Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bad News/Good News

Uh...hello? Remember me? I'm the person who used to write a blog about building our dream house.

The bad news is that I haven't written for months even though we have continued to work on the house and have accomplished quite a bit.

The good news is that the reason I haven't written is because I've been busy having a life! You know, life beyond house construction? Yes, it really does exist! And that's also good news for any of you who may still be in the middle of your own project. Life does get back to normal.

Catching Up

We moved into the house September 2011 with Mom's cottage completely finished and our house finished to the point of livability but without any of the lovely trims and moldings that add that final touch of elegance. As you might imagine, once we moved in and started enjoying life again in our own home, the pace of work slowed to a trickle (matching our remaining resources which had also slowed to a trickle!).

After a few months, MtH and I both caught that ailment that results in "house blindness." That is, we got used to living in an unfinished house and no longer "saw" the small pile of lumber in the library, the tablesaw sitting in the dining room, the blue tape still stuck to the walls denoting painting edges, the...well, you get the idea. The house was a mess and we had lost our ability to see it.

It wasn't until the holidays when we wanted to invite friends over that we realized how much still needed to be done. So MtH jumped into action (again) and made great progress on the kitchen hearth and range exhaust system, the library built-ins, final sheetrocking of the garage, and numerous other tasks such as installing kitchen knobs that take WAY more time than you think they will.

For my part, I spent more hours than I want to admit going through the boxes of stuff in the attic. Stuff we had packed in boxes two years ago when this whole project started, and which we had happily lived without since then! As I unpacked, old friends greeted me--my favorite American whiteware vase collection and the Aalto glass vase I bought in Finland as a student--and it was a thrill to bring them into use again. On the other hand I also found a whole lot of junk. After not seeing the items for so long, any sentimentality I once had for them was now long gone enabling me to do a lot of purging. Boy did that feel good! That paved the way for a garage sale, and we carted the rest away to the local Goodwill.

That brings us up to date through May 2012. In July I quit my job of 20+ years to homeschool Miss K for 6th grade. Not ever having formally taught before, most of my summer was spent preparing a curriculum and getting ready for fall. (That adventure falls outside the scope of this blog, but if you are curious to hear more, just contact me.) Fast forward to November 2012 and here I am back on the blog. To be honest I don't really have the time or interest to write as much as I used to, but I will try to post new photos and short descriptions of projects completed for those friends and family who are still interested.

Creating the Garden

With one of the best summers in Seattle history this year, we spent a lot of time developing the garden spaces around the house. MtH found muscles he didn't know he had after hauling and positioning rocks for various garden walls. I indulged my love of plants at the Swanson's Nursery annual sale, picking up blueberry plants, a crabapple tree, a vine maple, and several carts full of perennials. See the results below!

Front garden, still unfinished but with terraced planting areas and rock walls in progress.

One of two garden beds flanking the front porch; this one requiring a tapered rock wall to accommodate the slope of the land.

The other side--symmetrical but not identical. (Edge of future patio and the raingarden at the right.)

I had fun putting these pots of plants together--I love that deep burgundy brown color of the pots!

This little black-centered clover is an amazing groundcover--it has already filled the whole bed.

I have always loved these little black/purple violas.

Our angel enjoying her spot in the garden surrounded by lavender and ivy.

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