Tuesday, August 31, 2010

When Life Hits You Hard...Take a Break!

Well, life has hit us hard.  I wanted to let my blog friends know that they won't be seeing me much for awhile.  I wanted to share our struggles right now and find the humor in it but also God's grace.

As you may know, I became a stay at home mom about 1 1/2 years ago when I volunteered to take a severance package after 20 years at a large banking corporation.  It was scary but Mr. Creative and I had a plan to pay off everything except the house of course and we should be able to make it even though none of the numbers added up!  We feel very strongly about our boys attending catholic school and have sacrificed to send them.  This has been my first real step at having faith and trusting God to provide for us!  I am one to try and tell Him how to run my life!  We have made it without starving, feeling miserable or deprived!

Each month it seems that we can't meet our budget and have had to pull from our savings.  Every year the tax refund and bonus would go into our savings and we would use it to make it through the year.  Well, we have come to that cross road where there isn't going to be enough in the savings to make it through until income tax day! 

The first thing that happened was to this beautiful piece of machinery that we knew nothing about 50 years ago and survived!!! We have 1st and 2nd floor air conditioners/furnaces.  When we turned on the 2nd floor air conditioner at the beginning of summer, it ran forever without getting cool and had ice formed on the outside. So we are barely surviving without it!  A box fan pulling the cool air from the first floor is good enough for our boys who only sleep up there, right???  They don't think so either but they are fine!   My investigative skills on the internet told me it needed freon  but we were afraid to find out what it would cost to fix the leak or to replace one of these!  Pending cost...$200 - $3500  ouch..  Maybe living without it is OKAY!!

For a few years now, the roof shingles have started curling, beginning to leak and now the roof needs to be replaced.  We have fixed any leaks to patch it along until we could save the money for a new roof.  Mr. Creative is capable of replacing it but would rather not since we have a high pitch roof that is 30 feet in the air on the walk out basement side...what were we thinking when we built this house!!  Lowest bid...$8000????

So, we are working on the best and most reasonable way to complete this before the heat of summer is over.  While worrying about that, our 15 year old water softener decided to die and we couldn't afford the price of replacement or repair.  Since our water is so hard and not the best quality, we decided to purchase a used one.  However, we didn't have enough knowledge to know that it had froze in their garage and cracked on the inside.  Long story short, we were able to mix and match what did work between ours and the used one we bought to get it going again.  Cost...$800  After 2 months of Mr.Creative finding the time to change the copper plumbing and saving money to pay Rainsoft to come out and test it, we finally got it all up and running!!  WORTH IT for we now have soft water and my showers are CLEAN!!

THEN....2 days later our well pump went out!!  Yes, the well pump is at the bottom of 350 feet of pipe in our front yard under this wishing well.  Amazing to me that there is free flowing water down underground!!  Not the best picture of the wishing well!!  I have stained it since this picture was taken!!

So they brought out a truck like this, backed it into my front yard and made deep tire marks into the ground...not as bad as it could have been!  Luckily it hasn't rained so the ground was hard.

They pulled the 350 feet of pipe out of the ground to get to this and replace it.  Pretty little thing to cost so much and to be buried so far under ground!  Cost...$2280.01  WORTH IT!!!  It was miserable for two days without water!

Good news, they said it must have been struck by lightening and shorted out so we are able to turn it in on our homeowners insurance for reimbursement of the cost, minus our deductible!  New cost...$1000  I love our new insurance company, Amica.  They were awesome and quick to handle!  We just switched 6 months ago so I was worried since they weren't a well known company here.  HIGHLY RECOMMEND to everyone!

Then our youngest son will turn 16 in 2 days.  We bought the oldest a cheap car when he turned 16.  Do you think the youngest believes he should have a cheap car, too?  Well, of course he does, don't be ridiculous!!!  So now we get to wander through these NICE places in the hopes of finding a decent cheap car.  Proposed cost....$1500

So, you haven't seen me blogging much.  I was laying around here licking my wounds, feeling sorry for myself.  I allowed myself one day for a pity party.  I then got myself up and started praying for God to drop a brick on me with instructions of what path I should follow.  For now, I am spending my blogging time searching and applying for jobs.  It is a whole different world looking for a job now.  Even though I have been working for more than 20 years, I never had to search for a job except internal of the company.  Times are definitely different today!  Everything is on the internet and it is hard to get your foot in the door unless you know someone.  I don't have a degree in accounting so many places dismiss your application immediately.  Seems 28 years of office and accounting experience aren't as good as  2 years with a degree!  Not sure I can compete, but I will try!  If it is His will, the right job will come my way.  If not, He has another plan for us.  Very hard for me to give up control but I am listening!

So keep us in your prayers, don't forget about me and I promise to be back soon!


Friday, August 27, 2010

My New to Me Sofa!

Well, those of you wonderful people that read my blog will know that I sold one thing and bought something else that was more expensive!!  We hated our living room furniture.  It was oversized and the back pillows constantaly rolled down when we sat on it.  My boys LOVE it.  So we hauled it downstairs to the basement den (man cave) for them to roll around on while playing Xbox or watching TV!

I thought I wanted a caramel brown color but they are hard to find on Craigslist for the price I wanted to pay.  I have been looking for 2 months now and almost settled a few times for something that wasn't the best for us.  I held out and found this chocolate brown one for $150!  She originally wanted $200 and it is in excellent condition.  I think I am happier with the chocolate brown than I would have been with the caramel.

Ignore the poor kitchen/breakfast room in the background!  It looks terrible but I just can't start on it until I get this family room done!!  I need to figure out some pillows.  Here is another shot so everyone can give me some suggestions as I'm not good at accessorizing with pillows.  Do I get 2 or 3 or 4 or 5..., should 2 be the same color or what combination, should they be solid, a print or a combination....HELP!!

Now, I'm not sure if the area rug goes anymore.  It matched with the other furniture better.  Trying to hide the greeen carpet as best I can.  Not much you can do with it!  Definitely need something bigger on the hearth than those 3 pitiful candlesticks!!

The room is coming along slowly.  Mr. Creative would like a recliner so I found a deep red recliner for $20 today but it is probably gone already.  I am going to make a square upholstered ottoman, too.
Decisions...decisions...this is the hardest part for me!  The finishing touches!

Thanks for stopping by today!  Your ideas keep me going!  Have a great day!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shades of Blue

Today in our Rainbow Summer School, we are working on the color blue!  Blue is actually my favorite color even though I don't have a lot of it in my main living areas!  My master bedroom makeover will be centraled around blue and brown.  Here is a picture of what the bedding looks like that I purchased earlier this year (no this isn't my room!):

Remember the lampshades that I want for my matching crystal lamps?

Then there was my oldest son's bedroom that we made over this year.  I showed you that room on this POST where we made the headboard and decorated his room!

Some of my prize possessions are the Currier & Ives dishes that my grandma always used.  First is the platter that I have front and center in the cabinet!

Some I have purchased like this tab platter as they call it.

I really love the butter dish with the salt and pepper shakers!

When I was growing up, we had mashed potatoes and milk gravy almost every day with dinner because my daddy loved it.  I make it ocassionally but my kids don't care for it like I do!  So here is a gravy bowl to put it in!

I did purchase this casserole dish.  There are two kinds, one with the scroll work on top of the handles and one without.  You see I have the one with them!!

If we wander into my bedroom, I do have some blue even before the makeover!  I love blue hydrandreas and I put these into a blue mosaic glass container that I purchased at a flea market YEARS ago!  There are blue silk drapes on the window, too!

It is sitting on the small dresser that I just refinished and showed you HERE!

If we wander into the master bathroom, you would see my junk thrift store purchase of a blue mason jar!

Oh, check out those blue eyes of my favorite guy, Dierks Bentley all dressed up in a suit!!! You see how he is looking at ME!  Drool.....oh sorry!  My hubby, Mr. Creative is still number one and still makes my heart go pitter patter when he walks into the room!!  However, as he says, I'm not dead or blind!

Thank you for stopping by my blue house tour!  I hope you enjoyed yourself and before you leave, please stop Ms. Jenny's Rainbow Summer School for Alphabe-Thursday and more displays of blue!!
Jenny Matlock

Have a great day!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

An Old Step Stool

I was doing my usual blog reading and I came across these step stools over at Rustic Rooster Interiors and thought they looked great!  

picture courtesy of Rustic Rooster Interiors

Then I remembered this old stool that someone made for our boys when they were little.  Actually there were two of them but we got rid of one when we were cleaning out the basement!  We did nothing with them and they sat around the basement for 15 years.  They looked pretty rough!  All it took was one great blog to inspire an idea!

So I sanded and cleaned it up.  I thought black and red would work in our living room.  On went the red paint!

Let it dry and on went the black paint!

Let it dry and then I went a little crazy with the sander.  I liked how they sanded all the edges so I did that.  My stool is in rough condition so I thought I would sand the steps where someone would step on it and wear the paint off!  I liked it and gave it a quick rub down with some Minwax paste wax.

I brought the stool inside to set next to our fireplace.  All it needed was a basket that we put firestarter and some kindling in.  I also set the match holder there but I need to buy some long matches to go in it!  I had this vine chicken that I haven't known what to do with, so here she is for now!

I like it!  Simple yet interesting to look at!  

Thanks so much to Rustic Rooster Interiors for giving me the inspiration!!

Remember my cute little girl's desk and chair???
I listed it for $125 and someone called the first day to look at it and bought it for $115!  Not too bad for a $32 investment!  So what did I do???  I bought this sofa for $150!!  We bring it home today.  I think I am going the wrong direction!  It is like new and those pillows will match my bedroom. 

picture courtesy of CraigsList

I am going to link this up to Southern In My Heart for her first Inspiration Friday party.  This fits since I was inspired by someone else to make this little stool!

Thanks so much for stopping by to see my little adventures in decorating!  It makes me smile when I see new faces pop up as followers as well as the uplifting comments you leave for me!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

For Sale: Little Girls Dream Desk???

I hope that is what someone thinks when they see this pretty set!  This is the last installment of the French Provincial bedroom pieces that I just made over to sell.  I originally thought I would paint them all to go together but decided that I might have better luck selling them individually.

First I would like to thank all of you for the encouraging words on this new venture of painting and selling furniture!  You have all been so kind and wonderful with ideas and information for me!  I will probably put them on Craigslist later this week once I can figure out a way to stage them where they look better than being in the garage.  I was thinking of a sheet hanging down behind and on the floor underneath.  We'll see what I come up with!

As you have seen before, here is the before of this cute little desk and chair.  Your typical 1970's French Provincial set.  It isn't made of nice wood but I thought for the price it was a good start for my venture!  I had to tighten down screws on the legs and add a few nails with my nailer to make sure everything stays tight.

This is the chair that goes with it.  Everything was in good shape, just needed a little cleaning from sitting in a garage.  The owner had covered the seat to match her daughter's bedding.  I tore that off to cover with some matching fabric I purchased at Hobby Lobby on sale!!

I removed the hardware, cleaned everything with TSP and water, then started the sanding process!  I wiped it down with a damp rag, let dry and then put on 2 coats of Kilz oil base primer.  I sanded in between each coat.

While that was drying, I got out the Krylon Watermellon gloss spray paint.  I think it should be called bubble gum color but what do I know!  I chose this cute little fabric that matched the paint to go on the seat.  After removing the seat, I painted the chair, giving it a several light coats to cover all the nicks and crannys!!  I also sprayed all the hardware but forgot to take a picture!!

Now it was time to paint the desk.  I only use Kilz Colors paint now that I have found it to be the best out there.  I have used it on our walls.  If you apply it properly, one coat is all that is needed unless it is a dark color.  I did the red in my home in only 2 coats.  For the price and the coverage, Valspar and Behr can't compare.  I have used many other brands as well and they just can't match it.  You can buy Kilz Colors and have ANY color mixed at Walmart for about $22.  They have a computer to match any swatch if you can't find a color on their various paint chips.  Okay...it sounds like I am a sponsor but unfortunately, I'm not!! 

I chose an offwhite color for the desk.  It is Kilz #J70 and called Shaved Coconut.  It was on the warmer side of the whites and isn't as harsh as pure or cool white.  I put on two coats because I think furniture needs two coats to make a better finish.  Of course, I forgot to take a picture after I painted it!!  Not a very good blogger at times!!  I get so excited!  I gave it two coats of water based poly in a satin finish because I figured it is going to get more abuse than a dresser.  Here you see it next to the chair with the hardware on. 

Here is a close up of the hardware.  I just love it!!

Here is another shot of the upholstered seat.  Isn't that fabric just adorable!  I love the neumatic staple/nail gun that Mr. Creative got me for Christmas!!

I so enjoyed doing this piece since I don't have any little girls to make things pretty!!  My boys wouldn't appreciate any pink in the house!!  I have an average of $30 invested in each piece.  I am thinking of listing this set for $125.  I don't know if that is too much but figured I can always come down.  I just think it is so adorable that someone would want to buy it for their little girl.  I will keep you posted!

Here is a snapshot of the other two pieces that I made over this week and you can read about HERE and HERE!




I am linking to Between Naps on the Porch for Metamophosis Monday!

House of Grace for Twice Owned Tuesday!


Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday!

Perfectly Imperfect for Style Feature Saturday!

Thank you to everyone that has stopped by and/or made comments!  I am so enjoying this journey with my blog and you have made it so much more fun!  I have met some great people that we have so much in common.  Have a great day!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

French Provincial Chest Makeover

What a crazy Saturday this has been!  About 11pm last night, a storm rolled through our area and we lost power.  It was such a downpour with alot of wind and lightening.  I kept waking up during the night because our phone would make a quick ringing sound from the electric being out, I guess.  The power didn't come on until 9 am this morning.  When I tried to drive down our road, a tree was down and my husband is out of town!!  Luckily our nearest neighbor came over and cut it so the boys and I could drag it off.  Whew....

I purchased this set of furniture for $60 and planned to do a makeover and sell the pieces individually.  Yesterday I showed you the small french provincial dresser that I did a makeover on for our master bedroom.  I am also working on a little girls desk that I still need to upholster the seat on the chair.  However, I did finish this chest of drawers today.

Here is a picture of it before without the drawers.  I removed all the hardware and soaked in TSP to remove any dirt and oil.  After cleaning the chest, I sanded and primed with Kilz oil base primer.  I sanded again and gave another coat of primer. 

I then painted it black.  It took me a while to decide what I wanted to do with each piece to sell and it seems that everyone really likes the black right now.

I put two coats of minwax paste sealer on it and buffed it a lot.  I think it needs a little more buffing to get a few streaks out. 

I used Krylon satin nickel finish paint on the hardware.  I think it complements the black really well.  The below picture is closer to the actual color.  The flash made it lighter in the above pictures. 

So I guess all I need to do now is list it on Craigslist!  I'm a little scared that it won't sell but I really only have about $30 in it so I should be able to sell and make a little money for my time.  I actually enjoyed doing it so that would be great to make money doing something you enjoy!!

Thanks for stopping by today and I hope everyone has a great weekend!!


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