Wednesday, April 27, 2011

They're back!

Pileated Woodpecker, 16-19 inches tall

While I know this has nothing to do with decorating it does have something to do with spring around our home that has made me very excited…our colorful birds have returned! This gives me great hope that spring is here. After Saturdays snow today’s high of 72 degrees comes as both a shock and a welcome surprise although it’s going cold again tomorrow.

Red-Breasted Grosbeak

I looked over to our bird feeders and this guy is the first of his kind to arrive. I know it’s a guy because the females are a dull spotted, striped brown. In the bird world it’s always the males who are colorful.

Male and female Cardinals

There’s a whole lot of Amour going on around here!


After that amour they're going to need a few nests for the little ones.

Golden American Finch

The only female in that crowd is the dull looking one at the top in the row of three. Definitely not like the human world where females out number the males but the end result is still the same......;)

male Bluebird

Just like a man to get the munchies afterwards but soon we'll have the babies visiting our feeders.


But the best part of the warmer days, a tired puppy after spending the day outside!

May you know such peace!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

April Showers??!!

Our first daffodil opened despite that they're receiving moisture in the form of snow!

The Easter Bunny had better wear his boots because it's coming down like gangbusters!

Wishing all of you a very Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Brief Interlude….

I’m getting very excited, it’s that time of year when all the postcards start flowing into my mailbox for upcoming shows and antique container deliveries from Europe. This postcard above is announcing a new container from France for Bush Antiques in New Orleans. Love the images dealers choose to present an antique piece.

French campaign bed

French toile bed

Beds in every size and to fit every taste!

This postcard from Michael Trapp was announcing he’s open for the season! He closes shop during the winter months so he can shop…. rough life huh?

16th century Italian tin glazed wine jars

I purchased one of these wine jars from Michael for my new kitchen and can be seen here and I think I own that green one right there in the middle, love it!

Pair of Neapolitan Bronze Torchiers

I’m loving these small torchieres and they’re reasonably priced, I might have to break down and buy them but don’t tell mister man! If you live on the east coast Michael's shop is always worth a visit but he's only open on Saturday and Sundays.

Then we have my absolute favorite, held three times a year in Brimfield Massachusetts is the Brimfield Antique Show. This show comes in and takes over the entire town spreading for miles on end with dealers from every part of the world. If you go home without a truckload of treasures then you just weren't looking hard enough!

The day before Brimfield opens to the public and to kick things off is the Antique Textile and Vintage Fashion Show. Dealers from all over the world set up here and because I deal only in European goods you know I'm first in line for this show. I leave broke, tired but extremely happy because I finally get to see in person and touch the things I'm purchasing first hand.

The textile show offers so much more then just my type of textiles, European and really old, they also offer antique clothing, grain sacks and furniture, if it’s cloth this show offers it. For someone like me who lives out in the country with nothing around the Brimfield Show and a host of others like Round Top in Texas offers so much during the summer months. Just to be able to touch and see is intoxicating when I typically buy from dealers on the computer. Just two more weeks and we're shopping! I'm getting very giddy!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Details: Mister man Built a little somethin'

While the upstairs of the barn was being spray insulated the downstairs was fast coming along. One of those things was the staircase that mister man felt the need to change in the design, something else that cost more money! Even though mister man was building the stonewalls and he was using leftover granite blocks it still cost extra to have half the lower barn dug out as seen here.

While these pictures don’t look like much yet it will. The staircase is 42” wide and goes up and takes a 90-degree angle.

Here you can start to see the walls coming together with cement and granite blocks. The cement blocks will be hidden under the treads so no sense in wasting expensive antique granite blocks.

The brick you see in the middle of the wall won’t show either but since mister man had cement blocks and granite blocks in that one pass he had to make the granite as wide as the cement to keep things even. All kinds of tricks! You can see here that as you start up the stairs they face out the back of the French doors.

Mister man allowing a rare picture of himself but he worked his tail off to finish the walls in two days time. This picture was snapped after spending a fourteen-hour day up to his knickers in cement and stone. He usually looks so much better but someone was tired!

The next morning after having an acid bath to wash all the stone dust off the walls. The cement block area under the stairs will be storage.

The stairs are actually going to be wood since building the rises and treads out of stone would have meant building the underneath as a solid structure. It would have been heavy and not cost efficient. See how the treads will hide the cement block and you’ll be left with just the pretty antique block showing…love it!

Above view looking down the staircase.

While the staircase walls were being built our contractors were busy finishing up the rest of the downstairs that included mister man’s workshop and the main barn area. This is a view of mister man’s workshop, remember how dark and dank the place was, look below….

Not a very welcoming room huh?

Here’s a view of the barn floor where we decided to make it pretty. Since the back wall is stone boulders, one sidewall was granite block, we decided the floor should reflect all the stone. Very easy to do by tossing small stones in on the wet cement to give it texture.

If you look at the top of the picture you see what looks like two small rooms. The one on the left is storage under the staircase, the other holds all the heating units for the radiant floor heat upstairs.

Close up of what the finished floor looks like....

That raised back cement step just in front of the boulder wall is actually a French drain since water could still tickle down through the ground and out the boulder wall but so far no water so our contractors have done their job! As you can see the whole barn is really starting to take shape.

Up next, buttoning her up!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Gods are smiling upon us......

Unlike our weather from eleven days ago, the snow has finally melted and the sun Gods are smiling down upon us…..

While we aren’t quite ready for beach wear and building castles in the sand…..

Our flowers haven’t fully popped up out of their winter slumber deep beneath the ground…..

One of us sure is happy to be able to roll about in the grass and sun….
Happy spring everyone!

(images via cote quest & mine)

Friday, April 8, 2011

It's in the Details!

I have to tell you I love that wall of windows, its like being up in the treetops! Now that the windows are in they need to be framed out and I for one was wondering how they did curves since wood doesn’t come rounded. I don’t know about you but I was hugely fascinated by how they did this process.

Before the half round window went in they made a template on plywood by simply laying the window down and drawing a line around it. Then they cut and screwed pieces of wood around the inside of the template. Next it was a simple matter of cutting thin long lengths of wood, the thin wood bends, and they glued and nail each piece together.

They just kept adding layers until the desired frame thickness was achieved.

Then sanded the whole frame and filled in tiny holes with epoxy glue that really sealed the whole thing together.

Since our barn doors on the outside needed arched framing our contractors took over part of the barn for this building process while the annex was being insulated with spray foam. (Look out that big window, see the tree tops!)

You can see one arched frame for the half round window standing up in the annex along with its template. See how big they are compared to the door? This picture was taken after the annex was insulated with spray foam, you don’t insulate inside walls. You can also see some of the plasterboard going up on the ceiling between the rafters. No insulation needed there since we raised the roof and insulated on the outside.

See how nice the framing came out and you can’t even tell it was made out of several lengths of wood rather then one.

One of the changes mister man and I decided on was the staircase leading up into the barn. Originally it was going to be all wood but since mister man had a bit of antique granite stone left from building the two end walls (and lets be honest he can’t help himself) he thought a stonewall staircase would look amazing. Unfortunately that meant deep digging for the footers since stone is too heavy for a simple sonatube.

It was a little hairy having a small excavator in the lower part of the barn under the floor joists, there were only mere inches above it to move and every once in a while the whole barn was rattled from the slight bumps from the excavator. It would have been infinitely easier had mister man decided the staircase sooner but there you go! Because the mountain we live on has a natural water aqueduct the hole the excavator dug wanted to fill with water so we had our very own mini moat in the lower part of the barn.  

We were going to need the dirt the excavator removed to fill the hole back in after mister man built the footers so it was placed on the other side of the barn. See that back wall of boulders, the entire back of the barn sits on the wall and it extends about twelve feet out into the back under the soil so no fear of that puppy ever coming down. Our entire home sits on a foundation of boulders.

Speaking of puppy, Dylan couldn’t help himself and climbed up on the mountain of dirt. It was cool, he likes heights for some reason, and lets be realistic, he’s a dog, it’s DIRT! Look at that happy face!

So while mister man went to work on the footers for the staircase and the barn was being insulated it was now my turn to head off and do some wheeling and dealing, time to see about purchasing the antique flooring! Up next the stonewall staircase, wait until you see!

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