Monday, October 27, 2014

CRAZY and Loving EVERY Minute of It!!!


So much going on here lately.... it has been VERY difficult to blog......BUT today I have decided firmly to MAKE myself take a few minutes and get back in the groove because I absolutely LOVE blogging, and I miss it terribly!!  Our handcrafted furniture business is just BOOMING, and I am soooooo very thankful and blessed that there are people out there that still have faith in keeping the American Dream alive!!!!  :)   What transpired from us just taking a GINORMOUS leap of faith has completely surpassed any and all of our expectations, and we are just so incredibly blessed.

When I stop and reflect on all we have accomplished in the past few months, I am OVERWHELMED with so many emotions.  And to think....EVERY bit of this all started with nothing more than straight-up faith.  Two people who couldn't find furniture they liked to start their new life together decided to make some of their own.  Two people who just wanted to be together every day and not be separated by miles for weeks out of the month just stepped outside of the box and took a chance, the chance of a lifetime.  Our first piece is still my favorite and always will be.....



We did NOT have the money to start a business....I wish I could make it all sound perfect and wonderful and say we did, but the real truth is we did not.  When I say we had nothing but hopes, dreams, and a WHOLE LOT of faith, I am dead serious. 

I know there are plenty of people we know who think we are crazy!  I mean, seriously, who DOES what we did????  And, you know what???  They are RIGHT!  We are CRAZY!  Crazy in love with each other, crazy over what we do, crazy about every single piece of furniture we build, crazy enough to take a chance, and crazy enough to LIVE life!!! 

I think people don't realize that we work seven days a week over here, seven days a week.....just about eighteen hours or more on most of those days, and we work HARD!  (I have to admit, we both LOVE a hot Krispy Kreme donut, and we do take time out to partake in a FEW of those from time to time, but that is usually on the way back from a delivery even then!!) The crazy part is, we don't mind any of this craziness that goes on pretty much 24/7.  We love EVERY single second of it!!! 

Along this journey, we have met some of the most amazing people.  I can't begin to tell you how EACH and EVERY one of these people has touched our lives in some way.  I feel so connected to all of the people who have a piece of our furniture in their home.  I don't know how to explain it, but each of our customers is so very special to us.  I feel as if I have known all these people my entire life!  That happens every single time I finally get to "see" them in person, and I can't explain it.  It's just this connected feeling that already exists. 

And, tonight, I sit here and look around, and I see THREE different pieces that once belonged to various customers' grandmothers.  I guess to a lot of people, that wouldn't mean much of anything, but to me, it means EVERYTHING.  To be entrusted with something that belonged to someone's grandmother.... I can't even begin to tell you how that makes us feel.  To be entrusted to take a treasured item that has been handed down from grandmother, to mother, to daughter........wow.....  And then to be asked to create a piece that mirrors those treasured heirlooms.....even more WOW.  To think that people trust us and believe in us enough to create something that will share a home with their grandmother's pieces.....it truly touches both of us beyond measure. 

It's all the little things like that, those grandmother's pieces, that make me proud to say that yep, we are absolutely as crazy as we can be!!!  We are indeed completely crazy over everything about what we are doing, completely crazy over every single second of this new endeavor, and completely crazy with work and serving God through this business.  So, here's to being crazy and here's to loving every single second of it!!  Who knew being crazy would be so awesome!!! 






Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Big Adventure in Wood Oxidation!

We have been SUPER busy lately!  Getting the kids back in school, building and filling our orders, and just trying to catch our breath a little before this summer is over.  Sad to see it go, but definitely looking forward to some cooler temperatures here on the Gulf Coast!!  We just finished up on what is probably one of my FAVORITE pieces EVER....I say that ALL the time, though, but this time I mean it!! LOL

People often ask me what I do in our business.....I think they assume that I only do the "computer" stuff, like keep up the Facebook, take and process the orders, write the blog posts.  BUT....that is VERY far from the truth!! It takes BOTH of us to keep up with this!!! 

I can't tell you the last time I had on a pair of heels or full-blown makeup.  I know some of you are SHOCKED at the thought, but I am telling you I thought I would miss it terribly, but truth is I HAVEN'T not one teeny, tiny bit!!

Believe it or not, Miss Priss Pot uses the power tools, sands, stains, and paints her little heart out right beside Kenny every day that goes by.  This is a team effort, and we are partners 100% in all we do!!  I no longer "glisten" as we say in the south, I SWEAT, and I sweat BUCKETS!!!!  And, I can promise you I do not need a gym membership because we are steadily lifting furniture, moving boards, walking, and working HARD daily.  My gym membership money goes to LOWE'S!!! :)

I absolutely love and adore this piece we just finished.  I have been dying to try the wood oxidation process on something, and this little beauty was my perfect opportunity!!!!  Let me tell you, I was SCARED to death at first, and even during the process, but it all worked out in the end!  Take a look at how stunning this piece is!!


LOVE it!!!!  The x pieces we build are my absolute FAVES, I do believe.  I love them the most simply because they will go with any style décor.  Lord knows how much I change my mind on what style I like at any given moment, so these pieces can easily change with my mood!

I absolutely LOVE weathered wood. To me, weathered wood has a patina that NOTHING can match. BUT.....it is HARD sometimes to find weathered wood, especially in the size you need at the time. I'm just impatient, and what I want, I want NOW. So, thank goodness there's a way to "quickly" oxidize wood using steel wool and vinegar... AND no splinters are involved!!!!
This process is so simple, and I encourage any of you who have been wanting to give it a whirl to do so!  I will tell you this up front, however, it does require PATIENCE, so be prepared!!

To begin with, you just need two ingredients and a jar!  Sooooo simple.  I had the vinegar left over from Easter, and I got the steel wool at Lowe's over in the paint department. LOVE Lowe's because they are always so helpful!  They even asked me was I doing wood oxidation!  You have to love a place that is "up" on all the latest techniques and is prepared to help!!



I then got out a pickle jar and put one hunk of steel wool (which I tore up into good size chunks first to make it oxidize faster), dropped it into the glass jar and then filled the jar with vinegar about 3/4 full. I let the solution steep for a few days, shaking the jar occasionally.  Be sure to tell everyone in your family what it is because the mixture eventually begin to look a LOT like a batch of sun tea!!!  I think most people wouldn't drink it once they opened the jar, but you never know!

 As the steel wool dissolves, the solution will occasionally bubble when you shake the jar.  The solution will look "rusty" after a few days like mine.  This batch is a bit darker because I had been "cooking it up" for a little while.....


Captain Kenny worked his magic on the boards, and he brought them to me one by one.  Why do we do this???  Because we are DETAIL people, and when we build our pieces, we build them just like we want them in our home.  This means we finish every side, every nook, and every cranny to create a handcrafted piece that will be a legacy piece. 

While he was making the cuts and routing/sanding the boards, I brewed a STRONG batch of black tea (about six or seven bags and a cup or so of water) and let it cool.  Believe it or not, I do A LOT of research on this business adventure of ours, and I have learned enough about wood from so many wonderful bloggers out there to where I think I could probably add forestry or something like it to my resume LOL!!  From what I have learned, each type of wood has a different level of "tannin" in it, and that level of tannin reacts with stains, oxidation processes, etc. to give each type of wood a different patina. So......some woods require a little extra tannin to get the desired shade, and this can only be provided with a pre-wash mix of black tea.
 
That's my black tea there in the Folgers can!  I gave each and every board a good wash with the strong black tea and let it dry. After that, I went to work with the vinegar and steel wool concoction, just painting each and every part of the boards with the mixture.  After about five minutes, the wood looked like this:

 
 
I knew then I was going to LOVE this piece and this process!!!!  After the boards dried, Captain Kenny worked a little more magic and created this fabulous x console.  I then sanded it down completely one final time to create a more even finish.  This was my first time doing wood oxidation, and I did have drips.  I will admit, I am NOT perfect, but we want our pieces to be perfect, even if we aren't.  Soooo...we both decided that it needed a little sanding, and that fixed everything PERFECTLY and even gave the piece a better finish than what we originally expected!
 
 
This is probably my favorite piece we have ever created!  Love, love, love, love wood oxidation and the look it gives.  This piece has the weathered look of driftwood without the mess, splinters, or rough texture.  This process truly creates a high-end Pottery Barn look that I love but can't afford!  It's worth the time and the effort, ya'll, so if you like this look, give it a try!  I am sure glad I did!!!



Monday, August 11, 2014

Built with Love

I don't think any of us take enough time in our lives to reflect upon things that matter to us the most. I hate to sit here and write that something material matters so much to me....I really dislike people who are wrapped up in material things. I learned the hard way that material things GO, and that they really don't matter a bit in the big picture God has for us. (Remember that old joke....never saw a Uhual behind a hearse?? LOL) But....there is one material thing that means a great deal to me, and I want to share the story behind it with you guys.

This past spring I wanted a headboard.....NEEDED a headboard. I searched high and low and could not find a headboard I liked, new or used. After another lost weekend of looking at particle board hunks of junk for a thousand bucks, I was pretty done with it. So, I simply said as I was surfing the net that Sunday night, "If I could have any kind of headboard I wanted, I want one with paddles on it." To which my sweet Kenny replied, "Well, I will make you one." I just laughed to myself, thinking yeah right you will.

The next day, I had to go to work, and Kenny set out to Home Depot AND Lowe's. (NO man can go to just one, I am CONVINCED of this!!) He called me at work and said, "I am making you a headboard." OH MY GOD is all I could think!!! NOW I've gone and done it. I'm going to have to PRETEND I like this thing AND have it in the house. I think I would have been better off to have just bought one and shut my mouth, I though to myself.

So, I drove home that afternoon thinking of how I was going to have to basically win an Oscar with my performance of "how much I love this headboard" so I wouldn't hurt his feelings. I remember turning the corner of the porch and seeing that fabulous headboard standing there. I literally burst into tears, HAPPY tears! Where did this come from? The exact headboard of my dreams??? How could that be? He had no picture to go by, no clue as to what I wanted. He just did it. I hate to admit this, but he didn't even have all the "TOYS" he has now to have built it with. It was just pure, raw talent that created that headboard, and I knew right then that he had talent like none I had ever seen, and those of you that know me KNOW I am picky, picky, picky, and if there is one thing I know....it's décor!  I remember he kept asking me if I liked it, and I remember being completely and totally speechless because the tears just kept flowing.  I still can't believe he constructed this beautiful headboard for me out of nothing but a pile of wood....



 That night, I put pictures on my personal Facebook page, people started asking about how they could get one, we started actively seeking God's guidance on creating this business, and now we have built countless headboards (and all kinds of other pieces) that have gone into other people's homes. We have complete bedroom sets out there of OUR furniture, and it all started with my little headboard. I take back every doubt I ever had about my Kenny making that headboard for me. I still think my headboard is the very best, and I wouldn't trade it for anything! 

 
I feel so incredibly bad I ever doubted him...only thing I've ever doubted him on, ever. Guess he proved me wrong!! I have more faith in that man and what he can do that he will ever know! I still can't look at that headboard without my heart swelling with happiness; happiness that he is so very talented beyond belief, happiness that he has used his gift to bless others and the good Lord, and happiness that I did get the headboard I loved after all!
 
 
 
Linking up to some of our favorite parties this week.....
 
Miss Linda's Show and Share Party over at Coastal Charm 
 
Knick of Time Tuesday
 


Catch of the Day --- Acme Oyster House


Anybody out there LOVE New Orleans cuisine as much as we do???  I'm sure we're not the only ones!  I don't care where you're from, once you've tasted Cajun cooking, there is absolutely, positively just no way to get it out of your head or your heart!!

We heard this past weekend that the famous Acme Oyster House had recently opened a location in none other than Gulf Shores, just a stone's throw from us.  Neither of us could get those visions of chargrilled oysters out of our heads, so we had absolutely no other choice but to jump in the car and go!   Saturday night found us taking a little drive over to Gulf Shores with thoughts of chargrilled oysters, red beans and rice, and softshell crabs dancing about in our heads. 





Acme in Gulf Shores has only been open a few months, but they're already doing everything right in our opinion. Typically, during the late summer in the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area, you are going to wait and wait and wait for a seat.  I'd already told Kenny on the way over there to be prepared to wait for at least 45 minutes to an hour.  Not so at Acme!  We were shocked to be seated immediately, and we even got a GREAT seat on the back porch overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.  Their building is gigantic, and it boasts a large, welcoming back porch area perfect for enjoying a little ambiance with your meal.  Not to mention, there is a fabulous sandy play area for kids.  Nothing like having somewhere for the little ones to play and stay entertained while mom and dad have a few minutes of peace! 




When we sat down, we knew we were going to LOVE this place.  Where else do you get THREE choices of Tobassco on the table right off the bat?  Gotta love that!!


Then we got the menu.......Oh, my!!  Confused does not even begin to describe the feeling......TOO many things to ponder!  We knew what we came for, chargrilled oysters were a given, but what else?????  After lots of mulling it over, we decided we couldn't possibly eat EVERYTHING on the menu on our first visit, so we decided Kenny would try the New Orleans Medley (a sampling of gumbo, jambalaya, red beans & rice and grilled smoked sausage). I wasn't going to cave when it came to the Fried Softshell Crab Po-Boy!!! 

The chargrilled oysters were our "appetizer", and talk about appetizing!!!!!!  Kenny says they are not quite as perfect as Wintzell's (Wintzell's is the five star oyster house in his book), but I think they are pretty darn close, if not equally as good!  For me, the big difference maker was the French bread.  Wintzell's bread is buttered and toasted.  Acme's is not.  I, personally, prefer to soak up all that herbed butter, parmesan, and garlic sauce out of the oyster shell with plain French Bread so I can savor every last single morsel!  That was the only difference maker for me.  We both agreed, these oysters were simply amazing!

Chargrilled Oysters at Acme Oyster House
$18.49 per dozen


And now......for the main course.......

Kenny enjoyed his New Orleans Medley platter.  He said the gumbo was not his favorite gumbo ever (that was at Oceana's in New Orleans), but he didn't leave any in the bowl!  The chargrilled sausage was flavorful, as was the jambalya and red beans and rice.  The serving portions were surprisingly large for the $12.49 price.  Kenny said it definitely quenched his New Orleans fever, at least temporarily. 

New Orleans Medley platter at Acme Oyster House
$12.49

I've got to tell you that the Softshell Crab Po-Boy was probably THE BEST I have ever had!  In tiny print on the menu, I saw the heavenly words, "Tobasco infused mayonnaise".  Never in my life have I had Tobasco infused mayonnaise, but I knew it surely sounded like a winner to me!!  I can confirm I was not disappointed!!  If you try this sandwich, you MUST request the Tobasco infused mayonnaise.  If you don't, you are missing a treat!  The softshell crab portion size was extremely large, much larger than other places I have tried.  This was probably one of the very best Po-Boys I have ever tasted.  It will be difficult for me to not eat this again when we return.  I did request coleslaw instead of fries...I am picky about coleslaw, but this was quite tasty!!


There was no room for dessert.  We were, as we say in the south, "full as ticks"!  I did spy pecan cobbler, bread pudding, chocolate caramel pie, and cheesecake on the menu.  Maybe next time!

As we were leaving, I couldn't help but notice several delicious dishes coming out of the kitchen.  The fried oyster salad looked heavenly and was also quite a large portion.  Kenny saw, as he described it, a "Goliath" sized wedge salad.  I missed that because I was drooling over the fried oyster salad..... 



Overall, we would have to say that the Acme Oyster House in Gulf Shores had great food, great service, and definitely has great ambiance ...maintaining their excellent reputation in our book. We're looking forward to going through their menu meal by meal!!



Saturday, August 9, 2014

Because of Winn Dixie.....

To fully understand our story, to know how this Tide Life of ours began, to realize the true impact of it all, I first need to take you back in time a bit......  About a year ago, I found myself at the biggest crossroads of my life.  The woman who always had the answers, the one everyone turned to for their answers,  had absolutely none of her own. 

It's funny to me how people can go through life, day after day, not even realizing they are not living, not truly breathing, not truly being, just going through the motions, just existing.  How does that happen to us and we don't even notice?  I can't answer that question either.  I don't know how it happened to me, but it did.  I remember thinking, I used to like me....what happened to her? 

I believe it happens to many of us at some point in our lives.  We don't mean for it to, but it just somehow happens.  Somehow along the way, I lost me.  I didn't mean to, but I did.  When I think back now, for as long as I can remember, I had been one of those people who wasn't truly living.  I didn't even realize it happened.  I guess it happened when I wasn't looking.....maybe I just didn't want to look.  Maybe I did, but I was too scared to look.  All I know is I had stopped living, and I hadn't even noticed it. 

And that is precisely where I was that day in the middle of summer when I literally ran away from home.  Yes, a grown woman did that.....  I ran away.  I really didn't know what I was doing, where I was going, what I was looking for.....So there I was, caught somewhere in the middle of not living, not loving, just existing and going through the motions when I ended up in a Winn Dixie parking lot in Panama City Beach.  I remember thinking that the beach had always been my happy place, so why not? Little did I know that I was about to find what I really wasn't even looking for.

From the time I met Kenny that sweltering summer afternoon, I felt more alive than I ever had in my life.  Without even meaning to, Kenny made me remember the girl I used to be, the girl I wanted to be again.  Through him, I remembered how to just breathe, how to live again, how to trust, how to have faith, and how to believe in people again. 


The day we met......

It was like we were kindred spirits right from the very beginning.  We loved all the same things, had the same taste, even finished each other's thoughts and sentences.  It was like we had always been right there together our entire lives.  But, I could tell he had walls, too.  It takes one to know one they say......Even those first few days together, I could see his walls crumbling as quickly as mine when I looked into those deep brown eyes.  Without ever really saying it, we both knew from day one we would end up sharing a life together.  Our hearts were entwined from the very beginning.

I have no doubt that God brought Kenny into my life and me into his.  I had prayed for God to send someone to love me, to remind me of the good still left on this earth, someone to share a wonderful life with.....  Ironically enough, he had been praying the same prayer for about six months.  He later showed me where he had written out a prayer, asking God to send him an angel.  I really wouldn't stretch it that far to say I'm an angel; this old halo has some dings and dents in it, LOL!  But I do believe he is my angel. Kenny saved me in more ways than he will ever know or imagine.  That summer afternoon we found each other in that Winn Dixie parking lot, I  was at the end of my rope.   I felt all alone in the world, and I can promise you there is no worse feeling than to feel all alone.  Every day I was surrounded by people, but I was still alone.  Kenny saved me, and I will be forever thankful to God for sending him into my life. 

Our first day together....Seaside, FL

Kenny had always worked out of town, traveling the country as an industrial power plant supervisor.  It was a very difficult job that had long hours and weeks away from home.  We knew we wanted to be together, and we did not want to be separated from each other one minute, much less for months at the time.  So, we began praying fervently again.  Kenny and I both began to pray for God to send a way for him to be able to walk away from that life and for us to be able to build a life together, here on the Gulf Coast. 

When he built me my beautiful headboard a few weeks later, we knew God had given us our answer.   From the very beginning of this relationship, we have let God direct our paths, and He continues to do so.  We gave this business we created to Him, and His blessings have steadily flowed. Our online sales have been beyond what we could have ever imagined.  We continue to receive custom orders daily, and we love every single second of this life together, creating, building, and blessing other people. 

I thank God for Winn Dixie, for angels unaware, for the beach I have always so dearly loved, and for answered prayers.  Thank you, God, for blessing us and answering the prayers of two people who needed it the most. 




Doing what we love best....eating oysters!!!  Wintzell's   Mobile, AL
 
 

 
 


Friday, August 8, 2014

WELCOME ABOARD!


Picture a place rich with centuries of heritage, sprinkled with communities that have yet to make their place in history.  Add a dash of gumbo, a couple dozen chargrilled oysters, some fried mullet, a few bays, bayous, and lakes…. Add a dollop of Mardi Gras, some sweet tea, deeply-rooted traditions of faith and country, weekends filled with football, family, and friends, and gently mix in the color of the sky, sea, and sunset reflected everywhere you look.  This is where we call home, the Gulf Coast….simple, beautiful, graceful, and elegant….and this is the story of our lives and our lifestyle here on the Gulf Coast….this is the story of our Tide Life.   

We are incredibly excited to embark on this blogging journey as we share our love of the place we are proud to call home, the Gulf Coast, with all of you.  In our opinion, there is no better place in the world to live or to visit!

When Kenny and I first met, there was no question that we were indeed soul mates.  Both having lived on the Gulf Coast all of our lives, we share the same love of all things Gulf Coastal.  We both have fond memories of summer days spent growing up on wide front porches, days spent building sandcastles, listening to the sound of the waves crashing to the shore…memories of evenings spent relaxing on porch swings, time spent in the family car with fishing poles hung out of the rolled down windows…..


We had an instant connection; we both felt the same magic, the same draw to this place, and we knew that we would create a life together here in the place where we had always known as home, the Gulf Coast.  And so building our life together began…..

 

Along this journey of our “Life on the Half Shell” as we jokingly refer to it, we have been so very blessed.  We combined our talents to create a custom furniture business based on old-fashioned business principles.  We have gone back to the essence of how furniture used to be made:  impeccable craftsmanship, quality materials, and timeless design, with a slightly modern twist --- the added inspiration of the style and colors of the Gulf Coast.
 
 


 

And so now begins the next phase of our journey…….showcasing the Gulf Coast we so deeply love and sharing this treasure with all of you!  We are now in the process of creating an online magazine dedicated to the Southern coastal lifestyle, and we are excited to see where this new opportunity leads.  We do hope you join us as we set sail for our new adventures!!  Who knows where the tide may take us…….


 

Please like us on Facebook, too!!

 
 
We're linking up to several blog parties this week to help spread the
Tide Life love!!
 
 

 



Southern Coastal Living
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