Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It was a dark and stormy night.......

One wet night in March, the cat came in carrying something dark and wet in his mouth and dropped it at my feet. Thinking it was a mouse, I gingerly picked it up with a paper towel and realized it was a tiny baby squirrel. It was ice cold but somehow I knew she wasn't dead and I couldn't just throw her away. I warmed her and she wrapped her little fingers around my finger. Squirrels have the most amazing little hands, little baby hands.
 She made it through the night on a heating pad and the next morning I took her to work with me and bought puppy formula on the way. I fed her every four hours as long as I was awake and much to my surprise she thrived. It was like raising a fetus.
 Three weeks later her eyes opened and about three weeks after that she began to get very active. Up until then she had slept all the time. I let her out of her cage to run around, thinking she would be hard to catch, but no, she never left my side. I sat in the window seat and she ran up one leg, across my shoulders, and down the other leg. Endlessly. She would gently nibble my fingers and at first I though she smelled food on them but then I realized she wanted me to play with her. I would wiggle my fingers at her and she would tussle with my hand, like a kitten. I gave her little stuffed animals and she would wrestle with them. She batted a little ball around. She was so curious and so funny and so smart and into everything. I can't say she was affectionate but she did seem very attached to me. When I came home from work she seemed glad to see me and jumped on my shoulder right away. She tried to bury a nut in my hair. I would work at the computer and she would run up and around the chair the whole time. She was my constant companion and so precious.
First time out

Having a sip of tea

I never named her, just always called her Baby, like in Dirty Dancing.
She grew braver and more independent but she was still very attached to me. At four months old she was old enough to be released, she needed to be released.  I didn't want to release her in my yard because of the cat so last week I took her to my daughter's house where it would be safer and there would still be someone to put food out to be sure she found enough to eat.
I let her out of the carrier and she hopped into the ivy and up on a fallen log. She looked around a few minutes, then came back to me and hopped on my shoulder just like always. Then she hopped away and up the nearest tree. I watched her for a long time, holding my breath as she climbed higher and higher using branches I thought were too small, taking daredevil leaps. I thought I would feel sad but it was a wonderful feeling to see her healthy and happy against all odds. My little miracle baby.

The next morning just before I left I saw her again, I know it was her because of her size. She looked at me but didn't come. I knew she was gone. I felt the tears starting.

I cried all the way home.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Painted Flowers

This is an easy project that adds a sweet vintage look to a plain basket. You will need a hot glue gun, some small white silk flowers (the smallest you can find), some white ribbon, flat white spray paint, flat latex wall paint, a small soft paintbrush, and a basket of course.

Preferably everything should be white but I had these pink rosebuds already. The white flowers came from the dollar store.

 Use hot glue to glue the ribbon in a graceful swag design. You only have to glue it in spots.
Glue the flowers on using the smallest to cover the base of the larger ones.

 It doesn't take many flowers.

Spray with flat white spray paint. This stiffens them. Remove any strings of glue that show up.  You want them stiff because next......

You're going to paint them with flat latex wall paint. Really glop it on heavy. A small soft brush is best for this. You want the effect of gesso. You may want to give it a second coat because you want it on thick.
I used craft paint to paint the flowers and ribbon but I thought it turned out too bright.

So I sprayed it lightly again with the flat white spray paint.

 This took less than an hour, not counting the time waiting for the latex to dry. 

This works on anything you can use hot glue and paint on. Just remember to keep the flowers small.

*footnote - the Easter grass? It's a cheerleader's pom pom I picked up at the thrift store for 39 cents. Turned upside down it looks like regular Easter grass but it's all fastened together so no picking up strands all over the house!

Linking to these fabulous linky parties - The Vintage Farmhouse * Common Ground * No Minimalist Here * The Shabby Creek Cottage* Beyond The Picket Fence

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cream Pie

If you've ever eaten peanut butter with a spoon you will love this!
I'm not really into collecting recipes but sometimes when I see one that uses an unexpected ingredient I have to try it. This extremely rich tasting pie uses cottage cheese mixed with peanut butter, vanilla instant pudding, and whipped topping. Using a food processor cream 12 ounces of cottage cheese (low fat or no fat is OK, also it's an old recipe I don't think they make 12 oz. cartons anymore, use half a 24oz carton) until it is smooth. Blend in 3/4 to 1 cup peanut butter (I didn't say it was low calorie). Then add a small box of vanilla instant pudding and a container of whipped topping. Pour into a prepared pie shell.   I added some chocolate hard shell topping so mine is not strictly sugar free. This is an especially nice recipe to have if you have family members or guests who can not have sugar.

Monday, February 18, 2013

It's Only Been Two Years....

We like to think about projects and "discuss" for a long time before we can agree. Over two years ago we redid the stairs by replacing carpet covered plywood with old pine treads. Of course the handrail and ballisters had to come down to do this. They were little ordinary spindles you can buy at any home improvement store and we wanted to replace them with something special. Something more in keeping with the style of the house. Only we couldn't decide what. I liked the idea of plain flat kind of mission style but JD had an idea for something he wanted to make.  We needed 24 of them and it just seemed like such a daunting project. Plus he was thinking of cutting them out of particle board and I did not like that idea. No matter how you paint it, it always looks fake. So after two years of apologizing to everyone who came in the house about the lack of a handrail; plus frequent discussions of how one of us was going to fall down the stairs, it was time.
This is what he came up with and I love it!
Every step was a slightly different height and each one had to be trimmed and fitted to each step.

We used a wipe on varnish to finish them.  I know most people would have painted everything white but I like a little black in a room. I'm torn between a cottage/farmhouse look and a log cabin/rustic look. I think this definitely has a cottage look, but it's not so girly.

Now I need to work on a picture gallery for the stairwell.

Sharing with Open House Party at No Minimalist Here* Coastal Charm Nifty Thrifty Tuesday * Common Ground "Be Inspired"* French Country Cottage*Funky Junk Interiors*My Romantic Home

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Little Corner of the World

It's been a long time since I've spent any time on my blog but I think it's time to catch up. I've been working on getting some ugly ceiling tile down forever.  It wasn't a suspended ceiling, the tiles were nailed to a framework of 1 x 3 pine boards that were nailed to the rafters. I spent many hours on top of a ladder with a hammer and crowbar prying loose the many many boards, not just in this little area but the whole downstairs.  I used some of them for the floor in my studio and still have a huge pile left. Unfortunately not enough to do the rest of the room so for now I'm stuck with the ugly blue gray commercial carpet which Lord knows I've even thought about painting or at least dyeing. Has anyone ever dyed carpet?
The blue cabinet is an old apothecary cabinet that now forms a wall between my studio area and the front door.  Our house was built in the twenties as a commercial building and the downstairs is completely open, one big room, so I've walled off this corner by the window for my painting area.
I also plastered the walls, which were grooved plywood paneling, with sheetrock compound and they turned out great. This old drawer used as a shelf is very special to me as it came out of my Dad's old workbench. I have three more of them and now that I see this photo I think I'll hang another one above this one. I wanted to keep it simple and uncluttered so I didn't put much in them. We'll see how long that lasts.
The apothecary cabinet is very special to me because it also came out of my Dad's workshop. I was a teenager when he got this and even then I fell in love with it.  Yes, it's missing four drawers but JD has promised to make replacements for me. It's from a drugstore in downtown that opened in 1878 and closed sometime around 1970 when the fixtures were auctioned off. My studio is small and I couldn't get back far enough to get a good picture of it.

It has 197 drawers. I quickly found out that you don't put anything in a drawer unless you label it.
Most of the drawers still have labels or writing on the side. This one held rolled sulfur (brimstone) at 30 cents a pound. I love love love the color and peeling paint. And there's room to hide everything out of sight.
I've always painted on a makeshift easel and even though now I could have a "real" easel, I don't see any reason to change. Here's how I hung the shelf on the ladder. First I screwed a two inch L shaped metal support bracket to the piece of wood.
I bent stiff wire to form two brackets like this.
They fit the ladder steps like this.
The metal brackets slip over the hook. the board rests against the ladder, and the whole thing is very secure. Believe me no one was more surprised than I was that this worked so well. The wire must be stiff enough to not bend with the weight of the shelf and what's on it.

I have one more baseboard to put in and the rest of the room will be finished. If I can get it in order I'd love to show you the rest. Linking to.... No Minimalist Here Open House Party My Romantic Home The Shabby Nest and...
Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

Monday, February 6, 2012


I found these Valentines (and others) in an old scrapbook dated 1949.

The pages in the scrapbook were crumbling so I took the pages out and used vinegar to soak the glue loose. I'd never tried that before and I was afraid it would ruin them.

The paper peeled easily off the backs. I dipped them in a baking powder solution to neutralize the vinegar and laid them on a smooth hard surface to dry.

Much to my surprise them came out looking great, clean and bright, and no damage.

I found the scrapbook in a wonderful old junk store on the way to Selma last Fall, in the tiny town of Maplesville. Of course I forgot to take any pictures of said store and it was worthy of a blogpost all it's own. The proprietor's name was Rembrant. I don't think the store had a name but it was in a 19th century store building unchanged since the day it was built.

I did get a picture of the sunset on the way home that day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beautiful Antique French Velvet..........thing

Is there anyone out there who can tell me what this is?

I bought it a French container auction many years ago and I've never known what it is for exactly. The center is padded as though to be used as a pincushion but it's very large, over 15 inches tall. It's velvet covering a hard frame and trimmed with ormulu and wax flowers. When I was in an antique mall twenty years ago there was a French dealer who often had these but I can't remember what they were called.
I've kept it on my vanity to hold jewelry pins but now I want to put it in my Etsy shop but I don't know what it is. I have looked and looked on the internet using every keyword I could think of and I can't find another one. Does anyone out there have any ideas?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Greetings

I thought I would share some old Thanksgiving postcards with you for the holidays. When I was in the antique business about 10 years ago someone came in the store one day wanting to sell three old old albums filled with postcards. They weren't cheap but I had to have them. I fell in love with the intricate designs and the variety and could never bear to sell any of them. Hope you enjoy them too!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Night the Lights Went Out in Alabama

All of Alabama had heard earlier in the week that bad storms were possible on Wednesday. We were watching TV all afternoon to see where they were, where they were headed. We were watching as it hit Tuscaloosa, then watched as the TV camera captured a live shot of the monster tornado, a mile wide , hitting Birmingham. We're thirty miles north east of Birmingham. And then the lights went out and the sirens sounded and we took cover.

We were blessed in that our neighborhood was spared. I mean there were not even any leaves blown off our trees. All of our family members are safe. We were so lucky that I feel guilty. We had no power for three days but that's not even worth mentioning. Some people in our community still don't have power; some don't have water. A half a mile away houses were blown off their foundations. Twenty miles away in any direction there is utter and total devastation. The scope of this disaster is beyond belief. The monster storm that hit Tuscaloosa and Birmingham stayed on the ground all the way into Georgia. Three tornados hit Cullman, a mid sized city twenty miles north of here. That whole county has no power and no water. Neither does the county north of there where a power plant took a direct hit. All over north Alabama small towns and communities are gone, just gone. One town has 80 percent of it's population unaccounted for. People from these places are coming into the store in our little town to find food and water and gas. I have heard so many horror stories that I am emotionally drained.

The help and support from people has been phenomenal. Anyone who has a chainsaw has been out clearing roads. Churches are gathering clothes and supplies and getting them where they're needed immediately. A restaurant in our little town is giving free food to everyone until the power is back on. I know it can't be enough, so many people have lost everything, but we're doing the best we can to take care of our neighbors.

Count your blessings. Pray for us.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Cottage Next Door and My Great Idea

This post turned out kind of long if you want to skip down to my idea that's OK.

Whenever you move you always worry a little about what your neighbors are going to be like. It's especially true in the country where you find nice houses next to not so nice houses next to rundown trailer/meth labs.
This is the little house that was next door, very very close, to our house. We never saw the owner when we looked at our house, but it was always neat and tidy so we weren't worried. Boy, were we wrong.

This was Joe's house. Joe was in his mid sixties but he looked like he was 80. He didn't work, he just sat on the porch and drank and smoked and coughed that deep smoker's cough all day. He called emergency services regularly when he was drunk and after the first couple of times we didn't even look out the window when we heard the sirens. All the drinking and smoking had given him a low raspy voice and Joe was a talker. The same stories over and over. We started sneaking in the back door to avoid him. He never really caused us any trouble he was just annoying and always there. Drinking and smoking and talking.

Joe drove an old Caddy, the kind with fins. The tag was three years old and he always took the back roads when he drove to avoid the sheriff. One day his drinking caught up with him, he had an accident, someone died, and he went to jail. So he was gone from our lives but some innocent person had to pay.
Joe was renting the house and after he was gone the owner sold it to us for a song. We donned coveralls and masks and rubber gloves and set about cleaning it out. We ripped up orange shag carpet, tore down cheap fruitwood paneling and pulled down the suspended ceiling. We threw everything away, including the stove and refridgerator (we recycled everything we could). The smell was awful. But underneath were the old board walls with their original paint, that gorgeous blue-green color you see on many things from the turn of the century. I fell in love with the board walls and with this tiny hundred year old house. I painted the walls and floor to bring in some light but I left the ceiling; you can see a tiny corner of it in the photo above.
This is just a spot I set up so I could get a photo of this group of pictures I'm selling on Etsy. They're 1896 Louis Prang. But let's have a little honesty here; the room really looks like this.
At first we had a little antique shop here and it was really cute but I wasn't blogging five years ago and I never thought to take any pictures. That lasted about a year. Having your own shop is not nearly as much fun as having a booth in a mall. Then I wanted to have my studio here but the light is only good for a few hours in the morning. Now we use it for storage and a place to paint things.

My Great Idea
I've taken a long time to get to how this little house inspired one of the best ideas I've ever had. As I said, I loved the way the board walls looked in this little house. It came to me that we could take down the paneling in our house, saw it into 6" strips and nail it up crosswise, back side out, and it would look like boards. (You need access to a table saw for this.)
Hubby was skeptical but we tried it and it worked! We didn't fill any nail holes; they just make it look more authentic. So the material was free and it was easy to put up. Especially if you have a nail gun. We ran short of paneling so we bought 4 x 8 sheets of luan plywood at $10 each and sawed them into boards to make up the difference. Still cheap, and we love this look.
The first time I took the picture you could see dust on the shelf so I dusted the furniture and took another picture but I forgot to dust under it. So my floor is dusty. I'm not doing it again.

Oh, and I always liked this photo JD took of the back and photoshopped to look like a painting.

Linking to -
Very Merry Vintage Style Share the Love Wednesday
No Minimalist Here Open House
My Romantic Home Show and Tell Friday
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