Sunday, May 30, 2010

What I got at the auction...

Where were you in 1949?

I was negative 21 years old.  My mother was negative 3. 

Was 1949 one of the good old days?  It had to have been better than today.  Less drugs, unprotected sex, greasy fast food, unhealthy fad diets, less drama. 

Yeah, nope, it doesn't seem that was the case.

Witness, a 1949 copy of  A Woman's Home Companion.

So far it seems nice.  Knock-off Norman Rockwell illustration.  Lovely. 

But behold what lies within....

I wonder why that slogan didn't stick?  I, for one, do prefer my cooking grease to be digestible.

Then there's this...

Now, I don't know what Idle Hour Clothes are, but I want them.  And I promise to keep them gay with Ivory Flakes.  If they make Ivory Flakes anymore.  Probably when they stopped making Gay Idle Hour Clothes, they stopped making Ivory Flakes.  Pity.  But I will settle for a Gay Idle Hour, you can keep the clothes. 

Then there was this bit of upbeat journalism...

Wherein not only do too many babies die, but too many BABIES die.  Now having donned my GAY IDLE HOUR CLOTHES, I chose not to read the article.  However this one sentence caught my attention...

So if your grandmother is no longer with us, chances are she died of syphilis.  Or old age.  But probably syphilis.  One more reason why Betty White is so amazing.

The trouble started when they enrolled in The New DuBarry Success Course and got all sexy and stuff...

When she said she was gonna lose all that weight 'cause she wanted a shot, she probably didn't mean at a whoring sailor or 10 cc's of penicilin.  The poor dear. 

It must have been torture to lose all that weight with the mmmm mmmm good dishes the magazine featured.  For instance who could resist a steaming hot platter of Velveeta Salmon Shortcake!

Please email me if you want a copy of the recipe.  Really, I don't mind.  Go ahead.....Hello? Anyone?

Then there was the smoking.  We know it's bad for us now, but God bless 'em they didn't know back then.  If you were a syphilatic, overweight, Velveeta and digestible (I assume the other option was non-digestible?) Crisco eating, lady who hung around all day in your night gown-you certainly needed a stress reliever.  Besides the statistics wouldn't lie...right?

Way to go L.A.!

Of course they reported the real news too.  The shocking stories that made us shake our heads in wonder.  Stories like dun-dun-DUUUNNNN...this...

Honest to goodness, a two page article about this dude who ironed his shirt.  Something tells me the editor was just messing with people here.  Just trying to see if those ladies were paying attention. 

Now if I could go back in time I think I would have a pretty good reply to one Mr. Vern Swartsfager (I couldn't even make that name up). 


What's the matter with girls today?  Maybe it's the veneral disease, smoking, dead babies, digestible and non-digestible vegetable fat, unhealthy weight loss or lolling about in their pajamas all idle hours of the day.  However, without a doubt, the ultimate downfall of our fair sex will historically be shown to be.....

The Velveeta Salmon Shortcake. 

Smiles from the farm,

PS: This was most entertaining $5.00 I think I've ever spent.  I may need to get out more.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Summer showed up today.  Unannounced.  Unlike the summer that we have known before, she who flutters and giggles throughout the backyard, hiding behind blackberry brambles and swinging her bare legs from high atop apple tree limbs, this summer came heavy and bloated.  We didn't get the chance to chase her, she blasted in, grasping at our bodies and smothering our breath.  Any welcome we may have mustered was wiped away with cool cloths and washed down with ice water. 

Spring was still packing up her things.  Summer didn't seem to care and uncermoniously pushed her out.  Her lilacs and apple blossoms left behind, limp and pale,  like a nightgown on the back of a motel bathroom door. 

Summer snorted at our furrowed brows and labored sighs.  Her jowls jiggled and her sausage fingers chucked our chins and so soon we started to hate her. 

We passed each other in the halls, the streets, the aisle of the grocery store and our weary eyes bespoke of summer's premature capture.  The ONE, the one in every crowd who starts that spiteful cliche was immobilized by hateful glares even before the saying was said, "It's not so much the heat but the...."  It is too early. 

There are rumors that this is not truly summer.  It is a blatant imposter and spring is planning an attack this evening.   I pray this is so, for the opression of the heat has made me light headed and dare I say a tad dramatic?  

Smiles from HELL the farm,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One man's trash...

I wanted a wingback chair for this corner.  A nice tall one.  One with some age to it, didn't have to be early American or anything, just a little vintage.  There were a few at the auction on Saturday night.  So I planned on heading out there.  HOWEVER, sometimes if you are observant enough, exactly what you want jumps right out in front of you and makes itself yours.  This was the case of my wingback chair.  On my way to deposit kids where kids need to be, I saw this chair on the side of the road.  Oh, don't judge me.  It was fate, I tell you, fate. 

It will get new upholstery once I am done with the slipcover for my couch.  It is nice and solid, probably made in the 50's, and it meets my most stringent criteria for furniture fished out of the garbage, it doesn't smell like pee!  I'm very picky about these things you know.

So what else about this corner... Oh the print is an older one, probably 30's.  I paid $1.00 for it at the auction thinking that it was a new print in an old frame, but happily I discovered it is an old print in an old frame.  I love that.  Of course there is a story to it.  I actually got all the way home from the auction and realized that I had left it there and had to go all the way back.  So my $1.00 print probably cost $15.00 in gas.  Still a good deal. 

The lines are a reflection-it is in very nice condition.

Then I guess we need to read the writing on the wall.  I have looked at all the ready-made wall decal thingys at Target, the wall paper store and online.  They are expensive and none of them really said what I wanted to say.  So what did I do?  Well I thought of carbon paper and paint and well I didn't do that.  I printed the saying out on clear waterslide decal paper.  Then I cut carefully around each word.  Then I carefully soaked the decals, slid them on the wall and two tedious hours later I had my trendy wall art.  Now I already had the paper in my crafty stash so this didn't cost anything and I had ink in my printer. Word of advise if you want to do this, take a deep breath and work slowly.  The decal paper, when you use such large amounts of it, is slippery and it folds onto itself and is a huge pain.  But if you have patience, you can do this for almost nothing.  You can find the paper on eBay.   

So this corner cost me $1.00 plus gas.  Now if I had to buy the decal paper it would probably add another $10.00 and I am going to spend about $50.00 on fabric to recover the chair, but right now this will do. 


Tuesday, May 18, 2010


The Corner Before

Then I found this at the auction for $9.00

Thought it was real wasn''s particle board-like stuff.

But black spray paint blankets a multitude of sins...Ok, it doesn't at all, but it worked in this case.

I added some reproduction depression glass green knobs, added some coat hooks, flowers, well you can see it right here...

The silhouettes, I bought on eBay because the people were from my town.  I think I paid $20.00 for them.  The wooden whisky box I got at auction for $5.00 and there was other stuff in it too..., the figurine (you can't see it due to my wonderful photography abilities) is a cherub with a goat eating grapes, $1.99 at Goodwill; the white milk glass vase, $1.99 at Goodwill.  The pitcher, I've had for years so we'll say 0 for that one.  The black and white etching was a SWEET gift from my lovely bloggy friend Kathleen.  There are goats in it.  OH and the plates, the plates on the wall is a total rip off of the Nester.  'Cept I don't have as much open wall space.  I actually collected enough white plates to go around the whole room, but it was a little much.  So I opted for just two walls.  I like it.  Oh yeah, they were like $5.00 for the ones that you can see.  So in this corner we spent a whopping...$60.00 (well about that with the spray paint and plate hangers and unseen stuff). 

So once more: 

Tommorow, I write on the wall and pick through the garbage.  Yeah, I'm classy that way. 


Friday, May 14, 2010

My baby is 5!

Today is Little Bud's birthday. 

He is the nice one.  He always has a smile and being the youngest he doesn't expect much.  Though when he's mad, he'll tell you in a very high pitched screamy whine that makes your intestines knot up. Other than that he's my sweetie, schmoopsy, shmookum-ookums.  

Being the mom of  special needs kids means that I get to choose what they like.  So instead of making a transforming-monster-snake on a skateboard with gummy worms on it cake with black icing that pukes blood, I made Muno from Yo Gabba Gabba.  If you have no direct contact with people under the age of 6 then you may have no idea what I'm talking about.  This is Muno...(and Jack Black, Muno is the red one)

The Yo Gabba Gabba people sing songs like "Don't Bite Your Friends".  Good advice, sound, simple-you really can't argue with that logic.

So Little Bud got a Muno cake...

Happy Birthday Didda B-I love you!

Smiles from the farm,

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


  • Paint, $70.00
  • Brushes, rollers, pan, $25.00
  • Spackle, $20.00
  • Trim for 4 doors, $80.00
  • Trim for 3 windows, $70.00
  • (faux) Mop board, $110.00
  • Chair rail moulding, $60.00
  • Crown moulding to fix broken pieces, $25.00

Mop board.  There is no such thing as 10" floor trim.  At least not at Lowes or Home Depot.  They do have 10" pine board and a plethera of small mouldings that can be married together to look like mop board.  And each and every piece will need to be cut with the mitre saw at a perfect angle which is different for each and every corner.  Oh joy.

I bought this wallpaper to accent the wall.  It is a lovely celery green, very soothing and calm.  Which is weird, 'cause I think I've said more swear words since framing it in this chair moulding then I have ever said in my life.  The "POSTS" in aforementioned post and beam construction are evident in the living room.  They would be evident in the kitchen also, but when I had a "professional" fix my kitchen he blocked in the posts so the room is smaller but there are no weird little angles.  Not that there is anything wrong with weird little angles, they add character and you get to mitre the moulding to fit around them.  Wheeeee!  It is especially fun when the room is so far from square that it makes you dizzy.  No angle is perfect and they had to be cut three, four, five times to fit.  Also the room is crooked.  The picture of this beam was taken straight on, I am not leaning.  This took me hours and hours and hours to finish.  Ironically I was listing aft when I was finished and at least then it looked straight.   

Oh and this lovely little angle?  Chimney.  Crooked, crooked chimney.  See the optical illusion that makes it looked like the wall is larger at the ceiling and tapers in as it goes down to the floor?  Yeah, no illusion there.  Though it is only apparent from this particular angle.  So don't stand right here if you come to visit. 

The most important lesson (I just spelled that leison-I've got those too) that I have learned is that~~~

"There is no such thing as perfect in an old house.  If you can't make it fit, then do the best you can and just SPACKLE THE GAP."


Monday, May 10, 2010

Look up...

Oh my ceiling.  My lovely ceiling.  It is one of the reasons I bought this house.  My tin ceiling.  And the light fixture.  It is probably brass, but may not be, I'm not sure.  It is nothing special, probably a standard fixture in 1900, but I do adore it. 

Even more so now that it is cleaned up and repainted in satin black and against the clean white of a freshly painted ceiling. 

What do you think? 

Tommorow, the tale of the mitre saw, corners, molding and where most of my money went....


Friday, May 7, 2010

From the bottom up...

Before we start looking at my floor, let's talk style. 


Well I HAVE style, it's just really hard to define.  The house is 110 years old.  We have to respect that.  You just can't put skinny jeans on Grandmother and have it be ok.  So we have to have some Victorian influence.  Then there has to be the whole country aspect.  I really like the romantic country look, so we'll throw some of that in too.  Shabby chic, just a pinch.  Oh, oh and Rustic French Country--with distressed black paint and fleur de lis, toile and damask patterns?  Yup, need that too.  And lastly I just think the new retro patterns are great.  Big bold prints in bright contemporary colors.  How the heck will I make that work?  Oh, ye of little faith.  Keep watching. 

So on to Step 3.  The floor.  Ick.  In the pictures it looks like hardwood.  It is not.  It is LINOLEUM.  I KNOW!  It is linoleum made to look like wood.  Really.  Wow.  It was probably installed between 1956 when the last owners moved in and 1970.  It is cracked and horrible and no there is not hardwood beneath it.  There is plain old pine rough cut floor boards covered with something black and sticky and then a layer or gross plywood and then the linoleum. 

So, what to do?  In additon to the heinous floor's appearance, it is wonky.  Post and beam construction over 110 years tends to go wonky.  You can place a marble at one end of the room and it will quickly roll to the other in a roller coastery kind of way.   So we COULD rip up the floor, but we're not going to.  We are going to lay a plywood sub-sub-sub floor to even out the speed bumps and go from there.  I know all you purists out there are gagging on your Craftsman levels.  But really I'm looking for pretty, not function.  Don't judge me. 

So here is the new sub floor all put down.  And oh look Fred Flintsone brought Frankentube back into the room. It started to rain and good gracious we don't want our prehistoric television to get wet. 

Then I went shopping.  Husband bought the plywood, so I don't have to take that out of my budget.  I found laminate flooring at Lumber Liquidators for $.49 a square foot.  So for the entire room with the padding it was $180.00.  Awesome.  I know, I know I would rather have real wood too, but remember the budget people.  So to sum it up, I replaced the fake wood flooring with ummmm, fake wood flooring.  But just look at it!  So shiny and new and somewhat level, what more could a girl ask for! 

Frankentube is helping cut. 

So tommorow I will work on the ceilings and the trim.  I probably won't be back here until Monday, but there should be some major progress to see then!

Oh and our tally so far is:

  • Walls, $100.00

  • Flooring, $180.00

  • Snapple, $4.99
Which means I have $715.01 left.  Ok Pat, I'll take the ceramic dalmation for $40.00. 


Thursday, May 6, 2010

If These Walls Could Talk...

They'd be screamin'.  Really they would.  The walls are plaster and lathe.  I know this becuase I have brutally  torn the wallpaper from them about five times since we've lived here. 

It was around this picture that Husband came home and said swear words.  He paced and figured and took out a measuring tape and measured and ran his hands through his hair and said things like, "When you tear one thing down in an old house you are just uncovering ten more things that need to be fixed."  He sighed and said we might as well tear the walls out, insulate (see that blank spot where the mopboard used to be?  No insulation in the living room) and rerun the wiring.  Now remember yesterday.  I absconded with the $1,000.00 we got back on our tax return for this project.  I have already spent $75.00 on wall liner and $10.00 on spackle to fix the wall.  So really, $915.00 now.  I just watched him quietly until he threw up his hands and said, "I don't care, do whatever you want.  You will anyway."  See that's why we're still married.  So I did and now the walls look like this. 

Yes, I started wallpapering.  If you are like some snarky teenager who asks questions like, "What's with the random wallpaper?"  Well, you'll just have to wait to find out.  Brat. 

Come back tommorow to see what happened next!  It will be a HUGE transformation!

Now here are some answers to questions from your comments:  Char, the floor?  Not hardwood, we'll talk about that later.  The mopboards? All different pieces from various projects and floor add ons--has to go.  The pretty window molding, fake wood put on when I had the windows replaced, has to go.  The light fixture?  Don't worry Lily, she'll be back.  Marigold, I loved the wallpaper too, but it was too dark and the walls are crooked and stripes just don't work in this room--had to go.  Wendy, the ship picture is a family heirloom of my husbands.  I hung it there temporarily so it wouldn't get broken and that was the only nail available.  Ok, it was 7 years ago.  I told you I stopped looking at this room.  Anyway, the ship has sailed! 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This &*(^% Old House...

When I am down and out, feeling low, when tears are in my eyes.....I decorate.  And listen to sad music.  Thanks Art and Paul (just doesn't have the same ring does it?) 

So anyway, I have lived in this house for the longest that I have ever lived in one house in my entire life.  Eleven whole, solid years.  When I went looking for a house all those years ago I wanted an old house to fix up.  Oh, how I would plan and dream of renovating an old farm house-I would bake cookies and wear aprons and have garden parties. 

So it has been an act of love and kindess that has gone into the remaking of this little 110-year-old farm house.  Everything has gone perfectly and my projects are always under budget and it looks exactly like I want it to.

No, no, no none of that is true.  My dreams of Laura Ashley wallpaper and Rachel Ashwell inspired vignettes were kicked over, trampled on, spit on and set on fire by failing septic tanks, falling down chimneys, dysfunctional water heaters, dry rot, drafty windows, insufficient insulation~~I really don't need to go on, though I could. 

So I did the best I could with wall paper and blinders.  This~~~~sigh~~~~ this is my living room.  I apologize in advance. 

Yeah, I know.  I hate it.  But life happens you know and after a while you just don't see it anymore.  Well I decided life is too short to be in a place that doesn't make you happy.  SO--here we go...

Step 1.  Clear everything out of the room.  Yikes.

Let's see what changes I can make with $1,000.00 and some, a little, a lot,  a freaking football stadium filled with faith. (Oh and lots of Raspberry Snapple)

Come back tommorow for Step 2.


Monday, May 3, 2010


Tonight this is the view from where I sit as I write this post. 

Over my dandelion littered lawn, past my pecking hens, under the old apple tree with the swing, down the little hill where the herbs are planted to where our first pig sty was, under another old apple tree, right by the bee hives and a bit beyond the huge tire holes where the fire truck got stuck when my husband had a brush fire without a permit, there is a field.  Beyond the field is woods and trees and poison ivy.  Through the woods is a pond.  Not a big one, maybe 12 acres and it's kind of swampy, but a pond nonetheless.  I love this piece of land.  I own it.  I can open up my back door and take off running and not hit anything or anyone else's land until my breath burns in my chest.  It's not perfect.  I'm closer to the highway (we say interstate in Maine, but I'm not sure if everyone does that?)  then I'd like to be and can hear it and I wish I couldn't.  But other than that I am happy here. 

No one bothers me.  I have one neighbor on one side and I'm sure they talk about the rampant pigs and the goats being chased by dump trucks and they've had to call me to rescue an adolescent rooster from their shrubbery, but things are generally pretty calm here. 

This morning something happened that sullied my funky little utopia.  I'm sure few people would think it a big deal,  though I did call law enforcement.  This morning someone's dog came onto my piece of land and while I put together breakfast for my children he chased and killed three of my chickens.  Now my chickens don't have names and we don't knit sweaters for them.  But we do keep their house clean, feed them good food, water them daily and let them have free range of the entire property.  In turn they eat bugs and give us eggs to eat and to sell.  I love having them.  Sometimes foxes and other predators come into the yard and once in a while we lose chickens to them.  This makes me angry and I hate it, but I know the foxes are eating the chickens and taking them back to their babies and although I don't want them to do it and do everything to avoid that happening, it is somehow easier to take then having a domesticated animal kill for pleasure and leave the birds broken and wasted, just to move on to the next one. 

I caught him in the act of chasing down a fourth bird and was able to run him off.  As soon as I went inside, he came back and grabbed another.  If I'd had a gun, I would have shot him, but I was able to kick him and save the chicken.  The owner was notifed by police where her dog was and she came to my house mouthing her apologies even as she drove down my driveway.   She offered to compensate me for the birds but I refused.   All I asked for is that this doesn't happen again.  I know that she can't really promise that, even though she did. 

I just feel smaller somehow from this.  Should I cage my chickens?  Should I have them at all?  Should I have demanded more from the owner?  Should I have demanded more from the police?  

As I dug three tiny little graves, I felt such a sense of waste and sadness at the futility of it all.  I don't have the time or energy to figure out the bigger picture and I really don't have time to get angry.  I'm just sad.