Home-Dyed Yarn Colors

November 3, 2016 § 1 Comment

Wow:

Lene Alve Dances with Wool Home-Dyed Yarn

Lene Alve at Dances with Wool.

Love these home-dyed yarn colors! (In a perfect world, the blues might be a teeny bit grayer, though…) Really fantastic for fall.

By Lene Alve at Dances with Wool.

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Summer Basement Project

October 7, 2016 § Leave a comment

This post really should be called Years-Long Basement Project, for it has taken more than this summer’s effort. It has been in the works for a long time, but I think we’re finally achieved the most important.

We knew we didn’t want to finish our basement, per se, because we have plenty of living space as it is. But we didn’t know what the “something” we wanted to do was. And that turned out to be the biggest problem – because we weren’t set on anything specific, for the longest time we couldn’t decide on a plan.

I’ve always found the color of unfinished concrete incredibly depressing, however, so it had to be painted at the very minimum. I landed on the idea of a darker floor and white walls, and found inspiration photos both for the space in general and for a green floor.

Mr. E worked on roughly finishing the ceiling a few years ago:

Ceiling Test After

Then life happened again, and the project pushed off as non-critical. Last summer we had the walls treated with a white water repellant and the floor painted.

Painted Basement North Wall

We then started adding shelving and rearranging the space, but stalled yet again – which turned out for the best, for we needed to have a lolly post added to address structural issues.

Basement New Support Post

This past summer we finally built a little more storage and arranged everything both in the garage and the basement. (I’ll post about the storage we built another time.)

We have boxes and bins and bags to group the smaller items and protect them for dust (and spiderwebs). Items are in zones: pantry-related (extra cans, jams, bottles); additional food prep items (like canning jars and Mr. E’s brewing supplies); household supplies (like light bulbs, batteries, recyclables to go out, paper products to go in, potting soil & plant pots); tools and the like (hammers, screw drivers, drill, etc.).

Finished Basement East Wall

We also have a few large storage tubs for seasonal items and decor, some pushed into corners, some on the shelves. The heating vents are still visible in all of their silvery glory, which sometimes bugs me, but not enough to take action.

Finished Basement South Wall

The main achievements are the improved color situation and sensible storage. Ahh, it’s so lovely to have dedicated places for everything!

Colorful Styling from Sweden

September 13, 2016 § Leave a comment

A while ago I discovered the blog of Sania Hedengren and Susanna Zacke, stylists and home dec journalists from Sweden. It’s so lovely to see cozy, colorful Scandinavian style – not everything and everyone in the Nordic countries revolves around modern monochrome minimalism, you know. 🙂

Just a few favorites:

Sanna Sania Aug 2015 Front Hall 12

Sanna & Sania / Sania Hedengren and Susanna Zacke.

Lovely blue and white front hall with touches of pale wood from an article of theirs in Hus & hem magazine some time in 2015.

Sanna Sania Kitchen Bench Pillows Sept 2015 12

Sanna & Sania / Sania Hedengren and Susanna Zacke.

Detail from a dream kitchen with white and blue.

Sanna Sania Leva O Bo Attefall Barkarby97435.IIQ.p

Sanna & Sania / Sania Hedengren and Susanna Zacke.

Scene from a small pine cottage.

Sanna Sania Apr 2016 Blue Yarn 4

Sanna & Sania / Sania Hedengren and Susanna Zacke.

More blue and pale wood.

Whoops! That’s almost only blue and white and wood. Well, I do know what I love. 🙂

 

Summer 2016 Recap

September 7, 2016 § Leave a comment

Whoo boy, what a summer we had! Mr. E, especially, was incredibly busy with a book project, but mostly it was the weather that we were dealing with. It was sunny and dry. Very sunny, very hot, and very dry. It felt like I was barely outside all summer from staying away from the worst of the heat so often.

Apparently both July and August broke heat records around here, and there was so little rain that we got three (or four? I’ve lost track) town notifications about first curbing and then forbidding outdoor water use. In our seven years in this town I can’t remember that many restrictions. Already in July, the grass was brown and the rest of the plants droopy, and the August proceeded to be equally bad. I’m so glad it’s fall now, both for cooler temps and (hopefully!) more rain.

Mr. E did careful early morning hand-watering (which was still allowed by our town) in his garden, and we were lucky to get decent crops, considering. The very first handful of potato, below, wasn’t big, but we got more afterwards.

Very First Potato Handful 2016

The tomatoes still continue to produce nicely:

September Tomato Vine w Fruit and Flower

Yum! There’s not only green tomatoes ripening, there are more flowers!

The non-homegrown food was good, too, with a lot of homemade dishes from local ingredients both sweet and savory:

Summer Strawberry Cake 2016

This summer we’ve had three to four turkey hens hanging around on and off. Here are two of them perching on the high-bush blueberry enclosures:

Two Turkeys on Blueberry Enclosure 2016

The really funny thing about the turkeys is that this summer they seemed to have had something against the potato patch. We saw more than once a turkey go to the patch and start pecking and pulling a potato plant until she got it all the way out of the ground. And then they’d just leave it there! We’ve never seen or heard of this kind of turkey behavior. We started shooing them off away from the patch after a few potato attacks, and that did the trick. Phew.

In other mysterious but great news, the ant colony that’s been pestering us for the past few years seems finally to have moved elsewhere. WO-HOO!

In not so great news, I suffered a fatal computer crash with all the headache that entails. I’ve been back up and running for just over two months now (let’s hear it for regular data backups!) and have more or less learned the basics of the replacement software I didn’t have before.

We also rearranged our basement in a big way (following the installation of the new lolly post) which affected the kitchen, and built a bit more storage. I’ll post about that later, though.

Midsummer Break

June 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

Tomorrow Finland celebrates summer in general, and juhannus (midsummer) and yötön yö (nightless night) specifically. It’s a magical time in the north. Even though I’m now living in the south where we don’t have nightless night to speak of, I continue to celebrate summer around juhannus time.

June 2016 Strawberries Growing

Our own strawberries growing.

Our strawberries are ripening! We already enjoyed the first ones. So good.

June 2016 First Strawberries

Also the potatos are growing fast; they’re big enough to blossom.

June 2016 Potato Blossoms

Blogwise, I’m taking July off to enjoy summer. See you in August.

Hyvää juhannusta!

Work on the House Returns

May 12, 2016 § 2 Comments

Last fall, we had drywall cracks in the bedroom and master bath fixed by a professional since our efforts didn’t take. Unfortunately, the cracks came back this past winter. Our repair guy said that if that happened, there might be a more serious problem and we should call him back. So, we did.

Turns out that there were structural issues. A vertical support beam that should’ve been solid was build hollow instead (apparently that kind of a beam construction is called a pocket), and couldn’t bear the load. That’s why our bedroom door corners cracked. No wonder we couldn’t get them to stay away!

Adding Support Beam 1st Fl w Mark

We got a beautiful hole in the stairway wall and an added 2-by-4 for support (which I lined with orange in the photo above to see it better). Seriously, I’m not kidding about the beautiful part. This crew is so neat and tidy!

There was also a second spot where the support was inadequate. A wall continuing up through the first floor to the second was essentially floating between two floor joists, and consequently the first floor flooring had started to sag. This photo is not at its worst, but it’s noticeable:

Green Room Floor Sag

We got a new lolly post in the basement underneath the wall / sag. It required a hole to be dug into the foundation, and a lot of work, but it’s soooooo worth it not to have the house slowly fall down under you.

Basement New Support Post

Neither of us is upset at having an additional post to deal with in the basement. Sure, it’s a little inconvenient, since we’ve been used to not having a post there. However, it’s actually in a place that we’ll be able to easily accommodate – essentially just push a shelf against it and forget it’s there. And it could’ve been so much worse. (Plus, the whole house-not-falling-down-under-us thing!)

In addition, the same issues caused the floor to sink in a few places all the way upstairs by as much as 0.25” / 6 mm or so. Aaaaah! That we hadn’t noticed at all. The guys added support under the basement stair landing to combat it.

Basement Stairs w Added Support

The orange line in the photo above shows you the new support; there’s another set at the other end of the landing.

It’s such a relief to have all of this stuff done. There’s still some patching and repainting to do, and a back door rot issue to check out (hey there, mushroom from last fall and persistent ant issue), but we’re close to being done – hopefully for a good long while.

Green in January

January 25, 2016 § 2 Comments

Happy New Year! How are things? We’re busy with life, as usual. The first snow has come and gone, and the second snow is still here. I’m glad to have some green things around. My hyacinth bulbs from a year ago persisted despite my “care” and are about to blossom again, yay!

Hyacinth Buds

(I don’t force my flowers. As long as they survive, I’m happy.)

We got rid of our Christmas tree quite some time ago, but these trimmed branches are still doing fine in the basement:

Pine Boughs Basement

Note to self: If we ever need to have a very minimal Christmas, this idea would do well for a little “tree”. 🙂

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