May 28, 2017
Our landscape artist brought over our plan
a few weeks ago for our final approval.
She worked magic with our blank slate.
And now we have ideas to fill our space.
It's likely going to take us 4 or 5 years to
finish all that we hope to create in the garden.
I'm sure it will be worth the wait.
Until then, I continue to dream ....
.... but hopefully not too soon and not
on our sweet little cottage ....
A big wind storm in our region the other
day uprooted this tree a bit. We're very
concerned but thankfully, the last few
days have been super dry and very warm.
The Arborist is coming out tomorrow to
let us know if it needs to come down. We
are pretty sure it will need to. They'll also
then let us know when they can take it down.
Have you ever had to take down a falling tree?
Where you sad to see it go or happy it won't fall?
May 27, 2017
We're in the beginning stages of our landscaping
and have decided we'd like to have a garden shed
to store items like the snow blower, lawnmower
and all my gardening tools. The garage is big but
we want to keep it sparse ~ it houses two cars
and will soon be the home of a workshop for my
dh. So a shed is now on our list and worked into
our frugal budget. Now we have a big decision.
This first shed is from Costco. It is made from Resin
and appears to be sturdy. We like the look and it can
be painted if we choose to match it to the color of
the house. I'd put window boxes on. The only worry
is that Resin can in time wear down. And crack and
break. Will it hold the snow load in the Winter?
Our second choice is this one that a lovely family is
selling because they are moving. It's about $300 less
than the other one but we'd have to hire a company to
deliver. So price will be roughly the same for either.
It's made of solid wood and looks brand new when
we popped over to look. Their is a large door on the
side for getting large items in. We'd paint it to match
the house. The sturdiness for snow load in the cold
Winter months would be much better. And our sweet
landscape artist did suggest we find a "quaint" shed.
What one is more appealing for a vintage look?
Which one would you choose if you have to decide?
May 23, 2017
May 22, 2017
There are so many things I love about our kitchen but
the island is truly my favorite ~ I smile at it often.
We've never had an island. Our kitchens have always
been so small in the past. Now that we have space, I
can't imagine how we survived trying to make meals
for a big family in such tiny spaces. We did it but it
makes me appreciate my new roominess even more.
Above is a shot of a kitchen island with two brackets.
We ended up overhanging out countertops but didn't
know what we wanted to do to trim it out, so we left
it until we could decide. I found a set of brackets, like
the ones above that are perfect in style but are a bit
fragile. Made out of a material that I was worried would
break if our little guy was too rough with pushing his
chair back in one day, so we squashed that idea. I may
use them for a wall idea so have tucked them away. The
countertop is granite, so it's super heavy but it doesn't
need any extra support on the overhang as it's not really
a big piece on that side. What we want to do is add in
a decorative look and the picture above is our idea.
A few weeks ago while we were shopping, we stopped
in at our local "re use" shop and found two columns.
They're old and banged up but that's the look we're
going for. And if our little guy bangs them up more,
no one will be the wiser. We filled a few holes and
will sand them down. Then a few coats of creamy
ivory chalk paint and we'll be set to go. I'm looking
forward to adding this decorative touch to the island.
And happy that we can do it on a budget. Each column
was $10 (marked down from $20), we already had
the wood filler and the paint. A "not too hard" project
on a limited but wise budget. Pictures to follow soon.
Mother's Day this year was quiet, just the way
it should be. I was spoiled with brekky in bed.
And ended the day with a rainbow cake. So truly
yummy. Thoughtful gifts that were abundant, notes
full of love from my children and shared posts
from many dear friends. The only thing that was
missing was my mom. She is living with dementia
at this time in her life and she was so mixed up for
the day that we all agreed to try another time. Today
we'll pick her up when we are in the big City and
bring her home for dinner and gift tonight. I truly
hope it goes well. She did call us at 6:00 a.m. this
morning asking why we hadn't picked her up yet
but at least she hasn't cancelled yet. Fingers crossed
it all goes well today. I wish I could have her back.
I really miss my mom the way she was ....
May 13, 2017
And this is only the half of it. The rest
is all set up in the turret, waiting for
my paint brush and my attention. A
big task but one I love to tackle. This
is a mix of old vintage pieces and very
brand new. In the end, they'll all have a
sweet look and I hope they sell well.
If not, they'll look great in our house.
A small update on the status of our Antique Mall
Booth that we were recently offered from our
favorite AM. We officially signed our contract
last week and paid our deposit to seal the deal.
Our move in date is Thursday, June 1st, 2017.
Now we're busy gathering items that we have in
storage and deciding how our booth will look. I
found this sweet and very solid cabinet at one
of the local charity shops. It was $75 but then
marked down to $60. It has a light in the roof,
a mirrored back wall and a glass shelf. This will
work well for any items we'd like to showcase
that are needing to be in a secure spot. The only
thing it lacked was a lock on each door. Once
my dh agreed it was just what we need, I paid,
then drove over to the local locksmith's shop.
After a half hour of work and just over $84
in fees, we now have a lock on both doors.
Our tiny budget for a cabinet was actually
$450 so I'm thankful we saved over $300.
I love how the locksmiths were so careful to
centre the locks so they look like they were
meant to be there all along. Now I have to
decide if I should leave it with the original
wood finish or chalk paint it a light color. I
like both choices, so I'll sleep on it tonight. So
many decisions. The rest of our booth will be
open cabinets. This will be the locked one.
Updates on our preparations for our booth, the
gathering of items, the setup and the opening soon.
The snow has finally disappeared and after
weeks of mud and dust, brown and muck,
we have a green landscape once again. It's
so exciting now to wake up each morning.
And even better to be driving home and
not being able to see our home through
the green of the trees. Light filters now
amongst the leaves and they dance in
the wind as it flows across our land. I
love this time of year when everything
finally blooms and grows. Soon we'll
have dots of pinks and purples all over
once the wildflower seeds start to open.
The shoots are up and soon the blooms.
May 1, 2017
Spring officially starts in March each year but with our mild winter, then "Sprinter" in April, we've had a bit of a delay to the beginning of our true Spring weather. Thankfully, things are quickly turning around. The snow is now gone, the buds are starting to appear and there is mud everywhere! I think over the next few days, with very warm winter predicated (temps between 14 degrees C and 22 degrees C), everything should dry up. No rain at all this week. I see some weeds starting to sprout in the garden and my first yard clean up will be to pick those first. Not my favorite job outside but I love what it looks like once the pesky weeds are gone. And then fresh dirt to plant.
Our landscape artist is visiting this afternoon with our final design and I'm really excited to see what she has in mind for our little country home. We asked for zones for a small playground for our grand babies, a gardening zone for our raised garden boxes, the fire pit zone so it's far enough from the house and trees to be safe, a zone for my dream English garden, and a central for our Gazebo to be erected and enjoyed. I have a vision in my head and am thankful that my dh shares this vision. Now to see it on paper and start the process of putting it in to place. We're thinking it will likely take 3 to 5 years before we really feel like it's all in place. But that's okay because as much as we've been able to set aside for this big project, I really don't want to let go of those funds all in one chunk.
After dropping my daughter off at school this morning, I did a bit of shopping, then headed home to do some tidying before the landscaper arrives. I've done 2 loads of laundry, emptied the dishwasher and put the breakfast dishes in, cleaned the small main floor bathroom, dusted, swept and washed the floors. I can't vacuum as my oldest dd worked a shift last night at the hospital, so she's sleeping today. Waking her up would not be a good thing! Now I'm ready for our guest and taking some time to flip through my notes and look for ideas of plants and trees we could plant that won't be eaten by the deer that love to visit our land. I want to live in harmony vs. keeping animals away but I also want to have a lovely landscape to enjoy and work on. I'll share pictures as we go.
I hope you have a wonderful first day of May and that your gardening dreams and plans are working out well. I'm off to read some inspiring blogs and go for a little walk in the warm sun before our guest arrives.
April 30, 2017
A word many of you are already familiar with.
I am very intrigued and today received a note from
our local library that the copy of one of the books
on this very trendy subject is in and waiting for me.
I'm excited to head off to the library tomorrow to
retrieve it and see if we are living a "Hygge" life.
Have you read any of the Hygge books?
If so, did you find your lifestyle fits already?
I'm enjoying this week's episode of "Call the Midwife"
at the moment. But I'm also having a very hard time
concentrating on the show. One of our beloved midwife's
died just over a week ago. Sudden and unexpected. She
died from complications arising from a planned surgery. I
still don't know all the details but know that we are all
sad. I truly hope her dear family knows that she will be
missed from our large birthing and parenting community.
A quick update on the progress of our "One Room Challenge" that we started last week. You may recall in my last post that we had decided to make our half bath on our main floor more cozy and not so "echoey" by adding in wallpaper. Well the paper arrived last Saturday and we started working on this very small space right away. First we took out the vanity, the measured out the height of the wallpaper section we wanted ~ in our case, we're only doing wallpaper on the upper half of each wall, with wainscotting on the lower half. In a few short hours, we had papered the walls and we're so happy with our choice. I've been dreaming about this since before we moved in.
Our wallpaper choice:
The next steps to complete this room include painting the vanity cabinet (I started this today), painting the lower walls, buying then installing the wood trim and the crown moulding, ordering the light fixture, reinstalling the vanity, hanging the light, hanging the mirror, hanging the towel rack and then a clean and we'll be all set to do our reveal. No pictures until then! But it's going well, so no need to worry. I can't wait to show this new space off. Hope you'll like it too. I promise it will be worth the long wait.
It was fairly sunny here today, until later
this afternoon. Then the sky got dark, the
clouds moved in and the rain fell. Not a
lot, just enough to make things wet again.
Then, as quick as it started, the rain stopped
and the sun came out. The wind died down
and all was well again. After a busy day, we
decided to go to bed early. And guess what
came back? The rain, the wind and the dark
clouds. The sound of rain is so cozy feeling.
Tonight, however, the rain is being drowned
out by the sound of ducks quacking. It's very
loud and actually keeping us awake right
now. Real world problems, I know. My dh
said he much prefers the sound of ducks vs.
the sound of cars going up and down the
street. I totally agree. I will take this "noise"
any day when it comes from nature around us.
We are so excited!! Our local Antique
Mall sent us a note this weekend that
a booth in the small size we have
requested would be available for us
for June 1st. Wow! We were expecting
to wait a year or more. It's not a done
deal yet as we have to go and see it but
it's a start. And it's on the main floor.
Wish us luck ....
.... for our gates. I can now truly say that the building of our home was the easy part. The "after" stuff has been the challenge! We had to wait for our fridge doors, we're waiting for our builder to return to fix some small but truly needing attention deficiencies and now we are "patiently" waiting for our driveway gates to be finally installed. It was supposed to happen last week and then the snow/raincame. Now it's drying up and today was to be the day. But our gate guy's son fell and ended up in ER with a head injury, so it may not happen at all today. I feel so bad for him but am also frustrated that delay after delay is now filling the space that became empty after the fridge fiasco .... I hope that it will go in this week as we need to start our landscaping and this is holding things up a bit. Once they are in, I know we'll be happy and also feel extra secure with the added measure of locking gates. We may even take a holiday one day now that our country home will be super secure. I'll update soon, I hope, with a picture or two of our gates, with the fleurs de lis on top.
In Canada, the deadline to file taxes is May 1st. Actually, it's April 30th but because this year, that day falls on a Sunday, they move it to the next business date. We filed last week and for the first time in our lives, we used a certified accountant. It was such an easy task to gather up all our documents and take them over. A week later, she called us with the results and then we went in to sign them off and they were sent. We should have our healthy refunds by next week in our bank account.
The reason we have switched to an accountant was because we ended up keeping our old house as an investment and now we are landlords. We were concerned about not doing our taxes right now that they are more complicated. And worried we'd have a big tax bill. Several people who also have rental properties have suggested to us that it's better not to report this income but we could not sleep at night if we did anything "under the table" so we sought out professional advice and are very happy with the end result. She worked her magic and not only do we not have to pay extra taxes but she got us both a healthy refund. Worth the time to visit with her and the fee to pay her to figure it all out. Way less stress. I do have the task today of reviewing my mom's return and pressing send and the same for our youngest son, both of whom asked if I could still do theirs this year. My mom I will continue to do her's for the rest of her life as it's simple. And my son is getting a lesson now on how to do his as he is the last of my kids to not yet do his own. It's time for him to finally learn and I'm happy to guide him so I can have this off my plate.
How was your Tax Season this year?
Did you have to pay or did you get a refund?
.... after more than a year of waiting, our
fridge doors are finally on the actual fridge.
It took so long because none of the guys
working on our house could figure out how
to get the fridge to be further back in the
cupboard that was created to "house"
the whole thing. And then they couldn't
figure out how to get the doors to be
open without hitting the sides of the
cupboards. So who do you think did do
all the figuring out, in less than 5 minutes
one day? Yes, that would be me .... I
ended up having to draw it out but in the
end, they "got it" and now we can finally
enjoy a completed kitchen after a very,
very long wait. Worth all the waiting stress.
Aka in our house as the "tea cupboard".
When we designed our house, we truly
wanted a spot to house our collection
of tea pots and cups, accessories and
our tea stash. Most homes that have a
spot between the dining room and the
kitchen refer to this area as the "butler's
pantry" but we had a different vision. I
think it quite suits our style and the extra
space down below is perfect for all my
additional china, serving platters, linens
and little knick knacks that are seasonal.
Do you have a "butler's pantry" or "tea cupboard"?
What do you store in yours if you do have one?
The same early morning light.
And a different favorite room.
Okay, so I have another favorite room. Actually
the whole house is my favorite after living in
many different houses over my life time. This
room, tucked away in our turret, houses what we
call our "writing room" and it fits well. A quiet spot
in a very noisy house. A bright spot to grow plants.
An inspiring spot to write letters and my book. A
encouraging spot to dream and plan. Just perfect.
The end of the day, with the sun streaming in through
all our windows, is a favorite time for me. But lately,
the early morning light has become a second favorite.
My dh captured this shot yesterday after he made up
our bed. I love the soft light, the quietness of the pic
and the warmth that is present. Our favorite room.
Do you love the evening light or the morning light?
Do you have a favorite room in your own home?
.... we hope! Our mild Winter produced just a bit of
snow but Spring made up for the lack of white stuff.
Last weekend in the country. I truly hope now that
this is all melted that we are officially and finally
done with Winter. We need to get our landscaping
down and our gardens planted. Fingers crossed ....
We went for a walk last night and came
across more pussy willows at our acreage.
They are still small but budding well and
so very soft. Love finding these each year.
How is Spring coming along in your area?
Do you have sweet pussy willows to pick?
I wake up every morning in pain and it's really starting to make me mad. I have an issue with both my hips and this means pain on waking, pain after sitting, pain when bending and pain while even sleeping. Makes for one very tired mama. I tolerate pain but this in way too intense
Heat helps so I start with a hot shower each day and a dose of ibuprofen. My dh heats up my rice bags and those help a bit as well. Once our art studio is all done and we can put our Bow Flex back together, I'll get back to using that each day to stretch out the muscles. Our yoga classes were postponed while our teacher moves to a new location and that was really helping. So yesterday I dug out the dvd we used to use and we'll will start again tomorrow with this very valuable, comforting and healing practice. Wish me luck that this gets better very soon.
April 29, 2017
With the blue sky today, I'm starting to dream about
having a real garden this year. We've lived in mud
for the last year and a bit but we keep dreaming that
soon, very soon, we'll be able to start planting. Isn't
this the most amazing garden scape? I can almost
smell the scent from all those flowers. Dreaming ....
Very happy to wake up to sunny blue skies today. After more than a week of clouds full of snow then rain, this bright sky is truly a welcome sight.
Yesterday was one of those days when I just wanted to crawl back in to bed and pull the covers over my head and forget about the world. A few little things added up to a feeling of despair. I felt hopeless. I felt discouraged. Enraged even. Our organization that we started 20 years ago is in need of funds to expand our centre. We've been actively writing grants and seeking dollars and some of our efforts have been successful, including one quite large grant that will truly help in our progress. But one grant that we had not written for over 10 years was not successful and it really brought me down. Not because we were turned down ~ I actually didn't have any hope that we would get it because of past attempts (hence why we hadn't written one for so long). It was the off wording in our rejection letter that really took my day down. First it was not addressed to me properly (over sight, not a big deal) but then details about our centre and who were are were very incorrect and that made me so angry. They didn't listen during our long presentation to the committee because if they had, they'd understand what it is we do. We were very clear and articulate (they told us so) but to see what is written was maddening. On Monday, I'll have to inform my Board of Directors and I'm sure they'll want me to do some follow up to correct the misconceptions of what is written and obviously what they have decided we do. Wish me luck! They will not be happy at all. Discouraged for sure.
April 23, 2017
We've been a bit busy in our kitchen lately
creating sweet little treats for our bird visitors.
There are many recipes on the 'Net so I won't
post any here. We found a super easy one and
even had our grandson help out. So far, we've
put 4 outside on a tree and the birds and I'm sure,
the squirrels have thoroughly enjoyed these sweet
treats. More will be hung sometime later this week.
Every year on our sweet boy's birthday, we
celebrate the brief moments we had with him.
Losing a baby is an extremely helpless experience
and there is nothing we can do to make this better.
But for one day each year, we can share, laugh,
cry and remember his birthday. We can wish
for all the things we would have loved to
have done with him. The future we didn't get
and the past that is empty of memories. We
say his name every day and we talk about
him often but it's his birthday that makes us
smile at the same time that it makes us so
very sad. We are thankful for our family
and our caring baby loss community who
do not turn their backs on our grief and our
love for a sweet tiny boy named Bretton.
April 17, 2017
For a while now, we've been thinking about leasing a booth at our local Antique Mall. For the two of us, it's not so much about making money, though that would be great. It's more about an outlet for the fun we have in searching for "treasures." We love to venture out to local thrift stores and sometimes even a garage sale or two. But there really is nothing we need. Our home is filled with people, love and just the right amount of treasures that we've had fun finding and restoring or gathering. We truly do not wish to clutter our home. We love the open, airy feeling we have created. Having a booth would give us "permission" if you will to continue to hunt for treasures but not for our home ~ to fill our booth with treasures for others to buy. Smart idea for the "hunting" fun we have.
Because we love to do projects, a booth would be an experience the two of us could work on together. B loves to restore and refinish furniture. I have now perfected the art of chalk painting. I sew and have some ideas for creative items to make to sell. We have items we've collected over the years that we're ready to part with. So on the weekend, we applied for a booth at the mall. We knew the wait list is at least a year, so we've settled in for the wait. But excited that down the road, we'll have a little place to fill and restock and dream about. We've talked to a few vendors at this mall and they are impressed with the staff, the owners and the ongoing, consistent advertising and promotions to attract customers. It's always busy there and the fact the wait list is long is a good sign. Looking forward to our project!
Do you enjoy Antique Mall shopping?
Have you ever had or considered a booth?
April 16, 2017
April 15, 2017
I've been so intrigued by the post of
many bloggers who use chalk paint.
We've gathered a number of pieces of
old furniture over the years, some of
which is not in the best shape. It's
time to give "new life" to these pieces.
But first I had to learn how to make
then use real chalk paint as a medium.
My first piece to tackle: our original
dining room hutch. We ended up getting
this for free as the company messed up
and instead of picking it up, they just
refunded us our money. We didn't
argue, so it was a win~win for all.
Glass doors taken off the hutch and doors
and drawers removed from the base.
I found many recipes and the first one I
tried mixed up very nicely, so smooth.
Now it's time to paint and now the anxiety
begins to build in my little body and my mind.
First coat goes on nice and smooth.
It's not so bad. I kinda like this.
One more coat and then we'll try our
hand at the waxing. This part is going
to be tricky but we might chalk paint
an old board just to practice the process.
Have you gathered old pieces over the years?
Have you ever used chalk paint to refinish furniture?