House On The Hilltop - Part Ten

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I'm sure you're getting just as sick of looking at these cathedral ceiling/planking/beam/ pictures as we are of looking at it in real life!  But, I'm happy to tell you we are very close to climbing off the scaffolding for good! 

Eldon worked a couple days on veneering the beam and column in oak, which I sanded, stained and oiled before he put it up. Once up, it required a bit of wood filler to get the mitered edges to come together nicely but overall we were happy with it. He trimmed the long edges of that in pine trim. 

Then it was on to the trim against the cathedral wall.  We spent a lot of hours in Lowes and Home Depot looking at trim.  This house doesn't seem to call for some of the fancy trim available to purchase.  Not that there isn't some absolutely gorgeous product out there that we loved, but we just kept coming back to the select pine trim.  It fit the look of our house a bit better. 

Once the trim on the walls was done Eldon started on the trim of the big dormers.  He had really been dreading this as there are 3 angles that come together.  I can't seem to get a good picture showing it, but you can sort of see what I mean by the above picture.  It required some mathematics and great mitering cuts to get it all to come together nicely. 

And because we were working with wood and not an MDF product (an engineered wood product), then we could sand away at the areas that didn't fit together exactly!  MDF sure has its place but in this case we said yay for wood!

You can see the dormer trimmed out in the above picture. It still doesn't show the different angles too well, but you get the idea!

Then came the debate for window trim.  We struggled with the same thing as the ceiling trim.... what to use in a house that we want to be custom, but yet keep with the country farmhouse feel.  Eldon did a  lot of reading, I did a lot of looking online and finally one Sunday night supper at our daughter and son-in-laws house it hit us - we wanted to copy the original trim in their 80 year old farmhouse!  It has just simple painted wood trim around the top and sides with a ledge on the bottom called a stool and below that another piece of trim called an apron.  Evidently this sort of custom trim on windows goes way back.  Above is the picture with the stool piece just sitting there as we were doing the custom fit.   (Incidentally, you can purchase the "stool" from Lowes but it was an MDF product and it wasn't as thick as we wanted.  Eldon used stair tread wood with the bull nose edge and he cut it to fit.)

Here is the finished trim!  It was my job to do all the caulking, filling nail holes, sanding, and painting.  I absolutely love the look.  All three dormer windows are trimmed out and beautiful!  We plan to use this same style throughout the rest of the house.

The scaffolding doesn't reach into this middle dormer and the only way to get in there to work is this home-made tower with a scaffolding plank on it.  It is a lot higher than it looks in this picture above.  It took me quite a bit of courage to put my step ladder on the wobbly thing and walk the plank to get in there to work but I did it.  The scariest thing for me is that I can just picture myself forgetting that I'm on a narrow plank 15 feet up and step off my ladder to the floor that is not there.  But the wiggly tower sort of kept me reminded that I wasn't on solid ground! 

I got the final bit of painting done in the upstairs craft room and sat back to re-evaluate the fact that my original goal was for this room to look a little bit like a barn loft.  I would've loved to have had old barn wood walls and floor but never could talk Eldon into it!  Life is all about compromise and I'm okay with that but I was still yearning for the barn loft room!  I started really thinking about the floors... what could I do that would be a good compromise but would still give me the feeling I was going for?  I was in Lumber Liquidators looking at the flooring we had chosen for the rest of the house when BAM it hit me.  For up here, I wanted this crazy looking laminate that is called Dunes Bay Driftwood but is an old barnwood replica... sort of a grey/whitewash color.  I took a sample home, set it in the craft room for a few days and fell in love!  I went and bought it yesterday. 
I just laid a few planks down to look at.  Use your imagination because I could not get a good picture no matter how hard I tried.  But I love it. (Lumber Liquidators has a good picture of it in a loft bedroom on their website here.)  Next week we will start the ceiling trim in here and then the flooring!  (And build some sort of custom door for the little storage area that is in the rafters!) I am confident it will give me the feel that I want.  Plus keep the room light and happy! 

Then.... the cherry on top of the whole week!  My Barn Light Electric order came!  Four gorgeous red pendant barn lights for the kitchen.  This was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make on the house (for me anyway).  I knew I wanted these lights... and I knew I wanted red, but I had the hardest time taking the plunge.  When I opened the box and pulled one out I was so happy I had the courage to do it.  The red color was gorgeous.  And then this happened...
Eldon hung them and I went into panic mode.  There was a little problem....  the 7 foot long black cord that came attached to them is this super strong industrial strength electrical cord and in the packaging it was folded in an accordian like fold with a rubber band and we could not get the kinks out.  I worked on them all morning trying everything I could think of - from the warm sunshine to a blow dryer.  Eldon finally went ahead and hung them and then we hung weights on them and tried that for awhile.  No change.  So here we are with these beautiful Barn Light Electric pendant lights with kinky cord that make them look cheap.  I contacted the company and they are going to email me with some solutions.   All we can hope is that with gravity and time the kinks will work themselves out.  If not, I don't know if I can stand to look at them. 
 But, I will say they are absolutely beautiful, the red is everything I had hoped for.   

I took a few days off and went to South Carolina with my daughter and her friend and their four girls.  They attended a homeschooling conference while I got to be Gram to not only my two beautiful grand-daughters but honorary Gram to two other precious girls. (My grand-babies are the two little ones in the photo above; Rosetta is the baby and Jillian is almost five.) It was so refreshing for me to be off the hilltop and doing something completely different!  While the Mommies were busy, the girls and I did the zoo, the Falls, and the swimming pool at the motel!  (And I even let them jump on the motel beds for a full five minutes!  Isn't that what all good Gram's do?  shhhh!)

Eldon stayed home and took care of the farm; however, he and our son-in-law did take a day off to go  canoeing and fishing.  When we got home, there were two little girls that were really happy to see their Gramp!  Especially Rosetta.  I think it was a good 15 minutes before she took her head off Grampy's shoulder!

 Its been a good couple of weeks on the farm.  Calves are still being born, older calves growing in what seems like inches every day, Eldon bought a Bull that will be delivered in a week or so, there's a hint of spring in the air, and our house is getting closer and closer to being finished.  There is a lot to give thanks for.  (I made and shipped the above custom sign to my winner of the "guess the day the calf will be born" contest!) 
I hope you have an absolutely wonderful Easter weekend. 
P.S.  If any of my readers has a solution to the kinky cord problem, I'm all ears!

Continued in House On the Hilltop - Part Eleven

Wooden Quilt Square (And A Winner)!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

For a long time I've loved the thought of having a Barn Quilt.  (Of course I love the thought of having a barn too, but since we're building a house first the barn may have to wait a year or more!)  We live where there are a lot of barns with quilt squares painted on them.  I never tire of looking at them.

The above pictures are not my pictures - they can be found on numerous barn quilt sites, pinterest, and other places on the world wide web.

  Somehow, I thought it was a new thing - this trend of painting quilts on barns.  I did some research and found out a very interesting bit of information.  The history of the barn quilts can be traced back almost 300 years!!  It is believed that it began in Pennsylvania by European immigrants.  The story goes that it was a great way for travellers to find families or cross roads, as townspeople would tell them what quilt pattern to look for! 
The above pictures are not my pictures - they can be found on numerous barn quilt sites, pinterest, and other places on the world wide web.
So... the point of this post is that one day recently I was standing in our living room and looking way up to where my husband was working on the scaffolding and I was thinking about the 22 foot high bare wall and thought to myself, "Wow, a quilt would sure look good hanging there" and before I could even follow that train of thought - it came to me: "BARN QUILT"! 
Doesn't that look like the perfect wall for a Barn Quilt?  (Even though I don't know of anyone that hangs barn quilts in their house!)  So, I mulled it around awhile, did some reading and looking at patterns and enlisted the help of my quilter friend at The Scrappy Appleyard.  She came, we sat and drew my pattern choice and I was off and running.  I started small thinking that if it came out great and I loved it, I would make a bigger one.
I bought a gorgeous piece of 4 x 4 oak plywood (the most common barn quilt size is 8 x 8), sanded, primed, drew my pattern and started painting.  And hated it.  So, I started over with a new pattern, new colors, smaller size and thought, "this looks like something my daughter would like"!
When I got it finished, I set it where I could really get a long distance visual of it and I had to admit that as much as I liked it, I didn't love it.  It wasn't the look I was going for.  (I still don't know what that look is but I think it will come to me!)  A few days later my daughter was talking about their recent living room redo and she said, "I need something for that bare wall".  Long story short... my Barn Quilt now has a home in her living room
I still love the idea and someday I will have a barn quilt on that big wall in our living room.  But for now, its just an idea in my head as I'm sanding, staining, and waxing oak vineer that my husband is installing on the huge beam and column in our living room.  The latest on the house is that the pine planking is all up and we love it! 
And FINALLY we have a winner on the "pick the day the calf will be born" contest!  "Paddy" was born on the 17th and since I had numerous people pick that day I did a random drawing out of those contestants and the winner is Kathy - she's been notified and I'm excited to make her a wooden sign.  And you can be sure I will never do another contest that relies on a calf being born!
I hope you'll share your favorite Barn Quilt pattern with me...  it just may be the one I've been looking for! 

House On the Hilltop - Part Nine

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Continued from House On the Hilltop - Part Eight

Before I get deep into this blog post, I thought I better let all my readers know that the past due pregnant cow that we are all waiting on has NOT HAD HER BABY YET!!!   I will say that as of this morning her stomach looked completely different (which is a very good sign)!! 

We are to the point of installing the knotty pine planking on the living room and kitchen cathedral ceilings now.  The planks are so beautiful, I love the knots in the wood. 
We had such a debate on what to finish it with.  (The planks in the dining room and upstairs craft room I painted, but these we wanted to leave natural.)  We played around a bit with wood stains and didn't like any of them, then we left the wood natural and tried a coat of poly and didn't like that either. At the advice of my daughter I looked into the Rustoleum product Watco.  She uses their food safe oil for her butcher block counter tops as well as other things in her home.  It is gorgeous. 
We chose their Danish Oil in Natural.  They offer many different stain finishes in their Danish Oil but we liked the natural look.  It creates the most amazing transformation on the wood.  It deepens the color, gives it a beautiful sheen (but not a shine, if that makes sense), and it dries and is ready for use very quickly. 
I do the cutting and oiling of each board and try to stay about 20 planks ahead of Eldon!  These planks have been oiled - see how gorgeous it makes them?
Getting started on the ceiling above the kitchen. 
Working our way up - almost done on one side!  I absolutely hate looking at Eldon up there.  It just about makes me sick.
When Eldon got up to the third level of scaffolding it no longer worked for me to climb and hand planks up to him so he rigged this rope system and I tied the planks on and sent them up!
One side done!  We also painted the large gable walls while we had the scaffolding all set up.  I love this color.  It is a nice light tan color called Elmira White by Benjamin Moore.
In the meantime I've managed to get all but the final coat of paint on my dining room ceiling.  I love this bright, happy white!  It is Simply White by Benjamin Moore. 
We also managed to get the planks installed on the ceiling of the upstairs craft room and I have the primer on.  I'm so happy with the planking...  the ones I've painted and the ones we've left natural.  It gives it such a warm feel. 
If anyone is interested in installing these planks, here's a bit of info for you. We purchased our first batch (for the dining room and craft room) from Home Depot. It was a good price at roughly 70 cents a linear foot. Then, in between finishing those ceilings and starting the living room and kitchen we went to Lumber Liquidators to look at some flooring and found out they also sell the tongue and groove pine planks. The quality seemed better and the price certainly was at 44 cents a linear foot. 
Installing this planking has been fun.  I realized that since starting our building and helping Eldon there is something I've gotten VERY good at.  It is reading a tape measure!  It seems strange as I've been reading a measuring tape for sewing for lots and lots of years.  But reading a measuring tape for building?  Hmmmm,  not so much.  When Eldon hollers down to me "I need a board at 68 and 5/16ths"  I don't even have to count the little 16th marks anymore!  And I haven't made any cutting mistakes!  I feel a huge accomplishment.
Its such an exciting time for us seeing things really take shape on the inside now!  Our cabinet man was here this week to take the final measurements on our cabinets and it just hardly seems real that we are finally this close! 
I hope you are having a lovely weekend.  We started out the day this morning with a big breakfast out in our house with our son, his wife and her siblings, and our daughter and her husband and our grand-babies.  Then we all went down to the corral so that Jillian could give Mercedes a bottle.  It was a great start to the day. 

A Give-Away If You Can Guess It!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Today it has been one year since my first post on this blog.  I had such a hard time getting started - I had actually thought about it for a very long time but getting started and putting yourself out there for the world to see is kind of hard to do.  I've sure come a long ways...  I'm even posting a picture of myself in muddy/poopy/huge Carhartt Overalls! 
(Somehow my husband looks much better in his Carhartts than I do!)
We have a Momma cow that is just not producing much milk.  Her poor little baby girl, Mercedes, just wasn't getting enough milk to do much more than just exist.  So she now gets supplimented with that awful smelling stuff from the Co-Op!  The Momma is fairly tolerant of us as long as we keep Belle out of the pen... 
And poor Belle.  It is really, really hard on her.  She whimpers, cries, shakes, and quivers she wants in the pen with us so badly. 
So, for fun I thought I would celebrate my one year of blogging by having a little give-away this week!  (No, the prize is not this hugely pregnant Momma Cow!)
However, she plays a big part in who wins the give-away.  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment guessing her delivery date!  The person closest to the day she delivers is the winner!  (Hint:  she's past due.)  If I have more than one guess of the correct day I'll draw names.  Please make sure your email address is attached to your comment so I can notify you if you win!
Now for the prize.....
I will make you a custom wooden sign!  Your choice of words and colors.  Size will be 12 inches high by 18 inches wide.  I'll even work with you to choose the font style you like.  A country farmhouse sign made just for you!
Get guessing....  She may have her baby today!