Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Living Room-Finished!

I flew through this project.  In just 5 days, I finished painting what I think was the world's ugliest living room.  In retrospect, the timing for this project was not fabulous, because I have been busy and gone so much of June, but the living room is so lovely now that I'm starting to forget the hassle and stress of repainting.

It took me forever to find the right color because the living room is dark with few windows and I kept choosing shades that were just too dark.  Then I came across a picture of a dark hallway painted with Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl and I instantly fell in love.  After waffling between trim colors (always the hardest part for me), I ended up going with Benjamin Moore's Cotton Balls.  It's the perfect color to go with the gray in a dark room.  It's got plenty of pure white to draw in lots of light, but it's got enough cream in it to keep from making the room look too stark.  Every time I walk into the living room now, I take a deep breath.  It is so soothing and relaxed.  But enough about it, see for yourself!

Deliberating on colors....

The chaos (and inconvenience) of a covered up, taped-off living room.
The amount of paint it took to cover this whole living room.
Cottonballs on left; Gray Owl on right
A lovely corner.

White and gray.

These pictures are from right after I finished.  I took a whole bunch of pictures
today and then realized my memory card wasn't fully in and so I
have no pictures of the rug and the other side of the room (which wasn't finished).

So tada!  There it is!  I can't believe the difference it's made on the whole house having these two rooms painted.  However, I'm definitely done with painting for the summer.  I always forget how much time and effort it takes.  Tell me, have you been working on any house projects recently?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Complete!

The dining room is finished!  After weeks of slogging through coat after coat of primer and, finally, paint and then cleaning the floor (I did not do a good floor covering job), I was done!  I have to admit, after finishing this room, I want to work on the even uglier living room.  Hoorah for finished projects and new projects to come!

Remember, this is what I started with.





Finished!

And that is the dining room project finished!  I'm still contemplating pictures and a few other things, but for the most part, I'm done!  Now on to that living room.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Re-Creations

One of my many projects recently has been fixing up the dining room.  I'm conflicted about what to call this project.  "Renovating" or "remodeling" sounds far too serious and like it should involve load-bearing walls and ripping-back-to-studs.  "Re-decorating" or "re-doing", on the other hand don't sound serious enough. After pondering this as I ripped out the light socket covers, I hit upon a name-Re-Creations.  This is a reference to a lovely book that I read many years ago and am currently re-reading, called Re-Creations.  It was written in the 1920s by the mildly well-known Christian author, Grace Livingston Hill.  Now, normally, I gag and read no further than page 1 with Grace Livingston Hill books.  She is smarmier than any author I've ever met, endlessly preaches, and writes unbelievable characters.  But, if you write as many books as she did (197, according to Good Reads), you have to hit on at least one successful story idea.  And Re-Creations was that lucky book.
The dining room, before any kind of fixing-up.  Note the chandelier and the stencils.


"Paint, white paint, had done a great deal toward making another place of the dreary little house.  The kitchen was spotless white enamel everywhere, and enough old marble slabs had been discovered to cover the kitchen table and the top of the kitchen dresser, and to put up shelves around the sink and under the windows...."-From Re-Creations, Chapter 12

The previous owner of our house was into stencils in a big way.  Squiggles and hearts, pineapples and flowers and every other stencil image you can imagine.  She put them around the living room wainscoting and the bathroom ledges, the dining room ceiling, and the entry-way.  She also adored eccentric lighting and the chandelier in the dining room was, I thought, truly awful.  Unfortunately, it all just became part of the scenery and we never really bothered to mess with it.  However, as I stood in the dining room one beautiful spring day, I realized that I was in the mood to do some house fixing up.  So, I went to the little local hardware store and got this lovely paint color from Benjamin Moore and a snowy white trim color and started painting.  It will be subtle and fresh, and much better than whatever was there before.
This is an awful picture, but it's fitting, because the chandelier is awful.

"The dining room had gradually become a place of rest and refreshment for the eyes as well as the palate.  Soft green was the prevailing color of furniture and floor, with an old grass rug scrubbed back to almost its original color....The curtains were white with a green border of stenciling.  The dingy old paper had been scraped from the walls, which had been painted with many coats of white; and a gay green border had been stenciled at the ceiling."-Re-Creations, Chapter 12

In the story of Re-Creations, Cornelia is a young college girl, whose family calls her home urgently because their family is falling apart.  Her mother is in the hospital, father is close to a breakdown, and the children are generally going to rack and ruin.  So Cornelia steps in to the dingy little apartment in the bad part of the city that her parents purchased and moved into without telling her (without telling her?? This part was unbelievable, to me) and begins to put the house to rights.  Since she was studying interior decorating at school, one of her first jobs is to redecorate the house, the proceedings of which are described in lovely detail.
After mudding and a coat of primer.

 "Cornelia awoke with a great zeal for work upon her....The set [bedroom set] in her mother's rom was a cheap one; and that she would paint gray with decorations of little pink buds and trailing vines.  The set in her own room should be ivory-white with sepia shadows....Cheap felt-paper of pale gray or pearl or cream for the bedrooms, and corn-color for the living room...And Carey's room should be painted white, walls and ceiling and all.  She would set him at it as soon as he finished the fireplace, and then she would stencil little birds... around the top of the walls for a border, in the same blue as the curtains...and an unbleached muslin bedspread and pillow roll also stenciled in blue."-Re-Creations Chapter 10

Cornelia, like our previous owner, adored stencils.  And, if I had 1920s stencils around the wall (and bluebirds...can you think of a more charming stencil?  1920s eggshell blue bluebirds), I probably wouldn't have been as hung-ho to prime over them as I was over some hideous 1980s stencils.  Oh, and the trim color currently in the dining room?  This bizarre brown with a lot of yellow and green in it.  Not mustard per se, but definitely headed in that direction.
The window and painted-shut door.  I'm not looking forward to all the prying
taping I'm going to have to do.


I'm in the mudding/priming stage right now.  Yesterday was day one and I spent all afternoon mudding over the drywall piece that had been added to move a door and over the cracks that have developed in the plaster of our old farmhouse.  I've added a heavy coat of primer and today I plan to add more, as well as sand and probably re-apply more mud.  So far, the process is gloriously fun and I'm looking forward to having a pretty dining room.

I love this final quote from Re-Creations:

"The first evening it was all complete the family just sat down and enjoyed themselves in it, talking over each achievement of cushion of curtain or wall as a great connoisseur might have looked over his newly acquired collection and gloated over each specimen with delight."-Re-Creations, Chapter 12.

Reading Re-Creations makes me want to get to work on the dining roomwith an even greater zeal.  I well know that feeling of satisfaction after the completion of a home re-creations spurt and I can't wait to have that with this dining room.  When it's all painted, I'll be sure to post pictures!  Oh, and, if you can get your hands on a copy, read Re-Creations.  It's a lovely book.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Happenings

Finally!  I have the time to devote my attention to my poor abandoned blog.  I have reached the end of my hours of working day and night and am back to a lovely, calm schedule.  Almost the beginning of a summer break.  When I got home yesterday afternoon, I determined that I would begin at once working on all of the projects I've been meaning to.  First, I got my camera out and took copious pictures of pretty much everything and everybody that would stand still long enough.  I've been taking gloriously long runs, performing all kinds of cooking experiments, and reading all those books that have been sitting on my living room side tables for months.

Here are a few pictures of what's been going on around here:

This year's piggies.  Photo Credit: No idea. Whoever was holding my camera at the moment.
Another thing I did: Go to the greenhouse down the road
and stock up on various pretty flowers.

One of the lovely Lantana plants I got at the greenhouse.
This variety is called Evita Red, which means that, every
time I walk past these plants, I get to belt Don't Cry for Me Argentina.
While I was moseying around with my camera, Grouchy Kitty walked up.  Grouchy Kitty is one of our many barn cats.  Her name has nothing to do with the made-famous-by-memes Grumpy Cat.  Actually, her name came before that famous cat, I think.  She was just a generally grouchy cat who didn't like other people.  But, over time, she started to become a people cat.  However, bless her heart, she has a very disgusted look on her face at all times.  Those who are her friends understand that she really is a very kindly soul who has unfortunate looks.  In all seriousness, we think she has some Persian in her blood.

Tomorrow, I've got another chatty post in the works.  It turns out that I had all kinds of posts churning around my head, so I'm excited to start regular posting again.

Monday, April 20, 2015

After the Rain

After it came tumbling down
in fat, wet drops that made us sprint for the barn,
the rain stopped.





And we walked outside to see
the most beautiful rainbow 
arching across the pitch black sky.

Then I blinked, and it was gone,
leaving in its wake a sky,
turning blue with puffy clouds.



And the only signs that it had rained
were the rushing of the gutters
and the puddles on the soaked grass,

the muddy, wet feet,
the patch of sky in the puddle,
and the buzzard in the tree, drying his wings.

(This was a late afternoon poetry inspiration that came to me as I walked to the chickens.  A surprisingly unexpected post idea for me.  I think the beautiful day went to my head.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How I'm Writing These Days

Recently, I've undergone a bit of a blogging shift.  It all started when I read this article.  I instantly went back to the hours spent on handwriting books, my crooked 3rd grader cursive, the blister on my third finger from writing too much.
The handwriting method I learned.  I can't
believe how many memories it brings up looking at that book!

My handwriting through the years has become a pretty illegible scrawl.  It's kinda cursive-kinda print and to the point where it's almost a code that only I can read.  But somewhere in the back of my brain is the memory of how to write that neat, swirly cursive, mixed with some calligraphy that I learned years ago.  And so I've been writing in cursive like crazy.  All of my blog posts are written out by hand on a nice notepad now and I take satisfaction in the pages of posts and post ideas which are on paper.

The other reason that I really wanted to get back into remembering those early cursive days is that I've been reading that people have lost their ability to read the letters and other primary documents of generations earlier.  It makes me sad to think that we might lose that ability and so I'm more eager than ever to spend time honing that skill.  Because the best way to learn to read cursive, or so I've read, is to keep writing it.
Unrelated, but pretty.  A picture from a misty morning this week.

So here's how it works. I sit down most mornings, coffee cup in one hand, and a note pad and a nice ball point pen in the other, and think of post ideas and then write them out.  It might be something that flashed through my head and I thought would make a nice post, or it might be a review of the latest book I've been reading.  Then I outline general thoughts and ideas.  What is amazing me is the sheer number of ideas and observations I'm having that I really didn't notice before when I was just looking at the computer musing on what to say next.  I started doing it with the Little Women posts and I haven't looked back since.

It's also appeared to make my blog writing frequency better.  It's a lovely little early-morning ritual before work starts to sit down and just write and write.  I have such a pile of posts now, written so neatly that anybody who wants can easily read them.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Anniversary Post

Readers, it has been a year.  A whole year since I started blogging.  I kind of can't believe it.  I thought I would tell you the story of why I started blogging.
Just some chicken pictures.

I have been a voracious reader my whole life.  Books stick in my mind years after I read them and I have lived the majority of my life with many of them.  Funny books, sad books (but only occasionally), scary books, exciting books, how-to books, they all have a special place in my heart.  When a friend started blogging and told me how much fun it was, I was eager to start, but didn't really think that I had much to write about.  I have a pretty normal, quiet life.  Still, I had always noticed the minutiae around me and I thought it might be kind of fun to see if I could make an interesting blog out of it.  And then I thought about books.  I can still clearly remember-I was sitting on the couch, having just finished The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery, with my head in a whirl of thoughts and things to discuss about the book.  And I had a sudden revelation-I could write about books!  I certainly spent enough time reading and thinking about books to write a blog.

And so I started-with a basic blogger template and a bunch of ideas.  I wrote my first post and clicked "Publish" for the first time.  For the first couple of weeks, I carefully watched the statistics as people read the blog.  I found other book bloggers, far more experienced than I, who had been in the blogging business for years.

It turns out that blogging doesn't just involve words (although it does involve a lot of those), but also numbers.  So here are just a few of the numbers I've collected:
Number of posts written: 208
Number of comments made: 390
Number of times this blog was viewed: 12,645
Number of times I have said, "Wow, I love blogging!":1,000,000+


Finally, I want to thank all of my readers, the commenters and the non-commenters.  This blogging journey would not have been nearly as fun if all of you had not read my blog.  I especially want to thank all the family and friend readers, who gave me advice and opinions and shared the blog among each other (Grammy, chiefly, among them).  But also, my fellow bloggers who have participated with me in so many things, from book clubs to book tags to everything in between.

I'm looking forward to another year of blogging!  I'm sure there will be more of the same and maybe some new things, too.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bits and Bobs

I decided to write a rambling post today.  While I'm enjoying the Little Women read-along so much, I decided to take a day off and write about happenings.  Early March seems to make me ramble.

The kitchen has been filled with activity all week.  With chilly weather and blizzard-like conditions pretty much all the time, we've been keeping the kitchen going to keep the house warm, since the kitchen is the draftiest, coldest room of the house.  There is always something on the stove or in the oven these days-sourdough bread, lime and sea salt brownies, hot and sour soup, pots of stock, baguettes, and much more.  While the table was a mess, the sun came streaming in a window and I snapped a couple of pictures.  It's amazing how pretty a baking mess can look.
The baguettes.  Delicious, but not pretty.
Lime and Sea-Salt Brownies from Kitchn.  Delicious!
Just a pretty mess.  A tea towel, dusts of flour, and the lime zest for the brownies.

Homemade Hot and Sour Soup, also from Kitchn.

I started a book called To the Wild Sky by Ivan Southall who is, apparently a fairly well-known Australian children's author from the 50s and 60s who wrote about children having adventures.  To the Wild Sky is about six children who are on a plane to a birthday party in New South Wales.  Their plans are immediately thrown to the wind when the pilot dies, leaving them in a rapidly falling plane.  One of the boys steers the plane to safety on a deserted island, where the children have to learn to fend for themselves.  It's very exciting and I'm really enjoying having such a gripping book.


While spring is lovely and I absolutely can't wait to see ground again (even muddy ground!) I saw struck by the absolute gorgeousness of winter as I looked out the window at this.



Today is World Book Day!  What are you reading today?  I have To the Wild Sky, Little Women, a few inspiration cookbooks, and November Knits, a knitting book.


It's the Easter Dress time of year again!  I have my dress about half done and waiting by my sewing machine.  I found some fairly cheap organic cotton voile that looks like watercolors.  I'm making it up in a 50s party dress pattern, which I think is going to work perfectly as an Easter dress.

I'm doing the view with sleeves


I am so proud of those neat little pin tucks all down the front.  I still have buttons, a skirt,
and sleeves to put on, but it's starting to feel like a real dress now!




Monday, January 26, 2015

Snow Day

We're in for a blizzard around here, which means that I'm battening down the hatches, but also making sure that I'm stocked up on entertainment and things to do.  There's a dirty house to get tidy and all the animals to tuck up first, though.  And a blog post to write, because it's been on my list for so long.  Be warned-this is a multi-part post.  So sit down with a cup of tea and prepare to listen to me ramble.
A little wooly worm that I found creeping across the icy snow.
Of course, I tucked him up into the hay in the barn.

*********************************************************************************
Part 1-Snow Ice Cream
Yesterday, the snow hadn't started for real, but we had about 5 inches, so I went outside and filled a metal bowl and prepared to make snow ice cream.  Have you heard of this?  I first read of this in the Melendys books when I was elementary school aged.  The idea enchanted me and I remember making a batch and ending up with sweet, watery milk.  After that, I abandoned the idea.  The memory of that flashed through my head and so I ran to get the ingredients and hurried outside to try snow ice cream again.  And it was delicious!  It's not like regular ice cream, but the trick is to keep everything thoroughly frozen in the snow and to eat the ice cream outside, exclaiming about how cold it is all the while.  I love making this recipe because it's pretty ridiculous to sit outside making ice cream in the middle of winter and, oh is it delicious.  I firmly shut my brain off that is reciting the litany of nasty stuff in that precipitation and pretend that I've never heard of acid rain, er, snow, and heaven knows what else and make this ice cream.  It's lovely.  Here's my recipe:
This is a terrible picture, but white ice cream against white snow is extremely hard to photograph.

Fill a smallish bowl with cleanish snow.  Sprinkle sugar liberally into the snow.  Now that I think of it, maple syrup would be delicious as well.  Actually, maybe more delicious.  Pour about a capful of vanilla into the snow.  Splash full-fat, maybe even raw (if you're a rebel) milk into that sugary snow and then lightly toss together, kind of like you stir egg whites into batter.  Your goal is to keep the snow intact so you have a kind of ice cream-ish texture.  While you're doing this, keep your bowl sitting firmly in the snow so it's staying as cold as possible.  Enjoy!
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Part 2-Winter Activities
I have the hugest pile of mending to do.  And, you know what?  I'm actually looking forward to tackling it in front of the fire during these blizzard-y evenings.  I've got a bag filled with yarn and thread and needles and a thimble and I'm ready to go.  I'm also planning to entertain myself with my camera.  I'm in the process of going through the pictures I just took off of my camera and sorting them and, I'm sure, throwing great quantities away.
The cute sweater-wearing (trust me, it's necessary) dog, but also
this perfectly illustrates wood stove season.  There is always ash.  Always.


*********************************************************************************
Part 3-The Buzzards in the Tree
I can't believe it, but these buzzards haven't made it into a blog post.  I apologize to them and now will post several pictures.  We have this very old tree that is dead, but provides great shelter to so many animals.  It is a spectral sight to look out and see that stark, old, dead tree filled with buzzards with their wings spread (we think they're drying their wings, but who knows).  I do wonder what they're watching for.  The chickens?  There are no carcasses that I know of.   I have become peculiarly fond of those old birds.

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Part 4-My Book List
I do have a book list, readers.  Of course I do.  Here it is:
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, because it seems extremely fitting
Essays of E. B. White
The Edwardian Lady: The Story of Edith Holden
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
A new vintage magazine that I plan to read
I plan to keep busy with these titles.  I'm sure there will be more reading.  I'll keep you updated.
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Whew!  I'm finished rambling.  If you've reached the end, thank you for listening.  Now I'm off to stuff the cracks of the chicken coop with straw.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Family Circle's Complete Book of Beauty and Charm

Yep.  That's the title.  Wanna guess the publish date? 1951.  Knowing my inordinate love of all things vintage, my dear mother got me this book for Christmas.  I saved it for my Sunday afternoon reading and I just finished it this past Sunday afternoon.  And now I'm going to show it to you.

First of all, I took pictures of the inside of the book, so you get an idea of what it's like:


See?  The book tells you comfortingly that glasses can, too, be attractive, if you carefully
read their chart.

This caption says, "Even housewives need to take care of their hands!"

Properly applying foundation.
Necklines depending on your face shape.

I love books like these-books that are simply for the purpose of providing a window into another time, the purpose of inspiration.  This kind of reading is what I call Sunday Afternoon Reading, also known as inspiration reading.  Sunday Afternoon Reading is generally nonfiction, usually filled with pictures, always chock full of inspiration for the coming week.  I don't normally read for the sole purpose of getting good ideas or just for enjoying something for its prettiness.  Books normally have to hold something more for me, but not on Sunday afternoons.  That is when I pick up books just because they're pretty and inspiring and fun.  And while I wouldn't love to read like that all the time, it's actually very lovely to have that one day a week set aside where I do read like that.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Pictures

I've been taking pictures up a storm the past few days.  You see, I got a new camera for Christmas!  And, oh, it is a beauty!  It's a grown-up camera with a nice 18-55 mm lens and all kinds of settings that are making me extremely overwhelmed.  Everything is getting photographed, from the salt shaker to the family opening presents.

Here is some of what I've been capturing:

My brother and I lit some paper lanterns to line the driveway after an extended family Christmas gathering.
So lovely.

A yawning kitty.
The tops of the kale, photographed artistically as I was going out to grab some for a salad.
Photograph of the inside of a hornet's nest sitting in an old tree.  I've been wanting to take
this picture for so long and couldn't get up the nerve to stick my camera lens that close. 

Hazel the sheep.  My camera is speedy enough that I can get animal pictures!
The little paper lanterns.

All of this photography is making me want to check out books and books and more books about photography techniques.  I'll compile a list of favorites once I get them all read.