I have to admit, this whole blogging thing has been really hard for me since moving to NC. Not sure why - maybe because the scope and magnitude of the house projects here have been pretty, um, overwhelming and time consuming. And all I really want to do is paint artwork, do fabric designing, and sew. But I can't focus on that stuff until I get the house in a happy place. Yes, I'm slightly insane.
I pretty much took the summer off to spend time with my kids (that's a separate post) and work on outside stuff (no, I haven't even touched the firepit in months...waiting for cooler weather), so now that they're all in school (even Hazel this year!) I'm working hard to get all my house projects finished. That, by the way, was a ridiculous sentence what with the 3 paranthetical insertions...but it's a blog and not a book so I figure I can get away with it.
In my extended absence from blogland I have probably frustrated a good number of faithful readers, and to those people I apologize - I'll try to be better about documenting my creative endeavors.
This post is especially dedicated to Bev ("Just wanted to clarify (in case you've been wondering!). You are not off the hook with this blog just because I haven't been commenting when I check in on you! Once your children are back in school......just saying! LOL - just kidding! Hope all is well. I do miss your posts but I'm very patient. Take care.")
...and to Jennifer ("Since I have been living vicariously in your world after stumbling across your blog I keep checking and no updates... you're killing me... lolol... JK... just wanted you to know I love your whole entire site... thanks for sharing it all")
because they made me laugh and gave me the needed kick in the pants to get back at it. Sometimes it's hard to keep spending so much time and energy feeding the blog when all I usually deal with are annoying spam comments (plus it seems like I'm busier than ever) so it's really nice to know there are real people out there who actually take the time to keep up with my little creative chronicle here. Soooo, without further ado, here's what I've been up to lately....
Remember this? The Project that opened up the whole can o' worms with the rot all along the backside of the house.
Ah, the memories. Living with construction dust and displaced furniture for months....such fun.
As usual, the individual portions of this project ended up taking longer than expected. I chose this marble mosaic tile (from Lowes) because it was drystacked and I wouldn't have to grout it. I REALLY don't like grouting. After cutting a million little pieces to fit the gaps you see above (with my fingers a fraction of an inch away from the powerful wet saw = unnerving at best) I realized that even the tiniest little crack between the stones showed up way too much, especially around the little half-inch pieces that I had to use to fill the gaps in the middle.
So, you guessed it...I had to grout the whole stinking thing because once I fixed all the big gaps, all the other smaller gaps looked bad in comparison. It took me 2 hours to take little bits of silicone unsanded grout and force it into the gaps with my fingertips, then quickly rub all the excess off with a damp rag before the grout dried. Thankfully I had remembered to seal the stone first so, although it was a chore, it wasn't hard to clean off the smooth stones, and even the textured ones came clean with some work. Now you can't even see any gaps at all, right? Just say yes. Please.
ps. the lines you do see in the photo are shadows from pieces that stick out further than others. Just in case you were wondering. :-)
Here we have the evolution of all the trimwork. There are some things I'd do differently now, but it is what it is at this point. Again, this part took much longer than anticipated. Lots of decisions about which trim to put where, and then there was the cutting, nailing, caulking, and nail-hole filling to do. And the 3 coats of paint afterwards, of course.
Voila! A finished living room at last. Not bad for a couple hundred dollars in materials, eh? The tile cost $100 and the wood was another $150 or so. I adore traditional mantels, and I'm so excited to finally have a big one of my own. Can't wait to decorate for the holidays now!
The kid's playhouse is, at long last, (pretty much) done. Steve kindly got up on the roof and put the last 4 boards on, because that's the part I couldn't do and still get down through the middle of the roof (while there was still a gap there). Any of you who have climbed onto a roof and then tried to get back down to the ladder propped up against the roof will probably know what I'm talking about. I don't like heights and I really don't like trying to get my feet back on the ladder rungs while dangling halfway off the (smooth, slick) roof with nothing to hang onto.
The girls helped me paint it and they were such troopers - I expected them to last half an hour at the most but they kept brushing away for several hours right alongside me! It's amazing how long it took to paint that thing. Can you tell I'm getting really tired of painting things (other than artwork, that is)? On the second day I used a roller on all the big flat areas, which was a lot faster. All the dimensional posts and beams, however, had to be brushed to get all the corners and crannies.
Can you tell where I ran out of paint? I should go buy more, but I really don't feel like spending another $35 on a gallon of paint just for the roof. In time, the wood will fade to a color close to the painted stuff. It will have to do!
Not bad climbing for a 5 year old, eh? Hazel is fearless.
She also loves getting her picture taken now. "Take a picture of me on the swing, Mom!" "Now take one of me on the monkey bars!" "And the trampoline!"
Here's a (dark) photo of the little patio I installed behind the house. I got a great deal on the faux flagstone on craigslist last summer and finally took the time to install it and landscape around it. Sorry, didn't think to take any "before" pics of that side of the house.
Here's the current state of the front of the house. I went back and found a picture of what it looked like a year ago...pretty amazing how much everything has grown! All that time watering, weeding, and talking to my little agricultural darlings has paid off.
Okay, that's it for now - I have 2 birthday celebrations to do this weekend (Hyrum and Hazel's birthdays are a day apart) and lots to do! I have several more projects I'm in the middle of, hopefully will get those done and documented soon. Thanks for your patience!