Monday, September 23, 2013

Galvanized corrugated metal shower surround Q & A

This post is way past due.  I've continued to receive lots of emails and a lot more visits to my piddly blog because of this one thing than I otherwise ever would have.  Jeff is no longer surprised when I call him at work for the answers to the questions people have for us and I'm very glad to do it because sometimes a tutorial just isn't enough and goodness knows I'm not the best tutorial maker/writer.

I'll go over the most common questions that people continue to ask about our galvanized corrugated metal shower surround (boy, that was a mouthful!)  The most common one is "How's it holding up?"

It's holding up great and we haven't had one single issue with the functionality of it.  The metal is galvanized and the screws are stainless steel so there's zero rust and the flashing and channeling are working like they should.  And remember, it's been our only shower for over three and a half years and there are seven of us so it gets used more than the average shower.

We have well water that is very hard and leaves mineral deposits on everything it touches if it isn't wiped up before it dries and I'm no Martha so my shower does gather mineral deposits...among other things.  The nice thing about the galvanized metal is it already has a mottled finish to it which does help conceal some of my inept housekeeping skills. 

When it was brand new it had a very shiny, mirror-like quality to it which is a bit more subtle now. (To see what it looked like over three years ago click here and here.)   However, it still looks good in my opinion.

This is what it looks like today.  This is the best I can do for a picture right now.  I've been crazy sick these last few days and the whole bathroom needs a good cleaning but I'm just too tired to and felt like blogging about it anyway.

That leads me to another common question, "How do you clean it?"  Because of the hard water I've used CLR on it several times which is pretty harsh stuff but said to be fine for occasional use on galvanized metal but my favorite cleaner (surprisingly to me) has become a half and half mixture of white vinegar and palm olive.  I fill a dish scrubber just like this one with the solution.  (Thank you pinterest and whoever came up with this brilliant idea in the first place!)

I have found it's best to clean it just after someone has use the shower, while the surround is still wet, rather than while I'm taking one, because it gives the vinegar more time to work on the mineral deposits before I rinse it off.

And the last question people commonly ask is, "Would you do it again?"  The answer is yes.  It's a unique look that we don't see everywhere, it would be so extremely easy to change if we ever get tired of it, and it was very affordable and easy to install.

Those are the most common questions I get and thought it was worth sharing.  If anyone ever has more questions don't hesitate to leave it in the comments or email me.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Vintage looking pillowcases

I've been working on some pillowcases that have a colorful vintage flare to them.  I saw some recently on pinterest and just had to give them a try.

They're so simple to make using french seams to give them a more professional feel and then adding crochet trim to give them a sweet homemade touch.  These are just three of about fifteen (I went a little crazy at the fabric store as usual.)  They're fun and add so much cheer to the beds.  

I've got enough for more than I need and thought I might sell some on etsy but as each one comes together I decide I can't part with them!  Ha, ha!  I've always got to fight the hoarder within.  All the girls are begging for a stack of them too because one just isn't enough.

The girls are so close to being done redecorating their room.  They just need me to help them with bed skirts and I think I've finally come up with an easy plan that will work.  Once it's finished and cleaned up I'll try to get some decent pictures to share.  One side of the room is a little on the messy side...Madison's an artist and you can tell it by the way her side of the room looks, bless her heart.  Grace is a crafter extraordinaire and a seamstress so she has supplies stashes coming out her ears but usually manages to keep her side pretty clean. Growing up, my poor sister had to put up with my messes too while she was always super neat.  Sorry, Jen!   

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Plank wall makeover

The kitchen did not get done over the weekend but we're so close now I can feel it!  I ran out of paint yesterday in the home stretch of repainting the walls.  The timing couldn't have been better though because I could use a little break.  We've been working hard for over three weeks.

The walls look so much better!  I love the pine planks walls but the knots showing through the paint were finally starting to bug me.  I covered and filled them and the nail holes with sheetrock putty.  Jeff prefers it over wood filler.  He says it's easier to work with.  I then repainted the walls with Valspar's zero voc paint and primer in Garlic Clove (an Olympic color).  It's white with a hint of warmness.  It's been my go to white for the past eight or nine years and I still love it.

Here are before and after pictures.

I covered literally thousands of nail holes!  You can see the yellow knots and knot holes and some of the planks have cracks running through them.

Here it is after filling the holes and knots.

So, so, so much better!  It has a crisper, cleaner look now.  Next, we need to tackle the ceiling.  I'm sure that'll be loads of fun!

One of the nice thing about using sheetrock putty is there's no dusty sanding.  If it needs to be sanded after it dries just use a damp sponge or rag and wipe it smooth.  No mess!

We're getting into our new fall schedule (even though it's still summer...grrr) which includes getting up at 5:30 every morning to milk the cow.  It's not necessary to do it that early but the girls still need Jeff's help at this point and he's got to leave for work around 6:30.  Once Bonnie (the cow) learns the routine well enough to get to the stall pretty much on her own they'll push it back to 7am or so.  I can't wait.  I'm so sleepy all the time!

Yesterday was Evelyn's 6th birthday.  Normally I'd cancel school for the day but since it was only the second day and she still looks forward to school I gifted her with a little extra school work.  She loved it! She also helped Gracie bake sugar cookies which all the kids had fun decorating.

These are the very best sugar cookies in the world, by the way!  Way, way better than store bought.  I've had the recipe so long I don't remember where I got it but I think it might be my cousin's grandma Lil's recipe.  I hear they were legendary.

Cookies or cupcakes are how we celebrate actual birthday's when the party doesn't fall on the same day and it rarely does.  It's a tradition the kids always look forward to since we don't eat a lot of sweets around here.

We also decided at the last minute to pull out Jeff's great aunt Jewel's fine china and wrinkled bunting and fabric scraps and have a "tea" party with milk.  As you can see by Evie's face (the one with the heart on her shirt) she's feeling pretty proud.  It's fun that it takes so little to make a kids day.

Sugar cookies:
1 c. softened butter (no substitute)
3/4 c. white sugar
1 egg
2 T. milk
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
3 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
Cream butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl then beat in the egg, milk and vanilla.  In a separate mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture.  Chill dough for one hour or until easy to handle.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8th inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters.  Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 5 to 8 minutes until just slightly beginning to lightly brown.  Cool before frosting.

1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla or almond extract
1/4 t. salt
1 to 2 T. milk
food coloring, optional

Mix all ingredients well in a medium bowl and frost right away.  (It will begin to get dry and crumbly if you wait too long to use it.)

*Update:  TODAY is Evie's birthday!!!  not yesterday...  I guess we'll be making cookies again.  Am I a bad mother because I mix up birthday dates?  I don't think she'll be disappointed when I tell her.  Jeff and I have on more than one occasion celebrated our wedding anniversary on the wrong day.  I blame it on the aluminum in my deoderant.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Summer update

Wow!  It's been a long, long time!  I've had a few sweet people request an update on the goings on around here so I'll oblige.  Like most bloggers who take a break for whatever reason I've really missed blogging so maybe this attempt will get me back in the saddle.

So my last post was about becoming debt free.  I wish I had some great insight to share with you guys on how to get there but I haven't found anything new outside of the usual just tighten your belt and stick with it. It's hard.  Now, I love a budget and could live the life of a hermit eating nothing but beans but that method does not agree with Jeff at all and our relationship is higher on the priority list than becoming debt free so things aren't going quite like we thought it would.  Having said all that, Jeff isn't a big spender either and he likes a budget too, he just isn't nearly as painfully rigid about it as I can be so he works, unwittingly, to (try to) keep me flexible which is also more important because life is full of unexpected changes and being able to roll with life's punches is practically a virtue.  I don't have that virtue. (Just ask my poor husband!)  And, truth be told, most of my budget abiding-ness is really all in my head anyway.  Just dangle something like a new kitchen in front of me and I'll be all over it like a duck on a June bug while yelling budget-smudget!  I can't keep it together with an offer like that.

In short, we're still working on it but we have set backs and sometimes parts of the budget get put on hold but Lord willing, we'll get there someday.

Now, on to the fun stuff.

We've been enjoying what feels like the shortest and coolest summer in history after what felt like the longest winter in history.  The weather has been strange around here this year.

Gracie and Madison pretty birthday table for Gracie's 12th.  It's so nice having older girls that like to bake and decorate for all of our birthday parties.  They're like my right and left arms!

We've had a few changes in livestock over the summer.  The girls sold all of their goats (which helps explain the 5 foot tall weeds) and now are the proud owners of two cute little duckies.  The one in the water is wearing a duck diaper that my seamstress daughter, Gracie, made.  Ha, ha!

We now have a milk cow thanks to some of the most self sacrificing friends on the planet who took our cows for the summer to rebreed them and trained one of our mamas into a milker.  What a huge blessing!

We didn't really garden this year...the year the weather was pretty much perfect for gardening with all the rain and perfect temperatures.  We thought we needed to focus on other things...ppffft.  Isn't that how it goes sometimes though?

Madison, who has been obsessed with art her whole life, has recently started painting fo reelz and she's pretty amazing for self taught fourteen year old.  She's even sold a couple recently.  This one is not for's MINE!  Ha, ha! :) Seriously though, mine.  (I love her sense of humor with the cow tongue!) 

I've been sewing like crazy.  I'm probably addicted.  My favorite things to sew are dresses for the little girls and I don't have one single picture of them in any of their dresses I've made this summer.  I've got some other sewing/crafting projects up my sleeve that I can.not.wait to dive into but we've been super busy lately building the (real) kitchen.  

We developed a good sized mold problem under the sink which couldn't be easily repaired because, and I quote my husband, "That's the part that holds all the cabinets together.  I guess it's time for us to build the kitchen."  So we gutted the temporary plywood and contact paper kitchen and purchased all new cabinets and counters.  We bought them from a discount supplier which means we have had to put a lot of blood, sweat, tears, paint, and silicone into it ourselves which makes it all the more rewarding.  I've also been filling every nail hole and covering every knot on our pine plank walls which has been way easier than I ever thought it would be and makes a huge difference in the overall appearance.  It's not quite as rustic looking which was a look I was never going for so I'm glad to kiss that look goodbye!

We still have a little ways to go before it's finished but we're so close and it's only taken two weeks so far!  I'd like to finish it before school starts for us next week but we'll see what happens. 

Speaking of school, my little Evelyn will start kindergarten this year so I'll have four to teach.  Say a prayer for me, please!  Ha, ha!  

I guess that's it for now.  I hope to try a little harder to keep up with the blog because I have so much fun going back through old posts every now and then to reminisce.

      P.S. Will all of you sweet sisters in Christ out there please pray for one of my father's-in-law, Bob as well as Jeff's mom, Jackie.  Bob has been recently diagnosed with stage four liver cancer which is a huge blow to all our hearts.  I know in my head that God's grace is always sufficient for all things but sometimes it's hard for my heart trust the Father enough to lay some of life's burdens completely at his feet and this is no exception.  Thanks.