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Monday, December 31, 2012

Just Dance

Tonight,

about 30 minutes before midnight,

after my eyes have crossed from watching football all evening,

I am going to hook up my IPod,

and play one of my all-time favorite songs from 1977.

And then I am going to dance.


I invite you to join me. There’s no time to waste.

We’re burning daylight.

Happy New Year!

PS:

My word for 2013 is going to be

Excellence.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top Post 2012

Preface:

Dear Friends-

The post below had the highest number of page views this past year,

and that tickles me because the message I have shared here really speaks to

who I am and how I feel about home design.


I also get tickled when I see the term DIY.


When I see that, I always want to laugh and shout,

“…for goodness sake of course I am doing it myself”-

but I digress.

Enjoy this re-post and thank you for reading it the first time.

It is a Dear Daughters post .

***

blue and white bedroom

DEAR DAUGHTERS,

There really is no mystery here.

I promise.
In fact your eye is far beyond mine was at your age(s).
Let’s pretend you asked my opinion about design anyway…

Here are a few

KEY POINTS :

Key Point #1:  In the world of daily real world design (where we live), I have realized

that a key distinction (in addition to talent and training) that separates confident, successful

and even professional  designers

from you and me

is

CONFIDENCE.

They are simply confident in the doing of it all.

My recommendation when you are standing in the middle of your living room feeling doubts?

Think ‘this is not world peace.’

Key Point#2:    My confidence is not really confidence.
It is rather

the mother of invention,

the shoestring budget,

the sciatic nerve pain from moving furniture for a million years with my hips because I just HAD to try it right then,

the shouting, when in a bind on a step stool with small sharp nails in my mouth, to anyone who will listen,

“Help!”,

the avoidance of furniture stores,

and the pleasure I find in seeing what you do.

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Key Point #3:  You do not have to know what you like.

Like it all.

You know how we gravitate to the diverse anyway?

Your home is your love of diversity with a roof.

It is what we do-

as in invite everyone.

Be very, very glad I realized early on

that nothing good could happen in a world of cookie cutter harvest gold and avocado green.

I so cookie cutter tried.

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In 1958, when Nonnie (my mother) painted her kitchen at the ranch

bright white,

with white cabinets,

used black wrought iron pulls,

and installed red formica countertops,

she wasn’t looking for like minded people.


How can you dance in the kitchen to Ray Charles

if it looks like everyone else’s?

Love, Mom

***

 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dear Daughters: Preparing for 2013

You don't have to have it all figured out to move forward

Source

Dear Daughters,

As 2013 quickly approaches,

with all of the excitement and clean slates that implies,

‘you really don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward’.


Phew.

Isn’t that a relief?

Believe me I have tried the opposite.


In years past, I’d get myself all wound tight, (or in a tizzy as Dad would say),

making lists,

reading diet books,

and searching for the perfect spiritual meditation book to transform my mind and my thinking.


If I may, I have an alternate to tizzy-ness to recommend.


Just do the next right thing.


For example, a moment ago I couldn’t stand the clutter in my pantry cabinet (after all of the holiday cooking I have done) another moment.

I did a little bit of straightening and consolidating and now I can breathe.

In fact, while doing that straightening , this post idea came to mind.

That is where the magic occurs. One thing really does lead to another.


Which leads to my next suggestion.


Honor who you are. 

Example:

As amazing bloggers started posting their Top 12 Projects of 2012,

I actually thought,

if I try to do that and re-post all those photos ,

I may as well poke a stick in my eye.


So instead,

I honored the spirit of this quirky blog,

that I have likened to that thrift store

in the ‘interesting’ part of town,

that is sometimes open but sometimes closed,

but may have something you didn’t know you needed.


And finally,

instead of all of the striving,

read Anne Lamott’s new book on prayer titled

Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers.

That pretty much sums it up.

It really is that simple.


You are so loved,

Mom


Oh and

Happy New Year!

(To hedge your bets- don’t forget your black-eyed peas!)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas everyone!

Have a blessed Christmas with family and friends,

and know that I am so grateful for

you.

A new year is right around the corner!

Can you believe it?



Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas in the day to day

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It is in the day to day that Christmas surfaces.

It is in unloading sacks and sacks of groceries,

saying a prayer of gratitude while realizing once again that I bought too much.



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It is in the dirty dishes and the adage that

‘many hands make light work’

and in the reflecting I do when alone at that same sink.

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It is in casual meals on the patio with family and little white lights twinkling

and Delia’s tamales.

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And it is in finding, in the back of a cabinet, my mother’s

small green punch bowl and punch cups.

What a treat.

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How do you enjoy the day to day during this wonderful season?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Home Tour 2012

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Dear Friends,

As I write this, my grandsons are assembling Lego kits a few feet away,

and my favorite cookbooks are sitting on the dining table so I can make one of my 6:00 am grocery shopping trips to HEB tomorrow morning.

I have tamales to pick up at Delia’s at noon tomorrow

and a cookie baking session with my grandsons after that.

I know my father will stop by often to sit and watch the action.

These are the things that feed my soul in this quirky home

I love so much.

Welcome and Merry Christmas!

***

Kitchen Sitting Area

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Den

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Formal Dining Room

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Study

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***

Linking to: 
Fridays Unfolded @ StuffandNonsense
Show and Tell Friday @ MyRomanticHome
Frugal Friday @TheShabbyNest
Catch as Catch Can @MyRepurposedLife
Furniture Friday@DecoratingInsanity
Pinworthy Projects @JustUsFourBlog
Live Laugh Link @live.Laugh.Rowe
Friday Free For All @ FiveDays5Ways
Inspiration Friday @ AtThePicketFence
Addicts (not so) Anonymous Link Party @ Addicted2Decorating
EBTKS @ ALittleKnickKnack
Fabulously Creative Friday @JenniferRizzo
Vintage Inspiration @CommonGround
Party With Junkin Joe @TheCottageMarket
Weekend Wrap UP Party @ TatertotsandJello 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Entertaining and a tip

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I have had the pleasure over the years of

hosting many parties in our home.


The most important thing for me is that everyone feel comfortable

and relaxed and that the food be good.


(Who am I kidding?  It can be a LOT more complicated than that. In fact I have a Dear Daughters post planned that explains why.)

And so my tip today, during this hectic , busy season

is simple:

Know what to buy.

That alone can be such a huge stress reliever.

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And so, I found my ‘one’ thing

years ago when I discovered this chocolate cake with chocolate icing from

Esperanza’s Cake Shop in Alamo, Texas.


It is located in a humble storefront near the railroad tracks near downtown Alamo.

It is delicious and it is fresh.


And no, there is no fondant icing entombing stale layers

or a price tag that makes your eyes cross.


It’s simple and it is good

and the bakery is low profile-


my favorite combination.

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***

Linking to:

Photobucket

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

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One of the continued joys of being a novice gardener-

even though I have been devoting time and effort to my garden for about 4 years now-

is that I am constantly surprised by something blooming.


Every day really is a new day for me in

Zone 9 down in deep South Texas, with December temperatures in the high 80’s,

and the occasional drought thrown in.


Ignorance really can be bliss.


I may claim to be a novice gardener

for YEARS.

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So imagine my surprise to find that in the

past week or so, things around my place seem relatively

happy and content.

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And…

you know what I am about to say…

I don’t know why.


But I’m grateful

and

pleased all wrapped into one.

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***

 

Linking to:

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day December 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ranch Recipes # 11 Queso Blanco Con Espinaca

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My mother was a master at creating delicious appetizers

during the holiday season,

and in honor of her feisty spirit, creative nature,

hard work ethic,

great mothering,

and courage,


I’d like to introduce a young woman who has all of these traits and more:


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Heather Broughton Marks.


Now meet her recipe for Queso Blanco Con Espinaca

(which translates to

White Cheese with Spinach)

and is a new honorary member of

Ranch Recipes.



Prepare to be catapulted into another dimension of

melted cheese/chili con queso wonder.

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Queso Blanco con Espinaca

2 small cans green chiles

1/2 small can of Herdez salsa verde

fresh spinach (stems removed, half bag or to taste)

1 pkg cream cheese

1 large block of Velveeta (or HEB brand) queso blanco, cubed 

Marvel of marvels,

who knew Velveeta came in white???

Add items to a crock pot or microwaveable bowl in the order listed above. Heat  and stir until smooth.
*Can be thinned out with milk or cream, if desired
**Chopped jalapenos can be added for extra heat

 

Enjoy!

Thank you Heather for contributing to Ranch Recipes.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Flea Market Angel

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To the original owner of this wooden angel I now have

sitting in my foyer,

just know that I love her.

I gasped when I found her,

I smiled as I toted her to the car,

and I smiled again this morning as I took her photo.


Whoever you are previous owner,

thank you and Merry Christmas.

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She is sitting proudly among her

flea market siblings:

the turquoise lamp I wrestled out of a flea market box,

the bust from the flea market I bargained for in Spanish and described here,

and she is sitting on a half table from the flea market I couldn’t resist.

She is in good, redeemed company.

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And yes, she had some wear and tear.

After all I bet her journey to my flea market in the valley

is an interesting story.

But she made it,

and I had just the perfect concealer.

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So-

again thank you.

I will take good care of her.

It’s all OK.


She will be so cherished in fact, that she will be the first thing family and friends see

as they walk in my home.


Thank you previous owner,

and whatever you are going through

remember-

these challenges in life are no step for a stepper.

You can do it.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dear Daughters: Decorating for Christmas

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Dear Daughters,

I have decorated our home for Christmas many different ways,

and without a doubt,

this year has been the

SLOWEST


In fact,

as I sit here writing this,

I am still not quite finished.


Lesson #1

There is no schedule; there is no deadline.

Just enjoy the process.

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When we remodeled this house

23 years ago,

this room, which we call the study,

was the front porch.


The floor still has a slight slant.

I find that endearing, don’t you?

After all, I’m a little slanted too.


Lesson #2

Embrace the odd, the quirky, the slanted, the not so precious. 

That is where treasures are found.

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At a time in my life when the world talks about

simplifying,

I have wondered why I keep doing this-

even as slowly as I have this year.

Honestly,

I think it is because there are some things- some traditions-

that are just too special

to neglect.

I am not quite ready to file this away in the downsize folder.


Lesson #3

You get to decide how you feel about this in your home and in your life.

Isn’t that wonderful?

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And finally,

this decorating business is all about my love of you, and Dad,

and traditions, and sparkle.

Lesson#4

You cause that sparkle.

Love,

Mom

***

Linking to:

Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Cowgirl Up

Wow Us Wednesdays

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