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When a Mudroom Needs a Mudroom

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As soon as we bought Providence Acres we added a wall off the carport to creat a Mudroom. We are so happy to have this space. In summer it keeps towels, sunscreen, flip flops, and outside grandchildren toys like bubbles confined. In the winter, coats hang on the hooks.

This space keeps most, but not all the clutter out our the living space.

The problem is that we sometimes have shoes that are so dirty or wet we need to take them off outside. Rain boots, rain jackets… For the last few years we have had a wrought iron and wood bench outside the door but when the vehicles are pulled up, there isn’t a lot of room to get out to the deck. We needed something a little narrower.

The solution to the problem has been sitting in the shop for two years.

I built (with help from Mr. Math) a cedar bench for my parents several years ago. He taught me how to hide all the screws and I was really proud of the little cedar bench. It was rough but I thought they could use it at their deer camp to put on and take off boots on the porch. Parents being parents, my mom thought it was too nice for the camp so it sat in their entry way for three years until Harvey flooded their home. My mom asked me to take home the bench. It then sat in my shop for two years.

Last week I got busy. I sanded down the bench, used diluted bleach to get the flood stains off the legs and then sealed it with Olympic clear outdoor sealer I already had out for the seven foot table. I am always struck by how the sealer changes the depth in color of the cedar. It turned out well.

The bench now sits outside our carport door and it fits well.

We removed the AstroTurf from the porch concrete and have purchased tile to match what we have in the mudroom to install. It is on our long list of things to do.

View from the carport door to the deck

Now we can easily get from the porch to the deck even when we have vehicles under the carport.

We are making steady progress.

I hope you are all staying healthy and taking care of yourself.

Blessings,

Karen

A Seven Foot Buffet Table for the Far from Perfect Patio

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We bought a stainless steel tool bench table top that was dented because it was dropped in shipping for $45.00 a year ago. The top is a stainless steel sheet covering workbench hardboard and weighs 83 lbs.

I didn’t know exactly what we were going to do with the tool bench top but I convinced Mr. Math that we needed it, even if only just for the shop and it was a great deal. Now that we have the deck, I wanted a serving table/ work space sort of what they made at Always Chasing Life . I liked the casters so that we could move around where we needed it. Now that we can move from the the front porch to the back porch all on the same level it will be easy to set up as we need when we once again have groups over to the house. Since our serving table will be outside all the time it needed to be made from treated lumber or painted with outdoor paint or with rot resistant wood. This one has a bit of all that.

We are still working on a budget to get the deck done and I am still trying to get the clutter cleaned up in our storage so I tried hard to not buy anything more than absolutely necessary for this project. I knew we had some 4×4 posts for the legs a friend gave us a while back when they repacked their porch posts. I also remembered that we have scraps of cedar boards around that need to be used up. We just had to purchase 4 2X4 boards and 2 1X4 boards along with casters for the legs to help the 7 foot beast move around easily in order to put this together. I collected the scrap cedar and posts then Mr. Math bought the wood and casters.

The cedar was a variety of lengths and widths. A table saw and planer fixed that.

Mr. Math assembled the frame and I stained and painted it with materials on hand.

I knew I wanted the shelf on bottom to be able to hold things when needed but not hold water when it rains so we spaced the boards four inches apart. We cut the boards for the shelf to width, planed, and sanded most of the old paint and stain off the boards-but not all because I like letting it show through , then sealed the cedar boards with a clear outdoor sealer and finally nailed them to the bottom 2X4’s for additional storage when using it as a serving table. We did leave the center board a little wider to make the spacing work.

L brackets attached the top to the base.

The table is far from perfect just like everything back there and Mr. Math still needs to work on the dents on the top a little more but it looks good and will be useful. It won’t rust or rot outdoors, will be a good work station and food serving space, and will store right next to the house.

The Husky sign side will be the back side of the server, but it isn’t awful.
This ding needs additional love but will never be perfect. I am okay with that.
It will be parked here until the grill gets moved and the deck gets stained. Then it will be under the covered porch.

Altogether we spent about $60.00 on a seven foot long counter height stainless workspace that is far from perfect but I am thrilled to have it. I can’t wait to get everything totally put together and for us to be able to have a blow-out party once the coast is clear on the Covid front.

I hope you are staying safe, and finding reasons to be thankful in this season.

We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Hairpin Leg Cedar Desk and Shelves

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Have you ever held onto something for a long time time just waiting for the right time to use it? I do, probably too often, but this time I am so glad that I waited.

In 2014 my dad gave us a load of cut cedar. I thought at the time I would never use it all, but six years later we are almost out of cedar. We have used the cedar A LOT. Just a few things we have done are:mudroom bench, cedar shelves, and cedar shutters for the 8th and M house.

One of the last large slab sections I had I knew would make a nice coffee table or desk. I even found hairpin coffee table length legs at a garage sale back in 2017. I shared a whole post about the slab of wood, the short legs and my plans, but my heart wasn’t in it. I knew if I finished it then I wouldn’t have a place for it and would have to sell it. So, it all hung out unassembled in the shop. For.Three.Years.

I had three table height legs that I pulled out of a burn pile at our deer camp and really wished there had been four. I even showed you pictures of the three in that old post. This past spring Mr. Math was using his tractor to level the ground around the burn pile when he unearthed the missing fourth leg. I knew the slab of cedar would get to be a desk but I still didn’t have a home for it. I also had this photo saved and have an orange chair like the black in the photo. The site where I found it is no longer active.

In February a relative asked me to start looking for furniture for him. I knew immediately that the desk and chair would have a home.

Mr. Math added plates to a crack in the wood to make sure it would be sturdy and hold up and attached the legs.

I love how it turned out.

I also made a great find on the 90% off shelves at Hobby Lobby. These two shelf brackets for $4.99. They were missing the bolts and boards but a couple more pieces of cedar will go well with the desk.

All together I have a little over $10.00 in everything that is in this post.

It is going to look great in an upcoming apartment bedroom for a young man.

I hope your week is going well.

Blessings,

Karen

Next Steps on the Deck

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Now that the deck and the porch are connected, I consider them one thing. Not so with Mr. Math. He still considers them separate so I will give you the deck only run down on what we still need to do to get it finished. The porch is on the horizon.

First we need to add cedar around the pergola posts. We want the posts to match the front porch and carport porches like you see below. That will not be a hard project. We will get to keep our feet on the ground most of the time.

Next, we need to add a wind break for where the grill is going to go. We have 5 feet of deck outside the pergola.

I saw this windbreak online and saved it but can’t find the source. Ours is going to look a lot like this only with the boards closer and going around the corner. The gray porch paint and cedar stain will look a lot like this.

We are also going to add Edison patio lights to the pergola and this globe candle holder.

Finally, about August or September we are going to stain the deck with a cedar color. It takes up to six months for the treated wood to be ready to accept stain but the heat and rain seem to be speeding it along. It already has stopped beading water which is a sign it is ready.

Once the deck is finished the porch gets underway.

We are enjoying our summer and hope you are too.

Blessings,

Karen

Phase 1 of the Deck is Done

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When I shared with you the Far from Perfect Patio furniture I told you the deck wasn’t ready for you to see yet but as of 11:00 a.m. today, phase 1 of the project is done! Woo hoo!

We have a great group of friends who love to get together to hang out, eat, and drink. Mostly we just want to be together. In early March, everyone showed up at our house for supper. The weather was nice and the group ended up jammed on our 12x 12 back porch.

I took this today and am dying because I forgot to take my next project out of the picture but this is the back porch. The porch is about to have a makeover too. Imagine 12 people in folding chairs, around the table and avoiding the grill on this space.

Having our friends all crowded up on he porch got us thinking that we needed a bigger space in the backyard. We also didn’t have an easy way to move from the carport to the back porch. Most people went through the house to get there. We decided that the best solution was a 12 x 20 deck to connect the porch and the carport. The porch faces west but there are a lot of trees back there to give evening shade.

The first step was to clear the space, grade it to a slight slope away from the house and attach ledge boards to the house and porch.

He did get help to put the giant pergola posts into the 36 inch deep holes. A hardworking college kids came out to help him. Once the pergola posts were in I drilled pilot holes in the deck boards and he screwed them to the joists. We got the whole deck down in one day. Then we headed to our friends’ hot tub to work out the kinks. I didn’t take a single picture of the deck until we got the giant header boards up. I was too exhausted to think. Once again thank goodness for the college kid. We could not have done this alone.

The top of the pergola tested us. We got all rafters up then went on a scheduled camping trip. We returned and it stated to rain. It rained every day at least an inch for a week. We then left again for another camping trip. When we finally came home and could work the pressure treated boards had warped some. We, an I do mean we, Had to get up on the ladders and had to work hard get them back where they belonged so that an end board could be attached at each end. I recommend working with treated lumber as quickly as you can. It is very wet and as it dries it changes shape.

Finally, today Mr. Math got on top of the pergola and attached the cross pieces. We selected rested 1×4 for this part. It took him a while to get things set up but he finished the cross pieces in about an hour. The clean up took almost as long.

I put this watermelon on the table to remind myself that even though we were not super speedy getting the deck done to this point, we weren’t idle. We planted a pretty high garden this year that included squash, zucchini, green beans, purple hull peas, corn cucumbers, tomatoes, tomatillos, okra, cantaloupe and watermelon. I am pretty proud of us.

In the near future we will be wrapping the posts with cedar and adding a wind screen and place for the grill to go. While waiting for the treated wood to be ready to stain we are moving on to the porch. It is in desperate need of love and attention.

I hope that this trying time finds you and yours safe and healthy.

We love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Karen

The Far from Perfect Patio Furniture

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Hello friends from Providence Acres where I always seem to have a project going and my sweet husband does the heavy lifting. We are in the process of building a deck on the back of our house. We are adding a total of 240 square feet of semi shaded outdoor space that will connect our carport to our back porch and I cannot wait to get it finished. It has been slow going for us, but we are making steady progress in spite of lots rain, humidity, keeping up with the garden, mowing, and heat. Lots and lots of heat. We set a budget of $2000 to get the porch built and we are going to be close, but a little over. I can’t wait to show it to you but we aren’t quite ready yet. As we worked on the deck I kept thinking about a patio dining table and chairs we had out in our barn. The set was given to us by our buddies across the road. It was rough when we were given it two years ago and storing it in a barn didn’t help it get any better. When we pulled them out of the barn I had my doubts. Serious doubts.

Mr. Math had to rebuild a lot of the table underside. It is a butterfly leaf table which we had never messed with before.
Every chair needed work, some more than others.

The set was probably pretty expensive when purchased and was well used. It had been refinished at least once but probably twice. Anything wooden left exposed to sun, rain and humidity is going to deteriorate without lots of maintenance and this set was no exception. There was rotted wood, loose screws, broken boards, and general wear and tear.

After Mr. Math got it all repaired, and I learned how to use wood Bondo, I used some Behr Low Luster Porch paint the I found on the oops shelf at Home Depot for $9.00. I find the best stuff there and hang on to it until I find the right project for it. I am not sure what the problem was with the paint but it is definitely a Behr porch paint called Sea Cave.

I hand painted the chairs. Every stinking chair. It took me three days. All because I was afraid to use the airless sprayer I bought two months ago. When I came time to paint the table I knew I was never going to get the finish I wanted without using the sprayer. 2 hours of reading and two YouTube videos later, I asked Mr. Math to help me. The sprayer turned this:

All that work, both underside and top side just over an hour including wait time to turn it over. Why was I a scaredy-cat?

Just thought you might like to see some of the repairs. This set will never be mistaken for brand new, but with the paint job it doesn’t look half bad.

The set turned out better than I expected.

I found the cushions at Family Dollar for $5.00 each. They make the chairs more comfortable and add a bit of color.

All together, including the cushions, paint, screws, plates and Bondo this project cost about $40.00. Not bad for adding seating and a table. We are looking forward to having family and friends over to enjoy them.

1940’s Chest of Drawers

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Waaay back on December 30th Mr. Math and I headed off to collect a chest of drawers, vanity, and mirror. Somehow along the way I also picked up a lime green claw foot tub but that is a story for another day.

The furniture belonged to my friend’s grandparents and had been in a garage for 20 years and was showing what humidity can do to furniture over time. The veneer was coming off and the drawers were warped. The mirror is going to really need some attention down the road but it is a beauty. I had no idea when I picked up these pieces that shortly I would temporarily go back to work. As a principal. Then there was a pandemic. Then online learning, zoom meetings, virtual everything. The bedroom furniture got put on the back burner. I have been busy people. I promise. So the furniture moved from one garage to another.

I honestly thought that the chest of drawers would be too much work to save but that original folk art factory stenciling kept staring at me. I knew I would have to give saving at least some of it a try. I got busy stripping the veneer off. I had to get a steamer after parts of it but it came off and got sanded. I bought water based polyurethane hoping I could seal the drawers after cleaning them. The first coat was a disaster. The old varnish under the poly started bubbling up. I stopped after one coat thinking that this was all getting primed and painted. I went to bed thinking about that darn chest of drawers. The next morning I decided to try going over the bubbly varnish with steel wool and to my surprise it wasn’t horrible. It took four coats to get them looking decent. They still aren’t perfect but I am glad they were preserved. The top was totally stripped and sanded by my husband including all those wiggly grooves around the top drawer. I stained it all dark walnut

I am keeping this set for my guest room. The base of the chest of drawers was painted a warm white called cinnamon bun. I liked the original hardware patina so I kept the as is but will be spraying them with a sealer soon. I convinced my husband to stop moving it inside to take some pictures, but I still have some touch ups. I love how it turned out and look forward to having it in my home.

Laundry Room Touch Up

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We have a small laundry room right off the mudroom and kitchen that has no door to close it off. There are two openings to the laundry room, two windows, a full sized sink and cabinets under and over the cabinets, a full sized top load washer and dryer, and upright freezer in the teeny tiny space. It is also where our mean old cat eats and has her litter box.

Can you tell it isn’t my favorite space?

It also gets cluttered in there because, well, we have stuff and a serious lack of storage space in this house. We knew we needed more storage in there so we looked to the only space we have, the space above the dryer. We made a plan to add shelving to make the room more functional. The photo below is a little late. Mr. Math got busy before I took any photos but this is how it looked at the beginning of the progress on our little touch up. Was always embarrassed for anyone to see it.

The first thing added is a white laminate board above the washer and dryer to keep things from falling behind the machines. Next, we added two very old, rough cut cypress barn boards from a barn in Kirbyville, Texas that we took down the day our first granddaughter was born four years ago.

The shelf brackets were made from pipe fittings.

I wanted a sort of closed storage on the shelves so large rustic tubs are filled with dog and cat supplies, extra cleaning supplies, paper goods, and laundry spot cleaners.

Mr. Math used more pipe to create a hanging clothes bar. We are tall so the space above the door is a great spot.

I still want to change the lighting in the room but I am pleased with how it looks.

This old glass washboard was my great grandmother’s. I hung it to remind myself how good I have it when I complain about the laundry that I have to do.

Another project done during our stay at home time.

We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Finds From Our Week in the Woods

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We just spent a week at the Redneck Retreat. The weather was beautiful and we spent the week getting some projects done and spring cleaning. It is the perfect place to walk and enjoy nature. There are trails, creeks, a pond, flowers, and animals a plenty.

While on one of my walks I discovered an interesting dump site. The dump site was virtually all old dumped alcohol bottles. The bottles are tossed in the woods along what at one time was the main road past the land the Redneck is located on when the land was part of the Weir Long Leaf Lumber Company. The article below is from Galveston in 1922. I find it unbelievable that the town, company, railroad, swimming pool etc. was built with the expectation that it would only be there 18 years or until all the virgin timber was gone.

After the mill moved along the land was left in rough shape and the area suffered. It did have one benefit though, until Jasper county changed their laws in 2017, Newton County was a wet county while adjacent Jasper County was dry. Basically you could buy alcohol in Newton country and not Jasper. Our property is just over the county line. The landmark we use to tell people that they need to turn is County Line Liquor.

I can’t imagine why this particular road (trail really) was party central in the 1960’s ( after a little checking most of the bottles and the few cans I saw were from that time) but my guess is that it was a quick trip for more supplies if needed.

I did pull a few bottles off the top and brought them back to clean up.

I loved the green ones so I searched them online. I now know that they were Mickey’s Widemouth Bottles and that they switched from snap on lids to screw on in 1980 but were made starting in the 1950’s.

They are plentiful on ebay and Etsy.

The ones I found will be holding the wildflowers I love to pick when we are up there.

We have lots to still explore on the property and look forward to making memories there for years to come.

We are so blessed to have a place to get away to and share with our family and friends.

We love hearing from you all.

Blessings,

Karen

Kitchen Plans

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Well hello there. I don’t know about you but I seem to have a lot of time on my hands right now. I just watch the news once a day because man, it is heavy. I am working from home 2 1/2 days a week but the whole no commute thing means that I am spending a lot of time daydreaming about projects I want to get done. Poor Mr. Math.

We have three properties that we have projects either currently planned or underway. We ( I ) am/are a little crazy like that. We have our home in little Coldspring, Texas where we recently replaced the flooring in and are now planning to make the laundry room more functional and cute. The big project of turning the Guest Shed into a true guest house is on hold until we can feel good about having contractors on the property. We have a house and garage apartment in Huntsville, Texas that are rental properties. We are going to be doing some landscaping work on soon particularly in the back yard for two little girls who have birthdays coming up, but mostly I have been thinking about the Redneck Retreat in what Apple Maps says is Wiergate, Texas but I think is in Sharpsville. The Redneck is a deer camp and almost exclusively a dude property from October until the end of February. It is a rustic cabin with the only running water coming from rainwater collection and there is no internet or cell service available on the property. The one room cabin sleeps eight in bunk beds and a foldout sofa. I want to start using the camp more to get away and connect with nature. I also want my girlfriends to want to come there. We are near lakes, Louisiana, and sweet little East Texas towns that need to be explored. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the Redneck kitchen while mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest after we started the process to get the kitchen up to a functional state (yay for a vent hood and working microwave!) I now have a plan of sorts for the rest of the kitchen. I say of sorts because we are still thinking about the base cabinets. We are either going to just buy stock unfinished cabinets and paint them or we are going to modify what is there and add cabinet doors/ drawers then paint. The top cabinets are all going to be white, the bottoms are going to be a sage-ish green. Our Habitat Restore has recycled paint that they sell for much less than retail paint in the following colors. I am planning on Spring.

Here is my inspiration:

A Beautiful Mess

The countertop is going to be black Ikea laminate. It will take 3 sections of the laminate to get the u-shaped kitchen completed. Of course the laminate is going to have to wait. Ikea is closed. Just for grins I looked at what it would cost to ship the laminate to us. It would be more than the cost of the laminate for it to come that way but a girl can dream.

Easter week we will be unplugging at the Redneck and will be getting the last two sections of upper cabinets in and we will be deciding what we want to do on the lower cabinets. We will be measuring, drawing and dreaming. When I look at the different counter top levels and pieces, I know whatever we do it will be an improvement.

I definitely know I want a closet to the right of the section of cabinets in the picture below for brooms, mops, cleaning supplies etc. That move will help to relocate the drinking water we have to bring with us closer to the stove and sink. I even have a great vintage door that I think would work there.

We are headed the property over the Easter holiday and I am looking forward to making progress.

We love hearing from you,

Blessings,

Karen

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