Friday, December 23, 2011


Days, weeks, and months fly by. A year. Two years. Five.

Five years ago today, we walked into a vacant house. It was not yet ours.

Entry way - 12/23/2006


Our home is a fixer upper for sure. We basically bought it without seeing it first. I told John that if it had walls and a roof, we'd make it work. I feel like we have made amazing progress in five years.

Dining room - 12/23/2006


Most of our family members saw the house before we moved in. John's Dad and Step-Mom owned it. John's Mom and Step-Dad live right down the street. My Mom came that year for Christmas, and I brought her over to show her our next home. I think they all thought we'd lost our minds.

Master bedroom or as Mary said today "what's that?"

I said "it's our bedroom, Mary."

This one caught John off guard. Ellie's room - 12/23/2006

Ellie's room today.

The thing that gets me in that comparison is that in the before there is not a vent in the wall, but there is in the after. We had central heat and air put in before we moved.

Hallway bathroom. John said the broken curtain rod really made the room.


The floor near the tub was rotten. We had a new subfloor put in before we moved in. John replaced the vinyl which is why the floor is mismatched. I'm going to miss the blue cabinet when we remodel some day. It was one of the first things I painted in this house.

Living room - 12/23/2006

Lovely subfloor, huh? The carpet was worse. We wouldn't even let Mary out of our arms as we walked through the house. We had everything primed with a sealing primer and have never had an issue with smells.

Living room - 12/23/2011

I'm keeping it real, people! What can I say? We live here.

And of course the main reason we moved here:

Mary (almost 11 months old) - 12/23/2006

It's hard to believe that it was before Mary's first Christmas or her first birthday. She was scared of all of her grandparents. It broke our hearts.

Mary (almost 6!!! years old) and Ellie (3.25 years old)

We moved here to be closer to our families. We moved here so Mary would know her grandparents. We moved here to live in the country with a big yard. We moved here so that Mary could go to an awesome school. Heck, we moved here so that someone could stay with Mary so I could go to the hospital to have the next baby.

It seems like it was just the other day that John's sister told us that his Dad had agreed to buy this house from the previous owner. It feels like we've blinked and five years just magically flew by.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Finally sunny!

It's cold today, but it is sunny. It's been raining or snowing for days now.

FYI--there's still a hole in the ceiling where the old light used to be.

I pretend that the hole isn't there. I'm hoping to patch it sometime in 2012. Ellie even asked the other day why it is still there. Mary gets up every morning and plugs in the tree herself. I'm glad she loves the Christmas decorations as much as I do. She, Ellie, and I did the tree ourselves this year while John was outside playing with his chainsaw.

Ellie watches educational TV while I take pictures of the furniture.

In my defense, she was out of the room making some play-doh pancakes for me when I took this picture. She was making them on her grill. They were raspberry pancakes, and they were delicious!

I put my normal Christmas decorations out on the TV cabinet this year, but I didn't like them. So I took them down and looked at it for a while. Then I had one of my wonderful ideas. Ah, the ones that send John out to the freezing cold garage at 10pm to cut, glue, and nail things for me.

He used some of the left over wood from the barn door. And no project would be complete without adding some old dining room paneling to it. It's on the bottom. When the glue dried, I stained it inside and out. John even drilled a hole in the back so that I could run the cord of lights through it. I love how it turned out!

Tree number two

Once again, it was John to the rescue. I had the tree. Then I bought the pail. We had thought of about 10 ways to get it in there, but none of them seemed easy.

Pinterest to the rescue!

I showed the above to John, and he said it would work. Thank goodness we have a huge pile of wood in the yard from the storm in May. John just drilled a hole into a piece and set it in the bucket. Then we shoved the tree into the log. It actually looked pretty cool with just the pink tree shoved into the the log, but I wanted to use the bucket since I bought it specifically for the tree. It's really steady which was my main concern.

I have all my Christmas decorating done! I even started my Christmas knitting last night. I think I'm at least two weeks ahead of where I was last year.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I'm too tired to think of a title. It's been the longest day ever.

Hallway from down by Mary's room 9/30/11

On the right is the hallway bathroom. On the left is the top of the basement stairs. The open door divides the bathrooms and bedrooms from the rest of the house when closed.

Opposite view.

So we took down that open door and the one that goes to the basement (when open, it swings into the stairwell). We had a great plan. We could sand, paint, and replace the hardware in three days. John took the doors off, and we got sick. It was a week before he even started sanding. Maybe two weeks. We got used to the hallway without the door. We never closed it, and that corner of the hallway seemed larger without it.

Then I had one of my GREAT ideas. The ones John just loves.

But first we had to do this:

Divider door still off, looking at the basement door.

New trim. Waiting to paint the walls.

Getting there! I got that long wall painted last week.



John is taking pictures too!

I wish the color would have photographed better. It was raining as I took these. The door is painted with one thin coat of paint that matches the interior of our front door.

John worked so hard on this door. It turned out perfectly.

Going to bed early tonight.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I should.....


Sleep more than 5 hours a night.

Not be allowed to use a hot glue gun. (Various crap has been falling off the wreath all afternoon.)

Try to blog in under 10 minutes at the end of Ellie's nap.

Don't breathe.

Don't breathe.

Don't sneeze.

Don't run.

Don't jump.


I haven't heard anything fall off for two hours. I'm taking it as a good sign. As I was hanging it, ornaments were falling off. Then I took something to the garage, and I heard more falling off when I came back in. Nothing broke. I used more glue and tried not to breath too hard.

Probably shouldn't even look directly at it.

Last year my stick wreath hung here, and John ran into it daily. I usually stand the ironing board behind this door, but I've moved it. The door is closer to the wall. I hung the wreath up high so the girls wouldn't bump it. I took out the nail that's usually in the back of the door and replaced it with a drywall screw. The wreath is very heavy. I'd guess there are between 350 and 400 ornaments on it. I have no idea how I'll store it after Christmas. I seriously doubt the hot glue will hold up for a year in storage anyway. I'm just going to enjoy the heck out of it for however long it lasts. There's a mix of vintage/thrifted, plastic, new/clearance, and ornaments I've used on the tree in previous years. Grandma Mary gave me a huge box of her vintage ornaments to help me out, but I couldn't bring myself to use them on here.

I also hung up my yarn wreath in the entry.

I didn't want the pink tree to be the only pink thing in the room, so I made this wreath to match it. It looks sort of out of place right now. I might try to sneak a few more Christmas thing up from the basement this weekend.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lessons learned.

First lesson: Don't paint until 11pm when you have a cold. You'll wake up in the morning to find something like this:


I was removing the outlet covers as I went instead of doing them all at once. I was going to go back for this one. Oops. It's fixed now.

Second Lesson: Even though you know it's going to take hundreds of ornaments, you can't really grasp that it will be HUNDREDS of ornaments until you dig in:

Getting there!

I stopped counting after the first hundred, but I think I'm close to 200 now. I still have to go back and fill in all the gaps with small ornaments. Maybe another 150 or so will do it. That's an 18 inch straw wreath form under there somewhere. I've only broken two ornaments so far. It weighs a lot. I have no idea how or where I am going to hang it. But it is going to be pretty!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ornament wreath

I've wanted to make an ornament wreath for three years. I actually tried to make one a couple years ago, but it looked awful. I took it apart. Last year I started buying thrifted ornaments whenever I could. I still didn't have enough. I had a few from the clearance racks too. Finally, I asked my Dad to help me get some. He got me 10 boxes for $2 (total) at an auction he frequents. Yippie!

Now I just have to find time to make the darn thing. It's going to take forever, and about a million hot glue sticks. I pulled my boxes of ornaments from the basement tonight and started sorting them. I'm hoping to start on it tomorrow during Ellie's nap.

I hope it ends up looking something like this:

I hope mine turns out looking that good.

I have my other Christmas wreath done. I need to get a picture. We're still working on the house too. I was right! The paint chip wasn't the same color as the existing paint. It's similar, but I like it so much better. I'm hoping to get the last bit of the project finished up this weekend, but we are going to be really busy with other things too. It finally feels like we are so close to having this entire trim project DONE!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Projects and progress

I am so glad we decided to put all new trim into this house. But it hasn't been an easy project. We are down to the living room (I ignore the kitchen), and I dread doing it. We have so much stuff in here. I'll have to move it to the dining room, and then we will do the room as quickly as possible. We will not be starting until after the holidays. We've decided to get started with a sneak approach.

Standing in the living room

That is the wall that goes from the entry way. The open/missing door is to the hallway we just finished. Last Friday, I took out the baseboard from the entry to the doorway and the door trim as well. John finished up the demo by taking out the baseboard from the doorway to the corner.


John got the new trim up Saturday. By Sunday night, I had the nail holes patched, the trim primed, caulked, and painted. I want to get the other side of this little hallway done before we empty the living room. It's just two more sections of baseboard and the door from the hall to the dining room.

Looking from the dining room.

John's working on one more part of this project. I'm hoping to have it done in the next week. Here's a sneak peek:

And then there is this:

John says it is the same color as the current wall color, but he is wrong. I still don't have the paint. I'll be painting the long hallway, the short hallway, and the living room this color. I picked (and liked) the current wall color, but it looks too yellow to me next to the white trim.

And now, my thrifty find of the week.

I saw this little table on Saturday. It was $2.50. I thought that was too much to pay, and I knew that it would be marked down to $1.25 on Monday. Then I kicked myself all day Sunday for thinking that $2.50 was too much to pay. Ellie and I were waiting when the store opened back up on Monday. The table really wasn't that exciting, but it was the size and shape I needed. I considered painting it, but then decided to just cover it instead.

There's nothing like left over drop cloth and some fabric paint. I added a textile medium to the paint so it would be washable. I still need to trim some loose threads and wash out the fabric marker that's on the top. It's certainly not perfect, but isn't intended to be an heirloom.

I made up this little quilted topper for the kitchen table, but maybe I'll leave it here.

Now imagine it with a pink Christmas tree on it! I bought a three foot tall pink tree last year on clearance. The girls are going to be so excited. It is going to be their tree. I'm going to let them decorate it however they want.

I am so ready to decorate for Christmas! Just a couple more weeks.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A mug rug for Allison

A mug rug is a fancy coaster. A reason to sew. A way to use up scraps. I'm not sure it serves any real purpose. But I had fun making it, and I hope my friend Allison enjoys using it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A reminder for me.

I ran across a picture the other night, and it reminded me of something.

Mary's room, January 2011

I have a hard time remembering how far we've come with the interior of our house. Most of the time I'm busy thinking about when we can start the next project. Or when we can get this or that done. I have a million ideas. I'm always thinking. There's never enough time or energy. I can never catch up.

Maybe I just need to stop and appreciate what we've done.

The same view - today

I saw the picture of Mary's blue room and couldn't believe the difference. Mary's room painted. New trim. Doors painted. The hallway has new trim. Our bedroom door (in the background) has been painted and has new hardware. And of course a million other projects that have been done since the original picture.

This weekend I'm going to go get the paint for the hallway and the living room (they will be the same color). I'm going to try to paint the hallway soon. Knowing myself, I'll probably want to start it Saturday.

Today I primed and painted Ellie's ceiling. We had some electrical work done in her room over the summer. There used to be an exhaust fan in her ceiling. No idea why. There was no overhead light. It was really annoying. We had the fan removed and installed a light. But then there was this huge patch of the ceiling that wasn't painted right. And every night (in the dark) while I was putting Ellie to sleep, I thought about the ceiling. Yup. It's true. Ellie didn't notice. John probably didn't even notice. It wasn't even that the color was too far off, but the paint that had been covered by the fan was flat and the rest of the ceiling was semi-gloss. It's fixed now, and I'll sleep better tonight.

Tomorrow I'm going to try to take the day off from mentally going over the to do list. I'll be back to it on Saturday:)

Monday, October 24, 2011


I love making little felted gourds. I think this is my third year making them.

Fall centerpiece.

When I got mine out this year, I decided to put them in my $5 ironstone bowl for a centerpiece. I carefully arranged them by shape and color. Ellie saw them, "organized" them all, and then threw them back in the bowl. And there they are.

Kate's gourds.

John's sister Kate asked me for a set. At first I wasn't too excited about it. There's the knitting, the felting, the stuffing, knitting the tops, and assembling. The knitting is easy and fun. I don't really use a pattern anymore. I like mixing the colors and seeing them after they are felted. I like knitting the stems too because picking the right color yarn really makes the gourd. There are a couple I wish I could keep, but they are all ready to be packaged up and shipped off.

I found the paint chip for the hallway and living room! I'm hoping to get the paint this weekend, but the living room itself is going to have to wait until after the holidays.

I/we have another project in the works. It's an extension of the hallway I guess. One of my great ideas. It's more work for John, and I was surprised he agreed to it. It sort of reminds me of the time he just wanted to build some shelves for the basement, and I made him re-do every surface down there. I'm really excited about this next project. We just need to find the time to get started.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

something crafty

I made a little quilted table topper for our kitchen table last week. It isn't very big as we eat in the kitchen, and I don't want to take it on and off daily. I'm also not into decorating for Halloween, but I'm thinking of making a bigger one for the dining room table. I have a lot of fabric left over. I'm pretty happy with this little one though, as the log cabin square reminds me of my knitted blanket.

I'm also making another set of felted pumpkins/gourds. I wish they were for me, but they are going to John's sister Kate who lives in Spain. I have a couple other small projects to work on, and then I'm turning my attention to Christmas stuff.

Today the girls and I filled the planter boxes with new daffodil bulbs. I got 96 bulbs in each box (29 inches by 29 inches)! They are going to be beautiful in the spring!

Friday, October 14, 2011

I couldn't even find the "new post" button

Hello there! I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I just felt like I had nothing to blog about. We've been busy. We've been sick. We've traveled. We've settled into the school year.

I haven't felt very crafty lately. I've been slowly plugging along on a project, and it is finally done!

baby for Ellie.

I want to keep her for myself.

For my birthday this year, John and the girls bought me the book Itty Bitty Toys by Susan Anderson. The girls each picked out a project, and they bought the yarn too. The doll was slow going. She was made in pieces and then assembled. Then I had to make the clothes. She has on knit underwear under her dress. When it came to the dress, I didn't care for the pattern in the book, so I just made it up. I love the way it came out. Ellie's happy with her too. I'll be starting on Mary's project soon.

And of course my life wouldn't be any fun without some DIY. I finally convinced John to work on the hallway. So a couple weeks ago, I was all set to rip out the old trim. I had my tools. I sat down to start the first board. It wouldn't come off!!!!! Argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There were two nails on each stud. One at the top, and one........set below the current carpet. I had to split the boards and then pull them out. The first baseboard was about 12 feet long, and I was taking it out in 16 inch segments. Good times. I finally got it all though. Then John started in on putting in the new trim. Then Mary got a huge assignment/project at school. THEN we got really sick! Fun! John had Monday off work though, and was able to finish up. Now it's up to me to paint. There are SIX doorways in the hallway. Painting the trim is so slow going. It's taking about 2.5 or 3 hours to do one coat of paint. I have it all primed now, and a half coat of paint on. I'm hoping to make more progress this weekend.

before. be gone, dark trim!

this morning.

So many doorways! Ugh. And I'm too short to do the top of them, so I have to get a step stool. I pretend it's exercise. John hasn't even started sanding the last two doors. He hates doing it, and I hate painting them. We never even use them anyway. One is to the basement which is always open so the cats can get to the litter box. The other door closes off the hallway from the other half of the house. I need to paint the walls too, but I've misplaced the paint chip. I'm going to find it soon though. I'm also going to find time to make the 2 hour round trip to Home Depot so I can get their paint plus primer.

Hopefully I'll be back to updating on a regular basis. Maybe.