A Sweet Dog, a Mirror Saved, and No Time at All. It’s Fall!

I’m tired. And somehow, completely energized. I think you can be both at the same time – I totally am. I’m tired because there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything on my lists of lists, but I’m so excited because I want to do everything and anything I can RIGHT NOW. Marching Band is winding down, and the kids have had a GREAT season. But I’m running in so many directions, which is why I haven’t written anything in a while. Because, really, there hasn’t been enough progress on the house to warrant a post. I’ve missed immersing ourselves in the house, but we’ve had good reasons, besides band, to step back. So pardon the somewhat abnormal post.

This is Reese. She is our eldest dog, a chocolate lab. She’s 12 and a half. She has always been just the sweetest, lovable dog. And though she’s been going blind for a couple of years (I mean, homegirl just walks straight into walls now), she’s still completely darling.


A couple of weeks ago, she collapsed, and after a late night at the vet (including draining fluid from her heart), and then a field trip to the AMAZING vets and cardiology department at Purdue University, we got the news that she has cancer – a tumor – in her heart. Fast-acting and common, they told us we had a few days to maybe a few weeks, and we’d know when she would start to go downhill. It was hard, because with rehearsals and competitions and football games – we knew we couldn’t spend much time with her. So, the few free hours we had, were with her. Sometimes taking selfies. And lots of snuggles and treats.

Our friends Loren and Rachel (who are now the loving owners of Jackson Street, our last house), are photographers, and asked if they could come and take portraits for us while we still had Reese. I can’t think of a better gift to give, and we are so grateful. They are beautiful, these portraits of our family (that’s Marina – she’s crazy and skittish and very noble in pictures).

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So, in fantastic news, Reese is doing AMAZING. Honestly, once they drained her heart of the fluid pressing against it, we wouldn’t even know she was sick. She’s happy and playing and wagging, and here we are three weeks later. We’re so thrilled to have more time with her, so life is getting a BIT more back to normal – but still with more snuggles. And more running into walls.


Also this month, Franklin Heritage stopped by, and declared us one of the two monthly “Community Pride” winners for October, which is a really cool program designed to recognized pride of ownership in houses within our town. We’re so honored whenever people like the house, and it’s also fantastic each month to see other winners recognized for all the great things in Franklin. It’s also encouraged me to try and make the front landscaping a little prettier for fall – because as we all know, gardening is not my thing. At all.


It’s fall! And October! Which means Halloween decorating needs to happen SOOOOOON.


We had a lift at our house for a day, and so Doug took me up in it so I could get some pictures. It’s very cool to see your house and neighborhood from 30 feet in the air, and so I wanted to share. I fell more in love with our roofline than ever.

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But I promise, we’re still doing some things for the house! It’s hard to find a block of hours to keep working on the wardrobe build, but I’m hopeful that we’ll get there in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, some little things are getting done!

So, Franklin Heritage runs a Salvage Shop, which just moved into a BEAUTIFUL new building, and has been re-named Madison Street Salvage. But before that, they were in a city-garage-ish-warehouse (that’s the technical realty term), and on one of my first visits a couple of years ago, I bought a mirror.  Simple but heavy, with a ton of character. And, by character, I mean that it was held together – truly – by packing tape. Clearly, I bought it, and like many things, I didn’t have a purpose for it yet.


After years of it sitting on the floor in a downstairs room, I decided to restore it, to hang on the wall in the new bedroom.

Here is one of the loose joints :


Brackets – I assume it was attached to a dresser at some point.


The carving at the top is lovely!


I’m a sucker for a signature and dates. “Rice, May 18, 1948.”

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And away we go! First, I took the back off, really gently, because it was pretty fragile.

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Underneath, there were a ton of rough wooden shims.


I took the mirror out, and began working to get the brackets off (which Doug had to help with, they were so stubborn), and I took out all the nails that held the backing on. Oh, and I took off the packing tape!!!


This mirror weighs 1,173 pounds. But the beveling is unreal, and the edges are so rough, as though it’s all been hand cut. I’ve never seen (or felt) anything like it. It’s beautiful and incredible and antiqued in all the right ways.


The frame on the other hand, basically disintegrated after the tape came off. All the joints were loose and free – it just came right apart.

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This picture is grainy because I had to get so close – look at how small the wood gets as the angle moves to the right and curves to meet the other piece. I was petrified that I would break this. I DIDN’T. Gold Star.


I glued up the joints, and used painters tape as my clamps. The frame wasn’t super heavy, so this worked well.

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After the frame was secure and back together, I used wood filler on the gaps at the joints. It worked really well! I always wipe off the excess with a barely damp rag before it dries – less to sand later, and the finish is a lot better in the end.


I sanded it all, and the did a couple of color of stain, to match and enhance the original color. How good do the joints look now?


This wood was just THIRSTY. It took the stain so well, and it just breathed beauty back into it. I’m in love.

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Some silicone (that dries clear) to hold the mirror in place, and I used glazing points (instead of the shims) to secure it more!


Initially, I was prepping ways to make a new back, because the old one was so brittle. In the end, I couldn’t bring myself to replace the signature, and I told myself I would revisit the decision if using the air stapler did more damage to the back. But it held up well, and I’m so happy.


Not that I have anything against chalkboards or chalk paint, but I’m so glad I saved this piece. This is exactly what I could see someone snagging to turn into a trendy chalkboard, or a bulletin board – and they’d toss the mirror and paint the wood. And it would look great – but not nearly as good as the original would look. I LOVE real wood. And this is authentic and full of stories and life. And I can’t wait to hang it in its new place.

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Until next time…. snuggle your furry family members, and get some kisses from them.

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  1. Hi Amy, we went through a similar experience earlier this year, ultimately losing our 17 year old Border Collie Missy to cancer. Definitely enjoy every moment! And, like you, we know all too well how marching band kind of muscles out any other activities haha! We are looking forward to what you have planned for your favorite time of the year (snow, yuck haha)! Keep on sharing 🙂

  2. Hope you guys get in lots and lots of snuggles and hugs. Cherish every moment. Absolutely adore the roofline of your house, its stunning!

  3. The mirror looks great! We have several dressers with similar pivoting mirrors. One is a really beautiful Eastlake style dresser. The whole dresser was in similar shape as your mirror, with a lot of joints falling apart due to age and moisture breaking down the hide glue. I gave it pretty much the same treatment as your mirror, and was even able to salvage the original shellac. I know Titebond III is not the restoration-appropriate glue, but it does the job for me. I’m glad I’m not the only one who uses it on everything.

    And yes, real wood always looks great. I especially love the dark mahogany and walnut stains. So rich and warm. How people feel at home in the trendy new style of white on white everything is a mystery to me, not to mention how quickly all that white wood gets nicked and dirty.

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