I’ve been checking out Ana White for months now and dreaming about all the furniture we could fill our house with.  Trying to furnish a house over the past year – via trips to Goodwill, and thrift stores in addition to quite a few hand-me-downs, and trips to “real” furniture stores – is a lot of work!

I have had my eye on quite a few things to build but safely decided to start with something easy – the ten dollar ledges.  They were pretty easy, but not without a few stumbling blocks.  We started out screwing them together and then filling the holes with wood putty.  After staining them – the supposedly “stainable” wood putty din’t look as good as I thought it should.  So…change of plans and they became painted. 

At this point in the process I think I got my first project ‘I told you so’ from Tim.  And ughhhh, he was right🙂 I put it in writing and everything! So a trip to home depot and $250 later I was the proud owner of a brand new air compressor and 3 nailers – what he told me I should have used to build the shelves from the beginning! But, with the other projects in the future pipeline, this should come in handy as a project investment.

We cut down the 8 foot lengths to do two sets of shelves.  One set at 66 inches for above the couch in the living room painted ‘Wild Truffle’ by Behr; and a second set at 30 inches for the front guest bedroom painted white (leftover trim paint).

The guest rooms shelves:

Living room shelves:

Measuring for Placement


There is still a bit of space to fill in, but eventually it will be a haphazard gallery wall.  Getting us started is the print we framed with a signing mat from etsy that we used as our guest book for the wedding (from the shop Stella & Hodge: http://www.etsy.com/listing/56608485/carved-initials-personalized-print-wall) and on the right is a old window I bought at a barn sale a few years ago for $10.  I think I took a page out of the American Pickers’ handbook and bundled it with this great braided rag rug that we have on the back deck.  That window moved with us – and then sat in the basement workshop for the past year, I just couldn’t part with it even though I couldn’t find a good spot to put it.  I’m lucky Tim didn’t toss it when I wasn’t looking🙂

Tree On House

With that title I’ll start by saying that fortunately the tree wasn’t on OUR house.  Unfortunately it was on our across the street neighbors house, bringing the visual reality of living surrounded by beautiful old trees very close to home.

This happened on a Friday about two weeks ago…I headed off to work, pulled out of the driveway and drove by the neighbor’s house, and slammed on my brakes when I saw this:

That next day was a Saturday and by about lunchtime 5 huge landscaping trucks pulled up, along with the owner of the house.  He was in much better spirits than I would have been if a huge tree fell – bringing down a second one down with it – right through the house!

Our roads on the mountain are narrow (sometimes it’s questionable whether two cars can pass by each other), and his driveway even worse – so the trucks blocked the road for a few hours and got to work.  By Saturday afternoon this was the progress:

Removing all the branches made it look (to me) worse – you could see better the gaping hole into the house.  The tree went through the roof, through the attic, through duct work and wiring, through the ceiling, and into the main section of his house.

They were back Sunday to remove the main trunk of the tree(s) and covered the whole thing up with a giant tarp.  Which is a good thing considering the ton of rain we’ve gotten since this happened. 

How things look now:

You can see the concave areas – pushed down by snow earlier this week – and rain collecting more recently.  I think we got 2+ inches of rain yesterday, and last night had a tornado watch in our county for the storms coming through.

The ground is extremely wet right now due to the rain, but the 10-day forecast shows sunny skies…fingers crossed!

We don’t know where the homeowner goes from here…if it’s fixable – or needs to be completely re-built due to structural issues.   We’re curious to see what happens…

Would you rather fix-it – or – rebuild?

Hard at Work?

On one of the warmer Saturday’s in mid-February we took advantage of the temperature and got some yardwork done outside.  Moving rocks, raking leaves (they are never-ending), planning where the raised vegetable beds would go, figuring out drainage issues & finding a good spot for a for a rain barrel…and I snapped this picture of Tim with the dogs taking a break by the fire ring.

When we are outside doing stuff Jack follows us around always needing to know where the action is.  Roxie on the other hand is completely content laying on the big rocks like she is a queen surveying her land :)  And of course keeping an eye out for squirrels and hoping to catch sight of a deer to chase!

Another example from last fall:

The backyard is a complete work in progress…and we joke that we should submit pictures to ‘yard crashers’ – it’s never going to be a “manicured lawn space” since you can see from the pictures that it is completely wooded.  But we’re just trying to carve out a section for some gardening and a firepit area to enjoy a few bonfires with friends, some music and beverages🙂

Once this deluge of rain finally stops, weekend plans include more yardwork so i’m sure Roxie and Jack will be up to their usual outside activities.  We’re trying to figure out the best way to control….corral….divert the runoff from our roof – leading it away from the front yard where our septic is – and towards the backyard through drainage pipes.  We called “Miss Utility” and everything is good to go to begin the digging.  I will be sure to take pictures along the way – it gives me a good excuse to take a break every once in a while🙂

Do you have a rain barrel? If so, feel free to recommend it!

The Laundry Room

This project came about somewhat unexpectedly….it was already on the “spoken list” but wasn’t something that we made any moves to accomplish anytime soon.  That changed a few weekends ago with a trip to Home Depot for a “few things” and us walking out with two new unfinished cabinets.

Our laundry room/area is right off the kitchen with a door to the back screened porch.  It’s a door that we actually don’t use very often, most likely because the door needs to be replaced.  The screen door is on its last legs/hinges…as a matter of fact Tim recently secured the screen frame portion back in place with gorilla glue (a step up from duct tape?) – we’ll see how long this holds up! The previous owner had replaced all the windows in the house after he purchased in 2005 – but the doors are old, if not original to the house, they pretty darn close – that’s something on our to-do list to be completed before winter 2011! They are drafty!

Back on topic, this is the before of our laundry area:

Original paint color – a grey-ish sage green, washer on the left and dryer on the right, previous owner’s DIY white ‘laundry stuff’ shelf, the tiniest and dimmest light, and random stuff anywhere it would fit.  Note: this picture was actually taken when we walked through the house to first look at it before buying – but the laundry area has pretty much looked the same since we moved in a year ago – just with our stuff everywhere!

So for the past year it’s been on my mind to do something with this area – it needed help! I had been searching for a few months at the local habitat re-store for two upper cabinets that I could refinish/paint but was coming up with nothing usable.  All of their nicer cabinets were sold in complete sets (and they wouldn’t sell just two from a set), so the random cabinets that they had were all mismatched, wrong size, corner cabinets, ect…nothing was usable.

Fast forward to a few weekends ago, while in Home Depot we see they are having a “truck load” sale of unfinished oak cabinets.  The price was reasonable and we left with two 30 inch wall cabinets – similar to this:

Home Depot Unfinished Oak Cabinets (picture from Homedepot.com)

First we painted in the laundry room – same color that we painted in the kitchen when we moved in – but just hadn’t gotten around to the laundry area yet.  Nothing like a project that adds on more to the to-do list!  The color is ‘contemplation’ – sort of a beachy feeling blue.  Prior to painting we replaced the small dim light in the room a new lighting fixture.  Here is the new light and new paint color:

Then a few coats of Behr hi-gloss paint in ‘snowfall ‘on the cabinets…keepin it real,we just throw down the drop cloths and paint in the dining room🙂 This was a mutli day/night painting project!

And we were ready to hang them this past weekend.

We put the doors back on and added some hardware to match what we installed in the kitchen…


We put the dog food container next to the dryer – and the broom/mop/swiffer behind it (I’d like to find some clips to hang them on the wall there).

And Roxie and Jacks’ food and water bowls have a spot right across from their food container, out of the way. 

My mom made that raised bowl stand for them!

And that’s the laundry area re-do.  All that’s left is to find clips to hang the broom and mops & purchase a few baskets for on top of the cabinets for additional storage. 

The room is just so much brighter with the new light fixture…and the new paint color really helps brighten it up too – that old color seemed dingy in comparison. 

What do you think, improvement?

A Snowy Monday

A torrential downpour yesterday, with roads flooding & our yard work pushed off until next weekend.  But before bed crazy winds and some surprise snow…

About 2 inches on the back deck.  

Everything looked crisp and white this morning.  I did think I was past cleaning off the car and scraping ice – at least for the next 9 months or so, but I guess not!

A pretty view on the way to work.  But with highs in the 50’s today I’m sure much, if not all of it will be gone by the time I get home tonight. 

It was interesting to see snow at the top of the mountain, and by the time I drove the 3 miles down to the bottom intersection with the main county road – nothing!  Quite the little micro-climate we have up there.

Recent Eats

How it’s already 3 weeks since the last post I have no idea – but I’m pretty sure a week-long work trip to California and then an annual friend vacation to the Adirondacks (back-to-back!) might have had something to do with it!  

February was busy and we’ve been busy with house stuff too! The return of some warmer weather has us tackling some outdoor projects and working on inside stuff when the weather isn’t cooperating.  This rainy Sunday was good for finishing a few things and getting some deep cleaning done (have you looked under your fridge recently? gross…)  I’ve been taking pictures along the way – now it’s just a matter of getting all caught up with sharing. 

How about some food pictures first.  I’ve been modifying a few recipes found around the blog world to work more for us.  Some started off vegetarian (mexican lasagna) – but we made it carnivorous instead…and others were just a matter of working with what we had and winging it.

The ‘Mexican lasagna’ included corn tortillas layered with: plain tomato sauce (seasoned with 1/2 packet taco seasoning), diced onion, diced pepper, black beans, ground beef (1/2 packet taco seasoning), fresh spinach, and cheddar cheese.  With everything we threw in there we were able to squeeze 2 layers into our 9×13 and then topped with another layer of tortillas and some cheddar on top. Yum!

Continuing with the Mexican theme of our February eats was a ‘Taco Quiche’ – I love making Quiche, super easy and then the leftovers are always easy and convenient for lunches.   I used the corn tortillas to line the dish instead of a pie shell. 

Served with salsa and sour cream.  Tim approved🙂

Last but not least was homemade pizza night – crust and all! A BBQ chicken and also a veggie (onions, peppers, mushrooms and broccoli).  The BBQ chicken was the clear favorite – and sure to be a repeat🙂 We are already trying to come up with other options to top it – chicken, bacon, ranch?! Roasted red pepper and goat cheese?

BBQ Chicken


I think a monthly homemade pizza night is in our future!

Mmmmmmm Dinner

Another chilly morning = a good day to bust out the crock pot. 

We really don’t use it as often as we should! We made some beef & venison chili a few weeks ago, but other than that it’s away in the cabinet more than I’d like.  I love coming home to the yummy smells of something that’s been cooking all day🙂  

We recently purchased a half of a cow and our deep freezer is FULLY stocked with local, grass-fed beef…this was something I was interested in doing and had mentioned to Tim.  When friends of ours came across someone who was raising just a few cattle we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.   Eventually we’d like to find a source for chicken as well, but I think this is a step in the right direction.  

So dinner – a beef roast with carrots, celery, onions, garlic, herbs, some stock and a cup or two of wine in there from our favorite winery Chrysalis, that’s  just down the road. 

Beef Roast Crock Pot

The rest of the bottle to be enjoyed with dinner🙂

Norton for the Roast

I’ll be sure to update with after pictures!

Updated – Dinner complete:

Whole wheat & Cheddar Biscuits

My plate – with a glass or two of wine of course🙂