Thursday, September 25, 2014

Keeping Busy

I can't sit still for long. I am enjoying the new kitchen and bathroom and the screened-in porch has been serving us well but there is still work to be done. When our electrician rewired our kitchen he had to get rid of some knob and tube wiring that ended up feeding into the two rooms that connect to the kitchen. One was easier than the other and in what is going to be the new dining room the joists were cut through. A comment was made that with such an "accident" you can't ever really patch it right.......right. They haven't seen my Mr. at work. You can't tell anything was ever done. And, with that the new dining room was underway.

I went online shopping and went into a few brick-n-mortar stores looking for lighting. I finally rested on this one.

Home Depot :

I saw a picture on Pinterest of a beautiful black and white dining room and so I showed it to my man. He liked the look, too! Sweet! Now where can I find that wallpaper?

A wallpaper swap—and some savvy catalog shopping—dramatically changed the tune of this space in no time flat. #decoratingideas
I went looking on the world wide web and found it but also found it was wwwwaaaaayyyy more than I wanted/could pay for wall coverings. Plan B was to find a stencil. I went through several possibilities. I want the room to remain bright which for me means more white than black. You have to pay attention to your stencil and which part is actually cut out. It is the part that is cut our that will get the overlay paint. In most cases it was reverse of what I wanted to do and painting the walls black first to try to cover over that with white was not something that sounded like a smart or easy job to me. I did finally find something that the Mr. and I agreed upon.

In addition, I found a new/old oak pedestal table on Craigslist and refinished it.
The top and the base were stained two different colors and a little too
orange for me.

Sanded, tacked down and a coat of wood conditioner done. I started staining.

After one coat I decided that it needed to be darker. Since it was oak
I decided to stain it close to the color of the kitchen floors.

I chose to paint the base the same white as the kitchen cabinets and stained the top to match the hardwood flooring in the kitchen. I have not gotten to the chairs yet. They will require a spraying when I figure out what I want to do with them. They were a Craigslist find, too!

My school books and games were all cleared out of the shelves and everything has been given a fresh coat of flat white paint. When you are dealing with old horse hair plaster flat paint is best as there is no sheen to reflect the light and show the bumps and undulating surface.
The room before....

Someone else is enjoying the process. Found her just sitting on the floor
doing school work surrounded by white.

Ahhh, white. Not a color for walls I usually embrace but it is a breath of
fresh air.

I am loving the "clean slate/fresh canvas" effect that the room has right now but we all know it won't stay that way!

Stop back for a visit soon. I am sure something will be different.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Vintage Bazaar Trip

As I have previously stated, change is not something that comes easy for me....unless we are talking about decorating! I was raised as a 'military brat' and with that came several moves. Typically, a military family moves every three years or so. With it comes the opportunity to reinvent yourself and your home. You walk into a fresh new canvas for the decorating! As a 'dependent' (the military's term for family members of the soldier) you learn to make fast and strong friends... friends that stay with you in some form or another for your whole life even though they passed through for only that short period. Most times their families had there own rotations so chances are you were ships passing in the night and only got a fraction of the three years. You learned to make your new quarters "home" and you did it quickly.

While I am no longer a part of a military community I believe that it is something that never leaves you entirely. My eyes still well up when I see soldiers come home to their families- either walking, in a wheel chair, or in a flag draped coffin. Pride still swells my heart as I hear our national anthem, see fighter planes fly overhead or see the veteran carry Old Glory in our town parade. And, the urge to shake things up every couple three years or so creeps in.

While I don't move across country or across an ocean anymore I can move furniture! My husband knows the look as it crawls across my face. My eyes dart around looking at something that suddenly seems it could be better utilized as something completely different than what it was intended for. As quickly as that look crosses my face another crosses his face. I can almost hear him thinking "" And, the conversation begins. "What if we........" Notice, I say WE. Psychology- make him feel a part of it.

I love taking old things and finding new ways to use them or just giving them another chance to be enjoyed by someone else. Remember my bathroom vanity?  I like when paint is chipped or the wood is discolored from old age. I like scratches, dings, and things that have come unglued. They remind me of me. No need for comments about me coming unglued!

Brimfield Antique Show is a great place to satisfy the wandering eye but this year I never got there. We were a little busy with things around the house. Ha-ha. So, this weekend we headed to the Vintage Bazaar in Salisbury, Massachusetts. I love seeing the creativity and ingenuity of other people who have a love for the unlovely. Talented men and women take old things and make them beautiful-giving them another life and purpose; kind of like what God is doing with me. (Don't ya just love it when those things come clear in your mind!)

It is New England, after all!

Glass garden flowers!

Loved her work!!!

Don't you just love all the colors!

I loved the whisk pendant light! C-L-E-V-E-R!

Mr. FixIt is a good sport. Most guys would rather have their finger nails pulled off with pliers than attend such a thing. At one point he did remark that everyone was dressed so shabby chic. I am shocked he knew what that was but his inner guy took over when he found a few things that he liked, too!

The smoker was not for sale but ya gotta love the yankee
ingenuity! An old oil tank (home heating kind) cut in two,
insert a grate and pipe that leads to an old wood stove!
Yes, he had envy written all over him!

While I walked away without buying anything for our home I did enjoy the autumn-like weather. I put my boots on for the first time this season! Spending the day bouncing ideas off Mr. and just enjoying the time together-priceless. I got to see lots of lovely things and walked away with some projects to be stored in the memory banks for another day.

Just checking out some vintage dishware.

Just because I liked it!
And I left with this reminder- that we have a choice-everyday........

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Embracing the Change

I am not one who likes change. In order to be "okay" with change it has to be my idea.

I love summer. Winter seems to last so very long in New England. Sometimes I am certain that it takes nine months to get through it! By late February I am like a kid with my nose pressed against the window watching the maple trees in my yard for any sign of buds. After the March sun taunts me and April brings the rains the trees relent and burst with the green that makes my heart jump.

The promise that summer will soon be here keeps me going through what seems to be an insufferable May. School ends and ahhhh, Summer!

This year has been a different beast. We have been so busy in the house that summer snuck (is that a word?) by. The weather never really got hot. No heat waves; no need for round the clock air conditioners. No late night runs for Relief Ice Cream- you know, when it is so hot you go somewhere/anywhere air conditioned for ice cream. Our trips to the beach were few this year and that is unusual for us. (I would live at the beach if we could figure out how to do that, keep working, and keep our church family.) So, as summer gave way to cooler weather and the calendar forced me to turn to September internally I shook my fist.

Our first week of school found me mourning the passing of an all too quick summer and wincing at the thought of the season that follows Autumn. I prayed that God would help me be content. Then God, in his infinite grace and mercy gave me a couple really warm days with temperatures in the 90's. It was the warmest days we have had all summer! But it was the first week of our new school year! And then I remembered that this is one of the perks of doing what we do and we used our liberty and freedom afforded us in home schooling to play hooky. Mr. took Friday off and we ran for the beach like our lives depended on it (insert slow motion running and sappy music here). I packed our lunch, we left early and spent the entire day enjoying the sun, surf and sand. There was hardly anybody there; just some young moms with little ones and older couples whose kids were all grown. We had a big area all to ourselves right up on the water. It felt like we were stealing an extra day from summer. Now, I know God probably did not do this just for me but it sure did feel like it.


A large jelly fish that washed up. It was dead but it was still beautiful.
 And with that, I was able to make peace with the idea this summer was at an end. Then like the turning of the page (or leaf) the cooler air was ushered in. I am ready for Autumn now. God did not need me to agree with him about the timing of it all but he was most gracious to bring me along in the way that he did. He is very patient with me and I am content.

A love note from my Mr.


I do love Autumn in New England. I like the word Autumn instead of Fall.  The leaves are starting to turn. The mums are beginning to bloom. It is time for the season of harvest when we store up the fruits of our spring and summer to carry us through the winter months. This year I have stored up a lovely day shared with my family on a beach that I can bring to mind when I am knee high, thigh high or waist high in snow banks. I have stored up a gift from the Lord that showed me his love for me and grace toward me even though I did not deserve it. For now, it is time for pumpkins, corn stalks, and decorating! It is time for apple picking, cider and donuts, for country fairs and festivals, sweaters and boots! And now...
now I am ready for Autumn!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Screening in the Porch

If you have known me and my hubby for any length of time you know there is always something going on in our home. We just can't sit still for long without one of us saying "hey, what do you think about ......." So, Labor Day weekend we decided to screen our small back porch. The porch is 5 1/2 feet by 13 1/2 feet. Yes, small and some would ask why bother. Our back deck area is against the house on two sides and when the sun moves around in the late afternoon the mosquitos come out in force. For the most part they do not bother me much......but Mr. is a mosquito all-you-can-eat buffet!
Yes, we could cover ourselves in bug spray or Avon SOS every time we went outside but neither us want to do that and neither of us are that diligent about anything.

This was the porch before. There is much that could have been done before hand but we decided to just jump in.
The siding is dirty and needs to be repainted-that is a job
for another day (read month or year).

Notice the fancy steps that 11+ years ago we said
we would replace. And I just noticed the roof line! Yikes!

The granite step here is cemented into the porch.
So Saturday Mr.FixIt got busy framing in the porch. Once he got most of the framing up I got busy painting. First I tried an opaque white stain thinking less work in the long run but as I applied it I was not getting the results we were after. We had some exterior ultra white paint in the basement from another project so I used it.

I am always late on the up-take when it comes to pictures. It's like "Oh, yeah! I should have taken pictures of that!" By the time Mr. was almost done screening in it finally dawned on me. I did not take pictures of the unpainted frame! Duh!

See the black strip on the right?

We used product from Home Depot that has black strips you screw onto your frame. Unroll the screen to fit your area and using a splining tool force it into the grooves. When you are happy that it is taught enough cut away the excess and cap the black strip with a white cover. You don't even notice the system. Yay!

Mr. was hot, it was humid outside and so we hooked up the fan to blow right at him. Notice his flip-flops! I do not recommend wearing flip-flops during a construction project. Nobody was hurt during this project (that is unusual for us) but kids do not try this at home.

Sunday was a day of worship and rest.

Monday we completed the project. I don't want to dress this area out too much this year. Next year will be different. For now it is functional. It is a great place to sit and read, have a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of lemonade in the evening. Two days, a lot of sweat, and no plans-just an idea in my Mr.'s head equals another favorite room to our old home!

We closed in this end and removed the old "stairs".

Indoor/outdoor, two-sided clock/thermometer.

 I love the screen door. The style is a little nod to the old. It is made of vinyl, though! That means that when it gets dirty that all I need to do is grab the hose and spray it down. I don't have to paint it, scrape it, worry about it warping, swelling, ect. Most of all, I love the way it sounds when it shuts. Mr. says that will get old soon but so far I am okay with it.

While we are waiting for that to happen I will make good use of the space and little spare time. While I read and study there is much to draw my thoughts to all that I have been blessed with.

What I keep striving toward....

Linking Up:

Monday, September 1, 2014

Kitchen Reveal!

The work we set ourselves to in March has finally been brought to fruition. We have completed the kitchen/bath/laundry renovation. Yes, it took longer than I expected and if you are a DIYer you know that it is not uncommon to run into unexpected delays. In my case I usually think something is going to be a lot easier than it actually is. They make it look so easy on HGTV! All things considered, I am very happy with how it turned out and am amazed at the stamina of my Mr. Again, girls, when you marry-marry a hard worker! (And make sure he is handy!) Okay-on to the good stuff!

Mr. FixIt removing the upper cabinet doors
in what was a very small pantry area.
We replace the window but now it is in the bathroom!

The pantry with upper cabinets removed.

Mr.FixIt is standing where the wall dividing bathroom and pantry
used to be.
What had been a small pantry with a wall that separated it from a small half bath was made into our new bathroom/laundry. That reveal can be seen here. There was NO insulation in the walls and there was no insulation under the floor-leaving the kitchen very cold in the winter.

The new window!

The dresser we made into a vanity. See post here.

So, that is what happened on one side of the wall but what happened on the kitchen side?

The chalkboard is where the doorway to the pantry was.

We stayed with white appliances as the fridge and microwave were only a year old. I am glad
we did as I think anything else would have broken up the flow of the cabinets.

This is the tile I ended up with and the outlet that gave me so much trouble-
no longer an issue thanks to a little ingenuity and a well placed utensil jar!

This is what it used to look like. And yes, my photo skills leave much to be desired.

That same corner now.

There are still little things to tweak here and there. We want to put something over the refrigerator to cover the space between it and the cabinet above. I have to still fix the inside my utility cabinet on the side of the fridge. When I get around to that I will post more pictures.

I love the light and for that reason I have been dragging my feet on getting curtains up. I went looking for ready made ones but the ones I liked are not supposed to be washed. What good is that in a kitchen?! So, I have succumbed to the idea that I have to make them.  I did buy fabric and have an idea of how I want them to look so when I get a free minute I will start on that.

It is September 1st! It has taken us six months to complete this project working nights and weekends. Mr. did take a week off at one point to get some intensified work done. We are very happy with the outcome.

Tomorrow is September 2nd and that means back to school. The girls and I will delving into the 19th century this year. I am looking forward to it now that things have returned to some form of normal for us around here. Of course, that is not to say that there are not other projects already in the works! Thanks for sticking with us through this renovation..... and stay tuned. There is always more to come.

Linking up: Must Love Home, The DIY Village