Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Here I Am!

This is the view from our deck
We are finally here....left Texas and our beloved deer (a fellow who lived down our street called me, and asked if I had moved). "David,wasn't the big moving van in the driveway a clue"? I asked.
"Didn't notice that, but did notice the twenty deer, rambling around our yard, asking if I'd seen Jessica" ...I started to cry.
"I fed them Cheetos," he said, cheerily.  "And water," he added.
I informed him Cheetos were tasty, but not for deer.
We live up on the Cumberland Plateau (75 miles from Knoxville), on a lake, in a home we inherited in a resort with 8 lakes and 11 golf courses (or is that 8 golf courses and 11 lakes?  It is truly beautiful, and it finally stopped raining...going from dust and deerpoop in one's back yard to mildew and a lake is an adjustment.

This is our new home..sort of looks like the "Black hole of Calcutta" right now...The front door is chinese red..and the house is cedar..I didn't take this photo (the realtor did-the house was on the market for three years...wonder why it didn't sell?)....Lots of painting, landscaping, interior design/rehab)  The people who rented it for a year burned holes in the carpet in the lower level (there's a wood-burning stove), changed the door hardward brass to cheapstuff, along with chiseling the door frame, and left the house filthy..gah!
First thing I did was buy a bird feeder...meet our "bird" "Stretch"..she's terrified of the rocking (a squirrel afraid of heights)...but, she's adapting, as well.  We also have cardinals..!!

This is our lovely???kitchen...I hate wallcovering (well, at least, THIS wallcovering), and borders, and soffets, and dirty, white tile, but the cabinets are a nice cherry, and there's hope.  My late brother-in-law installed the wallcovering right on the drywall, so the going is slow removing it.  My 90-year-old mother in law was helping us pick at it one day, and said, "I'll be an old woman by the time this stuff is removed"..(love her).  My guy has most of it off (thank you Swiss Army Knife Guy)...and we have the paint ready...I'm going to do a back splash. (lots of plans as soon as we sell (long story) our Texas home...thought it was sold, but they lost their financing..hope is still in the air)
This is the view from our lower-level walk-out .We have a "work room", and a large room with a large, wood-burning stove, on a large "Crab Orchard stone platform and back wall" My husband gets the tiny office off mine..Hey, it's all he needs.

This is the "Sunroom", which I've made into the dining/sun room...painted it...put in our furniture, but I do not like the dark wood trim throughout, (can't change it out)..too much work...
So, I am off to eat my breakfast, while gazing out at the lake and my birds.
Hope springs eternal.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Finally! Painted and Staged

Six hundred and thirty-three trips up-and-down a ladder later ~ done..finished, praise God!
Our living room was dark, even on a sunny day.  This is Texas, after all, and when the 107 temps hit for months on end, we were grateful for the deep back porch, the cool, stained concrete floors, and the live oak trees off the back porch. 
As a designer and stager, I knew that the ceilings needed to be painted in the livingroom and the foyer...they were the same color as the walls, and sucked up what light there was coming in the one wall facing East....So, I decided I could do it...and I could, but as God is my witness, I will never paint another ceiling again...that said..what a difference!

This is still a "before", but I wanted to show you how dark the room was, even with the bright sunlight outside. Also, I didnt like the fact that the fireplace breast was the same color as the rest of the space, so I painted it the same color as the trim...and now....

So, the realtor came out with the wide angle lens (I don't have one), and took some shots..the "pro" will be here as soon as we have a sunny day, which is next week.  It's strange to have so much rain and cloudy days, but wonderful, as we've been suffering through a terrible drought.


It seems that one of my three muses (we all have them, you know) is playing with the computer today - I have a kitchen muse, who loves to add too many spices to my chili, and one, who loves to play with my computer (while I'm trying to post), and one, who is my "creative muse", who mostly behaves..So, these photos and captions are a bit mixed up today...

My home is "Rattlesnake Limestone" which is named that because of the fossils in it (they are really sea shells, but look like rattlesnake rattles.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

After a Long, Dry Spell

I have been neglecting my blog..not because I am bored with blogging, but if you read the post below this, you will better understand.  Every waking moment lately, I've been on an 11-ft. ladder..painting our ceiling, foyer, and fireplace breast.  Photos to follow.
Speaking of photos, while I've been out-and-about to some of my favorite places, I've shot some things I'd like to share..Here's a bit of a montage.
My favorite shop in Georgetown, Texas ..."Diva"
 I love the chest, and the entire look..Diva...

                               Usually, I amnot wild about silk arrangements, but these are lovely.
I'm pretty sure I need to feed my bookend obsession with this stack of celedon turtles........love...Diva

I love birds, china, and combining the two is almost irresitable...
I may take a break from my painting, and visit Diva today...

It's Been a Long, Long Time Comin'

But a change is going to come.  We are selling our home, and moving to an yet to be determined destination.
It is a sign of these times.  I swore when we bought our Texas home, they would have to carry me out toes up.  Things happen.  My husband can't find work in Texas, and the design industry is terrible, so we have to adapt. Sooooooooooo, here's a few shots of what we are doing to stage our home..outside first.
This was taken before last season's drought..the grass burned up, and now,this Spring, clover has taken over..which is good, as it will add nitrogen to our poor soil. 
The space between the garage windows looked stark and made the house feel not so welcome...soooo. I designed a custom-made trellis...Now, my husband suggested a trellis, but after it was up, he hated it..said it was too large and heavy looking.  We thought about painting it, but it is a western exposure, and I think it wouldn't stand up under all that harsh sunlight...so, I think I finally found the solution.

I rather liked it the way it was, but it was not making our marriage any happier by arguing over it, so while he was away for a day, I went to my local Tuesday Morning...(I love Tuesday Morning)..and Home Depot Garden Center, and found these "Wall Mangers", wrought iron, filled with coconut hair (for lack of a better term)..I only fell off the ladder once while mounting them. 
We have deer, lots of deer, whom we feed corn, but that doesn't stop them from eating every plant and flower we've put out. Deer don't eat bougainvillea, and even if they did, I wanted something fairly out of their reach..just in case.
I have added Rosemary in pots, and will be adding some other plants in the round pots..probably Plumbago, which deer nibble at, but not too much...so..that's the exterior.  We wanted to add shutters, but the windows are placed rather awkwardly on one wall, and would throw the look off.  Maybe our next home....

Friday, January 13, 2012

Greeting Cards

There is a saying, "Man Plans and God laughs"...I am attempting to submit my photos for a greeting card line, and the computer gods won't let me do it conventionally, so here we go!

Please note that all of these images are copyrighted, and cannot be used without my permission...Thanks

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How to Cook A Wolf

Recently, I was talking to a friend about our Christmas, and celebrating my mother-in-law's 90th birthday (see below).
Her comment was, (keep in mind, we have been deeply affected by the recession, and my husband hasn't worked for quite awhile- a ph.d. won't get one far in this economy) "for someone who's struggling financially, it (our home, our holiday decor, and the celebration), it all looks pretty posh".  At first, I was a bit taken aback, as this is a good friend.  Now, I think it was a complement.

I have always been a fan of making "a silk purse out of a sow's ear", and am reminded of the wonderful writer MFK Fisher, who was a food writer, who lived in Europe during WWII.  Everyone was trying to keep the wolf away from the door, and she wrote a wonderful piece on "How to Cook a Wolf"
Such is our life; the wolf isn't at the door, but he's sniffing around our driveway...that said, we didn't exchange Christmas gifts, and I'd like to show some of you, who are in our same position (isn't that "we are the 99%), how to celebrate without breaking the bank.
I believe it cost me $8.00 to make this wreath. 
Our tree was from our local supermarket...the urn has been everywhere with us, and did time in our garden, on our screened in porch in Wisconsin, and every Christmas, we put our 6-ft. tree in it, making a much larger-looking tree, and preventing our cats (who were once tree-climbing kittens) from attack.  It has become a tradition...an inexpensive tradition, at that.
The silver, we inherited..(thankyou Aunt Lily), and the candles..dripless, burn an inch an hour, are from Tuesday Morning for $1.00 apiece.  (Thankyou Tuesday Morning).
The pointsettia is an old one from last year's wreath...I hot-glued some "bling" to the stamens...ohhh lala..
The center piece, I made from $12.00 worth of German Glitter "asparagus", an old silver-plated teapot from years and years ago, that I bought at a garage sale, and was living in our garage(worn down to the nickel), and bit's and pieces from my endless stash of thirty years.
The china, (from England, TJ Maxx..$1.00 per plate)..The wine glasses, from TJ Maxx, which I hand-painted with a grape design ($7.00 for 6), The silver, ours for years....The ficus, lit with last-year's outdoor lights.  That's my beautiful Mother-in-law, my handsome husband, and the back of a friend's head...The runner was from an estate sale, and I refinished the table (tiger maple) years ago - passed down from the family.
We have wonderful friends, who brought wine, and a smile....The menu was simple, served buffet-style...this is Texas, darlin', so we aren't going to be doing foie gras' and pheasant under glass..we did bbq chicken wings, new potatoes, wrapped in bacon and baked in the oven, wasabi develed eggs, a vege and dip plate (for recipes go to http://www.marthastewart.com/ and find the wasabi eggs, and the new potatoes)..have to give credit where credit is due.
I did splurge on the $20.00 raspberry-chocolate cake...some champagne, and good coffee.
viola' - "living well is the best revenge" (I am not sure who said that)..
This was my mother-in-law in Nov. 1946...she was a high-fashion model on fifth Avenue in New York, and as a college student, was on the cover of "Look" magazine as one of the most beautiful coeds of 1944....She's still beautiful!