Bloggers Meet Over Broken Dishes

Last week one of the blogs I regularly read, Cape of Dreams, started a new project.

Jessica has started a mosaic on the foundation of her house.

Jessica has started a mosaic on the foundation of her house.

Jessica is covering the foundation of her house with a broken-dish mosaic.

You know I'm a dish lover.

You know I’m a dish lover.

She solicited more dishes from her readers who live nearby.  Little did I know when I offered some dishes she was already in my neck of the woods (Maryland).

Jessica, Jo, and Jessica's mother.

Jessica, Jo, and Jessica’s mother. (Where’s my smile?)

Jessica and her mother stopped by The Glade on their way back north. They’re cheery and chummy.  I hope you get to meet them one day, too.

Each of these dishes had a chip or crack.

Each of these dishes had a chip or crack.

She took a box of dishes which I hope will become part of her mosaic.

I hope these mostly white with green accents dishes will work into Jessica's color scheme.

I hope these mostly white with green accents dishes will work into Jessica’s color scheme.

In the meantime it was so great to meet someone I feel I already know after reading her blog posts.

Have you ever met someone long-distance then met them in person?

A Few Odd and Ends

These past few weeks have not been very productive in terms of working on the house.  I have a 9-5 job which keeps me busy during the week.  I’ve also started going back to the gym before work so when I get home on these 90+ degree days I’m fairly tuckered out.

The plants are beginning to produce teeny tiny vegetables.

The plants in the garden are beginning to produce teeny tiny vegetables.

Charlie has been concentrating on the potager.

Thankfully we've been storing the casing in the house or else the lumber yard would refuse exchanging it.

Thankfully we’ve been storing the casing in the house or else the lumber yard would refuse exchanging it.

He did find time to call our local lumber yard and plan for the wrong trim switcheroo which is supposed to happen today. (We’re switching the wrongly delivered colonial trim with ranch casing, not because we like it better but because it matches the rest of the house.)

Item #2 is being replaced with something less ornate.

Item #2 is being replaced with something less ornate which, oddly, is higher priced.

I also emailed the lumber yard to get receipts for our recent phone orders.  While I can see the debit on our charge card I always like an itemized list.

Even before I perused the sample books I walked around the store looking for a deal.

Even before I perused the sample books I walked around the store looking for a deal.

Last weekend I spent the morning at the wallpaper store and yesterday I placed my order.

This wallpaper should be casual and coordinated.

This wallpaper should be casual and coordinated.

I ordered six single rolls (@ $34.99 each less a 30% discount) of Blue Strie by Blue Mountain.  The salesperson at the store told me the company is discontinuing this paper and only has 14 rolls in stock, happily I only need 6.

My paper is on page 114 of this swatch book -- the first book that caught my eye.  Wonder why??!!

My paper is on page 114 of this swatch book — the first book that caught my eye. Wonder why??!!

Wallpaper is priced per single roll but is packaged as double rolls so we’ll be receiving 3 double rolls shipped directly to the house.

I hope this wallpaper looks really BLUE when it's up on the walls.

I hope this wallpaper looks really BLUE when it’s up on the walls.

Now that the wallpaper is ordered I’ve made a list of supplies I will need on order to be prepared:

  • 6″ taping knife

    Taping knife used to hold wallpaper while trimming with razor blade.

    Taping knife used to hold wallpaper while trimming with razor blade.

  • wallpaper primer
  • plumb bob or long level
  • wallpaper wetting tray

    Since my paper is pre-pasted I'll be using a wetting tray to moisten the paste on the paper.

    Since my paper is pre-pasted I’ll be using a wetting tray to moisten the paste on the paper.

  • razor blades
  • straight edge
  • tape measure
  • seam roller

    A seam roller is used to give extra pressure at the seams -- often the first area to fail in wallpaper.

    A seam roller is used to give extra pressure at the seams — often the first area to fail in wallpaper.

  • bucket
  • sponge
  • paper smoother

    A smother helps remove all the air bubbles under the paper.

    A smother helps remove all the air bubbles under the paper.

I’m sure we already own the items in green above if I can locate them in the chaos of the dining room. Tonight I’ll get or find the other items.

The dining room has been the catchall as we've been working in the conservatory.

The dining room has been the catchall as we’ve been working in the conservatory.

This weekend I’ll clear out the dining room and prime the upper walls with wallpaper primer while (hopefully) the guys work on installing trim.

Have you stalled on a project? What got you going again?

Chicken of the Woods

Over the weekend a snazzy convertible with a couple in it stopped in front of our west yard border and seemed to be pointing and staring at something.

The yard on the west side of The Glade is basically a shade garden.

The yard on the west side of The Glade is basically a shade garden.

We have typical plants in the shady border — hosta, astilbe, peonies, among others.

I beautiful orange "cabbage".

I beautiful orange “cabbage”.

Charlie labeled them “Sunday cruisers” and I left it at that until I looked at what they had seen in our yard.

La la la

Laetiporus Cincinnatus

The most fabulous fungus is growing near the street. It’s bright orange (my photos don’t do it justice) and about a foot in diameter.

This is very spongy so if you want to eat it just brush it off but don't wash with water because it will soak it up.

This is very spongy so if you want to eat it just brush it off but don’t wash with water because it will soak it up.

After googling “orange fungus” I determined this mushroom is called “chicken of the woods,” probably laetiporus cincinnatus.  It’s totally edible: the taste and texture is that of chicken.  Some people even liken it to crab or lobster and can be used as a meat substitute in almost any dish.

Sounds like a stir fry would be tasty.

Sounds like a stir fry would be tasty.

My research warned to always cook it and start with just a few bites as it sometimes causes gastric distress in certain people.  Also always avoid chicken of the woods growing on conifers, eucalyptus, or cedar trees, as these are reported to contain toxins that can make people sick. (Ours is growing at the foot of an oak tree stump.)

Laetiporus-cincinnatusLaetiporus cincinnatus (right) – Also found in Eastern North America, although this species is often more reddish.

 

 

Chicken of the Woods identification is easy, thus they’re considered one of the “safe” mushrooms for beginners but I’m not planning to eat this one.

The orange fungus is growing at the base of this oak tree stump which is now covered with vines.

The orange fungus is growing at the base of this oak tree stump which is now covered with vines.

If you want all the details check out Mushroom-Appreciation.com.

Do you forage?

Constant Effort

Because we have not yet landscaped the house after our major renovation, the yard nearest the house is loaded with weeds.

The lush green grass was seeded in the fall of 2013, the rest of the yard is haphazard weediness.

The lush green grass was seeded in the fall of 2013, the rest of the yard is haphazard weediness.

When Charlie seeded the back lawn we should have done the entire yard.

The olive tree looks fine but the yard near the house is patchy with plantain, crabgrass, and clover.

The olive tree looks fine but the yard near the house is patchy with plantain, crabgrass, and clover.

The areas that were left undone are now covered with crabgrass.

The large American boxwood and 3 hydrangeas are staying -- everything else must go.

The large American boxwood and 3 hydrangeas are staying — everything else must go.

In the east corner of the house are the only original plants from before the excavation. Due to the lovely hot weather and regular rainfall the unwanted vegetation is taking over.

I'm hoping to eventually have a hedge of hydrangea on this side of the house mainly to hide the parged foundation.

I’m hoping to eventually have a hedge of hydrangea on this side of the house mainly to hide the parged foundation.

The hydrangeas had been pulled up and transplanted back to their original spots.

The blue and pale green looks so fresh.

The blue and pale green looks so fresh.

Three Nikko blue hydrangeas are blooming again this year.

The choke cherry trees and tall weeds have taken over the children's garden.

The choke cherry trees and tall weeds have taken over the children’s garden.

Our children’s garden which was created a few years ago has been overcome with the dreaded choke cherry tree — loads of saplings.

With some vigorous weed pulling the border starts to emerge.

With some vigorous weed pulling the border starts to emerge.

While Charlie was mowing he took some time out to chop down (actually pull up by the roots) these cherry trees — I cannot tell a lie.

Variegated liriope edge the bed which hold daisies and day lilies.

Variegated liriope edge the bed which hold daisies and day lilies.

This area already looks more civilized.

I hung a mirror on the front of the shed in which I caught reflection of Charlie clearing out the herb square.

I hung a mirror on the front of the shed in which I caught reflection of Charlie clearing out the herb square.

He also stooped down to pull the unwanted weeds from an herb bed near the wee little house (our shed).

A patch of pink Joe Pye weed and yucca spears grow under a Japanese maple in the east yard.

A patch of pink Joe Pye weed and yucca spears grow under a Japanese maple in the east yard.

It is a constant effort to keep things tidy in the yard but we’re trying.

Do you chop it down or pull it up by the roots?

Ticking Again

We have 2 battery-operated ceramic clocks.

My ceramic frog clock was a gift from my mother.

My ceramic frog clock was a gift from my mother.

The conservatory clock.

The conservatory clock.

Both of them stopped ticking.

The clock runs on a single AA battery.

The clock runs on a single AA battery.

I changed the batteries but they still would not work.

When this blew apart I knew I couldn't put it back together.

When this blew apart I knew I couldn’t put it back together.

I took them apart and found they were both corroded. And the whole mechanism popped apart.

Clock movement from a craft store.

Clock movement from a craft store.

For $8 each I bought replacement clockworks at Michael’s craft store.

I unscrewed the old movement from the clock.

I unscrewed the old movement from the clock.

They’re not difficult to put together but they take a little finesse to get the hour hand, the minute hand, and the second hand to all work.

I used a 3/8 inch mechanism -- they also come in 1/4 inch and 5/8 inch sizes.

I used a 3/8 inch mechanism — they also come in 1/4 inch and 5/8 inch sizes.

On the first try the hour hand was moving ahead an hour about every five minutes.

Follow the instruction on the back of the package as to the order of pieces.

When the battery is inserted in the back the clock started ticking.

I took it apart again and reseated all the pieces.  Tighten the screws only finger tight; using pliers will bind up the mechanism.

I darkened the hands with a Sharpie.

I darkened the hands with a Sharpie.

I used new hands on the frog clock and colored them black with a Sharpie to make them more visible against the clock face.

The old hands were usable but needed a tiny adjustment with some pliers.

The old hands were usable but needed a tiny adjustment with some pliers.

On the dolphin clock I used the old hands since they were smaller and more appropriate (and cuter) than the ones that came with the movement.

Love this clock.

This clock hangs over the pantry in the kitchen.

Both clocks are now back on their hooks and keeping time.

The dolphin clock hangs in the conservatory.

The dolphin clock hangs in the conservatory.

A reasonably cheap fix. By the way, fixing clocks is not my cup of tea.

What craft do you enjoy?

How My Mind Works

On Saturday when our carpenter had to cancel at the last minute I decided to start painting the dining room.

Ralph Lauren "Blueprint" glaze over "Andover Blue" base.

Ralph Lauren “Blueprint” glaze over “Andover Blue” base.

I was going to try a denim technique using Ralph Lauren glaze but when I went to Home Depot to pick up some color samples they didn’t have them anymore.  That was not the deterrent.

The area in question is above the paneling in the dining room -- a height of 3 feet or less all around the room.

The area in question is above the paneling in the dining room — a height of 3 feet or less all around the room.

The base layer was supposed to be 2 coats of semi-gloss which I was going to buy at my favorite hardware store with a 25% off coupon. The coupon doesn’t start for 4 days. That was a deterrent.

Tons of paper on display ready for immediate purchase at Plymouth Wallpaper.

Tons of paper on display ready for immediate purchase at Plymouth Wallpaper.

Since I was on my own on Saturday morning I went to our local wallpaper emporium to look through the thousand sample books they have.

The blue wallpaper looks a lot like the denim technique without the "me" factor.

The blue wallpaper looks a lot like the denim technique without the “me” factor. ($26 per roll)

The first book I opened had the paper I plan to order. (It’s discontinued but I don’t need too much.)

Love this Ralph Lauren paper but at $157 per roll (on sale from $291) I can't really afford it.

Love this Ralph Lauren paper but at $157 per roll (on sale from $291) I can’t really afford it.

There were tons of gorgeous papers.

Ionian Sea Linen in indigo also by Ralph Lauren is $129 per roll also on sale.

Ionian Sea Linen in indigo also by Ralph Lauren is $129 per roll also on sale.

I loved some of the grasscloths and dimensional papers.

Gorgeous Candice Olsen watercolor paisley is $51 per roll.

Gorgeous Candice Olsen watercolor paisley is $51 per roll.

Dreamy paisleys are also high on my list but a little too busy for the dining room which ties the other downstairs spaces together.

Book after heavy book -- I think I found something in the first book I looked in.

Book after heavy book — I think I found something in the first book I looked in.

Ultimately wallpaper will be easier to apply to these varied walls than multiple coats of paint. I’m hoping they have enough in stock.

What’s your primary criterion: money, time, availability, essence?

Charlie’s June Garden

In June our Charlie’s vegetable garden is growing well and starting to produce a few edibles.

The radish bed is one 4' by 4' square.

The radish bed is one 4′ by 4′ square.

The most noticeable growth are the green tops of the radishes.

The rosy roots of the radish begin to push up through the soil on their own as they mature.

The rosy roots of the radish begin to push up through the soil on their own as they mature.

But under the soil and almost bursting forth on its own is the spicy pink root.

Charlie will clean these and share them with friends as there are way too many for 2 people to enjoy.

Charlie will clean these and share them with friends as there are way too many for 2 people to enjoy.

A bunch of these Pink Beauties is like a stunning bouquet of  flowers still in the bud.

The white snowballs on stalks are onion flowers.

The white snowballs on stalks are onion flowers.

We’re also harvesting last year’s leeks and onions as needed for cooking.

Onions in their second year produce flowers.

Onions in their second year produce flowers.

They’re going to seed which looks very sci-fi in the garden. In the center of the photo above is the cucumber trellis.

Be sure to leave a space under the bottom supports to get the ball of string around so one continuous piece can be used.

Be sure to leave a space under the bottom supports to get the ball of string around so one continuous piece can be used.

Charlie builds the trellises with “found and free” bamboo on which he stings climbing twine.

The cucumber plants are filling out their own 4' by 4' square.

The cucumber plants are filling out their own 4′ by 4′ square.

The cucumber plants are still small but their tendrils will soon pull them up the trellis.

The 2015 potager in June.

The 2015 potager in June.

Radishes, onions, cucumbers — that’s enough garden talk for today.

Is your gardening starting well this year?