Wednesday, June 30, 2010

sounds of summer

Letting the breeze in through the windows today.  I have grown so accustomed to air conditioning, that I am missing out on those sounds I love. Birds chirping, cicadas singing, the water trickling through the fountain.   It's the cicadas I miss the most. That sound brings me right back to city summers....yes, there are cicadas in Queens......and we do have yards there. (One of the first questions my husband asked me when we first met was if I had a backyard or a fire escape.  I think he envisioned all of Queens looking like Eddie Murphy's neighborhood in Coming to America.)

  We didn't have air conditioning growing up. Summers were hot. and sticky.  We had fans, but that didn't even seem to help most nights.  When I was very young, my bedroom was on the first floor of the house. With the windows open I would hear my older brothers and their friends running between the houses playing Ring-a-lario in the dark.  Ring-a-lario 1-2-3! Ring-a-lario 1-2-3!  I would hear Mister Softee's jingle and wish I could get a chocolate cone with rainbow sprinkles. 
As I got older, my room was upstairs in the back of the house.  There was lots to hear through those windows.....
The grandmother around the corner yelling at Mister Softee to lower his music. I can still hear her shrill voice, and you can too, if you imagine Edith Bunker yelling, "QUIET! The baaaby's sleeping!!!!!"
Drag racing on the strip almost a mile away.
The occasional crash.
Voices from the television in the family room down below passing up through the steamy air into my window.
Cars driving down the side street, booming music.
Crickets. Always crickets. Even amongst those other sounds of summer.
And in the morning.....cicadas and sprinklers.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Grain Sack Camp Stools

Over a month ago I picked up an old wooden camp stool dirt cheap. It was in pretty good shape, but it needed some cleaning up. I couldn't decide if I would leave it as it was, or paint it and recover it with a cute patterned fabric.   So, there it sat, like so many other projects of mine I have yet to get to.  Until this weekend.  
I came across another similar camp stool at an estate sale.  I also picked up some grain sacks. As I was sifting through the grain sacks, I was stacking them on top of the stool, and then it hit me - a sort of "happy accident" - these would make great seat covers for the stools!

I machine washed the grain sacks in Oxy Clean, then I ran them through another cycle with regular detergent.  There was a little bit of shrinkage, but not too bad, and the graphics faded a little bit.  A few of the sacks still have stains, but the ones I chose for this project were pretty clean.  
I removed the old canvas covers from the stools. I was able to remove the staples fairly easily, but one of the stools had tacks that were not so easy to remove.  I was able to pull the canvas off while leaving the tacks in place. 

Then I hosed down the stools and let them dry in the sun. Once dry, I wiped the stools  with Pledge.  They probably should have been sanded a little, but I just wasn't up to the task. 

 I only used one side of each sack for the seat covers. I will use the other sides for some other projects.....because now my wheels are turning.
I ran a quick machine stitch along the edges, and attached the seats to the stools using a finicky staple gun.  The ends of the fabric were wrapped around and tucked under, so the staples don't show.  When I get a chance I think I may reinforce it with some upholstery tacks. 

 This was a pretty quick and easy project. The hardest part was placing the grain sack in such a way that I didn't lose any of the cool graphics.  I also had to make sure the fabric was taught, as it seems to have quite a bit of give to it.  If I were to do it over again, I would probably reinforce the grain sack with some heavy duty canvas as a backing.  Right now it is probably fine for the kids, but I'm not sure how sturdy the seat is for an adult. 

Now I am on the prowl for three more stools, so we can each have a seat while we roast marshmallows this summer.

I am linking this post to Metamorphosis Monday over at Between Naps on the Porch.

Friday, June 18, 2010

love her style

                                                             photo courtesy of Jenni Bowlin

A while back I took an online scrapbooking class with Jenni Bowlin.  The class focused on using vintage finds in your creations. The thing I loved about this class was that it gave me an excuse (like I really needed one) to head out and find vintage ephemera like old valentines, sheet music, ledger paper, etc.   Quite honestly, I never really accomplished much in the way of tangible assignments, other than posting my great finds in the class gallery.  I loved being able to come home, share my finds, and have others with similar interests appreciate the coolness factor.  
Anyway, Jenni has an incredible sense of style.  She is in the midst of decorating her newly built home, and every so often will share snippets of it on her blog.  Her recent post about her keeping room has been keeping me up at night trying to figure out how I can replicate this exact room in my own home. And her kitchen? Take a peek:

                                                             photo courtesy of Jenni Bowlin

So inspired, I am going to attempt to head out with the kids today.....perhaps a barn this morning and P.B. outlet in the afternoon? Perfect combination of old and new.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Today I Learned:
  • My seven year old would rather not be seen with me at school events.  Perhaps I should start wearing those silly bands on my wrists instead of buying them for her. Maybe then I would be cool enough.
  • My husband forgot to tell me he signed me up to bake brownies and my famous chocolate sheet cake for tomorrow's office BBQ.  He must have mentioned this slip up to someone at work, because this coworker called me, informed me of the situation,  and begged me to bake the office's favorite chocolate cake. Which I have told them countless times is either Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake box mix.  I can't even remember which mix I use; that's how super secret my recipe is. Apparently I am the only one who can make such a delicious chocolate cake. I really don't mind, I just think it's funny they all rave about my chocolate cake. from a box mix. in the baking aisle. of any grocery store.
  • It is not possible to "run into Target" for just three things.  (I kinda already knew that.)
  • My dog has really impressive bladder control. He refused to go outside this morning, choosing to lounge around instead, probably assuming we were just taking our usual quick trip to the bus stop, not realizing we were attending a school function and taking a quick half day trip to Target, along with a few other stops.  We did not get home until almost 2:00. Which means he had not been outside for at least 17 hours. I know, I am horrible for not rushing home to let the poor thing out to relieve himself.  Yeah, umm, there is something I should let you know. I have a condition known as "Mommy-brain."  I forget things. alot. The fact that the dog had not been out crossed my mind around noon. Then something must have happened to distract me, like a tantrum, or a  little person potty emergency.  So the potty emergency of the canine variety was put on the back burner until we pulled into the driveway, rushing to the front door for yet another little person potty emergency. Then I remembered.  He came through, like he always does.  Licks and jumps and love, and no puddles anywhere.
  • School functions and sporting events must fall under a different code.  She loves me again. Wanted me to play in the parents vs. players soccer game today. So I did.
  • There is a reason why the recommended age on the Slip-n-Slide box is 5-12 years. While trying to bank some cool mom points, I landed on my bottom and literally heard my neck crack.  I am feeling it in my back.  Right now I am afraid to go to bed because I am not sure if I will be able to actually lift my body out of bed tomorrow.  I am feeling very old and not very cool.