Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Betsy!!!! The Biggest Wuss In All The Land!!!!!

 Even though it's only 8:21 AM, I am writing this with adrenaline coursing through my veins.....
I just had to share with the class.
When I went to get my paper outside my front door this morning.....
the four scary turkeys were back!!!!!
They were breakfasting on the crab apples that have fallen on the ground.
Remember the spring????
When I shared with you the pictures of the apple trees in front of my condo?????
all of those blossoms turn into little crab apples that are just the most delicious treat for all the birds.....including the turkeys.....
I stepped out onto my front stoop to yell at them.....
and the four #$% started coming towards me.
That wasn't what I had wanted them to do.
I wasn't calling the little bastards, I was warning them off.
But they have bird brains.
I tell you, if I had had three friends with me, so it was four against four....
Speaking of turkey balls.....I have this great recipe.....
No, I will not be distracted from my tail of woe.
Since these four birds didn't seem to remember how scary I was with my umbrella....
(to read that on the word umbrella!!!!!)
I decided to follow the advice of one of my readers, and try throwing rocks at them.
Since I live in New England, and gardening is just another word for digging up rocks.....
I have quite a collection in my back yard that I keep in old flower pots, just in case I ever need them.
I ran to the back of my home and braved the crappy drizzle that is so lovely this time of year....
grabbed a pot of stones and rushed back to my front door.
I started lobbing chunks of granite at the gobblers.
I am not an athlete.
I am not coordinated.
I was always picked last in gym.
Needless to say, I couldn't hit the side of a barn, much less a large stoopid bird.
I keep throwing my missiles of death.....
and I keep missing the birds.
But this being the theater of the absurd.
The dumb feathered beasts had no idea I was trying to scare them away with some minor bruises.
They thought I was throwing food at them.
Let me repeat that......
they thought I was throwing food at them.
I kept trying and trying,
lobbing one tiny boulder after another,
they were only about 15-20 feet away.
But, every time I threw a rock, they would run towards it thinking it was something scrumptious.
They thought I was feeding them.
They wanted to be closer to me.
This was not the reaction I had been planning.
Not good.
Unh unh.... 
Well this wasn't working.
So I went inside to get my Electrolux ergorapido.
It's a dust buster on steroids.
 It's a dust buster attached to an electric broom.

I turned it on and brandished it at the testosterone poisoned Perdu wannabees.
They didn't like that one little bit!!!!!
But it's an older machine, and the battery can't hold a charge for very long, and the thing started to loose power in the middle of my triumphant gesture.
But not to worry.
The turkeys had turned the corner of my house by then.
I need to go buy a new vacuum cleaner, not for my rugs but for my protection.
Now when I go for my walk, I'll be dragging an electric broom with me.
I sound like a modern day witch from Harry Potter.
I've run out of tidbits on this story, so I will go now and drink my morning tea.
On that note,
Latah, Gatah

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Vermont Country Sun Porch

Before I do some more stuff on Miriam and Kris's homes, let's go back to my old buddy Connie's Vermont mountain retreat.
When she and her husband bought the house, it had a side porch that didn't have a lot of charm.
Les Brown, the architect I've worked with for the past millennium, reworked it, adding Doric columns and screens to create a wonderful more functional space.
Traditional Home Magazine 2004
Here's a shot of the outside, so you can understand where it is attached to the house.....
if you've been following this story......
or even if you haven't......
Outside the porch we installed a brick terrace bordered by a stone wall.
Connie is an avid griller, and she needed a place for her grill.
The woman never sits down, so I don't know what purpose the chaises serve, but the outdoor table comes in handy.
 The porch looks over a view of the mountains and the front meadow.
It's a little slice of heaven.
When Les designed the screen system for the porch, he used wood storm door inserts for the screening.
This way they could be changed out when the weather got colder to make the porch into a three season room.
They work so well, that Connie leaves some of the glass inserts up year round, as they protect the porch from rain.
She only needs to keep some of the screens in, to get a nice breeze and cross ventilation.
Not knowing she would do this when I first designed this space, we chose all weather wicker from Lloyd Flanders.
The Sunbrella floral fabric that was chosen worked off the coral colors of the dining room which is just off the porch.
To remind you, here's a shot of the dining room.....
You can see the porch sofa just through the French doors.
I cropped a shot of the Sunbrella, so you could see what I'm rambling on about.
There weren't any good plaid or checked fabrics to go with the floral, so I had a indoor/outdoor custom fabric made from Peter Fasano.
I wanted a check, so it would work off the buffalo check of the dining room.
I commissioned a painted floor cloth that I designed to be laid over the wooden cream colored floor.
 The painter thought that Connie and I were crazy to want a creamy white painted floor, but that's what we wanted!!!!!
And that's what we got!!!!!
The coffee table I chose was too tall, but Connie and I loved it......
so I did what any whack a doodle designer does in a situation where she wants something that is the wrong size.....
she cuts it down!!!
(Well, actually, I had one of the carpenters do that for me.)
(And then I had them paint it white, it was originally in a fake looking old finish which cheapened it.)
Connie and I love to poke around antique stores, and we found these garden toys in some local shops.
They make fun accessories, and can still be used by the grand kids.
The sofa is from the Lloyd Flanders Reflections collection, and the chair.....
I can't remember what collection the chair is from.
I looked on their website and couldn't find it.
It's probably discontinued.
Everything I like gets discontinued!!!!!
Next time,
I'll show you the dining area of the porch....
but I don't want to share too much at once.....
wouldn't want you to overdose on my fabulousness!!!!!

On that note...
Latah, Gatah

Thursday, October 24, 2013

How to Get a Layered Paint Finish

I've been playing around with my painted finishes for the past couple of years.
I think I'm finally getting the hang of it.
I wanted the look of layers of paint, naturally worn down over time.
this is how I did it.

But wait, let me show you the whole project I did on this little table that I reinvented for Miriam and Ross's living room.

I had decided to give them a little bench I had hanging around down in my basement.
I brought it over to their house to try out in the living room, and decided it was the perfect size to go next to their sectional.
I figured that it would be a simple little project.
Nothing is ever simple!!!!!
I planned on stripping the cover off the top, and transforming it from a bench into a table.
 I figured it would be easy to strip the fabric off the top.

 I figured that there was only one layer of fabric that had been added after the original design, and that this had once been a table.
 I figured I could get the fabric off in 5 minutes.
I figured wrong.
This seems to be a theme with me.
First, I took the top off the hinges.
Then I used my trusty stripping tools to remove the tapestry fabric.
There was another layer under the tapestry, and this one was put on professionally with a lot of tacks.
It was probably original to the piece, from the Victorian era. 
I'm guessing the late 1800's.
I took a picture of all the stuffing from inside the cushioned top.
It was straw.
It was dusty.
It was disgusting......
I had figured that the top had originally been a table, and would be a nice piece of wood.
I am wrong so often.
Poor Betsy.

All the tacks left the sides of the top a mess.

There's a fun little compartment under the hinged top that will be a great place for Miriam and Ross to store their remote controls.
I placed the top back on the base, just to get a sense of what it would look like if I ever finished this project.
Then I carried the top down to my basement painting studio, and prepared it for the paint.
I filled the holes on the sides with wood filler.
This stuff is great, and so easy to work with.

Then I sanded the wood filler down.

Then I mixed together the first application of paint.
I combined Annie Sloan Coco and Olive.
I gave the top one coat.
Once it dried, I wondered if I should just keep it that way.....
I wanted more of an effect.
So, then I decided to start layering on the color.
The next color I wanted was a purple, so I got out more paint to mix it up. 
 I first mixed the red with the blue.....
it was a little dark....
 so I added in some white....
 it was a little pink....
so then I added in more blue!!!!!
 I drybrushed the purple over the green.
 Then I dry brushed some blue over the purple, and rubbed it in some places with a paper towel.
 Then I drybrushed some Chateau Grey over the blue and purple and green.....

 Then I waxed it and then dark waxed it.
 Then I distressed it with fine and coarse sandpaper.
You can't tell in these pictures, but all the colors show through in subtle layers. 
I set my camera different!!!!!
Is this better?????
Once I sanded the edges, the light wood showed through, so I added a little dark wax to the raw wood.....

Then I used Walnut Briwax on the wooden base to darken the orange of the original finish, and give it a little more pizzazz.
Here's a side by side!!!
now all I need to do is bring this back to Miriam and Ross to put next to their sectional.
Those kids are soooooo lucky!!!!!

On that note,
Latah, Gatah
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