Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pool "Party"

Ah, the joys of home ownership...when your new home comes with a pool.

Personally, buying a new home would be much easier if the previous owners left a "to-do" list of how they maintained their home. The previous owners of our house were here for nearly 40 years - essentially the life of our house. Since we are not only new to home ownership, but also new to life in Arizona (read: keeping grass alive in the desert), as well as pool maintenance - a little list of "this is how we kept everything that was supposed to be green, green - and the pool, blue" would have been a God-send.

Ah, shoulda-woulda-coulda. It didn't happen, and so, we've been learning by trial-and-error the last 10 months. One of the biggest areas of trial-and-error has been the pool. I have already regaled our trials with the pool - so I'm not revisiting those.

Early last summer, we were informed by one of the local pool companies that our water was so saturated with chemicals that the water molecules couldn't "latch on" to what chemicals were being added. So, we planned to empty the pool this spring and refill it.

About a month ago, we got a wicked windstorm/rainstorm. A lot of leaves and dirt got deposited in our pool. Then, a week or two later, another came. So, the pool got pretty dark. Then, Dan went out of town and our "Kreepy Krawley" (the thing that sucks up stuff from pool) wasn't sucking a lot. So, I got to "learn" the ins and outs of the pool...and, the pool just kept getting darker.

So, yesterday, we rented a submersible pump and 100 ft of hose. As the water drained, Dan and I took turns "sweeping" the sides of the pool - so the rings around the pool aren't as pronounced as they could be. With all the rings in our pool, maybe we should start referring to it as Saturn....

It looks much grosser than it really was. It smelled like a lake. (and why wouldn't it with all that algae?)

In the bottom were decaying leaves, one itty-bitty lizard (pretty gross), a plastic label from the Kreepy, and a metal, rectangular form from paper lanterns that we had hanging up this summer. We noticed rust imprints on the bottom of the pool, but couldn't figure out what it was. Then, I was looking closer and realized what it was. 

Sometime soon, we are going to rent a power-washer to attack those rings. 

Typically, pools get acid-washed, but we've been informed that our pool is so old that it can't be acid washed. One company gave us an estimate for refinishing the pool at $10,000. Um, no. Sorry. I think we'll need to "come into some" money for that to happen. So, hopefully, we can just refill this and in another year thinking about refinishing the surface. .....

Ah, the joys of home ownership. Maybe we should start charging pool user fees.... ;)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Catching up with the Kieslings: in the sewing room

Well, it's official, I like to sew.

Growing up, I sewed because I had to...for 4-H.
...and a little because I wanted to.
...but I wouldn't have said that it brought me joy.

I really loved sewing during 5th and 6th grades. I mastered the creation of patterned leggings and oversized tunics. (Now I wish I had a serger at my disposal; I would be rocking that look - and showing the undergrads how to do it.)

...and then, I was supposed to ascend the next level of creation-mastery. Pleats, zippers, buttons - and all of those skills that require attention...and confidence...and some amount of perfection. ...and I loathed ripping seams. Once I start something, I want to finish it right then. No waiting; no returning; no starting over.

You know what's great about sewing as an adult? No judge at the county fair is examining the straightness of my lines. No one will look down upon the fact that I've just sewn my 200th pillow and have no plans to move on.

Okay, I digress. Let's get back to what projects I've been working on lately.

I LOVE to sew gifts. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it.

My cousin Elizabeth is having her first baby in June - and I am so happy for her! Her shower was today, and I made a couple of items for her and her husband to welcome little baby C to the family.

First up: Diaper changing pads. I chose a delightful, gender-neutral, yet hip, pairing for Mom's pouch. I cut these 14" wide by 36" long. I made the pouch big enough to fit a pack of Costco-sized wipes and a couple of diapers. I figure that if you want more diapers, you can just use a smaller pack of wipes. I made a second pad for a colleague who is also having her first baby. This was my first time sewing Velcro. I was a little intimidated - for no reason. It was super easy.

The 2 pictures above are of the diaper pouch for Dad. (Equal opportunity, right?) Liz & Kevin don't know the sex of baby C - but I figured a 'manly' pouch is the best way to entice a dad to carry around a changing mat, right? The inside chevron colors are an olive/sage-green/khaki. The outside is a blue plaid with the 'olive' strip running through it. When I showed it to Dan, he said, "Oh, very Michigan State-y." Even better way to entice Dad to change diapers! :)

Top: Nursing shawl; Middle: diaper changing pad for Mom; Bottom: diaper changing pad for Dad

Imagine that underneath that shawl is a nursing baby.... Hopefully I won't be taking any selfies if that were the case.

I used the template found on this website for the diaper changing pads:
I used this website as a template for the nursing shawl: Her directions are really confusing. If you follow her measurements, understand this: the 30" (length) are NOT on the fold. The 25" (width) is the fold. She says it backwards. I had already made my cuts at the point I figured this out. So, I sewed 2, 12" sections on the 30" side, and then cut the 30" fold. No big deal.