Friday, July 31, 2009

Nana boo boo... my staircase has more narrow turns than your staircase does

Do you remember when I wrote that my new 'wrought iron' bed.. that had been made for me before I left Italy 4 years ago and had been sent to storage when I left Italy and that I had this same storage shipment delivered a few weeks ago .. didn't get put in my bedroom because the bed couldn't get up the narrow staircase?

WELL, here's why the bed couldn't come upstairs... Isn't this the most narrow stair case that you've ever seen?? *To be inside a house that is leading to a main floor (the bedrooms)... especially in the land of 'no closets' and you have to purchase free standing 'wardrobes' (like a small free standing closet or what would be found in some dorm rooms) and use them for your clothing hanging/storing needs...

The bed that is now laying on its side in the basement storage room. Sigh.. At least, I can go down and look at it every so often.

Prior to this shipment delivery, I had only put 3 framed items on the wall before this shipment came.. (hanging in the hallway- so, that when people entered my house.. at least there was the illusion that I decorated something.) I did this because, I knew that when the storage shipment (that got delayed for several months) would have a lot of furniture in it and I didn't want to try to nail things in this hard as plaster.. plaster walls.. until the furniture was all in place. Sometimes you get holes nailing nails in the hard plaster walls.. which I'll have to fill in and paint over when I move out...

One of the things that I did... before my company arrived last week.. was to put artwork up all over the house. I even have a few things in the laundry room!

Since, this is the first time that I've ever lived with a staircase inside a home I wanted to put artwork up on the walls along the staircase- I've always liked that look. So, I decided to put artwork from Italy. All are places that I've either lived or visited. I love the results.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I had an unexpected visitor today...

I had decided to take a couple of days off, from doing needed projects/etc., after my friends returned to the states- since, I was worn out from all the unpacking. I was upstairs in my new 'entertainment' room knitting and watching old USA tv show re-runs on a VHS tape from a few years ago...

AND, I suddenly looked towards the door and saw a grey tabby cat slinking through the doorway. I do not own a cat. My house rental agreement states: No pets

I recognized the cat immediately- it belonged to someone in the neighborhood. I have had a black, tortise colored, and this grey and white tabby cat in my yard off and on since I moved in. None of these cats will get close to me. As a matter of fact, if they even see me .. they run away... It's almost like: "Oh, no! She saw us, we'd better get out of the yard!"

This particular cat had been in my yard off and on all week stalking the butterflies, jumping up after them, and just having a good time watching the butterflies flitter about.

About a week ago, I was on the balcony re-potting some flowers and he noticed me. This cat, stopped and stared at me then stared at the butterflies... and you could see that he was thinking.. "Ok, if I go now- I won't get to watch the butterflies, she's up there on the balcony.. I think I'll be safe." He stayed out there the entire hour that I was on the balcony doing various projects.

Now, I'm thinking.. it is bad enough to try to get a cat out of the house.. if you know you can pick it up.. am I going to be able to capture or otherwise 'herd' this cat out of the house? After all this house is 3 stories and all the doors to all the rooms are open and we're on the third floor. I sat my knitting down and walked quietly to the hallway and of course he/she scutted towards the stairs. He was frightened and on the verge of freaking out (never good for the human trying to capture a cat to take it outside). I was able to corner him/her and picked the cat up. He/she remained as calm as she/he could under the circumstances and let me carry him to the balcony. He had gotten in the house from the standing open living room door that leads to the balcony. There is no air-conditioning in Germany and I leave this door open for any breeze that wants to enter my house.

I placed the cat gently on the floor of the balcony. He/she decided that I was now his/her newest best friend and proceeded to give me the cat 'leg hug' using the figure eight pattern.

So, I sat down on the steps and petted him/her for awhile. Then, I decided to go inside to get my camera- because, I had been meaning to take photos of the butterflies and now was a good time to take photos of both the butterflies and my newest house guest.

Here are some photos. As always, click on the photos for a larger and clearer view.

(I guess that this means that I can no longer leave the door standing open- unless I want company.)

"I wonder if she'll give me some milk the next time? Or some tuna?"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Yarn and more yarn from the storage shipment

It's like Christmas at my house... plastic tote boxes full of yarn was found in the storage shipment that was delivered about 3 weeks ago. I had the yarn all stacked in two stacks of boxes... and I had so much to do- that I was barely able to resist looking at the yarn until most of the unpacking was finished.

Most of this is yarn that I purchased while living in Italy for several years or from when I had lived in Seoul prior to my first move to Italy.

Well, the box of the sparkly and fun fur type of yarn was purchased years ago in Seoul's yarn market. I'm sure that I can find a use for it, right? Maybe some toys or ornaments?

One box that looks like yarn cakes instead of skeins-- was purchased at a yarn factory in Italy. You could go around and pick up cones of yarn that you liked and then they'd spin them loosely together into cakes. Kind of fun to make your own yarn selections. Since, this yarn is a little thicker than your typcial yarn to make a sweater/etc.. I've always thought that I'd use it to make a big sweater jacket or something along those lines? The smaller amounts can of course be used for hats/scarves/etc.

click on the photos for larger and more yummy yarn views...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Unpacked treasures...

Here are a few items that were in this storage shipment..

Hand painted tile scene... This is old Gaeta, Italy as seen from the harbor. I lived up on the mountain and my view from my house was looking down on these castles.

My Italian wrought iron balcony planters! I gave quite a few away when I moved away from my first location in Italy- which I left in 2000- but, I did end up keeping 5 or 6 of them and they were in this storage shipment. I finally put some flowers that I bought (whispers 2 months ago) and had been sitting on the balcony in their tiny little plastic containers while waiting for me to 'replant' them. I finally did that this week. They did seem to stretch their little roots out and breathe a sigh of relief.

I really like these planters because they are adjustable. Some of the wingnuts got lost- so, I stopped at the local German 'hardware/garden type of store'... I had to buy a package of the screws (5) and a package of the wing nuts (5) for a grand total of almost 8 euro. Cost USA? About $11.00 or so. I only needed two.. :(

I also had to buy wooden slats for my bed.. for some 'strange' reason they did not come in the storage shipment with the bed.. which I had been sleeping in before my household goods were put into storage 4 years ago. A mystery for sure.

My coat rack! Made for me by the same guy who made my wrought iron bed.. that wouldn't go up the narrow German staircase last week.

This is an old, old wine jug... I got this years ago.. probably 1999? It is what the 'wine delivery guy' put wine in when he came to the houses on his wine delivery days. I found this in the 'big stuff trash' throw away place... apparently, it was being tossed to make way for the more modern 'plastic basket woven looking' new style. I think it's pretty neat looking. And, yes.. when I'd walk to work.. I'd sometimes see the local wine delivery wagon pulled up outside a house.

AND, I found a stack of old Vogue Knitting magazines in my storage shipment.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I can see the light...

the unpacking light that is...

My company gets here tomorrow- Monday. So, today, Sunday, is clean up day. Sweep and mop the floors, clean the bathrooms, clean out the tiny refrigerator and defrost the even smaller freezer. How small is it you ask? YOU have to put the ice-tray in sideways-- not the usual way of pointing towards the back!

I'll also put anything that still doesn't have a home away in the 'storage room'... and just pretend it's all done.

Meanwhile, here's a photo of my bedroom. I finally have a bed upstairs. They couldn't bring my beautiful wrought iron bed that was made for me in Italy.. because of the narrow stairs that are in my house. Yes, narrow stairs with a TURN in them! Grrr

So, I still had my old brass bed- that was the same size as my old mattress that was going to go on the new wrought iron bed.. that I had wanted to sell before I moved from Italy 4 years ago... so, at least I have a bed upstairs... and of course the guest bed for the company.

I finally got my bedroom 'mostly' finished.. art work up on the walls/etc. Photo taken at night- so, forgive the photo quality. Later, I'll take photos of the 'guest quarters'... which is where I'd been sleeping-- but, now it's all decorated, unpacked.. no longer do you have to walk through skinny trail through stacked boxes.

Anyway... here ya go..
This is what I use for my 'dresser'.. it's actually an antique 'buffet' that I bought in Korea. I stack sweaters in the door areas. Socks, undies, etc go in the small drawers.

I really liked this piece. I thought it had character with some beautiful carvings along the sides and I could see it being used in various rooms. I have several pieces of Korean furniture.. well, I have lived there three different times.. for 9 or 10 years... but, I tend to buy pieces that will go with other items. Like American antiques and also Italian pieces. I tend to buy pieces (other than this buffet) with clean simple lines and I think that helps them blend in with other pieces from other countries.

This is my great grandmother's rocking chair. I had it recovered in Korea before I left; with some fabric that I bought in the Fabric market in Seoul. That's the heating source on the wall to the right of the rocker. Warm heat rises from the pipes.

To the far right- you can see a piece of furniture- that was designed to hold a tv. Of course, with the slanted ceilings on some of my upstairs walls- this is the only wall that it would fit on. So, there isn't going to be any 'tv viewing' from the bed now.. ha ha. I put my old, old 110 voltage American reception only tv in the 'entertainment room'.. (some people would call it an office). So, the big open (for the tv) is going to hold blankets and bed linens/etc.

This is the old brass bed- that I had made for me in Korea (the first time I lived there) in 1992. This rug was in this storage shipment. The bedspread, I bought in Korea in the fabric market- they also have wonderful bed linens there. This is actually a full-size and really needs to be just about 10 more inches wider for this queen sized bed. I made the bedskirt with some fabric that I bought at the fabric/yarn market building in Seoul.

I have put artwork on the walls everywhere.. including the stairwell. It's beginning to look like a home and that I actually live here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I interrupt the unpacking to bring you some photos

There was a lot of furniture in this shipment. Two couches, dining room table (that got busted so bad that they couldn't put it together), kitchen table (still not put together- the moving company's carpenter will come and put it and the entertainment center together later this week), entertainment center (lovely piece of furniture that I bought in Italy- full of shelving, drawers and open areas to display items.. including a space for a tv), end tables, 2 coffee tables, 12 chairs (6 each for the kitchen and dining room), 2 different bed frames, one queen sized mattress and box springs set, and other various small chests, etc.

Here we are... the 8 1/2 sea crates full of 'stuff!'

Stacks and stacks of boxes in the big storage room in the basement... and where I've been spending the past few days.

Of course, whenever one has a 'storage shipment' delivered... there are always treasures that you are happy to see once again.. like my small marble table that was made for me when I left Italy the first time in 2000. Isn't this beautiful? I've lived in some very small places-- in one place.. this table was my only table for meals.

Here is the complete view of the table and chairs. I found a wrought iron artist.. to make these for me. Actually, a local flower/gift shop that had opened up close to my home in Aviano helped me find the man who made this table/chair set. Their family members made the marble table top for me.. shipped it to their shop and the man who made the wrought iron.. was in a nearby town.. They had called him and made arrangements for him to make my table base and chairs for me. They got the directions to his shop for me and I went by train.. followed the directions and found his shop quite easily as I walked to it from the train station. He didn't speak English and I spoke only a few limited words in Italian. His son had 'visited' America... and was designated as our 'translator' by the dad. Of course, his knowledge of English was only a few words better than my knowledge of Italian.

So, we ended up drawing our ideas for each other. I drew some ideas as to what I wanted the chairs to look like... he added to my drawings. When it was time to make the chairs and table base, he actually drew the designs in chalk on his cement shoproom floor and made my wrought iron chairs/table to match the drawn lines. None of us (myself, the flower shop owners who had family members about 200 miles away make the table top for me, or the wrought iron man) knew what the designs would look like until everything was delivered to the flower shop. I just told them that I did want some of the beautiful Italian green marble used in the design.

Don't they look like we had all worked side by side sharing our designs? It was a perfect mix of talents. Once we oohed and aahed over the marble, table base, and the 4 perfect chairs... and had taken lots of photos... (of which I didn't know that my camera was busted-- until I got to the states- nothing turned out) the wrought iron artist.. packed everything up and took it to my apartment just a block away... and the movers packed everything up the next day.

I really didn't have room inside the house and decided to put the marble table/chairs outside in the semi-protected patio area. There is a roof overhead and I'm going to see if I can find something to put on the bottom of the chair/table legs so that standing moisture (snow/rain) doesn't cause a problem. I'll also buy a heavy plastic covering for the winter time.. since, snow did get blown in this area last winter.

AND always... when you unpack boxes and boxes of stuff from a move.. there is always a 'mystery' object found.
Sometimes the 'mystery item' is part of something that got divided up and now no longer looks familiar? Maybe it's part of a broken item- that got thrown away and now the remaining part is the mystery item?

Or maybe it's something like this wooden thing. I have no idea as to what it is or where it came from or why I even own it. I don't remember seeing it ever before. The twigs have been sawed off flat on the bottom. Now, I have to figure out 'which' recyling bin that I'd be allowed to put this unknown object in......

Does anyone know what this is?

All I know is It's times like this ...After days of unpacking and moving things from basement, to ground level and up to third floor... hauling stuff from one floor to the next that makes me dislike 'stairs'... and that I have got to get serious about getting rid of some of this 'stuff!'

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Are you wondering...

What has happened to: Iwouldratherbeknitting ?????????????

I've been having a few adventures.. have taken a lot of photos.. but, I've not been able to post some time because... (I tried to download some photos several times.. and this slow, slow server kept taking forever..not just slow. an hour and it still hadn't downloaded photos? So, I'd give up.)

They finally found my 'lost' household goods storage shipment... so, I've spent a few days.. going through my current possessions.. seeing what I could get rid of.. (wish we could hold garage sales at our houses.. but, I've asked and Americans living off post can't do this-- since, your wouldn't be paying German tax of 19% of the items sold... and American's aren't suppose to sell imported DUTY FREE ITEMS (my household goods or things that I buy at the BX on base) to foreign nationals (applies to whatever country I happen to be living in that isn't America)

So, I've gone though clothing and found appropriate things that I could donate to an address for the US Military group that does humanitian efforts in Afghanistan. I'd rather eliminate the 'middle man'... and send things straight to the military guys that help out those in the refugee camps, the street kids, local hospitals, and the schools. I also usually knit warm wool hats during the summer that I mail to them in September.

Anyway... I said 'appropriate' because.. you can't send: shorts or sleeveless clothing... sundresses and the like.. because, it's a muslin country and we need to respest their clothing attire.

We do have a thrift store on base that you can use to sell items on 'consignment'... problems are:

1. They are only open limited days (I've heard it's a few more times per week) during the hours of: 10.00am- 2pm... those hours just don't work out for a school teacher that goes to work by 7am to 3:30 or later if we have meetings after school.

2. They only accept items for consignment if they are going to resell for: $25.00 or more (I'm sure there is a cap on the 'or more')

I mean... come on... it's a thrift shop! How many items does one usually have that someone is willing to pay $25.00 for???? *And, of course, the thrift shop takes a cut of the selling prices.

I think that what this ends up promoting is 'donating' to them... and then the items donated can be sold for 100% profit for the thrift store.

ANYWAY... I'll try to find at least a couple of things I can take to the thrift shop and of course I'll toss some things.

Meanwhile.. anyone want to come and help me unpack 9 sea crates of stuff? (A lot of furniture came in that.. so, at least it's not 9 whole crates of boxes to unpack.. but, there are far more boxes to unpack than I wish to unpack.