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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.
table setting shahana

 

 

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

 

Tamarindo Costa Rica Excursions

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Here are photos from our excursions. My tummy trouble stopped me from visiting the volcano, but my Hubby took pictures for me.

First Into the Estuary.
We took a trip up the river that flows through the area and into the sea by boat. Our guide, Pony, did not speak English. I got to practice my Spanish. It made me laugh to follow Pony through the mangroves to see the Howler monkeys. He was barefoot though the rocky soil but had a pink High School Musical backpack.
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We saw birds, monkeys, and fish. Our guide was shocked we did not see any crocodiles. I guess they needed beauty sleep. We were first on the river that morning. The other boats came up the river as we were going back.

http://www.seabirdsailingexcursions.com/
We went snorkeling, ate great food cooked on board, and toasted the sunset on this beautiful boat. It is a great deal for those who want to see the beautiful rocky seashore, get out on the ocean and snorkel. I will be honest and tell you the snorkeling was hard work. I was spoiled in Hawaii but it was fun to see the fish. They have promised to post pictures from our trip but not up yet.

http://www.villascostarica.com/tamarindo-turtle-nesting-tours.html

 

No photos of the turtles.  It was dark. I love the ecoturism in the area.  They take good care of their turtles because they know that people come to Tamarindo just to see them.

Finally,

Here are Hubby’s photos of the volcano trip.  I will admit to being a little jealous.

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My students would be proud. #noediting

Tamarindo Beaches

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I promise not to bore you to death with our trip to Costa Rica.  I plan on showing you the beaches, the city and the excursions we took.  Three posts will be my limit and not all at once.  I promise.

First, the beaches are unbelievable.  The sky is the most amazing color, the water is clear, I like low tide the best, because you can see the shells that watch up.  Boats are always anchored just off shore.  We took one of the small boats out to a catamaran to go on a sunset tour and snorkeling trip.  Enjoy.

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10 of My Favorite Posts and a Big Thank You!

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If things go as they have been for the last week, by the time I wake up tomorrow I will have had 50,000 page views on my little teeny tiny minnow of a blog. I will also be celebrating two years of blogging. There are blogs out there that get 50,000 page views a day and it has taken me two years.  I never said I was fast.  first and foremost, I want to say thank you, friends, for reading, thank you for commenting, and thank you for causing me to improve what I produce. I still have no idea what I am doing most of the time. By that I mean my husband and I are making it up as we go on our projects, and sometimes failing miserably. I am about the most technology challenged blogger out there. There have been many times when I did something on the blog but had no idea what I did, how to fix it, or if it was good, how to repeat that good thing. Between the time I started this blog and now both our children have married, my husband and I changed jobs, we sold a home, went a while “between homes”, bought a home and moved to a new city, my son and daughter in law have moved in part-time, I started a new blog called My Burb Home, and I have taken up photography as a hobby. Not bad for two folks in their 50’s.

This next year we plan to travel to two places on our bucket list, work on both our weekend home and our suburban home, build a raised garden, put in a fire pit,and continue to work on found furniture.  Life is good for this weekend loving couple.

I wanted to share with you some projects from the last two years.  As I looked back, there were others that could have or should have made the cut but I plan on rewriting several of them now that I don’t stink like when I started. Not many of you were around when I first logged in, set up an account and started rambling so some of the projects below may be new to you. Just click on the hyperlink and it will take you to the original blog.  I hope you enjoy.

10. French provincial furniture makeover.  I love that we were able to take a couple of homely particle board pieces of furniture and make them beautiful. I am seriously considering selling this set because I want to redo the room like now I recently saw on a home tour but I love the color combination and how much I learned on this project.

French Provincial Dresser

9. Western Dresser.  We found a homely little Goodwill dresser and made it something fun for the lake house guest room we call the bunk room.
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8. Table and Banquette seating out of reclaimed wood.  Wow! This is one of my oldest posts and my dinky little camera did not do this beauty any justice.  I will be re-photographing this set.  This was a collaboration between Hubby and me to come up with a solution to a tiny space using reclaimed siding from our house.  It is one of the most functional spaces in our home now.

Making Room for a Dining Area at Star Hill

7.  Farmhouse Table.  I love the look of a rustic table but man, they are expensive. Our $90.00 solution to this problem turned out to be one of my favorite pieces of furniture. It moved with us and was where we gathered for our first Thanksgiving meal in the new home.

farmhouse table

6.  Wedding Chalkboard.  I did tell you my kids got married, right?  I was fortunate enough that both my daughter and daughter in law wanted me to make personal items for their wedding.   I loved that they wanted things that I worked on as a part of their special day.  The link above is one of those items, an ornate frame my daughter in law, Sweet Amanda, found at a resale shop that I redid for the wedding and added a chalkboard.  I chose this one because it was the first wedding project. I love all four of my precious kids.

DIY Framed Chalkboard

5.  Map Chair.  Another piece of furniture that needs to be re-photographed.  This little chair would be easy to recreate for a friend moving to a new city or a college student who needs to remember where home is. I seem to have a thing for chairs.

Map Chair Seat

4.  Painted Suitcases.  I have made a total of seven of these painted suitcases now  The link is to four of them I did at one time.  I love finding cheap old hard sided suitcases, priming, painting, distressing, glazing then adding a chalkboard to one side.  It makes a great entry into a home when guests are coming over or to announce an event. If I ever started a business, I would sell these because I enjoy mine so much.

Chalkboard Suitcase

3.  Junk Fairy End Table.  The last three are easy.  They are my favorite, favorite projects.  They speak to my love of color, family and friends.  The junk fairy ( AKA The Social Planner) dropped off this homely table while we were gone one day. I did not need it, so posted a photo of it on Facebook and offered to redo it for a friend. Robin snagged it. I am happy that she chose green as the color for the table. I really like how the stained top turned out. I enjoyed it so much that I painted a table in my own home close to the same colors.
The finished green end table

2.  Beverage Station.  I am now working on number three of these babies. What a great re-purpose project for an old stainless sink and a sewing machine cabinet. I love the look and they make entertaining in a back yard or porch more inviting. My favorite blue color, Behr sailboat blue, got used here. My long-suffering husband gets major credit for the stainless sink idea here.
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1.  Mudroom Bench.  When we moved this year I literally looked for homes that my mudroom bench would fit in. It is by far my most favorite project to date. I look forward to the day that someone sends me a photo of their version of the project.&nbsphttps://theweekendcountrygirl.com/2013/01/28/toilet-paper-roll-art/; A found dresser, waiting for heavy trash pickup, and a resale shop mirror turned into this beauty.
mudroom bench

I hope you enjoyed my little walk down memory lane. Thank you for taking the time to look back on my last two years. Thank you for allowing me to share what we do.

Star Hill Images

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It seems that I spend all my time in the Garagemahal when we are at Star Hill.  Not true!  Here are some shots I have taken recently but haven’t shared.

I love how beautiful and green everything is now that the drought is lifting in our area.  The rain gauge showed 4 inches when we pulled up this week.  We are blessed to have such a beautiful place to retreat to from our busy lives.

No words here.  Just enjoy what we get to see every time we go to Coldspring, Texas.  We are blessed.

This past weekend we had our first fire in the wood burning stove and got to sit on the porch wrapped in blankets while we watched the birds go to the feeder.  There is a quiet in the woods that sinks into your bones when you spend time there,

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boats in marina

Piney Wood Skies

vintage rose

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american flag

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sky over lake livingston

hummingbird wind chime

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flowers

Star Hill Bell

chippy paint

bird house collection

hummingbird feeder

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The Homeplace

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My husband grew up on a farm in Troy, Texas. 46 in his graduating class. When I say farm I mean the party line phone, water well that dries up in the summer, hard work kind of place. The home hasn’t been lived in for 25 years or so, and shouldn’t have been lived in for longer than that but it is a place of happy memories for my husband and his family. Both his parents are gone but the kids still own the property they grew up on. This weekend Hubby and I went back to the old home place. Hubby hadn’t been out to the farm in a few years and I love this area in the fall.

The weeds and trees were so overgrown you can no longer drive in. This definitely limited the wood we got.

Here are some shots from the farm. We picked the perfect weekend. The first cold front of the season blew in while we were there. The temperature dropped all day. We needed jackets by the evening.

Lower Troy

On the way to the farm.

Pavement Ends Sign

This really is where the pavement ends.

road to the farm

The gravel road was in great shape.

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The road into the farm was not so great.

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The culvert stopped us from going further.  Washed out.

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Not much left of the home.  This window was about all that was in tact.

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wild morning glory farm flowers

old farm tractor tree growing around tractor old tractor

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Here are some of my treasures. We found:
An old ceramic sink. It will be part of my backyard kitchen soon.

old ceramic sink
An old Kerr jar.

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A tractor seat. There is a project in the very near future for this.

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Some barn wood

A door off the shed. I love this but need to figure out what I want to do with it.

barn door

All it took was a circular saw, a crowbar, drill and muscles to get the treasures out!  The old place has a wild beauty now that really doesn’t resemble the place my husband grew up on.  The windmill has been stolen, the fields are full of trees and the  buildings are all down but the happy memories remain.

Milestones

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Well this week will be a week of milestones for us here in the burbs.

It is my first “Back to School Week” in the new school district we have moved to.

I love it here. I am over the moon about my staff. They are awesome. But there are times I feel a little lost.

My textbooks and technology arrived! Yay! I was beginning to think we were going to start school with a stick of chalk and slab of wood!

My husband started his first week in his new job too. He is going to have a great year. He is an amazing teacher. I think he is feeling the same as I do.

There are also a few milestones in the blogging world too.

I started blogging two years ago. I blog because I enjoy sharing what I was already doing with others. I would never in a million years try to sell my work. it is my hobby, not my job. I never have gone outside of my friends on Facebook to tell people I was blogging because frankly I didn’t know what I was doing (I still don’t most of the time.) I switched my blog from Blogger to WordPress, and survived…barely.

I didn’t know how to “link up” or even what that meant six months ago. (I still mess this up from time to time.)

I didn’t know that I could create a Facebook page or even why I would want to create one.

Heck. I was a blogging train wreck!

Roadkill Rescue featured my mudroom bench this past spring. Wow! I had 1042 views on one day. My highest view day before that event. Did any of you find me there?

About a month ago I was contacted by Remodelaholic and asked to do a feature. A blog that gets 100,000,000 (yes, 1 million) views a month found my little, itty, bitty blog and liked my husband and my work. This past Saturday the feature was published. Thank you to the folks at Remodelaholic.

Did you find me there?

The feature leads me to the blogging milestones:

This week I have had almost 100 new folks like my Facebook page. Wow. Before this week, I had 37 whole people who liked my page. I have found that I enjoy the page because I can post sneak peeks of projects I am working on, Craig’s List finds, and quick updates.
Welcome to this little glimpse of my world.

It looks like I will hit 30,000 page views on my blog today. It took 18 months to hit the 20,000 mark. Thank you all for taking the time to read my rambling thoughts and for looking at our work.

We have a lot planned as we continue to work on our homes. We have a few gifts to get done before Thanksgiving that I hope the recipients, and you, enjoy.

I discovered Pinterest…it changed my life:)

and… I have sort of learned to tweet.

We are also setting personal goals for ourselves.

We are also going to work on finding balance. Hubby has taken up golf again. I’m feeling the itch to paint…I mean really paint, again. I plan to take more photography classes.

Life is good. Thank you for stopping by!

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