I saw on Pinterest lots of examples of making trees out of wood and Dollar Tree faux tin tiles and thought I would give it a try.
I plan on my trees going on our deck table so they are sturdier than a lot I saw. The need to hold up with wind and rain. The triangles are cut out of leftover pieces of wood from our stash. I made sure they would fit the tile.
After the wood was cut, I traced the shapes off on the tiles and cut them out with scissors. Several sites talked about using hot glue but my things get stored in a super hot space. Hot glue doesn’t hold up so contact cement was the best choice.
Everything got a coat of Kilz Gripper Primer. It is made to stick to slick surfaces.
I used the same paint I used on my mural to paint the trees then dry brushed the high spots with black and white paint. Literally you dip just the tips into the paint then take off most of the paint before lightly dragging it across the surface.
I cut some small blocks for the tree trunks and Mr. Math cut the bases. He then screwed them on. If you are doing something like this for indoor E6000 glue would work fine. We always overdo.
I really like how they turned out.
It is really warm here now and we are spending a lot of time outside so we get to enjoy the trees.
Since we converted an existing building into a guest house we didn’t have a choice about the location. The former greenhouse was never expected to be front and center. It was designed for utility, not beauty.
Once we turned her into a super cute cottage with a sweet little front porch complete with swing, I could see we needed to improve the view.
First I addressed to blank wall that anyone sitting on the swing is looking at with a barn quilt. You can read about the quilt here.
And that helped but the biggest issues were the two metal buildings that set the boundaries for what I think of as the front yard for Sand Creek Cottage.
They weren’t giving me the cozy cottage vibe. They were eyesores that needed to be addressed. So I pulled out the secret weapon, paint.
First thing Mr. Math power washed them both to get the surfaces ready for paint. Both buildings had been painted before and I was fairly sure the smaller building we use as a tool shed had been spray painted, so it got primed first then painted with leftover trim paint we used on the cottage and our house. It is Behr Dove.
Mr. Math cut out a circle from a leftover Hardie panel scrap for me and I turned it into a sign using the main color of the cottage (Behr True Taupewood), barn quilt paint (they were mistint samples) and some black exterior paint I bout for $9.00 at Home Depot. You can read about Operation Courtyard Part 1 here.
The little building looked so much better and I could see the potential for the bigger wall but I didn’t want a solid color, I wanted something that would help us forget that the shop was blocking the view. I immediately thought of a mural. I fell in love with giant wall art in Laurel Mississippi. But they are everywhere now.
I knew I wanted something nature inspired, with no words so I started looking online for ideas.
I found this peel and stick mural that I used for inspiration.
I liked the trees, and the way the colors went from dark at the bottom to light at the top. I wanted my “forest” to look more like our pine trees and I always have enjoyed watching the way the planted trees grow back after timber is cut from a property. The first few years the property looks terrible then all of a sudden the trees start shooting up and you can see that the forest of trees as you drive by. It seems so hopeful.
I picked up the paint for the wall at Lowe’s and Home Depot in their oops section and a gallon of Forest Green from our local ReStore for $16.00. All together I used one gallon of the upper lighter color, one quart of an olive-ish color, and the black paint. The total for the paint came to $47.00. I used the lighter color straight from the can to paint the upper half of the wall with a paint sprayer- Mr. Math had to teach me how to spray large areas.
The top level of trees was one part olive paint and three parts the light color. The next level of trees was one part forest green and two parts of the light color. The third level of trees and the bottom third of the wall was straight forest green. Finally the darkest color is three parts forest green and on part black.
I considered drawing the picture off then projecting it on the wall but honestly that just isn’t me. Trees are imperfect and I decided to just roll with it. I just took off with a paint brush and just hoped for the best. It is only paint. If I hated it, I could always paint over it. I did have to keep telling myself that a lot. Our unofficial motto is “We don’t do easy at our house” and this project was no exception it was over 100 degrees every day I worked on it so it was 6:00 in the morning until 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. until it was too dark to see.
Mr. Math suggested I add in some lighter spots to look like light coming through the trees. It was a great suggestion.
When you have been planning a project for 8 years you tend to collect a lot of stuff and ideas.
I have had a Guest Shed Pinterest board going a long time (7 years) and if you look at it, you will see that my ideas for the house changed dramatically over time. I love Pinterest. In 2017 I wrote a blog post with my plans for the cottage. A lot has changed because reality set in. At first I thought we would go with a total mid century vibe when I thought the roofline of the building would stay the same, the bathroom would be at the back, and the wood burning stove would stay. It felt low slung and sort of 50’s mid century modern look.
After deciding that we would raise the roof (it was less than 8 feet in about a third of the house so wouldn’t count as square footage on an appraisal) I really took a look at what I wanted, what I gravitate towards, and what items are special to me. When you have years you can finally come to he point where you really are honest with yourself. My husband did an awesome job designing the new roof joist structure so that the electrical for the can lights and ceiling fan run through the collar ties connecting the beams at the top of the ceiling. He had a total vision for what it would look like. I did not.
I realized as I looked though my stash of things collected that I had a lot of sentimental vintage items, antique furniture, and more of a time worn vintage look. Most of my collected things have a story.
I returned to my Pinterest board, and started collecting pictures from pins on Google Sheets. Google Sheets work a lot like PowerPoint but it is free to anyone who has a Google account and they are so easy to share with people who can work on them with you in real time.
The results were that even though our house doesn’t look exactly like the inspiration pages, it has the same feel. I did not link the photos or give credit to the creators but the original information is probably on my Pinterest page if you are interested in something you see.
As I look back at my notes I see that even though there were changes as we moved forward with the build from these inspiration boards the cottage still has the look I was going for. It feels like going back to my great grandma’s house but with air conditioning!
Five years ago I bought a complete 1930’s upper kitchen cabinet set on Craigslist. It was solid, but filthy. The cabinet sat in storage at our house from the day we brought it home but I always knew where it would go when we finally got the guest house started.
We literally figured out how big the front window could be, the location of the window, and the door based on this cabinet set. There was math involved and a little fussing at each other over getting everything just right.
When we started the building the cabinets were moved to the outdoor kitchen so I could work on it.
I took all the cabinet doors, hardware, and all the nails from when it was removed from the wall off then sanded everything down. It took several days.
Apparently at some point the cabinets were in a shop or garage and some knucklehead stored oil in there. It too a bit of sanding and strong primer to get the oil stains covered.
The cabinet doors had to be stripped and all the holes filled. The outdoor kitchen is only partially under cover and we have had the rainiest summer I can remember. Most days it was under a tarp.
The cabinets were painted with Behr cabinet paint in bright white. I picked chrome hardware to play on the vintage feel. Hardware is expensive people. For four knobs, two handles, hinges, and fasteners it was over $50.00 but it is so pretty!
The cabinets sat so long outside that when the were installed they needed another cleaning and a coat of paint. The biggest challenge was to get cabinets that were taken out of an old house, then put in a storage unit, then moved, then again in storage, then outside then moved again installed so that they were level and square on the wall.
The first try didn’t go so well.
The wall isn’t square, the floor isn’t level, but with some adjustments and more fussing, it looks better. Adding vintage kitchen ware on top helped too.
We have a beautiful butcher block counter, vintage sink, refrigerator, microwave, and storage going in after the exterior gets painted. I am making myself wait but it is hard.
Sometimes I just get wild idea and drag Mr. Math along with me to do a project at our house. The greenhouse makeover is not one of my wild idea projects. The old harvest gold building reached the point where it got moved to the top of our to do list when the last warm front blew through here and the fiberglass roof panels lifted with each gust of wind and ripped the 25 year old (just guessing here but it is really, really old) corrugated panels away from the screws. We were sitting on our back porch watching the storm move in when we saw that the day had come to repair or tear down the old eyesore. I really hadn’t paid attention to how much it deteriorated. It was always ugly, and I hated looking out at our backyard and seeing it. Before tearing down the old fiberglass panels, I climbed up on the ladder to look at the roof and snapped this picture. It was gross.
I really was willing to just tear the building down even though we use it because we have so many projects going but for once Mr. Math was the one wanting to save something so rebuilding the greenhouse got started. The first thing to do was take off the roof. It was by far the hardest part.
There was a lot of up ad down latters, but once the roofing was down, Mr. Math saw immediately that the wooden sill plate was rotted from water leaks in the roof and as he tore in the amount of rot was a lot worse than he thought. It took a whole day to get rotted wood out and new wood back in. I didn’t get a picture because I was painting the doors on the porch and carport but the dude worked hard. Once everything was repaired we were back to the roof. All together we put up 16 pieces of clear fiberglass corrugated roofing and replaced the ridge cap. As with most things, we got better and more efficient as we went along. I did all the ground level work like handing up the sheets of fiberglass and tools and cleaning up the mess. Mr. Math sat on the roof, lined each piece up and screwed it in. All in the roof install only took about four hours but the set up took a while too. The overhang was cut down to four inches after finishing the install to get it nice and neat.
We got busy putting the siding up as soon as we finished the roof. It was slow but steady work getting all the siding up. We got quicker as we learned what worked and I was very happy to have a math teacher figuring out the angles and matching up corrugated bumps and valleys on the eaves. Probably more time was spent driving back and forth for supplies. It is a two hour round trip to get a box of the special screws for the siding, ask me how I know… We made a bold decision to put up dark gray siding with a clear roof and eaves. There is plenty of light coming in the top to keep the plants we store in there when it is cold or get seedlings started and potting supplies. Since we store outdoor games and chairs in there, the opaque sides will be better for us.
Because the building will get warm in the warmer weather we are installing an exhaust fan with a thermostat so that it will move air when it gets too warm and also a vent that will let in fresh air.
We are not done with the building but it is now solid and dried in. That is good news since we are going to have record low temperatures the next few days. The plants will be inside where they will survive.
Altogether we put up 22 panels on the sides in addition to the 16 and spent close to a thousand dollars. That seemed like a lot of money to me but it is a concrete foundation 12 by 15 foot building and would have cost a lot of money to build.
Our next steps on the building are to add stained cedar siding trim on the corners, around the door and window, get shelving and storage built and the inside organized and the fan/vent installed. I also have a window that I will be installing on the back wall to help with ventilation.
We are so happy to have you follow along with us as we work on our projects.
Happy 2021 to you and yours. In the last 11 months we have spent a lot of time at home. A. Lot. Of. Time. One of the areas we have worked on is our back porch.
When we bought our property the back porch was an area I did not like. It felt neglected and a bit claustrophobic. There were four foot-wide metal posts across a 12 foot wide porch. The posts didn’t match the rest of the house and there was a lot of things that needed to be replaced.
During this past summer we put in a wooden deck that joined the concrete porch that more than doubled our backyard eating/ shaded space. (You May notice by by comparing what we thought we would do with reality.) We are crazy about this spot but it has been little embarrassing to have it connected to the less than awesome porch. Checkout the seven foot long rolling buffet that gets used al the time. We can’t wait for the pandemic to end and it to warm up a little where we can have our friends and family over more often.
We also really have enjoyed the table and chairs for family outdoor eating.
Right after Christmas holidays were over Mr. Math (Can you believe it wasn’t me this time?) decided it was time to work on the porch. I. Was. Thrilled.
The first step in the process was to determine why in the world a twelve foot span required two corner posts and two single metal posts. There was a every three and a half feet. After removing the vinyl and checking out the header, it was clear that all the metal was decorative. I guess in the 80’s a human birdcage was popular. Once we earned it wasn’t a problem Mr. Math and our wonderful neighbor jacked up the porch, took out the old posts, and put in treated 6×6 posts at the corners. He then wrapped the posts in cedar to match the rest of the house. Down came the nasty ceiling fan and a couple of coats of haint blue paint on the ceiling. The weather has been mild here in the middle of the day but too cold for paint or us to work in the mornings. That means we tried to do one major job a day then clean up the mess.
We replaced the vinyl siding along under the porch with 1 X 12 cedar planks and the underside with cement board soffit and finally on a freezing cold and rainy day my hubby got the ceiling fan and light installed. It was actually much easier than I thought it would be. Sometimes things go our way and sometimes they don’t.
I can’t get over how much more open and roomy the porch feels now.
We aren’t finished with everything. We still have to work on the electrical, caulking the gaps and staining the cedar, we are going to put in a new back door to add more light into the house, fill the holes and paint the concrete, change out the siding on the front of the porch, and paint the soffits and trim. It will be an ongoing project.
I know it has been a while since I shared our progress but we continue to make slow but steady progress.
The absolute ugliest bank of cabinets at the Redneck Retreat were to the left of the sink. They sagged, one of them had the Formica peeled off, and they were huge.
I couldn’t live with them in the kitchen. They were nasty. Since this was the week we were already going to be replacing the vent hood to nowhere and adding three new cabinets, it was time for them to go too.
Out in our shop we had some cedar that I knew would be perfect for live edge shelving.
If it didn’t rain all week while we were at the Redneck Retreat this would have been a snap to get done. The only problems we had with this project was getting polyurethane to dry and not getting matching paint for the wall after the cabinets came down. The paint situation meant that the whole kitchen got a new coat and soon the rest of the cabin will get the same treatment.
The cedar planks were all about a foot wide and ended up getting cut to about 60 inches in length. I had to drag them into to house to get the polyurethaning done.
They are so pretty. Mr. Math ran them through the planer and a simple sanding made the wood grain really stand out.
I am excited to get the rest of the kitchen done. We have more uppers to add, counter tops to install, bottom cabinets to do something with, and a broom closet but this is progress.
This whole project, including paint, poly, and shelf brackets was just over $50.00. I think it makes a good look for the rustic look of the cabin.
Another find in storage was the glass pendant light. Several years ago I paid $10.00 for it on clearance at Home Depot.
Right now, Mr. Math is on summer break from teaching so that means it is house renovation time at Providence Acres.
This is the third summer we have been in the house and we have made some real headway into turning the 1982 ranch house into our vision of a warm and welcoming space for us, our family, and friends to enjoy.
Last summer it was a kitchen makeover that I love, love, love. We now have bright white cabinets, a quartz counter top, and a beautiful farmhouse sink. In order to have the kitchen out of commission, Mr. Math had to put in an outdoor sink, cabinets and a slate tile counter top. Add in electrical and a grill and we had an outdoor kitchen This chick will never do dishes in the bathtub again. He did all the work himself last year except installing the quartz counter top. It was rough.
This year we took on a new challenge, adding a carport, metal roof, and enlarging our front porch. It has already changed the look of home. Mr. Math started the process moving the attach aluminum carport. I promise that one day I will tell you about that process. We did something we rarely do, we hired a contractor to do the work.
First they had to remove the existing concrete.
They had to extend the pad to match the width of the house.
The construction has gone quickly.
The metal went on quickly. There was one small issue, they didn’t order enough metal for the porch.
The progress on the underside is moving along. The cedar roof piece is done, electrical is run, cedar clad on the beams, and Hardy panels on the ceiling of the carport.
I am loving the underside of the front porch. Bead board is being installed and will be stained and sealed.
The progress is amazing. I am crazy about the improvement to the look of the home. It is going to be great. We already have our first party scheduled. It is going to be a 50th anniversary for our buddies on the SJ River Ranch.
We are going through the big D and I don’t mean Dallas. While we would never consider divorcing each other (who would have us after 35 years of bad habits?) We are decluttering. I look at Pinterst and it appears online that decluttering, organizing, and purging are super easy. It makes everyone feel better, can be accomplished in a weekend and then your life is golden.
Here in my Reality Land, that has not been our experience. We are sill figuring out the whole less is more thing. Two years ago we had 4350 square feet of living space divided between two homes with two sets of most things. We had two kitchens, six bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a two garages. We had a ton of stuff we were used to having around us.
Now we have one galley style kitchen, three bedrooms (one is really a craft room), two bathrooms, no totally weather proof garage, and a total of just under 1700 square feet here at Providence Acres. I hope you understand I am not complaining. We know we are blessed to have a nice home and we chose to move to the country and downsize. We longed for it. We dreamed of it. We sacrificed to be able to make this move.
When we moved into Providence Acres we realized that in our almost 34 years of marriage we accumulated a lot of duplicates.
We actually had nine, yes 9, measuring cups. Here are 7 of them on display. Considering I am not much of a cook, that is an impressive number.
For our two heads we had 10 hair brushes.
In my vanity there were nine sets of nail clippers.
I was too overwhelmed to count the reading glasses and sun glasses, but it is a large amount.
Looking at all that stuff, it might seem like thinning the heard on stuff like this would be easy but in fact it took time to decide what we kept and what we got rid of.
We now are the proud owners of about 10% of the stuff you see in the pictures above.
The work didn’t stop in the kitchen and laundry room.
Our closet was ( is and probably always will be) the biggest storage issue in our home. We had an expansive 14 foot long double rack closet with six additional single rack storage at each end, and a whole wall of built in shelving at my end in our suburban home master bedroom. It was glorious.
I had room for things that I didn’t even like, but thought they might be good to keep. Oh how I miss you, 14 foot closet of wonderfulness.
My 1980’s bi-fold door closet has six feet of storage but honestly only about 5 feet is usable space. Five disfunctional feet that you can’t get to without knocking stuff off.
We haven’t gotten rid of enough clothes, shoes, scarves, and coats yet, but the back of my car was filled several times for trips to Goodwill.
Annnd I took over the guest room closet with dress clothes. Oh, and the winter coats are in the craft room closet.
When I retire I pinky promise to get rid of more, but now I need basically two wardrobes. Work and weekend.
My goal for the summer is to make hard decisions about the furniture in storage. I am going to either fix it, paint it, reimagine it, or let it go. There is a huge online sale in my future.
The downsizing will continue but we have made a dent in our stuff.
Next week I will let you peek into our hoard of furniture, but not yet. It is scary.
Well, here I am. Back again with my hat in my hand. Can we still be friends? I hope so. After taking some time to regroup I found that I missed writing. I missed telling our story as unremarkable as it is. I missed you.
So, I am back.
My time away certainly gave me time to reflect on my writing. Before my break the blog was really making me crazy trying to meet self-imposed timelines so that I could post something.
Today I am just going to catch you up on what has been going on, if that is okay with you.
We are so lucky. We get to live on 15 beautiful acres with great neighbors and a beautiful view. I have worked really hard to stop focusing on what needs to be changed or improved and tried to focus on what we have. It isn’t always easy, but I am forcing myself to stop and feed the catfish. (My version of stop and smell the roses.)
Since I last shared anything with you, we have taken quite a bit of time cleaning up the property (and by we I mean 98% of the was done by Mr. Math with 2% coming from me picking up limbs and pointing to where I want things to go). Mr. Math planted three blueberry bushes, several blackberry bushes, a ton, and I do mean a ton of crepe myrtles, about twenty mayhaw, wild plum, and crabapple saplings, five large pecan trees and a peach tree. It is a never ending job. Right now the yard is shaggy but too wet to mow.
We have had a relatively wet and mild winter and even though our road took a beating, everything is green and beautiful here.
We really have not done a ton to the inside of our house since my last post. We have changed out the mismatched window coverings in the main room for 2 inch blinds. I got them at ReStore for $5.00 each. Check out your local ReStore if you have one. It is an organization I believe in and they have great deals. I could not believe my luck finding exactly the size I needed for the four windows.
Mr. Math also built a barn door that fits our 36 inch wide bathroom door opening. (FYI a 36 inch door does not work as a barn door for a 36 inch opening if you want privacy. Lesson learned.) I have not finished making the door look old, but it is going to be great. The hardware is from Home Depot and even though it is more expensive than Tractor Supply’s barn door hangers, I like it in our bedroom.
A friend recently cleared out a rental house and I scored big on getting a load of furniture.
So far I have finished this piece. It is great in our family room.
My craft room is overflowing with French Provincial night stands from the stuff above. I am not sure I can save them all but the parts will be reused.
In our living room I am working on a dining set that will go in the guest shed. It is beating me up right now.
I have collected some great pieces since I last wrote a post and I am looking forward to some really fun projects.
This spring and summer I will be very busy. I can’t wait to fill you in on our big projects we have planned for spring, summer and fall.
Thanks for following along on our journey. After this quick update I do have a few posts on the way to let you know what is coming up and projects that are underway.