Sunday, November 29, 2015

Before We Leave Fall...A Rewind

I know we're all getting into Christmas decor, but I need to rewind to a little view of Fall we experienced in October.
 Yeah, here's a close up of that cute sign...If the broom fits ride it!
 I'm going to have to remember that sign next Halloween.
The pumpkins and flowers were just lovely in this little North Carolina town of Highlands. I was ready to move there, but Wild Bill brought me down to earth when he started reading me the prices of houses in this little town. Whew!
 But, you know this girl loves to dream, so we drove around town and took pictures of the houses and buildings. The air was so clean up in the mountains, I didn't want to leave.

Here's pictures, as best we could get, of a gated community right by downtown. If you live here, let me say I would be glad to house-sit for you during the Winter months when you'd rather be in Florida.

Since we knew we couldn't afford a house there, we decided to have lunch. Everyone seemed to be heading towards a market, so we did too. Wonderful! 

 We were there early in the day, so we had breakfast. Despite the high prices of the houses, the food was really reasonable.
After breakfast, we headed out of town. Still loving all the flowers and plants everywhere in town. 

As we headed down the mountain, we passed several springs spraying the road and all those who got near.
The roads were cut right into the hill. I was glad I wasn't driving so I could yell at Wild Bill to slow down! We couldn't figure out how they get trucks up this road to the towns on the mountain tops.
Hope you enjoyed this part of our Fall road trip. The colors were unbelievable. Being a native Californian, who barely knew what they meant by 'four seasons' while growing up, I love seeing the leaves turn in the Fall. You really have to see it for yourself to understand how lovely the colors can be.

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Graceland And Life's Graces

Years ago, on the way to our middle daughter's wedding in Illinois, Wild Bill, youngest daughter and I took a side trip to Graceland in Memphis. It was completely on a whim. One of those side trips you take in life that turns out to be just what you needed to do.

We stayed at the Heartbreak Hotel, right across the street from Graceland. Our room was right across the hall from the Burning Love Suite, a take off from the Elvis song. 

Here's our youngest daughter standing by the door... 
The next day we toured Graceland and saw The King's grave site.
What's this to do with Thanksgiving you may ask? Well, I'm thankful. Back when that picture was taken, youngest daughter had one rescued female pound dog and made it clear that was enough for her. No kids, no husband, no complications in her future. Her bossy mutt Bailey was enough for her.

But life's graces often are bestowed gradually. Youngest daughter volunteered at a no-kill shelter in her spare time. One day a sad sack of a scared mistreated terrier was sent to the shelter. It was love at first sight. Soon Wrigley joined the two single ladies and youngest daughter found herself with two dogs. Wrigley (on the right) was afraid of his own shadow, but over time, he became a love bug.
Sometimes you save dogs or maybe they save you. Who knows. But youngest daughter, little by little, grew a family. The single lady with one dog grew into a woman with two dogs, a husband with a cat, a daughter and a son, and often fosters litters of kittens for the local shelter. Quite a full house that we didn't see coming way back then.

When I look at my youngest daughter now, it's hard to remember how I worried at night about her back then. Life's graces are bestowed a little at a time. I guess all you can do is be thankful for them when they appear. 

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and
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Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Finds

Here's a few garage sale finds that I plan to work on this week. One woman's trash is another woman's treasure, right? Wild Bill says one woman's treasure is another man's trash. Bah, humbug!

First, two little wooden framed pictures for 50 cents each. I bought these for a project I want to do for the Christmas tree. I was going to throw out the pictures, but on closer examination they appear to be hand-painted.
There's an article in a recent magazine about hot trends in collecting. One of the things they said was hot right now is miniature paintings. These frames are a little junky, so I'll still take them apart and chalk-paint the frames, but I'll hang on to the little paintings (oh, I so need more crap stored just in case!)

Next up, this $2 funky wooden framed mirror. Instead of seeing dead people like the kid in The 6th Sense, I see chalkboards everywhere! The mirror is hazy and nicked up, even after cleaning, so I'll paint right over it and make a chalkboard of course...

Here's another frame. I think it was $1. The raised pattern will really show up when it's waxed with dark wax. I plan to use it to make a Christmas sign. It just needs a 1/8 or 1/4 inch backing board cut to fit. 

It's real cold here today and supposed to get colder this weekend, so I'll be working inside -- "Baby It's Cold Outside" -- Yeah, that would work for my Christmas sign.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cheater's Merry Christmas Chalkboard

What do you do when you are obsessed with chalkboards, but have no talent with lettering? 

Well, ya cheat...
Here's my old chalkboard I made years ago. If this is your first visit here's the info on it... 

As most people do, I painted an old picture frame and Wild Bill cut a thin 1/8 inch hardboard down to size. I painted it with black chalk paint (not chalkboard paint) and didn't bother to chalk it up as I like the dark black look with the bright white frame.  It seemed a little plain, so we screwed an old metal spice rack (with cup hooks) into the frame. 

Recently I took down the Fall decor that was hanging on it and started decorating it for Christmas. I added 2 battery operated twinkle lights (about $7 at Walmart and Target, they are my go to for any decorating) , 2 regular branches and 2 flocked branches, and then an old bow that's been around the house since time began.
That wasn't gaudy enough, so I added 4 silver-glimmer reindeer ornaments (a 10-pack for $4 or $5 at Walmart)  above the cup hooks. 
As you can see, our kitchen cabinets are kind of a brownish-yellowish color. I like the goldish bow because it matches the cabinets and I thought the silver reindeer matched the flocking on the branches. That's the excuse I'm using anyway...truth is, I just thought it looked festive!
But then, there was the problem of the chalkboard. Maybe you've read before that my go-to chalkboard saying is "Happy 4th!" Yeah, that's the extent of my chalkboard skill set. So what to do? 
I found this oval, looks-like-a-chalkboard sign at a local store and hung it on a removable 3M hook from Lowes. Problem solved.
 Here's a close-up of the lights blurred so they stand out. It's hard to see them in some of the pictures, but they really light up when it gets dark outside.
And that my friends is how you cheat to make your chalkboard lettering when you write like a 3rd grader...

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Monday, November 16, 2015

The Easiest Cheapest Way To Clean Silver (No Kidding)

Recently I read on a blog that you could use baking soda to clean your silver pieces. I have tried to find the blog where I read this on, but failed. 

Anyway, I thought it was a ridiculous idea...and so right up my alley!  You know I had to try it.

Honestly, when I show you the before you are going to be amazed. I'm going to be embarrassed to death, but you will be amazed!
 Let's get close ups cuz they don't look bad enough from farther away, right?
 Yeah, I am one of THOSE people who usually say "I like my silver tarnished"  but, honestly mine were getting way out of line.

I also don't like the idea of eating with silver when it has been cleaned with chemical tarnish cleaner, so I just let it go --- way too long! Today I got out a box of baking soda and a wet rag. I sprinkled baking soda into the spoon and used the wet rag to spread it around. Off came the tarnish without hardly any effort!

Yes, I'm easily amazed when it comes to kitchen things...thanks for pointing that out. But just try this and you will see how easily the baking soda takes off the tarnish. After you take the tarnish off, just run the silver under warm water to remove any baking soda and dry it with a clean cloth.

Here's one more shot of all those spoons. I ran out of baking soda so the rest are waiting until I run to the store again.
If I find out who originated this idea, I will give them credit for sure...and all my undying gratitude.

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Favorite House Of The 2015 Parade Of Homes

I saved my favorite Parade of Homes' house for last. Let's start with the kitchen because it's what we buy houses for right? Not to cook in, but to decorate.
 This kitchen had two granite topped islands. The pictures don't do it justice.
 To the right you can see the edge of the second island...
The second island would not be necessary for me, but then I don't cook a lot.
Here's a close up of the granite and the wood floors, which ran throughout most of the house.

 The picture below shows the view into the breakfast room from the middle of the kitchen. One thing Texas builders do is leave out the trim on windows. I finally figured out it's because decorators in Texas have a love affair going with plantation shutters. 

Notice the windows below have none of my beloved window framing. That's because the plantation shutters are built on their own frame, so windows are left frame-less so as not to interfere with the installation of the shutters.
It's taken me 5 years to figure this out. I often sat in our front room and wondered why would the builder put lovely trim on all the doors and leave the windows unfinished. Yeah, I'm girls probably knew why they did that already, right?

This doorway, which is next to the breakfast room, leads to an outdoor oasis.
The covered patio with outdoor fireplace is perfect for conversation.
Around the corner to the right is the outdoor grill...
And the perfect sized pool...
I didn't want to spoil it for you, but you can see the pool from the breakfast room windows.
So, on to the laundry room...
You have to admit the finishes are unusual in this house. The floor was a little busy for me, but the stone tile is high-end.
Leaving the laundry room, there is a mudroom in the hallway. If you turn left you're in the garage. If you turn right, you're in the kitchen.
A Close-up of the mudroom bench with bead board.
Master bedroom suite downstairs...

 Close-up of the bathroom's tile and walk-in shower...
Dining room -- kind of bland compared to the other finishes...
Entry and stairway to the second floor. In this picture, to the right of the front door is a study with planked walls...
 I am definitely finding out what shade of gray this is!
The second floor has another master bedroom with its own bath, a large game room, and two other bedrooms with another hallway bathroom. I took a picture of the bathroom to remember how pretty it was. I'm a sucker for a towel hook!
If you're still with me after all these pictures, you get brownie points for sticking in. Here's a few of the front of the house in closing. Landscaping is due in a week or so.

  Troy Miller is the builder. I'm sure it won the award for best house on the tour. I think the flier said it was over 4,000 square feet. It's not for sale though, I think the Millers moved in this week.

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