Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The "Handy" Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree

Our family comes from entire generations of "can-do" people. And I'm proud to say, that make-do, reuse/recycle gene is showing up in our "middle" son, who is just turning 11. He's proving to be quite handy himself, by creating new items by reusing old pallets and scrap wood. 

Here are some examples of his handi-work:
This wonderful centerpiece box was made from scraps of tongue and groove wood from our house. 

I love it!

Here he is with the workbench he made for himself. 

This shelf was made from part of an old pallet. 

Learning how to use the different tools will be a lifelong treasure. 

He made this bed for Ammi and her puppy. They love it!

Saturday, May 26, 2018


As you may recall, in the course of repairing our home after the fire, we decided to swap out the family room and master bedroom, so that the master bedroom is now where the family room used to be. Here are the pictures of that transformation.

The room where it all started. If I could go back to that night, Christmas Eve, and NOT make that fire burn so hot, I would in a heartbeat. But really, it was probably inevitable... who knows how many near fires we had over the years, that we were blissfully unaware of. The rafter wood that was butting up against the stove pipe was so old and dried out, it was just a matter of time before it could no longer take the heat. 

See the smoke coming off that beam? This was the next day, following the initial fire, and we had to call the fire department back out to put out more smoldering that we found in the attic spaces. 

It's almost enough to make you want to just walk away. 

But once the worst part of the debris was removed, it looked much more hopeful.

Everything was taken down to the bare studs. 

The beginning of the roof removal process. 

It's nearly gone. 

This was a crazy sight that we'll never see again. 

Love the smell of all that new lumber!

I hung every single piece of insulation in this room, and the room that became our family room, as well as the bathroom and closet. It took a few days. 

The room really started taking shape once the drywall was hung.  

This process took a couple of weeks. The high humidity made the mud very slow drying. 

The little kids "helped" me put the primer coat on. They sure love to help! 

And here it is finished. I have some decorating to do yet, but all in all, it looks pretty good. The furniture isn't in their permanent places. Since some of the other rooms are still unfinished, I have random pieces of furniture in this room. 

The door on the left leads into the bathroom/vanity/closet area, and the door on the right goes into Handy Husbands new "man room". We partitioned the huge room to make two rooms. And they're still plenty big. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Pantry Cabinet Chalkboard!

Our kitchen cabinets were bought at a second hand store, and while they're excellent quality and just beautiful, the pantry sidewall was in need of a makeover. 
My sister had the brilliant idea of doing a chalkboard there. I've never worked with chalkboard paint, so was a little unsure about it. I lightly sanded the whole surface, since there were areas of paint, as well as stain on the pantry cabinet side. You want to make sure you've taken any "shine" off, so the paint will adhere. 

I used a synthetic roller, and Valspar Black Chalkboard Paint. Three coats in total, letting each coat sit for a whole 24 hours before adding another coat. 

Some inexpensive trim was then added to frame it out, and voila! Works like a charm and the kids LOVE it! 

A couple of notes: after the final coat was applied, I waited three full days. Then, we applied chalk ALL over the board, using the long side of the chalk piece to cover every inch of the chalkboard. I then wiped it off with a dry cloth. This primes the board to make it ready for use. After that, normal cleanup works just great. You can wipe it with a dry cloth, or occasionally use a slightly damp towel to get it really nice and clean. 

Family Room Nearing Completion

At the time of the fire, the kitchen shared a wall with what was our master bedroom. That particular wall, however, was burned out on the inside, from the fire in the room up above moving down into it, and would have had to been rebuilt. 

Upon opening the wall up to replace the burnt studs, we found a covered up window opening and door opening. So, there were a lot of patched together areas inside this wall. 

Here's the rest of the room, now naked, after removing the soggy drywall and soaked insulation. 

The view from inside the kitchen. With this wall being opened up to replace the burnt 2x4s, we realized how neat it would be to go ahead and leave it opened up and move our family room to this room, just off the kitchen. 

We added a new, strong header to replace the studs in the wall. 

A new step down into the family room was built out of the salvaged tongue and groove boards. 

The walls and ceiling are painted in greys and browns. All mis-tinted paint that we were fortunate to get. 

I have a lot more "family" pictures to hang, but this is a good start. 

Beautiful ceiling fan donated by a local lighting company. 

View from the kitchen. I love the flow of these two rooms now! Very family friendly!

Above: This is the "computer cubby" made out of salvaged tongue and groove boards. 

Two pictures above: We made a double sided bar, also out of our salvaged shiplap.
Another great place for kids to sit, eat, draw, etc. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Walls Taking Shape

This is sort of "old news", but I never did mention this in earlier posts.... I guess I was too consumed with my beautiful kitchen (haha!). Here's a few random pictures of the walls and ceilings getting their insulation installed and drywall hung. 

So much pink stuff! I was seriously seeing insulation in my sleep! 

The wonderful folks at A&D Supply donated some scratch and dent dryall. Had more than enough for all our needs. What great people!