« February 2010 | Main | April 2010 »

An Everyday Moment

I needed to smile. This photo did it for me. She'll be happy to see it posted when she reads my blog later on. That girl and her animals... it's a big love fest.

A Few Thoughts

Just a few random thoughts this morning.

  • I'm glad I took advantage of another sunny, warm day yesterday by painting a few more pieces of porch furniture. Bright white for two chairs and cherry red for the $8 thrifted rocker.
  • I've spent a great deal less time on the computer in the last month or two and it has felt amazing. Some days I don't even turn it on. It wasn't a conscious decision, I guess life was just filled with other, less technological tasks. It has left me feeling inspired... starting this coming weekend I'm aiming for computer free weekends. We'll see how it goes!
  • There has been an incredible amount of spam in the comments lately and I'm very sorry about that. I try to delete as many as I can, but often Typepad does not notify me by email of new comments and typically spammers leave their comments/advertisements on older posts in hopes that the blog owner will not notice.
  • Thrifting has been amazing around here lately, I think I need to re-open my vintage shop sooner than later.
  • I have so much news to share. Well, I have news. I'm still trying to figure out what makes sense to share here and what doesn't.
  • I've been rethinking my blogging ethics. What I'm comfortable writing about and what should remain private. It's good to revisit our ethics once in a while and allow them to evolve as life changes.

  • I'm enjoying 'taking' drawing lessons from some of my favorite children's illustrators. These drawings are not to be considered my work, but they are helping me to learn new techniques and develop my eye, looking at lines and shapes rather than whole images or scenes. This practice drawing (which is still in progress) was deeply inspired by the drawings Beth Krommes did for Grandmother Winter.
  • I am (very slowly) putting together a new batch of Cash Budget Pouches and they will be ready sometime in April. I'm excited about the new colorways and bigger inventory!
  • Sometimes I feel a little bored with myself on this blog. Not sure what that means. Do any of you feel this way too, bored with yourselves? I don't think I'm going to be done anytime soon... but I can't help but think, how do we know when we are done?
  • I'm not really eating any dairy (most days none) and my body seems to be deflating.

I guess that's about it for now. I will work on sorting out all of the things I'd like to share here and get on that very soon. So many changes, so many opportunities, so many big decisions (some will surprise you!). Life is certainly chugging along and I don't think I can keep quiet too much longer! That is, if I can remember to turn the computer on...

In Like a Lamb

Spring arrived in such a way this year that we normally (here in the northeast) only dream of. Though we didn't see a single robin all day, she certainly did not disappoint.

Our day was filled with warmth and sun... there was a transplanting party for many indoor and outdoor plants... raspberry bushes dug up for friends... an early morning run for one of us (not me)... summer clothes unpacked from the attic... bike riding... basketball... baby spider plants in teacups... a clean, white coat of paint for my front porch plant cart... and as long as paint was on the brain, a fun splash of yellow for my porch table.

Oh, and three meals together at the table. That alone makes for a perfect day.

And in perfect spring fashion, there were flowers. Some given to me yesterday by friends and the others delivered to Emily from my sister. Her annual first day of Spring flowers (past years here, and here... it seems I did not post a photo in 2008, but indeed, they were here!). My Florida living sister remembers just how un-spring-like the equinox can be up here. So, she makes sure Emily has flowers despite there being very few growing in the yard just yet.  Pretty sweet if you ask me... or Emily.

Happy Spring everyone!!

Home Tour :: Pantry

I think you may know how much I adore this part of our home. My goodness, I have carried on about it too many times I'm sure. I don't imagine you will be surprised to learn that our very first "toast to our new home" (bubbly for the big kids, chocolate milk for the little one) took place is this small space just off the kitchen.  It was unplanned, but looking back I can only think how fitting it was we wound up in here!

Thankfully, all of that beautiful wood was not touched over the years. It turns out this pantry is not original to the house (1922), it was built in the 1930's by the gentleman who lived here. He was a machinist by day, and as a hobby he happened to be an excellent craftsman. We learned about the origin of this room when our home was on the Victorian Home Tour in town a few years back. A woman who lived next door as a little girl in the 1930's came on the tour and told us all about when it was built. It was so interesting to walk through our home with someone who had visited here so many times, nearly seventy years before.

The mini-blinds were of course removed right away. Sadly, replacing the 80's linoleum counter was something that never did get checked off our list in our time here (a portion of the counter is solid marble at least), and as for the floor... well, thankfully we pulled it up with the kitchen floor pretty early on.

Oh my. After hours and hours and hours of sanding and refinishing, these tired and worn (solid oak) floors were restored to their original beauty. 

in the pantry

in the kitchen

And it is right in here that I have stayed through the years, with apron strings tied, making good use of this beautiful and functional space. As we look ahead, it is impossible to say for sure what life will hold, but I do know for certain that a tiny part of me will always remain in this little room.

What a lovely thing to hold on to.

On this Path no Effort is Wasted

On this path no effort is wasted,

no gain is ever reversed;

even a little of this practice

will shelter you from great sorrow.

Bhagavad Gita 2.40 (Stephen Mitchell translation)

I'm so thankful for my yoga practice right now. Forget the perfect downward dog, side plank or headstand. It is the spirit of the practice, the ancient teachings applied off the mat which are carrying me through these days. I'm not sure where I would be without this solid foundation.

It's been a whirlwind around here (some things that aren't appropriate for me to talk about here). But the emotion behind it all? Oh my. Disappointments countered by fresh possibility.  

I'm so thankful for the beautiful warm weather we are having right now, it's just the tonic this girl was looking for. The weekend saw many satisfying hours spent spring cleaning in the yard. There was also a good amount of sunny, creative time curled up by a south facing window to complete this drawing. It has been traveling around with me for a few weeks now and I knew from the beginning it would hold these words (one of my favorite teachings from the Bhagavad Gita), but I wasn't sure why I needed to include them at this time. Now I know.

I'm glad I didn't change the direction of this piece when my pesky mind told me to. Instead, I followed my heart and did the work. The result is the most personal drawing I've produced so far, and this poignant dharma teaching is one that I am grateful to be reminded of at this time.

The house tour will certainly continue! I just feel the need to break it up a bit...

Home Tour :: Kitchen


Oh this kitchen. Thiskitchenthiskitchenthiskitchen. For all the pantry love that I felt when we first looked at this property, there was little to none for the kitchen. It is a room tucked away from the living space. It has no exterior window. The pantry is full of them but the kitchen has zero. There is the one over the sink that at one time looked out to the back yard, but an addition off the back of the house has changed that. During the warmer months I can open the door to the side porch, that let's in a little more light.

The kitchen as we purchased it was a bit of a hodge-podge. There was the permanent, probably original cabinets on the sink side of the room with a grey but forgettable laminate counter. The counter I'm sure was not original.


The other side was made up of a portable island and cabinets that were different from the opposite side. As you can see from the photo, the break-up of the two types of counter space made it an awkward workspace. Look closely and you can see the wall above the island is not flush, there are two bump-outs. Behind those bump-outs are pipes that carry the plumbing to the second floor bathroom. The house did not have a bathroom (aside from one in the basement) when it was first built. What is now the bathroom was probably a fourth bedroom at one time. Adam built out that portion of the wall so we could add cabinets and a counter that would fit smoothly into the space. If you'd like to see a few shots of what it took to make the wall workable, check out these photos here, here, and here.

And that floor...I admit it looks fairly benign in the photo, but trust me, it was stained and yellowed and just had a really weird odor. I also had a strong feeling there was a wood floor underneath. It had to go.


Typical for an older house, there was more than one layer of linoleum to be pulled up. It was such a disgusting, messy job but indeed, we found those wood floors. However, we first had to deal with the asbestos that was left behind from the bottom flooring layer. It took days (maybe weeks) to remove it all. Because it would have been very dangerous to turn all of that asbestos into dust with the sander, we had to remove it differently. What worked for us was to take large towels soaked in boiling hot water and lay them over an area of the floor. We would let it sit for quite a while, the heat and the moisture would turn the asbestos into mud essentially, then we would carefully scrape and scoop up the slop and dispose of it (the dump had a special place for it). It took forever but it was the safest way to do it. Once all the asbestos was removed we sanded and refinished the floors.

One Subaru can hold two layers of linoleum and sub-flooring from one kitchen.

kitchen 4

We definitely went the DIY/Ikea route when designing our kitchen.

Because this room has little natural light, we painted it a very light color (Navajo White with White trim and cabinets). I love the warmth of wood and needed a little more than the newly refinished floors could offer. Ikea wooden counter tops were the perfect solution. They are easy to maintain, washing them with soap and water and oiling every few weeks with food grade butcher block oil. Adam sands them every few years. Under cabinet lighting (Ikea) really warms the space too. I replaced the glass shelves with wooden shelves and took the doors off the upper cabinets. Lately I've been thinking about putting them back on, just for a change.

kitchen 5

We replaced the older stove that came with the house and on the newly surfaced wall we were able to add more open shelving, cabinets and counter space. Considering our small galley kitchen, I think we wound up with a decent amount of workspace. Not pictured is the stool that usually sits under the counter where the overhang is. We do not have room for a table in our kitchen so Adam designed this overhang for Emily to sit at the counter for a snack or something of the sort while I was busy preparing meals. This tiny little detail has been so wonderful to have. Of course, people always love to sit on those steps too! Including sweet Sukha.

kitchen 2

The sink came with the house and is nothing fancy but the size is incredible! I can easily fit a cookie sheet flat in the basin to be washed, Why would sinks ever be made too small to accommodate common cook and bakeware pieces? kitchen 3

There's a little peek at the floors...

All in all we've made it work for us. It is by no means a dream kitchen, but it is one that we put tremendous work and love into. And over the years, it has produced countless meals that have nurtured and sustained us, and for that we are eternally grateful.