Sunday, March 29, 2009

1965 Custom 500

This is our classic car. It is a 1965 Custom 500. It's in the Galaxie family with a little different body design. My husband is the second owner of this car. He purchased it in August of 2003 for $580. The car was originally purchased in October of 1965 from A.B.C. Motors, Inc. in Cliffside NJ for $2,018. The man traded in a 1958 Ford Tudor for this car giving him a $218 credit towards it's purchase. It was owned by the same man until it was passed on to his son. His son stored it in a barn until deciding to sell it in 2003.
When Eddie bought it, he changed the motor and we headed out on road trips with it as soon as we could. There was originally a 6 cyl engine with standard transmission. Eddie changed it to a 302 automatic. Over the past six years he has worked on it a little bit here and there. He has worked on the body taking care of rust spots. He replaced the gas tank, putting the new one in the trunk. He added moon hubcaps. He wants to keep it relatively stock in appearance, but just clean it up a bit. In addition to taking the car to many local car shows, we have taken it to a local drive in movie theater several times. We have gone the the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Ben and Jerry's Factory, Covered Bridges of Vermont, day trips around Vermont and NY and to the coast of Maine. It is fun to own a little piece of the era that my husband and I were born in. He was born in 1963 and I was born in 1964.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Louis Crivellaro: Stone Carver 1902-1978

These granite monuments are located at the Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vermont. My husband's great uncle Louis Crivellaro, "Uncle Louie," carved his own monument as seen in the top picture. He was the son of an Italian stone carver and he immigrated to Barre, Vermont from Switzerland with his family when he was just 2 years old. He spent almost 60 years as a stone carver, following in his father's footsteps and starting in the trade when he was just 17 years old. Louis never retired and lived way past the average age of the stone cutters he worked with through the years. An article was written about him in the May 15, 1977 edition of the Vermonter. In the article, titled Louis Crivellaro,a craftsman schooled in the art of living, he said, "I have no regrets, I have no problems, no regrets at all." He also said "I've learned to sacrifice. I've learned to do without. So nothing seems to bother me."
My husband has fond memories of his uncle and his little camp in Vermont. He was given Louis as his middle name, which may have given him a little extra connection to his uncle. Louis Crivellaro was known as the Old Man of Maple Hill. He owned a camp on 30 hilltop acres in Plainfield, Vt. He stayed there more often than at his home in Barre with his wife and daughter. The camp was a trailer that was untidy, yet it was described as having an atmosphere of warmth and hospitality. The collection of found items in random arrangement on the property kept Louis busy when not working at carving granite.
The article pictures him standing next to the monument he carved for himself and his family. He passed away only 8 short months after the article was published. My husband, son and I took a trip to Barre to see this cemetery as well as nearby "Rock of Ages" granite quarry.
When we entered the 65 acre cemetery, we first started walking to the right. We came upon the monument in the bottom picture. This is for Louis' father, Napoleone Crivellaro 1870-1952, his mother Emelia 1861-1953 and brother Ezio 1899-1918. We then walked towards the back of the cemetery, down the entire length and zig-zagged through the middle. We looked forever for Uncle Louis' monument. Several times my husband asked out loud "Where are you Uncle Louie?" Each time he asked it, he then said to me that Uncle Louie is probably way out in the front right where we came in. Even though he said this, we kept going on our systematic search through the cemetery. After much searching, we headed back towards the front of the cemetery towards where we came in...there was the Crivellaro monument! If only my husband would have listened to the answer that he received from Uncle Louie we would have saved some energy! Visit the following websites to see more beautiful monuments in the Hope Cemetery and the Rock of Ages Quarry. Rock of Ages Museum and Quarry Rock of Ages Museum and Quarry

Sunday, March 22, 2009


A long, long time about 1987 I took some oil painting classes. I completed 12 paintings and I loved it. These are two of the ones that I still have. I gave away my favorite ones as gifts and I hope to get pictures of them someday. These are the best ones of the 6 I still have. I miss painting and I think I was getting fairly good at it. My favorite one was a fall scene with a waterfall in a small creek. I also did a storm scene, a sunset, a winter mountain scene and several others. I still have an interest in painting, but do not currently have a place or the time to pursue it. It is something that is on my list of things to find the time to do again though. It was relaxing and a nice outlet for creativity. My mother in law was nice enough to send me a picture of the winter scene I gave them. I added it above.

Old Window Project

I was just talking with a friend about old doors and windows. It reminded me of this project I made a few years ago. I took an old window and painted it with an antique crackle effect paint. I printed some family pictures in black and white and placed them behind a photo mat. It's a pretty big window. Each opening is 8x10. This has been hanging on our kitchen wall. Many people have given us nice comments. We have a stack of old windows out in one of our barns. I want to do more projects with them. We might build a greenhouse with some of them, but the ones that are like the one here I want to do more creative things with.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saratoga Automobile Museum

We went to the Saratoga Automobile Museum today. The above cars were just a few of the ones on display today. Most of the exhibit was a collection of 54 cars owned by one man. He currently lives in Venezueala but the collection stays in Schenectady, NY when not on display.
There were also cars that belong to the museum as well as a whole display of old race cars from NY. Check out their website and the exhibits they plan to have in the future. We want to see the vintage camping trailer show in August.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hand Made "Power" Hammer

Ed wanted to make a helve hammer, but didn't have enough pieces, so he made this instead. It is powered by his foot and serves a similar purpose for the time being. Since building this hammer he has modified it by putting some padding on the foot pedal to make it a bit more comfortable. The hammer part is an old sledge hammer with a pipe on top filled with lead for weight. He has made some metal bowls with it like the ones pictured above. I use the ones above on my dining room table. I change out the contents of the large bowl for the season.

Hand Made Tumbler

Ed made this Tumbler out of my grandfather's old air tank and scrap metal. It is currently powered by a drill mounted on the base. He puts our small hooks and other small metal items in it with bolts and nuts to clean off the slag from our pieces while giving the pieces a bit of a texture from the tumbling.

Hand Made Press Brakes for Metal

Ed built this metal brake to bend our bookends. It can also be used to bend metal for other projects. The jack hasn't been placed in it at this point. Ed had just painted it.

Ed made this brake to bend our napkin holders. He can also use it for other projects that require the metal to be bent 90 degrees.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Some Custom Projects We've Done

This sign was made for a family near Saratoga,NY. We live by Saratoga, NY which is famous for its horse racing and horse farms.

This was a custom project for a local man. It represents his brother and son on one of their fishing trips they took together with a dog. Both of them have died and this will be part of a memorial he is making for them. On each of the ends it has their initials and date of their death. He will be placing a water feature in the center of it and displaying it in his yard after he paints it.

This sign was made as a gift for neighbors of my husband's parents in Florida. They own horses and cows.
We have made many custom projects. I have many pictures of them, but with my dial-up service, the pictures with a high resolution will not upload. I now know to use the lower resolution setting on my camera for the pictures I plan to use. I also made the mistake of not remembering to take pictures of many of our custom items. That mistake will not be made again! To see more of our custom projects go to our website custom page.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

AustralianTea Tree Oil Uses

Australian Tea Tree Oil Uses
A couple of years ago I stumbled on Tea Tree Oil. I purchased a book called First Aid Handbook: 101 Plus Ways to Use Tea Tree Oil. I bought a bottle of the oil and began to be amazed at how well it worked for the things it claimed. The book was written by Cynthia Olsen. For many of the uses, it is mixed with things like olive oil, aloe vera, soap and other ingredients. For most uses it can be used full strength. It comes from a tree that is a member of the laurel family. It is scientifically known as the Melaleuca alternifolia tree. Some of the uses listed in the book are as follows: head lice, acne, ear aches, dry scalp, canker sores, sore gums, bad breath, sore throat, laryngitis, eczema, hives, ringworm, warts, athlete's foot, blisters, nail infections, hemorrhoids, aromatherapy, chicken pox, diaper rash, insect bites, sunburn, humidifier additive, insect repellant, disinfectant and many, many more. It's an all natural product to use as an alternative to over the counter and prescriptions for common problems.

My Husband's Homemade Tractor

My husband is always making something. This is his most recent toy. It's a homemade tractor that he can just ride around the property on or use as a small work tractor, pulling a small trailer. It's not finished, but he is having fun with it. He also built the utility trailer you see in the background. That's been a great trailer for hauling things for ourselves or family. As you can see, the snow is slowly melting, but it's not gone yet.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

We're on Etsy Stalker


We were featured on etsy stalker with our firetruck coat rack. It was nice to be recognized along with other metal artists. Check it out.

My Husband Built a Bridge

My husband built this bridge this past fall for a man who owns property in the Adirondack Mountains. There is a bridge currently spanning a creek on his property that is no longer safe. He comissioned my husband to do this custom bridge building project. The bridge is 10 feet wide by 33 feet long. This spring it will be put into place and covered with wood. We have been invited to his property this summer. We will take a picture of it in place. It is a cool thing to know that he built a bridge that will be in the Adirondack Mountains for many, years. This is the largest metal project he has done.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Recipes From My Family Tree

Marie Condon Gray
I always remember my mom having a little black notebook full of recipes. She also had a little yellow tin with index cards and recipes cut from magazines. These were recipes that had been collected and used by my mother, my grandmother Marie Condon Gray and my great grandmother Audrey Allen Condon. Some of these recipes I can almost taste from the memories of them. A few of them I have actually made myself. Others, I have never tried and they are waiting for me to make and pass on to one more generation. I was reminded of one recipe today when I had tomato soup for lunch. It is a tomato soup cake. This is one I haven't tried yet, but I plan to make it soon. Since I started to think of these recipes, I thought I'd post a couple of them so anyone could try them. I have copied them from the little black notebook and the yellow tin and have saved them all to keep passing on. Enjoy and let me know how you like any of the recipes you might try. I will post more recipes in the future. I also apologize for the way this post looks in the recipe section. I did it all organized but it jumbled things up. Hope you can still read it well.
Marie Condon Gray
Ingredients: 1 cup sugar; 1 can tomato soup; 1 tsp. baking soda; 1 tsp. cinnamon; 1 cup raisins; 1/2 cup shortening; 2 cups flour; 1 tsp. cloves; 1 egg; 1 cup chopped walnuts; salt
powdered sugar or creamed lemon sugar for frosting.
Method: Blend sugar, shortening, egg and soup. Add flour, spices and a dash of salt. Stir
well. Add baking soda which you have dissolved in a little bit of water. Blend well.
It will be a little thin. Add raisins that have been rinsed in hot water then
sprinkled with flour. Add walnuts. Bake in 8x8x2 pan at 350 degrees for
35-40 minutes.
For the frosting, sprinkle with powdered sugar or use a creamed lemon
sugar mixture.
***My notes: I don't know if the pan should be greased/floured or not.
I don't know how to make a creamed lemon sugar mixture, but maybe it's
with lemon juice and powdered sugar.
Audrey Allen Condon & Marie Condon Gray
My mom told me that this salad was made for many, many bridal and baby showers. It was always a hit and everyone expected it to be there!
Ingredients: 1 pkg. of lemon jello; juice of 1 large can of crushed pineapple; 2 pkg. of cream
cheese mashed with 1 small can pimentos, 1/2 cup celery finely cut, 1/3 cup
walnuts finely chopped; 1/2 pint whipped cream; 1/8 tsp. salt
Method: Heat the pineapple juice and mix with jello. Let cool and when mixture begins
to jell, add other ingredients in order given. Place in single large, or several small
molds and let set until firm.
***My notes: hmmm... I think you mash the pimentos, celery and walnuts with the cream
cheese. Maybe you mash all the remaining ingredients. I'll have to make it and
see. It sounds very similar to the cottage cheese salad they made as well.

Marie Condon Gray
Ingredients: 1 12oz container of cottage cheese; 1 #2 can of crushed pineapple; 2 cups
boiling water; 2 pkgs. lime jello.
Method: Drain pineapple but SAVE juice. Dissolve jello in boiling water. Add
pineapple juice and 1 cup cold water. Chill. When nearly set add cottage cheese
and crushed pineapple. Put in any mold and let set. Can be served plain or
with mayonnaise.
***My notes: Not sure of the mayonnaise option. I also don't know what size a #2 can is, but I'm
guessing it's the small can.
Marie Condon Gray
Ingredients: 1 cup sugar; 4 tbls cocoa; 1 1/4cup mayonnaise (I use Hellmans, but any brand will work); 1 tsp. vanilla; 2 cups flour; dash of salt; 2 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 1 cup of water.
For frosting use either powdered sugar only, or a frosting recipe of your choice. My mom always used a thick marshmallow frosting that was yummy (I'll have to get that recipe too)
Method: Grease and flour a 10x8 pan (I use a 9x13 but it's a thin cake). Mix sugar and cocoa together. Add Mayonnaise and stir well. Add flour, vanilla, salt and baking soda that is dissolved in the water gradually. Stir well. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes (varies) Check cake with toothpick in center to determine when it is finished.

AJ Learning To Use The Wood Lathe

Today was the first day it was above 50 degrees this year. Eddie pulled out the wood lathe that his mother and father brought up from Florida when they visited last spring. He doesn't have a woodshop separate from the metal shop, so he has to use woodworking tools outside for now. Eddie made a post that he might make into a lamp. AJ decided to go out and learn how to use it too. He started out with a square piece of wood, but wanted to see faster results. He traded it for a log and made quicker work of it. The last picture is his final product. He did an excellent job and wants to make more things. It was nice to see him and his dad work together.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Metal Sculptures at North Carolina Zoo

Since my husband is a metal artist, blacksmith and metal fabricator, we are always on the lookout for metal in the world. I took these pictures of sculptures on the grounds of the North Carolina Zoological Park on our vacation in 2007. The top picture is meant to represent an environmental problem. I don't remember it's exact meaning, but each sculpture is meant to represent an endagered bird I think. The other sculptures were at different areas of the park. We loved the large scale of the sculptures.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Speech Sound Development Guidelines

As a speech pathologist, I often have people asking me questions about their toddlers' and preschoolers' speech sound development. "Articulation" is the formal term for the ability to physically make consonant and vowel sounds that can be used alone and in combination with other sounds for the purpose of speech. All babies babble. This is the early sound play where we hope to hear a true word. It usually sounds like "ah-buh," "muh-muh-muh," and "ah-da." They will babble sounds that are in our language and some sounds that are not speech sounds. If a child doesn't babble, or if they babble and then stop babbling, their hearing should be assessed. For a typical child, speech sounds develop in a similar developmental manner. Although all children vary somewhat, we can hope to have children master the production of certain sounds by certain ages. Some children learn later sounds at a younger age and may sound like they have perfect speech by age 3. Others have sounds that aren't completely mature yet by age 5. Both of these examples are within the range of what is normal. Below are general guidelines for speech sound development. Your child may be a bit ahead or behind these guidelines and that's ok, as long as they continue to go through the stages in a near age approppriate time span. If you have any questions or worries, start with your pediatrician or local public health department and ask for a speech and language evaluation. Early intervention programs will be available to you if your child is delayed.
1-6 months
Vowel sounds are generally heard first. Soon there will be consonants, typically ones like "k" and "g" produced in the back of the mouth. Towards 6 months there may be csome combinations of consonants and vowels.
6 months
Makes a lot of different sounds such as laughing, gurgles and coos. Babble when alone and for attention.
8 months
May often use syllables ba, da, ka. They will try to imitate sounds and make four or even more different consonants.
10 months
They may use a syllable or use several in repetition such as "ba-ba-ba-ba." They may start saying "dada" or "mama." They will start using jargon which is babbling with intonation making it sound like a "sentence." They will also shout to gain attention.
12 months
By one year of age they will say two words in addition to "mama" and "dada" on a regular basis. They will try to imitate sounds and familiar words. Will start making sounds of familiar animals and environmental noises like motors. Hears well and can tell the difference between many sounds.
18 months
They will use 10-20 words and start combining 2 words like "all gone," "Mommy up."
Imitates sounds and words more easily and accurately.
24 months
Vocabulary growing fast..around 300 or more words. Sentences of 2-3 words used regularly.
Using many different consonants correctly but may still substitute one sound for another such as
"d" for "g" or "t" for "k." They may be able to make consonant sounds but use them incorrectly at times.
3 years
All vowel sounds can be produced correctly. 90% of 3 year olds can correctly use consonants: m, n, p, h, w.
4 years
90% of 4 year olds can correctly use the consonants: k,t,g,d,b,v,f
5 years
90% of 5 year olds can correctly use: y, ing
6 years
90% of 6 year olds can correctly produce: l, j, sh, wh, ch, zh (treasure)
7 years
90% of 7 year olds correctly use: r, s, z
8 years
90% of 8 year olds can correctly use: th, blends (pr, sl, sp,tr...)