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notes from a small island in retrospect...

random note #3:

after finishing up our crafty days of workshops, we headed back to Rachelle's ram-shackled farmhouse in North Yorkshire. it would be true to say several things. thing one: the weather was not kind to us but this did not dampen our spirits. (although i must confess working on the book's last minute proofs etc was not easy for me on the road and at times it got me down. thankfully my book writing buddy was on top form and did a peachy job of things. hurrah hooray for having a book writing buddy of the utmost kind.) thing two: life with Rachelle, her clan and many many critters is never ever dull. (little olive is now thinking of packing her suitcase and sailing across the pond after i showed her the daily thrillingness at Rachelle's abode)

the view from marvlous maude shrouded in yorkshire mist
the inners of maude make for a most agreeable place to stay
i spent 2 nights in accommodation most fit for any granny chic loving soul. to be holed up in marvelous maude as the rain came down, all snug as a bug in my layers of granny chic finery was rather splendid. i think perhaps you may find it worth a ganders over here to see maude in all her glory but it comes with a warning. you may well be overcome with caravan envy upon perusal of maude in great detail... perfectly expected and quite normal, i tell myself


Cabinetry: Form versus Function

Our cabinet order needs to be finalized stat. It was supposed to be taken care of last week, but our builder is out of town with his family and, as such, our vendor slacked a bit. And now, in typical Niki fashion, I am rethinking a few things at the last second. As it is designed our master bathroom has a built-in tub deck flanked by open shelving.

I was worried that this open shelving wouldn't be as functional as it was aesthetic, so I brought our vendor this image and had him add a forward facing shelving unit to our vanity.

The cabinet drawing looked something like this when it was done. The shelving is 13" deep and runs to the ceiling. I thought I would fold towels and have things that we use daily (q-tips, skin products, etc.) displayed here in an easy to reach space.  

But I worry that 13" isn't enough depth for all of the functionality I want to create. And after seeing our bathroom drywalled I worried that the extra height shelf on the vanity would make our bathroom feel more closed in than it is in actuality.

{ our layout has been slightly modified since, but this is the rough layout }

{ paint, tile and fixture selections }

Today I took some time to mock up our vanity in photoshop to see how I'd feel with the tall cabinet staying versus removing it and I like it both ways. Here were some of my inspiration photos and the resulting drawings. 

#1: no cabinet, 2 mirrors, 4 sconces

#2: no cabinet, 2 mirrors, 3 sconces

#3: tall cabinet, 1 mirror, 2 sconces

#4: tall cabinet, 2 mirrors, 4 sconces

The twins came down with fevers this morning and we have a showing this afternoon, so in between tending to the wee ones and cleaning my house within an inch of its life, I'll be staring at these images trying to make a decision. Fingers crossed that this is the showing that sells our house, I'm so tired of living in a museum. 

yesterday's dullness (according to little olive)...

yesterday morn, little olive announced she felt the long hot day ahead was not filled with thrilling things to do, but rather a long old catalogue of dullness. i begged to disagree but on second thoughts i felt she had a point. in an aid to address the impending dullness and show little olive the error of her thoughts, i turned to my friend Ivor the Ipad to record the day so i may 'showback' little olive's day to her. and with a bit of hope, make her realize her day was not dull but actually rather thrilling.

little olive's
thrilling day

helping Tif with emails

bobbing for ice~cubes when it all got a little hot and sticky
(surely it can't get any more thrilling than that for a little doggie!)

doing her impersonation of "Randy lay there like a slug" from 'a christmas story'

going to bed early due to such a thrilling day

thrilling day

making a bag using some lovely barkcloth from peachy Heidi dearie and a frock loved for years but no longer loved by my expanding derriere. the only thing to do so it no longer mocked me from my closet was choppity chop it up and enjoy it for longer, minus the mocking ways

sitting al fresco with issue 14 of UPPERCASE in the shade, with a nice cup of yorkshire tea

see plenty of thrillingness going on without a hint of dullness, however despite my best intentions, little olive still begs to differ...


random notes from a small island in retrospect...

random note #2

a few weeks back, standing in the middle of the high street in Swanage, Dorset, staring into a store window decked out in fabby finery, i found myself in a predicament. it would appear i had the choice of two options. option one: go home and spend many many hours twiddling and fiddling around with small bits of fabric or option two: support an independent store doing its best to ride the wave of a very tricky dicky climate and spend some pennies. upon entering this fine emporium of bunting glory, all nicely entwined with pretty flower fairy lights and smelly candles, (not overpowering but rather a nice 'hint of a tint of a sniff to pleasantness', sort of candles), i was left with no options it would appear. i parted with my pennies, packed my lovely union jack bunting safely in my bag and went on my merry way.

as i traveled my homelands over the past month every where i passed was decked out in union jack finery, it warmed my heart to see a small island show its patriotic side with such pride. 

just one of many who are flying the flag in old blighty with pride
in four short days it will be 12 years to the dot i upped my clan along with my man to set sail for foreign climes. upon landing stateside i found myself marveling at being surrounded by such patriotism for one's homeland. the US flag flew loud and proud wherever i went and no matter what one may think about a country, its opinions and policies, one can't help but admire those who are happy to say loudly and proudly "i am from here and i am proud to be so". 

as i passed village after village, town after town this summer, i saw folks decking out their homes and their buildings with union jacks and saying proudly, we are British, we have a royal family worth celebrating and we have an Olympic games we are worthy of hosting. i felt most proud to come back to Mossy Shed and hang my 'string of home' many, many miles away from old blighty's unique, rather eclectic, and without a doubt, eccentric shores


random notes from a small island in retrospect...

random note #1:

whilst out and about pottling on two separate occasions, i happened upon three peachy brooches. now i am not a full on jewels kind of girl but i do like myself a nice brooch when i see one. 

three finds worthy of a mention
the first was found with my book writing buddy as we dripped our way around Spitalfield Market in london on one extremely hot day. having come down from up north on a cold morning, Rachelle had wisely donned her newly made granny wool coat only to arrive in the south where a mini heatwave was taking place. it was the start of our journey which would take us around the market, off to see lovely Cath for the night, onto the publishers next day, hopping on a train back up north that eve and followed by two crafty days at Hope & Elvis. however before all that, we chanced upon a nice little stall selling notions of this and that, with rather a lot of things to pin upon one's self. we both found a brooch to make us happy and for one small moment we were distracted from frocks sticking to our sweaty bods, swollen feet and heavy cases. i think that there shows the magic a peachy brooch upon discovery can have

found at spitalfield market on a hot and sweaty jolly day
around a week later i found myself on a very wet saturday morn pottling an antiques show with my folks, it was full to the brim with proper stuff and then amongst all the properness was the stuff i like. i had the good fortune of finding several items worthy of being squashed into my suitcase and none more so than two brooches, the likes of which i had been stalking for some time but never quite finding a good enough example with a good enough price tag.

my patient stalking ways paid off, the dearie behind the stall appeared delighted to have found a customer wishing to part with a few pounds on a dreary morning and after a bit of sweet talking, reminiscing about the beauty of how things used to be made and the quality and care, she felt me worthy an owner of the brooches and gave me a sweet old deal.

a most delightful green brooch worthy of a summer cardi or two
my heart has never beat so fast in 44 years for an accessory or piece of jewellry. i'm not swayed by shiny things as such but the large black brooch with its stunning detail and design had me positively head over heels in love at first sight.

this right here is what i call a most magnificent example of a vintage brooch (said in my best antiques roadshow expert voice)
and despite the lack of Mr Sun this spring and summer for more than a sprinkled day here and there, i can't help but look towards the fall when i may don a thick cardi or coat, bling it up with my new 'let your clasp stay strong and let me never lose you down a drain or gutter' brooch. in the meantime i placed it in a most fitting spot where it may be admired along with its two other friends and i let my girls know only last week just how lucky they were to be one day inheriting such a fine array of brooches alongside of my collection of doilies. i noted upon my kind gesture neither of them fought over which brooches or doilies they had their beady eyes on particularly. 

even the backs of old brooches can cause me to feel a little light headed
 alas they are young and not yet wise to the wonders of a granny brooch or doily... all in good time, all in good time


The Little Christmas

It is a Redemptorist tradition to commemorate the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the 25th of every month. This tradition is known as the Little Christmas.

The image of our infant Saviour is venerated at the foot of the altar on which He is daily sacrificed for our sins.

This Little Light of Mine

Four trips to the house, two rolls of painter's tape, a sharpie and eight cardboard cutouts later and I finally made a decision. Leigh Ann from Urban Grace also came to my rescue with this decision again. So thankful for her when big decisions need to be made. We went with two 14" pendants and three 14.5" lanterns. The middle lantern is lined up with the centerline on our range and the island.

What my neighbors must see when they see me sweating in this house, taping shit to a plywood floor at 7 months pregnant. Ay yi yi. But it's done and I'm happy.

We order our cabinets and garage doors this week. Our electrical is being run and the insulation starts today. By the end of next week we'll be fully sheetrocked. I cannot believe it. The following week we order our tile. We are in our eighth week of building and the process is just flying by. I still don't think we'll be done in time for Lola's arrival, but I'm hopeful that we'll be in there before Thanksgiving still.

If anyone is in the Capital Region and house hunting, we're having an open house this weekend. Drop me an email and I'll send you the information.

Father's Day

Yes, you read that title right. Father's Day. I have good intentions of sitting down at my little laptop at the end of each day and cataloging all of the wonderful things (and some of the not so great stuff too) that are going on in our lives. But with all of the irons in the fire lately, I'm lucky I have the energy to climb the stairs to our bedroom at the end of each day.

So I figured my blog, my rules. I'm going to post about Father's Day in July because someday I may want to look back on that day and remember it. And by now we're so far out from Father's Day that I'm sure no one is sick of reading their 300th Father's Day post (right? Riiiiight...).

Joe was actually out of town for most of Father's Day weekend for a bachelor party. On Sunday morning he met us at a local country store (that was so freaking packed I thought the kids might stroke out from over stimulus) for breakfast. After breakfast we drove past the new house which had just completed it's first week of framing and toured our new digs. Then we headed home to give Daddy his gifts and get ready to go to the zoo.

The kids and I originally got Joe a hammock. It's a beautiful soft-weave hammock that is so ridiculously comfortable. We decided this would be his gift after we hung out in hammocks by the lake earlier this year. Except that when the kids and I went to watch Baby Einstein on Daddy's iPad one morning we saw that he was shopping for lacrosse rebounder walls and decided that was probably a better present for him. I decided to keep the hammock as his birthday present since I'm due with Lola a few days before his birthday and shopping for a present while moving, and closing on a house, and delivering a child would maybe, kind of, sort of be inconvenient. In my head this was a perfect solution.

Unfortunately the hammock arrived in the mail in two ginormous, total dead giveaway boxes weighing approximately 72 pounds each. Oh, and they arrived simultaneously as Joe was pulling in the driveway from work. So I did what any good wife would do. I made him carry his "this-was-your-father's-day-present-but-is-now-your-birthday-present" down to the basement and promise not to peek in the box until I said so.

So back to the rebounder wall. I must have a thing for giving my husband gifts that weigh 72 pounds. Because this friggin' thing was heavy. And since I'm already carrying a human, and there's usually another one or two humans that want to be carried as well, lugging this thing into the car with three kids attached to me was a process. But we got the rebounder wall and brought it home and I somehow managed to get it into the garage without killing myself or crushing one of the twins.

Joe was ecstatic over his present (the rebounder wall) and immediately set it up. And that's when I realized that I did something dreadfully wrong. And it had to go back. You see, I wanted a plain black wall. But all they had at our local lacrosse store were university walls. Joe played lacrosse at Syracuse so I figured sure, why not? And I got him a Syracuse wall. And it was roughly 3' x 4' and bright goddamned orange. And it could not live in my backyard.

So he ended up getting the hammock for Father's Day anyway.

After I gave and ungave him his gift, we loaded the kids into the car and took them up to the Adirondack Animal Farm which is our version of a zoo. There are lots of free roaming animals, a safari tour and a bunch of animals you can feed. The kids got to feed giraffes, monkeys, camels, llamas, deer, and billy goats.

The kids are super into "ah-mals" right now and they were going nuts pointing, shaking fences, running from pen to pen. I was shocked at how completely brave (almost too brave for this mama) they were. Feeding animals 100x their size.

Ryan is a natural when it comes to animal feeding. He grabbed handfuls of pellets (or, for the monkeys, fruit loops -- no joke, the "special" monkey food is fruit loops) and shoved his hands toward the animals' mouths opening his palm once they started eating. He giggled as they tickled his hand with their ah-mal mouths.

His sister watched from afar with most of the feedings. But somewhere between the second tour by Geoffrey the giraffe and the billy goats, she decided that she was going to feed the animals too.

Except when the billy goat (and it was a itty bitty baby billy) came to eat the pellets out of her hand, she tensed up and tightened her little fist around that handful of goat food. And that little goat was hungry and he kept pushing at her hand with his little, wet nose. And she tightened her little hand in an even smaller ball. And you know what that billy goat did? He bit her. And you know what her momma was doing while this was happening? She was trying to take a picture of her kid feeding the goats. FAIL.

Reese lost her goddamned mind. She didn't have a mark on her, but she cried and hooted like that goat took a finger. Forty minutes, she cried with brief hiatuses to laugh at her brother or point at a monkey before remembering she was very upset about something (...what was that again?...) and cried some more. Thus ending our time at Animal Land.

We took the kids to an outdoor BBQ place for dinner, which is phenomenal because they can throw food and you don't even have to feel bad. And there is live music and hula hoops and bubbles everywhere. Super stuff. The kids were enamored with the hula hoops and each grabbed a hoop and tried to imitate the big kids. I tried to show them how to hula, but considering I no longer have a waist it was a fruitless effort.

Reese got to dance with her Daddy to some old blues music and Ryan wilded out all over the grass. The kid was a dancing machine.

They loved having the ability to run to our picnic table and grab a bite of food and then run off to dance or hula or pop bubbles. I loved having the ability to eat while the food was hot and actually have (and finish) a conversation with my husband. It was honestly a great day. I don't know how we'll top it next year, but I have a funny feeling that these kids will find a way to keep days like this fun for years to come.

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