recycled furniture, rescuing damaged furniture

Saving a Broken Desk

The desk below was sitting by the curb- waiting for the trash truck to come- when I spotted it.

 I have to wonder what happened to the piece.  Someone at some time had refinished the piece.  My guess is that it fell during a move because it was outside a rental property in my neighborhood.  Of course I brought it home.  It sat in my garage for a year, then it moved to the Garagemahal.  It sat there six months.
Hubby did not want to start a big project this weekend so he decided to start putting this back together.  In order to put a piece back together, it has to be taken apart.  I mean completely apart.  I wanted you to see what I mean when I say that Hubby takes broken furniture apart.  He is great at disassembling and reassembling furniture that others would just give up on.

It always looks worse when he starts that it did when I brought it home.

The piece had a tag that said property of Louisiana College.  Now I really want to know how it ended up in my Texas neighborhood.

Hubby started re-gluing all the pegs.

Then he strapped everything together so that the glue would dry with the wood aligned as it should be.

We had to leave it drying but it should be all back together next weekend.  Hubby has already made it clear that he does not want this piece painted.  It will be sanded and refinished.  I am just happy it is not in a landfill somewhere.  I can’t wait to show you the puzzle pieces put back together!

Country living, Using a Smoker

Cooking for the Week Without Working Hard

This is a warning.  Vegetarians- avert your eyes.  This blog is all about meat.  About a year ago one of my teachers schooled me on the wonders of an electric smoker.  He swore to me that I- a professed non-cooker- could in fact smoke my own turkey.  I threatened him within an inch of his life if it went wrong, but did go buy a smoker.  I have to admit that I had no confidence in my skills so I cooked a turkey two weeks before Thanksgiving just to be sure it would work.  It did.  We were hooked on the Smoker.  We know that the coming week will be crazy with the start of school so we wanted to get some food cooked ahead.  In the city, I do not cook.  Hubby handles this duty, but it is his first week of school too so unless I want sandwiches or cereal I knew I needed to have a plan.  My plan… cook this weekend at Star Hill.

The smoker now lives at Star Hill.  It is the most amazing device.  I can cook a ton of food without worrying about it.

Step one buy some wood chips.  They are located where the barbeque coals are.  We buy different woods.  This time Mesquite.  I have a bag of Applewood waiting.  The wood chips have to be soaked in water for about 15 minutes before putting them in the cooker so I start soaking them while setting up the smoker.

My Smoker.

Not too attractive to look at.

The water soaked wood chips are placed around the heating element.

Next I get the steam bowl ready.  I have used a ton of stuff in the steam bowl but this time it was peach nectar and water.  Whatever you have.  Apple juice, Soy Sauce…

The steam bowl goes in just above the heating element on the hooks in the tube.

Next comes the meat.  Lots of meat.  When I am using the smoker I load it up.  It is going to be on all day so I think it just makes good sense to make several different meats at once.  On the rack above the steam bowl I put chicken breasts. 

The next rack had a pork loin and boneless beef ribs.  It was packed.

At this point, put on the lid and plug the smoker in.

In a few short minutes you should see…


SMOKE!  It smells heavenly.  We are starving all day while it cooks.  I put he smoker on at 9:00 in the morning and took everything off at 4:00 in the afternoon.  About every two hours I checked to see if it needed wood chips added to the bottom or water to the steam bowl. 

The door in the side is where you check everything.

The meat was amazing.  We had ribs Saturday night.  We will have chicken pork loin and ribs to eat this week along with salads and vegetables.  We are good to go.  This is a great way to start our first week back to school.
Star Hill

The Lovebirds’ Apartment

We got to go see the lovebirds this past Friday on the way to Star Hill.  (Okay, I know that going into Houston is not on the way to Coldspring- but any chance to see the kiddos will be taken!)  Sweet Amanda has been busy!  Their apartment is so cute.  She has such a great sense of style and humor.  She even found ways to insert the Baby Boy’s stuff into her design.  See if you can pick out his stuff.

For the wedding I found a bunch of old encyclopedias for 25 cents a piece.  Someone else gave her a bunch of Reader’s Digest books.  They looked great stacked around the tables but after the wedding I wasn’t sure what to do with them.  Sweet Amanda said she would take them and do something.  Here is the result:

 The old ceiling tin was in our house for years then went to the hoard when we painted the house.  They look great.

 If you guessed that the Mr. Potato Head dressed as Spiderman belongs to Baby Boy you would be wrong.

 Baby Boy screwed brackets into the book then attached the brackets to the wall.  They look great.

The gnome does belong to Baby Boy.  He painted it at one of those ceramic shops. 

The letters are stick on letters stuck to the glass of an 8X10 frame.  I painted and glazed the frames to practice for their bedroom furniture.

The mirror got installed along with the shelf.  The key holder did not get installed.  Someone put the wall hangers on upside down. 


Baby Boy and Hubby installing the mirror.

 Great solution for the Fiesta cups .  They add a lot of color.

 I wanted to show you a few more shots of the frame wall.

We loved our visit.  It is always great to see the kids.

Star Hill

Feeding the Wildlife

We love the wild animals that are around Star Hill.  When we first moved in to the house one of the first things that we put up was a bird feeder.  We loved seeing the birds come around. 

We had a family of foxes up at the top of the hill that came out to play all winter the second year we were there.  The next year we added hummingbird feeders. 

At times during the fall there are so many hummingbirds that it sounds like bees outside the door.  We discovered goldfinches about four years ago.  They are little birds that are bright yellow.  When I saw my first goldfinch I thought it was a loose canary! 

The next winter we added a squirrel feeder that takes an ear of corn.  I added another squirrel feeder that is a big jar to fill with corn and peanuts in the spring.  I can see them both when we look down the hill toward the pond. 

It took a lot of work to get it up in the tree.  The truck, a ladder and rope was involved.
 Hubby got the battery set up. 
 He filled the bucket with corn.
We tested it and corn flew all over us!

In the early mornings I have been seeing a deer down by the pond.  There are deer all around the area.  We saw these three near our house on the way to town a few weeks ago,

 but we really don’t see them very much at Star Hill. Of course seeing the deer made me want to get a deer feeder.  Our friend Larry mentioned that he had a small one that we could use.  Yeah!  This past weekend Hubby put up the deer feeder and we set the timer to go off twice a day; morning and evening.  I am anxious to see if we had any company at the feeder. 

Coldspring, Country living

Visual Peace

My daughter-in-law was up in the Garagemahal talking about her need to have all the clutter out of a space before she could figure out what to decorate. She used the term visual peace. I thought about that term all afternoon. I think I crave visual peace and that may be why I love Star Hill. I hope you don’t mind but I wanted to share some of my visual peace with you.

Cardinal nest in the bushes by the house.
The porch at Star Hill.  I love the rockers and looking down the hill at the pond.

 Coots are such funny birds.

 Flowers up close are beautiful.

 Wild muscadine

 Roadside flowers

 I love this barn.

Love the pines

DIY Projects, Repurposed Furniture, Thrifty Art

Making a Key Holder for the Lovebirds

This weekend I got all the things together for the mirror and shelf that we are going to put up in the Lovebird’s nest.  Apparently Sweet Amanda has been busy around her place and has decorated like crazy.  We are going to check out her handiwork this weekend so I should have pictures to post when we return.  When you enter their apartment there is a small space that will serve well as a kind of organization station.  I found the perfect shelf to go under the mirror for $2.00.  I literally did not have to do a thing to the shelf or the mirror. Total cost for these two pieces- $12.00 

See the panel at the top of the mirror that is going to be part of the organization station? Hubby had to cut that off the matching mirror so it would fit on the mud bench.  I used the panel for the key holder.

The shelf was handmade and whoever built it knew what they were doing.  It is solid wood and they even provided the shelf with a cleat to attach it to the wall.  All the metal in the love nest front room is brass or gold.  The former owner  used a gold metallic finish on the shelf.   While I was gathering things to bring home for the entry way organization station, I was also working on the chandelier.  Painting a coat of paint- then waiting for it to dry- repeat.  While the paint was drying on the chandelier, I was puttering.  It occurred to me that the lovebirds might need a place to put keys by the mirror. The key holder could help with where to put the keys and speed up the morning exit.  I searched the hoard and found a drawer front left from the dresser we turned in to a mudroom bench.  It was about the right size, just a little boring. I remembered we saved some parts that we cut off from from the mirror that I had to cut off to put in the mudroom bench.  One of the parts was a wood insert that looked like it would fit perfectly on top of the drawer front.

 I had Hubby nail the two pieces together, I liquid sanded the whole thing. 

Then I primed and painted the thing coral.


 I glazed it at the same time I glazed the chandelier to make them blend.

 This week I ran by Walmart in the dark of morning and got some brass hooks and some little brass medallions to put behind the hooks. Total cost for the materials: $2. 87

Hubby and I laid out the hooks to see how it was going to work. 
This piece will be made from an oak drawer front and a maple insert.  Both pieces are old wood and solid.  Hubby drilled pilot holes in the wood before screwing the hooks in.

Please note Hubby drilling on his lap. I am not sure how many OSHA violations that would be but please do not try this at home!

We were really surprised how cute this turned out.  For just over $14.00 we will be able to put together a cute entry way for the lovebirds.  I can’t wait to get it all put up this weekend. 

Coldspring, Country living

Horses in the Country

I am a city girl.  I grew up within a stone’s throw of Interstate 10.  I rode a horse a few times when I was little, but not often.  I don’t think I have ridden a horse at all as an adult.  People in Coldspring love their horses.  I did not have a camera on the way to church two weeks ago, but there was a horse tied up in front of a small church.  It was a great shot.  I see people riding horses into town frequently and there is a trail ride that comes through the town each year for the Houston livestock show and rodeo.  Coldspring schools get the whole school week off during the county fair.  My social planner, Tanis, and her husband are building a house right across from a pasture that four horses live in.  I love watching them and i think it was one of the things that made Tanis fall in love with the place. One of the horses is a yearling.  It has been so much fun to watch him grow up during the last year. When the horses see us at the property, they try to act like they don’t care, but their curiosity gets the best of them.  The start out across the pasture, moving slowly…

They are watching us from across the pasture, but they are acting like they don’t notice we are there.

They moseyed a little closer.  ( I sounded like a country girl there, right?)

Finally, the curiosity got the best of them.  They always end up at the fence.  The young one is the only one that wants to be petted.  Horses are really big!  They are magnificent creatures.  We need to start bringing treats when we come over. 

Apartment living, repurposed lighting, Thrifty Art

Turning a Chandelier Into a Hanging Lamp

Getting ready for the wedding, I found a brass chandelier that I bought as part of a $20.00 bundle.  I made out like a bandit on that deal.  If you have been reading the blog long you have probably seen something that I got on that trip at least once a week.  My favorite piece was a milk glass chandelier that will one day be in my bathroom.  The grape sconce in the purple frames, two of the ornate frames, the glass candle holders, my tarnished silver change holders, and six vases that we used at the wedding are just some of the items.

The brass chandelier that I included in the bundle was a working piece and I thought that I would find a place for it one day. 

It was one of those builder’s grade sort of brass like metal light fixtures. 

I knew it would end up being something cool.  I went to my favorite site… Pinterest for inspiration.
Pinned Image
My first thought was for it to become something for the dessert table at the wedding.

Handmade Teacup Chandelier using repurposed light fixture and vintage teacups in adorable white and pink - ON SALE

When I didn’t get the cake stand done I thought that possibly I would do something fun, but Sweet Amanda’s dining room is so tiny and she has a lot going on with the frames.  It would get in the way of  my giant son’s head most of the time when the table is against the wall.

Sweet Amanda and Baby Boy do not have an overhead light in their front room. That is normal for an apartment the age that theirs is, but it means that they need a lot of lamps in the room. Because they are ministers on a college campus and have small groups in their home, the front room is literally wall to wall couches. The space where the window air conditioner is really doesn’t work well for a table lamp so right now they have a red floor lamp that I bought on clearance at Walmart after the off to college stuff went on sale one year. It really doesn’t go with the vibe of the room,  The chandelier was the perfect solution for the spot.  I had a ton of chain, cord, and other lighting parts left over from another project so the solution is to make the chandelier into a hanging lamp that plugs in. 
Their lease says that anything permanently attached has to stay.  This will not be permanent.

I took the light out to the trees at the edge of our woods and then tied it up with twine to allow me to spray prime it. 

I am a terrible spray painter.  I apparently am also a terrible spray primer too.  The primer was gritty, and uneven.  I hated it so much that I got out the paint brush and gallon can of primer and gave it a second coat. 
 I still did not love it so it sat for two weekends while I studied it.  One the best ever garage sale run where I found the giant ornate mirror, I bought five black lampshades with gold interiors for $2.00 that are going to cover the bulbs and provide less direct light in their living room. 

 The walls in the apartment are white, so a light colored chandelier with black shades would not look right.  When Sweet Amanda and her bud Beth came over, the color was selected… coral.

Pinned Image
I should not have been surprised they chose coral.  It is really a popular color right now.  The 2012 Pantone color of the year is a tangerine color that is really close to coral.
Hubby and I went to Home Depot to look for coral.  I gave him a color block and he could not pick coral from the block.  Baby Boy doesn’t think it is a real color.

We found a color called tropical coral.  I am going to brush it on.  I know what you are thinking.  Yes I probably am crazy but I do not love spray paint and I couldn’t find a color I liked. 

At Christmas time I am going to look for beads to add to the light. 

Finally this weekend I was able to get the thing painted.  The color was a little scary- almost sherbet colored. I just had to trust it would dry richer and darker. 
Here is the finished product.  It did dry a lot prettier than I originally feared it would.  I also aged it a little with some glaze at Baby Boy’s request. 
I still need to get new plastic covers that look like candlesticks, bulbs, and Hubby needs to finish wiring the plug in part so it is not mounted on the ceiling but is a plug in lamp.

I unwrapped one of the shades.  It will be perfect.  The gold on the inside will go with the gold metals in the room.  This is going to be a great color boost to a mostly brown living room.  I found the fabric below to make some pillows and I have another project to bring in the coral color to the room. 
 Yes, Baby Boy, coral is a real color.

Building a Home, Country living, Country Style

Boots on the Ground; Building a Forever Home in the Country

My buddy and social planner, Tanis, is one of those people turns her dreams into reality. She and her sweet husband bought lake house first. They convinced us to come visit and we were hooked. She helped us find Star Hill then encouraged us to “jump on it”. I titled this piece Boots on the Ground for two reasons; when we arrived Saturday to look at the staked-out house shape she was literally standing there in a pair of boots. She had rallied the troops. Her sister and brother in law were also there to look over the plans.

 I also chose this title because she is literally gong to be “Boots on the Ground” for this project. They have sold their home of 30 years and are now living in an RV so that the dream can become a reality.
According to Wikipedia, (the source of all knowledge), the term Boots on the Ground is used to convey the belief that military success can only be achieved through the direct physical presence of troops in a conflict area.

My social planner is attacking this project with military precision. She has assembled a notebook of ideas, hired a builder, met with a draftsman, reviewed the plans dream up, made corrections, re-visited the draftsman, staked out the outline of the house, then got out lawn chairs to make sure she liked the view. (The house will move back slightly from where it is staked out). She has even knocked on the door of houses she liked to see who built the home and ask what they would change about the house. The woman is a machine.

She brought the plans over for us to review before turning them back to the draftsman.

She has tracked down vintage lights, because she couldn’t find new she liked. She has collected just the right pieces of furniture for each room. Her home is going to be a true reflection of her style.

I hope her troops are up for the battle, because she will prevail. The house will be amazing.  This is the view she will have out the front door.  Wow.

collecting, Country living, vintage style

Collect What You Love and Make it Look Great

My social planner, Tanis, loves what she loves.  If she loves it, she collects it.  I think that is a great strategy personally.  She loves anything vintage to do with camping or fishing.  I think it is her memories as a child camping with her family and then taking her own kids camping later, but whatever the reason, these things make her happy.  She has picnic baskets, water cans, old thermos sets, and a variety of other items.  She has found a way to make those things look right at home in her lake house.

They added a long shelf the length of their downstairs room.

Over the eight years that they have had the house, she has added things she bought and found ( notice the bird nest found a few weeks ago).

The result is great.  Over time the collection has spread to the floor under the shelf but it fits right in.