Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Little Bookcase Gussied Up

In a previous post I shared with you our latest DIY project -- an old chest of drawers reincarnated into a bookcase.  Thirty years ago we were using the chest of drawers, painted white, as extra storage in the hallway.  I thought we needed a small lamp to go on it, something unusual and something we could DIY so I sent my husband out to look for something.  He came back with an item quite similar to this --

Since our house was primarily Early American at the time, it went just fine so he drilled a hole in the top, wired it, filled it full of gravel and voila! lamp!

It has gone through a couple of incarnations over the years but I decided to pull it out, repaint it and put it back in it's rightful home on top of the chest of drawers/bookcase.

Here was the process and the finished product.

I had previously painted the coffee pot with green/gold/white creating sort of a patina look

First coat of Folk Art Raw Umber

Adding copper highlights after three coats of the raw umber

New lampshade and sitting on top of a vintage hanky

And here is the finished product

I haven't finished merchandising the top yet -- don't know what to put on it -- I have options -- or maybe nothing.  I don't like clutter so maybe nothing. 

Anyway, I am now in the process of sorting through my books and trying to organize them is like trying to herd cats for me.   The new, smaller bookcase is dedicated to books I have read.  The shelves are deep enough for me to have two rows on each shelf.  The shelf you see here has books stacked in the back of the ones you see so there is a lot of storage here.  The large bookcase is housing the books that I need to read.  Ok, so far, so good. Now comes the difficult part.  How do you choose which books to become a permanent part of your personal library?  It stands to reason that you will keep any books that were gifted to you and any that you might have that are signed copies.  The next category would be, I suppose, those that you really liked -- that touched you in some way.  But, then, what about the books that don't fit into any of those categories?  What about the piles of books bought off sale tables, some years ago, that have never been picked up?

For instance, I bought a copy of "Marjorie Morningstar" off ebay a number of years ago.  I had seen the movie when I was a young teen and read the book back then and always liked it.  So, I went out on ebay and found a copy and bid on it, ultimately winning the auction.  The book wasn't in great shape and smelled a bit funky but on the shelf it went, never to be picked up again.  Do I really need to keep that?  I can't decide.  It still smells funky.  I have childhood books that I won't part with but what about other childrens books I have bought, randomly, online or in used bookstores.  Did I really want them or was I just in a mood to collect.  I am just not sure.  Then there is the question of hardbacks vs paperbacks -- are paperbacks collectible?  Is there any point?  I wish I knew.

So, how do you deal with books?  How do you decide what goes into a personal library that you want to keep?  I guess I will just keep shifting them around until I get tired of it and chuck all of them.  Well, not ALL of them.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I Can Finally Share --

I used to quilt a lot but for a number of reasons, I have sort of lost interest in the craft.  However, there is the occasional baby quilt to make and that is what I have been working on the last month or so.  Since I have been learning the English Paper Piecing technique I decided to use that approach to this project.  Now, granted, this project was just squares and the EPP technique was more work that it needed to be but I really did enjoy the accuracy of it and am glad I did it.  Also, I decided to machine quilt the project instead of hand quilting because it is meant to be used and washed and I just thought it would be stronger.  Ok, that sounded good but the real reason was that this was meant to be a baby quilt and not a kindergarten nap map and I wanted to get it done in a reasonable period of time.  If time had not been a concern, I would have hand quilted it to keep it all consistent.

The new baby is a boy and his mom is doing his room in gray, white and turquoise with touches of red so I chose fabrics with those colors.  I also learned something from the Hubs.  As I was connecting the larger sections, I was having a hard time holding everything together to insure the accuracy so he came to my rescue with tiny binder clips.  They worked beautifully and, yes, he isn't getting them back. 

I also did the binding differently than I had ever done before.  I usually bind each side individually and tuck the ends in and secure. This time I was determined to use a continuous binding and I was thrilled that it worked so well.  I will probably do this sort of binding from now on.

So, here are a few of the photos from the project -- I wish I had taken better ones but you will get the idea of how it went.  I was very pleased with the entire project.

I used a paper cutter to cut my paper squares for the English Paper Piecing
Fabric from designer Aneela Hoey -- yes, they are straight pins but I look at them as just a geometic with lots of color
Binder Clips to hold things together
Continuous binding
Nice design on the back from the straight line quilting
Finished product

So, what do you think?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Pinterest -- a Husband's Worst Nightmare

I am sure that nobody who reads this blog would have missed the fact that bookcase space is at a premium here.  The Hubs is slated to build a new, huge bookcase for the family room but I have been toying with the idea of a smaller one in my guest room.  So, on a trip to our little storage facility, I spied a chest of drawers that my husband had inherited from his grandmother and the gerbil started turning the wheel.

I spent a bit of time looking at pictures of repurposed furniture on pinterest and I decided that the little chest of drawers would make a lovely bookcase.  It didn't take much coaxing for the Hubs to get on board with the idea.  So, since pictures speak a thousand words--

Wish I had gotten a photo of the original chest but -- well -- I forgot

Drawers removed getting ready to adapt for shelves -- this is before the legs were shortened as well
Somebody put screen under the last drawer -- wonder what they were trying to keep out of the drawer?

Getting prepped to mend a hole in the side

Reinforcing the sides and putting in new drawer rails
Stripped of all paint and old finishes


Top before staining

Looking good
Adding shelves and trim

Legs shortened, first coat of paint, looking good!

Shelves painted
Finished product!

The top drawer is going to be used for note cards, stationery and pens

So, what do you think?  Is this Pinterest worthy?

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Nook VS Book Nook VS Kindle Nook VS Netbook ---- Do We Really Care?

Ok, I will admit it.  For several years I have been having a love affair.  With technology.  It started when I got my first computer -- not the first computer in the house but MY first computer with internet access.  Of course there were the cell phones which I refused to have until I had one and now I can't imagine being "disconnected" without a phone.  I didn't have much interest in ipods and such as I am not a huge music person but I fell madly in love with e-readers.  The NOOK by Barnes and Noble to be exact.

I had looked at ipads but was told that since we don't run windows I wouldn't be able to use it.  Not really sure why but I accepted that answer.  I had looked at Kindle's and Samsung devices but when the NOOK came out I was in a comfortable place.  I bought the first one...the second one....the third one....and now I have had one of each version to come out.  The latest is the NOOK Glo-light because I wanted something light weight and lit so I could read in bed.  I also felt that having an e-reader would help me curb my book hoarding collecting as I was running out of bookcase space.  Do I use them?  Well, yes and no.  Right now "no" as I have a good number of physical books on my shelf that I would like to read so I am trying to get through them.  Will I ever finish?  I have no idea but I feel a purge coming on.  Do I read in bed?  Uh, no.  When I go to bed it is all I can do to stay awake before I get horizontal.  I don't think I am ever going to read in bed because if I get still and warm I go to sleep.

So, then, why am I so aggravated that the NOOK part of the B&N business has been discontinued.  Why am I so put out that my collections of NOOKS will probably be completely obsolete by the end of the year when the business is gone and the "cloud" disappears.  I think I am aggravated because I got sucked into the whole thing.

So, as I am mourning the probable expiration of the device, am I looking at a Kindle.  Not the Kindle fire but probably the Kindle Paperwhite -- just to read books.  I don't need it but it is sort of like the cell phone -- I can't picture myself without it.

However, I this morning I discovered the Kindle Cloud Reader which you can use from a browser and you don't need a Kindle device.  I logged into my Amazon account, went to the cloud reader, downloaded a free book and voila! there it was for me to read.  So what would any sane person do-- I downloaded another!  So, I can actually have the same e-reader experience with my netbook.  The only downside is that I can't readily throw that into my purse. It is small --10" -- so with a tote I could but it would be a little too heavy to carry around.  But, still -- I am just saying that I could satisfy my e-book attachment without having to actually having to go buy another device.  Apparently there is no Kindle app for NOOK --- very convenient that is.

All of this sort of conflicts with my new minimalist mindset a bit.  I bought the e-reader(s) to reduce the number of books in my personal library but then I have too many NOOKS and I still buy physical books so that sort of didn't work.  I am still hoarding books -- just virtual ones -- because I have discovered BookBub where you can download free books each and every day.  Many of them that I wanted were only available for Amazon but now that I have learned about the Kindle Cloud, well, you see where this is going.

As I become more minimally minded, I am discovering that I like my blog more and Facebook less.  I find that I am doing my household chores more "old school" and using fewer "gadgets". It seems like my fascination with technology is losing steam.  So, is it possible that the solution to the entire problem is just going to the library?

Monday, July 07, 2014

I Just Love Gifts!

My daughter

went to

and because I raised her to be a thoughtful, caring person, she brought us this

and some lovely shortbread that I took a photo of but it doesn't seem to be on my camera.  I am so not good at photos.

In any event, the tea is the best I have ever tasted and I completely intend to make online shopping at Fortnum and Mason a regular event.

Thank you, dear daughter!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Forty Two Years Ago....

 at 2:00 pm

Concordia Lutheran Church

San Antonio, Texas

The air conditioning in the church broke

It is Texas

It is July

Somebody thought a long sleeved dress was a good idea.

Welcome to my wedding