The last few weeks have kept us very busy with a variety of DIY projects around the house.  With the absolutely beautiful weather gracing us, my girls and I decided to take advantage, move school outside most days, and just get after it.


We first needed to fashion a new table for our deck.  Our old table, after weathering many a Midwestern winters, had finally called it quits and we needed another piece on which all of our summer family dinners could take place.  I happened to find a local woman who was selling barn wood, so we ventured to her barn and listened to a wonderful story of a Swedish family who immigrated to the Rockford area with hopes of building a family farm.  They bought property on the corner of Baxter and Mulford Roads and there constructed a home in 1902.  Later, in 1903, they gathered with neighbors to build a barn in which to begin their farming venture.

We brought home three 10-foot boards, washed them, and ran over them once with some sandpaper.  I then applied three coats of //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=makofahom-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B000C011CE&asins=B000C011CE&linkId=96a4608fd8c32411f7f8bbe7d4f64747&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>an exterior marine polyurethane to all sides of each board.  I connected the boards with 2 x 4’s in order to create a removable table top that I can bring inside during the winter months.  I then created “table legs” using cinder blocks.  I was so thrilled once the project was complete because I was able to craft a one-of-kind ten-foot table to entertain upon for under $100.


My girls and I also got busy building a backyard washing station. While visiting Koviashuvik Living School in Temple, Maine last August, I was struck by all the ways in which the Knapp family used seemingly random household objects to craft “new” devices to serve a very sustainable purpose.  Our washing station is not completely sustainable, as we do plan to start our washing process with city water from our home, but our hope is to eliminate one avenue of waste through this process.  (And keep my kitchen cleaner too!) Each garden season we are faced with what to do with the dozens upon dozens of 5 gallon buckets filled with dirt-caked veggies that make their way into our kitchen.  Enter…our OUTDOOR veggie washing station 🙂

We had a random cement slab that was found in our yard when we bought our house and it has been milling about under a tree ever since.  So, with much assistance from my strength-and-conditioning-coach hubby, we moved the cement slab near our backyard water spigot.  I used the old legs from our outdoor table we had just scraped, and attached them to a countertop my dad had just removed from his basement during a remodel.  I then placed a washtub next to the table, with a bucket beneath the drain.  We plan to plug the washtub, dump in our muddy produce, and fill the tub with our nearby hose-water.  Once all the veggies have been scrubbed clean and placed in a strainer on the table, we can drain the tub into the bucket and then use that greywater to water our plants with.  And all of this will happen outside, and now only gloriously clean veg will make its way into my kitchen.


And last, but certainly not least of our DIY adventures of late, I have created a spot in the garden entirely for me.  I moved around some aimless pieces that had been littering our property and used them as the basis for this new space.  I then crafted prayer flags and stitched each stitch with a heartfelt intention.  So here I stand to greet my morning, in my very own corner of the garden, setting positive intentions for my day.

Wishing you all a productive, yet peaceful start to your week.



Reclaimed Love

We are blessed.  We are blessed with family who understand my craziness and are willing to help us out when that craziness gets a bit…carried away.  Last winter, I drew the line with the nasty carpet in our dining room.  It was the only room in our house with carpet and it needed to go.  The smell of smoke, animal, dust, and all other sorts of loveliness was just too much for me.  So, on a random snowy winter afternoon, I tore out all the carpet.

Since then, we have had lovely plywood subfloor acting as a perfect complement to our dining room decor.  (Ahem.)

As I said earlier, thank goodness for my wonderful family.  My father-in-law, a fabulous wood worker, had been collecting a variety of reclaimed lumber for some time now.  Some of the lumber even came from the world’s largest wooden grain elevator in Deluth, Minnesota, circa 1887.  He was generous enough to share some of this wood with us, have it milled, and then install it for us.  So, with all hands on deck, this beautiful flooring was installed.

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It then came to finishing the floor so that its true beauty could be revealed.  My dad and mom, both of whom are completely aware of my craziness, knew I would not be able to handle breathing in dust and fumes, so they also very generously helped us to have a green certified wood refinishing company come in and finish up the floor.  The girls and I were able to stay in the house while the floor was sanded and finished, never breathing in a single particle of dust or any nasty fumes.

I am not sure what I was expecting, but let me tell you, this floor exceeded every expectation I ever could imagine.  This floor, coupled with a fabulous antique light fixture from this wonderful shop, has quickly become my favorite space in the house.  We are truly blessed for all the generosity of our family.

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Garden Renovation

We have yet another project in the works.  In an effort to add more perennial and annual growing space, we are again (for the forth year in a row) expanding our garden.

We are trying to keep renovation costs to a minimum so we are repurposing materials we already had on our property.  We were also lucky enough to obtain reclaimed timbers from an old barn to create some raised beds.  (Remember the ones we were going to use for a new dining room floor?  Enter new idea.)

As you can see, it is definitely still a work in progress.  Hopefully, I will have pictures of the completed project soon.

A New Project?

My husband and I seem to have an ongoing list of potential projects sitting on our kitchen counter at all times.  Some of these tasks get completed, others just slowly work their way further down the list until they disappear all together.

Well, my husband and father-in-law have come up with a budding thought recently that I am extremely thrilled about!  A few years ago my father-in-law obtained a number of beautiful timbers from a century old barn that was being torn down in a nearby town.  He used several of these 100-year old beams for a pavilion he constructed and let me tell you, it is a feast for the eyes.

The remainder of the boards sat unused for quite some time, but now they may be given new life.  My hubby, father-in-law, and a man from a local mill are hoping to take the remaining timbers and cut them into boards to be used as a floor in our dining room.  Now, if you happened to read my piece a few weeks back, you know that I LOVE antiques, so even the prospect of this new project is just thrilling to me.

I will keep all of you updated with any progress that is made.  Fingers crossed.