The Winner and the menu

I'm happy to announce that the winner of the little book of Norse children's tales is Connie Kalina. Send me your mailing address and I will post it to you directly and I can rest assured that some one else has the responsibility of caring for this treasure...

The table last night  was a success and the menu was:
Foie gras, asst. Cheeses and Grapes
Broccoli Salad
Rockfish with a Tapenade Sauce
Corn-studded baked Polenta
Spaghetti Squash and Swiss Chard Medley
Lemon Gelato and Banana Bread
 The event yielded   a couple of surprises.  First the label on that thrift store  $2.50 table cloth (which was very large....102") was Cynthia Rowley which it turns out is a well-known linens designer and her paisley tablecloths that size sell for $70+. So it makes the find even more whimsical.

The second surprise was the last minute find of a new recipe which is fantastic, beautiful and a definite repeater.... Spaghetti squash and Swiss Chard  It was especially nice as I harvested two laundry baskets of spaghetti squash from the garden yesterday..  It was so colorful and so tasty...


Kitchen Chatter

Here in the northwest US we are surrounded by wildfires and the air quality is extremely hazardous and everyone has been ordered to stay indoors.  So our planned BBQ of hamburgers outside has turned into a meatloaf in the oven indoors.

 I have often tried new meatloaf recipes in the past but my favorite is in this book....well used as you can see.  I received this Good Housekeeping cookbook in Sept. 1957 as a wedding gift... 60 years ago.. and I still use this recipe and try as I might have never found a better one. The book automatically opens to this page.  In the last few years I have started searches for the "Best" biscotti, banana bread, stollen, lemon cookies,  and scones among other things.. Every so often the old and tried recipes turns out to be the best.  I have stopped trying new banana bread recipes forever as this one is truly the very best...  http://gluesticksblog.com/2013/07/bakery-style-banana-bread-recipe.html
and how could it not be when it uses eight bananas.

So besides the meatloaf I made a double batch of the very best banana bread, a huge supply of homemade granola that will last until Christmas, and stollen for DH.  I got to use my stollen mold I bought in Germany this spring.  It is adjustable in length and has no bottom...you just set it on the baking pan and it shapes the loaf....  I just love it.  Morris was on kitchen duty all day just waiting for any little tidbit that might fall to the floor.  He didn't want me to slip and fall on anything...such a thoughtful dog.

This last bit falls under the category "Why I love thrift stores!!!!"  I love setting a pretty table so I check the kitchen aisles first thing.  Last spring I found these neat plates for $1 each.  I was waiting until fall to use them but none of the tablecloths I have seemed right.

 So when we were thriftin' on Monday I was looking for a new tablecloth and found this one which was whimsical and different and fun...  $2.50.  I liked it because it wasn't the usual fall leaves, pumpkins, etc.

Then at the next thrift shop I found these snazzy salad plates..  They were only 50 cent apiece and I bought all eight as I can see them used for desserts also any season.

We have a dinner party coming up Sunday and another in a couple weeks and I'll use my new purchases for both parties...  I can hardly wait to set the table.  It is finding these unplanned treasures that keep me at the thrift stores over and over again.  I'm sure all this new would have been over a $150 and for $10.50 I have new table settings for this winter and in the spring I will donate them back and get new sets for spring...


Giveaway - 95 year old children's book

This is one of those precious belongings I always wanted to do something special with... well I can see that is never going to happen now and I would love to see it go to someone who would do something with the stories and illustrations.

As you can see it is a small book (41/2" x 6 1/2") and almost 100 years old I found it at a thrift store years ago and fell in love with the illustrations.  I always planned to print them on fabric and make a book but time is slipping away.

William Andrew ("Willy") Pogany   (August 1882 – 30 July 1955) was a prolific Hungarian illustrator of children's books and others.  He is best known for his pen and ink drawings of myths and fables. His works included not only books but magazine covers, stage and movie sets and was widely known for his art pieces as well... more about him ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_Pogany

There are numerous illustrations throughout the book.

If you feel that this book should belong to you, tell me why by leaving a comment on my blog and on Sunday September 10 I will let my husband pick a lucky recipient.. I will mail it anywhere in the United States.


Lost is found and table finished.

Finally in my cleaning out and sorting my jewelry supplies the lost pendant I bought from a street vendor in Germany this spring surfaced....much to my delight.

I definitely have a "style"  and it is jewelry with some substance.  I'm just not a delicate type of person... I love one-of-a-kind and so prefer to make it myself.  And I adore colorful jewelry...  So this pendant spoke to my heart.

I have all the beads strung and will do the final assembly today.  And as a bonus it has a story.  The pendant is from our anniversary trip to Germany last April, the yellow beads are raw topaz I bought in a tiny shop in Seaside Oregon last fall, the red glass beads are from a trip to CA to see Susie W., I bought the blue beads on Etsy and they are recycled glass beads from Africa and last but not least ALL the metal beads are from one necklace I bought at a thrift store for a little over $3...years ago.

I did finish the "pansy" necklace  before I found the pendant.  This brooch was worn by my late mother-in-law  Mary Krueger whom I adored so it has special memories as well.

Now that everything is dug out and sorted I might as well keep going and do several before I put everything away.  My friend Kathy LeFrancis came over one morning  and showed me some of the finer details in finishing with crimps, wire guards, etc and I didn't even remember I had an  actual crimping tool..

And I did finish the table last weekend.  It is fanciful and fun but I have to admit that it qualifies as "primitive" artwork.  There was no way I could position the table, lights, brush, and magnifying glasses in a way I could actually see what I was doing... But even a little rough around the edges, it too suits my taste... one-of-a-kind and colorful... a definite statement in my living room..


Once again a big search!!!!

When we were in Germany in April I bought a lovely pendant from a street vendor and after we got home I ordered some beads from recycled glass on Etsy.  We have a couple events coming up and I wanted to assemble this necklace.  A small project...an hour or two..  But I can't find them and I have looked and looked.  What I have found is all this:


Everywhere I looked I found more jewelry parts.  I haven't done any work with jewelry for about 10 years but that hasn't stopped me from continually buying jewelry bits and parts over the years.  One thing  that I always feel the need to rescue are old brooches from the 40s and 50s.  Nobody wears a brooch any more.  I like to incorporate them into necklaces and must have at least thirty or forty waiting.  A few are missing stones and need repair but most are just lovely.  When I was in London recently the Victoria and Albert Museum had a breathtaking display of reconstructed jewelry..  I was so inspired by it...so inspired I may soon get around to doing it. 
What I found amazing is that I have this massive amount of turquoise beads and jewelry.  I do not own ONE piece of clothing that is turquoise.  How did this happen?

What I do wear is a lot of purple and have very little purple jewelry.  On this whole table I had one small plate with a pansy brooch and coordinating beads. 

At first I thought since I had it all divided into colors that I should sort it into smaller projects.  But the more I thought about it, it was overwhelming and so I will bag the color groups and put it all aside until winter.  In the meantime I will continue to search for the pendant I bought in Germany.

At this time I need to be painting buttons...not doing jewelry. The small table will be done this week.

The tiny Bewick wrens that were nesting in this basket in the entry have fledged.

So I took the basket down and carefully pulled out the pansy arrangement.  The nest was entirely of small twigs and only about 2 I/2 inches across in the hollow of the nest... a very small bird.  It was amazing she could even build a nest in such a small space and right next to all the traffic in and out of the house.

This last note fall under "miracles I love and shall appreciate"  For 25 years I had one massive clump of asparagus that we fed off of every spring.  Weeds had grown up around it and one day about 4 years ago in haste I accidentally sprayed it with weed killer.  I was just devastated.  But asparagus have a strong deep root system and I just kept praying it would send up a new shoot one day...  And sure enough it finally did... 3 tiny shoots which I will guard with my life and build a fence around it as well.


By any other name... a cellar is a cellar

We have a cellar....not a basement...but a small bonafide cellar.  Just the kind you would expect in a house that is 111 years old.  It is dark and dank and ground water seeps in during the winter and spring and a sump pump keeps us from floating away..  
There are a few shelves down there up on blocks and DH does keep a few bottles of wine down there....so over the years I have called it his wine cellar... When we bought the place and added on the only way to access it was by a trap door
That was 37 years ago and at the time I thought it would be fun to paint the trap door "trompe-l'œil"  like a wine cellar.  Well it only took me 37 years but I did it in the barn last month.  I had to wait until last week for my handy man to have a day to install it.  You can see it is tucked behind the kitchen island.
But now when you walk into the front door it is the first thing you see. It has to be the longest incubation period I have had for an idea to come to fruition.
We have a small open entry area before our front door and I hang my garden tools there and also this very small basket of silk pansies....right next to the opening and just the height of my head.   As I was preparing to sweep the entry out yesterday I heard a cheep, cheep, cheep...and found a nest with newly hatched bewick wrens in it.  The mama flies in through a dog door and up to feed them.  The bewick wrens are known for making nests in the most unusual places.
 Also yesterday the first of this year's baby wild  turkeys visited the garden.  The chickens weren't sure if they liked this encroachment in their territory.


Table top 90% done..

The table top is about 90% done and I'm happy with it.  I have a few boo-boos to clean up and want to add some bees, lady bugs and a couple hummingbirds.  This week has a lot of commitments so it will be next week before I get to the legs and the finish coat.
The stencils were perfect but I needed to do them slower as I smudged a few as I was moving along.

As I was cleaning and sorting in the barn last week I came across an extra large zip lock bag and I could see a hand in it.. I couldn't imagine what it was.  It was a dance  hall floozie doll I started years and years ago.  All the parts are done and stuffed and all the embellishments are in the bag. The original design sketch is even there  and I had molded and painted her head.  There must have been some crisis in my life to have packed her away so close to finishing.  Maybe this winter..

I had always thought I had one more doll in me but I thought it was going to be a garden goddess...  I have her head done but no body....and I have lots and lots of material for her.  So maybe I have 2 more dolls in me..


Getting checks on the curve.

First I put a coat of white primer on the little table and let it dry overnight.

I wanted to put a row of checks around that curve and was not sure how to do it.  So I cut a piece of freezer paper to fit that shape and used a hem gauge to mark the height of the checked row... so far so good.  I do actually use freezer paper occasionally to put things in the freezer but not as often as I use it to make patterns...

I fiddled a bit with the hem gauge until I got the width of the checks so that they came out fairly even.

Then I cut out the row  of checks and I could use it on both sides of the table to mark the checks.

First I was using blue painter's   tape to mask but it was lifting the primer and then I started using quilter's "Tiger Tape" and it is working quite well.

The row done.  I am using a lot of antique glazing on this as I go..  I have a look I'm going for... with luck I will get there... if not then I'll go for the look I end up with... One of my favorite sayings is "Blessed are the flexible for they shall not get bent out of shape!"



Table Time

I spent the entire day pulling weeds, spraying weeds, cleaning in the barn and trying to get an old drip system to work in my peonies. 

I am definitely ready for something whimsical and FUN!!!! So at dusk I took my little table outside and sanded it down. I had used a "crackle" mix on it before and it was really hard to sand off.    I hope to get it primed over the weekend so I can paint on it next week and use my nifty new stencils..  I don't want to hurry this project because the best part is actually the "doing"  There will be no deadline...

I had been giving it some thought for the last few days on what color palette I wanted to use...

Most of the funky furniture I've seen as been bright jewel tones or very pastel..  I really didn't want either.  I already have a breakfront in the living room that is painted olive green with a pastoral scene on the doors. 

So I want to pick up on the green and the dining table is painted off white (antiqued) with roses. So with a burnt sienna and a little gold added this is what I've chosen...

And of course there will be lots of black and white as well... There will be some freehand painting and hopefully lots of my little stencils.

And the legs... I will save the legs for last... What fun they will be.  This is so similar to crazy quilting because there is NO right or wrong and anything goes and the more embellishment the better.


Salvaged needlepoint......

I have to admit I'm getting a lot more done since I haven't been stitching... Tops on the list is clearing and sorting out the barn.. I intended to spend 2-3 hours every morning out there this summer but it actually has been more like only 4 days a week but I am making great progress.. DH is making regular  trips to donate, recycle and dump as fast as I can fill bags.

Of course I'm finding long forgotten treasures...one being a bag of needlepoint pieces from thrift stores.  It always make me sad that someone has done all that work and it ended up in a bin... I feel it is my sacred duty to salvage it and do something with it... I had been meaning to cover this work stool for some time  and finding this green needlepoint  piece  gave me to impetus to do it last night.. The bottom section was a valance I bought last February just for this stool. I was going to remove the fringe but used it as is.   I hate sitting  on faux leather.

I have these other pieces also..  The one on the left is going to cover a foot stool that is in dire need of refurbishing.  The little circle is going on some damaged lace for a piano stool. The large piece is going on another work stool.  My house is filled with work stools, footstools and  work lamps.

I use a pretty quick method to make the cover patterns.  I put a piece of freezer paper on the section I want to cover and using my finger to feel the seam I stick straight pins all the way around.

Then I use a marker to make a
line from pin hole to pin hole.. I only allow 1/4" seam as I like the pieces to fit taut.  It isn't professional quality but it does the job.

And to prove it's the right thing to do is procrastinate some times.  On the back of my computer chair is fabric I have been meaning to cover it with for about a year.. But this old chair does not go up and down anymore so I need a cushion and there wasn't going to enough material to do that too.  I had been waiting for some black velvet to make the cushion but on a recent foray to the thrift store I found this cushion.  It isn't an exact match but close enough that no one will notice and I won't have to make a cushion..  I really should get a different chair and I always try all the office chairs at the thrift stores but nothing ever feels as comfy as this old chair.

And speaking of lamps the BrightTech company is sending me a replacement part...will let you know how it turns out.


Let the stitching begin...

This is a terrible picture but you can see when I sit on my stool I can get my legs under the table and be over the glass and the table is low enough that there is room under the glass to work a needle.. I love it when a plan works....

I am still sending emails back and forth with the company about the magnifying lamp.. Considering the price ($100) it is not well made... I don't want to send it back as it would be  heavy and awkward to pack and I do like it. The worst case scenario is that I will have to "Gerry-rig" my own base for it somehow.. probably by taking another floor lamp apart and cutting it down.

Another possible option is that I have a friend who has a very clever husband who I could probably get to make the parts fit...

It is especially irritating because at the same time I ordered this pharmacy lamp for by my bed.  It was half the price and I was amazed at the high quality of the lamp and materials...

Here is my table with the bread board removed and all folded up flat.

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