Home and Hearth

Happy Halloween!

halloween cardMy good friend, Melissa, makes the most beautiful cards! This is the one she sent to hubby and I for Halloween… I LOVE IT! Halloween is one of our absolute favorite holidays. We use to decorate our yard at the first of the month and have wonderful Halloween parties! One of the drawbacks of “living in the country” is that we don’t have ANY Trick or Treaters come by. No point in decorating when no one will SEE it! This year, I didn’t decorate at all, not even my black wreath on the front door or a single pumpkin. Any way, that just made receiving Melissa’s card all that more precious to me!IMG_20141031_142949[1]

Well, I did inadvertently decorate just a smidge. Hubby gave me this adorable little coffin that he painted and stamped. In it were three chocolate truffles all in a neat little row. Lastly, when my sister was here last month, she was instructed by this foxy little black feline to be brought home to me! Have you ever seen such a sweet, vintage stand-up decoration!?!?!IMG_20141031_143022[1]

Lastly, some of you may recall that I had set a deadline for today – a deadline to have my sewing/craft room back in working order and completely cleared of all the piles that covered every flat surface! Sadly, I have NOT fully accomplished this goal. About halfway through I became completely overwhelmed and all progress came to a grinding HALT! Significant progress was made in several areas, but there is still one large WALL o’ STUFF piled high in the middle of the room, essentially dividing the room in two…

There are a few good reasons why I didn’t finish ALL that I set out to do, and some pretty creative excuses could be given as well! The deadline may have arrived, but I’m not giving up!!! I think I will spend the rest of the day seeing if I can’t make a bit more progress in here before the “Witching Hour” arrives. It would just be so much simpler if I could wiggle my nose and make it be all neat and tidy!

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The Old Wood Stove…

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve written anything about my progress in clearing away the clutter up here in my sewing/craft room. For those of you who are new here, or have otherwise missed my earlier posts, I set myself a deadline of October 31st for having this rather large room back in working order (if not quite ship shape). Hubby had started calling this front room my CRAP room, and sadly I could not disagree with him! The amount of stuff I’ve hoarded and squirreled away up here is astounding, even to ME, and the task is proving harder than I originally anticipated.

Progress continues, but at a very slow, grueling pace! I stepped away from working on the sewing side of the room and shifted my focus to the tall desk (at my right as I sit here at our ancient PC) that houses mostly scrapbook/paper craft supplies. Actually, I haven’t even made it TO the desk itself, yet, but rather I’ve been working on the gigantic pile in front of the desk. I knew there was a chair somewhere under the pile, but until recently it was completely consumed by the stuff in it, under it and around it. My diligence paid off and the chair was at last uncovered a couple of weeks ago. I barely had time to celebrate my small accomplishment before the chair was claimed by Duster, as his personal throne. Duster is the youngest of our four cats, one of our two house cats, found when he was just an infant by our scrappy dog, SassyfrASS. While I’m seated here at the adjacent computer desk, Duster likes to curl up on the cushion I tossed in the sagging seat of the throne.

A small pile still remains to the right of Duster’s throne, directly in front of the four-drawer file cabinet that flanks the desk. This remaining pile completely bars my access to the file cabinet, which thereby impedes any attempt at filing and creates more PILING! I have high hopes of chipping away at this remaining section over the weekend so that the file cabinet is once again fully accessible. However, before resuming my efforts in this region I shifted my attention (once again) over to the area around the hearth of our small wood-burning stove. Although it’s only just now starting to remain cool enough throughout the day to NOT need air conditioning, I realized that all the accumulated stuff in and around the hearth seriously needed to be purged and relocated sooner rather than later. If we were to have an early cold snap the wood stove simply could not be used in such a state!IMG_20140927_085101[1]

We generally have mild winters in Texas, even all the way up here, north of I-20. The small wood stove located in the center of this room, directly adjacent to the front door, is the ONLY source of heat here in the original section of our old farmhouse. It not only heats the sewing/craft room, but indirectly the kitchen and front bedroom. When we first moved in, back in May of 2007, there was absolutely NO heat here in the front half of the house. Being early summer, this wasn’t an issue, but our “To-Do” list continually grew and the stove’s installation kept getting pushed back until finally, by mid-December, we had no choice but to purchase the chimney pipe over the Internet and install it all ourselves!

Troy built the hearth itself using brick from a stack we found here on the property. He creatively laid them in a herringbone pattern, too. The small stove was purchased NEW from a fireplace store over in Stephenville. We had looked at vintage stoves, but our research showed that in addition to having better safety features the new ones were much more efficient as well. For the chimney pipe we ordered triple-walled pipe, which again is the most efficient and also offers better safety. We simply followed all of the manufacturers instructions for the installation, including spacing from the wall, size of the hearth itself, and the height of the chimney above the roof line.

I spent the better part of this morning clearing away the clutter that surrounded the stove. I then cleaned out all the old ashes, which were still in the ash pot and drawer under the stove. Last year we replaced the fiberglass seal around the door and I had purchased stove polish, too, but had never gotten around to using it, as the stove must be COLD when you apply it. Following the instructions on the tube, I wiped down the stove with a soft cloth, used a wire brush on the lightly rusted areas inside the door, and then applied the polish. After it dried for a few minutes I used another clean rag to buff it off and WOW, this lil’ stove looks almost new again! With the stove and hearth not only cleared, but also cleaned and polished, I can return my attention to the pile in front of the desk and file cabinet with renewed confidence.

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An OLD pix of our lil’ wood stove with Sandy curled up in front… Sadly, Sandy is no longer with us…

PS: Either later tonight, or maybe first thing in the morning, I’m hoping to get hubby up on the roof to run the chimney brooms through for us. He does this every year before we use the stove for the first time. While up on the roof he also checks for any low lying branches, fallen branches or damaged shingles.

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12 days of Christmas

12 days of Christmas

Wish I knew where this image originated so that I could give credit where it is due! Today is the SIXTH Day of Christmas and on Facebook I’ve been changing my profile picture every day to announce which Day of Christmas it is. I commented in an earlier post how amazed I am that people no longer seem to know when the Twelve Days of Christmas are what so ever. Most people I know un-decorate their houses and throw out the tree on December 26th! I say we take back the Twelve Days of Christmas… who’s with me!?!?!

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