Thursday, May 20, 2010

No-cost guest room

"Do one scary thing every day." (Eleanor Roosevelt)

We're finally starting to tackle some projects in our house, mainly work on the kids' room. I'll report more about that later, as it's still ongoing. My goal is to have it done before I got back to work, which is the first week of June.

In the meantime, I decided to create a guest room, since we've had two sets of grandparents visit their new granddaughter. There was a section of the basement that was "quasi-finished"--not fully finished (with the pine paneling, etc.) but not totally unfinished. The walls, ceiling and floor were painted, and there was a ceiling light fixture (fluorescent, but at least not a bare bulb). The realtor said the former owner used to do some typing work down here.

After tons of reorganizing, I had emptied the room. Then I put out a call on Facebook to see if anyone we knew had an extra bed. A friend of a friend's dad had died (not in the bed!) and was cleaning out his house. So we got a fairly new full-sized mattress and box spring. I enclosed the mattress in plastic, then put our nice Calvin Klein linens on it (no use having them on our bed when it's full of kids). Underneath are two rugs that are not nice enough for upstairs but do the trick here. Two little sidetables and a lamp, and voila!

Then, in a stroke of genius, I got out the curtains I made for our old bedroom and used them to cover the back wall--and to block the room off from the rest of the basement (and the hot water heater). It really makes it cozy in there. It's a bit chilly, but the down comforter is warm--and all of our parents said it was OK.

Sam has slept down there while we were replastering and painting his room. And I think it will be the coolest place to sleep in the summer.

The best part? I didn't spend a penny. Which means we have more for the kids' room ... and the kitchen ... and the bathroom ... and the upstairs  ...

Friday, May 07, 2010

Under the sea

"I am you; you are me. You are the waves; I am the ocean. Know this and be free, be divine." (Sri Sathya Sai Baba)

So these are the other sea creatures that were part of the trio I knit for our friends Jerry and Stephanie, who are having their first baby in June. Jerry had told me she was having a "sea" theme for the room and really wanted knitted and crocheted toys.

This lobster is so freaking adorable. I found the free pattern here, though I found another one here. The pattern is putsy (as so many toy patterns are) but if you stick with it, it turns out. The only thing is that I used some Sugar & Cream cotton from my stash, which is really a pain to work with with all those "M1"s.

This fish, like Ollie the Octopus, is from a free Lion Brand pattern. Let me just say that this was my first experience with lots of stripes and boy what a pain in the ass it was! All those ends to weave in! I kept thinking it would have taken me about 1/10th the time to knit this as a solid. But then in the end, it looked so cute with the stripes. Again, Sugar & Cream cotton from my stash.

So these, together with the pink octopus, are my gifts to our friends. A little someone kept interrupting my photo shoot to play with them. I really should make some of this stuff for my own kids. (I know I keep saying that.)

Here are some other patterns I considered but didn't get to make:

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Ollie the Octopus

"In the long run, the pessimist may be proved to be right, but the optimist has a better time on the trip." (Daniel Reardon)

Well, I finally finished the octopus, with a few weeks to spare. (Our friends' baby is due in early June.)  I didn't want him to be a lot bigger than the other underwater creatures I made so I shortened his head and tentacles a bit. I don't know why mine don't curl up like the ones in the demo photo from the Lion pattern. I also just went with embroidered eyes, instead of crocheting ones.
Oh well, he's still cute. And he's done. The rest of the aquatic menagerie to come...