I love cooking with fresh herbs and using different spices to really boost the flavor of my food dishes. Let’s face it though….sometimes I just have to go to the pre-mixed seasoning packets. Actually, there are some really good ones in the grocery store that I enjoy using in a pinch. However, I could never find a good place to organize them. I tried wicker baskets, glass jars and wire baskets. But, I never liked the look of any of them or not being able to see at a glance what I had.
Then, my mom and I were having a garage sale and lo and behold, she was selling an old hotel card rack system. Score! I just found my new spice packet organizer. Made of wood, it had a slot for each room number and had the original label identifying the maker. Originally, I have been told it was used either at the check-in desk or in the kitchen for room service orders.
(Of course, I forgot to take a before picture!) but, here it is after we removed every third metal divider. The seasoning packets were too thick to fit between the original slats, so we had to make some adjustments to the number of metal dividers we put back in.
It was a snap to take apart (well, at least it was for me watching Shane do it) and of course I gave it a good spit and shine with Murphy’s Soap and Old English Polish. It really makes a difference on the old wood. In between the wash and polish, I used a dark wood stain pen to color in any chips in the wood. I usually like the look of rustic & beat-up vintage wood; however, some of the chips in the wood were deep gashes and needed to be stained. Shane also cleaned and polished the metal dividers.
The Hotel Card Rack is super heavy duty and I love the way it looks in the pantry…the perfect functional and decorative spice packet organizer!
We have created a Family History Gallery Wall in our hall. It’s a place where we have hung family photos. Not recent photos, in fact our parents as children are the most recent photos. The photos include both our parents, grandparents and my great grandparents and great great grandparents and even a photo of my great great great great grandmother. In addition to all the photos and photo collages, we also have shadow boxes, filled with generations of family mementos, like birth announcements, wedding invitations, graduation invites, my grandmother’s wedding pearls, my great grandfather’s baby shoe and so on. I love the way the seemingly randomly hung frames of all different sizes and the depth and thickness of the shadow boxes look against the flat wall. Although the sizes of the frames are all different, I did choose to use only black frames in the same style, basic with clean box lines. The majority were purchased at Ikea and a few from Hobby Lobby during a frame sale (woo-hoo!)
A few months ago my mom and I where cleaning out her storage building for a garage sale when we found two of the most adorable baby outfits. They were her baby outfits, a little white dress with embroidery and a tan onesie with embroidery. In fact, they were sewn and hand embroidered by my great grandmother (double SCORE.) They were in beautiful condition, especially considering they were 69 years old (sorry mom) and the thread detailing was gorgeous.
I just knew one of them had to be framed for the Family History Gallery Wall. My supplies for this project were: a shadow box frame, straight pins, tape, black scrap booking paper, scissors, screwdriver and of course the baby onesie. (Oops! You will notice in the supply photo, I used the baby dress, but actually ended up framing the onesie.)
Using the screwdriver to remove the back of the frame, I used the frame back to trace a template onto the black scrap booking paper and cut it out. I will pin the onesie to the paper later in the project.
Then, I ironed the onesie on a low heat setting, due to its age. I played around with different folds, until I got just the right look. I did use a light spray of starch, to press the folds down in place. Since it was a onesie, I wanted to be sure to show the button details at the legs. So stinking adorable!
Using the straight pins, I pinned the folds of the arms and middle body of the onesie in the back. In the front, I also pinned down the ironed folds, but did so inside the body so the pins would not be visible.
I then lined the folded and pinned onesie right side up on the black scrapbook paper and centered. I just eyeball things until they look good and stuck straight pins through the onesie (again in concealed areas, so they are not visible) into the paper. Then, once I had several secured pins, I carefully flipped the paper over and taped the pins down. Why? When I tried to stick the pins back through the paper, it crinkled. Yuck! Taping the pins down secured them and it it not effect the look. Ugly for sure on the back, but it will be covered by the back of the frame.
Now all that was left to do was placing it inside the frame and screwing the back on and hanging it.
A beautiful reminder of the precious bundle of joy my grandparents brought home on a cold December day. I am a sentimental sap for sure, but the Family History Gallery Wall is such a wonderful reminder of who we are, where we came from and the amazing legacy that was handed down to us to preserve!
This funky find came courtesy of Granny Rozell (Shane’s spunky 94 year young grandmother). When we helped her move into a nursing home a few years back, I nabbed this sewing bench, which was filled with vintage sewing goodies (mainly because I cannot resist adding more vintage thread spools to my collection!).
Although I knew that I would not be using it in its present state (no offense to the groovy 1970’s vinyl) I knew that if I stored it long enough I would find a useful place for it. I laugh at that last statement! Our attic, garage and every out of sight nook and cranny of our house is filled with “don’t throw that away, I promise I will find a place for it and re-do it one day” projects!
Sure enough, a year or so later, the light went off in my head. I needed a cool bench/storage something or other to place in our bathroom. Something both functional to store “unsightly” bathroom necessities and an occasional sitting area, while also being visually appealing. Granny Rozell’s sewing bench would be perfect!
Now, to find the perfect fabric to use. Our bathroom is decorated with accents of natural coral and unique seashells. It is painted a beautiful charcoal gray with dark wood accents. I knew I wanted an orange fabric with white or ivory coral pattern and I wanted it that same day—no time to order it and wait for it to ship. Yea right! Well, the fabric fairies at Jo-Ann’s Fabric and Craft Store was smiling down on me. We walked in, I went straight to the cotton duck section (it is in a bathroom, after all) and viola….there was the exact print I had imagined. Hey….sometimes things just work out!
With several tools in hand: a hammer, a screwdriver, a staple gun, a hot glue gun, spray adhesive and some random tools I have no idea what are, we disassembled the entire bench, stripping it down to its cardboard and wood frame shell. I actually liked the gold vinyl trim, so we carefully removed it using a screwdriver to separate the folds and pliers to remove the staples. We also carefully removed the vinyl covering using a staple puller, so we could use it as a template when cutting the new fabric.
Using the original vinyl we took off as a template, I simply laid it on top of my fabric and cut it out. Oh sure, you could measure the actual bench and lid, make a fancy pattern out of paper, pin it carefully to the fabric and then cut, but Hey….just laying it down and cutting works.
Now it was a matter of lining the fabric up on the cardboard and wood base and using a staple gun to attach the fabric, by pulling tight, staple, repeat. We alternated stapling on the top and then the bottom, to get a snug fit. The gold trim I saved from the original piece will cover the staples, but we still stapled close to the edge. When we got to the end, we folded the fabric under and carefully stapled in the fold of the fabric, so the staples would be hidden.
Using spray adhesive, we adhered the original foam padding to the lid, flipped it upside down and centered it onto the back side of the fabric covering and stapled. There are tons of tutorials on how to re-cover furniture, professionally. This probably is not one of them— however, our technique was to staple the corners first, then pulling taunt, we worked our way across the top and bottom as we stapled and then down the sides. Again, we would be covering the interior with a fabric lined cardboard piece, so our staples would not be seen.
To reattach the gold trim, we used small tack nails. Holding the trim open with a screw driver as we went along the edge, Shane would tack the nails in place with a small hammer.
For the interior lining of the lid, I used the same cardboard and re-lined it with a natural cotton fabric I already had on hand. I used the cardboard as a template and cut out the fabric about 1″ larger all the way around and used hot glue to adhere the fabric to the back of the cardboard and attached it to the lids interior with brass upholstery tacks.
Using my 2 BFFs, Old English and Murphy Oil Soap, I gave the wood legs a bath and a shine. At first I thought about painting the legs, but because the natural wood matched the decor in the bathroom already, a spit and polish was all they needed.
Here is the finished product, after attaching the legs and lid. It fit perfectly into the corner of our bathroom…both functional and stylish….just the way I like it!
When we moved into our little house, the yard was void. I don’t mean void of any cool landscaping details, I mean VOID of a yard! Yes, there were some dead shrubbery and such and luckily 2 great old trees somehow managed to survive. The grass however, didn’t. Therefore, we went to work in that first year. We completely re-sodded the entire yard ourselves, planted shrubs, elephant ears, (our favs!) added monkey grass down the sidewalk, put in crape myrtle trees and a red oak. We found a bargain on Lueders Stone (similar to Austin Stone) landscaping stones at a local store and went hog-wild in placing the stone in every place possible in our yard. We created flower beds, lined the sidewalk, stacked, un-stacked and stacked stone again, literally everywhere. We stepped back and thought we had really done something. Actually, we loved it! Over-kill for some, but just the right cohesive look we wanted. Then, about 5 years later we realized there was a neglected little corner of the yard. Yes, an area which had not been subjected to the Lueders Stone Landscaping Monsters that we had became. This must be fixed! And so, we went to work adding a flower bed around the forgotten tree.
Here is how it went down. Our supplies consisted of a few shovels (thank you estate sales!), large nails (I don’t know what you are suppose to use these for or why we even own them, but they are huge!), string, a hammer, a level, a tape measure, a tarp, gloves and of course knee pads.
Using a tape measure we measured 2 feet from the base of the trunk and placed a stake. Took a step back and decided that it needed to be further, and eventually decided on 2.5 feet. Again, measuring from the base of the trunk 2.5 feet out, we went around the tree, placing stakes.
Just to give us a visual of what the circle would look like, using string, we strung it around the outside of the staking nails. This allowed us to make sure this circle would be the right diameter for the flower bed.
Satisfied with our “grand” string circle, we went to remove the grass. It just so happens, that we needed grass sod for a project in our back yard, so I wanted the grass removed in squares so it could be reused, not just simply dug out and tossed out. Using the sharpshooter shovel and the string as a guideline, Shane cut into the ground all the way around the circle. This made for an easier entry point for the next step.
Next step is lifting the grass out. Again with the shovel, using the entry points created above, Shane slide the shovel between the dirt and the grass and lifted it out in squares. Little at a time, he went around the entire circle, until it was cleaned out.
We always use a tarp when we are landscaping. It is just so handy and makes clean up a breeze, especially when digging dirt or hauling away weeds or shrubbery. It was a perfect place for the grass squares until we were finished with the project.
Now comes the stacking, unshackling and re-stacking part as mentioned above. Using the stone, we placed them at the edge of our circle, removing stones, replacing stones, until we got it just right. Using a level, we added or took out a little dirt beneath the stones until we had the first layer of stones in place.
After stacking the second layer, we filled in the stone circle with dirt. We are lucky to have an organic dirt provider nearby. A great business that sells organic dirt and compost by the scoop. We love it for all of our flower beds and plantings.
Several years ago, Shane brought home a huge planter of succulent from an estate sale. I have no idea the name of the variety, but it is awesome. We have planted it everywhere. It is so easy to propagate by taking cuttings from the mama plant and just sticking them in the dirt. (I know that explanation is making a horticulturist roll their eyes, but hey….it works for us!)
A little water everyday and a month later it looks awesome! It amazes me how well it grows and it definitely finished off our front yard landscaping.
And the extra grass squares we dug up? Yep, they were easily dragged to the back yard thanks to the handy tarp.
Shane’s Granny Rozell is a 94 year young ball of fire! There is no other way to describe this wonderful lady. In fact both of Shane’s grandmothers (the other being Granny Ina, a Texas Ranger’s FANatic) are amazing and you will find I talk a lot about them, the way they inspire me and influence me everyday.
But, back to Granny Rozie. She is famous for her pecan pies. Every reunion, holiday or family gathering she will bring a pecan pie. When she moved into a retirement home last year, Shane and I helped clean out her home. I stumbled upon a hand written recipe for Pecan Pie and secretly hoarded it away. I knew that it had to be framed and kept in a special place.
Now, I will NEVER accuse myself of being a perfectionist or even close to it for that matter. Saying that, I am sure there are better ways to create the same project; probably ways to archive and preserve the original paper, to mount the recipe and better paper to use; however, this serves the purpose for me. Maybe this will serve as inspiration for you and you can expand on the same project and make it better.
The main idea behind this was to honor a special lady and something to give us memories of sweet Rozie with.
So, here are my tools and supplies to frame Granny Rozie’s Pecan Pie Recipe: Hand Written Recipe Card (I used a pecan pie recipe and a pecan and coconut frosting recipe), black scrapbook paper, a shadow box frame, tape, pencil and scissors.
Granny Rozelle kept a lot of her recipes in a Rolodex type recipe file (it will be a future up-cycle project for sure.) I love how time has browned the edges and given the cards a well worn look. I can just look at one and feel the love that went into baking and making each recipe.
First thing, I took off the back of the shadow box frame and used it as a template to trace the shape onto black scrapbook paper and then cut the shape out.
Using the old fashion technique of rolling a piece of tape into a circle, I placed several onto the back of the black rectangle and taped it into the inside of the frame backing. Of course, a practical person would have used double sided tape or mounting squares….hey, I just grab what is closest at the time. See, now you are even seeing that my picture will never appear next to the definition of a perfectionist.
Once again, using the ‘ol roll and tape method, I taped the recipe cards to the paper, carefully eyeing the placement. Of course you could use a level or ruler, but eyeing it works for me.
After putting the shadow box back together, we hung the recipe card in our hall, making it a wonderful addition to our Family Memory Gallery. More on that project later. For now, hats off to the amazing life of Granny Rozell and her awesome pecan pies!