Creating Beauty From Weeds | A Life Lesson On How Giving Up Sometimes Brings You Up

Hey, y’all! Long time no see *smile*

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from home projects to easy, peasy gluten-free recipes. Just to get this out on the front in–I blog for fun and for self-therapy *wink* I just want to share my projects and life lessons–in hopes of making someone else’s DIY home renovation or day go easier and better! Consider Sweet Sorghum Living your coffee break! So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and sit a spell because today, I am talking about weeds and how easily weeds and life can overwhelm.

Three years ago, my daughter and I created a little backyard patio. We had the best of plans–oh, how we were going to sit out there and relax. *best-laid plans of mice and men*

A little over three years ago, the hubby’s job moved us from our beloved Birmingham area to Northeast Tennessee. It was indeed a cultural shock for me. Not so much in a bad way. But still a shock. See, I love fashion and shopping. I love art and art museums. I love a fabulous girls night out event (champagne and fashion or wine and art).  While living in Birmingham, I enjoyed blogging events with my daughter–from meeting Ty Pennington and Matt Muenster to attending Ken Laurence’s premiere party and going to Birmingham Fashion Week. It was a whirlwind of fun and excitement!

Fashion event at Saks Fifth Avenue in Birmingham.

I met so many people who loved the same things I did–home improvement, fashion, and art. The family and I were always on the go somewhere doing something–mostly involving my daughter’s successful blog or the independent film in which she starred (which her moving away to college was emotionally overwhelming not just for me, but also the hubby–but that is a story for another day *wink*). Getting dressed up and going out was what we did, and we loved it!

Abby and I taking a selfie in the mirror before heading out to a B-Metro event.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not whining or living in the past. My life is good, and God is good. But…starting over in Northeast Tennessee has been a challenge. For three reasons.

One. I am not much of an outdoorsy girl. I love gardening and flowers. I love visiting botanical gardens and zoos. I enjoy a short hike that doesn’t involve the possibility of seeing a bear or a snake. I love looking out of my window and seeing the mountains. I love driving around and seeing the beauty of the outdoors. I enjoy a short bike ride downtown. However, I do not want to sleep in the woods or in a tent or in a cabin without electricity or running water. I do not want to potty in the woods or bury my poo or potty in an adult diaper.

Two. Access to fashion and shopping for fashion is limited. Really limited. I miss having lots of options. I miss dressing up. I miss seeing other people who love dressing up as much I do. I know this sounds petty. I realize there are much, much bigger and way more serious problems in this world. But dressing up and feeling pretty makes me happy. And happy people spread happiness *cue R.E.M. “Shiny Happy People” and take a moment to dance around the room* Now, where were we? Oh, yes! I also believe in expressing oneself through fashion–whether that is pattern mixing or wearing vintage. Fashion speaks.

Three. The acceptance of art and artists is different here. I don’t know how to explain the difference. I just know it is different. It has been a real struggle for me because I love art–all kinds–I love exploring the world of art. I love experimenting with paint and texture. I don’t want to copy. I want to create. How brave those artists were when they showed the world and those nasty critics their interpretations of nature and the human body and spirit–Pointillism, Cubism, Surrealism…the drips and splatters of those action paintings…the drawing with scissors! Oh, my! I could talk about art all day! But lately, I have struggled to pick up the palette knife because I can’t find my place in this area’s art scene, and I wonder if I am wasting my time on this art career dream of mine. Bless! I have contemplated changing my business cards to–Chasidy Hathorn–professional housewife and stay-at-home mom to three precious furbabies. I apologize. That was a bit whiny. *deep breath–cue Simple Minds “Alive and Kicking”*

Where I am going with all of this? Weeds. I am going to talk about weeds and best-laid plans.

This is what giving up looks like.

Flashback. Three years ago, the daughter and I started a backyard project. It was going to be colorful and whimsical. Full of pretty flowers and a cute table with a couple of comfy chairs. Great plan. But then life happened. I got overwhelmed and a little depressed because I was not adjusting well to an area focused on outdoors and craft beer. I kinda gave up. The daughter was super involved in college and still is, the hubby was traveling more with his job and still is, and I was stuck at home–with the reality that I hadn’t applied for a job in well over five years.

Definitely not the plan.

So, life did not turn out the way I expected it to…the plans never materialized. I rolled around in my self-pity bed wearing my ugly self-pity pjs. Sure, I have been busy doing this or that–teaching children’s art–which is totally fun. Volunteering here and there. Making new friends. As I stated earlier, life is good and God is good, but…I have been struggling. I have been hiding the struggle really well (I think). Smiling. Laughing. Going out and being social. But on the inside, I look like my abandoned backyard project. See, my backyard sadness is hidden by a privacy fence–so from the street–no one can see…Just like no one has been able to see how I really feel.

The moment you realize that you have to snap out of it before the flamingos pack up and move away.

Dirt on the door courtesy of Ziva (my Giant Schnauzer) who likes to “knock” to be let in. Bless! This rug must feel really sad….

Broken pot = broken dreams. **This photo was taken during the revamping.**

About a month ago, I tried to gussy up the little porch. Once again, life got a little overwhelming, so the porch and patio project got pushed aside. Good news is I watered that little plant–because deep down I still had hope.

The plan was to create upcycled yard art to go on either side of the walkway–junky, funky flowers. To be totally honest, it is where the furbabies potty when it is raining….Truth.

About a week ago, I let the girls out to potty in the backyard. I was standing on the patio waiting on them to do their biz, when I realized that my life was this abandoned backyard project. So, I did what any good, strong Southern woman would do. I rolled up my sleeves and went to work.

I got the hubby to create a gate between the new doggy run (potty station) and the backyard (the area with the grass that hadn’t been mistreated by pups and left forsaken by the humans).

Cleaned out all of the weeds and plants, added pine straw, and rearranged the stepping stones.

Ziva and Mattie checking things out + The daughter and hubby taking a quick break. To learn more about the basket-weave fence the hubby built, click here. (That click will take you to the post called Fence Weaving and Painting.)

Mattie prefers to walk on the stepping stones. Ziva loves it all.

There are still some little things left to do like painting the new gate and door, but I am determined to get them all done this week. The good news is the furbabies have their own little backyard spot (which prevents them from terrorizing the newly landscaped green space), and I have a renewed spirit.

“It’s easy to take the time to stop and smell the roses but one must be willing to give of themselves enough to also stop to admire and understand life’s weeds.” ― Colleen Dougherty

“When life is not coming up roses
Look to the weeds
and find the beauty hidden within them.”
― L.F.Young

If you follow me on Facebook, you know I have mentioned my strawberry plants…well, this is my second berry to harvest–the rest the birds have eaten! I don’t think I will be making jam anytime soon *wink*

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Fence Weaving and Painting

The hubby used treated deck boards to create the basket-weave fence.

The hubby used treated deck boards to create the basket-weave fence. I helped a little, but he did most of the work *smile* I did enjoy using the nail gun…gotta love a girl that can handle the power tools *wink*

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living! Today on the blog we are going to chat about the fence project at the new house and take a peek inside my mudroom, which is a work in progress…but then again…my entire house is a work in progress!

The hubby decided that the fenced area needed a little bit of lighting. It is just enough to light the perimeter and the gates. After we finish the deck, I am going to create some upcycled, fun lights for the fenced area and the deck.

The hubby decided that the fenced area needed a little bit of lighting. It is just enough to light the perimeter and the gates. After we finish the deck, I am going to create some upcycled, fun lights for the fenced area and the deck.

Once the fence had properly dried, we headed to Home Depot to pick up sample paints.

Once the fence had properly dried, we headed to Home Depot to pick up sample paints.

Sweet Sorghum Living Outdoor Painting Tips:

1.  Use leftover pieces of wood from your project to test the paint colors.

2.  Don’t be shy about getting several paint samples to test.

3.  Once you have your test pieces painted, live with them for a few days.

4.  Check them at different times of the day in order to get a feel of how the color will change throughout the day.

5. Poll your neighbors, friends, and family for their color picks.

6.  If you live in a historical home, check out colors that would have been used during the time period of your home.

6.  At the end of the day, pick a color that makes you happy and works well with the surroundings.

The hubby applying Behr Premium Semi-Transparent Weather Proofing All-In-One Wood Stain and Sealer in Chocolate. Whew! That was a mouthful *wink* I love this color...but I am thinking more deck than fence.

The hubby applying Behr Premium Semi-Transparent Weather Proofing All-In-One Wood Stain and Sealer in Chocolate. Whew! That was a mouthful *wink* I love this color…but I am thinking more deck than fence. *P.S. I think the hubby would make a nice hand model *smile*

Creating more test pieces because the first two sample paints we brought home just did not have the wow factor for which we were looking.

Creating more test pieces because the first two sample paints we brought home just did not have the wow factor for which we were looking.

The sample paints we picked out to test were all Behr Premium Weather Proofing All-In-One. We tested both the semi-tranparent and the solid color wood stains.

The sample paints we picked out to test were all Behr Premium Weather Proofing All-In-One. We tested both the semi-tranparent and the solid color wood stains.

From top to bottom: semi-tranparent in Chocolate, solid color in Woodland Green, solid color in Mountain Spruce, semi-transparent in Wedgewood, and semi-transparent in Mountain Spruce

From top to bottom: semi-transparent in Chocolate, solid color in Woodland Green, solid color in Mountain Spruce, semi-transparent in Wedgewood, and semi-transparent in Mountain Spruce

After several days of observing and moving the boards around, we had narrowed it down to two--Woodland Green and Mountain Spruce.

After several days of observing and moving the boards around, we narrowed it down to two–Woodland Green and Mountain Spruce.

And the winner is....Woodland Green! It was the perfect color to complement our house and its surroundings. There is still some touch-up painting left to do and some landscaping (which I am thinking dark greens, yellows, pinks)...and a deck to build...but we are getting there slowly, but surely *smile*

And the winner is….Woodland Green in the solid color stain! It is the perfect color to complement our house and its surroundings. There is still some touch-up painting left to do and some landscaping (which I am thinking dark greens, yellows, pinks)…and a deck to build…but we are getting there slowly, but surely *smile*

I am really loving the fence–the style and the color. The fur babies are also loving it–running around free from the leashes! I am so very thankful and blessed to have a handy hubby who truly enjoys creating and building. Most days, we make a pretty good duo *smile*

Sneak peek inside the mudroom

 

I am guessing by all the oddities of the mudroom that it used to be a porch. I love its quirkiness, and I want to bring color and spunk to the space.

I am guessing by all the oddities of the mudroom that it used to be a porch. I love its quirkiness, and I want to bring color and spunk to the space.

I am currently installing wall art and bringing in furniture pieces. Once I figure out what I want in the room and where I want it all to be, I will decide on paint color.  I am leaning toward the color I used in the shiny, happy basement at Sloss Castle–Lime Sorbet by Glidden. It will be a tough decision because the mudroom flows into the utility room which is directly off the kitchen. Bad news is there is no door between the kitchen and the utility room because the original door was damaged…keep in mind this is a 1920 home so the hubby and I will have to go on a hunt for a door–or build a swinging door…Whew! As stated earlier, the entire house is a work in progress!

Thanks for sitting a spell me today as we explored outside painting tips, the basket-weave style fence, and all the projects I have running around in my head! I will be on a road trip for several days–so I am going to attempt to mobile blog…just in case I fail at my attempt…follow all the road tripping excitement on my social media 🙂

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