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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Eating Jack-O-Lantern Innards

All over Brazoria County, TX, there are pumpkins for sale. In Sweeny at the corner of Elm St. and E. 1st St. there is a Pumpkin Patch run by the First United Methodist Church with various sizes of
Have a picture taken at the Pumpkin Patch at Elm and 1st St, Sweeny, TX
 pumpkins and several areas for picture-taking. Sit the kids on a hay bale beside a scarecrow  and snap away with cell phone or camera. Brazoria, TX,  has one, too. I do not know where the others are.
Just a few of the bowls at
Mertie's this and That

Get a pumpkin and carve it out. Use the images on Instructables.com as patterns.

Cookies posted on
Instructbles to make with
children this Halloween
But wait, don't throw away all that nutritional goodness!
  • Roast those seeds. 
  • Turn those innards into soup
  • Serve the delectables in a bowl from Mertie's This and That.

For dessert, serve finger food, Halloween style! Have the kids cook up these sugar cookie horrors!

For feathers, hats, old shoes and other items for costumes, check out Mertie's This and That!

~Valerie




Saturday, October 19, 2013

Where Will you Put your Halloween Candy?


Do You know where your candy is?

What do these lampshades have
to do with Halloween? Read on
or make your own suggestions
in the comments.
I remember when Trick or Treat meant walking house to house in one's home neighborhood. By the time my children were going out on Halloween, parents were walking with their children. Then came the church and private parties to celebrate candy and costumes without having to walk increasingly dangerous streets.

Through it all, someone stayed home to man the candy dish for the few ghouls who showed up. Then people began using front lights as a sign that kids were welcome; lights off meant "No candy here."

Candy was passed out from paper bags, original candy bags or decorative bowls and baskets. I always appreciated those hosts that provided candy containers that suited the festive atmosphere of the night. The candy bowl often matched the costume of the person answering the door. This adult participation made the night so much more fun and memorable. I like to think the homeowner enjoyed our stopping by.

A pastel pot for a feminine candy dish

Time to Shop

Need a distinctive candy dish for your Halloween guests? Mertie's This and That has numerous items that can be re-purposed to hold candy. Add a folded-down bag or wax-paper lining--aluminum foil works well, too--and you will have a dish that suits the night and the theme of a costume.

Dressed up like Dances with the Stars, Barbie, or a Fairy-Tale Princess? Use one of these pastel, color-matched pots. After Halloween, just plant you favorite spring flowers in it. You can get your plants from Mertie's This and That, too.
A small garden cart for holding candy
dishes, plant pots, or coffee mugs.

This garden cart or that red table are perfect for holding your candy bowl. Other bowls or pots that are large enough to be Halloween candy dishes are plentiful, as are small tables.
A table to hold a candy dish for
Halloween or cookies for Santa

Maybe not useful as a small table, but
this wheelbarrow makes a distinctive candy dish.
Baskets work well to collect candy or organize the bags the children bring home. They work well as carriers for elven woodsmen and fairies, princesses, and Little Red Riding Hood...

Baskets for now and springtime
Shed some light on your doorway with this black-shaded lamp (below, right). You could make your own statement with those lampshades (above) that are just begging to be redesigned.

And look for over-sized shoes and hats for completing a costume, too.

Crystal lamp with a black fringed lampshade
Visit Mertie's This and That and let your imagination soar. Some sites to give you ideas are JunkMarket Style, and DIY Instructables.

Share your made-over Halloween favorites in the comments by Oct. 31, 2013. Be among the first 5 to mention this blog post to Mertie and receive a free gift.

~Valerie





Monday, October 7, 2013

Reclaim, Restyle, Re-purpose

china plate as picture frame
 China Plate used as Photo Frame by Valerie; Posted on Junk Market Style
Vintage Glass adds Elegance to a Desk

What do you do with those thrift shop finds?


In this era of high cost and wood particle-board furniture, many shoppers are turning to garage sales and thrift stores for quality, real wood furniture and older china designs. Even kitchen supplies and flatware can be had inexpensively.

Today I have some suggestions for re-purposing, some examples of refinished furniture, and some items just waiting to be reclaimed. I will also mention some useful links. And, lastly, I interviewed an artisan.

We have seen many old china pieces and glassware at craft shows, restyled into birdfeeders or Western mugs.  China salad plates and saucers can be used as picture frames; this idea is posted on Junk Market Style, a site where hobbyist and artisans share their ideas for reworking junk into beautiful, useful pieces of decor for the home and the yard. I posted this use of a beautiful china plate several years back.

You can also give your desk or telephone station an elegant look by corraling items in trays and cups. The vintage goblet is perfect for thumbtacks and paperclips, while the veggie tray is just the right size for pens and pencils. Trays of this sort keep the writing utensils from rolling onto the floor, too.

Need wood furniture to refinish? There are several pieces at Mertie's This and That just waiting to be transformed. There are pieces that have already been hand-painted if you prefer, as well as a few that were initially made that way. There are ceramic items just begging to be hand-painted.
painted folding chair at Mertie's This and That
Painted by hand or factory? Examine it at Mertie's.

hand-painted dresser at Mertie's This and That
Get This Hand-Painted Dresser at Mertie's

dresser and ceramic duck at Mertie's This and That
Refinish the Dresser; Paint the Duck

The sale mentioned in a previous posting is still ongoing, minus the many items that have been sold. Mertie went shopping, too, and has added some beautiful items to her stock.

 Interview with a Local Artisan


 Local to Brazoria, TX, that is.

For today's theme I interviewed a local hobbyist/artisan. He locates pieces being sold at garage and estate sales and reclaims them, as he says, "With a Texas Attitude." His wife proudly claims that he can see a promising piece in a pile of junk and transform it into a jewel. Take a look a some examples of his pieces.

Dresser Restyled and Reclaimed by Donn Correll of Texas Attitude
Let me lead you through some of his effort:
hand-made drawer pulls
Correll's Unique Hand-made Drawer Pulls
  • note the long dresser/buffet (under the western blankets). 
  • He hand-made the southwestern trim on the bottom,  
  • designed and made drawer pulls,
  • added sofa legs to the piece, 
  • added the rope-like trim, 
  • and topped it with the shelf, another of his designs.
 The result is fine!

A more conventional treatment was given to the refinished dresser below. Only new hardware and a glorious stain was added--once the piece had been cleaned up.
refinished dresser at Texas Attitude
Dresser Reclaimed and Refinished at Texas Attitude

He sells his pieces from his family store on FM 316. Look for the Texas Attitude sign.

While there check out the stone-studded steer head. I took one look and burst out laughing. THIS is right up there with the armadillo holding the Coors can one occasionally sees along the Texas roadside. Pure Attitude--Texan Style!
blue stone-studded steer skull with horns
Stone-studded Steer Skull at Tx Attitude

I knew right then that I would make this his icon. See it in the side panel? I am putting it on my website, too, if he lets me.  But, you know these Texans...

Which icon do you like best for Donn?

Texas Attitude Creative 1
Button Icon #1
Texas Attitude Creative 2
Button Icon #2

These two pictures could be used to identify links to the artisan Donn Correll. Which one do you think best represents his work? Or should I get my artist husband to design a third one? Of course, I could just copy his sign on the street. Comments, anyone?

We have a gift for you!

If you enjoyed this article, please tell Mertie. She has a gift certificate for the first 10 visitors to Mertie's This and That who mention having read her blog. Be sure to subscribe to keep up with the latest happenings.

Comments are welcome, too. As is sharing on your Facebook page. Be one of the first 10 to mention it to Mertie, stop by and get your gift! ~Valerie