Wednesday, 16 April 2014

On the Lookout For...

You know how I was selling things in my house, and stashing the money away to save for other household things?  Well, I kind of got derailed when moving my mom and dealing with some other things and catching up with work.  But I'm starting to feel like I can handle getting back on track with that again.  With all my mom's stuff in my house, it is even more important that I clear out my excess clutter.  Before, I was thisclose to having my basement laundry room decluttered and spacious and functional, with a lovely new free desk for my sewing machine.  Now the room is a big pile of junk again.  It's amazing how quickly that can happen!

Unfortunately for me, with my work deadlines, I'm not really able to spend time down there dealing with that mess right now.  But what I can do right now is declutter the main floor a little.  One item at a time.  If I don't love it, I will list it.  Even if it's only one thing per day, I may as well get a move on.  And the bonus of doing this so slowly, instead of listing huge batches of stuff, is that I don't have to have a place to store the piles of stuff for sale.  The one thing I listed today (Neighbourhood-based Facebook buy and sell groups are the best!), is already pending pick up.

I've already bought a few things with my household stash.  Like my caned velvet chair.  I love that chair.  So does my daughter.  She sits there to read or useher rainbow loom.  And I have a few other things in the back of my mind that I want to keep an eye out for.  But It's probably about time I make a formal list.  With one rule: If it isn't exactly what I need, and/or I don't love it, I won't buy it.  So here's what I'm looking for:

  1. 6x9 to 10x13 natural fiber rug.  Jute or wool, in neutral colours (maybe with some blues and greens, depending on the pattern and style).  I've found a few I like, but they're either too small (5'x8' won't work much better than the $20 4'x6' I'm currently using), or too expensive and/or I'm not 100% sure it's what I want.  I have a really hard time committing to fabric-type furnishings.  Rugs, curtains, lamps, upholstery...I'm clueless.
  2. White/Off-white dishes.  I can't wait 'til the day I can get rid of our ugly grey Ikea dishes and our ugly rainbow Walmart dishes.  I even asked my husband if I could get rid of them already.  We have enough pretty dishes to be able to serve a meal for our family of four.  But he vetoed that idea.
  3. Dining room light fixture for $25 or less.  I want a 5 or 6 arm wrought-iron candelabra, as simple as possible...no curly-ques or shades or dangly bits.
  4. Drum-style lampshades that will fit my lamps.  As in, not too wide or too short.  In a neutral colour.
  5. Antique wooden wall shelves, furniture, or boxes/crates.
  6. Curtains.  No idea what I want them to look like.  But I want the lighter and more farmhouse-worthy than the red, tan, and brown striped curtains I made several years ago.  Like maybe unbleached linen.  The problem with something lighter is that the south- and west-facing windows make the house ridiculously hot in the summer, so I need something lined.  Maybe I'll make some black-out roman shades for the living room like I did for our bedroom upstairs.
  7. King-size headboard and bed frame.
  8. King-size 100% linen bed sheets.
  9. Chalk paint and soft wax.  I have a few things that need painting, that I don't trust latex paint for, like my mom's cane-back chair.


For my inspiration, I've recently found a blog that perfectly embodies the style I'm aiming for.  Of course, her home is an 1867 farmhouse, while mine is a 2007 suburban duplex.  So I'll have to work a little harder for the farmhouse vibe.  If only I was allowed to paint the cabinets...

What's on your list?

Saturday, 5 April 2014

I love Instagram

Twitter is fun.  Facebook is great. And I love Pinterest. But really, where I feel most at home in this crazy social-media world, is Instagram (and I just don't have time for anything else).  Honestly, I should have some kind of visually-focussed job.  I should be a photographer or a designer rather than a word-crafter.  When I want to share, a picture is what I default to.

Even in this season of stress and deadlines that I've been going through, where I just crave some sort of normalcy but can't seem to grasp it, when I feel like blogging would just be sharing my depressing chaos, I can still manage to find a bit of beauty in life to share.  All it takes is one picture, even when I'm hiding from the rest of the world.

great-grandma's buttons

makeshift windowseat

addict?

family day skating

because sequins and leopard print just go

kinder-minion!

first ride of 2014. goal: no training wheels this year!

she pulled them out herself

because what else would you do when you meet a bear?

waiting for daddy to finish skiing

maligne canyon

can't wait to start reading 

Monday, 31 March 2014

New Sponsor: Katya Valera Jewelry


I'm pleased to announce a new sponsor. Kacie of Katya Valera makes gorgeous jewelry, and I'll let her tell you a bit about it:
"I began Katya Valera, my handmade jewelry business, while shopping online for bridesmaid jewelry just over two years ago. I saw so many pieces featuring the loveliest polymer clay roses, researched the style, realized I could make them myself, and jumped right in making and selling in my Etsy shop. "My jewelry quickly branched into more than just clay pieces, and I now offer an eclectic collection of jewelry, from minimalist pendant necklaces to statement bibs to dainty filigree bracelets. Yet all my pieces have a vintage-bohemian feel to them no matter their design, something I can never get away from regardless of how my taste changes or my skills evolve over time. I’m an old soul, and I can’t help reflecting that in my jewelry. "When I’m not making, planning, or thinking about my jewelry (not sure when that is), I’m busy working to improve my health naturally, as I live with chronic illnesses that keep me home most of the time. My jewelry not only helps keep my mind off those problems but gives me a way to add some happiness to the world even from my own little world of health issues."
Check out the etsy shop, and Kacie's blog.

A few of my favourites from the shop:

blush pink rose necklace
long red and silver bohemian necklace
dark purple bohemian bib necklace

Friday, 28 March 2014

S.T.R.E.S.S.E.D

Well, my camera is collecting dust, and my house is a disaster, and my basement is full of all my mom's stuff, and my exercise schedule is sporadic, and my work is way behind schedule, and my migraines are daily, and the ground is covered in fresh snow, and I just need a rest.

How's that for an explanation for not posting much lately?

On the flip side, my husband is sweet and understanding, my friends are there for me, my mom is now getting the medical care she needs in long term care, my kids are mostly well behaved, my daughter is suddenly a bookworm (yay!), and my son wrote his own name for the first time ever yesterday!  Yes, I know he's four-and-a-half, but he has never liked to sit and colour or draw or write.  I know he knows more than he's willing to show.

So that is life.  I absolutely hate being busy and I hate having so many things hanging over my head that need to be done.  But it is only a season.  Before this all started (when my mom went into the hospital), I was more together than I usually am.  I was cooking creatively, my house was clean-ish and being decluttered, and I was set to begin my next work contract.  Then life happened.  My mom went into the hospital for yet another fractured vertebrae, and was put on the waiting list to move into long term care, since her current residence wasn't able to provide the nursing and everyday care she needed.  So suddenly, I needed to clean out her old place within 72 hours...by myself, since all my siblings were out of town at that time.  Luckily my brother came back just in time to move the furniture with his truck.  I would not have been able to handle that!  The stuff was moved into my kitchen (and it was a lot of stuff for one very small studio suite), and the furniture moved into my sister's basement.  Since I hadn't yet quite completed my laundry room decluttering, I had nowhere to put the stuff!  So it sat in my kitchen for about two weeks, while I worked on getting Mom settled.  I finally moved the last of it to the basement (and now my laundry room is stuffed to the gills...so much for using my new desk any time soon).

But of course, as hard as this month has been, I do it gladly.  Mom has done so much for me over the years, which is probably a big part of her current health issues, so how can I begrudge doing this for her?  She has already lost so much.  Anyone would likely do the same for a beloved mother.  I had a dream the other night that she was suddenly able to walk and run and jump again (not that I've ever seen her jump in my life).  It was rather heartbreaking to wake up and realise it was only a dream.

Just a memo to the universe: Please, no more crises until I figure out how to get a handle on everyday life!  Or at least until I meet my May 30th deadline.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Friendships in Anne of Green Gables

source

Yesterday I had a long-overdue phone chat with my "Diana," my bosom friend from childhood.  I hadn't realised just how much my poor soul still needs her.  I have been so blessed with other friends just as dear, but there is something about "Diana" that cannot be replaced.  It made me think about the other friendships in Anne of Green Gables.
  1. Katie Maurice and Violetta - Katie Maurice was Anne's reflection in a bookcase door, and Violetta was an echo.  Ok, so these are imaginary friends.  I can't recall ever having any, seriously, but I've always held quite detailed long-winded conversations with other people (real people, usually) that only happen in my head.  Then there were my stuffies: Amy the rabbit, Amy the panda, Amy the panda purse, Amy the ragdoll, Amy the Care Bear...  My 4-year-old often tells me what his "boys" are doing.  The number varies, but it is usually two or three.  Most of the time their names are any combination of Skyler, Skylander, Sky, Hotdog (also what he wants to name a cat one day), Watt, or Jacob.
  2. Matthew Cuthbert - Matthew and his sister Marilla adopted Anne.  Matthew was a quiet and shy and industrious man of about 60 years old, and probably the first person who ever let Anne talk about her wild imaginations.  I haven't had many father-figures in my life, but I cherish my Papa (my paternal grandfather).  He is quiet and thoughtful like Matthew, and I just love the rare times that he tells me stories about growing up in Scotland, or imparts wisdom, such as "Every child should read the classics.  It gives them their foundation." (or something like that...I can't remember his exact words).  Plus, he's got that infamous Clark wit and knows everything about everything.  I love him.
  3. Diana - Diana was the first child she was ever allowed to play with, having spent her childhood looking after other people's babies ("I enjoy babies in moderation Mrs. Hammond but twins three times in succession is too much!").  Before even getting to know her, Anne declared her a kindred spirit and they swore to be lifelong bosom friends.  My Diana was also a friend because of proximity at first.  Our mothers are good friends, and so once my older sister went to live with our grandparents when I was eleven (is it a coincidence that Anne and Diana were also eleven when they pledged their friendship?), we quickly became inseparable.
  4. Jane and Ruby - Yes, I did have more than one friend when I was a child/teenager, although at times it felt like I didn't.  "Diana" and I were part of a girls' group started by two of the mothers.  There were five of us "God's Girls", and we got to hang out regularly from about age 12 to age 14 when I moved away.
  5. Gilbert - I can't say I've ever hated anyone as passionately as Anne believed she hated Gilbert.  Nor--until high school--did I ever have a male friend for more than the two weeks at summer camp (and honestly, those boys were most likely my friends just because they had a crush on the gorgeous "Diana"). Actually, I was not allowed to be friends with boys at all.  So when my now-husband started seeking me out and talking to me, I had no idea whether he just wanted to be friends or what.  
  6. Mrs. Allan - A mentor, an encourager, a friend.  One of my "Mrs. Allans" is my "Diana's" mother.  She's my second mama.  I learned just as much from her as from my own mother, and spent nearly as much time at her house as my own.  Two of my aunts also played Mrs. Allan's role in my life.  Without them, I wouldn't have had the courage to make the choice to go to public high school (my very first act of rebellion and my very first independent choice), and I would have been even less prepared for marriage at age 19.
  7. Stella and Priscilla - Stella and Priscilla were the friends that Anne met at Queens College.  They were the ones that Anne chose when she knew herself better, rather than being just the closest in proximity like Jane and Ruby.  Their souls matched Anne's, and their friendship lasted through Queens, through two years of teaching in distant parts of the Island, and three years of living together for university.  I have a few of these.  The friends I've mad as a late teen and adult.  I've gone from thinking I'm a stereotyped first-born loner destined to have only one good friend, to having more friends than I have time to spend with them. I am so blessed. (yes, I know I'm technically second-born, but my sister moved out when I was 11, and I have way more first born tendencies.  I am not a stereotypical middle child, that's for sure.)
  8. Marilla and Mrs. Rachel Lynde - If you're familiar with the book, you may wonder why I've left these two characters 'til the end, since they are the first two characters we meet in the book.  Or maybe you won't wonder, because you'll realise that Anne's relationship with these two esteemed women didn't really develop into friendship until closer to the end of the book.  They are the mother-figures.  The ones who offer advice and critique and love whether it is wanted or not.  It may take awhile to realise the priceless value of the mother-figures in your life, because their role also comes with conflict.  My mother and my Nanny (paternal grandmother) are the ones that I value more and more as time goes on.  
This has been fun!  I may continue with the rest of the series too...