A Finished Project… And a Just Begun Project!

Since our youngest daughter Kate got married and moved out, we’ve been slowly but surely working on remodeling the upstairs. Plugging along, like Aesop’s Tortoise… and we know eventually we’ll get to the finish line. (And then we’ll move downstairs… but don’t mention that to my carpenter… he needs to see some light at the end of the tunnel!)

First, we worked on Kate and her sister Jordan‘s old room. And we moved in… How nice to have a bit of extra space to spread out! Then we began working on our old room. That went a bit faster because we had a deadline… Grandboys were coming to visit and needed a place to sleep! After Hubby ripped up the old carpet and sanded the pine floor, my Dad came over and helped me paint!

When we pulled the carpet up in the now-spare bedroom, we decided there was no time like the present to yank it off the steps as well. Our motto is, “If you’re gonna make a mess, you might as well make a big one.” So we did, and Hubby sanded the steps too. And we’ve been trudging up and down the bare construction steps since May. The California Kids went home mid-June, and then we had some wedding-related company, who may or may not have pondered taking up a collection for us, considering the state of our steps and the last remnant of original flooring in the upstairs bathroom. When it was back to just the two of us, I started the task of painting the steps.

Which, by the way, can be interesting. We went with an oil-based paint for durability, since the steps are a high-traffic area in our home. Each coat took quite a while to dry, and with each coat, I had to alternate steps so we could still get upstairs and downstairs. (Incidentally, if you go upstairs and downstairs by skipping steps for several days in a row, you will become well acquainted with muscles you didn’t know you had.) We also were careful to not paint on days when there was a possibility of little visitors or pregnant visitors due to the smelly-ness of the paint.

So. It took a while.

And then came the fun part! We’ve been trying to decide what to do to snazzy up those plain steps for quite a while. I had pinned a whole bunch of ideas on Pinterest the past few months. Maybe a carpet runner? A painted runner? Stenciling? Words? What words? One day toward the end of July, my friend Beth posted a photo of steps with the “In our home…” motif on my Facebook page. It was perfect! Almost. I thought I wanted a slightly more industrial feel to the lettering, so I went looking for it on Etsy, and found one I loved! And it was perfect! Almost. We had 14 steps instead of 13. And the shop graciously added another “step” for me in a custom listing!

I couldn’t wait to get started!
It took a bit of measuring…

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And a bit of patience…

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But it began to shape up nicely…

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And I love the finished project…It’s good to get things done!

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And if you look closely, you’ll notice a bit of dirt on the steps…

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But that’s okay, because it means my carpenter has moved on
to the next project… A new bathroom floor!!!!!

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I think I need to take this man out to dinner!

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The Past Few Weeks…

The past few weeks were very busy…

We had some very special company…

Our California Kids!

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I’ve not had time to sort through photos yet…

Shoes

…but thought I’d give you a peek…

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…into our days together.

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We played…

Fish

… and fished…

Movies

…and rested…

Climb

…and climbed…

Craft

…and crafted…

Playground

…and played some more…

Chicks

… and met new friends…

Who Is This

… and were a bit goofy…

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…and smelled the salt air…

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… and got some sand between our toes…

Sleep

… and pretty much wore ourselves out!

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But we’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

Monday, Monday…

Mondays.

Most people hate ‘em.

I actually like Mondays quite a bit. They’re like a brand new start… a clean sheet of drawing paper… a new new notebook and freshly sharpened pencil. I usually have a bazillion things to do Monday mornings, and today was no different. It’s almost lunchtime, and my morning has consisted of sending off a note to a friend, sorting and washing laundry, vacuuming a poor neglected floor, and shuffling piles of stuff. But it’s all good, and really nice to see  some tangible results.

I was able to tidy up my computer desktop a bit as well, by listing a couple of new things in our Etsy Shop… a couple of silhouetted inspired by my favorite place, which just happens to be Colonial Williamsburg. My parents started taking me there since I was about 8 years-old, Hubby and I honeymooned there, we took oodles of family trips there, and even celebrated our 25th anniversary there! I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve walked up and down Duke of Gloucester Street.

I’ve toured the houses and museums there. Shopped in colonial shops. Watched plays, gone to concerts, and interacted with historical interpretors. We even got to dance once in the Capitol! But my favorite place to go is behind the fences.

Behind the fences are the gardens. And about midway down “Duke” is the garden market, a working garden where you can wander and touch and smell flowers, herbs, and heirloom plants. A gardener is on duty that can tell you all about 18th century gardening methods, and how to care for the plants they sell. Sometimes he’ll even put your kids to work watering or weeding. We bought our Pomegranate Tree there. And one year, both our Moms got Strawberry Trees for Mother’s Day. Every single time I go to Williamsburg, about half my photos end up being taken in that small, colonial garden. I just plain love it .

The Etsy silhouettes were inspired by that garden… and also by Mondays, which sounds like a rather odd combination. But, on Mondays, I sort of feel like this Jenny Wren, taking a good, hard look at the house and thinking about what needs to be done to put it in order.

And then I need to get to work moving things around.

Unexpected Harvest…

We’ve had a couple of unexpected gifts from nature lately, and they’re being put to good use! Last week, my Dad was out cutting grass, and saw the peach tree out by the main road was LOADED with very ripe peaches. So he grabbed a bucket  and started picking like crazy! (I think the poor little tree was giving us a parting gift… DelDot has claimed her and the other little fruit trees as part of a road expansion project.) We ate peaches for dessert that night, and decided to make the rest into a spiced peach jam… a wedding project that we hadn’t expected to start right away! But who can turn down a bushel or so of peaches?! So the result was Midnight Peach Preserves, so dubbed by Kate’s fiancé, Alex, since that is the hour that we began ladling the hot sticky yummy stuff into jars!

And today, our dear friend Donna Lea whisked into the back room of the store with a huge bag full of homegrown figs for more jam making! They were frozen, so we could put off the processing until a more reasonable hour. And then as soon as I got home, my brother called and said Mom & Dad’s fig tree was ready to be picked! So we picked a basketful while dodging wasps and hornets, and there’s plenty more to come! We’re going to have to be vigilant about picking them the next few days so we don’t miss any of these yummies! What a blessing!

Aren’t they pretty in the sunlight?
They would make a B-E-A-UUU-tiful painting!

Hot, Hot Hot… American Folk Art Update!

We are officially having a heat wave here on Delmarva!  We really can’t complain, since we’ve had such a lovely summer, but the past week has been HOT. The stay inside and crank the AC sort of HOT. Which is a perfect opportunity to work on papercuttings. My current work station is sitting on a little kid’s stool at our coffee table…

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The air conditioner is in the window six feet behind me, and I alternate between having in on and freezing my back, and having it off and getting HOT. (Note the air conditioner remote control thingie sitting right in the middle of the muddle.) It’s a delicate balance. Just ask my family.

Kate’s little corner of the world is across from me at the other end of the coffee table. She’s working on some cute fall stitchings to put in the store…

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Perched between us is a stack of inspiring magazines… we’re currently into self-sufficiency sorts of magazines. Most likely because we know the electric meter is spinning around in furious circles as I flip the AC on and off. Maybe we can come up with a solar-powered air conditioner. Hmmm….

Of interest on this HOT day… today at noon, American Folk Art is updating it’s theme! The theme of the day is Dog Days of Summer, which I think is incredibly appropriate. Pop on over and check it out!

Defragmenting.

Hello folks! Hope you all had a blessed Monday! We did! I spent the morning doing Monday sorts of things… trying to make a “To-Do” list for the week, hanging laundry, washing dishes, getting groceries, and painting frames. My Dad came over and power washed our house, deck, and patio… THANK YOU DAD!!!! Wow, it sure looks good! We headed out for a strawberry picking adventure this afternoon, only to find we had officially missed strawberry season. Honest. The sign at the produce stand actually said “U Missed It” instead of “U Pick It.” Oh well. I probably didn’t need to make jam this week anyway. And we came home with a watermelon, so our adventure was not fruitless. Literally.

We came home and picked a bowlful of  our very own blueberries, though. Well, some were Pop-Pop’s but we took half of the berries over to Mom & Dad! I love having berry bushes! Kate and I surveyed the wild berry prospects along Hudson Corner’s  ditches, and it looks like there is foraging potential in the coming months. We also discovered a very happy black raspberry growing in Jordan’s pine tree. Did you plant that, Jo?

I’ve finally decided on a summer goal for myself. Defragmentation. It sort of goes along with the “negative space” idea. You know those puzzles where you slide the blocks around until you get everything back in order? That’s kind of what it feels like to defragment. It takes a while to see the order coming about, but I think I might be getting somewhere!  My first “read” of the summer was Little House on the Freeway, and I loved it. If you’re feeling a little hurried (or harried!), I definitely recommend it! Next I’m hoping to read something just for fun! You might even catch me hanging in Kate’s hammock!

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