Monday, June 14, 2010

Can we get a little privacy, please?

Thank you all for the kind comments about my last post.   They were each very encouraging and sweet and I really appreciate them!

We finally finished a pretty simple project that we started two or three months ago.

Jeff and I originally thought we'd go the traditional route and use normal doors in the house, but we ran out of time to install them before we moved in.  Since moving in however, we no longer feel rushed to make decisions about the unfinished parts of the house so we decided to do things we really love and we really love old doors on tracks. (I nearly fainted the first time I saw ALVN's door!)  Naturally this lead us to abandon the traditional door and hunt down an old one for the bedroom.
After a few unsuccessful attempt to get Jeff to go flea marketing with me, I kidnapped my sister for a few hours until and made her chauffeur me around instead.  I'm so glad I did, because she took me to a new flea market I didn't know about where we found this beauty...

It was perfect.  I wasn't necessarily looking for a door with a window in it but because of the window, I couldn't pass it up.  It was love at first site.

Jeff hung the barn door track (purchased from Lowe's) and the door right away because he's a go getter.  Me, on the other hand, I like to take my sweet time getting anything done and waited a good two and a half months to paint it. 

Actually, "running to the store" to pick up a quart of paint with five children in tow is about a three hour task and not having an abundance of spare three hour time slots, I quickly forgot about the paint and got used to having an unpainted bedroom door with a huge window and no glass.  Who really needs privacy anyway?

Then I read that Kim at Twice Remembered is painting a door in her house and she shared some beautiful examples of what she likes which reminded me that I have a door I need to finish too.  Thanks Kim, you were just the motivation I needed.

The technique I used is also how I finished the top of my coffee table but with a lot more layers of watery paint.  The Flea Market Style magazine I got from my friend Lisa had a beautiful example of this type of paint technique in it too.

I love the blue cabinet on the right which actually has fresh paint on it, believe it or not.  It looks like it was painted years and years ago.

So here's my attempt at a lighter colored version of what they did.

First, pick your color in latex paint.  I chose Jade Island from Valspar.  Then mix a little of the paint with water in equal amounts...half paint, half water.  Then paint on layer upon layer, wiping up the drips and puddles as you go.  You'll want to let the layers dry between coats so that the color can build up.

First layer

Second layer.

It's a little bit time consuming, but the goal is to have a paint that's a little bit transparent so you can see each layer which you can't do by painting with undiluted paint.

After about four or five layers of Jade Island, I used two more darker shades of blue plus a little white here and there (each color getting its own layer.)  Those last three colors I diluted with even more water so that there was very little paint in the mixture.  I wanted those colors to be very subtle, almost invisible.  Then I knocked off a little paint on a few edges; the holes, scratches and rusty nails were already there.

For the window, we used plexi glass which Jeff sanded on both sides to an almost opaque finish.  He likes the idea of a little privacy.

So there it is...finally.  I still feel the urge to tweak it a little but I'm sure the urge will pass if I keep putting it off long enough.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Dreaded Post and A Gooseberry Pie

Okay, here's my confession.  I've been putting this post off ever since I figured it would make sense to clue you all in on it.  So here it is.  Please don't judge us too harshly.

Up until two and a half years ago, Jeff and I were entrepreneurs in the new home construction business.  I would design the houses and Jeff would build them.  We were both doing what we absolutely loved and having so much fun with it while it lasted.   Can you already guess where this story is going?  If you haven't heard (ha ha,) the housing market kind of turned into the Titanic and is now resting at the bottom of the ocean.  We were on the ship when it went down and barely made it out alive.  Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic.  We went bankrupt and lost a lot including our house.  I don't care to relive the details but that was a major turning point for us, naturally.  It lead us to where we are now though, which in a lot of ways, is exactly where we always wanted to be...building a modest (albeit weird to some) home in the country.  I say it's weird to some people because there are those out there who just don't get it.  "Country???"  "Wood plank walls???"  "Corrugated metal in the shower???" And the biggest conundrum, "SMALL???"  You all get it though, don't you?  Yes, I'm sure you do.  It's not half as "weird" as we'd like it to be but it turns out weird can also be quite expensive.  Now, I have to stop saying weird because it's almost convincing me that my home is w... well, you know.

(I'm going to interrupt this dreadful post occasionally with pictures of a gooseberry pie my 11 year old daughter made from scratch all by herself today, including picking the gooseberries from a few bushes on the property.)   

Two cups of freshly picked, green gooseberries.

Just days after the bankruptcy closed, and due to some strange mysteriously divine intervention that I won't go into right now, we were jobless and also facing homelessness literally within a day or two (although we had both family and friends who all offered more than once to take us all in (4 little ones at the time, no less!))  Jeff's first day of joblessness we spent hunting for a place to live and by the end of the day we found a home and began moving in the very next morning.  Two days later, Jeff had a successful job interview and was able to start the following Monday morning.  I can't even begin to explain how or why God laid everything out in the way He did so I won't even try, but just let me say, it was amazing.
Gooseberries with 1/2 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of flour and 1/8 tsp. of salt heated over medium heat until thickened.

About a year and a half later, Jeff's sweet grandma passed away leaving him an inheritance that we used as our seed money to finally move out to the country and build a house we can hopefully stay in till we die!  We moved a lot while we were in the business.
Our original goal was to use $15,000 (not including the price of the land) to build the house to the point that it was livable yet unfinished.  During the building process, which was done by Jeff and a few friends and family members on weekends and after work, we decided to push it just a little further than we planned and went ahead and built all but one of our interior walls on the first floor which cost a few more thousand dollars doing it. Yes, we were planning on living in a house with no interior walls (except around the bathroom.  Even I have my limits.)  It was money well spent even if it put us over our budget a little.

Pre bake a pie crust.  We like to use a no-roll crust that tastes similar to a shortbread cookie.  Yum!

Now that we're living in the house, we thought we were ready to finish it.  The weather is nice and the days are longer so we decided to finally go to the bank and get a smallish construction loan to finish the house that would convert into permanent financing in a certain amount of time (six months, I think.)  It would mean another summer of long hard weekend work, but I'd be able to help out since I'm not pregnant.  That's a rare thing for me.  Soooo, about a month ago, Jeff met with a banker who said he thought he could help us and we started getting plans lined out to finish it...hence the May 10th "Recap" post.  Welp, it was a no go "due to the current status of the economy..." we now have to be four years away from our bankruptcy to qualify for a home equity loan.  A decent one anyway.  Jeff thought about looking elsewhere but then things really, REALLY picked up at work and he just got too busy.  As usual, it has turned out to be a blessing that the loan didn't go through because Jeff won't have time to work on the house for several months.  Don't tell Jeff, but I'm alright with not having a home loan, even if it means living in an unfinished house for longer than planned.

Pour the gooseberry filling into the baked pie crust and top with meringue made from two egg whites and four tablespoons of sugar then bake it at 350 degrees F for twelve minutes.

 One of these days I may get the courage to show you pictures of just how unfinished parts of our house really are...but don't hold your breath.  Confessing our financial statuses past and present, has caused me a little mental discomfort and strangely desiring to suck my thumb.

That's were we are in a nut shell.  A big nut shell.  Things will move on as time and money allow which both will result in slow progress.  That's okay though.  I feel like I've kind of left the rat race and it's been nice.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go suck my thumb eat a piece of gooseberry pie.

P.S.  Is Blogger acting retarded or is it just me?

Thursday, June 3, 2010


The big jar of flowers are flowers that I picked, the daisies in the bud vase were picked by my 2 and 5 year olds.  The two doilies they're sitting on were crocheted by my grandmother who taught me to crochet and I crocheted the the white blanket.  The sewing table I painted white was given to me by my mother who, coincidentally taught me to sew on that very machine.  The skirt under the table is one of the simpler things I've sewn with those skills.

I've been teaching my children to garden and two of them especially love it and soon we'll be feasting on the fruits of our labor.  I'm amazed at how much I know because the women in my life took the time to teach me homemaking skills and now I'm passing those things on to my children.  It takes a lot of patience on my part because it's always easier to just do it myself, but it's been rewarding to see them taking on more and more responsibility and with a cheerful attitude.  Just this morning, I had the freedom to go take a shower and leave things in the capable hands of my children.  When I got out of the shower, Grace was rocking the baby, Isaiah was playing sweetly with Evelyn and Madison was cooking breakfast for everyone!  My children are only 11, 8, 5, 2 and 8 months yet they are learning already how to behave lovingly and responsibly towards one another.  I can't tell you how it makes my heart sing!

If you have a love for homemaking and learning or passing on those skills you might like to take some time to visit Raising Homemakers.  They're having a fun giveaway right now that you might like to participate in.

I've been taking some time to really enjoy my family and all the things that are going on with the warmer weather and longer days which has somehow all but eliminated time for blogging.  I still intend to share the projects we do to build our little cottage and when I have a few more minutes to spare, I have a confession of sorts for you all.
Right now it's late and time for bed, so I'll see you all later. 
Have a good weekend!