Family Heirloom Transformed

My husband and I just completed this conversion of my grandparent’s bed. They slept in it for over 60 years –then my husband and I for the last 10 or so. We made it into a bench. My husband did the carpentry and I painted it. The seat cushion is wrapped in a quilt my mom made. I hope this will become an heirloom one of my children will appreciate someday as much as I do.

Used to be a queen size bed.

Used to be a queen size bed.

“Painting” With Chief Architect

Lately I’ve been working on a landscape design which has lead me to create some renderings.  Along the way I have been investigating some artistic techniques that are available within my drafting software of choice (Chief Architect) and also manipulating the finished renders with my photo editing program Photoshop Elements.  I have often thought about getting back into painting but I am really excited about some of the results I’ve been able to achieve with the computer.  An example of one of my “paintings” is the background image of this blog.  I will post others as the are completed.

Image using Chief’s “painting” technique.

The same image with “watercolor” technique applied

This one was crated in Chief Architect but was given a dappled painting effect with Photoshop Elements.

Painted effect with PE

The same image with the painted effect and a line overlay with PE.

This image was also created in CA and amended with PE.

This is an older rendering that I applied a painting effect with PE.

An older render

The same render with a pallet knife painting effect applied and “texturized” with a canvas texture.

Older rendering

The same rendering with a dry pastel effect applied.

This view has had a “poster print” effect applied to it with PE.

This is the same view with a “graphic pen” technique applied to it. If I were to try to attempt something like this by hand I’m sure it would take days to do rather than the minute and a half it took to do this with Photoshop Elements.

Ray Trace rendering without “outdoor lighting” turned off to show shadows.

Same rendering with painting effect applied.

PE is the baby brother program of Photoshop and is very inexpensive.  There are a lot of photo editing programs out there.  This one came with my computer.  I’ve used it for years and I’m just learning some of the many wonderful things I can do with it.  One of the things I’ve done in the past is create iron on transfers with images onto fabric.  You can purchase the transfer paper from a craft store and run it through your printer.  It’s amazing the things you can do with a little imagination and creativity.

Laundry Day

Everyday is laundry day at my house.  There are four adults (me, my husband, my son and his significant other).  We process at least two loads a day in my large capacity HE laundry set.  The laundry room at left is not mine.  (Though I wouldn’t mind it if it were.) My laundry room doubles as my home office and sewing room.  It’s never quite as tidy.  It was one of the rooms that was part of our recent remodel that included turning an extra bedroom into a hobby/laundry room.

“For those of us who like to roll out pastry while watching the spin cycle…hehe..”

Someday when my son and his girlfriend move out, the home office will move into their old room.

My laundry room isn’t this big… but if it was! (

Until then, the laundry room is our multi-purpose room.

Laundry is not one of my favorite chores.  I don’t ‘enjoy’ ironing  or folding as some people claim to.  Though I’m grateful that I live in an age where technology really does most of the work.  I’m lucky to have a Whirlpool Duet Steam washer and dryer set that I purchased when we moved into our house.  The steam really does make a difference in the washer for making the clothes cleaner and getting out stains.  Even my daughter noticed when she was down visiting this summer.  HE as they may be (highly efficient), they are not cheap to run -especially if you use the steam functions.  What used to be a load that ran for 45 minutes to an hour now runs for an hour and a half to two hours.  While the machine gauges how much water to save, it still uses electricity that whole time.  That with the unbelievably high cost of sundries such as laundry soap, softener and the like, laundry has become expensive! 

I have recently been making my own laundry detergent .  It’s incredibly inexpensive and easy to make.  You get 576 loads (at 1/2 cup of the stuff per load) out of one batch that costs less than the price of a 50 ounce good quality HE liquid detergent bottle (that claims to do 32 loads).  I like that I know what chemicals I’m using and can make it as allergen free as the bar soap I use.   My first batch came out the consistency of jello, so I’ve had to cut back the bar soap to about a quarter of a bar.  (Actually thinking of switching to a liquid hand soap to avoid the jelling problem.)

If I had a laundry tub in my laundry room, it would look like this one.

I’ve also discovered a recipe for homemade fabric softener that uses inexpensive hair conditioner as the softening agent.  So far so good ~ clothes are getting just as soft and clean as they did with the expensive storebought stuff.  Though I think the steam feature of the washing machine has a lot to do with it.

My grandmother and my mom both had outdoor clotheslines.  Just think of the money and electricity we’d save if we dried our laundry that way.

My friend Glenna had her husband put up a line in the backyard.  She likes the fresh smell of the sun-dried, wind-blown linens.  She’s a collector of vintage glassware and tends to like  stuff from the Depression Era.  Her degree in sociology has not gone to waste since her retirement as a family counselor.  She now studies the culture of women and their crafts of the last century.  She’s enjoying her retirement as she quilts, sews and crochets beautiful pieces.  (Some of which I’m lucky to have.)  We’ve been friends for almost 30 years and have shared many trials and tribulations.  I think she’d appreciate this use of her clothesline (if need be… lol)