Thursday, December 26, 2019

December 26, 2019

Image may contain: 1 person, smilingImage may contain: 4 people, including Sea Castle, people smiling, people standing, shoes and indoorChristmas.  A time for gathering with good friends.  The same friends that rescued us when we were getting bogged down with trying to pass plumbing on our daughter's house.  We got to help our friends, Ed and Amy put in a floor.  Then Amy came over and kept me company for a day while I taught her how to reupholster chair cushions.  I enjoyed it Amy!  

Just celebrated Christmas today! The only handmade gifts from the farm this year was a desk that was upcycled for our daughter and son-in-law, a few bibs, peanut brittle and fudge, hibiscus tea, and dog treats. The desk was upcycled to exactly meet the needs of our daughter and son-in-law. It was a vintage desk that was small and fit the space, but to make it more functional, we changed the lower drawers on the right into a file drawer, changed the lower drawers on the left to be just the drawer fronts on hinges so they would have a place for their modems to live. We also painted it in colors to match their other furniture and monogrammed their initial in the middle with paint.

This year my husband had a theme week again and one of the days was Santas vs. Elves.  As he is 6'2", I, of course, thought it would be awesome if he went as an elf.  lol  We painted stripes on his small hammer in the hammer loop of his overalls.  He looked almost as cute as our grandson does in this set of overalls I made him out of a flannel shirt and elf slippers.

As the weather has turned colder, our cat has moved in with the chickens.  She was raised with chickens, so we think she just feels right at home.

As it has been cold, indoor projects have been the order of the day, and I have been upcycling clothing.  My daughter liked a red, black and white shirt, but it was sleeveless in the middle of the winter.  I talked her into buying a black turtleneck so we could cut off the arms and use it on the shirt.  She loves it!  I also worked on one for me that included cutting off the bottom of a sweater, turning it upside down to make the sweater have an empire waist.  I also added a print at the bottom from a skirt.  All purchased at the thrift store of course, making each shirt $2.  So far, I have made two bibs for Eli using two wash cloths I bought for a dollar at the dollar tree and the neck of the turtleck, and I have a pair of pants for him planned from the rest of the turtleneck.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

December 10, 2019

Unfortunately, we are extracting honey this time of year because our hive was decimated by yellow jackets.  However, my husband found that it was full of honey, so we are making the best of it.  He did a great job and we got 2 quarts and five pints of honey.  This is the first time we have harvested honey.  Maybe it was the push we needed.  Now we have to figure out how to capture some more bees in the spring. . . .

Here's a picture of the inside of our latest project for our daughter and her husband.  It's a fireplace storage cabinet that I mentioned last blog:

I am so pleased with how it has turned out.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

December 3, 2019

Finally!  I have recreated the recipe for the sweet potato biscuits we used to enjoy at Venter's in Greenville back in 1980.  The problem has always been that they were too heavy, and not the light and fluffy sweet potato biscuits that they made.  This year I had some leftover sweet potato casserole, and as I don't like to let any food go to waste, I usually try to remake it into something else so we won't get tired of it.  So here's what I did:

1 1/2 c. sweet potato casserole (or sweet potatoes with cinnamon and nutmeg)
3 cups flour (to start)
1/4 c. veg. oil
1 t. salt
1 egg
1 t. yeast

Mix and if it is too wet, add more flour.  If it's too dry, add a little warm water.    Let rise until double (a couple hours).  Punch it down and add some flour if necessary to make it workable.  Roll out to about 1/2 inch deep and cut out using the biscuit cutter.  Put in greased cookie sheet and allow to rise again (about 1 1/2 hours).  Bake at 350 for about ten minutes or until it is starting to brown on the top.  Serve hot with butter or this morning's version with melted cheese.  YUM!!

Currently we are working on a fireplace for my daughter and her husband that doubles as storage for a record player, game system and speakers (among other things.)  We started out with a huge console cabinet that we bought online used for $10, and a small electric fireplace we bought used for $40.  As the console was too large, we cut it back to two drawers on the bottom and moved over the feet.  We installed framework to hold the fireplace, and are currently at the stage that we are adding the cabinet doors.  It will be amazing.  The cabinet doors will make it look like a traditional fireplace, then it will be painted white. I will update next blog post with the final picture.

So many projects, so little time.  So today I am finishing up the gift I am making for my selection from the Angel tree.  The little girl is interested in Moana, so we bought her a Moana barbie and I am making her a Moana costume to go along with the clothes we bought her.  So much fun!  I bought a women's shirt at the thrift store that had an elastic bottom, then turned it upside down to use the elastic at the top of the shirt and cut it down to a size 10 (easy to find charts on the internet).  There was enough fabric for the sash and a headband as well.  I made a heart of the island necklace by printing out the graphic and gluing it onto a flat glass marble (Dollar Tree).  I had some rawhide, so I just tied a knot in the middle and used some E6000 glue to glue the marble to the rawhide necklace where the knot was in the middle.  I used some extra fabric I had in my pile to make the overskirt for the grass skirt I purchased and cut down to child size.  I printed out a flower and cut it out to use as a stencil for the yellow flowers on the skirt.

I am also working on an outfit for my grandson that will make him look like a Christmas elf. It is made from a blue flannel shirt given to me by a friend, Deb Andrews.  Thanks Deb!  I bought a pair of overalls the right size from the thrift store for a quarter, smoothed them out and cut around them, first removing the pocket from the shirt so I could sew it on the front of the overalls.  Then I cut out a piece of lining for the upper section of the front and back.  I sewed on the front one after I sewed on the pocket.  For the back lining, I had sewn together the should straps first, and sewed them between the lining and the overalls when I sewed on the back lining.  Always remember right sides together.  Then I put the front and back together and sewed from the lining to the bottom of the leg after clipping the seam allowance to the lining on the side of the garment.  Then I sewed the leg opening (right sides together.)  Then I hemmed them, and last I sewed on the buttons, made the buttonholes and oila!  I think it took me a couple of hours altogether.

I will have to show you the Christmas presents after. . .No peaking!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

November 12, 2019

When you live in a small space, you need things that will do dual duty.  I am keeping this is mind as I am helping to create my daughter's furniture pieces that will do things that she needs them to do.  One thing I came up with is a side table for two chairs.  I made it out of a metal trash can that I found on sale for $1 at the thrift store.  I repainted it and topped it with a marble plant stand top that I was not using and painted a thin line of silver around the bottom so you can't tell too much that the white colors did not match.  This enables there to be storage on the inside for my daughter's crochet work.

There wasn't room for a coat closet in her small house, but she needed a place to hang coats with the cold weather setting in.  I created a coat rack out of the leftover footboard from the same bed we made her front porch swing out of using the headboard.    For the hooks, I bent some old spoons around a pipe clamp that I had clamped down to the workbench.  Zero dollars spent.  I tried to transfer the letters to the board with polycrylic, but it didn't work well so I ended up have to hand paint them.

Another thing I worked on for her house were some gnomes as a Christmas decoration.  I bought the bottom half of a Christmas tree for $2 at a thrift store and paid about $2.50 for some felt.  My daughter gave me the pacifier that they gave her for the baby when they were in the hospital.  A great way to keep a memento. . .

Lastly, we went to a church homecoming so I found a way to bring our homegrown beef, sausage, eggs, and some horseradish and pansies.

Monday, October 21, 2019

October 21, 2019

New chapter in our lives.  We have mostly turned the house over to Leah and Jake, with a few things left to finish and move over there.  We have been getting back to our poor neglected farm, but we have accomplished alot this last month on their house.  Mostly we were glad to welcome into the world our first grandchild, and pass all of the final inspections and get the Certificate of Occupancy, so he could have his first home. 

 Our daughter credits painting the polyurethane on the floor of the baby's room with bringing on labor.  I then used the palm sander to sand the master bedroom, followed by polyurethane.

 In order to pass our plumbing and mechanical finals, we had to get the mini split running.  After we installed it, we got a professional to check the lines for leaks and put in the refrigerant.  It was so good to see it working as a source of heat and cool.  We also had to install the kitchen sink.  We used the old cast iron sink that was in the house and undermounted it under butcher block countertop that we had stained gray and added a few coats of polyurethane that were sanded in between. 

 We had to get the bath tub water tight, which meant finishing up the tiling around the tub.  It turned out beautiful.  Just some trimming left to do in the bathroom. 

One of the things we were flagged on for the plumbing final was that we did not have access to the laundry area studor vent.  Apparently you are supposed to check them occasionally and change the vent if needed.  I used old progress pictures to find it, cut out a hole and put a piece of window screen we had (painted white) and bought a small frame for about a dollar to fix it.  We were also told we had to have a locking door on the bathroom.  The door cost $15 from the restore, but we paid $21 for the knob. 

Some of the finishing work including painting the bedroom furniture in gray and white.  This old French provincial dresser that we found for a bargain of $35 turned out really nice.  It had one piece of drawer trim broken off, which I replaced with a small dowel I found at Hobby Lobby for under fifty cents.  Here it is clamped down while the glue dries.

One of the final things the building inspector requested was the house numbers.  We found this metal tray at a thrift store for $2.87 that I loved the shape of.  I then painted it and the house numbers on it and hung it with a command strip.  I have been warned that the command strip might not last long, but we will see.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

September 25, 2019

Today's blog is dedicated to two of my favorite people.  Sharon Cheek and Leah Turner.

Sharon Cheek is appropriately listed on Eastern Randolph High School's website as "Support Staff,"  as I think she is here to support the whole world.  She is a gift to us all.  She has such a positive attitude, that I can't help but hug her every time I see her and hope some of her positivity will rub off.  She is that one in a million angel that has served as a guide and support to foster too many students to success than I can name,  without thinking of herself.  Thank you Lord for Sharon Cheek., and please know that we need her in this world for a long time to come.    Sharon is watching the updates on this house and I am updating today because of her request.  However, I wouldn't be surprised if she asked to see them just because she is supporting me and helping me continue to maintain a positive attitude as we are trying to help my daughter and her husband in their quest for affordable housing.  I hope she knows how much we all love her.

Leah Turner is my daughter for whom we are working on this house for her and her husband, Jake.  She is such a feisty, independent and hard working person.  Just yesterday, on her due date, she was priming the walls of her soon to be master bedroom that Jake had helped to sand.  She is tracking everything spent on this house so she can pay it back and is quite up front with telling us when she thinks something is not necessary.  She told me to stop spending when we reached the budget limit, which happened yesterday.  Crossing fingers that we can find "just enough" to get things finished and get the inspections completed so she can start enjoying her house.  Passing the final electrical inspection yesterday led the charge.  Leah was happy to go shopping for light bulbs and call the power company, although she doesn't like the money spending part.  Now on to the plumbing, mechanical and building final inspections.

Today was quite busy and we got a lot done.  First of all, I went to the house this morning determined to follow the saying "Life is short, eat dessert first."  So I spent my morning painting a Star Wars mural on the nursery wall as Star Wars is their chosen theme.  Leah and Jake arrived and brought me my forgotten phone AND food!  What would I do without them to take care of me?

Then, Duke Energy arrived.  Wow!!!!  We have been working on getting electricity for three months!  So glad they gave us a wire to the house and turned it on.  It is so nice to be able to turn on the lights!

Leah was so busy today.  First, she finished priming the master bedroom walls, she also sanded the floors in the baby's room, and she put up a saying on the wall which will be above the crib.  Go Leah!

John arrived after work, and he and I finished the back siding.  John mostly worked on the roof of the bathroom and I was down cutting the pieces and turning my fingers into swiss cheese as the pieces were all cut to a slant leaving sharp points.    John finished putting in the last piece by headlight.  So glad that is done!

Last but certainly not least.  While driving by the pond, I caught in the corner of my eye that the spider lillies my mom gave me were finally blooming!  John made the comment that he had been too busy this summer for them to get lawn mower disease. . .

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

September 11, 2019

What a busy month!  We finished framing in the closet and the last of the framing and passed our framing rough-in with the help of Paul and Linda Turner.

We passed all of our plumbing rough-in inspection as we held pressure, didn't leak and the inspector liked the looks of our pipe configuration (FINALLY!!!!!,  OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! ) Thanks so much to Ed and Amy for coming to help and inspire us.  We also had put in our hot water heater.  And Leah and I passed our mechanical inspection by putting in the dryer vent, the bathroom vent and the mini split.

Leah and I got in the wall insulation and passed the insulation inspection (John has had to go back to work as school is in!)

As we are running out of time, we hired a company to put in insulation in the roof and crawl space (honestly, it was cheaper than we could buy the insulation), and we got our neighbors to put in the dry wall, since neither John, nor I, nor Leah is extremely talented in this area.  Thanks Don and Sean!

Leah and I figured out a tile pattern and laid them while John was cutting tiles.  The tiles Leah and Jake picked out are beautiful!  Then we grouted them.

Now we are working on putting in beadboard, toilet and sink, as well as the upper back siding on the house.

We are also working on furniture.  We bought six shield back chairs for $50, repaired, painted and reupholstered them with $12 worth of fabric.  What a difference sanding and two coats of paint make!

I finished the bathroom vanity light fixture.  We are not sure what we might want to do about the glass globes in the future, but in the meantime and did a royal blue marble effect on the inside of the globes.

Jake and Leah put together the crib, and Leah painted the crib and changing table.  It looks so much better in black!  I can't wait to show you the plans Leah has for the baby nursery!  Can't wait!

Homesteading, you ask?  Well time and money can only be spent once I guess.  I did manage to make some fig preserves out of some figs my husband managed to find the time to pick. . .