Thursday, August 24, 2017

We are home!

Tonight I was making supper in our beautiful new kitchen and suddenly registered what the counter looked like.  Then I took a picture.

In the old version of this house, stuff on the counter never, ever looked nice enough to make me want to do that - especially while I was making supper.  And after I took it and sat down to read more of a magazine article, Pete wandered over to the counter to slice bread and said, I know you don't use Instagram but this counter looks pretty Instagrammy right now.  Ha!

I even love the way soapstone looks with crumbs on it.

I can't believe how black it came out after waxing... it does fade to green-grey again after the first week or two, but this is my second wax coat and it's holding the colour much longer.  Apparently you only have to do this three or four times at the beginning, and then it just looks black forever. And it does show water marks and rings from a soggy glass left on it, but those buff out quickly with a paper towel if you're annoyed by them. I find I am not annoyed by them.  Obviously, since I even enjoy the look of crumbs.

It's been three weeks since I had enough sitting down time to write a blog post, but I've been accumulating pictures the whole time and I hope they won't bore you.  They are the small delights that have punctuated the long arduous ordeal that is moving.  I mean, our movers were great, though we didn't even try to have everything ready for them to bring back for us because I knew we wouldn't have space in the house for that many boxes at once.  It's all the other stuff... the packing, the carrying, the figuring our where stuff should go.  You know what I'm talking about I'm sure!  even if you don't drag a move out over several weeks like us.

One of the first things I did when we started to move stuff home was to ready the two sets of dishes we bought last winter.  Or was it the winter before that?  I don't even remember now, other than the bit where I couldn't choose between Villeroy & Boch 'Manoir', a porcelain set affordable because it was being discontinued, and a black and white plaid stoneware that's sure to chip and break easily but is SO CUTE.

I have never stored dishes in a drawer before, but the Manoir plates have kind of a cup shape that doesn't lend itself to being shoved onto an existing stack of plates on a high shelf, and our upper cabinets are set pretty high on the wall because I wanted lots of space over the counter.

Something I learned: you can't just chuck dishes in a drawer and expect them to stay put every time you open and close it.  You can spend a lot of money on a pegboard system from a fancy drawer insert company to corral your plates, or you can spend a lot of time making your own pegboard system from dowels, or you can split the difference and send your husband, who apparently loves you even more than he hates IKEA, to pick up plate corral thingies from IKEA.  Which is what I did.  (actually, I prefer the look of the IKEA solution. It's cleaner.)

The rest of the dishes are, logically, in the cupboard above:

Even though there is a crazy amount of cabinetry in this house, I can guarantee you that this particular section will not remain as spare as this.  But I wish it would, because I find this so restful to look at!  Even the crates at the top don't stress me out, because they are full of Christmas decorations.  Can you see Santa peeping out up there?

Washing the dishes has also been restful, even before our furniture arrived and the big sink wasn't connected because there was a problem with the first faucet, and I had to use the tiny bar sink for the job:

It's just the right size for four bowls, or one dinner plate. So simple, even without a proper drying rack.

Okay, you're probably tired of looking at dishes now.  So - let's talk about how much I love the new stove!!

I can't even remember what kind this one is now.  It's a ceramic top and it's from GE but I kind of think they stopped making this particular model after I had it delivered.  I might be wrong about that.  I chose it because the top extends over the counter, avoiding spills that run down the side of the cabinet - I am so clumsy when I'm cooking, and this happens to me ALL the time - but I also loved that it has a baking drawer instead of the usual squeaky pot drawer that I rarely store things in because I hate opening it so much.  As of yet, I have not used the baking over or the regular oven, but I have fallen hard for the stove top.  The dials feel great in your hand, the elements heat up pretty fast, and you can vary the size of each element to adapt to large or small or oblong pans.  HEAVEN.

I feel so grown up.  And yet, not, because the upper cabinets are so high I still have to reach for them like I'm 12.

Let's see, what else can I show you tonight?  There's still a lot around here that isn't finished, including the unpacking and the back yard cleanup, so I've been pretty picky about taking pictures.  But Pete and Ray have been installing the doorknobs, which I think look fantastic on the white doors and feel perfect in your hand, so I did get a lopsided picture of one of those:

And I took a picture of two candidates for our bedroom curtains, before I made up the bed, which is by the way ridiculously high up off the ground and even more so now that it has sheets and blankets. But so comfortable.  No more back pain!

There is a large blue velvet sofa in this room so I was thinking about a pale floral with some blue in it, but neither of these looks right to me.  What about you?  I am just kind of living with the samples to see if anything sticks, and in the meantime, enjoying how our bedroom looks like a floaty cloud.  Feels like one too, per my earlier remarks.

On top of the fact that our condo still has a ton of stuff in it that has to move to the house, not to mention what's in the storage locker... I am pretty sure I've only made a small dent in the unpacking. Sometimes this sort of job feels unending and then suddenly a bunch of things fall into place, so I'm hopeful that I've done better than that.  I am writing this while lying on my office daybed for example, which was a big part of the dream of coming home, so maybe it doesn't matter that the rest of the office is not even remotely set up?

It will matter for Hugs, of course... probably I won't be back here again for a week or two so I can break the back of this awful job. But I will take good pictures in the meantime and when I'm back, I'm back.  Regular posts, fun knitting, lots of good stuff you'll enjoy, I hope.  See you then!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The cottage escape

As hard as it is to be away so much when there is packing to be done so we can finally move home, it is wonderful to get away to the cottage where everything is neat and tidy and staying that way, and the wi-fi signal is so poor as to make it impossible to work.

Even when it's not warm enough to swim.

(I kid. I just swim anyway.)

The water levels at the lake were high at the start of the season this year, and after a heavy rain last weekend they are even higher - check our our neigbours' dock! 

That's it there, the little slice of something to the left of the boat. It isn't a floating dock. When motorboats go by, their waves wash over the surface - a new experience for them.

We have a sort of 'island' at the side of our dock that is very popular with nearby kids because there is enough sand to make a few castles.  Usually by early August it's all ready for play but you can't even see the top of the rock right now. 

The pace is slow at the cottage, even though we really, really need to deal with the eavestroughs this year.   Once we get around to buying a ladder tall enough to reach them.

Inside, we've been so effective at mouse proofing that even on the first day it only takes a little over an hour to get the power and water running again, and the place cleaned and dusted and ready to enjoy.  Now, we just turn up and put our groceries into the refrigerator and think about lunch.  Then dessert, then a little snack, and supper, and another dessert and snack to nibble on while playing Euchre. 

Pete is reading and getting up early to go paddling in the kayak before the motorboats are out, and I am painting and reading Sense and Sensibility between bouts of swimming.  One morning, after setting out his kayak the afternoon before, Pete discovered it had been washed away by the high water levels.  He had to head out in my kayak with a tow rope to look for it, but thankfully a guest of our neighbour had noticed it floating in the middle of the lake and towed it in already, using a canoe, then set it on their dock behind their boat, with a plan to call around for its owner the next day.  After that of course we resolved to tie our kayaks more securely but it turns out there is no such thing at the current water level, because they both floated off again while we were reading on the dock. 

I have probably had all the value there is to be had from this cottage - if I never went again, I would still remember vividly the pleasures of the view and the feel of the water and the scent of the air and the way wool socks just feel different when worn on a cool forest morning.  But it is very nice to be able to go and keep shoring up those moments.

And of course, now I have watercolour painting to learn.  I find I am mostly only interested in painting trees and there are lots to choose from up there, even if all I'm after is bark:

Another neighbour told me it takes about five years to get into a good rhythm with a cottage and I thought we were there last year, but now I know better.  This is the summer we are finally at home at the lake - not worrying about what we 'should' be doing, but just doing what we want.

What better escape is there than that, in any setting?