Thursday, 30 April 2009

My Procrastinated Project

Melissa at The Inspired Room is having a Project Procrastinators Party! Well, I fit right in. I procrastinate everything. Today is the day to post before pictures, then in two weeks, we get to post after pictures! This sad little cabinet is my very first ever furniture purchase. I bought it from a used furniture store for $20 when I was 15 years old. I paid way too much for it. But I love it now just as much as I loved it then. For the past 10 years, I have been meaning to paint it a lovely cream colour, but I've never had a place to actually do the painting. I could have used the basement in our last house, but the green actually coordinated with our bedroom walls there, so it wasn't a priority. Now, we have an unfinished basement, a garage, and a backyard! So I have no more excuses. And that ugly lamp (my first ever purchased) needs something decisive done to it too. Look at the cute little handle! I have questioned whether I should take it off and try to clean the paint off...but will I ever be able to get it back on? What do you think? I think I will probably replace the hinges, since they don't fit right anyway. Look at the lovely glossy black interior. It makes it difficult to see anything in there. I took the first step this week in getting this painted. I bought primer, brushes, and a $3.00 can of mis-tinted paint. I chose not to use spray paint because I like brushstrokes in this kind of wooden pieces. And I even organised the basement full of moving mess in order to have a place to work. It's still to cold and windy outside to work there. Since I'm not using spray paint, I don't fear the gas furnace. I still need to get a lead testing kit. Home Depot doesn't sell them, so I need to paint stores next. If there is lead on my cabinet, I'll have to wait until I'm not pregnant or nursing before it finally gets painted. Or I'll get KD to do the sanding and primer. Come back in two weeks to see the after pictures!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

How do I cover seven windows?

For the past two months, I've been trying to find some sort of window coverings for the windows on the south and west of our house (master bedroom and living room.) In our bedroom, we need blinds that will block light and heat. We have a streetlight right outside, and the room gets very hot from the sun.
So, my plan for the bedroom was to get white blackout roman blinds. I found the perfect ones at Walmart, but they don't come in the right width! Apparently no one makes ready-made blinds for 34-inch wide windows. I checked with several custom blind stores, but I'm not prepared to pay $250 to $350 per window!
Then my plan changed...I was going to get white horizontal wooden (or faux wood) blinds, because those can be cut to size. This would be for all seven windows. But they don't make them long enough for the living room windows, and I still don't want to pay $80 per window. This is getting frustrating!
I really want to mount the blinds inside the window frames, because that looks much better.
We currently have cheap paper shades in the living room, and blue velvet curtains in the bedroom (well, one panel is purple).
My current plan is to get bamboo shades. Probably the roll-up variety, because it's less expensive. But KD doesn't really like those, because you can't just open the slats...and they don't block light well enough for the bedroom. But I think that's the only solution we can afford. In the bedroom, I was planning to put up white sheers over the blinds, but I can change that to thicker curtains to help block light.
Who knows what we'll end up doing. Any suggestions?

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Met Monday - bathroom window before and after

I finally have a project that I remembered to take before pictures for! And it just so happens to happen just in time for participating in Susan's Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch. This is a cute little square window that is in our master bathroom. I've wanted to rip off that paper shade ever since we moved in, but KD convinced me that we do indeed need some sort of window covering, even though it is a second-floor window. After I finally took off the shade, I had to agree that he was right. See, now the window looks much cuter. And it has a nice deep window sill that I've been wanting to put plants on...but couldn't with the window covered up. So our solution was to cover the window with something called "artscape" that we found at Home Depot. We picked a rice paper pattern, and it was ridiculously easy to put on! I had to piece together a strip at the top because the sheet was too narrow, and even I can hardly tell. I plan to put up a valence eventually that will further hide the seam. Now we can let the light in and I get to decorate the window sill! And we still keep our privacy, to KD's relief. I'd like to get some old glass bottles, and more plants, but for now, I've just put KD's bonsai on the sill. It's a bit small, but I think it looks good with the rice paper pattern.
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And just because, here is the basil I've been growing. I always have to start some seedlings in the spring, because the last frost date takes forever to get here. I don't usually have much success, but it's fun while it lasts!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Thoughts on Farmhouse Style

I've been thinking recently about decorating this house. And I'm stumped. The walls are all one colour, and I don't know what colour I want it to be! I love colour, but I'm finding myself drawn to neutrals a lot more lately. Maybe because of my white walls challenge in the last house. I think I'm afraid to make a decision and pick a colour, especially since I know the yellow walls will be painted over eventually. So, I started thinking about my ideal house. What would my house be like if I could choose anything? I think I'd like a farmhouse. Old, with lots of character, but of course with all the modern conveniences to keep KD happy! But when I say farmhouse, I'm not thinking completely rustic and worn...I'd rather lean more toward a well-loved look. More Cottagey-farmhouse, I suppose Now, this house is 1.5 years old...and completely devoid of anything I would call character, at least on the inside. Since I can't live in a farmhouse, how can I bring the feel and character that I want into this house?...with a very small budget? (I wanted to add pictures to this post from the May Victoria magazine, but none of the pictures I loved are on their website...and this computer doesn't have access to the scanner)

April Showers, eh?

More like April Flurries around here. Yesterday was so cold! It was KD's birthday. This is the card I made for him. It's the picture I took of JK's rubber boots, artsy-fied in photoshop. It's not quite as manly a card as the one I made last year, but I think it's sweet for a wonderful husband and soon-to-be dad of two. We went out for dinner with some friends last night, and when we told the waitress that it was his birthday, she asked "Are you turning twenty?"...right...I'm not sure if she seriously thought he's that young, or if she was just being funny. KD said "yeah." Happy 28th birthday to my darling husband!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Boots and Fences and Rocks

KD is out playing floor hockey tonight, and JK is sleeping, so I got to play around with my photoshop elements. I think JK's rubber boots are adorable. We had a warm day for April...the forecast was 24 degrees Celsius, but I'm not sure how warm it actually got. It felt like it was around 20-25 or so. JK and I went for a walk. KD wanted me to go check how all the neighbours did their back fence. We're debating whether to build the fence all the way to the back property line, or stop at the far edge of the garage. My vote, especially after looking around the neighbourhood, is to build it as far back as we can. I'm not giving up one square foot of my yard! JK did very well on our hour-long walk. She skinned her knee a couple of times, but other than saying "Owie" every so often, it didn't bother her. And who needs an Easter egg hunt when a toddler gets just as much fun finding rocks? She filled her hands up to overflowing several times. Every time she found a new one she asked "Take it with us?" I told her she can take anything she can hold, as long as it isn't a rock someone has paid for. After our walk, we sat on the porch and had some juice. KD found us there when he got home from work.
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JK woke up crying at one o'clock this morning. By the time I got up she had quieted down. But I couldn't resist taking a picture of the neighbourhood from our office window. Our garage is in the lower right. I love this view, by day and by night. I currently have that view in front of me, with the window open listening to the distant frogs. I think we may get a thunderstorm tonight.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

A Penny for $2.50

"Hi Mom!" No, my not-quite-two-year-old is not really driving a truck. Check out the pillows in the back window. It's a truck-themed hotel room. We decided to take advantage of KD's 4 day weekend over Easter, and stayed in a hotel for one night. We picked the room we thought JK would like the best...she loved the truck, the stoplights, and the tacky stop sign patterned carpet. So it was a good choice. We spent the following day doing various fun activities with KD's young brothers. JK did so well, especially since she went to bed late, and didn't have a nap. Last weekend, I also spent a good chunk of Saturday at the annual antique show. I went for the first time last year and loved it. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, and this is what I ended up getting: Three British pennies (1907, 1899, and 1897). I love Queen Victoria's portrait. An adorable little jug. I don't know how old it is, and it has no markings on the bottom. But it is in pristine condition, and I love the little dotted detail, and the quirky angular handle that seems at odds with the smoothly curving jug. Four cute skeleton keys. I have always wanted a skeleton key. My best childhood friend lived in an old house with old-fashioned locks, and I always wished I had the keys...Of course, I was also convinced that house had a secret passageway (and I haven't completely changed my mind about that...shh!). Old garden tools ($1 each!) with layers of chipped blue and green paint. They will eventually end up decorating the outside of the house. Either on the back deck (whenever we get it built) or the front porch. Of course, I need to find my scrap wood before I can work on that project. It has mysteriously disappeared. Maybe it's still in my brother-in-law's garage.
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Today we had a rather busy day puttering around the house. KD built a step that was needed in the back yard, put up shelves in the garage and organised the stuff in there. Meanwhile, I changed all the locks (front door, back door, and garage). It was about time, since it is now warm enough to have the door open long enough to get the job done without freezing the house. I also put up hooks in the back entryway, and it is so nice to have a place for KD to put his pocket-stuff when he comes in the door rather than having it on the kitchen counter. And a place for our coats is nice...we're not good at using hangers regularly for our coats. It feels great to have some things crossed off the endless and ever-growing to-do list. Ok, I can't see the keyboard anymore, so I'll either have to turn on the light or get off the computer.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Perfect Family

We had our 20-week ultrasound on Wednesday. Oh, it was so sweet to see the baby's face and hands and feet and heart and spine and...ahem, well...IT'S A BOY! And it looks like he'll be a hockey fan like JK already is.

I have been referring to the baby as "he" for the entire pregnancy, and teaching JK to say "baby brother". But I can't say that I knew his gender like I did with JK. It was more just having fun thinking of something different. That said, there were several old-wives-tales that slowly started to convince me that we were having a boy this time. For one thing, I'm still getting sick occasionally and I'm still having migranes. With JK, both symptoms stopped more than a month earlier in the pregnancy. For another, this baby's heart rate is faster than JK's was. 150-160 bpm. JK's was 140.

Anyway, since telling friends and family, there has been a comment that bothers me. Since we will have a girl and a boy, a couple of people have said "Now you'll have a perfect family!" While I know both people only wish us the best and are thrilled for us, I can't help but be annoyed. Was our one-child family imperfect before? Would having two girls make our family imperfect? I am not the type of person to stress about wanting a particular gender, though I do understand those who do have that desire. I am quite certain that I would have been just as happy with all boys or all girls.

Each type of family has wonderful blessings, and to me, each type is perfect. My perfect family just happens to have one girl and one boy so far.

PS: If the people who made the comment read this, don't feel bad. I really did take your comments in the kind and loving spirit they were meant! My annoyance is not directed at you or your comments, but rather at society's view of "perfection". You know, the mom-dad-boy-girl model. Love you!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Getting Excited about Landscaping

Yesterday was a gorgeous day. In fact, so is today! KD, JK, and I sat on the lawn (the dry part) talking about our ideas for what we want to do with the yard. I have never had a blank-slate of a garden to work with before, and it's a bit intimidating...especially when I think about the cost! We definitely want to build a fence and plant trees this year. We may end up also building a deck and putting in pathways too. Depends on how much time KD has. I won't be much help this year. Our yard slopes away from the house, and the backyard faces north, so it will be a bit tricky. I'm not sure where the best sun will be for everything. After this summer I will have a better idea of what will work where. I'm taking a landscaping course next month, but I'm not sure I will get more than very basic instruction, since it's only one two-hour class. Click on the picture to see my notes better.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Jasper's New Friend

Finally, here is the promised post about Jasper's new friend. When we were waiting for hours in the emergency room the first time for KD's still-mysterious pain, JK and I took a walk though the hospital to distract her from being cranky and tired. The gift shop was having an inventory clearance, and while there were several nice things I saw, this little red iron bird caught my eye. She was 25% off, but even then her price was twice what I paid for Jasper. So I left her, and JK and I continued wandering around the hospital. But on the way back, I decided that $13 is still a good price for a solid iron bird. Jasper is hollow, so that could be why he cost less. So I bought the red one. I know she's definitely a she, and I think her name is Lori (sounds like the last syllables of the hospital's name).
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Yesterday JK was "helping" KD clean up the garage and fix the car. She followed him around like a little duckling. Don't worry, the car didn't actually go anywhere with JK sitting in the front seat...it just kept her out of the way. Poor JK is still sick. She spent half the night coughing. So we have another doctor's appointment tomorrow. In the meantime we stayed home from church so she doesn't infect all the other toddlers in the nursery, and she's having a nap. I give her "tea" to help with the coughing: warm water, milk, and honey. She loves it. And this is what I look like these days. I am currently 19 weeks pregnant, and feeling huge!