Posts by Resident


A Velvet Tailcoat


Posted By on Dec 10, 2011

Usually I wouldn’t post an unfinished project up here, but partly it’s just a plea for help. My friend Mardi and I have been working on a new tailcoat pattern. She actually created it from combining two types of male jacket patterns. The end result, we hope, is a full court jacket. I think Mardi will need to help me with more than just that back pleat. While attempting to put the sleeves on, I sort of found that any easing of the sleeves turned the coat a little bit more feminine than I’d like. And I’m not talking about the corset on the female body form either… In any event, barring that hurdle, the coat is turning out nicely. We’ll have a super dandy-jacket soon, I’m...

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A Wall of Books


Posted By on Dec 5, 2011

As you can imagine, Dear Readers, it can be a challenge to juggle everything. I was recently awarded the contract for the St. Lawrence War of 1812 Bicentennial Alliance. If you’ve been following Crowder House, you’ll know of my penchant for sewing and all things heritage – and likewise, how easily I might be absorbed in such an anniversary. Moreover, when one is paid to blog, that other writing tends to take a precedence. All of this isn’t to say things have been stagnant at Crowder House. I just don’t always have a spare moment to blog about it. The latest major development is a built in bookshelf, crafted by none other than Garnet Carmichael. As you might already know, Crowder House has some storage issues. With only three closets, one with permanent shelving, we’re strapped for hiding places. What’s more, we own a lot of books – as in, there isn’t a room or space at Crowder House that does not have books in it. I also work from home and as my business grows, I seem to be spreading out all over the house. Thus, we had Garnet construct some new storage space. There are few optimal walls at Crowder House for a built-in cabinet. The only one offering function and practicality was in the living room, pictured here above right as it was when we bought Crowder House. This wall also had the washroom pipes running along it, behind an odd encasement. Instead of maintaining as much space in a small room as possible, the encasement came out 6 inches farther than it needed. It was as if the encasement was built with scrap pieces and was not made to measure. Fortunately, Garnet had the foresight to take it off before he measured for the bookcase.   Installing the cabinet was not without its challenges. Old houses are often a little crooked, and Crowder House, while in excellent shape, is no exception. The ceiling and floor slope just enough to give Garnet and his helpers a run for their money – taking two attempts to install the upper half of the bookshelf. Good thing Garnet is a pro at these things! The end result is beautiful and practical. We plan eventually to use the centre cabinet to store our electronics, including a projector which will point out to a screen hung from the ceiling. This will eliminate the need for a television in the living room, allowing for another chair to reside in this rather small social space. My hope is that when a veranda is returned to the front of the house, I might even...

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Preparing for Winter

Preparing for Winter


Posted By on Nov 14, 2011

It was a little frigid around here last winter. Crowder House just seemed to eat up oil and wood. Much of our efforts in the past couple of months have been to prepare for the inevitability of winter – with much delight at how late it has been in arriving. (It’s expected to be a high 15˚C today!) After having the basement sprayed with foam insulation, the Man turned his efforts to another no-go area – the attic. He discovered that above the kitchen and office, the attic was insulated haphazardly, at best. While it hasn’t exactly been cold in Spencerville, we have noticed that our house is very warm. Some of our regular visitors, like Lady Lily, have been commenting on how much warmer the floor boards are. And I must admit that the kitchen and office have been far warmer. These rooms are on the north-eastern side of the house, so my hopes aren’t great that they will remain so, but relative to last year, there is already a noticeable difference. The Man also had some more aesthetically pleasing ideas for insulating the windows. While he insisted on stuffing the two front doors full with pink insulation, he had a better plan for the space in between the windows. One day he asked how much fabric I had in store and whether I might make long sacks to fit in between the storm and inner windows. His plan was to fill them with pink insulation and stuff them between the windows. This way, instead of the unattractive pink fluff, each window could be coordinated with the curtains hanging in front. It’s a small thing, but it looks much nicer. Over the course of the summer, the Man had also made some changes to the windows, rendering the storms easier to deal with. Originally, we had fixed four windows to the house, so that we could open them year round if needed.The rest of the windows had to be physically removed to be opened. It was harrowing to watch, I can’t imagine what it was like for the Man to do. Thus, we decided to fix all of the storm windows permanently, with a hinge at the top. The Man added additional clasps on the inside so that the storms could be closed tightly. And last but not least, before the first frost hit I harvested some of our perennial herbs. In a space constrained house, I have resorted to drying them on a ceiling fan that is never used – in fact, I think it might be broken. One of my horticultural experiments this year is lavender....

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Domains, Cellars & Readers, Oh My!


Posted By on Oct 24, 2011

We’ve heard from a number of unhappy readers. Our delinquency in posting not only led to your disappointment, but the vanishing of our site! Yes, this very domain was registered under a long forgotten account, and thus lapsed, taking everything down with it. Fortunately, several of you are so dedicated to Crowder House that the issue was resolved swiftly. If only we could convince you to come out and toil the land, surely we’d have more time for posting, but I digress. A lot has been happening down in Edwardsburgh, it’s a challenge to pick a starting point. As penance, today I went down into the cellar and took some pictures of our new spray foam insulation. The basement is my least favourite section of the house, for those not already in the know.  Do let me know how much this gesture has taken off my blogging purgatory. Over the past couple of weeks, we have had the cellar sprayed and fireproofed. Everyone we asked about the process raved over the effects. Not a single person who had this done in their house thought it a waste. Despite such optimistic responses, I admit to skepticism. And honestly, it’s been difficult to judge whether or not the spray foam insulation worked – mainly because we’ve been having such nice weather. Yesterday, on the other hand, was sunny, but brisk and blustery. After leaving our English Country Dance class, a few of us returned to Crowder House. With the wood stove afire the living room was a sauna. Our friend Lady Lily commented on how warm the wooden floorboards above the basement were. And the Man and I both noted just how much warmer the kitchen and office were, which heretofore had always been colder damper spaces. It was obvious, the spray foam had worked. While I can’t offer you any scientific proof, I can attest to the fact that the house feels much warmer, and at that too with a much smaller fire. We’ll see what the winter brings us, but at least I’m hopeful. And seeing as I was down in the cellar anyway, I also took a picture of our dryer vent. Instead of sending the heat outside in the winter, we exhaust it into the cellar. (During the summer, we use an outdoor clothesline.) This change was made after we installed the new washer and dryer in the kitchen. Every little bit helps when weaning a house off...

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The Great Arbor Massacre of 2011

The Great Arbor Massacre of 2011


Posted By on Sep 19, 2011

We’ve  complained before about the number of bugs residing around Crowder House. This isn’t just some City-Folk ranting either. When we first visited Crowder House our heads wouldn’t last five minutes before being heavily swarmed by an assortment of creatures. In fact, spending any more than five minutes outside was far from pleasant. Since then, we’ve made efforts to cut back the encroaching wilderness. The Man has cleaned out the cedar grove to the front of the house. We’ve both attacked the ivy in several places. This weekend past, with the help of Stan Linnen, the Man cleared a row of cedars and several Manitoba maples.  Once the brush is cleared (and some unsightly shacks), we hope to have a great view of the sunrise – not to mention fewer bugs. For anyone upset about the loss of trees, while I hate to have any cut, these ones will be keeping us warm. Moreover, as some of them, like the maples, had grown up as weeds, they stood at precarious angles. It simply isn’t...

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