really are spot on.

The Outlaw Kyle was the star of the night. He boxed like a mad man!

Carl deserves a second runner-up. Even if he wasn't the best player, he kept us laughing. Great follow through Carl!

Mar 15, 2007

I hope the second time's a charm

So you all have been involved in the progress with our wood floors. As you know, Brian and I love the fact that our house had some beautiful hard wood hidden beneath nasty carpeting. It was a treasure yet unknown. You saw it when it turned into this after removing the carpeting and matted padding.

We shopped around for estimates and decided on a friend of Brian's co-worker. We didn't get to check out any of his prior work, but he came with praise from her....and his last name was the same as ours (no relation). So, how could he not be perfect? :)

We were so excited to see the floors after we returned from vacation. It was going to make all of the fatigue and stress of our missed flights that much better. We stood at the entry door and told each other, "Let's look at the same time. Cover your eyes." We walked in, and my smile turned upside down. The color of the stain is beautiful - a perfect match to our other wood work. Beyond that, I found nothing but flaws. This makes me sound like a picky snob, but that's really not the issue (this time).

Apparently, the floor guy thought the wood was oak, not pine. Pine is much softer. Therefore, his amateur sanding abilities lead to the creation of many, many (I mean hundreds) of visible horizontal grooves in the wood. I'm no pro, but it seems that he also should have followed with a finer sand paper, as we can find areas where scratches from the grit of the paper are clearly visible. Also, his polyurethane coating skills leave something to be desired. The floor is glossy, but not smooth. There seems to be a fine layer of dust adhered to the coating. In some spots, I can even find one of my blond hairs, or a wood chip, stuck in the coat.

If you squint your eyes, it looks great...much better than before.

But upon closer look, you'll find the marks I despise so much.

So, the plan is to move all of our furniture into the basement AGAIN, and have the floors sanded AGAIN. This time, a different company will do the sanding. Our guy will do the staining and he best figure out how to do a better job with the polyurethane. I cross my fingers. There is only so much thickness to wood. The second time will have to be a charm.

Mar 13, 2007

Riviera Maya

As I said, we are back from our vacation. We spent 7 nights on the beautiful Riviera Maya coast of Mexico. Our resort was the Grand Oasis. We had an all inclusive deal, so we ate (and drank) to our heart's desire. The beach was clean, quiet, and had some decent coral reefs just off the shore. We had a great time snorkeling in calmer seas, but with a stronger current, I grew terribly frightened of running into a spiney urchin.

The food was delicious. I learned to love sushi at the outdoor sushi bar. We spent each night at a different restaurant. Our favorites were the Brazilian (meats served off of a sword/spit) and Mexican restaurants (flaming coffee). We always had the buffet for breakfast. I loved picking from one of ten fresh squeezed juices. Warning - watermelon is not so good.

We took a few outings, aka "adventure!" We took the collectivo (group taxi) along with the locals, both to Tulum and Playa del Carmen. We saw some beautiful Mayan ruins at Tulum.

Playa was a great place to sneak in some souvenir shopping, and get my Starbucks fix.

Our favorite outing was the "Underwater world" snorkeling trip. We were first taken 15 minutes into the jungle. We put on wetsuits and climbed a steep ladder underground, only to find a beautiful fresh water pool with stalactites and stalagmites all around us. After that, we went to a bay to snorkel around sea turtles. They were close enough to touch. We were reminded of the sea turtle in "Finding Nemo." We also saw a school of fish identical to the one in the movie that made shapes from all of the fish. There were thousands of them as big as my palm.

Although we had a lot of fun, there were downsides too.

The sun decided to show itself for about 50% of our trip. We saw nothing but clouds and drizzle for all of Thursday-Friday. Fortunately, that made it cool enough to knit - so I got a decent amount of my shawl started (after ripping it back to start once).

Our hotel was nice, but our room - not so much. Our a/c broke twice, ceiling fan broke, insects scurried beneath our shower, water dripped through our ceiling, and the sink faucet/cable TV worked intermittently. After a night with no air, we finally decided to ask for a new room. We had avoided it before because we thought the next would be just as bad. Instead, we moved one floor up to a much bigger room, cleaner, and fully functioning. My goodness.

Our airline travel was not smooth sailing. We had a delay at our connection on the way down because they needed to switch out an engine. So, driving to Chicago through the night did not result in us getting to Cancun before dark for our first day. On the way back, we missed our connection in Miami, so we were put up in a hotel for the night. It was not just any ordinary airport hotel, though. It was a Native American owned casino. After three hours of sleep, we headed back to the airport, dying to get home and see our refinished wood floors. They turned out to be a HUGE disappointment, but I'll save that story for another day.

You can see all of our favorite pics at my Flickr account.

We're Back

You can't have 7 days of relaxation without coming home to a load of work, though. So until I get my "chores" done (including going to the gym because an all-inclusive resort is no good for the waist line) - I'm not allowing myself to put up a full post. Hopefully later today!