Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spring is Here

Angelique tulips in bloom. They just needed a warm day to bloom.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

At Home

Bella is enjoying the bed in "The Blue Room."  I haven't blogged about this room, but maybe soon.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Guest Bedroom

It is a real luxury to have guest bedrooms.  We've never had one before, so family and friends slept on the couch.  This year, we have family from Japan and Fargo staying for three weeks, so I'm delighted to give them a comfortable place to stay.

But, just because a house has bedrooms, doesn't mean that they are furnished!  Before we moved into this house, we lived in a condo that was less that half the size.  And before that, in my "bachelorette" days, I lived in a studio apartment.  This means that many of the rooms in the new house sit pretty empty.

To make a guest bedroom without spending a lot, I have had to call upon some resources.  Thank you to my parents for their donation of a decades-old mattress, which we revived with a foam topper.  And thank you to friends who moved and left me with a little dresser, striped pillowcases, and a quilt.  And finally, thank you to thrift stores, which supplied paisley pillowcases ($2) and retro lamps ($10 for the set).

Now, I am working on guestroom number two!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Will this bedding work?

What do we have here?  

Some (wrinkly) bedding.

I have never had a guest room before, and now I have two!  I am trying to furnish them on the cheap.  Here's a preview of what I'm working with.  Come back to see what I pull together!

Monday, January 16, 2012


My borrowed camera (image from

A few weeks ago, I started using a digital SLR to take the photographs for this blog.  It's a borrowed camera, and I had to idea how to use it.  Clicking away on auto mode, I got some pics that were visible, which was all I asked.

However, I was lucky enough to get help from an incredible photographer, Jason Hill.  Jason lives in Japan, where he specializes in landscapes and nature photography.  He spent the holidays at our home, allowing me to glean the basics of digital camera functioning from him.

At this point, I really only do the basics.  I have a limited ability to manipulate f-stop and aperture.  It's going to take a lot of practice!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Just Put a Slipcover over It

This chair belonged to my uncle, and to my great-grandfather before him.  It was in my house as I was growing up, and now it is mine.

But it didn't always look like that.

Here it is when I took it home: 

You are looking at my mother's slipcovers, circa 1986.  That's when my father sanded and refinished the maple wood frame.  (It's been scratched a bit since then.)

It's time for a new look.  I had yards of white upholstery-weight fabric from curtains I was planning to make.  But I never used the fabric.  So, for now, I'm  just wrapping it around the cushions.   

Underneath my mother's slipcovers, I found some previous slipcovers of "unknown vintage."  Midcentury, maybe?  Check out the mustard color:


I left everything in place.  I didn't want to deal with peeling off old fabric.  Maybe someday, I will actually sew some covers.  And so, I continue the cycle of "just putting a slipcover over it."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Woodworking: Chisels

Here they are.
My chisels.

I bought these used for my woodworking classes.

Here's the thing about chisels...I had no idea that they needed to be flattened.  Sharpening, sure; but flattening?  

I spent about five hours flattening the backs of these guys.  Grinding them by hand against sand paper and water stones.  You're not done until the back shows no shimmery irregularities.  Each shimmer is a dip in the metal, which means that your cuts won't be completely straight.

As you can see, my chisels are still very shimmery.

And rusty.  (I dropped this one into a snowbank.)

So, they are not done.  But they still work for cutting...

...because I sliced my palm open.  
I won't show a photo of that.

Just enjoy this one instead.

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