Author: Christine


Landscaping


Even though our neighbors still have snow in their lawn, ours is gone (for now at least)! That means we can finally start tackling some of our outdoor projects.  We are saving up funds for siding and roofing right now, so our other projects will be rather minimal.  However, today I learned that a little cash can go a long way when it comes to landscaping.  Landscaping

 

When we purchased the house, there were tons of red bricks in the backyard.  I’m not sure what they were used for before, but they are working great for our new landscaping! We also had lilies that grow along the side of the house.  While lilies aren’t my first choice, they are already here and are free, so they stay.  All I needed was some landscaping sand, Hostas, and some mulch.  It only took me one afternoon.  What a transformation:Lanscaping Before

Landscaping After

 

 

Once the lilies start to grow, the utilities won’t be so obvious.  Hopefully our grass will start to green up a bit in the next couple of weeks too.  We’ve had a late start on our outdoor projects, but since it’s finally starting to get nice, we should have a lot more coming. Thanks for reading!

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Easy DIY Chicken Brooder


 

 

We ordered 25 cornish cross chickens to raise for meat.  Since we haven’t done much work on the upstairs yet, we built a brooder we could use in the house and then move outdoors later.  We made the brooder almost completely from scraps, but it would be cheap and easy to buy the supplies.

Easy DIY Chicken Brooder

 

 

 

My parents had some scraps of T11 siding that measured 48″ x 18″ which worked perfect for the sides.  We had some triangular scraps that we cut to 18″ for braces (but you could use 2x2s).  Chicken Brooder Frame

 

Next, we cut the base (48″ x 49.5″) and secured it on the corners.Chicken Brooder Base

 

You can add support on the inside of the box to secure the base if needed.  (We added some 2×2 braces just in case).  To finish off the brooder we built a cover out of 2x2s and chicken wire.  We also put a 1×6 support down the center to staple the wire where we had a seam.Chicken Brooder Top

 

 

We hung a heat lamp from the ceiling with an adjustable cord so we can manipulate the temperature.DIY Chicken Brooder

 

We put in the food, water, and thermometer to get everything warmed up for the new chicks, which arrived the next day. (Yes, there are 25 chicks in there!)Day Old Chicks

 

We put them into their new, cozy brooder and dipped their beaks into the water to get them started.

Cornish Cross ChicksChicks First Day

 

 

The dogs were very intrigued.  Every so often they go upstairs to check on them and they have been very gentle.  Bringing Chicks Home

 

We are learning as we go, but everything has gone well so far.  The chicks are darting around and chowing down food.  We will definitely keep you updated on our new adventure! Thanks for reading!

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Snowboard Storage


Since the snow is finally melting, I think it is officially time to put the snowboards and winter gear away.  We have always had an issue storing snowboards.  They end up in the garage, up in the rafters so they don’t get bumped.  Thankfully, we now have a good space in the house to store them!

When we started the office we decided that we would want a day bed and lots of storage for our hobbies.  We don’t have a day bed yet, but we have a nice futon that was given to us by a neighbor that we have moved place to place with us for years.  We invested in some nice wall mounts for our snowboards to hang over the futon and they look great in the office.  The mount clips have drywall anchors and are made to protect your snowboard, so they are sturdy but gentle. SnowboardMountOfficeFuton

 

The wall mount clips are Burton brand and we bought them at Scheels (I’m sure you can get them at other sporting stores as well.)

The office needs a lot more work, but we need to get a lot of the boxes sorted out first.  Thanks for reading!

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Kitchen Command Center


I have been seeing a lot of blog posts and pins on Pinterest about “Command Centers.”  Basically, they are a catch-all for that mail and junk that would normally be sitting on the counter.  We definitely have an issue with the counter mess so it seems like this might be a good idea…

We have a small wall on the side of the furnace closet (in our kitchen) that is right next to our office.  Seems like the perfect location for a command center to me!  So, after some cheap Target shopping, we ended up with this neat little place for all of our Ryan’s junk.  We still have some trim and painting work to do, but the furnace closet is coming along nicely.  CommandCenter

 

The organizer cost $10 at Target and we also scored a $5 picture frame for around the thermostat (another Pinterest idea I’ve been seeing a lot of).ThermostatFrame

 

So for around $15 we used a great space that would have been empty otherwise.  Now if I can just teach Ryan how to take care of it from here…KitchenCommandCenter

 

We’ve been busy, so there is a lot more coming.  Check back soon! Thanks for reading!

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Master Closet Renovation


Our house came with it’s share of tiny closets.  Our master bedroom has a nice sized closet, but it only has a tiny door and the closet is hard to access.  Here are some before pictures (and if anyone knows what I can do with that piece of pink marble, please let me know):MasterBefore.jpgMasterClosetInside.jpg MasterClosetBefore.jpg

 

 

We took out a header for french doors in the living room to make the room more open (which you can read about here), but we still have the doors:MasterClosetDoorsBefore.jpg

 

One day it just clicked: we can make a bigger door frame and use the original french doors from downstairs! The doors need a lot of work, but they have a really nice wood grain you can see on the back side, and the original hinges are intact.

This weekend we went ahead and cut the new door frame opening into the closet:MasterClosetDuring MasterClosetDuring2.jpg MasterClosetOpen.jpg

 

Opening that up makes such a big difference.  Now if the weather will just cooperate a little bit we can get those doors stripped and start getting some more work done on the master bedroom. Thanks for reading!

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Working Our Way Upstairs


If you have ever been given a tour of our house, you will definitely remember the dark, creepy stairway.  There is one small light at the top.  If I did not have a flash on my camera, you wouldn’t be able to see the epic dark wallpaper covering the plaster walls.  The stairs need a lot of work.  It’s one of those projects you look away from every time you walk past because you know it’s not going to be fun.  Today we started the stairway project.  It’s going to take us some time to finish, but this is what it is starting as:

StairsOriginal

 

 

 

There was a door frame at the top of the stairs that blocked a lot of the light that comes from the window in the hall.  The hall has become a bit of a storage area, so please excuse the mess.

StairsOriginal2.jpg

 

This is a look from the hall at the top of the stairs.  Today we were able to remove the doorway and the wall that is seen in this picture:StairTopOriginal.jpg

 

After a bit of work and a lot of mess, we were able to take down part of the wall to open up the stairway.  This is what it looks like now (still a work in progress):StairwayDuring.jpgStairsDuring.jpg

 

The after pictures are a bit of a mess, but we will be working on cleaning things up a bit and getting some new pictures soon.

After removing the wall, we noticed that it wasn’t even original! Why would you close off the top of the stairs? Some things I will never understand, but at least it wasn’t a supporting wall and we were able to make it nice and bright.  We are going to put a railing at the top of the stairs where the wall had been.  Step one of the stairway project is done, but as you can see we have a long ways to go.  Thanks for reading!

 

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Decorating the Dining Room


While the dining room is nowhere near finished, we have been adding some decorative items to make if feel like home.  The dining room is “the room you need to walk through to get anywhere else” so it is nice to have it look more like home.  The last time I wrote about the dining room we had just finished putting in floors and were working on moving our furniture in:diningfloor

 

 

This weekend we finally got our curtains and painting hung up and they look great (but need to be steamed).  We are also loving that new light fixture.  Even though it seems so far away, we are thinking Spring here and started our tomato seeds.  This window gets so much light which is really nice with this winter weather hanging on.  DiningUpdateDiningUpdate2DiningCurtain

 

 

Curtains- Target

Curtain Rod- Walmart

Table and Chairs- Ashley Furniture

Painting- Hand painted by a family friend

Light Fixture- Home Depot

 

It looks like the snow is here to stay for at least a couple more weeks.  We are running out of room for snow, so I hope winter goes easy on us until then. I am dying to start ripping off the siding and get started on house wrap and new siding, but I will have to work on my patience.WinterWeather.jpg

 

We have been keeping detailed photo albums on our Facebook page where you can see the progression of the rooms from the very beginning, so be sure to “Like” us on Facebook! Thanks for reading!

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Easy No-Sew Curtains


I’ve been staying in the guest bedroom while living here until we get the master bedroom started.  Even though we don’t live in a big town, we have street lights on our street that shine right into the guest bedroom window. I wanted to make curtains, but am only a beginner when it comes to sewing, so I cheated a little bit.

I wanted a curtain that would block out most of the light at night, but let in the sunshine in the morning.  I found this great fabric at Joann Fabrics and it is working great:

GRCurtains

 

 

This project was so easy and anyone can do it.  All you have to do is make 2 rectangular curtain panels.  Mine are about 4 feet wide and 7 feet tall each.  Give yourself enough room so when you hang your curtains you can adjust the width and height to the place you would like. At 7 feet, we could have them touch the floor by hanging them lower or put them up high.  You don’t have to decide until you are actually attaching the rod.  Once we have trim around the window, the curtains will still make the room look tall (don’t mind my sagging ceiling tiles).

GRCurtainsOpen

 

Once you have cut your fabric to the size you would like, fold over the edge of the fabric and iron a straight edge:

NoSewCurtain

 

 

Once your edge is ironed, you can add hem tape (you can buy it in the sewing section).  The tape is not sticky until you iron it.  Put the tape between the 2 layers and iron the fold for about 3 seconds in each spot.  You just want to press the iron, do not move it around.  The tape will melt in between the layers and will keep a firm hold.  Just iron one side at a time and make sure both panels end up the same size.

Once you have your panels made, you can buy curtain clips to hang them.  You can find these clips just about anywhere (Walmart, Target, Joann Fabrics) and they come in different sizes and colors. I have 7 clips hanging up each panel:

CurtainClips

 

 

 

These are just about the easiest curtains you could possibly make.  It took me about 2 hours to do the entire project, and cutting the fabric to the right size was the longest part.  Now that we have a little bit of privacy, we only need a door!  I will be working on a headboard soon, I just haven’t found the right fabric yet.

GRCurtainsFinal

 

We also got a mirror hung up above our new dresserso the room is really starting to feel like home:

GRMirror

 

 

In the next couple of days I am hoping to post a dining room update and a bathroom update.  Things have been changing fast, so there is a lot to write about.  Thanks for reading!

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New Lighting


Life has been busy since moving into our new place! Since we have had a lot of big purchases lately (especially flooring) we have had to slow down a bit.  This gives us an opportunity to work on all of the little stuff that we’ve put off.  We have put in doors in the office and guest bedroom and put some more finishes in the guest room.

My favorite upgrade we have made lately involves our dining room lighting. Most of the lighting we had before was missing pieces or didn’t exist.  This is what we started with (nice huh?):OldDiningLight

 

And this what we replaced it with:DiningLight

 

The new picture was taken at night so it’s a little harder to see.  It’s a brass fixture with a white shade inside and a glass base (Hampton Bay, Edgemoore).  Since this is in the dining room we wanted something a bit more formal, but a chandelier style wouldn’t work with our layout.  This light was the perfect compromise.  We also have it set to a dimmer so we can adjust it however we like.  The best part…it was less than $90.  (Lighting is so expensive!)

I’ll have a few more posts coming soon and hopefully the progress will just keep on going so posts will be more consistent.  Thanks for reading!

 

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Living Room Update


I don’t think I can even explain how different this room is from our closing date.  The living room had a really uneven floor, smelled like a litter box, and had some crazy paneling that the previous owners tried to smooth out with drywall mud.  Now, we are living in that same room, which is crazy! This house didn’t have much as far as selling features, but the fan in the living room was listed as a special feature in the real estate listing.  Check out that beauty in the next few pictures, definitely a selling point (bulbs not included, we put those in ourselves):

LROriginal2

 

LROriginal

 

We took many layers out of this house.  The main issue was the uneven floor so we put in a new sub-floor after leveling the foundation:

LRGutted

 

The fireplace is a very special part of this room.  You can see an update on that project here.  This room was a challenge to prepare for move in day.  The floors were a big issue, but we were able to level most of it and the people who installed our carpet did a great job taking care of the rest.  Here is the room with carpet:

LR Carpet

 

We also added some laminate wood in the entry.  After moving in most of our furniture this is how it looks now:

LRCouchLRUpdate

 

At some point, I would like to get a different couch (smaller and lighter color).  For now, the room works great and is a good size.  After we add some trim it should really start to look nice! Hopefully we will have a fireplace update soon when we tile in our insert, so check back soon.  Thanks for reading!

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