Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Decorating Details For Hannah's Room

When we began to plan the girls rooms we asked for their input on what they wanted as part of their room décor.  Lauren was mostly concerned with having her toys returned that she had seen packed away for our move, but Hannah had some very definite ideas about how she wanted her room decorated.

To begin with, our purple loving princess was adamant about purple walls.  She also wanted a "fabric thing" for her bed.  To better define what she was talking about she pointed to some pictures in magazines and then really liked this one, except in her colors, from a girls room on Pinterest.

So, as we decorated we painted the wall colors the girls had chosen from our trip to Lowes to buy painting supplies . Then once we were able to get the girls settled into their own rooms the process of adding the decorating details began.  While I like the look of the netting too, a couple of issues with it are there for me.  First, whatever I put up I wanted to be able to take down for cleaning to keep down dust and dirt in her room.

Hannah's bed before

Then too, I took issue with the safety of having the gauzy fabric actually where she might get tangled or accidentally bring the thing down on her head.  So in considering our options I came up with this idea.  I would use a shelf my father had made for Amber when she was Hannah's age.  It has irises on each shelf end and is not only useful, but pretty as well. It's painted in a "chippy" white to have a shabby chic look to it.  We mounted this over her bed.

I bought purple tulle curtain panels with silver sparkles on them from Walmart.  I ran a purple ribbon through the top of each panel and pulled them into a loop that I hooked over cup hooks I put under each side of the bottom of the shelf.   Then with a small brad in the center I used a small safety pin with a bow to hook these panels together. If we decide to keep the panels in this style I'll exchange the pin for a snap.

Ribbon with large pin to help pull ribbon through curtain tops.

Ribbon, cup hooks, and beads.

Purple curtain panels

I also purchased some purple beads and strung them together to use as fabric pulls attached to two more cup holders on each side of the bed.

Stringing the beads for tie backs

So our princess has her "fabric thing" in her favorite color with a functional shelf for holding some
of her decorative pieces and I have the piece of mind that this is easily removed for washing and out of the way for safety.  Makes us all happy and adds to the decorative details she really wanted in her space.

Hannah's bed after

Beads to hold fabric


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Jewelry Armoire Project

A couple weeks ago we found a garage sale with some fishing tackle for Kevin and a jewelry armoire that I could use in our bedroom.  The piece was in decent shape with a couple mars on the wood and one corner chipped.  It was a dark wood and seeing that I've been painting all our bedroom pieces white this piece redone would work well.

Jewelry armoire before. Left lower corner has chipped edge and side a few mars on the wood.

Interior storage on top, side panels open and drawers.

I started by cleaning it and giving it a light sanding to remove the sheen, then priming it with a spray on primer.  The hardware proved a challenge because with the padded jewelry backer you couldn't simply remove the hardware for painting without having to take off the padded jewelry liner. That would be more work than it was worth and I worried it might be damaged in the removal process. This required taping and covering the interior with newspaper and masking tape, and  I just got creative with the masking tape and covered the hardware completely.  Then once it was done I had to touch up the white paint that was damaged by the tape and use a brass model paint to touch up where the primer got on the hardware.

Drawer pull taped for painting

The pulls were a bit more challenging with its angle and pull to cover with tape.

With the white finish the flaws on the wood add to the shabby chic finish and I'm pleased with the final results.  It will be a usable piece of furniture as we continue to find pieces for our bedroom.

Armoire finished

So another project down and the treasure hunting continues as we look to get our home and storage needs met. Think it was a pretty good find and bargain for $25 and a little work and paint.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Simple Things

With all the rain and the humidity it produces the girls have spent more time indoors entertaining themselves.  We made a trip to the library to stock up on more books and videos to add to their options.  Hannah has been completely taken with Nancy Drew Mystery books.  Lucky for her there are hundreds of stories to choose from and the kids section of the library is well stocked.  This makes for many hours of reading time, a favorite past time for her. Lauren enjoys her picture books as she's still learning to read, and to have Hannah read to her.

Another fun activity is kind of a blast from the past for Cameron.  The wood puzzle crafts we used to find at hardware and dollar stores when he was little and he built a whole collection of these, were
at the local Harbor Freight store we stopped at for some supplies the other day.  The girls each chose a favorite dinosaur to build and Cameron acted as helper in putting them together. Think this was just an excuse to build them again : )  .

You start by punching out of the wood your puzzle pieces

Lauren intent on her work

Once all the pieces are out, assembly begins

Laurens finished masterpiece

Hannah's completed dinosaur - the smile says it all.

Both found them as fun to do as Cameron used to and we'll probably find ourselves adding a whole new set of these creations to their room décor!!

Had to make a trip to a new vet for Bea.  An unwelcome critter or critters have made themselves at home on our animals as the temperatures heated up.  Fleas!!! Yuch.  We began an all out war on eliminating them from the dogs, anywhere they might try to take up residence in our home and the yard.  We've had some success, but as the vet said that here in Florida they tend to be far more aggressive and conditions allow them to flourish.  So the topical treatments weren't working and Bea had become raw and her skin infected from all her licking, due in part to the dog shampoo I'd been using to try and help her - great!!

Bea at vet, not happy she whined the whole time : (

Trip home she felt a bit wiped out by the shot meant to help with her itching.

So a vet trip and almost $300 later we have antibiotics, medicine for her itching, medicated shampoo and a years supply of an oral flea and heartworm treatment for she and the other dogs.  We've already seen a difference and are glad to see her feeling better and not driving us crazy with her constant scratching and whining.  Poor Bea.

I've been painting a jewelry armoire I bought at a garage sale and will share that in another post. Cameron and Kevin are still finishing all those details in Cameron's room that make it a truly finished space.  It's looking great, but it does take time and we're still looking for the proper storage pieces to let him finish unpacking.  I've spotted a few garage sales to check out in the next few days. Woohoo, more "treasure hunting"!!!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

ECHO Rangers

In my last post about our visit to DeBary Hall I mentioned that we were signing the girls up as part of our homeschooling schedule this Fall for a program called ECHO Rangers.  This stands for Ecological, Cultural, Heritage and Outdoors.  The program is done for kids 1st to 5th grades in conjunction with various museums, historical sites, parks and municipal locations to teach them about the county they inhabit and the history, natural environment, artistic outlets etc.. that are available.

Beginning August 16th, 2013 and going through to the cookout and graduation celebration May 31, 2014, each participant gets their booklet and lanyard for the program price of $20.  Each child works with their family to go to the sites, museums or functions over the course of these 9 months and has a stamp placed in their notebooks as they attend these educational and fun activities designed by each locations program director.

Girls program notebooks and lanyards that act as their entry passes to our various sites required to visit as a part of the program.  This passport is where you collect the required 8 stamps to graduate and participate in the graduation BBQ.

This will be a great opportunity to check out places in our county that will not only be fun and educational, but will allow us to meet some other kids and probably other homeschoolers since this is the kind of activity that attracts others like us to participate in.  (smile)  Also looking at news articles and reviews from past years there seemed to be a lot of the participants in the program who were homeschoolers. 

Since Hannah is going into the 4th grade, part of the curriculum at this point is to do a complete history of your particular state.  We did this with Cameron when we were in California and made a LOT of tours of the Missions that were around the Southern California area and some of the local sites that were old Indian and Spanish historical sites.  It was fun and very educational and something he still remembers fondly.  Especially when we created the San Diego Basilica out of stuccoed cardboard and painted penne pasta to simulate the roof tiles. It was fun, so we're hoping this will be equally entertaining and educational for both the girls, but particularly for Hannah as we begin her Florida State History course.

If you're interested here's the link to the program.  ECHO Rangers

We'll be making follow up posts as we make our trips to the various locations to explore our new home State and enjoy this program that we're now a part of.

Have a great day - Lynda

Monday, July 22, 2013

DeBary Hall

On Saturday we decided to tour one of the local historic sites and to sign up for a program that we will use in conjunction with our homeschooling this coming year.  The site is called DeBary Hall.
It was the Winter retreat and hunting lodge of a European born wine merchant and wealthy New York aristocrat Frederick DeBary.  He completed his 8000 square foot, 20 room retreat in an area that was the first territorial capitol of Florida known as Enterprise in 1871.

DeBary House front 1874 

DeBary house front today

Born Baron Samuel Frederick DeBary, January 12, 1815 in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany he was friends in his youth of the Mumm family, known for their champagne.  When he was 25 they asked him to introduce their product to the United States and act as a distribution agent to a new wealthy class that lived in New York. 
He came to the U.S. in 1840 and quickly became quite wealthy.  He returned to Germany in 1844 to marry his wife Julie.  They became a popular pair of hosts in the social circles of their day and an invitation to one of their parties was a sign of being in the truly upper circles of society.

Frederick DeBary

The couple had two children, their son Adolphe and daughter Eugenie.  Adolphe married and had 4 children, two who died in their early childhoods and the other two a son, young Adolphe and daughter Leonie. His sister, Eugenie married at 19 and moved to Europe where she remained the rest of her life.

Eugenie Von Mouch (her married name)

Frederick DeBary began buying his steamboats as a means of getting himself and later his guests down to Florida for hunting trips and Winter getaways.  He would later purchase more and provide a ferry service that included getting a mail contract to bring mail to Florida.  His steamboats were a life source for residents for materials and travel to this location that was the last site of "civilization" this far South in the U.S.  The area known as Enterprise was the last developed area before miles of Florida swamp lands.  It would be years before developments would grow further to the south that are now so much larger and well known like Tampa, Palm Beach and further on to the Florida Keys.

DeBary steamer with passengers 1890

Ad for the steamer line

Scenes from the film shown at the beginning of our tour.  Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote of travel on this steam line.

Old postcard of the DeBary steamer on the St John River

Frederick DeBary divested his steamboat interests by selling at the height of their popularity, because he could see the age of the railroad was coming.  Again he added to his vast fortune.  He used the 10,000 acres of land he owned to plant orange and pecan trees that he transported up North to the markets there.  He was in his late 80's when a devastating freeze wiped out the majority of his trees,
and decided not to reinvest at that point in his life to maintain this part of his business.

1800's view from front of house looking over orange groves towards Lake Monroe

View from front of house today

Poster sized old picture of laborers in the stable area with antique wagons and equipment on display

The orange sorting equipment used to sort by size and weight for packing and shipping

Leonie with the old hunting wagon and hounds in the 1930's. This wagon dates back to her grandfather's time.

Wagon in the stable today

Stable complex picture from 1937

Stable entrance today.  Antiques are on the left hand side and interior of barn has been fixed up to use as a rental hall for weddings and other group events.

Barn door with antique equipment and wagons inside

Old guest travel wagon

At his death his property here in Florida was passed on to his two grandchildren young Adolphe and Leonie.  After Adolphes graduation from Harvard he was with friends out to dinner when he saw a motor car about to hit a young woman.  He dashed out to push her out of it's path and to safety, but was struck and killed himself.  Leonie was then sole heir to the estate.  She would marry a childhood friend named Benjamin Brewster.  Both had a love of airplanes and would regularly fly from the East down to their Florida estate to vacation.  They did not have any children and when both died in 1941 when their small plane crashed into a mountainside in bad weather the estate was left to linger for quite awhile until it was sold to two developers. 

Leonie's studio portrait in her early 20's

Hot air engines on property used for irrigation and pumping water from a rain water collection cistern underneath the house to a 500 gallon copper holding tank in the attic of the home for inside running water, quite rare and ingenious back in it's day.

The acres of property that had the estate on it was divided into lots and sold as a retirement community called, Plantation Estates in the early 50's.   This development included the control and maintenance of the large house and it's remaining land.
The upkeep was too much and the community and they donated it to the Florida Arts Center.  They too found this too expensive to keep and the estate fell into disrepair. It was slated for demolition after the arts community donated it to the State of Florida, but a group that sought to conserve it made friends in high places in Washington and in 1971 it was listed on the National Registery of Historic Sites and protected from demolition.  It wouldn't be until the 1990's though that any serious restoration began and tours could begin of this site.  We found our time there fascinating and look forward to returning to participate in educational programs they will host at this facility and in conjunction with other arts, cultural and environmental places of interest in this county.  This is part of a program called the ECHO rangers I signed the girls up for and will tell about in another post.

Tenant house moved from a remote part of DeBary property to this location.  There used to be many of these homes to house the workers who managed the many acres of the DeBary land.

Side entrance to the home today. The original part of the home is to the right and just past the ramp in the center and to the left is the second part of the home added during Frederick Debary's day.

Caretakers home as it is today.  Still houses current caretaker.

Old ice house.

Visitors as they dressed to "relax" back in the 1800's at this home.

Our kids visiting on Saturday.

Love finding there are really some places of rich history and significance so close to home!!