Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Projects

I have been going back and scprapping older photos of my kids that I hadn't done before. Here is one of the twins at the Wattsburg Fair in 2003. This photo is just too funny!

This one is a comparison of me and the twins with clothesbaskets. I loved this new paper from Imaginisce. Just so cute! I did a bunch of stiching on this one and a bunch of punching.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Look at My Finds!

I went out shopping for a little while yesterday morning. I usually do laundry on Mondays, but I had finished 2/3 of it on Sunday, so I treated myself. I went to an antique store I hadn't been to in a long time. Look at what I got:Isn't this chair the cutest? I got it for the twins' room since they had no where to sit while they read. Has original paint (black and red). The seat is a little worn, but I thought it was a good purchase at $25.

I was excited to get these buttons for a quarter a card!

I got this jar of buttons for $5. There were tons of great ones in here!

I got these plates at the antique store too. The large plate was $6 and the little bowls were $1, but they were 50% off - so only 50 cents each! The pattern is Virginia Rose. I plan on putting them on my new shelves in my kitchen when I finish them (got the wood last night).
All the other stuff was from The Yorktowne Shoppe. That wooden basket was only $7.48, the green bunny was $4.99, and the fabric carrot was $3.99.

Then last night on my weekly shopping for groceries, I stopped at Marshalls and found 2 of these (wish they had more!) for only $2.99 each! I plan on putting them on the front porch.

I also found this for $6.99. I plan on using it outside on my deck were the wall is pretty bare. I'll put some plants in little terracotta pots in there.
I think I got some awesome bargains. What do you think?

On a parting note, here is a photo of my kids waiting for their favorite snack of the day...

Some Background to the Story

I thought that before I go any further, I would give a little background on how we came to buy the house that we now live in.

We moved out to Chicagoland right after finishing college. While it was a nice place to live, we still wanted to move back to the Pittsburgh area someday. We finally made that move in 2005, after living in the western suburbs of Chicago for 13 years. My dad had found the property for us--almost 23 acres and it was close to where I grew up, close to my parents and my brother. It was definitely a fixer-uper, but we had plans to build a new house on the property and just fix up the old house to be livable while we built it. HA.

After tearing into the house, it needed WAY more work than originally thought. 4 years later we are still working on it.

We have done ALL of the work ourselves. The only paid help we had is with the install of all the heating, plumbing and wiring. Other than that, the only help we have had in this project has been family. Lots of man hours. We did have lots of experience in doing the work ourselves. We did a lot of rehab on the last house we owned in Oswego, IL. It was stuck in the '70s when we bought it and totally updated it.

So that's how we came to where we are. Just so you don't think we haven't gone off our rockers, he is a photo of what the house looks like today:
Still a little rough around the edges, but most of the hard work is done.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Floor One - Before Work

We'll start our tour here. This is the front porch that had been enclosed at some point in time. It was rather dirty and had no heat except for the hole in the wall that lead from the living room. We designated this the area for the kids to play in and stay out of our hair while we worked. On the top photo, you can see the doors on the left that did not open (at least easily) and how much the floor sloped away from the house.

Here we are in the living room looking at the foyer and the stairs that lead upstairs. Just look at all that wood paneling. Yuck. And notice the dirt by the registers. The house was heated by coal. That's right. When we started demolishing, we found coal dust everywhere. Everything was filthy. The door way in the middle (where you can see the door) led to the kitchen and also outside.

Look at this kitchen. Stuck in the 70s. Gold counter tops and bad linoleum on the floor.

A photo of the dining room. Note the all the paneling again. And the brown shag carpet. And that cool light fixture. And the built-in!

In the foyer, looking into the living room. Just look at that fireplace!

We are beginning the deconstruction phase. Removing the paneling. Notice the original wallpaper underneath. The carpet is gone too, but the wood floors underneath were not good enough to salvage.
Removed paneling in the dining room reveals the same wallpaper. And patched wood floors.

See the hole were the stove pipe went through? There was a chimney there that we totally removed. The doorway to the right goes to the kitchen.
Here my dad is getting into the nitty gritty of the tear-out. We tore every bit of wallboard and nasty blown-in insulation out. What a mess. We were black every time we did work there from the coal dust and insulation.

Wall in the living room, bordering the dining room and kitchen.

Wall in the living room along the front of the house. Notice the balloon framing (runs from roof to floor). We did find several of the boards marked from Sears (as in kit house) but I am not sure if it is one or they just used left overs for part of the house. We are close to the railroad (Freedom) so it could be a possiblity.
The fireplace in the living room with all the stuff removed. I tore off the brick too and maybe someday will have a fireplace that looks like a fireplace in this area.

This photo shows the old knob and tube wiring and the gas lines for lighting. We had a gas well on the property at one time, so that must be where the gas came from. We have no gas now. All electric.
This was a disaster area. After we look all the wall materials off, we found out the bump-out was sinking quite a bit. We found out the problem was whoever built it did not install any foundation, just laid stone and block on the ground. We tore the whole thing off, made a new block foundation, and rebuilt it.
This is a view from the kitchen to the dining and living rooms. Note the floral wallpaper.

This was another disaster we had to rip out. The sewage and water to the 2nd floor bathroom. It was leaking and we wanted it out of that wall.

Here is a shot from the kitchen to the foyer. More paneling. We tore this room down to the studs too as we did with all the rooms in the house.

Next time I will tell you about these two disasters.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New things for Sale

I've been cleaning out again. Here is Ali's first book in excellent condition. SOLD to Powell's Books.

Digital Scrapbooking from Scrapbooks, Etc. In good condition from 2007. SOLD on eBay.

Free Style Book from Autumn Leaves. In excellent condition. $10.00 shipped media mail.

And last, but not least, the 3 tier shelf from Target last Easter. I used it to store lots of things, but had to make room for new stuff. In excellent condition. $10.00 plus shipping. It is large and semi-heavy.

So I Tried It!

And it worked this time much better than last. I did have a few issues with thread getting stuck in the bobbin compartment, but I cleaned it all out and re-threaded the needle. And it worked. Tell me how you think I did....

I did a zig-zag stitch around the flower paper and a straight stitch around the gingham part.

I also got a few other LO done this week. All for challenges I do on 2 Peas and Studio Calico.
This one is about how the twins decided that they should try artwork on the walls of their playroom when they were two.

This one is of the twins when they were first born and how they would cuddle together when they slept.

An the final one is a LO of their "Loveys". They have had them since they were born. A little worn now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Stitching on your Layout

I found a great tutorial today for stitching with your sewing machine on paper. I have had less than success with this before because my tension was not set correctly.

Sewing Link

I think I will try it again!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Scrapbook Goodies for Sale

I have been cleaning out my scrapbook area since I have entirely too much stuff. I made up these embellishment kits based on themes.

1.) Valentine's Embellishments
Most of the items fit either the theme or the colors of the holiday. There are lots of items here, some of them vintage (the cupid, tickets, cigar bands, etc.) and other items I have too many of.
Cost :$10 + Shipping

2.) St. Patty's Day Embellishment Kit
Again, items that are related or the color palette of the holiday. Metals, vintage tickets, and various embellies.
Cost : $5.00 + shipping

3.) Easter Embellishment Kit
Various Spring and Easter -related embellies. Some vintage items and other embellishments.
Cost: $ 5.00 + shipping

Contact me with your zip code for shipping costs. I will try to send the cheapest way. Email me :

I accept payment through PAYPAL ONLY.

Each kit is packaged like this:

I will be putting together more kits in the coming days of both embellishments and paper. I will have some books for sale too.

What I have been working on for the past 4 years...

This is what we have been working on for the past 4 years. These are the BEFORE photos. I am going to be adding photos every couple of days -- since I have a lot. The house was built around 1905. We have found boards labeled with Sears shipping labels, but I don't think that it was a Sears house.

This is a photo of what the house used to look like. Pretty bland. Ugly front porch that had been enclosed somewhere along the way. Front doors that don't open. Old aluminum siding. Overgrown vegetation. And it hadn't been lived in for years by humans (but had been by animals).

A shot of the garage (still looks about the same today). That red building had an unknown purpose. It was pretty gross on the inside. Smelled. Held old bags of dog food and miss-matched office furniture. Needless to say we tore it down and also removed that nasty black walnut tree (they must be the dirtiest tree on earth).

Shot of the front yard looking to the right side. There is a creek down there in the weeds. On the other side is land that used to be a pasture for cows. It is pretty flat, but can stay wet.

This is the view to the left of the house. Quite a steep hill that used to be a pasture for sheep. The hill is pretty overgrown with brambles and scrub trees. I need a DR Brush Mower for cheap!

This is a shot of the backyard behind the house. To the right is the back porch that had no real foundation so it had sunk. We removed that and put on an addition. We also added a deck off of that.
To the left is an old screened in porch (attached to the garage) that was no longer screened in. It was used as a place to store firewood by the previous owner. The squirrels used it as a storehouse for their food. We tore this down. It is now just a cement pad that we plan on tiling with slate. The hot tub currently resides here.

This is the view up the back from the house. There used to be a barn on the right and the red building up there used to house the farm equipment. Now it is just falling down. It will be burnt down sometime in the future.
The area is not as grown over now. I have trimmed it back, but there is still plenty more to do. Behind the building, to the right is another pasture.
Over the hill to the right of the building is a mine of some sort, closed off by a previous owner, and a spring that runs most of the year.

This is the view from the top of the hill to the left of the house. Quite a hike. We plan on building a new log home here in the future....the far off future! We currently own 22 acres. There is another piece for sale at the back of our property that we would like to buy. It would add another 20 acres.

This is the view in the opposite direction on top of the hill.

Ok, one more. This is the view from where the barn used to be. This is the creek and the pasture on the other side. It is not as over-grown now, but I need a bigger tractor to keep all this cut!
The pasture is to be the future place of a dirt bike track. I'm sure the neighbors will love that.

Stay tuned for new photos in the next week. I will take you on a tour of the house before we started work.