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Why You Gotta Be So Mean? My Thoughts on Blog Bullies

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An Incident recently made my blood boil, and when my blood boils, I get to tell you what I think.  Today I am going to tell you what I think about Blog Bullies.

I dislike them.

A blog bully is some who uses the comment section of a blog to tear into someone, put them down, attack their homes and family. Just like any bully, they get their joy making others feel bad.

On the site Apartment Therapy, Dana Tucker did a home tour. People, this lady opened up her home for you to look at. She cleaned, staged, photographed, and took the time to respond to questions.

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Apartment Therapy Home Tour
She did not deserve what she got from a select few.

Here are a few pictures of the comments.

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I have seen this before.  Bullies.  They smell blood in the water. It only takes one to bring out all the others.  It used to be the playground, now it is the internet.  Mean girls.  Ever have to deal with them yourself?  I have.

I don’t blog for a living.  I don’t know Dana Tucker, I have no affiliation with Apartment Therapy, I am not a designer who decorates homes for a living.  I blog because I like sharing what my husband and I do to our home, our experimentation with furniture, and our roadside finds.  I also don’t publish the comments of bullies on my site.  If you write a comment on my blog, I have it set so that I can filter out hurtful words. And I don’t apologize for not publishing mean words. One comment or told me once that nothing I do is any good and I should give up. Guess what? I didn’t publish the comment.

According to what I read, the most offensive comments about Dana and her house were removed but there were definitely some comments left that crossed the line in my mind.

One responder called the color of the door putrid. Did that comment need to be made?

I welcome hearing from you. I welcome suggestions. I am even okay with being told that what I do wouldn’t work in your home. Variety is the spice of life. One example is that I am not crazy about super modern furnishings but I appreciate that they are beautiful in the right home.

As blog readers I am going ask you to speak up when you see bullies posting .

Do you feel me climbing down off my soap box? Thank you for being patient with me when I am “stirred up.”

I hope you all have a wonderful day.

Thank you for taking the time to read what I write. It means more to me than you will ever know.

Blessings,

Karen

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Suitcase Shelf Wall

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When I took the job as principal in the suburban city we moved to there just was not time to do much to my office, which before I came on board was a storage closet.  Yes, I felt pretty special, but in the rapidly growing district I work in, I am thilled to have a space at all.

The “office” was the most awful institutional blue color with very little light. The light situation probably had something to do with the fact it was never designed to have someone working in the space.

I did what I could  (not much) last summer then got busy opening a school.

This summer I had a little more time to work on making the space more inviting. The finished office is coming soon.

Today, it is all about my suitcase wall.

I have wanted to do this wall somewhere since I first spotted it on PInterest two years ago. The long blank wall in my office seemed to be he perfect location.

First, I collected suitcases.

I had the blue suitcase in my stash and planned to use it once day to make another chalkboard. I paid two dollars for it at a thrift store.

I found the dark green travel case at Goodwill for $2.99 a while back, the alligator suitcase was in rough shape. I bought it for $5.00 off Craig’s List. I got impatient to get the wall done so when I spotted two suitcases at a local resale shop, I paid too much. I got the last two suitcases ( a hat box and a leather men’s suitcase) for $50.00. I know what you are thinking. Yes, I did pay too much….but I wanted them and the blank wall was staring at me.

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All in I have $60.00 invested in suitcases. Not bad for a whole wall of joy.

Hubby chopped each suitcase in half on the table saw. No pictures of that part. I was at work when he got that done.

suitcase for wall cut suitcases

I then ripped out all the loose lining.

We cut boards to fit inside the suitcases to make a support frame.

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Here they are all stacked with the wood inside.

I laid them all out on the floor in the office to decide where I wanted them to go, then got busy taping it out on the wall. Toggle bolts went into each wall board. The top board was screwed to the top of each wall board, and then small side pieces were attached with the air nailer.

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bracket for suitcase toggle bolts into brackets

We slid each suitcase over the wooden support then used screws to attach it to the wood. (Air nailing would have been easier and less noticeable but I want to take these puppies with me when I retire in a few short years.)

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Here it is all finished and dressed up!

I cannot wait to get the office  looking the way I see it in my head.

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Let me know what you think of my version of a suitcase  wall.

I hope you have a wonderful day.

Blessings,

Karen

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

Indulgy

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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shanaha pict

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

 

Making a Corn Hole Set

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One sweet memory I have from The Southern Belle and Big Cat’s wedding last summer was an outdoor family gathering where we got to meet the families. Big Cat set up his corn hole set to play. Lots of folks got in on the action, even my sweet mom, Me Mie. Ever since then I have wanted a set to use at our lake house, at school and for neighborhood parties in the burbs. Corn hole is a little like horse shoes except it is played on a slanting 2 foot wide, four foot long plywood surface. There is even a corn hole association! Because I am working crazy hours this summer, but I wanted the set ready for our 4th of July family reunion, I charged Hubby with researching the rules, board dimensions, and DIY instructions. He is a math teacher in real life so dimensions, diameters, and angles are right up his alley.

As the 4th of July approached, I started to gently remind nudge nag him to get on it. He bought the wood. Pre-cut 2 X 4 sheet of a/b sanded wood so it would be smooth and 2 2X4’s. It hung out in the back of his truck. The nagging increased. The weekend before the 4th- with company at the lake house- arrived. He promised he could have them built in 30 minutes. So the timer started! In reality it was closer to an hour but still assembly was quick. The hole is 6″ centered 9″ from top edge. The legs are cut to length so that the top edge is 12″ from the ground.  He attached the legs with a bolt so that it can be loosened and the legs stored under the board.

Once he finished I jumped on the painting. It had to be red, white and blue… because pretty much everything at our lake house is red, white, and blue. The creamy white is the paint we used for our rockers and swing. No clue what the color is, but the paint was hanging out in the Garagemahal. The blue is Behr Sailboat blue. It has been used on out coffee tablethe beverage station, and Sweet Amanda’s chair at our chair party. I had to buy the red. I am not going to tell you the color because I made a bad choice with the red. I hate Glidden paint. More on that later. Once it was all painted the creamy white and dried overnight, I taped off stripes. Mr. Math helped me figure out the width of the big stripe then after he left, I very unscientifically taped off a thinner stripe the width of the skinny tape. The trick to painting clean lines is fresh tape ( don’t try to use tape that has hung out in the garage a year getting all hot and cold) and paint the base coat color over the edges of the tape. The paint seals the edges and any that seeps under is the same as base so you can’t tell. The Glidden paint was so thin it still bled in two spots. Not. A. Fan.

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corn hole set up

red and blue corn hole set

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I stitched eight bags. Four blue and four red, six inches each and filled with corn. They will have to be upgraded to a tougher fabric, but they will work for now.

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We are still working on the mechanism to attach the two boards to store and carry.  The handles worked well, but the latches did not work.

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connected for travel

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The boards turned out well and they will be used at events for years to come.

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corn hole boards

We are not the only ones camping with a set. I thought I would share a few others who were camping near our family reunion:

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A UT set with football shaped corn bags.

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This is a really easy set to fold and the little guys loved it.

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You have to look carefully at this camp site to see them.  They are located on either side of the smoker.

I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July. Blessings, Karen

Letter to Graduating Seniors

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I was asked by the editor of the school newsletter where I served for four years to address a letter to the graduating seniors. Most of the students will be graduating with an associate degree and a high school diploma the same semester. All have earned a significant number of college hours toward their chosen degree while enrolled at the Early College High School. Here is what I shared with them in the letter:

Seniors,

Wow, four years seems to have flown by. I cannot believe you are graduating already. It seems like yesterday that I was sitting across a table at your middle school interviewing you to attend this new high school. I thought you were very brave at the time. I know you are brave now. I want you all to know how very proud of you I am. You are some of the most amazing students I have worked with in my 30 years in education. As you prepare to graduate, I hope that each of you leaves high school with a better understanding of mathematics, science, social studies, English, Spanish and all the other academic courses you took while at the Early College High School, but it is more important to me that that you have learned the following skills during your four years at IMPACT:

•    I hope that each of you understands that there are going to be times you will be afraid, but that fear should not keep you from trying new things, and striving toward lofty goals. Everyone is afraid from time to time, but those who are successful in their chosen fields push past the fear and do not let the fear define them.

•    I hope you know by now that you will be judged based on the impression you give others in the four year college or University you attend and in the working world more than you will be judged based on your GPA. Always look people in the eye when speaking or listening, have a firm handshake, dress nice, keep your word, show up early, offer assistance, and say please and thank you.

•    I hope you leave able to advocate for yourself in a positive, respectful manner. It is my desire that you know by now not to settle for less than you deserve, without burning bridges.

•    I hope that you have learned that the skills you are learning in high school and college classes can and will go with you for the rest of your life. Use and apply what you have learned about procrastination, preparation, working with others, asking questions, and organization because those skills will set you apart from the rest.

•    I hope that you have learned the importance of service to others. I will count my years with you as a success if I hear that you have continued to help those in need and are serving your chosen community.

•    Finally, I hope that you have learned that you should never stop learning.

As you all prepare to leave IMPACT, I want each of you to know that you really have created an impact in my life and I would venture to say in the lives of the teachers and college instructors who had the privilege to work with you. Thank you for embarking on this journey with me. I will be watching to see where the journey leads you.

Love and Best Wishes,

Mrs. Smithson

 

These students are going on to great things. They have been accepted into Bryn Mawr College, Auburn University, Antioch College, The University of Texas, Texas A&M, University of Houston, Lamar, Univerity of Texas at Tyler, Texas State University and Louisiana State University just to name a few. Two of them are going into military service. They are going to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, and business professionals along with professions I have never even heard of before. They participate in their churches, civic organizations, and things like break dancing, acting, singing, and playing the accordion. Most, but not all, are the first in their family to graduate from college. Many learned English in school. One student has been awarded a Gates Millineum Scholarship, one a Posse Scholarship, one graduated with the highest GPA at the community college of all students, young and old.

When you think ” the world is going to Hell in a hand basket”, remember that these kids still exist in your community as well as mine. It is up to us to support those students, encourage them, and allow them the opportunity to succeed.

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I hope you have a wonderful week,

Blessings,

Karen

5 Reasons I Could Never Make A Living Blogging

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I could never in a million years make a living being a blogger. I wish I could be like The DIY Showoff, All Things Thrifty, Remodelaholic, Finding Home, Southern Hospitality, Furniture Flippin or one of fifty other bloggers I read regularly. Here is a peek into my weekend. With five reasons I could not do it for a living.

1. I am unorganized. Yep I mean like seriously, pathologically flawed in this area. This weekend I got up to the lake without one of the projects I was going to do, I left the nail gun here, and I forgot we were out of paint thinner. The combination means that I came home pretty much empty handed. And Grumpy! My garage is a mess, my craft closet is a dump right now and there are two unfinished projects laying on the dining table. Nothing to see here folks. Real deal bloggers would have had it all together.

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2. I take terrible photographs. See the picture below? All I have is the after picture. I must have deleted the before and during photos. A pro probably has files lined up, photos named, and backed up.

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3. I am impatient. I HATE, HATE, HATE when things don’t go as planned and I have to wait. The lack of supplies this weekend along with the 150% humidity meant that even the floor was wet inside the garage. Paint wouldn’t dry and I was left waiting. That meant I was forced to surrender. We cleaned house instead. A good blogger would have muscled through and gotten something crafty done.

4. I don’t understand what the public wants. I love the teal dresser that we painted and turned into a media center. I posted it, I pinned it, but… Crickets. No comments, no repinning, nada. My silly post on how I clean granite gets pinned or viewed almost every day. A five minute cheapo project with terrible photos. If I were a decent blogger I would understand what the public wants and do more of that.

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Perhaps it was my bad photography?

5. I have thin skin. I do get my feelings hurt. It always hurts when strangers write mean things on my blog. I delete them before they go public, but I see them. I even have thin skin for the bloggers I read. Sometimes I get mad for the real professional bloggers when I see mean things written about them. A true pro would eat those folk for breakfast, right? See what I mean? After almost two years of blogging, I have come to the conclusion that I better love what I do for a living, because blogging will always be only a hobby for me. I have about 150 people a day who find my blog. Most of them find it by searching for repurposing furniture, but some of you guys found me trying to clean granite. To those of you who choose to follow my blog, thank you and I apologize. I hope you keep reading, because in spite of the fact that I will never be a pro, I enjoy letting you in on my little corner of the world. I hope you had a productive weekend. I do have a new blog, (glutten for punishment) My Burb Home. I hope you follow it and like the Facebook page. I will be updating the progress on our new home there.

Being A Meerkat

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Cover of "The Meerkats"

Cover of The Meerkats

I had some quiet time at Star Hill this past weekend.  I do my best thinking when I am up there usually.  This weekend I just thought about silly things.Recently The Southern Belle posted one of those what animal represents you best internet tests. It was based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/summeranne/whats-your-animal-personality-type

I made my answers below bold.
Worldview: Extroversion (E) or Introversion (I)
i.e. would you rather play with your pals or hang out at home with a book?
Information: Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)
i.e. when taking in something new, do you prefer to take it simply, at face value or interpret / add meaning based on your gut?
Decisions: Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
i.e. when making up your mind about something, do you primarily rely on logic and structure, or do you gravitate towards emotion and empathy?
Structure: Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)
i.e. would you rather things in your life to be decided and set, or do you like to stay open to whatever options might come along?

According to the website, I am a Meerkat.

Here is what the website says about being a Meerkat:
INFPs are deeply ethical and idealistic, loyal to their family and closest friends, and guided by their desire to live a life according to their values. They are curious about those around them, but will not accept threats to the security of their adorable babies or their morals.

I am not sure I am all of those things. I seem to be less idealistic than I used to be.

On the other hand, Meerkats are a little goofy looking and seem to be the nervous, worry wart type so maybe that Internet site is on to something!

While I do not put much stock in being a Meerkat, I am sure that I am an introvert. There is something about being an introvert that extroverts don’t get; being an introvert does not mean we are shy. I have absolutely no problem speaking in front of a crowd, even on the spur of the moment. I can talk to anyone about my school, my family or a project I am working on. I have no problem making tough decisions, dealing with upset people or one crisis after another. Being alone helps me to think, rest, and relax. Constantly being in a crowd drains me. Jay Leno, Johnny Carson and George W. Bush are introverts according to their own words. I think of all the grief George W. got for spending so much time on his ranch chopping wood and clearing brush. I felt bad for him at the time. I know that in order for him to be able to do the job he did, he needed that quiet time, just like the next president, Bill Clinton who is an extrovert, needs the crowd, the noise, the people, in order to feel at peace. When Johnny Carson retired from late night, he never sought the limelight.

Johnny Carson portrait

Johnny Carson portrait (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jay Leno, host of the Tonight Show. Cropped fr...

Jay Leno, host of the Tonight Show. Cropped from Flickr image. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We introverts just really like
 need alone time. I think that is why I paint furniture. It doesn’t talk, make noise, ask questions, or expect me to carry on a conversation. While I am painting I can be quiet. I am crazy about my husband. Marrying him was the best decision I ever made. I am also thrilled when he lets me stay home alone. I also think that is why I love our weekend country home. I can enjoy the quiet there. I would suspect that I am not the only blogger who is an introvert. Blogging is a way to share our thoughts and express ourselves without the noise, the crowd, the interaction.

 

English: Official photograph portrait of forme...

English: Official photograph portrait of former U.S. President George W. Bush. Português: Foto oficial de George W. Bush, presidente dos Estados Unidos da América. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am lucky enough to have some extroverts in my life who get me. They drag me out of the house when I am about to become a hermit, they plan social things for me to do AND they know when to let me go to my room and read a book or the garage to paint.

If you are an introvert, I hope you are lucky enough to have people in your life to balance you.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

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