With my partners in the hunt for all things old and rusty and distressed, Shirl and Tina and I headed north to Franklin, Tennessee for a few days of fun, shopping, catching up, good food and …shopping.  This was the weekend of the City Farmhouse Pop-Up Show in Leiper’s Fork, TN, close to Franklin….close to Nashville.

First of all, Franklin is such a neat town…with lots to do.  Cute little shops and terrific places to eat.  We spent two days exploring the shops and discovering little antique stores…finding little treasures all along the way!  We all did some Christmas shopping…both for giving and decorating!  Here…a few pictures from around town.



Look…It’s MY store…



Great lunch here…


The bottles say…FAMILY and FRIENDS…perfect!


Acting silly in a Christmas store…we all bought a hat for our grands…but we had to make sure they were cute first!





Oh, what fun this was!  Over 150 vendors from all over the U.S.  It was everything we love!  The grounds were beautiful and it was just delightful being out in God’s beautiful world!














city-farmhouse-basketAll too soon, Sunday rolled around…


…another fun adventure in the books…sweet memories made…and friendship bonds stronger than ever!  Till next time, friends!


*********Picture credits…..#1,9,14,17,18,19,20,21….The City Farmhouse…..all others…Tonja Owens.**********



Early Saturday morning, Suzanne and I turned our car toward Birmingham.  The occasion…Jackson’s sixth birthday party.  We arrived before lunch and let Jackson dive right in to the presents we had brought from family in Dothan.


A stop for a quick photo with Lulu, and then off to the YMCA for an afternoon full of festivities!



The weather was just perfect for the party.  There was a wonderful tented area in the back for the cake and ice cream, and around a corner was a pool just fit for a group of 30! kids to spend a warm…quite warm…afternoon!  Jackson had requested a Lego Star Wars Party and Tina went all out to insure it was one of a kind!  Following are the cake…yes, it’s ALL edible!  Then the cutest accessories for the table that Tina fashioned herself!







Colorful table cloths and loads of balloons finished off the decor!  It was a little boy’s dream!




Then, on to the pool…



Ian was called into duty by Jackson….



…and to help little Levi…



Someone HAD to do it…the ladies were too busy getting aquainted and visiting…under the only shade in sight!  It was wonderful spending some time with some of those who are so close to Tina.



A picture of this new sweet family…



We were all hot and tired, so pizza was the order for supper.  Tina kept the boys entertained while we waited for the delivery man to arrive.  ( Levi couldn’t wait, and we had to dig out some chicken nuggets!)


Then none of us lingered long…our beds and couches were calling us all!  Levi was the first to awake this morning and that meant soon we were all to follow!  A few quick pictures and it was time for Suzanne to drive us back to Dothan!

Cousins…on Jackson’s sixth birthday



My own two sweet ‘daughters-in-love’…



I grabbed a quick moment with my boy…


As we travelled, Suzanne and I replayed the fun we had at the party and the sweet time we had visiting with Tina, Ian, and Jackson….

Levi, however, had a better way to spend the time driving home!



“God has given us these times of joy.”  Nehemiah 12:43


Oh what fun it is to hostess a baby shower!  Recently I had the priviledge to honor Amy Elliott in my home.  Her sweet baby boy, Rowdy, is on the way!  Amy is the daughter of one of my dearest friends, Tina.  She and my son, Adam, were friends all through their school years.  So it was with great excitement that I planned this party.  I was even more fortunate to have the help of my daughter in love, Suzanne, to be my co-hostess!  She was in charge of the yummy table of goodies we set out for everyone to enjoy.  She always does a superb job at this…among many other things!

I tried to get a touch of fun and whimsy into the decor, using bears I had saved through the years.  Amy and her husband Chandler, are big outdoors folks…hunting, fishing,racing, etc.  So, I also tried to incorporate a little of their lifestyle into the mix.  All the camouflage bear wear went home with Amy.  They are perfectly baby sized! Here are some glimpses of the afternoon, starting with the front door wreath…which is a little off center, I know.  But, it’s OK...I’m a little off center, myself!





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What a blessing it is to be chosen by God to love and nurture another of the children He chooses to send to our world.  Amy will be a terrific mother and Rowdy will also have the best Gannie in town!  We wish them happiness and health and lots of fun in the years to come.  As she and Chandler raise him to know and love God, my prayer is that he grows into a godly man willing to stand and lead in whatever path God leads him to.  Blessings, sweet family!





















Oct 26, 2013…….Part 3 of a story in 3 parts


A photo of all the helpers!  (Tina D, Joy, Tonja, Shirl, Patty…minus Suzanne, who was wrangling Levi)


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2:00…..Adam began pictures of the Bride and Groom and Jackson…(All the photos were made on the wooden bridge on the road where I live…just 2 doors down.  The remainder are in my backyard)


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4:30  All the troops were back, everyone was taking care of the last minute things they saw.  Time for family pics.  Adam set up camera.  Don didn’t like the background, so Adam moved it.  Someone else didn’t like that. Adam was very patient, but finally he put it where he wanted it and we all got in place.  SMILE!   He had to do them quick before Levi jumped again! We managed to get one or two where everyone was looking in the right direction!.  Then the individuals.  Then a few that I wanted.  And, that’s it!  Adam said we were finished!


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5:30…time for food… it should have already been delivered.   All guests were arriving and people were milling around and visiting.  Shirl and Tina D lit all the zillion candles, as dark began to descend.  The minister arrived.  The food still is not here.  Don called the caterer.  No answer.  Must be on their way.  Whew!  Tina and Shirl began to lead everyone to their seats, and the food is not here.  Don was still on the phone.  No answer.  Bro. Billy, our minister, was in the other room with Tina and Ian and Jackson.  Everyone was seated.  They say I have to sit down now!   And, still. no. food. “Lord, what am I going to do?  All the food we have is what Suzanne prepared and some crackers and dip that I prepared.  That and a can of nuts.  You know all about it.  Help!  Fix it for me, Lord.  I want this to be perfect and now it is falling to pieces!  Help me, please!”  I went and sat down with Don.



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6:00…Brother Billy and Ian walked out the side door and got in place.  And, then came beautiful Tina in her gorgeous dress with sweet Jackson holding her hand.  She walked to stand by Ian and Jackson sat in my lap.  Here we go!




Patty went to join Billy to sing a song that I felt would start the evening off and set the mood for the service….”Surely the Presence”

“Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.

I can feel His mighty power and His grace.

I can feel the brush of angel wings, I see glory on each face.

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.”

And friends, even though I intended this to be a duet…everyone there joined in and by the time we sang the words through a second time, there was no doubt the angels were circling round and God, himself, was right in our midst!  I was covered in goose bumps, but not from the cold.  From the fact that with much help from many friends, we had created a little chapel right here on my porch!


Lights twinkling in the trees, with their tall, tall branches silhouetted against a purple sky…candles surrounding the little area and flickering their little wicks…a fire gently burning in the background behind the minister with the coals already beginning to glow a festive orange and red.  And, Ian and Tina standing , surrounded by friends who have loved us and cared for us, and gone through life with us, supporting them with their love.  It was perfect.  It was just the way I wanted everyone to feel…. warm and peaceful and happy…. and they did.  And I did.  And Ian and Tina did.

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The “I Do’s” were said.  And the vows were spoken.  The promises were made and the rings were exchanged.  And the kiss.  Then the pronouncement…Mr and Mrs. Ian David Owens.  And, it was done. They made their way back into the den and I stood up to give further instructions.  I had nothing prepared to say, but I had called on God earlier, so He took over.  I reminded them, as they sat there, that they were invited specifically because of who they were and what they meant to us and that they were an extension of our family.  And, then I told them that since they were family, I felt like they would forgive us for not having more food…because the caterer NEVER SHOWED UP!  So, we would put out what we had and share it and please know that we planned on having a much bigger meal. Suzanne and Joy and Otelida took the extra plates off the table and we replaced them with 2 of everything we had and we had plenty!  Everyone ate and ate and ate.  And then there was cake!  So, it turned out OK…and everyone understood….and we saved a ton of money that would have gone to the caterer!  There’s always something to be grateful for! :).  But, I’ll never use them again…for anything…ever.  (Edited to add:  When Don finally did get in touch with the owner, the excuse they gave was flimsy and not at all acceptable.)  Oh! Well!  Live and learn!  And, besides, it makes for a great story!


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We cut the cake and the bride and groom tasted it!  Ian had a few words to say of appreciation and thanks to Don and I and the gathered friends.  Then, to the shock of a few…Shirl started singing (to the tune of “Going To The Chapel”)  “Going to the Creekhouse and we’re gonna get ma-a-a-rried”  I joined in “Going to the Creekhouse and we’re gonna get ma-a-a-rried…”  Joy and Patty and Tina come in with harmony…“Going to the Creekhouse and we’re gonna get ma-a-a-ried…Going to the Creekhouse of Love. Whoa-whoa-whoa… Fa-all is here, The-uh-uh sta-ars will shine. Whoa-whoa-whoa… I’ll be his And he’ll be mine! We’ll love until the end of time, And we’ll never be lonely anymore! Because we’re going to the Creekhouse, And we’re   gonna to get ma-a-a-rried. Going to the Creekhouse, And we’re  gonna get ma-a-a-rried. Gee, I really love you and we’re   gonna get ma-a-a-rried. Going to the Creekhouse of Love … Whoa-a-whoa-a-whoa-whoa Going to the Creekhouse of Love …Whoa-a-whoa-a-whoa-whoa Going to the Creekhouse of Love! And, I tell you, everyone in the room was singing and clapping the beats of the song and having a great time, serenading the newlyweds!  It was the best!  And, I am so glad we did it!  Our little flash mob at the wedding!  (Corny, for sure, but memorable!  And, I don’t think we embarrassed the younger folks too much!)


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So much fun! So much love in the room.


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The cousins…Ian, Lori, Alex, Tara, Adam

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Everyone visited with each other and caught up on all the news.  But, slowly, it became time for folks to leave and they began to drift away.  First one and then another and another until the only ones left were Don and I, Ian and Tina and Patty and Mike.  I insisted that Joy and Suzanne leave.  They did a lot before they left, but we finished up the rest.  Don was leaving the next morning for a trip to California for the week and I knew that I was going to be sacked out for a day or two…or three.  Mike offered to take all the rentals back, which saved me from loading and returning them.  That was wonderful!  And Otelida washed the last dish.  And we were done.  She and Yazzmine, her granddaughter, left.  Ian and Tina were getting Jackson settled. He was going to stay with us while they went to a quaint little B&B in a neighboring town for the night.    Jackson was on my daybed, watching cartoons.  I got on the couch.  Don and Adam and Alex were watching a ballgame.  When that was over, Alex came and got in the bed with Jackson, because he had promised he would stay right with him all night.  And he did. Good night!  I’m too tired to even dream. Don left early the next morning, and Jackson and Alex and I had breakfast.  He played and watched TV till Ian and Tina came back around noon.  They opened some gifts and said their goodbyes and headed off to Birmingham to begin their lives together!    And, I climbed into bed! It was wonderful!  It was fun!  It was nerve-wracking!  It was blessed!  I am so thankful Ian and Tina decided  to come here and have their wedding.  It popped up out of the blue, but that’s OK.  Surprises are wonderful!  My hope is that when they look back on this night, in years to come…they will remember it as warm and cozy, glowing with good wishes and happiness…and filled with love for those they love and who love them. We felt that God was in our midst and that He blessed their marriage. I was reminded later, as I  pondered the events…we can plan and work and plan and work…and it still may not go according to our plans.  And, so what?  Isn’t life best when the unexpected pops up to surprise us?  That’s when we are our best, really.  Because it’s then that we lean on family and friends and God, most of all.  That’s when we work together and even out the rough spots and laugh about the rest!   “It was a perfect weekend!

“GOD HAS GIVEN US THESE TIMES OF JOY!”  Nehemiah 12:43  To Him go all the thanks and honor and glory!

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First of all, before we do before and after pics, let me explain a little about what we did inside.  Walls were sheet rocked, all ceilings were redone to get rid of that popcorn, all interior doors were replaced, all trim was replaced…crown and shoe.  The toilets were replaced, the bathrooms rebuilt, new central heat and air, all new light fixtures and ceiling fans.  The only thing untouched was the floor.  It was in good shape and other than being steam cleaned twice, it was left alone.



The colors I chose remind me of the colors I love in the ocean.  Each room is a different shade.  That was scary for me to do, because I could just hear my Mom saying ‘every room should be the same so the house does not look chopped up’.  🙂  But, my thought was that the rooms would flow together like the colors do in the oceans.  And actually there is such a subtle difference in the colors, it’s hard to tell they are different. All the ceilings are painted a very pale blue.  The trim color is called ‘Pure White’…though here it looks like ‘Pure Grey’!  The color on the far left is the ceiling color…it does not look that blue in real life!  The middle color is quite aqua, but is just doesn’t show up.

Now.  Our builder finished most of everything so that we could move in.  The painters were finished, and all was ready.  This is when my fun was going to begin!  My friend, Shirl, was chomping at the bit to get started, as well!  We made it to the beach late on a Friday afternoon with 2 SUV’s, a budget, and a house to fill!  And, I had had cataract surgery 2 days before…so no heavy lifting for me!  Ha! And, it rained everyday.  And, the huge dumpster in the driveway that had been used during construction, had not been picked up and was right smack dab in our path!  But, we were not deterred!  We soldiered on!

We went through the house, room to room, and made lists of what we needed to buy.  Then went to her house to spend the night…and make more plans.    She had nothing to eat except leftover lemon pie, and half a gallon of sweet tea.  A good enough supper for us!   We were up the next day, which happened to be my birthday, early…EARLY!  And, off we went.  Now we had 3 bedrooms, a den, 1 1/2 bathrooms, a dining room and a kitchen to furnish.  And, we brought NOTHING with us…except 2 lamps and a tiny bookcase that I had redone.   Hard work ahead…but oh! what fun!!!  First we went to buy the big furniture…a sofa, a chair, 2 beds and 4 mattresses.  To be delivered.  Then we hit the consignment shops…bought a bedroom suit, a table, 6 chairs.  This we had to haul in our own vehicles.  Back to the house, pick up another car, go back and get chair, etagere, 4 small tables, a large mirror, and a bookcase.  Since we were on two cars, we had loads of room and decided to stop by Wal-Mart on the way home.  Cause, I mean, furnishing a home?  How can you not stop at Wal-Mart?  And while we were there…Shirl bought me a birthday cake!  Which made me happy in more than one way.  It was my birthday and I couldn’t have a real birthday without a cake…and we needed something other than leftover lemon pie to eat because it was all gone!  Then we went back to her house.  And each got a fork and we had a birthday party.  Oh, we still had some sweet tea left, too.


I love Shirley.  Shirley loves lists.  She loves to make lists of the lists she needs to make.  She keeps it all in a notebook.  And, she keeps to a budget, too.  I am not talented in either area.  I make grocery lists and never take them to the store with me!  She keeps all the receipts and the money in an envelope.  And, she doesn’t lose it.  And, she writes down every dime she spends.  I, however, do not do any of those things.  I try, but, something will catch my eye while I have a receipt in my hand…and I’m a goner and the receipt is never to be found. And if I try to put all my lists in a book, I lose the book!   Shirley knows this about me, and loves me anyway.  That’s what a true friend is.  I hope you have a friend like that.


Birthday cake!  It’s what’s for supper!

So in between furniture deliveries and appliance deliveries, we made numerous trips to Target, the antique and decor store that was full of booths, back to Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and once we had to eat something other than leftover lemon pie and birthday cake, so we went to the best steak house in town and sat and ate and enjoyed it so much!  But, friends, let me tell you…that birthday cake from Wal-Mart was delicious and it travelled with us back and forth from Shirl’s house to my house and back the whole 4 days!

Then back to shopping for art and  accessories.  We had to completely furnish the kitchen with cookware and dinnerware and utensils and then bathrooms with irons and towels and tissue and shower caps and bedrooms with linens and art and lamps and rugs.   And, then there are nails and light bulbs and everything you could possible think of that you have in your house, we had to get.  And, we did it all in 4 days…with beds made, art hung and accessories in place.  Both of our cars were packed to the gills…over and over and over!  We were tired, we were dog tired.  It rained and rained.  I fell on my rear going into one store, and Shirl’s feet got so cold, she wore socks with her flip flops!  But, when we locked the door and headed home…it was perfect!





I worked hard and tried to keep from bending over due to my surgery.  Shirley worked hard and kept the lists and kept the receipts.  At the end, I presented Don with a wad of receipts of where almost every dime had gone!  I could never have furnished the house in the time frame we had with out her.  I don’t think I could have done it at all without her.  She worked rings around me, and we laughed and played and had fun and slept well.  It looks as good as it does because her touch was on everything.  I am blessed and blessed again by her friendship.  And, I thank God for putting her in my life.


OK, I’m trying to figure out the best way to do this without showing way more pictures than you’d ever want to see.  So, I’m going to show a before picture and then some afters.  I’m going to start with the kitchen and dining room.  The cabinets were so old and dirty and greasy and stained and unhealthy for all living things.

KITCHEN…BEFORE…  In this pic, we removed the cabinets over the refrigerator cutout…so we could have a ‘real people’ size refrigerator!  The wall paper…..well…the only word to say is ‘nasty’.  This really is a great kitchen, though.  There were loads of cabinets, though not too much counter space until we created the cut out bar.  The tiny door on the left in the picture below is a pantry. (Can you see how pretty the original back door is?)

  BEFORE…..This is the sink area…   And this is how it looks now…

I used a glass tile in aqua with an iridescent finish…A little ‘out there’…but, if you’re ever gonna be a little ‘wild’, a beach house is the place to do it!  And, I tend to like a little ‘wild’, now and again.





I chose a granite with a sandy colored pattern that actually reminded me of sand underfoot.  I loved the pattern in the slab.

This bank of cabinets and countertop below shares its wall with the den.  But, it also served to cut the kitchen off from the rest of the den and dining room and to block out the beautiful light coming in at the big windows.  We didn’t need these cabinets…there were already plenty…though we did need the counter top.  After it was decided that this was a load bearing wall and couldn’t be removed…we decided that was for the best and just cut out a big hole in it instead.


So it went from this….



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To this…


And the dining room went from this…


To this…

This table we found in an antique store in Panama City and I loved it immediately!  The panels on the sides are what sold me on it!   And can you see how the piece at the bottom is curved.  Nothing had to be done, but a little sanding to the finish.  Also it is beat up and scarred already, so no worries that it will ever get messed up.  If it does, we can just sand it away!  All the chairs around the table will eventually be white!  We found 6 chairs and they are all different.  Actually, the table is designed for 4, but you can always squeeze in a couple of extras!  Right?


The clock below does have hands, it’s just hard to see them…

I’ve got Pop’s fishing hat by the door, ready for him to use…

And above these wonderful boxes is this sign I made.


The sign speaks to me of God’s unfailing love and mercy…of the majesty of His creation…and of the power He holds to control the world and everything in it!  (This is beside the front door, but in the dining room.)  Jeremiah 5:22…”God made the sand to hold the ocean back.  The ocean can not go past it.  It will do that forever.  The waves might roll, but they can not sweep over it.  They might roar, but they can’t go across it.” TMB




🙂 As you can see hanging on the back door…I may not make and keep up with lists, but I do know where to stick a post-it note so I don’t forget it!!!




So, I will end here and finish showing the rooms in the next post.  Then comes the funny story about the trailer.  Oh, it does just go on and on, doesn’t it?




So work began on the  house.  The outside is stucco and required a good power washing and painting, with work done on the eaves and trim.  A totally new roof was added.  Then it got a coat of paint.  I spent a good amount of time picking out the paint colors…with help from Mr. Sherwin Williams.  But,  it seems no one thought I had made a good choice for the outside.  Well, the men, at least.  They said I needed something…anything…else as an accent color other than the green I had chosen.  But, no.  I knew it would look good, so I insisted.






The colors were a beautiful aqua, a green, and an off white with grey undertones.  And, we put on a metal roof.   The front porch was a custom mix right on the job, as I wanted a slightly darker shade of the house color.  It turned out to be a shade of teal, which I liked very much.  We worked on the porch color back and forth from PC to Dothan via our cell phones!  Isn’t technology wonderful?   See what you think about the colors…





We replaced windows, and added the storm doors and outdoor lighting.  Fortunately, we were able to use the original front and rear exterior doors which made me very happy.  They have loads of character.  And, as you can see a little in one of the pics, we painted the trailer the same colors as well.  At least now everything matched and looked clean and cared for…on the outside, at least!  We redid that storage room with the missing door, and now it has its door and is filled with shelves.  Plans are on hold to finish the front with a white fence…but we have to get all the rest finished first.  They also put in an area for an outdoor shower.  We are waiting on some landscaping work before we completely finish the outside work.  There will be a gate added to the fence so it will be easier to go back and forth.

(These ominous clouds are part of Hurricane Isaac which was expected in these parts, but turned another way.  Remember, it delayed the Republican National Convention in Tampa Florida.)

PS…They had to go back and paint the shutters green on the trailer!



Isn’t this a great old tree in the front yard?  The ferns have taken up residence in between the spaces around the trunk of the palm.  I think it needs a little haircut, though!


(Sorry, the grass wasn’t cut in the above picture.)  And, that’s the look on the outside…next we’ll get into the inside.  Oh!  what a mess it was!  But, our builder, Mike , worked his magic and now it looks terrific!  I can hardly wait to show you!  And, in case you couldn’t tell…that’s our beach way up top…gorgeous, isn’t it?

Oh, by the way…the house has its own name now…THE SAND CASTLE!

Because…who lives in a castle…….?

See you soon with the inside!  Oh, it looks so good!  I think you’ll love it!  I bet you’ll even want to come and spend some time with me.  Well, I think that is a fabulous idea!  Come on…we’ll have a beach party!