The Hole in my Floor, and other Sundry Items…

Many times when we’re doing a project, I forget to take “Before” pictures. Mostly because we jump right in and tear things apart before I remember to grab the camera, and sometimes because the “Before” is really not camera-worthy. At least it’s not a photo I’d like to put out on the internet for the world to see. However, sometimes we have a few “Mid-Remodel” pictures, where the worst of the dust has been swept away. This kitchen project is taking a while, so I snapped a couple of shots to share. First, let me present…

The Hole in my Floor
HoleInFloor

This may very well be the only picture I have of our old kitchen. Hubby built the cupboards when we built the house, and now we’ve stolen the “bar” section to use in the new kitchen. (We also stole the drawers, as you can see, to repurpose as an add-on to the cabinet we moved.) The good thing about being able to move this huge section of cabinets is that within a day I had a cabinet in the new kitchen to move lots of essentials into. Didn’t have to wait for Hubby to build a whole new one… Plus I still get to enjoy the original cabinets he built! The bad thing is that it left a cabinet-sized hole in the floor of one of the main rooms in our house, which then quickly turned into a room-sized hole when Hubby cleaned up the rest of the tile and leveled the subfloor. Another good thing about the Hole in the Floor was that it provided a temporary “art” space while we had kiddos visiting that I didn’t need to worry about messes! Shoes were mandatory, however, to avoid splinters. Hopefully, Some Day Very Soon, there will be a wall around the hole, creating a laundry hallway, and a new room that will either be a second full bathroom or a small art room to hide my creative messes. Still up in the air on that decision. My mind changes daily.

Important Note:
When laying ceramic tile, be sure to buy and keep several extra
boxes of the tile just in case you decide to remove a kitchen cabinet.
The Hole in my Floor could have been avoided,
had we thought of doing that when we tiled 8 years ago.

Another item of interest in this “Mid-Remodel” picture is the scale hanging in the middle of the walkway. I left it there to test our agility. And the Worm Bin, hiding under the high chair. We ordered a new batch of earthworms while our little friends were here, and let me tell you, 500 Red Wigglers in your kitchen is extremely interesting to a 3 year-old boy!

If only I could have caught that Blue-Tailed Lizard
that’s been living near our deck the past couple of weeks!
Wouldn’t that little guy have had fun being up
close and personal with that critter!

Now for the “Mid-Remodel” photo of the new kitchen…
Cabinet

Six feet of ready-made (almost) cabinetry let me move the Most Important Kitchen Stuff into the new kitchen right away! Ignore the multi-color aspect. It will get worse before it gets better… I need to paint the drawer fronts so I can put the knobs back on so the drawers are easier to open. Hubby is also going to make brand new doors, since the 20+ year-old hard-as-nails-oil-based-paint is super difficult to sand off the nooks and crannies of the old doors, but we’ll leave the funky brown ones on until that happens to conceal all the Most Important Kitchen Stuff inside. There will be upper cabinets as well, so also ignore all the random stuff on the countertop. They’re going to be extra tall to make use of the 10-foot ceilings in the new kitchen. My hope is that the cabinet section will look more like a step-back hutch than kitchen cabinets.

Mid-Remodel Disclaimer: I’m still in the “what in the world was
I thinking when I thought I wanted a new kitchen” phase of the remodel…
…Really hoping it starts looking like the vision I had in my head very soon!

Additional items of interest include the Play-Doh on the counter (used multiple times the past few weeks) and the kitschy vinyl tablecloth on the extreme left of the photo (which protected the as-yet-unsealed new butcher block tabletop from said Play-Doh). Oh, and the teapot sitting in a colander on the other counter.

So, our work is pretty much cut out for us for the next few weeks as we finish up this big change! It’s been a challenge to have everything in the “Betwixt and Between” phase while we had company, but I think it added a little thrill to our lives.

:-D

And before I go, I read through my last post and
realized I missed a few Very Important Things
that we experienced during The Last Six Weeks

LOTS of giggles and laughter.

LOTS of kisses and hugs, including
Fish kisses and Eskimo kisses,
and Bear Hugs and Bedtime Snuggles.

LOTS of silly songs, silly stories,
and general all-around silly-ness.

LOTS of Together Time getting to know
(and now miss!) a bunch of little people.

Now how could I have forgotten to write about all that?

:-)

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Sometimes a bunch of doodles…

Plans3

…that have been hanging out in your sketchbook…

Plans5

…will begin to sprout…

Grow1

… and even blossom!

Bloom1

It’s funny how your creative ideas reflect
what’s been going on in your heart and mind.

“Bloom where you are planted” and “How Does Your Garden Grow?”
are two little ditties that seem to sum up the thoughts I’ve been mulling
over about being content with what we have yet, not growing stagnant….

…about enjoying this season but preparing for the next…

…about tending the garden of “Home,” and waiting
expectantly for that fresh new blossom to pop open…

…about “Thistle Dew-ing.”

HowDoesGarden5x7Print

Just put some fun new prints are up in our Etsy Shop to help fund some
of the Blooming and Growing projects escapades around the Frey house!

Click here to pop on over! 

:-D

The Cookie Section…

I had an unexpected quiet hour this morning, and decided to tackle a pile of recipes that I had pulled out of my old recipe binder a while back. I’ve been slowly adding them to the new red Martha Stewart binder that I filled with cute Susan Branch recipe dividers from another binder.

Yep. I do tend to collect binders. And dividers.
And various other paper organizational materials.
And switch them out and rearrange them a little too often.

:-P

Anyway, I’ve been avoiding the “Cookie Section.”
It seemed just a tiny bit overwhelming.
Is it a major character flaw if the “Cookie Section” of
your recipes is the biggest and most used section?

I think not.

One thing that really impressed me when snipping out these old recipe pages and pasting them in the new binder, was how many ladies are represented in my “Cookie Section.” My Mom and my girls. Grandmoms and Teen-agers. Old and Young. Best friends and Ladies I just met. So many memories in a rather large stack of cookie recipes. Those recipes represent Christmas from my childhood, tea parties with my girls, “Wow, I really need that recipe,” mega-cooking adventures, Civil War balls, snow days, dinner with friends,  and because-we-need-cookies-right-now-why-won’t-the-butter-soften-any-faster?

Cookie Section

If you look closely, your name might be in that pile!

:-)

If not, it’s probably in the “Dessert Section.”

A Mood Board, of sorts…

One of my girls enlightened me on “Mood Boards” this past year.

I think I sort of knew about them, but for some reason never saw the importance of creating a mood board when coming up with a new design, a fresh brand, or a  snappy decorating scheme. Jo uses them with her graphic design clients to get a feel for who they are and what they are looking for in a logo or blog header. And today, while shuffling stuff around (Expert Stuff Shuffler here.) I gathered a few things that I LOVE and that have been an inspiration for Something-In-The-Works.

I’ve had this wonderful calligraphy mat for a while…

mat

…And lots of Verbage/Words/Signage…

etc

…And am slowly adding to a collection…

cups

…And a historic print that I have LOVED since childhood
has been developed into textiles…

inspiration

… which jumpstarted the Something-In-The-Works!

Any guesses?

:-)

A Love/Hate Relationship…

Contact Paper.

Need I say more?

Nothing freshens up old cupboards like brand new Contact Paper.
One of my girls bought me several rolls of this happy
vintage green Magic Cover Contact Paper at the
Dollar Store because it looked like me…

Contact2

I saved it for a while because it had to go in just the right spot.

And I had to be in just the right mood.

Because there are a several important
steps to applying Contact Paper properly.

Step #1. Measure Carefully, taking note of
indentations in the structure of the cupboard floor.

Step #2. Cut out the first piece of Contact Paper
completely backward just for practice.
(This piece can be used later for a smaller area.)

Step #3. Cut out a new piece of Contact Paper
with the proper dimensions, right side up.

Step #4. Peel off the backing carefully and prepare
to apply the contact paper to the bottom of cupboard.

Step #5. Stick Contact Paper to your head, arms,
and any other available extremity, as well as to itself
before applying to the surface you had planned on covering.

Contactpaper

After the battle is over application is complete
you will love the results! Fresh cupboards!

I Always Wanted to Remodel an Old Farmhouse…

… But I was thrilled when we were able to build our new home…

…Nearly twenty-three years ago!

And the last couple of years, as we’ve been making
a few changes here and there, guess what?

I get to remodel an “old” farmhouse!

:-)

We’re trying our best to employ our “Thistle Dew” motto as we switch things around. Minimal cost… Maximum use. No wasted space. Use what we have to the best advantage. Over the years, we’ve swapped bedrooms few times. The attached garage became an art room. The original art room (the Work Room, as it has been called over the years) became a sewing room, and then a catch-all room. The Grand Plan now is to create a master bedroom downstairs, with as little new footprint as possible, but also without deconstructing the entire house at once. Why? Because us empty nesters need two empty bedrooms upstairs. Really. We do. There’s a Reason. And for now it’s a one-step-at-a-time process.

Before we took off for California earlier this month to see our Grandboys, Hubby and I tackled the upstairs “work room,” that crazy, pretty, big room that has been a little bit of everything to our family. We crafted up there, homeschooled up there, sewed up there… it was even a makeshift bedroom when a daughter decided she needed her own space. It was time to get that room under control!

Room2We gave it a fresh coat of paint and put in a window…
…Which Hubby accidentally ordered by mistake for a
construction job he was doing a while back.

When we returned from our trip, we tackled the floor…

FloorBeforeThe floor held evidence of craft projects from the past.
Tiny graffiti artists had left their marks as well.
However, the tongue and groove floor is also the ceiling in the art room below,
so I was reluctant to brush liquid stain on it in fear of it dripping through.

PaintI opted for using black semi-gloss paint, applied sparingly with a brush.

Floorafter

It actually turned out better than I expected,
and took less than half a quart of paint!

Floor MidwayThis is what the surface looked like… Almost finished!

deskareaAnd now the fun of putting everything back
together and organizing my art stuff!
Yep… The studio is moving back to the work room!

Thistle Dew…

Thistle Dew

This’ll Do.

That little phrase… a play on words, really…
first gave a name to our little farmette,
and then to our business.

That phrase had connotations of contentment,
of making do, of being satisfied, of just enough…
of a Goldilocks sort of not too big, not too small,
not too hard, not to soft, not to hot, not too cold…

…Just right.

Thistle Dew was a balance our family was seeking, of living life at a speed in which we could enjoy the moments. A merry-go-round that was moving along at a good pace, but going slowly enough that you could step off from time to time without fear of injury. Where you could grab a friend and jump back on for a bit of fun, walk around on the ride and choose a different horse, and even wave and talk to those on the ground.

Somewhere along the way, the merry-go-round
morphed into a dizzying tilt-a-whirl.

Activities became obligations and our calendars filled to the brim. Every day held something important… sometimes several somethings. The To-Do List was growing by leaps and bounds and seemed to be taking on a life of its own. At the same time, our closets and cubbies and attic and under-the-beds became over-stuffed and overflowing. We multi-tasked and scheduled and organized and pedaled as hard and as fast as we could, but eventually realized we were getting tired of the too much and needed the just enough again.

Just enough for what really matters…

Family

Friends

Angels Unaware

A while back, we realized we needed time to laugh and drink tons of coffee and hold little hands and take naps and bake cookies and just plain be. We began the process of clearing clutter and our schedules to make some space for real living, as well as the possibility of new and exciting adventures. We wanted to be able to say “Yes” to the right things instead of “Sorry… there’s no room… I don’t have time…” Not that our lives would not be sometimes hectic or that we would reach some sort of slow living utopia, but so we would have time to breath and enjoy life.

Last year, I chose “Home” as my one word for 2013. Looking back, I think focusing on Home, and everything it meant to us, was an important step in us getting back to just enough….

…to “this’ll do.”

Thistle Dew…

…My new/old One Word/Phrase for 2014

Snipping

A Finished Project… And a Just Begun Project!

Since our youngest daughter Kate got married and moved out, we’ve been slowly but surely working on remodeling the upstairs. Plugging along, like Aesop’s Tortoise… and we know eventually we’ll get to the finish line. (And then we’ll move downstairs… but don’t mention that to my carpenter… he needs to see some light at the end of the tunnel!)

First, we worked on Kate and her sister Jordan‘s old room. And we moved in… How nice to have a bit of extra space to spread out! Then we began working on our old room. That went a bit faster because we had a deadline… Grandboys were coming to visit and needed a place to sleep! After Hubby ripped up the old carpet and sanded the pine floor, my Dad came over and helped me paint!

When we pulled the carpet up in the now-spare bedroom, we decided there was no time like the present to yank it off the steps as well. Our motto is, “If you’re gonna make a mess, you might as well make a big one.” So we did, and Hubby sanded the steps too. And we’ve been trudging up and down the bare construction steps since May. The California Kids went home mid-June, and then we had some wedding-related company, who may or may not have pondered taking up a collection for us, considering the state of our steps and the last remnant of original flooring in the upstairs bathroom. When it was back to just the two of us, I started the task of painting the steps.

Which, by the way, can be interesting. We went with an oil-based paint for durability, since the steps are a high-traffic area in our home. Each coat took quite a while to dry, and with each coat, I had to alternate steps so we could still get upstairs and downstairs. (Incidentally, if you go upstairs and downstairs by skipping steps for several days in a row, you will become well acquainted with muscles you didn’t know you had.) We also were careful to not paint on days when there was a possibility of little visitors or pregnant visitors due to the smelly-ness of the paint.

So. It took a while.

And then came the fun part! We’ve been trying to decide what to do to snazzy up those plain steps for quite a while. I had pinned a whole bunch of ideas on Pinterest the past few months. Maybe a carpet runner? A painted runner? Stenciling? Words? What words? One day toward the end of July, my friend Beth posted a photo of steps with the “In our home…” motif on my Facebook page. It was perfect! Almost. I thought I wanted a slightly more industrial feel to the lettering, so I went looking for it on Etsy, and found one I loved! And it was perfect! Almost. We had 14 steps instead of 13. And the shop graciously added another “step” for me in a custom listing!

I couldn’t wait to get started!
It took a bit of measuring…

Process1

And a bit of patience…

Process2

But it began to shape up nicely…

CloseUp2

And I love the finished project…It’s good to get things done!

StepsDone

And if you look closely, you’ll notice a bit of dirt on the steps…

CloseUp1

But that’s okay, because it means my carpenter has moved on
to the next project… A new bathroom floor!!!!!

Floor1

I think I need to take this man out to dinner!

MyGuy

A “Slow Down” sort of Day…

Sometimes you just need one.

A “Slow Down” sort of day.

A day to just do the next thing without
rushing or running or going or fretting.

The past few weeks, I’ve been working on
a new series of prints about “Slowing Down”…

…About enjoying the simplest things in life instead of
dashing through them or rushing past them…

Slowing down long enough to Pick Some Flowers.

SlowDownPickFlowersOlive

Slowing down long enough to Listen to the Birds.

SlowDownListentotheBirdsAqua

Slow down long enough to Hand out the Wash.

SlowDownHangWashRed

What sort of things do YOU want to slow down and enjoy?

(They might just become a print!)

Photo by our daughter, Kate, of Corner Chair!

Photo by our daughter, Kate, of Corner Chair!

Blossom…

This past Sunday, Hubby’s Mom and Dad had a little garden party…

…In fact, the garden WAS the party!

Azaleas

I mean, look at all that COLOR!

Winter Berry

The sky was a little gray that afternoon,
but that seemed to make the colors even more vibrant!

Lambs Ear

Mom and Dad have a knack for creating color contrasts in the garden!

Lilac

Everything was in bloom, and very fragrant!

White Flowers

Even the tiniest of blossoms…

Bleeding Heart

… seem to tug at your heartstrings.

Outside In

So I went home, and brought some Outside In.

Go not abroad for happiness,
for see,
it is a flower blooming at thy door.
~Minot Savage~