The little crates that could

This is the very first project I did for this house. Before a single bit of paint was on the walls, when red carpet was still a horrifying reality, when the musty stench of dust and rot hung in the air and clung to your clothes. While plumbers, electricians, AC guys, and various other pickup truck owning individuals were crawling all over the house running wire, installing things, and shouting good natured insults at one another, the little girls and I sat safely out of way in the sunshine, staining crates. While boots pounded up and down the stairs, and the grind of saws and drills shrieked through the air, I was having a fine time splashing stain on my jeans, and day dreaming about white walls, painted brick, pretty counter tops, and a work room full of delightful things with a pretty spot to sit, read and plan. I … Continue reading

Do what you do know how to do

Excuses are handy little things aren’t they? They give us the way out. All the justification we need for dashed dreams and un-realized goals can be summed up in simple sentences like…”Well someday, but I just don’t have time.”…”I’d love to, but I don’t have the money.”…”I wish I could, but I’m not educated enough.”…”I want to, but I’m not talented enough.”…I could go on for a good while more with examples, I’m really quite skilled at the art of excuse making! You know what I realized about excuses? More often than I’d care to admit, my excuses are just sheer laziness wrapped up in a package of victimized self pity. I’m afraid there isn’t much very pretty about that! I don’t believe for a second that an all powerful God created me to be rendered helpless and useless by the slightest obstruction in my path. I also don’t think … Continue reading

A Tour of Lights

I think the absolute hugest improvement we’ve made to this house wasn’t the AC, or electrical, or working appliances, or paint, or the cleaning…it was the lights. I had no idea I loved lights so much…until we moved into a house that didn’t have them! Was it socially unaccepted in the 50’s to have lights in a house? Maybe they worked night shift and wanted the house to be dark. Or maybe they had a secret desire to dwell underground. With wood from ceiling to floor, and the very fewest, most dim amount of lights imaginable, this place was an utter cave. I wore one of those ridiculously nerdy headlamp lights on my forehead for the first two months just so I could see what I was doing! (Is it any wonder I went on a white wall painting rampage? I think not!) Lights hit the home improvement budget right … Continue reading

Dot to Dot Sewing – Basic Woman’s Top Tutorial

I can always count on the change of seasons to spin me off into a sewing mood. It’s time for the wardrobe to change, and that means this girl needs some new stuff.   OK, not really, but it’s a good excuse anyway. I despise clothes shopping with a passion. I’m tall and not exactly anywhere near the realm of petite, which spells royal pain when it comes to finding anything half way attractive to wear. Oh yes, and I’m cheap. This is why sewing is my saving grace. I mentioned before, that making your own patterns is easy if you think of it as a giant dot to dot picture. Measure out the dots, then connect them. If it works for a little girl’s dress (HERE), it will work for you! This is how you can make a basic shirt out of knit fabric. Woven fabric is just as easy, … Continue reading

What will happen if you paint brick?

It will look pretty, that’s what! Brick inside a house brings a rustic and warm feel with it that I just love. The trouble is, not all brick is lovely to look at. Some of it can be down right ugly! If you find yourself afflicted with generally unattractive brick, paint is a simple way to improve it. I’m going to give you two examples of this, one of fake brick, the second of real brick. My work shop walls had some troubling issues, termite damage for one, and ugliness for another. I decided I wanted a nice statement wall on one end of the room, so we procured some fake brick paneling from the hardware store. I didn’t think it was all that nice of a color, or the slightest bit realistic looking, but I had a plan. First, I filled in the grout with white paint, which was … Continue reading

A barrel of fun – two unconventional side tables

I think every room of my house needs some element of surprise…just a quirky little something that says, “Hey! I’m not a just any old room, I’m special!” In my unprofessional opinion, staying out of generic world is the kindest thing you can do to a room.  I found just the perfect touch of whimsy for my guest room with these. Aren’t they adorable? I’m guessing they were part of a store display or some such thing. I found them months ago in a local thrift store and was immediately transported into a Robert Louis Stevenson world of “Ahoy matey!” and “Avast ye land lubbers!” right there in the store. ( Why yes, my imagination does tend to wander, why do you ask?) I had them in the back of my truck before you could say “pieces of eight”! Naturally, my inclination was to paint them as I would imagine … Continue reading

Rest if you must, but don’t quit!

This poem I’m sharing today reminds me of my dad. He memorized it, and used to quote it to us kids often…with much eye rolling, huffing, and puffing on our part I might add! Quitting just wasn’t an option in our house, you had to try, and then try again. While it’s one thing to learn not to quit when it comes to chores and what not, it’s quite another when it comes larger matters. We all have something that taunts us into quitting.  “The thing” that says, just quit, I’m not worth this much trouble, stop trying so hard. It hands you “reasons”…you’ve got no money so you can’t do it, you aren’t talented enough so why try, that person will never change so why bother, nobody else thinks you can so why should you, you aren’t pretty enough so give up, you aren’t worth anything so stop trying, … Continue reading

No Pain, No Gain – The Kitchen Remodel (Part 1)

If I had to rank all the rooms in my house for which room was the most offensive when we purchased it, the kitchen would take first place. The upstairs bath with its green sinks and rotting shower would take second. The living room would come in at a close third, with its (former) red carpet and pink brick, but more on all that later. Today, we are addressing the kitchen. Hands down, the most formidable project I have ever undertaken. Someday I’m going to write a post on the top ten things I’ve learned about house remodels. Numbers one through ten will be “expect everything to take longer than you thought, be more difficult than you thought, and to cost more than you thought.” Then, when I’m done with that post, I’m going to write one about what to expect from old houses. Things like petrified contact papered shelves, … Continue reading

10 Recipes with Fall spice

Cooking is not my thing. Eating, I’m quite skilled at, cooking not so much. It’s a rare day you’ll see anything about cooking on this blog. That said, when the air turns crisp in the mornings, even I get into a fit to bake a bit. And then the urge quickly dies five minutes into it when I realize what a fine mess I’m making! What’s a girl to do? Find something easy, that will smell delicious, that’s what. Half the trick to making people think you’ve cooked something good is how it smells. That’s my theory anyways. I’ve scrounged around and found ten recipes to inspire my Fall baking that are just chock full of Autumn-ish ingredients…guaranteed to make my house smell like an exquisite bakery. And if unforeseen catastrophes befall me, well then, I’ve got plenty of cinnamon and apple scented candles that should do the trick just … Continue reading

How to sew simple lined curtains

I quite like a thing which can do two jobs at once. Lined curtains are handy like that. They add the finishing touch of a curtain, and when closed, they can keep out the sun just like a window blind. The little girls’ room window needed curtains for cuteness and for privacy. I made this set for about $8, much much cheaper than buying a set. (They are totally cuter than store bought ones too!) To make your own, you need to measure how long you want them (add 2 inches), and how wide (add one inch). You need a fabric for the outside ( the side that shows) and a fabric for the lining. Cut your fabric into rectangles, put the wrong sides together. Sew all the way around the edges…BUT you need to leave 3 inches on both sides un-sewn. The will be your curtain rod holes. I … Continue reading