Saturday, 29 September 2012

Barn Sale Saturday

In August I found a listing on Kijiji for a barn sale.  I've always wanted to go to one...well, ever since I started reading home decor blogs and found out that they existed.  I couldn't go to the August one, but I emailed anyway asking if this was a one-time thing or if they have regular sales.  It turns out they do, so they put me on their mailing list.

Their last sale of the season is this weekend, so I knew I had to go.  It's located south of Sherwood Park, and Juli was invited to her friend's dance class in Sherwood Park for today, so it was simply Providential, I thought.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to find it, since google maps would have sent me way into the country.  But I decided to just follow the directions I was given and trust I'd end up somewhere.  I knew I couldn't get irrevocably lost, and it was a beautiful day for a drive in the country side.

We ended up exactly where I wanted to go, driving slowly along a beautiful curvy "country residential" road. Pulling in to the driveway that the "antiques" signs were pointing to, all I saw was a house.  No barn.  Then I noticed this skinny little path  It looked more like a walking path than a road!  It had drifts of golden leaves covering it, and it felt like sacrilege to drive on it.

Once through, we found a cute little barn in a clearing.  I chatted with one of the women putting on the sale, and Juli and I browsed through all the rooms (stalls?).  I saw many many things I could buy, although nothing jumped out at me and made me take it home.  But that's ok.

We didn't leave empty-handed.  The woman I was talking to gave Juli this little vintage doll.  Personally, I think she's rather ugly, but Juli likes her.  She (the doll) has now been thoroughly febreezed! I'd appreciate any tips on further cleaning this rather musty little doll.

I found a few treasures elsewhere today too.  At a garage sale we stopped at on the way to dance, I found a crocheted lace bed skirt, which may or may not fit our bed.  And then we stopped at a used book store (Bookworm on Athabascan Ave in Sherwood Park) where I found a 1940s copy of Anne's House of Dreams, and a 1960 copy of Little House in the Big Woods (I've been wanting to start reading this to the kids).

So I had a lovely day!  If anyone in the Edmonton area wants details of the sale, click to check out the ad.  It runs 'til 4:00 today, then 10am - 3pm on Sunday Sept. 30.  I thought the prices were quite reasonable, much lower than I've seen in the city for similar items.  I'm looking forward to their first spring sale!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Book Review: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

I didn't know it was even possible for me to be even more freaked out by sharks than I already was.  Then I read Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  This is not a book about sharks.  But did you know you can fend off a shark by glaring at it and punching it in the nose?  That's what Louie Zamperini did and this biography is about him.

Unbroken traces Louie's life as an unruly, fighting, and thieving child through his years as a talented Olympic athlete, and into his war years as a bombardier on sketchy barely-flyable aircraft.  What happens next is horrifying (the sharks. Etc.).  And what happens after that is even worse.  Then it gets into hellish-territory as it describes Louie's life as a prisoner of war in Japan.

But in spite of the numerous horrors described, the book is full of hope.  The underlying theme throughout Louie's experiences is to hold on to dignity and hope and humanity, no matter the cost.  That is what kept me turning pages long after I should have been asleep every night.

At points, the story does get bogged down in the historical and technical details that the author included.  Of course those details are fascinating, but the character's story was so riveting that I wanted to get back to it as quickly as possible.  One could split this book up into a technical history of the Pacific side of WWII and a narrative memoir and both books would be excellent.  Although perhaps the one about Louie's experiences would be a bit too intense if it didn't have the history to break it up!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Princess TuTu Centrepieces

The fall event for our church's women's ministries was on Saturday.  As I have for the past 2 or 3 years, I decorated the tables.  The event had a princess theme, so I departed from the usual autumn colours and went with Cinderella colours: blue and gold.  I got the tutu idea weeks before hearing about the event's theme when I saw the glitter tulle for sale at Marshall's Fabric.  I couldn't resist it!  Although my home and person required a thorough de-glittering when I was done.  I had to go back and buy more tulle.  At which point I discovered they didn't have enough of the Cinderella blue.  So half the centrepieces had teal and gold tutus instead.  And I was running out of time so I began tying two strips on at a time, which gave a less stripey look that I liked better, although the knots weren't quite as pretty.

This was the quickest set up I've ever done!  Usually it takes me two to three hours, but this time I left the kids at home with Kevin and got it done in less than an hour!

Photo by my lovely friend Heidi.
What I wore: This is my H&M uniform: jeans and top.  I quite like that top!
It's an off-white shimmery batwing t-shirt thing.
I also wore my leopard print flats, a necklace by Orange Avocado,
a bracelet by Peacock and Lime, and a Pandora bracelet.

pleated poppy

Also linked at Get Outta My Head Please

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Time I Almost Stole a Muffin

After an early-morning-post-kindergarten-drop-off stop at the grocery store, my little hero and I decided to walk across the parking lot to get a little treat: a chai latte for me and an oatmeal rhubarb muffin for him.  In the coffee shop, we unintentionally cut in front of someone who was kind of in line, but still undecided.  So I paid, and we were waiting for the latte when I suddenly realised that I didn't have the muffin in my hands.  I know I had seen the cashier put it in a paper bag and on the counter.  I know I had considered letting Nick hold it while we waited.

"Nick, where's your muffin?"  I looked at him, around him, and behind the chair he was sitting on, but it wasn't there.  I looked on the counter, on the floor, in my hands again, and couldn't find it anywhere!  So after I got my chai, I asked the cashier if I had forgotten it on the counter.  She just got me another one, for which I thanked her profusely before the little guy and I headed out back across the parking lot.  I let him dawdle, holding my hand, and we eventually made our way back to the van.

At which point I discovered the first muffin in my purse.

Apparently I should not attempt to purchase anything too early in the morning! Ok, so it wasn't that early.  8:45 or so.  I considered just driving home and paying for it the next time I happened to be there.  Knowing my forgetful tendencies, and that knowledge had just been thoroughly reinforced, I was sure I wouldn't remember.  So I buckled my son into his seat (keeping firm hold of my keys as I shut the door!), then drove back over to the cafe.

I'm surprised that I wasn't blushing or feeling embarrassed as I paid for my stolen muffin!  I guess I've just had so many similar moments that I've gotten used to my own flakiness.

(By the way, Good Earth Cafe makes the best chai latte this side of Kicking Horse.)

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Ontario Stone Houses

The first time I went to Ontario from Alberta as a 20-year-old newlywed, I fell in love with the old houses that dotted the countryside.  The drive from one small town to the other to visit family gave me much eye candy, from huge wood-frame Queen Annes, to brick farmhouses (some even sporting patterns in red and tan house was chevronned and another was plaid.)  But the ones I loved the best were the little one and a half storey stone houses.  They always had a pretty door centred at the front, with one window on either side, and a smaller window above the front door in a gable.  Sometimes the upstairs window is round, arched, or oval instead of the usual rectangle.

I don't know what it is about these houses that I love.  I've never been inside one.  I suppose I love the combination of history, symmetry, and permanence they represent.  While a wooden house, if not lived in and loved, will rot and decay, the bones of a stone house will last for centuries, barring an earthquake or a  catapult.

These pictures are from the realtor website,  Click on either picture to go to the listing.  Every so often I love to browse the site and see what's new.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Our Home: Fall To Do List

Aside from the deep-cleaning this house needs, these are the tasks on my list to make this house prettier and more functional.  Once I finish the table centrepieces for Saturday, my editing for November (self-imposed deadline, October 1st), and get a good start on the posts for October's blog series.  This list does not include things I want to do to the furniture.  Items 1-3 are the only ones Kevin fully supports.

  1. Finish the hole-in-the-wall cupboard.  Ever since Kevin built the shelf and made it usable, I've kind of ignored it.  I can see in my mind's eye exactly what I want it to look like, but I'm a little bit clueless about how to make it happen.
  2. Repair holes in the walk-in-closet wall left from moving the wire shelving.
  3. Patch and paint ensuite bathroom
  4. Paint the master bedroom
  5. Paint the stairwell.  This will require either scaffolding, or a very tall ladder.
  6. Replace the main floor furnace vent covers.  The textured white plastic was a rather ridiculous choice for the high-traffic areas at the front and back doors.  I'd like to get some kind of brownish brushed metal to blend with the tile.
  7. Clean the packing tape residue off the laminate floors where I taped the furnace vent covers in place when the kids were smaller.
I'm sure there are some things I'm forgetting.  What are some of the things on your home's to-do list?

Monday, 17 September 2012

A Blue Bed for a Little Boy

Last weekend I finally dragged my son's bed out to the garage so I could paint it.  I wanted it to match the dresser.  Why waste most of a quart of paint, right?  Now I'm wondering what else needs to be blue!  I've put off taking pictures for a few days because it's such a tiny tiny bedroom almost impossible to photograph, and has a lot of faults.  And apparently because my little guy has become a photobomber.  He's lucky he's so cute.

I've never actually shown pictures of this room, not even when it was done up for the nursery.  It was pretty cute then, but not too much different than it is now.

My husband made these narrow shelves out of spare 1x4s for me back when I was decorating the nursery.  I figured little boys need places to display their treasures and hot-wheels, right?  He's not quite big enough to want to leave treasures in one place, so until then I've filled them with some of my treasures.

Such as this painting by my dad.  As far as I know it's the only painting he ever did.  At least the only one I've seen.  It's rather beat up, but I love it.  When I was a kid I thought it was a shame that it wasn't named, so I wrote on the back "The Shepherd's Dream" or something like that.

The little airplane painting below it was done by my husband's nanny.  His poppa owned that plane, so I think it's special that we have a painting of it.

This picture shows how I hung the shelves.  The ones that are above eye-level have the brackets on the top instead.

This room needs:
  • Curtains to replace the long heavy brown ones that the kids pulled down along with the curtain rod.
  • A proper bed skirt instead of the red-striped fabric I tucked between the mattress and box spring to see how it looked.
  • Fresh paint (probably not going to happen for a very long time...this room is on the very bottom of the list)

Also linked at Get Outta My Head Please

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Sparkly Hearts

I always want to do something fun on my nails, but I don't have a very steady hand.  I came across this Big Heart Nails tutorial and I thought I'd give it a try!  I didn't have a nail art pen to do the outline, but I think it looks pretty anyway.  For the top coat I used some iridescent sparkly polish.  The purple and nude/pink are from an cheap duo I got at H&M.

By the way, is there any boyish thing that would be equivalent to the girly fun of painting fingernails?  My son feels so left out!

Friday, 14 September 2012

My Worst Parenting Fear

Today one of my worst self-inflicted parenting horrors came true.  I had to go down town to pick up a walker for my mom.  We made it there all right, got the walker and went back out to the van, with me holding the baby on one hip and dragging the walker behind me with my 3-year-old's "help."  I fumbled around for my keys to unlock the van.  At that point I realised I had left my purse in the waiting room.  So the three of us and the walker trekked back into the building and down the stairs to fetch my purse.

Back out at the van, I unlocked the doors, buckled the baby into her seat, tucked the walker into the passenger seat, stopped my boy from running into traffic, and buckled him securely into his car seat.  Exhausted yet relieved to have the down town portion of our day nearly finished, I slid the back door closed, then pulled on the handle of the driver's door.  It was locked.  I tried the back door again, knowing that it would be locked too.

There I was, banging my head on the van and uttering all the worst words I know.  Words like "frick!" and "darn!" and "crumb!"  My cell phone innocently rested in the cup holder instead of in my pocket.  I wondered if I could find a phone to use somewhere inside.  Gone are the days of payphones on every corner, and besides, my purse was locked in the van too.

Cupping my hands on either side of my face to block the light, I peered through the tinted window.  The two little kids stared back at me.  I'm sure they were wondering what on earth I was doing out there.  "Nick!" I shouted through the glass to my 3-year-old, "Take off your buckles!"  He looked at me.  I couldn't hear him, but it looked like he said, "Can't, Mommy!"  

"You can do it!  Squeeze harder!  Use your muscles!"  I kept yelling encouragement at him.  He squeezed those buckles with all his might.  They remained fastened.  "Can't." He said again.

"Nick!  I'll give you ice cream if you take off your buckles and unlock the door!"  Even with such incentive, Nick couldn't do it.  My mind kept running to all the things I had left to do, not the least of which was picking up my mom from the hospital in Leduc and taking her home.  I did not have time to wait for someone to come unlock this door!

"Nick, look at me."  I had to try again.  "If you don't take off your buckles and unlock the door I'm going to be stuck out here forever.  Now try again."  The poor boy looked like he was about to cry, but he worked on the top buckle.  I cheered him on, earning strange looks from passers-by who no doubt were wondering why I was leaning against the van yelling.

Finally he got one buckle undone!  "Unlock the door, Nick!  Reach it!"  He now could reach the lock even though the bottom buckle was still securely fastened.  But his tiny little fingers couldn't pull it up!  "Keep trying Nick!  You can be a super hero!"

Thunk! went the lock.  I opened the door cheering and congratulating my strong boy!  And he burst into tears.  I think the stress was just too much.  So we cuddled a bit until he remembered that I had promised him ice cream.  Which I was happy to buy for my little hero.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Signs of Fall (Inspired by Better Homes and Gardens)

Better Homes and Gardens asked people to post "signs of fall" pictures on their Facebook wall.  I posted one, but couldn't stop there!  So I pulled up these pictures from our 2010 trip to Ontario for Thanksgiving.  I'm sad that I didn't get any pictures of the red maples!  It wasn't a good year for the red colour.

This fall the leaves are just starting to turn yellow.  I hope we get a nice long magnificent fall like last year.  I have some red colour in my back yard thanks to an Amur Maple shrub.