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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Winter's A Comin'

Each day it is getting darker earlier... and each morning we are waking up now in darkness.  To top it off, it's been rain, rain, rain all week too.  Even this morning, on a Saturday, when we want to maybe do a few things in the yard....  rain!

Speaking of yard, I did manage to snap a few pics of my coleus before the frost and freezing temps kills them off for the winter.  I just love the color of these plants in the fall.   I like coleus because it's instant color in the flower beds when you plant them, not just green. The leaves make up the bright fuchsia and pink colors, which is nice that you don't have to wait for blooms to be the colorful part of the plant.

I have kept this same coleus plant strain going since the mid-90's when my friend Connie gave them to me.... and every year I put them out carefully in the spring to make sure they don't get killed off.  I share some of them with friends... and two special friends shared the same plants back with me after we sold our house in Oconto.  When we bought the house in Chilton, it was the end of December, and I didn't have any coleus to winter over!  But these two friends kept their plants going for me, and I was able to replenish my stock..... awwwww

I have 6 pots growing in the basement under the grow lights to save for next year, and I might start up a few more pots today because I picked up more potting soil.  If you snip off the plants about 8 inches long, and stick them in water, they grow new roots within a week!

Here is the area on the side of the porch that we cleared out the winter-damaged shrubs.  This exposed more of the pretty cut-out fret work on the base around the front porch. I added an extra trellis to this side and planted another clematis vine and some hydrangea plants donated by my old neighbor up in Oconto.  I have always loved hydrangea and wanted a big clump on the corner of any house that I owned.  Now this will take off and grow into beautiful plants next year (I hope)

My other clematis plant on the south side of the porch was well established by the previous owners of our house. It comes back thicker and fuller each year. It has bright gorgeous deep purplish blooms and surprisingly there is still ONE bloom hanging on yet this fall! 

My weeping cherry tree is doing well in the front yard. During the extremely frigid winter, the bark split on the trunk!  In the beginning of the year I was getting a bit worried about it not making it, but it finally took ahold and grasped onto life with gusto! 

Getting ready this week to load up the motorhome... next weekend is the big Halloween celebration at High Cliff State Park!  We rented a double family site to share with our kids and grandtots!!!   Our son Dan is bringing their new travel trailer so we will have enough sleeping room for everyone.  We are looking forward to spending time with them all.  I am going to pre-cook up some pots of chili, calico beans, a big bowl of tuna noodle salad, bake some treats, and of course have a variety of hot dogs, brats and burgers on hand too.  We will be camping in non-electric sites, so have to think of foods that we can keep warm in pans over the grill or campfire.  Will have lots of hot cocoa and minimarshmallows for the kiddos too if it's cold.

Everyone decorates up their campsites and the kiddos do trickortreating from site to site.  Here is a blog post from last year's event: Halloween at High Cliff 2013  It's a special time for me because Halloween is also my birthday! It's a great way to celebrate it with all our kids and grandtots.

Got a few things done around Our Old House this past week.  The faucet has not yet arrived for the swapover between the upstairs tub and little corner sink in the half bath.  The website said it will ship on the 20th.  So that project is on hold for now.

My lower element went out on the oven in our kitchen stove. Heavens to Betsy, that means no baking!   I called around to a few places and finally found one that said they had the right replacement.  By myself, I pulled out the stove from the alcove, unplugged it, and proceeded to tear it apart.  A cover plate was removed for the bottom element with some screws and I unhooked the wires --- making notes of which color when on which connections.  I took the whole unit into the local appliance shop to match it up.  Uh Oh, nope it didn't match up with theirs after all.  Now I had to call around again, and found a place in Fond du Lac that had one.  So off I trekked 25 miles to that town and sure nuff, it matched!

Ahhhh my oven was operational again.  When I told Steve I had it all done, the only reply was "good"   HUMPH!  How many other women would do that? But at least it was working!

I cooked up a big pot roast and mixed up a couple of pumpkin pies!  I had a funny memory when I ran my big old mixmaster.  The mixer has an odd "electric motor" smell to it, you know, like some appliances and sewing machines, etc. I suppose anything that uses brushes inside an electric motor has that smell. It smelled just like the old mixmaster that my mom had when I was growing up. It reminded me of something.....

Long ago, in the mid 1970's my neighbor Cella was making frosting.  She had too much liquid and needed more powdered sugar. It was quite runny.  I think it was blue or green frosting, I forget what color.

Our tiny town in the UP of Michigan had only one groccery store, and it was closed for the evening. Sooo she was asking all of the neighbors for some more powdered sugar to firm up her frosting.  She borrowed some from us and a few others.  But soon her bowl was overflowing, and it still needed more powdered sugar.   She brought over her bowl to our house and we dumped half of the runny frosting into my mom's bowl, and we added even more powdered sugar!  I remember two other neighbors coming with their powdered sugar.  My mom's old mixer (like this one) worked and worked to make that frosting thicken up!----  Soon we had enough frosting to share with the whole neighborhood!

Funny how a certain smell can spark something so far back in your memory....

Oh, here are my pies.....

It's Saturday morning now, and we have a few things on our list of projects.  We were going to head up to our oldest daughter's house to help her with a few things. She had a change of plans. Instead we will go the last weekend of the month and help out then.  She is re-doing her kitchen and we said we would help out, along with our youngest daughter. It will probably be more than one day of work. We will bring up the motorhome and park by her house so the dogs can come along.  Should be a fun weekend!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Camp Sinawa Fall Family Days

I spent a delightful Sunday afternoon driving down to Valders and heading south of town out into the country.  Our fall colors are at their peak this week... and the sunshine and blue skies set off these corn fields and the hardwood trees to a flaming glory!

I drove past one of the flocks of Hidden Valley Woolen Mill and snapped these pics.
Our spinning guild meets monthly at the mill for our meetings.
Did you know many shepherds put in a llama as a guard animal with their sheep flocks? 
The llamas are much smarter, and more alert to dangers of predators... 
they give warning signals to the sheep.... sheep are usually clueless.

From those wide open fields, I drove down into the colorful woods to do a spinning demonstration at the Camp Sinawa. It's a lovely place hidden off in the countryside. Various groups can rent their facilities for retreats, bible camps, gatherings and civic functions.

Our Black Sheep Spinners Guild was asked to come and demonstrate spinning wheels and show how yarn is made from sheep fleece.

Here are some of the events that were going on:
Fall Family Days consists of the following Attractions and Events:
Fish Pond Popular kids attraction as they use a 'fishing pole' and soon catch a prize 
Pumpkin Painting  Kids pick a pumpkin and then decorate it using watercolors and their imagination.
Wood Carving Demonstration  Watch a local group of Wood Carvers perform their skills on various types of wooden projects. 
Sand Dig for Treasures  An event for the kids.  They can dig in a sand box and search for buried treasures.  
Glaciers End Sled Dogs  Local Dog Sledder Syd Lucas will give demos with sled dog team.  Has summer and winter sleds.  
Horse Drawn Wagon Rides  Ride on a wagon thru the Western woods of Camp Sinawa 
Antique Tractor Wagon Rides  Ride on a wagon thru the Western woods of Camp Sinawa 
Black Sheep Wool Spinners  Watch a local group spin yarn and create items with the yarn. (this was us!) 
Face Painting  Kids can have their faces decorated by local girl scouts.
Make a Nature Critter  Use your talents and local materials to create your 'Nature Critter'. 
Basket Raffle  Buy chances to win a 'Goody' basket filled with treasures.  Drawing to be held on Sunday.
Sawmill in operation.  Watch a local Sawyer operate his sawmill.  See how lumber is made. 
SCA Demonstration  Society for Creative Anchronism.  Watch Medieval 'fight to the death' battles, using weaponry from the Middle Ages.  
Medieval Re-enactment  Kids of all ages can fight a Knight in Armor.  
Flint Knapping Demonstration    Join local Flintknappers as they demonstrate the ancient art of making Arrowheads, Spearheads, Knives and other Stone Tools.
WOW of Wisconsin  They will have on display several animals which are in a rehab situation.
Hot Dog & Marshmallow Roasting  Enjoy roasting hot dogs and marshmallows at a Camp Fire.

They had a place all reserved for us to set up
in front of the fireplace in the main lodge.
Only Carrie Flores and myself were able to go.... 

Carrie was working on some bright colorful wool roving and making yarn that almost looked like candy!  The kids loved looking at the flyers, whorls and spinning on the wheels.  I enjoy watching their eyes light up as they recognized what we were doing, and learning about wool.

I had started spinning some dark brown alpaca but later I changed over to a bright blue variegated roving to add more interest to the spinning.  I would break off a piece of spun single ply, double it up and let it ply back on itself to make a "yarn".  Then I would tie it around children's wrists as a "fiber bracelet" for the girls or "fiber wristband" for the boys....  

Watching people was a lot of fun.  One woman came over and sat nearby us in some chairs, with her elderly mother in tow.  She went on to take the time to explain to her mother what we were doing.  It was so cute.  Soon they were both asking questions, and we had a nice chat. 

All around us, children were coming into the main lodge after seeing the outside events.  Inside they had games, nature crafts and of course... FOOD!  If it hadn't been for the food drawing them indoors, I think most would have wanted to stay outside in the great autumn weather. 

They had various kid's games set up, along with a roaming clown that was making balloon animals. 
One little boy got this monkey, which matched the one on his shirt!  How cute? 

We had a good crowd most of the day, moving in and out of the building.  We were cozy warm by the fireplace, but with all the people in the building, it soon warmed up a LOT.  I was glad when they stopped adding wood to the fire. LOL

A center table had an assortment of baskets filled with raffle of items donated by local businesses and clubs.  I bought some tickets and added to my choices of baskets.  Well, I won a lovely basket from the local quilting club, Pigeon Lake Quilters!   I got a nice homemade child's quilt, a lovely china vase and bowl, with dried fall flowers. Tucked around all of the edges were handmade soaps, lotions and other fun stuff. 

The china vase and bowl with flowers fits PERFECTLY 
on the antique plant stand I bought at the auction on Saturday. 
I nabbed the stand for $3.00 and it matched our house woodwork so well.

On anther Our Old House note... here is an update on the little half bath.  While I was gone to the spinning demonstration, Steve got the cute little corner sink mounted to the walls.  It's so sweet! He got it done before the Packer game at noon. (we won!)

Next we will add the faucet and plumbing... we ordered a different faucet for our upstairs tub that looks like a cute well pump water spout.  So we will install the left more plain looking faucet to this sink which will work just fine.  (plus I get the faucet I REALLY wanted on my bathtub!)

 old faucet going on sink                                                      new faucet going on tub

Oh, I had something else I wanted to post the other day and forgot!  On our way back from Manitowoc, we drove down through this little county park.  It was just a buzzing with fishermen!

These big salmon were running, and most people were hauling up large fish as they caught their limit.  I asked some folks if could snap a pic of their catch.  I had to get a pic with someone holding one, so you could see the actual size of these monsters swimming upstream in a tiny creek!

This is from the DNR report:
Along Lake Michigan, anglers have been fishing the Ahnapee and Kewaunee rivers heavily this past week as the salmon run continues strong. Chinook salmon are in the rivers heavy and coho salmon have also begun their spawning runs. The Strawberry Creek Chinook Facility in Door county processed more than 1,900 chinook last week, collecting about 350,000 eggs, enough to meet Kettle Moraine Hatchery annual chinook egg collection goal. With recent rains salmon have also moved into southern Lake Michigan tributaries and were being caught on the Sheboygan and Milwaukee rivers.

And another thing.. .my day started out with a poor doggie
who went out at 6 am and came back with a very POOPY BUTT! 

so into the doggie spa bath for a soak and suds and rinse rinse rinse----
(Actually he LOVES it and never wants to get out.  See him smiling???) 

Well, time to go run some errands....

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Another Week at Our Old House

We are blessed with a sunshiney day here in Wisconsin again... perfect autumn weather!  Yesterday we were able to get some projects done and still get outside and take a nice walk with the dogs.

Steve finished up the heat vent he ran to the bathroom on the main floor. (see my last blog for details) ... and here is the finished result:


Next project, we will work on the little corner sink and 
reverse the swing of the door into this little half bathroom. 

We also wandered over and scoped out a big auction at a neighbor's house...  the elderly gent had passed away and this was his life long accumulation of tools and guns and interesting collections.  

Now as for tools..... well..... I swear the man not only had doubles, but triples and quadruples of the same power and hand tools!  Honestly!  I think he would start a project, and not know he already had the proper tool, so he went out and bought others exactly like the ones he already had!  I mean, who needs 20 staplers? 3 identical hand held DeWalt shop vacs? 10+ identical sets of Craftsmen tools? 4 pad sanders? 3 routers? 2 paint sprayers etc.   We stocked up an few items to complete what we needed.  Many of tools were either brand new unused in the boxes or barely used.  

I bid on a collect of old kerosene lamps for $12.50

We nabbed this $60 paint sprayer  brand new in a box for only $10.

There were literally hundreds of toys--- tractors and car collectibles still in boxes, brand new condition.  We got a bit tired of all the toy tractors being interspersed between other items, but we sat patiently through them all. The auction lasted 6 hours, and at the end, many things were going for $1 or $2 a box. 

There was a lot of antique furniture that went for very reasonable prices.  We really didn't need anything, but I did get a nice wooden antique plant stand for $3.00.  Steve got a drill press, palm sander, heat gun and a big box full of hammers.... our total for the day was  $73.00!

Next, the house is being put on the market for only $112,000..... so if any of you would like to be my neighbor, it's just down the street from me at 316 N. Madison in Chilton, WI  Big beautiful stucco house with tile entry, wood floors, pocket doors to the dining room with built in hutch, fireplace, etc.  We only peeked at the main floor while registering, and will wait for a proper open house to explore the rest. LOL  (if you read my embarrassing Open House blog a few weeks ago, you will get my joke!)

Later today I am going to Camp Sinawa with a group of my Black Sheep Spinners Guild .... we are going to demonstrate spinning with wool for the guests. So I better get my wheel packed up and some fiber dug out to spin up for visitors.  Here is some info about the camp:

Camp Sinawa is a non profit entity which provides recreational and educational opportunities for youth groups, church groups and other organizations wishing to spend time in the great outdoors.  
In order to provide funding to keep this facility operational, several annual events are held at this facility to raise funds to maintain this area.
All events are organized by Friends Of Sinawa.

Here are a few pics of my spinning gals at last week's meeting:

We meet out at Hidden Valley Woolen Mill near Valders, WI 
How great it is to have a woolen mill so close to my house! 

I am so fortunate to have such a creative bunch of fibery folks to gather with, since we moved to Chilton.  This is the spinning guild, but sometimes we overlap with other loves, such as quilting.  Here Pat Filzen is working on a quilt that she is hand stitching.

I also have a weaving guild that meets monthly in Menasha, WI, about a 30 mile drive away, and then a casual knitting group that meets at our Chilton library one night a week.  To top that off, our little coffee shop down the street has a monthly craft meeting where you can bring anything you are working on!  Such a good fibery creative area we chose to live in!

Oh, speaking of creative, here is the finished result of my stenciled etching door painting I had in the last blog. I think it came out pretty nice!  Next I will work on my french doors to my studio room.

Steve is outside pulling out my dead tomato plants, so I better go help him before I leave for the Camp Sinawa demonstation.  Later Gators! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Our Old House Project - Faux Etching a Front Door Window

Here is another project I thought I would tackle before the cold winter sets in. The front door.

Our 100 year old wooden front door has a large pane of plain glass... about 60x25.  Normally I keep a lacy curtain over it.  But during the winter months, on terribly cold days, frost sometimes builds up on the inside glass when the curtain is hanging in front of it.  Mainly along the bottom and in the corners.  It's ruining the wood along the edge of the glass when the frost melts.  If we take the curtain down and with enough air circulation, the frost goes away.

I was thinking.... (and inspired by the HGtv program Rehab Addict), that I thought I would try something.... Hmmmmmmm ...

I bought some assorted stencils, and stencil spray-on adhesive from a craft store.  Then I went to Menards (it's like a Home Depot or Lowes) where I found a faux etching paint that looks like an etched window when applied. It does not permanently etch the glass, and can be removed at any time with a razor blade and some acetone.  

I practiced first on a mirror and it came out pretty cool! I had a lot of overspray because I did this outside and it was windy....  The stencils kept lifting up in the breeze, even with the adhesive spray.

When Steveio got home from work, I prompted him to help me remove that VERY heavy front door and lay it on sawhorses indoors out on the front porch. I draped it with tape and paper towels for overspray protection on the wood.

At first I tried one stencil, and didn't like it.  
So I scraped it off with a razor blade and re-cleaned the window. 
It was easy to get rid of the mistakes! 

I finally settled on this pattern:

It was frustrating to work alone as just one person, because the adhesive glue on the bottom of the stencil would sometimes remain stuck to the glass.  I had to have someone hold the stencil up out of the way while I could clean the area with a razor blade and lay the stencil back down in place to respray it.

If I had another set of hands it would have been easier.  Steve was outside cutting the lawn so I couldn't ask him to help. I think if I did it again, (and I may redo it) I would have an "assistant" hold the stencil up in the air in between sections, rather than lay the stencil aside on the plastic covered table. The stencil stuck to everything and had wet paint on one side and sticky glue on the other side. ARGGHHH!!!!

 I like the overall appearance of the lacy border....

It's kinda hard to photograph it, being white against the outdoors.. 
or against a cream wall, but you get the idea. 

I might add a center design cluster... not sure yet. 

Another thought is to buy a jar of the frosted window paint and do it again with a brush instead of spray.  I am thinking I would have more control with the stencil and a brush in sections instead of big sweeps of the spray. This frosted paint goes on kinda translucent and it's hard to see if you have enough spray in each little section of the stencil.  You can easily spray too much or not enough. It later dries to a more frosty etched appearance.

I am thinking I might tackle my french doors next and put a lacy pattern over each pane of glass.
Then my messy Loom Room studio can't be seen from the dining area....

I have a few stencil patterns to try out.

It's a lovely fall day and the sun is shining, though it's still pretty cold out.  Being October in Wisconsin, that is to be expected.  Some more of my tomatoes ripened over the weekend so I should get those canned up this afternoon.  

There is always something going on in Our Old House.