Friday, June 29, 2012

Photo Friday


I am not a photographer.

Occassionally, though, I really like the shots I manage to get. Occassionally, I wonder what I could accomplish if I upgraded my camera, took a course, set out to deliberately learn and improve my skills.

Who am I kidding? I don't have time for that.

I do, however, want to take more photos, photos that have no purpose beyond simply being pretty or thought provoking or calming, or exciting, or... you get the idea. Since Fridays are quiet around here, and since it's the summer, I think it's a good time to share some of those photos, to get me taking more, to receive a little criticism or a little affirmation. So, for every Friday from now until the end of August, expect to see something pretty here. And poke me if there's nothing.

Because I'm not one for being wordless (Wordless Wednesday? Ha!), each photo will be accompanied by a blurb. Something like this:

This photo was taken at Bon Echo. This flower seemed odd, the only one of its kind growing on the edge of the beach. My group was moving away, down the trail off the beach, so I didn't have a lot of time to set my camera's exposure and aperture. It was a quick moment, but somehow, I managed to get the colours just right, brilliant in the centre, pale, almost washed out at the ends of the leaves. This shot could use a little cropping perhaps, to clean up the left edge where a stalk of grass has poked up to close to the focus.

Does anyone know what kind of flower this is?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Three Things for Thursday

One



I like lace. It's the traditionalist in me coming out. Sometimes, I wish I had chosen the lace wedding dress that was my second choice when I was in the depths of wedding planning two years ago. It was such a pretty dress. (Not that mine wasn't. Mine was perfect. But, you know, sometimes I think about the other choices I could have made.)

Since I like lace, it's no wonder I find this headband adorable. It looks simple enough to DIY, but considering it's one of those things I may never get around to, perhaps I should just go ahead and buy it?

Two

There may or may not be a serious house rearrangement coming. Am I the only one who likes to move things around every other month or so? Our house is tiny and awkward and I always feel like there is some better arrangement, something that will improve the flow around our couch and our coffee table, that will allow for easier organization and better breathing space. 

So, I rearrange, and two months later, decide the new arrangement just wasn't cutting it. Please say I'm not the only one...?

Three

Are you wondering why I'm going through so many pains to get this place organized when we should be in the depths of renovations again? After all, organization understandably takes a lower position in terms of priorities when your house is covered in drywall dust and you don't have a roof, right?

We are making progress, but it feels so slow. This week, the Husband will be taking out paperwork into the city to make sure we have everything we need and submit it for approval. With building permits, we'll be able to get started with the shell, the portion of the reno that must go as quickly as possible, what with lifting the roof off to raise the walls and all. However, those building permits could take five weeks or more to come! So, until it actually starts? I'm pretending as if it's not happening at all.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pink Please

Last night, I painted my fingernails pink. I was testing the cold water drying trick, in which you paint your fingernails, then stick them in a bowl of cold water for three minutes to dry them. (It worked, but not as amazingly as I may have expected.) I chose the pink purely for its annoying tendency to never fully dry, even three days after application.

Pink and I have an awkward history. When I was 6, I demanded that my tiny bedroom be painted cotton candy pink. I'm sure there was a time when I loved it, when I enjoyed the pink walls and my brightly coloured duvet cover. I suppose one might say I was a 'girly girl', though one could also argue that I was simply trying to balance the hard masculine nature of the farm on which I grew up with a little pink femininity. Subconsciously, of course, what with being 6 years old and all.



As I grew older, the pink faded, I scribbled on the walls in places, mismatched furniture came and went, my colourful bedspread was replaced with a new blue one that matched the curtains. Pink began to irritate. I was growing up, no longer a little girl. When I left home for university, pink and I were at such odds, I swore I would never like pink again.

And now, my fingernails are pink and I'm wondering if I'm changing my mind.


Can pink and I have some sort of reconciliation? Can we develop some sort of relationship now that I'm an adult? Something mature, sophisticated, chic, without being over the top or blindingly a reminder of pepto-bismol?


And how much would the Husband allow?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bon Echo, Good Echo


The mornings were cool, but the days were warm and sunny. The weekend stretched out before us, open and clear, beckoning us to fill it with beautiful vistas, lazy swims in the shallow water, naps in the sunlight, sunbathing with a good book, canoe paddles across quiet lakes, and hikes up hills to the tops of cliffs. 


Our weekend was spent at Bon Echo, approximately three hours from Toronto. The first, third, and fourth nights were quiet and dark, our campfire providing the only light we could see at times. The second night? The park filled up with partying university students who sang loudly, badly, until well after midnight.


During the day, we explored the park, took Mocha swimming in the cool water. The dog beach - and the main beach, as we later discovered - was shallow with a gradual slope. As we waded in, she waded after us until she was swimming, frantic to not be left behind. She swam everywhere after us. Later, when we canoed across to a trail on the other side of the lake, she chose to swim with me as I swam the 1/4 of a kilometer back. She leapt out of the canoe, anxious to make sure the swimmers were ok, as if she, with 20 pounds of puppy could do anything to save us.


I had never jumped off anything higher than a diving board before this. In the grand scheme of things, this was nothing. 10 feet, maybe. And yet, each jump was exhilarating. I'm generally nervous about these kinds of things; pushing my feet off the rock, knowing the water waited below to greet me, I moved past the fear of what hidden thing may lie below, embraced the moment and flung myself into a dark unknown.


Home now. I wish for nothing more than to go back, for a week or two or a month. 

Yes, a month of rock jumping, swimming, sunbathing, reading, campfires, and friends.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Three Things for Thursday

One


Today, I'm grumpy. These things are getting under my skin:

How time runs out, especially in the morning.
The heat and how it collects in our bathroom.
The lack of food in our house to take for lunch, despite the shopping excursion we did on Tuesday.
The stinky feet smell on the subway.
How far away Edmonton is and how expensive it is to get there.
The man who barged through the subway doors into a crowd of people getting off, spilling his coffee down the back of a fellow passenger as he did so.
How I couldn't get the last of the fruit smoothy out of my huge new water bottle because the straw was too short.


Today, these things are helping me get through:

Morning snuggles with a sleepy Mocha.
Coffee.
The tasty goodies I baked for this weekend last night, despite the heat, waiting to be shared and consumed.
The prospect of a self-given long weekend, spent with good friends, my wonderful husband, and the most adorable puppy in the world.
The tiny, cheap A/C unit that now lives in our bedroom window, keeping our room cool in the heat.

Amazing. I feel better already.

Two

I don't have a home office yet, but when I do, I'm going to find the perfect frame and hang this somewhere within my line of sight:


I write for money (from about 8:30 to 4:30, I am a marketing and technical writer in the software industry) and I write for fun (this blog, of course! But, if you ever get an email from me or chat with me online, you'll soon learn I tend to throw the rules of brevity out the window and strive for at least a novella). I write for hours every day. But I still think I could become a better writer. And this? This is an amazing reminder of well... how.

Just write.

Three

I wish I could learn how to put something like this together:


To me, these choices look like risk that worked for the best. Highly graphical wall paper with a turquoise couch, a purple rug, a brass side table, ornate mirror, and lamp, with contrasts of sleek white thrown in? Yes, risky. But I wonder if that's what distinguishes a good designer from, say, me. I see this as something I could try with the potential of failure. Heidi Pribell, the designer, on the other hand, considers this combination on paper and can already see how the room will come together and doesn't question whether or not it will work. She just knows.

Would you say that's true? Is that what separates true designers from the rest of us?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Daniel


At 1:24 on June 19, my sister gave birth to this precious baby boy.

Daniel.

God is my judge. God alone.

I've never seen such a perfect face.

Over the past many months, I've been sporadically working on a baby blanket for this little guy. I didn't know his sex, his name, anything about him except that he was slowly growing into a full-sized little human being. You got to see a sneak peak of it when I shared my new-to-me dresser a few weeks ago.


Unfortunately, it's not done yet. All the squares (42!) are finished and sewn together, but I have about 100 ends to work in yet. Unfortunately, the worst part of this? Mom, Dad, and Baby live in a whole 'nother province, too far to drive, expensive to fly. With baptism plans in the works, I likely won't be able to hand deliver this blanket until August. Obviously, that gives me a few more days to work on it. But, it will feel like years until I get to snuggle the brand new baby myself.

Congratulations B and JW! You guys are going to be a pretty awesome Mom and Dad.

And, I can't forget the thrilled grandparents... D and Mom, I still think you should be Opa and Oma...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

An Introduction of the Fishtacular Kind

A cat, a dog, three fish... at what point do we get to start calling ourselves a menagerie?

You may remember that, a few weeks ago, after sorting through all the junk that was left over at my parents' place from our university days, we rescued Mark's fish tank. He spent some time cleaning it, set up all the bits of equipment, filled it with gravel, water, bits of fake plants, and driftwood and then let it sit for a couple weeks, allow it to filter and settle. Then, we went to PetSmart. After a half hour chat with their ridiculously knowledgeable fish expert, we came home with four little neons and kerplunked them into their new home.


Why neons?

Apparently, they're hardy little critters. They can handle the harshness of a brand new tank, can take whatever chemical imbalances may exist while the filter figures itself out. They may even be able to survive through a little tank neglect! They didn't require a heater, so were fine to put in while we figured out that situation. And, they were cheap! At a dollar each, if we happen to kill them, there's no huge investment to mourn over.

In fact, less than a week later, we found one floating belly-up among the plastic tips of the fake plants.


Why four?

Well, that was the most our fish expert recommended putting into a brand new tank. I can't fully remember the reasoning, but it sounded like a good one, so we went with it.

What would we do without our fish expert?

The tank sits in our living room, on a dresser that was the perfect size to place beside our couch. It makes it all a little cramped, but it's comfortable and these little guys are fascinating to watch as they sprint around their tiny tank at top speed. One of Mocha's new favourite things to do is sitting on the arm of the couch watching them, batting at the glass with her paws.


Come to think of it, she probably gave that dead neon a heart attack.

I wish I had gotten around remaking this dresser as I did its pair before we set a heavy fish tank full of water on it. If I'm honest with myself, I know it will not likely not happen for a very long time, if ever. At least it's giving us a little more storage to hide our clutter away.


Yes, the castle is on its side. The bubble machine pushes it up all the time and the fish don't seem to mind, so... neither do I.

Friends with fish tanks! What do you have in your tank? Have you ever tried photographing them? So hard, trying to catch them at an almost still moment.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Wall of My Own

In the past year of living in this house, we've hung very little on the walls. For a while, it made sense: we were in the depths of dusty renovations, so unpacking our photos and bits of art to hang on said dusty walls would have been silly. But, for the past six months, we've stared at our blank walls and wondered just exactly what we should do with them. A few things got leaned, some empty frames got hung to move them out of the way, but, for the most part, my walls were art-less.

So, I fixed it.

I gathered all our frames, filled a few empty ones, detached some art from some canvas, created some templates with newspaper and started arranging. Before hammering holes into my wall, I taped bits of newspaper up in the size of each frame to place everything and, once I'd found an arrangement I was happy with, simply nailed in the hanging nails through the paper. So much easier than guessing where the nail would go.


Of course, this will consistently be a work-in-progress. I expect that, eventually, it will curve around the corner, and perhaps up over the shelves above our TV. And, one day, the whole lot may have to relocate while we rip apart our house once again, and then find a home on a stairway wall.


But, for now, I'm happy that I've gotten started, that I've finally managed to get something on our walls, even if it's unfinished. This room, the only 'original' room left in the house, was in need of some visual interest, something to draw your eyes away from the worn floor and the mess that inevitably ends up here. This motley collection of frames definitely does the trick.


This will be ever evolving. I have plans to spray paint some frames, to finish that long and skinny painting on the left, to add in details that are neither paintings, nor, necessarily, framed. As I adventure through life, this will be the wall I will add mementos to, little reminders of family and friends, a few photos, but mostly art and d'objet, bits of things that make me happy.

Have you created a gallery wall? I know, they're so popular right now, some would say trendy. What do you think of them?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Alden Shoes and why we spent more money on the Husband's shoes than anything else in our combined wardrobes

When we went to San Francisco, we had one goal* in terms of sight-seeing: we wanted to visit The Alden Shop of San Francisco.


A little background.

A couple years ago, the Husband bought a pair of $80 shoes from Aldo. Whenever he buys shoes, he gets frustrated with the prices when, just looking on the other side of the store, there are a dozen lower-priced options for me. When these shoes only lasted 8 months, he was even more frustrated.

Then, somehow, he learned that if he spent significantly more on a pair of shoes, he'd be able to keep them for years. Like, 10 years, 20 years, kind of thing, with a few re-solings. He did some research, identified some good quality companies making good quality shoes, priced out how much he would have to spend, then broke down and bought a $22 pair of shoes.

How often can men find $22 shoes?

We know they would only be a temporary fix to the issue of his shoe situation, so when his research lead him to a shoe store in San Francisco that sold shoes in the mid-range of the type he was looking for, we penciled a stop into our itinerary.  


We spent around an hour in the small store. In that hour, the store made about 5 sales; each person or group that stepped through the door walked out with an Alden bag, having spent about 15 minutes in deliberations. It was an amazing demonstration of the different styles of consumers, the Husband being the contrast, as he tried on a few different styles and fits - made different by the 'last' the shoe was made with - and pondered over the decision.

Perhaps, for us, dropping $500 on a pair of shoe means more than their general clientele.


We left, the husband pleased with his purchase, happy that he'll never have to search through selections of shoes that would fall apart in under a year; me, content that I'll never have to endure through his cheap shoe shopping frustration again.

Are these shoes worth the money? I guess we'll find out.

* We also visited Alcatraz and got ice cream in Haight-Ashbury. But when I say this was the primary goal, it actually really was.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Three Things for Thursday

One


Yesterday, I stopped in at Michael's to pick up the last required ball of yarn for my sister's baby blanket. It seemed so silly taking such a side-step off my usual route home for a single ball of yarn, so I wandered the store a bit, took my time in the yarn section, and came upon the crochet threads. Four days prior (as I was packing for our trip to SFO) I had stumbled upon my unused collection of tiny crochet hooks and mused to myself that really, I should make something with these pretty little miniatures.

So, I bought a ball of blue crochet thread.

I'm thinking I might make some jewelry.


Or maybe I'll go a little old-school and make a hanging planter.


Two

Years ago, when I was a little kid, my mom took a basket making class. At least, I seem to remember her taking a basket making class. I could be wrong. It happens. Either way, this memory - true or not - occurred to me for no apparent reason a few weeks ago and has left me with this odd, niggling desire to learn how to make a basket.


 It can't be that hard, right?

Three


To round off a craft-centric Three Things: I bought a glue gun.

For $2.99.

It better work or I am going to be very disappointed with my investment.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Metro Hotel

The Husband and I arrived at SFO at around 11, Friday morning. We grabbed our bags and found our way to the BART station. We'd done this before, last year, when we went to SF to visit my brother the first time. There's something thrilling about figuring out a strange transit system without a local guide. After transferring from BART to bus, getting turned around a couple times in between, and getting off too many blocks early, we finally made it to our hotel

It was a wonderful place to stay.


And not just because it was pretty. I mean, it was. The room was painted in a gorgeous grey pallet with bold orange accents everywhere. The ceilings were ridiculously high and everything was delightfully comfortable. There was even a 'private' garden in the back, shared only with the restaurant below the hotel. The space was pretty, a delight to come back to at the end of the day.


We were in the 'honeymoon suite', the largest room of the 24. We heard reports from my grandparents, who were staying in the same hotel, that the other rooms were significantly smaller, too small, perhaps. My parents, on the other hand, booked the 'studio', a large room with a separate entrance, a kitchenette and a walk-in closet. 


We booked the place for the rooms, but as pretty as they were, the value didn't lie in the photogenic nature of the wood cane chair. Rather, I've never seen such friendly, helpful, sweet staff. They were always ready with a recommendation, directions, a chat to while away the minutes of waiting in the lobby for the rest of our people. 

On Saturday, wedding day, we discovered just how phenomenal they were. As we got ready to go, our hostess called us taxis. Have any of you tried to get a taxi on a Saturday night near Haight-Ashbury? Turns out it's not that easy. As time ticked on with no taxi making an appearance, our hostess stepped out the front door and ran down the street to a busier road, managed to catch a taxi just dropping people off and directed it up to where we stood on the side walk in all our wedding finery.

Yes. Highly recommended. Any day. 

(That said, don't trust their clocks. I thought I had plenty of time to get ready Saturday night. At 4:05, an hour before we had to meet everyone in the lobby, I answered a knock on the door with my hair half curled, still yet in jeans and a t-shirt. My mom stood there in all her finery, a look of horror on her face at my appearance. It was 5:15, the clock was wrong, and if we didn't leave in 15 minutes, we'd certainly be late for my brother's wedding. 

I was downstairs 5 minutes later, desperately trying to smooth out the five curls I'd managed to get in on the bottom layer of my hair.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Rework

Over the past week, we've been collecting all your comments from the comments section of the post, from Facebook, we even got a few emails with incredibly detailed, well-thought out ideas! Everything was carefully considered and some incorporated into a new, revamped version of our plans. 

I kept myself very much out of the conversation on our comment board as you guys threw out your ideas. I wanted to hear what you had to say without being coloured by my own opinions and responses to other people's ideas. So, this is, in a way, a collective response.

The Ideas We Listened To

Reader Ann suggested we turn the stairs at the top. The Husband read the comment and wondered why he hadn't thought about it. We love it!

So many of you noted the lack of storage in the bedrooms. So, bigger closets!

Many of you also noted the lack of linen closets. This was my pet peeve about both the previous options. So, now we have not just one small linen closet for extra towels in the upstairs bathroom, but we also have a nice big closet off the hallway for extra bed sets, cleaning supplies, and other miscellaneous crap. 

Double sinks! We managed to work them into the master, but skipped them in the main bathroom. We figured it's more important for the master bathroom since it's the room that is more likely to host more than one person brushing their teeth at a time.

The Ideas We Didn't Listen To

We love all of your ideas but some of them just didn't fit with our lifestyle or our plans for the house. I'm going to list them here because I want to encourage debate. Are we making a huge mistake by not listening to these ideas?

A few of you suggested joining the two smaller bedrooms together to make one larger bedroom and allow some more space for the bathroom. Not a terrible idea. After all, those aren't large bedrooms! But in the area in which we live, 3 bedroom homes are in high demand. Besides that, I'm looking forward to having a proper guest room and a designated office. I work from home once a week and a space to work that is not the breakfast bar or the kitchen table would be phenomenal.

Of course, some of you pointed out that we still have the bedroom we're in now, so, technically, even with two bedrooms upstairs, it's still a three bedroom house. It would have helped you to have known about this:


At the moment, the 'Living Room' is closed off with two more walls and acting as our bedroom. But, once we do this renovation, we hope to rip every single wall on the main floor out (except those separating the bathroom from the living space) and open it up. This will also solve the issue of our little house being able to support a four or more person family.

We also didn't listen to those who encouraged us to make one large bathroom with a dual entrance. I kind of wanted to. Really, I did. It's smart! You get a bigger bathroom, heck, you could even fit three sinks in if you really wanted to! Besides that, I'm a little uncertain about the whole three-bathroom-house thing. Isn't three bathrooms a little excessive? But, the Husband won on this one. We're in a neighbourhood of mainly older homes. We know that having a proper master bathroom is one of those little luxury items that will set us apart when and if we decide to sell in a few years.

What did we miss? Is there a huge glaring mistake we're making that we're missed? Do you hate it and think we should scrap the whole project and go back to our simple attic idea?

Again, so many thank yous for all your help with these floor plans and you encouraging words over the past week! I can't wait to get this project off the ground!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Three Things For Thursday

One


In two days, my big brother is getting married. So, naturally, I come down with a cold.

Naturally.


Today, I am drinking plenty of tea with lemon and honey and trying to will myself better. After all, San Francisco would be a lot more fun if I wasn't carrying around a balloon for a head and trying to pull my esophagus out of my throat every 10 minutes.

Two


Did I say San Francisco? Yeah, I totally meant San Francisco. The pets and the house are being taken care of by the best tenants in the world and we're off jet-setting across the continent for the weekend to watch J and L tie the knot.


We visited San Francisco last year, so we've already done a lot of the sight seeing people do when they go to San Fran. We will, however, be walking through the creepy halls of Alcatraz. We haven't got a lot of time for sight seeing, but if we saw just one thing (other than Alcatraz) what should that one thing be?

Three


Finally, a little eye candy. The Husband and I are still immersed in floor plans. Soon, we'll be immersed in the legalities and logistics of the project as we figure out how to get a permit for this kind of renovation, as we find someone to do it for us (nope, this is not something we're going to be DIYing!), and figure out a timeline. For now, though, I'm getting excited for the things our house currently doesn't have that it soon will. Like stairs.

Aren't these beautiful?


Our stairs aren't going to have such a big turn in them (we haven't the space for it) but I've saved this for inspiration anyway. The dark wood, the runner, the photos scattered up the one wall: in an undetermined amount of time, I will have a set of stairs too, to stain dark and line with memories.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What To Do: Dresser Re-Make


I am torn. 

The dresser that I purchased on Monday is gorgeous just as it is. In fact, I'm even kind of drawn to the way the string 'hardware' makes it look so old and neglected, like a beautiful piece that I have rescued from the hands of someone who just didn't care enough to fix it. The patina around its drawer pulls, the scratches on the side, even the rough spots on the top where the finish has worn away seem to me to tell a story.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what that story is. 

So, I'm torn. Do I replace the hardware, a embrace the mystery of its past life? Or, do I sand it down, pick my favourite colours, and create a new work of art, embellish its surfaces with my own story?


I could turn it into something truly beautiful, something unexpected. A pop of colour, a rainbow of shades, or high contrast... there are so many different options, so many fun ideas peppered across the Internet that I could borrow and reshape and fit into my own home. But is a cleverly finished dresser more 'me' than the dark, history-filled patina that already gives the piece its charming character?


How do I compromise such desires for the old and the beautifully, newly finished? For now, I'll embrace the old. But is that my permanent decision? 

Probably not.

(Update: This dresser was remade by fellow Canadian Renee from Eat.Live.Shop. Check out the transformation on her blog!)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

In Which I Reveal Another Side of Myself

On Sunday, I spent around 8 hours fighting with technology. I know everyone has a story like this. Sometimes, technology doesn't play nice and we end up spending hours wrestling with it. Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes it's torture. Sunday was torture until I succeeded. Then, the whole afternoon was coloured with the rosy twist of fun. Imagine that.

What did I do?

I put Linux on a computer.

Without the help of a CD ROM drive.

With only a wee little bit of computing knowledge and a lot of help from the Internet.

Because it was harder than I expected it to be, I decided a simple tutorial might help others in my position out. Because really, if I had actually known what I was doing and didn't have to spend so much time wading through all the techy speak to find help I could actually understand, I would have had it done in an hour.


Then again, this is Linux we're talking about. Why the heck did we decide to go Linux? We have a small computer - an Acer Aspire One - that we mainly use for browsing the Internet, blogging, you know, Cloud stuff. It's not a powerful little computer and, over the years (only almost 3!) it's slowed down, filled up with spyware, clogged with useless programs. It was time to fix it. We moved all our important files - photos, resumes, budgets, etc. - to our more powerful, full-sized laptop and, on Sunday night, we set to work, passing the laptop between us when one got too frustrated and ran out of ideas.

In the end, trying about five different things, and starting over six times, we successfully booted Linux, installed, and wiped Windows out. Our little computer is shiny clean and ready for another 2 years of Interneting.


I know, this post is a bit of a switch-up from the normal decorating and renovating one might find around here, but after the struggle that was aided greatly by a lot of research, I figured I could help contribute by translating the wealth of knowledge for us slightly less techy folk. Those interested, jump to the rest of the post for more details and a step by step. Those who know more about this stuff than I do, please, feel free to correct any mistakes I may have made!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Oh How Lovely

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


The Husband and I have been blown away by the number of opinions, suggestions, and thoughts we received on our floor plans. Each and every one of your suggestions has been carefully considered and we're working on revamping the floor plan a little based on your ideas. We'll be posting our revamped version on Friday, so be sure to check it out!


And, of course, I'll be sharing all the details of the project as they progress.


~*~

On Friday, I learned about the 15th Annual Golden Triangle Garage Sale from Susan's blog. It was happening just far enough away that, if I hadn't known about it, I would have missed out entirely. I love neighbourhood garage sales. Sure, they draw the crowds and all the good stuff disappears pretty quickly, but with so many garage sales together, you're bound to find something to take home with you.

The Husband and I took the dogs, one large and one small. I was on a mission. They just tagged along. I've been looking for a dresser to replace our Ikea Lack TV stand for a while. It suffered a fatal wound when my beautiful mantel clock took a tumble, smashed a hole into the top of the TV stand, and landed on my toe, inflicting a wound that has left a permanent scar.

Amazingly, that clock still ticks on without a scratch on it.

So, I was on the hunt for the perfect dresser, something not too high but with plenty of drawer space that could fit nicely into the footprint of the Lack TV stand. To be fair, I already had one in mind. I had spied it at the thrift store last Wednesday, a beautifully aged dresser with decorative legs and detailing on the drawers. It was in rough shape and more money than I really wanted to pay, so surely, surely I could find something better at a garage sale.

We found one. A beautiful dresser, well marked with its manufacturer (Drexel) and the year it was made (Auguest -49). $75. The problem? It was big, probably longer than our current TV stand. As I tried to envision it in our tiny little living room, all I saw was precious floor space disappearing beneath the intimidation of this monster. We walked away.   

Instead, I found a new collection of wooden spoons, three new picture frames, and some stuffed toys for Mocha*.

(Unfortunately, I also walked away from a beautiful marble table lamp for $10. Kicking myself for that one. Will I never learn?)

At home, we dropped off our things, unhooked the dogs, and immediately went back out, this time headed for the thrift store. I was lucky the dresser was still there and, with a well-timed 25% off sale, I contentedly slapped down my VISA. The Husband and I lugged it home, threw the old stand in the garage and slid it into place.

It's perfect.




* Which she is allowed to play with only under supervision. All stuffing is immediately scooped up and thrown away. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Next Big Project

The Husband and I had a bit of a debate about when we should share this. Now, or when we're certain the project will get off the ground? If now, today, or wait until Monday, to optimize the number of people who will see this and, hopefully, share their honest opinions with us?

Now, today, won out. We're kind of excited about the prospect, excited about the possibilities. I'm mostly excited about the space.

Last fall, I shared with you our plans to finish up the attic and turn the whole space into one gigantic, cozy master suite. We planned to do this over the summer. And then the winter happened. When living in a holding pattern, it's hard not to keep your plans in check. And, well. We haven't. 

We aren't going to finish the attic anymore.

We're going to take the whole roof off and build a second storey. 

I know, right? 

Over the past few weeks, The Husband has been working hard to learn how to use SketchUp and create floor plan and floor plan, considering all our options, dismissing many, starting over, shifting things around, erasing, scrapping, dreaming. Finally, we've narrowed our options down to two. 

This is where you come in. We want to know exactly what you think, which one you think is more functional, which one you would want to live with. 

Option 1
 Option 2
Yes, they're very similar. The changes are subtle, but important. So. What do you think? What do your friends think? Your family? Your grandmother? Option 1? Option 2? None of the above? We want anyone and everyone's opinions!