Taking the house my mom grew up in, the farm my grandparents shared for over fifty years and making it a home for us to grow old in.
We took the house my mom grew up in, the house my grandparents shared for over fifty years and made it a place for us to grow old in. Curious how we made all of those incredible transformations in the Home Tour and the Before & Afters happen? Here are all of my tips and tutorials, everything I've learned in refinishing furniture and building all sorts of things! Let me caution you now though that stripping in your garage late into the night is not nearly as sexy or lucrative as it sounds ;)

The 10 design choices I made in our house that I LOVE

- Jan 16 2017
My top ten favorite design choices I made throughout the renovation of our 100 year old farm house

There is a real benefit to doing the majority of the work yourself in your own home – it means you get to do things that are not necessarily standard that may just make your life better. I was in charge of the plan and I was also the electrician and the plumber, my husband helped, but it was entirely on me. He tackled the majority of the gutting of the home, siding the whole place and building the garage while I was running wire and water pipes! Of course we helped each other along the way but my being directly in charge of what happened and when (because I was doing it) meant I got to really think about things like outlet placement and where I would want lights meaning: I got to do some things in our home that I absolutely appreciate every day and here are my top ten! Read the rest of the post »

How we save $4,200 a year on groceries because: we want to pay off our house ASAP!

- Jan 09 2017
How I save over 4,000 a year on groceries, buying dried beans, using amazon prime pantry, eating pasta and never buying beef. Hunting and fishing all year.

Do you know how much you will eventually pay for a mortgage over a 30 year span of time? With the average interest rate you can get today on an in bank loan and on a thirty year commitment you will eventually pay almost double! I don’t know about you but I for one do not want to have to pay double for my home and, even it means living a little less comfortably, having an old car, or not being able to take a vacation, I will be happy to do that! Our grocery budget every month is only $150 compared to the average grocery bill for a two person household of $500 per month in the United States. All out Savings: $4,200 PER YEAR! (The following tips for saving money on groceries is all based on where I live so your own prices in your grocery store may be very different then mine. Go and look! Do your research!) Read the rest of the post »

Top ten posts of 2016 – Happy new year!

- Jan 02 2017
The top ten posts of 2016 at Grandma's House DIY, wood working, renovation, refinishing, before afters, tips tutorials, do it yourself. Happy new year!

Phew! I’m stuck between having a hard time believing that 2016 has finally come to a close and looking around wondering how on earth time can move so quickly. This was our first whole year together in this old farm house of my grandparents’ and our second winter and, though this winter has already been much more brutal then the last, we are much warmer thanks to a new wood stove and a lot more time for preparation. (It is amazing how much more time you have when you’re not renovating a house and planning a wedding!) If this year is any indication what next year will bring then I am very excited for 2017! And not just for us and our home but for this website!

Read the rest of the post »

An old frame and chicken wire upcycled into a jewelry hanger!

- Dec 19 2016
Upcycle old antique frame with paint, glue, clamps and chicken wire to make a shabby country chic jewelry earrings hanger

I’ve been holding on to this frame since 2013. It used to be attached to this old dresser, though it was clear that it did NOT belong there and literally fell off into my hands. It used to hold a spectacular old mirror that was in tremendously bad shape and though I tried very hard to save it the shattering was just too deep so I donated it to my wonderful aunt for her mosaics. I’ve seen many jewelry hangers online made out chicken wire and it didn’t take me long to put two and two together. I have a jewelry box (like most girls) but like with any box everything in it gets all tangled up together and I’ve been wanting a jewelry hanger ever since I made my mom hers out of a mirror. So, I got to work! Read the rest of the post »

15,000 Pageviews a month: How I did it in 1 year & how I do it every day!

- Dec 12 2016
How I took my DIY blog from 0 to 15,000 visitors a month in only one year and no budget, how I do it every day.

When I first started this blog I had already had my own little side business as a web designer since 2001. It kept me busy but being behind the scenes for other bloggers left me really unfulfilled… I wasn’t working for myself on my own project like I wanted to be. So, I started Grandma’s house DIY as most bloggers start: Without a clue as to what I was doing! Sure I knew how to set it all up, update it and keep it running smoothly but I hadn’t ever done this before! I read everything I could from other bloggers on how to do this but I never felt like any of them were very specific on a day to day basis. So, this is what I do every day that made me hit 15,000 pageviews a month exactly one year after I started blogging. (Note: I have never paid for advertising right now my costs are $30 a month for Boardbooster and $120 a year for hosting – I have a self hosted WordPress blog on Directnic.com) Read the rest of the post »

How to: braid your own large rag area rug!

- Dec 05 2016
How to diy braid your own large homemade area rug for our farmhouse living room

Did you hear about that insane winter storm we got hit by a couple of Fridays ago? Well, it meant I was basically stranded at home for three days straight and I thought, “I know, I’ll make that rug I’ve been planning on working on!” So, while the snow piled up outside, I grabbed two $5 blankets and a big drop cloth I had purchased just for this project and I started cutting them all into strips so I could braid them. And I cut and I cut and I cut. In the end this project translated into two things. 1: Rugs are worth every penny we pay for them and then some and 2: I never want to do anything like this again. I foolishly thought this project really wasn’t going to be all that big of a deal and, in the end, it would be worth the $100 or so dollars I saved doing it. Honestly, I’m on the fence on whether or not the 40+ hours I spent on this rug was actually worth it. Do I love the rug? Of course. Do I love that I made it? Of course. But this was A LOT of work! Read the rest of the post »

How we save over $10,000 a year!

- Nov 28 2016
How we save over $10,000 per year on insurance, electric bill, cigarettes, smoking, cheap, save money, frugal tips, car maintenance, household products

I’m sure you guys have noticed that “frugal” is basically my middle name. I really really hate having to buy anything new and just the knowledge of how much we’ll be paying for our house on our thirty year loan in interest is enough to give me heart palpitations! So, I do what I can to help us live as frugally as possible in the hopes that someday we will have a little extra so that we can pay off our house a lot faster. With Joe just starting his own business we have learned to cinch our belts a little tighter and put off our mortgage free dreams for a little longer. But, I never give up hope, and every single cent I can save us helps us in the long run! And, ya know what? It also makes us a lot healthier as I have found, time and time again, when we make it ourselves (whether its food or cleaning products or really anything) it is almost always better for us as well! Read the rest of the post »

How to clean and remove stains from an old cast iron sink

- Nov 21 2016
How to remove stains and clean an antique old cast iron American Standard sink with vinegar and baking soda, a fifty year old sink from one of my sheds

So, as you all know, I have been working diligently in my basement for the past couple of months. For the bathroom I had set aside my grandparents’ old bathroom cabinet and this gorgeous, ancient, American Standard, cast iron sink! It was in one of the sheds and though I don’t know exactly how old it is my guess is between 40-50 years. When I posted about our kitchen sink base, I had lots of questions on how to clean cast iron because, like this one, it was SO GROSS. So I rolled up my sleeves and took lots of pictures of the process this time! So, this is how I removed stains from and clean cast iron sinks that are covered in total nasty! But first, check out this amazing sink! Read the rest of the post »

How we saved over $70,000 on our renovation because: we want to pay off our house ASAP!

- Nov 14 2016
All of the tips and tricks I learned along the way renovating our house to save over 70,000 on the 15 month renovation on our 100 year old home.

With the full house renovation that we just survived Joe and I did LITERALLY 98% of the work from top to bottom. That includes (but is not limited to) fully gutting it entirely and removing walls/adding beams where we needed to, putting in all new plumbing throughout for three bathrooms and two kitchens, installing sixteen all new windows, four brand new exterior doors and five interior doors, building all of the new framing, running all new electrical throughout, putting on all new siding, building a brand new two car garage, refinishing the floors that were here and installing new floors where we needed to, hung and then taped all of the sheet rock and we did all of the painting and trim throughout. My estimate at the end of the renovation was that Joe and I saved over $60,000 in labor costs alone and another $10,000 on all of my purchases. Read the rest of the post »

Covering walls with pallet wood: The basement bathroom renovation

- Nov 07 2016
Covering the walls of my basement bathroom with pallet and barn wood instead of sheet rock during the renovation of my basement workshop

Hey guys! I’m so excited to show you the finished walls of my basement bathroom today! I covered them entirely with pallet wood and barn wood from our barn. As many of you know I have been working down in my basement to get it finished as a wood workshop for me and my number one goal was to spend the least amount of money possible. In an exchange we were given a pile of old pallet wood that my husband and I hauled down to the basement for me to start work with. I had a little extra sheet rock leftover and a ton of old closet doors I had no use for so this whole basement ended up covered with basically everything but the kitchen sink lol! During it all I saved the best wood I had for the bathroom, here’s my pile of wood and all of the before photos. Read the rest of the post »

Resources: Products I absolutely cannot live without!

- Nov 04 2016
I've had folks ask me several times to create a list of some of the products I use every day so, products I cannot live without at Grandma's House!

I’ve been often asked my favorite brands or tools that I use often here on my projects and while working on the house. Really, nowadays especially, unless it is clearly a cheap knockoff made of plastic, most brands will do you JUST fine. But, you need to take care of them, always oil your air tools every single time you use them etc. I empty my air compressor out every single time I finish with it and empty any moisture out of it whenever I need to. As always, with any steel product, it is moisture that causes rust that causes them to deteriorate. I keep all of my tools in a safe dry space. I have also been asked what tools a new DIYer should buy to have on hand. Well, that’s a VERY hard question to answer because it, of course, depends on what exactly the projects are you will be doing.

Read the rest of the post »

How to DIY a florescent light box cover out of an old window

- Oct 31 2016
How to DIY a florescent light box cover out of an old window, a sheer curtain and 2x6s stained and painted, wood working tips and tutorials.

As you guys know from my previous posts over the last few weeks I have been spending the majority of my days in the basement. When the plan had been initially to build a rental suite down here (because the basement conveniently has a separate entrance) I had built a wall separating the main room into two living spaces. Since then the plan has changed considerably and this basement will now be my wood workshop so, one of the first things I did, was take down the wall that chopped the main room into two rooms. With the room wide open I started working on lighting because nothing takes a creepy basement into a real living space like light! I started by running a whole bunch of bulbs around the room (8 all together!) and covering them with mason jars like I showed you in my last tutorial. Then, I grabbed a florescent light I had replaced in my mom’s house and brought home because: it was free. It was missing its steel cover plate as well as a whole florescent light cover but I figured: light is light! So, I put it up right smack dab in the middle of the room where the wall used to be. Read the rest of the post »

Jar light bulb covers for our basement!

- Oct 17 2016
Jar light bulb covers DIY with leftover wire, a keyless lamp holder and a big mason jar for easy, cheap, inexpensive, basement lighting.

If you’ve been following along lately you know that I am slowly hacking away at finishing our basement into my workshop. Two things you need to know about this situation before I proceed with this tutorial: #1 I am doing everything as inexpensively as possible with little to no regard for how things might “look” and #2 There is little to nothing here that I am doing conventionally and I know well that some people might think it looks “weird” and I’m ok with that! 🙂 Anyway, my basement needed one thing first and foremost before I could start work on it at all. LIGHT! Up until I started in on this job I had three bare bulbs wired up down there because we had to have something but they were really adding to the creepiness factor. It was time to light this basement up like a Christmas tree! Problem was though – I had no budget to do it! So, I went to the drawing board to make my own jar lights. Read the rest of the post »

Because kitchens are actually meant to be cooked in!

- Oct 10 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.

Prepare yourselves, this blog post is going to begin with a small rant about kitchen design: Somewhere along the way kitchen designers and cabinet makers realized that people liked symmetry. They started designing kitchens with main elements centered in the middle of cabinet runs. I have cooked in many kitchens and I am at a complete loss as to this design-over-function mentality that seems to be raging through this country like a wild fire. Who in their right mind would choose two counter tops on either side of the stove that are only ten inches wide as opposed to one on one side of the stove that is twenty inches wide? Seriously, you can’t even put a cutting board on ten inches! In a small kitchen especially, breaking up counters simply does not make any sense to me. Read the rest of the post »

DIY foaming hand soap recipe – my newest favorite money saver!

- Oct 03 2016
Homemade DIY foaming hand soap recipe using castile soap, castor oil and thyme, lavender and tangerine essential oils, frugal money saver

Many of you reading this are going to be wondering why the heck I hadn’t figured this one out a lot sooner. Here’s the truth, between wedding gifts and Christmas gifts, Joe and I have had a surplus of extra hand soap to use up for months now. (Note: soap of any kind makes a lovely gift and we so appreciated it!) So, I hadn’t been able to start making our own foaming hand soap until now so I’ve literally been waiting lol. In the mean time I’ve been looking around Amazon for the right foaming hand soap dispenser and finally ended up on the one you see in the pictures. It is not the least expensive (by far) but I’m a firm believer in quality when I’m going to be purchasing anything new and I also thought it looked nice. Besides, the reviews on it are very good and this foaming hand soap pump really needs to last to pay for itself. It also has a cool little suction cup on the bottom that keeps it in place. Read the rest of the post »

Herb drying rack utilizing an old sign and office binder clips!

- Sep 26 2016
A DIY build project of a simple sign combined with office binder clips to create a great herb drying rack or hat rack or anything really!

I mentioned in one of my last blog posts that we put in a little kitchen garden right by our front step this spring. I loved it! I was able to transplant just about every type of perennial flower of my grandma’s into it so they won’t be lost and will keep on blooming for years. Besides the flowers though I finally got some fresh herbs! I’ve been dabbling in just about every type of herb storing since they started growing. I’ve frozen them as is and I tried freezing them in oil as well. But I really just wanted to dry them because that’s how I use herbs the most. So, I needed an herb drying rack! At work we have these medium sized binder clips that I bought a box of. Read the rest of the post »

Kitchen garden planning, the good, the bad and what I learned this year!

- Sep 19 2016
Kitchen garden planning, the good, the bad and what I learned this year, perennials, bell pepper, herbs, north side of the house and shade plants

The entire area wrapping from the front door on the west side of the house around to the north side of the back of our house felt strange and barren to me. It sloped down from the front step/front door so it created a rather awkward drop off. It seemed a perfect opportunity to build something to fill the void. My first thought was a kitchen garden and my second thought was railroad ties. Upon further research though I didn’t want to use something that is as toxic as railroad ties close to something we would be growing to eat! Read the rest of the post »

Creating a cubby under our deck – to make my life easier!

- Sep 12 2016
Creating a cubby under our lattice deck diy backyard hidden outdoor outside storage ideas

I do find it funny how so often the projects that take us the least amount of time and effort sometimes are the projects that improve our lives the most! With the help of Joe and his chainsaw this project took me all of thirty minutes to complete and BOOM our lives improved considerably. All summer long we’ve been dealing with the fact that our outside spigot is up on our deck. I could get into what caused this to happen (because I ran all of our plumbing) but I’m going to spare you the technical details. In the end, our spigot on our deck is fine and dandy and handy to water our garden etc. However, it meant that we always had a hose run across our deck, laying in a big heap on our deck or laying in a big heap in our yard where we would have to move it to mow. (And you know how much I hate moving stuff when we mow – hence our fire pit that I posted about two weeks ago) Even if we managed to get it all rolled up in its little spool (which we did from time to time) the spool was still there, still in the way. It drove me crazy. So, I got the idea to create a door so we could access the underside of our deck – essentially making one heck of a giant hidden outdoor storage cubby! Read the rest of the post »

A privacy fence room divider: Covering up an outdoor eye sore

- Sep 05 2016
How to wood working build a room divider out of a privacy fence panel white wash diy do it yourself to cover an eye sore outside the house electrical panel equipment

Hey guys, well you’ve already heard me rant and rave about the terrible place our electrician put our electric panel: Right by our front door! To see what I did about that ugliness on the inside of the house check this out: Covering up an incredible eye sore in our entry way. After seeing that post many of you asked what we did on the outside of our house because it was all just as ugly on the outside as it was on the inside! I had been at the drawing board about this problem all last winter before I finally had a light bulb moment! We had one extra fence panel leftover from when we put up our privacy fence so I thought I could make something like a room divider out of it… I got to work. Read the rest of the post »

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 look 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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Outdoor sun loungers DIY out of old goose hunting chairs!

- May 02 2016
Outdoor sun loungers DIY cheap and inexpensive upcycle out of old goose hunting chairs and walmart outdoor table cloths tips and tutorials

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. Especially old hunting gear and what-not. And, you know me, I’m trying to find projects and usability every where I can! These chairs my dad proclaimed to be old goose hunting chairs that once came with a blind over top of them. I nodded thinking, Well, that’s cool but now they’re mine! Mahahahahaha! I don’t know about you but my idea of the perfect thing would be a place in the sun after work for a couple of hours, good company (or just myself would be fine too…) and a bottle of wine. I had been working on sun loungers in my head for months when I had stumbled upon these old goose hunting chairs and immediately, I got excited! I pulled them out of the barn Saturday morning and I got to work. Read the rest of the post »

Laundry detergent – Homemade and only $3.50 for four gallons!

- Apr 25 2016
Homemade laundry detergent saving us for $700 per year. DIY Make 4 gallons for only $3.50.

I can’t wait to share my laundry detergent recipe with you guys but, first, we’re going to do a bit of a rewind to the exact moment I figured out that “normal” laundry detergents and fabric softeners do NOT agree with my skin at all! Over ten years ago a family friend offered to do some of our laundry when our washing machine was getting fixed. Great – very thoughtful – nice woman. Then we got our clothes back and I could not believe how badly they stunk (of course I never told her that) my clothes absolutely wreaked in the worst flowery synthetic way that I could hardly believe it! Not only must she have used an incredible amount of laundry detergent and fabric softener she also went on to starch (and only the universe knows what else) and iron every shirt, pair of jeans and even my little sleep nighties. At first I just plugged my nose and figured I would get used to it until my back broke out and I started itching in my sleep. I was blotchy, covered in bumps, it was like chicken pox all over my back kind of not-pretty. I rewashed EVERYTHING and went on the hunt for the gentlest laundry detergent I could find. (I used soap that was safe for kids and babies for a long time but it seemed SO expensive – so on to my homemade laundry detergent recipe!) Read the rest of the post »

How to build easy barn wood book shelves!

- Apr 11 2016
Easy inexpensive cheap DIY tutorial barn wood book shelves

I have not professed my struggle about my office to you guys out here on the blog yet. Well, its been a doozy! First, I had it all done, complete, looking good . . . and I hated it. When Joe and I moved in here last August my mom sent one of her big book cases along with me which I managed to somehow fit every last book I had in it . . . but NO room for more and that just wasn’t going to work! And that poor book case was so jammed packed that it just looked awful. (NO, I could not give up more books I had already forced myself to purge two full bins which I gave to the library!) And then there was the big closet in my office (which I had so many hopes and dreams for) which had become a total failure for me when it came to storage. On top of all of that I had my back to the door when I was working at my computer. In the end, I needed to go back to drawing board and figure out the first most important thing my office had to do for me. And that was (as you might guess) some really great book shelves! Next week I’ll post my whole office reveal but, for right now, let us talk about barn wood book shelves! I had lots of dreams and ideas for builts-ins across this entire wall . . . Read the rest of the post »

Where to start your renovation

- Mar 17 2016
How and where to start your renovation, have a plan, choose everything, stick to it and expect it all to take twice as long as you first thought!

I’ve had several emails from folks asking about how I managed our renovation (btw, thank you for the support everybody! Having you out there helps a lot!!) the main question that’s been popping up is around the lines of how to “start your renovation” so I felt it was time to give you the base I started from.  (Note: I’m going to assume you’re going into a house that needs a full gut like mine, however, much of this can be applied to smaller renovation projects as well, I’m going to try and hit on every note here though I could easily write a book on this and not cover every variable.) Read the rest of the post »

Homemade dishwasher detergent, how to beat hardwater!

- Feb 23 2016

Over the years I’ve turned myself completely over to living and cleaning as naturally as possible in our home. For one it has saved us a ton of money and, for the other, I feel we are healthier for it. I went through several recipes I found online for homemade dishwasher detergent and settled on one that we just loved and use daily. The following recipe I picked up at Wellness Mama so I can’t take total credit for this one. However, when we moved into Grandma’s House it just wasn’t cutting it because I opted out of adding a water softener when we renovated this old farm house. (I’ve read many things on how the water is not very good for you to drink after salt has been added to “soften it” as well as the idea of our water being stripped of all those good minerals that we need just bothers me.) We were also short on money so I decided to forgo the water softener and crossed my fingers and figured if we absolutely HAD to, we could always add one later. Read the rest of the post »

We finally got our hanging barn door up!

- Feb 16 2016

We’ve had our hanging barn door hardware for nearly a year now (I’m ashamed to say) so this project has been on our “to do” list for WAY too long! Being as this is an old farm we have the perk of having several old barn doors that I stashed in a safe place and have been drooling over for months. This one was my grandparents’ old wood shed door. We were slow to get this project done because Joe and I have never had a problem living without a door on our bathroom as our master suite is on its own floor – only the dog is allowed up here besides us. On top of that our bathroom and our bedroom have the staircase between them so a door was never really necessary. However, a bathroom needs a door, like all rooms just need a door. So, whether we’re actually going to be “using” this lovely hanging barn door, both of us absolutely adore it and are just stoked at how cool it looks! Read the rest of the post »

Modifying old furniture because: Your ancestors will forgive you

- Feb 04 2016

As you might imagine we watch a lot of DIY television around here (shocking, I know) and it also gives us a bit of comic relief from time to time. The other day they were salvaging an ancient, old (gorgeous) Victorian in Virginia and going on and on and on about this enormous, solid wood, hand carved bed that had been left in the house. Don’t get me wrong, I was literally as excited about it as they were, however, I can’t help but suspect that the old owners of that bed are laughing at us right now. I can just hear old great great great aunt Isabella chuckling in her grave, “Oh that heavy old thing!? The only reason we kept it was because it was built in the house so we couldn’t get it out!” And then her husband (great great great uncle Bob) pops in his two cents, “There I was, all laid out by the mortician and they puzzled over a big groove I had in my shin! A dent! I tell you you could have fit a roll of nickles in it!” Isabella is really cackling now, “You hit your shin on that damned old bed every day for a decade.” His response is what you would expect, “I never hated a man or beast or anything in my life except that old bed. Hated it I tell you!” Read the rest of the post »

Covering up an incredible eye sore in our entry way

- Jan 28 2016

So we’ve had this incredible eye sore in our entryway since the very beginning of our house renovation. We can blame me and the epic lack of communication with our electrician remains a VERY sore spot for me because it apparently never occurred to anyone that we needed to discuss the location of the new panels SO they ended up right here, right by our front door. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly. Horrible eye sore that I’ve been planning and scheming to get covered up this entire time. Outside the house it looks just as horrible, a nice electrical conduit welcome greeting for anyone coming in but unless I win the lottery some time and want to hire someone to undertake the immense (and extraordinarily costly) task of moving the panels, all I can do is make the best of this ugly situation. Of course, my plan began with the idea that I wanted to make a barn door closet, as I’ve got several wonderful old barn doors laying around 🙂 So, this is where I started. Read the rest of the post »

How to: stencil on screen

- Jan 12 2016

This a very simple project that just about anyone can do! There are many tips and tutorials out there on how to stencil on screen doors, this one: How to paint on window screen from Prodigal Pieces is AWESOME. Ever since I finished building, hanging and finally finishing our screen door that hides our closet/wood shed under our staircase (in our kitchen) I’ve been thinking about adding a stencil on screen! Read the rest of the post »

Top ten most popular posts of 2015!

- Jan 08 2016

Some of these top ten posts really surprised me! The number one most popular post of 2015 especially surprised me the most! Read the rest of the post »

Jewelry cabinet how to out of a $9 mirror!

- Jan 04 2016

I always have such a hard time coming up with something special to get my incredible Mom for Christmas. I think we all want to get something useful and memorable and just amazing, especially for the people that are the most important to us. But that is a very tall order! I had come across a mirrored jewelry cabinet on Pinterest many times when it finally dawned on me that I could make one for Mom! She and I went to Walmart and picked up a nice black mirror. She didn’t have the space for a full length mirror so we decided on this one that she could hang above one of her bed side tables and it was only $9! From there, I got to work! Read the rest of the post »

The number one lesson I learned during our home renovation

- Dec 31 2015

There was one main home renovation lesson that I learned along the way during the 15 months we spent getting our old home ready to live in. My grandparents’ one hundred year old farm house had seen nothing resembling a renovation since they added indoor plumbing back in the early 1950’s. It was not a small task (as anyone who has ever done such a thing will tell you) it was not without its incredible ups and downs (mostly downs) and its not something I ever want to do again – at least not under the deadlines that we had placed on ourselves. (Someone, who shall remain nameless because it was most certainly me, decided that we should have our wedding in the backyard so everyone could see the “finished” house – I was literally painting kitchen cabinets two days before the wedding! Who does this to themselves!?) Read the rest of the post »

An old ladder gets retired to my closet as a ladder shoe rack!

- Dec 21 2015

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has seen the amazing things done with old ladders on pinterest! My favorite of all time was an old ladder shoe rack and I just happened to have an old ladder myself! It was Grandpa’s and was used out here on the farm for many decades before being hung up on the side of the old garage where it hung for years upon years, just waiting for retirement. I never have the heart to part with anything I can make use out of and, from day one upon seeing this ladder, I tucked it away for just this purpose in our master bedroom closet! I knew it would make a fantastic ladder shoe rack for all of my high heels and, not to mention, beautiful throws and scarfs that I keep collecting… Ok, maybe “hoarding” would be another way of putting it, but I love them! And, I’m certain, one day I will wear them all at some point… Read the rest of the post »

How to build a screen door out of an old window

- Dec 08 2015

If you’ve been following along then you know that Joe and I heat our house using wood in a large wood burning stove in our kitchen. From day one it seemed only natural to use the closet under our stair case (about four steps away from the wood stove) as wood storage all year. When the closet is full of wood it lasts us about two weeks and its become Joe’s Saturday ritual to cut more for us and replenish any wood we burned during over the week. Since day one I had my heart set on this closet being closed by an old screen door painted red. The only problem was, I couldn’t find a door to fit the space, so I decided that I had no choice but to build a screen door! Read the rest of the post »

How to: Build your own inexpensive closet doors!

- Nov 25 2015

I’m very picky when it comes to closet doors, I don’t really like any of the options out there. First you have the rolling closet doors that, always, cover half the closet half the time and are a bit of a nightmare to install, nope, hate em. Then you have the old fashioned kind of closet doors where its basically just two interior days side by side that open out, I like this idea but they’re usually really heavy. Bi-fold closet doors are probably my favorite kind (if I had the choice) but they’re also rather a pain to install and complicated to make. What all closet doors have in common is that they are all VERY expensive. I priced out bi-fold closet doors for this whole house a few months ago and it was just shy of $1,000! Read the rest of the post »

Our laundry room gets spruced up with some paint and inexpensive storage!

- Nov 19 2015

Our laundry room is basically a large closet off of our dining room/entry room in our home. Is having the laundry room in our dining room ideal? Of course not, but with an old house sometimes the only options are really not all that great. But, I digress, so far it hasn’t bother Joe or I at all, the dining room is big enough and our laundry room/closet is plenty big enough so it hasn’t at all been a problem. We have a scratch and dent certified new LG washer/dryer combo, just in case you were wondering why there was only one machine that looks like a washing machine in the picture 🙂 We love our washer/dryer combo so far and I, personally, would never go back to two machines. Here’s how it looked when I got started: Read the rest of the post »

Our oak kitchen counter tops looked like a hill billy after a bad fight.

- Nov 16 2015

It seemed the perfect choice for our little country kitchen. We’d made everything else so, it seemed only natural that we would be making our counter tops as well. Initially, when I thought this renovation wasn’t going to absolutely and totally drain our bank accounts, I had been holding out the hope of being able to afford slate… Then reality happened. My second choice was butcher block but, honestly, we couldn’t afford that either and, after building the sink base, the cabinets and the pantry, I ended up really wanting to make our counters too. So, the plan was hatched, we would be making our own “butcher block” for the counters. We did not have enough pine left to make them like we made the butcher block island top, however, we did have a whole pile of oak out in the barn. It was only about about 1/2” by 3” but I thought it would work. It had been used before as each end had an old screw hole in it but I have no idea where it came from or what its passed life entailed all I knew was that it was OAK and it was in long enough pieces to do all of our counter tops. I got to cutting and Joe glued and nailed it down with our brad nailer. Here it is right after we finished. Read the rest of the post »

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