Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Before and After Wednesday - Back Porch Remodel

I am joining Kathleen at The Dedicated House
 Our Back Porch Remodel
Before & After 
Six and half years ago, when were ready to downsize, God gave us the most perfect - for us - little jewel box of a house.  It is a Garden Home in one of the most desirable gated communities in our city, Twelve Oaks.

Did I say it was a gift?

We loved our little back porch and spent as much time out there as our Louisiana weather would permit.  To help keep the pesky mosquitoes away, we had a custom ordered Mosquito Curtain installed.  It worked but our use was still limited to a few nice days a year.

Doors on each end open to side entry and into our master bedroom.
The flooring was stained, stamped concrete.
After much debate and some feedback from you fellow bloggers, we decided to enclose this space and make it a year-round extension of our bedroom/sunroom/breezeway.
And these are the results!

View from our bedroom toward side entry.
We painted the walls the same color as our bedroom which further extended that space.
We removed the original back door and used it in the new bumped-out wall.
Another view from bedroom.  Don't you just love the brightness of the new room and how the two rooms flow?
This is the opposite view - from side entry toward master.
 Now, for some details.
The sofa is really the only piece of furniture we had to buy.  Everything else was either on the back or front porches already.
The painting was given to us by a dear little lady over 40 years ago and I had it hanging in my garage.  Can you imagine anything more perfect for this spot?

We are so pleased with the new built-in cabinet and granite.  I designed the drawers to hold my placemats and napkins.  They fit perfectly!
I found these matching pillows at TJ Max and they are exactly what I needed/wanted.
This is the view from our living room.  I love the way the new room expands this space and how it looks from the front door.
We leave the windows between the rooms open for ventilation.
The plant has seen better days but seems to like its new home.

I have enjoyed arranging some of my eclectic inherited/collected items on these shelves.

View of the rear of the house and new addition.
So that is our Before and After Back Porch Enclosure.
We are loving the space and wish we could share our GIFT with each of you.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Miscellany Monday - My Social Weekend

Joining Carissa for Miscellany Monday
My Social Weekend
This has been a busy but most enjoyable weekend.

Let me share it with you.

First, Hubby and I attended an Open House for a new real estate firm in town.  The weather was nice enough that we were able to enjoy the delicious Jambalaya, Natchitoches Meat Pies, Baked Beans, and cheesecake outside.  We also met some really nice folks.

Then, we went to the Shreveport Little Theater to see
"Forever Plaid."
Featuring four local guys, it is the story of the Plaid Quartet who were killed in an auto accident as they were on their way to pick up their new plaid tux's for their first big gig.  The story line is them returning from where ever they have spent the past 45+ years of after-life and allowed to do that performance.

As you can tell, it is a comedy musical and contains some great old songs from our era.
These guys did a great job and we always enjoy supporting our Little Theater.

This was a day spent with Hubby doing our thing.  We delivered Mary Kay orders and got to meet new friends and clients.  Also, Hubby showed a house way up in the country so I was invited to tag along.  It was a cool, cloudy day, so we enjoyed the open moon roof and seeing sights along the beautiful Cross Lake.

 We did a bit of shopping and found a couple of perfect items for our new room.  That's another post.

A day spent with friends!
We met three other couples for lunch at one our favorite diners, "Rollin' in the Dough."  These are fun friends and we enjoyed a long leisure lunch with them.

Then that evening, we all met up again at Centenary College of Louisiana for a Musicale in Honor of Horace English who is retiring after 30+ years there on staff of the Hurley School of Music.

Hubby and Horace went to the New Orleans Theological Seminary together back in the early 60's, so it has been great renewing our friendship since being in Shreveport these ten years.
  The amazing music was performed by Horace and Gail Odom, Department Head of the Hurley School of Music and two of Horace's students.  Unbelievable!  But, my favorite was
"The Grasshopper Opera!"

If you have never heard this spoof of an opera based on the grasshopper being eaten by a turkey while he was sitting on the sweet po-ta-to vine, then you have missed something.

We are so blessed in Shreveport to have extraordinary talent and so many opportunities to personally experience it.  After attending morning Sunday School and Church, in the afternoon we went to the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series held in the chapel of our church.
 The I49 Brass Quintet is an amazing group of professional musicians, three of which have Doctor of Musical Arts Degrees and the other two hold Master of Music Degrees.  All but one is a Principle player in the Shreveport Symphony and symphonies in other major cities.
May I just use the word "AMAZING" one more time?

Afterward, we met our dearest friends at Monjuni's Italian Cafe for the best lasagna in the country.  Monjuni's has been here for over 20 years and they estimate making more than 7,000 meatballs and over 1,000 orders of lasagna each week.

To top off an already perfect weekend, we had some FaceTime with our littlest granddaughter and her mother.

Good music, good friends, good food and FaceTime!

This was our social and tremendously enjoyable weekend.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Focus: Focus!

Hubby and I are pretty consistent about going to the gym every morning, and maintaining a consistent workout routine is also important to us.

For instance - Monday, Wednesday and Fridays I spend 30 minutes on the treadmill, then 15 minutes on the elliptical and finish up some days (depending on energy at this point) with 15 minutes on a stationary bike.  After this I spend 45 minutes to an hour with weights and stretching.

Tuesdays and Thursdays begin with a Pilates class at 5:30 a.m. after which I spend 45 minutes in the pool doing water jogging and weight/stretching workouts.

All this to say, there has to be some degree of focus and reason for getting up and out of the house during retirement.  It is not an easy thing!

Yesterday's devotion in Jesus Calling began with
"Make Me Your Focal Point as you move through this day."
 This had such meaning to me because the last exercise I do daily is one that requires complete focus.
It is called the Tree Pose and I do it to try to maintain my sense of balance.

In order to maintain this stance, I cannot look at anything else around me.  I have to ignore sounds or any movement in the room or I will get distracted and lose my concentration and balance.  You don't want to topple over at my age!

I thought about this as I read,
"Circumstances are in flux, and the world seems to be whirling around you.  The only way to keep your balance is to fix your eyes on Me, the One who never changes...Look to Me, refreshing yourself in My Presence, and your steps will be steady and sure."
Jesus Calling, Sarah Young, April 25

So, what will you keep your eyes on today so that you don't become distracted and lose your concentration and sense of balance?

As for me and my house, we will focus on the Lord Jesus Christ!

Have a great weekend, by friends.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Miscellany Monday: Back Porch Enclosure Update

Happy Monday Morning to all of you who along with me look forward to
Back Porch Enclosure Update
We are getting close - only waiting for the electrician to return and the slab of granite to be delivered for the built-in counter and the construction will be complete.

Want to see where we are so far?

The layering began with the rug.  I found this at IKEA in Frisco, Texas and it just whispered, "Please take me home with you."  At this point, I could have never left something so hypnotic that contained all my comfort colors alone in that huge cold building.

So, here it is!

It contains every color I am using throughout my house right now, and I just happen to love it.

So, once I got it down, I began bringing in the few current pieces I plan to use to create the first step in the layering process.

The rockers will probably not stay, but I haven't found anything to replace them with yet.
The black metal tables were already being used on the old back porch so will keep them.
The neutral love seat should be delivered on Monday and will go between the tables.

I then began adding a few accessories to warm it up a bit.  The Ponytail was a gift from my middle sis last weekend.  There are still lamps and odds and ends to be added, of course.

Although we are still waiting for the granite piece to go atop the built-in counter - also expected Monday,
I couldn't wait to start adding some favorite items to the open overhead shelves.

This will be an on-going project but for now, I love seeing some of the old treasured items that mean nothing to anyone but me.

This old tea pitcher belonged to my grandmother who lived with us until her death when I was 9 years old, 1953.  My mother continued brewing tea in it for as long as I can remember.  You can see that it was repaired many times.  I treasure this old piece and the memories it evokes.

The plate belonged to a dear old friend who would be nearing 100 years old now.  It belonged to her aunt and was given to "Granny" in 1933.  I love the cracks and chips, but especially the color and significance.
This old bowl was a wedding gift to my mom back in 1943.
This is the floral design on the top.  Yes, more repaired cracks.  We couldn't afford to throw anything away, and I'm so glad we didn't.

These two wood pieces were designed and carved by my dad.  He had such a love for wood and was able to make some beautiful items that are now spread throughout the family.

We had friends over for desert after church and lunch today, so we pulled these metal chairs from the front porch so we could all enjoy sitting in our new space. I may even decide to keep the chairs out here to replace the rockers.  What do you think?

This is the view of the back addition from the patio.  I think it looks pretty good.

My next projects are to paint the two column finials that hold the matching urns by the windows.  The urns will eventually hold plants but not until we get back from our extended visit to to Indiana.

Any suggestions on what they should be painted?

So, there you are.  Our little addition is taking shape and we are loving our time spent out there.
Hopefully, next week I can do a Before and After Blog.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Fragments

Today, I am joining Friday Fragments
(Due to crazy computer problems, this is a very delayed post)

Recap of Sister's Weekend

My two sisters and I had a great time together last weekend.  We don't have to do a lot of exciting activities to enjoy ourselves, so "planned spontaneity"  seems to work best for us.

Part of our Saturday outing included a drive through an old community where we spent a memorable two and a half years of our lives, 1957 - 1960.  While driving around, we spotted a childhood friend we had not seen in almost 50 years.  We just had to stop and visit a few minutes.  It was a great time of catching up, sharing memories and a lot of laughs.

Let me tell you a little about our dear friend.
Kathy Stewart Holloway, a former longtime girls basketball coach went on to be the first female to serve as president of both the Louisiana High School Coaches Association and the National High School Athletic Coaches Association.  She was inducted into the NHSACA Hall of Fame last year in Fargo, N.D, as well as the Louisiana High School Coaches Hall of Fame, and recognized for her distinguished service by the LHSAA.

We are so happy to have been reunited with Kathy.

Well, we couldn't very well visit with Kathy and not go next door and see her precious 90 year old mother.  Mrs. Edith and our mother were dear friends and she shared some of the sweetest stories with us.  Some we had never heard, and some were great reminders of what a special friendship they shared.

 We went on our way and while eating lunch some friends I haven't seen in over 20 years from another memorable period in our lives, entered the restaurant.

Ricky and Jo Anna Johnson are two of the sweetest people you could know.  They were high school friends of ours and were also in the church our father pastored.  It was great seeing them and getting to meet their daughter and twin granddaughters.

These visits were what we in Louisiana call Lagniappe!
(something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure)

I like to think of these times as God's little hugs, just because He loves delighting His children.

to top off a great day spent together and with friends, we had to have our picture taken in our matching pajamas.  I warn you, these pictures are slightly blurry because my brother-in-law was having a hard time taking his job as photographer seriously.  We weren't doing much better as models, as you will see.
   I love my sisters!

On Sunday, my beautiful and gifted daughter will have a birthday.  Her grandfather, Poppa, gave her the name "Our Little Joy" because of her humor and outgoing, delightful personality.  She has brought us joy and continues to as we find delight in watching her mother four of our wonderful granddaughters.

 I want to share just a few of my favorite moments with her.
Christy's big brother welcoming her into the family.
Her first trip to her grandparent's and to meet her aunts and uncles.
First Easter
First Christmas
My absolute favorite picture.

Fun with Daddy and Brother John
Fun times with John.
 Last Family Vacation together 
 I love my daughter!