Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year and Saying Goodbye to our Farmhouse

I hope you and your family had a most wonderful Christmas!  As the year draws to a close, I feel thankful looking back and thinking of sweet memories made. Yes, there were difficult moments too, but how would we grow without them?  There's something so hopeful about starting a new year, thinking of the things I'd like to be better at, as a wife, a mother, and a friend.  

We said goodbye to our sweet farmhouse just a couple days before Christmas this year.  I realize this may come as a shock, and honestly, it doesn't feel quite real to me yet either as it happened so quickly.  Justus and I have periodically dreamed about building a home, always with the thought of it being sometime in the "future", and we've spent time off and on looking for land for sale in the area the past couple of years.  Unfortunately, very little is available, especially in smaller acreage amounts, and we did not want to leave this area.  But just a couple months ago, my parents sold us a couple acres in their lower pasture land of their farm, and we went through a rather arduous process of getting the small division approved with the city.  After it was approved and we had a deed in hand, Justus and I stuck a for sale by owner sign in our front yard, thinking it might be a while before we had any interest. Five days later, we had a signed contract and we could not have been more shocked.  

We finished packing and moving out of our house right before Christmas, and as you can imagine, there were bittersweet feelings.  That little farmhouse was my haven... we put so much time and effort into fixing it up the past six years and from the first moment I walked into it, I loved it.  But after the house was empty, I looked around and realized that without my family in it, and our belongings, it was just a house.  A precious house, yes, but nonetheless, there weren't any feelings of regret or unhappiness in leaving it and moving forward.   

I have to tell you that we sold it to the sweetest couple.  They are young, and recently married.  They grew up in this area, and she had memories of spending time in the neighborhood as her grandmother's house had been just down the road. I felt so thankful for the contentment in knowing that they loved the house just as much as we always loved it.  Probably the hardest thing about leaving was saying goodbye to our chickens.  But these sweet new owners also adopted our chickens, as we no longer had a home for them, and I know they, and our neighbors, continue to love and care for them.

The day we closed on our house, we also signed a contract with a general contractor for the building of our new home.  So although there were bittersweet feelings leaving our old house, we also had/have so much to look forward to.  

More than ever, I'm thankful for all the moments I recorded on this blog of our farmhouse and the memories made there.  I will treasure them. And now, as a new year begins, I'll begin recording our new adventures as we move forward.  Thank you for being there with me from the beginning, encouraging us as we made slow progress on our farmhouse.  You'll never know what that meant to us!  

Happy New Year!


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Laundry Room (Again)

 Happy Fall!  Is anyone still reading?  I wouldn't be a bit surprised if all have given up on me! I 'm so behind on updating here and posting some of our house projects!  Which is actually good in one sense, because it means we've gotten some things accomplished!  :-) 

After moving in, painting the laundry room and exposing the original ceiling was one of the first projects we did and it made such a huge difference.  Then last year we made a few more updates to complete this room, like replacing the shelving and adding new trim.   You can see the first laundry room post here which has all the before pictures! 

Having a laundry room that opens up to the back door and has a lot of through traffic (located between downstairs bath and kitchen) has forced me to keep a tidy laundry room and also a decluttered one!  In our previous house, our laundry room was a separate room where I could close the door and forget about the piles of laundry.  Not so much since we've lived here. ;-)  Daily laundry is a must or the piles accumulate, but it's also gotten me into a few really good habits.  

 We also added a peg rail on the back wall for hanging some of our utility items, like brooms, egg basket, dust pans, etc.  (During the summer, this also became a place to store all the ball caps - wink.)  After visiting a shaker village several years ago, I loved the idea of utilizing pegs on the wall to store items.  Since then, Justus and I have incorporated pegs in several places throughout our house.  

When we moved in, the laundry had some existing open shelves, which we used for several years.  Last year we replaced the shelving, but I wanted to keep it open as before.  The open shelving helps keep the clutter down and also helps keep the room looking open and bright. This year I also repainted the ceiling.  When we first remodeled, I painted it blue also, but I went a little more subtle this time around.  This is probably a change that is only noticeable to me!  ;-)  I painted the shelves white.  At first I tried staining a gray color, but I was unhappy with the results.  While I like the idea of it, I feel like in a house like ours where there are so many different materials and textures, white just helps everything flow a little more smoothly. 

  There are two small little windows on each side of the back door and I love the light they let in.  It's always a bright, cheery room and makes the laundry tasks a little more pleasant!  None of these pictures are styled for this blog post, but happy for you, I did move all of the dirty clothes out of the basket for these pictures.  ;-)  When I first bought this laundry basket beside the washer for our dirty clothes, I thought it too small, but it's actually been the perfect size.  When it's full, it's time to do a couple loads, so this is just another thing that helps me keep on the ball.

Having open shelving like this, I've had to get a little creative with storage.  Baskets are always a must for corralling smaller items!

I also use various buckets for holding items that aren't visible to anyone.  The large tub on the top shelf (pictured a ways above) holds miscellaneous items, like winter hats. I have a bucket that stores all of our clothes pins and the chamber pot holds cleaning rags.  

 On the other side of the laundry room, we added a shelf above the dryer for extra storage.  And while everything pictured so far looks tidy, I can assure you that everything in that white cabinet next to the dryer is a cluttered mess!  Instead of a junk drawer, we have an entire cabinet!  ;-)  

 Just for fun, the above photo is a before photo of the laundry room after we removed the styrofoam ceiling tiles and exposed the original ceiling.  You can see we hadn't done any work in the kitchen yet!  It was so dark and dreary.  And the after picture below.  (These before and after pictures are really for me... just serve as a reminder that we actually have done a few things around here!)

 (Huck's favorite sunbathing spot...)

And here's a real life photo of life around here on a daily basis... never ending laundry and ironing.  But I sure am thankful to have a cheerful, pretty room to do it in!  :-)  

I'll try to post some more of our house projects soon.  Spending a little more time here has been a goal of mine for awhile, but I never can seem to quite get there!  I'm always open to blog post suggestions... I know a few of you have asked for a cleaning post, and while I don't feel like I have much to share there, I'll try to get that done too!  I also have got to post some about our flower business and try to get some summer pictures posted for myself as memories.  ;-)  

Hope you're having a wonderful October so far!  

Monday, September 12, 2016

DIH Workshop Rustic Wheelbarrow Virtual Party

 The Home Depot DIH (Do-It-Herself) Workshop Virtual Party is here!  I was asked to build a Rustic Wheelbarrow and then customize it (but sticking to the core project idea).  When I was initially asked to participate in this workshop, I was so excited with the thought of having an actual project to share.  There is something so rewarding in starting with nothing and then ending with something creative and useful.  What I didn't realize is how much fun I would have with this project!  It has been so long since I worked on a project simply for the enjoyment of it and also something that isn't house related!  I loved every step of this project, particularly having to get creative and thinking outside of the box to give it my own personal touch. 

Below is the original photo that Home Depot sent for us to use.

And this is my finished customized wheelbarrow!

When I saw the plans for this project, I immediately envisioned using it for the little flower business my mom and I have... I pictured it next to our flower stand down the road and I wanted to give it creative touches that would match our flower cart.  We often have our stand stocked so full that we don't have any additional space to place our bouquets or stems for sale.  The funny part though is that once I actually finished my wheelbarrow, I loved it so much, I decided I probably wouldn't be leaving it at the flower stand.  (wink)  I think I'll have to build another wheelbarrow!  

I really wanted the wheelbarrow crate to look like an old soda crate (my inspiration came from a vintage seven-up soda crate), which also has materials that would match our flower cart: distressed wood, paint, signage and metal.  

 I'm going to share the instructions to build the Rustic Wheelbarrow, but also keep in mind that The Home Depot offers (free!) workshops at all of their locations for do-it-yourselfers of all ages and experience levels.  There are three types of Workshops offered - Do-It-Yourself (DIY), Do-It-Herself (DIH) and Kids.  You can learn how to build decor projects, how to make easy home repairs and how to operate tools through demonstrations and step-by-step instructions.  (Visit to learn more or REGISTER HERE for a workshop near you!)  The Rustic Wheelbarrow DIH Workshop is this Thursday, September 15.  I'm actually planning to go to the workshops in the future with friends and I think it will be so fun!  All right, let's get to building!

Tools Needed:
  • Circular or Miter Saw
  • Jig Saw
  • Drill
  • 1/2" Drill Bit
  • String
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pencil
  • Safety Goggles
  • Sanding Block

  • 1 - Crates and Pallet 18" x 12.5" x 9.5" Large Wood Crate
  • 1 - 2" x 8" x 8" Prime Kiln Dried Board
  • 3 - Pressure-Treated 36" x 2" x 2" Wood Square End Baluster
  • 1/2" x 48" Wood Round Dowel 
  • 1 - Box #8 x 2.5" Phillips Square Drive Flat-Head Full Thread Zinc Coated Multi-Material Screws
  • 1 - Pack #8 x 1" Flat-Head Phillips Wood Screws

 1.  Measure and Mark: Two 8" segments from one of the pressure treated 36" x 2" x 2" wood square end balusters; One 3.75" segment from the 1/2" x 48" wood round dowel wheel axle; One 7" circle from the 2" x 8" x 8" board.  
2(a).  Cut: Using a circular or miter saw (I used a miter saw), cut the two 8" legs from one 36" x 2" x 2" wood square end baluster and the 3.75" wheel axle from the 1/2" x 48" wood round dowel. 

(Tip on measuring and marking the circle: Make a mark in the center of the 2" x 8" x 8" board about 6" from the end of the board.  Screw a screw halfway into the center mark and wrap a string with one end tied around the screw head and the other end tied around a pencil with a 3.5" of string between the nail and the pencil and draw the 7" circle.  OR you can be lazy like myself, go into your house and locate the top of your canister lid that measures exactly 7" and trace (wink - just being honest here)!) 

2(b).  Using a 1/2" drill bit, pre-drill a hole touching the outside line of the circle.  Insert the jigsaw into pre-drilled holes and cut the 7" circle from the 2" x 8" x 8" board.  I spent some time sanding the circle after it was cut out.  It's not easy cutting a perfect circle with a jigsaw!  Embrace the imperfections is what I say!

3(a).  Drill Holes for Wheel Axle: Measure and mark the center of both remaining 36" x 2" x 2" wood square end balusters at 1.25" from the ends.  Using the 1/2" drill bit, drill a 1/2" hole halfway through the baluster at the center mark of each of the balusters using a slight 5 degree angle and the drill bit pointing away from short end of the baluster.  

3(b). Drill a 1/2" hole through the center mark of the 7" wheel.

4(a). Attach Balusters to Crate and Wheel: Turn the wood crate upside down and align one of the balusters over the bottom of the crate ensuring the end of the baluster with the drilled hole overhangs the end of the crate by 6" and is centered over the second slat on that side.  The other end of the baluster should be angled to hit in between the two outermost slats on the other end of the crate, allowing a 12" overhang to act as a handle.  Secure baluster to the bottom of the crate using a 2.5" screw on each end.  (Reference picture above top left hand corner.)

4(b). Insert the 3.75" wheel axle into the drilled hole on the secured baluster.  Slide the 7" wheel onto the wheel axle, and insert the wheel axle into the remaining baluster.  With the wheel sandwiched securely between the two balusters, secure the remaining baluster to the bottom of the crate centered over the second slat at the wheel end and between the two outermost slats at the handle end using 2.5" screws at each end.  (Reference picture above bottom left hand corner.)

5.  Attach Legs: Place the two 8" legs vertically 3/4" in from the end of the crate on the outside of the balusters.  Secure with one 2.5" screw through the balusters.  Turn wheelbarrow over and secure the legs through the slat on the inside bottom of the crate using one 1" screw into each leg.  (Reference picture above bottom right hand corner.)

 I further customized the wheelbarrow by adding the remaining dowel inside the crate.  (This was mainly to accommodate some gorgeous vintage half-gallon Ball jars I have!  Ha!)  Center and mark every 6" on the 2nd slat from the top.  With a 1/2" drill bit, pre-drill holes. Cut two dowels 12.5" long and insert into the pre-drilled holes.  Cut one dowel 18" long.  (You do not need to purchase an additional dowel for this - you should have exactly enough with the one original 48" dowel.)  Center and mark the crate sides to allow the 18" dowel to be placed on top of the two inserted dowels horizontally.  Pre drill the holes with the 1/2" drill bit and insert the 18" dowel.

 Ta-da!  Your wheelbarrow is finished!  I spent some time now sanding the wheelbarrow with a sanding block to get everything nice and smooth.

 Now for the fun part!  You can use paint or stain to customize your wheelbarrow!  If you'd like yours to look like mine, I'll list the steps now.  I used one coat of Minwax Classic Gray Stain over the entire crate.  Once dry, I followed with two coats of Minwax Provincial Stain over the entire crate. 

 (I personally find it easier to apply the stain using an old rag versus a paint brush.) 

 Once the stain was completely dried, I applied two coats of Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint in Linen White onto the slats only of the crate.  Then I painted the lettering on.  The method I find to be the easiest for this is to print out the words on your computer and printer using the font and size you'd like and cut them out.  Turn the paper over and using colored chalk, chalk all over the back of the paper (reference above photo top right hand corner).  Then tape the paper lettering exactly how you'd like it onto the crate (reference above photo bottom left hand corner).  Using a ballpoint pen, trace each letter.  What will happen is the chalk will be transferred onto the wood, giving you an outline to use to paint (reference above photo bottom right hand corner).  Paint using your color of choice.  I think any color would look cute!  I used red. 

I painted lettering onto both sides of the crate!  As you can tell, I did not worry about doing a perfect job.  ;-)  Once the paint was completely dry, I used a sanding block and sanded over the white paint and the lettering to give it a distressed, faded look.  

Next I applied a coat of polyurethane all over the wood to protect it. 

And finally, I bought some hardware at Home Depot to give some finishing touches to the wheelbarrow.  Again, I was trying to incorporate finishes that would look like an old soda crate!  I bought one set of Everbilt galvanized 3" corner braces and eight Simpson Strong Ties Galvanized Angles.  I also bought Everbilt nickel thumb tacks to use for the Simpson strong ties (screws would be too long).  

From the photo above, you can see that I screwed in the corner braces into the crate and handles of the wheelbarrow, front and back.  Then I used the thumb tacks to secure the Simpson strong-ties to each corner of the crate, top and bottom slats.  

I also used the same signage method I mentioned above to add the established date to the back of the wheelbarrow crate, just painting the white chalk paint directly onto the stained wood. 

I love using the gray stain as a base as it really hides the pine undertones and allows the wood to look distressed.   

Adding the dowels inside the crate was really a fun extra touch and I love the way the jars fit perfectly inside the crate, with the dowels giving stability so the jars don't tip over. 

 I had such a great time using the wheelbarrow (and pumpkins - hooray!) to give some early fall touches at our flower stand. We always like to decorate the stand for fall, as our flowers bloom until the first frost.  This wheelbarrow has to be one of the cutest ways to decorate for the fall season, but honestly, I envision using the wheelbarrow for all seasons.  I'm looking forward to using it for Christmas decor too!

I'll mention one more time that even though I shared the building tutorial here, you can sign up for a workshop at your local Home Depot store Thursday, where they will demonstrate how to build the wheelbarrow!  From what I understand talking to our local store, you can also purchase the materials beforehand and they will help you make it there too.  You can REGISTER HERE for the free workshop!  

 I think you will love making this wheelbarrow just as much as I did!  

And for further inspiration, you can visit 24 other bloggers that also built this Rustic Wheelbarrow and gave it their own customized touch!

Disclaimer: Thank you The Home Depot for sponsoring this post!

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