The Steps and Knitting

Remember all the painting that’s been going on?  I finally got to the steps.  Here is the before, with the lovely green shade:

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And here is the AFTER:

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It may be tough to tell, as it is hard to get the light just right in the stairwell, but they are now black.  The walls just got a fresh coat of White Dove (Benjamin Moore) paint to freshen them up.

Knitting update – I almost finished a scarf for one of my children (shhhh!), as well as a little eyeglass case because my glasses tend to get broken in my purse.  I can’t use a case from the store as those tend to be too big for my bag.

Here is the scarf(fringe to be added):

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Here is the eyeglass case:

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I did not use a pattern for either one.  The scarf is straight knitting and nothing else – easy peasy.  The eyeglass case is a rectangle in stockinette that I just folded over and sewed up two of the edges, leaving the top open.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  We traveled to be with one of our children who lives far away.  It was absolutely wonderful.

Enjoy this wonderful season!

Wendy

 

 

 

Friday with Finn

Happy Friday to you all!  Since it is still brutally cold out, I will share with you a bit more of the indoors at Country Mouse House:

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You see, there is this rather deep green-blue color that runs throughout the house on much of the woodwork.  My vision,(since I can’t strip it down to the bare wood and stain it) is to paint the majority of it White Dove(Benjamin Moore).  The reason I say I can’t strip the paint is that I’m unsure if there is lead paint involved, and I don’t have any way of finding out.  Plus it would be a rather large mess, and I’m trying to remove and prevent as many messes as possible.

The thing is, one coat of primer looks like this:

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It takes several coats before the green-blue color is gone.  Therefore the update is pending….hopefully it will be done before spring, as I have MUCH to do in the garden!  We have some trees to plant, for starters.

May I send you off to your weekend with a smile from our beloved Finn:

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Happy Friday!

Wendy

Renovations

Yes, I have been off the radar a couple of months.  I have been working as a Gardener for a Nature Preserve and Educational Center.  This has been wonderful as I am learning so much about Native plants.  I am spending a lot of time there because there is no end to what needs to be done.  My job puts me in charge of the decorative and educational gardens.  They have a summer day camp there as well, and it is delightful listening to the sounds of children enjoying the great outdoors! (Along with the birds and other wildlife, too…)

Farmer Joel and I are attending a monthly Permaculture class, which has been an amazing experience.  Our final project is to come up with a plan to re-design a local, organic farm.  This is keeping us quite busy.  We have met some very nice people who have so many types of knowledge and expertise.  It is  inspiring – makes me want to take more classes!

We have also been renovating our beloved Country Mouse House.  Here are some things that have changed thus far:

The back of the house with the siding taken off:

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The new extension on  the left side with French-look doors:

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The new extension from the side view with siding and roof – They did such a good job matching everything up:

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There is still much to do, but we are getting there – “Slow and steady wins the race!”

And have a look at the garden:

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Somehow we are managing to grow things in the midst of all the chaos.  The extension is nearing the finish line, but then the kitchen adventure will begin.  I’m very glad we are able to do this.  We are fortunate to have a very good contractor and team of builders.  They are not just skilled, they are polite and tidy, too.

It is another brilliant, sunny day!  Off to the Nature Center I must go to do what I love best- be the caretaker of a small portion of Mother Earth.  I am honored to have this awesome responsibility.

Have a lovely, happy day!

Wendy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Monday

Happy Monday!  If you are in my part of the world, I hope you are warm and cozy.

I thought I would share a bit of closet organization.  When it is this cold, inspiration strikes and I like to work on putting things in order.  I have a bit of costume jewelry and some scarves.  My new closet at our new Town Mouse residence is not nearly as big as my old one, so I have to be clever.

Farmer Joel attached some window screen to the back of an old window frame we found in the barn.  It makes a perfect earring-hanger!  I borrowed this idea from a friend, Pauline, who hand-crafts and sells her very own line of jewelry.  Her company is the “Pearls of Pauline.”  Isn’t that cute?

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See the necklaces to the left and the top of the hanger below?  Here they are a little closer:

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You can find the scarf hanger here.

Just for fun, I thought I’d include a view from my Country Mouse House kitchen window:

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When the sun shines, the chickadees come around chirping and singing.  This is a lilac bush, which a favorite nest-building spot!

Wendy

 

Armoire finished!

Here it is:

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And the side that we had to cover with barn wood:

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Here is the Before:

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And After:

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It provides much-needed storage in a 165-year-old house with one makeshift closet!

I must apologize, dear readers, (if any of you are still out there) for the severe lapse.  In the midst of all the crazy stress of life(particularly acute in the past year), we MOVED!  That’s right.  We are in a different “Town Mouse House.”  It’s an apartment, actually.  It cuts our travel time to “Country Mouse House” literally in half!  We did not plan this – this is the kind of thing we only heard could happen to other people – not us!  A friend of a friend asked if we’d consider selling our house because it was in the right location/school district.  We said we would.  They came and looked, liked what they saw, made an offer, and we accepted.  It happened so fast, I have to admit, I believe I’m still in shock.  Things have a way of working out.  If asked this time last year if we’d have moved, I would have said “definitely NOT!”  But the stars aligned, and we are that much closer to our dream of living in the country full-time.  What lies ahead?  Several projects, including, but not limited to, a kitchen renovation.  Oh boy!  Here we go!

Blessings to all!  We are currently trying to stay warm and dry amidst this Winter Weather.

Wendy

 

 

Armoire Update and Vegan Adventure

I am not finished yet, but that’s because the one door needs some TLC:

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It’s upside down.  That gap at the “top” is really at the bottom.  So…I had some wood cut to (sort of) fit:

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I needed to glue it and clamp it:

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But then, there was a problem.  There was nothing to “grab” it from the back.  See the other door from the inner side:

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(Note the Not-So-Itsy-Bitsy Spider)  There is another piece of wood on this side, as you can see, held in place with those little flat brackets in the corners.  So far, I only have the back piece glued.  I will install the little brackets next go-around.  But, in order to get the wood to the right size, I had to saw it a little:

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It took awhile to figure out the best way to rig it so I could cut it evenly.  But I finally did it!

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That cute little saw was all I needed!

Here is what it looks like from the back all glued and clamped:

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I found this rusty old hook which I plan to clean up and paint to use just inside the door:

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It’s amazing what lurks underneath the dirt on a barn floor!  I am really looking forward to getting to the end of this project!  I picked the paint color – “Grey Timber Wolf” by Benjamin Moore Paint.

Meanwhile, another Vegan Adventure:

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This was an intense salad made with home-grown beets, asparagus, and chock full of other good things.  The recipe is in the book from my previous post, “Delicious and Nutritious.”

Have a delicious and nutritious day!

Wendy

 

Time to Get Busy

Country Mouse House, since it was built in the year 1850, has precious little closet space.  The one bedroom, which has been claimed as the “Master,” has a small closet, but we need a bit more storage to accommodate both my and Farmer Joel’s needs.  Enter Lisa, who suggested we get a small armoire to fit a niche just inside the entry to the room.  It measures about 83″ high by 35″ wide by 20″ deep.

Adventure time!  Joel and I first looked in the barn, only to come up with nothing.  Pie safes, trunks, etc. were just not quite fitting the bill.  So…we took a trip to one of the local antique stores, to find the right-sized armoire, but it was sitting under a leaky roof(and it happened to be raining, so we saw the damage before our very eyes!)  PLUS, a whopping price tag of $595.00!!!  Ouch!  Sorry, but no thanks!

Next stop was one of my favorite shops, “Charming But Cheap.”  I explored the numerous display areas and found the perfect thing!  It was in a few pieces, but the price tag of $30.00 couldn’t be beat.

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See the one door is off to the left?  It also needed a rod, so they threw in a broom handle, which fit perfectly.  The yellow bowl on the floor there contains a rag in a solution of Murphy’s soap and water.  Here is another view(by the way, this is also the interior of our Quonset hut):

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Now, one side is pretty warped.

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I decided to have Joel cut a couple of pieces of barn wood to cover that up.

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Once all this is completed, I hope to give it a fresh coat of paint, and add a little hook inside.  Look at the hook I found:

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The hook was just lying on the floor of the barn.  Of course, it needs some elbow grease to get the rust off.  Then I hope to paint it and place it in the side on which to hang up my robe, or Joel’s, depending on who gets the closet and who gets the armoire.  My wheels are turning – I’m thinking of a little bit of cedar on the inside…..hmmmm….

When it’s all done, I will let you see how it looks!  A true work in progress.

Are your wheels turning?

Wendy

Appetizing Harvest

Happy Day after Labor Day!  Over the weekend, we were invited to our dear friends’, Lisa and John’s house.  Remember Lisa’s garden?  Well, as usual, they made a fabulous meal, and I contributed an appetizer from my bounty.  It was a bit of a twist on the tomato-mozzarella-basil recipe that continues to be popular, especially this time of year:

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For the photo, I displayed this on a Depression Glass dish.  (I think Depression glass is so pretty)  Can you find the “secret” ingredient?  Well, look at the bottom layer.  That is a small piece of one of my mammoth zucchinis.  (I keep finding ways to use it out of necessity)  Next, of course, is the traditional basil leaf, then small mozzarella ball, then a half of a Sun sugar cherry tomato.

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I used kale, parsley, and those delightfully Purple String BeansCIMG2467as garnish for the platter.

Here is another view from the top:

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Now for an update!  Remember the little stair banister I was getting ready to paint?  Here it is all finished!

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And since everybody loves a before and after:

BEFORE

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AFTER:

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It looks OH SO MUCH BETTER!  YAY!

What projects are you setting out to accomplish?  Have you completed anything?

Wendy

Thurz Day

I keep missing “Wenz Day”…..Yes, things are still going at breakneck speed here. But alas, I thought I would give a bit of an update.

I am in the never-ending process of decluttering the Town Mouse House. We have been here for 17+ years, and oh, how the stuff grows! A friend once told me, “….like a fungus.” And now, with the addition of items from my Mom’s place, well, it has reached exponential proportions. (at least in my mind – of course, those who know me and have seen my house have been kindly disagreeing with that last statement)

The problem with clutter is that it can really slow life down, or even bring it to a grinding halt. There are sooooo many books available that discuss “How To” get rid of clutter. The basic steps are the same – get out your boxes, bags and bins and sort stuff to:

1-Keep
2-Donate to a worthy cause
3-Throw into the garbage
4-Return to the person/people/library you borrowed from
5-Have children/family members look at items before donating or disposing

Those steps are not Rocket Science. It is the motivation to start that can be the worst. I think that, for me, if I know there will be a “reward” in sight, that helps. Also, feeling pressed for time – plan to have people over on such-and-such date, for example – can get the motivation going as well.

Since it is nearly Fall, many people get the itch to clean out their dwellings, and it makes perfect sense. At one time, “Spring Cleaning” was thought to be the way to go, due in large part to the soot on the walls from winter that needed to be scrubbed back in the old days. Now, with modern heating systems, that task is rarely necessary, so Autumn is the new Spring! Hahaha….

Well, I must overcome my procrastination – make this a Productivity Day! I have my dear friend, Dianne, coming over to help me. We have worked together over the years in numerous ways. She is a gifted and talented Designer/Decorator/Organizer/Home Stager/Manager/Musician/Singer.(the list goes on and on) She also happens to be one of the kindest people on the planet, so I’m feeling pretty lucky right about now.

At any rate, have a look at some of my plants and flowers – these were taken somewhat recently, and have almost finished blooming –

Black-eyed Susan, Hydrangea, and Mint

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Don’t just sit there!  Go get rid of a few things from your closet!  Minimum of 5 items!

Have a clutter-free day!

Wendy

Before Wenz Day is over…

DIY in progress at Town Mouse House – I am trying to give our Laundry/Mud Room a face lift.  Stage One is underway.  I am painting the stair railing.  What?  Paint wood?  YES!  It must coordinate with the wrought iron railing in the front part of the house, which is black and white(pardon the sneakers):

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Now the wood railing(this is what it looks like on wash day):

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Won’t that look better with a fresh coat of paint?  Here it is with a coat of primer:

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The other things to do in here include painting the walls and trim and devising a better system for organization.

To be continued….

As a bonus, here is this year’s picture of the gorgeous waterfall up by Country Mouse House:

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Hope you are having a lovely summer and getting a few projects done!

Wendy