Sunday, October 26, 2008


I had three amazing things happen this weekend:

#1 It was Homecoming Weekend at the UW and I went to the game. Last year I had to catch the special trolley for people who couldn't walk to the stadium and then take the elevator to the upper deck - only for those who couldn't walk up the huge ramp. THIS year ......... I walked the 7 blocks from where we parked the car and up the huge multi-level ramp and up to our upper deck seats. I try not to dwell on the whole cancer thing .... but this was such a huge accomplishment ..... I just BEAMED. I was with the same friends I went with last year and they saw the difference as well and it was just - well -wonderful.

#2 WE WON.
#3 I came home and the semi was GONE !!
I am only sad that I wasn't home to take a picture - you know how you see a friend and know something is different but can't quite put your finger on it ? And then you realize they shaved their moustache that they have had forever? I turned the corner and thought there was a change - but it took me a few minutes to realize ...........THE SEMI IS GONE.

John and Jessica and their dad came to help me take down the old ramp.

and at the end of all that hard work - they got to go to a great Halloween party.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Logically - I know I shouldn't be unpacking when there is still so much construction to be done - but emotionally I am so tired of living in rooms filled with cardboard boxes - I don't care.

Somethings put such a huge smile on my face - it makes it all worthwhile..........

finding my mom's ironstone and my white candlesticks made my day.

some people think they are branches - but I think they are white coral .....whatever

I had forgotten about all these wonderful fabrics I bought in Marigot on St. Martin. But I was still in California at the time..........not workin' for me in Wisconsin in the winter.

Looks like slipcovers to me


It's UW Homecoming this weekend - I hung the rod in the laundry just in time to wash and hang all my Cardinal Red
now if you all put your hands together and clap - maybe we could win

Thursday, October 23, 2008


This buffet was dismantled 8 years ago - when I began to put the pieces together Matt said "Hey, I remember that " and the striped chairs are pre-Civil War parlour chairs used in my first design studio and the faux bois arm chair was in my second studio

"Sweet, sweet-
memories you gave to me -
Sweet, sweet-
memories you gave to me "

I LOVE these chairs .......there are so many tacks and staples in them that they are falling apart as I work on them. My mother and grandmother had a millinery business and these chairs were in their shops - many locations from 1920 through 1969. Then they came to the house - the apartment - the nursing home and now they get to retire at the church. They will be waiting for you in the California Suite.


It really is like Christmas - this is an old wedding trunk with the initials on the left and the date - 1826 0n the right

My grandmother's loom has been in pieces for twenty years and I don't know how I'll ever get it together........I am thinking of calling the UW. I learned to weave at the university when I was a design student - she was so fascinated by the whole process that she took lessons and bought a loom. She was about 83 then. What an incredible piece of work - not the loom .........
grandma !

Matt had his turn

All these chairs have to be re-covered. I try to strip all the fabric and nails, etc etc from one or two a day....then I will surrender to the local acupuncturist


Unfortunately I found that the semi was leaking quite a bit in one area ....this lovely old piece will have to have a face lift. We are in the middle of Amish country and I have talked with several about furniture repair and cabinetry - it is a great adventure and I'll tell you more about all that later.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


My Heroes

JJ is an Iron Man and Gail was born an iron woman

they were amazing


and Matt has super- strength as well so

I have also had other incredible friends help me but I didn't have a camera at the moment to record the events - somehow I will get them on this blog.

These concrete pedestals have been outside in the elements for over a year so they were even heavier than the table in "A Year in Provence"

Matthew actually groaned when he saw them - he has moved them several times - but never up a flight of stairs - it was scary.

ahhhh ........

remember those steel I-beams?

beginning to understand ?


The truck is EMPTY !! I can't believe it. This dining table top was the last thing. Some of you will remember fabulous dinners on this table - it is ten feet long and weighs a TON.

I had girlfriend JJ and sister(in-law) Gail volunteer to spend a day helping me - I don't think they had any idea what that would involve.

Luckily my son Matt was visiting for a few days because I was basically useless. In fact - they told me to get out of the way.

You know -
I think I could have been SOME help........

that right side could have used me.

Anyway - it is all in the church and I can begin unpacking and sorting.... there are things here that I haven't seen in years -it's like Christmas.

The chairs are back.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I am officially "up to date" .... from this point on I am reporting progress in real time.

this weekend was about small victories

in my laundry room (okay - it's a closet) I hung this rack for the ironing board and iron and stuff.... the joke is - I did it for Gail because I don't iron unless my life or career depends on it.

I hung the rod in the old hall closet and now I have a real coat closet for my real coats - and I hung it higher than normal so there is plenty of room for my winter boots.

Remember - I have been in Southern California for over 30 years - coats and boots are an exciting new thing for me.



I have found myself falling into old habits....I don't want to post photos because things aren't "done". I gave myself a lecture in the mirror and a reminder that this is all about sharing the journey and showing the progress. So please remember - things are not done - all is in transition - and enjoy the ride.

The California Suite is open for business -
everyone is welcome.

but not all at once


I have guests arriving from SoCal this month so I need to get crackin' on this guest suite on the main floor. I can't get away with mattresses on the floor like I did with the girls.

The shower is tiled......the top row is a little rough 'cause I'm short ( and getting shorter every year apparently) and it was too when you come for a visit - just don't look up.

Not grouted yet...

yes - I bought a jig-saw. I am a woman with power tools. I also bought a belt .... well, it's not really a full tool belt like the guys wear because that would just be cocky - it's more like a holster.

I used the sink as a template but doesn't it look like a huge hard hat?

I found this cabinet that used to hold a television and put the sink in that - I sanded down the top and now need some bling for the handles. Also will have to re-fit the insides - take out the speakers and put in a shelf........

but it works for now !


I was sad after the girls left - who wouldn't be? They are such a tonic for me. Of course we have a complete role reversal now .........they left me with all sorts of instructions - don't do this, don't do that .. lock the doors, don't climb the big ladder. HA

I had several trips to Chicago in August for some design work and took advantage of that time to have the floor done in the main room.

Unfortunately the runner down the center aisle of the church and in front of the altar had been glued down. It took HOURS to get that black spongy backing off the floor. You can see faintly where the wood is lighter - that was the runner.

This photo gives a good sense of proportion - the bead board wainscot is 36" high - entry door is a standard 6'8" - my new doors are 8' and the big window at the end which was originally the exterior wall of the front of the church is about 12'6".

I feel like I should have a big dance before I mess it all up with furniture.

The floors were not "stripped" - they were just refurbished. All the years of scrapes and spills are still visible and I like it that way. There are a few patches and weak spots but we all have those , right?

Friday, October 3, 2008


what can I say ?

She had a good life here at the church for a few days
but she broke her leg
so we ate her


Meghan arrives and is starving so we stop for dinner on the way home - she is mesmerized by the digital photo in our booth - or maybe it was just jet lag.

Also - we stopped for dinner because we have no appliances....manana


the next morning we get a stove and refrigerator - this is in the little kitchen in the lower level guest suite where there used to be the HUGE Church Ladies kitchen.

You see we got just enough tile grouted so we won't have to move these things again.

after we picked up Meg - we stopped for gas....I got fuel - Meg bought junk food and Carolyn brought home a dairy'll see more of Bessie later.

They each bring something different to the table - always have and always will !

Luckily Meghan was so exhausted the fact that we were "camping" without window shades made no difference to her - but it was the first order of business the next day.

Little did she know that 6 hours earlier she didn't even have a bed


Carolyn arrived first and got right down to business. I told them both to bring one dress for my birthday - and the rest WORK CLOTHES.

they were fabulous.

Carrie could not get over how high the river was and the amount of flooding. Their visit was a month after the rains and homes were still standing in water. I received an email awhile ago that said "Where are the rock stars for Iowa and Wisconsin?"

My builder(who packed this trailer to the ceiling) was very apologetic and said the mattresses were in the very back and there was no way I would be able to get to them.

He didn't realize who was dealing with.....

Carrie wasn't pleased with my determination either - but then SHE had a bed. I had to find those darn things before Meghan arrived !