Tag Archives: making a home


Because of the disasters, including our furnace, we’ve been burning up our wood supply, which is good. Not so good is that we were real close to using it UP this week. A neighbor can help us out if need be and DH found ecobricks, like wood pellets for a pellet stove, but made into brick form.

Another ongoing problems has been bed sheets. DH doesn’t like the sizing and/or feel of the high density polyester in many poly/cotton sheets. I want to buy just  single flat sheets. They’re insanely expensive for good ones and not many show up at the thrift shops which are big enough. I decided long ago I should either 1)Buy hotel supply ones or 2) Make my own.

I’ve been trying to find  84″ wide sheeting material for some time. I think I found it, at theatrical supply companies. Huzzah! As a former theater major, I’m dismayed it took me so long to think of the muslin they use for flats, etc. as a possibility, but it may just work.

The older I get,  the less I’m willing to pay for “designer” names and prices on basic goods. Sheets are basic. Got along for decades without colored, designer sheets. If I want them dyed, I can do it or have it done. One place sells colored muslin, so maybe I won’t even have to do that.

My big “bitch” is that I really only want flat sheets, or to buy ONE and you can’t. I resent being held hostage to the department stores or manufacturer’s financial needs. I have my own: functional first then frugal, always. I don’t care what the neighbors think or much of anyone else, only my husband!


Being Self-Sufficient & Not

It’s getting colder, thankfully, the furnace is finally fixed! We’ve been using the woodstove, a thing we’ve decided we’ll do much more of this winter. For one thing, it helps deal with the various downed wood on the property. For another, it uses the resources we’ve already paid for, like firewood, instead of incurring a bill with the local propane company.

We’ve wintered here without a furnace before and it isn’t fun to come into an absolutely frigid house, but it can be done.

I have for the first time put root veggies (carrots) in wet sand to store them overwinter. We’ll see how that goes. Being able to buy organic and then storing them without refrigeration sounds like the best of all possible worlds to me. Along that line, I found a Mother Earth News article (of course) about this. You can find that here;


Also, I’m making bread again. Making our bread all by itself saves us about $5 a week as we like hard crusted, “gourmet” type bread, not the supersoft cheap stuff. It ends up being about 2 loaves in a week. This time I cut up the end of the last loaf, to prepare it to become breadcrumbs.

I’ve been using a lot of breadcrumbs lately. I made stuffed mushrooms Sunday morning for both the political party my neighbor had and my writing group. Last week, I made a crustless quiche, why I’ve never heard of this technique before I don’t know, but I doubt I’ll ever make a quiche, at least for us, with a crust again! You just brush the inside of your quiche dish with olive oil, then spread a layer of breadcrumbs on that. Then add your quiche batter and bake. It was great, took WAY less time than a pie crust, was made with ingredients I almost always have at hand. Not to mention that it probably uses way less fat than traditional crusts too.

Otherwise, I did something I never thought I’d do. I gave up about cleaning the house. Last week I started to get really depressed, the house was a mess and no matter how much time I spent on it, it seemed it was still a mess. Or, I clean it up and then mess it up again. I finally asked 3 people to help. All of them know about my house, indeed two of them are neighbors. The other is one of my bosses (!). But I asked for help. I’m not getting it done on my own, I’m doing the same thing I’ve always done, fits and starts and forward & back.

I’ve had it. I’m stuck already. I asked for help, and thankfully, all 3 of them responded that they’d help. This is sort of scary for me, but I don’t really know what else to do. Professional help isn’t possible, it will make me panic AND we can’t afford it, so that’s out. And I’ve tried almost everything else I can think of, short of getting a dumpster, and that’s out for much the same reason the professional organizer is.

So, I swallowed my pride and asked for help where I needed it and otherwise, we’re working at being more self-sufficient.

Home Report: Unfolding Style

Decorating wise, it seems we’re semi-Steampunk. Except we’re not. I’m not in love with the “gears on everything” Victorian aesthetic. I’m not into “eclectic” or “modern” or “machine age” or “new age” or “shabby chic” or “mod” or “deco” either. It’s some of all of those and none of them in abundance.

I am in love with industrial stuff: lamps, crates, old typewriters, old  lighting, typesetters’ drawers, cash till pockets, old retail displays, etc. We don’t have room for everything of course.

This is a log home, which means the really slick mid-Century modern stuff we used in our last two homes looked out of place here, so most of it is gone.

The “style” that’s emerging is something I’m learning about as I go. I didn’t know that was in there! Galvanized, wood crates, old black typewriters, wrought iron, enamel and other metalware. S’okay. We’ll see how it all comes out!

Decided a while ago that I need to take all the “crop tops” from making rugs and make them into mini rugs for the stair case. That means repainting the stairs, which is fine. I like my fix for the stained stair fronts, but if you don’t know what was there, it just looks kind of messy, and I don’t want that, so it will change!

Pics when I get more of it done, I promise!



Bedroom Progress 3/2014 post 1

I found a place to put the cards, pockets etc. that I bought for my version of a hipster pda away — so that’s good. I also finished the necklace rack: 1 old drawer front, 7 thread spools, 7 pieces of old hardware to hold them down with screws, an old lock hasp, 3 screws to anchor that, and a cup hook to hang it from.

Done! (Except the cup hook is shiny brass and I want it to be black or antiquey brass, like the other hardware, and that’s a detail!)

Two days ago I made up a “pinboard” or some such from 2 wrought iron shelves (go with a bookcase I’ve got but there’s nowhere to put them, 4 cork tiles, a card of colored mini clothes pins, and some push pins. Hung that with 4old spools and hardware too. Instead of the demilune table I was looking for, I used a backless old crate we had and  another drawer front underneath the lantern I moved there (old light fixture + sconce).

It’s getting there!


I need to actually cut fabric. I’ve been avoiding it. I have the kitchen curtains to make. Remember this?


and I have linen tablecloths to cut up/sew for the bedspread.

Like I said, I’ve been avoiding it.

I’m not a great seamstress first of all. Secondly, almost never do my crafty “great ideas” work the first time, the way I expect them to. Usually I can kludge something together, eventually, but they almost never work the first time, as planned.

It occurred to me not too long ago that I have the large masking paper. I could make full-size patterns, and I think I will. But I’m still worried about cutting the stuff up. I always seem to forget things, like seam allowance or hems. Or I think something will work and I just don’t have the skill required.

This has been true since the apron I struggled with making in junior high and the clothing class I took in high school. I was always making clothes for my “baby sister,”* because by the time I got the seams straight, the patterns to match, etc. the piece was at least 2 sizes smaller than when I started.

(*I don’t have one!)

In other words, I don’t do well with fabric!

I know someone who sews for money, makes $ selling fabric things on etsy. I could ask her for help I guess? Dunno. I have ONE shot at this. If I mess it up  by cutting the fabric wrong, it is almost unfixable.

One more time:



The valance idea has run into several problems. When/if I get them worked out, I’ll let you know! My original idea was to stretch wire through eyebolts across the top of the hangers/rod. That could work, if you know in advance how big the window is and the exact placement of the eyebolts. I didn’t. In order to make that work, I’d have to completely disassemble the curtain rod and build the valance in place. I did most of that before I quit. I have a 2nd idea, and that is to use dowels between the eyebolts. If that works, then that’s what I’ll do, much easier! At the moment, there’s a piece of flat copper wire up there. That won’t work for a permanent solution, but the pieces up prove the concept. It isn’t ugly and although definitely feminine, I don’t think DH will mind — no waterfalls of lace, no pink everywhere, no cutesy animals with bows around their necks or tails or such. Definitely feminine and definitely romantic. However, I warned him and he has veto power!

Doing this required that I dig into and start to deal with one of the dust pits. There’s 3 empty artwork tubes, dusty, out in the snow along with a pop flat. I’m sneezing up a storm and need to go take a shower. However, I can absolutely claim this:2 pieces wire,  6 napkins (valance), 3 eye bolts used, 1 reveal (art storage),  4 boxes out. More cleaning accomplished too although that doesn’t count. 2+6+3+1+4=16 out or used

The curtain rod I took down in the dining room can be put back up. The window is a different size than the one upstairs where I’d intended to use it. I have another  gauzy curtain I can put on it temporarily, until I get the kitchen curtains made.

The probable next piece in the bedroom is to empty the corner bookcase. This will take several days, as it’s very dusty and I have not considered what to do with these books. For a long time, it was the case of books I thought I’d almost always keep. And, although that’s not true now (I sold all the really good stuff to help pay the shop’s bills.) what’s left are still pieces I thought would be in the collection forever.

The shower was wonderful and it’s 2:15 or so. I need some lunch!

More Bedroom Progress

If I was using the old terms, I’d say I’d done four reveals in the past few days: the floor behind the couch, the windows behind it, the wrought iron bed table, and the partial closet clean. The bedroom certainly isn’t clean, but it’s sure a LOT cleaner! Also, used are 1 tube, 4 mirrors,1 nail, 4 wall mounts, 3 plumbing fixtures, 6 screws, 2 dowels, 4 wood pieces, 1 package of curtains. Culled were at least 2 bins of paper, call it 100 pieces, about 4 pieces of clothing, and around 12 books. That would be: 4+1+4+1+4+3+6+2+4+1+100+4+12=146 items used or purged in the past 2 days.

The wall is spackled and the mirrors are up. They still need to be painted, but that will happen in the spring or summer. Also, I figured out how to hang the valance over the new curtain rod.

The curtain rods are also home made btw. And I may, or may not paint them too — haven’t decided!

The next steps are the valance and the new bedspread and the continued purging and culling. I need a piece of hardware for the valance. I need to sew stuff for the bedspread to be done.

I took the paper patterns of the mirrors, made sure they were labelled  and then rolled them up and put them in a tube I already had. The tube was made to store a collectible baseball bat, which it has never been used for. I used it previously to store rolled artwork. Last year or the year before I got that art at least matted if not framed. Because I do crafts and DH does art we both have love visual arts, and we’ve got a fair amount of it.

One other thing I want to do is put up one or more gallery walls, so we can regularly display some of the collection. Most of what we have isn’t valuable, just pleasing to us. DH knows how to put together frames. He does most of the framing around here. This saves us a bunch of money!

Matting and mounting can be time consuming, finicky and frustrating. We have done our own, but a friend who runs a frame shop and has a BIG mat cutting machine does most of it.

There’s a poster that will go up on the wall, a picture that came down, so that’s a net of 0 new things used on that. I have 7 more books to go away, but that’s about all that’s really new right now. I’m pretty tired after the last 2 days!

I need to start putting books up for sale again, I’ve got stacks of them around and that’s what will have to happen to make them go away. I’ve got a package to wrap, something a friend is going to sell for us, it needs to go out tomorrow a.m.