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Finds From Our Week in the Woods

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We just spent a week at the Redneck Retreat. The weather was beautiful and we spent the week getting some projects done and spring cleaning. It is the perfect place to walk and enjoy nature. There are trails, creeks, a pond, flowers, and animals a plenty.

While on one of my walks I discovered an interesting dump site. The dump site was virtually all old dumped alcohol bottles. The bottles are tossed in the woods along what at one time was the main road past the land the Redneck is located on when the land was part of the Weir Long Leaf Lumber Company. The article below is from Galveston in 1922. I find it unbelievable that the town, company, railroad, swimming pool etc. was built with the expectation that it would only be there 18 years or until all the virgin timber was gone.

After the mill moved along the land was left in rough shape and the area suffered. It did have one benefit though, until Jasper county changed their laws in 2017, Newton County was a wet county while adjacent Jasper County was dry. Basically you could buy alcohol in Newton country and not Jasper. Our property is just over the county line. The landmark we use to tell people that they need to turn is County Line Liquor.

I can’t imagine why this particular road (trail really) was party central in the 1960’s ( after a little checking most of the bottles and the few cans I saw were from that time) but my guess is that it was a quick trip for more supplies if needed.

I did pull a few bottles off the top and brought them back to clean up.

I loved the green ones so I searched them online. I now know that they were Mickey’s Widemouth Bottles and that they switched from snap on lids to screw on in 1980 but were made starting in the 1950’s.

They are plentiful on ebay and Etsy.

The ones I found will be holding the wildflowers I love to pick when we are up there.

We have lots to still explore on the property and look forward to making memories there for years to come.

We are so blessed to have a place to get away to and share with our family and friends.

We love hearing from you all.

Blessings,

Karen

Santa Fe Color

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I know it is December and I should be writing about Christmas, but I just got back from Santa Fe and being the oversharer that I am, I wanted to share Santa Fe with you.

If you haven’t been to Santa Fe, New Mexico, I would suggest you add it to your bucket list.  It is a unique and quirky little city with an artsy style like no other.  Back in the 1950’s the city decided that what they had was special and enacted laws to preserve the look, size, and feel of this desert mountain oasis.

The buildings are almost all brown and a form of Adobe style. (Only grandfathered buildings are not Adobe and brown.). I stay lost when I am there because there aren’t the usual landmarks. (There are five shades of brown allowed for buildings.)  The Santa Fe color comes out in the trim, the textiles, the pottery, and the plants around the homes and businesses.

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I realized this week that even though I don’t have Santa Fe style in design I am drawn to Santa Fe colors. I love the turquoise, teal, red, orange, brown, and cream colors. They soothe me and make me feel at home.

Here are a few shots taken on my iPhone. No camera this trip. I was working and a camera bag didn’t make the cut.

 

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Outdoor art is everywhere.  I really like this wind park.

Enjoy a few shots from outdoor  vendors.  You can really see the colors come through here.  Once again, sorry about the photo quality.

 

 

 

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The colors are vibrant and full of life.  My favorite place to shop is the market square.  All the vendors are native Americans who hand make the items.  Their work is beautiful and the stories are even better.

It seems like

I also like how the rustic wood plays against the bright colors.

 

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Santa fe street

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Here are a few pieces I have done that have that Santa Fe color scheme:

close up of turquoisedresser

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twin bed bench

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I love the bright colors on a cold day.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you have a wonderful day,

 

Blessings,

 

Karen

7 Unconventional Christmas “Trees”

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Hubby and I went on an adventure to Spring Texas to see the Christmas décor at Main Street America.  Those folks are genius!  They have figured out a way get people to pay to look at model homes and sell the furniture that they stage the homes with in a furniture store on site.  We barely made it to the last night of the Christmas on Main Street event.  I will, by tonight have photos of the Christmas trees and décor up by the end of the night on My Burb Home, which is my other blog.  But, here are several “Trees” I fell in love with and plan to attempt to replicate next year.

For the Weekend Home:

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stick and wire christmas tree

I love this stick and wire wall tree.  Hubby wants to make ours out of barbed wire. I do not however, want the creepy figure hanging from the top.

Stacked Log Tree
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What an easy tree to make for a small space! Perfect for our little home.

Wood Parts Trees

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I am not sure what to call these three trees, but one is made from wood discs, one from wood chips, and one from bark. They will be perfect at the lake house.
wood disc trees

For My Burb Home

stick and ball tree
I love the simplicity of this Mod Podged frame filled with balls. Some are covered with twine, some with decoupage, some with natural materials. You will see a large one of these in the odd space in our hallway next year. Think sheet music here.

For School

It is all going to be about books next year at school.

Book Pages Tree
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book pages Christmas Tree

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What a simple idea. Tear pages from books and attach them to a tree form. I think mine will be tea stained.

Book Tree
A tree from books. I LOVE THIS!
Book Christmas Tree

Finally, there were two other trees I am not sure where they will end up, but I will be looking for the parts to make them.

Ball Tree
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Ball Tree

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I will be looking for random balls to make look like these at resale and garage sales this year to make these. I really like the look.

Starfish Christmas Tree
I am in love with these trees. I know a ton of folks with beach houses, so if I find cheap starfish, I will be making one of these… just because they are fun.
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starfish Chrismas Trees

Open House at the Rockin’ F Ranchito

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Map of Texas highlighting San Jacinto County

Map of Texas highlighting San Jacinto County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you remember my Social Planner, Tanis? She and her husband Larry retired to Coldspring, Texas and have spent the last year selling their two homes- a lake house and their city home, clearing land, planning a new home, and finally building and moving in to their dream home. They really did find a slice of heaven when they found the 22 acres that they are quickly turning into their family gathering spot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This past weekend they held an open house. Friends and family were invited up to visit and enjoy their world. The Social Planner went all out.

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You know it is going to be a place in the country when you have to have signs  because the GPS might not work.

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The house was in full fall decorating mode,

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I love the front porch.  I wish I could bottle the view,

Texas Wreath

 

The Social Planner’s niece made this awesome wreath.  Love it.

 

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The barn red front door looks perfect.

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Beside the front door there is this great fountain.  It is so peaceful and the etched rocks remind the person sitting on the porch why the couple chose this spot.

 

fall mums

 

I love the fall mums.

There was a hay ride, the covered porch was loaded with ice chests, places to sit and eat and things for the kiddos to do.

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lola

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on hay ride

 

hay ride on property

The Social Planner has three grandkids already and another on the way. She also has a nephew with three kids and when all of them are over the place is hopping. It is great to see a place that is so full of laughter and love.

Out at the back of the property the guys hunt doves, do target practice and just hang out.

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The Social Planner got lots of loot at her open house. I am so happy for both of them. They have a beautiful home and open hearts.

 

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The frame above and the chalkboard below are in their awesome laundry room.  The Social Planner found the two windows on the side of the road.  They are as found, except for a couple of coats of poly.   One day the house will be empty enough for me to take pictures of the room.  This weekend it was full of purses, phones charging, dogs, and toys.

 

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The Social Planner and her childhood friend working in the kitchen.  This kitchen fed a ton of people.

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Enjoy the photos from their beautiful home and friends who visited for the weekend.  I hope the photos reflect their style, the love their friends feel for them, and family.

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Getting The Backyard Sale Ready

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Our city home is on a funny lot. We have a great big corner lot with established trees and a huge side yard but our back yard is a narrow L shaped space. This lack of a private back yard has not been a problem for us. This is a front yard neighborhood. We hang out with our neighbors, their kids and grandkids. We have watched them practice baseball, walk to the bus stop, learn to ride bikes and even learn to drive. Years ago Hubby, the kids, and I put in a rock walkway and flower beds back there along with a pergola. The rock we chose did not hold up well, sooo out it had to come. The flower beds haven’t had the care they needed the past two years so they were a weedy mess. Hubby has done all the work up to today, but I have been recruited, drafted, enslaved to get the back yard finished up and ready for its close up inspection.

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Yep. This weedy mess was our backyard.

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Gross.

Don’t judge us. We work a lot of hours. I know, it is pretty gross right?

Step 1- power washing the concrete. We were able to borrow a power washer which saved us a ton and allowed us to use it in stages as needed. It is amazing how much better the concrete looks clean.

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It was too icky for me to even be outside. I had to wash the windows when he was done.

Step 2– lay down landscape fabric under the path. This really does help keep the weeds out and in the sub-tropical climate we live in weeds are ever present.

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Step 3– the heavy lifting. Moving 700 lbs of flagstone and 2 yards of crushed granite, adding sand under the rocks as needed to level them. This took a while. Hubby sprayed down the house with a pump up sprayer full of diluted bleach to kill the mildew on the siding while we took a break for lunch. There was some yelling during this point. We were both hot and tired. 87 degrees in March.
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Step 4– Power washing the siding and laying a tarp down on the path to throw the weeds on. We then weeded the beds. It looks better already, but by this time the dirt yard was closed. Hubby had to get mulch after work Monday.

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Step 5-adding some color, cleaning the windows and sprucing up. We have a borrowed bistro set in the back yard. It got the power wash treatment along with everything else. I added a tough hanging basket that should survive our neglect and new plants to the wall hanger along with a few annual plants are all we are doing because we are afraid of the upkeep right now. The two chairs where the kitchen patio is we’re faded so they got spray painted turquoise fusion paint. A metal table from the hoard, a chandelier I bought on clearance last year and some votive candle stakes added a little more interest.

Here is the almost finished project. We still need to add in annual plants to the beds. What do you think? I wish we had done this sooner so we could have enjoyed it more. We will be getting colorful plants once the wind dies down.

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The Front Yard

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Project number one in selling the city house was rehabbing the front yard. Hubby got all the weeds out the flower beds, trimmed the bushes, added mulch and replaced the rocks that edge the beds cleaned. A little power washing and using the blower took care of the left over mess. Sounds easy huh? Well the project took the better part of three evenings of hard work and two trailers full of mulch. It looks great though. Enjoy.

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Spring is Just Around the Corner

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I took some pictures this weekend at Star Hill. It was almost eightry degrees. In January! Everything was showing signs of spring coming on. I am proud of a few of my pictures. I think they are improving.

Getting Schooled by a 21 Year Old on Photography

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Monday afternoon I got “schooled” by a 21 year old on photography. Chance stopped by the office to visit. Chance was a student I knew in high school. He saw that I had one of my photos framed and on the shelf. It was a picture I am proud of, taken at the boat launch near our lake house. It was a foggy morning and someone had chained their boat to our auxiliary boat launch. I loved the tranquil scene.

Chance took one look at my picture, told me I did a good job, then proceeded to tell me what he would have done differently. He suggested I get a little lower when I photograph the shot. Now I wouldn’t take that from most people, i mean I liked it enough to frame it, but this kid knows his stuff. I am buying two of his photographs for my office. You know what a tightwad I am, so that should tell you how good they are.

I did not post my photo after his comments, but I will be taking some more soon.

We live in the same area, see the same things and yet he makes the ordinary into art.

It is not that he has the best camera. He took this shot with his phone.
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The other pictures are from locations near where I live.

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He can give me photography suggestions any time he wants to. Check out his work at Photos by Chance

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Goldfinches at Star Hill

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My daughter thinks I am a scary bird lady. She even tagged a nice lady’s picture from a bird sanctuary holding a falcon as me on Facebook. I do love watching the birds at our lake house, we call Star Hill. I keep Birds of Texas books on my end table and binoculars at the ready. My kids think that is funny, and probably a little creepy. Every year Lesser Goldfinches come through Star Hill during the winter. I love seeing them. They come in in droves, feed on sunflower seeds and thistle, and give me joy. I love these little yellow birdies. They fight with each other on the feeders and line up on the fence for their turn when the feeder is too full for them to fit any more. The whole yard is covered with the little birds when they fly in. The feeder is a sock like device that is filled with thistle seed. It was hard to get pictures of it full because every time I got the camera out and stood by the door our goofy dog started barking. The birds I got to photograph were just happy that they got a turn after everyone else flew off.
I am enjoying my new camera.

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Driftwood

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Doesn’t this look like a claw in this picture?

Last summer in our part of Texas there was a drought. The lack of rain in the whole region caused the lake level to drop lower than it had been in years. We got to see the lake bottom like we had never seen it. It go to the point that we could walk out the boat launch and around a point that we normally boat by. On one of those long lake bottom walks I discovered a large piece of wood half buried in the sand. We dug the wood out and it was beautiful. This log had to have been already laying on the ground when the lake filled in 1967. It was clear that the wood had been under water for years and years. It was covered in worm holes, completely black from lack of oxygen, and beautifully preserved. Oh, did I mention it was HEAVY? It wasn’t so bad to carry for a little while, but we were a good mile from the truck. Hubby and I carried it back to the truck and put it in the garage.

 When it dried it was obvious that it needed to be cleaned up.  Our friend Larry has a power washer and he volunteered to clean it one day when I was over so I could show him what I wanted done.  The log was moved to their lake house garage.  One thing led to another and time got away from us.  Now that their lake house is being sold they needed to give us back the log, but Larry did loan us the power washer too. 

I have a fear of power tools but I LOVED the power washer. 

I power washed the entire thing three times, allowing it to dry between washing so that I could see what needed to be cleaned.
The next step was to polycyrlic the entire thing.  I am one of those people who think you should try to do things on your own but if you have never used poly this is not the place to start.  I almost ruined the piece and I have used it many times. It was almost impossible to see runs or drips and poly leaves foamy places if not wiped down.

 I love all the worm holes in the wood.

 This is the foamy look that has to be wiped off.  It just did not love going into the nooks and cranny’s.

 I planned on using it on the farm table.  It is too big.  I need to find a new home for it or Hubby is going break off some parts.