July 31, 2014

Fluffing Flowers and Rooms

Fluffing Flowers and Rooms

Also posted at, Rattlebridge Farm Blog

Is it because I know that the semester will start very soon and I have lots of things to still accomplish this summer + prepare for new French class students that I am in a push right now?  Or is it just the anticipation of the change of seasons? Could it be that I was in slow gear all summer and now realize that I failed to get some things done. I am in semi-retirement mode professionally speaking, 
so there is the sense that I can do "it" tomorrow. Ooops. I have to get cracking so to speak! 

I do not want summer to end...but it seems when the school bus runs in my neighborhood and I prep my syllabus ... that summer is just OVER. I am on a countdown and I have lots of things to do. The only thing is...it seems that the more I have tried to accomplish this week the slower I have been accomplishing anything. 

I have had silk arrangements waiting on me all summer to fluff and redesign them. Here is the first one. By now you know what I do to flower arrangements that have started to droop. I pull everything out and then mix and arrange new stems. Enter pink peonies. This arrangement was looking sad...so I needed to do some surgery and add in some fresh stems to perk it up a little. 

I took this picture in the dining room because of better light. We are headed to the master bath though. 

Last week I showed you the new curtain that I made for the shower enclosure. I am continuing to fluff the master bath...and I have taken some of my blue and white pots in there... for a change. Click here if you missed that post.

The color of the flowers changed because of the yellow vanity lights. There is no window in this bathroom...though I wish that there were one.

 I wanted to try the blue flower pot and deep pink peonies in the room to perk things up a bit. While I love the green...it was somewhat monochrome. 

The half wall hides the WC. 
I have thought of adding tall wooden shutters 
up to the ceiling for more privacy. 
We shall see. 
I have other more important projects. 

This small candlestick lamp makes a great nightlight. 

In time...I will show you another pretty corner in the master bath. Please check back so that you do not miss it. 

When we bought our new house we added the curvy Delta faucets, as well as the Ballard's mirrors over the sinks. I added chrome knobs on the vanity drawers also to carry out the shiny theme. I know that there are many different finishes on the market, but I decided to go with the traditional chrome. I just like it. (The paint is Sherwin Williams Hearts of Palm.) 

I began a sewing project this week...and I will share that with you when it is finished. I have been looking at several "drop cloth" creations, so I decided to purchase one and give it a try with my idea. I have little projects started here and there and I have been jumping from one thing to another. I am going to get my head straight and move forward with my creative projects. 

Little by little I will get my house tasks done...now that I feel a sense of urgency! School days will be upon us soon. Some of the public schools in my area will begin in a week or two. Yikes!  My college begins classes later in August so I have a little time to prep. But not a lot. :-)

Also...I plan to start up Friday French lessons on the blog in September, so get your pens and note pads ready. Or, perhaps start a file on your computer or jump drive to save lessons and make notes. :-)

Thanks for visiting. 
I hope you come back again soon.  

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July 25, 2014

Making Another Shower Curtain

I made another shower curtain this summer!

I have had this Thibaut fabric in my stash and finally decided to decide what to do with it. I considered pillows. I also considered a bed skirt. Decision made. A shower curtain! 

This fabric is the same as my custom drapery fabric in the master (see above)...except that I found these yards in a fabric store that sold bolt ends, etc. I found one small flaw in the fabric...but I purchased a few yards anyway. This price was much better than my designer drapes.

The most difficult part of this project was matching the pattern to join the two panels. I had two panels of 52 inch wide fabric. My goal was to have a 9 ft. tall curtain...up to the ceiling. I had to drop it some due to the crown. I added in about 8 inches on the bottom, for two 4 inch hems. I added about 4 inches to the top for two 2 inch hems. You can adjust your length as you wish...but I do suggest that you keep the top and bottom hems the two inch and four inch sizes. 

I sewed small brass half inch rings onto the top hem of the curtain (about every 8 inches). I found the very small rings in the drapery department of Joann's fabric store. They are the kind you find to sew onto tiebacks to attach to a wall hook. The rings are about 1/2 inch or smaller. They  need to be small enough that they do not slip over the large part of your decorative shower curtain ring/clip. I know...this is fuzzy math, but if you have any sewing experience just read between the lines and substitute any hardware that will work. 

If you can make button holes, that would be an option instead of using the small brass rings. Also...grommets would work if you can install those. 

Instead of hanging this curtain to block the shower from view... I opted to pull it back with a swoop. I will try this for a few days and see if I like this better than full coverage and pulling it back and forth. 

I am liking the pulled back look for the moment. 
I wanted to add some fabric to the master bath in order to soften the look.

I made inverted box pleats at the top of the curtain... but they do not really show with the natural pleating that occurs when pulling the curtain back.

I need to put the suction cup somewhere else. 
It is for my shower cap...and not pretty now that I have the curtain.

This is a decorative shower curtain...since there are full glass doors that control the water splashes. At first I wanted to hide the shower, and I had the fabric, so I decided to make a full curtain. Now, I like the swag. Everything is a work in progress. ha!  I will need to make a tieback to hold the curtain...because a ribbon is holding it right now. I already have the brass rings for those. I just have to get on the ball and make it. 

The wall paint is Sherwin Willliams Hearts of Palm. This is the second house in which I have used this color. I love it. It would be a great beach house color too!

Thanks for stopping by to visit. 
Please come back when you can!


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July 24, 2014

A Special Church Pew

A Special Church Pew

This is a story about a church pew. 
I know, I am always telling you a story. 

This is also a story about my great grandmother Levona Riggins Tarter
 (born 1886) from South Fork Creek, Casey County, Kentucky.

Levona grew up on what is called South Fork Creek by the locals.  Turn off of hwy 910 in Casey County and you will be there. Today the area is know for its Amish farms and products. The road follows a creek. And if you go all of the way to the end of that road...you are way out in the countryside. The last time I was on the very end of that road... several years ago...it was still gravel. I do not know about today. A road that goes off from South Fork Creek road is South Fork Ridge Road. Makes sense. At the top of the hill there is a small church and cemetery.  My great and great great grandparents rest in this country cemetery. Riggins and Tarters are side by side.

South Fork Church in Casey County Kentucky and is the oldest continuously operating church...in Baptist history. 

My great great grandparents attended this church, so this is the church that my great grandmother
grew up in. The first time I was in this church was for her funeral, and then again for my great grandfather John Franklin Tarter's funeral. I grew up knowing that this church was special to my great grandmother...but it has been lately that I have learned of her and her family's involvement with this church and its members. 

I only know of a few things that she did for the church...but there may have been other ways she helped them. When the church needed new pews sometime in the 1900s...she paid for them. I am guessing that a local furniture maker/carpenter made them. My mother even told me that there was a Riggins who made furniture...but no information on who made the new church pews. I learned that she also helped out when the church needed to be painted, etc. 

Let's backup a few months. My mother called me to tell about her pew that arrived. I do a Q and A session with mother. She ends by saying that she just loves her pew so much...and would not take anything for it. By this time I am wishing that I also had a pew, but understand that there are only so
many to go around...and they went to the grandchildren. I was a great grandchild...the eldest great grandchild. My mother was the eldest grandchild.

A few months pass, and my mother calls me to say that "they" had some extra sections of pews and that she and dad were getting three...for their kids.

I was so excited. 
I was going to get a pew too.
I wanted a pew so very much. 
Family antiques are so meaningful to me.

Well, my son brought my pew home to me this week. As you can see, it is a simple pew. But that simple pew tells the history of a church and my great grandmothers love of that church.

The long pews were divided into smaller sections, with new end pieces being added. I do not mind that one end is new and the other end is old. That is fine. There are character marks on the seats. I imagine kids climbing around on them. I imagine the many people who sat on these pews every time the door of the church was open.

I did not know my great grandmother as intimately as some of my cousins because I lived away from the area. I only remember her as an older lady, with her grey hair pulled back into a little knot. I remember that she always had on an apron...because she was always in the kitchen cooking it seemed. 

And was she a good cook? Oh yes! She had a huge wood burning "cookstove." She kept a box of kindling next to the stove to feed the fire. She had a huge cast iron sort of stove. I do not know for sure how she regulated the heat...but I can tell you that she made the best biscuits! And chicken. And homemade butter. And slaw. And custard pie. And cake. And vegetables. 

In the summer afternoons she would wear a bonnet and work in her garden. My great grandmother Levona was a disappearing breed of Kentucky woman. She did not have a modern washing machine when she reared her kids....just imagine!

For now I have my pew sitting in the mud/laundry/butler's pantry room. 
I plan to dress it with a couple of pillows to make it pretty. 
Although to me, this little pew is pretty as it is.

This is the antique end of the pew. It has a few cracks. But that is fine. I will not be trying to fix those cracks. They show the age and story of the pew.

Above is a picture of Levona as a young girl with her parents Montgomery and Fannie Riggins, and younger brother Lee Riggins. Below is a picture of her as I remember her, along with my great grandfather.

This is the house (built 1800) where she reared her family. I remember going to family dinners here at Thanksgiving and Christmas. She always had an open door and a full table for family and friends. With the passing of my grandfather this 
house left our family, but we still have the memories. 


My story ends for today...but there will be more.
Thank you for visiting. 
Let me know about your special grandmother memories. 
I would love to hear from you. Just leave a comment below.

Thanks for stopping by.

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July 20, 2014

Trend Alert, Designing with Gold

After college graduation I married and moved into a small apartment with hubby near the University of Louisville. That apartment was green. Seventies green. And so was the stove, and the refrigerator, and the dishwasher.....and even the greenish stained cabinets. Heaven forbid! Enough green!

Here is my color story.

Looking back over the many years since I married and set up housekeeping (as they used to call it)  I have had gold or brass in my house somewhere. Our first sofa in our grad school apartment had gold upholstery. We also had a solid brass bed. Luckily it had been "dipped" to seal the brass so that it would not tarnish.  Our wedding china had a gold ring around the outer edge of the plates. And, our crystal had quite a bit of gold filigree too. As the decades passed I started wondering if gold, or brass, had gone out of style. I know that we should not be swayed by trends, but be true to our own style. But...I still like to "kind of" be in style. 

After graduation from our respective graduate programs...we moved into our first home in Frankfort. It was a one story brick ranch and just the right size for the two of us. We painted all of the open spaces a shade of gold that the local Sears store sold. In fact we painted all of the interior of the house...but not everything was gold. I did not have many brass accessories at that time. Just the gold paint. We did have a few Paul Sawyer prints that were wedding gifts...and those were framed in gold. But guess what...all of the appliances were mud brown. I think they called that copper brown. We bought a refrigerator for that house...and it was GOLD. 

We moved again about a year later...to my husband's county where he set up a practice. You guessed it...more gold was painted on some of the walls. Next we upgraded to a larger home in the woods...and we switched to the natural colors...rusts and browns. But my gold refrigerator came with us to that house. Our daughter's room was papered in the prettiest peach paper. That was our rustic house in the woods...and we had all of those seventies colors. Do any of you remember the tupperware colors of the seventies? Orange. Avacado. Brown. Gold. I know...I am dating myself. ha! You younger ladies may remember your mother having those "earth" colors in the house where you grew up.

A few more years passed and we built a two story family home in the middle of about eighty acres. This is where our children grew up...and where their childhood memories are. I painted the walls yellow and the wood trim white. I was going with a Southern Living look as our house was in the Southern Living magazine the year before we built it. The bedrooms were different colors...but the central part of the downstairs and the upstairs hall were yellow with white trim. I had a designer helping me to coordinate my paint selections to fabrics. I did have the house painted a couple of times during our twenty five year residence...but I still kept a Georgian look with yellow/gold walls and crisp white custom yellow poplar woodwork.  The time came to pack up and leave everything...memories, and a wonderfully built house.  We spent a year with many things in storage and our taking up residence in a rented lake house until we found the house we wanted to purchase. ....And here we are. And guess what I did? Painted more walls gold.

In our new house... I painted the main/central part of the house westminster gold by Benjamin Moore. (The painters loved BM paint.) I am back to my gold/yellows again. I have tried neutrals...and they just do not have the warmth that I need on a daily basis. At the bottom of this post I borrowed a short piece about the psychology of the color "gold."  Several match me!

This first picture shows my gold wall paint and my brass dining room light. This fixture is a soft brass and not bright gold like our Georgian house had. I picked this fixture...and love it...but harbored a feeling that maybe brass/gold accents had gone out of style. You can't imagine how pleased I am to learn that gold accents are trending right now. Yeah! I am still digging for my brass candlesticks, etc. (side bar...have you checked the prices on "vintage" brass out there right now? high!)

Brass lighting and gold walls. I can use my black  clip on shades lined in gold for a more dramatic look.

Here are my matching gold leaf frames from our Georgian house. I still love these and am happy to have found a home for them in the new house.
gold framed mirrors in sitting room.

Colors that appear in nature make great design inspiration. I saved this pic for two reasons. 1. The gold color and 2. The lovely Paris Park.
The golden colors of fall...warm and cozy.

And here is my golden retriever. 
I guess you can also see my gold lap blanket in the background too. 
I am just a gold fanatic!
My "golden" retriever Mikey

These mirrors and vanity are not mine
...but an inspiration pic that I found. 
Gold is warm and inviting. Additionally gold is a rich color to use with natural woods like cherry.
google images, gold framed mirrors and brass lamps

This gold frame and matching brass lamps belong to me. All of our prints are framed in either gold leaf or black frames with gold touches.
Matching Brass lamps, Gold Framed Print

Here is my grandmother's tea/coffee cup....trimmed in gold.

Hear is an example of an acrylic framed in black with gold.

I like the design of this old brass door knocker. I imagine it could be cleaned, but then the patina would be wiped away.

Old Brass doorknocker...

I found the next two pictures showing how gold accessories can be incorporated into ones home. 

I see several DIY inspirations here. We have a gold letter "E" similar to the finish on the W below. If you have any wooden letters...would you be interested in painting them gold? There are so many new metallic spray paints these days. Browse until you find the one for you. You could spray paint picture frames, trays, or lamps. 

Look at the golden layers of pastry. 
You cannot go wrong with golden colors.

I love this lamp with the black shade. 
The gold has sort of an antique/brushed look. 
I tend to use black shades also. 
They look really good in contrast to the gold walls.

This lamp shade is metal, with a shiny finish.
I like the modern vibe. Gold / Brasslamps come in all sizes, shapes, and styles.

While my personal preference is traditional style...
sometimes I like accessories that lean a little modern, like the lamp below. 
I  really like this round base lamp.

This brushed gold light is a little too modern for me...but I wanted to show that you can find gold/brass in any style.
www.wayfair.com  www.wayfair.com

This light fixture makes my heart flutter a little. 
I think this would look wonderful on each side of a fireplace, or maybe on each side of a dressy vanity mirror. 

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