Mid-week short chat

It’s once again that time of year, tropical storms and hurricanes. After over 30 years in Florida, I don’t panic, I just go to the grocery store! Done and done…

Sewing: My son’s linen ‘Hawaiian’ shirt is finished, pending a fitting and button placement. He’s in Banner Elk, NC, due to come back on the weekend. He and his ‘crew’ drove up to avoid Covid concerns, long drive from Orlando, so I hope he has a decent drive on return. Heavy rain in Florida tends to be a whiteout, difficult driving.

This is wonderful men’s casual shirt pattern, Kwik Sew 2935. Here’s the one I made my DSIL a few years ago, also in Brussels Washer. You might have to do a search to find it now, but it’s worth the effort!

Having finished my kitchen glass door, which has a wooden frame, with frosted film, I find that every one of my rotary blades is dull. I took a moment to order blades just a while ago, I love Amazon. These are incredible prices, if they don’t last a long time, I don’t care 🙂

Tomorrow I will get myself in gear and go to Sherwin Williams for black paint for the front oak door. I’m ready to be done with painting!

I hope this finds you well and engaged in fun in-home diversions. For now, Coco

I’m so busy!

Look familiar? My kitchen is my staging area for all kinds of painting, my only issue is that all the stuff is in front of my coffee maker!

The bathroom vanity – it was not an easy upgrade, because painting stained wood is giant pain. This vanity was ’80s oak, a Thomasville cabinet, so it was worth the effort. It looks so high end now! Black paint, new hardware 🙂

Speaking of black paint, I’m actually painting all my exterior doors black as well. They are all stained oak, so it takes a coat of primer and 2 coats of paint to finish. And it will take forever to cure. I’ve finished the door to the wash house and the kitchen door (pic below). Notice that it cures very quickly on my hands…

The kitchen door, framed glass, and very exposing without something over the glass. I want to stay in the 21st century, so I added a frosted film (Rabbitgo), with a 1/2″ clear border. It’s great! and I can walk in my kitchen au naturel

Pending – the front door. I need more paint and a rest (at least 24 hours) from painting.

Meanwhile, sewing plans…

I’m making my son an Hawaiian shirt, white linen, using Kwik Sew 2935. I’ve measured him every way from here to Sunday for this project 🙂

And of course I’m sewing for myself. I ordered 3 yards of this gorgeous STOF France Zoya Multicolore linen for a Republique du Chiffon Gerard Manteau.

I won’t line it, I have a beautiful burnt orange voile for Hong Kong seams.

I’m grateful to be so busy. I’m feeling loved, my family stays in touch, and my son comes by for porch hellos. For which he gets Twizzlers and loop band bracelets.

I hope you are well also – Coco

Saturday chat

Hello from Orlando, close to Cape Canaveral, and I’m admittedly a space geek. I go out to watch launches every time I can, just to glimpse that thrilling distant flame of a rocket.

OK, I’m sitting here with black paint on my hands and feet, in old yucky clothes, taking a break from painting my wood doors and bathroom vanity! I have 3 doors – wash house, kitchen, and front porch, and I’ve finished the first two. There is nothing easy about these projects. I visited both Benjamin Moore and Home Depot, talking it up and, from Home Depot, getting paint. The staff at my local BM seemed so distracted, service was minimal.

Day 1, scruff up the wood with a sanding block and clean. Day 2, Gripper primer, wait 16 hours. Day 3, first coat, wait 16 hours. And, finally, Day 4, second coat. Pics!

Tonight I’ll take down the visine, lock up the house, and enjoy the two completed doors. May I say that black paint is challenge. It’s so black! and I have to be careful not to touch things or track on my floors.

Other non-sewing stuff – I finally shopped for a dresser, I really dislike shopping in stores, which is why this took so long. But I ordered a beautiful dresser from Rooms to Go, Cindy Crawford Home collection. Nice heavy solid wood constuction, interesting play between the woods. It won’t be here for another 4 weeks!

Another essential, a Polywood rocker for the front porch – and it won’t be here until September!

I’m really tired of painting, so I’ll be sewing tomorrow 🙂 For now – Coco

Fabric as art #1

Summer, and I’ve been in the house for 9 months. All the ‘big’ items are finished – roof and outside plumbing repair, front yard gardens, bug-free screening for the porch, and, the biggest ticket item, a new A/C compressor and air handler. Whew.

It’s time to work on my bedroom. It’s a huge room, 1/2 of the house, L-shaped, with a sitting area as one enters, which is home to my piano and a twisted wood and wicker chair, then a deeper space that is home to my dresser, armoire, bed, and nightstand…

I’ve had lots of time to think about wall art, and a couple weeks ago I decided to use 3 large frames with fabrics that I love, instead of conventional art. Today I framed the first of 3 pieces, the one over my piano. I don’t want to focus on the art when I’m playing, so I was looking for a fabric with fluidity and color. This is Waverly Mayan Market Caliente duck from Fabric.com. I ordered 1 yard and turned the pattern sideways to get a horizontal motion. It is the most expensive fabric I’ve ever purchased, at $30/yd, but the cut was very generous. I’m sure it was done with a view of the pattern repeat.

Instead of sewing notes, here are my construction notes!

  • I purchased 3 stretched canvas frames from Sam Flax. These have a 3/4″ profile – 2 @ 30″ x 40″, and one, the one, at 20″ x 30″. I really don’t plan to frame them so size was important.
  • Tools! From Ace Hardware, a staple gun and 1/4″ staples for attaching my fabric. Which, by the way, I cut out with 2″ borders once I decided on the print placement. The staple gun was easy to use, it’s an Ace brand, I think the person helping me and I tried out every model in the store. I love Ace!!
  • I added fusible interfacing in a 4″ block on each corner, since the fabric is a loosely woven. I was scared silly I would mess up the corners. Then I stapled the opposing sides and worked with those corners. I was grateful for the interfacing, and it went very well!
  • To hang the frame, I used d-ring fasteners and picture wire. I like these fasteners because they lie flat. I did have to get shorter screws, the ones included in the pack were too long.
  • And up it went!! Please ignore the blue-ish walls, they came with the house, and as soon as it’s safe, they will be painted white, which I find very soothing in my bedroom space.

I hope this finds you all well and strong, what a strange and challenging time.

For now, Coco

Project bed frame

A much delayed project – I finally found a bedframe I really really like! Better, I ordered it on Amazon and received it in 3 days. Big box!

It’s the Zinus Adrian Wood Rustic Style Platform Bed with Headboard …beautiful hardwoods, exceptional hardware IMHO (with an included ratcheting allen wrench), and straightforward construction. Did it myself in less than 45 minutes 🙂

It has 12 wood slats, strung on velcro strips and anchored on dowels at the midpoint of the sides. Also some ‘sticky’ tape to help prevent mattress slippage. Actually I cannot imagine my mattress moving at all, as I’m small, and it is heavy. Note the metal bar and support legs down the center – it’s included on all size beds, even the twin.

I am so impressed by this bed and look forward to years of sleep. With my bear, of course. I’m assuming everyone sleeps with a bear…

Ciao! Coco

Now the fun part – new home

Now that I’m all moved in, here are some random pics of the neighborhood, and my house now and future. I’m in College Park, a small (pop. 12,000) mainstreet neighborhood in northwest Orlando. Most of the homes here were built in the early 1900’s, mine in 1947, and the majority are bungalows, with a smattering of newer homes and lots of renovations. It’s a dense neighborhood with narrow streets, a heavy tree canopy, and an abundance of tropical botanicals. It’s also very happy, with kids on bikes, courteous and friendly neighbors, and a warm feeling of community. It has 6 churches and 3 public schools (elementary, middle, and high school), 2 pharmacies, and a mid-century Publix market built in Publix’ signature deco style. The main street is 2 lanes, lined with pubs, restaurants, boutiques, a post office, a barbershop, and a couple bicycle shops. People walk here and sit outside with coffee and their pups.

Brugmansia spp., aka Angel’s Trumpet. Not for children or pets…

I saw my house the second and third day I was in Orlando, and I made an offer one day later. Property moves very quickly here, so I was fortunate with the timing and availability of the house. I admit I gulped at first – awful colors and no landscaping except a ton of grass. But I’m so glad I looked beyond the surface. It has been fully renovated inside, has new fencing, a 5-zone irrigation system, new double-pane e-vinyl windows, and, thankfully, no sliding glass doors!

Yesterday I met with a painter, recommended by a neighbor. He’ll be painting everything on the outside and pressure cleaning the hardscape. Here’s my working version (the main color is Sherwin Williams Revel Blue):

Moving day in the rain
Red letter day – all the packing materials on the curb for a bulk pickup (that wore me out)
Roof garden in the gutter of the screen porch! Soon to be gone
Ok, I do have two trees 🙂

Bye for now! Coco

Two weeks to go till the move…

One of the most time-consuming efforts, pending my house move, has been going through my library and donating books that I simply will not re-read.

I love books, I love owning them, I love seeing them on my shelves. Just holding a book and turning the pages is so peaceful and fulfilling.

But – my space as I downsize will be limited. I’ve kept nine of these shelves full. Time for big decisions.

What I kept: my collections, Churchill, Annie Proulx, Graham Greene, Paul Theroux, John le Carre, Patrick O’Brian, McCullough, miscellaneous travelogues and exploration writings from the 1800’s, all my math and science books, gardening including the priceless Exotica, 2 volumes, hard to acquire now. Family cookbooks and travelogues, chronicles of the 20th century, history of the great wars, books on the US experience in China and Japan, Atlas – the world, the human anatomy, dictionaries and grammars – English, French, Spanish, Portuguese. And of course my huge international stamp collection, catalogues, albums, and work in progress. I collect up to 1958, after which the beautiful printing techniques ceased.

My library is still large and will keep me company for all the years to come. Plus I have another 70 books on my Nook – never without a good book!

Read on, Coco