Monthly Archives: August 2009

It pays to support small business.

Colonial Heights, VA

Colonial Heights, VA

My super cool art teacher friend Beth informed me a month or so ago that the trim throughout the downstairs portion of our house was actually picture rail. Original picture rail! No need to poke holes in that plaster. No sir. I was really excited.

I stopped by our local Benjamin Moore Paint store to see Gary, the paint guy on Friday. He also does custom framing out of his shop. Gary gave was such a huge help when we were painting our living room and dinning room I wanted to see if he by chance had picture rail hooks before I stopped at Lowes or ordered them online.

Sure enough he had  six packs of 3 left. They were in faded, old packages and had probably been hanging there for ages. He said they were hard to find as they are discontinued. Newer homes just don’t have that kind of detail. They were just $1.25 a pack. I said I’d take them all and as I had my pen poised to write the total in my check book registry he said, “Nope. Just take them. A gift from me to your family for all your business here.”

I would’ve hugged him if he hadn’t been on the other side of the counter. Now would Lowe’s or Walmart have done such a thing?! Duh, what a ridiculous thought. Colonial Heights doesn’t have too many Mom-and-Pops left.  I asked our real estate agent where the local hardware store was and she said they didn’t have one anymore. What kind of small town doesn’t have a local hardware store?! Ice cream shop (you know those little seasonal dairy stands)? Nope. Gone. Replaced by Dairy Queen. The Boulevard looks like “everywhere USA” with chains far as the eye can see.

Pickwick Ave.

Pickwick Ave.

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Oh the possibilities.

There’s a little strip of shops off the main drag (Pickwick Ave) that has real potential. In fact it is the one and only quaint, redemable plot of retail/business in Colonial Heights. And it’s nestled smack dab in the middle of a residential area with sidewalks. Folks could walk there. Imagine that! There is one “For Rent” sign where an Antique Shop went under. I’m not holding my breath that it turns into a little used book store/coffee shop anytime soon …Or a co-op grocery store… a mini Ellwood Thompsons… a cute little soda shop… oh the possibilities. It could be an awesome little nook.

Be a conscious consumer. Please support your small business owners. Our communities depend on it. Just imagine what your neighborhood would be like without them.

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One Man’s Trash…

Yesterday I came across four huge bags of grass clippings on a walk around the neighborhood with Owen. So I made a mental note to go and pick them up this morning before the garbage man hauled them to a landfill. My plants and compost pile would thank me later.

This morning, half a mile from my house sat this beauty:

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The mohair is badly worn in spots and the upholstery has faded, but it is a beautiful piece, and the structure is in mint condition. I asked the homeowner if I could pull it away from the curb in case the garbage crew made it there before I found someone with a truck. She was more than happy to oblige the strange girl asking for her trash. Turns out the chair was once her mother’s… and she is 80!! It would’ve been a crime to have it crushed in a garbage truck.

I can’t wait for my mom to come visit so she can help me pick out fabric. I got an estimate on labor to have it professionally recovered, so unless I find someone with mad reupholstery skills (or my friend Zoe is truly the creative genius I think she is and we figure it out ourselves) my free piece of furniture could get a little pricey. Totally worth it. Any ideas on what to pair with a lime green, crushed velvet sofa?

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And to think I was just thrilled to death over rotting yard waste.

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I dream about gardening.

I’m killing my front lawn. Soon.

Lawn is too kind a word. Lawn brings to mind pictures of green grass. Grass is inaccurate. Weeds is more precise. Mowing and hedging weeds seems silly. When it’s done the front yard looks nice a neat, but at the end of the day it’s still a patch of weeds. And that patch of weeds is a waste of the only section of yard that gets full sun (not to mention waste of fossil fuels using the mower on it). All that glorious sun is made for growing lovely things. Edible things. Not weeds.

This spring and summer I’ve enjoyed my potted lettuce and container cherry tomatoes and my herb garden by the kitchen door. Not to sound ungrateful, but it’s not enough. So this fall/ next spring the front lawn is getting the ax…0r smothered…with newspaper and compost. I can’t wait. In the mean time I dream of vegetables and perennials and spend way too much time in the gardening section of my local library.

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Homemade Fun

Cornstarch Fingerpaint
3 T Sugar
1/2 cup Cornstarch
Medium saucepan
2 cups cold water
Muffin tin or small cups
Food coloring
Liquid dishwashing detergent

Mix sugar and cornstarch in saucepan. Turn heat on low, add cold water, and stir until mixture is thick. Remove from heat. Divide mixture into four or five portions, spooning into muffin tin sections. Add a few drops of food coloring and a drop of liquid dish soap to each portion. Stir and let cool before use. Store covered.

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Colored Playdough

1 cup water
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 cup salt
1 T cream of tartar
Food coloring
Saucepan
1 cup flour

Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar and food coloring in a saucepan and heat until warm. Remove from heat and add flour. Stir, then knead until smooth. The cream of tartar makes the dough last 6 months or longer. Store in airtight container or freezer bag. Break out the rolling pin, cookie cutters… cowboys and indians?

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Not-so-mess Watercolors

All those pesky dried up markers.
Cup of water

Dip dried up markers in water… voila! Watercolors. Use until tips turn white, then you can use them as fine tipped paintbrushes. Way to recycle yo!

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Happy Birthday Don!

We Love You!

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Where has the summer gone?!

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I love waking up before everyone else and having some quiet time to myself. That quiet time made me realize that summer is slipping away — fast. I think I’m in denial that August is well under way. However, I’m reviling in my new occupation: Full time stay-at-home-mom. I don’t think there’s enough money in the world to make me want to trade in dinner with my family and Sundays… oh how I love Sundays now that I don’t have to rush off to work. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts 🙂

So far this summer we’ve had two wonderful visits from Dane and Jen. Owen and I have made two trips to Ohio as well. The first trip in June for Comfest and the second just a week ago for a family reunion. With a trip to the beach, camping, Don working away on the governor’s race, and settling into our new home, I’m not sure where the summer has gone. Since I haven’t been taking the time to post any of these activities I’ll do a “Greatest Hits of  Summer 2009” or something and post some pictures (including the new paint job in the living and dining rooms). Hope all y’all are having a great summer too!

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