Friday, March 6, 2015


Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Snowy, Snowy Day

The weather people were right. It snowed!

Larry had collected our wood stepladders to get ready to take to booths; now they make  pretty cool snow sculpture.

And snowed and snowed, until in the end I think there's about 12 inches of wet white stuff out there. It's incredibly beautiful, so bright it almost hurts the eyes.

Of course, with a wet, heavy snow like this, the power is bound to go out. We've been fortunate this winter with no power outages, until today. Sometimes during the night the electricity went off, and when I called to report it the projected restore time was 11:00am tomorrow. We were prepared for it to be off, though--we put about 20 gallon jugs of water in the cellar, took our showers before going to bed, set up the morning's coffee and tea things, rounded up flashlights and made sure the kerosene lamps were full.  We also thought about what things we could get into if the power was out.

Free gas is a real blessing in an outage. Our cookstove, heat, and refrigerator run on gas so the only inconveniences are lack of lights, and the water not running. One day we'll get one of those natural gas generators and we won't even notice when the lights go out.

We still had plenty to do. Washing dishes takes a little more time, and Larry had a date with the snow shovel. I had a huge pile of papers that needed to be sorted and filed so I got that out of the way,

and then I worked on getting the polyurethane coat on the cabinet I painted yesterday and on the doors for it that Larry had stripped and stained.

He's already started stripping the door on the new pantry cupboard so I reckon I'll be painting it too in the near future.

Both of us enjoyed watching the birds at the feeders.

There must have been over 50 out there, and I counted 12 male cardinals at one time.

Love that little snowbird sitting right on top!
The feeders were busy, busy. I was glad we'd bought more seed when we were in town the other day because they are really going through it.

I never tire of looking at the snow.

When it was getting dark I started the process of lighting lamps and candles while Larry built a fire in the fireplace. I noticed that some of the oil lamps needed their wicks trimmed so I did that before lighting them. We'd just settled in by the fire, wondering what do next with the house being so dim, when, voila! The lights came on!

Tomorrow Larry will get out the tractor, and I hope he'll be able to get the driveway clear enough for us to get out to town. We'll see. With temperatures predicted to be below zero tonight, the snow will freeze, and I am not sure how easy it will be to clear. A foot of snow is a lot to move off a 1/4 mile long road that is all uphill. If he can't get it done, I reckon we'll just wait for the weekend's warmer temperatures to do the job.

I am worried about that warming trend, though. Flooding was already happening before this storm. I only hope those high waters have a chance to recede before this new snow melts. For those of you along creeks and rivers, I'll be thinking of you and hoping you stay high and dry.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Rainy Day Crafts

The weather has been weathering, mixing up rain, snow, fog and general muddiness. I keep waiting for winter to break but he seems to be holding on with more snow and ice on the way in the next couple of days. In past years we were already outside and planting the garden, but it will be a late garden this year apparently. Which is not so bad, since later means less chance of frost and freeze.

We are keeping busy inside with a lot of different projects, like this little box. Made of cedar but just not looking pretty with it's tarnished hardware, it called to me for paint. So paint it I did, with an undercoat of butter yellow, then a dry-brushed aqua and dark glaze. I finished if off with a decoupaged vintage image from The Graphics Fairy; I used a match to lightly burn the edges of the graphic to give it an old look. Last step was topcoating with General Finishes High Performance Topcoat. It sounds more complicated than it really was. The whole process took less than an hour, and isn't she pretty now?

This picnic basket already had its padded vinyl gingham liner but the lid lust looked sad--unfinished wood that had a mix of stains and marks on it. So I got out my General Finished Holiday Red paint and my can of Topcoat and gave it a fresh look. I'm debating putting a decoupage graphic on top. What do you think--does it need one or not?

Third project yesterday was this little plaque. It started as one of those brass frames with a flower print inside; the glass was long gone. A coat of GF Antique White paint, some burlap and old keys, and now...

next step is to put some paper backing in this frame (and repaint the frame--I was too tired when I stopped last night and messed it up big time) and mount the little key picture in it. What do you think? It was fun to do, but I'm not sure if it will sell.

More painting! I painted this telephone table yellow first. It had been a tired and beaten up white, and I thought yellow would brighten it up. When it was done, I didn't like it, so I went even brighter with GF Patina Green. I'm lovin' it now! I considered using dark glaze and distressing it, but decided to leave it as is.

I finally finished the black end table too. At one point I was ready to throw it off the porch, I was so frustrated with it. It has imperfections in the top so I can't ask a lot for it, but the black finish came out well and I will just be glad to get it out of my way so I can move on to other projects.

Today I painted the big pantry cupboard; tomorrow I will put the polyurethane topcoat on it. Larry has finished stripping and staining the doors so I will seal those as well and then we can put them on and be done. Can't wait to see how it looks.

 This primitive stand had a dark varnish on it; I used a white wash on it, and then added a transfer of an old advertisement.

Tomorrow I will glaze it, then seal it and it will be done. Oh, and in the photo above is a Larry project: lamps to be rewired!

Larry has so many projects on the fire right now I doubt he knows which way to turn! Those lamps, for example. I am a lamp fanatic, apparently; I can't seem to pass them up. These were so cheap, and for a reason. They all need rewiring. Like he didn't have enough to do already. Larry's getting pretty good at multi-tasking, out or self preservation, I think.

He's also stripping and repainting a Cosco kitchen cart, replacing the back on a chimney cupboard, and about a dozen other projects.

The snow has started this evening and I hear we're in for a few inches. I doubt it will disturb us much. I will be working on an upcoming ballads program at WVU and on the storytelling and workshop for ESL students next week, if I can lay down the paintbrushes long enough. So many hobbies, so little time! Stay warm and safe, friends.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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