Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Trimming the Doors

The last two weekends we have been working on trim. It is one of the last things on the list and I am so excited to be getting it done! 

 Just need a bit of sanding and painting and it will be good!
When the kitchen and bathroom were remolded sometime in the early 1950's, they tore out the original 1920's trim and replaced it with a "modern" narrow version. So in the interest of restoring vintage charm, I tore out the narrow trim and am installing replica 1920's trim.(Funny how that works, isn't it?) 

 It is a bit of a multi step process. This is step one of trimming the doors. The original 1920's trim is two pieces, a wide board and a corner piece. The corner piece we will have to make (hopefully sometime this summer!), but for now it is lovely having even a bit of trim up!

 This door from the kitchen to the back door and basement was the first, the trial run. It was also the simplest doorway to do, no counters to cut around, no wonky walls to work with. 

Doesn't it make a world of difference? 
Now that the first part of the door trim is up, we are going to switch over to windows and work on windowsills and trimming the windows in the wide boards. Then we will try to get those corner pieces made!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Spring Sewing

Every year when the sun is here a bit longer, the grass is green again and there is a bit of warmth in the wind, I suddenly get in a sewing frenzy. Light weight tops are needed, flowing dresses and fun skirts are calling my name!
But one can only wear so many dresses or skirt in these climes, so I have turned my focus on top and blouses. The are much more adaptable, can be layered with jeans and sweater (usually with a long sleeved t-shirt underneath!) or when summer finally comes a light cardigan and cropped pants.
So this year, when the spring sewing frenzy hit, I grabbed my favorite Sorbetto Top pattern and whipped up a few. I have also added Akita from Seamwork to the favorite list. It is another quick project with just one pattern piece and all in one sleeves.

For this Sorbetto top, I drew inspiration from a favorite store bought top and added a short button placket. The fabric is a beautiful cotton lawn that matched tiny vintage buttons I had in my stash! 

What spring projects are working on? Does the warmer weather motivate you?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bedroom Refresh

Isn't it funny how you can change one thing and suddenly a room feels totally different? This little table is the star of my recent bedroom refresh.

All I did was move the bedside table from the back corner to the other side of the bed. And suddenly, the room is cozier, more interesting and more spacious!

Now the lovely characteristics of the little table can shine!
And the room is extra cozy at night with the light in the middle of the room now.

A present from my sister Becky, this little pot has always had a place on the bedside table. Now you can really notice the details.

The table was another antique find years ago. It actually is a sewing cabinet with the top lifting up to reveal a spool rack. The drawers hold all those random bit and bobs that can accumulate on a bedside table. I love having everything handy, but still able to keep the table top tidy.

The other change I made was to flip my bedspread around, the back is now up and the top down. The top was getting so warn and holey, but I am not ready to give up on it yet!

 I also switched out the pillow shams as the they didn't really match the quilt anymore. In their place I have crisp white vintage pillowcases. That just happen to have my monogram!

I love the lacy edging! I suspect it is handmade.

A lovely view reflected back. 
Because the table made the doorway to the sewing room seem a bit crowded, I moved the dressing table stool to the bottom of the bed, which opens up the area nicely.

The stool is where I perch my extra pillows at night, so it works perfectly.

I love the new "refreshed" look! With a small bedroom there isn't too many ways to place the furniture, so it was nice to be able to move something, even if it was just the bedside table.....

Friday, May 13, 2016

Things I Learned About Remodeling

My sister Becky and her husband are in the process of buying a house. Of course, that brings out the conversations of "the kitchen needs a new floor" "how hard is it to put new tile in the bathroom?" "wouldn't the house look cute with a front porch?".
And all those questions make me think about my house journey and things I have learned. So, Sister (and Friends!) here are a few tips on remodeling old houses!

~ It always takes longer then you think.
It sounds so easy on paper. All you have to do is rip out the carpet and lay new tile on the floor. What you don't realize, is first the floor joists must be fixed, then the kitchen cabinets removed, then the old rotten floor boards ripped, then cement board laid and THEN you can tile the floor.

~ There is always going to be something that you wish you had done different.
You try and try to think of all the options and all the possibilities, but in the end, something changes or what you think would have been an issue, is no issue at all. Don't sweat too much, it happens in life.

~ Be prepared to make a lot of choices.
I wasn't prepared for all the decisions that needed to be made. Suddenly, everyone is looking to you for direction, even if you have no clue to what you are doing, you get to say nay or yea. From the big (how do you want the bathroom laid out?) to the small (How many shelves in the linen closet?); easy (wall color?) to hard (where do you want the toilet?); the expected (what style of sink?) to the unexpected (how many faucet holes in the sink?); you get to make them all. And it can be overwhelming, but hang in there!

~There is a lot of advice out there. Don't let it bog you down.
If your family is anything like mine, everyone has three different opinions (which adds up to a lot fast!) about everything. Then there is the internet and blogs and diy websites. I almost had a nervous breakdown finishing my floors. I thought I had done something horribly wrong when in fact you can't expect stain to dry fast when it is pouring rain.
Advice can be helpful, but remember, you don't need to take it all.

~Enjoy the journey.
Remodeling is messy, it is crazy, chaotic and tiring. But if you are fortunate enough to have handy friends and family (or even just friends and family that are willing to pitch in!) it can be a special bonding time. There is nothing like late night painting parties or bonding time with your sister while squeezed into the stair well elbow to elbow pulling staples,

~Take your time.
This may sound like a no-brainier, but once the end of the project is in sight and all anyone can think of is Finally Getting It Done! Just make sure you take a little breather in the middle and enjoy the excitement of being there. And when there is another decision to be made and another trip to the hardware store and another huge expense to pay for, that is the time to take a break and have tea. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day and creating a lovely home is no different.

So Sister, I wish you good luck on your house journey and know I am going to be right there beside you with a paint brush in my hand! I can't wait!
(I am hoping Becky will let me share updates with you all too!)

What about you? Been there done that? Have any advice for a new house owner?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Its Apple Blossom time!

 So exciting to see the apple tree in bloom again! It is such an anticipated time of year and comes and goes to quick. I try to appreciate to the maximum! 

 I know not everyone is in love with fruit trees and blossoms as I am, so I won't share all 97 photos I took (It is true, there are 97 photos!), just my favorites. 

The sky was so blue the day I took these. Beautiful!

  Sometimes between trying to hold the camera still while at an odd angel and the slight breeze that is usually present, I come out with some interesting pictures.

 The apple tree is still such a little twig of a thing, but it is going strong!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Cookbook Project: Vanilla Wafers

The jury is still out on this one. Part of the problem was I wasn't sure what the end resulted was suppose to be, so I kept trying different baking times and temperatures. I was hoping they would turn out similar to store bought vanilla wafers and with a bit of tweaking, I think they might.

It is a pretty basic cookie recipe, starts with shortening, sugar and eggs. But could certainly use lots of extra vanilla! Maybe vanilla sugar or vanilla seeds.

Add the flour and baking powder to make a dough. 
I did like the texture of the cookie, after some research I am wondering it the dough should have been softer, but it still needs to be workable. 

 My favorite biscuit cutter set had a one and a half inch cutter. Perfect!

The recipe calls for egg brushed on the top. I didn't see much difference, egg brushed to the left, plain to the right. But the egg might have just been to keep the coconut or walnut nutmeats on. Maybe I should have tried them with the coconut?

A very nice recipe. But if you are looking for something similar to store bought vanilla wafers, this isn't it. There were more of a shortbread type cookie.
I will certainly post an update when I adjust the recipe!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fresh Soap

 As much as I love pretty soap and lovely scents, my skin just can't handle it. But a basic square of white cleanliness with no dyes, no perfumes, no smells (Except a clean soap smell!) makes my skin happy! 

A basic olive oil soap with a tad of coconut oil for extra sudsy-ness. Made by Mom and I on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Two mad scientist at work: mixing and measuring, stirring, checking for the right signs, ohh and ahhing as each step is noted, excitedly peeking on it's progress. And the final happy unveiling of 14 luscious bar of soap!

 In the picture above the oils have been melted, added together with the lye and blended with a stick blender. Now it is ready to pour into our "mold". 

Since we made a smaller batch, we used a loaf pan lined in plastic wrap. It set up for 24 hours before cutting and has been curing for 3 weeks before using.

Using the soap calculator from The Sage (a great resource for master soap makers or beginners!) we created this recipe. And I think is is a winner!

Simple Soap
16 oz. olive oil
4 oz. coconut oil
1 oz. castor oil
8 oz. distilled water
2.8 oz lye

If you like handmade soap, but don't want to get into the actually making, you can purchase bars from my Aunt at Songbird Soaps or from a friend at Soaps 'n Such