The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Here? There? Where Oh Where Should I Put It?

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Television during the summer months, as we all know, is just the pits. Reruns abound, reality shows that leave you brain dead and wondering where in hell the younger set is headed, along with various PBS fund-raising programs that make you feel guilty ’cause you didn’t contribute to, but hope like hell everyone else will keep such great shows as Masterpiece Mystery on the air. So now that we’ve got that great DVR box from our local cable company, I’ve been having a blast taping various “home”, “renovation” and similar shows to fill that void on such evenings. I’m now officially hooked on such shows as Escape To The Country, Dream Home Abroad, Build A New Life In The Country (BBC Canada), along with Sarah’s House, Relocation, Relocation and others airing on HGTV. The past couple of weeks I happened upon a new show by Kirstie Allsop (from Location, Location and Relocation, Relocation) wherein she’s renovating an old home in North Devon (England) for her family to live in. This show has turned out to be quite different from the usual, as Ms Allsop has been finding ways to contribute to the home decor by crafting things on her own, finding great buys and treasures at local antique shops, boot (garage) sales or used furniture shops, and even doing the odd “dumpster dive”!! She’s been visiting local artisans such as a glass blower, seamstress, stained-glass designer and potterer in order to learn their craft and get help in making or designing some item for her new home. The room she has renovated during that particular show is revealed in the last few minutes, along with her “crafty”, “found” or “great buy” item. To say the least her ideas have been inspiring and her completed rooms stunning!

Watching all of these shows, and especially Ms Allsop’s, have made my brain swirl with ideas and little things I’d like to change in our home. I have the usual knick knacks on tables (floral displays, vases and candles) but every now and again I crave a change. I’ve been like this ever since my apartment in Hamilton, and I’ve always enjoyed shopping for such items especially at home decor shops, craft fairs (Balls’ Falls Festival or Marshville Heritage Festival) and those small village shops. There’s usually a funky, pretty or just gotta have item that catches your eyes and makes you wonder where you could use it if you did, in fact, buy it. The craving is even greater now that our living room is officially done. The new window blinds and drapery panels look great and somehow the knick knacks and other items on the fireplace mantle seem to, well, “just need something new“. However, any more new knick knacks, vases, candles, or even pictures are not necessarily a top priority at the present time. So many other things need our attention – the back patio, the patio door, the front walkway, the driveway, the back garden, new tires for the Van and so on and so on – of which I’m sure everyone has the same problem.

When I do get that bug to change things, I end up rummaging through my spare box in the basement containing various vases, candles, floral accessories and other bits and bobs that haven’t seen the light of day in several months or even a year or two. I go out and buy some new thing like candle holders to make me think this will solve my dilemma or make for a whole new arrangement somewhere. I then return home, take my new purchase(s) and  grab something from that storage box I think I’d like to see on display again and begin walking about the house wondering where in hell to put the damn things!! I then start re-arranging items on the fireplace, the hallway table, the office windowsill, the bedroom dressers, the dining room shelves, the kitchen display shelves and wherever something decorative is sitting. I’ll set something up, stand back and take a look and then move it all around again. I’ll start messing with a floral display, get frustrated and try to put it back to where it was, or even add or remove something else to it. With great determination I eventually find somewhere to at least put my new purchase, which I know in the back of my mind will someday end up in that little storage box in the basement. Naturally this whole process is time-consuming, frustrating and most times fruitless, but it’s a process I need to go through every now and again, if not to just say I’ve at least changed something. It’s also a process that when completed is never noticed by anyone but me!

With the passage of time and getting older and settled, I always thought that these feelings of “change” would dissipate. I’m now beginning to realize that it’s in my genes, it’s a part of who I am and it’s also a family trait. Each of my sisters own lovely homes containing beautiful decorative items, pictures and such. I also realize that this is the very first home I’ve actually “owned”. When Nat and I moved here it was my chance to finally put my stamp on some things and together we’ve created (or am still creating) a home that is reflective of our tastes. However, as every woman knows, there’s always room for improvement and changes can sometimes be a good thing!

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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