Just two months ago, I couldn’t look at anything that wasn’t somehow related to bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, mudrooms, gardens. Decor, decor, decor filled my every spare thought. I riffled through inspiring blog posts and photos at an alarming rate, saving image after image of spaces I find beautiful that somehow also fit in with the paradigm of our home.
Monthly Archives: December 2011
Before I jump into this post, just a quick Pekoe update: he hates his cone, he loves all the wet cat food he’s getting, doesn’t even notice the antibiotics, and hasn’t been so snuggly in years. My kitty is a-ok, and I still think all that money and stress was worth it to make sure he sticks around a little longer.
This weekend, we spent some time with the Husband’s family, enjoying good food, conversation, and plenty of laughter with my five nephews. We don’t get together as a whole family often, but when we do, I always enjoy it. Not only do I get to enjoy the company, I get to peek around my sister-in-law’s house. As an interior decorator for their family business – a home building company – she actually knows what she’s doing. I am always both inspired and reminded about my own lack of talent and knowledge when we visit.
Both of my sister-in-laws read this blog. (Hi guys!) (Whenever I hang out with people I know in real life, I am reminded of the importance of sharing our blog on Facebook.) That means my interior-decorating sister-in-law read at least a few of my posts about curtains and even saw the afghan we’d hung in the window of our living room when I shared my Ikea hack a couple weeks ago. Yup, this one:
For some reason, she didn’t think hanging an afghan in the window instead of a curtain was a particularly smart design choice.
Can’t imagine why not.
(In case you missed it… that was sarcasm.)
Fortunately, I don’t mind providing people with a little chuckle. Especially when the chuckle leads to the question:
“Do you still need curtains?”
Out of her closet came four panels of beautiful heavy curtains, curtains she has recently replaced. After reassuring me that they’d just be sitting in their closet, we packed them up in bags and added them to our pile of Christmas gifts from my mother-in-law. I was thrilled!
So thrilled, I couldn’t wait to put them up when we got home last night, despite being tired from the activities of the weekend. And then, the new curtains inspired me even further to make a few changes to our sitting area at the front of the house.
I love the curtains. They’re the perfect weight and the perfect contrast to the walls. With the white curtains we had here before, there was just too much white and the whole space was just a little washed out. With the contrast, I find the colours we’ve added elsewhere – the pillow, the afghan, my crochet project – actually pop a little more. Is that possible?
It’s been a rough week.
In fact, it’s been a rough day. It’s only lunch time and already I feel like I’ve run a mile trying to fix a series of little mistakes. Already I feel just a little bit like a failure.
The fiasco of the morning aside, what have I been thinking about this week?
Pekoe. Obviously. He’s still not home. When I took him in to the vet on Tuesday they suggested an overnight stay before they drained his abscess to ensure he had fasted properly before they put him under. When they called the Husband last night, they said it was still draining and making a big mess, so they suggested a second stay, just so we didn’t have to deal with the mess.
The Riverdale Animal Hospital has been good, really; these overnight stays have been completely free of charge, which is somewhat unusual for vet clinics, according to my coworkers. I’m grateful, but really, I just want my Pekoe back.
In the same vein, I’ve been thinking about how my relationship with vets and, in even more ways, our pets, has changed. Growing up on the farm, visits from the vet were frequent. He came by to check out the pregnant cows, treat downed cows, pull stubborn calves, etc. etc. Our pets received some health care on the side; we even made sure to deworm and deflea our barn cats. But never, never had the vet bill for our pet care come anywhere close to the $900 I dropped for the abscess on Pekoe’s back.
The money’s not the big change though. Rather, it’s the difference in the way city people view our pets and us, as pet owners. In many ways, I feel like an irresponsible pet owner when I tell the vet that, yes, Pekoe goes outside, oh, and, by the way, he has no front claws. No, despite your suggestion, I’m not going to confine him indoors in our 600 square feet of space when I know how much he loves frolicking in our backyard. And no, I don’t want that blood work; I love him, but he’s a cat – if he’s going to die of a blood disease that could have been caught through some blood work and then treated with expensive procedures and medications, so be it.
Does the fact that we view our cat as a cat and not a baby make us irresponsible pet owners?
Two and Three
In reality, Pekoe is pretty much the only thing I’ve thought about all week. Making up a Two and a Three would just be a big lie.
So, go give your kitties and your puppies, and your birds, and your goldfish a great big kiss (or a hug if you’re squeamish about kissing your pets), tell them they’re your favourite pets, and love on them while you can.
(My grandmother keeps her washer/dryer in her living room/dining room as well. I’m not sure if this is a thing or if it’s something that’s handed down from a grandmother to a granddaughter. Perhaps we are the only two people in this whole wide country that have their washers/dryers in the living room.)
(I doubt it.)
It’s not exactly pretty.
No amount of staging could have made this photo any better.
Eventually, we have a big plan of boxing in a closet and snaking a set of stairs up that wall into the attic. Right now, neither of those things have happened. At the rate we’re going, they’re unlikely to happen until next May, perhaps later. Perhaps never!
A few weeks ago, I had this brilliant idea for a temporary solution, but no time to pull it off. Curtains!
I’m not entirely certain how to pull this off for two reasons:
- Any curtains I hang would have to wrap around our units. That means your basic curtain rod doesn’t exactly work. I may have to resort to a few hooks and my twine curtain rod method on this.
- Since this is a temporary solution, I don’t want to spend a lot of money on appropriate curtains. They need to be heavy to block out the sound and there needs to be enough of them to hide the units while looking luxurious. Heavy curtains + many curtains generally means money.
We do have a curtain that’s the perfect weight for the job (gifted to us by some members of Mark’s family and readers of this blog!) but not long enough. I’ve thought about attempting to hack them into working for the situation, but that idea, in itself, means the job isn’t getting done.
My kitty is sick.
Well. Not really sick.
But, he’s developed an abscess on his back. I’ve been keeping the wound clean and open in the hopes that it would drain itself and not cause an expensive visit to the vet. No such luck. And, I’m a chronic self-diagnoser (I know, I know! Self-diagnosing is a bad idea.) so I was driving myself nuts with a worry that was given power by all the online know-it-alls who insist a cat with an abscess must be immediately run to a vet or it will die.
So, 5 days after I discovered the lump, I’m running him immediately to the vet.
At 4 pm.
He’s still eating. He’s still playing with the dog. He’s still romping around outside. He’s still acting like his usual happy self.
And purring. A lot. And being all snuggly. Which may actually be a sign of bad things.
But this has me all worried about how we’re going to do things going forward. Back in university, the kitty was having some issues: peeing in inappropriate places, vomiting – the symptoms of a bladder infection and hairballs. I took him to a vet who gave me a tube of crap both Pekoe and I hated for the hairballs and diagnosed the inappropriate urination as, not a bladder infection, but a behavioural issue due to being stuck inside all the time. His personality and energy levels do not lend well to being an indoor cat. So, he said, let him free!
And I did. I was amazed at the change. He would wander all day or all night and sleep and snuggle and purr. He became such a happy, contented cat. I won’t take that away from him.
(Besides that, I truly love not having a litter box.)
But how will I prevent this abscess thing going forward? He’s going to come across other cats, he’s going to get in scrapes. And, he’s got this amazing thick fur that hides scratches so well.
I guess we’ll just take it as it comes and see what happens.
(In the form of a letter to our dear neighbours)
Dear Neighbours in the apartment buildings behind us,
I’ll admit, we didn’t start off on a great foot. When we first moved in, I wasn’t very happy about all the garbage you had thrown in the backyard over the year in which our house was vacant. The old toilet seats and sleeping bags were especially disgusting. But we cut you a little slack. After all, our house had been vacant. Perhaps you were acting out against the previous owner’s neglect? We cleaned up your mess and moved on.
But then, when you didn’t stop throwing your garbage, I got a little more perturbed. I’ll admit, we let our backyard get a little wild, especially the last 5 feet or so. We liked the wild flowers, while you saw them as a great place to hide your watermelon rinds, yoga mats, and picture frames you didn’t want anymore. I could handle most of it, but the broken glass? That went a little far.
We thought that you’d be done once we cleared away all the weeds. We worked hard to turn the soil back there. We lined it with a little fence and mulched the ground. We’re planning a garden for that space in the summer. And yet… you didn’t stop! Still, bags of compost somehow ended up in the middle of our muddy garden. Our dog is grateful: she especially loves the chicken bones. Did you know that dogs can choke very easily on chicken bones? The bones splinter and get caught in their throat.
True, besides cleaning up and taking care of our back yard, we haven’t done much to act against you. Twitter friends have encouraged us to call the police. I know I should at least call the city on you. But how are we supposed to know from which window you’re throwing the garbage? We know which building you live in, but we don’t know the apartment number. Even calling your management company would probably just illicit a loud guffaw of laughter.
And, then. Then. I found these in the backyard (along with your mixed tape from the 90s):
The Husband is sick. This is slightly odd in that I am not. This is how it usually works:
- The Husband gets sick. He has the sniffles for one day, creates a mound of kleenex, is miserable. The next morning, he wakes up chipper as can be, not a sniffle or sore throat in sight.
- Two days later, I wake up with a sore throat. It’s killer. I suffer for two days.
- The sore throat moves to my nose. I struggle with sinus headaches, stuffiness and sniffles for a week.
- The sniffles move to my lungs. I cough for a month. I start taking sleeping pills just so I can get enough sleep to get better because Buckleys tastes awful and doesn’t work and Robitussin lasts half an hour and prevents sleep.
As promised, today, I bring you step by step instructions for taking a dresser from meh-functional:
What you need
A dresser. This could be any old dresser as long as the drawers have flat faces. Mine is an Ikea Kullen dresser.
Pretty fabric of your choice.
Paint for the dresser body.
Paint for the trim.
A foam roller
A paint brush
A staple gun and staples – the smaller the better
Tiny nails – I used brads, which were the perfect size
What you do
Take the drawers out of the dresser and, if possible, remove the drawer face. Sand all surfaces that you plan to paint. For my dresser, this was everything that was on the outside of the dresser. I didn’t bother painting the inside.
Two weekends ago, we got our kitchen cabinet hardware on (finally), but as exciting as that was, it wasn’t the big project of the weekend, nor was it the biggest accomplishment. I’m pretty excited to finally share this project.
In our old apartment, we had two dressers, one for each of us. The closet was very simply designed and we needed more of a solution. A trip to Ikea brought a couple of these into our lives:
This is a Kullen dresser. Nope, not the ever popular Malm or even the ridiculously affordable and hackable Rast. The Malm was a touch more money than we wanted to spend and the Rast? Well… we weren’t entirely in touch with the hackability of it at the time.
These dressers served us well for about a year. And then the bottoms of the drawers started to warp and pop out of their tracks, making it impossible to easily open them. When we moved, they were banished to the garage.
But I’ve been itching for some creativity lately. Perhaps it’s the impending winter? I want to craft and create in a way I haven’t wanted to in a long time. The itch of renovation, of change, has set in and I can’t shake it. So last weekend, I dragged one of the Kullen dressers into our messy living room and went to work.
Eight hours later, and some new experience with some power tools, I had this:
We woke up Saturday morning to the most crisp frost I’ve ever experienced. I walked out across my in-law’s lawn to the creek at the bottom of the hill and stood with my thin shoes freezing to the stones on the edge of the water. A delicate, cold lace covered the world.
This is fall, 4 weeks late.
I spent the weekend with my camera in hand at our first family Christmas of the season. It was a busy weekend with plenty of catching up, good food, laughter, family. But, from the whole day, these photos are my favourite, containing the memory of a stolen quiet moment of contentment and the promise of a winter to come.