Yarn Along – The Gathering Cowl

Yarn Along – The Gathering Cowl

What I’m knitting, and what I’m reading

Yarn Along The Gathering Cowl

It took me a while to start this project, between getting the right size needles and learning what a provisional cast on and Kitchener stitch are. But I’m glad I didn’t let the new lingo scare me off, because once I got started, I completed The Gathering Cowl in one evening. And I absolutely love it! Also, finishing in one evening gave me more time to read — Persuasion by Jane Austen, because in the bleakness of winter, Jane is a good friend.

Joining Ginny at Small Things.

One Year of Home Ownership

One Year of Home Ownership

March 7 marks one year of home ownership for us. One year filled with a lot of ups and downs, fun and reality.

home

We just learned how to replace the pressure tank in our well system. Yay for learning, boo for the cost of parts. But I figure that after having replaced the hot water heater, submersible well pump, pressure tank, circuit breakers to the well pump and the inner workings of all toilets (along with disinfecting the well and other myriad water-related chores), we should be all set for water in this house for as long as we live in it. That’s a silver lining, right?

While the repairs might drive us crazy sometimes, and there are so many things we want to do with the house that we just can’t afford (after all, we NEED a new roof, and that’s going to take every penny we can scrounge), but at the same time I often remind myself to just take it all in. I sit down at the end of a long day and remember back to when we were aching to own our own space. And here it is. All ours. And it’s looking pretty nice — all painted, furniture mostly situated, most boxes unpacked.

It’s home. Cozy. Comfortable. Hygge.

House under snow

There are complex feelings about it too though. This was a dream we’ve had for a long time, one we thought we would share the joy with Husband’s brother, who is no longer with us. So it’s sad, that we can’t share this abundant blessing with one we love so much. But it’s also a piece of our “new normal” as they call it — a place without constant reminders of the one we miss. A place he was never a part of. Both a blessing and a curse.

So on this day, I will rejoice in the blessings bestowed on us by a loving Father, and I will mourn the loss of the one we can’t share it with. But most of all, I will give thanks. For the Lord is good.

Book Review: Petit Collage

Book Review: Petit Collage

Petit CollageThe folks over at Petit Collage, a nursery decor boutique, recently released their first craft book: Petit Collage.

The hardcover book is very high quality, with plenty of full color illustrations, step-by-step instructions and special tips. The projects in this craft book aren’t for children to do themselves (most would be much too difficult), but they are perfect for crafty parents wanting to make something special for their littles.

There are plenty of options for nursery decor (not surprising, considering the source), but there are also creative projects for making toys, like a homemade drum or adorable animal masks. To get a good feel for their instructions, I decided to make the owl mask.

The instructions were super easy to follow, though I will admit the project was a little tedious. There were lots of little pieces to cut out, but the patterns and steps were easy to follow and the mask really wasn’t difficult to put together. All in all, I think it took me about 45 minutes to make the mask, and that included gathering supplies and selecting paper etc.

I like how mine turned out:

Petit Collage Owl Mask

Though not a book for children, I would definitely recommend this one to any parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent with a desire to make something fun for a little one in their life. Their subtitle really says it all: 25 Easy Craft + Decor Projects For A Playful Home

Learn more about the book here!

I received a complimentary copy of Petit Collage from Blogging for Books, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.

My home: 2015

My home: 2015

I was recently browsing through a few home design blogs, when I came across this one by Joanna Gaines. A recent post of hers struck me as something I would love to incorporate into my year: Simple and Clean in 2015. Seriously, I definitely recommend it.

2015 tips for home

source

Growing lemons
Found a lemon hiding in our sunroom.

1. Donate items: Definitely doing this as I unpack/try to find places to put things! Although we’re also saving for a yard sale to see if we can get a little cash for our items since we have so much to get rid of. You would not believe the sheer number of vases I have unpacked. Vases!

2. Fill garbage bags: Absolutely. Anything I can’t identify, is used, in poor condition, can’t be donated. It’s gone. Now. Not “think about it”. Just tossed. Makes life so much easier.

3. Every object has a home: This is the big one for me this year. I’m still unpacking and settling in. Which means I’m still finding homes for everything. And I am in desperate need of shelves so I can start storing things properly. The stacks are driving me crazy.

4. Label: Without kids, this one doesn’t really apply. After all, I’m the only one that cleans up, so as long as I know where everything goes, we’re good.

 

Goat eating Christmas tree
Jane is doing a good job of purging our Christmas tree.

5. Once a day catch all basket: I don’t have an upstairs, so I don’t need this specifically. But I have a renewed determination to spend 15 minutes at the end of each day putting things away. I did this for the first time last week and it was revolutionary! When I went to clean the house Saturday, I didn’t have to spend a few hours returning things to their homes! Now, I’m not anywhere near perfect at it yet. I’ve hardly been home this week, so Wednesday will be the first time I get to put things away, and I can tell you the kitchen counters are already full of stuff…

6. Once a week purge: Once a week sounds rather refreshing. I’ve generally left the fridge and pantry to Husband, as he is the cook. But things get out of hand sometimes with both of our busy schedules. So I think a regular food purge is in order. Of course, it will help when our pantry actually has shelves…

7. Team effort: This is a great idea, but every house is different. In my house, I clean, Husband cooks. I might ask him to put away some of his own things, but for the most part I think the amount of time he spends cooking (dinners and lunches!), means he’s off the hook for most of the cleaning.

Sitting by the fire
Best part of the day.
8. Whistle while you work: We used to play music constantly while we were at home, working or playing or cleaning or whatever. When we moved, that tradition fell between the cracks. But we have dusted off the iPods recently, so I’m enjoying having the music playing again =).

9. Be grateful: I view cleaning and caring for my home as a way of stewarding the things that God has given me, it helps me have a good attitude about all the work, and keeps me smiling as I thank Him for each and every room and the little blessings that He has provided that make our abode so comfortable.

Also, I like to reward myself for all the stewarding with some time to just enjoy the blessings, this time of year that means sitting by a warm fire and soaking it all in.

I, Houdini

I, Houdini

Did you ever read that book as a child? It was one of my favorites.

I have a little Houdini on my hands these days. I got home from work (early, thank goodness) a few days ago to discover a wily little goat out of her pen and loose in the barn, with her head pushed into a bag of goat feed.

A moment with Jane the goat

I know an Amishman who has a saying: Everyone should own a goat…so you know why you never want to own a goat.

I laughed at it. A goat sounded like a great idea to me.

It still does, but her little Houdini act sure was a scare.

Thankfully, gorging herself on grain doesn’t seem to have caused a problem. I’m guessing I found her not long after she got out (thank you Lord for early release from work!). We watched her for signs of sickness, bloating, listlessness, refusal to eat, etc.

Instead, my girl was bouncing off the walls (literally: jumping up against the barn siding and bouncing off) and she was demanding her grain just moments later. She’s been chowing down on hay ever since (which is good for her digestion) and hasn’t been interested in licking some baking soda (which she would be if she needed it). She’s doing great.

I, on the other hand, kind of freaked out. I hate that feeling of being helpless when things go wrong with my creatures. It’s my job to keep them safe and healthy, and when I can’t do that, I worry.

I checked on my girl once an hour all evening and woke up super early to make sure she was still in good health in the morning.

Thankfully, it was just a scare. Meanwhile, we’re trying to figure out just how our Houdini made her escape. The best we can come up with is that she used Chappy’s bucket to climb her way out of the stall. Either that or she climbed over the bottom rail and above the electric wires (but below the top rail and electric tape). Maybe she’s an acrobat.

Keeping a good eye on Jane these days and so grateful she didn’t end up getting sick or worse.

Six Month Progress: Sunroom

Six Month Progress: Sunroom

This room hasn’t changed much since we bought the house, but thought I’d share the current state of it anyway — I like to call this look “jungle.”

Before:

Sun room - before

Current:

Sun room - 6 months

Sun room - 6 months

Next summer I’m going to paint in here, and hopefully make room for a little sitting area. But for now, this room is keeping Husband’s plants alive, and that’s what we want most. Also, we would LOVE to replace the sliding glass doors with pretty French doors…someday.

Other Six Month Progress reports:
Big “before” post
Master Bedroom
Guest Room
Guest Bath
Living Room
Dining Room
Linen Closet
Study
Kitchen/Pantry

Six Month Progress: Kitchen/Pantry

Six Month Progress: Kitchen/Pantry

So the kitchen is where most of the work has gone over the past six months. Obviously we pulled down the wallpaper and painted the walls, trim, ceilings etc. We took out a wall, added a wall, replaced the sink, faucet and counter tops, painted the cabinets, added and moved cabinets. So, so much. It’s crazy to look at the before and afters. A huge thank you to the many friends and family who helped us do this on a tight budget!

Before:

Kitchen - before

Kitchen - before

And currently:

6 months kitchen

6 months kitchen

6 months kitchen

We still have some work to do, like sanding and sealing the counter tops and adding hardware to the cabinets. Someday we would love to replace the flooring with wood grain tile in a charcoal/gray color. We also would like to put in a built-in bench and better fitting table in that little eating nook.

And, just to keep it real, here’s the before and “current” of the pantry/laundry:

Laundry room - before

Laundry pantry - 6 months

Yeah, that’s not pretty.

Kitchen Source List:
Wall Paint – Silver Gray by BM (definitely a blue tone)
Trim/Cabinet Paint – White Dove by BM
Table/Chairs – Garage Sale (OH)
Counter tops – Ikea
Stove – East Coast Appliances
Hood – Home Depot
Sink – Ikea
Fridge – Craigslist
Pendant Light – Home Depot

Other Six Month Progress reports:
Big “before” post
Master Bedroom
Guest Room
Guest Bath
Living Room
Dining Room
Linen Closet
Study

Six Month Progress: Study

Six Month Progress: Study

The study has been one of the most “abused” rooms in the house. We throw things in there that have nowhere else to go, meanwhile, I’m trying to unpack my desk, books, and craft/sewing supplies, and it’s home to the Sugar Gliders.

Needless to say, it looks an absolute wreck right now!

Before:

Study - before

Study - before

Current catastrophe:

Study, 6 month progress

Study, 6 month progress

Study, 6 month progress

Study, 6 month progress

I will say that covering all that red paint was wonderful! I still have to paint the closet and louvered doors, and the ceiling is only painted along the edges, but everything else is painted.

Also on the to do list: replace the sports themed ceiling fan, install curtains, and install tons of wall shelving everywhere! I also want to paint the sewing desk and somehow refinish the roll-top desk. And, of course, replace the flooring eventually. This room will also end up being a guest room, so we’re going to have to fit a bed in here somewhere!

Study Source List:
Wall Paint – Revere Pewter by BM
Trim Paint – White Dove by BM
Roll-top Desk: Craigslist in IN, via my brother
File Cabinet: Antique store in OH
Sewing Desk: Thrift store in VA
Trunk: Rescued from trash pile in VA
Sugar Glider cage: Craigslist
Corner Shelf: Ikea
Desk Lamp: JC Penney

Other Six Month Progress reports:
Big “before” post
Master Bedroom
Guest Room
Guest Bath
Living Room
Dining Room
Linen Closet

Six Month Progress: Linen Closet

Six Month Progress: Linen Closet

I love my little linen closet, it’s nothing spectacular, but it will be perfect for us. This is actually one of the very first places that I painted so I could start unpacking the items inside.

Before:
Linen closet - before

Current:
Linen closet

I still have some organizing to do and someday I’d love to switch out the wire shelving for wooden, but for now, I’m just grateful I have one!

Linen Closet Source List:
Wall Paint – Revere Pewter by BM
Trim Paint – White Dove by BM

Other Six Month Progress reports:
Big “before” post
Master Bedroom
Guest Room
Guest Bath
Living Room
Dining Room

Six Month Progress: Dining Room

Six Month Progress: Dining Room

For every room like the Living Room or Master Bedroom that are feeling calm and pulled together, there are several rooms that are disaster areas, like the dining room. It’s just steps from the living room, but seems to be a repository for all the kitchen items that have yet to find a home as we renovate in there.

So, a before photo:

Dining room - before

And current photos:

Dining room, 6 month progress

Dining room, 6 month progress

Dining room, 6 month progress

We have big plans for this room, but obviously, they are mostly just plans. So far, all we’ve done is paint the walls and trim and part of the ceiling…

Someday, we want to add floor=to-ceiling built-ins to both sides of the sliding glass doors (designed and built by my Daddy =) ). Also, we’re going to replace those doors with lovely French doors. And set up the aquarium along the chimney, and have a custom-built table made with a metal stand and reclaimed barn wood top. And replace to flooring with something more kid friendly (read: spill resistant). And and and. Lots of plans, not much money…

Plus, we need to repair the plaster where we were having leaks along the chimney, oh and whitewash that chimney of course!

Dining Room Source List:
Wall Paint – Revere Pewter by BM
Trim Paint – White Dove by BM
Table: Antique store in WV
Wooden chairs: Antique store in WV
Cube Shelves: Ikea
Metal Chairs: Garage sale in OH (these actually belong in the kitchen)
Aquarium and stand: Hand-me-down from a friend
Unassembled table/chairs: Antique family heirlooms from Great Aunt Pinky via my brother
Bird Cage: Antique store in OH, for our wedding

Other Six Month Progress reports:
Big “before” post
Master Bedroom
Guest Room
Guest Bath
Living Room