The Purple Frames

Leave a comment

On a blog I posted July 10 I told you about a solution for Sweet Amanda’s kitchen, and a fix for her purple addiction. Sometimes Hoarding Pays Off- Empty Frame Art
 The Country Wedding took up my free time for a while so I put this project on hold.

When Sweet Amanda told me that she had some paint left from her last apartment painting adventure before the wedding I was excited.  I had not actually seen her most recent apartment.  It was an efficiency that seemed to be pretty tiny.  She let me know that she did paint the kitchen like I thought she did but since the whole apartment was one room, she actually painted the whole thing this color. Baby Boy mumbled something about Barney Purple but I never looked at the color until this past weekend.  Here is what I pulled out of the bag:

 Wow- I wasn’t even close with this color!  I loved the vivid fuchsia!  Her kitchen in Huntsville before was a darker purple.  I bought spray paint for the more ornate frames I found out on my shopping and scavenging trips based on the color of her Huntsville kitchen.  This is what I bought:

It is a dark purple- very similar to concord grape jelly.  It is 30 minutes one way into Walmart or Home Depot on a busy weekend so I tried to think of a way to make these two purples play nice.  I decided to mix some of the bright purple with both white and black to give me four shades of purple on the frames.  My thinking was that it would look intentional. 

When you mix colors it is important that you make yourself a road map in case you ever need more of the stuff.  I bought a set of measuring spoons and cups at Dollar Tree several years ago that live out in the Garagemahal just for my crafting.  I mixed the latex paint with some acrylic craft paints I had in my art bag.

 I measured out a cup of purple into a Cool Whip container.

 To a tablespoon of black craft paint.

The color really changed to a more muted almost gray purple.

I put the frames out on the drop cloth based on a photo I took earlier.

Then I randomly started pulling out frames and took off painting.  I mixed one cup of purple with two tablespoons of white to make a lighter shade of purple too.
I sprayed the funkiest of frames the dark purple.  I divided the frames into groups and then got them all painted.  Frames are a pain in the neck to paint at any time but painting them so that you can see the wall behind them really is gross.  I had to hold the frames to get the inside done and you can see the result on my finger.

 I loved the grape sconce.  It had to go in this collage of purple frames.  Someone ( Hubby) calls them ugly!

FYI- You can get paint off your skin with baby oil.  No harsh chemicals and no drying or cracking.  It takes a little more rubbing but well worth it.

The frames took several coats to look good.  All the frames were either in a pile of frames I did not have a use for or were super cheap at resale shops.  I paid $1.50 for the most expensive frame.  During the process Sweet Amanda and I decided that her teapots needed to be framed in the purple wonderland.  Hubby cut out small pieces of old wood that were primed and painted white.

 We bought brackets and painted them white to attach the blocks to the wall so that they almost disappear.  We want the emphasis on the frames and teapots.

I played with several configurations.

And then I added in a few pieces I collected at Christmas in July.  The thing I like most about this project is that a plastic oval frame that once held a duck with “Welcome Friends” on it gets the same treatment as a once very expensive gold frame.  I think we all look better with a little coat of paint on us too.

I get to see Baby Boy  and Sweet Amanda tonight for the first time since the wedding and will be bringing the frames.  I am not sure if we are going to tackle the installation or leave that to another day.  I will post them when they are all on the wall.

Making Room for a Dining Area at Star Hill


I LOVE this table and the benches!

When we bought Star Hill the one area we did not think about was a place to eat.  There was a small, narrow space at the end of the kitchen area in front of a set of patio doors and we thought it would work. We were wrong.  The space was WAY too small for our family.  Hubby is about 6’3″.Baby Boy is about 6’5″, Joe, the Southern Bell’s fiancee, is probably 6’7″, three of the nephews are way over  6′.  Beside the size of us are a lot of us too.  At times we have had 8- 10 people eating in the house.  Now we LOVE Star Hill.  It is truly a peaceful spot and has been a comfort to us in our busy lives, but it is only 950 square feet bedrooms, living space, bathroom and laundry room included. Space is at a premium in the main room.  Hubby has done everything he can to make my kitchen function better but I still only have five full cabinets and a bank of drawers.  He has added drawers inside the island cabinets so that they are used to their full potential and has built a buffet and hutch out of fencing material that was being thrown away to add storage.
I started searching my favorite site, Pinterest and found several ideas for banquette seating.

This was my inspiration from troveinteriorsblogspot

Pinned Image

We knew what we had to work with would be small so we took out the sliding glass doors and a window in the corner.  We put in a single glass door with blinds inside the glass to make up for the lost light.  We bought the door at one of my favorite spots to get new stuff: Pasadena Builders Surplus.  The cost for the door was over half what it was at Lowe’s or Home Depot. 

The Window

I measured the height of counter height chairs and tables then got busy drawing it all out.  I sketch out what I want then Hubby tells me what is possible and what is not.  I knew I wanted a pedestal style table along with storage in the benches.  The extra height means that my stand mixer, blender, and food processor can easily fit in the benches. 

The Required Storage for my Banquette  The small one has stuff for the deck table in it.

Star Hill was built from a kit back in the 70’s  by the original owners so nothing is plumb, square or level. (Think Wacky Shack from AstroWorld and you are close!)  In order to get the bench to sit level and the back to appear level the back had to be attached directly to the wall, not to the bench. 

We used more of our reclaimed cedar to clad the benches and make the back. Apparently the trim boards once were white then were painted a red color.  When I sanded them both colors came through.  I left paint on some of the trim boards.

The short section of bench is not connected to the long section in case we ever reconfigure the layout.

Hubby cut plywood to cover the tops and we upholstered them with upholstery fabric off the clearance table at Hancock Fabrics.  I got enough fabric to cover all the cushions and a bench I have at home for $8.00. The trick to good looking upholstered cushions is to have an electric staple gun, an electric knife to cut the foam straight, and have someone stand on the plywood while stapling the fabric to the board. Clip off the corner of the fabric before wrapping the corners like you would a present.

The table was made from reclaimed cedar and left over scraps of wood.  The only cost was the plywood that went under the reclaimed wood on the top.  We did the top just like we did the farmhouse table.  I have included a link here:
Making a Farmhouse Table on the Cheap

The base was made from a 2X4 skeleton covered with reclaimed wood.  I didn’t sand this wood because I wanted to paint over it and let the old paint come through.  The cabin had cedar siding when we bought it that had been painted brown with red trim.
Hubby ran the edge of each board through the table saw to make sure they were not damaged on the edges and that they were close to being straight. 

Hubby requested that two of the red boards be left with a lot of paint on them for the top.  The top has 7 coats of oil based Polyurethane that were sanded between each coat with super fine sand paper.  Because we have such limited counter space I need the table to be tough enough to serve as extra prep area in the kitchen.  We made the table three inches shorter than the long side of the bench so that it can slide in close to the benches when not in use.  When we have it turned out it can easily seat 6-8 people around the table.

I am not going to lie… it took three tries to get the table and benches the right height.  We seemed to have trouble with the math regarding adding the reclaimed wood to the skeleton frame.  Hubby had to totally take the benches apart two times and cut off the bottom another time to make it work.  He did not love my measurements at that time. 

 I painted the base of the table the same blue that I used on the farmhouse table.  Everything in our cabin has a denim, red and white theme. 

The 4 counter height chairs came from a resale shop for $10.00 each.  They look really modern and I am not in love with them but they are functional.  I am waiting for inspiration to figure out how to make them look more like the rest of the cabin.

The total cost of the banquette and table was just over $75.00 including the Polyurethane, plywood, sanding pads etc.  The chairs added $40.00 to the project so for just over $100 we now have a functioning seating area with storage that can double as additional counter space and actually takes up less room than a traditional table.  It is steady enough to use but easily moves position. Yeah us!

Making Jelly

Leave a comment

Over the years at Star Hill we have added plants that produce fruit, nuts or berries. This year we have added thornless blackberries to our crops and we have muscadine grapes that produce tart grapes.  Three weeks ago we planted a peach tree which was another gift.  Baby boy gave me two grapevines about three years ago for my birthday. This year we got our first crop of grapes. 

We have had a ball watching them week to week turn from small green dots to green grapes to the ripe red ones that you see below.

All of my life my mom has canned vegetables, made pickles, hot pepper sauce, and produced tons of jelly.  I helped her last year, but I have never made jelly all on my own.  I decided that it was time for me to make my own jelly from this fruit. 

I searched the Internet for an easy grape jelly recipe.  Mom walked me through turning the grapes into juice.  Basically you boil the grapes in a little water for about 10 minutes then mash them with a potato masher then pour all the gunk into a colander that has cheesecloth lining it.  Let it cool then lift up the cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice.  I froze my juice after it cooled until I could get up the courage to make the jelly.
Here is my juice right out of the freezer. 
I found this easy jelly recipe at http://allrecipes.com/ 
  • 3cups grape juice
  • 5 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 (2 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin
I organized everything that I thought I would need for the Jelly making.  I probably overdid it but I did not want to ruin it.


I bought a canning kit at Walmart that had a funnel, jar lifter, magnetic lid picker upper, and a thing to get the foam off the top of the jelly and measure.  It came in the green box at the back of this picture.


  1. Sterilize and dry jars for jelly, and set side .Mom said to use my dishwasher. New lids are recommended for best results.

  1. Combine grape juice and pectin in a large pot over medium-high heat.  I box of Sure Jell powder.

  1. Bring to a boil, and stir one minute at a rolling boil. Stir in sugar for a few minutes to completely dissolve. Remove from heat.

  1. Ladle the hot jelly into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top.

  1. Wipe rims of jars with a clean dry cloth. Cover with a lid and ring to seal. Let stand 24 hours at room temperature, then refrigerate. Jelly may take up to a week to set. Once set, it is ready to serve.
The directions at this point included a hot water bath and some other instructions for long term storage.  My mom has made jelly for years without the hot bath and canning. I have included her instructions here. 

I boiled the lids while putting the hot jelly into the jars.

 She said to put the filled and sealed jars close together on a board and cover the whole thing loosely with towels. 

 My instructions were to leave the whole thing alone for 24 hours. She has never had a batch of jelly go bad, so I am listening to her.  I made two batches of jelly.  I made a mess the first time and only ended up with 5 1/2 jars.  The second batch got the full 6 jars.  Mom said to never try to double a batch of jelly.  Make it one batch at a time with clean up between.

 You know that the jars seal if you push the middle and they don’t “click.”  My jars definitely sealed.  Yeah!   We tasted the half jar and it was great. 

Our next jelly will be Muscadine.  This is a native grape like fruit that grows wild up around Star Hill. They are coming ripe now.  I have two vines planted on our fence but the ones below I took pictures of today out near our road growing wild.


A Busy Weekend at Star Hill

Leave a comment

This weekend we were going to take it a little easy. The plan was to get the frames for Sweet Amanda’s wall painted and sort out some of the stuff we ended up with that is not ours from the wedding.  We also hoped we could get out on the water and enjoy the lake.  We know that other areas are struggling through a drought like we did last summer but for some reason we have had a relatively mild and wet summer.  Everything is green and lush.  The lake is full for the first time in a while right now and we love getting out on the water.

It is easy to forget that we bought Star Hill to relax.

 Sometimes we need to be reminded.  After the wedding weekend we THOUGHT we would just relax.  Ha!

We got to Star Hill Thursday evening and sorted out three boxes of stuff from the wedding into Sweet Amanda’s, mine or unknown owner piles.  We were really feeling pretty proud of ourselves when we went to bed.

Friday morning I tried my hand at making grape jelly.  I am going to write about it later this week but here is a sneak peek!

Hubby ran into town for provisions.  He came home with news that this weekend was going to be Christmas in July on the Coldspring square.  About the time Hubby got home my social planner, Tanis called.  The plan was made to go out on the boat.  I rushed up the hill to the Garagemahal and started painting the frames.  They came out really well, and I will be showing the whole process this week. 

Tanis and Larry have a pontoon and we have a ski boat.  Between the two of us we just about have all the lake activities covered.  We are even getting to borrow a jet ski so we will be set.  This morning it was definitely a pontoon day.  They pulled up to the house with Litttle Big Town’s “Pontoon” blaring.  Tanis being the great social planner that she is had us loaded with drinks, crackers, cheese, salami,  and fruit for the day.

Captain Larry

 The social planner.

 Heading out to pine island… party in slow motion…motor boatin.

 We love to swim at Pine Island.  It really is a redneck yacht club.  Because it was Friday we had it almost to ourselves but on the weekend we have seen it with 30 + boats parked three deep at the the beach.  Sandy bottom for swimming but it gets to be 30 feet deep right off the island. 

It was so quiet at the island that a bird was hanging out with us.

Larry has just rented a boat slip so there is no more trailering the boat.  We are going to look into that after the Southern Bell’s wedding. 

We got back from the lake with two hours to get some rest.  I foolishly rushed up to the Garagemahal and primed the frames that needed it for Sweet Amanda’s purple frame wall.  I am going to show you the process this week.  Four shades of purple and lots of character.  Here is a quick peek.

Our social planner decided we needed to drive into Huntsville Friday night.  Wow did I get a great anniversary present!  We found a great all metal patio set that I loved.  It is going to replace the glass topped table I have been known to treat pretty rough.  We ate at one of our favorite spots : The Farmhouse Cafe.  http://farmhousecafe.net/

Saturday morning the frame painting commenced in earnest because the social planner went with the guys fishing.  By the time the three came back to Star Hill I had finished painting and had a whole hour to get ready for the trip into Coldspring.  Coldspring is a small timber and tourism based town that has a population of 688 but it is the county seat for San Jacinto county, Texas.  The merchants do a great job of promoting the town with monthly fair on the square days and other events to bring people to the town during the weekend. 

We arrived at mid day and it was HOT but the town was packed.

 Our volunteer fire department was collecting money. They do a great job for the community.

 The town was so cute!  Shops had cookies and candy canes for customers and some were were dressed like elves or Santa.  I love the small town feel.

 Vendors were set up all around the square.  We shopped hard.

 I love Coldspring shops.  There are benches outside some of the shops and almost every time I have been there someone is out sitting on the benches.

 I had to include this.  They had prisoners cleaning up the area at the end of the day.
My favorite shop in Coldspring had this cute sign out front.  Margaret does such a great job.

 Loved the lizard eating the wreath.
We got home hot and tired just in time to clean up for steaks cooked by Hubby.  Yum.
I made peach cobbler and Larry made homemade ice cream.  Life is good at Star Hill.

We went to bed pooped again and got up early to finish the jobs started.  We went in to Livingston for breakfast then back to clean up and pack up.  By the time Hubby finished mowing it was 5:00.  Not exactly  a lazy weekend, but we really had fun.  It was nice to just enjoy the weekend.  Now on to the work week.

Resale Shopping

Leave a comment

I LOVE going to resale shops and garage sales.  I mean they really are like a box of chocolates… you never know what you will find until you go inside.  Here are a few of my tips for navigating resale/garage shopping.  I will never claim to be an expert shopper but I think I can hold my own. 

Garage sales are amazing…but the good stuff is gone in the first hour.  Stake out your sales from the newspapers, http://www.yardsalesearch.com/, http://www.kingwoodyardsales.com/, http://gsalr.com/garage-sales-houston-tx.html are a few of the ones I look at when wanting to go garage shopping.  Drive by the day before.  Yes, I want you to stalk them.  If the sale is going to be good they will already be organizing the day before it starts.  If they are one of those perpetual garage sales you will see that too and avoid.  Map out your route.  Have a plan and have cash.  Small bills.  The seller is more likely to bargain if you don’t want them to break a $20 for a five dollar purchase.  You have to be decisive when garage sale shopping.  If the item is priced well it will not be there when you come back.  If you want it, get it when you see it.  Shop in a truck or car that can hold the items you are looking for.  Sounds simple right?  I have had to call in reinforcements more than once because I did not follow this advice.  We completely filled Star Hill with garage sale, Craigslist and auction items for less than $1000.  Three bedrooms,  a living room, kitchen and dining space.  Once a year a neighborhood near our home has a huge garage sale.  We do not go to the country on that weekend. 

Resale/thrift shops are really hit and miss.  The nicer the shop the less I like it.  I feel like I am paying for their nice space and prime location. If you don’t think you could make yourself go into a junky resale shop and live in the Houston area the following link is for some of the nicer thrift stores: http://houston.cbslocal.com/top-lists/best-thrift-stores-flea-markets-in-houston/ or http://www.thethriftshopper.com/city/Baytown/TX/1.htm .  A resale shop is a store that a person owns to make a profit.  A thrift store is a shop where the items are donated and the profits are for charity according to ehow, but I see the names interchanged a lot.   I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE resale shops out in the country.  Stuff that I love is not always popular out in the sticks.  I got a great milk glass chandelier two weeks ago for a dollar.  It is going to go in my bathroom…one day.   I got two huge solid maple framed mirrors for twenty dollars.  One of the mirrors will be used in making my entry way mud room piece (my next big project) and one is going to the lovebirds and will be used as a sort of hall tree.  This past week I got a rough gold framed mirror for two dollars. I will be posting it soon.  I have it finished and ready to hang in my bedroom.

    One of two matching maple framed mirrors I got for $20.00 at a resale shop.  This one is going to the lovebirds with a shelf under for their small entry way.
  • Bundle your items.  Think American Pickers.  Stack up a bunch of stuff and offer to pay one price for it all.  9 times out of 10 they take me up on the offer. 
  • Visit the good ones often.  Resale shops get new stuff regularly.
  • Favor those that are for non profit organizations.  Volunteers price the stuff.  You will find treasures there and the money goes to a good cause.
  • Have a budget and bring cash.
  • Know what you are looking for and have the measurements with you.  Hubby gets really unhappy when I have to call him from shopping to go measure something.
  • Think outside the box.  How could the item be used other than its current use?
  • Ignore the color.  Paint is cheap and just about anything can be painted from glass to plastic.  Do you like the shape, size, function?
  • Only buy upholstered items if they are easy to recover or are in good condition that does not need work.  If you have to take something to be reupholstered it will cost you more than the item is worth often.

    Right now I am looking for men’s change holders from the 30’s through the 60’s. I am making a wall display with them. I am always on the lookout for milk glass and McCoy pottery.  I have a weakness for mission furniture…even if it is rough.

    I collected the change holders and candle holders above for 25 cents a piece.  The candle holders were used at the rehearsal dinner inside some borrowed hurricane lamps. 

     I found this mission plant stand at a resale shop for $12.00.  It still has original tile work in place with no cracks. 

    The perfect solution for the remote controls.

    The Weekend Country Wedding


    Well the big day has come and gone for Baby Boy and Sweet Amanda.  I now officially have a daughter-in-law and I couldn’t be prouder.  My daughter the southern bell and her fiancee were also able to be at Star Hill for the weekend.  The wedding was beautiful.  Sweet Amanda was stunning in her gown.  I do believe that I had no idea how much work holding a vintage wedding at a state park would be for both families ( mostly Sweet Amanda’s mom and dad), the kids’ friends and family friends but I think we would would gladly do it again (just not tomorrow please) to see how happy that it made the kids.  The ceremony was held at Huntsville State Park in the Raven Lodge.

    The lodge is located overlooking a small lake.  It is really a site suited to Sweet Amanda’s vintage-rustic-elegant style.

    The site was transformed from a blank slate into a beautiful site.

    Raven Lodge was transformed in one morning into a beautiful site by a group of Baby Boy’s friends who unloaded and arranged 200 chairs and 20 tables, rigged the lighting, and even carried out stuff for centerpieces.  The brides’ buddies brought in boxes of treasures to decorate every square inch and her parents started working at 8:00 in the morning without stopping until after midnight with the cleanup.  The groom had the best deal going because of the no seeing the bride on the wedding day rule.  Sweet Amanda was at the site until 2:00 for her 5:30pm wedding.  You will see her a lot in the pictures below because she really did oversee the whole process.

     The bride hard at it.  She was cutting ribbons to hang from the sconces in the chapel.

    Tara completing the chalkboard for the entrance to the chapel.
    The results were amazing.  The pictures I have are certainly not going to show you how beautiful everything looked, but I hope you get an idea of what a beautiful wedding they had.

     The center of each table was a funky mix of books, bottles and vintage items.

     This is MUCH better than the Texas Parks and Wildlife poster that is mounted to the fireplace.  Some of Amanda’s friends literally went home and got curtains to cover the poster.  Other friends added the window frame, the flowers a chalkboard with Sweet Amanda’s favorite verse and some of the vintage luggage that dotted the entire wedding.

     Sweet Amanda asked people to bring sweets for a sweets table.  This is the set up before the food arrived.  It was beautiful and delicious. I loved the painted frame chalkboard on the table.

     This was the start of the sign in table.  My friend Tanis brought an antique table up and decorated the table with vintage items.  One of the coolest things that she did is to set up three Mason jars for the guests to write wishes for the couple to open on their 1st, 5th, and 10th anniversary.  The frame was used to display pictures of the kids growing up.  The sign in book was on this table.  I wish I thought to take pictures of the finished product.  It was beautiful

    The view from the chapel windows.  It looks out over the lake.
    I only have a few pictures from the beautiful wedding.  I was a little busy and forgot all about taking pictures but I have collected these to show you a few to show you that it was all worth the effort.  Their smiles the entire evening warmed my heart. 

    Thank you to those of you who shared in our joy.  We truly feel blessed to have a family and friends who ventured up to the country in July heat to share in this special moment. 


    Epoxy Day

    Leave a comment

    We love two part epoxy at Star Hill. My family is so in love with that stuff that Baby Boy put it on his gift registry…no lie. The thing about epoxy is that it is really only good for one use in my experience. We try to group up our epoxy projects so that we don’t waste the stuff. Hubby was sick over the weekend so I called in reinforcements. My friends Larry and Tanis came over and helped me with project number three. At the resale shops I collected old plates that had coordinating colors and used candlesticks as spacers to make tiered pedestals for the wedding. Using epoxy is messy. The more you use the stuff the better you get but plan on getting it on you even if you have used it before. Tanis wanted to make an address block for their new property. I had two fix stuff projects as well as the crafty projects. 

    Here are the basics to two part epoxy.  It comes in a container that has two syringes stuck together and both of them squirt out stuff when you push the plunger.  It is not a one person job for me.  I would end up glued to a wall if I tried it alone. 

    This is the stuff we use.  It is great.
    Sweet Amanda and Baby Boy are going to have a dessert table at the reception and I wanted to make her some tiered pedestals for the desserts made from vintage china plates.  I got the idea from the blog DIY or Dont!
    Epoxy will seriously stick anything to anything so it was perfect for attaching glass to glass.
    My friends Larry and Tanis worked on getting everything together for the project.  Larry was assigned to be chief gluer.  I bet he was sorry that Hubby was out of commission.  They were working on an address stone for their property. 
    When all was said and done we fixed my broken pedestal, added a ceramic knob to a paper towel holder, made two pedestals, and fixed a broken chair.
    Epoxy takes a long time to fully dry so be patient.  Leave it alone overnight then it will be stuck forever.
    I wish I had better pictures of the finished projects but they turned out great.

    Older Entries