Saturday, July 31, 2010

A New Day

A new day from the Lord. The earth is spinning as she should. We are alive and doing OK. It's got to be a great day!

My chores are mostly all finished. I've checked my emails and answered them. I've looked at my Facebook page and learned what everyone else is doing. Time to get moving.

Today we want to go visiting. A beautiful friend here, and who goes to church with us, was gracious enough to show friends we had visiting from NM, all of her beautiful creations. This sweet lady is very, very talented. She's got rooms full of dolls, with sweet painted porcelin faces, and wonderful period clothing. She made them! And that's not all, she also has dishes she's painted, and makes whole sets - special orders, for weddings. And, in the past couple of years she's begun making the most beautiful jewelry! She also paints on canvas. She is a multi-talented person. And in summer she puts up the bounty of her amazing home garden! we are going to see her to see if she's feeling OK, she has many health problems, and we want to give her a couple of hugs in thanks for her sharing, caring and sweet heart.

Next we want to visit someone from church who has been ill. He is older and sickness is always serious in older people. We want to be sure his wife has all she needs, and to see if we can do anything for them. When my husband was in the hospital for nine days because he fell and broke seven ribs and his shoulder bone, the woman called us every day and after we brought him home she called about every other day! My husband has had the pleasure of helping them with some home maintence since then and they are a pure delight! Both were still working! She one day a week at the local newspaper, sorting coupons, and he four or five evenings a week cleaning doctor's offices! They are both 85 years of age!

What will the day bring in addition to our visiting? Some good time for him and I together I think!

Hope you all have a great day as well. God is generous and usually gives us more time than we know what to do with, even if we sometimes think life is too short! If we really think about how we live each day, we can see, we have plenty of time, if we use it well!

Psalm 118:24

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Friday, July 30, 2010

the Hiker

Wednesday morning my husband, myself and our friends, who were visiting from out west, were getting ready for a day of shopping and looking around Asheville, NC. There was a knock at the door. It was a woman, a very slight woman, in a t-shirt, shorts, and hiking boots, carrying ski poles, and a little back pack. The woman asked my husband and I for water.

My husband went to get her some bottled water to take with her and I got her a glass of ice water. I sat down to talk to her and she told me she had been hiking, by herself, when her water filtering device had gotten clogged with some very muddy water and she had been unable to get it cleaned out and functioning properly. She hadn't had any water since the evening before. It was about 10 AM and was already 85 degrees and very, very humid. 

We visited a while. She shared with me that if she finished this section, she would have hiked the entire Appalachian Trail** - 2,174 miles, from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. She said she was a teacher from Virginia and this was her eighth summer to hike the Appalachian Trail.

After several minutes she made an admission. That morning she had seen a sign for my neighbors' store, which caters to hikers, and decided to try to find it so she could buy water. Not long after leaving the Trail to find the store, she realized, "I just want to go home!"

When we learned she wanted to get off the trail and go home, we decided to give her a ride to her car.*  She objected saying she would pay for a ride at our neighbors' store, she saw an add saying they offered shuttle service. And besides, she said, "I've on the trail for five days, and haven't stopped for a proper shower." Well of course we said take one here. Her eyes lit up, her mouth dropped open, and she nodded.

She said she had to go back down the road to get her pack. It had seemed so heavy she couldn't stand to carry it. She'd dropped it, kicked it into the grass and weeds where no one could see it and walked on. She said she stopped at our house because she felt she had already gone the 3/4 mile as per the sign for the store, and so she was afraid she'd missed it somehow. I thought, a 'meant to be' event. Life is full of them.

My husband gave her a ride to get the pack. She took her shower and when she emerged from the bathroom, she had the biggest smile I've ever seen on a woman. She said, "That was the best shower of my life!"

We understood she needed to go to Asheville, and since that was our chosen destination for the day we volunteered to take her there. But, we wanted to treat our friends to (another) local restaurant featuring 'down home' cooking, so we told our hiker we'd be making a side trip, to Hot Springs, NC for lunch at a diner. She said great, if she could buy our lunch. Agreed!

As we talked to her more it turned out her car wasn't in Asheville, but in the small town of Waynesville, NC. By this time we'd all decided she was our project for the day. We took her all the way to her car. It poured down rain about three times, we made a detour in a small town and got lost, but found our way back and delivered her to her car. We made sure the car started; then it was hugs bye and well wishing.

This left us quite a bit less time for antique shopping but none of us really cared. It felt good to help someone else. She was amazed by the kindness of strangers, and we were surprised at ourselves! It was a chance to live our Christianity, as my husband and I and our friends are all Christians.

While we were driving she told us her sister had dropped her off, and cried as she left. I had the feeling through the entire ordeal that she was meant to get off that trail when she did. And apparently we were meant to help her.

We haven't heard from her, although she has our email address, so I'm truly hoping she found all well at home. I'm pretty sure her family was happy she was home. I wonder if she will ever finish her hike, and I pray she doesn't ever try it alone again!
* Our hiker explained to us she was a section hiker. A section hiker will usually park the car near the beginning, or end of the chosen section. After finishing the section, or to get to the start of a section, there are places, like our neighbor, who provide rides for a price. There are publications with this information.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

How to Texture and Paint

The first step to work on your wall is to get everything in the room away from the walls.  You need space to walk around and also enough space to set up your ladder and a small stool or table of some kind. 


I simply placed all the furniture in the middle of the room and piled the smaller items from the room on top of the furniture.  You may need to take things out of the room if there isn't sufficient space for your ladder and small table. 

You'll want to keep mud and paint off your furniture and other items.  I used some cloths I keep for this kind of thing, to cover everything.  You might use drop cloths or old table cloths etc. 

Before you begin you must tape off your wood work, around the windows and doors, maybe the ceiling from the wall and unless you take all the switch plates and vent covers off you will need to tape over their edges.  This blue tape is recommended.

You will leave the tape in place until you have finished the texture and painting.

Next you will set up your ladder, and find something to put your pan of mud onto so you can reach it when you're up on the ladder.  I used a tall kitchen stool, one that it would not hurt to get paint or mud onto.

Mud pan, and two mud knives.


Fill the mud pan full of mud, pick up a glob of mud on your triangle shaped mud knife and spread the mud in small swatches across the wall in a random pattern. I turned the knife one way and then another across a section and I left some smooth flat wall between each swatch.  You will want to be sure to get some near the ceiling here and there and some next to the wood work or corner or what ever 'edge' there is so that you don't end up with rows of flat wall around the edges of your wall.

Once you've used all the mud on the knife, switch to the trowel, lay it over the mud, press it against the mud and wall, and twist, pull down and/or across the wall. Next you will pull the trowel off the wall.  This will take some effort.  You will notice this action will make little projections of mud stick out from the wall. Decide if you like these.  If you do, continue to first spread the mud in this section and then begin to push the trowel in and pull it out in a random way across the section of wall.  You will be pounding the wall with the trowel.  Every place the trowel is pulled away, if there's enough mud, you'll have the raised projections.  For added texture use the side of the trowel and hit the wall in one direction and then another, a right angle then a left angle, over the section of wet mud.

Your design for the texture is only limited by the properties of the mud and tools and your use of them.  There are no hard and fast rules other than a pattern once established will look nicer if it is repeated throughtout the entire wall and/or room.

Painting over the pulled up spikes isn't easy, so you may want to try to make them less pronounced or skip them all together.  Pulling, twisting and turning the trowel will make very interesting designs in the mud. 

Your wall should look something like this one.

You will continue the above described process until all the walls are covered.  Try to use the same system throughout, so the walls while having a random pattern, the pattern will also be the same over all.

Now you get to rest for at least a day before you begin painting.

Especially if you have made the pulled up texture on your walls, you will need to either use a large or rollers for ceilings or stucco.

I used a brush.  You don't always need to use the most expensive brushes.  I used the less expensive ones and they held up for both bedrooms.  Since they weren't expensive I didn't feel guilty throwing them away when my rooms were finished.  It saved a lot of messy clean up.  A smaller trim brush is very helpful for near the ceilings, wood word and switches. 

You will either need to cover all the walls with a primer and then paint them or use a paint with a primer in it. 

This is the paint I used.  It's new at the store where I bought it, and I was a little worried about how well it would cover.  It worked just fine.  The areas of mud are a little bit duller looking but since I wanted a varied look, this is a good thing.  I'm also happy with the semi-gloss because it can now be washed off easily.  The walls shouldn't need repainting for several years.

When you have finished painting give the walls a couple of hours of drying time and then remove the tape, and reassemble your room.

Texturing gives an interesting look to your walls, and it will hide small dings.  And, you won't have to worry about filled nail holes showing when you decide to move your artwork or pictures from place to place.  Remember to have some extra paint in a sealed container, such as a jar with a tight lid, so you can paint over the repaired nail holes.

The process is not difficult to master.  It is a bit time consuming and it takes some physical effort but most anyone who really wants to texture her walls, can.

You can see my earlier post for pictures of my rooms after they were textured and painted.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bedrooms Redos Finished

     The last two weeks I battled my arthritis, my laziness, and in a way my husband, and I redecorated the two guest bedrooms! Am I bragging, yep I sure am. I am proud of myself and probably more than that, I'm really glad it's all done!!!

     What I did I have already written about in the previous two posts. This post is to show the pictures of my two rooms all done. Are they perfect, no, but they are nice, clean and fresh and I like them. My color scheme is predominately silver and gold, with gray and black

This is the back bedroom. The painting of Christ is by Frank Agresti,
who was my art teacher at the University of Laverne, Naples satellite.
The lamp is old and I love it. The white flowers on the back wall
is a photograph, with a large black mat on which I've painted the
same type flowers. The paint on the wall here and in both rooms
is a pretty silvery blue/green, called 'silverberry'.

The back bedroom, my iris paintings,
and a curtain to divide the room from my sewing 'closet'.

Back bedroom with the new bedspread and black chair.

The sewing 'closet', a small space that will still work just fine.
I like it!
My purses, which I was making to sell, and sold some,
are hung on the wall to the left.
All my sewing supplies have places to be,
and since taking these pictures
I've put away more cloth and arranged
things so it all fits wonderfully!
I'm very excited about this little space.
It's efficient and hidden away from view.

Front bedroom with a twin and a full sized bed.
My third large iris painting is on the wall.

Front bedroom looking at the twin bed.
Paintings - first one friend's daughter looking
 at a giant sunflower my friend grew,
middle is a painting my youngest daughter made
 in schoolwhen she was about 8!
and the black and white
 is by a Canadian artist who left this
 in my art gallery in Arizona
(I owned and art gallery for just
over three years, once upon a time).

The front bedroom looking toward the full sized bed.
The paintings - on the far wall is a print from
and Arizona pencil artist Glen Powell,
there is a framed card sent to us in Italy by same friends
(who are the parents of the girl looking at the sunflower)
with picture of two elephants, from behind,
an elephant painted on a piano key done by
an artist and friend, Patti Barak,
and the little bitty one of my watercolors,
it's of a button, clown doll.

     That's the end. The rooms are completed and ready for the next company.  The next company are due on Monday and they are those parents of that little girl looking at the sunflower! They are coming from a long way away and this their first time to our home in about 15 years! We are excited!

     Old Arth'r did not stop me, and I don't intend to let him do, ever.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Taking On Two Bedroom Re-dos Continued

So nearly finished texturing the sewing closet. Was busy pounding the mud on the wall, when I heard 'cou-cou'. That clock hasn't worked in years! Musta been a message from ? the house? It even played it's music and the little people went around! Maybe, the house is happy!!!

The rest of this room will be the hardest texturing of the two bedrooms because have to work around the big shelving unit mentioned in the previous post.  After this, is will be smooth sailing, except I'm almost out of mud.  Murphy and his stupid laws!

Taking On Two Bedroom Re-dos With Old Arth-r'

It's the fourth day of the re-dos.  We have a three bedroom home, with only two of us.  It's what I wanted, the "Grandma House".  Our children and other relatives come and stay at least one night because no one lives really close to us here. 

The back bedroom doubles as my sewing room.  It has an extra section that used to be a part of the living room before we built a wall.  By opening up a large entry from the back bedroom we made a pie shaped area, with a window, which I curtain off and use as my "sewing closet".  It works.

The first two days I shopped.  My finds are great! 

The front bedroom has a twin sized bed and a double bed.  The total cost for bed skirts, comforter/spread, and pillow shams for both beds, which match, was $35.00!  It was close out sale at our local K-Mart!  The sets also go well with the existing colors in the room.  I also bought a new curtain rod and curtain which totaled, $30.00.  I expect to spend about $25.00 on mud to texture the wall and the paint with primer in it, from Lowes.

Front bedroom pictured after beginning to work on the back bedroom!

The back bedroom has a queen sized bed, a table made from (reproduction) old sewing matching legs, painted black and a chunk of painted wood on top, and a curtain to divide it from the sewing closet.  The Black, gray and silver set which included a  bed skirt, comforter/spread, two pillow shams and three decorator pillows was $40.00 from Big Lots.  Also I bought a black velvet look side chair from Big Lots for $99.00. 

The back bedroom and sewing closet w/five foot by five foot unit.

I have three little shelves on the wall in that room. I painted them, the table top, the closet door, and the inside of the bedroom door a cream color. The divider I replaced as well and matched the cream of the painted surfaces. My curtains for that are always twin sized bed sheets with one single seam on the hem to make a pocket for the rod with a little ruffle on the top. They work perfectly. Mud and paint for that room probably total $60.00.

The three painted shelves.

Yesterday I moved things in the back bedroom and the sewing closet so I could get to the walls to take out all the nails and patch the holes.  This meant taking down some old curtain hanging devices which won't be used.  That was a reach and required my bending and twisting.  Not easy with the arthritis.  My knees were making audible noises as well as screaming to me inside!  Terrible, but...I did it.

This is the beginning of texturing.

The painting of shelves, table top and doors was done.  Most of the furniture and pictures were moved out of the way as well, and I've made the divider, decided which of my paintings to put where and what goes on my repainted shelves.  I even shoved the five foot by five foot shelving unit, full of those little cloth baskets, and all of the baskets full of cloth and sewing stuff, away from the wall.

This morning I started to texture the wall in the sewing closet.  That shelving unit needs to be shoved over more, was also loaded down on the top.  It wasn't working with me, so I decided to unload the top at least.  It was going well.  I have taken three heavy bins down, and there was a little cloth basket on the end.  I thought it was full of light weight cloth or something.  No!  It was full of crochet thread, and about two crochet needles - my mothers, and those needles were in a pretty little bathroom cup.

The pretty little cup in my new trash can sitting on my new black chair.

I just finished sweeping up the pieces of that pretty cup after picking up the two dozen needles.  That's when I decided to take a break and tell somebody my troubles.

Oh, I think there's some crumbs here on my keyboard.  Oh just dried mud falling off my fingers.  Did I mention as I tried to get out of the cramped spot where I was texturing, my butt rubbed out a section of texture.  It did.  So I quickly fixed that before going to clean up my mess.  Had to wait for my butt to dry to sit down.  It's nine o'clock.  I started at seven thirty and came out here about eight ten.  This is gonna take some time!

I'll be back.

Friday, July 2, 2010

********* PIE *********

For the family get-together I 've made four pies. Two are strawberry-rhubarb and I'd never made one before!  Found the recipe online and it turned out really yummy!  We've already eaten most of one pie!

Scrumptious Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

2 1/2 cups cleaned and chopped rhubarb - 1/2 " pieces
2 1/2 cups topped and halved strawberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon nutmet
3 eggs beaten
1 egg yolk beaten
1 Tablespoon sugar
Two crust pie crust

mix fruit in a large bowl

in medium sized bowl mix 1 1/2 cups sugar,
3 Tablespoons flour, 3 Tablespoons melted butter,
1 teaspoon nutmeg, 3 beaten eggs

preheat oven to 400 degrees F

roll 1/2 dough and place in pie pan

spoon fruit into pan

pour flour and sugar mixture over top

dampen crust edges

place crust over top

gently press edges to bond them to the bottom

trim the edges of the crust along the edge of the pan with a knife

push edges up all around and flute

brush with egg yolk, sprinkle with 1 T sugar 

cut slits in the top crust to vent

bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes,
reduce heat to 350 degrees until crust is brown and

test rhubarb for tenderness with fork or toothpick

Good eating!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thoughts While I Work

Today I am cooking, still, for the upcoming holiday.  As I peeled the carrots and potatoes the way the potato peeler left them, with narrow flat rows the length of them, took me back to watching my mother cook.

Those quiet times in our little house, and that oh so tiny kitchen.  It was about an 800 sq ft house, and we didn't think it was little. The front door brought you right into the living room.  The kitchen was also on the front of the house off the living room.  As soon as you entered the kitchen on the left there was the door to the basement.  It stood open most of the time, I'm not sure why.  Just past that door was the small space for the stove on one side, sink back in the corner, and on the other wall, a window, space for the refrigerator and then the 'back door' (it was actually on the side of the house) and then there was a nice sized window on the front.  We had four red and white vinyl chairs with chrome legs, and a red Formica topped table with chrome legs and chrome around the sides.  At least that's what I think I remember, but we also had a plain white wooden table for some time.

The common dishes of the day were plain colors.  Those pale green coffee mugs you can seldom find in thrift stores, you know the ones? those were our cups.  We had stainless steel flatware and never wanted silver to clean and worry over.  There was usually a cute little flowered or embroidered curtain on that front window and I think only the 'venetian' blinds on the side window and back door.

For a few brief years my mother basked in the glory of having decorated her living room well enough to impress an interior decorator she and my father met thru the PTA at my school.  Mom bought a burgundy and gray couch and chair set, found drapes with large roses and leaves to match those colors and with some lighter but peachy pinks, and two shades of gray for the leaves, like there were shadows.  They were nice, and some of the few things I enjoyed in the decorations of the 50s. (Most of the home decor of the 50s made me ill! I guess I have always noticed such things.)

In this decorator-appreciated-room she also had some funky lamps.  Actually the lamp itself I don't remember but the shades were either a pale beige like the back ground color of the drapes or a light, light gray, and they were rectangular and made from slats like on the 'venetian' blinds!  I hated them.  Dusting them was torture!  I was tortured a lot! 

To finish my description of this room, which over all was very pretty, the walls were a dusty rose.  Mom always enjoyed saying that, 'they are a dusty rose'.  The carpet I'm not sure, but whatever it was it co-ordinated well.  Our wood work was always painted with white, white oil paint and I always thought it was beautiful.  Can you see that room?  The wood work stood out nicely!  She had some pretty little dishes that Daddy's father bought for her one Christmas.  She loved these things, because they came from him and because they were white with little roses of them.  The set included a cigarette box, ash trays, and one or two candy dishes with lids.  My sister wanted it when our mother passed away in 1989. 

Those decorations lasted about three years or more.   When they had to paint the walls again, for some reason which I don't remember, they mixed all their left over paint from the rest of the house and used it on the living room.  It turned out a fresh minty green and it actually complimented the drapes and furniture OK until they were able to replace them.  I liked that green.  I liked that my Mom was happy more.