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Star Hill Send Off

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This past Saturday we gave Star Hill a proper send off.  There won’t be tons of pictures because I was pretty busy with our guests but we had a crowd.  There was corn hole to play, horse shoes to throw,  catfish to fry, stories to tell, and time to remember.  

It just seemed natural that we should throw one last party for friends to enjoy this place we have loved and where have welcomed family, friends and adventure.  

The weather was too windy to get the boat out, but the rain held off.  We had friends that visited for the first time, those who have visited many times, old friends, new friends, and even the soon to be owner.  Yep.  The guy who is buying our home showed up, hung out, brought his dog, daughter, and girlfriend.  True story.  He is going to love the place and has plans for what Star Hill is going to look like when he is through with her. 

   

 We are blessed.  The sale of our lake house has been quick, if not eventful, up to this point.  We had someone drive up today who wanted to make an offer on the home if you can believe it.  He insisted we take his number in case the sale falls through.  

   
      It is our prayer that our new, unnamed place is a destination for family, friends, and others who need a place to rest, relax, laugh, and unplug.  We are getting excited about the opportunity to share our home and are purposefully trying to figure out a way for more company to stay overnight.  There is a guest house, potentially we are going to have two bunk rooms, and my dream is to convert the barn into a gathering place.

Today we got busy packing.  Four truck loads of stuff was taken to storage. 

By the way, the secret to Mr. Math’s amazing catfish… Yellow mustard in the batter. 

  
I hope your weekend was restful.  Come see us if you are in the area.

Blessings,

Karen

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Welcome to Our Little Corner of the World

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If you are new to The Weekend Country Girl, Welcome!  If you are one of my long-time friends, please indulge me as I introduce myself to the newcomers. My blog has literally doubled in readership over the last month.

My name is Karen and I am not a professional blogger or furniture repurposer.  This blog and my projects are my hobby.  I am a professional educator in a suburb of Houston.  I am a high school principal who loves her job, works crazy hours, and has a lot of stress in her daily life.  On the weekends, and any other chance I get, I head to the small town of Coldspring, where I wear sweat pants, go thrift store shopping, and work out in the Garagemahal.  I am a happy chick  when I am covered in paint or sawdust on the weekend.  Come visit if you ever in the area.  For real.

I am happily married to the love of my life, Mr. Math, who is a small town farm boy from Troy, Texas.  We have been married for 33 years and have two great kids.  I am lucky enough that both of my parents are still with us and active.

Both kids are married to wonderful spouses and live a long way from us.  We miss all four of them terribly.

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We also have a rescue dog named Lumi.  She keeps me humble and reminds me that I am not in charge of the world.

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karen

If this photo looks like a school yearbook photo, that is because it is!  Does it take you back to high school?

Here we are in the first ever selfie I took of us.  It was on our Christmas cruise this year.

If you are new to my site it is probably because of my recent post about a corrugated tin wall on Remodleaholic, or the Facebook post on their site about our super simple buffet table for the deck, or because of my mudroom bench.  That bench has been my most popular post, ever.    Whatever the reason, I am thrilled to have you here.

Finished Mudroom Bench

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I started blogging as a way to show my friends and family what we were up to at our little cabin in the piney woods near Lake Livingston. We are both cheapskates frugalistas who would rather figure out how to do something ourselves than pay someone a crazy amount of money to do the work for us.  Buying a second home eight years ago was a stretch for us financially so we really had to figure out how to furnish a home on the cheap.  I never envisioned that my blog would be read by anyone who did not know me personally, in fact, I remember when I had my first post with 50 page views.  Man, I thought I was something else.

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Along the way I have learned a few things about blogging (okay, not so much here), design, and how to re-imagine furniture but who I am has not changed.  This site is still just a hobby and way to show my friends what we are up to and to get input.  ( I really do want your input when I ask for opinions. )

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Beverage station from sewing cabinet.

finished red headboard bench

Bench from headboard and footboard.

green sofa table

Buffet table from dining table legs and re-claimed wood.

I make mistakes, I am a terrible photographer who can’t take a good shot indoors to this day, I have a hot temper that gets me in trouble more than I like and I get my feelings hurt when people are mean.

I love a variety of styles, I like mixing painted wood with stain. I think every room should have one piece of furniture or accent that makes folks smile when they walk in the room.

Happy Camper green end table

mid century

western dresser

Funky Dresser

We are hoping and praying right now that we can sell our beloved Star Hill so that we can buy 15 acres in Coldspring with several buildings that will be our retirement home.   I hope you follow along on our journey into mid-life and beyond.

barn and pond

Thanks for finding this blog and welcome to our little corner of the world.

Blessings,

Karen

Making a Standing Chalkboard

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We are clearing out the Garagemahal as we prepare to put our beloved Star Hill on the market. I am getting pressure from Mr. Math to get rid of the hoard. My collection of odd bits and parts, Doo dads, rusty metal, and miscellaneous hardware needs a new home. Mr. Math would be fine with the new home being the trash.

Not this girl.

Saturday morning I stood in the hoard and started looking at what I had to work with. I decided to make a standing chalkboard/ message board. (They need a better name and I am open for suggestions.) In fact while I was at it, I figured I may as well make six of them for the ladies at craft night.

I pulled out a set ls spindles from a table the social planner and I got off the road one day. It was a wreck when we got it but the spindles were solid wood so I saved them.

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I pulled out my stash of hardware. I have quite a collection of odd handles, knobs and bits. Some of them I buy for pennies at thrift stores, garage sales, or ReStore but most come off pieces I redo and change the look.

I had a can of spray chalkboard paint in the cabinet. I have to admit that the spray chalkboard paint is not my favorite, but it works.

I grabbed two sections of 1X12 pine board that were shelves an a section of 1X1 moulding and a 2X6 board for the project.

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My sweet husband cut all the spindles down to the same size and then used the drill press to put a hole in the center of each top for a screw to go in.

I played with the parts until I came up with a plan.

I cut the pine board, the 1X1 moulding, and the 2X6 into 6 inch segments each.

connecting board

pine boards

The assembly process took both Mr. Math and me working. The steps were to connect the spindle to the 2X6 with wood glue and a screw, then connect the 1X1 to the other end of the spindle with a screw in the center.

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Two screws at each end of the 1×1 went into the 1 inch width of the 6 inch section of the 1X12,

A little wood glue, wood filler, and a quick spray of primer unified the four sections.

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The whole thing got primed, painted with sea salt, then heavily distressed and glazed.

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I then taped off a chalkboard rectangle on each board then spayed them.

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While the chalkboards were drying, my friend the social planner helped me pick out some of the hardware and knobs to attach to the pieces.

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Do you remember the roadside end table? The handle from that piece made it onto a piece here.

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So did some hardware from my windfall.

funky dresser hardware

Once the chalkboard was dry we attached the hardware to each piece and the social planner attached a clip with E6000 in case someone wanted to use it for invitations or photos.

Here they are ready for the party.

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The cost of this entire project was what I spent in screws, wood glue and paint. I am estimating I spent $10.00 total in supplies I will have to replenish.

These would be great table numbers at a wedding or on a buffet table  Here they are lined up for craft night.

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It was nice to see the craft group enjoying their surprise.

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When the ladies came in they got to put a tag on their chalkboard.  It was fun to see the different ones each chose.

Well, what do you think?

I love hearing from you,

Blessings,

Karen

Wishing, Hoping, Praying and Dreaming

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This year I become eligible for retirement. Wow! How in the world did that happen? Time has flown by. I will not be retiring this year, but the realization that I could retire is causing my husband and me to give some serious thought to our future. We are both healthy, active, and still full of dreams and plans. There are places we want to visit, things we want to learn, and goals we want to accomplish.

Our biggest decision for the past few years is where to live. We decided two years ago to move to a new school district and community. We know for sure that was a great decision, but at the same time we don’t plan on living in that community after retirement.

My husband and I met in college, and we weren’t from the same part of Texas. Neither of us feels a strong pull to our home towns. We both have friends where we grew up, I have family still in the city I grew up in, but it feels like I am visiting when we go back.

A lot of prayer and self reflection on our parts has helped us to know that our adopted weekend community is home for us.

I am positive that our sweet “near the lake” house, Star Hill, is not our forever home. A week or two is about as long as I can be confined here in the winter. I need a studio and workshop. My creative side cries out for a space to have projects out, to experiment, to think. I also would like to sell more furniture in my retirement. Hubby wants a tractor, a garden, woods to walk in, a pond and outdoor projects.

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A Busy Weekend at Star HillStar Hill in Spring

Star Hill

Cutting Down Trees at Star Hill

The Garagemahal

We believe we may have found just the place. 15 acres, with a workshop, a creek, a barn, wooded trails, very near our friends, a garden plot, a greenhouse, a small pond, and several other outbuildings that I would really enjoy doing some neat things with. I am not crazy about the house, but it is solid. well cared for   and has a ton of potential. It will take work and money but it can become the house I see in my mind’s eye.

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The barn and the pond.

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The side yard.  The garden plot is in the back of this cleared plot of land.  Water is run to the garden area.

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My favorite area.  The shop is the small building and the outbuildings here will make a perfect paint and furniture area.  both have wood burning stoves in them.

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The house.  The greenhouse is visible behind the house.

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The outbuildings.  There are some very interesting buildings that I could really have fun with.

The property will come on the market this spring. In order to purchase this property we will have to sell Star Hill. That means we will have to focus on getting all of those “one day” projects done. We will be making sure that this place we love is ready for her close up. We are already praying that a family will buy the place who can love this place as much as we do and will create new memories in this home.

Look for lots of projects that are focused on the house and the property in the next few months. We have things to learn like concrete work and more of Hubby’s favorite: plumbing. (Ha!)

We plan on keeping our home in the burbs for several more years until we both retire so even this new spot will be our weekend home for a while.

I have a few projects in the Garagemahal I have already either sold or promised to someone. Other than that we will be keeping furniture projects to a minimum as we focus on clearing out, fixing up, and moving forward.

We ask you to pray with us that if this property is meant to be ours, everything will work out. If not, that we will have peace and direction in our journey.

Thank you all for continuing with us on another chapter of our journey.

I hope you have a wonderful new year. I would love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Karen

The Finished Funky Dresser

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Painting furniture in the Garagemahal during a southeast Texas winter is tough. It is either too cold or too humid to dream of painting. I usually take on smallish projects that I can finis in the house during winter. This fall I found a dresser that I wanted to turn into an unusual entertainment center. It was $20.00 at Huntsville Goodwill. It is a 1950’s wooden dresser that probably went in a boy’s room.

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I had been looking for something to turn into a funky dresser after finding this dresser a year ago at the Mainstreet America Christmas home tour.  It was over a thousand dollars but it was so cool.

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The dresser was originally destined for my brother in law and sister in law’s  new house near us. It took me so long to surprise them with the piece done that they already bought a beautiful entertainment center out of whiskey barrel oak.

I wasn’t sure what I would do with it at this point, until I sanded the top corner. There it was: “I love e b”. My hubby’s first and middle name begins with e and b. ( In his family he goes by Eddie Ben.)  I knew it would have to be something that would end up with us.

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I struggled with what to do with each drawer and redid three of the drawers at least twice, one of them three times.

I determined that I did not want to spend much on this project. I have a large collection of hardware, a pile of paint and everything needed to give the wood a weathered finish like the inspiration piece. A bonus is that the colors on the piece will be colors I already like and have in my home.

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What you see above is just a small sample of the hardware I have. Notice how many of the pieces I photographed I actually used in the final shot.

Saturday afternoon the skies cleared, the humidity dropped and I had about two hours to work.

The dresser went from looking like this Saturday …

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To this by mid-day, Sunday.

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I glazed the turquoise because it was a little too bright for the rest of the piece after this photo and I added  a license plate and some letters.  I am not sure it is finished but it is coming along.

Soon, I will tell you where I hope it gets to go.

Here are a few close up shots I took after adding the license plate from 1969 that we found in the dirt at my husband’s family farm.  The numbers are the year of his birth and the S  is our last name initial.

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Did you notice I used a different license plate than what I pulled originally?  I decided that I wanted to use the one with browns and yellows.  It is great that I have options.  I collected quite a few plates from my husband’s farm.

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I love it.  I am proud that I did this almost all by myself.  I cut trim, drilled holes, selected colors, and rethought it when I wasn’t happy.  I did have a meltdown on the white bottom corner “drawer” (it is actually one long drawer made to look like two) and had to get help on that one.  I could not get the trim to line up.  Thanks, Hubby.

All in all I have less than $10.00 in supplies in the dresser along with the $20.00 investment for the dresser I think it turned out well.

Funky Dresser dresser with different drawer colors painted mulitcolored dresser

I have a random bunch of french provincial hardware that I would love to do a little girl’s dresser with one day.  The possibilities are exciting.

Thanks for reading my blog.

I would love to hear what you think about my funky dresser.

Blessings,

Karen

Keeping it Real Series- What a DIYer’s Workspace Looks Like

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I hear ALL the time from people that they would love to redo furniture or do other projects if only they had the space. I think that there is a perception that without the magical amount of space or equipment to take on projects. I say that is a bunch of hooey. Yes, hooey. We started doing projects in a home we did not own, without a garage, and borrowed tools.

Our work space is pretty great (but often very overcrowded) now, but that is a very recent change.  Welcome to the Garagemahal.
inside the garagemahal

(In case you are wondering it looks this cleaned up about once a year- when I get frustrated and drag everything out to reorganize.  Right after that- it goes back to us stepping over projects that are in progress, furniture I have drug in, scrap wood that I cannot get rid of…)

This is how it looks a lot of the time.  Sometimes it is even worse!

making a bench frame

I would say that most of the bloggers I read started out with nothing more than their garage, the kitchen table, a porch, or some other small space.  Their passion for their particular craft drove them to find the space to do what they love to do, not the other way around.

This is NOT how most craft rooms look. (Although if you want to build on for me like this, I won’t cry.) I do not have a dedicated craft space at my house.  I have one closet jam packed with stuff.
Dream Craft Rooms
dream craft room

Here are a few of my friend’s craft spaces:

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The dining room table is a popular spot.  My friend owns the space above.  She has three kids, two dogs, and a shift working husband.  She cleaned up this space to take a picture.  I am calling a foul here, but she paints some really fun pieces, and furniture, and sews, all from this space.

She painted my awesome chicken at that table.
 

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My friend Kelly uses what space she can. For this project it was the top of a plastic tub.
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Kelly has a baby and works on projects when she gets her to sleep. I haven’t
seen how this one turned out.  She is a real deal artist and art teacher who is hanging out with her little one right now.

This is NOT how most workshops or woodworking shops look. (Once again, feel free to build one at my house, and drop off all those fancy tools we do not own while you are at it.)
Dream Workshops

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Dee, at Deeconstructed uses her garage and basement.

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Wood storage is the hardest thing for me to manage. I am jealous of how neat hers is.  Right now I have a ton of cedar on the floor of the Garagemahal drying.

Dee painted the wall in her basement when she started her business.

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She makes some pretty amazing things in this space.  This is one of her winter projects.

Porch Bench

My recently retired friend, Margaret, turned old kitchen cabinets into this workshop island. (Yes, I am a little jealous of her set up.)

 margaret's workshop

I found this post from Gail at My Repurposed Life about creating a backdrop, but the last part tells you about her work space.  She is the person who I have used as inspiration for my mudroom bench and the headboard benches.  She works outside and is shutting down her outside projects for winter in this post.

My Repurposed Life

 

repurposed life

I loved this picture from My Repurposed Life’s post because, just like the Garagemahal, there is always a riding lawn mower in the background!   You can click on the photo to see the cool night stands she made from this piece.

Finally,
I hope I have hammered home the fact that you don’t need a space to be creative, but I promised you some solutions.

First, use vertical space.  Second, make it portable.  Here are two options that I will be making… once the list thins down a wee bit.

I want to build something like this rolling bad boy for the garage.  It needs to be heavy weight enough to hold the chop saw, the router, and the sanders.   I want industrial wheels on the bottom so that it can make the slope.  We are always dragging them out to the porch and it would be great to have a rolling closet that uses vertical space, not horizontal for the tools.

vertical craft storage

http://www.familyhomeplans.com/miscpro_details.cfm?ProductNumber=DP-00560

Dee, at Deeconstructed, shared Redoux Interior’s  idea with me and I will be making myself a rolling work bench.  Soon.  What a great idea.

rolling work table

http://www.redouxinteriors.com/2013/10/dining-table-to-rolling-work-table/

My third and final tip is not to let your work space or lack there of,  convince you not to do creative things.

I would love to see where you work and your projects.

I am going to have a few projects coming up to share then I am going to add to this real life series talking about staging for photographs.  (Spoiler alert… don’t believe everything you see in pictures.)

 

I hope you have a wonderful day.

Blessings,

Karen

 

The Things I Do Not Throw Away

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This weekend we cut up some double bed foot boards and turned them into arms for benches. That meant that parts of the foot boards had to be removed.

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Some people would have thrown the cut off parts away.

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Let’s face it, some people would have thrown the double beds away. Since I was able to pick up all five of these beds for a total of $77.00, they are not very valuable these days, but I digress.

Back to the stuff I don’t throw away. I keep all the solid wood pieces cut off and try to reuse them. Here is a sample of the things I had laying around the Garagemahal this weekend:

I never, ever, throw away a chair or table leg.
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I have even been known to rescue legs out of trash cans. At garage sales.

But look what they become:  Building a bench from table legs.

building a bench from table legs

I don’t throw away solid wood boards. I keep it and it always seems to find a purpose. These old fence boards became my reclaimed wood wall. This was cedar wood taken down and headed for the landfill.

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It turned into this: Reclaimed wood wall
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I don’t throw away drawers or even drawer fronts if the drawer is shot because I have used them for a lot of projects. Here is my sweet daughter in law’s Christmas gift to her buddies last year:

drawer front christmas gifts

I do not throw away hardware. Hinges, knobs, handles, and even screws get saved. It may not work on the current project, but it has been my experience that I will need something as soon as I get rid of it. I even buy odd hardware at garage sales and thrift stores.
art deco hardware

I also don’t throw away cut off sections of anything that was solid wood. This section of a door we cut off to make a headboard became a coat rack in my office.
coat rack

I am not sure what I will be doing with the sections of headboard I saved… Do you have any suggestions?
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I also save wood. Because we save every usable scrap, even scrap from building sites and out at heavy trash pick up, we don’t have to buy as much new wood. I love reclaimed wood and will keep every scrap until it is too small to save.

Paint gets used down to the last drop. I love buying oops paint when I can, but I am pretty picky about my paint (Behr paint with primer), so I do buy a lot full price and it is expensive. It gets treated like it is, too. I make sure the lids are sealed and try not to waste. When I am trying out a color, I always buy the sample first to make sure I love it.

I am not alone in the saving. When I visited Jeff at Facelift Furniture, he had this whole storage unit full of bits and parts. I have a feeling that most furniture repurposes are savers of spare parts.
Facelift work space

I guess I am a hoarder. My husband accused me of being one this weekend when I was digging the spindles we removed from the trash can. I prefer to think I am doing my part to save the environment. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

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