My Experiences With Contractors, Plumbers, and All Fixer Upper People

Having lived in this house almost forty-three years, we have, on occasion. hired people to do work for us.  When we first moved here, we were kind of poor with three little kids, so much of the remodeling on this old house was up to us.

When we bought the house it had blue paneling on all the walls upstairs and greenish blue carpet over most of the downstairs. Carpet that crunched when you walked on it. I said at the time that carpet would be the first to go. Well, it wasn’t. We had to get bedrooms ready for all of us, a nursery for our baby and a bedroom for our two boys.  We painted the paneling since we didn’t have the money to rip it out and fix the walls and then paint them. It actually looked pretty good. In fact, three rooms are still painted paneling and you would not know it.  We bought new carpeting for all the bedrooms, a little at a time. I sewed curtains and decorated as best I could on a limited budget.   That greenish blue carpet stayed on the floor for years until we could afford new carpeting.

As our family grew, we needed more space. The boys wanted separate bedrooms as they grew older so we looked for a contractor.  I’m not sure how we ended up with the one we hired, but he has pretty much remodeled this whole house through the years.  He was very young when we hired him, as were we,  He built a two-story addition to the back of our house that included a new bedroom for David and me, a family room and a combination bathroom and laundry room. We felt like we had so much more space.  After it was all built, we had a big rain and it was leaking in our new bedroom, so David called the contractor and in a storm with lightning and thunder, he got up on our roof and fixed the leak. I was so impressed with that even though we had not expected him to do that. We still talk about that with him. Since that time we have hired him for pretty much all our remodeling except for our kitchen and that’s a story  all by itself.  I regretted not hiring him for that job.

Since then our contractor has replaced all our windows, added two porches, one screened in and has done some other work on our house.

I have one criteria for hiring someone for a job. Are they optimistic and do they say they can get the job done.  I have hired people that I wondered why they were in that line of work. One time I hired a chimney sweep who said he was afraid of heights and I even had to hold the ladder for him when he climbed to the roof.  We do have a very high, steep roof, but I told him he was probably in the wrong line of work. Another chimney sweep I had hired came to our house and with one look told us he was too old for the job and I understood because he was about our age.  So we switched to a gas fireplace and no longer need a chimney sweep.

We have called people to our house who have brought their children who began to climb all over our wood pile and I feared for their safety. Needless to say, they weren’t hired. It’s not that I don’t like children, but they don’t belong on a job site.  We had a man to our house about painting our vaulted bedroom ceiling and I knew immediately that he would not be doing it by his attitude.  So, David and I painted it ourselves.

Now for the kitchen remodel.  We searched for a long time for someone to put in a new kitchen and we went to a kitchen “specialist” where we found cabinets we loved so we hired them.  Well, a job that should have taken a month took all Summer. I had to cook all our meals in my shop and we did not have the use of our whole downstairs all Summer as we were also getting hardwood flooring put in.  And the guy evidently didn’t pay his sub-contractors because I had them calling me asking me to convince him to pay them. I told them I paid him and it was up to him to pay them.  I have always wondered if they ever got paid.   It was one crazy Summer. He sub-contracted the drywall work and as soon as the middle aged woman and kid came to our door to hang the drywall, I knew we were in trouble.  They drywalled over a bump in the wall that looked like something was going to pop out of the wall.  I was not a happy camper when the contractor came the next day.  He found someone else who did the job right, but it was an unnecessary delay in our kitchen progress.  I really am not a demanding person, honest, I just expect people who say they can do a job, to do it.

We have been blessed to have a very good contractor for the last few years, but now I think all the work on our house is done. Except for some painting once in a while it is completed.

David stained our cabin this Summer. We have had it for sixteen years and it was needing some work. I will show you some pictures of it my next post.  I also will tell you about all the swings we have on our property. David and I are real swingers. Ha.

Have you ever had trouble with a contractor or anyone who has come to do work for you? I’d love to hear the stories. I’m sure there are many.  Here’s to good contractors who get the job done. Bye.

I never wrote one thing about a plumber, did I?  We don’t hire plumbers too often, but we have found a very good plumbing business who sends plumber to our house when they say they will and they get the job done with no excuses, so they are the ones we will always use.  And that’s all there is about plumbers.

Check

We’ve had a busy and happy month while David has been off. We had several things we wanted to do during this time.

We wanted to have a cookout. Check, we had two.

We wanted to do some things with the grandboys. Check. We took them candy shopping and had them overnight and we had a fun time.

We wanted to see a movie. Check. We saw Aladdin and it was delightful. We all liked it so much when we came home I found our Video of Disney’s cartoon Aladdin and watched that and we all broke out into song  during the magic carpet song. I love that song.  And Robin Williams was such a good genie in it. I thought Will Smith was a great genie in the new Aladdin.

We wanted to swim. Check. I’ve been in the pool more this month than I have most Summers. Mainly because it’s been HOT.

We wanted to take a trip. Check. We went to Nashville for two days and had so much fun.

It’s been a good month. David returns to work Monday and I’m going to miss him being home all day.  He’s got a lot of work done around the house, too and that’s been nice.

We are going to go to our property in Brown Country tomorrow so David can try out his new bush hog.  We have three acres and haven’t done much with it, so David wants to clear it up a bit.

We’ve spent a lot of time sitting on our porch looking at our garden and the birds.  We have so many cardinals flying around I’m hoping they stick around through the Winter.

We call these Tiger lilies but our son-in-law told us this is Blackberry lily because the seed pods look exactly like blackberries, and they do!   I’ll try to remember to show them to you when they appear.

From one Hibiscus plant a neighbor gave me years ago it has grown to many Hibiscus plants all over the yard.  I love plants that plant themselves.

And they come in white, pink and dark pink.

This is phlox, but earlier I could not remember what it was called. David and I tried and tried to think of its name, but it just would not come to mind. Then, one night, after the lights were out and David was almost asleep and I was laying there thinking, the flower’s name just popped into my mind and I turned to David and just said, “Phlox.”   And he knew exactly what I meant. Then I thought to myself, phlox in sox in a box. And now, I never forget it’s name again!

The zinnias are in full bloom.

One of my top five favorite flowers. Easy to grow. Cheap. And you get a big bang for your buck.

And the lilies have just been amazing. I think all the rain we had earlier in the Summer has helped all the flowers.

This makes me think of fireworks.

And these are just gorgeous.  I’m taking in all the glorious flowers and will try to remember them when there is a foot of snow on the ground.

I can’t tell you what this is even though I planted it, but only one plant came up and it has all these flowers on it.

When the old porch steps were torn off, I saved them because they turned into the best flower boxes.  Here alyssum is growing in one.

David repurposed our old mailbox post into a birdhouse holder.  Not much gets thrown away.

I’ve been waiting for the perfect place to put this birdhouse.

And this one we got just last week at an antique store.

Probably won’t have nesting birds in them this year as it’s a little late in the season, but all our other birdhouses have had no vacancies all Spring and Summer.

I have done a little sewing. On the blog Country Threads Chicken Scratch, Mary Etherington had this pattern available.

Uncle Sam. I got him done just in time to put him up for the 4th.

I actually made two, but one of them is not Uncle Sam.

She’s Aunt Samantha. See her pretty earrings?  We girls are patriotic too!  She looks a little bit like Boy George with her braids  alongside her head.

She wears a floral blouse with the American flag emblazoned on the front. She is so proud of our country.

Meanwhile, Uncle Sam wears a shirt with patriotic words on it and a flag also emblazoned on the front.  Both will be brought out for all patriotic days. Flag Day, the  4th, Memorial Day.

I love the United States and could not pass up this towel I found in Nashville. David and I have been to almost all the states except Hawaii and Rhode Island. We have a wonderful country full of wonderful people when you take all the politics out of the equation.   I can honestly say I have never met any angry or mean people in any of the states. (Except for that one store owner in Ohio who yelled at us for parking where the Amish parked. ) We didn’t know!!   So don’t believe all the news you see and hear.

Hope you have been able to check off some things you wanted to do this Summer. Only one month left.   Enjoy it.  Bye.

 

Glorious Summer

We are smack dab in the middle of Summer.  The 4th of July is over.  We missed the local fireworks display, but the night of the 4th I was sitting in our livingroom when a huge, bright, beautiful firework burst seemingly right outside our window. Suddenly, there were several fireworks bursting in the air. Now these weren’t your every day do at home fireworks. These were the big ones displayed to the public. I went outside and saw that our neighbors were having their own fireworks display.  One after another the beautiful fireworks burst in the air.  We were having our own private fireworks show!   It was wonderful.  It was a gift.

David is taking the whole month of July off and we have been doing a little traveling, a little grandchildren spoiling and a whole lot of swimming. I can’t remember when I have swam this much in a long time. It’s been really hot so I enjoy the pool more because the water isn’t as cold.

Our grandsons have been enjoying the pool also. We had two of them over the weekend and we did a lot of swimming.  One day we were in the pool for four hours.

It seems like we have always had our back porch and we’ve used it a lot.  We’ve already had two cookouts and everyone ate on the porch and no bugs!

This is the view from the porch. David installed another swing. Now we have four swings on our property.  And they are all used!

Molly likes swinging with anyone who sits down on the swing.  She thinks she owns that seat and when I am sitting with her, she growls at anyone else who wants to sit with me.

He wants a dog so badly. I tell him in a few years when he’s grown he can have any dog he wants.  Right now he lives in the city with no fenced in yard and the dog would be left alone a lot which would not be good for the dog.

This is another grandboy and of course, Molly must sit with him. Notice she takes up the middle. And if dogs could smile….

The bees are busy pollinating the flowers.  We have a lot of bumble bees and butterflies on the flowers.  And Hummingbirds are good pollinators also.

Flowers are blooming all over.  Some I know the names and some I don’t. This is Bee Balm or Monarda.  The ones in front are Cone Flowers or Echinachea.   I probably misspelled that last one.

I

I planted these Cone flowers years ago and they have multiplied. That’s the kind of flowers I like.

We have dozens of Day Lilies in various colors.  There is a place called New Creation Lilies south of us where we have bought several of our lilies.

Every year I am amazed at all the flowers that come up in what was a very barren back yard.

We took a short trip to Nashville, Tennessee for our 51st wedding anniversary. We both wanted to visit the Pickers’ store, Antique Archeology.  It was smaller and more commercial with several of their finds from the show in the store. David and I each bought a ball cap.  The store is located in an old car factory and there are several nice stores throughout it.

This is their sign.

And this is the side of the building.  I did purchased one thing. A towel with a picture of the United States on it.

This is the original floors.  Deep gouges in them, but they have character and I’m glad they saved them.

Nashville has a lot going on. We almost ate in a honky tonk until I read the menu and nothing sounded good to me so we went on.  Remember the show this is from?

And this?

 

We drove around looking at all the sights.  Downtown was busy and the Country Music Hall of Fame is there.

This was the giant guitar out in front of it.

There are a lot of old warehouses made into little stores.

You could really shop until you dropped if you are so inclined. I’m not a shopper.

We would like to go back and see a show or two.

And to think it all started with hymn books.

No, we were not in New York.

We followed back roads.

Through small town America. There are really a lot of small towns across our country and each one is different.

Driving through one town we saw this sign and we were hungry, so we stopped.

But don’t park here. Mammy’s neighbor does not take kindly to people using their parking lot and Mammy’s was busy.

We got there mid afternoon and we had not eaten all day so we were hungry. Our meals were delicious and we wanted to try their pie, but the group in front of us bought all the pies up, so there were none and they closed at 3:00 on Sundays, so we just made it in because another couple came in after us and they told them they were closing.  Now we want to go back for the pie!

We’ve been here before. Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home.  A one room cabin.

To think a whole family lived in these small quarters and one day one of them would be president of the United States.

Abraham swam in a small creek behind the cabin and evidently almost drowned in it.

He was saved by a neighbor boy.  History could have been different if he hadn’t been saved.

We saw these beautiful trees everywhere.

This past week we took some of our grandboys to a candy factory outlet store.  We’ve been there before and candy is really cheap and so good.

The boys were like, well, kids in a candy story. We told them they could get what they wanted and I have never seen anyone shop so fast.

These are pictures of happy boys with their bags of candy.

Well, he doesn’t look too happy, but he really is.

I controlled myself and only got one box of candy.  It was hard, though.

We celebrated our fifty-first wedding anniversary and our daughter and son-in-law got us balloons and flowers which I though was nice.

I hope we can celebrate several more.

Hope you are having a glorious Summer where you live, but stay cool.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally Complete

About a month ago we started our final major renovation of our old house. I say final with some regret although we have done pretty much all we can do to this old house.  There is a full size attic that could be made into a wonderful room, but that would entail building new stairs and a whole lot of extra mess that I am not prepared to deal with.  So the construction part of this old house is pretty much done. We have a new kitchen, new wood floors, an addition added years ago that included a combination bathroom and laundry. And this year we remodeled that room as it was 36 years ago we added it.  I sometimes wonder why I enjoy remodeling so much because when we are in the middle of it I want to pull my hair out because I don’t do messes too well. Yet, when it’s finished, I’m always happy.

I have shown our new screened in porch. Since we’ve had it built, it’s rained almost every day.   We have had the rainiest June that I can remember. The farmers have not been able to get a lot of their crops in and I feel for them.   We had yet another gully washer the other day.

It is nice to sit on the porch and hear the rain coming down on the metal roof.  I plan to sleep out here sometime this Summer.

The new bathroom/laundry room has turned out even better than I could imagine.

It began with the tearing out of the old shower which was a tub/shower enclosure.  Our contractor, who put the original bathroom in, was looking forward to doing his good work on this room again.

I really love this floor and it fits right in with the décor of this old house.

Because I am a quilter, I loved this tile when I saw it at Lowes and chose it for the floor of the shower.

The shower is a good deal larger than the original which we like.

It’s a small room, but seem roomier since we moved the sink.

I have wanted a pedestal sink ever since we bought this house over forty-two years ago and I never got one, so this was a must this time and I love this sink.

We purchased a new washer and dryer which  I had to do some studying on how to use them. First time I tried the washer I “accidentally” hit the delay start button and had to wait an hour and a half before the first load would wash. But I’ve learned now and that won’t happen again.

We gave away our old washer and dryer and I advertised them on Facebook for free and who should contact me but the baby sister of my best friend in grade school.  She lives an hour and a half away from us and said she could pick them up. She was getting them for her ninety-two year old mother.  I hadn’t seen her since she was a little girl when I use to go to her house to play with her older sister. Sometimes I’d ride my horse over to their house and spend an afternoon playing in their barn.   So she and her brother, who I also played with, came over to get the washer and dryer.  It was so nice seeing them.

 

It was so nice to see them both and of course, none of us have changed one bit!

She is still a cutie.  When she was little, she was just a pest to us older kids!

I was so glad someone I knew got the washer and dryer.

Last, but not least, this is the lighting in our new bathroom. I really like Edison lightbulbs and this gives the room a bright, warm light. And yes, the walls are pink which I didn’t think was the color when I picked it, but it’s a soft pink so David can live with it.   I thought it was going to be a more pinkish beige, but my record at picking out paint colors has not always been so good.

Just a note about the tests I had the other day. I had a complete heart catherization and the doctor said my heart had no blockages and he found nothing wrong. It still leaves us with the mystery of why I get so breathless, so next week I’m having a chest x-ray and a scan to check my lungs.  I’m beginning to feel like a pin cushion and lab rat.   Just a little story when David and I were waiting for me to go into the operating room I told him my guardian angel was sitting in the chair beside me. They put one of those automatic blood pressure cuffs on my arm which I hate because they always hurt my arm. So, this time I asked my guardian angel to slip his thumb between my arm and cuff every time it started to tighten and do you know, it helped and it didn’t hurt this time!  God gives His angels charge over us and it never hurts to ask them for help.  If you prayed for me, I thank you.  I do believe in answered prayers.

David is taking the whole month of July off and we will be here, there and everywhere and have planned some things with grandboys so my blogging will probably take a back seat.  Have a Happy July 4th and God bless America.  Bye.

 

My Daddy

Today is Father’s Day. I had a wonderful Father. I probably didn’t appreciate him as much as I should have when I had him on this earth, but I knew my daddy loved me and cared for me.

My daddy was a farmer, first and foremost. He did have to work in a factory to make ends meet, but working on the farm was what he loved to do best.  He was up early taking care of the animals and came home late at night from work at the factory. In Winters he would bring in armloads of wood to fuel the big stove that stood in our kitchen.   He taught me that you fed and watered your animals before you ate or drank. He took very good care of his animals.  Even though most would one day be on our table, they lived good lives.  I would see my daddy hand feeding ears of corn to our cows.  The cows loved him.   I watched him wring chickens’ necks and then I would help him pull all the feathers off them to prepare them for my mother to cook them.  He taught me how to do it properly and to get all the pin feathers off.  I saw him cry over dogs and once he accidently ran over a dog with the hay cutter and cut off one of her legs and he rushed her to the vet and paid to have that dog cared for until she could walk again.  She was a three legged dog, but she ran around like she had all four of them. He had a soft spot for all the animals on the farm.

My daddy had some tragedies in his life. His younger  brother died at age twelve so he became the baby of the family and his three sisters spoiled him.  My mother said they even brought him oranges at Christmas because they were afraid he wouldn’t get any!  He had other tragedies which I find hard to write about, but he lived through them and became a better person because of them.

My daddy loved his family and loved when we all got together.

This is our boys with their Grandpa.  He loved all his Grandchildren dearly.

My daddy and my mother were married for over fifty years. David and I just reached that anniversary and know that it takes a lot of work to keep a good marriage going. It’s not easy at times.  My parents  loved each other and were hardly ever separated.  The one time they were separated and the first and only time my daddy flew in airplanes was when he had to go to some kind of training for his job.  I went with my mother to the airport to pick him up and she was so excited and happy to see him again.  She was like a school girl seeing her first crush for the first time when he got off that plane.  Everyone should be loved that much.

We took a couple of vacations with my parents and had such a good time with them. So many wonderful memories. I can’t help but think Daddy looks like that man from the movie, “Up” in this picture. He was not grouchy like that man, though.  Maybe all men get to looking like that when they get a certain age.

We took a train ride with them once. I think the first time either on had been on a train.  It was fun traveling with my parents.

 

My daddy always smelled of Old Spice and cigarettes until he became a Christian and stopped smoking, cold turkey.   I still love the smell of Old Spice because it makes me think of my daddy.

My daddy’s greatest joy was when we would sit down to a dinner and he would say that everything on our table was raised on our farm.  We had our own milk, eggs, meat and vegetables from daddy’s huge garden.

I don’t know if your father is alive or has passed on, but if your father is with you, please take time to hug him and tell him you love him. I’d give anything to be able to see my daddy today, but I know he’s in Heaven waiting for me and that gives me great comfort. I hope he knows how much I loved him and appreciated him.  Happy Father’s day to all you daddies everywhere.

I love you Daddy. Happy Father’s Day. Bye.

 

June?!

I guess it’s June and almost Summer, but how did we get here so quickly?  I’m still back in May when Spring was new and the flowers were just opening up and the weather was almost nice except for all the rain.  And guess what?  June is becoming a very rainy month also. I feel so sorry for the guys who have been working on our house. They have actually worked outside in the rain, getting drenched and never complaining. At least I never hear them complain. Today is a beautiful day and they are working inside, of course.

The porch is more or less done. They will give the floor a second coat of stain and put up the screen doors after they are done working on our bathroom/laundry room.   Right now the place is all torn out and we have to run upstairs to use the bathroom. I can’t believe we lived like this for years with three children and one bathroom, but we did.  Now I look back at how we lived and I sound like an old pioneer woman when I tell our children how fortunate they are to have two or three bathrooms and Pampers.  I use to rinse all the cloth diapers in the toilet and wring them our WITH MY BARE HANDS and take them to the laundromat because as a pioneer woman, I had no washer and dryer at the time.  But I loved how fluffy and soft the diapers were after they were cleaned and I don’t regret it at all that I had to do all that. Now it’s  flip, a tape and a throw away and you are done with a diaper. Can’t help thinking how many landfills are full of those things.

But back to the bathroom/laundry. I can’t believe all the decisions one has to make about one little room.  Where to place the toilet and sink.  What kind of tile for the floor and shower.  What kind of faucets. What kind of lights. What color paint for walls, ceiling and woodwork.  I had no problem picking out the new washer and dryer. We have Maytags right now and they have been the best.  I could have probably used them for several more years, but me being only five foot one inches tall, it is becoming harder for me to reach clear down into the bottom of the top load washer to get all the clothes out, so we bought a front loader washer and dryer with stands so I think it will be easier to load and unload as I keep going into my tottering old age. Anyway, I hope it will be easier.  And they have a ten year warranty which is just about the time my warranty is up, so it’s all good.

I’ve been working on a patriotic wall hanging for the Fourth of July and onward. I get in the mood to sew and then something happens that I can’t get out into my shop and nothing gets done.  But here are some of the fabrics I am using.

 

Okay, this is how my fabric piles usually look when I am working on a quilt.

I really love this fabric and wish I had bought more of it.   This picture does not do it justice.

This is the pattern I am using. I got it over at Country Threads Chicken Scratch, Mary Etherington’s blog. I think you can still buy the pattern there until July 4th if you are interested. It’s a fun pattern, but I have to admit, it’s been a difficult one for me for some reason with all the pieces and my mind not quite on the job all the time with all that is going on.  But I have it pieced now and am starting to piece another one to go with it that I will show you when I’m done. It may be next July 4th, but be patient with me!

Here’s Uncle Sam’s legs. This is a long wall hanging which surprised me because I thought it would be little, but it’s not.  There is a pattern for a smaller one included which I may try sometime.

I did finish the quilting on a quilt I started last year.  A quilt I wanted to have for Autumn.

My apple quilt. I did a trash job of staging this quilt, didn’t I? Maybe when it’s done, I will show it off a little better. It deserves that.  But I do love it and will hang it up this Autumn. Maybe with a bowl of apples by it.

And I am still knitting socks. It’s really addictive and something I can do in the evening when I am watching my current favorite show, Wild At Heart, on Amazon Prime about a family that moves from Bristol, England to Africa. The father is a veterinarian and moves his family onto a game reserve and takes care of the animals. I really love this show. It’s family friendly. No cuss words.  No nudity. An old man in his underwear is as risqué as it gets which is fine with me. Too many shows now are so vulgar and going for shock value instead of a good story and good people.  Game of Thrones is one of them. So popular, but so vulgar.  I won’t be watching that one.  Not my cup of tea.  It’s getting harder and harder to find anything to watch on tv so I find myself watching it less and less which is probably a good thing actually.   I don’t even watch the news much any longer because it’s all so negative when I don’t think it needs to be.   Watch too much negative things and hateful things and you soon find yourself being negative and hateful.  And life is way too short to be negative and hateful.  I didn’t mean to get on a soapbox today.  Ignore me.

But, back to socks, I knit this pair and gave them to a friend who likes purple.

She had given me some flowers in a mason jar for Easter so I rolled these up and put them in the jar and tied a ribbon around it and gave them to her. Hope she likes them.

If you have been reading my blog, you know I have been having some health issues. I went to the doctor yesterday and he said it may not be my heart and was going to schedule a lung scan for blood clots. I really don’t think that’s what the matter is, but I’ll humor him and do the scan. Then the cardiologist set me up for a heart checkup where they go into your heart to see what the matter is and if they find something, he said they will fix it.  Still feeling breathless and faint at times even though I did plant twelve perennials this morning, but I find when I lean over and my head is below my knees, I don’t feel breathless or faint. Would be kind of hard to walk around like that for long though. Ha. Anyway, if you are a praying person, send up a prayer to My Father in Heaven because He knows exactly what is wrong.   But I don’t feel any fear about it all.

Enough about that.  Back to our new screened-in porch.  We had a gully washer of a rain the other day and we sat outside on it and didn’t get wet at all.

The wind was coming in at every direction and it was thundering and lightning.

Molly and Belle came running in and decided they really needed to rub against me!

Silly ol’ dogs.  And there’s David as close to the weather as he can get. He loves thunder and lightning.  I do, too, but at a safe distance and only if lightning doesn’t strike something.

Have a great day.  Hope the sun is shining down upon you. Bye.

 

 

 

 

Who’ll Stop the Rain

It’s still raining here, folks. I get up. It’s raining. I go to bed. It’s raining. The poor farmers are really in distress now because they cannot get their crops in the ground.  I must say the things that are in the ground are enjoying all this.  Our lawn looks like a hayfield because it’s been too wet to mow.  I planted some old tomato seeds and basil seeds  and they are growing better than any I have ever planted.  I have planted so much basil and I don’t even use it, but I had this packet of old seed I found and I still have not planted it all and I already have seven pots.  I may try making pesto this year

Even in the rain the men building the porch are hard at work. There is soooo much painting on this project and I am glad I’m not doing it for once.    The roofers finally came on the one day it did not rain all day and now the porch is nice and dry. It will be nice this Winter when the snow doesn’t come right up to our back door.

I love reading blogs of creative people and there are so many online  One I read is Ann Wood.  She creates the most darling dolls, boats, owls, bugs and even mushrooms out of cloth and she hand sews everything.   She sells patterns and I could not resist ordering a doll and a cat pattern.  They came in the mail the other day.  It was like Christmas.

The patterns came neatly packaged in brown paper with red and white twine ties.

Included in the order was a packet of Ann’s favorite tea, a postcard of one of her creations and since I ordered the doll pattern, she also sent a bit of fabric for a dress, perhaps.

I’m not much of a flavored tea drinker or a tea drinker in general, but I will try this.

Love the vintage looking fabric.

This is a postcard of a tiny doll Ann made.

I bought the paper pattern rather than the PDF one.

Also plan to make this Mr. Socks for someone who loves cats.

This is the postcard sent with this pattern.  I love it.

Patterns were sealed with a heart.

And stamped with a thank you. It’s these little extras that make ordering online from certain people extra special.

I don’t work for Ann. Don’t even know her except through her blog, but she is a talented lady and if you like to make things, you might check out her blog. She has several free patterns.  I made several of the trees she created.

Thank you, Ann for fun patterns and your wonderful packaging.

Seems like this has been going on for months. But there is a lot more done on our porch since this picture and today I think they may be putting up the screen. David got bitten by a mosquito last night and he’s looking forward to sitting outside and not being lunch meat.

These are the men putting on the roof.  One has to be not scared of heights to work on roofs.

They had it done in a couple of hours which amazed me, but they are professionals.  And have strong legs to climb all those ladders all the time. This guy was up and down a hundred times, it seemed.

And Molly and Belle look forward to the day when all the building is done. So will I.

Baked the best pumpkin bread the other day. It’s delicious with cream cheese spread on it.

I keep thinking I should go on a low carb diet and then I bake something and it all goes out the window. I have given up being slim and trim, but want to be healthy. I do eat lots of salads and vegetables. In fact, I cannot think of a vegetable I don’t like. Growing up on a farm and having a huge vegetable garden I had to weed, I learned to love all that was grown in it. I even love lima beans and spinach.

Well, it’s still raining. Hope the sun hasn’t forgotten how to shine. Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you on the other side. Going to see the dog picture, I can’t think of it’s name, but it has Dennis Quaid in it.  Bye.

Feeling Good?

How are you feeling today?  Do you have some aches and pains that are bothering you?  Do you have something on your mind that causes you problems?  Do you have a physical impairment getting you down?   Whatever you have or are suffering, you are very probably not alone.  Health is a funny thing. When you have it, you don’t treasure it as you should and when you don’t have it, you despair of ever having it again.   And if you regain your health, you are happy for a time and then start taking it for granted again.

I try to never take good health for granted any longer.  For the past two years I have been battling something and no doctor seems to know exactly what. I’ve had just about every test conceivable for my heart and the doctors tell me my heart is healthy, although I do have some extra beats in one chamber.   I feel tired and breathless a lot of the time and I can drop asleep at the well, drop of a hat!   I can’t remember a day for a long time where I got up with a lot of energy and pep.   I do get a lot of things done most days, but it can be a real drag on occasion.   Maybe it’s these dark, rainy days we have had lately. Ever since the builders started work on our screened in porch, it’s rained almost every day. It’s raining right now. Is there a man named Noah building an ark somewhere? I am soaked from going out and feeding and watering all the chickens.  The chickens don’t seem to mind the rain at all.  The yard is green and the flowers are all in bloom, so they like it, too, but I sure could use a little sunshine right now.

As for the screened in porch, it’s much bigger than I thought it would be.  We could hold a dance on it and have plenty of room. We have talked about David building a swing bed for it so we could sleep outdoors when we want.   I am so looking forward to decorating the porch with a rug, screens and lights.  Everyone tells us we are going to love our porch because the bugs won’t be able to get in and bother us and we can sit there even when it’s raining.   I’m sure we will enjoy it if it ever gets finished with all the rain we are having.  The roofer came and went yesterday and still no roof on it.   I should be out in my shop doing some quilting, but I’m no in the mood.   After sewing all those mug rugs for the women’s dinner at church, I felt a little burned out.  I’m wanting to get into the garden and transplant some flowers and I still have flower seeds to plant and a new bed to make for in front of the porch.

Finally got some pictures of the new porch to show you.

This was just the beginning.  Like I wrote, it’s rained every day since they started so the process has been slow.

Then the floor and the walls were built. See, the floor is wet from the rain!

Then the rafters. This is where it really begins to look like a porch.

The overseer says things are going as planned.  Poor Belle and Molly. They have been penned up for days because the workers have to leave the gate open to get in and out with things so the dogs are penned up while they are here. They will love it when the work is all done. They still have a bathroom to remodel. Thirty-six years ago this same contractor built our bathroom downstairs. Until that time, this old house had one bathroom for five people upstairs. Built in the 1950’s!   I know because when they tore out the old toilet that was the date on it.  We really needed a second bathroom then.  Now he is remodeling the one he built years ago.

Molly and Belle enjoying freedom for a time.

Roof is still not finished, but they may do it tomorrow, I’m told.

The porch is a whole lot bigger than I imagined it would be.

Other things have been happening.  The ladies at my church had a brunch last Saturday.  The theme was “Wonderfully Made by God.”  They used some of my quilts on the tables.

My chicken quilt. One of my favorites of all the ones I’ve made.

Tables were set with the church’s best china.  It was a pitch-in. I made cinnamon rolls.

The little mug rugs I made were placed under the coffee cups and everyone took one home.  I really had fun making these and have a few left. I made forty-two of them altogether. The speaker talked about how we are like unfinished quilts, but God has a plan for us and is making us into what he wants us to be if we let Him.  We may look unfinished to the world, but God has a plan and He’s working it all the time.

One of our grandsons had his Spring instrumental concert this past week.  All the fifth and sixth graders in all the elementary schools in their town gathered at one of the high schools to play a concert.

The gymnasium was full and parents and grandparents packed the seats.

I am so proud of this boy and am so glad he is taking an instrument.   Next year both he and his younger brother will be playing.

It takes concentration to play an instrument.   Makes me want to take up the violin again.

We thoroughly enjoyed being there and went out to eat afterward with them.

Here’s a picture of the little screen door I bought at the antique show a couple of weeks ago.

The real doors look exactly like this and I have a larger metal star just like the one on this door. It will hang on a wall in our new porch.

Hope you are feeling fine and having some sunshine where you are. I don’t remember what the sun looks like!  Ha.  Have a great weekend. David and I are having a Friday night date night. Something we haven’t done in a while. Dinner and a movie. Going to see Poms about older women who form a cheer leading squad. Should be funny.

Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring, I Hardly knew Ye

My very favorite months of the year, March, April and May are coming to an end. May is half over already and I can hardly stand it.   It does cross my mind sometimes just how many more March, April and Mays I have left to see in this world.   I have always loved Spring in all its beauty and I never feel like it lasts long enough.

The Snowball bush outside our back door has reached its peak and is beginning to fade.

We got this from a start of David’s Grandmothers’ Snowball bush that was in her backyard and was huge.   Ours is getting pretty big, but still needs to grow some to get as big as hers was.  I wonder if that bush is still there.

We had to move this clematis that was by our back deck as we are getting a new screened in back porch built, and were afraid it would get destroyed by the builders. You get big men in big shoes clomping around a garden and the flowers cringe and so do I.  There is a Mama Robin who built her nest in a crook of the porch on my shop and every time someone goes out the back door, she flies away and chitters and hops around in distress.  She’s been doing a lot of that lately with all the men working right beside her. I hope those eggs get hatched, but I’m worried she has been off them too much.

This is my little garden right by the back deck where the new porch is going.

Finally after all the cold weather, my garden burst into bloom, overnight, it seems like.

We’ve done a little traveling and a little visiting.

Visited my sister who I haven’t seen in almost a year which is too long. We always are glad to see each other.   She was like a second mother to me when I was growing up.  My mother kind of let her take care of me and when she got married, it just about killed me because we shared a bedroom and she was always around from the time I was born.  I cried for a week when she left to start her own home, but I did visit her and her husband a lot and babysat their children years later.

My sister’s husband who has been like a brother to me.  He’s eighty years old and still raises a large garden big enough to feed a small town. He had a kidney removed a few years back and could not have a garden that year and it was hard on him.  But he’s been making up for it.   I hope he has many more years to raise his garden.

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They brought out this quilt I made for a prize at a family reunion years ago. I made a larger version of it that people signed and put their birthdates on.  My sister won this quilt and there was no shenanigans going on for her to win it. We had a young child pick out the winning name and it was hers!   The reunion is called the Ridenour reunion for all descendants of my grandparents and there are a lot of us.

On the back of the quilt I put a label and these pictures of my grandma and grandpa Ridenour.

My grandpa was a dapper fellow in this picture.  I can see why my grandma fell for him.

And my grandmother was beautiful with big, brown eyes and long hair done up on the top of her head. She and my grandpa went on to have four daughters and all of them are gone now, but the youngest one.

Easter came and went so quickly even though it was late this year.  We had our annual Easter egg hunt and the kids got money for certain eggs they found.

Here’s Grandpa counting the eggs to see how many dollars someone gets.  It’s always exciting for the kids.

When we visited my sister, we also took a trip to the city where we use to live before moving to our present house. David was transferred with the guard years ago and I was not a happy camper about leaving the house I loved and my friends and family to move one hundred miles away. It may as well have been a thousand to me.

We had this big house on top of a hill and below us was a city park and a big lake we use to ice skate on in the Winter.  I loved that house so much and we were so happy there.

We drove through the park.

And looked at the lake and I took pictures from afar of our house on the hill.

This was our bedroom window that looked out on the park.  It was so beautiful up there. I still miss it even though I love our old house we live in and love where we live and would not want to move back.

This is the drive up to that house. The people living here now paved it, but when we lived there it was gravel.  One winter’s day, I was taking our children to church and my car slid on ice from the top of the hill, clear to the bottom and across the street below into a ditch.  My neighbor saw it happen and came out and helped me get the car out of the ditch and I drove on to church. When we got back home, we had to leave the car at the bottom of the hill and crawl, on our hands and knees to the top!  I can still see my children crawling up that hill.

Below our house was a railroad track. It seems we have always lived near a railway.

Now it is a walking and bicycling path which I would have loved when we lived there.

Down that way, which use to be railroad tracks, was the best raspberry bushes. The neighbor girls and I use to walk down there to pick the raspberries and would come home with raspberry juice all over us from eating them.  It was so much fun.

Driving home the next day, we took back roads, as usual.  We went through the town where parts of the movie, Hoosiers, was filmed and they had this mural painted on the side of a building.

I loved that movie because it was so true to life as to what it was like in Indiana in the fifties with our passion for basketball. Every  Friday night we would be in the high school gym or at another school’s gym to watch the boys play basketball. Three of my brothers played basketball and I loved to play it. We had a basketball goal in the haymow in our barn and I would practice shooting free throws for hours. I got to where I could hit one hundred of them in a row.   Hoosier hysteria was a true thing back then.  We loved our basketball.  I think a lot of the professional sports have ruined the excitement for high school basketball.

Driving the back roads of Indiana, you see the creativity of Hoosiers.  How many people have this carved in their back yard from an old tree?

An Indian with a bow and arrow.  We see lots of things like this driving the back roads that most will  never see as they drive the interstates.

It was a fun weekend.   We met up with a very good friend and went to an antique show and sale.

I bought this to go along with my Shirley Temple doll.  I loved Shirley Temple when I was growing up.  She was at an innocent time in our history when people would flock to the movie theaters to see this tiny little girl sing and dance. She was astonishingly talented and could dance with the best of them.

Two other things I purchased was this…

Don’t know why. I just liked it.  And this….

 

A miniature screen door that looks almost exactly like what we are putting on our screened in porch.  I will hang this on the wall of the porch when it is finished.( I had to remove the picture because I noticed I had an account number on the table and our tithe envelope for all to see.  Didn’t mean to do that.)  Just suffice to say it’s a cute little wooden screen door handmade by some artisan.

As I leave you, I want to show you this amazing three layer chocolate cake I made today. It is astounding in its elegance.  It will amaze David when he walks in the door.  I really put a lot of work into it and I really want to show it off because I don’t think I could ever make another one just like it….

It gets even better.

 

 

 

 

It could win prizes!

 

 

 

Well, at least I hope it tastes good. Bye.

 

 

 

 

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Are You Bored? Or Shall I Ramble Today?

Are you bored?  Have you ever been bored?  I probably got bored when I was a child, but I really don’t remember ever being bored. I always had something to do and if I couldn’t find something to do, my mother found something for me!   Right now, in this part of my life, I can honestly say I am never bored. In fact, I said to David the other day, “I wish I could be bored for just one day!”  He agreed.  Maybe that’s an awful thing to wish for, so I take it back.

Our life right now is going to the doctor, working on the house, taking care of the pets, going to the doctor and shopping for groceries, something we both seem to never feel like doing.  I hate to shop. At least in stores. I love to shop online in my easy chair, preferably in my pajamas with a cup of something hot beside me.  But going to a store and having to deal with all the people and then get to the checkout and see all the self checkout lanes and maybe, if you are lucky, two or three actual cashiers working. I am on a vendetta against self-serve lanes.  Now if you love them and think they are the bees’ knees, then ignore what I am about to write.  I believe self-serve lanes makes people the unpaid employees of the store that has them. You do all the work but don’t get any salary or benefits and the store owners pocket a whole lot more money. Plus, self-serve lanes put people out of work except for that person who just stands there waiting to help the people who don’t know how to use the self-serve lane.  I simply refuse to use them. I will stand in line for fifteen minutes and complain so everyone can hear me about all the self-serve lanes and the few service lanes.  David tries to pretend he is not with the crazy lady.  Many stores don’t offer any service anymore. Wal-mart is one of them. Wal-mart is not my favorite store and I wish Pioneer Woman had not made a deal with them to sell her stuff because I love her stuff, but hate shopping in Wal-mart.

Back to boredom.  I have a lot on my plate right now.  More than I really want or want to deal with, but sometimes life hands you a big plate of, shall I say CRAP(excuse the French) and you have to deal with it whether you want to or not. I try to ignore the bad stuff as much as possible and focus on the good stuff, but sometimes the bad stuff takes over for a time.  Yet, there is so much good stuff.

The good stuff for me right now is the fact it is Spring,  we are finally getting our old house painted, a new screened in back porch built and a revamped bathroom done. As I write the painters are banging ladders against the outside and painting up a storm. I really love the new darker color of our house. Now it will disappear into the scenery.  After our neighbor cut down all the trees on his property, our house stuck out like a sore thumb and people all of a sudden noticed our house.  Before, you could hardly see it from the road.  But now, with the darker paint and the fact that the bushes are growing taller because the trees are no longer there, the house will fade into the background again, which is good.   This old house has seen many changes in the decades it has stood. It was built just a few years after Queen Victoria died which I find kind of neat and before the first world war.  It’s held families during WWll, the Korean War, and the Viet Nam War and this family that has had a member who served in the Gulf.     It’s seen babies come in the front door and go out the back door adults.   It’s seen parties and Christmases and birthdays and sad days.  It’s been my cocoon when I have needed one. I hope whoever are the next occupants will have as wonderful a life in this house as David and I have had for over forty years.  I’m hoping we still have several years left in it.  It’s a dear, old house and I always think it has its arms around us. It’s haunted, too, but that’s a whole other story I will have to tell one day.

But, back to boredom.  I am never bored. If I get bored, I read a book and if I don’t want to read, I sew and if I don’t want to sew, I knit. Anything to get out of cleaning house.   I keep the house, as they say, clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.   Dusting is the least favorite thing I like to do in housekeeping.   I dust when company is coming and not very often other than that.  My shop is one big dust bunny right now because I have a crate of baby chicks I am raising in there and they put out a lot of dander.  I didn’t realize how much dander just four little chickens can generate.  In a few weeks they will join the big girls and I will dust then.  They have almost all their feathers and are outgrowing the crate.  We put them outside for a while each day to acclimate them.   I will miss them when they move out of the house.  Just like I did my children!

But, back to boredom.  What does it feel like to be bored?  I really don’t know anymore.  Sometimes it seems that I just get up and it’s time to go to bed again and I wonder where the day went. Maybe I’m just a poor time manager or get distracted by too many things.  I get up in the morning planning to clean out a closet and the next thing I know, I’m planting flowers instead.  Or I plan to do the ironing and a quilt I am making calls my name and I must work on that.  Things do eventually get done, but usually not when I had planned them to be.

So, if you are bored, come to my house and I will find lots for you to do.  Bye. Oh, and thanks for putting up with my rambling thoughts today!  I was going to have pictures, but haven’t downloaded them yet. Got distracted.