He that has a choice has trouble. ~Dutch Proverb

We had our first of several design center appointments, and oy! SO. MANY. CHOICES. I consider myself to be a pretty decent decision maker, but don’t love having an over abundance of choices. I know what I love, like, and hate.
When I was choosing a wedding cake, the bakery had three big fat binders full of sample cakes to be inspired by. I said, “I’ll look at this binder,” picked one up, “and choose from this one. I’ll never know what I missed.” There’s really no need to look at 900 cakes is there? No.
Not to mention, Brian and I make almost every decision together…like, I’ll call him at work to discuss something at COSTCO. I know I CAN make the decision, I just really like to know what he thinks! So, many phone calls and picture texts were exchanged.One of my first choices was exterior paint color. As in, here’s a two inch thick binding of paint swatches. Pick one. Okay, yikes.  But, I have always wanted a yellow house. I started in the yellow family and decided on one. I think this is it.
What do y’all think?

The stone is what will be used as skirting under the siding and down to the ground. There won’t be much of it you can see. The blue is what I chose for the front door! A blue front door! Pretty excited about that….obviously. The white will be trimming the windows. Here’s just a sample picture of the house so you can picture it:
Here’s my interior paint choices: Toasted Almond. Yes, totally up my alley. (Brian’s reaction: “boring.”-sorry honey.) If you know me at all, you know that tan is my neutral go to. You also know that I love throw pillows. All throw pillows go with tan. So, toasted almond it is. The cream color is for the beadboard wainscoting throughout the house.

The kitchen was where I spent the bulk of my time during my appointment and where I still need a little help. I’ll post more on that later.

In other house news, we have a survey, should have our official deed this week and have crossed off the first step towards getting power set up. Moving right along….

Love,

Steph

The Smiths Do Round Top

Through the years, Brian and I have shared a love of garage sale, flea market, and antique store shopping. When we were dating, and first married, in college, we would hit up this flea market outside of Nacogdoches on Saturday mornings. We got his clock there:

I’m pretty sure we paid less than $10 for it (Brian says $5). It’s lived with us in our apartment in Nac, our house in Houston, our house in Cedar Park, and now Driftwood. It still works and everything.

These days, our ‘people’s old trash’ shopping experience is limited to the yearly Settlement Home garage sale in Austin (https://www.settlementhome.org/garage-sale/). Plug: The sale raises money for a great cause, The Settlement Home for Children, so if you’re looking for a great place to donate, here’s some ways you can help: https://www.settlementhome.org/waystogive/. Brian and I look forward to this all year. We have found many treasures there. Some vintage finds, like our antique desk, and this washboard, hanging on the stairwell gallery wall:

But, we also got our food processor and weed eater there too. I pretty much outfit my kids for the whole year from that sale. Like cute, boutique stuff and matching Christmas pajamas. Yes, please.

Anyway, all that said, Brian and I have been really wanting to get some “new” (and by new, I mean new to us) things for this house. The challenge is that you have to be hunting for these items for as long as it takes. This requires patience, and acceptance, of your current space which doesn’t quite align with your vision yet.

These days, you can re-do your whole house in a few hours at a furniture store. (“These days”?! Excuse me while I put on my bifocals, and get out my crossword. Is it cold in here? I need my sweater.) -Not knocking that at all by the way. Not everyone wants dead people’s stuff in their house. If I was offered a Pottery Barn shopping spree-forget it. I take it all back. I love new stuff. (that’s not sarcasm-my first language. That stuff is awesome.)

But, making things, re-doing old things, and finding those things takes time.
As part of the hunt, about once a week, or so, Landon and I hit up the Goodwill nearest us to, “look for treasures”. And, I have found some. Like this crate, for example:
Landon also found a Buzz Lightyear toy. I’m sure he would say was that was our greatest accomplishment on those trips.
But, this week, Brian and I did something we’ve wanted to do for a long time. We went to ROUND TOP. If you don’t know, Round Top refers to about 10 miles of tents and shops in and near Round Top, TX. All filled with vendors peddling their wares. Many vintage, antique goodies, some rustic-looking creations, furniture….some of it is in the style of a garage sale:  a large table with a mound of tetanus, errr…rusty knobs, and old keys. Some of it beautifully styled, and usually more pricey.
In one word: overwhelming. I think I was lost the whole time. “You’ll give me a million dollars if I can point to where we parked?” Can’t do it. I’m surrounded by chippy, rusty, dusty treasures and I can’t, and don’t want to, find my way out.
We walked from shop to shop from 10 AM-6 PM. My pedometer (on my phone. No, I didn’t wear one on my belt.) clocked us at about 20 miles. So, if you’re thinking of going, wear good shoes, take your water, and put on sunscreen.
And, if you’re like me, maybe bring your flare gun/smoke signaling equipment.Soooooo, here’s some of the things we found in Round Top:

Side Table
Living Room Rug
Oktoberfest Table

That table right? We have had our eye on outdoor eating furniture/blogs about building our own, since we moved. We have two huge porches, and gorgeous views. The guys we bought this from were German, and informed us that the tables/benches are used by breweries for Munich’s Oktoberfest (big party of tents with thousands of these tables drinking all day). They had like a thousand of these tables and benches you could mix and match. We sorted through many of them, but ended up being happy with all three pieces. We love that the table, and the benches can fold up, so they can be stored/moved easily. But, they are long and skinny, so they fit really well on the porch without taking up too much space.

We left feeling happy with our purchases, and had so much fun. I would go back tomorrow, but I think Brian would settle for next year.

Thanks for reading! XO, Steph
(Originally Published March 26, 2017)

Smith Adventure LIFE

Hi friends! I know I’ve really dropped the ball on the blogging thing. I was practically begging people to read the blog, but once i moved in…..radio.silence. Y’all. I’m sorry. I haven’t sat down in weeks. I’ve been unpacking, organizing, re-organizing. Last week I cooked all our meals again and went back to the gym. Life is returning to “normal”, although by normal, I mean our new normal. Life in the yellow house normal.
In our first few days in the house, Brian and I were sitting in the living room, and I asked, “how can we be so comfortable here? Already?” His response, “because we can walk around with our shoes off?” He cracks me up! Seriously though, we had taken the big steps before we got here: move to Driftwood, live on the property… I just feel so blessed and so happy to get to come home to this place, this land, but also be comfortable. In MY home. Really. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude.

Anyway, our weeks have been filled with indoor projects, and the weekends with outdoor projects. We have a lifetime of work ahead, but we have accomplished a lot already. Here’s some pictures!

      The mantel is a work in progress. I’ve already changed it since I took this picture.

 

  Master bathroom. Choosing those mirrors was tricky business, and I wished at one (or  more) point(s) that I had just had them install the regular, builder grade mirrors.

But, I think these were a good choice and I love the way they look.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                             Guest bedroom

 

                                                                   Guest bath

 

   Front walkway. Still a work in progress, planning to chip a bunch of trees we just                                     pulled up, and put the mulch down on our new path.

 

Planting our seedlings, to go in the greenhouse. We planted, okra, spinach, lettuce,                                            jalapenos, kale, cucumbers and cilantro.

  The compost! Brian saved these pallets from the build, and really planned this out   himself. I am so impressed! We used the builder’s trash, including all their screws,                                                      which were all discarded in the yard.

 

 

Yesterday we (as in, mostly Brian, and his awesome parents) pulled up little cedar trees from around all our big, beautiful Oaks. The difference is incredible. It makes the yard look so much cleaner. Our trees will thrive now that they can have all the nutrients and water all to themselves.  Today, we will be using these piles of gravel to smooth out our road, and possibly create a parking pad next to the house.
We also may try to tackle the garden beds, which Brian started yesterday.

 

We are working on something all the time, so they’ll be more to share soon! Thanks for reading!! XO

(Originally Published February 12, 2017)

All Hard Work Brings a Profit _Proverbs 14:23

So, up until last week, we have been “making it” to our house. The road, er, Smith Street, was rutted, muddy and in total and complete disrepair. And after a rain? Forget it. The road problem/s have been the most stressful tasks weighing on us since we moved in.
Well, why didn’t you just fix the road before you moved in? Well, I’m glad you asked. Because it was FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. American ones. Puh-leese. Get outta here.
We’re Smiths. We. Got. This.
So, we had two dump trucks of “road base” delivered, spread it with the tractor and voila! Phew. That wasn’t so bad. $500, a long morning’s work and that’s it. What a relief.
Oh Smiths. You are fools.
The next day it rained, not a lot, but when we tried to drive out the next morning, it’s like our new, and “improved” road was sucking our tires in like sinking sand. All that “We’re Smiths” talk  is now total disappointment, and “we don’t know what we’re doing”. Both of us were feeling really down about it. After sulking about it for a day, Brian said, “You know, I think we’re looking at this the wrong way. We want to learn new things. We wanted to do this stuff, and establish ourselves.” Brian just really has a knack for that. He really can get a cool head, see reason and save the day.
So, we sought wise counsel (a helpful, local, country fella) and laid down some large, some jagged rocks as phase one.

 

 

Phase one was back-breaking, time-consuming, blister-forming work. We dumped the rocks with the tractor bucket, but then had to arrange them all the way down the road BY. HAND. Bend over. Pick up two big ones, replace with one. Stand back and look….Nope. Three smaller. Nope…..you get the picture. This went on for three days.
Phase Two:  two truckloads of road base. Dump loads on the road with tractor. Spread with tractor attachment. Stephanie uses metal rake to smooth.

Throughout each back-breaking phase, we had our doubts. But, it looks really great. And more importantly, it is smooth, and functional. We even made ourselves a little parking pad.
Like most things in life, in my opinion, hard work was/is so rewarding. We can drive on this road, with pride, and it has to be said, with a lot more money in our wallets. I think this obstacle/project is a pretty accurate picture of how things around here will go.
I am thankful, overwhelmingly thankful for these opportunities and for a partner who can guide us. So we see that these areopportunities, rather than a reason to feel defeated. An opportunity to build our home together, improve our land, and leave it better than we found it. Because we’re Smiths.

Thanks for reading! XO, Steph

(Originally Published March 9, 2017)

Hello? The Telephone Table got a Makeover!

Hi friends! Lots and lots has been happening around here, at the Smith Homestead (can I call it a homestead?!) . But, while I compile a list, and all the photos of all our big time projects -like the road (done with our own 4 hands…and some help from the tractor), the raised garden beds, land clearing, and more interior decor (I feel like I’ve finally settled on where things go!).
But, while I work on the post(s) about all that, here’s a project we did pre-move in to whet your whistle while you wait…..on pins and needles I’m sure. 🙂
We were given this cool telephone table by a family member right as we were moving out of our old house. We used it at the ranch house as Brian’s bedside table and it looked like this:
   
It was obviously hand painted! Someone very talented, crackle painted, and hand painted flowers on it. BUT, for my farmhouse purposes, I wanted to give it a more neutral look. So, Carolynn and I got to painting. Let me tell you, she was pretty peeved when I put that first swipe of paint over the pretty flowers. “oh no, mom! Not over the pretty flowers!”
I used a chalk paint, brush (it’s a Purdy) and a poly type spray from Home Depot.
We gave it a first coat, a second coat, sanded the edges a bit. Let it dry. Sprayed on the clear coat. Voila!
Carolynn went along with the plan like the sweet little helper she is, and by the time it was all finished, she was convinced: ” I like it. That actually looks pretty good.”
I think so too! We now have it next to the couch with some old books. But, the inside is perfect for storing the kid’s DVDs, the top drawer for remotes (because why do we have 3?) and the side pockets hold some of our reference books and magazines. Pretty, and practical. My favorite.
For a pretty quick project, I think it turned out really great. The things in our home that make me most happy, and I treasure most, are the things we get from family, and/or the things we’ve made or created. This cute little table falls into both those categories, so it’s a treasure to me, for sure.
Thanks for reading, friends! XO, Steph
(Originally Published March 1. 2017)