Buzzings from a quilter who bumbles her way through life!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Upcycling Fun!

I found a striking red top and skirt in the thrift store last weekend that I bought. When I got it home, the skirt was a size smaller than the top and I couldn't wear it. I wish I had taken a picture of it, but didn't. It had a red print shell with a solid red linen skirt. The skirt had embroidery across the front bottom hemline.
I decided to make a little sun dress for my niece, who is about to turn 5. 
Although I had a couple of patterns, I didn't have enough fabric to make them. I decided to just come up with a design of my own.
I used the embroidered front to make a little "sewn in" apron. The top became the bodice and sash, and the solid linen became the rest of the dress.
 It cost me $3. 
My niece's favorite part is the apron!
 My husband and I married our Junior year in college (university to my British and European friends). We were "dirt poor", to say the least, paying for schooling and trying to manage on our own.
Several times I went to a thrift store and bought dresses that I could take apart and use as fabric. It gave me a chance to sew and have something new on a pauper's budget! time you start to throw out that beautiful piece of clothing that no longer fits or is no longer in style, rethink it as fabric! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Getting Plastered!

Here is our kitchen as it looked when we bought the house. 

In the planning and construction  stages ...

...and this week with the vent cover plastered. (Oh, did you think I meant myself? NO! NEVER!!)
I may add another layer, but I got this done Friday. I stained the rounded wood trim. We still have crown molding to put up and baseboards, but I'm liking the look so far.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Hill Country House in August, 2015

It's hard getting a photo in a small space! This room is about 12' x 7'. This is the pantry space we have been working on for the last few weeks. We have several names for it:
Prep Kitchen
Butler's Kitchen
Dirty Kitchen (I think we've nixxed this one!)
My husband has been calling it the Prep Kitchen, I have just called it the Pantry. 
It is designed for the prep work, the "dirty" work of cooking. This type of room has come about because of the openness of new homes.
I've divided it into areas:
This is the baking area. I have emptied all bags into air tight containers and labeled them. The drawers and cabinets under the counter hold measuring cups, measuring spoons, bowls, etc. The vintage cannisters on the top shelf hold my collection of cookie cutters. They were stored at my parent's house and survived the fire! Each cannister is labeled to hold different types: Holiday, Animals and People, Shapes, Molds, etc.
This is the coffee/tea center. The k-cups for our Kuerig are in the drawer. (I didn't get a photo, phooey! I have divided the drawer into sections for different types of coffee.)
The coffee pot conveniently rolls out for use and when not in use....
...the door can be closed!
Beside this you can see the toaster oven. Above that on the shelves are coffee cups, breakfast cereals, and other breakfast foods.
My spice jars (8 oz. canning jars labeled) are on stair step risers that my dad made for me according to my specifications. Actually, it is one piece that fits exactly between the shelf supports and is a lot like stadium seating!
You can see in the panoramic picture that I have interspersed cookbooks and baskets (for things like chips). We use fresh vegetables as much as possible, but cans are beside the spices so far.
I'm sure I will make changes when I start doing more cooking in this area. 
I have my bread machine out in the picture. I prefer baking bread in the oven, but it was wonderful smelling baking bread as we worked! 
We have a wooden screen door on order that will be installed between the pantry and the main kitchen. 
We picked up a couple of trays for our coffee table when we were at Home Goods last week. I'm sure the display will change, but for now I have some succulents (not real but they look real!), antique books, and a pair of my husband's great granddaddy's glasses sitting on the books.
I found a large Mexican blanket at an estate sale and I threw it over the dining room table for that elusive "you know it when you see it"  Texas hill country look.
We also bought a few antique
"milk of magnesia" bottles that I have soaking. $1 each! 
These predate the Phillips brand of my childhood.
Things are coming along! We have tons of little finishing details to do, but I am having so much fun cooking in my new kitchen now.

 There is still a LOT going on behind the scenes right now. My life will calm down some day, I'm sure! Nothing bad, only busy!
Until next time.....



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Topsy-Turvy World

At an estate sale last weekend, I found this little treasure. I love dolls, and handmade dolls are even more special in my eyes than "store bought"! This little vintage gal could easily be older than I am and was very well made. The thing that is special about her is that she has two personalities.

 She is a type of "dolly conjoined twin" called a "topsy-turvy doll". 

 Here you can see that if you flip her over you will find her other half.
 There are a couple of theories about how these interesting dolls originated. It is known that they were first seen before the mid 1800's. These were the days of slavery, when white plantation babies were cared for by black slave women. 
One theory is that these dolls allowed little slave girls to practice caring for babies of different races, just like their mamas did.
Another theory is that little black slave girls were not allowed to have a white baby doll and this toy allowed them to flip their baby over to the "legal" side when being watched.
(There are probably more theories out there, but these are the two that are hotly debated.) 
I would love to know who first came up with this idea. Wasn't she clever!!! Perhaps she just wanted her daughter to have a fun and interesting toy!
There have been many variations of this concept over the years. When I was little, there was a popular Little Red Riding Hood with Grandma at the other end. If you flipped Grandma's bonnet over, the wolf's face was behind it.
Another idea was the sleeping baby on one end and the awake baby on the other.
A quick Google search will yield many variations.
In the meantime, I will enjoy owning this piece of Americana. I'll think of the busy fingers sewing away for someone they loved dearly. I am inspired to make my own version now. 
Watch for it! I've already started!

Monday, July 27, 2015

July 2015 Update on the Hill Country House

My flowers are doing well in the back patio area! They are protected from the deer.

That's a good thing, because the deer have been here in large groups. The bucks still have their velvet. This photo is taken through the dining room window, where we can watch them while we eat.
After these guys left, another visitor came along. A gray fox!

My oldest son was here all week, so we were busy having a good time. We did manage to get some things done, though.

 We got the rug down in the office. 

 We started organizing the pantry. (I don't have it stocked with many cans yet.)

 My son talked us into getting a P-Touch label maker to help with the job! I love it!

 I managed to create a temporary guest bedroom out of a 12' x 6/5' closet! It had wallpaper in it along with shelves, so I stripped them out and repainted tan over the dark maroon. I added a twin sized bed, a $5 thrift shop table, a lamp, and a rattan chair that I bought months ago for $4. The ottoman I had already along with the lamp and coral. The bedspread was an estate sale find for $5. I made the pillow by sewing a rectangle of burlap to a pillow I made from a canvas drop cloth. I hand painted the word "beach" on it. Later, some of these items will go in the beach bedroom I hope to create so I can showcase the large watercolor my sister did of my granddaughter and I on the beach.
A new Goodwill store opened in Kerrville and I bought this coffee table to replace the one I was using (and didn't like.) I touched up some dings with stain on a Q-tip!
We found these playing cards under one drawer.

I'll save another find for another day. I think it will bring back memories for a lot of you!

Monday, July 13, 2015

A "Bad Chair" Day and More Progress!

Now this is what I call "Fixer Upper" chairs! They were only $5 each, although some people think I should have been paid to haul them off!

 I tightened them up with wood glue, fixed a small split, and removed the old seats.

After a little sanding, they were ready for their makeover!

Chalk paint and a little selective distressing and they are ready for a seat!

I had pieces of upholstery left from other projects, see here, and I combined the scraps for the two seats I needed. I had to pay more for the foam used for the cushion than I did for the chairs or upholstery! 

(The Morris chair is still in the background, but will be eventually moved to the sewing room.)

My husband got all my shelves up in the "Butler's Kitchen". I cut out the brackets for the shelves, then stained and sealed all the pieces. I still need to fill the screw holes.  
 It is taking a LONG time to get this house the way we want it, but now that I can see progress, it is more fun! We still have a lot to do, but the main floor is close to being finished!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Still Working, But Enjoying the View!

We were at the Hill Country house this weekend, enjoying steaks my husband had grilled (YUM!!!) and also enjoying watching the wildlife just outside the dining room window! This sweet doe saw us and was curious about what we were doing.
 We did get some work done. The first photo below shows the installed countertop before I put the hand rubbed finish on it. The second shows it after.  The difference was even more noticeable in "real life"! The countertop is red cedar. I put a finish on it that is a mixture of beeswax and mineral oil. It feels silky and smooth after rubbing.

We installed a built in trash can in the working pantry. (I still need to do a little touching up where we removed the hinges on the cabinet door.)

We replaced my scroll saw (lost in the fire) and I will be cutting out brackets this week to hold the pantry shelves.

I've started playing around with the breakfast area. I found a couple of old farm chairs since this photo was taken, but they need to be painted and the seats recovered. ($5 each, so what do you expect?) The chairs seen here are extras from my dining room. This was my 1930's farmhouse table, chalk painted again in a brighter color than the gray I ended up with last time.

We did manage to attend a couple of estate sales on Friday and Saturday. I bought an old Navajo blanket. (Hand woven from wool). This is a LARGE blanket.

We also found a turn of the century Morris Chair. It was the first type of recliner sold. If you look closely, you can see a bar behind the seat back. That bar can be moved back on wooden "cradles" and the seat rests on it. The farther back you moved the bar, the farther back the seat will recline. I will recover the seat......some day! The original casters say 1894, but the chair could be a few years older.

My oldest son will be coming in a couple of 
weeks to help me organize my kitchen and pantry drawers and shelves, so we want to have all the shelves up before he gets here.

My sister and I still have some sewing news in the works, but we're waiting on some paperwork to come in before we can finalize it all. All that to say, I have been sewing, but I can't show you just yet! Stay tuned!
In the meantime, have a wonderful week!

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