~Four Weddings and a Blogiversary~

Thursday March 6, will mark my one year anniversary, here at the Back Porch. To celebrate the occasion I'm giving a copy of Nell Hill's Stylish Weddings, by Mary Carol Garrity. On the left, the collage shows some of the photos from the book. There are many ideas in the book that can be used for events other than weddings. The pages are filled with beautiful images, as all Nell Hill books are. Some of the images from Stylish Weddings include photos from Mary Carol's daughter's wedding.
To be eligible for the drawing, just leave a comment on this post, between now and Wednesday March 5th. I'll choose a winner by random number the evening of the 5th.
The wedding photos, in this post, are of J's family from the late 19 teens to the 1940's.
The bride and groom, in this photo, are J's mother and father. To J's mother's right is her sister. To the left of J's dad is another of his mother's sisters. The first bridesmaid on the left is a sister of J's dad. The men in the photo are the husband of one of the sisters, at the left and on the far right a cousin of J's dad.
This couple is J's maternal grandparents.
We believe the gentleman in this photo is J's maternal grandfather's brother.
This groom was a cousin of J's father.
Today, J had an appointment with a medical specialist. We were both a bit worried, but all seems to be well. While driving home, we decided this would be a good time to take off for the lake. We'll leave early tomorrow, Thursday and return Monday or Tuesday. The weather is supposed to be pretty good with 50'sF, on Sunday. We're looking forward to this little getaway.
I'll check back here Monday evening or Tuesday. Have a wonderful weekend!


~DayTrip and a Decision~

Saturday morning, we stopped at All About Home. I wrote about this wonderful shop on Main Street, in our town, last November. After visiting with shop owner, Lori, we drove north, to Bowling Green Missouri, home of Bankhead's Chocolates. Bankhead's has been providing our part of the world with delicious hand dipped chocolates since 1919. I often give Bankhead's Chocolates as hostess gifts and to guests visiting our home. I even took a pound of Bankhead's along on a train trip to Chicago, for a weekend with my daughters and granddaughters, in May 2005. We left St Louis Union Station at about 4 AM. At just around 6 AM we couldn't wait another minute to try a sample! You can buy the chocolates by the piece or by the pound. Saturday, we selected a variety for the road.

As we left Bowling Green we turned east and drove toward Louisiana Missouri and the Mississippi River.

At Louisiana we drove south on Highway 79, the Great River Road, toward Clarksville Missouri. At the edge of town, we spotted this fellow and a few of his friends. We missed being in Clarksville for Eagle Days, last month and thought we didn't have a chance of seeing these magnificent birds, the symbol of our beautiful country.
We parked on the banks of the icy Mississippi and what a show, these gorgeous birds provided. We were also pleased to see Pelicans on the river. An amazing sight! We counted over 60 American Bald Eagles. I'm sure there were many more. There seemed to be countless numbers of Pelicans.

A view of the Great River Road, from the passenger's seat.

This home is located in Clarksville Missouri.


~The Decision~

We used the day trip, to clear our heads a bit, concerning the "Decision".

Many of you know, last Wednesday we received an e-mail, telling us our room was under consideration for inspiration on a new show at HGTV. I've posted three rooms on HGTV's Rate My Space website, since the middle of January. I've posted spaces, at RMS, in the past, left them up awhile, then deleted them from the site. A year or so ago, I featured our Hosta garden, back porch and dining room. Last month, on a whim I decided to post our living room, then later our guest room. A week ago today, I posted our master bedroom. J and I were both surprised to see this room on the first page of Top Rated and Most Viewed, for as long as it was. I believe it's still there this morning. We had no idea the room would receive so many views, since our other rooms quickly faded into the sunset, shortly after posting.

We assume it is the master bedroom, the show producer was interested in. When I opened the first e-mail, I couldn't believe it. Is this real?? Of course, I ran right over to my online decorating boards and asked my friends there, what they made of it. Quick research by one of my friends revealed the site for the new show, Rate My Space. The premise is to use elements from three successful makeovers, shown on the Rate My Space site, to makeover a low rated space from the site. I believe it's an exciting concept and hope the show does well.

The first e-mail contained e-mail info for the show field producer. I e-mailed him a quick query as to what is involved for the homeowner. When I hit send, I turned to J and said, I believe they will want to come here, to which he replied, "I hope not!". The producer replied to my e-mail, quickly. J and I knew this was going to take careful consideration. I was in touch with online friends and in person friends via e-mail, my boards and the Back Porch. I called our daughters and got their input. At the suggestion of one of our friends, we drew on our experience of opening our home for a Christmas tour.

We considered our age and health. This health thing is a huge unknown, especially at this time of our life. That was at the top of our list to consider. We figured we could get passed our shyness in front of a camera. That was the least of our concerns. Could we do this show and remain anonymous? Would we be subjects of ridicule? You can't imagine the thoughts that ran through our heads as we pondered this wonderful invitation.

In the end, I kept going back to J's initial reaction. J has supported me in every decorating idea that has popped into my head for over 25 years. He learned even before we were married, I had a bit of an addiction to decorating and redecorating rooms. He told me he has no worries if a magazine wishes to come here for a shoot. But he truly does not wish to do this show. Since I love him, and he loves me and indulges me in every way, I agree with him on this latest proposed adventure. I sent an e-mail to the producer, yesterday morning, declining the invitation and wishing him the very best in the new production. We are so pleased that he believed our endeavor worthy for use as inspiration. The invitation is something we will never forget.

EDIT: Since posting this, this morning, we received a lovely reply from the producer. All in all, this has been a pleasant experience with the HGTV people, from the beginning.


~Inspiration for Friday~

This photo appeared on my first post, March 6, 2007. This past year has certainly been interesting. We've had an exciting year, filled with special times for our family. Sometime next week, I plan to post about my anniversary in the land of blog, the growth of Back Porch Musings and perhaps a give away.
This morning while visiting my friends in blog land, I found a delightfully delicious post by Joni at Cote De Texas. I recommend a visit. She's given a detailed story of the evolution of a room (hers) with before, during and after photos. Fabulous inspiration!
With the winter weather, we've not taken many day trips. We hope to get a trip in, one or two days next week. I have a couple possibilities, in mind. Weather permitting, of course!

This past week we were contacted by a television producer's office, inquiring if we would consider allowing them to use our master bedroom makeover, as inspiration on an upcoming show. We're still pondering this proposal and will notify the producer after the weekend. We are so flattered by the invitation. While we are excited about the possibilities, we feel careful thought is needed, before committing to the project.

Little did we know, as children growing up in rural Midwest US, we would own the home we have now. It was a distant dream that seemed unattainable. From the time I was a little girl, I loved seeing beautifully decorated homes.

J began working on the farm, his parents bought in 1944, from the time he was old enough to carry a bucket. He worked on the farm and worked as a Lineman many years. He'd take care of livestock in the morning before leaving for work. More farm related work waited for him evenings and weekends. During the 1990's, the farm was annexed into the city. Construction was happening around us. It was no longer in the country. J and his brothers made the decision to sell the farm and in 2003, a developer bought the property. This gave us the opportunity to build our home. Even though I was 60 that year and J wasn't much younger, we decided to build a fairly large home and do it the way we had dreamed. Never dreaming we would ever be approached by a network producer!! So as we ponder the pondering we need to ponder, we will keep the stardust out of our eyes and make a carefully thought out decision.

Thanks to all who visited the Back Porch, this week. Have a wonderful weekend!


~Posey Prints & Cabinet in Sepia~

With the bedroom makeovers complete, I found time to organize the hearth room cabinet and add the new tureens and plates from the Nell Hill's trip, in November. I'll probably add and remove pieces here and there, but this is a start. I chose to show the photos in sepia, as it seems to fit the display. Look closely and you will see a "chocolate" bunny or two.
I was asked to show closeups of the floral prints, shown in the previous post. As I mentioned in that post, these are laser prints of pressed flower arrangements by Pam Randle, a Charleston South Carolina artist, we met at Charleston's historic Market. Pam grows the flowers, presses, and arranges them for laser printing.

This print has been hanging in the powder room since Spring 2005. That room gets afternoon sunlight. The print has held up wonderfully well.
This nest was made of Hydrangea blossoms. When we talked to the artist, she explained which flowers she used. She painted the Hummingbirds, other than that, the arrangement was from pressed flowers and plants. This print is a limited edition.

Only three of the four prints I have on either side of the iron bed, are shown here. I didn't get a clear shot of one of them. The ones shown here give a fairly good representation of the prints. I recognize Pansies and Daisies, a fern (Maidenhair?) and the Hydrangea blossoms. Can you name the flowers?

** Editing to explain the size of our room. When we built the house, we asked our builder to add a couple feet to the breakfast room, to make a better fit for our 9 ft farmhouse table. When the space was added there, of course the opposite side of the house had to "grow" to compensate for the breakfast room change. Imagine the look on my face the first time I saw the bedroom after it was finished!


~Master Makeover Finish~


Most of you know my bedroom makeover mania began when we decided to move the king mattress set from the master bedroom to a guest room and move the guest room queen mattress set to the master bedroom. This switch also involved moving the iron bed from the guest room.

I completed the makeover of the master bedroom today. The only purchase I made was a clearance coverlet and euro shams from Pottery Barn. All other changes to the room were done by moving furniture and accessories from other rooms.

The photo at left shows the Biltmore print we brought home from our Christmas ('07) trip to North Carolina. We had it matted and framed at Michaels. The four prints above the Biltmore print depict iron gates in Charleston, South Carolina. We purchased the prints, when we visited Charleton in 2005.

The deer bookends hold books that belonged to J's Dad. We found the prints above, on our 2005 Charleston trip.

The flowers in the prints were gathered, dried and arranged by artist Pam Randle, then laser printed. The flowers look to be actual pressed flowers, rather than a print.

This shows the view through the bay window, toward the trees, white fence and a neighboring farm.
I decided to use unmatched bedside tables. The basket under the table holds phone equipment. Perhaps I'll purchase different lamps, later on. For now, these are working well.

Another Pam Randle print hangs over the chair. It shows a bird's nest made of dried Hydrangea blossoms. The artist painted Hummingbirds near the nest.

The double doors lead to the master bath. That is a makeover work in progress. More on that, one day soon.

The paint color in this room and the master bath is Laura Ashley Gold #3.




A bit of summer sunshine in February.

J has been going through old photographs and organizing them. Some are very old and some are more recent, like the ones here. With the exception of the photo of the Gulls, all photos in this post, were taken on the farm, during the 1990's.

We grew Sunflowers in our garden. When I saw the picture, I knew I had to add it here. I edited it to show three different views. The Sunflowers simply say sunshine, warmth and summertime.

A field beside the lane, leading to our home in the back pasture.

A misty summer morning.

This cellar was behind the original family home. That home was taken down during the 1960's, to make room for J's parents new home.

Canadian Geese on the pond at the front of our home in the back pasture. There was always something to see, at the pond.
While visiting Q's Corner, I learned the 11th annual Great Backyard Bird Count is taking place February 15 thru February 18. For more information about the GBBC and if you wish to participate, click this photo. J and I plan to participate.

Photo was taken on the shore of Lake Huron, Mackinaw City, Michigan, June 2006.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Hello again...I'm adding this edit after recieving an e-mail from my daughter, Xanti's Mom. You might remember Xanti's baby brother Elijah was born in November 2006 and only lived about 2 hours. Posterior Urethral Valves was the cause of his death. Since then Xanti and her Mom, have made and donated blankets to St Louis Childrens Hospital, monthly. The doctors of St Louis Childrens, worked so hard for our precious Elijah and continue to work for other precious children. Kim has a goal in mind, to make and donate these simple yet warm and comfy blankets for each child at Childrens. If you would like to read Elijah's story and perhaps make a blanket, please visit Kim's blog at: She has just begun the blog and has asked for my help in tweaking it a bit. Until then, Elijah's story with the idea for the blanket donations, has been published.

**The simple no sew blanket instructions are now at Kim's blog.

Thanks so much to all!


~A Valentine's Table & Chocolate~

~Valentine's Day Table~

Today I set the table for Valentine's Day dinner. There are 4 placesettings, for the photos. I'll remove 2, for our meal, since we will be having dinner for 2, Valentine's evening.

I used white Mikasa French Countryside dinner plates, square salad plates in red, small cream trimmed in black plates, red quilted placemats and white damask napkins. The heart ornaments are from Michaels as is the ribbon. The glassware is Mikasa. I can't remember the pattern. Found these at an outlet store closing.

The candle holders are from our Christmas storage. They are sitting on a square silver colored charger. I spread bath salts around the candle holders and set heart ornaments here and there.

I haven't decided the menu for Thursday evening. I imagine some sort of salad, perhaps a chicken dish. I found some wonderful fresh asparagus today. It will definitely be part of the menu.
Naturally, it would not be Valentine's Day without chocolate! I made the dessert, shown below, as a surprise for Xanti, Sunday. This is one of her favorites. I seldom make it, because it makes a large amount. And because it's too decadently delicious!! We'll have chocolate on Valentine's Day. This was a pre-Valentine treat.
Debbye Turner, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (Mizzou '91), motivational speaker and Miss America 1990, hosted an afternoon television show when she worked for the St Louis NBC affiliate, KSDK, Channel 5. Show Me St Louis presents interesting people and places in St Louis and surrounding communities, during the 1/2 hour broadcast. Now and then Debbye added a cooking segment. She made this delightful chocolate trifle, she called Death By Chocolate, during one of these segments. There are many presentations of Death By Chocolate. Some might call our dessert simply a chocolate trifle, but our family has always called it Death By Chocolate, as Debbye did.
I photographed the dessert with one chocolate dipped strawberry. Of course, I added several more before taking it to the party.
~Death By Chocolate~
1 Brownie Mix, prepared
1 large container instant chocolate pudding prepared
2 large containers whipped topping (Cool Whip)
7 to 10 Heath Bars
Strawberries for garnish
Bake Brownies according to directions on box
Prepare pudding as directed
Fold 3/4 of one container whipped topping into prepared pudding.
Crush Heath Bars
Crumble brownies and place 1/2 in bottom of trifle bowl.
Next spread half the pudding mixture, followed by half of the crushed Heath Bars. Top the crushed candy with a layer of plain whipped topping. Begin layering again, with crumbled brownies, etc. End with plain whipped topping. Garnish with strawberries, plain or chocolate dipped. Enjoy!


~Weekend Tidbits~

Sunday afternoon, Xanti's parents are hosting an open house, in her honor. Xanti, our oldest granddaughter, after several years in public school, began home schooling when she was 11 years old. During December 2007, she completed high school.

When Xanti was little more than a toddler, I handed her my 35mm film camera, showed her how to look through the view finder and which button to click for photos. I like to believe Xanti's love of photography began then. In the years since, we've noticed she has a wonderful natural talent for photography and an amazing eye. It isn't surprising to learn, Xanti has decided to pursue studies in photography and will be leaving home, this summer, to begin the adventure of making her dreams come true.

With pride, a bit of an ache in our hearts and tears in our eyes, we wish you the very best of success in whatever you choose as a career. We love you Miss Priss. You will aways be our sweet baby girl.

Xanti choosing a pumpkin during Fall 1991.

~ Christmas 2007~

Above photo: J, the retired lineman with his faithful pup Molly, in deep discussion with a group of young linemen, Friday morning.

I looked out yesterday morning and noticed J, standing beside an electric company truck, talking with a young man. I hoped they were discussing the street lights we've been waiting for!
Awhile later, I looked out again and saw a group of young linemen, with the elder lineman. Were they talking about the economy or the election? Or were they just enjoying watching Molly chase and fetch a bit of scrap wire? I know in my heart, it was the latter.
As you can see in the photo, at right, we did indeed get our new street lights!

Last week, I received these beautiful notecards from Adriann at A Day In the Life. Thank you Adriann!
Adriann is participating in One World One Heart.