Monday, June 23, 2014

One of the Messiest Jobs There Is


Need I say more?

Since this is in the bathroom, we are using greenboard.  Greenboard is for applications in wet areas.  Its a heavier than regular wallboard.  It's not as flexible either.  It IS just as messy though.  Thankfully, we don't have to do all the walls since we still have the existing outer walls.  There is some patching to do though from removing the tile and moving some plugs from the electrical/plumbing work.

Hanging drywall is pretty easy.  You want to cut out with a drywall knife for all electrical outlets, heat vents and plumbing.  I learned a super cool trick years ago for marking the areas.  Let's say you are marking for an electrical outlet.  Take an old lipstick and run on the edge of the outlet box.  Lift up the drywall where you want to install it and gently press against the box.  Pull the drywall away and on the back is the area that needs to be cut out marked in lipstick!  This can then be done easily with a drywall knife and you don't have to worry about sawing in a live electrical outlet.

You also want to run your screws down the stud to hold the drywall when installing.  Drywall comes in a standard 4' x 8' sheet.  It's easiest to run the drywall with the  4' going parallel to the floor.  That way you can see where the studs are.  Screws should be set about 2' apart.

Once the drywall is in place comes the fun part, mudding and taping.  This will help to hide the seam and if the drywall shrinks or swells it should help with cracking.  You want to put atleast 2 coats of mud on, sanding in between coats.  Make sure you cover anything that you don't want covered in dust.  It goes everywhere and is a royal pain to get off.  You also want to dry the mud fully inbetween coats and before sanding.

The new drywall/greenboard needs to be primed before painting.  That is where I step in.  Painting is my department.  

Now, to go and pick out colors....

Monday, June 16, 2014

Walls That Define You

Progress is coming along in the bathroom.  It seems slow since we are only able to work on it on the weekends though.  I am excited to get on to the "making it pretty" part.  For now though, we need some walls for privacy in the pooper.

Ta da!  You can still see the temporary kitchen on the other side of the walls.  The hard part was trying to build walls when you have no place to lay them out!  It was a bit of a wrestling match.  I'm not really a whole lot of help, so my poor hubby is doing the most of the work.  Next came the boooring part, HVAC, plumbing and electrical.

The heat vent is in.  It is going to be located on the wall between the toilet and vanity.  The electrical outlets are all GFI outlets.  The first cool little gadget is the light switch!  I love this part.  You never have to turn on/off the light.  When you walk into the room, the light automatically comes on and shuts off about 10 minutes if there is no movement.  GENIUS!  I want these on all the lights in the house!  The only place that these couldn't be used is in the bedroom.  The light would be going on and off all night from someone rolling over in bed.

This took us all weekend since our electrical is a hot mess in this house.  We are finding alot of hot messes though.  This did help to clean up some of it though.  We are replacing the greenfield wiring that is still in use here and upgrading the service to new wire.  The greenfield is a PITA to pull!  It's wire encased in flexible metal conduit and hard to pull out of the walls.

I won't even bore you with all the details of the electrical.  Besides, I didn't get a chance to take pics.  I was too busy handing tools anyways.

Next up, is drywall.  Funfunfun!

I do have a little project coming up this week though for all of you.  The first "Maggie" project in the bathroom.  I have been looking for the perfect light for this room without spending a ton of money.  I love what I have come up with and I hope you will also!  Until then....

Ciao Mon Ami!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Here We Go Again....

June 19th is the day for new boobs.  Yes, we have the surgery scheduled!  I was getting excited to get this done.

Was is the key word.

I needed to have a mammogram on the other side since they will not be able to mammograph it for one year.  Easy peasy, until they found something there.  Now comes the tests to see what "it" is.  Hopefully it turns out to be nothing and I can have the reconstruction surgery.

Otherwise, it is more waiting and possibly postponing surgery.

So for now I am told not to worry and wait.

I'm waiting....

Monday, June 9, 2014

Now You See It, Now You Don't....

I am so excited that we are FINALLY moving on this project!  I am kinda curious as to what we will find also.  Who knows in this old house.  To get started we needed to clear out the area for the new half-bath.

I don't know why I seem to take alot of pics of my hubby's butt.  It is a nice butt though!  He is doing most of the heavy lifting while I stand around, hand tools, take pics....  I really hated to see my painted countertops go.  I worked so hard on them!  That must mean something better is coming....

We spent the whole weekend gutting this part of the room and getting the temporary kitchen set up.  Why does everything seem to take soooo long?!  We left all these walls in place though, moved all the cabinets and stove and removed that gorgeous flooring.  I hated that flooring!  I was so glad to see it go.  I think I may have even done a bit of the happy dance! Five (yes 5!) layers of linoleum and two subfloors later and the floor was done!

Here is some of the GORGEOUS linoleum that we found under everything.  I am sure that once upon a time it was all the rage and very in style.  Its also alot thicker and sturdier than the linoleum that is used now.  This stuff would of definitely lasted a lifetime.

We still have to remove the electrical outlet and gas line on the floor that was for the stove.  The single outlet is going to stay, but the double outlet is going to be removed.  We did patch in the subfloor where the dishwasher was.

We have a little bit of drywall repair that needs to be done from pulling the stone backsplash off.  This is the area though that we are using for the half-bath and laundry/temporary shower.  The window is going to stay in the bathroom for natural light.

Next step is to put up some walls and run the electrical and plumbing.  For now though, I am off to pick out some paint colors....

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Relay for Life

I started doing Relay for Life with the American Cancer Society 4 years ago.  Relay for Life is a 24 hour event that usually takes place on a track where teams walk for 24 hours raising money for cancer research and support.  My friend in crime Laura asked me to start a team with her and history was made!  Our team has grown each year.  The first year I was a team captain.  The second year I was a team captain and a committee member.  Last year I was the first Youth Engagement Chair in Hartland along with being a team captain.  This year I was team captain/Youth Engagement Chair/survivor.

I have never been quiet about my cancer.  I think just about everyone in Hartland got a chance to feel my tumor.  I decided to talk about it to raise awareness.  I was very surprised when other women in our community came forward saying they were also fighting breast cancer.

This year, being a survivor, brought home how much ACS does for cancer patients.  It brings hope.  Hope is so important to a cancer patient.  It also brought home how many people I have supporting me in my fight.  People I didn't even know were coming up and hugging me.  Telling me they were praying for me.

This year, I spoke at opening ceremonies as a survivor.  As much as I like to talk, that was the hardest speech to get through.

Thank god they got a pic of me crying and trying to talk in the paper!  Yikes!  Glad I had on my tiara that day....

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How to Discomboobulate Your House....

I LOVE our house.  We first purchased the house in 2005.  The house, we thought, was built in 1890.  After a trip to the county courthouse though, there is a house on the property on the 1856 platt maps.  Part of the house is one story and the other half is two story.

After looking at the structure of the house, we think that the two story is original and built in 1856 or earlier.  The one story part was added on in 1890 putting it on the books for taxes.  So the house is old.... and built totally out of oak!  Yes, every part of the house is oak that is original.  It is even sheathed, inside and out, in oak.  On the inside someone put drywall over the oak lathe.

So what to do?

Like I said, I LOVE our house.  It is too small though and laid out badly.  The house was handed down and kept in the original family until about 1970.  Then it sat empty just waiting for someone to love.  The owner then, donated it to the local fire department for a training exercise.  The house wouldn't burn!  The old girl is stubborn!  So it was then donated to MSU's construction engineering department.  They went through and updated the whole thing and changed the floor plan.  The house changed owners a few times after that before we bought it.

We did a few small things to the house.  Minor changes.  The house was still small and had an awkward floor plan.  So we decided to get a little drastic.  We spent the winter trying to come up with a floor plan that the both of us liked.  Sounds easy, but it was not!  Finally, we came up with a plan that we both liked!

The next challenge was to break down the project in stages.  We would still be living in the house during the renovation and need it to function.  We also have kids, so it needs to be a safe place for them also.  We decided the place to start was to put in a new bathroom.

The house didn't have an original bathroom.  This one was added to the foyer who knows when.  It has a tub surround, full vanity and of course the pooper.  It's not big by any means, but serves it's purpose.  For the main floor, we just want to add a half bath.  A half bath is a bathroom with no tub/shower.  Since this is also our only bathroom though, we need a shower or something.  Atleast temporary.

Our new plans has a half bath in the back half of the existing kitchen.  Do you see where this is going?  LOTS of work!  We also planned to have outside of the half bath a small laundry room with a stackable washer/dryer.  We decided that we would put a shower stall in the area where the washer/dryer stack is going to go temporarily until we have another full bath added upstairs.

Now the juggling act begins!

We need to cut the kitchen in half for the new bath while keeping a working kitchen.  (Insert googly eyes here).  Yup!  It's not that much of a change.  The table needs to come out of the kitchen and all the cabinets in the back half moved to that spot.  It does mean that the stove will be out of commission until the new kitchen is done.  So I am planning out a temporary kitchen.  I got a burner that you use for camping to cook what I would normally on top of the stove.  I also got a small countertop oven for baking and what not.  Now granted I am not going to be doing a few dozen cookies or anything, but hopefully we can get by.  With the nice weather we can also use the BBQ.  I also lost my dishwasher!  I can see doing dishes by hand as turning into a real PITA.

My husband is quicker on the demo than I am on the camera!  Here is the back half of the kitchen where the new bath is going to go.  The cupboards need to be moved, the light moved, the floor ripped up and the drywall cleaned up from removing the stone back splash.

I think I should help instead of just standing here taking pics!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

So About That Porch....

Okay, I think I have kept you in suspense with the porch long enough.  Remember where we left off?

Yup, that's it!  My construction zone!  It got a little quiet in the "zone".  I am sure that the neighbors thought we had given up on it!  We were secretly working on a little pizzazz for the old girl.  A little "jewelry" so to speak.

We used store bought spindles and custom crafted the handrails and footrails for them to be framed on!  It may have taken a bit of time to do, but in the long run it was so worth it!

I liked my old door.  It was old and just fit the look.  I wanted to strip it and stain it though to match the new look.  In the end....

....we opted to get a new door.  Love this one!  We also changed the way that the door swings open to go with the rest of the remodel also.

We also widened out the steps too.  Before we had these very narrow steps.  These are a full 6 feet wide.

We also had to make a statement at the end of them too.  Love these newels that my husband created!  So nice to be married to someone so talented!

My turn now!  Paint.  Lots and lots of paint!  I was seriously starting to wonder if I would ever get it all done.  I did have help from a certain teenaged girl who loves to paint though.  There was so much that by the time we were done, even she was tired of painting!  We of course had to make it a little challenging too.  We added yellow and red touches to it. 

A little gingerbreading....

....a new light....

....and I do think that the old girl is starting to smile again!

We started to do some landscaping, but shortly after this it got COLD!  I couldn't believe the winter we had!  I do have to say though..... porch made winter look good!

Linked to....

The Scoop

Anita @ Cedar Hill Farmhouse

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cancer Sucks!

Sorry I have been a little MIA, okay maybe alot.  I don't know if anyone is following this blog since it has been dead.  If you have, this is for you!

I have a good reason to be missing!  I swear!  Last year I started working, the kids went back to school, this is my daughter's senior year, the little one started first grade and life got HECTIC!  I found a little "bump" in my breast during the summer.  I kept putting it off thinking it was just a cyst and would go away.  By the time that the holidays rolled around I started to notice some changes in that breast.  I scheduled my annual slap and tickle exam with my OB/GYN a few weeks early.  He looked at it and scheduled a mammogram immediately.  I was starting to get a little nervous.  He said it could be nothing, but better safe than sorry.  I had the mammogram done and got the results on New Year's Eve, also the little one's birthday.  I have cancer.

Now for the big freakout!  Cancer?!  Seriously?!  Thankfully I chose the best person to be married to!  He is truly my rock!  He called and got me an appointment at Cancer Treatments Center.  We left to have all my testing done and the results in 3 days which turned into 2 weeks.  I did find out it was definitely cancer.  Invasive Lobular Carcinoma of the breast.  The "little bump" was 3.8 cm, which staged it as Stage 2 almost Stage 3.  It was recommended that I have a double masectomy.  Talk about being crushed!  I didn't want this!  Why is this happening to me?  It's not fair!

We went back home to think things over.  I had scheduled surgery for end of January.  It was all just happening too fast!  Thankfully, I have an awesome support system in my friends!  I talked to some who went through breast cancer, some going through it and some who had found out they had the BRCA gene mutation and opted for a double masectomy.  They are all gorgeous!  They look great!  I can do this!  In talking to them though, I decided I wanted to have the surgery closer to home for recovery reasons.  CTCA is an 8 hour drive from our house.  My OB/GYN was wonderful in putting me in touch with a friend of his who is also the director of women's breast health in the state of Michigan.

Enter Dr Stull!  Love love love this woman!  Yes I could have a lumpectomy.  Yes I could have a single masectomy.  No there was no reason for a double.  The lumpectomy would remove about half of the breast, which would mean a reduction on the other side.  A single masectomy would mean I could keep my breast size.  The vain part of me chose the masectomy.  The plastic surgeon recommended I go a little bigger though so they could do a lift on the other side to make them match.  Woohoo!  A booby prize!  Finally!

The surgery is done now.  The decision to go with the masectomy was the right one.  When they did the pathology on the tissue they removed, they found a second cancer forming.  If I had gone with a lumpectomy, I would of had to have had chemo and more than likely been back next year for a masectomy anyways.  My test scores weren't high enough to warrant having chemo, but I do have to be on estrogen/progesterone blockers for 7 years to attempt to keep the cancer from coming back.

So, now that I am "on the mend" I will have lots of time to post the little projects we have going on around the farmhouse here.  I still have yet to finish all the posts about the porch, which I LOVE!  Wait til you see the final product!  Of course, that sparked my husband to remodel the ENTIRE house now!  Future posts will be about living in a house while you are remodeling it.  Talk about a juggling act!  Yeesh.....