Friday, June 11, 2010

Six Months into the NEW YEAR!

It's been six months since I started to update the blog.  Can we blame it on the grandchildren?  Since we began this daunting project of restoring a 100 year old house in Tobin Hill, the house has truly become our    home.  The beautiful wood floors are more beautiful with baby grandchildren crawling on them, the door panel with stained glass is  adorned with little Lily and Zoe fingerprints, and  baby monitors keep us tuned in to little Zoe waking up in the pack n' play downstairs while we are upstairs with Lily who is now big enough to sleep in the Jenny Lind style bed that I slept in at my grand-dad's house in Tennessee when I was a little girl.  We do love our babies! 

Will post a picture with little Zoe in a day or two---Meanwhile, you can check out Buck and Katy's blog for the girls with the bows and beatia link.

We also love living in San Antonio close to Buck and Katy's family, and close enough to get to the airport and easily go see Andy and Bethany and Liam, or pick up Jay when he comes in from Puerto Rico.  Going to take this opportunity to mention one of my favorite places to shop, Bless Your Heart Giftique in Bracken Village.  Whenever someone compliments me on a cute shirt, shoes, or jewelry I have bought there, I love being able to tell them I got it at my daughter-in-law's store, Bless Your Heart!

Katy with nephew Liam and Bethany at Bless Your Heart

Boymom became boy-grandmom!  Funny how that happens!  This great shirt is from Bless Your Heart!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Catching up in the new year

I feel like I am learning how to post all over again! This rusty old "tin man" needs a little oil to do this smoothly. Bo worked so hard and accomplished some huge jobs in 2009! He's telling folks that we are nearly in "maintenance mode" ! His biggest project last year was making 39, yes 39!, wooden window screens from "scratch". Besides improving the appearance of the house, they will help us stay cool next summer.
Stay tuned-more to come on this post.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

It's Been a Long Time - 1Q 2009 Update

No, we haven't fallen off the edge of the earth. The old house is still a "work in progress." Several of you have heard me say that it took me a few months to realize that this was not a project. It is a lifestyle.

How about those "Stars & Stripes" suspenders?

Much work has been done since the last blog update where we highlighted work on the house. Scraping, sanding, and painting don't sound too exciting in comparison to hosting guests, celebrating Christmas with family, and babysitting for your granddaughter each week. OSHA Babe has done a great job keeping you informed of the "people" highlights in our lives these days. I'll try to catch you up on the progress that continues to put the finishing touches on the place.

WARNING - You need a tetanus shot to even look at the picture of the small upstairs bathroom as we found it in September, 2006. The "Nasty Bathroom" we found in place -

Pictured below, that same bathroom as of February, 2009

Talk about an ugly mirror, light fixture, and electrical outlet-

Notice the custom made mirror that now covers that bathroom wall.

1. The small bathroom upstairs got some finishing touches recently. From the pictures above, you can see that we've come a long way from the "Nasty Bathroom" we found when we bought the place. (Just looking at the "before" picture nearly makes you want to get a tetanus shot.) Upgrading the mirror, scraping the window down to bare wood and painting it, adding the period specific trim over the top of the window, scraping and painting the closet doors, and cleaning up the messes that were made took over 2 weeks. Now, the OB has towel rods, a bathrobe hook, and no holes in the sheetrock around the electrical outlet and medicine cabinet. It's also nice that what OB calls my "private office" is well lit.

Don't the refinished floors look great in the downstairs Guest Bedroom?

The yellow walls in the distance in this picture are in the room where the computer is now located. .

2. The Back 2 Rooms have been completed and furnished and are being well used. You will notice the great job done on refinishing the floors. One of the two rooms is a guest bedroom. It is cozy and works out great for our guests who would rather not climb stairs.

The other room is now the computer room. We prewired both rooms for cable tv and internet access and finally got the computer moved from OB's upstairs office. (Virgie, you will be glad to know that we reset the door strike mechanism and now can lock that back door.) We are spending more time in this room than we imagined.

3. Windows and Doors continue to be necessary projects.

The neighborhood has changed since these burglar bars were common in the 80's.

Nasty screen and decades of dirt had to be dealt with

Much better, don't you think?

Shutters in the dining room give a finished look and privacy from nearby neighbor's house

We are really proud of how the Dining Room looks with the shutters installed on the bay windows. They were installed a couple of days before Christmas and really finish off the room in a classy way. We like them so much that we plan on getting shutters for the Butler's Pantry windows.

Plywood outside in January 2009 is testimony that the work continues
Once again, the finished product is worth the trouble described below. Thanks, dear husband/contractor/handyman.

The picture above that shows the plywood covering an exterior window chronicles about a 3 week period when the bottom sash of the window was being repaired. A corner of that sash, having caught full afternoon sun for over a century, finally decided that it had had enough. Again, something that appear relatively simple required scheduling with the shop to rebuild the corner, priming and painting the sash, replacing the glass, glazing the pane into the sash, replacing the ropes that held the sash weights, fastening the ropes to the sash, scraping, sanding, painting 3 coats on the inside window trim, and installing the trim. It doesn't look like much but it does take time.

Some would simply add one more layer of paint to existing surfaces, but Bo is patiently getting it all down to bare wood before painting with three layers of paint.

The most recent window adventure was in the TV Room upstairs. The three window frames had to be scraped, painted with three coats, have trim removed, scraped, sanded, painted (3 coats), installed, nail holes filled, shades installed, ..... You get the drift. It sure looks nice when it is done.

The overall count of scraping windows is -

Downstairs -- 21 done and 4 to go

Upstairs -- 8 done and 10 to go

Doors - This bead board center of closet door from upstairs bathroom had been covered with plywood.

Bead board door for upper area of pantry in kitchen-before (above) and after (below)

Since we last reported, 5 doors have been refinished. Three of them were relatively small. The small upstairs bathroom had two beautiful bead board door that someone had decided to cover over with plain plywood. One of the doors had be taken off (probably during the mid 1990's) and left under the carport. Amazingly, it was in good shape structurally and really turned out nice with sanding, scraping, and 3 coats of paint. In the Kitchen, the storage space above the pantry now has a finished door. It too was recovered from under the carport.

Two full size doors have been refinished since our last report but only one of them has been rehung. I can not find the hinges for the door between the Kitchen and the Mud Room. But it sure looks nice and is ready to go when I find hinges that work.

The overall count of scraping and refinishing doors is -

Downstairs -- 14 done and 1 (or possibly 2) to go

Upstairs -- 9 done and 1 to go.

I'm not sure if these numbers are a badge of honor or a symptom of lunacy. It might depend on who you ask.
(Note from OSHA Babe-I think it's love-see Days 1-40 of The Love Dare)

4. Outside
Even the palm trees have become better groomed since the first picture below (taken
September, 2006)
The palm trees got a haircut in early 2009, not an easy job without special equipment.

The orange crop for 2009 was abundant. We have enjoyed sharing with neighbors and friends.

Our young friend Deborah, the orange picker

5. Redecoration

Dee and Diane, from My Home at Last, with some of the tools of their trade

OSHA Babe arranged for dear friends Dee and Diane to work with her and put some incredible decorating touches into the house. She caught me while I was out of town for 3 days and they worked long, hard hours rearranging furniture, hanging pictures, moving area rugs, dusting, taking things out of the house, and a lot more. The place looks fabulous and is professionally and tastefully decorated. By the way, Dee and Diane have been in the interior decoration business for several years. If you know of anyone in the San Antonio area in need of their services, they have added us on the list of those who give them highest recommendations. We will feature their work in a separate blog listing.

5. Visitors

Brothers Byrl and Joe with Leo - on the porch in December, 2008

Our friend Anne's room is always ready whenever she comes to San Antonio. Her latest visit was early in January, 2009-Yes, the Christmas decorations are all down now.

We still love visitors. The nice, old house without friends is not nearly as valuable.

Monday is normally Lily's day to do "inner city mission work." She brightens up the place. We also enjoy Buck and Katy coming to pick her up.

Dennis and Vickie from Indianapolis surprised us with a visit in February. They were "in the neighborhood" (Dallas) for a business meeting and tacked on several days to cover I-35 from Oklahoma City to San Antonio visiting a son in college and friends. We were thrilled to come back from a morning coffee run and find them standing on our porch. We've known them from St. Louis church days in the 1980's and consider them to be dear, lifelong friends.

Speaking of lifelong friends, Loyd and Wilma came over from Houston and spent a couple of nights. They are also church friends from the 1970's in Houston. (There is a common theme, isn't there?) Loyd gets put to work when he is here. Every evening is "game time" that involves either cards or dominos. The girls won the card game on night 1 but the guys walloped them in dominos thereafter.

Bethany, Lupe, Deborah Artie and JR, Joseph, and Pedro

Guess the connection to the folks in the group picture? Yep, friends from church here in San Antonio. They are a special family that we have come to love. We had shared a meal with them to honor Pedro who left for his Navy Seal training. We wish him godspeed in this challenge and ask you to join us in praying for his safety and success in the coming months. This young man is special to us and God must have a very gracious hand on his shoulder. Hard to imagine he entered this world early as a barely two pound baby and now he is strong and courageous enough to attempt to join a very elite corps of brave individuals. It will be our privilege to keep you posted on his progress.


1. Finish doors and windows

2. Enclose a 20' x 16' section of the carport. This is planned for a storage area.

3. Begin constructing wooden window screens so we can lower the top sash and get some good ventilation through the house in the 6 weeks to 2 months before and after air conditioning season.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Four Generations, Family, Friends, and Forty Two-Our Full House!

Pat's parents, Larry and Virgie, came to visit in early November and guess who was the star of the show? Lily acted like she knew they were special people in her life and they are! What a privilege it was to spend time together and Buck and Katy were so generous to drop her off for extra downtown days. Coffee on the porch was more fun than ever while they were here.

Pat's Uncle Doug and Aunt Gloria have very special friends who live in San Antonio, Ray and Lydia and they came over to meet Larry and Virgie. Their visit was timely! They not only recommended the best tamale places in town, they gifted us with a dozen which we later enjoyed with Christmas dinner.

In mid-November Buck and Katy participated in the Rock N' Roll San Antonio Marathon by running the half-marathon. We had fun moving to different places for Lily to cheer them on. We also enjoyed all the compliments about how cute she was.
Last year's Fiesta Fellowship elves, Danielle and Darian were joined by Fiesta friends Desi and Cielo. With their good help the tree was decorated and it was officially time to enjoy the coming of Christmas.Danielle and Darian with parents Daniel and MinnieDesi and Cielo with Mom Haydee, Grandma Hermila from Monterrey, Mexico and Dad MiguelMary Dean was back in town before flying to Mexico for Mark and Andi's wedding. We had our Chili's tradition time together. Miss Lily was the final decoration needed to make us ready for ChristmasOur entry way was full after Santa brought the presentsGran Shanna enjoys her special gifts under the tree

Beautiful Yates women-three sisters? Stacy and GrandDad on Christmas morningUncle Joe from Sabinal spent the week with us while daughter Nettie visited her daughter and grandchildren in Odessa. Joe and brother Byrl talk on the phone every day and had fun spending the week together.

Steven, GrandDad, and Uncle Joe
Shanna knew this special gift would fit right in this old house
Maddie opened baby sister-to-be's sweetie pie shirt. Next year this time there will be another new baby. YAY!Christmas dinner-how do you like our new shutters in the dining room? More gifts to open later on Christmas Day. Lily acted as big as her cousins.

Sean shared his new Viking helmet with Lily.Katy and Buck inspired us with their half marathon. Bo and I are working to participate in the Rock N'Roll half next April in Nashville.
The whole family got running shoes.
Bo saw a cedar shoe rack in the Johnston-Murphy catalog and used it as a guide for building his own as a gift for Buck and Andy. Andy asked if he had bought it or made it! The finishing touch was the flattened Alamo penny he attached as a medallion.
Bo thought this was a good time to begin gifting the boys with some memorabilia. He had saved all the caps he used coaching them in Little League baseball. Buck and Katy with Maddie and LilyGreat GrandDad Byrl with Shanna, Maddie, Lily, and Sean-Pretty special!!!!!Uncle Joe and Bo show off their suspenders

And now......let the Forty Two begin!

Let's throw in a little Candyland with Stacy and Sean

Family Picture with Byrl, Bo, Shanna, Steven, Michelle, Sean, and Maddie

A very special picture of Uncle Joe with great grandson Casey and Byrl

Life really is good in Tobin Hill! We are truly blessed and thankful for our wonderful family and all our friends. What a gift it is to have this old house full of those we love.
We wish everyone a very happy and blessed new year! Love and prayers for you and yours,
Bo and Pat