Sometimes It’s a Bit Discouraging

The next few pics are of things that just didn’t work out right or were mistakes from some of my crew that I am trying to fix.  Felt most of this week was cycling backwards, but so thankful for some wonderful people who stopped by during the week and encouraged me! These friends, and others who came by before, and the reminder that God is walking with us in all of this, is what got me going today.  It’s days like today and yesterday that I really make me miss my girls and Abdel who are not close by. I also miss my out of state family like crazy right now. Praying this week has good progress, which always leads to encouragement.  If any of you that are reading this are people who pray – please pray for me.  This was a rough week.

Mistake #1 – I was so excited about my tile that was laid with tedious perfection by our contractor Shawn Raggo.  But my choice in grout did it no favors.  I went to Home Depot late – they had no samples – I was tired and wanted to finish my list before they closed.  I debated about a light grey or white.  Went with white because I figured it would bleach out easy like my white shower grout does.  Didn’t consider that it would take away the wonderful detail of the spiral.

Talked to my brother Jeremy today – who is not only a mosaic genius, but an encouraging brother.  This made me feel better.  So wishing he was close by to help me trouble shoot. But, off to Fischer Tile tomorrow to see if once its cured, if I can stain it.  Even a slight color shade would bring out the wonderful spiral.  I figure worse case,  I may not seal it and let it get a bit dirty.  We’ll see.  If you have any brilliant ideas – Please let me know!


Mistake #2 for this week.  This picture is actually a mistake made by my wonderful door spraying Abel, who tapes everything, except the door mechanism.  I was all excited to get the doors hung on Aaron’s room, when everything went out the window.  The door mechanism was one of many problems.  But…. I did learn to take an old door latch apart to clean it, so it moves again.  I cleaned and repaired 3 doors on Saturday.

Because the door latch wouldn’t move, I had to take it all apart and clean and scrape the outside latch.  It wasn’t a huge deal, just one more thing that got put to the top of the “to-do list”.

Issue #3 – This wasn’t a mistake, just an issue we weren’t prepared for.

So, Saturday – Aaron, Michael and I were going to get all of Aaron’s doors up, shelves and hopefully curtain rod.  Well, several hours later, we got one door up.

We decided to put different hinges on Aaron’s doors, which he liked better.  This allowed me to use the old brass hinges in more visible places.  So…”Win, win.” Right?  Well, Michael and Aaron got his closet double doors hung, but they would not close.  I realized then, that Aaron’s doors needed to be notched because the hinges fit differently than the old ones.  So, we pulled them all off.  Michael tried using a chisel on them, but it took a long time and didn’t work as well as we hoped.

Today, my wonderful husband got us a piece to attach to his router.  Wha La!  On the positive side – Aaron now has a new skill.  He has one more door to notch.  We are all thankful for attachments that make life easier.

I think for me, this week was so hard, because I felt like I was working all the time, but got nothing done – at least very little visual improvement.  Also, Abel, Juan and Fransisco were on another job. I saved quite a bit of labor costs this week, but progress was also an issue. Kind of a catch 22.  Made the decision that saving some labor costs was a good thing for the next couple weeks, so my little trio will not be around for a bit.

I know so much of this is prep and things you don’t see. Like the guy at Ace – mistinting my paint, which meant one more trip to the paint store. I also had three dump runs this week, not to mention putting together a burn pile for the wood scraps. But… I can back up our little trailer by myself.  It takes a few tries, but I can get it in, especially if I have someone helping. 😉

Signing out for now.  I am tired.  Blessings!


Prep Work


This pic was actually from yesterday. I was sanding doors and cleaning hinges. Sanded down the front and back of two doors.  I decided to prime one and the best primer I had was a quick dry oil based primer.  Needless to say, when it says quick dry, they mean quick dry.  I brushed it on and went to use my brush to blend and go over it, and it began to goop up.  I should have stopped right there.  But no – “I’ve got this.”  Well, one side of the door is gooped up pretty bad, so….. back to the sanding block tomorrow.

Today, Frank and his crew went inside.  They demoed the closet and more demo on the master bedroom walls.  They got all the nasty bug ridden insulation out, knocked out the cement faux brick that was in the closet (At one time the closet was the front of the house.) and took out a lot of rotted stuff.  Victor was framing in the new windows for our master at the end of the day.  Our windows were from Lowes clearance shelf.  Nothing fancy, but cheap.  We figured it didn’t matter a whole lot and it was nice saving a few bucks when we could.

The kitchen cabinet maker came by today.  Lots to think about and consider.  I am looking forward to his drawings. We also had Danny our plumber come by and get the plumbing for the hot water heater set.

One really great thing about doing a blog, is the people you come in contact with through it. Today, Kaylee came by.  She had shown the house as a realtor and was anxious to see it first hand. I love having people come by.  It’s so encouraging, especially with those who have seen it before. Then, my Uncle Ray and I talked about hinges and painting for at least 30 minutes. He is an amazing painter and had lots of good tips for me.  There is even a slight chance I may be able to fly him out to help with some painting.  So.. we’ll see. May try to talk my dad into that too.

Here is a good reason to sand and prime before you paint. This gooey mess, was the old paint I was sanding off.

I thought the gray fingernail polish would help hide the dirt, but it only adds to the paint on my nails.  Oh well.img_6090

Besides cleaning hinges, I have also been cleaning door knob plates.  Here are some pictures of that.


Plate after being soaked in lacquer thinner.


After a little scrubbing.  I also use a steel brush.


OOOO steel wool.


The end result. I am not looking for perfection on these, because I will prime and paint them anyways.  Just getting the flaky stuff off.

Back to work tomorrow.  Hope to have good progress to report this weekend!  Blessings!


Cleaning Hinges

I watched some of the guys we were paying, cleaning and scrubbing the old door hinges. I considered the amount of money it cost me to have them do this, and I thought – I’d better learn. Here’s what they told me…

Soak the metal pieces in lacquer thinner.  Make sure it has a closed lid, because it evaporates quickly. I soaked mine overnight, but it really doesn’t take much time.


As you can see, the paint just lifts off.  Once you pull them out of the lacquer thinner, you must work fairly fast.  It’s easier to get the paint off while it is still wet.


I used a small scrapper at first, then this wire brush to get into all the narrow spots.


Next, I used OOOO fine steel wool to rub off the rest. I didn’t want to scratch my hinges with the rough bristles of my small wire brush.


Once I rubbed off all or most of the paint, I used 3-in-one oil to add some depth and lubrication to my hinges.  Now, my work crew didn’t tell me this, but I was at Home Depot getting paint samples and listening to people talk. This one man seemed to know a lot about painting and handyman skills, so I asked him. He’d not cleaned the hinges like I had, but he thought it through. The 3-in-one oil was his suggestion.  It’s easy and I liked the results. I liked how it brightened up my hinges without needing to put any type of clear coat on them.


I was very happy with the results.


Friday, I have a new crew who will be hanging some doors in the mostly finished house, so I am trying to get things ready for them.

Porch Progress and Changes


Monday the porch was really beginning to take shape.  Windows were getting set and things were moving forward.  By Tuesday afternoon, both gables were up, but I have to admit, I was a bit discouraged.  The drawings we had put together and the actual gables did not seem like they were the same.  Dave didn’t want to say anything, but both of us were really disappointed.  Tuesday night, I did not sleep well.  I was worried.  So, I slept some and prayed some and worried some.  But I knew that I needed to say something.

Wednesday morning, I was at the site early waiting for Frank our main buildout foreman.  Soon, all three crew members were at the site, but not Frank.  I literally kneeled and prayed asking the Lord for help in this.  So, Victor was up on the roof – he’s 2nd in command, and I said, “Hey, Victor, I need to show you a problem with the top gable. It’s smaller than the front gable.” Grumbling a bit, he got off his rooftop perch to come talk to me.

I rolled out the drawings and compared them to the actual.  Next thing, he’s taking note. Soon, measuring tapes are moving across peaked surfaces to get measurement. We quickly found out that the upper gable was almost 14″ smaller than the front gable.  So, now we had to wait for Frank.

Frank came and I laid this out for him, along with hubby and Victor.  He’s taking it all in.  We look at the plans, get more measurements, then Frank looks at me and then at the almost done roof. So I ask, “Frank is there anyway of making that top gable bigger without tearing everything down.”  He replied, “No.”  So, having already thought this through a bit and looked everything over, I asked, “What if we built out the top gable like they would on an old timey western movie?  Just build the front right over the top of what you have already made.  Slowly he responds, “Maybe.”   Yes!!!  Maybe is just about a yes with Frank. So the gable front was brought out 2ft, which made a huge difference in the overall look.

I was very thankful for a few things – 1. The the error was obvious.  2. That Frank was willing to listen and consider it. 3. That I stepped out and asked.

Needless to say – we were all really pleased with the results.

Here are a few pictures from today.

It’s all in a Saturday.


After pulling off the panelling, ceiling tiles, accordion closet doors, outlets, carpet and carpet pad, I got to work pulling up the carpet tacks.  Michael (below), my demo accomplice, tore most of it out, and also pulled a lot of nails out of the ceiling.  img_6076

Do you notice what was behind that old paneling.  Yes!
Beautiful ship lap.  Keeping that!!!


My handsome husband surveying our progress.  Do you notice all those nails above Dave’s head?  Michael pulled them all out!  Ugh!  It’s nice working with someone who’s tall and willing.

Dave was in and out of Narnia(see below) all day today.  He was working with our son earlier in the day (I didn’t get a picture!  Darn!).  They were pulling old wires and placing new ones.  img_1570-1

At one time, this was a teenage girls room, who had a large attic door in her bedroom. I love that she painted Narnia on the attic door.  We may need to keep that! When Dave has to spend time in the attic, he announces, “I am going to Narnia!”


When Michael pulled off the paneling, this is what we found behind it.  This was one little section!  To answer your question – Yes, this was someones bedroom 8 months ago.


This was my other main project for the day.  I got it all primed and got some paint samples from Home Depot on the way home. This little room is close to becoming a walk-in pantry.

Sunday, I am wanting to stay home as much as possible.  I am so behind on laundry, groceries and basic household stuff.  Need to catch up on that as much as possible.

God bless your week!!!

Taking Shape


Dave took this picture today as he headed up to the house after being gone for several days. The build out of the gables brought smiles to both our faces.



What a difference a couple of days make!  I will tell you, I have gained so much respect for construction.  Every piece is hand measured and hand cut, to get it just right. I have developed a true appreciation of anyone who takes on this task to capture other peoples visions and bring them to life in buildings.  Truly amazing!


I love this picture of Abel as he thoughtfully places the old window latches of my newly painted old windows.


Shawn is head of DNS Construction.  I had asked him about laying tile for the bathroom floor. First I found out, I had bought the wrong type.  I had bought a mesh backing, which does not lay straight on floors. So, I returned the mesh backed tile to Home Depot, but was so excited to have found the right tile at Lowes. Then found out, my inside guys had layed the cement board with nails not screws, so Shawn fixed that too.  So….what I thought to be an easy project, led to Shawn fixing everything.  We haven’t put the grout in yet, but I get to help with that.  I will be the clean up gal.


I love these pics of the guys on the roof.  They take instructions from Frank well, who I have to say is a building genius.


So Friday, while everyone was cutting wood and building structures, I got the job of rolling the magnet around to pick up nails.  As you can see, it’s a job no one appreciates till they get a flat.  Don’t want that happening!


Friday was a beautiful day – Here is Francisco working on my beloved windows.


Juan is cutting drywall for the master closet. I love working with Juan because he can follow me as I dream and help make it happen.

Just a couple of days

In the last two days, so much has happened. Top left clockwise – *The front entry is taking shape. *The floors are being sanded to be refinished. *The last picture I took today. *Grass seeds are being sprayed to help our newly leveled area.  *The propane tank is in!

Today, I had 5 different crews at the house.  Some were there all day, others for not even an hour.  But, it is so exciting to see how things are taking shape.

Some Walls Came Tumbling Down

Yesterday, the middle breezeway came down.  Very excited to see the progress of the big build out. Hubby and I were both taking pictures on opposite sides without even knowing it!  The short video wouldn’t download on wordpress, so I am putting it on instagram.

Here are some pics of the inside changes.

The last piece of remodel news was this picture.  Yicks!img_1610

So…. I am afraid of snakes.  I am very glad I was not around to see this critter.  I am sure you are all wondering if Frank killed it.  HE DID NOT!  Frank has now been lowered a notch – FOREVER!


Almost forgot this bad boy.  It got picked up a day earlier than expected or this gal would have been driving a real tractor!  Next Time!

Tractor Fun!

We have been in a constant state of leveling both the foundation and the area around the house where there is excess water run off.  Dave rented this little guy for the day to help fix the problem.  But, the problem was a little bigger than the tractor, so we had to trade it in for a bigger bad boy that we will get on Monday.

I couldn’t stand watching Dave have all the fun on Friday, so I took a try at it.  I loved it!!! Hope I get to drive the bigger bad boy too. It’s hard to get the boys to share!

Below are more progress pics.img_5989img_5990

This is what came out of the attic this week.  It was pretty awful.


The Framing Began!  So excited to see our planning come together in the big empty room.  Can’t wait to see the progress for this coming week.  Getting excited!!


The room on the left will be Dave’s office/guest room.  The room on the left will be for storage – very excited about that room.  I have a feeling it will fill up fast.

An Unfriendly Visitor and Progress Pictures


Yesterday, hubby Dave, had a nearby farmer shred our land. This morning as the guys were getting their tools out of the the garage, Abel found this unwanted visitor.  Not only did he see it, but he caught it, then with help killed it!  So glad Abel was around to grab this copperhead.


On a different note –

Last night Dave came home to tell me that they had found a chimney that had been cut from the bottom and top, but still inside the wall.  We had been having a terrible time with the leveling and realized the weight of this chimney may be the problem.  The plan was for our crew to come and tear it out first thing in the morning.

At 6:00am, Dave got up for Bible Study and I got up to get coffee, my Bible and to run out to the property in hopes to save the chimney, if it was mostly in tact. To my relief, it was!  Trying to be patient, I enjoyed the view and a quiet time, then forewarned both our contractors of a possible change.

After talking to Frank, who is handling the porch build out and the leveling, he assured me that they could stabilize the chimney enough for me to keep it.  Juan is my detail guy and said that it was good and solid, and just needed to have a stable base.  I am really excited!


I was hoping to post pictures of a finished bedroom today, but with the additional leveling, yesterday, we ended up with a couple extra drywall cracks today. So…more repair work is needed.img_5973

Here are some pics from the last couple of days.


It’s been all hands on deck lately.  So grateful for a wonderful crew to be working with, and a pretty great husband.  More pics to come.