Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Simple Fall Decorating Tips

Simple Fall Dining Table Arrangement With Blue and White

Fall for me is that easier, no strings attached time of year that is simply about cooler weather, college football, and setting out some of my favorite fall treasures.
It is about family and comfort and food and enjoying the appeal these treasures bring to our home.

To create that appeal, here are a few of my tried and true seasonal decorating tips that have always served me well. 
1.  It all has to go with the flow and bloom where I plant it.  
I am a jammer and a slinger and my fall decor needs to fit and not fight where I put it. 

These items live with us- not the other way around. 
To that point, you all know I love blue and white, and to my eye fall colors combine beautifully with my long collected mountain of blue and white porcelain pieces.
Have you noticed the mountain ? :)

2.  My second tip always reminds me of an expression my dear friend Celeste from South Texas always says before getting dressed for a special occasion-
"Throw the closet!"
Which means, bring it all out- go for it, and when it is time to stop, you'll know- or someone will tell you!

Our youngest daughter Katherine has teased me for years about a methods demonstration I had her do for 4H one year titled,

"Adorning the Wreathe".

This is now a favorite family expression when it is time to go for it.
So ladies, throw the closet and adorn the wreathe- however simple or complicated that may be.

3. Remember your old friends. 
You have all seen this zebra rug for several years in many of my White Spray Paint posts.

Let your old decorating friends enjoy the season too. 
They are the gift that keeps giving. 
Move your laser focus away from the seasonal item and look around the room at what supports it.

4.  It is not about price, right?
These small pumpkins are not the drop dead gorgeous velvet ones we have all seen, nor or they real velvet and their stems are certainly not authentic, but when I saw them at KMart for $1.50 each I grabbed them. 
Everything you see in these photos are collected treasures from the flea market, thrift stores ,Round Top and Ross.

It is so much fun to create this way.

We have a family philosophy that helps us add thifted seasonal treasures each year to our collection and it is:

Don't go to the flea market looking for something, but if you need something it will appear:)-

As in 'build it and they will come'.
I am joining these wonderful ladies for our monthly

Please visit all of the other participants. 
They are all so talented and so smart and dear Stacey of Poofing the Pillows corrals us with great patience each month.  
Isn't her new forever home beautiful?

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Dear Daughters: Gardening Part II


Dear Daughters,

I first wrote about your gardening heritage in Gardening Part I

I hope you will re-read that:)

My hard core, focused gardening began as you know about 10 years ago when I retired from teaching.

Prior to that, I had blinders on, and I relied on someone who came twice a month to mow, edge, and blow away the leaves in our yard. 

Once I had the time , I entered the world of gardening, along side the mower, edger, and blower and...

I have never worked so hard or smiled so wide in my life.
I've planted things in the wrong spot, been shocked when things actually grew, 
had millions of 'projects in the yard' at which point Dad often said,
'are you having another party?'
or 'no more projects!'.

I've wrestled with a bougainvillea and it and its thorns won,
I've dragged heavy water hoses all across our yard , 
I've tripped on those hoses and landed on various parts of my body, 
had dirt under my nails,  
screamed at unexpected insects while running in circles  and gone out the next day for more.
IMG_0028 I've gone to the 'drive thru flea market' and had conversations with vendors in Spanish and admired their plants planted in coffee cans- like Grandmother Mills used to plant hers.

I've danced to whatever music was playing in the yard, and made Dad laugh while I danced in front of the den window where he was watching football.
I've had zinnia growing competitions with Papa and when he passed away, I cut zinnias from his garden to place on his graveside (but of course you know this- you helped me).
I invited a group of friends I called the Sisterhood of the Traveling Zinnia Seeds to plant dried zinnia seeds from Papa's garden.

I've taken small bouquets of my own zinnias to friends in need or to say thank you, and the tiny vases I used were part of the gift as well. 

I collected those vases at the flea market for just that purpose.

I've started my gardening in El Paso, even though the timing isn't exactly right, but I did it anyway because I couldn't stand it. 

If you have gardening in your life some day, you will know exactly what I mean.

I love you!
Have a wonderful weekend.
I know you are planning your trip to the flea market.
I am too :)

Love, Mom 

PS. This is what I looked like dragging hoses in our yard on Scout Lane:)


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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Placeholders : An Important Moving Tip

I promise I have other things to discuss in 2017 here at White Spray Paint other than moving.

Here is the disclaimer.
This was a pivotal moment in our lives- to the point that just looking at the photo above of the moving van parked in front of our old house has me saying to myself 'don't look at it too carefully Laura- there's your old mailbox and the carpet grass you tried so hard to grow' and a familiar twinge of longing surfaces.

But change is good, and today I am embracing that, and I have something very important to share with you.

What better time to share than on Ten on the Tenth?

This is it. This is the game changer.


I wish I had thought of this idea.
My dear friend Jenny used the term placeholders in a phone conversation we had about what was in that moving van above that crossed 800 miles and what was not.

You see before moving, I fell sway to the popular wisdom of the day which is to get rid of things before moving.

And so I did.
Did I need everything that I had acquired over the years from our home, the little house (a guest house), and the GARAGE?
Mercy no, as my grandmother would say. 
I got rid of so much, the weight of items on the truck dropped over 1000 pounds.

My mistake was in letting go of certain furniture.

I blame my daughters for this:)  Adult children can be so bossy.

I sold the  leather couch, love seat, and chair from our den.

I sold two guest room beds, including the headboards, because my daughters said they were the most uncomfortable beds in the world. Whatever.

I sold all of the bedroom furniture from those rooms because I was crazy at that point.

I sold the gray couch from the nap room because surely I would easily find another. 

I sold a couch and love seat from the little house, as well as the bunk beds, and various tables.

I sold the piano and my sewing machine from my 2nd place prize money at the Kleberg County Queen's contest in 1970.

I sold all of the white wicker that was on our front porch. 

I sold,gave away, or left with the house our chest freezer, a small refrigerator,and almost the entire (but not all :) infrastructure of my garden.

So here is Jenny's wisdom.

We need placeholders when we move.
If we want to live comfortably when we move into a new home, that older leather couch comes in handy.

It holds the place for another couch some day.
I can always get rid of it later.

Instead the most uncomfortable couch we owned came with us on our journey.

(My husband sometimes drags in a lawn chair to watch tv, it is so uncomfortable.)

Our guest rooms would be complete at this point, however uncomfortable those beds were.

Placeholders let us breathe. They create a familiar, practical space. They save us- temporarily- some money. They create a home.
Visit the following bloggers for inspiration, great tips and fun. They are amazing:)

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Casa Golondrina: The Entrance

This house- our new house that we searched 4 months to find- grabbed my attention the first time we walked up its gravel circular drive.

That crunchy gravel sound cracked something open in my longing heart for the home we left.

You know I have a story telling imagination, and that day was no different. 

There was something about the sound of that crunching gravel and the entry gate into the courtyard and the fact that the house fit where it was planted. 

It looked like a house that belonged in this rugged area of Texas called El Paso - that I have come to love and enjoy.

 Did you know that El Paso looked like this?

We have lived in this house 6 weeks , and the quirks are saying hi.
Sometimes I say hi back and smile and sometimes I think "what in the world?" , feel a frown forming, and THEN I smile.

More will be revealed dear friends as this house tells me when.

It feels good to share this story with you.

Next up is the courtyard and the entry.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Naming our Home

I have always named the things, the expressions, and the experiences in my life that are important to me.

And so today our new to us home in El Paso is duly christened 

- and of course there is a story.

My husband and I have been on a journey since March 15th when we sold our home of 27 years and moved 800 miles  from a community where we had lived over 40 years.

After 4 months in El Paso , we found a home, bought it, and we began moving in on July 26th.

This was waiting high up under the eave of our front door on the first day we moved .

A nest of 4 baby swallows ( golondrinas in Spanish) were waiting for us and welcomed us to our new home. 

Each day of our move in, they were there.

I look forward to sharing this journey with you.
I have so much about this process and its ups and downs that I look forward to sharing with you.

And then of course there is the house.
Day by day we are settling into this wonderful quirky house -which of course is my favorite kind- and it is slowly grabbing my heart. 

I look forward to sharing that with you as well:)


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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Game Changing Summer Must Haves

Welcome to Ten on the Tenth where ten bloggers share ideas and tips on a variety of subjects on the tenth of the month.

Since summer is here,
I thought I'd share three game changing summer must haves I am using daily, and I cannot live without.

I have worn a lot of hats over the years for sun protection, but Tula hats are the best.
I also like that they are cute! 
This particular style, which is what I have has:
  • A stretchy sweatband (22' or hat size 7)
  • Approx. 4" Dome brim
  • Is made of hand-woven palm
  • And is UPF 50+

I know there are more expensive stainless 30 ounce tumblers on the market,
but the good news is you can buy a pair of this particular brand at Costco for $19.99.
These have been a real water drinking game changer for me.
Your water will stay so cold, and the straw is wonderful.

Clark Arla Gibson Black Fabric Flip Flops

If you enjoy a comfortable flip flop as much as I do, these are the best.
The downside is they are a tad expensive, but my feet think
because I wear them just about everyday, the price is worth it:)

On a personal note, I want to thank you all for your comments, emails, and prayers for our house search.
It continues!


Please go visit these wonderful blogs.
They have such great ideas to share!
Poofing the Pillows
The Purple Hydrangea
Bluesky Kitchen

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

When It Looks Like Your Home But It's Not

And so the story that began on March 15th, when my husband and I moved to El Paso to be nearer our grandsons, continues.
It is all good even though we have not found a house.
Let me rephrase.
We found a house- a fixer upper to be exact- whose inspection later revealed all sorts of hidden issues that were not part of the plan,
and so we said thank you but no thank you.

It was going to be amazing, I thought,
even though my entire family disliked the house.

And so here we are.
Why have I not lost it?
Because I believe more will be revealed, and
because so many things in my daughter’s home look like my home-

I feel at home.

These plates from Mexico sitting against
the Saltillo tile in her kitchen look just like something I had/will have in my kitchen.

I found 12 of these plates in a small shop on a bottom
shelf in Old Mesilla , New Mexico last year.
They became an early birthday gift for her, and they look wonderful in her

This is the hallmark on the back.
She has other wonderful treasures that I often teasingly ask,
“Is that mine?”
I love this ginger jar,
and I gave her a pair of these large ginger jars with blue chevron stripes for another birthday.
They caused a real motherly moral dilemma which mentally sounded like this:
“I want these- I need to give them to Heather- I want these- I need to give these to Heather”.

And so the message here as we move into June dear friends is that
more really will be revealed.
We really can find our home even if we are temporarily living in someone else’s.
I hope things are going well for you all.
My dear friend Anna gently chided me on the phone this morning as she said-
“you need to get back to blogging”.
She is right!

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Monday, April 10, 2017


The Return of Odysseus, Claude Lorrain, 1644
At my last farewell party , before my husband and I moved to El Paso (800 miles from our home),I received a very special gift from my dear friend Lina.
That night I was saying goodby for a time to many beloved friends.
Many of us taught together, sat in stands together, hostessed parties together and did all of the wonderful things that women do who live in each other's lives.
That evening at home, I opened Lina's gift, and it took my breath away.
She had given me a framed copy of Ithaca by C.P. Cavafy. 

For the first 14 years of my 32 year career of teaching high school English, I had taught and tap danced my heart out trying to convey the magnitude of Odysseus's journey in Homer's epic poem The Odyssey.

This time, however, the message was for me.

And it begins...

" As you set out for Ithaka hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery."

And so in the midst of living a very happy and fulfilling life , surrounded by all that is familiar and loving, 
we really can jump
if we need to.

And so I am here to report that once the moving van arrived in El Paso, and we had not found a home to buy as yet,
you really can move everything you own into storage.
You can even survive the dismantling of your garden by giving pieces of it to your friends Anna and Celeste,who are master gardeners.
My plants are smiling right now.
And when that becomes too hard , you can ask the movers to please try and fit pieces of that garden that gave you such pleasure into the truck.
And they did.
And when the search for a new home continues 4 weeks later, you can enjoy the gracious home of your daughter and son in law and their generosity and love on your grandsons, and cook a hot breakfast every morning- leaning on the island with a cup of coffee watching them enjoy it- as the adventure unfolds.

And 'hope dear friends that your road is a long one full of adventure , full of discovery'.
(a full version of Ithaca is below.)
 Please visit these wonderful friends and bloggers. 
They are all so talented and smart and full of good ideas.
Cottage at the Crossroads
Garden Up Green
Patina and Paint
Poofing the Pillows
The Purple Hydrangea
The Queen in Between
To Work With My Hands
White Spray Paint

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