I’m a sucker for old houses. Really anything old – even cigar boxes, or vintage Valentine’s I find on eBay. I want to save all the houses. Even the ones where the windows are missing and sill is rotting. Even the ones where the roof is caving in. I drove my real estate agent crazy because I could always see potential.
There’s a house near me that breaks my heart. It’s a little 1920s two-storey bungalow, white with black trim and a sweet little gabled upstairs window. The yard is overgrown. The gate and fence, probably original to the home, are tumbling down. Evergreen trees that would have been babies when the house was born now tower over it, leaving the south side in complete shade. Yet you know it wasn’t always shaded because there’s this hopeful little trellis there, which I imagine was covered in roses or something equally lovely 80 years ago. In back lane, if you peer through the dusty windows, you can see delicate yellowed lace curtains. I don’t know if anyone lives there – perhaps the owner died in her sleep years ago and no one has yet noticed.
A similar narrow little home sits a few block away, on a large double lot. An oil tank still sits in the backyard, and it appears it’s still being used as a heat source. A small path from the kitchen side of the house leads to a quaint little vegetable garden. The windows are old and rattling and the owner, who I do see from time to time, has put plastic wrap over them. The porch has not been painted in at least 20 years or more. The house is ramshackle. The large lot is worth over a million.
I stumbled across this Flickr set recently with pictures of a Vancouver that is disappearing. My Vancouver. Houses in my neighbourhood are being torn down weekly – as you can see from the phone snap I captured below. That was a few days ago, and the lot has already been dug out in preparation for a new place. You can’t see it in my shot, but it killed me that upstairs there was a lovely moulded panel door being clawed at by the CAT.
The same photographer from the Flickr set took the shots below. I remember this teal house. I think it was even for sale at one point when J and I were house-hunting. Gone now, apparently.
I love this motel, which is in an area undergoing rapid development. It’s so weird and wonderful.
For decades this coffee shop catered to a light-industrial part of the City. Around the time of the Olympics, the neighbourhood changed to become home to Whole Foods and Home Depot. There are still car dealerships and some light industry there, but this is gone.
We sold our house! That has been eating much crafting time, as time I’d usually be at the machine is spent poring over housing listings. It’s a little disconcerting to sell before you buy. We’ve never done that in the past – we’ve always known exactly where we were going. But now we’re on somewhat of a deadline to find something new, and that can be stressful.
But it does allow for a lot of dreaming about what will come next, which is always nice.
On the knitting front, I cast on the Levinwick pattern recently and am about a third through that. I keep meaning to knit stuff for the kids, but I just keep making things for me. I’ve also had the Wiksten tulip skirt cut out for ages, but haven’t started sewing it yet.
I need to make a list for fall of the back to school clothing the kids will need… that will motivate me a bit to get back to the machine.
We have a new favourite hang-out, the family and I. For awhile, our neighbourhood has been a bit of a dead zone in terms of places to hang-out. So I tend to walk 15 or 20 minutes over to the next nearest “high” street. But no longer – we now have our own neighbourhood cafe. It’s called the Outpost, with a wink and a nod about how it’s pretty much the only place around.
Kidlins are very much welcome and there’s a large bucket of toys for them to entertain themselves. It’s not quite as kid-oriented, as say Little Nest, which is really geared exclusively at kids and caregivers. Outpost is more a cafe for everyone but no one will glare at your for your toddler – well unless they start jumping on the banquette and making shrieking noises, like P and his little friend H were doing the other day. But I might have glared at them too… hee hee.
Also very good: the delicious 75-cent cookies and lots of delicious and affordable – at least by Vancouver standards – food. Sandwiches and pasta comes with lovely salads and greens. I also had an amazing quiche there recently.
M enjoys watching the passers-by the view from the window.
Dressew is more than a fabric store, it’s a Vancouver institution. Located on East Hastings, not far from the infamous Main & Hastings intersection, it’s a relic of a past time. The lights are fluorescent, the floor is dingy white linoleum and the place is floor to ceiling full of supplies for sewing, knitting and quilting. On a typical weekday it is buzzing, with bespectacled senior citizens leaning over quilting supplies, well-dressed men in shiny shoes poring over home dec fabrics, girls barely out of their teens dressed like runway models choosing buttons. You might even see a mommy with a sleeping baby on her back.
The place isn’t the best for modern fabrics – although I noticed some Amy Butler and Michael Miller. But if you’re looking to make some clothes or bags, or there are tons of options – canvas, denim, fleece, flannel, bits of leather and a whole aisle of upholstery fabric. But since it’s hard to rummage through fabric with a baby in a carrier, I find the real joy of the store is the bottom floor. Holy cow. Buttons and buttons and buttons in every possible imaginable colour. Another aisle of zippers! Next time I’ll work up the courage to take some photos inside. The buttons would blow your mind. And supplies at rock bottom prices. I picked up a narrow (gridless) self-healing mat for $4.99 and a small quilting ruler for $2.99. I found quilting pins for 99 cents. Extra seam ripper for 25 cents (at my level you can never have too many!)
I’ve heard that Dressew might be closing soon, or that it’s struggling. It isn’t apparent to me from the dozens of people that have been in there the last two times I’ve shopped there. But if it’s true, it will be devastating for the city. I don’t think there’s another store with this variety of stuff in the city limits, let alone the downtown core. I do buy a lot of things online, but I definitely make the effort to support this and other bricks and mortar fabric stores. Online shopping is great, but there are times when you need to feel the fabric, or buy some random supply you didn’t even realise you needed until you saw it on sale for 35 cents.