Friday, January 31, 2014


It's been a dry winter so far, and we (us, and our land) have been hungry for snow...

Yesterday afternoon we saw the clouds moving over the mountains to the west of us, and hoped the snow we knew they carried wouldn't pass us by.

It didn't.

By the time we got home from running a couple of errands the sun was gone and the snow had started...


It's stopped snowing (at least for now) but the clouds are laying low on the hills that surround us...


We have just a few inches of snow on the ground now... but I'm hoping it starts snowing again and we get a little more.

I surprised this doe in the front flower garden this morning...

I followed her tracks over the little front yard fence and into the flower garden.


She was after any cottonwood leaves she could find buried under the snow.

She pawed these up from under the snow, but I (accidentally) frightened her away before she could eat them.

Most of the does are pregnant this time of year and they're hungry.

I hope she comes back and finishes them off...

I'm glad I didn't rake them up last fall.

A few more deer pictures.... Stay warm and have a good weekend everyone!



Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Where are we supposed to eat?"

This was a question posed to me by my children the other day when they realized what my next project was going to be..

Because the project involved the dining room table becoming unusable.

You see, for a while now, I've coveted my sister's antique oak pedestal table. The one in this picture I stole from her flickr account... (Isn't her new house cute?)

We'd downsized dining room sets a few years ago, when all the older kids were launched and the old table suddenly seemed TOO big for just the four of us. I wanted a nice, antique, round oak table. My sister wouldn't give me hers, so I started looking around and finally found our current dining table at Goodwill... for $30. It's oak, the style is right, but it's not antique.. it dates from the 80's or early 90's and had (notice the past tense) this super shiny, orange-y finish... but it's solid wood, and the price was right, so I bought it.

I really hated that shiny orange-y look... but I lived with it.

Until last Sunday afternoon.

We've been home a lot lately because R had her wisdom teeth out last week and hasn't felt up to much going and doing... (She's doing fine by the way, but it's taken a lot of jello and pudding to get her through!) With the main bathroom done I was looking for a project, but didn't really feel like painting another room. Joe had given me a new mouse sander for Christmas... and I had an almost full bottle of stripper downstairs... and Sunday afternoons tend to be super boring around here and...well you can guess what happened.

I started stripping the dining room table.

It was too cold to do it outside (on my back porch/workshop) so I decided to just refinish it where it was... in the dining room. I use a not too toxic stripper, and I kept the back door open a crack for ventilation and I got to work.

The finish was so thin it was took nothing to strip it off...

The sanding was kind of a bear though...


It's a good thing I had this nice new sander!

As you can see from the pictures, I totally trashed my dining room. I ended up rolling up the rug and moving it out, because I was worried not even my nice heavy duty tarp would protect it completely from all the mess. And virtually every surface in the house ended up with a thin layer of dust from the sanding.


We've been eating dinner here there and everywhere all week... at the game table, in the family room, (at Famous Dave's...). But the end is in sight!

I'm working on the stain and polyurethane right now and we should have a dining room table again by the weekend! And I'm really happy with how it's turning out.

Good-bye nasty, shiny, orange-y finish... I am thrilled to show you the door!!

(I'll show you the finished project next week. )

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

snapshots of home (little K's birthday)

Grandson "Little K" turned 7 yesterday.  He picked Famous Daves for his birthday dinner... Mmm. Here are a few pictures from dinner.

E (dd#1) and our youngest granddaughter...


Aunt and niece... it won't be long before the younger one is the taller one! (if she isn't already... :)

The three older grandkids sang the soundtrack of "Frozen" after dinner...

It was the cutest thing ever!


Greeting the "Wilbur the Pig" mascot. How weird to have a pig mascot at a BBQ place... where you go to eat pork. Am I the only one who thinks that's a little odd?


Grandkids are still singing.... except for Little K... I'm not sure what he's doing.


Me and E, she was grandma's girl last night.


Still singing... it looks like R had her own personal concert!


And one last one of E... since she's the baby and so cute. This is a picture she asked me to take of her, she seemed very happy with the result.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

La Salle de Bain (the bathroom)

Like the French? That's because my bathroom is fancy now.

It's all decked out.

Relatively speaking.

Our main bath hadn't been painted in forever, and it was time... and in one of those one-thing-leads-to-another kinds of ways, what started as just a quick coat of paint ended up to be a bigger re-do that I'd planned.

Here are some "before" pictures... taken back in 2008 when we updated the floor and added the new vanity. White walls, tan moldings and baseboards. Last year I replaced the old moldings and baseboards and painted them white.


It was all good, except the wall paint was old (almost 10 years!) so it was time to freshen it up. Rather than go with the same white on the walls again I wanted to add a little color this time. I'd worked so hard replacing the baseboards and putting up the farmhouse style moldings, that I wanted them to show up... not get lost in the all white I had going on in there.

After I started painting I thought maybe it would be fun to do something different in that bathroom... I'd been seeing where people had created a board and batten look by adding a horizontal top molding, and smaller vertical moldings to an existing wall. I decided that would be a fun project, and the perfect way to fancy-up the long wall in the bathroom.

First decided how tall I wanted the board and batten to go, and used a plumb line to mark a line across, then I finished painting all of the bathroom that was going to be the main color... so everything except the "board and batten" section of the wall. Next I painted the board and batten section with glossy trim paint.

Then came the fun part... putting up the trim pieces (the "batten"). I used MDF for the horizon top molding. I would have preferred to use real wood, but that wall has a curve to it (don't look for straight walls in this old log home!) so the top molding of the board and batten would need to have some give to it and the MDF seemed to have more give than wood.  So I measured and cut the MDF, positioned it on the wall, checked for level, and used finishing nails to attach it. (I'd found the studs first and made sure to nail into studs.) To pull the wood in to follow the slightly curved wall I had to use a long screw into a stud.

Once the horizontal pieces were both up, I started laying out where I wanted the vertical "batten" pieces (lattice boards) and started cutting them to size. I didn't worry too much about hitting studs when I attached these to the wall, I missed studs with several of them but they seem fine... plenty secure.


When the wood was up, but still unpainted and not caulked I worried a little. It wasn't looking great. It was kind of looking the opposite of great. But I decided to just keep going and hope I liked the finished product better.

Next I recessed the nails, and filled the holes with wood putty, sanded and finally caulked every seam... up and down each piece of lattice, between each piece of lattice and the baseboard molding... all along the top. This was probably the longest part of the project... It was a lot of caulking. Finally I got to paint and could really start to see how it was going to look when it was done.  It took five coats on the lattice... two coats of primer and three of the trim color to get a good "finished" look... The MDF came primed and only needed a couple of coats, and the wall itself just needed some touch up since I'd already painted it.

I have to say I really like the end result. I think it kind of fancies up the bathroom, and gives a little interest to that long previously plain bathroom wall. I do think I would like the board and batten look more if my drywall had a more subtle texture... since it is supposed to be mimicking the "board" in the board and batten. But I can live with the texture... I still like how it turned out.

My goal is to have most of the interior of the house repainted before Spring... It's nice to be able to check another room off the list.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Happy Monday

Crazy Casa K

What makes me happy?

The sun streaming in the dining room window in the  morning..

(No, this was not today... it's a cloudy, cold day today which makes me appreciate the sun all the more!)

Friday, January 24, 2014

catching up with my "African" child

I am always hungry for pictures of our daughter K, who is serving with the Peace Corps in Ghana. I tend to FB "stalk" her... looking for photos she's posted or other PC volunteers have posted of her.  (She isn't able to post often, there is no electricity in her village, so finding pictures of her is a rare treat!)

This week she's been helping out with Operation Smile, leaving her little village to stay in Tamale where the program has set up.  Here are a couple of pictures I found of her...

She looks disguised here... only her eyes give away that it's her. ;)


And I LOVE this one...

K with one of the patients, before surgery. It does my heart good to see K looking so happy and healthy!

They had a room set up for the children (and anyone else who would like) to make dolls. This little one seem pretty proud to be showing off her newly created doll.

This is typical K... sitting on the floor with the kids... helping to make dolls.


One more look at the doll making...


So my FB stalking paid off this time with several pictures of my girl... It feels a little like Christmas. ;)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

If at first you don't succeed (update on ORB-ed doorknobs)

Last spring I wrote about some fix-ups I was doing around the house using ORB (oil rubbed bronze) spray paint. I'd gone a little paint crazy... painting everything from light fixtures to door knobs.  I'd especially loved getting rid of the shiny brass of the door knobs... they had always looked a little "off" to me...  super shiny brass in our old, rustic log home. I followed the suggestions I read online from others who had ORBed their door knobs... sanding each knob well, and priming before painting, and crossed my fingers that they would hold up.

Well, it's almost a year later and some of them have held up beautifully... there are no scratches in the paint and look like they were painted yesterday.

Some of them didn't hold up well at all though... they ended up badly scratched. The kid's door knobs were the worst... they were a mess of scratches and looked terrible.


This was the worst one.... what a mess!!

I still loved the look of the ORB, but didn't have the heart to sand, prime and spray them again, so...

... I took the easy way out.

I went to Home Depot and bought a few new knobs to replace the scratched ones. I chose the Kwikset Cove Venetian Bronze knobs because of both looks and the very reasonable price.

So now the kid's rooms and their bathroom have the "store bought" ORB knobs and all the other doors in the house have my "home made" ones.


I also replaced the exterior knobs with the same style exterior knob. When we bought the house there were several different styles of knobs on the exterior doors, most of them at least 25 years old (old enough to be worn out and beat up, but not old enough to be antique!), but now they are all updated, and match, and have keys! (Yes, we'd never had keys for some of our exterior doors... it was kind of a problem!)

So... the ORBed door knob experiment wasn't as successful as I would had hoped...  I'm disappointed that the ORBed knobs didn't hold up better, but considering I painted 10 door knobs last year and only had to replace 3, I guess the experiment was still somewhat successful...

I'm working on a new paint project now... sprucing up the main bathroom... but that post will have to wait for another day. :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014




Outside my window...  It's still dark... another hour or so before the sun comes up... and cold.  There are a few lights twinkling on the horizon and a bit of gray on the northeast horizon showing where the city (30 miles away) is.

I am thinking... that it's time for us to get back to our regular routine again, after having a lovely break while my sister visited this past week.

I am thankful... that she was able to come visit, for the time we spent together, the good talks, the laughter, the chance to reconnect.

I am creating... I've been working on a few little crafty projects lately, including a sign for daughter E's birthday (which is today!) and a "remember" clipboard upcycle project for my sister.

Here's the clipboard project... it's basically just an old wooden clipboard (this one used to be my mom's) painted with chalkboard paint and lettered with a paint pen. I used a bit of baker's twine to tie a piece of chalk to it... it's handy for little "don't forget" lists.

I am going... to the airport later to drop my sis off, and then a quick trip to the pharmacy and home again.

I am reading... I just finished Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmore and loved it... I didn't want it to end!

I am hoping... R's wisdom teeth extraction tomorrow morning goes very smoothly. I will be SO happy to have it over with and I'm pretty sure she will be too (once the first miserable days are over!).

I am looking forward to... a little snow. The past warm sunny days have been nice, but I'm missing a good snow...

I am learning... I'm working on learning a new mando tune. It's in a mandolin book I've had for a long time, but I hadn't tried it yet because I was unfamiliar with the melody. I heard it played over the weekend... now that I've heard it I think I can learn it.

Around the house...  I'm about half done with a little upgrade in the main bathroom. It's mostly painted and I'll be working next on creating a "board and batten" look on the long wall of the room with wood trim pieces and white paint.

I am pondering... the mysteries of the universe. ;)

One of my favorite things... the quiet peacefulness of my early morning house.

A few plans for the rest of the week... take Jackie to the airport today, go with the kids to their RCC Four Year Celebration dinner (at the country club!) tonight, R has her wisdom teeth out tomorrow and the rest of the week is a question mark... depending on how she's feeling.

A peek into my day...

a picture that I just love that was taken by my daughter K who is serving in Ghana in the Peace Corps...

it's her and a small friend


Visit Peggy's blog for more about The Simple Woman's Daybook

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

As per request...

My sister, who is arriving in Colorado today for a visit, requested snow...

I didn't think snow was in the forecast... but it's been coming down steadily since I woke up.

Apparently she has connections.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Happy Monday

Crazy Casa K

What makes me happy?

Seeing my sister J...

(this is she and I, with our mother, in about 1960)

After a lifetime of living within easy driving distance of each other, she moved to Washington state and it's been a year since I've seen her.

I miss my big sister and can't wait to see her tomorrow...

I probably won't be blogging while she's here (a week) so don't surprised if it's a little quiet around here. :)