Monday, May 18, 2015

The house where knits grow

Today I've got some 'before' and 'after' shots of the house for you - before packing, and after moving out.  Brace yourselves!

I took this picture of our fireplace mantel before I really got going on the living room.  It has had a lot of different looks over the years - for the first few years, the walls were bright yellow and framed a 1930s print of a hundred colourful umbrellas rushing into a single doorway with the sale shoppers who held them - but I have really enjoyed this one.

Those are white walls, not pink, but pink might be nice too...

At the bottom of this picture you can just make out a collage I made ten years ago... it covered a piece of plywood we screwed into the surround to block off the fireplace when we realized it was completely dysfunctional and very messy.  And thank goodness we did that, because about eight years ago, a family of raccoons climbed down from the chimney and made a home for themselves in the gap.  It was bad enough listening to them scratching on the plywood at night before we got help to get them out and block their re-entry - can you imagine waking up to a raccoon in your bed?

Here's a closeup of the collage.  You can see where I gave up, when I thought it was starting to look too busy and wasn't sure how to scale it back again.

I really, really loved making and looking at that art, and when I was packing I found more pages from the calendars I used to do it.  Since the condo walls are bare and I don't want to put holes in them, I think I'll make some new collages on bristol board and tack them up with sticky putty.  Instant nostalgia!

I think I mentioned that Ray gave us several extensions to get our stuff out of the house, and you can probably guess he was pretty ready for demolition when he finally got in there.  Here is what the house looked like this past weekend, after he'd put in two days with a sledgehammer:

A little different, wouldn't you say?  The biggest shock for us is the absence of anything below those toothy 2x4 bits hanging down from the ceiling in the foreground.  There was a wall there, dividing the kitchen from the living room; in the new version of the house, it will be an open passage between the entry area and what will become the dining room.

That's a better shot of the division, with a random-looking radiator marking the spot where the wall used to be.  It separated two doorways, but check out what looks like a third, to the left of them!  The house was built during WWII to house the family of a worker at one of the metal plants nearby, and I assume wood was conserved wherever possible.  That opening was actually another cosmetic wall, offering some privacy for the entry to the bathroom.

The new bathroom, a two-piece powder instead of a 4-piece main bath, will stand in that third opening, right in the middle of the house.  That wall to the left of it will open up to be a passage into the new kitchen, with counters on either side of it as you enter.

Imagining the new house superimposed over these images makes it a lot easier to bear the loss of the one we've known all these years.  It's so weird to think of so much change!  But as a team we've worked very hard to preserve the feeling of the original house so I am not feeling as sad as I expected.

Thankfully, Ray's had no surprises yet, which is lucky since we're off to Newfoundland very early tomorrow morning.  We can keep in touch with him (and our incredibly patient architects) but we won't be close enough to drop by in an emergency.

I also won't be posting for the rest of the week again, because I'm not taking any knitting with me (!!), or even a computer to write from.  But Toffee, who loved covering for me one day when I was in Italy a couple of years ago, said he would try to come up with some pictures in my absence so all I have to do is post them from my phone.  Who knows whether that will come to anything... I don't care how handknit sock-obsessed he is, he's a stuffed bunny and I don't even know where my backup camera is packed, let alone whether he can operate the shutter. 

Still, let's hope for the best, shall we?  And before I go and finish off another round of packing - for a holiday this time, can you imagine?? - I will leave you with this lovely singing bird:

Isn't he beautiful?  And he expresses so much of what I feel for you guys.  Have a wonderful week and if I don't get something out to you next Monday, it won't be long afterward before I do.

ps: you can check out more of these gorgeous felted wool friends at Scratchcraft on Etsy.  Good luck choosing a favourite!


Linda said...

Oh wow! I love what you did with your fireplace! So unusual and creative!!

Linda in VA

Mary Keenan said...

Thanks Linda! I really loved it... hopefully I can recreate it, though the new version will be much narrower :^)

Linda said...

What is the shawl in your header? Love it! especially the colors - two that I've always liked together!

Linda in VA

Mary Keenan said...

Isn't it gorgeous? It's 'Sugared Violets' by Rose Beck - I needed stitch markers to keep the yarn overs straight, but it's a pretty easy and quick pattern for such a pretty result :^) You can buy it on Ravelry: