Tuesday, November 20, 2012


It is Thanksgiving week, and this year Daniel and I have so much to be thankful for. Honestly, every Thanksgiving we have many blessings to celebrate, but this past year we have been overwhelmed with God's provision and an outpouring of love from family and friends. In the spirit of gratefulness, let me give you a tour of our new home!

Our library/office. I am thankful for a fully functional
fireplace, as well as for the opportunity Daniel has to 
work from home 4 days every week. And yes, that is
a classic Wolverine poster on the mantle :)

I am thankful for my rocking chair, given to me by my
father in law. He received it as payment for allowing
a local Amish woodworker to use some of the wood on
his land. My rocker is made of hickory straight from
his backyard, and it is my favorite piece of furniture!

I am thankful for bright windows, my afghan that my
Grandma Heotzler made, and for an old brown couch that 
has been in the family for generations.

I am thankful for those who gave us furniture - we
have truly been blessed with generous friends!

Thankful for a kitchen with beautiful wood cupboards,
a stove that heats evenly and the luxury of a dishwasher!
Please note the chic plywood countertops as well :)

Thankful for a refrigerator that doesn't make awful
noises in the middle of the night!

Thankful for a soft mattress, warm blankets and
blackout curtains in our bedroom.

Thankful for the curtains on the doorways as well
as my mother in law's hard work trying to get the old doors
stripped and sanded. It's going to take a while, but they
will be beautiful!

I am thankful that we had an extra bed and mattress 
(given to us!) so that my parents could sleep on 
something better than an air mattress when they came
to visit. 

I am thankful for a huge bathroom and a shower that
drains properly. Compared to our apartment bathroom,
this is a suite!

Thankful for my finally unpacked books (the rest
 are in the library). Apologies to everyone who had 
to carry those boxes. 

Thankful for a wonderful view every morning!

We've also been able to get a few "house-ish" things done as well. No big projects, but we're making some progress.
I stained and sealed the porches on an 
unusually warm November day. It came out
more blue than it should have, but at least they
are sealed against the winter weather.

I'll be repainting these a darker shade of grey once
spring rolls around.

Doors! We had to buy some new doors for the house -
not all of the old ones were usable. These two, once the
stain and polyurethane dry, will go on Dan's office. Mom
in law has been working on these, and they look great!

Despite the chaos of moving and unpacking, we have managed to have some fun. Every November we celebrate the birthdays of our "November Boys" - Daniel and two of his friends, Bryan and Aaron. We dubbed the big celebration Operation Trifecta. Tradition dictates that presents must be wrapped in girly wrapping paper, birthday cards must be silly and fun must abound. For the first time, we had a party in our home!

We truly have been blessed - a new house, working from home, furniture, a fuzzy kitten, a real backyard, wonderful neighbors... the list could go on for pages and pages. Thank you to all of you who have helped us with the move and with fixing the house. We are forever in your debt!

Though the big projects are done for this year, we'll be working on the inside of the house during the winter. We have trim to put up, baseboards to cut, windows to frame in and doors to finish. We will be sure to post more once we start!

Happiest of Thanksgivings to all of you! May your turkey be moist and your pies sweet :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

'Autumn Fire,' or 'Unmitigated Disaster'

It has been a stressful week or two. Between packing up our apartment and trying to get the farmhouse ready, there have been numerous challenges, but the good news is that we are finally in! That's right; tonight will be our first night in our new home. But wait, you may say, wasn't that supposed to happen last weekend? Yes, yes it was.

So here is what happened to mess up our best laid plans.

Wednesday: Threw out my back while packing. I lay on the floor all day while my wonderful husband and in-laws packed up all our furniture and took it to New Castle.

Thursday: Chiropractor realigned everything from my neck to pelvis. Was at least able to walk around. Many thanks to my mom-in-law for taking me to get myself taken care of and helping me to clean the apartment.

Friday: Brother and sister in law helped me finish packing and cleaning. Locked the apartment and said goodbye to Pittsburgh.

Last weekend: finished sanding all of the upstairs floors with the help of Mark and Sophia. Started staining/polyurethaning the floors, and then we ran into more trouble.

Dan and I decided to stain the upstairs floors a much lighter shade than we did downstairs. We wanted the bedrooms to have a lighter look to them, so we bought this stuff:

It's a nice light color, we said. It will bring out the grain in the wood, we thought. All lies. We tested it on the old wood in the bedroom, and this is what happened.


Come on! That wasn't supposed to happen! The 150 year old pine flooring turned a reddish/orange color with the "natural" stain. Bugger. The patched sections of floor stood out like a sore thumb. 

Master Bedroom with the patched chimney hole.

We probably should have called it quits at this point - forget the stain and go right for the polyurethane- but we didn't. I stained every floor upstairs, and they all turned out like this. They don't make a stain to match this...whatever color. I shall call this color "Autumn Fire" or "Unmitigated Disaster;" I haven't decided which yet. I was pretty mad, but there wasn't a darn thing I could do. I needed a stain that would be close in color to this one (for the new wood), so I pulled the kindergarten card and started mixing stain colors hoping to get something that would be close.

Bam and Bazinga, I win. 

Here are the before and after shots of our upstairs rooms.

Spare Bedroom 1 before sanding

Spare Bedroom 1 after sanding

Spare Bedroom 1 after "natural" stain and 2 coats of polyurethane

Master Bedroom before sanding

Master Bedroom after three weekends of sanding

Master Bedroom after "natural" stain, mixing and matching 
stain to use on the new wood patch, and 2 coats of 

Spare Bedroom 2 - half old pine and half new pine. I was really 
worried about getting this room matched well.

It's not a perfect match by any means, but I'll take it. I probably
should have done two coats of the mixed stain on the new wood, but
we were running out of time to get these done.

Hallway - all new pine

Mixed stain and polyurethane - not too shabby!

Overall, I'm satisfied with the colors. It's definitely not what we expected, but we'll work with it. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, our floors refused to dry for three days (yay humidity), so we haven't been able to move our bed or dressers upstairs. We've been staying at my in-law's house this week, and Dan has been commuting back and forth to work. It's been stressful to say the least. Looks like we will be able to stay in the house tonight though, and we're pretty excited to finally get settled and take care of this mess. 

Other random notes: 

We have a lovely chandelier hanging in our stairwell now. Daniel is very proud of getting it up there, so I thought I'd post a photo of it.

We have a kitten in residence :) His name is Tigon and he lives in the garage currently. Dan is really allergic to cats, but he agreed to an outdoor cat that occasionally gets indoor privileges. He is cute, loves to chew on cords and really likes to perch on shoulders.

Dan and I will be taking a break from working on the house for the next few weeks. We're both exhausted, and could use some time to settle. We'll pick up posting probably before Thanksgiving. 

Happy post-Halloween to everyone! Enjoy the candy sales :)