head diy Design Fanatic: October 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Are You Ready? Here Comes Christmas

I know, I know,
It's only Halloween, why am I talking about Christmas?
Seems like Christmas decorations start coming out earlier and earlier every year. 
I went to a store called  BlackLion in Charlotte a couple of days ago to get something I needed for an upcoming project. (more on that later).
It's one of those fun places that has aisles and aisles of individual little shops inside.
It's always interesting to see what's popular.

There were owls EVERYWHERE.

There were a few autumnal displays.
with owls

and quite a few owls in Christmas displays.
Yep, Christmas.
Guess I shouldn't be surprised to see so many Christmas decorations.
After all, there are only 54 days left until the happy celebration. 
I always take so long to get in the Christmas spirit and to decorate for the holidays. 
Maybe I should go back to BlackLion a few more times to get me in the mood because, ready or not, here comes Christmas.

There were silver and gold Christmas displays...

and this incredible all white and silver shop just dripping in icy decorations.

I was amazed and enjoyed all the baubles.

The chandelier was dazzling.

I loved the little pops of red in this mostly silver with a hint of gold display.

Green and gold is classic...

...and of course there were a few red and green trees...

There was even a tree with pink accents.

The wicker chairs looked a little too summery next to the Christmas trees...
even though it's still in the 70's this week.

There was a large backroom that resembled a pickers barn.

Vintage luggage was stacked high. I wonder what wonderful places they've been to in days past.

LOVED this mirror in an old vintage door.

I finally found the little shop that was my reason for driving to the BlackLion.

Those of you who have painted with it, probably recognized it right away. 
I finally purchased my first can of Annie Sloan Chalk paint and some clear Soft Wax. 

I will hopefully be doing a project at home very soon. 
What? not at the cottage, you say?

Not this time.

Spending so much time at the Cottage hasn't allowed me to check anything off my home projects list in awhile. 

I've wanted to do this particular project for 13 years, but it's difficult to paint over brand new cherry wood.
It's not so new anymore, so I'm going to be brave.
Can you guess which room I'm starting in?

(Hint: I'm not brave enough to start in the kitchen)


Monday, October 28, 2013

A Short Weekend At The Cottage

I know, I know, we've been going to the Cottage a lot. 

We've been workin' hard and I have pretty much missed posting about a lot of Fall decorating....
because I haven't done much.
because of all our trips to the Cottage. 

In my defense, I did post about my Fall Mantel, a Fall Vignette in the Foyer and a Fall tablescape.

(just in case you missed them)
I've decided to just skip over Fall decorating this year and head right on over to Christmas. 

But first,
I have to give you another Cottage update. 
 Last weekend ( a week ago) we went up to the mountains even though we only had 24 hours to spend there.
We brought up a whole bunch of stackable bricks that were given to us by our next door neighbors. 
I LOVE free stuff, don't you? 
Mr. Fanatic and I stacked them all up to temporarily make a fire pit so that we can burn things that we would otherwise have to take back home or to the dump.

We tried out our new Lodge cast iron grill and had made some really tasty burgers. We only had a plastic spatula, so what does a diyer use to turn the burgers?
 A metal paint scraper of course!

In our short visit, we also made a trip to Lowe's to purchase supplies to frame the bathroom we are putting in the upstairs bedroom. It's a good thing that Lowe's is only 20 minutes away from the mountain cottage. If you haven't guessed, we go there A LOT!

Mr. Fanatic even had time to  tear  the sheetrock off the closet...

Then, he tore out the framing. We are putting in a 1/2 bath which will be only a foot deeper than the closet. 
And that's where we finished up the weekend!
We still have so much work to do on the inside of the cottage, but I am definitely not complaining.
We are basically camping there, sleeping on air mattresses on the floor. They are quite comfortable because I bought 3" gel foam pads to go on them, which will go on the mattresses when we purchase them. 
We also brought a couple of outdoor folding chairs, an outdoor side table, a couple of lamps and our old, small dining room table from when we were first married.
That's all the "furniture" we have in the whole house. 
Mr. Fanatic says he feels like he's away at summer camp.  I agree. We both love the place.
It is a lot of work, though, but whenever we need a break, we go outside on the porch with the view and just take in all of God's gorgeous creation and remember how blessed we are.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Did you do anything fun or a diy project? 
Would love to hear about it.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

How To Make Compost ~ The Easy Way

If you've followed me for any length of time, you know I love to dig in the dirt, 
aka, gardening.

I can't tell you how many bags(and trailers full) of dirt and compost I've purchased.
It seems a little silly when you actually say it out loud. 
Some of you with gorgeous brown dirt might even think I'm a little crazy, but all of you with red clay know what I'm talking about.
Those of us with red clay have to amend our soil because pretty things and veggies just won't grow in it.

Ugh, is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of a 
 big. ugly. compost pile.
and turning and turning and more turning.

But, I don't do  that...
like the title said, it's the easy way. You might be able to compost the easy way too, if the conditions are right.
So how do I get around the big ugliness of a compost pile?
 I'm going to show you pics of the two large compost piles in my backyard. 

Do you see a pile in this pic?

How about in this one? 
 Both piles are pretty hidden by shrubs. 

See it now?

Here's where the other one is. 

compostHere's a closeup of the first pic. It's a pile of composted horse manure that one of our friends with a horse farm gave us. It's already composted and smells like fresh earthy dirt. I didn't make this dirt, but I wanted to show you that I disguised such a big pile.

This is the pile we actually have been composting. It's hidden between our north property line and a row of shrubs.

Here's how we make earthy black gold~ the easy way:
In the Fall, Mr. Fanatic collects and shreds the leaves that fall on our lawn with the lawn mower and put them in a big pile. We have a riding lawn mower with a bagger on it. The key is to shred the leaves really good.
The next step is to let  the pile sit and get rained on. I watered the big pile in the Fall a couple of times, but we get a lot of rain in the Spring and Summer. Make sure the compost pile gets some sun because the sun and the rain(and the worms) break down the leaves.
That's it.
If you turn the pile it will break down faster,  but I'm doing it the lazy easy way, remember?

Here's a pic of how the leaves have broken down so far. It still has a ways to go. This pile was almost finished "cooking" when I took this pic several months ago. It has tons of worms in it. Which is good. 

When it's finished, it will look like good old black dirt. 
If you're lucky and you have shredded leaves, sun and rain, you can make dirt, er compost the easy way too. 
I'm still in disbelief that I've posted about how to make dirt.
I promise my next post will be about something pretty.

Disclaimer: The above post is how we made compost. I don't take any responsibility for any errors or results obtained from using this information. When using power tools, use safety equipment.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mountain Cottage Kitchen Plans And Another Cottage Update

 If you stopped by yesterday, I showed you some progress we made in the two bedrooms at the Mountain Cottage while we were there for a week. 
It feels so good to have the two bedrooms painted with a fresh coat of paint. 
Painting the two bedrooms was our big accomplishment, but there were a few other things we fixed, as well.
One of the first things Mr. Fanatic did was to change the door locks. Here's what was on the door when we arrived. The shiny brass deadbolt and door handle was fairly new and in pretty good shape, but we decided to change this one out to a keypad deadbolt. While we were at it, we changed it to an aged bronze finish.

I was a bad blogger and didn't take an after photo, but here is what the keypad looks like.  We've had a keypad on the home we live in, which makes it super simple because you never have to remember a key. I had Mr. Fanatic install one at our house when our girls were young and they'd run up to the door after getting out of the car and they'd bang on the door waiting for me to open it up with my key. Adding a keypad that both girls could open without waiting for me to open the door made my life so much easier. I highly recommend getting one at your house!

Mr. Fanatic was sooooo happy to change this deadbolt and knob out on the view porch door because it was sooooo dirty. If you look closely at the knob, you can see that there is gunk so thick you could scrape it off with a knife. I'm not a germaphobe, but I had to wash my hands every time I touched it because it was so sticky.

Mr. Fanatic also fixed the well casing. I was a bad blogger again and didn't take a photo of it, but the casing looked something like this. The casing had settled and the well pipe stuck up higher than the casing and the cap was open and tilted. Mr. F called a well company looking for an extension, and the guy told him to dig up the casing and put bricks under it to make it taller. Every time I get out of the car when we come back from somewhere I see that fixed well casing and smile because it looks so good.

Before I show you what progress we made in the kitchen,
I thought I'd share a little misadventures I had mid-week at the Cottage. I was  picking up some trash that the previous owners had thrown in the woods and happened to step on a yellow jackets nest. 
I have never been so hysterical in all my life. Most of you know that I garden and am around wasp and bees all the time, but it's totally different when you look down at your arm and see one of these and feel stinging all up and down your arm. Feeling the stinging and looking down at my left arm I swatted it with a gloved hand. At the same time, I felt more stinging and ran out of the woods hollering for Mr. F and crying hysterically. 
The scary thing is I didn't have my glasses on and couldn't tell if the whole swarm of wasps was following me. 
I couldn't run into the house if there were a whole colony following me, so I waited outside. Fortunately, Mr. Fanatic was upstairs painting with the windows open and ran downstairs when he heard me screaming.

The yellow jackets stung me about 6 times on the forearm a couple of times on the hand and once on the back of my upper arm. 
I made a baking soda paste to put on the stings because I thought I hadn't brought any first aid. Several days later I remembered I had a large first aid kit in the car!

Now on to the kitchen...
You remember the MLS photo of the kitchen, don't you?

 I designed a new kitchen even before we made the offer on the house.

We had the Lowe's draw up the design for us using painted white cabinets from Kraftmaid. The tall pantry to the right of the refrigerator is one of those pull out pantries...kind of a sideways drawer. I'm excited about that detail.  We will be ordering the cabinets this week.

 The refrigerator we decided on was this Samsung French Door style. We originally were going to just choose a less expensive top freezer style when I woke up one morning and realized that the freezer door would break the window should anyone open it really fast and lose their grip. 
Home Depot was the only place we could find this particular model and we ordered it the Saturday before we left for the week. We paid $988, not $1,259 for it. What's really great about it is that it's almost counter depth at 24.4 inches deep. 
Isn't it purdy?

We also ordered this Samsung gas range. We paid $853. The current range is electric, but we bought gas, just in case we ever lose power, we'd still be able to cook dinner.

The cottage doesn't currently have a dishwasher, but we decided to put one in. We paid $445 for it. 

I think that's about all we did during our working week at the Cottage.
We did a few more things this past weekend, but will have to tell you about it another time. 
Have one question you could all help me with....I would love to paint the red entry doors another color. What color do you suggest. Would love to hear your suggestion.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mountain Cottage Bedrooms Update

Mr. Fanatic took a week off of work and we spent it at the Mountain Cottage and started working on the first part of the renovations.
A very strange thing happened there...I woke up early and went to bed early (I'm naturally a night owl and sleep until 8 or 9) and Mr. F stayed up later than usual and slept in late.
Not sure what that means, but I found it odd. 

 We were pretty busy all week, but took a few breaks out on the porch with the view of the mountains. 
The view from the cottage is ever changing, especially throughout the day. 
The trees were showing the first signs of Fall. Last weekend, more of the trees were turning gold and there were a few pops of red. 

 We started on the two bedrooms.
 Both the downstairs and upstairs bedrooms were wallpapered in blue. 

The blue really made the rooms dark and the curtains didn't let much light in through the windows. 
benjamin moore, decorator white,
Downstairs Bedroom

 Uhhhh, I hate wallpaper. More on that later...
benjamin moore, balboa mist
upstairs bedroom

 Here's the view looking back at the door.
upstairs bedroom

I really love those bifold closet doors, but the room would look much better if they were a lighter color. We are going to make the closet space a foot deeper and create a half bath. Nothing like stumbling down the stairs in the middle of the night to use the one bathroom.  We will put in a small closet to the left of the entrance door and put in some floor to ceiling shelving(behind doors) on the left side where the closet is now.
benjamin moore, balboa mist
upstairs bedroom
We thought we were going to get lucky with removing the wallpaper, when it came off in sheets on the knee wall in the upstairs bedroom. 
Ha! We were wrong.
upstairs bedroom

We removed the wallpaper on a previous weekend, then patched the walls. It wasn't easy to remove at all. We spent the whole weekend removing the wallpaper in the two bedrooms. We scored the wallpaper and spraying it with a warm solution we purchased specifically for this purpose. 

It. was. awful.

 I have to confess I was thinking VERY bad thoughts as I was removing little strips of paper from the walls. 

After we finished removing the wallpaper and patching,  I was on Instagram and saw that HomeRight had a steam machine that not only cleans, but removes wallpaper.
Right then and there, I sent HomeRight a message about our Mountain Cottage reno.  They  said they would send me a steam machine so I could review it when we remove the wallpaper in the Kitchen and bathroom. We will also be using it to clean the other rooms without wallpaper. 
I was so happy the day it arrived! Can't wait to try it out.
benjamin moore, decorator white,
downstairs bedroom

Since there was a sticky orange residue on everything in the house (that I believe was nicotine) and because we think the trim paint was oil based, we painted all of the surfaces with Zinsser oil based Cover Stain.
Wow, I had forgotten how strong the oil based Zinsser smelled.
Guess I should back up a bit and let you know that after removing the wallpaper, we washed all of the surfaces that hadn't been covered by wallpaper. We used a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water. 
From our findings on the internet, some recommend either a bleach solution or ammonia solution to remove nicotine residue (never put bleach and amonia together~ these were separate solutions).
The closet walls in the downstairs bedroom had orange spots halfway up the wall and the vinegar solution took it right off. 
A coat of Zinsser Cover Stain was applied after washing and rinsing the trim and ceiling. 
benjamin moore, decorator white,
downstairs bedroom

Once we were finished with the Zinsser, we couldn't wait to get the paint on the walls.
benjamin moore, decorator white,
upstairs bedroom

When we went to the paint store, we saw Benjamin Moores brochure for their paint colors for 2014 and thought that A Breath Of Fresh Air would brighten up the downstairs bedroom.

After painting the ceiling and letting it dry, I started to cut in, A Breath Of Fresh Air kinda looked like the color of the wallpaper we had just taken off.
benjamin moore, decorator white, a breath of fresh air
downstairs bedroom

So, we had to go back to the paint store because of the color change in the downstairs bedroom and because we needed more ceiling paint because we had decided to paint the angled part of the ceiling in addition to the top part of the ceiling in the upstairs bedroom
We took a little detour and found this picturesque farm...I'm going to have to go back some time and bring my good camera with me. This photo was taken with my cell phone.
Wouldn't you just love to live in that white farmhouse with the red barn on the hill?
benjamin moore, decorator white, boone nc

Here's the downstairs bedroom painted white.

benjamin moore, decorator white,
downstairs bedroom
 The room is soooo much brighter now. Here's the other side of the downstairs bedroom after one coat of Benjamin Moore Decorator White in eggshell on the walls and 2 coats of Decorator white in semigloss on the trim. 
Ahhh, so much brighter and better. We are planning for Mr. Fanatic to build in a custom closet system. Can't wait. It will be so nice to hang up my clothes in the closet.
benjamin moore, decorator white,
downstairs bedroom

In the upstairs bedroom, we decided to paint the top part of the ceiling and the angled part of the ceiling with the ceiling paint. It was the house brand that we purchased at Boone Paint and Interiors
We are extremely happy with the coverage and I believe it was only $17 a gallon.
The walls are painted with Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist.
benjamin moore, decorator white, balboa mist
upstairs bedroom
 So much better than the blue wallpaper, don't you think?
upstairs bedroom

 Did you notice that Mr. F replaced all the outlets?

and the lightswitches :)

Here are the before and after photos side by side...
benjamin moore, decorator white,
downstairs bedroom

benjamin moore, balboa mist
upstairs bedroom.

Both bedrooms now seem so fresh and clean! It's amazing what a couple of coats of paint will do. 
Can't wait to get started decorating the downstairs bedroom.
The upstairs bedroom will have to wait until the bathroom is finished.

I'll leave you with a common scene at our Mountain Cottage. Three deer came by a couple of times a day. One day a 4th deer came by, but momma chased her off. Every time they'd show up, one of us would holler to the other "the ladies are back". 
They are fun to watch. 
Once day we came downstairs and saw 7 wild turkey in the yard.

Hope you'll stop by tomorrow to hear about some other projects we accomplished while we were at the Mountain Cottage for a week.