Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 projects, features, and the exciting year ahead...

2013 was a pretty interesting year here at Far Above Rubies.

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After selling the leather furniture and starting over with only the antiques and family pieces I had, or could dig up here, I really found my own unique style.

The first thing I did was make my living room walls look like aged plaster...something I had wanted to do for years, but finally took the plunge. No one trusted me when I started slapping joint compound on the walls, but it came out so beautifully, I couldn't love it more.

I finally restored the iron bed I found in the little house here...

...and could not be happier with how it turned out. I also painted my grandmother's green trunk blue that had been in my parent's basement, and it found a new home at the foot of the iron bed.

Luis and I finished the china cabinet he started three years ago. Another labor of love, it was made from a walnut tree my dad cut and wormy chestnut from the old house. Filled not with china but totally with family things, it has become one of my favorite pieces.

I also sold the old light fixture in order to get a sparkly chandelier. Oh how I love it and the fact that it was only around $100 made it even better. I also made ruffled slipcovers for some of the Duncan Phyfe chairs with different pieces of vintage lace. 

I covered some for the boys in plain burlap. My son is very happy he doesn't have to sit on one with a ruffle.

I moved my grandmother's antique iron patio furniture to my front porch, and that started a big porch cleanup and makeover...all the way around all three porches. (Oh how I *wish* my railings were not white.)

I repurposed a screen door from the old house as a divider and brought lots of vintage to the back porch. We also trimmed out all the windows with reclaimed wood.

The front porch also got a vintage makeover after pressure washing, new paint and black paint on the french doors. 

I painted both bathroom cabinets in the same grey I used in the kitchen, also a color from the old house, and was again so happy I took the plunge.

The bathrooms also got pink walls and all vintage accessories...and the boys have not complained yet.

The biggest thing we did was replace the kitchen countertops with wormy chestnut wood from the old house. We pulled the wood from the side of the house, planed it, cut it, joined with biscuits, sanded, finished and installed.  I finally settled on a large, stainless, zero radius sink that I could not be happier with and a beautiful new faucet provided by the Pfister company.

We also took out a cupboard and replaced it with reclaimed wood shelves, which I also am still loving

Since the island had the ugly laminate counters, and despite my efforts, I could not convince any countertop companies to let me review marble, (right), I got really brave and spray painted the counters with textured stone paint. Another project I am so glad I took the plunge for. They are holding up amazingly well and look so much better than the old.

I did some out of the box furniture arranging this year also, and am again glad I did it. The dining area, which is high traffic, became the music room and entry, and is functioning so much better. 

The dining table went into the living room, which is large enough to accommodate it and a living area. 

I found a french provincial couch for $50 at a thrift store, and that rounded out the living area. I also had to do some chandelier switching, and I really think I have the electrical thing down now:-)

My dad split rails to make my rail fence, and I am still waiting to see it with snow:-)

Those were the big projects, and of course there were lots of smaller scale ones involving sewing, painting and restoring. We did *everything* ourselves. 

Luis and I also spent the last half of the year really learning and squeezing everything we could out of the basic DSLR cameras we have, which opened up a whole new world of photography to us. 

I shared all of these and many more photos on my faceook page, so if you don't want to miss one, I would love it if you come by and like Far Above Rubies:-)

2013 was also my first year for magazine features. 


Ideal Home and Garden featured two photos I had taken.

I wrote an article for Southern Holiday Life...


The most exciting thing for me was the story I was contracted to write about my Christmas kitchen for Country Woman magazine.

I was like a child at Christmas when the magazine came in the mail.

I was also contacted by another major magazine that will feature my photos in the fall 2014 issue, and another one in the spring, which I am still working on. Me, really?? It must be a mistake.

It's funny that opportunities started to come my way when I decided to do my own thing...whether people visited or featured me or not. I realized that what I saw as limitations -- small house, no budget, bad photography, etc., were actually the things that forced me to become creative. Looking back, I'm so glad things have been the way they are. Why? 

Because I got the email. The email I have longed for, but was also equally afraid I would get. The one from well-known architectural photographers wanting to shoot my house. So well known this couple is,  I keep thinking they have simply gotten the wrong house. They *must* have the wrong house. I told Luis probably 20 times that I would love to have the chance to see what a professional photographer would do with this house, and to have that dream become a reality is honestly unreal for me. Unreal. 

With all the good things we accomplished, there were lots more epic fails. I'll spare you those, but just say that you can't give up...especially if you're the underdog:-)

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” 
― Thomas A. Edison

So we begin 2014 with lots of little projects to finish up getting ready for the photo shoot. In all honesty, I'm in panic mode. But it all comes down to me being me, doing what I do, to the best of my ability, and on my budget. 

The bottom line is, I hope you are inspired to be original, use your limitations as opportunities and do it all the the absolute best of your ability. Because, after all, you are the only you there is:-)

I'll be joining:


  1. What a beautiful labor of love! God has blessed you with much talent!
    Love your blog and creativity.


  2. Beautiful words of wisdom about just being yourself. I can't think of a sweeter person who deserves to be featured more then you. Happy New Year!

  3. You have had an amazing year and I just know that 2014 is going to be better than ever!!

  4. Wow! Stunning photography, and congrats on your magazine features! Of course they picked you! SO talented! :) Have a happy new year!

  5. I enjoy the vintage feel of your house. Many years ago, I was all about early American. I still have many of the pieces we picked up then. Not really antiques...just old. Love them still. I love that you have so many family pieces. I don't have many furniture items, but have many small things that are huge in meaning. Have a blessed and prosperous New Year!

  6. Thanks for the recap. Your home, photos, singing, the area where you live are all spectacular. You make me want to move to those mountains.

  7. Wow, Anita lots of great things happening for you. I had missed about the magazine photos and articles. I am so thrilled for you. I wonder if you have the same couple coming that I do? I'm going to try not to get in panic mode.

    1. I'm afraid to say so I don't jinx it, lol! They are shooting a bungalow in Atlanta before me also, so could be...husband and wife.

  8. How exciting for you! I just started blogging and love what your doing!

    I enjoy dropping by your blog and seeing what you are up to.
    Always a treat.
    God Bless,

  10. Hello Anita,
    Congrats on the upcoming magazine feature...looking forward to finding out who it is. Happy New Year!!