Sunday, May 9, 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010


1. Allow for extra gas costs in your budget. You will go to Home Depot/Lowes/Wal-Mart/Ace Hardware at least 6 times per day.

2. When you return from one of these trips, remember to take your favorite black purse immediately to the back portion of your house. If you set it near the paint zone, white paint will suddenly appear on it. )<:

3. Never allow your sweet husband to carry any of the kitchen drawers. Enough said!

4. Do not be alarmed when you look in the mirror after a long week of sanding/painting. You have not turned into a “construction guy”! Quickly take a hot shower, wash your hair, put on makeup and throw away the painting outfit that you have worn continuously for a week. You will turn back into the woman that you once were.

5. You can do without water and your stove for up to 5 days. However, you will get cranky after that.

6. Remember to stay calm when a family member says, “You are still painting? I don’t think you will ever get finished. Maybe sometime in the summer, Ha, Ha, Ha!” They don’t understand and violence never helps a thing.

7. Strolling around your house looking for cooking utensils/serving dishes, etc. can be made into a fun event if you pretend that you are shopping. You can also get reacquainted with the items that were stored in the top of your cabinets.

8. Men do not understand that cabinet hardware is considered jewelry for your cabinets.

9. Man caves are not a fun to place to paint in and you can forget using the power tools. You have to wait until he gets home.

10. Always be thankful for a sweet husband who comes home and says, “Wow, this looks great! I think that you could do this professionally!” (Forget it sweet husband, I will not flip a house!)


So, Can #8 was taken back to Sherwin Williams and another call to the District Manager resulted in him picking up paint from 3 different stores around the Houston area. Back to our local SW store I went with a cabinet door in tow. I had learned not to let them paint a small piece of cardboard as a test piece. Sure enough, Paint cans #9, 10 & 11 all left a sandy substance in the finish. Ahhhhhh!!

Did I learn from my mistakes? No, I actually let them talk me into taking their new paint product that was replacing the oil paint that I had been using. In my defense, they did give me 3 free gallons (#12, 13, & 14) and reassured me that although I would have to start.. all.. over… again.., I would be very pleased with the new paint. Several days earlier, I had resigned myself to the fact that I would have to re do everything, so I took the news calmly and walked out with the new paint. So, everything had to be stripped/sanded down. Ugh! What a tedious mess. It took me over a week to do all of that (I’m by myself here with the sweet husband back at work) and then the painting began. I only painted the cabinets, no doors or drawers. There was no sandy substance, but lots of streaking. I thought it would even out with 3 coats, but after a week of painting, I now know that the new paint will have to go back to the drawing board. It is impossible to work with. When you paint one small section, it looks good. However, when you move your brush to a new section, if you touch the “just painted section” at all, the result is a streak. This process is tedious and impossible. I have had so many friends tell me that they only use SW paint for their walls. I did paint the walls around my window and yes, it went on beautifully. However, painting on wood is an entirely different matter. Of course, the EPA is partly to blame for this. They are regulating the paint industry and all paint manufactures are struggling to roll out replacement paint that satisfies the new green laws.

So, I threw down my brush and did what I should have done in the beginning. I went to the mall and purchased this:

I am happy to report that my old faithful and favorite paint came through for me. Due to prior commitments, life events and getting discouraged with all of the paint problems, I found myself having less and less painting time. I was able to get some of my other commitments completed and I devoted all of last week to hours of painting. Oh, it feels so good to finally accomplish something. My inside cabinets have had 8 coats of paint on them. That is so ridiculous and it is no wonder that I have been so frustrated! However, I am definitely on a roll now.

I will say this for Sherwin Williams. While they definitely have paint problems with their oil paint and now the replacement paint for cabinets, they are great on customer service. Although they did not get the problem solved, they definitely tried. I know that Lowe’s and Home Depot have never been very helpful with problems.

I am hoping that this will soon be gone!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


After my dear husband went back to work, I spent the next week locked down in the Man Cave painting 23 doors and 7 drawers!

I got to the final coat and needed more paint. Back to Sherwin Williams for a quart to finish up the final coat of paint and then we could hang up our beautiful doors. I opened Paint Can #3 and painted all 23 doors.

 I noticed the paint did not seem as smooth, but felt it would dry fine. WRONG! (Never use Sherwin Williams Paint!) There were bumps all in the finish. It looked as though sand was in the paint. I literally sat down and cried. Of course, a call to SW resulted in them convincing me that I had something in the brush – the expensive brush that I had bought from them! My sweet husband felt so sorry for me that he went to SW, bought two new paint brushes and another can of paint (Paint Can #4). He also bought a new air compressor so that he could blow the doors off as I had to sand them all again. We made sure there was not an ounce of dust on any of them.

We started our Easter holiday with Paint Can #3 and as we applied the paint, we could clearly the sand/grains. We opened the new can (#4) and had the same results. We spent that day and the next going to 3 SW stores and all had contaminated paint (Cans # 5, 6, & 7). SW’s brilliant solution – they would give us paint that sort of matched and we could use that. A call to Corporate Headquarters on Monday resulted in that solution going away and today I went to pick up a new gallon of paint (Can #8) that had been strained 4 times. Hello, who has to strain brand new paint? I came home and applied the paint to one of the doors. The straining helped. Instead of large grains in the paint, there are millions of small ones! Have I mentioned never to use Sherwin Williams Paint! Can # 8 will go back to Sherwin Williams tomorrow. 

Our house has been torn apart for 3 weeks now.  This is just a small portion of the mess!

I am afraid that I am going to have to sand everything down and start all over, including the finished cabinets in the house.  Oh did I mention that it will not be with Sherwin Williams paint if I have to do that!  Not only have we wasted tons of time and energy, we have went through $$$$ of paint supplies and gas.  Anyone have any advice?

Sorry, the picture has a yellow hue to it, but these cabinets are white and gorgeous.  I do not want to have to sand them and start all over.  HELP!!!!!!

On a positive note, we have managed to do some other projects in the kitchen. I will give you just a little peek!
It is going to be gorgeous, but at this rate, I will not be able to show you the finished kitchen until summer!


I decided to do some updating to my kitchen. She has served us well, but look at her!

Oh sure, her walls have been painted several colors throughout the years and the appliances replaced and upgraded each time. Several years back, a beautiful tile floor was added, but it just wasn’t enough to make her beautiful. The cabinets have been touched up and several coats of poly have been added throughout the years, but they were very worn and tired looking. Also, the awful, green countertops should have been replaced years ago. Still, there are a lot of memories. So many meals have been cooked there. I look at the place where the highchair for my three beautiful children sat for years and feel so nostalgic. However, nostalgia only carries one so far. Changes had to be made.

We were going to paint these cabinets white and then move on to the den to paint the paneling white.  They do one room in two days on Trading Spaces, so we doubled it and figured we could finish two rooms in eight days.  Oh how foolish we were!!!! So, we started on Friday before Spring Break and spent a day taping, putting down plastic, sanding, cleaning the surfaces, etc.

We sprang ahead with full confidence.  I have painted this whole house inside and out several times so how hard can painting wood be?  Now to our credit, there have been so many problems with the paint. You see, we upgraded to Sherwin Williams paint. Only the best for our kitchen cabinets! Mistake! DO NOT USE SHERWIN WILLIAMS PAINT! The primer went on fine, but the first can of Semi-Gloss White was like thick icing. You could put it on with a knife.  Forget about brushing it on.  We wasted a whole day getting conflicting advice from various Sherwin Williams employees. We were finally told to add a product, bought at Sherwin Williams, to thin the paint and to follow the instructions exactly as stated on the bottle. It turned the paint in to soup. Another trip back to SW and oh no, they didn’t realize that the instructions on the bottle were not correct. So, we had to get another gallon of paint. Let’s call it Gallon # 2. (Never use Sherwin Williams Paint!) Now two days have been wasted getting paint.  We then spent three long days putting on 3 coats of paint to the cabinets inside.

We had some conflicts along the way. You see, my sweet husband decided not to pull out the fridge to do the side of the cabinet or the trim. After all, the fridge would never be out of there. I could not handle that which slowly made him see that he was also not going to be able to handle it either!

So, we had to deal with this a week, but I feel so much better knowing that area is painted.

Next, we had to face these!

I got to work in the "Man Cave". I thought that was going to be really fun, but it quickly lost its charm! Now, these doors and drawers also required sanding, cleaning, priming and 3 coats of paint.  Sonny’s Spring Break was up by the time we got to the first coat of paint. I was left alone with 23 doors and 7 drawers! (Remember, never use Sherwin Williams paint!)


Tuesday, March 2, 2010


This 1938 appliance recipe booklet is one of my latest finds at the junk stores.  I really love the pictures of the food on the covers of these vintage booklets.  I have noticed that the food pictures inside the booklets are usually in black and white.  I am sure that was a cost cutting method, but it would really be great if they were in color as they do not look as appetizing or as interesting when presented in black, white and shades of gray. 

Did you notice the frozen fruit salad served on the lettuce leaves?  That picture is the reason I bought this booklet.  I thought it was so pretty and unusual.  Hope you enjoy this recipe. 


2 three-ounce cakes of cream cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
2 medium size bananas
1/2 cup walnut meats
1/2 cup maraschino cherries in halves
1 cup whipping cream
Crisp lettuce leaves

Mix cream cheese with salt, mayonnaise, and lemon juice; then add pineapple, sliced bananas, nut meats and maraschino cherries.  Fold in whipped cream and pour into Frigidaire freezing tray.

When frozen, serve in slices on crisp lettuce leaves.  Garnish with fresh fruit.  Fresh, whole strawberries are very attractive.

OK readers, what do you think a Frigidaire freezing tray is?  Judging by the picture, it must have been shaped like a loaf pan.  Please comment if you are familiar with a freezing tray used in the 1930's. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Before going to Colorado, Jenny spent weeks making sure that we had the proper clothes. We all had to buy “snow” everything – boots, socks, pants, coats, gloves, etc. etc. It had to be waterproof. Try to find that in good old H Town and at a reasonable price. However, my wonderful and very organized daughter watched store ads and sent us to all the right places to outfit us.

As you know by the previous post, we went snow tubing on Copper Mountain. The low was -17 degrees. Yes, you read that right. -17! I donned all of my layers and felt very smug that I was ready for anything, as I quickly felt like I was going to die from heat stroke while standing in their apartment. Yes, with my many layers and all waterproof, I was ready for any snow adventure. Bring on the cold!!!!

Unfortunately, I didn’t think about a little action that we do when we get into a car. You have to be able to bend to sit down. Well, dear readers, it was not a pretty sight. I .. just… could… not …. bend! I finally leaned into the car and fell into the seat. This was definitely not good. Surely, I just needed to break my snow gear in and riding in the car would probably loosen things up.

It was quickly determined that we would have to stop at Target. Everyone needed a few items and my sunglasses broke in half when I put them on. Can Texas sunglasses not take the cold? Jenny also determined that I did not have a warm hat. I hate hats. Jenny had us on a tight schedule and we only had 20 minutes in Target. I had to make two fashion decisions in 20 minutes! Oh my! All of the sunglasses looked alike so not much time was taken there, but the hats were another story. They had hundreds of hats and did I mention that I hate hats. With Jenny harassing helping me, she kept saying,“ Hurry up, that looks fine, now hurry up.”   I quickly became confused. However, a lady walked in with her entire family to outfit them with a hat she had bought the previous day. She claimed it was absolutely the warmest hat she had ever owned and they did have one left in pink.  So, I grabbed up the below hat in pink with brown fur.

Yes, folks, having no mirror to look at myself, I did purchase a pink trooper style, aviator hat with brown fur. I believe this style hat was last featured on “Leave It To Beaver”.  Beaver wore a brown one to school every winter as all good 1950's boys did.  I wish I could have gotten the white fur one.  Little did I know that the brown fur made me look like my bangs started at the top of my head and that I had dyed them brown!

After riding several hours in the car to reach Copper Mountain, I discovered my clothes still would not bend so I rolled myself out of the car. It was then that I noticed that I walked stiff legged with my arms held out just like the bundled up little boys in the movie, "A Christmas Story".  We had to walk through snow to reach the bus to the ski lodge, so I continued to try to break my clothes in. It quickly became apparent that nothing was working. So, I spent the time we had in the ski lodge securing our tickets, etc., trying not to sit down.

Please notice these folks can bend!

Soon, everyone was enjoying the beautiful view of the mountains and our snow tube run. However, I was filled with dread at the thought of trying to sit down on my snow tube. We secured our tubes and rode up the mountain on a conveyor belt system.  Thankfully, we stood on the belt to ride up the mountain

At the top, Sonny got my tube in place and told me to sit down. I think I must have looked like a dog does before it settles in its bed for the night. You know how they will circle their bed several times in both directions before finally sitting down on it. Yes, that was me. I circled that tube several times and tried several different ways to sit on it without success.  My dear husband grew very impatient as I held up the line.  He soon half snarled in my ear,“ What is wrong? GET IN THE TUBE!”  Finally out of desperation, I stood in front of the tube, calculated the distance, closed my eyes and fell backwards. What form! What grace!!!  I did managed to land half way in the tube.  Sonny quickly pushed me all the way in so that the handsome, athletic young man in charge of keeping the line moving could shove me down the hill. I am afraid that all of my visions of being a beautiful, stylish and graceful snow bunny were shattered. And no, it did not get any better. Every single time I went up the mountain, I had to fall backwards into my tube and every single time the ride was over, my dear husband had to haul me up out of the tube!

 And then of course, there was THE HAT!  Look at my new, huge brown bangs!  You may also notice that my beautiful daughter, who looks great in hats, took hers off for the picture!  Why didn't I think of that?

I might not have been stylish and I could not bend, but my hat and all the many layers of my snow clothes did keep me warm.  I just hope my family will go snow tubing with me again! 

Friday, February 5, 2010


We did something very different for Christmas this year.  We were not in Texas.  Usually, even if we travel during the holidays, we always come back for Christmas with the family.  This year, we went to Colorado to celebrate Christmas with Jenny and Matt.  Ryan was also able to join us.  I have seen very little snow in my life and to have the privilege to spend the Christmas holidays in such a beautiful place was a dream come true.  It actually snowed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so I was absolutely thrilled.  

We spent Christmas Eve on Copper Mountain.  Guess what we did?

We went snow tubing and it was so much fun.  Notice we are pretty bundled up.  It was -17 degrees!!  Even I was forced to wear a hat.  No comments please!

Me and my sweet children

The snow view from Jenny and Matt's apartment.

And now, the DOWNSIDE to snow and ice!!!!

Did you know that when you go anywhere in a car, you have to allow at least 20 minutes to de-ice the car?  This South Texas girl did not know that.  Every time we stopped to eat or sight see, this process would have to be repeated!  Thank you Sonny, Ryan, Jenny & Matt for letting me be the Princess. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


As a little girl, I remember my Mom telling me how blessed I was to have "The Dime Store".  Every time I got my allowance, I would beg to go to The Dime Store so that I could purchase some candy.  It would take me quite a long time to decide whether to buy a chocolate bar, an all day cherry lollipop, Sugar Babies or M & M's.  Of course toys with candy inside were also a temptation.  1950's & 60's candy were the best!  

My Mom and her sisters were not so lucky.  They did not live close to a store that had a candy counter and being raised during the Depression, they didn't have extra money for candy.  However, they did have Taffy Pulls.  I loved to listen to her stories of my Grandmother making taffy and then handing it over to my Mom, her sisters and their friends to pull.  She described in great detail the technique they used to pull the hot taffy into long ropes between two people, the great smell and even the color it turned as it started to cool.  I could picture my Grandmother laying the pulled and ready to eat taffy on the kitchen table and cutting it in to pieces with scissors so everyone could have a taste.  I was ready to hand over my store bought chocolate, cherry lollipops and even my Sugar Babies for one taste of that marvelous taffy.  Here is the recipe for that almost forgotten candy.


3/4 cup water

2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups corn syrup

2 tablespoons butter

Vanilla flavoring

1 teaspoon salt

Measure 2 cups sugar, l 1/4 cups corn syrup, 3/4 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt into a saucepan and blend well with a wooden spoon. Place over low heat until sugar has dissolved, stirring continuously. Increase the heat and do not stir during the rest of the cooking. Wash the sides of the pan with a brush or fork covered with muslin and dipped in water, using an upward motion. This will prevent the formation of crystals which might cause the candy to sugar. Cook syrup to hard boil stage and then remove candy from heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter.  Stir very gently.   When cool enough to handle, grease hands with butter and let the pulling begin.

Pull the taffy out at least 12 inches. Next, quickly fold the taffy back from one hand to the other, catching the center, and then pulling again.  Add the vanilla while pulling and continue to pull until the flavoring is thoroughly mixed in.  When the taffy is very hard to pull and holds its shape when laid out on a platter, it’s ready to cut into pieces. Rub a pair of kitchen scissors with unsalted butter, and then cut the hardened taffy into bite-size pieces.



Sunday, January 17, 2010


This is a picture of my dining room table.  My mom said it was one of her favorite centerpieces that I have done. 

These gold presents came from Pier One several years back and they are so versatile.  I simply lift the lid and can easily change out the color.  Many times I use napkins but I used pink tissue paper in these.  Not only are these a great centerpiece at Christmas, I have also used them for birthday parties. 

Now please notice that the center box no longer has the pink tissue paper in it and here is the reason why!!!

This guy did not stay on his tree.  Instead, he decided to take up residence in my gold box!  I was not very happy at all.  At first glance, I thought the shadows outside were casting a dark spot on my beautiful pink tissue paper.  However, when I passed by again, something did not look right.  On closer inspection and much to my horror, this monster head peered out at me.  Of course, I let out a blood curdling scream.  My dear husband was not home to rescue me, so I was on my own.  I shook the box, demanded he leave and even shook the table, but he never moved.  I decided he was dead so I poked at him with a knife, but he jumped, then scooted down into the tissue which caused me to scream again.  I left him alone for awhile but then decided to scare him with the vacuum cleaner.  I turned it on right beside the table but he only retreated further into the safety of the tissue. 

Several hours later, my dear husband arrived home and was not my Knight in Shining Armor.  Of course, he was tired and cold, but still.  He suggested that we leave him in the box as they eat bugs and went off to bed.  I didn't sleep well that night which means he did not sleep well.  I was worried that the visitor might decide our bed would be a safe haven from the vacuum cleaner.  The next morning, he was basking on top of the pink tissue paper - sunning himself in the morning light.  That was it.  I demanded he be taken outside and it better be immediately.  My husband didn't want to waste the pink tissue paper and thought that he should bring it back inside to be used again.  I made him put it in the outside garbage can, so rest easy all of my friends.  Should you receive a gift from me, it will not contain recycled lizard tissue paper! 

I got to thinking.  What if I had held a Ladies Christmas Lunch?  I shudder at the image of my visitor poking his head out of the delicate pink tissue paper inside my beautiful gold box.  He probably would have took one look at all of us and decided to run  across several of the ladies' plates.  I would have never lived that down!!!


Here is a recipe from 1875 called Mock Chicken Salad.  Obviously it does not contain chicken.  My question was, why not make Real Chicken Salad?  Well "mock" in cooking terms means to use a reliable substitute and upon further investigation, I discovered the reason a substitute was used for the chicken.  Mock chicken salads were made from cubes of roast pork, which were less expensive than chicken.  After all, chickens were a source of eggs for families.  In 1875, you just did not kill your chickens. 


4 cups coarsely chopped roast pork
1 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives
1/2 cup mayo or boiled dressing
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

Combine pork, celery, bell pepper, olives, mayo, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours.  Store leftover salad in a covered container in the refrigerator.

OK, do you think that they had refrigerators in 1875? 

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Those of you who know me know that I am all about white and pastels. My husband claims that I will spray paint anything white and he is right. However, a strange occurrence happened this year. It started with this:

My new obsession with bronze!  You know how I am about those white pumpkins and yet, I fell in love with bronze this year and in a previous post, I told you all about how I made these pumpkins.  OK, so bronze is a "Fall Color" and I thought it would stop there.  I was wrong.  Look at this:

I found a large container of bronze Christmas ornaments for 50 % off at Hob Lob and poured them into my bronze square container.  The result was stunning. This is my kitchen table and since the top is made with hand painted sun flower tiles, it is hard to see that this does indeed match the kitchen area. The brown tones in the sunflowers, the wood trim around the tiles and  the kitchen chairs perfectly compliment this centerpiece.  The picture does not show it very well, but the bronze ornaments are different textures.  The glitter and jewel cut ornaments really catch the light and look so rich.  I got more compliments on this than I did on any of my other decorations.  Even my husband liked it, which is saying alot!

Pictures of my Snow Village.


Since we were away for Christmas, I decorated with a light hand this year.  Here are some highlights!