Dresser Potting Stand

Many years ago Mom picked up this old dresser for a steal, just sure I’d be able to use it one day as a TV stand or something, and graciously stored it in her basement for me. Well, that was probably 10 years ago now, and I’ve finally found a use for it: a potting table!


You can see this baby has lived a long life… And is well past her prime. Years of use, abuse, and neglect have left this dresser with warped drawers that don’t all close correctly, so it’s not a place you’d want to store clothes or blankets, but they are the perfect place to store lawn bags and gardening tools. The bigger drawers even house some of the scrap wood that used to litter this part of the porch. Yes, I realize it doesn’t all fit, (see right side of the picture) but it helps!

The window that hangs above the dresser was a part of the collection we picked up on the last day of school, just over a year ago. A neighbor of Mom’s was throwing them out. When we pulled up in Mom’s SUV to load them, he came out to help!  I knew a simple coat of paint would jazz this window right up, but I had to wash it down first. A couple years in that guy’s garage and a whole year on our porch had left it pretty nasty. Charlie stepped in to help clean it off.

I just couldn’t stop laughing when he did this and had to pull out my camera! He really went after that water – until he got hit in the face, that is. Anyway, the finished window turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself!


The flowers are painted on with exterior paint using a stencil from Silhouette. I think the window needs a few more flowers, but these were so time consuming, I’m not sure more will happen! To put these on the window I “printed” the stencil onto vinyl with My Machine, then applied the whole stencil to the window. Then I pulled away the actual flower outline, leaving the relief, and sponged the paint on.

   Lastly, I removed each individual petal of the flower. It sounded good in my head, but the actual execution took ages! Maybe I can add some flowers with a simpler design… We’ll see.

Finally, I finished off this pretty potting table with some succulents (since they don’t need much water or sun) in an old electric lantern that no longer worked. My friends at The Depot had these little pots all made up with succulents for $6 or so. All I had to do was finagle the little pot in there!


Now both pieces sit next to the existing teak chairs and door-table to complete the side porch furniture!

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Outdoor Chandelier

Mom and her friend, Nancy, sometimes like to go junk picking. On one such evening they came across several light fixtures that someone no longer wanted and was leaving out on their driveway for trash collection. They grabbed it, knowing I could do something cool! So, I did!   

This project was super easy and quick. Here’s how to make your own:

Materials: chandelier, wire cutters, solar lights (these were $1 each at WalMart), spray paint (optional), stand

Step 1: Acquire your own chandelier. These are available everywhere – goodwill stores, garage sales, or get your own from the side of the road somewhere! This is what mine looked like before I started taking it apart. 

  

Step 2: Remove unwanted wiring. There isn’t an exact science to this. I started by pulling off the shades and twisting off the faux candle sticks. That loosened the base enough that I could get my wire cutters in there. 

  

Step 3: Determine how to secure your solar lights. Inside each of my candle sticks was this 4 inch metal piece which happened to be the perfect diameter to hold my solar lights. This step will probably vary according to the design of each light fixture.

  

Step 4: Attach your solar lights. The lights I picked out had a stake in the bottom meant to be stuck in the ground. When that was removed, the opening was the perfect size to fit over those metal tubes. It took a little twisting and shoving, which meant it would be nice and tight so my lights won’t topple off in a strong wind. 

  

Step 5 (Optional): My original intention was to paint this chandelier, which I still might do at some point, but I really liked the oil rubbed bronze color and the fact that the solar lights blended so well with it. If I do decide to paint it though, I’ll just pop off the light part at the top and spray paint the rest of it all at once. 

Step 6: Time to hang! I would have loved to hang this on our front porch over the window table and door swing, but the solar panels just wouldn’t get enough light to be able to come on at night, so I picked a spot out in the yard. We have an old stump out there that has been decaying for some time, but not long enough that I can plant anything in its place, and I needed something with some height in that flower bed. The chandelier was perfect. 

  

  

Edited 6-1-15: I was asked about a photo of the chandelier at night, so I took one tonight shortly after sunset. The quality isn’t fabulous, as it was taken in the dark, but it shows the amount of light these little guys put out. 

   
 

Please note that we do have a street light on this corner, so it’s never super dark in this spot. 

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Ugly Shed

We have an ugly shed. It’s sort of a given in this part of town. Have an old house? You have an ugly shed, or a decrepit garage, or something like that. But we were supposed to be hosting (providing the venue for) a backyard BBQ Wedding Rehearsal and Dinner. And that eyesore of a shed was going to spoil the celebration! So one weekend Mom and I set out to make the shed a little less ugly. Here’s a before and after:

  
Step 1 to De-Uglify Shed: Paint

Apparently at one point someone thought it would be a great idea to paint this beautiful Victorian home pink. Pink?! That genius was probably the same person who installed the corrugated metal shed in the first place, because they painted it pink too. So when it was time to choose a new paint color, I went with the same color gray that adorns our house now. Painting the shed was not difficult, and I did not do most of the things recommended by The Internet when painting a metal shed, like sand off and prime rust spots. I did spray it down with the hose first – does that count? Then we painted like mad, using exterior paint, because there are lots of scary things that grow (weeds) or grew in the past (spiders) in/on/near the shed and we are fraidy-cats. Most of the shed received one thick coat of paint with the idea that we may be able to avoid a second coat. We did! 

Then we came to the door. The ugly shed had a fittingly ugly shed door made from decades old plywood nailed to a 2×4 frame. The top set of hinges was not attached at all, requiring you to lift the door by the almost falling off latch just to get it open. The plywood was peeling and cracked so much that mom didn’t think paint would adhere to it, so we stopped for the day, and the ugly shed looked like this:

  

Step 2 to De-Uglify Shed: Door

Tony and I had previously discussed that shed door and decided not to replace it because we’re hoping to be rid of that shed completely within the next 5 years. We’d like to build a much larger shed, one that could be used for a workshop and motorcycle garage as well as storage, so we want to put as little money into this shed as possible. Mom suggested perhaps I could just resurface the shed door in some way. She had some extra pieces of beadboard from some work she’s had done recently, and I was welcome to them. I picked them up the next morning and set to work so I’d have everything ready to go as soon as Tony got home. (I had wanted to do the whole thing myself, but I couldn’t level the boards while wielding the nail gun, so Tony had to hold them up there for me.) I used the circular saw to cut the wood to the right size (All by myself! For the first time!!), got some kuddos from the neighbor next door for being able to use power tools, then primed and painted two coats of the gray.

The beadboard remnants weren’t quite long enough to cover the whole door, but we found a 1×6 in the shed that filled the space almost perfectly. It also meant that I didn’t have to worry about perfectly lining up the grooves in the two different pieces of beadboard! 


Step 3 to De-Uglify Shed: Decorate

Tony was none too happy with me when I told him the new hose I’d bought was for a  wreath (“That’s silly,” he said. : ) and it was for the shed! Neverless, it’s there on the door! 

 

It rained right after I put this up, so I’m thinking I might might need a different material for the bow.

I also added a new trellis (Thanks Mom!) and there will be a Clematis climbing the rungs very soon. The side of the shed is finished with an old window painted red. I think it’s a good balance of decor to try and detract from the ugliness and trying not to draw too much attention to the thing. 

  

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Operation Curb Appeal

Death, death I say, to the inventor of that supposed weed barrier fabric!  And a curse upon the head of the person who installed not 1, not 2 or 3 or 4 layers, but SIX layers of it all around our house!!


“Lindy,” you might be saying, “where is all this animosity coming from?” Well, I’ve been spending a lot of time landscaping recently, and every time I go to dig a blessed whole I find that *bad word* fabric! It’s been the bane of my existence for the last 6 weeks.

Again, you might question, “But why, Lindy? Isn’t it keeping the weeds away?”

To which I would answer, in our make-believe conversation, “Dear friend, why don’t you tell me? This was our house last summer being reclaimed by nature after our 4 weeks away.”

It’s a good thing Tony’s brother was cutting the grass for us! Those small trees along the front walk there were growing right through the 3 layers of that fabric junk. Weed barrier? My *badword*!


So this Spring it was decided that landscaping had to be a priority. I mean, it’s not like we’ve been lazy bums around here over the last 20 months, but with so much effort expended for indoor projects, the outdoors have been seriously neglected.

I’m horticulturally challenged, to borrow a phrase from an old friend, so Mom has been pretty vital in this endeavor! Also, I have gotten most of the plants from her garden. That’s a really good tip, by the way. If you’re  wanting to do some landscaping yourself, make good friends with a good gardner. Mom’s yard is filled with perennials that need regular splitting and ground cover that she’s been trying to get rid of. I am happy to take her castoffs!

Let’s back up a bit. It all started at the end of March. With the bridal shower set to be held here, I wanted the outside to be presentable at least, so Mom and I went through the existing landscaping to make a plan and determine what needed pruning, killing, and destroying. We did the pruning and weed killing, but left the destroying to Tony and his pickaxe. We had a lot of vines and tree-weed things, (due to lack of care for 2 years, perhaps?) and stumps of plants long past their prime. Once that was all cleared out, we could go get mulch, another thing we didn’t do at all last year.

With so many square yards of flower beds and many places down to the bare dirt, (which did make it easier to remove some of that abhorrent fabric) we had to plan strategically so as not to spend a small fortune (I’m saving for other projects afterall!). One thing we decided to do from the very beginning was to get the free mulch from the city. I was totally prepared for it to be chunky and gross, but we loaded up one Saturday morning anyway with our scoop shovel.

It was great, and we ended up dispersing three truck loads of mulch that day!

Can you believe the paving bricks in the picture below were already there? They were buried under old mulch/dirt and the grass was growing over them, so I dug them out, along with a bunch more of that awful black fabric, widened the flower bed along that walk, and replaced the stones.

Mom’s on the email list for a local nursery and they were giving a presentation on perennials, so we went. Perennials just make sense to me. Buy them once and they come back every year? Deal. The woman presenting really knew her stuff and anytime she said “impossible to kill” or “likes to be neglected” our ears perked right up! We walked out of the presentation with two Buy Two Get One Free coupons, which meant I got to have some plants to greet guests arriving for the bridal shower!

Since then, we’ve been blessed with a simply gorgeous Spring, so I’ve been adding more and more plants to get ready for the rehearsal dinner for our friends’ wedding, which was also being held at our house! Here’s the same view from above taken today.


And the front walk.


I’ve been trying really hard to learn the names for all these plants, and I must say, I’m doing pretty well! On the left side we have Salvia (that’s what I got with my Buy Two coupons from the nursery) and a Peony. On the right are Stella de’Oro Lillies, a Wild Rose which was the one existing plant we kept here, more Peonies, and a Clematis. The Dahlia and Kiss Me Over the Garden Gates are still too small to see, but they’re back there.

Check out my fairy garden on that old chair!

  
These things could easily become addicting!


Around the side of the house, the round Sedums were already there, but we added the Phlox, Jacob’s Ladders, and Lillies of the Valley all from Mom’s house, as well as the stone path winding through the middle.


The painted crate sits atop a rotting stump, and it will look awesome when that Sweet Potato Vine starts spilling over the side.

I was psyched to find this beautiful pitcher at the Goodwill store, but I dropped it right as I got out of the car! Fortunately, it broke in just the right spot to make it a perfect garden accent piece.


The view from the curb is definitely looking better these days! And it was a great locale for the Rehearsal and Dinner!

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Tray Chic

My most recent decor-related obsession has been decorative trays. Months and months ago I had made this one from an old picture frame and some scrap fabric. It was a great way to complete the look in the dining room.   

 

Then I made the coffee table ottoman, and all the sudden we actually needed trays to put our drinks… and let’s be honest here, our dinners, on. We had received one of those generic blond wood framed white plasticy trays for our wedding, and it was just sitting between the microwave cart and the deep freeze, so I gave it a little makeover. It looked great on the coffee table/ottoman and I liked that the plexiglass I put over the top let me display some of our favorite photos.    

  

But over time, and lots of drink spills a la Charlie, it just wasn’t working anymore. So I began to brainstorm other options. Then we went to an estate sale. Cue angel choir, “Ahhh.”

Tony likes to go to estate sales on the last day. Usually there’s just junk left by that point, but if you do find something special, it’s probably marked half off. My something special was this old cabinet door. 

  

At the time I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d use this old door for, but I knew I should snap it up. As my affection for decorative trays grew toward obsession, the door’s true purpose was revealed. And now it looks like this: 
  
Yes, it’s giant and fabulous and you can write on it with chalk!! But most importantly, it can easily hold two dinners, two drinks, and a bowl of fresh fruit (or ice cream)!

Meanwhile the old tray got a second makeover and a new job holding my “generations” picture frame. One year for Christmas I snuck into my Mom’s photo boxes when she wasn’t home and made some copies. Those pics go all the way back to my Great Great Grandmother. When I put Mom’s frame together I also did one for myself!   

Recently Mom cleaned out their finished basement and was getting rid of a lot of the furniture. She gave me an end table that I’ve always loved. It actually works perfectly in our living room, because the table I had there (one of my first furniture overhauls) was kind of delicate and 70lb. Charlie would run right into it and knock off whatever was on top. This end table from Mom is much more solid and sturdy and can stand up to the puppy  sliding across the wood floor. However, 15 years in a basement had left the creamy painted top a little yellowed. My plan was to paint it, but I really liked the color it was, and I knew it would never quite be the same. Enter, tray!  

  

This little beauty was a Hobby Lobby jackpot find! It was all white when I bought it, which was just lovely, but it made the table top’s yellowy-ness stand out even more instead of hiding it. So, I painted it blue and sanded it a bit so the white would just peek through. Then things got cool, because I found out you can print onto wax paper to transfer an image. How cool is that?! So that’s exactly what I did. I found this image online for free, inserted it into a word document, and printed it onto wax paper cut down to 8 1/2 by 11. Then I used my Pampered Chef stone scraper to really push all that ink onto the tray. Voila!

  

Don’t worry, I have a couple extra trays as well for parties and things! They’re hanging out on the picture ledge in the half bath. Since you can’t really tell it’s a bathroom when you’re looking from the kitchen, I like to think the trays make it look like a butler’s pantry. 

  

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Faux Etched Glass

  
One project I wanted to tackle almost immediately after we moved into this house a year and a half ago was to etch the glass on our front door. The previous owners had placed a heavy red curtain over the door’s big window which combined with the deep red wall going up the stairs and the oppressive gold wallpaper to make for a very dark entry space. So the curtain went away immediately, and the fabric makeover in the front hall made a dramatic difference in the amount of light in the hallway, which I loved! The downside to looking OUT and seeing all that light coming into the house was it felt like other’s eyes could see IN as well. 

  
So I continued to dream of etched glass. I’ve had a little experience with DIY etched glass. I made that window that hangs on the porch, which turned out beautifully, and I had great luck with the etched wine glasses I made for Christmas, but I still hadn’t tackled the door… until recently, that is.

Is it etched? No. I got scared. And I don’t get scared very often! At least not scared enough to leave something be. I will etch it, at some point… especially after I realized that the glass isn’t even original and it has all these ugly scratch marks from some past painter who got sloppy with a razor blade.   

In the meantime, though, I have the next best thing – faux etching! 

  
I used My Machine, as I’ve begun to call my Silhouette cutting machine, to design and cut three pieces to put on the door. I wanted a lot of that light to come through, and I still wanted to be able to see out the front window, but I wanted just a little more privacy than we had before. This design achieved all those aims. 

And what is the material that I cut? Clear contact paper. No, I’m not kidding. That’s contact paper! 

  
That’s not to say there weren’t problems. The center piece cut beautifully, but for a couple weeks that was all I had. The side pieces would cut about 90% of the way, but the machine would finish and the final 10% of the cuts would never have been made. I began to wonder if maybe the machine couldn’t cut something that long, or that detailed, or both. Then it dawned on me. Our computer goes to sleep after several minutes of inactivity. It must be going to sleep part way through the cutting process, stopping the blade from finishing its work, and ruining my piece of contact paper! I tried cutting it again, but I stayed in the room so I could move the mouse every few minutes. It worked! I loosely stuck the whole two foot strip of contact paper to the glass, then peeled away the outer edges, leaving only the beautiful swirl. 

The best thing about this project is that it’s so easy. Anyone could do it! Other bonuses are that it’s cheap and temporary. Contact paper is usually less than $10 a roll and you’ll have tons of extra paper, so if you want a different look down the road, it would be easy to change out the design. 

Thinking you may want to try this? Follow these steps:

Step 1 – Choose and cut your design. I wanted a swirly, fancy design because I have a swirly design kind of house… and I had a machine capable of cutting said design. However, if I didn’t have a Silhouette, I would have done a much simpler (and larger) medallion or quatrefoil design that I could trace and cut out by hand. This blog has a great explanation of how she added some privacy to her kitchen door, and she cut and placed her pieces by hand. 

Step 2 – Peel and stick your design. I found it easiest to peel off the top two inches or so of the whole piece of contact paper and level it on the window before separating the part of the design I wanted to keep from the part that would be thrown away. This required some patience with a door that is clearly not hung straight anymore! I’m not much of a measurer, and eyeballing it worked pretty well. If I were piecing together individual pieces like the woman whose blog is linked above, it would make sense to start in the middle and work outward from there.

Step 3 – Enjoy! The clear contact paper is actually very translucent when placed on a window. The light comes through just fine, but it prevents prying eyes from seeing into your home.

Where could you use some privacy? Give this simple project a try!

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TV Tray Face Lift

Last fall I picked up three TV trays at a garage sale for a steal… I want to say $1 a piece or something like that. Have you ever shopped for a new set of TV trays? They’re pretty pricey! I was psyched to get such a great deal. In my mind, these babies were gorgeous… they just didn’t look that way to anyone else yet. 

  
The trays spent the last several months in the hall closet awaiting their makeovers, but when the weather started getting nicer, I knew it was time to get started. Step one was to clean them up and sand down the old black finish.  Yuck!

 

I just did a light sanding – enough to smooth out the rough spots and prep the surface for paint. Then the fun began! I wanted each tray to be unique, but I also wanted to stick to the blue/gray/white kind of theme that I have throughout the house. A secondary goal was to use only supplies I had on hand, and I’m pretty pleased with the results! 

 
The first tray I finished involved a can of spray paint that was leftover from a previous project. Then I used a stencil from one of my first furniture overhaul projects and a paint sample that was rejected from the master bathroom project. A wash of black stain over the whole tray toned down the bright blue and gave the gray paint an almost silver hue. Pretty cool! 

  
I wanted the second tray to be a little softer, so I used another light gray cast off from the bathroom project as a base and painted this one by hand. I thought that might be a time consuming task, but it actually went quite well. And Charlie only tried to lick the paint off one time! Silly dog. : ) Then I used an aquamarine paint color and a stencil made on my Silhouette machine for the morrocan tile look. Painting the stencil so that it went over the side of the tray was a little tricky though! Some distressing and a coat of light stain gave this tray a nice aged look, especially with that bright white “love.”

  
For the last tray I broke down and bought some supplies. While hand painting wasn’t hard, spray painting was certainly easier, and I needed two cans of this creamy white to cover over the old black. I’d used an enlarged version of this birds-on-a-wire stencil on the etched window I have on the front porch, so I scaled the image down for this tray and used a rich blue/green paint color. 

 Edit   

If you’re in the market for some TV trays, I highly recommend garage sale-ing it! This is a super easy and relatively cheap way to add a pop of fun and functional decor to any room. 

 

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Bridal Shower

Bridal Shower Brunch – check! 

The house (well, the first floor) was super clean, the floors waxed, the food was delicious, the Bride’s gifts were awesome. I’d say it was a success. 

Phew, I’m exhausted! ; )

Look at the beautiful bride-to-be on the morning of the shower!

Shall we just highlight the goodies on this table for a sec? Fresh fruit bowl, homemade monkey bread, a fruit and yogurt parfait bar, donut holes, strawberry and cinnamon coffee cakes, blueberry scones (I made those!), and donut holes from the bakery.  Fabulous.

Our friend made the towel cake – that’s what you see with the pink roses and silver ribbon. Pretty cool, huh?

Charlie was kind enough to let us use his kennel to store the gifts. Isn’t he sweet?

  

I made the “Gifts” sign seen here, along with the “Mrs.” one shown below, with scraps of wood from past projects. I cut the letters out with vinyl on my machine and filled the relief space with white paint. Then I brushed the whole board with a wet paint paint brush before applying the ebony stain. The result was this lovely soft gray-brown look. I’m really diggin’ it, so I’m now trying to figure out what I can write for a sign of my own! I’ll do a more detailed post whenever I figure that out…

  

It was a lovely morning!

  

**Please excuse the use of Facebook photos… some of which I stole from the Bride! My plans to take great pictures of the decor and table were altered by the extra early arrival of some out of town guests. We were so  glad they were able to make it though!

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Maintaining Real Wood Floors

  

I LOVE our house. Sure, it’s insulated with straw (in at least one place), every wall has a crack in it (usually multiple), and the windows rattle every time the wind blows, but it’s my little piece of history, and I’ve loved pouring so much energy into making it ours. However, owning an old home also comes with a major sense of responsibility. I felt it keenly just after we closed on our mortgage. Tony and I were walking through the nearly empty house and I felt this tremendous weight on my shoulders. This house has stood for longer than any person living, and it’s my responsibility to make sure it stays that way for another hundred years! I couldn’t help thinking, “Holy crap. What have we done?!” 

So we’ve been cautious during our renovations. When Tony found that some of the beams under the master bathroom floor had been cut to shreds by past remodelers (the ones supporting the 500 pound cast iron tub, mind you), he had metal bars custom made and added additional joists to reinforce the damaged areas. He’s replaced siding and outdoor trim that had wood rot and replaced subflooring in the downstairs bath/laundry. Yes, most of these jobs fall to him. :) One area that’s my responsibility, and something I haven’t been as vigilant about, though, is our wood floors. 

With the exception of cleaning, I have done almost nothing to maintain them over the last year and a half. I knew I should be doing something, but I just didn’t know what to do… so I sort of let it slide and worried about other projects. Well, I’m hosting a bridal shower this weekend, and it’s time to Spring Clean the floors anyway, so I’ve been spending the last few weeks thinking agonizing over what to do. Every source I’ve checked has a different answer, most of which are completely unapplicable to a floor as old as ours. This is further compounded by the fact that I know nothing about our floors’ history. I’m relatively confident that they have been redone at some point in the last 100 years but that they’ve never been sealed with polyurethane, which probably means they’ve been waxed, right? Yeah, I don’t know either.

I almost went the route of paste wax and renting a buffing machine, as that’s what was most commonly recommended. I actually purchased the wax and brought it home. Then my Mom found Johnson’s No Buff Wax. She remembered her mom using this stuff, so I ordered a few cans from Home Depot.  

 

Here’s a patch of floor in the library during the waxing process. The top portion has had the wax applied and dried for about 20 minutes. The bottom part had just been dry mopped.  

The jury’s still out on this product for the long-haul, but I’ll share some pros and cons. 

PROs: 

  • This was relatively easy to apply – pour a little on the floor (It looks like a spray bottle, but it’s a liquid) and wipe with a soft cloth.
  • It was relatively quick. I was able to complete 1 room in about an hour, not including moving the furniture, but for something that’s done once or twice a year, that didn’t seem terrible to me.
  • The shine was definitely there, but was a nice muted shine. I didn’t need to apply multiple coats to get it either  – just one. 
  • It brought back the beautiful chestnut color to my floors, which I wasn’t able to do recently with my normal vinegar, water and vegetable oil solution.
  • The product dried in about 20 minutes.
  • The rags could be washed in a bucket of water and didn’t need to be thrown away. I think they’ll forever-more be floor waxing rags, but that’s fine with me. 
  • One bottle goes a long way. I was able to complete the dining room, library, and staircase with just 1 bottle. 
  • Price – Each can was about $7 and since I didn’t need to rent any equipment, this product was very reasonable.

Tony and his mad camera skills caught an action shot in the living room.  

 

CONs: 

  • Smell – This stuff does smell pretty darn bad! We left the windows open during and after application.  Luckily we haven’t had much rain lately, so that was fine.
  • The floor looked fabulous right after it was done, but as soon as Charlie came into the room, we could follow his path with the dusty footprints! I think the protective wax layer made it a little sticky, but a damp dry mop did seem to take care of them.

We’ll see how this hold up over time, but at least the floors will look fab for the shower on Saturday!

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Spring Break

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Spring Break! Yes, it’s taken me three weeks to write about Spring Break, but here it is!

This year we spent a part of our time off from work visiting our friends from Tortola. Remember the Boat People?  

 

Well, about a year ago they sold the boat and moved back to the states, eventually settling in Corpus Cristi, TX, and they invited us to come visit them! 

Unfortunately, we were in Corpus for the few days that they were having terrible weather, but it was so nice to spend time with our friends and at least get my feet back into some sand! 

We spent two very chill days seeing the sites and reminiscing with Doug and Kathy. We ate some great food and got to see the place that is so special to our friends that they chose it over any other place they could settle. 

  

Our last morning in Corpus, we went with Doug to visit the USS Lexington, a retired aircraft carrier that’s been turned into a museum. This place was pretty darn cool! They actually encouraged you to climb on things!  In most museums Tony would be breaking the rules to do things like this.  

 

They had a bunch of military aircraft on the deck as well.  

 

And just as we were leaving Lady Lex, the sun started to peak out.  

 

As we were waving goodbye to Doug and Kathy, I realized we never took a picture of the four of us together! I guess that just means we’re going to need to visit again. 

We had to leave that afternoon to get back to Houston in time to meet up with my Texas family! They were taking us to the Houston Rodeo. I’d never been to a rodeo, that I could remember, and I must admit I was pleasantly surprised! The animals in the exhibition hall were adorable, including these days old pigs who were climbing all over oneanother.  

  It was strangely exciting to see the cowboys in action.

  Figuring out the scoring criteria had me flummoxed, though! 

  I can see why my cousin’s favorite event was Mutton Bustin. Look at this littlle guy trying to hold on to this sheep! I believe our winner was 5 years old, and in his interview he told us that he did good, real good, really really good! Adorable.

After that it was back home to Charlie! Thanks Mom and Erica for taking such good care of him! 

  

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