Alabama National Cemetery

An Impromptu Visit to Alabama National Cemetery

Yesterday I ran to Tractor Supply Company in Montevallo for dog food. On the way there I passed the Alabama National Cemetery. I simply love to walk through old cemeteries, especially those with antique headstones and monuments. I still get chills thinking about my visits to Arlington National Cemetery as well. Being the daughter of a veteran, I have developed a great reverance for our patriots. Honor and respect were a large part of my childhood. We are a family that always celebrated Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

So having just returned home from my Dad’s beautiful cemetary service where the Army sent a honor guard to perform the graveside ceremony, my reverence for our military was particularly high. Why not? I pulled into the cemetery, parked and walked through the rows of pristine white stones. Some had flags. Some had flowers. I felt the solidarity and unity of these resting souls who were devoted soldiers of our beloved nation.

I took a few photos with my phone. I read a few of the inscriptions on the markers. There were mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives, nieces and nephews, grandmoms and grandpops. Each marker was inline with the ones next to, behind, and in front of it. The vivid rows of grass were pristine and made the markers seem to glow in the Alabama sun.

I paid my respects and headed back to my van. It had rained the previous day and as my luck would go, I stepped right into a patch of mud. I was wiping my shoe against the grass and didn’t notice the dignified man as he approached. “I’m so sorry it’s a little muddy today,” he said, in a truly sincere voice. Surprised by his sudden appearance and even more by the regret in his voice, I told him it was ok as it was just a little mud.

I offered my hand and introduced myself as I asked, “Are you the caretaker of this wonderful place?” He replied with a laugh, “I’m Woody, and I am the the director here.” He told me that he walks the grounds in the mornings and ensures the reverence of the cemetery. He was sweaty and muddy, the sure sign of a hands-on kind of guy. He continued, “Then I go back into the office and put on the suit and take care of that side of the business.”

I don’t remember his last name and some of the exact details of our converstion escape my memory, but we chatted for about ten minutes. During that time, Woody told me that there are many sections to the cemetery. There are over 8,000 individuals buried here. There is an honor area, an area for cremated individuals, and few other special areas that again I don’t recall. I should have taken notes but I was caught up in the way this man spoke, the pride in his voice, the honor with which he spoke of even the smallest details at this hallowed, honorable site.

Woody offered that servicemen and women were buried here along with their spouses. They had just buried a young man from Calera. And they were responsible for many types of services and many unique services as well. He told me of a young soldier who, back in 1956, was on his way to Okinawa when his plane went down and everyone on board was killed. The young man’s mother would never accept that her son had perished. Thus, his 7 siblings had never laid their brother to rest. Not too long ago, after the mother had passed, the siblings came to Woody and requested his help in honoring their brother. A ceremony was conducted and honors bestowed on the memory of this young soldier. Woody described the sight of the remaining siblings some 60 years later standing graveside with each of their hands on the casket. My heart reacted and a smile crossed my face. And I realized, I was speaking to an angel!

Angels come in many forms, in many shapes, in many sizes and many ages. They are purposely placed in our lives at the right time for a very specific purpose. You see, I’ve had some exprience with angels recently. I’ll be writing more about them soon. But in this moment, in this place, I was in awe at the power this man could channel. The pride was in every word he spoke. He was indeed the literal caretaker of this lovely, reverent place. He was the ultimate director and the perfect person for the task of ensuring dignifed and honorable repose of our heros.

I’m certain that, had I stayed an hour, Woody would regale me with an unending recount of similar stories. A man like Woody remembers every detail, every name, and takes great pride in sharing them daily. It’s his honor and his duty. I’m so thankful that I turned into what appeared to be just a small yet official cemetery poignantly located on Rt. 119 between Alabaster and Montevallo. And today, as I don my Red White and Blue, I’m thankful for angels like Woody at the Alabama National Cemetery who make it their life’s mission to protect the dignity, to ensure the repose, and to honor the memory of our precious veterans who secured the freedom we enjoy today through their service years ago.

So, if you ever find yourself on Rt. 119 traveling between Alabaster and Montevallo Alabama, pull on in to the Alabama National Cemetary. Shake Woody’s hand. And thank him for his service.

You can find more information on the Alabama National Cemetery on their website HERE or on their Facebook page.

Below I am including some pictures of my favorite service men.

William J. O’Brien
US Army Corp of Engineers

George J. Barth
US Army
My Grandfather (M)
Bob Proctor
US Army
Long time Blu Vendor aka family
Cliff Jones
US Air Force 82nd Airborne Division
and US Army/Chaplain
The Blue Building Antiques Shopatblu Alabama National Cemetery honor patriots dignity angels
Rob Garner
US Air Force Master Sargent
Alabama Brother-In-Law

I am still gathering pictures of my other favorite veterans in uniform so please check back for an update of these heroes.

The Blue Building Antiques Alabaster AL shopatblu Farmhouse decor

Wish List of Farmhouse Decor

With Amazon Prime specials still in full force, I gathered some great farmhousedecor items for easy ordering!  Some of these prices are incredible!

Kitchen Farmhouse Industrial Chairs

This is by far the BEST price I’ve seen on these chairs.  I’ve added links for 3 colors.

Farmhouse Pillows

I need to order some of each of these.  Love the ticking!

Wall Decor

Sometimes it’s hard to find real shutters.  These look like a great alternative.  And who doesn’t love a state sign??

Farmhouse Kitchen Lighting

I am finally finishing up my kitchen update and these are all contenders!

Farmhouse Wreaths


More Wall Decor

Macrame anyone?  And windmills!!!  Who can say no to these??

The Blue Building Antiques Alabaster AL shopatblu Farmhouse decor


Custom built wall unit: A One Panel Challenge

Let’s Build a Cubby Wall Unit

It’s been awhile since I’ve done any building.   I have seen so many vintage mail cabinets and cubbies lately that I was dying to have one.  I have the perfect spot in my kitchen.  My Dad, aka Pop, refinished a beautiful dresser for me 16  years ago when we moved to Alabama.  We use it in our kitchen for extras…like dishtowels, barbecue tools, extra plates and platters, etc.  I thought a cubby wall unit over this piece would be gorgeous so off we go!  Let’s build a wall unit!

I selected a full sheet of PureBond 3/4″ birch plywood for my project.  And fortunately, it fit in my van!  Check out PureBond’s website HERE for project ideas and furniture built by some of my blogger friends using PureBond.  There are so many ideas!

The Design

Since I wanted to possibly mount this on the wall above the dresser/sideboard/buffet, I decided to limit the size to around 26″ tall by 48″ wide by 9″ deep.  I wanted a unit that was big enough to make a statement but small enough to mount on the wall.  So I decided on three rows of 5 horizontal cubbies.  

I measured and measured and measured again.  Then I used my table saw to make the cuts.  I grabbed my Kreg pocket hole jig to build the frame.  I measured the inside width and cut two pieces of PureBond to make my shelves.

I grabbed my Ryobi Airstrike stapler to secure the horizontal shelves.  Next I measured the height for each individual cubby and cut some more PureBond to build vertical partitions. 

Before I stapled the partitions in place, I stained the entire frame and partitions.  It is so much easier to stain the parts before they are assembled.  I glued each partition into place and secured them with the stapler.

I used two metal brackets as braces, attached them to the wall, and simply set the unit on top.  I wanted to make sure the unit looked ok on the wall.  Last step was to cut and stain another piece of wood to use for a back on the unit.

The Reveal

And here she is:

I must admit that I was quite intimidated at the thought of building this wall unit.  It was easier that I had expected.  I am anxious to tackle a few new projects now!


The Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest

This project was completed as part of the Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest.  Each month a group of bloggers are challenged to complete a DIY project using products provided by a sponsor.  There is a different sponsor each month. This month’s contest theme is One Panel Challenge.  PureBond  sponsoring this month’s Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest.  Our challenge was to build a piece of furniture using just one piece of PureBond plywood.  Home Depot was kind enough to provide $50 gift card with which we could purchase the PureBond plywood at our local Home Depot store.  These are two wonderful sponsors!  Each blogger received free product in exchange for writing a post about their build.  PureBond will provide a prize package to the blogger with the winning project!

Here is a link to PureBond’s website.  They have a wonderful selection of  panels in varying thicknesses.  Some of their products available at Home Depot are:

  • Alder
  • Aromatic Cedar
  • Cherry
  • Hickory
  • Mahogany
  • Maple (Unfinished and Finished Options)
  • Poplar (Unfinished and Finished Options)
  • Red Oak
  • Walnut
  • White Oak

You can also find PureBond products through the PureBond Fabricator Network, 

Please take a few minutes to visit the blogs of our fabulous contest hosts.

These wonderful ladies are so creative!  You will find some wonderful inspiration on their blogs:  Evey at Evey’s Creations, Scottie at Saved by Scottie, Christie at Ritsy Parties, Inc., and Jodi at Glittered Barn Designs, and Jess at My DIY Envy.  This month’s feature host is Jodi.  Hope over to her blog to see what she created with her PureBond panel!  Click the links at the end of her post to see all of the blogger projects!  I can’t wait to check them all out!

If you are a blogger and would like to participate in future contests, you can inquire via email to