Changes in the New Year


My long suffering husband and I are people of a certain age. My friends call it mid life, but I have done the math, and unless Hubby is going to live to be 110 we are past that mid life mark. We are in what I have decided to call the third quarter. We have two adult children, enough money to do some things we want, and we are in overall good health. For the new year we are not going to make huge changes to our lifestyle. No fad diets, no hiring a trainer, no plastic surgery.
We have started to make some changes to our lifestyle. We are limiting our eating out to once every two weeks. We both make bad choices when we eat out. We are taking our lunches to work, and we are keeping fruit and cut up veggies in the house.

We are both committing to move more. We are parking further away from stores, taking the stairs when possible, and finding activities to do that involve physical activities. Hubby is joining a gym and I am getting up thirty minutes sooner so that I can Wii or treadmill in the mornings.

The hardest change I am making is to limit the amount of artificial sweeteners. I do love a diet Mountain Dew… too much. I know that my cutting caffeine and those fake sweeteners at the same time is not a good idea for those that I work with and love so coffee and a teaspoon of agave will keep me fueled up. I am also going to drink more water. Good ole plain water. Yuck.

Hopefully we will see results from our small changes. We want to look good for a wedding this June and most importantly, we want to enjoy this third quarter of our life.

I will report in on our progress periodically just to keep us honest.

Happy New Year from my whole crew! The Southern Belle, Joe, Baby Boy, Sweet Amanda, Hubby were all together with me for the holiday. We are loving our extended time at Star Hill. I will be back home January 5 with new posts.


Updating the Master Bedroom on the Cheap


I made an monochromatic art piece a while back that I did not show in the place where it was going to hang because, well, um… I was a little embarrassed about the state of my master bedroom. Right now I do not have the time or energy for a major overhaul, but a little redo will help it.
Here is the before picture:


There are several things I like about the room. I love that we have new carpet, I like the accent wall where the two windows are. I like the size.


I cannot tell you what I was thinking when I bought brown bedding. It is wrong for many reasons. I never liked the bedding with the wall color, it is dark and we have a light colored cat and while I love the art piece above the bed, a family piece, it was too small above the bed.


For Christmas Hubby bought me a camera. I am learning to use the camera so hopefully you will notice an improvement in the photo quality soon. Today the pictures are all ipad because Hubby is ready to leave for Star Hill.
The camera was a deal and came with a rewards program. There were enough points to get me a suit, my mom a coat, and a bedding set. I am not the bedding set kind of person generally, but I really liked this set and I can finally show you the artwork up in the room. I am by no means finished with the room but I wanted you to see what a big difference changing the bedding makes.



The next projects in the room will be the addition of accessories, I need more storage and I want to add a little more art.
The family piece did get to stay.


Right now the dresser is filled with my shell angel collection for Christmas, but it needs to be beautified. It is normally empty. I need help with what to do here…HELP!


This coming year will be a year of projects. The city house needs a back yard redo, bathroom updating, and the family room will be finished. Star Hill is getting a porch redo and deck work. Oh, and there will be a wedding this summer! The Southern Belle is getting hitched.

Turning an Old Door and Table Into a Buffet


Sweet Amanda loves old, weathered, pieces with story as much as I do! When I bought The Southern Belle’s dresser I negotiated two other pieces of furniture for the asking price of the dresser. I got the owner to throw in a night stand that will be going to a Habitat for Humanity home this spring and an old white piece that I wasn’t sure what the original purpose had been but I guessed that it had been in a church at some point. I know that Sweet Amanda will appreciate me getting the piece free, because she is a junker like me! A little research led me to believe the white table was a Bible table. It was white, had peeling paint, crackle on the drawer, and was a little taller than an end table. I knew the table would be the perfect gift for Sweet Amanda with some creativity. I stared at the Bible table for at least three weeks then it hit me… This would make a great buffet for a small apartment. I started looking for parts. I knew I wanted the back to be an old door and I wanted a shelf on it. I cannot tell you why, that is just how I saw it in my head.
It took several weeks but the absolute perfect door was located in Coldspring for $10.00. It had the right amount of chipped paint, but was solid enough to hold up over time. Hubby cut off a small bit of the door for a shelf and to make the horizontal part of the door hit at the right spot on the table so that they could be screwed together. After adding the shelf it still looked incomplete. I knew I wasn’t finished with the piece but after several options that I did not like I almost gave up and started looking for something else to give Sweet Amanda.   A trip to the Coldspring Senior Center Resale fixed my problem. A round, old plaster mirror was the perfect solution. a link to the senior center website here.
I got this amazing mirror for $10.00. It was the deal of the day.

Here it is all put together. I am crazy about this piece. It still needs a coat of polyacrylic to seal the potentially lead paint in place, but other than that, it is finished.








Here it is in The Lovebird’s Apartment


and… here are the Lovebirds



The Southern Belle’s Christmas Present- Refinishing a French Provincial Dresser


Christmas presents for grown up kids were so much fun this year. The Southern Belle asked a while back for a dresser. She wanted it black with brushed nickel hardware. I started looking when we were out shopping, thrifting, and junking. Nothing really struck me until I saw a mistreated piece on Craig’s List. It was covered in layers of really ugly paint with pink showing through. Someone had put cabinet hardware on it that reminded me of a cabin.

To make matters worse, the hardware did not fit ell so the person who thought this hardware would work jammed plastic anchors into the holes.
It took some work on hubby’s part. Getting the hardware off, sanding, filling holes, more sanding before the paint went on.
Hubby got a new paint sprayer, and about the biggest compressor I have ever seen for an early Christmas present. It really made the piece look professionally painted and the Behr paint I love works in this high volume, low pressure sprayer.
Here are the results. For the present she just got a photograph of the piece. It will be getting delivered to North Carolina this spring. Another great reason to visit her.




It was fun making something that our daughter will enjoy.

Christmas at the Beach

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This year we did something that we had never done for the holidays. We rented a beach house and spent our time with the kids in the Galveston area. The house was beautiful. We rented a house on the Bolivar Penisula across from Galveston, Texas. A short ferry ride from Galveston. The dolphins were out and we got to see them every time we took the ferry.
The Bolivar Ferry
We could not have asked for better weather. We wore short sleeves during the day and light jackets at night. We had a fire on the beach at night and went for long walks. We played at Pleasure Pier and ate some great food.
The Lighthouse

Sunset from the porch.

Sunrise on the Jetty

The Strand in Galveston

The Kids on the Pleasure Pier Roller Coaster

My buddy the social planner came down to the beach house to see us and the kids. She took the picture of the family for me. Thanks Tanis!
Happy New Year
The best thing about the trip was having our family there with us. Life is good.

Decorating the Mantle for Christmas Without Breaking the Bank

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I decided that this year I would use what I have on hand to decorate the mantle. Over the year I had purchased a dictionary at a resale shop for 50 cents, I picked up a rough bulletin board when my neighbor moved out, I purchased a torn up hymnal at a garage sale for 25 cents, and I had a couple of ginger jar vases left from my son’s wedding.
I picked up two yards of drapery fabric at Hancock’s Fabric on super clearance for $2.35.
The first step was to draw off a large S on cardboard. The S was covered with pages from the hymnal. I used regular old school glue thinned down to a watery mixture. I did the same with dictionary pages wrapped on the ginger jars.

Buy old dictionaries when you find them. They are one of my favorite decorating items.



The paper flowers were made by layering some concentric circles of dictionary pages in top of each other then stitching through the stack with jute twine. I made slits in the layers then wrinkled each layer.



I covered the old bulletin board with fabric. Super easy. I used a staple gun.



The large S was attached to the fabric with hot glue.
The flowers were attached to some salvaged glass jars I painted teal.
I took pages of the hymnal to create a JOY banner.
The jars were filled with spray painted branches from the yard and two packages of Dollar Tree ornaments. Everything else came from the house,
All in all I am proud of my mantle. Less than $10.00 spent and totally unique.




Making Necklace Hangers For Gifts

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Before Sweet Amanda married Baby Boy and moved in with him, she lived with some great girls. They will always be a close knit group who loves each other. They exchange Christmas presents each year at their girl party.
Apparently they are all crafty.
Sweet Amanda was excited. She had her crafty presents all lined out until she got wind that another of the crafty girls was making the same thing. Her original plan was to make bookends that I will show you once I get pictures from Molly.
Sweet Amanda was back to square one so she raided my hoard for inspiration. I had a bunch of drawer fronts from several projects and a few from the roadside.

They were too good to throw away. I also have a collection of knobs, pulls, handles, hooks and other assorted hardware.

Of course there is a collection of paint colors from past projects in the Garagemahal.

When everything was assembled, Sweet Amanda decided to make necklace hangers/key racks/scarf and headband holders out of the assortment. That meant selecting just the right items for each of the four friends. The drawer fronts were selected, the hardware was selected, placement was decided, holes filled in and they turned out great. It was so humid that even Baby Boy got involved. He has mad skills with a blow dryer. (He also drilled all the holes.)

Sweet Amanda filled the holes with wood filler.



Blow dryer.

Drilling the holes.

Each one was unique. This funky one will go to Beth. A girl who has a suitcase chair needs this fun piece.

Every knob is different.

Amanda’s buddy Tara got this one. Painted with Martha Stewart Froth.

This one went to Lauren. It has the coral from the chandelier.

Molly got the yellow and blue.
This was Hubby’s favorite. He thought it was happy.

I loved them all. I hope the girls like them too. I hope I get pictures of the other gifts to show you how crafty these girls are. Great job, Sweet Amanda!


Making Mocha Coffee Mix for Christmas

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For Christmas this year I decided to make mocha coffee mix and chocolate covered spoons for my staff.
It was easy, and hand made. To me, hand made Christmas presents are the best way to show someone that they are worth your most valuable commodity, time.
I found the coffee cups at Dollar Tree. I bought all that they had. Yes, I am that greedy.

I searched online for a recipe that sounded like it had the ingredients I like in mocha coffee.

1 1/4 cups instant coffee granules
7 cups dry milk powder
5 3/4 cups powdered chocolate drink mix
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 3/4 cups powdered non-dairy creamer
1. In a large bowl, mix together instant coffee, milk powder, chocolate drink mix, confectioners’ sugar and powdered creamer. Store in an airtight container.
2. To serve, place 4 tablespoons of mixture into a coffee mug. Stir in 1 cup boiling water.

I doubled this recipe for my staff.

I also dipped spoons in melted chocolate and sprinkled peppermint and colored dots on the chocolate while they were drying.



The finished product.

The Baby Boy Graduated

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The Lovebirds have had quite a year. Their ministry at University of Houston is going well, they are madly in love, and THE BABY BOY GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE! Was I shouting? I would like to apologize, but this mom is excited. Ever since that young man came into our lives on January 2, 1988, he has been a handful. He has had a knack for pushing boundaries, aggravating authorities, and in general marching to the beat of his own drum. I am proud to be the mom of this independent, free thinking, slightly annoying, extremely endearing young man. He makes me think. He challenges me to be a better human, he loves The Lord more than air, he is a great husband, and he is not afraid to kiss his mom in public. Who could ask for more?









Christmas in a Small Town

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I love small town events. I especially love our weekend home’s local small town events. Coldspring is the county seat of San Jacinto county, but has less than 1000 residents. This year they all showed up for the yearly Christmas Parade. We had a really good time. It is great to go to a parade in short sleeves.

San Jacinto County Courthouse at Christmas

All lit up for Christmas and full of people.

All lit up for Christmas and full of people.

What parade would be complete without ladies in formal dresses riding mules?
Building in Parade


Decorating Star Hill


I found these stockings at a 99 cent store then added the names with a glitter pen.  It is fun to see the kiddos' stockings up on the curtains.

I found these stockings at a 99 cent store then added the names with a glitter pen. It is fun to see the kiddos’ stockings up on the curtains.

Dollar Store Christmas Stockings

I bought an old Scrabble game at a garage sale for 50 cents!  I am going to use the trays for messages.

I bought an old Scrabble game at a garage sale for 50 cents! I am going to use the trays for messages.


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