Sunday, June 9, 2013

New House News

   Although we're building a new house, my heart belongs to the look of old houses. I definitely plan on incorporating vintage charm into this new home. One way to accomplish this was to find an old fireplace mantel instead of the new oak one the builder tried to talk me into. I've been hearing about Preservation Station in Burlington, Iowa, where they offer for sale architectural salvage from old homes and buildings being razed locally. It is run by volunteers belonging to Heritage Trust. I did some inquiring and found out they are only open on Saturday mornings, 9 AM to 1 PM. Yesterday was the first Saturday I've been free for over a month, so off I went to Burlington with high hopes. It was love at first sight. That place is an old house lover's paradise. I asked if they had fireplace mantels and the lady at the counter said, "Well, we do, but they are all (four) listed on ebay now. :(  If you know me, you know I can be persuasive and persistent. My devastation was obvious on my face as I told her what and why I wanted one. She hesitated and called "Steve" (not sure who or what he is, but he relented) and I was shown the mantels. The first was small, curvy, lady-like, and painted "kitchen green". It looked like it belonged in a lady's bedroom, but it was very charming. I just couldn't picture it as the "one" for my living room. The next was big, oak, had "wings" on each side coming forward, needed refinished, and alas, was missing the mantel shelf, all for $500! The third was neat, dark finish, but in rough shape. The last one was AMAZING! AND like Goldilocks, I found it was just right! It was 7' tall x 5' wide, dark oak finish, columns on each side holding up a full-width mantel shelf, with a beveled glass mirror over that, followed by 2 more columns supporting a top shelf. I was in love. I tried not to let myself become too attached and asked what the dimensions were, as it may not work for our house. The builder told me the corner wall space is 6' 8" and the firebox is 36", so it had to fit on the wall while allowing for the firebox to fit too. My heart raced as they measured and then they announced the dimensions. I actually teared up when I found out it would fit and the price was not out of reach for me. I was so emotional the lady gave me a hug and said, " People like you are why we do this. We love to see someone find exactly what they want  and have that instant "heart connection" with it.

   Here it is...

  It took me awhile to settle down after my love affair with my mantel. I wandered around looking at the other old treasures. I suddenly remembered the other items on my wish list. I asked if they had old tiles. I had envisioned tiles with a delft look or willow ware in crisp blue and white, even age crackling would be forgiven. I wanted them to use around the firebox. The lady started showing me tiles, all stone look or solid colors, nothing ornate. Then we went around to the other side and she opened a box and said, "These aren't blue, but they have a design." I was love struck again! Does that mean I'm promiscuous?! They weren't delft or the shade of blue I had wanted, but they spoke to me and made me think of all my trips to Maine and the majestic ocean waves thundering on the rocky shoreline. Do they even have dolphins off the Maine shore? I didn't care, they still made me "homesick" for my annual visit to Melissa's with my Sissy. I took one out on the sidewalk to see the color in true light. Definitely teal/blue, and my heart was racing again. They will be installed one dolphin wide all around the firebox and I'll have plenty left over to possibly use along the top of the master bath counter.   
  I also found a pair of french doors to use in between the family room and my quilt studio. Didn't think to take a picture of those. I spent over 2 hours at Preservation Station and will be a frequent visitor from now on.

  Jane had invited me to meet her for lunch in Fort Madison since she was picking up her husband after a bike ride from Fairfield and it is only 6 miles across the river from Mom's. I just made it from Burlington in time for our 1 o'clock lunch at the Ivy Bake Shoppe. We had a good visit while eating and then visited an antique shop up the street. You won't believe it. I walked in, looked to the right and hanging on the wall was a painting on wood of a sailing ship with the exact same teal used for the water and the ship's sails. I had to have it to hang by the fireplace next to the dolphin tiles. It wasn't till I'd paid and the lady was wrapping it that I noticed a label on the back. It gives the story of the painting. It is signed and dated 2002, but is a copy of an 1827 painting of "The General Brown" sailed out of Boston, Massachusetts, captained by Austin Matson.  It was definitely my lucky day.

  I spotted some poison green among a stack of quilts on the way out and stopped to investigate. It was a Civil War Era quilt and priced reasonably, so, of course, it came home with me too! I haven't taken a picture of it yet. It will be in my display for the first time when I speak in Missouri Valley the 18th.

  It's killing me not to be able to quilt, but I can at least work in Mom's garden since mine is now owned by a lovely couple who adore it!

  Till next time, keep stitching!

Thursday, June 6, 2013


  We had the closing on our house on Tuesday and now we're officially homeless....temporarily. We've moved in with Mom which is 50 miles from Mt. Pleasant, while our house is being built. We're having a modular home built according to our design by Heckaman Homes in Indiana. It is supposed to be done by June 24th. The only problem is with all the rain we've had, we have no basement to put the house on! It has to happen soon or we're in trouble. I really want to be moved in before school starts and it starts early this year. The house comes in sections on big rigs, a crane sets the pieces on the foundation all in a day. A crew from Heckaman Homes stays for a week finishing the inside. Local contractors will do the plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling, etc. All of that takes 4-6 weeks. The garage is built after that. We will be cutting it close to be done before August 15th, my first day back to work! I may start the school year the way this one ended, with me working like crazy to get settled and unpacked and existing on way too little sleep. Oh, but it will be worth it in the end.

  Yesterday was my first day to relax in over a month and boy, did I take advantage of that! I sat at the table with Mom drinking tea and gabbing till almost noon! I felt decadent. The day flew by and I had accomplished absolutely NOTHING! Hee hee. I'm beginning to feel rested after a couple nights of something more than 5 hours of sleep. I was really suffering from sleep deprivation. I hope my memory and thought process returns to normal soon. I've been struggling to keep up at work and life. I'm speaking/teaching in Missouri Valley, Iowa on June 18th and 19th and I want to be in "full-game mode" by then.

  No pictures to share now, but Randy bought a Hot Spot service contract so we could access the internet here at Mom's. Yippee! I'm back online and can receive/answer emails. Not quite life as usual, but getting close. In the meantime, Mom has 24 hour company and seems happy about it. (Or she's a very gifted actress!)

  Till I have something worth talking about, Keep Stitching!