Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Not At All Secret Garden

With our new house, we've gone from a postage stamp sized back yard (and even smaller front yard) to what seems like a football field sized back yard!! Of course, I'm exaggerating, it's nowhere near that big, but our front yard now is almost twice as big as our former back yard.
It's got some nice plants but needs a bit of love - the chinese star jasmine over the verandah is wonderful, and the huge hydrangea is fabulous (but needs to be cut back now that flowering is done). There is a great circle of roses in the middle, but they need a good trim too. I'm not entirely confident of my rose pruning skills but hopefully I won't kill them! And I'm pretty sure that the entire rose circle is full of freesia bulbs (fingers crossed!)
Along the side of the house is a small bed separated by a picket fence (front yard to back yard). In front of the picket fence are 4 large gardenias, which look to me to be a bit leggy, but I'm not sure whether I should cut them back or not - I'm not sure they'll grow back... . In the back yard side is a raised garden bed - we discovered a little surprise a couple of weeks ago - strawberries! Hopefully they'll grow big enough for us to eat before the birds get them. And another plant which looks sort of like an onion with small purple flowers on very long stems - does anyone know what these are?
We are thinking that the long raised bed will be a small veggie patch - husby even bought me a book about growing herbs and veggies for Christmas - yes, a definite message that!

And now the backyard - our house is built on a slope (sloping down to the front) so there is a small retaining wall (about 1m high) and steps up the backyard. Yes, it's not quite a football field, but pretty sure it's a cricket pitch long. And with swing set included! If only it was adult sized (the swings, I mean!!)
Closest to the retaining wall is a bed containing mostly native plants, including a really big banksia and some smaller plants, as well as a tomato plant (!) and a bunch of mint - will have to pull it out and plant into a pot.
And the back yard itself is a bit disorganised but has some good stuff - a jacaranda tree (I've always loved these - can't wait for it to flower in Spring!), a huge palm, and a really big plot of cannas, which my neighbour Beverly tells me has been there for about 50 years!! Husby wants to pull them out but I'm not going to let him!! Every so often a bird will come and perch precariously on the flower stem to feed on the flowers - I love it! They are so green, and so tall (taller than me!) and I think they are great.
So that's my garden. Needs a fair bit of work (and general maintenance). Now, don't you think the backyard would be perfect if it had a swimming pool? Who's with me? I just need to convince husby. Oh, and win the lottery so we can afford it! And also make it rain more in Sydney. Sigh. I think a pool will only ever be a dream for a kid from the country who never had a pool growing up!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The NQTMMT Tour, part II

Gather around my blogfriends, for the second part of our house tour. No pushing, there's plenty of room to spread out, yes, I mean you Donyale! GeekKnitter, no nametag, no tour! Sarah W, I'm not starting the tour until you get off the rocking horse!

Settle, settle. MadMad and Bells, everyone else can't hear over your giggling. Ok, here we go!

Another big selling point for us was this open plan living/dining/kitchen area at the back of the house. This is a modern addition, done about 15 years ago - the old jumble of small rooms traditional for this type of house was knocked down and this built in place. And done really well - something we really appreciate is the continuation of the high ceilings (at least 11 foot ceilings) and using windows which match the front original part of the house.

The main "problem" with it is all the windows mean there isn't much free wall - hence this "wall" of cupboards and storage. At first I thought it would be a bit much having all these in a row, but I'm quite pleased with how it looks, particularly with how the blackwood bookcase (another item made by husby's dad) blends so well with the antique/vintage oak furniture. It will look even better when husby gets around to putting up the pictures!!

I'm not so fond of the bright-yellow-with-crappy-blue-benchtops kitchen, but it's functional, quite well-designed and has a good amount of storage space, so it will do for some years yet. And I really like being able to cook and watch tv at the same time! (and yes, those are some boxes of stuff from the move underneath the bench's the rules, isn't it, to have at least 2 or 3 boxes of crap you can't find a home for just sitting around for a while after a move? Please say yes!)

Around the corner behind the bookshelf is a little nook with the spare toilet and the laundry. Convenient yet hidden away. Again, no storage in the laundry so have had to improvise. One day we'll put in a cupboard or two. Another thing for the list!

And finally, I know you've all been waiting for this:

Yes, my knitting/sewing room/library! I'm so so so pleased with this room. Let's move in a little closer:

I love the shape of this room and the windows looking out onto the backyard.

Eventually we'll put in a to-the-ceiling built in cupboard/bookshelf (with a sliding ladder - squeeeeeeeeee!) in this alcove. But I guess you probably want to see what's in the cupboards ... Be warned, I'm watching you all! NO leaving you unattended here! First up, fabrics, sewing stuff and some good yarn:

All my 8ply and worsted cottons in the basket - I figured I could set them free from the ziplocks. I hope I'm right in thinking moths don't like cotton?? (please please let that be the case!)

Jumper amounts of yarns in the cupboard in the alcove.

I know some of you might be wondering where the rest of the stash is? Hmmm, a woman has to keep some secrets, I'm sure!!

And that ends the house tour! Did I mention there was a bag search before you leave? Bags please! Thanks for coming along on the tour. Can you tell I'm just a little house-proud?!

For those interested, there'll be a garden viewing later this week!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Not quite the magical mystery tour

I promised a while back to show some pics of my new house - and because I'm details oriented and like to organise things chronologically, I'm literally going to take you on a tour of my new home...

I've got my little flag on a stick and my microphone, do you all have your sticky nametags? Are you ready? Here we go!
You've just turned in to the driveway and here's the front of my house. It's a federation house, built around the early 1900s. I'm going to check, but I'm hoping it's 1909, because this year will make it the centenary of my home, which would be pretty neat. Like a lot of houses from this era, it's got a sandstone base, and the steps have sunk a little (fixing those is next major job on our to-do list).

Up the steps and here's the lovely front verandah - this was one of the selling points - south-east facing so will be lovely and sunny in winter, but cool in summer. The previous owner had a daybed out here, we're still deciding what is the perfect verandah furniture, so in the meantime the table and chairs serve the purpose.
Into the front entry - love this large entry foyer and the colour we chose for it. Still need to get a great rug for this area. Sometime. Finally we have a spot for the grandfather clock made by husby's dad. And what's that behind the door?
Squeeeee! Love my rocking horse!

To the left, at the front of the house is the spare or guest bedroom.
This is really the main bedroom, but because of the corner fireplace it is a bit smaller than the second bedroom (which we are using as the main) and our lovely antique wardrobes and dressing table wouldn't fit. So our guests can enjoy the lovely windows, windowseat and (non-working) fireplace!
Down the hall, let's stop and admire the thingy above our heads. (I believe "thingy" is the technical term for the wooden fretwork common in houses of this era!)
Our bedroom on the left:
The Red Room (or the Parlour, as Bells likes to call it) on the right - I've flashed pics of this already. Then, one of my favourite things. Yes, the linen cupboard. I love my lovely large linen cupboard.
This is quite possibly the neatest it will ever be. So photographic proof to help me remember how good it looks when organised!!
Next on the left is the bathroom (sorry about the dark photo). It's a good size and has an incredibly deep bath but has no storage except behind the mirror, hence the wooden cupboard on the right. Crazy. That's something else to go on our to-do list. Eventually.

Bedroom 3 is next to the bathroom. This is husby's study. Until two weeks ago, it looked like this:
(Husby has unpacked it now!)

At the end of the hallway is our main living area - kitchen, dining and loungeroom all in one. I love this open plan area. But you'll have to wait a day or two to see the back part of the house. Don't want to wear you all out with all this walking and talking. Please look around, remember where you are, and gather here again at the same time tomorrow for the continuation of the grand tour!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A golden day

While we were sleeping, our American friends had a golden day. If I didn't have to work today, I would have sat up to watch the inauguration live (I don't know for sure, but I'd bet that this US Presidential inauguration was the first ever shown live on each of our free to air television networks). So I recorded it to watch tonight.

Reading GidgetKnits today, I had to copy her inspired idea to "knit the moment into something". She chose something golden and I had to copy that too - I started the second of my Tantalising Socks - which is the first brown bag from my Personal Sock Club 2009 - sort of cheating, I know, to include something which is half knit, but they are such special socks, I figured they could part of the club.
I thought this project was the right one - socks are humble and practical, they are worn by all no matter what their background, and in the case of this particular pair of socks (due to the great yarn and fabulous pattern), beautiful and clever.
All qualities which I think are appropriate to the new President of the United States. A golden day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

towel, ma'am?

You know when you move into a new place, you start noticing things you never saw on any of your previous inspections of the house. Sometimes quite annoying things, like not having any type of handtowel holder in the toilet. There's a sink for handwashing, but no towel rail.

So we've bought a new towel rail. Of course, that's the easy part. The hard part is husby finding the time and inclination to actually screw it to the wall.

Fortunately, we do have a door handle which can double as a towel holder. So in the meantime, I've made this:
Pattern: Mitred Hanging Towel, from Mason-Dixon, Between the Lines. A great simple pattern that is quick to whip up when you need a break from (in my case) the Christmas knitting.

Yarn: 1 x 50g balls Peaches 'n' Cream Ombres in Newport, about 20g of Peaches 'n' Cream Solids in Delft Blue. The ones in the M-D book are made with the solid PnC, which I think looks better, but when I first started buying the PnC cottons, I went mad for the ombres, so I need to use them up! It doesn't look too bad, although if I was making these for gifts, I'd use the solid colours (unless the giftee was mad for the ombres too!). At least that makes this project a stashbuster!
Here's the towel in situ:
Sticks: 4.5mm KnitPicks Harmony Options
Time: 23 - 24 December 2008 (my last FO for 2008!). Isn't it typical that when a knitter is trying to finish the Christmas gifts (or any deadline knit), all she wants to do is start something new for herself. Or is that just me?
(I'm most pleased with the button!)
What I learnt: It's darn hard to knit PnC held double with 4.5mm sticks!! The pattern has you do this for the handle part of the towel. I can see why - I think it is to ensure the handle doesn't sag or stretch. But geez it's hard to do. I think if I made this again, I'd just hold the yarn single and go down maybe two stick sizes (eg to a 3.75mm stick) or I'd crochet the handle part.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Review: Patons (Australia) Washed Haze

For Australian lovers of Rowan All Seasons Cotton (ASC) who despair at the price and/or availability of it here, you might be interested in trying (if you haven't already!) Patons Australia's Washed Haze (WH). Both are "worsted" or aran weight cotton/acrylic blend yarns.

While the colour range of the WH is small (only 6 colours) and the yardage is slightly less than the Rowan, it is fairly easily available here and is very reasonably priced.
(ASC on the left, WH on the right)

Here are the general specs:
Yardage: ASC - 90m; WH 85m
Composition: ASC: 60% cotton, 40% acrylic; WH - exactly the same
Washing instructions: ASC: warm (40C) machine wash on wool cycle; WH: gentle machine wash
Gauge/tension: ASC: 4.5 - 5.5mm (7-9 US) gives 16-18 st and 23-25 rows over 10cm/4"; WH: 4.5mm (7 US) gives 19 st and 25 rows over 10cm/4".
Origin: ASC - not clear on some ball bands, others say Italy; WH - China.
Colour range: ASC - here; WH - here
Price: ASC retails for about $13 in Australia, WH for about $4-5.

Most importantly, how do they feel and compare when knitted? I've used both, and for the same pattern - the monogram cushions I've made for my nephews and nieces (ASC here and WH here).
I think the ASC feels slightly softer in the ball, but the yarn itself looks almost indistinguishable. However, the colours themselves, to me, make the yarns different - the ASC dyes are deeper and more even, the WH is (as the name suggests) slightly washed out and the WH shades are, in side by side comparison, slightly garish tones. This is far less obvious when the WH yarn is viewed by itself.
(ASC on the left, WH on the right)

As for the knitted fabric, it is, to me, indistinguishable. Using 4.5mm sticks gives a firm-ish fabric, which is what you want for the cushions. I've knit ASC on 5mm sticks too (for the Trellis toddler cardi) and it gives more drape, but holds the cables well. I'm sure the WH would be the same - the monogram letters on the cushions have really nice stitch definition.
Something to watch with the WH (and from recollection, with the ASC as well) is that the ends tend to untwist. The yarn is made up of a whole bunch of smaller plies, which are themselves plied, and if you leave the ends to darn in once you've finished knitting the whole piece, the yarn will untwist. Easy to fix by a small knot right near the end of the yarn which you just cut off before darning in!
If you can live with the limited colours, then the WH is a great substitue for ASC. Hopefully if we buy lots of it, Patons will increase the colour range (please, pretty please?!).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Day in My Life: Wednesday 14 January 2009

Yes, it's that time again - time to record a snapshot of my day. No photos I'm afraid, so I'll have to try and be very descriptive. Or very short!

I woke from a very deep sleep (I love it when I sleep like a log - well, who doesn't!). Showered and dressed in time for my brother (who is staying with us for a couple of weeks for work) could drive us up the hill to the train station. Now, I do love my new house, but the 10-15 minute walk each morning up the hill to the train is a killer. Especially in summer.

We got a seat together - the train is getting fuller every day, as people go back to work. Got into work, checked blogs while eating breakfast and having my morning coffee. Checked in with my workmates and caught up on emails from yesterday (as I had the day off).

Lunchtime rolled around and I'd promised my brother I'd see if I could find a Nintendo DS for his son, who has saved all his money but can't buy one anywhere! Well, neither could I - 3 of the biggest stores in Sydney and I couldn't get one. Oh well, the waiting will make it all the sweeter for him, I guess! I did have more success with my other lunchtime errand, a gift for a workmate going on parental leave next week. Although I was amazed how difficult it is to buy non-gender specific baby clothes! They are almost all pink and/or pretty, or blue and/or boysy.

Back to work, sushi rolls at my desk for a late lunch and afternoon coffee at 3pm - regular as clockwork! The guy at the coffee stall knows my order without me even asking. I might have also snuck an orange cake at the same time (they have the best orange cakes!)

Off back to the station for the train home - plenty of seats this time, as the train terminates only a couple of stations up the line from my home station. A hot walk home (at least it's downhill on the way home), change out of my work clothes and flop on the lounge to cool down. Almost too hot to knit, but I manage a few rows of my latest project, a knitted market bag in soya yarn - very interesting to knit with.

Too hot to cook so husby picked up a roast chicken and salad on his way home. To our surprise (and pleasure), he also bought ice-creams for dessert! Followed by a cup of tea and the last of the home-made choc chip biscuits, and soon, off to bed. Hope you had a good day!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My personal sock club 2009

An idea I have shamelessly, in fact, proudly, stolen from a group on Ravelry is to have my own personal sock club for 2009.

If you haven't read about it, the idea is that you select sock yarn from your stash, even choose a pattern for the socks if you want, put each yarn and pattern in a separate brown paper (or similar) bag, and then every month select one at random - and there you have it, your personal sock club! It's part stashbusting, part making your yarn exciting again. And fun too!

I have chosen 12 yarns, but I'm pretty sure I won't get a pair done each month - I'll just grab a new bag when I finish the previous pair. I've picked yarns that I haven't used for socks before (with the exception of Koigu), or yarn that is "precious", or yarn that has been gifted to me (and in most cases, it's a combination of at least 2, if not 3, of those things). And all of these socks are going to be for me me me! (can you tell I'm over the Christmas knitting!)

1. Socks that Rock Lightweight - Beryl, 2. Wollmeise - Hollerstaud'n, 3. Koigu KPM, 4. HipKnits - Moody, 5. Claudia's Handpainted - Oops, 6. Dream in Colour Smooshy - Lipstick Lava, 7. ShiBui Sock, 8. Sweet Georgia sock yarn - Envy, 9. Malabrigo Sock - Chocolate Amargo, 10. Sundara Yarn - Grey over Roses, 11. Lisa Souza - Garnet, 12. Koigu

I also haven't chosen patterns for each of the yarns, although I do have a couple selected - the Wollmeise (which was from the first Wollmeise sock club shipment) will be this pattern which was designed for the yarn; the green Koigu will be Embossed Leaves; the HipKnits will be Bellatrix. I might do purl-less monkeys in either the ShiBui or the Claudias, and the Malabrigo or Lisa Souza will probably be cabled or twisted stitches, possibly something like Bayerische. We'll see how I feel on the day! (note, all Rav links)

I can't wait to "receive" my first shipment! Just have to finish another pair of socks first...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

See - more knitting!

For Christmas in 2006 I made two monogram cushions for husby's youngest niece (his brother's daughter) and nephew (his sister's son). Both kids now have younger siblings (pigeon pairs for their parents) so I figured that I'd better do a cushion for each of them as well. I had a bit of an extension as we weren't seeing husby's side of the family for "Christmas" until the new year (phew!).

So H and J join L and S from 2006 - I don't have a picture of H & J together though as I finished H on New Year's Day in time for the family Christmas, but only finished J today!
Pattern: Monogram cushion from Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Cherished Babies - very simple effective pattern - doesn't even need a button or zip for the closure, that's how simple it is!

Yarn: The pattern calls for Rowan All Seasons Cotton, which is what I used for the first two cushions. Fortunately, Patons Australia has brought out a very economical yarn which is extremely similar - Patons Washed Haze. Now, the colours aren't comparable, but those which are available are good basics, and it knits up really well - I might do a yarn review in another post. Each of the new cushions took 5.25 x 50g balls of the Patons Washed Haze - cream for niece H, and denim blue for nephew J.
Sticks: 4.5mm KnitPicks Harmony Options

Time: H: 1 December 2008 - 1 January 2009; J: 25 December 2008 - 10 January 2009 - so both technically 2009 FO's, although most of the knitting was done in 2008!
What I learnt: Well, I didn't make any modifications, except for the yarn, so didn't learn much - except that sewing these up was a lot quicker than I remembered from the last ones!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

There has been knitting, honest!

Anyone stumbling across the blog for the first time might be forgiven for wondering if I ever actually do any knitting at all. I do, honest, I really do! Just that I haven't been able to show it, mostly, or (more recently) I haven't had very good internet/camera access! But now I've got a bit of catching up to do, so I'm going to start with a special project that I am very happy with.

It's been a little while in the planning, but as it was for a special baby on the way, I had a bit of time. Which was lucky, as it ended up arriving well after the special baby! Oh well, I figured I'd avoid the new baby gift rush, spread the love out a bit more!

Here it is:
Knitting by me, embroidery by my mum (thanks Mum!)

Pattern: Embroidered Kimono from Debbie Bliss Special Knits. I've long loved this pattern, so when I discovered that the mother of said special baby thought a chocolate brown edged with pink garment would be great for her baby girl, I thought of this pattern and said a little 'woo hoo!' as it meant I could finally knit this (and also use some stash yarn - not all, because clearly I have no pink yarn in my stash!). I also decided to make the 12-18 month old size, so that it would fit the special baby next winter.

I made a couple of minor modifications - I didn't do a ribbon closure on the front, as I thought that would be a bit awkward for the mumma to tie and also very easy for the baby to untie! So I sewed on a cute button and a ribbon loop, so it was still pretty, but (hopefully) more practical. And I included some extra buttons in case mumma would like to add them. I also used ribbon for the inside ties rather than i-cord - easier and I think cuter!
Yarn: Filatura di Crosa Zara - one of my favourite 8ply/DK yarns! Soft, knits up beautifully, machine washable, great range of colours, and relatively inexpensive for such a lush yarn (well, I think so anyway). I used about 4 balls of the chocolate (col 1663), half a ball of pale pink (col 1392) and some very short lengths of lemon and lime for the flowers - which, yes, I had to buy as well! (you know, I know you all think I've got a huge stash, but there isn't really that much 8ply in it that isn't jumper amounts!)

Sticks: KnitPicks Harmony options, 4mm (and 3.5 mm for the pink edgings).

Time: 7 September 2008 - 9 December 2008 - of course, with big breaks in between - the actual knitting of this was surprisingly (for me) quick! Just love to knit with the Zara!

What I learnt: It's so much easier to have your mum do the embroidery! I did have good intentions to do it myself, but when mum came to stay, it was too good an opportunity to pass up! And I'm pretty sure, no, in fact, I know, that it looks much better than it would if I had attempted the flower bits!
And who is this special baby, you might wonder? Click here to see ... I think she likes it!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Lots of thanks owed and given

I've been the recipient of so many good goodies lately so please bear with me - I've such talented and kind friends and family.

Yesterday was my first day back at work after nearly 4 weeks off - I know 4 weeks sounds like such a lovely long time, and it is, but I have to say that the first couple of weeks was spent packing, moving, cleaning and unpacking - then it was Christmas, with travelling and family stuff, then New Year, with more family stuff - so I haven't actually had as much time to myself as I would have liked. But I do have my lovely new house, so am not complaining. Much.

But my day yesterday was brightened considerably by two packages!! The red one was a late birthday and Christmas gift from my friend Miss J - including two hand-embroidered pillowcases with husby's and my initials! So clever! And the fan came in very handy at home today in the heat! The other gift was from Jeanette (Ramblybear on Ravelry) - we've struck up a friendship and she so very kindly sent me a "make the first day of work a lot easier" present! Which included some shawl and hat patterns and some gorgeous Rowan 4ply!! So fabulous!

Some Christmas gifts as well! More "fancywork" from my mum - a piece which we've framed to put on the wall, and a round table centre. Lovely red laceweight from Tinkingbell and a fab teatowel and yummo biscuits from George! And a sock from Kylie (which I forgot to photograph, but which you can see here) - so funny - I was so gushingly admiring of the sock when Kylie was posting about it, little realising she was knitting it for me!! Oh, and a new laptop from husby - totally surprised me with that one. And it's an "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" (ok, I may have added some e's there, but how could I not!)
Finally the last two gifts arrived today - Fearless Fibres tight twist merino sock yarn in "Feel the Love" (why, yes I do, thankyou very much!) and a project bag from lovely Nora, and the bestest most special gift from Bells (I know how special it is because she told me so!) - a red shoe print, done by her friend Polly - it's so wonderful and I must find a special place in my house to hang it. And I mustn't forget a fun tea cosy book - I've almost bought this book a couple of times so clearly it was meant to be!

I wish all of you my dear friends and family some very good karma indeed! Now, if only I can work how to post the mosaic thingy so that you can see the descriptions. No doubt Bells will tell me tomorrow...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

What's new, pussycat?

So what's new? New year, new house, new internet connection (finally!), new yarn, new resolutions? (ok, maybe not new resolutions - but I'll get to that later!) and new knitting moleskine diary (that's the old one on the right, below)!

(love a new diary - the wonderous possibilities it holds!)

First up, the last stash honesty for 2008.

Man, I thought I was bad in November. December I was really really bad (like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead!). While I did receive some gift yarn and some of the yarn I bought was for gifts I have to make, that doesn't explain most of it. But there's no putting it off, so here it is:

In: 52 x 50g balls
Out: 11.5 x 50g balls

YTD: 207 x 50g balls. Even though I've knitted up (or given away) 116 x 50g balls (or thereabouts) in 2008, I've still got over 200 more balls of yarn than this time last year. I only had one month last year when more yarn went out than went in. Now, I'm not going to say I'm going on a stash diet. I don't believe in diets (stash or otherwise). But I am going to try and stash healthily. I'll maintain my monthly tally system, with a few changes, and think twice, or even three times, about each yarn purchase.

So that's my first aim for 2008 (yes, aim - not resolution!). I looked back on my entry from last year, and stashbusting was my first one! Well, you already know how I went on that front. Although I have to say that I did knit a lot from stash - most of the purchases were not immediately knit up. Which says to me that I didn't really need the yarn, I just wanted it.

Next on my list from last year was to be more like my blog persona in real life. I feel like I did ok on that one. It's a work in progress! And finally, to set monthly goals. Which I did (and will continue to do). So yay me! I did ok!

More and more I've become a believer in karma. And like others, who've decided to have a one-word aim or goal (whatever you want to call it), that's going to be my second (and main) aim for 2009. In it's most simple form, for me it means good things out mean good things in. Good things are good for me, and good for everyone else too (well, at least, I hope so!)

Now, onto the new house!

I've been keen to show off the new house, but the whole shortage of internet has been preventing me. Not to mention not having actually finished unpacking everything. It's nearly done, promise, so I'll give you the full tour (well, I'll spare you the second toilet and similar!) later. For now, I'll leave you with one of my favourite rooms.

I'm sure you can see why we had to buy this house!! Of course, the room wasn't red when we bought it, but that was my plan all along!

We just have to get curtains, hang the pictures and have the fireplace (yes, it's a real one) checked to see if it is in working order, and this room is done!