Archive for ‘Tour de house’

January 5, 2016

Updates – House Edition

Projects have been happening inside the house as well as outside, especially since cold weather set in. As I’ve mentioned, I’m a semi-stay-at-home mom now, and over the summer I was taking all online courses, which meant I had quite a bit of flexibility during the day to putter around. I didn’t do anything major, just a few little things here and there, like framing some of our photos and hanging them, shuffling furniture around, putting up a shelf…you know, typical housewife stuff, ha.


I even finished slipcovering the large couch. Finally! Slipcovers are essential when you have pets. And babies. Actually, they’re essential when humans are inhabiting your house in general.



Although I feel I have less large blocks of free time now, I do have more little bursts of it, and I’m actually in the house more often to tackle small projects. For example, I turned the entryway of our kitchen into a disco club:


See, there’s no overhead light in the entry, and the lighting in the kitchen itself is garish. I finally decided I’d had enough oppression, so I fixed it. I quite like the result. Mr. Smith found it entertaining.

Speaking of the kitchen, our small dining table got a bum leg back in June, so we swapped it out with a folding table we’ve been using for hangouts in the backyard. The idea was that Jason would fix the little table, but we all decided we liked the big white table so much that I gave it a fresh coat of paint and called it even.


I was hesitant to leave it at first; we don’t have a large kitchen, and I didn’t like the idea of taking up more floor space than necessary. However, six months later, I don’t regret making the swap in the least. It’s another surface to use when cooking, it looks awesome, and we can easily accommodate friends at a meal. The only downside of having a white table is that it begins to look “distressed” pretty quickly. Kid life, you know?

We’ve also been playing move the baby’s room for a few months. Finn started out sleeping in our bedroom. When she was about seven months old, we moved her into the nursery. It wasn’t a fun decision, but she was keeping us awake, and we were keeping her awake, and moving her into her own room actually helped everyone sleep better. Her nursery is the room that we were using as a sort of dining room/laundry room/game room/room to put random crap in. I never really liked it until it became hers. We got her a rug, and it was an incredibly cozy, fun space.


And then we moved her out of it.


Mr. Smith has been wanting to knock out the wall between the living room and her room for some time, and replace it with a two-sided bookcase. The rooms will still be separate, but the wall will become a built in. He started the whole process in December, beginning with moving Finn out while construction is underway. We did some shuffling with the office/art room, so now she’s tucked away under the eaves upstairs. My sewing supplies are still residing up there, as well as the guest bed (which comes in handy when your baby won’t go back to sleep at four in the morning and you just need to lie down). Mr.’s desk and all office-related furnishings are hanging out in the corner of what was her room downstairs, because the desk doesn’t need naps, and therefore isn’t affected by the wall being knocked out.

While I prefer her being downstairs, her little nook upstairs isn’t bad at all. It’s a pain trudging up and down the steps with a heavy baby, but she seems to enjoy where she’s at.



Also, we’re getting a bookcase! Do you know that we have about twenty boxes of books in storage? He’s building it out of maple, and designing it from scratch without a pre-printed plan. And no, Mr. Smith is not a professional woodworker. He’s learning as he goes along. He’s probably the only person I know who possesses just the right balance of meticulousness and raw bravery to accomplish such a feat, ha. I’m excited. I know he’ll do well, and I really can’t wait to unpack our books at last! To me, that will be the final stage of moving in.

April 30, 2014

Goodbye, Beige

You would think that with our never-ending winter, we would have started work on painting the hallways of our house sooner…but no, we waited until the past month to finally get around to it. Well, better late than never.

Because nothing makes me happier than covering up dingy neutrals with BRIGHT white.

The downstairs hallways by our bathroom, the stairway, and the upstairs hallway that connects our sewing room and our guest room was painted in a nice, neutral beige. I really didn’t mind the color that much, except that it clashed with the more “primary” look of the rest of the house and it was starting to get stained and gross.

We attacked the downstairs hallway first and had a minor battle with each other over the color of the doors. Jason wanted all brown, I wanted all blue. This was our compromise:

We finally made time to paint our downstairs hallway. I can't believe how much better it looks. Also, my husband is the trim whisperer. Seriously, he never ever uses tape and the lines come out perfect every time.

Once we saw how good it looked, we resolved to do the rest. It took us a few weekends to finally finish – I just put the upstairs hallway back together Thursday night. There was quite a bit of crappy wood trim up there that needed to be sanded and primed before we could paint it.

Finally painting the upstairs hallway. That blue door blows my mind.

The next big hold-up was trying to track down one of those special ladders that would allow us to reach the high ceilings of our stairway. Jason finally rigged up a contraption with our wooden folding ladder, his steel extension ladder, and some four-by-four posts. Needless to say, I let him do all of the painting that involved standing on the posts ;).

Getting there...

Now, I love me some bright white, but once we got in on all of the walls we both felt that it was a little overwhelming. We decided to continue with the green from our living room on the right wall of the stairway, and I’m so glad that we did! I love how clean and crisp it looks with the white.

GREEN in our stairway! I love it.

Then, it was just adding the last few coats to the upstairs hallway. We continued with the brown and blue trim, and did the half-wall in green chalkboard paint. Once I have some spare daylight hours I’ll take pictures of the finished product.

Getting there...just a couple more coats on the baseboards and a coat of chalkboard paint on the green half wall.

Even though painting is quite a bit of work, I’m always amazed at what a difference it makes. We’ve painted almost every room in our house, with the exception of the basement, bathroom, and kitchen. The bathroom and kitchen we might remodel at some point, so we’re leaving those two alone for now. The basement would be fun to paint, but it’s really not a priority at the time. Maybe someday. I’m a fan of warm reds in basements, so maybe we’ll go that route when we get around to it.


February 26, 2013

But it’s just a little room…Part 2

Here’s a sneak peek….

Remember this? And then this?

Well, I actually finished the painting and putting the room back together over a week ago and just haven’t had time to post about it! Here is the guest room/music room with it’s new fabby paint!

This was SUCH a process! Everything needed more coats than I had bargained for, we ended up having to buy more of both the gold and the white paint, the new can of gold paint wasn’t quite the same shade as the original can…geez. And like I mentioned before, there weren’t many clean lines in this room and painting the trim/detailing was a huge pain in the butt. I did most of it myself (without tape!) and was pretty proud of the fact that I could paint straight lines. Jason did the trickiest section for me, though, and touched up my goobers. What a guy!

Even though it was a lot of work, I think it was totally worth it. The room seems twice as big as it did with the dark green paint on the walls. I know a lot of it is just my perception, but it also feels like a “warmer” room. I’m actually EXCITED to have someone come and spend the night in there!

February 18, 2013

The Seed Starting Area – Part 2!

As promised…here is my (cleaned up) seed starting area. I hope it inspires you to dig in the dirt 🙂

I’d like to paint the walls down there someday, but I’m a bit over painting for awhile and it’s not a priority. The vintage botany prints do a great job of cheering up the space in the meantime.

Obviously, I must be doing something right because I went to check on the newly-seeded trays three days after we planted them and saw this:

Yesterday, this same tray looked like this:

My cabbage and broccoli will be a little bit early, so I’ll have to transplant them into bigger containers to buy myself some time before the ground thaws. I didn’t expect them to grow so quickly! I guess it’s a good problem to have.

The onions are slowly making their appearance in the world as well:

Quick tip: Sprinkling cinnamon over your seed trays helps to amend dampening off. It really works! I had a couple of “fuzzy” cells and after sprinkling the whole tray with cinnamon the problem went away. As a bonus, my basement smells yummy. Of course, it’s always good practice  to water from the bottom and to remove the domes after the seeds start germinating.

January 29, 2013

Tour de House – A room to sleep in

I never understand why people have huge, elaborate bedrooms. I mean, I guess it makes sense if it’s a kid’s bedroom because that’s also their “hideout”…but now that I’m an adult and have other rooms to spend time in, I don’t see the sense in big bedroom. We had one once at an apartment that we lived in and a lot of it felt like wasted space. Anyway. Onward.

I’m not typically a “cool” tones type of person, but I did want our bedroom to feel calm and soothing. We chose the bedroom on the northwest corner of the house because it was the quietest room and would be cooler in the summer. Well, the room that we chose was the room of a teenage boy before we slept there and the colors were ANYTHING but cool and soothing!

This is after priming a lot of it. Guys, this room had a teal ceiling, two bright red walls, and two bright blue walls. It was like a circus. And really, who paints a ceiling teal? Gah.

We painted most of the walls and the ceiling a very light grey, which I love for that room but wouldn’t enjoy otherwise. We choose a bold red for the trim, and left one of the blue walls in place.

It’s much better now. We don’t go to bed feeling like we’re supposed to be juggling and blowing fire, ha.

Although I have dedicated this little corner as my gypsy corner. It makes me happy to look at it.

And yes, I have a lot of scarves. Don’t judge me. I think they look good as a decorative element too. So there.

I have a huge closet. I’ve never had this much closet space. All of my clothes are in ONE spot – not scattered in various cupboards and drawers throughout the house. It’s helped me be mindful about what clothes I actually do wear, and I feel I’m getting better about purging the ones I don’t. Jason has a similar sized closet in the front bedroom (which is our “dining room” right now).

In the future, I would like to swap out the blinds with darker curtains. Blinds are ugly, they break too easily, and they’re the biggest pain in the butt to clean. I’d like to use the curtains we had at our old place, but they’re not quite big enough so I would need to get creative and frame them in with some other fabrics.

The one thing I would change is the blue wall. I liked the idea of having blue in the room, but I think I would prefer a deeper, more saturated blue. Jason would rather just paint it grey like the rest of the room, so we’ll see who wins out when we get around to repainting ;).

January 16, 2013

The Seed Starting Area – Part 1

It’s beginning! As I type this, seed orders from around the country are making their way to my door. I’ve made most of my other purchases, with the exception of my seed starting medium. Once I do that, I’ll likely do a whole post recapping what seeds I’ve purchased, what sort of equipment (lighting, heating, plant trays, etc) I went with, and what type of seed starter I’ll be using. To give people a realistic idea of what this all entails, I’m going to be listing the costs as well. I think it’s important to be honest about the fact that starting something like this DOES involve an investment. If everything goes according to plan (meaning most things grow and produce, I’m good about weighing and tracking things, and I’m able to preserve a lot of the harvest) I will hopefully be able to offset the start-up cost within one growing season. Heck, even if it took me two growing seasons, it would be worth it.

I bounce back and forth between being really, really excited and having moments where I panic and think, “what the heck am I doing?” I’ve never grown a garden on this scale before. I’ve never spent so much money on something that could totally backfire. I’ve also never been faced with the possibility of having SO MUCH FOOD in my own backyard. It’s scary to think of the garden not producing but it’s almost just as scary to think of how much it could produce. I guess I can always walk up and down the streets giving away vegetables if it gets out of hand, huh?

But, all of this is neither here nor there. I wanted to show off my light set-up! After trying to start seedlings in a “sunny” window and beneath a really janky clip lamp one year, I learned that you need much more intense, direct lighting or your little seedlings just won’t make it when you send them out into the wide world of the outdoors. I decided that I would try using three shop lights with growing bulbs installed, on adjustable chains so that I could keep the lights right on top of the seedlings while they grew. Jason purchased one of my lights and a set of bulbs for Christmas, I used a gift card to purchase  a second set, and my in-laws surprised me with a “real” grow light set-up, complete with a metal frame and a double-output bulb. I’ll be operating that set-up separately from the other two, mostly because I would like to see if purchasing a light specifically made (and priced!) for seed starting makes a difference. The other two lights are just plain old shop lights from Menards, outfitted with special bulbs. It will be interesting to see if it changes the germination rate at all.

The set from my in-laws had it’s own frame, but I knew I needed a way to hang the other two lights. Inspired by my many years of assembling frost frames at the Berry Patch, I took a cue from Dave and decided to build a light frame out of PVC pipe. I drew up an initial design and handed it over to Boo to tweak and do the measurements for. It was a fun project to brainstorm together; I felt like we each contributed different things and our areas of expertise complimented one another.

After heading out and purchasing said PVC pipes and connectors, Jason made the cuts on his circular saw, I cleaned up the edges, and we assembled them. The result was quite satisfying. It’s really sturdy, yet lightweight. It can be taken down and stored when I’m not using it. And it was fun to build it together!

Since I’m starting seedlings on the cold basement floor, I knew I needed some form of heating under the flats. After much researching and debating of cost, I decided to go the route of using incandescent rope lights in low plastic plastic totes, covered in sand. I decided to do this because a) it was a cheaper way of having more heating area than actual heating mats, b) from what I researched, you can produce almost the same amount of heat and c) I can use the rope lights and the totes for other purposes. So…here’s hoping it does the job!

I’ll do a “Part 2” post when I everything set up and ready to be planted! I also have an old table and stool to sit at for doing my “dirty” work, so to speak. I’d like to  hang some fun pages from my seed catalogs on the walls and make it a more pleasant place and less “Dingy basement-turned-seed-starting-nook”. Here’s hoping!

November 28, 2012

The Little Things

Blurry Baby Spinach

Harmless Box Eldar Beetle

Tea Towels

Pages from a Landreth’s Catalog

Coffee Bag curtains

Vintage veggie drawings Mod-Podged onto my cupboards

Felt coasters

Mason jars serve many, many purposes

This is the part of home ownership that I’m really, really enjoying. We are past the point of unpacking boxes, and doing major painting projects. Mostly now, we’re just doing normal maintenance things – mowing the lawn one last time, cleaning the windows and gutters before winter, and doing general household chores. This has freed up time for me to periodically add a few little touches to the house, here and there. It feels a little bit more like a “home” every weekend.

Some more “small things” I would like to make happen are more houseplants and more photos on display. Also, I am looking forward to painting the guest/music room this winter. It’s such a small room that I’m hoping to get it done in one weekend.

A not-so-small thing that Jason has started work on is setting up a woodworking shop in the basement. He knocked out one of the walls this past weekend to open up the space a little bit. He’ll likely be taking up quite a bit of the space down there, which I’m fine with as long as I have a little corner for seed starting! I figure that I use a lot of the space in our office/sewing room, and plus he’ll be able to make some nice things with a proper work area. I can’t wait to see it set up and in use! And no, it’s not because I have a “honey-do” list of things I’d like him to build…the poor guy has had to do woodworking in less-than-ideal locations ever since we got married! He once cut the wood for a project right in the living room of our tiny studio apartment. THAT was fun. Speaking from experience, having a large, well-organized space to create in is SO important. I’m glad he finally gets to have that space!

November 5, 2012

Tour de House – Guest/Music Room

Although we don’t have a sizable house, we really don’t NEED all of the space that we have. It will be nice if we ever have any kids, but for right now we have the luxury of being able to spread out quite a bit!

The upstairs of our house is divided into two main rooms – the larger room that we use as office/sewing space, and a small room that the previous owners were using as an oversized closet. We decided the small room would be a perfect place to tuck a twin-size bed, as well as our musical instruments.

Neither of us have as much time to play music as we would like to, but I’ve already enjoyed a few quiet evenings hidden up under the eaves in this little space with my guitar. It’s so cozy and private.

It’s also really great to have a dedicated space for a guest to sleep in. In the past, we’ve never really had that. Granted, it’s only a twin-size bed but we have lots of other spaces we could house people if we had to. That’s one awesome thing about having extra room – being able to share it!

The green on the walls is pretty dark, and so I would like to throw some brighter paint on at least some of the walls this winter. We have leftover white, yellow, and red paint, so we’ll see what concoction I can come up with from those choices.

October 29, 2012

Tour de house – Living Room!

That’s right, I’m BACK with the house tour! Sorry it took me so long to get back to this…I needed some better photos of the rooms and in order to take good photos I had to have things somewhat clean and I needed a sunny day and on and on…anyway, I managed to snag photos of two more rooms this past weekend to get me back on track! I also took some outside photos to document the fun stuff we’ve been working on in the yard, so watch for those posts this week!

The living room is a pretty important room, in my opinion. In our little house, it’s the main area we gather in when we have friends over, so it was important for me to feel like I was creating a really welcoming space. When we first moved in, the walls were a dark brown:

The room was cave-like. It felt like all of the amazing exposure from the south and west facing windows just got eaten up in the dark colors. So, we went the opposite direction and inverted both the trim and wall colors – we painted the walls the brightest white we could find, and made the trim a dark brown. Believe me, painting white over dark brown is no easy task! Totally worth the time and hassle, though. Now I feel like the living room is so sunny and warm.

Another thing that was important to me was incorporating lots of color into the room. Neutral colors kind of make me want to vomit if they dominate a space. Shudder. I love bold, primary colors, and so we painted the back wall an epic shade of green and I’ve been incorporating color into most of the decor.

The couches are really nice and sturdy but the design and colors obviously don’t go with anything else in the room. When I have time (and the bravery!) I will be making couch slipcovers out of a natural, tan-colored canvas so I guess I’ll have some neutrals in there. BUT, there are numerous possibilities with the couch pillows for adding color…

We would like to purchase a wood stove sometime soon, to put in the corner where the black chair is now. We agreed that any money we save on our electric bill will go towards the wood stove fund, so I’ve been piling on the layers and blankets while we keep the thermostat at 62 degrees :). A cozy fire is totally worth a few months of chilliness!

Jason is shopping around for a table saw, and then he plans on building bookcases along the northern wall. I’m super excited to unpack all of our books (we have a lot of books!) and have them out when we need them.

I’m really happy with how this room turned out. One of my favorite parts about it is that we don’t have a TV dominating the space! While it would be nice to have one, it’s just not a priority for us right now. We have too many other things to do! When we want to relax, we’re content to just watch a movie on Jason’s laptop.


August 27, 2012

A Tour! Finally! (Creating Room)

Back again with another space in our little home. This space is especially near and dear to me. When we first looked at the house, as soon as we saw the large upstairs bedroom, we both knew it would make for an AMAZING combined workspace for us – a small office area for him and a sewing/creating space for me. Because we’ve always lived in smaller spaces, we often work side by side. He’ll be typing away at his computer and I’ll be wrangling yarn and fabric. Good thing he’s able to tune out my noisy sewing machine :). It’s nice to be able to be together and still get things accomplished.

As far as creating spaces go, this is probably the most perfect space I could ask for. It’s a HUGE room (I think it’s bigger than the living room downstairs) so even with a sewing table, two desks, a couch, and a coffee table, I have lots of floor area to spread fabric out on. The guy we bought the house from was an architect, and was able to carpet the whole room with sample squares. Not only does it look cool, it also helps when I need to cut a straight line. It’s like a giant measuring board. Combine that with two big shelving units already built into one of the walls and it was almost like this room was made for us!

Most of the room is covered in gorgeous pine paneling:

Our old couch that we found on the curb! I can’t wait to sit there and knit on winter evenings. 

It’s in great shape and we really appreciate the natural look. The only problem is that it makes the room very, very dark. Even with two large windows and a skylight, it seems a little cave-like at times. Someday, we’d like to install track lighting around the edges. In the meantime, I made sure to use sheer white curtains to let a lot of light in.

The cubby

Boo works his magic in one of the dormer cubbies, looking out over our front yard and into our street. There’s a young maple tree right outside the window. It’s a nice space :).  He built that corner desk for me to use at a different apartment, and now he’s using it himself. The red desk is mine – someday when I have a laptop of my own, I’ll set it up there. In the meantime, aside from it being a sort of catch-all surface (which I’m trying to avoid. Unsuccessfully), I use the drawers to store various odds and ends that I don’t really want out, like cords and notepads and pens. I also store my sewing thread in there, but it’s not really efficient and eventually I’d like to have a thread holder that hangs on the wall.


This is my favorite corner of the room, aside from the messy desk! I stored a lot of my buttons, ribbons, and sewing gears in mason jars. All of my acrylic paints fit into the hexagon wooden shelf (I got that at Goodwill). I’m using a vintage trash bin to keep my rolls of contact paper in. Because, you know, normal people need a whole bin to store contact paper in. Right? Anyway, I also love the vintage sewing machine. It belonged to my mother in law, and passed to me when we bought the house. I’ve turned it on and it seems to run but I have yet to try sewing with it. It would be pretty handy to have two machines hooked up with different thread colors so that I wouldn’t have to switch thread in the middle of a project.

The space I’ve dreamed of!

And here is my workspace!  Even though Jason gets a nice view, I get a skylight! I love it. I couldn’t ask for a better area to make things in. The lamp in the corner is perfect for lighting up the whole table. And every studio needs some fun lanterns.

Another view of the table

This table is another cast off from my in-laws. It’s huge and sturdy and…I get to use it all the time. Do you know how much of a creativity killer it is to have to set up your sewing machine and then put it away so that you can use the same table to eat dinner at? I’m still kind of in awe about the idea that I have a huge, permanent workspace that is only being used for sewing. I find myself sitting at one of the machines stitching away and just sighing, deeply. I feel so, so content and thankful.

Pardon the kitty toy in the corner 🙂

And it doesn’t even end there. After months of having my fabric in cardboard boxes at our previous place, I get to use this to store it. There’s a whole other shelf on the other side, too. It’s kind o messy so I didn’t take a picture, ha. That narrow cubby in the corner is perfect for storing batting and stuffing, too.

It says, “If you plant the seeds they will grow…if you water and feed them, they will bloom. You are a seed (care for yourself)”. 

I’ll leave you with a shot of the bunting I made for the wall nearest to the door. I thought it was a good reminder for me as I sometimes lose sight of WHY I create, especially if I’m making something needed or practical. I’m not just accomplishing some chore, or trying to cross another thing off my list. I am being mindful and creative about things that I make for our home or for my family. I am choosing to use my skills and invest my time instead of buying something mass produced from Target. Keeping this in mind helps me remember that I create not just for practical reasons, but because it feeds my soul. I also need to remember to work slowly and thoughtfully, to stop and look out the window once in awhile. I tend to get caught up in a project and completely forget about taking breaks until I complete it. I would probably work better if I stopped once in awhile to eat some lunch and have a cup of tea!

Now that I have a sewing area, I have NO excuses for not completing some outstanding projects. Slipcovers for our couch and love seat, cloth napkins, new potholders, and a liner for the laundry chute have been on my list for awhile…I wonder how much I can get accomplished before I start sewing Christmas presents?