Take a Quick Tour of the Shop

Friday, December 5, 2014

Beautiful Music

Listening to a few of my Favorite Songs

I just spent hours on YouTube listening to music. I do this every now and then, as many of us do.

This time I got to comparing songs done by different artists. I quickly learned that although some artists have such beautiful voices, it is ultimately the song that shines through. However, there are some singers that really are superb. 

My song explorations ranged from Prince with Purple Rain as done in the movie by that name to the Animals doing House of the Rising Sun on The Ed Sullivan Show. Then I wanted to hear The Rose. The very best version is the one accredited to Janice Joplin but was actually Bett Middler doing Joplin in the movie The Rose. But I was totally surprised to find a violin version done with an orchestral background that was so beautiful, you must all visit the site to hear it. 

Later I listened to Elvis do Bridge over Troubled Waters, compared it to the original by Simon and Garfunkel, to the Righteous Brothers. Each version was so beautifully awesome in its own way.

You'll Never Walk Alone

I also listened to Elvis singing You will Never Walk Alone, which was richly beautiful. To this I compared the versions by Tom Jones and David Lennard. A version I had not remembered was by the Righteous Brothers.

the Righteous Brothers

David Lennard,
Lennard posted, "I'd like to dedicate this song to all the families who lost loved ones in the Malaysian plane disasters."

Elvis Presley

Tom Jones

In these videos, it is hard to choose between Elvis and Tom Jones. Both are so awesome. I did rediscover the reason Elvis is considered The King in listening to his mellow tones. Jones is very passionate and equally marvelous, however. Their arrangements are slightly different.

Thank you, Rogers and Hammerstein!

Sounds of Silence

Of course I had to listen to Simon and Garfunkle doing Sounds of Silence, which led me to discover Passenger doing his updated version. 

Musical Lyrics are Poetry

There is something so perfect in the versions that made the original hit lists. But in all cases, the other versions were wonderful in their way. It is ultimately the song itself that lives on. Do we give enough credit to songwriters?

This is just a short list of the songs I listened to in my explorations.

Classical Music and Vintage Furniture

Vintage furniture, like musical classics, will be with us for many years to come. Pieces might be repurposed, refurbished, or even repainted. But the beauty of the original lines, of the grain of the wood, the functionality of the piece--just like the beauty of the poetry and melody of great songs--will shine through. 

Music at Mertie's This and That

Get vintage music, furniture and accessories at Mertie's This and That. Mertie's has a piano that is frequently played by visitors and is for sale. This small piano, and the small piano chair, is perfect for an apartment or beach house.  Mertie's also has used music CDs, including vintage gospel and Christmas music.

'til next time!~Valerie

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Today's blog has no central theme, just a hodgepodge of ideas. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Who Fixes What


Valerie has this
set of tables for sale.
They wold benefit from
some refurbishing or updating.
One of the advantages of being a part of a group of antique dealers is knowing who repairs and who repurposes the furniture that is inherited, has been owned forever, or just found at a shop like Mertie's This and That. Visit these Facebook pages to see what can be done to these vintage items.
Casey of Sellers Mercantile will now be displaying some of her products at Mertie's This and That. Come by the shop and find out more.

Need a Jacket for Winter?


Woman's jacket at Mertie's This and That
Now at  Mertie's This and That are denim jackets, sweaters, and coats for women. Valerie just added some fantastic barely-used denim jackets in plus sizes. Get them for just $15.00. Mertie has this "fur" jacket hanging amidst the party dresses. 

And there are quilted bedspreads and actual quilts for sale here, too.

Stay warm!

Miniature Horses


I have long been intrigued by the idea of therapy horses. This Facebook page belongs to a group of miniature horse trainers and owners. Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses  These horses are used with ill children, handicapped of all ages, vets, and others. The picture below is taken from the Facebook page.

I have seen a few miniature horses and goats in the Wild Peach Community that is in the Brazoria, TX, postal area. One horse is used to entertain children at birthday parties.

Photo: A special thank you to our friends at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for your donation to Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Cooking for the Holidays

Some Holiday Recipes 


Roasted Turkey  © ehaurylik -

Turkey and dressing are the staple dishes for each family gathering of the Holiday Season.  Traditionally, these are accompanied by sweet potato casserole, pecan pie, and more calorie-loaded dishes. This sweet potato-cranberry casserole is a healthier choice than the recipes calling for lots of butter and brown sugar. Toss a few marshmallows on each serving, if you must.

Vegetables in Casserole Dish © ehaurylik -
Winter vegetables are another staple of the Fall and Winter meals. I have been trying roasted vegetables. Slices of butternut or banana squash roasted with a bit of pork rub spice are delicious and surprisingly sweet.  Just spray or toss with vegetable oil, season to taste, and bake. Time of baking depends on how thickly cut you slice the vegetable.  At 350, a thin slice will bake in 20 min. Then there are the zuchini chips, a recipe easily used with other squashes.  Cauliflower, carrots, even sweet potatoes are good as roasted vegetables. I will roast them with potatoes. I have heard that turnips are good this way, too.

My favorite zuchini recipe is sauteed zuchini slices piled with slivers of heated ham and shredded cheddar cheese. A dollop of sour creme enhances the flavor. If you want a crispy crunch, serve on toast or toasted English muffin, which can be buttered--if you can use the calories.

Vegetable fritters are another favorite of mine. This basic cauliflower fritter is a bit different from mine. I use pancake mix, dried mashed potato mix, cornmeal, shredded cheese, maybe an egg, seasonings, water and chopped cauliflower or other vegetable (corn, zuchini, squash, whatever), with sometimes adding chopped almonds. I fry this in vegetable oil. It is delicious with a touch of sour cream or honey mustard. Ratios of dry ingredients are about equal, with slightly less cornmeal with about equal dry ingredients to vegetables. Pork seasoning is a good spice for this. Yep, I just throw it together and hope it is as good this time as it was last time.  Goes great with bits of leftover meat.

Serve your Holiday Recipes in Style 


Charming Country Cups and Casserole at Mertie's This and That

Make your holiday table special with different serving dishes and centerpieces. You can get vintage platters and china at Mertie's This and That to serve your holiday dishes. You can also get centerpieces of living or silk plants. Demitasse cups for coffee with desert and more will make it easy to plan a beautiful table. Vintage carnival glass or sandwich glass bowls and vases will hold the greenery and fruit so essential for Thanksgiving and Christmas decorating. There are even some ornaments.
Tea Set and Demitasse Cups
are Available at
Mertie's This and That

Vintage sandwich glass, milk glass, and carnival glass are at Mertie's This and That. Use them for the greenery and ornaments when you decorate for the holidays. Artificial greenery and flowers are here too.

There are even dutch ovens and pyrex dishes for the cooking of your holiday meal.

China cups at Mertie's This and That

Vintage Sandwich Glass and Carnival Glass Vases and Bowls
at Mertie's This and That

Monday, October 20, 2014

Explore Texas History -- Visit a Local Museum

A Trip Down Hwy 36 in Coastal Texas

Mertie's This and That is just outside Brazoria, TX. Brazoria is on Hwy 36, a small highway that runs to the coast of Texas, ending in Freeport. At West Columbia, Hwy 36 is about 22 miles west of  288 and joins with it in Freeport. Hwy 288 runs through the middle of Brazoria County from Houston to Freeport. Today's post is about 4 museums within easy travel up Hwy 36 from the beaches in Freeport, TX.

 The Historical Museum in West Columbia
Columbia Historical Museum, West Columbia, TX

The Columbia Historical Museum concentrates on the founding families of  East and West Columbia, which happen to be one of the first ports of this area and the first capitol of the Republic of Texas, respectively. Often, volunteers at the museum will be available to answer questions and lead tours.

Open Thursday -- Saturday
10:00 - 2:00 
and by appointment.
This picture is used from the West Columbia, TX city website.

Be sure to visit the pocket garden next to the museum, take a look at the turn of the century school behind the museum, and wonder at the ancient oak tree in the field across the street (east) from the museum parking lot (in the rear). Head east down the street to the parking lot behind the Prosperity Bank and visit the replica of the first Capitol of Texas. Yes, West Columbia was the first. If you have time, visit Varner Hogg Plantation. Go East in front of the Prosperity Bank to the stop light and turn left. The plantation is at the end of this short road, a bit past the city park and pool.

From Hwy 36 take Hwy 35 east towards Angleton for each of these locations. 

 Two Museums in Brazoria, TX

Brazoria Historical Museum, Brazoria, TX
The Brazoria Historical Museum  is a block west of the highway on 202 W. Smith St. The museum depicts history of the area from 1800 to the present. It houses its collections in 4 themed rooms and outdoors in the side yard. 

Open Monday -- Friday
 9:00 -- 4:00 
Tours with docents on Wed 10-3 and Sat 11-3 
979-236-1154, or 979-236-0241 or 979-248-1150
The community attends the Santa Ana Ball in costumes of the 1800 farmers, businessmen and their wives and wears the costumes for other community activities from time to time.

In front of the historical museum is the tribute to local fallen heroes, the veterans. Like others in Brazoria county, the memorial is a black stone wall carved with the names of these heroes. Surrounding the memorial wall are black stone benches on a rock terrace. There is, of course, the American flag flying above all. These Texan tributes to our soldiers are beautiful and moving, no matter in what town you find them.  The artist that designed the black stone wall gifted us all with an enduring symbol that moves us to tears, fierce pride, and patriotism.

Brazoria Valley Railroad Society Museum, Brazoria, TX
Also in Brazoria, just across the fenced yard with its display of old farm building and statue of a  bull is the Brazoria Valley Railroad Society Museum

Open Saturday
 10:00 -- 4:00 

It displays old tools, railroad lamps, and model trains. It also has a large diorama of the Brazoria area from the 1950's in which a model train makes its run. The members of the society craft additions to the diorama and model trains and such to be added to the other displays.

 Freeport, TX, has a Museum within Minutes of  Quintana Beach

The City of Freeport Historical Museum  is 3 building complex with a beautiful two-story blue-green Victorian building on the corner. There are large spaces in the museum that can be rented for private meetings and parties. I was told by a Freeport resident that a section of the museum was an old Masonic Lodge that had been well maintained. Among the many exhibits, there are children's displays called "Shaking Hands with Other Lands," and "George the Dinosaur,"  and Dow Chemical's "The History of Magnesium."

City of Freeport Historical Museum, Freeport, TX
In addition to its permanent displays, this museum rotates exhibits and features art and antiques owned by the local community at various times. It has close ties to the museums of Lake Jackson just north a few miles on 288.

Tuesday - Friday: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am - 4:00pm
Sunday: 1:00-4:00 pm
City Hall at 979-233-3526

Across the street is the lovely 2-block-long city park with its old oak trees, palms, fountains and benches. It is a town square between the lanes of E. Park St.  Around and near the square are antique shops, art galleries and pubs.


Part Journey down Memory Lane, Part Lesson in History

There is Beauty in the Artifacts of Bygone Days

Pelicans, pier, lighthouse ceramics

I have often felt that walking into Mertie's This and That was like visiting a museum. It is a feeling I get frequently when I visit antique shops. Locating old items to use as designed or add to home decor is a nostalgic exercise. I often find items I remember from my mother's homes--she made many because my dad was in the Navy and moved us around a lot, an my grandparents' homes. The memories that flood through me are always welcome.

The First Capitol of Texas was West Columbia.

Proud of its heritage, West Columbia built a replica of the first capitol building and set it in a city park and pocket garden.  It is in the grounds of the city hall complex behind Prosperity Bank, one block off Hwy 36, as I mentioned above. Don't forget to go inside. It is furnished much as the capitol was originally.

Replica of the First Capitol of Texas


Monday, October 6, 2014

Stuff for Sale: Recycle, Repurpose, Refurbish, Redesign, Reuse

What do the Shabby Ole Barn, Garage Sale Junkiee, Ramblin Rose, Farmhouse Salvage and Mertie's This and That have in Common?

Quite a bit, actually, do these 5 shops have in common. They all resale stuff, from furniture to kitchenware; from solid metal to softest fur or leather. These 5 shops all sell vintage items, even antiques. But the source of their items varies a bit.

Red chair, antique side table,
framed print and silk flowers
at Mertie's This and That
Merite's This and That shops garage sales and estate sales to find quality used items. Often, vintage and antique items make their way to her store. For Mertie, the items she locates must be in quality condition when she buys them. She will do a little sprucing up, but nothing major. She has been known to bond glassware items into an artistic plant pot or cake tray, to replace a screw or hammer a new nail in place, to polish old wood with Old English. However, for Mertie, what she buys is what you get.

Not so for the ladies at the Shabby Old Barn or Garage Sale Junkiee. These ladies gamble on the future beauty and usefulness of old items. They will strip a wooden piece and restain or repaint it. They will paint designs on it. They will combine pieces into something totally new. They will also sell items "as is."
These chairs and side table are at Farmhouse Salvage

Now the owner of Ramblin Rose Antiques gets her items in a totally different way. She travels to antique markets for most of her stock. The owner of Farmhouse Salvage rips her items from the buildings she helps salvage. Each of these stores will buy from a few local individuals who bring items in to sell. Farmhouse Salvage also carries repurposed and redesigned items from local artisans on consignment. Ramblin Rose will buy only if the item is salable and offered at a price that makes it profitable to sell.

Ramblin Rose is ready for Christmas with Santas, Dolls, and Toys
The owner of The Shabby Old Barn will rip items from a room that she is redesigning or redecorating. Other sources are known to her, but not to me, except for the next source.

That source is sometimes the Garage Sale Junkiee. The Garage Sale Junkiee is part of a team of estate sale ladies. These ladies frequently place their clients items in a massive yard sale that opens days early for local antique and resale dealers and as scheduled for the general public. In fact, they are holding a large yard sale just outside Brazoria, to the southwest on Hwy521, later this week. (See flier below.)

And if that weren't enough, Garage Sale Junkiee buys the contents of abandoned storage units.
A few Wooden Items in The Shabby Old Barn

Bottom line, among the inventory carried by each of these shops are gems, treasures of bygone days that are still perfect for giving that polished look to a home or office; of creating that look you seek whether it be shabby chic, rustic, country casual, elegant or highly sophisticated. You might not find the look of punk rock or heavy metal, but the comfort of yesterday is easily reproduced. And at a couple of these places will be the occasional old, non-running car or pick-up truck. In fact, Ramblin Rose currently has a turn-of-the-19th-century car battery in its original wood casing!
Garage Sale Junkiee recently placed the items in shop in Rosenberg

The last 2 thing in common between these 5 shops that I will mention now is that they are all featured in the website Antiquing Brazoria County (see Directory for addresses, phone numbers and a quick link to website's shop page for each store) and they are all located near highways that will take you from Houston to the Texas Coast. Visit these shops on the way to the beach, whether it be the beaches of Galveston Island or Quintana and Surfside via Freeport, TX.

Be sure to visit for hours, phone numbers, and addresses.  

Monday, September 15, 2014

Anouncing the Website "Antiquing Brazoria County"

Why would Mertie's This and That announce a website on antiquing?

A little background

The beginning of the Mertie's This and That page in
Antiquing Brazoria County website
Mertie's This and That sells antique and vintage items among the upscale resale furniture and household items. So when other antique sellers in the area formed a group to promote the antique and vintage market here in Brazoria County, TX, Mertie was one of the first to join.

Thanks to Vic Penuel and Jeter's Old World Antiques in Angleton, TX, one of the benefits of group membership is a place in the website "Antiquing Brazoria County."

The goal of the group is to encourage shoppers to explore the Brazoria County market. There are many small businesses in our county that are not well known, some in out of the way places. The website provides a directory of shops and showcases the unique nature of each member's shop.

For some members, that means a booth in an antique mall. For some that will be a shop like Mertie's This and That. Some sell from their homes and are locally known for their skilled "repurposing of vintage items;" for them that will be a "by appointment only" listing, but still a page with pictures to show what the buyer can expect. This is a website full of pictures of the store layouts and likely item types to be had.

Now don't forget, the actual inventory has a rapid turn-over and newly obtained items will be vastly different finds. After all, how often do you expect to see the same table for sale every time you enter a vintage shop?

Where is Mertie's mentioned in the "Antiquing Brazoria County" website?

Mertie's This and That is actually mentioned on 3 pages of the website: on the Brazoria page, in the Directory, and on the Mertie's This and That page. Take a look and be sure to tell Mertie what you think when you stop by.

So what is happening in the store these days?
This area of Mertie's This and That is
filled with vintage glassware, knickknacks,
dresser and table

One constant in Mertie's This and That is change. The beautiful items she has in stock are "here today and gone tomorrow." The unusual Coca Cola table and chairs she brought in last month are already sold. She replaced it with a gorgeous wooden dining table and chair set, but I do believe those are to be taken away this week.

There are a few child rockers and some large Mexican planters left. Some of the potted plants are still available. There has been much turnover, but you can still find vintage glassware, kitchen utensils, pots and pans, southwestern crosses, tapestries, art prints, furniture, clothing, gifts and so much more. And there are still comfortable chairs by the front door for sitting, relaxing and visiting for a spell.

Wicker and dolls in an area of Mertie's This and That

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cooking with Crock Pots


Crock Pot Rules


Crock Pots for Slow Cooking.
Get yours at Mertie's This and That.
There are rules for cooking with crock pots. The rules are techniques
for rapidly reaching a safe temperature for cooking foods and staying there until the food is ready to be served. A safe temperature is above 140-145°F, the temperature that stops the growth of harmful bacteria in food.

I suspect that crock pots are made differently now, since the rules provided by Eating Well in 2004. Some other sites actually had recipes that did not conform to the rules, including recipes for meats. I have summarized the rules provided by Eating Well below.

Getting Temps High Enough, Rapidly Enough

  1. Use high moisture foods and recipes that add moisture. The water will make steam that will heat the food faster and keep it hotter than 145°F. 
  2. Defrost all frozen ingredients first. Meats, poultry and fish should be defrosted slowly in the refrigerator since attaining a temperature above 45°F will allow bacteria to grow.
  3. Do not use the crock pot to store uncooked foods because the pot cools slowly. This will delay the change from kitchen-counter temperature to the colder 45°F that prevents bacterial growth.
  4. Fill the crock pot between 1/2 to 2/3 full.
    Heat the boiling water in a teapot from Mertie's this and That.
  5. Preheat meats and poultry. You can do this in 3 ways. One is to sear the meat in a hot pan before placing it in the crock pot. Another is to heat the meat on high in the crock pot for 1 hour, then continue cooking the meat on low. Finally, you can add boiling water or broth to the crock pot of meat and vegetables and cook for the required hours.
  6. Cut up whole chickens and roasts. Large chunks of meat do not raise temperature as quickly as needed. A chunk can be the size of a chicken leg-and-thigh piece.
  7. Leave the lid of the crock pot closed until the last hour of cooking. Opening the pot will lower the temperature. The contents might not reheat in time to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
  8. Do not reheat cooked foods in the crock pot. It takes too long to heat up. Instead reheat the food in the microwave or on the stove. The crock pot can be used to keep hot foods warm.

Cooking Times for Meats, Fish, and Poultry

Herding beef cattle,
as opposed to milk cattle,
gave the cowboy the name.
Get this print at
Mertie's This and That.
Vegetables and meats can be cooked together. You can even add the vegetables during the last hour or two of cooking. A sweet potato can take 5 hours to cook on low. Potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and others can be cooked as long as the meat, but can also be added during the last 1-1.5 hour of cooking. Slice the vegetables thickly.

Different meats have different cooking times. A 4-lb. pot roast can be seared on all sides for 4 minutes/side, then cooked on low for 8-10 hrs, or 5-6 hrs on high. (see also)  A 3.5-lb pork shoulder can be cooked on low for 7-8 hrs. Chicken will be done in 5hrs on low if liquid is added. Fish will cook in 2-3 hrs on low; shrimp in a heated pot on low for 1hr. Fish should be oiled, seasoned and wrapped in aluminum foil. These packets can be placed in the  pot on top of vegetables such as onion slices.

Beans are best cooked long enough to break down the leptin protein, making crock pots ideal for cooking dried beans. After soaking overnight, 1lb  of dried beans covered with 5 c boiling water will cook on high for 2-3.5 hours, depending on the age and type of bean.

Mertie's This and That has crock pots and other kitchen items at reduced prices.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Decorating for Small Spaces

How do you Keep an Active Lifestyle in a Small Space?


Beautiful Living Room
©zhu difeng - #60119124

I looked at some online sites to get  ideas for decorating in small spaces. From what I saw and read, I came up with a list of suggestions--techniques, if you like, used by the room designers.

I located an example. Notice the mostly monochromatic color scheme with pops of color. Note the mixture of styles and textures. The rug and plants  anchor  the room with color and texture. Storage is in the cabinets and bookshelves, the coffee table, and end tables. There is a small collection of bottles on the mantle. If you look carefully, you will see color in the throw pillows and in the items on the bookshelves.

Today I post  7 of the suggestions that seem to apply most frequently.  From my reading of the list, I could personalize the room with subtle wall hangings and prints if one is careful. I can imagine drinking coffee in this room using a china tea service and picking up candy from a Fenton candy dish. I can imagine fresh flowers in classic Indiana sandwich glass or carnival glass vases.

7 Tips for Decorating in Small Spaces

  1. Use versatile, multifunctional pieces geared to the activities you plan to do in the room and capable of storing supplies.
  2. Use furniture that is proportional to the room, ie, small pieces with a mix of styles.
  3. Create a focal point using color --  a larger furniture piece, a deeper hue or pop of contrasting color or a wall hanging with greater presence; plan the room around that point.
  4. Plan how the room will be used and how best to arrange it for all activities planned, while maintaining some empty floor space and a smooth traffic flow.
  5. For storage, along the wall use tall built-in cabinets, bookshelves, & shelves; use furniture with built-in storage spaces; use decorative boxes and baskets placed on shelves and under surfaces like stairs, benches and beds.
  6. Use neutral colors in various hues, blending disparate styles by painting and upholstering furniture and walls in a mostly monochromatic color scheme with a few pops of color in the accents; frame the room with trim and ceiling in shades of white.
  7. Group vases, bottles, figurines, and collections on shelves, or in a tray or shadowbox to make collages of visual interest while minimizing the clutter.

Find Items for Small Rooms at Mertie's This and That


I know I have said it before, but it bears repeating. You can furnish and decorate an entire home from Mertie's This and That. Take a look at these items below. Aren't they perfect for small rooms? Or even for updating tired rooms?

Here's the thing. Mertie looks for items that are easily transported in a van or pickup truck, if larger furniture; or a car if not. She looks for items that fit into small rooms like those in garden homes and apartments, even trailers. She shops for upscale, well cared for items, ready to be used and enjoyed.

You get the advantage of placing items in your home that have the patina of belonging, of having been there for ages; yet are fresh and interesting because you are not yet used to them.

Small Furniture at Mertie's This and That (Items are not pictured to scale)

More Small Furniture at Mertie's This and That. (Again, not to scale)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Large Mexican Pots to use in Yard Landscapes

A set of pots from Mexico
at Mertie's This and That

Potted Plants in Landscapes

Using pots to place plants in your yard adds interest and versatility to your landscape design. It also allows you to move some plants into the shade when the sun is too bright and to move plants indoors when freezing weather is expected 

For larger plants, large pots are needed. 

Mertie's This and That just purchased new pots from Mexico. The price is right.  Get these now before they sell out.

These pots are the perfect compliment to the yard and porch furniture built by Delagarza Woodwork.

Other Items just added at Mertie's This and That

Mertie has recently shopped at local estate sales. She found these treasures.  And there are more dresses in the racks now, too. Some are very formal at prices that can't be beat.

Visit the Mertie's Google Page

Driving by? Be sure to stop. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Welcome to Another Local Artisan in Brazoria, TX

Cres and Denise Delagarza
of Delagarza Woodwork, Brazoria, TX

What do you do with old Fences?

If you live in Texas and are handy with a saw, hammer, nails (these days, electric drill and screws), you build things for the home, patio and yard, replete with the look of a Texan ranch or farm house and studded with Texan icons.

Two such woodworking artisans are Cres and Denise Delagarza. Together they turn old privacy fences into yard art, home accessories, and rustic furniture. Mostly, the woods used are cedar or mesquite. The designs they often make are based on 1920's and 1930's farmhouse furniture. The Depression Era farmhouse styles were studied by both Cres and Denise, who creatively add touches of their own here and there.
8 Delagarza Products: bench, table,
Red Neck Bird Bath,
Paper towel holders,
votive-scents holder,
2 Texas "flags",
octagon sign and birdhouse

Many a weekend finds the Delagarza's at a craft show or exhibit somewhere in south-central or southeast Texas. Their most popular sellers are the Red Neck Birdbath, a fun item for the yard pictured here with other accessories; octagon plaques studded with Texan icons, and the iconic Texas "flag" made from picket fence posts. Rarely they will locate an antique bedpan from which they make a banjo that sells quickly.

 Being Texan artisans, they make crosses. Being religious, Cres wanted me to share that all crosses are made reverently out of the prettiest parts of the wood they have on hand, mostly cedar. These crosses are sanded down so that the weathered surface is removed. The crosses are left unadorned so that there is no interference with the spirituality of expression that is the cross itself. The wood base can be spread like a support for the cross, usually in a design created by Denise according to the flow of the wood's grain. You can see examples of the crosses sitting on the hutch, another popular item,  pictured here.

Other items they make for the craft shows include a birdhouse planter, coolers, plant stands, bars, stools, benches, tables, boxes, vegetable bins, trashcans, and more. Once a hobby for Cres to make and show items at craft fairs, woodworking is now a post-retirement business that is becoming more and more successful for this couple of proud Americans who are both bilingual, having each descended from Mexican immigrants several generations back.
hutch and 4 cedar crosses
votive candle holder, TX flair

How does one Decide what to Create and Build?

I asked about the creative process and concluded from the discussion that each member of this husband-and-wife team has equal input, equal critique, and equal negotiation powers.  Neither lets a design be completed until each has accepted the final result of any negotiation, although Denise feels she has the power to decide the outcome. Cres does the major part of the building, though, so he has a definite hand in the look of the finished project. Isn't that the balance in most partnerships?

Need something special? The Delagarza's will craft an item just for you. Tell them what you need, provide or request a special wood, show them a design. Chances are they can make what you want for you. They welcome custom orders.

The Delagarza's in their home studio hard at work

Get Delagarza's Woodwork for your Home, Porch, and Yard

Mertie's This and That is proud to carry a few of the Delagarza Woodwork items. An octagon table with benches, a planting table which is perfectly suited for an entry table, and more. These particular items were made at Mertie's request and have additional structural features that she felt would strengthen their appeal. In these 2 cases, the deer horns are sold separately!

Delagarza Woodwork supplies other items to other merchants in the area. However, he places different items with different merchants.  If you want to locate items, ask Mertie to get you in touch with some of those other stores or with Cres and Denise of Delagarza Woodwork, located in Brazoria, TX. Or call Cres and Denise at (979)248-8323.

And, if you have a porcelain or metal bedpan (cleaned, of course!--just teasing) that you no longer want, bring it by to see if it is suitable to use in making a Red Neck Banjo. The one below has already been sold at a craft show.
 Y'all stop by soon!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Plant a Vertical Plant Wall

Several categories
of items are
on sale now
at 20% to 50% off!
Shop Mertie's
This and That

for your bargains.

What is a Vertical Plant Wall?

An example of the Vertical Garden
©smua -
In design shows and gardening shows on TV and and posts on Facebook I have seen many wall gardens. Some are quite beautiful. Some are designed to clean the air indoors. If potted with mosquito-inhibiting plants at the edge of a patio, think of the comfort!

The idea is to place containers into a wall panel or a section of fencing and grow vegetables and other small plants in the containers. Remember window boxes? These are 4-5 tiers of boxes. Plastic rain gutters have been suggested as possible boxes in which small  plastic pots can be placed. Hanging the pots individually on the wall in a geometric or abstract pattern has also been suggested. Using unusual, recycled and repurposed items are used to make unique gardens.

Get Unique and Vintage Containers for your Plant Wall 


 At Mertie's This and That in Brazoria, TX, you can get unsual planters, vintage containers, and plants for your vertical garden, whether planted indoors or outside.  Take a look at what is available.

Plants in pot on a bench at Mertie's
Available at Mertie's
Can you design a unique vertical garden that expresses your creativity? Would you rather just place plants and outdoor decor on a metal shelf?

Example of available plants at Mertie's This and That

More plants and pots at Mertie's This and That

Outdoor decor at Mertie's this and That
Look for items that can hang on the plant wall alongside the plants. Get benches and tables to put neat the vertical garden. These items, too, are sold at Mertie's This and That.
Just some of the
dozens of flower pots at
Mertie"s This and That

Glassware and plant stands are all waiting to be repurposed in unique ways. Get these from Mertie's This and That