Sunday, October 03, 2010

Chores in Preparation

My weeks have been a blur lately. I can hardly believe it is now October. Everywhere I turn, there are things tugging at me, taking me away from my quilting. It's only going to continue as the next 9 months pass. You see, we have been silently gearing up for a full downstair's renovation. For a few years it was just me talking about wanting it. Then my husband has managed to get onboard. Last month we refinanced what was left on our house loan, taking out a chunk of change for this renovation. Reconcilliation on his part: It is finally going to happen. I spent a few weeks playing with the plan for the remodel. This week I actually met with the builder. Many of you don't know that 19 years ago, at the ripe old age of 24, I designed and built my first house. I have a lot of "hands-on" in my blood. I "needed" to think out the design before meeting the builder. We have this dysfunctionally small eat-in-breakfast area, very small kitchen and small dining area. Considering that the house is 2300 square feet, these are unusually small. If we didn't love our neighborhood and yard and upstairs rooms, we'd probably think about a new house, but moving does not seem practical now. And keeping the house in showing shape with 3 kids looks like an impossible task.

The renovation will involve 3 of the 5 downstairs rooms. The back wall of the house will bump out only 6 ft, adding 200 square feet, but the overall layout of the kitchen will be drastically improved. The downside to this bump is that my beloved back gardens and patio will be in a shambles for a while. Five years ago, we (make that "I" mostly) put in this gorgeous paver walkway and patio. I dug for 6 weeks, to a depth 12" below the ground, then refilled it with gravel, sand and paver bricks. It's been lovely and functional. But the walkway on one side of the garage must move too. As do the gardens there to make room for the tractor that will dig the foundation. Here's what it looked like in about June...

It has 3 very large rhododendrons (about 5' tall in the ground) and 2 forsythia bushes, and countless perennials. It is lush and feels like a a secret getaway. Well...the walkway is just about where the new wall of the house will be. And we plan to start the building in April, before the plants really show in the garden. So...we are digging up all of the ones that we want to keep this fall, before we have a frost. At about 3am this morning, my epiphany came that I really needed to not wait on digging them up. I'd do it today.

The above picture shows the back of the house. The deck will go. So will that bay window. I have the remains of a raised vegetable garden in the back of the backyard. It was very overgrown with weeds because I didn't use it this year. We cleaned it out this morning and it is the holding garden for whatever I dig out of the back garden. This actually worked out pretty well - just about enough room for what I wanted to keep. The resulting garden is unsigntly now. My husband gave up after taking out the 3 large rhodies, and so the forsythia bushes are still there. The ground is ugly, large holes there now. But mostly the plants I love are out. I took the lavendar, lillies, shasta daisies, irises, a few this-n-thats, and the Baptisia that once grew in my late grandfather's yard which is more than 55 years old. Here's my hope for the next spring/summer... condensed into a 6'x12' garden, but it is not gone. It is hard to dig these all up so far before I know we will see any tangible progress on the house, but it is truly step 1. Now I can go sew this month without this lingering over my head. And I can dream about things like granite countertops and the glass backsplash tiles! By November 1 we need to take up the very heavy patio sidewalk, but that is still 4 weeks away!!

And just so you don't think I haven't been quilting (in addition to all other of life's complications), here's a sneak peek at a customer quilt I will show later this week - very pretty fall-ish fabrics, and harder than necessary quilting using Rainbows thread. Life is never easy (pretty, but not easy!).

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