The Truffle Shuffle

Tice used smile sweetly for pictures. Now, he thinks it’s hilarious to make silly faces or do weird little dances. This one resembles the Truffle Shuffle. I promise I did not teach my kid the Truffle Shuffle.

If you’re too old or too young to know what the Truffle Shuffle is, you’re missing a great piece of ’80s American cinema.

And here are a few precursors to his perfected shuffle…

Happy Friday!

–Natalie

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The Elephant in the (Play)Room

It’s time to address the elephant. It’s actually a piano that weighs as much as an elephant. A lot of you have asked and hope it is staying.

The piano came with the house. It was in the entry way when we bought the house. It sat on the front porch for weeks after we finished redoing the floors, until Harper finally found three willing helpers to move it inside. I bit my tongue and felt my blood pressure rise as they weren’t strong enough to get it to its new resting spot without making a long dent in the middle of the freshly finished pine floor. These were all strong guys. With its cast iron innards, the piano is a beast.

In 2005, the piano stayed on the front porch while we had the floors refinished.

The piano’s exterior is in pretty good shape–it could shine with a little oil and elbow grease. The keys and the inside are a different story, though. From this angle, the ebony and ivory look fine…

But without the pretty bokeh, you can see how many of the ebony and ivory key tops have been pulled off. You can also see some Sharpie art and a cigarette burn or two. The wear and tear that came with living in a rent house for many years. (This house was in the same family for several generations, but they used it as a rent house for about 2o years prior to us buying it.) And here’s the kicker–the piano is not original to that family. It actually belonged to one of the renters years ago that decided it was too much to move again. So it stayed with the house from that point on. When I found out the piano didn’t belong to the original family, I felt a huge relief. By that point, I had done enough research to know it would take a lot of money and energy to get the piano repaired and tuned. In fact, I’m not even sure it could ever really be tuned correctly. Knowing it wasn’t original made it a little easier to face the fact that one day, it might have to go.

 

Folks, I think the time has come. I wish it could stay. I wish we had a little more room, but we need the space for something more functional. Even though we have fun “playing” it, it’s not something that would work for really learning to play. It’s basically a toy that takes up an entire wall and weighs a ton. Oh, and a surface for seasonal decor–keep that in mind.

So, what is its fate? The options are few. I spend enough time at thrift stores and antique shops to know that old upright pianos–as beautiful and nostalgic as they may be–don’t sell. They don’t sell. I’ve seen them ambitiously priced at $600 and I’ve seen them sit around for $150. I’ve seen them “Free to a good home” and just “Please Take.”

So, I’ve made a tough choice. Rather than dropping it off (like that’s easy) at Faith Mission, I’ve decided to keep it. But I’m going to keep it in pieces. Yes. We are going to dismantle it. The top part that I’ve used like a mantle, will still be used as a shelf for seasonal decorations. I’ll save the decorative molding for projects, and I even have a few ideas for using the keys.

It’s kind of sad, but I’m pretty sure that’s what would happen to it if it were donated anyway, so it might as well be us.

I’ll miss seeing and hearing him play on it, but what we’re replacing it with is something that came with the house, too. But it’s functional. (More about that soon!)

And just to torture myself, here’s Tice playing the piano a few weeks after his first birthday.

Cheers to a beautiful old piano–from back in the day when things were made in America.

–Natalie

Posted in Decorating, Projects, The Ugly Truth | 2 Comments

Playroom Progress: Rug and Ottomans

I’m so excited that we have progress in the “new” playroom. We moved the dining room table out on Sunday, and I moved the couch from Tice’s room into the playroom yesterday.

You might be thinking that that couch doesn’t look like something that belongs in a playroom. If so, you’re right–not the best choice for room with bouncing boys, but it’s going to have to work. It’s a family piece that I don’t want to part with. I rescued it with Harper’s mom shortly after we got married. It was full of rats’ nests and other nasty stuff, but we–Donna and I, not Harper–could see its potential. I had it reupholstered with white denim and black piping, and it turned out even better than I had imagined. Unfortunately, it didn’t win over Harper. He didn’t want it in the living room because he said everyone would be afraid to sit on it. Since he pretty much lets me do whatever I want with decorating, I decided to play nice on this issue. But, for the record, I would LOVE to have it in our living room…

Okay, now for the rug and ottoman. Try to ignore everything in the room except the couch and wall color. I’ve pretty much narrowed it down to these rug/ottoman combos. I’ll order two of the same storage ottomans. I thought two smaller ones would be easier to move in case we were doing something that required more floor space. Each of the boys will be able to store their toys in their own ottoman.

The rug is a big commitment! I guess that’s why it’s so hard to decide. The good news is that I really like both of them and think they’re neutral enough to work in other rooms, too.

I like this black and white rug (and the price), but I think the gold or gray are going to be better in that room. I wish they had this pattern in gray instead of black–I think it would make good roads and intersections for the boys’ cars and trains. :)

After looking at all of these many times, I’m thinking these are my top choices. What do you think?

–Natalie

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Goodbye, Diningroom :: Hello, Playroom

I love our dining room. It took a long time to get it finished–many hours of pulling and burning strings from the old cheese cloth wall paper, caulking and painting. Here are some “before” and “during” pics from 2004 and 2009. (You can see a post about it here.)

The problem is, we never use it. It’s pretty and (mostly) finished, but we always eat at the bar or in the living room. Since Tice was born, we’ve eaten in there ONCE.

Sometimes I used the piano for seasonal decorations, but then I was never in there to enjoy it.

I decided recently that it’s ridiculous to have an entire room in our house that doesn’t get used. Especially when we’re often wishing for a house with more rooms. It just doesn’t make sense. So, we’re turning the dining room into a playroom. It will give the boys a place to spread out and enjoy their toys without me and Harper freaking out over the ground layer of cars and trains in the living room.

Some of our friends are going to borrow the table and chairs, so we don’t have to worry about selling or storing them. And other than a rug and a pair of ottomans and maybe some floor cushions, I’m going to try to use things that I already have. To say I’m excited would be a gross understatement! I can’t wait to create an inspiring space that will be used daily.

Let the fun begin!

Goodbye, dining room that we never dined in!

Love,

Natalie

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Washington County Fair 2014

Our county fair is the oldest county fair in Texas, and it’s kinda a big deal around here. It’s the picture of a rual(ish) town social event, with lots of homecomings planned around it each year. Even those of us who couldn’t wait to graduate from high school and get out of this small town have probably returned a time or two to see old friends at the fair.

These days, our fair trips don’t revolve around the nightly rodeo, musical entertainment, and cold drinks. It’s all about the kids: carnival rides, animals, and kettle corn.

Since I was pushing the stroller, I didn’t take nearly as many pictures as I did last year (one of my favorite photo series!), but I did capture a few.

Last year, Tice wouldn’t wear his boots. This year, the boots were no problem. And since it was a sunny day, I was about to offer to get him a cap before we left the house, but he disappeared and came back wearing his old fedora. Old, as in it fit him when he was one…

Seems like yesterday!

He still manages to get it crammed on his head–even though his ears don’t always make it inside the hat. You may notice the ears in some of the pics. It’s not the look I would have thought of, but I love to see his style and sense of humor emerge. Judging by his long pause at the mirror before we left, he thought he was looking good–and I’m not going to interfere with that. At least not for the county fair.

Ah, there’s the ears. The smiling and pointing was to tell us that one of his friends from school was behind him.

This little guy was hot and tired, so Tice rode his last ride for the day.

And then the part I was waiting for: kettle corn!

Before we left the house, we were talking about eating popcorn at the fair, and Tice, in his silly voice, told us he was going to put his head in the popcorn. We didn’t pay much attention–until we were at the fair and he tried to put his head into the popcorn. He thought it was hilarious and couldn’t understand why I didn’t want his sweaty head in our already salty snack.

Harper and Harper Junior…

We missed all the fun photo ops with the antique tractors and the show rabbits this year, but Tice get to try out one of the new tractors on our way out.

Until next year!

–Natalie

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