The Wooden Roller Coaster

What? What! Yes! That is what remodeling an older home a bit at a time reminds me of. A wooden roller coaster. Shaky, wobbly, noisy, highs and lows, and pure fear at times. Add to that, it’s just a small part of the kitchen so far and whoosh!

So, as I was framing in the base for the window seat in the breakfast area of our kitchen, I had to remove damaged drywall, and everything behind it. Part of the reason was the definite need for some insulation, but we needed to make sure the windows are securely framed before we install replacements this spring also. Good thing we did this, even though finding what we did is not really something I would normally consider “good”. We found shiplap that had been removed and replaced haphazardly, and plaster behind that (or at least the remains of plaster). What we did not find was a single 2×4 stud. Not a single semblance of one. Plus, the interior layer of brick was crumbling under one of the windows. (Remember the scary?!)

Now we know what we are dealing with. Good! Now we know what we are dealing with. Bad! It is definitely slowing down the work, but we are going to be able to replace all of the missing studs and framing so that the top floor doesn’t fall down on top of us. It is definitely more that we thought we would run into though.

Meanwhile, I kept working on pieces that did not require the completion of the wall to finish. Jim chose some really awesome paisley fabric for the cushions to the bench and I was able to add a strip of fabric to the bottom of the curtains I bought for the windows. The goal is to eventually turn those curtains into roman shades so I am excited about the slow but steady movement forward in this area. Quite a few little projects to keep me busy while we contemplate the wall restoration. Each one a small piece of the big finish.

The pattern of browns and creams will be neutral enough to go with the Wild Truffle finish on the bench and cabinets. It also has a really dark outline to match any blacks or dark greys that are in complimentary pieces such as the appliances. We will be able to keep adding the accents of turquoise and sea glass also.

The curtains are a creamy gauze with a slight greige pattern which is picked up by the stripe of paisley fringe. When I get the entire project complete, and they are more of a Roman Shade than curtain, they will not allow quite as much glare but, when the new windows are installed there will still be plenty of natural light below the shades. The old school blinds are on their way out of this house. With energy efficient windows we will not have to keep them all covered and dark. How fabulous is that?!

Being as OCD as I am, it is amazing that I have been able to work on various areas of this project without going crazy (well, more crazy). I guess, seeing everything changing daily is enough to keep me going for now. Before we go any further with the kitchen space, we need to remove the rest of the drywall and whatever and get that space shored up. By then they will be here to restore the foundation and the work will start moving along. As for now, the pace is perfect while I am nursing Pneumonia, Pleurisy, and Bronchitis.

By the by, I have decided that I am going to finish off the top few coats on the floor with an oil based, satin polyurethane. Some soft shine that won’t cover the stenciling with a hard shine bounce. Plus, it should still lend the look of rustic, aged finishing. That has to wait until the cough and breathing issues let up because of the VOCs associated with that finish. I am so excited about the day I can finish the kitchen floor. That is my favorite project in the house so far.

I would love to hear what y’all think and any suggestions you may have. I am learning a lot of this as I go. Thanks for spending time with me and God bless you! See you next Sunday.

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Did I Mention I Like Worn Denim?

Among other rustic, worn, distressed things, anyway. Sorry about missing a posting last Sunday. I had it scheduled but it didn’t run automatically. My bad! I usually figure those things out and they work right on schedule.

Today, you get two for the price of one. This is the week I started our floors in the kitchen. I don’t know if you remember, but our budget is beyond tight in our city farmhouse, so we have to go very slowly with our projects and the budget is 0, which is my favorite price. I do a bunch of bartering, repurposing, and just plain, ole, cheapskate haggling. In the long run it may take longer to get there, but in the end we will have our comfy, cottagy, cabiny, rusticky, perfectly ours home. In the meantime, it may take the rest of our life to get it there.

So, now that you know the place I am starting from, let me show you a before after photo of the floors. This was what we found when we ripped up two, mostly three, layers of vinyl. Plus, under the cabinets that held the stove top and ovens we had carpet? Just remember that this home was built in 1925 +/-. A lot of years and a bunch of layers with differing styles.

I looked at these floors, naked, drying out from all of the trapped moisture, for well over two weeks thinking about the feeling I wanted to get from them. I contemplated renting a sander and taking them down to perfection, using a light stain on them, and bringing them up with a high sheen. I considered white washing them and finishing with a satin type sheen. I considered tearing them up and replacing them but then I remembered my budget. Sooo, it was Monday and Hobby Lobby was open, YES!

Stenciling is a design aspect I have always loved. (Remind me to tell you about my favorite desk someday.) There are so many options on the store shelves now that it is impossible not to find something you love. Trust me, one store and I was there for almost 2 hours looking at stencils. But, true to my style (and as close to my budget as I could get) I landed on a paisley pattern. Paisley and Argyle are my favorite patterns and I use them where and when I can. I even knit some double sided Argyle (red & white) hotpads for our cabin in Tennessee, but that is quite another story. Oh, by the way, the stencil was even a better deal because it came in a package with nineteen other stencils for under $10.

I chose paint colors that would work with our scheme plus, added bonus, they are colors with a lot of different elements so they will work in most future decor changes I would ever make. I stenciled the color on considerably thicker than I normally would, but it is a floor and the patterns are being placed sporadically so some are finding their ways to heavy traffic areas. I let that acrylic paint (I don’t have any milk paint dye right now) set for 24 hours and then I took some 120 grit sandpaper on my trusty mouse to sand it down and give it a somewhat worn appearance. Then I brought out my stain and went right on over everything equally. I let that sit for about a minute and then rubbed her down.

Just a few more steps until the finished project, but some of the floor will have to remain that way until we open up the wall between the kitchen and dining room. I may have to wait on the final surface until I figure that out. Right now I am just considering a really nice coat of citrus and beeswax to keep these old boards nourished and protected. I think the dining room may be a little more formal finish than the kitchen, but I am loving it. Oh, did I forget to tell you, I chose to do a simple prep because I absolutely adore the rustic condition of the boards. I couldn’t help myself. No heavy sanding. Mostly a real good scrubbing with castile soap, water, and a very stiff brush. It’s mother-in-law approved! Let me know what you think and thanks for coming along on my life of lovin’ it.

I can’t wait until next week to share even more stunning kitchen work. God bless y’all and see you next time. Wear you blue jeans.

Not Everything Is Denim

Wow! This week has been fantastic. There are going to be a dozen pair of jeans to wash come Wednesday. I am being prudent with my health and energy so I can get a few things done without running dry. It is challenging to break projects down into small, daily increments because when I was younger I would work through to completion, 24 hours a day. Not that 20 something anymore, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep learning new and improved methods.

We talked about the revamping of our home last week and I have made some progress on the kitchen. It is looking as though it will be a very good space, but right now we can only work on the exterior wall. The interior wall, between the kitchen and the current master bedroom and bath, will have to wait until we can move our room upstairs. Then we hope to open up the wall and lay out a dining room big enough for family meals.

Needless to say, with a budget that is already threadbare and a lot of work ahead of us, it will not be happening overnight. However, we are finding some really good materials that we can recover from other parts of the home, garage, and shed for use in the house while we go. Part of my blue jean life purpose is to repurpose, upcycle, and preserve wherever and whenever possible. I think the correct verbiage is “leave a small footprint” and I am always looking for new and creative ways to expand on my conservation efforts.

With the kitchen, we have started out with a small space that is flanked by a breakfast area. We intend to keep the breakfast nook which is bright and sunny. It holds the only windows in the kitchen area. The galley style does not work well for our needs though. So, we are setting out to widen the space, and then we will bring in more cabinet space and a prep island. I am finally getting my dutch door also. (This is a wish I have had for more than 40 years.) The best is even going to be better because we are planning to install a deck across the entire back of the house, right outside our kitchen door.

I am still working out just how much of a farmhouse look I want in the kitchen. I think in the long run we will go with our standard eclectic look overall. I like the rustic farmhouse look, but I need to pair it with my love for a cottage feel that can also share space with some appearance of minimalism. Hidden storage is definitely going to be the key here. That is where the majority of my efforts have been this past 5 or so days. Beneath the windows I have been building a bench seat. This will help hide a lot of storage and allow us to have extra space by changing the dimensions of our breakfast seating and table. Rather than the round table that sits there now, we will have an oblong table flanked by the cushioned bench and at least 2 chairs. More narrow yet still a minimum of 4 people will be able to sit comfortably. (The picture is just a general vision. I can’t give it all away today.)

Please, come visit again next week. I hope that we can share some even better, more exciting updates. Each and every step forward is a blessing that we want to share with everyone. Until then, God bless you and enjoy life in it’s entirety.

Why Isn’t Unique, Unique Anymore?

Hey All! What a week, right!? Before I forget, Happy 2019!! Hope that it brings each and every one of your great blessings!

So this past week we had a lot of fun working on stuff around the homestead. You know those little things that you put off and they turn into a long list. We haven’t been here but a few weeks and we already have one. I think with the slow motion remodeling of the house we will probably create more than one per week, but we finished #1. We put a large, vintage, shabby mirror over the love seat in our front room (try hiding 50 years of smoke covered walls and no, it doesn’t wash off). We also upgraded the H/AC wall thermostat. Wow, did that make an incredible difference. I can’t wait to install a new on-demand water heater and get the water back on gas instead of electric. We absolutely loved the one we installed on our houseboat (sad part of history so that will be much later). There were 5 other tasks on the list but I will try not to bore you too much.

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One thing I like to do at night, while Jim watches television, is to plan out, on paper, future projects. Then I can do parts list and collect as many of those on Facebook Marketplace, yard sales, and junk stores as I can. I love, love, love the upcycled BOHO lifestyle and for a bit I owned an upcycle store called ReTale History. You can still find traces of it on the web. Here is one address for example (https://gust.com/companies/retale_history) in case you are interested. We actually created the main pieces ourselves and some of it we simply put a new look to. I love the smell of sawdust in the morning. My store mantra was “The smell of sawdust in the morning makes me happy, happy, happy!”

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Well, sorry for the “squirrel” moment there. Reminiscing and putting the kettle on the stove!? Back to the planning. I have been working on edible gardens for my front yard and a chicken/duck yard, coops, a chicken run and many human niceties (this girl loves flowering vines covering an arbor) to take advantage of the gardens that will be in the backyard. Sooo, I look for what I call “funkalicious” designs for the coop, garden shed, green house, and garden design. What I have found on several different sites is nothing. Nothing unique. There are a million or so internet items that claim to be unique coops, etc., but the truth is, they are so repetitious that I wonder if people really know the meaning of “unique”. Thus, my title question; Why isn’t Unique, Unique Anymore? Can anyone point me in the direction of truly unique building plans for a garden shed?

I found out that I had answered my own question, right there! Unique is only unique if it is a singular thing. Thus, if we want truly unique, we cannot look for it on the internet where billions of people search everyday, and share everyday. We have to discover our own version of unique. Then we can be satisfied that it is one-of-a-kind, unique, and funkalicious!

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Back to the plans on paper. I have finally come up with my own design and I can’t wait to put it in the yard. Having experience with chickens and ducks for years, I am so excited about this piece. I know they will be happy, warm/cool, clean, and safe which will make them all the better at their jobs. Now we just have to tear down the building in the backyard so it is reality, not just a paper drawing. Meanwhile, time to start seeds inside and prepare the garden for the front yard. I can’t believe that it’s time to start this part of my favorite past time already.

There is plenty to do on the kitchen still, too. The plans for the breakfast window seat are coming together. We start on our cut list and install this week. Should be a two day project not including paint. It will definitely bring some much needed insulation to the walls and floors, even if it is only a small start. Things are looking up a bit and 2019 seems to be headed in the right direction. I can’t wait to share the kitchen pictures with you. Soon, for sure. It may only be one wall at first but I am anxious to see what everyone thinks.

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Well, tea kettle is whistling which means I have been on here longer than I planned. I really enjoyed our visit. Till next Sunday, and I hope you have a blessed week!