Sunday, October 17, 2010

Progress and diversions

Friday morning, I was distracted by looking at other people's design blogs, and I was just getting to working on plastering and sanding when we had a brown out. I ended up doing two stupid things: going to the grocery store while hungry and going to the hardware store while feeling bad about my house.

I was lucky, though, in that the hardware store was having a half-off plant sale.

New plants

I brought home some green-edged hostas and daylillies to provide some contrast to the white edges hostas in our front yard.

Yesterday, we went to the Eastern Market, a farmer's market that has been held every Saturday in downtown Detroit since 1891. According to the website, it extends for six blocks. It is a very interesting place, with local farmers, and people who bring in some produce from elsewhere, bakers, florists, and spice vendors in the main buildings, surrounded by shops selling food, drink, and candy. A lot of those buildings are butchers and fishmongers who clearly cater to restaurants, as they sell huge slabs of meat that a typical consumer would buy a slice or two of. Some of the adjacent buildings were restaurants, and some were both butcher shops and sandwich shops! We had a great time exploring, but I forgot my camera. We plan to go back next week for the beer festival, so I will try to remember then.

After we got home, Scott had to do some work for a deadline at his office. While he was doing that, I went outside and planted the things I bought Friday.

Front yard with new plants

Front yard with new plants

Then, I worked on touching up the walls in the living room. When I stopped to make dinner, my inability to finish painting, and all of the things out of place to allow me to paint mounted up to a level of disarray in the kitchen, dining room and living room that totally overwhelmed me. Fortunately, Scott took over and made a lovely dinner of some pork chops that we got at the market, combined with apples from our apple picking trip, accompanied by green beans from our garden, preceded by Irish whisky cheddar from the market, and followed by crème brulée. Quite a lovely treat.

Today, he had to go into the office to implement all of the corrections that he had noted on Saturday. While he was gone, I did some dyeing.

Dye progress

This time, I used the Kool-Aid method, which I have done successfully before. I would prefer to use more typical professional dyes because the palette is more limited with Kool-Aid, but it is cheap, easy, and you don't need any special equipment devoted to dyeing. Plus, I could get it at the grocery store without waiting for a mail order. Basically, what you do is buy packets of Kool-Aid without the sugar, and mix that into hot water with some vinegar to help the dye set, then add your wool. You can set the color by heating it up more. In the past, I used the microwave. This time, I was dying a whole pound of yarn, so I used a big pot on the stove. This process works with any animal fiber, including silk, and I hear it can also work using the type of food dyes you get in the baking aisle, because Kool-Aid is colored with food-grade dyes.

The Kool-Aid dye performed beautifully. The yarn soaked up the color right away and within a few minutes the dye had been exhausted and the water was clear.

Dye progress - exhausted

Unfortunately, I didn't buy any blue Kool-Aid, only reds and purple. Although I am now closer to my desired color, it's back to the grocery store for me because the yarn is now too red.

Dye progress

After that, I painted the first coat of primer on some of the walls in the kitchen.

Kitchen progress

Unfortunately, I can't prime all of the walls yet as there is still a little more patching of plaster to be done. I did plaster some places today, but I can't paint those until the plaster is dry and sanded, and I am pleased with the final surface. Some of those spots need another layer of plaster, for sure. Still, it is really great to see progress and to watch that ivy stencil disappear.


  1. Hurray for Kool-Aid dyeing! It doesn't get much easier than that. I've even done it without the vinegar. Apparently the Kool-Aid powder itself is acidic enough to set the dye.

  2. I read that on Knitty, but since I was dying a pound of fiber, and using two and a half gallons of water, I thought it best to add some vinegar. I think the quantity of Kool-Aid I used would have gotten too diluted to make it very acidic.