Mary’s Gone Wild

When we were driving into Holden Beach for our family vacation back in September, we noticed this place on the side of the road.  It was actually kind of hard to miss.  The best way I know for you to be able to see it is to check out 2431 Holden Beach Road, Holden Beach, NC in Google Maps and take a gander at the street view.  Basically it was all this….. just, STUFF… on the side of the road.  Stuff everywhere and lights in the trees and on all the buildings.  But remember, this was back in September, so they weren’t Christmas lights.  Just lights in general.  Year round lights.

Once we got settled in at our beach house, I asked my uncle about it.  Turns out, I should have known exactly what it was.  A few years ago, my mom’s cousin’s daughter… so my third cousin or something?… made a short documentary film about the woman who lives there.  Blaire stumbled upon this place one day when she was in school and in need of a subject for a documentary she had to make.

I suppose the place is known as Mary’s Garden, and the film my cousin made is called Mary’s Gone Wild.  Anyway, Mary is an artist.  She mainly paints on the reverse side of glass.  But, she also paints on pieces of plywood and any other thing she can find.  She recycles old windows and boards and paints on them.  She has also recycled old glass bottles into actual “houses” and other pieces of art on her lot, including a wishing well and a sailboat.  Not only does she sell her art, she also has tons of old stuff in some of her buildings (buildings which she builds all by herself!) that you can buy if it strikes your fancy.  She even paints the floors and walls and ceilings of these buildings.

My mom and I went back and stopped by later in the week and met Mary, and we each bought one of her paintings, mine a dragonfly and my mom’s a sun.  She donates the proceeds from all of her paintings to Feed the Children.  While we were visiting, I took a few photos of my own, which hardly do the place justice.

Mary also mentioned while we were there that the TV show American Pickers had called and was supposed to be coming by in October to see if she had anything they’d be interested in, so I keep checking to see if she will be on one of their episodes one of these days.

Anyway, this place was unreal.  You can check out the website for both Mary’s Garden and read more about my cousin’s documentary (and even watch it!) by clicking here.  And if you’re ever in the Holden Beach area, you should definitely stop by!  It’s worth checking out.

Anyone out there ever been there?


So, one of my favorite blogs to read is Young House Love.  And from reading it, I got started reading Bower Power blog as well, since Sherry from YHL and Katie from Bower Power are best buds.  Anyway, over the summer the two of them teamed up, along with two others, and issued their first Pinterest Challenge.  If you are interested in checking them out, the links are here and here.  And you can check out their completed projects from back then here and here.  Although I’d signed up for a Pinterest account at the time, I hadn’t yet gotten hooked or pinned very much, so I didn’t participate.

Fast forward to now, and that is a whole different story, and last week, they issued their second Pinterest Challenge – Fall Edition!  Links for these are here and here.  Joining Sherry and Katie this time, are two new folks: Ana from ana-white.com and Erin from House of Earnest.  And wouldn’t  you know it, I have pinned so many ideas now, I thought surely I could choose one to put my own spin on, as they say, and participate this time!

So, in honor of our anniversary earlier this month (which we still need to post about), here is the pin I chose, which didn’t have a source, other than the girl in the photo is the cousin of the girl who originally pinned it:

And here is our take on it:

I loved this idea as soon as I saw it!  This one is a little late, but at least we did get it done during our anniversary month.  It was super easy, though… once we got a picture with no shadows behind us or glare on the glass.  We just chose one of our favorite pictures from our wedding, blew it up to 16×24, framed it, and started trying different shots with it.  We used the tripod to do it ourselves for a while, but in the end, we removed the glass to get rid of the glare, and we had our friend, Amanda, take our picture.  (Thanks, Amanda!)

Our hope is to be able to continue to do this each year on our anniversary.  For two people who love photos as much as we do, this was perfect!  We still aren’t sure yet what we will do with the enlargements of all the ‘old’ photos each year.  They will obviously take up too much space to keep them all framed and displayed together, but maybe we could just replace each year’s photo in the same frame.  And maybe we could somehow display smaller versions of each photo somehow.  Anyone got any suggestion?  I bet Pinterest will have some ideas!

We did add a new tab at the top of the blog that says, “Anniversary!” so check it out.  We plan to update that with each new photo as well.  It’s just too bad that we have to wait another year for a new one.

Here are the links to the others’ posts: Sherry’s, Katie’s, Erin’s, and Ana’s

Did anyone else out there participate in the Pinterest Challenge – Fall Edition?  Let us know!  And happy pinning!


Captain Dick

As I was writing the post about our trip to Holden Beach, I felt like I should explain a little more about my sweet uncle, Dick.  He is not a blood relative of mine, as he is married to my mother’s sister, but he certainly has always treated me as if we were.

He and my aunt met at Virginia Beach when he was in the Navy.  He later worked as an elementary school principal, and when I was younger, I remember thinking he must have been the nicest principal ever to exist.  I don’t know when it started, but at least all my life I’ve known this man to absolutely LOVE fishing.  I don’t know that I know of anyone who loves something so much as he loves to fish.

When I was growing up, our family would often rent a house at the beach for a week, and he’d go fishing all the time.  I have a very distinct memory, and it has to be one of my earliest ones because I had to be soooo young, of being at the beach and he and my dad and my brother and maybe another cousin and uncle or two were getting in the boat, and they were asking if I wanted to come.  I remember definitely NOT wanting to go, as I was scared of being in the boat in the water.  So, I stayed behind with my mom, and off they went fishing.  Each night, he’d cook the most delicious fish, crab, clams, whatever the day’s catch had been.  And french fries and hush puppies and oh my goodness, was it so yummy!

I don’t remember how old I was when my aunt and uncle bought their house at the lake, but I remember thinking how happy he must have been to be able to just walk through the backyard, jump in the boat, and go fishing whenever he wanted.

Sometimes, when we were younger, my brother and I’d stay at the lake with my aunt and uncle, and at night, he’d take us catfishing.  Well, sometimes both of us, but sometimes just me.  For a night owl like me, it was absolutely exhilarating.  Just the most fun.  After dinner, we’d go out in the boat, and he’d do all the work baiting the hooks and setting up our lines, and then we’d wait for the fish to bite.  There was lots of waiting.  We’d wait and sing.  “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…”  Wait and talk.  He’d teach me things like which side of the boat was starboard and which side was port.  He’d ask me what I thought about different things.  We’d wait on the peaceful, quiet lake in the light of the moon and watch for those rods to dip enough to know we had a big one.  Jump up and grab the rod and set the hook and reel that fish in!  He’d do all the work, but he’d always let me reel.  That was the most fun and exciting part, after all.  Then, we’d wait for the next one.  Wait and just sit.  Wait and fall asleep on the front of the boat.  Ok, maybe that was just me.  But, he’d just let me sleep.  Some of my fondest memories though, fishing with my Uncle Dick.  There’s just something about watching someone else do something they love so much.  For them to share it with you is truly priceless.  He was just doing what he loved to do, but the fact that he chose to bring me along is something I will probably never forget.

After he retired, he could have been content to fish all day, but he wasn’t.  He got his Captain’s license.  This is a man who had once almost completed a PhD program, and he said the captain’s test was the hardest test he’s ever taken.

So, a few weeks ago when we were at Holden Beach, I was so excited for Jake to be able to come fishing with us so I could show off my sweet uncle in action.  It was only about the third time Jake’d ever been fishing, and his first time going in the ocean on a boat.  First time driving a boat, too.  Dick still did all the work baiting the hooks and setting up our lines, and I was just so proud as we waited for some fish to bite.  And then I caught the first fish.  And then we all took turns reeling them in.  I may have even fallen asleep on the boat on the way back home.  And Jake had a blast.

As much as Dick loves fishing, you’d think that’s all there was to him.  But, it isn’t.  He’s also an artist.  He paints beautiful watercolors, and can carve anything out of a piece of wood.  He absolutely loves animals.  He’s one of the funniest people I know.  He is one of those people that can say something funny with the straightest face.  I cannot imagine him angry or upset, though I’m told it has happened before.  He is just one of the sweetest, most patient people I know.


And Dick, if you’re reading this, I love ya!

Holden Beach, NC

My aunt and uncle have had a beach house at Holden Beach, NC for years.  I can’t believe it, but I had never been to it until a month or so ago when my brother flew in from Phoenix to go spend a week with my mom, Jake, and me at a house we rented right down the street from theirs.

We spent lots of time just visiting with each other, shopping in nearby Southport, doing some knitting (well that was just me and Mom, but I finished a sweater that I’d been working on for forever!) and eating some of the best food ever.  We cooked dinner each night, but Sunday for lunch, my uncle Dick treated Jake and me to lunch at the Provision Co.  It was the perfect little waterfront beach restaurant.  I had conch fritters… yum!  And it was so good, my mom and I ate at the one in Southport later that week when we went shopping there.  We ate lots and lots of yummy seafood that week, and my brother, Max, treated us all to his specialty one night… jambalaya!  It was the first time I’d had it, and I must admit, it was pretty good.  We also got a bonus visit later in the week from my cousin and his girlfriend.

Max, Jake, and I bought fishing licenses early in the week so we could go fishing with my uncle.  The guy at the tackle shop was pretty grumpy about having to issue our licenses, and he explained that he only gets 6% of the $10 license fee.  And it took him a pretty significant amount of time to enter all of our information.  Jake was only able to stay through Tuesday, and about an hour and a half after he left the beach, Max and I realized he still had our licenses in his wallet where he’d put them for our fishing excursion.  So, I called him and asked him to mail them to us at my aunt and uncle’s house in case they’d get there quickly enough for us to use them at the end of the week.  After that, we just decided we’d go see what it cost to just have them reissued.  Turns out, the reissuance fee was $5, and the tackle shop guy must get a larger percentage of that, because he was infinitely happier to see us return.  All of that to say, we had a great time fishing with Uncle (Captain) Dick, and it was more than worth the extra expense.  Oh yeah, and I showed ’em all how it’s done and caught the first fish.  And our original fishing licenses arrived in the mail on Friday, our next to last day.

Before Jake left on Tuesday, we all had a little family photo shoot in an attempt to get a good shot for both my mom’s and our Christmas cards this year.  Some of the photos are hilarious, but could also be a you-had-to-be-there thing.  Anyway, we won’t share the Christmas card shots yet, but enjoy these other photos from our week at Holden.

From left to right is my aunt Becca, my mom, Max, me, Dick, and Jake:

A surprisingly good photo of the two of us:


Good times!  Anyone else out there ever been to Holden Beach?

Our Trip to the Lake

Some friends and I have a bit of a tradition which involves going away for the weekend someplace at least once or twice a year or so.  In as big a group as we can get to go.  Our general thought is the more the merrier!  More people = more fun and less cost.  Both of which are really great things.  We then rent as big of a house as is necessary for those going, and the whole weekend is pretty much a blast.

Our most recent trip like this was to Lake Lure, NC to celebrate BFFL Mandy‘s 30th birthday!  We had about 12 of us, I think.  We had a nice, three-level cabin rented where we explored the “creek” behind the house, enjoyed lunch in Lake Lure that Saturday, and some shopping in nearby Chimney Rock.  Otherwise, it was just good old fashioned fun!

Here are a few pics (for some reason, we didn’t have very many of our own, so I had to steal some from facebook):

Me with my two Amandas!

Us in the morning!
Us at lunch at Larkin’s on the Lake:
Group shot (some of us, anyway) after lunch:
And lastly, I’ll leave you with this final shot of the reason for our trip.  Birthday girl, Mandy, and her sweet hubby, Stephen:
Anyone else ever been to Lake Lure?  What fun things did you do?

Litchfield Beach, SC

As I first mentioned here, we spent the week of Labor Day at Litchfield Beach with Jake’s mom and dad.  We enjoyed a relaxing week walking on the beach, swimming in the pool, and eating delicious food.  Here are some pics!

This is the view from our balcony at the beach.  Isn’t it awesome!?

We decided to do a little walking down the beach and took this picture along the way.  This is Jake with his beach beard.

While walking down the beach, we came upon copious amounts of wildlife!  The starfish were everywhere!  It was amazing how many we saw.  Daddy Dan had to save a few because they had flipped over… he is our hero!

Did you know that they can move so much?  The starfish were washed up on the beach and as the tide went out, they scrambled towards the water.  When that didn’t work, they would bury themselves in the sand and wait for the goodness of the ocean to return and wash them back out to sea.  It was truly one of the neatest things ever.

How cool are starfish?  Have you ever run across them at the beach?  Anyone else ever been to Litchfield?  Peaceful little beach, that one.