Home Decor

Delicate Beauty of the Paper Wasp.

Bringing the outdoors in”, is often a decorator term that means using natural materials for home decorating and design. It is not uncommon for people in West Virginia to collect all kinds of natural wonders, often it is the delicate paper wasp nest.

Over the years I have been fascinated with the beauty of the things in nature here in the hardwood forest. I often take photos of mushrooms,flowers, and plants that grow on the forest floor. I collect birds nests and nuts that fall from oak and walnut trees. Yet, the most intricate of all the natural finds is the summer home of the paper wasp. I have often had friends and family members who have displayed them with pride in their homes and businesses.

Carrie Shupp’s Paper Wasp nest collection, Elkins,W.V.
Image of a traditional shaped paper wasp nest via e-bay

The nests are made up of chewed up wood pulp and wasp saliva. The pulp is placed in repeated thin layers around a central core of cells that are the home to all of the wasps larva. It is their home for only one summer season. A good fall frost will kill off not only the larva but also the mature wasps living inside. Fall rain and winter snow are deadly to a wasp nest. Water of any kind will slowly deteriorate the nest before spring. So the challenge of capturing a nest before winter is tough.The goal of the collector is to keep the delicate paper and cells in tact and preserve the nest for the future. It is possible to bag (cover with a trash bag and tie it off) a live nest to try to collect it, but the risk of being stung multiple times makes this way of collection dangerous. Wasps are territorial and will defend their home with hundreds of swarming stinging insects if you threaten their home.

Over the years I have heard several stories of why people collect the nests. Some used them in homeopathic medications, some collect them for display, while others use them to ward off other wasps from building near their homes. I have never tried the fallowing remedy or used a nest to ward off other wasps but I will share these unique stories anyway and let you be the judge of if they are worth the effort.

It was my friend and horse trainer, Red who was the first person who explained to me that he used the paper wasp nest in his treatments for horses and other farm animals. If an animal got a injury that needed to have medication applied to the wound he would make a poultice with a wasp nest as part of the mixture. The paper was torn way from the nest placed into a bowl and crushed with a mortar and pestle.Other items for the poultice was added like leaves, oils and liquids, then mixed with the paper until it became thick and pasty. Then the mixture was applied to the wound. I don’t think the paper had any medicinal qualities other than as a suspension for other ingredients. With the mixture formed into a paper paste I think it would be easier to handle and be applied like a compress. I have never attempted to use a nest this way but it sounds like it would have been easy to make for our forefathers .

The logic of using an old paper wasp nest to ward off other nest building wasps is based on the territorial nature of wasps and hornets. It is rare to observe two nests close together because of in-fighting between swarms of wasps. It is believed that if a dead nest is kept in place, or a artificial nest is placed on a porch, it will prevent more nest building just by being seen by other wasps. The information found online says an artificial nest will keep other wasps from building about 200 feet from where it is hung. So if you can keep an old nest dry, it would be possible to reuse the nest as a natural chemical free wasp repellent.

Fake wasp nest found on line at Garden Supply.

Finally, The most common of all the uses for the delicate paper wasp nest is for decoration. I have found that the owners of the nests love the outdoors and the wildlife of West Virginia. They often have wild stories about how the nest was collected and who got the nest down from some far fetched branch. Often the nests are treated like a trophy, a physical reminder of a courageous adventure up a tree, where a person is face to face with what could be a live nest full of bees.

A friend of mine, Carrie Shupp, shared with me a the story of her cousin climbing a tree, 20 feet in the air, to cut a nest free one fall day. Without ropes or safety equipment her female cousin shimmied up a tree to cut a basket ball size nest free in the canopy of a hardwood tree. With nothing but a hand saw she slowly cut the branch that the nest was attached to and brought the nest back down in her mouth. I am sure I would have passed out from just the thought of getting stung in the face, but this young woman was not worried at all. Not all of the stories I have heard are quite as dramatic as this one, some are just about fallen trees that have huge nests hidden in them. Other friends have told of having nests in bushes behind barns where they are a danger to animals and people.The farmer shared with me that he sprayed the nest with chemicals and left it to dry for a few weeks. Then cut it free from the brush and brought it into the barn to show it off as a prize of the war between man and bees.

Every story is different, but each is about our relationship to nature. Some tails show man triumphant over the simple danger of a stinging bug. Others are about the challenge to gather the delicate paper as if it was a treasure worth risking our lives for. Some are about how they are needed for keeping animals and people healthy and how they are coveted as a tool for healing. Other stories are about the danger and the thrill of the capture. I don’t think any other items collected in the forest causes such a strong emotional reaction. These simple homes are loved and hated in equal measure, making a paper wasp nest a unique and fascinating conversation piece in a home, barn or office.

close up of leaf embedded in the side of a paper wasp nest.

damage shown to the bottom of a paper wasp nest where the cell structure inside the nest is visible.

I suggest that if you ever have the chance to own or collect a paper wasp nest that you take a little time to preserve the nest. Most people will suggest varnishing the nest but I don’t like to change the color of the nest with varnish so instead I use clear flat spray paint. Making sure not to saturate the outside of the nest to much. Let the nest dry and mount in a high dry corner of a room. Then share the wonderful story of how the nest came to be in your home and let people share their feelings about wasps and their nest with you. The nest will keep for many years if they are kept dry and away from curious pets and children.

Categories: bees, Home Decor, home remedies, natural remedies, wasps | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Something Old Becomes New Again: Victorian Style Lamp Repair.

Shopping at Yard Sales and Flea Markets is something that Tom and I really enjoy doing in summer. So, when Tom found  these two beautiful dismantled lamps tossed in a box at a yard sale, he had to have them. The price was reasonable at $8 dollars and it looked as if all the parts were in the box. I have never seen a set of lamps like them before and found them to be the perfect solution to life in West Virginia. Here the hills never know when you are going to have to live without power and for how long. Having the candles in the same place as the lamps makes life easier when you are looking for a secondary light source.

DSC02378

Antique lamps in need of some TLC

When we returned home with the box  of parts I did a quick inventory of all the hanging crystals. I needed to see if they were all still in the box. I really did not want to go looking for 3 or 4 antique chandler crystals, if I could possible help it. I was in luck all of them were in the box all were in good shape and usable.

The pair of lamps were actually wired with a single plug-in cord so we knew that in all likely hood they were used on a dresser or on a antique vanity in the bedroom. The problem for us was that the cord was too short to go between our night stands to be used in the bedroom. We started a list and noted that we would need several feet of  lamp wiring cord to separate the two lamps. A screw was missing from the base of one of the candle holders and very few of the crystals had their hanging wires left. We would need a little light weight wire, about 12 feet of cord, a screw and 2 new plugs to make the needed repairs. Now the cost of my $8 lamps would be about $30 dollars for the pair. I still think that price is reasonable for beautiful lamps like these.

Tom disassembled the lamps so he could rewire the sockets. The sockets were old like the lamps but not in need of replacement. Tom fed the old sockets and new 5 foot section of wire through the glass body of each lamp added a new plug to the end of the wires making the lamps individuals. He  cleaned and polished all the glass of the lamps and reattached the candle holder and protective dish to the lamp that was missing them. Then the process of hanging the crystals was handed to me. I spent about two hours cutting uniform lengths of wire and hanging the crystals.

When we bought the lamps it appeared that the crystals had been hung on the lamps with wire nails. One end blunt and wide enough to not pass through the holes. The other end was a sharp point like a nail.  I am guessing that this is not the usual way to hang crystals on light fixtures so I removed all the old rusty wire nails and started replacing them with short pieces of sliver wire. In the end I crimped the wires so the crystals would not have any way to fall off the lamp even if tipped over. They looked so nice once washed and put back in place where they belonged. Finally we could see what we had bought in the bottom of that old b

As you can see the end result is a lovely set of night stand lamps that fit the decor of the bedroom. I am often surprised at what we find on our trips to Flea Markets and Yard Sales, where something wonderful just needs someone to take the time to repair it. Toms nature is to see the potential in almost anything and I am so fortunate that he likes to bring wonderful things back to life.

 

Fixed Bedroom Light.jpg

Categories: antiques, crafts, DIY projects, Flea Markets, Home Decor, home improvement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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

If Martha Stewart had an ADHDD sister.

If Martha Stewart had a ADHDD sister I would be her.I love the holidays it gives me a reason to cook, bake and decorate. I at one time was a professional interior decorator. I worked for J.C. Penny’s custom decorating and I worked with a furniture store doing whole homes of furniture and accessories. So I get into the holidays deep, really deep, baking, candy making, making decorations and trimming trees (this year only three). Yet, as a house wife I don’t have the staff of professionals that people like Martha Stewart does to help me. So what most people do in a weekend I spend all month working on and in the process I make a huge mess. I dream of  someone to clean up every thing for me, maybe a hansom older man to do dishes, a young one to climb the ladder for the roof lights, and a nice granny kinda woman to clean while I decorate the tree. I just wish that I was not so caught up in my disorder ADHDD ( Attention Deficit Holiday Decorating Disorder) that I could say stop all on my own. But  my family all know that the only thing that ends my ADHDD binge is the date Dec 31st. New Years Eve sends shivers down my spine because it is the next day that I start to clean it all back up.

Blue and Silver Christmas tree 2015

Blue and Silver Christmas tree 2015

I feel like the bad sister that Martha would never talks about.  You know the one who suffers from over decorating and over baking. That family member who has a couple of rooms in the house totally covered in exploding  holiday decorations. The one that has two sinks over flowing with pots and pans because on a whim I needed to make candy for the entire 1 st grade class. The one who is making a mad dash to Wal-Mart at 10  pm to get spray paint because you forgot the it 4 times this week. The one who puts more lights on the pre-lighted tree because it is just toooo plain with out blue lights too. The one who has to color coordinate the tree to the curtains and the dinner dishes, you get the picture, right? I have  ADHDD so bad that I can never really finish one project before the next one needs attention. I am usually doing several things at once.

mess of unpacked decorations

mess of unpacked decorations

So this being our first Christmas in the new to us house, I have begun to get things out of the boxes and totes.I  am trying desperately to get a grip on this ADHDD thing and not go over board. I have so much I want to decorate now that we live in town. I never really did much outside before because we lived on a farm.The only people who would really enjoy it were my own kids and making them happy was easy. Now we have neighbors, and  they have begun to decorate outside, leaving me feeling behind in the decorating game. I can’t blame them, the weather was perfect last weekend and I wish I had spent some time trying to make things look festive but in the end we spent time with family instead. It was great too and I hope to write about it soon.

So as I write this I am just finishing up a batch of old fashion hard tack candy and bagging it up. Then putting up stockings and putting out my sons train under a tree. Holiday music is blasting and I cry every darn time I hear someone sing “Mary did You Know?” … something about Mary kissing  little Jesus’s face….. gets me every time.

Sugar covered table and Old Fashioned Hard Tack Candy

Sugar covered table and Old Fashioned Hard Tack Candy

I have three strings of out-door lights that need hung and an inflatable snoopy that needs placed in the yard. I have holiday cards to send out and three holiday parties to attend. I have groceries still to by and two wreaths to make. The silly thing is that in all of this mass of confusion, I am happy, more happy than I have been in years.The ADHDD has kicked in and I will be holiday buzzing for the next month.Maybe it is all the cookies and candy or the extra caffeine but I am feeling grand.

Christophers tree that needs help to finish and a table of trains

Christopher’s tree that needs help to finish and a table of trains

Then as if I did not know it was coming, it will be over, the holidays will end and I have to put it all back. New Years day will come with its lingering effects of staying up to late will make me tired and grumpy. Tom and I will sleep in and  little Christopher will crawl into our bed to snuggle as we say “Happy New Year” to each other. I will be sad, lingering under the covers to long, knowing that a the New Year has begone. I will worry about where to put everything that has arrived at our door over Christmas. I will drink a strong cup of tea in my P.J’s and start the long, slow process of undoing all my hard work in a matter of a day or two. I will miss the blue and white lights, the smell of cinnamon, and the taste of home-made cookies. I will carefully pack away each ornament and place the tree carefully back in its box. I will dust and vacuum up the silver glitter off the floor. The plates of cookies and candy will get tossed out. I will known in my sad heart that my disorder is restrained again for another year. Secretly, I think about my “New Year Resolution”. It will not have anything to do with weight or being more loving, but about taking it easy on the decorating next year. Praying that next holiday season my house will look perfect from beginning to end and Martha Stewart will stop by and be pleased with what I have done. That maybe she will share in my story of ADHDD and secretly nod to me her understanding.. because once many years ago she was a  decorating nut-bucket just like me.

Categories: About me, candy, Christmas, Home Decor, New Years Eve | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

Salt Dough Holiday Ornaments with Kids of All Ages

My older son Cody has always made my life more fun with his unexpected ideas. So you never know what the boy has planned when you see him. Some times its,”Mom you got to see this” or “Mom how do you make this” or “you need to try this”… it is always so much fun when he is around. So the weekend before Halloween ( at little late I know). He arrives at our house for the usual Sunday Dinner with bags of stuff in his hands and the granddaughter  so excited trailing behind him. My daughter in law Jamie explains the Cody wants to make Play-Dough at my house that Sunday afternoon ( he never warms me we are going to make a mess). After looking over the ingredients I quickly realized that what he had brought was not Play-Dough ingredients buSalt Dough ingredients.

Salt dough decorations

Salt dough decorations

Salt dough is a wonderful inexpensive way for kids of all ages ( 4-48 this day) to mold and bake decorations, figures, or models. This dough can be colored and baked to make the craft hard and dry so it will last for years. The hard dough decorations can be painted and sealed with any clear coat. The dough is non-toxic and eating it will not hurt the youngest of artist… but be warned it is very salty.

So with all of us in the kitchen together  we mixed up a large batch of dough. Cody then took the dough and broke it into smaller pieces and added food coloring. All I had on hand was Easter neon colors so we had very bright colors to work with. We gave Christopher and Paige each 4 small bowels of colored dough and turned them loose with my cookie cutters, rolling-pin, tooth picks and watched the fun. With in minuets we were all making things too…

Jamie Powers and Paige Powers making Salt Dough decorations

Jamie Powers and Paige Powers making Salt Dough decorations

Salt Dough family time

Salt Dough family time

I even joined in the fun and made some decorations too. The decorations had both a Christmas feel and a Halloween feel so we covered both holidays with some of our creations. When all the dough was gone I put two full cookie sheets in the oven to bake. I did notice that we made very thin decorations and they do not take as long as the directions say to dry. Worried that at some point they would burn, I reduced the length of cooking time 15 minutes.

Sponge Bob and Patrick salt dough decorations

Sponge Bob and Patrick salt dough decorations

 

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Salt dough ninja

Salt dough ninja

 

So have fun this holiday season, break out the cookie cutters that have not been used for a year and make some lasting decorations with the kids. The kids and grand kid played for about 3 hours making things and baking them before dinner. Now both little ones have home-made decorations for this years trees.

 

Salt Dough: hardening dough

4 cups flour

1 cup fine crystal salt not sea salt

1 1/2 to 2 cups water

mix until can be worked with fingers like heavy bread dough

bake finished work in oven at 300 degrees for up to an hour.

( I bake ours for about 45 minutes because they were so thin)

let cool and paint, glue and decorate and enjoy!

 

Salt dough skull

Salt dough skull

 

Categories: Art, Christmas, crafts, family fun, Halloween, Holidays, Home Decor | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

This Sunday is the Airing of My Barnwood Builder Episode.

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

 

I am sorry that I did not share this information sooner, but here is your reminder. Sunday night on the DIY network at 9:00 pm will be the airing of my episode of our family room remodel. It has been a very long and very busy year. As some may already know we lost Grandma Powers to Cancer on Sunday( Oct 25 2015). Making a long story short the funeral was yesterday and we are moving Grandma out of her apartment today and I am sick… So I plan to enjoy a weekend of rest and relaxation. I have even given up the idea of taking Christopher Trick or Treating myself and plan to let his older brother Cody and his wife have all the fun this year. I just hope to not sleep through the episode and hope you all enjoy the story.

Mark Bowe hanging in the living room after shooting with the Barnwood builders

Mark Bowe hanging in the living room after shooting with the Barnwood builders

Categories: Barns, Barnwood, Barnwood Builders, Buckhannon West Virginia, DIY, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, Lewis County | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fall is Coming and so is My Barnwood Builder Episode

Fall has started to arrive here in West Virginia, squirrel and archery hunting season have begun, making my husband and son fidgety to get back out in the woods.The garden that I have not had time to write about was good and I am collecting the last of the tomatoes, peppers and squash this week. The aroma of roasting chilies and sweet peppers fills my house as the garden finally says good-bye. As the weather finally turns cold, I  will be ready to snuggle up and watch the new season of the Barnwood Builders. The season starts the first week in Oct and my families episode  airs  Sunday the 1st of Nov. So the weekend of Halloween looks full. Take the kids out Trick-or-Treating Saturday night and celebrate my birthday on Nov 1st with the a viewing party that includes cake and ice cream and a few close friends and family. The night should be unforgettable and I am still trying to figure out how this all happened to me.

I will post a reminder that week for those who want to see the show on the DIY or GAC networks that evening. Thanks for the support and cant wait to see what they have done with my little story.

Cinderella garden pumpkin

Cinderella garden pumpkin.

Queens Island blue squash

Queens Island blue squash.

Large chili pepper plant loaded and read to pick

Large chili pepper plant loaded with peppers.

two gallon harvest bucket

Two gallon harvest bucket.

fall leaves on wet step

Fall leaves on wet step.

Categories: About me, Barnwood Builders, Birthday, bow season, family memories, Halloween, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, seeds | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Completed DIY Network Project and Last Visit with The BarnWood Builders

So today I think I am a little sad, the project is complete and the Barnwood Builders on the DIY Network have driven off to another barn or cabin. The Barnwood Builders shared something with me and my family that I can not easily explain, it is a gift of course, a new family room, but it is something more also. It is when kindred spirits come together things get magical and create some thing better than if we were doing things alone. My family room would not have been half as beautiful without the lumber the we received from that old barn. Their show needed a willing and able family to take  truck loads of old lumber and make it into something. My blog would have never gotten the recognition it has without them finding me in cyber space. I would have never learned so much about the way TV production works and is filmed. Mark would have never put a shoe on a horse if it was not for people who deep down love West Virginia and the beautiful life this state has given us.

Barn in the Valley at Kenchelo road, Jane Lew< West Virginia

“MY” Barn in the Valley at Kenchelo road, Jane Lew,West Virginia

I have never in my life worked with a better group of people, the respect that is given to each person on the set from the littlest.. ( Christopher) to the Assistants, Caterers, and barn or cabin owners, to Tom or I and the real stars of the show is higher and deeper then I have ever seen at any place I have ever worked. The amount of team work these people have to put into creating a one hour show is hard to understand and they do it day in and day out.

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

It took almost three days to film the demo of my old barn and Toms farrier segment (it’s not mine by ownership but mine in my heart). It took three more days to film my house and cut in clips of landscapes and animals. Then 4 or 5  weeks of planing and travel ( We joined the band wagon a month before shooting started). Now 6 weeks to edit this one show and do voice overs and graphics before this show will air. All for a one hour on the DIY network. What an amazing experience, I am still in disbelieve that It all happened … it was a dream right?

Travis director of photography setting up on last day of filming

Travis director of photography  with his assistant (back to you)setting up on last day of filming

I am a fan of Mark Bowe for his love of this State, its people and its rich history. It is his vision that I share and will continue to pour into my blog. So that maybe one day people outside our hollers will see that we are not trapped in the past or unlucky.That we have made a choice to slow our lives to remember our past and see the beauty that is our countries rich history. With out our past we have no future and it takes time to build a solid foundation to live on. ( Notice: West Virginia was barely impacted with the housing crisis or the recession that followed something to think about as most states finances are in the red while West Virginia is financially stable.)

Mark Bowe hanging in the living room after shooting with the Barnwood builders

Mark Bowe hanging in the living room after shooting with the Barnwood builders

On the last day of filming our house Sean Mc Court(the executive producer), Travis( head Photographer) and his assistant arrived about an hour before Mark Bow to set up lights to make the room bright and homey. Well nothing ever goes as planed and the lights that Sean rented were really no help for us and Travis worked hard to get as much natural light in the room as possible. I still think you will see in the final cut that the room looks dark …… like well the inside of a barn… kinda hard to get past that.

Christopher look out on the light bounce screen

Christopher look out on the light bounce screen

 Mark was happy to hear all the stories of our home in a way that I have not seen any other episode. I have no idea what ones will be in the show but I am pretty sure you will see my art work, the Mason jar Chandelier ( how we made it here), Toms Elk and lots of neat things we took from the barn to decorate with. Travis even took closes ups of my family photos and bear skin rug. It is strange to tell my family stories in front of a camera, the tail of packing out our Elk and getting it mounted by an oral surgeon not a taxidermist, the print that my brother made from a lake not but a block from my mother’s house in Longmont, Co. and the story of Toms grandfathers 28 point buck photo are pieces of my family that I just shared with america and the world… strange feeling really.

The show works unscripted and is a very open to the nature of the people and places they are working with. The weather and moods of the cast and”guests” is real more real than you can imagine. The producers gave me a general over view of what they wanted us to cover in the show…  new floors, walls, the DIY chandelier, and my art work. Then turned to Mark and said “we will shoot this in reverse order and will shoot from this door way”. That is all the direction we got… seriously I just followed along…. if he asked a question or pointed any thing out I just told the story that I have been telling everyone for the last 5 months. Then we moved out side for the “Greeting” portion of the shoot… yea a little strange but this made it easier for the lighting set up and is the only acting my family did…. Christopher was a ham and Tom was nervous  and I thought it was all funny.We had to film the greeting three times over to get all the information into the shot that Sean needed us to say or to keep hammy Christopher from blowing the high-five that he gives Mark.

Then they filmed Mark giving us our gift and I get to finally see the photo present that they made for me. For a photography nut this was the very best gift I could have been given. I know the story behind the photo, the location, and the photographer and am so happy they got some blue sky in the photo. All I remember about that morning was cold and rain… It now looks lovely in my country kitchen and will be a treasured gift for the rest of my life.

Photo of my barn portrait gift from Mark Bowe

Photo of my barn portrait gift from Mark Bowe

 

Barn wood about finished on wall with windows

Barn wood about finished on wall with windows

Just like these treasured photos of the work we did and the time we spent together to make this all happen. It has been worth every moment of rain or mud, every long day of hanging wood boards in a 90 degree family room and hours of time on our knees with tile and grout. I think Tom, Cody and I logged 70 hours on the floor twice that of the walls.

drying slate tiles

drying slate tiles

Cody Power stripping old floor tiles

Cody Power stripping old floor tiles

Family room from the laundry room door

Family room from the laundry room door

Some how it all come together and is better than any thing I could have imagined. We now have a family room my family is proud of! Thank you to the cast and crew of the Barnwood Builders…. I cant wait to see episode# 5 of the new season that starts Oct 2015. I may just have a viewing Party with my family and friends in November when my show airs… who’s up for popcorn?

finished family room from laundry room

finished family room from laundry room with Jinn.

Categories: Barnwood, Barnwood Builders, Buckhannon West Virginia, family memories, Home Decor, home improvement, Mason Jars, slate tile | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

#4 The Finished Remodel and Final Filming with the BarnWood Builders

The spring remodeling project with the Barnwood Builders has finally been finished. It is the most surprising and wonderful experience I have ever be part of. It is a gift to work on this project, be included in this T.V. show and be able to promote some of the wonderful things about my West Virginia. The filming crew will return on Aug. 28th 2015 to do the final filming with a small crew and star Mark Bowe. After time to edit and do all the “Hollywood” magic I will receive a rough cut of the Jane Lew Barn show around Thanksgiving and then around April of next year the show will air.  I am proud of the work that Tom, I and the kids have done but in some way I am a little sad to see it end. So here is a photo over view of where we started and where we finally ended with this project that started with this blog and my love for my home in Wild Wonderful West Virginia.

Just a quick over view, The Barnwood Builders are an antique building, cabin and restoration company in Lewisburg, West Virginia. They travel all over the east coast collecting, removing and restoring 1800’s buildings and cabins for reuse.Many of their projects take old barns and turn them into new modern homes or finding old barns that can be salvaged to use in other projects. My home is one of the salvage projects of a barn in my husband’s home town of Jane Lew, West Virginia. The production company found my blog while doing web research on Jane Lew and the surrounding area. The project just grew from the contact they made with me and my family. Now 5 months later the project that started as just an idea over a phone call from New York city turned into a wonderful family room that fits my families taste and style. Who knew that writing a blog would take me on this journey.

We start at the old barn and my before photos. You can read more at the first link above but this is a couple of my photos from the day before the barn got torn down.

Kenchelo road barn before being torn down

Kenchelo road barn before being torn down

Tom walking to barn on Kenchelo

Tom walking to barn on Kenchelo

The before photos of my family room before the work started. We had just bought our house in Dec and received a wonderful blog message from Barnwood Builders about a the end of April. We had just started to get things unpacked and we were just starting to think about what we wanted to do to update the house when we jumped in to take part in this project.

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

office portion of the family room

office portion of the family room

The Family Room is clean and neat, but noting out standing. As the photo shows the floor was divided carpet and linoleum and the walls painted white. We started by hauling lumber from the above barn to our home Buckhannon. Then removing the old flooring and replacing it with slate tile. You can read more about the remodel here

Family room floor with slate tile in place

Family room floor with slate tile in place

Then started to remove and repair the ceiling.

Cody Powers doing mud and tap repairs to the ceiling

Cody Powers doing mud and tap repairs to the ceiling

Then the wall got covered in the 120 year old oak boards. During the build we got delayed for a few days with some of the cutest baby squires hidden in the barn wood, and you can see them here.

Barn wood about finished on wall with windows

Barn wood about finished on wall with windows

Covering the wall process went pretty fast compared to doing the tile floor. We trimmed each board to length and to straighten them, then applied the boards with an airnailer with 2 1/2 inch nails. Then added molding and base board and updated our lighting. We made our own chandeliers and you can see that project here. 

New light sconce light fixture and some of the base board and ceiling molding

New light sconce light fixture and some of the base board and ceiling molding

two mason jar light fixtures installed and working ... yea!

two mason jar light fixtures installed and working … yea!

So last week we finished up the cleaning, added curtain rods with drapes and finally the photos and stuffed animals back into the room.

finished family room from laundry room

finished family room from laundry room

Finished Family room from kitchen door way with desk in new place

Finished Family room from kitchen door way with desk in new place

 

Finished office space moved from one wall to the other

Finished office space moved from one wall to the other

Here are side by side photos

finished family room from laundry room

finished family room from laundry room

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished Family room from kitchen door way with desk in new place

Finished Family room from kitchen door way with desk in new place.

office portion of the family room

office portion of the family room

Finished office space moved from one wall to the other

Finished office space moved from one wall to the other.

 

I know that this style of room and decor is not what everyone is looking for but with our families out-door life style and my love of art and photography it works for us. This room will inspire the rest of the house to slowly be remodeled in a similar way. With the use of hardwoods, stone and lots of warm colors. We are taking a break until next year when we need to do some work on the windows in these photos and hope replace the front doors. So as I get excited to see the Crew again I am also feeling a little sad that it will be a couple of years before Tom and I will have the time to head down to Lewisburg,West Virginia to see the guys again as we continue to add some of West Virginia history to our home.

Thank you to every one from the Production crew, to the friends, family, the guys ( Brain Buckner, Johnny Jett, Tim Rose,Sherman Thompson,Graham Ferguson) and Mark Bowe for his love and passion for West Virginia to make this all possible. It has been the funnest hard work we have done in a long time.

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham.

 

Categories: Barnwood, Barnwood Builders, DIY, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, slate tile, Squirrles | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Mason Jar Chandelier a DIY project: With Our Barn Wood Update

To add a real personal touch to the family room remodel Tom and I added two Mason Jar chandeliers. We removed an older ceiling fan/light fixture that did not properly light the large room and replaced them with 2 light boxes, with 6 bulbs of soft colored pendant lights. We got the idea from a looking at web pages that had barn wood and county rooms that had used Mason Jars as shades for light fixtures. Tom and I worked out what we wanted and the did some experimenting before settling on two lights instead of just one large one. This is what we ended up making out of the scrap wood left over from the walls. This is just one of the two light boxes we made.

Mason Jar chandalier made from old barn wood

Mason Jar chandelier made from old barn wood

Each box houses three lights (like the one above) and each light has a 40 watt clear appliance bulb inside a pint mason jar. Using the ring and seal as our bracket to support the jar. Each jar is removable can change in color or size, up to a quart jar with many decorative colors… This is my first combination Green, Clear and Blue. At some time in the future I will stain a few clear jars a warm yellow if Ball does not produce them soon!

The room looks like this with both light fixtures, you can see in the photo where the ceiling fan/light used to mount. These lights are about 8 feet apart and mount to ceiling rafters with brackets in our attic. The brackets attached to wooden blocks on the drywall part of the ceiling that slide into the wood boxes and attach with double-sided blots that have wood screws on one side and machine screws on the other, topped with acorn nuts and washers.

two  mason jar light fixtures installed and working ... yea!

two mason jar light fixtures installed and working … yea!

 

The lights are pretty easy to make and there are a lot of ideas on the internet, some have “how to” videos and others are just photos. So to explain what we did here I have added some photos and descriptions that may help if you to make these  yourself.

First, Tom and I had to decide three things, how much light we wanted, how many fixtures we wanted and finally how big should the shades be. So with a little test light that Tom wired up we started with clear quart jars and the idea of having 8 lights on one fixture using 90 watt clear bulbs. Wow that was just toooo bright.Unless we wanted to buy Edison light bulbs ( they appear sepia in color) at 9 dollars a bulb we had to come up with something less bright.

So we started to scale down what we wanted to make. The one big box idea changed to a two box light set up so that the light would fill the entire room and not blind people watching  the T.V.  Then we needed to rethink the amount of light we needed. I could have used the Edison bulbs at 60 watts they are still a less bright light than clear bulbs but the cost of the bulbs was just silly about ($100.00 ). The bulbs would cost more than the whole fixture.I still wanted clear bulbs so we went smaller and lower wattage. The standard 40 watt clear bulbs cost me 4 dollars for 4 bulbs, so the price was good and we could use a smaller shade and I had many jars to use.I have some clear jars and some colored already. I like the colored ones to use for drinking glasses,vases and candle holders. So I had no money in the colored pint jars and had lids and rings in my collection of canning supplies.

We then decided that 4 lights was really more than we needed wattage wise and the look of three pendants looks better than 4. So the two light boxes with three small jar covers with 40 watt bulbs became the plan. Tom made the boxes out of scrap wood we had left over from the Barnwood Builders remodel and drilled three holes for the light cord wiring. The wire was the most expensive portion of the fixture and we bought a 25 foot roll and had about 4 feet left over. Tom wanted the wire to match the socket and fill it completely so we kind over did what we needed to produce a 40 watt light but it looks great so the extra money was worth it in the long run.

light box with three holes the box face is 36 inches with a 1 inch frame on all sides

light box with three holes the box face is 36 inches with a 1 inch frame on all sides

Tom wiring in light cords into shallow wiring box

Tom wiring in light cords into shallow wiring

wiring for Manson Jar chandelier

wiring for Manson Jar chandelier

From here you can see how we could wire up more than one light to a single fixture. We mounted two Grounding Bars ( found in the fuse box section) to the side of a shallow blue wiring box. Each bar has room for several connections we would only use three on each bar. One bar is the ground and one bar is the hot,then the wiring box  mounted to the center of the light box with wood screws. The cords were then cut to length on the other side and a zip ties  applied to the cord so there was a stop on the cord. This prevents the weight of the shade and bulb from pulling on the cord and possibly pulling the cord out of the grounding bar. Then sockets attach to the cords. We used two-part sockets so that we could add the lid to the socket as the bracket to hold on the jar.

Adding sockets to cords of three Mason Jar light fixture

Adding sockets to cords of three Mason Jar light fixture

Chandelier light test

Chandelier light test

After adding the sockets to the cords it was time to make sure the wiring worked and add bulbs to see how bright the lights were. Tom just stripped an old extension cord down and wired it into the power bars on the inside of the box, plugged the other end into the wall outlet to see if what he had made worked properly; this is what I saw. Now we just needed to get the lids cut for the shades and add them to see if they were going to look good.

Cutting the lids was pretty easy if you leave the lids on the jars and tighten up the rings. Otherwise it is almost impossible to hold the lids in place with either your fingers or small clamps. Tom used a 32 mm hole cutter to cut the holes … the cutters hole is just shy of what we needed and the fit was rough from the cutter.

Standard 32 mm hole cutter to cut holes in canning jar lids

Standard 32 mm hole cutter to cut holes in canning jar lids

cutting hole in lid of Mason Jar for light fixture

cutting hole in lid of Mason Jar for light fixture

ruff hole cut in canning jar lid

rough hole cut in canning jar lid

To make the edges smooth and increase the size of the hole Tom used a small grinding stone bit in his drill. He ground off the edge until the socket fit into each hole and the edges are not super sharp. Then he fits each socket into the lid and drills ventilation  holes 4 each in the lid.

Tom grinding down the lid and enlarging hole for socket

Tom grinding down the lid and enlarging hole for socket

drilling 4 vent hole into lid of Mason Jar light shade

drilling 4 vent hole into lid of Mason Jar light shade

When complete the lids and rings were added to the sockets, then we screwed on the jars and tested again.

Mason Jar light shades... blue green and clear ready to add to light fixtuer

Mason Jar light shades… blue, green and clear ready to add to light fixture

Testing Mason Jar Lights these are ready to install

Testing Mason Jar Lights these are ready to install

The installation was a two person job as the boxes are heavy. The barn wood box with wiring is held in place while the wires connect at the ceiling for a long time. I would suggest using two ladders it makes installation much easier. Be prepared to use a strong set of arms as you push the fixture on to the screws hanging down from the blocks attached to the ceiling. Once in place we were so excited to see that they both worked and the light filled the entire room instead of only in the middle that we just stopped working for a couple of days to enjoy what it looked like.

View from back of room to front with both Mason Jar Chandeliers

View from back of room to front with both Mason Jar Chandeliers

 

We have also added a small sconce light to the back wall over my computer desk so that we can see at the desk without turning on all the lights. Again it needed rewired because I did not want to open up the wall to install it. Tom added a switch cord and we stuffed the cord between the boars on the wall. It works great and in the future I will get a brown cord and tack the cord in place.

New light sconce light fixture and some of the base board and ceiling molding

New light sconce light fixture and some of the base board and ceiling molding

So I am slowly getting the furniture back in place, photos hung and rugs put down. It will be next week before we have every thing back in place and I can take after photos but this gives you an idea of how far we have come. It has been more work then I imagined and took about a month longer then I hoped. But we did this ourselves no contractor was really needed.We did call on lots of friends and family to help out over the last 4 months and it was all worth it in the end. Can’t wait to share the after photos.

Categories: Barnwood, Barnwood Builders, DIY, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, light fixtures, Mason Jars | Tags: , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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