Saturday, August 2, 2014

Planked wall art...

Hi Everyone!  I thought I'd share with you one of the custom orders I received and completed a few weeks ago.  My client sent me some pictures of what she wanted.  One of her inspiration pictures was the Pottery Barn planked art piece of the United States only she wanted the art to be of the State of Iowa (her home state).  And this is what I came up with....
Sorry, no in progress shots...I forgot to pick up the camera, but will on the next one, I've already received an order for another one.
I used lath as planks because they were the right size and full of character even after hours of sanding each piece.
I built a wooden frame and attached the lath boards after cutting them to size.
Then I stained it on this side and painted the back side of the boards.
Once it was dry I got out my trusty atlas and used it as my visual guide and hand painted the state of Iowa onto the four squares.  Then painted it with a base of white.  Once the paint was dry I took the sander to the entire piece to give it instant age.
I added a bit of antique medium to the white paint to age it a bit more.  Then when it was dry I added a coat of sealer.  I used the side of one of the out buildings for photos because I have no other place to hang such a large piece.  And in case you are wondering, only this side of it looks like this...the rest is painted white.  I keep letting this side chip away because it looks good in photos, but someday I will need to paint it.  Thanks for stopping.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Around the farm, part two...

Hi Everyone!  Yesterday I showed you that the hay ground had been cut and baled into large rectangular bales....well, today I thought I'd show you what we've been waiting all spring and summer to start work fact Dad has been waiting for this to happen for several years...
....the pond and dam are being worked on.  They brought the big equipment on Monday afternoon and began working on it on Tuesday.  My grandpa original dug out this pond and created the dam and it lasted a good many years. 
But my first year here (10 years ago) we had winter kill of the fish because the pond was getting filled in with silt (from run off from the fields and pasture).  Then a few years later we had a couple of years worth of flooding that broke the dam, right where he's working (above photo).
 Not only are they rebuilding the dam, but they are also digging it out and making it deeper.
 There use to be three large cottonwood trees in this group but a couple of years ago we lost one in a big storm.  They used the smaller excavator to move it and pile it up and then started burning it.  It will take a few days to burn it (it was a huge tree!) and then they will bury what remains of it.
 I've taken pictures on my lunch break each day and down by the pond each night because it's so interesting to see the progress they make each day.
 Below is a picture of what the pond looked like when I first moved here.  This is of the pond from the southwest side looking toward the house.  All the other pictures are looking from the house side.

They are also going to be putting in a driveway from the road to the east pasture (south of the barn) but I'll show you that on another day.  So far the weather has been great for this work and looks to stay that way for a while!  So that's what's going on at the farm these days.  What's happening in your neck of the woods?  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Around the farm...

Hi Everyone!  I have something a little different to share with you today....scenes from around the farm.  Things have been happening around the farm lately.  A couple of weeks ago they came and cut the grass for haying...
...and raked it...
...then came back a few days later and baled it....
 ...into large rectangular bales....
....and then of course they returned to pick them up as most of them had already been sold.  While this has been going on, I've been working not on my house...that's on hold for a while...I've been trying to get ready for an upcoming open house and the Clarinda Craft Carnival that I attend every year.  This year, it's the only Fair that I will be attending so I need to make sure it's a good one.  Remodeling the house this year was the priority so I didn't attend any other fairs and I wasn't able to have an open house this spring, but I'm working on having one this fall and definitely before Christmas!  Tomorrow I'll show you what else has been going on around the farm.  Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Construction zone update, part 3....

Hi Everyone!  I know it's been a while but my nephew Quinton has been here for the last three weeks visiting so between spending time with him, working on orders, going to work and working on my kitchen, there just hasn't been enough time to do everything.  But I thought you'd like to see a couple of pictures of my kitchen shortly after I moved in back in 2004.  I tried to find some older pictures but none of them showed enough of the kitchen to get a good look at how it used to look.
 The stove was replaced in 2004 as was the wall paper border.
In this picture, back in 2004, I was in the process of removing the doors so I could paint them.  These cabinets were built and installed by my grandfather and his brother, they are built ins so I decided not to remove them.  I was afraid that the plaster walls behind them would crumble and I couldn't imagine the cost of replacing all those cabinets.  

I had my parents out this past weekend to see what I'd gotten done so far (I wanted them to be the first to see it) and now I can share that with you!....

..........And now for a look at what I've gotten done so far in the kitchen...........
So this is part of what I've been working on for the last five months.  I'm happy with how things are shaping up and so were my parents.  There's still a lot to do, but at least it's almost completely functional...the stove still needs to be hooked up.
I painted the cabinets (they had been red) and I cut out the bottom shelf of the right bottom cabinet to make room for the stove.   I still need to install the back splash, clean the chimney brick and replace the ceiling fan.
 I also need to finish the floor at the threshold, add supports and a narrow shelf under the cabinet that I shortened and remove the metal of the old back door that I replaced.  And then I can hook up the stove.
 I need to paint the divider next to the dishwasher and install the kick board under the cabinets and the tip out trays at the sink to hold scrubbers  (where fronts are missing at the sink).  I also need to cut down, paint and install the shutters that are sitting at the window above the sink.
I created the island.  The top is butcher block and the legs were created from half newel posts and the cabinet was saved from the landfill last year by my cousin's wife.  I still have some work to do on it.  The drawers need rebuilt/reinforced and the two doors (the large middle section) will be converted to drawers.  I need to build doors for the tall cabinet and shutters for the windows.  I need to paint the trim (the baseboards were painted before I installed the floor).
I'm picking up the new bar stools later today and I can hardly wait for them!
 The cabinet next to the back door is the pantry cupboard.  My nephew and I built it one afternoon while he was here.  I still need to paint the interior and build the door for it.
More trim and the door going upstairs need to be painted and maybe next year I can replace the old frig!  The doorway (left side of the picture) leads into the laundry room (which was the pantry).
One of my favorite things...the laundry room!  No more going to the basement to do the laundry!  I still need to paint the base cabinet that is between the dryer and the washer, paint and install the upper cabinets.
And I need to paint above the cabinets on the north wall and finish the trim in this room.
I still need to move all of my kitchen items back in and put knobs and pulls on the cabinets and drawers.  And I need to put in all the pretty stuff.  But I'm really happy with how things are turning out...and I'll eventually get all of these things completed.  I still have a lot of work to do in the bathroom and I'll show you that once I get some pictures taken of where I'm at now.  But that's a look at some of the things I've been up to for the last five months.  Thanks for stopping by!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Construction zone, part 2...

Hi Everyone!  I'm back for a little update.  The bad news is I'm still living in the middle of a construction zone.  But the good news is I'm getting closer to being done.  I can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Part of the reason I haven't shared more in progress posts is that I didn't want to post anything here that I hadn't shared with my mom first.  And I wasn't ready to show her anything until this last week.  She hasn't been to the house to see it in person yet, but she has seen a lot of pictures.
One of the reasons it has taken so long is that I ended up removing the wall panels from the kitchen walls that my grandpa had put up (but were very ugly) then removing the layers of wall paper, repairing a couple of bad spots of the plaster and then applying new mud to the walls to give the walls texture.
I hadn't planned on doing this to all the walls in the kitchen right now.  Originally I was just going to remove the panels from the west wall and come back this winter to do the other walls, but I ended up doing them all at once.  It's been a long month working on the walls, but they look great and I'm so happy with how they turned out.
 Once the walls in the kitchen were primed and painted, I focused on the floor.  The carpet had been removed but in the process, a couple of the tiles pulled up since the carpet had been glued to the tiles.  I repaired the floors....I probably should have put new sub flooring, but I decided not to.  And I really like the floor.  I put the same floor down in the bathroom and laundry room as I did in the kitchen.  I like it so well that I'm going to put it down in the small living room too.
The base cabinets, counter top, sink and faucet have all been set and I now have water in the kitchen!  It only took just over two and half months but it was so worth the wait.  And I even have a small dishwasher although I haven't used it yet.  I installed an apartment size dishwasher to fit the space by the sink.  This house has never had a dishwasher.  I still have work to do on the exposed brick and the wall behind the stove (the stove is still not hooked up yet) and the back splash by the sink.  I also have to put the second coat of paint on the base cabinets.  But it's coming along.
I also started work on the island using the buffet that my cousin rescued from the garbage last year as the base.  I'm reworking the drawers and converting the doors into pull out drawers with self closing glides.  I also need to finish the cabinet I started building to house pretty dishes and hide small appliances.  And then I need to build the cabinet that will become the food pantry.  And there's a list of other projects that need to be done and trim that needs to be either installed or painted.
Once I'm done with the kitchen, I'll go back and finish the laundry room cabinets and the very long list of things in the bathroom.  Still no sink in there but it's because I need to work on the built in cabinet that my grandfather built that I have to finish the bottom half of where the tub had been.  And since I don't want to install the sink, then uninstall it to work on the built it and then install it again, I'm just going without a sink for now.
And during all of this construction, I've been working on lots of orders.  I'm getting closer to the end and to being able to show you everything that I've been doing.  Next time I'll show you some of the before pictures....back when it was my grandparents home.  Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Custom hand painted signs.....

Hi Everyone!  While I've been busy working on the remodel of my kitchen, bath and laundry room, I've also been busy with orders.  Almost a dozen signs along with some other larger orders.  A few are signs I've made repeatedly and several are new, custom orders.
I was asked to make this sign based on the sign I usually make that says Faith, Family, Farming.
The same gal that bought the Faith, Family, Friends sign also requested this Get After It sign.  Both of these signs are painted on 24" long boards.

The next two signs were ordered by my boss's niece.  And I really like the way they turned out.
The family rules sign is painted on a wooden canvas that I built and is 12" x 36".  I painted the base dark brown then a top coat of tan.  Then lightly sanded it to reveal the brown.  Then the fun began.  I hand painted the words on.  I began with the Aust Family Rules and then the Love and worked my way up the sign so that I could get the spacing right.  That way if I ended up with a bunch of space it wouldn't look odd separating the Family Rules from the list of rules.  Then I lightly sanded the words.  Which is always difficult for me to do after hand painting all of those letters.  But it turned out looking pretty good.
And the second sign she ordered was this one.  She saw it in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog and asked me to recreate it.  I built the wooden canvas, it's 22" x 24" (it's not really pallet wood, just made to look like it), then mixed a custom blue/gray paint (it looks more blue in this picture) and hand painted the letters in white.  I think it turned out pretty well.  And best of all, my client was happy with them.

I have a couple of other signs to finish up that were ordered this past week, a couple of pieces of furniture to paint for one of favorite clients, a headboard bench to build for another client and lots of work to do on the house.  I'm making progress on the house.  I spent this week working on a plaster wall in the kitchen and finished that on Sunday morning.  Then started working on the built-in upper kitchen cabinets that my grandpa built and I'm keeping.  I'll share all the details soon.  Thanks for stopping by.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Construction zone....

Hi Everyone!  I haven't fallen off the face of the earth and nothing bad has happened to me (thanks for your emails of concern), I've just been over the top busy working on the house and a dozen orders that have come in.  What started out as a small bathroom remodel that shouldn't have taken more than about a month has turned into a three room remodel of the bathroom, turning the large pantry into a laundry room, replacing the door between the kitchen and the back porch and a kitchen remodel.  (I've randomly picked pictures to share with you, more details to come).
I've been living in a construction zone, which wasn't too difficult for the first month or so, but has now become horrible.  The only thing that keeps me going are the positive changes I see happening almost everyday.
What makes it the most difficult is not the dust (I've been able to keep that pretty much under control) but for the last two weeks I have been living without a sink.  I don't have one in the bathroom (it isn't here yet) and haven't for a while, but about two weeks ago I pulled the one in the kitchen so I could send it and several other items home with my brother for one of his friends to use in their home remodel.  And I haven't been able to get the new one installed because my counter top isn't here yet.
I've been taking lots of pictures and can't wait to share the after pictures (once I have them).  It's been an adventure and I've discovered things about the house along the way.  But I really can't wait for it to be over.  I had been trying to keep the mess out of the studio which worked for a while but I've had to move items from the kitchen and bathroom into the studio.
I've purged a lot of things both to the dumpster and to the garage to be donated once the remodel is completed.  Changing the pantry into the laundry room has been one of the best moves I could have made, no more going to the basement to do the laundry.  YEAH!
I've had to repair plaster walls in the kitchen and the drywall in the bathroom and laundry room.  I've put new flooring in the bathroom and laundry room and the kitchen is next.  The carpet (yes there has been carpet in the kitchen for as long as I can remember) should all be up by this weekend.
 I removed plaster from the chimney in the kitchen (well almost all of it) and I love the look of the brick (it still needs to be scrubbed with a wire brush, cleaned and sealed.  Trim in all three rooms needs to be done.  Cabinets in the laundry room and kitchen need to be installed along with counter tops.
The wall treatment in the bathroom still needs to be finished and the other walls and ceiling needs painted.  I need to remodel the built-in in the bathroom that my grandfather built and I careful saved and I have plans to build an identical one across from it to house everything that had been in the closet that now houses the shower.  I still need to build the vanity, the medicine cabinet and frame out the plumbing access area to also house a mini linen closet.
So much to do and not enough time in the day to get it all done.  But I will continue to plug away at it until it is all done!  Thanks for stopping by.