Personal Banking

texastwangdebi

Let’s take “personal banking” to a whole new level……let’s take it to 1954, when a routing number, account number and personal information wasn’t needed on your check, because your bank knew you by name and reputation.

In small towns across America, you could walk into almost any shop, pick up a “counter check” at the cash register/checkout from your particular bank, buy your merchandise and write out a check for the amount, and probably were never asked for ANY form of identification!

In 1954, a man’s word, they said, was his bond. One of the reasons my daddy was always telling my only brother that he had worked hard all of his life, building a good name for himself, and my brother better be careful and not ruin that good name! Fortunately my brother became a good man in his own right…….and even more fortunately, my sister and I married…

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A Still Life Obsession

Since I took up photography as a hobby 4 years ago, I have tried my hand at almost every type of photography, trying to find my *niche*. I have done landscapes, but I don’t like to travel too far from home.

So, I’ll never have fabulous shots of the Grand Canyon or Old Faithful.

Then there were barns and bridges….

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Next up, wildlife/birds…Once again, I like to stay close to home, and I am way too shaky to use a long heavy lens without a tripod.11043314_732670736830235_2863510723530091571_o

 

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I have done a few portrait sessions with some success and one wedding, which was stressful! My brother and his only daughter.

 

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Last summer I started doing small *tablescape* types of shots and found I was good at it! So, I converted my music studio into a photo studio; set up a table and backdrop especially for still life setups and I was off and running!

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I think I have found my niche now….still life objects don’t move, it never rains indoors, it’s always climate controlled so I don’t sweat so badly! I can move things around till my heart’s content to get just the right look for my shot.

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I’m a happy photographer right now….but…you never know!

Photo Obsession

Hello, my name is Debi and I am addicted to photography. I admit it, I’m hooked, obsessed, totally over the top with this *hobby*.

I bought my first DSLR almost 2 years ago, a Nikon D3100. Now I’m up to four, yes, four cameras. Nikon D90, D5000 and D7000. Four cameras, 5 lenses, 3 editing software programs, one new MacBook Pro, a serious case on wheels to hold everything……and assorted accessories!  Woohoo….. My husband has decided he’d like to join me in my hobby (yay?) so I’m going to teach him what (little) I know. Wish us both luck!

I feel like I have learned a great deal in two years. I graduated to shooting in the RAW format a year ago, and have found it increases editing options. I do love editing, it brings out the frustrated artist in me, since I’ve always wanted to paint, but had no talent for it. Editing is the next best thing. Just changing the white balance or a using a preset can change the whole tone of an image, from boring to dramatic; from ho-hum lackluster color, to elegant tones of black and white.

I shot my first (and only) wedding last November, for my oldest niece.  It was a learning experience, for sure! The bride was thrilled with the photos, which made me feel better; but I realized just how little I knew about what I was trying to do. She was on a small budget, though, and I offered to do it as my gift to her. There were some sweet moments:

This was in a very small room, with lots of background clutter on the walls, so I cropped in very close to capture the sweetness of the father of the bride, giving her a good luck kiss before the ceremony.

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The bride with step-mom before the ceremony……I was so happy with this shot in the mirror, which was necessary because the room was so small.

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The bride, groom and family…. Continue reading “Photo Obsession”

Midnight Lady

In 1985 I was playing with the band “Burgundy and Lace” in my hometown and having a blast, learning the ropes, learning to drink, etc. The drummer was a laid back guy named LaVaden (LV for short) Reynolds, and one night at rehearsal, he told me about a song he had written. He had a page full of lyrics with a good premise, the title was “A Midnight Lady named Sadie”…….I saw potential and asked if I could work with the words and see if I could come up with something. He was excited that I was willing to try, so that’s how “Midnight Lady” was born.

I tweaked the lyrics, condensing them to make them more cohesive, and came up with a melody and some chord changes that I really liked. The band learned the song, we performed it regularly in clubs and it was well received. Of course, it was sung by the lead singer, Randy, with me and Linda singing harmony. The version at the top of the page is mine, made with Band in a Box, with my vocals. I really think it could have been a great song in the right hands. I suppose we’ll never know.

LV died about 4 years ago, much too young. It’s a shame that he never got to hear our song on the Internet…….he would have said “wow, man, that’s really cool”. I can hear him saying just those words.

Midnight Lady

She’s a midnight lady, always on the go
sometimes saying maybe, sometimes saying no.
She’s always on the dance floor, at a local bar
living out her fantasy of being someone’s star.

She never goes home before midnight,
but always goes alone
running from the spotlight
never a diamond, just a rhinestone.

She’s a midnight lady, living all alone
looking out the window, listening for the phone,
but when the phone is silent and she cannot sleep
she remembers all the promises that he just couldn’t keep.

Now the midnight lady recalls a love gone by
but the memory is so faded now, she finds it hard to cry,
’cause now that she is older and wiser than before
she realized a broken heart doesn’t matter anymore.

She never goes home before midnight,
but always goes alone
running from the spotlight
never a diamond, just a rhinestone.

ooh..midnight lady
sad and lonely lady
ooh midnight lady
all alone…….

Life’s a Beach

If I have any faults, and I’m pretty sure I have a ton, it would be that I love to decorate. I get carried away, just a bit. Give me a theme and I am off and running…to Hobby Lobby or Garden Ridge, two of my favorite places. When we moved into our house, all the walls and carpet were white, a big blank white canvas just waiting for me to make a splash. And I have made several splashes. Several do-overs along the way, too.

The guest room began with a day bed and a huge assortment of Barbie dolls; then we gave the day bed away, packed up the dolls, and put a full size bed into the room. A full size bed simply isn’t big enough these days for two people, so after we replaced the master bedroom furniture, the guest room acquired a nice queen size bed. Much better.

The room still had no theme, until my father in-law died, and we inherited a lot of his things. He lived in Florida, and loved all things from the beach and ocean. Voila…..my theme became Nautical!

I saw several ideas on HGTV, one of which was small wooden oars, criss-crossed over a window with fabric draped over. I gave my hubby my idea and he asked one of his guys at work make me some oars. When Mike came home with the new oars…..I was shocked……they were about FIVE feet long! I had to re-think my plan…..lol…..So, I painted the oars with a crackle finish, and hung them on the wall above the bed. They are FIRMLY attached to the wall with metal brackets; then I draped some fish netting over/around and filled in with some assorted sea shells. Perfect!

I made the duvet cover and pillows....

Next came the window treatment, since I didn’t have the *small* oars I wanted, I just used a regular café rod, some sheer fabric, tie backs, rope cord trim and a navy blue napkin!

I hung some small wooden shelves above the bed, and decorated with small items and sea shells…..lots of photos of lighthouses fill the walls.

Antique transistor radio....
Sea shells, vintage blue/white doily...

We found this interesting poster in my father in-laws things…..it has something to do with sailors and crossing the equator for the first time, it’s dated October 26, 1943. Very interesting and pretty, too!

Mike took me to Alabama and Mississippi in 1994 to see where he grew up, and to see the HUGE lighthouse at Biloxi. He was so disappointed when we got there, because the lighthouse was so *small*…..he insisted “it was way bigger, it was huge!”…..I just laughed and said, honey…..you were much smaller then, so it WAS huge to you!

The HUGE lighthouse at Biloxi....
Small chair that belonged to my grandmother, the quilt she helped me make as a child, and our Pelican, the Phabulous Phred!

And of course, last but not least…..the beach Christmas tree that has remained in place for 3 years now. Just never seemed like I should remove it, it’s so cute! It’s not like we have guests checking in and out on a regular schedule and no one has ever commented negatively about the tree!

Beach Tree

I decorated this room on a very slim budget….some paint, fabric, fish netting, shells, most of these items came from Hobby Lobby and JoAnn’s and were most likely 50% off. I do love a bargain!

This room makes me feel happy……so, kick off your flip-flops, dig your toes into the sand…..life’s a beach!

My Tuscan Kitchen ~ Before and After

Eleven years ago, my husband and I bought a brand new house, and I was so excited since this was my very first *real* home of my own. We got to choose all the paint, brick, cabinetry, carpet and colors, however, we were on a budget, so we went with just the basics, no upgrades. Over the years, we have managed to replace/upgrade all the lighting fixtures, repaint most of the rooms, put laminate flooring in the living/dining area, and we did *DIY* tiled entryway. We decided that laying tile was not for us, we were too old/fat/out of shape for that job!

Two years ago, we began shopping for granite countertops for the kitchen. We had already replaced the stove, microwave, dishwasher and refrigerator with graphite appliances, as I was never a big fan of stainless steel. Just a little too cold and industrial looking for my personal taste. After pricing the granite countertops, which would have cost around $5,000.00, we backed up and started to rethink our plan.

We spent the money to have ceramic tile laid by a local company, and they did a beautiful job. Our cabinets are not custom-made, although my husband works for a custom cabinet company, those are also out of our price range. Have I mentioned yet, that I am cheap thrifty??? Mike had a friend who would put new laminate on our countertops, so I found a beautiful laminate at Lowe’s, which cost about $450. Quite a savings, right?

We began by removing all the shelves, wallpaper border, mini blinds, and painting the walls in a neutral beige. Goodbye purple.

Goodbye purple.....
Paint prep.....
New color....wow, so much better!

Next came the new flooring, which took several days to complete, since I wanted the tile on the diagonal 🙂

New ceramic tile....in progress..
Mike, who hates to paint, but won't let me climb a ladder!

After the tile was completed and all the appliances were back in place (after being in my living room)…we replaced the light fixtures, finished painting all the trim work, and had crown molding put around the ceiling. Poor Mike, who hates to paint, had to paint the crown.

The cabinet tops were in place by this time and we were almost ready to do the tile back-splash. Since we had done the tiled entryway, I felt confident that we could do the back-splash by ourselves. We finally got it done, but, boy oh boy…..it was nip and tuck for a few days!

Pretty copper-colored glass tile that I chose. Good choice, Debi!

Next came the new oil rubbed bronze faucet, that someone else installed….we know our limits!

New faucet, and the ceramic tile border for the back-splash in place. Making progress!

And the completed back-splash,with which I am very pleased!

Almost finished......YAY....whew!

I decided against curtains for the big windows, we installed new wood blinds, and had a cornice made from the crown molding, painted to match, for a simple clean look; but I wanted a curtain over the sink and on the back door. I chose to make these myself, for a more custom look. They are also very simple and clean, but incorporated all the warm colors of the tile and counter top.

Curtains, with beaded ribbon on tiebacks.....
Looking toward the living room....
So warm and pretty, exactly what I wanted!
Wow....no more purple!

They say that if a marriage can survive remodeling a house, it can survive anything! I’m here to say, truer words were never spoken!

We finished this project not only with our marriage intact, but our budget as well. This whole project cost about 2/3  what the granite countertops would have cost. I got the look I was going for, at a price I could afford, and didn’t go into debt to get it!

I have to add that Mike has teased me for years for watching endless episodes of Bob Vila and HGTV, and DIY shows….but when the time comes to do something like this, I’m pretty well knowledgeable…..I just don’t always have the physical capabilities to do what I want….That’s when being our age has it’s advantages. Hire someone young!

Thanks for looking in on my project, I welcome your comments!

Debi