Sunday, August 23, 2009

It All Started...

... with this chair:

A glider with footstool picked up at the thrift store in June for $25. It has sat in the garage since then because my intent was to redo the pads before bringing thrift store cooties into the house. Last Thursday, however, I got over the cootie issue and decided that it was time to assign this baby to active duty.

So there it was... and while I spent 48 hours adjusting to the new addition in the living room and considering fabrics to recover it with, I got to thinking that something more than just the upholstery needed to change.

This is the first house we've lived in for more than a year, and it occurred to me that I didn't have to wait to move again to make our living space different. While convinced that the long skinny room was already being put to best use given the furniture (or lack thereof) that we have, I had just enough of an idea to give it a try. And what better time to start than ten o'clock at night?

I don't have a decent Before picture that shows the whole room, but you can get an idea from the shot above. The nicest piece we own is our big blue couch, which is just at the foreground of that picture, facing the window, with the tv to the right of the window. The computer desk is at the opposite end of the room, with assorted bookcases around the wall of both areas. The tv/couch area was cozy, but tiny, and visually closed off from the rest of the house. There was a fair amount of unused space between the back of the couch and the computer area, and the daybed along the wall next to the computer desk never really got used for more than a place to put stuff.

And now...

Ta da! While there was a scary moment around 11:15 when I broke the little blue vase that was a wedding gift from my dearest and oldest friend, and realized that everything yet to move was in the way of moving any of it, and books were stacked everywhere, I persevered. I finished triumphantly at midnight and am completely satisfied with how it all turned out. The room is much more open and seems larger, you can actually see the nice couch, there is more seating in the living area, and the excess scchtuff is not as much of a visual focus.

Oh, and one more thing: I did all this myself. Me and my scrawny little arms and bare feet. And some cats who thought this was all most amusing. Don will be in for a surprise when he gets home from work on Monday morning...

Still to do: rehang a picture or two, possibly eliminate a few more knick-knacks, consider what to put on the wall over the couch and over the shelf next to the tv, and proceed with recovering the chair and the daybed and the pillows. And while we're at it (because I'm made of money, right? - ha!) a new rug would be nice, and curtains, and somewhere down the line perhaps a larger entertainment center unit that would be more attractive than the current setup. And how about a nice flat panel tv to go in that? Sure! We'll see...

But I am happy and content now, and feeling so inspired to continue to work on a more cohesive decorating scheme. Trip to the fabric store, anyone?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kitty Fest

Nothing much to say today, just a few shots of the "kids" - enjoy!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Girl After My Own Heart

This was one very serious and very sweaty girl, just home from a long walk (the better part of half a mile, all on her own two little legs), during which she assembled the following collection:

Missing from this picture are the house keys, which she is in charge of these days, and a piece of "mail" (magazine insert card), unknowingly dropped somewhere along the path.

Amy usually hops back in the stroller for the walk home from the park but today she ran ahead on her own. She was intent on picking up every little bit of nature debris we came across, all while trying not to drop what she was already holding. She clutched everything in her hands, which she kept behind her back while trotting along. I thought she surely would tire before we made it back to the house, but she kept up the pace the entire way. Needless to say she fell asleep very easily tonight.

In an unrelated note, I wanted to share a shot of a recent quickie project that doesn't quite merit its own post but I'm fairly proud of all the same:

This yellow t-shirt of Amy's was the victim of the great McDonald's Chocolate Milk Mishap while we were enroute to South Carolina in July, and the stains would not come out. However, a little fabric paint has made it better-than-new. I haven't painted an article of clothing since I was somewhere around 8 years old, but I am quite pleased with how this turned out. The roundness of the petals came from a foam stencil brush but otherwise the flowers are freehand and my own design.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Night Mind Dump

First, I have to issue a disclaimer: I am fully aware that I am going to sound like a crazy cat lady for how worked up I have been over this issue. Kindly allow me to vent without passing harsh judgment. Thank you.

So we adopted sweet little Ollie last Friday, and over those first 5 or 6 days it seemed like everything was going quite well with the Juliett-Ollie relations. Then somewhere around Thursday I found myself saying "Where is Juliett?" several times during the day. She is ALWAYS underfoot, and yet suddenly she was sleeping the day away under the bed, behind the crib, in the closet. By Saturday she didn't even want to leave the garage, and was finding more weirdo hiding places than I ever knew existed in our fairly tidy garage. And she wasn't eating or drinking. Great.

I fully realize that it is perfectly reasonable for a cat to feel under the weather, and that when cats do not feel well, they hide. But I spent the better part of the weekend worrying and fretting and stewing over this, thinking that perhaps she had just fallen into a deep depression realizing that the little interloper is here to stay, or that she was hiding because she was tired of being chased. I just wanted my sweet, companionable Juliett back and was so worried that I had made a bad decision in adopting Ollie.

I write all this in the past tense because, thankfully, Juliett seems to have turned the corner. I forced her out of the garage this afternoon because it was getting too hot and stuffy and brought her out in the backyard for some fresh air. I got her to eat some treats, and some "real" tuna, and she seemed to relax a bit. She even chased a lizard. After coming back into the house she actually stayed around for the first time in days. Ate a few crunchies, drank a little water, slept on my quilt, hissed at Ollie. Now she is curled up on the couch and while she is clearly still not feeling well, I am feeling a little better now that she is at least behaving a bit more like herself. Hoping that it is all on the up-and-up from here.

A few quick other thoughts for the evening: Amy was a good girl, all weekend. What a pal. Ollie is clearly feeling MUCH better after being treated for worms and put on antibiotics for his little respiratory infection. Now he just PLAYS all day long; it's too cute (and a little exhausting). With Don working all weekend I've had some time to sit around and muse on the sewing projects I have in the works. Ordered batting for Amy's quilt. Finished squaring up the blocks I'd completed AGES ago and bought border/backing fabric for that quilt. Contemplating Christmas projects and some doll clothes for Amy's babies. Need to get back to crocheting. Overall feeling fairly inspired.

So, that's my weekend in a nutshell. More journal-y than I like to be here but I needed the outlet!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Little Beach in the Afternoon

This afternoon found us at the beach on base for a wonderful hour of sunshine, chasing seagulls, and getting our feet wet. Oh, and picking up just a few of those pretty rocks. Really, just a few.

The drive from our house to the beach takes barely ten minutes, most of which is spent winding through the airfields on base. Then we swing around the bend and there it is - the water. It's not even technically the ocean, but the Chesapeake Bay, but that long stetch of water is always such a welcome sight. When we lived in Rhode Island we saw the ocean nearly everyday, on almost every errand. Here, we don't live far from the shore but it is out of the way of our daily travels and I might go a month at a time without seeing the water.

Don and I are always talking about where we might ultimately want to settle down, or even where we would most like to move next. Of course, as long as we remain in the Coast Guard waterfront living is more or less assured, but we've agreed that to be near the ocean is a priority for us no matter what. So when did two (inland) Connecticut natives become so enamored with the ocean?

I thought about this while we walked today and have come to the very basic conclusion that the ocean, in a very abstract sense, has become part of what defines me and my "adult" life. I grew up in Connecticut, went to college in Connecticut, and spent our first year of marriage in Connecticut. Then along came the Coast Guard which has taken us to Rhode Island and Maryland in just three years. While we are still not THAT far from home, the chance to live in new parts of the country has broadened my world in more ways than I knew I needed. Life is such an adventure right now, and so good, and that is what I think about every time we are at the ocean: "This is me, this is our life, we live in places where the water is just a few minutes away." It's very simple but it's the best I can do to capture my frame of mind these days.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Meet Ollie

Well, my friend Tara wore me down and convinced me that, yes, Juliett really did need a little brother. One of her mom's cats had a litter of kittens this spring and this little guy was the only one left un-adopted, four months later. Amy and I spent this past week in Connecticut with my family, and during that time Tara and her family brought Ollie back with them from Pennsylvania. She spent several evenings at our house letting Juliett and Ollie get to know each other while Ollie stayed with them for the week. When we returned on Friday Ollie officially came home to stay.

I am pleased to report that the two cats have been getting along better than I expected. Juliett has done more than her share of hissing and spitting and occasionally growling when Ollie is around but still goes about her usual routine and doesn't seem to hold any of it against me. Happy-go-lucky Ollie is rather unfazed by Juliett's hostility and just keeps following his big sis' around anyway, thinking this is all quite a fun game. Today he seems to be wearing her down, and Juliett appears slightly amused with this tiny little upstart, despite herself. Ollie is a real sweetie with a loud purr and is happy to sleep on a lap or play with anything that moves. The biggest challenge so far has been trying to keep each from eating the other's food.

Oh, and a happy little footnote to all of this is that Don returned from his five weeks in Charleston on Friday as well. So here we are, one big happy, furry family!