Hope your Thanksgiving was happy and healthy! I know I had way too much salt over the holiday so I'm trying to cut out prepared food as much as I can.
Katie at Let's Add Sprinkles is hosting a Christmas blog tour next week called Cozy At Christmas. I'm looking forward to getting some good holiday decorating ideas as well as sharing a few cozy spots in our house.
This past weekend I spent my time putting Christmas lights on anything that doesn't move and decorating the chalkboards.
This is the best time of the year as far as I'm concerned. You can have Summer! I just need late Fall and Winter to make me happy.
You know I buy my banners instead of making them, right? Lazy! Well, I recently happened upon a banner on a blog that made me think "Hey, I can do that!" Here's the link to the blog While I Linger and what she calls her semi-DIY banner.
So many good ideas on this blog! She will show you how to make that cute picture on the wall too. I hope you'll take the time to check out all her great ideas on her blog HERE.
When I hear myself whispering "Where does the time go?" I think of all the old ladies I've known. That was a question I often heard my grandmothers ask themselves when I was a child.
But then, I'm not an old lady...Well, at least not in my mind anyway. In my mind, I'm still 19... even though my three daughters range from 36 to 42! How about you? Is there an age you stalled at?
Someone once said there seems to be only 12 weeks between New Years and Christmas. I laughed at that thought back then, but now I'm not so sure that they were wrong.
All these thoughts are coming, I think, because Thanksgiving is only a few days away and our dining room is in transition and looks like this...
As you can see, my latest painting victim is boots to the sky, and that table will be needed to seat the guests on Thursday. While other bloggers are showing their fantastic tablescapes and floral arrangements, I'm just praying I finish painting the table in time.
I do have a backup plan. Cracker Barrel, that mecca of down home decor which you can see in these pictures, is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving this year. Did I hear you gasp?We've done worst.
One year when we lived near Seattle, with only the youngest (who was 16) at home that year, we three drove up to Canada and had Mexican food along the way.
After posting about our favorite BBQ place yesterday, we decided to go down to McKinney to have a late lunch there.
While in McKinney, I took the opportunity to go to some of my favorite shops and get some inspiration. This Ho, Ho, Ho sign caught my eye. The price was ridiculous, especially because it would be so easy to make! If you can't stencil or paint the words on, you could just buy some big letters and attach them like they did on the sign below.
This is the only picture I took of this NOEL sign. I'm not sure if it's blurry or if the stack of them makes it look that way. But the concept is easy enough. If you have an old cabinet door stashed in your garage, just paint it white with the raised part black and add some painted wooden letters from Hobby Lobby, Walmart or Michael's, etc. I think this concept would make cute tree ornaments too if you can find (or make) a smaller wooden board or plaque and smaller letters. I'm putting those two projects on my 'Fixing To Do' list for sure. Right after I finish this table for our dining room...
If you're a wood purist, don't get in a tizzy. This table is not made of very good wood. It's kind of a pressed wood with a shiny layer on the top, like on this table leg below. Luckily, chalk paint will stick to anything.
The first layer of chalk paint always makes you wonder if you've made a mistake. After the second layer, things start looking better.
I'm using Amy Howard's One-Step paint for this project. I mixed two of her whitish colors together to come up with this creamy white one.
Come back soon if you're interested in how it turns out. Our dining room was a sitting room, but I sold the couch and pulled this table out of storage in accordance with the "Use It Or Lose It" policy we've recently adopted. We didn't ever sit in the "sitting" room, so the couch had to go to make room for the table and chairs. The theory is to reduce our possessions by 50% by keeping what we use, and love, and letting the rest find a good loving home of its own.
The Cowboys are big in our Texas family and roundabout Texas too for that matter. When my husband and father-in-law had their shared birthday recently, as usual Wild Bill was in the background while he let his father have the day.
Pop was 93 that day. The number 82 is his favorite player. His devotion to The Dallas Cowboys is legend as you can witness by the decor, the presents, and even the cake.
Every year Pop tells everyone The Cowboys are going to win the Superbowl...he might just be right this year!
After attending Pop's big bash, Wild Bill and I headed to his favorite BBQ place down in McKinney. Wagon wheels, sawdust floors...this ain't a "high-dollar" place as they say in Texas.
But if you love low-and-slow cooked brisket and plenty of sides to choose from, this would be your style of place.
I'm more a ribs person and, in my opinion, they have the best around. Sorry for the quality of the pictures. It was dark in this area and there were lots of people in line. Wild Bill whined when he saw me whip out my phone camera. He said it was wrong to hold up the line, but I think he just wanted to mosey on over to the vegetables and sides.
He likes when I get ribs because the smallest portion is more than I can handle so he always gets the spares.
Yes, that's a small baking pan with butcher paper on top as the dinner tray. It's not fancy, but fer shur you'll know you've 'et in Texas.
Our table was under the John Wayne wall. That big close-up of John Wayne's face is even signed by the Duke. A picture and info of the beloved McKinney City Marshall was on the wall too. Here's the best picture I could get of the Marshall.
Now here's a true story and not a tall tale. I was stationed in Mississippi, just East of New Orleans, for Air Force technical training in 1969.
(Me 2 years later)
A group of us took the bus to New Orleans one Friday night. The bus was delayed so we didn't arrive in New Orleans until well past midnight. We checked into our hotel and headed to the Bourbon Street area, and we were sitting in a cafe eating a sandwich at around 2 a.m. Bourbon Street is foot traffic only and very narrow and old. It's not far from one side to the other. You can imagine the shock we felt when John Wayne (a hero to all back then) and just one other guy came out of the bar across the street...and John stood there, with his back to the street, beating on the closed door!
Never one to miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, across the street I charged and tapped John Wayne on the shoulder. Let me say here, the man was TALL and larger than life. I asked if I could shake his hand, and he put out his left hand because he had a drink in the other. While shaking his left hand with my right (more like holding it than shaking) I asked if I could give him a kiss? He planted one on me! Then, still holding my hand, we began to walk down the sidewalk while he told me about the "...Son-of-a-B..." who threw him out and told me never go in that place! (I was 19, they wouldn't have let me in anyway)
Meanwhile, side-kick man was telling him "John we have to go!"Everyone around had recognized The Duke by now, and they all crowded around.
One guy asked if he wanted a drink of his Peach Brandy (a pint bottle held up) and John Wayne threw his glass in the gutter, grabbed up the pint, and (without wiping it off like they use to do in westerns) he drank about half the bottle. It was magic!
I didn't wash my hand or lips for about a week. The next night we saw all the actors outside a theater for the premier of his latest movie, The Undefeated. John Wayne appeared again to have had more than a little peach brandy from the way he was walking that night, but I was still too smitten to care. Do you blame me?
My goal over the last year has been to reduce my possessions by half. I gave away half my skillets and kitchen things, then moved on to bedroom closets and garage shelves. Still, there are a great many family things I'll keep no matter what.
This plate was painted by my mother-in-law Jessie in 1979. I like to hang it during Christmas and throughout the winter. I guess this is why Jessie had so many brushes in this old, stained-up wooden bin I showed in the last post.
I put the paint brushes under a cloche and plan to hang the winter painting on the wall above it.
Jessie was injured during birth by the doctor, which resulted in her right arm being paralyzed and stunted in growth. You might notice her disability when you first meet her, but you seldom remember it later because her talents greatly exceed her slight limitations. Here she is riding shotgun a few years back.
My in-laws (both 4th or 5th generation Texans) had only one child, Wild Bill, and he was born on his father's 24th birthday. Now, here's the coincidence...a few years later, way far out in California, I was born on his mother's 24th birthday.
Wild Bill and I met later in life, and we got married a few months after his parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They'll be celebrating their 70th this year, and we'll be celebrating our 20th shortly after. Time flies!
When she was younger, despite having only one usable arm, Jessie painted and fired pottery and won many blue ribbon contests. She sewed quilts by hand and her stitches are tiny and perfect. She writes beautiful poetry and, at one time, wrote freelance for American Greeting cards. And she doesn't stop learning. In her early 90's now, her cell phone and laptop are always within reach of that one good arm.
If you ask Jessie where she got the confidence to live life so fully, she tells you about her mother who didn't see a disabled daughter... just one who needed to learn to do everything in her own way. In this season of Thanksgiving and downsizing, I'm thankful for my mother-in-law and all the family things she has handed down to me. I have boxes full of her blue ribbons, her old family pictures and her poems...I treasure her quilts, paintings, and her most precious son...all things I will hold on to no matter what.
Crossholidation...Verb?...the dastardly act of embracing the Christmas season before Thanksgiving is over.
Sign me up. Call me guilt-tee! Wrap me in a package and put a big holiday bow on it right after the last trick-or-treatin' child leaves my door.
I like the holiday season and it always goes too fast. I don't really care if you prefer to say "Happy Holidays!" to me instead of "Merry Christmas!"We're all different and we should celebrate any way we want.
And, if I'm late getting my Christmas decorations up, then I have been known to keep them up 'til long after the last HO.HO.HO. has been heard...I mean, red Valentine's Day hearts and green St Pat's Day shamrocks don't necessarily clash with the red and green of the Christmas season now do they?
I do draw the line at Easter though. Easter just really doesn't mix with any other holiday theme now does it?
My cooking skills are low, but my copying skills are high. It evens out as long as I have a good source to copy. Enter Jean at Delightful Repast and her Make-Ahead-Turkey Gravy recipe.
My son-in-law cooks his turkey on the grill or in a fryer, which leaves no drippings for a rich turkey gravy. Jean saw his turkey on the grill in my last post. She suggested he use her recipe for make-ahead gravy, which uses two turkey legs purchased separately and roasted ahead of time. Genius! Check out her gravy recipe at her wonderful blog, Delightful Repast, HERE.
Put this down in the I Am Astonished category!!! ...yes I needed three exclamation points for this one. Quandie, over at the 'Q Is For Quandie' blog, is a merchandising genius who even manages to sell her old used-up paintbrushes by making them into 'altered art'.
Now, I might've shook my head a little at this, but I have to admit I would probably buy a few if I happened upon them at a Flea Market. I think I might have a treasure trove here with my mother-in-law's old brushes! I saved them when she downsized a while back.
Head over to Quandie's blog and get some inspiration before you throw anything out.