Choosing “The Right” Navy Blue is Hard


The Southern Belle and Big Cat are getting a few pieces of furniture that I have collected just for them. A sewing cabinet turned into a beverage station for their awesome screened in porch. The next time we venture up to North Carolina I am going to take pictures of their back yard space. It is amazing.

Big Cat is a die hard Georgia Southern fan so navy for the cabinet was an easy decision. Navy blue. Not the bright sailboat blue the original beverage station is. I also decided to make a bar cabinet for them. They have a small dining space but entertain a lot so any space that they could use to hold glasses, bottles and things that don’t fit in their limited cabinet space. The interior of their home is also navy along with creams browns, and tons of natural fibers. Want to see it? I took pictures last fall Click Here. The cabinet is going to be navy too.

Hubby went to Coldspring without me. We went together to pick our paint, so there is no blame here. We are just learning that navy blue is a tricky color. The first color was WAAAAY too vibrant. Hubby sent the picture to me and TSB. I will bet she almost had a stroke.

The cabinet door confirmed my suspicion that we needed a color change.


Hubby went back to town ( 30 minutes one way) to get a darker color.
Here are the results:

Here is the cabinet in a darker shade:


I am not sure I love it, but I am withholding judgement until we go back to the Garagemahal. I am guessing that a coat of black glaze will tone it down. Hope, hope. I love the 1970’s vibe of the cabinet.
I will let you know about the paint. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Creating a New Blog


I have been toying with the idea of creating a new blog for a little while. I love Star Hill, Coldspring, and my weekend country life but right now most of our projects and life revolve around our new lives in our new community and new suburban home.

My Burb Home

I am going to be chronicling the rapid growth of this booming community , our progress as we turn our builder basic home into something that is more unique and us finding our way in a new place.

I hope you will consider following My Burb Home. I will continue to write about our wonderful weekend home and the projects up at the Garagemahal on The Weekend Country Girl, but the things going on in the new house will be on the new blog.    We have a few projects in the wings right now up in the country.

I started blogging because I wanted an outlet to share with my family and friends. Never, in a million years did I expect others, from a variety of states and countries to read my blog. I often wonder what in the world would someone who lives so far from the Texas Piney Woods ever want to read what I write. Thank you for choosing to be a part of our lives.

I look forward to continuing to share my small, small corner of the world as we explore the third quarter of our lives!

We have a lot planned and I am excited about the possibilities.  Here is a link to my first post:  My New Blog



First Fall Dance

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Wow.  My little, baby blog will have 40 thousand views by the end of the day.  Thank you, to those of you who read what I write and follow my family’s  very ordinary life.  I am honored and blessed to feel that I have made friends I might not have ever met without the blog.  My life is so full right now that I feel a little guilty about progress on the new house.   We are getting serious about it because Thanksgiving is coming to the burbs!  This past week was our first major event at the school where I am principal.  It is a brand new school with only a freshman class this year.   I spent this past week preparing for an amazing dance at school based  on a masquerade theme.  It was a fun way to use my creative side while getting to know my kids in a more relaxed setting.   It was a long night last night but the kids seemed to have fun.  I am so very lucky to have a career that I love and get the chance to work with amazing teachers and students.

drawing on foarm board

foam board makes great decorations.  Stiff enough to stand, easy to cut with a serrated knife, cheap, and lightweight.


foam board mask

spray painted mask

candy bar


broken mirror turned into welcome sign

My amazing secretary gave this project to some students.  They made a welcome sign from a frame with a broken mirror.  I love it.


candy bar

cute candy bar

chocoalte fountain

This chocolate fountain is now soaking in my sink.  Messy, but a fun addition to the dance.



Star Hill Images

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It seems that I spend all my time in the Garagemahal when we are at Star Hill.  Not true!  Here are some shots I have taken recently but haven’t shared.

I love how beautiful and green everything is now that the drought is lifting in our area.  The rain gauge showed 4 inches when we pulled up this week.  We are blessed to have such a beautiful place to retreat to from our busy lives.

No words here.  Just enjoy what we get to see every time we go to Coldspring, Texas.  We are blessed.

This past weekend we had our first fire in the wood burning stove and got to sit on the porch wrapped in blankets while we watched the birds go to the feeder.  There is a quiet in the woods that sinks into your bones when you spend time there,

red flowers

boats in marina

Piney Wood Skies

vintage rose


american flag

lake livingston

sky over lake livingston

hummingbird wind chime

tick weed



Star Hill Bell

chippy paint

bird house collection

hummingbird feeder


When Pinterest Finds My Old Stuff


This week two of my posts were “found” on Pinterest this week. It was fun to see so many people find something that I loved doing and saving it to pages like this:
Craft Party Ideas

Or; Tryna Do It, or My House

I love the names people give their boards. I am so very boring!

Chair Painting Party

It was such a fun day. I hope that one day you can hold your own party.


Sewing Cabinet Into Drink Station

This one has been pinned over 200 times this month. Wow. Thank you to those of you who are going to attempt our version of a beverage station! I am humbled that anyone wants to do something that I have done. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE send pictures when you actually do this.

Feel free to look at or follow my Pinterest Page.

I use my name on Pinterst: Karen Smithson.

I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Wine Bottle Table Numbers

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Wowsers, this is an old post.  I wrote this a while back but for some reason it sat in my list unpublished for six months.  I did want you to see this because it was an easy project that was almost free.

We made table number holders for my daughter’s wedding using recycled wine bottles.

The first thing needed was to round up some wine bottles.  We cut the wine bottles with a bottle cutter because we wanted them to be low enough that they did not interfere with the flowers on the tables.  We own the bottle cutter and have used it to cut down jars, bottles, and now wine bottles.  The bottle cutter is available online.  We got ours on Amazon.

wine bottles

Next I spray painted all the bottles silver.

cut bottles


spray painted bottles


spray painted bottles

The next thing was to put in corks and cut a slit in the top of the corks.   I used a box cutter to make the slits.

I printed the table numbers from a free table number template.  There are a ton out there.  Here is a link to the one we used.

Table Numbers

Here they are on the bottles.



table numbers

I used cardstock paper from an office supply store so that the numbers would be stiff enough to stay uncurled and upright the whole night.


They looked great!

A cheap way to mark tables at a wedding or other large event.


What Makes Someone An Expert ?


I have been steamed this week about a comment Martha Stewart decided she needed to share about bloggers. Here is the link to her comments: Martha
I contacted Home Depot to let them know I was not happy with the comments and got a nice letter back from Latilda Stewart Bush letting me know she was not aware of Martha’s comments but that she would pass this along. Please feel free to contact her too if you are so inclined. her number is (800) 654-0688 extension 76434 if you would rather talk to her.

All this steaming about the expert comment got me thinking…What makes someone an expert?
What is the tipping point that changes a person from being good at a certain skill to becoming an expert?

I am not an expert blogger. I am not very skilled with technology.
I do not have the time or energy to keep creating content for readers and I mess up projects regularly. I could not make a living off my blog even if I did have advertisements and went all out. I am better than I was a year ago, but man do I have things to learn!!

I am not an expert furniture painter, refinisher, or re-purposer. I have about an 80% personal satisfaction rate with my finished projects. Some projects I have to start over, some get pitched, and a few I pass along to someone else to fix. As a mediocre blogger, I try to lay it out there for you all warts and all. It is my hope that as I learn from trial and error, so do you.

I do consider myself an expert educator. I sound pretty full of myself when I say that but I am being honest. I know how kids learn, I can see straight through all the crap swirling around a kid to see real potential within him or her. I believe passionately that education changes lives. I get the opportunity to help other educators improve their craft. I get paid by districts to help them improve the education of children. I am paid a good living for what I love to do. I feel that I became an expert the only way anyone can in any field. I had and continue to have, a desire to learn. I learn all I can, read anything I can get my hands on. Early in my career I found mentors and peers who I could go to with problems or to bounce off ideas. I put in time in the trenches. I was a classroom teacher for 17 years at a variety of grade levels before moving to administration. I still network with others any chance I get. I try new things and sometimes I make mistakes but I keep at it. It took time, passion and dedication to the craft. It also takes a little courage to put yourself out there.

I spent all that time talking about me just to get to my point. There are bloggers who are experts in their fields. They draw you in with personal stories, they have amazing creativity, they are changing how we think about our homes and have emboldened us to try new things. They teach, encourage and redefine design, cooking and construction. My guess is that those bloggers became experts in their field much the same way I did my field.

Shame on anyone who belittles what they do.

The Great Garage Clean Out


>The time has come… we must make sense out of our Burb home garage.  I have sworn off all projects this week- even though I have the paint ready to go on the dresser that is going to be our television stand.  ( Who am I kidding? It is already my television stand- and we even have the top piece assembled and painted but it melts into the wall right now.)

Here is what our disaster zone garage looks like today.


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I should have included a warning that this scene is not appropriate for those with weak hearts or young children.

Goal for the week:

  • Install cabinets on the wall.  Purchased at Lowe’s.  Yay Lowe’s for providing us with $25 off coupon and having the cabinets on sale 20% off!  No sweat for me to spend $250.00 at a home improvement store.  We got two 24 inch cabinets for the stuff that cannot stay out.  The cabinets match the ones in the bathrooms so if (hope, hope) I ever find a vintage buffet that I am in love with and want to turn it into a double sink vanity, (hope, hope) I will be able to move the cabinets to the garage for additional storage.  That is the plan.
  • Get all my paint stored on the metal shelves.
  • Put up the pegboard and fill it with all the tools I am used to having access to.  Right now it is hunt and peck.
  • Organize the power tools.
  • Put away any loose tools.
  • Put the fall storage boxes up.
  • Sell the table and chairs.  Yes.  I am selling furniture.  I do not need them.  It may be next week before the garage is clean enough to have someone come look at them but they will be sold.
  • Clear the trash!

The next part of the garage make over will include high shelving for tubs.  Not this week.

Sooo, no posts this week of pretty things.  No fun.  Just work.

If you don’t hear from me in a few days send in help!




Weekend Quote Art Project


I have been very inspired by a young artist who lives in Boston, Mae Chevrett lately.  I love her use of mixed media and words to convey meaning.  Here is her blog.  To Go Into The World.  Check out her Etsy page to buy pints of her art.   I will be buying some of her art for Christmas presents this year.  Her quote that resonates with me the most is:

It is in all of us

to defy expectations

to go into the world


to be brave

and to want, to need, to hunger for


to embrace change and chance and risk

so that we may breathe

and know what it is

to be free.

What could be more perfect for a school that targets first generation college students?  Many of whom are students who are economically disadvantaged and quite possibly they learned English when they enrolled in school.  I knew I had to have it on display at school.

Using Mae’s work as inspiration I created a mixed media background for the piece and used our school colors; purple and silver.  I promise that I took pictures as I went along but in true Weekend Country Girl fashion, I did not check to see that I had an SD card in the camera.  Once again I must apologize for no photos but I will quickly tell you what I did.

Hubby built a large wooden canvas.  I do have a photo of this part.  He has mastered making these large canvases.  They are a fraction the cost of canvas and sturdy.  He uses hardboard for the surface part and that cheap light weight 1X2 moulding for the frame part.  These are 3 feet by 4 feet.  Any larger and he would have had to put in cross braces too.

wooden canvas


First fill all nail holes with wood putty and sand down the spots.  Then prime everything.  I used Kiltz spray primer.

I typed up the words using a variety of fonts and copied it off on a transparency.  I used an overhead projector to shine  the words up on the canvas.  Once the words were shining up on the canvas I quickly drew uneven lines across the canvas to roughly have a different color for each line of the quote.

I took the canvas and added a section of Mod Podge sheet music to one section and dictionary pages to another section. If you know me, you know I love old books but both the hymnal and the dictionary were beyond repair.

I then painted the rest of the sections quickly with purple, lavender, grey, dark grey, and white.  I was going for the torn paper, not straight, look.

After the paint and Mod Podge was all dry I shined the transparency back up so that I could trace the words.

I then painted all the words on starting in the middle then working out so that I could get more done while the paint was wet.

The work is not perfect.  I took some close-ups so that you could see all the imperfections.

school artwork




Here is the fished project minus Mae’s Name at the end of the quote.  I want to use a purple Sharpie for that and it is at the office.  I hope that I did Mae’s work justice.  I also hope that the words inspire my students as they take on the challenge of graduating high school with an associate degree.

Inspirational Quote Art

My work is not anywhere as good as Mae’s but I like it and will hang it proudly in our main office area.

An Unconventional Kitchen Island


When we reviewed the blueprints of new house I noticed that an island in the kitchen had been an option that the first owners did not choose to put in. I knew that I would want a space to use as a baking and prep area.


I also knew I wanted it to be something unique. In my Craig’s List searching I saw an oak dresser on sale that would fit the bill.

Serpentine oak dresser

We removed the top of the dresser and saved it in case I change my mind down the road. The mirror has been hung on the wall in case it ever goes back to being a dresser. This disclaimer was inserted for those of you who don’t love what I do to furniture. (Although I still am not sure why you read my blog.)  Man, I sound cranky,  Sorry folks.  I promise not to let the haters get me down again.

butcher block island dresser

The hardware was shot.  I did find some hardware that will work with the kitchen knobs which are oil rubbed bronze.

dove tailed drawer

veneer sides out of oak.

2013-07-08 20.28.28

We took a trip to Ikea for a butcher block to add to the top of my dresser island. After doing some research we found that they have least expensive butcher block . It still is not cheap but compared to the cost at other places it was a deal.  We used half of the length of the butcher block and we are selling the other half to a friend for their kitchen.

Ikea Butcher Block

Hubby cut the butcher block down to size and we used the brackets included to attach it.
You have to treat butcher block with mineral oil. This one has three coats rubbed in.


The back was really ugly so we covered it with beadboard that I painted Behr Innocence- an ivory color.  The back is  going to get hooks that are going to hold pot holders and dish towels.

dresser island

This is going to be a great spot for prepping food close to the stove.  I never claimed to be a chef, but this will help me to at least not be as unorganized.

IMG_3939  butcher block top dresser for baking station IMG_3945 IMG_3946 oil rubbed bronze hardwar

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