Friday, April 21, 2017

Save 1900 Realty 

The island is enjoying a Renaissance  of sorts.   It's difficult to drive more than a three blog radius and not spy a dumpster in front of a cottage being renovated.  Which is great for our island. A few  months ago the house down the street became the next home here on the island to enjoy a renovation.  We watched with anticipation as the dumpster showed up, as  the home began to be repaired and painted -

A sign eventually showed up  "Save 1900 Realty".  A quick search led me to a Facebook page here, and their eventual website here.   The couple behind all the talk in Galveston are Michael and Ashley Cordray.  While It appears the story is still unfolding, this couple are doing great things here on the island. The house down the street was transformed in quick time, staged, then went under contract within a few days of listing! 

Photo Credit; Save 1900 Realty

And the before.... Amazing transformation!

Photo, Google Maps

The interior does have a bit of a "Fixer Upper" vibe to it, the cottage farm house, style that is a wildly popular trend at the moment.  Even I've been considering swapping out my taffeta dining room drapes for canvas paint tarps!   I think the style works well because it is so livable.  It's a little worn, which is practical for those of us who really live in our homes.  The use of industrial pieces, paired with refreshed antiques dressed in current fabrics, also new furniture pieces provide a collected look to a room.  There's nothing worse in design than having a space that looks as though you went to a furniture store, then purchase the entire room.

Photo credit, Save 1900 Realty

My favorite room in the house is the kitchen.  Well done Michael and Ashley!  Finally! Someone renovated a "flip" kitchen with some style.  Often, including our own home, the renovator installs new cabinetry, with no architectural elements. The end result is a new kitchen in a vintage home. The feeling is, well, confused. This kitchen has a custom range hood, made of repurposed shiplap, creating a focal point along the back wall.  The floating shelves, the wall mount pendent lights, beautiful white tile, antique brick clad bar with a waterfall heart just skipped a beat!  

Photo credit, Save 1900 Realty

Photo Credit 1900 Realty

The dark cabinetry punctuated with brass hardware  gives the kitchen a contemporary edge, while the pleated front farm sink nods to the era of the house.  Notice how the original windows were worked into the design plan.  The microwave is built-in below the counter, leaving the counter top clean. It's a lovely balance of vintage, with modern convenience.

Photo Credit 1900 Realty

Photo credit, 1900 Realty

Love the grey stripe upholstery on the antique settee, then repeated stripes in the bedroom rug.

This subway tile clad bathroom is dramatic; custom built vanity featuring a trough sink,  whimsical mirror, vintage style sconces, finished off with trendy concrete floor tiles.

Photo credit, Save 1900 Realty

The couple thought of everything, including an outdoor entertaining area.

I am looking forward to following along while Save 1900 transforms houses.  From their website, and their Facebook page it seems as though there are some great things to come.  My personal congratulations to them, and a heartfelt thanks, for making such a difference on our island. I have to admit, I'm jealous of their chickens....still pleading my case to Mr. GDC, "I only want two chickens". I noticed Easter came and went, no chicks. Maybe Mother's Day?  

Until next time, wishing you all the best -


Monday, April 17, 2017

Emblem - well, sort of

The past weekend found me painting a bit in the herb garden. No, I wasn't painting herbs.  I wanted to address the imposing white wall towering over our little "salad bowl".   I am a self proclaimed Francophile.  I adore bumble bees, and olive leaves, and crowns, and wreaths - honestly, all things French.  I thought it would be fun to incorporate these French elements into an emblem of sorts, marking our time of curating the cottage.  I thought this little emblem would dress up the white carriage house wall. The only problem, I am not an artist.

Here's how I did it.  After deciding upon the elements, I drew a sketch upon a piece of plastic, to be exact a gallon size storage bag.  Then I used a projector to project the sketched image upon the carriage house wall.  Moving the projector forward, backward, to get the size, perspective I wanted.  It was 5 AM on Sunday morning....

After achieving the size I liked, I loosely penciled off the design onto the wall. 

I wanted the design to mimic a soft, shadowy sketch. I chose to paint the design using black chalk paint. Chalk paint is easy to work with; using water to thin it becomes translucent,  creating shadows, defining a little are easy with chalk paint.  Using it full strength works great to edge.  I wanted to achieve something simplistic. 

Once painted, I sealed the wall using Fixatif sealant spray. 

for perspective, the ladder is six feet, the emblem is about 4' square

While out taking photos for this post, my little inspiration stopped by for a lemon tree visit. 

Don't you forget to "stop and smell the roses"; I caught Puppy doing just that after we fed the birds...

Thank you for stopping by to visit me. Until next time, wishing you all the best -

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Friday, April 14, 2017

Knock Out Roses and Hand Me Down Ferns

My next door neighbor, and friend, Carol is quite the gardener. She's one of those gifted people who can plant a sprig, that will burst into a lovely, full, garden wonderment.  Recently she cleared her flower beds, making way for new additions.  I was a the lucky recipient of "Handy Me Down Ferns"!

Our flowerbeds have been a challenge.  I'm not a tropical floral sort of girl.  I adore English gardens.  Neatly trimmed hedges, topiary trees, roses, of course lavender set my soul a flutter with delight.

Photo Credit, Traditional Home Magazine

Here on the Texas Gulf coast, where the humidity wavers between 70 - 100% , the sun filled days are long, the heat intense - English style gardens are not only common, they aren't practical.  Well, I'm nothing if not determined.  I've faltered more times that I care to disclose. 

Heavy sigh, it supposed to be a double topiary. It'll will get better... I hope!

My friend, Carol, suggested Boston Fern.  A compromise I can live with. During the Victorian period Boston Ferns were often found in gardens.  Ferns made sense, also if Carol says they'll grow -

I've had a bit of trouble under the towering oaks in front of Sybi. The beds are massive.  The oaks provide mid day shade. Since Sybi faces the gulf, the sun rises upon one side, sets upon the other, there are hours of bright sunlight streaming from either side spotlighting the flowerbeds.  It's been a challenge to sort out these most prominent flowerbeds. Shade loving plant burn in the morning, as well as afternoon spotlight. Full sun plants fail to thrive. 

As guest enter the gate visit, the path is takes them between the beds.

Sitting atop the front porch both beds are the base of the view. The ferns seems to be the perfect solution, hopefully the ferns will  grow big filling in the flowerbeds.

.   I've paired them with "Double Pink" knock out roses, for a sprinkling of color. 

I added the fern along the garage side of the house, framing the path to the herb garden. 

I also added the fern in the breezeway.

A lovely gift of friendship, everlasting, something we will both share, and enjoy for years to come. Thank you Carol!

Until next time, wishing you all the best -


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Frittata - It's What's for Dinner?

The Frittata is beginning to show up more often upon our daily menu. Not only the breakfast menu, lunch, as well as dinner.  Filling, quick, also unique depending upon what you add to the base can change it's taste dramatically.  The Frittata base is milk, and egg; I use one ounce of milk to each egg.  Simple.  The other ingredients are left to; what's in the fridge, or your imagination.  Cranberries, apple, spinach, basil, thyme, marjoram, dill, potato, carrots, ham, turkey, sausage, even shrimp are the usual suspects at GDC.  Once I wandered south of the border with a bit of pulled pork, potato, chili powder, cumin, and fresh cilantro!  It's a wonderful, quick, bit of tasty fare. 

Our green, Pyrex, depression glass luncheon plates, chosen at a tag sale by my Grandmother, then gifted to us 30 years later by my cousin. They are a treasure -

Dinner here at the cottage is getting light, we've been on a calorie count.  When you count calories, you don't want to trade taste.  After spending most of the day painting Sybi white, dinner wasn't something I was passionate about.  I decided on a Frittata, along with a left over dinner roll sliced, then toasted for a total calorie count of 278.  I know?!


3 eggs
3 ounces fat free milk
1/2 cup smoked gouda chopped
1/2 cup honey roasted pork chopped
1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning


Skillet - suitable for the oven
One sheet of parchment paper


In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs until well beaten. Add milk, then whisk to incorporate.

Add the remaining ingredients, then mix with a fork to incorporate.

Prepare your skillet by laying a piece of parchment over the top.  This will allow the Frittata to cook within the parchment, rather than your skillet, making clean up simple.

Pour the Frittata on to the parchment lined skillet center, the weight of the mixture will even out, disbursing about the pan. 

Place the pan in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes, at 350 degrees, or until the center is cooked through.

My simple, basic recipe; one ounce of milk per each egg.  Dinner for two is usually a three egg Frittata.  As you add eggs, increase your meat, and or cheese content ratio; for example six eggs one cup of cheese, also meat.  The Frittata pairs well with fresh fruit, side salad, or crusty bread. 

The parchment lined skilled, is my trick for simple, and easy clean up.  Remove, then toss the parchment, a quick rinse of your skillet - done. 

Be as bold as your imagination with this simple recipe, think of it as your "blank canvas".  Stop back by and lend me your successful ingredient pairings.  Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the Frittata is a warm, quick, easy way to serve a little love.

Until next time, wishing you all the best -


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

How does your herb garden grow?

While our lot is large for Galveston, most of it is filled with the three separate structures that make up our home; the original cottage, carriage house, and detached two car garage.  In addition, we have a concrete circle drive, also pathways between the structures.  Garden space is at a premium.

We inherited an awkward corner alongside the carriage house.  The small hidden gem, is accessible through our breezeway.  Being somewhat remote it isn't a good space for a patio, sitting area, etc...  Despite the carriage house towering over 20 feet above, the space has full sun most of the day.  It measures 13 by 15 feet.  What to do?  

I enjoy attempting to cook, especially with fresh herbs.  I've longed for an herb garden for some time.  Our awkward, remote, space seemed perfect for an herb garden.  Wandering down our back steps to snip a few bits of Rosemary for lemon, honey chicken would be too much fun!

While herb shopping, we happened upon a Meyer Lemon tree.  I often use lemons when cooking for seasoning.  Lemon sugar cookies is one of Mr. GDC's favorite sweets. We are thrilled to have a Meyer lemon tree.  After finding our treasure, we chose to make the tree our centerpiece in the herb garden. 

Mr. GDC dug a hole twice the size of the pot.  We mixed in potting soil to help with fertilization, also moisture for the tree.

Loosened up the root ball, then carefully placed the tree into the hole.   

Finally, we snuggled it in to it's new home. 

Then we cleared the remainder of the garden; turning over the soil while removing the weeds. It was a chore! Afterward, we racked the soil to even the surface, making certain it was below the lap board on the carriage house, in an effort to prevent insects inside the carriage house.

We used square paver stones to create a design around the tree that would allow us to walk about the garden accessing herbs, also lemons.  The pattern worked out well, between the stones we planted our herbs; rosemary, marjoram, thyme, basil, dill, English Lavender, along with tarragon. These are herbs I often cook with. 

Petite Lemons

View from the carriage house balcony

During our herb gathering trip, we discovered blueberry bushes, we purchased two of those, one for each back corner of the garden.  A little fruit, a little herb. 


While I am familiar with the herbs, Mr. GDC., as well as Jr. might need a little help with identification.  I found a great idea on Pinterest, using corks on skewers as plant markers.  Abandoned corks, we have!



After planting the herbs, and blueberry bushes, we mulched the area with organic black mulch.  Here along the Texas Gulf Coast the weather can be very hot, though humid, the sun dries out the soil and plants.  In addition to the sun, our island is., well, made of sand, creating a natural drain off.  Keeping plants watered is a challenge.  We thought the mulch would help keep the soil moist in our garden.

We had a little assistance from "Puppy", who enjoys digging. She's our rescue pup, although we are uncertain who rescued whom.  We recently celebrated three years with our "Puppy". She's a quirky little girl from Austin Town Lake Shelter.  She's our second rescue.  People often ask what breed she is, I'm 90% certain she's part Muppet - she plops about, it's very entertaining!

The garden is a work in progress.  We'd like to add lettuce, as well as some berries to our garden.  I started lettuce seedlings today, indoors.  In a week to ten days, with luck, we'll have lettuce sprouts to plant. I can hardly wait until we can pick our salad makings fresh from our garden.

The very tall, very white carriage house wall needs a little something. I'm thinking of a scheme for it. Maybe a logo? Maybe a Trellis for a fruit or flower vine? Maybe hanging pots?  We are considering a few more berries for the garden; raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries.  It's a work in progress.  I will keep you posted as it grows, also when I decide on the white "blank canvas".  

As we add fruits, vegetables, and herbs to our garden, we'll need more corks. Someone is going to have to drink a bottle or two of Shiraz.  It's a tough job, I suspect Mr. GDC is up for the challenge. 

Until next time, wishing you all the best -