First Christmas

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I hosted a Christmas Coffee for some friends at our house today.  It provided me a great incentive for really cleaning the house.  Putting every little thing in its place.  Many of the friends who visited had not yet seen the house, but heard plenty about it, and so I wanted to make it shine.  And I think it did.  It doesn’t take very close inspection to see all of hundreds of flaws… nicks in the wall and paint.  A loose railing.  A light that has come out of the wall.  Duct tape covering up a hole in the wall.  And yet the house shines on… its windows let the sun shine in, and the high ceilings create a feeling of grandeur.  I think just the feeling of history and time make the house feel special.

It was so much fun to decorate this Old Lady for the Christmas season.  It seems that Victorian houses were created with this time of year in mind.

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Lance recently finished building the storm windows pictured here. The window was so drafty and our couch sits directly in front of it. Based on a picture we have of the house from the 1940’s, we could see the basic style of the original storms. Not only does it make our living room more comfortable, I just love the look it adds to the front of the house.

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I made this wreath. Except for the bow. My sister-in-law had to take over for me, as I was about to have a meltdown over it. Tying wreath-worthy bows takes skills that that I do not possess.

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The living room. I love the greenery along the windows- it helps to draw attention to our high ceilings.

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Even the butler’s pantry got a little Christmas decor. My favorite thing in this picture is the new Ikea roller blind that we added to the window. It let so much more light into the little room. Because it faces the back of an ugly apartment house, it’s not really a view we ever need to see. But the sunlight is much appreciated.

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Coffee Filter Christmas trees made by my girls

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Coffee filter snowflakes 🙂

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House Happenings- November

My last painting project of the year wrapped up hours before Mother Nature officially made me call it quits.  I has been so darn cold .  I know we put insulation in our walls this year, but truthfully, I can’t tell the difference.  We’ll wait to get our first heating bill, and maybe that will tell the story.  Last year, our budget woudn’t allow us to keep it warmer than 65 degrees (unless we had company), and so that’s what it is set at now.  Slippers, long underwear, double/triple layers and, if you are a baldy like my husband, stocking caps, are required apparel around here.  It’s another example of me being impractically romantic, but I actually don’t mind the inconvenience.  I mean, I do mind, but I don’t mind that I mind, if that makes sense.  I feel like we are more aware of the changing seasons when we have to adjust how we live given the time of year.  In this old house, that means layers and blankets in the winter, open windows in the spring and fall, and tank tops and fans in the summertime.

Back to what’s been happening around here.  I painted the door.  I kind of felt bad about it, because it was beautifully painted in a dark green with light green accents.  But it didn’t really go with the new color scheme, so I decided to just go for it.  I wasn’t sure whether to do orange with gray accents or gray with orange accents, so I put it up to a facebook vote.  I was leaning towards the charcoal, but the votes were overwhelmingly in favor of orange, so I went with it, and I’m glad I did.  It really brightens up the porch, and the street view is lovely.

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Once the weather turned, it felt so good to let myself stay indoors for projects.  The first one I tackled was the basement.  Oh dear.  It had gotten so bad down there.  So much clutter, moving boxes, stray mittens, trash, and DUST.  It took about 6 hours of fast-paced cleaning, but I got it all straightened up.  The kids were delighted with the new space.  With all of the small rooms we have in this house, there is no place for wrestling and gymnastics, and that’s exactly what they got down to doing.  It tickled me to hear them down there.  I know they miss the huge basement we used to have in our previous house (a 60’s ranch).

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One morning, my husband came home asked me if I’d seen the photo he’d tagged me in on facebook.  His friend, a plumber, had an old sink he’d removed from a house and was wondering if anyone wanted it… for free…

We are planning on converting the main floor laundry room to a powder room this winter, and had been looking for an old apron sink.  It had to be old, it had to have the hot and cold running into one faucet, it had to be SWEET, and it had to be cheap.  Free was even better.  “TELL HIM WE’LL TAKE IT!!!!”  I shouted, pushing him out of the way so I could take over the typing myself.  I mean look at this thing.  It’s straight out of my dreams!

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The last exciting thing that happened (house-wise) this month was at a visit to a local museum.

I found a picture of our street in 1885, 4 years before our house was built.

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Clear in the back of the picture, at the very end of the road, is the All Saints School (then 1 year old).  Our lot would be somewhere in the trees in the 3 blocks before, on the right-hand side of the street.    The same dirt is still here, but so much has happened to it.  Stuff like this gives me chills.