Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hutch Tour

My grandma, Phyllis, my moms mom, bought an unfinished pine hutch back in the late 60's or early 70's. My grandma and grandpa shellacked it and over the years the shellac turned a god-awful shade of "orange". Either the shellac wasn't UV stable or the natural tannins of the pine just leached out.

When my grandmother moved, one of her many moves, she gave the hutch to my mother. It was a background staple in many of our dining room photos growing up. Then on one of my mothers many moves, I was lucky enough to be given the hutch. Sure, this simple piece of furniture isn't some name brand, collectible antique that would fetch thousands of dollars at some high end auction, but it is MY family heirloom. And carries many memories through three generations. AND one in particular.....

Back in 1996, when we bought our first house in Washington state, it didn't quite fit the decor of the newer, contemporary home. Just so happened that one of Phillips childhood friends had just rented a rustic cabin up on the Hood Canal and so I told him he could "borrow" the hutch.

Fast forward a couple of years. The lot of us had a falling out and didn't speak to each other for a long while. Later, when we made contact, as friends always seem to do, I inquired about my grandmas hutch. He told me he had sold it before they moved up to Alaska. WHAT THE ......?

I was full of emotions. Anger. Sadness. Dismay. Luckily, I was able to track down the new owner and made arrangements to get it back. I borrowed an old 70's extension van, like the ones electricians or plumbers use. With three little boys in tow, I drove 100 miles round trip, in the dark (up hill both ways, in the snow, barefooted!) to a neighborhood back into the forest. Now for any of you who have been in the Washington country, you know the trees are super tall and even in the daytime, you can get completely turned around and lost. So it was, after much driving around in circles and up and down winding dirt driveways, I found the little house. Many apologies and expressions of gratitude, and $150 later, I had both pieces of the hutch loaded in the back of the van.

Even though I was always happy to have such a nice storage piece, I never really appreciated it as much as I should have. But after I got it back home, you bet, it will NEVER leave my house again. Not as long as I'm alive!

It had acquired many dents and scratches. Some knobs were loose, missing or broken off. So I decided to give it an over-haul. A shabby chic over-haul. It was the Rachel Ashwell era. Shabby Chic was the rage. But anything was an improvement over the "orange". AND as I've found, it still stands the test of time. Well, except for maybe the knobs and pulls. Those might get changed out shortly. But there's a whole lot more things that are a priority right now.

Fast forward to now. The hutch stands proud in our dinette room off the kitchen against the brick fireplace back. It looks so nice there. Just like it was built for there.

I currently have it decorated with an eclectic mix of trinkets. Some might call them junk. Some might call them dust collectors.

So let's take a tour.

Here are part of my glass collection. Milk bottle, canning jars, water pitcher.

This is a button-legged rag doll I found when my friend, Janice, and I went to Eugene recently. She was a whole $.95. I couldn't even have bought the buttons for that! She will be going into the Americana (red, white & blue) guest room I have planned.

I found this wooden ruler some time ago for $.10. I love the patina. Calico Junction is a quilt shop that used to be in Jacksonville, Or. I think they are now in Medford. Our area code is now 541, not 503. Wonder when that changed? The watercolor is by the friend that sold my hutch! Ironic, huh?

These little, tattered blue shoes are made of cold cast resin. I found them for $2.95. They are also for the Americana room. I want to find two air ferns for each shoe. No watering required! My grandma always had air ferns somewhere in her house. ** Note grandma is still with us - only she and grandpa now live in Oklahoma.

Ty brought me this Route 66 rootbeer. I love rootbeer. It took alot of will power not to drink it for weeks, but I gave in. But, I'm keeping the bottle. I like it! The sourdough crock is 2nd hand, as well as the brown stoneware syrup bottle.

This little white tea pot is just a run-of-the-mill piece. I've paired it with two mis-matched sets of tiny cups and saucers. The first set is marked Made in Germany. The other I found later and the scale was just right to create a tea-for-two set. The little painted tin tray isn't vintage, but I liked the graphic nature of it. G-Rated, of course!

To complete the set, I added a matching vintage creamer and sugar set. Another tin. A white stoneware pitcher. I love its classic style. It looks great with fresh flowers.

Don't recall where I got him, but I call this guy, Jumping Jack. Pull the bead at the end of the string and his arms and legs flail up and down. Too much interactive fun! Go ahead, pull the bead!

Stephanie, Ty's girlfriend, brought this to me from Texas. Her aunt makes all sorts of cute creatures from hollowed out eggs. It's o.k. to allow at least one Santa to stay on display year round. He's a jolly 'ol guy!

Once upon a time, I needed a double boiler to melt chocolate. After pricing them new, I decided to "hunt" for one. I came across this one. It works just great and since I don't use it everyday, it makes a real statement in black and white.

When I saw this pot, I just knew the double boiler would be in good company. So, home it came. I admit, I've never used it for its intended purpose, but....

My little wooden honey bee with dangling arms and legs. I love the versatility of Scrabble tiles. Nice reminder of a sweet spring and summer.

Sometimes, one letter says it all. I found one of the honey bottles one day. I thought it was cute with the embossed logo, so of course I brought it home. On a later forage, I found two more. The same kind. One of the rims has a little chip, but you can hardly notice it. I filled the bottles with honey colored water and corked them with some used corks I had in my crafting stash.

So that's it. Hope you enjoyed the hutch "tour of the moment". The displays change from time to time, but the memories last forever. Three generations of memories. Hopefully, my boys will keep this thing in the family for more. Hopefully, they will find a place for it in their "futuristic" decor and they won't "loan" it out again.

Thanks Grandma. Thanks Mom.

ps. I'd love to see "what's on your hutch"! Feel free to post a link and show us what you've got!

HOW-TO OF NOTE: I sanded the original shellac finish to scuff it up and give it "tooth" for the paint. I did not sand all the way through to wood or strip the entire piece. I then painted the hutch with 100% acrylic white eggshell sheen. After it was thoroughly dry, I used a 220-grit sandpaper to lightly distress the raised edges and some of the flats of the doors. Mostly keeping in mind where natural wear marks would be and to highlight seams and edges. I did NOT clear coat the hutch. I only used an automobile Carnuba-type wax over the white paint and exposed wood. Wax on. Wax off. Just be sure that the wax is NOT tinted, such as green or blue. Be sure to use white-ish or clear on white paint. The tin can type works better than the liquid type. This was done almost 10 years ago and still looks great!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Two MORE days!!!!

This guy is COMING home for a visit. Bet he doesn't look like this anymore!

Bet he looks older. More of a man. With 6 months under his belt - all on his own!

It was scary. Sad. Exciting. A teeny tiny bit of a slap in the face - as every Mom whose son (or daughter) has moved out at an early age and onto their own.

I can't wait to see him. I can't wait to hug him. Kiss him. Feed him. Just plain see him in person. 6 months, in the scope of a long life, sounds almost trivial, but for a Mom, it feels like an eternity.

So, my dear Kyle, have a safe trip HOME!!! Dinner will be waiting. "Home cooked" and "filling", just like you requested!!!!

Love always,

Your Mom

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Blank Slate

Whoo Hoo!!!!

Our front yard - slope - that has been SO back breaking to mow every year, is now leveled out. Well, as leveled out as it can be without bringing in top soil.

No more pot holes (old tree holes). No more stumps. No more steep slopes going in 5 different directions.

Now it's a blank slate! The crab grass can grow back. I don't care! It can be mowed in a horizontal motion - back and forth and forth and back. We won't get to the landscaping of this area any time soon. Actually, it's on the furthest back burner of the to-do list, but it is progress and looks a whole lot better.

There are a ton of other things to do - inside and out, but I've been wishing this area would be smoothed over for almost 5 years! And NOW it's done!

Just goes to show, that me saying "eventually" this and "eventually" that, eventually becomes DONE! One more thing to cross off the LIST!

30 year mortgage, 30 years of doing.....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I'm the MOM, that's why....

My boys. My three boys.

I know I've said it before, but I really miss my boys. You know, just being around all the time and in my hair. When they were little and always in my hair, I just wished they'd "grow up already" AND blink - they did. And now, I miss them.

Kyle's in Idaho, but he'll be home for a visit in 6 days! YAY! Ty is living back at home, in his own space. A.J. is just about to finish his Freshman year of highschool. Better not Blink, or he'll be out of high school too.

Feels like just yesterday, I was taking those annual first-day-of-school photos in front of the school. Even though they were taller than they were the year before, I was still taller than them. Now they are all taller than me. When did that happen? I must be vertically shrinking.

I took care of them in every way a mother could. Now two of them are pretty much taking care of themselves. Now they tell me about their rent. Their bills. Their jobs. Their car payments. Their lives without me.

I think I'm learning to let go and not "mother" them as much, but I'm still the mom. I'll always be the mom. And they'll always be my boys! I'll always love them, unconditionally - even when they point out my gray hairs, make comments about my aging and ever widening body parts. Thanks boys! I love you too!

Me, the 41 year-old MOM! Old, overweight, with gray hair.

Ty and his girlfriend, Stephanie

A.J. - self portrait - way close-up.

NO recent photo available of Kyle - Haven't seen him since Christmas!!!! But, you better believe it, I'll be taking some when he comes home!!!!!! In the meantime, here is a cartoon of him from his My Space page. Not sure who this is a cartoon of, really, but it's a pretty good rendition 
of him!

Friday, May 22, 2009


...and girls.

Remember sleep overs?

From time to time, the scrapping girls and I still get to have sleep overs. Only they aren't at my house or theirs. We rent a hotel room or a condo or a chalet. We still get to wear our jammies, stay up until all hours of the night, snack on everything we can get our hands on - especially CHOCOLATE! and talk and laugh until our sides hurt.

We tell stories. Gossip. (oops! maybe I shouldn't have said that!) Watch movies. Sit in the hot tub. We've even played a "who's gonna win" game on Oscar night and played Wii bowling and tennis at one sleep over.

Sleep overs never get old, no matter how old we get.

A.J. had a sleep over last night and again tonight - busy guy.

Anywho, a while ago, when Phillip and I moved out of the upstairs bedroom and A.J. moved in, I removed the locking door knob from the door. Yes, we have a locking door knob on our bedroom - well, technically, right now we DON'T have a bedroom door, but NORMALLY, when we have a door, we have a lock on it. Have for a long time. In a house with three kids and all their friends, it's just a good thing to have - for many reasons.

Anywho, again, I removed the door knob and his door has a hole where it once was.

His new door is in the basement waiting to get painted and installed - we have his new door knob too, an oiled bronze one.

So, back to the hole.

I pretty much respect his privacy in his room. He has never given me any cause or suspicion otherwise, but I just couldn't resist last night, when his door was closed, to stick the camera into the hole and click off a shot of him and his friend playing video games.

I think it's a cool shot.

They thought it was funny too!

BTW See that ugly, shiny, crane (birds) wall paper in the background? It came with the house and Phillip and I just lived with it. UGGGH! When he moved into the room he painted all the white walls green and black (yes, black!). We were going to tear down the wallpaper and repaint it too, but we mutually decided that it would be a whole lot easier and more fun to just buy a pack of colored Sharpies and let the fun begin!

I drew an eyeball on the wall and wrote "I've got my eye on you!" (but not through the hole in the door! I swear!). Since then, every visitor to his room has doodled something. Song lyrics, quirky things, band names, advice, doodles, etc.... What fun!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mixed Emotions....

So. I've been asked to blog already! Where have I been? What have I been doing? Certainly NOT blogging lately.

Ok. Ok, already.

I've been busy. NO, we didn't win the $170 Million Dollar Oregon Lottery, only $6.00, but....I REALLY am a BARGAIN hunter and make every dollar count!!! Here's the run down.....

Planning the front entry stairs and walkway. (oh, how I love to plan....)

Dreaming about every corner of the house that needs to be finished. (free time?)

Painting in the kitchen and in Phillip's office. (already had the paint)

Preparing the baseboard trim for Phillip's office. (finally!!!!)

Building privacy bedroom walls. (damn the expense! gotta have a bedroom wall!)

Buying new kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts (unpainted!).

Ordering a couple more interior doors. (Got a great deal at Lowe's - price matching is a wonderful thing!)

Buying new dinnerware. (online. on sale. free shipping!)

Buying new drinking glasses. (one glass at Pier One - $3.00. A whole case of 12 online - $20!)

Weeding weeds and yanking out crabgrass. (I should've gotten paid, but no one would hire me!)

Mowing the mountain. (sweat equity at its finest!)

Planting flowers.(birthday $$$)

Planting a Salsa Garden. (birthday $$)

Coordinating concrete contractors. (fun, fun, fun)

Surfing (the internet) for rock stair treads. Learning more than one woman should EVER know about sandstone, limestone, ledgestone, flagstone, basalt, bluestone, paving stone, cultured stone, cut rock veneers, capstones, stamped concrete, concrete vs. cement, powdered concrete tints, acid washes, etc....

Shopping. (the reward! that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!!)

Yes, like I REALLY need to bring home more stuff! I really need to follow that whole - get rid of two things for every one you bring home - rule! Sure, I make the piles of "get rid of", but the piles just become piles. They never seem to make their way somewhere else. Gotta really, REALLY work on that one.

So anyways. Enough whining about the piles. Here is a little "treasure" I found today.

It's a cute little Radio Flyer wagon. You can see the embossed words RADIO FLYER under the old paint.

You see, just today, at work, Ty told me to keep my eye open for a Radio Flyer wagon. He wants to restify one old-style - ie: paint one to look old and worn out; paint on old-style graphics; and then clear coat it with flat sheen clear coat paint. He will then use it when he goes to classic Datsun swap meets to tote all his treasures - yup, it runs in the family!!!!

So, anyway. Just a few hours after our conversation, on my way home, I stopped by our local S.Army store. AND guess what??? TWO, Radio Flyers. One large rustic blue one and a smaller one (but not a miniature) sitting inside it. Oh YEAH!!! (didn't you just hear the ol' Kool-Aid guy there?)

I spied them and made a B-line towards them. Just as one of the clerks - don't know her name, but she's helped me before - walked up and made the comment that they don't make them like they used to. I told her I was buying both of them. I took the small one out and was looking at the wheels on Ty's new (surprise!) treasure. Just then a woman walks up and comments that the large one will definately hold alot of stuff. I agreed. The three of us - me, clerk, woman - were making small talk. AND then the woman says she wants the small wagon!!!! She is buying the small wagon!!! She saw it earlier and came back for it!!!! NO WAY JOSE!!!!

Normally, I would smile and concede, but I was having flashbacks of the little red scooter fiasco - pronounced LOSS! This wasn't going to happen to me AGAIN!

I told her, Sorry! But I was buying the little wagon. The clerk agreed that I had already told her I was buying both. She didn't want Ty's. She wanted this one. The woman, clearly, wasn't happy. I REALLY did feel kind of bad, but I couldn't lose this one. It is perfect for SO many things!!! Potted plants in the spring. Stacked pumpkins in the Fall. Christmas packages at the holidays.

I am remorseful - a little! I know what goes around, comes around. But, I think I already GOT my loss. AND yet, I caused a loss!

How would you have handled this?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Wow! What a Beee-u-teee-full Day!!!!

Spring has FINALLY arrived! Knowing our luck though, days like this will be short-lived and it'll be hot summer with just a blink of the eye.

No matter. Today it topped out at 70, crystal clear blue skies. Very, very light breeze. Opened the windows and aired out the place. A PERFECT DAY!

This is our favorite time of year. With all the wonderful new life springing forth everywhere we look. And even if it does get chilly or even rain, at least we know it won't last long. Unlike Fall, another fave for the colors - but also a least fave 'cause we know we're in for a long cold, wet winter!

So I decided in honor of the day, I'd share a few lovely's from the yard.

Here is a shot of the sweet smelling Lilac in the back yard. OH, how I LOVE the Lilac. There are two shrubs next to each other - one this deep purple and the other is a light lavender shade. These came with the house, but they just keep getting bigger and better. I prune out the dead branches in early Spring before blooming or mid Summer after blooming. Not really sure when they are SUPPOSED to be pruned, but they just don't seem to mind. Discovered another deep purple one on the other side of the house a couple of weeks ago. First year to bloom, so we didn't even know it was there. What a nice surprise!

Next, here is a Osteospermum - Summertime - Lavender. It is a Perennial. Comes back every year - so far. I planted it two years ago. It has such pretty lavender flowers.

Just discovered these beauties. Guess they decided to bloom this year too. They are the most beautiful fruit punch red tulips with ruffled edges. I believe these are called Parrot Tulips. ?
This single tulip almost looks fake with the sun shining through its petals.

There are other "somethings" waiting to burst open in this same barrel of soil. Can't wait for that surprise. Maybe they are Irises? We'll see in a couple of days, I'm sure.

Next, are these Columbines. I'll be honest, I don't remember these last year either. I harvested a bunch of seeds in the Fall from a smattering of Red/Yellow Columbines in this area of the yard, but then I was surprised by these popping open now! Go figure. I really like the Red/Yellow ones, but I have to admit, I absolutely LOVE this color combination. Actually, there are two types here. Same colors, just different shades. FUN!!!! AND you can bet your sweet bippy, I'll be harvesting as many of these seeds as I can get my hands on!

I just love happy little surprises.

Here is the "valley" view today. Just look at that weather! I'm in Happy Land!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Vintage, Rustic, Cool!

Enter to win this from the Lettered Cottage. It's her 1 year blog-iversary! Layla lives in Alabama and has a ton of fun, cottagey decorating ideas on her blog. Original, affordable, and just plain creative!!!

You HAVE to watch her recent video about "BIG COMMUNITY" yard saling with her "new" neighbor - Junkin' with Jessica - April 25. It is hilarious!!!! You'll see.....

Visit her HERE --->>

And then be sure to visit the creator of all burlap goodies, Grace, HERE --->>>"

Of course, I have a whole bolt of burlap that I should be creating with, but that's a whole other life - the one where I get to create all that is in my head! Yeah, right!

Goodluck and be sure to enter the contest on Layla's blog!
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