Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Girls' Room

Well, long-time-no-see! We have some catching up to do. I have been busy, I just haven't taken the time to share. Bad blogger. I would like to say welcome to you new followers. I really am so surprised when someone wants to follow my blog, but I am so happy to have you! I am going to show you my girls' room today, and then I will try to catch you all up with my various projects in the next week or two. For a little explanation about the room, it is at the top back of the house, and I imagine it was once just an attic room. When we bought the house, there was some serious gross-ness going on with the carpet in that room, so we tossed it out the window, literally. So, since then, there has been a plywood sub-floor for their room. Well, I had been seeing some ideas floating around blogland that I wanted to use around the house, so we decided this room would be our guinea pig. I love the look of plank walls and wide plank flooring, so this is what we were aiming for in this room.

For the floor we (the hubby and I) used luan plywood. I think that when we use this idea in other parts of the house, we will just use regular plywood, although this was a considerably cheaper alternative - $11 for a 4x8 sheet vs. $20 for a 4x8 sheet. The reason we will probably use regular plywood in the future is that, when we painted the floor, in some places the veneer sort of bubbled up a little, which I am fine with in this room, just not what I am going for in general. That description makes it sound worse than it really is, but I don't know how to more accurately describe it. It does add to the look of it being an older floor, rather than a new "perfect" one. We cut the 4x8 sheets into 8 in. x 8 ft. planks to start. Then we used construction adhesive (Liquid Nails) and small brads to attach the planks to the plywood subfloor, using pennies as spacers between the planks. We used the brads that work in our electric staple gun, so that made it much faster and easier. This idea came from Lori at The Frugal Farmhouse. She did such a beautiful job, I just had to try it.

For the walls, we used a material called hardboard. I had come across this idea in someone's blog, but can't remember which blog it was for the life of me. So, kudos to the person with the wonderful idea to make planks from hardboard! The hardboard was $7.50 for a 4x8 sheet, so it was very economical. The other benefit for us was the flexibility of the hardboard. Being an old house, or perhaps someone's poor drywall skills, when we got to working in the room, we found out the walls were quite wavy, so the flexibility was very helpful. We used the hardboard very similarly to the luan plywood, only we cut the planks for the walls and ceiling into 6" widths. We attached with construction adhesive and brads, with pennies for spacers, just like on the floor. After using this hardboard, I have a feeling it will show up in many different applications in our house, particularly in the downstairs which has plaster walls, some of which is becoming detached from the lath. We really loved working with it.

Well, here you see a picture of the walls painted, but before I painted the floors. I primed the walls and ceiling by hand, which took about four hours. After that, I was very glad to use a paint sprayer - so much faster! I used Zinnser BIN Primer, which is probably my new favorite primer. Seems to work really well on all kinds of surfaces and dries quickly.

So, here you see a picture with the floors painted. I have a new fondness for Martha Stewart paint. I really like her colors and I have been pleased with the coverage, but interested to see how it holds up down the road. Anyway, I used Martha Stewart's Vapor for the walls. For the floors, I used Martha Stewart's Sandpiper, which is a much lighter color than it looks in the pictures. That is because the floor sealer I used had a lot of amber to it and darkened the color considerably, but because the color was so light to begin with, I am actually happy with it. I am not exactly sure why the floor looks blotchy in the pictures, because it doesn't in person, but I will repeat "I am not a good photographer."

Here is another picture with all the painting done on the walls and floor. This is the view from when you walk into the door of the room.

Looky there - it is I! That is about all you will see of me working in this room, thank you very much. All my beauty output was going toward the room - not myself.

Here you can see what it looks like in the corner. Exciting, I know.

Oh, and here is a dresser. This is another part of this project. My three oldest girls share this room, and believe it or not, it will hold a twin bed for each and a dresser for each. Two of their dressers were handed down to us, very generously, from my mother-in-law. This dresser was a dark lime green with bright yellow knobs. I will tell you about the others when we come to them. So, to bring a bit of cohesiveness to all the mismatched dressers, I decided to paint them all the same color. When I saw the how the color of the floor turned out, combined with the wall color, it reminded me of Rie's girls' room from Home and Harmony. I remembered that she had painted the bedside tables a really lovely pink color, and decided that would be just the color for these dressers.

This is the wall you face when you come in the door. And the other two dressers. The dresser on the right was crackle-painted red, white and blue when I first saw it. The my mother-in-law painted it red for me to use in the boys' room when she gave it to me. But when I was working on putting this room together, I decided it would work better in this room, so it got the pink treatment. The dresser on the left was also given to us quite a few years ago from my parents' neighbor. It had been a light pine color before I painted it. I painted all the dressers Martha Stewarts' Ballet Slipper. It really is the prettiest pale pink. For some reason I think it looks a bit lighter than on the paint card, but I love the color. So glad I used it. The other thing that relates these dressers is that they all have the old round wooden knobs.

This is Elisabeth's dresser. On the orignal wooden casters. So pretty.

This is Rachel's dresser. Also on the original wooden casters. Love the details on old furniture.

As you can see, Rachel's dresser is beside the door. This is the back side of the door I made and wrote about in the previous post. I finally finished the back of the door!

If you notice the little gray dot on the ceiling over Rachel's dresser, it is a foamy stick-on piece (meant for the bottom side of furniture to protect the floor). Because of the slant of the ceiling, the door hits the ceiling there, so I put it there to protect the ceiling, and it seems to be working well so far. Much nicer than the gash that was in the ceiling before.

Here is a close-up of the wooden applique I placed over the mirror to finish out the door.

And this is Charis's dresser. It fits perfectly in its spot.

I love these keyholes in Rachel's dresser.

I love the pretty legs on Elisabeth's dresser.

And the curvy backsplash (I don't really know what you call that).

And I love the two levels of Charis's dresser and how much it stores.

And here you see the ugly spot. It is actually a repair job, the Sandpiper paint before the amber floor sealer. Believe it or not (and it is easier to believe in a house with 7 children than not) before I even could put the beds back in the room, someone damaged the floor! Elijah Grant, my sweet two-year old boy was playing with the clippy lamp I was using while I was working, unbeknownst to me. And he left it on, face down on the floor. It made a really cool circular pattern of black in the middle that faded out to a reddish brown and then to a dark amber color, and then eventually to the color of the rest of the floor. Didn't even have the hear to take a picture of it. Finally I sanded it and put the first coat of paint on it. Hopefully the final coats of sealer will blend in well with the rest of the floor. We'll see. At least it will be under Charis's bed. Speaking of beds - my dear husband made beds for the girls. His dad and brother have a metal-working business. My husband grew up working with his dad in the shop, so he asked to use the shop and made some beautiful beds for the girls. That will come in a future post, once they are finished and all the accessories are added. But I couldn't wait until then to show you my Girls' Room!

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Miss Mustard Seed

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Don't Slam the Door!

The humble beginnings of a door.

(Don't you love my workshop - the front porch!)

When my brother and his family came to visit, my girls very generously offered the use of their room to Uncle Chris and Aunt Dorothy. The problem? The previous week their door was broken. For those of you who don't know, we are renovating a house. An old Victorian farmhouse with a lot of potential, but LOTS of ugly layers covering that potential. Their door was one of those ugly things. For some reason, all the original doors in the upstairs had been replaced by the cheapest of hollow core doors from the 70's. Previous to us living here, the house had been divided into an upstairs and downstairs apartment. They were the typical tenants, so the door was barely hanging on when we moved in. So, if you see bits of ugliness, or even REALLY ugly backgrounds, please know that I don't think that it looks nice and that it will hopefully change sooner rather than later. Enough about that and onto the door. . .

So, we needed a door for the girls' room. Well, the doorway is fairly narrow and very short for a door, and since I hadn't found one to work in the spot and time had run out, I decided just to make one.

This is the first side before paint. I wish I had thought to take more pictures of the process, but I kind of forgot until the middle of the project. Sorry! This blogging thing is still really new to me, so I am not in the habit of taking pictures of everything yet.

This is what I did. I began with a piece of 3/4" plywood. I traced the remains of the hollow core door onto the plywood and cut that out. Next, I took 1 x 3 boards and cut two of them the height of the door. Then I took 1 x 6 boards and cut three of those the width of the door minus the width of the two 1 x 3 boards. In case you ever decide to make a door yourself, or pretty much do any carpentry work, be aware that a 1 x 3 board is not actually 1" by 3". It is something more like 3/4" by 2 1/4". I used liquid nails and screws to attach these boards. Then I cut pieces of beadboard paneling to fit in the resulting rectangles. If you notice, the middle 1 x 6 board is not placed in the middle of the door vertically, but I just put it where I though it looked best. After attaching the beadboard with liquid nails, I then cut a very small molding piece to edge out around the beadboard. I used my husband's miter saw, which made it super easy. Yes, I said that my husband lets me use his tools - how cool is he?

Here is a picture of the door on its side. I used some wood putty to fill in around the knot holes. Well, originally, my plan had been to make both sides of the door identical, but at this point, as often happens with projects, I realized that I needed to improvise. The reason was that the thickness of the door couldn't support another set of 3/4" board on the other side. So, I had an idea. We had been wanting a long mirror for the girls, and I had thought of hanging it on the back side of their door. So, why not make it a permanent part of the door?

I quickly drove to Family Dollar. We live in a really rural little town, so we have the choice of the Family Dollar in the next town to the east, the Dollar General in the next town to the west, or a hardware store a bit further away. So, I bought one of these cheap mirrors, which are really skinny by the way.

So I took off the plastic frame thingy and the cardboard backing. Then I used liquid nails to apply the mirror to the door. Have you figured out yet that I have a thing for liquid nails? If you want to build anything, you really should get some.

So, I used some of this really wide molding left over from a previous project. This molding is intended to be the baseboard molding you use with beadboard paneling, so it has a little space notched out that was perfect for allowing the molding to overlap the edges of the mirror a bit.

And I ate dinner on top of the door while I was working on it.

This is what it looked like after I attached the molding with screws and - guess what? - liquid nails. It may seem that I am being paid to advertise here, but I really just like the stuff that much. If you look closely, you can see I puttied over the screws. I also had to putty a LOT on the plywood on this side. It wasn't a very good grade of plywood, so there were lots of pits that all needed putty in order to look nice after being painted. This is the last picture I have of this side. I primed and painted it all white. You can't tell it so well in the picture, but there is more space at the top of the mirror than the bottom. I have bought a wood applique to put over the mirror, and once I have final pictures of the door in its place, you can see that.

Well here is the beadboard side, all primed and painted. This is the door just leaning against the wall before I took it upstairs. You can see where the wallpaper is starting to come off the walls, but that is another project!

We got the door on hinges and hanging up, but I have yet to choose a knob for the door. I thought about a glass knob, or maybe some other type of vintage door knob. Anyway, once I choose that and put it on the door, I will show you an update. I am really proud that I made a door - it had never even occurred to me before how to go about making one. Now that I know how simple it is (at least my homemade version), you can bet you will be seeing more of them!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hello again!

Well, I just ventured off the planet for about a month, but now I have returned. Although to say that I have returned to normalcy would be too great a statement. =-) I have enjoyed several weeks of visitors - my brother and his family with their 5 kids came to visit. Then I also had a fun surprise in having my parents and youngest brother also visit. Since then, I have been busy trying to finish up all the requirements for homeschooling in Pennsylvania, which has some of the more strenuous requirements for homeschooling among the states. As such, I plan a week at the end of the school year just for preparing the paperwork and all that is required - so, I am almost done! I have been busy with some projects around the house, and hopefully I will show you some of that this week.

Time goes by so quickly. Today, Annesley (the baby) was on a blanket on the floor, and Charis (my 7 yr. old) needed some help with a math problem. Well, in the three minutes I was gone to help Charis, Annesley rolled over for the first time - and even though there are nine people in this house, no one was there to see her! Can you believe it? I stay home with my kids just so I don't miss these things, and I missed it. Can't help laughing at that.

Well, I wanted to let you know about a great blog that I just found today. One of the blogs I like to follow is Susan's at, which I really enjoy. So, she recommended this blog - and I am so glad that she did. It is called Like Mother, Like Daughter at This is a blog by a mother, grandmother, and daughters. It is such an encouraging blog for mothers (especially with lots of kiddos like me) and for keepers of the home. The theme of the blog is "Happy at Home" and there are lots of posts dealing with different aspects of home life. Anyway, so glad to have found it and so happy to share it!

Well, hopefully in the next few days I will show you some pics of what I have been up to!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Done with Splinters!

Splinters: Beware!

You may wonder what in the world this picture has to do with splinters. So I'll tell you. This was the beginning of the end for the splinters. But to tell this tale, I must start at the very beginning. You didn't know there could be more than one beginning, did you?

As we began our renovations, one of the first things we did was to pull up the old flooring. When we bought our house, the downstairs was an interesting patchwork of industrial carpeting and shag carpeting that was early 80's vintage. It was all stained, stinky, and very, very ugly. So, we pulled it all up. That was a fairly easy job, except for the kitchen which had quite a few layers of linoleum and even a very primitive type of oil cloth linoleum, which I never even knew existed before. My wonderful children helped us pull literally more than a thousand nails and staples out of the floor, because each layer of previous flooring had been very liberally nailed and stapled. All that to get to the original oak wood floors. Well, we had done this months ago, not thinking ahead to what lay in store - the dreadful, dastardly SPLINTERS!!! I won't show any photos, but my children suffered frequent attacks by these evil splinters. So, when it is time to get rid of such horrors, who you gonna call? No, not the Ghostbusters. Your resident Amish man. And that was the beginning of the end. Now, for the rest of the story.

We called on our Amish friend to replace the planks that needed to be replaced so that we could go about refinishing the floor. I tried to sneak a picture of him working, but none of them worked out, and after seeing how Amish act in the movies, I was afraid to ask him if I could take his picture. =-) So, I took a picture of his Amish hat and his lunch cooler where he was working on the porch. I waited until he was in the house putting down a plank to swoop in for that picture. Anyway, onto the floor.

So, after he replaced the planks, then Benn used hickory sticks to fill in where knot holes had fallen through, and it was time to sand. You can see in these pictures the condition of the floor at this point. In every room, at one point, the wood floors had been painted, but only around the rugs that obviously had once been in the middle of each room. What a lovely thing to do! What you can't see in the pictures is how rough the wood was and how many splinters were secretly waiting to attack.

So, our mission was clear. We rented a sander and began sanding on Saturday morning, hoping to put the first layer of finish on the floor on Saturday night. Here you can see my sweetie sanding the floors on Saturday.

And here you can see him sanding the floors on Sunday.

And here you can see him sand the floors on Monday.

Maybe it took so long to get it done because he is always sanding the same spot? Really, I probably sanded as much as he did, and it really did take three days, almost the whole of each day, to get those floors sanded. The lovely paint around the perimeter of the room was truly villainous. We spent hours trying to sand it down. Then we pulled out stripper, and did several layers of that. Then we pulled out a power scraper and I sat and scooted around the floor, trying to scrape the paint off the floor. Finally, we called it good and decided we were finished sanding. This whole sanding fiasco was like a wake-up call that I am no spring chicken! I am sure the fact that I just had a C-section 3 months ago played into it, but I was barely walking when it was all over. I have since recovered, thank the Lord! So, finally on Monday evening, I began to apply the first coat of finish.

We decided to use a product called Waterlox on the floors. Janice, from Canadian Cottage, had a post on her blog about her beautiful kitchen. You can see that post here, and while you are there, you should check out the rest of her house. I love her style, and I especially love that she does it all on a budget! When I saw the rich color and finish of her floors, I had to email her to see how she had finished her floors. She was so kind to respond so quickly with the information, and when she said that she used Waterlox on her floors and that she had lived with it for more than two years and was still very pleased with that finish, I decided that was what I wanted to use on mine.

Here you can see me in my really cute super-renovator rags. =-)

You can see here what the floor looked like as I was applying the finish. It was really easy to apply, pretty much like mopping, which I discovered is a difficult motion post- C-section.

So, once again, the splinters threatened to defeat us. When I looked on the Waterlox website to find where to buy it, there were two places about 45 min. away from us, but in opposite directions. So, early Saturday morning, when I left to pick it up, I decided to go to the store to the south. When I got there, I found out that the store had recently been bought out and no longer carried Waterlox. So, then I had to drive home, then 45 min. to the north to the second store. By the way, I did call first this time to be sure they had some. When I got there, I found out that because of VOC laws, they no longer carried the gallon size, only quarts. And, they only had 5 quarts in stock - which was only enough for about the first coat. So, I bought all they had and headed home, thinking that at least we could get a first coat on, and then drive to Rochester, about 2 hours away, to get some more. Unfortunately, because the wood had been untreated for so long, the first coat ended up requiring 7 quarts. You can do the math. So, on Wednesday, we headed to Rochester, where we purchased plenty to finish the floors. You can't keep a good man down.

So, after 5 coats of finish, this is what we ended up with:

Here you can see one of the knot hole replacements:

Even now, the splinters threaten. lol I had taken several pictures of the finished floor, but can only get these two to upload from my camera.

So, be gone, you pesky splinters! Wherever evil lurks, never fear, the super-renovators of 126 North East Street are here!

Why does this post read like a comic book?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Double Feature

Mom, You are so lucky! You get a double feature this week! I had too many things to show you to put it all in one post, so you get two! First of all, look at these lovely wild flowers Rachel picked for me. If you look closely, you will see that the leaves on the plant are shaped like hearts! Kind of a love note from God, reminding us through His creation that He loves us. Hidden and waiting for us to find it, a little surprise message for us.

And a few pictures of Annesley, so you can see how she is growing and changing. Here is a picture with Elijah Grant holding her.

Here is one by herself. Isn't she pretty?

And these are the new chickies we got this week. Unfortunately, three of them haven't made it, which brought some tears, especially as one of them had been the "favorite" that they named Peeper. But you can see how cute they are! Hard not to become attached.

And no, I don't hold them. Still don't care much for touching animals. But I do enjoy watching them.

And here are a few pictures of the flower bed I put in around the bay window. They are blooming now - I have managed not to kill them!

And since it is so nice outside, I have really enjoyed opening the windows and having that wonderful aroma fill the house. I have daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths (which are the ones that smell best). It is nice to have that smell to cover over the smell of the manure the farmer keeps spreading in his field out back. =-(

Benn took the kids camping in the backyard on Friday night. It was such nice weather for it, but you can imagine Daddy really enjoyed sleeping in his bed the next night!

And, isn't this attractive?

Benn decided he had finally had enough of looking at this ugly thing and it was time to go. Yea for me!

So, he enlisted Josiah and Grey to help him. Look at my boys working hard together!

Grey helping with his strong muscles.

Wish I'd gotten a better picture of Josiah, but had to include a picture of him doing hard "man's work" with his daddy.

And . . .

It's outta here. . . (cheers, applause, clapping, yahooing)

We hung a picture over the hole from the chimney pipe, which we stuffed over first, to cover up the ugly hole until we replace that wall.

And, when we went upstairs to go to bed last night, this is what we found:

He was really sleeping there like this!

Isn't he cute? Just glad he didn't get hurt. Oh for the days when I could sleep just anywhere. . . Did those days ever exist for me?