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Summer Pojects

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Here it is spring break and already I am thinking about our summer projects.

We have three big projects to get done this summer.

1.  We are going to redo our kitchen.  Not a total gut, but repainting the cabinets, replacing the backsplash, new counter top, new farmhouse sink, new light fixture, and wall paint.


The picture above shows the kitchen the day we decided to buy the house.  No more ceiling fan,  a different peninsula light, recessed lighting installed, and a gas stove installed are the only structural changes that have occurred since we bought it.

  • The cabinets are going to be white and we are going to add a shaker style to them by adding to the cabinet faces.

Source: Home Depot

  • I think that the backsplash is going to large subway tile.  I think.  Not sure yet.
  • The counter tops are for sure going to be quartz that looks like marble.

Source: Home Depot

I think we are looking at something like santa margherita lyskamm

  • Once I decide on the backsplash I can get the wall paint color picked out.
  • The sink is going to be a white farmhouse sink.  I am thinking about this one from Home Depot.

  • I haven’t decided for sure about the kitchen light but it is NOT going to be a huge fluorescent fixture.  I really like this one from Home Depot.


2.  We are going to get the guest shed started.  This summer we are going to get the dropped ceiling in, fix the walls, get the plumbing moved and hopefully get the bathroom concrete poured.  I really want it finished this summer but the reality is that if we get that far, we can work on the interior of the building a project at a time.  We may have to have someone do our bathroom.  I am not sure how time will work for us but I want us to have a space for family and friends to come and stay.  I cannot wait for you to see my vision for the guest shed.

The Guest Shed

3.  This project shouldn’t take long, but we really need an outdoor kitchen.  Not want, we need one.  I am not a germophobe but I cannot stand raw fish in my house.  Ever. Like never.  I really don’t love raw chicken in the house, either.  If it is going to get grilled outside, it may as well get prepped outside, too.  This is frankly the first project that needs to get done, so I have a sink to wash dishes in and food prep area when the inside kitchen is under construction. ( Just say no to washing dishes in the bathtub ever again.)

  • A sink station with a stainless  steel sink and faucet out of our hoard. The top needs to be tile topped to make it more weather resistant.

Source: Studio C

We have electricity and water at the corner of the space so adding the sink right outside the deck and cabinets along the wall makes sense.

  • Counter space with cabinets underneath and around the grill. One set of wall cabinets for things like grill spray, oven mitts, and BBQ tools.  We are going to use treated lumber for a shell, then clad it all in reclaimed cedar and tin.
  • Open the deck rail and extend the deck so that it is more comfortable for guests and has the smoker readily available. Also replace the wood parts on the smoker.


I didn’t make the deck look nice for pictures today.  Mr. Math was on the tractor today but has promised to get it all cleaned up for our next get together so soon enough it will get power washed, scrubbed down and organized.

The projects sound daunting but we can do it.  We also aren’t afraid to get help it it is too much.  We are going to hire out the quartz counter tops and may have to hire help to get the decking done.

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Raised Bed Urban Gardening

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My son, his wife, and our precious granddaughter live in our rental property in Huntsville. It is a decent sized corner city lot but in addition to the house on the lot there is a garage apartment. The back yard is almost always in the shade because of the two story unit and mature trees that surround the yard.


In spite of living in the city and not having a great space for a garden, the kids want a garden.  The best plan for them is a raised bed in the side yard.

Using all reclaimed material and deck screws Mr. Math was able to whip this raised bed together in about an hour.

We are hoarders of reclaimed wood and corrugated tin.  I know we have a problem but we plan on putting a ton of it to use this summer.

The tin we used for this project was actually left by the former home owner.  He was a bit of a hoarder, too.


The cedar 4 X 4 posts were given to us years ago when our friends replaced their lakehouse porch posts. They were solid except for the bottom where they stayed wet.


The rest of the wood came from a dock that was torn out near us.  The wood is in great shape.


The pile above was where we collected the wood.

Mr. Math has a special circular saw blade that cuts metal.  It makes short work from cutting corrugated tin.  It actually took him longer to change out the saw blade than to cut the metal.

The bed is 4 feet wide and 8 feet long. We used a full width of tin to make the sides. That is a little higher than normal but we wanted it to be high enough to sit on the edge.



Mr. Math cut the posts to length then attached the 4 foot section to the posts first, then the long pieces and added a post at four feet on the long sides.


Next he added the reclaimed wood to the top edge.  We did not put any of the dock wood where it would come in contact with the soil.  We aren’t too keen on treated wood coming in contact with food.  This wood has had a lot of exposure to water and sun so we are not too worried about sitting on it and I plan on sealing it with marine varnish.


Mr. Math used two by six boards on the top to make the ledge that he attached directly to the cedar 4 X 4 ‘s. Can I just say how impressed with his mitered corners? He does good work.  We put the rusty metal inside for this project.  The house isn’t as rustic as ours and would have looked a little funny, but our next project will be all about the rusty metal.


Scrap cedar covers the sharp edges at the corners.  When it gets installed another board will co around the exterior bottom but this puppy is heavy so that piece can wait. ( By the way, did you notice how good Mr. Math’s shop looks?  He did a great job getting it organized. My shop is next on the list for a good clean up,and storage.)

I will post pictures when it is installed.  Landscape fabric at the bottom, then a little hay that has been outside and is no longer useful for feed, then garden soil.

They plan on tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash and who knows what else.

Thanks for following along on our adventures.

Blessings,

Karen

Downsizing Realities

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We are going through the big D and I don’t mean Dallas.  While we would never consider divorcing each other (who would have us after 35 years of bad habits?)  We are decluttering.  I look at Pinterst and it appears online that decluttering, organizing, and purging are super easy.  It makes everyone feel better, can be accomplished in a weekend and then your life is golden.

Here in my Reality Land,  that has not been our experience.  We are sill figuring out the whole less is more thing.  Two years ago we had 4350 square feet of living space divided between two homes with two sets of most things.  We had two kitchens, six bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a two garages.  We had a ton of stuff we were used to having around us.

Now we have one galley style kitchen, three bedrooms (one is really a craft room), two bathrooms, no totally weather proof garage, and a total of just under 1700 square feet here at Providence Acres.  I hope you understand I am not complaining.  We know we are blessed to have a nice home and we chose to move to the country and downsize.  We longed for it.  We dreamed of it. We sacrificed to be able to make this move.

When we moved into Providence Acres we realized that in our almost 34 years of marriage we accumulated a lot of duplicates.

We actually had nine, yes 9, measuring cups.  Here are 7 of them on display. Considering I am not much of a cook, that is an impressive number.

For our two heads we had 10 hair brushes.

In my vanity there were nine sets of nail clippers.

I was too overwhelmed to count the reading glasses and sun glasses, but it is a large amount.

Looking at all that stuff,  it might seem  like thinning the heard on stuff like this would be easy but in fact it took time to decide what we kept and what we got rid of. 

We now are the proud owners of about 10% of the stuff you see in the pictures above.

The work didn’t stop in the kitchen and laundry room.

Our closet was ( is  and probably always will be) the biggest storage issue in our home.  We had an expansive 14 foot long double rack closet  with six additional single rack storage at each end, and a whole wall of built in shelving at my end in our  suburban home master bedroom. It was glorious.

I had room for things that I didn’t even like, but thought they might be good to keep.  Oh how I miss you, 14 foot closet of wonderfulness.  

My 1980’s bi-fold door closet has six feet of storage but honestly only about 5 feet is usable space. Five disfunctional feet that you can’t get to without knocking stuff off.


We haven’t gotten rid of enough clothes, shoes, scarves, and coats yet, but the back of my car was filled several times for trips to Goodwill.

Annnd I took over the guest room closet with dress clothes. Oh, and the winter coats are in the craft room closet.

When I retire I pinky promise to get rid of more, but now I need basically two wardrobes. Work and weekend.

My goal for the summer is to make hard decisions about the furniture in storage.  I am going to either fix it, paint it, reimagine it, or let it go.  There is a huge online sale in my future.

The downsizing will continue but we have made a dent in our stuff.  

Next week I will let you peek into our hoard of furniture, but not yet.  It is scary.

Thanks for following along.

Blessings,

Karen

Never Say Never

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Well, here I am. Back again with my hat in my hand. Can we still be friends? I hope so. After taking some time to regroup I found that I missed writing. I missed telling our story as unremarkable as it is. I missed you.
So, I am back.
My time away certainly gave me time to reflect on my writing. Before my break the blog was really making me crazy trying to meet self-imposed timelines so that I could post something.
Today I am just going to catch you up on what has been going on, if that is okay with you.

The Property

We are so lucky. We get to live on 15 beautiful acres with great neighbors and a beautiful view. I have worked really hard to stop focusing on what needs to be changed or improved and tried to focus on what we have. It isn’t always easy, but I am forcing myself to stop and feed the catfish. (My version of stop and smell the roses.)
Since I last shared anything with you, we have taken quite a bit of time cleaning up the property (and by we I mean 98% of the was done by Mr. Math with 2% coming from me picking up limbs and pointing to where I want things to go). Mr. Math planted three blueberry bushes, several blackberry bushes, a ton, and I do mean a ton of crepe myrtles, about twenty mayhaw, wild plum, and crabapple saplings, five large pecan trees and a peach tree. It is a never ending job. Right now the yard is shaggy but too wet to mow.
We have had a relatively wet and mild winter and even though our road took a beating, everything is green and beautiful here.


The House

We really have not done a ton to the inside of our house since my last post. We have changed out the mismatched window coverings in the main room for 2 inch blinds. I got them at ReStore for $5.00 each. Check out your local ReStore if you have one. It is an organization I believe in and they have great deals. I could not believe my luck finding exactly the size I needed for the four windows.
Mr. Math also built a barn door that fits our 36 inch wide bathroom door opening. (FYI a 36 inch door does not work as a barn door for a 36 inch opening if you want privacy. Lesson learned.) I have not finished making the door look old, but it is going to be great. The hardware is from Home Depot and even though it is more expensive than Tractor Supply’s barn door hangers, I like it in our bedroom.
Furniture

A friend recently cleared out a rental house and I scored big on getting a load of furniture.

So far I have finished this piece. It is great in our family room.

My craft room is overflowing with French Provincial night stands from the stuff above. I am not sure I can save them all but the parts will be reused.

IMG_1694
In our living room I am working on a dining set that will go in the guest shed. It is beating me up right now.
I have collected some great pieces since I last wrote a post and I am looking forward to some really fun projects.
This spring and summer I will be very busy. I can’t wait to fill you in on our big projects we have planned for spring, summer and fall.
Thanks for following along on our journey. After this quick update I do have a few posts on the way to let you know what is coming up and projects that are underway.
Blessings,
Karen

Rodeo Season

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I seasonally decorate our ranch house In the country.  I am sure you know what I mean about seasons.  I decorate the house for all the major holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines Day, Easter, 4th of July, and Rodeo.

What? You haven’t heard of rodeo season?  It is an event here in the greater Houston area.  Kids dress up at school, we go to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and connect with our cowboy roots.  We have already been once Saturday to see the rodeo and Alan Jackson and are headed back tonight for more rodeo and Sam Hunt.

I am no cowgirl.  I just got my first ever pair of cowboy boots for my birthday but in our little neck of the woods, rodeo is a big deal.  The Spanish Trail, one of the trail rides that travels  into Houston and coverages at Memorial Park before the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, originates very near our home.

Our house always has a bit of  a western vibe ( cattle roamed the acreage less than 10 years ago) but we crank it up a notch here around rodeo season. I thought you might enjoy seeing our mudroom bench and our dining tables decked out for rodeo.

Our live edge cedar bench  and mudroom are my favorite thing we have added to the house so far.


The boots? The hats? One pair are mine. And of course everyone here needs rubber boots. My daughter in law gave me these rubber cow print cowboy boots. I’ve also seen some cool cowgirl boots on King Ranch’s website.  They have a really cool shop set up at the rodeo, too.

Our two tables are fun places to decorate.  We love having friends and family over and those two tables aren’t enough for everyone. I have few over 30 more than once.

The buffet was one of our first purchases as a married couple.  It has traveled with us to seven of our eight homes. The salt glazed pitcher on top was rescued by my grandmother under a house they bought more than sixty years ago. The flag graced my veteran father in law’s casket and is a treasure to us.

Faux cowhide on our bench is a nod to our ranch home.

Our breakfast table has a Texas theme.  Thank goodness those placemats wash.  They get some action.  The galvanized jug in the center with silk bluebonnet  is new from Michael’s .  It looks great with our amazing coffee bar in the background.


I love, love, love our coffee bar and the shelves. It makes my clutter look like a collection.  That is my story and I am sticking to it.


Make sure you notice that our one cow, Bessie, made an appearance.

I love hearing from you.  Happy Monday!

Happy trails,

Karen

The End

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For five years I have written this little minnow of a blog about my husband and my adventures living a double life.  We were week-day professionals living in a city, then suburb and weekend country folk.  

Since 2013 we have both changed jobs,  sold our city home, purchased a suburban home about an hour from our city home, sold our weekend home, purchased a home in the country with acreage, sold our suburban home, and moved full time to the country where we commute in to the burbs to work.

It has been a wild ride, and frankly I am exhausted.

Some awesome things have happened to us along this blogging journey.  Both of our children have married, and are doing well, we added a rescue dog to our family, I changed jobs again, our son and daughter in law lived abroad for a year, my daughter has a new job in the city where she works, and recently we welcomed our very first grand child- sweet little Lucy has joined the family and has totally stolen our hearts.

I do not think I was emotionally prepared for the toll that starting over-twice in two years would take on me.  If you told me I would have to pack up all of our belongings again I am sure I would need medication.  And counseling. 

Living in the country is a blessing and we both know how lucky we are to be there, but it has been a rough transition for me.  The 1 1/2 hours spent in the car daily means that there is less time at home during the week for the day-to-day things like cleaning, laundry, and yard work.  Everything takes longer out in the country and is frankly a little harder to do.  Last night I went to get my hair cut.  It involved opening a cattle gate with a code on the way in and out. ( I did get a great haircut though.)

Right now at this time in my life, I need to step away from blogging.  I am burned out.

I need to focus on settling in, taking care of my relationships, taking time to adjust to the new normal.

  We need to find a church we love, spend time with our family and make Coldspring our home.  We also need to figure out our internet, find doctors, get all of our mailing addresses changed, and get a routine going.

I will be retiring in about two years, and hopefully at that time I can begin to blog again.  

It has been my pleasure to get to know so many of you.

Thank you for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

A Fixer Upper Trip

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Hello guys.  Have you missed me as much as I have missed you, and sleep, and a clean house?  We are almost moved out of the burbs and into our forever home.  Just a few more trips I hope.  Monday night I sat on the porch and cried because my long-suffering husband asked me what to do with a box of spray paint.  I am so over it when it comes to moving that I am not even rational any longer.    In the near future I am going to tell about our experience downsizing, but not tonight because I couldn’t be a lady about it right now.

On this night, oh my gosh, do I have news for you all.  I promised you a while back I would fill you in on our trip to the Waco area and things to do when you visit and I am going to fill you in, BUT IT GETS EVEN BETTER AT THE END.

First of all, the map below shows you where Waco is in relation to Austin, Belton, Salado, and Round Top (east of Austin).

Waco to Austin

Austin, the undisputed hippest city in in Texas, is an hour and a half away from Waco.  I am not going to fill you in on Austin tonight, but if you are making a visit to Magnolia Market part of a vacation, make sure to include Austin in your trip.

On my last post I shared with you that  we recently visited Magnolia Market (The Silos) and Waco.  One question I got asked over and over again was:  was it worth the drive.  As a huge fan of JoAnna’s style, I loved the market, but the drive for us from Coldspring was over three hours there and the same back.  I enjoyed shopping in the market and had a great day, but in order to make the trip really worth while, our next trip will be a weekend adventure.  (We will drive up Thursday night, then spend Friday and Saturday exploring and head home Sunday.) wait for it friends, it is going to be good at the end. ( Skip to the end here if you want my super cool news first.)

Here is what I thought our future trip was going to include:

Thursday I thought we would be staying at a bed and breakfast- There are two I was interested in:

Friday 

  • Breakfast at the B and B then off to
  • Magnolia Market  which opens at 10:00 but we will try to get there about 9:30.  We should finish at Magnolia Market by 11:30- just in time for lunch at one of the food trucks conveniently located.
  • Harp Design Co because I want to see the shop where all those amazing tables and benches come out of and hopefully I will find something I can’t live without.  The Harps have a whole list of Waco favorites.  The two that caught my eye are Lula Jane’s if you are driving in for breakfast and Club Sandwich if you are looking for a fun food truck lunch.
  • The Findery.  How did I miss this one the first time?  It is for sure going on my list next visit.

The Findery - Waco, TX, United States

  • Junque in the Trunk Waco- I could only find a Facebook page, but with 70K follwers, they must be doing pretty well.

Junque in the Trunk - Waco, TX, United States

I have a feeling the guys would rather hang out at one of the restaurants or diners on LaSalle while we shop.

  • Head on to McGregor, Texas.  The Magnolia House and the Carraige house just on the show is there and it is worth a visit.

IMG_8303IMG_8304

Another fun place to visit is Megregor General Store.

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I got this cool sign there.

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  • Friday evening will be up for grabs.  Lake Waco looks beautiful.

Saturday

We will head out to Salado, Texas.  I love this place so much that we visit every chance we get.  Here is a blog post I wrote about that cool little town a few years ago.

Sunday we will head home slowly.  Eating Kolaches, stopping at fun shops, and enjoying central Texas.

Okay.  Here is the big news. (It is big news to me anyway!) After I already started this post and was all set on going back, I saw on Country Living that two houses that were on Fixer Upper are now rentals in addition to Magnolia Home.  One of them was my absolute favorite from season 1.  The Gorman Story.  On a whim I decided to look it up just to see if we could rent it and guess what?  They had an opening in October Friday and Saturday night.  I am so excited to get to check it out, spend time with my sweet family in the home, and visit Waco again in the fall.  Woo Hoo.

We are going to get to take Lucy, Sweet Amanda, Baby Boy, The Southern Belle, Big Cat, and our buddies The Social Planner and Larry on the trip with us.  It will be fun.  I have a feeling the guys will find something other than shopping to do all day Saturday, but we are going to enjoy our trip.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my posts.  I love hearing from you,

Blessings,

Karen

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