My Heart Broke a Little Today

My Heart Broke a Little Today

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky. ”  Kahlil Gibran

Today was a sad day for us. A towering cottonwood tree that is on our property crashed to the ground. My heart broke a little. Okay, a lot. I cried. When we were deciding where to put the greenhouse, one concern of ours was building too close to the cottonwood tree. We knew that it would need to be trimmed, but we had no idea that with all the rain we’ve had over the last few days caused the tree branches to become too heavy. All the large branches came down.

I was supposed to go down there today to clear the area where we’ll be building the first structure, but with all the rain we’ve been having, I canceled. It was a good thing too, because Simmi would have been playing in that area and who knows what might have happened if it never rained today.

I’ll be heading down tomorrow to take as many cuttings of the tree as I can, and I’ll try to root them to plant next spring. It might be too late to try and root them now, but it’s worth a shot. I know that in the spring the tree will send out new suckers and new growth from where it broke, and if my cuttings don’t root this year, I’ll use next year’s growth to start new trees.

It was such a beautiful tree. It’s commanding presence will be deeply missed.

It was such a beautiful tree.

For perspective, this is Saint standing next to part of the tree. He’s over 6 feet tall.

Cutting and clearing the tree is going to be a huge undertaking!


Another Project is Finished

Another Project is Finished

Last night I finished the stitch work on the second lumbar pillow. With this project now complete, I can begin working on some art to hang above dining room buffet. This weekend we’ll be painting the buffet.

Here are a few photos of each of the pillows:

I’m happy with the outcome. I found a great sectional I’m keeping my eye on. I’m hoping the price comes down on it. It’s currently at a local thrift shop but priced at $200.00. That’s a bit out of our budget at the moment. Dom and I sat on the sectional and it was super comfy, but the color is pink roses, and that’s just a little too fru-fru for my taste. I would definitely reupholster the sectional in a natural linen or soft canvas material. Then it would be perfect for our living room and complement my two chairs beautifully.

I went to the thrift store yesterday and purchased these two botanical prints for the dining room. They were already framed and ready to go home with me. They didn’t break our budget in the least. I got this set for $20.00. A total steal if you ask me!

Here are some of the things left to do in the dining room:

  • Paint the buffet
  • Complete art to hang over buffet
  • Find a budget-friendly 8×10 area rug that will knock my socks off (haha)
  • Add linen curtains and bamboo roman shade
  • Hunt down a large variegated ficus to balance the awkward picture window
  • Eventually, purchase two smaller french crystal chandeliers to replace the one hanging now, and hang the current chandelier in the mudroom. I’m classy like that. Ha
  • Enjoy each and every moment surrounded by beauty and love

The headboard that we got for Simmi’s room turns out to be for a full-sized bed. We have a guest bedroom upstairs and I’ll be refinishing the headboard for that room. To my utter embarrassment, I had no idea there were three bedrooms upstairs. The way the second floor is situated there are two staircases. One that leads to Simmi’s room, and the other leads to our room. In the middle is a connecting room which has complete privacy and two doors. For whatever reason, I never even thought of that space as a bedroom. I just thought it was a walk through room to get to Simmi’s bedroom. Its not. Its a bedroom. So, we’ll be making it into a guest bedroom for our family that comes to visit.

I’ll be on the lookout for a twin headboard for Simmi.

Settling Into Cottage Life

Settling Into Cottage Life

Tomorrow marks our one month anniversary of moving to our cozy little cottage in Vermont. Life here is beyond peaceful, filled with love, laughter, light, and great friendships. We’re settling in beautifully and Simmi has made the transition with very little emotional upset.

This past week I found a few must have pieces of furniture that were in my mind quite a steal. A trestle table with 8 ladder back chairs, and two Drexel Heritage wingback chairs upholstered in a stunning crewel. When I saw these two completely separate sets of furniture, I knew they would look stunning together.

We traveled to New Hampshire to pick them up, and they did not disappoint! I got the wingback chairs for $100.00 and the table and chairs for $150.00. Yes, it was insanely cheap, and since we are on a very tight budget, these were perfect for what we needed.

A few years ago I purchased two brass chandeliers for $25.00 with the intention of giving them a makeover, and since I couldn’t leave them behind when we moved from New Mexico, they have been sitting in my garage this whole month begging me to fix them up and use them. I painted the one chandelier, and the other one is awaiting its beauty treatment.

Dom hung the newly painted chandelier yesterday, but he hasn’t hooked it up yet. The dining room is a bit awkward in that it has a large wall space but no real place to put a hutch, and a large picture window set off to the side. The picture window is positioned in such a way that most window treatments won’t work or look right. I’m currently at a loss as to what would work for the large window. We unpacked and hung a few poster prints we had just to warm up the empty wall.

Last week I shared a photo of our dining room buffet and talked about how we are going to paint it red, but after getting the wingback chairs in the dining room, I decided that I wanted to go with a very bold and striking color that you don’t see often. I feel it would complement the chairs beautifully, and its the only time I’ll be using the color…at all. I’m not a fan of orange, and I think that’s why I think its the perfect color to complement our dining room set. I know, I’m weird!

Anyway, the color we’ve chosen is Inferno by Behr. It’s more of a red-orange, but it is orange nonetheless!

Dom will be painting the primer on the buffet this week, and I should have the piece finished by Sunday.

To complement the buffet, I’ve decided to do a charcoal and sepia drawing of a ewe, and frame it in an ornate gold leaf.

<——— This is the photo I’ll be drawing this week

Of course I’m not sure how long it will take me to finish the drawing, but it will be my first art piece in about 13 years. When we lost everything due to mold contamination and infestation in Maryland, I had to throw out all my original artwork. Nothing could be saved. I felt it was time to get new art up on the walls in celebration of our new lives.

The piece unframed will be 30″x40″ and I haven’t decided how large I want the frame to be.

As soon as I finish the stitch work on the lumbar pillow, the ewe will be next.


Dom has been in his glory working for GeoBarns. Here is a photo he sent me of the progress they’re making in Lyme, NH. Today the roof is going on!

Projects Underway

Projects Underway

Over the last few weeks we’ve been getting settled in and I’ve been working on a few projects. The first project was getting Simmi’s dresser repaired and painted. I finished that last week. I chose to paint it using chalk paint, a stencil in silver, and a top coat of urethane. It’s been curing for a little more than a week now, and soon will be ready to go up into her room.

Here are a few before and after photos:

While the dresser has been curing, I’ve been busy doing a little stitch work on some pillows for our chairs. I purchased two chairs for $25.00 from the salvation army back before we left New Mexico. When I sat in them I knew I had to have them and that some how we would be able to fit them into the trailer for the road trip. They suffered a little damage during the trip and the fabric got a little scuffed, but overall it wasn’t too bad.

I was in JoAnn Fabric and spotted this fabric on sale for $5.00 and knew it was meant for my super high priced set of salvation army chairs. Haha. The only thing missing was some colorful stitch work to really make the fabric pop.

Over the last week, a little time spent here and there, and yesterday I finished up the first lumbar pillow.

The top panel is with stitch work, and the bottom panel is what the fabric looks like without it.

Now the only things left to do with these chairs is to clean up the wood and find a few gorgeous Icelandic sheep pelts to drape over the white fabric and the look will be complete!

My next project while I’m working on the second lumbar pillow, is to paint Simmi’s new headboard. I’m still planning whether it will all be one color, or a few different colors and even a little upholstery added to the center of the headboard. There is a panel that unscrews at the center which would allow me to add some padding and fabric. I found beautiful fabric screaming for some stitch work at JoAnn that would be perfect for her room (and her). Anyway, Simmi already picked out the color she wants for her headboard when we were at Sherwin Williams.

Simmi chose the top color for her headboard.

After Simmi’s headboard is finished, I’ll be painting a buffet our friends purchased for us when we moved here. I was back and forth over whether to paint it or just leave it as it is, but because there is a bit of a musty smell coming from it, we decided it would be best for my health if Dom sealed it up with a mold blocking sealer, and then I could paint it. Being that I’m very allergic to mold, I can’t have contact with this piece of furniture until it has been completely coated and sealed up.

We chose to go with a red. I’m more partial to a Swedish blue color, but I think the piece was calling for something hot and heavy to go with its substantial presence. The photo doesn’t do justice as to the size of this buffet.

We chose Scarlet as the color.

So that’s a list of just some of the projects underway. There’s more, but I’ll save that for another time.

Thanks for reading!


Installing a New Cooktop

About a month ago, Dom broke the cooktop accidentally while straining some rendered fat into a glass crock for storage. He went to pick up the crock and it slipped out of his hands and broke the cooktop. Since I was skiddish about using the right two burners, we opted only to use the large and small burner to the left until we found the right cooktop that would fit our counter opening and that was similar to the cooktop we had. That isn’t easy to find since glass cooktops cost a HUGE amount of money. Everything we looked at was between $600-$1500.00 and we needed a 36 inch to fit. It was going to take a miracle to find something inexpensive.
While looking through craigslist, we found an Amana to replace the one that was already in the house when we moved in. This one was very nice, had a little stainless steel to compliment our range hood, and had a price tag of $250.00. Not bad right!? The owner was nice enough to take it to a reputable appliance store to have it tested for us and we were able to get the approval of the store in writing that it was in good working order. We bought it and it sat in the house for three weeks, that is, until today! I was so excited that Dom made that the priority this morning. Here are a few more photos:

Yes the cooktop was STILL in the box. The previous owners took very good care of it while they used it for only a few months, and then changed their minds and went with another model. The cooktop sat in the box for a few years. It was impeccably clean and well cared for.

After taking the cooktop out, we were faced with the nasty, grimy disgusting crap that was hanging out underneath! It was so gross. Whoever installed the cooktop never bothered to put high heat silicone around the edge to seal it and keep the dirt out.

Are you digging the old shelf paper in my drawer? Yes those are strawberries. I haven’t gotten around to lining the drawers yet. I’m always amused when I open the drawer though…I don’t know why.

This is the new cooktop straight out of the box before I even cleaned it.

Dom connecting the stove. See the inside of the cabinet door? Yes that is what the kitchen cabinets used to look like.

Smoothing the bead of high heat silicone.

After Dom connected everything, we tested it and everything worked perfectly. We’re very pleased that we found such a treasure on craigslist! I’m also happy that I can work with more than two burners again. On the agenda for today (in no particular order) is taking care of the angora rabbitry roof, more garden clean up, some maintenance and spraying down the courtyard.

Look What Two Months Can Do!

This was taken on May 31st this year…

This photo was taken on July 25th. On May 31st, only the Armenian cucumbers were planted…no sunflowers, beans, or bush cucumbers. On May 31st there were no fig trees or Western sand cherry, and the globe artichokes were only tiny little things. Two months is all it takes to change the landscape.

May 28th 2011, the sunflowers and zucchini are the only things planted…

Two months later, sunflowers are totally head heavy, summer squash puts out copious amounts of fruit, snow peas are growing strong, honeydew melon vines are about to take over the back and the grey zucchini is coming to maturity and producing very big tasty fruit.

May 23rd, Noah helped me plant all the peppers that grace the walking path…

July 29th and some of the peppers are starting to ripen. Noah will be home on Sunday, so he will be able to harvest some of the first peppers when they are ripe. Next spring in place of the peppers and beans growing along the walking path, will be gooseberry, indigo and golden currants. I’ll be starting these berry bushes from seed this winter.

We’re also excited because soon our new shipment of baby trees will be arriving. We have seven Western Soapberry trees, three white Russian mulberry trees, and five wild honey locust trees! All of them will be planted in the chicken pasture. They are just little seedlings, so they will need to hang out with the Paulownia trees for a while.

Soapberry trees actually produce soap that can be used in laundry, to wash your hair and also anything else that needs to be cleaned. How awesome is that? We will be growing our very own soap! I first saw a soapberry tree at a nursery in Albuquerque and the flowers on it were intoxicating to the bees. Bees can not stay away from this tree’s blossoms. I thought to myself, “this is a keeper tree! great for the bees” and I also thought it was a winged sumac tree. So I started to search for winged sumac trees to no avail! I went back to the nursery and asked if they would be getting any more winged sumac trees and that is when the guy working there told me that it was actually a soapberry tree! I asked if they had any seedlings, nope! Just the full grown trees growing gracefully in the nursery. So the search online began and I found a company that actually does have some Western soapberry trees. These are not the soapberry trees from Asia, these trees are native to Texas, New Mexico and other southwestern states.

Here are a few photos of a winged sumac and a soapberry tree to see how similar they are: