A Blue Bag

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The pattern

I found a pattern that I liked and had some yarn that worked. So I wove, what really is, a bit of a narrow band that was quite long. After weaving, what is a person to do with this cloth when you just wove it for the liking of the pattern?

Well, I came across an easy way to make a bag with a strip of cloth and so thought this would be a good chance to try it out. It was a simple idea where you take just a long strip of cloth and then wind it around and sew up the sides and you have a bag. Of course that made no sense to anyone but in a sense that is all that there is to it.

Sideline. Looking at this picture up close – Does anyone else see a major weaving mistake in there. Never noticed it before but now it is going to bug me. As plain as day.

 

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How the bag goes together

So you lay it out and have one end (already hemmed up) where you want the top to be. Then you fold up onto itself and sew the seam on the side just that far. Clear as mud? Then you loop it over for the other side and repeat the side seam and then sew the two parts together. Ok, really clear as mud now. Don’t we love pictures to help one out. I’m sure if I worked hard at this I could write a tome to help out with the wording but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

One can see here that we start with the end of the cloth on the right. Go down and wrap up and sew that far right seam. Then come up over the top and wrap back up the same height and sew the far left side seam. Then you take these two ends and sew them together which is the front center and back center seams. All quite easy.

 

 

 

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Finished bag

(I’m in the midst of a battle with picture size right now I want something in between the two choices its giving me. One is way too small and the other way way too big.) But back to the bag.

So here is the bag and though it works quite well, I’m not quite happy with it. I wanted a good bit of space for the handle but think it is too much for the size and material. I will say it is sturdy bag and won’t give out very soon. I think though, I could have made the bottom bag part a bit deeper. Or maybe the whole thing should have been longer to account for the cloth. I do still have another piece of this that is about as long as this piece was. Hmmm… Think I need to find another use for it.

Oh, and don’t think I just did this. I just found it in my things. There is a warp going on the loom but hasn’t made it to completion yet.

Categories: Weaving | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Christmas 2015

I have wanted to write something witty, funny, thoughtful, inspiring, … alas the inspiration for that chore has gone on a major walkabout and left me at home. Maybe I should have gone with it to see what it is seeing but alas and alack, I have chores here that need attended so will look at this season once again and see where we end up.

Last year at this time I wrote Christmas Message 2014 on Facebook after the Lord and I had a conversation late at night during a trying time of life. We survived that desert time. It did have many wonderful aspects as any desert does but, when the end of May came and we were able to move in our own place, we were ecstatic.

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Welcome to Bent Oak Farm

Was it worth the wait? You bet. God’s timing isn’t always ours, but we are thankful we didn’t just settle but waited for this place to come on the market. We had put in offers on two other places but thankfully we didn’t pursue either. We saw our farm the first day and put in an offer. There were two and they chose us despite not being the best, but as the owner was a veteran and we were having to use a VA loan, he went with a fellow veteran. God provides.

What have I seen and learned in our little part of the world.

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Yes, we get to see some awesome color.

Night skies really are amazing. Remember from last year that it was Orion still being there that I could remember and see how the Lord is always near. Guess what? You don’t have to wait for just winter to see Orion? If you are up in the early mornings seeing your husband off to work at 0 dark 30 who is waiting there is the eastern sky? Yes, Orion. Still marching on. Still on the hunt. Still saying, I am near. I am watching over you. Your God is nigh. Who can doubt the amazing creation of God?

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One of my female hummingbirds

Birds. Amazing birds. Lots of birds. Multitudes of birds. Each in its own season. Each following the last group through or staying on for a time. I love the birds. Mark even bought me a nice camera as I was getting so discouraged trying to get pictures of them. The hummingbirds provided so much entertainment as they swarmed before heading south. Did you ever hear their wings or call? So much fun. Have you read about what is packed in that tiny little body? Did you know a Ruby Throated Hummer can make it clean across the Gulf of Mexico. No wonder they binge eat before they head out.

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An American robin in the cedar

But hummingbirds weren’t all we have had – cardinals, three types of doves, three types of woodpeckers, chipping sparrows, Carolina chickadees, cedar waxwings, bluebirds, gackles, white egret, blue heron, American robins, and who knows what else has passed through the yard. Even the turkey vultures that helped take care of the deer that got hit by a car. (Yes, I teared up for her, but she wasn’t the mother or either of the twins.) Can anyone see so many and not be reminded how Jesus told us that not one sparrow falls to the ground but that our Father in Heaven knows and cares. And if He cares so much for each of them, how much more does He care for each of us. (Matthew 10:29-31) So much so that Jesus came to die for us and provide salvation. God didn’t abandom his creation to rot but provides redemption.

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The eastern sky in early morning

Oh, mornings and the eastern sky. At this time of year we remember all the prophesies of the Old Testament and how it came true in Christ, The Messiah, The Lamb of God, The Redeemer. He came exactly as the prophets foretold through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He came to die and cover our sins with his own blood. And as He came in that first advent and fulfilled all prophesy and showed mankind the value God puts on us, we can await his second coming. One day each believer will see that eastern sky split open and there will be that “meeting in the air”. And then the second advent when Christ will return as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and reign and every knee will bow. What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see, when I look upon the face, the one who saved me by his grace, when He takes me by the hand, and leads me to the promised land, what a day, glorious day that will be.

I hope to see you in that “Great Gettin’ Up Morning.”

 

 

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My Old Workhorse

I originally wove and sewed my workhorse back what seems like years ago but was only about 5 years give or take. I wrote about it in Weaving With Handspun. Now these three pieces, at that time, were a pocket, bonnet, and apron. The bonnet went the way of bonnets with me. It was lost somewhere, besides at home. Only the Good Lord or whoever came across it later know what became of it. I do tend to loose bonnets when out and about. But alas I really didn’t cry over it much as I never looked good in it and it seemed a bit smallish. Actually stuffing all my hair in it was a chore. The pocket gets used everytime I go out to events. Always need somewhere to stash stuff on myself.

But the apron. Ahhhhh…. I love that one. It is a bit short and could have been several inches longer, but that doesn’t hinder its usefulness.

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Getting ready to put her away again.

I wrote before about how sturdy it is, how it was woven, but I did get some close ups of it this time.

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The thick learning to weave cotton weft

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We are getting better and thinner at this cotton spinning

Version 3

We’ve gotten much better at spinning cotton and even have it in thin close rows now.

This apron is good to wear when demonstrating or reenacting as I can show the difference in my learning to spin cotton with the three sections of weft with the thicker at the bottom and the thinner at the top.

But this isn’t where this post is really going. You see, Saturday I was at Winedale Old Fashion Christmas with some friends having an 1850s Christmas in the rain. Yes, it rained and there were some intrepid visitors who came around and saw us but for the most part we just enjoyed being with each other.. getting wet.

 

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A moment of little rain so time to get a picture.

When it was time to leave it was raining, of course, and I needed to go get my car. So not having a hat, I made the decision to not wonder how I would look, but that I would take a hint from Dilue Harris. You see, she was involved in the Runaway Scrape (If you don’t know what that is, just ask. I will be happy to tell you more than you ever wanted to know.). When crossing the San Jacinto River she lost her bonnet (we have something in common) which wasn’t a good thing. After the Battle of San Jacinto and her family was returning home, they came close by the battleground. She wanted to go and see it but alas had lost her bonnet. What was a girl to do? So she tied her apron over her head and thus went to see where the battle that gave Texas her independence took place.

So yes, with little ado about how silly I looked, my apron was tied on my head and off I headed into the rain. Can I just say she came through again for me. I hurried off holding three petticoats and a full 1850s skirt up out of the puddles. Actually, that was useless, I was really holding them up to make quick walking a good bit easier. I sunk in over my shoe once. But what of all the apron covered? That piece of linen and cotton never let a drop of rain through. My head and back, as far as it reached, were as dry as if we were sitting at home by the fireplace. It held up once again to its workhorse image. Nothing that beautiful but if you ever need to pick up a castiron pot on a fire, just fold over once and have at it. If it is hot and dreadful day, just wipe away and it will keep the sweat at bay. If you have to run in the rain, it will keep you as dry as being home.

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I have Started a Warp…

OK, so fibery things have been on the back burner a bit of time. But I did start a warp. When? I’m not saying, but I did start to warp the big loom. Didn’t have much time and got called away. Haven’t been back. Much other has taken precident in my life of late but this is really a call to myself to get back out there and at it. Will it happen before next week? Alas, that is a problem. Lots to do and will be gone Saturday. I need to start using free time more wisely. Instead I just veg out way too readily when it comes.

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Loom set up in its new home awaiting a warp.

We have had the loom up and ready and I got the tie up done awhile ago. Now I finally did pick out from the stash yarns for a project. But that was about all that got done. I know part of the problem is that I don’t have the storage I had before to stow stuff and the room is still quite messy looking and whenever I’m in there I mostly think of what to do with everything and what I need to do it with, but I did get some yarn out and … Boy, there are way too many ands in that last sentence. I think I may be too into excuses. Need a change.

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The beginnings

Alas I thought I had a picture of the two measly inches that I have wound. (sectional back beam) but it seems I don’t. Obviously, it is just burned in my brain as needing to look a bit better than it does now so must spend a few hours every day out there and get back at it till it is woven and done and then I can move on to some right pretty yarns I bought this summer and see what they will become.

But for now my relatively red, white, and blue mishmash fabric for the windows in the living room. I probably won’t have any of those colors left when I finish this. And yes there are some more about the place than right in this picture.

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Christmas Small Town

I know I haven’t written much to myself of late. Life hasn’t been of such that much has happened in the fibery world around here but much else has and since it takes more than fiber to weave a history, I am going to remember other events as well now.

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Merry Christmas Y’all from Lexington Log Cabins

Tonight we went into town for the Christmas at the Log Cabins. We live 4 miles outside Lexington with its population of around 1100. It is quite a nice small town to live by. Tonight was a fun night at the Log Cabins which were moved into town around the Bicentennial.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Living Nativity 

The events began when the birth of Christ was read by one of the pastors in town as the children acted it out. We also sang carols between the different events. There was of course the cute kids and that one that was a show off. Fun to watch. Afterwards was hot dogs, chips, and tea for $2 and cookies and hot chocolate for free. We ate and walked about. Saw a couple people we knew and then I went to get some pictures elsewhere. Returning in time for the arrival of Santa and the tree lighting.

 

 

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At the end of the countdown the tree was lit.

Santa arrived on a fire truck with his entourage and the children went crazy. It actually was fun watching then all excited and not able to wait for him to come around. After he plowed his way to the tree, we had a countdown and the lights lit up. Quite the sight and the colors a bit more vivid than this picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Starting to feel chilly

 

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Mark feeling fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guess it has been too long since I have posted last. WordPress has changed its format for writing, and I don’t like the new form. Doesn’t it so often seem that once you figure something out they switch the game on you? Why? Just a short complaint as I can’t get the pictures to do as I want. At least late at night.

Categories: Lexington | Tags: | 2 Comments

I Need New Dish Rags

OK, so I have been using some of my first weaving as dish rags and I have loved them. They were wonderful in the kitchen. Cleaning and great for getting lids off jars. Alas they descended into over use and more holes than a piece of cheese cloth. I first recorded these at A First That is a Now. I was planning at that time to weave the pattern again.

I can't let you go!

I can’t let you go!

Well, as I can see, I must do something about the state of dish rags in this kitchen. These are beyond the shape they were in when I decided to reweave the same pattern. What I wove then, A First That is a Now Part 2, I put in a sale and two sets sold but one didn’t. So as I went looking again for new dish rags, I found my set still waiting for a place in this world. I pulled them out and to the kitchen they came. I love the colors though these are the muted ones of the three sets they still are pretty.

My new set in the kitchen.

No I didn’t iron them before they went to work.

I have been pretty happy with these though they don’t have the rough workhorse quality of the old ones. They are for a finer kitchen. They are the same pattern which takes on different qualities between the two different types of cotton yarn. The old ones were a thicker rough cotton yarn.  These the pattern stands out better but it is a fine tea towel quality though not linen. These are a nice soft smooth yarn. But happily I can spend money on other more fun things than something as mundane as dish rags now.

And yes, I have been doing a bit of weaving and spinning. To come in a bit.

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A Paper Just Found Not to be Lost Again

This is one of those posts that one makes so that they don’t loose some information again. You see, I love history and family history. Now I have one family that once you get back in the 1700s is very frustrating. I would like to know why Michael Cowger never wrote down his parents names or his brothers and sisters. Or maybe why the generations between him and me didn’t think to keep that knowledge in the family. Alas and alack, it was all lost and no one, out of many people, has sorted it definitively yet.

You see there are two theories of who his parents are. Both a situation of a spelling change on the last name so can’t just see the name and say, “Oh, that must be.” Alas, I do favor the more logical (to me) line back from there but many favor another line with a less near surname and to me a bit more of a stretch. So for me, Michael remains parentless and what I am sure must be his siblings, remain unattached. So if anyone ever comes across that definitive piece of information and proves my point of view, I will find someway to pay you back infinitively.

So none of that really has to do with this post. You see I have a quarter piece of paper that just came out of a box that lists a George Cowger (as far as I’m concerned must be my Michael’s brother). He lived in the Fort Seybert neighborhood of West Virginia. (Near my Michael.) This is just across the mountains from the Shenandoah Valley where I have several different lines of ancestors in residence at one time. I wonder what they would think if you told them all that two hundred years later they would all be ancestors to a group of people in Illinois?

Ft. Seybert in West Virginia today and west of the Shenandoah Valley.

Ft. Seybert in West Virginia today, west of the Shenandoah Valley. Within this view are the homes of many of my ancestors.

What is on this paper? His property was appraised on 6 November 1788. Among what was appraised are:

8 sheep = $1.33 each

loom = $9.17

flax hackle = $1.67

fulled linen sold – 66¢ a yard

other linen = 25¢

Mark checked this out for me a few years ago and with inflation it was a total of $453. I just tried to see what it would be today but can’t find a calculator that goes back further than 1800.

So some observations. They had sheep so would assume that wool was spun and woven as well. Had flax and spun and wove linen cloth which they had present. Believe that they processed it as well as fulled it by the presence of a hackle. Interesting that a spinning wheel or other implements were not listed as there would be more needed for this production.

Now hopefully, the next time I loose this information, I will remember I recorded it here.

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When Hay Needs Moved

Now this was my diary of my fiber pursuits but sometimes you just have to keep a pictorial memory of other things. This is one of those “whatever else crosses my mind” that needs a record.

So we have moved to the country and 12 acres. This summer we had the hay fields cut (that sounds like a large area but really isn’t) and then had 5 big round bales sitting out there waiting to be moved somewhere. Now, I am wanting to attempt a no till garden come spring which means preparing the area now. Not that we have it all right yet, but yesterday afternoon Mark wanted to run to Tractor Supply for a bit to help move a bale. We got back and the job began.

Arriving on the scene

Arriving on the scene

After we got home, I changed from summery skirt to sturdy split skirt and headed out to the nearest bale. Mark had the truck and trailer backed up to the bale and was getting the tie ready to wrap around it. Sam and Mattie were very curious at what their crazy masters were up to. Sam stayed close and observed, but Mattie headed back to cooler ground and watched from a distance. When I arrived, we moved the bale and got the yellow tie around it. A large bale (said to weigh 1500 pounds) can be rolled by two people amazingly if little is in the way. So together we did get the tie wrapped around, but then it was too short so Mark had to go get a chain and another tie and we were able to cobble together enough to start.

Starting the cranking and learning not to go too far down or you disengage it.

Starting the cranking and learning not to go too far down or you disengage it.

Cranking became the order of the evening. A job simple enough that I took over for most of it. We learned a bit about using a crank like this. It has a name that more or less is what it does, but I forgot. Something like a Come Here is what it is called. But back to the work. The fun was not looking back for some time and then when I turned around the bale actually was coming up the ramp and onto the trailer. I was moving a huge bale with one hand! So on it went and finally the bale was on the trailer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost on the trailer

Almost on the trailer

Look at that! It is just about on the trailer. A wonder when you realize what you are doing without the expensive fancy tools some use. We had an immense feeling of achievement and pictures had to be taken at the time. I snuck one of Mark, who would prefer not to be in any of these, and he got one of me after that was not half bad.

 

 

 

 

I will admit a bit of pride at this moment.

I will admit a bit of pride at this moment.

Here I am by our proud achievement. Though this turned out to be the easy part of an evenings bit of work. You see, we needed to take this to the backyard and get it inside the fence and then take it all apart.

 

 

 

 

Off the trailer and in the yard. See how long that shadow is getting.

Off the trailer and in the yard. See how long that shadow is getting.

Now we got the bale to the fenced backyard and had to get it in there and over to where the garden is going to be. It was pretty easy to roll it off the trailer. Gravity can be a great friend at times. Though the next step was a bit more as we needed it to turn a corner. With bits of working off of each side and using a board to change how it rolled, we managed to get it to turn. I’m sure geometry terms would describe this better but alas do you want to hear how I passed geometry? Yeah, this brain doesn’t work that way, but I understood why Mark tried what he did to help us get it to turn, and we succeeded in the end.

 

 

Time is unknown but alas from the sun in the first picture to this one, quite a bit of time has passed and a job done.

Time is unknown but alas from the sun in the first picture to this one, quite a bit of time has passed and a job done.

So what was it like outside by the time we got that bail tore apart? So very after dark. The sun and any of its remnants of light were long gone and the moon shining bright through the tree. I was covered in hay, sweat, and general ick. I am not a general ick sort of girl, but I got it done (yes, Mark left me to it for a time but then came back and helped me finish) and finally got in for a shower. Did a shower ever feel better or was more earned?

Oh, and a lesson learned. I have always respected that ranchers and farmers dress the way they do, for the job they do, for a specific reason. If you ask me if you can wear shorts and a tank top to work out here, I may laugh in your face. But this shirt I have on was a no no. Lots of hay down the front inside the shirt and my arms we covered in scrapes and just plain dirt. Brown when I went in. You can bet your little blue booties that when we move the other 4 bales I will have a long sleeve button up shirt on. I have a flannel shirt that will probably go to work then.

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Tidbits | Tags: , | 2 Comments

If You Don’t Know What it is, What Would You Call It?

"Ferris Wheel"?

“Ferris Wheel”?

We had a good laugh in unpacking boxes. One was the last one off the truck when they unloaded our goods to the farm. All the guys just laughed as they read what they had written on it when boxing it up. We laughed but couldn’t dream what was actually inside this odd box.

So finally last night came. We were unpacking these big boxes and getting loom stuff up to my space above the barn. A busy, hot, paper and cardboard everywhere affair.

AVL Warping Wheel

AVL Warping Wheel

We did break into this box and had a good laugh. I guess if you don’t know what something is and no one is at hand to tell you, you come up with the nearest thing you can to describe it. They knew it had to do with weaving and that the main instrument of that occupation was called a loom. My loom is warped sectionally and I progressed up to owning an AVL warping wheel. I guess it really does look like a ferris wheel.

I didn’t get a picture of the other funny box that had us befuddled. I wish I did get a picture. But it had on it all about a cylinder with metal rods around it, and other odd descriptors. After finally cutting through the tape and unwrapping the box (wound around whatever item), we found inside the warp beam of the loom with its metal rods dividing up all those inch sections across the beam and around it.

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Why Nothing has Happened Here Lately

So it has been a month since I wrote about something I’ve done. Not good. Alas little is happening on this front of late. So I must tell myself that other things have been happening. The biggest being that I am still getting my new space ready to actually move in and set up. Seems like it is taking forever – which it is. But it is close whether I see it or not.

We bought this place outside of Lexington, and it had a simple metal barn and an apartment above. That apartment is my space. Alas and alack, it hadn’t been used in some time and was beyond a bit neglected.

Before work began

Before work began

This picture (above) is my only one of the before any work. Stuff was being taken up there only to be in the way later. What you don’t see in this picture is that the window by the door leaked badly in the past and all around it is rotted. I pulled up the rubber baseboard glued to the wall and what did I find in that corner under the window?

The floor affected by the leaky window

The floor under the window, under the carpet

So you see that daylight coming through? This wasn’t going to be a simple job. Also a reason why the carpet had a major ick factor to me that Mark didn’t quite get. So definitely new carpet was needed and fresh paint. So a plan was set up. After a couple of carpet prices we found a guy Mark wanted to work with. Interesting as the guy came out and measured everything and then I went to the shop in Giddings and picked out carpet. I picked one and it was below any other price and he even showed me some linoleum they were getting rid of that was perfect and didn’t add that much to the cost. So I was able to get the carpet and linoleum for less than Mark’s top dollar for just carpet. And it was rather an interesting time as it felt like I had time traveled back to the 50s or 60s. The building was mid-twentieth century with little updates, and the man did all his figures and sales sheet with a pen, paper, and adding machine. There was a computer on the desk but it wasn’t on nor could you see the keyboard under the papers.

So the plan? We would get the place painted, some layers of wallpaper taken off that proved hard and time consuming, and the floor by the window fixed in the two weeks before the carpet was put in. Notice that “we”? Alas, it became a “me” project. Mark found a tractor he wanted and spent the two weeks trying to get it home. He was told it ran but when he went to bring it home, it didn’t. So by the time he did manage to get it running enough to trailer it, the man gave him two tractors and a brush hog for less than the original price for one of them. They are both 1950s Ford tractors that he is excited about fixing up.

The scary hole to cover over from in front of the door to the wall.

The scary hole to cover over from in front of the door to the wall.

Haven't painted the one section as part of that wall will still need replaced.

Haven’t painted the one section as part of that wall will still need replaced.

But what about my space? Well the floor that needed fixed, that was beyond my help and got done in the two evenings after work before the carpet went in with a very late night and a not very happy wife to be sure. It was 10pm when the least amount of work needed was finished.

So the carpet and linoleum came and went in. I didn’t remember the carpet being exactly like it was but it was perfect for blending in with the walls. It is specks of about three colors. Also perfect for those paint drops found too late. Now the wall color. I wanted something with just a hint of color. There is a lumberyard/hardware store in Lexington that has paint. Not the big choice of the big box stores but thankfully it was close by. So I picked the lightest color they had which was actually in the pink range to me and had a name with the word lilac in it. Mark thinks it looks a bit more lavenderish so that is good. Alas, it does seem a bit more color than I wanted but it will do and by the time all gets in up there, you won’t see much wall anyway. I also picked a baseboard color that wasn’t just white. It also has lilac in its name. When just seeing it with the walls and carpet it looks white but against something really white you can tell there is a snitch of color there.

I am a lot farther along now than these pictures. Mark even (was he feeling guilty not helping with the project?) had a guy come out and fix the wall and replace the window and door and do some other jobs up here that I was just declaring good enough as I was just wanting to get done. So he has now come and gone and I just have a bit more painting to finish to start setting up. Almost there.

Carpet, baseboard, and wall

Carpet, baseboard, walls together

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