Monday, December 8, 2014

In Lieu of a Christmas Letter, I Bring You a Post!

Many of you might not know how renovations really happen. You start out with a "to do" list, get some contractor quotes, settle on someone to do the job(s) and then they tell you when they are available to work.


In theory.

But really, not ever.

My Christmas present from Dave last year was the promise of a sidewalk and a blacktopped driveway. I was pretty thrilled, because here is what our walkway looked like.

And our driveway was concrete patches with some gravel, but mostly weeds. Not terribly appealing.

When spring rolled around, we started asking around about getting the sidewalk poured. We got some extraordinary quotes (thousands of dollars, really?), had a few promising leads, and then life happened.

First we had to landscape.

Then we had to get drainage dug out back. 

Then I was gardening and freezing veggies. 

Then contractor machinery broke. 

Contractors backed out.


6 months later all of the major projects that needed done are finally being finished, all in the same week.

Sidewalk was poured. 


Watching the cement harden....

Driveway was paved. 

Logan loved watching the skid steer at work!

The finished driveway.

Dave and his new contractor completed barn renovations and fenced in the back pasture for the new tenants.

Our new "neigh"bors! Actually, there are four of
them, but they are typically only out two at a time.
I LOVE living next to these guys!

I suppose the moral of the story is that if it's gonna happen, it's all gonna happen at once. At the end of the season. Right before the holidays. At least it is done, and we have a sidewalk that can be shoveled, and a driveway to be proud of. And I enjoy looking out my kitchen window to see horses frolicking in the back yard :)

A few other projects of note...

My living room shelves are complete!

I had the boards sanded and poly'ed this summer, but it took a while to make it from the garage to the living room walls.

Good old barn wood. If you look at the top piece, 
you can see little white dots on the wood. Those are
air bubbles; the wood was so dry that once poly went 
on it, the board sucked it up and pushed the air out.
I literally had to put six coats of poly on these before 
the smooth surface was created.

Dan stuck the shelves flush in the corners of the 
living room so that we have room next to them to
display his photos.

And Dan finally got to put his surround sound speakers
up where he wanted them!

I think sometime I'll write a post on a dozen ways to use barn wood in your home. So many ideas! I really like the rustic charm these add to my house.

I finally finished up our master bathroom! I taped the room up, picked a color for the wainscotting and trim, and went to work during Logan's napping hours. I was so pleased with how the colors turned out, and I rejoiced.

And then I pulled off the painters tape.

I was left with this.

I would like to tell you just what went through my 
mind, but I'm not proud of those words...

It was everywhere. I cried.

So here is a tip for anyone that DOESN'T want to have this happen; use oil based primer on bathroom walls. It helps prevent your paint from peeling due to high moisture content. I put the tape on and didn't remove it for nearly a month (because let's face it, getting any project done with a one year old takes more time than necessary). Big mistake! Between the tape, a steamy bathroom with taped walls and a lack of proper primer, I have a mess on my hands. 

What to do? I need to scrape off all the loose paint, sand down the peeled spots, re-primer, re-sand, and repaint. Ugh. This is going to take a month of Logan's naps to accomplish. 

If you're painting your bathroom, please learn from my mistake. Only YOU can prevent a peely bathroom!

Merry Christmas to everyone! This might be the only proper Christmas letter that anyone gets. Between post-partum depression, a needy growing child and a house that still needs finishing, it has been an interesting and challenging year. I think I'm on the upswing of things, though prayers for us and our sanity are always appreciated. We love you all, and hope you have a merry Christmas, in whatever state or country you may find yourself.

Mommy's Christmas helper :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Aaaand We're Back!

Well so what if it has been eight months since my last post? It's not like we've been busy or anything...

Logan Paul was born on November 22, 2013. 8 lbs, 3 oz, 19 inches long. He is now 7 months old, and growing like a weed! He is our little goat, eating anything and everything that can fit in his mouth. He has just cut his first tooth too! Dan and I are very proud parents :)

The house work went on hiatus for a few months due to Logan's arrival and a very VERY cold winter. There wasn't much anyone wanted to do, though a major, ongoing project was started sometime in January.

Door, window and floor trim, huzzah!

What an adventure here! Because we took all of the original plaster out of the house and replaced it with drywall, we had some major gaps along the edges of the rooms, where the floorboards and walls were supposed to meet. Not centimeter gaps. Inches. Holes everywhere. When I swept the floor, I used to just sweep the dirt to the edge and dump it into the gap (no judging of my housekeeping skills, please and thankyouverymuch). Your typical piece of baseboard from Lowes would only cover a fraction of the gap, so we had to get creative.

What we did was commission and Amish woodworker to make two separate pieces of baseboard.

One to cover the rather large gaps.

The other goes flush with the wall on top of the other piece.

Dan and Dave have had quite a time trying to get all of the baseboard on downstairs. Because a lot of the floors are warped, and the corners aren't all 90 degree angles, they've had to do some creative finangling to get it on. You really can't tell unless you know where to look. Overall, I am really pleased with how it came out! Most of the door frames and baseboard are complete downstairs. What an improvement! It really gives the house a completed look.

More trim in the dining room.

My mom-in-law took it upon herself to paint a number of rooms in our house over the winter months. After looking at the paint chips we had up on the kitchen and bathroom walls since last October (!), we finally chose colors, and Mom got to painting. 

Our kitchen is a lovely shade of green. It isn't
the color I originally wanted, but the Easter-y
green has grown on me.

Our master bathroom also received a few coats of paint
in a lovely shade of blueish green. We decided to put
wainscoting on the bottom half of the walls because the blue
was a bit overwhelming on the whole wall. The wainscoting 
isn't finished just yet; it needs the trim put on to give it a 
finished look, but that is next weekend's project!

Daniel installed the door trim around both bathroom doors. 
Eventually it will be painted to match the wainscoting.

Other miscellaneous items of note: 

Our bedroom closet finally has a door!
Again, a master job of cut and paste by my
dad-in-law and husband. I am so happy to finally
have the gaping hole on my side of the bed
covered up!

Shelf in our living room. I include this because it is one
of a kind. I discovered it was cheaper to upcycle an old
piece of barn wood than it was to buy a shelf of the dimensions
we wanted. I sanded off the grey paint, used a fine sandpaper
to smooth it out, and finished it off with two coats of polyurethane.
And yes, that is a stuffed Yoda and a LOTR Lego 
set on display #geeklife

Seriously though, how cool is this wood? Old nail holes, 
cracks, knots and wood grain take this from a simple shelf 
to a unique living room piece. I love it! I have plans to 
do the same thing on the opposite living room wall, only
two smaller shelves instead of a large one.

With the advent of warmer weather came the desire to
get some outside work done. My brother Mark, Dan and I
dug up the grass, planted and mulched around the sides of
the house facing the road. We've got boxwood, hydrangea,
holly, mini lilacs and something else I can't remember. It 
definitely improves curb appeal!

This was an interesting project. Before doing any planting, 
Dan and Mark had to dig down two feet around the entire
porch and place wire in the ground to discourage the resident
groundhogs from coming back. Fifteen of them were also 
discouraged by the business end of a gun.

A huge thank you to Mark for doing so much work around
our house this summer. Dan and I wouldn't have much done if 
it had been left to just the two of us!