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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 ;)

Liquid Dish Soap Recipe, grease-fighting and easy to make!

Homemade, essential oils, hypo-allergenic liquid dish soap recipe, green recipes, natural, diy, do it yourself, very easy to make
Jul 24 2017 -

This is a post all about my homemade recipe for grease-fighting liquid dish soap! I have a confession to make, even though I said I had replaced all of our household cleaners with our own homemade there was one I just hadn’t tackled yet: Liquid Dish Soap. So, what have I been using to wash our dishes by hand with in the meanwhile? Well, I’ve literally just been dumping some of my homemade dry Dishwasher Detergent in the sink and scrubbing with everything I’ve got. It was actually working all right but I really wanted something for “real” that would have some “soapiness” to it etc. So, I got to searching and experimenting and FINALLY I landed on one that works great for us! Read the rest of the post »

Tall Garden Planter on wheels: How to build, wood working, DIY

Build a tall garden planter on wheels diy wood working do it yourself for easy an easy to weed vegetable garden on your deck or in your yard!
Jul 17 2017 -

After building my mom a tall garden planter for vegetables and strawberries my aunt asked if I could build her one too. Seriously though I can’t blame her: this is a really great idea and everyone should have at least one of these! My mom’s garden only needed to be weeded once or twice all summer lol I’m wondering why I thought I needed to put in a big “normal” garden and didn’t just build myself three of these… Anyway, my aunt had a couple of requests: It needed to be a little smaller then my mom’s so it would fit nice in a specific place on her deck and she also wanted it to be on wheels so she could move it under her house eaves in the winter time or during bad weather. So, I got to the drawing board! Read the rest of the post »

Perfume recipe using vodka that actually smells like REAL perfume!

Jul 10 2017 -

This post is about how I make my own perfume out of essential oils and vodka! So now that Joe and I have switched our entire house over to homemade household cleaners I find that most perfumes have begun to smell more and more like bug spray to me. (Weird, right?) I’ve always had rather sensitive skin which is why the first household recipe we switched to was my homemade laundry detergent but I find now I’ve become sensitive to smells too. Walking down the cleaning aisle at walmart never used to bother me but now my eyes start watering and I am in shock at the horrible smell. Read the rest of the post »

Rain gutters out of 3″ PVC pipe, DIY How to!

PVC rain gutters DIY out of a 3" PVC pipe cut in half with a table saw and then screwed to the eve using steel hex nut screws, how to, do it yourself
Jul 03 2017 -

This is a post on how Joe and I created gutters for our house using PVC pipe! So, quite awhile ago, I stumbled on to the coolest thing online: Rain gutters made out of 3″ PVC pipe. Since then I cannot find it online ANYWHERE! The only thing I can find online about it is forums of people like me who want to try it and other people telling them to just hire a crew to put up seamless gutters because apparently: we’re all rich. Not that I wouldn’t love to be able to afford seamless gutters but, seriously, that’s just not our style! On top of that, we just so happened to have enough 3″ pipe leftover that using it for gutters on our house cost us almost nothing! Read the rest of the post »

On demand hot water heater, the good, the bad and th- WHY IS THE WATER COLD!?

Living with a whole house on demand hot water heater, how much it costs to run, how easy it is to install and what its like to live with, with well water.
Jun 26 2017 -

Now that its been a couple of years of living with an on demand hot water heater (also called a tankless hot water heater), I wanted to put in my two cents. When we renovated the house I really didn’t want anything to do with a regular hot water heater. A: they take up a ton of room and B: They run out! Seriously, it just seemed to me that common sense would say that heating the water ONLY when you need it would be a lot more economic then paying to keep a huge amount of water hot all of the time. So, how’s that been working out for us? Well, there’s a lot that goes into that answer! Read the rest of the post »

Kitchen tips: How I’m making meals out of what most people would throw away!

My favorite frugal kitchen tips and how I'm making meals out of what most people would throw away! making chicken broth our of nothing but kitchen scraps!
Jun 19 2017 -

This post is all about my favorite frugal kitchen tips! I save every single glass jar that comes with a decent lid. I can’t help it! Here’s the thing though, I use them CONSTANTLY. A big batch of stock to freeze? I fill up a bunch of jars and stick them in the freezer. Leftover soup? Yup it all goes in jars and gets frozen. One of my old plastic herb shakers finally breaks? Dump that garlic salt in a jar! (My entire seasoning cabinet will eventually be nothing but jars with green Parmesan container lids screwed on them.) Leftover bacon grease? Yup, it goes in a jar so I can use it later. Leftover every other kind of grease? That also goes in a jar and when the jar is full, it gets thrown away. So handy. I’ve also managed to collect 6 glass drinking “bottles” from my favorite organic tea that I spoil myself with from time to time now I always have one full of our water in my car at all times, which helps me avoid the impulse purchase of buying something to drink when I’m in town. Read the rest of the post »

Flower boxes: Wood working DIY hanging flower boxes in our master!

How to build wood working DIY do it yourself hanging flower and planter boxes for your windows or anywhere with sisal rope
Jun 12 2017 -

This post is about how I built hanging flower boxes for our master bedroom! So this past winter I kinda went stir crazy with cabin fever. There really isn’t any explanation for it as we had an actually VERY short winter for us. But that doesn’t change the fact that I really did have a tough time personally. I just got so tired of the daily grind and the gray and the white and the never-seeing-the-sun and the every day being the same. Ugh. So, it occurred to me that maybe something green and growing in our master bedroom might just help brighten my winter days a little bit. So, I got to planning my flower boxes! Read the rest of the post »

The Little House: Is finally complete! Before and after of the entire remodel!

After two weeks and $3,000 the little house remodel is finally complete! Come see the before and afters pics and how we did it fully diy!
Jun 05 2017 -

I am so excited to finally show you guys the before and after of the entire little house remodel! It took me about fifteen days in total to get this place up to snuff and around $3,000 to complete it. I had a serious plan and took a few hits when that plan collided with reality – I also tried a new product (styrofoam ceiling tiles!) for the ceiling in the main room and in the bathroom. I also purchased the most expensive plywood I have ever purchased (nearly $100 for a sheet!) that my husband helped me cut and get into place in the kitchen for the counter tops. Read the rest of the post »

The Little House: Wood working DIY mahogany counter tops out of plywood!

How to install a mahogany plywood counter tops do it yourself with plywood, poly acyrlic, sanding and a skill saw, beautiful diy inexpensive wood kitchen countertops!
May 29 2017 -

This is a tutorial on how I built the mahogany counter tops in the little house out of plywood. I was in a real pickle when it came to what I wanted to do with the counters in the little house. Normally I probably would have just run to Menards (or Lowes or Home Depot) and purchased stock laminate counter tops that they have on hand. But because I chose to put cabinets back to back I had a span of 48×60 inches to cover so if we wanted laminate counter tops they would have to be custom ordered and thus: too much a splurge for this little house. A big part of me wanted to just use barnwood like I did for the kitchen backsplash but I knew my mom would hate that and if she ever lived here she deserves the flattest smoothest counter that she could ever want. So, I was in a pickle. Read the rest of the post »

The Little House: Covering up a very ugly ceiling with Styrofoam ceiling tiles

Easy to install Styrofoam do it yourself ceiling tiles over an ugly ceiling, how to
May 22 2017 -

After you got past the horrific glare of the very pink foam insulation covered walls (and that EVERY THING was covered in spray foam) the next worst was probably the ceiling in the main room. This old place at one point was sheetrocked and professionally taped and mudded – the problem is they did not sheet rock the ceiling. Nope, that’s not sheet rock, its some kind of very old particle wood. After it was taped and mudded then acoustic ceiling tiles were stapled to the ceiling. I will never forget my sister-in-law telling me the story of how they went to the basement one night (to go to bed when they lived here over a decade ago) when a tremendous crash and insanity happened above them. Was it a break in? Did a tornado come through? What on earth could have made so much noise?! Read the rest of the post »

The Little House: When a remodel timeline meets with reality

When a remodel plan meets reality during the little house renovation and remodeling, diy, do it yourself, how to organize and work through problems
May 15 2017 -

On April 10th I got up and, for the the first time in a VERY long time, I did not put on my “nice” clothes and head to my day job. Instead, I dug out my “work” clothes (torn up and stained jeans etc.) and, after a cup of coffee, I didn’t even have to get in my car to go to “work” that day, I just walked over to The Little House to begin the remodel. To quote my last post about this (to bring you up to speed on the place): “On the lot beside us this little place (all of 500 square feet) has gone through many “renovations” since my Grandpa built it. It was built for my Grandpa’s dad and then it also housed my Grandma’s dad for awhile. Way back then it didn’t have running water and was as simple as you can imagine: just a 300 square foot box with a dirt floor basement beneath it. Literally decades later my dad and brother dug a septic, a well and added a bathroom, a closet and a bedroom, insulated it, sheet rocked it and gave it new siding and shingles and added a little kitchen. They also poured concrete in the basement and carpeted the floor down there to increase the living space. Read the rest of the post »

The Little House: A remodel plan and timeline, getting organized

When a remodel plan meets reality during the little house renovation and remodeling, diy, do it yourself, how to organize and work through problems
May 08 2017 -

If you’ve been hanging out here over the last couple of weeks then you know that my mom hired me to tackle the remodel of “the little house”. On the lot beside us this little place (all of 500 square feet) has gone through many “renovations” since my Grandpa built it. It was built for my Grandpa’s dad and then it also housed my Grandma’s dad for awhile. Way back then it didn’t have running water and was as simple as you can imagine: just a 300 square foot box with a dirt floor basement beneath it. Literally decades later my dad and brother dug a septic, a well and added a bathroom, a closet and a bedroom, insulated it, sheet rocked it and gave it new siding and shingles and added a little kitchen. They also poured concrete in the basement and carpeted the floor down there to increase the living space. I remember several friends and family living here on and off over the years (including my brother when he was first married) and then my dad lived here for the last ten years after my folks’ divorced. Read the rest of the post »

How to DIY Build a small garden with railroad ties & the dangers of creosote.

A new vegetable garden made of railroad ties and how I made the gate and put a fence around it. Balancing the choice of toxic railroad ties for a garden.
May 01 2017 -

I’m going to jump right in here and talk about creosote and the dangers of railroad ties immediately because I know that’s going to be the center of the conversation because just about everyone has heard that railroad ties are toxic. But how toxic? And at what extent is what we’re hearing fear mongering and panic? And why, on earth, if there is any question at all, did I choose to use them around my vegetable garden? You all know me and know that I ere on the side of caution when it comes to our health. (Milk could actually be bad for us? I’m never bringing it in our home again. Possible toxic substances in dryer sheets? Never using them again.) The list for me goes on and on and on. Our health ALWAYS holds priority for me. So, why did I choose to use possibly toxic railroad ties around our vegetable garden? Read the rest of the post »

DIY Fabulous Face Scrub recipe for incredibly smooth skin!

A wonderful face scrub wash recipe made out of baking soda, coconut oil and any essential oils you would like to add! A moisturizer and scrub all in one!
Apr 24 2017 -

So, a few years back, I was your average girl. I washed my face at least once a day (like everyone told me to) and I struggled with my share of acne and even used ProActive when I couldn’t stand it any more. I had a whole bunch of special products from face wash to moisturizer etc. I even visited Acne.org and started purchasing the same ingredients for way less money on Amazon instead of dealing with the ProActive subscription headache. I still have those bottles and, on the rare instance when I do break out, use them maybe once or twice a year. So, what changed? Why do I no longer need my hard core acne cream, lotions and such? Read the rest of the post »

How I organize my blog and why you need Dropbox right now

Blog organization, link parties, submit places, how and why you need to start using Dropbox for your blog
Apr 17 2017 -

This post is in answer to the many questions I received about how I organize my blog after publishing my post: 15,000 Pageviews a month: How I did it in 1 year & how I do it every day! In that post I detailed my nitty gritty day to day schedule on how I promote this blog. But, like all schedules, mine keeps evolving with me, my time and what works best for me. For example: in that post I talked about how I was putting together posts that would then literally publish that very day. I don’t do that anymore. Now I am finishing posts and scheduling them at least two weeks before they go live on the blog. This has lessened my stress level considerably! I am no longer frantically putting posts together the day I want them to go live! Read the rest of the post »

No green house? No problem! My unconventional solution that worked great!

Inexpensive way to create mini green houses to start your own seedlings! Plant and grow your own vegetables by starting them from seed, easy and frugal!
Apr 10 2017 -

It occurred to me last year when I purchased a few bell pepper plants at a local green house that if I was going to give this gardening thing a real shot then I was going to need to start my own seeds. (The cost of buying plants being a little too high for my frugal self.) However, I had two major obstacles in my way, firstly I don’t have a green house so I had to start my seedlings indoors and secondly I don’t have a good south facing area in my home for decent sunlight. I tackled the first problem by going to my drawing board because the second problem isn’t going to be changing anytime soon. It came to me when I was at Walmart and I stumbled upon the perfect mini green houses. “Disposable” roaster pans with clear plastic lids! Read the rest of the post »

DIY wood working Ice fishing rod rack with a shelf for tip ups

How to build an ice fishing rod rack with a shelf for tip ups out of barn wood and 2x2s, wood working, work shop, diy, do it yourself, how to, tutorials
Apr 03 2017 -

When my husband asked me to build him an ice fishing rod rack I got really excited and realized that that makes me either a rather awesome wife (at least to Joe) or weird as hell. Either way, I was stoked to actually be able to build and do something for him! Joe keeps the majority of his tools and toys in a storage unit throughout the year until he needs them and then he needs somewhere handy to keep them in the garage. I was just plain old excited to work on something that was A: not one of my own hair brained ideas and B: kind of like he was my client! I ran him through twenty questions, doing a bit of sketching as we went. I mulled the plan over in my head for a couple of weeks when he made a change: He also wanted a shelf along the bottom of it for enough head room for all of his tip ups. Read the rest of the post »

Pinterest Strategy: What I wish I had known and implemented when I started blogging.

Pinterest Strategy: What I wish I had known and implemented when I started blogging. Using BoarBooster, how to increase your Pinterest numbers over night!
Mar 27 2017 -

There are so many instances now that I’ve been blogging for a year and half that I look back and think, “Oh I wish I had known that then!” Of course hind sight is always a b*tch but it doesn’t have to be for everyone. So, here is my entire Pinterest strategy, everything I’m doing right now on Pinterst and wish I would have done since the moment I started this blog. Right now I’m hitting around 20,000 page views a month and over half of those are from Pinterest and I’m getting nearly 100 new followers a day on my Pinterest profile. But I really feel like if I had implemented everything I know now at the beginning those numbers would probably be double that! I started using BoardBooster/implementing this strategy in July of 2016 and the numbers don’t lie, just look at what it did to my Pinterest Profile! Read the rest of the post »

Heating your home with a wood stove: the good, the bad and the ashes

Heating your home with wood all of the tips and information you need to decide whether or not you want to heat your house with a wood stove
Mar 20 2017 -

We are just concluding our second winter living in my grandparents’ 100 year old farm house. When we gutted the home we removed the old fuel oil burning furnace in the basement and all of the old corresponding duct work. Then it was the question on how we wanted to heat our home. My plan initially was to have a small wood stove in the kitchen to support electric off peak heat. Within a month of subzero temperatures though we knew we would never be willing to afford the electric heat… oh my gosh expensive! So, we kept our little wood stove burning hot all of the time and found out real quick a “little” stove was not going to cut it against a northern Minnesota winter! Read the rest of the post »

Old tools: Planing/finishing a do it yourself butcher block counter top!

How to build, do it yourself a butcher block island and how to finish it by hand with a planer and sander, diy, wood working, tips & tutorials
Mar 06 2017 -

Oh my goodness how time flies! Back in September of 2015 I posted about how I built/created my own butcher block for our red kitchen island I had upcycled out of an old radio stand. Finishing said butcher block has been on my list of to-dos ever since: over a year and a half ago! I created my counter top out of 1x2s I found out in the barn, a leftover from my grandparent’s days as wood workers who threw nothing away. Here’s a few pictures of how I built it: Read the rest of the post »

The five things in January that made my life a whole lot better!

The five things in january that made my life awesome. Bed buddy, silicone baking cups, Mason jars, spray bottle, hanging basket
Feb 27 2017 -

I think I’ve said this 1,000 times since I started this blog: Sometimes the smallest things can make our lives dramatically better. It surprises me how the big projects can make as much of a difference as some of the smaller changes we make. I moved our living room around a tad the other day and BAM, no cost and now I literally love the room again! Sometimes it does cost a little, or require just a small change (or the purchase of a product) and it truly can change your life for the better. Here are the five things that happened in January that absolutely made my life incredibly better! Read the rest of the post »

Build your own platform bed frame DIY

Tutorial how to build your own platform bed using 2x6s. Easy, Workshop, DIY.
Feb 20 2017 -

So, it finally happened guys, we got our bed frame done!!! I think its been like two months since I mentioned to you that I was finally working on our bed frame plan and how excited I was at the time. But, the weather and just plain life got in the way! And, goodness knows, I always have something I can work on that makes it easy to put off the bigger projects until later. I knew this one was going to be a big project for one main reason: A very narrow stairwell. At the time of the renovation moving our load bearing wall for a few more inches of width in our stairwell just didn’t seem worth it. SO, to get to our master bedroom on the second floor, every single thing I do has to be calculated around that stairwell. Which meant I knew I would have to take every individual piece of the bed frame upstairs and put it together there. Not to mention I had to haul the old bed frame out of there all while trying real hard not to put holes in every wall on the way down. Read the rest of the post »

The four homemade recipes that save us over $1,000 a year!

The 4 household homemade DIY cleaning recipes that are saving us over $1,000 per year! So easy to make and better for us and the environment!
Feb 13 2017 -

If you’ve ever bought organic or “natural” anything you know that you’ll probably be spending more then any other version you could buy of the same product in the store. So, my expectation here was that by making my own homemade cleaning products I would be choosing to spend more money for a healthier and greener home. And I was ok with that. (Our health is kind of important to me.) But, as the months went by and I eliminated one product after the other I couldn’t believe it but every single time: WE WERE SAVING MONEY. Every time! Every product! We make all of our cleaning products now and it’s saving us over $1,000 a year! Read the rest of the post »

Kitchen organizing – a hanging basket that has changed my life!

Wrapped twine hanging basket how to make it country for our kitchen organization
Jan 30 2017 -

After building our kitchen sink base to fit our antique cast enamel sink I thought I had all of my storage needs well in hand. Well, it just goes to show that you really never know until you live in it for awhile! As for general storage the shelves and wicker baskets I put beneath the sink do a great job for us. In the bottom basket I keep our onions and garlic, in the top basket I keep all of our kitchen soaps, extra sponges etc. However, no matter how many times I tried it, there was just NO keeping our day to day foaming hand soap down there (check out my recipe here), it was just way too inconvenient! I also never wanted to drop our wet sponge or potato scrubber down there either because seriously wet + wicker + a wood shelf = just not a good combination. Read the rest of the post »

DIY All purpose and surface spray recipe!

Easy to make all purpose and surface spray recipe utilizing vinegar, water and essential oils, inexpensive, frugal and green living!
Jan 23 2017 -

I finally got tired of dumping vinegar on any of my countertops or surfaces I wanted to clean and decided to finally break down and buy a spray bottle. (I found this lovely little glass bottle on Amazon here.) Honestly I am a little embarrassed that I hadn’t made this sooner! The recipe is so very simple!
Read the rest of the post »

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

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

A post about my favorite design choices that I made in our home! 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!

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.
Jan 09 2017 -

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!

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!
Jan 02 2017 -

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!

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

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!

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.
Dec 12 2016 -

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!

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

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!

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

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

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
Nov 21 2016 -

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!

100 year old farm house full gut renovation DIY, taking one small step at a time
Nov 14 2016 -

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

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

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!

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!
Nov 04 2016 -

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.

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

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.
Oct 31 2016 -

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!

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

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!

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.
Oct 10 2016 -

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!

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

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!

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!
Sep 26 2016 -

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!

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
Sep 19 2016 -

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!

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

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

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
Sep 05 2016 -

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!

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

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 »


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