Who's the Creative One?
My immune system could use a rest about now, as this is my third cold for the season, and normally I manage to doctor myself through any early symptoms and avoid "real" (as in lying around in bed) illness. Not so this time. I spent most of yesterday laid up, too exhausted even to KNIT (I can hardly believe it myself). I did get in a few rows on the Ruffled Shawl, which is only a row or two shy of the required 325 stitches now, and awaiting some attention later this evening. The next step is to make short row "points", which will become the foundation for the "ruffles".
I managed to muster enough energy to clean up a bit and head out in the pouring rain/slush in the late afternoon, with DH as chauffeur for myself and one of the child care center's long-time supporters, Chris, to attend a meeting of the board from the agency taking over our management. Although last night's meeting did not appear productive on the surface, something broke up the logjam reigning for the past week, and now forward progress is being made. I will be better able to take stock of my life situation by next Tuesday, which made me feel more lighthearted today, even though I still felt lightheaded from my cold. I worked a few hours only at each job, loafed around on the couch this afternoon (I am a terrible napper) and managed to make it to the post office to send off my second care package to my Better Pal, who I certainly hope feels better than I do. I think I am a tiny bit better, and now can speak in a croak instead of a whisper, but am hoping for good health to return quickly, as there is now SNOW in the Sierras, and I had hoped to go snowboarding on Saturday. At this point, I might be content with just sitting on the deck looking at the snow and sun!
My husband, on the other hand, has NOT been sick, and has been on a creative binge, inspired by an article in this month's issue of Old House Journal, titled "Common Colors Used Uncommonly Well". The subtitle, A Basic Guide to the decoration of Arts & Crafts interiors, more accurately reflects the content and photos featured. I was quite surprised at his interest in this article, as I have always been the one favoring Arts & Crafts decor and objects, even to the point of writing an article about the Arts & Crafts movement several years ago while in grad school.
Glenn repainted the mantle in our family room two days ago, with some paint graining that it is difficult to capture in this view from the couch. Then, following the color schemes popular during the Arts and Crafts Movement, painted the wall of the chimney a light olive green this afternoon. To the left side of the fireplace, two of the slates are standing up, to give us an idea what that color would look like as baseboard paint. The grandfather clock to the left was our gift to ourselves to celebrate our fifth anniversary, back in 1999.
Olive, I learned was a very ancient and common color for decorative interiors, because the paint did not required white lead, which was very expensive. Olive also covered well, was resistant to fading, and was stable in various paint formulas. The article also points out that the olive color scheme and the heavy use of wood in the Arts & Crafts movement depended on the contrast of needlework accessories such as pillows, table runners, sideboard scarves, and shawls draped over the chair or settee... get out your knitting needles! Olive looks very good together with the deep burgundy red of the mantle, which matches the drapes already in this room, and I am going to be on the lookout for a nice turkey-red carpet.
For the curious, I will further point out that our house was built in 1852, and that this is the original wood fireplace, now outfitted with a propane fireplace which puts out tons of BTUs of heat, since the brick chimney has been blocked off. On the other side of the wall is the coal fireplace, much narrower and with an ornate, original grate. The two fireplaces shared one chimney, but we would never dare to have a fire in them again, as that chimney really cannot be rebuilt without tearing apart our walls, and surely no longer is intact... cracks in the mortar over the years and all. Glenn installed a simple propane jet in the coal fireplace just after Christmas, hidden behind the grate, to heat the parlor and our bedroom. The house is laid out in a cruciform (cross) shape, and heat going around curves and through halls and doorways is all but dissipated by this shape, hence the requirement for two furnaces. We are cozier than we have ever been, but still feel the wind blowing in the fiercer storms, and recognize that living in an old house not only has character, but builds yours.
You may have noticed that I am sporting a jazzy new ski button up there at the top; I am opting for Margene's alternative Olympic knitalong... not being of a very competitive nature, nor caring that much whether I sit around and watch the Olympics on television (as I told Margene, I would much rather go out and play in the snow than watch others doing it). I was excited to learn today that Jayson Hale, cousin of two of my former students, who grew up with my kids, made the U.S. Olympic snowboard team, so just might have to watch a few of those events, while peacefully and processfully, knitting. We come from a pretty small place, around 3,500 people in the whole county, and it's exciting when someone local gets as far as the Olympics!