Old furniture love

It’s Spring! Time for checking curbs for discarded furniture. Anyone who knows me understands my love of old furniture. There is something about discarded furniture that makes me want to rescue it and give it a home. As if nothing can be thrown away.

It started long ago, my first piece that I can recall was an old dresser, A tall boy with scrolling etched into the wood. I always thought the drawers should match up and form some weird flower pattern. I would spend many days staring at the pattern on the front of the dresser trying to decipher what I thought it was and what it should become.

The dresser became part of my oldest daughters bedroom set , a bed and a dresser. Her color of choice was purple and gold. We settled on a purple base and splash painted  all over. That was the fun of it, throwing that paint all over it and making it “cool” something out of nothing!

That dresser lived in 3 different houses and the day I put it out front in a yard sale, it was intended to simply be a decoration to lure people in. I could have sold it 10 times that day.

My love of wayward furniture is a little reminiscent of the island of misfit toys from the Christmas Classic.  I want them all to have a good home. I even take them back when they have outgrown your house. I will revive them one more time, call me Dr. Frankenfurniture, it’s alive.

I have spent many a Saturday scouring flea markets and thrift stores for the next “find”. I collect pieces like others collect shoes.. oh wait I have a shoe issue too.  I seriously do not plan well, like the time I brought home a rocking chair and my youngest daughter had to share her space in the back of my cramped car with a rocking chair for 90 miles of excitement. Thank you Chelsea.

Or the numerous times I have purchased an item and then beg and plead with a  friend with a truck to bring it home, or prayed it would somehow fit in my vehicle. I am a wizard at logistics. And yes everything fits in a KIA Soul.

I have painted furniture, stripped furniture, hand painted designs, splash painted, stenciled and distressed my way through life. I currently have a 1940’s bed and dresser that is held together with brackets and screws. It is split, worn, rickety and chewed on by my beloved dog, but I keep repairing it. It is simply like an old friend, one that matches me and my life experiences.

My current projects in waiting are a swing arm vanity for my granddaughter’s new room and a potbelly table that will reside somewhere, not to mention a lovely bed and dresser given to me by another furniture lover. It now has a good home.

My oldest daughter used to cringe at my mismatched furniture, and then one day she proclaimed my room soo friggin cute. And it is apparently the favorite room in the house, my family has always congregated on my bed and still do. My comfortable beaten down furniture feels like home. We drag it around and it tells my story. A much more colorful story than if I bought it new.

It’s my history and hopefully one of my children will inherit my love of furniture and start a home for discarded and forgotten pieces and make them their own. I can get lost in the beauty of the grain, the treasures waiting beneath a coat of thick paint and beauty in creativity.

I recommend looking for the saddest piece you can find and use your creative eyes to see what it can be. Unleash yourself!

Until next time,

LJ

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Pickled Eggs

Awhile back my grandaughter asked me to make her pickled eggs with beets. As I researched the recipe it took me back.. about 30 +years, to Williamsport, PA. I moved to there when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. I arrived in a snowstorm right before Christmas in 1984. Newly discharged from the USMC and beginning a new chapter. Little did I know it would be an introduction to new culinary delights, beginning with Pickled Eggs. I had never seen a pickled egg ( except the nasty ones floating in a jar at the local watering hole) and certainly never ate one. So, when they appeared in the big bowl at one of the first meals I ate in Pennsylvania, I vehemently said “No thank you, purple eggs are unnatural” ( except dyed ones but that’s a different column) . But they kept reappearing.. at cookouts, family meals.. just taunting me.. poking  and provoking me to try one. I stood fast.. and kept refusing.. like a good 10 year old. I didn’t actually stick my tongue out, but I made a face. And then one day, it was just me and the egg.. and I decided to try one.. it was not as expected.. It was delicious, still somewhat odd but delicious. I didn’t even know I liked beets.  but the combination of the slightly sweet beets and the juice working it’s way into the outer rim of the egg is nothing short of perfection. ( in the beet and egg world) . I became a beetliever on that day.

It was just the beginning of my culinary expansion. Think like Lewis & Clark only food. I embarked on ham loaf next.. a meatloafy shaped ham substance, uncertain of the origin ..perhaps chopped ham steak, glazed with a reddish delight that is sweetly succulent.  followed by Sticky buns, discovered at Country Cupboard in nearby Harrisburg, (They never made it home.. I ate them in the car) the cinnamonish roll coated in dark sweet syrup.. and then came the oddly interesting scrapple. Scrapple was served with breakfast, it resembled spam and looked (according to my oldest daughter) like dryer lint.

I worked for an overhead door factory in those days as a welder ( another day) and I asked my co-worker, an old farmer named Jimmy who used to sit on a stack of Styrofoam at break time and stick a knife into the stack and slowly pull it out to produce that bone chilling noise that Styrofoam makes and sends me up the wall… what is in scrapple. His deadpan response “pig parts” I had heard enough. I did not want to know what parts specifically, it might ruin my enjoyment. I adored scrapple, fried in the pan and eaten with eggs usually, think a northern version of grits. Slightly salty and lumpy there is nothing like scrapple, it’s the cornmeal that  makes it look like dryer lint.  I hope.

Then there was shoofly cake, a molasses dream. Or raisin filled cookies, sweet shortbread cookies filled with an amazing raisin filling and about as big as your fist. Or shrimp and shells or pizza pasta salad ( a secret recipe my daughter heisted from her Gram) the food was endless.

I had never tasted so many delicious meals in my life.

Now if you will excuse me, I need something to eat.

Until Next time,

Lj

Office Space – real life

Greetings Readers, it’s been a while since I have written, I apologize, I have been deep in the throes of house gutting and rebuilding. It takes a little more time than we had estimated, but it is fun none the less. However, all that dedication leaves me no time to write on the things near to my heart… so I am back.

In 1999 I watched a movie called “Office Space” , a funny little movie and very accurately resembles most offices I have ever worked in..Scarily so.  And lately I have been having a difficult time with my “Day Job” and have begun comparing the likenesses between movies and real life. And in my experience some very accurate depictions.

If you don’t remember the film let me refresh your memory. It’s about Rob who is in a job that is sucking out his soul, day by day. Reeling you in? and Rob has a boss that is trying so hard to deliver bad news under the guise of a cool dude..and no he isn’t successful..Every employee in that office is someone you work with. I guarantee it.

So how does life emulate art and can we learn from the movie? I learned to laugh. At the ridiculousness that is working.. in an office or a school or anywhere you must interact with different personalities and human quirks.  That the façade we put on at work is not even close to the real human at times and yes sometimes you just have to suck it up and find something to get you through, in my case it is the humor of it all. I often think that my life is perfect fodder for an award winning play.. If I could just put it on paper..

I have learned from my lifetime of “office Space” that most often, it is not me that is the problem. it’s not… Okay maybe sometimes it is. a bit. Can I help it if they won’t follow my sage strong advice. always.? No, so it must be them.  But I digress.

Success in Office Space takes time and lots of effort. I try to uncover the strength in each person I work with, I believe all have virtues, you just have to take the time to find it. If you listen, they will tell you everything you need to know.

and now for the humor part. I laugh at myself. yesterday I prepared my leftover hot and sour soup in the microwave and after spilling it all over the microwave, I got it to my desk half a cup remains..I open the credenza to get a napkin, I bump the jar of tums in the process, it topples out and hits the edge of the soup bowl, it goes flying.. all over me, the counter and the floor. and all I can think is I couldn’t do that again if I tried. good thing I had a roll of paper towels at the ready. I soak up the mess on the counter, and begin crawling on my hands and knees to clean the floor ,yes I am wearing a suit jacket and a dress.. once I cleanup the mess I sit down to eat the last 3 tablespoons of soup and settle in to smell like hot/sour soup for the remainder of the day when my teammate pops in an says “have you eaten yet”??

Just another day in the office.

Until Next time,

LJ