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Monday, July 23, 2018

This and that.... and I'm a winner!

Hi my friends, It's such a nice day here in central Oregon for a change! It's "only" 90 degrees, no wind and a nice clear blue sky. We've had such heat the last couple of weeks, that this is a nice change.

My yard and flowers just aren't "up to snuff" this year. More on that later.............  First though, I won a really neat set of  "Love Grows Here" cards and a card folder from Kim at ArtJoyStuff!  She also sent me a pretty tag that she made.  Here they are:

Six darling cards inside!

Shaker cards.

Darling decorated envelopes that are lined!
 Here's the sweet tag she made:

And as an extra treat, she sent me THREE of her lovely vintage cards, with lined envelopes to match. I'm a happy girl..........

Thank you so much Kim!  You can find her Etsy shop: ArtJoyStuff here. Her items are so shabby, scrappy, lacy and whimsical!


As many of you know (from my comments on YOUR blogs)... my yard is not doing well. We had a big "reseeding" day in early May, dug and raked and raked some more... got out all the weeds (we thought) and seeded with some really expensive Pacific Northwest special grass seed. Well.. I'm so disappointed. A little bit of grass came up, and we've watered religiously, but we are still left with MANY brown/dirt patches. 

This is as good as it got... and has been downhill from there! (I'm embarrassed to show you what it looks like now).  I sprayed all the weeds again and in doing so, killed alot of the grass! It was supposed to be OK to spray the weeds in the grass and not supposed to kill the grass......... but it did......... and now is even worse. We reseeded once more but nothing much came up. Our soil is very shallow, very poor, with hardpan under it about 2-3 inches down, so we figure all it's good for is growing weeds.

When we started, the entire back yard was one big dandelion bed!

We need to just get rid of it all and start from scratch with new dirt. Just can't afford that, so we'll figure out other ways to deal with it by putting in raised beds graveling over the entire yard.

We did find one spot where we could dig down about a foot, to plant this Golden Chain tree. It seems to be doing well and I hope it survives the winter. They grow really fast and will provide us some shade in our "patio" gravel area.
See all the brown around the tree? I think we may do a raised bed there and just fill it with pretty rocks and put a few shrubs in.  That's what we may do with all the big brown patches! We'll leave what grass there is, and put gravel paths that meander through the yard and maybe one other raised (rock) bed.  When ya can't win, just go with the flow I guess.

This was our yard BEFORE we did the reseeding.... full of weeds, dirt, rocks piled up from our front yard raised rock bed removal, and the stump from the tree that fell over in our front yard. This is only one pile! We had two piles of big rocks, plus two piles of dirt from the front yard raised bed we took out.    

We had a corner that had steps up to an old gate (previous neighbors used it)... so decided to pile all the dirt over there and make a raised bed. This is the BEFORE:

Here's AFTER we piled up all the dirt over the steps, and laid out rocks for a two tier garden bed:

It is actually doing quite well, as it has nice deep dirt to grow in. I mixed in alot of peat moss, compost and steer manure. See that stump in the back? That was what we saved from the big tree in our front yard that blew over a year ago last April. When it was cut up and removed, we asked the guys to save the stump for us. It's really pretty, and the cats like it to use as "steps" to climb up over that fence!

The shrubs on the top are a lilac and Snowberry bush, that I got last year at our Bi Mart for $1.00 each. It was during a very hot spell and they were all wilted and on sale.. so I bought two of each. They wintered over in their original pots and survived.. so two are in the back and two more are in the front yard. All are doing very well.

The red flowers on the lower tier are $1.00 geraniums I got from a big box store. They were very wilted and almost dead, but revived once I put them in here and have watered them alot. We have to water every day here, sometimes twice, as it is so DRY and usually windy, which makes it worse. Everything dries out so fast.

A nice little buck was meandering down our street the other day. I think it's the same one that ate half of my new rose bush about a week ago. The neighbor came and showed me a video of him eating it! She had taken the video with her phone and had to come tell me. The rose has survived, though is much smaller now! New buds are just coming out.

The area by my front "stoop" is doing fairly well, though I don't have as many pots out this year. My bench that I painted last year needs paint again as I left it out all winter! The two pots sitting on the bench (in the top picture) have flowers that came up all by themselves from last year. The one on the left is a chrysanthemum and the right one, I'm not sure. It sat quite awhile along our house and I paid it no mind... didn't water it or anything.. but the vines just kept growing.. so I decided a few weeks ago to bring it out and start watering it. Now the vines are growing all over behind the back of the bench! It's really pretty.... some sort of ground cover I think.
You can just barely see the trunk of our new front yard tree (to the left)... a Quaking Aspen. It is doing very well and we can already hear the leaves quaking and chattering against each other when the wind blows. The orange marigolds in that blue bucket came up again on their own too. They are not usually "perennials" but it started with one tiny plant which I starting nursing along, and now is really pretty! There are some more stray ones growing in the bark mulch below the bench!

My birthday came and went in late June.... roses from hubby. Love the boot!

My sister gave me the most darling pink featherweight sewing machine replica! It's about 3 inches tall.

I got to have a "sewing bee" day with my sister in Bend, Oregon a week or so ago. She has inspired me to make a quilt for my son for his 40th birthday. I've been wanting to make one for him for years...  using all of my scraps and strips that I've saved from the last 42 years of sewing! A few months ago, I finally started taking out my scraps and washing and ironing them. More on that process later! What a mess!

I'll have rows of strip blocks, in different color sets, probably browns, burgundy, blue, green, maybe yellow/orange and maybe purples. These are most of the colors I have scraps for. The pink scraps will be saved for a later quilt for me!

Here are my six brown squares. I have four done in the burgundy also. Need 36 blocks, six each of six colors. Do you think I'll get it done??? His birthday is September 13th!! My sister has so graciously and sweetly offered to quilt it for me, with her long arm sewing machine.  He may only get the quilt top on his birthday, but at least it's a start.

In fact, I'd better get sewing today! I'm trying to finish at least two blocks a day!

Have a happy Sunday all...........


Friday, July 6, 2018

Be still my heart........

I just got a new pantry! I'm so excited! What can I say??? I'm easy to please? Doesn't take much to make me happy?  I must live a pretty dull life? You're right! ..... on all three counts......... what woman/cook/housekeeper/collector of kitchen things, doesn't need some room to store her more than ample "stuff"?

What's this you say? You're looking up towards the top from the floor.

This is not your everyday, hole in the wall, pantry. This is a pantry extrordinaire....... freestanding, white, decorated, baskets inside, little shelves in back, custom, handmade.......... the size of our fridge but taller..... made about 11 years ago by my ex husband. Yes... my ex! At that time, my current husband and I lived in Washougal, WA and we were neighbors with my ex of 20 years and his wife. (Never planned for that to happen, but it just turned out that the house and 5 acres we loved so much was that close to my ex!) We were somewhat "friends" after many years of ups and downs with our kids.... many years of having to work together for the good of our kids.. of learning to compromise and work together.

Ex had made this pantry for our house there... it had a specific area he fit it to, a skinny area but tall, so he made it "custom" to fit there and we paid him a good price for it. It's made of 3/4 inch plywood and painted with oil based paint, many many coats, plus wait until you see the inside! (Note.. we never asked him to do what he did on the inside.. but he's very creative and artistic, and did it on his own).

What??????? .... the artist within I guess. My ex made pine furniture (and I helped) when we were first married (our "hippie" days in the 70's)... and  his signature carving was a tulip. Everything he made had tulips and vines carved in it.  So............ of course I needed more tulips, not carved this time, but painted!

Can anyone have too many tulips?

This had been sitting (stored) in my ex's barn since we moved here to Madras 6 years ago. We didn't have room for it in our moving van, plus it was WAY TOO HEAVY for us to load. My son used it in his little apartment off the barn so we left it, with the plea from me that someday I wanted it back.

Ex so kindly brought this pantry down to us a few weeks ago (with the help of my son loading it into the truck - and the help here of a neighbor and a dolly). He's finally selling the house that he and I built in the 70's and 80's, and that he has been totally remodeling for the last 3 years. Everything he did in that house was unique and original. In the remodeling process, due to codes, etc., some of the wood art, carvings, unusual beams made from Alders off the property, had to go in order to meet with the inspectors' approval. He did manage to save some of the original quirkiness.

NOTE: I hadn't meant to make this post so long.. but in the telling of the "pantry story", I decided I just NEEDED to show some of the beautiful custom work that my ex completed over his 35 years of living at that house (that by the way, has just sold after only 10 days on the market.)

The house I lived in (and helped build) from 1975 to 1989 - after extensive remodeling.... the original house was covered entirely in cedar shakes. Same GORGEOUS 9 acres though!

Some of my ex's craftsman style:

Wood stove with river rock from the Washougal River in back... surrounded by alder logs from the property.... stone hearth with wood edging.. I'm surprised there aren't any tulips carved in that wood edging!

Carved custom door he made.. with carving (of course!) on the inside.

Rock fountain... again using river rock..... which has a "switch" to turn it on or off..... which comes from the pond over to the right, which pond comes from an underground spring... which underground spring also results in the waterfall he built (shown below).. all custom cement work, carvings, and river rock from the Washougal River.

Log (Alder) beams in the kitchen.. from the property... oops! There's the tulips!

More Alder beams in the dining room...... that  fencelike looking door on the top has a loft behind it, and that door/gate  hinges downward so a person can get a bed or furniture up into the loft! Because... to get to said loft, you had to climb up a ladder on the wall, which ladder I climbed up and down until I was 8 months pregnant with my first child)!


I'm afraid the pantry got kind of "musty".... as that area is a very damp climate. But I'm working on trying to get that musty smell out. I'm about halfway there.

Look at those baskets that pull out...... the little shelves in the back.....the huge storage area at the top (behind the door- first picture up above shows more tulips on that door on the inside!).......the large area on the "floor" for spuds, onions, veggies, etc. ........ swoon.........

And after all these years... it's a perfect fit in our new (old) house. Who would have thought?  I'm so glad to have it back!

How do I love thee pantry??? Let me count the ways...........