Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Old Austin -- Home of the Week

I've shown you quite a few lakefront homes in and around Austin, but many people prefer to live in Central Austin. That part of town has several neighborhoods full of charming, old homes.

The mls listing calls this home an example of "Regency Modern Architecture". It was built in 1937 and has been extensively and recently remodeled. At 4,224 square feet, the sale price on this home is $2,195,000. Wanna know what the annual taxes are? Just a cool $20,234.71.

I find the front facade a bit flat, but the inside has been wonderfully decorated. I love the contrast of dark and light. It's obvious this home has had some professional design attention.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things

In Amarillo, we had a covered back patio. It wasn't huge or elaborate, but it was big enough for a table and chair set, as well as an antique hutch that held the stereo. One of my favorite things was to sit out there after work in the summer, sip on a margarita, play cards and listen to music on the stereo.

It's hard to say which I liked best. My husband's mother had a great recipe for margaritas. In fact, because her recipe is so good, I just do not like margs made from a mix. Here's the recipe:

1 can frozen limeade concentrate
1 can (use the same juice can for proportions) water
1 can tequila
1/3-1/2 can triple sec

Mix well, and serve over ice. If you want to salt the rim, moisten with a lime wedge first. These margaritas are practically famous, thanks to the internet and a decorating forum I belong to.

I also love playing cards. My husband grew up playing poker with his parents. I know what you're thinking, but he was an only child, and this was an easy game for him to learn and more enjoyable for his parents to play than Candyland. There are lots of variations of poker, and we play many. If it's just two of us, we love playing gin. Love. It.

Finally, I love music. Our favorite patio CD's include Sade, Steve Winwood, John Mayer, the Thorns -- so many! If you ever need suggestions for good music, just take a look at What's Playing on the Patio over there ----->.

Here in the Hill Country, we have a sun porch instead of a patio. It is furnished similar to our patio, though, and we still enjoy our favorite things. What are some of your favorite things?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Blue Stapler

Since Sundays are usually a little more laid-back in Blogland, I'll post the latest funny Craigslist ad.

If you're new to my blog, you may not know that I live in the Texas Hill Country, near Austin. Austin's Craigslist ad posters are a funny lot, and though I admit to finding great deals on CL, I sometimes read the ads just for fun.

Below are actually two ads posted for the same "Amazing Blue Stapler." First ad:
Amazing Blue Stapler (Austin)

This stapler was given to me at a Ford event a couple of years ago. The nice thing about it is that it is small, light weight and easy to travel with. The dimensions are 2 1/2 inches X 1 inch X 1 1/2 inch.

Also comes with about 25 staples.

I am open to almost anything for a trade. If you need more pictures please let me know. I have plenty!!

Second ad:
Amazing Blue Stapler more pictures...
I had a few emails regarding my post wanting to trade my blue stapler for something else.

The main request was to see the stapler in action so here it is. As you can see this stapler can easily slice through at least 3 pieces of paper.

What do you have to trade? please send a picture as well.

Could you show me how to work that stapler again? And I didn't quite catch the color.

I can see how this little blue stapler can become this year's red paperclip. I have a whole bunch of junk in my garage. Wonder what I could trade?

Friday, September 26, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by sweet blogger friend Jerri Lynn at Southern Sassiness . Now, I have to tell seven weird or random things about myself.

1) I can wiggle my nose. And my ears.

2) I like to paint. Walls, furniture, trim. I find it therapeutic.

3) I used to sing and sometimes even got paid for it. In college, I sang in a trio with two other talented girls, and we went all over the Texas Panhandle, singing contemporary Christian music. Our group broke up when the second soprano's husband decided to go to seminary.

4) My least favorite job ever was when I worked as office manager for a female psychiatrist. I'm not proud of the fact that I only worked there nine months, but it was longer than any of the previous office managers had stayed. I don't know who needed psychiatric intervention more -- this lady or her patients. Even I was about ready to see a psychiatrist by the time I quit working for her.

5) I was almost in one of Dennis Quaid's first movies. I started college near Dallas, partly so I could do some modeling. I went on a casting call for a bit part in a movie called "Tough Dreams". I didn't get the part, but the casting director did want me to be an extra. I had to decline, because filming was the week of spring finals.

6) I worked on one of Vince Gill's first videos, "Never Knew Lonely". (Sorry about that video. There's just 12 secs of it on YouTube -- weird!) I used to be the director of tourism development for the Amarillo CVB, and part of my job was overseeing the Amarillo Film Office. I scouted locations, and once the video started shooting, I kind of worked as a production assistant.

Part of the shoot was in a little town west of Amarillo called Vega. During one of the breaks, Vince gave me a hug and kind of dipped me. The location was across from the town's cafe, and the townspeople would sit inside and watch the filming. After that hug, many of them came over wanting to meet me. They thought I was his wife! LOL

7) I once shared an elevator with Kenny Rogers. I found him to be very nice and personable.

Let's see. I have to tag seven people. Here they are:
1) Nola at Alamo North
2) Sharon at Serendipity
3) Julia at Hooked on Houses
4) Linda at Lime in the Coconut
5) Chris at Just A Girl
6) Art at Color Outside the Lines
7) My sister's going to hate me for this, because they're gone this weekend, and they'll be moving next week, but I'm tagging her anyway. And Even If

Stay tuned for the latest funny Craiglist post. As I say, only in Austin!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Home of the Week

This week's home is a huge 8300 square feet and on the edge of Lake Travis, northwest of Austin. It anchors a 15-acre ranch with waterfront and boat dock. As you'll see from the photos, it offers lovely views of the water.

There are five bedrooms and five 1/2 baths. Sticking with the number 5, it is for sale for $5 million.

I'm not crazy about some of the finishes in the home, but then, I can't afford it anyway. At least the setting is gorgeous, and I do like the outdoor patio. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Best Laid Plans

You know what they say about best laid plans, right? Well, this week has been full of them for me.

I've never been a huge decorator for Halloween. It's fun, but the best I could do was put out a few pumpkins on the front porch, and that was only after I was sure it'd stay cool enough not to turn the pumpkins into mush.

In blogland, there are so many great ideas for Halloween decorating that I've been inspired. I don't have a lot of time to shop, but I suppose I have enough time to pull together a few things. One of the blogs that has inspired me is "Just a Girl." She hit the dollar store and bought some of these:
To make this (from Martha Stewart.com):
I thought easy enough, but there are two dollar stores not even all that close to me, and the first one just had the skeleton bones and hands -- no skulls. I just don't think that glitter skull thing is going to have anywhere near the impact of Martha's with just hands and bones. I'll try the second store tomorrow, but I'm not going to get too optimistic. Maybe everyone in Austin's reading the Just a Girl blog and buying out the dollar stores close to me.

I'm trying to clean out my refrigerator this week and decided to cook some hotdogs on the grill tonight. I'm not a huge fan of hotdogs, but if I must eat them, they must be grilled. My husband bought one of those huge smoker/cooker/grill things after we moved into this house. I agree that everything's better cooked on this grill, but it requires good ol' charcoal and a lighter to get it going. I started that thing as soon as I got home tonight, and it took over an hour to get the coals good and hot. Oh, I got them lit, but for some reason, the coals just didn't get hot as fast as I would've thought. I hate eating late on a weeknight.

Finally, I've been trying to come up with an idea to cover the bay window in the front room-turned guest room. It has a ledge, and for some reason, it's been a real bear to figure out how to treat. Finally, I decided to hang bamboo blinds in front of the window (I'll show pics when it's done) and flank them with sheets as curtains. I need blinds at least 84" long, and wouldn't you know it? World Market has quit carrying their bamboo blinds. Home Depot, Target, WalMart and Lowe's don't carry the long ones. Hmmm...

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, so I'm going to use some 48" bamboo blinds I already have and bring the curtains in a bit to camouflage the fact that the blinds don't go all the way across. Because of the ledge, it shouldn't be noticeable from outside, unless you're right there, peering in. I'll let you know how it goes.

Oh, and I burned those hot dogs. At least one side of them. How do you suppose they'll look all glittered up with a few skeleton bones?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

$50 a Week

Last week, I was part of a discussion with several good friends about how to feed a family of four on $50 a week. I've had to pinch pennies pretty drastically before, so it wasn't all that hard for me to come up with ideas. Here are some of them:

1) I think I've mentioned that we'll often grill several chicken breasts at a time. I marinate them in Italian dressing first. They're good by themselves, but to stretch them a little further, I'll cut them up and put them in quesadillas, King Ranch casserole, pasta alfredo dishes, tettrazini, etc.

2) Bulk hamburger meat can be used for hamburgers, meat loaf, and casseroles. My kids love browned hamburger meat with mushroom soup, served over egg noodles.

3) Tuna casserole is inexpensive, easy and a good source of omega fatty acids. Two cans of tuna, drained, two cans of mushroom soup, and potato chips -- that's all you need. Actually, my recipe calls for chopped mushrooms (in the jar or can) and pimientos, but my kids don't care for those.

4) Breakfast for dinner isn't the healthiest meal, but it's inexpensive and offers a great source of protein for growing bodies.

5) Macaroni and cheese is my husband's suggestion.

6) I certainly wouldn't want hot dogs too often, but they are an inexpensive meal.

Of course, with all those options, I'd serve a healthy vegetable, too. If you're on a budget, it's hard to beat the price of canned veggies.

7) I make a cowboy caviar with a can of black beans (rinsed & drained), a can of blackeyed peas (drained), a can of hominy (drained), 1 chopped tomato, 1/2 chopped onion, cilantro, and 1/2 bottle Italian dressing. Mix & chill before serving. Serve as a dip for tortilla chips. Technically, this is an appetizer, but it's very good as a main course on a hot, summer day. If I don't have a tomato, I'll use a can of Rotel instead.

8) Chinese cole slaw would be another great vegetarian meal. I need to look up the recipe and post it on my blog. It really is great and makes quite a bit.

9) Sandwiches are often inexpensive. We like grilled cheese sandwiches with hot, tomato soup. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a favorite with most kids.

10) Mini pizzas can be made with bagels or English muffins as the "crust." Spread on some store-bought sauce and add toppings of your choice.

As for snacks & desserts, Rice Krispie treats are inexpensive, especially if you use store brand substitutes. Box cake mix is also inexpensive. Skip the frosting if it's a chocolate or spice cake and just sprinkle on a bit of powdered sugar, instead.

My daughter likes to make simple peanut butter cookies with a cup of peanut butter, a cup of sugar and one egg. Mix together and bake at 350 for 10-12 mins. (They won't get quite as dark as traditional peanut butter cookies).

My 17-year-old son likes cold cereal and ramen noodles as snacks, which are both very inexpensive.

What do you think? Could you feed a family of four on $50?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


What would Faudree do? As I mentioned yesterday, Charles Faudree, renowned country French designer, has his Tulsa home listed for sale. I thought I'd take a look at Tulsa mls listings to see if we might be able to find something suitable for him to move into and decorate.

This charming tudor-style home is listed at $628,000. It was built in 1935 in a lovely neighborhood called Bren-Rose. It boasts four bedrooms, four full baths, and four fireplaces. It is in desperate need of updating, and Charles Faudree could really do wonders with it, don't you think?

It is in desperate need of updating, and Charles Faudree could really do wonders with it, don't you think?

What do you think? Is this Charles Faudree's kind of house?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Charles Faudree's Home of the Week

This week's home of the week is -- yes -- Charles Faudree's home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I'm used to seeing his homes in magazines like Veranda or Traditional Home, but to see it in the Tulsa mls was a fun surprise.

My husband and I lived in Tulsa from 1985 till 1989. Though we're both originally from Texas, we loved Tulsa. We had a great church and wonderful friends. We loved our jobs and probably would never have left if not for job transfers that brought us back to Texas.

Our first house was a little post-war, brick and frame house in the center of town, but had we stayed longer, we definitely would've bought something in an even older area like Swan Lake or Brookside.

Tulsa is known for its architecture, predominantly its art deco architecture downtown. The city also has some fabulous craftsman bungalows, tudors and Italianate homes, among others. I loved looking at homes there and still take a look at the Tulsa mls from time to time.

Even though I know Charles Faudree doesn't stay in one place long, I was surprised to see his home up for sale in the recent mls listings. Unfortunately, the only photo in the listing was the front facade. Apparently, you can see more of it in an upcoming issue of Verandah magazine. I'll be looking out for that one, for sure.

The listing says the home was designed by Steve Busch and is a one-owner home. I recall reading that Faudree had built a home, but the self-professed Francophile is also known for taking old, existing homes and putting his own French country flair, as only he can, into them. Though this home was built in 2002, it is in a lovely, older part of town near Utica Square. More common since we left Tulsa, many homeowners in the Utica Square neighborhood raize existing homes to make way for newer construction.

I imagine Faudree having frequent and fun dinner parties, so it makes sense that the 4,150 square foot home would be located at the end of a private cul-de-sac. The real estate listing mentions the paneled library, first floor master bedroom with vaulted ceiling, and stone entry floor. Maybe that Veranda issue is coming out very soon, because the listing gives no other description, except to add that the home is for sale for $950,000.

As I continued perusing the mls listings, I gave thought to the type of house Faudree would be moving to this time. I think he'd be ready to give up new construction for something old and charming. Of course, he'll redo the kitchen and maybe add some beamed, cathedral ceilings, but the house itself will be one of Tulsa's finest examples of early 20th century construction.

Take a trip with me to see what kind of house Faudree will purchase next...

First up is this fabulous loft. Built in 1908 and newly renovated, the contemporary space features top quality finishes, professional grade appliances, incredible rooftop views of downtown, gorgeous master bath with walk-in closet, exposed brick walls, and concrete floors. It is listed at $850,000.

While I don't see Faudree incorporating sleek contemporary style in with his country French furniture, it would be fun to see what he could do with this loft.

On another note, blogger friend, Julia, of Hooked on Houses, has just awarded Canyon Wren Cottage with her new Hooked on Your Blog award.

If I could award it back to her, I would. I am definitely hooked on her blog, especially her thorough and fun wrap-up posts on "Design Star" and "Top Design."

There really are no rules to passing the award on, and though it's hard to pick just five (have you seen my blog roll over there ------->?), I am extending the honor to:
Lavender Hill Studio
Country French Antiques
Cakes and Cupboards
Blue Mango

Check back in tomorrow for a look at another home that just might be Charles Faudree's new address.