House Tour-Part 1

The yard is the crowning jewel of this property.  The house is old and the previous owners made some interesting decorating decisions, which means it needs a lot of work.  The property surrounding the house, on the other hand, is amazing.  There is more than enough space to do pretty much everything we want and still have room for the kids to run wild.  Here’s a tour, complete with current improvements and future plans.

We’ll start with the front:

IMG_3466When we moved in there were three separate/very weedy beds around the trees in the front yard.  Plans are in process to  convert the three into one large bed. Most of the work will be done in the spring but it has been laid out.  Weeding is a constant work in progress but definitely looks better than it did.


Here lies interesting decorating decision number one, the garden bed to the right of the front sidewalk.  There were 3 hostas and a bunch of pansies and marigolds haphazardly planted in it.  We though the house would look a little more finished if it disappeared so the hostas were relocated to the beds next to the house and everything else was pulled.  Come spring that patch of dirt will become grass and I think it’ll fit in much better.  The color of the house will probably change next year as well.


This row of bushes is situated approximately 6 feet inside the property line, which makes mowing a little more difficult.  These are also slated for removal in the near future but I’m hoping some industrious locals will give them new homes.

Now for my favorite part, the back:

IMG_3468 IMG_3467

This is directly behind the house.  I’m envisioning a swing in the big tree in the top photo while Harry is planning a ginormous garage on the other side of the tree. The garage location is heavily debated but thankfully we have a few years before the plan becomes reality.  We haven’t broken in the fire pit yet, maybe this weekend.

IMG_3475 IMG_3473 IMG_3472I’ve been lovingly referring to this area as the farm.  Its the clearing you can vaguely see in the back of the previous fire pit image.  This clearing will house the orchard, garden and possibly a chicken coop.  Plans are currently being developed for a fence to encircle the entire area.  We have a slight deer problem out here so a fence is a necessity.  I’m just a little excited about this area’s future potential.


I estimate that the clearing is about the halfway point of the property.  The rest of it is heavily wooded and accessible only through a series of trails.  From what we can tell the property backs onto a creek and while I’ve walked the trails I have yet to discover it.

To say that we feel blessed to have stumbled upon this house and been in the position to purchase it would be an understatement.  We can’t wait to see what the future holds for us here.

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Old House Problems

We bought a house!  Its an older house (1955) but came with an awesome yard (1.89 Acres, cue happy dance) We’ll get to  how, where and when later, today I want to share with you our weekend discovery.  IMG_1971 A little background.  The day we moved in husband (I don’t have a catchy name for him yet) noticed paint peeling off the paneled wall in the picture. Further investigation showed that whoever painted the paneling neither sanded nor applied primer to the panels prior to painting, it would have to be removed before we could repaint the room.  It peeled off easily in sheets and created a huge mess. We got the three panels in the picture finished then took a break to clear the house of boxes. This weekend I decided to finish what we started and peel the rest of the paint off the paneling.  I worked in two phases, clear everything I could reach from the ground then climb the later for the last bit at the ceiling.  It was all fun and games until I got to the top and discovered this.  IMG_1970 Do you see the problem?  Let me zoom in for you.  IMG_1975

That, my friends is the former location of our return air vent.  Apparently in the 1950s they didn’t believe in completely enclosing such things in ductwork, thinking the wall cavity would suffice. (Update: apparently this is still common practice in residential construction so there may not be anything we need to do.)  Instead of painting the paneling we probably get to remove it and build some new ducts. Hopefully thats as far as the problem goes. The remaining 25% of paint will be staying on the paneling, I finished just enough to keep my OCD from flaring up.  There really isn’t any point in finishing the job if its going to disappear in the near future anyway.  Next step in this riveting saga is to bring in the experts to see how to fix it. Hopefully this is the worst of the problems we discover as we make our mark on this house but something tells me its got a few more secrets up its sleeve.

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Stockings and Bow Ties

I pushed my creative ability to the max this week.  Having been unable to find a quality Christmas stocking in the store I decided to make some myself.  Working without a sewing machine, I took this pattern and hand stitched 3 stockings for my 2 guys and me (the cat gets a tree every year for christmas so he doesn’t need a stocking).  Hand stitching was a little daunting but it turned out to be much easier and faster then I could have imagined.  The end result was better then I ever imagined.  

Can you guess who’s stocking is which?  If that wasn’t enough we decided that Magnus needed a bow tie for his Christmas outfit.  This proved to be a little easier and quicker but the end result was pretty nice.

Ignore the shirt/ tie combo, it was the first shirt I grabbed to try the tie with but it should look nice with his Christmas clothes.


All in all I think it was a pretty successful week.


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Its finally done…Almost

It only took me seven months but I’m finally back with a finished nursery post.  It took a while to determine the overall look of the room but we finally figured it out.

This is the wall that took so long to finish.  The changing table was the only thing that was done before Magnus arrived.  Harry built it and while he’s not completely happy with how it turned out i think it works wonderfully.  The rocking chair was a $10 Craigslist find and the puppy is something I picked up in college.  The curtains were the final hold-out item, I just finished them this week.  We debated between buying pre-made curtains or making our own and in the end we found a pattern that we both liked.  I used iron-on hem tape to hem the edges and create the sleeve for the curtain rod to slide through.

Mag’s room is pretty small.  In fact these two photos all but sum up his room.  I made a skirt for the crib using this tutorial but we recently had to lower the crib mattress due to the little man learning how to crawl and sit up by himself so the skirt has since disappeared. The art on the wall was created by my uber talented little sister.  There’s a rumor going around that she’s developing an Etsy site.  I’ll keep you posted on any developments.  Here’s a close-up of the art.

We love it and largely based the rest of the room off of it.


The room still needs a floor lamp and I’m considering one more piece of art but with the curtains finished the room finally looks complete.  Now if only the rest of the house would follow…


I’m hoping this is the beginning of more consistant postings but I’m not promising anything.  Until next time I’ll leave you with the obligatory Magnus picture.

Ice cream beards are adorable, aren’t they?

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She’s Awesome!

The finishing touch to the nursery arrived today.  A few months ago I asked my sister to develop an art piece for the nursery as she’s a very talented watercolorist.  Once Harry has seen it and we hav figured out where to mount it I will share photos but for now they must be kept secret.  Her art tends to be abstract, a little to modern for some tastes but perfect for the limited focusing abilities of a newborn.  I can’t wait to get them on the wall.

In order to fully embarrass my sister and brag a bit about her talents, I’ve shared a couple of her previous works at the end of this post.  Thanks, Regina!!  They turned out beautiful!


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Brave Kitty

I love snow, probably partially why I prefer Minnesota to any other states I have visited.  My theory being if its going to be cold then there should be snow on the ground.  It just seems to make the world feel warmer.  After suffering over the last couple of weeks as my Minnesota friends bragged about their accumulating pile, Illinois finally got its first substantial snowfall today.  As of noon today we had approximately 5 inches and it’s still coming down.  Feeling ambitious, I decided to sweep off the front and back stoops and see if the cat wanted to go out.  Surprisingly he did and actually went for a short romp in the snow before subcoming to the cold.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of Tigg huddling out in the white stuff (by the time I grabbed the camera he had retreated to the cleared back porch and I didn’t have the heart to send his shivering mass back out to the yard) but I did snag evidence of his treck.


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First of all, in answer to Darcy’s comment that probably expressed the questions of many of you  I am good.  Your grandson, great-grandson, nephew, great-nephew(don’t you feel old now, Darcy?), and our son has had a clean bill of health so far.  He is incredibly active and thankfully hasn’t discovered my ribs yet.  The Lamaze toy, Mortimer the Moose, is on his Christmas list if anyone is lost on what to get him.

On to Thanksgiving.  We almost made an impulse trip north but a snowstorm moved in and we decided not to risk it.  Instead, we drove out to a Christmas tree farm and picked up our tree.  The place was pretty awesome.  There are golden retrievers running around, entertaining the visitors as well as a small zoo complete with reindeer and an emu.  They offered authentic wagon rides as well (by authentic I mean the wagon was pulled by horses not tractors).  It will be fun to take Magnus out there next year and maybe we bring home a christmas puppy as well as a tree.

We found a great tree, but underestimated the width of it.  Height-weise it’s perfect but its wide berth takes up about half the width of the living room.

The cat thought Christmas came early, he loves trees.  I think its mostly due to the fact that there is now a water bowl within 3 feet of his bed.

The tree has been given a few days to acclimate to the house and will be decorated on Tuesday.  It has already made the house smell amazing.

We managed to find a tiny turkey and after the tree was taken care of Harry prepped and roasted it.  It turned out pretty good and complemented my mashed potatoes and cranberry conserve well.  Followed with a pumpkin cheesecake for dessert and all in all I think it turned out to be a pretty nice day.  The following shows the feast and you may even catch a glimpse of my protruding belly if you look close enough (no outie yet but the little one is working on it.)

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