Larry.s Creative Zone

Larry.s Creative Zone

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Night Posting........

Among the rubble and dust I took this table outside and lightly sanded it.  I couldn't find the sander but did find it stowed away in an unusual place.  The photo shows the first application of the finish on this table. We have been using this as our kitchen table but we are going to use it as and end table sitting between wingback chairs.

The table was a gift from my antique relatives, John and Iva, who had old furniture to share.  Iva was worried I would not treat it well or would toss it.  I have had it since 1970 and it will never be tossed or destroyed.  It is solid oak.  When I first got it there was a light reminder of a painted line design on it. It reminded me of the ones sold in the 20s.

You get to see the dirt and all as this is my work zone.  When you are busy you don't have time to freshen up the place.  I will clean it all when all is done.  Because of the way the finish looks on the table I may have to do the tops of a couple of other pieces.

This is one of the side pieces that folds down to the side of the  table.  I had to take the sides off of the table as the grooves between the main top had some really cleaning problem areas.  It all sanded out  easily with the electric sander.

I took lots of shots.  I will probably steel wool the tops after it is dry and then put on a second coat to make the finish strong.  I usually steel wool with paste wax as my final surface treatment.

We were overwhelmed but are happy as we officially took ownership of our newer home.  The people had hired profession cleaners to come in and get the place ready for us.  We saw it today for the first time without their furniture. I need to make some changes to some steps in the garage for Barney's needs.  He needs wide steps and the typical 6 or 7 inches is not big enough for him. They left things for us to have and it was really nice of them.  An old wooden strip ladder will be nice to have there already.  They left their fake Canada Geese in the back yard along with other things.  They were really very organized leaving us warranties for appliances and info for utilities.  It will be quite a whirl that we will be in for awhile but we will just do things one day at a time. We have two boys coming to help us move boxes of things. We have 2 guys and a truck,  coming one day to take all the major pieces.  We will take a load of things down every time we go over to the newer house.

Thank your for stopping by today.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dr. Vet Visit........

Barney had a busy day, having to  go in in for a shot.  The antics it takes to get him into the car are getting to be harder to do.  He doesn't want to use his back legs and yet does want to go for a ride. When we came home from the vet visit, he refused to get out of the car.  He reminds me of a young girl in the neighbor hood that does that to drive her parents crazy. When he finally faced humiliation being forced to leave the car, all seemed to be ok.  Barney then refused to go outside  the rest of the day as I might try to take him back to the vet again. Late afternoon he did finally go for a walk and some  woman walking by us called him a pretty lady.  How frustrating to not know that he is a tough looking guy dog. He was looking good though as he had to be brushed up extra special to visit his vet.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Parking Lot.....

The unusual pattern is from a throw that we have put on one of our new chairs.  We don't want to mess them up before we move them into the newer place. The old cars are from my kid's grandparents house.  They were closing it down and the toys were all over the basement floor.  Some youngster must have been playing down there and left them all scattered. The yellow Volkswagen is from my new model car collection.  It is sitting in the back waiting to be wrapped and packed.

Thanks for checking in on me today.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


As I work with my collections of various things I snapped a few photos.  I had to dust them, wrap them in bubble wrap, and place them in a big box. The kinds of collections seem to be determined by the phases going on in my life.  Old cars, antiques, and new cars made to show the old are a part of the many things.  I have very old trucks and cars from two generations back.

The waterfowl collection was an ongoing process until they stop selling them.  My wife would buy them as a yearly gift and then she couldn't find them in the stores.  I do see that they are bringing back some of the figurines but they are in few numbers.

My toy soldiers are another whole story that I won't share for now.  I have two different brands of these that were made during the 40s.  The conditions of mine vary by what they were made from.  I have some metal ones where the paint is flaking away and others are paper mache which are so fragile.

I am back on the step ladders again today.  I am going to pace myself by not working on the ladders all day.  I can get my job done if I put in a few hours each day. We have errands to run, people to call, and things to buy.  I see that we are promise cold weather again now and also some rain on the side.  It is still early spring and snow is always a possibility in early spring.

Thank you for stopping by today.

Monday, March 20, 2017


In the process of sorting out toys to pack and move, I did find a few marbles. The solid colored ones are probably from a game while the swirl one is more apt to come from my childhood.  I did find a book at the bookstore, in the antique section, that showed classifications of old marbles.  I liked seeing it but it was overwhelming as to how much information is out there about marbles of the world. There are specific names to a lot of them.  The "cat eye" marbles had a different classification name.

The dark shape in the background is a rock that my dad had cut an polished.  I keep finding stray rocks that he has worked with in various places among our things. The polished rock is an agate-like piece of wood. The dark brown pattern shows all of the lines in the wood before it was effected by volcanic activity. My dad would travel with mom and a rock hound couple in the summers.  They would find a lot of wood out in the middle of the desert of Wyoming.  The rock hounder couple took publications that told where to find digging sites for agate like stone and fossils.

Work in progress in the gallery area includes the very tall step ladder.  I find myself getting a lot of exercise going up and down that thing.  With a high ceiling on the east side of the room the ladder was essential or I could not do the work. The pile of packed items sit in the other end of the finished room.

We are going to have a warm day today. Rain was forecasted but I haven't noticed if it still is in the picture.  Every day we have now gets us closer to a really spring-like season and not just a day on the calendar. I hope all are having a great day.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday Morning......

The skies have been glowing ones the past few days.  It definitely is becoming more like spring each day. Barney has decided that he needs frequent walks on the leash now so we were out early this morning walking up and down the streets.

Our neighbor's cat found the table on the porch to be free from a power saw, so he made himself a place to be. He really is the neighbor hood cat as I have seen him up rubbing against the two boys next door.  Yesterday we saw him crossing the main highway going to another part of town.

The birds all seem to be hiding out and not making themselves to be in view. I see the doves once in a while at the feeder but nothing else.  I heard a meadowlark yesterday while I was outside and I did hear a pheasant calling from the east of us in the farm field this morning. Other birds are out there calling but I have yet to hear the cardinal calling to declare it territory.

We have a busy week ahead of us.  I keep readjusting my attitude towards goals.  We have the luxury to get things done on our own time schedule and the packing and moving is going to happen at our pace.  We can not possibly just move into our newer home.  We have to get a dog adjusted to the new location with short visits for a few weeks. He will get to sleep in our room unlike at the old place where he could not do the stairs.

Our projects in the newer home are so minimal compared to the house that will be emptied. The newer house has a yellow bedroom that will definitely be repainted.  The husband of the former owners must have picked out the color and put it up quickly.  We want to replace a room's floor with carpet turning it into a wood floor.  That is all we need to do at the new place.

It is Sunday as we are off this morning for church and Sunday school teaching.  We will get a lunch and buy a few things on the way home.  Then the afternoon will be rest and relaxing for the rest of the day.  I hope everyone is thawing out and spring will be showing itself in your area.  Thank your for stopping by today.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Royal Stone China.......

As I was growing up and learning about antiques, this kind of plate was the rage at the time.  The farmers who inherited Wedgwood, Tea Leaf dishes, from their parents and grandparents who settled this country were selling them in auctions and antique shops. One of my dad's cousin collected every kind of Tea Leaf plate and bowl that she could find.  I can still see her cupboards stacked full of these dishes.

When my grandmother Brooks moved from the farm to the city my mom took a souvenir plate from a box of Wedgwood dishes.  They were the dishes of my grandmother's husband first wife who had passed away in the 1940s. The box of dishes had been stowed away in an upstairs closet.  The plate is of such a simple design with a brown glaze that looks almost like gold when viewing it in the right light. I see that some sellers of the plate call it copper. I see a plate like this in good shape would be sixteen dollars to buy today.

A dish that reminds me of a shallow soup bowl has a more mover decoration on it. The era seems to be more 30s or 40's with its classic urn of flowers.  The flowers themselves remind me of the floral declaration of plates that I have called "Mildred". The value of the dish is of little to nothing as it has many stain spots in it.

I am not sure where this plate was from but the design of it is so unusual.  The very formal gold decoration is effective but the spotting of the decal decorations is funny. The one spot of flowers almost gives an impression that the plate is dirty. None of the floral decorations have a sense of balance.

I am taking a couple of days off from my gallery project.  We have lots of other things to do and my body needs to heal up. I need edge molding for the ceiling, yet to be put up.  My hands seem to not like the use of tools anymore as the muscles react to the frequent use of them.  I think a couple of days off will give me a chance to restart and finish.  We have some deadlines ahead of us now that will make our changes more permanent in our lives.  It is good that we are getting close to spring and the weather won't be so harsh as we start moving some of our things south of her 30 miles.

I think we will hit the bookstore today and do a little shopping.  I think the next two days will be good warming days for us. The wind has kept us chilly even though the thermometer tells us we are warm.  I wish everyone a great weekend.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Friday, March 17, 2017


The Duz company that made detergents gave away plates in their soap boxes back in the '60s.  I have one of them, which is in very bad shape, that was used in an art display that I had at school many years ago.  The design itself is a very classy one.  I never noticed before that they included the shadows of the wheat in their design.  It is pretty sophisticated in design for the era in which it was made. I will be throwing this plate away today.

A pitcher of the past is shown here.  My wife's parents had dumped things into it for years.  Buttons, broken watches, coins, keys, and many other odd pieces.  I rescued it from the kitchen when the house was being torn down.  The actual design seems to be very 20s to 40s in style. The glazing of the piece was done poorly.  I will still keep it, as it is a piece of history worth saving.

The two seem to have a way of expressing something based on where they are sitting.  The seem to look abandoned here even though they were just rescued from a winter storm a month ago.

One of my blogging friends from Iowa mentioned a truth about my getting a new furnace before I move.  He gave out examples in his family and extended family that they too bought new furnaces before they moved.  I hope more people think about that in the way that I do.  I felt I needed to sell a house with a working and acceptable furnace.  I didn't buy the house with an acceptable one and we had an inferior living condition for years.  I am hoping the ones who will be buying the place recognize that the effort was for a good reason to provide a complete house. The air-conditioning should be like frosting on the cake when it comes to living in a very old house.

I have another fun-filled day ahead of me today.  I know nothing will clear up in the way of busy schedules for months, but I do hope it can be slowed down a little bit.  We have errands to run today and maybe we will go buy some trim boards for the remodeled room.  We are to be warm today and I welcome that.  Thank you for stopping by today.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Taking a Trip South.....

I am shipping out this red rooster to my cousin in New Mexico.  She will be happy to have some knick knacks from my mother's house.

Thanks for checking up on me today.  I am staying strong and plugging along.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday's Whatever Shots.........

A circle of pipes seemed to be necessary to get to different return ducts connected to the furnace. The shiny metal is a nice change to see down there.

Southern Iowa farmers would know that this is an egg crate.  I salvaged it from some where and still have it today.  They used cardboard forms to separate the eggs inside and had layers of cardboard to separate the layers of eggs.  I will try to clean this up but it really doesn't look fit to go into a newer house.  The old house we are in right now isn't offended by it but I bet it will look our of place.

It is a strange shot but this is the floor where the old furnace was sitting.  It is such a big open space compared to the sprawling old furnace that sat there. I am not through cleaning out the basement for the move but I will have plenty of room to disassemble and evaluate all that is still down there.

Shipping them to my cousin.  My mom's instant coffee was always enjoyed in her hardware store purchased mugs.  My cousin wanted some knick knacks and these are kind of like that. This set of mugs seemed to be her last batch and she used them for years.

Busy day for me again today.  When I am done, I will share the photos.  I won't share it in progress as it is really bad to see half done.  I am about a day behind what the schedule completion date was going to be. The work I am doing seems to get so many hold ups in the ongoing processes.  I hate that a lot.

I hope everyone is doing well.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tuesday's Special.......One Shot.

A small window to the world that is yet to be finished.  It was installed 15 years ago when my father-in-law moved into the room.  I hurried and installed a big picture window and this smaller one on the south of the room.  He enjoyed both of them as he could open up the one for fresh air The big window let him see kids and cars go by the house.  I worked on a cabin in Minnesota a lot in my early years so I installed the windows just like they were in a cabin.  I used pine boards and exaggerated the size of the trim boards.  I will probably paint the window now as the is the next room to be remodeled.

I have had another busy day today and will be glad that one major thing in the gallery will be done by Thursday.   A new ceiling is going in and it will look so nice to help finish off the room.

We thawed out today a little from the sunshine.  We didn't get up above freezing but spots did thaw.  Tonight it is to be very cold and then a warm up will begin.  Thank you for stopping by today.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday's Here......

My workspace outside has been moved to the porch.  I don't really want to stand in a snowbank when I cut up pieces of wood.  It is a lot colder today with the snow on the ground.  They are not reporting wind chill but we do have a very cold day.

I have seen many birds on the feeder but the juncos were the only ones around while I was taking shots.  Later on I saw a dove and a cardinal. The snow cover makes the birds come more often to the feeders. We did get a good snow last night with about 4 inches of snow.  We were out this morning to go to the hardware and pick up a Subway sandwich. We picked up milk and bread as it seems so cold that we don't want to go out again for a long while.

I am working on the ceiling of the gallery room now.  I won't explain it but will show it to you when it is completed.  It is complicated to explain and the finished photo of it will suffice when i get done.

Thank you for stopping by today.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday Afternoon.........

Another snow fall is to happen this evening.  I don't think we will get a lot of snow but the counties north of us will get 6 inches or more.  A lot of snow melted away on Saturday afternoon but there is still snow on the ground.  I hope everyone has had a good weekend. Thanks for checking in on my post.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Rocker Collection.......

My wife's grandfather owned this chair.  There is a burn in the one arm from his lighting up his pipe.  I had put it out on the side porch to keep it out of the way of the furnace installation.  Then when snow was predicted, I brought it in to the construction zone.  It is still a mess in the gallery area.  I believe all the wall painting is done in there except for a couple of touch up ares. We have four different kinds of rockers to move with us. I eliminated a rocker that was just in such bad shape.  I cringed when I dumped it but I don't do miracle work with antique furniture anymore. It was only in parts and was rough looking. I still have a commode-like vanity of my wife's that will need a complete restore.  It has the original mirror on it and is missing one drawer.  I can make a new drawer and take off all that green paint. The main large drawer at the bottom is a curved front one.  I am anxious to see what wood it is that is under that paint.

I found this print in an old frame in my parent's garage.  I don't have a clue where it originated.  I kept is solely  because of the print.  My neighbor has the same print framed and hanging in her living room.  My print is really in bad shape and deteriorated but my colors of the print are in original shape.  My neighbor's print is all faded out.

I could crop the print down and frame it to look like this.  Again this is not of great value.  It is that history of it that fascinates me.  I will probably move it with us.

A day off for us today as we are wearing down physically.  My hands get pretty inflamed with the work that I am doing and I need to let them heal up a bit.  We have errands to do today and maybe a bookstore will be in our crosshairs sight today.

I hope everyone is well out there.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Things Have Changed........

The before photo shows an antique furnace that heated the house all these years.  It must have taken up 40 square feet with all the stove and fan apparatus behind this.

This after shot shows a nice compact furnace sitting over along the wall.  It has a fan system behind it too but it doesn't take up much room.  The white pipe drains away moisture.  Seeing all that space  open now really made a difference in the looks in the basement.  It made it look like I had dumped out a lot of things when really it was just the furnace that took so much space.  The ductwork of the old one also made it difficult to walk around down there.

Another before photo shows the window next to the porch door.  It was created out of pine and then stained to match the color of the then oak paneled ceiling.

The after in this case is the window frame being painted a semi gloss white paint.  The frog tape is still on the frame so it looks funny.  The white trim agains the antique white flat paint looks really good together.  Both window sets are now finished with two coats of paint on them.  The tape is yet to be removed.

This window looks better in white.  I have the grill off of the middle window right now to help me put tape on the middle window. It looks strange without the grill.

One of my friends at school had bought a house in the area and her husband demanded that all those grills be removed from the house.  They were surface mounts and could be removed.  Our old house needs the grills so the old house doesn't look like it had modern widows replaced and the rest of the house is still old looking.  The gills help to make a design bled for the age of the house.

I will end this blog today with the birds sitting in the dining room window.  I had to remove all of the plants from the area as the workmen were working on a vent that sits right below the widow.  The plants are scattered all over the house in places that may not be best for them.  The two wooden sculptures look lost without vegetation.

Thank you for stopping by today.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Fan News.....

When my old squirrel cage fan went out on the old furnace I had to replace the fan.  The size is too small but the new one worked good enough.  It was purchased on the internet and came in three days.  I told the guys what when they tear out the old furnace that I wanted that one hundred dollar fan.  I may need it in my garage to vent out heat in the summertime. It is a smooth running machine.

When there was a coal burning era, a furnace was constructed using one of the cast iron doughnuts.  The glowing fire was under the metal doughnut and the air inside of it was heated up.  Hot air rises and cold air comes down.  It was called a gravity feed system and there was not any fan system involved with the furnace.

The 1937 beer cans found inside of the furnace venting system tells me when that all took place. Eventually a fan system was added blowing air over the top the this donut helping to collect the heat and sending it to the rooms.  The furnace company took away all the metal pieces so I didn't have to figure out how to haul it all away. The two of us and Barney are all resting up today from the three days of young men working in the basement and in the house too. It is quiet now except for the hum of the new furnace.

The mind is the first to go.  I really could not figure out when this kettle came into the household.   I finally clicked into some grey cells in the brain and remembered it came from my parents home. I don't remember it but the closing of my parents home did take a long time.

One more view of the dump that was in my yard.  I will take new photos of the new furnace eventually.  The basement is full of all these shiny new pipes sprawling all over in the ceiling.  We are definitely in need of heat today as we started off below freezing this morning and it isn't going to warmup much today.

We ate late last night as the workers left late on their last day.  We went to the cafe that has free pie on Wednesday.  It was sort of our treat to ourselves for the long week.  We were too tired to go out but it was good to do so anyway. We are having a sunshiny kind of day today.   It really does look like spring out there but it just doesn't feel like it.  We are back to painting on the gallery today and are painting trim boards today.  We have two coats on the window trim and we will need to wait to get the final coat painted.  Well, I guess I will just close this down.  I hope all are doing well and the weather is being kinder to you.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Things to Share.....

It isn't an outstanding thing to share but it is old.  The pitcher is made by Homer Laughlin.  It is in pretty bad shape but historically it is a nice milk pitcher.

As I was picking up loose ends of things to pack I found the black glass sugar container.  Inside was the collection of small buildings made by me as a demo for the students to see.   I forgot that I had done them.

My mom had this on display in all of her different places in which she lived. I always thought it fancy with the decal flower designs on it and the raised designs too.  The juicer seemed too nice in comparison to what we lived with when I was a kid.  I have it now and cleaned it up to be packed to go to the new house.  It was made in Czechoslovakia.  

It has been a long three days but our furnace, air-conditioner, and water heater have all been installed.  Maybe our lives can slow down for a while and normal can be something else than it has been.  Thank you for stopping by today.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


The guts of our old furnace strewn outside on top of the flower garden.  They took it all away by the end of the day on Monday.  I will share moe about this as time goes by.  Thanks for checking in on my spot today.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Springing into Action.......

The field lilies are up.  I think everything is sprouted up except for hostas.  Hostas seem to always be later risers.  I didn't have time to go all around the garden but the iris are giving to quite a show too.  I have not looked to see if the peonies are up but they should be in another week.

Another toy that I found in the basement that may be kept for the grandkids. It is going to take some serious cleaning.   If it cleans well, I will save it. The guys went through the transformer era completely. This toy is not a true transformer but it is leaning towards that brand of toy.

We have had a mass invasion of workmen at our house this morning.  I think there were four trucks out there at one time as the different crews joined togather to completely remove our heating system.  It was a very old system and they removed everything.

I have photos for another day to show you the mess that it all created.  I have guys here now installing some of the new furnace and running new air ducts everywhere. The air condition is sitting out on its pad already.  I had an electrician show up to do the wiring for the new air and he also helped with a problem with our plug for the fiber optic connection.  I had a phone man here also as someone had threaded a phone line through a furnace grate.  The grate is going away so the wire had to be removed and reconnected. All that I didn't have is the water guy and the natural gas guy.  We don't have natural gas right now as they are hooking it up to the furnace.  I hope when they drive away from her the first day that they will have that all back on.  I will be discussing it with them soon.

The moving thing is more serious now.  We do have a closing date and we can have access to the house in Ankeny.  It means that we can keep on packing but with a little bit more fervor with a final date deadline.  One wonders if we will every pull this off but we are taking everything in stride.  After the day of having seven men for demolition, an electrician, and the phone guy, all here at the same time, we should be able to handle anything.  On older gentlemen from the furnace company did drop in too in the middle of the morning. He looked more like a bookkeeper or an inspector for the company. I didn't tell you that they don't mind just walking up stairs into the house and ask questions.

Our neighbor cat keeps coming over for a visit.  He spent Sunday afternoon with me in the basement as I carried out some last minute things. He took a bath on top of the clothes dryer.  He came back today and he joined all those workmen.  One guy came upstairs concerned about him and his being in the road.  I told him he was the neighbor's cat and it was good that you carried him out and put him over to the outside fence in the yard. Eventually the cat ended up on my side porch sleeping on a rocking chair on the porch.  I had put an extension cord on top of the seat of the chair and Jose was sleeping away on top of it all.

Well, I will close this down for the day.  I am sitting with Barney right now so he can feel secure with all the noise coming from the basement. I do think they all will go home by 4:00.

Thanks for stopping by today.