Happy belated Valentine's Day to all. This is what I woke up to on February 14:
We had a snow storm two weeks ago Sunday and had nearly a foot of snow dumped on us; and then we went back into the deep freeze. Slowly, ever so slowly, as the sun has come out every now and then and the rays ARE getting more intense during the countdown to the Spring Equinox, the snow levels have shrunk somewhat, but as you can see, there is still plenty of it and it's not going anywhere in a hurry! I was rinsing out some dishes just after dawn on the 14th and looking out my kitchen windows and I thought "What is that? Fog???" But I knew it could NOT be fog -- it was like 10 below outside! No -- it was SNOW. With the texture of sand in a sandstorm.
I tried to get a couple pictures of it by quickly sticking my camera out the front door -- managed to get a wet lens but not that sense of sandstorm that was happening at 6:30 a.m. on February 14th! You can see on the driveway, though (above), that blowy-drifty kind of fine grit snow that swirls up into sudden white-out conditions. Photo above was taken looking to the southwest. Photo below was taken looking toward the northwest:
Today it is sunny, YAH! But very very cold. I hiked to the Pick 'n Save yesterday about 1:30 p.m. -- during the height of the "warmth" when the windchill was about zero degrees F, and picked up some supplies. Today it will be temps consistently 10 to 15 below zero F because of winds out of the northwest. Sigh. We won't get a break from this until Saturday, when it may get up into the 20's, YAH, but also snow. BOO. Old Man Winter ain't letting go of Milwaukee any time soon.
So, now that I am a FREE woman, I've been spending a LOT of time working on my friend Barb's family tree and going through ink on my small printer like you wouldn't believe. I completed the first family lines binder and could not squeeze another page into the 1.5" binder; Barb moved the contents to a 3" binder and it works much better now, and a good thing too, because I still have more pages to insert. Now I'm working on the second binder which contains the "paternal" lines and it's going to be as large as (if not larger than) the first binder. There are many more people and family lines I was able to trace back to Europe in the 1600's in the paternal line so I'm going to have to pick and choose what records to print out and what stories to tell! All of us have wonderful stories in our family histories -- if only you knew...
BUT, I have taken some breaks from this fascinating work. On February 4th, I nearly strangled myself with an Ikea duvet cover, and things went downhill from there.
Do you see how perfect the set looks in the photo, above, from the Ikea website. They should take photos of what the bedding looks like after someone like me spends a night sleeping on it! Truth in advertising!
I really tried to like this cover, I really did.
But I just was not happy with it. The material is ultra-soft and warm and I loved sleeping beneath it, it has a luxurious feeling and is wonderfully comfortable, and the flowered vine pattern is artful and lovely! I especially loved the pop of red color. But this just wasn't doing it for me. I thought I would grow to like it more and so left it on my bed for 10 days, but on Valentine's Day I knew it was coming off.
I just could not deal with the wrinkles. I get the night sweats something fierce (still) and so I'm constantly waking up at night and flinging the comforter off, and then back on as I cool down, and it's a broken record like that throughout the night. The Lyocel fabric wrinkled too easily during this on-again, off-again process, and I couldn't get the wrinkles smoothed out in the morning when I huffed and puffed and fluffed the comforter (perhaps my over-heating body permanently "ironed" in wrinkles???), attempting to make the impossible happen (wrinkles disappear).
I am not going to give up on it, though. I have a plan for how to adapt this set to fit my comforter and pillows better. You can see by comparing the photo of the bed above with the photo of the bed below, how much larger the Rodbinka set is that the Alvine Kvist set. That needs to be changed, so I will haul out my sewing machine and stitch away... I envision using the lovely Rodbinka set during the fall through December, and I will switch out some accessories to accommodate the red tones.
But for now, Rodbinka is resting in a drawer and I unwrapped the Ikea Alvine Kvist duvet cover that I had purchased at the same time:
My experience in putting this set on my bed compared to my wrestling with the Rodbinka duvet set was as different as night and day!
After cold-water washing and drying the Alvine Kvist, I ironed it. I won't kid you, it took a long time to do this, although not as long as it did to iron the Rodbinka set. The Alvine Kvist set is 100% cotton and so ironed beautifully and did not readily wrinkle again as I maneuvered the large duvet cover around the ironing board to get it all ironed. This was a very different experience than when I ironed the Rodbinka Lyocel material. To be fair, the Alvine Kvist cotton cover has a much sturdier "hand" to it than the Rodbinka cover, and is not nearly as translucent and soft, so it holds up much better to handling. It also buttons down the openings on both the pillow covers and the duvet cover rather than closing with ties (which I found for some reason I seemed to undo nearly every night while I "slept"). The opening on the Alvine Kvist duvet cover goes all the way across its top, too, so it was much easier to stuff my comforter into it; also, the size of the Alvine Kvist pillow covers and duvet cover are somewhat smaller (tighter) than the Rodbinka set, and my pillows and comforter fit into the covers much better -- less "wiggle room," so to speak.
I love the pattern -- it's a floral in charcoal grey against a creamy white background, and the background color goes perfectly with the creamy white Ikea curtains in my bedroom:
I paired the Alvine Kvist set with flannel charcoal and creamy white checked bedding that I bought online during Target's white sale last month.
Does the Alvine Kvist set wrinkle? Yes, it does -- but not nearly as much as the Lyocel fabric did; I think the somewhat "tighter fittting" size, the "hand" of the fabric and the overall pattern help camouflage the few wrinkles that have appeared since the initial ironing.
I am soooooo happy with this set, and am totally in love with the look. I think it will easily transition to spring -- if it ever comes.
December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan