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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

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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.

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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

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.

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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

Creating a Mudroom 

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Well, after 6 months, we have 99% completed our mudroom.


We started with one large room that at one time was a two car garage.  The room was great, but in a home that is on a dirt road, in the country on 15 acres, in an area that gets a lot of rain, with muddy shoes, and a large dog (get the picture?) I needed a place for messy stuff to stop before making it all the way into our main living area.

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The photo above shows the room without the wall and the previous owner’s stuff inside.

Before we even started, we installed vinyl plank flooring.  I still love it and do not regret the decision.  We also added recessed lighting and a cute little schoolhouse light above the door.

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The first step was adding a wall to define the space.  I am crazy about our tounge and groove pine walls that are whitewashed.


The next step was to add a bench.  We hit the jackpot when my dad gave us a 2 inch slab of live edge cedar that is almost 18 inches wide and 90 inches long.  It was the perfect bench seat.  It is installed into the   studs with cleats underneath.  I cannot stop staring at it every time I walk in.


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We need storage in this home.  Desperately.  So instead of cute open storage that I could fill with accessories, it was closed 30 inch stock cabinets painted white that are filled with bbq equipment, marshmallow roasting devices, tools, light bulbs and other not cute items.  Our thought was that we would put things we keep inside but use outside in the space.  The knobs are plain Jane and functional, but I like them.



We also added board and batten walls with a tall ledger board for coat hooks.  I bought a multipack of hooks at Lowe’s for the space.  I like how rounded they are in case one of the giant men who come in our house should connect their head with a hook.


 Because there was a large open wall space and I hadn’t come up with a plan for a mirror or umbrella storage, we moved a very narrow hall tree that was a gift from my buddy, The Social Planner. It has a place for umbrellas at the bottom, a cool round mirror and additional hooks that will hold caps.


  
 I painted all but the wood detail with chalkboard paint.  I wanted the piece to go along with the large chalkboard on the other side of the door and the oak table.  Don’t hate me for painting wood.   I like a mix of wood and color.   It was in rough shape at the bottom after years of mopping around it, and the metal umbrella holder needed to have the dents fixed.  It will proudly serve us well for years to come.
 The other side of the mudroom connects with our laundry room.  We plan on adding a broom closet in the corner that currently holds all the dog toys. ( Just keeping it real, folks.)   It will have a cool screen door when it is my closet!
 We are also planning to add a pocket door to the laundry room so that the current 36 inch door is out of the way.

As soon as the suburban home sells I will be moving the galvanized tubs from the laundry room under the bench.  I did bring one so I could make sure it will work.  It does.  I will be adding felt bumpers to the bottom of the tubs to protect the floors.


We have not been able to find the right ceiling white to touch up the ceiling. I really do not want to paint the entire ceiling right now so we will keep searching and the patch from the lighting will stay unpainted.   We may have to take out a section of ceiling to color match if we can’t find it soon.  (I have done that before, because I hate to paint ceilings.)

I am calling this room done enough that it doesn’t bug me and can move on to other projects once the ceiling is done.  Our next step is to get the barn door in between the mudroom and dining area and enlarge our master closet.  Slow and steady progress.

Thank you all for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

My Dream to Buy an Old Home

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I am about to share something with you all that is probably going to convince those of you who weren’t sure yet, that I am in fact totally insane.  

It has been my dream for years to buy and old home and restore it. (Old homes in Texas are not the same as old homes on the East Coast.  75 years old is an old home.) I always thought we would buy a historic home (100 year old) and bring it back to life when we retired, but providence (or Providence Acres) had other plans.  It looks like we are going to end up on 15 beautiful acres that we love with a 1980 ranch home to mess around with.

The yearning to own and restore and old home has remained even though I love our spot on JJ Lane.  My buddy, The Social Planner, knew my dream and came over with news when we arrived Friday night.  She had seen an old home that needs to be moved not too far from us.  Saturday morning she and I headed out to check the place out. 

  
The land around the house is being cleared. It appears the home was buried in the woods around it for a while.  I was smitten with the front porch.  My guess is that this home was built in the 1940’s.
  

Beadboard barrel ceiling with side lights.
   

The inside…well, let’s just say it would probably scare most folk off. (The sane ones, anyway)
 

The Sheetrock has been removed and only the shiplap is showing.
  

The front bedroom above is a nice size the windows and the hardwood flooring is still there.  All the rest of the room and the bath down the little hall have been gutted.  I saw potential.
   

The kitchen is a mess.  
  

At some point the kitchen was remodeled and a tile kitchen counter was added.  

 

The sun room on the back has beautiful beadboard and a bank of Windows across the back.
   
 

Someone has removed the wall between the two rooms in the front of the house and I am not sure how long that temporary support is going to hold.  There is also a brick chimney on top of the house that would have to go.  The pipe in the wall leads to the chimney.
   

The back bedroom has some shiplap that is 18 inches wide.  Termites ate the Sheetrock paper but didn’t seem to touch the wood.  The lines you see are termite tunnels. 
 

Someone has removed every door and the frames are stacked in the front room.
   

The front door is still there, which I love.

All that sheet rock removal helps to see the structure of the house which is solid.  The old girl is even still level with no sloping rooms.
 

I have no idea if moving this house is possible, if it is feasible, if it is financially possible, or even if this house is worth saving, but it has sparked a renewed desire to have a home to restore.  We have a lot of checking to do before we even make an offer.  My heart will not break if it doesn’t work out.

This may be an opportunity for us.  We live near where the new Houston Area Boy Scout camp is getting built.  They are anticipating 1000 boys a weekend yearly up here with at least that many for weeks during the summer.  That means lots of parents driving up.  We think that a bed and breakfast VRBO or Air BnB type home will be in demand when the Boy Scouts desend. 

Right now we are prayerfully considering adding a cottage along with The Guest Shed for guests.  This may not work out and it probably would be cheaper to build new, but I can dream. Between us and The Social Planner and her hubby I think we could manage.  Especially once I retire.  My buddy has a stash of supplies as big as mine and would enjoy the process as me.

Either way, I will let you know what we decide. 

On a happy note Mr. Math got his tractor Saturday.  He found an 8 year old tractor online with 102 hours on the engine for a great deal and he is thrilled.  

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

I love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Craft/ Guest Room Update

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Over the holidays we got a little done on the craft/ guest room.  We aren’t finished with the room, but I am excited with how it is turning out.  I love that this room really will have two functions.

The Guest Room

It is a guest room when the Murphy Bed is down and the Expando-Matic is closed.



See my zinc mirror?  It found a great home after I changed offices and lost space at work.

I am planning an accent wall inside the Murphy Bed.


The quilt 0n top was made by my great grandmother.  I just picked up the turquoise suitcase for fifty cents at a resale shop.  I had to show it off.


The shelves that hold my globes collected over the years are made from left over plywood from the Murphy Bed build and brackets from Lowe’s.  The yellow clock has a story.  My dad was getting rid of the clock frame so I snagged it.   The shutter was out of my stash.  It got a coat of paint and will be my idea board.

The Craft Room

When the Murphy Bed is up and the Expando-Matic is pulled out I have six glorious feet of craft space.  The most unfinished function of the room is the craft part.  I need the leaves for the epansion built, some things installed, and the closet redesigned.

It is going to be awesome.





I am a lucky girl.

Here are some closer shots of the walls.  The Texas map was rescued from the trash.  Someone used permanent marker on it, the frame was broken and the bottom was messed up.  It was perfect for me.  I got the market off with hairspray in case you didn’t know that trick.


  
  
The room is coming together.

Thanks for following our journey to make our ranch into our forever home.

Blessings,

Karen

Creating a Ship Lap Wall for the Mudroom

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Eight years ago the second owners of Providence Acres, our weekend home, took in the garage of our rambling ranch.  The end result was that there was more room inside the home, space for a dining room and more usable space.

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See the beam  in the photo above?  That is where the garage wall used to be.  The garage space is what they used as their living space, as you can tell from the photo.  They largely ignored the space around the fireplace that we use.

The downside to the former homeowner’s room configuration was that entrance to the house most used did not have a place to drop muddy shoes, coats, bags, and other assorted items. That door at the end of the room is the most used door in the home.

My solution was to build a wall at the end of the garage addition.  Although it was my solution, Mr. Math did all the work to build the wall with a doorway connecting it to the main room.

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Wow we have come a long way.  No more concrete floor.
The great thing about  the location of the mudroom is that we will be able to enter the house go directly into the laundry room and kitchen.

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Before the wall was even up, I knew it would be covered in ship lap siding.  I could not imagine the wall looking any other way.  Oh, and it needs a barn door.  An X style  barn door.  With black hardware…wait.  I digress.  We are not there yet.

Back to the ship lap.  This time we went back to a product we used eight years ago.  V Groove pine planks.  We used them to fix the ceiling at Star Hill when we realized that the ceiling needed insulation

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You can see the ceiling in the photo above.  We installed it and allowed the wood to naturally darken over the years.

The wood comes in packages of six eight foot boards and is reasonable.  Like less than $11.00 a package. All in, to cover two sides of a fifteen foot by eight foot tall wall it was right at $200.00.  We added 1X4 pine boards as trim for the door, ceilings, and baseboards for another $50.00.    Mr. Math put it up with the air nailer after he located the studs and marked them so that they could be quickly nailed.

We picked one crazy weekend to get the wall up.  A tropical storm blew in.  It rained. Buckets.

Insert Coldspring into the red band north of the 13.40

The wind blew. Hard.  Our dog was totally freaked out by the  air compressor being in the house. She got out and  ran to hide at our neighbor’s house.  She wouldn’t come home. Even in the rain.  Fun times.  Add to that a dead battery in the truck Sunday and you can imagine how grumpy we were.

We started by laying a plank on the floor and using it as a spacer.  Be warned about this wood.  You have to look at every single package.  This is not first quality wood.  I personally like the look of cracked boards, a bit of bark showing through and knot holes.  Mr. Math…not so much.  Neither one of us liked the warped boards that we had to convince to lay flat on the wall with a block and hammer.

In spite of everything, the wall got finished,the nail holes spackled, everything put away by dark Sunday.

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I love the look.  The texture is exactly what I wanted in the house.  I plan on adding this treatment to the other end of the room eventually and our bedroom wall.  But first, we need to get the mudroom done.

It was my plan to prime and paint the wall, like this room done by House of Smiths

ce0d5-diywoodplankedwallstutorial-thehouseofsmithsblog

but Mr. Math, the wood lover, has asked me to at least try whitewashing the wall.lie our suburban master bedroom.

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He even agreed to sand the walls where I spackled. I am going to give it a shot, even though I see it painted white in my head.  We shall see.


After the wall is taken care of, I will be sanding a beautiful two inch thick live edge cedar plank that is going to be our bench and the wall behind the bench needs to have some simple wainscoting and cabinets installed.

cedar natural edge

After the bench we get to build the barn door.

Thank you all for following along on our journey to turn this home into a place that reflects our rustic, easy care, dog friendly, family and friends welcome, home.

I love hearing from you.  What are your thoughts? Painted ship lap or whitewashed?

Blessings,

Karen

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