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!
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!
WOW! What was I thinking when I said to Shane (the hubby), “I think I will start a blog.” His reply, “Huh?” “You know,” I said “a place where we talk about everything we build, create, decorate, bake and on and on and on.” “Ok”, he said. And, that’s why I love him so much. If there were ever two people more opposite of one another than us, we have never met them; however, our willingess to travel along life’s adventures together keep us connected. No matter what crazy project either one of us comes up with, the other one is not far behind. Here, we will document, teach, learn, and trial and error our way through DIY projects, remodeling our house, building, creating, decorating and living life!