Sunday, February 26, 2012

Texas Limestone

Limestone has been a popular building material for very long time.  It was used for the gleaming white facing on the great pyramid at Giza; it was used to build medieval churches in England and to construct sturdy Tuscan farmhouses; and it is the classic choice for Texas regional architecture. 

Limestone, which is white in its purest form, comes in a variety of soft colors from greys and blues to rusty brown. We selected a light creamy color, quarried to the southwest of Fort Worth in Granbury, Texas. Here it is going up on the guest house.  

These are fairly small blocks, tumbled to create more irregular edges and an older look.

Once the roof was on, the rest of the windows could be installed.  They are fiberglass on the outside, but wood on the inside, so our builder was very careful to protect them from the elements.
Now that the windows are in place, the stone can go up.  We have mapped the location for all the electrical outlets and fixtures, and we have the outdoor faucet taps in place.  Progress!

The pad for the potting shed has been poured next to the garage.

And the lake is still rising!!  The beach is gone.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Vintage Hankie Quilt

My vintage hankie quilt is finally complete!
I started collecting vintage hankies a year or so ago simply because I was so taken with the charming graphics.  But what does one do with a growing stack of hankies other than moon over them every once in a while?  I finally decided that twelve hankies, carefully mounted, would make a pretty throw for the lake house.  To begin, I assembled a group featuring a shade of aqua or light turquoise somewhere in the design.

Then I measured to find the largest hankie so that I could determine how big the backing squares would need to be.  
Continuing the whole re-purposing theme, I tore up an old white sheet to make twelve 18 inch squares. 

The next step was carefully cutting two-sided Pellon to size, centering each hankie on its square of white sheeting, and then ironing it in place.  

Most of these hankies required detailed ironing because so many of them had elaborately cut edges. 

 Once attached, I hand stitched around the edges of each hankie to be certain they would wash and wear without curling up or unpeeling.

Then I stitched the squares together.  At this point I could have hand quilted the throw, but I decided instead to have it machine quilted.  

A local quilt shop provided me with the name of a professional machine quilter, and so I was lucky enough to meet LaDonna of One Stitch at a Time Quilts.
LaDonna was a wealth of information and help, guiding me in how much backing and edging to buy, the best type of filler, and where the quilting should go.

We agreed that on this quilt the hankies themselves would be lightly quilted, finding a unique pattern in each. The most elaborate stitching would be between the hankies rather than on top of them. 

This is her giant longarm quilting machine!

  I delivered the quilt top, the edging fabric and the backing fabric. LaDonna assembled the layers and quilted them together. When the quilting was done, she created the edge binding and attached it to the front side.  

After picking up the quilt, I turned the edge binding under and used a hidden stitch on the back to complete the project.

Then I washed it and put it in the dryer!
It wasn't soiled. Pellon is kind of stiff until it's washed. Now the throw is soft, feels good and looks great!

The final result is so pretty!  I love being able to see these vintage hankies on display.
 I'm starting work on another hankie throw (!), this one in red and blue.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


This morning as we left for the lake the weather man warned that with the wind chill factor it would feel like 13 degrees outside. 
It did feel darn cold! 
The cows along the way were huddled down for warmth.

The wind had a bite, but there wasn't a skin of ice over any of the puddles, and the mud did not crackle beneath our feet.  
I don't think we can claim anything too wintery,
but it was cold going for the stone masons and the roofing guys.

It looks like we will be under roof by next weekend! 
We are very happy the look and the color of the metal roof.  I love looking under the eaves and seeing the glint of silver between the beautiful cedar ribs of the construction.

The water is still slowly rising.

I think this beach may disappear altogether before spring...

Monday, February 6, 2012

January Brought the Rains!

I love graphs.  What a great concept.  Many thanks to William Playfair of Scotland (1759-1823) who invented the line graph, the bar chart, and the pie chart.
 Above is the current water level on our lake, beautifully graph illustrated. 
And below is a photograph showing how that rising water level translates on our property. 
I think we can float a boat!

Of course, we will need to get the electricity hooked up before we can lower the lift.  The roofing material is scheduled to be delivered this week, so the boat house is inching closer to completion.

We are very fortunate to be in an area of Texas that is experiencing some recovery from from the big drought. Hopefully the next few months will bring more rains to the whole state.
Looking back towards the house, the seawall gives an idea of how far we have yet to go to fill this reservoir.

The house is coming along, too.  The second level windows are in place and the layers of stucco (cement) are being applied.  This week all of the cedar trim will be stained.  The cedar rafters will show under all of the eaves and porches.  We are using a transparent product from Sherwin-Williams that will reveal the variations in wood grain while evening-out the natural color differences.  Once the trim is stained the roofers can go to work.

The Isokern fireplace has been constructed in the great room.  Manufactured in the States from Icelandic volcanic stone, this type of fireplace has a high insulation value while being fireproof and reflective.  The inside of the firebox will be faced with antique brick, and the outside will be constructed with the same stone we are using on the rest of the house: Texas limestone.