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Cathartic Ink



putting my own spin on things



Updated: 2016-01-12T21:44:46Z

 



the best laid plans

2015-11-02T06:46:09Z

I always think I’m going to remember to blog more, and then it’s November first and i haven’t written anything since last year. it’s been a wild one, that’s for sure. Today I broke my self-imposed rule and bought a Christmas decoration long before Thanksgiving; one shiny silver reindeer. I love him and may go read more

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I always think I’m going to remember to blog more, and then it’s November first and i haven’t written anything since last year. it’s been a wild one, that’s for sure.

Today I broke my self-imposed rule and bought a Christmas decoration long before Thanksgiving; one shiny silver reindeer. I love him and may go back for his little friend. If I had a holiday theme, in general, it would be reindeer.




2014 in Review

2015-01-01T01:24:10Z

Again, another year is ending and again, I haven’t written enough about the things I wanted to write about. Instead, here’s a thumbnail view of our year. January: We started off slowly, but I finished my first quilt top, we did some walking/hiking around locally and at the coast and enjoyed a slow start to the read more Again, another year is ending and again, I haven’t written enough about the things I wanted to write about. Instead, here’s a thumbnail view of our year. January: We started off slowly, but I finished my first quilt top, we did some walking/hiking around locally and at the coast and enjoyed a slow start to the year. February: A big snow and ice storm nearly trapped D in PDX where he was repairing servers, but instead just ended up nearly killing my fig (spoiler alert, it mostly recovered). We finally broke down and bought chains, which our friend Mitchell had to help put on the car in Corvallis. I spent a lot of creative time working on invitations and paper goods for Derek’s big birthday party. I made giant crepe paper roses and stickers and buttons and invitations and a photo booth backdrop. March: I spent most of March sick, and trying to also finish getting things together for the party, which included needing to bake cake for 150. It was a tough time, and I ended up being put on antibiotics and being generally miserable. I also corned a brisket for St. Patrick’s Day, and we’ll definitely do that again this year. April: My mom came to visit and we through D’s 35th birthday party and it was fabulous. Tax time came and we were hit with a massive tax bill and decided that it was time to buy a house. Found a house, fell in love with it, could not come to an agreement because we refused to pay too much for it, walked away. Decided house buying is not very fun. May: Found a house, fell in love, made an offer, came to a deal, did all the house buying hoop jumping. Went to SF where I visited with my friend Bonnie and we had a good time, with some dead-hot-water-heater in the VRBO rental crazy. June: Turned 33. Closed on the house. Celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. Gave notice to our landlady once we closed on the house. Tore down wallpaper. Bought paint and a ladder and generally started a month of crazy exhaustion with renovations and moving. July: Officially moved into our house in mid-July. Continued working on house projects and spending an insane amount of time at home improvement stores. Had a visit by Bonnie on her way through back to SF. August: Helped friends move. House projects, house projects, house projects. September: Lots of canning. Then I got an infected lymph node in the back of my neck which was unpleasant. Spent time working on invitations and decorations for a baby shower that I cohosted for my friend Jodie. Was generally exhausted most of the month and that led to… October: It turns out I’m allergic to amoxicillin, I broke out in terrible hives, and the treatment made me more sick than the allergic reaction. October had the baby shower and a bunch of other things that I mostly zombie’d my way through because I was so miserable. November: Went to Vegas. Had a blast, even though I was still sick. Cooked two Thanksgiving dinners because The St. Clair family welcomed a new arrival and I pitched in to make sure they didn’t have to cook a turkey with a brand new newborn (hooray for wee Aster! Can’t wait to spoil her as her Auntie Bon.) Spent the day after Thanksgiving in the ER with Derek and a slipped disc. December: Slipped disc, slipped disc, slipped disc. Yep. It’s been a long month. Treatment starting next week, though, fingers crossed it’s successful. First Christmas in our lovely little ranch house and it was lovely, although lacking in delicious baked goods. Helped friend Maria with a newborn photoshoot for Aster and baked Connor a 3rd birthday train cake. D’s company moved from one building into a larger building and that was exciting but exha[...]



First Things First, The Tulips

2014-06-16T04:59:55Z

Remember the tulips? Well, they were the one thing I absolutely couldn’t live with about the house. They were the opposite of my style of decorating, and the wallpaper was aging and peeling at many of the seams. So we set out today, less than 24 hours after we took possession of the house, with read moreRemember the tulips? Well, they were the one thing I absolutely couldn’t live with about the house. They were the opposite of my style of decorating, and the wallpaper was aging and peeling at many of the seams. So we set out today, less than 24 hours after we took possession of the house, with the help of a spectacular friend, to remove the wallpaper. We did a lot of research and we found this set of youtube videos to be of greatest help. We started by testing and removing any wallpaper in large sheets that would come down dry. We were able to remove about 1/3 of the paper that way, some of it even came off with the backing as well. Then we started wetting things down. We chose not to tape things off in this room, because the floors are vinyl, we just made sure we wiped excess water from the floors and ceilings and cabinets immediately after spraying. When we remove the wallpaper border in the bedroom, we’ll put down a dropcloth over the hardwood floors to protect them.   On the left in that photo is bare wall, backing that’s been wet down and the wallpaper yet to be removed that was being stubborn and had been wet down as well. This wall had enough adhesive that I was scraping it off in layers as thick as the backing paper, it was frustrating and kind of disgusting.   My husband and our friend Mitchell, scraping away. Laundry before   Laundry after. It was hard work. I think we were all really sticky, really tired and with sore backs and shoulders, but the water + fabric softener combination worked out really, really well for us. Our walls are plaster, rather than gypsum board, which meant we could use water more liberally than if we had to avoid melting the paper off drywall. All in all it took about three hours, a big bag of nasty wallpaper and about 3 gallons of water. The next step for this room is to finish up the walls, washing off the adhesive. If we’d started earlier today we’d have gotten it done in one go, but since we didn’t start on this project until about 3pm, we decided we’d just wait and wash the walls another day (since wall washing and hole patching are our next steps for the whole house anyway.)     [...]



Welcome to Our New Home

2014-06-15T05:40:40Z

Since mid-April, my husband and I have been mostly keeping a secret from the internet. We bought a house! (All photos in this post are from the listing, so furniture and pets belong to the sellers, not us.)   A medium sized, 1953 ranch house with 2 bedrooms, a fireplace, a brand new natural gas read moreSince mid-April, my husband and I have been mostly keeping a secret from the internet. We bought a house! (All photos in this post are from the listing, so furniture and pets belong to the sellers, not us.)   A medium sized, 1953 ranch house with 2 bedrooms, a fireplace, a brand new natural gas furnace, hardwood floors, and both a garage and a carport, on just over 1/4 acre and located not far from where we’ve been renting for the past 5.5 years. This was the second house we attempted to buy and is far more perfect for us than the first house was (we couldn’t come to an agreement with the owner of the first house about its market value, although it was a lovely house.) We’ve got a lot of plans for this house (isn’t that what every homeowner says?) and so I plan to do a lot of documenting of the process, for posterity’s sake. We’ve got the initial plans phased out, starting with this: Wallpaper removal. Before anything else, those tulips will have to go. I could live with everything else in the house if I had to, but these tulips? Are not for me. Most rooms are just going to get a coat of paint (living room, dining room, both bedrooms): The fireplace in the living room. We’re moving with our current furniture (a sofa and a loveseat) which are looking a little bit shabby right now, but we’ve got plans to refresh them a little, to extend their lives while we search for the perfect pieces for the living room (and save the money to buy them!) The door into the kitchen that you can barely see there is a pocket door; its functionality is currently unknown, but the pocket door into the hallway does work so we have high hopes for this one. Phase one here is new wall and ceiling colors, I’m just not in love with off-white. A view of the living room and dining room from the entry. Those box valances are not my favorite but they’re not a phase 1 project at this point. The hardwood floors are original and so level and tight that it’s a little surprising. I love them. The door leads out to the back of the garage, and to the patio: The backyard is lovely, although we’re not sure how long we plan to keep the english garden vibe it has. There’s a large chunk of the yard that has been taken over by ivy, and that will require a professional to dispatch with it, because I’m certainly not about to clear that much ivy myself. See, that ivy bit in the back there? There’s a big shed/outbuilding underneath it, structural integrity to be determined later. The bedrooms are both larger than what we saw in a lot of houses of this period, and the house is full of closets, which is going to be really nice. This will be the craft room/studio/guest room: And this will be our bedroom. It’s tucked in the back corner of the house, away from the street, which will be such a pleasant change from being 10 feet away from the street, especially on garbage pick-up mornings when they start at 7am. And the bathroom. For the past ten years we’ve lived in rentals with small bathrooms. No vanities, no cupboards, no storage space. That changes in this house. Single sink, but a wide vanity and a large linen closet. No longer will we have to store spare toilet paper in another room! The toilet is behind the door swing there. Plan here is to paint only, because we’ll be saving up to have the whole thing redone. Phase two for here is to remove the shower doors in favor of a shower curtain, and to take the soffit down above it, if there’s not plumbing running through it. I’m so excited about the projects to come for our house, and can’t wait to share[...]



2013: A Thumbnail Review

2014-01-02T01:48:15Z

2013 was full of ups and downs for our family, but I think we mostly came out on the balance of good. January: Our niece and nephew came to visit from Vegas, stopping through overnight on their way. We hadn’t seen our nephew since 2006, so that was lovely (our poor niece got clipped off in read more2013 was full of ups and downs for our family, but I think we mostly came out on the balance of good. January: Our niece and nephew came to visit from Vegas, stopping through overnight on their way. We hadn’t seen our nephew since 2006, so that was lovely (our poor niece got clipped off in the thumbnail here). January also started what turned out to be nine months of intensive dental work for both D and I; starting with a root canal and crown for a cracked molar that was diagnosed in late January and fixed in early February. Turns out a cracked molar is some of the worst pain I’ve ever felt. In total, we got a whole mess of fillings, intensive cleanings, and I ended up with a second root canal and crown, after a painfully failed filling. There was also an extremely surreal small-town pancake breakfast tucked in at the end of the month, where we expected to see David Lynch furiously scribbling notes in the corner. February: Lots of tough family medical stuff going on. Several trips to PDX to hospitals, etc. Everyone’s doing well now, but it was a pretty tightrope of a month. At the same time, we had three visits from the plumbers, first to fix the hot water to the shower, and then repeat visits to diagnosis and replace the water heater since it started throwing the circuit breaker. March: March is kind of a blur. I think we continued dealing with the fall-out from February’s family health issues, and then spent about two weeks crashing with exhaustion after putting a few hundred miles on the car. We had planned to go see our nephew play baseball but unfortunately had to cancel that trip. I knit myself a very warm and squishy sweater. April: D’s birthday passed without a ton of hoopla, although I gave him some lovely gifts and we spent the day marking things by visiting some of our favorite places. I was laid up mostly after squashing my middle finger in between the panels of the garage door; it took me about 6 weeks to be able to write or knit or cook or do most anything with that hand, and it took months for my damaged fingernail to grow out. May: May was the month of the failed filling and emergency root canal two days before a weekend trip to PDX for webvisions. I ate entirely inappropriately for someone who has just had a root canal (since we were at the mercy of restaurants) and spent most of my time there in pain. June: I turned 32, and because of a looming deadline at work, we took just a short afternoon to celebrate, before I went to the dentist for more work. My mom had day surgery done on my birthday, so it was an interesting birthday all around. Much of June was full of stress and worry for a bunch of reasons, including that big deadline at D’s office, but they launched Platinum out of beta and we took a few days to house-sit for friends in PDX during which time we saw a They Might Be Giants concert, visited with other friends and then slept. A lot. July: We went cherry picking, celebrated the fourth of July on a low-key scale with good friends, and muddled through the rest of a hot and sunny month. We broke down and bought a portable air conditioner in order to be able to get some sleep. August: We took a long weekend in Medford to see Cake perform at the Britt in Jacksonville, Oregon. Great weekend, great concert, and Jacksonville is a lovely little town. We stayed in an airbnb property for the first time and it was a great experience, for about half what a hotel would have cost us. We also went to a Eugene Emerald’s game and to tailgating at Autzen stadium with D’s company. September: Was rainy. I started taking long walks every day and bought[...]



Dancing Birds

2013-12-08T23:35:16Z

More on these little birds soon, but in the meantime here’s what happens when I get stuck in the house by the snow. I make animated gifs of tiny knitted birds.

More on these little birds soon, but in the meantime here’s what happens when I get stuck in the house by the snow. I make animated gifs of tiny knitted birds.




Rest Well, Seamus Heaney

2013-08-30T20:25:44Z

I’m not much for poetry. I enjoy it in small bursts, but you won’t find me pouring over books of sonnets for hours on end. When it came time to choose readings for our wedding, I came across Seamus Heaney’s Scaffolding and it instantly struck more than one chord with me. It’s about building, and read more

I’m not much for poetry. I enjoy it in small bursts, but you won’t find me pouring over books of sonnets for hours on end. When it came time to choose readings for our wedding, I came across Seamus Heaney’s Scaffolding and it instantly struck more than one chord with me. It’s about building, and my years of studying architecture and architectural history have left me with a deep love of all things building. The sentiment also paints a very good picture of how my husband and I have always approached our relationship-change is inevitable, but if built right, relationships will stand forever if the base on which they’re built is strong.

Today, I am saddened to learn that Seamus Heaney has passed on, at the age of 74.  Heaney’s poems always tug at that part of me that relates to my family’s past. My great-grandparents were Irish immigrants, and though I don’t remember them (if I remember correctly, they both passed on in the first three years of my life,) my childhood was full of stories of my quirky Irish Grandpa, a man who would eat butter by the stick, cut into thin slices like potato chips. Heaney’s work is full of tales of the every day life in Ireland, through which I felt like I was catching small glimpses of the life my family had before they crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and I’m sad to know the voice behind them is now quiet.

Rest well, Seamus Heaney. Rest well.




Test Post: Dear Father

2013-08-29T06:42:49Z

I’m testing a new theme out in hopes that it will mean that I blog more–or at all. I’m thinking of doing more short posts with some of my favorite photos. Since I got a new smartphone, I’ve been leaving my dSLR home more and more and I want to get back to take more read more

I’m testing a new theme out in hopes that it will mean that I blog more–or at all. I’m thinking of doing more short posts with some of my favorite photos. Since I got a new smartphone, I’ve been leaving my dSLR home more and more and I want to get back to take more photos and fewer snapshots.

This photo is one of my favorites from a recent visit to the Jacksonville, Oregon Masonic Cemetery. There are many more from that day, so if I can keep this up, I’m sure a few more with pop up before too much longer.




Handspun to Handknit: Verdigris Socks.

2013-08-29T05:12:40Z

In September, I picked up this amazing 4 ounce polwarth top from Kate at woolgatherings at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. I loved everything about it, and I knew it needed to be spun and quickly, so less than two weeks later I had this yarn: 450 yards of fingering weight three-ply, I kept staring read more In September, I picked up this amazing 4 ounce polwarth top from Kate at woolgatherings at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. I loved everything about it, and I knew it needed to be spun and quickly, so less than two weeks later I had this yarn: 450 yards of fingering weight three-ply, I kept staring at it longingly while I waited to be able to cast on with it. And then, less than 11 days later, I had a finished pair of moderately tall socks: Since then, I’ve fielded some questions about the technicalities of how I managed to get them to be as close to identical as they are so I thought I’d do a little write up and break down all the pieces of how I got from fiber to socks. First, the fiber had a lot to do with it. The way many woolgatherings tops are dyed, the colors transition gradually between each other, and there are big chunks of each color. Starting with a top dyed in this nature makes a world of difference in getting a yarn that knits the way mine did. Splitting. I split the top vertically. This meant I had two tops of roughly the same diameter (I didn’t check this but I got lucky and each half of my top was half of the total weight of the fiber.) These two halves weren’t perfectly identical because, as with anything hand-made, the dye wasn’t 100% even across the top. Spinning. I spin everything on my Kromski Sonata. For spinning the single, I used my standard flyer and a 4 ounce (standard Kromski) bobbin. I took the first half of the top and spun it from one end to the other. No fluffing, no pre-drafting, just straight from the end of the top. When I got the single spun from the first half of the top I grabbed a small tuft of some obnoxiously orange fiber and spun it in to mark the middle. Then I spun the second half of the top, making sure I started with the same end of the fiber I’d started with for the first half. At that point I had one bobbin of finely spun singles with a bright orange blip in the middle. Plying. I wanted a squishy, round 3-ply yarn and I wanted to keep the colors distinct so I opted for a navajo/chain ply. I made sure that my middle divider was its own distinct little section (so I could cut it out after I wound the yarn) and plied it all onto one bobbin. After spinning I skeined it up, washed and whacked it as I normally would. For plying I switched flyers and used my jumbo flyer. It has the benefit of having an 8 ounce bobbin so I don’t ever have to worry about whether or not 4 ounces will fit on one bobbin. Knitting. I didn’t do anything really specific with the knitting to make the colors work out. I did cut off about 1 yard of yarn before I started the second sock, but that’s all the monkeying I did with the yarn itself. I used a generic toe-up method for knitting the socks, with a flap and gusset heel. I incorporated some increases into the top of the sock, where I started the ribbing. That should help them to stay up well and keep them from cutting off the circulation in my calves. So, the reality is that I got pretty lucky that my splitting worked out so perfectly, that my spinning gave me only about a 2-3 yard difference between the two halves of the fiber and that they match up closely enough that they look so similar. If you look closely, you can see that one sock has longer runs in the first set of colors and then shorter runs in the middle, and that the final set of colors was pretty close to equal, although more intense on one sock than the other. That’s due to slight offsets in the colors across t[...]



From Us to You

2013-08-28T09:04:53Z

This holiday season has been a tough one for me, but I’ve been working hard to find joy alongside my sadness. Happy holidays to everyone, may your days be filled with as much joy, peace and love as can be packed into them!

This holiday season has been a tough one for me, but I’ve been working hard to find joy alongside my sadness. Happy holidays to everyone, may your days be filled with as much joy, peace and love as can be packed into them!