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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Faux Butler’s Pantry


When I rounded the corner at the flea market a while back and saw this,

I knew I had to have it.

I couldn’t say no.

Getting it home and in the house was another I Love Lucy/Laura Adventure,

involving two men from the flea market,

a truck,

and my husband standing in the driveway giving me stern looks.

Isn’t life grand?

Our house is old and quirky (like its owner) and only has 8 foot ceilings,

and although this piece barely fit, 

I couldn’t turn back ,

and I was

in it to win at that point.


And so I now have

what I have christened

a butler’s pantry,

however faux it really is.

All I know is it hides things.


Big things…

and small…



but not limited to

my Singapore Bird collection,

and the gazillion wine glasses I collected for my Christmas parties.



a few other odds and ends…



because I like to name things in my posse (Hauler 2),

I need to call this

Faux Butler’s Pantry #2


there is a


(the utility room closet with added shelves)


Laura #2 signing off

to see what Laura #1 is up to now.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blue Collar Design


(all photos contain treasures from my Saturday trip to the flea market…

total cost of treasures?  $21

paint color above from my ongoing study re-do: SW Reflection

paint color criteria?  napping)


Once again, the path to creativity,

a sort of blue collar method bequeathed to me by my mother,

began yesterday

by working up a sweat in my garage.

Interestingly enough, I had two conversations this past week

(one with a dear friend and the second with my oldest daughter Heather)

about the






of working hard in the garage,

when it is at least 100 degrees outside.

(Fitz and Floyd pitcher)

After an ‘oh my gosh’ trip to the flea market ,

where the rains had apparently soothed the irritability in

usually grouchy vendors,

and other shoppers were actually

handing me things,

I drove home to a big hot mess in my garage

that I just couldn’t stand anymore.


(decorative plate)

Before I started though,

I did something very important that I highly recommend.

You must do this.

I went to El Pato (local restaurant chain) and bought a bag of

crushed ice for $1.95.

I then filled my Bubba Keg insulated mug (blue collar design tool)

with ice and bottled water

and drank it to the bottom

over and over and over again.

When I needed a jolt of caffeine,

I filled it with Diet Coke .

(Windsor Ware dishes 27 pieces)

And so it began.

And in the midst of moments in my digging

where I thought

‘What’s that?’


‘this is ridiculous’


‘I’m glad no one can see this’,

the fog lifted

and new ideas about

arranging things in the study,

the small chandelier I will be hanging in the hall bath,

my wait on the upholsterer and my gray velvet couch,

the ornate frame I put in Hauler 2 to take to the glass company for a mirror,

and ideas about vintage items from Mexico for the little house,

began to surface.


(bottle  $1)


(Bordallo salad plates)


(Wedgwood Nautilus Collection dish)

Thank you Mother.


I am linking to:


Thanks Rhoda!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Guest Post at Glimpse of my World


Earlier this week, I received the nicest invitation

to do a guest post

at Valarie’s blog home,

Glimpse of my World.

Valarie has gracious, Texas hospitality down pat.


You must go visit her wonderful blog, tour her lovely home and garden,


take it all in.

She is a joy.

Thank you Valarie!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Salad


I must confess I went down movie memory lane

while making this salad last night.




Why this handsome devil of course.

You need to make this salad one evening and eat it while watching


Cool Hand Luke, Hud, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.



Next warning-

when buying these peppers have an armed car waiting.

They are that expensive.

Oh well.

I bought an orange pepper and a green pepper too.


Black Bean Corn Salad

2 cans black beans drained, rinsed, and chilled

1 16 ounce package of frozen whole kernel corn, thawed

diced purple onion

chopped green, red, orange, and yellow bell pepper

combine gently and drizzle with Balsamic Vinaigrette

salt and pepper to taste

Note: thaw the corn in the refrigerator so it stays chilled



Monday, June 20, 2011

The Off Beat


(my grandsons have been here all week)

Last week , while driving back from a day trip to the beach,

I looked in the rear view mirror,

while the song you are now hearing was playing on my IPod,

and my two grandsons were singing along



looking out their respective Hauler 2 windows,

nodding their heads


what I like to call


Off Beat

the cool beat,

the not trying so hard beat,

the beat that follows the listening,

the beat that shows you have the confidence



because it isn’t going anywhere,

which is so, so different than

on the beat




Monday, June 13, 2011

Showdown At the Wazy Wiver


If you were anywhere near a water park in Texas this weekend,

and you saw a frazzled looking grandmother (me)

taking her lifeguarding duties seriously,

while everyone being guarded ignored her,

you should have stopped and said hi.

Whatever happened to the swimming rules of my youth?

Don’t people wait an hour after eating ( before swimming) so they don’t get cramps and die?

Isn’t the undertow still the scariest deterrent from going out too far?

Aren’t kids taught to swim from the deep end to the shallow and never the reverse (in case you get so exhausted you pass out and die just as you reach the deep end)?

I quit…

And the lazy river…

what a misnomer.

When my youngest grandson wanted to get into the

‘wazy wiver’,

(a winding, concrete river 3 feet deep with a moving current, thank you very much)

I couldn’t allow him to do that alone of course (he can not swim),

and he would not wear his life jacket ,

so I got into the wazy wiver,

(Mexican top, capris)

insisting he use the inner tube,

and of course he would not.

As we argued, bounced and wound our way around the course,


I decided it was a draw.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Memory Loss Advantage

When you are forced to remove everything you own from cabinets and hutches

which is breakable (everything),

because all of your furniture is being moved out

to work on your floors,

an interesting thing happens…

You don’t remember where everything lives when it is time to return things,

you forget you are returning it to where it did live,

it all now lives somewhere else ,

you realize you have an alternate ego that picked all of that stuff to begin with,

you hope your daughters don’t read this post because they have wanted you to ‘edit’ for years,

to the realization that now that my floors are squeaky clean , and I have a GIANT pile of things

that I am sending home with Alternate…


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Runaway Train, Again


It started out as an ordinary day.

In fact, mid-morning,  I stopped by a friend’s house to offer

her requested help with her furniture arrangement.

While there, I became obsessed with how pretty her saltillo floors were.

From that point on,

as I often do,

I entered another dimension of

‘I think I’ll do this,’


I boarded

Laura’s Runaway Train.

Due to my friend’s encouragement and my

‘Sure, I think I’ll do that,’

I am removing every accessory,

emptying every hutch and buffet,

stripping everything off of every surface (including lamps) and putting it on top of beds,

so all of my furniture that sits on saltillo can be moved out.


So this nice man and his son can then shuffle my

furniture from room to room,

clean the floors,

and finish them with 3 coats of high gloss sealer.


In the meantime,

I thought I better paint the study before the floors get done,

as I have parallel universe projects happening

all at once.

The nice man from the upholstery shop picked up the couch that is in the study

earlier today.

On a side note, I am changing the colors in the study because I am hot.

I want cool colors.

I want nap colors.

The walls will be Reflection by Sherwin Williams which is a pale soft white/gray.


(paler than this)

The couch will be a gray velvety fabric, which will be darker than the walls

to anchor the room,

and I am going to paint a giant mirror I bought in Cuero high gloss white.


( Southern Accents design inspiration photograph

I now have on Pinterest- a new obsession…)

I also bought two chairs in Goliad that I will use in the study that I am painting high gloss white

and covering the chairs in a funky gray and white

Tory Burch- like designed fabric.


I may order Paris Grey chalk paint and paint some of the furniture pieces,

but some of the pieces will be white.

I selected a gray that looks pretty with all of my blue and white.


This issue of Veranda was my inspiration.

As I have been removing everything from each room,

I am taking out as much red as I can out of our den.


The walls are SW Kilim Beige,

and I hope to cool things off with soft white,

mercury glass

and to really

funk things up in that room,

I may paint a red buffet I have soft turquoise.


(Sherwin Williams Aqua Duct)


my husband of

‘Shut it down’ fame

is out of town on business.


if I hurry,

maybe he won’t notice when he gets home…

I am now hyperventilating…

Linking to these wonderful parties:




Monday, June 6, 2011

Making a Round


(looking through the fence at my father’s farm)

The afternoon of my nephew’s graduation, after taking as many photos

as my family members would stand,

my daughter and I, along with my brother,

‘made a round’ (family term)

at my father’s farm

El Perdido.


My father had just said to my nephew ( his grandson) Trey,

‘I know you’re trying to get that money out of my pocket that I have for you,’

when I took the picture.

And so, it made perfect sense, to visit something else that makes my father happy too-

his farm.


It was a sight for the eyes.


Hundreds and hundreds of acres of sunflowers-

as far as the eye could see it seemed.


This is not my father’s crop,

(he would insist I made that distinction),

but it is his land.

He leases his farm land.


It was a wonderful ending to a wonderful day.


As I turned to get into Hauler 2,

I looked back and saw my brother locking the gate.

He has done that a million times.

I can hear my father’s voice somewhere back in our childhood

saying to my brother,

‘Can you get the gate?’



Rancho Landscape Design II


Last October, I labeled my yard design as

Rancho Landscape Design.

You can read about it here.


In fact yesterday,

as I watered, I scanned my backyard with my eyes and thought,

‘muy rancho’.

My definition, as it still applies to my yard 9 months after I wrote that post is…


literal Spanish translation: ranch

my loose symbolic translation: South Texas , imperfect, simple, humble, humbling,

occasionally‘dolled up’ for special occasions ,

hot (temperature), temperamental, forgiving,



periodically looks ‘ridden hard and put up wet’.


And so as I embrace this ,

and I quit fighting battles I can’t win,

(and I am not supposed to win)

I now truly understand my yard.

And as in dressing room battles

I have faced while clothes shopping,

some things just aren’t going to look right or work.

*It is not going to magically grow cabbage roses that trail along my cedar fence.

*No one is ever going to confuse rancho landscape design with cottage.

*It is always thirsty.

*Most of the plants it enjoys growing have thorns… hormonally, I can relate.


And ,although it never looks the same on any given day,






Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dear Daughters: Cooking Supper


Dear Daughters,

After working in the yard until dark,

I came inside to fix supper

and I thought of you

in your respective kitchens.

You come from a long line of good cooks ,

who made cooking supper

into an art,

but that is not my point.

Here is my spin on that task.


There is only one thing

that will make cooking supper easy,

night after night,

when you are tired,

and you just can’t face another

complicated task.

Have something thawed.

It is that simple.

No amount of lists, or menus, or special recipes

empowered me more than

opening the freezer,

as I headed out the door,

and throwing something in the sink to thaw.

It is that simple.

By doing that one simple thing,

I was in the game.


Tonight’s supper?


Campari tomatoes (these are wonderful and taste home grown)

green onions (for Dad)

hamburger patties with melted cheddar cheese

grilled red onions and mushrooms

and at the last minute

I steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.


Love you,


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