Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Slipcovered Upholstered Bench

What can you do with an old, heavy oak coffee table?  Make it into slip-covered, upholstered bench, of course.

This bench really did begin life as a beat up oak coffee table.  It was sturdy, but dull and dated, and I knew that I could make it into something special.

I removed the top and put it aside to be used for another project later.  The frame got a couple of coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Chateau Grey, and some selective distressing and dark wax, to highlight the turned legs and curvy skirt boards. 

The new top is made from a piece of half-inch plywood attached to a 2 x 4 frame.

I painted the frame with ASCP Old Ochre, so the underside of the bench is nice and finished, too.

I totally forgot to take any photos when I was doing the upholstering of the top.  Use your imagination here ... There's a piece of 3-inch thick foam on top of the plywood, topped with polyester batting and covered in muslin, stapled securely. 

Here's Alice supervising as I screwed the frame to the top.

Now the bench is ready for its slipcover.

The slipcover has a little box-pleated skirt, which requires a LONG strip of fabric ... three times the measurement around the bench, to be exact ... the bench is 48 inches x 20 inches, and the skirt strip was over 30 feet long.  Thank goodness I have a rotary cutter, which makes pretty short work of cutting the strip.

The fabric I used is an 8-ounch dropcloth, prewashed and dried and ironed.  I zig-zagged the edges of all of the pieces, because the raw edges on dropcloth fray like crazy if you don't.

Are you ready to see what it looks like?

This doesn't look much like a coffee table anymore, does it?

Dorothy checked it out, and she says that it's really comfy.

And this is what it looks like sitting in my booth

(I probably should have straightened the slipcover before I took this photo.)

It feels great to get another project out the door.  I have two more things I'm working on in the basement workshop to show you later.  Stay tuned.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Caleb says, "Thank You, Everybody."

This week's Parents Magazine cutest kid photo contest is over.  Despite the overwhelming support that Caleb received from all of you here and on Facebook, he didn't win.  Drat!!  He finished in 47th place, which is WAY ahead of his original position of #460.  Thank you, all of you, for indulging me this past week ... Caleb and I really appreciate your votes.

Even though he didn't win the contest, we all know that he really is the cutest baby on the planet.  In evidence, I submit this recent post-bathtime photo.

I rest my case.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo

When it's time to choose a color of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for a piece of furniture or other project that I'm planning, I have this handy guide to help with the decision.

I painted small squares of each color I have onto the top of a white shelving unit beneath the window in my basement workshop.  My newest color, CoCo, (thanks, Janet!!) was barely dry when I took this photo.  Having the actual paint samples on hand like this makes choosing colors a lot easier.  (I'll give you a real-life example of this when I reveal my lastest project to you in a few days.)

Happy Sunday, Everyone!!


It's time for your daily reminder to vote for our grandson, Caleb, in the Parents Magazine cutest baby contest.  Our efforts are paying off, and he is moving up in the rankings, but we still have a LONG way to go.  Please click the link below to vote, share this on Facebook and/or post it on your blog.  We have the power to reach a LOT of people, and we need as many of them as possible to get this cute little guy up to #1.

Click HERE to vote.
(once per day, per computer)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Flannel Pajamas

Most days, if you were to drop by here unexpectedly, you would probably find me in flannel pants and a sweatshirt.    I see little use in getting dressed if I'm just staying home.  Today, with nothing particular to do and nowhere to go, I spent most of the day working on two projects in the basement ... and I was doing it like this ...

... in flannel pants and wool clogs.  (and you can see a little peek at one of the projects.)

Earlier today, Claudia at Mockingbird Hill Cottage posted an "Ode to Flannel Pajamas".  As I read it, I was nodding my head in response to almost everything she said ... and apparently so were most of the other folks who commented.  Some of us who hang out in flannel thought that we should form a club, and Claudia agreed and made us a button.  


Thank you to everyone who has been voting for the photo of our grandson, Caleb, in the Parents Magazine cutest baby contest.  He's moving up, #65 yesterday and #54 today, and we still need a lot more support in order to have a chance to put him on top. 

Vote, vote, vote ... once per day, per computer.

Friday, January 27, 2012

An Unexpected Thrift Store Treasure

Last week, I stopped by a thrift store that I had never seen before, the Full Circle Thrift on Stevens Street in downtown Culpeper.  I saw it while I was taking the 'scenic route' home after my weekly trip to stock and fluff my booth.  Even though I have a pretty decent supply of raw furniture items already in storage here, I can't help looking to see if I can find more things that I can add to the stash. 

Outside the shop, in the clearance area, I found this sewing machine cabinet.  It was marked down to $20, from $65, and I think I was giggling as I paid for it and loaded it into the truck.

The size is great, and the details will be lovely with a patina paint job.

The top has definitely been subjected to some abuse, but that's not too hard to fix.

I could see this repurposed with a lift-up top, made into a storage or blanket chest.

As I opened the doors on the front of the cabinet, my resolve to remake this cabinet began to fade.

Inside the right-hand door was the original manual for the sewing machine ... which had come apart and was being held together with a paper clip.  Someone cared enough about it to make sure that none of the pages got lost.

On the left, there is a small storage drawer.

Inside the drawer was practically a time capsule ... bobbins, a bobbin box, a package of embroidery needles, a wooden needle holder, a sharpener for scissors, and screwdrivers.  Look how the drawer even has a small built-in pin cushion.

The sewing machine itself is heavy and solid.  I crossed my fingers, plugged it in, and it appears to work PERFECTLY!  These old machines are fairly primitive, and they're made with all metal parts, so they last almost forever if kept out of dampness.  This machine has obviously been used and loved until quite recently.

The 1927 patent date on the motor suggests that it's from the late 1920s or early 1930s.

As I stood there in my workshop thinking about this, the bargain cabinet that I bought and originally thought I would paint and repurpose transformed into a sewing machine that was once part of someone's family.  I lost my nerve and my conscience took over ... this piece will NOT be dismantled and WILL continue its history as a functioning sewing machine ... in MY sewing room.  I have the space for it up there (but just barely), and I think it will come in really handy for some of the more heavy-duty sewing I do ... like my dog collars, which my current Kenmore machine sometimes refuses to handle.


Here is your daily reminder to vote for our grandson, Caleb, in the Parents Magazine cutest baby contest.  You can vote once per day, per computer.  Please share this link on your blog and FB, to reach as many folks as possible and help Caleb get to the top!

Edited ... Caleb didn't win the contest, even though we all know that he is, indeed, the cutest baby in the whole world!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Seemingly Random Photos

I have been holding onto a few random photos that I have taken and saved over the past few weeks.  I love each of the shots, but there doesn't seem to be enough to talk about individually to make a full post out of any of them.  

This was what the sunset looked like one day last week.  I shot this photo as I stood on our back deck, amazed as I watched the colors intensify and change as the sun got lower and lower in the sky.  This photo is straight out of the camera ... not altered in any way ... not even sharpened ... okay, I reduced the size, but that's absolutely ALL I did to it. 

I love the view out the windows from the back of our house.  This is what it looks like when I'm standing at the kitchen peninsula looking out the dining room window.

The stained glass that's hanging in the window is one of five identical windows that I bought on eBay a few years ago.  It is the source of the MacIntosh rose image that I use as my Hartwood Roses logo, on the header here and on all of my nursery materials. 

While I was looking out the window yesterday morning, this hawk caught my eye.  I think it's a Cooper's Hawk, which are seasonal visitors around here.  Seeing him sitting on the fence made me wish that I had a mouse that I could give him for breakfast.  (The rose behind him is 'Silver Moon'.)

Speaking of birds ... one afternoon a couple of months ago I was working on the greenhouse and I noticed a group of Turkey Vultures soaring over the vineyard at Hartwood Winery next door.  A couple of the 'vultures' looked a little bit different than the others.  A closer look revealed that the two odd-ball vultures were, in fact, two mature bald eagles.  It's not unusual for us to see a bald eagle here from time to time, but TWO of them is quite a sight ... and the fact that I was able to get both of them in the same frame using my point-and-shoot camera is a miracle.

You have to look closely, but there are definitely two eagles in this photo of what appears at first to be empty blue sky.

I have mentioned before that the most emotional part of our annual 'Take a Bite Out of Canine Cancer' event for me is Sunday morning's Blessing of the Hounds.  Our officiant is a cancer survivor (and the minister who married our daughter last summer) and I always cry as she addresses the gathering with a group blessing.  She then blesses every dog individually, asking their owners if they have any particular things they want her to pray for.  For Daniel and me, we needed peace ... since our Emma had died a short 4 weeks earlier.  (I showed you the photo a friend took of Daniel and me in THIS post ... and I now use it as my FB profile photo.)  What I didn't show you was this photo of TJ, our Greyhounds Rock poster boy and 19-month osteosarcoma survivor, with his owners Andy and Kim.

Finally, please consider this your morning reminder to click the link below to vote for our grandson Caleb in the Parents Magazine cutest baby contest.  He is now #112, up from yesterday's #260, which means that we still have lots more voting to do to get him to the top.  Between you and me, he is WAY cuter than the little girl that's in first place right now.  Run over and cast your vote (you can vote once a day), share the link on FB and/or your blog, and let's do what we can to put Caleb in the lead.

Click HERE to vote:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Vote for Caleb!

This photo of our grandson Caleb is a finalist in a weekly photo contest on the Parents magazine web site!

Isn't he precious!!!  It's hard to believe that he's already three months old.

As a proud grandmother, I have no problem using this space to shamelessly beg for votes for my sweet grandbaby.  I hope to harness the collective strength of this blog and others to promote this and to help that sweet little face win.  Click HERE to go to the page to vote for Caleb.  You can vote once per day. 

May I ask a favor?  Will you please share this on your blog and/or Facebook page, so YOUR friends can vote for Caleb, too.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hangin' in the Greenhouse With the Roses

I realized earlier today that it's been weeks and weeks since I mentioned the word "roses" here ... this did start as a rose blog, and roses are still some of my favorite things EVER.  Since it's winter, and the roses in the garden are sound asleep, there's not much interesting stuff to write about with them.  The roses in the greenhouse, though, need attention from time to time, and today was a perfect day for that.  The sun is shining (finally!) and by lunchtime the greenhouse had warmed up to a very comfortable temperature.

The first thing on my list was to pot up some of my rooted cuttings.  This fall, with my mist system dismantled because of the greenhouse construction, I went old-school with propagation ... using the milk jug and soda bottle method that I learned years ago.  (This is still the best low-tech method I know to propagate roses.  For details, click HERE to go to the tutorial on my nursery web site.)

These cuttings of 'Dr. W. Van Fleet' have been in this container for three months. 

There were eight cuttings in this container ... all but one of them lived and grew roots!

Each of the live cuttings has a healthy little root system.  I carefully potted each cutting into its own 3x3x6-inch pot, put the pots into a tray, and put the tray onto one of the greenhouse benches in the sunshine.

Look at those roots!

After I finished the cuttings, the next item on my list was to whip my own little potted roses into shape.  Most of the space in the greenhouse this winter is dedicated to my OWN roses ... the ones that I have collected but haven't put into the garden yet.  Most of these roses are miniature roses in one-gallon pots, and I don't want to take the chance of losing any to winter cold and wind, so I brought as many as I could into the greenhouse for protection.

The warm temperatures in the greenhouse have been ideal for weed growth, and most of the pots have varying concentrations of an assortment of weeds on the top of the potting soil. 

I carefully tipped each rose out of its pot, holding it in my hand, which makes it easier to remove the weeds along with as many of the roots as I can.  Then, I return the rose to its pot, add some potting soil to the top if necessary, and move on to the next one.

I kept this up at a pretty good pace, and I did fifty pots.

I only have about 150 more pots left to do.  I'm tired now, so these can wait till our next sunny day.

Working in the greenhouse during the winter is a great way to spend time ...

it's almost like Florida in there!

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