Friday, June 29, 2012

Removing Old Deck...

 Here is our wooden deck that is upstairs and right off the kitchen and great room.  We use this deck all the time.  Unfortunately the extreme weather elements are very harsh on this wood and time has taken its toll.  With furniture, bbq, tea cart, family and friends this deck sometimes feels too small.  Right now this deck feels huge!  We have maintained this deck with wood sealers and re-stained it with the best products available but it is time to replace the old redwood.
 This post is photo heavy and I shall try not to bore you with mindless exhausting details of the work involved.  Lets just let the photos show  the story.
 This is a result of time and weather.  Bright sun to frozen snow that have given this deck a well deserved burial.
 Removing anything someone else built is always a challenge.  Screws of all the wrong type...toe-nailed with medium and huge nails...spacing wonky...etcetera.  Some of the nails were big enough a person could pole dance on them.  I told that to the custom order desk at the local building store and the guys just roared!
 Mr. C who works endlessly and ever so diligently.  Once he starts he doesn't stop until the job is done.
 Because the railing was obviously installed after the floorboards there is no way to get to the screws.  So plan B cut the boards and then remove the short pieces from the ladder on the outside of the deck.
 Mr. C running out of working space.  I must say these boards are very long and very heavy.  Rusty nails and screws and nasty dirty splinters.  Mr. C still has a very large nasty splinter under his middle fingernail.  OUCH!!!
Constant clean up from all the falling debris and bits of wood.  Even poor "Harry" the dustpan got smashed by a falling board.  Good old duct tape and it is good to go.   I hope duct tape can put me back together after this project.
 Here are two piles of brand new 2 x 6 cedar.  We have a local mill that cut it and delivered it to us.  We already had to turn all the pieces and re-stack them.  We also had to tarp them for a tiny little rain shower we had.
Here is our debris pile of the old lumber.  Some of it is good so we shall see what we will recycle and possibly make.  At this point Mr. C doesn't want to even think about any more wood projects.  He merely wants to finish this deck.  Our helper wasn't able to make it and help so we are doing this with just the two of us.  I can honestly say I am not the best or strongest helper.  I really feel badly for Mr. C.  We have tried to hire helpers.  Funny how no one really wants to work!
Enough of this deck project for now.  I will post when I have something new to show you.  We are hoping to be done in a couple of weeks.  We have had to custom order some large joists and some special wood sealer, filler and preservative so a few delays have slowed us down.  Probably a good thing so we don't collapse in a heap.  We do miss being able to access the deck and backyard directly without going downstairs to go upstairs.
May you have a summer weekend full of your favorite joys...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Grandpa, Mining & Memories...

This past weekend Mr. C and I had a rare opportunity to visit some private mining collections and displays.  I have no photos of the first property we visited as I had no idea what I was in for and did not bring my camera.  In my visits I got to reminiscing about my Grandpa.  I found a few black and white photos of him and scanned them into my computer.  I loved and still love my Grandpa.  He was a kind and loving man who worked very hard all of his life.  The reason I have included him in this post is that at the age of 14 years old he had to quit school and go to work in the coal mines in his home state of Alabama.  Now that I live in the Gold Mining belt of California and all of its history I can much more appreciate what he gave up to help support his mama and siblings.  Coal is very dirty and nasty.  In my Grandpa's final years he was very ill and finally properly diagnosed with Black Lung disease.  He died shortly thereafter and there was no restitution ever paid him as should have been.  The life of a miner is not an easy one and I admire their fortitude.
 Here are photos of the private collection I got to visit.  All of this was for gold mining here in Northern California.  This is a working two stamp mill.  The ground actually shakes with just two and most mines had numerous stamp mills pounding 24/7.
 I just adore all things old and drenched in character with so many stories entrenched into the pieces.  This cabin is a real one that a miner lived in.  No McMansion here...this is about 10'x10' and very basic!
 This amazing collection is a wealth of history with many stories attached to it.  One man and his wife lovingly search out and acquire bits and pieces and then carefully display them.  The key pieces actually work and show us flat-landers just what it was really like back in the days.
 Every place your eye could look was something amazing and historic and fabulous.
Even this mine entrance looks authentic because it really is!
How very generous of this wonderful couple to not only save and preserve such irreplaceable bits of history but to actually host an open house for visitors.  No admittance charge and no donations were allowed.  I thanked them in person but I will also send them a note of gratitude.
I am linking to Donna of Brynwood Needleworks for Memory Lane Monday.  Thank you Donna for letting me share.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Stitching Thread Catchers...

When I find something I like...I really like it.  I make some and then I make some more.  I shared about these little fabric thread catchers on this post.  These are quite easy to make and are perfect for mailing.
Here I was in a red mood and selected fabrics that I felt coordinated in pairs.  I cut out a "6 pack".
Here are the six red ones each stitched together.  
 I also decided to make a few pink ones so here are the fabrics I selected and cut out.  An equilateral triangle which is 9 1/2" on each side.  Two triangles for each thread catcher.
 Then I wanted to select my adornments for them.  I thought a little sewing pin would be super cute.  This is my selection.  It is so nice to have them sorted and labeled and ready for use.  (Thank you Miss Lorraine.)
I might choose some beads for use on the pins.  Here is a nice assortment for selecting just the right ones.
Oh and my signature heart buttons I adorn most everything with.  
Here are my selections ready for adorning the thread catchers.  And of course my ribbon labels for the finishing touch.
 The pink themed thread catchers all completed.  (I apologize for the bad photo.)
The red themed thread catchers all completed.
Most of these have all flown away across the miles.  I sent them as little Thank You surprises to some of my faithful followers.  I have said before that I haven't done a blog give-away as that seems to bring lots of non-followers seeking prizes.  (I only enter other blog give-aways if I have been and am a faithful follower.)  I would much rather send little surprises from time to time to my followers who are with me through thick and thin.  I truly appreciate each of you so very much.
One of my thread catcher recipients does not sew and instead told me she put her glue bottle inside as a holder and enjoys it every day sitting on her workspace.  Now the ideas are flowing aren't they?
Our weather is terribly cool last night and today.  May be some sort of storm brewing.  I would welcome rain however our deck wood is all laid out drying in preparation of cutting and staining.  Trust me it is a huge job to dismantle this old deck.  Mr. C is a trooper and has done all of the hideous dirty and dangerous work.  I have been his helper but I really am not much of a help when it comes to the heavy or difficult stuff.  This morning I was able to weed while waiting to "catch" boards to haul to the debris pile.  We are a really good team and have always been able to work together...whether office, home or whatever else project it is.  I feel fortunate that we work well together.
May you each have a glorious weekend and enjoy Summer which will be all too short.
Blissful Creating...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bind-It All...

Thank you Jan of Papercraft Pleasures!  I am thrilled to win this amazing little machine.  I really hadn't seen or heard of this until Jan posted a give-away.  A very GENEROUS give-away on her blog.  I Googled it and decided that it would be fun to have one so I entered.   Nothing to do but be a follower and leave a comment.  It is easy to follow Jan and comment on her wonderful creative talents.  I have followed her for a long time because I like what she does.  I never thought I would win but I am super happy!
So my little machine arrives and I am ecstatic.  I check out You Tube for some ideas.  Overwhelmed I set it aside for a few days while company was here.
I thought I needed to start with the basic simple notebook.  So four hours later...yes!  I gathered supplies and began cutting.  My covers are made of high quality mat-board.  The dimension is very standard.  Now to cut the interior pages.  What was I thinking?  I had gathered lots of different fun papers including ledger, graph, plain, legal pad, sketching paper and scrapbook papers.  With ruler and paper cutting rotary blade I begin.  Really?  What size am I cutting?  3 and 13/16"?  My ruler doesn't even show that size.  What on earth was I thinking?!!  Very slow cutting and several pages that were too small...oops.   Another project another time I suppose.
This is totally why it took me four hours to make this one little notebook.  Next time I will use a much friendlier size for cutting.  
 I added some embellishments but kept it simple and easy to open and lay flat.
The inside under the cover.  I punched a card I liked that said thank you.  Jan Dear...Thank You so very much for this super generous gift you sent me.  I will be using it for many projects as my mind is in hyper-active mode thinking of the wonderful items I will be able to spiral bind now.
I will be playing in my studio a lot more now.
I continue to be amazed here in blogland that I adore so much.
Thank you to my new followers for visiting and linking.  Thank you to my faithful followers for staying with me and leaving me comments that I always enjoy reading.  I cannot express how grateful I truly am.
May you each have a wonderful week of creative bliss...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Roses, ATCs & Tags...

 Mr. C has his rose garden in full bloom now that the deer are fenced out.  Please do not worry as they still have the entire front and side yards of fully stocked buffet to enjoy eating.  This rose bush is not only stunning it is the perfect fragrance that heirloom roses are known for.  I will post outdoor photos soon I hope.
Here are my ATCs I received in the artJOYstuff swap of "Sew Many Flowers".  Each one makes me smile. Kimberly did it again and wowed me with her clever packaging.  She mailed them in a pattern envelope!  And she included a lovely little tag with beautiful lace and a thank you mini tag.  So thoughtful and appreciated my dear.
This ATC is from my dear blog friend Daniella of Layers of Creativity.  She knows how I adore and collect mice so this ATC is just for me!  Thank you dear.  I treasure your thoughtfulness.  These must be Munchkin Mice.  Super cute ATC.
Back to Kimberly of artJOYstuff blog and her recent generous giveaway.  I won!  She sent me these amazing little Bingo cards that she embellished and made into tags.  They were wrapped in pattern instructions with a lace tie.  Included is her very artsy postcard.
These tags have great dimension from the swimming gals and seashells and flowers and fibers. Fabulous!  Thank you  very much Kimberly.  You are so creative and I feel fortunate to be blog friends.
It has been quite busy here at Createology.  I shall have lots more to share with you in the upcoming posts.
For now Happy Father's Day to all and enjoy your celebrations.  Stay cool as the weather in most areas is quite hot...103 degrees in Sacramento and the valley.  Here it is a balmy 86 degrees which is just right for me.  Mr. C and I got up super early to work on the deck we must replace.  There must be 1000 screws that need to be dug out and removed.  Years of yuck and paint and sealer have really taken a toll on the rusted screw heads...not to mention the boards that are completely degraded (rotten).  This will be a huge project and will take us most of the summer.  I will probably take some photos along the way.
I am off to play in my studio...hooray!   Uh-oh...not yet as it is time for me to fix lunch.  Hmmm...maybe some nice freshly made chicken salad with red grapes.  Does this sound good?  And peach iced tea!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Foreign Car Show...

Yesterday was a beautiful Saturday in our little town in Northern California.  This photo is an overview looking down Broad Street.  The weather was perfect and in the low 70's.  The sky was blue, the sun was shining and it was a special day for showing off cars.  
Here are a few lined up to get parked along Broad Street.  As you can see there is quite the variety.  
 Here is a typical street scene of cars and people.  The crowds all day were many and well behaved.  Our little town flourishes on tourism and this hopefully helped.  The shops were busy and the restaurants were full.  Many of the shops were having sidewalk sales and specials to offer to the buying public.  For the adults there was also a wine stroll that is very fun.
Here is Mr. C wearing his black Lotus shirt standing by his black Lotus.  He is so technical and quite the Lotus expert so he loves it when guys ask detailed questions.  Yes, this is the car that was on fire on Sunday afternoon and burned through both fuel lines.  There were NO fuel lines to be found in North America as they are so unique.  By Wednesday Mr. C had made even better flame resistant fuel lines and installed them.  By Thursday he was driving the car.  By Friday he took me for a drive and bought me lunch at a lovely restaurant down the hill.  (Oh I was a nervous wreck...but not to worry all was fine.)
This is another Lotus and these are our friends who drove from Woodland, CA to enter the show.  They are such a nice couple and we enjoy them very much.  We met last year when we drove our Lotus's to the National Convention in Red Rock Nevada.  
Here is one of the cars that won my heart.  It was a 1939 beauty.  
I did say there was quite the variety.  From the photos you can see many different types and ages and makes.  This is a little cutie that caught my eye.  Each of the cars is juried to be able to enter into this show.  This is the second year it has been held in town.  Last year it poured rain and they only had a very few cars that were brave enough to get so wet.  We were not!  Our money we paid merely got donated to United Way and that is just fine.  A good fundraiser is always at the top of my list.
All in all this was a splendid day.  Chatting with nice people and seeing so many fine automobiles.  Shopping and dining locally.  Visiting with lots of friends that came to view the cars. And that perfect weather was blissful.
I adore my little town and the activities that abound here.  This is why I volunteer for our local Chamber of Commerce.  I believe in who we are and what we do.  I hope you enjoyed this post of photos.
Wonderful week ahead.  Lots of graduations have been occurring and now for most it is officially SUMMER!  Hip Hip Hooray!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Birthday Gift Given...

Here is an ensemble I made for one of my dear friends.  We celebrated her birthday with a day of lunch and shopping at a beautiful nursery and gallery and fabric shops.  There were four of us Ladies Who Lunch.  It was a wonderful day.  Very relaxed and just right.  Even the weather was wonderful.
This is one of my favorite crocheted necklaces I have posted about.  You may click here to see the previous post and how-to.
This trellis yarn is a really pretty silver with several shades of blue.  She loves blue as much as I do so no decision to make here.  I wanted to include some earrings so I managed to crochet and fashion a pair with vintage pearls to match.  The bracelet has no yarn but the beads are in the same colors as the necklace and earrings. If you can see on the necklace I did a new tweak to it.  I added the large hole beads at each side just above the knots.  They really add a nice flair.  
My friend really liked her gift.  I am so grateful to be able to create things personalized for each recipient.
Happy Creating and enjoy your weekend...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

 Here it is June already.  This month the ATC theme is '"Mermaids".  Of course I am signed up for Kimberly's ATC swap. You can go visit her blog and see all the fabulous things she creates.  I got to spend some quality time with my sister Marie and we had fun shopping for mermaid themed ephemera for my ATCs I will create.
In the month of May our theme was "Sew Many Flowers".   Here are the ATCs I made for May.  It was only a swap of 3 for 3 but I always make one just for Kimberly as she is the best hostess...always organized and on time.  I also made a few extra for some special friends who are not able to participate in the swap.
 I started with my idea of old sewing cards.  I used to love to thread that yarn or string into the holes and then see what shape it made.  I think those simple sewing cards have gone by the wayside like so many fond items of my youth and my daughter's youth.  But I digress...since ATCs are only 2.5" x 3.5" I kept my sewing to the outside edge and no fancy shapes.
Using paper, stamps, buttons, fabric, thread, lace, safety pins, pattern tissue, ribbon, snaps, and a hook and eye I made my ATCs and I adore them.  I am so pleased with myself for remembering to take photos.
I am looking forward to receiving my 3 swapped ATCs.  It is always amazing to see how each person participating interprets the theme just a little differently.  And the mediums used are all varied and add to the mix of creativity.  This is also a great way to "meet" new bloggers or friends with like-minded pursuits.
Our rain and hail has ended and gone away.  Mr. C and I took a walk about the property.  The pond is nice and filled however the water is brown with mud the rain kicks up.  It should clear in a few days.  This year we have hundreds of polliwogs and they are eating every Lilly pad.  Each leaf has a very "frilly" edge where it has been nibbled away.  Some of the small Lilly pads are completely eaten away.  Every year it is a new challenge with Nature.  Some plants got damaged quite a bit and some plants survived nicely.  The force of the hail actually shredded leaves into slits  and tore holes right threw other leaves.  We had to stake and re-tie some of the roses that were pummeled to the ground.  Overall we think all will survive nicely.  I should be out weeding right now while the ground is soft, however I am not.
I have actually played in my studio today...just a bit.  Gluing, cutting, stamping, gluing some more...
May your weather be just right and may you enjoy every minute...  

Monday, June 4, 2012

June Winter Snow...

 This is June 4th and it is Winter weather.  We have had pouring rain all day and very cold temperatures.  Now it is 9:30 pm and we are having lots of lightening and thunder.  When we began to lose our TV satellite reception we thought we better go outside and see what the weather was.  Major hail!  I had to grab the camera and took these photos just minutes ago.
We are approximately 3400 feet elevation.  Just 50 miles up the hill is the Tahoe area and it has been snowing most of the day up there.  The news always shows travelers who are in shorts and flip-flops and not prepared at all for this winter weather.
I am thankful for the rain as it is helping to refill our pond after draining it down to make the repairs.  However this hail is going to destroy our beautiful roses that are in full bud and bloom. Also our new hydrangeas and all the flowers that are so delicate will have massive destruction.   Tomorrow when the weather clears we will assess everything and begin from there.
I am thankful for this weather and not having to worry about hurricanes or worse.
Carry on June and show us the sunshine of Summer to come...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Beaded Corsage Pins...

 These photos were taken in March when I made and sent these little gifties to my friend Ana for her birthday.  She loves pink.  You may already follow her Scrappy Pink Corner blog but if you don't please visit her.  Ana is quite the scrapbook page expert and she makes the most amazing mini album books.  Ana and I have traded beaded corsage pins and it is quite rewarding to see the beautiful job she does.  I adore what she has sent me.
I included this little pink heart lavender sachet for her birthday.
 This is the fabric folder I created to send her pins to her safely.  Pink of course and with some hand stained lace to compliment the plaid.
 Pink wool felt for the inside and to keep the pins protected.  I don't usually like to use cheap plastic beads however I did for the letters to spell out Ana Happy Birthday.  After all this was to be unique and special.
Ana let me know when she received it and how much she liked it.  It gives me a good feeling to know I brought a smile to her face.
Now we are planning our next one-on-one pin swap.  My mind is in overdrive.  Hmmm...
Do you have any tips and techniques to share for making altered beaded corsage pins?  Do you have any fun or unique ways of sending them in the mail or gifting them?  I can use all the help I can get.  Miss Ana is super clever and I don't want her to be disappointed when she gets my next swap.
This is the joyful part of blogging...sharing ideas and giving generously from the heart.  Finding like-minded souls and becoming friends even though we have never met in person.  I am truly amazed at how I can be sitting at my little spot here in California and corresponding with wonderful people all over this world we live in.  Kuwait, Spain, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, Canada...lots of different Canada's, Hawaii, South Africa and so many more places across this United States.  In a very small way it renews hope that this world can some day be at peace.
Our weather feels like it has moved into Summer.  Very warm and lots of sunshine which are both my favorites.  However we are warned of a cold spell with possibility of rain here and snow just 50 miles up the hill.  I will welcome the rain as our ground is rock hard red clay and I am still pulling...tugging...weeds.  Rain will also help us fill our pond.  We had to drain it down below some tears in the lining that Mr. C had to repair and patch.  Last Fall a pair of twin fawns went swimming in our pond.  I would not have believed it if I had not seen it with my own eyes.  Of course they didn't enter or exit from the sloped beach Mr. C built for just the purpose of critters or neighbor dogs who might want to go swimming.  No they entered at the deepest end through the bogs.  Rip, shred, tear on the entering side and way worse on the exiting side where they had to climb up and out.  Multiple rips, shreds, tears and way down below the water line.  Mr. C had to dismantle the heavy rocks that line the pond and hold the very thick rubber liner in place.  Some of our special pond plants are smashed and ruined however the patches are complete and we are slowly refilling the pond from our well.  It will take about a week.  I so love the pond and we have hundreds of polliwogs turning into froggies right now.  Today I counted 5 beautiful white lillies blooming in the pond.  Our yellow irises and purple irises are blooming so it is quite attractive at the deep end bog.  We still have a lot of damage to repair to the gravel path and edging that surrounds the pond.  It seems the deer have knocked most of it askew and the wood stakes have disintegrated over the last several years.  So much maintenance living in four seasons and harsh winters.  Maybe I will share some photos in a few days.
Blissful Creating to each of my wonderful followers.  I adore reading your comments and/or emails.