Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I have been hoping and looking for an old kitchen work table for the center of our vintage 1932 kitchen.  Even at estate sales the price was usually $200+.  I wasn't all that optimistic when I bid $75 on a beat-up and filthy work table at a "bid only" estate sale.  A week later I got a call telling me the first place bid of $265 backed out.  He had thrown out all the other bids but he found mine.  All of the other bids were higher than mine but he would sell it to me for my $75 bid.  I beat the feet right down and picked it up!

After scouring it with boiling water and environmental cleaner, applying coats of primer and Benjamin Moore Advance semi-gloss in Nantucket Gray, AND soaking the original patina hardward in boiling water, here is my new table that has already made a difference in our kitchen.

I kept the top original with lots of scrubbing, gentle sanding, and three coats of polyurethene.
So pleased!



Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Today, my husband and I visited our favorite Oregon orchard, Mt. Hood Organic Farms ( .  It is located just outside Hood River, Oregon. We are usually there on a weekend when it is crowded but today we had the place to ourselves. 


No this isn't Switzerland, it's Oregon - with some haze from nearby wildfires almost obsuring Mt. Hood.  This is the scene that greets us as we arrive at the orchard's main courtyard.

Love the crafted architectural style the owners are creating to exist alongside the original houses and buildings  . . .

This is a small, quality orchard.  The fruit ripens on the trees until the last minute.  It means the fruit doesn't store as long for large grocer consumers but tastes better than fruit picked too early.  Can you see the Canal Red pears on these trees? 
While the owners have 200 acres only 40 are planted in pear and apple trees.  Owner John has decided to keep his orchards small and high quality.  Here are some Oregon Gala apples which will be picked in the next few days before the fall rains start this weekend.

We selected some of these Honey Crisp apples  . . .
And some of these Bosc pears . . .
We enjoyed the open foyer for selecting our apples and pears . . .
Mt. Hood Organic Farms hosts a lot of weddings.  Here is a recent menu for one of them . . .
Wouldn't you love to go to a wedding here, or maybe have your wedding here? 
Here is the guest cottage available all year, so darling . . .
The owner's home also has a carriage house for guests . . .
Our rescued golden retriever, Ravenna, loved the cool grass and the view!

Mt. Hood Organic Farms sells their apples and pears at our neighborhood Hollywood Farmer's Market in Portland.  Get there early as they sell out!  If you have a quality grocery in your neighborhood, ask them to carry this farm's wonderful apples and pears.  This is a small American farm offering the best in orchard fruit.  This fruit has no spots, bug holes, bruises, marks or fake waxy film. All that we saw were picture perfect and grown without chemicals. I love supporting them! 



Thursday, February 17, 2011


My father is a painter and I grew up around a number of artists of all kinds.  My home town, St. Louis, has a great art museum, when I lived there was free.  It sponsored wonderful exhibits including Van Gogh and Matisse.  I spend a lot of time visiting local galleries to take in the creations of such talented artists.  But, collecting original art is out of my budget.  Or is it? 

See what I picked up recently at an estate sale for . . .

$2.50!  It is a water color by a local Oregon artist of a scene in the Cascades Mts.
Or how about this one from the same sale:
$2.50 again.  This one is a small oil painting of the Oregon coast. 

I found this next piece at an estate sale about 2 years ago.  It was a crowded sale, but I got in early and found it in one of the bedrooms lying on a bed full of stuff.  It was quite a bit more  . . . $15!  As I carried it through the sale, other people commented on it and remarked what a nice piece.

This is another Oregon artist and is a wood block print of one of the coastal trees along the beach.  The artist is known as a painter and printmaker. 

                                  MY COLLECTION

Soon to be expanded, I hope.  I am always looking for the right piece and the right cheap price!  Let me know if you have any special original art finds.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


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I found this wonderful stencil booklet for $1.50 at a locally owned art supply store.  I grabbed most of what they had in stock.  I kept one and gave the others away.  I knew I could use them somewhere.  I soon realized it would be great to have a Chinese greeting at the exterior front door.  And, it turned out above the mailbox was the best choice. 

I love the original brass mailbox slot with years of patina. 

I selected two chinese characters from the above booklet.

                                    Long Life                   Happiness

I used some of our black trim paint and added these welcoming symbols above the mail box.

Since the house has cedar shake siding, I was not able to keep the stencil perfectly flat when applying the paint.  There was some bleeding of the black paint which I had to cover with the exterior house paint.  I used a craft paint brush to dab and cover over the out-of-place black paint.

It adds a little extra to the entrance.  Something different yet does not change the original character of the house. 

Here is the view of the front door.  (Yes, I am in the middle of stripping the front door!  It is going slowly!  I am not crazy about the paint stripper I am using.  Any suggestions for an effective stripper that is not TOO toxic?)  Someday, I hope to show the whole redone entrance but could not wait to share the mailbox compliment.  It was a cheap and easy project I am very pleased with.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I love the hunt for something interesting and cheap when I peruse estate sales.  But I never considered this find one sunny Spring Saturday.  I had stopped at an estate sale to see if there was anything worth returning for the next day when prices were reduced 50%.  I passed through the house, the basement, then to the garage.  Out the garage doors and around the corner was a pile marked free.  It consisted of cardboard boxes stacked on top of each other.  The top box had "Drapes" written on it.  I peered inside.  On top were some plaid panels, then a fluffy valance, and then I saw it. . . the flowers, those brightly colored, large print, bold flowers.  I recognized it immediately, BARKCLOTH!  And it was a wonderful semi-tropical print with great colors on a cream background.  I started pulling them out and they just keep coming.  Two full panels and a valance were soon in my arms.  I held them up briefly for a quick look and they were in great shape, even the lining was intact. 

I looked around, thinking someone would say "what are you doing with those barkcloth drapes?"  I pulled myself together.  After all, they were in the free pile.  When I got home, I washed them immediately on delicate, in cold water and line dried. I ironed them carefully.  They are fabulous!