Tuesday, December 16, 2014

All is calm, but not too bright....

I've decided not to decorate for Christmas this year.  Don't worry, I'm fine and I'm definitely in the Christmas spirit, it's just that my Christmas decorations and trees (yes, that's plural. I used to have one in every room, if you'll remember) did not make the big move. I will need to start over and with all the construction going on at The Hillbilly Hacienda I didn't feel like decorating. Plus, I think we're starting on the pool in a few weeks which means more chaos, which I don't need/want.

In the past few weeks I've had some dental surgery which has made me not want to do too much of anything, but it's also given me some time to think of some new articles, too. So, if there's anything you'd like for me to touch on in the next few weeks or the upcoming year - here's your chance to let me know.

And also, I had a wonderful tour of South Fork Rank a few days ago and I have plenty of pictures to share!

Til next time,


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Defying convention....

Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am not, nor have I ever been 'normal.' There. I said it.

I won't say I 'm proud of the fact that I'm not your average, every day, run of the mill, 52-year old woman. I'm just at peace with it. Most days, anyway.

Okay, yes. I admit I have laid awake a few nights wondering what it would be like to be glamorous, like....
Elizabeth Taylor, for instance. Or to possess the poise and class of Grace Kelly.

But alas, it just wasn't meant to be. Any and all attempts that have ever been made to emulate have ended like a long lost episode of "I Love Lucy."
Sorry, Honey.
It's no wonder his hair is turning gray. Bless his heart. His mother was/is a Liz Taylor - 'cept without all those husbands, of course.
Please, don't feel sorry for me. I do NOT waste time trying to be something I'm not meant to be. 
 I decided a loooong time ago to not give a jack rabbit what anybody thinks.
That means if you live in Rowlett, Texas and you see a middle-aged woman with Miley Cyrus hair, on a pink and white vintage bike, her cowboy boot wearing feet pedaling a mile a minute it's most likely me! And sometimes I'm even wearin' a big ole' hat! It embarrasses my kids to no end. And I don't care! I'm having a good time and that's all that matters.
You see, I have this vision in my head. My children are old, knitting and playing Bingo in an old folks home.
A nurse gently saunters in, taps my son on the shoulder, dreading what she must tell him, "I'm sorry to interrupt your Bingo game, Mr. Truitt (or Mrs. Tapper in my daughters case), but your Mother just passed away."

"It's about time!" my son will bellow.
(Forgive him, remember now, he's old and cranky).

"Yes," my daughter will manage to squeeze a few tears, "after all she was 105."

"Oh, no!" the nurse exclaims. "That wasn't it at all. It was a freak accident! She hit her head on a rock when she fell off her horse!"

My kids don't think that story is funny at all. Mainly because at my age they think I should give up the horses.

"Mom," Will says as he rolls his eyes. "You will NOT be riding horses at 105. You won't even be riding at 65!"

Hmmm. We'll see about that.
My heroine, Connie Reeves, 101, was still riding her horse, Dr. Pepper up until 10 days before she died.

It seems that Dr. Pepper, a feisty old boy himself, at 28, was pitching a  hissy fit and threw his owner to the ground. The fall broke her neck, but it didn't paralyze her. She died a few days later, though - from a heart attack.

Please make note that she is wearing her lipstick!
Other women that defied convention...Amelia Earhardt, Katharine Hepburn, Madame C.J. Walker just to name a few. I love the story Dad used to tell me about a local woman he delivered Meals on Wheels to. Ruby Gayle Wilson was well known in our hometown for her glamour and outrageously expensive clothes. At over 100 years old,  Dad described her in full makeup with all of her jewels dangling from her body, all dressed up like she was going to a ball. I love it! That tells me that even at almost 102, she still had a zest for life and had something to live for.
My favorites, though are the up and coming convention-breakers!
For instance, my dear friend Sherry Norman, tells the story of how her niece wanted to get married in camouflage. Unfortunately not all people embrace originality, so said niece settled for plaid, instead, just to keep peace in the family. I'll go easy on her. After all, she's young and she'll learn as she gets older to tell everyone to 'take a hike.' (I remember I wanted my own wedding gown to be red velvet. But when Mama's face turned 'red velvet' I settled for the namby-pamby white after all.)
The up and comers will learn in good time that it's no good to keep the peace if you don't have peace in your own heart. You just have to be who you are. Whether that's jumping out of planes at 50, learning to ski at 70, or running the Boston Marathon at 95. My rule of thumb is if it's not breaking the law - God's or Texas' - and if I'm not hurting anyone then I'll be who I am and I'll do what I want.

I tend to think us 'convention-defyers' have more fun than the average woman. We'll be the ones who are living as we are dying, not sitting around waiting for it to happen.
I suspect that regardless of how old we live to be, death will shock us when it happens.
We'll arrive at the Pearly Gates and exclaim to St Peter:
"Who? Me? But, I was getting ready to drive that Monster Truck over those volkswagen's in the Demolition Derby! Oh, you mean I had a brain aneuryism in the middle of it? Cool!"
Yes, I'll admit to a very small bout of envy when all eyes are fixed in my direction and I realize it's my glamorous friend, Carole,  standing beside me that everyone is admiring. Or how every head turns when my ballroom dancer friend Sonya saunters gracefully into a room.
(I can't even cross my legs without falling out of my chair.)
There's a place for the Grace Kelly/Liz Taylor's of the world. But I'd like to also think there's a place for the gals like me who aren't the conventional everyday type. Besides I have something that most movie star glamour girls could never have -  and that's only one man's name tattooed on my ankle.
Take that, Liz! ((smug))

Progress, sweet progress..

 Whew! We did it! We pulled it off! Everything we needed to get done before  the 'One Bride, Four Five Bridesmaids and One Wedding Rehearsal Dinner' event. Yesiree, Bob. We got it allll done, Mr. T and me. Not a cross word spoken, not one tense moment and our marriage still intact. Here's proof for all you Doubting Thomas':

Notice we left a space at the top? Mr. T is going to post a mantle there and has left enough space to display antiques and collectibles I might  am sure to find in the future because let's face it - I've pretty much made a career out of thrifting, junking and antiquing.
(If you ask me that tailgate he made me get rid of would have looked pretty darn nice up there. But I'm over it. Really, I am.  No, I'm serious. It's all in the past. I'm fine...really...)
These are all before and after pictures of what the bedrooms looked like up until 2 days before the rehearsal dinner.
I work best under pressure.

 That tiny little lace dress is mine from when I was a baby. All together now...awwwww.

This room is the 'Gabriela' named after our adopted daughter whom I hope will find it so cozy that she wants to eventually stay here with me. Forever and ever. And ever. Amen.
Oops - not a bedroom but the downstairs powder room that was such an eyesore. I had to close my eyes every time I went in there, which is a pretty dangerous thing to do when you gotta go.

 I was so anxious to get this redecorated I didn't even bother strippin' that ugly wallpaper. Instead Mr. T just took a few hours out of his weekend to spackle over it to give some texture and I just painted it the same Behr's Glazed Ginger that's throughout most of the downstairs. 
Huge improvement, huh?
Now, I pee with my eyes open.
The 'Cape Cod'.

Even though this room was incredibly dirty and dinghy, the way the light shined through still gave it a light and airy feel. Ralph Lauren's Brilliant White on the doors and backboards as well as the walls gives the room a very clean, crisp look.
The wooden American Flag comes from a restaurant my kids owned and when they re-decorated they gave it to me. This is the perfect room to decorate around the flag, don't you think?

Because I want guests to feel they're at the beach no matter the time of year, I put up light-weight, filmy curtains. I promise - as long as you don't look out the window you feel like you're in a Cape Cod bedroom. To keep the room this soothing and comforting I'm keeping everything stark white and am being careful to keep everything simple and not over-decorate, which you KNOW is a great challenge for me.
But still - it does need a few more things on the way and a dresser.
Moving right along....

So, there's nothing too special about this room other than the fact it's no longer a storage area and it actually has a bed. Granddaughter Sophia likes this room so this is where we'll sleep when she's here. It needs a rug here and there and a dresser or two.
There are two places that I frequent often enough that they know me by name. The Helping Hands Thrift Store in Rockwall and the  Thrift Store on Rowlett Road in Rowlett.
Just wait til I show you what I found at the Thrift Store in Rowlett. But that's for next time!

Friday, October 24, 2014

One Bride, Four Bridesmaids, and One Rehearsal Dinner, Part 3

I don't have pictures to post right now but will definitely later. As a matter of fact, the ol' Canon 1500 battery is charging as we speak.
I just wanted to take a breather before I get back to work.
Even though we are not done with the construction around the house and the bride was well aware of this, I insist that as much as possible be as perfect as possible - especially her room for the night.
Everything she sees the moment she opens her eyes tomorrow morning will be etched in her memory for the rest of her life - memories she will share with children and grandchildren.
It gives me chills to think I am entrusted with that.
Okay, I was teasing...
Here's a little peek.
Til next time,

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

One Bride, Four Bridesmaids and One Wedding Rehearsal Dinner, Part 2

Remember the bride that asked if she and her bridesmaids could spend the night before the wedding at Hillbilly Hacienda and then wanted to have her rehearsal dinner here, too?
Well, 'all that' is just two days away.
 I guess you could say Mr. T is just a few bricks shy of ...oh, never mind.

Still some work to do on a few bedrooms....
What? Me worried? Nah....
However, it would be nice to have a

bit of help.
But never you mind Sally - don't let us interrupt your nap. Of course she is ALWAYS under foot no matter what room I am working in. And never offers to help.
Til next time -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Really, Kathie? At YOUR age?

Because I have no intention of fading gently into the night.
Also, they're cute!
And because....
I have no intention of fading gently into the night.
(Did I mention that already?)

 That just is not in the plan.
An over-age Miley Cyrus?
Think what you want.
But I promise - no twerking (I can't even dance), no swinging naked from a wrecking ball (however, I DO zip-line from time to time and fully clothed), and no ugly tongue pictures.
Actually, no tongue pictures whatsoever.
Til Next Time,

Sunday, October 19, 2014

One bride, four bridesmaids, and one wedding rehearsal dinner

That's right.
I said wedding rehearsal dinner.
Y'all knew about the bride wanting to spend her last night as a single girl at 'Hillbilly Hacienda'.
But a few weeks ago she asked if she could also have her rehearsal dinner here as well.
And of course, I said yes.....all the while wonderin' what the heck I was gonna do with this wall. 
But alas my knight in shining armor has come back to the castle and guess what he's been working on.

It's going to look great when he's finished.
But honestly? As much as I've hated this wall I just melted when I saw the heart with our initials.
And yes, as a matter-of-fact I did ask if there was anyway we could leave that exposed.
Ain't happenin'.
Speaking of things that don't have a snowballs chance of  happenin', Holli of 'Holli's Hoots and Hollers' came over, loaded up my beloved tailgate and drove off into the Texas sunset.
I was sad, but my marriage has been saved.
I had actually planned on buying a cool table and propping the tailgate against the brick wall when it was finished and I still think it would have looked cool, but can't wait to see what Holli does with it.
 She's promised pictures and I promise to share.
Gotta go, folks. While Mr. T finishes up with the brick, I still have one more coat of paint for a bedroom and upstairs bathroom and am expecting a bed delivery tomorrow. Oh my goodness!! I can't believe I forgot this til now! I still need to go buy a mattress and box-springs for the new bed. Yikes!
As you can see - no rest for the wicked.
Til next time,

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Greenville, TX - I need your help!

 Are you or someone you know from Greenville, Texas? If so, then I need your help solving a mystery:
Who is the beautiful lady in this portrait?

I found her in an antique shop in Quinlan, Texas during one of my shopping sprees and I fell head over heels in love!

My inquisitive nature ran wild but the only thing the store owner could tell me is that she believes the lady is a Greenville native.
Here is the artists 'signature' and the year the painting was commissioned.
I'm guessing she was in her late 20's/early 30's which would now put her in the 80-90 year age group.
I'm so fascinated by her and am dying to know who she is. Wouldn't it fabulous if she was still alive and I could meet her?
Every day I study that lovely face and wonder what is going on behind those eyes.
Wouldn't you just love to know?

But for now I guess I'll have to be satisfied that she is adding beauty to what I used think was an ugly salmon-colored wall.
Please feel free to share this picture. And please, please - if you're from Greenville, Texas ask your friends and relatives if they know who this is.
I appreciate your help!
Til next time,

Sunday, September 21, 2014

She has a name

First of all, I must sincerely apologize to everyone who participated in the 'house-naming' contest.
I was going to go with 'Ashby'.
But at the end of the day it still felt so....pretentious.
When all the construction, painting and decorating is over, the  house will have more of a formal-ish feel to it, but still... I am not in Highland Park nor Lakewood.
(Beautiful, hi-falutin' hoods in Dallas. So not me)
I am 25 miles down the road in Rowlett where our population may be 57,000 and we might technically be considered part of the metroplex, but if you drive through our downtown you'd swear you were in Mayberry RFD.

And in my neighborhood while the houses are very nice, we still look very Texan, not Downton Abbey.
Then out of the blue, a light bulb came on, and I thought 'Richmond'. Yes!  Perfect! What better way to honor my Virginia roots than Richmond? It's not only the capital city, but was once the Capital of the South. Wonderful.
I just could not envision 'Richmond' on the customary sign that all houses with names  invariably have. Actually, that's not quite true. I'm very creative and I could picture it but I am pretty sure most people would not 'get it' and I'd always be busy 'explaining' which would get tiresome.
"Richmond? But, I thought your name was Truitt".

Or: 'Why d'ya have to go and name your stupid ol' house for, anyway?'

Yes, I got that thrown at me a few times during the naming contest/process. It made me smile.
Why, indeed.

Because when we are finished - when we have done everything that needs to be done with her (our estimated time of completion is springtime) she will be a destination.

 A place we will entertain our family, friends, clients, publishers, publicists. designers and artisans we know from all over the country.

I want to host authors, book-signings and writing work-shops.

Next month she is playing Bed/Breakfast to a bride and her bridesmaids the night before the wedding.

A destination must have a name.

But most of all, when I treasure hunt all across Texas and take you with me I need a name in which to refer to that isn't just 'the house'. Or 'my house'.

After much speculation and suggestions (thank you everyone), I knew I needed something 'special'. Something with personality.
A name that just slips off the tongue, makes folks smile and maybe piques their curiosity just a bit.

"Hillbilly Hacienda" 

It was right there the whole time. I've been calling her that in every blog post and it just seems 'right'.

Even Mr. T likes it.
(Or maybe he is still mad over the tailgate debacle and he's just humoring me)

We are nowhere near finished, but we are making strides. Short, sweet strides, but strides nonetheless.

I'm trying not to be too hasty in my decisions. I want everything to be perfect, which explains the empty dining room.

Ralph Lauren 'Blue Chalk'
Waiting for the perfect dining set

I am looking for that 'just right' table and chairs.

I don't have near enough artwork
(and it's driving me absolutely insane).

And with 3,000 square feet there are a LOT of walls - including one pink one upstairs that is going to give me a nervous breakdown if I don't paint it quickly.
Disclaimer: If you remember my last house, I am a lover of all things Shabby Chic (pink/white) but this isn't the shabby chic type or architecture.

We've torn apart kitchen counters and are putting on new ones. Back-splash will have to wait until the House/Senate break for Thanksgiving and Christmas when Mr. T will finally have time to do that and


Yeah. Remember this wall from earlier in the summer? It's still there. I guess he's afraid to fix it because that is where I wanted to put a table with the tail-gate propped up.
By the way, that blasted thing is STILL taking up space in my back yard if anyone wants it.
(Dang, I can't even give that thing away.)

Every week I try to buy just a little something for the house -

like this cute little night light right here. This provides just enough light to keep me from bumping into walls when I make my midnight trek to the ladies room.

If you're like me and a book collector/avid reader, consider placing your books throughout the family room for a combination den/library.

I'm not sure I want the permanence of book shelves just yet, so I've stacked my books all over. I also plan on taking a few awkward corners, placing comfy chairs and a lamp to allow for various reading nooks where guests can relax and curl up with a good book.

I finally have beds in 2 of the 3 spare rooms. They're nowhere near ready for that above mentioned bride and her bridesmaids, but hey, it's still 3 weeks away.

I have pleeenntty of time.

Til next time,


Friday, September 19, 2014

"The Hillbilly Debutante's Guide to Decorating...."

or "The Tail Gate that Brought Down a Marriage"

My first weekend in Rowlett (Texas) my cousin Mel took me junking - my favorite thing in the world to do. Well, next to decorating. And maybe writing riding.
Lo and behold we stumbled upon an out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere place that had at least an acre of old gas station signs, antique car doors, furniture, dishes. You name it, honey - he had it.
And that, my friend is where I found the above treasure. Isn't she a beaut? A real find?
 'Hillbilly Hacienda' is going to be a bit more formal than my previous house, but I still want to have a few 'fun' pieces.
You know - like the bull horns in my previous post.
(With a name like 'Hillbilly Hacienda' you can't take things too serious, don't you agree?)
I just knew this tail gate, sitting on top of a long, ornate, formal table and propped against the wall, would be the best conversation piece EVER.
''Kathie, I am not spending thousands of dollars on this kitchen for you to put a stupid tailgate in here."
Then- and I have to take a deep breath and collect myself before even continuing this story. Give me a brief moment, please - whew...Okay. I'm ready. Then he said a word to me he has only used maybe one other time in our 32 years together. Well 34 if you count our dating years.
 ''No! (I cringe) it's not happening. Good grief, Kathie - It's not even a cool year of a vehicle.''
Me: "Well, if that's all that's bothering you, there is a really, really cool 1960-something Volkswagen Beetle door that would ---"
Dang! There it is again. That awful word.
So....if you live in the Rowlett, Texas area and are in the market for a 1974 Ford Tailgate....she's free to a good home.
Til Next Time,

Monday, September 1, 2014

More changes at Hillbilly Hacienda - or whatever the heck her name is....

There have been so many changes here... where do I start?

We've decided to wait until late fall to lay down sod but neither one of us could stand those awful shrubs a day longer....so bye-bye!
Our landscaper, Miguel and his crew got the job done in about 3 hours. It took 3 men

and a pickup pull up those stubborn trees and pesky roots, and although it was dusk by the time they were finished I couldn't resist a picture.


 Bit by bit she's coming back to life.

Remember these 'before' pictures?

Well, here is the living room 'almost' finished. I laughed before I even got that sentenced typed out. Y'all know me - I'm NEVER done!

Ahh - see those gorgeous bull-horns on the wall? I bought those at Shepler's Western Store in Mesquite. You know - Sheplers? The store I had my heart set on working at yet they don't seem to be as excited about that as I am? Anyway, I was in Fort Worth all week and when I got home on Friday, Mr. T had them hung! Now, I need a picture to hang underneath....hmm. I also need a picture for the wall on the left - that's a big space so it really needs something 'special'. I'll find something, I'm sure but back to the bull horns. I'm planning on having a pair in every single room.

I've been so busy with projects here that I haven't had as much time to shop as I'd like. I still need a dining room table and a kitchen table! I took advantage of Labor Day sales to buy two Queen-size mattresses. (Mattress Stop in Rowlett for those of you in the Dallas area). Plus, I still have an upstairs hallway and a bathroom to paint. I did, however, take one weekend to go to Quinlan, a small, charming, country town about 30 miles east of Rowlett - but it's late here at the Hillbilly Hacienda and this girl needs some shut-eye.  You know, I really hate calling her that - Hillbilly Hacienda - she is much too grand for such a simple name. But I have yet to think of a name that suits her. Some of my readers have suggested 'Greystone' because while exterior is pink brick there are large obvious grey strokes throughout. But as much as Hillbilly Hacienda sounds silly,  Greystone sounds pretentious. Guess I'll have to give this more thought.
I think the deeper I get into remodeling and decorating she will let me know what she wants to be called. What? You don't think houses have personalities? Stick around....I'll prove you wrong.
Til next time,

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Talking dogs....

It's a much-needed rainy Sunday morning here at the Hillbilly Hacienda in Rowlett, Texas.
Sally has been roaming around pouting all morning. Things are always a little hectic on Sundays because I try to sleep in til the last minute before getting ready for church, so her walks are pretty short, which makes her none too happy. Don't get me wrong - I would gladly don a raincoat and wellies and still take her out but Miss Priss Diva will NOT go out in the rain. 
Anyway, sweet girl trots downstairs, then back up to me, then down again and back up to me and lets out a hearty 'Moooooomm'. Now, before you think I've gone completely off my rocker, let me assure you that I have many witnesses that will testify to the fact that this dog can indeed say 'Mom'.
While the vet says her pre-dominant breed is Black Lab she also has a lot of husky in her and apparently being able to speak a few words is very characteristic of Huskies.
So, back to the story. After about the umpteenth time I follow her downstairs and she takes me straight to Mr. T who is sitting in his favorite chair drinking his coffee. She sits down by the chair looks at him and looks back at me and says, 'Mooooommm'.
This is also her favorite chair.

And without saying a word, he gets up and lets her have it.
Spoiled brat.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

My new, true love.....

I'd love to tell you that it was love at first sight. That I drove by, took one look and said, 'Oh honey - this is it! The one I've been dreaming of my whole life.'

But that, my friend, would be a lie. Instead it was Mr. T;s heart that went aflutter. 
  I was like, 'You've got to be kidding me.'
I mean, just look at this yard. Bald spots, different types of grass, awful holly bushes planted at the front. Just drive on by, please. And hurry. Instead, we called the realtor and got the grand tour.
I will tell you right now I pitched a hissy fit to beat all hissy fits.
I stomped my foot.
 I cried.
"I do not want to do this, again. I will not do this again!" I vowed. Why couldn't Rosebud Cottage have worked out? All I had to do was just move in! Surely, there has got to be something comparable!
We still weren't really speaking when I dropped him off at the airport an hour later.
 I instinctively drove back to the house. I parked the car across the street and just sat and stared at her. It felt like hours, but what I'm sure was only about 10 minutes I started to soften. Even though the property was highly neglected she still looked stately.
'Man, she must have been a beauty in her hey-day'.
The more I looked at her the more my imagination started to work; the more I felt a connection with her.
I picked up the phone and left a message for Mr. T-
"Okay, I'll do it. But I want you to promise me that we'll get started immediately on fixing her up."
And so it goes....

The family room on the left doesn't look too bad - love the wood wall and the wood floor, but the pale yellow is kind of 'blah'. And that wall paper in the kitchen? Nope. Bye-bye.

Literally, the very first day we moved in our family came over and started painting.
Behr's Glazed Ginger gives a warm, homey glow
I am a wall-paper lover but this looks like it was from the 70's - and the house was only built in 1994. We decided to just paint over it rather than the headache of pealing it.
While cousins Mark and Brian are busy painting I start pealing the paper in the dining room because it's already pealing on it's own. Piece of cake.
My dining room will revolve around my blue and white dishes.
So, we go from this

to this...
to this!
This is Ralph Lauren's "Blue Chalk" but in my mind I call it 'Texas sky' because this is the hue I see every day when I look out at the horizon.
More pictures to come and beautiful, drastic changes every day. I hope you fall in love with her, too as I share her with you.
And we've got to come up with a name...
Til next time,