Buzzings from a quilter who bumbles her way through life!

Monday, August 11, 2014

School Supplies for the Sewing Room!

(Check out Debby Kratovil  Quilts today! I've been featured! I made some throw pillows using a beautiful line of Bernatex fabrics!)

As a former teacher, I can't resist the school supply aisles at the local stores. I am drawn to them like a deer to water! 
I found these great little metal boxes this year! They have a black top and brightly colored sides. 

I used these great Expo Neon dry erase markers to write on the top of each what I would be storing inside the boxes. These markers are made for writing on windows.(Although the words can be erased, they do dull the shiny surface of the metal a little so you can tell where you have written.) 
I plan on a brightly colored sewing room, so I'm thinking these will add a pop of color on the shelves.
I think they would also make a great little toy for travel. Fill the boxes with the little magnetic alphabet letters and include a small box of sight word flash cards and let your child have an "educationally" great time!

Hill Country Updates:
We spent the weekend in the hill country. Although I posted that a lot would get done this week, there were delays. :(
We did walk in to find that the dry wall installer had been there! Yay! He did a lot of drywalling. Unfortunately, he did more than he was supposed to do! 

This half wall and these columns were supposed to be left for the stone workers to do. We have been removing dry wall where backer board and then rock are to be installed. This will delay us by quite a bit. We will have to have this removed. He also set all the electrical boxes that Doug had so carefully "UN-set" for the rock work.  Things like this can be a problem when you're not there to clarify things. I feel sorry for the dry wall guy. He was trying to do us a favor by getting this done before he had to go out of town.

We removed some picket fence and leveled an area in preparation for a garden shed. That will be built starting next Monday. There were raised garden plots here, so we shoveled the precious dirt out of them and into a different area. It was HOT work! 

At lunch, Doug went back to Home Depot and dropped me off at the thrift store. I found another souvenir plate! 25 cents!!! (I am working on a lap quilt that will be in the same room as the plates! I'm using them for inspiration. Watch for it in the See You In September Blog Hop!)

We bought a washer and dryer and it will be delivered around the end of September. (Hopefully, we will be ready for it by then!) 
The dry wall has to be in and the walls textured before the cabinets are in. The cabinets have to be in before the stone is in. The stone has to be in before the floor is laid.  Then we can take a break and go see our  grandkids. Thank goodness we live in an age where we can at least talk on the phone! Can you imagine how our great great grandmothers felt when their kids traveled west and even letters were few and far between? We really are blessed, aren't we?

Last summer we had a family Luau on our patio. My daughter-in-law had just returned from a two month duty station in Hawaii where my son had joined her for part of the time.

This was the last family get together there before the fire. Thank goodness for memories!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Upholstered Chair Update

Ta-da! It's finished. Okay, so it's not perfect! (I did go in and straighten some of those crooked nail heads, but failed to get a picture of it.)
It is sitting in the workshop here and not in it's setting. BUT, I did it!!! I really did! I upholstered a chair from start to finish! My sons have teased me about it being "cow" fabric, but it is supposed to be PINTO PONY!!! I didn't want cow! 

As an update from last week, I added padding to the back of the chair and covered the top part of the ottoman with the dacron.


I upholstered the back and added nailheads to the arms and all other areas where it originally had them. (I found out afterwards that I could have bought nail head strips that make this job much easier. They are strips of nail heads with every few inches a real nail to tack in. The rest just sit on top. It would have made the difficult job of getting them straight easier.)

I plan on revealing the entire chair and ottoman (I have a surprise in relation to those two) in September when I show you some of the things I've accomplished this summer. (The "See You in September Hop! Coming sooner than you think!) 
I'm having a little bit of an issue this morning trying to post. I was startled when something grabbed my hand while I moved the mouse around! I should have known that cats are famous for hunting mice!

Although things are moving along in the hill country, we are in a holding pattern yet again waiting for things to happen. We spent two extra days there getting things ready for progress this week, but so far nobody has shown up to do their part. The dry wall guy had been there preparing the walls for texturing, but no patching had been done. I know it will all come together eventually!

I snapped a photo of this spider web on the grounds of the hill country property. There has been a drought there, but "stars" of limestone were trapped in the web from a light drizzle. They were sparkling and shining in the sunlight. When I stopped to take a picture, I was reminded of the little spider that sits and waits for something to get trapped in his web. Waiting is just part of living - even for God's tiniest creatures. Plus, I'm not having to wait for my sustenance. No, I'm well fed!

I was reminded of Psalm  145:15 - 16
"The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them their food as they need it. 
When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing."

Thursday, July 31, 2014

House and Chair Progress, End of July

Since last week there has been a flurry of progress on both the chair and the hill country house!

We have accomplished a lot this week! (Still looks like a tornado hit it, but things are really starting to happen.)

  • We have placed the existing cabinets in position to double check our measurements. 
  • My dad has been busy building some matching cabinets to fill in voids.
  • We've chosen our countertops.
  • We've arranged for a local stone yard to install limestone rock on the kitchen walls. It will match the fireplace.  
  •  Electrical wiring is completed. Dry wall will go up starting today. 
  • Flooring should go in when the dry walling and stone work is complete, hopefully beginning the end of next week. 
  • Our sinks and faucets have been ordered. (They have to be here before the countertops can be templated.)
  • We've confirmed that the antique fireplace summer cover will fit nicely above the new range mortared into the limestone. (Isn't he cute! I expect to see him there in front of the new range a LOT when the house is finished! I'm referring to my husband, not the summer cover, although it is cute too and will also be in front of the range!)
  •     Plumbing has been installed for the new laundry room.
  • I bought an antique Secretary at a local thrift shop. It will match an antique bed I had in storage at my parent's house. $160

While here in Pleasanton, my sister and I are still working on the upholstering projects when we can find the time.

I bought an ottoman for $10 to recover to match the chair I'm reupholstering. It is in pretty rough shape, but has good springs.

I began removing the old upholstery and found layer upon layer of tacks! Under this were even more layers! 
On the chair, I covered the springs with burlap, attached the edge roll to soften the hard wooden edge, and put the webbing on the seat back.

I attached the "pulls" (pieces of burlap adhered to the foam with spray adhesive and used to soften the hard edge of the foam and attach it to the seat).
Over this went the dacron. 
Then I started attaching my upholstery fabric. Yes, it's a little "funky", but this pinto pony fabric fits the hill country theme! It was a $66 a yard fabric on the clearance rack for $12 a yard. It is a heavy weight upholstery fabric and I think it will add a whimsical touch to my decor! 
Here the seat is completed, along with decorative nailheads around the legs. The arms are not finished in this photo.
Here you see the ottoman with its dacron over the stuffing)and the chair together. The ottoman still needs legs. The foam is cut to fit the back of the chair. 
Its beginning to look like a chair now!
We'll be spending a long weekend at the hill country house to make sure everything is ready for all the work that will begin next week.
Today is our 44th wedding anniversary, so we will celebrate by eating out tonight on the San Antonio Riverwalk! It will be a wonderful diversion after all the work!
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tying Springs and a Mimic in Nature

My sister and I got a little bit more progress done on our chairs. We got the springs installed  and tied.

We also took templates of the seats and seat backs to the upholstery supply shop to have foam cut for them. We really thought they would just cut it while we waited, but they had a backlog and we will have to go pick them up later this week. That means the progress has come to a halt for now.

In the meantime, while in the hill country this last weekend, we saw even more wildlife. First a huge road runner ran by with either a lizard or snake in his beak. (Sorry, he's way too fast for a photo!) All I could see of the captured meal was a white underbelly.

While sitting on the back patio, we saw a Hummingbird Moth ( Hemaris thysbe, the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth or Common Clearwing) enjoying the little pink trumpet shaped flowers of a shrub nearby.

Can you see him? He hovered over each flower just like a hummingbird does and sucked the nectar with his long proboscis. This beneficial moth is often mistaken for a hummingbird. He is about 2 inches long. 
We're off today to choose countertops! I'm really nervous about it because this is an expensive item and I don't want to make a mistake. It will be installed after the cabinets are finished.  My dad is making some extra cabinets to match the ones we already have. He has also made an Eastern red cedar island countertop for us. (Have I told you my daddy can do absolutely anything!)
Have a great week!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Saving a $4 Chair! Part 1

Did I show you this chair? I bought it at the thrift shop a couple of months ago. It was $4.00!!! The springs were missing from the seat, but it seemed to be in fairly good condition.

I began the process of stripping off the old upholstery. It was tacked on, not stapled. Removing about 2 million tacks (only a slight exaggeration!) took about 2 hours with my sister helping me. We didn't have the tools we needed to do this easily. 

Half way finished! I failed to get a picture of the horsehair and cotton that I found inside. It was so deteriorated and nasty, I threw it away. I know that sometimes upholsterers save it. I decided that I didn't want all those old dead skin cells and animal dander!
After removing all the old fabric and stuffing, I glued up any loose joints with wood glue and left them clamped to dry for several hours.
I screwed "clips" down to hold the No Sag or Sinuous Springs. My sister, Darla, is working on a beautiful  antique set at the same time. We  shared tools and helped each other out while we tried to figure it all out!
Unfortunately, the battery operated screwdriver ran out of power and we had to plug it in for a few hours to recharge. 
I decided to "clean up" the finish a little. I wanted to keep the old patina, but make the scratches less noticeable. I used denatured alcohol and a soft rag. This "melts" the old finish enough to redistribute it some. This will not work on polyurethane and modern finishes. It only works on lacquer based varnishes.

Before and after of the same leg.

By this time, the heat and humidity were beginning to take a toll on us, so we quit for the day. When I post about the chair again, probably next week, I will be installing the springs and putting webbing on the chair back. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Patriotic Quilt Update

The Patriotic quilt has been quilted and a volunteer is binding it. We hand quilted all the stars at the Fourth of July Celebration (the quilting bee!) and machine quilted the remainder. 

Here is a closeup before trimming the sides to prepare for binding.

Detail of the hand quilting

The unbound quilt. The binding is the red and white stripe.  The photo does not show the stars quilted in the red squares, but you can see them in the first photo.
Soon it will have a home with a deserving veteran!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hill Country Finds!

Some of you may not know that way back in the dinosaur days, this hot, dry south Texas land was under the ocean. The hill country limestone used to be prehistoric sea shells. Just walking around briefly on our property, there are many fossils to be found. I just have to reach down and pick them up. I wonder what the native American's who lived around here thought of these? 

I also had the opportunity to visit the thrift shop in Kerrville as well as the thrift shop in Pleasanton. In Kerrville, I found the vintage Nebraska souvenir plate you see in the photo. The other two plates were found in an antique shop in downtown Kerrville. I have decided that a wall arrangement of vintage souvenir plates would be a lot of fun! So far, I've found the plates for between $1 and $5 each, so it is inexpensive as far as art goes! If it looks the way I envision it, it will add to the Texas hill country "look"! As far as my research and experience shows, that elusive "look" is a mixture of antique, western, French country, Tuscan, Mexican, Spanish and rustic. The operative words seems to be "mixture". It's the type of decorating that you recognize when you see! It is relaxed and casual with a mixture of rustic and formal furniture and accents. There is a huge retiree population in the hill country and most have traveled extensively, so souvenir plates make sense to me! We've also traveled a lot, so it will bring back memories for us. I will have to plan a lap quilt to go along with this theme!!

After coming back to Pleasanton last night, I made a "bee-line" for the thrift shop here and found a few more! I'm sure I will get pickier as I collect them for the wall. The three found in Kerrville are the best so far. I think some of the ones from here might not be as vintage and don't have as much color as the first three. They will work until I have enough to fill in a wall, though. I think it will be fun!!! I was told that they are getting harder to find in thrift shops!
Remember the porcupine last week? Well, this week left us feeling a lot more tender toward the wildlife on our property. We were walking around when we walked up on this tiny little fawn. He was the size of a cat!  He was staying so still and trying so hard to hide, that my husband thought he might be dead. Then his ear twitched. Poor thing was freaked out, I'm sure! We took a very quick phone photo and quickly left the area to let him get back to his mother or his mother to him, whichever was supposed to happen. He was gone the next day, so I guess they found each other. 
Electrical work is almost finished and we are waiting on a bid from a stone mason to see if we can afford to put limestone in the kitchen and on the support columns. It would match the fireplace limestone. If not, I may need to learn a few new skills! I am really wanting the walls in there to be rock. I think it would be fantastic!
I am also waiting on an iron summer cover to arrive. I have in mind putting it above the range, mortared in and framed with fancy limestone edging tile. Here is a photo of what I ordered:
When we lived in Georgia, we had a huge old Victorian house with 10 fireplaces! Eight of them had summer covers similar to this! Of course, we left them when we sold the house. I would love to have just one of them today!
I'm still very anxious to finish the kitchen, but I believe the day will come! Have a great week!

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