Saturday, October 11, 2014

Some Fall Plans For Greener Grass

When we finally moved into our house last month and decided to take a break from the remodeling biz, I was finally able to go back to work at Greener Grass. Not only did I have the time (and the wireless internet, holla!) to return to blogging, but I also set up shop to start sewing again. I'm so very excited to show you what I've been working on over the past weeks…It's something I've been dreaming of for the past few YEARS! It will be a thrill to have it all finally come to fruition in just a few short days. 

I've also been able to work on my fall calendar and I'm happy to say that we will be offering sewing classes in Fitzgerald AND Macon. Most of the classes will be in Fitzgerald since this is our new home. The Fitzgerald Ben Hill Arts Council has generously offered to play host to these classes, and it will be a treat for me to be able to teach them at the Carnegie Center. I will certainly miss hosting them in my home, but since we are in a smaller space now, I think this will work much better. I have a grand "one day" plan for classes at the farm (sewing weekend, anyone?) but that's in the slightly distant future for now. 

The first class we have scheduled for Fitzgerald is a Sewing 101 class. It's a 7 week course that covers all the basics of what you need to know in order to begin sewing on your on and we make 5 very cute projects! Yay! We'll publish the dates for that class on Monday, so dig out your machine and get ready to sign up…I can only take 4 people MAX!

Enjoy your weekend, friends. So far, our weekend has included a cross country meet, visiting a fall festival with friends, and trying out a new restaurant and being served pizza by some pirate looking fellows.

Tomorrow holds a family reunion here at the farm and, incidentally,  Ford has learned to sing "We are fam-i-ly. I got all my people with me…." Nothing like a little Sister Sledge to get a party started. 

Later Gators. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bedrooms and Hallway Renovation Reveal

Friends, I have good news and bad news. 

Firstly, everyone at my house is sick. We all have sore throats and are tired and grouchy. Bleh. Bad news. 

I did, however, manage to get my act together enough to at least sort of put things away in the bedrooms so that I could take some pictures for you. Good news!

Sadly, because of the dreary weather and my slightly diminished (due to maladies and medication) capacities, those pictures turned out poorly. Bad news. 

However, I'm too lazy to do it again so I'm going to show them to you anyway! Good news! Huzzah!

Alrighty. Here's a quick glance at what the master bedroom looked like before. (For the full "Before" tour of the house CLICK HERE.)

And now here we are. I need you to push past the crazy lighting in the pictures. Can you do that for me? Thank you.  I've pointed it out for you to help you see that it is making the room look very very green, which it is not. 

The ceiling is bright glossy white and the walls are Sherwin Williams "Oyster Bay" that I had them mix at 50% to lighten it up just a bit. 

In the bedrooms we used two more of the same white ceiling fans (that is what is casting the strange glow in all of these pics) and the same flooring that is throughout the house. 

The biggest change in our bedroom is that behind the bookshelf that needs to be organized, there use to be a small closet. To make the hallway a bit larger and to get rid of yet ANOTHER door in this room (there were 5), I decided to have the guys rip out that small closet and close up the wall.  You can't see it here, but there is a fairly large walk-in closet that is right behind where I was standing to take this picture. It gives us plenty of room for all of our stuff and I'm really happy with how removing the closet  opened up the hallway. No regrets from what felt like a bit of a risky move. 

That's all the crazy light pictures I can bear to show you. 

Let's move on to the hallway. Here's a before pic. Small and dark.

And here's the same view now. Yay! When we ripped out the closet that stuck out into the hallway (the one that had a door in our bedroom) it made room for a little landing area. The hall was tiny and narrow-- probably only 2 feet wide, but now it feels much more open, serves a second purpose (which is VERY important in a small house), and this allows me to use my lockers, another piece of furniture that my dad and brother built that I love. 

The other thing I love in the hallway now is this little school house pennant. It adds a some charm to the small space. The paint color is the same as the living/dining room, Sherwin Williams Repose Gray. 

Ford's room is across the hallway from the master….not too far for his little feet to pitter pat to get to Mama and Daddy at night. Which they do. A lot.

Here's a quick reminder of what we were dealing with. 

And here it is now. Pay no attention to that blue painter's tape in the window. It's on my "to do" list.  Also please don't feel too bad for little Fordycakes that he doesn't have an actual bed frame. He's new to the world of big boy beds and so keeping his mattress on the floor makes it more accessible and safer for his tiny two year old body. 

The paint color in his room is called "Elephant Tail" from Benjamin Moore. Is that cute or what? It's the same color we used for his nursery at the old house.

Remember I told you about the awkward exterior doors in both bedrooms? Yeah, here's the one in Ford's room. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with them until we have the time and money to take them out. I'll keep you posted.

Construction zone sheets and Bla Bla friends have been the keys to big boy bed success.

Ford loves his room, which makes me so happy. He's spending more and more time playing in there each day. I like for everybody to feel good about their space, ya know.

We still have some projects to work on in these rooms. Here's the short list of what still needs to be done:

- Replace cracked window pane (or at least use clear tape instead of blue to fix it)
- Figure out a plan for the doors in the bedrooms (temporary and permanent solutions)
- Curtains
- Hang Artwork
- Better organize and arrange furniture (especially the bookshelf of chaos)
- Buy/build Ford a real bed

Ok, I'm going to go take some more medicine and go to sleep, but thanks for checking out the pictures and thank you so much for your kind words about all of our work so far. I haven't been able to get back to each person yet, but know that your encouragement has been felt and appreciated. 

And now, Nyquil. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pecos the Calf

In the midst of the moving and renovating this summer, we also acquired a cow.

A baby cow. That needed to be fed twice a day with a bottle. 

He's adorable and we named him Pecos.

One of Daddy's rancher friends originally owned Pecos, but when he was just a few days old he was accidentally separated from his mama. Isn't that sad? Then, by the time they reunited mama and calf, the mama wanted nothing to do with the baby. It was like she had forgotten about him. 

Are you crying? Yeah. Me neither.

This is evidentially fairly common in the ranching world. Mama's won't feed their babies or they get separated and these little orphan cows are sometimes sold at a steep discount because of the extra work that feeding and caring for them requires. 

Daddy got this little calf to start Ford his own herd. By the time Ford is 30 he should have about 200 head of cattle. Just kidding.

Kind of. 

Anyway, now we're ranchers and we're feeding this sweet little cow twice a day and trying not to get too attached. BUT HE'S AN ORPHAN BABY! I'M FEEDING HIM WITH A BOTTLE! Yet, one day we will load him onto the cattle trailer to take him to the sale. Farm life is emotional, y'all. 

As the summer came to a close we decided that it would be best if Pecos joined the rest of the herd. He loved watching the other cows from his stall in the barn and you could tell he was feeling lonely. (I'm not emotionally invested in this animal at all.) So we turned him out and now he plays with the other calves and eats grass all day.

We still give him one or two bottles a day, depending on what's going on that day. Pecos comes up to the fence by our house and let's out these little moos to let us know he's there and wants to eat. Ford can usually hear him and he'll start chanting "Feed Pecos! Feed Pecos! Pecos is huuuuuungry." 

Now that Pecos is hanging with all of his herd friends, I think he's embarrassed of me. When I go to feed him he runs up excited to eat, but when I try to give him a little love he just ignores me and walks off like he doesn't even know me. I share a movie on Instagram of him giving me the cold shoulder. 

Pecos was not too proud, however, to chase David and I across the entire pasture yesterday. We were cutting through the cow pasture to walk to my parents house and when Pecos saw us come through the gate he ran up to us wanting to eat. I sweetly told him that I didn't have his bottle and that I'd be back later to feed him. He couldn't imagine a world were we had other things to do besides feed him so he followed us the whole way nibbling on David's shorts and HEAD BUTTING ME IN THE REAR.

 You've got a lot of nerve little Pecos. Good thing you're cute.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Living and Dining Room Renovation Reveal

I love these pictures. It's so much fun to be able to look back and see how much we've accomplished in such a short time. Today I want to show you the living and dining areas in our big front room. Here are the before pictures again to remind you of what we were working with. 

Red carpet, brick walls, AND tongue and groove paneling. Everything was dirty, dingy, and covered in oily lacquer. 

And here we are now. Yay for white paint! 

We're still un packing and I haven't done much decorating, BUT you can see that we've made big big changes. In this room (and the rest of the house) we scraped the wood walls and ceilings and then caulked all the grooves. It feels strange just to say that casually in one little sentence because those two tasks alone took WEEKS! It was sooooooo much scraping and soooooo much caulking. It felt endless. 

The prep work is the hardest and worst part of a renovation. You don't see a lot of progress and it's messy and takes forever, which is why I think they always gloss over that part on DIY shows. They show that first sledge hammer swing and then move on to something more interesting without telling you, "Hey, BTW that guy had to swing his sledge hammer in this asbestos wasteland for about 40 more hours before we could install these hardwood floors."

THAT would be reality TV. 
Anyway, we scraped and caulked and primed all of the surfaces of the house. It took 8 million years and I died twice. 

When we finally got everything cleaned up and primed, then my dad used a paint sprayer to paint the ceilings glossy white. The rafters and the tongue and groove boards on the ceiling made it nearly impossible to paint evenly (which we found out when we were priming it), so the paint sprayer really helped to give a nice finish on the ceilings. The ceiling is only about 8 1/2 feet tall, which is a little lower than we were use to in our old house, so the glossy white paint helps to give the illusion that they are a bit higher and reflects light in what use to be a very dark space. 

We used inexpensive white ceiling fans in all the rooms hoping that they would sort of disappear against the white ceiling and because we live in south Georgia and having a ceiling fan is a non-negotiable. Hello, 100 degree summers. 

The paint color on the wall is Sherwin Williams "Repose Gray." In fact, all of our paint is from Sherwin Williams. Our local store was very helpful. They were able to give us good advice on what type of paint we needed and how to prepare all of our, uhhhh, interesting surfaces. 

We laid laminate wood flooring to replace the red carpet which was a good solid 3 days worth of work, but made a huge difference. It's a dark wide plank laminate and I'm really happy with the way it turned out. It seems to be fairly durable and gives the house the look we wanted at a price we could afford.

That sounded like a commercial. Sorry. 

In the dining room you can see a little better than the walls on the right are brick and on the left are paneling. It's a bit strange, but I think that the light paint tied everything together well. I'm just trying to think of it as having extra texture. Texture is good, right?

We painted the brick fireplace white to add a divider between the brick and paneling walls and also to add some extra bright white to lighten the space even further. This is probably also a good time to mention that none of the brick (fireplace or walls) was "good brick." The ultra-cool exposed brick wall was not an option for us. I don't know exactly what made it bad, maybe that it was a little too orange? All I know is that junk needed to be painted. 

We had to use a wire brush to clean all of the metal windows, which was another long process. Then we taped them off and I used canned spray paint to repaint them. Our thought was that since the spray paint was made especially for metal that it would work better, and it did! 

Side note- our coffee table is a train table. Don't judge. 

I showed Daddy a picture of an industrial light fixture that I loved and he was able to recreate it for me! He actually made it better than the one I showed him. It's one of my favorite things in the house. 

Though I can't even begin to tell you how to do it, I can tell you that we bought two farmhouse pennants from HERE and then he used galvanized pipe and pipe fittings to construct the chandelier. The wire from the two pennant lights run through the pipe. That is all of the information I have, but doesn't it look great?!

The bookshelves were another big project. We considered just tearing them out because they were dated and the fireplace nook with a gas heater in it was weird. I mean. What do you even do with this?

I thought and thought and thought and this is what we came up with. 

We painted the whole thing white (duh)  and took off the doors on the bottom section. It would be nice to have some doors, but these looked bad and made the room feel a little smaller for some reason. Then, I had my dad and brother add those two little shelves above the TV to make the top two shelves extend the entire bookcase. This helped tremendously- to not waste that space and to make it look like the space was made for an entertainment center (although it was not, we had to run electric outlets and cable though the wall to make it functional, but it allowed the living area to be oriented around the TV and the bookcase, which is the focal point of the room.) Finally I had the guys cover the fireplace nook with a piece of plywood, then we added 3 scraps of 1x12" lumber to make faux drawer fronts. I've still got to add some hardware to the "drawers" to complete the illusion, but I think that it really finishes out the bookcase nicely. 

The bookshelves are curved. I took the photo on the panoramic setting on my phone to try to get the whole thing in the pic.

(More on these bookshelves later! They are not quite done *I need another basket!!!*, but my friend Roxie kindly came over and helped me style them when I was feeling terribly overwhelmed with all of our books. When I get them finished up, we're going to share her tips for bookshelf success!) 

Now if only those drawers were real so I could put some of the shiz in it. Seriously. I've got to get this under control. Also, yes that is a VCR. I can't part with it. I like to watch "You've Got Mail" as God intended for it to be watched…on VHS. Amen. 

Here's another pile in the corner of the room that hasn't been unpacked. Ugh. Moving is no joke, y'all. Finding a place for everything in a new house is a lot of work. I'm showing you the pics, people, but the work is not done. And I'm definitely too lazy to move this junk to another room just to take these pictures.  

You can see that there's still a good bit to be done in terms of finishing up this space These are some of my to do's for this room:

- make curtains
- finish organizing and styling bookshelves
- hang art and wall decorations
- make the workspace more functional and fun
- find a piece of furniture for the corner beside the couch (possible something with REAL drawers)
- paint the the round table beside our couch or make a table cloth for it
- sew new pillows for the couch

Just for kicks let's look at the before and after one more time…

Thanks for being such an encouragement to me about our new house, y'all. You really know how to make a gal feel good. More reno pictures coming soon…next up are the bedrooms and bath.

Love you. Mean it.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Modest House With Room to Grow

I've watched House Hunters enough to know that people choose houses for many different reasons. They may like the layout of the floor plan and that it's located in a desirable neighborhood. Some people factor in the commute to work or the school district. Others fall in the love with the character of a house; it's charming details and curb appeal. Some can visualize themselves having dinner parties on a big deck or turning a small bedroom into a nursery. 

I've definitely been there. I was IN LOVE with our house in Macon. I wanted to marry it and buy it lots of nice furniture. 

Fast forward a few years and we found ourselves in need of big change for a variety of reasons. After angst and peril and upheaval and sleepless nights, we decided to move to Fitzgerald, my hometown,
to a small house on my parents' farm. It's a fixer upper to say the least. 

Though this new house is perfect for us, it's not perfect in the "amazing floor plan and charming front porch" kind of way. It's perfect in the "this is good for our little family" kind of way.

This house is solid, but doesn't have the "look" I would usually want in a house.

The house is a little smaller than our old house, but more than big enough for what we really need.

The house is not especially beautiful. You wouldn't give it a second look if you passed by.  Its best qualities are intangible and to us they are invaluable.

It's a modest house, but it sits on a beautiful spot on the farm. There's plenty of room to grow in every way. I can live with that trade off. 

We moved from Macon and into my parents house at the beginning of June. We worked fast and furiously all summer long and then moved into the new house about three weeks ago (the 23rd of August, I think). As I look back at these pictures, it is unbelievable to me how much we were able to accomplish.

Daddy stopped everything to throw his time and resources into the house. Mama kept Ford while we worked until dark-thirty. She also fed us and washed our clothes. My brother, Jonathon used all of his days off to help us, even going so far as to go with me to Ikea. That, friends, is true love. 

I want you to know that when I say "we" did this or that, that it is a collective "we." It was nearly never just David and I working, and even when it was, we could both work because Mama was watching Ford. Everything we accomplished was with someone else's tools and because someone had shown us how to do it. Most of the time, Daddy and Jonathan were here working and planning and making everything come together. It was a family project, for sure. 

So without further delay, here are the "before"pictures of the house. Please try to resist the urge to pin all of the beauty. Ha. 

This is the front door and you walk into a large room that is the living and dining area. This side is the living room.

Here's another look at the built-in bookcases that features a gas heater fire place. 

This is the view from the front door of the dining room side. Through the door on the right is the laundry room and through the door on the left is the kitchen.

Here we are in the lovely kitchen. You'll see the back door to the left. The house was built as more of a cabin retreat. It's rustic and make shift. The cabinets weren't made for this kitchen and didn't fit quite right. 

Continuing around the room, you'll notice the window that looks in the laundry room. (The laundry room and master bedroom closet are additions to the original house). 

And on the other side of the room, all of the appliances sat next to each other. 

This is the hallway that connects the large front room with the bedrooms and bathroom.

This is the master bedroom. 

You may notice that all of the rooms have window units. The house didn't have central heat and air, but thankfully it does now! Also, both of the bedrooms have exterior doors for some reason. 

This is a walk in closet in our room (full of someone else's clothes…we had a lot of cleaning to do too.)

This is Ford's bedroom. You can see the door that comes in from the hallway and another exterior door. Just want you want in your child's room, right?  An escape route. 

Another window unit. More brick and paneling. Pure excitement. 
We had pulled up the red carpet at this point to reveal the (also red) concrete floor. 

And finally here's the vintage tile bathroom.

Spoiler alert: We still have a vintage tile bathroom. But don't worry. We made some happy little updates in this room, too. 

Finally, here's a little sketch to give you a general idea of the layout of the house. It's a small house, but the rooms are laid out well in way that maximizes our living space. 

I'm excited to show you the after pictures and walk through our work room by room, but I must warn you that we are still very much "in progress." I'm so proud of the work that we've all done and how great the house turned out (I think we all had some doubts!). There are, however, little and big things that we haven't gotten to yet and the house is far from being decorated or styled. I think that's the reality that most of us live in, though. There's always another project that we want to get to or something that we want to update. That middle ground is real life. It will be fun to share those next projects and decorating ideas as we get to them, but for now we are thankful to be living in our house!

I'll be back on Tuesday with more pictures. Yay!