Category Archives: New House

My Bathroom Vanity

You might remember when Kramer, my husband who passed away from lung cancer, was sick and broke his neck our family went into a scramble to try to get the bathroom on the main floor so he would have a shower that was handicapped accessible for him.  Kramer’s decline was fast and we never got it done.

We took good care of him and in the end, we were able to handle everything without that shower.  But…what about now.  What about me?  I might need that bathroom in the years to come and I’d like it to be ready and there before the kids have to scramble and try to put something in.  So, slowly, I’m working on fixing the main floor bathroom.

When we first did the remodel we were running out of money and just wanted to get into the house.  There was a sink on a free Facebook page.  It was a pedestal sink and I didn’t care a free sink could work.

I’m still not sure what I want to do with a shower.  I’m getting closer but I’m slow at decision making and am only affording this as I have extra money.  That means I’m taking it all one step at a time.

In keeping with that over the summer, I talked to one of my childcare dads who is a cabinet builder, and asked him to make a vanity for me.  I am not super picky and I know Luke does great work so I told him two things I had in mind.  I wanted a space on the vanity for wash clothes to sit so people can grab a fresh washcloth and dry their hands on it…no reusing hand towels.  The other specification is I wanted him to try to make a built-in step stool for kids to step on.  Previously I’ve had two step stools in front of the sink and it’s always been cluttered.

Luke did a fabulous job!!  This is the vanity he built.


I need to do some other things like remove the old towel bar and patch the wall…but the vanity is a step in the right direction.  You can see that Luke did just what I wanted.  There is room for a basket of washcloths on the side and check this out…
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Sewing Room Tour

Hey you all…Today’s the day.  I am showing off my sewing room!!  I am so excited!!  This is a dream come true for me.  I couldn’t be happier.

Let me start my story at the beginning.  We bought a foreclosure house in 2013.  We remodeled it in 2014 and moved with it still unfinished in 2015.  We had trim to do, and my trim in my sewing room still isn’t done.

For the first few years of living here, I went with the flow.  I didn’t spend any extra money in the sewing room.  I lived with whatever we had and made it work.  In the Spring of 2019, I started getting frustrated.  I wanted to take more pictures and possibly start doing videos but I always thought my space was not nice looking.  It looked like a jumbled mess.  I vowed that I wanted a space that I’d classify more like a studio and less of a sewing space so I bit the bullet and started the remodel with my closet.

I bought new shelving.  It was an improvement…but I still didn’t love it.  I bought the white totes thinking they were just what I needed.  I used them for a bit but finally found what I really liked a year later.  I broke the bank and bought the “right” totes.


Here is a before and after.  Above is the before.  Below is the after.  All of the totes are unform and nice now.  I love it.   All are see through.

I bought this shelving from Amazon.  I bought these totes from Amazon.  On the opposite wall in the closet, I bought this shelving as it fit the space better.   I’m super happy with the change.

That was all good and well and I was very happy with the improvements.  BUT.  I didn’t love the main area of space.  I tried to love it.  I just didn’t.  Here are some pictures of how it was…



I had so many of these three-tiered drawer units.  I didn’t mind them under the longarm, but I hated them everywhere else.  They are so cheap plastic looking.  I wanted more than that.  By all means, if you have these, it’s entirely okay.  I’ve had them for over 20 years.


It was all cluttered looking for me.



How I had it was okay but I wasn’t satisfied.  It all felt cluttered to me…it all felt a little “cheap plastic” and unmatched furniture.

I waited for inspiration…nothing came so I sewed on.  Then in early October
I was on Youtube and watched this Lori Holt video…

and was so inspired.  She showed off her sewing room and I loved it!!  She had some ideas that would work for me and that’s when I got the kick in the pants I needed.  I decided I was going to do this!  I didn’t care if I had to tap into my savings account.  I was going to fix my sewing room….and over the last two months, that has been my main concentration.

One of the hang-ups I had is I could see how those colors were perfect for Lori’s set up.  I didn’t want those colors for me…but I couldn’t figure out what colors I did want.  That’s when I remembered how much I loved that last piece I chalk painted in my living room.  It was gray.  Yep, gray would work for my color as I wanted to keep the dark wood.  What would go with that?  Well, of course, my favorite color ever, RED!   So the theme was picked.  Dark wood, gray, and pops of red.

I was so blessed along the way to find good pieces at the thrift stores and vintage sales to make this all happen for a reasonable price.  This dresser was $40.   I bought this dresser at the thrift store.  I bought a piece of plywood and made a top of it.  The top has batting, ironing board fabric, and fabric over the top so I can use the entire surface like an ironing board.
Currently, one end is a cutting station and the other is where I iron.



This is the big red tin cabinet that we hoisted up through the upper door.

This is my former living room television that was moved to the sewing room and mounted.  When I had my old television, I couldn’t see the words on the television it was so small.  This is actually bigger than I need but, it’s what I had and I’m okay with that.  In fact, I love it.

The dresser below houses my batiks.  I bought it for $50 at the vintage sale I went to.  Karl shined up the handles so nice for me.


This is another dresser I bought at the thrift store.  This one was $50.  It is the anchor for my island.  I bought new handles for the drawer on Amazon.  Find them HERE.  They are MUCH more reasonably priced than the big box stores.


My Singer 15-91 in it’s cabinet butts up to the island.  I designed it that way.  I love my 15-91 and I wanted her to stay in the room and be incorporated into the mix.  I think I did a good job with that.

Here are my African Violets.  I painted the old piano bench I already had and the wicker basket below it.

This is a cabinet Kramer redid.  I love it.  There are many goodies on the shelves and my UFO projects are in the lower cabinets.


This is my machine on the opposite end of the island.  This is my primary work station.  I have a set of drawers on the left that I got at the thrift store years ago that I painted.  I have wooden TV trays on the right.  I like to work in a “U” shape if possible.  With the remodel, I have learned that I’m going to need a new chair here.  My Pfaff sits up high enough that I need a chair that can adjust in height.  Does anyone have any suggestions?


The top for the island came from Menards.  It was the big expense to the room at around $300.  I didn’t buy a fancy version…just a functional one.

This is the north wall.  I still have these plastic totes and I’ll continue to work to find something different here but what I need is so specific that it will be next to impossible to find.  I want dressers that are about 28″ tall.  UGH.  For now, this is fine.


On the east wall are two doors.  On the right is the exit out of the room.  I had Buck hang my dry erase board there on the back of the door.  The door on the left is my closet door and I already showed you that.


This is the north wall..my Franklin treadle is there along with a stack of quilts.

This is the view to the left when I walk in the main door.


That little red cabinet was perfect in size.  I adore it.  That was one of my finds at the vintage sale.  I think it was $27.  Totally worth it.  I’m so in love with it.


I put all of my thread for the longarm in the tin cans of the shelving unit.  It’s nice and close and made other space available for other things.  I LOVE the shelf.  It was at the same vintage market for $37.   The frame above the cabinet is waiting for me to finish a wool applique piece.


I’m loving my sewing room.  I shot a video of the whole room and explained a lot more.  I think the video is easier to see and get a better feel for the room.

Here’s the video.

I’m hoping it might inspire a few of you like Lori Holt’s video inspired me.  I’m so thankful she did the video.  It was just what I needed to give me that kick to get going.

I’m going to be pro-active and guess some of the questions before you ask them.  Here goes…

I did paint a lot of the wooden pieces to bring them together and not look quite so random.  This is the paint I used.  I was a little nervous about it as in the past I’ve only used Annie Sloan.  I LOVED this….It’s MUCH cheaper too.  It is Rustoleum Chalked Paint in Charcoal.

I used this over the top…Rustoleum Aged Glaze.


I know lots of people poo-poo chalk paint and think it’s not keeping in the integrity of the piece.  Trust me, anything I painted was not compromised by the chalk paint.  It was all furniture that was 70’s-ish or was an antique piece that someone else had already ruined the integrity of.  For me, I felt the paint unified my room.  This is the before picture of two of the dressers.

Yep, they needed paint.

I showed it in the video but not in the pictures.  I bought this rolling cart.  You can find it HERE.

I can’t say enough good things about these totes.  These are what I have and happily, they work perfectly on closet shelving and in my big tin cabinet.  They are sized at 18.13 x 14.13 x 10.75 inches.  Find them HERE.

They are so easy to pick up and move.  I pull them off the shelf, onto the island, dig for the fabric I want, and put them back.  They are the perfect size for easy moving.  They hold a great amount too..not too much and not too little.  I looked and looked and couldn’t find anything that would work better for me.  I have bought totes and totes and totes over the years.  These by far are my favorite.

I also used these totes for some smaller storage.  Find them HERE.


My closet ceiling slants so I didn’t have room on the top shelf for bigger totes.  These were perfect.

I used these for hanging my quilts on the quilt rod.  You can find them HERE.


I’m hoping that about does it.

I have a few more things I’m looking for but am pleasantly content with the sewing room.  Long term if I could find a wooden cabinet for under the longarm, that would be great.  If I could find a chair that I can adjust to sit higher, that would be awesome.  I’d also like to buy these…

Interlocking floor mats to go in front of my long arm.  Right now I have the gray ones.  I highly recommend them for comfort on your feet and body when using a long arm.  I just want these as the gray stands out and looks so cheap.  You can find them HERE.

So…that’s it for now.  I’m so happy.  This was so long-awaited and I’m thrilled and blessed to have such a wonderful area to work in.  If you have suggestions for a good sewing chair, I’d love to hear them!

The Garage Project

This weekend was the day to start the work on the back garage.  For you who have been reading the blog since 2014 when we took an old foreclosure house and made it our own this is old news but for those of you haven’t, here’s the back story.

In August of 2013 we bought an old foreclosure house.  It was a single lot house.  There was no garage attached.  We wanted to remodel and attach a garage to it.  The problem, the lot wasn’t large enough to allow a garage to be attached to the right side.

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There was a lot next door.  On that lot was this garage.  Although a decent garage, we wanted an attached garage.  This one wasn’t big enough for pickups to park in and at the time, we had a pick up and a suburban so neither would fit inside.

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As I said, the garage was in pretty good shape.

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There was no house on the property, just this garage.

We ended up buying the lot next door for $8500-garage included.  We poured this slab of cement….

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Kramer, my husband, devised a plan to pick the garage up and move it to be housed on the cement pad we had laid at the back of the property.

Read the story HERE.

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Well the garage has been so handy to have and well worth the work to move it.  We keep our lawn mower, tiller, seasonal stuff and when Kramer was still living, he kept fixer-up antiques in it.

Well the summer before last, we had hail damage to the roof and ended up with a settlement from insurance.  The plan last year was to shingle it but Kramer got sick and died leaving the garage on hold.  I talked with the kids about it and Buck, with some help, decided that they would tackle the shingling…and I decided rather than paint it, I’d have our carpenters come and side it.

Well Saturday Karl and Buck worked on the garage….


Karl did stop for an impromptu tea party.  You can see Carver in the photo was not having a good time.  Scotty had something he wanted….


But as the saying around here goes, “he got happy in the pants he got sad in”.

Saturday was a family day…Kalissa and the boys were here, Georgia was here (Kelli sleeping upstairs as she worked the night shift the previous night), Buck along with Lucy and Scotty as well as me and Karl.

The kids spent all of the day Saturday outside.  ALL OF IT!!  I didn’t get a lot of pictures taken as in between watching kids, I was picking up the shingles.

Saturday the weather was nice.  It got hot in the afternoon for a few hours but we got some cloud cover later so it wasn’t so taxing to the boys on the roof of the garage.

Sunday, the weather was terrible.  It was cold.  The boys were in sweatshirts.  There was a light drizzle that at one point turned to sleet for a bit.

Craig came and helped.  It was so nice of him.  Who wants to volunteer to work in those conditions.

In the tree behind the boys that you see in the picture, an owl sat all day long.  Buck said if his arm was three feet longer he would have been able to touch it.  The owl just sat there and slept while the boys worked.  Oh my…he must be a sound sleeper.

While the boys were outside on Sunday, Bucks kids and I stayed in the house.  It was too cold to be outside.  In the past, Lucy hasn’t thought much of me.  A year ago when Kramer was still here us, we had tried so hard to get her to warm up and be okay with us…she never was.  Although it made me sad, I was okay with it and didn’t push myself on her.  I hoped a time would come that I might be okay…and it’s slowly gotten better and now, she actually likes me.  I’m thrilled.  I’m so glad I was patient.

I ended up braiding her hair.  She doesn’t get her hair braided normally so it was a big change for her….Here she is checking herself out in the mirror.


  
Isn’t she the cutest??


I had lots of fun with Scotty too.  He’s such a builder….
He just loves the different toys I have.
I’ve always felt a little sad that I don’t see Lucy and Scotty so much.  This weekend was finally a chance to make a great connection that we all enjoyed.  I sat on the couch to watch a movie with Scotty and Lucy and they both crawled up on my lap.   Lucy has a habit of putting her fingers in her mouth.  We’ve been trying to break that….

So I told her…”no fingers in your mouth-just show me your teeth”.  So her finger went in her mouth to show me her teeth.  Oh that girl.
Then she finally smiled.
Although it a silly smile.

I had the best weekend with the kids.  I couldn’t have asked for a better time.

To top it all off…we were all confused with how we were going to get rid of the shingles.  The landfill, as far as we knew, was closed to regular traffic.  The neighbor across the road had a roll off dumpster at their house.  I ended up asking if they would let us put them in there.  Of course I offered to pay…They said yes..and told me not to worry about paying for it.  YAHOO!!  I was so happy.  Buck and Karl helped get them all thrown in so that completely finished.  I was thinking I was going to have to fill a garbage can of them each week and set them out until they were gone.  What a relief.  I have great neighbors!!  THANKS GUYS.

As for the next step on the garage.  I’m on the carpenter’s list.  The hope is to be here before snow flies.  I’m content with that.  Little by little projects keep getting done.

My Stairs: Sandless Wood Refinishing

I told you a bit ago about my steps going upstairs….They were still not finished.


I told you that I was considering getting a “sandless company” to come in and redo them.

Well I wrote a post about it and had pretty much decided that I was going to do it.  The blog post was scheduled for a few days away from the time I wrote it.

I called the company and told them to come and do the stairs.  They were available to come do it three days later.  On the day my blog posted, the guys were here doing the stairs.  In the comment section a blog reader wrote and said I wouldn’t like it.  Well what can I say…she’s mostly right…well Let me explain…. Continue reading