Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tool Chest Re-Do

A couple of weeks ago I found this great tool chest underneath a stack of junk in the garage at an estate sale.

It was in pretty sad shape, but it was sturdy and the inside had 4 stacking wooden shelves.   Louie kind of turned his nose up at it but sometimes you see something and you just gotta have it!  I gave it a good scrubbing and let it sit outside for a few days in the sun.  Then I stained the inside of the box and the shelves with a dark stain....

I pulled out one of my new favorite brushes - the Zebra Wedge brush.  I won a box of their brushes a few weeks ago and I have to say - I love them!   They are amazing.  The bristles are thick and the paint goes on like a dream.

A couple of weeks ago I got this full container of lavender paint at a garage sale for 50 cents.  It's a really pretty color and come on...... 50 cents!

The box got 2 coats of paint and then I decoupaged some rose napkins on the top and one napkin on the front.  Decoupaging with napkins is one of my new favorite things to do.  Have you tried it yet?

Then I gave the whole box a light distressing, put a coat of polyurethane over the napkins and then waxed the entire thing.

What do you think?  I adore the color!  Plus the lavender paint and the rose napkins kind of keep my husband from stealing it from me.  LOL!

The drawers are awesome.  I can't wait to fill them up with all my tools.  Plus, the box is on wheels and has a handle so I can roll it around when I'm working on something.

It's so purty!!!!

Linking up with...
Talk of the Town 7-11-17

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Book Review - Complete Guide to Boating and Seamanship

Complete Guide to Boating and Seamanship by Vin T. Sparano, Universe Publishing, 2017

Summer has arrived and if you're anything like me, you're spending as much time on the water as you possibly can.  Boating novices and experts alike will benefit from this newest offering by award winning author Vin Sparano.  This paperback edition contains 336 pages of useful information and 600 color photographs that will help you navigate any type of vessel, how to make your boat safe, and bring you up to date on electronics.

Complete Guide to Boating and Seamanship is broken down into ten sections:
  1. Boating Design and Construction
  2. Boats for Outdoor Recreation
  3. Outfitting Your Boat
  4. Boating Safety and Tips
  5. Fishing Basics for Boaters
  6. Freshwater Game Fish
  7. Saltwater Game Fish
  8. Cooking Techniques
  9. Survival
  10. First Aid for Boaters
Chapter one covers the different types of hull design and the advantages of each.  You will learn how the materials used to build a boat affect its cost, buoyancy and durability.  Do you want a boat of fiberglass, aluminum or wood?  Learn the advantages of each in this chapter.

Let's take a look at the reasons you want a boat in chapter 2.  This chapter on Outdoor Recreation covers a wide variety of options - Are you using a boat for fishing, hunting, camping, or skiing?  Maybe you want a kayak or a canoe?  How about a paddleboard, a jet ski, wakeboard or water skis?  Chapter 2 has the best section on learning how to waterski or wakeboard that I have ever seen.  I've been an avid water skier my entire life and I was happy relieved to see that I've been doing everything correct all these years.   There are plenty of ways to spend time on the water -lets narrow it down here.

Chapter three will tell you everything you need to know about properly outfitting your boat.  I found the photos and descriptions on trimming your motor to be particularly helpful.  Inboards, outboards and trolling motors are covered.  Learn about depth sounders, marine radios, GPS devices, and anchors.  Four pages are devoted to showing you how to properly tie a multitude of knots.  All boats need a trailer and you should know how to choose one and properly maintain it.  I've been backing my husband's boat into the lake for years and even I learned a new tip on the best place to put your hand on the steering wheel when doing so.  See, I told you, something for everyone!

Chapter four covers all kinds of boating safety and tips, basic tool kits, spare parts to have on hand, safe boating procedures, and what kind of personal flotation devices you must have.  All boaters need to know how to properly handle wind, weather and water, and learning how to forecast the weather to a certain degree is always helpful. You can never be too cautious when you're on the water and other people's lives depend on the decisions you make.  Read this chapter twice for good measure.  For me, this was the most important chapter of the whole book.

The fifth chapter is all about fishing and covers the basics - reels, rods, fishing line, hooks, lures, and baits.  I thought the section on using birds to guide you to fish was really interesting.  Did you know that every species of fish has a preferred temperature zone that they like to stay in?  There is a four page chart listing different species and what their upper to lower temperature ranges are.  If you like to fish, this chapter is for you.

Chapter six covers everything you need to know about freshwater game fish and chapter seven covers saltwater fish.  There is a huge list of fish, each accompanied by a color drawing and an in-depth description about that fish, where they range, their habitat, size, what they eat, best fishing methods and the baits to use.  These two chapters are not only informative, but they are interesting as well.

So now you've gone out and caught some fish - what's next?  There is nothing quite like fresh fish for dinner and chapter eight covers all the bases.  Learn how to field dress and fillet fish, which species taste the best, how to properly use a fillet knife, and how to smoke or freeze them.  Complete with color photographs, you'll learn how to fillet a fish in no time.  Now I have a taste for a bluegill dinner.

Chapter Nine touches on the all important subject of survival.  Learn how to properly prepare a survival kit, signal for help, make a solar still for safe drinking water, and surviving the heat and cold.   One item that I was particularly interested in is the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter.  It's a 2 ounce filter that lets you drink directly from lakes and rivers like using a straw.   Chances are, you may never need to apply any of these survival tips, but it's always wise to be prepared, right?

The final chapter is really useful in all walks of life, not just when you're on the water.  First aid techniques are always good to know and you should be able to recognize and reduce internal and external bleeding, stop a nosebleed, apply a tourniquet, provide artificial respiration, and perform the Heimlich Maneuver.  There are 4 types of venomous snakes in the United States and if you spend time in the outdoors you should know how to recognize them and what to do if you've been bitten by one.  Equally important is how to deal with spiders, scorpions and ticks.  Steer clear of poison ivy, oak and sumac by looking at the drawings and find out how to relieve symptoms if you're unlucky enough to stumble through a patch.  Sunstroke, hypothermia and frostbite are all covered in detail and if you plunge a fish hook into your finger (as I have done) you can usually remove it yourself without a trip to the hospital.  Brush up on your first aid - you never know when it can come in handy.

Complete Guide to Boating and Seamanship should get you well on your way to hours of enjoyment on the water, be it river, lake or ocean.  Vin Sparano's books set the standard in excellence.  I know because I've had the pleasure of reviewing several of them and I can promise you that each one is loaded with valuable information, colorful photos, tips galore and wonderful stories.  One of my favorites from this book is how a Key West charter boat captain sacrificed  $ 2,000.00 worth of equipment in an attempt to land not one, not two, but three blue marlin at one time.  And that's no fish story.  Pick up a copy of Complete Guide to Boating and Seamanship.  I'll see you on the water!

(I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Photo images are the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without consent.) 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Historic Benton Hotel

As many of you know, I recently opened a booth at Antiques Et Cetera in Benton, Ky.  It was shortly after that when I started hearing stories about the building that it occupies.  It turns out that the building was originally The Benton Hotel and a dry goods store.  And get this - it's reputed to be haunted!  Well that just interested the hell out of me, so I started asking questions and talked to store manager, Sherry Krech, and she offered me a tour.  So come along and check it out with me.....

Is there anything better than an antiques store loaded to the rafters with vintage items?  Not much, unless it’s housed in a circa 1900’s building that has a reputation for being haunted.  Welcome to Antiques Et Cetera, located at 1026 Main Street in the heart of downtown Benton, Kentucky.  Walk into the store on any given morning and you are welcomed with a smile, a “Hey y’all, ”  and the featured coffee of the day.   Most mornings will find Manager Sherry Krech and her crew bustling about, tidying up booths, ready to help you in your quest to find “just the right item.”  The building itself was originally known as “The Benton Hotel” and was built in 1892.  The first floor housed a general store and people would travel by horse and buggy from miles around to make purchases.  The 3rd floor was a massive hotel and the perfect place for weary travelers to rest for the night.

Today the basement /lower level of the building is cavernous and rooms yawn in the darkness.  Pull string lights bounce shadows off the walls and offer glimpses of European furniture, galvanized pots, piles of chairs, wrought iron gates, and wooden crates that are scattered throughout the rooms.   

 Original tin tiles peek out from behind modern day drop ceilings and walls are sheeted with wide shiplap boards.  At one time the building was heated by coal and you can still see the coal room and coal chutes, and small pieces of coal are scattered about like black diamonds.  

An engineer’s workroom once occupied one huge office and an interesting side note is that for some time the Marshall County Tribune Courier was housed there.  The entire building is steeped in Benton history.

For the past 30 years the first floor has been the home of Antiques Et Cetera.  Individual booths offer a wide variety antiques and collectibles, jewelry, men’s items, clothing, unique crafts, household items, holiday d├ęcor and a bridal registry.  It’s a great place for both local residents and vacationers to poke around in the nooks and crannies looking for something special.  

The mezzanine is located above the rear of the first floor and when the National Stores Company was located there, that’s where messages were shot through tubes to the offices.  Now the Mezzanine showcases antique’s for sale.

Check out those ceiling tiles....

These days the third floor is used as storage but at one time the Benton Hotel filled the space.  Let's go check it out....

 It’s not hard to imagine how majestic it must have been.  The floors are covered in tongue and groove, the walls in shiplap, and massive 4 and 5 panel doors are surrounded by stunning woodwork and finished with ornate doorknobs and locks.  

The original Grand Room is overflowing with antique European furniture – bureau’s, chairs, beds, desks, and tables.   

Small office suites overlook Main Street and guest rooms and sitting areas line a hallway.  The guest rooms were beautiful two room suites and I can just picture them with huge beds and bureaus in one room and chaise chairs and water pitchers in the other...

At various times over the past 125 years the upstairs has also housed a dentist office, Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance and an aviary. 

At the rear of the Grand Room sits the space where the original rope and pulley elevator was located.  

It is rumored that sometime in the early 1900’s a man was murdered here, in front of the elevator – something about flirting with a woman is the story I have been told.  Right about where I am standing.....

I’ve heard that ghosts inhabit the upper floor and we found it strange that the elevator area was the only place in the entire building where the camera didn’t want to co-operate.  My assistant tried twice to take photos of the elevator shaft and area directly in front of it and each time the camera refused to take a shot.  Towards the end of our visit she walked over to try a third time.  

As the camera finally snapped a picture she heard boards creaking behind her as if someone was walking across the wooden floor.  She turned, thinking it was me, and said a shiver ran down her spine when she realized nobody was there and that I was across the room with Sherry.   Sherry  said that people have taken pictures that once developed show orbs of light and there have been times when she feels cold blasts of air for no reason or that the hair on the back of her neck has prickled when she walked into room #1.   

At various times people have come down from the third floor and claimed that they saw or heard a little girl.  As for myself, I felt nothing out of the ordinary, but one plastered bedroom wall revealed eerie images to me – a dancing boy in one area and in another section it looks like a small boy and girl holding hands.  Take a look - can you see them?

Could they be ghosts from the past?  Maybe……

If you’re in the Kentucky Lake area, take the time to visit Antiques Et Cetera.  You’ll recognize the building with its peeling white paint and faded “National Stores” sign emblazoned across the front.  They are open daily.

Take a look at the windows on the upper level and let me know if you see any ghosts from the past peering out at you.

Please visit the AntiquesEt Cetera FB page and follow along for updates on sales, weekly booth photos and promotions!

Please read the companion article in the June 29th edition of the Lake Light newspaper if you're in the Kentucky Lake area.

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