Polaroid of a Willow Tree

Sun-held in a picture taken
by a child’s hand, the crooked tree
leaning into a long-dead wind
so much still from that shaken
air travels on. I’d forgotten memory
vanishes, that cellular tithe:
the way the bones of real things
crumble in remembering hands and get free

for good. How long alive
was that tree, how long standing
there, gripping the ravine edge
before we appeared and started to survive

in the ways prepared, pretending
everything would turn out,
get better, we’d grow stronger, feel right
the real world notwithstanding.

That’s always the taunt looking back, the shout
at the ones who left without warning; seeing
as those early visions were not in the offing,
they might have said what it was all about.

Now we’re simply standing ground, being
vigilant, shucking the childish faith
that makes our eyes
glance at things twice seen

and name them bough and stem and leaf.
That’s the willow in the child’s lens,
and why it seems much more a tree
than trees I know now. Beneath

the Polaroid willow are roots, but then
I suspected more, was not troubled by “the true”:
it was all trees and all time, a purview undistressed
by memory and experience. Never again.

Poem by Michael Redhill

 

 

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Around The House

Holy crud. It’s been one heck of a month.

So I thought I’d take this Monday to fill you guys in on my life (which I also hope helps explain why I’ve been MIA lately).

Above all else, updates in my home have consumed most of July and August.

What started as a quick bathroom remodel (see post one, two and three) has snowballed into redoing all of the trim, casing and baseboards on my main floor—which includes replacing all interior doors and hardware, and priming, re-painting etc. While the jambs were out, I even briefly considered fulfilling my dream of sanding and refinishing my floors to a bleach blonde, but I had to stop somewhere or next thing I know, I’d be adding a second story to my home.

(Full disclosure: If I planned to stay here for even 5 more years, I would have done it. But the dream is to rent this home out in the future, so I don’t want to go overboard and sink too much into it.)

So, what does “just redoing trim” really look like? An upheaval of all the things you own. Or—glass half full here guys—a great excuse to clean and purge.

It’s been a messy, dusty yard sale of all the things we own. Every piece of furniture, art, decor (and, yes, imagine all the random crap like pens that don’t work and old sweaters you tucked under dressers) in every single room on my main floor is tightly piled in the center of each space. No desk to work at, no couch to sit on, and a bed that we have to load stuff onto every morning and clear off every night. The only clear surface is our countertop, and the only seat accessible on the main floor to rest is a single pink pouf. But I cannot complain because a) I did this to myself, and b) it’s the side effect of transforming my home into a thing I’ll enjoy more.

Needless to say, Elite has been killllllllling it. They did my bathroom and now they’re the ones tackling the main floor base and case. There is no way I could have done this all myself! I’ve learned so much watching them work and the quality of their craftsmanship is bonkers. And while I believe in DIY as a mentality (the idea of taking control over your own projects and doing what you can with what you have), when it comes to remodels, so long as I have the means to hire good builders, I absolutely will.

The chaos of a renovation aside, I’m super pumped to see how this all turns out.

Design-wise, I went craftsman: clean lines, cute trim caps, and square stock casing and baseboard—which is a bit departure from my previous concave, more traditional trim. I also chose to forgo shoe-molding. Not only do I prefer the clean look, but an extra ledge is just a dust collector. Plus, I gained at least an inch of floorspace in every single room, hallway and doorway as my baseboards are now just 3/4″ thick whereas before they must have been almost 1.5″. Small victories, guys.

For the doorways, I’m using Metrie‘s beefy and beautiful True Craft casing and Masonite Heritage Lincoln Park doors (which are 1-3/4″ solid wood). And to do them justice, I couldn’t just go with any old hardware: I picked up 3.5″ shiny chrome hinges and matching chrome Weiser Heritage Levers.

Construction-wise, Elite did some cool things to put it all together, so here are some quick notes on the build:

  • To create the shallow inlets for the door hardware (hinges, latches etc), they crafted a jig frame for the router to follow. Typically, these inlets have to be tediously hand-cut, which also allows for mistakes, so this was such a cool process to witness. I even gave one a shot myself.
  • All of the base and jambs are poplar and fitted with cedar shims.
  • All joints are joined with biscuits.

There’s so many more elements at play I can’t wait to show you, so lok out not only for a bathroom reveal shortly, but a main floor before + after with allll the pretty.

Up next, I’m stepping in to do all the wood filling, caulking, sanding, priming and painting. (I have to save money somewhere lol).

x, S

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Stripe Season is in Full Effect

Linen slacks, culottes and gauchos are a great way to dress up any plain shirt.

They’re a great, pulled-together option for everything from casual client meetings to the daily grind. And unlike shorts or skirts, they’re versatile from daytime to evening. I just nabbed this blue striped pair and am living in them this summer [more below]. Continue reading

#SabrinasBathroom: The Home Stretch

We’re just days away from having a completed bathroom.

And it’s shaping up to be even better than I anticipated. (Did I mention yet how happy I am that I contracted this job out and didn’t DIY it?! ‘Cause I am.) But however pretty, true to typical reno form, it’s taken longer than planed for. Between some upgrades I made last-minute, a few changes along the way, and the inevitable complications of a 70 year-old home, we’re only about a week over my goal—which isn’t all that bad.

I’ve also changed my mind on a few things (as I typically do during a build, for the better). So without further ado, I wanted to jump right in and share an update. [But if you haven’t checked out the first two posts on this space, click here for the intro and here for the first process post.]

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Speedy Summer ’17

It rings true every year, but somehow summer never fails to surprise me with the speed at which it flies by.

In many ways, it has been an amazing summer so far. Although I believe there’s no such thing as achieving work-life balance, for the first time in a long time, I’ve maintained a nice middle-ground—for now.

I’ve been taking more time to do things that make me well: working out, preparing plant-based meals, putting on music rather than sitting in silence like I do too often, practicing yoga, and taking a proper two days off a week. And however trivial it sounds, I’ve also completely changed up my skin-care routine to only include natural products and am actually applying moisturizer and sunscreen daily.

Another huge ingredient in my care prescription has been enjoying the backyard: dining al fresco, gardening barefoot, entertaining friends, working as often as I possibly can at the dining table or on the outdoor sectional, and BBQing with Shawn on our new grill (this Coleman one from Canadian Tire which protects from flares/char/burning—all that bad stuff).

I seem to have struck a nice rhythm for the time being—which I know won’t last forever. Life, after all, is a series of ebbs and flows. But I’m squeezing out every bit of rest while I can before the inevitable busy season strikes again so that I can survive it—and even thrive through it. So cheers to summer: a season that’s short, sweet, and worth savoring.

x, S Continue reading