Monday, January 13, 2014

Cochrane, Crafting, the Cottage, Christmas and Conversations of Death ...

Oh, for shame - it has been a while since we last met, hasn't it? Lest you think the insomniac  has fallen into the creek and perished from hypothermia or, worse still, succumbed to an overabundance of beige, an update on what's been happening in this neck of the woods since we last spoke ...

After having said our fond farewells to the Gothic Mansion, we moved into a lovely furnished rental in Cochrane with a fantastic view of the Rocky Mountains (see previous post). And although the insomniac  jests about the beige (it took almost two full weeks before she finally stopped driving past the villa we rented and parking at the one down the road, which looks identical to ours which looks identical to the one next to it ... and so on and so forth), we are extremely grateful that Jan and Larry, the owners of the villa, spend their winters in Sunny California so we don't have to spend ours in the Crappy Little Trailer in the Spooky Forest, what with the whole Polar Vortex thing and its record cold temperatures and snowfall. Not that there would be any room for us in there anyway - it's crammed to the rafters with crap collectibles.

Brrrrrrr ...

As the villa is furnished, our possessions went into storage. The estimate for that accumulation of worldly goods topped out at 31,029 pounds at the end of September; after a few frantic months of additional downsizing, we ended up at 13,446 pounds on moving day (awkwardly pats herself on the back).

Only the most precious of things came with us, which ended up being surprisingly less than what one had originally considered to be precious. Included amongst those items was the Tiny Taxidermy Collection and an Art Nouveau lamp. The other boxes contain such irreplaceable things as baby teeth (both offspring and dog), beaded mementos from various trips, scraps of paper one believes are important but should probably check, etc. The peacock feather was found on the carpet after the movers had left; one didn't have the heart to throw it away, explaining its presence alongside the most precious of things.

Oh fine, maybe that little black tin is a new eBay purchase.

It's still precious though ...

The free-standing Taxidermy Collection also came with us, but because we're renting and probably shouldn't be pounding holes in the walls if we'd like to get our Damage Deposit back, the hanging Taxidermy Collection went into storage. Sorry, you guys. We think of you often.

Some of these things are not like the others ...

Some of these things just do not belong ...

Go home, candle. You've been in the sun too long.

Or maybe it's just trying to shrink away from our writhing snake candelabra.
Yeah, that's probably it.

Although the insomniac  has been rather smug about managing to kick her chronic eBay habit since last January due to the impending move, she has resumed her obsession with a vengeance. It started out innocently enough as a means to acquire old light fixtures for the Little Gothic Cottage, but went rather rapidly downhill from there. Good thing the rental agreement is only for six months and there isn't a lot of room, or we (and by we, one is obviously referring to herself) would be in a lot of trouble.

It had to come live here. Because it has Gryphons.

And will probably look better in a somewhat darker kitchen, one imagines.

Over 40,000 beads. My precioussssssss ...

Now that the move is over and done with, there's been a lot more time for crafting. Mukluks for the eldest's girlfriend that, while one doesn't remember specifically saying  they'd be finished by Christmas 2012 but which may have been implied, were finally completed. Still, she says she's pleased with them and also says they fit perfectly, although this cannot be verified as the insomniac  has yet to see them on. She may have been rolling her eyes and thinking, “I wouldn't be caught dead in these things.” as she was texting her thanks.

Potential business idea ...

Mukluks with spikes. For Canadian golfers.

This is the temporary sewing room, now conveniently located in the basement as opposed to the third-floor attic. Notice the abundance of exercise equipment, which one had promised would be put to good use once we moved in; those sneakers haven't moved an inch from their spot on the floor where they were thrown upon our arrival.   

Just a few things to keep a person occupied during
the cold winter months ... exercise not being one of them.

Giving serious thought to a combination workshop/sewing room at the new place.
It's really handy having all those tools nearby.

Not that anyone is using your tools, Larry ... in case you're reading this.

The craft of knitting, abandoned by the insomniac  for almost thirty years, has been rediscovered. So far, a snowflake-patterned black and grey scarf has been completed (sorry, no picture - the youngest got it for Christmas). Recently, one has started to learn how to knit on four needles and the next project on the Crafting Agenda is a pair of thrummed mittens, which one has found to be extremely warm. Even at -37°C.

Thrummed mitten cuff, shown against a backdrop of mushroom fabric,
which became a ruffly mushroom pillow.

Sorry, no picture - the youngest got it for Christmas.

The Reclining Knitting Chair which the insomniac  has claimed as her very own, as evidenced by the jelly beans and Knitting for Dummies reference book close at hand, the Pot 'o Gold chocolates on the table, and the unused exercise bike in the background.

Actually did try out that bike. Once.

The new mailbox is almost finished, just needing one last coat of white. Surprisingly, that beautiful pile of fabric lovingly tossed on the plastic bin did not come from eBay, but a delightful place newly discovered called Restoration Fabrics and Trims. Samples of the Fleur-de-Lys Velvet and Ornate Victorian Floral Velveteen are in the mail, even as we speak.

This lovely stuff will cover the old worn sewing chair that used to live in the attic ...

Hope you don't like it too much because this is the last of it.

Madame Mari Mortem was up from Hellbrook, Arizona visiting her family in Calgary. She, her younger brother and the insomniac  went on a road trip before Christmas out to the Little Gothic Cottage (sorry, no pictures - we both forgot our cameras), had lunch at the Cochrane saloon and did a bit of shopping. Last week, we got together again for another day of shopping at some favourite Calgary stores and thrift shops. Madame MM, that lucky girl, scored big - the thrift shops had marked their regular low prices down by an additional 50%. As per usual, the insomniac  found it impossible to leave this store empty-handed, but as it's a Valentine's Day present for someone who reads this blog, we need not speak of it at this time.

Madame MM and her “little” brother Farabundo ...

At Christmas, both the offspring came out to Cochrane, and although we didn't bother with a tree or decorations, the turkey dinner turned out splendidly despite the insomniac's  fears about using an unfamiliar oven. Bright and early Christmas morning, we took a drive out to the Little Gothic Cottage with the two of them, as they hadn't been there since building had commenced. And because it's terribly difficult getting both of them together at the same time due to their busy schedules, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to initiate the following conversation:

Insomniac:  So ... what do you think of the place?

Them:  It's fantastic!

Insomniac:  So ... when we die what would you like to do with it? Sell it and split the proceeds? Keep it and share it equally between the two of you?

Them:  Keep it!

In retrospect, that last question may have been a little harsh for a crack-of-dawn Christmas morning conversation, as the youngest's eyes started welling up. Then again, it may have had more to do with the fact she was forced out of bed at 7:00 a.m. for the drive than it had to do with the conversation.

But how wonderful to know our little project will be passed down, hopefully for generations to come. And now that it's staying in the family for the future enjoyment of our offspring (and their offspring ... and so on and so forth) who are fully aware of the eclectic decorating style of their Sainted Mother, no longer is anyone allowed to say to the insomniac - like when she came up with the brilliant idea to cut up a piece of furniture and use it to make kitchen cupboards, or wants a front door with a stained glass spiderweb window - that maybe that isn't the best idea she's ever had and would likely affect the cottage's resale value. BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT ANYMORE! As an added bonus, we'll never have to downsize again - because that Little Gothic Cottage is going to be passed down through the generations with its contents included. And you should see how big that basement is. Bwahahahaha.

Now if you'll please excuse the insomniac, she needs to go rifle through one of her small black boxes for the ornamental ironwork guy's phone number. Maybe it's not too late to revise those front door hinges to include a few spiderwebs ...

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.


PostScript: The windows for the LGC are scheduled to be shipped from the United States any day. Cherlyn of Wolf Construction says they're the most beautiful windows she's ever seen, but hasn't been able to get the link for the pictures to work so we can see them too. The suspense is killing one of us.  

Once they arrive, it will probably be time for further updates and new pictures. Perhaps not too exciting for all of you, but terribly exciting for us. Because we've heard that once the project gets to the lockup stage, ALL the trades are anxious to come and work in a heated house. Which hasn't exactly been the case during this past month of the Dreaded Polar Vortex.