Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Let It Rain!

It has been steadily raining since yesterday evening. This is wonderful! People who live in warmer areas probably don't understand how giddy the first good deluge of spring makes me. It's not snow! My garden is getting a great start this year! Marie at Watch the Wind Blow By has astonished me by giving me the Arte y Pico award. I've only had this blog for two weeks, and I have an award? Wow! Thank you so much Marie! Marie's blog is so creative and peaceful. She's sweet (and has an amazingly talented hubby who builds things for her!). And if you haven't already, click over there and take a look at her blog header...It makes me want to go right out and buy a house on the beach. Here are the rules for the award: 1. You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contribute to the blogging community, no matter what language. 2. Each award has to have the name of the author and a link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone. 3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that presented her/him with the award. (I know it says this is a rule, but I know not everyone likes to do this, so I won't be upset if you don't.) 4. The award winner and one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y Pico" blog so everyone will know the origin of this award. 5. To show these rules. I honestly don't know if I know 5 blogs who haven't received this award yet...but I guess the rules don't say that the award can only be won once. Ok, here is just a small sampling of the creative and artistic blogs I love: Angela at The Painted House is a REAL artist. You should go look at her paintings. Seriously. She has a friendly and witty and honest way of writing too. Dawn at The Feathered Nest loves vintage things, so just go look at all the eye candy that she creates. Wow. Mrs. Wilt at The Sparrow's Nest is creative in every aspect of her life. I am always inspired by her blog to try to be a gentle and kind wife, mother, and friend. Aimee at Confessions of a Happy Housefrau: She recently inspired several other very creative people to copy her gorgeous photo wall. And she recently posted some sweet luxurious handmade bird's nests. If I were a bird, that's totally where I would want to live. And wait, is it true that The Nester at The Nesting Place has not yet received this award? Ok then, I'm honoured to be able to give this award to her! If she's already received it, well she deserves it twice! From mistreating windows to rebelling against the "pristine wall" rules, she is an inspiration to non-professional (and probably some professional) decorators all over the internet. Ok, that's five! Whew, this post took me way too long to type! Now as I look outside, the glorious rain has turned to inglorious slush.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Ok, keep breathing

Aughhh! The suspense is killing me! I just talked to my aunt (I called her, she didn't get the message). She is really busy today and doesn't have time to go check which china cabinet is marked as claimed. So she will call me back in a day or two.

Sweet Giveaway, Sweet Baby, and Sweet Flowers

Yesterday, Rue posted about a giveaway on Bj's blog Sweet Nothings. I clicked over and found out the adorable item she is giving away (go check it out if you haven't already), and then I clicked on Bj's header to look at her other posts. She had this one about her puppies taking a bath, and she also had some Splish, Splash song playing (I don't remember who it was). Well, as soon as that song started playing, JK looked up from her play, grinned, and started dancing! It was adorable. She kept moving in time to the music until the end of the song. Today, JK and I are going out of town to a bridal shower planning meeting. I really hope my aunt calls me as soon as possible today. I might try calling her before we leave the house, though I did leave my cell number too (which finally got programmed onto my new phone yesterday). I just don't know how well messages get passed on at their house, since they didn't call me back when I left a message on Saturday ;-) Then tonight, KD, JK, and I are going out for dinner with some friends, in honour of KD's birthday last week. It should be fun! These are the tulips I bought yesterday while grocery shopping: They are just what I needed to cheer up. The stems were too short to use any of my vases, so they're in a glass on our hall table (that is soon to be replaced with a china cabinet, I hope!

Monday, 28 April 2008

China Cabinet Suspense

I just talked to my uncle who is storing the china cabinet. He said he doesn't know which cabinet hasn't been claimed and I have to wait for my aunt to call me tomorrow. I'm so worried! My cousin is getting married at the end of May, so he's probably the one who has claimed one of them. If I don't get it I will be so sad. I let it be known over 2 years ago that I wanted that cabinet but no one ever even considered me when it was being moved out of Grandpa's house. My heart is in my throat, and my fingers are crossed.

Grrr!

We just discovered a fraudulent charge on my credit card. I did NOT purchase a domain name! And I didn't give anyone my card number. This is so annoying.

Garden

It's 9 AM, and I am already having a BAD day! I am trying to switch my cell number to a new phone (it's actually KD's old phone). So, I did the switch online, and was told to call a particular number...I called it, and that number told me to call the phone company. I called the phone company, and they refused to talk to me! Now, I know that my name is not on the account, but since I work for the land-line side of the phone company I've usually been able to get done what I need. Not so with mobility! There are certain call centres that shall not be named that I hate talking to. They always make mistakes and don't understand what I want half the time. I am really frustrated right now, and I'm afraid that I was quite rude to the agent...and I started crying while on the phone. Sigh... Ok, enough complaining! The day is not all bad. The snow is almost all gone already! My tulips are still there and haven't flowered yet. Some of the leaves are a little wrinkled from the weight of the snow, but that isn't important ;-) On Saturday I went to Home Depot and bought some dirt. I won't need it for another 3 weeks or so, but it was on sale for 99 cents per bag, which is a great deal. Some people were pushing out carts with ten or fifteen bags when we arrived, but there was enough for me. I want to raise up one of my flower beds. The previous owner dug out all the dirt to raise another bed, and it just looks silly to have a crater in the garden. These pictures are all from last year's garden. I cant' wait for this year's!

Saturday, 26 April 2008

I am a Chicken!

I just called my uncle's house to see about getting my grandma's china cabinet here from his place. For no rational reason whatsoever, I was so nervous that I could feel my heard pounding in my ears! I have a complex about talking to people. If I can send an email instead of call on the phone, I will. It drives KD crazy.
The picture above is of two of my collection of old books. I just love the look and smell of old books and papers.

Friday, 25 April 2008

What to do with an ugly closet door

So, my English exam was yesterday, and I'm so glad it's done! I feel like a prisoner just released from the guilt of procrastination. I've spent the past two weeks feeling guilty for every minute I spent not studying (except of course for when I was caring for the baby). I was thinking of taking a summer course too, but I'm not going to...not with KD needing to study for his CMA exam every spare moment between now and June 17. So, I finally finished two projects! I'm very happy with them. This is what I accomplished by procrastinating on my school work. You know those ugly 1970's bi-fold closet doors? Our house is full of them (some are sliding, some are folding). We dislike them all, but we hated the one on the front hall closet...it was always getting in the way. So we took it off a few months ago, and it's been languishing in our cluttered basement waiting for the annual dumpster that our condo board brings every spring. I've also been wanting to go buy some wood for some projects, but it's difficult to do so when pushing a stroller! So I pulled out a saw. Here's what happened to about 1/4 of our ugly door: and: (ignore my bad handwriting.) For those wanting to make a chalkboard, be warned that the paint takes forever to dry! The frame is from a thrift store. I have another just like it, but I don't know what I want to put in it yet. I thought of painting it black like all the other creative internet people do, but I really like the distressed gold. And since I was released from studying, I also went shopping for some things I needed that I had been putting off until after the exam. I didn't find many of the things on my list, but here's something I did find: Walmart has a few different sizes and styles of these apothecary jars. This one was about $7. It will probably end up in the bathroom. In other news, my mom took JK and me out for coffee this morning and told me something I have been longing to hear for about 2 years. I get to have my grandma's china cabinet! I already have her china, and I've been trying to find out whether I could have the cabinet, but I could never get a straight answer (I didn't feel comfortable asking my grandpa about it since I'm not in the inheriting generation yet, and I heard his new wife was using the cabinet). It's currently about an hour away in storage at my uncle's house. So as soon as I can figure out how to get it into the city, I will have somewhere proper to put this:Isn't it beautiful? I haven't used it much because it can't go in the dishwasher and since it's not in a closed cabinet, I'd have to wash everything by hand twice.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Quotation

I have an old book called "The Winning of Barbara Worth". It's a sweet old-fashioned American-west kind of book. The above quotation is all by itself on one of the beginning pages before the story starts. There is no attribution, not even "anonymous". Ok, now I'm back to studying while the baby sleeps. My final exam is tonight!

Watercolour

I recently found some old watercolour paintings of mine. I really don't know how to use watercolour paints, so they're not great, but here they are: An anime-style portrait of KD and myself. KD says "that's not anime!" Note: I've never been that skinny! And my drawing leaves much to be desired (I can't draw decent hands to save my life). Inspired by the song "Colored People" by DC Talk. This one is my best, I think. I framed it and gave it to my mother-in-law for Christmas a couple of years ago. And this last one was actually a card that I gave to a friend. I really like bird of paradise.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Unfinished Projects

Yay, the sun is shining today! Happy 27th birthday to KD! We bought him a new cell phone for his birthday, but I also wanted to get him something small and fun. I found a skim board at JYSK...he's always wanted to learn how to surf, and lately he's been joking about hanging a surfboard on the wall, so he can sort of do both with this. And he is a fan of the Chicago Blackhawks, so this is what JK gave him: Here is a list of all the projects that I have started but have not yet finished.
  • ribbon board for the kitchen: fabric and batting are glued in place, and it's hung, but I don't have the right size of ribbon yet
  • cushions for patio furniture: cut out and waiting to be sewn together...which I can't do until I get some cord to make piping.
  • painting my mom's old child-sized chair: primed, but I don't know what colour I'm going to paint it.
  • chalkboard in a picture frame: this one will be finished today, I hope. I need to do one or two more coats of chalkboard paint.
  • piano bench: assembled and primed. I need to buy some foam in order to do the upholsery, and it needs to be painted. Custom-cut foam is expensive! I think I'm going to add some casters to the bottom to add some height.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Where are the April Showers?

I guess around here, the rhyme should go "...May showers bring June flowers..." This is what I had in my email inbox this morning: "SNOWFALL WARNING ISSUED For City BY ENVIRONMENT CANADA BULLETIN ISSUED AT: 7:24 AM MDT TUESDAY 22 APRIL 2008 A FURTHER 5 TO 10 CM OF SNOW ARE FORECAST TODAY." It has been snowing continuously for 4 days straight already! Last Sunday JK and I went for a walk with no coats. This Sunday, we pulled out the winter coats and tall boots again. Grrr!!! Somewhere underneath all this, I have tulips that are about to bloom. They were 6 inches tall on Friday before the snow started. I just have to remember that the moisture is good. This is my car: It was clear of snow when KD got home from ball hockey yesterday around 9pm. I have so many half-finished or not-yet-started projects that are just waiting for me to go get one more supply, but who wants to go out in this weather?

Monday, 21 April 2008

Gentleness, part 2

Ok, my last post ended up going in a different direction than I intended, so here's what I was planning to say: For the last year or so I have been trying to remember to be a gentle person. I have a tendency to be sarcastic and pessimistic and I have an "attitude" (pointed out by KD on Saturday when I was grouchy). I need to stop getting upset about things that don't matter. I need to watch my voice...so that I don't sound like I'm nagging or accusing. It's hard to remember, especially right now when it feels like I've left God behind...I've just stopped remembering to spend time with Him. I have a sweet friend who embodies the gentle nature that I want. She is just such a beautiful person. She lives in the US (and is soon moving off the continent), so I don't see her often, but we talked on the phone last week. She asked me how my spiritual life is. She's the only person I know who would ask me that question, and I'm glad she did. She reminded me to think about my relationship with God more than just on Sundays (when I'm usually focussed on keeping the baby happy in church anyway). I've also been thinking about how I am to introduce baby JK to God. Most of my spiritual thoughts are just in my head, but my friend suggested that I talk to JK about them. And why not? I talk to her all the time. I am just terrified that my kids will not want anything to do with God when they grow up. I was raised in a Christian home, and of my 3 siblings and I, I'm the only one to attend church...that's not a very good percentage! But thanks to my friend for giving me some way to actively introduce Jesus to my sweet baby. Maybe by the time she's old enough to understand I'll have some more things figured out.

Gentleness

My intention for this blog is that it reflect all aspects of my life, not just decorating, so here's a non-decorating post. On Saturday, I was in a really bad mood. I just woke up cranky. There are little things that could be said to have "caused" my moodiness, but I think it was just a cranky day for me. Totally bad timing though. KD works during the week, and is often busy in the evenings, so weekends are the main family time we have right now. And here I was being cranky. Of course I know in my head that I'm being ridiculous, but I didn't want to be a grown up and make myself cheer up. KD is so sweet. When I'm in that kind of a mood, he tries to cheer me up by being silly...trying to force me to laugh. Unfortunately, sometimes that backfires and I get even crankier. Poor guy. So eventually he went to his brother's house and I managed to be cheerful when he got back. We had a good evening. I just hate when I have days like that. I feel like crying for no reason. I think it happens when I have been alone too much...I need to get out more! Unfortunately we just got a huge dump of snow so going out is no fun...and I have to study this week for my final exam in my English course on Thursday.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Fabricoholic

I like fabric. A lot. Here is some of what I have bought recently: Numbers 1 through 5 were bolt ends: buy one, get 4 free! It's great! So I only paid for #1 and #4. Fabrics #1 and 2 are outdoor fabrics, and will be turned into cushions for our little patio set (which is cute but has uncomfortable chairs). Number 6 is my favourite. It's a 2-metre bolt-end of upholstery fabric, and I absolutely love it. This is what I plan to do with it: I'm not sure yet what I am going to do with the second cushion that I want to make (covered in brown fabric with a doily in the picture). I have enough of the red fabric to make 2 cushion covers, but maybe it would look better with more variety. The colours in contention are red, gold, brown, and green. I also need to figure out some kind of window treatment. I welcome all opinions! Fabric # seven is a gorgeous green (looks green, but it's really just blue and yellow threads) silk-looking fabric striped with blue and yellow. It is perfect for our bedroom curtains. In fact, I love it so much that I'm considering going back to buy the rest of the bolt. I think I need 2 more metres anyway. You'd think that this lovely fabric would cost $10/m or more...nope! Walmart for $1.97 per metre...and that's not even on sale! I had to double-check with the clerk while she was cutting before I believed the price. I think once I get those up (once I work up the courage to actually cut the fabric), I might just start liking our bedroom. I'm not sure if I will do a window mistreatment or not. We need to be able to open and close the curtains. Hmm...

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Summertime, and the living is easy...

So, it's not summer yet...It's barely spring. However, I have had that George Gershwin song stuck in my head for a while now (I don't mind, I love that song!). So today, I decided to do something about it!This is the first time I've ever made a banner, but I've been admiring the ones made by the talented ladies at The Sparrow's Nest and The Feathered Nest (I haven't linked to the exact posts because they happened a while ago). Anyway, the paper I used is just plain white card stock. Honest! I printed the letters from my computer, and added three little white dots of craft paint to each.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Eureka!

For months now I've been pondering what to do about our couch. Our big comfy couch. We're stuck with it, and really it's been a great deal since we got it basically for free (sold our other couch for the same price we paid for this one), and it's in pretty good shape. The problem is that it is all wrong for both our living room and my taste. It's way too big, and I don't like the multiple cushions or the very wintery, cozy fabric. Today, I finally figured out what I can do with it: Change the accent cushions! Here it is with the regular cushions: And here it is with different cushions: I love the difference. These won't be the ones that stay there since they don't coordinate with anything else in the room (except maybe the brown one). They belong in the basement, but they make the couch look so much better. Now, to find or make some cushions in red, green, gold, or brown.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Antique Show

On Saturday I went to my first antique show. I really know almost nothing about antiques, but I like old things in general. I am basically a chicken and wasn't sure if I was going to go (by myself, but with the baby). KD, my husband, probably got so tired of me asking him "Should I go?", that he decided that we would all go, even though he doesn't care about antiques and prefers "new" things. He's so sweet. So we packed up and went. I really enjoyed myself. I think KD was bored. JK (the baby) liked looking at all the people until it was time for a nap...then she got cranky. I lost her sippy cup there too.I got my fill of pretty old things. There was a lot of china and glass-ware...much of it looked the same. I did find some beautiful dark blue "kings crown" goblets. The colour is just perfect for my kitchen. I passed by lots of vintage collectibles and toys that I'm not really interested in. I saw a couple of first-edition books that I'd like to get someday, but I wasn't prepared to spend that much money, so I left them. I also bought a pretty cameo pin/pendant. I don't think it's more than 50 years old, but it was the right price ($9), and it looks great on my jean jacket. JK really likes it and I'm worried that she will break it like she broke my necklace earlier that day. I think I need to teach her to be gentle!

To a Pretty Life

This is my first post on my new blog, though I'm not really new to blogging. I'm moving over to blogger from livejournal, because I like the look and features of blogger better. I like making things pretty. I like setting the table. I like wrapping gifts. I like decorating my house. I like gardening. I like making things. So, that's what this blog is about: my attempts to create a pretty life. I currently live in a townhouse-condo, and I am enjoying the opportunity to make it mine. I have never been able to do that before! Of course, I don't really know much about designing, but I am slowly learning. My husband humours me, and doesn't let me make the house too girly. My daughter is 9 months old, and doesn't yet care what I do as long as I feed her and play with her most of the time.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Curtains - backdated post from old journal

This was my backyard on Saturday, the day after I was outside with a t-shirt and no jacket. Oh well, at least I know my bulbs are still under all that mess. On a more cheerful note, I want to show off my kitchen curtains. They make me happy. The ties are just wide satin ribbon tacked to the wall with upholstery tacks. Thanks to The Nester for the idea of upholstery tacks. She's very clever and has a beautiful house. I wish she could come "mistreat" my house. And here's what's hiding behind my curtains (my first successful seed-starting): If I don't end up killing them, I will have fresh basil this summer! (and some marigolds)