Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Where Has the Time Gone? Gardens, Travel, Furniture, Music--That's Where

It's been a whirlwind lately for sure! So many projects, so many things to do now that Spring is officially here.

There's been storytelling too--last week I was in Abingdon, VA, telling stories and giving a workshop for members of the Southwest Virginia Reading Association. We talked and played with stories and had a fantastic time exploring a variety of ways to introduce participation into telling a story. The drive down was beautiful, with trees more leafed out and more flowers in bloom than we have here. We enjoy being in that part of Virginia, part of the Holston River valley--that river was named after an ancestor of my husband, Stephen Holstein or Holston (spelling of the last name varies widely from one family to another), so it almost feels like a visit to an old homeplace.

More storytelling is coming up tomorrow as I travel to Weston, WV to tell stories to seventh grade students. Middle school age children are so interesting to interact with--they're feeling grown up but there's still plenty of little kid in them, enough to keep their outlook fresh and lively. I always like telling stories to this age group. So tomorrow, Appalachian stories and ballads on tap!

At home we've been into all sorts of projects. The early spring garden is all planted; lettuce and onions are almost ready for picking and Larry is ready to head to the mountains to get some ramps. And I am thinking it's time for some sassafras tea, that tasty spring tonic.

 Furniture work has been a priority as several pieces sold recently and we needed some new things to replace them in our booths. Right now we have five projects all at about 75-80% complete, and hope to wrap them up in the next few days. This little chair was a quick fix to go with a desk we have in our Marietta booth. Finding a chair to fit wasn't really easy but we were lucky enough to find two on our way back from southwestern Virginia.

I could not bear to remove the cool vintage vinyl fabric on the chairs, though, so I settled for giving it a good scrubbing (they were black with dirt) and painting the frame to match.

I call these "his and her" projects. Larry has been restoring the Hoosier-style Keystone kitchen cabinet, and I have been painting the china cabinet. I need to finish painting the shelves for mine, and he needs to repair one drawer and then paint both of them and he will be finished. My cabinet did not need much work but the Keystone was a right mess, needing a new bottom and back on the lower cabinet, door repair, much cleaning and sanding and that drawer that needs to be rebuilt. But it's really coming along well, and he's so happy with it.  Here are some before photos of the Keystone:

I am almost finished with the little dressing table I showed in a post a while back. It was blue and kinda rugged:

and now it's Coral Crush (General Finishes paint), with a wash of antique white and some stenciling on the top.

 I still need to paint and re-cover the seat of the bench that goes with this table but I am pretty happy with the way it's coming out. (Those whitish squares you see in the photo above are just mirror reflections on the table top--whew! I thought something weird had happened when I wasn't looking!).

I am at a standstill on the tall chest I've been painting, waiting for Larry and I to get a minute to work together on drilling new holes for some bin-type pulls for the drawers. The old holes will be covered thank goodness. I decided on the pulls AFTER getting the finish on these drawers the way I wanted it. They're pretty wild-looking but it's going to look awesome when it all comes together.

And last, this shelf that was ugly ugly and is now looking pretty pert in General Finishes Brick Red paint. Another coat, then flip it up to paint the top, top-coat it and it will be done. I'm leaving the back in the natural pine wood which looks great. The rest of the wood was not nearly so nice.

Besides projects and storytelling, I've been lucky enough to get out to a couple of good music shows locally.
First was a concert given by fiddle students at nearby Cedar Lakes Conference Center, who were taking a masters class from one of West Virginia's finest fiddlers, Dave Bing.

Then last night, Dave came back to our county for a program on Appalachian music at the library. I am just fascinated at how many tunes, and variations of tunes, he carries around in his head. The fiddles he plays are ones that he builds himself. He doesn't read music, learning his tunes from older fiddlers that he visited over the years, building a repertoire based on old music that, but for people like Dave, would possibly have disappeared by now.

So much going on, and all of it good. There is nothing quite like life in these mountains, with all of its richness, work and variety.

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


Joy@aVintageGreen said...

Always lots of work to get things ready for reselling. I like seeing your before and progress pictures. Story telling in spring, what could be nicer.

Michelle said...

I always enjoy seeing your projects. I do like that keystone cabinet.

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