Friday, 30 May 2008

More Bridal Showers

I have two bridal showers to go to this weekend, so last night while KD and JK watched Lost, I had fun wrapping while catching bits of the show as they interested me. I made cards for each bride too, but I forgot to take pictures of them. Now I just have to remember to take the correct gift to each shower! I had just enough of the blue tulle, which was already cut into the perfect lengths. I took my bridesmaid dress to the tailor for alterations, and the neighbourhood is adorable! Between the ugly apartment buildings, were all kinds of gorgeous old cottages, from craftsman to tudor style. I'll have to take my camera when I go back to pick up my dress. And I'll have to remember not to bring the stroller, because the tailor is in the basement.

Reversible Patchwork Apron

I finally finished that apron I was working on! I tried to get a good picture of me wearing it, but I didn't have much luck. Here are the best for each side. (Ignore the weird sassy look on my face. It's hard to know what to do with my face when I'm taking pictures of myself!) And so you can get a better look at both sides, here it is laid out on the bed: So, what should I do with this apron now? It would be ideal for someone who likes pink in their kitchen...and who is not likely to catch fire to the extremely long ties. I prefer to tie it in the front, but they make a pretty cute butt-bow when tied in the back.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Kitchen lights, fixtures, and hardware

Marie at Watch the Wind Blow By is thinking about changes to her kitchen, and I offered to post pictures of my totally non-matching kitchen to help her decide. Light over the table (brown/brassy metal finish, inherited from previous homeowner): Light over the cabinet area (chosen to match the other light, replacing a 70's globe thingy): Really ugly cabinet handles (which some ding-dong of a builder decided should be put right in the middle of all the doors, even on the bottom cabinets! Not very smart): Faucet and sink (shiny chrome and stainless steel. I'd prefer a rubbed bronze faucet with a white farmhouse sink and soapstone counters, but this isn't our forever house, so I really don't care at the moment): And of course our black metal Ikea chairs that don't match any of the other metal in the room (along with our lovely vintage 1978 linoleum and plastic baseboards): Just for fun, here's some other kitchen pictures. The hook for my apron: And some corner shelves that I put up at the end of our cabinets: The angel on the bottom shelf was a gift from KD for Christmas after our first date. I don't think I even gave him a card. The mirror is an old spotty one that I rescued from a neighbour who was going to just throw it out. The tray is one that I painted to keep contained the junk that KD insists he needs to keep on the counter. Anyway Marie, I hope this gives you an idea of what mismatched kitchen fixtures is like!

Jen's Big Summer Giveaway

I've just discovered another lovely giveaway, hosted by Jen at Sanctuary Arts at Home. I don't know whether she wants to ship to Canada, but I'll try entering anyway. Go check it out! She has some beautiful books and vintage things that she's giving away.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Shopping Trip

JK and I went out this afternoon because I needed to get some bridal shower gifts. I have 2 showers to go to this weekend. Both couples are registered at Home Outfitters, so that's where I went. Besides the gifts, look what else I found: A tiny-tiny glass butter dish! I put it next to Jasper so you can see how small it is. This little thing was only $4.99. I saw it before, but I didn't know what I would use it for. I still don't know, but I love it so I bought it. We also went to Walmart today. Now, I'm usually snobbish enough to say I don't buy clothes at Walmart. But I wanted to get some cheap tube-tops to wear when JK and I play outside so I can try to avoid getting horrible strappy tan-lines before the wedding in July that I have to wear a strapless dress for. So I found some nice ones. I admit that Walmart does have some nice-looking stuff. I actually also bought an adorable green and cream plaid sundress too. It was so cute that I couldn't resist, and the neckline didn't plunge to my waist! So I think that KD should put me on a spending freeze or something. For most of my life I had no extra money at all, and until JK was born, I was afraid to spend any money on myself even though we were doing pretty well financially. Well. That has sure changed! I still feel unreasonably guilty when I buy stuff that I don't strictly need, but I do it anyway. Alright, I'm going to go try on my new dress, then relax with a cold drink and my new Country Home magazine that I didn't need.

Living Room - before painting

I thought I'd post pictures of my whole living room, since I already showed the new lamp table. So here is my living room with all its awkward, oversized furniture that we can't get rid of. Ignore the pile of magazines/junk/laptop on the coffee table. Since I pushed the table into the corner, We can't access the cubbies under it. But it makes the room work so much better now that we don't have to sidle past the coffee table. I hate how all the furniture has to be pushed against the walls, but there is nothing I can do about it right now. Before we had the piano (my mom's from childhood), I always had the couch and whatever other seating we had at an angle, and it looked great!. The blinds bug me too, but I can't find any decent (and cheap) fabric. I still don't know what I'm going to do for the other (currently blue-striped) cushion cover. That will probably wait until I figure out the curtains. I will be painting the living room sometime in the next month. The new colour is a yellow/gold/tan called Baklava (which is one of KD's favourite Christmas treats that his mom and grandma make). It has taken me two and a half years to pick a colour, though I always knew it would be some kind of gold. I'm even flouting a designer's advice to use tan to match the couch and floor. The same colour will be in the hall and entrance. I love this room because it is cozy. It is my retreat. But it needs some freshening up for summer. Which is difficult to do with the chenille-ish couch taking up half the room, and a big dark grand piano taking up the other half. My kitchen is all summer, and the living room is all autumn. If anyone wants to give an opinion about what I should do with this room, please, please go right ahead! I'm stuck. Fireplace Mantle. After I paint I'll probably hang those red-flower pictures on the wall...but maybe not. Fireplace walls. The door on the right of the picture is to the basement. We got the door from my in-laws who live in the rich part of town ;-) I love that door! I painted the tree in the upper-left of the picture. No wonder the room feels fall-ish! My probably-antique upright grand piano, which is in horrible condition but I love it anyway. The painting on the wall inspired the colour-scheme for both the room and this blog! It's by Stephen Taylor, if I can read the signature correctly. Big beautiful window (which should have been replaced by now, but the condo board is tied up in a lawsuit with the window company), with ugly old blinds. And my beautiful red cushion. This is my antique fireplace grate that my mom let me take with me when I got married. It used to belong to my great grandmother (who my mom was really close to, but I never met). At one time she had painted it gold and used it as a magazine holder. We roasted marshmallows over it when I was a kid. The flipflops are there because it's right next to the backdoor, and our patio is not the most comfortable thing to walk on in bare feet!

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Mystery solved!

I finally remembered what my mystery bulbs are! They're definately not tulips! I was thinking maybe dahlia, because I know I considered getting some when I was buying my bulbs (and I've never seen dahlias in person). But no, it's Alium! No wonder they're so tall! I planted ornamental grass for the first time this year. This pot is between my front steps and the neighbours'. The pot actually belongs to them, but they don't do much gardening (no wonder, with 3 kids under the age of 5 as well as a teenager), so I usually plant something there. The other plants are some nicotania that I grew from seed in egg shells. I think they're doing well! It's supposed to smell really nice Don't the neighbours have a cute welcome mat? Ours is terribly ugly, so I won't show that. We went to KD's grandma's house for dinner yesterday. She is an avid gardener, and has her whole yard filled with plants. She always gives me her extra tomato seedlings and whatever else she has left after planting. This is what she gave me this year, including the tomato cages, which I needed anyway. I will have a lot of tomatoes this year! I have to find time soon to plant them all. It's not going to happen today. JK and I are going to a mom's group this afternoon (with mrs.heidi and baby D). I rearranged some furniture the other day. I decided that the fireplace end of the living room needed some light, but there was nothing to put a lamp on. The only other light in the room is a hanging lamp way in the corner. Since we moved the piano in, the far side of the room hasn't been getting much light. So here is one of the end tables that my uncle made years ago when he was a carpenter instead of an engineer. The lamp is from a garage sale. It used to be olive green with no shade. It was difficult to find a shade that actually covered the bulb! As it is, this shade is too short, but it was the tallest we could find at the time. Maybe I'll add some fringe. That's my grey Rona-bird, and some old books that I gathered for the upcoming Color Challenge at Cottage Magpie and hadn't put away yet when I was looking for stuff to put on this table. The lace is the table runner that I bought last week. To the right of this picture is the fireplace:This picture is a couple of weeks old, so you can see my antique fireplace grate that we use to hold firewood (because it's too big to use in the fireplace) where the end table is now. I've also added some of my favourite old books to the mantle since, a la Confessions of a Happy Housefrau. I can't wait to get this room painted. (Edited hours later to add an apostrophe. Yes, I am a bit obsessive about punctuation.)

Monday, 26 May 2008

Toilet Paper and Aprons

I think JK's days of playing calmly on the bathroom floor while I shower are over. She has discovered the toilet paper. The picture shows only a little of what she had taken off the roll. I'll have to put her in the crib now if I want to shower. I don't have much to show you today. My patio cushions are coming along slowly. Maybe by the time summer is over they'll be done. I'm also making something that I think would make a good giveaway. We'll see. And here's a preview of my latest unfinished project, a reversible patchwork apron: I don't know what I am going to do with it. Keep it, give it away, or maybe sell it. I already have an apron that I made, and I don't use it often enough to need another one. Besides, this new one doesn't coordinate with my kitchen! I love the flowery fabrics though. All the patches are from a friendship quilt exchange I did a couple of years ago at Mrs.Survival This is the apron I currently use. I made it out of 3 Ikea dishtowels that we got for our wedding. I like how the blue and white looks with my turquoise walls.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Resting from Gardening Aches Today

I found this anonymous quote somewhere...on someone's blog maybe. This is what is under my chalkboard: (see the chalk hiding behind the mirror? I need to hide it better!) I spent most of yesterday in the garden. JK and I went to Rona first thing to get a few plants. I bought a blueberry bush, a rose bush, and a few others. Then I spent the day cleaning up the backyard and planting. I'm rather achy today. I bought some rhubarb to plant, and when I opened the package to plant it, I'm pretty sure there was nothing in it but a bunch of dirt and one little stick that looked like it used to be part of a root. I dumped it all in the hole I dug and watered it anyway. Probably a waste of $4. I have my very first cut-flowers from my garden this year. It's above my sink so I can look at them while I wash dishes. JK is yelling for me, so that's all for now folks!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Found Treasures

I went to Value Village today to see what I could find. I found two lengths of white fabric that I'm just dying to upholster something with. I also found about 4 metres of another cream and yellow fabric. I got some red and white gingham ribbon, some blue curling ribbon, and some blue tulle. I found a 1951 copy of The Swiss Family Robinson. This is the third copy I own (though I misplaced the first copy), and the oldest. It has sweet illustrations inside. My favourite two things that I found are a lace table runner, and a rosewood tray. I love the tray how it is, except that it has a cigarette burn in one corner. I don't know yet if I'm going to paint it . Sorry for the poor quality picture. I was having trouble with the lighting. When JK and I returned from shopping, I had a sweet message from my now-3-year-old niece thanking me for the gift I sent her. I could hear my sister prompting her in the background with what to say. So, now I can solve the mystery and show you what I made for her: It is a wooden letter M that I painted in black, purple, and white. Her bedroom is black and purple.

Rainy Days, and Squashed Gardens

I'm sitting here this morning drink forte tea out of my new forte porcelain tea cup while the baby sleeps. I'm surprised she's still sleeping! We usually wake her up at 7, but today I decided to let her sleep as long as she likes, and if she only has one nap, so be it. The picture above is of my birthday gifts. The forte tea and cup are from my brother-in-law and his fiancee, and the candles and napkins are from mrs.heidi. She said she wouldn't normally give someone napkins, but she definitely knows what I like! The picture below is of my sisters and me on what I think was my 5th birthday. I'm the one in the middle, Ceall Na Sidhe is on the left. My mom had a thing for matching outfits. I have a jungle growing in my kitchen. My little seedlings have outgrown their eggs and are waiting for me to plant them. I should have done it on the weekend because now it's raining, and probably won't stop for the next few days. I don't mind the rain though. Spring rains are always the best. In this next picture, do you see the chunk of wood on the right? It's in the correct place there, but upside down. Those insensitive cable techs pushed it over right on to my mystery bulbs! They haven't even had a chance to bloom yet, and they're already squashed! I was very upset. They also stepped on and decimated my two poor daffodils. I went outside to check the mail while they were working and saw the wood lying on my poor bulbs. I grabbed my shoes and went out to move it onto the grass. I asked them why they were working on my house when we don't even have cable. They said that they were working on all the townhouses in the complex. I said "Ok. But please try not to wreck my flowers". I admit that they did not cause further damage after that, and they put my chunk of wood back where it belongs. I would have understood if they had to dig up my garden to access their cables, but this was so unnecessary! Ahem. Yes. I am a somewhat emotional person. Pardon me.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Sneak Peek

I made something last week for my niece's third birthday. I mailed it on the weekend, so it should arrive at my sister's house today. As soon as she tells me she received it, I'll post a full picture, but until then, here's a small detail: Any guesses? The cable company is outside my house digging and drilling and whatever else in the rain. I don't know why. We don't even have cable. I think they stepped on my daffodil today. They had better not wreck the bulbs that haven't bloomed yet, because I don't remember what they are and I can't wait to see them!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

First long weekend in spring!

This is how we celebrate Victoria Day long weekend: (we only spent Saturday at the lake because KD had to study, but this is what people do around here for Victoria day...nothing special for the Queen or anything like that)

It's fun to dream

Yesterday I was checking my email while KD was in the room and I opened up an email from ComFree (a realty listing service with no commission). It was a listing for a house that I had seen before, but KD was suddenly very interested. He wanted to look at the house. We both liked it, and it is in the small town outside our city that we want to live in some day. On an impulse, I said "Let's go drive by it". To my utter surprise, KD agreed! So when JK woke from her nap, we went off to drive by a house. When we got there, it looked much smaller that we thought it would be, since it has 4 bedrooms, an office, kitchen, dining room, living room, rec room, and 3 full bathrooms. KD said "Should we call"? So we called the owners and asked if we could take a look at their house. They said sure, lets make an appointment. We said "well, we're right outside your house, do you have time now?" No, that isn't creepy at all, right? They asked for 10 minutes before we came in, then we went to see the house. I could totally see us living there. It has a good-sized yard, two decks, double garage, and a huge storage room in the basement. It's really nice inside, with lots of colour. The kitchen, while kind of small is adorable! I think I fell in love with that kitchen right there. Despite its size, it has an island and lots of cupboard space. It shocked me that KD was even considering buying this house. We are happy where we are, but KD was calculating what our mortgage would be, and we determined that we can afford it if we wanted to. Back home, we talked about it off and on all evening, trying to figure out what we should do. But in the end, I asked KD as we were getting ready for bed: "Are we seriously considering moving?" He said "No". It's just not the right time. I totally agree. We don't need to be spending any extra money right now. And I really think that we need to replace the 1978 lino and awful plastic baseboards in our town house before we even think of selling. So the final verdict is that we will be staying put for now. I am perfectly satisfied with that. But it is fun to think about it.

Monday, 19 May 2008

The Most Important Room in the House

The Kitchen! If my kitchen is a mess, the rest of the house soon follows. This week JK has been cranky and clingy after supper, so I haven't been washing the dishes (all together now: Eww!). Usually KD will entertain her for me, but he has been studying for his CMA entrance exam. So the kitchen just got messier and messier. And so did the rest of the house. It was a disaster. I really, really need to wash my dishes every day, even if it is just a few. So, yesterday, I chose to spend time with KD instead of cleaning my kitchen. JK developed a cold and only had 30-minute naps instead of her usual 2 hours. The poor baby can't breathe. She also woke up every hour after bedtime. Finally after midnight, she stayed asleep, and I went to bed, exhausted. JK woke up at 6:30, but I was not ready to get up for the day, so I fed her and put her back in her crib to play (yes, this story does have something to do with the kitchen), then went back to bed. I didn't even notice when KD got up. In between my dozing I heard him talking to the baby. When they came in to wake me at 9:00 so that KD could go study, JK was dressed and breakfasted. When I went down to the kitchen to get my own breakfast, the kitchen was sparkling clean! Do I have a sweet husband or what? I just feel so much fresher now that my kitchen is clean again. I grew up in a not-very-clean house (my mom was a packrat, and single mom to four), and I constantly have to fight with myself to keep my home clean. So, with my kitchen clean, it will be no problem to tidy the rest of the house while KD studies, and then enjoy our holiday Monday. How nice of Queen Victoria to be born in May! (I may edit this post later to add pictures of my kitchen. I'm on the laptop, which doesn't have any pictures on it.)

Friday, 16 May 2008

They let me rent a car!

Wow, I must finally be an adult. Never mind that I've been married for 6 years, own a home, and have a baby. I can rent a car! Technically, I'm not even eligible because I'm not yet 25. But since I'm only 4 days away, they let me anyway. So I'm now driving a Jeep Liberty. Our car is in the shop. We took it in for routine maintenance and--surprise!--they found out that the water pump is leaking and about to fall off. Lovely. I am so nervous driving a rental. I'll have to get used to it, since I'm the only driver allowed. I rarely drive when KD is in the car. I'd rather be a passenger. Now, I need to get off the computer and start addressing envelopes and making supper while JK sleeps. And everybody say "Hi" to mrs.heidi. She's my friend H that I mentioned, who has the cutest baby boy ever.

Riot of Colour

My riot of colour came a little sooner than I expected! Yay! I really like the orange tulips. I should cut some to take inside. This is the first time in my life that I have enough blooms to cut. Don't mind how awful my grass looks...or the circle of dirt where I dug up that burning bush. I bought some grass seed the other day that I need to do something with. I also bought some slug poison. Am I evil? The package says it's not toxic to plants or pets, and can be used around food plants. But it didn't mention babies. Good think JK is too young to play in the backyard by herself. The bridal shower was a lot of fun. There was about 75 people there. I'm doing an advice book for the bride and groom, so we put little cards on the tables for people to write on and announced it twice. We only got 21 back with anything written! That's pretty bad! I have 160 slots in the album I'm using. This was the gift table...with only about half of the gifts. First prize goes to whoever can find my gift in the picture! They filled the hallway, and took until 10:00 pm to open. I was writing them down for the bride and my hand was sore! It hurt when I brushed my teeth last night. A & R are so blessed, and they deserve it. I am thrilled that they are getting married.