Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Brittlebush file cabinet is going to school...

...home school, that is for Miss Lucy. The top drawer is for all her Read-Aloud's. Under the pencil tray is special hiding place for her treasures.

Initially, the cabinet looked like this:

It was a sturdy piece that I got from Ken. Interior was white oak.

It had minor distressing which would give it good character.

Move-able dividers and a secret space.

The drawers rolled out easy.

Now it is Sherwin William's Brittlebush-almost the color of a No#2 pencil.

Added castors for the final touch.

Have a good school year, Miss Lucy!


I may add something else tonight, if I finish it.  Making 150 meatballs this afternoon. Secret recipe, maybe I'll share it.


PS  It is later and I made 250 meatballs for a party on Saturday. I already gave 20 to my carpenter for helping me put a lower shelf on the boat table [very tricky with only two hands].  And then I had some for supper.....

So there are more than I originally planned.  I need my grass cut and that could be the payoff.  May I say more people request my meatballs than any other food I create.  Melt in your mouth good.


Someone I spoke with the other day was talking about raising chickens.  I seriously don't talk to that many people, but I cannot remember who.  But they said they would have to build a coop first, and I said I would find the chickens.  Well, here they are.  This was a listing on Craigslist today. [?] 
Posted: 2013-06-27, 6:47PM EDT

 hens free (vermilion)

HENS good layers 6 and a gentle Rooster.4/6 eggs a day
  • Location: vermilion
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Posting ID: 3899570938
Posted: 2013-06-27, 6:47PM EDT
As ever,
La Verne

Monday, June 24, 2013

Where there's a will

...there's a working air conditioner.  Where is my boy, who every year carries my cooler upstairs so I don't melt in the heat?  Off to seek his fortune. How I miss his brawn and follow through.  It is surprising though, what one can do with a little ingenuity, in his place. I slid the thing from the shelf in the basement to the stored van seat and wheeled it to a high chair on wheels. Then I tied it with karate belts and pulled it up a plank onto the first floor. Next step was to end over end it to the mover's dolly and wheel it to the window. Hoh de doh! How to lift it to the window opening? You know what they say, when you can't lift with your knees-lift with your back. My room is cool now and I celebrated by watching an inane Will Ferrell movie. [Some people never learn.]

Over the BUSY weekend I got a text from a friend attending her daughter's graduation in California to go to her house and perform surgery on her son's dresser. I was to transform it into a carbon copy of a desk I did for him a few months ago. And, pad and cover a desk chair for her daughter. Besides several projects in the queue, and making food for Emilia's birthday party, plus making her gift, I thought I could squeeze it in. I guess I forgot I left my '40's behind some while ago.

Here was my task: Find the dresser and empty it.

The piece had beautiful lines and color.

Twelve drawers, forty screws to remove (and put back on), 20 pieces of hardware to polish.

Everything was marked and stored in bags on the bed to return later.

Dropcloth down, three coats of Stealth Jet by Behr.

I moved the drawers to the dining room to give me more room.

I couldn't run the fan while I was painting or it would dry between brush strokes

I ran the air conditioner on high so that it would dry faster between coats.

It turned out pretty well considering no pre-planning.

A close-up of the secret solution on the hardware.

Lovely.  Cyndi was pleased with the work.  Hunter won't be, when he sees a picture of his room in my blog!


At the Columbus party, we ended up meeting cousins we had only heard about from California. Terry, son of Aunt Lucy was on his way to escort daughter Mariah to Loo'vull for pharmacy school. What warm and easy going relatives.  Wish we had hooked up with them years ago. Next time it won't be so long.  Pictures were passed and shared of our mothers.  Thanks, MP.

I tried to work on the picture in my head of Emilia's gift, but time and materials did not follow suit.  She did plenty well without mine and I will take it apart and remake it with the revised edition. I did finish the cupcakes and the potato salad.  Happy being 2 little one.


Tomorrow, the last poly coat of the Brittlebush file cabinet should be done and I will show you how well it turned out.  Just waiting on the size of the castors requested.

Next projects are finishing the heirloom trunk, the chest discovery, a side table, and a fish tank stand with a pirate motif.

In the meantime, though, tonight will be bliss, just me
a i r  
c o n d i t i o n e r!

As ever,
La Verne

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Starting rehab tomorrow.

When I told Paddy I was going to be starting rehab soon, I think he said something like, "Why, you don't drink!"  Goofy kid.  My knees, silly. Pray that it goes well.  It never has before.  I want to say more, but I better shut my mouth/fingers.

I've been accepted into the Westlake Antique Vintage and Craft Show on July 21st. Rain date is the 28th.  It is a curated event and I wasn't sure I had the standing to pull it off, but it happened. Sometimes, you just have to believe hard enough.

I've really been busting it lately, but naturally, nothing to show for it.  Tagging items for the show and boxing them up. Drawing pictures in my head of how everything will look on show day. The kids have all volunteered to help (or will).  I was even thinking of offering the grand-kids sort of an indentured servant internship program. They can take turns staying with me on an overnight and I will work their little arses off mentor them on the fine art of architectural salvaging. Something to think don't all of you rush off on a vacation!

Okay, a few pics so you won't think I'm slacking....

This old wooden ReStore shutter will get a clay pot flower arrangement tomorrow and a chain on the back to hang.  Right now the chain is aging in a bowl of vinegar.

This is a Restore Coffee table,  When I got it, it had no top at all.  Ed helped me cut a sub floor for it to lay my slats on. It will get some more colors, beachy yellows and soft greens, maybe.

These two old heavy ReStore shutters are first coated my own color of blue.  I mixed together several little pours of samples I got from friend Lynn.  Love it.  They will each get a pickling of a linen color over top and a plant hanging in front.  I will show you next time how I'm installing it. I think it's genius.

Okay, finally gave this Union Jack its final coat. The brick wall was loaded with stuff so this shot will have to do for now.

This old ice cream chair from Poland I got from friend Sue.  Tomorrow it will look verrrrry Frenchie.

This is the vintage file cabinet from Ken.  It is commissioned with this neat color and almost done.  I'm liking it a LOT.

These are some wooden boxes that I played with on color.  It seems even if I mix my own, they all end up in the same shade families.


No matter how tired I am, I cannot fall asleep. Plans, conversations, infirmities, always seems to prevent it.
Hopefully, tonight is different. Hoping tomorrow I get some good news about salvaging my knees.

As ever,
La Verne

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The house of good news

I was excited to tell you about something that might happen next month, but better news has come along in the meantime.  First of all, our Meg and Ryan are adding to their Presidential Brood in September. Then Andrew and Jen announced they are adding to their family in December.  We're not counting, because as soon as you do, the number changes.  Hoping for healthy, happy children in the Wrecking Crew 3rd Generation.

I am hoping to be accepted into a show next month, so am busy completing a lot of 'started' things that need tweaking to finish.  A friend I met online, Lisa, who has a booth at the Brother's Antique Mall in Medina, called Rye Lane Design, [PLEASE PATRONIZE], was over the other night and we were each teaching and learning from each other.  She developed a spreadsheet for all my salable projects and I think it will cover my house taxes. So, as Maria would say, "fingers on the cross."

Here are some of my latest endeavors...

This is a pretty cool Vintage file cabinet with white oak interior. I am second coating tonight and distressing in the morning.  The color is really ALIVE. Definitely growing on me. It may be my new go-to color.

The next piece has a story, which I will share when I finish it.

Right now it has been thoroughly disinfected and looks something like this. Well, maybe a step different but I didn't snap a picture and I am wall to wall in my dining room tonight. It should be done by Wednesday.

This is a Sue box too. Just a plain box stored in the basement.

I gave it some color...

...and, some hardware.

This may have been a cheese box (?) once upon a time.  Not sure. It was a gift from friend David.  The wooden spool I found in a sewing machine I bought (I may have 8-but I also give them away to people who need them after I tinker with the tension so it is usable. I thought the spool had quilting thread on it, but it is a thin wire that will be used in a muck rake project. Looking better-no new pic of it, but....

Here is the cheese box (green cheese?)

The next piece is another Sue box.  I love these. I think it said raisins on the side.  I copied it on a salvaged drawer I'm working on and aside from no hole in the handle, think it turned out pretty good.

This is a gift for Max and Blair's Engagement, so don't spoil the surprise or I won't share things with you in the future. Not kidding.

Lynn did the lettering. She is sooooooo good.


I know I haven't had a Sunday Song for a long time, probably because I have been to every other church but St. Ambrose's 5:00 lately. Tonight, I showed up at Assumption's 6:00 to hear my niece on the baby grand. They played Seek Ye First, a long time favorite of mine, especially with the descant. So I'm sharing a YouTube one with you and I have not pre-screened it as my audio is not working.  It says it is combined with Pachelbell's Cannon in D, so how can you miss? I wasn't sure I spelled Pachelbell right so I right clicked to see, their only suggestion was "bellyache".  So listen to this selection and quit your bellyachin'.

To all the Dad's out there...hope you had a good day.  To my sons....I think you all have special talents in that field, especially since you really didn't know what it was to have a dad for all that long. Some of your children have had a living dad longer than you. Stay the path.  I love you. And those of you "up there", keep the door open.

As ever,
La Verne

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Miss Lucarelli, How do I love you? Let me count the ways!

Let me start off by saying that anything I write will not do her justice. If you can picture an angel planted in our midst going about, doing good, quietly, and without seeking any recognition for herself-then you see her clearly. For those of you with spatial conjuring impairment, here is a photo in years' past, but does nothing to tell you what is in her soul. [Yes, I suck, all my photos of her taken with my kids are at my kid's houses]

Mary Ann Lucarelli came to St. Albert's grade school some 33-34-35 years ago to teach Kindergarten and First Grade. She may have been the teacher of the 1st Kindergarten class. A bunch of my kids had her, and it's not fair to say which ones, because I AM THE OLD WOMAN WHO LIVED IN A SHOE. Back to Mary Ann...... It's hard to remember when I was first aware of her.  She had a strong sense of right and wrong. She had (still has in case you are thinking this is a eulogy) a passion for working with children, and a compassion for anyone in need. Her pockets could empty into your pockets with just a tear. And to her, Everyone was/is Special!  That for sure makes her saint-worthy. I can bad-mouth with the best of them-she never starts!

My reason for writing today is that she is retiring from St. Al's, not to golf or lay in the sun, but so she can rock babies at Providence House and Metro's NICU. And, so she can work with kids in the "City". How special is that?

Everyone has their stories about her, I can only tell you a few of mine. Years ago, when Lori Geyer and I had the Children's Choir at St. Albert's, we were singing at the 4:30 Mass on Christmas Eve. Earlier in the day, my husband said to me, "did you go grocery shopping yet?"  No, of course I had not! I had spent the previous week making and ironing 57 Kid's Choir Collars. He was scheduled to put in a hot water tank that day and then change at church for mass. He said if he didn't run into any problems, he would pick something up. Fast forward to after the mass. Howard, the kids, Miss Lucarelli and I are down in the choir room folding choir collars and he asks, "did you get to the store?" Same answer. Nope! [This was before the 24 hour Wal*Marts and the deli on every corner.]  Miss Lucarelli, overhearing our animated conversation said, "Don't you have anything to serve for Christmas Dinner?" I answered that the poor people have soup and we have soup, and that tonight I can take some frozen hot dog buns and broil them with leftover sauce from the Choir Christmas Party with some cheese for appetizers. She...was...stunned.  I told her not to fret, I who am not a 'shopper ahead-deep freeze in the basement person', would come up with something.

Later that evening, as I was defrosting the buns, AND, listening to my mother-in-law in the next room complaining about what she was going to be served that night and the next day, going on and on and on about "what good did it do me to spend all that time with the choir and not tend to things at home-nobody was doing good things for ME". Just then the doorbell rang and WHO was standing at my door in the form of the Christmas Angel? Mary Ann Lucarelli. She convinced the clerk at the Convenient Food Mart to sell her the last two chickens that were slated for the rotisserie. I cried. My mother-in-law shut up.

A few years later, my Andrew was in her Kindergarten class. It was an every other day, all day Kindergarten then, and on his 'off'days' he would go with Howard to work. They would install vanities and hot water tanks, put in gas lines. He was Daddy's right hand man. Then, 2 weeks before Christmas, his Daddy died. After the Christmas Break, what to do with Andrew on his "other" days when he was so used to being his Dad's productive helper.  There was 'NO DISCUSSION' on this topic. I had the baby to tend to and an estate to settle and Miss Lucarelli said, "Andrew is coming to school every day."  And he did.  Sometimes he sat with the other class and sometimes worked by himself. Today, Andrew is in Nuclear Medicine at the VA. Did Miss Lucarelli set a standard for him? For certain.

I have another story about her that I cannot tell on this blog. It involves the kindest gesture anyone could ever make short of giving their life. It changed her life. It changed ours.  

Miss Lucarelli did not have a family of her own, except the ones who raised her and loved her.  Her mother is still living on her own at 94.  But, she gave herself to all the families who needed her, the ones who gave a child or parent to heaven, or the ones who try to make heaven on earth for children on a short journey. She has readied all the North Royalton kids for the Eucharist these past decades and had absolute joy in doing it.

At 50 years of teaching, she is now traveling on a different path-one no less important and with perhaps more immediate need. She has earned the privilege of cuddling and rocking the littlest ones amongst us who need nurturing and nuzzling. God speed, Mary Ann, you are an Angel Among Us.

PS. The Blue Box I was wondering what to do with? I refinished it again and Lynn, in her special way, scripted, "Mary Ann's memories" on it.  Miss Lucarelli won't have time to stuff picture albums, but, she can toss them in the box for a later time; and maybe, she has no need for it at all, she has a big enough heart to carry us with her all the time.

With love,
La Verne

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Putting a face on Autism

A few months ago a family from Uniontown came and got my Poverty Barn. They got the 'friends and family' discount because they, like us, have seven kids. [Discounts are also given for using the same kind of soap, having red hair, and being an orphan] One of their children, Donnie, (I think the middle child) has Autism. I had been considering for some time to make up some sort of pin like the Irish pins that can be used for fundraisers or awareness.  My great nephew, Ethan, and a blog follower, Lisa's son, (also an Ethan), have Autism. It is less rare than we think, yet no one ever talks about it.

At the time of the pick-up, I promised to make up some pins that they could give away at their golf fund- raiser this Saturday. My thought was to use the symbol of the blue puzzle piece that looks like a person. It turned out way too flimsy after I bought a couple of puzzle sets and only got 3 possibles out of each box. Nix that idea.  Daughter-in-law Angie, had told me about a process to use where-in a matte gel medium is applied to a reverse image and transferred to wood.  It was my first go around with trying it but I think I like it.  However, they turned out too artsy and not really "brand identifiable" for the vision in my head.  I mailed them off to Uniontown and haven't heard back yet how they were received. I made them into magnets, not pins.  I'll give you a peek:

Donnie's group is out of Akron and is called The Autism Family Foundation.

I should have taken a better shot of these.  They were packaged individually before mailing.

These turned out very rustic. Not sure I would go with a non-painted surface again.

I ended up using the blue puzzle image but pasted the wood not the paper.  Made a difference.

The Team Donnie Golf Outing is this Saturday, June 8th, at 1:30 PM at the Brookledge Golf Club in Cuyahoga Falls. Pray they have a good turnout and great weather.


Tonight the cedar chest goes back home. When I got it, it looked like this. Yes, that is snow in the background.

It had a couple of issues, some gouging, magic marker....

The bottom was a little warped, but I glued, Bondo'd, screwed and stained it back to health.

It is a Lane cedar chest and this is how you read the date of manufacture. The first date on the serial number means the chest was made in 1945. The second  number gets reversed to being made on the 16th, and the 40 is reversed to April. Hence, this chest was made on April 16th, 1945.  Since 1972 these chests have a safety feature that prevents anyone from being locked inside and unable to get out. Gloria ordered a replacement one for free to be installed.  

I thought at first I would strip the chest and see what was under the layers of paint. (love my Purdy)

The wood was way too porous and and not all that beautiful.  Because of water damage, no amount of bleaching was going to hide that.

I painted it the color of the aqua water stain thinking that might be a good way to hide it in plain sight.

Turns out the chest was not going to the original intended, so back on the neutral trail and matching a cabinet they had that looked like this...

I started by mixing and diluting a maize and and applying in two coats with a sanded distress.

Then added another diluted mustard tone still letting the distressing show through.  Rubbed it on with a rag.

Then gave it a walnut Danish oil and let it cure.

Here you can see how the several tones of color added shading that replaced the curves that were absent. Finished it with some polyurethane.

For a novice, I was happy with the look.

The cedar chest gets to go join his sister.  Finally.

Thanks for trusting me with your treasures Gloria!

As ever,
La Verne