Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wiggins Hollow

Recently, I have become increasingly interested in my family history.  Luckily, my family has kept great records, and I owe a lot to my Great-Aunt Clara Nell.  She made a "Howell Book" many years ago, long before internet records were available.  It is full of family facts, lore, marriage certificates, death certificates, an adoption record, photographs, and so much more.

Another thing I am very lucky to have access to is a physical piece of history here in Alabama.  The Howells settled in North Alabama around 1820, and the chimney from the homestead still stands today!  Miles Myhill Howell (1789-1853) and his brother, Isham Howell (1787-1846) moved to Alabama in the 1820s from South Carolina.  They purchased this land at that time, and it remained in Howell ownership until the 1970s when it was sold to the forest service. 

 Isham's headstone, located at Friendship Baptist cemetery in Danville, Alabama.
Miles's headstone also located at Friendship Cemetery. 

Miles is my 4th Great-Grandfather, and my daughter's 5th Great-Grandfather!  Miles's son, William George Washington Howell, also know as WGW, would marry Frances Ellen Wiggins.  I am assuming this is where the name "Wiggins Hollow" came from.  The lineage for my daughter goes:
Evelyn (3 years old) is the daughter of Rachel Howell-Morris, who is the daughter of Robert Howell, who is the son of Arthur Malcolm Howell, who is the son of Sim Howell Sr, who is the son of Arthur Percy "AP" Howell,  who is the son of WGW Howell,  who is the son of Miles Myhill Howell! 

Robert Howell (my father), Me, Evelyn (my daughter), Anna Henderson, John Howell, and Sally Corum.  My family tree is complicated . . . I am not going to try to explain how I am related to everyone.  :)

It is an easy hike to the Hollow; I would guess it is 20 minutes in from the main road.  The area is absolutely beautiful. Lovely ferns outline our path in the beginning, and we crossed a shallow stream.  There is also a warm spring that runs through a nearby cave. 

For size refrence, that is my six foot, six inch tall husband standing in the red shirt:

The chimney was repaired, probably in the early 1960s, but the stones and large mantle stone are original.  The house stood until the late 1970's.  The forest service was forced to burn it down; local teenagers were having parties in the woods.  My father remembers frequenting this place as a child.  He recalls spending the night here with his father, and the sounds of the bobcats in the woods has stayed with him to this day!

Luckily, whatever large furry creature was living in it a few years ago has moved out!

Below are a few more, unedited, pictures from our last trip there on November 2, 2013.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sort of a Fire Place

In our house, we do not have a fire place.  It is a bummer, especially now that little E knows what Santa Clause is, and Christmas is coming!  Last year, my friend at Sew Homegrown made an amazing Faux Fireplace (See it here!).  I was inspired to create a place to hang stockings in our home.  I did not want to spend much, so I went shopping in my own home. 


Not bad, but not "fireplacey" (that's a word . . .)


Still not a "fireplace" but I feel like it it a great place to hang stockings this Christmas!  The wooden shelf hung in my parent's house for a long time, and my mom gave it to me several years ago.  I could not come up with a use for it until now.

The stained glass was a gift from my husband several years ago, and the candlesticks were from a local garage sale.  The plate was a wedding gift I have not displayed yet, and the cement balls were from a long closed junk store on the Southside.  My new favorite is this:

Last week, I went to Hartselle, AL, and was drawn into a 70% off everything going out of business sale!!!  This beautiful crewelwork was $16!  It is dated 1931.

The blue vases are featured in an earlier post (Vases Before and After).  I think they add a good punch of color.

Oh, we added a dog, Miss Pickles, last week also . . . .you can see her basket next to the dresser!  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Colander Planter

I found this pretty colander at Target on the clearance shelf!  It was exactly what I had been searching the thrift stores for.

 I needed the following supplies:

Also, you need potting soil.  Here is a list of what you need:
  • River rocks
  • Moss
  • Potting Soil
  • Any assortment of ferns/small plants
  • Colander
  • Trowel (or your hands)
I covered the bottom with river rocks, the then lined the sides with the moss.  I wanted to put something between the soil and the large open slots of the colander.   Then, fill the colander with potting soil, and place the plants where you want them!  Easy!

It probably only took 15 minutes to complete.  I put it all together in the kitchen sink (it is raining, again, outside) to minimize mess.

My planter will go on my kitchen bar.  I used one mahogany fern, and three hedra helix ivies!

Sharing with: Savvy Souther Style

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Vases Before and After

I found these beauties at the local thrift store for $1.39.  They were originally $1.39 each, but they were 50% off.  What a deal!  (But wow, they are bad!)   There is some damage, the flower is missing off the boy vase and the arm is missing off the girl vase.

One coat of primer, and they are already looking better!!!

I am pretty happy with these.  I had this turquoise blue at home already, and went with it.  I have big plans for these in my living room!  Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Child's Bench

Earlier this summer, my mother's neighbor gave this bench to my mom.  Her neighbor found it in the garbage, and gave it to my mom when my daughter was playing at their house.  I cannot find my before picture . . . .

The metal was green and rusty, and the varnish was peeling off the wood which was stained lighter.  It was in great structural condition, and is very heavy.  You can find these at Lowe's and other outdoor stores all summer long.  They are about $100 new. 

I cleaned and spray painted the metal, and spent a lot of time sanding the varnish and stain off the wood.  The whole project was less than $12!!!  I used left over primer, and purchased one can satin spray paint, one small can dark stain, and one can spray polyurethane!  I put 5 coats of poly on it, since it will be in the sun and outdoors. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Repairing Veneer on a Painted Piece

You may remember this disaster.  The veneer clearly got wet sometime in the past and had bubbled up.  So, time to fix it!

Thanks Pinterest!  I cannot find the link now, but I saw another blog that suggested using veneer edging for repair.  I used a box cutter to cut out all of the area that was no longer attached to the wood below, it was fairly easy.  The Lowes near me did not carry iron on veneer edging, so I purchased this from  The color of the veneer does not matter, because I am painting over it.  I went with a lighter color, just in case.

I just measure on the spot, and only used half of the veneer.  It very easily glued down with the iron.  The box cutter easily cut it.  Luckily, this veneer was the same depth as the original veneer, and only needed one layer.   It did shrink a tiny amount once it dried, and you can see the seems.  That is okay because:

I puttied in all the cracks anyways!  Next, I will sand the entire piece again, and onto primer.

I plan to paint it a bright white, with a blue off center stripe (thanks Classy Clutter for the paint idea).  I found some awesome patina brass drawer pulls at the Decatur Habitat for Humanity (ReStore) for $1 each.  This piece had no pulls when I found it.  Here is what it looked like when I found it: Oh So Dirty Dresser.

Thanks for stopping by!  Leave a comment if you have any creative ideas for this chest!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Pool Noodle and the Garage Door

SO, I learned the hard way that my new car is larger than the last one I had, and this happened when the garage door was open when the back hutch of the car was also open:

Yeah, not a happy camper . . . .  Since I need to open the hutch with the garage door open, I had to figure out something.  Here is the angry, paint scratching metal:

Pool noodle from the Dollar Tree to the rescue!  All you need is a pool noodle, zip ties (small worked fine), and a knife.

(The pictures are not wonderful, but you get the idea!)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Keyboard Frame for Father's Day

Sorry I have been gone so long!  The summer really got going.

My husband is a big nerd (and I LOVE it), and I was trying to be creative for Father's Day.  Hopefully, he will not be checking the blog before Sunday . . . .

Below are all the supplies you need:

I found 2 off white keyboards at the thrift store for $.75 each!  I wound up only needing one.  I bought a frame at Hobby Lobby at 50% off.  A thrifted frame would be perfect too, but I did not have a flat one.  Grab your hot glue gun and a butter knife, and you are set!

First, pop the keys off the board, really easy:

However, the keyboard was REALLY gross underneath, and I promptly tried to clean my own keyboard . . .

 I lined the keys up, just to see how I liked them on the frame, and I just glued them all on after that!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

My First Yard Sale

Well, it is sort of my first yard sale.  I have helped with other people's sales, and I have helped with sales at the church I grew up in.  Who knew there was so much stuff in this house!  AND that is with me making 2 or 3 trips a year to the local America's Thrift drop off.

Here are a few things I found to work out well:

  • Advertise on Craigslist.  Hands down the best tip.  Before the sale I had eight to ten e-mails asking about things I mentioned in the ad.
  • Put directions to your house on Craigslist, especially if you live out of the way, or on an obscure street like we do.
  • Make legible signs.  I made six signs on neon yellow poster board.  All the signs had were "Yard Sale," an arrow, and the times of the sale.  People are driving, they do not need a novel.
  • Make sure to get a permit, if needed.  Call your city hall to find out.  Without one in my area you can be fined $500!!!

The items that sold that was totally shocking to me.  People wanted "man stuff" and this yard sale was pretty girlie.  The man stuff sold within the first hour, ALL OF IT.  We sold drills, tools, XXL t-shirts, and a lot of antiquated technology (ie, a Palm Pilot, Nintendo, miscellaneous cords). 

What did not sell was also surprising.  We did not sell a sofa (no one even glanced in it's general direction), and I only sold a couple of little girl/baby items.  I had two boxes of shoes for toddlers, in good shape, and I sold one pair.  In the consignment sale I participate in, they are the first things to go.

Anyways, it was an excellent sale.  We ran it two days, and we were rained out day two.  That was really a good thing, there was not much left, at all. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Oh So Dirty Dresser Before

 Here is the new project!  I want to replace the bad (however, free) 1980s dresser in out bedroom.  I picked up this beauty at the Gardendale Flea Market in the &Whatnot booth (&Whatnot FB).

The main structure appears to be a basic cheap plywood dresser.  At some point someone added the details, they are solid wood.  At least this is my guess, because it really does not make sense.  I have never seen a cheap dresser with curved detail. 

The top is in BAD shape:

I am going to cut a section of the veneer out, and hopefully use my Pinterest skills to repair it . . .

Any ideas on color?  Design?  Out room has pale blue walls, dark furniture, and an embroidered leaf print white bedspread.  Maybe I will paint a graphic leaf on it, who knows!  Ideas welcome!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Child's Hutch After

Remember this beauty?

You can see more at Child's Hutch Before.  It was so gross, but had so much potential.  AND here she is:

I started with 3 coats of Valspar spray paint primer.  The wood is so old, and had been so exposed to the elements that is just soaked it up.  I also puttied some of the dings and holes along with the site of the old hinges.

Luckily, I was able to find some inexpensive and cute hinges on eBay. I painted the inside white and the outside Mo Better Blue (where they come up with the names, I do not know). 

Sammy and Miss E liked it too!

Linking up with:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

CVS Coupon Trip, 4/28/13

CVS 4/28/13

I paid $1.02 for the above purchase!  Woo Hoo!

I had $5ECB (Beauty Bucks) expiring on the 28th.  There was nothing in the ad that I really needed, as far as other ECB offers, so, I purchased Jif for $2.50 and two Goldfish for $1.67 each.  The Hershey's was $.99, and the Coupon Center gave me a $.99 off any Hershey's or Mars candy.  I cannot turn down FREE chocolate.

I used a P&G rebate card to pay for the $1.02, so it was all FREE.  I had $15 starting out on the card, and have used it 4 times at CVS.  I still have $8 on it!  I want to see how far I can make it go.  

On a sad CVS note, the Green Bag Tag program is over.  BUT, $2 in ECB printed out today when I handed the guy my card.  I did not realize it was over, but he said $2 had been printing all day. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

We love these (even the three year old)!

Here is what you need:


1 can tomato sauce
2 cans pinto beans (or prepared dry beans)
8 flour taco tortillas
1 packet taco seasoning (or make your own!)
1 cup Monterey Jack
1 cup cheddar (not pictured)
1 can enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

I make my own enchilada sauce (prior to this).  I like this kind: Homemade Enchilada Sauce.  I make this and divide it into three parts, and I freeze them.  One portion is enough for this recipe.  I found that the canned enchilada sauce is WAY too salty.  Also, if you make the taco seasoning too, you can cut down on salt.

Mix the enchilada sauce and tomato sauce together.  Place a small amount in the bottom of a 9x13 pan to keep the enchiladas from sticking. 

Rinse and mash the beans.  Heat them in a sauce pan with the taco seasoning and half of the enchilada/tomato sauce mixture.  Shred the cheese, and mix the two cheeses together.  

Place a small amount of cheese and beans in the tortilla, and place in the pan.  Top the enchiladas with the sauce and the rest of the cheese.  Bake 20-30 minutes. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My First Estate Sale

Saturday morning I noticed a man putting up neon yellow estate sale signs in my neighborhood, and I decided I would give it a try later in the afternoon.  I am 99 percent sure I have never been to an estate sale, at least I have never been to something like this!  This was a whole new experience. 

I arrived about five minutes before it was to open, at 9:00, and I found the yard full of people.  I took my number, 18, and got in line with several people who were angry they had to stand in the grass.  At about 9:02 they all started yelling at the front door that it was time to open.  Nice. Then they all started to talk about the lady who had died that lived in that house.  Nice again. 

People went nuts, like Wal-Mart on Black Friday nuts, when the doors opened, and I just stood back.  Maybe they knew something I did not, but I was not that eager.  Inside, there was a lot of cute antique furniture.  In the kitchen several people were unloading all of the contents of the kitchen cabinets into their baskets saying "I guess this is what it comes to, your life as a yard sale.  It is a shame."  The sentiment was not slowing them down from loading up with $1 vintage Pyrex . . .

I finally escaped the vaguely creepy house and found the freestanding garage in the back yard.  That is where the interesting stuff was, including a HUGE antique, hand crank ice-cream machine that someone had already picked up for $30.  I picked up the fan for $5!

I wish my picture of how dirty it was turned out.  It was GROSS!  Looking online, I am guessing it is from the 1950's.  It is Westinghouse "Made in the USA."

I did plug it in, and lets just say that was an electrifying experience.  It is just for looks!  Maybe one day I will open it up and fix the wiring.  I am guessing there are exposed wires in the motor. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Child's Hutch Before

This is my new project in all of her hideously dirty glory.   I saw her online at the Decatur, Alabama Habitat for Humanity Re-Store (  My wonderful parents picked her up for me.  They were told that a man brought in the hutch and said it was his sister (or mothers, not sure) and was at least 60 years old.  It was handmade for the woman as a child. It is child sized, and less than three feet tall.  It is made primarily from plywood. 

There is a chance it was in a barn for 50 years, considering all of the funk on it. There was a dirt dauber nest and at least three spider egg sacks (no spiders, thank God).

 Above is just one swipe down the side . . .

I used warm water mixed with a small amount of Murphy's Oil Soap to clean it up.  It took four changes of water, and an assistant to get it finished.

(Don't worry, she was supervized with this bucket of water the whole time.)
After a cleaning:

I plan to replace the hinges and paint the piece.  I am undecided if I will keep it or sell it to a good home!  If anyone is interested in this piece, please e-mail me.  I can customize the color and design for you.