furniture

Always Shop with a Tape Measure

So I have become one of the THOSE WIVES. Not the kind of wife who shops and spends behind my husbands back or a wife who hovers over her children…. but the one who buys furniture that is toooo big for the room where it will reside. You would think that after being a furniture sales woman I would have remembered that nothing in a furniture store looks that big until you get it home. Yea, well it really did not look that big in the store!

So this post actually started almost 6 months ago and is just now coming to an end. Early this spring my older brother contacted me to let me know that he was coming out to visit us in October. He planed to bringing some things of our mothers to me when he visited. The only draw back to this plan was I had no bed for him to sleep in and would need to get one before he arrived.

So around March I began the second search in 4 years for a NEW headboard (the last  bed  crashed to the ground) and again didn’t finding anything I liked. I returned to the idea of finding something used and fixing it up. I did find something I liked at a used furniture store and everything went down hill from there.

What I found was a lovely 4 post cherry bed and a nightstand for about a 3/4 less than the retail price and it was in great shape. I jumped at the bed/night stand combo not even consulting my husband more than “This is what I am buying” and “when can you come pick it up”? I never even ask him the questions of “do you like it?”or “will it fit?” I just found the owner and said”this one is sold!”

So I was happy… I got a wonderful new/used bed that was nicer then anything we had bought in the past. My brother would have a quest bed with the headboard Tom had made me.Little did I know I would not be this happy in a matter of a few days.

We got the two pieces home and began to realize the error of my judgement when Tom took measurements to see how everything would fit in the room. His face told the whole story…. You could see it as he entered the kitchen shaking his head “it will not fit.” My heart sank… “You have to be kidding me?”

master bedroom with bed

moving the new furniture into the freshly painted room

So as you can see we did the only thing you can do when you do not shop with a tape measure.You steal the master bed room back from your seven-year old son.Then begin the long process of  repainting and redoing the two rooms again( just painted when we moved in about a year ago).This time with the promise that I would not buy any more furniture for the next few years.

Master bedroom

finished Master Bedroom with new bed and paint

The rooms are turning out very nice.The bed looks great and I am lucky to have a room big enough for it. Christopher is happy because we are doing a lot of kid friendly work to the room. We pulled up the old carpet and sanded,stained and sealed the floors so he can play more with this train collection. We are adding stars and a glow in the dark moon to the ceiling and a few puffing clouds to the walls.

tearing out old carpet

removing the old carpet and padding showing green walls

tom sanding christophers floors

Tom sanding the hardwood floor in the freshly painted room for Christopher

We should have Christopher moved back into his room in about a week and I can finally get a chance to set up my quest room. Lets just hope that it is all finished soon or my brother may not have a place to sleep.

The moral to the story is do not let a wife shop for furniture with out a tape measure. It may save you lots of time and money in the long run. 

Hope all of you are having a great end of summer and I will be writing more as soon as this project is over as every extra time I have has been spent either sanding or painting the mistake I made away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: DIY projects, funny stories, furniture, Home Decor, home remodeling | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

Restore, Repair and Reuse an Old Coffee Table

Like many people my family lives on a limited budget. This means that the remodel of our house with the Barn Wood Builders has made us stretch every penny that we have extra every month as far as it will go. So when I wanted a different coffee table for the “NEW” room I had to think out of the box on how to get some thing we could afford. At first we started looking at new coffee tables…. then sticker shock set in. We had to try to find some thing used as I just could not see paying 300 to 450 dollars for wood coffee table.

So after a couple of weekends  we ended up at a local antique/ new furniture store that sells just about everything. On the top floor of the store, in a back corner, under another table, hidden away because it was so ugly, Tom found a table. It turned out that the table was a very used late 1960 to 1970  sold wood coffee table, with a leather stamped top. It was ugly and burnt and dog chewed and he loved it. So for the very reasonable price Tom said this was the “one” and we packed the ugly thing into my little Chevy.

Damaged top of coffee table

Damaged top of coffee table

 

side view of damaged coffee table

side view of damaged coffee table

close up of the amount of dirt and damage at the corner of table

close up of the amount of dirt and damage at the corner of table

The finish had chips, the top had burns from cigarettes and one leg was dog chewed, leaving the finish a different color then the rest. I was not sure what we would do with the table but my first thought was to tile the top with some of our left over tile and just stain or paint the base and call it done. Well some times you get a surprise that you are happy with before you reach the end of a project.

I first applied a stripper to the table and waited the recommended ten minutes and began to remove all the old finish. It took two complete coast of stripper to get all the finish off and  I washed the table off with a garden hose. Then I removed the leather top. The top was real leather that had an embossed gold leaf printed into the edges. I found a loose corner and began to pull and pry the leather away from the wood top below as carefully as I could. I did not want to damage the tables wooden top just in case I needed it later. This is what was left when I finished removing all the finish

stripped table with out leather top.

stripped table with out leather top.

As you can see in the photo the glue still remained in some places and would not come off with stripper… I tried and it was not going come off that way. I also really got a good look at the wood and the color of the table. To my surprise the back had a light-colored strip of wood and one leg was almost white after stripping.

back view of stripped table

back view of stripped table

So I let the table dry for a couple of days and started to sand the remaining finish off the table and it was looking pretty good but I really had no idea what was under the glued covered top until the sanding started. I sanded the top with a 220 grit paper on my orbital sander and the beautiful grain slowly appeared. This was not just a fill in top made from some second-rate wood. I was so happy to see the table top was the same wood as the rest of the table. It was the same color and would take stain the same way. This changed all of my ideas for the top. I sanded the entire table again with 400 grit paper and made the choice to finish the whole table the same way.

After a couple of days I stained the table with two coats of stain… the first being a stain called Gun Stock that should have been a nice darker maple stain. but turned our table orange. It looked funny and I was very unhappy with the first coat. This is what the Gun Stock stain looked like.

red orange color of the first coat of stain.

red orange color of the first coat of stain.

So after a day of dry time I added a coat of Cherry stain to darken the wood and bring out more of the contrast of the gain of the wood.  This was a good combination and we both loved it. Not to dark but not orange.

second coat of stain in cherry with out top coat

second coat of stain in cherry with out top coat

close up of the grain on the hidden top of the table

close up of the grain on the hidden top of the table

 

I finished the table with a wax rubbed on finish and we are still debating if we want to add a glass top to protect all of my hard work. I may need to get my coasters out for now just so I don’t mess up the finish. As you can see the old table that we spent less the 100 dollars for with stripper and stain is a real bargain over the 400 dollar table I feel in love with at the furniture store.

I really enjoyed this part of my summer projects it reminded me that we can recycle, reuse most well made furniture. It makes me smile when I look at the difference I have made and that my home has a personal touch of my handy work. I laugh when I know that if this table was back in the store it would not be hidden way in the back with the discards, but would be up front with a price tag that would be double what I have in it. Some times thinking out side the box is so much more fun then just buying new!

Categories: furniture, Home Decor, recycling, refinished furniture | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

Out with Old in with the New, Slate floors.

As part of the barn wood remodel on our family room Tom and I decided that it was best to also replace the flooring in the family room before adding the barn wood to the walls. The wood is thick, 1 inch thick, making the boards stick way out away from our drywall, so changing the flooring after the wood is hung is a little more challenging than doing the floor first and setting the wood on top. So we agreed that gray barn wood would look great with slate tile. Barn wood and slate tile have unpredictable texture and color variations  that makes them work well together. The natural feel of both the wood and stone with my leather furniture should give the room a rustic feel that we hope to slowly bring into the entire house.

So to achieve the new look we took out the old flooring. The house came with a white Berber carpet at one end and a rolled linoleum at the other.It took a whole day to remove the old tile and carpet and the hundreds of staples and nails that were in the old flooring.

Family room carpet end

Family room carpet end

Cody Power stripping old floor tiles

Cody Power stripping old floor tiles

After a much-needed rest Tom began to install the cement board that would be the base for the tile. It is a water-resistant and mold guard product used for bathrooms, kitchens and in this case sticky floors.

Tom installing cement hardy board

Tom installing cement hardy board

The Hardy Board comes in sheets like plywood but much heavier. Each board is a cement  fiber mixture to make it stiff, hard and water-resistant. I could barely lift one board at a time. Tom guesses each board weighs about 25 pounds and is 5 feet long making moving them very inconvenient. So keep in mind that you will not want to move them once you have them home. Mine took up a large portion of my kitchen floor for the two weeks we had to wait for the tile to arrive.

Remodeling supplies hard board, mortar, screws

Remodeling supplies hard board, mortar, screws

Then finally the tile arrived, all 30 boxes and I got to unload it alone. Where do you store them I thought as I drove home from Lowe’s…. In the kitchen with everything else, of course. We are still cooking in the kitchen but eating is getting a little hard at our small 4 person table.

Tile boxes stored in the kitchen behind my french doors

Tile boxes stored in the kitchen behind my french doors

The next thing was to prepare the tile for installation. Slate is a natural stone product and not factory made so it has some funny characteristics.Each tile is different in color, texture and thickness. Some will be close to matching but almost nothing is really the same. When you first open a box you discover the slate is brittle and flaky and the boxes are full of chips of stone and are very dirty from the cutting process. So dirty that you hands will change color in a matter of minutes while handling the tile. So before sealing the tile, to prevent staining to the tile in the future, I washed everyone in the sink with a scrubby to remove any loose flakes and dirt. That is about 300 tiles and about two full afternoons.

slate tile getting a good washing in sink before adding sealer

slate tile getting a good washing in sink before adding sealer

The water really brings out the wonderful colors in the tile and we can glaze the tile after installation if we decide that we want a shiny tile surface. I let the tile dry for about 2 hours and applied the liquid pre-grout sealer. I let the tiles dry for 4 more hours and Tom installed them on the floor.

drying slate tiles

drying slate tiles

He started last night with getting his center of the room measurements and his chalk lines on the floor and setting the corner stones for the floor. Now he will work back to these tiles and fill in around them as time at night allows. We are hoping to have the floor finished this weekend or next and the wood for the walls started by the first week-end in May.The final touches should be finished by the end of June, mostly light fixtures that Tom and I hope to make for this room. One will be a multiple colored mason jar chandelier and a wall mounted fixture that we need desperately over by the computer desk that I hope to also convert to a mason jar globe.

Corner slate tiles set and ready to fill in

Corner slate tiles set and ready to fill in

This is so far my favorite of all projects we have done as a family and I am looking forward to doing more tile in my kitchen. The colors are wonderful and I am so happy with the speed that we are moving forward. I know we still have a lot of work to do, but if all goes this well,I see a slate floor in my kitchen very soon.

I will post a more photos when all the tiles are down and we get the furniture back into this room. I also think I will use some of the broken tiles to make a mosaic top for the old coffee table we had in this room at some point over the summer. We should have enough broken pieces(one whole box is either chipped or damaged  already) and I should have some mortar left over from the floor so it will only cost me some time to make. So in the future I will have two posts about how we are making a mason jar chandler and one on a mosaic tile top for an old table.

I cant wait to see what this room looks like with one cohesive floor and wall covering. Over the years the room was divided and I want to feel that the kitchen and family room are large open rooms that connect in style and function. So “Out with the Old and In with the New” in a couple of summers the house we envision should really start to come together.

Categories: furniture, Home, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, slate tile | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

Home remodel Part 1# The Old Barn, Barnwood Builders and My House.

Today begins the first step in the process of our remodel. Tom, Christopher and I are meeting the show producers for BarnWood Builders, from the DIY Network, at the barn that they are demolishing to repurposed  into a pile of supplies for our home. The Barn is way back in the country taking us around 25 minutes to get to from the interstate of I-79 and the Jane Lew Exit. So the logistics of moving the lumber out is still in the works. But here she is in all of her 120 year old glory. This is her before photo. I am a little sad to see her go as I have passed by her so many times over the years but the other part of me is so EXCITED knowing that I will share in her future and will love her even more at home.

Kenchelo road barn before being torn down

Kenchelo road barn before being torn down by the Barnwood Builders

The story behind her removal from the property is a common one. The home owner has passed away and the next generation of owners don’t want the barns and needs to remove them due to flooding and new uses for the pasture. As you can see the barn is in need of repair and in some cases dangerous to use. So to remove them solves lots of problems for the owing family and adds nicely to our new house.

When we visited the farm today the bottom land was still swampy. I was ankle-deep in standing water only feet from the shed on the right. This move will be very tricky… lots and lots of mud, gravel and hard work!

Here Tom and I walk down to get a closer look at the buildings and what we would find still in them or if they were empty of all history.

Tom walking to barn on Kenchelo

Tom walking to barn on Kenchelo

Tom looking at barn

Tom looking at barn

If you look closely at the siding boards… some of them are massive. Tom and I are guessing 18 to 20 foot lengths, twenty inches in some cases wide. Only massive trees produce lumber of this size. In most cases these trees grow on the farms or near the farms where the barns stand.  Tom says The boards look like white oak and are in wonderful condition for reuse. We are so lucky to keep some of this wonderful wood close to its home.

Sean,  Barnwood Builders producer, and Tom talk equipment and timing and I just hunt around the old barn looking for lost treasures. I found a couple of things and that will eventually become part of my home decor. The team from BarnWood Builders will arrive tomorrow and some of the filming will begin at the site and if we are lucky the rain that the weather man predicted will some how pass by.

So I guess I better get things ready here before the crew shows up to do some filming here at the house for the “Before” Portion of this project. Here are some photos of the family room as we use it today… lots of white walls and brown. I cant wait to see what happens when we add the barn wood as paneling to the walls in this room. Then Tom and I will be replacing the carpet in the family room with slate tile on the floors and a new ceiling light fixture. We are making a Chandler out of canning jars. So much fun and so much work to do over the next 4 or 5 weeks.

 

Family room from the laundry room door

Family room from the laundry room door

Famliy room from the front door

Family room from the front door

large front window at front of room

large front window at front of room

office portion of the family room

office portion of the family room

Wish us luck we could use it right about now… The national weather service in Charleston, WV already has flash flood warnings on the radar for tomorrow. So who knows what is going to happen over the next few days.

Categories: Barns, Barnwood Builders, furniture, heirlooms, history, home improvement, home remodeling, Homestead, Jane Lew, recycling, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Blog anniversary… Who knew this would lead to T.V.

I have written my way through 2 years so far. For a person with a frustrating learning disability like Dyslexia this is HUGE! I have taken on my weakness and confronted it, pushed through it and in some way over come it. Well maybe just worked around it, but because all of you are here it means that some thing in the last two years is working.

anniversary 2x

anniversary 2x

I took on writing a blog for a couple of reasons. The first was I  needed a creative outlet that I could do while at home with a 5-year-old and with a mother in law who was very ill. I also needed all of you, I needed to think about things other than the pile of toys on the floor and the trips to the cancer Dr’s office. My home was not a place to make crafts or paint large paintings at the time. So I wrote about who I love,what I love to do and some how you all found some thing here that spoke to you. Maybe it was the stories about cooking wild game and maybe it was that we love to garden and do canning, maybe the battle I fought to make sure my mother in law stayed well through her cancer treatments made you stay. Who really knows why you all have been here for this bumpy ride, but it is wonderful and has been one of the best hobbies that I have ever attempted.

I have recently been contacted by the DIY Network about my blog, yea shocked me too! They have a show called  “Barnwood Builders”  filmed in West Virginia and they are filming a barn in my local area. They found my little ( less than a thousand followers) blog and want Mountain Mama and the family in an episode of their show. So I am in total shock and over joyed that some where out in cyber space I have left an impression about who and what I am. At the current time it looks like we will be working together on the home we just purchased with some reclaimed barn wood. They also wanted to see my husband working with some of the horses he is responsible for as a farrier. They loved that we lived in a style that is already present in the show. We share a love for West Virginia history, working with our hands, seeing the beauty of our state and trying to live more simply.

I will write more later about the filming and when the episode should air… sometime next year for season two. But for now I have a few more topics to write about before the crew arrive here March 11th and we get to get dusty and dirty making my 60′ ranch feel more like the home of a county family. So hang in their if you love old barns, wood working, home improvement and decor because this spring should make for some great stories.

 

 

Mary Conrad Cabin Jackson's Mill, Jane Lew West Virginia 2013

Mary Conrad Cabin Jackson’s Mill, Jane Lew West Virginia 2013

Categories: blacksmith work, blogging, cancer treatment, canning, country cooking, dyslexia, Farrier work., furniture, hobbies, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, recycling, West Virginia, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Recycled Lumber into a Hunters Reloading Bench.

The one thing my husband asked for when we moved was to have enough room in the house so that he could have a reloading room. As an avid rifle and shotgun hunter he has discovered that reloading is a key ingredient to his successes in the field. It is one of the many ways that he stays active with his favorite hobby even in the off-season. So when we looked at house we loved the fact that it included  a small bedroom with knotty pine wood paneling and wood floors. The room would work perfectly for a man who needed a work bench and good lighting. The small room is now a work room with a reloading bench that any gun nut would love to have.

Downloadable plans for a reloading bench

Downloadable plans for a reloading bench

Tom was able to find the plans on-line and with a lot of scrap lumber, Tom made this bench only purchasing plywood and a sheet of Masonite. Even the paint for the bottom and legs was from the previous home owners collection of left over paint. At one time most of the parts of this bench where scraps from cement forms that Tom saved from being sent to the local dump from a construction site. The 4 x 4’s were actually found in the basement of the other house and were free. With scavenged lumber and paint I think our cost to build the bench was well under 100 dollars. The normal cost of materials could have cost around 350 dollars or more.

bottom portion of the reloading bench

bottom portion of the reloading bench

Top Portion of reloading bench almost finished

Top Portion of reloading bench almost finished

As you can see from the plans Tom did not make the sliding doors for the front of the cabinet portion yet and may not use them at all in the future. Trying to find the track for the sliding doors has been a bit of a challenge and may lead to him not using them at all. It really will depend on if he feels the need to cover up all of his supplies.

Tom getting ready to use his new reloading bench

Tom getting ready to use his new reloading bench

The next step in the process is to mount some of his reloading presses. In his case he has two shoot shell loaders and two rile reloading presses. So the front of the bench will be home to several holes so that the presses are removable at any time. In most cases once the presses get mounted they will be on the bench for long periods of time. Making a sturdy work area for the thousands of cases my husband loves to load.

It took Tom less than a month to do this project on nights and weekends and it will soon be joined by a smaller wall mounted drop table top for gun repair and cleaning. Soon he will finally have a place to really enjoy his guns and reloading work with out worries that one of the kids has gotten into some of his supplies.

Tom hopes to get things finish up and mounted as we only have 3 months until turkey season and we are both so excited to get back in the woods with our spring gobbler tags. He plans to spend at least three weekends  hunting and that means being ready with home loaded shot shells. I am guessing that this recycled wood and 100 dollars going is the best investment he has made it a long time.

Categories: furniture, hobbies, Hunting, recycling, reloading, rifle and shoot guns, Turkey season, Wild turkey | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Books, Hot Tea and a New Bed

Me with my books again

Me with my books again

Ok,  I am really deep inside, a reader… not a writer. I write because I have so much that I want to share with my family and friends.Writing is my way of keeping those memories and stories alive. I set a goal of reading at least one book every month and writing at least one post every week. Then life happens and I struggle to keep up with those goals… But I think this will make reaching one goal much easier.

New White fence head board that Tom made for me.

New White fence head-board that Tom made for me.

I read almost every evening in my bed before we all pile into it at night. I spend hours and hours in my bed with a book, so when my 15-year-old sleigh bed literally crashed to the floor at 3 am in July, I was heartbroken. Tom and I did shop for several months to replace the bed. I knew what I wanted, a simple picket fences style head-board or foot board, but never found one. So, as the summer closed I was still bed-less. Tom finally did pickup a frame to put the mattresses on but it still was not the same.

headboard in progress pine picket fence style

headboard in progress pine picket fence style

So this Nov I asked Tom make me a head-board for my birthday. I explained what I was looking for and he took it from their. In a couple of weekends he had made the above headboard for me. I was so thankful to finally get my world back in order. When he hooked up that frame to the new headboard I was so emotionally relieved.I had a new nest.I could finally read and sleep well at night again.

I am also a tea drinker…. not a coffee gal. I don’t own a coffee maker and have never felt the need to pay 4.50 for a cup of anything other than hot spiced wine in the middle of a German Winter Fest. So from daylight to dark I have several types of tea that I drink through out my day. usually I start my morning off with iced tea and then move into the hot teas, unless the temperature outside is in the eighties and then it is Sun tea, Sweet tea or Sassafras tea all day. They say the health benefits are better for teas, but I drink them because of the never-ending different flavors. I started my habit young with my grandmothers Texas Iced tea and grew in a tea lover. In my teens I spent hours in a wonderful used book store/Tea house in Boulder Colorado where you could buy from the local Celestial Seasonings  tea company blends or try simple black or green teas. They also had the loveliest white china cups and sauces ever!

fresh made Sassafras Tea

fresh made Sassafras Tea

  So, now that I have my favorite reading area back I am soooo happy!  I am able to snuggle up in my quilt or comforter and have a cup of hot steamy tea again. I know it sounds a little funny how happy these things make me, but it really is the simple things in life that give us our biggest pleasures.

Categories: About me, blogging, Books, Colorado, furniture, Home, ice tea, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Think Handmade Gifts or Support an Artist This Year

   With the holidays almost here I wanted to share an idea with all of you.

Five hands thinking

Five hands thinking

    I love to surround myself with people who also understand this idea and  make things. It is with pleasure that I share my life with artist of every kind. Most are people I have known for years and have struggled to have a voice for their passions. Most work other jobs to support themselves and pay for their supplies. So while thinking about what you want your gifts to say to those you give them to, think about supporting an artist. If you are not able to make something handmade yourself then let a person who has a wonderful skill help.

These are just a few of the artist that I know and support. They are just part of a wonderful culture of local artist that need all of us to keep working. It is through the arts that we teach our children that there is more to the world then what we all see at the huge chain stores and the value of things that are hand-made. Add a hand-made items to you gift giving this year and open up the door to a conversation about who made it and how. If we are lucky we maybe able to teach our children about how reclaiming, recycling works or about how to learn a new skill or how a tradition continues from our past.

  My brother William Lowrey ( Bill) painted and carved any piece of wood he could find. I still remember having a wooden skate board that he craved and painted while he was in High School. Over the years he as grown as an artist and become a master furniture builder and sculptor in the Denver Colorado area. He has spent years reclaiming lost lumber to make into something new. A favorite piece of mine is a Reclaimed Redwood table that he made a few years back it is the perfect balance of beauty and usefulness.  He also makes sculptures from reclaimed marble and wood. Many of his works are about balance and texture with a very modern flair.

my brother Bill Lowrey

my brother Bill Lowrey

reclaimed redwood  coffee table

reclaimed redwood coffee table

reclaimed marble wall sulpture light-dark

top of reclaimed redwood end table

top of reclaimed redwood end table

Contact him at his website or through his on-line gallery, http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/bill-lowrey-art.html.

   My life long friend and photographer Alex Smits of Seattle Washington is “The King” of Girls-n-Guns photography. Thiers are many great photographers but he has taken his subject-matter to a new level. He has single-handedly removed many of the stereo types about the idea of woman and guns. What once had a fetish following is now a creative statement with a back bone of great skill and creative force. He makes beautiful calendars, cards and enlargements of his favorite subject matter.

alex shooting on the beach

Rear view Jenny by Alex Smits

Rear view Jenny by Alex Smits

Cheryl at Fireplace

Jenny white Sweater

Jenny white Sweater

 Contact him at his website,http://www.alexsmits.com/ or his face book page.

  My friend and mad knitter Jennifer at Lavishcraft in Denver, Colorado has been on her journey to bring hand knitted items from the back of your grandmas closet to the front line of fashion for years. She is a power house of  unique design with a strong understanding of line and texture making the most simple items into detailed works of art. She is also able to do what the chain stores can’t and that is customise her work for you body or your needs.

Purple scarf

Purple scarf

Jennifer with cape

Jennifer with cape

Vault Coul gray

You can contact her at her Esty shop at,http://www.etsy.com/shop/lavishcraft?ref=si_shop.

 This year my family is focusing on making many of our holiday gifts and in my case I have made hundreds of jars of jelly that I will gift to family and friends in the tradition of my Grandmother and Father in Law. Hope every one likes the Apple Cider Jelly this year! What is it that you want to say with your gifts this year. Share something Hand Made !

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Categories: furniture, gifts, Holidays, Knitting, Photos | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Everything that is Old is New Again

this is where we started about a year and a half ago

this is where we started about a year and a half ago

   It seems normal to homesteaders and farm families to look at something and see the future, the potential of an object or location. I am not sure if this is a blessing or a cures but it is part of who I am. My mother was not overly thrifty,but she was careful with what money she had. My father passed away young and left her with 4 children to raise on her own. I am the youngest and was the one who watched what could be done if you were wise with money and as a teen bought many of my clothes at clearance sales.When I got older and realised how expensive things really are I started shopping at thrift stores and second-hand stores.Never realising this was a life style choice that would stay with me through out  my life.                   

with help we were able to repair the back porch that was 4" off level from front to back

with help we were able to repair the back porch that was 4″ off level from front to back

Tom spent most of last year working on this old house the porch/ sunroom was the worst of the repairs that need to be done

Tom spent most of last year working on this old house the porch/ sun-room.

   Tom grew up on a farm with a large family of 9 children living on one income, at times they struggled to make ends meat. He was tought early on that you repair everything you can to save money. His father was able to teach him to repair cars and motorcycles and he learned to work on houses in vo-tech school. The importance of these skills was never wasted on Tom. He knew how much money his father was able to save when he was able to fix the families truck or tractor.

  Because of these childhood experiences we generally see life the same way. We just naturally are thrifty people and “new” is not a requirement for our families happiness. The house that we live in is only one of the many things that Tom and I have redone. I seems that we see recycling ,upcycling as a daily part of life. That it is a necessity if you want to beat down rising prices and the 100% mark up that you find on retail products. It is a simple and fun way for us to afford our hobbies and keep me at home with our son. It allows us extra money in our pockets,because we don’t buy new items and at times produce money from salvaging items for recycling.I am unwilling to let trend and a copy cat life style dictate to me what is beautiful or useful. I find that I am most happy when I am finding a hidden treasure at a yard sale or Auction. We purchase about half of our families clothing at thrift stores and all of my home electronics through E-bay at about 1/2 the cost of retail. 

  Over the past year I have been wanting a couple of new things for the house. Frist I really needed a new computer desk and I unwilling to buy anymore pressed wood furniture for my house…I am not 21 looking for something quick and cheap anymore. I want lasting power and great looks and I am willing to spend time and energy to get what I want at the price that I think it is worth.

   This week I decided to spend under 250 dollars for a “new to me ” wood desk.I knew that the desk needed to measure under 45 inches long to fit on the dinning room wall. My frist  thought was to look at a local used and antique furniture stores in our area. Rochells’ ( a used/ antique furniture store) takes up a city block and three floors. The store has anything and everything that you can by at an auction without the hassle of waiting all night for the good stuff. So after 4 rooms and a trip upstairs in the 1940 building we found it  my ” NEW” desk.

late 1960s cherry wood desk with damages top

late 1960s cherry wood desk with damage to the top

   The desk top is cherry with  two sold dove tailed drawers with wooded pulls. The legs appear dark walnut, giving the desk a two-tone effect. The top is water damaged and has a large scratch on the upper right side.Tom and I talked over the desk and Tom will be able to re-finish the top no problem. With the price of the desk, sand paper and varnish, I have an antique desk made of sold cherry and walnut for less the 125.00 dollars. Yes, it will take Tom about 6 hours to remove the old varnish and replace it but it is time well spent for a desk that we all love. Then to my surprise Tom saw something at the store and said that he really liked.  He wanted a set of tables that he had seen while we were shopping.  The tables tops are mixed wood and laminate. They are in great condition and some how I stayed on budget and still bought three tables and desk.

this is the used coffee table set that we picked up too

this is the used coffee table set that we picked up too

  The furniture we bought is not the latest style, but very functional and nice looking.They will serve us well in the years to come and if my 4-year-old damages the top of this coffee table it is less of a heart-break then if we bought new. I also realise that this is just our life style and not everyone will agree with me. We are ” Old School” and still believe that repair of something valuable is always the first step, then replacement. If you have a car you try to fix it first, then if that is not a reasonable option, then you buy new. This concept has served us so well that I saved thousands of dollars each year just by looking for a deal. It is my way of feeling like I have beat the system and won. 

 The other great thing about living this way is donating what it is we are replacing. Toms mom with receive the old coffee table and end tables when we get their tops finished. Thiers no fixing the desk and it will not see another home. I often donate our families cast-offs to a local homeless shelter or church. It makes more sense  to our family to give away what we have then to sell it. We feel blessed to own things like the desk and should pass that blessing on.  

  I find that repurposing, recycling,and being green all have their place in our lives.Tom and I have just taken the idea a little farther, and shaped our future being less and less dependent on the retail market. Less Wal-Mart prefabricated junk and more refinishing of family treasures. I think we just see the beauty in “Everything that is Old is New Again”.

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