Sunday, August 17, 2014

is it over yet?

pink tile!

We are now in our last week in this house. Things are changing quickly. The front and backyard gardens have been dismantled. The chickens and their coop now have a new home (Thank you Alyson!). Boxes have begun piling up around the house. Some are filled, some are empty and have been turned into rocket ships and houses. Some of the empty boxes that were taped have been cut open because it turns out I shouldn't have packed the cornstarch so early, or the dill! Meals have gotten unappealing with the combination of hot weather and packing. We are on a steady diet of rotisserie chickens from the grocery store, sausage, beans and rice, take-out, frozen peas, and occasionally a salad. I miss eating real food. My husband is remodeling the kitchen in the new house and we won't have all of the appliances when we move in (or possibly a sink or counter tops), so the take-out parade will continue for another week or two I fear.

I'm very excited to have a new dishwasher and a new refrigerator. I've lived in rentals since I was six, which never had nice appliances. The shelf in the door of our current rental fridge was broken when we moved in and still is. I'm still deciding on a stove. Ultimately I want a dual-fuel range with gas on top and an electric oven. However, running gas to the kitchen would blow our budget so we're going to save that upgrade for the future. I've been toying with getting a vintage electric stove but it might be more hassle than it is worth.

We are all going a little batty with this transition. My husband has been putting in long hours working on the new house and I've been putting in long hours solo parenting. I've been staying up late packing and then getting woken up super early by my youngest. Yesterday morning we started our day at 4. This morning he wanted to get up at 2. He finally fell back to sleep at 4. Crossing my fingers for a better night tonight!

I had to include one shot of the new house. I've been holding off posting photos of it until I get time to compile all of the before and after shots. It was painted such crazy colors and now it is just so beautiful. The bathroom is the only room we really aren't doing much to right now. I love the vintage pink tile! Can you believe the previous owners painted the inside of the medicine cabinet maroon? They made so many strange design choices in this house.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

morning in our new backyard

The kids and I stopped by the new house this morning so I could take some measurements for new curtains. I'm thinking of making roman shades for the bedrooms, and I'll need to make them soon before I pack up all of my sewing supplies. They enjoyed running around while screaming and listening to the deafening echo in the empty space. As soon as the last measurement was taken they burst out the back door into the yard. The house is on .26 acres which means there's a lot of yard to explore.

While they gathered hazelnuts and sorted rocks I started taking inventory of the flora there. There are at least four ornamental cherry trees and three magnolias. It is going to be so gorgeous in the spring! The honeysuckle is so sweet smelling and the wild blackberries are delicious. There are too many oak trees to count and at least two hazelnut trees. I foresee many nut-based craft projects in the future. There are also rhododendrons, camellias, lilacs, roses, ivy, nightshade, morning glory, mint, and lots and lots of dandelions.

We are pretty sure that the previous owners were hippies. They had a large teepee in the backyard. No, they didn't leave it, just a huge patch of gravel where it stood with a fire pit in the center. There was also a cow skull up in a tree and some mandala-based art. They also left the woven dome structure that is getting covered with morning glory. I like it, despite it feeling a bit Blair Witch Project to me.

The playhouse is such a wonderful bonus to our new home. In a couple of months I won't need to worry about them falling off the ladder and it will provide lots and lots of fun. It will be great for sleepovers when they're older, a guest house if we have an adventurous guest, or even an art studio. So many possibilities!

Monday, August 4, 2014

an eventful weekend

Right after my last blog post (about 7 weeks ago) we put an offer on a house. It was a complicated process. We backed out once, then were enticed back with an offer of adding a new gas furnace. It all felt so fragile - like it could fall through at any moment - and I felt like if I mentioned it on here it would definitely not happen. I guess I'm a bit superstitious. And of course the house was pretty much the only thing I could think about, so I didn't update this blog at all. But now I'm here to announce that last thursday we became homeowners! It is small, less than 1000 sq ft, and exactly what we were hoping for. Soon enough I'll start posting renovation photos, but I thought it would be nice to capture some of my favorite parts of our current home before we start packing and it turns into a mess. I'd post photos of the garden, but I stopped watering it a few weeks ago in anticipation of moving and now it's pretty much dead, except for some very determined tomatoes.

Since we are doing some serious downsizing, I've started to get ruthless about my possessions. I have moved my Domino and Blueprint magazine collections to multiple houses. I thought about selling them on ebay, but then realized that it would be so much better to cut them up and use them for decorating inspiration. The house we bought definitely needs some serious help in the aesthetics department. Once I got over feeling like I was ruining them I really enjoyed going back through them. Some of them are 10 years old and they're still so good. Now I just have to find the time to make the inspiration boards for each room. We'll see...

So thursday we got the keys to our new house, and friday my 20 year high school reunion weekend started. I went to my 10th, which was fun, but this one was really great. I don't live in the same town that I grew up in, but I'm only a thirty minute drive away. I've consistently kept in touch with only one friend from high school, Courtney (who has a new book coming out this month!), so I knew I was going to see a lot of faces from the past. It was so wonderful to reconnect with people that I hadn't seen in so long. There was a handful of us that had known each other since kindergarten! Most of us had drifted apart by the time we were in high school, but it was so nice to see them again and think about how we were the ages our children are now when we met way back then. It was also really interesting to catch up with people that I always wanted to know more but never got the chance to. High school is a funny place. It was so great to be surrounded by everyone and feel such warmth and happiness. I'm actually sad the weekend is over. I didn't expect to feel this way.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

small home living?

i've been thinking a lot about what kind of house we want to buy. not only what kind of house, but also in what neighborhood. for our price range, our options are to get a small house (right around 1000 sq ft) in a great neighborhood (where we currently live) or a bigger house (1200-1700 sq ft, with probably more than one bathroom!) in a much less charming neighborhood. the less charming neighborhood is less neighborhood-like, with chain restaurants and convenience stores nearby. the school also rates much lower than the school in our current neighborhood. i would rather live in a small house in a great neighborhood than a bigger house in a not as great neighborhood. i started making a pro/con list today for living in a small house.

pro: less time to clean, less energy to heat/cool, more time spent together, less money to improve aspects of the house such as new windows, roof, etc., less space means less stuff/things/materialism

con: less room for our various hobbies (sewing, canning, beer brewing, art making), less room for stuff could mean too much stuff everywhere (see my messy stack of books above. i'm terrible at organizing and maintaining clean surfaces, but my husband is great at it.)

one of our requirements is to find a place with three bedrooms. we would have a room, the kids would share a room, and we'd have a craft room. right now the craft room is downstairs and it is huge. it's 2-3 times the size of a small bedroom. we also want a place with a big enough lot that we could build a studio in the back for when the kids are older and need their own rooms, thus kicking us out of the third bedroom.

jessica, a good friend of one of my good friends, has started a lovely blog about living in a small home called Sunday Peaches. i love how she reminds us that many people living in other countries live in very small spaces and don't think it is strange at all, unlike here. she is one of my big inspirations for small home living. her instagram feed is one of my favorites. she and her husband and their three boys have been living in a 2 bedroom 735 sq ft house for the last six years! now they are adding on to their house a bit, but still only expanding to 1200 sq ft. if a family of five can live in 735 then our family of four should be fine in 1000, right?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

mother's day

we'd had plans to have my mom over for brunch or dinner to celebrate mother's day last sunday, but gianna came down with a cold. we didn't want to give her the sniffles along with our love, so we decided to postpone. then sunday morning, after a delicious breakfast (my husband made waffles, bacon and mimosas!) i had a brilliant idea and decided to go out with just my mom. my gracious husband happily wrangled the kids while i was out. my mom and i looked at sewing machines, fabric, and had lunch. it was the first time she and i had done something just that was just the two of us since i was pregnant with gianna, over 4 years ago. it felt like a vacation. then i returned home to antics with the umbrella outside, a bit of gardening, and an amazing pizza dinner. i love my little family and am so happy to be sharing my life with them.

the next evening, continuing my adventures outside the house without my kids, i met anna downtown in the evening to hear my favorite illustrator, heather ross, read from her new book. it was glorious. the evening was gorgeous, it wasn't crowded, she was funny, real, and very nice. she told me she once had a goat named Cassie, so she drew a goat as a part of the inscription to my book. she gave away little prints, info about her next fabric collection, and fabric swatches - which ran out right before anna and i got up to the table. at least i'll be able to buy some in july. i'm planning on using fabric from her last collection (briar rose) and the next collection (far far away) to make a quilt for each of my kids when we move them into a room together. it was a very inspiring evening. this book is a memoir and i can't wait to find a moment to dive into it.

Friday, April 25, 2014

during nap time

today during nap time i decided to air out the house. i turned off the heat and opened the windows. the heavy rain outside was the soundtrack to my quiet morning activities.

i sliced potatoes and put them in a saltwater bath. there they will stay until dinner when they will be tossed with oil and tossed into a hot oven. then they will accompany pork chops and asparagus for a hearty, yet fresh spring meal. perfect for a rainy friday night. maybe we'll even build a fire in the fireplace.

before nap time i dropped by my favorite bakery to pick up another springtime rite of passage, a rhubarb danish. eaten with a steaming cup of tea and the chilly, wet breeze from the open window. so perfect.

and now nap time is coming to an end. time to walk the little one up - so he'll go to bed at a reasonable hour - and get ready for the big one to come home. she's out seeing her very first theater performance, a matinee of Alice in Wonderland, with her preschool. and the poor wet cat is meowing at the door...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

being busy

2011 - her first birthday

we've had a busy last couple of months here.

i've been trying to bake all of our bread. i think i've only bought one or two loaves in the last month or so. i tried making some sourdough, but it was too sour, so i didn't keep making it and the starter died.

i've been knitting and knitting and sewing! it feels so good.

we celebrated my big girl turning 4 with pizza, cupcakes, and a strawberry outfit.

the smell of lilacs permeate the house. we are enjoying spring.