If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Happy Birthday, Lydia!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mother's Day Message

The hardest job I ever took on in my lifetime has been mothering.  It is truly a learn-as-you-go sort of gig and one that provides loads of opportunities for mistakes. 

I am grateful for the opportunity and the good fortune that my children turned out well in spite of me!

It is humbling because I have always tried to get it right and always strove to do my best.  I quickly learned that just because they look so much alike, that does not mean you do things the same way to meet their needs.

It is a job that requires tenacity and patience.  It is a job that brings frustration because I didn't really know what I was doing at times and it provides boundless rewards even when I STILL don't know what I am doing.

I loved mothering (and I guess I still do) - the early part where we were getting to know one another and I learned to meet their needs.  I loved the part where I was nurturing and guiding, and teaching.  I loved the stage where we became collaborators working jointly to achieve a shared goal.  Now, I love the stage where I am the sounding board and supporter.  Through it all, we mothers are called upon to prop up our children at times, cheer them on at times, be the voice of reason, and offer them a haven and I've loved those opportunities as well.

Now, I get to watch from the sidelines as my children and bonus children are parenting and see my grandchildren's mothers attend to the hardest parts of the job.  I often pass along words of wisdom that I find in blog posts or on infographics and posters.  I pass along words of encouragement and lift up prayers for them and my grandchildren.  I stand on the sidelines to support them when they call upon me - which is not very often.  I stand on the sidelines as a listener and encourager.  I stand on the sidelines and enjoy the view. 

I am truly thankful for the many blessings of motherhood.  I hope your day is filled with blessings and experiences of all the mothers touching your life.

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Kitchen Updates

From the first moment I walked into our house, I knew that I wanted to do some updating and make-overing - especially in the kitchen!  I began gathering and pinning inspirational ideas and keeping hard-copy magazine photos to provide me with ideas and guidance.  Below are some of the ideas that I have dubbed as my favorites for a place to start - my kitchen island.

Do you see a theme developing?  I landed on a couple of ideas and began to think and ponder and plan.  Now, let's take a look at where we started.  This was the look of the kitchen the first time I walked in the door.  Get ready!

I knew that this wonderful space had potential.  I knew that It would take some time and money.  I knew that I was going to have to take this at a turtle's pace.  Slow and steady.

So, I started by just covering up all that fruit.  ALL.  THAT.  FRUIT!  Paint is a wonderful transformer and is relatively inexpensive.  So, I started with a simple couple of gallons of paint.  I chose a light yellow color because I liked the color found in the rocks of the fireplace.  It was a bit of sunshine and that is exactly what this place needed!

Mike liked using the island as a place for us to eat since there are just the two of us and it was closer to the fridge and stove than the table which sits across the room.  I'm one who likes to sit across from my dining partner because I think it leans toward conversation better.  We lived with that for a few years.  Then, I moved my old kitchen table into this kitchen for when one or two of the grands stays with us and we still ate informally at the island and the table.

Last year I got the wild idea to turn the island around where the drawers faced the oven and Mike and I began sitting at the table where we were facing one another.  That made me much happier.  Then, I got to thinking about the overhang on the island and how it was wide enough to cover a bookcase.  So, my search for inspiration was amped up a bit.

I did some thinking and figuring and decided that I could tackle adding a bookcase to the island on my own.  I mapped out a plan with a couple pieces of inexpensive pine shelving, some trim, and a piece of bead board paneling.  So, I measured things out and talked it out with Mike and headed off to the local big box building supply store - Home Depot.  I also bit the bullet and ordered a long piece of butcher block counter top and that ugly green counter top was on it's way out.  Yahoo!  I met up with a couple of guys who did the cutting of my wood pieces for me and headed home on a Friday afternoon.

The next morning I trucked down to the local Ace Hardware store.  The guys there mixed me up a couple of quarts of Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore.  When I got home, I gave everything I thought I was going to use a couple of coats of paint.  I immediately fell in love with that deep, rich, navy color.

After a couple of days to allow the paint to dry thoroughly, I pulled out my drill and began to add a few screws to my painted pieces and joined things together.  I wanted it to be simple but really wanted the bead board detail like I envied in Marion Parsons' butler's pantry and Ann Drake's island.  I think that little detail really makes a difference - and it cost no more because of the size of the bead board sheet. Win!  Win!
I used a piece of 1 x 2" to make the shelf supports and put them on either end of the shelving and along the back on the bead board.  So, the shelves are quite stable and shouldn't sag even with lots of cookbooks on them.  My initial plan was to add baseboard around the bottom but Mike didn't seem to like that idea.  So, I bumped the bottom shelf up a bit so that Rosie, our robotic vacuum can easily slide under there to clean up the crumbs and dirt.

I bought a nice beaded trim to cover the shelf supports and to beef up the front side of the shelves as well.  Again, a little detail that isn't really needed but I think it certainly finished things off and made it look more polished.

Since I had planned to use baseboard, I had planned to hide the bottom shelf edge behind it.  So, at the last minute, Stephen, my bonus son, cut a piece of the left-over trim to face that shelf to match the top one.  He wanted to give me time to paint it before he used his little micro-nailer to attach it but I convinced him that I could paint the little bits of trim after he attached it and wap, wap, wap he did!  I was kind of amazed at the size of those little nails he used.  I think they are about the same fine guage as insulin needles!  T-I-N-Y!

Mike has a friend who works in his son's cabinet shop.  So, he asked DeDe to come get the counter top and cut it to size.  He was generous enough to do that and to sand the edge smooth as well.  So, Stephen muscled the piece we needed in and crawled into the cabinet with his drill and attached it with a couple of screws.  Voila!  A beautiful transformation!

I did a bit of touch-up painting.  Then, used some Howard Cutting Board Oil to begin water-proofing the top.  I used three generous coats of the oil and it was soaked up like the wood was a sponge.  I also just swooned at the way it brought out the beauty of the wood.  Next, I added three coats of Howard Butcher Block Conditioner.  

I painted the base part of the cabinet where the drawers and doors are and the drawer fronts right away.  However, I waited a couple of days to paint the doors where I could take them outside and have plenty of space for them to lay out flat.  My plan was to use a foam roller and brush on the doors so that there would be no brush strokes that showed.  However, it still seemed to look a bit streaky when I painted the grooved areas and the raised outside edges of the paneled doors.  So, I decided that I'd rather see brush strokes than have a streaky mess, too. 

At this stage I was so excited and loved the new look of our island!  The shelves were beautiful with that bead board back and beaded front trim.  I caught myself just wandering into the kitchen to smile and admire it!

A close-up look shows just how beautiful and rich that deep color and trim and bead board truly is.

I added some of my cookbooks and some pretties to dress it up a bit.  I'm not certain that all of this will stay that way but it works for now.  Probably when I have time this summer, I will do some adjusting and add a few more of my cookbooks.

On the back side - the side facing the oven, I added the same white porcelain knobs back.  I'm not certain that will stay but, for now, I like the clean, simple look.

One more look at that bead board and shelves and trim.

An over all look with my galvanized tray to corral a few regularly needed items.  I will add another coat of the conditioner sometime this week and then, again each week for a while.  After a while, I will simply need to add a coat about once per month and it will be water resistant.

And here is our everyday look.  Comfy and cozy.  A true farmhouse kitchen because, after all, we do live on a farm!

P.S. I already have a project in mind for the next step.  And, I may or may not even have a couple of boxes stacked in the back bedroom.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Happy Anniversary!

From here - 

How did all this happen?

Hope your day is as full of smiles and sunshine as it was all those years ago!  Happy Anniversary!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Chair Refresh

I thought burlap was a rugged fabric that would serve well on the chairs Mike and I use daily for dining.  When I picked up these chairs last year, I was thrilled with how the burlap seemed more fitting for a farmhouse kitchen and thought it would serve us well.

Now, less than a year later, this is how they look.

Mike's chair started showing wear at around Christmas and the burlap has just continually become more threadbare till there are big holes appearing.

My chair didn't start showing the wear as quickly but once it did show a bit of wear, the holes quickly followed. 

So, I decided that spring break would provide me plenty of time to give them a little attention.  I mulled over what type fabric I wanted to use because I don't see a need to use burlap again if it is going to wear out so quickly.  I considered getting a linen or using a drop cloth.  I also considered using a floral that I used to line the shades in the kitchen.  However, I liked the quiet neutral quality of the burlap and wanted something similar to it. 

Then, one day I remembered that I had a remnant of fabric I had picked up a few years back at Sirs.  (Gosh, I miss that place!)  I thought it was enough to do at least the three chairs that don't have arms which we use in the kitchen.  I brought it out and draped it across one of the chairs and decided it might work. 

With the bright sunshine calling me yesterday, I jumped into my chair updating project.  I thought I'd get that knocked out in less than an hour.  Boy!  Was I ever wrong!  I had forgotten that the hard part of covering furniture is removing the old cover. 

I had to study the under side of my chairs a bit because I knew that it was just a matter of removing a few screws to get the seat off.  However, I never dreamt that the screws would be really long like they were.  I finally became pretty certain of which screws were holding the braces to the chair frame and which might be the best candidate for holding the seat on and gave it a go.  The seat came off quickly and easily.  Then, it was time to remove the staples that were holding the burlap on.  All.  Those.  Staples!

I got a screwdriver and began prying them up and pulling them out with pliers.  My goodness, that is a job!  Eventually, I got them all removed.  I think I could have just tugged at the burlap and most of it would have come off without removing the staples but I wanted a clean surface before I reapplied a new cover.  So, they all had to come out.  The original tan cover was still intact on the cushion showing all its sadness.  There were stains galore there but it made for a good base cover to protect the padding and I decided to leave it there just like the upholstery person before me had done.

I laid the burlap out onto my fabric and cut a large enough square to cover my chair seat.  Then, my trusty manual staple gun and I went to work stretching the new fabric and attaching it with staples.  I do not have the strength I once did when I wrestled with cows or tossed hay bales around.  So, I had to also hammer each of the staples down into the plywood seat to make certain they were snug and strongly holding the fabric in place. 

I'm pleased with my finished product and my updated chairs.  They are still casual and quiet in a room filled with chairs and I like that.  I also like the freshness that the new fabric covering brings.  My stiff arthritic hands certainly hope these covers last longer than a year!