Friday, August 28, 2009

Before and Afters: Hidey Hole

When we were looking at this house, one of the things that stood out, both for the kids and us, was this funky cool attic style room jutting off one end of the house. The kids dubbed it "The Hidey Hole" the first time we looked, and the name stuck!

Starting painting - it was a dingy masking tape ivory and we wanted to brighten things up, as well as make it super easy to clean in here - high gloss white, here we come!

Sara helped quite a bit....

The Hidey Hole today - we were going to use some of the "green grass" carpet from downstairs up here, but there wasn't a run long enough that wasn't also terribly worn. I found these wild shag rugs at Target - they fit so nicely they aren't even seamed - we intended to, but so far it hasn't been necessary. Mom made the curtains here, too - seersucker again, bright and FUN! David thinks the kids look creepy in this picture ..."Come play with us, Danny...."

The guard dragon - I just loved this guy and had to snag one for the kids when I put in one of our Melissa and Doug orders.
Storage, controlled chaos....
The tree house - remarkably cleaned up, since we are getting ready for the start of school and trying to turn over a new leaf (teehee) with keeping the rooms cleaned up better.

All in all, a fun use of a funky space - and it keeps most of the kids chaos contained to just a couple of rooms - kinda...

Before and Afters: Classroom

The upstairs here has the fun sloped ceilings and there was a fantastic built in desk and tile floors that remind me exactly of one of my classrooms at Lakewood High School (built in the 50's I believe, so fits right in with this house LOL!) It was just natural that this room become the classroom for our homeschooling - lots of light, next to the playroom, desks and storage - yay! I realized while I was working on this entry that we don't have good pictures of the before, darn it. Basically, we didn't change much here - repainted a brighter yellow and left the desk brown, the tile was fun, and is perfect for paint, clay and the other messes that happen here - so it was just scrubbed up. We installed a ceiling fan, partly for air (because, holy cats, it gets hotter than the hubs up here during the summer!!) and partly for better lighting. David ran cable lines in for the computer, I packed in a ton of supplies and books that had been all over the house before and voila, work space!

Before - just started painting

You can just barely see the floor in this shot - and one of my very old paint shirts - I think I have 17 different types of paints on there from previous houses and the apartments we managed...
Midway through - my mom made these beautiful seersucker curtains that perfectly match the brown and taupes in the desk, tile, walls and ceiling fan - yay, mom!!
Today - desk, computer, map, penny saver, growth charts, cupboard and drawers
These cool old desks were at my grandmother's house - super cool find! Bookshelves, posters, and of course, the easel with a scary forest Sara drew...nope, my kid's not warped AT ALL ;)
my ham of a daughter is in every picture I was trying to take in here, the little turkey...other side - bulletin boards, calender, more posters, rocking horse with two cheeseballs on it...and the door to the Hidey Hole - next entry!!

I promised to write about the girls...

so here they are! We took the crazy urban homestead plunge this past May - Sara had been wanting to have chickens ever since we looked at this house with our real estate agent and the print out with stats had "zoned for chickens and horses" listed. We knew we had so much else on the slate this year, so we planned on putting it off until next year, but every time I was on craigslist, I couldn't resist looking up coops, just in case. Lo and behold, a coop, chickens, feed, litter and other paraphernalia for sale, in one big lump! Pullets, already beyond brooding stage, it seemed like the perfect way to go :-) So, off to Littleton, with a bobcat trailer and the help of our dear friends Kristy and Byron, to load a full coop and the birds and bring them home.

The chickens in a dog crate - it was the only thing we could think of to transport them in

Charlie REALLY wants to know what is in that crate!!
So, if we just turn this baby over on its side, ya' think we can maneuver it over the ditch without landing in the water?

Alrighty, we got it over the ditch, now we really need to move it 3 feet to the south....mmmm....If all else fails (and you're losing light for this project before the girls need to be locked up for the night!!) get out the big equipment - a skid steer and a rope do a pretty nice job of moving it over!

We get the cutest eggs! Since the girls are bantam (half size chickens) they lay smaller eggs. But still average one a day, in pretty shades of green and brown.
It is COOL to have chickens!

Thanks to the mad breed id-ing skills of the amazing forum folks at Backyard Chickens, we are pretty sure this is the line up:
Snow - Easter Egger, Puff - buff brahma, Polka Dot - Mille fleur d'uccle, Shadow - Belgian D'Anvers and Ice - Easter Egger.

Shadow and Puff in the coop
All the girls together. Sadly, we lost Red (at top in this pic, the Belgian D'anvers, and also the chicken Sara is holding above) mysteriously a month ago. She was fine Saturday night, roaming around and roosting just like always, lethargic and miserable Sunday morning - she passed shortly after noon. RIP Red, you were Sara's favorite -and our little farmer girl was a trooper, she did the eulogy, helped dig the grave and made a cross to mark it. It was a bittersweet lesson in the circle of life!

Finally - some shop pictures

Well, sure, we finished the shop last August - it has only taken me a year to have it cleaned up enough to be willing to post pictures :) This is the wonderful 500 square foot shop my dad and David built last summer, from the ground up. We had the foundation done for us by the wonderful guys at KW Walker Concrete, but from that point on, it was all dad and David. They did a gorgeous job, don't you think?

Where I spend a good portion of my work time - the command center - complete with butterfly mug from Rising Sun Earthworks :-)

Looking at the front door - hey, there is sunshine out there!!! Such a nice change from the last 5 years of working in the basement - don't mind my pasty white skin or adverse reaction to sunlight...

View from the front door - heat transfer press, rack of stuff to do, rack of Melissa and DougWhat we affectionately call "the warehouse" - inventory, supplies, shirts, inventory, orders to go out, packaging stuff, lots and lots of inventory...
The girls - our Melco Amaya embroidery machines, Mary and Maya - poor Mary is all torn aprt waiting for a replacement part to come in, so we are running on just one machine right now
Water cooler that we found on Craigslist - it does cold and hot, so I can make my Harvest Moon Chai tea out here in the winter - yay! Also a rack of Aura Cacia oils and scales for shipping.

Just for fun - a before and after - after the boys demolished the old shed and coop
The shop now - ignore the chairs, they are getting ready to be painted and had to move for us to lay the flagstone patio

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Oh, hail no...or reasons to not blog...

I had good intentions - I had taken pics of lots of the projects that we are working on, even sized them and just needed to load 'em up - but Mother Nature has her own plans sometimes! Plans in the form of a rip-roaring hail storm, complete with 90+ mph winds and microbursts that beat the bajeezus out of everything around here. We were blissfully up at Golden Gate Canyon camping - even watched a beautiful sheet lightning storm around the campfire, entirely unaware that the beautiful lightning we were watching from afar was the herald of serious nastiness back home.

Our street
The front driveway - yes, there really is asphalt under there somewhere - it was buried in a 4 inch thick layer of pine needles, pine cones and leaves.
The culprits - or what remained of them.

The garden - we ended up being glad that we only had 4 tomato plants, a few cucumber vines and a basil plant in the ground this year - they were all stripped down to a bare twig.
Dining room window glass and leaves smashed against the side - can you see the dimples in the downspout? Our siding, gutters and spouts look like someone with a ball peen hammer and a vendetta went at them.One of the hall way windows - the hail went through four layers of glass here and hit hard enough to embed pieces in the wooden door across the hallway - maybe we are glad we weren't home after all!

Needless to say, this put a bit of a damper onto projects this past month - we had just had the roof re-done in January - one of the few projects that we didn't do ourselves - including 5" gutters to deal with the leaves from all the big, beautiful and now bare trees around here. On the bright side, raking this fall should be a whole lot easier...

All in all - 22 panes of glass to replace, roof, gutters, siding on two sides of the house, and a whole slew of other incidentals that keep cropping up as we find them (oh, you mean that wasn't a soaker hose before???? But it spews water so nicely...) *sigh*