Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Progress on the Shed

Hubby, Vet2Be, Our Good Friend, and his son were working hard all day Saturday to get the shed up. Monday, Our Good Friend was here putting the walls and roof on.

Here are the progress photos!
Ready, Set, GO!
I was busy in the house so I didn't start the photos until the floor was done.

These cement blocks are what make the shed 'not permanent', so it's legal to build. Permanent foundation means we would need a building permit.

Hubby is on the right. Usually he's the boss man, but today he's taking direction from Our Good Friend who has lots more building experience. (Our Good Friend is also Hubby's employee in 'regular life')

Our Good Friend's son on the left and Vet2Be on the right getting the 2x4s ready to start the wall.

Our Good Friend on the left, Hubby on the right. They work together sooooo well!

See this! This is a GREAT Dad! He's teaching his son how to measure and mark the 2x4s so they know where to nail the studs for the wall. Dads like this are priceless! Their kids probably won't appreciate them until they are much older!

First wall up! Yay!

Vet2Be hasn't ever done any building before today. He gets to be the 'gopher' and 'go fer' wood, nails, or whatever else they need. He's a good sport and felt like he didn't do much, but Hubby said they were really glad to have the extra set of hands out there.

All the walls up and Our Good Friend starting on the roof.

Roof trusses up, and you can see the opening for the door.

That was it for Saturday. A great day's work!

Monday Our Good Friend brought someone in to help him get the walls and the roof sheathing on.

Inside view from the door. I think this shed is bigger than our first apartment was. At any rate, it's alot nicer than our first apartment.

This is the south end. Eventually we'll put a little overhang here and pallets on the ground so we can store the firewood. Right now the firewood is under the playset. While we would love to keep the wood inside the backyard fence, that isn't possible. We have a dog that LOVES to play in the wood pile and tear it apart :)

So far, sooooooo good!

It should be finished today, except for the painting which will have to wait until it gets warmer. It will probably be a boring tan color with green trim, just like the barn. People in our area like things to be 'matchy matchy' so we'll keep them happy.

If it was me choosing the color, I would pick a nice red with white trim!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Grocery List

This is the grocery list I'm using on my fridge right now. Nothing fancy about it at all, but it jogs my memory for needed items as well as gives me a place to jot down things we run out of.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Starting the Shed

Another project we are working on is getting a new shed built for the lawn mower, tiller, and all the other yard equipment. Hubby's got a great employee (and friend) who is helping us with both the kitchen and the shed.

Hubby's business is always slow in January and February which means this great friend's budget is a bit tight to take care of his amazing wife and six kids. That means that we have the chance to have some work done around here by someone who is really trustworthy and does a FANTASTIC job! He is also someone who doesn't mind having his kids (or mine) help them. He's a wonderful teacher, too.

This is where the shed will be built. The three fruit trees haven't done well here (we think it's the soil) so they will come out.
Another photo of the same spot.... makes me realize we need to do something about the gazebo, too. But that is not as high on the priority list.
As long as our friend is bringing in road base to put under the new shed, he's going to fix this hole at the end of the Barn Road. It used to have a HUGE cement water conduit that would direct the water either onto our property or across the street.
Another view of the 'Big Hole' and wasted corner.
Starting to clear the area where the shed will be. It's about 8 inches lower than the Barn Road.
With all the snow gone, it looks like a big mess.

Starting to move the gravel around.
This is the Barn Road, the access road that goes from our street to the barn, which you can see on the right of the photo.
Done for the day! The camper is moved into the back corner, the street end of the Barn Road is graded with the extra road base....
And the pad is ready for the new shed!
I can't tell you how lovely it looks compared to what it used to look like! I'm just all smiles! If it stayed like this without a new shed, I'd be happy, too!
The camper is parked in the old water conduit spot. It's not quite as level because he used some of the fill dirt from the garden area before he put the gravel on top. No worries, we can take care of that with rocks and dirt this spring.
All ready to start building on Saturday!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Remodeling Soon!

I'm really excited... ecstatic actually! We are getting a new kitchen soon! Yay!

Here's what it looks like now.

Unstaged, un-retouched photo of the kitchen today.
The new cabinets will take up the same footprint as the old ones so we don't have to replace the tile. There's alot of tile in this room!

What we're planning on this side of the room:

The dropped ceiling comes OUT! Yay!

New upper and lower cabinets, the upper cabinets will be tall ones so they reach the ceiling.

The upper cabinets will include a corner cabinet on both ends of the wall, which should give me more room to store the appliances that are now on the counter top.

The dishwasher will be moved to the left so that the sink can be moved over. The sink cabinet is one of the reasons we are getting new cabinets. We've had so many plumbing troubles that the bottom is... well.... it's still there. But it's particle board, and after this much flooding it's soft.

The sink will be moved to the left by so that we can install a corner cupboard with a lazy Susan here.

This is where the refrigerator used to be. I lost count of how many times ketchup and milk went down the stairs. Who does that? Puts a refrigerator at the top of the stairs? In a family home? 
 This will all be changed to real cabinets and real counter tops instead of just fitting a rolling cart into the corner. I'm sure it will feel as if I have alot more counter space when it's done!

This corner is another reason to get new cabinets. Actually, it's the drawers. Hubby's fixed the drawers and the rollers so often that he's kinda tired of it. They are 35 year old cabinets that weren't well built in the first place. 

The other side of the bar. This is where the fridge is now. A kinda weird spot, but much better than the top of the stairs. Instead of the cupboard to the left of the fridge, there will be a built in pantry. And a cabinet over the fridge.
If we had more time (and fewer jobs) then we would probably tackle the job ourselves. As it is, we thought this project would be too much for us, especially with Hubby out of town so often.

So, we have a contractor coming in to take out the dropped ceiling and and upper cabinets, and refinish the ceiling. Hopefully the dropped ceiling won't be too bad. It was installed when one of the previous owners added the addition to the house. So much of the ceiling is still textured (I peeked behind the lights!)

Then the cabinet guys can come in and measure for the cabinets.

Hopefully I'll take a day to paint the walls with the upper cabinets gone and the ceiling finished.

It will take a few weeks for the cabinets to be constructed after they are ordered. While we are waiting we'll have the contractor come back and finish tearing out the bottom cabinets.

When he's done the plumber can come in and move the sink and dishwasher (that's the part I'm dreading right now. No sink and no dishwasher!) Thankfully (sort of) the rooms below the kitchen aren't really finished and so the ceiling and the plumbing are exposed. That might make the job a bit easier. I hope.

After that I'll be completely crazed. I'll probably be wondering what I was thinking in the first place!

Then the cabinets can be installed.

Next the counter top guys can come and do a final measurement for the counter tops.

And THEN the counter tops will come.

Hopefully I'll have a new kitchen in about 3 months.

At least that's the plan.

We'll see how many 'incidents' there are along the way :)

And that's not the only project that we're tackling around here.

A bedroom is finally getting re-done.

And a new mower/tiller garage is being built.

Soooo nice to be able to get a few major things done this year! We've been making do for so long that everything will be very appreciated!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sharpening Scissors with Aluminum Foil

I've wanted to try this for a few weeks. Fortunately I have a pair of scissors that are so bad that if it didn't work, the scissors were ready to throw away anyway.

I sharpened my quilting rotary cutter with aluminum foil and it worked surprisingly well! My friend told me that she had heard you could sharpen paper punches with aluminum foil as well.

That's a pretty small cut for those scissors!
A sheet of aluminum foil folded to 6 layers.
Cut aluminum foil before second try at cutting the bag.
Surprise! The scissors work again!
I was surprised! I wasn't sure aluminum foil would sharpen my scissors enough that they would cut much better.

I know, it's probably less expensive to go buy a sharpener.

Sometimes it's nice to be able to use what I have sitting around. Next time I have aluminum foil that is ready for the garbage, I'll use that instead of brand new aluminum foil.

In fact, I'll probably grab a pair of scissors and cut the old stuff up as I throw it into the garbage just to keep my scissors sharp.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mac Computer Design Flaw

I love my Mac, I do, really!

We have more Mac computers in our family than we have children!

The design flaw:
The CD slot is right above the SD card slot.
 No biggie, right?!

Until you put the SD card into the CD slot.

Thank goodness for a wonderful son-in-law who spent 10 minutes using a toothpick and a business card to get the SD card out.

He's good at stuff like that.... he's done it before, too.

My low-tech fix~ a piece of Scotch tape over the CD slot.
I can barely see it! I folded the end over so that it would be easy to remove.

I'm pretty sure we're not the only two people who own Mac computers who have done this. If Mac made some sort of cover for the CD hole (especially for people who use SD cards all the time!) it would look like they designed it that way.

Instead of me putting tape over the hole, which kinda makes it look like their designers don't use CD drives or SD cards.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas Lights and Zip Ties

I had what I thought was a great idea!

It turns out it is a great idea.... surprise!

We love Christmas lights. We drive around to see Christmas lights. But we really stink at decorating our own house with Christmas lights.

Hubby leaves lights on one of the trees and around the front windows all year because he hates taking them down.

I decided I wanted some lights in another tree this winter and I don't have the time or patience to carefully wrap strings of lights around the branches anymore than he does. And the string of lights I found on sale were snowflake lights, not exactly the kind of wire you can wind around branches anyway.

That's where the zip ties come in! I haven't seen or read anywhere else about stringing Christmas lights using zip ties, but it worked, it worked well, and it was fast!

I used the white zip ties I found in the garage. I had to chain a few together for the larger branches, but it was so easy and fast that I could it with gloves on!

I even used zip ties to hold the extension cord to the tree so it wouldn't dangle down at weird angles across the front of the house. I ran out of white zip ties and used the black ones from the barn, but both colors blend in with the bark on the tree, so the color didn't make a difference.

I'm pretty excited that I can go out today and snip the zip ties with scissors and take the lights down quickly. Yay! Fast and easy!

We bought a bag of 100 zip ties this spring.

One of the best 'equipment investments' we've made in a while!

Vet2Be is positive I'm zip-tie crazed because of all the things I've used them for, inside the house, in the barn yard, and now for Christmas lights! There is a small stash of them in the camper and in the two old cars, too.

Right next to the Gorilla duct tape :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Score at the Thrift Store!

I went to the thrift store yesterday. January is a great time to go, just in case you are wondering. Everyone is getting rid of their old stuff because their house has been crowded for more than a month now and they have to have places to put their new stuff!

Yay for me!

I found three cabinets of file drawers that I stuffed into the cart. As I was looking through the rest of the store a woman said, "Someone has alot of files at home!"

I told her no, I don't have alot of files to store. These will be perfect for storing my stash of fat quarters.... or yarn.... or sewing supplies..... or knitting needles.....

There are 3 cabinets each with 4 drawers. They were only $4 each!
If I get tired of them in the sewing room I can put them in the garage, I'm sure Hubby can store stuff in them.

Or I can put them in my pantry to store canned goods or small boxes of food or spices (whoever designed the pantry thought that 26" deep shelves were a good idea... not! I have no idea what's on the back end of most of the shelves.)

Or Blondie said she can use them in her 3rd grade classroom for art supplies or other supplies in her  (the school didn't give her very much storage or shelving.)

Or we can put them out in the barn and use them to store brushes, meds, rags, tape.... or lots of other stuff that just seems to get pushed around.

The woman was very nice and told me I was creative to think of so many different things to use a bunch of old file cabinets for :) Thanks!

If I get ambitious this summer I'll bring them outside and spray paint them a different color (or maybe 3 different colors.... or maybe the cabinets one color and the drawers different colors!)

I'm pretty excited with this find! I haven't found anything this good for this cheap in a long time!

I also found a few chess sets, a brand new domino game, mancala, and lots of packages of brand new flash cards. Those were all sent to Blondie's 3rd grade class room. She was thrilled with Mama's finds, too. (and so were the 3rd graders!)

Smiles all around today ....

Now I'm off to remove labels and dust out drawers. And then I'll start filling drawers!

Oh, and if you have other ideas for them, let me know. I'd love to add to the list!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tangled December

December was a tangle of projects and problems. Not trials for our family, but for many others in our neighborhood. As we did our best to support and help many around us who endured hardships it pulled us from a few things around here. I had lots of plans for getting loose threads taken care of in December.

Instead I ended up with loose threads, tangled threads, clipped threads, and knotted threads. One of the threads that hung loose was blogging. One of the clipped threads was getting the tree decorated.

I was a bit sad that I wasn't able to do everything, but some things are more important than decorating for Christmas and blogging.

I thought I would share a few photos from January 2nd. It was one of those awakening moments for me brought on by the play of a child.

CooleyBug brought down her two daughters, PluckyBug (5 years old) and LittleBug (2 years old) to pick up some children's camp chairs that we didn't need anymore.

PluckyBug was moving the pieces of the Snowman Nativity around.

Which was fine with me, it's cute and made of resin and calls out, "Touch me!"

Originally I had the Nativity set up with the stable as the backdrop and all the pieces in front with the baby Jesus in the center, just like you would see a Nativity set up anywhere.

When they left I went shut out the lights and went to do the evening chores.

The next morning I walked by and noticed how PluckyBug had set up the Nativity. The traditional set-up didn't suit her.

At first it was odd to see Mary, Jesus, and the lamb behind the stable, instead of in front.
I wondered why she had put a Wise Man near the stable instead of Joseph.
It seemed strange.
But as I thought about she left the pieces set up, I realized that PluckyBug had put CooleyBug, herself, and her little sister (LittleBug) inside the house/stable with an Angel and a Wise Man standing close by outside the house. It looks as if the Angel and the Wise Man are there ready to help at a moment's notice.

Do you see Joseph? The snowman in the green shirt is the one we use for Joseph,
even though he looks like a shepherd, he's Joseph to us.
He is all the way on the right side of the chest.
If he moved any further he would fall off the edge.
DaddyBug is in the Navy. He left for Boot Camp at the beginning of December. If he makes it through all the training in the next year, he will be a Navy SEAL.

He is just about as far away from the family as he can get right now. I think he got to talk to his family on Christmas Day.

But DaddyBug isn't alone. Not as a snowman, and not in real life. He's with other men, standing side by side, working together and learning together. The snowmen look as if they are a small army watching and protecting the little family as well as the Angel and the Wise Man so far away from them. They are strong, wise leaders and companions working together. Two Wise Men, a shepherd, and Joseph.

Here is the whole Nativity as PluckyBug set it up.
At first it looked a little odd, now it looks just right.
This is how PluckyBug's life is set up. DaddyBug is away preparing to protect this great nation of ours. She is at home with her Mom and Little Sister.

I'm glad she knows there are Angels and Wise Men to watch over their family, because in real life there are. There are neighbors and friends and extended family and a church family close by to help whenever they are needed.

CooleyBug is an amazing woman, strong and wonderful. She can fix sprinkler systems and dryers. She can milk goats and garden. She can raise two girls and support a wonderful husband. But I don't want her to think she is alone, because she isn't.

We are blessed to help out from time to time. If CooleyBug has any questions about her goats, we do our best to answer. When she has the chance to go visit family, we offer to feed and milk the goats so she isn't tied too tightly to the farm.

I never want to forget the sacrifice this family is making. Quietly and steadfastly they are giving up togetherness to protect our family, our farm, and our country.

Thanks... to all those who serve and protect us.

Giving up the decorations on the tree and the other Christmas trappings was no sacrifice, not compared to all the trials so many of our friends and neighbors are having this year.

Unexpected death of a dear husband and debilitating injury have knocked on friend's and family's doors, too. Turmoil and trials near and far.

May God watch over you and protect you. And your families.

And help us all to be Angels and Wise Men bound by strong threads to your families whenever they are in need of friendly hands or helping hands or comforting hands.