Sunday, April 23, 2023

I'm Back!

    Hello, readers!  I am happy to be back here writing again.  We had a lovely time during Colton's vacation.  We didn't accomplish everything we set out to, as we had quite a bit of rain that hindered our outdoor projects, but that was a blessing too.  We live in a drought-prone area, so rain is always welcome!  And it meant more time inside to slow down and simply be together.

    As for what we did get done, I am very happy about it!  First, we painted our living room, dining room, and loft, which are all open to each other.  We started out with wood paneling- the kind that was ever so popular in the 70s when our home was built- and now we have white walls!  With our high ceilings, this was no small feat.  It took four coats of paint on top of the primer coat, but we got it done, and the transformation is immense.  I will admit that the paneling had a cozy element to it, but day after day for years, it can start to feel like a cave that closes in, at least for me.  Now it feels so much bigger and brighter; I don't think a day goes by in which we don't comment on how much more we like it.  (I still need to get my curtains and pictures hung back up!)

    Outside, Colton was able to get a little more work done on the raised beds.  I will save the progress photos for a Part 2 of this project.  As with all projects, we hit a few snags, but we are closer to getting them finished.

    During his time off, we also took a fun day trip.  The kids stayed with my parents while Colton and I drove to Round Top!  Now if you don't know, Round Top, Texas is home to one of the biggest antique fairs in America.  Twice a year for about two weeks each, vendors come from all over the world to set up their wares along 11 miles (according to the website) of Texas highway.  The spring show happened to be during Colton's vacation slot, so we decided to go!

    It was a lot of fun- and a lot of walking, which is why we didn't take the kids.  The forecast had predicted rain, but we took a chance and it ended up only being cloudy.  It was miles of tents like this:

    Inside one of the tents:

    The vendors sell everything from antiques and collector items to handmade items, yard and garden art, and outright junk. Some people sold things like rolls of rusty barbed wire and old cable spools, and there was even a huge tent set up with nothing but tables and tables of deer antlers (deer shed their antlers yearly- they don't have to be killed for them).  Colton and I joked several times that we could make a fortune off of ranch "junk" if we set up a tent.

    One lady had a tent full of her homemade potpourri, along with various containers to hold it.  It was beautiful and smelled wonderful. 

    There were several vendors that sold things out of old houses, like hardware and architectural elements:

    We skipped the big show barns, as those charge admission.  That is where all of the high dollar pieces are, like the European antiques.  The famous designers frequent those barns.  We didn't bother- there was plenty to look at for much less.  Prices varied from the garage sale/thrift store range to the typical antique dealer range.  I also found several pieces that were priced significantly less than they typically would be at an antique store, and I took advantage!

    We saw tons of vintage chandeliers.  They were beautiful, and some were huge like this one:

    It is hard to tell the size of it from my photo, but it was massive.  It was hanging, but I'd venture to say it was nearly as tall as me.  The prices, though!  I kept telling Colton how my Craigslist find was a steal.  What I paid for my chandelier didn't even come close to what these vendors were charging, not even by a long shot.  So I was very pleased about that.

    I wish I had taken more photos, but I was trying to be discreet about it.  When we went 10 years ago, there were several vendors with signs up that said "No Photos".  However, that was before social media was a big deal- I imagine they might welcome the advertising nowadays.  Still, I didn't want to cause any issues, so I kept the pics to a minimum.  A Google search will give you tons of photos if you want to see more.

    Here is what I ended up buying:

    The first thing is a long, antique chicken feeder, which I plan to use as a centerpiece on my dining table.  I can decorate seasonally with it by adding candles, pumpkins, pinecones, moss, etc. to it.  It will also fit nicely on top of the piano or mantle, so I have many options.

    Second is an antique sewing machine drawer, which I plan to mount on the wall as a shelf.  

    Next is a booklet of sheet music.  I have a project in mind for this that I have wanted to do for years.  If it works out, I will share.  Otherwise, I can always use it for papercrafting!

    Lastly, underneath my finds, is a European grain sack.  It is folded in half for the photo, so it is very long.  My plan for this is to make two throw pillow covers out of it.

    As you can see, I have a plan (and backup plans) for everything I bought.  As we shopped, I kept my budget and my home in mind.  About an hour into shopping is when I found my first purchase, and I had to laugh when Colton expressed his surprise that I hadn't found more to buy in that time.  But places like Round Top are not just for shopping, they are for getting ideas.  And I was very aware of the way ordinary things were being marketed and displayed to make them attractive.  I will talk a little about that in my next Thrifty Thursday post.  Until then, I'd love to hear from you!  What have you been up to during my time away?