Sunday, June 29, 2008

Back home after a week out of town

No, sorry, no vacation pictures to show. I went to Mom's for a week to help her with some sorting and purging of stuff in her garden shed - turns out she had most of it done by the time I got there. I also worked with my brother to insulate and finish the inside walls of his workshop. That's the easy thing about my family. I can visit all of them in one fell swoop - they live in the same town.
Here is a taste of her decorating style. It kind of explains my "more=more" philosophy and why I can't be a minimalist. She bought antiques when they were still called junk. She has the most gorgeous furniture and it cost her almost nothing. The corner shelf is filled with an incredible glassware collection, and a few ironstone and porcelain pieces. They are family items and gifts, mostly. She bought very few of the glassware pieces in the house. There are a few carnival glass pieces that are worth hundreds of dollars, especially the purple stag and holly bowl in the corner of the bottom shelf. I'm partial to the green "vaseline glass" bowl and the amber pieces.

That carved Victorian loveseat is gorgeous. Mom made the afghan lying on the seat. She doesn't claim it's one of her good ones, just something to decorate in the living room. (I need to show you the bedspread she crocheted for me!) Her quilting and crochet works are all over the house. She's starting a pineapple table cover right now. My eyes cross when I try to see the small stitches she's doing. 85 years old and her vision is better than mine. This wash stand and medicine cabinet are lovely but you should have seen them when she brought them home. There must have been twelve coats of paint of all colors on them. When she brought in a new piece in the back of the truck, my brother and I would whine "OH, MOM!" They would be an absolute mess, but she got very, very good at stripping and refinishing furniture and all of them came out like museum pieces.

The transferware washbowl set pieces are quite good too. It's rare to find a set with all the pieces still intact.

Her coffee table is an old round oak table that has had the center pedestal cut down in height. It looks fantastic. Well, now it looks fantastic. When she brought it home, it was painted bright green and the top was attached off-center. There were huge nails driven into the pedestal to hold on the legs, and wire wrapped around it. When she removed the wire the pedestal fell apart into four pieces. This was definitely an "OH, MOM!" piece. A lot of stripping, gluing, filling, staining and varnishing, and it's a treasure. How she got all this stuff done when we were kids, I have no idea.

My grandfather built this library table, which I have always loved. My dad did the woven caning on the chairs on either side. It was a Christmas present for him - the antique chairs and a caning kit. I'm not sure he loved it, but he did a perfect job for his first try at caning. It's not the sheet caning, by the way, it's the kind that you take a strip and weave it through all the holes in the chair frame. It takes forever.

I don't have any pictures of my brother's workshop, but it's coming along. Now that the inside walls are finished, he can mount shelves and cabinets and organize his tools. He has taken up woodworking as a hobby and this workshop is a jewel. Mom had it built for him as a gift. It is heated and cooled too, so no freezing or roasting while you work. If I had it, I would put a longarm quilting machine out there so fast it would make your head spin!

His workshop was broken into, and he lost a few tools, but some were recovered and he's got it buttoned up like a jail now. He's also got a new dog, who keeps tabs on the yard. He said that if she hears a noise in the night and barks, he puts the leash on her and goes outside to check out the property. (She's not normally very barky.) So far, it's probably only been a dog or something that caught her attention. Several times she's looked at him like "Hey, I was only going to let you know. I didn't actually want to go out there!" She's young and kind of hyper, but a good dog, and adores him. She sleeps on a dog bed on the floor of his bedroom and pokes her nose against his cheek if she needs to go out during the night. (100% dependable housebroken; that's most of the hard work of dog training, in my book.)

Well, now that I'm back, I need to catch up on the house. I brought home a week's worth of laundry and there's a week's worth of dishes in the dishwasher to handle. I had moved all the flower pots onto the patio so my husband could water them easily while I was gone and those have to be put back in place. And there's a lot of dead-heading to be done on the flowers.

Gee, I thought I was busy last week!

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