Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

Spring Forward

Spring is three days away. The smell of flowers blooming is in the air. We have already set the clocks ahead, and went around all last week feeling like we lost an hour somewhere. Today is St. Patrick’s Day, the LA Marathon was run this morning,  and it’s another one of those perfect days in LA. Of course, true to our wonderful weather: yesterday it was foggy in the Valley in the morning; then it was sunny and almost hot Downtown at noon, and by the time I left the Yarnbombing Granny Squares sewing party at the Craft and Folk Art Museum at 5, it was completely overcast and cool. As I wound my way up Laurel Canyon, over Mulholland, and dropped back down into the Valley, I drove into a hazy sunshine. The morning fog had never really lifted. I think it created an inversion layer, keeping it slightly hazy all day. As I headed west on the 101, I could see over the top of the hills, the heavy cloud cover sitting in the Basin.

DTLA, Saturday afternoon

DTLA, Saturday afternoon

But that was yesterday. Today it’s windy, clear and warm. Our orange tree, which wasn’t blooming three days ago, is in full bloom today.

Since returning from Stitches, progress on the window shade fabric has been slow. I had one week where I had four medical appointments over at UCLA and in Santa Monica – this was all follow-up on my thyroid surgery three years ago; and all the tests came out fine. But each trip over there takes a huge chunk out of the day.

I lead a twill weaving workshop for my guild, Southern California Handweavers. it was a great group, and we all had a wonderful time.

Weavers from L to R: Melissa, Elbert, Pat, 7 Myrna.

Weavers from L to R: Melissa, Elbert, Pat, & Myrna.

Carolyn Sell weaving on Elbert's loom in the Twill workshop.

Carolyn Sell weaving on Elbert’s loom in the twill workshop.

During these past few weeks I have been beginning to dye the 5/2 Perle cotton for the warp of the window shades and some to the fabric strips for the weft.


But now, I’ve got to start cranking on this project if I ever want to get it done in this lifetime. The picture shows a small portion of the yarn and fabric strips I’ll need to dye.

Coming up: I’m going to Vogue Knitting Live in Bellevue, Washington April 5-7. I’ll be in the Art Gallery portion of the Marketplace with my smaller coiled baskets and jewelry for sale.


I’m working on a new group of jewelry designs involving wire granny squares.

grannies1 The time has come for me to take over Michael’s bedroom – all of it, not just the half that serves as my photography studio. It is also time to pack up Samantha’s things and turn her bedroom into a guest room – so Michael has some place to sleep when he comes home from school.

Stay tuned.


The Story of Wallpaper

When we moved into this house (16 years ago) there was wallpaper in every room except the living room. I removed it myself in our master bedroom in 2000, during the Elian Gonzalez episode. This was also when I began to discover the public radio station we’re members of, KPCC. I remember this because I had the radio on while I steamed and scraped two layers of 40-year-old wallpaper for three days, and all they talked about all day, every day was poor little Elian. It started with Larry Mantel on Air Talk, continued with Juan Williams on Talk of the Nation, with Kitty Felde picking it up on Talk of the City, which ended just in time for Marketplace to look at the business angle of the story, only to hand it off to All Things Considered who drove it into the night.

Sam's new bedroom. Why have just one layer of wallpaper when you can just as easily have two or three?

I decided I had enough of wallpaper removal, so a  few years later when we repainted the kids’ rooms, we had the painter remove it. There were three layers of wallpaper in both rooms – AND the bathroom, which we were redoing at the same time. What a nightmare that turned out to be! I’m still glad our painter came back to work for us after that.

A year of two later we did the hallway (only one wallpaper layer), dining room (one layer only one wall above the chair rail), and living room (no wallpaper, phew!). To paint in this house is to first remove wallpaper.

All of this is the reason we haven’t repainted the family room and kitchen – where even the ceiling is wallpapered. Anyone who has been in my house and wondered why the kitchen and family room haven’t been updated, that’s why.

 The same painter has done all these jobs. He has also painted the outside of the house, and repainted the trim a couple of years ago. We got his name from a friend who has had him do, I think, three different houses. We’ve recommended him to three or four different friends who were all very happy with his work and his pricing. Anyone in LA who wants to know can contact me directly and I’ll give you his number.

Another wall of paper gone.

Painting Day

Sunday morning 7:00 am. About an hour after this, the latest storm rolled in and it rained all day, until Monday morning.

By the end of the day Saturday we had moved as much as we could move, and still have places for both kids to sleep. Only Sam’s bed remained in her old room sharing the space with the base frame of my 45″ floor loom, the tables for both industrial sewing machines, and the top of my large, 4′ x 8′ work table. I wanted to get these larger and heavier things moved as close to their new locations while I still had Michael’s help. This way, Sammy and I will only have to move them a few feet to get them where they’re going to end up – besides there really was no other place to put them. Earlier there had been some discussion about me getting rid of the industrial single needle (straight stitch) machine. But, alas, I decided to keep it. (oh, you all know you’ve done the same thing at one time or another!)

Sunday morning Michael drove off into the sunrise.
Yesterday the painter called to say he’s coming today. Sam and I stripped her bed and moved the mattress and box spring  out to the dining room; took down her curtains, hardware, and light fixture. Soon after that we crossed some kind of linguistic threshold. My old studio is now officially her room, and her old room is officially now my studio.

The base of the floor loom, table top, industrial machine tables, in the new studio.

In the afternoon we went shopping for the new fixtures and hardware. My new studio faces south and east, and the south-facing window gets direct sun all day. It’s not the ideal orientation for the artiste, but one works with what one has, right? I got some white cellular fabric blinds at Lowe’s. I think they’ll still let a lot of light through, and I’ll probably leave them down most of the time.
The single window in Sam’s new room faces some trees along the side of our neighbor’s house, and only gets the direct sun for about a half hour in the late afternoon. She’s actually happy she won’t get the harsh morning sun when she’s trying to sleep in, and I’m looking forward to lots of bright white light. I’ll deal with the summer heat when it gets here.
It’s going to be a few days before the new carpet will come for Sam’s room. We’ll start setting up my new studio on Wednesday. It’s good I’ll get a head start moving my cabinets and incredible amount of sh– back into my studio. Otherwise she might never find her stuff in the living room.

Ready for Painting

None of us can believe the amount of shi stuff we had in our two rooms. The truth is most of it is mine.  I didn’t go through my stuff, I just packed and moved it.

Looking from the dining room into the living room.

I did a major clean out of my studio a little less than two years ago, so I’ve been operating on the theory that I didn’t need to purge. But after the first day of hauling boxes out and stacking them in the dining room, I revised that idea.
I’m going to go through and weed out my materials when I move into my new studio. I think I need to take a serious look at my fabric stash. I need to make some serious decisions about what I really am likely to use, and give away the rest. It should go to someone who will make use of it.
Did I mention we are having both rooms painted? That’s why we moved out of both at the same time. We’re getting new carpet for Sam’s new room.
When we moved in this house, we didn’t repaint the room that would become my studio, nor, as you can see, did we remove the so-very-ugly wallpaper. And there just is really nothing I can say about the light fixture. I’ll finally have a studio with white walls, and proper lighting.

This is the same corner as in the "before" picture.

This is why we waited till after Christmas day to really start packing. There is a dining room table in there somewhere.

Now, here’s the thing that concerns me: Michael is going back to school tomorrow, Sunday. The painters are coming Monday or Tuesday. The carpet layers are coming the day after the painter. Michael helped move all this sh-t stuff out of these rooms. Sam and I are going to have to move it all back in by ourselves.

The unbelievable amount of stuff spilled over into Michael's room.

This is a massive job, no wonder I put it off for three years.

Moving the Studio: the Packing Phase

Picking up where I left off. . .

This brings us about up to the decision to move our rooms. Having the house to myself was almost as great as I had hoped, but it just highlighted my problem with a lack of space– especially with those two large bedrooms sitting not empty, but unslept in.

I’ve been telling my daughter since her freshman year in college that at some point we were going to have to talk about trading rooms. When school started this year we began talking about what she wants to do after graduation, and she wants to get a job and stay in the Bay Area. She wants to work a while before going to grad school. Somewhere along the way I began to get tempted to trade rooms over this winter break.

When Sam and I did talk about it, it became clear that this is a perfect time to make the move. So we jumped in and began packing.

Packing in progress

The thing you should know about the before picture in my last post is that it only shows one corner of the room. Every wall was stacked almost floor to ceiling just like that with an incredible amount of stuff.

We had my sister-in-law and her boyfriend over for brunch on Christmas day. The next day, Sammy and I went out shopping for light fixtures, blinds, shelving units, and other stuff.

On Monday, December 27th, we began packing and moving stuff out of both of our rooms. We got an estimate for painting, color swatches, carpet samples.

All of this was under the big table, and will be again.

By Friday, I had my old studio (Sammy’s new room) emptied of sh – stuff, and it was time to take down the shelves, cabinets, and bulliten boards.

We moved everything into the dining room and living room. At different times on Thursday and Friday, you could hear one or the other of us call out, “Oh my god, there’s all this stuff in here, too!” I weeded out some books and gave them to my weaving guild, Southern California Handweavers Guild. Claudia, who manages the guild library came over to get them. She smiled knowingly at our piles of stuff in the living and dining rooms. She just recently went through the same process with her oldest daughter.

We managed to completely fill the living room, leaving a path to the back doors.

Kids Gone

My daughter went back to college today. Last year, Daddy and I went north with her, but her brother never got to visit her at school. So he went with her, to see her school, and help her move her stuff.
They got up early and loaded her car.

They headed out by 7:30. . .

. . .and were gone by the time I could get to the bottom of the driveway.

he’ll stay overnight and fly home tomorrow. It will be quiet again until next May – It’s much quieter with just one kid in the house. Now that my son has his driver’s licence, he comes and goes on his own, and he’ll be driving himself to school. . .

. . . smells like freedom!

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