Lace me up!

Orchard Corset - Tightlacing

Orchard Corset – Tightlacing

I spent the better part of my teenage years laced into the tightest bodices I could bear, all which were made deliberately 4 inches to small with the help of my friends and some good old ducttape!  As I got older and my ex took control of my life I slowly stopped wearing them and going to events where they were considered acceptable attire.   I slowly melded into the life of a suburban Stepford wife and a life of jeans and t-shirts.  Always lusting after the retro dresses, missing  my big poofy swing skirt dress with the painted on dancing corn which  mysteriously disappeared, and watched as my bodices and chemises were discarded.

Over the past few years I have slowly reclaimed my bright red lipstick and for a time even my high heels (the higher the better), but then this long never ending winter arrived where the only shoes that one could even think about wearing out of doors looked more like what an Eskimo might don than what you might find on Jessica Rabbit.

But with the spring finally deciding to show itself, I discovered what I think I have secretly been longing for.  A corset.  All of those dresses I could wear so easily as a teenager no longer worked with my momma body.  My ribs had spread, my tummy was squishy and everything just looked not so nice…

After I read extensively about it, I decided to bite the bullet and order my first one from Orchard Corset.  While I eagerly awaited it’s arrival, I subconsciously  no actually I was just really bored) looked at every woman I saw and thought you know 85% of women would probably look much better with some kind of supportive undergarments on.  Myself not being the exception.

I laced up for the 1st time on Monday and oh my Goodness!  I feel like my clothes fit so much better! And I truly feel like I might be finally  be able to get back to the fashion style which I have loved and missed for so many years!

Master Bedroom floor redo

Turns out our 130 year old Hemlock floor cleans up real nice!

When we bought the new house we were unsure of which floors we would be able to save and which ones should really be covered up or replaced.  It took a lot of work and many steps but the Master bedroom floor now looks gorgeous!   And I wouldn’t trade it for a new hardwood floor, a laminate floor or carpet for anything!

This is how to Master bedroom floor looked before.  The photograph really makes the finish look horrible!

The floors before

The first thing we did was clean it like crazy (sweep, vacuum  hand scrub and then vacuum/scrape out all the cracks on the floor to get rid of all of the years of accumulated dirt we could, especially in the cracks of the floor.  Then we started filling.  I used a 1 inch putty knife and Minwax stainable wood filler.   We used probably 5 of these big tubs in the room.  Filled floor cracks  Using the 1 inch putty knife we tried not to overfill to much to have a ton to sand.  It took 4 afternoons to get to this step and then we were ready to sand!  At first we thought we could use our hand sander with a fine grit, then maybe with a rough grit, then realized that we were wrong and really needed a big floor sander, luckily our local Lowe’s has then in stock to rent for under $40 a day.  hardwood floor sanding  We followed the directions starting with 37 grit and working our way to 80 and then went in the corners and the edges we couldn’t reach with the hand sander  and a bit of hand sanding .  This process was surprisingly dust free!  Not anything at all like sanding drywall mud :p  sanded floor  When our floor was where we called “done”  it was not 100% new looking.  Our floors were bowed and warped from years of being unheated, have filled gaps between each board and aren’t as secure as a brand new floor, but we weren’t going for new in this floor, just nice – we didn’t want to remove the years of character from the floor, only the years of neglect. Sanded Hemlock floor close up  The next step was to tack cloth the whole thing and then start applying stain.  I choose a very dark brown stain, And we applied it as instructed.Applying stain february 253  After the stain we applied 2 coats of a semi gloss poly.  I wanted to go for a high gloss but was cautioned against it because of the rough nature of the old wood (that every little imperfection would reflect the light differently and make it look bad)  I am so glad I took the experts advice and we couldn’t be happier with the end results! finished _IGP1870

Pinterest fail: shaving cream Easter eggs

Seemed like a great idea, but then it just wasn’t…

Kids had a great time, but also made a huge mess, and the eggs looked like maybe I had thought about misting them with color.

At the end of the day this is what happened to our eggs…

. yep, the age old color tablet dyes. Tallman answered my text of failure and brought some home with him after work.

Inspired by

pinterest shaving cream eggs *apparently pinterest has changed how you can add pins.

St. Patricks day shenanigans!!!

While the rest of the country was out getting wild and crazy and drunk at the bars we were at home with the kiddos.  But once they went to bed?  Well, We just went crazy!!!

 

 hardwood floor sanding

Sanding the Master bedroom floor haha! go baby go! This is probably the most memorable St. Pattys day ever, based on the fact that we can actually remember it AND we will get to reap the fruits of our labors everyday for the rest of our stay in the New Home for the Handful.

At least we still had beer!

working @ home + contractor work = hilarity!

para-glide landing siteSo working from home  has its benefits when a contractor is working on your house, the obvious being that you know when they show up and when they don’t, they know you are going to be there so are more likely to work in a more structured pattern, and that they can consult you on little questions or changes as the need arises.  It also has downfalls, like wasted time bull-shitting about your home repair instead of working, making small changes on a whim because you are home, and occasionally being asked if you will run to the store to pick up a small part they forgot or didn’t realize would be needed.  But no one ever mentions the mood lifting laugh factor of home remodeling in an old house!  I don’t think I have laughed so hard or so often in my daily working hours ever!   Considering that the majority of my working hours are me home alone ( or with kids) working on a computer, baking in the kitchen, or taking care of livestock it might just be that my working hours are just normally filled with hours of a) hard physical labor, or b) concentrating deeply on the task at hand.  (Like take today’s tasks, computer programming  baking, livestock chores and deliveries, while the kids are playing loudly on yet another day when school is closed for no good reason!).#1's running over drywall attempt

So far in the great bathroom remodel/ floor leveling job there have been not 1 but 5! times that someone has put at least 1 foot through the dining room ceiling ( it is starting to look like swiss cheese down there!)  While horrifying at the moment it is happening, it is hi-lar-i-ous the second we find out the hapless victim is fine.  The 1st was #1 running to his room and side jumping.  The 2nd was our d-o-g reverse parachuting through the piece #1 had already broken.  from d-o-g's first flying attemptA few days later d-o-g did it again in another spot! and the contractor mis-stepped and broke a tile.  The floor leveling was done at that point and the rafters covered back up, but then yesterday while a small section of the floor was pulled up to install the toilet drain lines as we were debating whether or not to put the toilet where we planned or to move it slightly I managed to find the only spot uncovered big enough to put a foot through and did exactly that!  Each time after we realized the person hadn’t fallen through and was ok it was full on belly laughs to the point of having to go pee! ( and when d-o-g fell once he jumped up and ran away) we were laughing for forever!d-o-g fall #2

Then there was the water incidents.  While running new lines from the cellar to the bath on a particularly warm rainy day the cellar started to flood, apparently our sump wasn’t working properly ( which really is no surprise at this point) so the contractor stopped running new lines to take a look ( or else he would have been running lines knee-deep in water with in the hour!) and while he managed to get the sump started he also accidentally took the discharge hose off when he set it down ( turns out they hadn’t attached it with any kind of clamp or seal – doh!) and got a 5 second ice-cold shower before he realized what was happening and moved out-of-the-way.  It was one of those moments you wished you had been video recording so you could play it back over and over again!  Then the next day when he went to cut the new water lines to length and apparently one of the kids had turned the water back on the night before ( I blame #5 – the 3-year-old!) and got another shower! which then resulted as rain through the dining room ceiling.  this time it was the contractor

It’s just one of those things you laugh at because what else are you going to do?  It’s an old house apparently everything the previous diyers did was wrong and very very cobbled…  ( Insert bad polish joke here)   Once it’s over and everyone and everything’s fine, you just have to laugh at it.  Just think of all the moments I would have missed if I left the house everyday for a day job!

my bad!

Kids bath: Planning and Demolition

I knew the floor plan of this bathroom needed to change.  There was a huge waste of space next to the toilet, only 1 tiny sink that had barely any door clearance and a shower so tiny that the kids would have out grown it by the time they reached puberty! That combined with the leak and frozen pipes made this room a priority.  (I was secretly hoping to do the main/master bath or kitchen first but the house apparently had other plans!  Oh well!)

I consulted the local kitchen and bath design specialist  they came out took measurements and asked what I wanted to see in the bathroom. I  explained that I wanted something that went with the feel/ age of the house.  I wanted to put 40 inch wainscoting on the walls, find a way to fit 2 sinks (because 5 kids crammed around 1 tiny sink in the mornings and evenings to brush their teeth just wasn’t ideal!), and frame-less glass shower doors with a tiled surround and a glass accent at eye level.  I explained I would like the vanity to have a furniture feel to it, and the 3 things I would love  to have would be a separate water closet for the toilet, so someone could pee in privacy while the others did teeth brushing and such; If we could find a way to make the shower become a tub that would be great but if we couldn’t a neo-angle shower would be fine and what ever storage we could add would be perfect!

Then my contractor who needed to measure doors for all the new closets and replacement doors happened by, he asked what was going on with the bathroom (since we had started demoing it at this point) and I explained everything I had told the design specialists.  He looked at the space for maybe a whole 5 minutes and came back with a great new design plan!  To move the door, to the opposite wall put a tub/ shower in and a pocket door to make a water closet and then tuck a double sink in where the existing door had been.   Honestly it was a perfect plan!  But I still wanted to wait until I heard back from the specialists.  I waited over 2 weeks for their reply.

They called on a Thursday I went over Friday morning to take a look at what they came up with I was super excited, until I saw their plan, my heart dropped.  They didn’t give me a double sink.  They didn’t give me a water closet.  They didn’t give me a bathtub.  What did they give me?  A 18 inch linen closet.  And a budget 10 x more than I had said I wanted to spend (and 5 times more than my contractor said it would cost).  It was super disappointing , 2 weeks of waiting, nothing I wanted or needed in the space,  and a budget bigger than I have for the whole house remodel!  It wasn’t full of high-end granite, or vessel sinks, (both which the tall Man has banned from our house! lol) Kohler accessories  or new modern innovations and striking designs.  It was simple and boring, and costly.  I called my contractor on the way home to tell him he got the bathroom job, I didn’t even bother to call the Tall Man first because I knew he would agree with my decision and we wanted the bathroom done, and done now.

We did some of the demo ourselves before the contractor came in to save some on costs and to be involved in.  Tall man and the boys #1 and #3 demo’d the trim and the flooring.  We sold the vanity on Craigslist and took it out when the couple arrived to pick it up, and I demo’d the shower and removed the light fixture and wall decor.  Then our contractor came in and made short work out of gutting the rest of the place.  By the end of day 2 demo was pretty much done and some improvements had been begun.

One week into the job, new insulation is already being installed in the wall, the  old plumbing has been removed, the walls have been leveled out and the floor leveling is underway (the floor is being leveled for the bathroom and the adjacent toy room simultaneously as they share the same floor joists).  I can’t wait to see what progress happens this week!

The Kids bath

We were in the new house a whole 2 days before the shower started leaking into the dining room.  And within the first week the bathroom pipes to that bath had frozen on 3 separate occasions!  Which means it got bumped to the top of the remodel list.

Now I am a pretty competent DIY’er and spent my childhood growing up in a real estate office where we had to make repairs to rental properties constantly and our old ( for CA) 1940’s house.  And probably could have done most of the bathroom remodel components on my own, but I was a little daunted about doing them all at once in a short time frame and while trying to do everything else that needs to be done around here.  Plus the bathroom was going to need a complete over-haul ; all new electric, all new plumbing and drains, and a new floor plan to make a better use of the space.

Pictures of our space before: