Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Places to See - Middleton, Former Rice Plantation Outside Charleston, South Carolina

This reflecting pool at Middleton Place is even more impressive when you consider that it dates back to the mid 1700s.

Middleton was once a rice plantation.  Although the main house was destroyed in the Civil War, there are a number of restored buildings housing many artifacts relating to plantation life.

We actually just wanted to stop here for lunch on our way back to New York, but you can't get to the restaurant without paying for the self-guided grounds tour at the very least.  While that added $50 to our lunch, we really did enjoy walking around for a couple of hours after eating.  (Online the price is listed as $22 each.  It must have gone up to $25, though).

Thought I'd share a few photos of things that interested me.  Being a suburbanite, I loved seeing the animals.  This peacock was sooo loud!  He let out a few piercing squawks outside the restaurant.  Turns out that someone drops him a cracker on occasion making his trip worthwhile.

It took several tries to fit all of him in the frame! I am jealous of his vivid  jewel-tone colors.

These animals have grown accustomed to being photographed.  I swear some of them were posing for me.

This guy LOVED having his picture taken!

This crew completely ignored us.

Others, however, were not into modeling. These two stood in the middle of the grossest-looking bright green, scum-covered  pond seemingly oblivious to the world.

Love those horns!

I think he was losing patience with the paparazzi.
Pigs really do roll in mud!  The only time she moved was to go roll in the mud again.

This really made me laugh.  When I was a kid and heard someone say, "You're going to hell in a hand basket," this is pretty much what I pictured.

With the river, rice fields, lake, pools, and ponds, there were all kinds of long-legged birds.  I have no idea what these are.  I usually bring my bird books with me, but forgot them.  I still haven't taken the time to identify them.  If you know what they are, feel free to share the information.
While I was slowly sneaking up on the one above, constantly clicking to get a good shot, the one below was standing there posing with the added bonus of  his reflection in the water.

These two were having problems sharing space at the mill.  The brown one blended in so well I didn't see him til the white one chased him off a ways.

Mother Nature really came through here with the matching eye and leg color .  A nice touch with the browns.
I can't end without some shots of the Spanish moss in the trees.

While the web page says there are interpreters in costumes, only a couple were dressed that way.  Most had on regular clothing.  With the temperatures well into the nineties, I don't blame them.  One actually had on a long-sleeved shirt and pants that had UV protection which certainly seems sensible for the area.  Maybe more of them dress in costume at other times of the year.

While we enjoyed the visit, it is a bit on the expensive side. The house tour--not a very large place--and the carriage ride are additional charges.  The house tour would have cost another $12 each.  I didn't even ask the price for the carriage ride.  Our lunch was already getting way too expensive.  As a comparison, Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts is $20, has a great deal more to see, and everything is included. There  may well be ways to get discounts on fees at Middleton which would make the cost more reasonable if one looks around, though.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A New Marine!

We've been in South Carolina for our nephew's graduation from boot camp, and I know y'all (they really do say that in the south) want to see one of the newest marines, right?    First I will warn you that my knowledge of military terminology is abysmal, so here is his "group."

Rusty is the one in the center of the next photo with a stripe on his arm.  Only a few of them earned the stripe, so you can see that he's already working hard earning his keep.
Here he is, one of the newest U. S. Marines, Rusty J. Wojcik!!  Way to go, buddy!  Great job!

I think it helps to have the lovely Beth waiting for you at the end of training.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sewing Room is Finished

Finally.  I can't believe this room is finished.  Lots of work, but here it is.

That high chair is for use at the cutting table when I get tired of standing.  I have one desk chair that I slide between this sewing table with the serger and embroidery machine to the other sewing table shown below with the two sewing machines.  Yes, I know four machines is a bit over the top, but both the machines I use for straight sewing were purchased used and really inexpensive. One is always set with light thread and the other dark so that I can mend things quickly.

I love Craigslist.  That sewing machine on the right was a brand new, still-in-the box Brother Project Runway.  For the $200 I paid for it, I also got a Lutterloh pattern-making system complete with the dressmaker curved rulers, large ruled ironing pad, and yards of heavy denim fabric.   I have a Brookstone back massager on the chair. The cord gets tangled on occasion, but it is worth it.  My new thread storage is in the corner.  I blogged about it here if you want to see what I did with that.

The armoire is filled with sewing/crafting supplies,  Both sides of it have pegboard inserts for hanging things that I use often.   You can read more about making the inserts here.   The big stereo on top is for my books on CD.  I dearly love to listen to them while sewing or crafting.

This furniture set was also a great buy from Craigslist although the rest of the family doesn't agree with me on that. Every last one of them has politely told me it is ugly!   I find it to be attractive in a rustic kind of way and comfortable and cheap at $250 and so much better than nothing.  The tan ottoman was from the Habitat ReStore.  It only needed casters AND it has storage space inside.

My cutting table is next to the chair when not being used.  I blogged about the vinyl closet door decals here.  The large expanse of plain white closet doors just didn't work for me.  The hubster and I made the button wall plaque which I love.  I did a post with a tutorial last week if you want to see it.  Last, a second-hand flat screen television just in case I don't have any good books on CD.

Now I have to put that cutting table back in the center of the room and get to work.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Button Wall Plaque for Sewing Room with Tutorial

I'm loving this new wall hanging my husband and I put together for the sewing room!

  • Wood wall plaques - 2 five-inch and 3 seven-inch.  
  • Jute
  • Old paint brush handle about 12 inches
  • wood glue
  • drill for the holes
The plaques were $1.47 and 99 cents at Hobby Lobby.
Next, find the center and measure out evenly to mark the four places for holes in the buttons and drill. The holes need to be large enough to accommodate the jute you will be using and, well, to look like buttons.  

Paint the buttons absolutely any color you want!  I mixed some small bottles of craft store acrylics to get the hues I wanted.

In the center above, you can see the "needle" my husband made with an old paint brush.  He took the brush portion off, sanded the top to round it and the bottom to get more of a point.  After drilling an eye hole at the top, I painted it metallic silver.

I threaded the jute though each button to make an x and tied them off in back.  Put some tape on the end of the jute to make it easier to thread it through.

You could put these up individually or stack and glue them as I did.  Once I decided on the placement, I used some wood glue where the pieces meet and clamped them together. You could stack books on them if you don't have clamps.  Don't use too much glue!  It will just ooze out the side when you press the pieces together.  My wood glue (Titebond) dried clear, but wipe off any excess as you go along to be sure.
Last, I tied off the ends of the needle jute, looped it to the back, and tucked it into the jute of one of the buttons.  Best part is that you can hang this (or these if you are putting them up individually) by the jute--no need to buy hangers.  And, you are finished!

Shed Redo

I should entitle this, "How I Won a Sweet Little Giveaway and Had to Paint My Shed."  Here are before and after pics of the shed.

This before picture is of the "good" side of the shed, but you can still see the wood rotting out on the lower right.
So, how did winning a giveaway require redoing the shed?   You can see the answer  between the windows on the "after" photo.  Part of the prize from the A Creative Princess giveaway was a gift card to Michael's.   I found this beautiful enameled metal piece there that I just KNEW would look great between the windows of my shed.

Unfortunately the shed was in terrible shape.   The door was rotted at the bottom.  The metal roof edging was peeling and rusting in spots.  Wood in the back needing  replacement as you can see here.

Redoing the shed was not anywhere near the top of my to-do list for the summer.  In fact, I thought we would have to tear it down and rebuild.  After I found that enameled metal piece, the shed was not looking so bad after all and had miraculously worked its way to the top of the to-do list.  As it turned out, the shed was a pretty easy and inexpensive fix.  We needed a new door, one large piece of wood to replace the one holding the back gutter, lots of wood filler, and paint.

So, after replacing the wood, digging out soft spots and putting in wood filler, lots of scraping and painting, it is done!

A quick note on my experience with wood filler.  The Minwax filler was a disaster.  It requires mixing with a hardener,  is hard to work with, and smells awful.  In the end, I scraped off all the Minwax filler and used the much less expensive and easy-to-use Elmer's wood filler.  Elmer's even worked great on large holes such as this one.
Elmer's dried to a hard finish, sanded easily, and took the paint beautifully  Just in case you're wondering, Elmer's is not paying me to review their product.  You surely know that Minwax isn't;-)

The gutters that looked so bad I thought I'd have to replace them actually only needed to be washed with dish detergent and a little bleach.  Last, my lovely husband took on replacing the door.

So here it is again!  The finished product.
Thanks to Terri of A Creative Princess for getting me motivated.  I think all the neighbors are also thanking you.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Another Sewing Room Project Completed: Hanging Space

I hate not being able to find or get at my sewing stuff.  This project turned out to be a great way to get more hanging space for over-sized and often-used things.  My ancient armoire has some nice overhangs at the top and mid section as you can see here.

I decided to cut pegboard to fit in that space.  My lovely husband cut the pegboard to fit  and put small slats of wood on each side to give space behind for the hooks to fit in.  There are four screws--one in each corner--holding the pegboard to the armoire.  You could still do this on the sides of a furniture piece without the overhangs, though. In fact, doing one the whole length of an armoire would be great!  This is the back of one prior to painting.

I painted them brown to sort of blend in.
Here they are all loaded with things that I can easily see.  First one side--
And the other!
You'll note that one lonely pair of scissors on this side.  That's  'cuz this side is closest to the door.  While my children SWEAR they never use my sewing room scissors for paper and other non-cloth things, I suddenly end up with dull scissors.  My hope is that they will grab these already ruined scissors instead of ruining another pair.  We shall see.

My First Blog Button!!!

I got a button!  I'm excited.  My first button.  It's over there on the side gently flashing a welcome right now.

 It was done by Connie of Measured by the Heart.    If you need some blog work done, from buttons to a whole new blog design, go visit Connie.  She's great to work with and the prices are so affordable.