Archive for the ‘home improvement’ Category


I have been a bit preoccupied this past week or so, hence the silence around here and the lateness of my shop update.

We’ve been having some work done on our house, and have been doing our own work on the house, and the days have been pretty full. This week we are trying to finalize our decision on exterior paint colors, and I must say, this has been one of the toughest decisions I have had to make in a long time. How could it be so tricky?? Just when I think we have it, it seems all wrong and we are back to the drawing board. The way it looks on the chip never quite converts to reality. I have painted and repainted a little section of siding quite a few times now. Gosh, thank you Ron, for quart-sized testers! Our local paint guy actually gave me 2 free quarts today. I think he sympathized with my predicament. And then he told me a story about a lady that bought FIFTY testers before she finally settled on a color. Let’s hope I don’t repeat anything like that. Looking forward to getting this figured out though – and I think we are getting closer. This house is more than ready for a fresh look.

I have also been soaking up summer as much as I can. It doesn’t last forever and I don’t want to miss any of it. These August days – these are the days we wait all year for.

Thank you for the grand welcome back. The shop sure got busy! It really does feel great to be back to work.

I’ll be back soon. xo

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hey, june


Hey, June – so happy you’re here. When these photos were taken, just a couple days ago, I wondered if you’d ever make it.


It’s June 3, and we are experiencing our first hot day of the year. Even the breeze is warm. It’s been a peculiar year, with lots and lots of rain and unseasonably cool weather. I know we aren’t alone in that. The garden has been slow to really get growing and some things got such a poor start I may replant. There are still starts waiting to be be put in the ground. They are so ready! I think this is their week. I have found myself a little frustrated at times, but mostly I’m enjoying the process of learning. We have SO much to learn, and the plants themselves are amazing teachers.


We keep on planting, propagating, transplanting, harvesting, digging, planning, digging and planning. This space we are creating is still new to us in many ways, but bit by bit, it is taking on a new shape. We have really been enjoying all the hard labor, and as we make our way around the different parts of yard, we develop a closer and closer relationship with the land we live on. It’s exciting.

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Am I allowed to brag if it’s not about myself? Great, because my guy is certainly clever and quite resourceful, and oh so much more! Today a huge eye sore, the size of a 6-seater hot tub, was removed from our yard, by one dude, single-handedly. Yay! We had inquired last year about having this job done by professionals, and it would have been a crew of 3 or 4 guys, and cost us somewhere in the range of $500 upward.

We are hoping to give this tub away for free. At the very least, we would like to save it from the landfill. We tried last year, with no takers, but now that it has been dug out of a 4 foot deep hole, lifted up out of this hole, hoisted over a little fence, down a slope and onto a trailer (with only a farm jack, a few planks and some scraps of wood!) ready to drive away… hopefully we will have better luck.

I watched some of this process, and helped just a little. Cleverness, patience and resourcefulness was a lot of what made this happen. And those words happen to pretty well describe this person, who I love sharing my life with so much.

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Hi friends! I know, it’s been pretty quiet around here. We have jumped on this stretch of dry weather we’ve been having, and have been working on our house like crazy. Among the projects has been painting the exterior. The lower level is almost done! The lower level is a daylight basement, and all the outer walls are concrete block. Much of the surface was very funky. It took days of power washing and scraping to prepare for re-covering.

Since moving here, the basement has been mostly ignored. It will be a huge project down there, to bring it to a state that we feel will be comfortable and fully live-able. Inside, it is still empty, with bare floors. We have been slowly devising a plan, but in the mean time our efforts have mostly been focused on our current, immediate living space. It has been nice to put some attention down there. One thing at a time.

The Ruche (shown above, with snaps!), will be getting a bit of a revision to make it even more functional. The Ruche has been a long time favorite, and there have been a few ways I have wanted to improve upon it. If you own a Ruche, and have any suggestions, please email me! I would love to hear about them. If you order a Ruche before the revision gets released, and would like snaps added, just make a note when you check out and I will add them for you, free of additional charge.

And one more little tidbit (tidbit? what kind of word is tidbit?)… According to the Farmer’s Almanac, July is The Full Buck Moon. “July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur.” We found that pretty interesting, because we have definitely had a lot of energy building around here among the bucks. Last July they put on quite a show, butting heads and running around in circles with each other in the yard. I often wish that I could be a deer for a day and see what they are thinking and how they are perceiving. What kind of animal would you be for a day, if you could?

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Wooden spoon oil is typically a blend of mineral oil and natural waxes, and is easy to purchase online or at local stores that sell wooden kitchen items or counter tops. Until now, I had never treated any of our wooden utensils, boards or bowls, because I don’t feel comfortable using mineral oil, particularly on surfaces I will eat off of, and I know that a lot of vegetable oils, such as olive oil, can go rancid.

Mineral oil is a petroleum by-product, and even though they tell you it is “safe,” and sell it over the counter in various forms, I disagree. Just read up on the symptoms associated with petrol in the materia medica. There are a lot of things regarded as safe, which are simply not.

I did a little research, and found that heat treated walnut oil is a suitable natural alternative. It does not go rancid like other vegetable oils and it is truly food-based / food safe.

This recent post at 3191, is what inspired me to make my own, and I followed the amounts Stephanie used. She has so many wonderful ideas for the home. I purchased a 16 ounce bottle of walnut oil and a one pound brick of beeswax from fairyfolk on etsy. With a hatchet I knocked about 1/4 of my brick off and then chopped it into chunks.

Put your beeswax chunks into a quart mason jar, bring a pot of water to boil, carefully immerse your jar into the water and the wax will slowly melt. Once it’s a liquid, remove it from the water.

Now pour your full 16oz bottle of walnut into another mason jar, and immerse the jar into the water to heat the oil (if it is cooler than the wax, it will cause the wax to coagulate unevenly when you blend the 2). Finally, pour your heated oil into the jar of wax, stir and let cool. I stirred it every so often as it cooled, to keep it well blended. It is amazing stuff! Smells delicately sweet, makes a wonderful hand and foot salve, and lip ointment too.

Rub the oil into the clean dry wood, let it set for a while (I left it for a day or so) and then rub off any excess with a cotton cloth. If things feel too oily before you are ready to use them, you can wash them with warm soapy water and then dry with a cloth.

This process of renewing my kitchen wood was very satisfying. I sanded quite a few items before oiling to remove inconsistencies, stains and rough spots, and the finished result is perhaps even better than I had expected.

If you decide to try this, have fun with it!

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Sometimes the simplest projects bring the greatest satisfaction.

You see, there are a lot of little quirks about our house. One of them is the fact that there is a window in our bathroom, right behind the toilet. The window is frosted, but not frosted enough apparently, and from the outside (right by the front door) you can even see the toilet tank. We ran a few tests, and in the right light (which is most light) you can see bare booties through that window!

You wouldn’t think it would have taken me this long (here we are at 10 months) to do something about this. Maybe it is my old skinny-dipping brazenness shining through. But at last I made a curtain! Needless to say, it has come as quite a relief, and as an added bonus I have really been enjoying seeing this fabric hanging. I have been holding on to it for over a year, waiting for just the right use.

So there you have it. A booty hiding panel of pretty vintage eyelet lace.

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Over the years, through various moves and a once very mobile lifestyle, we have given away all of our houseplants. Being settled now, and working on bringing life to a new home, plants come to mind a lot – and the fact that we really don’t have much greenery in here. Throughout the last week I set to work on that. It only took a few (very enjoyable) moments of my time, at a few different intervals, and did not cost a thing. If you are wanting to bring a little bit of green into your home, you might try just taking a little walk around your yard to begin with.

It helps to have some containers on hand that you find attractive and would like to display around your home. I have been collecting terracotta pots at the thrift store, as well as some simple pottery pieces that catch my eye. Things like succulents should be fine in a pot without drainage holes, as long as you are careful not to over-water.

The succulents shown, I found growing along our driveway. They multiply quickly and there is quite a large spread of them. I chose from a few areas that were full and healthy. I gently spooned up the dirt underneath them, and with only a gentle pull, the roots came free.

The mint I found growing in the planter box out front, and if you have ever grown mint, you know that it also multiplies readily. In a similar way that I moved the succulent, I now have a small potted mint which I look forward to watching grow.

We will soon start some seeds indoors, to be moved out to our garden when spring is a little closer. We have been collecting materials to be used as seedling pots, and once we get started I will share more on that.

Happy planting!

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what is old

…could it be new again?


Today I had intended to do a shop update and then sew all day long. Things went as they did though, and instead I enjoyed a spontaneous lunch date with my sister, followed by an enthusiastic start on a house project I have been thinking about, talking about and dreaming about for what seems like forever. Remember way back in August, when I mentioned that indoor project I was going to explore? Well I never reported those results because I never got to it, until today. The “explore” part had to do with seeing what was underneath the nasty particle board, and the slight possibility that we might just find an interesting (sub)floor under there. I pulled up the first row of particle board sections and then we discussed the ideas of painting it, sanding and staining it, or just covering the whole thing with the bamboo flooring we have been waiting to put down in there. I decided it was worth sanding some of it, to see what it looked like once cleaned up. I got so into it (I love what a sander can do!), that I will likely continue on and sand the whole thing,. With a few repairs, a thorough sanding, a nice finish, a clean trim, and a big cozy area rug this might just be a great (temporary) rustic (maybe very rustic) floor for a bedroom. We can always use that bamboo elsewhere. What do you think?




I’ll show more photos when I’m finished!

PS We are not sure what kind of wood it is. It’s definitely not pine (this wood is harder and with a different grain), and it is softer than a hardwood. Our first guess is hickory.

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Life feels so full of transformation right now, both big and small, and in most every area I can think of. It’s exciting, and there seems to be hardly a moment where I don’t recognize something new. There are even times where I can’t help but let out a little squeal! We’re excited about the continuing changes on our home. The photo below was taken a little while back, but aside from a little paint preparation it looks more or less the same. The intense pace of this summer’s project has slowed down to a more natural progression of working on what ever seems to flow with the day – not to say there is not a lot of work still to do.

I am loving this shift to autumn weather. The crisp cool mornings are beautifully punctuated by what sounds like a thousand song birds. The nights are so quiet now without the sounds of crickets and bullfrogs. And the moon seems so close and so bright. Living a little ways in from the ocean we now have deciduous trees around us, so we are experiencing a more colorful fall than we’ve seen in some time. The baby deer are getting big and the young buck is even sprouting some tiny nubs on his head already.

It’s been a little bit like summer during the afternoons still, so I leave you with a few photos as I head off to enjoy the rest of it. I’ll be back soon.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!




gone to seed

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roof progress

roof project

Hello! Where have I been? What the heck is going on with that house, you ask? Well, here is some of what we have been up to this month. When we bought this house we knew that the first thing it would need was a roof. You see, the house had (and yep it still has) it’s flaws, and that big flat roof there in the front was one of the biggest. There were a number of leaks, causing mold and dry rot and inviting wood eating bugs and according to the neighbors, everyone who has lived in this house has suffered the plight of this roof, for years. I won’t go into the details, but the design was flat out crazy. To just replace the flat parts really would have been pretty simple and relatively inexpensive, but it just didn’t seem right to do the same crazy thing over again and so, we ended up with what has become at least a 3 phase project. I am happy to say it seems we are entering phase 3… but for now, here is a walk-through of most of phase 1.

That photo above shows the house as it was when we bought it. In fact, that photo was taken the first time we ever looked at it.

We started by taking down that storefront type board. It was rotting, unnecessary and really unattractive.

roof project

We have tried to save everything that is salvageable, and we kept every bit of solid wood from going to the dump. There have been quite a few instances already within this project, where we have been able to reuse some materials.


We decided to completely remove the porch covering. One of the worst leaks was just to the right of the top of the door. It was very moldy in there and pretty well infested with carpenter ants, and you should have seen the inside of the coat closet, which is just on the other side of that wall. Have you ever seen a wall growing fur?? This is also the south side and on the Oregon Coast, sunshine can be a really big deal! Being the sun lovers that we are we felt like we really wanted to open this side up as much as we could. We may even add a window in the future.

porch demolition

Here we have cut back the overhang quite a bit, minimizing everything down, preparing for the new one over the porch, and the new fascia. The porch covering is gone and those strange blue bedposts that used to stick out of that planter box are gone too.

roof project

Part of the plan to change the flaws, was to pitch this little roof over what is now the utility room. This would eliminate the most problematic area and update the look of the house a bit. The garage roof, unfortunately, is still pretty much flat although we removed some of the flaws that were in the old design (like downspouts within the roof structure, all of which were located in high spots!).

roof project

The framing of the new little pitched roof – our contractor’s fantastic idea.


roof project

In the next few days I hope to focus on some indoor projects a bit. There is a potentially exciting discovery I want to explore, which I’ll share the results of later.

Enjoy the day everyone! And thanks for visiting.

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