Friday, May 30, 2014

Craigslist Chandelier

A few months ago, I showed you what we are facing when it comes time to finish the renovation of our living room.  The main obstacle in this has been wavering back and forth as we have tried to decide whether to attempt to save the cracked, sagging plaster ceiling in there or pull it down and put up a new one.  The 2011 earthquake did enough additional damage to the ceiling that we now are sure that pulling it down is the best and safest thing to do.

Removing the plaster will give us the opportunity to upgrade the lighting in that room.  We installed recessed lights in the ceiling years ago (I say "we", but it was my father-in-law who did it) ... and I plan to add a chandelier, to provide the perfect accent.

From time to time, I would search "crystal chandelier" on Craigslist to see what popped up.  I had a very distinct image in my imagination of what I wanted, and I finally found it last week!

The ad said that this chandelier was removed as part of the renovation of a house in downtown Fredericksburg.  He estimated that it had been installed during the home's last renovation, in the 1930s or 40s.  Makes sense, because of the style of wiring and the lack of any sort of markings on it.

1930 is about the time when OUR living room was given an update.  I know that the baseboards and window and door casings were replaced then, and I suspect that that's when the bookcase was built beside the fireplace.

In my search for the perfect chandelier, I was looking for one that didn't look like a dining room chandelier.  This one perfectly fits that description.  It's twenty-four inches in diameter, twenty-eight inches long, and every part of it is in perfect condition ... it's just totally filthy.

Having this chandelier on hand means that we no longer have to wonder about what we are going to do in the living room.  This project isn't going to get done any time soon, mind you ... we have other things that are much more pressing that require our time and budget.  Until the living room renovation rises to the top of the list, at least I have the comfort of knowing that the chandelier for that room is safely stored away until it's time to put it into place.

(photos in this post are from the Craigslist ad)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Presenting at Monticello

Last year, I received a request from the management at the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants, at Monticello's Tufton Farm in Charlottesville, Virginia, to be a speaker at their 2014 Wine and Roses open house, which is this Saturday, May 31.  It's a popular annual event ... one of the few times when the wonderful gardens at Tufton are open to the public.  

My presentation is about heirloom roses that are well-suited for Virginia gardens.  It is a program that I usually do with a Powerpoint full of photos ... this time, I will be using live material and plants from Monticello's nursery.

I am very excited and honored to be doing this.  The weather this weekend is predicted to be warm and wonderful, perfect for spending a day in the garden, teaching about roses.  

Won't you join us?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Good Doctor

I was excited to see that most of the roses in my new Miniature Garden survived the winter in good shape.  (This is a new garden, planted last summer, so this was the first winter in the ground for these roses.)  A few were damaged significantly, but they have come back and are growing strongly now.  There was one rose in particular that I was surprised to see doing so well, because it looked pretty weak when I planted it ... coming back with vigorous growth and lots of buds.  When the buds opened, they were not the pale pink I was expecting, but dark red.

Rootstock.  The pale pink rose portion of this plant that I bought and carefully nurtured had died, and it was replaced by sprouts of the below-ground rootstock portion of this grafted rose.

This rose is called 'Dr. Huey', a once-blooming rose introduced in 1920 and named for a good friend of the hybridizer.  It was a revolutionary color at the time, and it is now valued less as a garden rose and more as a rootstock onto which other roses are grafted.  Because of this use, it is probably the most popular rose in America ... as escaped rootstock suckers have overtaken the grafted variety in millions of roses throughout the country, and 'Dr. Huey' is everywhere in bloom at this time of year.

I briefly thought about leaving 'Dr. Huey' in this spot in the garden, but I changed my mind.  This rose is horribly susceptible to blackspot, and it's a climber that would be growing in a space that was chosen for a Hybrid Tea or Shrub rose when I designed the garden.  Yesterday morning, I dug up 'Dr. Huey' and replaced him with 'Birdie Blye'.  Since 'Dr. Huey' was growing and flowering so well, I didn't have the heart to trash it.  Instead, I did this:

Later in the afternoon, I saw a lady in a small grey sedan, with a little dog riding shotgun, stop and load 'Dr. Huey' into the back seat of her car.

I didn't want The Good Doctor to live here, but I'm glad to know that he has a new home ... a home with a dog person, no less.  Makes me smile.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday Snapshot ... Sunshine

At the start of the day, my favorite place to sit is at the end of the bar counter between our kitchen and dining room.  It gives me a wonderful view of the rear of our property as the sun rises on the other side of the house, and the yard fills with morning light and long, dark shadows.

We are enjoying a wonderful spell of warm-but-not-too-hot weather, with bright sunshine, blue sky, and low humidity.  This is exactly what summertime in Virginia is NOT, for the most part.

Winnie enjoys the weather as much as I do.

In the spirit of honesty and full disclosure, I admit that Winnie wasn't doing a happy-in-the-sunshine roll on her back.  She had sniffed out and was rolling on a dead worm.  (what a weird dog)

Happy Sunday, Everyone!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Flowers on Friday ... 2014 Open Garden Dates

It has been a little over a week since the first early roses started to bloom in the garden.  Winter killed a lot of canes on most of my modern roses, and it didn't affect many of the spring-flowering old garden roses much at all ... and the rest of the roses are somewhere in between.

As far as I can tell, full bloom is still about two weeks away, which fits perfectly into my schedule for June.

Open Garden Days for this year will be Saturday and Sunday, June 7 and 8, from 10:00am to 4:00pm.  If you have wanted to meet the roses and see this place in person, here is your chance.

Most of the gardens look a lot better than they did last year.  The Miniature Garden is new, and it's pretty close to perfect ... please forgive me for being immodest and saying so.  The English Garden looks really nice, too, but the deer ate most of the buds back there over the course of the past couple of nights.  (Time to reinstall my fishing line deer deterrent around that garden ASAP.)

The gardens in the front yard are a work in progress.  Most of the Hybrid Tea Garden was severely damaged by the cold ... the roses have come back nicely and I expect to have at least a few flowers to share for Open Garden.  The Fence Border is still mostly clogged with weeds ... this is the next garden on my list to reclaim.

The Rose Field is impassable.  The roses are still in there, but it's hard to see them up close because the paths have disappeared.

Hartwood Roses Spring Open Garden
June 7 and 8, 2014
10:00am to 4:00 pm both days
Address and directions are HERE.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Four Months Ago Today ...

... I drove out into a snow storm, and across two counties, to meet Winnie and bring her here to her forever home ... all because a friend shared her photo on Facebook, and the little voice in my gut kept telling me that that little dog was MY dog.

It was one of the best decisions that I have ever made!

(The description of that day, the beginning of Winnie's story with us, is HERE.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How Did It Go at Lucketts?

My battle cry for the past week has been, "Is it Monday yet?"  Preparations to vend at the Lucketts Spring Market, packing and setting up the booth and merchandise, and two very long days at the market itself took over my life.  (Monday represented the day when I would be finished with the market and back to whatever normal is.)  With the market behind me now, and a couple of good nights of sleep, I am ready for things to get back to normal.  Let's put Lucketts in the rear-view mirror and I will tell you all about it.

This was how the space looked when the Market opened.  The area under the canopy and the open space on the right are mine.

This year, I had to rent a small U-Haul truck to transport merchandise to the show ... picked up the truck on Thursday afternoon, and I borrowed the young man from next door to help me load the largest and heaviest pieces.  The rest of Thursday was spent consolidating smaller items and continuing to load things into the truck.  I was feeling good about my progress and I was confident that Friday (set up day) would go smoothly.

The first thing to sell was this black coffee table.  The rattan daybed in the background got a lot of attention, and it sold on Saturday afternoon.  None of the pillows did, though.

On Friday morning, I saw that I had missed a call and then received a text message from the person who was supposed to share the space and work the booth with me on Saturday.  She was unable to get things together and she was having to cancel, and she apologized profusely for the late notice.

Customers loved the bags and my husband's paintings, but none of them sold.

I tried hard not to panic.  My carefully laid plan had fallen completely apart, and I had to do what I could to put together a new plan.  Called my husband, who had already made arrangements to take an earlier flight home from his business trip in Phoenix ... new flight arrived at 3pm, instead of the original 9:30pm ... he would come straight to Lucketts from the airport to help me unload and set up.  I also would need him to help me run the booth during the show.  For this to happen, I had to arrange for someone to come to the house to let our dogs out in the afternoon ... my mom volunteered.  New plan in place, all I had to do was get to it.

This hutch didn't sell either.  Again, lots of comments and compliments, but no takers.

Friday afternoon set up at Lucketts was hectic, but fairly well organized.  The area had received an enormous amount of rain overnight, with floods and roads closed in the area.  Many of the vendors at the market were unable to drive their vehicles to their booth space to unload.  Mine was in a spot that was higher and dryer, thank goodness.  Pretty much as soon as I had parked the truck and set up the canopy over the space, my husband arrived and the rest of the unloading and set up went perfectly.

How could someone resist this vanity desk with its original Bakelite handles?  It came home with me.

Saturday morning, we arrived early to tweak the arrangement of merchandise and price the last few items before the show opened.  The sale day itself was very busy, with beautiful weather, steady traffic of customers, and brisk sales.  Both of us were so tired at the end of the day, but pleased with how it went.  The only hitch in the day was that Winnie doesn't know my mom too well yet, and she hid in her crate and quivered and wouldn't come out.  Mom did the right thing by reaching in and dragging Winnie out when it was time for her to potty.  (remember that Winnie only has one tooth, so Mom wouldn't have been hurt if Winnie had tried to bite her ... which she didn't.)  Ruby, on the other hand, LOVES her grandmother and she bounced and barked and was very happy to see her.

This was the booth on Sunday afternoon.  The Queen Anne ottoman, bucket of balusters and the little mirrors sold later, but nothing else.

Sunday sales were a bit quieter, mainly because we sold so much on Saturday and the booth was fairly empty.  Furniture was the toughest item to sell for everyone at the Market, and that's what we mostly had left on Sunday.  It was my nicest pieces, too, which were very well priced.  They just weren't what anyone was looking for.  Oh, well.

No takers for either of the compass rose tables.  Sales of the vintage flannel shirts went well, though ... and so did sales of my husband's books about how draw super heroes.

The Market closed at 5:00, and we were packed and loaded and pulling out of the lot at 6:30.  Breaking down the show was a bit hectic, as some vendors ignored the instructions on where to park and we didn't have access to our aisle to bring the truck next to the booth.  Fortunately, our space is near the parking field and we parked the truck as close as we could hand-carried our stuff over to it.

Expenses were higher for me this year, having had to rent a truck this time, but I still did okay with sales and made enough extra money so I felt okay about it.  Almost.  I have decided that I will not do this show again.  It's too far away from home, too much work that takes my attention away from my garden in the middle of rose season, and it's just not worth the stress and effort.

This is what the truck looked like after we packed up the booth on Sunday.  Large pieces are still here, but many of the smaller and more unique things went to new homes.

Did I buy anything while I was there?  With so many vendors with such great things for sale, I saw a lot of stuff that I wanted to bring home with me.  There was only one thing, though, that I loved enough to buy ... a pair of vintage 16-pane picture windows that will be a perfect addition to the north wall of my Shack.  

I am absolutely thrilled to have these, and I can't wait to repair the missing putty and give them a fresh coat of paint.

Now it's time to turn my attention back to my real love, my garden.  The early roses are starting to bloom, and the weeds are growing like, um, weeds.  I don't even mind, because now I have nothing standing in the way of continuing my work toward reclaiming my garden from the past years' neglect.  If you need me, you'll find me outside ... digging in dirt where I'm happiest.

(All of the items that survived the Market are available for sale.  If you're interested, let me know.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Final Preparations for Lucketts

We are halfway through May, and I am still hanging in there.  Preparations for the Lucketts Spring Market this weekend have taken over my life.

French Provincial nightstand and a cottage-style upholstered ottoman made from part of an end table.

If I were a good blogger who uses this space wisely, I would have planned to do full posts to feature the items that I have renovated to take to the market.  Honestly, I count myself as fortunate that I'm not going absolutely insane preparing to load up, set up, and work the booth almost completely by myself.  

Chalk-paint dyed pillows, rustic Italian-style side table, Grey and white hutch, and Ruby.

The best I can do is offer a preview of some of my things, as shown in these photos of the current state of my living room.  No staging or supplemental lighting for these photos ... I don't have time for any of that.  Just a quick point-and-shoot with my iPad, and off I go to the next thing on my list.

Two Compass-Rose round tables, slipcovered Queen Anne ottoman, aluminum bread basket, chicken painting (by my dear husband), and Dorothy.

I am glad to be sharing booth space with someone I know, who is also working alone, so we will help each other and everything should work out fine.  I'm doing this thing alone because  (a) my husband is on a business trip this week, and  (b) my original help for the weekend is now nursing a broken foot ... stay off your feet and do whatever you can to heal, Deborah.

Slipcovered Rattan sofa/daybed (on its side and barricaded to keep the cats off of it), black drop-leaf coffee table, another view of the two round tables.  I may decide to take that slipcovered skirted ottoman with me ... we'll see.

I am honestly feeling pretty good about the status of everything right now.  I have a very comprehensive list of stuff to pack and things to do, to help avoid last-minute panic and to keep me on track.  The only variable left to confront is the weather.  We've been having storms for the past two days, with more predicted each day for the rest of the week ... culminating with a 100% probability of storms some time during Friday set up day.  

Two ornate side tables (gotta remember to get their drawers out of the workshop in the basement) 
and two framed pieces of Art Deco era stained glass.

The major variable will be the state of the ground on the field at the Market.  If the ground is too wet, no one will be allowed to drive on it to get close to our booths to unload ... I'm trying to think positive thoughts for solid ground and an uneventful set up.  The weather for the Market itself on Saturday and Sunday is supposed to be spectacular.  Sunny with temps in the 70s will be wonderful.  Liberal application of sunblock will be necessary ... I have already dropped a bottle of it into my tote bag, to have on hand for myself and for anyone else who needs it.

Finishing up with a gratuitous Winnie photo ... because this little dog makes me SO happy.

That's all for now.  My goal for today is to finish gathering all of my stuff into one place, and to pack as many of the smaller items as I can.  Tomorrow afternoon, I pick up a UHaul truck and I hope to get everything loaded to be ready to head to Lucketts early on Friday morning.

Scary to think that I probably have this under control ... think good thoughts for me.  If any of you come to the show, please stop in and say "Hi".

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

While running through a very crowded grocery store yesterday afternoon, these fictitious beauties in the floral department caught my eye.

I guess this is what all of us mothers are supposed to want from our families today.

Happy Mother's Day, Everyone!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Savoring a Major Victory

Earlier this morning, I put down the last few wheelbarrowloads of mulch in my Miniature Garden.  It is finished!  I have been going out early in the morning for the past few days, doing a little at a time.  The dedication to finish the task paid off, and the mental reward of having this garden finished is HUGE!

The darker area in the mulch is what I did yesterday and today.  It's an area approximately 11' x 40'.

No real time to savor this accomplishment.  Got a check-up appointment at the vet for Winnie after lunch.  When I get home, it will be time to put the finishing touches on the update to the rose program that I am giving at Strange's in Richmond tomorrow morning.  Doesn't matter that I'm running 20 different directions at the same time right now ... this enormous garden is finished, and I am absolutely overjoyed!

(For those of you who may be coming onto this story in what seems like the middle, click HERE to see this garden in process.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Catching Up

Haven't had much time to spend here lately.  So much going on for the next couple of weeks, and I'm trying to stay ahead of it all.

1.  My trip to Dallas was so much fun!!  I spent four days being immersed in all sorts of rose subjects, catching up with old friends, and getting to know a whole group of new friends ... and I met one of my rose heroes, Anne Belovich.  I have no words to express how much this meant to me.

This was taken in the beautiful garden where we had our welcoming reception on Friday evening.

2.  How appropriate is it that a rose I grew from cuttings that Anne sent me is the first one to flower in my garden this year?  I would like to introduce you to 'Dr. E. M. Mills', a super rare Hybrid hugonis rose bred by Dr. Walter Van Fleet in the 1920s.  (some of you may remember that Dr. Van Fleet is my very favorite rose hybridizer.)

3.  I hit the ground running when I woke up on Tuesday morning.  Greyhounds Rock has a booth at the annual Grapehounds Virginia event on Saturday, and I had things to make to restock some of our depleted inventory.  I spent most of my time on Tuesday and Wednesday working on a new item that I have designed ... leather wine glass lanyards with our hand-painted Greyhounds Rock greyhound silhouette on them.

Ruby wasn't very thrilled about having to be my model.

4.  I was in the kitchen at one point yesterday, and I saw a flash of red in the pecan tree behind the house.  It wasn't the usual red of the Cardinals that are a common sight here ... it was TWO Scarlet Tanagers!  I have only seen Scarlet Tanagers one other time.  I quickly snapped the long lens onto my camera, and I crept out onto the deck ... where I sat and snapped some okay photos of them.

I thought it was cool that I got both birds in this one shot.

5.  I can tell that spring has truly arrived, because Ruby is shedding like CRAZY!  She and I spent some quality time outside with the Furminator yesterday evening ... this was the result:

With all of this accomplished, I am disappointed to admit that I still have WAY too much left to do this week.  No time to spend savoring little victories, though.  Fortunately, I'm not playing catch up and I feel like I'm still in control ... we'll see how long THAT feeling lasts.

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