Saturday, February 22, 2014

Gatlinburg Weekend Get-away

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Last weekend, we visited Gatlinburg, TN to attend a Christian Youth Conference, Winterfest. We had a great time. We reunited with some of the youth group from New Jersey. Seeing our NJ friends again was really nice.
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I snapped a few photos of around G-burg. When we weren't in sessions at the convention center, we were roaming the streets
and pushing our way through the crowds of other people there doing the same.
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Mr. Teen took off with the NJ teens leaving Lil Man (Roo) and me to explore.
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We took some time to explore Ripley's Believe It or Not.
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He played with the huge Light Bright wall at the end of the tour while I sat and rested my tired feet.
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We finally succumbed to the many fudge shops along the streets of Gatlinburg.
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We even had a run in with a black bear!
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Removing Wallpaper

I'm happy to announce that the powder room makeover is almost done! Well, I need a new faucet. And new light fixture. And to hang some artwork. And to hang a shelf. And to buy a rug. And... Well, the the painting is done! I've cleaned up after myself with my messes in there and put most of my tools away! It is to the point I could share it as complete, but I want to hold off a bit and "finish" it with decor first.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share my cheap, frugal FREE method of wallpaper removal. All it takes is a little whole lotta time and a sprinkling of patience. Ok, maybe a full cup of patience. But, doesn't any type of wallpaper removal require those things?

Your reminder of what the room looked like before:
Wallpaper that was shiny, sparkly, shimmery and a whole lot of other words that distract from the fact it was ugly.
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When we lived in Kansas and I first tackled removing wallpaper, I went to the store and bought a special solution. I also tried fabric softener mixed with water sprayed onto the wall. I tried the scoring of the paper. I ended up damaging my wall in some places with my heavy-handedness. What a pain! There had to be an easier way!

I discovered that if I grasped the edge of the paper where it was most likely always loose, I could just peel back the vinyl top coat of wallpaper.
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I would be left with the paper part underneath. Sometimes I get lucky and can pull a solid section off the vinyl sheet. Sometimes it comes off in a zillion pieces and I have to keep picking at it until I reach the seam. (full cup of patience)
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I might even have to wet the paper background a bit to keep picking away at the vinyl. That's ok because I want the paper wet anyway.
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When I have a complete section of vinyl pulled away, I take my spray bottle and spray the entire piece until it is completely wet and saturated.
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I move on to more vinyl while I let the water sit on that section for a few minutes.

Then I start to pull away the wet paper.
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You can do this with your hand or a scraper if you like to keep nice fingernails. I don't have to ask myself why I am always in need of a manicure, but can never keep nails looking good after a manicure. I usually just don't get manicures! What's the point?
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*Who's creepy old hand is that? Maybe a manicure wouldn't be such a bad idea afterall!
I'll blame bad hand photos on the lighting and working single-handedly to take the photos. Yeah, that's why they look so bad!

Ok, where were we before I got sidetracked?

Oh, pulling off the paper. Again, I might get lucky and have it come off in one piece or I might have a lot of pieces. Having a lot of pieces is where the scraper comes in handy.

With that work and patience, you eventually get a paper free wall.
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I didn't say clean wall because your wall is going to have glue on it from the paper. I usually just take a warm washcloth and go over it again and again wiping until the wall doesn't feel slick anymore. (Tearing down the paper is more fun than this part!)

Finally, your patience and time working pays off. Your end result is a clean wall ready for the next step!
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To be continued.... (though I didn't take any more photos of the process. You'll just get to see finished photos in the continued post. ;) )

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Teen had some friends over yesterday evening for some hanging out time. As C was talking to his dad giving him directions for how to get to our house to pick him up, he came to me and said, "my dad wants to talk to you." I was thinking he wanted my directions, but nope, he asked if we liked eggs! He explained they had chickens and more eggs than they could use right now so he was bringing me some! Ok! Yes!
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I love fresh eggs! Just the idea of fresh eggs is so novel to me! Fresh eggs just aren't that easy to come by unless you have a source! The first time I ever really had any was in Kansas when someone from church shared a dozen eggs with us. They are so much better than store bought! In New Jersey, another mom of one of Teen's friends gave me another dozen. That's not often enough! I didn't know of a good source other than occasional friends for buying fresh eggs. I've looked into it before but haven't gone as far as being really serious finding a source and buying fresh eggs more often. Instead, I've been buying the supposedly better for you brown eggs from the grocery store.

According the C's dad, they have so many from their sixteen chickens, they are going to have to start selling them. He said if I want more, just to let him know! Oh, I will!

Breakfast this morning was an omelet! Soo good!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Kitchen Curtains

**Disclaimer: I'm blogging all of my house adventures mostly so that I will have a record of what I've done. I love having somewhere to share before and after photos or progress photos! Sorry if you get tired of looking at them.

I was looking through old posts the other day at the beadboard wallpaper I did in the kitchen. You can read more about that here
if you missed that post. When I saw these two photos, I realized I had never shown the completed look for this area of the kitchen.

Here is the window area from when the previous owners lived here.

And, here is the area after I stripped the wallpaper down and painted.

Looked so much better, but lacked character. I'm all about character. ;)

The shelf I built added some character.

Even painting the light fixture helped bring character to the area.

Something was still lacking. I needed window treatments. Those windows are odd being set in that little cove area. There was no standard way to hang traditional curtain rods. I had to think outside the box. (Or outside the frame of the window so to speak.) I thought outside the whole window area to that blank area of wall that wasn't going to be used for anything. I decided to cover it with dummy panels.
Dummy panels are just curtain panels that aren't functional, but they add detail and character to the window.

The search began for curtain panels that would be long enough (ceiling to floor), match accentuate my other accessories and provide a little color or character to this wall of windows. For a few of you, you know how that went because I shared my three different curtain purchases with you and asked your opinion of them. I finally settled on the first ones I had bought. These actually came from Walmart online. They were my first site to store purchase from their website. I tacked them up on the wall and lived with them hung via tacks for a few months for two reasons: #1, I was still trying to decide if these were THE curtains. #2, Finding curtain rods that short is no easy task.
Impossible actually because I never did find rods that short!

When a visitor during Christmas almost pulled the curtains off the wall by grasping the fabric to look at it, (Remember, they were attached with thumbtacks.) I decided it was time to actually hang the curtains! I had curtain rods that I'd bought and used at the rental house in New Jersey. I asked G-Dub if he had any tools that we could use to cut them. I already knew that answer, but asked anyway. Of course he had something to cut metal with - a grinder attachment to the air compressor. I thought of taking a photo during this process of sparks flying and metal cutting, but I didn't. You will just have to use your imagination. End result was a shorter metal curtain rod. A real rod, no thumbtacks attachments! I installed them into the wall (not without damage to the wall though - eep!) and hung my curtains.

End result:
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Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday Makeover

I'm talking about a bathroom again today. More specifically, I'm going to tell you about a furniture makeover for a bathroom.

We have five bathrooms in this house. Three are full. Two are half baths. This one is upstairs on the other side of the house where the guest bedroom is. It's only a half bath right now but we have plans to convert a closet to a shower so it's more convenient when guests do come. It's currently another ugly little room. Another that was just sort of pushed to the side with ideas to deal with it later. We had this dinky little shelf thing in the basement that got placed in the bathroom just for storage purposes. Another lack luster idea.
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I had visions of finding a small dresser to go in here for storage and to add a little character to the room. A few months ago, I drove by an estate sale sign and convinced myself to stop. Ugh... I like nice estate sales. This one was not. I almost walked out, but I spotted a little dresser sitting behind a bunch of other junk. I pulled some of the junk away and looked at the dresser closer. It was all wood, not much damage and the drawers slid well. $40... I brought it home and put it in the garage until time allowed me to work on it.

I almost forgot to take a before photo for you.
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I used chalkpaint to transform the dresser. I left the fronts of the drawers and the top unpainted. I sanded those a bit to allow for the stain to penetrate the wood.

I finished it off this weekend and put it into place.
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For the hardware, I left the original on the top drawer, but replaced the handles on the two bottom drawers with handles from Hobby Lobby.
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I really like the difference in the paint and the stain. You don't notice it that much from the front of the dresser, but the differences are there.
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Other things I'd like to accomplish in my goals for transforming this room are:
  • install shower in place of the closet (which is actually on the outside of the room)
  • replace the flooring which is currently just laminate
  • replace sink cabinet with a pedestal sink
  • replace toilet to match sink because I want a white one and the toilet isn't white!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Ma Hood Stories and My Plans to Live to be at Least 95!

My grandmother lived to be 95 years old. She spent the last five years of her life in a nursing home. Before that, she was at home. There were a few years when she bounced around from child to child's house while she recovered from a broken hip, but she did move back home for a few years.

In a post a few days ago, I promised that I'd share the story that was triggered by my steps walking through the house counting as exercise comment.

Now for that story:
My dad always tried to drop by and check on her daily. Sometimes, I or my sister would do drop in and visit with her. We would ask her what she'd been doing that day. She would often say, "Well, I've walked all over this house three times today!" Her house was a tiny little house, but it was special because it was Ma's house. I would venture to guess it was about 900-1100 sq. ft. As a teenager, I could "walk all over the house" in less than two minutes. But, that was Ma's exercise and she felt accomplished after doing so. At least she wasn't sitting in the chair all day long.

She wouldn't sit in her living room. She had a tv in her bedroom along with an old ladder back chair with a cane bottom. When she wasn't in the kitchen, she was sitting in her bedroom, quilting or crocheting. If we went to visit, we'd sit either on her bed or in the other ladder back chair in the room.

She lived a quiet life as one would imagine. Though she had the tv in her room, she rarely watched much of it. I remember one day, I turned it on and Sanford and Son was on. She shook her head and pssshed saying that she didn't want to watch that because she just couldn't bring herself to watch a dead person.

She loved Wheel of Fortune. She'd also watch the news. She'd watch the news, then Wheel of Fortune, then turn it off and get ready for bed. At one point, she said the news was getting too bad. "I'm going to stop watching the news because there's never anything but bad news on it!" So, she did! She would turn the tv on and watch Wheel of Fortune, then turn it off and go to bed! I always laugh and say that's why I don't watch the news. I take after her.

Maybe if I walk all over the house on a daily basis and don't watch the news and go to bed early, I'll live longer. I'll skip her other habits of drinking buttermilk with every evening meal and taking BC powders for headaches.