Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Refinish wood floors. Check.

"Do you like the floors?"
"What do you think of the floors?"
"I love our floors."
"Look at it now. It's awesome when the sun shines in."

Just a sample of my husband's beaming dialogue over the first few days we moved into our house. He's pretty proud of his hard work, and he should be. Yes, we love our floors.

There were some dark days around here for a while. So much sanding, late nights—all nights, trips to the hardware store, stain samples, etc. After a lot of help (understatement) from incredibly kind people and a ton of long, difficult hours of work, the majority of our downstairs floors are finished!

Here are some grainy pictures of what we had on our hands after sanding. You can see what they looked like before here.

The stairs are not on our immediate to-do list. Their glory will have to wait.


We met a lot of different opinions when it came to these floors. Some said to dash it all and go with laminate. I tended to ignore those inputs. Sure, it would have been easier, but it would have been four times the cost and not as pretty. I'm glad there were an equal number of people encouraging us to go for the wood. We are so happy with the results.



It was dark when I took these pictures, but when the sun shines through those windows, the floor is golden. We love all the colors and divots from its age and use.

Ignore the blue x. That's a board that needs to be fixed from below to prevent more splitting.

For those who are curious, our floors are pine. I know. Another reason many said to just forget it. We weren't concerned though. So far it has held up to plentiful runs by my toddlers' huge Tonka trucks and the occasional toy thrown over the banister from a pleasing enough height to make an ear-shattering noise. We also like the beat up look becausehellowe live in a house that's over 150 years old. So one more dent isn't going to throw us into despair. We used Minwax Early American oil-based stain with an oil-based poly (semi-gloss). I seriously cannot stress enough how important it is to test your stains. We tried nine of the twenty-six colors offered by Minwax before finding just the right one. You never know how your particular wood will take to the stain.

One project down and about seven hundred to go!

Friday, 20 November 2015

The beginnings of our first house

When it comes to this house purchase, I've decided to follow a little quote I came across one day:
Being right is mostly confidence.
It's mainly humor with only a tinge of reality, but it helps.

There are times we realize we have certainly bit off more than we can chew, but we remind ourselves to take it one day at a time and keep moving forward. That's really all you can do when you're starting out with this.



Forgot to mention our house was built in 1850. It's a farmhouse, and we love it. But old houses come with "quirks"... like termite damage.

Therefore, the front part of the house gets new subfloor. The original planks had been replaced long ago, so there was no loss ripping up the other stuff.


Once we ripped out all the carpet, most of the floors in the house look like this. Painted (or stained?) floor around a permanent rug. Look at all those fun staples to pull out.


Then there's the more tedious dining room with tiny fake planks on top of the real stuff.


The key word for this house is potential. It's there, like in these awesome built-ins that made us want to see the house in the first place.


Then there's also our views. Lots of fields (with a broken deck, exposed septic tank, and random traffic cone). We'll gladly be staring at winter wheat for the next few months.


As I review all these pictures, I'm reminded we've only just begun...

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Doing the Mom "job"

The days when the kids are having one meltdown after another and I'm trying to cook dinner, clean the kitchen, and tend to their cries at the same time, but I am handling every moment with a calm head and warm heart, are the days when I feel really proud of myself for being a good mom. Moments like that remind me of my mom. I knew my mom loved me, but to my young self I thought being a good mom was being good at your "job." Our house was clean, she made yummy food, and we were happy. Good mom. 

Obviously, moms do lots of things, but I am grateful that my mom cared about basic homemaking skills and could simultaneously keep her cool. She is a good example to me. I never understood the unconditional love that comes with motherhood when I was a child. Now that I do, I know there is more to being a mom than cooking and cleaning, but I also know those things are important. I knew my mom loved me because she took care of me. Now that I have kids of my own, I know I'll love them no matter what, but because of my own experience, I know they'll feel that love when I take care of them. 

I don't look down on all those posts about ditching the housework to spend time with your kids or praising Martha over Mary. Those days are needed. I'm just saying that cooking and cleaning shows love too, and it doesn't go unnoticed. 


Sunday, 3 May 2015

We are mouse hunters

Discovering that you have a mouse in the house is like finding out you've been lied to.

It starts with finding a few droppings. Then you notice food nibbles. All out panic ensues, and you order pizza for three nights in a row because what is safe anymore? One night an entire mouse trap disappears, so things get real and you move the oven. A giant gap between the wall and the floor that leads into a large cabinet makes you question every moment you've ever spent in the kitchen and whether you were doing the grapevine with mice or maybe you were just tripping over your own feet.

We have since anchored our traps with string and thumbtacks. One by one we are taking back our kitchen.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

April's learning goal

I spend a lot of my time getting excited about things to learn, but then I don't learn them because there are so many I don't know where to start. This year I've tried breaking my goals down into months. I try to do one skill every day or so for a month. This helps me decide if I really like it enough to stick it out for longer or if dabbling seems sufficient.

April is sewing. I have dreams of making my own clothes (blouses and dresses mainly) because everything I see these days is either yuck, beyond what I would ever pay, or "is this supposed to fit like this?" I know I have a lot of skill to acquire first, but I'm optimistic. At least, I was until yesterday.

This is the giant curtain I made out of a sheet to replace the vertical blinds in front of our screen door.


It was a little short.

Positive spin: the problem was in the measuring, not the sewing.