You know there are times in life where we forget how wonderful life is. Well I’m tired of that. I’m tired of not remembering how wonderful things can be. And with this being the season of gratitude I think it is pertinent that I remember and be grateful for how Wonderful my life is. So I decided to create a reminder, as you know I tend to do, here. I have had an open space in my family room that has been driving me bonkers! For a OCD person like myself and a picky person, like myself, I have to find something perfect or at least the perfect idea. I went through several different ideas and nothing felt quite right. Finally I figured it out! A wonderful reminder. I designed the layout of the letters not wanting to make this your typically individual letter layout. Nooooo, that would be far to easy, the letters needed to be overlapped, and skewed, an air of imperfection because while life is wonderful it is imperfect. After the design was made comes the engineering to make my dream come to life, which means I put my Mr. to work. Heaven bless this man on mine. He has a lovely friend who has connections and that’s all I will say. My Mr. and his friend went about figuring out how to make this light enough to hang but still sturdy. They are geniuses so they figured out how to hollow the letters out. Then we carefully glued and clamped the layers together. The rest of the prep was on me, yes you guessed it. Painting! As if painting this, wasn’t enough this year to swear me off of painting anything ever again, why do I do this to myself? Anyway . . . I painted each letter, or letter sections separately, multiple times, layers and layers of paint, because I apparently love to paint. Finally it was ready to hang, which is where My Mr and Myself really shine, we are a fantastic team! In no time we made a plan, measured, drilled and mounted the crazy project on my empty walls pace. Oh it looks lovely, or really WONDERFUL! I know cheesy, deal. My Little Mr. and I even Thanksgiving’ed it up by adding the pumpkins on some of the letters, he sure loved putting them up there :).
Along with the special reminder to us as a family I can’t help but think of the religious reminder, “and they shall call Him Wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” All in my life is wonderful due to the blessings He gives me, or that He kindly helps me to recognize.
Ok, our yard when we moved in was SCARY and I’m really not exaggerating. In fact it was such a jungle and a crazy mess that we had no idea how big our yard was until well . . . until we unburied it. So I thought I would share a few before’s and afters with you. Now this is just a year later and while the yard still needs work; it is actually usable now, or I should say enjoyable now. With the over 25 trees plus bushes we had removed we suddenly realized that we were in for. Its been a painstaking ordeal, especially with our lack of Northwest plant knowledge. There were weeds to be removed, fix the french drain, sprinkler system to repair and get working, new bark, more weeds, patch deck, add retailing wall, weed, till, seed the lawn, make garden path, weed some more, pulling out tree roots all along the way and a dozen other projects that I honestly can’t even think of. And that doesn’t even include the fun stuff like planting new plants. I’ll let the befores and afters do the talking. I can hardly believe how far we have come. I remember standing on my deck last year talking to my Dad and expressing how stressed I was that this yard was in such a bad state. Being the wise and loving father he is he said “you know our yard took years to get it to where it is now, be patient and it will be there.” In that
moment I realized he was right. I was expecting that I had to get it all done now and while that would be really nice, it just wasn’t going to happen. And a year later I look back on my foolish complaining and think how much more patience I need to learn. “Be patient it will get there.” Sound advice for many things in my life and here is just a physical example of it.
I wanted a new console table for my front room. I searched and craiglisted, and antiqued. I tried to find something that didn’t cost a fortune but everything I liked seemed to only have multiple dollar signs attached, more than I was willing to spend. When I showed My Mr. an example of what I liked he took one look and said “I’ll make it.” What? Really? And really he did ladies and gents he made this beautiful solid wood table. I think the fact that he got to go to the fancy kiln dried wood store in Seattle for some reason made it worth it. Ok it was a cool store and our son didn’t burn it down so a successful trip! 🙂 I’m really happy with it. My Mr. was meticulous, measuring, cutting, sanding, fitting, drilling, gluing, puttying and painting. The only thing he wouldn’t do was paint the legs, I wanted them intricate, so he said I got to paint them, and I don’t blame him they were a pain! But hey it worked out! And I love that he made it, Oh I love it. He’s amazing, can I gush for just a second about him and then continue to gush about my table which yeah is beautiful! Love the handcrafted memory, it’s really incredible to create something people.
So I grew up in a gardening family, and one that required organization as well as weeding. My dad has a big problem with us north westerners when it comes to wood. He doesn’t know why we insist on making so many things out of wood when we get so much rain that destroys wood. (i.e our fences, grow boxes, decks, he thinks it’s madness 🙂 ) So when it came to putting in grow boxes he refused to let us put money into wood ones. He designed some grow boxes that are similar to the ones at his home and with my request to have them taper with the lawn we came up with something I approved of, yes I’m picky. With that we set about our crazy project.
First came the tilling and pulling out all of the millions of roots. Then the guys built the frame, lot of wood and screws which made our little Mr extra happy! He loves power tools! Once that was built began the mixing and laying of concrete. Yep we learned how to do that too, and now proud owners of a cement mixer, so if you need one please let us know as we have one. My Dad worked tirelessly for 2 days to get it smoothed perfect. My Mr meanwhile mixed all the concrete and poured it for him. Oh these men of mine I tell you. Once we let the concrete cure my Dad set about teaching me basic masonry. The proper thickness to make the mortar and then how much to use on each brick to ensure security. This I soon learned would be my job, geesh no pressure. I would get them all placed and mortared in then tell My Mr. which blocks to cut for a perfect fit. It was a little more intricate due to the taper of the boxes, my fault so my problem. You know working on projects can be really stressful but we have wonderful memories working together. In hard times I always think, “well if we can install cement grow boxes why can’t we do this?” Yeah ok we’re crazy. On the last day we worked by head lamp into the night to get them done, not wanting to come out and dry my hands out anymore with mortar. We were desperate to be done. Of course with two engineers heading this project they made sure that a custom sprinkler system for the boxes was put in to make for easy maintenance. My track record and remembering to water a garden is not very good so luckily these can water themselves, which will prevent me from killing our plants, again:). They looked great and this year we actually got to use them for our garden. Perfection!
So along with the many projects our lovely little cottage has given us, cabinet refinishing, fans, lights, walls, mud rooms etc. There was a big, bright, red one in the room, the family room to be exact and it was staring us right in the face. Now don’t get me wrong I like brick, but I was a little overwhelmed by the intensity and attention this fireplace was taking. So I set about figuring how we could give our fireplace a “cheap” face lift. After researching multiple options, and going over them with My Mr, who actually had strong opinions on this matter, he usually leave decor and style to me And he really wanted to keep the texture. So here’s what I came up with! A whitewashed look to take off the intensity and not destroy the texture the brick gives the room. Boy was it a lot of work, probably round 7 hours to do the whole thing. There was sponging the grout (which was the worst!), and painting the brick, then sponging the brick so it looked natural and not like there were paint brush lines. After the first section I stepped back and thought “what did I just do to my fireplace?” But My Mr. kept my confidence up, he would say “it looks good, I like it, keep going.” So I kept at it! I broke every nail on my hands, and I think I bruised my finger tips sponging all the grout, they were raw and sore even with gloves on. I finished, stepped back and finally caught the vision it only took me doing pretty much the whole thing and then seeing it in the light of day to love it. Nice texture, and softening of the bricks harsh color it really looks lovely now. Something we will enjoy for years to come. Whitewashing skill acquired! I love the details of our home, there are things about it that make it so unique and beautiful.
Our new house has been wonderful but also brought some challenges as we re configure how we function with our furniture in our new place. I had been toying with the idea of building a bench for our eating area. The space just seemed to lend itself to one rather than chairs, glad I bought my nice ones, Awhh well. Anyway I can still use some chairs so not a total loss. Regardless I didn’t just want a un-comfy wooden bench and there were space constraints so I really had to figure this out! While doing my usual craigslist searches I stumbled upon a tufted headboard. I thought gosh I like that wish I had a place to use it. Well two months later it hit me and the head board was still posted. I enlisted my handy mans advice on how I might turn this headboard into a bench. Which essentially gave him another crazy project to think about, he doesn’t have enough :). So we thought it through and made a plan, I talked the seller down to a quarter of her asking price I mean it had been up for a while, and they wanted it gone, right? We brought it home and promptly destroyed it! Yep I carefully cut the fabric back and we sawed the puppy down the middle, in essence making a back and seat for our bench. Then we added the fabric staples to secure the cut fabric, not an easy task but we made it work! Then came the wood working for My Mr. I of course didn’t want average legs, NO I wanted custom corbels. I mocked up a general design and wished My Mr. luck. He researched and diagrammed, cut and cut again, then finished sanded. And he created my corbels! Beautiful! A little paint and My Mr’s handy wall mounting skills (my little Mr. getting into the mix and learning from Dad), we tested and bounced to ensure it was secure. Then over the Thanksgiving holiday tested it with 4 adults and well total Success!!!! It is awesome! It is Beautiful, It was made with love, I know I know cheesy but it was actually a really fun project for us to do together. Now our wall seating is perfect and comfortable, even little Mr likes it, of course another place to climb on, how could it possibly fail. So another project under our belt in 2015!