Monday, April 29, 2013

Helping hand weekend

From start to (it's not over yet) finish it's been GOGOGOGOGOGO... I was heading to the Medina Airport to pick up sister, Cheryl and husband Mike, who were flying in from West By God.  When I say flying in, I mean, coming in on their recreational vehicle,  hand on the controls, constantly checking weather, filing a flight plan, gassing up, tying down, making sure the intake panels are covered and wheels chocked. Who knew Medina had 2 airports and I had Googled the wrong one.

Their grandson made his First Communion, so church and party time.  Beautiful event.

They only had a short window to fly back as a storm was heading in from Kansas. Half an hour after they landed, their airport was closed due to fog. 


There is a missing photo here, because it wasn't taken, but, Jen, Andrew and the Jake came over to rake and cut grass after the Communion. There had to have been close to 20 of those large Kraft bags filled with yard waste at my curb.  Jacob's job was to pick up all the pine cones from the border pines and put them in his little cart. He had to have picked up a hundred. Then one by one emptied his cart into the bigger cart. He was a cute little muddy mess.


This was also the weekend of Jen's Mom's Relay for Life Breast Cancer fundraiser. Great turnout, fun time, Bethy won several door prizes.


Speaking of...Bethany (below) loading salvaged wood into the van for me. It was raining and we had to watch for nails everywhere. The other photo is on a relaxing day holding one of our many newborns. It's either Emilia, Grant, Jacob or Adam. As a grandmother, I suck. They are all beautiful and all look alike.  They are related you know.


This photo is of the little kneeler-footstool I snagged from Restore last week.  I only had a fraction of a second to work on it, but wanted to see what was underneath the carpet. No serious sins.

An ever so quick rub with steel wool and acetone showed some pretty, aged oak wood. I feel I should still give it some padding and upholstery fabric instead of leaving it naked. This is begging for someone's grandmother's tapestry to put on it.   Hope the rest of the wood is as nice.


I have a couple of pieces coming up that I hope to match to this antique piece of my friend, Gloria's.  We'll see if I am the crafts person I think I am.

My favorite sander bit the dust the other day.  It was only a year old, but hard to find as it is an older model that big box stores have long emptied their shelves of.  I may have to find a back roads Ace Hardware to replace it.


The last of the prom dresses will get completed and handed off tomorrow-then back to restoration. I work from the bottom up, and the shiny skirt is hem # 6 on this gown.


It is only 8 something, but I watched kids last night, and after school, and lifted and carried and tugged and sawed and wheeled and cooked and toted for the last several days, and I am SHOT-in a good sort of way (meaning not bleeding). My knees are screaming and pretty soon my "walkin' won't be workin' " Having some hot chocolate and turning in.................


Oh, and those of you that were looking for a Sunday song, will have to settle for a Monday song instead.

As a nod to my siblings and children, a little memory of Mom. As she would rock us to sleep she would sing George Gershwin's Summertime and we were slumbering big time (in no time).  I did the same for my kids and some of my grands.  Looking forward to a time when the living' is easy (er)! Here is a little Sam Cooke.

As ever,
La Verne

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Birthday booty

What a great day yesterday! Everyone should have such a fabulous birthday.  I heard from all of my kids with good wishes and promises of yard work from the ones who could not make the day. It started off with a trip to ReStore where I found some awesome treasures (remember: eye of the beholder).

This fireplace mantle (with electricity run to the top of it) will probably end up a head board.

This piece I guessed was an old confessional kneeler, but will become a footstool.

I needed pieces parts for a desk I'm working on-so a bargain.

All these old drawers were custom made on site with pencil marking in/outside.  Actual 1x6's.  Have plans to make them into planters and tables.....

I do not know the sources of these 2 pics, but bless them anyway. [Just possibilities of ideas]

This next little homemade footstool can take some padding and fabric and make an awesome accessory.

Alisa's friend Bryan made this sturdy furniture creeper for me, which Ryan beefed up later.  I had gotten a furniture dolly at Harbor Freight that advertised that it could hold weight up to 1000#, but the very 1st dresser I put on it, BROKE it.  I had considered taking it back, but the castors were worth more than if I had to buy them separately.  The creeper is made of old REAL 2x4's from the 1920's house on Franklin Blvd where I got to scavenge wood. I hope to sand and poly coat and put it to use tomorrow.

And lastly, a glass-less coffee table that will be at home in any beach cottage when it's reborn.

Some little scroll work will be icing on this piece of cake.

I'm finishing up a Disney pink prom dress and then back to my Disney World of furniture re-invention.

My furniture in the garage got rearranged.  I was treated to a great lunch at Bucci's. Corned beef sandwiches for supper along with technical help on my boat table.  An 'ooey gooey' chocolate-carmel pecan cheesecake. Just a premier day. And got what I wished for when I blew out the fake candle. Good Kids!

Thanks everyone for making my day so special!

As ever,
La Verne

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Just Called...

Once upon a time, (in the last century) when the important and the wealthy were the only folks who carried (or even knew of) mobile phones; the rest of us were content with our land lines, and felt extra privileged if we had an extension. Well, back in those days, my husband used to call me about twice a day, and that took some doing. The early call was at lunchtime if I didn't pack his black rusty lunch pail because the guys were all going out to lunch. If there was no WC (water closet) on the construction job, the first call would be made earlier from a pay phone at the nearest gas station. The late call was generally a few minutes after he picked up his tools,  left the job for the day, and was heading home. It centered around whether we had milk or bread, and who needed picking up and where. Oftentimes, he would start the conversation singing...
"I Just Called to Say I Love You"

Howard was always a great and thoughtful gift giver.  Among the many birthday gifts to me were; a red bike, a guitar, a red van.  Four months after he died, I was (not) having "just another ordinary (birth)day." I got the boy off to Donna's house, gathered my school books and was headed to Tri-C muttering, "this day sucks". On the 2 mile trek I thought, "all I want for my birthday is a conversation with my husband". Just then this song came on the radio...."I Just Called to Say I Love You". I blubbered, singing along, and when it was over, challenged God (as I am known to do), "If this is it-if this is all I'm going to get-then I'm going to hear it again". And, with a defiant flip of the hand, clicked on a random radio station. And, there it was...the familiar synthesizer and snare drum intro and Howard singing to me in Stevie Wonder's voice, "I Just Called to Say I Love You".....

I can honestly say no other song can reduce me like this one. I'm not often asked for advice about weddings except if it has to do with alterations or making garments, which I'm good at but do not like to do. AT ALL. It's all about:  the bride, the dress, the church, the hall, the cake, the DJ, the food, the flowers, the photog. Never about the MOG. Which is as it should be. Well, when Neil and Brigitte got married in the city Mitt wanted to go bankrupt, nothing much was asked of me. Show up. Sit here. More than fine with me. Better than fine. (Not jesting here. Really.) They did ask if I had any requests for songs. I did. Just one. No Problem-it's on the playlist.  Comes the day. Not a hitch except Paddy losing his cookies right at the vows. Little tux out. Red sweater in. Comes the night. Great.  Comes the Mother-Son dance.....Neil heads towards me trying to say something as the DJ is intro'ing the SONG. I'm thinking, "Pipe down, I want all this to be in my permanent file.  Every ounce of it." Then starts.....some song I never the hell heard of ! *%#*&*@%!  As we start dancing Neil explains that the DJ thought he had it, but, NO. What to do?  I became Momzilla. I'm crying, going off on Neil, "I held you to a higher standard!" Wha? What was I saying.  It was just a song!  But, here I was, the one thing I got to do in this whole event, and someone comes in and usurps my part! [Look it up in the 'U' book] And, his dad's part. Not a glimmer of his existence! Those were sad photos. MOG with head buried in G's shoulder....this must be some special song! At the conclusion of that song, I...was...absent.  Brother-in-law, Jack who does not like any kind of confrontation is seen exiting the hall. Fast. What have I brought on with my childish reaction?  Several dance tunes later while ensconced in the rest room trying to make a new face, I exit and Neil is at the door.  The DJ, in a conciliatory tone is announcing that there is to be another Mother-Son dance, this time with the RIGHT selection. [Jack had strong-armed a record store manager who was closing, into selling him a CD of the song! Jack, however much it cost you-I owe you!]

As we started dancing, the family immediately formed a circle around us of some thirty or so and closed ranks. The photographer sensed something remarkable was happening and headed for the circle.  Neil shot his hand up to block the shot and said, "This is a private family moment!"  See, I told you I held him to a higher standard.

So it turns out Howard did show up, in the song, in the man that his son had/has become. All's well that end's well (Happy Birthday, Will). [Look it up, it's in the "S" book]

[Stick courtesy of the front steps. Had to place it on photo to keep it from blowing away while I took pic. Stands for "Stick together".]

So, I ask you to play this; sing along if you can, cry if you have to, but pick up the phone and start a tradition with someone you love....."I Just Called to Say I Love You, I just called to say how much I care, I just called to say I love you, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart!"


With love from the Dietz Family, here, up there, and everywhere....

As ever,
La Verne

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Riding the train one of my favorite modes of transportation.  My paternal grandfather painted for the _____&_____ railroad. That probably looks like I'm trying to be mysterious, but I'm about as mysterious as an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas. Truth is, I DON'T KNOW WHICH ONE. One of the ones that went east and west. And, north and south. I remember falling asleep to the 'clickety-clack, clickety-clack' and thinking, "this is just about heaven".  A turning point in my life of crime was when I was in the 8th grade and our scout troop took the train to Chicago from St. Paul. Other memorable trips were to Long Island; and taking the boys to visit Neil and Brigitte in Chicago from Cleveland, in the winter, The exterior doors were iced OPEN and we froze.

Trains anymore get a bum wrap, as in "look at that train wreck!" usually referring to a wild person on a downward spiral. Tonight's Train is the musical group and their funny rendition of 50 Ways to Say Goodbye. Pat Monahan, the lead singer, tries to explain away his girl friend's leaving him by making up ways that she died, as in..."met a shark under run over by a crappy purple Scion." Give a listen/WATCH.

The reason I bring this up is, someone was supposed to come and look at a piece I had on Craigslist today.
And...didn'! I would hate to think this person rude for not calling, so, instead, I played this song, and thought up all the reasons she could have had for not appearing. Maybe she fell in a cement mixer full of quicksand, or was eaten by a lion..what other reason could there be?


I read a book last night while shepherding the River kids. Okay, it was a pre-junior high book, but I did it in one sitting. Uh, laying, while catching up on taped Modern Family, and watching the middle to end of Tangled. Had to keep busy-I'm used to working with my hands over there. While I was there, Alisa loaded a corner cabinet into the van, next to to claw foot oak table I am restoring for my brother. I had a special rush table-top redo this morning while breakfasting with Angie, Pete and the little twinks. After they headed out, and the C'list person didn't show, I started on the corner cabinet.  When I start a piece, I don't always know the direction it is going.  Sometimes, I just start sanding and something "clicks". Not sure what this was used for in its previous life, but right away it started becoming a corner cabinet for a bathroom. Maybe even a French bathroom. It clearly can still take a stencil..."serviette de bain". This piece is on track to go right away.

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Panier de fleurs sur la porte

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Because I am unschooled in the mechanics of borrowed technical appliances, I have taken some videos, accidentally. The first, is Friday night at the mall with the kiddos. I never go to the mall on purpose or accidentally, and yet, here I am shooting this accidental video of children happy, and none-too, to be there.  There was an episode of painting pricey greenware and then killing time for it to dry.  For Little "G" 8:00 is his midnight and he promptly melted into a "pumpkin". 


Sneak peak at something I'm creating that should be finished in the next few days. Again, accidental appliance malfunction.

Speaking before of the Columbus folks, Angie was saying that Little Miss sneaks/slinks into their bed ever so quietly in the middle of the night.  She makes the walk with her head down, ever so stealthily. Kids!

Happy almost Monday,
La Verne

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Poverty Barn furniture

I'll bet you didn't even notice that the post heading did not say "Pottery" Barn.  Researchers say that most people when they are scan reading catch the first and last letters of a word and guess that it is correct.  In this case both are part of the equation. Pottery Barn was my inspiration for this dresser, but if I copied it exactly it would look beautiful, but too trendy for my taste. Here is the Andover piece that retails for $699, plus tax and shipping. I'm sure some talented craftspeople built it but who has that kind of budget?

I grabbed this pine dresser sans a couple of knobs at my favorite Restore for $15. Other than cleaning well, painting with 3/4 cup of paint mixed with 2 tsp. of baking soda and a little water, antique oiling all the innards, this became quite an affordable clothes holder.

I wish you could see the richness of the wood tones. It virtually looks like weathered red barn wood.

I took pictures with light, without light, and still it needs to be seen in person.

The red I chose is called Allure, by Behr, mixed in a sample color.

Even the top turned out pretty fabulous for just being a gritty #2 or #3 pine board.

I didn't even pre-sand, just pretended it was Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and went ahead with my chip brush.

If I could afford to keep this, I would.  Everyone knows red is my color. But, taxes......coming....up...

Final shot.  Thanks PB for the inspiration and the free catalog.  I hope you continue to do a good business so I have some comparisons to work from. [Or, as my Dad would say, "from which to work."]
[Poverty Barn is no longer available, but I will paint your furniture with this technique.]


Shout out to Bostoners and by extension, the world, this unsettling night.  I see by the score your Sox are beating our Indians.  It's good to feel happy about something, even the trivial right now.  I honeymooned in Boston and thought the place and people beautiful. Yesterday's event immediately brought out the best in your citizens, and I am proud to share the planet with you! Patriots Day 2013 will forever be remembered. Go Red.

As ever,
La Verne

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Most people...

...have a garage filled with cars, or yard tools, bikes, and snow appliances.  Mine is happily full of junk furniture. Yes, happily.  When I gaze out there I think, "this feels like walking in the door with my bag filled with Halloween candy-which piece do I tackle first!"  Here is a dresser that came in last week.  My inspiration was the Pottery Barn Andover buffet that retails for $699.  My copy was $15. at ReStore.

Here you see it as a work in progress.  I sent away for the missing knobs and will be stripping and refinishing the top soon. It won't look exactly like PB, because I always go off the reservation on my pieces. That cool segue is my way of telling you that cousin Mary Pat has uncovered some Indian history in our background. My great grandmother on my mother's side was a _________ Indian. We don't have the exact tribe yet, but Andrew is already planning how to use his cut of the casino money. [kidding-about the planning, not about the heritage.]

Another intriguing piece is this sewing machine cabinet with the pop-up top. This will be on the nautical side.

The left side flips out and I removed the right side. It will get a piano hinge in the back, the frame will go back on, and the center cut-out will have sort of a wood stained glass effect.  I will finish it off with glazing and rope handles.

Another $10 find at ReStore. Solid, 40's wood dresser, thinking.....

As soon as the rain disappears for a few days, I hope to get out there and reconfigure the space, and maybe forge a path.

I have scads of chairs that need reupholstering.  If anyone is looking for an extra chair-see me!

Well, I do have my recreational vehicle parked in there. See that streamlined silver flying machine?  I had to make room for it in there as it doesn't have current plates, so I can't park it outside.

Happy Sunday evening,
No song, sing to yourself
La Verne

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring green

One weekend in February while I was watching the River kids, I decided to refinish the sideboard out on the sun porch as sort of a surprise for Alisa. The surprise was on me-who expects chemicals to activate when my own teeth were chattering. This is how it looked at the start.

Not bad for a piece left in the house when they moved in. 

Several gouges and right on the top where I had hoped to strip, stain and poly.

Oh, who left the iron on?

Hmmmm, that pesky scar. I ended up mixing Minwax wood filler and walnut stain.

The iron mark was coming out.

A million scratches.

Disappearing, but not that infernal RED.

I had to use a hair dryer to get the chemicals to work.

Finally, this past weekend I started on it again.  The surprise this time was that I was going to FINISH it.

Whatever this color is, is a compilation mixed in the -dark- of greys, blue OOPS, and a couple greens.

A close up of the distressing.

I got most of the real red out and hoped the brown would takeover. Every time I tried to snap a picture, the sun came out.

I polished the original hardware with my secret sauce and it was perfect.

The top looks a little streaky here. I think I gave it 6 top coats.

Some bottom detail.

Finale-from this...... this.


As long as I'm finishing things-here is Cyndi's final pillow with the piping, matching her chairs.


This is the prom dress with all the hems. I had to pin the top and work from the bottom up.

Here is the finished dress. I have a photo of Cinderella in her dress, but it isn't fair to post it before her fella sees her in it.  Beautiful girl, pretty dress.


Coming up this week is my last Managing Chronic Disease class, which has been most helpful. I've changed some bad habits and found some ways to manage pain better. [not drugs]

I found some Craigslist and ReStore treasures that I will be starting as soon as I finish the cedar chest. Bargains all. You are in for a treat! Daughter-in-law, Jen is catching the bug too!

As ever,
La Verne