Thursday, January 31, 2008

The end of January

This month has raced by so quickly. It's hard to believe that my mother has been gone for four weeks now. But at the same time, I feel like it was forever ago since I saw her last. Between trying to get a B&B up and running so quickly and tending to my Mom's estate, my days melt into each other.

On a brighter note, my youngest son Alex just got a new, "second chance" dog from the Toronto Humane Society. His name is Baxter and I am thrilled to have a new 'granddog'. I haven't met him yet but will this Sunday when both my sons come to visit. My eldest son Jay is visiting from Victoria BC for a week.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

crocheted throw

When my mom died she was working on an afghan made with worsted weight cotton. She had just started her project before she got really sick so she was barely into it. So I had four large skeins of cotton and an afghan project from a pattern I'd done before. I didn't really want to do it again so I made a throw from a Leisure Arts book called Our Best Baby Afghans. The pattern is called Itsy Bitsy Spiderweb.

Sometimes we overlook great patterns because they are in baby books. It never hurts to baby yourself though. This afghan is warm and just the right size to wrap up in while sipping hot cocoa.

I changed the border a bit. I did a sc all around. Then I worked *ch3, sc in third ch from hook, skip next sc, sc in next sc.* Repeat pattern. It's nothing too fancy but just enough to make the afghan look finished.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

If you dig deep enough

Here is a picture of a sweet little clock I picked up at the thrift shop for next to nothing. I don't know why no one else scooped it up unless it's because they couldn't figure out how to get to the clock to put in a new battery. The clock face twists off. It works fine and will soon be happily situated on one of my guest room tables.

I need to find frames for family photos. Mom and I were going to do a wall with family portraits and pictures. I still plan on doing it but it pains me that she won't see it. Here is a picture of my late brother Rene when he was a little boy around 4 years old. He died at just 29 years leaving behind a wife and two small children. He's been gone for twenty-three years this coming March but it sometimes feels like yesterday. He was a cute little guy.

Monday, January 21, 2008

slow progress

I have been stripping a wallpaper border from my bathroom walls. It is a dark blue border that looks like draped fabric with gold tassles. Not exactly my idea of the perfect B&B bath setting.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I bought a chandelier at a thrift shop that I am going to make over. The sink in the room is too small so we are painting an old wreck of a double dresser (not antique) and we are going to make that into a sink.

We are not sure if we're going to put in another corner tub or not. Most of them are suited for two persons but that's too much water and I like to bathe alone anyway. We are playing with the idea of an airjet tub. I'm not sure if it would be a novelty and end up not being used. The corner tub we have now is a whirlpool tub and I very rarely use it. It did come in handy once when I wanted to wash a small rug that wast too large for my washer. I just tossed the rug in the tub with some low sudsing soap and let the whirlpool do the rest. It turned out quite well but it did take forever to drain enough to lift it from the tub.

The toilet has to be replaced. It is the most shallow toilet I have ever seen. That is not a nice option I can tell you! Because we are opening a B&B, I will need a strong flush toilet anyway.

Monday, January 14, 2008

vintage patterns

Paul and I were at an auction with my Mom not too long before Christmas. We bid on a whole bunch of stuff and won most of it. One of the lots that Paul won for three dollars had a box of vintage patterns in it. At first I thought 'big deal' but as I went through them I found myself becoming very excited. They are a real treasure. I can't wait to get started on some of these. They range in size from 9 to 22+. The sizes are more realistic than today's size standards. My sister-in-law has offered to come out and give me a hand mastering my serger. I've had it for about 4 years now so it's time I made something.

The pattern above has a post mark on the envelope for 1942. The pattern beside it has an additional pattern inside that is cut from newspaper from WW2.

"What one loves in childhood
stays in the heart forever."
~Mary Jo Pulney

They date all the way up to the stylish era when Simplicity patterns exorbitently priced their patterns at a dollar. My goodness, can you imagine getting a pattern for that price now? A lot of these ones were priced at twenty-five cents. Whoooa.

"Nothing makes a woman more beautiful
than the belief that she is beautiful."
~Sofia Loren

I plan on making costumes with these patterns and perhaps a few dresses for myself. Most patterns are easy to adjust up one size or down one so the whole box of patterns offers a fit for almost anyone.

Whoever owned these patterns must have really favoured a couple of them because there are duplicates in different sizes.

"Oh, never mind the fashion.
When one has style of one's own,
it is always twenty times better."
~Margaret Oliphant

There are also a few girl's dress patterns and one Mommy and Me set.

"Fashion is general:
style is individual."
~Edna Woolman Chase

"When you are feeling low about how you look, it's important to put the magazines aside, and practice looking in the mirror and focusing on all that you have to be grateful for. Stop comparing youreself to the made-up fantasy images presented by the media; instead, be the best that you can be given the attributes that you have."
~Kristine Carlson

I love these two little gems. #9081 and 9257. There is quite a difference in the two sizes but I'm somewhere in the middle so I'm hoping to work something out.

"Fashion fades.
Only style remains."
~Coco Chanel

"Those whose ideals of love face the future instead of the past will find it a very tender, beautiful, and spiritual expression of the human longing for a mate who shall be also friend, companion, and inspirer."

~Richard Wightman The Things He Wrote to Her.

There are about thirty more patterns but I posted only a few of my favourites. I was hoping to have my give-away for a few of the patterns left in the box in March but as there seemed to be no interest in this post I will hold off until this blog is more established.

"Fashion mocks individuality.
Style celebrates it."

Fashion guesses,
style knows.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A promise to keep

I did promise my mother many times that I would always move forward and never cling to grief. That's a tough promise to keep. But I am ready to try. I know I will never get past losing her because I still mourn for my father and brother after twenty+ years. But it is a kind of loving grief that I feel for them now. I know they're gone but they are still both so much a part of who I am.
My remaining dog Brady is lost. We moved here in July and my youngest son went back to the city after two months. A couple of months later, Brady's constant companion Beulah, my dog of almost 13 years, left us. Than a couple months after that, Mom passed. I can tell you, Brady is sticking pretty close to Paul and I. That's okay though, what's life without a dog to spoil?

If I don't shake a few things up in this house I will begin to believe it's a sad house and I know that's not true. It is one of those houses that you feel at home in the moment you walk through the door. I don't want to cast a gloomy shadow on a house that radiates love. So for Beulah, my mom, the former residents of this house and for Paul and myself, I am ready to live in love with life again.
This is a little off topic but I just can't resist. Here is a picture of Amos (A. Mouse) the rat. He is gardening in a plant arrangement I have on a side table. He just digs a hole in the center and chills out while Paul and I watch some television.

We are going to turn this big house into a B&B I think. We've got lots of work to do and I know it will be an on going hobbie. The bathroom on the second floor is completely off white. Clean and tidy enough but boring. I have picked my colour scheme for the room based on a teddy bear, cream and sugar set, from two of my collections and a button wreath I made several years ago. I just hot glued white and off-white buttons to a styrofoam wreath. Paul has to do a bit of repairs in the room but then it's mine. I am moving furniture around but I need to put my personal stamp on the bathroom quickly. I also found an old chandelier at a place called Beyond the Blue Box. You buy stuff by the pound there. I got the chandelier for a dollar and I plan to give it a facelift and put it in the bathroom. Hopefully I'll add a pic tomorrow.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Painful Goodbye

Happy New Year everyone. I would have posted before this but on the second day of January, my mother passed away. It really wasn't expected. She was undergoing chemo with great hope. She did get a lung infection but that was clearing up nicely. However, part the the cure for the infection caused her to go into renal failure. She died at Wednesday evening after being taken to the hospital in an ambulance. I didn't get there in time to be with her and I am crushed. As we talked many times of our parting, I know her greatest wish for me would be to let her go. I will attempt to respect that wish as I try to pick up the piece of my life which is feeling very empty without her. She joins my father and my brother. I have no other siblings so I'm feeling very lonely at the moment. My husband of course is awesome. And my youngest adult son is spending a lot of time with me. My eldest son is across the country so we have to settle for telephone hugs.

I am fortunate to have two aunts and an uncle as well as my late aunt's husband to lean on as well. They are great but I can't help wish I had another sibling to call to share this terrible grief. The above picture was taken less than two months before her passing.

So here sit in the beautiful old century home that was to be my mother and my latest scheme and project, wondering how I will ever pull this off without her.