Well, another year has come and gone. I really, really, really can't believe 2006 is over already. Someone, please tell me what happened? Literally, where did the time go?
I thought it might be fun to reflect on what we've accomplished here at our little 'cottage in the making'. Honestly, when I tried to think of what we did here, I couldn't think of much - that is- until I looked back in the archives. So here are the hightlights:
-Primed the dining room and kitchen walls. A year later, there is still *only* green primer on the walls, but it's a good thing. We've decided to remove the door to laundry room from the dining room, so there is more drywall work to do this upcoming year.
-Initiated First Annual Love Your Critters Day . Just thought it would be fun to have a day in blogdom for myself and others to give some extra special love and hugs and attention to our little critters. What a great time to introduce everyone to your special pets and to get our brag on! (It's coming up on January 13th!)
-Painted our living room a warm and cheerful shade of yellow called "Clarified Butter"
-Began our kitchen cabinet makeover, added new trim and beadboard to old cabinets for a different style
-Installed undercabinet puck lighting
-Bought hardwood flooring for kitchen, living room, and hallway (it's still not installed...we're STILL walking on mostly painted subflooring and ugly old linoleum!)
-Put together a completed kitchen design scheme
-Completed fireplace makeover
-Installed and painted kitchen, dining room, and living room "cottage" / country style window trim
-Primed all kitchen cabinets and doors, painted basecoat
-Painted, painted, and painted cabinets, doors, drawers
-Ripped carpet out of daughters' room
-Completed first set of kitchen cabinets
-Completed a temporary bedroom makeover in daughters' room in preparation for out-of-state guests (I wish the girls' room still looked this nice and fresh and clean- they have my organizational skills, meaning...they don't have any, lol!)
-Wrote a letter to our cabinet doors
-Spruced up our *gutted bathroom* for guests. Our bathroom is still gutted, but at least we can bathe and shower in there. A lesson in patience, perhaps?
-Completed a 5-Day Home Improvement Marathon and lived through it without hubs and I clobbering each other
-C O M P L E T E D our cottage kitchen cabinet makeover just in time for guests! Whew!
-OWCL featured in Cottage Tribune article
-Unearthed our dining room which served as Grand Central Station for our home improvement projects. It is now Grand Central Station again, but at least I know there is a dining room under all those tools and remodeling supplies!
We did *no* work on the house in August. We did, however, take a moment to breathe and we hosted a going away party for a friend:)
-Began priming and painting about 200 pine planks to be installed as our kitchen ceiling
-Continued painting planks...this was a real fluff of a month. Lots of entries on cottage accessories and decor. We didn't work that hard in October, lol!
-OWCL featured in new Cottage and Bungalows magazine
-Began installation pine plank ceiling
-Completed installation of pine plank ceiling
-Attempted to make our cottage "construction site" a little more cozy in the living room..(still hating the dirty looking subfloor *sigh*...thank goodness for area rugs)
-Completed 2.5 out of 3 ceiling beams - then the flu struck.
Wow. I suppose we didn't get as much done as other renovators might have, but considering that we usually only have a couple of weekends out of each month to work on the place (we can't spend *all* our time working in the house, afterall!), I think we accomplished a lot for our busy family and modest budget.
You wouldn't believe how much there is to do here and sometimes it gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach to even think about it. The house is usually in C.H.A.O.S (Can't Have Anyone Over State) and to me, except in very rare moments, it still doesn't feel like a home should feel. There are rare moments, yes, and sweet vignettes discovered occasionally, that give me glimpses of what this place should and will feel like when it is completed. I don't know when that will be...so until then, we'll just keep plugging away little by little, blow by blow.:) In the grand scheme of things, house remodeling is just part of the fluff of life, and shouldn't be the meat of it.
My next entry will be "Looking Forward". I do have some goals for the upcoming year but by now, you probably need a snack or bathroom break, lol...so I'll write more later. Hope everyone is doing well!
Well, another year has come and gone. I really, really, really can't believe 2006 is over already. Someone, please tell me what happened? Literally, where did the time go?
Everyone here is slowly getting better, though hubs was home sick from work again today with a high fever and other flu symptoms. I wish this flu would fly aleady!
The cat's out of the bag...we welcomed a new addition to our family this week. About a month ago on a very cold and rainy night, a little stray solid black kitten showed up at our door meowing her little head off. I brought her in and and quickly gave her much love and many cuddles while I could, because, you see, I'm allergic to cats. We placed an ad in the paper and I created a little webpage with "glamour" photos for folks to see pictures of her. I've used this method in the past when we found a pregnant stray dog roaming a busy street...After her pups were born and ready for homes, we did a little cottage pups photo shoot with them and they all found homes in a day! So, we got plenty of phone calls about our stray kitten this time around, too. Hubs made arrangements with an interested person to meet him at his office to pick up the kitten, but they flaked out and didn't show. Most of the folks hubs worked with, however, really liked the idea of having an "office" cat and took to our little stray right away. But that only worked out for a little while. The kitty would be left in the warehouse and, well, not having access to her litter box, she'd finally "go" somewhere...and some people weren't happy about that. I wasn't comfortable with the whole idea anyway, but for hubs sake (he loves cats), I didn't fuss *too* much - but I did fuss. Anyway, after a few complaints, I told him to bring the cat home and we'd place another ad. Strangely, I've had no allergic reactions to her in the week that she's been back, and goodness knows I've cuddled her to pieces. I don't know what is going on. The cat allergies seem to have disappeared as quickly as they appeared 7 years ago. Soooo... now it looks like we've been happily adopted by a bird, two dogs, and a cat. I've yet to come up with a real name for her. Hmmm...Goodness...I wish I wasn't such a softy. I told the kids that this is absolutely the last animal we will bring into the family.
I don't have anything else interesting on the housefront to write about so I thought I'd take a stroll around other cottage and country blogs to see what's going on. I hope you enjoy these links as much as I have!
At A Storybook Life, look at this fabulous *$2* cupboard that was painted a deep, rich red! This just goes to show that (1) great finds are out there (and the hunt is so much fun!) and (2)a little paint goes a long way!
Look at this darling cottage apron that Chris at Cats on My Quilt made. I've never worn an apron, but the more I see, the more I think I'd love to collect them for the charm of it:)
I just love this little powder room at Cottage Bethy's place. She recently painted it and the once gold light fixture that was in there. The fixture is now a fresh and airy white. I especially love the white mirror. Great job!
If you'd love to see a cottage bathroom in the making, please check out Cottage by the Sea. They've been working hard on their bath and it's always fun for me to see these kinds of projects come together. Someday...SOMEday, we'll be putting our bath back together, lol!
Speaking of thrify finds, look at this sweet little cabinet Kim from Daisy Cottage found recently at Goodwill for $10! Again, gotta love the thrill of thrifting!
I just discovered Tiffaney's blog at Folded Gingham and love how she has redone her fireplace. She says she is "olding up" her new house (like what I'm trying to do with this relative "new" nearly 30 year old house of ours). She painted the mantel a really pretty pear green and replaced the granite tile with brick. It turned out lovely...check it out!
Well, I guess that's it for now! Gonna go check on my sick hubby!
For a solid week now, our entire family has been battling the flu. It sure hasn't been pretty. I felt relatively ok yesterday and had my hands full taking care of the family. Oddly enough, I wasn't exhausted come bedtime. So I decided to spend some time perusing Ebay for inspiration and special finds.
One Ebay store that I discovered that I just have to share with you is called
Andy and Me Country Treasures. Oh my! They have so many sweet things that if I could only choose one thing to buy, I couldn't do it. This is the place to go if your looking for those beautiful old-fashioned cans (tins) and boxes. Their items are all new, but are reproductions of those artful pieces of long ago. They also carry items like reproduction vintage metal signs and other country accessories (some are a bit too country for me). There are items for the laundry room and bath like soap, starch, and detergent boxes, kitchen things like food cans, spice tins, cereal boxes, etc., and other items like old-time tonic bottles and medicine tins. Too many to name! Like all Ebay stores, their items are organized into categories so that you can quickly find what you are looking for. These are the kinds of things that I'd love to openly display for that true vintage and old-fashioned look:) Let me know if you find anything there you just love! Oh, and check out these colorful herb nesting boxes! They are small, but they'd sure look sweet displayed in the kitchen somewhere.
I haven't bought anything from Andy and Me (yet!) but I did buy a Classic Vintage Labels CD. There are over 900 different labels that can be printed out and used however I like, so I'm looking forward to having fun with that!
You can find either new blank tins or just take the label off a food can in your pantry and with a little spray adhesive, add a pretty vintage label...How nifty is that?! Also, you can buy some bars of white ivory soap (or make your own by grating and melting unscented ivory and adding your own essential oils) and print out a vintage soap label to wrap around it and display...buy clear bottles, blank paper mache craft boxes, plates - anything, really, and add these beautiful labels for a whole new look. If this sounds fun to you, then just do a search on Ebay for vintage labels cd, victorian cd, food crate labels or vintage labels.
Hmmm...I think I'll go have some soup now:)
Ohhh, I *so* want to do this! This warm weather we've been having has been making me think of spring and flowers and landscaping...But that aside, I was Googling "custom word magnets" to see if I could find a company that could print up some cottage-like words for my fridge. I discovered that I could just as easily do it on my computer using an ink jet printer and magnetic paper. The paper is kind of pricey - $10 for 3 sheets, but that's really a lot of words and probably cheaper than you could pay someone to do it!
So while doing that search, I came across the Magnetic Poetry site. They sell kits that allow you to make your own Word Stones. That just tickles me pink! The kit comes with reusable forms and letters, a trowel and little bucket, and enough concrete mix and stain to make one stone. You can buy more mix at your local hardware store and make as many stones as you like! They have four different kits available, but check out the Make Your Own Word Stones Kit. To get an idea of how easy it would be to create these sweet little custom stones, read or download the step-by-step instructions. The kit is 19.95...not too bad!
I just wanted to take a moment to send a warm welcome to guests who made their way here via the "Renovation Blogs" article in the new Cottages & Bungalows magazine. I didn't realize that my blog was one of several being featured until I discovered the magazine for the first time at Lowes a couple of months ago. A very happy surprise for me, to be sure!
So 'Welcome' and thanks so much for stopping in! Oh, and let me know what you think of the new magazine!
Over the weekend, Hubs and I installed two of the three box beams for our dining and kitchen area. We installed the ones for our dining room - the last one for the kitchen will have to wait until the end of the month or January as we'll be busy with other things for the next couple of weekends. Overall I'm pretty happy with they way they turned out. In a couple of places, there is about an 1/8 of an inch gap between the beam and the ceiling due to our old uneven ceilings. It bothers me more than it bothers hubs. I'm thinking that caulking between the beams and a plank ceiling just wouldn't be right...would seem weird to do so because I'd think caulk would end up in the grooves of the planks. Do any of you more seasoned do-it-yourselfers have any suggestions? Click on the photo above for an enlarged version to see the area that I'm talking about.
The three beams will need to be puttied to better hide the seams and small nailholes (we had to splice our planks together to get the length we needed) and then I'll prime and paint them the same color as our ceiling.
We haven't installed any overhead lighting yet so we're working (and eating!) by the light of floodlight type lighting. FUN! That's why the pictures here look kind of funky.
In the middle of the two beams we've already installed, we'll be putting this light above the dining table.
I've been under the weather this week with my usual weather related aches and pains. Last week, we had temps in the 30's - this week near the 70's....ARGH! I've gotten so behind on usual housework and everything is such a disaster. Not to mention the fact that this place needs a major organizational overhall once again. Every closet and drawer is so cluttered and messy right now. Ick. I so long to be that person who is neat and tidy always, but I've always struggled in this area. How can someone who is so knitpicky with details be so utterly disorganized? *sigh* I can do an ok job at keeping visible areas tidy (not the kids rooms, mind you, but the living room and kitchen), but goodness, don't open any doors or drawers - and don't peek inside my purse!
I found a book that looks interesting...it's called Organizing for the Creative Person: Right-Brain Styles for Conquering Clutter, Mastering Time, and Reaching Your Goals . So I feel a little better, lol, because I'm not the only one. Oh, I also found a humorous statement in a commentary about this book and according to it..."Creative people, who frequently are right-brain dominant, perceive and organize their world differently from left-brain dominant people. In other words, you're not necessarily *dis*organized, but you are *differently* organized."
Yep, that's me ...I'm "differently organized" alright. :)
I'll admit, usually when I need dried herbs and spices, I'll find them somewhere for 2 / $1 . Long ago, I use to buy them at a health food store, scooping out how much I wanted into a plastic bag and then transferring them to glass containers at home. That was a very long time ago and is a habit I'd like to get back into one of these days. As of late, I've been sighing over all the plastic spice and herb containers that have been cluttering up our cabinet. How much prettier and simple it could be if I used little labeled glass containers and these sweet little spice tins fromWatkins.Watkins products have been around for 137 years and one thing, besides their quality, that I love about them are their old-fashioned containers and labels. Take a browse around their site and see what I mean. Between you and me, you can get the organic spices you see pictured cheaper at Wal-Mart for a little over $3.50 each. I picked one up the other day - there are 16 colorful tins in all. I think I'll collect them! Hubs and other passers-by in the spice aisle at Wal-mart must have thought I was nuts, lol, as I was holding the garlic powder tin and saying, "How PRETTY! I just love it! So adorable!" I'm sure they were all like, "It's garlic powder, lady...put it in your cart and move on already!"
I can't tell you how many emails I've gotten in the past from readers who wanted more information about where I got my kitchen furniture . Up until recently (today!) I didn't know of a website to direct folks to. But now I'm SO excited to share with you a new website with everything you need to know about the furniture and the vendor - and lots of photos! Please visit Fuzzot Furniture, and besides the photos, be sure to check out their "about" page. You can contact them via email as well.
From their site:
"The furniture you see here is just an example of the character and the ways of the “good ol’ days”, hard work, done up right the first time. That’s right…..all through word of mouth. We tear it, de-nail and prep the wood, and turn it into fine furniture. Steadily trying to reclaim old architectural and house parts (80-140 years old) or as Fuzzot himself might say “Trash for Cash” or good old road finds that will send parts of our history from one century to the next ."
These folks can make just about anything...tables, islands, bookshelves, entertainment units, hutches, corner cabinets, headboards...the list goes on. I'm thinking about having them build me a pantry for the kitchen. Anyway, check them out!
First let me say that I'm not yet finished with the coffee table. You know how these projects go with me...they get completed, but not very snappy-like, hehe. I did bring the table into the house to paint a couple of days ago but realized it needs a little caulking first. That meant I had to first bring the caulk from the garage to the house to thaw:) I'm planning on caulking it (I should say, having hubs caulk it) tomorrow night.
I put the table in the living room where it will go and I just love it! It's just what I wanted, an overscale table to anchor the room. We also brought in a chair from the office to put in front of the window and I think it really completes the arrangement. Some might say, "Too big, too much, too crowded!" but I'm going for cozy and intimate and warm. The kids are loving having the table to play games on (an under!), I have a little extra space to put books and arrangements, and hubs just likes having a place to put stuff:) What I would really like are a couple of round, tall-ish end tables for either side of the couch. Right now, on one end, I've just turned a long end table sideways and at an angle. As for the coffee table, it will be painted a white and then lightly glazed with an antiquing glaze.
As usual, I have another question for visitors. I'm toying with the idea of also putting beadboard in the living room. As you may know, I will be adding it to the kitchen/dining room (it's all one space), the back wall of the living room, and down the hallway. It will also be going in the bathroom. It will be 48 inches high. I'm hoping to also have a picture ledge as opposed to standard trim.
Above is a photo of a small piece of the beadboard up next to fireplace, along with a sample of our floor and a mock up baseboard. Imagine this around the entire perimeter of the living room. The first photo of the living room (above) is the view from when you walk in the front door. The next photo is from a few feet over standing directly behind the loveseat...
And then over a few more feet towards the kitchen and dining room...This shot was taken while standing at the threshold of the kitchen/dining area:
Here is a vertical shot from the same position so that you can get an idea of the height of the room. Beadboard less than 48 inches tall, I think, would just look silly.
Ok, I found an old photo that might give a better indication of the height. If it weren't so cold in the office right now, I'd be tempted to dig deeper...but anyway, imagine if you can 48 in high beadboard...
And another old photo showing the back wall (a few feet behind the loveseat) and the hallway, which will be getting beadboard (nevermind the unhinged closet door and tile...all of that is coming out to make way for a built in):
Ok, standing at that threshold, you turn around and see the kitchen and dining area that will also have the beadboard.
So, what I know for sure: beadboard in the kitchen, dining area, living room back wall, down the hallway, and in the bathroom. My question is, should the entire living room have beadboard, too?
I know I've had a lot of questions as of late, but we have several projects lined up for the rest of the winter and into the spring and I need my ducks in a row...In other words, I need all the help I can get! Thank you so much!
I have horrible hip, neck and back problems stemming from a wooden roller coaster injury a decade ago. We've had our current mattress for about 9 years and though it has slept well over the years, it is time to retire it. I've slept on the couch for the last *three* months trying to get a good nights rest, but the couch isn't much better. So we decided to get a new mattress set. It arrived today and I am thrilled! It didn't take me long to get the bed made and I so badly just wanted to take a nap, lol! I had other things to do, unfortunately, but I'm going to sleep like a baby tonight:)
Our bedroom is tiny and isn't really decorated yet. Who knows when I'll get around to that. But I did decide today to bring the artwork from the dining room to the bedroom just to add a splash of color and cheerfulness. We're working on the dining room and kitchen now anyway so it needs a new place to reside for a while:)
love learning about "lost arts and crafts" and was very excited when I first discovered the beauty of penny rugs. The women of long ago were just as interested in adding color and texture to their homes as we are today - and many of them didn't have the option to order pretty things through the catalog at the general mercantile. So they had to make their own "pretty things"! The penny rug is a great example of how women used what they had to not only make what they needed, but to create beautiful pieces that I consider art.
From The Primitive Peddler:
Penny Rug History
In the 1800s, women would use scraps of wool or wool felt from old clothing and hats to create designs for mats or rugs. They would make circles using coins as a template. Each piece was then stitched in blanket stitch fashion. Sometimes, the mats or rugs were backed with old burlap bags or feed sacks. And to make the piece lie flat, a penny was stitched under one of the circles to weigh it down. Coins were so valuable then, that in today's world, if you are fortunate to find an antique piece containing one, you would have a very rare piece.
You can find more photos and information on penny rugs at TurkoTek -"a noncommercial site devoted to collectible weavings, where rug enthusiasts can connect". The photos I found mostly on Ebay under a Penny Rug search . You can find old penny rugs, or new - and the patterns don't have to be just circles. Rugs can be made in the penny rug fashion using any shape or pattern, as shown in the photos above and below. Maybe someday I'll try my hand at making a one myself!
Brrrrr! Is it cold or what?!
Hubs and I finished installing the last of the plank ceiling yesterday. We were going to work on the beams today but only had less than a two hour time frame to work...and half of that would have been spent in prep work. So the beams will be project for the upcoming weekend.
Here are a few photos of the planked cottage style ceiling. Remember, what we had before was a badly applied cottage cheese ceiling. Tres ugly.
Here's where we started this week...we removed the old ceiling fan and another weird light by the dining room window.
We "plinked" chalk lines where the studs are located, which made nailing the planks up super easy.
The dining area ceiling planks installed.... I'm loving all that shiny goodness! Box beams will go right there at the seams. I'm tickled pink that they will be symmetrically aligned with the top of the window and above the dining table. The light fixture will go right in the middle.
By the way, we left a small gap between the planks where they butt up against one another at the ends. It will help when the wood expands and contracts, but we also left a gap around the perimeter of the room which probably would have been just fine by itself. We didn't mind leaving expansion space at the seams because we are covering them with beams. If you will be working on this project in the future, be sure to do your research as we are *not* experts, lol. If we weren't using beams, we would have installed the planks a little differently so as to avoid having noticeable gaps.
So...up next (literally)? Beams!