Friday, November 26, 2010

Jam Winner!

Old fashioned hat draw :) Number 9 wins!

Out of the possible 10 entrants (not counting the deleted comments, of course), the winner of the jam giveaway was.... comment # 9, Cecelia D.! I will gladly deliver these in person, since Mrs. D and family live in Soldotna :) Congratulations!!

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend everyone :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Our Mouse

Now that Thanksgiving dinner has been picked over and our children are settling into their beds, watching a movie on their ceiling (thanks to this cool little gift from Auntie Barb), I can turn my attention to the coming holidays and fun winter activities.

The boys and I will be going to the Nutcracker play in Homer again this year. If you can't make it to the Nutcracker Ballet in Anchorage, the Nutcracker in Homer is an altogether wonderful, different experience, and is far cheaper to attend. The boys favorite scene in the Nutcracker story is, of course, the battle between the toy soldiers and the mice. Swords clanging, a mutated mouse who has made himself the king, a violent, bloody death. Whats not to love? Its too bad they weren't around for my encounter with a mouse in our house!

Late one night, last month, I woke to make a bottle for our baby. I shuffled into the kitchen, following the light from the lamp on the piano. The kitchen was completely dark, but I navigated my way to the range and turned on the burner under the kettle. I flipped on the range hood light just after lighting the burner and as my eyes adjusted to the light, something moved off to the left on the counter! I stepped back and just then a little mouse darted out from behind the bottles of oil and vinegar on the counter. He ran to the edge of the counter, noticed me standing there and ran around for a moment, searching for another escape route. And then... he ran INTO the flame under the kettle! I wasn't sure if he had survived and I smelled singed fur. I was shocked! He had wanted to escape so badly that diving into the fire was better than facing me!

I can skin a caribou and swing a hammer, but mice bother me. They're sneaky and I worry about stepping on one in the dark! I made my husband get up to check that the mouse wasn't dead and laying under my cook top, and after he set some rodent poison behind the stove, we went back to bed. We know that the mouse was making his trips to the kitchen via the holes left (presumably for plumbing repairs) that are still unfixed behind the stove. He didn't go for the poison. A week or so later, my husband wakes me up by shushing me while I was sleeping (do I snore?) and tells me to listen.... the mouse is in our bedroom, nibbling on what is probably a chip or nut dropped by one of us during our bedtime snacking (guilty). Since then, we have heard the mouse in the walls, the dining room ceiling, and most frequently - our bedroom (we have GOT to stop snacking!) It seems like our mouse is now a permanent resident. For now, I'm okay with that. He's a hearty little sucker.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Its Jam week!

A couple times a year, I make jam. A whole lotta jam! I typically don't have time to make jam when I pick our raspberries in August and September so I freeze my berries and make seedless jam later. November is a good time for this. In the spring, I do strawberry and mango.

This year, I helped pick a friend's raspberries because she had a broken leg. Her raspberries added to mine (from the old house), the ones my mom picks and brings to me and the ones I pick from my dad's house, makes for a long week of making jam!

I haven't purchased jam in... 6 years? Its easy to make and almost free if you can find enough berries in your yard or the woods (or bum them off relatives). In return for all the donated berries, I make jam for my parents and this year, my friends too! When all that is done, I suspect I will still have an abundance of jam, so I am trying some new combinations with raspberries. Raspberry and currant. Raspberry and lingonberry sauce (low bush cranberries). Maybe even a raspberry and cherry. Best of all, I make my jams with Pomona's, so you're not eating mostly sugar. There is only about an ounce of sugar per 8 oz jar (2 tbsp). Sounds good, right?

Well, I am feeling so generous that I am doing a "Jam Giveaway"!

Over the next week, post something on our blog and you will be entered to win a 4 pack of assorted Raspberry jams! Leave a comment on this posting about your favorite change so far on our house, leave a suggestion for us, tell us what you are most thankful for this year, anything! I'll announce the winner the day after Thanksgiving (and post it on Facebook) and your jams will be in the mail shortly thereafter. I don't make money from this blog, this is just a fun way for me to share some of "Ireland Manor" with my readers, and since I can't afford to send you all a jam, then it has to be a contest :)

Good luck! - Mrs. Ireland

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Winter slow down

Winter can sneak up on me, even though I am a life long Alaskan! I plan and plan for so many projects in the summer and fall and inevitably, a few go unfinished or worse, unstarted! I guess if we didn't set the bar so high, we would never accomplish half of what we do, though it still feels like I should have done more (I can't speak for Mr. Ireland, who works harder than anyone I know) !

Progress on the house has come almost to a complete stop now that we are moved in, but as I gathered pictures for this posting, and started listing off the changes, it adds up to quite a list!
I am really impressed that between the birthday parties (little Liam, Mr. Ireland and Callen, all in a 2 week time frame) and my trip to California to see my grandparents, we managed to do so much during October and early November! Read on for our list :

Two of our birthday boys, Callen and Liam

Installed a new furnace!
Finally moved my piano over from the old house!
Reorganized Mr. Ireland's studio
Cleared all the boxes from the dining room!
Reorganized the nursery
Unpacked and organized all the children's toys

Hung coat racks in the older boys room
Had a load of dirt delivered and filled holes on the property!
Moved all the homeschool materials from the boys second closet to the school nook

Sewed curtains and installed drapery rods
Installed a hand towel ring in the upstairs bath

Attached Ice Breaker Mats to the front steps! (Just today!)
Moved a desk from the porch to the dining room (sorry mom, it will have to stay till spring!)
Moved a cupboard from my studio to the living room, to serve as the upstairs linen cabinet

You can see by the exclamation points that some of these projects I was very excited to have finished. We are at a point in the renovation process that we can function fairly well in the current conditions and things are not quite as overwhelming, spatially. With the busy season at work for Mr. Ireland and the holiday season approaching, we are taking a break from any large projects until January. I have grand plans for the spring and summer seasons, making now a good time to rest. The pile of dirt intended for my garden can wait. The old furnace sitting in the yard can be buried by snow. For the most part, it will be me working on small projects around the house like trim and molding, building furniture, sewing, unpacking books and keeping up with the children's school lessons. If I do anything special, I will post :)

I am thankful to have a house that is mine and that I still love, despite all its flaws. I am thankful for a family that works along side me to make our home better for us. I am most thankful for a husband that goes to work every day, in cold, dark, cramped or filthy conditions and then comes home to work on our house. Thats some love :)

Happy Early Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall change

Not much has been happening around here at "Ireland Manor". We have managed to empty the linen closet of all the boxes of toiletries (seriously, where does it all come from?!), which allowed us to clear the linens out of the bottom of the master bedroom closet, which in turn allowed us to stack some of the boxes into the closet that were part of the maze in our bedroom. The rest of the maze was stacked on a second upper shelf in the top of our closet, and for the first time since moving in, I was able to sweep our bedroom floor! I don't have the heart to steal our rug back from the nursery, where our soon-to-be toddler loves to sit on it and play, so for now I will have to keep our room swept and deal with the grit that sticks to my bare feet. Either that or I will have to wear some slippers... Eventually, the master bedroom will need to be emptied again and have real flooring put in over the currently Kilzed subfloor. That day is far off in the distance though.

New shelves; Shelves serving their purpose!

Mr. Ireland managed to build the first set of shelves in the basement. This being his busy season at work, I am very grateful that I have any shelves at all. It has helped immensely to have that first set. It sits next to the freezer, making it a perfect location for canned goods and rarely used kitchen items (thanks Peter, for helping me organize that!) Best of all, the shelves will all be built to accommodate rubber storage totes under neath them on the floor. This means I can store our totes of children's clothing (with this many boys, we don't get rid of anything!) and not worry about items getting wet, should our basement ever flood. I don't think it will (and we will have a sump in floor soon) but it is an old house and one never can tell.

Brody trying out his new bike!; Our new couch, prepped for its trip upstairs.

We acquired another sofa during the past month. Its hideous, its so not what I wanted, but it was free and actually in good shape and didn't smell! I don't know how he does it, but my husband has a knack for finding things in questionable locations (i.e. waste transfer site). It had to have the back panel removed, back wood supports cut and then be folded in half to make it up our narrow stairs to the living room! I'm really impressed with my husband's determination and engineering skills. He reassembled it and it actually has been a really nice piece to sit on! With a slip cover, I might even love it. So thank you, random stranger who left this couch at the dump :)

Our shed, that we designated as being the "barn" is only going to house squirrels for the winter :) I'm okay with that. Last week my husband brought home a stack of windows for us to build a greenhouse with in the spring, so at least I can rest easy knowing that the shed is serving a purpose. Even though winter is not quite here, spring is not all that far away, and with a greenhouse to build and a barn to customize, I already have my work cut out! Dirt for my garden should be here next week and that will be the last of my garden work for the year. I did pick up some daffodil bulbs to put in :)

Have a happy last week of fall and first week of PFD spending!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Country Courtyard

Our new dishwasher arrived yesterday! That is the only reason I have time to blog :) I have to say a BIG thank you to my dad, since this was a housewarming gift from him! It is so sleek and shiny, and quiet, and I love it! My morning feels wide open because I spent only 5 minutes loading a dishwasher instead of an hour washing up by hand. So thank you, Dad!

As I promised, I will describe my general plan for the front yard. Right now, we have a sizeable lawn. It's nothing in comparison to the lawn at the old house, but its a decent size and a little more than we want to spend our time mowing. My plan is to enclose about half of the front yard with a stone wall. I have planted some of my flowers and my currants along the line that will be the front wall. I'd like the wall to run along the drive, from the front left corner of the porch to just under the spruce tree, then across the front yard and back along the right side, ending at the slope down to our basement. Its quite a large area, but as I said, it will certainly save us time mowing and still leave plenty of lawn for play, and also give me plenty of room for a large garden. We saved all the rock from the fireplace and with a few more loads of rock delivered, I will start the wall in the early spring next year.

Front view of house, purposed wall front view

When we moved, my father in law encouraged me to take all the plants from the garden with me. I counted up the plants when we were loading them into the back of a truck and the cash value of the plants came to over $600! I'm glad I took them, especially since I have split most of them into 2 or 3 pieces and those will be the foundation plants for my garden. I will be preparing the garden for next spring using the lasagna garden method. Along with the irises, peonies, currants, raspberries, rhubarb, labrador violet and lily of the valley I have planted now, I will mix in vegetables and a few more perennials next spring. I might have time to sink a few bulbs into the garden before the ground freezes too. Its not much to look at now, but I think it will be lovely next summer!

View of the drive from the porch, purposed wall and trellised entrance.

Getting settled but not settling!

It has taken 3 weeks to clean my kitchen! THREE WEEKS. With no dishwasher, and 5-ish meals prepared every day, it was difficult for me to reprogram my self to wash up after EVERY meal (or at least the big ones). I think I'm getting the hang of it.

Most of our progress has stalled at this stage, aside from the occasional small project like installing a bathroom fan in the upstairs bath. I've spent a lot of my time just working around boxes and when I get to a point that I can do no more, we go outside to look for work! In my next post, I'll describe exactly what's going on out in the yard and how much work I have to do.

We did manage to get the boys bunkbed reassembled. After 2 weeks of sleeping on their mattreses amongst the boxes and toys, we gave up on the idea of staining it and put it together. Let me just say that building it was SO much easier than putting it together a second time! We thought the bunk boards, in their new complete state, would make reassembly simple, but no. We had to disassemble the bunk boards (remove the board from their cleats on the side rails) so we could install side rails first and then drop the bunk board back in to be re-fastened. Not so bad, but more difficult than we had planned. I'm just glad that thing is moved and the boys are all "put away" in their own beds, making bed time so much easier (and quieter!)

The rain finally let up for a week or two and gave us a little of the sunshine that we had been missing this summer. Unfortunately, it did not stick around longer and today is another gloomy day. It doesn't look to be full on raining, but I can hear the drops slowly dripping from the metal roof to the roof over the porch. I do love the sound rain makes on the roof! Last week we had a small leak start around the chimney. As you know, we spent 2 weeks removing the rock from the existing fireplace surround, where we then hung new sheetrock and textured to match the rest of the living room. We did not mess with the chimney pipe at all! It looks like it was designed to have a woodstove sitting in the corner and that means it stick down from the ceiling quite a bit from the walls, so we didn't have to haggle with it at all. We had planned on having it removed next spring and then fixing the ceiling ourselves, but I guess that will be happening this fall! I'm happy that it has not leaked since (though we have an empty tote standing by.)

The shed, last spring.

Today the children and I will be emptying the storage shed that came with the property and preparing it to become a chicken coop! I haven't actually been in the shed, so if it's much bigger that I estimate, it may be upgraded to a goat house. That's right, now that we have our own land, we are getting some animals! Food animals, that is. We don't consume a lot of meat in the first place, but the meat we do eat I would like to either raise or hunt/fish for myself, or in the case of beef, buy it as locally as possible. I like to know where my food has been! If I can get my hiney in gear, we will be ready for a spring purchase and maybe be up and running with eggs and milk (and other assorted dairy products) by the end of next summer! With my camera on hand now (I was getting sick of the low quality phone pics), I should have pictures up of this project soon.

My hands may be tied where I want to work, but there is certainly plenty of work to be done around here. Guess I better get to it!

Monday, August 9, 2010

All Moved

Well, we did it! We are in.

It took a full week to get our things out of the old house and stacked into the new house, but we managed. In the end, we had exactly enough boxes to get packed, thanks in part to my brother's girlfriend loaning us some totes and my mother hunting down boxes for us. I think it was the post-move cleaning that nearly did me in though. I'm so happy that we are done moving! Now the fun begins... Unpacking!

There are so many boxes stacked up around the house, its overwhelming. I'm not sure where to start, but I do know that building storage shelves in the basement just climbed up to the top of the priority list. My new kitchen, while a lovely color, is not nearly as large as the last one and many things are going to have to find different homes or just leave altogether.

On our first night in the house, we had a clogged pipe, making one of the sinks over flow and spill water down onto the furnace. Turns out it was a blessing, since it drew attention to an electrical problem that we had missed during all our work. Over the past week, we have had appliances brought in and Mr. Ireland has been busy running gas pipe and repairing the finicky machines. Our dryer quit 5 minutes in to the first load and had me hanging laundrey out on a line for a few days.

The dryer giving out and the kitchen needing to be reorganized are welcome challenges. It seems that of all the changes I wanted to make when we had a home that was ours, now is the time to pair down kitchen items and to use less gas by hanging our laundry. It will take some getting used to but I think we will manage.

I had hoped to have some pictures up soon but I've misplaced my camera in the move. Once things have found homes and we bring the last of our furniture in off the porch, I'll be sure to post some new photos. Thanks for reading :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dining room update

Here's a decent picture of our dining room. Its a color called "Evening Peruvian Lily". The color changes a lot depending on the lighting. Nautral lighting is all I have right now, since we haven't installed light fixtures yet. In cloudy cover, the walls take on a pink cast. When the sky is clear and it is sunny out, then the walls are more of a concentrated red or orange. I wonder what it will look like in the winter, when the snow will reflect a lot of light back up into the room...

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Green Kitchen

Well, not really a "green" kitchen, at least not in the "chemical free/environmentally friendly/reclaimed" kind of green. With just about 4 days until move-in, today I finished painting the kitchen. It is a lovely shade called "Pine Scent". It reminds me of a billiard table! Our kitchen isn't very big, but I think this strong color works really well in here.

I did finally finish the dining room yesterday and took some pictures today but the overcast sky outside made the walls a funny color, so I will have to take better pictures to share on a sunny day. Its not what I expected now that its up on the wall, but I think I love it.

Wall where the range will go; Fridge wall, base molding to come later

More repairs have been pushed to the "after we move in list", including refinishing the hardwood floors. Its a little bit of a bummer, but totally okay. Mr. Ireland has developed a nasty tooth ache and isn't able to do quite as much as he would like. There isn't enough time to finish this project on my own, so I will do the things that I do have time for and make it as livable as possible. Which means I will be cleaning and moving small items over to the house over the next few days. I'm hoping that we will have some help moving on Thursday and Friday. Maybe it will be furniture only.... that would be nice, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Remodeling in Technicolor! With Smell -O- Vision!

I managed to paint the boy's bedroom yesterday. It looks like Gymboree threw up all over the walls! The three oldest boys just could not agree on what color to have their room painted, so we ended up doing three colors. Let me clarify that this is not a style that I normally am attracted to. I find it overwhelming but, its not my room! Its a child's room, and since they change their minds fairly frequently, I'm sure I won't have to look at it for 20 more years. Five would be plenty!

Mr. Ireland started the beginning of his vacation yesterday. He is pretty terrific, choosing to spending his vacation working on the house. Of course, we have to be in it by the end of the month, so it's not much of a choice! With just over a week to go, we are down to the last of the manageable projects. Some things have made their way from the "before we move in" list to the "sometime after we are in it" list. We're trying to focus on paint and flooring and leave all the finishing work for later.

Triple layered living room wall, in all its pink glory

Yesterday we prepped the living room for painting, removing the wall paper border, filling holes, that sort of thing. One of the walls had two extra layers of sheetrock over the orginal wall... We were unsure of what we would find if we removed it, and were hesitant to do so, until I pulled the top layers back and peered behind it with a flashlight. I couldn't see any holes in the original wall or any reason why there should be another layer over it, and it looked like it was being held in place by a few nails, so we gave it a tug and down it came! Under the extra layers was a near perfect wall with pretty rose wallpaper. It smelled faintly of perfume and old house (it was not, however, scratch and sniff). We think the living room was originally 3 bedrooms, making a total of 6 small bedrooms on the third floor, so this had to have been a girls room! There was even a poster taped to the wall.

Smelling the wallpaper (we all did it!); Boys removing wallpaper.

Instead of removing the wallpaper, the previous owners chose to glue 2 layers of sheetrock together and nail it up over the existing wall. Talk about lazy! I'm sure it took far more time to put those up than the half hour it took for me and 2 children to remove the wallpaper! I guess we all use what we have on hand though. How about it, aunts? Recognize the wallpaper? Did you have any friends in highschool that had wallpaper like that?

Newly finished wall

After all that, we taped and mudded the wall and today I started painting the living room! I am happy to say that the ceiling is no longer magenta. I will not miss that color. With any luck, I will have the living room finished tomorrow morning and be able to move on to the dining room, the next to last room on my list. It is also the last room that needs to have walls textured. I can't wait to scrape the last smear of mud from the bucket and retire my blade.

Official count down to move in.... 9 days.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

O the tediousness

Well, my manicure it thrashed. I went to Anchorage for the weekend and spend time with my girlfriend for her birthday and we had mani's & pedi's done. It was wonderful while it lasted, but after paint and sheet rock and mud, there isn't much left of my nail polish! I'll have to take another trip when this is all done.

Monday, Mr. Ireland and I laid down wood for the floor in the nursery. Our plan has never been to have this place perfect before we move in, but to have it mostly finished and leave the little things to be finished for later. Moulding, new cabinet doors in the kitchen, remodeling bathrooms. Those are things that I can handle being done while we live in it. Considering that those all fall to me, they will have to wait anyway! This solution is temporary. Someday it will be removed and replaced with hardwood flooring to match the existing wood in the dining room.

Next comes painting the floor and installing moldings. The nursery will need to be completely finished before we move in. To do that, I'll have to have someone teach me how to use a router *hint hint* Then I can make my own base molding to match the molding in the hall. I'm sure there's someone in my family who could do that....

Tuesday, I painted our bedroom. Unfortunately, it was raining and the first coat would just not dry, so I will have to put a second coat up before we start putting wood on the floor in there. We are sticking with the same color for our walls that we have in our rental house right now. It took years for us to agree on a color for our bedroom, why mess with it now?

Before; Current

Today, we hung dry wall! We finished the fireplace corner and the inside wall for the boy's second closet. It looks one hundred times better upstairs! Removing that fireplace really opens up the whole room. The rock is taped and mudded, now I get to go in and texture. The division of labor for this project seems lopsided, but trust me, Mr. Ireland finds paint and texture tedious work and I rather enjoy it! I'll be hearing about the fireplace demo for a long time, though.
Boys new closet; different view of the living room and it's hideous color

Texturing the living room will be a lot like the boy's bedroom - the texture is heavy and choppy looking. Matching what exists isn't that challenging, I'm just not sure where to stop. Some of the walls are smooth, some are not, and all are painted an awful magenta! Who paints a 500 square foot room MAGENTA? And then adds violet carpet?! It's just wrong. I can't wait to cover that eyesore. The metal pipe stick down from the ceiling doesn't help.

I'll post soon about the trip all my flowers are making from the rental to our new house. Here's a preview of it....

I'm surprised that it bloomed, since moving usually shocks irises. I've been waiting for that to get growing for 2 years. Anyway, more later on that project later. ttfn

Thursday, July 8, 2010


If you have time to spare this summer, or need something worthwhile to do, this is where you should go:

Kelly and Willow lost their home in a fire this past winter. They have 3 little kids and they are determined to rebuild. Not just rebuild but to build better! This is a fantastic project. I am envious of the goal they have set for themselves and the lifestyle they are choosing for their family. Laborers are needed, so if you feel like doing something meaningful this summer, make this it!

-Mrs. Ireland

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Still plugging away

Demolition is definitely more fun than repair. Our postings get farther and farther apart, mostly because the work is slow going. With a month left until we need to be out of the rental house, we can feel the days wasting away. Here are a couple more pics, just so you can see what we are working on.

New ceiling
We started texturing the ceiling in the mom & dad's room on Monday, mixed our medium to thin, and had to start over. Today I finished that room and then moved on to the nursery. Only one bedroom left that needs texture. I've applied the texture by hand in the master bedroom, by loop roller in the nusery and the third will be done a completely different way as well, to match the ceiling in the other half of the room. It looks like it was floated on.... interesting. I don't care for the texture in the nursery, but I doubt I will have time to go back and re-do it. Time at the house without children is rare.

Mr. Ireland has framed in the wall that will divide the boy's room from the living room. We can see where they had a wall there before, but we are not sure how, since there are no studs that line up in ANY of the walls-ceiling-floor to make it a straight forward build. Mr. Ireland put some cross supports on one wall, which will allowed him to sink into the stud on one side of the wall and the bracing on the other. This wall will be in the back of a closet on the bedroom side and part of built in book shelves in the living room side, so we aren't that worried about it taking hard hits from rambunctious boys.

Next week we should be able to finish Mr. Ireland's office wall and sheet rock the fireplace corner. I have been clearing out the crawlspace this week, bringing boxes to the basement and my office, the only two spaces that are finished (well, mostly). Its slow going, but we'll get there!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Many projects


It seems like we have spent a lot of time working on the same projects over the last two weeks. I am happy to say that some of them are complete! The fireplace rock is DOWN! The plywood backing is down (the picture was taken before it was ripped out) and we can probably hang sheet rock soon.

Removing the closet has brightened up the rest of the room; You can see where the closet was before it was removed.

The nursery is coming along as well. We installed the sheet rock for the ceiling and now we can texture the bedroom ceilings. The completion of the nursery will allow us to work at the house for longer periods of time and give the kids a place to play. Mr. Ireland tore out a closet in his studio, and is replacing that section with a straight wall.

Before After

In an effort to speed up our transition from one house to the next, I laid vinyl tile squares in my new sewing room. I should be spending more time packing, but one car load of boxes a day is about all I can do. I will not be leaving it lavender, it is temporary.

We are closing in on the last major projects - the kitchen, which includes repairing the hardwood floor and restyling the cabinets, and then the heating system which, thankfully, is Mr. Ireland's profession! Replacing the heating ducts will go a long way toward improving the smell in our house! Keep checking back :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A little more

We didn't get all that much done today. I pulled staples and nails off of the stairs, the boys helped upstairs by vacuuming and sweeping, and Mr. Ireland started breaking rocks off of the fireplace wall. Once he got started, he found that most of the rock wanted to come down with the chicken wire baselayer. He is confident that the rock will all be down by the end of the week and we can move forward with sheet rock. It will be really nice to have that corner of the living room usable!

Other than that, we walked thru the house, discussing our concerns and ideas and getting a plan together for the week. We are each tackling a job on our own and then one big project that we will accomplish together. My goal is to have the wallpaper down and the molding in the dining room stripped. Together we will finish the nursery. Things are coming along.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Paint Sprinkles

The basement if painted. I set out thinking that this would be a very easy project. Day 1, wash the floor with concrete prep. Day 2, paint. Right? Wrong.
Washing was easy, right until the last 20 square feet, that started foaming when I went over it with the floor cleaner!! It needed to be scrubbed again, with good ol' bleach and water, and then the smell and the stain were both gone.

When it came time to paint, I had intended to do it all myself, but then I mentioned that we were going to put paint fleck "sprinkles", I had 3 volunteers! The sprinkles aren't exactly evenly distributed, but sometimes it's more important to let them help than to have it perfect!

Now that the basement is done, we can get going on those shelves for storage, bring in the washer and dryer, and start customizing Mr. Ireland's studio! Our reward to ourselves for renovating (other than getting a really nice house in the end ) is that we each get a fantastic space for ourselves! I get a fabulous bathroom, no sharing with little boys, and Mr. Ireland gets a music studio. The boys will get to have their room painted however the can agree to paint it, their reward for helping mom & dad get the house ready. Thankfully, mom & dad have the final say!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Living room update


All of the carpet and pad and subfloor is officially out of the living room! The bedrooms that had carpet are stripped as well. Now we are left with removing the vinyl from the floor of the second bedroom, which could have been used as a kennel? Yikes.

So far, renovations have gone fairly well. It has been a lot of hard work, but inexpensive overall. We are hoping to get all of our demolition done before the end of the month and then we can begin moving on to repairs and painting. I have volunteered to repair the hardwood in the kitchen, where it was damaged from a washer sitting on it (and then leaking, I would think!) I feel very blessed that yesterday, Mr. Ireland began tearing out the upstairs fireplace and bench surround and discovered that the bench was constructed of the VERY SAME tongue-and-groove flooring that is in the kitchen! Woohoo! That means that I don't have to try to find a match and we can save money! I give credit to the original builder of this house - he was a very good carpenter. The unusual but blatantly providential circumstances of buying, and now renovating, this house have kept our spirits high. I'm very grateful!

Today I will finish painting the basement floor, and then we will build storage shelves and start bringing things from the crawlspace at our rental house and giving them homes.

I would like to tackle the fireplace soon. It is rock and cement? There is no functional use for this, since it is on the third floor, which stays plenty warm, and we don't want a woodstove up there. If we ever put one in, it will be on a lower floor, where it will better heat the house. So out it must come. It looks like it is mounted on plywood, but we don't even know where to begin without destroying that corner of our house. We know, go slowly, take care. Any other tips?