Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bathroom things . . .

While I was upstairs photographing the Tiffany style lamp in the bathroom, I stopped a moment to take a few more photos, and describe them here. We really enjoy this bathroom.
The jelly cabinet holds dark brown baskets, making it difficult in the best light to reveal any clutter. I like that.
Mom bought me some beautiful lace towels. And, the cut-lace runner I purchased in Illinois on the Spoon River Drive. The Spoon River Drive is every October (first and second weekends), flea markets and sales one right after another. Such fun to roam and look at all the stuff.

When we first bought the house in the spring of 2007, I found this bathpowder container in the downstairs bathroom beadboard cabinet. The bathpowder Le Jade was introduced by Roger & Gallet in 1923. Inside was another surprise.

I found out the box of dye is around 1919. I bought an original 1919 magazine advertisement for Rit Dye showing the same box (artwork). One of these days I'll get around to getting the magazine advertisement framed. Right now, its in storage in a little cardboard tube upstairs. I hope nobody throws it away by mistake.
For the most part the upstairs still looks like a homesless shelter. We only have two rooms completed upstairs (master bedroom and this bathroom). We're moving along at a snail's pace. But, during the summer months we carry our restoration work outside.
I'm still struggling to finish painting the house exterior--but have a major wasp problem keeping me from finishing. The exterminator guy took care of the wasps today. Jon is building the new two story garage in the next couple of weeks. So, looks like we'll have lot of new photos to post.

Mom gave me some beautiful blue Ball jars with glass lids. I filled them with menthal scented bath salts. If I leave the lids off, I can smell it and use it as a room deordorizer. Cotton balls in a glass and chrome star dispenser hide close behind the ball jars. I love the watery blue-green colors and crisp white. But what makes it dance is the reddish woodwork in the jelly cabinet and floors.

Lamps, Oh I love the colors!

Tiffany style lamp in the office downstairs. This lamp has a really huge shade. I am attracted to the green gold and red orange accented with black and expresso brown.

This unusual oval shaped Tiffany style lamp sits in the upstairs bathroom on the jelly cabinet next to the sink.

Jon gave me this lamp for Christmas '08. I keep it lit most of the weekend, so I can enjoys its color and design. Looks great in the red dining room.

This Tiffany style lamp is in the living room. To the right is photo of the original owner/builders John and Mathea Wrolstad and their children.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's good to open up the door and find you standing there,
for just to hear you say hello can banish all my cares.

And when you come inside this house you bring so much along,
companionship, an arousing smile, that turn the hours to song.

These visits give the heart a lift one can't afford to miss.
And life is richer through the years because of hours like this.

So come as often as you can there's dreams for us to share
It's so good to open up the door and find you standing there.

I don't know who wrote the poem,
but my grandma Eva taught me the words.
Thank grandma. I love you and think of you often.

The etched glass door shown here is on the (north) front side of the house. It is the door to a very small balcony. It is nice to open the door during the summer days and walk to the end of the hall to the new 'old' bathroom and open the windows. The air flows nicely through the upstairs hallway. Smells good.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

About Covering Vintage Shades

If you want a great $20 handbook on covering vintage shades, look at Everything you'll want to know about recovering shades.

You can find vintage shades all over the place. Take off the old cover. Sand and spray the metal frame. Wrap the horizontal top and bottom circumferences.

Wrap opposing (2) vertical struts and pin fit double thickness material beginning at one vertically wrapped strut and pin to the opposing strut.

With a chalk mark the fabric along the strut to make your pattern. Note: the material stretches if you use the weft.

What is weft? (from salvage to salvage is weft). For more stretch use the bias of the fabric.

Its a bit of work, but I find the entire process a joy. You can find some real bargains in the $6-$12 range from antique shops, thrift stores, flea markets.

Above is a simple cover and liner for a barrel shade.

There are really great trims at the fabric shop. Be sure to pay attention when trims are on sale because the fancier the trim the higher the price per yard.
My dining room valances cost $7 worth of fabric, but the 3 yards of tasseled trim was $18.00 a yard. Yikes. But, the look is fabulous.
You can buy a tube turner and make big, medium, and really tiny fabric tubes--when pressed out they make economical trim.
Make tiny fabric tubes of different material and braid them together--make your own trim for pennies.

Sometimes pretty trim doesn't work out too well. The pearl braid for this shade was exasperating to keep it straight without a wobble. Oh well, I learn as I go.
Before I added the pearl braid, I made some trim from the shade fabric. I cut it on the bias and pieced the bias strips together. Bias trim has the most stretch and will smooth out better when gluing.
I use low temperature glue, the skinnest glue sticks I can find. That way, the glue doesn't get away from you. You really only need the thinnest bead of glue to hold the trim in place.

I make my own material wrap to cover the metal frames. The wrap is there so you have something to sew the material to.

Fancier multi-paneled frame must be stretched and hand-sewn a panel at a time. Above: I got such a deal on this one--I found a pair of them. Way cool. The first one is under construction but I left it at my Mom's house by accident when I visited her last June. Mom lives 400 miles from me. I'll see her again in October and pick it up. I'll have to post the "under construction photo" later.

Here's another multi-paneled lamp shade. Nice shape. Vintage frame. Blue and white cotton fabric, with eyelash fringe and crystals. Made my own trim from material to cover the multipaneled struts to hide the hand-sewing.

Here's the blue & white shade from the interior. A multi-paneled frame doesn't have a liner because of the complicated shape.

Another view of the blue and white vintage lamp shade finished.

Above: Blue & White lampshade. Pretty when lit at night.

My sister Pam made the fancy drapes when she visited in June 2008.

With the left over material from the drapes, I covered and lined a simple shape metal lamp frame I bought at Good Will for $3. I picked a silky polyester for the liner.

Above, another view of the interior of the lamp.

Above: the finished lamp that matches the drapes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Building Tables and Handpainting Them

Jon and I built quite a few tables. At one time I thought I'd sell some. We built them with similar legs, and always with storage area below--mainly because it added strength to a relatively heavy table. I still have this table, it sits on the west side of the front porch. I've used it for storage, for a potting table, for a serving table. Its been a great old table.

I picked this photo to show a detail of the flowers. I painted a stylized morning glory to keep it upbeat and fun. The table looks great with pumpkins on it in the fall. This particular table is 6 ft. long.

Picket Fence Table

Thanks for your notes and good wishes about our restoration. We've been so tied up working on the old victorian, I've forgotten all the pleasurable experiences Jon and I had together building tables and handpainted them.

In the background you can see our 3 acre yard at our old place. We kept it just like a park, and I had 25 flower beds. It was a full time summer job working on the yard. But worth every bit of the work. We laugh saying we had lots of yard furniture--only trouble is, we never really got to sit down and enjoy it.

Above, is the blue and white table I call the "picket fence table" because of the back slats. The scroll work is a polymer clay. Before firing the clay vines and leaves I punctured them here and there with sticks of uncooked spaghetti, in effect drilling holes for the tiny white nails I used to secure them later on the table.

The top of the table I painted blue, then I thinned some white artist acrylic and laid down the transparent leaves. I gave the table to my mother in law Betty for Mother's Day one year.

I should have taken some close up photos of the leaves--they turned out well. This table is 5 ft, with three holes to receive 10"clay pots. Frankly, we used the tables to serve food to guests on the brick patio at our old place. Plates sit securely in the holes, and don't slide around.

When I first met Jon we used to sit on his front porch swing and visit. When we married Jon brought the swing to my home. Jon converted the porch swing to a bench. I found material I liked (shown here), made pillows, and handpainted a refurbished oval coffee table to match.

Above, at the bottom right, you can see a stone decorated ball. Its actually a bowling ball I covered with fired polymer clay, and painted it out with faux stone finish.

When we got married Jon asked me where do you want to get married? I said, I'd like to get married in my (our) backyard and of course I'd like a 40 ft. square brick patio with a fountain. By golly, we got married at home in the backyard, and Jon made my wish come true building the 40 x 40 patio with fountain.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Front Door

We continue to discover things about the house. The front door has a wonderful etched glass detail of a large bird. Would you call it a crane? A stork? A heron? We've called it a crane since we first saw the house.

A a couple of days ago my husband Jon watched a blue heron in the fishing stream just 1/4 block from our house. I asked, what was it doing? Jon said, it was standing very still in the middle of the stream, then it poked its beak in the water quickly. It was fishing! The stream is the south branch of the Little Wolf River. Makes me wonder if blue herons have been fishing around here in recently, or if they've been living around this area for a long, long time.

Above photo taken June 2008, after rebuilding the front porch structure and flooring by my Dad Gale Harriman, and my husband Jon. Mom painted the beautiful medallions on either side of the front door.

Here is a photo taken April 2007 of the front door, right after we bought the house, and before we started repairs to the front porch or any of the exterior scraping, priming, and repainting the house.

I took this photo July 2009. Before winter, we need to purchase a storm door for the front door. The door is 8 feet tall! We are choosing a modern full glass storm door with a simple black frame.

Sadly, we lost the antique screen door for this door. We closed so quickly buying this house in the spring of 2007, we agreed to the family estate auction a week after we closed. Yes, an unusual request. At the auction we watched in horror as the auctioneer auctioned off our antique front door screen. We protested, but got no where.

The heirs of the family auction were not present at the sale, and we simply had no one to enforce rights over our property. The auctioneer sneered back at Jon when he protested. People at the auction felt bad for us, and so when the second door screen door (front porch dining room door) was auctioned off, we were able to buy it for $50 without any resistance.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Painting Something Besides Walls and Siding

Here's what I like painting. I like painting furniture. Below is some of my old artwork, and old news.

I don't remember what year I painted this one. I gave it to a friend. (I wish I still owned it). I walk by it almost everyday at work and see it in my friend's office. It photographed terrible. It actually is a very beautiful painting.

I sold a painting once to a couple. When they divorced I asked them to sell it back to me. Much to my surprise they sold it back to me. It hangs in my dining room. I don't know if I have a photograph of it. I'll have to photograph it I guess.

I painted portraits for a long time, but always enjoyed still life the most, and landscapes the least. I taught evening classes in my studio for some of those 20+ years. We painted everything in class: wildlife, florals, landscapes, still life. Lots of subjects. You paint things you like, and things you don't care too much for, and in the end you learn lots, and you have better skills
In 1994 I found myself feeling quite blue. I just finished two commissions; a portrait of a woman and her dog, and a portrait of a 1902 brick schoolhouse in Amherst. I was tired of deadlines. The work finished was my last. I put away my brushes and oils in my paint case--in my simple wood case covered with signatures of artists and art instructors I've admired. I don't quite remember who in the hell picked up all 16 of my studio easels--somebody got a lot of nice equipment for free.

Dec 2010 I'll retire. Perhaps I'll return to painting. I see former students here and there. We laugh. We talk about the good old days when we had class together. We talk about getting together and doing it all over again. I think it would be fun.