Archive | April, 2012


29 Apr

My order from Earth and Tree arrived on Saturday – already! – and of course, there was no time to waste getting started on putting up wall paper.

 The living room paper has a gold Greek Key design across the top, with tiny fleur-de-lis all over. At the last minute (well, almost the last minute) I decided that the wood work would be better done in a light gold-ish brown – Goose Feather, they call it – so I was able to put a quick coat of paint on the door between the living room and the kitchen. The door really does look much better in “real life” than the photo shows, but I didn’t have to worry about getting paint all over the walls and floor – and so I didn’t! The poor door has gotten two coats of white paint, and now one of tan, so it might be a little bit lumpy, but I’ll sand it down before I get much further along.

I have inserted and glued the divider wall, but the ceiling is still not in place, so I have room to maneuver.

Door knobs are on back order, but I’ll be a while before I’m ready for those anyway. I still have to do all of the baseboards, and that will keep me out of trouble occupied until I’m ready to install the ceiling. I don’t think this project is going to require crown moulding.  She said, hopefully.


26 Apr

Not mine, this time, although we still have a few. The writer of one on the blogs I follow  is suffering from ants, and I really, really sympathise with him. Hateful critters. I don’t mind mice or even snakes, but ants drive me wild.

We had not lived in this house very long when I suffered from the Great Ant Invasion.  We had come home from the store, and were putting away the groceries when we discovered we’d been invaded by an army of carpenter ants. These are far worse than regular old itty bitty black ants. They are at least an inch long, wear combat boots, and chew on the scenery. Well, the last part is true; they do eat wood. The only thing worse than getting into your groceries is gnawing on the floorboards.

As I was saying, before I wandered off there,  I opened the cabinet to put away the cereal when these ants came boiling out. I started dragging boxes across the shelves to pull the ants out, and the girls took off their shoes to smash the critters as they landed on the counters. Suddenly a HUGE bugger fell down and I grabbed a shoe away from one of the kids and started smacking wildly, yelling, “Get it! Get it! It’s…It’s… a raisin.”

The Squire laughed so hard he slid down the fridge and ended up curled on the floor, holding his sides.

I’ve never lived it down.

More on the Dollhouse

26 Apr

Rainy all day Tuesday, so I worked some more on the doll house, and placed a big order for wall paper with Earth and Tree, a shop in New Hampshire, which always seems to have goodies I can’t find anyplace else.   In the meantime, I’m papering what I can of the kitchen and bathroom walls with paper I’ve printed out using a program I purchased from Ann Venture’s Print Minis.

    I’ve papered the inside of the front wall, but haven’t gotten the window frames done yet. The paste dried clear, but I can’t tell you how many times I reached for that plastic cup and tried to drink some “tea”.

I also papered the wall that will go between the kitchen and bath and the living room and bedroom. I can’t put this into place until I have done the living room walls. The flaps on the left will go along the back walls of the house, and then I’ll have to climb inside the house and paper the outside walls.

When I had originally put the house together as a “rough draft” I had marked the locations of the wall and upper floor, so I was able to cut a piece of poster board to fit the living room, and then used an iron-on veneer I found a one of the big-box stores to make a “hard wood” floor. This is great stuff; you set your iron on “cotton” and just unroll the strip of wood, pressing as you go.  You can even lift the strip carefully and reposition it if necessary. I used a piece of waxed paper between the iron and the wood to protect the iron, but it also gave the wood a nice sheen. Any uneven edges will be covered by the skirting board when I get to that point.

Dreadful Dogfood: Wonderful Books

21 Apr

We live way out in the country, surrounded on three sides by woods, and often see deer, opossums, foxes, raccoons, and other wildlife in the yard.  In the summer and fall,  one of my favorite early evening occupations is to sit on the bench beside the stream and watch the foxes race and chase in the area behind the barn.  We feed them out in the back but throw dogfood on the patio for the raccoons.  (We used to feed the foxes on the patio, too, but decided that it wasn’t wise to encourage them to approach houses. Not everyone is as kindly disposed to wildlife as we are.)

I always buy the cheapest food I can find for the critters, but I outdid myself this time. I don’t know what it is – I dump the food into plastic tubs to keep the mice from chewing holes in the bags – but the animals won’t touch it. Not even the squirrels will eat it! So now I have twenty pounds of this stuff, and nobody will eat it. I’ll take it over to the park and see if the wildlife there will take it, although that bunch is pretty spoiled, with every one who walks handing out peanuts and dog biscuits.

I have just finished reading two marvelous books, both of a religious nature. One is by Nevada Barr, who is better known for her mystery stories. Seeking Enlightenment, Hat by Hat tells of her path from skeptic to believer, stumbling along – as we all are – and discovering the truth was there all along.

The other book is much more moving. Heaven is for Real was written by the father of a little boy – not quite four when this all occurred – who died – and recovered –  during the course of an operation for a ruptured appendix. The child casually discusses the time he spent in Heaven, describes meeting his “big sister” – a child his mother miscarried before he was conceived – and says he sat in Jesus’ lap. All in the same matter of fact way he would have told you he had Lucky Charms for breakfast.

I have never been afraid to die, but now I am actually looking forward to it! If you are ill, or know someone who has lost a loved one, or is facing a life-threatening illness, I would recommend this book without hesitation.

Poor Lost Puppy

19 Apr

We had to have our old dog put down two weeks ago, and Blazer spent the first week looking for her. He’d go into our room and circle the bed to see if Pepper was on the other side, wander into the guest room and do the same, come downstairs and wait under the computer desk for a while to see if Big Sister would show up, and then circle the house again.

We put an old pillow in the hallway where they used to sleep at night, and Blazer would flop down with a sigh, patiently waiting for his buddy. It about broke my heart. I suggested to the Squire that we get another dog, and he suggested I might want to contact a lawyer. Well, so much for that idea.

However, Blazer seems to have decided that if he can’t find Pepper, perhaps he can call her, and she will come. He spent the last two nights barking. Monday night, it was practically non-stop. I got up several times to fuss with him, and finally locked him in the kitchen at 4 AM. Even with the kitchen door closed, and our bedroom door shut – the two rooms are on opposite sides of the house and on different floors – and the fan running on the window a/c unit, I could hear him barking. Constantly. I finally got up at 6:30.

Last night, it seemed to be on a two-hour schedule. Blazer settled under the computer desk when I went up to bed, but around midnight he was standing in the dining room, barking. I fussed with him, and he went in to lay beside the kitchen door until 2:30. I called him upstairs and tried to get him to come into our room, but no dice. He always sleeps between the bed and the door when I take my nap, but has never attempted to enter the bedroom at night, so this didn’t surprise me. I got him to lay down on his pillow in the hall, but we were up again around 4:30. I rolled up a magazine and shook it at him, then coaxed him back up the steps and he did stay put until morning.

It’s like having a new baby in the house!

The Squire, bless him, is very hard of hearing, so most of this was lost on him. He told me the dog was sleeping quietly in the hall when he got up, and since Blazer never comes downstairs until I do, he wasn’t aware there had even been a problem.  He’s right; I do need a lawyer!

My Indian Name is “Splashing Paint”

16 Apr

  The Squire and I completely disassembled the house (no problem – eight screws and we were done) and I took it out onto the patio to paint all of the inside surfaces white.

True to form, I managed to get paint all over myself and the concrete, in spite of having spread newspapers everywhere.

Reassembled on the dining room table, and I just set the upper floor in place with two screws (you can see one sticking out above the kitchen wall paper) to mark the floor level. I try to get as much as possible of the ground floor completed before I start on the next level.

One sheet of paper propped up in the kitchen. Need to give that some consideration. That white thing in the kitchen is the open door. I found a lovely bed in my “stash” – completely forgot about it; I don’t remember ever having seen it before! – and that will go in the bedroom.  It looks as if there will be space for the armoir – or even a nice double closet – between the stairwell and the outside wall.

Placed a large order for kitchen appliances, window framing, etc. Should be able to really do to town within the next week or so.

She says bravely.

New Dollhouse

16 Apr

Well, not exactly new. I just decided I needed something to take my mind off things at church, and this is it.

Two years ago, I sent my Tennessee granddaughter, who was then seven, a kit for the Bombay dollhouse and a $100 gift certificate for a mail order miniature store. Her birthday is in late November, and this was a combined birthday and Christmas gift. The Bombay kit is front opening, so it takes up very little space, and goes together in under a half an hour. The gift certificate would have gone a long way towards wallpaper and furnishings.

When we went down to visit last summer, my daughter gave me the unopened box, telling me the gift was “not appropriate”. Since I had sent her brother a Christmas gift, I can only imagine how my granddaughter must have felt.

Wednesday evening, I opened the box, got my screwdriver, and had the thing nearly completed in about twenty minutes. I do want to dis-assemble it and paint the entire inside white before I install wallpaper, but that is no problem. So, the next couple of weeks, once my order comes from the mail order company, we shall see how this all goes.

And when we return to Tennessee, the house will go with us, with a plaque on the back – To you, from me: Christmas 2012.

Body Blow

11 Apr

For the last two and a half years, our parish has been blessed with the most wonderful rector. Dr. J has been everything one could possibly desire – a truly Godly person, kind, witty, always with the exactly right word, courteous as only the British can be. Simply perfect. She has led us into new paths, and encouraged us to take risks.

Tonight, she announced to the vestry that her husband is winding down his law practice, and they are putting their condo on the market and moving to Florida.

I came home and put my head on the table and sobbed.

OK, it’s “Thy will be done”, but I hope the bloody condo doesn’t sell.

So there.

Turning the Mattress and Making the Bed

10 Apr

The Squire and I “spun” our mattress top to bottom this morning, something I try to do every six months.

My mother insisted that I do something to her mattress every week when I visited her at the retirement center. One week the mattress got spun, and the next week it got flipped. Modern mattresses are not made to be flipped, but my mother insisted I do so anyway, which left the underside exposed. I would have to lay every available blanket and quilt on the surface, and then top it with a lambs-wool pad, but it still must have been akin to sleeping on a railroad track.

Even when I was a child, this was weekly S.O.P., and one of the few things I ever heard my dad complain about.  Making the bed was also a Big Deal. Both sheets were removed, and the bottom sheet set aside. The top sheet was turned head to toe and put back on the mattress as the bottom sheet. The original bottom sheet was now used as the top sheet.

This was done every morning. My mom did it for me when I was “little” but by the time I was in the first grade, I was doing it alone. Before I left for school in the morning.

It wasn’t until I started boarding school in the fourth grade that I learned not everybody in the world did this. I was delighted to make this discovery! I still turned my mattress every Saturday, but I could get away with “zipping up” the bed – at least until I went home for the summer.

After a particularly messy bed-making job (I was out of practice!) my mother made some crack about the fact that my sister’s bed always looked perfect. One look at Lynn’s face, and I bit my tongue.

She slept on the floor, wrapped in a blanket, which she folded across the foot of the bed in the morning. Her bed always looked perfect because she never used it!


Sunrise Service

7 Apr

One of the blogs I follow is written by an Episcopal priest somewhere on the West Coast, and he mentioned that his parish was having their “traditional” Sunrise Service on Easter morning. Hadn’t thought of that in eons.  We had Sunrise Services when I was a kid;  however it’s one thing when the rectory is across the parking lot, and another when the last three people we’ve had lived about twenty-five miles from the church.

When my sister and I were growing up, my grandmother always made us eat dinner either in our slips, or with a tea towel around our necks. (Something else Princess Anne never had to do, I’ll bet. See my old Blogger site for that story.)  Mind you, I went to a boarding school, and was perfectly capable of eating a meal without spilling it, but apparently this talent disappeared the minute I crossed the family threshold.

The year I was a senior in highschool, the fellow I was dating came to Easter service with us and then to my grandparents’ house for breakfast. I was TERRIFIED that she was going to deck me out with a dish towel, but after looking me up and down, she decided not to, and my sister also got a break.

But the next time I ate there, and Jerry wasn’t with me, it was back to eating in my underwear.