Marsha Knits

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Name: Marsha Brofka-Berends
Location: US

Marsha knits . . . and reads and cooks and edits and gardens and hikes and thinks and eats and photographs and sings and writes and travels and plans and hopes and . . .

19 April 2007

Speaking of friends...

By happy coincidence, I have reason to write up another "wow, my friends are great" post. In this case, the friend didn't give me much-needed decorating advice but sent me yarn. About two weeks ago, Beth, my roommate from college, called to let me know that her local yarn store was having a mega-sale. Would I like anything? she asked. I was sorely tempted but opted to save my pennies this time. Apparently, she decided to take matters into her own hands: in the mail a few days ago I received a package full of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. Now, I love this yarn. I've raved about it here before, and Beth and I have had extensive discussions on the subject. And now I have a lot of it. In addition to the four skeins of peach, two skeins of sage green, and two skeins of chocolate brown that Beth sent, I have one skein of chocolate brown (leftover from the cardigan I made for Sylvia) and three skeins of red (from JD). That's twelve whole skeins of this stuff! So what should I do with it? I'd love to hear suggestions! I think it would be fun to use it all in one project (though I suspect the red may be a bit too bright to go with the others). A striped sweater? Some sort of intarsia thingamabob?

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17 April 2007

I know these things are true

1. There is special circle of hell reserved for the people who put this god-awful sun-moon-stars wallpaper border in my house. Not only did they exhibit terrible taste in wallpaper, but they put this stuff directly under crown molding in the most formal room in the house. What in the world were they thinking? Fortunately, it all came off--though not without some elbow grease. 2. Home fix-it projects never take as little time or money as you think they will. A few months ago, Jan and I were talking about all the things we want to do with our house, and we realized that we were experiencing the sort of option paralysis that stops us dead in our tracks when we're standing at the counter in an ice-cream shop: with so many choices, it's hard to know where to begin. So we decided to choose something "simple" and do it, just to feel a sense of accomplishment. "The living room!" we declared. "The supplies won't cost much--just paint!--and painting doesn't take that long to do, so we'll be done in no time! And really, it's about time we got rid of that wallpaper border before its ugliness causes permanent blindness." It took about two whole months to settle on a paint color (tip: paint your sample paint on a big piece of foam board, so you can move it around the room and test it against your furnishings and in different lighting conditions), then nearly a full week of every-free-minute work to get the supplies we needed and to clear out, prep, and paint the room. Oh, and of course this cost about twice what we anticipated. 3. Shoving nearly two rooms of stuff into one heavily used room is no fun at all. We moved all of our living room crap, er, I mean possessions into our not-terrible-spacious dining room, which made for very crowded mealtimes and decreased enthusiasm for cooking. (In addition to being the Week of Living Room Painting, this was the Week of Take-Out Food.) Sylvia handled it pretty well. As an almost-two-year-old, she could have gone the way of "something has interrupted my routine, and I don't like it" or "hey, cool--I have a different view from my high chair now." Fortunately, for all of us, she took the latter path. Those people who live through kitchen remodels? Gah, I don't know how they do it... 4. Good friends are worth their weight in gold. In addition to serving as color consultants who surely saved us from some horrible mistakes, our friends Katie and Gina helped us out tremendously. Katie lent me her wallpaper steamer (which worked well enough that I didn't have to resort to any chemical goo--hooray!), and Sylvia spent Saturday morning at her place (with her husband and daughter), which gave us a few hours to paint the ceiling and get the stinky oil-based primer on the walls (tip: use this type of primer over places where you've removed wallpaper, or else the adhesive--which you can never fully remove--will bleed through your paint and cause you much sorrow) without subjecting a small child to the fumes. Gina, who has painted more rooms that she can probably remember and is a painter extraordinaire, spent pretty much her entire weekend with us. Jan and I, being the cowardly novice painters that we are, gave her all the tough jobs, like cutting in around the edges. (Going near white surfaces with brush full of colorful paint is, like using steeks, on the list of Things That Scare the Crap Out of Me.) And she was amazing--all the paint she applied went where it was supposed to go. Me...well, I had a few little spots to tidy up. On Saturday, Gina's husband, Todd, came with her and fulfilled the critical role of Baby Wrangler. He and Sylvia spent the entire afternoon in the den, reading books, drawing pictures, and building tunnels with pillows and blankets. ("Paint: $120. Brushes: $30. Having someone make sure your child doesn't try to eat Sherwin-Williams products: Priceless.) On Sunday, Gina returned to help paint the trim, which took about as much time as the rest of the room combined, thanks to the three, large, multipaned windows in this room. BUT IT'S ALL DONE! (Well, almost. Tonight we pick up a final pieces of furniture and finish putting everything away.) Pictures of the finished room will follow soon...when it's fully finished!

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