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The Fear of Being a One-Hit Wonder

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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.

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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.

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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.

Blessings,

Karen

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Black and White Memories

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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?

Memie

lumi

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

Keeping It Real- Staging for Photos

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Today I am going to talk about one of the problems that I totally blame Pinterest, the Internet, and HGTV for creating.

Because we humans are so visual, we seem believe that the pictures we see on those places above are how folks actually live.  We buy into the image so much that we forget that it was staged, lighted, set, edited and cropped before we ever got a peek.  I would say it is akin to believing that believing that I could fly because I watched Superman do it on television.

This is not real life, folks.  But it is beautiful!  If the homeowners live like this every day, they must be pretty neat people.  With no pets.  Or kids. Or food.

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Casa Mia

dining room

Homes-House

white dining room

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Recently I asked you guys to do a little staging of your own.  I asked you to take a picture of your table as it normally is, then as it looks after you set it for company.  If you did not participate, shame on you.  Not really.  Okay, really a little bit.  The reason I wanted you all to set your tables is that that is home staging you do when you have company over.  Do you live like that all the time?  I will bet the answer is no.

Here are some examples of before and after photos:

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My buddy had her table ready for a shower, so she sort of cheated in the before picture :)! I love her giant table. It looks great set for dinner.
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The photos above are in a newly moved into home! Way to go.

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I really do keep the table at Star Hill pretty neat because it is in the main room of the house and we don’t have much space.  Star Hill is a study in Red, White, and Blue.  And Texas.

 

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I snapped this picture when we were having company over for breakfast.

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Our back deck.  It is a glass topped patio set our neighbors gave us.  It is a sunbaked wilderness most of the day, but in the evening when the shade takes over, it is pleasant.  We have all our large dinners here at Star Hill

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I paid fifty cents for the metal yellow plates at a garage sale.  The funky yellow wine goblets were in the attic of Star Hill when we moved in.  I think the original owners must have left them behind.  They are fun.

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The Southern Belle even played along.  Yes folks, she owns this beautiful custom made table and she keeps it beautiful.  It is mixed with mid century chairs that are upholstered in a cool fabric.  She found the chairs on Craig’s List as is.  True story.

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Here it is set with her Fiesta dishes and bright napkins.

 

Aren’t the tables great?  I love the variety.  If you have ever set the table for company, you are a home stager. You know how to set the scene, make the table “feel” inviting and show off its’ best assets.

The messages that made me sad when I put out the call for pictures were three that I got that told me they would not participate because they were embarrassed about their houses so they would just enjoy what others did for their homes.

If there are things you do not like about your home, you are not alone.

The vast majority of the world has something they wish they could change about their homes and things that they really don’t want others to see.  I will bet that even those bloggers who have amazing rooms have some place in their home that needs work. A friend of mine years ago stuffed a bunch of things into the oven because company was coming over then forgot.  She turned on the oven several days later and scorched some paperwork.  I personally would be embarrassed if someone looked in my garage when we have company coming because it is usually the dumping zone.

I live in a house that currently has four adults, two dogs, a cat, and a fish.  I re-purpose furniture, as a hobby and it tends to spread. My house is far from spotless.  It is lived in.  Every room.  Right now there is furniture in our breakfast space.

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I decided to show you one of the tables we set when the crowd gets large at Star Hill.  Yep, it is my painting table.  Just plywood painted with exterior paint. Oh, and all my paint drips.

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I set the table for two.  the flowers are out of our yard.  The picnic basket is from a garage sale, the table-cloth was a wedding gift almost 33 years ago.  A friend of my mom made it for us.

 

There are times that I am photographing a project when the ONLY space that is neat is what fits inside the viewfinder on the camera.  To the right, left and behind me may be a mess of things I have pulled out and a mirror reflecting light into the cave like space I am photographing in our suburban home.

Photography is not real life folks. Real life is messy. Real life is imperfect. Real life is opportunity.

I hope you have a great day.  Make some memories.

Blessings,

Karen

 

Tamarindo Costa Rica Excursions

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Here are photos from our excursions. My tummy trouble stopped me from visiting the volcano, but my Hubby took pictures for me.

First Into the Estuary.
We took a trip up the river that flows through the area and into the sea by boat. Our guide, Pony, did not speak English. I got to practice my Spanish. It made me laugh to follow Pony through the mangroves to see the Howler monkeys. He was barefoot though the rocky soil but had a pink High School Musical backpack.
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We saw birds, monkeys, and fish. Our guide was shocked we did not see any crocodiles. I guess they needed beauty sleep. We were first on the river that morning. The other boats came up the river as we were going back.

http://www.seabirdsailingexcursions.com/
We went snorkeling, ate great food cooked on board, and toasted the sunset on this beautiful boat. It is a great deal for those who want to see the beautiful rocky seashore, get out on the ocean and snorkel. I will be honest and tell you the snorkeling was hard work. I was spoiled in Hawaii but it was fun to see the fish. They have promised to post pictures from our trip but not up yet.

http://www.villascostarica.com/tamarindo-turtle-nesting-tours.html

 

No photos of the turtles.  It was dark. I love the ecoturism in the area.  They take good care of their turtles because they know that people come to Tamarindo just to see them.

Finally,

Here are Hubby’s photos of the volcano trip.  I will admit to being a little jealous.

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My students would be proud. #noediting

10 Tips For The Beginner Traveler to Tamarindo, Costa Rica

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As a total newbie to traveling I feel like a fraud writing this blog, but I wanted to share what I have learned on our adventure. If you are a frequent traveler out of your own country, STOP READING NOW. I will bore you to death. If you are new to traveling out of your own country this might be of interest. At least you will get a chuckle out of what we learned the hard way.

We have traveled a fair bit in the USA and into Mexico, but we just got passports for this, our very first adventure out of the country. We picked a beautiful spot, but this is not some package deal pre-planned trip. We are here and figuring it out as we go. Here are a few of the odd things I have learned about this little slice of heaven.

1. Costa Rica doesn’t name streets in small cities like Tamarindo, they name buildings. Make sure you can correctly pronounce the name of the place you are staying and can describe how to get where you are going, and that you know a few simple words in case you get a taxi driver who does not speak English.
izquierda- left
derecho- right
aquí- here
calle- street
adelante- ahead

It could be that possibly we learned this all the hard way. There is a difference between Boca Raca’ and Boca Roca. Our cab driver got yelled at because we were so lost.

2. Be prepared for night when visiting. Street lights are a premium and roads are not paved generally. Sidewalks are sketchy or nonexistent. Bring a flashlight. Bring a pair of tennis shoes for night walking. It is worth it to be prepared because there are some really great things to see at night.

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3. Time is not as important here as it is at home. Make sure you arrange for your ride early enough that if they are on beach time you can still make your flight. The rest of the time, chill out. A meal is going to take a long time. The grocery store takes a long time.

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4. They either have what you are looking for at the grocery or they don’t. The supermarket here is more like a city stop and shop or 7-11. If you have a certain brand you cannot live without, bring it. Sunscreen, toothpaste, shampoo, pain reliever are in the stores, but not US brands.

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5. Water is not served at meals, you have to buy it. Buy a big bottle for your table and share. Drink lots of water. Just get it in bottles.

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6. Few places are air conditioned. Just be prepared for the heat. Dress cool, and know you are probably going to eat meals in open air locations. It really is fun and the food is good. Sometimes it is breathtakingly beautiful.

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7. The price on everything is negotiable. Even posted prices for excursions are negotiable. As long as you are willing to walk away you will get a better deal. The shop in the photo below has posted prices for excursions. We did not pay those prices for anything.

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8. Check into renting a condo rather than a hotel room. The cost is comparable to hotels, there is more space and often offers amenities such a pool, parking space, and 24 hour security. This is the beauty we stayed in. If you are interested in this condo, send me a message.

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9. Change your US money into colons, the national currency. Right now the dollar is strong and you get a better deal. If you have US money have small bills. Come with 1’s, 5’s, 10’s. Most places will take US money, but they will probably give you change in colons. And you will get short changed.

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10. Bring Cipro and Pepto Bismol. Lesson learned. I promise, I did not drink the water and I was pretty careful about the food I ate but I sure picked up a bug that almost landed me in the hospital for dehydration. And I missed the tour of the vlocano which included seeing some awesome animals that Hubby photographed for me. The doctor said if I had taken Cipro at the first sign of illness I would have been better quickly. Call your doctor before leaving and let them know you are leaving the country.

11. Bonus tip. Have fun, talk with strangers, meet new people. We met people from Canada, England, Germany, Belgium, and France. Everyone is tired of winter in case you are wondering. Pura Vida is a common saying in Costa Rica, it means Pure Life literally translated but it really means the Costa Rican way. I wish you all Pura Vida.

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The Bucket List Begins

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This coming week we will be going to Costa Rica!

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You won’t be hearing from me this week. I am unplugging and spending quality time with my husband, brother in law and sister in law.

I promise to take pictures and I hope I come back inspired and refreshed.

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I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Blessings,

Karen

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

mint

american flag

lake livingston

sky over lake livingston

hummingbird wind chime

tick weed

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flowers

Star Hill Bell

chippy paint

bird house collection

hummingbird feeder

rosemary

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