Star Hill

Finding my Voice

Two of the best writing teachers I ever worked with commented on reading my voice in the writing I do on this blog. Wow! Hearing that from these two ladies humbles me. I really do talk for a living in a way and there are many times each day that I wish I sounded polished, refined and well spoken. I cannot say that polished is how I sound, in fact hillbilly comes a little closer to the truth. I recently announced to my incoming freshmen at Induction Ceremony practice ” You can act like that right now, but tonight you better don’t.” The upperclassmen sitting in the audience erupted into laughter. They find what I say funny most of the time.  I say things like ” He looked at me like a cow looking at a new gate.” The kids have no idea what I am talking about. When I try to explain it is often worse than before I started.  Apparently I am the source of humor for many of the students.
What I hope you read in my voice is a passion for life, a willingness to try new and unconventional things, a sense of humor in life and in decorating, a strong love for my husband and children and the precious people they have brought into our family circle.  I have an extended family that is a great source of strength and encouragement. They are not afraid to tell me that is the dumbest idea they have ever heard of.
 I am proud to say that both of my children have their own unique voices.  They are strong, caring, independent and free thinking adults who love deeply and are respected by their friends and community.  They both have found their own voice.

My weekend country life rejuvenates me. My voice at Star Hill is slower, contented, and quieter.  I take the time to cook, to sit, to watch birds, to talk to my neighbors, to walk.  My life is not perfect, in fact it is a mess from time to time but I am committed to to letting you see it warts and all.

I promise to keep working on grammar, syntax, punctuation, and word choice but most of all, I hope you continue to see me in what I write.  I hope you can hear my voice.

Coldspring, crafting, DIY Projects, Lake Livingston

My Husband the Crafter

I went for a walk at the sandy beach on Labor Day weekend.  The rest of the crew made fun of me because I was looking for driftwood.  There was a ton on the beach but nothing that I couldn’t live without.  Lake Livingston is the second largest lake in the great state of Texas. 

It is surrounded by forests.  At the north end of the lake there is a large log jam called the jungle. 
Where there are heavy rains in the Dallas area logs are washed out and into the main part of the lake. We have amazing driftwood where we are at the south end of the lake.  It is light weight, weathered, rounded and is the most beautiful blue-gray color.

Hubby also went for a walk along the beach but he came back with a piece of driftwood.  I asked him what he was going to do with the wood.  He told us that he was going to make a pencil holder for his desk.  My husband is going to make a craft project!  Will wonders ever cease?

Beside being a great carpenter and general handy man he happens to be a fantastic teacher.  The students who are lucky enough to have him for math still talk about him years later.  He does not let students not do work because they come without supplies.  He keeps a set of pencils on his desk for the kids to use because there is no excuse in his class for not doing the work in his classroom. He decided that the driftwood would make a great pencil holder. Drilling just the number of holes needed will allow him to know that the pencils are all returned at the end of class and remind him of his beloved lake.

He drilled 12 holes in the wood that pencils will fit in.

The driftwood he picked was burned at some point.  It really has a lot of character and it is flat on the bottom so that it will stay in place.

Great job, Hubby. 

Curbside rescue, oak school desk

Fixing the Schoolhouse Desk

The broken desk is now reassembled.  Hubby, who will not let me defile the desk with paint, is stripping the entire piece of all varnish. 
I really am proud of all that he has done.

 The desk went from this broken piece of furniture. Back to a great piece.

All the parts had to be re-glued and sanded.

 Hubby used an orbital sander to take off the varnish and the uneven wood.

 The seat was really difficult

The results are amazing.
Here is the finished project.

It has now been moved to the city house where it will live.

crafting, hydrangea, painting

Breaking in the Craft Table- Back to Painting

I just couldn’t wait to break in the craft table. If you know me at all you know that waiting is not my strong suit. I have been collecting ideas for some paintings a while. I have some photos that I have been holding on to, some ideas in Pinterest, a few drawings, and one or two ideas floating around in my head. The first thing I wanted to do was for The Southern Belle, my eldest.
I feel like I need to tell you a little about my sweet daughter.  The Southern Belle is a real beauty on the outside and inside. She is a competitive athlete, and a professional businesswoman. She is a passionate environmentalist and the co-parent of a dog named Maeby.  She is getting married this next summer to a great guy who puts up with me.  All those aspects of her life come through in her decorating.
She has a strong sense of style. She intimidates me. She definitely tends to gravitate toward classic, timeless pieces of furniture. Clean lines, expensive, quality, and timeless are words I would use when describing what she gravitates toward. Her home is a reflection of the places she has lived in the last six years.  She has lived in four states since graduation and has had the good fortune of living in Dallas, Texas; Savannah, Georgia; Lake Worth, Florida; and now in North Carolina.  Each place she has lived has helped to develop her sense of style.

At 27 she became a homeowner. She found a great home in her southern city. She has a five year plan.  Wow.

One thing that she loves is the southern flower, hydrangea.  Her house has several planted around it and they are beautiful when they bloom.  I wanted to paint a hydrangea for her, but I knew it needed to be simple, not fussy and small enough to mail to her.  I looked up pictures of the flower then went to the Internet for pictures.

I was pleased with the result.  I am proud of my efforts.  I had to wait to post this until the Southern Belle got it in the mail.  She liked it and I am proud of my effort.  It feels good to be painting again.

Country living

It is not all Work at Star Hill

We had a three day weekend!  Yeah!  Yippee!  Hooray!  Do you get the idea that it was great?  I catch a lot of flack from Hubby’s friends from time to time.  Usually the comment is something like ” Stop making him work so hard.”  I feel like I need to let you all know that I am not a slave driver… well not a slave driver all the time… Okay… I would try to tell you that he likes doing projects, but that would be an overstatement most of the time.  He does go along with my wild ideas, but he would much rather be in his recliner.   I let the poor guy have the weekend off.  Mostly.  We only did a few projects this weekend and they were just wrapping up other projects that were already started.

I even took a little time for myself.  My Social Planner and I got pedicures in Huntsville.  What a treat.

Hubby did his own craft project this week and I cannot wait to show and tell his handiwork.  He didn’t want to tell me what he was doing because I would blog about it.  I love it!  The computer is mightier than the sword.

Star Hill is always open for guests.  Let me repeat, Star Hill is always open for guests.  We love having our friends and family come visit us.  Bring a swimsuit and you should be good to go. 

We even keep spare toothbrushes.  Give us a call an hour before you get there and we will probably have food ready when you arrive.

 That being said I do have some friends who feel like they need an invitation. 

Hubby called his family and we posted on Facebook that we were ready for guests. 

My favorite twin nephews came Sunday to visit.  Of all my twin nephews, I definitely like these two the best.

Apparently they read my blog, so I will have to be very careful what I say about them.  Peat and Repeat arrived along with Repeat’s girlfriend,  Amber.  Hubby’s two sisters and brother-in-law spent the day with us too. 

Hubby’s pride and joy- Big Red came out of hibernation.  She even got power washed so that she would be beautiful.

We are currently babysitting an awesome jet ski so that got to go out on the lake with us. 
The kids had a ball with  the jet ski. They all learned to ride it without any problems. 

 If only we could convince them that there are no alligators in the part of the lake near our house.  There really are no alligators in our part of lake, guys.

We took the boat to  a sandy beach near the house.  It is usually deserted, but  this was a holiday weekend.  We had company at the beach.

We had hamburgers, beans, chips and guacamole,  some amazing berry crumble, apple cobbler, brownies and homemade ice cream after our trip out on the lake.  I am sure that I will be kicking myself when I weigh in the morning, but it sure was good.  

There are  a few things that we usually do when the family comes over; we  have a bunch of magnetic letters on our fridge.  I try to have a nice welcoming note on the fridge when people come to visit.  One of my nephews (Peat I believe!) Loves to change my note. 

 We keep  the extra letters on the side of the fridge so that others can leave a note.

My nice note: A WEEKEND IN THE COUNTRY  became  WEAKEND IN THE COUNTRY.  Very funny. 

The other thing that usually occurs in a mean game of  Last Word.  I an not sure that we play the game according to the rules in the box, but our version is loud, a little rude and very funny.

We knew it was a great day when we  looked at our fence.

We would love to have you come and visit.  Really.

Star Hill

Labor Day

Star Hill is open for company this weekend. Our boat, Big Red, the jet ski and the fire pit are good to go. The sheets are clean and the fridge is full. We will be arriving Friday night and staying until Monday afternoon. Pack a toothbrush and your swimsuit. We love those long weekends!

mudroom, recycled furniture

The Mudroom Bench is Coming Together

Tuesday night we made progress on the Mudroom bench. The paint color was picked out; Behr Marina Isle.

I am such a fan of the Behr paint with primer in it. The paint dries so smooth it looks great after one coat and professional after two.
We got home from Home Depot and I got started right away. It was 8:00 p.m. and getting dark, but I just couldn’t wait to get it done.  I got a coat of paint on the whole bench before the mosquitoes drained my entire blood supply. I am absolutely the messiest painter in all of Texas. I managed to step in wet paint, get it on my hands, and even got some in my hair.   I could blame all the mess on the impending darkness, but I have been known to make just as much mess at noon.

When I woke up Wednesday morning I had to run out to the garage to check out the color once it dried.  I love it.  It is really a soft teal color. It will look great on my khaki colored walls.  The cushion will be burlap colored fabric and I am making two coffee sack pillows to add to the bench. 

The bench is going to look great. I am so happy with the color. It is amazing to me how the paint color unifies the piece and makes it look less like a patchwork and more like a piece of fine furniture.

Hubby got the mirror disassembled so that I could get it painted. The mirror now looks like it belongs on the piece.  Wednesday night was all about Hubby routing the edges of the back and me painting the top part. 

I know you are getting tired of seeing how slow we work.  This is real life.  We work hard, we only have an hour or so each evening to get this finished.  The next time you see the mudroom bench it will be the assembly and installation.  We really are almost there.

Coldspring, composting, Country living

Composting at Star Hill

I feel like I need full discosure here.  At Star Hill we have terrible dirt.  It is clay and as far as I can tell the only thing that loves it is pine trees.  Also, we do not have trash service at Star Hill.  We are too cheap to pay for trash pick up at two houses.  Those two facts along with giving birth to the Southern Belle who is VERY eco-friendly has led us to compost at the lakehouse. 

Inside the house we have two trash cans; recycle and trash.  We bring all that home and put it out by our curb.  We also have a compost jar.

 For a long time I just had a big bean pot that we put all vegetable scraps in, but my social planner suprised me with this one two weeks ago.  It even has a charcoal filter in the lid.  Fancy.

It is kind of gross to look at, but I wanted you to see what goes in to the compost pot.  Potato peels, cantalope rinds and seeds, egg shells, cilantro stems, jalapeno seeds and stems, apple cores, and onion skins were in the pot this weekend. 

We know that we do not follow any of the composting rules.  My parents are champion composters.  They have been composting for years.  The cage we have does not have a center post.  It was free and the post was missing.  It is supposed to have a cener wire square post that allows for air circulation.  We have to stir our compost from time to time.

 The compost cage is located in the backyard near the creek that runs through the back of the property.

Not attractive but out of the way.  The stuff really packs down quicky.  We add stuff all the time and it is rarely over 1/2 full.

We do not bag our grass clippings.  Our mover mulches them back into the yard but our neighbors have a lawn service that bagges their lawn clippings.  About once every two or three months we bring up a bag of clippings.  The nitrogen is good for the compost.  It looks like we need more soon.

I dug into the compost so that you could see the dirt that is being made.  When we need dirt, we just dig deep into the compost and add it to any holes we dig.  The soil is rich and loose and the plants love it.  We are also getting ready for our first fall garden so we will be using the compost a lot.

Here are the vegetable scraps from the weekend.  After they are added, I just have to cover it with the grass clippings.  During the summer when it is hot and dry we water the compost every once in a while.  The moitture helps break everything down. 

Having the compost up at Star Hill makes me feel guilty for not doing it at home, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Country living, family

Man Slayer

Although I do from time to time name my kids on Facebook when I post, I do not call my children or my husband by their given names in the blog.  There are several reasons: 

  • I want to protect their privacy.  They did not ask to have a mom who chooses to write her business on the Internet for all to see, even in other countries.
  • There are some scary people out there.  I would rather that those I love are not easily identified. 
  • I think nicknames are just so darn cute!

Baby Boy, my youngest sweetheart, let me know the other day on my visit to the Lovebird’s apartment that he does not appreciate his name.  He is not thrilled with being a grown (debatable) married (true) man ( the momma is not ready to accept this) called Baby Boy.  I asked him what he would like to be called and his answer was “Something manly…like Man Slayer.”  Really?  My sweet little baby boy wants to be called Man Slayer?  I don’t think so.  I guess I need to rethink his blog name.  It is hard for a mom to let her little chicks grow up, but I will work on it.  I am soliciting names on my Facebook page.

Baby Boy will have a new name soon.

crafting, recycled furniture, Repurposed Furniture, The Garagemahal

Move in Weekend for the Craft Corner

Yippee!  My craft corner is finally dry, in place and ready for service.  I am so happy.  It has been a frustrating trip to get to this point.  If you have been reading my blog you have read my excitement at finding the perfect deskmaking a big mess… then finally getting it put together.

This weekend I got to move into the desk.  I carried all my stuff out of the house.  It took two bags.

This is inside one of the bags.  Hubby was embarrassed that I would show you my junk, but it is what it is.  I have not had a place to work for a while.  When I wanted to be creative, I had to get everything out, put it on the kitchen table them put it up before we could use the table. It sure took away the joy.

This was one of my cheapo finds.
Originally, this was an oak desk organizer I bought for 25 cents at Livingston Trade Days.
Hubby added a piece of scrap wood to the center.
    It fit bottles of craft paint perfectly.  I painted it my duck egg blue color and it is now ready to use.

Along the chair rail Hubby drilled holes for cup hooks.  My brushes didn’t have holes so Hubby had to drill a hole in each of them.  Below the big brushes is one of Hubby’s genius moments.  I was looking for something to keep my art brushes in. I have tried a lot of things.  Most recently I had a Pringles can with holes punched in the lid, but the smaller brushes fell through.  I really thought Hubby would have to build me something but he found this old pipe holder at a resale shop.  It is perfect.  50 cents and it even has a place for a jar to fill with water that I can drop used brushes into. I wonder what that spot was for orginally?   I love it.  He loves it because there was no building, fixing, painting or adjusting for him.  I literally brought it home and put it in place.

The drawers are organized.

 The blackboard above the craft table has changed from this…

to this.  Enough said.