Thursday, April 19, 2018

Looks like home

The house has felt like home since the first night. But finally, this week, it's starting to look like home - from the outside.

Despite the fact that it's mid April, the temperatures have felt more like early March. There have been a few false starts to spring, and one day of full-on summer on Saturday, which is when I got most of the planters for the front patio potted up and in place. It's raining again today, and chilly, but I did two more pots and got them out front so they could get nicely watered in.

Things to do: get an outdoor faucet installed.  The lack of one might explain the ratty condition of the lawn, which won't be around much longer. At some point, I'm going to install a rain barrel, but right now I would like to actually be able to turn on a faucet and have water come out.

In old house news, it went on the market two weeks ago and I got several offers. I picked one, she had the house inspected and found no major monsters in the basement, so it looks like things are moving forward and soon I will only have one house on my plate. That will feel good.

Friday, April 6, 2018

End of an era

The house went up on the MLS yesterday, and the sign went up this morning.

It's still mine, but it no longer feels like mine.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Space

Bedroom. The floors never looked that good.
The emptying of the old house is somehow still going on.

My advice to you: declutter now, so you don't have to do it later.

I actually admitted defeat and hired my local thrift store to come in and empty the attic and basement. Whatever they couldn't use, they would take to the dump.

Living room. So much brighter without
curtains. Shame there are neighbors
4 feet away.
I assumed, wrongly, that all the contents of my house were of such high quality that they would dispose of very little.  And then I saw the dump receipt.

They removed a TON of stuff. Literally a ton.

I'm dizzy at the idea, even knowing that about 200 lbs. of it was my big wooden conference table that I used in the workroom.  (They said it had limited resale because of its ginormous size, and also they didn't have a place to store it).

Even then, I had to get a scrap metal guy to come in and remove the old dryer, 50 year old hot water heater, and an old oil tank.  The last 2 had been in the basement when I bought the house,but as my realtor just told me,"It's not 2000 anymore; standards are higher."

Which means, apparently, a clean basement. And attic. And floors. And rooms that no longer even faintly smell of cat.  I found a cleaning product at the dollar store that did everything. It's recommended for use in "public bathrooms and animal quarters," so I figured it would shine floors and alleviate minor cat funk in a few corners.

It certainly did that. The smell of the cleaning product was so strong it clung to my clothes, and the house smelled like a roofing truck drove into a bar.  The smell faded after a few days. Thankfully.

Kitchen.  It hurts to leave those
cabinets behind. But they're so
perfect in that space.
Every time we go back, I think we're done. And every time we leave, we say, "Just one more day should do it."

This time, I think we're right.


Workroom. The table took up
almost the entire space.
*** In case anyone wants to look up the cat-odor-defeating product, it's called Creolina.  Here's a link, but there's a good chance you can find it locally.  Try your nearest dollar store and work out from there. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

The Ikea Effect

The old house is almost empty.  The only things left are tools and cleaning supplies.  After this weekend, (hopefully) we can hand the house off to the realtor.

We stopped there after work yesterday and brought a carload of assorted items from the basement, attic and dark corners of my workroom.  We parked in the driveway, unloaded by the back door, and I unlocked the door.  Or attempted to.  It didn't work.  I checked; I had the right key.  I tried again.   .

Mario tried his key and it didn't work.  We both stood there for a second, staring at our suddenly-uncooperative door.  It reminded me of the time several winters ago when I turned on the kitchen faucet and nothing happened - your brain is just so used to faucet = water that it didn't compute when the water didn't happen.  (The pipes were frozen, but it took a few seconds for the realization to sink in).

This was like that.  Key + lock = entry to house, right?  Nope.

Mario let himself in by the front door and was able to open the kitchen door from the inside.  He was going to call a locksmith, but it wasn't a key/lock issue, it was apparently that the entire handleset was somehow wonky, and I didn't think that was worth paying someone else to tell us.  We looked up new, similar sets online and while they're expensive ($150ish), it's something that lasts for decades, so it's worth it.  We decided to let it go and just use the front door for now, until the old house sells and we have more cash on hand.

But.

After dinner, as he was settled in on the couch, talking back to MSNBC, I got my work light, some lock lubricant, a couple of screwdrivers and a pair of pliers, and went to work on the door. Oh, and a glass of wine.  Lubricant for me, as well as the lock. I got the old set off, took it apart, cleaned and reassembled it.  A few interior screws were loose, and while I can't fix the screw at the bottom of the handle (it's both stripped and corroded, so I can't even remove it), I was able to get the whole thing back together, on the door and functioning.

It's not perfect, but I'm optimistic that we can get another 6 months out of it. And if I was able to temporarily repair and reinstall this lock, I'll easily be able to install the new one.

They call it the Ikea effect, that rush you get from completing a task yourself (albeit sometimes imperfectly), rather than paying an expert to do it for you.  It feels good.

Or maybe that was the wine?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Happy Spring

Our new town looks pretty in the snow, a little like Bedford Falls.  Frank Capra-esque charm aside, this is the third snowstorm in less than 3 weeks, and my second snow day in 2 weeks, and yesterday was the first day of spring.





Friday, March 16, 2018

Happy tears

 In the midst of packing to move, I was contacted by a woman who I'd met last summer at a craft show in South Philly.  We'd talked generally at the time about custom bears and she took a card, but that happens at nearly every show and people rarely follow up.

This woman did.

Her daughter is having a baby very soon, and she reached out because she wanted to make a "family bear" for her. 

Every piece of fabric in this bear came from a piece of cherished clothing from one family member or another. 

I met up with her at lunchtime from the office, heard the stories about each piece of clothing, each person, and took the bag home to start her bear.

Trying to get in "maker mode" when I was in the middle of packing wasn't easy, but once I started laying out my pattern pieces, this little guy came together.

A friend stopped by  as I was stringing him together, and she said, hoping not to offend, that my work was beautiful, she wasn't so sure about the bear.  I understood her meaning, but said that the bear would be beautiful to my customer, because of all the people it represented, and that the only part of the piece I could control was my work.

Bear's pieces: head and body - tweed jacket from customer's mom; denim jacket from her dad.  Floral silk on head - Dad's Liberty tie.  Navy on legs - dress my customer wore to her daughter's wedding.  Blue-and-whtie gingham - curtains my customer made for her daughter's childhood bedroom.  Ears - dad's hankie.  Foot pads - mom's leather glove.  Salmon jersey - dad's pullover.  Teal cotton (and embroidered portion) - blouse made by the mom-to-be.

The small blanket behind the bear in the second picture consists of pieces donated by the baby's father's family - a "no fear" hat, a gray cashmere sweater, a dark silk from a dress, and a wool hat from both parents' high school.  (With a little of that salmon jersey to tie it all together).

I think it's a little alarming, but in a good way, and my customer burst into tears in her building lobby, so I'm taking that as a good thing.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Cozy

Well, our move was delayed by a snowstorm, and here we are, just a few days later, getting hit with another one.

No matter, it just gives me more time to unpack. 

The kitchen is basically done, other than making new curtains. The previous owner left theirs behind in all the rooms on the first floor, and I appreciate not having to rush to make new ones. Even these apple print ones in the kitchen are pretty neutral.

You'll notice the kitchen is green, instead of orange.  That's because the main house color living room/dining room/hall - is a warm terracotta and I didn't want us overwhelmed with varying shades of orange.

I'm a little frustrated that I don't have room for all my art, but the limitations are good. I'm being forced to choose my favorite pieces.

Here's the kitchen so far.

The cabinets will get redone or replaced somewhere down the road, but now that I've painted the walls, I don't mind the color as much.  My least favorite part is the Formica backsplash, which started out as white with gold flecks but has yellowed over the decades. It's a small thing. I'll think of something to update it when we've dealt with the rest of the place.