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A Seven Foot Buffet Table for the Far from Perfect Patio

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We bought a stainless steel tool bench table top that was dented because it was dropped in shipping for $45.00 a year ago. The top is a stainless steel sheet covering workbench hardboard and weighs 83 lbs.

I didn’t know exactly what we were going to do with the tool bench top but I convinced Mr. Math that we needed it, even if only just for the shop and it was a great deal. Now that we have the deck, I wanted a serving table/ work space sort of what they made at Always Chasing Life . I liked the casters so that we could move around where we needed it. Now that we can move from the the front porch to the back porch all on the same level it will be easy to set up as we need when we once again have groups over to the house. Since our serving table will be outside all the time it needed to be made from treated lumber or painted with outdoor paint or with rot resistant wood. This one has a bit of all that.

We are still working on a budget to get the deck done and I am still trying to get the clutter cleaned up in our storage so I tried hard to not buy anything more than absolutely necessary for this project. I knew we had some 4×4 posts for the legs a friend gave us a while back when they repacked their porch posts. I also remembered that we have scraps of cedar boards around that need to be used up. We just had to purchase 4 2X4 boards and 2 1X4 boards along with casters for the legs to help the 7 foot beast move around easily in order to put this together. I collected the scrap cedar and posts then Mr. Math bought the wood and casters.

The cedar was a variety of lengths and widths. A table saw and planer fixed that.

Mr. Math assembled the frame and I stained and painted it with materials on hand.

I knew I wanted the shelf on bottom to be able to hold things when needed but not hold water when it rains so we spaced the boards four inches apart. We cut the boards for the shelf to width, planed, and sanded most of the old paint and stain off the boards-but not all because I like letting it show through , then sealed the cedar boards with a clear outdoor sealer and finally nailed them to the bottom 2X4’s for additional storage when using it as a serving table. We did leave the center board a little wider to make the spacing work.

L brackets attached the top to the base.

The table is far from perfect just like everything back there and Mr. Math still needs to work on the dents on the top a little more but it looks good and will be useful. It won’t rust or rot outdoors, will be a good work station and food serving space, and will store right next to the house.

The Husky sign side will be the back side of the server, but it isn’t awful.
This ding needs additional love but will never be perfect. I am okay with that.
It will be parked here until the grill gets moved and the deck gets stained. Then it will be under the covered porch.

Altogether we spent about $60.00 on a seven foot long counter height stainless workspace that is far from perfect but I am thrilled to have it. I can’t wait to get everything totally put together and for us to be able to have a blow-out party once the coast is clear on the Covid front.

I hope you are staying safe, and finding reasons to be thankful in this season.

We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Next Steps on the Deck

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Now that the deck and the porch are connected, I consider them one thing. Not so with Mr. Math. He still considers them separate so I will give you the deck only run down on what we still need to do to get it finished. The porch is on the horizon.

First we need to add cedar around the pergola posts. We want the posts to match the front porch and carport porches like you see below. That will not be a hard project. We will get to keep our feet on the ground most of the time.

Next, we need to add a wind break for where the grill is going to go. We have 5 feet of deck outside the pergola.

I saw this windbreak online and saved it but can’t find the source. Ours is going to look a lot like this only with the boards closer and going around the corner. The gray porch paint and cedar stain will look a lot like this.

We are also going to add Edison patio lights to the pergola and this globe candle holder.

Finally, about August or September we are going to stain the deck with a cedar color. It takes up to six months for the treated wood to be ready to accept stain but the heat and rain seem to be speeding it along. It already has stopped beading water which is a sign it is ready.

Once the deck is finished the porch gets underway.

We are enjoying our summer and hope you are too.

Blessings,

Karen

Phase 1 of the Deck is Done

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When I shared with you the Far from Perfect Patio furniture I told you the deck wasn’t ready for you to see yet but as of 11:00 a.m. today, phase 1 of the project is done! Woo hoo!

We have a great group of friends who love to get together to hang out, eat, and drink. Mostly we just want to be together. In early March, everyone showed up at our house for supper. The weather was nice and the group ended up jammed on our 12x 12 back porch.

I took this today and am dying because I forgot to take my next project out of the picture but this is the back porch. The porch is about to have a makeover too. Imagine 12 people in folding chairs, around the table and avoiding the grill on this space.

Having our friends all crowded up on he porch got us thinking that we needed a bigger space in the backyard. We also didn’t have an easy way to move from the carport to the back porch. Most people went through the house to get there. We decided that the best solution was a 12 x 20 deck to connect the porch and the carport. The porch faces west but there are a lot of trees back there to give evening shade.

The first step was to clear the space, grade it to a slight slope away from the house and attach ledge boards to the house and porch.

He did get help to put the giant pergola posts into the 36 inch deep holes. A hardworking college kids came out to help him. Once the pergola posts were in I drilled pilot holes in the deck boards and he screwed them to the joists. We got the whole deck down in one day. Then we headed to our friends’ hot tub to work out the kinks. I didn’t take a single picture of the deck until we got the giant header boards up. I was too exhausted to think. Once again thank goodness for the college kid. We could not have done this alone.

The top of the pergola tested us. We got all rafters up then went on a scheduled camping trip. We returned and it stated to rain. It rained every day at least an inch for a week. We then left again for another camping trip. When we finally came home and could work the pressure treated boards had warped some. We, an I do mean we, Had to get up on the ladders and had to work hard get them back where they belonged so that an end board could be attached at each end. I recommend working with treated lumber as quickly as you can. It is very wet and as it dries it changes shape.

Finally, today Mr. Math got on top of the pergola and attached the cross pieces. We selected rested 1×4 for this part. It took him a while to get things set up but he finished the cross pieces in about an hour. The clean up took almost as long.

I put this watermelon on the table to remind myself that even though we were not super speedy getting the deck done to this point, we weren’t idle. We planted a pretty high garden this year that included squash, zucchini, green beans, purple hull peas, corn cucumbers, tomatoes, tomatillos, okra, cantaloupe and watermelon. I am pretty proud of us.

In the near future we will be wrapping the posts with cedar and adding a wind screen and place for the grill to go. While waiting for the treated wood to be ready to stain we are moving on to the porch. It is in desperate need of love and attention.

I hope that this trying time finds you and yours safe and healthy.

We love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Karen

The Far from Perfect Patio Furniture

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Hello friends from Providence Acres where I always seem to have a project going and my sweet husband does the heavy lifting. We are in the process of building a deck on the back of our house. We are adding a total of 240 square feet of semi shaded outdoor space that will connect our carport to our back porch and I cannot wait to get it finished. It has been slow going for us, but we are making steady progress in spite of lots rain, humidity, keeping up with the garden, mowing, and heat. Lots and lots of heat. We set a budget of $2000 to get the porch built and we are going to be close, but a little over. I can’t wait to show it to you but we aren’t quite ready yet. As we worked on the deck I kept thinking about a patio dining table and chairs we had out in our barn. The set was given to us by our buddies across the road. It was rough when we were given it two years ago and storing it in a barn didn’t help it get any better. When we pulled them out of the barn I had my doubts. Serious doubts.

Mr. Math had to rebuild a lot of the table underside. It is a butterfly leaf table which we had never messed with before.
Every chair needed work, some more than others.

The set was probably pretty expensive when purchased and was well used. It had been refinished at least once but probably twice. Anything wooden left exposed to sun, rain and humidity is going to deteriorate without lots of maintenance and this set was no exception. There was rotted wood, loose screws, broken boards, and general wear and tear.

After Mr. Math got it all repaired, and I learned how to use wood Bondo, I used some Behr Low Luster Porch paint the I found on the oops shelf at Home Depot for $9.00. I find the best stuff there and hang on to it until I find the right project for it. I am not sure what the problem was with the paint but it is definitely a Behr porch paint called Sea Cave.

I hand painted the chairs. Every stinking chair. It took me three days. All because I was afraid to use the airless sprayer I bought two months ago. When I came time to paint the table I knew I was never going to get the finish I wanted without using the sprayer. 2 hours of reading and two YouTube videos later, I asked Mr. Math to help me. The sprayer turned this:

All that work, both underside and top side just over an hour including wait time to turn it over. Why was I a scaredy-cat?

Just thought you might like to see some of the repairs. This set will never be mistaken for brand new, but with the paint job it doesn’t look half bad.

The set turned out better than I expected.

I found the cushions at Family Dollar for $5.00 each. They make the chairs more comfortable and add a bit of color.

All together, including the cushions, paint, screws, plates and Bondo this project cost about $40.00. Not bad for adding seating and a table. We are looking forward to having family and friends over to enjoy them.

Progress on the House

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Right now, Mr. Math is on summer break from teaching so that means it is house renovation time at Providence Acres.

This is the third summer we have been in the house and we have made some real headway into turning the 1982 ranch house into our vision of a warm and welcoming space for us, our family, and friends to enjoy.

Our first year we ripped up the carpet, installed vinyl plank flooring, painted most of the house, and put in a mudroom, and added recessed lighting throughout the main rooms.

Last summer it was a kitchen makeover that I love, love, love. We now have bright white cabinets, a quartz counter top, and a beautiful farmhouse sink. In order to have the kitchen out of commission, Mr. Math had to put in an outdoor sink, cabinets and a slate tile counter top. Add in electrical and a grill and we had an outdoor kitchen This chick will never do dishes in the bathtub again. He did all the work himself last year except installing the quartz counter top. It was rough.

This year we took on a new challenge, adding a carport, metal roof, and enlarging our front porch. It has already changed the look of home. Mr. Math started the process moving the attach aluminum carport. I promise that one day I will tell you about that process. We did something we rarely do, we hired a contractor to do the work.

First they had to remove the existing concrete.

Removing concrete

They had to extend the pad to match the width of the house.

The construction has gone quickly.

The metal went on quickly. There was one small issue, they didn’t order enough metal for the porch.

The color is Mueller Charcoal

Adding a metal roof to a carport

Mueller metal roof

The progress on the underside is moving along. The cedar roof piece is done, electrical is run, cedar clad on the beams, and Hardy panels on the ceiling of the carport.

Cedar clad beams

Hardy board carport ceiling

I am loving the underside of the front porch. Bead board is being installed and will be stained and sealed.

Bead board

The progress is amazing. I am crazy about the improvement to the look of the home. It is going to be great. We already have our first party scheduled. It is going to be a 50th anniversary for our buddies on the SJ River Ranch.

Thanks for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

Bead board ceiling

An Update

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Well hello there. What in the world are you doing still hanging around? The past year has been a real world wind. I will never say anything bad about my job. I love it, a lot. As I wind down to retirement one year from now though my job has been busy.

The demands for the job have meant that I haven’t had much time to do any creative work. That will be changing.

So, here is a quick update on life as a weekend country girl.

  • We are expecting granddaughter number two in mid June. Sweet Amanda and Baby Boy are going to be giving Lucy a sister and we are thrilled. I am getting busy on nursery preparations finally. The sweet girl may not have everything finished before her arrival.
  • The Southern Belle and Joe have left the city that they love and have moved to Denton, Texas for work. I now have all of my kids living in a four hour drive. I am thrilled and will be filling you in on that quirky town soon. They have bought a house and it is going to get a mini makeover before they move in this month.
  • We bought an RV. We have taken it out on the maiden voyage and love it. We have plans for a lot of trips in the future.
  • This week we will start an exterior makeover of our house. I am so excited! We are getting an enlarged front porch, a carport, and exterior paint on the bricks.

I hope you are all doing well. I promise that I will be doing a better job of keeping you up to date from now on.

Thanks for hanging in there. I appreciate you all more than you know.

Blessings,

Karen

The Almost Finished Kitchen

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Another epic project is almost finished. We are just lacking the pantry doors, adding a shelf, and painting behind the fridge way from calling this project done.

The quartz counter top is Zodiaq Concrete.

The farmhouse sink has not disappointed.

We ordered it from Wayfair and it is amazing.

The faucet was ordered online, too. I️ cannot remember where it was from.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
e sage green wall, and the cabinet makeover. The hardware was already here, and it is fine.

The plate was my great grandmother’s. It is just the right color.

I️ love our ceiling fan. Yep, it is a small fan and it helps in this climate. Here are a few more shots. I️ am so happy to be finishing up.

Thanks for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

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.

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

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

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