Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I know it's early but...

... I was at Joann's today and noticed that the leaf garlands are on sale 40% off.  I wanted to share a Halloween costume idea that I created when my son was 4 years old.  It was quick, easy and CUTE!  We have shared the costume with family and friends several times over the years.  I think it has won prizes at the little Rotary Parade a few times.  (We still have the two dollar bill Clint won the year he wore this in the parade.)
Here are the ingredients:
Bushel basket with the bottom cut out

Leaf garland (I used two or three of the kind with the leaves that lay a little flatter, but that one is at school)

Clip the suspenders to the basket.  You have to fuss a little to make sure they will stay put.

Put the child inside the basket with suspenders on their shoulders so that you can tell they won't fall off.  Then just wrap the garland around the outside of the suspenders until the child and suspenders are mostly covered up.  Because Halloween is often pretty cold in western NY we always tried to plan costumes that allowed for layers underneath.  For this year we even needed a hat, so we just stuck individual leaves into a knit cap.  Here he is almost 15 years ago (tear).  He just walked past the basket on the floor and muttered, "I can't believe I fit inside that!" (add another tear here).
I think I borrowed the leaf garland from the stair railing for this costume..
We found that we could carefully lift the whole thing over his head to get him in and out of the car.  When it was time to get back in it he would just put his hands over his head like he was putting a shirt on.  
Like I said, I know it's early for Halloween costumes, but I wanted to share in case someone saw this post during the sale week for fall garlands at Joanns.  I have a couple of other costumes that were quick and cute that I will share later on.
:) Melissa  

A fun find...

It's 2:30 a.m. and I can't sleep.  So I will share what we found a few days ago.
When we were out in the woods looking for some sticks for a project I have in mind we came across a new friend:

We just got a kick out of how the branches of the tree we were cutting up formed what looked like a guy running.  I am thinking about giving him a trick-or-treat basket and a pumpkin head.  Mark thinks we could carve a face on him and give him a beard at Christmas time.   
We also teased our son that this is his replacement when he goes back to college.   Gee, I wonder why he started packing so soon after that?
And now you know that we are more than a little quirky!  :O

Monday, August 23, 2010

Quick Kitchen "Makeover"

Happy Monday to all.  It's a rainy one here, but it's kind of nice.  I think my posies needed a drink. :)

Last Friday, during our "wander around like we don't have work to do week", we visited Lowe's.  I have been wishing for new knobs for my kitchen cabinets.  The ones on the cabinets have been there since we put the kitchen in about 15 years ago.  At the time, we were working on a pretty tight budget and we were like pirates finding treasure when we found the knobs at one of big box stores for about 79 cents apiece!  Here is what those knobs look like:

They were very nice and I really did like them at first.  But bright brass isn't really one of my favorite looks and has become less and less so in recent years.  So I have been looking around for different knobs.  I should probably confess at this point that I am kind of a cheap-skate about things like this.  I always feel very guilty about replacing things that aren't broken beyond repair.  But after I painted my chairs and table, I REALLY wanted new knobs.  So apparently my guilt is a bit shallow in this area.
Then we found knobs that I LOVED at Lowe's.  They weren't cheap either - definitely not 79 cents each.  But because I am also a master at rationalization, I told my husband that this was a very inexpensive way to get a "new" kitchen.  I still love my cabinets, I still enjoy my counter top even though it is definitely not a neutral color.  When you looked at the picture above and you thought, "Gee, her counter looks like it's purple," you were correct. I know that might be a strange color for a kitchen counter, but honestly I have really enjoyed it. 
Well here are some pictures of the new knobs.  I just LOVE the way they look with the table and chairs!  

Here's a close-up of the drawer pull:

Our next dilemma is what color to paint the kitchen.  It's time for the grape stencils to go, and it's time for a warmer color on the walls.   We have been holding up pieces of fabric from my quilting stash to try to get an idea of what color to paint, but we just can't decide.  I  will just have to keep studying blog pictures, A Primitive Place magazine, and Country Sampler for ideas!
P.S.  Please forgive my bare bones decorating in the kitchen.  It's almost time for fall stuff (yea!), so I have been putting summer things away.  Once I get my classroom in order, I will be able to "play" at home.  

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

I know I have not been a faithful blogger this week.  But rest assured I have a couple of fun things to tell about (with pictures) soon. 
We have been "busy" vacationing.  Some close to home, some a little further away.  First we went to Ohio and visited Longaberger on Sunday afternoon.  We almost had the homestead to ourselves!  Not much happening in the weaving building.  I was a little disappointed because I thought my husband would really enjoy seeing the weavers in action.  I got to see it once and was fascinated.  I love watching people create!  Anyway, we enjoyed looking around and melting in the heat.  (Ok, the looking around was good, the heat not so much.)  I love the heritage of Longaberger.  In the weaving building you can read about the history of the company.  I love the simple beginnings and I wonder if they would ever wish to return to that simpler time.  http://www.longaberger.com/visitUs.aspx

On Monday we drove to Dayton, OH and visited the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.  My husband is a private pilot and loves aircraft of any type.  He was in airplane HEAVEN at this museum.  It really is an incredible collection of U.S. history.  I enjoyed the visit immensely, but more because of my love of history than any affinity for aircraft.  If you ever have a chance to go to this museum, don't miss out.  Admission is FREE!  And there is a nice gift shop where I picked up several nice books for my classroom. :)


On Thursday we were home, but decided we weren't done vacationing yet, so we hopped on the motorcycle for a little jaunt to Hammondsport, NY.  What a beautiful day and a wonderful place to visit!  We had an incredible lunch at the Park Inn, then went for a tour of the Pleasant Valley winery.  What a great place to visit! And what an amazing history!  And the wine tasting was pretty wonderful, too! :)
Photos: view of Keuka lake, stone doorway and building front

After that, we went a mile or so down the road to the Glenn Curtis Aviation Museum.  Yes, more airplanes!  Another really nice museum to visit.  We are already looking forward to going back in September for the Seaplane Homecoming.  We went last year and had a great time.  And it just so happens that in September there is a quilt show in the lobby of the museum!  Haven't mentioned that to airplane man -thought I'd save it for a surprise ;)
Curtiss Muesum

We have had a nice week or so of goofing off, but now it's time to get down to business. Soon.  Really.  The dust is gathering at an alarming rate in my living room.  I have Fall Swap things to finish up.  Oh yeah, and school is starting in TWO WEEKS!  
I will be back soon with some pictures of my quick kitchen "makeover" and another fun find we had.

P.S. Am I the only person who is chomping at the bit to decorate for fall?  On our travels we saw some people were putting out their outdoor Halloween stuff already!  A little early for that part of it for me, but I really want my other fall stuff in view!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Remembering Libby's visit

I missed blogging yesterday because my husband and I were celebrating our 20th anniversary!  Yup, blinked my eyes and 20 years went by!  We had a nice low-key day.  He drove me to a workshop that I attended for school in the morning, and then we went on to the big city for a little time in the mall.  Bought a few things for school. Bought new sneakers for my husband.  Just a not-too-exciting-just-nice-to-be-together kind of a day.
That reminds me about something I heard about a wedding card that someone received recently and basically it was wishing for the bride and groom that when people asked them many years from their wedding day how long have they been married, their answer would be "Not long enough."  Blessings don't come much bigger than that, do they?
Here's a picture of the two of us from a couple of years ago.  Can't find a more recent one.  I am digital-photo-organizationally-challenged.

Now on to some quick memories about Libby's visit.  I think she is feeling a little homesick today so here are a couple of fun memories to make her feel closer to home.  
The first picture needs a quick explanation.  While Libby was here, we ate a lot and we sat around a lot.  One morning my mother said to Libby, "Did you have a fight with my bathroom scale this morning?"  I didn't get it until Libby took me on a tour to the bathroom.  I'd definitely say there was a fight, but I'm not sure who won.  You be the judge:
She calls 'em likes she sees 'em...

These next photos probably should have gone before the last one, but in reality it happened after the scale incident, so I'm trying to be true to history...
My mother is famous for her chocolate chip cookies.  True story -when we were in high school, our driver ed. teacher made kids go to the door of our house and ask if she made cookies today. Even if they didn't know her... Hey he was a big guy and nobody argued with him.  Besides if she did make cookies they weren't complainin' anyway.
Now while Lilbby was home the weather was a little hot and humid some of the days.  My mom doesn't like how her cookies turn out in that weather so we had to wait for a good weather day.  It's always worth the wait so we didn't mind... much.  Half the fun of the cookies is eating the dough.  All you people out there who now want to caution me about the dangers of salmonella poisoning don't bother.  It won't stop me from eating cookie dough.  I like to live dangerously... sometimes. (And yes, Libby, I had to look up how to spell salmonella.)
On cookie morning, I was at my house so that Libby and her family could have a little time with my parents on their own.  My phone rang and when I answered my nephew said only, "Get to grandma's - quick!"  I didn't panic because I could hear him smile.  A cookie dough smile.  But I ran anyway.
Bowl of bliss.

Just look at that cookie-dough-eating smile on Mikey. : )

They may look like ordinary chocolate chip cookies, but they aren't.  They are Grandma Janet Cookies!
No one can duplicate these babies.  We think she puts in a secret ingredient when no one's looking, but we haven't been able to catch her in the act.  I'll have to ask her if I can share the recipe in another post.  Won't matter. No one has ever been able to duplicate the results.  I came close one time, but the evidence disappeared before the investigation could be finished. : )

Monday, August 9, 2010

Table Re-do

I did one of me first big make-overs for furniture and I am so excited!  I love how it turned out.  I have had the same kitchen table and chairs for 20 years.  I didn't pick them out, they were a surprise gift.  At the time of the gift we didn't really have a theme for our house other than "early whatever anyone is getting rid of", so it didn't really matter about the color.  We re-did the kitchen in the mid 90's and though the color scheme was entirely different we didn't do anything about the table and chairs.  Around here things usually stay until they are broken beyond repair...
Then I saw the post from "Grammee Linda" at her Behind My Red Door blog.  She had some beautiful pictures of her dining room chairs that she painted, and I just knew that I had found what I needed for a push to paint my kitchen table and chairs.  Click here to see Grammee Linda's post about her chairs. 
In her blog she told that she had used Old Century Paint to do her chairs, and what paint to use had been one of the reasons I hadn't done mine.  I went to their website and located a dealer about an hour from me.  

This is the color the table and chairs were before:

Yes, I know you are wondering why I didn't do this sooner.  Call it apathy, call it lazy, call it chicken.  I call it a little of all three.
I had decided to do this before my sister came to NY.  So I decided to go ahead and work on it while she was there.  It turned into a painting party because my other sister, Chele and her daughter Lizzie, my nephew Mikey, Libby and I all ended up having a hand in the painting.  Mikey and Chele served as supervisors.  Lizzie, Libby and I all did a little painting.  (What a great time!  I will never forget painting my table and chairs.)
We used chip brushes just like Grammee Linda had mentioned in her blog.  My sister thinks things would have turned out better if we had used better brushes, but after really reading the directions on the can I noticed that you aren't supposed to paint within 24 hours of rain.  We were painting during pouring rain!  Guess that might be a factor in the resulting paint job looking a little rough, but I really don't mind. 
Here's what the chair looked like after one coat:

A little rough, and not a full cover.  The paint is really thick.

Here's what the finished product looked like:
I can't help it - I just love it!!  It looks so much better in my kitchen.  And that really matters because we don't have a dining room.  I chose not to distress the chairs because I didn't want the blue to show through.
  I fussed a little about the less than smooth finish and my husband said what all supportive husbands would say: "Our kitchen is kinda dark so it won't really show." Gotta love him.  Especially when I know what a perfectionist he is about his work. :)

This has inspired me to think about painting our stairs. What do you think?
When we added a second story to our house, these were the temporary stairs.  That was circa 1993.

We interrupt this much needed housework...

...for an important postal delivery!!  My first issue of A Primitive Place arrived today!  I have been obsessed with checking the mail for this for the past week (or so).  I am supposed to be cleaning my kitchen so that we can move the table and chairs back in, and if my husband catches me blogging again there will probably be an interruption of my internet service.  Gotta run because he is only gone long enough to get his motorcycle inspected (Lord, please let there be a line!), but I loved taking a quick peek.  Love the pictures of the homes, but my favorite so far is the trash to treasure how-to's.  

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Happy Birthday to...

...Libby!  Yup, it's Libby's birthday today.  It's also the day she had to leave to go back to Missouri.  Dang it!  I think Libby turns 29 again today.  Which means she had her first son, Zach, at about age 9.  Weird, huh?       
     We had a fun week with lots of laughs (more posts of that to come), and I want to thank Libby's husband Jeff for using a week of his vacation time to bring Libby and son Mikey to New York.  Just what every guy wants to do - go spend vacation time with the crazy in-laws...  but Jeff is always a good sport about it, and we really appreciate him for that!
     Happy, happy birthday Libby!  We know that it wasn't much fun to leave this morning, but I promise I will try to send a little bit of home to you by way of libbieshome.  Which, by the way, is your birthday present!   :D       Love you!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Telling people where to go...

...is important.  Especially if you are the ones in charge of planting the sign that shows people how to get up a private drive to a wedding party.  That was my job today with my sister - you guessed it - Libby. We were armed with two pieces of rebar (think metal posts), a large hammer, our sign, and garden gloves (I didn't want to get my hands dirty).
     Since I had only been up the private drive one time, I let Libby who had been up the drive multiple times - okay two times, be the one deciding where to plant the sign.  We carefully pulled off the country road in my son's truck, I put on my garden gloves and proceeded to work very hard (I might have even sweated a little) at pounding rebar into the roadside.  We felt incredibly powerful swinging that big hammer.  Okay I felt powerful.  Libby felt a little afraid because she was the one holding the rebar.  But anyway we planted that sign good.  Really good.  It was lovely.  
     Then we got back into the truck and moved up the road to turn around at the crossroad so we could get back up to the party.  Just one problem.  As we drove slowly up the road we passed another driveway.  And that's when Libby said, "Umm..."  
We planted the stinkin' sign in the wrong stinkin' driveway!!  
So back down the road we go.  Libby gets out of the truck and plucks the rebar out of the roadside.  I mean it was like she was picking posies.  And I really hammered hard.  Honest.  Back up the road.  Hammer, hammer, hammer.  Plant the sign on the posts.  Back in the truck and up the driveway to join the party.  We swore we wouldn't tell anyone.  That lasted about a minute and a half.
     Every time someone at the party mentioned that the sign really helped them find the party, we cracked up again.
     Congratulations to our nephew Christopher and his new wife Julia!  Libby and I will never forget this day!
Don't you just love the view of that hillside?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cause for Celebration!

I want to send out Happy Anniversary wishes to our dear friends, Craig and Audrey.  You can take a  tour of their home by clicking here.  They run the most beautiful B&B - Just a Plane Bed and Breakfast.  If you ever have cause to visit Western New York, this is a lovely place to stay!  

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

About the name of my blog...

I thought people might wonder about the name of my blog.  Again, I have to credit my sister.  When she asked me to do a blog, we started laughing about what names I could use.  (At that point I had no intention of actually following through.) We came up with lots of names, but again I didn't really think we were serious.  Then I had a lovely thought in the middle of the night.  (As a teacher, that's when I usually solve most of my problems.)   At my parent's house there is a carriage step that they found when they dug the foundation of their garage.  On it, it says, "Libbie's Home".  Ironic when you find out that my sister's name is Libby.   There were two parts to this carriage step and they stacked them up and  it turned into a favorite place to sit - especially for Libby.   She loves to sit on that thing and watch the neighborhood.  If only there was some way I could show you how unnecessary it is to "watch" our neighborhood, then you could see how funny that really is...

We had some fun with that step growing up, too.  When we were early teens, friends would come over and notice the stone had Libbie's name spelled wrong.  We told people that it was Libby's tombstone and that she wasn't expected to live very long.  Now I know this is morbid and probably not something to joke about, but hey we were kids and looking for a reaction.  We usually got one, too.
Anyway it just seemed to click that this would make a good blog name.  Here are some pictures of the carriage step:

The  name on the arch says "BEAN".

A taste of fall

This morning my husband and I took a ride to our favorite lumber company.  I love going there because the people who work there are just the nicest people around.  Just a couple of items to pick up today, so we went for a little drive on the way home.
We pulled into an Arrow Mart to fill up and I went in looking for the guilty pleasure of a cappuccino.  It was a bonanza of choices.  I went with filling my cup 2/3 of the way with pumpkin spice cappuccino and 1/3 with caramel nut crunch coffee.  It was like drinking a pumpkin muffin!  It made me want to rush home and get all my fall stuff out.  (I got a grip on myself by feeling the heat and humidity of this early August day.) As we were enjoying this sinful treat I made the comment to my husband that I think these babies are pretty fattening.  He asked, "Does it taste good? Well, there's your answer."  Sigh. Probably a good thing Arrow Mart isn't down the street.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Welcome to Libbie's Home

I am starting this blog because my sister asked me to.  She moved away from home lots of years ago and doesn't get home very often.  When she does come home she loves to just sit out on the swing and watch the neighborhood.  And by neighborhood I mean the very small street we grew up on.  Think step or two above dirt road.
Anyway, my sister told me that she wanted me to start a blog that would keep her updated on the neighborhood in between visits.  It was two years in between her trips home this time, so I decided that I could probably manage to post more often than once every two years.  Gee, I hope I'm not aiming too high...