Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thusday's Thrifty Find

No thrifting this week for add more fuel to the fire we've had to get up hay from the fields at our place and at our neighbor's. It's kind of late for a first cutting but we've had so much rain this spring we missed out on prime time and have been fortunate not to lose it (the hay, and some sanity I suppose) altogether.

I love the smell of hay and when it's stacked in the loft and I know we are good for the year it's well worth the sweat, scratches and itchiness until shower time. We have one more trailer left to stack and then we are done.

Because of our busy summer schedule we will not have a proper vacation this year. I do have a trip planned for August to visit our daughter in Oklahoma and made reservations this week. In lieu of staying on the cheap in the camper on the ranch, I decided to make the best of it and stay on Lake Murray this time since my sister and her 6 year old are traveling with me. It's about 15 minutes from the ranch and there's lots to do....And, somehow, I don't know why this keeps happening, I've chosen another place that is "said" to be haunted. We'll see. If so, it will be a great post for the blog.

Tucker Tower on Lake Murray
click here for an interesting little video...and history of the "ghost" Alfalfa Bill Murray

The water on this lake is really blue...not like the murky brown waters in NC.

One of the cabins on the lake...maybe ours?

Do you want to bet that the storage cabinet beside the fireplace is the only "closet" in the place? thrifty find for the week is a mini vacation for the same price as a room at the Holiday Inn for the same amount of days...and this is what we get.

A little from their website.....Lake Murray State Park is Oklahoma's oldest and largest state park consisting of 12,500 acres located on the shores of beautiful Lake Murray. Other activities include golfing, picnics, camping, horseback riding, hayrides, hiking, biking, rollerblading, swimming, miniature golf and paddle boating. Sports facilities include an 18-hole golf course with a pro shop, tennis courts, softball fields, baseball diamond, horseshoe pits, badminton and volleyball nets.

Lake Murray State Park offers a wonderful ATV area for 3/4 wheelers, motorcycles and dirt bikes. Other facilities found in the park include an airstrip, bait and tackle shop, marina with rentals, swimming pool with a changing house, swimming beach, riding stable, remote control air field for hobbyists, miniature golf course and Frisbee golf. The Tucker Tower Nature Center features local artifacts, nature programs and activities conducted by the state park naturalist.

Erin discovered the lake when she was looking for places to run besides the road where she lives. Now that Summer is here she goes to the lake for swimming, boating and fishing with friends it's just the perfect place for us to stay. Can't wait till August!

 The lake at sunset...taken by Erin

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Worktable Wednesday

If you are a follower you know what my worktable "really" looks like these days...but I actually finished a commissioned floorcloth last week...Benadryl and all.  If you are a Face Book fan you've already seen it there.

Normally, I don't show commission work online because of piracy. My clients pay me to design and paint something specifically for them and it really hurts us all when a knock off shows up on ebay for mere pennies...yep it's really happened.

Anyhoo...this one was commissioned by a woman that is donating it to an auction that will benefit breast cancer and the more people that see it the better. It will be part of the silent auction at the Rally for the Cure - Golf Tournament at the Old North State Club July 14th, 2010.

She called me in May and said she wanted a floorcloth with a woman in pink on a golf course and that she liked the gate there and would like to include something from that......

So this is what we ended up with.... Stylized gal and stylized trees with an argyle border to coordinate with her pink sweater. The emblems in the corners are from the sign at the gate with the club's logo. Very "cutsie". Lots of fun.

Live, Laugh, and Do whatever it is you love!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Where Bloggers Create Party...Welcome to my Studio

I'm always a day late and at least a dollar short...and here I am again late for the party I've been looking forward to. Not my birthday party which was last night and lots of fun by the way...but the Where Bloggers Create Party sponsored by My Desert Cottage. To visit all the participants follow the link and look on the sidebar for the "Party Guests"

There are never good excuses for being late but always lots of reasons. On Friday which was my 50th birthday I had planned to finish up work in the studio around noon and take the afternoon to do some fun stuff for myself and write this post. Well, I ended up spending the day in a Benadryl funk and in and out of consciousness. I got stung by a wasp on Thursday and by Friday morning was absolutely miserable...swollen, red, blistery and itchy like you can't imagine. I didn't even celebrate my birthday until yesterday....anyway...I am now much better and ready to party!

My studio, as some of you that follow, may have guessed, is in complete chaos as I write. I've mentioned it in many posts recently that it looks like a hurricane blew through. When I signed up to participate in the party, I thought I could show you old photos and you'd never know the difference...but, that just isn't right! I will show a few old and a few current.

This post will serve two purposes....1. the blogger party. 2. the before pictures for our renovations that are soon to start.

My husband built the studio in late 1991 and I began working in there full time in January 1992. I had the upstairs portion and he had the downstairs. This is what it looked like last summer. This summer it will get railing and a board ramp like I showed in a previous post. And be updated with white trim and red screen doors. The garden in front will also be replanted with delicious smelling herbs like scented geranium and lavender.

The studio has served me well as my floorcloth studio and as space for art classes over the last 18 years. You can imagine the beating it has taken with all the hauling of materials up and down stairs and kids regularly running in and out.

I have had the same white walls and stenciled wild horse border since day one...ugh! My tastes have matured quite a bit but I just haven't had the time to make any changes until now. I'm going back with white walls but the border will bite the dust by the end of this week I hope.

 So here's where I am today....working simultaneously on floorcloth commissions, making items for the shop that will open in September, and renovating the studio upstairs and down.


You will be greeted by one of our sweet dogs upon arrival. This is Ada. She usually comes in for the day unless she's now. By July we will be good to go again. Bless her heart, she just doesn't understand I can't have black dog hair in the finish coats of my floorcloths.


As you walk in the stairs are immediately to the right...this is one of the first floorcloths I designed 20 years ago. The one on the floor is maybe 10 or so years old and yes that's dirt! I know I should be ashamed!

You see my office in the corner when you arrive at the top of the stairs. I've taken out the giant old Gateway computer and rarely ever take my laptop up there. We've also taken out our land line and it's actually been quite liberating to go unconnected while I'm working. I'm in the process of finishing a small floorcloth and once it's delivered I will stack as much as I can on the work table and begin painting the walls and ceiling this week. I've already unloaded some shelves.

This is my inspiration board where I have been accumulating ideas for my shop for the last couple of has spilled over into a folder now but I leave the original things up to remind me that dreams come true and start with an idea or two. The custom boots have always been inspiring to my floorcloth designs...and too I am giving myself a pair sometime this year to celebrate being 50.

The corner where I keep my paint...outgrew it quickly so I also have a cabinet just for acrylics and specialty products. Another one of my first designs..."1840"

Multiple projects going on here...finished projects and loads of supplies underneath...You just don't know how much I am looking forward to opening the shop and having order back in my studio.

More finished projects and more stuff literally stuffed under the table, in boxes, drawers and cabinets.

I look forward to the day when I have floorspace again to paint large floorcloths...My worktable is 8' x 8' and my available floor space used to accommodate room size rugs. It will be so wonderful to have that much space when most of this stuff goes downstairs into Ranch Dressing.

So, this is my studio where I create. I hope you will come back in September to see the finished shop and renovated studio. I apologize for the length...when I haven't written for a while I tend to ramble. Now, I'm off to visit the other bloggers that create and look forward to seeing the beautiful places they work and live.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Killing Mildew Without Killing Yourself

We live where it's horribly humid during hot weather. When I was growing up we didn't have air conditioning in our house and our leather shoes would mildew in the closet.

We've come a long way since then, but I still have a mildew problem on my porches. I finally figured out that anything painted in latex fared much better than those painted or stained in oil-based products.

Our house trim is stained with oil and instead of gray it starts looking grimy after a rainy Spring. I also have an old cupboard out on the porch that too is painted with an oil based paint. It's gorgeous and I'm not wanting to repaint it.

I used to use bleach to clean the porch furniture but the last several years it has bothered me physically and consciously to use it so I looked for a greener, safer solution. It was right in my kitchen cabinet. White vinegar.  I've used it full strength without any harm to the paint, but I've been warned not to go this route in the shower...acetic acid kills mildew and even inhibits new growth but  it eats grout.

You can see here the mildew spots on the corner of the cupboard door

I sprayed it directly on the spots and wiped it right waiting, no fumes, no carcinogens 

I've heard that Tea Tree Oil will produce the same results but I haven't tried it so I can't recommend it. Anyone gone that route?

White vinegar is also a natural disinfectant so I keep a bottle at the barn for spraying feed pans and water buckets after washing them. It's handy to have around and cheap to boot.

Just my two cents!

Monday, June 7, 2010

New at the Ranch

Here are a few teaser photos from what I worked on last week while paint was drying on the new floorcloths I've started....Everything shown will  be available (with the exception of the chairs) in September at our Grand Opening.

Elevated Vintage 1973 Coca Cola Serving Tray made from a tray and candle holder previously used for fat cylinder candles

Cake Stand from a plate and an ornate silver candle holder

And you know the paper covered trinket boxes will always be a growing body of work. The possibilities are endless!

I like to make them just as pretty on the inside

 I've already begun to think about Halloween and have made the cutest candy dishes that I'm holding out on showing you for a while yet. I HAVE to make them last until the grand opening ...and I've made guessed it...boxes

And lastly, I worked on something for me. My old porch chairs had finally had it between two seasons of puppies and mildew on oil based paint. I removed the mildew...more on that topic tomorrow...sanded with a mask over my face all the old flakey paint and vacuumed up the pieces. Primed them all with Kilz so that I could re-paint with water-based enamel. Latex paint will not mildew like oil will.

I recovered the seats with outdoor, mildew/sun resistant fabric and wha-lah! A new look for the screened in porch this summer. No dogs allowed! 

 Tomorrow, my secret to removing mildew on porch furniture without bleach.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Shop Update Saturday June 5

I hate that I haven't taken the time to post anything here the last couple of weeks. It's just so easy not to! keep plugging on the project(s) at hand. I've started two new floorcloths, both small thank goodness, since I have NO room to work in my studio. It's packed full of new things I've made for the shop and with  things I've brought in from the container to work on.

I've decided not to post pictures of too many items until late in the summer because I am already getting requests for things I've shown on my Facebook Page. This is wonderful, but at the same time, I need inventory for the grand opening.

As far as Rick's shop, he's come a very long way since I last reported. We've had the floor poured, he wired it a couple weeks ago and he and Sam insulated the walls last weekend. All day Monday and Tuesday evening they put the plywood up for the ceiling. That was a hard job! He's working this weekend at his day job, will be out of town next weekend and has to work again the following we will once again be at a slow pace. Next is plywood walls and painting them and sealing the floor...then moving day. Then I will paint the walls of my shop while he builds the ramp and railing.

I have my floorplan for Ranch Dressing planned out, the paint bought and I am sitting on go. I'm starting to get impatient and a little panicky...until I realize I'm not really on anyone's schedule but my own. IF, we are not ready by September...God will NOT be the end of the world. Surely, by Christmas! I will just put away the cool Halloween things I've made and save them until next year. But, I sure don't want to!

I will leave you with a quote I like. It sums up what we are trying to convey with our endeavor here...

"Style has nothing to do with money.  Anybody can do it with money.  The true art is to do it on a shoestring." -Tom Hogan, co-owner of Chartueuse (An upscale thriftstore in NY)