A Visit to Alabama’s State Capitol

Lefty and I visited Alabama’s State Capitol while Princess Buttercup attended Alabama All-State for band this weekend. (Yayyyyyy! #proudmom)

I hadn’t been near the state capitol building since I marched in the Million Dollar Band for maybe Governor Guy Hunt in 1990. Wiki says he won the 1990 election, so it must have been for him.  Anyhow, it was a beautiful day, and the bright building stood out in stark contrast to the beautiful cerulean sky overhead.

Alabama State Capitol

Alabama’s State Capitol Architecture

My favorite part was the rotunda. (Go here to see a better photograph.) I wanted to take more photos, especially of the stairway and the Greek revival columns outside, but my phone was getting full, and I wanted to save my space for pictures of Princess Buttercup and her pals.

Lefty did take some fun pictures of me in the old legislature chamber. The Alabama State Historical Commission says that all 3 branches of the state gov’t met in the capitol until 1942. Then the SCOTUS moved off somewhere, and the 2 legislative branches moved in 1992.

I wouldn’t have.

I would have stayed put because who wouldn’t want to do all that legislation in a beautiful, old, historic chamber?

They painted the walls of one of the chamber with the trompe l’oeil effect. I would have n-e-v-e-r guessed! I thought they were wooden panels until I went up to them and looked really close after reading the sign that said it was trompe l’oeil! Amazing! I may have to try this at home.

Anyway, court is in session, and Lefty took the following goofy pictures of Judge Stephanie.  (Hey, who you callin’ ‘goofy??’)

Over-ruled, Counselor!

Order in the court! One more word out of your client, Counselor, and I’m holding him in contempt!

For Foodies

Lefty and I did some good-eatin’ while in Mont-g. We had good ol’ southern food at Cahawba House. I even had meatloaf, cornbread, and collard greens. I don’t think I’ve had collard greens since I lived at home. They put a cute, little cornbread muffin on top for garnish. Loved it (but Mom makes the best cornbread ever!)  I tried cabbage and hash for the first time at the Irish Bred Pub, a nod to my Irish roots.

Cahawba House

Geeking out with other Band Mamas

I’m a band geek through-and-through, and I was in my element as hundreds of talented young musicians stormed the Dunn Oliver Acadome. The top band played the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Absolutely beautiful!

I think it’s almost as sweet to be a band mama as it is to be in the band….Almost.

Hundreds of the best young musicians in the state.

#proudbandmama
#proudbandmom
#Alabama
#AlabamaStateCapitol
#Montgomery

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This World of Creativity

I am completely happy–not just joyful (and there’s a big difference)–when I’m with a pen, paper, and surrounded by this world of creativity. A cup of coffee in hand, and a camera nearby to capture the moment.

Am I making a ton of cash in the freelance writing world?

Absolutely not.

But I am tethered by no deadline until 2019.

I am happy (as well as joyful).

And could anyone ask for anything more out of life?

This World of Creativity

My work space from March 9, 2018 was Lowe Mill, a huge artist community in Huntsville that is housed in an old brick factory with hardwood floors and tall windows.  I chose Lowe Mill because it’s one of my favorite places.  It fuels my creative spirit because of all the artists who have studios there.

I can take a writing break and go talk to photographers like Stephanie Schamban.  If I get hungry, there’s a vegan food truck, Chef Will the Palate, run by the owner, right outside the building.  (That smoothie was so creamy and delicious!!!) Or I can get an avocado popsicle from Suzy’s Pops.  Yummmmmmmmmm!!!

There Ain’t Nothing that’s Going to Steal My Joy

In an hour, perhaps, the happiness will drift away…It may fade, because such is life.  

But no one, absolutely no one can ever take away my joy.

No matter my life circumstances.

It will always remain.

longhand writing

Longhand writing

Here I sat and wrote, accomplishing so much. Adding word after word to my novel that I want to pitch at a writer’s conference this spring. It’s a tall goal–trying to write around 20k words before I can say I’m done, but it’s the goal I set for myself back in January.

So yesterday, I wrote what I put in italics today.  I’m back in my little home office now, which isn’t as much fun or as bohemian as yesterday’s environment, but I hope to go to the library and write some more…Longhand, just like writers in the past.

Lowe Mill water tower

Lowe Mill Water Tower — View from Below

professional photographer

Kindred spirit, photographer Stephanie Schamban

professional artist

Window of Artist Heather Baumbach

tall factory windows

Tall factory windows of Lowe Mill

view of green door from window

Sweet green door, view from 2nd story

green grass means springtime

Huntsville’s Old Harrison Brothers Hardware Store — Dusty Wood into Vintage Treasures

The other day, I posted Huntsville’s Old Harrison Brothers Hardware Store — Part I.

Here’s the second part of the story, where I turn dusty wood into vintage treasures!

Before….

The Project

I first brought all those wooden treasures home in the back of my car. It drove me nuts, because they bumped and jangled all the way home. (Because bumping and jangling stuff in my car drives me nuts.)

I didn’t stop to shift the wood because I was too excited to slow down, visions of my Flea Market Flip-esque project dancing in my head.

Once at home, I dragged Lefty (my left-handed, left-brained husband) and Princess Buttercup (my adorable daughter) out of the house to see what I’d bought.

They were over-the-top excited for me.

I made that last sentence up.

Before…

 

Cleaning up the Wood

My first step was to sand the dusty wood. Sanding went a long way in cleaning up that wood.

I pulled out rusty nails with Lefty’s hammer, nicking my left palm in the process.

(Stay tuned for my Lock-jaw post to be posted in a week or two!!!)

Next, I went to the store and buy wood cleaner. Except, I couldn’t remember what the stuff was called.

“May I help you, Ma’me?” asked a man at a computer.

“Yes, I would like wood cleaner. I know what it looks like, but I don’t know what it is called.”

Interesting wooden drawer, now cleaned up.

The man typed in “wood cleaner.” His two colleagues were punching each other behind his back. I wanted to say, “Hey, boys! Knock it off! I’ve got an amazing DIY project on the line, here!” But I maintained my southern manners and bit my tongue.

“Do you mean,like, hardwood floor cleaner?”

“No. Nevermind. Thanks anyway.”

I’d seen that stuff before. I’d used that stuff before. As much as I hate hunting for stuff, especially in one of those big warehouse stores, I decided to search on my own.

I finally found it! Murphy’s Oil Soap!

Back to the house I went, purchase in hand.

Anyhow, after the wood dried, I tried to paint it with acrylic paint.

No good. It looked like a Kindergartener’s work.

Wood Painting Class at University Pickers.

But here’s the good news…Today I signed up for a sign painting class at University Pickers! I’m well on my way to creating beautiful home decor with sweet quotes and Bible verses for Sweetgum House!
More to come on how I turn dusty wood into vintage treasures from Huntsville’s Old Harrison Brothers Hardware Store…

This is what I want my sweet home decor signs to look like.  I got it at Mill Clothing Company.

More Home Decor Ideas.

I got a lot of terrific suggestions about how to turn my dusty wood into vintage treasures.  What do you think so far?

Dusty wood crate into wall art.  I haven’t hung it yet.  I’ll have to get Lefty to put it up for me if I can figure out the best place to hang it.  Or I may turn it into a coffee table.

Dusty wood crate into fire wood box. I got all the firewood from the forest at Sweetgum House.

Simple and Sweet: How to Decorate Your Mantle for Christmas

Merry Mantle

Your fireplace mantle is likely the focal point in your room.  Here are some easy ways to keep your design simple and sweet as you decorate it for Christmas 2017!  And BTW, I cheated a little bit by adding candles instead of a real fire.  Lefty is the only one who knows how to turn the thing on!

Farmhouse Chic

Some say that Farmhouse Chic is on its way out. I say, “No way, Dudette!”  Even if you’re not into the farmhouse style, try to add different textural elements to your display such as wood, stone, metal, and fabric.  My favorite part of my display is how the straight lines on the picture frames come together with the organic texture of the swag that I bought from Hobby Lobby.  I’ll let you in on a little secret:  home decor trends may come and go, but this farm-raised girl from rural Alabama is always going to be about distressed, flea market-esque, farmhouse chic!


Simple farmhouse design Christmas mantle.

 Have Yourself an Earthy Little Christmas

What would Sweetgum Life be without the sweetgum balls? For my natural elements, I went out back and filled a cylinder with sweetgum balls and twigs from the sweetgum trees. To keep the twigs upright, I cut open a Gatorade bottle and stuck the twigs inside.

Mad for Christmas Plaid

Princess Buttercup thought that my display looked too earthy. She suggested that I add a pop of red. Plaid is trending like crazy in north Alabama! From Pottery Barn to my beloved Hobby Lobby, I’m seeing plaid everywhere. Like I said, I’m not really a trend-follower, but this red plaid ribbon speaks to my Scottish roots. BTW again, I bought the ribbon and the swag at Hobby Lobby. I probably got some of my Santas there, too.

 

Simple farmhouse design Christmas mantle with Great-Grandmother's rocking chair.

Add a Little Traditional Christmas Decor

I’m not much of a collector, in general, but I do love my Santa and Snowman collections. I’ve had these little guys for years. Here’s something critical to keep in mind–only display the ornaments that bring you joy. If your late Aunt Dossie gave you an ornament back in the 80’s but it’s not your favorite, let it go. Or at least pack it up to give your kids one day.

My Santa Matryoshka Family

Lefty and I bought these little Santa matryoshka dolls in Germany one year, so they’re pretty special. When she was little, Princess Buttercup used to play with them so much that they rarely stayed put as a display.

Baby Santa Matryoshka

So what do you think?  Is this a perfect-for-Pinterest Christmas Mantle?  Pin or Pitch?  I love hearing from you guys, so please post in the comments.  I promise I’m not selling your email address to a 3rd party.  I don’t even know a 3rd party! 😉