Sunday, October 30, 2011

Load your bobbins

An alternative title to this post was "Sew, sew, sew your boat."

Back in February, I declared that my new year (birthday) resolution was to learn how to sew. Yesterday, amidst the Snowtober snow storm we had, I had my first class in a cozy shop in Brooklyn.

I'm enrolled in a 4-week introductory class, which covers the basics, and in which we are making a pair of pajama bottoms and a change purse.

Yesterday we went through some basics about patterns, cuts, and a introduction to the sewing machine.

I chose Liberty of London Forget Me Not fabric.



This was a pricey choice for something that I will probably butcher, but I justified it by noting that the flannels some of my classmates were choosing were more expensive. Ha ha.

With my bobbin loaded, I'm ready for week 2.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This is not my beautiful house

H. and I packed up the cat, rented a car, and spent three restful days in Pennsylvania, in someone else's beautiful house.


As one does when one leaves NYC, I carefully researched all the local yard sales, church bazaars and flea markets. I also checked the local Craigslist every day for a week for deals.

Unfortunately, all were a bust. The church bazaar was closing as I got there. The community yard sale only had one semi-promising item that I didn't buy. The flea market was closing as we arrived - early, annoyingly. Flea market vendors! Stay until the end of the day!

You know where there were deals, though? Craigslist. Sure, they would have been a bit of a drive, but worth it. However, my no-good husband didn't agree that those items were absolute necessities! Thwarted. Again.

Take example one. Are these two grubby Saarinen Knoll chairs? They weren't totally cheap, but they weren't bad. A re-upholstery job and these could I could be the chair-envy of all my friends.

The Grubsters
The Real Deal from Knoll


These babies retail at DWR for over $1,000! WELL over $1,000.This might be one of those things that I never forgive H. for. 

The second deal, this entire mid-century dining room set for $225. Table, chairs, credenza, china cabinet. $225.

True, I don't have a dining room. Or even any room. Or a van to lug this set back from eastern PA. But $225. Two hundred and twenty five. I could have made it work.

This, if you're counting, is the second china cabinet deal I've let get away because of my husband.

Regardless of the lack of loot from our weekend, it was worth it just to see the cat learn how to play the piano.



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dress Up in You

Yesterday I got an interesting phone call. Let's say that someone in the office of an important person - let's call the important person "The Movernor Meneral" - heard me on the CBC. Let's say that this person was interested in my GG project. Let's say this person wanted to invite me to attend a celebration next month for a certain book award. A party in Ottawa. Let's say this party was at a little house called "Mideau Mall". Let's say I fell over and had a heart attack.

When I recovered, I emailed my associates, and received some hearty well dones and good jobs, and the assurance of my mom that the eats would be good. Leave it to my savvy sister in law to immediately ask the most important question, "what are you going to wear??"

As H. is well-aware, I have no clothes. Nothing. Very sad. I also have no shoes, but that's another story. What does one wear to celebrations at "Mideau Mall"?


1. "Ramona Dress", J Crew
2. "Lucienne Dress", J Crew
3. "Tangerine Flicker Dress", Anthropologie
4. "Framed on the Mantle Dress", ModCloth
5. "Louisa Dress", J Crew

Because I'm cursed, my favorite is the most expensive - "Tangerine Flicker Dress". I don't know if I can bring myself to pay that much money on a dress. Also, I haven't tried it, or any of these on. Also, I haven't booked my ticket, or confirmed my attendance, and I don't really know what the expected attire is.

Obviously, I'm also terrified of this adventure. I'm not good at schmoozing, especially not with literati types. What if I drop a canape down Margaret Atwood's blouse? That could happen. I could pat Michael Ondaatje's beard. I might do that anyway. Assuming he's invited. This is pretty exclusive.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Famous in Canada

Well, Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! Today I'm thankful that I didn't sound like a total dummy (I hope) when I appeared on today's The Next Chapter talking about my GG Project!

CBC.ca | The Next Chapter

Saturday, October 1, 2011

House Hunters

Today H. and I spent the day up the Hudson looking at houses. Houses to buy. Houses to be our own. Including my grey house, that I've looked at and admired every day for about 6 months.

House #1: My Grey House


It was as adorbs as I had imagined. It was, truth be told, on a bit of a scuzzy street, but walking distance to the downtown. In fact, we could practically spy the local farmer's market from the house. Also, there was a deli 100 feet or so down the road, which would conveniently keep us in Diet Cola, as we are accustomed.

Inside, the first floor was lovely and well kept, and much bigger than the photos had lead us to believe. Also, it had a recently re-done kitchen, a new washer/dryer, and a kitchen sink that I liked. That's a weird thing to like, no? But I did. The bedrooms weren't huge, and H. didn't like the size of the master bedroom, which he thought was too small. I liked that it had a fireplace. The backyard was amazing.

Bad news though - the owner accepted an offer last night. Mo. Fo.

House #2: The Underdog


When I showed my family the houses that we would be seeing, nobody liked this one. But I saw something in it. Yes, it has wall-to-wall carpeting, and I am morally against it. But that's easy to fix, right? It also had a kitchen that could be described as revolting, and would need to be completely replaced. But that would be fun, right?

Secretly, this was my favorite. In my over-active imagination, I own this house and I'm restoring it to its former glory. H. thought it was creepy and hated the layout. Damn his opinions! I loved the huge fireplace, the original wood trims, the fact that the hardwood under the carpet was still in good condition. The thing I loved possibly most? In the basement was the most swingin' throwback 60s bar and party room. Rather, Par-Tay Room. It was amazing - with red pleather banquettes built into the walls, and around a pole. A circular banquette? The bar itself was almost tiki-ish. ALSO, the floor, which was linoleum, had MAGICIAN STUFF inlaid in it. I'm talking top hat, gloves, MAGIC WAND. It was awesome, and if it was mine, I would restore it to its swingin' glory. I would have taken photos, but the battery in the old snapper died.

House #3: The People's Choice


This was my mother's favorite. Also my sister-in-law's favorite. It was also the most expensive. It's a charming, and big, Victorian, that's been well maintained, and close to the train. It is, in many ways, perfect. Beautiful floors. Huge - room after room after room. It also had beautiful views of the Hudson.

There was something about it that made me sad, though. It was obvious that someone had lived there for the last 50 years or so, and had recently died or been moved into a nursing home. There were so many personal items gathering dust - and they had laid out their china on the dining room table as though it was Thanksgiving or something.

The deal-breaker in this one is that the second floor bathroom, which is huge and really nice, is in the middle of the second floor. Three of the bedrooms open into it, and one of the bedrooms can only be accessed either through the bathroom or by going through one of the other rooms, and I could see no way of fixing this. Although, I did propose that the railroad room be turned into a walk-in closet. A good idea, promptly belittled by my husband.

House #4: Huge Blah


There's nothing to say about this one. The closets smelled like animal. There was a groundhog in the backyard, and it was cute. It was a huge no.

Anyhou. I'm glad we went and looked, and I'm glad I can move on past the grey house knowing that I've seen it, and that H. wouldn't want to live there because he apparently needs a huge master bedroom.

The trip also got us thinking about whether or not we're really ready for the suburban life. I want a house, and a yard, but don't really want to live in the 'burbs. And I'll never have enough money for a house in NYC, so I don't know what I'm going to do. I need to start playing the lottery.
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