Done and done!

After several weeks of joking, last week I gave a co-worker/friend a list of all the little things on my to-do list that I've been ignoring for far too long and gave her full permission to bug me about them. The list contains things like sew the belt loops back on my lady grey coat (done!), order harp strings (done!), and fix tiny rust spot on car (not done!).

In this spirit, here are two things I finished recently.


About a year later than I intended to, I finally made curtains for the built-in bookcase in my living room. The clearance home dec fabric I bought ended up being a bit stiffer than I thought it'd be, but it still looks miles better than being able to see the miscellaneous stuff on the shelves!


And I handed off a sample for a new design on Monday. I don't know when it'll come out (probably fall), but I really like the way this one turned out and I can't wait to show you the whole thing!

Some other things I hope to finish soon:

  • a pair of socks for Mr. Cleaver,
  • spinning my Sheep Heid yarn, and
  • shipping out some submission swatches!
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2011 in Review

Master Bedroom Mosaic

We became homeowners on Dec 31 of 2010, and a lot of this year was learning the in and outs of being homeowners. We removed what didn't want and started building in what we did. We peeled wallpaper and painted walls.

Snowpocalyspe 11:30am

Shoveled snow and learned the importance of roof-rakes.  (Hint: don't pile that much snow that close to your house)

Gardening Station in the Garage

Perennials were planted in the spring and bulbs were planted in the fall. Lawns were moved and leaves raked. Floors were swept and appliances replaced. And at some point along the way it stopped being their house and started being ours.

Karen & Chris

Starting the day after we moved in, we filled our home with friends: Pie Day, poker games, dinners and documentaries. The highlight was inviting over all our friends for a summer time barbecue and concert.



And we saw a little doggy online and decided to invite him to stay for the long-haul.


During Lent I wore skirts for 47 days and visited Washington D.C. for the first time.

Cherry Blossoms

Korea Memorial

In sewing, I got my own studio space and made a thing or two.


My creation

Fiber-wise, I learned how to dye and needlefelt.



I bought a loom and made a total of one scarf.

The pattern appears

I also did a fair amount of spinning, but haven't quite met my knitolution of knitting anything with handspun yet.

Tour de Fleece Skein One

Knitwise, this has been a huge year for me. I've released three patterns with Quince & Co., one with Twist Collective, and six on my own. I started a mailing list.

My creation

It's amazing to me how much has happened in one year, and how quickly that year has gone. There's snow on the ground outside now and it's a few days to Christmas. It's been a helluva year in the best way possible.

Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy New Year!


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Best Barbeque Ever

IMGP3263.JPG One of the things Mr. Cleaver and I were most excited about when we moved from our one-bedroom apartment to the house is that we'd have space to have people over.

Oh sure, we had friends over to the old apartment, but, for example, when another couple came over for dinner once we had to move the table into the living room because there wasn't space in the kitchen. So it was a tad limiting.

But now our home is constantly filled with family and friends and that's my favorite thing about being a homeowner.


This past weekend was the best iteration of that so far with our housewarming/birthday BBQ and Hoedown.

We invited a bunch of our friends, family, and coworkers over for a potluck and BBQ. Friends and family brought the sides and we provided drinks, meat, and the band.


Which makes this the coolest party I've ever thrown.

Of course all the credit for the band goes to Mr. Cleaver, who after seeing a set by our favorite New England band Brown Bird, sent them an email to see if they would do a home show. They said they could, gave us a price and some available dates, and we worked it all out.

As Mr. Cleaver said, it like when you hear about people who have Jay Z at their bar-mitzvah or something, but on our scale.

(If you want an example of what it was like, Brown Bird played a set at the Newport Folk Festival the preceding weekend that you can stream in its entirety at NPR.)

It wasn't the cheapest thing we've ever done, but we both agreed that the experience and the memories were worth every penny. Particularly because all the guests had a great time too (or at least that's what they told us) and several wanted to steal Steinbeck, who charmed practically everyone. :)


It took a little when we first moved back to Maine in the late August of 2008 to really settle in and find our groove, but I was reflecting on our life in Portland earlier today and thinking about how wonderfully FULL it is and how I'm so grateful for it all.

(On a side note: I've just joined the chirping masses on Twitter, you can see my latest tweet in the sidebar or follow me @Ms_Cleaver).

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In the Studio Part Two

Wow, it's been a while since I posted. But with the past month I've had it's not surprising. Here's a quick recap before I move on to new things. Since July 2nd:

    • Tour de Fleece happened and I have about 600 yards of handspun yarn
    • Turned 28
    • Saw the final Harry Potter movie
    • Helped write and turn in our major funding application at work
    • Took a business trip to Buffalo and spent inordinate amounts of time in the Philly airport
  • Saw an Elvis Costello concert
  • Released Alaria with Quince & Co.
  • Submitted a potential project packet to a knitting mag
  • Painted and revamped my studio
  • Knitted a design for another knitting mag to be mailed off today
  • Had a giant BBQ in my backyard with over 30 friends and a live band.

Whew! and I thought summers were supposed to be slow!

I'll post about the BBQ later this week, but today I wanted to show off my newly revamped studio space.

As you may recall, when we moved in, the first floor bedroom looked like this:

Downstairs Bedroom

In the early days of moving in, we stripped the wallpaper and I'd been using it as a studio in this configuration.

Studio (for Now)

While the hearts and bears stenciling was an improvement over the baseball wallpaper, I still wanted an update. So my big birthday request was to paint the studio (I ended up with a much bigger gift than that, but more on that later this week).

There was a heat wave the weekend of my birthday, so we waited to paint until the next weekend.


Steinbeck was very helpful and only stepped in paint once.

The color is Yolo Colorhouse Water .02 - a fantastic blue that looks at alternate times of day anywhere from periwinkle, to lilac, to grey. The trim is the same Air .01 as in the living and bedroom.


The other major change comes from hanging things on walls, particularly the addition of the pegboard.


Pegboard makes me feel so organized.

Some other notable items - the original Ms. Cleaver portrait by Sharon Barto and three old knitting magazines courtesy of Bristol Ivy.


I still want to put some kind of yarn storage on the wall to the left of the loom, crates or hatboxes maybe and eventually all the carpet in house should be replaced, but other than that, I'm pretty darn happy with how it turned out and I can't wait to start making stuff in there!

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Unintentional Before and After

Potscrubber 700 Those who know me in person know that ever since we moved into the new house, I have been making fun of our dishwasher, the Potscrubber 700 because:

  1. It's name is the Potscrubber 700
  2. It has never remotely worked well

While it didn't work, we didn't plan to replace it anytime soon because we had been washing dishes by hand before, so why change now?

Potscrubber 700

On Saturday evening, I baked a citrus pond cake in preparation for the next day's Easter dinner. Shortly after I pulled my cake out of the oven, John started boiling water for some pasta and a popping sound later - nothing on our (electric) stove would turn on.

Busted Stove

We checked the plug.

We checked the breakers.

We looked at the manual the previous owners had left us.

But alas, the 25-30 year old stove decided it was done.

Our Easter dinner plans shifted location and Monday night we went out stove shopping. And since we were in for an oven we figured we might as well look at dishwashers too.

A good deal later, we ended up with a new stove and dishwasher annnnndd a new sump pump - since that broke Monday too.

New Stove

New Dishwasher

It's been an expensive week.

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In the Green (Lent Day 42)

It was terribly dark and stormy this morning complete with  Thunder! Lightning! and Hail!! Lent Day 42

So the only place well-lit enough to take my outfits photos was the kitchen - speaking of which, I don't know if I've shown pics of the kitchen yet - if not here's my kitchen!! Or at least a corner of it.

Lent Day 42Though I find the colors a bit dated, I can't complain about the serious amount of storage and counter space in this kitchen.

How much storage?

The cabinet over my left shoulder is my baking cabinet (baking power, sprinkles, vanilla, boxed mixes, etc.); the one behind my head holds wine, liquor, and cereal (strange combo I know); and the cabinet over my right shoulder is dedicated solely to tea, hot cocoa, and coffee filters.

Yes, I have enough cabinet space to have a dedicated tea cabinet. Which is pretty darn awesome (especially since we've expanded our loose leaf collection since Dobra Tea opened).

No wonder I'm sitting pretty.

Lent Day 42

Top: Banana Republic Outlet

Wool circle skirt: made by me

Tights: Target

Shoes: Bass Outlet

Tea Towel (on cabinet door) : made by me

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Putting Things on Walls

This weekend I finally took the plunge and put some nails in the walls. Putting up the collage wall

Of course, since we spent so much time spackling and painting, I tried to make sure all the holes went in the right places. It would have gone a little faster (all-in I think it took me 2 hours to do the collage wall) had my templates not kept curling and falling off the walls, but in the end I think everything lined up pretty well.

The art in our home is mostly things made by friends, family, or myself; concert posters; and the odd print or two we've picked up in the past couple of years. Pretty much everything is tied to some kind of memory/person, even if it's not a photo of them.

The Sea and the SoundTop row (from left):

Middle Row:

  • My dad's Sargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Album
  • Laura Veirs mermaid concert poster by Diana Sudyka from show at Schubas, Chicago. (I had to sweet talk the doorman to let me take it).
  • Painting by me
  • Horseshoe from house my senior year of college
  • "Sweet Cookin'" Sailors drawing by Brenna in honor of being tap dancing stage hands  for Rough Crossing at Portland Stage
  • Mr. Cleaver's concert ticket collection

Bottom Row:

  • Print by local artist, Shannon Rankin.
  • Postcard. Winslow Homer, Looking out to Sea, Cullercotes 1882 from Portland Museum of Art
  • My dad's Abbey Road album
  • Salt & Sea Piano Keys print by Evan B. Harris
  • "never do this" painting by Biz, birthday gift.
  • Mail-holding Lobster - wedding gift from my sister-in-law and her husband.

Billy and Rae Lake

Over fishtank: Rae Lake. Photo by my Dad.

On top of bookcase:  Alvaro & Christina print by Andrew Wyeth

On Far Wall: "Owl Cat" by Drew Foster (gift from friend/artist)

Bookcase 1

Family Snapshots and old cameras, including our engagement photo by Ryan Ward Thompson.

Bookcase 2 More family photos. Eventually I'll get some books up on these shelves as well.

On wall : (Top) Photo by my Dad, taken when he was in college. (Bottom) Photo taken by me in Seattle.

Fish sculpture: Designed by me, made by my dad.  This is actually the model for the mailbox stand at my mother's house (which is obviously much much larger).

I've still got some more things to hang, but I'm glad I got this much up. It definitely changes the feel of the room and makes it feel more homey.


In other image-related news, I started a Pinterest account and I love it. It saves me from saving all those inspiration images to my computer and I can drool on them from anywhere. Follow me if you'd like, and let me know if you have an account!

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In My Studio: Before & Now

So one of the best things about the new house? I have my own studio.

(And whenever I say I'm going to my studio, I immediately think of this random reality tv moment I saw last summer. One, be forewarned, it'll get stuck in your head.  And two, it's worth it to watch to the second half of the video to see how context can change a song.)

I've co-opted the first floor bedroom, which used to belong to a baseball fan.

Downstairs Bedroom

Thus far, we've only had the opportunity to remove the wallpaper (fortunately one easily-removable layer), so the room is far from finished, but I needed to set up and do some sewin'. So I figured I'd show it in it's current state.

Studio (for Now)

The bears really make it.

Studio (for Now)There's great natural light during the day and there's plenty of space for my cutting table and all the other stuff. There might even be extra space, except...

Studio (for Now)

there's one thing more: New additionI bought a loom.


It's a 36inch four heddle Harrisville that I got used at a really great price on Sunday, thanks to a tip from Bristol. I haven't done anything with it yet except drool, but soon and very soon.

I'm so excited!!!

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Master Bedroom: Before and After

I'm sure you were all waiting with bated breath for the decision regarding the bedroom paint color. (The vote was 15% keep it, 77% lose it, 8% other). Completely ignoring the will of the people, we kept it.

It grew on me and when I brought in swatches of my backup colors, they just didn't look great in the light. That said, we still didn't move into the master bedroom until yesterday because we didn't get the second coat on the trim until earlier this week.

So without further ado, the before and after reveal.

Before: Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom Closet

After: Master Bedroom - Current

Master Bedroom - Current

Master Bedroom Current

Having a bedroom with no sewing tables, cross country skis, and bookcases in it feels, a bit weird - but I like it!!

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Snowpocalypse 11:30am or the Joys of Home Ownership in New England

Squirrel Prints In case you haven't heard - it's snowing a lot here in New England. We're expected to get 14-20 inches today.

I'm working from home today and Mr. Cleaver & I have decided to attack our shoveling in batches. Here's go Number One. (Note, the piles are accumulated over several storms - we're running out of places to put it all)

Snowpocalyspe 11:30am

Snowpocalyspe 11:30am

Snowpocalyspe 11:30am

Snowpocalyspe 11:30am

Snowpocalyspe 11:30am

Snowpocalyspe 11:30am

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