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Wednesday, March 25, 2015


I love a transformation.

A transformed life, a transformed relationship, a transformed junk find. I like to think of my life as one that is always in a state of transformation. And a good thing it is....seriously, I don't think there is a minute goes by that I am not "oopsing" or "why did I say that?' or "what was I thinking?" I know I will never get it all right before I go to heaven, but I'm thankful for grace...and the desire to change.

Remember this?
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My garage sale potting bench that looked good on the outside and was rotting under the paint?
I couldn't put it to the road. Just couldn't kick it to the curb. I wanted that doggone table rescued in some way,
 and it was nagging at me. And then, I came up with a plan.
I let JR use his sledgehammer to remove the whole top. And then he made a new top from some old redwood that
was out back.

I stripped off the remaining paint.
Then, gave it a good coat of oil.
Last, we cut the legs down to eliminate the rot at the bottoms, and added caster wheels.
And a new handle made from leftover legs and pipe.

I love this new patio cart!

A post from the past

When Spring hits, I can't help but think about a post from a few years ago about one of my favorite garage sale transformations...and how it came to be. Part 1
Let me tell you a story about today's thrifting adventures. It starts with a stop at an estate sale, and then  I went around the corner to a neighbor's garage sale, where I found a few fabulous deals for just a couple of dollars. Then, as we were leaving, and she was sharing the sad tale of her divorce and how she has to get rid of everything and move. As compassionately as I could, I empathized and sympathized as I realized that there was a potting bench standing at the back of the house.
I couldn't dry my crocodile tears fast enough to ask, "Is the potting bench for sale?"
"Yeah, why not? My husband bought it for me. I'm sure he'll be glad to see it go. I know I will be."
(Hmmmmm...just how glad will you be to see it go?)
"$20?"  she asked.
This is where my husband jumps in. "Well, lets just go home and think about it."
Her mother piped up... "you're nuts." ( I don't know if she was talking to me or to her daughter)
Me: "I've thought about it."  and to my nearly divorced new friend, in a soft and sneaky voice," Can you save it? We'll be right back."
My husband again, "Lets just go home and think about it."
We went home. I made lunch. We went back to the neighbor's house and carried that potting bench around the corner to our home. I promised her it would be well loved, to which she sort of carelessly  mumbled, " okay?  enjoy.... " 
We scrubbed it, hosed it down, and it was then that I began to notice some peeling  paint. That's works well with my vintage look.
JR and I spent a good part of an hour rearranging the deck, and rearranging it again. And again. To make that potting bench fit.  But I couldn't leave well enough alone. I picked at that paint. and then noticed more peeling,  and before I could hear JR's chainsaw start, I had peeled and plucked and found ROT at just about every joint. 
IMG_8293 IMG_8295

"Can we save it?"
"I'd rather take a sledgehammer to it. I'm afraid if I use my chainsaw I'll ruin a blade by hitting a nail. Anyway, a sledgehammer would be more fun."
So I had to be reminded again of how we should have thought about it, and I actually gracefully accepted his "I told you so."
and I'm thinking the best thing to do is put it out to the road with a sign...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The only way to start over is to get back to the beginning

Here's what you need to get started on  a full out kitchen makeover:
Sledge hammer
It's gotta start somewhere , and destruction is a good way for the guys to get started. Men love smashing stuff! 

So to get to the place where we can begin again, we needed a blank slate. And Ben and Rebecca's kitchen had a lot of history to it and didn't want to let go. Those old kitchens were builtt to last... cabinets were part of the construction and built right into the plaster and lathe.

Cabinets cleared and doors removed. JR will use the doors to built  a  structure for the stove hood. 

See that faux brick? Guess what was under it? MORE faux brick!

It's SO interesting going on this kind of archeological dig..peeling back layers of design to see the decisions each homeowner made. What did they think would freshen things up? What years were the cosmetic updates done? 
We can see right here some 60's wallpaper followed by 70's Z-Brick. And under the panelling? More panelling!
Over beadboard (the original layer)!

No doubt, the ladies of the house were very, very proud of their updates.

Uh-oh...what's under that floor ? 

Now, THIS is an exciting turn of events! We see hardwood!!!

Maude is not as excited as we are.

Getting to the bottom of things can be an exhausting and intense ordeal...but you gotta get there to start over. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

the cabinets

 If there is one thing we believe in with every fiber of our being, it's rescuing, recycling, restoring and re-inventing.  That's the way it is when it comes to home renovations, too. AND this philosophy has been with us loooonnnnnggggg before it became popular and was televised on any number of DIY shows that are currently   out there.

The cost of renovations can be prohibitive for most of us. And, we love the challenge of hunting and searching for things that will be just what we need to work for a project. We also love sharing and inspiring people to do the same.

When we started to analyze Ben and Rebecca's kitchen, the first thing we did was re-work the layout, This then became the perfect opportunity to think about whether or not the current cabinets would be appropriate for them.  They had planned to get new appliances, but after talking it through, we  convinced them to keep the appliances they have (which are in great shape) and invest the money now into the actual structural stuff of the kitchen.
Structure first. Appliances second.

So, back to the question...could their existing cabinets work for them?

Nope. If we were going with a new layout the existing cabinets wouldn't survive a tear-out. The decision was made to replace the cabinets.

But the remains of the existing cabinet remains could be re-used in their back room storage area. And with budget money freed up from the appliances, we felt like this was a good place to spend some money. So, where to get replacement cabinets?  Rebecca was a little nervous about this (we are learning that Reebs is a little nervous every step of the way, and wanting things done yesterday!) but we assured her that we have a way of finding just the right thing at just the right price and at just the right time. (They did, in fact, pretty quickly head to Home Depot and price out what it would cost for brand new cabinets. We said no to that idea patient.)

The Craigslist search began. Between Rebecca, JR and I, it was a crazy couple of days of texting, calling, sending links,  and texting some more until we found some cabinets that would work.  We needed:

1. enough to do the job
2. they needed to be structurally sound, good quality.
3. they needed to be a good price.

Ideally, the cabinets would come from a recent kitchen remodel where they people wanted to do a new kitchen just because they could (translate...nice cabinets being replaced not because they were falling apart, but because the homeowner wanted new nice cabinets!)

And, bingo, we found the cabinets, called quickly enough to make the deal, and they were transported back to Ben and Rebecca's house.

Their cost for more than enough cabinets (including TWO lazy susans)?  $400.00. Score.
And for MUCH less than what the new Home Depot cabinets would have cost.

They were measured and then organized according to the layout. Ben and Reebs are going to paint them.

The first BIG decision is out of the way. Next? It's Demo Time!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Kitchen Makeover Begins

This is the story of Ben and Rebecca. Our kids. 

Well, actually, it will be the story of Ben and Rebecca's budget kitchen makeover.

A few years ago, they bought a nice sturdy four square built about 1905. It had some basic cosmetic updates, and after they moved in, they began to personalize it even more.  

The kitchen had what we would call a "quick flip update." The former owner did the bare minimum to improve the property...budget store counter top over existing old cabinets, faux brick and bad paneling. Minimal lighting, an awkward layout and laminate flooring. 


With Rebecca's updates... she painted the brick, added shelves, and a few other personal touches. 

 It's a nice little has lots of possibilities. 
So this story started, as most good makeover stories do, with something to spur it on...the inspiration piece, the "ah-ha," the something you can't pass up.  For Ben and Rebecca, it was the acquisition of some old bowling lanes via Craigslist, the idea that they could become new counter tops, and a good deal of inspiration from Pinterest.

And as all good parents do, we stuck our noses in and got involved...
We met, we talked, we threw ideas around and came up with a plan. With their budget, a generous helping of JR's carpentry skills and the kid's willingness to do some hard labor, we set forth. 

The general plan?  
1. A new layout.
2. Find some kitchen cabinets to replace the current cabinets.
3. Demo existing cabinets, faux brick and paneling.
3. Upgrade wiring and plumbing.
4. The pretty stuff .

So here's where we stand at the end of the day...
Ben is cool, 
Rebecca is nervous,
JR is confident,
And I am excited. 

A budget makeover IS exciting! Let the adventure begin!