Friday, October 17, 2014

WARNING: snakes at the Ren Fest!

So, a blogger I follow once posted that she promised to always *say* when she posts a picture of a snake, so as to not unduly scare her audience.  Now, it would be bold of me to claim an "audience," but, I do know at least one of my audience will be happy for this blogger's suggestion, without which I'd never even think twice about posting a picture of a snake (and a Giant One, at that).  So, without further ado, please join us on our visit to the Renaissance Festival this year, keeping in mind that the last picture is of:  a Very Large Snake, with My Precious Daughters Precariously Close Thereto.

(taken after we pet said snake.  ahem.)  You're welcome, Cary!

(and now, said snake:)

This was near the reptile and amphibian society area, I think he was trying to get somewhere to curl up and rest.  They would move him farther away, and he'd just keep trying to go back to wherever he wanted to go.

We enjoy the Ren Fest, but the location could not be farther away and still be in the "same town" as us, and we've had serious issues with parking/traffic.  (This year was no better with the traffic part, but that was no fault of the Ren Fest this time.)  Because the weekends are so incredibly busy there, we've chosen to go on the only Friday of the fest a few years now, and really enjoy the quieter, more laid back fair.  This year the tickets were even cheaper for all of us Friday, and we enjoyed shows and places we don't usually see with the weekend chaos.

Plus, with the lack of crowds, it's all the more likely you get chosen/ dragged up on stage to "help" with something... apparently this young magician thought the not-in-coustume-this-year (Greta wore my chamise as a dress) mom in the second row behind her kids would be a good foil for his card trick.  He probably wasn't expecting me to actually play along - if I had time to think about it I would have been nervous, but being surprised I'm actually pretty good at ad lib in front of a crowd.  Anyway, I wouldn't chose to do it again, but it was fun.  (And I think I know how he did the trick, too, though I had to think about it a bit.)  I'm not sure why I'm slouching in the picture;  probably I felt uncomfortable being taller than him.

~  my huge chemise costume undershirt = adorable dress for Gret. when cinched at neck and belted
~  do not let Kaatje wear boots even if "she wears them all the time and they'll be fine!"   ...our last hour there she was barefoot (but not complaining, dear girl).
~  don't bother looking picking out food from the online list before Festival Friday, all the good food places aren't open
~  bring a waterbottle to fill at the port-a-potty area sink.  there's a drinking fountain there so we assumed the water was potable (it was) and didn't have to pay $3 a pop for a 16-oz water bottle.
~  note the Grand Canyon of the Renaissance Festival? (pic 1)  poor them, they might be moving in a few years... that will be... odd.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Upstairs porch reveal: sleeping porch to guest room, fall 2013 to fall 2014

Back in the day, we had this porch:

It's always been a funny room at the back of the house on the upper storey, way at the end of a long hall we never went down.

Plaster walls crumbling, uninsulated and unheated, lead paint flaking from (single pane) windows and walls - it was a combination storage and get-away room, but very rarely used over the 15 years we've been in the house.

We'd finally reached the end of a lot of other projects, and decided it was time to (literally?) tackle this one...  fall of 2013:

Jeff got the walls down and new ceiling rafters put in before our long hard winter started.

Then there was a long winter wait:

Finally, spring.  We decided to take out the window in the wall, that went to a small storage room off the hallway.  We didn't want to take it out, but neither of us could figure out a reason why we shouldn't.  There were lots of reasons why we should, starting with not having to refinish a whole window.

After Jeff rebuilds the walls and adds insulation, the window guys come:

and the drywall guy comes (if you need a drywall guy in the Mpls area, we can tell you who not to call - but he did get the job done):

Painting is always exciting:

And the last bits always seem to take the longest (especially when we can't find the trim we want off the rack, so Jeff makes his own and I prime and paint it).  Summer is moving along, I'm buying things here and there that we'll need to finish the space.

We get bogged down in the details...  I have an idea what I'd like for new sheets, but have trouble matching the ones I choose (lovely nice ones on clearance, so no returns) to anything else, like duvet covers or curtains or flannel sheets.  The things you work out in your head are sometimes so hard to convert to a real space!

Being an area people need to comfortably sleep, and facing directly east, the porch needed good curtains.  This turned out to be a huge hassle of time and energy and money, but we did eventually figure out a cozy and dark plan that should keep out the 5 am summer sun, and maybe even help keep out the 4:30 pm winter sun-set cold, all the while making the space feel private and secure.

Finally, end of the summer, "finished":

The girls give their own high praise:  "it's like a hotel!" they exclaim.  To me, that means finishing touches are still needed, like pictures and little things that make it a home.  These will come along the way, I'm in no hurry to fill the space with things just to fill it.  There will be adjustments that need to be made, too;  so far the new windows and insulation has kept the fall cold out, but we'll see how the heater can compete with the -20's winter. 

Now we walk down the hall just to stand in the room and enjoy the space.  We hope our houseguests will enjoy it, too!