Sometimes (O.K., you beat it out of me … all of the time) my imaginary world has way more time in it than my real world.  There are more hours in the days, days in the weeks and weeks in a months.  My imagination is really accommodating that way.  In my imaginary world I can paint a whole house, make 14 freezer meals, and neuter a basket of feral cats by the time I’ve had my second bucket of morning coffee.

Which helps explain why in my imaginary world my Big Spring Project would be finished by now and I would be lazing about my backyard with a pack of wild cats.


My Big Spring Project is not done.  It isn’t even started. In fact, if you insist I put a percentage on it, compared to the last time I talked about My Big Spring Project, I am exactly -10% closer to completion.


My dining room is exactly the same, only it now it has a bunch of really fun gardening stuff piled on the table.  It’s gardening season and Lee Valley sent me a whole whack of stuff to test out for them.  Because it’s gardening season. Which I’ve mentioned twice in this paragraph but forgot to mention to my imaginary brain when I was planning  my Big Spring Project.

The foyer has remnants of unsold garage sale stuff on the floor and is filled with  furniture I dragged out of the dining room so I could see what it would look like as a library.


Just when I was really thinking of starting My Big Spring Project, it was time to start seeds (because it’s gardening season) and I had to start my plants and pay attention to them and then start getting them hardened off outside.

I have a LOT of transplants because I have 2 large gardens now after taking on another community plot, plus I have my front yard vegetable garden plus I agreed to organize the yearly plant sale at my community garden.  That’s one of those things that in my imaginary world timeline could easily fit between building a second bathroom and picking up more coffee at Costco.  In my real life timeline I’m considering wearing only clothing that opens and closes with velcro to save buttoning time.



Since it’s gardening season (did I mention that?) I of course had to try out the cool stuff from Lee Valley immediately.  Since it’s gardening season and all. So, while I could have been priming my woodwork, instead I was outside setting up pop up accelerators and paper garden cloches over the swiss chard that I overwintered.

I thought the waxed paper “emergency cloche” was a hat when I first opened the box of stuff from Lee Valley.  It is not a hat but if I were to wear it as a hat this is what I would look like.





And this is what I would look like gardening in it.




And this is what I would look like grabbing a cup of coffee in it.



And this is what I would look like shopping for home accessories in it.




And this is what I would look like buying produce in it.



And this is what I would look like arguing with an imaginary friend outside of a coffee shop in it.



So, but yeah, it’s not a hat.



The front gardens are half dug up and there, indeed, sitting on the front porch is more leftover garage sale stuff.  A bed.



Also it’s very hard to get motivated to do stuff inside like paint and assemble bookshelves and pick out tables and lamps when things are  g r o w i n g.  Like grass.  And rhubarb.  Because you can make The Art of Doing Stuff’s World Famous Rhubarb Crisp out of rhubarb.  Obviously it’s only world famous in my imaginary life.


I should be painting but instead, I’m wondering why my luffah leaves are starting to yellow.  It’s not too much water, but I may have planted my tiny seedlings in too much compost which was more fertilizer than they could use.  Which made them angry.  And an angry plant does not motivate me to work inside the house.



Then there’s the backyard. Which in my imaginary world is again, already cleaned up by this time of the year and the backdrop to several great pizza parties with interesting guests and maybe a conga line.

Instead what you are beholding is a ripped out toilet, old carpet, rotted out  metal planters and a broken brick.



I forgot to mention the flagstone.  In the past decade it’s become much lighter than it was to begin with so I’m going to seal it with a penetrating (NON GLOSSY) sealer and colour enhancer to bring out the black again.  Add that to the list of things to do in real life.

Did I mention I’m also going to paint all the trim on the outside of my house?

O.K., so now I’m reworking My Big Spring Project, which initially was redoing the lower floor of my house, repainting all the rooms, turning my dining room into a library and sprucing up my living room and foyer.

Those are things I have to do in my real world by the way, not my imaginary world.  In my imaginary world  I get to buy up all of my neighbours properties for $5, build a huge addition, a tiny barn and get a goat.  In a week.

The problem is, which I wasn’t thinking of at the time, I need my Big Spring Project to be something that has to be done outside.  Living in Canada you only have a limited amount of time for outdoor stuff.  Even less if you live in colder zones like the East Coast or the middle of the country.  In the past my Big Spring Projects have been ripping out my front yard to put in a vegetable garden, building a chicken coop or an outdoor pizza oven.  What I’m trying to tell you is there’s been a shift in the timelines of My Big Spring Project.  Which is now My Big Summer, Maybe Actually Fall Project. Does that mean I don’t have a Big Spring Project?  Well that’s not likely, is it?

No, My Big Spring Project is now:


(including windows, eavestroughs, porch etc.)






I kept forcing myself to think I had to do the Big Spring Project because … that was the plan.  Then Bikram Yoga Niece came over and said, “Realistically? I don’t think you can do all that redecorating work plus do everything you have to do outside, plus work full time running a business“.  I pushed her in the dirt.

But I’d had the same thought myself.  That I wasn’t going to be able to do all this.  I just had a feeling my list was getting out of control.  So instead of stressing about it more, I re-prioritized.  Sometimes you have to just roll with the hunches.

I feel a LOT less pressure now, and if I get the outside work done and I feel like picking up a paint brush in the early summer, I’ll start painting.  If not, it’s no big deal.  That’s life.  Real life.

Plus now I’ve made room in my imaginary life for other fun things! Like an imaginary world where I have enough money to hire people to do a few things, where coffee never runs out and paper garden cloche hats are all the rage.







  1. Terru says:

    After reading your article, I now realize I suffer from real world vs. Imaginary world syndrome. My plans all sound good and doable until I land back into the real world. Oh how I wish I could live in the imaginary world fulltime.

  2. GEORGIE says:


  3. Marna says:

    I loved the pictures of you in the “hat” they are so funny, you are so funny! I would the headboard/foot board you show from the garage sale. I wish I had the energy to do more nowadays, too old and in pain to do much. Aw the days of wanting the real world and the imagined world to be the same and get all the things done you wanted to do in a day! I think it takes me 10 times longer to do things, if I can even manage now. It sucks to get old!

  4. Carol Hogan says:

    I didn’t get past the garage sale either. Oh how I would like to go to Karen’s garage sale. I’m pretty sure even the stuff you are getting rid of is better than my stuff. Your life is my imaginary life.

  5. Maggie Matherne says:

    I feel so much better now. Thanks!

  6. maggie van sickle says:

    You know what would look good with that hat? Wooden shoes. Just sayin.


  7. Deb Miller says:

    Laughter abounds, Krean, reading this post! In my imaginary life, I thought I could renovate a bathroom while in the throes of double-lung pneumonia and fear of 104! (Oh, of course – it must have been the fever!) so the pneumonia has been gone for six weeks now, and the bathroom is still in shambles! I digress. I especially love, in the first photo of you in your classy chapeau,that y light fixture looks like a flirty flower on your hat! I honestly wondered why the garden cloche would have a flirty flower attached! Thanks for the chuckles today (as always)!

  8. Trish Oriordan says:

    What is the plant climbing the fence near the toilet? Tx.

    • Karen says:

      LOLOL! What a ridiculous thing to read about your own backyard “what is that plant climbing the fence near the toilet”, lolol! 🙂 It’s a climbing hydrangea, Trish. They take a few years to get going but then they really take off. ~ karen!

  9. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Garage sale? You had a garage sale? Damn, I didn’t get the memo . . .

  10. christine says:

    I missed this post! It is May 15th and snowing….alot here in Lowville.How much do you want for your bed?

  11. Maureen Locke says:

    I wonder if you made one of those hats out of dryer sheets or attached dryer sheets to it if it would keep the black flies and mosquito’s away. They’re out in full force here and they’re hungry. Thankfully I live on a hill that has a breeze most of the time but we went to the cottage for supper last night and were bombarded on the run from the car to cottage…. not to mention the little buggers that snuck in while the door was open. I hate black fly season 🙁 My MIL says a dryer sheet tucked into her clothes works for her… imagine what an entire hat would do. 🙂 Are you bothered with them in Ontario Karen?? NS is brutal.

    • Karen says:

      OH yes! I’m being bothered by blackflies! I was working in Betty’s backyard with my sister and niece and neither of them were being bothered at all but I was being chased and groped by the stupid things! ~ karen!

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      Yup, we get the annoying little buggers here in Waterdown too! They breed in running water and there’s a creek behind our property. First they just come out and fly around my head and get in my hair just to piss me off. Then, later they start biting. I had the first bite o’ the season about 10 days ago and it didn’t do the usual swelling up and get hot ‘n’ itchy so I guess that means I’ve had so many bites I’m immune. Yay.

  12. Cathy McCoy says:

    Thank you for this! I was just taking a break from my big spring project of pressure washing everything outside the house, when I picked this up and laughed so hard I peed my pants! So because I now have to take a shower, I’m not going back to my project until tomorrow. Did I mention there was bourbon involved? Again thank you.

  13. Lois Baron says:

    THANK YOU for those pictures of your home.

  14. Cathy says:

    I’m sitting here reading your blog instead of working on my BSP. Fixing my drainage problem has become tearing out a rotten floating deck and replacing it with pavers project. Can pavers be sealed? Would you even want to?
    You have really blue peepers, girl.

    • Karen says:

      Funny story Cathy … I *just* finished writing a post on sealing pavers. 🙂 It’ll be published on Monday! ~ karen!

  15. Thank you for showing photos of your house that look a lot like my house (the middle of my living room/dining room floor is currently occupied by the huge metal canopy of my two person outdoor swing/bench–because I decided to sew a new cover for it on my week off, a week ago, and ran out of time because in my imaginary life I had time to do that plus get my entire garden ready for the season, deal with all of the appointments that I save up for that week like visits to the vet, make freezer meals for the rest of gardening season and…yeah).

    For the interveinal chlorosis on your luffa (yeah, that’s what they call it when the plant has a nutrient imbalance and the veins are way darker than the other parts of the leaf), try diluting a handful of epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) in water and using that to water the luffa. You could also put some of the solution in a spray bottle and spritz the leaves with it as well. I had a similar problem with my tomato seedlings (started them in a potting medium I shouldn’t have…) and this helped. I’m fuzzy on the exact details of the science behind it, but it has something to do with the magnesium sulfate unlocking the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Jennifer! I’m going to plant them out in 2 weeks, but I’ll give them a shot of epsom salts in the meantime. Definitely overdid the compost in my potting mix for seedlings. Oops! ~ karen!

  16. Chrystiec says:

    Thanks so much for this post. Seriously.

  17. Cred says:

    The revision is a good plan. I’m following suit. Didn’t you prompt us to make our spring project list? I don’t remember if I posted mine but I made one and now I’m not sure where it is. Much like the dog in ‘Up’ (Squirrel!) I’m easily distracted. So, when the mild weather finally hit, I’ve been working outside. Now, I’m redoing my spring project list to reflect the weather (actually, to match what I’m actually working on- so I feel like I’m following a plan not a whim)
    I just really love crossing shit off lists!

  18. Jody says:

    12. In my real life I apparently have the inclination to count how many “Big Spring Project” we’re in the post. I’m exhausted now.

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