Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A happy ending!!!

My dear friends, A thousand times I thank you for your kindness, your concern and your prayers.  I spent an anxious day at an art event I had to attend. It was difficult to put a fake smile on my face and make pleasant conversation when I had this burden and worry on my brain. I had called the local Humane Society earlier in the morning and the lady in charge said "Well I hope SO AND SO doesn't get a-hold of your dog, he'll mistreat him and you'll never see him again!"  Oh great, another thing to worry about all day.  Meanwhile, James drove the back roads, the bi-ways, walked acres of woods, passed out posters and flyers and talked to dozens of farmers and neighbors looking for our doggy. We live in a county where the houses are scattered hither and thither in a weird and haphazard manner, over miles and miles of country. NO one had seen our dog and one man threatened James, demanding he NOT place a poster on "HIS" telephone pole. James was ready to pound the guy, when the man noticed the poster was about a lost dog... and he  apologized profusely.  When James picked me up after the show, I was despondent upon learning of no new developments. Do you know what kept me from being a complete basket case all day? It was your kind comments and concerns and prayers and best wishes, that's what. Do you know what we found when we pulled onto our property? A filthy, muddy,wet doggy, covered in ticks and cockle-burs and weed seeds; sitting on our bridge BEHIND the fence! I do not know HOW he got home, or HOW he got into the fenced yard, or WHO brought him home, if anybody. But I think it was all of you.. thank you my dear blogger friends, thank you. Keats is home!
After a quick brushing and a big meal , the weary wanderer sleeps... and now I can sleep too.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Your Prayers please...

My beautiful Keats, Great Pyrenees and brother of Liam is missing and My heart is breaking.
 We came home after being gone one day to find that he was no where to be found. His brother was here, but Keats had somehow found an opening in the fence and gone a-wandering. We have searched high and low, and will continue to do so putting out leaflets and talking to neighbors. But please, if you are a praying person, I ask you pray for him to come home to us.... I am deeply upset and worried.  Jeri

Saturday, July 19, 2014

"When the cat's away, the mouse will go antique shopping..."

      That's right!  The "cat" being the Lord of the Manor.  He is up and away to his oldest son's wedding on the west coast while the  little grey mouse stayed home to prepare for an important art event coming soon..  No problem. All work and no play makes Jeri a dull mouse... so I HAD to take a wee break and visit our local Antique shop. I found a treasure.
It was a little rough around the edges
 and had a lot of parts
 but with a little Murphy's Oil soap and some Linseed Oil
 all will be as it should.
See what I mean?!

The little drawer handles are perfectly wonderful, and only need to be cleaned.
and there is the faintest of text on each drawer....
In some spots, the words are barely discernable because of the rust.
 By carefully applying a thin coat of poly-u, the words begin to magically re-appear;

On the back of the box..
and on the drawers.
Assorted Colors
 J&P  Coats
 Spool Cotton for hand & machine sewing
 I did have a devil of a time trying to figure out the 5th drawer. But it should say
"Best Six Cord"
and the 6th drawer plate, which should say WHITE is missing.
All referring to THREAD.
I am sure some of you will know exactly what this is.
This is a spool cabinet.
 In 1877   J.P Coats,  began producing spool boxes from a factory in Rhode Island, to be placed upon country store counters. Merchants who carried the thread received the box for free. It was a great marketing tool and these cabinets were a staple in General Store counters across the land. The history of this Cotton Thread company is interesting if you are a needle woman.  The  Clark Mill began producing cotton thread  in Paisley, Scotland in 1812, when Napoleons blockade stopped the importation of silk thread to Britain from India. Following the success of the Clark mill, a local weaver,  by the name of  James Coats, used his vast knowledge of fine yarn twisting to apply to the thread market. His business also became quite a success. Upon his retirement in 1830, his two sons, James and Peter, took over the company, which became J.&P. Coats. Next, John Clark invented a spooling machine which wound the cotton thread onto small wooden spools.  Both companies brought their goods to the American market and thrived under their separate labels... "CLARK"  and "J&P Coats". Until, in 1896, when  the two companies merged to become "Coats and Clark", a name all needle-workers know so well.
 Have you ever wondered what the O.N.T. means on the spool? It stands for Our New Thread.
 Knowing the history makes it even more interesting that I  have used these threads all my life:  just think, in business for over 200 years!
That is what makes  antiques so fascinating, they are not just objects, they are part of history and heritage.
I would love to be able to date this piece using the walnut wood, ornate spindles along the corners and the unusual little drawer handles as clues. The text on the drawers was done on a metal plate; I know that the later cabinet's drawer labels were painted on glass and often made of oak. I am placing this piece as an early one, maybe 1877-1880's. If any one else knows how to determine the age on these, please let me know.

   I've seen these cabinets in nearly perfect condition, but I enjoy a piece that REALLY shows it's age..missing handles, missing metal text plate on bottom drawer, scratched and worn, sorta like me. I did not want this to be perfect, I prefer all the flaws; (and I didn't have to pay much for this either!)
   I have yet to decide it's use in my studio, for the time being I am just thinking about all the possibilities and stuffing little body parts in the drawers.
 It certainly belongs in my studio along with many delightful objects!

  Oh, and by the way, although I could not attend my step-sons wedding, I did send a lovely gift via my husband...
 This is our copy of my original Scherenschnitte, but I made an additional cutting  for our son
 and his bride with a different message written inside the heart...just for them.

Fondly, Jeri

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A mini-greenhouse, a folly, a garden ornament? THREE in ONE!

You've seen these before... old windows used to build a greenhouse of any size. It just seems the best use for these panes of glass that can easily be acquired. I've had some old windows for years and we finally put them to use for the final touch on my "project". ( My garden renovation "project" was mentioned in the post below, and it has taken me about 2 weeks to complete. I'll post the video soon, but I want the new planting to fill in a bit, before I film.) So, in the meantime, I will show you the mini greenhouse we built to place at the end of my new garden path.
 I sanded and painted the original white windows using hunters green Rust-o-lian spray paint. I then sanded them again for a vintage look.
        We used 5 windows to make a "saltbox" shape. If you prefer a traditional peaked roof, use 6 panes of glass. Obviously, you will need windows that are of equal size along at least one width or length.
Using nails, screws, or L-brackets  connect the windows into a box shape.
You will need to use hinges on  the window to be used as your door.
 We used antique hinges .
and a very interesting doorknob.
Use support boards on the inside of the box for extra stability. We used old stairway spindles, which provide a lip on which to connect our shelves.
You don't need a floor, I just set this on the stones... great for drainage.
 I had 2 cast iron garden ornaments I put to use as: 1.) a shelf

  and 2.) a ventilation piece in the back of greenhouse.
The center shelf is clear plexiglass, about 1/4 inch thick.
This roof is attached with hinges as well, so that I can open it from the top.  
 For the time being I am putting succulents, such as pots of sedum  and cacti
 and a few lavender babies, inside.
 But I can also start little seedlings in here at any time of the year.
Because I do not need a full size greenhouse, this little mini-greenhouse is just perfect for me and my renovated side garden.
Even if you don't start your plants from scratch, these are charming garden bones, nice follies and attractive storage areas for garden goods and small tools.
You can find old windows on Craig's list, at flea markets and  architectural salvage yards.
This project took James and I about 2 hours from start to finish.
So, what do you think... would you like a tiny greenhouse in your garden wonderland?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Thoughtful gifts for gardeners and GARDEN SHOES

      Have  you been in your garden? I bet you have! This week I gave my first garden tour in Hopalong Hollow. I was a bit reluctant about having a garden club traipse my paths, because things here are so FAR from perfect. Perhaps I had forgotten that true garden lovers are special people; they don't require perfection, they are interested in atmosphere, plants, garden bones and ideas. The group of 8 women  brought sack lunches and sat beneath the trees after the "tour", as ducklings waddled past and Peacocks willingly spread their tails to have their photos taken. I handed out seeds from my garden that I had collected last summer and a good time was had by all.

I  also enjoyed the company of a longtime blogger friend, Sharon,  who stopped by the Hollow on her way through East Tennessee this week. It is always a delight to meet up with bloggers!
 Sharon's friend Larry  walked through the gardens and commented that " I bet people give you a lot of plants" to which I replied, "Hmmm. not really, seeds sometimes, but not often plants" It got me to thinking of gifts that gardeners would love to receive and here is the list I came up with.
1.) Garden gloves; all types, rubber, leather, vinyl, cotton,  rose pruning gloves. Gardeners go through gloves like my donkeys go through a bag of animal crackers!
2.) A potted perennial or a 6 pack of small annuals, believe me, a gardener will find a place to put a gifted plant. Every time that gardener looks at the plant, she will think of you! You will become a part of her garden. Packets of Seeds are nice too, especially if they can be sown directly in the garden.
3.) A garden hat is SO IMPORTANT! I found this great hat which is perfect for many reasons; it shades my face, it is lightweight, and it has air holes in the top to let your scalp breath without the sun burning it.

4.) Cheap plastic sunglasses, sunblock and sunscreen. Garden-folk go through tubes and tubes of this stuff! Cheap sunglasses because they are going to get scratched up and stepped on eventually.
5.) A subscription to the best garden mag ever...
OR, any beautiful garden book, because gardeners love to dream.
  I love the book below.
  Penned in the year 1898 but just as pertinent today, see how Elizabeth writes about her garden:
 Anyone who loves their garden will understand how Elizabeth feels.
 6.) Small hand garden tools like pruners and hand rakes and diggers AND doodads like plant markers,
 Which come in oodles of shapes ... my friend makes these that you see beneath.

7.) And last but not least, what gardener does not love a bee skep?
or a concrete bunny?
Or absolutely ANYTHING that has a bee or a bird on it!
One thing you SHOULDN'T buy a gardener? garden shoes.. why? because garden shoes must be chosen by the gardener. They need to be comfortable more that anything else and only the person wearing the shoes can determine that.
These are my favorite garden shoes, an old pair of Bass loafers.
 They are ugly but well worn in, with comfortable rubber soles. I can get them muddy or wet  and still keep on working. I have rubber garden boots, and although flowery and patterned garden boots are cute to look at, I can't take them seriously as they are hot, inflexible and  awkward to work in.
 This pair is great too!
 So the next time you need a gift for a gardener, be it your mom, your sister, your neighbor or best friend, take it from me and put a real smile on a gardeners face with a garden treasure.
I am reminded  of one of the best garden gifts I ever received. A neighbor pulled into our driveway with a truckload of horse dung and asked me if I wanted if for my garden beds.... Of course I did; what true gardener would turn down free pony poo?!
Have I left anything out? What gift would you love to have as a garden lady?
PEA-CHICKS at 3 weeks old.
The new garden video I am working on is the revival of this side garden. I've been restoring this garden for the past 4 days. It was destroyed last year when a walnut tree fell into it and smashed it to bits. I will be planting and
I will be laying  a new garden path using found stone.
  (I do wear my husbands waders when
gathering stones from the creek.)
I will post this video soon.