Table Time

I spent the entire day pulling weeds, spraying weeds, cleaning in the barn and trying to get an old drip system to work in my peonies. 

I am definitely ready for something whimsical and FUN!!!! So at dusk I took my little table outside and sanded it down. I had used a "crackle" mix on it before and it was really hard to sand off.    I hope to get it primed over the weekend so I can paint on it next week and use my nifty new stencils..  I don't want to hurry this project because the best part is actually the "doing"  There will be no deadline...

I had been giving it some thought for the last few days on what color palette I wanted to use...

Most of the funky furniture I've seen as been bright jewel tones or very pastel..  I really didn't want either.  I already have a breakfront in the living room that is painted olive green with a pastoral scene on the doors. 

So I want to pick up on the green and the dining table is painted off white (antiqued) with roses. So with a burnt sienna and a little gold added this is what I've chosen...

And of course there will be lots of black and white as well... There will be some freehand painting and hopefully lots of my little stencils.

And the legs... I will save the legs for last... What fun they will be.  This is so similar to crazy quilting because there is NO right or wrong and anything goes and the more embellishment the better.


Salvaged needlepoint......

I have to admit I'm getting a lot more done since I haven't been stitching... Tops on the list is clearing and sorting out the barn.. I intended to spend 2-3 hours every morning out there this summer but it actually has been more like only 4 days a week but I am making great progress.. DH is making regular  trips to donate, recycle and dump as fast as I can fill bags.

Of course I'm finding long forgotten treasures...one being a bag of needlepoint pieces from thrift stores.  It always make me sad that someone has done all that work and it ended up in a bin... I feel it is my sacred duty to salvage it and do something with it... I had been meaning to cover this work stool for some time  and finding this green needlepoint  piece  gave me to impetus to do it last night.. The bottom section was a valance I bought last February just for this stool. I was going to remove the fringe but used it as is.   I hate sitting  on faux leather.

I have these other pieces also..  The one on the left is going to cover a foot stool that is in dire need of refurbishing.  The little circle is going on some damaged lace for a piano stool. The large piece is going on another work stool.  My house is filled with work stools, footstools and  work lamps.

I use a pretty quick method to make the cover patterns.  I put a piece of freezer paper on the section I want to cover and using my finger to feel the seam I stick straight pins all the way around.

Then I use a marker to make a
line from pin hole to pin hole.. I only allow 1/4" seam as I like the pieces to fit taut.  It isn't professional quality but it does the job.

And to prove it's the right thing to do is procrastinate some times.  On the back of my computer chair is fabric I have been meaning to cover it with for about a year.. But this old chair does not go up and down anymore so I need a cushion and there wasn't going to enough material to do that too.  I had been waiting for some black velvet to make the cushion but on a recent foray to the thrift store I found this cushion.  It isn't an exact match but close enough that no one will notice and I won't have to make a cushion..  I really should get a different chair and I always try all the office chairs at the thrift stores but nothing ever feels as comfy as this old chair.

And speaking of lamps the BrightTech company is sending me a replacement part...will let you know how it turns out.


Let the stitching begin...

This is a terrible picture but you can see when I sit on my stool I can get my legs under the table and be over the glass and the table is low enough that there is room under the glass to work a needle.. I love it when a plan works....

I am still sending emails back and forth with the company about the magnifying lamp.. Considering the price ($100) it is not well made... I don't want to send it back as it would be  heavy and awkward to pack and I do like it. The worst case scenario is that I will have to "Gerry-rig" my own base for it somehow.. probably by taking another floor lamp apart and cutting it down.

Another possible option is that I have a friend who has a very clever husband who I could probably get to make the parts fit...

It is especially irritating because at the same time I ordered this pharmacy lamp for by my bed.  It was half the price and I was amazed at the high quality of the lamp and materials...

Here is my table with the bread board removed and all folded up flat.


My portable/foldable stitching table...

Did a little tweaking and added some more upcycled items.  I think I have it done now.  If I lived in an apartment I could just lift the breadboard off, fold it up and stow it in a closet.  Pretty nifty...Cost $0.00

The lamp has been good news and bad news.  The good news is the light and magnifier are great and will work well I believe.  The bad news is the rest of it is inoperable... The top part does not fit into the bottom part and I am waiting to hear back from the company on that..
It's not very stable and since the lamp and magnifier are heavy and tend to drift, the whole lamp falls over far too easily.. and often.  I'm hoping to solve that somehow. Cost of lamp $100.00

Here it is all folded flat and would be perfect for someone with limited space.. easy to even load into a car.  I plan on taking it out in the garden to stitch when weather permits

News on the chicken front.  Adding extra nesting boxes really solved that problem.  The old hens wouldn't let the new hens use their boxes and they couldn't stand that the new hens had their own boxes.  They had to use them too and pretty soon who laid what in what box was a moot point. 

It worked so well I used the same tactic on the roosting issue.  I added another roost perpendicular to the old hen's roost.  It took about 5-6 nights for the new hens to make their way to the top....which put them at the same level as the old hens which would never do.. Try as they might the old hens couldn't control both roosts and now they  all sleep  somewhere on both roosts.. I go out after dark with a flashlight to check who is sleeping where.  I feel like a house mother in a college dorm making bed checks... and the bullying has ended so I think I'm the winner on all fronts... Peace at last in the henhouse...


A treasure hunt for a stitching table....

I haven't picked up a needle since March.. I was so frustrated that I packed everything away until I had time to give my options some thought.  I figure if I can paint buttons I can stitch but I have to get    everything right...  Yesterday I was moving all my machine laces from smaller bins to one large bin and was thinking if I dyed them they would be perfect for the foreground in my UFO peacock piece.

It's not that I hadn't been thinking all along.  I have been researching other lamps I thought might work.  I adore the lamps I have but I have not been able to stitch with them....when I get them low enough all the work surfaces are too high, One is attached to my painting table and the other is not that easy to move about.  I did order this lamp to try which Amazon assured me would arrive today. It is adjustable in height and had an 88% approval rating.  It only has 1.75 magnification though.

So I began to think about a work surface and my dream list was:
1. Low - no more than 24" tall and preferably 22"
2. I must be able to get my legs beneath it/
3. It must have wheels or be light enough to easily move from spot to spot.
4.  It would be even nicer if it folded up and stored or taken in the car...

I started in the house...  The  little table I'm going to paint is the right height but not easily moveable.  My little green table is the right height and folds up but it is very unstable.  The TV sits on an old typing table which has casters and I can get my legs under but it is much too tall and would be difficult to lower...so my search moved to the barn. 

This is another old typing table that my shrink wrap machine sits on.  It again fits most of the criteria but is too tall and difficult to shorten enough that my legs would still fit beneath because of the shelves.

Then I noticed this old walker with a seat...  I use this as a portable chair ALL the time in the barn and the flat seat got me thinking... I knew I had at least 3 other walkers in the back of the barn... With each injury I move up in quality of walkers..   My latest one is red with a basket and a cup holder... very classy.  I think that was the broken leg.

But this was the oldest grungiest one that I found.  It was literally buried in the very back of a horse stall... I knew it might be just what I was looking for... Even with the casters adjusted to the lowest point, it would not sit level.... but I could fix that.

So I went in search for something to use as a work surface and settled on either the orange thing or the cutting board.  The orange thing just wouldn't work but the cutting board had possibilities and I loved the little groove around the edge.  The metal tub tray may work as a shelf....maybe.

I first had to cut off the tubing on the back casters to get them low enough and   that went   well....except I wish I could have gotten them a little lower.  The whole thing was so filthy that I took it into the shower with me and gave it a good scrubbing with a brillo pad.

Here it is all shining and clean.  It has casters and folds.  I could even take it in the car...actually even on a plane. I can get my legs beneath it. The cutting board is hanging with some garden tool hooks and easily goes on or off.   It is 24" tall  but figured I can lower it to 22" when I get some eye bolts and S hooks.  I am so happy with it but now Amazon emails me and tells me my lamp is delayed in route and they will advise more info later. 

..........And in an emergency I could still use it as a walker.


Bring in the clown!

I've been painting buttons for a long time and it never occurred to me to paint a clown..  But I recently had a special order for one and decided to do a few more.  I don't ever think that I have seen a CQ project with a circus theme but wouldn't that be a fun one...  One of these clowns is just waiting for someone to do it... They are all 1 1/8"  MOP - about the size of a quarter.


Stencils and bird feeder

After I did the blog on funky furniture Shirlee Fassell sent me this photo of a table she painted a while back.  It is almost the exact same style as the one I've chosen to paint...  I'm anxious to start mine but it will be a couple weeks down the road and there are just so many things that HAVE to be done and just when I think I'm catching up, something else happens to rise to the top of the list.  Today the frame rotted out on the chicken house door and it collapsed.. It was old when we bought the place 37 years ago so I shouldn't be surprised...but it just wasn't on my list for this week and it will take most of the day tomorrow to repair it.

But while I'm working I can still think about funky furniture.  I have always wanted to try something like this which is all  done with stencils.  I used a few stencils on my door and other things but it was hard to find some on this small scale.

But I did find some at this Etsy site:  Iris Mishly and ordered them... They said allow up to 28 days for delivery because they came from Israel but they were here in less than a week.  They had a lot to choose from and I chose mostly borders..  I want to use some on my table... There were so many that it was hard to choose.  Most of her stuff is for using polymer clay but the stencil selection is  delightful...

Most of last Friday was devoted to rebuilding DH's favorite bird feeder which was looking like this.  If you followed last winter you will remember the wild turkeys trying to get the seed put out for the songbirds.  Saturday was DH's 83rd birthday and I wanted to surprise him.

So using wood from the old barn and lots and lots of screws it ended up like this and hopefully stand up to the turkeys this winter.  Every part   was reinforced heavily.


Sweet treats for sweet hens....

Here are my sweet hens are eating their favorite treat right from my hand..  And if you were a chicken, what do you suppose your favorite treat would be.. above all else.?. If you guessed dried mealy worms you'd be right and I can order them  right from Amazon.  That's my lovely Maxine on the left.

I keep a bag in my apron pocket and when I let the hens free range a bit in the evening I can always keep them near by tossing a few mealy worms out after I "chuck -chuck"  That way I can keep an eye on them and get some weeding done as well.
Things are progressing better than I hoped although the old hens are still pretty bitchy..  I could see that the new hens were about to start laying and looking for somewhere to nest.  The old hens would not let them settle in the nesting boxes near the roost during the day.  So I took the door off this puppy crate and put it clear on the other side of the coop...added a couple golf balls as lures and sure enough one of the  new hens promptly laid her first egg.

But the old hens couldn't stand this new box being just for the new hens so they too had to jump in and lay their eggs there also..  Everybody is laying now in the puppy crate and they line up like women in a one-stall bathroom... Quite frequently the old hens still give the new hens a good hard whack just to show them who is still boss.  But no blood is drawn and that is good.

The last hurdle is the sleeping situation... I do get all of them into the roosting area at dusk but the old hens won't let the new hens on the roost.  There are 6 bars and plenty of room for everyone. It's a natural inclination for hens to roost as high as possible at night.  Not sure how I'll solve this little problem and may not be able to... At one time when I had 6 chickens, one was ostracized and spent her entire life sleeping on the bottom rung by herself.

But for now the new hens have to huddle in the old nesting boxes to sleep..  "Pecking order" is an incredibly ingrained instinct.  I may have to figure out a way to build an alternate  roost.  I tell you it is really tough trying to outwit chickens.....


Painting furniture funky!!!

Painting the kitchen counter really put me in the mood to paint something else much larger than a button.  I've been painting ugly furniture for years.. and there is a lot of it in the house.  But my favorite piece of furniture I painted is my nightstand in 2008 because I see it every night and every morning.

And the rainbow front door was fun... I love painting doors but this is my favorite because I see it many times a day and it is the first thing visitors see when they come.  Now that it has become a bit weathered and worn I like it even more...  I have painted other doors including the one to the bathroom which makes it easy for visitors to find..."just look for the green door."  I actually painted that door because it was so old and ugly and being an odd size, hard to replace.

As I was working around the house and barn I kept an eye out for what to paint.  I have a fabulous antique breakfront in the barn which was too big for the house.  I always thought that someday I would live where I could use it as a kitchen island as it is almost 8' long.  It would be fantastic as a funky paint job but I would never see it.

I already have a fun piece I never see and
probably will never live where I can use it.  It is this sunflower bench I built and painted and is now covered with a tarp for years.  I love the black and white check and will probably use that on my newest project...

So the criteria is developing...something I will see and use everyday..  I do have several stools that I could paint including my antique piano stool I use at my sewing table... It is high on the list.. The little roll-about stool from Harbour Freight really needs a facelift and I use it all the time.

Stools are a perfect subject for funky painting.

Some things I am too emotionally attached to so that painting them is not an option...such a case is my 100 year old typing table on the left which holds my featherweight... But the tall jewelry cabinet on the right with all the drawers would be a blast.. It came from the thrift store and has no real value.  I can see every drawer painted differently... It too is high on the list at this point.

And there are a few tables.  The little folding green one on the left is used all the time and since I have used it to iron on, the finish is pretty bad.  DH is always snagging it to put by the couch to hold his coffee or wine.  But it is not very stable and is an accident waiting to happen...  The one on the right is darling and a perfect subject but it too is in the barn because it was  too large for the house.

So I settled on another smaller one from the barn that could be used by the couch and other uses when the leaves are up... It needs a good sanding before I paint it but is in great shape otherwise....very stable... hard for husband or dog to upset.

And as a bonus it
has great legs... and boy do I have visions for those legs..... check out these legs that Pinterest sent me under funky furniture...


Latest on Harley

You have to love a dog named after a motorcycle and Harvey here is indeed a real cutie.  When I get all the basics blocked in I lay the button on the picture and take a photograph.. Many times the camera gives me a better perspective.  I not only want to capture the image of the animal, I want to capture a personality.  Things started off well with Harley...  Here his nose is still just a blob and I haven't even started on the fur on the muzzle.

When I'm closer to being done I will scan both the button and the photo and put them on the computer screen and leave them there for a while and keep looking at all the details.

Sometimes I find I have to remove or replace one or both eyes or a nose but here the changes to be made are very minor and I'm happy.

I'll tell you what I see:
Change the shape of the left ear
Forehead a little higher
Several tiny changes to left eye
Reshape the neck area.
The very last step is fine tuning the fur..

It feels good to be painting again and I must start regularly as my supply of buttons for sale is so low.  I have to either do it or give up Etsy as it has been so long they have changed the site and I had a devil of a time figuring it out.  I have been making a list of new ones to paint... I just painted a special order for a clown and now I'd like to do a few more...  I have one more special order to do then start on my list.


As promised a picture of the table.

As promised a picture of the table.  This dinner had been scheduled since March and I was so glad that the roses obliged and bloomed on time (barely).

I started collecting this pattern of vintage Vernon Rose pottery (c. 1965-1975) years and years ago and it has become a tradition to use it when the roses are in bloom. The pink goblets and salad plate are French and also a long ago purchase... But the  ruffled hobnail bowls are a new addition to my collections.  They are from the 40s by Anchor Hocking and called "Moonstone Opalescent"  I couldn't believe I had never seen it, but I had lunch at my cousin's recently and she had a set.  I fell in love with it and was able to find some bowls and dessert dishes on Etsy for a very reasonable price.  It will go with everything which is great because almost all of my dishware are not complete sets and having something to fill in my bits and pieces is nice.

We were having a beef dish so I got out my crystal knife rests to help protect the vintage lace and embroidery tablecloth. Since I never buy tourist-type souvenirs, I always try to buy something for my table or my kitchen as reminders of a trip.  I bought these gorgeous antique crystal knife rests in Amsterdam in 1992.  They came in this beautiful leather box lined with silk... It was the best bargain I ever got and a great reminder of the trip every time I use them..

But even though I love to cook a special meal and set a pretty table, the real joy comes with sharing it all with friends.  We rarely  go out to drink or dine so having friends for dinner is a major part of our social life.

All in all the evening was a great success and DH helps with all the dishwashing......

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