Home Update

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It’s been a while since I’ve updated on how the house is going. So far we haven’t been able to do any more new flooring. The holidays and winter in general has made it hard for us to continue that project. Our next flooring room will be to add the new flooring into the orange room’s closet, then we’ll be doing the hallway and hall closet as our second segment. We are still trying to make decisions on whether we can do the living room and dining room together or whether we have to add a threshold, or if it would be easier to add one. Our living room is about 14 ft by 16 ft, and our dining room is about 9 ft by 7 ft.

Otherwise, we have been working on projects. We’ve updated our kitchen light, dining room light, and hall light. We’ve also bought a new bathroom faucet and push drain. We were able to get these accomplished in a weekend and it was just a small project to keep us busy at home. We’ve been busy doing some work for family lately. Josh has been building a server for a business, and we’ve had a few smaller projects we’ve been dealing with. Josh also bought a 3D printer, the Ender 3 Pro, so we’ve been fiddling with that most recently.

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Handmade Christmas Swags

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Hello again. This is my first year making swags by myself, but for several years my family has been making them just for ourselves for Christmas. This can be a great option for a gift, or for a DIY home decoration. It is helpful if you have some evergreens on your property, but if that’s not the case, most neighbors won’t mind your trimming their bushes, assuming you ask first. Our property has several yew bushes, so that is the evergreen I used for my base. I also have a monstrous holly in the front yard that is easily 15 feet tall, so I trimmed it quite severely. Beyond that, you could get some holiday decorations from a craft store to stick into your swags, but that is your choice. I have a few bows from previous years, and some ribbon to make more as I want. I also added a third step to show you can also make grave blankets using this technique, and what I did with my excess cut holly. Please comment if you have any questions, and I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

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Directions

1. Cut a variety of different branches. Cut different colored branches, different sizes, and your favorite types of branches. Once you have your variety, lay down a large tarps to collect debris. Begin separating your branches into piles starting with the biggest branches on the bottom and stacking smaller on top. Once you have a stack, add an accent branch on top.

2. Once your satisfied with the way your stack looks, use some floral wire, beading wire, or quality twine to tie together the end. Try to weave around some of the branches to keep them from falling out, and wrap around several times. Tie it off once done. Finally, add another piece of wire, but leave some space during one of your wraps, so you can use that loop to hang your swag. Add any bows or decorations you desire, trim any unsightly branches, and hang.

3. If you’d like, you can also make a grave blanket using this same pattern, just alternating directions. You can see I made one. I also had lots of holly left over, so I used it to decorate my mantle for the season.

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Master Bedroom Flooring and Transformation

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If you’ve been following for a while, you may remember that at the beginning of quarantine, my husband and I bought flooring. We bought enough flooring for the entire house, and if you want to read more about that, you can find it here.

Up until now, I have only posted our guest room being done, however, we had also started our master room, and now it is finished. The process we went through was the same as our guest room, so if you would like to visit that, you can by clicking here.

Differences with our master was, I painted the walls before I painted the floor, and the floor was in much worse condition than the guest room. There was quite a bit of mold/mildew on the bottom of the underlayment. The underlayment was also much different from the guest room with a plastic coated foam instead of the exposed porous foam that was in the guest room. Many floor tiles were also loose, but they all sealed back down with the coating of sealant paint. The only other hiccups that occurred doing this room where the fact that the walls were never primed, so in one spot when we were removing the painter’s tape, the old paint pulled off the wall in two small spots, and since the first row of flooring wasn’t perfectly straight and we were tapping boards a lot more than last time, we were having trouble getting the boards to lock together fully about 3/4 of the way through.

Removing Old Carpet

Painting Walls, Chipped Out Cement Edge, and Filling with New Flat Cement

Twice Cleaned and Sealed Floor

Laid Underlayment

New Bed and Newman

Laying New Flooring

Added Base Boards and New Curtains

Final Move In

Garage Side Door

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We started this project near the end of June, and by early July we had everything done but painting the trim. Though I like to make a post whenever we do a project, I am learning to wait until the entire project is done instead of posting when everything is “mostly” done. So, the end of August, we got some exterior paint and were able to finish this project. We’ve been working on other projects almost constantly, so it was something we had to get back around to.

Lustron garages are similar to the house, but there are some construction differences. For example, the house is entirely steel construction, whereas the garage is all wood construction. This made it much easier for us to add the door. The panels are the same between the house and the garage. The panels are attached in only three corners, and what keeps it together is the panels being nested. from the front, the panels are bolted on the left corners and the right top corner. When the wall was assembled, it was assembled from the left bottom corner to the right top corner. The metal shingles are also the same as the house, however the roof design is different. Lustron garages were a secondary thought to this company, and most of the time were just assembled by some contractor the way they would build any other structure. For that reason, you will find must more variation between garages than houses. With that out of the way, you can look through how we added our door. We bought a previously owned steel door for $15 that came with hinges, but was not hung. We would have liked a door that was already hung, however we didn’t want to spend a fortune on a door either, so we went with what we could find, I painted it, and we attached to a door frame that we made ourselves.

The first thing we did was figure out where-ish we wanted our opening. We had originally planned to more the door so there were two existing panels between the door and the corner. We knew we’d have to move our electrical if we did that, but there would be enough room for the upright freezer and some storage shelves. When we pulled down the wall and could see the footer, there was already an original foundation anchor in it, and though we may have been able to remove it, we didn’t want to mess with the original structural integrity. Before you pull down your wall, you will need to find your studs, but once you do, you can tear out anything in the wall, in our case it was insulation, and clean your work space.

We decided to move the door a segment to the left, and Josh began cutting. As I mentioned earlier, since the panels were assembled a special way, we had to disassemble a special way. Using a sawzall, Josh was able to fit the blade between the panels and studs to cut the bolts. Once all a panel’s bolts were cut, it could just slide right out. We did end up damaging a few panels this way, but many of these panels were severely rusted and some even rusted through. Once that was done, we cut out the existing stud and cross support, and cut the existing footer in the door way to make room for a new threshold.

Once the opening was done, it was all framing and adding the door. First, we added our threshold, and added on anchor into the cement. Then we rough framed the door. We gave ourselves an extra 3 inches for the door and roughed in the opening. We made spacer blocks then added our 2x4s up to the header. There we added shorter 2x4s that were slightly higher than the door, and nailed them to the existing 2x4s. This whole time before we nailed anything, we were adjusting the boards to be as close to level and as close to square as we could get. We added a top plate to the shorted boards and attached it. We added some smaller pieces to attach that to the actual header, then we called it a day because our we found out our well switch had broken (thankfully we keep a spare). We added plywood for the night and got back to it a few days later. We then cut the door frame, cutting the sides before the top, shimmed it in place then nailed it. We added our final threshold and then we took a few more days off before returning. When we came back, we hung the door. First, holding the door where it would be if it were open, we marked the hinge locations. We had enough room that we didn’t have to set in the hinges, but you may have to do that if your space is too tight. Josh pre-drilled the holes, and I held the door as he attached each hinge.

Josh then cut our top trim piece and mounted it, then he cut and mounted each side piece. We added new hardware to the door, and spray foamed around the framing of the door. We left it like that until I was able to paint the trim to finish the project.

Saving Seeds

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Last spring was the first time putting in a spring garden. Like many others, I went to the store and bought a variety of seeds for plants I wanted in my garden that year. So, below are 5 variety of seeds I’ve saved so far this spring. Four varieties are from plants I had in the garden this year, and the other was from a veggie I got at a local farmer’s market. I hear starting from seed is best for most plants, and if you do have problems with germination, then you could always go out and buy the plant. All seeds can also be stored the same way. If you plan to use them within the next year or two, seeds should be stored somewhere cool and dark. If you want to preserve seeds for 5-10 years, you will want to vacuum seal your seeds or place them in a labeled jar with an oxygen absorber, and store in your fridge or freezer.

Green Beans

I bought these green bean seeds this spring. I’ve stored them in a cool and dark place the keep their viability high for next year. I also got several more seeds from my plants this year. If the pod becomes overly ripe and the seeds are viable, the pod will turn yellow on the vine. The seeds have begun going into development when the pods begin to turn waxy and the skin becomes rubbery. I cut my green beans up as soon as I pick them, and suspicious pods, I will cut around the bean to see if the shell has the rubbery texture. Green bean seeds should be sown directly into the ground.

Onion Seeds

My onions this year were started from sets. They did OK, but they didn’t do great. My soil was part of the problem, and I will be addressing that. I also had 3 bulbs go to seed. When Onions go to seed, they develop a big flower stem out the top, and from there they develop a flower that looks like a yarrow or queen Anne’s lace. Once the flower has been pollinated and begins to close up/turn brown in an area, you can cut off the head and place it in a paper bag for a week or two to finish drying. Once dry, you can shake the flower the drop all the tiny little seeds. The flower can be disposed of, and the seeds stored as desired. Onion seeds should be started inside before being transplanted outside.

Radish Seeds

Radishes are a fast growing crop that are supposed to be the best for first time growers. This variety is cherry belle radishes. The seeds are sown directly into the ground. They are ready to harvest 22 days after they sprout and they only like cool weather. If you leave them in the ground for longer, they will begin to go to seed. I kept 3 radishes in the ground, and as they matured they grew considerably! They grow a main stock with many branches of flowers. After about a week or two they begin to form pods. You should let the pods turn red before harvesting the pods, and you should wait for the pods to dry and become brittle before harvesting all the seeds. You can crush the pods and break them open to extract the seeds. The seeds can then be placed in a bowl or bucket. You can then swirl the seeds and blow onto them to remove any chaff that ended up with the seeds. You may lose some seeds too, but they were likely light and inviable.

Green Pepper Seeds

Green peppers are the one plant I didn’t grow in my garden this year. I bought several green peppers from a local grower at a local farmer’s market. These seeds can easily be saved. When you cut a green pepper, cut around top of the pepper. You should make the circle about 1/2 way from the stem and outer edge of the pepper. Cut down enough to sever the ribs, then you can push down on the stem and pull it clean out. You can then remove any remaining seed from inside the pepper and set aside your top to save seeds after you finish cooking. Place your seeds on a paper towel/ paper plate. Place your paper towel/plate on a sunny windowsill. After about 1-2 hours, come through and stir your seeds to dry any seeds that may be underneath. Let dry another 1-2 hours before storing. Green Pepper plants should be started inside 6-8 weeks before your last frost. If available, buy your pepper locally and not from a supermarket, because then you will know the pepper breed will do well in your climate.

Marigold Seeds

When I first planted marigolds this spring, I was shocked with the seed shape! I had never grown anything from seed before, but I assumed all seeds look similar. I was even more shocked to seed how easy it is to harvest more seeds, and how many seeds you get from just one flower! Use a dead or dying flower. Cut the flower from the plant and take it inside. remove the stem by holding the dried petals at the top. Then, grab the black seeds, and pull off the petals. That’s all! Now you have marigold seeds. These are sown directly into the ground in spring and grow all year.

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