Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Quiet but Busy: Painting and Canning

Besides planning for our trip, I've been canning and painting, not necessarily in that order.

 Pickles and vegetable soup have been the order of the day this week, along with some frozen squash medley. I have discovered that if I saute' squash, onions, celery and peppers together the squash is delicious and not squeaky like frozen squash usually is. We have had an overload of yellow squash this year, after having none last year, and a person can only eat so much squash! This mix is delicious with a little garlic and red pepper tossed in and put over rice, or mixed into pasta sauce and put over spaghetti noodles or macaroni. I expect I'll find other uses for it too.

Larry planted late green beans and they've provided enough for seven pints canned, and for adding to vegetable soup. I've got about 30 pints of veggie soup put up now, and will probably get a few more before we're done.The late corn is just about ready, a small patch of turnips and other greens is getting going, and the late onions are also coming on now. Despite the terrible heat this summer the gardens have done well.

As for painting, I've been rolling out some small projects and Larry got another dinette set ready to go. Here's a look at some of what we've been doing:

 This little desk was just ugly--it had been badly painted in the 70's, I guess, with one of those antiquing kits. I planned to paint it all-over red, but the top was rough so I gave it a good sanding. As I sanded, this finish emerged, and I loved it.

 We have a stockpile of chairs, so it wasn't hard to choose one I thought would look best with the desk.

We've been putting this set together for a while. We started, actually, in February or March of 2015, when we found the table. It was in a small, non-electric log cabin that had belonged to a 95-year-old man. We bought several items from his estate. The table had no chairs to match so we began looking for some we could have re-upholstered. We had the two cream ones already done, and then found two others that were not really matches but we went ahead and had them covered in turquoise to make this set. Some elbow grease to clean up the table and here she is:

I have had this table in my booths for 3 years with no takers, so it came home and got a coat of paint. Maybe now it will sell? Fingers crossed!

The little decorative sled just needed a coat of paint and some white glaze; the table was another one of those "let's sand this and see what happens" moments.

This is a work in progress. I can see I need to take it apart--again--and paint the inside of that bottom piece.  It will also get some prisms hanging from each light holder and a crystal bead chain to hang it. I put timed candles inside the light holders.

I call him Don Carlos--he's made to hold a bottle of wine. He had some chips and scrapes so I did some repainting and touch-up to spiff him up. I think he's pretty cool.

Little lamp got a coat of teal to brighten it up.

Larry has been working on old fans lately. Somehow we ended up with a half dozen of them, all needed some TLC. He's done some rewiring, cleaning and even fixed one so it rotates properly.

An upcoming project. We've had this in the workroom for a while and finally pulled it out and put it together. Sadly it's missing two of the glass doors that swing up and under. It's a Wernicke lawyer's bookcase and in perfect condition they bring good money. This one, with the missing doors and the damage to the top, won't bring anything like the usual price. We will repair the base and remove the veneer from the top, which will then have to be repainted. The rest will get a good wipe-down and then we'll see if it needs more work to make it look good again.

It looks like the top got water damage at some point. What a shame.

I had so much fun re-doing this bed lamp. It was a plain brown metal, and needed to be re-wired. We teamed up to find a good cord for it and got it re-done, then I painted and stenciled it. Kinda wishing I could keep it but I really have no need for it.

Little magazine rack is ready to go. I am so bad about taking before photos, but try to imagine it dark brown stain, scratched and scuffed and dirty. There is such pleasure in transforming a piece from junk to keeper.

That's a few of the things I've been working on. In progress are a coat rack, two little tables that will be painted with a Coca-Cola theme, a wood box with a floral transfer on top, a mirror frame, some candleholders, two lamps...what else? Stay tuned to see the finished results.

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

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Just Routine

Good morning! 

A little garden work done, morning walk, laundry going, breakfast and the kitchen tidied back up. 

Next? Catch up with my online stuff, then housecleaning, put up more food--could be pickles, squash, salsa, pepper mustard or soup--multiple choice as the garden continues to thrive. Maybe do some more painting; yesterday was really productive on that score. 

Hot weather and humidity are back, but that little break was certainly welcome.

Just ordinary life going on here, nothing really exciting, but isn't it nice when it's just routine for a little while?

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

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Maps and Routes and B&B's: Planning Our Trip to the UK

I've been deep into the final details of our upcoming trip across the pond to England and points beyond. What fun it is to read, look up, dream, and figure where to go, what to do, and where to stay! This is not a tour, we'll be on our own and the itinerary is ours to plan.

Originally I thought we would travel in England and maybe go up into Scotland a bit. But as I worked on a route, my eyes kept being drawn to Wales, and to Cornwall. And even though we'll have almost two weeks for this trip, I could not make it work out in some reasonable fashion to go to all of them. So after many draft plans, I regretfully left Scotland off the list (this time) and focused on a more southerly route.

It will be an ambitious route even so. We will land in Bristol and stay overnight with a friend who has offered to show us around his city. The following day will find us exploring the stone circle and antiquities at Avebury, and possibly making a trip down to Glastonbury if we have time. And at Avebury, the circle is more accessible than Stonehenge--and it's free!--and that will suit me better. Some of you may know the legends of the Glastonbury Thorn, and of Joseph or Arimathea's supposed trip to the area. Storyteller me wants to see this place.

Then we will have two days visiting family around the Cambridge area. I am really looking forward to this part of our trip. I still have two aunts living in England, my mother's sister and her sister-in-law, along with several cousins. We saw them in 2013 when we visited, and I am excited to be able to see them again.

Our next day should prove really exciting as we travel west across England and hopefully meet up with my blog friend Gretel! If all goes well we'll be able to have lunch and a good chat, then we will travel on to the coast of Wales and the town of Aberystwyth. There are several things I want to do there--take the steam train into the heart of Wales, maybe go out on a boat trip. Who knows? I do know I want to explore that gorgeous coastline.

Then we drive south and a bit east to the town of Merther Tydfil, and a stay in an old miner's cottage. The lady who owns this b&b has told me she is also a storyteller and has promised some interesting times. We'll leave there and head for Ilfracombe (I can't wait to hear how these places are actually pronounced) and another b&b. This town has spectacular scenery and so much to see but it's the coastline that we really want to just drive along and look at the beauty all around.

I used Air BnB to book rooms and have my fingers crossed that it all goes well. It is certainly a less expensive and far more interesting way to travel. We could have chosen to stay on a fishing trawler, or in a yurt, a gypsy caravan, a camper, an old rail car, or we could have gone "glamping." None of these worked out for us this time (at our age, easy access to a bathroom at night is kinda important!), but the cost is incredibly cheap for most of these intriguing places if you're game.

After Ilfracombe we will go to Minions (that's its name, really), to stay in an odd little stone hut with a fantastic view of the Bodmin moors. Don't worry, we won't "go Bodmin" I promise! (For those who haven't heard that term, it's from the BBC TV series Doc Martin. Basically it means to go mad and wander the moors, I think.) We'll be in Cornwall by this time, of course, and lots of local lore and legends abound. I know we'll find plenty of stories to bring home. We are excited about seeing Port Isaac, the home of the Doc Martin series, and hope to be able to take a boat trip here if time permits, to explore the coast.

Next stop will be Newquay and a hotel overlooking the ocean. It's the most expensive of our places to stay, but that water view will, I hope, be worth it. We may be taking a boat trip here as well, out to an island for some seal and porpoise watching. We'll see how that pans out. There is so much we want to see and do, and so little time.

Finally we will drive back for one last night in a B&B near Bath, so we will be close to the airport for our flight home. I imagine we will be worn out by then, but filled with new sights, new friends and plenty of pictures and stories to bring home with us.

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