Monday, June 30, 2008

Dutch Does The Doggy Paddle

The Man has started his vacation, and since there is so much that ought to be done around here, we are going to stay at home and try to get some stuff down around here. But we wanted to go up to Mom & Dad's house first since The Man never gets a chance to come with me.

Dutch eagerly anticipates arriving at Grammy & Papa's house.
He loves their chihuahua, Harley, and their great big yard to play in.

The pool was open and during the brief period of time on Saturday in which it was not raining, we got in and persuaded Dutch to join us. He has never been around any sort of water before (besides the bathtub) and he fearlessly leaped into my arms when we were in the pool on Father's Day. I had him swim around a tiny bit then to see if he would like it. This time, we thought we'd get him to swim some more and hopefully learn how and how to get out of the pool if he accidentally fell in.

Nervously licking the lips.

The Man started out by carrying him in, where Dutch quickly retreated to the highest spot he could stand on. We got him to doggy paddle back and forth to us a few times and he would try to head for the closest side. He can't get out there, of course, so he quickly figured out how to follow the side around to the steps. He doesn't seem to be too traumatized by the event and he was very cute in all his wet, freckled glory.

I can swim! What a relief!

A l m o s t there.

Grammy, I'm not sure this is my best angle.

Ah, help. They makes me swim.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stupid Projects Number Two

This is my second Stupid Project. Its not that it doesn't look waaaay better, but its tedious, messy, hot and takes forever. I'm grinding down and repainting the railings out front.


The first two sections weren't too bad, since there only seemed to be two coats of paint on them. The remaining sections have to have 10 or something. Its coated and looks like it.
We started with a sanding disc on a drill and have moved to using a propane torch to heat and scrape some of layers off, at least on the flat surfaces. Then we wiped it down with paint thinner to get off all the powdered rust & paint that is still coating it. The comes the spray-on primer.
This may be the stupid part. I'm painting it with a 1/2" wide artist's brush. Perhaps spraying would have been the way to go? I just didn't want drips and The Man picked out the paint. The bigger brush makes drips, though, so the tiny brush it is.
I have 2 sections done out of four. Wahoo.



This was just a dumb thing to start because while it could use it, it didn't need it. It will look better in the end, though, and that's something the front of our house could desperately use.



Now we need a fabulous free landscaper. Oh, right. The only free one is me.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ack! I Want Things

I got the Pier1 flyer in the mail today and went to the website. There's so many things that I like. This is ridiculous. I really want a table and chairs.

Farmhouse Table & Chair

Dinner napkins

Faux Croc Pillow

Cafe Segovia table & chair

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Here a Pillow, There a Pillow

I made another pillow today. This one I've been thinking about for awhile too and haven't gotten around to making it. I'm not sure why I do that, but The Man says that I'm afraid to cut my fabric because I don't want to waste it. I think he's right. I have issues. It is just white cotton for goodness' sake.
Photo from
This one was inspired by this bedding at CB2. I bought the pintuck foot awhile ago (ack, was it a whole year ago?), and haven't hardly used it, but I did get it out today and tried it out. It turned out really rather well.

I cut the front a few inches larger, because I wasn't sure how much the pintucking might shrink it up. I thought I'd give myself more room and just square up when I was finished, but really probably wasn't necessary. Maybe 1/2" extra would have been sufficient.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A long time coming

I have been contemplating making this pillow for awhile, and for some reason, just haven't done it. After all, how long does it take to make a pillow?

Today I decided I was going to do it. It is made out of Egyptian cotton and shell buttons. I hand sewed each of the buttons in place, because I couldn't quite figure out the button-sewing function on my machine. Any idea how that works? I put the button foot on and put it down on the button with the feed dogs lowered and found the right spacing for the holes and I started sewing. It stitched a few times back and forth and then a few reinforcing stitches on the left. I pulled it off and it was sorta loose and messy looking. Any idea what I did wrong?

I sewed the buttons on by hand instead. I sort of enjoy the hand sewing anyway, although I wasted waaaay too many hours of the day on this, when I really should have been doing other things. But I can't put things down in the middle. Must finish. I have a touch of OCD, I think.

I'm not sure what I think of it yet. I think I like it. I'm having a little bit of an obsession with lace and doilies at the moment. I'm thinking of making a white pillow with a doily sewn on it. Actually, I'm thinking of making a bunch of white-on-white pillows. We'll see if I get around to doing any of it.

Some of the inspiration for the lace & doilies in my head right now comes from Matthew Mead Style and some from these photos from Brocade Design etc.
Photo by Paul Lowe.

From Brocade Design etc.
Photo by
Paul Lowe.

My little helper

I spilled some coffee on my keyboard this morning while half awake, and after sopping some of it up with paper towels, I was sitting there in a fog contemplating how to clean it better.

Dutch was whining to be picked up, so I pulled him up into my lap. He promptly hopped up onto the desk and proceeded to lick the keyboard clean. The dog apparently likes coffee, because he was quite intent on getting it all. What a goof. My keyboard is nearly spotless. Isn't he helpful?

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Just felt compelled to whine for a moment. I'm in the middle of an audit at work and it sucks. Its actually not going too badly yet, and I don't actually need to be present at the office for most of it, which is nice, but I hate hate hate having someone examine my work. There is nothing to hide, and I keep reminding myself of that, but its just not possible that they're not going to find any errors. That and the assumption that you are, in fact, guilty until proven innocent in these things makes for a pleasant experience. I think he's sapping my creative energies.

Here's a photo that has nothing at all to do with this post, but makes me happy. There is an old hydrangea blooming right now in the backyard. Its being buried by an overgrown shrub at the moment, but I've tried to clean out all the accumulated dead stuff and give it a little breathing room, so hopefully it will only get bigger and more beautiful in future years. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Peonies may be the perfect flower

Or maybe not, but I love them. They're one flower that I must have. I've inherited maybe half a dozen bushes in the back yard and they have just about finished flowering. I've filled the house with bouquet after bouquet, because I can't leave them out there. The bushes still have some on them, but I bring my favorites inside. These are a few.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I have been wanting Adirondack chairs for ages and I saw these cheap cedar ones in JoAnns the other day, so I picked up a couple. They are cheap, but they're not too bad. The holes didn't quite line up right and he did split the wood a tiny bit putting them together. They didn't have enough long screws either, but other than that. . . I guess we'll find out how long they last! They were on sale for $35 or so, and good ones are way more than that.

I decided to stain them rather than paint, since The Man didn't seem to interested in painted chairs. What's with men and paint anyway? So stain them it is. I got water-based Minwax stain in Colonial Pine and it wasn't until after I finished the first chair that I noticed that it said "not for outdoor use." Hm. So now I guess we'll have to figure out what to put on as a top coat that will make it outdoor-useable. I know that they would weather to a nice gray in theory, but I'm not sure I want them to.
But I like how they turned out. It wasn't too hard to do. I would recommend, however, actually stirring the stain before using it. I neglected to do that. I know, I know, its a surprise, considering how I usually carefully consider things like that before I begin. I did shake it, but stirring would have been the thing to do. I'm a genius. I know.


Friday, June 13, 2008


We have strawberries. Yay! We tried to find a cheaper place to find strawberries this year, but no such luck. We gave in and went to Trax Farms. I was hoping that we could pick some of our own with the little time that we had, but it started pouring down rain just as we arrived. I went ahead and bought some already picked because The Man insisted. He hates picking them.

I bought 17 quarts. Eek. That was ridiculously expensive. I did find some cute ruffled terracotta pots and had to have those as well. I resisted buying any more flowers, though, and that's a feat, since I have a terrible weak spot for flowers! They even had some of the metal planters like we bought for Mom in Springfield and I managed to walk away. Oh, and there's an antique section there as well and I found an all-white embroidered tablecloth with lace that I resisted buying. Such restraint I have!

I spent the afternoon taking the tops off and I froze most of them whole to use later for jam or for making smoothies. I love throwing some whole frozen strawberries in a blender with yogurt and milk and pineapples or bananas or whatever. I'm craving a strawberry rhubarb pie just now. Must have a least one pie, right?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We have patio furniture!

Yay! We finally ordered some patio furniture from Bellacor a week or so ago and it arrived on Tuesday.

There was a standoff at an apartment not far from our house that day and the police had blocked the one exit of 279 because it was so close to the apartment, so traffic on an already ridiculously busy Parkway was very backed up. We didn't have to go anywhere and had to wait to sign for the delivery anyway, but we were starting to think our furniture would have to be delayed as well. Fortunately, the delivery truck driver actually knew where he was going and it did arrive. The standoff ended peacefully, by the way. Its odd to have helicopters hovering around for hours on end though.


I was afraid it wouldn't fit right, since our patio is so small, but its not bad. We had to arrange some things and I don't think I like where The Man put his grill, but whatever. We'll figure it out. Its lovely to have a table and chairs out there though! Nevermind that we don't have a proper one in the house. Its nearly summer. We'll worry about that in the fall.

You can't really see it so well in the picture, but we centered the table between the two windows out there. Now I think its screaming for something on the wall behind. Darn. What to get? I'm thinking some metal wall art (like the scroll in the kitchen) would work. There were some that would have been perfect at the Springfield Antiques Show. Agh. Maybe another time.

Oh, and don't you think the bench should have some cute pillows? Must find something for out there. Too bad these aren't for outdoors.

Image from Pottery Barn

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Finds in the yard

Here's another find in the garden. There are a few of these up in the back of the yard and one growing up in some of our shrubs. The lady next door tells me that it is a mock orange and Mom thought so too. I have no idea, but its pretty.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I love this little guy

This is King Dutch and we are merely his loyal subjects.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Road Trip

A few weeks ago, my Mom & I went out to Ohio to visit my sister. The excuse for going was that there was a Springfield Antiques Show & Extravaganza (a Country Home Antiquing Festival) that weekend and I've been wanting to go. I went to college out there and I had no idea that it was there the whole time. I don't know how I missed that. But I thought it sounded interesting and it would give us an excuse to go on a trip to see my sister.

The show was good. There was a decent amount of people there and I was pleasantly surprised that the prices weren't too bad. There are lots of other antique shops in Springfield, but sometimes they can be pricey. There's plenty of antiquing to do, though.

I bought a few things, and to be honest, would have willingly bought more if we had had enough brains to bring more cash and a pickup. Oh well. Perhaps it was better that we didn't.

A planter that my sister found & we bought for a gift for Mom. I love it!

A little stool for me. Isn't it cute? A whole $10.
I bought this necklace and chain. I liked it,
but I suppose it might very well be from W*lM*rt.

We decided that my sister needing matching flip flops too.

We splurged on pancakes with whipped cream & strawberries.
We found spray batter in a can (like a whipped cream).
What's up with that? I've never seen such a thing before.
It was organic something-or-other from Dorothy Lane Market.


Evie - the softest, most friendly dog ever. I just can't resist kissing her.

I bought this for $6 at Hobby Lobby, which is one of my favorite stores. I miss that store.

Too bad there aren't any in the state of PA! Or maybe that is better.

Anyway, I don't know where to put it, but I love it.

There were a bunch of geese and their chicks around her apartment.

Cute, no?