Monday, August 30, 2021

Loving Your Home in the Village

Love Your Home

Several years ago, in 2016, I did a series entitled "Love Your Home" by showcasing homes whose owners had learned how to love their home by making it THEIRS.

They were as varied as the people who lived inside, because that is how to truly

"Love Your Home!" 

Now that I am in a new location and a totally different type neighborhood, I thought it would be interesting to show how my neighbors have taken a unit much like everyone else's and made it theirs.

We have four different floorplans in our Village, so it will be interesting to see how each owner has personalized their home specifically for themselves.  I will be featuring two in each quarter's newsletter.

Let me introduce you to Dick and Dena Blackwell.

They moved to The Village at Prestonwood 12 years ago from a very large house here in the Dallas area.  Downsizing was a huge concern, so to simplify matters, Dena told me she got rid of all her furniture except the family piano and her beautiful glass-top dining table. They simply just started over.

Not only did they refurbish furniture wise, they made major changes inside the unit.  And that's the story of this blog.

One of the things in common in the larger units, is the fireplace and mantel.  They are all a molded white stone.

One of the first things they did to make their new home "theirs" was to remove the old fireplace and surround and replace it with a new unit and natural stones that covered the entire wall.

It updated the room and makes such a nice statement.

In this unit, there are two bedrooms with an optional office/3rd bdrm.  The built-ins were already there when they bought the house, so they did the most ingenious addition to provide a sometimes needed 3rd bedroom.

Behind these lovely finished doors is a queen-sized Murphy bed, which their granddaughters love to use.  It is operated with a hydraulic mechanism so can easily be lowered and then put back into place.  And who is the wiser!

The Blackwells took what were mundane white bathrooms and converted them into lovely spas.  Their choice of stone and design created a masterwork of pattern and color.  A linen closet was removed in order to have space for this large freestanding vanity and storage.

This bath is perfect for making guests feel at home.

The master bath is truly 5-Star worthy.

  Dena designed the low dressing table just for her and every thing is at her fingertips.

Again, the tiles were selected with great care and the shower designed for easy access.

Nothing was left undone.

Originally, the kitchen cabinets were stained and in good shape, so they simply had them painted white and changed the hardware and backsplash.

The lovely glass backsplash reflects the new undercabinet lighting.

Another adjustment was in the laundry room.  Dena wanted folding space and easy access storage.  She got both by adding the granite top and purchasing smaller front-load appliances.

The extra space gave her room for these convenient storage drawers that she needed.

Their most prized change though is not inside the house but out.

The highly sealed, red-stained garage floor is the perfect anchor for all the white wall-to-wall cabinets and storage/work space they personally designed.

Dena has all her seasonal decor carefully labeled and stored for easy access.

Dick made sure whatever Dena wanted, could be easily reached and that goes for the Christmas trees, conveniently tucked away in their own little niche.

His cherished red truck is the inspiration for the red floor and is Dick's favorite piece.

The lovely decor inside the home speaks to their combined taste and chosen use of the space.  The large orange poppy painting is the focal point and around which the house's color scheme is built.

Art work plays a large part in expressing the couple's personality.

This piece is without a doubt their favorite.  It was a gift from their daughter on their 50th wedding anniversary.  It captures all the momentous occasions in their 50 years together.  Dick said he still can find something new he hasn't seen before.

The sunroom, painted a warm chocolate is where they both spend most of their time.  Wanting to use their living room for entertaining, they chose to put their TV in this room and it is where they most enjoy being.

I can understand why they would enjoy spending time in this warm and inviting room.

Perhaps the master bedroom best reveals Dena's taste though.  She calls it her animal room and she loves the dramatic contrast to the rest of the house.

The massive lacquered cabinets and chest provide much needed extra storage and they balance the large bed and wall hanging.

This pretty wall light fixture sums up their personalities to a tee.  It bespeaks of Dick's analytical background and nature and Dena's love for femininity and drama.

This picture holds a special significance for them.  Dena tells the story of this "Butt Sketch" being done at a party many years ago when they had much smaller butts.

 Thank you Dick and Dena for sharing with us how you truly "Love Your Home!"

To see the series I did back in 2016 click this link,

then follow the links on the bottom of the post.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

School Days on the Hodgepodge

Joining Joyce for this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Is school back in session where you live?

School is back in session in Plano, TX.  This young lady began her 9th grade year this week.

Is everyone in person or does your system still offer a virtual option?

I'm sure there are some opt-in Zoom classes, but thankfully, Granddaughter #1, Chandler isn't having to do that this year.  She is so excited to teach her Kindergarteners face-to-face, which is how it should be.

Are kids wearing masks?

    Texas Governor Abbott lifted the school mask mandate last week, so masks are optional.

2. Something you still do 'old school'? 

Other than washing a few dishes by hand rather than putting them in the dishwasher, and having a perfectly mitered corner on my made beds, I can't think of a single thing I do that would be considered "Old School."

3. One lesson you've learned in the 'school of life'?

 That I'm still trying to figure it all out!

4. When you were in school did you pack a lunch or buy a lunch?

We ate whatever was prepared in the school cafeteria.

 Your favorite thing to see on the lunch menu or inside your lunchbox back in the day?

Every Friday we had fish sticks because I lived in a Catholic community, and that was the prescribed Friday diet.  We didn't often get them at home, so it was a weekly treat.

5. August is National Family Fun Month. Tell me something fun you’ve done this month. 

It has actually been a fun-filled month.  We've had personal granddaughter time; Facetime with both Indiana granddaughters; eating out with friends; entertaining neighbors; going to estate sales in Dallas; painting two new pictures; spending time with delightful young women from our church; going to an art gallery; Dick had a highly successful cataract surgery; and I gave my first ever campaign speech for a position on our HOA Board.  So, I would say we have celebrated National Family Fun Month pretty well.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

On Thursday, I decided it was time to get the paints out and see if I could create anything I wanted to complete my somewhat empty living room wall.

This is what I came up with.

Into The Woods

Secret Garden

And yes, they are hung.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Another August Wednesday Hodgepodge

We are deep into the middle of August and these Wednesdays just keep rolling around.  If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for some Hodgepodge.  Thank you Joyce for keeping us on track.

One Brag Moment!

This past weekend the North Texas Performing Arts held their annual award night.  Ava Grace was nominated for three awards, but they can only receive one.

She received the "Outstanding Performer" award.  We are so very proud of this 14 year old who gives her all in whatever she does.  We can't wait to see her play the role of "Little Red" in the September production of "Into the Woods."

1. Monday, August 16th was National Roller Coaster Day. Are you a fan? Did you celebrate? Last place/time you rode a roller coaster?

Oh that would be one of the very last things I would celebrate, along with national roach or rat day.  I am not a fan of any of the previously mentioned.  The last time I rode a roller coaster would have been at Silver Dollar City in Branson, many years ago when we took our grandchildren.

2. Tell us about a time in your life where it felt like you were figuratively riding a roller coaster. 

I feel that I am on a figurative roller coaster right now.  A blogger I follow wrote the following today and it so expresses my feelings as well.

"In the context of the fall of Afghanistan, what role should America have played in defending those who were likely to become victims of the Taliban without our support? Are we to be the 'policemen of the world'?"

My heart breaks as I think of the atrocities that these people are and will experience.  What is our role as a country at this point, now that decisions have already been made and forces are already at work?  Do we have an obligation at this point or the resources to carry it out?

The only thing that I'm not ambiguous about is that we as Christians must pray for God's intervention, protection, and that His Holy Spirit will bring visions and conviction to the Afghan leaders that their hearts will be changed.

3. Favorite treat to eat at an amusement park or state fair?

I am not normally a hotdog eater, and the last one I had was at the Texas State Fair a few years back.  Load it with Texas chili and lots of cheese and it is memorable.

4. Are you easy to get along with? Elaborate.

Perhaps you should ask someone else this question as I'm a bit biased.

I think my husband would say "Yes, as long one agrees with her and let's her have her way!"

I do try to get along with people, although I do not do it at any cost.  I am really not a pleaser and can be strong willed and assertive.  That is why all I do must be done as unto Christ and under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  A constant challenge.


5. Something on your calendar to see-do-read-accomplish or just enjoy before month's end?

I fullfilled a goal this past weekend and you can see all about it

HERE - "Arts, Artists and More Art"

Another thing I hope to do is paint something.  I need to finish the wall composition around our TV screen.  It's like a big black dot on the wall, and it is a constant irritation to me.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Two of my Dallas granddaughters, Cassidy and Ava Grace are starting a new Instagram business called candles_n_cups.  

They have searched estate sales for beautiful vintage cups and saucers, then selected a fragrance, or theme appropriate to the design and made their own candles in them.

It is such a great idea and would be a perfect hostess gift or something to dress up your own personal space.

I so love their creativity.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Art, Artists and More Art

Another August Monday morning post on my goings-on.

When asked recently what was something I planned to do, I answered with seeing the Southwest Art Gallery in Dallas.  Well, I made it happen this past week.  Not once, but twice!

On Thursday, while in the area, I decided to check out the gallery.  I knew they were getting ready for a weekend art festival and true enough found things in a bit of disarray.  Paintings worth thousands of dollars were propped up against the walls and placed haphazardly around.  Some were in the process of being hung.

Every one was so friendly and welcomed my picture taking.  I knew that I would definitely be coming back on Sunday afternoon for the festival and art showing.  I particularly wanted to meet some of the artists.  And that I did.

Of course, my eye was drawn to the abstracts.

This friendly New Orleans native, Tony Saladino was so much fun to visit with.  He answered all of my questions and we even had a good visit remembering Houma, La. where we both had lived in 1967 and 1968.

The following pieces of art caught my eye when I first saw them and knew I wanted to meet their creator.  They are more in my style of painting.

Mark Whitmarsh is quite a character and is known as the "Texas Contemporary Art Pioneer."  The painting at the top is selling for $15,000 if interested.

I asked him about the piece where he is standing in this picture as it was wrapped in cellophane.  He told me it had been sold and was done in memory of a good friend who died several years ago because of alcoholism.  He said his friend had lived in a house with a large balcony overlooking the most beautiful spot in Colorado and yet that and all the treatment he had gone through had not been enough to defeat the demon of alcohol.  Therefore, there is both beauty and sadness in the painting.  It was titled "Water's Edge."

While I was taking his picture a couple standing near by informed us that it was their painting.  They had purchased it the day before and came back to meet the artist.  There is no telling what they paid for it because all his other works were selling for several thousands of dollars.  When I finally left the gallery, people were still taking pictures of the three of them with the painting.

There was not just paintings on exhibit.

I had seen this work on my first visit and found it so fascinating, so was thrilled when the artist was there on Sunday.

Paul Walden is such an interesting man and I probably spent the most amount of time with him.  He began painting classics and is a restorer of classic art work.  He began working at the gallery 52 years ago, and I realized he was the one hanging the art work a few days before.

His process is the most fascinating of all the artists I met because it is so different from the others and has been developed over time.  It is more of a removal after over applying.  He said an art piece is only complete when the eye of the beholder has found satisfaction and joy from seeing it.  I love that!

Seeing the works of George Kovach was my initial reason for wanting to visit the gallery.  I had found his section on my first visit and marveled at the detail of his West Texas scenes.

For some reason, this one caught and held my attention and I'm really not a western type person.  I guess, according to Paul's philosophy, the painting had become complete.  By the way, did you find the calf?

I found the real George Kovach painting a seascape in his little niche.  I had a good visit with both him and his wife.  His work is amazing.

Robert Fobear was painting a still life of two eagles when I saw him.  His wildlife paintings are almost like photographs with so much detail.  He is quoted as having said "I see God’s creativity in nature with a great sense of clarity and appreciation" and he desires that the viewer sees into the realm as well.

This one reminded me of my dear sweet friend Vicki who shares my love for Cardinals, so I sent her a picture.

Lynwood Bennett and his wife live in the Texas Hill Country and all of his amazing paintings are of that area.  You can almost hear the water rushing or flowing in each of them.

He was the sweetest man and I found him to be so delightful.  By the way, the small painting he had completed just earlier had already sold for $3,000.

I found Roberto Ugalde in a little corner painting a grove of Aspen.  I asked when was the last time he had actually seen an Aspen.  He laughed and said he spends a lot of time in Colorado and takes a lot of pictures.  So when he sees a photograph that speaks to him, he paints it.  His painting technique is very unique.

I couldn't believe the small pallets the artists there were using.  I obviously go overboard with mine which is probably a sign of a true amateur.

As I said, there is much more art in this one-of-a-kind art gallery than just paintings.

This room contains a large collection of some of gorgeous glass work.

The gallery features a different artist each month, so I will definitely be making at least a monthly trip down into Dallas and can't wait for next year's Annual Art Festival.

And should you be looking for an original piece of art, let me know and I'll be happy to shop for you.

In the meantime, I am inspired and will be getting out my easel in the days ahead.