The Painted Churches • Fayette County, TX

On The Crush List because…

“They blended religion and art and science because, at base, science is no more than an investigation of a miracle we can never explain, and art is an interpretation of that miracle.”

Ray Bradbury

Map of the Painted Churches of Fayette County



If ever a picture was worth thousands of my words, it’s now.

And really, isn’t what we all need most just a quiet moment of sanctuary?

So here are my photos from St. Mary Catholic Church in High Hill, aka the Queen of the Painted Churches, and I’ll leave the explaining to what’s already been said.

St Mary Ceiling

Painted Churches Alter

Painted Churches Fan

Painted Churches Pieta

Painted Churches Stained Glass

Painted Churches Preserved

Painted Churches Old New

Painted Churches Holy Water

Painted Churches Frames

Painted Churches Entry

Painted Churches Sidewalk

St Marys Steeple

St Marys Gift Shop


Courthouse Square • La Grange, TX

On The Crush List because…

Devereaux Jarret “Chicken Trotter” Bell.

LG Square Correction

Those 1830’s and 40’s were a busy time in Texas, full of attacks and massacres and woundings and marches and escapes and something awful called the Black Bean Death Lottery.  I didn’t pay much attention to all that back in middle school Texas History class, but I’ve grown to appreciate that history is the mother lode of juicy stories and great names like”Black Bean Death Lottery.”

LG Square Courthouse

LG Square Flag

LG Square Veterans

After a recent meeting at the sweet Latte on the Square, I took a lovely turn around La Grange’s downtown, reading all the markers and snapping sunny photos as I went.  Back home, I continued my journey, stumbling along the endless Google Trail until I landed upon a creative gold mine:  The 1843 Treaty of Bird’s Fort.  You were probably paying attention and remember it from 7th Grade, but if not, just know it’s the peace treaty where several Native American tribes agreed to stop teaming up with the Mexican Government against Texas.  Its list of Articles is quite fascinating, but even more intriguing are the names of the tribe “chiefs, headmen and warriors” who signed on to the Treaty. I know, I’ve already given you lists of great names here before, but I’m hoping you have another restaurant or band or baby ferret or ski house to label, because check these out:

  • Cherokee:  Devereaux Jarret “Chicken Trotter” Bell
  • Delaware: Roasting Ear; McCulloch; James St. Lewis
  • Chickasaw: Ishteukahtubby
  • Waco:  Aca Quash; Chetickkaka
  • Tawakoni: Kechikaroqua
  • Keechi: Kahteahtic
  • Caddo: Red Bear, Bichah, Haddahbah
  • Anadarko: Jose Maria
  • Ioni: Towaash
  • Biloxi: Hoyo Tubby

Plus my favorite name of all the Interpreters:  Pierce Sobby.

LG Square Arch

LG Square Hermes Brick

LG Square Hermes

LG Square Hunger

LG Square Office Walk

Just off the Square is Victorian Gothic Old Jail.  It has, in its day, housed members of the Bonnie and Clyde gang, a lady who would have been the first woman sent to the electric chair had she not starved herself to death while incarcerated there, a few random ghosts and many a jailer and his family.  Today it houses the City of La Grange Visitors’ Bureau and yes, I’ll call you if it ever goes condo.

LG Square Jail

LG Square Red Wall

LG Square Welcome

Great Estate Goods • Marburger Farm, Round Top, TX

On The Crush List because…

If you’re looking to Round Top for sublime and sophisticated, this is what you’ll see.

GEG Portraits

I’ve talked before about the weary show blindness that can develop after looking at days and days and fields and fields and booths and booths and tables and tables and walls and walls of heart-stirring treasures and insignificant junk.  When I get to that state, I just let myself wander around in an out-of-focus-kind-of-way while I wait for the Magic Eye 3-D poster phenomenon to take over. I hope you remember Magic Eye. It’s that optical illusion fad from about twenty years ago where if you diverge your focus on a random field of colorful dots in just the right way the image of a pouncing panther or a pirate ship will leap right out at you.

At the blurry end of the most recent Marburger Preview Day, it was Great Estate Goods that jumped out and into focus for me. It’s Amelia Tarbet’s cool, dark corner booth, and it’s filled with carefully chosen and carefully placed objects.  Frankly, the space really deserves a photography shoot with a proper camera and a nice annotated catalogue.  But until then, here’s my The Crush List Style look at Amelia Tarbet’s curatorial sorcery from wide shot to extreme close up.

GEG Exterior Wide

GEG Exterior Close

GEG Wide Interior

GEG Shrine

GEG Winged Table

Ha, I thought that one would get you!

GEG Isusla

GEG Chinoise

GEG Color Kids

GEG Bird

GEG Moo Cow

GEG Underwater

GEG Helmet

GEG Antler

Men • Round Top, TX

On The Crush List because…

Some of you might be hunting for one.


If it’s January, that means the Show is just weeks away.  Or still weeks away, depending upon your glass/full persuasions. As for me, I’m beyond ready to go so I thought I’d make a little visit to my photo library and pull together a quick potpourri of Show Fabulousness to tide us over.  And what better theme than MEN?

Utopia Bust

You can pretty much find whichever kind of man you need at the show.  Plenty of busty classics, of course.

Utopia Head

County Line JFK

Famous guys and otherwise.

marburger what me worry

Guitar Man Ozzy

Cowboys upon cowboys.

Pony Ride

Tbird Ranch Cowboy Art

 The swarthy and the less so.

Swarthy Man


Here’s to days and days of happy hunting coming soon!

Mel and El Upholstery • Round Top, TX

On The Crush List because…

You are surrounded by infinite possibilities of choice.  Yikes!

Mel El Army Chair

Antiquing is such a thrilling feast of possibilities. What makes things even more interesting is that “possibility” is a completely relative concept.  Your possible might be beyond my wildest dreams.  My possible might be your so-not-worth-it.  When you really think about it, that isn’t just a booth full of old treasures and castoffs, it’s an entire possibility multiverse.

As they are paid to do, interior designers, decorators, furnishers, stylists and their ilk look around the fields and tents and see even deeper layers of possibility.  And here’s where Mel and El finally enter the picture.  Next to their Old Depot tent full of super-stylish frenchy chairs, settees and benches that they’ve recovered in great hair-on hides, old Army bags and worn in vintage feed sacks, Mel and El also set up a complete upholstery workshop.  The pros (and anyone else with the nerve) can order a pair of throw pillows for a new settee. Or they can bring some metallic leather from Arbor and an old stool from North Gate and have the whole thing redone on the spot.  Or they can choose a custom fabric scheme for one of Mel and El’s own yet-to-be-done chair frames and it’ll be whipped up in a couple of days.  What a handy and empowering and mind-opening resource to have in your pocket as you shop the show.  Possibilties x 10!

Mel El Settee

Mel El Chair Pair


Speaking of possibilities, let’s quickly review what I call the Sure You Can Do It, But Will You Really? possibility principle that must be kept in mind during all antiquing trips.  As you find yourself slipping into the seductive “oh that burlap wreath plate charger with ombre dip-dye accents is so darling but I don’t need to buy it because I can make it myself” possibility trap, stop yourself and remember: What is possible when we get home from the show has its limits because we are involved, and we are busier and lazier than we think.

Mel El Bucket Chairs

Mel El German

Mel El Angel

These are the beauties waiting for their turn!

Mel El Undone Chairs

And lastly, you’ll remember that my Grandmadean used to say a house or a shack or a town had “possibilities.”  That’s what I thought when I saw this fabulous hide chair.  The second photo shows how perfectly she fits into her new home!



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