#55 Oooooh! and Arrrrrgh...

First the "oooooh!". I decided to get the outside decorations up since it was a mild 53 degrees this afternoon. It's fun having everything bright and shining:

And now for the "arrrrgh" - which is my code for : Projects That Challenge the Homeowner. Ain't nuthin' simple sometimes and I knew this one would be messy, but decided to take it on anyway. Suffice it to say I've ditched plans to paint the living room and music room before Christmas, let alone get a start on the two sofa slipcovers, but I will get the bookcases and adjacent wall repaired and painted. I mean, the bookcases never got painted when we painted everything else originally ( a mere 11 years ago!) and the wall was water damaged about 4 years ago. I think it's time to have these off my list, don't you? Here's what I'm working on:

The plaster was covered with about three layers of wallpaper and that was topped with pale blue enamel paint. Just, uh, lovely.

Pretty yuck, huh?
A great example of efflorescence (fuzzy white stuff) if I do say so myself!

The backyard is pretty much a mess, too, but at least some progress has been made and Landscaper Dude hopes to come back later this week to do more. Here's what I'm trying to keep Jake out of:


 I love the way the path curves!
 More curving path - and I loooove having the old gazebo gone!
(I'm going to train the New Dawn climbing rose up the tree in the spring.)

We decided to bite the bullet and have the cement slab removed and replaced with pavers.
(Perfect place for dancing when we have parties!)

That's it for today. Hope you're having a great week!

-karen anne


#54 Continuing Education...

 This is our puppy Jake. He's really 4 1/2  - but still very puppyish in spirit:

Jake. (A Study in Black and White)

I just got back from taking him to Animal Inn where he goes most days to play with his buddies and where he'll get to celebrate Thanksgiving. He was soooo excited - the whole Circle Wag kind of joyful excitement - when I told him what classes I had signed him up for. He'll get to learn The Art of Bonsai on Friday and Thai Cooking on Saturday! 

What? They don't offer Continuing Education classes for dogs at your kennel??? You think I'd kid you about this?

Perhaps. :-)

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving. See you next week!

-karen anne


#53 Something new...

In between applying the coats of paint on the inside of our new front door, I had a quick minute to run up to the studio and put this necklace together (I just used natural light when I quickly shot these photos, so please excuse the shadows!):

20" necklace. Glass, agate, turquoise, freshwater pearl, bone, aluminum, crystal. 
Stainless cord covered by rubber tubing. Sterling clasp.

I love mixing colors and textures, vintage with new, semi-precious with less precious.

I love making things that are asymmetric.

I love the line that the black rubber cord makes, and I love the sterling toggle closure that makes it so easy to put on. 

Creating something new and original satisfies me and calms me in the same way that meditation does.I love being in that space where time stands still and the world is far away.

What do you do that satisfies and calms you?

-karen anne


#52 More Projects Completed...

I'm happy to announce that the projects of having a new door made and installed, the house exterior painted (trim, shutters and door), new Andersen windows (that replaced our old, rotting and Very Drafty ones), and the new sign proclaiming our home as the Lechler House, circa 1831 is finally finished! Here is the new version:

I love the way the new door knocker looks, too. It's a brass Celtic Knot that was bought when we were in Ireland in September.

For those of you who are interested in details, the light trim is painted in Sherwin Williams Slippery Rock:

The door is Sherwin Williams Raisin:

The shutters are Tricorn Black.

Okay, folks, on to the next project/s: painting the inside of the new front door, then repainting the music room and living room, and - ugh - sewing the new slipcovers for the living room sofas. Will I be able to get all that done before Christmas? Do I want to? Do you understand why it's next to impossible to get anything in my Etsy shop? (Here's a peek at some of the kind of thing I will eventually sell there along with some fiber brooches, pillows, cards, etc.):

Someday...when the house it finished...when I get more time in the studio...

I love the colors in these and the direction I'm taking, but there's only so much time in my day!

But I must say, I'm delightfully decked out in jewels while I work on the house!

-karen anne


#51 Building a Cathedral..

The sign came! Isn't it great? We hope to put it up this weekend.

On Thursday we moved the patio...oy! And all the bricks and rocks and...
Dean counted 109 (same as our house number!) 12x24x2 concrete slabs that he removed and stacked. What a man!

The stack...and a pile...

Nuthin' says Anticipation like an earth mover in your backyard!

A future path.

We bit the bullet and decided to have the whole patio redone to match the paths we needed to put in so Dean could get the snowblower from the back of the yard to the front. Landscaper Dude might not be able to get the surface in before the real cold hits because he has to go "shoot a bear" and "then it's rifle season". But he'll get the rock down and then do the rest in the spring. Works for me! I'm hoping that we'll be able to go ahead and get the cracked cement part outside the summer kitchen removed and properly hardscaped, too - he's supposed to give us an estimate for that part today. Fingers crossed!

Oh - and this picture I found online shows pretty much what the EP Henry Coventry I Autumn Blend stones we've chosen will look like (this application has a bit of a mix with a grayer block so ours will be a bit more bricky colored):

The nice thing about doing all this is that it might be used for dancing if we have a wedding reception out here in the next year or so. (WHAT?!?!?!) How's that for a teaser!!!

So... why did I title this post "Building a Cathedral"? Because:

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man
contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral. 
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Flight to Arras, 1942

And that about says it all!
-karen anne

LATE ENTRY: We just got the estimate for the final section of hardscaping and gave Landscape Dude the thumbs up! Yeeha! So excited!


#50 Quick update...

Progress on all fronts! Well, on the front of the house at least...

I'm getting ready to prime the inside of the new front door and then go ahead and apply the second (final) coat on the exterior even though the painter-guy planned to return Monday morning to do it. Today is bright and sunny - and warm - and Monday promises to be coolish and rainy, so I thought I'd go ahead while I had all the painting stuff out.

Anyway, dear readers, here is a snap I took of the front door without hardware (we have to close it at night with a screw driver! yikes.) and with just the first coat on:

I absolutely love the color - Raisin by Sherwin Williams. Think of that old commercial with the California Raisin dancing around you'll visualize the exact shade. It's perfect. The hardware will go on Tuesday and everything will be completely finished. Finally!

I always thought the old six panel door was correct, but the four panel makes such a difference visually, and it feels good to have it the way it was meant to be. I'll post a picture of the completed door side-by-side with the previous one so you can see the difference.

Okay - I'm off to do my painting! Have a great weekend!

-karen anne


#49 My kind of history...

To prepare for having the exterior of the house painted, we took down the flimsy and tarnished small brass plaque that proclaimed our home to be: The Parsonage House. It always bugged me - not only the way the sign looked, but also the crazy redundancy of the name and the fact that it was the parsonage for the First Lutheran Church (across the street) for only 34 years (1934-1968).

So...last week I headed down to the Cumberland County Historical Society and, after paying my dues to become a member, started doing some research on our home. I was determined to discover who had built our home and when. All the information I had previous to this dated the house to around 1841, though I was never exactly sure how that date was arrived at. (Now I know it was because of some incorrect assumptions.) I've never been a fan of history as a subject, but I can get really excited about discovering historical details when I'm trying to solve a mystery!

After a mere 4 hours of searching deeds, tax records, maps, etc. I learned that our home was built by Peter B. Lechler (a hatter according to the tax records) sometime after 1829 and before 1832. I've decided it was most probably built in 1831. I know for certain it was just a half lot when he bought it for $425 in 1829 from William Line, and today I found an ad in the American Volunteer newspaper from 26 July 1832 that announced Willam D. Lechler, surgeon/dentist would be in Carlisle briefly and would see people at the home of Peter B. Lechler at his home on East High Street "two or three doors down from the prison" which is the accurate description of our home's location.

Tax records from 1830 and 1831 would allow me to be absolutely sure (it could have been built in 1830, after all) but those records are missing and no one knows why.

Anyway, I've ordered a new plaque for our home and it will read: Lechler House circa 1831. (I was limited to 15 spaces on each of two lines so couldn't put Peter B.) I'm excited!

The new front door we had built is leaning in the hallway as I write. It was beautifully hand crafted by a local man who also builds boxes for sale in historic a Williamsburg, and it is so gorgeous. It will be installed tomorrow, complete with the Celtic Knot doorknocker we bought on our trip to Ireland, and a new brass mail slot. And the next day it will get painted the deep aubergine I've been dreaming about.

I think Peter B. Lechler would approve. I hope so.


#48 Want to Feel Really Good?

Toggle down to the bottom of my page and you'll see my Playlist.

Click on tune #2 and turn up the volume.

Dance around your studio/room/office in wild abandon.

Now get out there and shine that little light of yours!!!


#47 Peace Train...

If you toggle to the bottom of the page and click on Peace Train, you'll hear 
Cat Steven's singing the song he wrote and performed at the Rally to Restore 
Sanity on 30 October 2010. What a thrill to be in a huge mass of people 
singing this together. Here are some of the words: 
Now I've been happy lately, 
thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be, 
something good has begun

Oh I've been smiling lately, 
dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be, 
some day it's going to come

Cause out on the edge of darkness, 
there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country, 
come take me home again

(And do something nice for yourself today: be nice to someone else!)

-karen anne


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