Mindy Obenhaus
Renovating the Big House Part One – Out with the Old
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A couple of weeks ago I shared about our recent move from the suburbs of Dallas-Ft. Worth to our family ranch in south central Texas. Now that we’re officially transplanted, it’s time for phase two of the Obi’s big move to commence.

Renovating the big house.

Now I completely understand why Chip Gaines gets so excited about demo day.It’s gratifying in so many ways.

One swing of the sledgehammer and you know you’re on your way to bigger and better things.From the moment the thought entered our minds to renovate my in-laws’ house instead of building new, there were certain things my husband and I couldn’t wait to see gone. Such as this brick wall that not only kept things darker inside the house, it also blocked our view of the beautiful countryside.

When my in-laws  built the house in 1975, they wanted a Mexican-style hacienda, so the wall was there to create a courtyard that was once beautifully and lovingly landscaped by my mother-in-law.

But the lush foliage is long gone and we want an open Texas-style ranch house. So, where there once was a rather drab brick wall…  It’s now open and inviting. Best of all, we can watch the cattle and deer as they wander by.Next on our list of must-go’s was the 70’s era kitchen with it’s dark cabinets, dropped ceilings and orange countertops. We also wanted to remove the wall between the kitchen and dining room and vault the ceiling in the kitchen to match the den for one big open space.So with the help of our contractor and his crew…

Wow! These two rooms have been transformed already and we’ve barely gotten started. The third thing we wanted gone were the arches in the living room.While they may have worked in the Mexican-style hacienda, they aren’t quite right for a Texas ranch house. Besides, they, too, were blocking part of our view.

Now the space is wide open, save for the much-small support columns. And would you look at that view.The last and probably number one thing, next to the kitchen, that we couldn’t wait to change was the master bathroom. The already small space had been broken into two smaller rooms, so our goal was to open everything up and start fresh.

When we did, we discovered the backside of the fireplace. Just look at the perfectly good brick that’s been covered all these years. Okay, so it’s not that good looking and it doesn’t all match, but we can still paint it and add some great texture to the space. Not to mention removing the wall bought us an extra ten inches of space. That’s a snapshot of what’s happened so far. Flooring is still being removedAnd the sheetrock continues to come down.

But it’s all a part of the process.

Now it’s your turn. Have you ever tackled your own renovation/remodel? Or do you prefer to sit back and watch shows like Fixer Upper on TV? If you were going to redo one room in your home, what would it be?

A Gift for You – My Favorite Holiday Recipe
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Christmas is almost here. The tree is decorated, the presents are wrapped and cookies have been baked. I can hardly believe how this year has flown by.

This has been a busy writing year and I am happy to announce that Their Ranch Reunion, the first in my new series entitled Rocky Mountain Heroes will be out in August 2017, with the second yet-to-be-titled book releasing in December.

But as we approach this most blessed time of year, I wanted to take a moment to wish all of you the merriest of Christmases and give a you a very special gift. One of my all-time favorite holiday recipes that everyone around you can share in.

holiday-scentChristmas scent is so easy. Even if you rarely set foot in your kitchen, you can have your entire house smelling like the holidays.

Christmas scent consists of :

3 (4 inch) cinnamon sticks

3 bay leaves

1/4 cup whole cloves

half of a lemon

half of an orange

1 quart of water

Bring all ingredients to a boil; reduce heat and simmer as long as you like, adding more water as necessary. People will think you’ve been cooking up a storm. 🙂


Are You a Junk Gypsy?
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Junk Gypsies Perhaps I ‘m a little behind the times, but I recently discovered a television show called Junk Gypsies. The show focuses on two sisters who have perfected the art of junking.

What is junking?

Well, it taking someone else’s discarded or unwanted items, aka junk, and giving it a new life. Like taking the top of an old pinball machine and turning it into a fun table. Or making wall sconces from an old motorcycle gas tank.

Needless to say, this takes a lot of thinking outside of the box. Something I’m not always good at. I mean, let’s face it, the box is familiar and doesn’t require many brain cells.

There was a lot of creative thinking going on at Round Top (see my previous post). Who would think to make a wreath out of coffee filters? Coffee Filter WreathBut it works. And it was far prettier in person.

Here, old rulers, gears, jewelry and numerous other trinkets take on a new life as wall art.

What do you think about junking?

Even if you’re not into junking, do tend to think outside the box? Does it come naturally or do you have to work at it?

Tell me about your creative side.

Round Top Antiques Fair Wrap-Up – Spring 2015
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Road to Round Top

Yes, it’s antiquing and junking time in Texas. Well, it was anyway. But if you missed it, don’t worry. Come late September/early October, we’ll be at it again.

In case you’re wondering, I’m talking about the biannual event that takes place in and around the tiny town of Round Top, Texas, population 90. People come from all across America–evidenced by the Saturday morning line of traffic above–to buy and sell wares during the week-and-a-half-long event.

My oldest daughter and I decided to make a long weekend of it, so on our way, we stopped at Magnolia in Waco, Texas. If you’re a fan of the HGTV show Fixer Upper, you know the place I’m talking about.MagnoliaThis place is awesome. And kind of crowded. Seems we’re not the only ones who love that show. Good thing Chip and Joanna Gaines will soon be moving to a larger location.

Finally, we made it to the main event.

Technically, we spent most of our time in Warrenton as opposed to Round Top. You see, this is ranching land. Which means there are lots of fields broken up by these little hamlets you’d likely miss the rest of year. Miles of fields are transformed into mega malls for treasure hunters.Vendor Tents at BridgeVendor Tents3Vendor Rows

You never know what you might find.

Need a grand centerpiece for a table?

Need a grand centerpiece for a table?

Or a unique chandelier?

Or a unique chandelier?

Antique furniture.

Some antique furniture, perhaps?

Maybe wall art is your thing.

Maybe wall art is your thing.

Or simply inspiration.

Whatever the case, you just–Display2Keep…Display4Looking.Zapp Hall2

You might even find some things you didn’t even know you needed.Blinged Out Hunting Trophy Jar of Wasp Nests

But that down-home hospitality will bring you back again and again. Round Top Street4Lawmen on HorsebackAre you into antiques or junking? Perhaps you like crafting or DIY projects and are always on the lookout for inspiration. Then antiques weekend in the place for you. You can learn more about Texas Antiques Weekend at http://www.antiqueweekend.com/indexmain.html.

Love at First Sight
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Have you ever been walking through a store and seen something you just have to have? Assuming that whatever it is fits within your budget.

That happened to me last week. After sharing with you about my color box, I was at Ross and stumbled upon this.001 (800x533)

The color is what first caught my eye. Soft and soothing. Second, it was kinda big. What a great way to store things in plain sight. It was even large enough to hold DVD cases.

Then I began to read. So many words of encouragement. Don’t forget to enjoy the little things. Be gracious. Always dream big.

Finally, I looked at the tag. $6.99


That baby was going home with me.

“What are you going to use that for?” my husband asked.

“To hold something very important,” I replied.

Remember this?001 (800x533)

Totally unbefitting the title “Color Box,” don’t you think?

So, farewell old bland shoe box.

Hello, Color Box.004 (800x533)

And would you just look at all that room I have to add more paint swatches.

Useful bargains, especially those you love, are always the best.

What’s your most recent had-to-have purchase?