In a past life I had thought of the idea of buying solid oak plywood, cutting it into strips and using it as inexpensive solid oak flooring and I was told that I was an idiot and carpet was chosen instead (a far more expensive option when we had already exhausted our budget). As it turns out I was very right and cutting plywood into strips for a wood floor has been done and it can be gorgeous. And (just for the record) you can put whatever you want under foot, if its wood, then you have a wood floor! It does not need to come out of a box that says “flooring” on it, nope, what makes a floor a floor is the fact that you walk on it. The only reason we did not opt for the plywood option was because we do not own a table saw to cut it ourselves. What we did choose to do cost us less then $300!


Hey guys I can’t wait to share this sun lounger project with you! We have FINALLY had ourselves a weekend that almost felt like summer here! I’ve been chomping at the bit to work outside. Joe was doing a stucco job in town last week and I visited him while I was running errands for work and I, quite fervently, wished and longed to be him – outside, working with my hands. I’ve always been more of the construction type then desk jockey type and though I really needed a break after the house renovation my body has been itching in frustration to get out and do something with it! So, this weekend I had plans! Our old barn became a relative’s dumping ground for many years (decades ago) so Joe and I inherited some very strange leftovers. I pulled them out of the barn Saturday morning and I got to work.


I knew from the minute I laid eyes on it that it would become our kitchen sink and that I would be building a custom kitchen sink base for it! Never mind that it had been sitting in a shed for god knows how long and it had, in fact, been filled to the brim with a mouse nest and had probably raised hundreds (if not thousands) of rodents for decades and was, in fact, totally covered in the resulting excretions. Nope, none of that bothered me! I took one look at this sink and my heart soared. It was perfect! Ok, so it definitely ended up “too high” for most people’s standards but, in the end, both Joe and I love our kitchen sink! Once we had our appliances installed I gathered my materials for building the kitchen sink base.



Beachy low maintenance backyard fire pit tutorial you can do yourself!

Aug 29 2016
Tutorial on how to create a do it yourself diy low maintenance beachy backyard fire pit in just one day, safe bonfire, outdoors, outdoor

Well with September fast approaching it dawned on me that it was either going to be now or next summer to show you guys all the work on the yard we did this spring so this is the beginning of several posts about our yard. Why haven’t I told you about our fire pit sooner? Well, here’s the thing about yards: they just never look nice enough! We won’t be fertilizing or spraying for weeds or anything like that around here – we live on a farm and I WILL NOT put chemicals on my yard nor will I kill a single dandelion intentionally. This yard is NEVER gonna look like we hired a landscaper and that’s just the way it is and I am totally happy with that. However, there were several serious dead spots I wanted to grow in and then we had three floods. (Seriously the storms we got hit by this summer was like nothing I’ve ever seen before in all my years living in northern MN) So, up until now, everything looked pretty rough and if it wasn’t for my husband our yard would probably never get mowed and this place would like the apocalypse happened which would also have been ok with me. Anyway, I may not be good at cutting the grass but I did want a decent fire pit to hang out at! Here’s the thing though, we had NO money to put in to a fire pit so that meant I had to get really creative! … read the rest of the post »

A little R&R – taking a camping break from the every day grind

Aug 25 2016
Camping and fishing, renting a boat, in late August in northern Minnesota lake country

I was starved from the ability and chance to camp for years as the person I was with at the time had no interest in “roughing it” whatsoever. (It is funny looking back at how many compromises a person makes to keep a relationship going until they aren’t doing a single thing they want to do at all.) When I left and came home for good I made a few promises to myself. One of them was that I would go camping as much as I wanted to! I had very little money at the time but I started saving and planning. All those years ago I grabbed a couple of big Rubbermaid totes (with good clip-on lids) bought myself a fabulous tent, a cast iron pan, a camping coffee pot, a bunch of fire tools, a hatchet, a decent cooler and a full size air mattress. (note: all of those links are affiliate links and they are the EXACT products I purchased and am still using camping so in other words: I totally endorse all of them! Sadly, the tent is no longer being sold…) It was the first time in many years that I didn’t have to ask for permission and didn’t have to share or compromise. Instead, it was my money: my gift to myself. It was so totally awesome and I’ll never forget packing up my car for the first time to go: honestly, up until that point it was truly one of the happiest days of my life! I almost sang FREEDOM the whole way to the camp ground! Knowing that, I guess now you understand why I love camping so much! 🙂 … read the rest of the post »

An old screen door made new again for our deck!

Aug 22 2016
Modifying an old green screen door to fit over a new glass exterior door on our deck and painting it with red outdoor paint, diy, remodeling, installing

I’m starting to (finally!!!) hack away at a few of the non-essential updates that still need to be completed around the house 🙂 It sure is nice to have little puttery home projects to do now that don’t also include a stressful deadline. All but one of our exterior doors is new and they have all desperately needed to be painted since their installation. Up until now I simply had more pertinent projects to do or I was being lazy so they didn’t get done! This old screen door that I’m using I’ve had stashed since the renovation with the expectation to use it exactly right here, it used to be on the old screened in porch that we enclosed for my office. It is VERY old and had been built specifically to the height of the screened in porch so it was nearly a foot too short so I had to do some modification. … read the rest of the post »

Inspiration board: Buffet and sideboard makeovers!

Aug 18 2016
Inspiration board of gorgeous buffet and sideboard makeovers, before and afters, painted furniture, refinished furniture, antique furniture, diy

There is something about buffets that I have always just drooled over. They’re always so stately and practical all in one go. Some people call them sideboards but I’ve always just thought of them as buffets. There are SO many different styles out there but my all time favorites are usually dubbed “antiques” and they always have legs for days! I have two buffets myself that I’ve refinished and utilized here at Grandma’s house. Interestingly enough one of the buffets actually came from my other Grandma (Eleonora) and it has claw feet that make me swoon and a very unique mirror across the back! The other was a simpler piece my mother purchased when she was all of 19 years old when she moved out of the house (this house actually lol) for the first time. She considered it (and used it as) a dresser then but it is definitely a buffet, Joe helped me convert it into our master bathroom vanity. When it comes to buffet makeovers on Pinterest so much has been done with paint and glazing and amazing techniques that it is REALLY hard to choose just a few. But, here are my top six! … read the rest of the post »

An old milk can recycle into an outdoor end table!

Aug 15 2016
Tutorial on how to convert an old milk can into an outdoor end table for your back yard or deck, diy, wood working, tips, tutorials

My mom recently has been working on her beautiful new deck, adding seating and flowers etc. She picked up four red Adirondack chairs and then commented, “I really need just one little end table!” My brain immediately started turning and it didn’t take it long to land on this old milk can. My mom had mentioned a couple of years ago that she really wanted one of the old milk cans she was sure were lying about the farm. I found one out in the woods one day but it was in such bad shape I didn’t even haul it back to the house. Fast forward another year when I went to grab a big screen I had spotted between our wood shed and our completely caved in old granary. (I used the screen to build a screen door for our “wood shed” under our staircase.) I peaked in the old granary for good measure thinking I might be able to salvage a shelf that’s still in there when I saw it: an old milk can! And it looked awesome! … read the rest of the post »

For the love of August

Aug 11 2016
August in northern Minnesota, the last breath of hot weather before we head to fall, is my favorite month

August brought work and joy for us this year. I am pleased to report that with some experimentation I managed to get my dad’s house’s sheet rock (ceilings and walls, 1,000 square feet) taped and mudded with only two coats and no sanding. How did I do this? After a solid first coat/taping I skim coated the second coat using lots of mud evenly over every wall and ceiling. I just finished painting half the house and stood back to admire my work – not bad at all. It certainly is not perfect but dad wanted me to get it done as quickly as I could (and so did I) you can’t see a single tape line and I sanded absolutely nothing, I wish I had had the courage to try this in our home when I taped and mudded the sheet rock there but, you live and you learn, as always. Now on to painting and I damned near enjoyed myself (I’ve always liked to paint) I did two coats on half the house already and will be finishing the rest of the house this afternoon. All in: around 40 hours from start to finish with bare sheet rock walls and I never want to do it again lol. I’ll be so glad to never pick up another sheet rock knife! I forgot though just how messy painting ceilings are :/ Oh well, paint washes off 😉 And I needed a new profile pic for Grandma’s House anyway! (Wow you can even tell in that pic my eyes are two different colors lol) … read the rest of the post »

Home tour: the Kitchen Reveal!

Aug 08 2016
Kitchen reveal at the Grandma's House DIY home tour! 15 months of renovation, remodeling a custom country kitchen with a cast iron sink after a full gut.

Oh I am so excited to finally show you our kitchen reveal! You guys have heard me talk many times about how it took us fifteen months to renovate my grandparents’ 100 year old farm house. It was a tremendous amount of work but we did get the majority of it done and now we’ve been living here for a year in August! I know, I know, you can throw tomatoes at me, I have not yet given you guys the complete home tour. You’ve seen our Master bedroom, closet and bathroom as well as my office but, after that, I’ve been pretty much mute. I promised you last week that my kitchen reveal was imminent because we FINALLY finished the door thresholds and I asked Joe at the time, “Do you think our floors are ever going to be this clean again?” His answer was, “I doubt it.” Because what happened when we put in the door thresholds was that I was forced to clean the floors thoroughly and anyone with dark hardwood floors will tell you that they NEVER look truly clean almost no matter what you do. SO, I got out my camera, did a little staging, and tackled the big photography job for this kitchen reveal. But, first, allow us to take a trip down memory lane 🙂 … read the rest of the post »

Free House Plan: Rustic country home with a 2 car garage

Aug 04 2016
Two story rustic country home with modern and open elements, a two car garage, a window-filled master bathroom and a wrap around deck

This 1500 square foot two story free country home house plan has so many elements that I absolutely love. Honestly, if I ever built a home, I think this would be the one, I really love all of the houses I design (those I don’t love I don’t keep lol or share here!) but this one has some special qualities like that wrap around porch! The wrap around porch also includes a screened in porch which is something I have always wanted and we even have the future plan of adding one to our place! As far as country homes go it seems like a back deck is imperative as well as lots and lots of windows because there are no neighbors to worry about. Speaking of windows though, nothing takes the cake like the master bedroom on the second story which boasts TWO walk in closets and a bathroom with a set of modern windows that would just have to be facing the east, can you imagine waking up and showering directly in the morning sun? Sounds like heaven … read the rest of the post »

Old tools, building door thresholds for our home

Aug 01 2016
Hand tools, DIY, wood working, creating hardwood door thresholds by hand with rasps and clamps.

Well, we finally did it, after months upon months upon months of procrastination we finally put in door thresholds across the bottom of the three exterior doors that needed it. I also patched the three rectangular holes in our hardwoods that used to be vents for my grandparents’ old hvac system. This is one of those thankless jobs that I wasn’t sure would make any more then a foot note in a blog entry here about something else. However, how Joe tackled this project was just too cool to NOT devote an entire blog entry to them. He made them by hand, out in the barn, using my grandpa’s old tools! So here is what our doors liked like before: … read the rest of the post »

Walter: Hand feeding a snapping turtle

Jul 28 2016
Northern Minnesota fishing, northern pike, bass, feeding a snapping turtle by hand

Scroll down for the video of Joe hand feeding Walter the snapping turtle! When you live this far north in the land of 10,000 lakes there are two absolute certainties in your life: #1 you actually know that, in fact, Minnesota really has over 11,000 lakes and #2 You’re going to be spending a lot of your time on or near said lakes. I’m sure there are people in this world who might not enjoy spending time in the summer on a lake but I have no idea how that is even possible. Being on (or in) a lake is simply part of my DNA. When I was kid my mom would strap a life jacket on me and just let me swim and I was literally happy for hours. Back then we lived on a lake and I still miss it though I don’t usually realize it until we go to spend time on one and then I am left absolutely speechless by just how much I love it. Honestly, on a summer night in Minnesota there is just no place else to be. Heaven. … read the rest of the post »

Grill Station – Tutorial build with granite and 4×4 posts

Jul 25 2016
How to build an outdoor grill station with a DIY pipe rack, 4x4 posts, a black granite remnant tips and tutorials backyard how to wood working project

First thing is first, I just have to show you the amazing grill station we had for our grill BEFORE I built this new grill station. Feast your eyes on this awesomeness! I know stop drooling over my chippy old fabulous little kitchen table with the rotted feet that I pulled out of a shed. My dad gave us this great little grill for the time being until we can afford a regular BIG grill and retire this little guy to camping. Honestly though, it really is only Joe and I, we certainly don’t need anything bigger then this little grill and it sure is portable, but that little propane cylinder doesn’t last long and we can’t use a bigger one – dad tried it and said that it didn’t work right at all. Anyway, regardless of whether or not we get a bigger grill I’ve needed to build us a good grill station since we moved in. When Joe and I got married it was not long before that that my brother had scored an enormous selection of granite remnants on K-bid for a song so you can guess what we got for a wedding gift! Everyone encouraged me to consider picking from the selection for our kitchen counter tops but… no… I’m sorry…. granite in a 100 year old farm house?…. no… I just, COULD NOT DO IT. … read the rest of the post »

Free House Plan: One story with a screened in front porch

Jul 21 2016
Free one story 1200 square foot house plan with a hotel-esque master suite, an eat in kitchen and a three season screened in front porch.

This 1200 square foot one story free house plan packs a lot of wonderful things into such a small package. The kitchen, though economical, is open to the living room and offers a beautiful, big bay window for a large dining area. From the two car garage is a huge pass through closet so its easy to drop all of your gear at the end of the day and know any mess is well away from sight. This two bedroom also offers a big closets and lots of storage with a huge laundry room and a walk-in-closet even for the extra bedroom. The master really shines when you walk in to the closet and double vanity – making it feel like a luxurious hotel suite with a shower sporting two shower heads. All in this little place has about double the windows you might expect, this would make a great lake house or summer cabin or a lovely little place to retire to. This free house plan also offers a back deck and a front screened in porch. … read the rest of the post »

Galvanized pipe rack for our grill – so cool and so simple!

Jul 18 2016
How to build an easy inexpensive galvanized pipe DIY grill and towel rack for outside on your deck or in your backyard.

A tutorial on how to build a galvanized pipe rack for towels and utensils. I finished up our new grill station just this last weekend and a lot of the awesomeness of it comes from the project that was the easiest and took me the least amount of time! Our pipe rack! Check out the grill station by clicking here! First, you need to gather your tools/pipe pieces. … read the rest of the post »

Midsummer in northern Minnesota

Jul 14 2016
Midsummer in northern Minnesota, trying to fit in as much work and fun into every last solitary second, trying not to miss anything while still spending time together.

I can’t believe we’ve come to midsummer already! Within 50 miles of where Joe and I live there is an event/fair/festival going on every single weekend since June came around (and several before that and during the week too!) and it will be this way until the end of August. Minnesotans take summer very seriously! They do all that they possibly can to fit in as much outdoor activities as possible in the summer. There are, of course, events that Joe and I avoid like the plague simply because we are locals and just know that getting there and dealing with the crowd and the tourists just won’t be worth it for us. The truth is as well that no matter how many festivals and fairs Joe and I get to almost nothing beats just the two of us sitting around our bonfire in our backyard. Still though, that knowledge does not change the inexplicable suddenness of HURRY WE CAN’T WASTE A SINGLE SECOND!!!! And that’s just how it is when you live in a harsh climate. Locals are just like that dog in Dr Doolittle in the spring time waiting, waiting, waiting, throw the ball, throw the ball, throw the ball! Come on summer would you get here already!? And then BOOM summer is here and we are sprinting from dawn until dusk wondering what the hell it was we were so excited and anxious about because oh-my-gosh how we run ourselves ragged. … read the rest of the post »

A $5 Retro desk becomes our brand new coffee station!

Jul 11 2016
Old retro desk gets black paint and chrome spray paint in a diy makeover to become our coffee station, before and after

I can’t begin the story of this little retro desk until I explain first why on earth I need another piece of furniture in my kitchen. The plan was for the outside glass door there beside the kitchen sink to swing in and fold over in front of the window, so I chose a window the width of a regular exterior door and just left this area totally empty. I had the dream of this door swinging in and against the window/wall: getting conveniently and awesomely and totally out of the way in the summer time when we would then use the outside screen door instead. Well, once we got the sheet rock and trim on it the door would NEVER open all the way. Oops and shit. So, then I had this three feet of “wasted” space beside my kitchen sink under the window. After a couple of months of living here I put a kitchen table in the empty spot and the coffee pots moved over because they’re being right there where I wash dishes on the other side of the sink was driving my crazy. So, this spot became our “coffee station” conveniently “out” of the kitchen but still totally in the kitchen to be “convenient” 😉 … read the rest of the post »

DIY Lamps Inspiration Board – Amazing transformations!

Jul 07 2016
DIY glorious lamp makeovers, thrift store lamps before and afters, inspiration board

One of my very favorite (and easy!) makeovers are of lamps! I spend a good chunk of my time on Pinterest just drooling over them. I wish I knew now what I didn’t know a few years ago when I purchased two lamps new at walmart. I can’t even believe I did that! My goodness the simple and inexpensive transformation that can be made out an inexpensive thrift store lamp is absolutely amazing. There really is no reason to go buy new! And here are a few of my favorite lamps that prove that fact! Now, without further delay and in no particular order! … read the rest of the post »

Indoor to Outdoor furniture – I painted until my arm fell off

Jul 04 2016
Converting indoor wooden furniture to outdoor furniture for our deck with exterior primer, exterior paint and exterior sealant, diy.

Hey guys, I’m so excited to share our new outdoor furniture with you today! We have a lovely and enormous deck that I will tell you all about someday when we finish it (still gotta get those pesky railings done and stain it this fall) so you’re just gonna have to believe me for now when I say its wonderful but its been a waste land since we moved in. Outdoor furniture is expensive! And it was NOT in our budget. So, I’ve been keeping an eye and ear out for something I could buy and refinish. Remember when I mentioned scoring a bunch of furniture at an estate sale a couple months ago? Yup I finally finished it for our deck! … read the rest of the post »

June in Minnesota and a harbor cruise in Duluth

Jun 30 2016
When it comes to Minnesota June might arguably be the best month to live here, we enjoyed it as best we could by taking a harbor cruise in Duluth for some much needed R&R.

When it comes to Minnesota June might arguably be the best month to live here, it always goes WAY too fast and I looked up this morning and thought, “Oh my gosh it’s already over!” We’ve had some pretty long, hot and very dry summers over the past couple of decades but never until we saw June come and go first. June is abundant here and oh SO green and glorious. It was hot this year but June still gave us enough rain that the most we had to complain about was that it was hard to keep up with the lawn! One night the fog draped over the field across from our house in such a way that I just had to go grab my camera. … read the rest of the post »

Mason Jar Solar lights for our back deck!

Jun 27 2016
How to make your own mason jar solar lights to hang on your deck or patio, easy DIY, tips and tutorials.

First things first I have to admit that I actually ended up NOT using my Grandma’s old mason jars for this project. Instead, I used some of her other jars that were much smaller and easier to get my hand in. You’ve probably already seen this project floating around the internet and pinterest, solar mason jar lights is definitely not a new idea. However, I had a bit of a problem with the mason jar solar lights tutorials I’ve seen online. Every tutorial I’ve read had you cut a square out of the lid and attach the solar light to the lid. This always bothered me, it seemed like then wouldn’t the jar fill with water and become all nastiness? So, I got to work on my own design. Why not flip the jars over and glue the top of the light to the bottom of the jar instead? … read the rest of the post »

Free House Plan: One story with an incredible master bedroom

Jun 23 2016
Free one story small house plan, floor plan, house plans for free, country home with a great back deck, covered front porch and a deluxe master bedroom

I’ve always loved the idea of walking in the front door of a house and seeing right through to the backyard. To me homes should be filled with light and nature – I’ve always lived in the country though, if I was a city mouse I would probably feel a little differently when it comes to lots and lots of windows! But I digress, this plan is surely an ode to country living, you step in the front door to the big kitchen/dining room that is absolutely flanked by windows on two sides. The kitchen almost feels like a pass through/sun room to get from the living room to the bedrooms, or to step right outside. This free house plan I kept in mind size and cost when it came to construction, it is only 1200 square feet and has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The master really shines here in its uniqueness: Instead of a huge bathroom that contains two vanities instead, I put the second vanity in the large walk in closet. There is a second walk in closet here as well for the “man” of the house (or whoever has the least clothes lol) the master also boasts french doors to the back deck! … read the rest of the post »

How to convert old chairs into fun end tables and extra seating – Eat Drink and Be Merry!

Jun 20 2016
How to convert old chairs into fun end tables and extra seating with barn wood and stenciling, make them look like old signs - eat, drink and be merry!

When I was cleaning out the old play house and converting it to my new Tack Shack I ran into these three old chairs and a light bulb went off in my head. What we needed most on our deck was not extra seating (I was already working on that) but we really needed some end tables. We’ve just been putting our glasses down on the deck and, quite frankly, it was a tad inconvenient so I brought the old chairs down to the garage and got to work taking them a part. The backs and the seats look so much less gross in the picture then they actually were because they were NASTY. … read the rest of the post »

Finding time with each other

Jun 16 2016
Finding time for each other every other weekend minnesota cherry, apple, iris, peony and honey suckles

I don’t like the term “busy” it implies things like “busy body” or someone who keeps themselves “busy doing nothing” because they simply can’t sit still. Though Joe and I certainly have a little bit of “simply can’t sit still” in us, neither of us are good at being busy just for the sake of being busy. Instead I’m more inclined to say that our “days are full” and though this is usually a very good thing that satisfies us both sometimes it can be hard on us as a couple. When we have nothing left to give each other at the end of the day except a silent presence on the other side of the couch for an hour before bed then perhaps our days have become a bit too “full” and it’s time to start making time with each other. … read the rest of the post »

Painted Rocking Chair – From dated to stunning!

Jun 14 2016
Dated rocking chair gets a before and after makeover with black painted rocking chair, before and afters, DIY.

I scored at an estate sale a while back, picking up one painted rocking chair, another chair with a matching couch, two end tables and a coffee table for only $100 and, as you might imagine, I had big plans for all of it! You can read my post about when I picked them up here. I already completed the two end tables awhile back and I’m very happy to report that we still love them in our living room! Two end tables get a sweet country makeover. This last weekend I spent the ENTIRE day Saturday working on the painted rocking chair and the matching chair and couch and the coffee table. … read the rest of the post »

Bed Frame Inspiration Board – Prepare to swoon!

Jun 09 2016
Bed frame inspiration board DIY, platform, wood working, build, tips and tutorials bed frame.

As most of you probably have already heard me say: I LOVE MY MASTER BEDROOM. However, I don’t love everything about my master bedroom lol, a DIYer’s life is never without projects is it?! To check out my master bedroom head over here. There is one major thing in this room that is just NOT working for me and that is: our bed frame. We actually don’t really have one – what we have is the typical nasty little steel frame on wheels that everyone has owned at one point in their lives. First thing I hate is that the wheels are making scary awful marks on our hardwood floors I also hate that the underside of our bed is nothing but a giant dust bunny collector. On top of that the “box spring” that we are using between our “mattress” and the frame is actually not a box spring at all – it is entirely made from plastic and was actually made for my old Sleep Number bed that (very sadly) did not survive two years in storage. … read the rest of the post »

I finally fixed my grandma’s old red bench!

Jun 06 2016
An old red bench makeover of my grandma's gets a thorough makeover with new wood, a few supporting screws and stain over the places that were showing, before and after furniture wood working.

I’ve had this bench makeover on my to-do list for a long time, it holds a lot of significance for us as it sat by my grandma’s house for many many many years. When we visited her, not long before her passing, we would come outside with her and sit in this old bench in the sun and visit. One of the last photos taken of my grandma she was actually sitting out front of the house, on this very bench that my grandparents’ built years ago. … read the rest of the post »

We started cleaning out the barn!

Jun 02 2016
Cleaning out a 100 year old barn in northern Minnesota and going fishing after working way too much on an entire holiday weekend.

This last Memorial day weekend started innocently enough with no idea I would be cleaning out the barn. I had two things I knew I would get done (come hell or high water) and one thing I really wanted to get done but couldn’t do alone. First two projects I finished by Saturday night were my cute wicker chairs that my aunt gave me that you guys saw in my last post and fixing one of my Grandparents’ old benches (I’ll show you guys that little project next week) the third thing I was dependent on my husband to help me do. On our property we have three sheds, one we’ve always called “The Machine Shed” because it used to be where my grandpa kept his tractors etc. The Machine Shed is made of steel so its in good shape and has become our “Wood Shed” as we heat our house with wood. The second of the three sheds we’ve always called “The Well House” and it is probably the “newest” of the sheds and does, in fact, house a pipe that comes out of the floor from an old sand-point well. (Someday we will see if it still has water in it.) The Well House needs a new roof eventually but has a good door on it, a great concrete floor/foundation and is in pretty good shape overall so I told my husband that he could have it to do whatever he wanted to do with it so I’m now dubbing it, Joe’s “Man Shack”. … read the rest of the post »

Wicker chairs makeover in bold red!

May 31 2016
Outdoor furniture makeover with red paint, two old wicker chairs get a bold new look with red paint and covered cushions.

Last summer I spotted my aunt giving away a couple of wicker chairs on her Facebook page on a “first come first serve basis” I jumped on them! They were so darned cute I couldn’t help myself! They were a bit beat up and needed a good bath but I really thought that they would clean up just fine. I don’t have ANY experience with wicker furniture but these two were on my list to get done as early this spring as I could. So, I stopped by Ace hardware after I left work one Friday and picked up three cans of outdoor tinted primer, three cans of outdoor red spray paint and two cans of spray-on outdoor sealant. Then, I covered our garage floor with a tarp on Saturday morning and got to work! … read the rest of the post »

Free House Plan: Serious out front with a Party in the back

May 26 2016

Hey guys I’m really excited to share with you today a free house plan I designed a couple of years ago. It is all on one story with two bedrooms ( a fab master suite) with a TON of storage and it’s only 1800 square feet. Like most of my free house plan I’m always striving to make the smallest house possible and still keep it feeling spacious. This one is so serious out front it makes me laugh! It’s like it says, “Move along now, nothing to see here, just you’re basic little one story suburban home.” Ah, but then you walk in the front door and the whole back deck and yard are suddenly a part of the house. I love this huge country kitchen! The idea of having the dining table in the middle of the kitchen has always really appealed to me. These days we all end up in the kitchen any way so it seems like formal dining rooms are becoming a thing of the past. And, for cooking, what a wonderful big space your dining room table would be for rolling out dough! I can just imagine family gatherings with the back french doors open, expanding the kitchen/dining area by another 300 square feet. Not to mention it is a grand and lovely living room right there too. This would be a great free house plan to have a party in! … read the rest of the post »

Homemade luxurious recipe for Body Butter

May 23 2016
Homemade DIY recipe for body butter using lavender oil, organic coconut oil and organic castor oil - luxurious, moisturizing, fluffy, its like Heaven!

I got to experimenting a couple of years ago, attempting to create my own homemade recipe for body butter. I knew I wanted to use coconut oil but I wanted to use the LEAST amount of ingredients as possible. I went looking online and many of the recipes I saw for body butter (or even just homemade DIY lotion) called for ingredients I did not have on hand and then what if I didn’t like how it turned out? Then I would have a bunch of money sitting in a cabinet in ingredients I might not use again! So, after some research I grabbed our tub of coconut oil, my lavender oil and I also happened to have some organic castor oil on hand. I wanted a literal “butter” consistency so I knew I had to “whip” it up. I honestly had no idea if this was going to turn out so I dropped a couple of cups of coconut oil in my mixer, included a dozen or so drops of lavender oil and started it up. As it whipped the coconut oil I slowly started drizzling in the castor oil and OH. MY. GOSH. … read the rest of the post »

The horror of our basement – it’s time to get dirty!

May 18 2016
The sad, tear-filled, horror story of our basement, how we wasted so much time and money for nothing and now have a new renovation plan for a workshop.

There is still a long list of “to-dos” around the house – hangovers from the renovation that I’ve been procrastinating on doing. Here’s a secret: I actually don’t really enjoy renovation. Its a lot of work! It is dirty, frustrating, seeming endless work! So, once we moved in, I stalled. Ok, I didn’t just stall, I literally QUIT WORKING ON IT. There are some very good reasons for this (and not just because I’m lazy) the main reason is that it is totally thankless work that most people won’t even notice and not really anything that I would even bother posting on the blog but it still will take a large chunk of my time and energy. … read the rest of the post »

My Grandma’s Tulip

May 17 2016
Minnesota perennial spring in a bounty of red and yellow tulips, walleye fishing and wild turkey hunting. Eternally thankful for what this land offers us.

Many of you have read about how much I love my grandma’s peonies (and how relieved I was that they survived their SECOND transplanting in just a couple of years) but she also planted multiple other perennials about the grounds that I need to mention because they all survived and came up this spring! (Am I the only one that holds my breath to see if any of the perennials are gonna make it?!) Her tulips came up this spring and one of them bloomed just gorgeously! Cue way too many pictures of our one solitary tulip: … read the rest of the post »

My Grandma’s old Cosco step stool

May 16 2016
My Grandma's old Costco step stool gets a much needed DIY makeover, before and after using chrome spray paint and red vinyl to recover the seat!

Of all of the memories I have of my Grandma throughout my childhood this step stool seems to be in every picture I have of her in my mind. She will always be sitting on it, by her kitchen stove, whether a fire was burning in it or not. I had a pretty cool Grandma, she had herself the very first Nintendo and she and I went through and beat the very first Zelda multiple times one summer when I was 11 years old. She hand drew maps of all of the dungeons – seriously though, how cool is that?! I went looking for those old maps years ago and could not find them but still think of them from time to time. This old step stool, if Grandma wasn’t sitting on it her kitchen, I was! It was my favorite spot and when Grandma passed and this became my home this stool was with me throughout the entire renovation. It was already very old and not in the best of shape and us using it – me standing on it while drywalling or running electrical or plumbing, did nothing but just make it more rickety. By the end of the renovation this poor old Cosco step stool was not safe to use anymore! So, I stashed it in the garage for a day when I knew I could bring it back to its former glory. This weekend I rolled up my sleeves and got to work! … read the rest of the post »

Inspiration board – Stunning Rocking Chairs!

May 12 2016
Inspiration board at Grandma's House DIY of stunning rocking chair makeovers and before and afters

I am totally and utterly obsessed with old rocking chairs. They have such character! And, over the months, I’ve been stashing and hoarding them on my gorgeous chairs pinterest board! It all started with my own rocking chair that I was passed by my Grandma Eleonora when she left us back in late 2012. This blog then was only a figment in the back of my mind and the only people that saw the work I was doing in our garage then were a few friends and family. My own rocking chair makeover was something I spent a lot of time procrastinating on – I was scared! I had never upholstered anything before, up until that point all my DIY experience was with stripper, sand paper, stain and sealant on solid wood. So, I started researching (of course!) and I’m going to share with you here the first rocking chair makeover I saw that left me an eternal fan of the amazing lady that did it! … read the rest of the post »

Two end tables get a sweet country makeover – before and after

May 09 2016
Before and after old end tables get a DIY country makeover with white paint and refinished tops

The weekend before last I ran over to an estate sale not far from us and scored big. For $100 I picked up a wooden sofa, matching chair and coffee table, a rocking chair and these two end tables. I am planning on refinishing the rocking chair (see it here!) and selling it on craig’s list to try to recoup some of that $100 I spent. But the sofa, matching chair and coffee table I have big plans for on our deck (see them here!). Meanwhile, I went to work on these two old end tables almost immediately thinking that we could really use them in our living room. On top of that, I’ve just been chomping at the bit to try the refinished top and painted base that I’ve been seeing online so much lately that I just love. … read the rest of the post »

Summer has finally arrived in northern Minnesota!

May 06 2016
Summer in Minnesota has finally arrived with tulips, honey suckles, peonies and rhubard

Well, finally, after several false starts I think summer is going to stick around for good this time (crosses fingers) we’ll just have to see, it is northern Minnesota after all! It’s wonderful to feel some heat and get some sun though, it has been a very dreary last few weeks. Joe and I have major plans for our yard, we have a whole L-shaped garden that wraps around our house to fill with black dirt and get to planting. It is our first attempt at gardening here at the old place and I’ve learned from other gardens I’ve had in the past that it is best to start small 😉 We’ll have some tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and an array of perennial herbs (I am so excited at the prospect of not having to buy most of our herbs!) We also have plans for our fire pit and other yard work that we’ve been chomping at the bit to get to. … read the rest of the post »


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