Saturday, March 31, 2012

Craft Room Update #1 - Plus Bonus: Get Fit on a Budget

If you missed previous craft room updates, the links to all are at the bottom of this post.  

First a little history on our basement.  Eight years ago, my husband dug out our basement.  It had a thin layer of cement over dirt, which was mostly dirt after nearly 100 years.  It's what we call a Michigan basement around here.  Underneath were tons of field stones.  He hauled most of that out by himself.

There are two large hills down by the pond created of rocks from our basement.  Then came the boulder.  It was so big he had to drag it out of the basement door with a tractor.  He didn't think it would even go through the door, but it did thank goodness!  After that back breaking work,  he then dug another 6 inches or so of dirt out under that.  It. Was. A. Job!  His brother helped at the end with some of it.  I have pictures of some of the process somewhere, but it would take a month of Sundays to find them and I'm too pooped right now to try.

After that huge job, he laid drainage tiles throughout the basement, brought in tons of gravel, and finally we had a mason friend pour a proper cement floor.  We did all this because the year before, during several days of torrential rain, our basement filled with water about a foot deep.  The old tile system had plugged and couldn't keep up with that much water.

I had to give you that history to give due credit to my amazing hubby.  He busted his chops on that basement. If he hadn't, there would be no way I could create a craft room down there now. Now comes my part in this transformation.

In my best Gomer Pyle voice:  "It's uuuuuugly".  I've been doing all the grunt work that has to come before the 'purty' stuff.

These two pictures sort of give you an idea of the size of the space I'm working with...and how much work I have to do!  It will be about 14' by 10' finished.  I'm hoping to take this dark, spooky corner of the basement and turn it into a light, cozy, cottage style room that I will actually want to be in.  Think I can do it???

Because there is little room to work in the basement, I was so excited that the weather was very warm a couple of weeks ago, allowing me to work in the barn.  I worked like a fiend priming and painting cabinet pieces for my craft room.  Everything has to be primed and painted twice each. That's 19 boards per cabinet x2.  That's a lot of painting my friends, and that's just two cabinets.  I have at least two other cabinets to build in this room, possibly 3 more.  I really want to have this room done by the end of April, but don't hold your breath!

Get fit tip #1:  Firm up flabby arms by priming, painting and lifting heavy MDF boards 4 times each. That's 38 boards 4 times each, or 152 lifts plus about 1 million reps with a paint roller.

I'm actually using pieces that were intended for two cabinets in the office, but decided to use them in my craft room instead.  Ken can always cut more boards at work for me.  Please don't hate me :)

Sorry for the poor pictures.  It's hard to take good pictures in the barn.  Since this photo was taken, I'm learning to use my camera's features a little.  The night time setting helps with low light situations. Hopefully my photos will improve!

This week temperatures were back down into the 40's and freezing at night, so the painting came to a temporary halt.  Switching gears, I started on the basement walls.  First we had to figure out what we were going to do.  This old farmhouse has two foot thick poured cement walls filled with field stone.  It was built over 100 years ago, and except for some minor cracks, it's as solid as the day it was poured.

I brushed these walls very thoroughly to get centuries old dust off of them, while holding the hose of our shop vac under the brush so I didn't inhale it.

Get Fit Tip #2:  Grasp a stiff bristle brush very firmly and go over every inch of your basement walls (well at least 25 feet of them) multiple times for an exhausting upper body and arm workout.  To improve coordination and dexterity, maneuver a vacuum hose at the same time, while trying not to trip over the vacuum cord.  

The walls are very rough, with large craters where rocks left air holes.  Although we don't have any major leaks, there is one corner that is always a little damp (there used to be a well under our basement, and we have a flowing well down by the pond).

I think this is where Saddam Hussein was hiding...scary!

Based on the salesman's advice at Home Depot, we bought these two products to fill holes and waterproof the walls.  The top container is Drylok Fast Plug hydraulic cement. It was $7.25 for the smallest bucket. It is a dry powder that you mix with water.  Be very careful.  It has all kinds of scary warnings on it.  You don't want to breath the dust.  I mixed it outside, with a mask on, upwind.    I also wore rubber gloves and glasses, then raced back into the house and down the stairs to get it applied before it hardened.   It drys in 3 to 5 minutes, so you can only mix a little at a time.  

Get Fit Tip #3:  Based on the number of times I went up and down the stairs...well lets just say I don't need a fancy butt working machine.  I think one could bounce a coin of my tush after that workout!

Here's proof of my workout - a patched hole.  

I found that the little bucket of Fast Plug didn't go very far, with the craters I had to fill.  It would be fine for smaller cracks, but not economical for our purposes.  After asking our mason friend, he suggested buying a bag each of mortar mix and regular concrete, adding 3 coffee cans of concrete to the bag of mortar mix and then adding water.  So Sunday after church we will be making another Home Depot stop.

I wish I had pretty pictures to show you.  I will eventually.  After the walls get patched, I will be painting the Drylok waterproofer on the walls.  It's why I have to fill the craters.  I can't get a good seal otherwise.  Then it will be on to framing out the walls and running electrical for outlets.  Oh joy!

If you don't hear from me in a couple weeks, send out the search party.  The boogie man might have got me.

Basement Craft Room - Humble Beginnings
An Entertaining Sewing Center
Craft Room Dreaming
Craft Room Update #1 - Prepping the Walls
Craft Room Update #2 - White Walls
Craft Room Update #3 - Framing the Walls
Craft Room Update #4 - The Floors

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tray with Old World Finish and Craft Room Progress

In my last post I talked about the three P's that sometimes prevent me from finishing projects.  Two other things that used to (and sometimes still do) stop me cold, are boredom and difficulties.  When a project is a big one, I can easily get bored.  Other times I run into problems.  Things don't work out the way I thought they would, or go badly wrong.

When that happens, sometimes it's okay to give up, but usually I just need to take a break.  That's when I tackle a small, easy project.  The satisfaction of finishing something, and doing it well, shakes me out of the boredom and gives me courage and renewed energy to take that difficult project back on.  Stepping away from the big project for awhile lets my mind work on the problem subconsciously.  Often,  I think of a better way to tackle it and sometimes it leads me in a whole new direction.

One of the projects in my craft room fell into the difficult category.  What should have been easy, wasn't. Things aren't going well.  Here's a hint:

Yep...time to take a break.  I pulled out a tray I picked up at a flea market for FREE.

 I've been drooling over Rosemary's old world finishes at Villabarnes.  I didn't have gesso, so I mixed up a cup of white chalk paint using Susan's recipe at Homeroad.

First I primed with dark gray primer leftover from my son's bedroom floor.

After that dried, I applied the chalk paint with a paint brush over the whole piece before rubbing most of it back off.

I. Am. In. Love.

Now I think I can go back to the big project, if I can stop staring at this tray that is.  You have to try this finish on!  It is so simple, so fast, and so amazing!  Thank you Rosemary for the inspiration!

Update:  I didn't realize until now that I used satin paint instead of flat.  I had about 3 paints out and grabbed the satin, but was very pleased with how it turned out.  Also I did not use any top finish on it.  I liked the way it looked and didn't want to mess it up.

This post was featured at Villabarnes, the inspiration for my tray.  Thank you Rosemary.  I am so honored!


I've linked to these awesome parties...come join the fun!


The Shabby Nest

Fridays Unfolded

Rooted In Thyme

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special
I Heart Nap Time
It's OVerflowing

RomanceOnADime.comThe DIY Dreamer

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Tale of a Robin's Egg Blue Dresser

Priorities . Perfectionism . Procrastination 

Three words, three P's in my pod, three things that hold me back.
before glazing

These three things are what often hold up my projects.  The first, priorities, can't be helped.  My family needs to be fed, the house needs to be cleaned now and then, emergencies come up. Believe it or not, those things take priority over projects.  Imagine that!

scary glazing process - gulp!

The next two, perfectionism and procrastination, are under my control, although it often seems the other way around.  Yes, I am a perfectionist.  I do fight it and I'm better than I used to be.  

I used to be a perfectionist, but I'm trying to improve. - Fray Pascual 

I still struggle with it though.  Do you ?  Do you create something, then not post it because it's not perfect, or because you think it still needs something,  but you don't know what?  My name is Deborah and I'm a recovering perfectionist.  

Perfectionism then leads to Procrastination.   Because it's not perfect, I put off posting it.

Don't procrastinate. Put it off NOW - author unknown

Other times I just get burned out by a project, or it just doesn't go well.   When that happens I shift gears and move on to something else. 

Before, I rarely got back to the original project.  I've learned to discipline myself a little better now though.  Now I make myself go back and finish my projects.

I use that little break to get a high, if you will, from creating something smaller, finishing it, and putting it to use, or on display.  That sense of accomplishment spurs me on to return to the original project and finish it.    

So how about you.  What unfinished projects do you have lurking in your closets?  Care to share?

You wouldn't leave a girl sticking her neck out here all alone would you?  Surely I'm not the only one.  Say it isn't so!

Anyone?  Do I hear crickets chirping?

This has been the tale of Jamie's Robins egg blue dresser, that was supposed to be teal blue, but she likes anyway, but I wanted it to be perfect, and I still want to do something else on the front, so I didn't post it because I'm a recovering procrastinating perfectionist (RPP)...whew!  My name is Deborah...

I've linked to these great parties:

Creatively Living

Todays Creative

The DIY Dreamer


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