Monday, March 31, 2008


I've been enjoying the plants and trees come to life. The aromas are amazing! We have cherry trees lining the street in front of our home. They are almost done. I enjoy the moment so much, I forget to get the camera out. Over the weekend we had sun, sleet, rain , and snow! The first for this late in the year in western Oregon 57 years. So I stayed indoors and made a little for-get-me-not garden.
I will add this garden to the front of a little romper and put it in my etsy store. I'll show you when it's ready.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Love for Stoneware

I have a love for stoneware. I've collected quite a bit over the years, old and new. These two bowls are from Gerry's grandmother. All have a story to tell. Some were machine made, others were handmade on a wheel or slab. Some were massed produced for people who could not afford "fine china". Stoneware or ceramic dishes were in use all over America. They were and to this day, "hard working" dishes.
Many are hand made, one of a kind. My collection is varied. Any kind of bowl, pitcher, or dish is included. It just has something that intrigues me. It might be the variance in color, a unique shape, or texture in the glaze.
All are useful. Each piece has been used many times in our home. They are used daily. The large pieces used to be on the table every night. With eight children, the size was perfect for the large amount of food put on the table. Now they are used mostly for our large family gatherings.
Stoneware holds the heat wonderfully, or when chilled first will keep food cold. Some is light weight and very finely made. Most are heavy and thick.
Hand made pieces are my favorite. Each piece is individual. The way the glaze flowed on the bisque. The beginning swirl at the center of each hand thrown piece. The roll of the finished edge. The slight unevenness of the slab pieces.

The "hand print" of each artisan is on each piece. The perfection of years of experience, the charm of the first piece. Imagine a lump of clay in someones hands. Each time they make a piece, it's "new" again. The joy of exploring what your hands can create, be it something new or the skill of matching a piece.

It's history old and new. It tells the story of our home as each piece has been collected or made and used.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More Corners

Here are a few corners of my home.
A book of poetry and a dictionary. Both were purchased in the early 1900's by my grandparents. I've been fortunate to inherit quite a few old books. The colors and texture are wonderful. The difference in manner of speech and written word between then and now is very marked.
Sometimes I cross stitch old reproduction samplers. The doll is from my childhood. The purse was my grandmother's.

Gerry and I built this cupboard from 100 + year old boards we saved when redoing our porch.
I have a small collection of red transfer wear.
I also collect different kinds of lanterns and have them scattered throughout the house.
Sometimes we turn off all the lights and have the candles and lanterns burning. After a trying day the soft light creates a mellow mood and helps us unwind.
Hope you enjoy seeing a few corners of my home.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ribbons, Buttons, and Trim

I love places like this. One of a kind places. They are small, have unique items and lots of personality. Service is great. They usually have a passion for their product, and give knowledgeable tips in using their product.
Sorry about the reflection the window. I wanted
you to see what kind of place this is.
The Button Emporium & Ribbonry
is amazing! I think I could spend all day looking at everything. It's a long drive from my home,
so it's a treat when I get to go. I can't think of what they don't have. From all the usual to the
one of a kind vintage.

So much eye candy!

There are racks and racks of different kinds of trim. Here are a few beaded trims.

They have examples of what you can do with ribbon, like make many different kinds of flowers. I'd love to see these in my garden.

And more.

This case is full of vintage.

They have feathers, braids, and buckles.
This Is the back of a vintage dress. Why didn't I take a picture of the whole dress? I don't know....I was so amazed at the crocheted button cover, and the handmade pin tucks. They are so perfect!

Then the buttons. The many, many buttons. Every shape and size.
I know I sound like an ad for this place, but The Ribbon Emporium is truly amazing, go visit.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Beds for the Garden

Gardening is a commitment.
I spend a lot of my time in the garden,
mostly in the spring, summer, and fall.
In the winter, I leave most of the
seed heads and don't trim things back
too much, to let the birds
and little animals have food and shelter.
I've tried to garden organically.
This is a hard decision when
the morning glory is shooting up everywhere.
In the Northwest, morning glory
is extremely invasive. More than blackberry.
I grow many herbs in the garden, along with other flowering plants. I use the herbs in cooking and medicinally. Herbs are also a deterrent to many pest. I have several large rosemary throughout the garden. The aroma is wonderful! I use rosemary in cooking, oils, and vinegars. This plant has already grown a lot this spring and is blooming.
When we first moved to this house, Gerry built raised beds out of old barn wood. We loved the look of them. Now they are getting old and are falling apart. Last fall we were talking about what material to use to redo the beds.
Along with being organic, we try to use recycled materials. A friend was remodeling, and taking out his fireplace. He asked if we wanted the bricks. We thought "perfect", for the raised beds. So they have been setting is this pile all winter, weathering, waiting for me to clean them up.

They have a bit of mortar on them. So instead of cleaning each one and stacking them. I'm cleaning as I go, so I'm not hauling them around twice.
I don't think I'll have enough to do all of the beds. We will just continue to be creative. Right now I'm just setting them in place. When I've used them all, I'll go back and mortar them into place.
So while the sun is shining for a while today, I better get out there, because I still need to get more garden dirt, plants, many things to do in the garden in the spring, I love it!

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Top For Summer

With the little patches of sunshine,
and spring flowers,
I thought I might need
some new tops for the
warmer weather that is
just around the corner.
So was dug through my fabric stash,
(are fabric stashes wonderful?)
and found this knit fabric.
It's light weight knit,
and has rayon embroidered lines,
with shiny reflective tear drops
sewn into the embroidery.

I used Simplicity 3790 pattern. The cut out and sewing time was a little over an hour. So it's an easy top and a fast project. I think it will be comfortable and fun to wear this summer.
The color reminds me of tulip and roses.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Little Shift

I had been putting this project
off for quite a while. Last night,
was the night for the updating
of this wall hanging.
Not a big change, just a shift.
I first put this together in the 1980's.
The background is brown valor.
It has worn well in the last 25+ years,
but something new is needed.
The frame is from my great grandfather.
He was a hobby painter.
Sadly, most of his paintings were stored
in a musty basement and didn't survive.
The frames are worn, but are still lovely and have
many stories to tell.
The doily is from the other side of the family,
made by my great grandmother.
I love having pieces of family history in my home.
As you can see the brown fabric is old and sagging. I've almost waited long enough to where the brown is a trend again. But this needs to change.
We are fortunate to have picture molding around each room of the house. Most Of our wall decor is hanging by covered wires from hooks, hanging from the molding.
I lifted the covered wire off the hook, and pried the wood backing off the frame.
The new fabric is a red almost burgundy poly, that has a crunched texture. I have lots of dark red accents through out the house.

I laid out the new fabric and cut it to the right size. I had thin batting fused to the board and left it there. Then fused the red fabric to the batting. Then laid the doily on the red fabric. I had a choice on how to attach the doily. I could hand stitch it on, which is the "proper " way. What I did: I cut slivers of heat and bond and lightly fused the doily to the red fabric. The heat and bond will peel off when heat is applied, if I want to change again.

Ta-DA, here is is, all finished and hanging back on the wall.

Look at all the little crochet stitches. So much patience and skill. I can imagine my great grandmother, sitting at night in her pallor crocheting is the gas light, talking quietly with her family about the days work, and what would be done the next day.

Now it is a memory, honoring family who lived before. People who lived without the conveniences we have now, worked hard on their farms, and surrounded themselves with beauty and art. I'm honored to have pieces of their lives passed to me, and treasure them.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring Changes

We are all cheering with the beginning of spring. The daffodils seem to be the universal herald of the season. Spring is understood to be a season of change, the beginning of new life. There is death in change. The death of old plants. The death of seeds, to transform into the sprouts of new life. Sometimes, there is death in other areas of our lives. We move on to a new time or phase in our life, allowing for growth, many times unimagined. We have ideas that die, allowing for the birth of new ideas. In the front garden I have had a dozen lavender plants in years past. I loved the scent wafting into the house. As I walked by I would rub my hands over the fat spikes and foliage, releasing more scent into the air and perfuming myself in the process. Last fall I had to say goodbye to the lavender. The trees by the road had grown too big, shading the lavender. They were unhappy, and struggled to grow and produce a few blossom spikes. I removed the plants and covered the beds with the fallen leaves from the maple trees. Now the beds are ready for top garden soil and new plants more suited to the partial shade. I'm still trying to decide what plants I want. I'm having a hard time imagining something new there. The birds, bees, and butterflies have been use to visiting, gathering nectar from the plants and drinking from the water. A new garden plan is slowly sprouting in my mind. It is taking more work than a real physical garden. As I try to work through this process patiently, I'll focus on some other plants that usually don't get as much of my attention.

The Violets are abundant this year. They are small, almost hidden in the growing grass. They are not as splashy as the daffodils and some other spring flowers. They have a delicate sweet smell and taste. Now is the time to harvest the blossoms to keep their sweet goodness all year long. Here are some ideas on how to use them.
  • They are beautiful pressed. Use them on cards or stationary.
  • They are edible. They can be used in salads, or sugar them and use them on cakes.
  • Violets are good for your heart, they are calming for stress, supporting the nervous system. Add them to your tea.
  • They can be made into a syrup for respiratory problems.
  • Add them to salts for your bath for skin conditions.
  • Infuse them into vodka to use as a mixer.
The season for violets in not long, making way for more spring plants. As each plant gives it's life, use them, embrace the process of change, joyfully growing.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bathroom Repairs

I knew this day was coming. You know how it is. One day you notice that the drain is a little slow. The next day a little slower. One day the water starts backing up in the sink. Will, I couldn't put it off any more. It was time to act. My time as Polly Plumber had arrived.
At least there wasn't a lot of "brown" water backed up. Just a trap full of hair all tangled up into a huge ball of yuk. I'm glad for PVC pipe that is easy to take apart and put back together.
All done. Water running freely now. It just takes a few moments. Why did I wait so long? Mmmmm..... don't answer.
While I'm here, I'll show you the bathroom.

This is the sink the I just fixed. We found an old shabby table, cut a hole, and dropped the sink in. There is plenty of room on the table to set things. The table is as we found it except for the stenciling around the edges.The stenciling on the table matches the stenciling around the ceiling. Both table and mirror were found at a flea market.
I love the old claw foot tub! We all take our turn soaking. My 17 years old just took a 2 hour soak after last nights track meet. The tub is original to the house. The wainscoting around the tub is a little shabby from over 100 years of water and soap splashing on it. I believe it wears it's misuse well. We added shaker pegs to hang candles, towels, and whatever one would want within reach when in the tub. The small bench is handy for holding a book and cup of cocoa.
Many times, when soaking after a long day working in the garden, I'll light the oil lamps and candles placed around the room. There is a warm cozy glow reflecting off the marionberry colored walls.
The old coke crate sits atop the toilet, holding little nick knacks and a tin of soap.
An old wash tub sits on a cupboard full of bathroom necessities.
The room has changed very little from when the house was built is 1892. So when life seems like it's going too fast, I just come in here, run some water, and enjoy the feeling of when life was slower, and renew my energy with reflection.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Anniversary Weekend

Oregon Coast U. S. 101, one of the loveliest roads to travel. There are the very tourist towns, the very unique, and the depressed areas trying to catch up.

Most of the time, the coastline holds our attention.

The road winds around huge rocks, and cliffs at the edge of the ocean.

We decide to stop at Twin Rocks. The beach is wide and streaches for miles north and south.
Gerry always finds a walking stick first.

Then we find a place for a fire.

We walk the beach and marvel at this wonderful creation.

Then we sit and talk about where we have been and where our future will lead, and watch the waves roll in. The weather was nice, but not warm enough to bring the crowds to play in the water.
At the close of the day we found a Italian Restaurant in Wheeler, and ate wonderful pasta by candlelight. It has been 21 years of marriage. Our life has been very full. We have eight wonderful children. We have weathered various health issues from major back injuries to brain tumors. Completing post-graduate degrees, and starting businesses. Life's ups and downs, pain, sorrow, and great joy. So on this twenty first anniversary I say "I am blessed", and "God is faithful." I am looking forward to the next twenty or thirty.