At Home

East or West, Home is Best. I have been spending an enjoyable day pottering around at home, doing a bit of cleaning, stopping to read a chapter or two of a book, and lying on the living room sofa. The fact that I should do more than just a bit of cleaning was evidenced by finding a large spider web complete with spider under the dining room table. Jim was alarmed. “Don’t hurt it!” I wouldn’t dream of it–it’s bad luck to kill a spider. So now we have a pet spider.

We went to church this morning and sang some beautiful old hymns. They always bring tears to my eyes because they remind me of the older, slower, more cohesive world of my childhood–at least as I remember it. On the way home we stopped at a farmer’s market and bought a massive musk melon, grown just a few miles from us. Its sweet perfume has been filling the house.

I’ve also just finished up a a little spice box, to be used for storing nutmegs. My aim was to make a worn, antique-looking box that looked like it had been inherited from Aunt Maud. I’ll give rather general instructions, because I have found that the assortment of unfinished wood items at  local craft stores changes frequently, and the odd are that the box you find may be different than the one shown above.

Supplies: small, unfinished wood box (box shown is 4 x 3 x 2-1/2″), floral or fruit motif cut from wallpaper or wrapping paper, acrylic sealer, Folk Art acrylic paint #485 Raw Umber, red acrylic paint, satin interior varnish, fine-grained sandpaper, craft paint brush. Note: The sealer, paint and varnish are all found together in the craft paint area of your craft store.

How to: Sand the box and brush off any sawdust. Coat it with the acrylic sealer, and allow to dry. The sanding and sealing smooth the surface of the unfinished wood, making it much easier to paint. Then paint with the raw umber paint, painting both the box and drawer. Allow to dry and then paint again. Then paint the drawer knob in a color coordinating with your motif. Allow to dry, and then sand a worn spot on it. When thoroughly dry, glue the floral motif to the top of the box. Using the fine-grained sandpaper, lightly sand the edges and corners of the box so that it looks worn. Dust the box to remove any sawdust. Then coat the box and drawer with the satin interior varnish. Instant antique!

Of course, you don’t have to paint it raw umber. You could paint it a pale yellow or a cream color and decoupage with a totally different type of motif.

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I have mentioned that our house is perfumed with the muskmelon we purchased this morning, but it also smells of cedar. I found a recipe for a floor cleaner in a book called New Vintage: The Homemade Home by Tahn Scoon. It calls for a bucket of hot water, 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and a few drops of tea tree oil. I had cedar oil, so I used that. When you add the baking soda to the vinegar and water, the mixture foams up, which is fun–we need fun when cleaning house! I’ve enjoyed New Vintage, because it showcases doable ways to update an older home, featuring craft projects with a vintage feel.

I am amazed at how many pears are on our Asian pear tree. I had thought that with the drought, the crop would be poor. But clusters of pears are ripening on almost every branch, and I’m happy to see them.

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