Squirrel friends

I have to say… the hardest part of this move isn’t the renovations, or the actual moving. It isn’t being two hours from everything we know…

It’s that I have to leave these guys behind…

The black squirrel in the background is Little Mama, and the grey one in front is Double Stuff. They are the most recognizable patrons at Squirrelingtons. Little Mama because she’s always missing fur (squirrels use their own fur to line their nests), and Double Stuff because he always take TWO peanuts. ALWAYS.

Knowing that I have to leave them behind, I’ve been trying to wean them off the restaurant. Dave took all the bird feeders down last month. And I’ve been slowly lessening the peanut supply. We’re now down to filling it up every other day (as opposed to twice a day when Squirrelington’s was at it’s busiest.).

But… on the days it’s empty… the above picture is what I see as soon as I step out. And those little pleading faces are breaking my heart!

I really wish I could bring these two with me!

Demolition men

First – can I just say that I’m totally annoyed that lately, the weekdays have been warm, but comfortable…but the weekends are blazing, face-meltingly humid.

And I’m annoyed because weekends are the only time we have right now to do stuff like this…

Okay…. admittedly Dad did 90% of the work, while I was inside the air conditioned house cleaning windows. (Again… nicotine city!!!) But for the 10% of the time that I was outside, helping him clean up… it was like being in the seventh circle of Dantes inferno.

And okay… maybe not quite that bad… but it didn’t take long for me to be soaked to the bone in sweat. It did start to rain as we were finishing up, which was somewhat refreshing (though it was still incredibly humid).

And yes… that is the greehouse dismantled. There’s just a little bit of framing still attached to the house, but Dad wanted to wait until he was a little more fresh to take down that piece. He doesn’t want to get impatient and damage the siding more than necessary.

With the removal of the greenhouse, there’s a nice little concrete pad that may be come a temporary patio space. Temporary because that sliding glass door opens into the space that will be Dave’s teaching studio. Right now he’s teaching by video (and will continue to do so) but as we get settled, and the threat of COVID decreases, he’s hoping to open it up to in-person students as well. That door will be their entrance, so they don’t have to truck through the rest of the house for lessons.

Eventually we will build a gate into the fence on that side of the house, and build a small waiting area on that concrete pad. But that’s a long way down the road.

I mentioned last week that his studio is one of our priority rooms for the remodel. The real estate listing didn’t have a picture of this room, but I did take a panorama on my phone not long after closing

It’s not a great photo (the walls aren’t really curved), but you can see why it wasn’t promoted in the listing. Not only is the paneling absolutely hideous… there was a fair bit of water damage. That meant gutting it.

So while Dad was working on the greenhouse, and I was cleaning nicotine coated windows, Dave was on his own demolition mission.

We managed to get a deal on some flooring on Kijiji, and we have a drywall delivery Monday (we are also both off work that week), so hopefully we can put our noses to the grindstone and get it back in order soon. Dave has said I can pick the paint colour, which I’m very excited (and surprised) about!

That was Saturday.

Sunday Dave and I spent most of the morning arranging for the drywall delivery, and tracking down some other things we needed. (COVID shortages made it a bit like an Easter Egg hunt). It was after noon when we finally got to the house. Dave disappeared upstairs to install a couple a/c units (we only had them on main floor up until now), and I decided to tackle one of the stubborn wallpaper walls in the livingroom.

Given the amount of wallpaper in the house, we had planned to buy a wall paper steamer. But Dave’s family insisted that they had one and we shouldn’t waste our money.

Sunday, I finally got a good look at it. It was half the size of the one we were going to buy, and at least 30 years old (and looked “well-used”). I was dubious. Still it’s all we had, so I gave it a whirl.

This is how the wall looked when I started. (The peeled area is the ONLY part of the wall that was coming off easy by hand)

This is how it looked almost an hour later.

I discovered several things

  1. I was right to be doubtful of the borrowed steamer. I don’t think it was steaming as well as it should have been (I think the steam holes are clogged.) But the steam area is way too small for decent progress anyway, as is the water reservoir. I spent way too much time refilling it. I’m heading out to Home Depot this week to get the one I wanted all along.
  2. Steaming/stripping wallpaper really is a two person job… one person to steam, and a second person to come behind them with the scraper. Mom is off next week as well, so I’ve enlisted her to help. With luck, we can get it off efficiently
  3. There is a special place in hell for people who wallpaper over wallpaper. I was definitely not happy to find that restful tropical island paper under the striped stuff. So far, this is the only wall we’ve found with multiple layers, and I hope it stays that way.

And while I was not very successful with my stripping adventure, after Dave finished his a/c install he came downstairs and tackled the paneling on the adjacent wall in the livingroom.

Yes… the livingroom had THREE different walls…. one with a flocked wallpaper that came off easily by hand (the wall with the window), a paneled wall, and the wall with the striped paper.

This weekend we’ll get up that red carpet, and as soon as Mom and I get that wallpaper off, it will be ready to be put back together, right after the studio.

Now before I leave, back when I first showed pictures of the house, our good blogger pal Dee was a little upset by a pennant hanging in one of the bedrooms (I believe it was the Buffalo Sabres).

Well Dee… the old owners left us a couple wind chimes hanging by the side entrance. I didn’t pay much attention to them, until this weekend. And that’s when I noticed…

I hope this makes up for the previous offense!

Sock update

I said these socks probably won’t go to fast, despite being shorties…

And they aren’t. That’s partly because after I finished the heel and gusset, I noticed a big boo boo on the leg and had to frog all the way back! It’s also because life is just keeping my crazy busy – and not just at the new house. It’s busy in all aspects.

I was hoping to have a chunk of time to knit on it yesterday morning, both Dave and I had dentist appointments (one after the other). But…. halfway to the dentist, Dory started making some strange growly/grinding noises. So we turned around and went to the mechanic instead. She’s getting new struts and a wheel bearing and our teeth (and waiting room knitting) will just have to wait. We need her to get back and forth the new place!

So all of this is a long way of saying… I’m still working on the first sock. Maybe I’ll finish it this week. Maybe not.

Just rosie!

The roses have bloomed!

Navy Lady was the first, and now she’s just covered in blooms. I really hope she’s going to make the move ok.

The Home and Family Rose is thriving. She was the only rose (other than Navy Lady) that I didn’t move last year. As you can see, she has creamy white blooms. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a very strong scent.

I’m happy to say Honey Perfume was one of the survivors. She has a great scent, and such pretty golden flowers that fade as they bloom. When we move, this one will be going somewhere near the sun porch. Right now, I can sit out back and her perfume just wafts around. It’s wonderful!

Ebb Tide also made it, though she’s not as robust as she was last year. I hope she can hang in there, and get a little stronger.

There’s still two more that survived the winter but have yet to bloom. They are quite small, but hopefully we’ll see flowers soon.

Captured at last!

We’ve been in this townhouse for eight years now. And for eight years, I’ve been trying to get pictures of the Yellow Swallowtail butterflies.

I see them every year, but they just move too fast!

I’ve been able to get pictures of the black ones; the little white cabbages; the strong red admirals; and the royal monarchs.

But the yellow swallowtails have remained elusive.

That is… until the other day.

I was out back, taking a break from the day job, and it just flitted on by, and settled on the raspberries. And stayed there.

What a golden beauty!

A room of my own

We are back at the house today. I believe today’s plan of attack includes dismantling the rest of the greenhouse, and taking on the walls on the main floor.

Last weekend, while Dad and I were taming the outdoors, Dave started on some of that hideous wallpaper in the living room and dining room.

Mostly he just wanted to investigate what the walls were like underneath, but most of it came off pretty easy so he went a little further than planned.

Some of it will have to be steamed to get it off, but it’s almost half done already. And we found some… artwork… under that wallpaper.

I’m not sure who Mary was… but it seems Ruth may have been part of a threesome… or maybe just a love triangle.

There’s also an incredible number of nail holes in pretty much every wall. This place must have been covered in pictures at one time. We have a lot of work ahead to get those walls into a paintable state.

For now, the living areas are going to be set aside. Our first focus is Dave’s music studio. It’s going to be in a room just off the dining room. Since is will house several large and VERY heavy amps, as well as a piano, I want it done before the big move, so we don’t have to move all that heavy stuff twice (once to the house, and then around again as we remodel).

That room is currently panelled. Dave started taking down the paneling on Sunday. There was nothing underneath it but studs, so we have some drywall to hang in the near future.

While Dave was working away in there, I investigated my own studio. We finally settled on which rooms will be what, and I’m taking the small room directly across from the main bedroom for my sewing space.

It won’t be remodeled anytime soon, but it will be getting a darn good cleaning. The previous owner must have been a pretty heavy smoker. The few surfaces I have cleaned so far have been just covered in nicotine. The room is about 10 x 10 (maybe a little larger), and has a nice big closet.

There’s another smaller room down the hall, which will become my work office. I’m so looking forward to having not only more room for both, but completely separate spaces!

Down the crapper

The other day, I received the last fabric purchase I’ll be making for a very long time. It was both exciting, and a little bit sad.

I really shouldn’t have ordered it at all, but MSQ came out with something so amazing, I just had to have it. As you know, I like to make/give my brother rather special birthday/Christmas gifts.

We have the same, twisted sense of humour, so it’s always fun coming up with something that will make him laugh. When I saw this panel, I knew it was just the thing.

Yep those are outhouses!

I ordered a yard of two other fabrics (bottom two), from the same line, as well as a nice brown “blender” fabric (top left) to make some blocks to surround the panel. The darker newsprint fabric (top right) is a 108″ backing fabric.

Althought I wasn’t planning on making him another quilt so soon (he got the flannel one for his birthday last year), I just couldn’t resist making him the “crappiest” birthday present ever*!

Of course, I won’t be able to start this any time soon… so much to do, so little time.

Oh… and you may have noticed something else in the top of that box.

These fun beach prints came along for the ride, because I have a fabulous beach-themed quilt planned… when I have more time, of course!

*Word has it that he is making me an outhouse-shaped bird feeder… so great minds think alike!!!

On the homefront

As mentioned a few days again, we were busy at the new house on the weekend. In fact, we spent pretty much the whole weekend there. Sadly, we are not set up to stay overnight yet (that would make it much easier), but we still managed to get a lot done.

Saturday morning, Dave and I got up at the crack of dawn, and were at the house by 8 am, where I immediately rolled out my new lawnmower and gave the yard another trim. About halfway through, super Dad arrived, and while I finished, he and Dave poked around inside.

Once the lawn was cut, he left Dave to the interior, and joined me where we whacked weeds, chopped trees, torn down fences and just generally put the yard in order under a hot, blazing sun.

I was so busy, I completely forgot to take before pictures, so you’ll have to make do with the real estate listing pics.

As you can see from the first picture, there was a little fenced in area. That picture was taken on April 23, and no cutting/clearing had been done in that area since then. It was a mess of weeds – mostly Virginia Creeper, Ground Ivy, and some tall/unknown weed.

Super dad pulled down the old fence, muscled out the fence posts and whacked the crap out of it. I followed along behind and bagged it all up. There were also a couple weed trees he sawed down for me. We are going to rototill this area, add some fresh soil and re-seed it with grass. Some special fencing is on it’s way and that area will be re-fenced as a safe space for our favourite feline trio. Eventually, it will be filled with some garden plants and a nice lawn space that we all can enjoy together.

On the right side of the house, you’ll notice a “structure” up against back of the house. It was a homemade “green house” made by some long-ago and very “inventive” DIY-er. it was made mostly from old windows, and translucent fibreglass panels. While I was excited when we first saw it, further inspection proved it was also about 30 years past it’s prime. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t worth trying to save.

I REALLY wish I’d taken before pictures of it… there are none from the real estate listing – and with good reason. It probably hadn’t been used (or cleaned) in the last decade. It was full of debris, and covered in Virgina Creeper. Dave said lit looked like something out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and took to calling it the “Kill Room”.

Well, while I tackled the vines and debris, Dad started dismantling the sides. We got all the windows and door out, and the inside completely cleaned up. All that’s left is the roof and frame, which Dad and Dave will dismantle this coming weekend.

While the greenhouse wasn’t worth keeping, it did yield up some very good things…. including a pile of plastic pots which will be useful for transporting the gardens from the townhouse.

Rupert has given them a thorough inspection as soon as I got home that night.

Dad also unearthed this Elephant planter. You all know how I feel about elephants!!!! He certainly made my day! I’m going to have to find a special plant for him when things settle down.

Mom’s masterpiece

It will be no surprise to learn that I have no sewing to share with you all. As you can imagine, house preparations are taking up almost all my free time.

So, I’ll have to make so with sharing some of Mom’s recent work. You may recall, that she rather talented at fancy quilting – both free hand and using rulers.

She just finished another class where the focus was on quilting in wedges.

The pieced design is very simple, because the focus on this is in the stitching. There’s so many designs in this one, you could spend hours studying them all. Here’s a closer look at just a few.

Wowza! One of these days, I guess I’ll have to up my game and move on from simple loops!