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Back Yard Dreaming

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I am dreaming of getting our back yard spruced up.   I mean I go out there at least twice a day and stare at our yard just dreaming of how it will look.

One of the things I liked about our house in the burbs was our big back yard.  We live on a cul de sac so the biggest part of our lot is in the back

In the city house we moved from a year ago we had a teeny tiny back yard.  It was a major bone of contention between my husband and me.  I want flower beds, plants, and and shade trees, and privacy.  He liked our big front yard on a corner lot.  He did and still does, like grass.  I, on the other hand, like space in the back yard where I can be a hermit.  I crave a retreat.  A low maintenance retreat to be sure, but a retreat none the less.

Right now I call our back yard the pasture.  It is a vast expanse of grass.  Hubby even pulled up the Oleander  in the corner because it was in the way of the sprinkler head watering the grass.  No lie.  One of my five scrawny bushes in the backyard was in the way of a sprinkler head so it had to go.

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My goal for our first fall to work on the yard is simple.  I want trees.  I want ONE flower bed with native plants that are easy to keep alive, I want to amend the soil in our raised bed garden, and I want our fire pit set up.

What the almanac says about low maintenance gardening.

My grandmother was a big believer in the almanac and it says planting trees in the fall is the right time.

The following trees are in my plans:

crepe-myrtle-pruning-m

Crepe Myrtle.  They grow super fast, stay fairly vertical, and have pretty flowers.  They are HARDY here is south east Texas.

 

lime tree orange tree

Citrus trees

In our area and even further north there are varieties of orange, grapefruit and lime trees that are able to stand up to our winters.

The cool thing about citrus trees is that the fruit ripens in the fall and winter.

silver leaf sage

Silver leaf Sage is about the toughest plant around.  It blooms after a rain with beautiful purple flowers.

 

lantana-2 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA BlueDaze

 

Lantana, day lilies, and Blue Daze are all plants that will grow even if I forget to water them,  which of course I will.

I also want to work on our raised bed garden this fall.

bolting_cilantro dill

Cilantro and dill will get planted for us to enjoy.

I am not setting my sights high this fall. I know we cannot do everything that needs to be done at once but I am excited to get started.

My Next Projects

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Disclaimer.  This post is really my “to do” list.  It will help me to stay on track and will offer you a tiny glimpse into my teeny tiny mind.  I have  four five projects that are hanging out waiting to go to homes. The projects are really bugging me because at this time of year my energy just about all goes to opening the school year and my creative side gets neglected.

Here are the five pieces I have planned, lined up and started:

The Mid Century Dresser- I will finish this week. Drawers are stripped and sanded, ready for stain and poly. Dresser needs to be sanded, primed, painted, and poly-ed.

The dresser is going to join the night stand and headboard I already have finished. My friend has been very patient.

This is my inspiration piece for the bedroom set.

 

mid century modern painted dresser

 

mid century

 

Here is the night stand waiting for the dresser to join the party.

Beverage Station- we have the sewing machine out, the mechanism taken care of but we are struggling to find a sink that fits.

sewing machine

This one has been tricky.  The machine has been removed, the hardware has been stabilized and we have a plan.  It is going to be Happy Camper Green with oil rubbed bronze spray paint on the metal parts.  This one needs lots of wood filler and outdoor poly to make it usable outside.

Sweet Little Girl Dresser- I got the hardware off, the dresser and drawers sanded. I am looking for two drawer pulls that match the original or we may have to re-think the pulls. It will be painted next weekend.
 

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It is going to be Behr Gray Area with a whitewash over it.
 

The Funky Dresser

Here is my inspiration dresser.  I have had this picture in the back of my mind every time I look for furniture.  I wanted a flat front smallish dresser to create something fun.

 

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funky dresser2 funky dresser1

 

The inspiration dresser will work great for the funky dresser.  I have rounded up a lot of random hardware for the dresser.  The dresser will be stripped and finished to look like Restoration Hardware weathered finish.  I am going to try being creative with one of the long drawers to make it appear to be two smaller drawers.

funky dresser hardware funky dresser2

Another bench- yes, I have another bench to make. It is going to be different from the others.  No photos of this one.

Hutch

The final piece will be a hutch for the top of our sofa table so that I have a place to display my milk glass.

Here is the inspiration piece.

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The hutch will sit on top of this buffet table and will look like one piece.

green sofa table

green hutch green hutch2

 

It is now sanded, holes are filled, and ready for priming.  The twists will stay the wood color.  The back is going to be one by four slats stained to match the wood on top of the buffet.

I am anxious to get started on the last two projects!  They are going to be like dessert for me so I am motivated to finish the rest of the list.

I hope you have a wonderful week. I love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Opposites Attract- My Husband’s Style

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I am a lucky girl. I am married to my best friend. He is more than just my husband, he is a good man.  He loves me, works hard, can build just about anything, and is tolerant of my quirky, off kilter style of vintage junk. While he is tolerant, my style is not his particular style.

I love mid-century modern, I am not afraid of color and experimentation, I think 1970’s funk is cool, I want junk barn doors on the wall, I don’t want to paint over worn, chippy paint and I LOVE painted furniture.  Bright colors are fun.

Mr. Math, my hubby, likes neutral colors. He likes natural wood.  His style is conventional, traditional, classic and full of history.  He is the sentimental one of us.  He is the one to keep things that make him remember moments in his life and ours.

I totally gave Mr. Math our den to do as he chose. No input from me. No color suggestions, and no throw pillows with one exception.  I did veto the barley twist table he wanted to put by his chair.  It would not have survived the drinks left to sweat on the waxed wood.  I substituted a neutral painted side table.   It is the perfect room for him. No windows ( he hates light when watching football), cozy, and quiet. Everything in the room was selected by him.

Here is his space. It makes him happy.  What can I say?  I am glad he still loves me, color and all.

the den

The den from the door.  The four doors lead to the two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a closet.

television mounted

 

It was my suggestion that he mount the television.  He is borrowing this serpentine dresser from our daughter in law for the next year.  He has surround sound.  In a ten foot by twelve foot room.

love seat and chest

Sorry about the Lumi photo bomb.  The chest was purchased 20 years ago and holds our wedding photos, baby pictures, and momentos.  Note the lack of “decoration” on top.   The love seat is throw pillow free.

football central

This corner is football/golf central.  (Nap central)

 

 

 

view of the barn door

I wanted you to see the amazing barn door from inside the room.

 

looking into the den

Looking into the den from the hallway.  Love that door.

 

 

family shelf

 

The shelf has Mr. Math’s dad’s flag, photo and a clock my parents gave us when we were newly weds.  More than 30 years ago.

windberg print

 

The art work is traditional art from a Texas artist, Dalhart Windberg.  This print looks like where Mr. Math grew up.

Black and White Memories

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Today we took a trip back to one of the happiest places of my childhood, the east Texas piney woods.  Because I found the trip so nostalgic, I decided to play with black and white for some of my pictures I took.

We enjoyed getting to go by and see the place that I grew up loving.  Our weekend place, The Farm.  The trees my uncle planted now are fully grown and have a rope swing.  The pasture my parents cleared and got poison ivy so bad they had to go to the doctor is still beautiful, the red dirt road is the same.  The house is double the size it was when we lived there.

growing up weekend home

the farm

uncle wendel oak trees

foster hill road

My mom, Memie, and our sweet Lumi are still here with us so I couldn’t make them black and white.

Don’t they both look great?

Memie

lumi

lumi nose

lumi running

 

Enjoy the shots taken at some property I fell in love with today and some shots from Dam-B, the lake I grew up on.

light and dark beautiful weed

blue flower

 

I just had to show you how beautiful this little blue flower is.

old pipe

fence ornament dog on fence

I love these old gate toppers.  I think they are greyhounds but I can’t be sure.

locations sign

 

The property in the woods has some funny signs.

 

pine trees in black and white lucky's fishing hole bw fern bw beautyberry yellow flower rattlebox weed     water lillies water lilly buds

DIY Zinc Mirror

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I finally found the perfect mirror to give a zinc finish.  I knew in my head what I was looking for and that is not always a good thing because nothing but what I imagine will make me happy.  The elusive mirror was found in my all-time favorite honey-hole of a thrift store for $10.00.  Here is what the beauty looked like when I brought it home:

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If you ignore the painted flowers and the wood, doesn’t it have the same shape as the zinc mirrors from the fancy online stores I have been eyeing?

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zinc mirror

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Just in case you are wondering, the cheapest mirror I could find was over $500.00  I bought my mirror ($10.00) and enough supplies to do the mirror and several more projects for $10.00 more.

I am telling you folks, getting the zinc look is not as hard as you might think.  After sanding off the flower design, my first step was to do a Google search of zinc mirrors and looked at them all very carefully before I dove in.  What I think I like most about a zinc finish is the irregularity that each zinc piece has.

alhambra antiques Original Zinc and Wood Oeil du Boeuf Parisian Window Mirror french decorating ideas

Bjd Haus Design

zinc mirror 2

Eron Johnson Antiques

I love the mix of dark and light, the shine on the worn edges and the aged appearance.

The secret to the process is getting the right products and not being afraid to experiment.  Go buy yourself a cheap mirror at Goodwill and dive in.  If you hate it, paint it another color.

I used Rust-oleum Soft Iron metallic spray paint

soft iron

Cheap acrylic paint that is less than a dollar a bottle.  One of them was called zinc.  The other is a lighter gray.

craft smart silver metallic paint

Finally, I glaze it all with a silver glaze.

Spray the entire item with the spray paint.  Once it is dry brush on random places of the acrylic paint.  Make sure to use a really dry brush.  I dipped it in the paint then wiped the brush off on a paper towel.

Once you are happy with the acrylic paint, repeat with the silver.  I focused on the outer edges.

Ta Dah.

faux zinc mirror zinc detail

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My rescue, Lumi, cannot stay away when I am taking photos.  I decided not to fight her tonight.  She is a sweetie.

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Eclectic Office Makeover Revealed

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Are you lucky enough to have a space to work in that reflects you, your personality, and makes you feel at home?  For the first time in my career, I can actually say that my office at work is a reflection of who I am, it reflects my somewhat  “off kilter” personality, and I feel at home in the space.

People don’t get too picky about what you do to a space that once was a storage room in a library.  Yep.  The sign glued to the wall outside my office says “Resource” A fancy word in a library for stuff.

Before:

bare office

 

 

Here is a tour of my finished space:

Office makeover

The office from my doorway.

reclaimed wood wall

It took two hours to put up this reclaimed wood wall.

 

giant marquee letter on reclaimed wood wall

lighted marquee letter

side of marquee letter

Behind my desk is a giant marquee letter we created.

suitcase shelves suitcase wall

suitcase

The suitcase wall is amazing.

 

art

The colors in this Mae Chevorette artwork are repeated around my office.  While the office is overall pretty neutral, I do have turquoise scattered around the room. Mainly in globes, art, my map chair (not pictured but int he corner), and printer table.

office clock

 

I bought this clock at Sears.

wall

 

My least favorite wall.    I am not in love with this particular combination. I think that very soon it will become a wall of mirrors to add light to the space. I also like the idea of being able to write on the mirrors with dry erase markers. I can use one for reminders and others for inspiring quotes.

china cabinet

 

My china cabinet serves as a bookcase.

office wall

 

 

As principal of a school that has a focus on preparing for a four year university, I think of my office makeover as an” Oh The Places You’ll Go” office. I plan on adding maps of the cities they move off to for college and sprinkling photos of them at their colleges and universities.

I love the suitcase wall,  my reclaimed wood wall, My Marquee letter I, and my china cabinet bookcase.  If you click on the links, you can see the blog posts for the projects.

The hospital blue walls have been painted Castle Path by Behr.  It is a beige with a hint of gray in it to make it get along with the blue carpet.  I chose beige because painting my desk- which is golden oak (insert frowny face here), could not be painted. It was built by incarcerated folk in Huntsville, Texas years ago and belongs to the district. Gray would have clashed with the golden oak.

The furniture got moved around to give me more space, and the decor is a better reflection of my eclectic style and I added drop leaf kitchen table to the side wall. I can easily pull it out for meetings of up to six and it provides a place for the stuff that accumulates the rest of the time.

 

I hope you are lucky to have a space that reflects your own space whether it is modern, mid century, shabby chic, or something in between.

I would love to hear what you think of my office.

 

Blessings,

 

Karen

Headboard and Footboard into Bench

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This past winter we got busy turning several headboard/footboard units into benches.  They turned out great, but I think know I frustrated my husband with so many projects all at once…during prime fishing season.   This particular set was purchased three years ago and has hung out in the garage waiting for me to get busy.   We actually cut this one up at the same time we did the other benches but it was moved over to the “finish later” pile when I could tell I would need help moving this one around and Mr. Math was in no mood to drag it around.

headboard-for-storage-bench

Fast forward to the end of summer.  I mean maybe it is not so fast, but forward progress none the less.  This weekend we decided to knock it out.  I call this bench our hurricane bench because it is so sturdy that the house would blow away before this beast goes anywhere.  Hubby even used a 2X12 for the front cross beam.

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The headboard and footboard are not old, in fact I would guess it is from the 90’s.  It was in rough shape when we bought it and hanging out in the Garagemahal for three years didn’t help it any.

worn wood worn post

When I got busy on the bench the first thing I did was unscrew the wrought iron on top.  I immediately started second-guessing myself.  I wasn’t sure that the iron should go back on.  As always, I shared my angst with my Facebook friends.  They were united.  It should go back on.  More on that later.

I feel like I say this a lot, but we love our paint sprayer.  I mean LOVE it.  It makes getting paint on so fast and we have learned that we can even spray on primer.

Here are a few shots of the wood filler in the holes, the sprayer and the coming rain that kept me stressed out.

wood filler in screw holes sprayer coming rain

The paint color is sea salt thanks to my Facebook friends, again.  I was torn between red, black or white.

The seat is deep.  The slats for the seats are 23 inches long and stained with Minwax Jacobean.

I knew I wanted the bench to be heavily distressed.  It turned out exactly the way I saw it in my head, in spite of the high humidity and rain showers that kept coming and going.

Here it is all finished up.

distressed wood shabby furniture heavily distressed 1-IMG_7158 bed to bench finished bed to bench distressed bench wood slat seat

You may notice that it does not have the iron on top.  In spite of my FB friends telling me to leave it on, it sold before I could finish it and the new owner didn’t want the iron on it.  She lives in an area that is close to the bay and since she wants it outside on her porch she was afraid it would rust.  I did take a picture of what it would have looked like with the iron in case you are wondering how it could have turned out.

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We have three more headboard sets in the Garagemahal, so I guess there are more benches in my future.

While we were spraying polyurethane, we  poly-ed a china cabinet that will be for sale soon.  It would be really cute in a nursery.china cabinet makeover china cabinet spray painting

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I appreciate your comments and advice more than you will know.

 

Blessings,

 

Karen

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