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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Letting Go Of Summer

Okay, I admit it.
It is Fall, and it's time to think of Fall things.
Like, what to do with these:
Pay no attention to the shutter that's off its bottom pintle.
It's been set to rights.  Just make believe it is straight.

Back in late Spring, I bought 3 Boston ferns at Trader Joe's for $9 apiece.  
Think I can find space for them indoors when the weather turns ugly?

They are ee-NOR-moos.
This must be said in a charming Italian accent, and no, I won't explain why.

Then there's the balcony geranium, which was fuller and 
more bloom-y a few weeks ago, but is still churning out the goods.

I need a bigger house.  There's not enough ceiling to hang them all.
There are also two nice asparagus ferns, in iron plant holders on
either side of the front door.  They too are growing their little hearts out.

I hate to think of tossing all these gorgeous big plants!

And speaking of turning outside stuff into inside stuff,
how 'bout them hydrangeas?

Lace caps, on the side of That Old House,
in full bloom back in July, during that heat wave.

Pink and blue flowers on one plant.  Neat-o.

And as they are now.

Kinda peaky.
Although tastefully pale and interesting.

Do you think they'll look good dried?  
They are almost there already.

I used to dry the big mopheads every fall and they'd last all winter.
But my 3 mophead bushes yielded ONE bloom this season.

This was it, our entire crop of big hydrangea blooms:

I guess it couldn't hurt to try with the lacecaps, huh?
Nothing ventured, and all that jazz. -- Cass
Just found out I'm working tomorrow at the antiques center.  See you Friday!

Link Parties
At Savvy Southern Style, it's Wow Us Wednesday.  
I'm not sure I've wow'd anyone, but I'm jumping onto the link wagon anyway.  Click here!

Outdoor Wednesday is the Link Party at A Southern Daydreamer.
Join Susan and her guests . . . just click here!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Decoupage Behavin' Badly

I'm innocent, I tell ya.

I started with the best of intentions. 
And I actually had a plan. 
Painted this nice little Goodwill shop
chest in Old White Chalk Paint, three coats mind you,
and painted the top with two coats to prevent bleed-through.
Because I'd be decoupage-ing the top.

I painstakingly did a patchwork decoupage of white 
origami paper with printed pencil squiggly drawings.
I liked how it looked.
Until I checked it about 20 minutes after finishing the initial gluing.


Well, thought I, perhaps if I let it dry thoroughly,
the awful bloody-red stains from the
painted-over old mahogany will go away.

Yeah, that worked.
And letting it dry just made removal that much harder.
Let me tell you, once Mod Podge dries, it ain't letting go.
Not without a fight, anyway.

I scraped and tugged and soaked and I am still going to have to dig out my
electric palm sander and sand this blinkin' stuff off the top.
I have no fingernails left.

Oh, poo.
(pardon my language)

Live and learn.
Note to self:  Next time, invest in a dirt-cheap little can of fresh shellac.
Really, I should have known.  Honestly?  Deep down, I did.
Lazy isn't always the best route to take.  Too bad.  -- Cass

Lazy may not be the best route to take, but thrifty always is!
Join Linda at Coastal Charm blog for her 180th Nifty Thrifty Tuesday.  Click here!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Better Late Than Later

Recognize this chubby little beauty?

Ignore the fuzzy red "feather duster" in the lower right corner.
That is our Gilda's tail.
She has a real affinity for this piece of furniture.  Possibly because it is the same color as she.

Thirteen months ago, Howard and I went to a
moving sale near Newark Airport and picked up
this wee tiny bombe' chest of drawers.

Here it is, mostly cleaned, not yet gussied, August 2012.

It was filthy when we got it, the front heavily drizzled
in an unidentified thick, sticky brown, semi-hardened goo.
That had oozed in under the drawers.
Yes, ick.  Double ick.

I cleaned it up and put it in my booth, but after a month or so
I brought it home.  There had been no interest in it,
probably because the top was in rather bad shape.

It spent the rest of this past year in our Parlor, cuddled up against the end of a sofa.
Easy work.  Damaged goods don't bother us at That Old House.

But a few weeks ago, I decoupaged the tops
of two tables out at our beach house.

This is heady stuff.  Really.
The Mod Podge fumes go straight to your head,
and suddenly you want to decoupage everything.

"Step away from the Mod Podge, woman!"

That creative avenue being closed to me,
I cast about for other likely victims.
And the little bombe' chest came to mind.

I cleaned it again, did more work on its finish till it gleamed,
and then . . . ta-da!

A William Morris print for the top.

This time I used a brayer to smooth the paper, which works way, way better 
than using your fingers and a Teflon spatula.  And cleanup is easier, too.
Mod Podge has a long half life on skin.  Live and learn, eh?

I sealed in the decoupage, for durability, with a water-based
acrylic sealer in a satin finish.  This also took care of that teensy
bit of tack that Mod Podge has such a hard time letting go of.

Lacking a garage, electrified shed, or a cellar that doesn't give me the willies,
I do most of my messy stuff in our sunroom.  Dylan likes to stay out of the fray.

I'm still working on my decoupage technique,
but I'm happy with this piece.
We'll see if anyone else is happy with it,
when it goes into the booth later this week.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . .

Last year, I got a few things from a picker who tossed in 
this tray table for free - my favorite price.  The top is a glass tray, 
and removeable.  Ignore the sample colors painted on the frame; 
this baby's getting a glamour treatment this week.

The Goodwill stores around here don't carry much furniture,
but sometimes you score.  I got a beautiful, well made 3-drawer
night stand, mahogany, for less than $20.  The wood was stained in that
dark red mahogany color, and very dirty - streaked with unknown sticky stuff.
Are we seeing a pattern here?
Anyway, I started in with chalk paint on Sunday.

I ran out of room in the conservatory, so I painted in the Study, too.
No room is sacred.  The mess is mind-boggling while work is in progress.

Nice details. 
"Say, that's a cute little pilaster you've got there, Tootsie."

Thankfully, Goodwill is still the Mother Lode of absurdities.
Such as this, below: A molded urn of china strawberries.
Or raspberries.  Or . . . chicken livers with leaves.

By the way, most of that "highlighting" is stuck-on dirt.  Lots & lots of dirt.

A scrubbing with detergent and a stiff brush, and then some chalk paint.
Check in with me later.  Probably for a good laugh.

As my Dad told me, "If you don't make mistakes, it's because you aren't doing anything."

It's Monday, and even I have to admit it is the first full day of Fall.
Blargh.  Oh well, time to break out the pumpkins and ravens.
I've already got the mums!  -- Cass

Susan at Between Naps On The Porch hosts Metamorphosis Monday.  Click here, always.
Today, Susan features a friend's most amazing Victorian porch, decorated for Halloween.

At Boogieboard Cottage, check out Masterpiece Monday.  Go on, click here!

The Dedicated House has Make It Pretty Monday.  You can click here.  You know you want to.

It's Inspiration Monday at I Should Be Mopping The Floors.  Click!!!

And there you go.  Link Parties to linger over with a good cup of hot cider
on this first full day of Fall.  Weep along with me . . . .

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mum's The Word

So, I may have been shopping.

With my sister-in-law Phyllis.
She eggs me on.  
"Buy them," she says. "I know my brother Howard will LOVE them . . . ."

I'm fibbing.
I didn't need any egging-on.
In my defense, I've got a lot of porch on which to perch mums.
This morning; what a gorgeous start to a beautiful day!

Although I believe in squeezing the last bits of summer out of
the limbo of mid-September, I folded and bought mums today.

Pretty much a mini-van full of them.
I always return to Lincoln Park, where we used to live, to buy mums.
There are real, live growers there,
and the plants are healthy and (relatively) cheap.

This puppy is one big mum. 
It's bigger than some shrubs,
and it seems to have been planted with
two different mums, so the colors are really cool.

Deep reds and pinks.

What fun, to have more than one color in one mum!
I've got an equally big basket for it to live in.

I also picked up a big Black-Eyed Susan, 
only it's not a Black-Eyed Susan; it's called "Irish Eyes."
It's pretty evident why.

And two Montauk Daisies.

They are not yet in bloom.
Montauk Daisies, which are actually from Asia but have naturalized
their little selves on the East End of Long Island,
bloom crazy late in the season, with big gorgeous white daisy-like flowers.

They're like Shasta Daisies, only longer lasting and sturdier.
They can grow really big, so they do need pruning in spring.

And, having had such great good luck with the blue aster
that I planted outside our sunroom last year,
which bloomed all summer and is still pooping out flowers,
today I got a lavender aster.  I do love it when the
perennials are 50% off at the growers.

If you, too, are a Summer Lingerer, forgive me for buying mums.
I did not buy scarecrows, cornstalks, hay bales or pumpkins.
We've got plenty of time for that!

Now I need to go stir the risotto.  -- Cass

P.S.  Phyllis - thanks for the pizza and the book.
(Thankfully only one of them came from Goodwill.)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Nice Knobs You Got There . . . .

Another gloriously beautiful late summer day.
It is not yet Autumn, people.
Step away from the pumpkins!

But small fallen leaves are already spinning around on the lawn,
some of my herbs are ka-put, the tropical hibiscus is shivering,
and the forsythia is revving up its psychedelic fall colors.
So while it is tempting to buy mums, and gourds, and cornstalks,
and stage them in harvest displays - because nothing, not even Christmas,
is as easy to decorate for as Fall - I'm holding off and pretending
that even though it isn't yet 70 degrees here in New Jersey today . . .
it is still Summer.  Because, it is.

And now a challenge: what pictures from your blog
do you think would make good note cards?
It's the September Note Card link party at A Haven for Vee.
(link below)

I delved back to the images I used in my first-ever collage in 2009.
Here they are, make-believe notecards:
The Door Knobs of That Old House!

Our house, built in the 1830s, 
boasts a weird and wonderful mish-mash of 
hardware, from funky window locks (which mostly don't work
but don't tell our local burglars) to odd hinges, a wacky doorbell,
and - my favorites - the door knobs.  Let's just say they don't match.

A 19th century rim lock, with a black porcelain knob.
And Sasquatch reflected in the glossy handle.

A battered brass backplate and knob on a bedroom closet door,
in the modern (1880s) addition to the house.

My favorite door knob: tortoise shell glass, mounted on
a workaday iron rimlock.  This one opens to the attic staircase.

And finally, for this set of images, another bedroom door.
A heavy blown glass knob with a carved rosette inside.
Very different from the fancy faceted or carved glass knobs of
the Empire and Victorian eras.  This one's plainer, more humble.

So I'm thinking that door knobs would be a great note card image for
invitations, or house-moving announcements, new house greetings,
thank-yous from house guests.
And I think the cover of the box could look like this:

And that's it for me today.
A peek outside, and a few peeks inside, That Old House.

It is such a glorious day, so sunny this morning that Gilda and Dylan, 
our two Cavalier spaniels, did something unusual for them - 
they both claimed the sunroom's sunniest spot, at the same time!

They sure can make themselves look comfy, can't they?

Here's wishing you a sunny last few days of summer.
Don't give it up yet! -- Cass

Visit A Haven For Vee for the September Note Card party.  Click here!
And to see what's happening in other people's gardens, visit A Southern Daydreamer's
Outdoor Wednesday.  Click here!
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