Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Finally able to move on

Recently we took a break from the job of calking the exterior trim around all of our windows to spend a lovely morning wandering around under the trees looking at art.
We went to this 30-year-old art festival (click here) for the first time when we were still in the planning stage of our house. I remember having a hard time restraining Kim "walls first, then art" , so was a little apprehensive this time, since we now have walls but also a very tight budget.

I did plan to treat myself if I could find a replacement for my favourite bowl...

that my Mom gave me a number of years ago and that I use constantly in spite of the fact that it had been smashed into about 7 pieces and glued back together.
(Thank you Elmer's Glass & Ceramic Glue - where have you been all my life? If I'd found you sooner you could have saved me a lot of heart-ache, well at least some treasured ceramic pieces)
I've been using my bowl in this state for almost 2 years now and it's held up through regular use & trips through the dishwasher (that glue is truly amazing).
Because it's the perfect size & shape for many things I've been so fixated on finding the perfect replacement that I haven't been able to consider buying anything else. I've passed over many lovely ceramic pieces because "can't buy anything until I replace that bowl". So many came close but just weren't the right roundness & size. And I had to love it, and it couldn't be expensive.

At the art festival I found this one, almost the exact size. A bit of a departure for me colourwise but I was seduced by that black section where all the glazes overlap and there are little specks that you'd swear were 3-D bubbles.

NOW I can look at other ceramics again.

Maybe some smaller bowls, or a little platter, or maybe I'll find that french butter dish that was made for me. I know it's out there, somewhere.

As for 2-D art, as we walked through the show talking about the various works we liked, Kim would occaisionally say "so far so good". Meaning he hadn't seen anything yet that we couldn't afford that he HAD to have.

We made it safely throught the entire show until on our way out we walked past some encaustic work that I'd admired earlier but assumed was too rich for our budget. As I was taking another longing look I noticed the price tag on one small piece, gasped and called Kim over.
"Do you like it? LOOK at the price!"
"Oh, I do like it. OH! grab it."

We're now the proud owners of 'Pears' By Aline Davies. It's an image transfer surrounded by heavily textured encaustic wax.

Which got me thinking: you can put image transfers on polymer clay; you can put polymer clay on canvas. Hmmm, might be a concept worth exploring - once I get my studio operational again.

Friday, July 24, 2009

And it's a heat-sink

One of my favourite spots in our house isn't even in the house.
The courtyard in front of our front door gets the evening sun and, thanks to the 'privacy wall' that Kim tied in to the house's foundations, has just the right amount of distance from the busy road in front.
We're on a bus route and have a bike lane so there's always a lot going on: cyclists, dog-walkers, stroller-pushers, roller-bladers, skate- and long-boarders, commuters hopping on & off the bus and people on their way to or from the corner pub.
So, even though we're on a main 'arterial' road, on warm summer evenings there's a great neighbourhood feeling.
We've barely started setting it up the way we'd like but I think it's pretty comfortable aready. All that's missing from this picture is a couple of tall frosty drinks.
The bench Kim literally scooped up on a quick run through Ikea's as-is section (the as-is part is that it was already put together - we got it cheap because we were denied the fun of assembling it ourselves) and the wood stumps are chunks of trees being cut down at the rental house - figures they would decide to spruce the place up just when we're moving out. At least we have a couple of nice mementos of our time in 'the crack house'.

I envision the courtyard overflowing with plants but this is as far as I've got.
Collecting plants & pots I like & plunking them by the front door.
So far the poor plants are still in the plastic pots they came in, stuffed into or sitting on top of planters that I bought a while ago. I think the problem is that I'm looking forward to potting the plants, and view it as a relaxing pastime so it keeps getting pushed down the list, after all the more important 'work' that needs to be done.

One of my favourite recent purchases: purple oxalis, (can't remember the proper name) looking a little limp in the heat. I also have a weakness for black foliage so we may have a theme starting here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

1/2 way thru July already?

I finally had a chance to download all my pictures and organize my picture files.
I haven't been taking many the past couple of months but enough to disprove my theory that we skipped 6 weeks this year. I swear time just jumped from mid-May to July. I don't know how we arrived here already.

Anyway, here are some somewhat stale pictures to show that others were present even if I was stuck in a houseworkandmoving-induced time warp.

I guess it's testament to the size of my kitchen that it can contain THIS much stuff
and still have room for two boys to make brunch for themselves.
When Shea was young he hated 'brunch' because by combining breakfast & lunch it meant he missed out on one meal of the day.
These days their first meal of the day can't correctly be called breakfast since it usually occurs sometime after noon, so brunch it is boys.

The first meal cooked on our gas cook top: french omelets.

Cole's become quite a master at whipping them up.

One of the unforeseen advantages to having a gas stove is that my two pyromaniacs are now more interested in cooking.

ooooh, cooking on a open flame. F I R E!

Here we have the front of the living room shortly after moving day.
And here's the view from the front door...

Fortunately the floors still needed some work so we were forced to clear out that mess a lot quicker than I suspect we would have otherwise.
Same viewpoint as the picture above it. The floor is still wet from the densifier, it doesn't look quite so mottled now that it's dry.
Doesn't the room look spacious without 2 pairs of ridiculously over-sized speakers and the window screens for the entire house in the middle? Still haven't put up the screens in spite of my whining to Kim about them. He's in no hurry to install them He doesn't need them; He never gets bitten, living with the best mosquito-bait in the country: ME.
As I sit here scratching at a fresh bite on my arm. Ouch, and now my temple too.

This picture was taken, let me guess: about 15 SECONDS after moving in.
someone's priorities are a little skewed.
And if you can recognize the game he's playing from this pic, I'd say that goes for you too.

This desk area is my one big regret about the kitchen.
It was supposed to be at least 2 feet longer. That's how I had designed it but by the time the kitchen cab guy got through with the design, making everything symmetrical along the wall, the kitchen had grown and my poor little desk had shrunk. I didn't notice by how much until the cabs were being installed. So now we're stuck with a great long expanse of kitchen counter & a wee little desk.

I've worried since it was put in that my kitchen is extravagantly large. But enough people have assured me that there's no such thing as a 'too-large' kitchen that I'm starting to get over it.


Kim has been teasing me mercilessly that he's planning an expedition to circumnavigate the kitchen island. "but we'll have to plan carefully, pack lots of food for such a long trip"

Until Shea's birthday party.....

when he counted 18 people comfortably sitting, standing, leaning and hanging out around the island.....
(ya, I know, they're not all in this picture)
that he gave me a thumbs-up and said "Congratulations, your design works"

I do love everything about the island. Because we'd been scrambling to get the place 'tidied 'for the party I still had some food prep to do when people started arriving. Having everything where it is is fabulous: I could work in the kitchen & still be in the middle of all the action.

When I was working on the kitchen design I read an article about islands that had 2 good points about how people use the space.
1. People can't comfortably socialize sitting in one long line so have seating on two sides, either facing or perpendicular. Check.
2. People don't always want to sit so include a raised area that is 'leaning' height. Check. That has been proven so true from the first minute the island was put in. I think the installer made his last adjustment, stood up and leaned his elbow on it.

And it looks pretty good too, the way it anchors the island.

Here are some more kitchen details.

I went with floating black glass fridge, oven & microwave. (Check out the wild patterning in the wood. It isn't anywhere near that prominent in real life)
Soooo glad I didn't go for all stainless steel appliances. I love the way the black looks against the cherry and...
I still haven't got all the installer's fingerprints off the stainless steel range hood.
Granted the glass does get smudgy from mucky hands but it's much easier to clean than SS.

Now look at the above picture and imagine it with a lovely tile backsplash, not patched and marked up drywall. Don't know specifically which lovely tiles yet but I know they'll be a white of some sort. Nothing busy that will compete with the granite. I was thinking of a white & off-white harlequin pattern but some have said even that might be too busy.
Was originally planning to tile up to the top of the cabs but I think the bottom of the hood is a more natural break.

I'm really happy that I managed to scoop up these bar stools from a Scandesign sale. They're much more comfortable than they look. AND the shiny black looks great with our black glass appliances. AND they're light enough to easily push back under the bar. AND they swivel. AND they hydraulically adjust from bar height to table height so we can use them at the dining room table or computer desk. AND they were the same price as the Ikea stools that did none of those things.

Love this picture of my Mom's 4 grandsons playing Rock Band in our kitchen 'nook' Look closer, there are four of them, Zac's peeking out from behind his brother Torin.

Last but not least, we decided on "Passion Plum" for the front door.
Under the deep overhang it looks quite sedate from the street. It's only when you get right up within knocking range that the true degree of purpleishness jumps out and hits you.

Friday, July 3, 2009

NOW it's a home

Meet Zoe, Shea's favourite birthday present.
It's not really a home without the pitter-pat of little paws so now our house is complete. Not finished, but complete.
This adorable little bundle of curiosity was a surprise gift from Aunty Tammy & Uncle Alain, Grandma & Poppa.
The biggest surprise was that she WAS a surprise for Shea because everyone else knew & nobody breathed even a hint to Shea. Had no idea our family was capable of keeping a secret for that long.
Zoe shares a birthday with Kim, April 22nd, so is about nine weeks old and full of kittenish energy.
It took her less than ten minutes to make herself at home and take over Smokey's old job as our house 'greeter'. She ran to the door to say hello at the first knock when my nieces arrived for Shea's party.
She's a perfect fit. Perfectly comfortable with a houseful of strangers, playing with everyone & cuddling up in a chair with Shea's gaming friends when it's naptime.
Now I have one more member of the family to pick up after. She doesn't pick up her toys when she's finished playing either.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


But very happy to be in our beautiful new home.

We had to put on a big push to get the house to a state where you weren't bumping into boxes in every room in time for Shea's birthday last Sunday.
Thanks to my Mom the house was nice & clean as well as relatively box-free. We've been so busy chipping away at the thousands of things that need to be finished that I hadn't realized we'd been in the house long enough that it was now due for some ordinary regular-house-type cleaning. That's not to be confused with the endless daily dusting as 13 months' worth of construction dust suspended in the air settles itself down - onto my nice shiny new appliances and baseboards and counters.