Monday, September 29, 2014

Tour Through Blogland

Just recently, I was invited to participate in a fun little deal called the "Tour Through Blogland". The tour is a way to introduce readers to new and upcoming blogs. Heather from The Heathered Nest invited me to join and we have a funny connection - as we were both featured in the same article in USA Today Home magazine a few months ago. She started her blog shortly after appearing in that magazine...and good thing she did because you are going to love what she's been working on over at her house!

Here are some of my favorite projects from The Heathered Nest, click on the photos for direct links.

A barn-wood ceiling in their spare bedroom!
And their daughter's bedroom is going to melt your heart.
Please pay Heather a visit on her blog to see what else she's been working on!

So onto our home tour, I suppose...

We bought our house about 5 1/2 years ago, two weeks before our son was born.  Moving is always a great time (heavy sarcasm), especially when you're nine months pregnant with a toddler in tow.  But these last 5 years have been amazing and in large part because of this home.  We live in a beautiful neighborhood with tree lined streets and quaint little homes where you can always find a neighbor outside that's happy to stop and chat.
But the one downfall, ok, one of the major downfalls, of living in an older home is only getting a one car garage.  And our kitchen is located right behind the garage, so removing the garage and building a two car garage in the backyard is unfortunately not ever going to be an option for us.  But because we have a lot of tools and then all of the other stuff that comes along with owning a home - like a lawn mower, wheelbarrow, shovels, rakes, bicycles, etc...our garage filled up fast.  Which left us no where to work on the ever ending stream of woodworking projects that always seem to be on our "to-do list".  So we put this little workshop in our backyard to free up space in the garage.  You can read all about how we built it here.
Moving inside, this is our living room just inside the front door.  We gets lots of afternoon sun here, making it a great place to curl up in that gray chair in the corner with a book.  When we moved into this home, we had a full size sofa and a love seat, but after fighting with the layout for several years, I finally sold them on Craigslist and we slowly accumulated the furniture you see in here now.  The chairs are all from World Market but bought in sets, probably about 6 or 8 months apart.  Because of the size and layout of the living room, we found that having the four separate chairs makes the room feel lighter and it gives us more versatility if we feel like moving things around.  And as an added bonus, this living room doubles as Brent's yoga studio in the late afternoons, so it's much easier for him to move two small chairs than it is to move a sofa.
Next to the living room is our dining room.  Since we don't have an eat in kitchen, we actually use this room at least twice a day for meals, plus homework, plus blog writing, plus craft doing, plus get the point.  
And I'm still surprised every day, to find that the majority of people that visit our blog is via Pinterest and specifically from this image.  It's our tiny galley style kitchen that we made over with only $200. Recently, we got super lucky and were gifted with some hardwood flooring that matches the the hardwoods in our living/dining area, so we'll be able to use that to lay in our kitchen at some point. See ya later, fake blue ceramic tile!
And lastly, this is our remodeled basement family room.  This is where we spend the majority of our time, playing games, watching movies, wrestling and dancing.
As a conclusion to the tour, I'm supposed to answer a few questions.

1.  What am I working on?

No big renovations are underway at this point.  The Kruses have switched back into "save" mode.     With a weekend family getaway approaching, Christmas shopping and an unplanned surgical procedure for our son in the near future (and a high deductible health insurance plan), we are stockpiling cash like crazy.  That means all large projects are on hold until we get through the next few months.  But I've got a one of a kind holiday project that the kids and I are working on and a little something for my sister in the works.  Both of which I'm excited to share sometime shortly down the road.  After the first of the year, we are hoping to start planning either a new covered deck or the attic remodel - we just haven't decided which one is more important on our priority list.

2.  How does my work differ from others of it's genre?

There are many wonderful blogs out there, full of creative people that craft amazing things, but I knew Brent and I had some things to share with the blogosphere.  Although we had no idea when we met, we now know we are perfect compliments to each other - in one regard anyway.  We make a great DIY team.  If Brent were in charge of furnishing our home, we would have one chair, several gigantic televisions, no kitchen table and definitely no extra "pretty" pillows on the beds or sofas.  That leaves me in charge of making our house a home, but unfortunately, I don't like shopping.  Actually, it's not the shopping I dislike, it's the spending.  So what's the cheapest way to dress our home?  Have Brent build it!  Brent can take any picture I draw for him and turn it into a beautiful piece of furniture, picture frame, workshop - whatever it happens to be that popped into my brain.  I may be the voice behind the blog, but all I'm doing in showcasing Brent's God given talents.  So that's what makes us a different DIY blog - you get Heidi AND Brent.  You might not hear his voice, but you'll get good, solid plans for building furniture and completing projects the right way.  Because he is borderline professional and he knows his way around a workshop.

3.  Why do I write/create the way that I do?

Growing up in a family that was submersed in construction and constant remodeling projects, DIY has been in my blood for a long time.  Even though Brent and I have been remodeling our homes for almost ten years now, with some much needed guidance from my dad, I never thought it was anything special because it came easily to us, mostly.  But the older we've gotten, we began noticing that what we were doing with our weekends (tearing out walls) was NOT what most of our friends were doing, NOR would they ever ENJOY doing.  So we started documenting the things that we build and create on this blog because I knew some of the things we were doing were unique, but more importantly, I knew we could TEACH others to do the same things.  With clear, step by step instructions and clear photos, anyone could do what we do.

Enough about me because I'm excited to introduce you to Mary over at Lemon Grove Avenue! She and her husband, Jay, recently made a big move from Michigan to North Carolina where they are currently renovating their adorable home.
I bumped into Mary's blog while searching Pinterest one evening for attic renovation inspiration photos.  They were in the middle of a remodel on the second story of their home back in Michigan and it was eerily similar to our second story of our home.  Here's how their master bedroom remodel turned out!
And as an added bonus, they are having their first baby - which means Mary will inevitably create a beautiful nursery!  I can't wait to see what comes up with next, so I follow along with Mary's blog, Lemon Grove Avenue, on Facebook and Instagram.  Now go check out her newly remodeled kitchen!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Reclaimed Wood Pumpkins

Over the past few months, it has been raining reclaimed wood into our splintered hands!  Brent has actually forbidden me from accepting any more free lumber because we're running out of places to store it.  Currently, we have three different types of hardwood flooring - one will be used as flooring in our kitchen, the other two types of flooring will become woodworking projects.  There isn't enough of either of these types of flooring to actually lay down in a room - but I just couldn't watch it go into a dumpster - so instead we drug it home.  Here's a small sampling of one type of the flooring.
So now I have the arduous problem of figuring out what to make out of this wood.  The last thing I want to do is comb through Pinterest (that's heavy sarcasm, folks) searching and waiting for an idea to strike me.  And then it happened.  This picture on Pinterest (how many times has that sentence been used??!!), filled my computer screen and I HAD TO MAKE IT.  Like.  Now.

Just wait until you see what this little pile of hardwood flooring becomes!
To create these pumpkins, I mostly followed the instructions from the Pinterest link.  I started by sketching out the three sizes of pumpkins on a piece particle board and cut them out with a jig saw.
Then I chose the hottest, most humid day of summer to sit on the patio and pull nails out of my flooring boards.  I may have also pulled some swear words out of my pocket, because those babies did NOT want to come out very easily.
After I'd accumulated a decent pile of nail-free wood, I laid down one of my pumpkin templates and roughly cut pieces of flooring to the right length.  This is what my top view looked like.
Here's what you seen when you flip it over.  Once all of the pieces were aligned and joined together, and working with it upside down as shown below, Brent used his nailer to put one inch nails through the particle board.  At this point, the boards are attached to the pumpkin template.
 Using a jig saw, we followed the particle board template and cut away the excess wood.
 After lots of sanding with my orbital sander and 80 grit sand paper, it was time to start finishing them.
 One of them got a coat of walnut stain...
 The large one got a coat of Seagull Gray milk paint followed by a coat of Wythe Blue in a semi-gloss finish.
The smallest pumpkin started with a coat of Seagull Gray milk paint and then both the small and largest pumpkin were given a coat of VanDyke Brown glaze.
All three pumpkins were finished with Exterior Spar Urethane varnish on both the front and back, although with that particle board backer, I wouldn't recommend leaving these pumpkins out in the elements.  Particle board will swell and expand when exposed to water, so if you want something that will work well outdoors, you'll have to find a material that is more resilient to moisture.  These should do ok on a covered porch, if you're lucky enough to have one!
To make sure the pumpkin stayed upright, we cut this piece of angled wood and screwed it to the back.

The sticks came from our front yard and were attached with a few one inch brad nails.

Staging projects isn't exactly my strong point, so here are a ton of pics of me doing the best I could...

If you like this project, follow us on Facebook to see what else we're up to!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wood Block Pumpkins

Hopefully everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!  Three days off in a row never ever get old in my book!  I know that we are supposed to use Labor Day as a time to refresh and relax, so we did just that - except our version of relaxing is a little more unconventional.  Building and creating is our family's outlet for relieving when we woke up at 6:30am on Monday, Sept. 1st, the kids and I had a list of stuff that we wanted to make together!

The first thing we were going to make was, say it with me here, "this think I saw on Pinterest!"  Adorable little pumpkins made out of 4x4 posts!  Except we didn't have any 4x4 blocks, we only had some reclaimed lumber that is more like 3"x2.5" but with tons of texture.  Better in my book!  And free...the goal of most of our projects is to build them out of what we happen to have laying around.

I cut them at different heights until they looked just right.  Then we sanded everything really well with a sanding block and an orbital sander.
Emma painted the large and the small with one coat of antique white.  Since we were going to be sanding them after painting, we didn't bother using any primer first.  Owen painted the middle sized block orange.
After the paint had dried, we taped off our patterns on the blocks.  For the polka dots, we used the only circles we had - smiley face stickers.  The chevron pattern was a little more frustrating because we only had the wide blue painters tape.  I didn't want to go all the way to the hardware store for a silly role of tape so I cut the wider tape into skinny strips.  Did it turn out perfect?  Nope - but Emma kept reminding me that we weren't going for perfect.  Smart girl.
With our tape and stickers securely in place, we painted each block in the opposite color of the first coat.  After that coat of paint dried, we peeled off the tape and stickers and sanded the blocks again with the sanding block.
 And of course, like everything else in our house, they then got a coat of brown glaze.  This was Emma's first time glazing anything and she LOVED it!
For the little stem tops, we just happened to have an extra dowel laying around from a closet makeover.  After I put a quick coat of American Walnut stain on them, Brent attached them by shooting a few 2" nails right down through the top of it and into the wood block.
To round out the remainder of our Labor Day, we painted this little picture for my mom...
And then took these candle holders we found in the basement...
gave them a couple coats of Wythe Blue...
and a coat of glaze so that they will match the rest of our home decor.
Anyone else work on anything over the long weekend? If you like this project, follow us on Facebook to see what else we're up to!