Friday, July 30, 2010

Honey Oak .. Everywhere

Our house has come so far from the first day we walked through the front door. All the damage to the drywall (150+ sledgehammer holes throughout) are gone. The old smelly carpets have been replaced. The front door which used to be gray and blue flat-nasty paint, is gorgeous in red. The broken storm door has been replaced with a charming 'granny slammer' screen door. The house is a home and full of character now.

And full of Honey Oak.

It's everywhere.

When we first got the house, I worked hard at choosing paint colors around the honey oak. Floors, doors, trim, the whole kitchen cabinetry, honey oak. I know I'm supposed to be thankful for all this "expensive hardwood" but ...I'm sorry. After almost a year, I'm sooo tired of it. In this case, less would've been more. It's E V E R Y W H E R E !!! I think if it were just the floors, I could deal with it. But filling a house with primitives and antiques and colonial flavor ...well, it just doesn't "work." The honey oak just sticks out like a sore thumb.

I know there are two solutions, at least. One, is to strip everything and re-stain. Ummm, as much as I hate the honey oak, 2800 sq ft of stripping and restaining doors and trim doesn't sound at all doable. Not in this lifetime. Me the impatient, stay at home mom of three crazy kids and two huge dogs and a husband who doesn't like to paint or stain anything since it can't be done with a remote control. (ha). The other solution, is to paint. Now, normal professionals would say, it's ok to paint if you sand and prime and sand and clean and THEN apply two good coats of good paint. However, even THAT sounds daunting. That is a lot of work which takes a lot of time. Any of you who know me, know that I am not a lazy person. But there are limits!! Even if I were to do the kitchen cabinets, everything I read tells me to remove all the hardware and the doors and drawers and about at that time, my eyes are glazing over and I'm looking for a hole to crawl into.

Up in the master bath, I resisted all the good advice, took a dry brush and black paint, pulled the drawers out just a little and opened the cupboard doors, and painted. Light wispy strokes of black paint. Guess what? With NO prep work, no taping, no sanding, no priming, the paint looks distressed and beautiful, it dried fine, doesn't stick or scratch, and it's done! No more modern shiny cherry. It's now distressed black. Doesn't that sound like if I were to do the same thing to the oak trim and doors around here, that the same result would happen??? Or am I just dreaming?

My mother would kill me and my husband would not be happy and would roll his eyes so far back in his head that he might lose vision all together. BUT....I am SO tempted to at LEAST attempt this method on the back of a closet door, or something. Somewhere where it wouldn't be too noticeable if I screwed it all up....Hmmmm. I even have honey oak trim on the INSIDE of my bedroom closet door!! Ugh.

OK I need some serious advice and votes here. Before you comment, take into consideration that I am impatient and do not like to prep with multi-layers of primer, etc, and I'm on a severe (read: zero) budget.

Thank you!

This is the kitchen when we first saw the house: all honey oak.
100_3366.jpg picture by dulcimatik

This is the kitchen (pardon the mess) with all the primitive decor in it. Still see all the honey oak???
757c3d44.jpg picture by dulcimatik

Monday, July 26, 2010


Have you ever thought about the rituals you live with everyday? You wake up, roll over the same way, get outa bed, do your 'morning stuff' (restroom, etc)..stumble to the kitchen, let out the dogs, make the coffee, sit in the same chair, check your email with your coffee....You know what I mean. This goes on every day, all day long until you go to sleep. For the most part, you take the same path through your house over, and over and over.

This morning I happened to sit in a different chair at the kitchen table than usual, because I was trying to avoid the hot sun which was coming in the slider door. I know it sounds trivial. But from this angle, my kitchen takes on a different look. It's actually really interesting. I can see the shelves above my counters and the collections of blue mason jars when the morning sunlight hits them....From here I can see the front door down the hall, and the wonderful warm, deep red it's painted. I love that color. I just have a little different view of my house. I was just recently thinking that my decor was looking a bit stale and that I might have to change things...until I sat in a different spot!

I have a bad habit of getting bored quickly with the way my house is decorated. This started way back when I was about ten. I had been going to auctions with my mom since I was teeny and I was always surrounded by antiques and old stuff. My mom always had a subscription to Country Living magazine and I loved looking through old issues. It was around 10 that I decided my room needed COUNTRY.

God love my mom. She never cared if went down to the basement or garage and dragged stuff she didn't have room for up to my room. She's always embraced my decorating hobby, even when I was that young! Once I decided to do a 50s theme in my room after I watched the movie, "Peggy Sue Got Married." I pulled up an old record player and a stack of records; found my old pair of saddle shoes to set out; hung up my mom's pennants from high school (she graduated in '57); it was fun. From there, the decor just went farther and farther back in time. I saved up babysitting money to buy a Victrola for my room and started to collect 78s. Mom let me use some of her old quilts for my bed (at one point in a cold winter, I had seven of them piled up on my old iron bed, which also came from auction.) Not long after that, I thought I should take pictures of my vignettes. Somewhere in a box I still have a stack of photos from back then, of all the different ways I decorated my room. (Come to think of it, I think that made me a nerd back then!) Once, I actually had my parents make one whole wall a mural of a woods (it was a wallpaper mural). Then I had green carpet (to resemble grass) and pale yellow walls (to mimic soft sunlight.) This was about middle school age. I found a cassette tape that was of nature sounds. I put it in a tape player that plugged into an outlet which was controlled by the light switch near the door of my room. Every time I walked into my room, I'd flick the switch, and immediately hear distant birds, water trickling from a creek and a breeze through trees. I thought that was brilliant, to go with the giant mural on the wall. Well, my friends quickly got tired of my nature sounds. Someone stole that tape and I still to this day do not know where it ended up. I guess other 12 year olds just didn't understand interior decorating.

But every three months or so, I'd get bored and start moving furniture. That part would make my parents looney. They always worried about me hurting myself. Or the drywall (which I did a couple of times.) I have had a severe allergy to dust my whole life so during these big "changes" I was sneezing my head off for days and then zoning out on allergy meds. But in the end, my room was awesome! And since then, it's been that way. Although, I try to wait longer than three months now that I have an entire house and not just one room to switch around. I do have stacks of primitives in the garage (that drive Husband crazy) and in the barn (Lord only knows what's out there ) that I can't stand the thought of getting rid of, because I might need them on a whim at some point when I get an idea to redo a room. Anyway, even back then as a kid, I remember standing on a chair in a corner of my room to look at it from a different angle. This would inspire me to spruce up a corner or a shelf I may not have noticed while sitting on my bed. And this morning, those ideas all came flooding back when I sat in a different kitchen chair.

Today I am appreciating some antiques I forgot I had. I am staring at things around my house that I am so thankful to have. (Especially after a trip to an antique mall yesterday where I saw prices on pieces that would out of sight---makes me come home and REALLY appreciate what I have now that they charge so much at shops for the same things! ;-) So I challenge you to sit in a different chair. Walk a different path through your home....try to see things a little differently today. You might really enjoy it!

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Today is day 3 without sugar. So far I don't like it any better than day 1. At this point, I am seriously considering taking a week to just cut off coffee (and caffeine) all together. It's not good for those of us with anxiety anyway, so why drink it? Wow I sound cranky. Sorry! ;-P

Anyway....I got wonderful news that my brother is headed our way to see my dad drive his tractor in the Yale Bologna Festival Parade ... (visit for more info on Yale Bologna Festival, a tradition full of, well, bologna.) Unfortunately, it has been raining off and on all morning and the forecast calls for thunderstorms all day. I'm not sure how the day will turn out, but at least we get to visit with my brother!! That will be great fun. I feel bad, I always bake chocolate chip cookies for him when he's on his way here and wouldn't you know it, I'm out of chips! I guess I could work it later tonight for tomorrow's enjoyment.

The living room wall is coming along nicely. I've been told by Genie that I can paint it. It's not done, but it's very hard to tell what the overall look will be when it's not painted. We need to know if it needs more trim here or there and such. Yesterday he built open shelves and took the whole front off of the electric fireplace and put it on the wall. I'll post a pic so you can see what I mean. I think it's simply delicious and I can't wait to see it done. He's also going to build primitive doors to cover the TV and the cable box, etc if I can't find any old ones to use in the next few days. As far as paint goes, I think I'm going to start with flat black (yikes, sounds scary, huh?!) and then a deep burgundy/red/brown that I sort of half invented. It's actually a color called "Chocolate" but it is in the red family, and I had the store put in more brown. The inside of our front door is painted that color and I just love love love it. It's a great colonial type color.

Anyway, I need to get ready for the day (and try to suck down this awful mud called coffee)...have a great Saturday!

bbc19124.jpg picture by dulcimatik

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mental Brilliance

After several weeks of the oldest kid begging to have three boys over at once, I finally agreed. They are all great kids so why not? I sent our middle one to Grandma's overnight so as to curb any fights over the Xbox or DVR.

We took the city kids on a country drive to a movie theater in a nearby town called Sandusky. These kids had never heard of any other Sandusky than that of Ohio, which is home to the fabulous theme park called Cedar Point. It was pretty funny. We passed miles of farmland and cows and barns and nothingness and arrived to the town of Sandusky, which is a great town -- with a new movie theater. We saw "Despicable Me" ... it was a GREAT movie. I would like to see it again. Everyone had fun. On the way home, we drove past the old Deanda family farm that still has the barn with our last name in the roof shingles. (Family doesn't own it anymore but it's good memories for Hubby.) After we got home and settled, I thought I could venture to bed and crash. Turned out, the four boys had other plans for my sleep. Or lack of. They decided to stay up all night long, hootin' and hollerin' (Ok maybe not hollerin')...

Now, I know most parents probably would've made the trek up and down the stairs several times to bark at the kids to be quiet. If they didn't get quiet, they all could've been separated to different rooms so they could get some sleep. But, THIS mom decided to be fun and just let them be up all night long while I held a pillow over my ear and tried to catch a few ZZZZs (that's the better version. The real version probably sounds more like "I was just too dog tired to try the stairs so I ignored it.") When I finally did fall asleep, it seemed like ten minutes later, Husband's alarm went off at 5am. Why, you ask? To go fishing with my GENIE.

Yes, my Genie and my husband are now fishing buddies. This is a good and a bad thing. I'm glad they get along. Genie is a great influence for my husband, he actually convinced him to get up on the roof last week to help fix the missing shingles before a big rain, something my husband would NEVER have done on his own. So, yeah. That's good. However, my new wall in the living room is not finished and the trim in the master bath is not finished either. So the more they fish, the longer my gorgeous decor ideas don't come to fruition! I teased Hubby yesterday about stealing my Genie (though I didn't call him that. I could never call him that to anyone but you all...hehe)

Soooooo, now that I'm dog tired and have fed the four hungry boys a wild stack of pancakes and Hubby is off fishing, I heard my daily coffee addiction calling. But instead of my yummy sweetened coffee that I normally enjoy every day, I opted to take a challenge from someone on Facebook who reminded me that we Americans consume way too much sugar and it's time to grow up just a little and drink coffee WITHOUT sugar. So I brewed my pot of coffee and only added non-fat creamer (instead of my normal milk) and a little cinnamon (which is good for us anyway) and no sugar. No sweetener. Nothing. Nada.

It's sitting here with me, this unsweet morning coffee. I have stomached half a cup so far. It's not enjoyable. In fact, it's bordering on adding to my sleep deprived, husband is fishing, my wall is not done, boys are too loud grouchiness. (ha). I have Thomas the Train chanting in my head with every sip..."I think I can I think I can I think I can..." along with two motivational concepts: One being that my mom quit sugar in her coffee many years ago and without changing anything else in her life, she lost 20 lbs quite quickly...and the 2nd thing, is that many years ago I decided to switch from Coke to Diet Coke and before long, I found I couldn't even stomach regular Coke anymore because it tasted too syrup-y. Soooo if I can manage to get through a week without sugar in my coffee, I'll either begin to notice a little weightloss or I will end my morning coffee addiction all together (and deal with a few days of caffiene headaches.) LOL But I did just read that black coffee actually is good for you and helps regulate blood sugar levels. I'm going to keep scouting for more reasons to unsweeten my morning cuppa joe. Wish me luck. Ugh.

And another brilliant decision on my part, was promising the middle kid that he could have a friend overnight TONIGHT. Not realizing how tired I would already be after having three extras over this past night. Ugh. I think I'm going to go to bed with ear plugs tonight.

Maybe I'll sneak off and do my own fishing in the morning....the kind of fishing that has to with FISHING for good deals at garage sales...hehe....And leave Hubby here with the restless natives....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A New Venture

Recently I discovered that A Primitive Journey Community ( has begun sprouting local chapters all over the country. I became IMMEDIATELY excited, as I don't have any local friends in my immediate area that are primitives collectors/decorators. When I looked into it, I learned that once a month (third Saturday) every member in each area will meet for a day of friendship and fun -- and shopping, food, crafting, antiquing--who knows! And, if that's not juicy enough, once a year, somewhere in the country, there will be a National Convention for all the chapters to gather together.

Long story short, I became the Director for the Detroit chapter. Detroit is about an hour from me---but it encompasses a large area all the way around Detroit. In fact, the first few members are really a distance from Detroit. It's a good thing, actually, because this gives me more to work with as far as meeting places go. I have a few wonderful primitive places in mind. I'll keep ya posted! I can't wait. Our first meeting is August 21st. I just ordered my business cards to help promote our Chapter. Once they arrive, I will visit area antique and prim shops and start networking, looking for more members. (Like I need a reason to visit antique shops!)

Speaking of antiquing, while I was at the dulcimer festival in Evart, MI this past weekend, I actually got away from the music and had a great adventure with my friend Gloria, whose husband plays music with me. We logged into my iPhone's White Pages app and looked up area antique and resale stores and headed about 25 miles away. What a BLAST!! The first shop we found, which was the farthest away, was CLOSED on Saturdays. Can you believe that?? I felt awful since Gloria was the one driving! But it wasn't long before we found garage sales which led us to antique shops which led us to primitive stores....aaaaaahhhh it was so much fun!! Hot, but fun. We spent most of the time in Cadillac. I found some more pieces for my vintage green kitchenware collection, rolling pins, an old landscape painting, a vintage handkerchief, a brown soda bottle from Port Huron (all the way from Port Huron) that had a message across the bottom: "This contains no medicines or poison" so I guess it was safe to drink! I found an old apple crate, a good amount of unused ticking fabric for pillows, a table broom (for crumbs,) ...hmmm. What else?? OH I almost forgot. Another ice pick! This one has messages on the sides of the handle, one of which says "Crushed Ice: Try it Once, Use it Always!" Now, imagine having to crush ice by hand, using a pick, every time you wanted a drink. (My kids really have no idea how easy they have it!!) And besides being a fun collectable, ice picks really would be a nice thing to carry in your purse for safety. You could really hurt someone with a hand held ice pick!! What a fun day that was. Music by night, antiques by day....that's MY idea of a fabulous vacation!

As far as the music end went, it was enjoyable as it always is. Though every year, the jams end earlier and earlier. I was up playing music until about 2:30 am on Friday night. By midnight on Saturday, nothing was going on! But I will say, what used to be a festival I looked forward to to learn and play music, it's so much more than that now. I have made so many very good friends over the last 20 years ---I just can't wait to get there to see everyone! Most of which I only get to see once or twice a year. And as always, it was so, so wonderful to see friends again. The boys both met up with their festival friends too, and Jillian had a blast with Brielle--who lives near us but we never seem to find time to get together. They hung out the whole weekend!! It was so great. I come home completely exhausted every year but it's so worth it. (And in the horrible heat we've been having, we were very grateful to be staying a camper with a/c this year!)

So back to the grind. Hard to get back to 'normal' life after a long weekend away....I warned the kids about how tired I knew I'd be, in fact I even taught Jillian about "Vegetable Day." Vegetable Day is what I call the Monday after Evart. Where I lay around like broccoli and do nothing! hehe I overheard her telling other people about Vegetable Day too, and that cracked me up.

Well, I have three extra boys overnight tonight...friends of PJ. Ethan is at Grandma's tonight and will have a friend overnight tomorrow night. Phew. Good thing is, I can take a break from keeping the house clean. With all these kids around, the house doesn't have a chance! ;)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Am I a hypocrite?

This morning I walked out to the little garden at the back of the property. The garden is LITTLE. Like, maybe five feet by two? We planted corn, green beans, and pumpkins, however, late in June. So when my corn was supposed to be "knee high by the 4th of July" it was more like, oooh lookie there's a little green thing sticking out of the dirt! I joke that we'll have winter corn and pumpkins by next Spring.

Anyway, I noticed that although there is obvious growth, there are also obvious weeds. And while I was noticing the weeds, I was noticing how much I was getting chewed up by mosquitoes. And I hate mosquito bites, because I'm allergic to them and the little bumps swell up into feverish lumps all over my body. And several of them don't ever heal right, I end up with permanent bumps that are called dermo-something-or-other and I either have to ignore them or have them removed. It's really annoying. So while I am thinking about the lumps, I'm dreading pulling the weeds because usually there are bugs under the weeds and then when you pull the weeds, the bugs touch you and that is awful. Plus the squishy overgrown mess of a lawn was sneaking into my open toed sandals, and when I noticed that, I remembered my boys talking about the slugs that got into their shoes when they were running on this very lawn. About that time I thought, heck with the weeds, I'm going back inside.

And it hit me. I am just plain not an outdoorsy gal. It doesn't matter how primitive and traditional I make my home. How much I say I love home baked bread and the large collections of canning jars that sit empty around my house because they are the pretty old blue ones, and how much I adore driving up and down the roads where Amish folk live and love to buy their produce and wish I was Amish some days...Doesn't matter that my grandparents were all farmers on huge farms full of vegetables and fruit and animals (and dirt and bugs) ... I hate it. I hate it outside and I hate the bugs and I hate humidity in July and August and any other time it's humid. I hate to feel sweaty. And I just don't like to get my hands in dirt. I know that makes me sound like one big whiny baby hypocrite but I can't help it! I wasn't cut out for living off the land and pulling weeds.

I have said for many years how much I adore all of you who have giant gardens and beautiful landscapes. I appreciate all of it, I really do. I just don't get how to take care of any of it. I can play 3000 fiddle tunes on a dulcimer though and I can love my children and I can decorate my house and I can bake some mean cookies but the whole gardening weeding loving the outside thing? Nope.

I have been fighting this reality my whole life. I played outside when I was a kid with all my friends. I rode my bike and swam at the beach and did all those things kids do. But when it got hot and humid? Which kid was inside barfing? Me. It just makes me sick. And I grew up thinking something was just not right with me. I'm less of a person somehow than everyone else.

But am I really less a person? I mean, does it make me truly horrible to be this way? Some days I think so and other days not. I can't help it that I'm phobic about bees and June bugs and roaches and spiders and other creepy crawlies. I didn't ask to be born this way. I really don't like this part of me but seriously, is it worth tormenting myself to try to be different?

I used to wonder why I was born when I was when what I really love is Little House on the Prairie and all things old and antique and touring all those beautiful historical buildings up and down the east coast....But when it comes down to it, I'd be dead. I came down with scarlet fever when I was like, seven. So if I was actually born back in the olden days, without a cure for scarlet fever, I wouldn't be here. But other than that, I don't know that I could've handled all that outside-ness. I know that's not even a word. But you know what I mean. Oh well psychology would say that since I was born in that environment, I'd more than likely survive and thrive in that environment.

I just wasn't born then. So I'm going to stand up tall, inside my air conditioned home, eating canned corn and buying pumpkins by the dozen on someone else's farm, and just be proud. Why I have no idea, but it sure sounds good.

And another thing. Can someone please enlighten me about small towns? I had to go to the local grocery store today to get bacon because Husband was craving it and my dollar store up the road charges too much for bacon. So I went into the village (ha) and to the grocery (the only grocery) and started shopping. I don't understand why they charge so much...and why everyone in town supports them. The small town mentality is "support your local businesses" which I get, however, when your local grocery charges $4, $5 and up to $7 for a pound of bacon?? I got lucky (blessed, really) to find three packages that were clearanced out because of the date, they were only $1.10 so I bought them instead. $5 for one package of Klondike bars. Really? What would you do for a Klondike bar? Well I wouldn't spend $5 a package, that's for sure. I did have to spend $2.50 for a gallon of milk and that bothers me enough, but driving 20 miles for cheaper doesn't make sense unless you're going for a whole week's worth of groceries. My mom (who was born and raised in this and another farming town) is guessing that perhaps because the trucks have to drive to get here to the middle of no where that perhaps the wholesale cost is higher to these village grocers so they have to charge even more than normal to the consumer. Possible. I really wish I knew. Because coming from a bigger town with a ton of ways to bargain shop, my immediate reaction is more like the thinking that the grocer is taking advantage of the fact that they are the only grocery so they can charge whatever they want. Sounds so negative, and I apologize, but I just don't understand paying so much for groceries.

Except now that I know how hard it can be to grow corn, with the bugs and dirt and weeds, well, I wouldn't can it and sell it for pennies like I like to pay for canned corn. Maybe I'm the one with the screwed up thinking. ;-)

Thursday, July 15, 2010


What was I thinking?

Oh my my. Yes my wheels are always turning, however, they don't seem to notice when they are going too fast!
So, my genie came over yesterday. The day before he and my husband went fishing instead of working here. No big deal, I was busy chasing craigslist ads all over Detroit anyway. Well, when my genie came over, I COMPLETELY forgot about my bathroom door trim and I immediately had him measure for the fireplace wall in the living room. I pulled out three books and all sorts of photos to give him an idea of what I want. He is no good for me. He mentioned that he could even put in a DOOR...the old door he pulled out of my grandparents' farmhouse that sits all chippy in my garage right now...and a WINDOW with working shutters (neither of which will go anywhere)....THEN he even offered an idea to build a roof and shingle it to make the whole thing look like the side of a house! LOL Immediately I had visions of the striped-legged stockings and shoes that stuck out under Dorothy's house from the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz. So, I opted for no roof at this point. Great design idea and full of whimsy, but not what I was going for in that room. So, I stood over him at my kitchen table as he figured what the whole thing would cost (around $600) and I did the same thing I always do when he's here working magic. I froze, felt my feet lift off the floor, eyes glazed over, brain shut down completely and just went, "Oh ok, that sounds great!"
Never mind that my bathroom is missing trim. Never mind that I'm broke. Never mind that I'm supposed to be leaving on a small vacation to the annual dulcimer festival I attend with my family every year TODAY. Never mind that my husband already told me he was buying a used boat trailer on Friday. Never mind the house payment that's due. My house is getting better and better every day!
I'm a LOON, I tell ya. A LOON!
So what does my genie do? Runs off and buys all the wood. Drops it back off on my porch. Poof! Rub that lamp and Poof! It's done!! I cleared out the living room on the side that gets the new wall. My husband at that point was completely confused. I often forget to even tell him what's going on because HIS eyes are ALWAYS glazed over when I talk anyway. What's the point? So when Genie (he'd so hate it to know I'm calling him that) was dropping off wood and asking Hubby for help, Hubby wants to know what's going on? Genie (smart one that he is) says "Oh you know, that cement floor you wanted in the pole barn!" hahahaha To which Hubby rolls his eyes and laughs. I'm not sure but I think the fishing trips are more for MY advantage. Because NOW Hubby totally loves Genie. I think I get away with murder around here. Aren't I horrible??? I don't mean to be. I just lived WAY too many years with nothing every getting done and duct tape to hold everything that falls. This is my slice of heaven.

Today, I woke up at 4am thinking about the $$ that I can ill afford...yet how wonderful my living room will look...and I got up to do more pre-camping laundry. Got my bowl of cereal and eagerly sat in front of the TV to watch my missed American Pickers episode---which was a new episode---this past Monday. Guess what? SOMEONE CANCELED MY RECORDING!!! I was sooooo mad! Everyone else gets dibs on the TV and DVR and I always get bumped!! I'm so mad. I watched a rerun instead and chewed too hard on my cereal out of frustration. LOL
Ended up getting sleepy and going back to bed, only to have some psychotic dream about 45 people having a redecorating party at my house which got completely out of control, and the garage door ended up being painted pink with black stripes. Yes, that's a NIGHTMARE for me. Then my phone went off. It was Genie txting, wondering if my day was too busy getting ready for camping for him to come over and start my new wall.
No of course not! Why not come over?? LOL I'm only going to be running around with my head cut off and wondering why the rest of the family isn't lifting a finger (like Hubby, who is still asleep) least I'd have some music to hear through it all----that glorious sound of wood being cut and my dreams coming true.

OH my gosh what was I thinking. Hubby is going to KILL ME!! Oh well. I feed him. What can he do, right??

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's Busy around Here!

Yesterday sure was a busy day!! My do-it-all guy was here finishing up Jillian's swingset and then he put a door on my master bathroom! yay! A door! I can finally use that room now. I painted it last week and I'm still working on sprucing it up with decor. I have a punched tin light to put up and still some blank spots on the walls. I'll post pics soon. Anyway, since we needed a door on that room and my budget is sooo low right now, we opted to take the door off of the laundry room, which is down the hall two steps from the kitchen. I wasn't sure how I'd like that...but it has given me a TON of ideas. I can see into that room from the kitchen table...and I got to thinking, what a neat butt'ry that would be! Sooooo of course I had to email my do-it-all guy, which I should rename "Genie in a Bottle" since he just seems to be able to build me whatever I want (yippeee).....and told him about my ideas. I have a stacking washer/dryer in there and a second stove, since in the kitchen I have an 1875 reproduction stove with a small oven. I am too addicted to the convection feature of my modern oven so I have that to use for baking and bigger meals. Anyway, my idea is to swap the washer and the stove in the laundry room so the stove is closer to the doorway...and then have a beadboard cupboard built around the stacking washer so it kind of could be hidden or at least "prim'd up" as I like to say. Across from the wall of appliances there are built in cupboards which are white formica type doors over oak. I'm thinking of taking off the upper doors and painting the whole thing a deep burgundy/reddish color. Filling it up with prim goodies...canned food, pantry cakes, sacks of who-knows-what, ya know. But what am I talking about?? I haven't even finished my bathroom yet.
It's crazy when one project seems to spark another!!! I have more ideas than money. That's the sad part. I need to work harder at selling on craigslist.
Last night I had two women come over to hear the hammered dulcimer. Ann's daughter is getting married in August and they are considering live music. What a hoot!
The two of them were hilarious. It was Ann and her neighbor, Deb. They finished eachother's sentences and the three of us laughed our heads off. Well they had never seen such a primitive home before...they said they thought they were in a museum! It was so sweet. I normally would never take a stranger on a house tour, especially when I have projects undone and the dust is an inch thick, but with those two ooohing and aaaahing as soon as they walked in the door, I couldn't resist. And it was a fun tour. They had a good chuckle over all the instant relatives I have hanging about.....and they walked around petting my antiques. It's so fun to have someone around who appreciates the history in my home. So fun! The other hilarious thing is that Ann knows everyone. She was a waitress in my hometown for 20+ years. Her chiropractor was my husband's father. She waited on my uncle at the restaurant who actually was the one who told her I play dulcimer. She even knew the girls I used to work with at Cracker Barrel. She has a farm full of animals that Jillian is going to flip over when I take her to visit. Anyway, they loved the dulcimer and were entranced by the music.

Today my Genie (ha) is coming over to do the trim around the bathroom door
and to measure a wall for yet ANOTHER brilliant idea I have had. I picked up an electric fireplace for $30 on craigslist for the living room, and on top of it sits our LCD flat screen TV. Sounds tacky. But it works. Anyway, I got this brilliant idea to have a false wall placed over the fireplace, to make it look like a huge built-in. That way, the TV will have doors to close it off, I'll have shelves built in for books and more prims, the fireplace will appear as if it was born there. Sort of like this:
Now, granted the fireplace will be centered and also that I don't have a door there....BUT...I think it will look awesome in that room. I love the idea of being able to hide the TV and the boxes/dvd/crap that all goes with it. There a few shows I enjoy (like American Pickers and the new Obsessed about anxiety and OCD...LOL) but when it's not on, I don't want to see it. Like at midnight when the family is sleeping. That's about the only time a TV isn't on in this house. Wonder why I'm always tired? I have to stay up till everyone is asleep to walk around my finally-quiet house and enjoy the peace!

In other news, I was raiding craigslist ads yet AGAIN and I found an antique doctor's scale for only $10...I have to go pick it up this afternoon. It will be PERFECT for the family bathroom, which is decorated with antique medicines and advertisements from the late 1800's for healing potions and such. I'm so excited! I also found leftover fake barnwood shed siding on freecycle. I'm going to get that too...Not sure where it will end up but anything that says "barnwood" and "free" had to come home with me. LOL

Speaking of barnwood....A while back I took some time to visit my grandparents' farm which has all collapsed and grown over. My Genie went with me and managed to free a couple of windows that were in the barn pile. One of which now hangs in the master bath. It's missing mullions and the glass is gone, and it's so chippy and faded that I'm not sure what color it was originally...but it's wonderful and I love it. It still looks a little out of place, I need to find a twiggy wreath or something to hang on it. Not sure yet...But I stare at that window and think about my grandparents who stared out the same window...I think of my dad and my aunts and uncles who ran around that great grandparents who I never met from the old countries (Germany and Romania) who also stared out that window...and it's like I somehow remain connected to all of them. It makes me so sad that no one in the family took care of the farm, they just let it go to rack and ruin. My aunt who ended up with the property just passed away last month....she told me a few weeks before when I called that I could take anything I wanted from the farm. I had promised her pictures of whatever I built or used for decorating, but it's too late now. And at this point, I'm not even sure who now owns the farm. I know it was in her will, but no one has told me. That side of the family is so distant from one another in most cases. It's no surprise that I don't know what's going on with anything. Oh well. I have a window.
I guess I should get moving today so I can get something done! Now that there is a door on my master bath, I can officially move into it. hehe All of my stuff is in the family bathroom. But, it just occurred to me, there is no vanity lighting in the master bath. Hmmm. That will be a problem for when I put my face on every morning. (ha). Oh well, my Genie will be here today. I'll take it up with him!
Have a great day wherever you might be!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Relearning the whole blogging thing....

Normally, in my circle of friends and family, I am the one everyone calls when they have computer trouble, confusion problems understanding this or that, or need to find something quick on the internet. However, I am the one feeling completely idiotic at the moment. I have been blogging for years on other sites. Now that I have officially moved to Blogger, I am stumped! I have spent countless hours trying to figure out how to make the darn thing LOOK nice. By that time I have no inspiration or energy left to WRITE anything and I am so frustrated that I just want to cry! So, I do apologize for my 'skinny' blog. Not much to read just yet. I think though that I have found a look I can live with, at least for awhile, so my new goal is to finally make myself at home here and keep writing. Thank you for having faith in me, and for your patience.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Last Room on the List

Well, since last August, I have been a painting and decorating fool. No, scratch that. Since 1998. We have had six houses since then and this just happens to be the most recent one, which was in need of drywall repair, carpet replacement, complete internal makeover, you name it. Anyway, since we moved here, I've been moving from room to room to room, giving this 2001 house a good ole fashioned country primitive feel. So far it's gone very well, even though I'm still tweaking this and that. I'm never REALLY done. That's the fun of this hobby though.
So in the last couple of days, I finally bit the bullet and committed to a color for the master bath. That room has had me STUMPED. So it's stayed dirty flat white. I don't even use that bathroom because it bugs me. Well, the lack of decor and the fact that it doesn't have a door yet. The last owners didn't finish it off exactly. (either that or they had that odd 'open door policy' in the bathroom, something we don't have around here. ) I decided on mustard. Went through a huge stack of paint chips and chose one called Fall Leaves. Painted two coats on the walls and ceilings, and fell into bed. Yesterday morning I woke up to find the whole room glowing in the morning sun.
Not warm and spicy mustard, but some tangerine flavor. I almost cried. I had spent a good small fortune on paint and my budget is about nill right now. I didn't have energy or the $$ to start over. I hemmed and hawed and finally decided to try to work with it. So far it's ok...I found out the morning sun is the issue, not really the color. Once the sun moves from that window the color goes back to a mustard feel. So the answer is to get a better-covering window curtain!
All I've done so far is hung the mirror back up and painted over the cherry vanity in a dry brush treatment in black. That really helped. Today I'm going to find some new drawer pulls and a bit of quarter round to trim off a spot around the gigantic jacuzzi tub and figure out what to do with it. The tub surround consists of Pergo cherry flooring that matches, you guessed it, the floor. Cherry cherry everywhere. Not a bad wood by any means but too much of the fake stuff. If I had a bottomless bank account, I think I would've taken out the giant tub and the Pergo floor, put in wide pine planks and a clawfoot tub. But we can't have everything, can we??! This house, even on a bargain basement budget, has taken our last pennies to bring back to livable condition since last August. We've done well, but we are well broke and have to make-do with what we have at this point.
I do love it here. There is so much more to accomplish...especially in the landscaping. We are a beautiful house on a field. Prairie is such a nicer sounding word than field. So that's the name. ;-) Someday we'll have trees and flowers and a railing around the porch and a fence for the dogs. Someday. For now, we will be thankful for what we do have. A wonderful home.
And very bright mustard color bathroom walls. ;-)