Tag Archives: stone

Flaps – A Cullen Cat at Maison Steinbuchel

A man is like a cat; chase him and he will run – sit still and ignore him and he’ll come purring at your feet. – Helen Rowland

We are cat people.  This was not always the case with me.  Oh, I had pets growing up but they were always outside pets, mostly dogs.  The attachment fell far short of what I know today.  This had to do with the fact that:

  • We were a farming community and my mother was raised on a farm;
  • Animals served a practical role and were somewhat transitory so we were not encouraged to get too attached;

If I had any real attachment to animals growing up it was to horses on my grand parents farm and to the iconic TV animals like Flicka, Lassie and Trigger. I out-grew all that when boys became more than someone to just climb trees with, but that is another subject.

Married To A Cat Person

I became a cat person when I married. My husband is a true cat whisperer and could give Jackson Galaxy some serious competition. He has an amazing way of bringing out the unique personality of any cat, of restoring cats who are damaged and to actually get them to mind! Well, mind in that “I’m a cat” sort of way. We have a lot of fun with our kitty tribe. No, we are not crazy cat people, but I have learned to truly love, appreciate and even train these furry soul-mates.

Aviation Cats

cat

The oldest of our tribe right now is Flaps. Yes, Flaps, like the control surface on an airplane. He is the fifth in a series of aviation named cats. The first three were Pitch, Roll, and Yaw. There were also Stick and Rudder.  They are gone now, but Flaps, now six-teen years old, remains.

We started the series when we acquired an airplane hangar with an apartment. The cat’s job, besides keeping us company and entertained, were to keep rodents under control in the hangar. Rodents can be very damaging to aircraft and this was our way of dealing with them. Our version of barn cats.

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Hospitality – Exploring The Foundations

hospitalityHe who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,  Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalms 91:1
The concept of hospitality has a much higher meaning than is commonly thought of today, at least in my part of the world.  Although the everyday application remains valid, it lacks the depth of its’ original intent.
True hospitality is personal.  Its requires effort and energy, commitment, an awareness of other’s needs, preferences and desires – even unspoken ones.  This goes well past the hospitality industry, e.g. hotels, restaurants and other home away from home establishments.  Although once staying in a hotel adept at hospitality or eaten in a truly hospitable restaurant  you do not forget the experience.
Hospitality Is An Action
I have had such opportunities and it is nourishment for the soul and body – and generally a bit of a shock to the wallet!  Still, there is something special about feeling, well, special. Here is a description of  what I am talking about from a review of Hotel Dina in Greece:

“In the evenings, if she saw us sitting outside, she’d pull out an unlabeled bottle of local white wine, pour us each a glass and leave the bottle or grill us up some octopus. A little pat on the shoulder for me in the afternoon, a fresh towel at night, a cup of Greek coffee in the morning. Everything Dina did seemed to be touched with a sense of grace and humor. She was as warm as the sun on our yet-to-be-burned shoulders. The words she spoke to me weren’t necessarily understood, but her meaning was always clear. “You are most welcome.”

The Greeks have a word for it, but don’t they seem to have a word for everything? In this case, the word is philoxenia. Philos= love, xeno= stranger. Essentially, the word means “hospitality” but that definition is too facile. One enters a Greek household and one is immediately offered a drink and something to eat. Taking care of a guest’s wants and needs is deeply ingrained into the culture. There is a sense of generosity that seems completely unstrained. As a guest of Dina’s, even though this was ultimately (and I do not mean this cynically) to be. a moneyed transaction, I found her kindness was not something that was paid for. My stay with her completely refreshing in every sense of the word. I felt restored. And I am most grateful.”

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A Solo Flight – Celebrating Milestones

milestones

I enjoy being a pilot, aircraft and hanger owner, but these joys are accompanied by a fair amount of responsibility.  Even as a private pilot, periodic flight reviews (BFR) and medicals come with the privilege.  This was the month for both of those activities.  Since I inherited my Dad’s 1961 Forney Aircoupe, I have flown my BFRs in that craft, but this year I decided to have it done in a Cessna 150, the airplane in which I learned to fly, solo and certify in as a pilot in 1992.
I was able to find one to rent at Westport Airport, a wonderful place in the heart of Wichita, KS.  I have a long history with 71K, aka Dead Cow International, where the Jayhawk Wing of the Commemorative Air Force is based, so I was pleased for this occasion.  Westport should be on your list of places to visit if you come to Wichita.  A quaint oasis of the past meets the present if there ever was a place.  If you are really fortunate  you will meet Earl Long and many other aviators that make up the back-drop of the aviation fabric of the Air Capitol.
Milestones By Comparrison
The Forney Aircoupe  and Cessna 150 are very close in performance, but after flying, almost exclusively, my Coupe for 20+ years, I felt quite out of place.  There are differences that change how one interacts with the plane:
  • The Coupe is a low wing, the Cessna a high wing, thus visibility is quite different.
  • Although my Coupe has rudder pedals (early models do not) they are less critical than in the Cessna, because….
  • The Coupe’s engine is mounted to compensate for the “P” factor, pulling the aircraft to the left, where as one must use rudder to compensate in the Cessna
  • The Coupe uses a hand brake, the Cessna, toe brakes integrated into the rudder pedals
  • The Coupe is about 300 pounds lighter than the Cessna and has a much lighter touch in the controls
  • The trim on the Coupe has less impact on how the aircraft flies than on the Cessna
The best comparison I can give is the difference you feel when getting into a rental car versus your own, it just feels foreign – times ten!
My BFR instructor gave me ample time with the Cessna to get reacquainted, going over checklists, locations of various instruments and gages, etc.  on my own.  I  was as ready as I would be, but still felt a fish out of water for most of the flight.  On top of that, it was less than smooth and I had to fight thermals the entire flight.  It was less than a stellar performance, but my instructor was kind and decided I was not a hazard to myself or others, signing me off for two more years.

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Why Maison Steinbüchel?

.Maison“And those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise of the age-old foundations; you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.”   Isaiah 58:12
I am putting together a group of posts about how the families, for whom our historic home is named, converged into a single story.  The reason we call the house Maison Steinbuchel as well as our very personal connection to this house had been expounded in the past.  I thought this was in a BLOG posted early last year, but when I looked for it, it was missing!  Realizing the information had been posted on a site that was deleted, now is a good time to recapture that information.
Maison Steinbüchel or The Steinbüchel house?
How did we get drawn into the Maison Steinbüchel story-line?  Aside from simply purchasing the property, why is it so personal?  Pausing from their history, and there is a lot of it, let’s put the house into a contemporary context.  Those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook see some version of the following on my profile:

“Marie-Louise Steinbüchel, wife of prominent Wichita real estate man, Herman Steinbüchel, was born in Strasbourg, France in the 1860s and came to Wichita as the bride of Peter Stackman, another famous Wichitan. The unique combination of Richardsonian and Victorian architecture of their residence as well as the position of the family in the community, led to the designation of 1905 Park Place as a local Historic Landmark in 1977. The residence was placed on the local Historic Register in 1978 and named a Kansas State Historic Landmark in 1992.”

The registers show the designation simply as The Steinbüchel House.  We began calling it Maison Steinbüchel, not to be pretentious, but rather to bring to the forefront Marie-Louise Hahn Stackman Steinbüchel’s French Alsatian roots.  These roots are quite precious to us and are how our paths converged even before we were aware of it.

Our Journey into the Story
In the late 70’s when my husband began the process of deciding which University he would attend to study for a Doctorate.  His mentor suggested he consider the University of Strasbourg, France.  It was, to say the least, an idea that took our breath away.  He had attended a couple of summer courses in Strasbourg in the early 80’s as a part of of his Masters in Apologetics from the Simon Greenleaf School of Law.   However, the thought of moving over in order to complete a doctorate was stunning.
However, one step at a time, the idea became a reality.  In 1987 he received the degree of “doctorate de la  troiseme cycle” in Protestant Theology.  During the 1983-84 time frame while we were in residence, I received a degree in French from the University of Strasbourg.  Of course, in the course of living and studying abroad, we learned much and fell in love with the Alsace region of France.  Note to self:  I must write a book, soon, to capture all  the story behind this season of our lives.

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Vintage Lath and Porcelain

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” — Mary Lou Cook
I re-purpose slath porcelaintuff.  I primarily use materials left from the rehabbing of our 120+ year old houses. There is always lots of vintage wood that many rehab-ers toss out as scrap, especially the raw stuff from the plaster walls:  lath.  I love this stuff.  It’s so raw and rustic.
Then there are all those cute, interestingly shaped porcelain parts from replacing knob and tube electrical.  Buckets of them.  Over the holidays, as I awoke one morning, a plan in the form of images, for making wood boxes and trays using the lath and porcelain, popped into my head.
I had already made some small lath boxes, but this added a whole new genre for me!  Each would be unique, yet just using the same basic ingredients:  Lath and Porcelain bits.  I also had a ready-made painted wood box that was found at an estate sale to add to the mix.
The Concept
 When using reclaimed materials, I let the materials dictate dimension rather than deciding on a certain size ahead of time.  Ragged ends, broken and cracked parts must be removed, leaving random lengths.   In the end, for a tray all you need to start is four lengths of wood, two pairs the same.  If all four happen to be the same, you have a square, if two and two, it’s a rectangle.  I have not ventured into other forms, such as triangles and rhombuses (hey I took geometry!)  as that requires fancier cutting of the joints than I care to do at this point.  Ninety degree cuts only for me!
 The Tools:
  • a Stanley hand miter saw (that, as I said, I only use for 90 degreelath porcelain cuts for now)
  • a small hammer (for small brads)
  • a set of corner picture frame clamps (estate sale find)
  • a multi-purpose screw driver
  • a cordless power drill (my one power tool)

The Supplies:

  • Greased Lightning for cleaning the porcelain parts
  • Nitrate gloves (to protect my manicure – of course!)
  • Wood glue
  • E-600 glue (it will hold anything!)
  • Lots of small brads and screws (estate sale finds)
  • Buckets of hex nuts and bolts (leftovers)
  • Paint samples.  I generally do not paint lath, but there are other bits I may add some color to.
 The Steps
  • Cut the Lath into pairs of the same length.  Most of the time I have already cleaned it, but if needed, I take a wire brush for a final scrub.
  • Place into the frame clamps, gluing as you go
  • Using a very small drill bit, drill two small pilot holes in each joint.  Do not skip this step!  125 year old wood is well seasoned and can be brittle – this will avoid cracking.
  • Nail each corner and let set for a few hours or overnight.
  • Measure the bottom and cut the lengths of lath or other wood material for the base.  I have used reclaimed cedar shingles or other bits of scrap wood as long as they are the same thickness
  • Cut, glue and nail the base
 lath porcelain
At thislath porcelain point the box is complete.  I have added felt pads on the bottom, and fabric inserts in the tray just to give it a bit of polish.  However, the insulator bits made cute legs and handles.  I have also used vintage porcelain door knobs and handles.
lath porcelain
My next project will be to take a wooden clothes rack that Maggie the cat managed to destroy and turn it into, let’s see, a breakfast tray or two?  Art? Picture frames?  stay tuned….

 

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Traditions – Why I Embrace Them

I intend to keep writing Christmas songs. There’s still a lot more about Christmas that can be captured and feel like old-time Christmas.  A lot of the traditions haven’t been explained in song.   Clint Black
If you read my last tTraditionswo posts, you are aware that December at our house is one long celebration.  On my side of the family it kicks off at Thanksgiving with extended family gathering leaving the rest of the holiday season for friends and immediate family celebrations.  David and I then transition to my birthday on December 10, followed by our wedding anniversary a week later, then on to Christmas and New Years.  Since David is an educator, there are seasonal and end of semester activities a at his school.  Of course, we have our church activities as well.
I endeavor to have our plans laid out by the first of November so that we can enjoy the season without too much last minute pressure.  This year is going well.  I made some adjustments in expectations early on given we are in the midst of home renovations (yes that is plural!), but the tree is up at the little house and the formal dining room at Maison Steinbuchel decorated.  This is our favorite place to have meals during the holidays.
When Christmas comes around, traditions seem to come with it.  For some, tradition is something to embrace, for others something to avoid.  Which response has a lot to do with the experience attached to said tradition.  Before going on, what is a tradition really?  An on-line dictionary definition says tradition is:
 A Noun
  1.  the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs,information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice: as in a story that has come down by popular tradition.
  1.  something that is handed down
  1.  a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting
        4.   continuing pattern of culture beliefs or practices
  1.  a customary or characteristic method or manner – The winner took a victory lap in the usual track tradition.

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Enthusiasm – A Necessary Stone in your Bridge

enthusiasm“It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living.”Oliver Wendell Holmes

I confess that when I hear someone is enthusiastic about something, I tend to go cold inside.  Especially if I am relying on that person to follow-through in a long term commitment.  In today’s world the noun “enthusiasm” seems rather shallow and fleeting.  Too many times when the initial excitement wears off, so does the enthusiasm and, with it, the desire to carry on to completion.
Intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval:  “her energy and enthusiasm for life expressed enthusiasm about the current leaders”
To me this, just does not cry out with a long term, finishing commitment sound.  I must confess that over the past few weeks, my enthusiasm has waned a bit.  Not sure why.  Could be the transition from summer to fall, although it has been fairly smooth even with its business.  Maybe its the seasonal round of routine medical checks we go through at this time which I find rather tedious.
It probably has more to do with the fact that fall is my favorite time of year and I just want to play, but there is so much going on.   My business is ramping up for the holidays.  There are lots of activities associated with the school  where my husband teaches and fairs, festivals, concerts abound.  I want to play!
Enthusiasm – Another definition
At its’ roots, (in the world of words, its’ etymology), enthusiasm has a deeper meaning
enthusiasm (n.) c. 1600, from Middle French enthousiasme (16c.) and directly from Late Latin enthusiasmus, from Greek enthousiasmos “divine inspiration, enthusiasm (produced by certain kinds of music, etc.),” from enthousiazein “be inspired or possessed by a god, be rapt, be in ecstasy,” from entheos “divinely inspired, possessed by a god,” from en “in” (see en- (2)) + theos “god” (see theo-).
That puts the word in a more profound place.  Something that arises, not merely from a soulish emotional place, but from the spirit then up into the soul.  In this context it is more solid and enduring, even sustainable.  It has more substance, even commitment.
At some point this root meaning acquired a derogatory sense of “excessive religious emotion through the conceit of special revelation from God” (1650s) under the Puritans,  The generalized meaning “fervor, zeal” (the main modern sense) is first recorded 1716.   A now archaic meaning gave it a further derogatory slant as
“religious fervor supposedly resulting directly from divine inspiration, typically involving speaking in tongues and wild, uncoordinated movements of the body.”
Gee, what is it we see at many sporting events today?  Religious fever?  but I digress..
Re-embracing Enthusiasm
In reality being enthusiastic about a venture, an event, a relationship, in other words, life, is a good thing.  However, it does not solely rest on one’s emotions, but rather on vision.  I like the way Mr. Holmes, who lived when the root meaning of the word was still been alive,  put it:  faith in something coupled with enthusiasm makes life a living thing.   A journey along a bridge of stone.  A sure path, a Stonebridge.
So I am re-embracing enthusiasm.  I may even indulge in some  “divinely inspired, speaking in tongues and wild, uncoordinated movements of the body”, minus the sporting event.
What are you choosing to be enthusiastic about this week?

Old Drawers

 Drawer.  Noun: a sliding, lidless, horizontal compartmIMG_0623ent, as in a piece of furniture, that may be drawn out in order to gain access to it.                                                                                                                                                    Origin & History of “drawer”:  A drawer is literally something that is ‘drawn’ or ‘pulled’ out. The coinage was perhaps based on French tiroir ‘drawer’, which was similarly derived from the verb tirer ‘pull’.  (16th c.)

Old drawers, or more exactly, drawers that are no longer useful as drawers but remain in tact, call to me.  If you have read some of my previous BLOGs you know a bit of my passion (obsession?) in reusing stuff.  I come by this tendency honestly from both my mother and father.  On my dad’s side, they just kept stuff because “I might need it someday”.  And in some cases that was true.  Usually it just meant that things stacked up.  On my Mom’s side, the farmers, it was somewhat the same, but the German genes forced things into something useful.  Not always in a pretty way but used none-the-less.  Nothing and no one sits idle in a German household for long!

In both cases these things represented an asset; money and time that did not have to be spent.  It represented frugality and, yes, in some cases a fear of not having enough since these were families whose psyche were formed by the years of the Great Depression.  I did not know that kind of lack.  Not even close.  Cash was not abundant, but we had nice things.  Mom knew how to re-purpose, up-cycle and re-cycle before it was a political statement.  However, she did not abide clutter and enjoyed making things look pretty. Things in our home were neat and tidy.

Even the Drawers!

So when I see and old drawer my DNA takes over, times two.  It takes some skill to build a good drawer.  I am almost in awe of the old kitchen cabinet drawers from 70+ years ago, that are still solid and sturdy when the cabinets or cupboards that once housed them are long gone.  They are not elegant, built primarily for function:  to put things in.  So when I come across an old drawer it goes into my project room.

 Last winter I needed a foot rest under my desk, so i grabbed an old drawer, turned it upside down and placed it under my feet.  Functional.  Dad would have left it at that.  But my mother’s DNA kicked in recently and here is what haDrawerppened:
The drawer was:
  • Lightly sanded and primed.  There were stains that my favorite stain hider, KILZ, took care of.
  • painted on the outside with a semi-gloss version of the wall color of the room it will reside in.
  • then painted inside in a rust color from a bit of a paint sample I had on hand.
  • given a “new” hdrawertandle from my stash of cool vintage hard ware (let me know if you are interested, I have lots)
  • put on pretty red casters that I acquired from an estate sale for a few dollars.
  • topped with a padded lid so I can rest my feet in comfort while gaining some storage.
 drawers
Of course the lid moves this from the old drawer category into the wooden box on wheels category.  I guess this old drawer has been up-cycled.
 More Old Drawers
 Here are a few other things that old drawers have become in the Maison Steinbuchel shop.
Drawers
Stars in the Rockies
drawers
Starry Night – Drawer front turned coat hangar
drawers
Skyline Wall Art
 Some have gone to new homes via ETSY.  I use a few in my own home.
drawers
Under Bed Storage
My Old Drawers Pintrest Board is where I collect ideas from others as well as post projects I have done.  The cost of these is primarily in my time.  With the exception of paint, brushes and sandpaper, the materials are from found objects.
ETSY and Pintrest along with trips to shops where others are exercising their up-cycling, re-purposing talents always spark fresh ideas.
This reusing stuff gene is a stone in my bridge handed down via DNA.  However, to be viable, it had to be recognized, nurtured and even adapted.  I do not need to do this in order to save cash (although that is a nice benefit), nor even to save time.  I could just toss these things out or donate them (which I do this in some cases), and tap an app on my iPhone to order something new (which I also do in some cases), but there is a place in me that is not be satisfied with that.
There are stones in your bridge waiting to be discovered, unearthed and placed in a more prominent place along your journey.  A gift of music?  painting?  Writing?  Perhaps a skill that has laid dormant or was set aside.  Some area of interest that cries in you for nurture and expression.  Something that satisfies your soul.  Give yourself permission to recognize what it is and say it out loud.  Today.
In the comments below, in one word, describe that latent something within you that you want to pursue.  

Flaps – A Cullen Cat

Baby Flaps
Baby Flaps

We are cat people. I was not always a cat person. Oh, I had pets growing up but they were always outside pets, mostly dogs, and the attachment fell far short of what I know today. I suspect that had to do with several things:  We were a farming community and my mother was raised on a farm; Animals served a practical role and were somewhat transitory so we were not encouraged to get too attached; If I had any real attachment to animals growing up it was to horses on my grand parents farm and to the iconic TV animals like Flicka, Lassie and Trigger. I out-grew all that when boys became more than someone to just climb trees with, but that is another subject.

I became a cat person when I married. My husband is a true cat whisperer and could give Jackson Galaxy some serious competition. He has an amazing way of bringing out the unique personality of any cat, of restoring cats who are damaged and to actually get them to mind! Well, mind in that “I’m a cat” sort of way. We have a lot of fun with our kitty tribe. No, we are not crazy cat people, but I have learned to truly love, appreciate and even train these furry soul-mates.flaps

The oldest of our tribe right now is Flaps. Yes, Flaps, like the control surface on an airplane. He is the fo
urth in a series of aviation named cats. The first three were Pitch, Roll, and Yaw. There were also Stick and Rudder.  These are gone now, but Flaps, now four-teen years old, remains. We started the series when we acquired an airplane hangar with an apartment. The cat’s job, besides keeping us company and entertained, were to keep rodents under control in the hangar. Rodents can be very damaging to aircraft and this was our way of dealing with them. Our version of barn cats, I guess.

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The Value of Margins – A Lesson From Ladders and Air Traffic Control

marginsIt has been a challenging few months. It began last fall when my husband took the season a bit too literally and FELL from a ladder while trimming a tree. Yes there was a running chainsaw involved so we are thankful that the only damage from the incident was a broken left heal bone. None-the-less, crutches in a three story house, trips to specialists, me becoming his chauffeur, and generally having to pick up the tasks that require two good feet (which is more than one realizes) to keep up with daily life was a challenge for both of us. Many goals and plans had to be put on hold, although we did soldier on in many ways.

We even did some things we might not have done just as a diversion like Tuesdays on the Terrace at our local botanical gardens. We received wonderful aid from our church family so that the lawn stayed mowed until cool weather set in. By Thanksgiving he was back on two feet and is now doing physical therapy to get rid of the last of the effects of the injury. We are grateful that the outcome was not worse. Very grateful. Yes, very very grateful.

However, this kind of thing messes with ones goals, plans and dreams. It also taps into the reserves or margins one tries so carefully to build in to life. Margins of:

* time
* relationship resources
* money (savings)
* emotional and mental resources
* spiritual resources

These past few months have demonstrated to me the critical value of margins. Especially when life throws you a curve ball.

Continue reading The Value of Margins – A Lesson From Ladders and Air Traffic Control