Friday, July 31, 2015

the furniture shuffle

I finally found a furniture arrangement that I love for the living room. 
It all started with this adorable corner cabinet that my sister gifted to me from the quilt shop. I rescued it from the parking lot and an uncertain future. I love hand-me-downs! My fabulous BIL help me load it into the back of my mini-van (not the strangest thing I've ever hauled in the back of my Honda but certainly a lot less stinky and much cleaner).

I painted it a custom mix of Annie Sloan Graphite and Old White with a touch of Coco for good measure. I gave it a protective coat of clear wax but I didn't distress this one. It just didn't feel like it wanted to be distressed. 
I loaded it full of my milk glass collection that belonged to three of our "Ruth's" (my mother, her mother, and my hubby's grandmother). I added some old silver from past projects and grandma's farm house. 

And lined the back of one shelf with the table numbers I designed for a wedding (made from shaker shingles from a local barn).
Thus begins the furniture shuffle.

I shifted everything to an angle and created the perfect cozy conversation area. We sit with the kids, feet all propped up, and talk about whatever is on their hearts. We curl up on the sofa with a book and a puppy. We congragate here while waiting to leave the house for an outing. We catch up with family at gatherings and warm up next to the fire in the winter.
An arrangment that I just love!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

a (re)arrangement of the study

As a homeschooling family this is the time of year I plan our curriculum and prepare our house for a new school year. The previous year must be packed up, final grades figured, and space for the new year made.

And because I like to rearrange furniture I'll reconfigure our study and give it a good scrubbing while I'm at it. I woke up this morning energized and ready for a good project.

A few shots of the current layout...
It's a decent size room but it is also my creative space and the music room so I'm asking a lot from it. It needs a paint job (that's very old wallpaper we uncovered when we moved out the fireplace mantel) but I'll get to that some other time.

I also promised my daughter who is transitioning to high school work that I'd created a dedicated space just for her. Her very own desk. I'm good at organizing but I'm not sure I'm that good.  

What spaces in your home pull double duty?

Monday, July 27, 2015

a weasel story

Did I tell you about our run-in with The Weasel this summer?


True story.

We lost over 60 chickens to a weasel this summer. All inone week.

It's embarrassing to say. And I'm a bit heartbroken.

These weren't just any birds.

They were handselected for their breed and specifically for the color of eggs they would lay.

Have you seen this picture?

Probably not cause you don't stalk chicken breeds the same way I do. 

Or, if you're normal, then not at all.

We selected a range of birds that would give us this range of color. From chocolate brown to red specked to blue/green, tans and even white. 

Now this isn't our first flock of birds. We've been raising chickens and producing eggs for 6 years without so much as a hiccup. So I thought we were ready for such a special flock.

Not so much. Cause when a weasel comes to pay a visit he'll find the weakness in your coup. And here's the thing. My Old Man had that coup locked down tight. Every inch was enclosed and he even gave me doors on a pulley system so I don't have to enter the run to close them at night. 

But the weakness in our system, thank you Mr. Weasel for pointed this out to us, those tricky guys can fit through chicken wire.

Yep. Right through these little octagon holes.

So we learned a costly lesson. Covered very square inch in 1/2" hardware cloth and ordered new chicks. 

In the end we have the same old chicken breeds we've always had and the same shades of egg color.

One thing's for sure, they'll still taste just a good!

raw and (slightly) unedited

I decided that if I wait for everything to be perfect then I'll never get anywhere.

Thus I've taken up blogging again. However imperfect it may be.

I readily acknowledge that the layout is a mess and I haven't been able to create a header that I like. As for color, I just opted for black and white cause it seemed easy. I'd like some cute side bar buttons to go with that perfect header. And a custom blend of fonts. Maybe some great info-graphics that you just can't resist pinning. And you'd always know it was mine because I'd chosen my branding so well.

I kept thinking I'd find the time to get it just right before I really put myself out there. But I like blogging and I miss it. 

And waiting for perfect is a long wait.

So what if I stopped waiting? What if I started doing what I love and working towards my goals even if it's not perfect? What if I accepted good enough as just that and began moving forward? 

It's fitting if I think about it. My un-constructed blog reflects the evolution my life from city kid to farm girl. Little bits at a time. I have crazy ideas and wild aspirations and huge dreams. If I waited until I knew it all and had it all perfectly so, I'd never move from the spot in which I stand. That's just too much of a leap from here to there.

So this is me. Right where I am. Raw and (slightly) unedited. Good enough. For now.

Is there something you've been putting off 
because you know it won't be perfect?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

one thing leads to another

In an old house it's truer than ever...

one thing leads to another

You gut the bathroom and find a joist had been cut to make room for the shower plumbing in the upsatirs bathroom. After finding the appropriate board in your stash (you actually had one), you begin to repair the joist, but first you need to move the plumbing. Before you do that you need an unexpected trip into town to visit the hardware store. Which really isn't that unexpected. You knew it would happen eventually cause you live way out in the boonies and you never know what a 150-year-old house is going throw at you. While you're out you remember the kids will want to eat lunch (again) and you're short on groceries because you spent the last week gutting the bathroom to begin with. Oh, and by the way, we need more cat food.

And so it goes.

Now I can't say this little project will demand quite as much as the bathroom remodel. But it did start something I'm really not in control of.
This is the hall just off the bathroom. That door leads to the study. To my left is the dining room. To my right, the staircase. Behind me the kitchen.

Homes built in 1850 aren't known for their closets. We have no closets on the first floor. No entry. No pantry. No linen. None. 

Well, wait. There is that little "accidental" closet on the back porch that holds our shoes but we'll come back to that another day.

So, the hallway. 

Dear husband installed a piece of trim (ie a 1x12) and a nice long row of hooks. Not just any hooks. The kind with three prongs so we can accommodate the accoutrements that accompany a six-person family and their guests. The holds-all-kinds-off-awesome-stuff hooks.

This hall is tucked away out of sight from the back entry but close enough to be practical. It has become our entry closet. 


What's not brilliant is the attractiveness of the space.

The hook board has been left unpainted for two years and the plaster may have never been painted. Wallpapered and then stripped of its paper, yes. But definitely not painted.

Out of shear summer boredom, my daughter was wandering around the house begging me for something to paint. I know, that's a little weird. But it's what we do here so what can I say?

We decided on the hook board.
She removed the hooks and painted the board with Annie Sloan in Old White.


Now the walls look twice as terrible.

The trim needs painted. 

Of course I used up all the trim paint on the bathroom project.

And the steps need sanded and stained. 

But first I'd need to order a new part for the orbital sander.

And, I should paint the trim along the stairs if I'm going to restain the steps.

And where do I stop painting the walls? 

Do I really want to paint the two story stairway?

First I need to patch the hole midway up.

Which is why you'll see partially finished projects in my home. Possibly for years as a time.

Eventually I'll get it finished. 

Cause it's true. One thing does lead to another.

Friday, July 24, 2015

a farmhouse bathroom

I've dreamt of having my own claw foot tub since I was a little girl swirling around in my grandma's tub. The exotic smell of metal in the well water. The high curved sides with the smooth porcelain finish. The somewhat hollow sound of the water as it falls from the faucet and hits the cast iron. The way it sat like a piece of furniture in the room. It had presence. Intrigue. Style.
Silly as it may be, a claw foot made the top five items on my wish list when we were looking for a house. I came late to the showing with the realitor. I wouldn't let anyone tell me a thing about the house on the phone as I drove to meet the rest of the family. But you already know the first thing I asked when I stepped in the door... "Is there a claw foot tub?"
It has come to my attention that I spent the better half of my adult life trying to recreate my grandparents farmhouse. And a proper farmhouse deserves a proper claw foot. Most definitely.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

the barn: a love story!

We are very slow farmers. Very, very slow. Because my hubby works a full time job and I homeschool four kiddos and because us city kids really have no idea what we are doing, the farm side of life moves at a snails pace. We have been able to keep our chickens throughout the move so I won't have to make my kiddos eat store bought eggs, which my daughter tells me is just plain mean.

But we've had to baby step our way back to raising pigs. The dream of beef cattle and meat chickens awaits while we get things in order. First up: the barn!

This is what the barn looked like when we purchased the property. Seriously, we bought this. The inside is much more horrifying than the outside.

That fall we rebuilt the left portion of the barn to house our chickens. We knew the right side would need to be torn down and, being the part-time, DIY "farmers" that we are, there wouldn't be time or money in the budget for a complete rebuild before winter.

The following year we were super blessed to be able to demo and rebuild the remaining portion of the barn. After we pulled it down, there was this overwhelming sinking feeling that this is NEVER. GOING. TO. BE. OKAY. While I'd consider us "handy" folk, we have never built anything of this size before.

This is were the love comes in! We had a barn raising and this amazing group of very talented family and good friends came to help us! They took an overwhelming project that would have taken hubby and I a year of weekends to complete and put it together in a day! Amazing and so blessed!

And here is where it stands one year later....

We had planned to paint the barn this spring but have had to wait out all the rain. It will be black and my hubby constructed an 8 x 8 door so I'd have a place to paint a barn quilt!

The inside awaits stalls. A barn yard is planned. Then pasture fencing and finally we'll be ready for livestock.

When I look at the barn I remember the process of getting to this place. How it started out as a tentative "if only" and a very hopeful "what if?" I remember the far-off dream of farming, raising clean meat, and feeding people. I think about the people that love us and gather around to help us reach our goals. And God's gracious, overflowing, pressed down and shaken together blessings.

Barn love!