Thursday, April 17, 2014

Oh, the Places You'll go...

Dr. Seuss of course was a masterful writer of thought, entertainment, and wisdom. What I consider one of his best books is "Oh, the Places You'll Go". It is an awesome book to give a graduate, or a kid, or an adult in a quandary.


I recovered a swivel stool today. Not the way I had planned to, but instead of stopping when I had already taken it apart, I put it back together, in a lesser way than I intended. But, it's okay, because I was on a prickle-y perch...a slump...a waiting place...and I wanted to be on my way.

Last Summer, I bought this stool at one of my 4 favorite shopping places. Not ReStore, or Salvation Army, or Ken's Garage, but Craigslist. For $12.00. The ad said the guy lived in Eastlake, which is a pretty far piece to go to buy a stool, unless you were getting it for free, or had a trip in that direction. I emailed and asked if he were heading toward Cleveland anytime soon, and he said yes, that he would be going to the casino that night. He offered to bring the stool if I would pull up in front and do the exchange. It felt like a clandestine meet, but "that's how I roll." I described my vehicle and when he saw me pulling up with my window down, he hollered, "Hey lady, wanna buy a stool?" I smiled broadly, handed him a ten and 2 ones, and said "Thanks," as he shoved it though the open window and took off. That was pretty trusting of the guy, because if I had not shown, he would have had to walk way the heck back to his vehicle and put it back, before meeting up with his group.

I love this stool. I use it all the time. It comes with me to my scout meetings, my kid's houses, and I drag it to my sister's house in Maryland. It feels like a wheel chair with no arms. I love that it was made in the USA. I did not like the fact that the seat cover was less than perfect. A little shabby even.

Most times, I would just throw a pillow case over it and pretend it was a slip cover. Today was the day I intended to fix it. Buuuttt. I did not have enough fabric to do the welting. I hate taking short-cuts on what a completed image should be. Oh well, just for me, not for family, or a client. Good enough. Without a partner, Alone .I did not have enough strength to pull it as tight as I wanted to staple gun, so it is a little cock-eyed, but I was optimistic it would work just fine. I wasn't going to wait for Another Chance. My mind maker-upper had made up her mind.

My recovered $12.00 stool. And did I succeed? 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed!


I threw together some sugar cookies for the grand kids that are heading south for Easter, in exchange for letting me watch their pooch. "Brownie" got groomed yesterday and Grant said he looked "Littler". Grant then did not want a haircut of his own because he did not want to end up shorter!


Below is the un-permissioned sharing of Oh, the Places You'll Go.! I knew you were going to look it up anyway, so I thought I would make it easier for you...Off to move a mountain...

Have a most joyful Easter. It's not the same, but resurrection is what I do. Be safe.


Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And You are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down an not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
Don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.


You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don't
Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-y perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And, IF you go in, should you turn left or right...
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weird-ish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored, there are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You'll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don't
Because, sometimes, they won't.

I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike
and I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with you left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!


As ever,
Un-slumped La Verne

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

More than just a bench

Do most of my posts start with..."I got this from my friend, Ken?" Well, this one is no different. He gave me this little bench, painted a hideous green, about a year ago. [I think that was a split infinitive. Sorry Dad] The glue on the dowels had departed, and some of the dowels were broken or missing. It had an interesting appeal so I kept it-thinking that some day when I had a L O N G minute, I would put it back together and see who it really was. Furniture does have a personality. Just ask all my creatures that are waiting, unfinished, in the queue.

Side story: Last summer, Ken alerted me to a desk at the end of his street, so naturally, I had to make a trip back to get it. While loading it into the van I could see that in one of the drawers there was a baggie and inside, a post-it note that read, "Evil Desk". A normal person would take a step back and say, "Whoa, these people have back story information that this is an EVIL DESK", and unload their vehicle on the spot. I, however, am trusting of the universe. This desk has never harmed me, and aside from planning to hit it with a hammer, abrade it with a sander, pummel it with an electric drill, I mean it no harm.

I came to learn that the desk did indeed have evil tendencies. My fingers were bloodied while trying to remove ancient flat head screws. This story goes on... Every time I encountered the piece, it was to my detriment. Finally, in deciding to saw it up for firewood, my faithful Ryobi had bounce-backs never seen before. Some of it was used for firewood, portions left for the refuse hauler, and the parts that were recycled into salvage pieces; caused me grief. Warning: If you ever meet an 'evil desk', walk on by.


Andrew started the gluing and clamping process months ago, and then it was abandoned again. When "Not His Real Name Bob" cleaned out the garage, I was mortified seeing it out there, half started, in my newly reclaimed space.  It screamed, "PROCRASTINATOR"! It was time.

This is not an original photo, but close to it. I misplaced the side pieces, so I had to fabricate new ones and drill out for the dowel holes. Bummer with no guide.

SOME people will say this is the same color as my green sweater, but that is a LIE! This color is awful. 

I like to start with a brown primer on pieces where I need a wood tone to show through after distressing.


Stopping for a commercial. I made German pretzels on Saturday for Bethy's World Friendship program and they were delicious. Just a gratuitous look. I changed out a cup of regular flour with whole grain so they were a bit healthier. Just out of the oven, you would have thought you were in Bravaria. 


Next, is not a commercial, but a Public Service Announcement. I used my friend, Ed's jig saw to cut the bench seat because my Ryobi cordless saw's battery died and so did the back-up (although I keep them plugged in religiously-especially during Holy Week), and my jigsaw has a really dull blade (from cutting through nails). My point is....the Craftsman Professional is made for a giant's hand. No way even a regular craftsman could hold this baby with one hand. And there is no quick shut-off. The yellow button takes some doing to turn off. Safety! [It would be a preferred tool to have in hand at a home invasion though] Although I am not a segregationist, I believe women should have their own designed tools. The grip should have the same torque, but be designed for a smaller hand. And the heft should be substantial, but not the weight of a pot bellied pig. We have toted our children, and others' all over kingdom come, because that is what we do. Our 'recreational' pursuits should not have us competing with Goliath to create a piece of art while saving the planet. Just sayin'.


Ok, back to the bench. ( I may have ADHD). Next, I painted it a creamy chalk-ish paint I created using leftovers from other projects. On these small projects I like to use a chip brush. It is easier to wield, and clean up between coats. Love my little garden scoot. It's like having an un-human assistant.

I am rather proud of this view. I have been weaning this room in preparation for an Easter gathering of about half of the troops. The ones that aren't traveling or residing planets away.

I glazed the entire piece and added a stain in all the groves to accentuate the carvings, followed by a matte poly.

I reinforced the interior so that I had a resting platform for the new seat which I cut from plywood laminated to sort of a flake board. Plenty sturdy. It passed the derriere test. 

Foam is pretty expensive unless you can get it at 50-60% off. Luckily, I had some in my sewing room. [Who's kidding who/whom? We used to call it the Library, but the last time someone took a book out of that room, it was 2009, and it was the "P" World Book Encyclopedia.] I always add some quilt batting to the top of the foam for a softer seat. It also overlaps the crease at the top all around. A little spray adhesive keeps it from moving while stapling fabric.

I was looking for something fairly trendy, without breaking the bank, when I remembered some drapes I had made for the Computer Room, that barely saw use. I cut them up and "Voila" the seat looked just as I imagined. 

I seriously dislike the feel of burlap. It may be all the rage, but comfort has to count for something. Burlap is itchy. On your face, your legs, your butt. My eyes hurt just looking at burlap. Why use it? This has the look of burlap, but is soft as a baby's rear.

I have been frugal my entire life. Since birth, circumstances meant hand-me-downs, always sharing, no waste, making things from scratch, reusing, scavenging, making do.... One can embrace that life and call it grace, or ever after have the feeling they have been deprived. 

Raising the kids after my husband died, when it came time for a clothes shopping trip, two rules were always in place. In order to purchase something, it had to: 1) fit two or more people. 2) everyone got their own underwear. I called it "Nurturing through deprivation." (Of necessity)

This bench is no different. The paints used were given to me, as was the bench. The tools were gifts or loaned. Materials all came from 'stash on hand'. Cost to produce, under a penny. Gratification in saving a broken bench from the landfill? Unimaginable.

Linking up at Stephanie Lynn's Under the Table and Dreaming

By Stephanie Lynn

As ever,
La Verne

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bringing the "A" Game and Filing it under Anticipation

Last Wednesday, I invited Kathy from The Salvaged Boutique, over for lunch and to visit what I call my jungle, and she would call a "pickin' room". She and her sister, Karen, recently started a blog and have successfully been featured on Apartment Therapy and Roadkill Rescue. And they are just out of the gate!


Kathy, their Mamita, and Karen of
The Salvaged Boutique.

Besides sharing ideas and techniques, we decided to have a little friendly competition. Last year, Lisa, [from Rye Lane Designs], gave me 4, single, separate military-style filing cabinets. They look like this:

The front of each file section is machine stamped Berloy (Berger Manufacturing Company, Canton, Ohio), and the year is 1918. Berger is the forerunner of LTV Steel and Republic Steel. I googled the steel transfer file, and it is advertised as being, "Electrically welded, strong and rigid, lifelong durability, solid sides, dust proof, vermin proof, rat proof, fire resisting, inexpensive, economical, baked olive finish".

The Salvaged Boutique sisters featured me in their post the other day in a most amazing tribute. Check out their blog here.

The Salvaged Boutique

The competition has hardly any rules. (Read: None) We have one month to up-cycle our piece into a stunning new creation. We can add, cut away, or otherwise re-create the piece into an entirely different function. There is no actual prize, just bragging rights. I CAN'T WAIT! It reminds me of the old Heinz Ketchup commercial. A N T I C I P A T I O N!

Best of luck, Ladies!

As ever,
La Verne

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"That's how we roll."

I am big on miracles. When I see'um, I call'em. This weekend a miracle took place in my garage. While I wish there had been a 'before' picture, I can't help but love the 'after'. L O N G time friend and neighbor, Bob MacKay (not his real name), son Jake, friend, Tom Deubel, and son Tommy, came over and with the strength of Iron-men, took on the herculean task of rearranging my garage discarded furniture warehouse. People can attest when asked in a poll, where would you rather not be: A) A sinkhole in Cleveland. B) In a cornfield after a tornado. C) A snake pit with venomous vipers. D) La Verne's garage. Everyone would pick "D". There were no paths, and now there are 4. In the past, when I tried to get beadboard down from the attic, wooden porch pillars periled my person (so much for alliteration). The big items are now up on casters. The chairs are hung from the rafters. The flat wood is stacked on metro carts. And, the trim wood is divided by type in back stalls. If it were not for my achy-breaky knees, I would believe I was in heaven.

To see this all in the driveway, one could not imagine its re-entry back into the garage (DFW). Executive decisions were made by Bob (again, not his real name) on what was "NOT" going back in. So be it.

I asked them to each pick out any pieces they wanted and I would restore it for them. When they declined, I was not sure it was because the items to choose from, were less than stellar, or they did not want to pick something that would otherwise be sold or bartered.

This kind of outreach is a lesson in humility for me. These are tasks I used to take on at a whim, but am now at the mercy of others. The afternoon was at the highest entertainment level, watching fathers and sons working together, and sometimes (often?) butting heads. [It may be hard to relinquish that sons can have as many good ideas as their parents.] We stopped mid-day for Italian Sunday dinner at the folks house, with home-made wine, chicken parmigiana, pasta and great company-the staple of that family for decades. Mangia! Mangia!.

I am greatly indebted to all of you, and when trying to thank them, their reply was...."That's how we roll."

"Vorrei dire qualcosa di simile come"
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart"

As ever,
La Verne