Archives for August 2013

Hot Plates!

Happy Labor Day Weekend! It’s Friday night, and I’ve managed to turn cleaning the house into an all-day affair that will not get finished until tomorrow.

And now, I’m blogging and listening to Gate City on the road at Richlands by streaming the broadcast. Technology rocks. I’m also tuned into John Battle at Abingdon. And I’n pulling for the North Stafford Wolverines where my nephew coaches!

First, here’s a bathroom update. I’m going to tape some tonight to paint the trim and Mike will eventually get the lights, plumbing, etc. installed. We’re not very fast. Mike’s son, Marc, and his family as well as Mike’s other son, Aaron, will be in for Rhythm & Roots so that’s our goal to have this done. Meanwhile, I’ve got to clean in there. Either the cat has peed in that little room or something is just stinking. I thought it might be the commode which remains wrapped in Saran Wrap, so I gave it a flush. Didn’t seem to help, so I’ll be visiting with vinegar and/or bleach in a few minutes. Yuck.

I’ll wear gloves so it doesn’t mess my manicure. Did you see the post last night with Anjelah Johnson? A hoot. If you did not see it, go here! She’s a great comedian. Must.see.

Here’s the sad state of the bathroom..there’s no light in there so it’s not very good. I’ll have to hang a light on the ladder when I start working on that in a few minutes, hours, maybe tomorrow…oh who cares… in a bit

Bathroom Stage 3

I’m sidetracked on the bathroom today, because I started fooling around with plates. I love dishes. On the wall, on the table, in the closet…it doesn’t matter to me. Here’s some marjolica plates I bought in Middlesburg, Virginia about a gazillion years ago…nice…but where’s the creativity?

Three Plates on the Wall

Oh…maybe it’s here…or is this just a diversion to keep from mopping the floor? Hmmm…

Plates on the Wall Again

But I do like it. It’s more cheerful, and that’s my decorating style.

Plates on The Wall

But…in looking at the picture, I realize I need to shift my yellow and green plates so that the green plate is on the opposite side. I’ll do that tomorrow and take a really, really good picture!

Meanwhile…Gate City is behind. I have to go lean into the iPad and give my support. I heard the word “Gardner got hit.” That’s Neth. He’s the one that helps us so much here at RiverCliff Cottage. We’re crazy about him. I’m totally distracted!


Nail Salon Visit

I went and got a pedicure and manicure today. It’s a nervous experience for me.

I don’t have a toenail on my left big toe. It’s always a conversation item, and it’s just awkward. So a toe without a toenail is extremely sensitive–and no I do not want it painted…or a fake nail put on. Nope. No way.

I just put a Hello Kitty band-aid on and keep on going. There is also the condition of my feet. They are orange (as in clay) and are as hard as concrete.

And. of course, I went to a fairly large salon in Kingsport where no one speaks much English. Very nice, but I always wonder if they are talking back and forth about my feet. I’ll never know.

And there is the strange marketing technique of pretending that they know me when I have been there three times in three years. Today it was….”How is your daughter?” I do not have a daughter.

Which…made me think of this Anjelah Johnson You Tube video that my cousin Alisa shared with me.

Isn’t she hilarious?


And Then I Want To Stay

Sometimes I want to move. We’re 17 miles from Walmart or Lowe’s. We don’t have a store. We don’t have a local school, and we don’t have a gas pump anywhere nearby. Yada yada yada…And don’t get me started about internet speed!! You get the picture….Sometimes it is just too much. I start thinking shiny cars, restaurants and IKEA.

And then something happens that changes that thought. Yesterday was one of those days. It was the sweetness of hearing people I have “never not known” sing at the Mendota Homecoming.

Mountain Gospel

And a Southern Baptist morning delivered by a Yankee man called “Preacher Joe.”

Pastor Durant

Of my sisters and cousin (Creolla “Chris” Litton Houser)…and by the way, I can’t believe Pat weighs less than me!! I am going to photoshop my head onto her body.

My Sisters

And all this…surrounded by the quilt drawing. The “I’ll Fly Away” quilt.

Quilt Tickets

It was won by this wonderful woman…Ruth Rice. She’s not in the picture as it’s not easy for her to go out now.

Ruth Rice's Winning Ticket

Her daughter, Patsy Rice Carrier, is another lifetime friend. Patsy and I sold a lot of quilt tickets for the “I’ll Fly Away” quilt — 1523 were sold in total, and this ticket was the first one of the 100 tickets purchased by the Rice family. When the tickets were new and pulled out of the box and smelled like ink…when Patsy started writing down her mother’s name…this was that first ticket “0101”.

We were so shocked because Patsy has never sold the winning ticket for the Mendota quilts, and I don’t think any family members have won. To celebrate, we took a picture of Ruth Rice’s great grandchildren. Sweet.

Rice Grandchildren

We were so happy! And then, an amazing act of generosity occurred. Ruth’s family donated the quilt back to the Mendota Cemetery to reraffle. And we’re doing it!! The quilt is still “I’ll Fly Away” to everyone else. To me, however, it’s changed…it’s “Ruth’s Quilt.”

I know something about the generosity of Ruth Rice. I was 15 years old when Daddy died. Mom worked until 8 pm at the local “Fleenor’s Store,” so she got home too late for a real dinner, and for a period of time after Daddy died, she was too sad to cook anyway. We just “got by” for about two years, but I found special friends that helped me along the way. The Rice family made a place for me in their heart and at their dinner table. I wasn’t a weekly guest…I showed up several times a week…always at dinner and more often in the winter than in the summer. I just slipped in near 5 pm. I remember the house as warm, cozy and noisy. I’d eat and then get ready to leave, and Ruth would walk me to the door. She’d hug me hard, and I’d bury my face in her “bosom” and breathe in that love that was “there for the taking.”

Rewind to present day. I can never leave this place. I could travel for miles and miles in a shiny car, and pass lots of Lowe’s and Walmarts, but I would never find a place like Mendota. This is the reason people who leave here keep coming back. Once you’ve got that Poor Valley Mud on your feet…you will never wipe it off.

So, I’ll be buying a lot of tickets for Ruth’s Quilt. I only bought a limited number of tickets for “I’ll Fly Away” because I sold so many online that I was afraid you’d think I cheated if I suddenly won. This is different now. This is Ruth’s Quilt, and I am in the game!!

Of course, I’ll sell you a ticket, too! It is for the Mendota Cemetery after all!!


Sticks and Stuff

I got the new Pottery Barn catalog. I love to look at their accessories. Here’s my favorite thing in this month’s catalog:

Vases from Pottery Barn

I looked around for what I had and found a small vase, and I added…well…sticks! They are all I had. It needs some other things in it to make it look fuller, but it’s a start.

Sticks in Pot 2

Here it is again…okay…it looks a little skeletal. When I’m at Hobby Lobby, I’ll get something to fill it out.

Sticks in Pot

And then from a distance. It’s on the mantle. I wish it were bigger. Maybe it’ll grow!! Or grow on me!

Living Room From Distance

Here’s another vase on the sofa table…

Sticks in Vase

And some late summer flowers in the kitchen….

Kitchen Vase

I actually cleaned the house today…just so my vases and sticks will look their best.


Good Stuff and Bad Stuff

Bad stuff…have you ever seen that bumper sticker that reads “Go head…I’m low on estrogen and I’ve got a gun!” Believe me, if you see it, BEWARE.

Yesterday I was driving down what we Mendota folks call “802” (State Route 802) and others call “The Mendota Road.” I came upon a blue truck with a man and two females pulled off along side the road running parallel to the river. Running down the road a bit were two young dogs.

I just smelled a stink–people drop their unwanted pets in the country. I can imagine the conversation “oh there’s fresh water…wildlife…some farmer…oh the dogs can take care of themselves… and so forth.” Really pisses me off. In the words of my father, “anyone who drops off an animal needs to have a trip to the top of Clinch Mountain, be stripped naked, and let them find their way down.”

Back to my story….I slowed down, wrote down the tag number and made sure they knew I was writing down the tag number. I then asked if the dogs belonged to them. They said yes, and then I asked if they were dropping the dogs off. They said no, and I replied, “you better not…because I’ve got your tag number.” And then I zipped away in my little white Prius. Like Deputy Dog. After I was back on the road, I got a little worried that I’d get chased. But not too worried.

But today, something really nice happened. Good stuff. Mike and I went to Abingdon, and we decided to go to lunch at the Harvest Table in Meadowview. We’d put one of our birdhouse tables in the retail shop when the store first opened, and after all these years of it not selling, we thought we’d pick it up. It’s a table just like the one to the left of the bed in the picture below…

Birdhouse Table

Anyway, no one could find the table. Everyone looked and looked for it. Steven Hopp, the owner, remembered the table. All of the employees recalled the table, but no one could find it! Thought it was upstairs..this room..that room..but still no table. Then, it was determined that “Molly” would know what had happened, and she did! It turns out the table had sold to a person who collects bird houses, and it had sold in December; but no one could reach us. So instead of picking up the table, we came home with a check for $166. The table sold for $250, and the store got one third of the price.

The food was good, too. Wish I’d taken my camera.



Treating the Bees for Mites and Washing The Fence

Two things happened in the last day or two that made me feel good.

The first thing is that Gerald, with me helping, opened the hives to see how much honey was inside, how the bees were doing and to treat for mites — varroa destructor is an external parasitic mite. Little bloodsuckers. I hate them. We’ve never treated our bees in the past, as we’d hoped that the hive would be healthy enough to sustain, but after losing all of our bees, we’re not taking any chances.

We got a nice surprise when opening up the hives..”Argh” Gerald said as he picked up the heavy super. It was heavy with honey. A good thing.

Full Super

See the super (box of frames) in the upper part of the picture below? We installed that on top of the hive so the bees have more space for their honey. These bees will have plenty to eat and no mites. Hope!! Last year we were told that the fall honey flow was not a good one. We’re hoping this doesn’t repeat. At any rate, I’ll continue feeding these bees through October to ensure there is adequate food for them in the winter. We want to give them every opportunity to survive and succeed during the winter months.

>Super in Process

So at least for now, we’re beekeepers again. Mike took this picture of Gerald and me before he high tailed it away from the bee enclosure. He’s afraid of bees. Lots of people are. I don’t blame them. One stung me last week for the first time in 18 months. It hurt for about 36 hours.

Beekeepers Again!

My second good thing involved mostly work with quick results. Concurrent with our bee activities, I scrubbed the white vinyl fence around our backyard. Many of us dream of a little yellow house with a white picket fence. I did anyway. No one told me about the mildew. See the green on the “pickets”?

Fence Before 2

More green in this next picture…it was actually worse in many places. This isn’t as bad as some years.

Fence Before 1

I took a Windex bottle that was made for attaching a hose and spraying windows. However, instead of window cleaner, I put a half bleach/half water solution in the bottle and sprayed the fence. And I rubbed on it with a sponge in the really dirty spots. It doesn’t seen to harm the plants.

Here’s how it looked after this process…

Fence After 1

Woohoo…I think that painted fencing is prettier than vinyl fencing, but when it comes to keeping them up, the vinyl wins. Just some elbow grease and bleach, and it looks very nice.

Fence After 2

I slapped our marigolds from our JSB Horticulture Class in the dirt early in the spring…I almost gave these away. I’m glad I didn’t because they look so cheerful.

Marigolds 1

So..there’s some Rudbeckia my sister, Pat, gave me a few years back, some marigolds and a Cala Lilly my sister, Nancy, gave me. My sister garden. All kind of wild looking.

Marigold Row

I’m going to work tomorrow and then be back at my Little Bathroom Project with the “Eternity” paint that is taking me an eternity to finish. I’ve still got the commode wrapped up like a giant tomato in red Saran Wrap.

Painting Behind the Commode


Little Bathroom Project Day 2

If you read my blog last night, I told you that my bathroom would be painted a “lovely blue gray” color called Eternity. Well, it is going to be an eternity before I get this monster painted.

I started with the commode. Mike mentioned taking it out, and I assured him it was not necessary as I’d read on the internet to simply wrap the commode in Saran Wrap and paint behind it. Of course that is true because I saw it on the internet. Here’s my wrapped commode. Fashionably wearing red.

Painting Behind the Commode

To wrap this little sucker I had to do gymnastics. I’ve never hugged a commode like I hugged this one as I scooted and pulled Saran wrap around it. If someone had entered my bathroom at just the right time, they would have seen me lying on my back with my head wedged between the wall and the commode painting with rollers, artist brushes and foam craft brushes. Anything I could find. And I can tell you…it just doesn’t seem right to be staring up at a commode. It’s weird.

But amazingly, the Saran Wrap deal worked. I’m that lovely gray blue, too, but the commode remained white and the wall was painted behind it. Probably not very well, but it’s painted.

This is going to take much longer than I thought. It will be days. Luckily, I learned I can wrap my paintbrush in Saran Wrap and place it in the refrigerator to keep it from drying out. Guess where I learned that?


Little Bathroom Project Another Step

As I’d mentioned before, we’re changing out the mirror, the light, the spigot, the paint and the hardware on the cabinets on our little bathroom. Since that post happened, I’ve bought a light fixture and spigot, returned the light fixture and spigot, and now I’ve got another new one. Moving along…So, you probably think it’s done, right?

Other than shopping for lights/fixtures, I’ve got very little done. I read how to take down the mirror which is glued up, and the first step was to tape the mirror so that when it comes down, it doesn’t shatter. It’s taped in this picture, so that was progress, right?

Little Bathroom Project 1

Wrong. I changed my mind. I’m not taking the mirror down now. See the piece of wood that is on the left side of the mirror in the picture below? Mike is going to build a frame, which will be painted black, and we’ll mount it on top of the mirror. This decision was made when the words “drywall repair” started haunting me. If we pull the mirror down, we’ll be patching drywall.

Little Bathroom Project 2

After I took this picture, I had to remove all that stupid tape I put up. Thankfully, the mirror finish did not come off. And tomorrow, unless something unexpected happens, the room will transform into a lovely blue gray called “Eternity” by Benjamin Moore. Look how much lighter this wall will be when all the paint is up!

Bathroom Grey Paint

I’m excited.


I’m Loving Yardsticks and Hometalk!

I felt so smug when Mike and I took a piece of plywood, painted it with chalkboard paint and trimmed it with yardsticks as a reminder board for our Garage Organization Project  (see post here with the reminder board at the bottom.) We hung our masterpiece right by Mike’s truck, and it is a perfect spot. I felt so smart….had anyone else ever thought of something so good?    You know the answer.

Reality surfaced when I visited Hometalk and searched on “Ruler” and “Yardstick”!!    Yardsticks and rulers may be the next Mason jar when it comes to repurposing. There’s so many things you can do with them, and they’re CHEAP. Like about 50 cents each! I started clipping for  potential projects. The folks at Hometalk are letting me show off my clipboard entitled “Repurposed Ruler and Yardstick Projects.”   I’m so excited. Mendota, Virginia meets Hometalk.  Here it is!! You can just click on it to go to Hometalk and read more about the projects.


If you’re new to Hometalk, please take a peek. It’s a great place to share ideas, ask questions, look at pictures, etc. It’s like a very good magazine that goes on forever, and it’s easy to save the good ideas you find by “clipping” them! I’m an insomniac so Hometalk is a good place to hang out when there’s no one else in the world awake. I clipped my own project, too, because I wanted to show it off. Sorry.

Just so you know….let’s not confuse yardsticks and rulers with measuring tape. No! No! No! Measuring tapes are the opposite of yardsticks, and I hate them. They measure stupid things…like hips and waists. Let’s not talk about them.

Thank you for reading RiverCliff Cottage. Your visiting here makes my day.


Destination Mendota, Virginia

When my cousin called from South Carolina and said they were coming up…I thought “what are they going to do?  It’s raining nonstop here,  and it could be so boring.”      “Boring is good,” Alisa said.    And then, they arrived, and to keep everyone on their toes, I called Alisa (correct name) “Alisha” (incorrect name) and mixed up Caroline and Rebecca all weekend long.   They were so gracious not to say anything. Oh…and I never bothered to clean the house and didn’t get groceries this week, but it all worked out!! Hey…they’re family!! Here they are…oh…and that is Andy.  My grandmother, Eva Sproles, is his great grandmother–that is how we are all related. We are “first cousins, once removed.”

The Lambs

I should not have worried about being bored. Andy was easy to entertain. He likes to hunt and fish, and we live on the river. Plus — we gave him and Oth (my sweet nephew in-a-way) an assignment — rid us of the skunks that are entering the bee enclosures. Twenty-four hours later we are down four skunks. You are looking at the Skunk Dynasty. “Stinky, Stinky,Stinky.”

Andy and Oth

And what did the girls and I do? We payed our tribute to A. P. Carter and the Carter Family by taking pictures of the store (now a museum) and the Carter cabin. Here’s a couple of the pictures..

Carter Fold

Carter Cabin

Carter Family Music Center

And since these three are serious quilters, we visited Tennessee Quilts in Jonesboro and Short Sheets in Bristol. I’m inserting about ten pictures that are a feast for your eyes. These ladies and these pictures have made me zealous in my desire not just to learn to quilt but to have one done by Christmas. Think I can do it? Yes!

Tennessee Quilts 1

Tennessee Quilts 2

Tennessee Quilts 3 Polka Dots

Tennessee Quilts 4

Tennessee Quilts 5

Tennesse Quilts 4

Are you loving it? Who cares about the upcoming Bristol Race? It’s not “Gentlemen…start your engines.” It’s “Ladies…grab your scissors (actually rotary cutters). Here’s my “Fat Quarters.”

My Quilt Stack

Learning all kinds of new quilt slang…these are “jellyrolls”!!

Jelly Rolls

And the Carter Family tribute that we started on Saturday morning as we took pictures? Serendipity stepped in and we continued on Sunday morning at Mt. Vernon Church. Oscar Harris, Dale Jett, Laura Cash and Daryl Jayne gave us great music — Carter Family style! We shoved pushed jumped stepped in and had our picture taken…Daryl is missing as he’s behind the camera!!

The Gang 2

PS! Alisa and I have something in common! She is a blogger, too! I would appreciate it you’d visit her site some day and say hello. She’s a teacher, and she’s the kind that everyone wants their third grader to have as their teacher. Here’s the link:

Hope you have a great week. Please be sure and visit again during the week. Hometalk has been nice enough to feature one of my “Clipboards.”


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...