Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monogram Linens

Yesterday over at Attic Charm, Laura's post was all about The Beauty of The Upper Case. She wrote about her love of monograms and said she didn't have examples of the elaborate entwined letters so often on vintage linens. I thought I would share some photos from my linen collection.

I'm particularly fond of the intertwining M and A in the center.
I bought a collection of monogram linens at an estate sale some years ago. When I look at them now, they remind me of my Silver Bella swap partner. They might be her daughter's initials if R is her middle name.

I like this one, but what are those letters?

I actually believe this is E and T.
One really needs magical powers to decipher it!

Is this a monogram where the last initial is largest in the middle?

Can you see initials in this? I can't!
But it's the most wonderful heavy-weight linen towel, large enough to dry a person after a bath.

Hope you have enjoyed these.
Now back to ironing more linens for the shop!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Chewy, Get Us Out of Here."

Company's coming and I have gone into warp speed!

The view out the window of the Millennium Falcon as they jump to hyperspace.
I am a little bit of a Star Wars geek, I'll admit!

Our Guest Room

My friend Cathy & her husband are coming to visit and I'm using this opportunity to get the wallpaper removed and the walls painted. It's about the only thing that will get me to do these kind of house projects!

This little window was an addition. I love it. It gives the room lovely western light, a cross breeze, and its height allows privacy.

When we renovated our house we replaced all the windows and had insulation blown in. It has made a huge difference in the heating bills and the comfort. We have a great contractor who did the work, but painting was always my job.

The contractor finished 3 years ago. I have done a lot of painting, but the guest room, upper hallway and parlour still need work.

So, for the past 2 days I have been removing all the wallpaper you can see in these photos. Next are the last 2 walls (about 80 sq ft). Then wash them all down with tsp; tape & mud the seams at ceiling & corner angles; and prime them, probably 2 coats. When I think of everything involved, I know why I have left this job undone!

Before my friends arrive, I won't have time to paint a color coat or wallpaper or whatever wall treatment the room tells me it should have. (don't laugh, this house is funny that way and really lets me know what each room requires). Maybe the room will speak loudly so I don't wait til the next guests come to visit.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I Stand Here Ironing

I had no idea I had amassed so many *Victorian to 50's-fabulous* pieces of vintage clothing.
If these clothes were in my own closet I'd leave the wrinkles in.

But presenting them for sale is another matter. I think that's why a lot of the items currently in my shop get ironed. The linens. The fabric yardage. The vintage clothes and lingerie.

I wanted a place in the shop to iron but my ironing board is not pretty or decorative.

This is my solution.

Under that very cool patchwork of fabric is my ironing board. With that fabric over it, even the shape is disguised! The fabric goes all the way to the floor, so I can hide the iron, spray bottles of water & starch, pressing cloths, etc.

My view as I iron.

I'm not very good at doing nothing. When I sit I can stay put if I read. I don't think I have ever watched tv without a magazine to look at, or a game of spider solitaire on my laptop! About a month ago I discovered the value of ironing in the shop. It allows me to do nothing, or at least stand still for a bit. It's really soothing and I don't feel guilty. It's an easy project to drop when customers arrive. And it really doesn't make much of a mess. This is excellent; I am way too good at making messes!

When I iron, I often think of Tillie Olsen's short story, "I Stand Here Ironing" from her book, Tell Me A Riddle. I read it in college when feminist literature was just finding its feet. The story, about a mother's estrangement from her daughter is told from the mother's perspective as she irons her family's clothes. The story was written in the 1930's, tho it wasn't published for 30+ years. My mom taught me to iron in elementary school and I know the reflectiveness that comes upon moving the iron across a shirt or dress. It's a poignant story, sad even, but real, and I love the title!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Brick Patio

Bricks have taken up most of my week.

When we started the project it was just going to be a path to the front porch. Then we amassed 1,200 bricks and decided to do more and brick in a patio.

The patio area set out.
Bricks were moved.

My oldest removing grass and weeds.

This is what happens when you stack bricks on one of those big folding tables! I knew it would happen, the table was old and had been sitting outside for a while. The look on my son's face when the table collapsed was priceless!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Garden Path

These bricks are not moving. They are completely still. My son is a big Monty Python fan, so I wondered if Keith Maniac hynotized them? What else would you do with bricks?

Well, here are a few things . . .

A path I put in last summer.

It bisects the 19' x 15' front garden plot. I really had a lot of fun putting it in. The bricks are from a chimney we knocked down when we renovated the kitchen. The stone in the center was found under the old front porch. We're not sure how old it is, but it's connected to the house and I think that's cool.

My son is using the basketweave pattern on the path.

This morning the path to the front porch looked like this.

And by the time I closed the shop, the path was complete.

The new patio will be behind the bench you can barely see in the background.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Working on the Garden

It's the end of summer and we're busy with garden projects!
About time!

Last summer my son and I put in this garden. I chose plants that had meaning to me: shasta daisies like my Nana's garden; penstimon, which also grows in the Sierra to remember my friend Nina; iris, which I learned to love in my grandma's garden; flowering plants mostly in pinks & plums. My son suggested "autumn fire" sedum (above) and "dorothy wycoft" andromeda. We also grew lettuce, beets, green beans, and kick-butt yellow bell peppers.

This is the front garden gone wild!
When my son left for Yosemite in April, my heart went out of the garden. I let it go, didn't weed, didn't plant the vegetables, didn't sit out there and enjoy.

Lucky for me, my son is back home for a while and working on the garden. This is his project before he returns to the Sierra Nevada foothills.
A path to the front porch.

My son has been very clever getting us bricks for the path. He worked at a garden center in exchange for about 400 new bricks. He negotiated a good price for a pile of used bricks at a local recycling center. Even he didn't realize the pile held more than 700 bricks. With all these extra bricks we're gonna make a patio between our parking spots and the door.

I've started weeding and cutting back on the catmint which was taking over. I think I can salvage my Hidcote Lavender and I have plans to transplant some of the taller plants closer to the house.

It's' nice to be back working in the garden. And it's nice to be working on a garden project with my son again.