Love, Strassheim-Style

Hey All,

It has been awhile since I have been on this site but I figured I would try a different style tonight. The following is a short story that I wrote awhile ago. Hopefully you enjoy.

I watch my dog, Coco and my niece, Sally together on the front walkway. Coco stands in front of Sally, as Sally sits Indian-style bringing her palms up to smooth back along Coco’s face, gently cupping her head as her hands trail over Coco’s ears and down her back. Coco could do with this treatment forever and Sally is equally fascinated, studying the effects of her ministrations on her loyal friend. They are very much in love, this dog and girl-child. And in these quiet moments where there is only the two of them, you can feel the love.

Many believe that we love our pets and that they love us in return. But pets never say the words, “I love you.” We believe they love us because of non-verbal cues they give us – licking, gnawing, snuffling, pouncing. Between humans, we rely heavily on spoken words of love. So why is it, that as humans, we cannot rely more on the unspoken? The non-verbal cues that show love and devotion between two people.

I had a grandmother that was never vocal with her love for her children, grandchildren, etc. She was quite famously known for not speaking her emotions and being stubborn. This was so much of a fact that she acquired the nickname “the bulldog.” But her actions always showed her love.

My grandma suffered a series of strokes in her later years. And they started pretty early on in my life, so I never knew a grandmother that could walk on her own, she was always wheelchair-bound. But in her stubbornness, after an attack, she would come back better than ever. But no matter how much of her mental capacity she was able to retrieve, she was never able to retrieve that greatest of freedoms, being able to walk. One stroke had left her paralyzed from the neck down on her left side. And because of this she had to rely on nurses and my family to help her through daily life.

When I was old enough to drive, my parents would rely on me to take my grandmother on errands. I would roll her out to the blue LincolnTown car, lock the wheelchair brakes and help her make the transfer to the passenger’s seat. I would then fold up the wheelchair and load it in the car and we would be off. These rides were never full of deep conversations or receiving grand wisdom from my elder. A majority of the times, we would drive along in silence, the only noise being my grandma’s tendency to test every button on her door panel. Door locked, door unlocked, seat up, seat down, seat back, seat forward. Door locked, door unlocked, seat up, seat down, seat back, seat forward, window up, down. Window halfway up, window halfway down, door locked, seat back…back, up, forward, back, down, up, down, back, up, forward.

In its own way, this cacophony was its own form of music. And during all these trials, my grandma would slowly be slipping down so she would be slouched in that small space between the door and the seat. When she would finally get the chair at the right height, length, the window at the right height, she’d look out the front window and the side windows and then she would look at me. I never looked back at her, but I always knew when she would be staring at me. These many years later, I wonder what she was thinking in those moments of observation. My grandmother observed quite a bit. She was not a wordy person and would express her opinion in as few of words as possible. In all these moments of silent observation, I never asked her what she was thinking. I just let her look, and look, and look. She never voiced her observations.

If I decided to wear a shiny pair of earrings, or several earrings, out of the corner of your eye, you would see her hand reach out and touch it. And my nubby sweater would be rubbed, to feel the texture with a final pat back in place. She would situate herself and then take care to note me, to observe me – in a non-vocal fashion expressed to me the message, “I’m okay. You’re okay. And we are here – Together.”

I don’t remember the times when my grandma said “I love you,” but I still remember these moments of quiet observation and light touches.  It was a ritual that my grandma would repeat with my sisters and my mother. It is a cherished memory that we all have of her.

So the next time I hop into the passenger’s side of my sister’s car, I will take the crunched up position between the door and the seat, I will adjust the seat, the window, the seat, the window, the seat, the window. I will look across at my sister’s profile and lightly tap the dangling hoop hanging from her ear. And she will turn and look at me with a grin on her face and without saying a word we will know, “We’re okay. We here together – We love each other.”

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San Francisco Romance

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Dreaming of Foreign Travels…

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A Better Shade of Gray

Do you ever go through periods where you really think you could give “This Old House” a run for its money? To add to all of my strange proclivities, I used to love watching “This Old House” on Saturdays after Saturday morning cartoons (and no, I am not talking about last week but more like 25 years ago). Oh the days when you had to wait for that one day of the week where you could watch one hour of DIY shows. Unless you stuck around for “Yankee Workshop”. But I digress. Several months ago, I went through a period where if I could redo it, I would. Probably overdosed on diy projects or was incapacitated by the amount of strip solvent I inhaled. But whatever the reason, I am just starting to get back into the diy mode. But to help me ease back into the workshop mode, let’s check out a completed project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This lovely piece was gifted to me by my mother. And had sat in my closet for quite awhile, in all of its angelic glory. But alas, it was time to banish those celestial beings from this grotesquesly green piece of furniture.

The handles were pieces of wood that had been screwed into the center of the front. So they were the first things to go.

 

 

 

A good amount of paint stripper was applied all over this piece and made its way not only through a whole bunch of golden angel babies but green, blue and black paint.

I wiped the dresser and the drawers with solvent and then let it dry for at least a 24 hour period. After some sanding, it was time to proceed with the dresser: life 2.0.

I tried a couple different techniques in this refurbishment. The first was the use of an airgun to attach trim to the front of the dresser drawers. Airgun = empowerment. Though let me throw in the fact that I had at least one semester of using heavy carpentry machinery when I was in college. I highly recommend the use of an airgun if you are doing trim work but I would also add that if you don’t know how to use one, please receive some instruction from somone who does.

The second technique that I used in this refurbishment was the use of spray paint. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this second technique. I was in a ventilated area and it was still a bit disconcerting seeing the big plumes of spray paint.

 

I purchased the scroll, brush nickel dresser handles from Amazon.

 

The scroll pattern on the front was created by using a piece of scrapbook paper cut with the scroll design that I found from Michael’s. I held it above the inset and used a silver mirror spray paint. Cheapest stencil I have ever used.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sincerely,

Lynne with an Exhalation of Gray Paint

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Um, No Ma’am, You May Not Have Your Dress Back

I am going to preface this diy with a little story. It is still within the subject of dresses so I think workable in this blog post. My sister’s roommate from college was celebrating her birthday and decided to go to Las Vegas. Of course, my sister felt the need to make the journey and my other sister and I decided to tag along. To the Land of T&A, our little gaggle of females decided to descend. We made the necessary stop at the liquor store before checking into the hotel. And I think we were all more excited about there being a California Pizza Kitchen downstairs in the casino instead of all the various gaming machines and tables.

My sister decided to wear one of her various outfits that she had acquired while visiting Algeria. The outfit included a longer tunic top that dropped to about the knee with an embellished neckline and a pair of harem pants. Well, Las Vegas having its effect on her, my sister decided to dare to bare and wore the top only with a pair of boots and tights. Let me once again stress that the top alone reached to her knees and was long-sleeved.

So after dinner at a steakhouse, my sister, in her embellished tunic, and myself decided to visit one of the dance clubs in the casino. And no, that is not a euphemism for a strip club, we actually decided to go to a dance club. So there we stand, at the side of the dance floor, watching ladies in furry boots reaching to the knees, with white hotpants, gyrating on various elevated tables. And these were fellow guests of the dance club, not paid dancers.

My sister turns to me and goes, “What do you think?”

I respond, in a dazed voice, “I like all the bright lights.”

To which she responds, “I feel like I am wearing a bedazzled potato sack.”

At which point, the country mice decided to return to their hotel room.

The dress used in this diy is not the same dress, a.k.a. the bedazzled potato sack but the dress belonged to the same sister.

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My sister tried to sell this dress at a garage sale and when there were no takers, I decided I would abscond with it. I love peacock feathers and felt it could possibly add something to my bedroom lamps.

ImageI had purchased two of these lamps at Ross at a total cost of about $20. I cut and hotglued the material to the lamp shade.

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I hotglued single-fold bias tape in the color of espresso to both sides of the lamp.

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So, my sister is obviously not getting this dress back.

Sincerely,

Lynne with an Embellished Lampshade

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No Excuses

Well, to say that I have been MIA on this blog would be the understatement of the year, or the last two years. I read other blogs constantly and I realize that I have just as much if not more to say about things. And I love to write. So there is no excuse to not continue with this blog. So here’s my promise. I am back on track folks…expect at least two blogs a week from now on.

Love,

Lynne with An Endeavor to be better about updating this blog

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Only took me two…years.

Yes, it has been awhile since I have bothered to post on my blog. But I am hoping to be a bit better on frequency of posts. I think my problem has partially been having the patience to take photos once I have finished a project. And part may be not really thinking that my project is all that special, which seems to be contrary to some of my friends’ opinions.

So to go along with reintroducing myself on this blog, let’s start it off with a big reveal. Some of you remember this beauty.

Bureau showing its age.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This by far, was the biggest refinishing job I ever tried to accomplish. And during this ongoing process of refinishing, I learned the history of this bureau and how it had traveled across country a couple of times. And how the last owner, John Lynne (or as he would like to call me, his namesake;), passed away before I could finally accomplish this task. But I think he probably has the best seat in the house, looking down on this finished bureau from heaven.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This bureau really has been a huge lesson in trial and error. Stripping, sanding and staining the piece was the easiest part of the whole process. I had some of the original drawer pulls but not all so I supplemented them with crystal pulls that were similar in size and shape. Unfortunately, replacing the stained glass was not going to be a part of the budget. But I am actually happier with the clear glass since it allows me to use the bureau as a display case.
 
Fitting the clear glass was probably the biggest trial. I cut the glass myself which was very easy and just required some supplies from the local home improvement store. I stained and polyurethaned trim to set the glass in the inserts. I started by using an air gun to nail trim to place the glass. Well, let me play ‘Captain Obvious’ and state that a high pressure air gun and glass are not meant to be partners. So I struck out more than won on that front. But then I found ‘gorilla glue’ and I was able to glue the trim so the glass was able to stay in place and should be secure for years to come.
 
 
Glad to be back,
Lynne with an Extraordinary Reluctance to Refinish Another Piece of Furniture
 
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