Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It happened at Goodwill

I fell in love...again...with another chair.  (I don't usually name furniture but I'm calling this guy Don Draper.  I have this whole Mad Men/mid-century thing going on.  Seems appropriate.) After first seeing it, I knew I was a goner but kept telling myself that we definitely didn't need one more piece of furniture.  I kept sneaking back to see it, sit in it, measure it.  Every time I pulled up to the GW, my heart would race.  Would it still be there?  Had someone taken my heartthrob? One day I walked in and it had been moved-ACK!  But I found it and sat in it again, and measured it again and looked at it from all different angles...and walked away, again.

Then on Sunday, I got finished with work early and told myself I'd stop by just one more time, and if Don was still there, he was MINE!  And he was and best of all, he was half-price!

I may not do anything to this guy except a good cleaning.

And the media cabinet that this is perched on, I'll tell you more about that later.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New Plaster Wall

Remember this:  Demolition Day?

So now we've gone from this,

to this,

 to this,

and then this,

and this

and this

and finally, this,

a beautiful earthen plaster made from Kaolin clay, silica sand (60 grit) and flour paste.  This picture does not do it justice-it's a beautiful soft white with just a touch of texture, sort of like crushed velvet.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Well it wasn't tomorrow...

but Ta-Daaaaaaa!

 Love the sassy curve of the back legs!

But my favorite part--the buttons!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Project Rampage

I do this just about every year-decide I have to get all these things (whatever has been on the list for the last 3-4 months) done!  Before Christmas!

Is now this...

And hopefully tomorrow will be back to its new, old self.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More Cabin

When we bought the 4 log walls, there was a bit of construction "stuff" left lying around that also became ours.  Unused logs, 2x8s, 2x4s, scattered around on the property, what some folks might want to haul off to the landfill.  But. not. me.  To me they were treasure, just waiting for the right use.
Especially interesting were the 2x8s that had clearly been laying out for quite a while and had seen a bit of weather.  They were beautiful and I wish I had a picture of them in all their cast-off, silvery-gray glory.   I also wish I had a picture of my husband's face when I told him I wanted to use them for the interior window framing.  He looked like he's been hit by a 2x4!

These old photos don't do them justice but they were beautiful.

Bedroom before it was all purty'd up.
The final productThe nightstand was a freebee as I recall.  It was dark wood which I painted yellow (probably the first thing I ever painted yellow), dark glazed and sanded back. Looking at it now, I still like it.  Yes, those are IKEA shades, which I believe are no longer available.  And the ubiquitous wood lamps which I love and have bought several over the years because they can be painted to fit with any look.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cabin in Creede

We had a cabin in Colorado, Creede CO to be specific, for a while.  A short while.  Creede is a funky little town in the San Juans of southeastern Colorado that is nothing like her more trampy sisters on the front range.

Anyway, we were traveling through Colorado browsing.  We had money in our pockets from selling another of our projects and  thought an investment we could visit from time to time to remove ourselves from the hellish Tucson summers might be nice.  It was September, the aspens were aglow and we fell in love with the beauty of the area, the lack of glittery tourism, and the relative proximity to Tucson.  And then we found this:

Now, this looks easy to fall in love with.  But picture 4 log walls, just walls.  No roof, no interior floor, no framing, nothing, nada, zilch.  Just a view out one of the windows (no glass, just an opening) of the mountains with rivers of golden aspen flowing down to the valley; that's what we fell in love with.

Over 2 summers my husband and the tall boy who was about 14 at the time, finished the cabin.   And then we sold it.  We hadn't been able to rent it as we had planned, real estate was getting hinky and we were starting the house we live in now.  We did OK on the deal and found that owning a cabin  a 12 hour drive away wasn't for us (remember relative proximity, not so much for a weekend visit).

But I sure had fun planning and decorating the place, all from second-hand and thrift stores.  I wanted the feel of an old cabin filled with things that had always been there.
I think that fridge cost $15 dollars and at one point we had to tie it closed.  It was due to be replaced, because Beverly Hillbillies was not the look I was going for.
A second hand table attached to a cabinet turned into extra eating or work space.  And see the corner wall cabinet without a door, that eventually got a cute leaded glass door that we had to order and wait and wait and wait for.  Building 2 hours from the nearest Big Box is an interesting adventure to say the least.
The table I received as partial payment for some wall painting I did for a friend.  The chairs came from a church tag sale. The floors in this photo are the plywood subfloor stained blue.  Flooring for the living areas was in the next year's budget.  The bedrooms and bathrooms did have flooring.

While the inside is cute and cozy and all, here is the best part of the cabin:

the view of the La Garita's from the front porch...which was to get a swing....eventually.  And where you see the evergreens, that's the Rio Grande River.  Yeah, it was nice.  I'm glad we were lucky enough to spend some time there.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Feeling Inspired

This is an inspiring TED talk by Dan Phillips, a builder in Huntsville, TX.  And although his topic is building, his words are true of so many aspects of life.  Hope you enjoy and are inspired.  Now, I have projects to finish.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I've been called out!

Thanks to Lady With a Knife, who writes:
I need you to go faster and get those pictures of how you installed the clips,;D My have disintegrated as well and I don't like pleats either. I am visual as well and am thrilled you are posting "as you go" pics. Thank you! 
I'm finally catching up on some project blogging, specifically putting the curtain tabs on my pleatless curtains.  When Ladies with Knives ask, I deliver!

Here is the beginning of the curtain saga, omigosh, a year ago!  The curtains have been up all this time, really.

So here's the rest of the story,

Once the curtain itself is complete you have a large rectangle of fabric which is easy to work with.  Remember there will be a lot of stress placed on the fabric where the tabs go so the top header and the bottom...well, it's not really a hem, I guess it's a bottom header, need to have some weight.  My fabric is very lightweight so I lined the curtains and also used buckram, which you can find at most fabric stores.  You can see that process in the post I mentioned above.  The buckram also keeps the top of the curtain crisp looking.

 Just an example of measuring placement-yes, this shows T tabs and G tabs
I used a mixture of new and old plastic tabs, and those we purchased came without elastic.  I used some 1/2 inch elastic I had and cut it to approximately the same length as the original tabs and then threaded it through the tabs.  I did this while watching a movie on TV.  I then lined up an old curtain header with the new curtain header and  marked placement with a pencil.  Also make sure to measure your new curtains top to bottom with the old.  If your tab placement is off lengthwise it will make the new curtains either too "blousy" or too tight and very difficult to open.

When I had the placement figured out, I pinned the tabs to the wrong side of the curtain header. I then set up my machine for a narrow, close zig-zag like that used for buttonholes.  Make sure your thread blends with the outer fabric as the stitching will be quite noticeable.

I then started sewing, going forward and then reverse and then moving on to the next tab without breaking the thread.  This goes quickly.

On the right side the stitching is barely noticeable.  See the 2 tabs close together?  That's the end that meets the other curtain in the middle of the window.  It's a good idea to do this.  The tab on the end allows the curtains to look neat when closed and the other tab gives uniformity to the soft pleats that form when the curtains are open.  And as this is where the curtains are pulled on to open and close, the 2 tabs give a bit of strength which defrays that repeated stress.

These snaps come from that big box store that starts with W and ends with a T.  When I first made the curtains I hadn't decided I wanted to use these, but after a few trips it seemed that these would make the curtains look more finished.  They are easy to do but require some thinking.  Practice with one on some scrap fabric if you've never used them before.  The instructions are on the back of the box but I think it helps to mark the  pieces that go together before you start.  This size fits the receiver snaps on our Airstream.

I marked placement of the snaps with the curtains in place at the windows.  If you plan to use snaps, give yourself a little extra fabric at the sides.  If your fabric is lightweight, a small square of a heavyweight fabric should be used to beef-up the area where the snap goes.

And, there you have it.  Not a difficult job, just takes some planning and thinking.  Next time it will be a snap!

I have another Airstream story to tell about our aborted visit to Gilbert Ray Campground but that will have to wait until later.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I looked back through the blog and realized I have a lot of projects to catch-up on and to catch-you-up on.  I've been in a bit of free fall for the last month of so.  I can't pin-point why other than it's been almost a year since Mom died and last fall was the beginning of her downward spiral.  She and I spent a lot of time sitting outside in the cool autumn breezes and just the feel of the air, or the angle of the sun brings back memories of that bittersweet time.

And that leads to reassessment of my life, where I am, where I'm going. What's the quote from Emerson?  "Life is a journey, not a destination."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tis a gift to be simple

The title comes from an old Shaker hymn,
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

Probably my first introduction to living simply, aside from being raised by depression-era parents, was as a teenager, visiting the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, Ky. It was a revelation that less stuff could make life more enjoyable and free the mind for pursuits other than acquiring, and then maintaining that which we acquire.  Shakers created beautiful furniture.  We've all had Shaker-style cabinets and chairs at one time or another, haven't we?  They did not procreate, thus the decline in Shakers.  And, they shook, or danced and spoke in tongues-early Holy Rollers.

But, I digress.  I've been following a new blog, To simplify and the title reminds me of that old hymn.  Not that he's living an Shaker life but on a scale of simple compared to most Americans, he's off the charts.  And he makes great music

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Top of the World

We took a long weekend and headed to Fool Hollow in Show Low.  It's always a bit cooler up there and by this time of the year we have had it with the heat. Enough with the heat already! 

On Sunday we took a drive over Rte 260 to Heber since we had never traveled that road before.  As we were traveling we realized that 260 is the northern border of the area burned by the Rodeo-Chediski fire in 2002 and the damage is still very evident.  It's coming back but it will take a long time to fully recover.

As we were driving along, I was looking around trying to imagine what the area might have looked like when fully involved, if that's the correct term.  I had this sense of actually being at the top of the world and it took me a minute to realize that I could see no mountains, no land higher than I was.  There aren't many places in Arizona that you can't see mountains or mesas that are higher than you are.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Judy's Fix-It Shop

Do you ever have those times in your life when most things seem to be going just about right but then there are one or two that are just not working?  No matter what you do?  I'm not a person who thinks things will ever be perfect in every aspect, believe me. If you could walk around in my head you would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that that isn't me.  But I think we all know when something isn't working and probably won't because there are things beyond our control or other people are involved or, not involved, as the case may be.  I'm a bit, well, maybe a lot, of a controller. I think being a controller keeps me safe, really it just makes me tired.

The difficult part is deciding which things to keep, because a controller thinks she can fix everything and make it work.  She's Stronger, Faster, Smarter!  Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, more powerful than a speeding locomotive yada, yada, yada.

I have a hard time with the concept of broken beyond repair.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 2

It's like the Oklahoma Dust Bowl in here!  But I'm liking the look.

Day 1

Day 2

More to come...

Monday, September 13, 2010


See this:

It will soon be gone.  Bad design decision that's pretty easy to remedy, well, it is if you pay your 2 sons to git'r done.  That's all adobe used to add more thermal mass to the room along with a bit of rusticity.  However, it got out of hand and now just takes up too much space.  Everytime I look at it, which is everyday, several times a day, all I can do is think about how to change it.  Not a peaceful state of being, so it's going!  Yes!

The stove will return to that position and will still be used to heat the house, the 3 times each winter its actually needed.  I tried to get rid of it, too, but was voted down.

The wall behind the adobe will be an opportunity for creativity but I have some ideas.  At the very least I will have to paint the whole wall because that's custom made clay paint.

The good thing about using adobe and some other natural materials is they can be reused.  The plan is for these bricks to be the foundation for an earthen oven at a friend's house.  We're even saving the mortar, which is basically mud.  It will be reconstituted and used for mortar again.

Stay tuned.