Bungalows to Big

housesFunny how neighborhoods change.  In mine, it’s impossible not to notice how homes have gone from bungalows built mostly in the 1920’s and 30’s to big.  I guess that’s what happens in a convenient big city location. 

housesThere are still some of those original bungalows around, 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbut as they sell the property on which they stood goes from this,

houses
to this

housesand, finally, this.  Sometimes I can’t help but wonder why we need so much space when in years past families were raised in homes less than 2,000 square feet and with only one bathroom!

housesOver time home styles have changed.  First were fairly basic two story brick homes

housesfollowed by stucco, initially unadorned

housesbut eventually dressed up with architectural elements.

housesThese days home styles run the gambit from Mediterranean

housesto French inspired

housesto city farmhouse.

housesMore recent are homes with a modern flair, quite a change from the once traditional look of the neighborhood and one that adds interest.

housesIn some instances, soaring structures sit side by side with one of the original bungalows, and I love the contrast!

What is really astonishing is that some of those brick homes built as recently as the 1980’s are coming down and being replaced with new construction.  As I walk through and see all the new design features, I get a hankering to build but I have no idea what the style would be.  How about you, what would you choose these days?

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Traveling the Back Roads of Texas

Hill CountryTo track down the wildflowers, heading west from Houston on I-10 is a good place to start.  Now there’s not a whole lot to see between Houston and San Antonio unless you get off the freeway and explore those back roads that give you a glimpse of what most of Texas really is.

small town TexasMuch of small town Texas has fewer than 5,000 folks, and some of those towns, especially what used to be the business area, have seen their better days.  

small Texas townNo matter how shabby a place appears, there always seems to be a sweet church rising to meet the blue Texas sky.

small town TexasIMG_4306IMG_4305
IMG_4299Here and there are some surprisingly cute places like this one serving a delicious lunch

IMG_4307and having a garden shop and nursery chock full of tempting things.

pickups/bar b queBar-B-Que is a favorite food in these small towns and if that’s what you have a hankering for, you’ll be in luck.  Don’t worry if you don’t have a pickup, you’re still welcome

Texas country facesTexas country facesTexas country facesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand can have a bite of lunch with the good ole boys!

bluebonnetsThere was a time when all the wide open spaces were cattle ranches,

Texasbut these days there’s no telling what kind of four legged critter is being raised.

Hill CountryYessir, I like exploring these back roads and sometimes Pa and I find us a porch and just sit and rock and take it all in!

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From The Bottom of The Stack

Vietnam tableDo you have things that find their way to the bottom of a stack and rarely see the light of day?  That often happens at my house, so today I wanted to go through and find something  remembered and seldom used.  That’s how the table runner and accessories from a visit to Viet Nam two years ago found their way to the table.  I like both because they were purchased at a state run facility where products were made by physically or mentally impaired people who could be taught to work with their hands.

Vietnam tableAs are most of my tables, this one will be simple for a week night dinner with friends.  Wannabe Fiesta plates and orange placemats are chosen to complement the accessories

Vietnam tableand blue stems, a daughter’s wedding present in my temporary care, are perfect for the blues in the runner.

Vietnam tableWith azaleas being in full bloom, I couldn’t resist gathering a few and putting them in little terra cotta pieces that are from Italy.  Hmmm, is this table now taking on an international flavor?

Vietnam tableThat’s it, simple, warm and inviting for a week night supper.  Oh, and did I mention that the candle holders with their French flair are from Target?

For dinner, I’m thinking we’ll have Vietnamese chicken curry with a salad I’m making up.  I don’t think it’s Vietnamese, but it will work.  See what you think.

Edamame/chickpea saladEdamame/Chickpea Salad

1 pkg. frozen edamame prepared as directed on the package

1 can chickpeas rinsed and drained

1 c. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1/2 c. sliced black olives

1/2 c. chopped red onion

1 c. artichoke hearts quartered

salt and pepper to taste

vinegarette dressing

Mix all ingredients together.  Add dressing to taste and refrigerate for an hour or so to let flavors blend.

That’s all there is to it and from the sample I tasted it’s pretty good and would be an unexpected side for other menus.

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Texas In Bloom

Office View HoustonLiving in Houston, a fast paced, sprawling, big city, it’s easy to forget about other parts of Texas that really characterize what this state is all about.  

wildflowersThis time of year is especially good for doing a little exploring. It takes about an hour to get away from city sights and sounds and start noticing fields of bluebonnets, Indian paints and other wildflowers blooming along the road.  

bluebonnetsWe Texans can thank Lady Bird Johnson for thinking that Texas highways would be a lot prettier seeded with wildflowers.  How right she was!

wildflowersLovely though the highways are, it’s not until you get on the back roads that it’s possible to stop and enjoy the magic.

wildflowersSeeing a fluttery butterfly feeding

wildflowersor a tiny bug using a petal as a bed are such simple pleasures.

wildflowersThere is surprise to find startling colors peeking among thorny cacti

wildflowersor here and there a solitary bloom reaching for the sun.

wildflowersMy favorite field of blooms? Right here, wild and untamed.

Taking time away from the city opens my eyes to a new sights that bring smiles.  Won’t you come with me again to do a little more exploring?

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For the Birds!

birdhousesCan you tell I like birdhouses?  There are more than 20 sitting above the cabinets, each one different and most created by a talented artisan.  Every day I look at them and get a kick out of remembering the story that goes with each one.  

Now you’d think with so many fun and interesting shapes and sizes some of those birdhouses would have been used on the table.  Not so, but today that’s going to change!

birdhouse tableI just got these bird topped cloches and my daughter game me the little bird vases, and  they seemed perfect matches for the birdhouses.  Oh, this is going to be fun!

birdhouse tableSince it is spring, at least in Houston, these placemats and napkins from World Market were an easy choice.

birdhouse tableWith the pattern seeming so right for birds and birdhouses, I chose simple glass plates that allowed its boldness to show through.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou’ll notice that once again the textured pink glasses make their way to the table.  When my friend gave these to me from her grandmother’s collection of glassware, she had no idea how often they would be used!  You just don’t see anything like them today which makes them all the more special.

birdhouse tableAll done, this table brings a great big smile to my face because it shows off some of my favorite things.  

Usually a table suggests a menu to me, but I’m having a little trouble with this one.  Bird seed doesn’t sound too appetizing, but what about something embellished with berries?  I better get to the kitchen and start studying some of those cookbooks!  If you have a suggestion, send it right on.

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You Want It? You Got It!

Building bedsSo, what are you doing?

Building BedsThe boys have decided they want to sleep in the same room, so I’m building beds.

Building bedsOh, I see.  Wouldn’t it have been easier to buy them?

Building bedsUmm, maybe, but I had this idea and I really like working with wood.  

Building bedsThe contrasting white oak and walnut is a lovely, warm combination that she is finishing with wax.

Building bedsFinished and in place, the beds look like they are coming right out of the newly installed white oak board wall.  This was a very practical move because it didn’t take long to see that a painted wall behind the beds was going to take a beating from 3 energetic little boys.

Building beds

It’s no surprise that the boys are up and down the ladder many times, including some when they are supposed to be sleeping!
Building beds
In quieter moments, the beds double as a great play space.

building bedsI’d say these boys are pretty lucky to have a mom that is both creative and handy and can find a way to make many of their wishes come true.  There may come a time when each wants his own space, but for now they are loving their shared room.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHey, daughter, I wouldn’t mind if you built me a little table like this if there’s any more scrap lumber!

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From Dream to Reality