Friday, December 30, 2011

What's Going On in the Greenhouse?

Since so many of you have asked, I will tell you a bit of what's going on in the greenhouse right now.  For the most part, the entire place is a big jumble.  I have tools and supplies from the construction stored inside, along with plant supplies ... and now a couple hundred roses that I brought inside last week.  To be honest, it looks a little like an episode of "Hoarders" in there.

All of these roses are ones that are destined to be planted in the garden ... gardens that I have already designed and/or prepped, but that I haven't had the time this year to actually plant.  Because of this, these roses are having to spend the winter in their pots, in the greenhouse. 

I spent the afternoon yesterday beginning the process of getting the roses into shape.  I will tend to each of them, one-by-one, removing the weeds, topping off the potting soil, and trimming them a bit if necessary.  It's a testament to the hardiness of roses that these have survived the neglect that they have endured for the past couple of years.

In a small section of the greenhouse, here are some of the roses that will become inventory at the nursery next spring.  Roses in these little pots don't take up very much room, thank goodness.  Production of nursery stock is not my primary focus this year, the way it has been in years past.  Concentrating on the nursery roses, to the detriment of my own roses, has led to some heartbreaking losses in my collection of rare roses. 

I have shifted gears this year, to get my own 'house' in order and to make this place the haven for rare roses that I imagine it to be.  I hope to spend more time designing and planting gardens, and less time producing roses for the gardens of others.  This should open up time and opportunities to teach more, to do programs and garden gatherings, to help others light the fire and become confident in their ability to grow roses.  

This is what happened to me years ago.  Someone took the time to teach me a little bit, to answer my questions and show me what to do, and this set me on the path that I follow today.  800+ roses later, it's still a wonderful ride ... even though it's a bit disorganized and shabby right now.

As I continue to spend sunny afternoons in the warmth of the greenhouse, sorting out the mess, things should get a little less shabby.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

This and That ... Thankfulness

The sunrise this morning was beautiful and purple.  I stood on the porch with my Nikon and shot photo after photo, trying to get one that was just right.  Should have used my tripod, because the shutter speeds were pretty slow and almost everything I shot was blurry.  It was 25 degrees outside, and I wasn't in the mood to use a tripod ... but at least I got one good photo for my efforts.  (and I'm sharing it today over at "Show Off Your Shot") 

For the second morning in a row, I woke up after a full, restful night's sleep. I'm not sure why or what's different, but sleeping through the night has been a rare occurrence for a while now. Usually, I sleep for a few hours, wake up for some unknown reason, and struggle to get back to sleep. Two nights of regular sleep is a blessing not to be scoffed at, and I am thankful.

Our dog Daniel spent the night at our friends Kim and Andy's house last night.  Jim has one more day to go on the kitchen crown molding, and it was easier on all of us for Daniel to stay at their house for a sleep-over with TJ.  (see yesterday's post if you are new here and have no idea what I'm talking about.)  Kim texted a photo of Daniel to me yesterday evening, with him sleeping soundly on one of their dog beds.  "Sleepy puppy", said the message with the photo.  What a blessing it is to have friends who will rescue my dog from the source of his fear (nail guns), and keep him until his house is quiet again.

Speaking of TJ ... according to his quarterly vet check-up and chest x-ray, he is still cancer-free!  It has been eighteen months since his amputation, followed by six rounds of chemotherapy, and TJ is a happy, healthy boy.

This is TJ, with Oscar, at the Greyhounds Rock 'Take a Bite Out of Canine Cancer' benefit in November.

The guy from the propane company is coming later this morning to do the final hook-up on the heater in my greenhouse.  I worked out there yesterday afternoon, finishing the installation of the door, adding the last little bit of weather-stripping, and installing shelving to hold the roses.  It was a bright, sunny day, and the temperature in the greenhouse was in the high 70s ... shirt-sleeve weather.  Spending time in the greenhouse is a perfect way to survive winter.

I sure have a lot to be thankful for.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kitchen Crown Molding.

One day, I will sit and gather photos to do a comprehensive post describing the renovation of the kitchen in this old place of ours ... perhaps it will take a series of posts, because it has been a long process with lots of twists and turns along the way.  The design of the kitchen itself was fairly straight-forward.  Cabinet installation went well ... and this is where things stalled.  It has been six years since the first hammer was taken to the walls, and we are finally, FINALLY in the home stretch!

The big hold up in the process has been the installation of the crown molding on top of our cabinets.  It's a two-piece crown, solid cherry with a natural finish, like the cabinets themselves ... and it must be installed on the cabinets, not the ceiling, because the ceiling is 3/4" out of level across the length of the kitchen.  I have had three trim carpenters come look at the job, each of them tried to convince me that I should run the molding along the plane of the ceiling and that I'd never notice the unevenness on the cabinets themselves ... WRONG!  I want the molding to be parallel with the opening of the cabinet doors, no matter what happens at the ceiling line.  They didn't get it.  Bye bye.

Since 2005, this is what the top of our upper cabinets has looked like.  That 'trim' is a piece of 3/4" plywood, which is there to act as a backing for future crown molding.

In early December, while we were mingling with guests at the Christmas party at Hartwood Winery, we made a connection with Jim, a fellow guest and a cabinet maker who appeared to have the skills necessary to maybe, hopefully help me get this kitchen finished.  I asked questions, he gave great answers ... we see eye-to-eye on the project ... and yesterday he arrived here to get to work.

The first piece of the two-piece crown is up!  The lighter wood is a wedge of poplar which will support the second piece of the crown.

I am totally thrilled with the results so far!!  Jim is meticulous and his joints and corners are PERFECT ... which is what I demanded on this project.  Natural cherry molding means there's no room for error, and he is definitely up for the job.

Our one unforeseen challenge while Jim was working yesterday was our dog Daniel's reaction ... Daniel is deathly terrified of loud sharp noises (nail guns and hammers), and he spent the afternoon panting and drooling and whining on his bed in the office ... which was the farthest he could get from the kitchen.  While Jim is working here later today, Daniel is going to spend the day at our friends Andy and Kim's house hanging out with TJ.

Alice says, "Look, Daniel, nail guns aren't scary.  I'm sharpening my face on this one."

(I have to go now, to get Daniel out of here before Jim arrives.)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Shhh ... Baby's Sleeping

We are watching the grandkids today, because daycare is closed and our daughter and her husband both have to work.

After spending a very full morning eating, and smiling, and flapping around on his quilt making baby noises, Caleb is sound asleep.

His brother is playing Monopoly with Granddad.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tis the Season to Remember

As we gather tonight and tomorrow with our families to celebrate Christmas, take a minute to remember the members of our military.  (I'm an Army brat, you remember.) 

I especially want to remind you to say a prayer for the families of service members who lost their lives in service to our country.

Be thankful for their sacrifice ... and hold your loved ones close.

I took these photos last week at Culpeper National Cemetery.  The wreaths were laid by volunteers a few weeks ago as part of Wreaths Across America.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Goodbye, Sweet Kimba

I first introduced you to Kimba, our outdoor cat, in THIS post.  Since then, her health has been declining, slowly and steadily.  Even at her advanced estimated age of 18 years old, she had a fantastic quality of life ... eating well, bright eyed and interested, greeting all of the humans who came to her porch. 

Yesterday morning, she was lying in the grass in one of her usual spots, but she didn't look like she was sleeping peacefully like she usually is.  I picked her up, and she struggled a bit (she doesn't like being carried).  I carried her to the porch to check her over, and when I sat her down, her back legs wouldn't support her weight.

 I settled Kimba into her heated box on the porch, and I went inside to get the phone to call our veterinarian.  I promise all our pets that I will never allow them to suffer.  The final ride in the car, with Kimba wrapped in a towel cradled in my lap, is one of the most heart-breaking things I know.  It is the ultimate kindness, though, and I bear the pain to make sure that my pets don't have to. 

Kimba was the Queen of Hartwood, the cat who came with our house when we bought it in 2002, and I cannot imagine not having her here.  She sat on the porch, or in the garden, surveying her domain and inspecting whatever was happening.  She came to our relationship frightened and distrustful ... and she left, sitting on my lap cradled in my arms, as a trusting member of the family, secure in the knowledge that she was loved.

Kimba's favorite place to nap was a sunny spot in the rose bed on the south side of our house.  I think this is the perfect spot to put her ashes.  She is a part of this place, and here she shall stay.

Rest in peace, sweet Kimba.  I miss you already.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Baking, with some Help

The other day, I spent the morning making pies for dessert for after our Greyhounds Rock meeting.  When I bake, I usually have ingredients spread out all over the kitchen ... I clean up the mess when I'm finished.  After I put the pies into the oven and I was in the process of putting things away, the phone rang.  I walk and talk while I'm on the phone and, during the course of the conversation, I wandered out of the kitchen for a while.  When I returned, I found this.

I felt a bit like a character on "CSI", following the clues to determine exactly what happened.

Earlier, I had been shooing a very-curious Alice off the high counter.  She was fascinated with pie making, and she wanted an up-close view.  Her little fluffy feet would probably be a perfect match for the fluffy, floury footprints that now covered my counter.

They led from the flour container, across the counter ...

... onto the bar stool and on the rug below.

Needless to say, the flour in the container was emptied into the trash and the container was thoroughly washed.  Having cats in the vicinity while I'm baking is one thing ... having them actually IN the ingredients is entirely different.

The pies were delicious, by the way.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Meanwhile, Back at the Antiques Booth ...

The past two days have been filled with visits to antique shops.  I had my camera in my pocket, of course, so you can come along with me. 

On Friday afternoon, The Husband and I loaded up a truck-full of some more things to take them to my antiques booth at the Minuteman Mini Mall in Culpeper.  It was the first time I had the chance to go back there since I first put items into the empty booth on the 8th.  I was really anxious to see what (if anything) may have sold in that time. 

When we arrived, we found that all the big pieces were still exactly where we left them ... nothing big had sold.  I looked through the small items on the shelves, and I discovered that one item was gone ... a glass straw dispenser.  My first sale!! 

We did the best we could to rearrange the booth a bit to fit all of the things we brought into the space.  I had counted on at least one big item being gone so we'd have room to stage everything a bit nicer ... but we had to make do with what we had, which was a very crowded space.  I think we did okay.

I love these velvet chairs!  They are incredibly comfortable, and they have just the right amount of retro cool factor.

I also added a set of four green kitchen chairs, three hand-knit shawls, this cute little two-drawer chest, and the white Italian table with turquoise accents.

Yesterday, I had a To Do list to kill.  One of the items on the list was heading to Warrenton (about 45 minutes north of here) to visit with Janet of The Empty Nest.  She was manning her booth at the gift fair at Shumate's Auctions. The auction company has an antique shop, called Past Reflections.  I had never been there, and I was very, very pleased with what I found.  So many temptations!

I saw this oak desk right away.  It's a fabulous size, and the honest, original finish is perfect!

Don't you love the blue paint on the base of this table?  Someone replaced the top with tongue-and-groove salvaged flooring ... which is a pretty cool idea.

Transferware chamber pot ... with roses!

This pile of trunks and chests has some real beauties! 

This is the piece that I wish I could have bought ... a pine mantel shelf.  I stood there and stared at it, trying desperately to imagine a place in our house where I could use it.  Finding nowhere, I sadly walked away from it.

While Janet and I were visiting, I also needed to talk a little 'shop' with her.  I have only used regular wax on the furniture that I'm painting, and I wanted to know about Annie Sloan's dark wax.  She assured me that I would love working with it, and that I would love the effect.  Her endorsement is enough for me.  When I left Shumate's, I headed 10 minutes up the road to Fox Den Antiques, where Janet has two booths and sells Annie Sloan paint and products.

It's fantastic (and a little bit dangerous) to have an Annie Sloan stockist so close to home!  I picked up a can of dark wax, and a quart of 'Primer Red' paint.  I need a good red, and this one looks like it will be beautiful.

The Fox Den has some great vendors, and I always find beautiful things there ... not that I can buy anything, because we already know that our house is FULL.  This doesn't stop me from wandering around, camera in hand, appreciating what I find.

I don't think this stained glass piece is for sale ... I sure like it, tho.

The price on this cupboard has been reduced to $299, which I think is a steal.

This looks like Dorothy all dressed up in people clothes.

Isn't this vignette perfect?

Here is Janet's other booth.  The pieces are even more beautiful in person!

After I paid for my paint and wax, I hopped into my Jeep and headed back to Fredericksburg to finish my Christmas shopping and pick up a few things at the grocery store for some baking today.  We're having a Greyhounds Rock meeting here this afternoon, and I'm making pies.

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Alice and Dorothy Decorate for Christmas

Cats have a very different idea than we humans do about how to decorate for Christmas.  While we like the way the Christmas tree looks with all the shiny ornaments and garland hung to the highest top of the tree, cats would rather have everything on the floor ... at least this is what Alice and Dorothy appear to be trying to tell me.

Whenever they have a spare minute or two, these two little cuties have been working hard to rearrange things to their liking.  Notice that the tree skirt is wadded up into a comfy nest, making it a perfect place to lounge. 

This morning, I found six ornaments that they removed from the tree and kicked to various places throughout the house.  I expected this to happen, and you will be comforted to know that our collection of fragile glass ornaments is safely tucked away ... all of the ornaments on the tree this year are made of plastic ... shiny and festive, but unbreakable and safe.

Here's a little game for you this morning.  There are four ornaments in the photo above.  Can you find them all?

Friday, December 16, 2011

What a Fabulous Find!

In addition to stocking my antiques booth with pieces culled from my own collection of treasures, my plan is to also trawl thrift shops and Craig's List looking for things.  It's been a lot of fun to adopt a "picker's" mentality, evaluating items for their repurposing and resale potential.  When I came across the ad for this chair, I knew I had to make the trip across the county to see it for myself.

The headline on the ad said, "Adorable Vintage Chair (Shabby Chic)". 

Adorable?  Check!

Vintage?  Check ... approaching 'Antique', if you ask me.

Shabby?   definitely!

Except for the shredded upholstery, this chair is perfect exactly the way it is!  Once I strip the fabric off, I'll touch up some of the chips and scratches in the wood ... but no paint will touch these beautiful details.

I wonder what I have in my stash of fabric that will look good on this?  Something pale and feminine, for certain ... and double welting instead of yards and yards of gimp like it has now.

Once it's finished, I imagine that it may be hard to let go of this one.

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