Thursday, May 30, 2013

Blue Porch Ceilings and Backyard Projects

We had a great Memorial Day Weekend at the farm and it rained here at the city home...much needed rain. We had clouds, a few sprinkles, then sunshine at the farm. A perfect weekend to enjoy and to remember  all who have served/are serving. We are very blessed by you. Thank you!


I finally took pictures of the outside of the house with its new paint job...bye-bye streaky, half done yellow paint! So much better! We painted the porch ceilings blue - supposedly it keeps birds and wasps from building their nests there. Well, it didn't keep the swallow away. No wasps though - we'll see. It looks pretty anyway whether it works or not.
Front porch ceiling

swallow nest...so much for that working to keep her away
Back Porch Ceiling - used to be streaky yellow now a beautiful blue

House Front, New Paint
 Although it's hard to tell from this picture, the posts are white and the eaves are a sand color. It looks really nice with the brick.






Bruce worked on putting up a fence in the backyard. When done, it will keep the pups from running off after the deer or interrupting events next door. ( there's a bed and breakfast/ events venue next door) :o)


We put in a walkway from the driveway to the back door. Yay, no more stepping on sticker-y plants and dirt plus it gives me definition for a someday flowerbed.
Bruce dug and leveled the ground, I laid the brick.





You can tell where the old bricked area ended as there is grass growing in the cracks. :o) It got sprayed with weed killer. And when the fence gets done, we will continue the brick through the gate to the driveway.

I'm very excited to say I am almost finished painting the pew. I need to get the cushion done too. It looks so much better! Can't wait to get it done and show it off. I stained the legs dark walnut and painted the body of it Shenandoah Taupe-same as the dresser.





Oh another note, my beautiful pups are now 6 months old. They have gotten big and just love going to the farm!
Buddy

Herbie


Buddy now has a new nickname -Buddy Bear.  He was finding and eating the blackberries before I could get to  them. He finally convinced Herbie to eat some too. I wish I had a picture of them carefully biting the berries and pulling them off the thorny vines. So funny!
They bring such joy to my life. They are such a hoot to watch and play with. You can just see their Border Collie brains figuring out the next adventure. Lol.

As always the time there was peaceful and enjoyable.

Sunset


Ahhh, nice. Until the next time,

:o)
Cecilia

Linking up here:
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Monday, May 20, 2013

First B Farm Recipe

I love seeing what's blooming and growing at the farm. It makes me dream of the day when we move there and I get to have a huge (well ok, maybe not huge but big!) garden and lush flower beds. One day, I'll have all sorts of things to cook that come from our farm and flowers to bring in the house. In the meantime, it's exciting to discover what plants are showing off.

This last weekend, we found these just starting to ripen:

Blackberries!!

Our son went with us...before I knew it, he was out picking them. He got enough to make one of these:

And yes, he's the one who made it!

YUM...

Thank you, Jay! It is delish!!

Here's the recipe he used:

Recipe for Blackberry Pie:

Double-crust pie pastry (see below)
4-5 cups fresh blackberries (can use frozen)
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 Tablespoon butter

*Roll out 1/2 the pastry to 1/8" thickness on a lightly floured surface. Place in pie pan and trim edges.

*In another bowl, combine berries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, and salt. Toss well. Pour into pastry shell;             
  dot with butter.

*Roll remaining pastry to 1/8" thickness then cut into 1/2" strips. Arrange strips over pie in a lattice 
  design; trim even with bottom pastry, folding under and crimping to seal edges.

*Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and bake 45-50 minutes more or until crust is 
  browned.   Serves: 8

Double Pie Crust 

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 plus 2 Tablespoons of shortening
4-5 Tablespoons cold water

*Combine flour and salt; cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Add water one Tbls. at a time, stirring with fork until mixture is moist and forms ball. Divide into 2. Roll Pastry out and fit into pie shell. Use 2nd half for top.

I think I will be bringing more of these beauties home next time...maybe Jay will make another pie (pretty please?) or we'll just put them on ice cream or perhaps eat them all by themselves....

Who wants to go berry picking?
:o)
Cecilia

PS

I noticed the muscadine grapes are growing. Hm, wonder if he's up to making jelly the end of June?

Linking up here:
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Hidden Beauty Revealed - Dresser Redo

I finished the dresser. She's gorgeous with an English twist:


I knew she could be pretty even though she was rough around the edges and sporting golden oak - a color that had seen more popular times. Here's a refresher on what she looked like:




Now we had a chest of drawers, but it was too small. And even though I had painted it inside and out, there was still a lingering cigarette smell. ( Trust me, if I had realized that when I got it, I would never have brought it home but it was free. And I have plans for Still Stinky). 

It took me a long time to find the right piece. I looked at all the GoodWill and Salvation Army stores. All were either too damaged and "are you kidding me it cost that much for that piece of junk?" or just plain too expensive for a used dresser. (they're thrift stores for crying out loud! But that's a rant for another time).

Then I saw this one...ok, maybe she would work. She had beautiful lines but there were some issues:  a peeling finish, the top coming loose, a perfumey smell (spilled perfume?), and some rough spots. Nothing I couldn't fix. The size was right, the price ok, and the smell not too obnoxious. I double-checked her and decided to pay a little more and take her home with me.

We got her up to the farm, in the garage, and away I went getting her ready for her new life. I screwed back down the top, patched the holes, and got ready to paint. Then Mr. B wanted to know - "Are you painting it? Why do you have to paint everything and what's wrong with stained wood?" 

UH, nothing if it's pretty wood. I decided to humor do something nice for him and stain part of it. :o) . The top was in good condition, as were the doors, so they got sanded and stained a darker color, then  finished off with a clear coat of poly for extra durability. I  primed the rest, using Zinsser BullsEye primer, making sure to paint all the porous surfaces to seal off the smell (this included the undersides/sides of the drawers and inside the cabinet. Perfect.



 Next, I chose one of my sample color cans of paint (Benjamin Moore's Shenandoah Taupe ) and mixed up a homemade chalk paint recipe which I then used to paint the sides, door panels, and all the drawers.






I also decided the doors needed more oomph so added an British Flag design using neutral colors; in this case Behr's Creamy Mushroom and White. I also stenciled numbers on the drawers, lightly distressed the whole piece, gave it a clear coat of wax, and then added the hardware. All done!
White striping added

Creamy Mushroom over the white and distressed

Numbers added to drawers

Isn't she beautiful? 


She now sits happily in our bedroom enjoying her new look and lease on life. All she needs is some dresser top adornment but I am thrilled with how she turned out. I've finally hit on how I want our room to look. I will be working toward achieving that over the next several months...after all, it takes time to find all the right stuff. :o)

Thanks for dropping by,
Cecilia

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Different Kind of Post

This is not a post about the farm...Although I have projects I'm working on up there, here in the city I've been working on my paintings. So this is a post about my art.

 I usually paint pictures to stir the imagination like my unicorn painting called "Midnight's Journey": Midnight's journey

or the painting I did of my twin sister and I from a comment my mom made long ago about us being as different as the sun and moon:



Lately however, I decided to try some landscape paintings. I never liked landscapes. They didn't work for me; they didn't excite me. But there were some photos I really wanted to paint. One was of my son when he was two, walking down a dirt road on a foggy day. You can see it here: "Exploring His Limits"

The other was from our trip to New England a couple of years ago. I had always dreamed of visiting New England in the Fall. It was beautiful and we got to go with friends - so much fun!
Our husbands opted not to be in the picture.


The scenery was spectacular - we don't get Fall color here like up there. I took lots and lots of pictures.
One was of a small covered bridge in New Hampshire.

So charming...

I've been wanting to paint it and finally decided to do it -  I started on it in February and it is finally done:



It is 16"x 20", oil on canvas. What do you think? It's not the best photo of it as it's a little washed out; I forgot to fix that when I edited it. oops!

 I also did a watercolor painting of a red sail boat from this same trip. To view it and my other paintings, you can visit my website at www.ceciliabramhall.com.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my art. We're off to the farm this weekend. Stay tuned for the dresser reveal!

Creating beautiful things,
Cecilia


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