Saturday, November 29, 2008

Layers of Love...

There were only 6 of us for dinner this Thanksgiving, but our table settings were a reminder of all the dear family and friends who graced our lives & have made such an impact on us!
We layered the table with gifts of love & friendship!
We started by creating these cute card-stock turkeys.
Our thanks to Martha Stewart for the idea.
Each person spent a few minutes writing the things they are thankful for on the feathers, & their name on the turkey and we had a place card.

The first layer was our Hotel Silverware, a collection Bryce bought me several years ago. I love how each piece is a different pattern. They were from Horshow & Co.
The rattan placemats were a gift last Christmas, from our dear friend, Johnny Martinez. We love using them in the summer on our patio, but they were also perfect to start our place settings for this Thanksgiving table.

Our chargers are a vintage find that Bryce brought home about 3 years ago. They are Homer Laughlin, Lyrica pattern and I love the soft ivory color and the simple pattern. We are on the hunt for 5 more of these beauties, to make 12 in our collection.

Our plates this year are a TJMAXX find! They are a soft grey-brown, transferware pattern, and the dog in them really tugged at my heart. Could not beat the price, so they came home with me.

Our beautiful goblets are a legacy from our friend Debbie who passed away in 1998. I think they were a wedding gift to her. I just love Debbie and am thrilled to have these goblets!
The creamer, we put our gravy in, is a gift from our Aunt Joane. It is from Nicholas Mosse in the Landscape Farmhouse pattern. This piece has ALL my favorite colors in it!
Aunt Joane is the genie of gift giving, her gifts are always unique and so thoughtful!
Our serving bowl with the beautiful lid with acorns was a gift from our dearest friend Betty West, in Ohio. We miss having her live close. She is an elegant, thoughtful friend.

Our rusty oak leaf & acorn centerpiece was another gift of love from Bryce.
I found this at our most favorite shop in the entire world,
Wisteria/Aptos Gardens, 5870 Soquel Drive,Soquel, California (more about this wonderful place in a later post!)
It was a tad more than we wanted to spend, but Bryce insisted it come home with us. It has so much patina!

So this is how we layered the love on our Thanksgiving table.
Filled with memories of those we love & cherish.
We hope your Thanksgiving was filled with the same!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

From our table to yours...


In the Desert...Jan, Joey, Dex, Debbie (can't wait to meet you!) Angie, Matt, Kyle, Crystal, Zack
& Matt and Joe's Family!
In San Dimas... Aunt Joane, Bob, Yolanda, Joe, Nancy & all the cousins!
In Northern California
In Galt... Uncle Ten, Aunt Annette, Dan, Michelle, Elias, Gideon, Justis, Mike, Michelle, Ben, Sam, Jake, Lisa, Josh, Shelby and Rose!
Miss you all and wish we could be there with all of you! click on pictures to enlarge
We Love you so much!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I love to read a fabulous "little-bit-o-everything" blog by Tanya. She has recipes to-die-for, cute ideas, thoughts to ponder & all with fabulous photos! I popped in the other day to copy a recipe for Pistachio Cherry bread (yum!) & found she was offering a chance at a free, yes, people, you heard me right, free tote giveaway! So, we had to answer this question in her comments, "If you win this tote set, will you keep it for yourself, or give it as a gift? If so, who?" Here's my comment...
deborah said...
As much as I heart this bag, my daughter-in-love would love it more. She hasn't met a tote that she doesn't love! The colors are also just perfect for her. She is as sweet & cute as the bag itself.Thanks for your fabulous blog and sharing all of your talents!
I woke this AM and found that I had won, er, make that Danielle won! We. Are.Thankful!
Thanks ever so much to Tanya & to Sherry at Simply Notes & Totes, the talented artist who makes these bags!
They are delightfully talented Gals. Take a moment to swing by & see them both.
You'll be so glad you did!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the last roses

While Mackenzie and I went to get a haircut, Sean & Bah played soccer in the yard. (Danielle and friend were at the theater seeing, Twilight!)
When we got home, there was a surprise in the kitchen...actually 2 surprises.

Bryce had picked the last of the roses from our courtyard & had arranged them in an old stoneware creamer.
Another small bouquet in an old milk bottle.
What a lovely surprise this late in the year from my 2 most favorite guys!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Transom and Funky Floors

The framers had just completed framing our house in town and the sheet-rock installers were coming the next week.
We had stopped at a consignment store on our way home from work that weekend & found three vintage leaded-glass windows. Long and narrow.
It took Bryce about an hour to figure out, that one of them would be perfect as a transom over the entry to the new dining room.
We went over first thing Saturday morning to tear out the solid wall framing above the doorway and to re-frame the area for the new, (old) fabulous window. We were just about finished when we heard a man's voice saying," who is tearing up my framework?!"
It was our contractor and we had been caught making unauthorized changes to the house. LUCKILY, the contractor was our father-in-law!
He wasn't pleased , but after inspecting the work he agreed that Bryce had done a great job & that structurally it was sound.
He didn't understand the old vintage window transom idea, but he was used to what he called our "hair-brained" ideas.

The old window was a great addition to the dining room entry and we were never sorry that we had "snuck" it in.

We still have 2 of the original 3 windows that we bought and every once in a while we look at them to see if another idea POPS for them.
Not yet, but some day soon.

We wanted hardwood floors for a good portion of the house. But we also wanted them to look 100 years old.
One day while driving around looking at other peoples homes, (yes, we are look-i-loos) we saw a new home that had timber-frame construction. We were drooling over the beautiful old beams when the contractor drove up. (yes, contractors always seem to catch us). We told him how much we loved the old wood and asked where it was from. He was nice enough to refer us to his framers & after a call to them we were referred to their source,
Marc at Crossroads Lumber.
One call to Marc and we knew we had hit the mother-lode of vintage lumber. Marc told us about all of their products, especially their re-milled 100 year old Douglas Fir floors. They were tongue and groove and came in 10 to 12 inch widths. PERFECT!
We chose cabin grade that had lots of knot holes and nail markings for that old distressed look and decided we would lay them in our entry, dining room, kitchen, pantry, mudroom, laundry room and pool bath. Early one Saturday morning we drove the 2 hours to Northfork, Ca. in a borrowed pick-up truck. We met Marc, (who is unbelievably nice) & took a tour of his grounds. The lumber was gorgeous and he told us lots of stories about where it had been & what it had been in its previous life. A lot of the wood was pre-sold and he told us about the various projects. We were so delighted that some of it was going with us. We proceeded to load our truck to the gills with our wonderful old wood floors & drove home, very slowly and carefully.
We installed it straight over concrete floors with construction-grade glue, sanded and re-sanded it, then stained it with Watco Danish Oil Finish in medium walnut.

There is a great bakery in our town, Olde Tyme Pastries, that has stained concrete floors. We wanted to replicate them in our great room. We found several contractors locally who were doing them but they were way out of our budget. I made a lot of phone calls and finally found Sunrise Rock and Gravel company nearby that carried the acid stain. We read up on the how-to's and determined that this was something we could do ourselves.

Armed with garden sprayers, we sprayed the bare concrete floors (after allowing them to cure for 30 days from the date of pour) with concrete chemical stain by Brickform
We mainly used the caramel color but also over-sprayed some areas with Mahogany. It gave a wonderful mottled look to the color. After it dried we swept it with baking soda and then washed it all clean.

The floors turned out just as we had hoped. We sealed them with a semi-gloss finish and then buffed them with our

Sorry this picture is so grainy, when I took it I never thought I would be blogging it!
This picture is of our great room in the foreground with stained concrete floors and the step up is to our entry with the 100 year old hardwood floors.
We were thrilled with the results!

This is our SECRET WEAPON!
Brywax is the magical elixer of all things wood and as it turns out, concrete. After staining our wood floors we rented an industrial buffer from
Modesto Janitorial Supply. We applied Brywax to the floors with a soft cloth and let it sit until it was dry. Then we buffed the floors to a silky finish with the industrial buffer. After finishing the wood floors, we wondered out loud what the excess Brywax on the buffing pad would do to our stained concrete floors. The sealer had given it a nice sheen, but we wanted a little more depth to the finish So, we started in an area that our sofa would cover, in case we hated it. Far from hating it, we loved the luster that the little bit of Brywax had given to our concrete floors as well.

We had so many compliments and we loved to tell the sagas of our vintage window transom and how we found and accomplished our funky floors.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

personal touches...

We had worked real hard putting personal touches on our little Cape Cod.

Bryce & I put each & every cedar shingle on the exterior of our new home.
The shingles came in large bundles of different widths. We used a 5 inch reveal, which means we left 5 inches of the the shingle exposed when putting each row on. The trick was to stagger the sizes and the seams, making sure they did not line up.
The hardest part was when we were on a gable end & had to cut the shingles to match the pitch of the roof or wall we were installing them on. Dad Horn came to our rescue, showing us how to calculate the pitch.
Bryce bought his first nail gun and it was a kick to watch how fast they went up.

We love primitives and old vintage wood.
Just after our wedding, we found a funky shop in Clements, Ca., called Baja Ranch (it has since gone out of business, huge sigh!)
The shop was filled with all kinds of primitive fabulousness! We purchased 2 old newel posts, with no idea what we would use them for, but with the knowledge they would one day be some thing great!
Later while planning the new house, I mentioned that I wanted a mantel made from a vintage piece of wood, mounted on the stone facade.
Bryce walked straight to the garage with his tape measure and came back with a big silly grin.
The largest newel post would be perfect! He knew that he could refinish it and bring out the rich old patina hiding beneath the surface.

I had no idea how right his words would be!

Just look at this gorgeous piece of wonderfulness!!

The fireplace wall turned out better than either of us ever imagined. It was one of the highlights of our great room. We had spent such lovely evenings in this room.
The color on the walls is Fig Cookie by Kelly Moore Paints. LOVE IT!

See those gorgeous caramel colored floors? Those are stained concrete that we did ourselves. In our next post we will tell all about them & the antique leaded window we installed as a transom over the dining room entry, when our contractor wasn't looking!

Oh...and we'll show you our secret weapon!

Monday, November 17, 2008

What were we thinking?!

We had been married 2-1/2 years and had built our dream house in town. The pool was in and the landscaping was finished. We were settled, we thought! Then we saw an acre in the country with an old farmhouse and a milkbarn. Would we really sell the dream house in town? Stay tuned!

We Won!

We follow the NieNie and CJane blogs. When NieNie & Hubby were severely injured in a airplane accident this summer, we wanted to help, so we bid on several auctions of bloggers generously donating their proceeds to help NieNie's family. We won our blog banner design, from the very talented, very patient, very wonderful, Chris Jenkins. We are delighted to have her design represent us as a family. Thank you Chris!!! You can read about her family and her photography here. When you visit, be sure & leave a comment. She is a hard-workin' sweetheart!

Friday, November 14, 2008

the cast of characters

Please let us introduce ourselves here at the calliope...

Bryce is our fearless leader, a fabulous husband and my best friend.
How blessed I was the day I met him in 1999!
Our grandchildren call him Bah.
y trade, he's an x-ray technologist at our local hospital, but his heart has always been working with his hands. He loves a project!
Since our marriage in 2000, we have built a custom home in town & then re-modeled and renovated our current home in the country.
He single-handedly built our "unfit" kitchen from salvaged pieces & barn sales. Our bathroom cabinets were built from a flea market dining table I just had to have because of its fabulous legs. Our walk-in pantry cabinets are old hardware store shelving he retro-fitted & added hutch-tops.
Our whole country home is a tribute to his keen sense of style and his eye for design & function.
This blog will be our story of how we built & re-modeled with salvage, tag sales bargains and flea market finds while living the good family life in the country.

Danielle is our daughter-in-love.
She is the mother of our adorable grandchildren. They live here on the property in their own apartment.
She is in school at the local Junior College studying all things medical and early childhood education.
She is also part-time "girl friday" for an older couple, who love her dearly.
She is our family errand runner and she tries hard to keep us all organized.
She is sweet and tender by nature and smart as a whip.
We tell people, she is the daughter we never had together or that we just "had" her late in life.
She is newly single, so we tell her that any serious suitor must understand we are a package deal.
We love her!

Sean Russell, our grandson is 6 years old and all boy!
He is currently very into "Ben Ten Alien Force and Transformers", can't wait to catch or hit any ball he sees & especially loves family trips to the beach in Carmel.
Sean is in the 1st grade & has discovered the world of reading. He is reading several grade levels above and is very into all the Treehouse Series.
He recently heard me ask Danielle to set the table with the china and he said, "that's a country where the Great Wall is!" It was a great opportunity to explain the difference in the meanings and to see his mind work!
Sean has never met a stranger, he truly enjoys people. At Disneyland this summer he wore a Pluto hat. Every time he saw another child looking at him he would lean down close, take his hat off & say,"I'm not really a dog, I'm just a boy."
He warms our hearts and gladdens our days!

Mackenzie Taylor is 5 and the cutest granddaughter ever!
She loves her big brother and wants to do everything he does.
She plays ball, throws rocks & plays just as hard as he does, only she usually does it with a purse over her arm, a bracelet on her wrist & a bow in her hair!
Her dark tousled curls & deep hazel eyes melt our hearts many times daily.
She answers to Sissy, Kenzie, Pumpkin & Gorgeous.
Mackenzie is in Kindergarten & loves adding & subtracting numbers. She has recently started reading and loves to spell. She and Sean like playing "spelling bee".
Sissy's cat, "Belle" had 5 kittens this summer and she is the sweetest caretaker. We can't imagine our world without her!

I am Deborah & our grandchildren call me YaYa.
I am a bookkeeper & very fortunate to have wonderful clients. They are a pleasure to work for.
I am living a "charmed" life, my fondest dreams; life in the country with a loving husband, family close by & we are helping to raise our grandchildren.

Our lives revolve around our family, church & home.
Bryce & I are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, (Mormons) & we are blessed to teach the Sunbeam class in church on Sunday. These are the 3 & 4 year-olds & we currently have 12 in our class! We love each of them & learn from them each week!
Bryce and I share a love of antiques, especially country primitives. We love to re-purpose, reuse & refine fun old pieces for use in and around our house & garden. Renovating and building our country house with ingenuity & lots of salvage has been a labor of love.
Our dream date is when we spend time together at flea markets & salvage yards.

Our current home has been so fun to remodel & renovate & we have so many other projects just waiting for us!

We are delighted to have this blog to share family tales and the "how-to's of home renovation, then and now.
So glad you stopped by, please check back often. Our next post, What were we thinking?!