Tuesday, April 28, 2015


As all of you know,
 it takes a lot of time and hard decisions
 to make a plan come together,
 but I have never had a struggle
 like I'm having 
with this room that we are working on now.

  The Captain says
 we are taking entirely too much time 
to get it done,
 and while I certainly agree,
 I can not let it go
 until I feel completely satisfied. 
 There is a missing link to the picture
 and, until I can figure out what it is,
 the project will not be worthy,
 in my mind.

speaking of the whole picture, 
I can let you in on certain aspects
 that are completed 
and show you how 
I achieved them.

Here are two pictures 
that received a small amount of work.
  As you can tell,
 the frames are quite different
 and I wanted to make them 
look more cohesive...

...here are the same pictures
 after a little paint
 was applied to each frame.

I used a sponge
 with black craft paint 
and applied it to the frames,
 covering them fairly well...

while the black paint was still wet,
 I applied a small amount
 of various colors,
 with the same sponge
 over top. 
 I just picked out random colors
 that were in the paintings. 
 If one color seemed too much,
 I just applied a little more black. 
 After it was dry,
 I applied "Rub and Buff" gold leaf
 with my finger,
 hitting the high spots 
on the frame.

I picked up this lamp shade
 at K-Mart.  
It was priced $11
 but the plastic covering was off
 and there was a smudge of dirt
 around the bottom edge.
  I knew I would be covering that part up,
 so I asked for a better price
 and I got it for $5. 
 The ribbon, I gathered and hot glued 
to the edge 
and applied the small trim to the top. 
 These two items came from JoAnn's.
  The base is one that,
 until recently,
 was in the master bath.

This really sweet
 little plant stand 
we found sitting on the curb
 marked free. 
 I am bummed
 that I didn't take a 'before' picture.
  Although it was in really good shape,
 it had been painted a number of times
 and was all chipped, dirty and peeling. 
 I can see
 a number of you 
rolling your eyes,
 but, believe me,
 it wasn't the 'beautifully chippy' stuff that you would have been happy to keep.
  I painted it with Annie Sloan Old Ochre
 and finished it off with Shabby Paints
 clear vax and hazelnut re-vax.

Here is a little idea 
of how this project
 is going...

An old rocking chair 
that we have had 
for ages...

Oh, No..

Oh, H*** No..

Third time a charm? 
 We shall see.

And that was just

I have had a few good days,
 and just so you don't think
 I have totally
 given up...

I am very pleased 
with my little
 'historical' sign.

When the kids were small
 and we lived in Soquel,
 in the house that Tami, Tim and Jake
 now live in,
 we put a swimming pool in the back yard. 
 We had to install a fence
 around the yard 
and the wood for this sign 
came from that fence. 
 After forty years,
 Tim replaced some of the fence
 and gave me a few
 of the old boards...

...the boards still have 
the old blue paint on them
 and I picked up the chipboard letters
 at WalMart.
  I started with the same sponge
 that I used for the picture frames
 and applied black paint
 to the letters. 
 While that paint was still wet,
 I applied metallic silver paint
 over top
 and kept sponging
 until the paints were blended
 to my liking
 and resembled tin. 
 I also added a very tiny bit
 of burnt sienna
 to make it appear
 that the letters are showing signs
 of rusting. 
 I then hot glued the letters
 to the board when the paint was dry
 and added a little cottage
 for the tiny porcelain birds
 that were a gift from Tami
 many years ago. 
 I had ordered something from WalMart last Christmas
 and they were unable to fill part of my order
 so they refunded me $10 
 and since I had never cashed it in 
until now,
 I paid about 43 cents 
to make this sign.

 there you have a few things
 that make up a part 
of the whole picture.

 I just hope that
 'whole picture' will materialize soon.
  I promise you
 that I will keep 
'painting' until it does.


Sharing today at these fine parties...

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


It's been a busy couple of weeks here at the Cottage. 
 Last minute fixes and ideas tried,
 and failed,
 and others taking
 time and money.

All in all,
 a fair amount of progress has been made,
 taking us closer to the
 sitting room reveal.

So, for the next couple of weeks,
 we are watching the front porch 
for expected deliveries to arrive
 and working hard 
on "shopping" the house 
for items 
that can be transformed
 to fit the new space...

"We are but birds of passage...
and must build our nests
 out of what materials 
we can find."

Lady Wilson, 1889

...and until that time, 
I thought I'd refresh your memories,
 and inform anyone new,
 how our sitting room
 looked before.

We have made quite a change
 to the look and the feel of the room 
and I am anxious to share
 it all with you...

...at this point, 
I'm not even sure
 what exactly
 the total outcome will be.

  Things are seeming to evolve 
as we go along
 and I'm hoping that the end results
 will be to 
everyone's liking!

"Have no fear of perfection...you'll never reach it."

Salvador Dali, 1904 - 1989

I will leave you with thoughts 
of enjoying beautiful spring weather
 while sitting under a bower
 of Cecil Brunner roses...

...and sharing an overabundance
 of pollen 
with a lovely lady bug!

I am very honored to have been chosen as one of the features of Maria's Fabulous Friday Party at Simple Nature Decor last week. It was a very special surprise for me. Thank you, Maria, it's a great party.


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Tuesday, April 7, 2015


We interrupt
 our regularly scheduled broadcast
 to bring you this bulletin just in...

It is raining here at 8:30 am...

No, wait...

...it is snowing here at 10:00 am.

It started raining sometime
 while we were all tucked in bed 
and continued throughout the night
 and into the morning
 as the Captain was walking the dogs.

As we left the shelter around 10:00
 it started snowing 
and by the time we...

...stopped at Starbucks
 it was sticking.

When we arrived home
 this is what the front yard 
and the roof looked like.

View out of the parlor bay window.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

This is our No. 4 Roller Bearing
 Auto-Wheel Coaster wagon
 made by the Buffalo Sled Company,
 North Tonawanda, New York,
 in the early 1900's.

We traded this wagon 
around 45 years ago
 from an antiques dealer. 
 He asked the Captain to do some repair work for him
 and said he would trade us the wagon
 because he thought it was made
 out of pine and didn't want it.
 As it turned out the wagon
is made out of oak.

 Since that time
 it has been in use as our resident
 living room coffee table.
  It has seen a few transformations over time as to its appearance,
 and has always remained a subject of interest
 for all who see it.

All information and advertisements provided by Google, courtesy of the North Tonawanda History Museum.

The Buffalo Sled Company 
began operations in 1889 in Buffalo, New York
 and later moved to North Tonawanda, New York in 1904. 
 The company remained in operation at that site
 until a fire in 1920
 destroyed the wheel department and storehouses.
  They rebuilt and remained in business
 until filing bankruptcy in 1964. 
 In 1965, the company was operating 
under the name Auto Wheel Industries, 
and another fire in 1972,
 considered the worst in the city's history, demolished the building
 along with seven homes. 
 A preliminary investigation supported the theory 
that the fire was intentionally started.

The Auto Wheel Coaster Company 
was known through its entire 60 years of operation
 for its superior quality. 
 They made all of their products by hand
 and, for this reason, 
they eventually went out of business.

During it's lifetime the company sponsored many contests...

...and pictured many children
 having fun with the products.
Wagons were described as providing
three full seasons a year
 of boyish fun on four steel-tired,
 wooden-spoked wheels
 so like those on automobiles of the day
 that they gave the wagon its name...
A boy without an Auto-Wheel Coaster
 in those days
 couldn't have really lived.

...and did you notice 
that it is only marketed
 to the 'boys'?

I have always wondered
 how our wagon was used,
 how many little hands pulled it along
 by that handle, 
and could it have been a prize
 that was won in a contest...

...this is one wagon
 that was not won in a contest. 
 This one was hand made by my dad. 
 He made it out of an old wooden box
 and wheels
 for his dog, Brownie, to pull.
  Here they both are shown,
 probably around 1920. 
 I wish I could say
 that I had the wagon now.

I mentioned before 
that our wagon has gone through some transformations
 over the years.

It was just a plain wagon 
when we purchased it 
and we used it as a coffee table,
 holding magazines and the occasional jug of flowers. 
 It collected more magazines
 then we had first intended 
plus crumbs from various snacks...

...so we added 
a piece of glass on top
 and that seemed to collect mostly fingerprints 
so for use in the new 
'work in progress' sitting room, 
the Captain added a top
 of left over wainscotting
 that was used in another project
 at the Cottage.

I love how it turned out. 
 It looks like it was made for the wagon
 and reminds me
 of an old luggage transporter
 awaiting duty at
 the train depot.

I can't wait until it is ready for the reveal...

...just a small hint...stay tuned.


By the time I finished this post...

...look at the poor lilacs,

 I'm not complaining.

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