Sunday, November 30, 2014

DIY Deck Built in About 5 Days

The picture above is the BEFORE shot of back of our house, and as you can see, there's not much pretty there.  A huge concrete slab step and a cracked & ugly concrete pad. 

This is my father & my hubby (in red) building the deck.  My father is a building inspector for a county in Ohio, so he knows his stuff when it comes to construction & building houses, and doing renos & repairs. 

The above picture is the AFTER shot of my hubby standing on our large new wooden deck, complete with a canvas awning covering, and a glass outdoor table with four chairs.  We found those red outdoor chairs at Wal-mart for around $10 apiece!

So our yard went from a mostly unusable space covered by concrete, to a beautiful 3-season usable area!  And that's great because our house is small, so it's ALWAYS a good idea to have living space in the outdoors if possible!

So what do you think of the before & after changes?  Is there anything you would've done differently?


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Etsy Shop: "Stitch Happens Here"

Howdy everyone!  Gosh it's been busy around here lately, and one of the things I've been doing is creating a brand spankin' new Etsy shop called "Stitch Happens Here", and it'll be a place where I can list for sale any number of hand-made items, both sewing and knitting. 

My old shop name was "Cozy Cafe Knits" and I felt it was time to move on from that name, especially since it only has "knit" in the name and doesn't incorporate sewing items. 

But I bought a sewing machine a few months back, and I've been really enjoying learning how to use it and making lots of cool scarves.  I'm mildly obsessed with scarves (my husband would remove the word "mildly" from that statement) so I'm currently sewing tons of fashion scarves, but someday I'll advance to skirts, bags, aprons, blankets, and other things.  But first things first!

So here's the direct link to my shop "Stitch Happens Here".  Take a look, take a gander, take a peek, get a good eye full, and if anything strikes your fancy let me know.  And thanks in advance for helping to fund my creative endeavors!  You rock!

Here's a sneak peek of what you'll find in the shop: 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Planting our Flower Beds (and other house projects that have kept us busy)

**click on pics to make them bigger!**

This is me (Rachel) and my husband (Eric), and we've lived in our new house for almost 6 months now.  I cannot believe the time has gone by so fast!
The first couple of months after moving in were a complete blur; full of sorting through our belongings and taking donations to Goodwill (I think I've made 3 trips to Goodwill so far, and I need to make a 4th sometime soon), organizing, tackling small projects around the house, cleaning, unpacking, and realizing we needed to buy SO much stuff for the house.
The windows didn't even have curtain rods on them, so we quickly became VIP customers at Home Depot and Walmart because we had to buy everything from curtain rods & curtains, WD-40, carpet cleaner, spatulas, clothes rods to install in the closets, entryway rugs and a new garbage disposal unit for under our kitchen sink, because the old one was dead as a doornail.
But after the initial crazy rush to get our stuff into the house and organized enough so the house was actually livable, now we can tackle projects on our own time frame; there's no rush to get stuff done.

This is our most recently completed project: planting flowers in our front flower beds to increase the curb appeal of our house and just in general add some much-needed color and order to the area around the front of our house.  The old soil in the beds had been sitting unused for over 4 years (that's about how long neighbors say our house sat abandoned before we bought it), so we pulled weeds, added tons of compost, good soil, peat, and manure to the beds, and planted them with Hostas, Primroses, and Azaleas.  (You can see the other front flower bed in the top left corner of the picture).  I can't tell you how much beauty is added to the yard just by planting some plants & flowers!
And we really feel like this is just what our house had been lacking.  Now the house looks like it has owners who really care for it and love it; and we do!
The paint on the exterior of our house in a light green; it's the original paint from 14 years ago when it was built, and it's pretty drab and faded.  We are eventually going to paint the exterior of our house, but we need to save up money for that.  So in the meantime, rescuing and revamping the yard will have to suffice!  This is a picture of the front exterior of our house.  Can you see the faded greenish-grey? 

Eventually, we want to paint our house a darker green and want it to look more like this:

Of course, that second house is much bigger than ours and has lots more trim work and windows, but you get the idea.  We like the darker green with the natural wood-brown front door and the lighter colored trim. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Homeowner Once Again!

My husband Eric & I have (finally!) bought our first home in WA state, a cozy 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house in Marysville, about 1 hour north of Seattle.  This little house is a tremendous blessing, and we are SO grateful!  We had financial help from family members for the down payment and some appliances (the house needed some appliances).

This picture is the low-slung exterior of our new home.  You can't tell from the picture, but the white trim needs a good scraping and re-painting, and the same is true of the front door. 

The wood gate to the right of the house leads to the our side yard which opens up into our back yard.  Our pup Levi LOVES having his own yard again! 

Here's the view from just inside the front door, looking into the rest of the house:

So yes, you can see almost the entire house from the front entryway, but it's a perfect size for just my hubby, me, our 53-pound pup, and our little ferret. 

We've been working on getting boxes unpacked, settling in, and doing some little projects on the weekends. 

Some small projects we've tackled: 

1.  New kitchen cabinet hardware
2.  Fixing & re-attaching kitchen drawer front
3.  Installing sturdy coat hanger in entry hall closet for winter coats & gear
4.  Hanging pictures
5.  Placing vases, books, and decorations on high ceiling shelf (shown in picture above near the ceiling)
6.  Hanging new bathroom mirror as seen below: 

So that's what we've been up to recently!  We're so thrilled to have our own space again, and to be homeowners again!  We're no longer "debt free" because we have a mortgage now, but this was debt that we gladly took on! 

I'm always looking for cheap, DIY house renovation tips, so if you've got any to share, feel free!  Thanks for reading!