Friday, January 6, 2017

I have been busy...



It seems as though I have had one project after another for months now.  Starting with the last, here is one of the few photos I have from Kyle and Melissa's December 17th wedding.  I was trying to be polite and stay out of the real photographers' way.  My bad.  I have almost no nice pics from the wedding.

The reception was at the Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid which is a spectacular setting for a winter wedding. 

The view from our room.
I stressed way too much about the pew decorations.  My one job for the wedding was to make twenty of them.  I combed the internet for ideas and came up with these cedar swags with simple bows, pine cones and battery operated fairy lights.

Small church in the village of Lake Placid  
 While time consuming to make and needing to be done last minute to ensure freshness, the decorations were fairly easy once I got going.  My sister provided the cedar from her land and help me put them together. In my not so humble opinion, they were perfect!  Must do a post on them because there are few wintery pew decorations ideas on the net.

Other excuses for blog absence continuing in reverse:

1.Window and door replacement on the sun room. Messy, expensive, but worth it.
From lots of tall, thin windows with little cranks for opening and closing

to nice big windows with sliders on the side.
 If you are going to make a mess, you might as well tear out the living room windows and replace them, too, right? 
Only the owner finds new windows to be pretty.

2. New patio because the grass I put in after replacing the pool was just not working out for me.

3.  After weeks and weeks of watering new grass where the pool had been we ended up covering a good portion of the new grass with the patio and messing up another portion putting in said patio. What was I thinking?

Nice grass, but that fire pit looked silly without a patio.

4.  Some fun stuff happened, too.  The family vacation at Ocean City, Maryland was great. We managed to get five of the six kids together.   Google keeps turning my photos into gifs for me.  (Sandra, let me know if this plays as a gif here, please and thanks.)  Kyle was off in the waves when this photo (or series of photos if the blog posts this as a gif) was taken.  Melissa was the only one that could not attend.  Her Peace Corp stint was not enough volunteering apparently.  She promptly came home and joined Teach for America.  A good part of her summer was spent in prepping for that with sixteen-hour days. 

Kiefer, Jordan, Pep, Keegan, and Brian.
5.  Also had a special mother-daughter trip to the Eastern States Exposition with Keegan. No lions, tigers, or bears, but lots of horses, cows, and pigs.

 And veggies!

Let's see, there was also the adventure of helping Kyle and Melissa find an apartment in Manhattan and moving them into a fifth floor walk-up on one of the hottest days of the year while the annual so special it has a wikipedia page celebration takes place at the church directly across the street. 

This is the end of my list of cheap excuses for ignoring my blog.  Nah, actually I am feeling kinda good about not pushing myself to post to the blog regularly.  I will be here when I can, but I want it to be a pleasure not a chore.  There may well be more well-spaced blog posts, but I will be back to say hello and to share life and, hopefully, an occasional sewing project from time to time.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

They're Gonna Need More Sunscreen

My son Kyle started a tradition of ceremonial head shaving to celebrate major life events.  His first time was graduating from college. He has convinced his brother Kiefer to join him in this new tradition.  Kiefer just finished his master's degree from Clarkson University, soooo

That would be Kiefer and Kyle in back of their father.
now I've got three bald guys in my life. 

The two boys hiked up Buck Mountain in the Adirondacks to perform this "ceremony."  I've climbed in the Adirondacks many times and never, never have I come across anything like men shaving heads.  They tell me they went off to a sheltered side area.

Congratulations Kiefer for working full time while maintaining an outstanding GPA in a difficult program. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Now You See It. Now You Don't.

The view of my yard yesterday morning:

and this morning:

What a difference a day makes.  If only grass could be grown this quickly! 

Monday, May 16, 2016

I Really Don't Like Refinishing Furniture

Back when money was tight, I refinished quite a few pieces of furniture.  I'd much rather buy new at this point in life, but two pieces dragged me back into paint brush mode recently.  

First, my son's girlfriend was given a piece they liked except for the color.  I saw this as a great opportunity to try out chalk paint!  I've read rave reviews about it for years now.  It's gonna be great, right?  Not for me.  This doesn't look bad from a distance.

Jordan chose this color which I think is called Midight Blue.  I loved, loved, loved it with the first coat.  Unfortunately that first coat did not provide nearly enough coverage.

Close up, it's another story.  It's streaky as hell.  When the third coat still showed streaks, I decided I was going to claim it was supposed to be a shabby chic look. 
Not the solid look I was going for here.
This was Renaissance paint at $36 a quart plus shipping.  I'd ask people to let me know what I did wrong, but my present plan is to never EVER refinish another piece of furniture again.

To top it off, I also used Vax which is an expensive substitute top coat to replace wax or poly.  It may be great for flat surfaces or people who work really fast, but for this bench with all it's nooks and crannies, the speed at which it dried was a negative.  Additionally, any buildup in corners or the slightest drip dried to a milky white finish that stood out like a nasty little zit.

I worked so hard on this piece!  I even painted the inside.  So much work for a just okay end product. 

Fortunately my second project went better.  I stained and poly'd this piece that Brian made to hold all the television paraphernalia.

We both would have preferred buying a finished piece but couldn't find something that had a solid back, tiles, and three open shelves with the bottom shelf being high enough not to interfere with the heating and air conditioning vent. Is that asking too much?  Apparently it is.

The tiles just drop in place.  Since the edges of the tiles weren't covered by grout, I used a black Magic Marker on all four sides so that they would blend in nicely with the dark finish.  The $36 dollar paint was a flop, but the old Magic Marker worked out great.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Home Again

California did not disappoint.  We got to see lots of nature! There is a desert area in Palm Canyon with this tree that appears to be bowing in welcome.

This tree is in the midst of an oasis down in the canyon.

We hiked past the oasis and up the other side of the canyon where we found this guy hiding in the rocks. There were a few smaller lizards near the oasis, but I only saw this one larger one.

Turning from his little perch you get this view.

On another day trip we took the aerial tram up Mount San Jacinto.  8,400 feet up was more hiking than I wanted that day.  The highest I've ever done was Mount Marcy at about 5,400 feet which took me all day to get up and back.  You can hike San Jacinto one way and take the tram the other, though, which I might try sometime.

Of course, I built a cairn.  Two actually.

From hot desert and cool mountains, we moved on to the nice warm California coast to see sea lions on the beach in La Jolla,

Sea lions go for the family bed concept, too.
I love these guys!  They were so playful.

They are like the dogs of the ocean.  I don't know if they were playing, fighting, or mating actually, but those in the water were energetic, noisy, and seemed quite happy.

Some people were swimming with them. 

 Seals are the cats of the ocean--the vast majority were sleeping in the sun when we were there.

This guy posed for me, though.

Is that not the sweetest face?  Good thing they're so fat or people would be stealing they away to take home.

Birds! Lots of birds.  Nesting cormorants were all over the cliffs.

There were gulls, of course, and a few pelicans like this guy who was mid-stretch.  It was possibly a yoga stetch that I would guess might be called "open gullet and hope a fish drops in" pose.

Some birds were apparently tourists as well.  We wanted to go in this store, but it was crowded with these guys.

Kiefer said I should have waited to get a photo of them in their new shades.
Then the flowers.  Way too many to show, so just this one. 

I'll share some pics of the Los Angeles part soon.  You will not believe some of the stars on the Walk of Fame.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Wondering How to Paint the House?

Just in case someone looking for ideas for the outside of the house, I thought I'd share this one from Venice Beach in California.

Here's a closer look for those who need more inspiration.  I am particularly taken with the little creatures holding umbrellas with their trunks.  The multi-legged "eye" creatures are a very close second, though. 

Love that there is a color-coordinated one way sign in front!  This is definitely one way to do house painting.

My house has vinyl siding, but my shed is painted.  I think I might have to get a little artsy this summer.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Cairns Happen

I can't leave anything alone.

If you put people and rocks together, cairns happen. 

There's a cool extension on the Zim Smith Trail that leads to Route 9.  For some reason, this part of the trail has great rocks that the rest of the trail is sorely lacking.  I take it as a personal responsibility to build a mini cairn on every visit.  Yes, the best part about this cairn is the big, gorgeous rock on the bottom for which I can take no credit, but I like to think that I have improved upon it.  It's what crafters do, right?