Saturday, December 27, 2008

Now That's Cold!

It was about 25 degrees F when I got up this morning, cold enough to freeze the birdbath water SOLID. Yes, I know, I'm supposed to empty it when it may freeze but I'm just not that forward thinking and it usually doesn't really freeze. It does sometimes get a thin film of ice but this is SOLID.

One of the coziest things about living in a strawbale house is you never really know how cold it is outside until you, a. look at the thermometer or, b. open the door. It was a nice 70 degrees inside and that's without any heat source. We did have the woodstove going last night, along with the oven while I was fixing dinner; I had to open a window. It gets too dang hot!

Hopefully, this will be the end of our bitter winter-about 3 days is all I can take!
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Solstice Reflection

A Solstice Bonfire
On a paper I wrote: Fear, Guilt, Worry. I threw them into the fire and watched the flames reduce them to ash and smoke.

For the new year my focus will be Releasing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

For the Love of Small Houses

I....Love....Small....Houses! There, I've said it! Not that big houses don't do it for me, too. I remember visiting Biltmore in Asheville when I was about 13 and swooning. In my fantasy I wanted to pull a Claudia Kincaid (From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler) and just live there quietly in some corner and come out at night to play.

But for me in reality, small houses are it. It all started with my neighbor friends 5'x7' play house. It was so cute and I could imagine sewing curtains and painting little furniture pieces-I guess I've always been a nester. I so wanted that little house.

Our current home is small by 2008 standards at just 1200+/- sq feet. But it's not a cramped 1200, it's a just right 1200, at least for us because I designed it for the way we live. However, I could go smaller and everytime I see a well-done tiny house, I want it!

Maybe I'm still searching for that playhouse. One of my favorite reads is the Tiny House Blog The homes featured there aren't playhouses, they're houses in which real people can live. How can you not fall in love with this?One of these days I'm gonna build me one of those!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


tradition: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction (from Merriam-Webster)

Do you have holiday traditions in your home? Are they traditions that you created or did they "just happen"?

This tradition is a bit of both, I guess. The last decoration to go on the tree is the tree-top star (a tradition from my family). The star was found at an after-Christmas clearance in the first couple of years of our ma
rriage. From the time the boys were little they have taken turns, year by year, placing the star. This year was no different.
Burritos made by Dad on tree-trimming night is another tradition. I'm not quite sure how that happened but, I'm glad it did.

What holiday traditions does your family have? I'd love to hear them.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Strawbale House For Sale

No, not ours but we were involved in this one from start to finish. It's a great house with lots of custom touches in a beautiful setting just outside of Tucson. I did the walls in the great room/kitchen except for the bar. The house is being sold because the owners' jobs were keeping them too close to Tucson. Have fun looking!

StrawBale House for Sale

Friday, December 5, 2008

I've debated whether to post this here but will, as I know the message is an important one.
I've worked in healthcare as an RN for 30 years (wow)-95% of that time at the bedside. As you move up the hierarchy in healthcare facilities there is generally little to be inspired to greatness by. However, I found a blog (Running a Hospital) by a guy a few years ago who I think really gets it. Paul Levy is the President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and has at his core a burning desire for what is best for the patient! I am continually inspired by his blog and know others are too.
Running a Hospital is where I found out about Engage With Grace. Click on the slide above for a more in-depth discussion of this simple, but oh so important, project.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Trumpet Herald--Finally, the Ottoman

New job=less time, but that will get better. Here the ottoman is and I love it. It actually looks better than the photos and I took many photos trying to find THE one. This was an easy project and took about 2-3 hours to sew and fit. Once again, the real time is in the demo.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Reveal-The Ottoman

It's finished and pictures are coming!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Weekend Project

DH likes to sit with his feet propped on whatever is in front of him. My answer to that was to buy a chair with a footstool. Unfortunately, once I sat in it he never had a chance. I don't know that he has EVER used that chair. But, I do love it so.
(It's a Lane as in the pic, mine is rust)

Anyway, he has taken possession of one end of the couch but had no place for the feet. In deciding whether to choose a coffee table or ottoman, we went with the ottoman. A nice ottoman can be used for the feet, as extra seating or with a sturdy tray as a coffee table. With this decided, I was on the hunt. I finally found something that would suit my purposes as the Beacon Value Village Thrift Store on 4th Ave (our couch came from their Stone Ave store). I love the 4th Ave store as it's in one of the older areas of Tucson, near the university and you can find the most interesting stuff there. You can also see the most interesting people. 4th also has great restaurants and other shopping, and is the venue for a twice yearly Street Fair that's "off the hook". Just get there early is all I can say.

This thing has the ugliest vinyl covering I've ever seen but it's sturdy and the right size so here we go.
In this photo I've already removed the buttons and taken off the creaky wheels. I plan to use bun feet eventually but have you seen the cost of those things? I'm hoping I'll be able to dig up a suitable alternative. Any ideas?

Check back Monday for the results.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Look What I Found

I have no idea what I will use them for but I know they will be just right for something! I think the shorter pair are sculptural enough to just be as they are, chipped paint and all.

Happy Thanksgiving!
5 things I'm thankful for:
My family is healthy and together.
I have a job.
My husband has a job.
A roof over my head and food on my tale
I learned long ago the power of living below my means.
(...and Thrift Stores)

Monday, November 24, 2008

THE Reveal of THE Chair

I love it, how about you? The fabric is perfect for the style and adds just the right amount of color to a formerly drab corner. I picked the fabric up at JoAnn's in the discount fabric bins. I always check out the fabric in that area and this piece caught my eye. It was only about 2 yds which I thought would work for the chair, but I knew that if there wasn't enough or I made a big mistake I could use something different for the back. Turns out I had just enough with very little left over.

I had never upholstered before. I've covered dining chair seats and made box cushions but not real upholstery. I did this with the help of j caroline! Her page made the whole thing much easier and gave me the confidence that I could indeed, do this. If you try to upholster, just follow the steps and take pictures of each step as you take the chair apart.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weekend Project: Reup a Chair

I needed just that one special chair for my living room. Living in a small space isn't difficult but finding furniture that doesn't swallow the space can sometimes by tricky. I wanted a chair that swivelled so that whoever was sitting in it could either be a part of the conversation or watch TV. Other criteria were that the chair profile be small and the legs be visible, no skirting, which increases visual space. And lastly, it had to be cheap.

I've kept my eye out for several months and have seen some that came close to my needs but one day, walking through the Habistore, I found it. It was beautiful! Actually, THEY were beautiful, my chair had a twin. A small mid-century profile with no skirting and it swivelled. I was in love even if it did have dirty black vinyl upholstery, I could see beyond its imperfections to the chair it was meant to be, it was THE chair. And now it's MY chair!

The price, 19 smackeroos
-more th
an I might normally pay but I was in love. Sadly, Twin was left behind (living in a small space, no room for extras in the furniture department) but I'm sure by now he (or she) was just the perfect fit for someone else. This weekend THE chair gets a makeover-check back Monday.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Day, New Colors!

I can't stop! I've had this blog every color combination Blogger has, it's so fun. Painting a room takes hours of work-here I can change colors with the push of a button. What could be better for those of us who constantly look at things and think "Wonder what that would look like in fuscia?"

I wish I could say that the watercolor I've added to the header is my work but alas, no. It's something I picked up on one of my thrift store visits here in Tucson. I am a thrifter, "Hello, my name is Judy and I can't drive by a thrift store without stopping." I am the one who has the car door open and one foot out the door before the car has come to a complete and final stop. Treasure is calling to me! I was called to this piece at a, sad to say, now defunct thrift store. It was a wonderful place with a hodge-podge of furniture outside, piles of dusty, unorganized stuff inside and cases crammed full of all sorts of interesting treasure. It always reminded me my Grandma's attic which was always off-limits to us kids. It was in one of the glass cases that I found a stack of watercolors with all sorts of subject matter. From that stack I chose this one. When I asked how much, the proprietor said those great words dear to the heart of every thrifter "I don't know, what do you want to give me for it?" I used to play a game with myself of not buying anything over 5 bucks-so out I walked with my $5 masterpiece.

Now here the story gets interesting. The piece was not fra
med and as you may know, the real money is sometimes in the framing. I decided framing it would be my Christmas present one year and took my 40% off coupon to one of those fabric/craft stores and chose frame, mat, glass. The nice lady rang it up---$400! I meekly asked: "Is that with the 40% off?" She shook her head in the affirimative with that "Yes, Dolt!" expression. So that was Christmas and birthday and maybe even the next Christmas but, I love it.

And everyday when I look at it I thank the unkown artist for painting it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Day of Sharing Words

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I made this for the center of the dining room table. I wanted something that felt like autumn without being the ubiquitous leaves or turkeys. It was made mostly with leftovers from past projects but did give me the oportunity to add to my stash-what's the fun if you can't buy new fabric.
I've thought of repeating this with reds, greens, white and gold.
Quilted by my MIL-Betty.

Making It Home

We've built a couple of houses (well, actually 3 plus a 200 sq ft studio, 2 + studio of strawbale, one of log construction). StrawbaleRedux covers the building of our current home. Now that we aren't actively building that blog is dormant but I thought I would pick up here with my work to turn walls of straw and mud into a living, breathing home. Hope you enjoy my efforts.