Thursday, August 27, 2015


I woke up Sunday morning and went outside to retrieve the newspaper.  The yard was looking rather lush, so I snapped a few photos.  With the dry, hot summer we have had, I was surprised to see the continued growth on the plantings.
Notice the up cycled French blue chair filled with hot pink vinca. 

 Already, the vinca is rooting beneath the chair.

With a closer look, you can see all the volunteer vinca seedlings take root.
 I'm curious to see if any of these seedlings come back next year.  I will have to wait and see.

 The rusty white iron chair is filled with the mini petunias planted in the spring.

There aren't many blooms, but the foliage is full.

A bit of color by the driveway balances the flowers on the house.

It will be interesting to see how long these annuals will bloom throughout the fall season.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


We are now in the last days of prepping to take our oldest daughter to college.  When we visited for orientation, they had pre-made bookshelves on sale.  The one we were interested in cost $240.00. 
It is a simple shelf to fit onto her desk.
 I knew Mr. Thrifty could make one for a fraction of the cost.  He bought the supplies to create this bookshelf for under $30.00. 
Two days later, I had a built, wood puttied and sanded bookshelf.
I am always amazed at the Mr.'s precision in building projects.  The corners are absolutely perfect.

At the ready, I had my favorite spray primer, the Rust-oleum 2x ultra cover. After flipping the bookshelf, I gave it one coat of paint. 

 In 30 minutes of drying time, it was ready to flip to finish the remainder of the shelf.

My new college student painted the shelf with Paris Grey Chalk Paint.  Two coats did the trick with a bit of sanding in between coats.

Once we got the room all fixed up the shelf really did give her added storage and looked good.  I think this shelf will follow her through her college years and prove to be a very handy piece of furniture.

To improve on this piece in the future would be easy.  Cutting a piece of bead board and nailing it to the back of the shelf would make it more sturdy.
 For now, I know she will be happy to use the shelf  while away at school.   The savings itself was an awesome feat.  Great job Mr. Thrifty!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


The rite of passage of having a daughter go off to college is upon us. 
 Yes, I have another daughter at home, but there is no denying that the homestead changes when one leaves the nest.  Now my attention will be completely on her.  I see the look of panic in her eyes when I mention it.  She is afraid of being alone with me.  I'm really not that scary!
My little one (she's 15) wanted to send  her sister off to college with a long lasting gift.  She came up with the cutest idea.
Let's get started. 
'Little one' as she shall now be called went to Michaels and bought a round mirror.  Later that weekend when we were at Home Depot, she caught sight of this black  magnetic board.  I asked Mr. Thrifty if we could attach the mirror to it and he said yes.  He  used Liquid Nails to attach the two pieces.
 'Little one'  came up with the idea of buying a round mirror, attaching it to some type of background, attach pictures of my oldest daughter and Mom together and the phrase written on the mirror: 


Something else that the Mr. showed me while we were at Home Depot were these amazing Super Magnets.

With the ability to attach the photos to the frame with magnets, I suggested that we use buttons to give them a little extra color.  In order to create cuter magnets, I bought some flower shaped buttons at Hobby Lobby.  I have a huge stash of buttons at home to add to the floral magnets.  These buttons brought out the colors in her comforter,  as seen below.

Here are the cute combinations that I came up with. Notice the strings of hot glue on some of the buttons? Sorry about that.  I did clean them completely off before attaching them to the magnet board. 
 Well--the hot glue did not work.  After we took the oldest to college, the magnets fell off all of the buttons.  We brought them home and Mr. Thrifty used Super Glue this time.  

Here are the button magnets from the back.

My 'Little one' asked me to write the words on the mirror with a Sharpie.  A better script would have been better, but she was pleased with this.  Meanwhile, my youngest picked out favorite pictures of Mom (Grandma) with and without the future college student. As a side note, my oldest daughter was so inspired by Mom that one of her essays that she wrote prior to applying for college was about the one person that inspired her--and that was my  Mom.

Here is the finished project.

 When 'Little One' gave her sister the present, there were tears. I really think big sister was overwhelmed. 
Later in the week, when we were moving the oldest into the dorm, she said that she wanted to hang the mirror picture frame in a spot that she could see it lying down in her bed.  It was to be in a prominent spot in her room.
Here it is.  I know not only will this gift be an ongoing inspiration to my oldest daughter to live up to her Grandmother's hopes but also will keep her memories close.

A big thank you goes to 'Little one' for the inspiration of this project.

Friday, August 14, 2015


It is surprising that with the lack of rain here that we can have voluminous blooms.  We went to a church event last week and these gorgeous lime lite hydrangeas filled the vases on the tables.   They were cut from a member of our church groups yard.

When we were ready to leave, they asked us to take as many blooms as we wanted home with us.  After I returned home, I pulled out a blue and white pitcher and put the flowers inside.

What a beautiful site to see on entering the bedroom.  

A bouquet can add such splendor in a room.

Never turn down an offer for free garden flowers.  I will make sure and tell my friend how much I appreciate the beauty of her bounty.

Friday, August 7, 2015


A year ago last  Easter, I found a beautiful cut glass bowl with a silver plated base.  After talking to a dear friend,  she had commented that she had been looking for such a dish to hold her jewelry on her vanity.  I had written a posting about it over a year ago.
I just had to give it to her.  I had hopes of someday finding a similar piece again to keep for myself. 
 Last month, as I was attending a fabulous family reunion in Illinois, I saw about 90 relatives on my Mom's side.  One very special relative was my Mom's first cousin.  Throughout the years I have kept in contact with Marts.  She tells me stories about when my Mom lived with them out west.  She is a very significant person in my life.  My girls also witness what a strong matriarchal lineage we have in that family branch.  It is important to them because it gives them part of their own history. 
After our initial meeting before the family picnic, she mentioned that she had something for me.  When I opened the gift, I could hardly believe it.  It was almost  the identical bowl that I had passed on to my friend over a year ago.  She told me about the set of glassware that she had in her cabinet at home.  This bowl was one of those pieces.  How amazing was that!  I almost cried.  What were the chances that I would find that exact piece again.  I would like to think that the Holy Spirit had something to do with it.

Look at the design in the pressed glass.

Within 5 minutes of work with the silver polish, the bowl regains its original beauty.

Only my very special pieces of jewelry now line the bowl.
I will treasure this bowl forever.
Thank you Dear Marts!

Thursday, August 6, 2015


 As I sit down to write this posting, I noticed in my blog's statistics, that I have written 400 postings.  How can that be possible?  I remember when I hit the first 100-I didn't think I could possibly sustain the blog.

So let's begin today's posting.

Last week we traveled to Ashville, N.C. to visit the Biltmore, the famous country home(mansion) of The Vanderbilt's.  This site has always been on my list of must see places.  The visit was that and even more than anticipated.  Since no pictures were allowed to be taken inside the house, I will show you only exterior photos.  However, I would strongly suggest the audio tour, which is an additional charge, while touring the home itself.

Upon arriving on the estate, we were taken by shuttle from the parking lot to the entrance of the house.  It is truly a majestic site.

Looking behind, this is the view from the house.

I would like to share a few facts that I learned on the tour.

Besides the numerous interesting facts about the home, the architecture was spectacular.  The architect, Richard Morris Hunt, traveled with George Vanderbilt to Europe gathering inspiration for the Biltmore.  George Vanderbilt also hired  landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted to design the grounds.  Olmsted, known as the father of American landscape architecture, also designed Central Park and the U.S. Capitol grounds.  He considered Biltmore his last great project.
The second floor living hall includes two portraits by John Singer Sargent that were painted when the artist visited Biltmore in 1895.  The portraits are of Richard Morris Hunt and  Frederick Law Olmsted.  George Vanderbilt became close to the two designers of his home and grounds.  Sorry that I cannot show you those portraits here. It was a huge compliment for Vanderbilt to hang these portraits of his friends in this home.
Here is an interesting note that I found about the artist, John Singer Sargent. 
Sargent had no assistants; he handled all the tasks, such as preparing his canvases, varnishing the painting, arranging for photography, shipping, and documentation. He commanded about $5,000 per portrait, or about $130,000 in current dollars.(Wikipedia)
Fourth and fifth generations are involved today in day-to-day operations in keeping the house maintained .  All repairs made are perfect to the naked eye. For example, fabrics that were made in France originally were remade from the same manufacturing companies today.
Now, let's go back outside to see more exquisite architectural details.
My youngest noticed the capital V above this doorway between the cherubs.  This photo might be an inspiration for a future Valentine creation.

This view of the windows could be from a great church in Europe.  The ornateness and detail of every part of the architecture makes an impact on the viewer.

The glass enclosed Winter Garden illuminates the center fountain sculpture of Boy Stealing Geese by Kart Bitter.  The picture below shows the top of this glass ceiling.

Vanderbilt opened the house to his family on Christmas Eve 1895, after six years of construction.

I found the trees creating the arbor most interesting.  The trunks appear to be wound around  cement columns.

The ornate design of these overlooking balconies is beautiful.

The design was somewhat similar to that of the back of the homes' balconies. 

The view from this balcony was breathtaking.
Who wouldn't love a fountain on the outside of their home?

Many art treasures grace the inside and outside of the mansion.

Walking out to the side of the mansion, through the Italian and Shrub Gardens,  you come upon the Conservatory.  

I loved the doors opening to the outside of the Conservatory.
Beautiful, lush gardens surround the Conservatory.

Another view between the trellis.

When the property was purchased, it encompassed 125,000 acres.  Land was sold off through out the years to enable the family to keep 8,000 acres in the present day. 

This is the view looking into the Walled Garden.

The hardy lily pads floated in the one of three ponds located in the Italian Garden.

Looking back to the home from the ponds.

Once the inside tour was completed, an array of restaurants and light bites(that is their name for them) are off to the left heading to the original stables.  Patio umbrellas and tables dot the central area of the dining facilities.

We spent about 5 hours touring the home, eating lunch, doing a bit of shopping and viewing the gardens.  We were taken by the shuttle back to our own vehicle, and then set out to see Antler Hill Village which was about 5 miles from the Biltmore itself.  Here at the village, the Biltmore Winery celebrates its 30th anniversary, their winemakers continue to be inspired b George Vanderbilt's passion for collecting and serving fine wines.

Here are two final views of the incredible Biltmore mansion.

The history behind the making of the Biltmore was fascinating.  I am so glad that we were able to take this trip with the girls.

 So as this is an end to our summer, school will be back in session.  The summer vacation just goes by too fast. 

I hope you enjoyed my guided tour through the Biltmore properties. 

   In the future, plan your own trip to visit the majestic Biltmore.