Wednesday, December 17, 2014

2015 HOLIDAY LETTER



 Dear Family & Friends

Another quiet and blessed year. 

Lady a/k/a Ladybug
I started fostering dogs in late 2013 through Mostly Mutts Rescue Group and continued to do so for many months and many dogs.  I am fortunate my Sam and Oliver are easy going dogs!  In late June I decided to take a break from fostering when an urgent call for fosters came out for the 4th of July weekend.  “Well,” I thought, “I can take a dog for 3-4 days, no problem!”  I picked up Lady on Thursday and she never left.  I became a “foster failure.”  However, I still help out with transport of dogs and in other areas, when I can.  Lady is an interesting mix of a little dog – and her name fits her well.  She is small boned and dainty and between 9-10 years old.  Sam and Oliver have adjusted well to another female in the house and I often find them all curled up together on one of their beds.  Lady’s collar has a typical large “Southern girl” bow on it and her tag the bling of rhinestones!  Oh, yes – it is good to have another female around!
Oliver

 Not too much travel this year.  I took a quick trip to Florida in February to help my friend, Rita clear out her mom’s condo.  We returned in September for a week after Rita decided to purchase the condo and needed to furnish it.  The highlight of my trips was a whirlwind five day trip to Wisconsin to attend the wedding of the son of my dear friend, Beth.  My sister, Suzanne, went with me and we stayed with her friend, Joyce.  The wedding was fabulous.  I didn’t get to see everyone on my list (exhaustion kept getting in the way), but I did get to meet my 4-year old great nephew, Zach, for the first time.  It was fun seeing him and his big sister, Shannon.  I returned home very tired, but glad I went back to Milwaukee.

Martha came for a week in May.  It is always fun to have her here.  Sharon and John stopped in for a night in July.  They enjoyed Gibbs Gardens very much and I wish they could have stayed longer.  Sally came for over a week over Thanks giving.  We had a great time, but really missed Amy, who could not make it this year.
 
Sam the man with the playtime plan!
I am still rather obsessed with quilting!  I keep pumping them out.  I have donated a couple of my quilts to help raise money for Mostly Mutts. 
\
This year my pledge is to finish up all the projects I have and only to work on one or two larger quilts.  Well, maybe three or four . . .  !  I also want to concentrate on making Quilts for Kids, which provides quilts for children in various hospitals.
 
We all like to read in this house!
I am still working part time at the library.  It is enjoyable and I work with really great people.  The patrons are usually wonderful to work with, but every once in a while an “interesting” one wonders in!  If the public thinks that because of E-books and more electronic devises that libraries are becoming obsolete they are wrong!  We are busier than ever and offer more and more programs as our limited funding provides. 

As the long winter nights set in my goal this winter is to listen to all of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books on CD.  I find spending time listening to books while doing hand work on a quilt is relaxing and more productive than watching TV.  For those of you who know the Outlander series – all eight books – this might take me more than one winter!  Outlander was 28 CDs and I am plugging away on Dragonfly in Amber – the second book - which is 33 CDs!  I think the books grow larger with each new one.

I have made some wonderful friends here in Georgia over the last couple of years.  I am fortunate to keep in touch with all of the friends I left in Wisconsin and throughout the US and Ireland. My job is interesting and I have hobbies that keep me busy.  I share my home with three wonderful, tail wagging souls that bring me much joy and happiness.  My family is all healthy and happy.  2015 will bring a trip to North Carolina in April and a return to Ireland at the end of the year.  I am looking forward to for many visitors and adventures in between. 

I hope you have a joyous holiday season and a safe, healthy and happy 2015.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

FARM HOUSE TABLE PART IV (will this ever end?)

Yes, these particular posts will end with the next post on this subject (I hope)!

My table is now out of the warehouse/workshop and in June's garage where she will stain and paint it. Just so happens that June lives about a mile from me so I was able to go there this morning and take a quick peek.

Truthfully, I thought it would be done by now.  When June told me it was at her house I wondered why it was there and not here.  I didn't know that she does the final work on a piece outside away from the warehouse where there is dust all over the place.  She moves it to her store, if there is room, or her garage.

Here are the pictures of the table after Roy did his magic on the pile of wood I picked out.  Hard to believe that pile of wood turned into this beautiful table.  The legs will be painted a cream color and top will be stained.  I just can't wait and am so pleased with the table to this point!

Sorry for the shadows.  I tried to
get the length of the table.

Top needs some fine sanding, but the 
"roughness" and knot holes will remain.  

Bread board piece and more of the wood details

Turned legs.  I think I had originally decided
on a leg that had more "curves," but I
really am pleased with how they look.  Perfect!
Another week and it should be in my dining room.  I hope so.  I am getting anxious!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CHALK PAINT

Lately I've been feeling a little like Martha Stewart with all of my DIY projects.  But, I am saving a lot of money, which is always a good thing!

I needed night stands for my guest bedroom.  With the new farmhouse table arriving soon things are getting moved around and switched out.  I wanted night stands with at least two drawers for storage.  I can definitely use two of the drawers for my "stuff" and I always like to have drawer space for my guests.

I finally found just what I was looking for.



It might look a little ugly, especially with those pulls, but they are solid, sturdy and wood.  Best part is that I got them for $30 each.

So, first I decided to just change out the drawer pulls.  But, after three of my lady friends saw the night stands and all gently suggested they should be painted, I finally agreed!

Chalk paint seemed to be the way to go.  I googled it and there are dozens of great tutorials on the web.  I watched several.

Since I am basically too lazy  to drive a distance to get the extremely expensive designer chalk paint recommended by a couple of friends and after checking out the website, I decided to get the chalk paint from Home Depot, the Americana Decor brand.  They also offer several tutorials on their website.  Well, when I got there they really didn't have much of a selection of paint colors.   But, they did have two jars of the color I liked from looking at the color chart on Home Depot's website.


I started painting.  It is easy, quick and fun.  The paint dries very fast.  I got some on my sleeve and whipped it off with a damp rag while it was still damp and it came off perfectly. Each night stand received two coats of chalk paint.
I put the glass knobs on just to see how they
would look.  I like them a lot!

The next step after painting is to add a layer of clear furniture wax.  There is a gentleman at Home Depot who works in the paint department who is very knowledgeable and helpful.  He suggested I use Minwax and not the expensive wax that is sold with the chalk paint.  Thank you - it worked great, but for the final coat I did purchase the Americana Decor brand.  It was just easier to use.


Then came the distressing.  I didn't want much distressing on these pieces, but I got a little carried away. I used a fine sand paper and lots of elbow grease!

Distressed and ready to apply the dark wax
After using tack cloth to get rid of any fine particles left after the distressing process, it was time for another coat of wax.  This layer is normally a tinted, dark wax.    Home Depot was out of the darker wax, so I went to Michael's and purchased the Martha Steward brand.  It was $10 and worked like a charm.  I wiped it on, wiped it off once with a damp rag and then again with a dry rag.

And, I forgot to take a picture of applying the dark wax process. Sorry about that!


Another coat of the clear wax and these tables are good to go! (Remembered a picture!).  It is recommended that two coats of clear wax be applied to the top of any furniture such as this for added protection.  I put on three coats.  Call me crazy!

If I had to do them again, I would have first used an off white chalk paint topped by the blue and then distressed it.  I think the off white paint coming through would have looked great.  I also would have ordered a lighter stain wax, which was available through the Home Depot website.  But, live and learn.


The night stands are cute and very functional.  The total cost for this project was under $90 which included the paint and wax.  I will enjoy using them and I hope my guests do, too!


Now, I think I need a tall lamp for this table.  Time to check the online yard sale sites!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

FARM HOUSE TABLE PART III

Just a quick update.  Today I went to see the progress on my table.  The wood has been cut and the sanding process of each individual piece has started.  The pieces will be glued and screwed together and the "bread board" added to each end.

While I was there Roy put me to work.  I tried to explain that I had sanded many, many times in my life (even own a palm sander just like this one), but Roy wanted to make sure I am doing it right!  That's OK!

Table will be much wide then these five boards
Love the wood, even the nail holes, which might get sanded out.

My friend, Barbara, is in the background.  June took the pictures.

Here is one of the legs  Well, the legs will not look like this.  Each leg will go onto the lathe and be turned.


It's coming along.  June and Roy tell me the table should be ready for painting and staining in about a week.  So, maybe by Halloween I will be sitting down at a beautiful farm house table to eat my cheerios!

One another note - check out all of the orbs in these pictures.  This is an older building, but full of old furniture.  For those of you who believe orbs are more than just tricks of light, there are many of them floating around in these pictures.  Freaky.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

QUILT BLOCK SWAP - CHURN DASH

I joined an online quilting group dedicated to swapping quilt blocks.  Well, that is how it started, but now we are planning much more - more swaps, blocks of the month and even quilting retreats. I see friendships forming, ideas spinning, great tips and suggestions shared, and lots of fun going on. There are about 139 of us from all over the United States.

For our first swap it was decided we would make 12" (finished) churn dash blocks.  We had to purchase Kona white fabric for the background and the "dashes" could be any fabric we wanted as long as it was bright colors.  We had to submit at least 12 blocks and we would get 12 blocks back.  Many of us submitted more than that - I made and submitted 24 blocks.  As many blocks as we submitted, we would get back.
The 24 blocks I submitted.  I used many different fabrics.
Sorry it is on an angle!
Our blocks also had to include our name and city/state attached to each block submitted.  I used address labels, but some of the ladies got very creative and included little notes with each block they made. Reading those was fun as it added a very personal touch.  We sent our blocks to Jessica (our fearless leader) and included a self addressed, stamped envelope so she could send the new blocks back to us.

The deadline was September 15 and by September 26, Jessica started mailing out the swap blocks.

Jessica sure had her hands full distributing the blocks- 510 blocks were submitted by 37 ladies from 18 different states!  Quite impressive!  I didn't envy her the job of randomly selecting the blocks sent to each of us or organizing and mailing out all those blocks, but she did it and did a fabulous job of doing it!  Each of us received blocks from different women and none of our own were returned to us.  I did get two blocks from Allison, but they were each made with different material so it worked perfectly.

I was out of town the week mine arrived, but it only made the anticipation so much more fun!  Here are the 24 blocks I received.


Aren't they beautiful?

Such great fabrics were used by the ladies
Here are some close up samples of the various materials used.

Roxanne used  fabric that is out of this world!  For 
those who know me, she couldn't have picked a batter fabric!

Denise used this very pretty fabric.  She found it in her
grandmother's fabric stash.  Love it!

Amy used magnifying glass fabric from the 
Nancy Drew fabric line (no longer available)

Laura used John Deere fabric.  How cool is this?  Great colors, too!

Some fabrics are bright and add so much to the 
overall design like this batik block made by Jessica

But, what to do with them?  Since I have several other projects going on right now I decided to be lazy and sash them together and add a border.  But, what color sashing? I went to my trusty quilt store in The Quilt Shop on Main in Jasper, GA and with the help of the quilt store ladies, decided on a subtle black batik.  I don't think you can really see it, but the fabric has waves of deep blues and grays.

Starting the sashing  process
But, I still wasn't happy.  I had 24 blocks so the quilt top could be four blocks across and six blocks down.  I needed a border, too.  I went through my stash and found the perfect border fabric that I had used as a backing on another quilt.  And, I actually had enough!  Then I got a great idea.  I could add another block and make a square quilt - five blocks across and five blocks down.  The new block I would put in the center using the border fabric to tie it all together.  Then I thought of something even better.  I would do it in reverse - like a negative of the other blocks.  The middle block would stand out and really add a punch to the quilt top.

Happy with my fabric choice

So, now to get down to business and add the rest of the sashing.

See the "negative" block in the middle?

 Finally got the sashing completed.  Now on to the borders!

I have to admit I wasn't sure about the black sashing,
but now I love it and think it highlights each
individual block.
  Reminds me of stained glass
Here is the end result.  I could not be happier with this quilt top.

Awesome!   Sam and Lady like it, too!
So glad I did the "negative block in the middle!  Thanks to my
great neighbors, Valerie and Phyllis who are hiding behind the quilt!

It is hard to believe that all of those different blocks, different materials of all different colors and patterns would come together to make such a fabulous quilt top.  All due to the ladies who made each unique block.  How blessed am I to have participated in this swap?

We also decided to do a Christmas theme block exchange.  Those blocks were due October 15.  Rules were the same - at least 12 blocks had to be submitted and as many as you submit, you will get back.  I made 20 blocks before I ran out of fabric.  Can't wait to see the blocks I receive for this swap.

Special thanks to the following 23 ladies from 15 different states who made the very beautiful and special blocks for my quilt:

Josephine H., Carver, MA           Jessica L., Toledo, OH                  Kristy C., Greenfield, IN
Martha M., Quincy, FL                 Pam G, New London, OH              Erlinda R., Goodyear, AZ
Allison H., AK  (2 blocks)           Sheri P., WY                                 Donna B., TX        
Alberta M., Sunbury OH              Rita S., Terrell, TX                       Amy G., Tallahassee, FL
Tricia H., Kingman, AZ               Kaitlin D., Athens, GA                  Laura R., Council Buffs, IA
Darlene R., Pearland, TX            Judy Wilson, Brazoria, TX            Mary B., Northern VA
Denise O., Centerville, TN          Emeli P., Hampton, VA                 Roxanne L., Kokomo, IN
Margie H., Milton, WI                 Carol M., Big Fork, MT                        

Sunday, September 21, 2014

HAPPY FALL Y'ALL

I am sitting in my screen porch sipping iced tea (not sweet tea!) and enjoying the breeze and 85 degree weather.  The wind chimes are singing and the dogs move from my feet to outside to check out what critters are on the slope.  It is lovely.  When I am done posting this blog page I will go make a sandwich, grab my book and return to this spot for most of this lazy Sunday afternoon.  Starting tomorrow this will all change.  The temps will fall into the 70's - much welcomed relief!  And, it comes appropriately on the fall equinox.

I have always really liked fall. My first 55 years were spent in Wisconsin.  After fall, came winter. Winter consisted of lots of snow, ice, cold, shoveling, bad driving, scrapping car windows, layers of scarves, hats, mittens, gloves, boots - ah - the list is endless and exhausting to think about.  So I never really allowed myself to enjoy fall too much because of what came after.




Here in northeast Georgia fall is different.  It lingers.  And I love it!  When winter does come, it is more gentle, calmer.  Yes, winter in Georgia is calmer.  However, in my four plus years down here we have had a couple dozy ice storms that are extremely dangerous.  Fortunately, we prepare for them and just stay put.  Well, at least we learned from last winter when this didn't happen.  But, I digress.

Driving up to the mountains in fall is wonderful.  Since I work part time I can take the time during the week when the "leafers" (weekend people flocking to see the fall colors) are all at work.  A few years ago my friend, Martha, came down in October.  We decided to check out Amicalola Falls.  The drive up there was spectacular .  In fact, we turned around and drove back up just to view it again and did the same a few days later.

There are many beautiful drives to take in the fall in the mountains.  The best are not well known and I am going to learn more of these.


I haven't been up to Anna Ruby Falls in a couple of years, so that will go on the agenda, too.

Fall is the time for crispy apples, pumpkin pie, Halloween (my favorite), light sweatshirts and the return to baking.  My bins of fall decorations will be pulled out this week, but already fall colors are showing up in my house.  Outside flowers that became too spindly have been pulled from the flower beds, sad tomatoes plants disposed of and more yard work done this coming week since it will be cooler.  Like spring, fall makes me want to be outside puttering away.

I love the four seasons and look forward to the equinoxes every year.  Spring and fall are my favorite, but fall - well, it is the best.

Happy fall, y'all!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

FARM HOUSE TABLE - PART II

Today my friend, Barbara and I went to pick out the wood for my farmhouse table.  So exciting!  I have been wanting a farmhouse table for so long, but I never actually thought I would be able to pick out the wood for it!


I am ordering this table from a great store in Woodstock, GA called One Unique.  But, we had to go to their warehouse/shop to pick out the wood.

Goodness - this shop is full of fabulous stuff!  But, I did pick out the wood with the help of Roy, the carpenter making my table.

Roy sweeping wood shavings off
the wood so we could see it better.


Love it!
Love it even more!
Barbara and I had to dig around in this place.  We found some good finds in that warehouse!  Barbara had been looking for a desk for her office and two patio chairs and guess what?  We found them buried under stuff, but just want she was looking for.

So what is a little dust when the desk
is exactly what you want?  Barbara
had to purchase it and she did!
First we could only find one of these cute little chairs for Barbara's patio, but after
a little digging we found one more.  Perfect! A little cleaning, a little spray paint,

 a little fabric and she will have exactly what she wants.
And, I have been looking for a new stand for my television.  Guess what I found?


I think this card catalog will make a fabulous TV stand.  Roy will build an "apron" on the bottom and four legs to get it to the height I need and it will be perfect.  Since I work part time in a library and am an avid reader, what could work better?  But, keep in mind what this old card catalog is sitting on for just a moment.

June is the owner One Unique, the store I am working with.  Just happens she  lives a mile from my house.  The other night she dropped off the two "head" chairs I wrote about in a previous post.. I am thrilled with the results.  Remember how they looked before?


Well, look at them now!  I am thrilled.  


Painted, distressed (just a little), cushions added and upholstered.  How cute are they?  I think Sam and Lady really like them, too.  June did an amazing job!

But, wait a minute.  Remember from my previous post on this project, June told me she only had one of each chair?  OK - no problem, the paint and fabric along with the curves of each chair will make this perfect for the head and foot of the farmhouse table.  But when looking at the card catalog above, I noticed the chair it was sitting on looked a little familiar.  Scroll up and look at the legs!  Yup! Another chair that matches the one of the left.  

So, now what do I do?  I love the two mismatched chairs and think they look darling together.  But another chair is available.  June said I could bring the unmatched chair back, she could easily sell it. She would paint and add a cushion and fabric to the one at the warehouse and I would have two matching chairs.  After thinking about it I decided to just keep the two chairs I have.  I don't need them to be "matchy, matchy" and I certainly don't need any more chairs!

So, the wood for the table is picked out, two chairs are completed and I will soon have a new TV stand.  Barbara has added two patio chairs and a desk to her furniture.  We are both officially broke!  But, happy!