1) Embroider where desired on pictures 2) Embroider with fancy stitching around patches (look up stitches in blue sewing book) 3) Embroider with fancy stitching at some of denim seams 4) Put together front and back, with yellow sheet center 5) Tie off prettily with full strands of embroidery floss

This project has been sitting in my “mending and sewing project” cupboard for several years, partly out of a necessity to attend to other projects, and partly because I discovered too late that the inherent fragility of this quilt is no match for Tyger’s energy and curiosity.

I still intend to finish this…maybe for a wall hanging, instead of a quilt. Anyhow, it’s desired, but not urgent. I am posting this here so that the project is made official, and my subconscious can get all the disappointments and details worked out, and I’ll someday wake up and know that now I can finish it.





French Black Copper Maran chicken French Black Copper Maran eggs

Amazing, beautiful…and expensive. ūüėČ With coyotes and raccoons that enjoy our poultry as much as we do, it wouldn’t make much sense to try them just now. Still, maybe someday….

In the back of my mind, I have a habit of picturing all kinds of beautiful egg crafts I’d like to do. These would make spectacular carved eggs, don’t you think? Of course, they are just as lovely on their own.

For the main dining room feature, click here.

March 3, 2015 – Spring arrangement on open shelves –

Jan.26-April.16.2015 257

It is really difficult to get a clear picture of this shelf – the angles and lighting make it tricky – but I enjoy re-arranging once a season or so, as time and inclination permit, and took time this spring to make a cheerful set-up, full of birds, flowers, and easily-accessible teas and accessories. It has made the rest of the work this spring seem easier.

My next project is wallpaper on the north wall:

Birds of Versailles wallpaper

My mother is going to help me hang this, as I’ve never done it before. It is a pattern from Sherwin Williams, called “Birds of Versailles,” with shiny silver leaf highlights, creating pleasant glimmers in the sunlight.


August 18, 2015 – Insulating Curtain –

I needed a large, insulated curtain for my dining room bay windows. I wanted something that was not a dark color, and it couldn’t be too weighty, velvety (attracting dog hair), or hard to clean. It had to stand up well to being opened and closed often, and be suitable as a summer heat shield, even during our fly infestations (common to rural properties near pig farms).

I found an unexpected solution in the form of a bedspread, which had belonged to a friend many years ago, and had subsequently been packed away in a wooden box. I loved the pattern, which was the same as my favorite set of sheets, recently deceased. The lighting is unhelpful for taking pictures, but I get an “E” for Effort:

The pattern is sweet pea flowers on a white ground, and I’m afraid it looks a bit washed out in the photos. In life, it compliments all the main colors in the room, and is a cheering reminder that spring will come again, even though the winter does seem perpetually dim.

I have since re-arranged the mint-green over-curtains (per the second two photos), and am much happier with the effect.


August 25, 2015 – Wallpaper –

The wallpaper is installed! And I am even more pleased with it than I anticipated being. Here it is:

My dad came to help, too – and Mom and I were glad he did, because it took three people to properly handle, apply, and smooth the longest strips. Dad was also much better at cutting good edges than either of us, though I’ve had plenty of practice with a utility knife.

Billy didn’t get to help much, but he’s proud anyway.

Will is the only one who’s not too sure that he loves the wallpaper. But he likes the brightening effect in the room.


November 2, 2015 – Heat Shield for Wood Burning Stove –

Before using the dining room heating stove in earnest, we needed to install a heat shield. We chose to go with sheet metal from a company my husband has worked with several times, and bought enough to do the heat shield and also most of two walls in the kitchen, in the corner with the cookstove. Here it is:

We simply installed 2X4 boards behind the metal, attaching them with screws through the wallpaper into the studs. I painted them the same robin’s egg blue as the wall behind the display shelves, and everything pulls together very nicely.

I was afraid the metal sheet would take a horrible gap out of the vibrancy of the wallpaper, but it did no such thing. It looks as if it belongs, and frames the stove, rather than allowing it to appear random.


November 26, 2015 – Thanksgiving Decorations –

Decorative shelf in living room, Thanksgiving 2015For Thanksgiving, we had a few members of Will’s family to dine. My garden work had shut down earlier this year than normal, so I had time to give the house a thorough going-over (which it dreadfully needed). Of course, I decorated the piano-top shelf in the living room with various nature objects and figures of animals, in keeping with my woodsy-themed house.

Next, I asked my son  Billy to make himself handy with a drill, and create candle-light holes in a pumpkin for the dining room:

They are not as evenly spaced as I would have liked, but I am pleased enough. (We later fed the pumpkin to the chickens, who loved it. The  buttercup squashes, we ate ourselves.)

I had time to fix up a small table for some of us, using my Currier and Ives (reproduction) plates, and a tablecloth I had found when we moved into this house:

I confess to having loved mushrooms ever since I can remember, and this whimsical embroidery was just what I wanted. How often do things like that work out, I ask you?

Colorado Wildlife is a sister blog to this one, wherein I share stories, pictures, and facts about some of the wildlife we get to enjoy locally. I am delighted by all the species we get to see on a regular basis – mammals large and small, all kinds of birds, reptiles and amphibians, amazing insects, and more.

Go to Colorado Wildlife now.

Click here for the main dining room feature.

August, 2014 – Painting the Walls and Ceiling –

As you can see, I finally got my dining room painted. A long-time internet friend whom I’d never met came with his girlfriend in July, for a long visit. It was the nicest time I’d had in years, and provided a much-needed lift to my soul. Richard hates to come to anyone’s home empty-handed, so had asked me what sort of gift I’d prefer. He was thinking about a sword, since we both enjoy weapons, and have done some collaborations on fantasy and sci-fi stories. I told him this would be wonderful…but what seemed more necessary is paint for my house. I had already researched the possibilities, and so the trip to the paint store was an easy and pleasant one.

Much plaster and electrical work needed to be done before painting could begin:

Much of the updating of electricity in the house had already been done, but some things needed tweaked, and we added a couple light fixtures. Billy, above, learned quite a bit about electrical installation techniques and plaster repair from a grandfather with much experience.

Next came the painting itself:

Here are the results:

Copy of Aug10-21, 2014 763Since the painting was finished, the house has been cheerful even in dark winter. Also, the walls are a breeze to wash now, and I can sponge-mop the ceiling in 15 minutes, eliminating smoke build-up from the wood fires.

I left the north wall bare for now, as it is going to be wallpapered. The trickiest part of the whole painting process was measuring to get the blue background (same shade as the ceiling) just so behind my set of shelves, without its sticking out beyond the shelves, but not leaving a yellow rim inside, either. (The house is nowhere near square or level.) I am very pleased with it. I have many blue-themed dishes, and it suits just right. I am thinking of repeating this effect in the kitchen cupboards, but am not sure yet. I’ll think on it a bit.

(The bookshelf near the stove was moved before we used the stove again in the early fall.)

November 27, 2014 – Picture and Project Wall –

Nov.12-Jan15 2015 307This is part of our homeschooling method. It is our “bulletin board” for all kinds of things – famous speeches and portraits; maps; Scripture verses to memorize; anything that helps with planning art projects (such as the printouts of willow trees, which I am studying for a mural elsewhere); and animals that are beautiful or fascinating. Also, sometimes, we add things that are on our to-do lists – rockets to build, flowers to plant, special foods to try. It is a lot of fun, and many of the pictures get changed every two weeks or once a month, so there is always plenty of variety. I make a point of adding poetry, too, and information on the arts, as we all enjoy exploring many fields of thought.

Autumn Leaf Project –

I had read in an old kindergarten projects book that one could take preserved leaves, and make decorations by ironing them between sheets of waxed paper. So early in the year – the preceding Christmas, in fact, we had begun to save leaves, pressing them between paper towels in various large books. The kids collected throughout the spring and summer any leaves which caught their fancy, and when fall came around, we had a good selection from which to choose. I took ordinary sheets of waxed paper, arranged the leaves however it seemed good (with the kids’ input), laid another sheet on top – waxiest sides together, as the two sides of the paper are not identical – and went over them briefly with a medium-hot iron. They tape to the windows easily with Scotch tape. In bright sunlight, the arrangements look like stained glass. At night, they become opaque, but are still interesting.

When we were finished with the arrangements, toward late winter (it is essential to have colorful things up during the darkest part of the year), we laid them away in a box, ready for another time.


My gander, protective of his pretty goose:

photo 3 photo 5 photo 2

Ever since I was a child, I have wanted geese. We never had any growing up, and some acquaintances who did keep a flock assured us they were nasty, biting beasts.

Well, I wasn’t deterred.

So when some friends announced that they wished to thin their gaggle, Will and I jumped at the chance. We drove 45 minutes to our friends’ house to pick up the birds, intending to get some ducks, as well.

These friends own a greenhouse business, and the husband has 10 green thumbs and loves landscaping…so their yard is spectacular. ¬†A haven in this windswept, drought-thirsty land. So, wandering amongst the trees, well-groomed grass, fish ponds, and brick walks were several varieties of poultry. Guineas clucked and hunted – a different variety from our one poor lonely hen, but grayish and mostly similar to ours. Then, I spied an angelic white guinea, seeming so sweet in the middle of the flock. Most of the geese were in their pen, as were most of the chickens. The ducks, on the other hand, scampered, waddling, throughout the stand of wild plum bushes just south of the yard.

The kids marveled at the fish ponds while I talked to our friends about which birds to catch and about how we should do it.

After some comical pursuit, we (the six of us) caught four Chinese geese…and no ducks. We gave up on the ducks. There were a handful of white ones, and one that looked a bit like a mallard drake. I never spent time around domestic ducks, and these were far more agile than I supposed they would be.

We made the geese, gentle and wondering, sit down in cardboard boxes and tucked the flaps together, setting them in the shade as we finished catching the last ones. That made a trunkful.

Our friends offered to try to catch the ducks at night, while they were sleepy, and also proposed trying to get a guinea out of a tree at night, where they roost. We told them we only need one male, but if they wanted to get rid of more, we like guineas.

The geese were mostly cooperative, and none of them tried to seriously nip. At any rate, I’d had far worse bites from my favorite tom turkey of two years ago. One was determined, however, not to sit in his box, but made five efforts to escape. He pushed apart the flaps of the box, kicked open the bottom (it wasn’t a very sturdy box), and required the attention of one of the children to guard him. But at last we were on our way.

We were concerned about the trunk being hot, but couldn’t think of a better way to transport the birds, without borrowing a truck and a cage.

When we got home, I proposed that I would open one box at a time, pick the goose up until it was calm and had got its bearings, then set it down to begin exploring the yard. None of us wanted to shut the geese up in the chicken house, as they had already been shut up and had a frightful journey…but we weren’t sure they would stick around. We decided to risk it, supposing we could catch them toward sundown, if necessary.

Three disoriented, sleepy-looking geese came out of their boxes, and began looking for their former friends. The fourth was dead in the box, its neck cocked at an interesting angle, bill jammed in a corner. It had not been dead above five minutes, I judged, and had probably experienced heart-failure, as its eyes were wide open, suggesting a very sudden death – not heat stroke or despair or a variety of other things.

With a heavy heart, I decided to do an “autopsy”, just to be sure there were no organ abnormalities, broken bones, or anything suspicious. Everything checked out fine. On the “up” side, we did get to experience what domestic goose meat tastes like. It is much better than wild goose flesh. I found this a relief, after hearing all my life of Victorian families devouring goose meat at Christmas. (Really? Ugh! I had decided, and hadn’t really cared that Will no longer hunts much. Beyond sandwiches with nothing but mayonnaise, there doesn’t seem to be a lot to do with wild goose meat. And I’ve been through a stack of suggestions.)

The three remaining geese wandered widely throughout the afternoon, and toward dark, we herded them a half-mile back to the house. But we could not catch them. At last, they dashed through a break in the tree row and headed out into the pasture. I gave up, tired, sore, and feeling they would probably make it alright until daylight if they’d just have the sense to bed down and stay put. But we decided to take one more peek at them before leaving them alone. Lo and behold, only one goose had materialized on the other side of the trees. The poor gander marched and honked and peered about for his gaggle-mates until we went to the house, praying for their survival.

What had happened to the other two geese? We’re not sure. Perhaps they bedded down in the trees and called it quits for the night, when the third one wasn’t looking. At any rate, the next morning, there were no honks resounding throughout the yard. Will went for a drive, to see if he could locate the gaggle…if there was one. He found two geese, over a mile away, in a field. He came back for the kids and I, and, together, we set out to catch them. Billy had rigged a leg-catcher out of stiff wire, and I felt this was our best chance…though I used it cautiously, you can be sure, realizing that these geese had nothing like the strength and resilience of Canada geese. Well, we had a stroke of luck. One of the pair jumped right in the open car door, as we chased her up the ditch. ¬†Will dove in and grabbed her. We boxed her and put her in the trunk. Between the four of us, we corralled the gander, and boxed him, too.

They are currently lodging in the lamb’s kennel, where they can see out, but not wander, and where we can make friends before they get set free again.

We still have not heard from the third goose. But we still are hoping. Will alerted all the road-grader drivers to please keep on the lookout for our roaming pet goose. ūüôā

Will surprised me several days ago by sending me a photo in my e-mail of a new attic floor. I happened to be away from home at the time, and when I saw the subject line, “150 sq ft of floor,” I admit I panicked, wondering what Will had decided now without telling me, and what he had done to which room? Well, when I saw the photo I was pleased. Here it is:


I am afraid Will is a bad photographer, and this picture makes me feel seasick, but it will suffice for now.

He had salvaged quite a stack of sheet metal off a roof he had re-done for a client, and while some of it has gone onto our own roof (partially done), he chose to use some of it for my attic, too! Most of my friends tell me I am pleased with simple things, but this¬†did please me! I’ve gone four years without a floor in my attic, having to make do with scraps, boards, and things taken off the trash heap to construct platforms which will hold the various things that need stored. So this was indeed a happy day.

I had intended to lay down some junky plywood, just for an overall platform until something better could be done, but Will assured me this would not have worked. When I eyeballed the various elevations of the sheet metal floor, I understood why. In at least two places, the floor was as much as an inch out of level in a foot’s distance! No, plywood would not have worked out well. Sheet metal, flexing and quick to lay down, worked out much better.

I thanked God for saving me the loads of work involved in pulling staples out of the plywood I had in mind, too, as it had come straight off another roof years back.

Well, so much for that.

Since this photo was taken, we have laid down more sheet metal, and have almost have the attic covered. I have cleaned the floor, and begun re-arranging the cabinets I got for my sewing and craft things. (These cabinets were salvaged out of a church remodel, and while I would never have chosen the orange counter top, I’m not complaining.)

Craft Cabinets, Attic, Not in Place - February 2014

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