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Thursday, December 1, 2011

the birthday bookcase



When I originally posted the master bath I had said I would do a whole post on the bookcase that Dan made.  I failed to do that, and a recent request (thank you Amy) brought that to my attention!






 Dan and I married on my birthday twenty three years ago. 
Not long after we married Dan started the tradition that he would "make" my birthday gift.  It began with Dan surprising me with a simple wood stand for an oriental Peking-blue porcelain duck. 
The gifts evolved into bigger projects like making a zinc-topped potting table,



making a wood garden gate,

 



making a beadboard vent-a-hood cover for my kitchen in Dallas from vintage beadboard we picked up off a someones bulk trash pile that was going to the dump,



taking out the small entry closet to make a larger entry,





and making a wooden driveway gate! 
(funny story.... just out of view at the front of these photos was our large air conditioning unit.  It was older, so I painted the ugly metal part the house trim color to make it blend in and go-away visually.  One day Dan was walking a contractor of some sort down the driveway and the person said "I've never seen a painted air conditioning unit,"  to which Dan replied..."And, you've never met my wife!" :):)

 


One year I designed this bookcase for our kitchen in Dallas.




The project was started, but took a little longer than planned, so it wasn't finished by my birthday... this is what I found the morning of my birthday!





Note the garage of an antiques dealer- three chandeliers hanging in wait!







I wanted the look of an antique piece that had been originally stained, but had been painted-over many times throughout the years.






I have painted the exterior of the piece Benjamin Moore's White Dove since we moved into the farmhouse, but the interior finish is the original French blue that I painted and waxed 9 years ago.  It turned out that the interior was almost the same color as the Benjamin Moore Horizon (OC-53) on the walls!
 The shelves are adjustable and their design was copied from antique furniture pieces we had seen in France. 





Antique glazed terracotta architectural fragment sits on top of the piece.





Collection of vintage alabaster compotes.  I love the birds!
I left the ceiling of the bookcase the dark stained wood, which is the base color of the whole piece.






Antique starburst mirror found at The Mews in Dallas.  Trio of antique mercury glass vases share the shelf with an "American Brilliant" crystal bowl which was a wedding gift given to Dan's grandparents in 1917.




Old hotel silver tray from the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas found at Round Top.  Dan found the decanter while we were antiquing one day- I envisioned it filled with bubble bath; Dan envisioned filled it with Glenmorangie.  The scotch won!  Antique French gilt wood fragment found at the Porte de Vanves flea market in Paris.  Dan found the coral on a beach in Aruba; the tiny shell fossil was found in a wonderful little shop in Creede, Colorado!





Large clam shell with Japanese fishing float and small piece of coral found in Florida.  The color of the interior is a little bright in this photo (the color in all the other photos is more accurate), but it gives you a good view of the cut out notches for the wood crossbars that run front to back that hold the shelf .  The photograph above with the starburst mirror shows the crossbars well.





Alabaster compote filled with collection of old silvered Christmas ornaments.  Antique mercury glass pieces share the shelf with an antique oil painting found at the Scott Antiques Market in Atlanta and an alabaster shell.





I found this large piece of blue coral at a consignment store in a nearby town.  I left it.  Then came back with a paint chip to make sure it would match the walls and the painted inside of the cabinet.   It matched perfectly!


I would like to take this opportunity to thank my very creative and talented husband who makes all my designs and dreams come true.  Without Dan's creative vision and innovative designs my "ideas" would remain just that.... ideas. 
Thank you my talented Dan!



80 comments:

  1. What a wonderfully talented and sweet man your husband is! All of his projects are beautiful...I love them all. You have so many pretty pieces on your bookcase, I love the alabaster birds!

    XO,
    Jane

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  2. Beautiful
    Love the crystal bowl and all of the vintage treasures you put together too
    xxoo
    Pam

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  3. It was fun getting to see old pictures before you moved into this house. It was evident, even then, of your beautiful style! I never thought of using those silver mercury balls outside of Christmas like that. That's a good idea. Your husband is quite the carpenter! I think that is such a wonderful trade to have. He did an amazing job on that bookcase. I'd say he's a keeper!

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  4. Looks like you found a good match to your creativity. The bookcase, as well as the other projects highlighted, is terrific. What will he build you this year?

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  5. Awwww, you two are the best! What a talent you each have and share so beautifully. Truly a testimony that together, we can do anything!

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  6. What a wonderful story of love and devotion and gifts from the heart!

    And a bookcase full of memories.

    Here's to making to your 50th!

    Cheers,
    John

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  7. I love the shelf, and I really love how you have it decorated!
    tot

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  8. Joan,
    I'm sure you know how lucky you are to have Dan. Is there any way to clone him and send copies to your loyal readers?

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  9. Hi Joan, thank you so much for taking my request for this post. I loved it. Your pictures are captivating and your stories are so much fun to read.

    Thanks again,
    Amy

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  10. I love that bookcase....High 5 to Dan!

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  11. It is so interesting to see how your style has evolved over the years as well as your photography skills! I really love your crisp and edited eye, it is very artistic!!!
    I also love how your beloved bookcase has evolved along with you!!!
    Beautiful as always!!!!
    xo

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  12. ..oh how lovely...both the gift and the sentiment...about that potting table...tell us about the picture of the precious house...i think painting the air conditioning unit makes perfect sense...i have a gas meter painted to blend into the side of our house...which my husband thinks is so funny...no one but the squirrels and other forest animals can see it...but i know it's there...and it makes me and all the other compulsive female critters feel better...not to mention the man who gets to read the meter...hugs laney

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  13. How Sweet of your hubs. It looks great.

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  14. I love the bookcase and more than that, I love the story. What a sweet and talented guy! You two make a great team and we all get to enjoy the vision and inspiration, thank you.
    Karen

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  15. AAwwwww....your husband is a sweetie! My hubby is handy too and we have done many projects over the years...it makes or breaks you! :) LOVE the alabaster compotes, I have never noticed them before in antique stores, but will now! I have an inherited alabaster lamp that NEEDS a companion peice...sigh...another collection born.....Rosie

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  16. Lovely results of a wonderful collaboration.

    I would love to know the details on the adjustable design.

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  17. Joan, Dan is such a talented man with his wood working and you my dear have such a wonderful and loving husband. The things he has made for you have to be so very special. The bookcase is just perfect where you have put it.

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

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  18. He's a good man. Those gifts he made with his hands are more special than anything he could buy for you and he does great work! Extra bonus!

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  19. Oh my that was wonderful to see everything up close and with details. I would love to see the details of other areas in your home like this post....like the cabinet in the reading room, etc. You mentioned once about the beautiful garden you had in Dallas, that would be wonderful to see also. You are very lucky to have such a wonderful husband who is willing to create your ideas and has the talent to do it. I so love your blog. wenda scott maggieandme52@yahoo.com

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  20. Talented Dan sure is...talented. As are you, ma Dear!! Great couple!

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  21. Joan, you write the most wonderful blogs. It really shows your love and appreciation of everything you collect and design (in addition to your love for your husband). You are fortunate that both of you are so talented and can work together to create such a beautiful home. How thoughtful and special of him to make your birthday gift each year - all looking to be pretty big projects.

    There are so many great items on this cabinet - the alabaster compotes with the birds are amazing. I have never seen anything like them before. I also collect mercury glass as it has that elegant feel without being over the top. And, of course, the fabulous piece of blue coral has such wonderful texture. Many thanks for always taking the time to share your experiences and talent.

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  22. Joan your Dan is a darling... What a present...the best... xv

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  23. we need to clone dan.... immediately! xx

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  24. Beautiful! Especially the love for your pieces and their history and for each other.

    TDM xx

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  25. Dan is definitely a keeper, Joan. You make a perfect pair: you come up with the ideas, he executes them and then you merchandise the items to a fair thee well. Wonderful post.
    Best...Victoria

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  26. Dan and Rick shoould get together and share tips. Dan did a wonderful job on your bookcase. Aren't handy husbands the best?

    I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving!
    Debra

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  27. Your man is a total keeper!!! Wow who needs stores and 'stuff" when you have a talented woodworker "than can" in the house! I am so impressed. And to know they were all made and given with loads of love makes it that much sweeter!
    PS On a sidenote loooove those alabaster compotes..dreamy!!

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  28. you two really make the perfect pair. your love of antiques and the discerning eye you have paired with dan's talent is such a wonderful thing. thanks for sharing all the details here joan.

    xo
    janet

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  29. Hi Joan
    Beautiful.Yes here's to talented husbands who say yes I can do that anddo it. If your feeling like a challenge pop over to my blog and help design a cupboard for me.
    Kind Regards
    Karen

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  30. I love that he makes you something for every birthday! Very sweet.

    ♥ sécia
    www.petiteinsanities.blogspot.com

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  31. My Grandfather once told me, All men are a like. Some are just more thoughtful than others. He would say, honey those are the ones ya want! The thoughtful ones! You are blessed....

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  32. It's a great piece and even better that it's made with love. I think keeping the top inside surface with the stain is the perfect detail.

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  33. Hi Joan,

    I have to say that after seeing your pictures of your Dallas home, that you were meant to be a New Englander!! Your beautiful things look so at home in your farm house.
    Ruth (you know Ruth) wants to know what my husband's going to make me for my birthday....I'm not as lucky as you...it will probably be an I-tunes gift card!!

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  34. What a great "birthday story" and how lucky are you to have such a loving and talented husband.

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  35. Here you are matching shades of faded paint to specimens of coral--and I feel like I'm entering the big leagues if the shelf is not actually raw wood. I would mistake this for a vintage piece--perhaps the curves give it away with a slight modern touch.

    I also love the old mercury glass. I used to have a big collection, but it all went in a fire. I miss its unique look, kind of like the fake woodgraining of the period, that proclaims it a fun imitation, but very worthy on its own.
    --Road to Parnassus

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  36. You are one lucky gal to have a hubby that can (and will!) make your visions come to life! Love the coral and shells - I am actually using a huge chunk of coral I got at an estate sale for $10 and some conch shells in my winter centerpiece.
    Kelly

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  37. I love your gate! I love your bookcase! I need a Dan! And I love Round Top and Scotts Market ! We just moved from Houston to Tulsa 18 months ago and I need to get back to Round Top in April!
    Great post - enjoyed it very much!

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  38. My favourite pic, the blue sash across the 'bookcase to be finished' !! So great, what a sweet man you are married to! You are obviously the same because why would he do it otherwise?
    Love this post!
    x
    maria

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  39. What a wonderful husband you have, you are truly a lucky gal.

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  40. What thoughtful special gifts from your sweet husband. I absolutely think your vignettes you create are some of the most beautiful in blogland. I just pour over your pictures and this case is one of my favorites!

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  41. Joan, Dan, and Ella: I enjoyed this entry. Dan has made you some very special gifts. What better gift than one that is made just for you. Cindy

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  42. What a beautiful cabinet Joan...your husband is very talented and so are you! I love how the paint job looks as though it is an old piece that has been painted many times over. PERFECT! I hope you have a wonderful Friday and weekend..
    Maura :)

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  43. Dan is the man and I feel honored to have a handwritted thank-you for each of you. I think you both are a match made in heaven! How sweet to have something made by hand.
    What an amazing gift! (s)
    pve

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  44. Joan I was married on my birthday too:) What a sweet thing your hubby does by making you a special gift every year. I should say beautiful gifts! I've always loved the bookcase you have in your bathroom and the way you have it accessorized. Loved seeing the pics of your old house too! Have a great weekend, Martina

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  45. What a beautiful and meaningful gift. I love the descriptions of everything on the bookcase too. Isn't is grand to look around your home and everything has meaning or memory attached to it. My house is like that too. I cannot understand people who want to "decorate" a room in one fell swoop with all new things. I love a room with pieces collected through life.

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  46. What wonderful gifts, and so much more meaningful because he made them for you. Brings tears to my eyes. Lucky you!

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  47. Joan, I absolutely loved reading this. I love arched gates and have one blog about our garden gate. You know, I just read about removing the coat closet from your entry space. Wow! Wish I had thought of that. I can see where it really would make a great difference. Thanks for sharing the ideas.
    Merry Christmas, Helen

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  48. awww... what a beautiful and sweet birthday tradition - the bookcase is made with love and arranged with love, and i am thankful to enjoy it too.
    season's joys to you... glad you were born! -xok.

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  49. What a wonderful tradition and treasured memories in each piece.

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  50. what a beautiful bookcase. What a lucky woman you are to have such a crafty husband. Does he loan himself out? :-)

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  51. I'm not sure how I've missed you, but I'm sure glad I found you! My son is in school in New Hampton, NH... anywhere close? I'm from Omaha, and I love your blog... It's almost like I could have written this post! We take similar photos, we talk about the same things, and I'm thrilled to be your newest follower!
    Jan

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  52. What a wonderful way to show his love for you and also to use his very handy talents...it's so sweet, Dan's a keeper!!
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful birthday tradition!
    xo J~

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  53. Thank You
    To all of you wonderful readers who left such nice words about me, I really appreciate it. Joan has always challenged and encouraged me to attempt endeavors that I have no previous experience with. Our talents are a good match. Just for the record.. I don't build something for her "every" year....sometimes I take her to lunch with Bunny and John! Thank you all so much, I'm off to find a bigger hat.

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  54. I just realized I didn't answer questions in the comments... sorry!

    heather- this year Dan built a stonewall under the kitchen porch!

    endicottbee- I will work on that cloning thing;);)

    laney- that painting was made by a little neighbor girl of our first house in Portland, Oregon. I saw her sitting across the street looking at my house and then drawing something on a pad. I watched for about an hour and then went to see what she what she was doing. I cried- it was the sweetest thing and so well done. We encouraged her to take art classes which she did- she had such natural talent. She is now around 30 years old! love your meter story;)

    The French Tangerine- we are about an hour and a half away from New Hampton. We are in southern NH!

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  55. What a beautiful bookcase, and what a talented husband you have!

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  56. I love the stories behind so many of the pieces on the shelves. I have the same crystal bowl. It was a present to my Mother and Dad when they married. I have it now in my china cabinet.

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  57. I love that your husband has built you so many beautiful things! I too am blessed to have a husband with great carpentry skills. He always knows that what I ask for for my birthday,Christmas, anniversary, mothers day always involves him doing or making something for me. When we were first married. He built me a pie safe with punched tin doors. It has seen many transformations over the years, but I recently returned it to the kitchen to hold my extra dishes. I removed the punched tin( it was too sharp to be around the grandkids) and had him install hardware cloth. I love it all over again. Truly something I will never part with.

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  58. I love the entire story...and the book case is gorgeous. I started reading/following (via Janet at the gardeners cottage) about the time you posted the photo of the beautiful crystal bowl. I can't remember exactly when that was. I love everything that you have in the shelf, how it is displayed and the fact that your husband made it. My husband used to make beautiful furniture that we would plan together on the back of a napkin at a little cafe having wine in the afternoon...those were the days.
    annie

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  59. I know what it is like to have a talented husband, I do too. It is a blessing and I am very grateful for ALL he does. I love thre idea of homemade birthday gifts, wish I had thought of that years ago! Your shelf unit is beautiful and I love all the treasures it holds. XO, Pinky

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  60. I have my own carpenter too! Yours did a lovely job on your cabinet and I love the colors!
    Have a wonderful Christmas season!
    Blessings!

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  61. Joan,

    Your blog is so marvelous! I'm in the midst of raising three fantabulous adorable children
    (10,8,6), so my home is a bit of a war zone (sigh). But I am carefully plotting and planning the changes I want to make and your blog is an endless source of inspiration. I just wanted to say thank you.

    Peace,

    Temple

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  62. I absolutely love this tradition you've got going with your husband! My husband retired not long ago and he has made a couple of things for me. Who knew he had this talent?! But now, I think I want to make it a habit. You and your husband have inspired a new thought!

    If I may, I would like to invite you and your friends to check out a custom pillow giveaway I'm hosting. Happy Holidays.

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  63. Your life's bits and pieces displayed beautifully.

    Keeping love alive is the true vision of a wonderful couple's desire to still impress one another and share all your dreams through the years.

    How grand.

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  64. You have without a doubt, a gem of a husband. I am blown away at his talent and his thoughtfulness!!!!

    I hope you show him all these comments!!
    xo Elizabeth

    ps: Love seeing The Mews and Adolphus mentioned!

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  65. Oh boy do I love that he does that for you!

    Bethany
    http://powellbrower.blogspot.com/2011/12/dude-check-out-our-junk.html

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  66. ...oh joan...love love the story of the little artist across the street...now you know what i am thinking...how i hope that the people who are living in that house now...would find their house on your blog...and that the little artist would find her work displayed and appreciated all these years later by the sweet couple who lived across the street...blessings laney

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  67. What a sweet story! How romantic to marry on your birthday! We always buy something for our home for our anniversary. The bookcase (and other projects) is just beautiful, your husband is very talented - you lucky girl!

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  68. Not only stunning, but such a labor of love...adore the color. What a difference made with the gorgeous wooden gate - a talented man indeed!!

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  69. True love for real....I adore that he makes you things...so much thought behind it. And of course it goes without saying that it is styled to absolute perfection.....

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  70. Lucky lady to have such a talented partner. I love the bookcase!


    Jeannette

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  71. Joan,
    What a amazing gifts, wonderful history and stories for these cherished pieces. Dare I ask what he gives you for Christmas?! We just celebrated #24!

    Loved all your alabaser. I have one dish similar, but it's misssing the little birds :( but I still love it!

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  72. I'm missing your posts! Hope all is well with y'all and that your Christmas is going merrily. I'd love to see your decorations.

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  73. I hope all is well with you. You haven't posted in a bit. I surely do miss them. I hope you have a lovely holiday season. best regards,
    wenda scott, maggieandme52@yahoo.com

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  74. Hi Joan-
    I thought I posted a comment but I just realized I never did! Love your bookcase and all the projects your wonderful hubby has done for you! Your last words sounded like they were coming from me about my Dan! I always come up with the ideas and my Dan helps make them happen! Maybe it's a "Dan" thing!! Hugs, Liz

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  75. Missing your posts! Hope all is well. I would absolutely love to see how you decorate you lovely home for Christmas. :)

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  76. First of all that Dan is pretty special making your b'Day gifts. He's a keeper! Secondly, one of my VERY favorite things in my house is an old alabaster birdbath just like the ones you have. I love it! And Third...I'm heading out in the AM to paint my AC/heat units!

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  77. He's a keeper!! But I'm sure you already know that!

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  78. I love your bookcase! It's beautiful!!

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