Monday, January 31, 2011

Super Cool Tool Organization

So, what do you do when you're building the most awesome barn ever?  Apparently you build the most awesome tool organizers ever, on the side.  At least that's what Papa does.  Little old me got these awesome surprises!!  A super cool organizer for my screwdrivers.

That also has tiny little magnets across the front to hold my ginormous collection of spackle knives.

And this super awesome little organizer that has a clip for my tape measure (that's now in a place where I can actually reach it without climbing onto my workbench)....AND it holds pencils.

And last but not least.....a special holder for my chisels.  Wow.  If there is a problem to be dad is the "go to" guy.  He's a details guy.  Guess what's up next in his workshop?  MY TABLE!!!!!!!  Thank you thank you thank you!!!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Barn

Wow, wow, wowwy, wowser.  My boys are very lucky little guys.  We're all very lucky.  We have a Papa that is a magic man with wood. (and plumbing...and electrical...and....and....)

Today we celebrated my big guy's birthday....for the second time.  The first time around we all came down with terrible colds and didn't want to spread them to our entire we just celebrated with the four of us.  We are so lucky to have such a wonderful brother and sister in law drove over last night and Mom and Dad drove today....we all enjoyed a nice lunch, cake AND........presents!  Marsh was lucky enough to receive some great little games for his Nintendo doo hickey from Aunt Chell and Uncle Mike....then came out THE BARN.  Papa has been working away on this barn for some time now.  The guys checked out all the super cool features. (sliding barn doors, beveled driveways, neat overhang, removable roof and sidewall....)

Parked the tractor inside. Yep, Papa made that too.

 Even the big boys wanted in on the action.

Yep, that is one HAPPY kid.

Papa is the greatest....and I have two boys who think he walks on water.  Every kid should have grandparents like this.

 Uh oh....there's been a casualty.  Cow down. might be the TIGER roaming in the barn!

 We parked the tractor and wagon.

And practiced putting the roof and wall on....yep, half the roof and a wall come off to reveal the HAYMOW and the inside.  Spectacular.  Thank you Papa.

As if that wasn't enough.....Papa brought some presents for my workshop too....I'll show you those tomorrow. :-)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Guest Room

My tip for the day:  You should ALWAYS be fancy when doing home improvement. 
The best "fancy" is over the top plastic washes.  Paired with sweat pants and cheetah slippers you'll be on top of the world. ;-)

Welcome to my FAV.O.RITE. room in our house.  Is it weird that my favorite room is the guest room.  I think that means I should me working harder on the rooms I ACTUALLY spend time in. ;-)  I heard somewhere that you should sleep in your guestroom just to experience what your guests will...will they be comfortable?  Warm enough?  Cool enough? Etc, etc. 

This room contains many of my mostest special-est things.  The bed skirt/cover that my mom made as a young wife.  The ragrug I bought from an elderly woman in the neighboring town during a yard sale....she was SO grateful that I bought it....she said no one had bought one all day.  Thinking back, I should have bought them all.  She was only asking $5 for each one....and she had handmade them all.  Lesson learned.

Sand from some of the beaches we've visisted. 

Beautiful vintage pillowcases.  This one was made by my grandmother and great aunt. 

This one I just recently picked  Love that place.  There was only one...and the gal at the checkout asked why I would want one that was a single.  I love things that don't match. 

The most beautiful color by number EVER.  I ran into Goodwill one day to buy a basket....and this called out to me.  I actually walked to the front of the store to buy the basket, then turned around half way and went back for the had to come home with me. 

My favorite room is also white.  To anyone who knows our home, knows that when we moved in EVERY ROOM was painted high gloss white.   It offended every sensibility I had.  I painted everything...not white.  This room just seemed to call out for white though I repainted with a softer milkier satin white.  I love it.  Probably should do this in more rooms.  But white is stark.  Stark if there is nothing on the wall for a splash of juicy color.

 Enter one of the door headers I bought at the Mechanicsville school demolition auction.  I pulled down four of these huge puppies with my bare hands (and a pry bar).  God bless my poor friend for coming with me....she's terrified of ladders and I nearly gave her a stroke standing on the top of one trying to reach these, yanking back and forth.  I digress.....this one was a pretty shade of green...just the right amount of juicy color.

The header looked lonely....and every room needs a good sign, right?  It needed more.....I was thinking a cute garland would be a bunch of little mittens or something wintry.  The wreath will do for now.

The other thing I'm a little crazy about right now are signs that MEAN something to me....that remind me of special places.  This is one of our special, warm fuzzy places.  Vacation heaven?  Yes.  And a few blobs for good measure. ;-)  Oh...and added some door hardware...just 'cause I thought it was neat.  I am beginning to have a real affinity for old wood.  To all my local peeps....I dig old wood...don't throw it away.  Feel free to leave it on my porch. ;-)

Just a few things left to add to the guest room....then it will be pure "Farmhouse by the Sea"....

**revamp the lamp
**paint little table that's waiting in the basement for a side table
**bamboo shades
**new duvet cover

Open Letter to Winter and Spiderman

 Dear Winter,
You are about to be escorted from the building.  I've had it. We've ALL had it.  You tease with a little melting here and there....a drip from the roof...a microscopic patch of grass peaking out.  Then you take it all away and bring more snow and more cold.  I need the sun.  If you don't provide it soon I'm headed south....Barbados south....and am not coming back until May.

Dear Mr. Spiderman,
My youngest informed me that it was YOU who was the culprit of sneezing a GIGANTO booger on my beautiful, clean, freshly painted cuboard.  You could have at least wiped it off.  Really.  You're a grown up, right?  I grown up as a man in tights can be.  You could have wiped it on your tights.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Market Sign

The blobs are dry.  The sign is painted.  The sign is placed in its new home.  Ta da. ;-)

My new beadboard ledges needed something....but I don't want to clutter them I was thinking a BIG sign was in order.  Also, I wanted it to be something that reminded me of tiny home town.  One of those iconic elements of my childhood was the tiny old grocery store on main street.  The total population of Thor, my hometown, I can pretty safely say, has never numbered more than 200 people.  The grocery was in a brick building downtown....had a creaky screen door that slammed behind you, squeeky painted wood floors, a high ceiling with a lazy ceiling fan and just smelled....well....old.  It was wonderful.  We bought 25 cent ice cream bars....and Bazooka bubble gum.  How much things have changed in my short 35 years.

Well anyway, that was my ride down memory I asked my mom what the name of the grocery had been.  I could remember that the lady who ran it was named Mary.  That was about how much Mom remembered too.  So I asked another childhood neighbor if she remembered.....she didn't think the grocery ever had a name.  I mean, who needs a name in a town of 200 people.  You just know where the grocery is.  BUT, when SHE was a kid the name of the grocery was the Moklebust Market.  That's good enough for me.  So here it is.  In all of its 5' long glory.

 Blobs and all.

 And yes, that's STILL how the ceiling looks.  To any drywallers out there who ACTUALLY want work....please call me.  Please.  I'll paint you a sign.

Linked to

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dry Mr. Blob long do blobs of paint take to dry?  DRY ALREADY....I had a trickle of creative juice today.....DRY SPOTS DRY....I'm ready for the next step! ;-)  More tomorrow.

Eat, Play, Love

Winter is getting pretty funky around here.  Funk.  I'm in a funk.  Big fat lazy cloudy cold chilled funk.  Did someone add about ten weeks to January?  I'm pretty sure it may never end....we're in a permanent January. I don't want to work on any projects...I don't feel like making anything cute...I'm kaput. 
Miraculously, we did have a productive day this week though!  First we maneuvered through mountains of bedding....I stripped E.V.E.R.Y. bed in our house....blankets, sheets, mattress covers...everything.  Thank goodness for our new giganto made quick work...and nice fresh beds.

The genius VanOort boys made up their own game....what do you get when you combine three empty boxes, a bouncy ball, the back staircase and two boys?  A rousing game of stairway bowling!  They had a blast.

I made the AH-MAY-ZING Baked Caprese Macaroni and Cheese for supper.  It's so good you want to lick your plate, just sayin'.  I may or may not have.  Go here for the recipe.  But come back...I know it will be tempting not to...Kim is a genius...but please do.

Then Daddy came home.....with these.....

AND THIS.  Any man who comes home with a chocolate cake is okay by me. 

Oh's snowing again.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

One Workbench, Two Workbench

The kitchen took its toll on the basement.  All the cutting of beadboards took place in my workshop....on the floor.  Yes, I'm a professional. ;-)  Then the mess took over my workbench....and the rest of the basement followed suit, as you remember.  Okay okay, the rest of the basement was already chaos and the kitchen helped it over the edge of the cliff.

The VanOort Tornado went through and this is the bench NOW!  Wha??  I could actually DO a project.....ON A BENCH.  Goodbye floor, it was nice knowin' ya.  And the THAT'S where they were hiding?

On another wall of the workshop was my old drafting table.....covered  in junk as well.  That was the motif I was going for in my basement decor...."covered in junk" chic.

 And NOW!  Hooray....another clear workspace.  TWO WHOLE tabletops cleared....that's a miracle in our house.  As soon as I have any energy I'll be back at the projects....winter is zapping me. 

 On a awesome is the workbench?  Do you know what the table top is?  A BOWLING ALLEY LANE. Completely wackadoo, right?  Found it at the bless-ed bargain.  I left it behind once...then my dad insisted I go back to look at it again....thank goodness for dads.

 Wanna see more of "Project Basement".....check it out!  We're just about done!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Meal Planning....the Jen Way

Planning.  Lots of planning.  The world is all abuzz after the New Year with planning planning planning,  down to planning what pair of underwear your kid is going to wear on which day of the week.  I saw that on TV, pinky swear.  There is a certain degree of planning that I can go along with....and some I just can't seem to keep up with.  I admire all the folks out there who find the best deal on everything and pay $.02 for their final grocery bill after using 439 double coupons.  Hey, I love me a good coupon and a good deal....but I just can't make myself plan my entire life around it....and it's a fact, they do not double coupons ANYWHERE in the state of Iowa.  The other thing I have issue with is always buying "the best deal" if it's not the most nutrient dense. 

Por exemplo numero uno....I buy my meat from meat guy.  It's all's grass's not the least expensive...but it's HEALTHY (and not on the recall list).  Does more expensive meat make you think twice about eating meat for every meal, yes it does.  Good for it. 

Por exemplo numero dos....I buy my eggs from Miss egg lady (among many other wonderful things...flower lady, cocoa lady...AWESOME person in general.).  They're farm raised (and you know what I mean by FARM Mr. DeCoster)...they aren't fed weird things or stand on top of each other or squeezed into a too small building.....they're not the least expensive....but they're HEALTHY (and not on the recall list).

 Now I'll finally get to my point.  I've taken up my long lost habit of meal planning.  This is an AWESOME way to save money without sacrificing quality.  Shannon motivated me to get my hiney back to planning...the only planning I seem to be interested in lately. ;-)  You can read about meal planning in approximatley 489 million places on the internet...I suggest you just read Shannon's post.  The gal should seriously be on the comedy circuit....poke all around her blog while you're there....  I laughed so hard I lost control of myself, tears and all.  And if you're going to be planning you should at least have some fun doing it.

Do you know what's for dinner next week?  I do.  Hooray for me and my sanity.

Shameless plug....if you live in Central or North Central Iowa you should totally check out my brother and sister in law's CSA....J & W Freshwater Produce...they grow the best veggies anywhere.  There's not a salmonella in sight. ;-)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I Need My Mommy

 This is how we feel today.  It's amazing how horrible a few degrees difference in your body can feel.  Please leave quickly're making us all miserable.

 We'll just be drinking lots of turtle cocoa from Miss Effie....and resting today.

 On a brighter note....two of the kitchen stools arrived....dontcha love?  Thanks to my friend Kim for her ongoing search for my stools!!  I think these gals will fit the bill.

Curvy, industrial right in with my farmhouse by the sea goal. ;-) (and yes, that's how the kitchen  floor STILL looks....don't judge.)

Hope you're having  a healthy day.

**as an addendum....our washing machine just totally sounded like a garbage truck backing into the house...seriously.  When front loaders go awry they REALLY go awry. :-(  When it rains it pours.
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