Where Rustic Living Meets Refined Elegance

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Table (part 1)

I know it's be way too long between post. I had a big job in November and on the last day my truck broke down after I left the job. I pulled into a 7-Eleven to get something to drink for the 45 min ride home and when I got back in the truck it was dead as a door nail. It's a long story but after calling AAA and determining the problem might just be needing new batteries (did you know diesels had two batteries? I didn't but I do now, and they're not cheap) I ended up spending 3 1/2 hours sitting in front of a mini mart until the Cowboy could get there and after another hour determine it was more than the batteries so then AAA was called again and we waited for another 2 hours for the tow home. (You know it's really interesting what you see sitting in front of a 7-eleven for 6 1/2 hours).Then within 20 minutes after we got home that evening, the Cowboy came down really sick, and I mean REALLY sick. He's rarely sick and then usually just works through it. Not this time. In bed for a week and half, ended up with phneumonia and boils and is still not fully recovered. And of course both the girls and I all came down with a horrible flu on the same day, (just two days before I was supposed to have art work done for a local art exhibit and none of it was fully done, of course). Then our oldest girl got sick so we picked up little Rico Suave to keep him so his mom could rest and then just when I thought everyone was getting well, they all came down sick again! So it's been just a little overwhelming and nothing much interesting to post other than barf buckets and doctors visits none of which I wanted to photograph and post about.

I've had several of you ask where I've been so that's the story and I'm sorry it's been so long. So today our middle daughters boyfriend, the Chef, came over and made us French Toast for breakfast (I know, he's a dream of a guy) and as I was sitting there eating and chatting with the kids I realized I hadn't posted about my table. It 's not done so this a "part 1" post but here goes.

This wall is in our living room and backs up to the guest bath and the stairway. It's a long wall. We put an old garden door that hangs on a track on the one end to block the entry to the stairway and close off the upstairs. When this door is open the length from the edge of the door to the other end is 10'. I knew I needed a long narrow table that would run the length of the wall.  Anything else would look too small.  I looked but couldn't find anything that long and the few that even slightly came close was way too expensive.  So one day as I'm talking to my mom and dad, GG & Jamesy, telling them my delima, Jamesy of course pipes up and says "Just show me a picture of what you want and I'll make it".  So I took a picture of a table that I love that's in one of my clients home.  It is a beautiful table.  Plain but very well made.  I love the way the legs are pegged together.  I show it to Jamesy and a few days later, voila!  the perfect table!

He tapered the legs and pegged the ends.  It's beautiful.  He even delivered it, what a guy!  I need to distress it and then put a finish on it but I haven't yet decided what to do.  I know I want it heavily distressed but I can't decide if I want to stain it a light brown or make it that sort of gray brown color that's so popular like you see in Restoration Hardware.
The first addition to accessorize the table was my grandmas wall sconce light.  She had her apartment professionally decorated in the 60's and this was one of the pieces she chose.  I never thought too much of it and almost sold it in her estate sale 8 years ago.  Thank goodness I didn't!  I absolutely love it.

Above it hangs a simple shelf with old books of all types and some silver. You know how I loves me silver!  And I am so addicted to the old ratty tatty uncovered books right now!  Restoration Hardware was selling them for $29.00 (plus tax and shipping) for a set of 4.  Sorry I just couldn't justify that.  I just grabbed some old garage sale books and started ripping off the covers.
Love 'em!
I also love hat blocks.  These two look great on the end of the table and give the Cowboy a place to rest his hat du jour at the end of the day.
A couple of pictures of little Rico Suave along with hand castings also grace the table. The one on the left is of my oldest daughter, his mother, when she was 5 months old and the one on the right is his when he was just 4 months old.

We all agree it looks like he's going to have big ol' bear paws for hands like his daddy and grampa!

 This old greenhouse door we had for a couple of years before we bought the place and was just waiting for the perfect place to put it.  I think this is just the spot.  It closes off the living room so that the baby can't climb the stairs and also keeps all the heat from the fireplace going upstairs and leaving me cold down stairs.

We bought it and didn't do a darn thing to it. Just hung it up the way we got it. Chipped paint, dings, dents, old drip marks and all.

Someone at one time carved in 1-15-5.  No idea what it stands for but there it is.
Underneath the table sits a couple of baskets with toys and this little roadster.  I also keep my knitting stuff tucked away in the old suitcase.

I love to knit and I can make some of the best bunny slippers around even if I do say so myself.

So that's it.  The go to table in the house.  It can double as a bar or a buffet table, but mostly it's the stop gap for books, keys and anything else as we come and go from the house.  I absolutely love my table and even more I love the man who so generously made if for me.  My dad.  Thank you Jamesy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The beginning of a Studio

Well yesterday was a lovely day.  Long but productive and fun.  We set out early as we had to drop of "Rico Suave" the gorgeous little grandson to his home after spending a night with us, but we were on the road shortly after 7 am.
The view is not the greatest from Paso Robles to Palo Alto but we had a nice time just chatting and enjoying being alone.  We stopped part way  at a McDonalds for some coffee and something to eat.  I'm not a huge fan of McDonalds in fact most fast food places scare me as I know it's some of the most chemically produced food out there, but it was on the way, cheap and the morning was so nice I didn't want to start out the day with having to drive all over to find something else.  So Mc Chemicals it was.

As we sat there next to each other sipping our coffee and eating a bite I said how it was too bad that our middle daughter and her boyfriend couldn't make the trip with us as planned.  The Cowboy said "yeah, but it's really kinda nice that it's just the two of us today.  I'm enjoying just being with you today".  I was nibbling on my pre packaged, high cholesterol, high fat, chemically produced breakfast that tasted remarkably like the most delicious hash browns I've ever eaten and suddenly said "Oh! That reminds me, there's the most interesting video on Youtube about the non decomposing hamburgers from Mc Donalds!"  The Cowboy said, "What made you think of that?"  I said, "Well, we've been together 26 years and we still like hanging out together so nothing much has changed.  I'll tell you about the video when we get in the car after we eat."
The Cowboy said "Thanks, I think"
It really is interesting and it certainly makes you think twice about what they put into their food.

I told him all about the video.  He agreed it was gross and then said, "Maybe we should have gotten some hamburgers in case we don't have time to stop later at least we know they won't go bad".

Next stop, IKEA!
The land of plenty.  Seriously! Everything 5 bucks!
Even though I had strict instructions that this was NOT a buying trip for dishes or candles the Cowboy heads right over to the all white dishes to look around.  What kind of message is that? What, is he testing me to see if I can pass it up even if he hangs out there awhile? I holler at him "Hey what are you doing?! I thought no white dishes or candles?"  Then I hear myself and realize it must be the Egg Mc Muffin talking because I would NEVER say such a thing.  The Cowboy looks at me with a completely startled expression and I say, "Wow, I can't believe I just said that.  I must really be on the road to recovery from my white dish addiction."  He smirked and said, "Don't worry I'm sure there will be a relapse somewhere along the way"
I just love the way they set up actual rooms to look at.  We really liked this closet system for me as I'm still using free standing armoires for now.  I told him I loved it but would want to have door made as these are too plain for me. He mumbled something about the doors would end up costing more than the whole unit but at least it got us moving along again.
And here's the shelving we were looking for.  I love this stuff.  Looks as good as the Williams Sonoma stuff but for a whole lot less.  We looked at the tags to see how the price had changed since we had last bought some almost 10 years ago, (not that much really) and we were on our way to the warehouse.
Aisle 1 bin 79.  It was a pretty quiet place until we showed up and began the big debate of how many pieces to buy and what we needed to combine with what we had and how we were going to put it together after we cut some of it up.  (We just can't seem to do things the easy way)  I have to say, after a while we had both drawn diagrams on scrap paper of what we thought we were doing and what we needed and we were both pretty frustrated and when I realized the Cowboy was about to blow a gasket I decided I'd best be nice to the person whose help I really needed so I just said "ok, get whatever you think we need".
I'm not sure why the but the whole thing cracked me up as I turned around so I grabbed my camera and said "Give me that angry look again"
"No, you're going to make fun of me"
"Noooo, I'm going to make fun of both of us  (sort of, not really) Come on"
I said "Wait, where's the angry, grouch that was talking to me a minute ago?"
he says, "I'm not Mr. Potato Head so I didn't pack my angry eyes"
Hilarious!  He has cousins who are actors in both film and tv and this is best he could do? Oh well, at least he's not wanting to throw everything back on the rack and leave empty handed.
Next are the huge checkout lines.  We waited in line for what seemed like forever only to get to the register and find out that we should have read the giant sign above our heads that said, "Debit/Credit Only".  Yeah us two knuckleheads had only cash. So we navigated our way to another line and started the waiting process again.  The Cowboy mumbled something about wishing he had one of those non decomposing hamburgers right about now.
Finally, out of the building and headed home and I might add without one white dish or one box of white candles. (Seriously they have the best candles and are super cheap but I currently have 3 huge boxes at home stashed away)
We worked for hours, moving, arranging, discussing.  But it's coming together.  At one point I said I'm so tired and it's almost nine we should stop.  He agreed and then said, "Wait! We forgot to set these clocks back in here it's only eight. (I internally groan) "Let's just put a little more together and then stop."  Stupid daylight savings time!
But it's starting to look better already.  We'll work more on it this week and hopefully have it wrapped up by the weekend but now it's time to sit down and watch the Amazing Race and off to bed.

Friday, November 5, 2010

IKEA here we come!

 It's no secret that I have been in desperate need of studio space.  Up to this point I've been using a corner section of the kitchen/dining area as a place to work.  The problem with this is that I don't have room to keep all my stuff (and I have a lot of stuff!) in the house so a good part of it is kept in a storage container on the property.  So what happens is when I'm working at home I end up spending a lot of time looking for things because I can't ever seem to remember if they are inside or outside.  Then I run back and forth to the container digging around for what I need usually to end up finding it back inside the house.

Now I don't know how many of you are familiar with the large storage containers used on freight trains, but the Cowboy is addicted to them!  I agree they are mouse and water proof but they are ugly and come with an oily odor that I can't stand.  Not to mention the doors are extremely heavy and hard to open so I usually end up leaving them slightly open, just pushing them closed enough to look closed which makes the Cowboy furious because "it defeats the purpose".  yeah, yeah, I still hate the darn things.

Well this last weekend I was getting ready for a large kitchen cabinet job and so I enlisted the Cowboy to help me organize a little bit and bring in a big work table that used to be in Jamesy's shop when I was growing up.  As I'm emptying out things from the container I'm saying things like, "man am I glad to not have to smell this place again" Big eye roll from the Cowboy.  "Ugh, I hate this thing!" Another big eye roll. "Good God if I never have to struggle with those God awful doors and hear that hideous creaking sound ever again I will be very happy"  An even bigger eye roll accompanied with a scowl.  At this point find some mouse droppings in some of my things and say "Seriously?! Mice have been in my stuff?! Great, just great!"  
The Cowboy sweetly says, "Um yeah when you don't close the doors you might as well hang a sign up saying come on in and poop all over"
My turn to give a huge eye roll.
So we get things inside.  The cowboy removed the old top from the table and laid down a new piece of wood and it's just perfect.  But amidst all the madness, the Cowboy turns to me and says, "You know I don't mind your studio being in the house I just don't like to look at a mess.  So why don't we go to IKEA, (he now has my full and undivided attention at this point), and get some of those shelves we have in the pantry and I can set you up with storage for everything and then you can hang curtains on the front and I'll cut some of them down  and you can have a small counter space and use some of your old silver to hold your brushes and stuff......."
As I stood there with my jaw hanging I realized that he had just laid out the perfect workspace.  
Sooooo much better than what I'm looking at now.
With everything scattered from stem to stern.
He even dug out this old chandelier that's been sitting around waiting for a good home and will wire it up this weekend over my main worktable.
So I've had to wait all week but Sunday, IKEA here we come!! Whoooooo Hooooooo!
I'll have pictures of the space in progress next week.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Instant Art

I have so many frames with nothing inside them. Just pretty frames waiting for pretty pictures but in the meantime they've been piled up on the floor awaiting a home somewhere in the Barn.  Well yesterday I could take it no longer.  I looked down and saw all the dust that collects around them and decided they had to go up.  I picked a wall and just started hanging them up to get them off the ground but as I kept nailing and hanging the more I liked what I saw.
Soon they will all find homes in other rooms but for now they fill the wall and more importantly are off the ground.
 I found I especially liked layering frames over other frames

 I also moved this little bookcase over underneath to balance it all out.  It also gave me a place to set my little Hotel House Phone
Yes it works.  I love it. No dial so I figure it must be a little courtesy phone, you know a phone that you would pick up to recieve a call already answered by the front desk.  Or maybe it was meant to be picked up and then hit then button a time or two to get the operator to ask for the number you want dialed.

It does tend to sound a little tinny.  
Whenever I answer it and it's the Cowboy he'll always say, "Are you on that little phone in the living room?"
"Yeah, I can tell"
No joke, every time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Exhaustion has set in

Well the day after the first Home Show I came down sick.  Really sick.  And just as I was starting to feel better the second Home Show came around so I just finished it yesterday.
I'm pooped!
It wasn't as busy as the firs one but a much higher end of clientele so I'm glad I did it.  Day number two I did mostly by myself as my daughter needed to be home with the little Rico Suave grandson.  Not too bad. A handful of Emergency packs, lots of water, some Mucinex with an aspirin chaser, a lot of hand sanitizer and all was well. 
My house was torn apart from the first go around and then since I was sick it never got put back in order and last night we just threw every thing in the house and called it a night, so I've got a lot to get back in order.  But today is just rest and get ready for the week.  It's going to be a busy one.  Two appointments along with putting my kitchen back together and organizing my studio space in the dining room/kitchen area so today I decided to just visit blog land and relax. 
I love visiting all the blogs!  So many ideas, such nice thoughts, such positive energy and the most fabulous pictures! I'm feeling better already.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Trying to drum up work

So not much gilding getting done on the barn lately because work has been so slow.  So I decided to do a home show.  Never done one before, so I was really nervous, but I have to say it was great.
It was a job to set up but it really came out nice.
My white home depot door that I turned into Patina's Bronze metal with "wrought iron" over the glass was a big hit.  The column samples on the left cracked me up.  The Cowboy said not to stack them because someone might knock them over.  But then people kept throwing trash in them because they were low to the ground! So I went ahead and stacked them up.
I think it was a huge success and hopefully some good jobs will come out of it so that we can have the funds to start Gilding the Barn again!
But today, I'm on the couch.  I am pooped!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Thank you to Corey Amaro of Tongue in Cheek for her antique book give a way to the winners of her writing challenge.  
Corey's blog was the first blog I ever laid my eyes on.  Before that I had no idea what a blog was so you can imagine how fascinated I was to stumble upon a blog about an American living her life in France along the most beautiful pictures.
She recently posted about an old French book she found titled "The Happy Divorce".  You can read about it here along with the winning submissions.  And one of those would be me!  I still can't believe it!

Thank you again Corey!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Breakfast at the Barn

 We don't get too many morning to leisurely enjoy breakfast.  Most mornings it's 5:30 am toast and coffee as the Cowboy heads off to work.  So this morning was the perfect day.  Still up early so the Cowboy could head over to the coast to catch some waves. (yes the Cowboy surfs, I know it's a crazy world here at the Barn). But a good breakfast just sounded nice.
Potatoes on the grill.
Blueberry muffins fresh out of the oven,
Beautiful eggs patiently waiting
 Almost ready, eggs sunny side up for the Cowboy and over hard for me
A little butter for the muffins
Breakfast is served.
Hope you enjoy your day.


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