Monday, 29 September 2008

Busy Weekend

(Picture of KD and his mom in 1981. He was a cuddly child, or so I've heard.) Well, we've had a busy weekend! On Friday, I went to pick up KD's mom because everyone else was at work and she was alone at my brother-in-law's house. That afternoon all the ladies went to the spa for pedicures. It was so nice to relax. I didn't like any of the non-pink-and-summery nail polish colours, so I decided to go with black. It has taken some getting used to, but I actually like it! My sisters have both frequently worn black nail polish, but I was always the goody-two-shoes and never tried it. Dinner that night was at KD's younger brother's house, and we spent the evening visiting and trying to keep his dogs (particularly the puppy) from playing too aggressively with JK. She loves puppies. On Saturday morning we went to look at the second house I posted about. More about that later. Then we went to KD's older brother's house for dinner, where we played Wii, and the boys needed three tries to beat the girls at some brainy game (but when they did beat us, the score was 35 to 13). Sunday we had breakfast at YB's house (that's "younger brother"), then KD's mom and I left JK with KD and went shopping. And then another family dinner, this time at KD's grandma's house...except it wasn't his mom's mother, it was his dad's mother. Kind of awkward, since they're divorced, but the two women still get along very well, and KD's grandma was worried she would never see her first daughter-in-law again. I forgot to pull out my camera all weekend (bad blogger!), so I won' t have any pictures unless KD's mom sends some.
*****
OK, back to that house we looked at. It's a duplex in the neighbourhood that KD really likes. With the lake that he can go kayaking on. It's a corner lot. When we drove by on Tuesday, I was concerned that the side fence would have to be built flush with the side of the house, so I made a note to ask about that. We didn't like the house we looked at on Tuesday (there was no place for my piano!), so we hoped this one would be really nice. It was. From the tiny front porch, to the big kitchen, to the wall colour, to the layout, I loved it. It was so nice that I'm even willing to give up my beloved wood-burning fireplace for a gas fireplace, and overlook the fact that the basement isn't finished, and move to a neighbourhood with only puny trees. The fence can be built almost right next to the sidewalk, so we'd have a huge yard, bigger than we'd have with a detatched house. KD loves the fact that there is a double garage. I love the many windows, and the fact that the bottom sill isn't level with my neck. There are a lot of upgrades, such as flooring, extra windows, and better insulation. But enough rambling on about this house. We're planning to put in an offer. We have a realtor coming to look at our current house (a different one from last time). We've talked to the bank. I just hope our house sells quickly. The realtor was quite optomistic about it when I talked to him on the phone. So since he's probably coming this afternoon, I need to get off the computer and go tidy the house!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

JK is growing up

Like Mother: Like Daughter:I love my baby. Though she's not really a baby any more. She is looking so grown up lately. She can ask for her vitamins ("ba-min") in the morning, and she says "Pls" and "ta-tou".

20 Favourite Things About Fall

Melissa at The Inspired Room is having a Fall-themed 20 Little Things that Inspire Party. I always love the changing seasons, so here is what I love about Fall:
  1. Rain
  2. Crisp air
  3. Dressing in Layers
  4. Falling Leaves
  5. Lighting my favourite beeswax candles
  6. Baking cookies and pies
  7. Curling up by the window watching the birds
  8. Thanksgiving (which happens in October here in Canada...if we waited 'til November, we would have snow already)
  9. First fire in the fireplace
  10. Thinking about Christmas shopping
  11. Making my house cozy
  12. Carving pumpkins
  13. Piling lots of blankets on the bed
  14. Windy days
  15. The sound of leaves crackling under my feet
  16. Hot soup with fresh bread
  17. Getting together with family, after a summer of everyone going away.
  18. Did I mention rain? I love rain.
  19. Not feeling guilty about my poor, neglected garden any more, since it's covered in leaves.
  20. All the gorgeous fall nesting ideas that I'm discovering from various blogs.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Depth and Intimacy...and Houses

Ok friends, it's time for another serious post. I've been thinking lately about several things concerning myself. Wondering why I don't write anymore, why I have a very hard time making friends, why I'm a terrible pen pal. I have deduced that I am afraid of intimacy and anything else past the surface-level. I fear being rejected, and I fear that I won't be able to handle anything with any real depth. When I meet someone who could become a good friend, nothing ever progresses, because I feel like I am not entitled make a move that would deepen the friendship. I vowed when I was a teenager never to push myself in where I wasn't wanted, and that silly thing has only increased my natural reservation. It's probably a good thing I got married so young before I had a chance to develop these fears. I don't write because I can't get beyond the surface of my characters and really let them live. Sometimes I manage it, and I get a glimpse of what I could do if I got past this, but then poor Cass and Philip close up again and turn into cardboard. I think if I could open myself up more, then I could. Even this post is mostly on the surface. I intended to bare my soul and type everything I've been thinking on the topic, in a coherent, well-written essay. But it's not going to happen. Sorry, I've frozen up already! Back to the surface...
*****
We're going to look at this house tonight. It's in the area with the lake that KD wants to live in. Pros: cute porch, no shared walls. Cons: no garage yet, small yard, puny trees. There's another we're going to see on Saturday. It's actually a half-duplex (picture from the ad below). Pros: garage, really nice flooring, corner lot. Cons: shared wall, no fence, puny trees. Based solely on the ads, I could buy either one. I really need to finish the work in this place because if we decide on one of these, we'll have to list our house right away. KD also wants me to check out the brand-new quick-possession houses from the builders. And call the bank about our mortgage. In between all this work and caring for the baby, I need to read 100 pages of my text book, a memior and other articles as research for an essay, and start writing the essay. Oh, and KD's mom is coming to visit this weekend. Crazy timing for all this nonsense.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Happy Fall!

Remember that pretty, girly gift I showed you? The shower for baby L was yesterday, so I can how show what was inside! Well part of it was just some baby bath stuff that I bought, and the other part was this: I created this name thing using Wordle. I put in all the words I wanted--more times for the larger words--and then adjusted the colours and font and layout until I got something that had L's name in the right order, and looked good. The frame was plain boring black, and was on clearence at Home Sense because it had some dents. I bought two identical frames. One was priced at $7, the other at $9. The only difference was the direction of the type in the fake-picture. They were even the same brand. So I convinced them to give me both for $7 each. I had a really hard time figuring out what to do with the frame. I was initially thinking white, but nothing I tried looked right. So, it was back to black, with a crackle finish that shows the white. There is probably about seven layers of paint/glue on that frame! When the new mama opened the gift at the shower, she seemed thrilled with it, but it was kind of funny watching the other people look at it. They said things like "Oh yeah." and "That's interesting." I didn't take it personally. I don't think they quite understand the concept of putting words on the wall.

Friday, 19 September 2008

More about Banners

Since I'm sure y'all aren't sick of me talking about banners, I thought I'd show you the ones I made for Meghan and ebbyanne. I usually don't show things I've made for gifts until the recipient has received it, unless I'm sure she doesn't read my blog. But ebbyanne lives in New Zealand, so it will probably take forever to get to her. When we sent our wedding invitation to my family in Australia, they didn't get it until two months after the wedding, because I forgot to send it airmail. I'm very pleased with how these turned out. I like the extra texture and layers of paper. And of course I love my using my scented coffee-dyed paper for anything. I think I may redo my own banner in this design. I think the design of these banners work for halloween, like Meghan's "BOO", or for everyday, like ebbyanne's "NOTES". Since it's currently spring where she is living, I didn't want to make it too harvest-y. Now I need to go find appropriate envelopes to send these off!

KD wants to buy a house

Yes, we're back into selling mode now. Sigh. KD wants to sell our townhouse so that we can buy a new- or almost new-construction house. There is a neighbourhood here that has a 32 acre man-made lake, and unlike all the ponds that are being put in new neighbourhoods that are just supposed to be looked at, residents can actually swim, boat, and fish in this lake. So, that's where KD wants to live. For some reason, I find myself not squirming at the thought of living in a new subdivision. But I don't want to sell this place yet! KD asked me why. I said, it's because I'm still attached to it. If we were going to move into a house or area that I absolutely loved, I think I would have an easier time letting this one go. But the truth is, I don't like new subdivisions. Most of the time, all the homes look the same with no character, they're all in boring colours, and they're all way too close together. (There was a massive fire here last summer in a new subdivision, and the fire chief said that the reason there was so much damage was because homes are too close together, and vinyl siding is too flammable to be used on houses). I have realised that one of the things holding me back is the fact that I don't like change. When something is forced upon me, I usually hate it for the first little bit, then I grow to love it and see that it is really better than whatever I wanted to hold on to. So, once I finish these never-ending renovations, we will be calling a realtor. This is what I have to do:
  • fill holes in baseboards
  • paint 2 coats on front door
  • paint 1 coat on back door
  • patch drywall in basement stairwell
  • paint basement stairwell
  • paint trim around basement door
See, it's not a lot, but all this work has just been hanging over my head for too long. I emailed one of the houses that I like in PEI to KD as a joke a few days ago, but to my amazement, he actually was interested in moving there! He really liked the 4th house, because it has a view of the ocean, and a lighthouse in the garden. He likes lighthouses. His ideal place to live is a place with rolling hills, lighthouses, and water (ocean or large clean lake, neither of which exist in Alberta). KD did a lot of reading about PEI over the past week, as well as the other maritime provinces, and would like to live there. But ultimately we concluded that he wouldn't be able to get a good job there. He's an accountant and works for one of the top 100 best companies to work for in Canada. But maybe some day we'll retire there. Or at least go there on vacation occasionally.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Featured on Martha Stewart? Sure!

Martha Stewart's blog will be featuring some of the blogs who post comments and link back to her. She recently did a show about blogging. So go check it out!

Creativity

Oh, hi! I guess I didn't post yesterday. Sorry about that. My creativity has been running at low levels lately, and I couldn't think of anything at all to post. But today I had a baby shower gift to wrap for baby L. I did not make the two felt flowers, though they would definitely be easy to make. They are hair-elastics that I bought for about 50 cents last summer. Even though this gift didn't need a tag (since baby L will be the only one getting presents at the shower), I wanted to personalise it a little. I had some pale pink microfleece, and I just sewed 4 layers into the shape of an "L" Then I thought that the letter was cute, and JK decided she liked it and crawled away with it several times. So I made some for her name. I'll probably just throw them in the toy box for her to play with, but these things have so much potential. They could be hung on the wall, embellished with ribbons and buttons, etc. Or I could make a whole alphabet in different colours. So now that my creative juices are flowing again, I'm trying to do something interesting with one of KD's dress shirts that he doesn't like anymore. He was going to give it away, but I liked the fabric so I put it with my stash. If it turns out, I'll show it eventually.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Dreaming

I have nothing to show you today, so I thought I'd let you see some of the houses that I love from the PEI real estate listings. Click on the picture if you're like me and want to see all the pictures and other details. I had a dream last night that really annoyed me. I'm sure it lasted all night long, because I woke up several times and looked at the clock, then went right back to the same dream. In my dream I was engaged to be married to someone other than KD. KD didn't exist in my dream, so it wasn't cheating or anything. JK didn't exist either. Anyway, this guy was preparing to move to Africa to build a house and live there. Not as a missionary or anything, but just living there. Of course, in my dream I was in love with this guy, and since I don't like to rock the boat, I never told him that I didn't want to live in Africa. So we went on preparing to get married, and he kept preparing to move to Africa. And through it all I was seething, thinking "How can he be so selfish insisting we move to Africa. Doesn't he care what I think?" Of course if I had just told him how I felt, maybe he would adjust his plans, or we would break up, or something. Generally I think dreams are just the brain's way of clearing up the clutter accumulated by thinking all day--except in certain God-ordained circumstances of course. But I thought this dream was an apt illustration of the lack of control I feel that I have over the direction of my life...or at least the location of my life. I feel powerless to change anything, but if I would just show a little backbone and speak up once in a while, I think I could do a lot more.
Yesterday I weeded my garden for the first time since spring. Isn't that awful? My poor garden has been sorely neglected these past two years. I planted some perrenials that I bought on sale a few weeks ago and had surprisingly survived my neglect as they sat in their pots on my front steps. And I trimmed my hedge, which was way past due. I always feel bad when I'm lazy about trimming the hedge,which is between our front sidewalk and the neighbour's, because when we moved in I offered to keep up with the trimming. Last year, they borrowed their other neighbour's hedge trimmers and butchered the hedge because I took too long to get around to it. Other things I accomplished yesterday: sorted through my clothes and the kitchen cupboards for stuff to give to Goodwill, washed 3 loads of laundry, doubled my available counterspace by moving the microwave. I was trying to make up for my utter laziness of the past few days, and I think I succeeded. Now, what do I do today? Grocery shopping, I think, then a visit with mrs.heidi and baby D.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Gifts from the weekend.

I have had a rather non-productive weekend. I completed one project that I won't show you until after the baby-shower on Sunday. Hint: It has something to do with Wordle. On Saturday JK and I went to my uncle's house to visit with the side of the family that I never see. The occasion: My aunt and uncle who live in Australia were in town. I love seeing them when they are here. Aunty S is so sweet and fun, and is the family member who best understands my mother. She and Mom are 1 year apart in age. I don't think I've seen Uncle F since we visited them in Australia when I was 10, but he is a kind and gentle man (almost like a gentle giant, really--he's 6'3", and Aunty S is 4'11") and I am happy that he came this time. He's lived in Australia for 21 years, and still has a Canadian accent. JK had fun meeting all that side of the family (she was particularly fascinated with my bearded Uncle R), and crawling around on the gravel driveway (the soft grass wasn't good enough, apparently), and chasing the kittens. KD had already committed to help his friend paint his house, so he couldn't come with me. On Sunday, KD, JK, and I went to a family carnival put on by one of the just-being-built neighbourhoods to entice people to visit their show homes. There was a petting zoo, which JK enjoyed, and food. We toured a couple of the show homes there, but they were all out of our price range. Then KD decided we should go drive around another neighbourhood that is a little further along in development. I decided that if I absolutely have to live in a new subdivision, then this is the area I would choose. The houses are all different historical styles (victorian, colonial, etc), and there are lots of trees, parks and walkways. If the houses each had about 10 more feet of elbow-room between them, it would be the perfect neighbourhood. I can't stand how close-together they build houses these days. KD doesn't understand my dislike of it, and I can't really explain it very well, other than to say that it makes me squeamish. I need my house to have elbow room. And I want a yard big enough for both my gardening and the kids playing. Is that too much to ask? Apparently it is too much to ask here in oil-boom country. It is the enduring dream of my life to move east and live in a century-old house surrounded by acres of land and a gorgeous old-fashioned perrenial garden. I love looking at real estate listings in PEI. If I could ever convince KD to move there, I could find dozens of houses that are exactly what I want for way, way, way less money than we would sell ours for. Anyway, on Sunday evening we went to KD's grandma's house for supper. She is an avid gardener and has a gorgeous yard. I admired her gladiolas, and she gave them to me! They are blooming a bit late this year, she said. They are so pretty and feminine. I think I'm going to have to try growing some next year. When we got home from our adventures yesterday, I found this in my mailbox: My friend A had delivered this adorable acorn cookie-cutter. Her card said she thought of me when she saw it, because of my Pier One acorns. I'll have to find a recipe worthy of such a cute cookie-cutter.

Friday, 12 September 2008

New Banner

I finally made a decision about my new non-summery banner. I ended up not using any of the exact suggestions made, but I combined two of them. So Meghan and ebbyanne are the winners! I apologise for the weird colour in the pictures. And I'm actually not sure if I'm happy with the choice of paper. So I may redo it with the same coffee-stained paper that I used for the Summertime banner. Or I may not. Anyway, as thanks for their inspiration, I will send Meghan and ebbyanne each a banner with words of their choosing. Thank you to everyone else who gave suggestions, there were many that I liked. That is one of the reasons it too me so long to decide.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Painted Railing

So this week I finally finished painting the stair rail. It has been primed and taped for months just waiting for me to get the time or courage to finish it off. True to form, I cannot find the before picture. I know I took one. I just can't remember when. So, picture the railings a dirty grey-ish beige. The handrail is rubber, so that didn't change colour. I used a semi-gloss black paint, and applied it with my fingers, while wearing a cotton glove. I read that tip somewhere when I was researching how to paint the railing. I used a sponge brush for the primer, and that did not work well, so I thought I'd try the glove method. Of course I wore a latex glove underneath, or I'd still be scrubbing the paint off my hand. It took three coats, and could probably stand a fourth, or at least some touch ups in a few areas. But they are not noticeable enough for me to care. I'm going to take a black sharpie pen to touch up the edges where the tape pulled the paint off (mostly under the handrail). I am so pleased with how it turned out. After I painted the stair trim white, the railing looked so dirty and dingy in comparison.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Which is worse: Fake or Dead?

In defiance of HGTV's rule about no fake plants in decorating, The Nester is having a party! Specifically, a P.O.O.P.I.E. party! That is, People Opposing Objectionable Pretend plants In the Environment. I was thinking that I don't have any "pretend plants". Except for my fall wreath, which--considering that the flowers are cheap from Walmart and definitely look fake--is definitely in the objectionable category. But I do have lots of dead plants in my house. Are they objectionable? I don't know, you decide. Pussy-willow branches that look exactly the same now as they did when they were alive. This is a weed that grew in a potted plant that I bought at the grocery store. The actual plant died, of course, but I thought this weed was interesting, so I stuck it in a clip frame from Ikea. It is now very dead. I still think it's pretty. This boxwood was once alive and outside in my garden. Last fall, because I live in zone 3a, I brought the plant inside for the winter. Then we went on holidays and I forgot to have someone water it. So it died. Other than the fact that it is getting a bit dusty, I think it looks ok. I covered the dirt with moss. I just remembered this faux flower that is in my bathroom. It was bought at the dollar store, and is attached to a bobby pin. I wore it for the tropical themed bridal shower, and when I took it out of my hair I put it on this shelf. I liked the look, so I left it there. It filled what had been an obnoxious gap in the vingette. Of course in this picture, there's also the dead driftwood and the dead moss, and Jasper, who was never alive. I do occasionally decorate with live things. This is my favourite way to decorate with fruit:Pears look the best, but apples, oranges, and nectarines are nice too. This plant is alive, but it is definitely objectionable. It's about 4 years old, and looking SAD. I think it doesn't like me. The feeling is mutual. It belongs to KD, or I would have thrown it out by now. So that's what I have. How do I rate for objectionable plant material? Be sure to go over to see the other participants in the P.O.O.P.I.E. party!. The Nester has also recently had some great posts about how to choose the right faux plants and things: Faking It, Fakin It Take 2, Fake Take 3. Edited to clarify: Yes the apples are real. There's a gap in the display because I ate one just before I took the picture. My favourite number of fruits to display there is seven, but since I use real fruit, the number is always changing.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Y'all are So Sweet!

Thanks everyone for the nice comments about my half-powder-bath-room redo. I'm really proud of how it turned out. I think I rose to the white wall challenge quite satisfactorily. My sister has a fear and loathing of white walls with beige/tan accents (she currently lives in a rental with that non-colour-scheme), and I haven't yet heard what she thinks. I made the curtain out of two different linen-ish fabric. Both were bolt-ends and cheap. I don't pay $10-20 per metre for fabric if I can at all help it. I couldn't find a piece long enough, so I just used what I could find. The total cost was about $6.00. The rod is a stick from my yard. It had been tied to my fence to support peas and beans all summer, but the peas and beans didn't grow very well, so I found a better use for it. It's held up by loops of fabric and upholstery tacks. Pictures...well, I've been experimenting with odd angles lately, and I had a lot of fun taking pictures of my finished product. Our real estate agent told me that it's impossible to get good pictures of a bathroom that truly reflect the room. I like to think I proved him wrong. As for the blurry edges: After I loaded the pictures onto my computer, I opened them in Picassa, and added a soft-focus filter to them. It makes me look artistic. That little wicker chair on the shelf is one of those serindipitous finds. It came from Value Village, and even though it was more than I would usually pay for something there, it was so perfect and didn't need any painting or other alteration. I think it was $3.99 well spent.
*****
I wasn't happy with my fall-themed wreath. It was just too simple. So I decided I wanted to try something. I started with some raffia and a stick. And a container of water. I put the raffia in the water for about 5 minutes (this would be a good time to dye the raffia had I wanted to change its colour). Then I wrapped the raffia around the stick. And I went about my day. Later when the raffia had dried, this was the result: And this is what I did with it: Much better! I think maybe I could have used a smaller stick to get the raffia a bit curlier. Oh well, next time!

Friday, 5 September 2008

Powder Room/Half-Bathroom/Water Closet/Toilet/WC/lavatory...etc

Ok, now go look at the before pictures. Then come back and look at these ones again. Sigh. It's finally done! What a difference. I love it. Everything is exactly how I pictured it. There is one blog that gave me the inspiration for the look and feel I was going for: A Beach Cottage. Go look at her sweet beachy-neutral pictures.