Friday, September 30, 2011


Changes on the blog!  I figured it's been the same for a year now, it's time for a "fresh coat of paint" (although it looks a bit peeling huh?).

And of course, with all the work going on at the farmhouse, why not remodel the blog bit as well?

Of course if you are seeing the blog for the first time, you won't know what it "used" to look like, ha. Hope you like this look. We think it's more "farmhousey".

So over the next few days, you will seem some changes.  There will be some that are obvious (such as the new background) and some not so obvious.  There are even others that I'm still trying to figure out how to make happen!

Until then, enjoy the process!


Mason Jars with Photos

This is a clever idea.  I believe in this context it's being used at either a wedding or a birthday party, but you could use this idea for ANY type of get together.  I think it would even make a great idea for just displaying some old family photos on a shelf!  It certainly couldn't be any easier, simply open a jar, place the photo in there, and you're done!  You could leave the top open as in this picture, or put the lid back on.

I just love finding new ways to use re purpose these time honored glass vessels.  There's much more to a jar like this than just canning!  Click on the label below (or to the right) for 'mason jars' and you can see all the cool stuff I've found to use them for.  And more cool stuff to come!


Kenmore Electric Convection Stove
Well, this is the stove we decided on.  One requirement 2nd Man had was that the oven had to have a convection oven for his baking.  We were also limited by the fact there there is no gas out there, it's all electric.  This will be a big change for 2nd Man's cooking.  He's been used to gas all these years.  Most decent convection oven ranges are electric ovens with gas burners up top (dual fuel they call it) which is what we have at the city house.  But out there he will have to get used to electric.

Anyway, we knew a standard 30" range was all we had room for.  We also knew we wanted to go with Kenmore, just so we could have an easy to repair/parts readily available (in the country) appliance.  So our final decision was color.  Our kitchen in the city has stainless steel appliances.  I like that look.  I think it would be particularly well suited toward the farm as well.  But the kitchen wall where we are putting the stove at Seda Bolsa is a bit dark.  We are leaving it as is since it is original to the house.  Black was immediately off the list, that would be way too dark, a black appliance against a brown wall.  Then we looked at the stainless steel.  While very pretty, they all had black sides and/or black tops.  Again, probably just too dark.  Since everything is going to be white, the other walls, the cabinets, the ceilings...we figured that the best thing to do would be go with white.

Kenmore Refrigerator
 So last night, we went to Sears and put this stove and this matching white fridge on layaway.  Layaway for appliances is a great way to get them.  We have 12 weeks to get them out (though I'm sure they'll be out WAY before then) but it's still a nice way to to get the higher ticket items, and pay for them over time without resorting to credit.  It's hard to even find a store that will allow layaway anymore, much less putting appliances on it.

We might not have much furniture, but we'll be able to keep cold drinks, food, and cook when we're out there!  Baby steps, right?

Thursday, September 29, 2011


We have a pond site on our property.  Of course, in this drought, it's more of a muddy spot in the land, but I hope that someday, we can make it look like this.  We like the less formal, more casual nature of this type of pond.  It's definitely an inspiration that we would use for the guy who can dig out our pond for us...
"build us a pond that looks like this".

I can plant the flowers and plants later....

Today is my blog day off, so I'll check back here tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Mother Sheep (Ewe) and her babies
While we most likely won't ever have sheep on our farm, they are still a cute and fuzzy animal...
and really, who can resist twin babies?

This is one cute family!


Detail strips above windows

Not sure if you've noticed in some of the photos, but the house has these really neat accents on the walls and ceiling;  1 inch strips of wood that are spaced about 4 feet apart.  It makes for a nice detail. The contractor noticed this and the fact that a couple of doorways and windows had the same detail but the rest did not.  So he put the same strips above every window....

Detail strips below windows
...and below as well.  Pretty cool.  Of course in these pictures, they are not yet painted (though they may be by now, ha), but you should be able to get the style and what they look like.  It was great that he thought about this kind of attention to detail.  Yet another reason we are so happy with him.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Easy, and perhaps obvious, use for Mason jars, as a vase for a bouquet of flowers.  Of course you could use any type of flower and it would look pretty, but I like this look, somehow the flowers used here seem bright and "appropriate" for the country farmhouse look.  The raffia tied around the top could be a ribbon of any color or pattern you like.


Here we are, one year into our journey.
It was one year ago today that I started this blog, after we were given the
chance to buy the house and the land.

Now, here we are one year later, we own it and we are slowly turning it into the dream place we've always wanted to have
(albeit, lots more work yet to come).

This last year has been an amazing experience...happy, sometimes stressful, cold then hot, then really hot, dry, then really dry, periods of not much happening and then periods of high activity, lots of rewarding work, and then a back injury that slowed things down...we take it all in stride and now we 
can't wait to see what the next year brings.

Thanks for coming with us on the journey,
the best is yet to come.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Spoke to the contractor today, he said he was "almost done".  Working on the oil based paint today, which is all the door and window trims...said he should start the walls tomorrow afternoon or maybe Wednesday.

In a few days that should all be done!  If it's done in time, I might swing by after work and check it out.  

Then comes the nervous part, the final "walk thru" to see if it all meets our expectations, oh and then of course there is always the final payment!


No reason for this other than today has been stressful at work and when I see this picture, it's so cool and it makes me to want to can, which of course makes me want to be out there at the farm...

Soon, very soon....


Czech Wall Oil Lamp
Several months ago, I posted a blog entry HERE about finding a cool chandelier.  Upon having the dining room redone recently, and getting our new table, we realized that the candle/chandelier would hang too low over the table.  That roof slopes downward and that fixture would just be right in the way, hanging about midway to the table.  When standing up, you'd see the tops of the bulbs and that wouldn't be good.  So alas, we had to scratch that original plan.  We do have, however, an alternative; we've decided to go retro and not use ANY electrical lighting in that room.  Yep, we'll be "lighting it old school", and using oil lanterns hanging on the walls.  We found these in my favorite catalog, and they are just perfect.  We're going to put one in between each window.  It should make for some nice ambiance for dinner parties.  There is so much light during the day, flooding in through those windows, we will only need light at night and we think this will work perfectly.  I just ordered five of them and they should be here in about a week.  It will really fit in with the farmhouse theme, and it should be a fun way to see if we don't always need to rely on electricity. 

Click to enlarge
Of course, when 2nd Man and I are eating, it will probably be on the porch or under a tree, but when we have guests over, we'll often be in the dining room and use both these and candles on the table.  Can't wait to put them up and see how well they work. When I do, I'll be sure and post pictures.

Sunday, September 25, 2011



So...I've mentioned this awesome store several times recently. It's been around since the 90's, and I believe they originally were exclusive to designers.  They now have stores, currently 14 in twelve different states, as well as 4 warehouses that are open to the public.  

They have been in Houston, at this location, for a couple of years now.  We only discovered it from a coworker of 2nd Man's who mentioned it when she heard we were buying a farmhouse.  We immediately checked out their photobucket listing of merchandise.  Each store location as it's own photobucket see the Houston location's listings, click HERE.

We were amazed at the pictures, some really nice stuff, and were even more amazed at the prices.  Then we went to the store and wow, it was awesome.  Now let me say upfront, this isn't your standard furniture showroom.  Furniture is stacked and filled in every available spot.  It's an adventure to roam around and find really neat furniture.  Around every corner is something new and different.  They sell everything; cabinets, bookcases, chairs, tables, mirrors, benches, dressers, they even have accessories.

They are one of the leading importers of furniture from India and Indonesia.  This is all high quality, all wood (no particle board here!), handmade pieces that, best of all, are often one of a kind.  You must sign up for their mailing list to be notified of new shipments.  It is a place where if you see a piece you want, you better get is soon, they can't order more, and generally only have the one piece.  This gives you a unique piece that perhaps only you have in your area.  Pieces are constantly changing so every time you go, you are likely to find something new.  They sell everything 

As for the Houston location, we have to give two HUGE thumbs up to David and his staff.  He was so accommodating to us, and when we bought the first two pieces, and wanted info on a third, he emailed us photos, measurements, and even let us come by the next week and he opened the package so we could see what we were buying.  He couldn't have been nicer.

This furniture is all so nicely made and is sold at wholesale prices, probably 40% less that what you'd find elsewhere (at least based on our shopping trips).  We now have a kitchen hutch, a marble top island, and an incredible farmhouse dining table.  Be sure and click on each link to see my blog entry about each piece.  We can't wait to fill our farmhouse with their furniture.  

Does the furniture you buy have a soul?
If not, you are shopping at the wrong place!

Huge thanks to David and the staff at NADEAU.


Well, there wasn't as much progress as we had hoped for.  He had been out of town for a few days, and his guys didn't get as far along as he thought.  The good thing is, he was having them work all day yesterday and then he was going to shoot for more work today.  He tells us he should have it finished by Tuesday or Wednesday.  So all is moving along, just not as fast as we had hoped.  I don't have any new pictures to share, but hopefully will have FINISHED pictures in a few days!

We didn't get home until after 8pm, but we were running errands and getting stuff for the farm.  Today we are going to shop for a water heater and we might even check out the stove and fridge.  We are going for the Kenmore brand, and we found out that Sears has a layaway program for their appliances.  So we're going to check that out.

More later, including the review of our favorite furniture store.


Vintage "Don't Waste Food" poster
Here is an unusual poster for Sunday.  It's not necessarily for the Victory Garden campaign, but it shares a common theme.  The purpose of Victory Garden's were to conserve food for the war effort, and it only makes sense that a campaign to not be wasteful would make sense as well.

Buy wisely (only buy what you need?), cook carefully (I would assume they mean don't mess it up or cook too much?) and eat it all, well, eat it all.  It goes without saying that this would be just as relevant today, we are a very wasteful society.  It would be nice to see people trying to not to waste food.  We conserve water, we conserve electricity, why not conserve food?

Thanks and hope you enjoy!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Farmhouse table from Nadeau
And here we are again, with another item from the awesome store NADEAU.

Ma left her table when she sold us the house, but it just didn't work for what we needed.  We needed a table that we could easily sit eight people around.  Her table had these great huge, detailed legs, but they were toward the middle, with cross beam supports, and it was just too hard to get chairs around.  We found a great home for it...Porch Guy took it for his family.  They are going to fix it up and use it and hopefully hand it down to a future generation.

So we were looking for something that had legs on the outside of each corner, something that looked like it was antique and was the right color, and had a sort of rough, used looking surface, not polished.  Something that looks like an old farmhouse table.

So when we were at Nadeau last week, buying the HUTCH, we asked about dining room tables.  They had this one that had just come in, and he showed us the picture.   They have been SO awesome with us, sending pictures, giving us measurements, etc.  We had to make sure it would fit, it did, and so today we bought it.  Since we were having the other two pieces delivered at the same time, we figured it was a good idea to have the three pieces delivered all at one time.

We won't have chairs right now, have to get those a few at a time.  We're leaning toward painted chairs, in different colors, but we're not sure yet.  We want to put the table in its spot first and then let the room tell us what we need to have.


Off to the farm again today, with a detour to Nadeau to check out a farmhouse dining room table.

We haven't heard from the painter/contractor all week, no news is good news?  We're hoping it's nearing completion.  If it's painted all white, but still not entirely finished, we'd be OK with that.  We're dying to see the house in a different light, so to speak.  It's changed with just the wall changes we have had done, but still seeing the same wall colors we've seen for years when we visited, we're anxious to see it all white.  Then we'll KNOW it's ours.

Since the ceilings are done, I need to see about putting up a couple of new ceiling light fixtures for the kitchen.  Also need to examine the rest of the work the electrician did, put in some light bulbs for the exterior lights, take some more measurements, etc.

More when we get back!


I just thought this was kind of cool.  On the left, is a new stainless steel all in one sink and counter.
On the right is our stainless steel all in one sink and counter.

One is brand new, the other is over 50 years old (or more).  It's kind of cool that we have something "old" that's not too far removed from what they do today.  Of course, ours is currently dirty from the work going on in the house, but once it's polished up with some stainless steel cleaner, it will look as nice as the new one.  A total kitchen remodel is not in the cards for us now, but someday we might do that and we think we'd want to just keep something similar to what was there before.  It's nice to know we could have that option if we wanted.  I guess that saying is true, everything old is new again!

Friday, September 23, 2011


Marble top island from Nadeau
This is our other purchase from NADEAU.  It's going to go on the wall next to the stove in the kitchen, along that wall that is all original wood.  This will give 2nd Man much more counter space and a bonus, since it has a marble top, he can roll out dough if he wants.

This is yet another piece from the amazing furniture store that features "Furniture With a Soul".  We've shown this picture to friends who all ask if we got it at an antique auction.
I think that's the best compliment we could get.

Can't wait to get it in there.  It might be awhile before we get the stove, but at least we'll have this.


 Here is the dining room as it was before.  Note the doorway.  Since that's going to be our guest room, we didn't need a doorway from there to the dining room, and it would give us more wall space in each room. There's also an old electrical panel and switch we didn't need.
And here it is with the ceiling painted and all of those openings closed up!  It will look more cohesive when it's all painted, I still feel like the plywood is a doorway (not to mention I must have started to walk through that direction about a dozen times), but we'll get used to it. 


Ah, finally a break the heat of Summer, is still here.
It sure was is long and hot, not to mention one for the record books.

But now we have are hoping for cooler temps on the way, and of course the beauty that comes with the changing colors of the leaves.

Enjoy your Fall wherever you are!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Rustic Farm Garden
Ahh, so relaxing and nice.  These split rail fences keep popping up in my inspiration photos,
hmm, must be a sign that we need some on the farm!

This is actually an herb garden in the foreground.  Just very calming...

Enjoy!  Today is blog day off, but please look around the blog, click on some "labels" and view our history...and of course, come back and see us tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Mason jars as utensil holders

Easy, simple way to store utensils and give them that "farmhouse flair".  It would be a great solution for those with limited drawer space.  Another good use for something like this is during a dinner party, you can put these out for your guests to use in a sort of buffet line.  Or easily take them outside for alfresco dining.

Cool idea that we will DEFINITELY use at the farm.


OK, so I'm a little late this month, but September is National Preparedness Month.  They are urging everyone to be prepared, for disasters, emergencies, weather, whatever may come up.

Sadly our country has had it's share of disasters, both natural and man made.  Hurricane's, floods, earthquakes, blizzards, tornadoes, wildfires, and more.  Also, there can be widespread power outages for whatever reason, nuclear plant problems, industrial accidents, and terrorist attacks.  We all need to be ready for whatever might happen.

Make sure you are prepared with food, gasoline, important papers, first aid supplies, money, a way to communicate, a route of escape if it becomes necessary, etc. 

There are many, many online resources for ideas.

It's not a topic we like to think about, but we should.  At the least, it could make your life more comfortable in the event of a disaster, but in the best, it could SAVE your life in that same event.

We'll be making sure we have the necessary supplies at the farm in case we are ever forced to go out there because of an evacuation from Houston.  I hope we never have to deal with that, but if we do, we'll be prepared.
Are you?


Sitting area before
Much change in here!  This is in the master bedroom and this is what we will turn into a reading area.  These poles are load bearing but just seemed to be lacking something.  So he suggested moving them a bit further out, and creating half walls...
Sitting area during
...and he created this for us!  These walls conceal the new load bearing columns.  They are awesome and create such a wonderful space for us.  I even have a great decorating idea to share with you when the time comes.  This really defines the two rooms.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


No, this isn't our kitchen.  But I think it's a wonderful, old style, small kitchen.  Who knows, someday we might have a small cottage on the property for guests and this would be an awesome way to design a little kitchen.  Sink, corner hutch, stove, cabinet, and little table and chairs.

How cute is this?  Big things can definitely come in small packages and as small as this is, we can still get great design and decorating ideas from it.



White wall test

We chose the white color we liked best, called "Snowfall" as I recall.  The painter did this test for us to see what it would look like with the texture on the wall and the white color.  We think it looks awesome.  It's going to look so TOTALLY different when everything is painted white.  It will be so bright and light and airy.  That should happen sometime this week!


Another milestone!  Seems like we reach them so fast now, thanks, of course, to all of you.

Keep visiting and please know how much we appreciate it!


New porch stairs
Yesterday we debuted the finished porch railing, here is the other end.  We have new stairs!  Before, there was a just one smaller set (you can see where it was, the dark spot on the white part).  We had it moved over a bit, and then, the biggest change, we had an entire new second set put on the end.  We figured it would be nice to have a set of stairs leading to a different part of the yard and it just looks good.

The Porch Guy did an awesome job.  He set the posts in concrete, he added extra support under the stairs since they are wider than normal (4 feet wide) and he even set the bottom steps on concrete pads just to keep them from deteriorating, even though they are pressure treated and should last a long time.  It's the little touches like that that we appreciated.  

Please pardon all the debris and trash on the porch and ground.  That's the nature of having work done.  After it's done, a truck is coming to haul off everything.  Then of course we need to have it painted, all white with barn red trim around doors and windows.  So I still consider these pics as "during".  When it's DONE, we'll have more pics. 

Monday, September 19, 2011


This is a pretty storage idea.  It requires finding some of the vintage jars that had the greenish blue tinge to the glass, though you could obviously use new, clear ones if you were so inclined.

We might use a color similar to this in the farmhouse bathroom, sort of an aqua green or blue, and I think something like these might look very nice on shelves, filled with cotton balls, q-tips, sponges, cloths, etc.


Stomp and Drag ceiling
The ceilings are finished as well!  This is a technique called "stomp and drag".  We had never heard of it, but the painter recommended it as a means to cover the flaws in the ceiling and plus it's a popular ceiling texture.  We weren't sure what it was when he said it, but when we did finally see it, we understood.  I've seen this on many ceilings, just never knew what it was called.  By the way, in this picture, those strips on the ceiling are original to the house, they are a decorative element, not related to the 'stomp and drag' technique.  We didn't want them to be removed, we like that character and style.

Anyway, they are all done, the holes where vents were, and other misc hardware on the ceilings are patched up and covered and it looks wonderful.

We're almost there!


Here is the porch as it was before, no railing. The house sits up pretty high, so there was no point in not having a railing.  A fall off the porch wouldn't be good, and it was too high to jump up and sit on the edge so we felt a railing was the best solution...
...and here it is with the new railing!  Of course it will be painted when we paint the house, but it already looks SO amazing.  We had it made at a height so that when we sat in the chairs, we had an unobstructed view of the yard.  It's perfect!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Yellow Kitchen Hutch from Nadeau
We bought this yesterday, it's going to go on the big wall in the kitchen.  We loved the color, and we loved the design.  It's very retro.  It's got room for 2nd Man's vintage bowl collection on the top and the open shelf, then we've got some vintage baskets we can put in the two open center sections, then there are glass cabinets for displaying other stuff, and two drawers for more storage.

We bought this piece, and another I don't yet have a picture of, at our new favorite store for furnishings, Nadeau Furniture.  I'm going to blog about them in an upcoming post. It's an AMAZING store!  

We are also deciding on a dining room table that they sell.  Since we're going to have this and the other piece delivered to the farm, we might as well maximize our delivery fee.


More rain today!  Not a huge amount, but it's been on and off all day.  I can't tell you how much we've needed it down here.  It can rain everyday for the next week if it has to!


Here is the electrician's progress in the mudroom.  We have OVERHEAD LIGHT!  Whoo hoo!  You don't know how exciting that is.  Other than the upper window in the door, there has never been much light in there.  Nor were there electrical outlets.  Ma had an overhead lightbulb run by extension cord and the fridge was plugged in around the corner behind it in the dining room.  So, we had three outlets put in, one on each wall (you can see one of them above), plus an overhead fluorescent light fixture (so we didn't add heat to the room).   It's so nice to flip a switch and have light in the room!  

Now we will have a place to plug in not only the refrigerator, but other places to plug in other things such as the water cooler that we moved in there yesterday, and maybe even a wine refrigerator somewhere down the road.

We are so excited!  Black and white floor coming soon, then we'll start building shelving.  Progress is happening at last!


Pennsylvania RR Victory Garden Poster
This is actually a very pretty poster.  It reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting.  I like the imagery of the two guys, each in their own way doing their part to fight the war.  What a great message.

Hope you enjoy this little "Sunday trip through history"!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


We had rain!

While we were out at the farm, it rained, pretty heavily, in the city.

Here at the city house, we had almost an inch of rain!  It's a start, and we'll GLADLY take it, but it is still barely a dent in our almost 30" deficit.


We're back!  Tired, but back.  Long day, of which I'll blog about later tomorrow, but it's all good. SO much progress, it's amazing watching the transformation.  

Biggest thing we can check off the list is the porch railing and stairs.  They are DONE!  Porch Guy did one heck of a good job.  I'll post pictures tomorrow.  They won't be the best pictures in the world because the porch and area in front of it is the storage area for the inside debris, but you'll get the gist.

Electrician is also almost done.  We now have a nice fluorescent light fixture in the mudroom, new and extra outlets, and one porch light (so far).  It's all wonderful!

We also went to an amazing furniture store (I'll blog about them next week), and bought two great pieces of furniture.  Might even get a third piece soon.


BIG day at the farm today, we get to see all the work that was done this week.  The contractor/painter tells me that all the sheetrock is done, the new walls are in, the doorway is covered up, they supposedly finished up wood trim yesterday, started putting texture on the walls.  Painting will commence next week.  The porch railing is also done, or almost done.  All the railing is up and I know one set of stairs has been built, so that will be exciting to see as well.  There will be lots of pictures and videos going up this weekend when we get back.

I might post a bunch at once, or spread them out next week.

We're also going to look at an awesome piece of furniture today that we might go ahead and get.  It's a one of a kind piece, it's really cool looking, it's bright yellow, and it will look awesome in the kitchen.  If we get it, I'll post pictures of that too.

See you back here later!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Above is Julia Child's kitchen wall at her cottage in France....

And here is Julia Child's kitchen wall at her studio...

And here is her kitchen wall as it was in her home, now in the Smithsonian...

And here is where I want to create the same thing for 2nd Man's cooking utensils, pots, and pans!

I figured this is a great spot for something like this.  The wall is too close to the doorway to put a piece of furniture, it's too shallow for shelves that would be able to hold anything, and if we put pictures or something there, it would just be a huge waste of that space. Since our storage is limited out there, why not do something just like this?

As soon as I can, I want to work on this.  It's a pretty simple DIY, some strips of wood to raise the pegboard off the wall, making sure they are anchored well, and then attach the pegboard to them.  Or perhaps they have some that are already done and you just mount them?  I've had painted pegboard before (in a garage) and it scratched the paint after use for a while, so I hope there is something that will help with that.  I am not sure when I will get to this project but it's on the list of things to do when we get settled with more stuff inside.

We think Julia would love it...