Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Works In Progress

The infamous sewing table and the dawning of light in the kitchen...

My favorite thing about having our own home is that it's a work in progress. We have a passion for projects, and though it feels good to finish one, in truth we're never really finished. There's comfort in that because our lives are much the same. The people I admire most, the people who have come the furthest in life, always seem to be the same ones who will be the first to tell you they have a long ways to go. It's not false humility, I think. It's the attitude that's gotten them thus far. These people, rather than bragging and giving unsolicited advice, live a life that is itself a testament. That's how I want to be. In the words of Steven Covey, "Be a light, not a judge."

In the spirit of not worrying that we have a ways to go still, and always will, I'll tell you that we, um... haven't actually moved in yet. I think we probably would have, except that to prepare a house for a young child seems to take a lot more time than I had prepared for. Especially an extremely curious toddler boy. It's not really in my nature to be overly worried about accidents--I don't seem to have the attention span for it--but with Ran I'm forcing myself to be OCD instead of ADD. I want this place safe: shelves bolted to walls, outlets covered, heavy paint cans away from counter edges, you get the idea. I love that kid. I don't know how I can state it any more plainly. Here he is in his new room, looking all grown up and yet so small and vulnerable:

One thing, a quirk you might say, that only a select few (such as my fabulous sisters) understand in me is that I like slightly creepy art. You know, the old gilt-framed portrait you find covered in cobwebs in the corner of the attic that seems to be staring at you know matter which way you go? Yeah, that belongs on my mantel place. I guess it's the mystery I like. (The same kind of eerie beauty of the sea at nighttime when you just see moonlight sparkling on black waves, or the woods bare and silent, with branches covered in icicles. If you know how I'm talking about, then you know what I'm talking about.) Here are a few slightly creepy but also adorable finds so far:

They both have this cool, hazy quality that I love.

And the little Victorian lady that lives inside me is mad about this framed botanical page, which I found at The Rose II flea market in Rogers for six dollars: It makes me think of children in white lace clothes searching for flower fairies in twilight. Sound a little nutty? Exactly. I go for things that make me feel good or interested, and my associations are often complicated, with a made-up, slightly ridiculous back story.

I know nothing about antiques, really. I'm the kinda of shopper the hardcore flea market scourers scoff at--I look for things that are "cool" or "pretty". I kept drifting by this 1960's sewing table at a flea market in downtown Rogers, wanting it but not knowing why. When I finally bit my lip, ripped off the tag and brought it to the counter, the store owner looked at me dubiously.

"This thing doesn't come with a sewing machine, you know," was his remark.
"I know," I said, with a determined gaze, or what I hoped was a determined gaze, because I really hadn't determined anything. The story ends blissfully, though, because when we brought the thing home I realized it's newfound purpose in life: a kitchen island! Of course! It's the perfect size, I can antique it to go with the cabinets, and oh yes, I found a cutting board that will fit perfectly atop it. This is just a teaser of the transformation.

I've added these hooks to the side for oven mitts, pretty dishtowels, and the like. That's it. That's the tease. The funny thing is, it's actually all done now--repainted, cutting board top, and everything--but I haven't uploaded the new pics of it.

Thank you for your support in this journey of my family's. We are taking the energy from the hurt and distress of the last few years and pouring it into something beautiful. When that happens, pain really does become joy.