Monday, December 30, 2013

A late Merry Christmas

Nativity, by Eric T. Wright

This post was scheduled to go public at 6AM on December 25, 2013, while I was away in Topeka, Kansas, celebrating Christmas with Eric's side of the family.  For some reason, it did not post.  So, despite the failed Scheduling feature of, it will appear now:

I have spoken at great length about the fantastic Ringling Bros. Circus of a Nativity that my mom made for me years know, the one with the extra wise men, a stockyard of animals, an unglazed baby Jesus and a bearded lady (not really)?  Well, we have another Nativity here at the Bungalow, one that came to us from Eric's mom and dad, a Nativity that was brought all the way back from Burkina Faso.  It is a fragile Nativity that we cautiously put up each year in very protected areas of the house.  Eric has talked of building a creche for this Nativity, and on the heels of his successful building of our built-in bookcases, he did so.  I think it is a fine creche for the Holy Family.  I especially like the distressing that Eric did to make it look old.  There was much poking with the screw driver and roughing up with the hand plane. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Built-in Bookcases

Almost four years ago, we acquired The Bungalow.  The living room fireplace surround looked like this right before the closing:

After painting and placing utility bookshelves where we wanted to create built-in bookcases in the future, we lived with the fireplace surround looking like this:

After much thought and many other more important home projects, Eric got on building the built-in bookcases last month.  Now, the space looks like this:

High-five, Eric!  My comments upon completion:  "I would totally pin that on a Pinterest Board."

Friday, December 20, 2013

Dog Fennel

Of dog fennel:  "The stems and base are covered in leaves so dissected that they resemble green hairs coming out of the stem in fractal patterns. When crushed, the leaves and flowers smell rather unpleasant."  (

This small weed is growing at the fence between us and the neighbor.  I believe it is dog fennel, which I've noticed growing in one other spot in our back yard (among the rocks of the terrace, getting about two feet tall before being cut back in the bi-weekly summer edging).  It may be one of my favorite weeds, so fern-like and delicate when young, and I am hoping that my string trimming mate will allow it to live out its life unmolested in the safety of our yard. 

From all I've read about dog fennel, it is not a toxic plant, but can cause skin irritation.  We can live with that.

An unlikely time of year to be growing, but I think the warmth of the brick it happens to be growing against has something to with its successful germination.  This is a part of the yard gets a long stretch of midday sun that is warm even in the cold of winter.  Booker chooses to sun himself a few feet away, a sleepy-eyed Sphinx with a stick.

Booker, by Eric T. Wright.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The ceramic Christmas tree that could.

Eric rarely comments about liking Christmas decorations.  So, when he mentioned (wistfully and nostalgically, I imagined) his mom having a light-up ceramic Christmas tree in the house that he and his brothers grew up in, I decided to find one for our home.  After consulting with Eric's mom about what the nostalgically remembered tree looked like, and having his mom offer to UPS a spare Wright tree to us, and then discovering that the shipping of said spare Wright tree was to cost $80 (stop the mail!!!), I sprang over to the Salvation Army Thrift Store and picked up this beauty for $3.99.  It was chipped, lacked its light kit, and was missing almost all of its light pegs, but it had potential.  Which is the only thing that is required in a situation like this.   Within a week, I had the chipped snow-covered limbs retouched with paint, added a light kit from Hobby Lobby and light pegs from eBay.  The only thing missing is a felt tree skirt with a hand-quilted bear on a swing, swinging in the falling snow...

We turn it on every evening and admire its kitschy vintage charm.