Tuesday, February 7, 2012

House Progress

We had our second meeting last night with Chris, who is doing the drawings for our new home. The meetings have been kind of grueling, as we've been going over every inch of the future house in painstaking detail. This is good, obviously, because we know exactly what to expect, and can have the opportunity to make changes to anything we don't like. It's been fun, too, to think about all the different options that are available. Here's the latest drawing of our house:

From the front
Left Side View

Left Rear View

Front Right View

Right Rear View

We've seen some pretty great drawings of the inside, too, especially the kitchen, but I don't have digital versions of those at this point. It's so cool to see it take shape. Now I can't wait to see them actually break ground! We're getting closer to that point, but we still have to meet at the lot to decide the placement of the house, septic, etc. Then the land will surveyed, the permits will be applied for, and THEN we can look forward to seeing some progress on the ground. Yay!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Journey to a New Home

It's been a LONG time since I've made any blog entries here. So much has gone on that it's difficult to know where to begin. Last December we made the decision to move half way across the country from bustling Chicago to the quaint little town in Maine where I grew up. Within a matter of about 3 weeks, we packed up all our worldly possessions and made all the other sundry arrangements that go along with moving. Then, four days before Christmas, we loaded up our trusty little Corolla and my Handyman's work van with our two cats, Sweet Pea, and my mom (who graciously flew out to Chicago just so she could make the LONG drive back with me and Sweet Pea). With two U-haul trailers in-tow, we set out for Maine. My sister and her husband have showed us immeasurable generosity in opening their home to us and allowing us to live life with them for the past year while we got established here. It has been such a blessing, and part of me isn't sure I want it to end (although I'm sure they will be happy to have their house to themselves again!)

Now my Handyman has a new job working for a home building company, and we've begun looking at our options for having a home of our own. We checked out a cute little house that was ultra cheap but in desperate need of renovations, but traditional banks are leery of that sort of thing, so getting financing was an issue. After looking at several different options, we've decided to build a new home on the land we bought from my grandfather several years ago. There are many factors that weigh into that decision, but a major one is the desire to live close to my sister and her family (did I mention we'll be right next door??), across the street from my grandparents, and just up the road from my parents. It's such a blessing to have family close! That's why we made the move in the first place, and it has been so. good. The thought of Sweet Pea living right next door to her three cousins, who have been like siblings to her for the past year, is really exciting.

We've decided to have the company that my Handyman works for build our home for us, and they will allow him to do a lot of the work himself, which will save us some cash. The process of choosing a house plan was 3 parts fun, 1 part overwhelming. There were A LOT of plans that we really liked the looks of. In the end we sent 4 plans to the construction company. They came back to us and very bluntly told us that our number one choice was way out of our budget. That was fine. Actually, we really appreciated their up front communication. Our second pick was ruled out too, since it had a garage incorporated into the design, and our budget doesn't allow for that right now, either. That left us with the choice between a really cute cape or a really pretty ranch. We went back and forth a hundred times between the two, with my Handyman leaning more towards the cape and me more toward the ranch. In the end, this is the one we decided on:

We came to the conclusion that the ranch would give us more finished space than the cape, and it is a lot closer to our target price, as well. And I LOVE the floor plan. I think it's going to suite are family really well. It won't have the garage, which, I know, changes the look of the whole house, but someday we'll be able to add that too.

We just told the builder this morning that we've decided on this plan, so now he will work on getting a contract proposal drawn up. There's sort of a time crunch, because the town will post the roads the first or second week of February, meaning they can't bring in the heavy machinery excavate and dig the basement after that happens. So, if we can get everything together (get the drawings, bank appraisal and all paperwork done) in the three weeks or so, they can start to dig before the roads are posted and we'll be well on our way to a new house! If things don't come together fast enough, then we'll have to wait until April when they open the roads back up. That wouldn't be the end of the world, but it sure would be nice to start sooner rather than later!

It's kind of surreal that this is actually coming together. I'm already having so much dreaming of how to decorate our new home! (You might have caught that if you follow me on Pinterest...)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Stationery card

Oh Holy Night Religious Christmas Card
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Photo Card

Giraffe Gallery Blue Baby Announcements
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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bragging on my Handyman

Have I mentioned how talented my Handyman is? He can do just about anything with his hands. His boss asked him build a front desk for a new business he's opening. This is what he came up with.

Can you believe he made this? Stunning, isn't it? He really enjoyed doing the project. He'd love to design and make furniture for a living. Maybe some day... Here are a couple more shots.

I think he could sell something like this, don't you?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Garage Sale Bargains

My Handyman and Sweet Pea went out for a walk on Saturday morning, while I was off for a luxurious visit to the fabric store all by myself. Sweet Pea has it out for that store, and so I dread trying to shop there with her in tow. It was really wonderful to spend a couple of hours wandering around and looking to my heart's content. {ahhhh...}

Anyway, back to the point of this post. While on their walk, my Handyman discovered a moving sale at a home a couple of blocks up the street from us. He liked what he saw, so as soon as I got home he insisted that we go back together and take a look. Here are some of the "treasures" we found.

There was a whole table of Tupperware, most of which was quite old and yellowed, but I picked up this box for storing cookies and bars for $0.50.

I've been wishing for a second loaf pan, and I found these two for $0.25 each.

We bought these three Christmas ornaments for $1. I can't wait to see them hanging on the tree!

We picked up these two thermoses for $0.50 each. They'll be great for picnics and even for my Handyman to take to with him to work.

One of my favorite finds of the day was this sweet little rocker for Sweet Pea. It was only $5, and it's really in pretty good shape. My Handyman plans to refinish it if he gets the time, but even as it is, I'm happy with it. We plan to give it to Sweet Pea for Christmas, but when we brought it home she fell in L-O-V-E with it. I finally hid it away today, and I'm guessing she won't remember it when she receives it for Christmas.

My Handyman's favorite find was a set of china. I've never really been interested in owning a set of china, I'm content with simple, inexpensive dishes that I can use every day, but my Handyman REALLY liked the set that they were selling. They were asking $175 for it, though, and I didn't feel like we needed it at all. The lady saw how interested my Handyman was, and was obviously hoping to make the sale. I told her it was lovely, but I really didn't think we needed it, and she came back saying that they could take $150 for it. I said thank you, no, and walked outside to look at other things. My Handyman asked me if he couldn't offer her $125, and I reluctantly agreed. She came down to $135 and my Handyman couldn't resist. So, I am now the {proud} owner of a set of china. It really is pretty, and when we got it home and unpacked it all, I had to admit I think we got a really good deal.

I like the simple design, and the pretty silver ring around the edge.

The flowers in the center are a very pretty light blue, but you can't see very well from the picture.

The brand is Noritake, and it was made in Japan. I don't know anything about china, but from what I can find online, this is a company that has been around for nearly 100 years, and they still are making china, although this set seems to have been discontinued.

It's a HUGE set. There are 18 place settings, with a dinner plate, salad plate, dessert plate, and tea cup and saucer. Plus there are 6 additional tea cups and saucers (24 total), a tea pot, 3 sugar bowls and 3 creamers. There are 10 serving dishes (various large bowls and platters), and two gravy boats. Many of the dishes are still in their original wrappings and seem to have not been used. In all, there are about 130 pieces, and only one has a small chip.

For now, I don't have any place to put it, so it's all packed way in boxes, but some day, perhaps I will have a bigger home and a china cabinet to display all of these lovely pieces!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Close Call

I very nearly had to call 911 today. I suppose it was just the first of many close calls I will face in the world of parenthood. Thankfully, no harm was done, and all is well.

My Handyman had mentioned offhandedly several months ago that he hoped Sweet Pea would never lock herself in the bathroom. I brushed the idea off with hardly a thought, because the chances of her being in the bathroom alone, and then finding and turning the the little lever to lock the door seemed pretty remote.

Not so remote. Today I was getting a package ready to mail, and Sweet Pea was playing happily from room to room. I heard the bathroom door shut and should have immediately reacted, but it didn't really sink in until a few minutes later. When I went to check on her, I found that I couldn't open the door. Ok. Deep breath. Don't panic! I could hear her playing happily, and was hoping that the play was restricted to her bath toys, and not the toilet brush which has fascinated her since she was about 9 months old. Then I heard her sucking on a tooth brush. Ok, could be worse. I tried coaxing her to the door to turn the lever back so I could open it, but she was enjoying her private playroom, and wasn't at all disposed to even come to the door.

I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a screw driver. Maybe I could take off the door knob and some how get the lock to open that way. Four screws later, I quickly realized that would do no good. The doors in our apartment are old and wooden, and there's no access to the lock from the outside, not even a key hole. The position of the door jam makes it impossible to jimmy the lock with a knife or credit card, and the hinges are on the inside of the door, so taking the door off it's hinges wasn't an option.

I could hear Sweet Pea climbing on the sink, and did my best not to envision her slipping and crashing to the floor. Yikes. Bathrooms are no place for curious toddlers. I continued to talk to her, and finally got her to come over to the door by wiggling my fingers through the opening at the bottom. That was apparently very entertaining; I got a good squeal out of her. Still, she didn't even reach for the door knob, let alone seem to comprehend my instructions to "turn the little lever by the handle."

At this point I was envisioning the fire department coming and hacking the door in half in order to get her out. I finally gave in to my impulse to call my Handyman. I was really hoping to resolve the issue without his help, but I was running out of ideas. He was surprisingly calm, probably because he could hear the near-panic in my voice. He decided he would come home with his van full of tools, and surely something (drill, crowbar, saw...) would be able to get the door open. There's only one catch - he works an hour away.

By this time Sweet Pea had decided she really didn't want to spend the rest of her life alone in the bathroom, and was starting to whimper to come out. I got off the phone with my Handyman and continued to cheerfully ask her to turn the little lever. I have no idea if she had a clue what I was talking about.

As soon as I had realized she was locked in the bathroom, I started praying that the Lord would guide her little fingers to turn the lock back so the door could be opened. She understands more and more directions all the time, but we'd never practiced those instructions. As I slumped against the wall and prepared to keep her entertained for the next hour by playing with her under the door, I heard a *click*, and my heart leaped as I grabbed the door knob and the door swung open. What a sigh of relief as I swept my little girl into my arms and held her close. She was none the worse for the experience, and seemed a little baffled at my response to seeing her again. Praise the Lord for answered prayers!

Needless to say, there are plans in the works to remove the lock on the bathroom door.