Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Meet Blue

I have a new man in my life.  Meet Blue.
This was taken three weeks ago, when we brought him home.  He's an Australian Shephard.  Kev knew a lady who gave him to us for free.  Usually Aussie's sell for big bucks.  He's from working parents, so they could have gotten a lot of money for him.  Instead, they generously gave him to me to love.
We haven't had a puppy for 10 years, since Midnight came to live with us.  I'd forgotten what a new puppy means...  Taking him potty, taking him out to poop, taking him to the pen.  To bed, to play.  I'm sleeping with one ear open again, waiting for him to let me know that he needs to go outside. Just like I did when my kids were babies! Oh for the oblivion of a full nights sleep again!
But it's short term...right???

 Here's Blue today.  Yes, he has a sore, red eye.  The vet is pretty sure he's going to lose it.  I mean, he'll lose vision in it.  If he hasn't already.  We're not sure if he jabbed something in it or if he just had an infection.  He did have a goopy eye for a week, but I just thought it was something like my cats get...Not.  So, on Monday, we brought him to the vet.  We got antibiotics and eye ointment and have been trying to save his eye. Because he has to have his medicine 4 times a day, he comes to work with me.  (Yes I cleared it with my Boss.  And if he gets too rambunctious, we'll stay home.)  After seeing the Dr. again today, we're pretty sure he's going to be blind in this eye.  (And it was his BLUE eye!)  Still not sure if he poked it with a stick or something or if it's just an infection.  If it isn't better on Friday, the vet wants to sedate him and look to see if there is something in there somewhere.

At this point, I don't care if he loses his sight.  I just want him healthy again!  He and I can deal with blindness.

He's been such a good boy.  He has gotten carsick two of the past three days coming to work.  Today, I didn't give him as much dog food.  Which must have worked--he didn't get sick today!   But I bring a little "diaper bag" for my baby.  It has a baggie of food (in case he got car sick again.)  Some snacks, a rawhide chew bone.  Water, a towel, and sock that he likes to chew on and drag around and his wolf beanie baby.  And his blanket.  See, it's a diaper bag!

He comes in on his leash (and at 12 weeks, he's young to do so well on a leash.)  He makes the rounds of the library with me to open up and then he comes in the office and lays down on his blanket and sleeps.  We go out to potty and then it's time for lunch.  I've had some errands at noon lately, so he just rides with me.  Today, he felt well enough to run around and "chase" me outside.  Then he either takes a nap, or checks out the college kids.  When we get home, he goes with me to let the big dogs out of the pen and he chases and runs with them, mauls the kittens, and hangs out.

I'm hoping we can leave him home again next week... and we can if his eye heals enough that we can leave off the cone and if he doesn't have to have medicine 4 times a day...

Regardless, he's my baby and the new man in my life.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Siding part 2

Siding is complete!
Not painted yet, but it's up!
Not Caulked yet, but up!

Kim and Bob came out to help us finish the east side.  The four of us work well together.  Kim did most of the cuts, I was the gopher and I was the third ladder person for those high sections. (I did better than I thought!)

 Here's the house looking towards the front.  We're looking Southwest.  If you check out the last post, you can see how much grass has grown in the last 7 years!.  It's fall, so it's not green, but it's not dirt either!
 The East side of the house, showing the rock area.  We installed the big bay window at the top.  Right below that, the long skinny window was where we'd taken out a set of French doors.  We just didn't see the sense of having them with the entry door, and that's where we put in the pellet stove.
Another shot of the front...There's only one door on this end now, the sliding doors.  There used to be another door on this side also.  (The person who built this house must have had a thing for doors!)

We're still debating colors...We looked at shades of brown--similar to cedar.  We looked at grays.  (Kevin then veto'd gray.)  Now we're considering green.  An Olive green?  Grayish green?  We haven't decided yet.

This weekend we hope to get it all caulked and some trim put back up along the roofline.  I'm guessing paint won't come until spring.  We're getting late in the year to think about painting.

It's done, and it looks so nice!  Can't wait to see the difference in our heating bills!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Siding Project

Kevin and I have been re-siding our house.  It's been an adventure.  In exhausting adventure.  A real work out.  A slow process.  Here's some "Before" pictures.  This first one is WAY before.  Because all that bare dirt?  It's now grass!  And the three windows at the top?  They were replaced by a bay window.  Gosh...I really need to take some updated pictures of our place!

 The "old new door" has been replaced.
The garage doors are staying. Because they were a project from a few years ago.  Still work beautifully.  But that siding?  It's all gone.

 Right now, the house looks like this!

Right now, the North side is the only side with intact siding.  (it was probably the easiest side to do!)

Kev and I have debated for over a year about what kind of siding we wanted.  I really wanted to put up siding that looks like logs.  He vetoed it simply because of the maintenance it requires.  We discussed the merits of vinyl, or cement fiber board.  We discussed if we wanted to stay with the current look of our house, or change it.  We discussed hiring the job out, or doing it ourselves.  Anything you can discuss about siding, we did.

Finally, this year, we decided we couldn't put off the decision forever.  So, we bit the bullet and decided to go with fiber cement board siding.  Why?  Well, a big factor was it's fire resistance.  We live in the country, surrounded by pasture and wheat fields.  Prairie fires move fast.  Cement board is fire resistant.  It is also relatively cheap and very durable.  

We picked the width we thought we liked and bought it.  But there was one issue that stalled us.  We felt like the east side (the walk out basement side) needed something...more.  It was such a huge span of space that we felt it looked...bland.  So we then debated whether to go with a stone facade, or something else.  Whether to go with stone panels, or individual stone blocks or faux stone.  We priced it, and gave up, finding it would cost as much as the actual siding.

But then we walked through our favorite store, Menards, and found a siding display that used stone.  Paving stones.  What a novel idea!  We priced it, and discovered it was MUCH more affordable.  So that's what we did.  We put the stone (above) on the walls stopping three feet above the ground.  It took a while--a long while--to install, but we love it!   (and yes, that's a new front door!)

We intended to start and finish the project over the labor day weekend. Oh, we were so naive.  We had help that first weekend.  But we got to the point you see here.  We discovered the old cedar siding was brittle and just shattered and splintered as we pulled it down, taking forever.  

Our house had never been wrapped, so we wrapped it for a better weather barrier (and to hopefully stop the breeze that blows under my bathroom cabinet.)  After our help went home, Kev's only help was me.

He and I have spent every weekend this month working on the house.  (Well, except one weekend, when he had to work at the hospital.) Yesterday, we finished the West and the South sides.  All we have left is the East side, above the basement level.  It's a side I'm not looking forward to doing.  I can do ladders, I just don't like to!  Hopefully, our help can come back next week and help finish this final side of the house.

So, how good of help am I?  Well, I've gotten better with the nail gun!  Lifting and holding the siding isn't an issue, but carrying 3 to 4 pieces very far very often gets tiring.  And I have this hitch in my hip that really has objected to the activity.  Today, I hurt! I can say, with complete confidence, that I don't ever want to earn my living by installing siding...all the measuring and math to figure where to start each course on each side is frustrating. We've stopped working every night exhausted.  Kev asked if it was because we're getting old, or because it's just simply hard work.  I voted for the hard work.  

But, we're getting it done.  It will look nice (once I pick out a paint color and paint it all.)  It should make our house more energy efficient.  I just hope we finish before the snow flies.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I lied

I lied.

I said I was going to stitch "Glory in the Morning."  Instead, I started this one:

It's by Blackberry Lane Designs and called
"Nativity Story Square Table Topper"
Three colors, Navy, Yellow and Gold.

I bought the pattern and the fabric five or six years ago. I also bought some hand dyed thread to use instead of using DMC floss.

Just to try something different ;)

I'm working on the star first.  Of course the star consists of the yellow blended with the metallic gold floss.  Which is reminding me why I hate stitching with metallic floss.  I love the end result, but hate the actual stitching.  Metallic floss just twists and knots and doesn't lay as flat as it should. Thankfully, the star is the only place I'm using it!

I will stitch "Glory" it's just when I started getting ready to pull the floss, I found I really just didn't want to do it.  This project jumped out and said, "stitch me, stitch me!" instead.  You should always listen to projects that beg to be stitched.

When I bought this, I thought I'd frame it and hang it above our couch at Christmas.  Don't know if it will be finished for this Christmas, but the thought has entered my mind that this might make a nice Christmas gift.

We will see what my instincts tell me to do once it's finished.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Eldar's Secret--FINISHED

Da da da DAAAAA!
 Finished!  After 18 months, Eldar's Secret is FINISHED!
Can I express how satisfied I am to have finished this HUGE project?

567,000 STITCHES.
90 colors of floss.
Hours of time.

But it's finished.  I'm not sad to finish.  It's very fulfilling and satisfying to finish.  This hasn't been my most difficult project.  By difficult, I'm thinking of those projects with lots and lots of 1/2 stitches and 3/4 stitches with lots and lots of backstitiching that you have to count out exactly or rip and start over repeatedly.  But it was difficult in the amount of short sections with lots of color changes.  The blocks at the top of the project had the biggest run of single color blocks.  The dragons the least.  I can't tell you how often I'd finish stitching a color and then realizing that there was ONE stupid stitch of this color in this next section.  ONE STUPID STITCH.  Sometimes I'd pull that floss color back out of the box and stitch that one stitch in the correct color.  Other times, I admit, I looked at the picture, at where we were in the picture, and I'd substitute a color (usually the one I was presently using).  

Am I ready to attack a full sized Heaven & Earth design?  Not right now.  Maybe when I retire!  12 pages took me 18 long would 30 pages take?  Or 60!

Nope.  I'll turn my attention to a new project, one not so challenging or time consuming...I hope!  My next project is below:
Glory in the Morning

It's 3 feet tall!  Hand dyed two-tone linen fabric.
I can't wait to start!

I also can't wait to see Eldar framed and up in my office.