Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Still Vibing...

Gas prices suck, moving is stressful, I miss my friends, wah, wah, wah. I LOVE CHARLOTTE!!! And, last weekend Mitch and I were able to sneak away and go on a Vibing adventure. And it only took half a tank of gas to vibe from Charlotte, out to the Waterbury Flea Market, on to some tag sales along Route 2 all the way out to Plainfield and Marshfield and then up to Hardwick and Greensboro! Yeah Vibe!!! Oh, and back to Charlotte.

Tag sales in Vermont are great - especially when you get farther away from Chittenden County, that's where good folks are trying to clear out cellar space, not buy stuff cheap and then jack up the prices for the jack asses who buy it. Case and point - folks who buy stuff cheap at the Waterbury Flea Market (which is cheap) and then go sell it to that indoor flea market along Route 2 in Richmond. That place is bunk! The stuff is waaaayyyyyy overpriced and I heard them talking about hoe they jack the prices when we were in there! People should watch what they say when the Vibers are out and about. Then we tried to buy a cool old music poster with a rip in it with no frame cover and they were trying to charge Mitch $25 because he bought it for $30 ten years ago. Lame.

But besides that, the Waterbury Flea Market rocks. Just remember to bring CASH!!! We bought more plant supplies and plants than anything else and had some great luck at Plainfield Hardware and Nursery - what a fantastic spot and the veggie packs were beautiful and a great price. In fact, I had never spent much time in Plainfield, so I thought I'd share some pics of this fun little town on the verge of the paradise known as the Northeast Kingdom.

By this point we had spent way to much time buying plants and stopping at tag sales. One last stop was the best of all - this heady organic farm nursery off Route 16 up towards Greensboro Bend. These folks were even Healthy Hippie worthy and in her honor, I bought kale to plant. We cruised up to Greensboro where some of my fam was opening up our summer cottages so we chilled for a bit and then packed up the roof of the Vibe with an authentic Chinese screen my cousin has passed on to me after my grandmother passed it on to her. This is because our living room motif if Chinese Farmhouse.

Then back to the Charlotte Farmhouse for the remainder of the weekend building a garden - but that is for another blog...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Surreal Surroundings in Charlotte, Vermont

We live in the middle of high density moose territory. Yesterday Mitch and I walked through it all - someone even has a tent hidden in the brush for animal watching. Not sure who's it it, but I am going to sit in it and watch. After the rain...and after we finish this insane move. The clover patches weave in and out of soft marshes, grassy fields, large tree pockets, underbrush, and forests. It is amazing. I also saw a fisher cat one night and a bobcat ate one of my neighbors chickens. Fishers are scary and chickens are cute, but there is something raw out here in the farmland. Something primal and alive and real. I cannot express how much I love it and how this move is circling the completeness of my life. I am home in my wood nymph paradise. We have wetlands and marshlands right on our fields and roufous-sided towee's are making a nest outside of my office window. I must run off and finish the insanity of making this place my wood nymph paradise, but wanted to share some new pictures before I headed into town and out of the country (sigh).

Monday, May 12, 2008


I have always enjoyed working with wood and the farmhouse move has sealed the deal! Woodworking is now an official added activity to my growing list of hobbies and interests. I have taken almost every piece of old wood furniture Mitch and I own and have brought it to the basement before it even gets to enjoy being in the farmhouse. I have painted a few things, fixed a few things, sanded everything, stained and re-stained some things, and mostly have varnished everything with my new favorite thing in the world - polyurethane.

Here are my Vermont Vibes Woodworking Tips:

1.) Reuse!!!! Buy the old furniture and fix it up! Get some little nails, a staple gun, and a screwdriver and tighten knobs, and sturdy up legs, backings, and other hardware depending on how it is made. I am a big fan of little nails. You may need a saw and some old wood scraps to add support pieces especially to dressers and bookshelves.

2.) Recycle!!! DO NOT go to hardware stores and buy wood unless absolutely necessary (this is more for if you need specific 2 X 4's to secure to wall studs to hang the cabinet stuff). Find jobsite recycling locations and check out places like Recycle North's Building Materials Center. I get everything there - from kitchen cabinets to light fixtures to floorboards.

3.) Rework!!! Determine of the piece of furniture you want to refinish needs paint, stain, or varnish. This is how I do it:
~ If the item is already painted, then I find a cool way to repaint it. I like working with brown paint and sponges to make an antique look of my own. I also like painting in color and then accenting by adding stenciling.
~ If the item is already stained a dark color and is pretty nasty or if the item is unfinished with no stain, varnish, or smoothness to it, I like to stain it with a stain/polyurethane in one. I usually opt for dark colors to hide old flaws and to give it a rich look.
~ If the item is a lighter colored wood and has some dings in it and just looks tired, varnish is the way to go. This is just using a polyurethane (I use oil based, satin) to shine it up and give it new life and a happy wood furniture gleam. This is my favorite!
~ Never paint on wood that isn't already painted - shame on you!

4.) The Process!!! It is a process, so plan ahead! Once you fix up the furniture, clean it with wood cleaner - I often use regular furniture polish. Then you must sand. Get a variety of sandpaper. I use lighter grades that aren't too coarse, although your first sanding should be the coarsest. Sand away as you see fit. I find sanding to be an art with the goal being to make the surface smooth for the staining. Make sure you have brushes that can be used for staining. I keep staining brushes and paint brushes separate. And have oil based paint thinner for when the project is done. If you don't clean brushes right away they are ruined.

5.) Finishing or Continuing??? Unless I am doing a quick fix-it job on adding varnish to an already almost done piece of furniture, I always so a second coat and sometimes a third. The key is to sand lightly between coats so you don't get the bubble look.

I am working on getting some pictures of my actual work, but the moving process is taking over in all life departments right now! But, my furniture is sure looking HOT!!!