Little Things

March 11, 2008

upstairs

Peach. Sweet orange. Cornsilk. Light avocado. Proof that one should never shop for paint on an empty stomach.

Actually, it took my partner and me two hours of communing with the paint chips before deciding on these four colours plus the equally delicious Passion blue. We knew that five colours for a two-bedroom apartment was pushing the limits, but we liked the idea. Eight months later, we still do. This is our first two-storey apartment, and the first place we actually like being home in. I think the colours give this place a happy playground feel.

Here you see the top bit of the wall around the stairwell (blue for the wall side, orange for the handrail side), the peach main bedroom, the orange activity room, and the passionate hall lightswitch. You can also see nice white stucco ceilings, which hadn’t been painted for 25 years, and were a nasty grey by the time we got at them. Oilpaint. Stucco. Ceiling. Don’t get me started.

I like this picture for all the little things in it. They’re a sort of alphabet that spells out a lot of information on my family life.

Peeping out of the peach room are the frames of two original paintings bought by my partner, waiting to be hung on the wall, and the tabs of the over-the-door hook thingy for our housecoats.

The orange room is partly decorated in Ikea (shelving and floor lamp), and shows a futon bed and the edge of a wicker chair. On the wall, half-hidden, is the intarsia raccoon my father made during his retirement, one of the last things he made for me. One of the first things he made for me sits just above the soccer ball, a little wooden bookend with my initial on it. It’s keeping my medievalia and cookbooks upright; above them are the nature books, and above those are the art books. Right at the top is the goldfish plant I found abandoned in an apartment in another city about 12 years ago.

On the narrow shelf can be seen three containers of yarn, cases of embroidery floss, a blue bin of sewing paraphernalia, the stuffed cat my partner’s mother made, and the teddy bear my grandparents sent when my son was born nearly 26 years ago. Beside the shelving unit is a music stand, for holding my recorder music when I’m in the mood for a toodle. The soccer ball is in a cardboard box that holds some belongings¬†of the boy I babysit; this is his room when he stays with us a few days each week.

Little things — needlecrafts, musical instruments, wildlife books, handmade gifts, original artwork, little boys, rescued plants, medieval recipes, fuzzy housecoats — little things can have a lot of meaning.