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Friday, October 28, 2011

‘Having Projects’ Living


I don’t know what causes

my ‘I better get this done’ mode to strike,

but I sure do enjoy it when it happens.

I have shared before that my parents


‘having projects’ living.

I am so glad they did.

It is SO satisfying.

My home has been a big hot mess

for two weeks while I rearranged, painted, and happily stewed,

but today

my intentions


my home/my friend

finally surfaced.


(flea market find- just visiting until it goes to Daughter #1)

My staging process , created by accident, has worked like a charm.

As I moved things out of a room, I put them on a table in the dining room.

Remember this?


That lessened the distractions and bird walking I tend to do-

as in

‘what is this?’

‘who bought this?’

‘where can I put this?’

I have , with Benny’s help and lots of

Diet Coke and iced tea worked so hard

I can’t walk.


I have:

*discovered a new favorite lamp, in pale turquoise- at the flea market

*had the kitchen painted SW Kilim beige

*had a nervous breakdown about the paint color/sought your opinions

*left it for another day… a much later day

*had the master bedroom painted SW Morning Fog

*had master bath painted the same color

*repainted the master bath a darker shade

*had daughters screen my calls because a million house questions seems to get on their nerves

*decided something paranormal is happening- no matter what paint color I pick, my bathroom looks blue

*had dimmers installed in our two dining areas- everyone looks better in dimmed light- who needs to see?

*realized I may need to wear a miner’s lamp

*had a small chandelier hung in the hall bath- I can’t get enough sparkle

*had a toe to toe discussion with Benny about the taping and floating that was needed- I let Benny (Eldon) win…

*broke my toe ramming it into something on the floor that was NOT on my staging table


*had another strange photographic experience.

Does this ever happen to you?

My house – like me- is NOT always photogenic.

Do you ever look at pictures of yourself and feel confused because you THOUGHT you looked one way but the photo says something altogether different?

My house is the same way.

I think things look great, I take a picture, and everything looks


slightly off/goofy.

But all is not lost-

I listened to Michael McDonald and danced (on one  broken toed foot)


Pictures tomorrow- right or wrong.

Maybe it’s the photographer?


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Kitchen’s Historic Marker


(pecan pie )

Doesn’t this time of year just

connect it all?

Very soon for me ( and for you as well I am sure), it will be about

planning and cooking and preparing.


(flat apple pie)

I have decided, because Thanksgiving is

so meaningful and historical,

and because it honors good cooking

in my family,

especially from women who are no longer here,

I need one of these

in my kitchen.


Instead of ‘Lincoln slept here…’

it would reference


*the yellow Pyrex mixing bowl that belonged to my mother

*my Mamaw’s secret ingredient for cornbread dressing- dried hot dog buns

*wrestling with the turkey at 5:30 am while the rest of the house slept

*Grandmother Mills’s rolls and cinnamon rolls

*Mamaw’s pumpkin roll

*my mother’s coconut cream pie

*someone saying ‘can you put ice in the glasses?’


Friday, October 21, 2011

Ranch Recipe #6: Vanilla Wafer Cake


my parents, 1950


As the month of October flies by,

I thought I’d share one of my favorite

fall desserts.



Vanilla Wafer Cake!

It is an honorary member of my

Ranch Recipes’


which is all about ranch living, South Texas, my parents (in the photo above),

family, and friends,


a.  it is easy


b.  it is delicious.

I discovered it years ago in one of the

all-time BEST

Junior League cookbooks,

La Pinata

from the Junior League of McAllen, Texas.

la pinata

Here it is!

Vanilla Wafer Cake

2 sticks butter

2 cups sugar

6 eggs

1 (16 oz.) box vanilla wafers, finely crumbled

1 (3 1/2 oz.) can Angel flake coconut

1 cup pecans, chopped


Cream the butter and the sugar together.

Add the 6 eggs, one at a time.

Add the vanilla wafer crumbs, the coconut, and the pecans.

Bake in a greased bundt pan at 275 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Serve with a delicious cup of coffee, sitting across the table from a friend or

a family member.



I am linking to LaurieAnna’s :


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On a Roll and a Tip


I read a quote recently that

started my engines.

                                                                A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something. 
                                                                                                  (Frank Capra)

As a result
my house is a big hot mess.

I am on a roll,

and if my Bee Gees painter

Benny doesn’t divorce me,

some things may get done.

He is a grumpy artiste

who says three things to me:

“You got the paint?”

”When you make up your mind.”


”Why don’t you like the color?”

I don’t know why I don’t like the paint color,

I just know that when I stand in from of the

paint swatch strips at Sherwin Williams,

brain cells start leaving my body.

I am not kidding.

It may as well be geometry class,

or horror of horrors,

word problems.

Tomorrow is a new day though.

I will not be intimidated.

Now to two important tips:

I began my project of rearranging

and freshening things up


(wait for it…)


(nothing is arranged in this room)

Removing things lead to my next step-


I edited first, but I needed a place to put those things

until I could deal with them later.

A library table in the center of my dining area worked for me.

So there is a plan.

I have studied the gallery wall tutorial

and tomorrow is the day.

Every tutorial I read included the word




Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The DugOut


During our Chicago visit for the marathon,

one of the many

be still my beating heart,

life changing things I witnessed

was this.


My husband sitting in the

Chicago Cubs’



whatever one thinks

when faced first hand with

something you have loved

for a very, very

long time.

He quietly said,

“I wish I could chew on a blade of grass,”

and off I went

to make that happen,

by first asking permission.

I should have squatted and reached under

the rope

and tugged- which is far more my style.

The answer?

“Uhmm, no .”

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Paint Color-Now What Do I DO?


(corner of my kitchen)

So I was sitting on the couch minding

my own business,

and in my alternate universe of


I thought

‘I need to paint the kitchen.’

(True confession…I called Benny to come paint the kitchen.

Do you remember Eldon from Murphy Brown?

Benny plays the Bee Gees Staying Alive


which doesn’t bother me one bit.)

So now what do I do?

I had a red kitchen, and now I have a beige kitchen.


Now, I want my cabinets painted this color and my kitchen walls white…




Friday, October 14, 2011

Dear Daughters: Design 101


Dear Daughters,

Here is a list of my favorite

beliefs about



*  The best house , the perfect house

is the house you can afford.

Our condemned HUD listing of a house,

that your grandmother suggested we consider


as a fixer upper 21 years ago,

has treated us well

everyday we have lived here.

Always take a second look. You never know.

*  There are no rules in my kind of design;

however, there is

common sense .



* For example, 

low table- tall lamp,

tall table-low lamp.


*  In your home, give people what they need:

an end table to set a glass on-

a lamp to read by-

an ottoman to prop their feet on-

a rug to walk on. 

* Let candlesticks be candlesticks and lamps be lamps-

the two aren’t always a match-

as in a candlestick lamp.

Their skinniness will challenge whatever anchor you are trying to create.

I know firsthand. I am staring at two right now that need to be retired.

*I love symmetry.

There , I said it.

It really

*  Buy every over-sized mirror

you can find,

(Or buy the frame and add the mirror).


(waiting to be hung in the Nap Room)

*  If something seems wrong in a room,

you may

need something round.  

The shapes in a room shouldn’t look like

a warehouse full of crates

(as in non-stop rectangles).


* Shopping in a retail furniture store is not in your genetic code.

(but you already knew that).  


*  You can never have too many chandeliers.

(waiting to be hung in the Nap Room)


*  See through coffee tables are usually the prettiest. 

*  There has been way to much made out of

‘letting the eye travel from high to low objects’

around the room.

My advice?

Ask yourself what happens when

your eye


That is the true test.

*  The absolute best bang for your traditional decorating buck


blue and white porcelain

blue and white dishes

silver plate

cut glass

mirrored place mats

black lampshades

old school brass urns

ornate framed mirrors

anything urn

and an

an ivory upholstered couch


And finally,

as our family crest should say,


“…if all else fails, spray paint it white.”



Linking to:

Inspiration Friday at At The Picket Fence


Potpourri Friday at 2805

This is it

This is it folks.

I promise.

But I couldn’t resist.





Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Exactly the Same


At 5:30 am ,

when Katherine turned to walk away to

enter her corral

for the Chicago Marathon,

I got to time travel,

and she was once again walking away,

pony-tail swinging,

to some childhood milestone.

It may as well have been her  first day of school

for first grade.

My tears were

exactly the same.

It is like they were saved in some safe place

for just such a day.

Archived tears.

So I did what I always did.

I said,



And she turned,

as I took a teary-eyed, wobbly,

blurry, photo

of a




who knew exactly what she was doing,

and what it would take to do it.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thank You Team Katherine


(my husband’s cap)

We are heading out soon

for Chicago

and the October 9th Chicago Marathon

that awaits

our youngest daughter Katherine.

You can read about it



I couldn’t do that

without saying

Thank You.

Thank you for posting her button on your sidebar,

thank you for emailing me to share your good wishes,

thank you for making her button your profile picture on facebook,

thank you for creating a facebook page for her,

thank you for making a donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research,


thank you for sharing in a mother’s wish.


Imagine 4 people:

one father,

one mother,

one oldest sister,

one middle sister,

at 7:30 am on October 9th,

standing and shouting,

with 1.7 million other spectators,




If you are up that morning,

shout it too.

Love to you all,



Sunday, October 2, 2011




I have been a little teary-eyed of late.

You know-

the tears motivated by good things…

the unexpected moments

that knock your breath loose.

Things like…

*My oldest grandson (above) sitting on the hood of Hauler 2 (my Tahoe),

keeping a watchful eye on his little brother at T-Ball practice,

with his hands shading his eyes,

like a farmer,

in a little man sort of way.


*My oldest daughter,

following my youngest grandson ,

as he walked toward his first ever T-ball practice,

with his head down,

and his cap scrunched on tight,

and his arms swinging,

in a little man sort of way.


*And then that same little man

listening to his coach

so, so hard.



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