I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday season, whatever beliefs you may follow or not. After a few days of rain, we are having a sunny but chilly Christmas.
I have not been back to Roanoke to work on the house this month, as there have been lots of things to do here in Seneca. I am definitely getting established in a social life here in the new place. It is nice to feel at home here. With the weather making threats against the edge of Virginia, I have not felt like taking my chances on getting into snow or ice, either. This is one of the best results of retirement, to stay inside in the really bad weather and not have to go outside.
I have been making earrings this season, for a lot of gifts. I worked from a pattern I got at Bead and Button Magazine to make myself a pretty bracelet of white background and light blue and lavender snowflakes. It is done in peyote stitch. For those of you who are beaders, you know; those who are not, it is a solid mat of beads, strung one at a time, very time-consuming but produces a pretty picture. It is something I will occasionally take time to construct if I really like the pattern. I have also been working a bit with chain maille, trying to learn techniques of an art that is new to me. I think most of my early works are only going to be key chain fobs. I have made a decent bracelet for Sharon – in purple, of course. It just takes practice to learn this. I am having most trouble with closing a ring without leaving a small gap where the rings might unlink. I am getting better at getting the two sides of an opening to line up and not leave a scratchy edge. Practice is what I need and am doing. I do tend to be a perfectionist, so intend to master it. The longer I work with the jump rings, the more I realize I need to get better pliers to prevent pain in my hands. The right tools for the job are important.
Sharon has found the solution to the expensive-to-run and not very efficient heat pump for heating the house. Last winter we had the crew put insulation under the floor in the front half of the house, and most of the back half had an extra layer of flooring. It helps some, but the heating costs were still very high. After research for size and cost, she found a gas stove that works almost too well. She already had gas for the water heater, so running a line to the living room was not too much. We laughed at the position of the dogs the first evening, instead of curling into little balls in the dog beds, they were sprawled across the floor, loving all the plentiful heat. It is doing a great job of heating the entire house, even turned to a very low setting. I am finding the reverse cycle air conditioners are not very efficient for heating, in spite of the dome holding it well. I got a rubber mat to go under my desk or craft table, which heats my feet and lower legs very nicely. I find I can tolerate the air a degree lower this way. I also have plans to put a nice thick vinyl flooring down, but am saving up for that. It should really help keep the chill down, too. I am not accustomed to forced air, having radiant heat for over thirty years, so that is probably part of my chill factor. First item is to stop the small water leakage around two door frame edges. They have been caulked, painted with latex paint and still allow a little bit in when it rains hard. The paint has done a great job of sealing, but with the really cold weather we had it must have cracked, had to repaint around the skylight. On the bright side, it gives me longer to save up some money for my flooring!