Friday, July 21, 2017

The Sheep Picture Finds A Home




After tearing the house apart to do some small renovations, we're starting to get it back together. 

The breakfast room got an old cabinet, which finally provided a home for this large sheep print. 
We bought the print years ago. It's so heavy it just couldn't find a proper home until now.
The cabinet is solid and sturdy and can easily hold the sheep picture, which is printed on a very heavy piece of wood. 

I just leaned it against the wall, and just in case, I drilled two screws into the top of the cabinet in front of the picture to keep it from sliding.

I fell in love with the sheep-print-on-wood when I saw one on French Country Cottage's blog years ago! I ordered one right away (on the internet) and loved it when it arrived, but I wasn't expecting it to be so heavy. Beware of love at first sight!

As for the cabinet, it has been painted many colors in the past 14 years and is still in "progress" of its latest makeover. Among other things, I'm thinking of adding another layer or two of crown molding to the top.
We're still working on the paint for the newly installed cabinet in the dining room, so a lot of clutter found a temporary home in this cabinet. Once the other cabinet gets painted, this cabinet will hold mainly dishes, linens, teacups, etc.
Too many projects going on at one time, that's for sure! It seems one thing we do leads to another, just like those little Chinese puzzles we use to have as kids. To work the little puzzle, you would slide one up and then slide another one over...and on and on.



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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Talkin' Corbels And Paint




I just had to bring up the subject of corbels and paint after I saw a picture on Facebook of this entry bench sold by a local shop in Denison Texas. 

The shop, 2 Chicks And Some Paint, is located in the downtown area of Denison.

Sadly, it sold before I saw it on 2 Chicks And Some Paint's Facebook page. I was at their shop on Saturday, and they do have a lot more lovely things for sale should you ever be in the downtown Denison area. 

Here's a close up of the corbels on the top of the bench. Be still my vintage heart!
After the bench sold, the shop added a personalized welcome sign to the top of the piece. That just made it better, didn't it? 

I'm scheduled for a painting class at their shop this Thursday. Can't wait to learn more about how to apply and use the paint and aging finishes they sell, a brand called CeCe Caldwell. If you're interested in learning about their paint brand, click CeCe Caldwell

I've used CeCe Caldwell's paint and finishes a few times in the past, but I've learned the hard way that each paint line has its own peculiar application needs and processes. 

For that reason, I've decided to take more classes with different paint retailers and learn what I should be doing as opposed to what I have been doing. I have a feeling there will be a vast difference in those two!

As always, my opinions are all my own. No one has compensated me for my opinions.


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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hand-Scraped Wood Floors, 5 Years Later



Reading today about another blogger's dilemma over replacing her old wood floors (here) reminded me of when we were in the same situation back in November 2012. 
On New Year's Eve Day 2010, we bought a brand new house that wasn't quite finished. The builder had decided not to put the wood floors in that he had planned, but dropped the price by $30,000 That's when we said sold!
We lived with ugly, half-assed stained cement floors for almost 2 years before we found exactly the wood floors we wanted. Here's what the ugly concrete floors looked like...


Our wood floors are hand-scraped and stained a medium dark color,  a sort of chestnut, but has a lot of variation in it. It took 5 days for 4 guys to complete the job from start to finish. 
The bare wood sat in our house for a few days to acclimate to the house conditions. This stack was in our breakfast room.
The bare wood was laid down in the great room (where I'm standing taking the photo), dining room (the room to the right), office nook (the hallway to the left leads down to it), entryway and other hallways before being hand-finished...

The wood guys did a sample for us. They hand-scraped the wood in two variations. The left is lightly scraped, the right is scraped a lot more. We chose the right, highly scraped one. The stain, on both samples, is exactly the same...

Next the hand-scraping started and went on and on...
The wood guys covered all the granite and vacuumed a lot to keep any dust down. We had already put travertine tiles in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room. 

Sorry for the awful pictures. I took these back in 2012 with a point and shoot camera and all the lights were blaring to provide light for the work going on.
Stain went on in several different layers--stain, sand, stain, sand. This was probably taken about halfway through the staining as the finished stain is a lot darker.

This picture shows off the hand-scraping, but the color is a lot redder looking than it actually is...
Here's a more accurate depiction of the floor colors. I love the variation of the wood and stain...
We absolutely love the rough hand-scraping and would do it all over again! The only thing we would change is that we would have continued the wood floors into the master bedroom instead of putting carpeting in there.

In fact, we plan to replace the bedroom carpet with the same wood flooring as soon as that carpeting wears out. 

The wood floors were really reasonably priced. The price difference between putting in the hand-scraped wood floors in the master bedroom, or the high-quality rug padding and carpeting we did put in, was only about $400. We should have gone for the wood in the bedroom!

We took our sweet time moving all our furniture back into the house. We really loved the expansive look of the house without the furniture hiding our new floors...
My biggest concern was cleaning wood floors. I had never had wood floors and knew that carpeting was easy...just vacuum it. But how do you clean wood floors? 

Well, after almost 5 years of wood floors, I can tell you we just vacuum them! We use the vacuum hose to go into the corners and along the baseboards. If something spills, we wipe it up. Unlike the carpets, spills don't stain our wood floors. 

If you're considering replacing your floors with wood in the future, I hope this post helps with your dilemma.



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Monday, July 10, 2017

Walmart Finds For The Kitchen




Whenever I have extra time to wander around Walmart, I always find something new. 

I don't usually go to the canning section, unless I need canning jars, so I hadn't seen these products...

Just look at these metal lids for canning jars in pretty new styles and colors.

My favorite of the two styles is the floral one, but the red ones work for me too!

The jar lids are from The Pioneer Woman's collection that Walmart carries. As usual I didn't receive any compensation for sharing these products, I just thought they might make your kitchen a little more efficient and colorful.

I could only find the jar lids in the regular-size mouth, but I'm hoping they have the wide-mouth jar lids in this style too. 
My other new discovery is this funnel with a wide funnel bottom area that allows bigger stuff to slide right through. 

I like to use glass jars for almost everything I store in the cupboards and the refrigerator,  and sometimes it's hard to get things like cereal and soup to pour into a jar without spilling over the sides.
Life just got a little easier with these products in our kitchen...Do you love them too? 

The colorful lids come 4 to a package. I don't do canning, but I do suspect they're not meant to use when canning food. Like I said, I didn't find them in the large-mouth size, but I'm hoping they make some soon. 



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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Framing The Windows



A week ago Saturday, Stan-The-Trim-Man came and framed a few windows for us. Now we need to get them painted.

For 6 years now, I've wanted to frame our Plain Jane windows to match this trim on our front door. 
The door will get a new coat of paint too once we decide on a new (whiter) paint color for the trim. 

Here's one of the windows that has been bare for so long...
Before Stan-The-Trim-Man arrived, we moved all the furniture away from the windows to give him plenty of room to work. 

I inadvertently got a snap of a flag while trying to get a full-on picture of the window. I think this is the only "patriotic decor" picture I took of this year's Independence Day decorations!
This window has always seemed odd to me. It's a normal height window but, as you can see, it looks short and squat due to being right next to the 8 foot French doors. 

The other window Stan trimmed last week is on the opposite side of the house in the dining room.


Here's that dining room window close-up. There is an apron on the bottom of all windows in the house, but the rest of the window is plain. 
Here in Texas, Plantation Shutters are popular and the builder had planned to add them throughout the house. 

We prefer Levelor insulated shades and regular framing on our windows, so we passed on the Plantation Shutters when we bought the house. 

Instead we added insulated shades to all our windows when we moved in and wrote down "window framing" on our wish list. Well...after 6 long years and many other projects, we were finally able to get that started!

Both windows were framed the same way. To start, a "1 by 4" was installed on each side of the window and trim was added to the outer edge of each board...
Next, each window got a flat board across the top, which was cut a little bit wider than the trim on each side. 

On the taller/narrower window (in the picture above) the top board was done with a "1 by 6" board.  

The top board on the shorter/wider window (in the picture below) was done with a "1 by 8" board. Why? Because we were trying to make this window look much higher than it was.

Both top boards were cut about 1 inch longer than the measurement of the width of the window and framing. 

Remember...we were trying to match the front door frame (see first picture for reference) and the board across the top sticks out a little past the side board and trim. By cutting the top board an extra inch longer, it allowed the top board to stick out by about a half inch on each side of the windows.
Crown molding was attached to the front and sides of the top board.  A veneer core plywood board was cut to sit on top of the crown molding so that it was a little larger on the side and front than the crown molding. 

The plywood board forms a shelf on top of the crown molding and, by being a little larger, it adds another layer to the crown molding. 

The final step was to add a piece of flat, one-inch molding around the outside of the plywood board as Stan is doing below. 




TA-DAH...We Have Window Frames!



We used "Paint Grade" poplar for everything except the veneer core plywood board on the very top that forms the shelf. 

Because the 1-inch molding was added to the outside of the plywood, on the three outer sides, the plywood doesn't show at all. 



Please forgive my crazy pictures. It was a raining overcast day and hard to take pictures without brightening them up, which plays heck with the colors. I hope to get better ones when the shelves and window are painted and ready for their formal debut.


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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

In The Olden Days



Down in Salado, Texas there are a lot of old things to see. The town has a colorful history, and it isn't too "tourist-ized" yet, like many towns these days. 
This tree may be as old as the famous ones at the Alamo, maybe even older. 


Part of it was practically growing sideways last time we were there. 

It got some help when someone put a stump under some of its limbs, but that was decades ago. There's no way someone could lift that heavy limb now, it's as big as some big tree trunks!
There was once a water pump and a cement trough that stood beside the tree when it was younger.
It appears that was long ago though, when horses would stop by for a drink.
Maybe that was when the stagecoach -- or the covered wagon -- was the only means of transportation to and from other towns!
This wagon has sat in Salado for many years,  just down from the old tree. It seems as if the family just pulled up and jumped off, and forgot to come back... 


The covering is gone, but the ribs that held the cloth covering up are still there just waiting for the next adventure to come along.

It kind of reminds me of a pick-up truck. There's even a step-up on the old sideboard, just like the ones we have now. 

I wonder if the pioneer menfolk talked about "horsepower" when they got together, like our car guys do now?
I think the pioneers were one tough breed of people, no matter where they came from. Times were harsh, but it appears the ride in the back was a little harsher! Just look at those boards...


There's no stagecoach left in Salado, except this replica for kids sitting outside the old Stagecoach Inn.
If the covered wagon was the pick-up truck of its day, then it appears the stagecoach was the true mini-van or SUV (sports utility vehicle) back then. 
Can you imagine cramming in beside the other passengers on a hot steamy August day?

The stagecoach used to let people off in front of the Inn so they could have a meal while the horses were changed out for fresh ones. 
There were rooms available upstairs for the night back then, now there is a modern hotel wing behind the old structure. 
The upstairs was still used for a bar, The Stagecoach Club, when we were there, and the dining room had been greatly expanded. If you chose to go to the bar back then, let me warn you, the stairs were narrow and steep just like in the olden days!
 If the restaurant was full, there were plenty of rockers to sit a spell and wait for your party to be called. 
Let me assure you, the meal was worth the wait! Not only was the food good, the experience was unique. Back in the stagecoach days, the routes were sporadic and a wagon wheel break might delay the stage. 

The Inn only needed the waitstaff when the customers were there, so a system was developed around when the stagecoach arrived. 
When we were there a few years ago, a version of how the restaurant operated back then was still in play. There was NO written menu for the guests.

Note: The ladies in olden times were local housewives who came to do a shift when they heard the stagecoach coming through the town. 

When we were there lunch was a fabulous four-course meal. The ladies came to your table with an appetizer and told you what was available for each course. 

There was tremendous variety of food being served, and it was all delicious.  It was also very fun! But it looks like things might have changed since a renovation was done, so you might want to check their website if you're thinking about going any time in the future.



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