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Back Again and Life at Home

Well, I wasn’t expecting to go offline for such a long time!  The funny thing is that my last post talked about how I was taking back my house and I could post the same thing now.  School is back in session and I have been busy “taking back my house” again.  It’s looking nice now and I’ve got to tell you, I am loving being home 🙂  What a difference it makes being home while the children are in school!  My house is clean and organized, we’re eating better, I exercise regularly and life just feels a lot less stressful.

A lot of people have said to me “What are you going to do with yourself all day?!” and “It must be nice to have all that free time” but it’s not really like that.  I don’t stop, despite the fact that my daughter thinks I lay in bed and read all day while she’s in school.  lol  I think I’m just the kind of person who could never be bored because I’m always finding things to do and I’m always busy…it’s just a different kind of busy now because I can focus on different things.  I always have projects going. 🙂

And speaking of projects…I tackled a big one this summer, which is why I’ve been off-line so long.  It took much longer than I was expecting but it’s beautiful and I’m really happy with the way it came out. 🙂  What was it?  Our bathroom.  Our teeny, tiny ugly bathroom got a transformation this summer 🙂   Here are a couple of before pictures:

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It was awful and tiny, with no linen closet.   We gutted it and started from scratch and I’m still amazed at the difference.  We didn’t make the room any bigger but yet it is SO much more spacious!  Here is what it looks like now.  I have a linen closet!

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I LOVE my new shower so much!!

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(The trim around the window doesn’t match the rest of the room yet because we are going to replace the window so I’m waiting until that is done to change the trim.)

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The toothbrush cubbie:

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Notice that other than the ironing board cover that I still need to replace, there is no blue in the room? 😉  I was SO happy to get rid of that horrid blueness!

So that’s is some of what I’ve been up to.  I already know what my next project will be and it involves moving walls….this is why I’m never bored.  lol

A New Walkway and Lawn

Sorry for the long absence of posts guys.   We were busy this weekend helping out at a Night to Honor Israel and then for the past several days I’ve just been exhausted.  I don’t know why…the dreary weather might have something to do with it, I don’t know.   But, as much as I dislike dark, dreary days of rain it is a very good thing for our newly planted grass so I’ll try to refrain from complaining about it. 🙂  And speaking of our new lawn, it’s time to bring you all up to date on what we’ve been doing around here!

For years now, we’ve had a crushed stone walkway to our porch.  Every year it gets kicked around the yard and we rake it all back.   In the summer, the grass tries to crowd in and it starts getting smaller and smaller until we work on it again.  It’s a pain.  So this year we decided to get rid of it and do something different.

Jonathan picked up a load of various sized blue stone and the children and I raked up the crushed stone.

This is the walkway before:

And this is after:

 Here’s one that shows most of the front yard.  We used to have garden beds in front of the house.  We had moved them last year but hadn’t planted any grass in their place yet so that’s why the front “lawn” was so horrible looking.

Once the rocks were out of the way, Jonathan tilled up the area where we wanted to plant grass and sifted out some of the stones/rocks left in the soil.

The boys helped out as much as they could.

Then Jonathan and I worked on laying out the stones for the walkway.  It was an interesting challenge to fit the stones all together…kind of like a puzzle.

The children provided us with dirt whenever we needed it to level the stones out. 🙂

By the end of the day it looked like the picture below.   This picture was taken from the porch, looking towards the driveway. We decided to make it widest at the steps and then narrower for the rest.

(In case you’re wondering about the string…it was a guide to let us know how high the walkway needed to be)

Over the next few days, Jonathan filled in the cracks between the stones in the walkway, added some top soil where needed, tilled and leveled everything out, and then planted the grass.

It now looks like the pictures below except that there is now more green showing. (I took these pictures a few days ago)  The weather we’ve been having this past week has been perfect for our newly planted lawn and the grass is coming in great!

What a Difference One Change Makes!

This was one of those projects that I started without taking any pictures because I didn’t really think it would make that much of a difference only to be pleasantly surprised in the end!  Thankfully I have a picture of this room from last year that we can use as a before picture. 🙂  Take a look at this picture:

Do you see the shelves to the right of the toilet that held our towels, facecloths and extra toilet paper?  Well, it is old and has been starting to tip over for several months now.  I’ve held off doing anything because I knew we’d be eventually redoing the bathroom and it would be going bye-bye anyways.  The problem is that until we replace the bathtub with a shower stall, there is no other place to put shelves for this stuff.   However, it came to the point where something had to be done so I got creative with storage.  By moving stuff around I was able to create a space under the sink for our towels and I put the facecloths in a basket on the back of the toilet.  The extra toilet paper is sitting in a cardboard shelf that was stuck to the wall with double sided tape.  Both of these are temporary solutions but will work for now. 🙂  What I didn’t expect was how removing those shelves would totally open up the bathroom.  It looks bigger now!  Take a look:

And a closeup of the facecloths. 🙂  I love the way they add color to the room!

Finishing up Some Projects

We took a break for about a week after the carpet went in (we were exhausted!)  and then started slowly finishing up some of the little projects we weren’t able to get finished beforehand.

If you look in the picture below you can see that while the front door got painted before the carpet went in, the closet door hadn’t.  Also notice the light near the door.

It now looks like this:

The bookcase between the hall and living room hadn’t gotten painted yet either:

It now looks like this:

We also had two tables in the living room that I had picked up.  They are nice tables but looked terrible.  I knew some paint would solve that issue so I grabbed them anyways.   A few coats of paint later and they now look like this:

Oh and can I just say that I am still loving my carpet?!  It makes me sigh every time I walk on it with bare feet.  It is so soft. 🙂

It’s Here!!!

The carpet is in, we’ve caught up on the missed sleep and my house is beautiful!!!  Woohoo!

Tuesday we moved most of the furniture (all but mattresses and the computer) outside and the other stuff we put in our basement).  You know, you find out just how much stuff you have when you have to move it all!  whew.  I finally crawled into bed at 3:00 am Wednesday.  By 7:15 we were up and moving the rest of it outside (except the computer, which we put in the kitchen.  The timing was perfect…no snow, no rain, just clear skies and sunshine…so we didn’t have to worry about setting our furniture out in the yard.  Wednesday the carpet was all put in and we moved the furniture back into the house before collapsing in bed.   Thursday, I crept out of my bed and placed my feet onto soft warm carpet and sighed.  It is wonderful!!

Remember the paneling I told you I’d decided to take out?  This is what it was like before.  (sorry for the mess…we were already working when I remembered to take a before picture for you)

In order to make it match the rest of the hallway I cut it the same length as the rest of the wall and added the wallpaper border.  The paneling on the wall that’s to the right of the living room doorway I removed completely since it’s part of the kitchen. I also removed the wood that was in the doorway and was thrilled discover that the wall was completely finished behind it…woohoo.  I guess someone had just decided to cover it up with wood.  Whoever lived here before us apparently liked the wood look.  There used to be paneling in the living room too…

Then Jonathan added the trim and it all got a couple of coats of paint.  The hall color (for the bottom half of the wall) was a bit of a challenge.  I’d bought this brown paint called Cafe Latte for the hallway and was really excited about it…only I found out after I finished the hallway that it looks purple during the day and clashed really bad with the living room color.  Oops!  So I had to get another can of paint (Creamy Pebbles) and quickly repaint the hallway during that last day before the carpet got installed.  I took a picture of it in progress so you can see the difference.  The new brown dries as dark as the other one but has no red tones to it.

See the difference?  Add carpet and it now looks like this:

Isn’t that just SO much better?!  The hallway was the most dramatic of the changes we made.  The boys room got a new coat of paint and trim.  Both the girl’s and boy’s room windows were finished.  The living room got a new coat of paint and trim.  The walls are still green, we just changed the shade.  It was a minty green before and I wanted more of a sage green so we changed it to make it less minty.  I tried getting a picture of it while painting so you could see the colors side by side but couldn’t find my camera.  Um, it could be because my house looked like this for about a week while we worked:

Whew!  Am I ever glad to have my house back in order! The living room now looks like this (before we moved everything back in):

And with the furniture in:

Here are some pictures from the bedrooms before we moved the furniture in:

Do the children like it?

Oh yeah!  They wanted to sleep on the floor that night. 🙂  They can run around and play now and it’s QUIET!!  yay!

We’ve got a few more projects to finish up, but the majority of it is done and I am SO happy!

Sweet Dreams and Butterflies

This week I’ve been working on a project for the girls room.  While I was at Joann’s looking at fabric for my couch, I found some wooden letters, butterflies and lady bugs.  I was excited because they were perfect for something I’ve been wanting to do in their room.  I painted the letters white and covered one side of them with scrap book paper, sealing it with a couple of coats of Mod Podge.  Then I stuck them to the wall with double sided sticky things.  Take a look:


Isn’t it cute?!  The girls were so excited about it!

Recovering Our Couch

Several years ago we were needing a couch and found one for $25.  It was in great shape – except for the cushion covers which were well worn.  The rest of the couch, however, was nice and solid and the foam in the cushions still firm.  So we took it.  Take a look at the cushions though:

And that’s the “good” side of the cushions! 😯 The first time around I bought a couch cover on ebay and for a while it looked like this:

It certainly looked a lot better but the cover was forever getting bunched up and stuff from the children climbing up and down from the couch (totally frustrating) and eventually it also faded and looked dingy so we got rid of it.

Fast forward to yesterday….not wanting to spend more $ on another cover that I would constantly be having to adjust and neaten, I went looking for fabric to recover the cushions.  Wow.  The fabric runs around $20/yd and I figured I’d need around 4 yards.  Ouch.  And there was nothing that would really match well.  It would have to be a solid green or brown.  I gave up and went home.

Then I had an idea!  What if I cut the fabric off of the back of the couch?  No one sees the back of it anyways, right?  I decided to give it a try:

The fabric was really stiff, which concerned me for a bit but then I realized it was probably some kind of stiff starch or something so I washed it in hot water.   While it was drying I stitched and stapled some fabric onto the back of the couch.  I wasn’t concerned about the color because it’s not going to show anyways.   I think it came out pretty good!  (The spots you see in the picture are not on the fabric; they’re reflections from the window)

The fabric from the back of the couch definitely softened after being washed which was great.  I used that large piece, plus some small strips that I was able to salvage from the cushion covers to create a new cover for the cushions.  I used a completely different fabric for most of the back.  It doesn’t show so it didn’t need to match.  I just used some fabric I already had on hand. It’s a little bit stretchy so there’s some give to it.  I used snaps to close it along the top.

Ready to see what our “new” couch looks like?! 🙂

Since I used fabric I already had on hand this project cost me nothing but time and I got it done in half a day.  So…if you ever find yourself with cushions that are worn beyond repair (or you find a great deal on a couch with worn cushion covers like us 🙂 ) don’t hesitate to borrow some fabric from the back of the couch.  🙂

 

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