Storm Cellar, Phase 1

Good evening fine folks!

Oh my Lord….what a fast summer!  It has been jam packed with so many projects, I hardly know where to start to share with everyone.  But, I am going to do my best to recap the summer in a way that actually makes sense…lots of things were overlapping and are still being wrapped up, so this could get sketchy! Hang in there!

With so much going on, let’s just remind ourselves of this fact, the work in a 160 year old home is never done.

Ever.

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So, this photo was taken June 7th.  At this very moment, I was preparing to unveil what could be the worst nightmare of my life.  But as it turns out, it was only a minor nightmare.

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Under the 3 layers of plywood and rubber mats, this was my storm cellar entrance. Definitely not what I had hoped for.  I felt pretty defeated at this moment, because I had no clue how exactly to fix it.  But I did know that it was going to be a grueling amount of hard work.

So, I called in a favor to a friend of my dad’s.  He was the only person I could think of who would have ANY idea on how to fix this.

Introduce to the play, Mr. T.

What a character!

If I were writing a script, I don’t think I could have imagined a person like Mr. T.  The best way to describe him is as follows…

He is a true force of nature, with perseverance, intellect, culture and loyalty…all mixed together to form 71 years of more experiences and stories of a fully lived life than any person I have ever met.

All of this put together just means that every work day was awesome…and fun!

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Without boring you with all of the minor details, I am going to share with you some of the cooler pictures of this process.  It involved cutting and shaping both old and new stones, lots of physics and crushed limestone, all coming together to put the jigsaw puzzle back together.

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On Day 2, we started to disassemble the other wall and cleaning out the bottom of the pit.  It was also the first time we had the basement door open.

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The mass cleaning of the basement has started…but that might have to be another post of it’s own!  lol!

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Mr. T invented this super cool contraption out of an Adjusta-Post and a jack from an old VW.  “Big Bertha” as we fondly named her, played a vital roll in pushing specific stones set lower in the well back into place.  This was kind of tricky because when the house was built, the foundation walls, the storm cellar walls and steps were all dove-tailed and integrated together as they built it.  So, naturally, if you start messing with one piece of the puzzle…other pieces are bound to move!

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So, very slowly…we reconstructed the walls.

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One of the coolest finds in this process was finding this top piece.  Over the years, it is what started the collapse of the wall.  It fell into the well first and broke in the process.  However, we were able to piece it back together based on this amazing detail on the back of it.  Notice that the original craftsman finished the face of the stone in two different textures.  The bulkier texture was designed to be underground and never seen, helping to anchor the stone into place.  The finer detail was meant to show off a little and can be found on the rest of the foundation stones.

Now, because it’s getting late and I fear I could bore you….and another episode of Grey’s just ended on Netflix…I will end Phase 1 here!  No worries…Phase 2 and 3 are right around the corner.  Next scheduled work date for the storm cellar is August 5th, so no worries…you won’t have to wait long!

Peace out peeps.

As Promised.

This past weekend, I promised that the next couple of blogs would be more about the house than my personal perspectives…oh you know… about things like cicadas.

So, as promised.  Here ya go!

At some point in time, the house had shutters on it.  But obviously after this picture was taken.

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When I moved in, most of the shutters were gone.  The few that were left were in less than spectacular condition.  In fact, there was only one window that actually had both shutters still left!  Basically, it looks like Halloween around here all year long.

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The long term goal is to put the shutters back on the house at some point in the future. But on the priority list around here, repairing the shutters is about 5,781 on the list of things to do.

In the interim however, the shutters are coming in handy, at least the pieces that have fallen off the house that I managed to collect.

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With the assistance of this gorgeous antique, dilapidated shutter, I am going to find the new door colors.

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For those of you who are feeling froggy…which color would you pick for these big, old 9 foot tall doors??  Feel free to leave your vote in the comment section!

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I’ll let you know next week which one was the winner!

Peace out peeps.

Too Little. Too Late

Morning everyone…

This post is a bit of a PSA.

As we are all fully aware, we are given a very limited piece of time to enjoy this world (when you compare it to the timeline of all existence).  It’s so easy to slip into a groove.  To get busy.  To cut corners.  To take advantage.  To just try and survive.

This week, I had a personal event that occurred that really made me realize how much some things are not worth it.  Every day should be spent happy.  I mean, I am not talking drunk at a party, laughing your pants off happy (that would be really hard on your liver).  But I am talking about the kind of happy that when you go to bed at night you can review the day and think…”Yep, not too shabby.”

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Happiness seems so elusive at times.  But I believe it’s because we strive for things that are predetermined by the world around us.

Thank you Pinterest.

But in reality…Your happiness can only be determined by YOU!  I think there are few steps to help you get to it, which I pretty much have to remind myself of on a daily basis.

Set REALISTIC goals.

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Bringing some of my teaching wisdom in here!

Sounds easy, huh?  It’s not.  We all want MORE.  It’s monster living inside us that is fed constantly from a sensory overload of EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE we go.  So, step back. Reassess your goals and make sure you are setting yourself up for success.

This is not new crap, we know it.  We just forget it, because the machine of life can take over.

Don’t be the “Too little, too late” person.

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Whatever you do…don’t become the  “Too little, too late” person.  When we cut those corners, cheat time or people, we become THAT person.  The person who will regret those choices.

So, take the time to…

Love those in your life.

Show them they are important.

Tell them before it’s too late.

Make yourself a priority.

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Really, I have to say this??  But yes, I do.  Be you!  Speak up for yourself.  As a woman, I feel like we make a LOT of concessions for the betterment of those around us.  But, it is ok to take a stand for ourselves.  So, be ok and PROUD of the fact that you have a voice.

With that being said, don’t be an ass…lol!

Find the silver lining.

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Even on the worst days, there are silver linings.  You just need to pause.  Sometimes finding that one thing that can make you smile is all it takes to push through.  So, look for it.

So, it’s Friday.  Enjoy it.  Take a moment for yourself.  Make someone feel the value they are to you.  Breath in every moment…because it’s just a blip on your timeline.

Peace out peeps.

 

 

First Solo Canning Attempt

To some of you…that might not sound hard….but for me…it caused a great deal of anxiety.  What if I forget how to much to put in?  Or to wipe the rims?  Or if I process too long?  Or all the jars explode because I didn’t keep them hot enough….blah blah blah.

So, I tackled making a Rhubarb-Orange Jam.  I was so excited about this, because I have an AMAZING patch of rhubarb….well at least according to everyone who has seen it.

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Being a first time rhubarb owner, I have since cut the flowers off, but I was kinda curious to see what they would look like!

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So, I went to cutting.  I have to admit, I am still kind of nervous about cutting too much of it.  But from what I have been told, it’s pretty forgiving.  I have dry packed some for the freezer, made this one batch of jam and a delicious crunch on Mother’s Day.  I have a couple of other recipes I think I might try…so, I would like to think that that is a good start for year 1!

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One interesting conversation the Fam and I had over Mother’s Day dinner was about the leaves.  Who was the lucky duck who got to find out that they are poisonous??  Do you ever wonder things like that?

We do.

We even go so far as to having a conversation (including a potential dare) about how much you would have to ingest before it would ACTUALLY be a problem.  No worries, the parental units didn’t let the 35 ad 37 year old children make such a juvenile dare.

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Cut and cleaned, ready to start.

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It looked so pretty I couldn’t resist!!  The recipe itself was super easy.  But I did learn my first valuable lesson.  Pectin is important.  I mean, I made it work, but it took a LOT longer to cook down.  Second important lesson, make sure you have enough sugar in the house when you are making jam.

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My mom bought me this canning set at least 2 years ago and I am ashamed to admit that I just now was cracking it open.  But the good news….it’s open!  Let the canning season commence!

All my jars popped.  Nothing broke.  No second degree burns.

To boot…the stuff is pretty tasty!

I call that a winning success!!

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With the potential of how much canning I could do this planting season, I am now looking for a hutch of some sort to start storing the cans in, since my basement  is still a mess at this point.  But in the future, I hope to have storage down there for my mini grocery store!

Before I leave this post…a. HUGE thank you to my Momma for teaching me how to can and always being there to help me when I start my escapades.  She is truly a remarkable woman.

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FYI…she is going to hate me for posting this.  So, while we’re at it…

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Might as well make my brother mad too.

I have the best family ever.  No worries…pictures of dad will be coming too!  No one is safe from my documentation of my life!

P.S.  If you have any amazing rhubarb recipes, please share!!

Peace out peeps.

Wine Cork Recap

Hey everyone!

So, we had another great class last Sunday (holy crap, I can’t believe it’s been almost a week already!) making lots of fun stuff out of wine corks!  I wanted to take a moment and share some of the photos.

I was so excited because it was a nice day out and we were able to get all the doors open on the house…which was a nice change from being cooped up all winter.

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I’m really looking forward to enjoying more fresh air in the house in the next couple of months.

Granted, I’m saying that now, before it is July and 90 degrees and I’m dying of heat. Oh yeah…no AC in this old bad boy of a house.  At least not yet. Hee hee hee!

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We had a small turn out…which is something I am struggling with, but more on that later.

The cork fun was great.  Minus trying to hot glue corks to glass.  Which, I will throw out to you…anyone have an experience in this area?  When I found this craft, it recommended using the E600 craft glue.  So, being the prepared, planning type person I am…gave it a try.  I HATED it.  I did not realize that it took 42 days to set up.  Literally… 42 days.

Well, that’s not gonna work.

Especially since these classes are designed to be completed in one afternoon.  So, out came my trusty 1982 hot glue gun.

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Let’s just talk about that glue gun for a second.

It is unregulated.

It’s a rebel.

It’s dangerous.

Needless to say, we have a lot in common.

All of that translates to… small children should DEFINITELY never get anywhere near it.  Like they shouldn’t even be in the same house.  Maybe even the same zip code.  Many adults should be wary.  Brave adults should be prepared to loose a layer of skin.  There is your warning.  You’re welcome.

On my samples, it worked great!  So, I thought that the hot glue option was the answer to all of my prayers (well, many of them at the immediate moment).   I thought for sure I was prepared and good to go for the class.  Quickly figured out that the low-temp glue guns are crap. Here I am trying to be safe and all…pointless.  The low-temp guns were not beefy enough for this project.  So, for those who wanted to try it, out came the unregulated glue gun.  This is Holly.  She still had function of two of her fingers at this point.  She even seems happy!

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Everyone had fun…no one was seriously injured…so in my book….that’s a WIN!

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I really had a blast and I love sharing my hobby with these wonderful people!

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So, off to go plan the next class….looks like the next one will be a painting class!  Watch the Facebook  page for more info!  I’m excited, I have a fun idea for what we can paint!

Lots going on outside at the house, can’t wait to share pics!  Plus, I’m down to something like 18 days left of school…so soon, it will be full time work at the house!  Get ready!!!

Peace out peeps.

Legacy Smegacy

Morning everyone…

I have been thinking a lot about this legacy stuff lately.  It really has been hitting home with me about what kind of legacy I would like to create.  Recently I have decided that I must be leaving  the crazy lady legacy.

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I have some new neighbors that I met this past weekend.  It made me laugh that one of them immediately labeled me as a city girl with a little bit of country it in me.  So, it got me thinking….if I had to label myself, how exactly would I label myself?

 

Let me start  by stating that I hate labels.  In fact, I pride myself on breaking labels and normally look for ways to break the expectations that labels conjure up.  But, if there was one label I had to adopt…it would definitely be the “crazy” label.  It gives you a lot of room to be you.

I am so proud to be who I have become.  Not to sound egotistical.  But it’s true…To be hard working.  To be a friend.  To own my quirks.  To be ok in my not-so-perfect skin. It’s such an amazing feeling to be at peace with who you really are.

So, own it.  Be you.  Start today.

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Be strong.  Be soft.  Binge watch TV.  Take a nap in a hammock.  Listen.  Feel unconditional love.  Eat Swenson’s.  Feel the sun.  Bake cookies.  Learn new things.  Listen to music.  Snuggle in blankets.  Hug a 4-legged furry friend. Enjoy a beverage.  Be smart.  Go shopping.  Get dirty.  Pamper yourself.  Work hard.  Help someone.  Drive fast.  Love the smallest moments. Stay away from drama.  Be a friend. Forgive. Stay the course (thanks Samantha for reminding me of this one) Own it. Own being you.

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Most importantly, I follow this goal daily.

To go to bed at night knowing that I did the best I could with what I have.  I tried.  I tried really hard.  I might not be perfect.  I might make a ton of mistakes.   But somewhere in the course of the day, I did one or two things that were good.  Great even.  All in the effort to know that when my head hits that pillow, I can get my sleep knowing that tomorrow is another chance to do even better.

And just remember….You might not be everyone’s cup of tea…and that’s 100% ok.

 

Class tomorrow!!  MADE PREP MODE is going on!  Pics to come!

Peace out peeps!

 

If I had a kid… Chapter 1

So, I don’t have children.

But, I often times think to myself …what if I did have kids?  What little tidbits would I want to  impart on them?  What life habits would I want to share with them?

With all of this being said, I decided that I would start my book.

Now, this blog is designed to talk about the house and everything with it.  But I kinda feel like this is part of it.

Leading me to Chapter 1.

This past weekend I was very sick.  Let’s be honest, I’m still sick.  But I managed to get 4.5 hours worth of mowing completed before I couldn’t move on Sunday evening.

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When I was a kid, whenever I would get sick, my mom would always insist that I get a shower and put on clean clothes.  I always hated her for that.  The effort.  Ugh.  I mean, you want me to bath…and change clothes….double ugh!

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But as an adult, I value that life lesson more than ever.  So much so, it’s my first chapter topic.

When you feel like death warmed over, get a shower.  Put on clean clothes.  It might only help for a brief second on the whole timeline of life, but for that precious moment, you will feel better. You will feel alive again.  You will have a clear head.  Truly, there is nothing better than the feeling of being “clean”.  It’s amazing how that shower will make you feel better.

So, I will continue to add chapters to this wise book…wait in anticipation for my words of wisdom!

Peace out peeps.

Rainy Day Crafts

So, sometimes, when I am preparing for my classes, I start to wonder if they are worth it.  I mean, between the shopping and the prep work and the clean-up, it can be daunting at times.  But then I remind myself, that the point of this is that I want to create an escape for people.  A place to go and enjoy the afternoon, eat, mingle and create!  When I remind myself of that, each class is perfect.  And I love it.  All of it.

A big shout out to Momma D for her amazing prep and help with the food.  Hands down, might be everyone’s favorite part of the class.  I truly don’t know what I would do without her being a part of these classes…and hey, my life in general.  She’s pretty remarkable.

For the record, I did help make the food.  But she makes all the really pretty things. Like those TINY tomatoes that she hallows out and stuffs with yummy stuff.

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Then when everyone shows up, it just makes it even better.  There was grazing, chatting, lots of laughing and just general relaxation!

The best part was seeing everyone put their own spin on their wreaths.  I love seeing the individuality!

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So, we had a great afternoon.  Ate way too much food and laughed really hard!  To the ladies who participated…you totally made my day!  Thank you!

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Now, back to full-on warfare with Petunia/Petie the skunk.

Peace out peeps.

 

Saturday Night Secrets…

Hey yo…

So, it’s Saturday night.  I am feeling a totally random urge to blog…although I have no idea what about.

That’s your warning.  What you are about to read will probably be the most pointless, random set of thoughts strung together in recent history.

In an effort to find a topic for this blog, I googled for ideas.  One of the topic suggestions was to tell a secret.

I can do that.  Tell a secret.

It can’t be THAT hard! Right??

Then I realized, that is much harder than you would think.  Because the information that is really secret (like what’s in the second drawer) is information that will ALWAYS stay secret.  But then there is information that could be misconstrued as secret, but in reality it has already been shared with those close to me.  So, in all actuality, it really isn’t a secret anymore.

Even in this somewhat anonymous forum, secret revealing can be frightening as hell.   Because at the end of the day, nothing online is really anonymous.

But, this brings me to one of my favorite, random fun websites…PostSecret

I was first introduced to this website a few years ago and I fell in love.  Because it is honest.  Funny. Awkward.  Intense.  Odd. Real.  But most of all, just human.

I mean…interesting??

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Or.

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Or.

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Or.

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So, pop on over to PostSecret sometime and check it out.  I think you would be amazed and how close to home some of the secrets can be.

They also have a live show now, plus an app.

Finally, since I tackled the secret topic….I’ll go ahead and share. I don’t know if it’s really a secret, or a confession…or a little both…that some of you already know part of…blah blah blah.

I have delusional aspirations of what I want to do with my life that look more like the plot line to a  4-star RomCom featuring Sandra Bullock with an unlimited budget and calories to eat…and then I realize, my life is already half over, my bank account is very limited and my calories are counted and analyzed daily.

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Peace out peeps.

 

 

What would YOU do????

So, big news in the world…

Have you heard about the lottery?  It’s up to an insane $675 million I guess!  Maybe more by now, that was the number I read hours ago.

Confession time.

I have a serious obsession with the lottery when it gets this high.  HOW CAN YOU NOT!?!?!?!?

It’s just so fun to dream, imagine, envision the life you could create for yourself and those around you! I was watching the news the other day and they were saying that you had better chances of having identical sextuplets.

Well, here’s my argument.

Someone always does win.  ALWAYS.  And if you don’t buy a ticket or two, the odds are WAY worse of not winning (math was NEVER a strong point with me!).

Plus, it’s a little cheap thrill in life.

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Unlike this poor guy!

So, what would you do?  Where would you move?  Who would you help? Jump on board the dream boat and just have fun dreaming of the possibilities.  Our regular session with reality will start again as soon as someone…lucky bastard…wins!

But, while I was shopping for my next dream house (no worries, I would still finish restoring this one to it’s glory days!) I stumbled upon this fitting article!

How to Buy a House you Can’t Afford

Thanks Circa Old Houses for the great read and help!  If you have never taken a moment to check out their site, it’s wonderful.  Splendid layout.  Broad selection of historic homes and eye candy for days for those of you who love drooling over those old gems as much as I do!