Thursday, March 23, 2017

Think Before You Downsize

In 2015, my husband and I retired, sold our house in Georgia, packed up everything we owned and moved to Alabama.  We wanted to be closer to our grandchildren. There was one request to our realtor; the new house had to be on water.  We had previously owned a little weekend place on Lake Sinclair but this time we wanted to live full time on the water.  We were perfectly content with "downsizing" too.  We looked at so many brand new beautiful homes but each had the same problem:  Bad water!  Shallow water off the dock and in some cases not even navigable during the winter months. It seemed that the best lots with good deep water were already occupied by older homes. This is why we bought a "fixer upper". 

Now after downsizing and living in our "new" house for 18 months, we have decided that we need more room!  Yes, you are reading this correctly.  We need more room! After promising that I would never ever again live in a house while remodeling, (drumroll) we are at it again. 

Here is the plan: We are adding a new garage with plenty of storage for my husband's tools and converting the current garage to a family room. 

This is a computer generated picture of how the new family room will look.  Kudos to my son for designing this using TapGlance.

This will be the view from the kitchen. 

The work has begun and I cringed when I saw the driveway being broken apart.

Seeing the chain saw attack the brick sidewalk hurt too!

I wish we had done this during the original remodel so my piece of advice is:  Think before you downsize!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Farmer's Market Makeover

One day while browsing around Hobby Lobby, I found this decor item on a kiosk in the center of the store. What actually caught my eye was the metal wire top.  It wasn't on sale and after looking at the price, I passed, hoping that it might eventually go on sale.  If you have the Hobby Lobby app, you can check each week to see what is on sale so when I found that all metal/home decor was on sale at 50%, I made a trip back to see if this little gem was still there.  It was!

I did not like the wood tray.  It was too dark and the lettering was too big.  My husband even told me that he thought it was ugly.  I really liked the wire though and I knew I could "fix" it.
When you are a DIYer, you have plenty of paint on hand so I didn't have to purchase a thing.
The color I used was Slate by Sherwin Williams. After it dried, I dry brushed it with Antique White. Then I sanded it just a little with a fine grit paper. You can see that the letters are very faint now.

I then brushed on a dark antique glaze.  Once the glaze was applied, I wiped some of it off.  You can get the look you want by just brushing on more or wiping off more. In this picture you can see the difference after the glazed is applied. The right side of this picture is before the glaze.

The glaze that I used is from a business in Woodstock, Georgia named Rethunk Junk. The owner makes all of her paints. The great thing about her products is that they can be applied directly over any item without sanding it first.  No it is not a chalk paint.  That is why I like it so much.
Here is the link to her website:

These Hyacinths were on sale at Walmart for $1.00 so I couldn't pass on that!  I placed them in these teacups and added some moss. 

I really like how it turned out. It looks more, as they say, "French Country Chic" instead of "Farmhouse Country"! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A "Busy" Kind of Project

Development of fine motor skills is important for toddlers and preschool children. Hands on activities stimulate a child's senses and encourage critical thinking.  Do I sound like a teacher?  During my 30 years of teaching school, I observed that children learn from "hands on" activities because it promotes application skills.  Have you seen "busy boards" or "sensory boards"?  Pinterest has so many ideas for them but they all looked like boards for boys.


We decided to make a girl's version for our granddaughter for her 2nd birthday.  We refer to it as our girl prototype. My husband built the base and then I sanded and painted it white. It needed some "girl" color so I taped it and painted pink stripes. 

Behind each door we placed a picture of each side of the family.

My husband then added all the goodies: latches, wheels, bolts, springs, etc.  All the little things that will promote tactile learning and dexterity of those little fingers. 

I painted the back with chalkboard paint. 

Then we had the real test of this little busy board prototype. 

I think it passed the test!  Now we have to make one for our other little granddaughter.  Our oldest even asked if we would make one for her without "baby" things.  Hmmm.  What would we put on one for a seven year old girl?  I need to do some research on that one.  Sounds like another prototype is coming soon!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Reminiscing Past Projects

Those of you who have been following me this past year have seen the transformation of our retirement fixer upper.  My husband and I have always been DIYers and we seem to always have a project that we are working on.  Since the end of 2016 is fast approaching, I have been doing a little reminiscing about some of my favorite projects.

We lived for 10 years in this house and in those 10 years, we did a lot of DIYing. 

 Let me show you some highlights of a few of our projects:

My husband converted a kitchen table into a coffee table. You can read about it here. This table was used several years in our son's college house. It is now being used as a play table for our grands. 

2012 was a busy year. We transformed the backyard of our previous home, My husband built the outdoor kitchen.  You can see the complete backyard transformation  here and here.

We had one storage room in our basement that was unfinished so guess what he did?  He finished it into a very organized storage/work room. Read here.

This next project was one of my husband's most creative:  Changing the winter firepit into a summer umbrella table. You can read the entire story here.  We brought that table with us when we moved and you can see it at the top of this page.

He made a table with matching footstools for our porch from scrap lumber.  Click here and here to see the entire project.

The next project was in the room that I miss the most. The home theatre. You can see the projects here.

All this was in 2012! WHEW!  

Now on to 2013

He built a knock off Pottery Barn table for our basement.  Click here and here to see the project.

He installed a craftsman style ceiling on our upper deck. I stained and sealed all of the wood and that was a job! Click here to see how we did it.

He found time to build our oldest grand a place to store her dolls.

 I repurposed some old bar stools. click here

Our oldest son and daughter in law moved to a new house and he custom made bookshelves and a coffee table for them. click here

This next project was one of my favorites. Read here how I converted a piece of junk from Goodwill into a farmhouse style bench.

Well after all this, we retired and decided to move closer to our sons and grands. It was hard leaving the home that we worked on so hard.  There were more projects we had planned to do if we had stayed but there were plenty of new projects waiting for us at our fixer upper.  While we were working on renovating our new to us house, my husband also helped my sons with some projects. I will report on those later.  
While I am posting this, I hear my husband outside hammering on something.  I wonder what he is doing now?  Details coming.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Pillows Tutorial

When we moved to Alabama, we had a garage sale and I sold a lot of my Christmas decorations, including pillows that I used on the porch of our previous house.  This was a good excuse to buy new ones.  One day while browsing through Pinterest, I found this pin. It is from a decorating blog that I have been following for several years,  One Sutton Place . I love the look of buffalo check and when I saw this, I knew I had to try and duplicate the look.

Repurposed Shirt Buffalo Plaid Pillow | Christmas Door Decor | Festive & Frugal Christmas Porch Decor | Ideas for adding easy touches of Christmas to welcome your family and friends to your home.:

I looked everywhere for ready made pillows and even fabric but could not find the color or pattern that I wanted. I even looked in the men's department at Walmart for some flannel shirts.  One day while in Hobby Lobby I spotted the perfect buffalo check and a light went off in my brain. 

It was a table runner and it made perfect sense because it was already lined.  I simply cut it into three sections.

Stuffed each section with fiberfill.

Then I whip stitched the ends. 

Now I have buffalo check pillows.

I think I have decided on a new project for spring. I'll just have to find a new table runner.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Our Alabama Christmas, Finally

Those of you who have been following me since our move to Alabama, know that we have been working on this fixer upper for over a year.  Last December, my husband and I felt like we completely missed Christmas because we were living in 2 little rooms in the upstairs of this house. 
The blue tarp you see in the picture below encased the stairway to our living quarters for four long months. While living upstairs, we painted and sanded the popcorn ceiling while the main floor and basement were completely gutted.  We were living in a big MESS.  Still to this day, I don't know how we survived, but we did!  The remodel I could deal with, but living in it at the same time was very difficult. 

Now that the house is done except for a few little things, we finally get to  celebrate Christmas in Alabama!

I don't mind walking in the front door anymore. 
Come on in.

No more blue tarp.

I love how you can see the lake in the background. We had to get a much smaller tree this year because we don't have the high ceilings in this house. 

The picture below was taken before the railing to the basement was installed.

Of course you can't tell by the picture but this tree rotates 360.  I've had this rotating stand for a few years and like how you can see all of the decorations because there is no front or back. 

Finally this year we get to actually have an Alabama Christmas!