Andrea Arbour

Garden bench Before/After

This bench needed a little TLC. The wood was old and feeble and the coating of glossy brown paint was peeling and not to my taste.

Before: in need of repair

 

Before: sad, sad wood and paint

I picked up some spruce strapping at the hardware store. Thankfully they were able to cut a few pieces lengthwise for me as a few of the holes in the iron ends were only 2″ and 2.5″ wide. After cutting them to length and drilling the holes for the bolts, and sanding everything, I opted to use a polyurethane stain for the wood and a glossy black spray paint for the iron.

Now I’ve got a bench that can actually be used, and I’m pleased with the finish.

After: just what I was hoping for

 

Fire pit before/after

One of the tasks I had meant to get to last year was fixing my fire pit. The poor thing was only a year old and had already started to rust…

The fire pit in need of repair

 

The first step required a little bit of elbow grease and a metal brush to scrape the rust off.

Removing the rust from the fire pit

 

Lastly, it didn’t take long to add a coat of the Tremclad flat black high heat enamel.

The renewed fire pit

 

Now I just get to wait for warmer weather so I can get outside and enjoy using it!

Bailegangaire

When Patrick Toner called last Christmas and asked if I’d consider acting in an Irish play, I thought it would be a fun chance to get back on stage. I read the script and really enjoyed it so I agreed to do it. Bailegangaire is a three-person play featuring a grandmother who has Alzheimers, and two granddaughters trying to care for her. The granddaughters, Dolly and Mary, are a bit like oil and water. I’m playing Dolly, who is quite a vibrant character. I realized it’s been about 5 years since I’ve been on stage. Where does the time go? That last show that I was in was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with the Saint John Theatre Company.

It has been a great opportunity to reconnect and work with Lindsay Bell, as well as meet and work with Mary Stilwell. What wonderful ladies to work with! I am certainly thankful for the friendships formed while trying to tackle an admittedly challenging script.

I knew Patrick from my early days involved with the SJTC. He has since  started the An Amharclann Theatre Company, which produces at least one Irish play per year. They sometimes take their shows to the Acting Irish International Theatre Festival. This year, the festival will be hosted by Irish Theatre of Florida and is being held at the Arts Garage  in Del Ray Beach, Florida. Before we take it to Del Ray, however, we will be performing it at the Sanctuary Theatre in Saint John – opening tonight and running for 3 evenings.

2012 in review

Early in 2012, I made the decision to start looking for a house. I had new loud and annoying neighbors that smoked pot and made the hallway between apartments reek, more bars opening down the street which made for more noise in the middle of the night, low interest rates on mortgages, and the realization that if I got a mortgage now I could have it paid off by the time I retire. For this variety of reasons, I realized that it was the ideal time to make the move from apartment living. By February, I had a real estate agent and had a list of houses in my price range that I was narrowing down. By March, I had narrowed things down and found a sweet little spot with a great ocean view.

In April, I bought my first home:

Sold! Well, to the bank. It'll be mine by the time I retire though! :-)

It needed a lot of TLC, but it was mostly cosmetic stuff. I had a lot of help, and unfortunately a bit of a back problem, but managed to get a lot fixed on the inside of the house over the Spring and Summer. By September, I was able to enjoy a house warming party. I’ll try to make a point of posting before and after photos and stories of the renovations in the coming weeks.

The remainder of the year seemed to fly by. I did a bit of knitting, played a video game or two, and settled in to the home. I also worked from home a lot due to my back giving me problems when I sit for long periods of time, but the back is getting better, and I have a standing desk available for me at work now.

The Christmas Apron

Thanks to my parents who discovered this amusing apron and sent it to me (early enough so that I could enjoy it during the Christmas season)! It’s got satin, sequins and pompoms. What more can a girl ask for in a holiday apron? :-)

The Sparkly Christmas Apron

The Sparkly Christmas Apron

NaKniSweMo

November may mean NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for a lot of folks, but I am more attracted to NaKnitSweMo. I’m not sure if I’ll get it done,as I have plenty of other projects on the go, btu hey – what a great time to start, right?

NaKnitSweMo - Knit a sweater in the month of November

 The pattern I’ve chosen is Levenwick – an asymmetrical cardigan by Gudrun Johnston. You can find the pattern here. I picked up some great burnt orange yarn (Mirasol Qina – 80% baby alpaca, 20% bamboo) on sale and it’s soft and great to work with…

Levinwick 1

Levinwick close-up

The collar and the start of the yolk

Completed Knits for the Neck

I‘ve been working on these primarily during D&D games, or while waiting (in line for groceries, at the dentist/doctor’s, etc.)  Eventually I’ll get around to blocking Herbivore (pattern by Stephen West can be found here) but it’s even wearable now…

Herbivore shawlette

Herbivore

Once I finished knitting herbivore, I returned to a fun yarn that I’ve had for a while. I thought it would suit a crosshatch stitch that I’d used in a previous pattern, but I made a number of modifications so that it became the following cowl:

Crosshatch Neckwarmer

Crosshatch Neckwarmer

Pumpkin Carving

Melissa had a pumpkin-carving party and I decided to carve a very small pumpkin for myself… Of a nazgul fighting a death star.

Nazgul pumpkin

The Nazgul fighting...

Death Star pumpkin

The Death Star fighting back...

Dead Marie Antoinette Makeup

Kathryn Ann stopped by so I could help her with her makeup for her Halloween costume. It was a quick 20 minute job and a fun break.

Kathryn Ann Keery as "Dead Marie Antionette"

Kathryn Ann Keery as "Dead Marie Antionette"

Flaming Cupcakes

I have a Tiefling Warlock that I play in a D&D campaign. In our plans to get together and game today, I agreed to bring the snacks, keeping in theme with my character, who deals a lot of flame-based damage. I’m hoping that my chili chocolate flaming cupcakes actually taste decent!

Flaming Spicy Cupcakes

Flaming Spicy Cupcakes