Sunday, 31 May 2009

A big, big yard!

Well, ok it's not that big. But it is so nice to have a defined perimeter! KD and friends worked all weekend to install our fenceposts. Finally! Somehow, now that I know where the edge of my yard is, it seems bigger. Pardon the poor quality picture...I took it just now through the office window, because I didn't want to go outside. And yes, our lawn needs watering. It's been so ridiculously dry and windy here. If you squint, you may be able to see my little pile of bricks next to the garage, inside my raised bed frame that I haven't filled with dirt yet. My mom, JK and I went on a little road trip to pick them up from a guy who offered them to me for free. I love the look of old bricks. These are from a 1932 chimney, and will end up as garden edging, once I knock the mortar off.
A friend said to me at church today: "So your baby is due any day now?" Not quite. I still have three months to go! But I think I look almost as huge as I feel. I should take a new belly picture.

Friday, 29 May 2009

First Garden Pictures of the Year

On Wednesday, JK and I went to visit a friend who had offered to give me some plants from her garden. That afternoon while JK napped, I planted them in my only garden bed, at the front of the house. I hope they all like full sun, 'cause that's what they're getting for now! As I was planting, I discovered a sweet surprise! This one lone pansy growing behind one of the shrubs. It hasn't wilted or otherwise been affected by the hot sun we've been getting lately. There's no sign of any others, and it's very presence is surprising because the entire bed is covered with landscape fabric and mulch! Here is what my garden looks like currently, now that it is planted. Previously, it only had the four unknown shrubs. These little fuzzy-leaved plants I bought at a garage sale a few weeks ago. The seller didn't know what they are called, but apparently they get little blue flowers, and spread readily but are easy to thin out. I also bought these irises from the same lady. They will be dark purple, she said. My friend gave me some orange daylilies, which are thriving in the sun since I planted them. I have two clumps, one on either side of a possibly-dead shrub. This is a white peony, which I am thrilled about because I miss my white peony that I left behind at the last house. They are kind of droopy because they spend an unexpected hour and a half in my car on Wednesday without water. But just today I noticed that the stems are strong again, so I'll have to tie them up if I want them to straighten up. My friend's idea of using a tomato cage for the peonies is great. It is much sturdier than the supports I bought last year. The other clump of daylilies: The possibly dead shrub. You should have seen the massive dandelion I pulled out of the centre. I ended up breaking the taproot, so it will be back. I don't know what this little plant is called, but if I remember correctly what my friend said, it should have white flowers...I think. This one needs staking as well. I think it will be be tall and purple. While still aching from my exhausting afternoon of planting, I spent the following evening priming JK's dresser. It now just needs some light sanding, and the final two paint coats. I bought the paint today, but I probably won't tackle it until next week. KD and the neighbour will be digging fence post holes this weekend, and I don't want to paint while there's extra dust in the air. (But then, we live in a construction zone, so it probably won't make a difference). Whenever I do paint, I am going to need a worktable to put the drawers on so I can sit up straight to paint them. I can't bend or squat any more. Then to top it all of today, I carried two boxes and three bags out to the car to take it to Goodwill. One box was pretty heavy (sorry Ash!), but I decided I needed it out of the house NOW! It is so nice to have it gone. Most of it was my clothes that I would never wear again, along with some of KD's and JK's clothes, and a few household things. I'm taking it easy this afternoon to recover.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Treasure Chest for a baby boy

For each of my four nieces (on my side of the family), I have painted a wooden box, starting when I was 15 with my soon-to-be eleven-year-old niece. Now that I have a nephew, I didn't want to leave him out. So instead of a jewelry-type box, I decided to do a treasure chest instead. I painted the box brown to begin with, and left it like that for several days (due to procrastination, not any special curing's just craft paint). When I later mentioned to KD that I was going to paint Declan's box, he was surprised, because he thought it was just going to be brown. Nope! We ended up with a blue box. I tried rubbing a candle on the places where I wanted the brown to show through, and I was impressed with how nicely it worked! After the blue coat was mostly dry, I lightly sanded it with coarse sandpaper (would have used fine, but I couldn't find it), then painted on my sweet nephew's name. I am quite pleased with how it turned out. This is my other project:I found this dresser on a local online classifieds site. The ad was actually for a different particle-board dresser that I didn't like, but the seller said she had this one to sell too, but was still using it. I went to see it last week, and sent KD to pick it up for me on Saturday. The exterior construction is nice solid wood, and the drawers are typical of 80's furniture, but still pretty sturdy. I just need to add a few extra nails or staples to one or two of them. I love the cute wooden knobs. So far, I have sanded the dresser. I would be priming it right now, but I don't really want to leave the electrician who is working in our basement alone in the house with my sleeping toddler. Maybe I'm paranoid. But maybe not! Yesterday we had a bit of excitement in our neighbourhood. First, I saw this young guy running across my backyard, which is highly unusual. Neighbours around here never cut across the yards even though there are no fences yet. I'm nosy, so I watched the guy jog across the street, then disappear around a house (walking right next to the house, not on the rude!) Ten minutes later, we had two police cars in the alley behind our house, and one officer told KD to stay inside when he was going to check it out. Some officers had their guns drawn and were peering around a vacant house just down the street. Half an hour later, it was all over, and one officer came by retracing the steps of the guy I saw running. I told him what I saw, and he said that the actual crime amounted to someone throwing a rock that was mistaken for a gunshot. Whew.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Best Birthday Ever

(picture from 1984, with my uncle and aunt, whose birthdays are both very close to mine) Yesterday, at 11:55 PM, I told KD, that this is probably my best birthday ever! And it hadn't even officially started yet. My birthday is actually today. But getting back to yesterday: JK and I go to a mom's group on Tuesday mornings, and the other moms brought cake and flowers for me. Then for dinner that evening, JK went over to "grandpa's house" while KD and I went out with some dear friends for a lovely Italian meal, then to bible study. Those dear friends gave me two adorable bird tea-light holders. Jasper has some beautiful new friends! That night, just as we were going to bed, KD handed me a package. As I was opening it, I said "I think I know what this is". I was right! KD bought me a beautiful angel door-knocker from an antique shop at the lake. We were there on Saturday, and KD sneakily went back to buy it. Until I saw this one at the shop, I had never seen a door knocker I liked as much as my lion-head one. If KD will let me drill holes in our metal door, I'd like to put it up...after I paint the door, of course. Another thing that I got yesterday that is not a birthday present, but feels like one, is a new quilted bedspread. I am so happy with it. It is the first bedding item that we have ever bought that wasn't just something we just bought because the price was right. I've had an idea in my head ever since we moved of what I want our bed to be like, and this is perfect. The bed still needs a headboard (which may not happen at this house, because of all the windows), another king-sized pillow, maybe some accent pillows, and definitely a bedskirt. The rest of the bedroom needs much more, starting with paint. But the bedding is a start. I'm so thrilled with it. ***** And here's some changes to our house: A gorgeous quilted wall-hanging/table centerpiece made by my Nanny for a housewarming gift. Baskets in the bedroom to corral the junk that I haven't yet found another place for. The larger basket's handles are breaking off, so I'm going to replace them with some wide grosgrain ribbon when I find some I like. The smaller basket is from the thrift store, and holds the currently-unused pillowsham for the bed. And here's what my glass pedestal looks like with the wooden alphabet inside: I took JK to Value Village today, and while I didn't find anything to buy, JK picked out this basket. I liked it, so we brought it home. It will probably find a home in her new big-girl bedroom. I did see an almost perfect coffee table, but I didn't buy it, because the legs were uneven, causing it to wobble, one leg was loose, and it would have taken me hours and hours of sanding to get rid of the thick shellac all over it. But the style and size would have been perfect. So I'll keep looking.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Weird Fireplace Shelf Decorated - Finally!

I have finally decorated my mantle-thing above the fireplace. What do you think? What can be tweaked? Since these pictures were taken a couple of days ago, I have put my little wooden letters into the cake plate/cloche, and spelled out "family" in front of it. The silver-framed mirror is the one I bought for 99 cents a couple of weeks ago. I can't decide whether to paint the frame black or white. I think I need to paint the chalkboard frame too. See this post for before pictures! I bought this cast brass door-knocker when I was in England in 2001 for a mission trip. It came from a little architectural salvage place called ARC in a town called Hoddesdon, and cost me 10 pounds (was about $22 Canadian at the time). It has been stored in a bin ever since, waiting for the day when I find a door worthy of its charm. I finally decided to take it out of the box and use it, even though I don't want to put it on this particular door (waiting for my forever house for that). So I drilled a hole in the wall and screwed the 2-inch bolt into a convenient stud. Edited to add a link to this weeks Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Procrastination Project - After! (And Thrifty Thursday)

Well, technically, this is a before and after. My original project was derailed when I discovered that it has lead paint on it, so I can't sand it while I"m pregnant. I've had this little child-sized folding chair longer than the green cabinet. It is 52 years old. My grandpa bought one for each of his kids when my mom was only four years old. It was originally a pretty sky-blue, but sometime when I was growing up, Mom painted it a peculiar reddish brown colour...which I've always thought was ugly. Sometime last year I primed it, intending to paint it black. This was before I had heard of grey primer. I just used the wall primer I had on hand. And so it sat, waiting for the final colour that I never got around to doing. I had a quart of creamy yellow paint that I had bought to paint the inside of our cabinets at the last house, but never used. So as I was grouching about not being able to paint the cabinet, I started thinking about what I could do instead for Melissa's Procrastination Project Party. So, using only what I already had, I present to you Mom's little chair, after: I had planned to have a little pot of pansies sitting on it, looking pretty, but with the gloomy cold and snow the past couple of days, I didn't get that done. But it will be soon! I usually plant something during the May long weekend.
I didn't think I'd go thrift shopping this week, but we happened to be out near a thrift store yesterday so we stopped in. The first thing that caught my eye was this little handmade wooden cradle. I've been avoiding shopping for JK's room until we move the office downstairs, or at least until I find bedding I like, but I couldn't resist this cute cradle. It didn't hurt that there was a little old grandma talking me into it too! I will eventually paint it when JK's room gets decorated. Then, I found this little alphabet set, that I think was probably donated by the same person (had the same musty smell). These will be for the baby boy's room, though I'm not sure exactly how I will use them. Maybe frame his name (whatever that will be) in a shadow will be fun to figure something out. Visit Homebody Holly to see more treasures! Oh, and I don't know if this counts, but I bought this adorable little dress for JK at a consignment store. I just love it!

Monday, 11 May 2009

Crazy Weekend

Friday: First thing in the morning, KD is in a lot of pain and decides that he needs to go to the emergency room again. When we're all showered and breakfasted, we head to the hospital. KD is taken in right away (amazing!) and JK and I spend the day wandering around the hospital (inside and out) waiting for news. We go to a nearby mall where JK enjoys the pet store, and we buy a backpack to spare my back and shoulders. I can't wait until she's big enough to carry her own stuff! KD is let out of the hospital at about 3:00pm, with the doctor saying "Lets wait a week and see what happens." Saturday: I wake up at 6:00 am to get ready to go to my mom's grad. She has just finished a one-year course in graphic design, and at age 56, she is ready to start a new career! I'm so proud of her. L-R: my brother D, Mom, me, new nephew D, and my sister C. The other people are just a picture in the background. After the grad, we decide to go to my grandparents house. I call KD and discover that he is in a lot of pain and can barely move, so I go home to rescue him from JK. JK and I then head to Nanny and Papa's for lunch. This is Papa with his first great-grandson. When JK and I return home at suppertime with some milk and Swiss Chalet for supper, KD is still in lots of pain, and how his cyst has ruptured. So, we stash supper in the fridge, and head back to the hospital. There, we wait five and a half hours for him to see the doctor. Meanwhile, KD's brother comes to pick up JK for the night, which is a nice relief. I feel pretty useless just waiting with KD, but he assures me that just being there helps. Eventually, we see the doctor who causes more unnecessary pain, then we get to go 3:00 am. Sunday: I get to sleep in on mother's day! It is kind of nice to wake on my own rather than hearing "Mommy, where are you!" from JK's room. We have a morning to ourselves, skipping church due to exhaustion, and KD is feeling much much better. In the afternoon we head over to his parents' house for a late lunch with the extended family, meeting up JK there. She refuses to look at me for a while, mad that I had sent her away. We enjoy a great afternoon, and arrive home right before JK's bedtime. Perfect, right? Not really. JK had fallen asleep in the car, and was not happy to be woken up. I want to give her a bath before bed, but quickly realise that idea is hopeless. She screams and flails as we try to take off her coat and shoes. So I take her upstairs to rock and cuddle. Does not work. I don't know how long I try to calm her, but eventually, I just ignore the screaming and wrestle her out of her clothes and diaper and into a new diaper and pyjamas. After that she seems to get calmer, so I we read some stories. After several tries to get her to either let me rock her to sleep or put her in her crib, I finally give up and have KD take over. Of course, she goes to bed beautifully for Daddy! Whew! Even though it is only 8:30, I put my pyjamas on and head to bed with my magazines. What a crazy weekend! PS: I don't want to go into details about KD's ailment, but rest assured that it is not life-threatening, and we seem to be nearing the end of his problems. Thanks for caring!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Pretty dishes...and making an ugly spot beautiful

I bought these plates at Value Village yesterday. I've seen them several times, but I always wondered if they were overpriced (because V.V. is always overpriced for a thrift store) , and what would I do with two green plates anyway? But I've recently I decided that I need some pretty dishes, and I like the idea of mixing old I figured that $5.00 each can't be too bad. Did I pay too much? Or was this a deal? I also got some great deals yesterday at Salvation Army (I've never been to this one before). I forgot to take pictures of: a lovely, heavy, silver-framed mirror, about 5 metres of tan/white ticking striped fabric, and a 1922 book of poetry by John Masefield. Each for 99 cents. (This has been my entry for Thrift Store Thursday, hosted by Homebody, a lovely blog I've just discovered.)
Since we moved in, I have been bothered by the area above the stove. The expanse of yellow wall above the black stove just annoyed me. Especially because the shade of yellow isn't the best paint colour to go with the peachy-wood cabinets. See, it was not very attractive. So the other day, I was trying to figure out where to put some shelves, and couldn't find a place for the white one I had in our old kitchen. I decided to put it above the stove, under the cupboards. I waited until KD got home to reassure me that it would not be too close to the burners, and then proceeded to make several large holes in the wall (first I made the holes too high, then the insulation (this is an outside wall) kept pushing my drywall anchor out of the wall.) This is the result: I also sanded the shelf to give it a more worn look, since one corner was a little battered already.

Monday, 4 May 2009

When Good News Leads to Bad other good news

First, the good news: I finally, finally found a lead test kit! Woo hoo! Right? I couldn't believe how many stores had never heard of such a thing (and these were paint and hardware stores!) Eventually, I drove nearly all the way across the city to a Benjamin Moore store to find them. I still think Rona and Home Depot should have them. I suspect the 5 different sales people just didn't know what I was talking about. Now, the bad news: Red equals positive for lead. Now what am I supposed to do? I can't complete my project for the Procrastination Party! I suppose I could paint the cabinet without sanding it, but I wouldn't be happy with the result (some of the existing paint is drippy and rough). The cabinet isn't worth having professionally stripped, especially since it's made of fir, according to my painter grandpa, which doesn't strip or sand well. All I want is to lightly sand it, then paint over it. Sigh... I'll have to wait until my kids move out I guess. Now that's procrastination! Thanks to Jen at Sanctuary Arts at Home for helping me protect my family by posting about lead testing kits. The possibility of lead poisioning didn't even occurr to me until I read this post.
In other news, this morning I went downtown to apply for a development permit so we can build our fence. KD will probably want to start construction as soon as we get the permit. So that's some good news! More good news is that I made myself a compost bin (I've been wanting to start composting ever since I learned what it was). Thanks to Manuela at The Pleasures of Homemaking for posting directions for a "tumbling" compost bin. I also somewhat followed her directions for making a raised garden bed. KD built me one using just scrap wood that was left in our garage when we moved in. It's not pretty, but I plan to make it so once it's filled with dirt and planted. First I need to move the sod to some bare areas of our yard, then order some bulk dirt to fill it. It will be our veggie bed this year. PS: yes, I do like to hyperlink ;-)

Saturday, 2 May 2009

New Baby, New Furniture, and Garage Sale Season is Here!

No, I didn't have my baby yet...this is my adorable 4-day-old nephew. He weighs absolutely nothing, and has the cutest fluffy white hair. And here is my sister, his beautiful mama:
This weekend was the first I've seen any advertised garage sales, so I made up my mind that I would go to at least one early Saturday morning. KD nicely let me go without the toddler, so I had a nice hour or two of solo shopping. For $5.50 total, I got:
Two wrought-iron hooks, which will be perfect for my porch, an antique-brass-coloured hook that I have no current plans for but liked the shape of, a brand-new square battenburg lace tablecloth, and a wire basket. Oh, does that basket look familiar? Well, maybe it's the same as the the one I bought at Goodwill and spray painted last year: I have no specific plans for it either, but it just might fall victim to my next spray-paint binge (I want to try black this time). I think it would make a good container for a gift basket.
We finally found living room furniture that we both like, and was in our budget. It was a brand new floor model from the Brick. It's a bit modern for my taste, but KD has had about enough of my liking for old furniture, and my main goal was to get something that would make the room look like a home rather than a doctor's waiting room. I think the size of the furniture is just about right for the room. It's just a couch and love seat. I want to find a softer, more feminine armchair to balance out the manly dark-brown leather. Pardon the ugly Ikea rug. It is heading back to the basement as soon as I find a bigger one that I like and can afford. Other things needed for this room: Small side tables (we're giving the massive end tables we had to my sister who has more room and would like the storage), curtains, short table lamps (so they don't show much on the kitchen side of the half wall), coffee table (I like the idea of an ottoman, or an old trunk, or maybe a chippy old farm bench...the bench is my favourite idea at the moment.) I'm scared! How do I pull this room together? This is my first time decorating with new furniture, and I would appreciate any tips on how to give this room a soft, light feel that works with the dark furniture.
PS: I can't find a lead test kit anywhere!