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Posts Tagged ‘renovations’


Projects and Recipes

I have wanted a laundry room counter with storage and enough space to fold clothing with this many kids.  The hubby and I hit a place in Grand Rapids named, “Restore”. It is a store attached to Habitat for Humanity and they resell items removed or not used in building new homes.  They make a bit of money to be able to build new homes for people and they also have some awesome deals on things. I found a bunch of old kitchen cabinets and told Macgyver I had to have them.  Next I told him he needed to grab a piece of plywood for my counter top and he didn’t understand why I didn’t just let him get me a normal counter top.  Normal? Me? sometimes I just don’t know who this man is.  I had the image in my mind of what I wanted and refused to tell him other than how the build should go.  I wanted something functional but also a keepsake for me.  Everyone is working on wood with stains and making beautiful pieces of artwork.  They blend stain colors to create flowers and such.  However, that sort of art is way out of my reach. So, I got to thinking how much I love my kids and the age ranges they are right this moment are priceless. I wanted a way to preserve them, something useful, doesn’t need dusting and could live on long after I am gone in the house.  Here is what I came up with…

Here is what I started with.

Here is what I started with.

I recruited help from the 5 year  old, Minnie Mouse.

I recruited help from the 5 year old, Minnie Mouse.

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She insisted we use her left over bedroom paint a seafoam color, it is pretty though.

She insisted we use her left over bedroom paint a sea-foam color, it is pretty though.

All 3 cabinets together, painted and a plywood top srewed down. I gathered all the girls.

All 3 cabinets together, painted and a plywood top screwed down. I gathered all the girls.

Pulled out an old dogfoord bag and smeared paint on it. By this time they were looking at me very strange.

Pulled out an old dogfood bag and smeared paint on it. By this time they were looking at me very strange.

Have them one by one, step in the paint, lift them to the counter and walk down it.

Have them one by one, step in the paint, lift them to the counter and walk down it.

Once everyone but the manchild walked the counter top, I had him dip his hands and put his thumbs together, spread out his fingers like a butterfly would look and he stamped one set of his hands in the corner. It does look like a butterfly but you can see his hands nicely.

Once everyone but the manchild walked the counter top, I had him dip his hands and put his thumbs together, spread out his fingers like a butterfly would look and he stamped one set of his hands in the corner. It does look like a butterfly but you can see his hands nicely.

Next I took a darker stain and brushed over the whole thing. Let it set for about 20 minutes and wiped it down with a cloth. The prints look old antiqute-ish.

Next I took a darker stain and brushed over the whole thing. Let it set for about 20 minutes and wiped it down with a cloth. The prints look old antique-ish

After drying I put 2 coats of polyurethane over it.

After drying I put 2 coats of polyurethane over it.

Then I called it a day.  My new, recycled laundry counter with storage and keepsake footprint top.  Love it!!!

Then I called it a day. My new, recycled laundry counter with storage and keepsake footprint top. Love it!!!

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Projects & Recipes

I am sure most of you know how to make tissue paper flowers, but for those of you who don’t, today is your day.  One of my daughters had her best friend over and they wanted to be crafty…enter tissue paper flowers.  Our eight year old, our nature girl, wanted big flowers on her bedroom wall around her headboard of her bed…enter tissue paper flowers.

You start by pulling out 5 or 6 sheets and stacking them up. If you would like the center of your flower a different color, change out a sheet.

You start by pulling out 5 or 6 sheets and stacking them up. If you would like the center of your flower a different color, change out a sheet.

Next you want to fold the paper legnth wise. Remember making the paper fans? Fold forward, then under, forward and under. I had the girls fold an inch or so before creasing the paper.

Next you want to fold the paper length wise. Remember making the paper fans? Fold forward, then under, forward and under. I had the girls fold an inch or so before creasing the paper.

Ah the glory days, the paper fan. When you are don folding, fold your paper in half to find your middle.

Ah the glory days, the paper fan. When you are don folding, fold your paper in half to find your middle.

Use a twist tie, piece of floral wire and tie around the center.  Once I found my hole punch I used that, but you reall don't need one.

Use a twist tie, piece of floral wire and tie around the center. Once I found my hole punch I used that, but you really don’t need one.

Trim your ends in a curve or point. Whatever you think will look good, scalloped...

Trim your ends in a curve or point. Whatever you think will look good, scalloped…

Next, lay your paper on the counter and from one end, lift up 1 sheet to the middle. Remember the paper is thin so try not to rip it.  Lift it up and hold down the other sheets with your free hand.  Gently pull or tug it to the center.

Next, lay your paper on the counter and from one end, lift up 1 sheet to the middle. Remember the paper is thin so try not to rip it. Lift it up and hold down the other sheets with your free hand. Gently pull or tug it to the center.

Repeat lifting the layers for each one.  Once one side is done, turn and do the same to the other side.

Repeat lifting the layers for each one. Once one side is done, turn and do the same to the other side.

This is what you should have when you are done lifting all of the layers from both sides.  Don't be afraid to mash it a little to get a rounder shape to your flower. You will notice when you look at the bottom of your flower, it is mostly flat, perfect for mounting. Go forth and paper flower the world, well in my case an 8 year olds bedroom wall.

This is what you should have when you are done lifting all of the layers from both sides. Don’t be afraid to mash it a little to get a rounder shape to your flower. You will notice when you look at the bottom of your flower, it is mostly flat, perfect for mounting. Go forth and paper flower the world, well in my case an 8 year olds bedroom wall.

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Projects & Recipes

I have been wanting a wood breakfast bar in the kitchen window ever since we moved into this school.  The kitchen window is prefect for it, and didn’t take much convincing on my part to Macgyver.  We used standard 2 x 6’s to build it.  Macgyver used a 2 x 4 for the back brace and under bracing.  Once he screwed it together, routered the trim, we sanded and sanded.  I pulled out my trusty clear polyurethane and went to work.  Finally with it finished, this morning was mounting day.  A few weeks ago Macgyver had de-barked some logs and cut them to size.  I bleached, dried  and  polyurethane them for the side legs.  Next step is to order some bar stools and the kids can eat there before school.

Here is the window I want the breakfast bar at. The lone log to the right is already to go, and there is one for the left side as well.

Here is the window I want the breakfast bar at. The lone log to the right is already to go, and there is one for the left side as well.

Bar has been mounted and already in use without chairs.  My Mother-in-Law gave me some silk ivy, I put it up over the window to help give life to the massive concrete wall.

Bar has been mounted and already in use without chairs. My Mother-in-Law gave me some silk ivy, I put it up over the window to help give life to the massive concrete wall.

And, more kids trickle in to test out the breakfast bar.

And, more kids trickle in to test out the breakfast bar.

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I knew I would find a use for those super long velances I bought at the garage sale 2 months ago.  Lace velances are great table runners and also breakfast bar runners :)

I knew I would find a use for those super long valances I bought at the garage sale 2 months ago. Lace valances are great table runners and also breakfast bar runners 🙂

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Projects & Recipes

Macgyver had a slab of wood from a tree and I suggested he turn it into a temporary shelf for my birds.  I wanted them closer to the wood stove and on an inside wall.  Living in an old school made of brick and concrete, the outside walls tend to be much colder than the inside walls.  At least for now, until we cover them, but that will take time.

The wall next to the wood burner is the perfect spot and it is in the corner. Bonus for the birds, this spot also gets a ton of natural light.

The wall next to the wood burner is the perfect spot and it is in the corner. Bonus for the birds, this spot also gets a ton of natural light.

Macgyver cutting the shelf so it is flush to the wall. He better do a good job, Orthos is supervising the job.

Macgyver cutting the shelf so it is flush to the wall. He better do a good job, Orthos is supervising the job.

The shelf is roughly a three inch thick slab, so long heavy selfving brackets will have to be used. I'll have to paint them later once I have some spray paint.

The shelf is roughly a three-inch thick slab, so long heavy shelving brackets will have to be used. I’ll have to paint them later once I have some spray paint.

1 doggie supervisor, 1 macgyver, 1 heavy wood slab & 4 brackets later ... and the birds have a new home.

1 doggie supervisor, 1 Macgyver, 1 heavy wood slab & 4 brackets later … and the birds have a new home.

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Projects & Recipes

Yep, I said it, I have a skunk in my house.  Trust me, it’s not what you think.  Since Macgyver is moving my laundry room from the other end of the house to a small room the front of the house, I have been getting it ready.  The new laundry room is made up of a normal size bedroom and a small bathroom.  The large part of the room will now be my folding area, with couch included since i live in the laundry room.  The old bathroom was ripped out and he installed a base shelf to put the washer & dryer up on for me.

I have the larger room decorated and needed something small for the actual washer & dryer room.  It got me to thinking, and I thought to myself “how do you really feel about laundry”?

This handy little reminder of truth was done, completely in Sharpie markers.

This handy little reminder of truth was done, completely in Sharpie markers.

Now, see, don't you feel better about your life?  Just keep in mind that these two children will be taking care of me when I am older.

Now, see, don’t you feel better about your life? Just keep in mind that these two children will be taking care of me when I am older.

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Projects & Recipes

We are moving the laundry room this summer, which means I have plenty of time to decorate the new room with stuff, like a new easy wall hanging.  I tell the kids every Sunday before I start laundry, “bring me your dirty clothes, all of them or come next week you might be going to school naked”.  After finding an old mounted picture in a closet from when our house was a school, I decided to recycle the whole sha-bang.

What you will need:

picture frame with glass

poster board

paint to cover the poster board with

sharpie marker – I used black

Doing the deed:

First paint one side of your poster board in a solid color.  Next use masking tape to lay straight lines on your glass.  I am not a good freehand lettering person so I laid my stencils out on the straight line of tape.  Trace your letters, backward with a sharpie marker.  Remove the tape and finish filling in your lettering with your sharpie.  Wipe off all fingerprints from the glass and lay it in your frame, then your poster board and lastly the backing to your frame.  My huge frame was old and yucky so I spray painted it a gloss silver.  Get creative and add some other decorative items to the glass.  Some leaves, flowers and swirls look lovely.  Since it is my laundry room I didn’t get too creative, just keeping it simple.  Have fun with it!

Words my kids live by

Words my kids live by

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Everyday dose of Reality

The other day I received a call from the 1800’s and it wanted me to come visit.  I don’t know if anything is worse than having a bunch of kids, living out in the woods and your laundry machine refusing to do its job.  I was lucky enough to get to experience, again, washing clothing in the kitchen sink by hand.  I am pretty sure at some point everyone has done this or will get to.

Now years ago Macgyver and I had one of those old barrel washers with the ringer mounted to the top.  I thought it was such a pain with jeans and blankets but boy, I tell you I missed it the other day.

washerYou see, because of the way the plumbing was done in this old school and where they chose to bring the lines up from the tunnel system, there are sections that have frozen.  There is nothing that can be done to thaw them and this is the first time it has happened.  Then again last week we had temp with the windchill at 50 below zero.  Last Spring I had finally finished one room, as a guest room, in this old school and I was beyond thrilled.  Every other room is a long work in progress due to the concrete structure we are working with.  As it turns out, the front quest room I had completed, this Spring will be converted into a laundry room.  I am back to square one.

100_3551This would be how my kitchen sinks look the other day.  Filled with kids school clothing that needed to be washed.  Running to town and hitting the laundry mat is really not an option.  After a 30 minute drive it would not only cost me $3.39 a gallon in gas but for a single load to wash it would be an extra $3.75.  With a tribe of children it turns into a small fortune.  So, I washed, scrubbed, rinsed and rung by hand.  Macgyver and I will be moving the washing machine from the laundry room, at the far end of the school, today.  I have cleaned an area out in the freezer room off of the kitchen where it will live until spring.  Then once the temps warm up we can start to tear up the guest room and attached bathroom.

On the up side of things, with the extremely strange water leaks this year he has begun adding shut off valves.  This is a good thing, since there were no shut off valves anywhere.  At least for next winter we will be able to shut the other end of the house down and the water, since we have done nothing to that end yet but demoing the hallway.  A few weeks ago we started popping up the old tile floor to prep for radiant floor heating.  Other than demo and laundry, nothing goes on down at the other end yet.  Yet 🙂

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Everyday dose of Reality

I must be the only person in the world who can go buy a brand new puzzle and put it together to find one or more pieces missing.  There have been several occasions this has happened to me, and they are not small insignificant puzzles mind you.  I’m sure some of you think puzzles are insignificant to begin with.  Then again I’ll bet your bottom dollar you are trying to make a school hallway not look like a tunnel.  Here is my thought on the puzzle thing.  The halls in this house/old school are massive and you do tend to get a tunnel effect when the sun is not bursting in the windows.  To counter the tunnel effect which is only highlighted by putrid green tile, I have been buying huge puzzles to put together, glue & mount on the walls as some type of art.  Anything to draw the eye away from 320 feet of hallway with green tile has to look better.

The puzzle with no missing pieces.

The puzzle with no missing pieces.

I went on a puzzle hunt and found some beautiful Thomas Kinkade’s.   I’ll admit his paintings are breathtaking but I have to say … in puzzle form, they are pure evil!  All those colors, blending, folds and crests in waves & clouds.  Don’t even get me started on the rainbow of flowers in just one puzzle.  Suffice it to say I have just finished my second one by Mr. Makemegoblindandgivemeaheadachethesizeoftexas Kinkade.  The first one was fine after you eat enough aspirin, but the second GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.  I finished it last night and there are 2 pieces missing.  Now, I can make something out of nothing given the proper mindset and let’s face it I’m working with minimal mind left.  I CANNOT draw to save my life.  I am not joking in the slightest.  If I were ever taken hostage and some knife welding person said, “draw me a horse, cat, or house” I would be a dead woman.  He would get a stick horse, the ass end of what I would call a cat and the dilapidated drunk version of some Dr. Seuss house.  Dead woman.

What am I supposed to do with a puzzle missing 2 pieces?  Toss it in the trash?  There are two options here as far as I am concerned and calling the manufacturer is not one of them.  Yes people, I have been down that road and pulled my hair out over the mapping grid sent to me for a puzzle to figure out what piece is missing, to be able to place a “missing piece” order.  Never again.  No, no.  My options as far as I can see were, taking the puzzle apart and use the pieces to make some type of layered frame for something.  Or … attempt to recreate the missing pieces.  Well you know me, pencil and Xacto knife here I come.  It was a lapse in judgement let’s say, but here I am the next day and there is no turning back.  The puzzle is already glued and to the mat as well.  Armed with a pencil, Xacto knife I cut out 2 pieces that didn’t fit mind you.  Good thing I only wasted an hour & 20 minutes over that 🙂

Next I only had one thing left at my disposal.  A 24 pack of Crayola crayons, non of the colors I needed were in the box, naturally.  Keep in mind since I am not artistic that also means me ability to mix colors with wax crayons is limited as well.  So here is the end result.  You can’t tell at all can you?  Just do me this one favor and lie to me.

Can you see the 2 missing pieces?

Can you see the 2 missing pieces?

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Everyday dose of Reality

Once again it is time to take out the old and just keep on taking it out because there is so damn much of it.  Macgyver wants to put in radiant floor heating in this old school-house.  To do that, since the floors are a few feet thick concrete but covered with the best colorful vinyl tile the 60’s had to offer… it all needs to come up.  Well this weekend it is 40 below with the windchill and none of us are going outside to work, looks like a good time to get started on a floor tear down.

Thanks to last winters epic floods in the hallway and the awesome choice of water-soluble tile glue used years ago, the tiles are just popping up.  We are able to lay the tile chisel thingy down and walk right down the hall, leaving a wave of tiles in our wake.  It is kinda fun, and I have found the manchild & Macgyver running, leaving a rooster tail of tiles flying behind them.  This is a huge project to remove all the tile on the floor in the whole place, but we have a long time until Spring and I think we can get almost all of it done.  Once again, aren’t you glad you’re not me and don’t live in my house 🙂

This is the end of the school house we have done nothing with yet.  Picture was taken outside the laundry room.  We have almost half of the hallway tore up at this point.

This is the end of the school-house we have done nothing with yet. Picture was taken outside the laundry room. We have almost half of the hallway tore up at this point.

This is the last section to rip up before we head into classrooms.  In the classrooms the flooring is partially tile and the other half, funky old carpet.  Let's start with the tiles and work our way to the carpet.

This is the last section to rip up before we head into classrooms. In the classrooms the flooring is partially tile and the other half, funky old carpet. Let’s start with the tiles and work our way to the carpet.

Poor Orthos sitting outside the laundry room door.  He had this look on his face as if to say, "Not matter what you may think, I DID NOT MAKE THIS MESS"!

Poor Orthos sitting outside the laundry room door. He had this look on his face as if to say, “Not matter what you may think, I DID NOT MAKE THIS MESS”!

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Everyday dose of Reality

I speak the truth when I say Hobart industrial dishwashers are not for everyone and I fall into that category it would seem.  Not your average house dishwasher, but I got to thinking, a dangerous activity for me, I know.  Our real kitchen dishwasher is new and is energy saving but how well can it save energy if it takes over an hour to wash?  Macgyver has on a few occasions tried to get me to use the Hobart monster and I have to say, the thing is intimidating.  But I am the conquering type of person and since it was left behind when our home was a school, I figured I could handle it.  i mean come on how hard could it be?  I survived not only the 70’s, it’s horrible fashions and have birthed a team of children.  One washer couldn’t be that bad.  Once again thinking had gotten me into trouble.

Let me be honest here for a moment.  This time I am not to blame for the trouble.  I am going to blame Macgyver’s cousin and I am calling her out.  CAROL!  She has worked in nursing homes, hospitals & schools over the years.  This time when she came to visit she started salivating over the Hobart.  On and on she went about how much time it would save me and how fast it washes.  Finally I gave in and I pulled out my handy dandy industrial washing trays for her to show me how to load the suckers.

The Hobart

Side view of the machine and yes it is a pass through unit. Don’t be impressed. It should translate to you that water can shoot out of both sides of the washer. I, however, didn’t think of that at first.

Here is a picture that shows the sink with garbage disposal and fire hose like faucet. The sprayer takes some getting used to since it pushes water out at 3,000,000,000 PSI if you get too trigger happy. Which, by the way, CAROL did get too trigger happy. The woman was hosing stuff down like she was putting out a damn fire. OK, so dishes are loaded. Now to turn it all on, how hard can that be?

What you do not see is this tiny plastic valve thingy on top, and yep that is the technical term.  When Macgyver lowered the side doors down and hit the switch, he left the room with CAROL.  I stood at the garbage disposal sink that could eat a 1974 Buick ocean going land vessel without twitching, lightly spraying off my dishes to load up for the next round.  Who in their right mind leaves me of all people, in a room with something electronic with my death touch, and something so big with all that water?  Well the top hose shot off the valve and water started shooting across the room and while I was jamming my finger over the hole, shit really hit the fan.  By covering the hole with my finger the water was now in a halo spraying up the kitchen wall to the ceiling, and coming back down on my head.  I started yelling, “HELP! EMERGENCY SWITCH, EMERGENCY SWITCH! HELP!”.  Macgyver slid into the room to find me getting hosed and CARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRROL stood laughing in the doorway.  It was a long night doing dishes but in the end…the dishes were clean, as well as the floor, wall, ceiling and myself.  I was able to conquer the Hobart but not without Macgyver’s supervision.

On the up side of things, using the Hobart has upped our parental torture level issued to the older kids. We can wash an entire days load of dishes in roughly 8 minutes for the kids to put away. They are not too happy so don’t be fooled by the man-child’s fake smile. I asked him to smile and he said, “sure mom” dripping with disdain.

 

 

 

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