Blogging, Dresser, mudroom, Painted Furniture, phot editing, Photography, Repurposed Furniture, The City House

The Fear of Being a One-Hit Wonder

Okay, here is a quiz. What is Carl Douglas famous for?

How about The Knack?

Do you know what Rednex is famous for?

I will bet you know their work.

Do you remember “Everybody was Kung Foo Fighting. It was fast as lightning”?  Kung Foo Fighting was   Sung by Mr. Carl Douglas


How about My Sharona?  The Knack knocked that one out.


Rednex is famous for a song that is played at least once a night at almost every Texas bar… Cotton Eyed Joe.

After that these bands/singers either broke up, stopped singing, or just never produced another hit.  I guess it really ages me that I do remember all of them, and they were pre-music video era.

I jokingly say I am a one hit wonder, too. You see, my mudroom bench is without a doubt the single most viewed and pinned post I have ever done. All the rest of my posts combined would be about half what the other posts have been viewed. I think of the mudroom bench as my one hit wonder.  Don’t get me wrong, I love that bench.  It is the first thing I use when I walk into the house every day and my last stop on the way out the door.  But, I like other pieces I have done just as much.  They just didn’t get noticed like that one did.

I think it was the lighting in the photo I took.  We are after all visual folk.

Finished Mudroom Bench

I wonder if it would have been as popular if this was what I put out for the world to see?

The Finished Mudroom Bench


Here are a few of my other projects that I think get looked over.  It may have been when they were posted, how they were photographed, or maybe I really am a one hit wonder who just got lucky the one time.

western dresser


My Western Dresser for the lake house Bunk room.   It makes me smile when I walk in the room, still.

Finished Yellow and Grey Guestroom


The yellow and gray bedroom.  It all started with a table I picked up on the side of the road and a son moving out.  In case you are wondering, yes I stenciled the wall.  I still love the look.  I miss that room the most of all the rooms at the city house.

green sofa table


The green buffet table.  This was a thrift store dining table turned into a more narrow buffet with a reclaimed wood top.  I love this table.  Baby boy says it is his favorite piece in our house.  It is about to get an addition.  I am adding a hutch to the top for my milkglass that is about 80% complete.

farmhouse table


Our farmhouse table.  It has at least ten, 1-0 coats of poly on top and I am crazy about this table.  It started out life as a white tile and golden oak table and cedar siding from our lake house.  I am about to change the color of the legs so that it plays nice with the buffet and hutch.

beverage station 1


Finally, the second most popular post is the beverage station.  I have now made three of these with numbers four, five and six in the Garagemahal waiting for their turn.  I have made a green, bright blue and navy blue.  Soon a burnt orange, a green and a cream colored one will be done.

I love showing you all what I do and I really do value your input.  Thanks for taking time out of your busy days to see what we are up to in the country.  I hope your day is wonderful.



family, phot editing, Photography, traveling, vintage style

Black and White Memories

Today we took a trip back to one of the happiest places of my childhood, the east Texas piney woods.  Because I found the trip so nostalgic, I decided to play with black and white for some of my pictures I took.

We enjoyed getting to go by and see the place that I grew up loving.  Our weekend place, The Farm.  The trees my uncle planted now are fully grown and have a rope swing.  The pasture my parents cleared and got poison ivy so bad they had to go to the doctor is still beautiful, the red dirt road is the same.  The house is double the size it was when we lived there.

growing up weekend home

the farm

uncle wendel oak trees

foster hill road

My mom, Memie, and our sweet Lumi are still here with us so I couldn’t make them black and white.

Don’t they both look great?



lumi nose

lumi running


Enjoy the shots taken at some property I fell in love with today and some shots from Dam-B, the lake I grew up on.

light and dark beautiful weed

blue flower


I just had to show you how beautiful this little blue flower is.

old pipe

fence ornament dog on fence

I love these old gate toppers.  I think they are greyhounds but I can’t be sure.

locations sign


The property in the woods has some funny signs.


pine trees in black and white lucky's fishing hole bw fern bw beautyberry yellow flower rattlebox weed     water lillies water lilly buds

phot editing, Photography, Star Hill

What I Learned in Photography Class

This past weekend I took my first ever photography class at Hermann Park in Houston, Texas.  It was chilly for Houston only in the mid 50’s when we got there but the day was beautiful.  I actually signed up for this class through a Groupon (big step for me to use a Groupon) because of this Blog.  I see amazing photography on other blogs and I always feel that what I do is lacking.   The class was though Artistic Photo Academy .  I will be honest and tell you that I probably wouldn’t have taken the class unless Sweet Amanda had agreed to come with me.  I really needed her too.  She listens better than I do.

Here is what I learned in a nutshell:

The camera I have is a decent introductory SLR, but not awesome.

I need a different lens- well actually I guess I need two different lenses.  a 50 1.8 and an 18 to 200 lens.  I do not have either one.

I need to get some reflectors

To boil down everything above- Photography is an expensive hobby if you want to do it well.  Darn it!

After the class I can now:

Meter the light in my shots and make sure I have the proper exposure.

I know how to use the M setting (manual) on my camera.

To a lesser degree I can use the TV mode.  Still shaky on this one.

I can adjust the shutter speed.

I can take a picture with movement in it that isn’t blurry.

To summarize- I learned a little that I think will help my photography- but I still have a lot to learn.

Here are some of my awful shots from the beginning of class.  I was trying to take a photo of a tree from close up, two feet, and 4 feet.  Truly awful lighting. I went first on this exercise and think my teacher was happy that my first shots were so bad.  He could show the other students what NOT to do.


I even over exposed the instructor!

IMG_1842 IMG_1843 IMG_1846


I did get better.  I was able to get a shot of the fountain without blur.  You can see the actual water drops.


The exercise was to catch the movement of the water.  This is set at  1/4000 .


I love the bride in the background.



And here is my favorite shot of the day.  I love the sleeping duck.

IMG_1874 IMG_1885 IMG_1898 IMG_1901

I really enjoyed our instructors.

You gotta love a Texas guy who shows up in downtown Houston in his old boots.


Can you pick out our other instructor?


Yep, the Lumberjack with his hat on sideways and gym shorts.  He is young but he knows his stuff!

Here are my portrait pictures of Sweet Amanda.  I think she is stunning.

IMG_1859 IMG_1861

I now have homework.  I am supposed to take 50 shots a day and spend 30 minutes each evening metering the light while pointing it toward the  television.

Here is my favorite of the 50 from Sunday.  The cardinals now have 3 eggs in their nest outside our window.

IMG_1920 IMG_1924

I hope I didn’t bore you with my show and tell.

Have a great week.

Nature, phot editing, Photography

Getting Schooled by a 21 Year Old on Photography

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.

The other pictures are from locations near where I live.










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


Christmas, family, phot editing, Photography

Taking Family Photos to Send Out

I am the absolute worst in the world at sending out Christmas cards. My daughter, The Southern Belle, and my mom make me ashamed every year that they can get this done and I cannot. I made the decision that this year I am sending out family cards in January. They go out this week. I need to let those that I love know that I am thinking of them, even if December is too nutty for me to even think of sitting down to write out cards. I have written a letter to send and while we were at the beach I forced convinced my family to go out on the jetty so that we could take pictures that I made a collage out of. I got the idea from this blog. I took one of my chalkboards and had each group write one word on the chalkboard to represent them. I love the results. My photography skills are improving a little.
Here is the one going out:

This was created using Pic Stitch
I hope you enjoy the out takes too. It really took about ten shots per group to get the shot I wanted. Full disclosure: The Southern Belle deleted most of her out takes.

I used a variety of photography apps to create the collage I plan to send out. Here are some of the attempts along with the iPad app I used.

this is a program called Collage
I loved this one, but could not get Miss Maeby in the shot.

This one was from Frame Artist.
Remember that I am cheap so the apps are all the free or 99 cent variety. There were things I liked and did not like about each of them, but my guess is that most of my problems was due to operator error.

Happy 2013 from my family. Continue reading “Taking Family Photos to Send Out”

phot editing, Photography

Confessions of a Bad Photographer

True confession time.  I take terrible pictures.  If you have been following my blog you already know that I am not the best photographer. I really wish I were a better “picture taker”. I know what good photography looks like or more importantly, how I feel when I look at good work. I would recommend a young photographer, named Chance if you want to see the area I live in through artistic eyes. He makes east Texas look like a little slice of heaven. This kid is good and he is 20 years old! He posts his work on a Facebook page- Photos by Chance. He has a great camera now, but some of his amazing pictures were taken with his phone so equipment can’t be my excuse. I recommend the Lost Lake pictures.  I have been looking at some photo editing apps for my Ipad.  I don’t take many pictures with the Ipad because it is a pain to get them into the blog, but I figure if I am going to keep blogging, I better make what I do look as good as possible. Here are a few photos I snagged from Facebook today while waiting for my dad to get out of surgery.  ( He is fine!) I have included before and after shots using the Ipad Apps.  They are still not amazing pictures, but the cleaned up versions look a little better.

Before- There is too much clutter.

Now the focus is on The Southern Belle and Maeby.
 She is too cute for a before picture to look bad, so it is just the after photo.
The ugly breaker box and satellite dish doesn’t look too bad when the focus is on the azaleas.
Once again, I tried to make the picture more about the main thing and less about the background.

I still want a new camera, but I will work on having better photos in the blog. Thank you for reading. I appreciate hearing that you read what I write and like it.