Saturday, October 12, 2013

Kitchen.... before and after

Our first interior kitchen project was the kitchen.  I an very happy with how everything turned out.  Here is what we did

1. Scrapped off the wallpaper.  Thanks to Noah, Mom, Nannie and Stephen.  After that day, I decided that people who remove wallpaper for a living must have the highest suicide rate. 
2. Tore down part of the wall into the Dining Room so that we could open the freezer (thanks to Don Cheeny)
3. Took out the cabinets on the sink wall and removed the huge island. 
4. Sanded and painted all the cabinets
5. Painted the walls.... thanks to Stephen, we actually painted it twice because I HATED the first shade of white.  
6.  Put up open shelving (thanks to the Secrist family.... :)

All the before pictures were taken by Stephen when he was trying to convince me to buy the house.  Good thing I had a vision :)  

Note the beautiful wallpaper (I will admit, I liked the pineapples)

I don't know what we would have done without Don Cheeny.  Not only did he make it so our fridge we brought from Texas would open, but he also removed all the broken radios. 

And here is the after.....

The light fixture in the picture below is one of my favorite finds.  Mom and I found it at the Habitat Restore for $5.  I bought a can of spray paint and changed it from brass to black. 
 I love the wide opening into the dining room and all the room now that the island is gone. 

*We are still looking for new knobs.  I want a black cast iron look, and I just cannot find them (at Home Depot). 

The cabinets are Coastal Fog by Benjamin Moore.  I did not like the color on the swatch, but then I saw it a friend's house in Florida and I knew it was the perfect color.  After buying 12 samples of gray, I went cold turkey on this color.  It is the absolute perfect shade. 

White walls are Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee.  The first try was Acadia White, but in our old house, it just looked dingy.   The trim is cloud white by Benjamin Moore. 

I bought the hardware for the opening shelving at Ikea.  Lori and Brad cut the shelves for me.  

I must admit, I am happy with the transformation. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

What's with the name?

In Atlanta, you will often hear people say, "take a right at the big chicken"  or "if you make it to the big chicken, you went too far."  

Yes, the eyes and beak move

Everyone in the Atlanta area knows and loves the big chicken.  In high school, Louise and I used to go up there for dinner a lot (followed by a dozen krispie kreme doughnuts).  Last Christmas, Dad gave me a framed collection of Atlanta landmarks.  

Fox Theatre, The Varsity, OK Cafe, Big Chicken
Stephen was so confused by the big chicken picture.  Apparently, I had not done my job in educating him into Atlanta ways.  We had no choice but to drive him up there. Once he knew the big chicken, he started hearing about it everywhere.  He found it hilarious to randomly state our location in respect to the Big Chicken (like any true Atlantan would do). When it came time to pick a name for this blog, Stephen wanted "just north of south"  but I refused to admit that we were moving out of the south.** Somewhere, "Just North of The Big Chicken" came up and it just felt right.  

mmmm.  now I want some fried chicken and biscuits.  I won't like, I do love me some KFC.  

** Now that we are here, I will admit that I have moved out of the south.   

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Landed in Virginia

I have finally landed in Virginia and feel like I am actually getting settled into the new house.  We have had lots of company (which I am so thankful for) and this new house already looks like home.  But of course, I have a zillion projects in mind.  The first was the outside shutters.  They were maroon.  While I tried to focus on the fact that it is "Redskin Red", the truth was it was aggie red.  And I just could not have that.  So 24 hours in, I had Dad and Stephen up there taking those things off so I could re-paint them.  I am VERY happy with the result.  

Here is the before....

We painted Sherwin Williams Mt. Etna.  I actually had it matched at Home Depot.  One Gallon painted the doors, shutters (3 coats), numbers and half of the fence.  


Dad was a great contractor.  "He went to college so that he did not have to paint. " But, he was not above staining the window boxes that my incredibly talented Uncle Curt made for me. 

I never would have painted the fence, but sweet Noah insisted on it.  His Painting Name was Accawitoka Coolia Sawyer.  We actually had the best time painting.  I wish I had gotten a picture of Noah, the warrior, covered in paint.  When we ran out of paint, Noah tricked Stephen into taking him to Home Depot by saying, "if we have the paint, the first one up in the morning will finish painting, and you know that will not be you Stephen."  It worked, but then Noah was so excited to finish that we all finished the fence with the last rays of light.  

Curt just whipped these up for me one day.  I am amazed.  It added the perfect touch to my house.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them. 

And finally.... here is the finished outside.
Total cost of this project...

paint $45
plants --I think around $15

It makes me smile every time I drive up, and that is a good thing.  

Inside pictures coming soon! 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Procrastinating and Goodbyes

Right now I will do anything, and I mean anything to procrastinate.  It is getting bad.  The two areas of my life I just cannot tackle are packing and goodbyes.  The movers come at 8:00am.  I have not packed a box all week.  I have officially said goodbye to 1 person.  Everyone else it is, "oh, I'll se you again, I'm not leaving until next week."  Which means, I technically have A LOT of people to see on Monday.  Oye.  Here's the thing, for the past two weeks, tears have been just waiting to break free.  Yet strangely, I have only really cried once.  And it was not pretty.  I just don't know how to give people that last hug.  I don't know how to look into someone's eyes for the last time (at least for a while.)  So I procrastinate it.  But, every day gets a little harder.  Because I know it is coming.  I have played through driving away in my head so many times.  One last stop at Common Grounds, one last stop at my spot, the Sadie Jo Black Gardens on campus.  It is creeping up on me.  It is going to be harder than I have imagined.  It's the reason I cannot say goodbye.  It is the reason I cannot get up and pack those last few things.  It makes this official.  And yes, I KNOW that God has called us to this.  But I also KNOW that I love this town.  I will always credit Atlanta for raising me.  But, this town molded me.  I became me here.  I love everything about it (except the horrible radio). I love the streets, I love the feel, I love the heat, I love lake Waco, I love Baylor, I love the loyalty.  I love it.  I love my friends, I love my mechanic, I love my doctor, I love that I see people I know all over the place.  I love the bear trail, I love HEB, I love the wheat fields and the corn fields, I love kolaches.  For the past year, I expected this move and I have been doing my best to soak it all up.  Problem is, that just made me love it more.  And now  I can only procrastinate this goodbye for so long.  Warning: if you talk to me next week... I am going to be a hot mess.  I am thankful for Wayne's wise words to Stephen, "moving makes women crazy."  It is true.  

I must get to it.  It's time to go down the track.  I can only hope and pray that one day God brings us back here.  And maybe my sweet PreK kids will be in 5th grade and I can step back into their lives.  Oh, how I will miss them all.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

"too much stuff"

My family and I have this joke. We often exclaim, "too much food" in an annoying high pitched voice. We might or might not be making fun of someone. My incredible mamma spent the past two and a half weeks packing my house. (more on this later.) I never expected to pack so much so quickly. She left me with the bare essentials. It has astonished me what we have been able to do with so little. Our culture is so accustomed to needing every little thing, that sometimes we forget to be creative. I learned so much from my boss at the flower shop, Kim. We teased her that her degree was in "Macgyver" because she could come up with a solution for any problem. I think Kim would be proud of mom and I's "macgyver-ness" the last few weeks. Here are a few examples. 

 Went to the bear trail and forgot Wyatt's leash. We happened to have a long chain in the back of the car that needed to go back to Ace. Mom thought of taking the straps of Wyatt's car seat cover, attaching them to the chain, and we were off walking. 

 Made banana bread tonight. Normally, I would need a measuring cup for the wet ingredients, one for the dry ingredients, one for teaspoon, a bowl to mash..... (blah, blah, blah). This time I used one bowl, one measuring cup and one teaspoon. Oh, and a wooden spoon. The batter tasted just right and cleaning up was so much simpler. 

 Mom is definitely a Macgyver in the kitchen. That lady can make gourmet out of nothing. Many nights, we thought we had "nothing in the houseto eat" and ended up with a delicious dinner. One night, we had incredible basil asparagus pasta with parmesan. We had delicious scalloped potatoes and braised chicken thighs. She even left we with the most amazing turkey soup to have this week. We were out of noodles, so it has peal couscous instead. I like it so much, I will make it that way again! 

Sure, I miss some of the stuff in those 150 boxes. But I also wonder if I have been too set on stuff. When in reality it is "too much stuff, too much stuff." In my new house, I want to live simpler. Uh oh. I feel Garage Sale round 2 coming!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I should be sleeping. But I cannot help but be amazed at God right now. I am not sure how he continues to blow me away with his generosity. You would think I would know him well enough by now to remember that he will always provide. I tried really hard not to obsess over where we would live when we got to Virginia. I really did see all the perks in a small apartment (less to clean, no projects), or an RV (vacation, living on the water). But the truth was.... it made me sad. I have come to love our house on Heatherwood. I love my garden and growing my own veggies. I love my herb garden, that really only grows mint. I love my back porch. I love my cosmos from Katie that come back every spring. I love snipping zinnias. I love throwing parties and using all my fun wedding gifts. I love my Baylor paintings that hang in our room. I read this book (not something I usually do during the school year) called Evidence Not Seen. It is the true story of a missionary who spends 4 years in a Japanese POW camp during WWII. She can take 2 trunks with her to the mission field. As she is captured and transferred place to place, she slowly looses her earthly possessions. She talks about her sadness, but her faith is the most incredible thing I have ever read about. It was so inspiring. I really was ready to lock the door on my house and leave it all behind. I am not excited to move to Virginia, but I am confident God wants me to go. So, I will go, gritting my teeth and smiling. Because the Lord shows over and over again that he provides. So, as soon as I wrap my head around a storage unit and a camper, the price on the house lowers to exactly where we needed it to be. And I sit here amazed. Amazed at God. And feeling a little guilty. I think of all the people in West. I think of all the people in Oklahoma. What have I done to deserve this incredible blessing? I do not understand it. All I know is that I will serve the Lord with everything I have. I will not let a day go by without thanking him for every gift in my life, especially the gift of a home. And really, be it an apartment, an RV, or a house on houndmaster there are only 3 things I need to make a home: my Lord, Stephen and Wyatt. But, I am thankful that God provides more than we could ever wish or imagine and I get to move into a house where I can plant my gardens and have my parties. Praise the Lord, oh my soul, Praise the Lord.