Friday, March 29, 2013

Now, the prettying

The tiling is done. The plumbing is done. Everything has been grouted, now, though the pictures may say differently-- they were taken this morning. My father-in-law has packed up his tools and handed the reins to me. And as you can see, boy, we still have a ways to go.

(In some corners, more of a ways to go than others!) 

How is it that I get to cross two things off the to-do list today and add fifty? Oh, isn't that how it always goes? To whit:
  • Fill assorted gaps, cracks, and holes with spackle or caulk, sand, and paint the walls
  • Paint the ceiling
  • Paint the window
  • Frost-film the window, and build a faux roman shade.
  • Varnish the buffet-top, to protect it from moisture
  • Find and buy and install towel-hooks
  • Replace piece of door trim
  • Replace over-sink light (yuck)
  • Replace ceiling light (also yuck)
  • Find big mirror to live above sink
  • Build in two narrow shelves above toilet
  • Modify middle buffet drawer to accommodate plumbing
  • Add ceramic cove molding around top of shower tile
  • Buy and install a toilet paper holder
  • Find baskets, boxes, and trays to use as drawer organizers
  • Accessorize, yo.
I'm thinking a giant vase should live on the far side of the sink, and be filled with branches that arch outwards towards the window. That little piece of frog-art should be hung, and another bigger piece I've been saving should, too. 

Initially I wanted to go with a really dark wall color, but now I'm thinking a nice sophisticated pale ochre-yellow might be the way to go. Also debating painting the ceiling the same color, to de-accentuate the fact that the room sort of looks like an M.C. Escher painting. Seriously, check out them funky angles. Love them old houses!

I am so excited to start in on the genuinely fun part, and (of course) to have all this gorgeous tile to gawk at in the meantime. Pretty tile, pretty sink, pretty faucet. Ooooh yeah.

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Prescription: just keep sewing...

It's funny, isn't it, where the inspiration to be creative comes from. For me, I guess, the word isn't as much inspiration as it is motivation: the gumption needed to cross the bridge from ideas to actually crawling around on the floor with the rotary cutter. 

This week, somehow, I've declared a subtle sort of war on this very persistent winter we're having. An I dare you sort of war. I crossed my arms, scowled at the snow-covered garden, and stated: "As long as it continues to snow, I am going to sew. I can sew just as much as it can snow. Watch me." And then I broke out the rotary cutter, and the scrap pile, and got to work.

I started working on one of AMH's Scrappy Nap Pillows, to go with the curtains I sewed for my friend's nursery. This is one of my very favorite patterns to work with-- so much freedom, and so easy, and of course working this one in my very brightest, funnest, liveliest scraps didn't hurt, either. 

And today we're in for another inch (which is, I'm happy to say, considerably less than our friends in Pennsylvania and Ohio and West Virginia are in for) and I'm going to get this thing assembled and backed and stuffed and done. Now this stubborn late-late winter isn't cheating me out of extra gardening time, it's just delivering me some extra sewing time. 

(At least, that's what I'm telling myself...)

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring, interrupted

I took these pictures on Sunday. Though it was still cold, spring seemed imaginable. Then, it snowed quite a bit. Now, we have snow in the forecast for nine of the next ten days. This is most truly the winter that won't quit!

I am trying to be happy for the maple-syrupers, I am trying to be happy for the fruit farmers who don't have to worry about premature bud-swell. I am also trying to remember that when spring finally comes, it will likely be no-holds-barred, and there is something sort of exciting about that.

Also, I am trying to be thankful that I am not a bird. And remember that underneath all of it, there are buds, there are baby chives, there are seedlings in the cold frame. Soon there will be peas to twine the trellis, new this year, and broccoli sets to plant, and a rototiller to rev. 

Winter can't last forever. Onward!

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Inside jobs

We got seven inches of snow yesterday, and today is supposed to be the first day of spring. Ha, ha, ha, I can hear someone, somewhere saying. We had clear ground, completely clear ground, on Monday, and I was out raking, and taking pictures of snowdrops, and then this happened. I'll save those snowdrop photos for another day, and focus on inside for this post. Inside, things have been shaping up.

Our bathroom is at that point where, if you zoom in enough, it looks amazing. Zoom out and you see ungrouted tile on two walls, patched drywall, and lots of roughness, still. But zoom in, and, ahhhh...

I've always been a five-minute shower kinda girl, but lately I've been spending excessive time petting this tile while standing under our new and very much amazing showerhead. It's so PURTY! 

That band of accent tile was my FIL's idea, and those little cubbies, too. He is SO good with tile, and this has been a rough job. The marble floor tiles kept cracking and chipping as he cut them, and these subway tiles require four spacers apiece. And they cover 124 square feet of wall. We're maybe 40% done with the whole room, at this point-- still need the sink, light fixture, drywall fun, paint, mirror, and shelves behind the toilet. BUT having this perfect, complete shower setup is a huge, delicious treat, and this makes it easier to get through the work that's left.


I finished the runner, and it came to live on our table. Pretty thing. 

Then I was out at Joann's for some curtain lining fabric (for the curtains!) and a package of sheet moss magically found its way into my basket. Imagine that! I've always wanted to play with sheet moss.

So, I did. I played with sheet moss and blown eggs and fabric scraps and Spanish moss and broken bits of china I've been saving my whole life for exactly this purpose. (Maybe it only seems that way.)

Then I spent about twenty minutes pre-dinner walking around with my camera. I love that it's still light enough to take pictures at 6 o'clock. 

I love that spring is there, almost, under all that snow. I love that there are trellises in my garden that I put up a week and a half ago, pre-snow, and seedlings in the cold frame, too. Spring is late, but she's coming.

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Monday, March 18, 2013


Some bloggers are really good at gauging when they're ready for a break. Some bloggers are up-front about their brief disappearances, they give notice, they meet expectations. I am not one of those. I had no idea I needed to step away from this space for a few weeks, until I realized it had been  a few weeks, and then I was ready to come back. 
Really, it started-- my process of re-entry to the blog world-- with moving Patsy back into the coop. And cleaning.

This is the best my office has looked in months. I guess I cleaned after Christmas, but I don't really remember. All I know is, after two weeks of serving as part injured-chicken-palace, it was ready to be cleaned again, with feeling. So, I cleaned, and later that afternoon I layed out five yards of pretty dotty-stripe cotton and made a curtain (one of two) for a friend who is expecting triplets. The baby quilts are being covered by my friend's mom, so I volunteered for nursery curtain duty. 
Meanwhile, Patsy--

Patsy is doing just fine, and better, actually, than I expected. Still hobbling, but definitely regaining some limber-ness in her yellow toes, and able to roost, and navigate the ramp to the yard, and the brown egg we found yesterday may have been hers. 
We have decided the chickens will no longer be free-range. All week, the week after the attack, I was totally on-edge whenever I heard a dog barking. I would get up from my desk and run to the window, scanning the yard like a hawk, ready to spring into action. Well. I can live without the stress of that in my life, thanks. A sizable chicken yard expansion is in the works for summertime, and maybe a few years down the line we'll even fence an area the size of the garden, and build them a new coop, and cut a hole in the garden fence so they can forage in there, in the off-season. I think that would be pretty sweet living, actually. 
I walked around and took a bunch of photos yesterday, so I'll be hopping back on Wednesday and Friday this week for further updates. Including bathroom photos-- or, at least, shower photos. You'll see.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Better days

I had no idea how much I would enjoy having an office mate. She's a distraction, sure, but a welcome one. Sometimes I look over and just watch her blinking, or moving her pretty bird head. I make her food-- all the best, tastiest possible morsels I can dream up-- and she eats, and I feel satisfied. Yesterday she ate half a hard boiled egg-- don't flinch, I read that an egg is supposed to be really good for an injured bird! Patsy seemed to agree.

I devoted Wednesday to self-cheer. Not self-care; I'm already super good at that. Self-cheer. Somehow I'd become derailed from my usual song of gratitude for all the many amazing little things in this life that are good.

Re-reading the blog is always good medicine. I did that for awhile. I read about last year, about putting up the garden fence, and rolling sod, and laying my brick paths, and it was a good reminder of what spring feels like. Spring is not as early as it was last year, but it is still there, right around the corner. 

We came such a long way last spring and summer, so many of the Big Things are done and can be used or admired. 

And now I have a camera that can take pictures of falling snow.

And soon I will have a finished table runner to add some handmade-ness to my dining room.

And I have found a small writing opportunity to add to my roster of projects, to add income to the coffers, to finance the (smaller, more manageable) projects this year holds in store. 

And the plumbing has been fixed in Binghamton, and the water has been turned back on, and though our Gilbertsville bathroom has been put on hold while we address our Binghamton house, it does boast a fully functional and totally spa-like shower, and I have been looking forward to my evening showers all day long.

And now it is March, and March is a good month.

It's easy to let a small tragedy like this-- like our chickens-- overwhelm my whole little world. That's the thing about working at home. Myopia is completely inevitable, and mostly pleasant when The Little Things are happy and warm and bright. When bad things happen, though, I need to open up and look at the big picture. Chickens are just one aspect of living here, and they are good, and mostly they are happy and healthy. We'll be getting a few chicks this year, again, so we have that to look forward to, along with everything else.

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