Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The couple that takes down walls together, stays together.

A few weeks ago, I gave the nickel tour to a friend who came by for the afternoon. We went room to room to room, ending up in the man cave. (Which, sigh, is apparently a thing. It's no longer "the addition" or the "extra room". No, it's a man cave. For cave men.)

While in there, I noticed that we had some wood paneling that seemed to be wet. Further inspection brought on more paneling and drywall and insulation. All wet. 

(And, yes, the room is completely wood paneling. Ugly, brown 80's wood paneling. I smell a painting project!)

A week later and our wall looked like this.

Because water leaking in through an old wall air conditioning system is not good.  (This room is an addition that is not connected to our home's HVAC system, so it has its own AC unit. )What IS good is that we caught it before it got bad, and we just had to replace the drywall on the inside, the insulation, and the outer wall. 

No big deal, right?

Ummmm.... No. Super big deal. It wasn't hard to pull it down, and to build it back up. Just time consuming and nerve-racking. Good news? We did it in one weekend with no arguing. Bad news? We had to replace a wall in our house! That's bad news enough. This is one project we, and our bankroll, had not counted on. But you do what you have to do, so we did.

Rolls of insulation went in where it was wet and falling apart. 

Then OHB (I think that's what it's called??) went up next, with a lot of measuring twice and cutting once going on. More like measuring 30, cutting once. Putting up this board was possibly The Hubs favorite part of the entire weekend - all because I suggested that with the amount of nails we were going to use, he should rent a nail gun. 

Everything is better with a new power tool.

I high-tailed it to the other side of the yard everytime he turned it on. Not because he wasn't safe; he has the utmost respect and care of power tools. I'm just not good with anything that has the word "gun" in it. Except staple guns. Those I can handle. 

So I cringed and held the OHB in place while he nailed it on, then ran to the opposite end of the yard as soon I could so he could finish in peace. 

Safety first, people. Wearing my racquetball goggles to protect these precious eyeballs of mine

We put up the weatherproof TyVek sheeting, and called it a weekend. A long weekend. A very long weekend of 97 degree record heat, the hottest day of the year so far here in Phoenix. Not the best time to be working outside. 

The siding still needed to go up, but since my Father in Law was coming in town, I decided to step back from the project and let him help The Hubs. They had the siding done within a few hours, and even added a few decorative touches. 

We don't have an air conditioning unit in it yet. The old one was rusted and needs to be replaced, and we are still researching all our options. Split AC? Another through the wall unit? Whatever it is, we need to do it soon. 100 degree days aren't too far away. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Front Porch Pickins market entry giveaway

From my love of old windows and church pews, to say nothing of my vintage home itself, it is easy to see that I love a vintage style. I like things to look comfortable and lived in. With my random, mismatched pieces, I often feel like I live in a vacation cottage; a little whimsical, a tad overstuffed and messy, completely cozy.

I've raided nearly every antique store in town, eyeing treasures I couldn't live without (vintage typewriter, artwork, a pottery bowl) and those that haunt me from being left behind (handmade dollhouse, rocking chairs, that one tapestry I can never match in color and style).

So when I heard there was a vintage market opening near me, I was thrilled and immediately planned to go. When they offered me two EARLY ENTRY tickets to giveaway to my readers, I was ecstatic. Early entry gets you into the market before all those other savvy shoppers who are there just to grab the only vintage rooster candle holder, or that Balloons Pyrex bowl, right before you see it. With Early Entry tickets, you can start shopping at 9 am on April 24th, one full hour before regular admission.

Front Porch Pickin's says that it is a market place for those who love all things "rusty, chippy, peely." Sounds like a perfect place to find that one-of-a-kind piece I can't live without. With over 75 vendors selling onsite, with a variety of handmade and vintage or re purposed goods, I just know that they will have exactly what I need. (Even if I didn't know I needed it!)

Open for two days, on April 24th and April 25th at Park West mall in Peoria, AZ, this year they will also be teaming up with Momma's Organic Market, so you will have access to local produce, goodies and more.

That sounds like a one-stop shop to me. It's also a way to see local merchants, putting our hard earned money into their hard working pockets, giving back to the local community. If I have the choice between shopping at a Big Box store or a local vendor, I will choose local every time. You'll see me pickin' through this vintage market.

How do you win two EARLY ENTRY tickets to Front Porch Pickin's market on April 24th?

1. Share my blog for one entry. (Once per day.)
2. Comment on a blog post for one entry. (Once per day.)
3. Like Front Porch Pickin's on Facebook and tell them you are coming by from We Could Make That blog for one entry. (Once only, and please comment back and let me know you did it!)
4. Comment what item you are searching for, whether it be vintage, repurposed or handmade for one entry. (Once only.)
5. Tag three friends that you think would love to go to Front Porch Pickins for one entry. (Once only.)

That is FIVE different ways YOU could win early entry tickets! Anyone excited yet? Winner will be chosen Saturday April 18th.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A gallery wall explained

If you plan on having a gallery style wall in your living room, DO NOT do it the way I did.

I obsessed over this wall. I was addicted to Pinterest, pinning picture after picture of these "perfect" gallery walls with their perfect pictures and perfect wooden arrow accessories. You've seen them; you know the ones. 

I placed all my frames and wall hangings on the floor, measuring exactly the width I had to work with, moving this frame here, and that frame there. I took pictures of my floor art, texting friend after friend. 

One friend told me it looked great, and even came over to my house to help my obsess a little more, arranging and rearranging for hours while our kids stared at a movie. 

Another told me I needed more metallics, something different than all the wood. A big metallic arrow, for example. Except - I'm not a metallic person. Or an arrow person. So while I loved the suggestion, it didn't feel genuine for my home. What I want most in my house, while being beautiful and comfortable and easy, is to be genuine. I want it to feel like MY home. 

I took a step back from my Pin-session and asked myself a few simple questions. What do I need to have when I come in the door? What do I need to use? What do I want to see?

The Hubs helped me with the first one. I knew I needed a place for the kids to throw their shoes, a seat for them to get ready as they rushed out the door. I was searching for mudroom benches - those ones with cushions on top and baskets underneath for storage. But they felt......normal. We aren't normal people. The Hubs suggested a church pew instead.

He was exactly right. (Don't tell him, though. It will go straight to his head.)

I searched antique stores and garage sales, Craigslist and OfferUp and finally found one, 8 weeks into my search. It was perfect. It is a simple and beautiful antique. I was a little concerned at first that it wouldn't hold up to my kids launching themselves on and off it (as they are wont to do). But then I decided that if it has stood up to years of church-goers sitting and kneeling and leaning and sleeping, it would hold up for my kids just fine. I love thinking about the people who have sat upon this pew, praying - what they thanked God for, what they asked. 

Now onto the wall itself. What did I want to see when I walked into my home? 

(Note: our entry wall is an awkward little wall. Instead of coming through a hallway into the house, the front door faces the wall,  and you turn right to go into the living room or left to head into the playroom/den. So the entry wall would be facing anyone coming to my front door.)

For me, the answer was simple. I wanted to see pictures of my family. I wanted my daughter's dance and my son's baseball picture. I wanted a big "O" to announce our family name. I wanted a vintage-y cottage-y style that didn't look like it was trying too hard. 

I wasn't satisfied with the collection of objects and pictures I had amassed for my wall, but couldn't put my finger on what was missing. So I took a step back, and went to help The Hubs tear down a wall (more on that later!). While clearing out that room for demo and renovation, I came across a big canvas painting he had received from his parents in college.

"Oh wow. I forgot about this! I've always loved it." I stopped for a second. "Hey - can I put this up in our entry way? Or did you want to keep it for the man cave?"

"I'd love it if you hung it in the entry way. You really want to?" he asked.

Oh yes, I really did. Because what was missing from before was him. If this wall was a collection of our lives together, a feeling of "home" every time we walked into the room, then he needed to be a part of it. A big part of it. Putting his canvas from Brazil into the mix added more color, a certain odd - but fun - flair, and it was HIS. It also didn't hurt that I really do love it. It became my wall centerpiece, that tied all the colors together.

After I discovered The Hubs' canvas, the gallery wall fell into place.

I walked around my house, seeing if there was anything else I had lying around that I had overlooked. An hour later I had an antique window that used to live in my daughter's room, some plaques and a wall shelf my grandfather had handmade. 

I printed our family pictures out and taped them to the window panes. A very generous friend printed out some vinyl lettering for me, and after I painted my boring black plaque a deep blue, I attached the simple lettering. "Hello", it said.  

My first treasure I bought in Phoenix 8 years ago. I loved it from the moment I saw it.

I found a few more tiny treasures around the house and placed them on my grandfather's wall shelf. A Paddington the Bear statue from my hubs childhood in the UK. A rock sculpture he had made when he was younger.  A Willow Tree figurine holding a dog, a reminder of my dog Hansa, who died in February. A pair of antlers from a white-tailed deer The Hubs hunted in college. 

I never thought I would allow a pair of antlers in my home. But there it is.

Although it's odd, and different....somehow, it works. It feels vintage and bright and cheery and most of all, US.  

The shutter used to frame our bedroom window. Now it holds important letters, and birthday and Christmas cards.

The view from my front door.
 It's not finished yet. The wall will be painted a light gray next week, and the generic coat rack is getting a face lift in either red or yellow, whichever strikes my fancy that day. I also have a hankering to write my favorite uplifting quotes in Sharpie around the mirror frame. Again, for another day.

Walking into my house every day, I feel so welcome and happy. A friend came by last week and said the same thing. "Your house is so comfortable. So cozy and homey." Mission accomplished.

What project are you working on? Or did you finish a project this week, too? Tell me all about it!