Monday, August 31, 2015

Getting Ready for September

I have been patiently waiting all week for my rose bushes to bloom.

Yes, I understand how silly that may seem to many of you, but I'm certain I'm not the only one who feels this way! 

In a garden, there is always something exciting we anticipate that passes all too quickly - the blossoming of the fruit trees. the first fragrant Spring Lilacs, the changing of the leaves... 

Lately, this has been the case for my roses. I have waited for the buds to unfurl for days. With us getting ready to leave for the cottage, I couldn't help but feel as though they would bloom while we were away, and all that would be left would be a sprinkling of petals when we returned.

Fortunately, most of them have opened in the past few days.

They have a delicate frangrance to them - sweet, but more musky than perfumy. It's hard to believe that soon we will begin to put the garden to bed for the winter.

We've also been getting ready for school to begin in just over a week. Today Willen was registered at a new school, and we discovered that he will now be riding a school bus to school - something he's very excited for.

We borrowed a few back to school favourites from the library for our trip. We're really looking forward to one last week at the lake before the summer comes to an end.

Something that I need to keep me organized was a day planner. I'm quite pleased with this Kate Spade one I picked up at Chapters. I love that it's actually a 16 month planner that begins in August. 

I really just like it's simple design.

It's also become quite helpful in keeping track of appointments with contractors, something that has become a big part of our life.

We've recently run into delay in our living room renovation. When the installers arrived for the fireplace, they were completely unconfident in drilling through the stone wall. This of course made us nervous, and quite frustrated. It takes weeks to get an appointment for an installation and after a promising initial inspection (and us making it perfectly clear what kind of exterior wall they would be dealing with), we were so exccited for this huge part of the room to be completed. There are many other little details that can't really be done until the fireplace is installed. However, that being said, we were thankful the installers cared enough to voice their concerns.

Their biggest worry was that once they began chiselling a stone out for the 9" hole (for the rear vent), other stones that are behind the first would be staggered, and therefore more than one would need to be removed, and so on. This could mean that what started off as one stone, could end up actually being a large hole by the time they were finished. And then what do you do to cover up that hole - a hole that is very visible from the outside.

We decided it was best for us to try and contact a historical mason who would have the best knowledge on the type of stone used (Limestone), and who would be familiar with the kind of mortyr.

Luckily, we found a local one, and though he was booked solid for the next half a year, he recommended a corer who could core out a hole. The man he recommended was very confident that this would be perfectly okay for the wall (and old windows!) and that it would provide the installers with the necessary hole they needed to do their install.

Fingers crossed, the coring will be finished this week sometime, and the installation a few days after that. Then it's onto the mantel, finishing the trim, painting and finally, furnishing.

There are some exciting things in the near future that I need our renovations to be finished for, so the pressure is on.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Weekend Snippets

I can hardly believe that included on my list of things to do this weekend was back to school shopping.

How is that even possible?

I won't pretend though that I'm not excited for the Fall that's around the corner.

And it seems that each day it gets a little closer as the nights seem to feel slightly more crisp, and every now and then a maple tree seems to have started donning it's brilliant Fall colours.

Willen is up at the cottage for the week with Ryan's parents until we return for another week, so Hudson and I have been spending some time, one on one.

We spent some time driving around on Thursday afternoon, visiting some local thrift shops and market stands.

I was quite pleased with what I managed to find.

A couple of scrumptious buttertarts to be enjoyed later - and no, they aren't my mom's. She's humble enough to agree that there are a few other local treats that can rival hers.

Every now and then, I have something specific that I'm looking for, and while I could just order one online, I know it's something I could find for quite a bit less, and so I set out in search of it. This particular time, I was looking for a basket planter to hang on our door. I had seen a few different ones online filled with mini pumpkins or flowers that really loved the look of. I simply couldn't bring myself to spend a decent amount of money on it when I was convinced if I just looked, I could find a more reasonable choice. And in the end, I did! Two actually.

The particular one isn't much of a planter, but it will be perfect with evergreen boughs and sprigs of  berries tucked in it.

It was quite a bargain at $3.99.

And this one, which is a proper planter, was $4.99.

Another clear sign that Fall is on it's way is the October issues of subscriptions that have been arriving.

This lovely knitted cream throw was another thrift store find. It was $7.99. I couldn't resist bringing it home, even though I really didn't need another cream throw! I just kept thinking of all the love and time that went into making this blanket... and now it's sitting on some rack for eight dollars.

The beautiful grey herringbone throw was my anniversary gift from Ryan. We celebrated 7 years last weekend and he lovingly picked out something that was a traditional seventh year anniversary gift - wool. Apparently, by year seven the couple has grown comfortable with each other. The modern anniversary gift is office supplies, which made me laugh, until I found a beautiful Kate Spade day planner. Along with that I ordered a calligraphy return address stamp with our new address on it.

Us celebrating at a friend's wedding.

And finally, a trip to the farmer's market provided us with a colourful assortment of fruits and veggies.

All locally grown - how fortunate we are.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Before Photos - The Kitchen

As promised, here are a few photos of the kitchen as it is now. We haven't done any work on the room itself, we've simply installed some appliances and made it feel like ours.

One of my most favourite features of the kitchen, a room in which a large part of my day is spent, is the exposed stone wall. The kitchen was the first addition to the house, and was added to the south side of the original home not too long after if was built. This stone wall was at one point the outside of the house. And while you would think that a wall of stone would be quite cold aesthetically, it adds so much warmth to the space. 

It's also the perfect backdrop for open cabinets - which I have a few of. It compliments my dishware and ironstone perfectly.

The kitchen is three separate work areas - the one above, which holds all of my baking things, the cooking area by the stove (to the left of the space above) which is also where our everyday dishes are kept, and the sink area (opposite side).

To the left of this workspace is a doorway leading up into to the dining room, and to the right is a doorway leading up into the living room. I love that the doorways are two steps deep as the stone walls are so thick.

This is the East side of the kitchen. It contains my cleaning closet (left), my pantry (tucked behind in the middle), and a closet for coats and shoes (for the family room entrance which is through the doorway to the right). This part of this kitchen was formerly an office space, which we decided to turn into a main floor laundry area. I love having my laundry on the main floor.

You can see it tucked in behind here, along with our freestanding air conditioning unit. The home has radiant heat and that means no central air. While the main floor has been quite comfortable for most of the summer, the temperatures climbed up into the high thirties with the humidity last week and so we caved and put the air on.

There is a large window overlooking the side yard and the canal in the distance. We plan to create some sort of small built-in workspace to the right of the units, but that will come in time.

This is the West wall of the kitchen which leads out to the back patio.

One of our purchases for this space was a new gas range, which I love. I'm enjoying it so much.

I'm also very much enjoying having a dishwasher.

While originally we planned on replacing a lot of the kitchen, we've grown quite comfortable in it. But there are still a few things we plan to do:
Give the room as fresh coat of paint,
Replace the counter tops and backspash, 
Tile the floor (one day),
Replace the french door,
Finish the shoe closet,
Update the fixtures and hardware.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Touring the Countryside for Antiques

One of my sisters recently had some holiday time she needed to use up, so we agreed to plan a day trip to visit as many antique malls as we could. This was quite an undertaking as they are all quite far from each other, making for a very long day of driving. However, the thought of scouring through rows and rows of collectibles and rooms and rooms of treasures was simply too alluring for us.

I'm happy to share that after five hours of driving, and a few turnarounds, the day was a success!

I came home with a few bags of carefully wrapped findings.

What was even more successful, was that we managed to do the entire trip with both boys! And can I just say that they were unbelievably good sports. Though I did put some effort into making the day more exciting for them. I created a scavenger hunt for Willen to do in the antique store which kept him happily occupied - the prize was $10 to spend at a surprise destination later in the day (a Lego store complete with a build-your-own-care racetrack, and life-size Lego creations). We also made stops at a farm and at a park, ate lunch at a chip truck that was an old fishing boat, and ended the trip with a giant ice cream cone. They also napped in the car, which helped.

On one of the back roads, we came across this field and a small herd of Jersey cows. It was such a pretty pastoral scene, I couldn't resist pulling over and taking a few photos.

As for what came home, here are two gorgeous ironstone pieces I found. 

The pitcher was $19, "as-is" (which means nothing to me as it usually just means it has even more character and charm, and will simply be displayed on my shelf) and the sugar pot was $35. What's even better is that I actually had this exact one, and sold it a while ago. I regretted it, which rarely happens to me, so it made the find even more sweet.

I've come to love the detailed pieces - the pots with ornamental handles, and pitchers with pretty patterns.

I also picked up this small frame for $19 and this charming little gold alarm clock, that works perfectly, for $11. I think the clock was a steal!

Also, my roses started blooming for the second time this year! They were the only bit of my garden I could move with me, as they were in pots, and for a long while I wasn't sure if they would survive. But after a lot of watering and care, they've recovered and a full of buds. I just hope most of them either open, or stay tight before we leave for the cottage!

The old basket to the left wasn't a find on this trip, but I did recently find it at an antique shop in town. It was $20 and it holds things we use each day at the table - my bible and notebooks along with Willen's activity books and homework supplies.

I also found this ladder back chair, with it's perfectly simple design, for $18. I plan on recovering the seat with a piece of antique linen. I can just see it in the boys room, with a lovely old quilt folded on top of it, or in the front entrance with a basket of mittens and scarves set on the seat.

I also found a few other things which I will show later.

Coming up in September, I have two more large antique shows that I'm looking forward to - the Fall Christie's Antique Show on Saturday, September 12th, and the Annual Aberfoyle Fall Outdoor Antique Show the following Saturday, September 19th.

For now, I was happy to cross a few items off my list.