little and ordinary

We all know that very few days come with a lovely “Ta-da!” moment, don’t we. Sometimes I feel a distinct sense of disappointment if my day has not delivered the pleasure of a satisfying finish – be it cloth, wood or wool – a sparkle to the bathroom, a line full of washing flapping in the sun, or a gleaming kitchen where everything is in its place and there’s a lovely meal cooking.

On a rational level I know that happiness cannot come from such external things, that I must seek that sense of contentment from within. And accept that some days will be very ordinary and that’s okay too.  Goodness, the notion of constant happiness is so ridiculous, so greedy, so selfish anyway.

Instead most of my days – like yours I’m sure –  are just full of little things.  And that sun – well it comes and goes.  So today, all I have is the ordinary – the unfinished – some little tasks finally done – some not …

frame

:: such a pretty thrifted frame that I’ve been planning a Mother’s Day applique for – and done absolutely nothing about it and now it’s Mother’s Day this Sunday – sigh – we’ll just have to admire it’s prettiness and know that someday it will hold something lovely.

gluing hands

:: finally, finally, finally gluing some little Erzgebirge men back together – a wee visor for the postman’s cap and getting that drummer’s bloody arm to stick in the right spot.

pencil sharpener

:: instead of reading for next week’s essay – putting together a little still life on my desk – sweet bookmarks, an old pencil sharpener, anodised travelling cups, a vase of pine needles – all with their own little stories that make me smile

rearranging the shelves

:: rearranging the shelves on my desk – well I had to put the shelves from the bathroom somewhere – the little folk and their animals are beginning to create their own tales on each of the shelves – the king with his pet elephant, the racoon seeking help from the wise woman, animals by the shoreline, Heidi’s grandfather …

it fit

:: fitting the old, vigorously washed and scrubbed meat safe (that had been not quite squished under the eaves in the back garden) into the bathroom corner – the tape measure said it would, even if at first it seemed completely impossible and I needed 4 squares of chocolate to soothe my peevishness  give me a moment to reassess – all it required was some aerial manoeuvring  – I KNEW it would fit – the tape measure doesn’t lie!  As for a fresh coat of paint – well, that will come.  Julian’s going to Dublin next week …

knitting

:: realising I had just the right colour blue to go with my mustard scarf – but not the right shade of soft grey-cocoa – oh well, that just means a trip to the wool store.

My kitchen’s a mess.  The quilt I started quilting on Saturday still isn’t finished.  I haven’t cleaned my teeth.  Or dropped the shoes off to the boot repair shop.  Or taken the rubbish out.  Or folded the washing.  Or found the tax return.  And it’s almost time for school pickup.

Ta-da moments – big fat zero.  But there’s been lots of little and ordinary bits and bobs.  That’ll do.

edited to add:  I got my teeth cleaned, scrubbed the kitchen, took the rubbish out and found the tax return.  And then, just as I was about to go out, for the briefest of moments, the sun made a dazzling appearance – always such a lift to my spirits – so I stuck some weeds into a vase and took another photo.  ‘Cause that’s how best to celebrate the little and ordinary:-)

weeds in jar

sun came in

 

wintery scenes

beach flying birds

Oh it has been so cold here in Melbourne.  The mornings have been exceedingly frosty.  The grass is dusted with white.  My breath fogs my glasses – whilst inside.  The windscreen is hard with ice, demanding that we dawdle in the driveway for a good five minutes, waiting for the heater to turn it to slush.

too cold for the shed

Such has been the cold that one of us insists on tinkering with his outdoor toys at the kitchen table!

honeybunny

The young one is making the most of her lovely squishy, warm, snuggly honey-bunny – newly arrived companion for Miss Hinchcliffe who has been a bit lonesome since the deaths of our sweet little guinea pigs.

scrubbing the dresser

dresser doors

Whilst the crazy one has been more intrepid, determined to get that dresser scrubbed down, sanded till it gleams, oiled and inside before the next spell of rain.  Complete with newly built and collaged doors.  Who’d have thought a mitre box and tenon saw could be such fun.

the sun

chopping wood solstice bonfire

And then the Solstice came.  On a day glowing with sun (albeit, super cold) with a rich blue sky that sang of the summer to come.  Julian chopped wood.  The Solstice bonfire was lit.  We sat as close as we could, plates of slow roasted pork and pumpkin upon our laps, marshmallows waiting to be toasted, strawberries (from Queensland) waiting to be dunked into the chocolate fondue.  As the flames danced and crackled, we looked up into the frosty, moonlit sky and cheered that our earth was tilting back towards the sun.

Who cares that we are only 22 days into the first month of winter.  From this point on, each day reclaims just a minute more light, pushing us gently on to spring.

tea little squares pieced border blanket label

Whilst we wait, we remind each other how much we LOVE the cold!  Make more tea.  Fight over who gets to wash up in that lovely hot water.  Linger by the stove.  Fill and refill the hot water bottles.  Beg Fu to stay still on our laps and just cuddle!

And I dig around in boxes and cupboards, pulling out half finished blocks, long forgotten fabrics, and almost done quilts.  Piling them onto the table, the must-finish-this-winter list growing longer and longer.  And promise Julian that tonight! tonight!  I’ll start the argyle pattern on the front of his vest.  And sneakily knit another two repeats on the much less daunting baby cardigan.

And look out at that dresser …

the most dogged hard rubbishers ever!

That would be me and my mum!  And boy oh boy!  Did we earn this title today!

the drawer

It all started with this very unprepossessing drawer.  We brought it home last night.  It came from a dresser that was lying on its back, in the dark, on the side of the road.  We had to bring the drawer home.  We couldn’t tell what era the dresser was, how well it had been made, nor what sort of wood it was.  Now the drawer mightn’t look much to you, dear reader, but to me and my mum it looked more than promising. Lovely solid wood, a good old fashioned construction, and as sturdy as, with the sort of reinforcing that speaks of a craftsperson who wanted that to which this drawer belongs to last a long while.

So, first thing this morning, we went back.  Of course we went back.

The first time we went back with a bag of tools, prepared to pull the dresser apart and shove it into the back of the car piece by piece.  See, we’d forgotten about the drawer’s sturdiness with it’s reinforcing.  This dresser was not coming apart at all.  Nor would it fit into the car.

So we had to go back again … with the trolley.

the find getting it onThat’s right.  We took the fridge trolley (I knew it was a good investment Jules!) and despite moments of doubt, regular collapses into hysterical laughter, and cheered on by the helpful interventions of many lovely folk along the way, we wheeled this lovely old kitchen dresser all the way home.  Almost two kilometres.  Along a path that included a RAILWAY CROSSING, several traffic lights and two sets of tram tracks.

This is why we are THE MOST DOGGED HARD RUBBISHERS EVER!

A lovely young man with long curly locks and a skateboard stopped to help us wedge the dresser onto the trolley, and I swear, if he hadn’t been on his way to classes at a nearby university, he would have wheeled the dresser home for us, so impressed was he with our hard rubbishing spirit.

Whilst he was wriggling the dresser into position, a beautifully dressed woman, walking to the station, stopped for a chat, told us how she’d admired the dresser the day before, agreed with us that it was too nice and sturdy to leave on the side of the road, expressed how marvellous it was someone was giving it a new home, and wished us the best of luck on our trek.

Then, before we reach the afore mentioned railway crossing, a young man, tending to a very posh garden, dropped his tools and dashed out to us to “fix” the positioning of the dresser on the trolley.  “No! No! No!” he cried cheerfully,  “Let me make this easier for you!”  and proceeded to flip the whole thing upside down.

So funny lovely.  I do find that when you let go of the ordinary and expected, when you’re not afraid to look a bit peculiar, oh the lovely people you meet :-)

This is what it looked like arriving at the railway crossing – lots of steep and narrow gutters to navigate with an exceptionally heavy trolley and its dresser.  Eeeek!

crossing of dread

The other way … completely inhospitable.  We stood there a good long while contemplating our next move.  Oh how we giggled and shrieked and plotted, whilst many a driver-by stared at the two weird women with the dresser on the trolley.

However, we gathered our nerves and decided that it was best to walk/push briskly across the road whilst the boom gates were down.  There’s no pedestrian crossing on that section, but with the boom gates down, there ain’t no cars going in any direction.   It took us three trains to feel prepared enough.  The fourth time those gates came down, we hot footed it across, jelly legs and all, Mum pushing, me steering, both of us hoping for the longest train crossing ever.

the railway crossing

And it worked!  Only then we discovered the narrowest bit of footpath in the whole suburb and had to shove the dresser through it sideways/lengthways.  Much to the bemusement and worry of a fellow who actually stopped his car and got out to help – telling us we would never get it home sideways like that.  So, once through the squeeze, he helped us shuffle the dresser back into the gardner’s more sensible position and we demonstrated our previous pushing prowess – he was suitably impressed.  Well sort of :-)

jelly legs

Ah look!  Here we are at the last set of lights.  Feeling as if we were on the homeward run.  I stepped back to take a photo … and the dresser blew over.  Yep – that was another moment of hysteria and leg crossing.  And another lovely young passerby stopped to ask if she could help :-)  I tell you, wobbling home a huge antique kitchen dresser on wheels is a good way to gauge community spirit.

the last set of traffic lights

Finally, it was through the gate and down the drive.  Not before another sweet young fellow – dreadlocks, cigarette, headphones and all – stopped and asked if we needed a hand.  When we explained this was actually the end of our trek, he was so tricked, wanting to know all about it.  I tell you – hard rubbish brings folk together.

home at last

So here it is!  Sitting neatly up against the house, the eaves protecting it from any rain that may come this way – this is Melbourne, the rain never falls heavy enough to wet under the eaves.

finally

And what are we going to do with it, you may ask?  Well … it’s not quite decided yet.  Mum would like to take it home and put it in her downstairs room as a bookcase and fabric storage dresser.  But there’s the s*l*i*g*h*t problem of getting it there.  Wheeling it to Merimbula is obviously out of the question.

So I reckon it will probably stay here for now and become part of MY fabric storage.  And then, when we Boots make that move to the coast in a few years time, it will come with us, all nicely restore and polished, and maybe it will finally reach Mum’s downstairs room.  Or it may move into our Merimbula kitchen as a pantry – now I think that role would truly make this dresser happy.

against the wall

As for this here chair?  We left it there.  There’s a limit to how many armchairs one needs.  Even I can see that :-)  But we did test it.  You can never be too sure … and if you would like it, drop me an email and I’ll let you know where it is!

we left the chair

a little bit of a rearrange

A little bit of a rearrange is always a good thing.  At least I think so :-)  Julian sometimes disagrees.  He says it’s a girl thing.  But with cold, wintery temperatures here to stay for the next few months at least and us soldiering on with our no-heating winter, a few small changes were in order.

And just like that the french doors between the front room and living room were closed.  Personally, they’ve always annoyed me slightly.  They are picturesque and all but do take up a lot of space.  Space that we can readily use given all our indoor pursuits  … and my delight in bringing home hard rubbish.  From a warmth perspective – it means both rooms warm up much more easily – all that body warmth making a smaller enclosed space positively cosy.

So, in the living room, the sofa was pushed back against the closed doors, instantly making the living room so roomy and light, and adding plenty of floor space for Abby to stretch out.  And in the front room, the record player occupies the other side of the glass, low enough not to be overwhelming or block the light that pours in from our front windows.

record plater gentleman's wardrobe

The craft and games cupboard has come in from the hallway and now sits cosy in the corner, her beautiful wood glowing richly.  The bookshelf has changed walls, giving us a fresh chance to peruse its shelves and rediscover old favourites – amazing how a simple move does that.  The singer sewing cabinet has moved into the hallway where it is so much lighter and prettier by the front door.  I even found a lamp to sit atop it – now I just need a nice long extension cord.  Our old home is very short on powerpoints.

bookshelf by the window

The white armchairs have moved into the centre – sitting squarely opposite the sofa.  I like the geometric look – and the move away from the window stops Fu from leaping onto one where she stands up on her back legs and spies on the neighbours and passerbys.

littl folk sofa

And in between emptying and moving and refilling – moving the games and craft cupboard and bookshelf is certainly a time consuming task – there was a little time for this …

bit of this

… as well as time for giving everything a much needed dust with a beautiful juniper scented furniture polish, the baking of shortbread (to match the new novel Abby and I are reading together each evening), the slow cooking of goulash for a post babysitting supper, and the sharing of piping hot cups of tea with my girl who was home early from school today.

Such contentment.