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Monday, April 20, 2015

Spruce up your Yard for Spring

Unique Yard Decor

Spring flowers are blooming. Many yards have colorful flowerbeds, hanging pots with ferns and flowering vines, large, decorative pots with additional flowers, ivy, ferns and more. Driving around town has become a journey into beauty.

I live in Sweeny, TX, where there are yards that, besides being beautiful, have unique yard art decor. Take a look. Porches have homemade benches, benches in yards have stone foot rests, and vintage items have been strategically placed to make the yards stand out. Together, these yards make driving around town sheer pleasure.

A bench made from an old bed's head and foot boards supports potted plants and a metal sculpture.

Made to place in a flowerbed is this combination of vintage china and crystal. Thanks to a local artisan for her imaginative upcycle of these discarded items.

Have a collection of ceramic buildings? Display them where we the public can enjoy them, too.

More buildings on display. I find this yard so intriguing. I drive by it often just to gaze at the collection. It always makes me smile, even in rotten weather. Its entire front yard has been landscaped into a flower bed with small paths running through it.

Vintage items of our childhood foster memories of adventures taken. Seen from the street, the bike, the tree and the house look inviting and promote smiles.
These ceramic hens set off the potted plants.

A truck frame in a front yard becomes a pocket garden for flowers and other greenery. Do you see the hens?

Rest your feet on the stone in front of this bench.

Another collection of houses in yet another yard. This yard has been landscaped beautifully. This tiny portion just hints at the lushness of the roses, trellis, and greenery. 

A tiny corner of this side patio with yard art making an interesting vignette . Not shown is the central air conditioning unit at the edge of this pocket garden.

Here in Texas, we are used to the wall art on garages, sheds and fences. Add other items throughout the yard placed strategically in flower beds and the yards become small havens of lush beauty and eye-catching interest.
Take a drive around your town to locate your own examples of these intriguing yards.

Fix up your own yards. At Mertie's This and That you will find many vintage items that you can use. There are plants and pots as well as outdoor wall art. There are vintage items that can be repurposed. Looking for something special? Mertie can suggest other shops where you might find it.

If you do not find it at Mertie's This and That, pick up the directory of vintage and antique stores in the Brazoria County area. Yes, Mertie is a member of Antiquing Brazoria County. Look for her webpage at the site under the Brazoria link. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Ever thought about an Earthship Home?

Image copied from

This image is copied from The Montana Earthship is, to me, very attractive. The right wing must be the quintessential greenhouse that is a major part of the sustainability of an Earthship home.The pretty part on the left side looks like a 2 car garage and the front entrance.

Add this to your dresser for a ranch flair.
Get it at Mertie's This and That.
Sold? Look for a substitute item!

Features of an Earthship Home

From what I have seen of pictures of earthships online, the homes are made of rammed earth contained within walls of recycled rubber tires, fronted by a greenhouse-pond that makes the south wall and hallway that runs the length of the home. The area behind the greenhouse-pond is covered with a mound of earth and often planted with grass or small ground covers. The roof of the greenhouse-pond holds the solar cells. Cisterns collect rain water; toilets are of the composting type; and heating is accomplished by passive and active solar techniques. Cooling is accomplished by burying the home within an earthen mound and controlling the angle of the southern-facing wall of the greenhouse-pond area. Stone flooring along the front hall collects heat from the winter sun, while the pond area collects heat all year round, its humidity cooling the interior in the summer. Talapia are grown in the pond in some homes; vegetables and fruits are grown in the greenhouse. Much of the water is recycled within the home. An outside marshy pond with specific plants is used to clean used water.

If any of these ideas interest you, do read more about the Earthship. So many of these ideas are being used in modern architecture these days.

Furnishing any Home with Vintage Furniture made of Wood

Look for whole categories of items on sale!

You do not need to live in an Earthship to enjoy real wood furniture. And the vintage designs are always cozy. Mertie's This and That has many pieces of vintage wood furniture for decorating your beach house, apartment or even your large brick home. Come by to get these great items! Yes, there's much more.

Sorry, the items below are probably not on sale. Your choice might be gone by the time you get there.

 Happy Springtime! ~~Valerie

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Decorating Rooms in Rehab and Assisted Living Facilities


Why it Matters


My dad is currently in a rehab center after being hospitalized for the requisite 3 days at the age of 87. What surprised me the most on my first visit to the rehab center was the way patients' rooms were decorated. Families were encouraged to bring personal items to make the patient feel more at home. No glass was allowed, but other wall hangings were welcomed. Small furniture pieces likes chairs and bedside tables were ok, too, along with TVs. Personal linens were allowed. If the family wanted to take laundry home, then small hampers or baskets were encouraged. Of course, all items must be labeled and added to the patient's inventory.

We found that providing a hamper meant that the staff thought we wanted to take laundry home. We removed it once the message became clear and let the staff deal with the laundry.  

We also found that plastic cups and a few melamine dishes
Hampers at Mertie's This and That
allowed my dad to drink drinks and eat snacks we brought from home. Just drinking the provided water and juices were not enticing enough to keep him hydrated, and we all enjoyed a cheeseburger together. A few sugar-free cookies were kept around for his snacking during the day, providing another chance to give him liquids as we seldom eat without drinking something.

In patients' room, I saw Texan crosses, small framed prints, non-glass vases, and colorful spreads and quilts. Bed were rearranged to make the room cozier.  Small chests doubled as TV stands. The effect was often quite lovely.

Shop Mertie's This and That for Decorating Rooms at Rehab and Assisted Living Centers otherwise known as Nursing Homes; Bring Cheer to your Loved One


A few of the crosses at Mertie's This and That.
Don't forget to look at the framed prints, too!
Mertie's This and That has the framed wall prints,
Texas crosses, knick knacks, spreads, and quilts that will make a room cozier for your family member. Being vintage, these items will feel like home. Being inexpensive, you won't have to worry if they get lost or damaged. Being used to decorate the hospital-like rooms to give the feel of home, priceless.

And for the items that do make it home, the sense of continuity might help in the reacclimation to home. 

Small chairs that could be used in a nursing home room for guest seating. The folding wicker table and chairs could be stored in the closet when not in use, as could the folding wooden chairs. The Bentwood rocker would be more useful for guests than the patient / resident. The throw behind the wicker table and chairs and the run on the floor are other useful items to make the rooms cozier. Throws are useful for the bed and taking the chill off when sitting up. All these and more are (or have been) at Mertie's This and That.

Let this wall hanging or tray cheer up your loved one. Look for metal tins for storing those cookies, too.

Quilts, throws, and spreads abound at Mertie's This and That.