Friday, December 29, 2006

The Kitchen Big Remodel

On the other side of the refrigerator wall was this room:

It was so narrow you really could not have a sofa in front of the fire place and still get around it. We were using it as a office/sewing room/ junk room (obviously!). Ugly rock on the fireplace, with cork squares above (which I painted green in an attempt to reduce the ugliness). Unfortunate because you had to walk through the end of the room to get to the bathroom we used all the time. In my defence, we had started to tear this room up to clear it out for the remodel when this pic was taken.

Here's that baby boy using a power tool to bust up rock.And Joe keeping a watchful eye on him. As you can see under the wallpaper was ugly, cheap panelling.

Looks better already! This all started because we just wanted to make this room pleasant to live in...maybe as an office. At this point my mom and I came in started musing about what a nice kitchen it would be if we could knock that wall on the right down. Joe decided that maybe we could and so the wall came down and the kitchen got knocked out.

In this picture, Joe and our BIL Kevin are working on getting the two floors the same level....the family room was an addition and an inch or so different from the kitchen. That's a new window behind them and over the sink area.

During this time Joe's job took him out of town for months at a I cooked in the dining room where we moved our appliances and washed dishes in the new restaurant sink in the laundry room. We expected this to last 6 months but it streached to 2 years....pushing my sanity to the edge.
We decided to have our cabinets made by Dick Leonard in Cornell, IL. Using his software, this is the plan we came up with. We wanted the kitchen to be able serve as a sitting area I wouldn't be lonely cooking any more. We left the fireplace where it was and planned built-ins around it. We have a sofa by the fire, but it would be cool to have a big table there if you wanted to have an eat in kitchen. We eat in the dining room all the time.

More in the next post......

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sanity Saving, Money Saving...First After

As I mentioned in the last post, we needed to do something to the kitchen so we could live there and not go crazy. My husband came from a long line of "don't paint wood" folks. I needed light! So since this is basically "my office" and I spend a lot of time in there, I convinced him that it would be ok to paint those cabinets. I painted them all in oil base paint...and I am glad I did because we lived with it like this for many years and that paint wore very well. Walls were painted a pretty yellow and the orange formica was replaced with more formica in an easier to live with color. We still did not build more cabinets which is why you see the microwave hanging from straps and missing cabinetry next to and over the fridge. We did put new hinges and hardware on the cabinets though.

The little door to the right is the entrance to the "broken bathroom."
As you can see this was when we moved the washer and dryer out of our unpleasant basement and for a long time they lived here in the kitchen. On the other side of the fridge wall was a truly ugly, small family room. Tomorrow, I'll try to round up some pics of that and show you how we opened it all up for a nice big "keeping room."

Kitchen Remodel Part One-The Before

This post will start the story of our kitchen remodel. It will take several posts because first we just did cosmetic fix up so we did not go crazy. Then eventually we did a real, true, bite the bullet and spend money remodel. But first, when we moved here 19 years ago our kitchen looked like this:

It featured very dark brown cabinets made of some kind of unattractive wood, a very small north facing aluminum window, and several layers of unattractive vinyl flooring. Not to mention that it was just yucky......tons of cleaning before we moved in. Yes this is my unattractive stuff in here---but rememeber it was 1988. I had a lot of unfortunate pseudo-country decorating stuff.

This is our adorable son making OJ. He was a joy....he's 6 foot 5 inches now! And still a joy, but back to the kitchen. It was just depressing and we just had to do something because with a little one and another on the way, that kitchen was not getting remodeled anytime soon.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Befores and Afters

These are from a project we did a few years ago........but sometimes it's nice to look back and remind yourself that we are progressing. We bought our old house in sad condition and basically we have been working on it for 19 years. We do pretty much everything ourselves since both of us are handy. Joe especially. He is an electrician and an engineer and can figure out almost anything. In this pic he had already busted out the old tub.

This really was the bathroom from hell. There was just nothing to redeem it except that all the plumbing worked...I realize that's no small thing. But just look at it. Cheap plastic everything. Depressing.

Now that's better! This is the same corner where the tub was. We moved our washer and dryer in here...they started in the yucky basement, then moved to the kitchen, and now they have a real home. I wanted a restaurant sink in there so bad, but it just wasn't in the budget. Then I went to a moving sale...and the people moving were restaurant owners....I got this sink still in the crate, brand new for $30. I could not believe it! In this photo you can see a little bit of Joe's custom drop ceiling. It's all made of wood and you can move some of the panels. This is because we plan to put a bath in our master bedroom someday and the plumbing for that is right above this ceiling....we wanted to be able to access it easily.

I wanted it light and bright in here, since laundry is not my favorite chore. We kept the stool and sink, because we really needed to keep a second bathroom on our first floor.
You will find out that I love maps. I just think they are beautiful. For years I had been saving the maps out of National Geographic Magazine and I used them to paper the walls in here. I sealed them with a couple of coats of water based poly so I could wipe them clean.

We had the old ugly bathroom for almost 15 years....we mostly tried to keep the door shut and not use it because just looking at it was depressing. When our son was a couple of years old he called this "the broken bathroom" because we never used it. After that we all called it the broken bathroom! This is soooo much nicer!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


The stockings were hung by the chimney with care. I was inspired by all the recycled sweaters I've been seeing on blogs, so I made new stockings for my son and daughter. I meant to make one for Joe and Louie too, but ran out of time. The "Joyce" stocking was made for me by my Nana when I was a baby. Mom and Dad gave it to me last year. I had to do a little reinforcing on the hanger---you know it's probably an "antique" now! LOL Joe got the santa hat this year.
We had the grands and my sister's family over today. Yummy feast.
Louie and his new toy. He opens his own presents.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's Christmas Eve!

I've stayed up so late fiddling with pictures that it's now Christmas Eve. I spent the day cleaning and putting the finishing touches on decorating. Our family comes on Christmas day, with more family coming for our town's New Year's celebration. So I feel like I have another whole week to enjoy the decorations.
Here's what I put inside the coffee table...I had to go raid my mom's ornament stash to get enough to fill the trays. It's sparkly and pretty though!!
The outside of our front door is painted berry of these days I want to paint the inside the same. Aren't these curtains wonderful? Someone put a lot of time into making these. I found them in a box of stuff I got an an auction.

Here's the top of the TV cabinet. The map is an old school map...I loooove old maps.

Tonite I started making some new stockings out of sweaters I felted in the washing machine. I got one done. As you can tell, many times I do things at the last minute. but then I don't have little children like many of the bloggers I read. Things are definitely less hectic on Christmas Eve when your kids are bigger. Tomorrow is for church and cooking!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas Goodies

I found these at the local antique mall. The little reindeer hanging was 4.50 and the crocheted ornaments only 2.50 each. I love them....I'd sure want more than that if I crocheted them!I arranged them outside the back door on the little shelf that holds extra shoes. Now it's starting to feel like Christmas! When I get the nativity up tomorrow, I will start to feel like I'm ready for Christmas. Tomorrow I'll find something to do with the crocheted ornaments. Love the old fashioned green on them!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Cards

Sometimes when you are a thrifty soul, you just love the chance to do something with only the supplies you have on hand. That's how I made our cards this year. I already had the pack of card blanks and envelopes, scrapbooking supplies, ink and stamps. Left from some previous year when I aspired to making cards but ran out of time. We always put a picture in our cards, so this year that was the only thing I had to buy. They're simple, but I like how they turned out. Some people would probably call me cheap. But not me, I like to think of it as good ole yankee frugality. I have to admit though, that whatever I saved in cash, I spent in time making these.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Thank goodness. I think Joe did a wonderful job on our lights. He does all the high stuff and I do the low ones. We love the old fashioned C9's and C7's like we grew up with, but we mix them with the fairy lights to brighten it all up.

I'm not the best with night time photography. It sure makes you think about how wonderful God made our eyes. We have no trouble seeing this scene without overexposure around the lights! I still have a lit garland to put around the front door.

On the inside we have the tree up and I will be finishing the decorating tomorrow. Things at our house have been put on hold because I have been working on scenery for a Christmas play at church all week....I'll have to take some pictures of the stage tomorrow.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Snow Day!!

Today we woke up to this! I love snow. I just don't like that everyone has to drive in it. My husband left verrrry early this morning and I haven't heard from him....I'm hoping he got to work ok.
This is my wonderful son. He is training as a pipefitter, but since they are working outside installing water mains, he did not work today. So instead he is digging out his grandparent's house.
Here was the view this morning out the kitchen window...warm inside, very chilly out! They called school off, so my daughter was elated!
This is my neighbor's cute puppy. He was having a great time playing in the snow, but when I came up he hid behind the tree. He is a rescued dog and still a puppy, so he may have very good reasons to be shy.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving at Jennifer's

This year we had Thanksgiving at my sister Jennifer's home. She set a beautiful table using new and vintage china and glassware. Jennifer and Kevin's home is the one that has the beautiful gardens.
Before the meal we had a little reading (in the leaf covered paper) about what Thanksgiving is and how it started, and how it matters to all of us who came here from different lands at one time or another. The little folders housed a tag on which we listed 5 things for which we are thankful. We shared these also....they ranged from making us laugh to making us cry!
And here is my neice reading to my nephew John...all about the pilgrims. We had a wonderful day.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Apple Hat

A couple of weeks ago we went to a baptism for our newest family member. Isn't she a doll!? This is the little hat I made for her. It's still a little big on her at the moment, but I'll bet it will be perfect in no time...they grow sooo fast!
This is the first felted item I am trying...the yarn is so beautiful! It's a bag and I can't wait to see what it is like when it comes out of the washer. I have it done and I just have to work up the courage to wash it. I actually knit this twice. I finished the body of the bag the first time and wondered why I had only used half the yarn....of course I had knitted it single strand and it is supposed to be double. So I pulled it out and started over. Yikes.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Christmas Knitting!

I'm working on a scarf for my daughter for Christmas. I'm using a pattern from this book. I love the I cord fringe! This is to go with her navy blue pea coat. The yarn is TLC Wiggles by Coats and Clark. I'm enjoying working on something that is mindless enough for me to knit and talk at the same time....and a scarf is such quick work! Christmas is coming up on us fast!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Vintage in my Sketchbook

  • I keep a sketchbook that I try to draw in each day. You can see it here. Here are a couple of finds in use at my house and my mom and dad's house. The lamp is an old one I found at a sale. I had a classy ivory silk shade on it but the other day my mom found this great old shade made from green burlap with evergreens painted on it...with fabulous trim around the bottom. I like my home to be classy, but usually I will pick interesting over safe any, off went the plain shade and on when the slightly worn but ever so cool vintage shade. The magazine is Cloth, Paper, of my favorites!

edited 10/19: Someone commented on this photo (posted elsewhere) that I must not have kids. Actually I do and the fact that most of my stuff is thrifted makes it easy to live with. So I thought I'd price out this photo.

  • The sofa is 14 years old, and the fabric is starting to look kinda worn on the edges, but it doesn't show much unless you look closely. For years it and 2 chairs in that room were our only seating you can guess that it has seen tons of use. It was $800 dollars on sale when we bought it new. It was a stretch for us back then, but we have found that it is worth it to get as good quality as you can afford.
  • The next most expensive thing ($?) is the aquarium!
  • birdcage stand holding plant: $17 in junk shop (but Dad bought it for me)
  • 2 plants on sale at big box store for $5 each
  • ottoman: my newest purchase $20 in resale shop
  • carved bench used as end table: this is a carving bench once used by a carver friend of my husband's. When he died his wife gave it to us. One of the best things we own.
  • coffee table: is actually an old pallet from an electrical company. I found it at an antique fair (even though I'm sure it does not qualify as an antique) and it had already been sealed and had a glass top. I thought it would be cool, since my husband is an electrician. I paid $150 dollars for it. Seems like a lot but a new real coffee table would have been more and I think this is more interesting anyway!
  • Lamp was $20 at an auction
  • Shade: Mom bought it for me at a garage sale for $1!
  • Pillow: Waverly bought on sale at Hancocks for $12. Actually belongs in another room, but everything moves in this house. Good reason for making colors compatible I suppose!
  • Antique picture over the aquarium (of a couple looking over their catch after fishing!) $30 at an antique mall. Just a little joke on the fish...I'm easily amused.
  • Child's chair under plant: $5 at garage sale

So you see, even when I have 20 teenagers in that room (quite often!), I don't really have to worry because things are not that expensive....and I want the kids to feel free to come and hang out.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Bonnet, yoyo's and more neat stuff!

Recently I quit my job at the grocery store (I have been working as a cashier for the past 10 months). Now I am going to try and concentrate on home, ebay, and substituting at the grade that order. I used to have an antique store called Home Again. Now that I no longer have the store I just occasionally put something on ebay when I find something too cool to pass up. Above is a pic of the store window...looking out towards the square. It was fun having a shop on the square, but we just could not get the traffic we needed to stay open. We were there for two years.

I found this sweet little bonnet at a sale a few years ago....It unbuttons into a very simple shape that would be easy to use as a pattern for more.

Aren't these the cutest?! I believe they are tie backs for curtains and I think they would be sooo cute with simple white muslin curtains. They are made from yoyo's. They look like something straight out of Home Companion magazine.

Sweet little child's dress with blue hand embroidery!

This little baby dress is made from the finest cotton with white on white embroidery....would be cute on a doll or as a nursery decoration.

I have listed all of these on ebay.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

New Name....More Stuff!

I have changed the name of this blog to reflect a wider range of interests. I still love garden junk! But what about all the other vintage treasures that I find and sometime remake in to a new treasure? Here I will share wonderful finds, remade items, garden junk, and even some of my handknits. Some of these items will be for sale at ebay or etsy---depending on what they are of course.

The cute little witch and pumpkin planter is on of those items. The pumpkin is flocked and just tooo cute! It is for sale on ebay under my seller name homeagain_in_il. I have several things up for sale right now...for the first time in a looooong time!