Home Decor

Always Shop with a Tape Measure

So I have become one of the THOSE WIVES. Not the kind of wife who shops and spends behind my husbands back or a wife who hovers over her children…. but the one who buys furniture that is toooo big for the room where it will reside. You would think that after being a furniture sales woman I would have remembered that nothing in a furniture store looks that big until you get it home. Yea, well it really did not look that big in the store!

So this post actually started almost 6 months ago and is just now coming to an end. Early this spring my older brother contacted me to let me know that he was coming out to visit us in October. He planed to bringing some things of our mothers to me when he visited. The only draw back to this plan was I had no bed for him to sleep in and would need to get one before he arrived.

So around March I began the second search in 4 years for a NEW headboard (the last  bed  crashed to the ground) and again didn’t finding anything I liked. I returned to the idea of finding something used and fixing it up. I did find something I liked at a used furniture store and everything went down hill from there.

What I found was a lovely 4 post cherry bed and a nightstand for about a 3/4 less than the retail price and it was in great shape. I jumped at the bed/night stand combo not even consulting my husband more than “This is what I am buying” and “when can you come pick it up”? I never even ask him the questions of “do you like it?”or “will it fit?” I just found the owner and said”this one is sold!”

So I was happy… I got a wonderful new/used bed that was nicer then anything we had bought in the past. My brother would have a quest bed with the headboard Tom had made me.Little did I know I would not be this happy in a matter of a few days.

We got the two pieces home and began to realize the error of my judgement when Tom took measurements to see how everything would fit in the room. His face told the whole story…. You could see it as he entered the kitchen shaking his head “it will not fit.” My heart sank… “You have to be kidding me?”

master bedroom with bed

moving the new furniture into the freshly painted room

So as you can see we did the only thing you can do when you do not shop with a tape measure.You steal the master bed room back from your seven-year old son.Then begin the long process of  repainting and redoing the two rooms again( just painted when we moved in about a year ago).This time with the promise that I would not buy any more furniture for the next few years.

Master bedroom

finished Master Bedroom with new bed and paint

The rooms are turning out very nice.The bed looks great and I am lucky to have a room big enough for it. Christopher is happy because we are doing a lot of kid friendly work to the room. We pulled up the old carpet and sanded,stained and sealed the floors so he can play more with this train collection. We are adding stars and a glow in the dark moon to the ceiling and a few puffing clouds to the walls.

tearing out old carpet

removing the old carpet and padding showing green walls

tom sanding christophers floors

Tom sanding the hardwood floor in the freshly painted room for Christopher

We should have Christopher moved back into his room in about a week and I can finally get a chance to set up my quest room. Lets just hope that it is all finished soon or my brother may not have a place to sleep.

The moral to the story is do not let a wife shop for furniture with out a tape measure. It may save you lots of time and money in the long run. 

Hope all of you are having a great end of summer and I will be writing more as soon as this project is over as every extra time I have has been spent either sanding or painting the mistake I made away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: DIY projects, funny stories, furniture, Home Decor, home remodeling | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

If Martha Stewart had an ADHDD sister.

If Martha Stewart had a ADHDD sister I would be her.I love the holidays it gives me a reason to cook, bake and decorate. I at one time was a professional interior decorator. I worked for J.C. Penny’s custom decorating and I worked with a furniture store doing whole homes of furniture and accessories. So I get into the holidays deep, really deep, baking, candy making, making decorations and trimming trees (this year only three). Yet, as a house wife I don’t have the staff of professionals that people like Martha Stewart does to help me. So what most people do in a weekend I spend all month working on and in the process I make a huge mess. I dream of  someone to clean up every thing for me, maybe a hansom older man to do dishes, a young one to climb the ladder for the roof lights, and a nice granny kinda woman to clean while I decorate the tree. I just wish that I was not so caught up in my disorder ADHDD ( Attention Deficit Holiday Decorating Disorder) that I could say stop all on my own. But  my family all know that the only thing that ends my ADHDD binge is the date Dec 31st. New Years Eve sends shivers down my spine because it is the next day that I start to clean it all back up.

Blue and Silver Christmas tree 2015

Blue and Silver Christmas tree 2015

I feel like the bad sister that Martha would never talks about.  You know the one who suffers from over decorating and over baking. That family member who has a couple of rooms in the house totally covered in exploding  holiday decorations. The one that has two sinks over flowing with pots and pans because on a whim I needed to make candy for the entire 1 st grade class. The one who is making a mad dash to Wal-Mart at 10  pm to get spray paint because you forgot the it 4 times this week. The one who puts more lights on the pre-lighted tree because it is just toooo plain with out blue lights too. The one who has to color coordinate the tree to the curtains and the dinner dishes, you get the picture, right? I have  ADHDD so bad that I can never really finish one project before the next one needs attention. I am usually doing several things at once.

mess of unpacked decorations

mess of unpacked decorations

So this being our first Christmas in the new to us house, I have begun to get things out of the boxes and totes.I  am trying desperately to get a grip on this ADHDD thing and not go over board. I have so much I want to decorate now that we live in town. I never really did much outside before because we lived on a farm.The only people who would really enjoy it were my own kids and making them happy was easy. Now we have neighbors, and  they have begun to decorate outside, leaving me feeling behind in the decorating game. I can’t blame them, the weather was perfect last weekend and I wish I had spent some time trying to make things look festive but in the end we spent time with family instead. It was great too and I hope to write about it soon.

So as I write this I am just finishing up a batch of old fashion hard tack candy and bagging it up. Then putting up stockings and putting out my sons train under a tree. Holiday music is blasting and I cry every darn time I hear someone sing “Mary did You Know?” … something about Mary kissing  little Jesus’s face….. gets me every time.

Sugar covered table and Old Fashioned Hard Tack Candy

Sugar covered table and Old Fashioned Hard Tack Candy

I have three strings of out-door lights that need hung and an inflatable snoopy that needs placed in the yard. I have holiday cards to send out and three holiday parties to attend. I have groceries still to by and two wreaths to make. The silly thing is that in all of this mass of confusion, I am happy, more happy than I have been in years.The ADHDD has kicked in and I will be holiday buzzing for the next month.Maybe it is all the cookies and candy or the extra caffeine but I am feeling grand.

Christophers tree that needs help to finish and a table of trains

Christopher’s tree that needs help to finish and a table of trains

Then as if I did not know it was coming, it will be over, the holidays will end and I have to put it all back. New Years day will come with its lingering effects of staying up to late will make me tired and grumpy. Tom and I will sleep in and  little Christopher will crawl into our bed to snuggle as we say “Happy New Year” to each other. I will be sad, lingering under the covers to long, knowing that a the New Year has begone. I will worry about where to put everything that has arrived at our door over Christmas. I will drink a strong cup of tea in my P.J’s and start the long, slow process of undoing all my hard work in a matter of a day or two. I will miss the blue and white lights, the smell of cinnamon, and the taste of home-made cookies. I will carefully pack away each ornament and place the tree carefully back in its box. I will dust and vacuum up the silver glitter off the floor. The plates of cookies and candy will get tossed out. I will known in my sad heart that my disorder is restrained again for another year. Secretly, I think about my “New Year Resolution”. It will not have anything to do with weight or being more loving, but about taking it easy on the decorating next year. Praying that next holiday season my house will look perfect from beginning to end and Martha Stewart will stop by and be pleased with what I have done. That maybe she will share in my story of ADHDD and secretly nod to me her understanding.. because once many years ago she was a  decorating nut-bucket just like me.

Categories: About me, candy, Christmas, Home Decor, New Years Eve | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

Salt Dough Holiday Ornaments with Kids of All Ages

My older son Cody has always made my life more fun with his unexpected ideas. So you never know what the boy has planned when you see him. Some times its,”Mom you got to see this” or “Mom how do you make this” or “you need to try this”… it is always so much fun when he is around. So the weekend before Halloween ( at little late I know). He arrives at our house for the usual Sunday Dinner with bags of stuff in his hands and the granddaughter  so excited trailing behind him. My daughter in law Jamie explains the Cody wants to make Play-Dough at my house that Sunday afternoon ( he never warms me we are going to make a mess). After looking over the ingredients I quickly realized that what he had brought was not Play-Dough ingredients buSalt Dough ingredients.

Salt dough decorations

Salt dough decorations

Salt dough is a wonderful inexpensive way for kids of all ages ( 4-48 this day) to mold and bake decorations, figures, or models. This dough can be colored and baked to make the craft hard and dry so it will last for years. The hard dough decorations can be painted and sealed with any clear coat. The dough is non-toxic and eating it will not hurt the youngest of artist… but be warned it is very salty.

So with all of us in the kitchen together  we mixed up a large batch of dough. Cody then took the dough and broke it into smaller pieces and added food coloring. All I had on hand was Easter neon colors so we had very bright colors to work with. We gave Christopher and Paige each 4 small bowels of colored dough and turned them loose with my cookie cutters, rolling-pin, tooth picks and watched the fun. With in minuets we were all making things too…

Jamie Powers and Paige Powers making Salt Dough decorations

Jamie Powers and Paige Powers making Salt Dough decorations

Salt Dough family time

Salt Dough family time

I even joined in the fun and made some decorations too. The decorations had both a Christmas feel and a Halloween feel so we covered both holidays with some of our creations. When all the dough was gone I put two full cookie sheets in the oven to bake. I did notice that we made very thin decorations and they do not take as long as the directions say to dry. Worried that at some point they would burn, I reduced the length of cooking time 15 minutes.

Sponge Bob and Patrick salt dough decorations

Sponge Bob and Patrick salt dough decorations

 

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Salt dough ninja

Salt dough ninja

 

So have fun this holiday season, break out the cookie cutters that have not been used for a year and make some lasting decorations with the kids. The kids and grand kid played for about 3 hours making things and baking them before dinner. Now both little ones have home-made decorations for this years trees.

 

Salt Dough: hardening dough

4 cups flour

1 cup fine crystal salt not sea salt

1 1/2 to 2 cups water

mix until can be worked with fingers like heavy bread dough

bake finished work in oven at 300 degrees for up to an hour.

( I bake ours for about 45 minutes because they were so thin)

let cool and paint, glue and decorate and enjoy!

 

Salt dough skull

Salt dough skull

 

Categories: Art, Christmas, crafts, family fun, Halloween, Holidays, Home Decor | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

This Sunday is the Airing of My Barnwood Builder Episode.

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

 

I am sorry that I did not share this information sooner, but here is your reminder. Sunday night on the DIY network at 9:00 pm will be the airing of my episode of our family room remodel. It has been a very long and very busy year. As some may already know we lost Grandma Powers to Cancer on Sunday( Oct 25 2015). Making a long story short the funeral was yesterday and we are moving Grandma out of her apartment today and I am sick… So I plan to enjoy a weekend of rest and relaxation. I have even given up the idea of taking Christopher Trick or Treating myself and plan to let his older brother Cody and his wife have all the fun this year. I just hope to not sleep through the episode and hope you all enjoy the story.

Mark Bowe hanging in the living room after shooting with the Barnwood builders

Mark Bowe hanging in the living room after shooting with the Barnwood builders

Categories: Barns, Barnwood, Barnwood Builders, Buckhannon West Virginia, DIY, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, Lewis County | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fall is Coming and so is My Barnwood Builder Episode

Fall has started to arrive here in West Virginia, squirrel and archery hunting season have begun, making my husband and son fidgety to get back out in the woods.The garden that I have not had time to write about was good and I am collecting the last of the tomatoes, peppers and squash this week. The aroma of roasting chilies and sweet peppers fills my house as the garden finally says good-bye. As the weather finally turns cold, I  will be ready to snuggle up and watch the new season of the Barnwood Builders. The season starts the first week in Oct and my families episode  airs  Sunday the 1st of Nov. So the weekend of Halloween looks full. Take the kids out Trick-or-Treating Saturday night and celebrate my birthday on Nov 1st with the a viewing party that includes cake and ice cream and a few close friends and family. The night should be unforgettable and I am still trying to figure out how this all happened to me.

I will post a reminder that week for those who want to see the show on the DIY or GAC networks that evening. Thanks for the support and cant wait to see what they have done with my little story.

Cinderella garden pumpkin

Cinderella garden pumpkin.

Queens Island blue squash

Queens Island blue squash.

Large chili pepper plant loaded and read to pick

Large chili pepper plant loaded with peppers.

two gallon harvest bucket

Two gallon harvest bucket.

fall leaves on wet step

Fall leaves on wet step.

Categories: About me, Barnwood Builders, Birthday, bow season, family memories, Halloween, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, seeds | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Completed DIY Network Project and Last Visit with The BarnWood Builders

So today I think I am a little sad, the project is complete and the Barnwood Builders on the DIY Network have driven off to another barn or cabin. The Barnwood Builders shared something with me and my family that I can not easily explain, it is a gift of course, a new family room, but it is something more also. It is when kindred spirits come together things get magical and create some thing better than if we were doing things alone. My family room would not have been half as beautiful without the lumber the we received from that old barn. Their show needed a willing and able family to take  truck loads of old lumber and make it into something. My blog would have never gotten the recognition it has without them finding me in cyber space. I would have never learned so much about the way TV production works and is filmed. Mark would have never put a shoe on a horse if it was not for people who deep down love West Virginia and the beautiful life this state has given us.

Barn in the Valley at Kenchelo road, Jane Lew< West Virginia

“MY” Barn in the Valley at Kenchelo road, Jane Lew,West Virginia

I have never in my life worked with a better group of people, the respect that is given to each person on the set from the littlest.. ( Christopher) to the Assistants, Caterers, and barn or cabin owners, to Tom or I and the real stars of the show is higher and deeper then I have ever seen at any place I have ever worked. The amount of team work these people have to put into creating a one hour show is hard to understand and they do it day in and day out.

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

It took almost three days to film the demo of my old barn and Toms farrier segment (it’s not mine by ownership but mine in my heart). It took three more days to film my house and cut in clips of landscapes and animals. Then 4 or 5  weeks of planing and travel ( We joined the band wagon a month before shooting started). Now 6 weeks to edit this one show and do voice overs and graphics before this show will air. All for a one hour on the DIY network. What an amazing experience, I am still in disbelieve that It all happened … it was a dream right?

Travis director of photography setting up on last day of filming

Travis director of photography  with his assistant (back to you)setting up on last day of filming

I am a fan of Mark Bowe for his love of this State, its people and its rich history. It is his vision that I share and will continue to pour into my blog. So that maybe one day people outside our hollers will see that we are not trapped in the past or unlucky.That we have made a choice to slow our lives to remember our past and see the beauty that is our countries rich history. With out our past we have no future and it takes time to build a solid foundation to live on. ( Notice: West Virginia was barely impacted with the housing crisis or the recession that followed something to think about as most states finances are in the red while West Virginia is financially stable.)

Mark Bowe hanging in the living room after shooting with the Barnwood builders

Mark Bowe hanging in the living room after shooting with the Barnwood builders

On the last day of filming our house Sean Mc Court(the executive producer), Travis( head Photographer) and his assistant arrived about an hour before Mark Bow to set up lights to make the room bright and homey. Well nothing ever goes as planed and the lights that Sean rented were really no help for us and Travis worked hard to get as much natural light in the room as possible. I still think you will see in the final cut that the room looks dark …… like well the inside of a barn… kinda hard to get past that.

Christopher look out on the light bounce screen

Christopher look out on the light bounce screen

 Mark was happy to hear all the stories of our home in a way that I have not seen any other episode. I have no idea what ones will be in the show but I am pretty sure you will see my art work, the Mason jar Chandelier ( how we made it here), Toms Elk and lots of neat things we took from the barn to decorate with. Travis even took closes ups of my family photos and bear skin rug. It is strange to tell my family stories in front of a camera, the tail of packing out our Elk and getting it mounted by an oral surgeon not a taxidermist, the print that my brother made from a lake not but a block from my mother’s house in Longmont, Co. and the story of Toms grandfathers 28 point buck photo are pieces of my family that I just shared with america and the world… strange feeling really.

The show works unscripted and is a very open to the nature of the people and places they are working with. The weather and moods of the cast and”guests” is real more real than you can imagine. The producers gave me a general over view of what they wanted us to cover in the show…  new floors, walls, the DIY chandelier, and my art work. Then turned to Mark and said “we will shoot this in reverse order and will shoot from this door way”. That is all the direction we got… seriously I just followed along…. if he asked a question or pointed any thing out I just told the story that I have been telling everyone for the last 5 months. Then we moved out side for the “Greeting” portion of the shoot… yea a little strange but this made it easier for the lighting set up and is the only acting my family did…. Christopher was a ham and Tom was nervous  and I thought it was all funny.We had to film the greeting three times over to get all the information into the shot that Sean needed us to say or to keep hammy Christopher from blowing the high-five that he gives Mark.

Then they filmed Mark giving us our gift and I get to finally see the photo present that they made for me. For a photography nut this was the very best gift I could have been given. I know the story behind the photo, the location, and the photographer and am so happy they got some blue sky in the photo. All I remember about that morning was cold and rain… It now looks lovely in my country kitchen and will be a treasured gift for the rest of my life.

Photo of my barn portrait gift from Mark Bowe

Photo of my barn portrait gift from Mark Bowe

 

Barn wood about finished on wall with windows

Barn wood about finished on wall with windows

Just like these treasured photos of the work we did and the time we spent together to make this all happen. It has been worth every moment of rain or mud, every long day of hanging wood boards in a 90 degree family room and hours of time on our knees with tile and grout. I think Tom, Cody and I logged 70 hours on the floor twice that of the walls.

drying slate tiles

drying slate tiles

Cody Power stripping old floor tiles

Cody Power stripping old floor tiles

Family room from the laundry room door

Family room from the laundry room door

Some how it all come together and is better than any thing I could have imagined. We now have a family room my family is proud of! Thank you to the cast and crew of the Barnwood Builders…. I cant wait to see episode# 5 of the new season that starts Oct 2015. I may just have a viewing Party with my family and friends in November when my show airs… who’s up for popcorn?

finished family room from laundry room

finished family room from laundry room with Jinn.

Categories: Barnwood, Barnwood Builders, Buckhannon West Virginia, family memories, Home Decor, home improvement, Mason Jars, slate tile | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

#4 The Finished Remodel and Final Filming with the BarnWood Builders

The spring remodeling project with the Barnwood Builders has finally been finished. It is the most surprising and wonderful experience I have ever be part of. It is a gift to work on this project, be included in this T.V. show and be able to promote some of the wonderful things about my West Virginia. The filming crew will return on Aug. 28th 2015 to do the final filming with a small crew and star Mark Bowe. After time to edit and do all the “Hollywood” magic I will receive a rough cut of the Jane Lew Barn show around Thanksgiving and then around April of next year the show will air.  I am proud of the work that Tom, I and the kids have done but in some way I am a little sad to see it end. So here is a photo over view of where we started and where we finally ended with this project that started with this blog and my love for my home in Wild Wonderful West Virginia.

Just a quick over view, The Barnwood Builders are an antique building, cabin and restoration company in Lewisburg, West Virginia. They travel all over the east coast collecting, removing and restoring 1800’s buildings and cabins for reuse.Many of their projects take old barns and turn them into new modern homes or finding old barns that can be salvaged to use in other projects. My home is one of the salvage projects of a barn in my husband’s home town of Jane Lew, West Virginia. The production company found my blog while doing web research on Jane Lew and the surrounding area. The project just grew from the contact they made with me and my family. Now 5 months later the project that started as just an idea over a phone call from New York city turned into a wonderful family room that fits my families taste and style. Who knew that writing a blog would take me on this journey.

We start at the old barn and my before photos. You can read more at the first link above but this is a couple of my photos from the day before the barn got torn down.

Kenchelo road barn before being torn down

Kenchelo road barn before being torn down

Tom walking to barn on Kenchelo

Tom walking to barn on Kenchelo

The before photos of my family room before the work started. We had just bought our house in Dec and received a wonderful blog message from Barnwood Builders about a the end of April. We had just started to get things unpacked and we were just starting to think about what we wanted to do to update the house when we jumped in to take part in this project.

Family room from the laundry room door

Family room from the laundry room door

Famliy room from the front door

Family room from the front door

office portion of the family room

office portion of the family room

The Family Room is clean and neat, but noting out standing. As the photo shows the floor was divided carpet and linoleum and the walls painted white. We started by hauling lumber from the above barn to our home Buckhannon. Then removing the old flooring and replacing it with slate tile. You can read more about the remodel here

Family room floor with slate tile in place

Family room floor with slate tile in place

Then started to remove and repair the ceiling.

Cody Powers doing mud and tap repairs to the ceiling

Cody Powers doing mud and tap repairs to the ceiling

Then the wall got covered in the 120 year old oak boards. During the build we got delayed for a few days with some of the cutest baby squires hidden in the barn wood, and you can see them here.

Barn wood about finished on wall with windows

Barn wood about finished on wall with windows

Covering the wall process went pretty fast compared to doing the tile floor. We trimmed each board to length and to straighten them, then applied the boards with an airnailer with 2 1/2 inch nails. Then added molding and base board and updated our lighting. We made our own chandeliers and you can see that project here. 

New light sconce light fixture and some of the base board and ceiling molding

New light sconce light fixture and some of the base board and ceiling molding

two mason jar light fixtures installed and working ... yea!

two mason jar light fixtures installed and working … yea!

So last week we finished up the cleaning, added curtain rods with drapes and finally the photos and stuffed animals back into the room.

finished family room from laundry room

finished family room from laundry room

Finished Family room from kitchen door way with desk in new place

Finished Family room from kitchen door way with desk in new place

 

Finished office space moved from one wall to the other

Finished office space moved from one wall to the other

Here are side by side photos

finished family room from laundry room

finished family room from laundry room

 

Family room from the laundry room door

Family room from the laundry room door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Famliy room from the front door

Family room from the front door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished Family room from kitchen door way with desk in new place

Finished Family room from kitchen door way with desk in new place.

office portion of the family room

office portion of the family room

Finished office space moved from one wall to the other

Finished office space moved from one wall to the other.

 

I know that this style of room and decor is not what everyone is looking for but with our families out-door life style and my love of art and photography it works for us. This room will inspire the rest of the house to slowly be remodeled in a similar way. With the use of hardwoods, stone and lots of warm colors. We are taking a break until next year when we need to do some work on the windows in these photos and hope replace the front doors. So as I get excited to see the Crew again I am also feeling a little sad that it will be a couple of years before Tom and I will have the time to head down to Lewisburg,West Virginia to see the guys again as we continue to add some of West Virginia history to our home.

Thank you to every one from the Production crew, to the friends, family, the guys ( Brain Buckner, Johnny Jett, Tim Rose,Sherman Thompson,Graham Ferguson) and Mark Bowe for his love and passion for West Virginia to make this all possible. It has been the funnest hard work we have done in a long time.

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham.

 

Categories: Barnwood, Barnwood Builders, DIY, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, slate tile, Squirrles | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Mason Jar Chandelier a DIY project: With Our Barn Wood Update

To add a real personal touch to the family room remodel Tom and I added two Mason Jar chandeliers. We removed an older ceiling fan/light fixture that did not properly light the large room and replaced them with 2 light boxes, with 6 bulbs of soft colored pendant lights. We got the idea from a looking at web pages that had barn wood and county rooms that had used Mason Jars as shades for light fixtures. Tom and I worked out what we wanted and the did some experimenting before settling on two lights instead of just one large one. This is what we ended up making out of the scrap wood left over from the walls. This is just one of the two light boxes we made.

Mason Jar chandalier made from old barn wood

Mason Jar chandelier made from old barn wood

Each box houses three lights (like the one above) and each light has a 40 watt clear appliance bulb inside a pint mason jar. Using the ring and seal as our bracket to support the jar. Each jar is removable can change in color or size, up to a quart jar with many decorative colors… This is my first combination Green, Clear and Blue. At some time in the future I will stain a few clear jars a warm yellow if Ball does not produce them soon!

The room looks like this with both light fixtures, you can see in the photo where the ceiling fan/light used to mount. These lights are about 8 feet apart and mount to ceiling rafters with brackets in our attic. The brackets attached to wooden blocks on the drywall part of the ceiling that slide into the wood boxes and attach with double-sided blots that have wood screws on one side and machine screws on the other, topped with acorn nuts and washers.

two  mason jar light fixtures installed and working ... yea!

two mason jar light fixtures installed and working … yea!

 

The lights are pretty easy to make and there are a lot of ideas on the internet, some have “how to” videos and others are just photos. So to explain what we did here I have added some photos and descriptions that may help if you to make these  yourself.

First, Tom and I had to decide three things, how much light we wanted, how many fixtures we wanted and finally how big should the shades be. So with a little test light that Tom wired up we started with clear quart jars and the idea of having 8 lights on one fixture using 90 watt clear bulbs. Wow that was just toooo bright.Unless we wanted to buy Edison light bulbs ( they appear sepia in color) at 9 dollars a bulb we had to come up with something less bright.

So we started to scale down what we wanted to make. The one big box idea changed to a two box light set up so that the light would fill the entire room and not blind people watching  the T.V.  Then we needed to rethink the amount of light we needed. I could have used the Edison bulbs at 60 watts they are still a less bright light than clear bulbs but the cost of the bulbs was just silly about ($100.00 ). The bulbs would cost more than the whole fixture.I still wanted clear bulbs so we went smaller and lower wattage. The standard 40 watt clear bulbs cost me 4 dollars for 4 bulbs, so the price was good and we could use a smaller shade and I had many jars to use.I have some clear jars and some colored already. I like the colored ones to use for drinking glasses,vases and candle holders. So I had no money in the colored pint jars and had lids and rings in my collection of canning supplies.

We then decided that 4 lights was really more than we needed wattage wise and the look of three pendants looks better than 4. So the two light boxes with three small jar covers with 40 watt bulbs became the plan. Tom made the boxes out of scrap wood we had left over from the Barnwood Builders remodel and drilled three holes for the light cord wiring. The wire was the most expensive portion of the fixture and we bought a 25 foot roll and had about 4 feet left over. Tom wanted the wire to match the socket and fill it completely so we kind over did what we needed to produce a 40 watt light but it looks great so the extra money was worth it in the long run.

light box with three holes the box face is 36 inches with a 1 inch frame on all sides

light box with three holes the box face is 36 inches with a 1 inch frame on all sides

Tom wiring in light cords into shallow wiring box

Tom wiring in light cords into shallow wiring

wiring for Manson Jar chandelier

wiring for Manson Jar chandelier

From here you can see how we could wire up more than one light to a single fixture. We mounted two Grounding Bars ( found in the fuse box section) to the side of a shallow blue wiring box. Each bar has room for several connections we would only use three on each bar. One bar is the ground and one bar is the hot,then the wiring box  mounted to the center of the light box with wood screws. The cords were then cut to length on the other side and a zip ties  applied to the cord so there was a stop on the cord. This prevents the weight of the shade and bulb from pulling on the cord and possibly pulling the cord out of the grounding bar. Then sockets attach to the cords. We used two-part sockets so that we could add the lid to the socket as the bracket to hold on the jar.

Adding sockets to cords of three Mason Jar light fixture

Adding sockets to cords of three Mason Jar light fixture

Chandelier light test

Chandelier light test

After adding the sockets to the cords it was time to make sure the wiring worked and add bulbs to see how bright the lights were. Tom just stripped an old extension cord down and wired it into the power bars on the inside of the box, plugged the other end into the wall outlet to see if what he had made worked properly; this is what I saw. Now we just needed to get the lids cut for the shades and add them to see if they were going to look good.

Cutting the lids was pretty easy if you leave the lids on the jars and tighten up the rings. Otherwise it is almost impossible to hold the lids in place with either your fingers or small clamps. Tom used a 32 mm hole cutter to cut the holes … the cutters hole is just shy of what we needed and the fit was rough from the cutter.

Standard 32 mm hole cutter to cut holes in canning jar lids

Standard 32 mm hole cutter to cut holes in canning jar lids

cutting hole in lid of Mason Jar for light fixture

cutting hole in lid of Mason Jar for light fixture

ruff hole cut in canning jar lid

rough hole cut in canning jar lid

To make the edges smooth and increase the size of the hole Tom used a small grinding stone bit in his drill. He ground off the edge until the socket fit into each hole and the edges are not super sharp. Then he fits each socket into the lid and drills ventilation  holes 4 each in the lid.

Tom grinding down the lid and enlarging hole for socket

Tom grinding down the lid and enlarging hole for socket

drilling 4 vent hole into lid of Mason Jar light shade

drilling 4 vent hole into lid of Mason Jar light shade

When complete the lids and rings were added to the sockets, then we screwed on the jars and tested again.

Mason Jar light shades... blue green and clear ready to add to light fixtuer

Mason Jar light shades… blue, green and clear ready to add to light fixture

Testing Mason Jar Lights these are ready to install

Testing Mason Jar Lights these are ready to install

The installation was a two person job as the boxes are heavy. The barn wood box with wiring is held in place while the wires connect at the ceiling for a long time. I would suggest using two ladders it makes installation much easier. Be prepared to use a strong set of arms as you push the fixture on to the screws hanging down from the blocks attached to the ceiling. Once in place we were so excited to see that they both worked and the light filled the entire room instead of only in the middle that we just stopped working for a couple of days to enjoy what it looked like.

View from back of room to front with both Mason Jar Chandeliers

View from back of room to front with both Mason Jar Chandeliers

 

We have also added a small sconce light to the back wall over my computer desk so that we can see at the desk without turning on all the lights. Again it needed rewired because I did not want to open up the wall to install it. Tom added a switch cord and we stuffed the cord between the boars on the wall. It works great and in the future I will get a brown cord and tack the cord in place.

New light sconce light fixture and some of the base board and ceiling molding

New light sconce light fixture and some of the base board and ceiling molding

So I am slowly getting the furniture back in place, photos hung and rugs put down. It will be next week before we have every thing back in place and I can take after photos but this gives you an idea of how far we have come. It has been more work then I imagined and took about a month longer then I hoped. But we did this ourselves no contractor was really needed.We did call on lots of friends and family to help out over the last 4 months and it was all worth it in the end. Can’t wait to share the after photos.

Categories: Barnwood, Barnwood Builders, DIY, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, light fixtures, Mason Jars | Tags: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Restore, Repair and Reuse an Old Coffee Table

Like many people my family lives on a limited budget. This means that the remodel of our house with the Barn Wood Builders has made us stretch every penny that we have extra every month as far as it will go. So when I wanted a different coffee table for the “NEW” room I had to think out of the box on how to get some thing we could afford. At first we started looking at new coffee tables…. then sticker shock set in. We had to try to find some thing used as I just could not see paying 300 to 450 dollars for wood coffee table.

So after a couple of weekends  we ended up at a local antique/ new furniture store that sells just about everything. On the top floor of the store, in a back corner, under another table, hidden away because it was so ugly, Tom found a table. It turned out that the table was a very used late 1960 to 1970  sold wood coffee table, with a leather stamped top. It was ugly and burnt and dog chewed and he loved it. So for the very reasonable price Tom said this was the “one” and we packed the ugly thing into my little Chevy.

Damaged top of coffee table

Damaged top of coffee table

 

side view of damaged coffee table

side view of damaged coffee table

close up of the amount of dirt and damage at the corner of table

close up of the amount of dirt and damage at the corner of table

The finish had chips, the top had burns from cigarettes and one leg was dog chewed, leaving the finish a different color then the rest. I was not sure what we would do with the table but my first thought was to tile the top with some of our left over tile and just stain or paint the base and call it done. Well some times you get a surprise that you are happy with before you reach the end of a project.

I first applied a stripper to the table and waited the recommended ten minutes and began to remove all the old finish. It took two complete coast of stripper to get all the finish off and  I washed the table off with a garden hose. Then I removed the leather top. The top was real leather that had an embossed gold leaf printed into the edges. I found a loose corner and began to pull and pry the leather away from the wood top below as carefully as I could. I did not want to damage the tables wooden top just in case I needed it later. This is what was left when I finished removing all the finish

stripped table with out leather top.

stripped table with out leather top.

As you can see in the photo the glue still remained in some places and would not come off with stripper… I tried and it was not going come off that way. I also really got a good look at the wood and the color of the table. To my surprise the back had a light-colored strip of wood and one leg was almost white after stripping.

back view of stripped table

back view of stripped table

So I let the table dry for a couple of days and started to sand the remaining finish off the table and it was looking pretty good but I really had no idea what was under the glued covered top until the sanding started. I sanded the top with a 220 grit paper on my orbital sander and the beautiful grain slowly appeared. This was not just a fill in top made from some second-rate wood. I was so happy to see the table top was the same wood as the rest of the table. It was the same color and would take stain the same way. This changed all of my ideas for the top. I sanded the entire table again with 400 grit paper and made the choice to finish the whole table the same way.

After a couple of days I stained the table with two coats of stain… the first being a stain called Gun Stock that should have been a nice darker maple stain. but turned our table orange. It looked funny and I was very unhappy with the first coat. This is what the Gun Stock stain looked like.

red orange color of the first coat of stain.

red orange color of the first coat of stain.

So after a day of dry time I added a coat of Cherry stain to darken the wood and bring out more of the contrast of the gain of the wood.  This was a good combination and we both loved it. Not to dark but not orange.

second coat of stain in cherry with out top coat

second coat of stain in cherry with out top coat

close up of the grain on the hidden top of the table

close up of the grain on the hidden top of the table

 

I finished the table with a wax rubbed on finish and we are still debating if we want to add a glass top to protect all of my hard work. I may need to get my coasters out for now just so I don’t mess up the finish. As you can see the old table that we spent less the 100 dollars for with stripper and stain is a real bargain over the 400 dollar table I feel in love with at the furniture store.

I really enjoyed this part of my summer projects it reminded me that we can recycle, reuse most well made furniture. It makes me smile when I look at the difference I have made and that my home has a personal touch of my handy work. I laugh when I know that if this table was back in the store it would not be hidden way in the back with the discards, but would be up front with a price tag that would be double what I have in it. Some times thinking out side the box is so much more fun then just buying new!

Categories: furniture, Home Decor, recycling, refinished furniture | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

Baby Squires Interrupt a Day of Barn Wood Building: Home remodel #3

We have been working like mad to finish up the floors and get a good start on the barn wood walls that are part of a remodel that we are doing with the T.V. Show titled “The Barnwood Builders.” Then all of our work just slowed to a stop on Monday. As Tom and I removed some of the larger boards from the lumber pile to see if we could find one that was wider then our fuse box door, we came across a nest built-in our barn wood. The babies are Gray Squirrels that normally would nest in a hard wood tree. It seems the mother felt that our huge pile of wood was a safe place to raise her young. She made a beautiful and warm nest out of the large amounts of green grass that is growing under the lumber piles. The little guys never even opened an eye while we banged around. Tom and I had no idea that they were sleeping under where we worked. By that afternoon we named the little ones and had a conversation about moving them in the house ( my vote was”NO”to squirrels in the house ) so here are Chipper and Splinter. The fearless squirrels that slowed the entire construction of my family room for a day.

Opening up the nest in the barn wood

Opening up the nest in the barn wood

Two baby gray squirrels in the nest sleep through all of our activity

Two baby gray squirrels in the nest sleep through all of our activity

meet Chipper and Splinter the Barnwood builder Babies

Meet Chipper and Splinter the Barnwood Babies

Tom and I just did not have the heart to really move the little guys even though they are resting on the very board that we need to make a door out of. So we are working on another portion of the family room for now. I hope within the next two weeks they will be ready to head into the trees with their Mom, we see her regularly going in and out of the nest.

As of Friday I had finished grouting the tile floors and sealed them. They turned out really nice with a muted color pattern of gray, sand stone red, gold and rusty orange. The same basic colors in our barn wood. I spent about 30 hours of time putting in the grout and cleaning it back off. It was a long week of feeling like Cinderella scrubbing floors on my hands and knees but the results are wonderful. The one trick I did learn over my week of scrubbing is that it saves you large amounts of time to seal the slate before you install it or grout it. The extra couple of hours I spent washing the tile and sealing it meant that I could trust that the grout would not stick to the slate when I put them together. So I could actually sweep most of the extra grout off with a broom. Making the cleaning up of the floor go extremely fast with one good washing getting all the extra grout off with no residue to worry about.

After using a grout bag I am able to sweep up a lot of the lose grout before washing

After using a grout bag I am able to sweep up a lot of the loose grout before washing

 

Slate tile floors with grout and sealer

Slate tile floors with grout and sealer

We also got almost half the wall boards up over the holiday weekend, even with the squirrel delay. Tom and I decided that we both really wanted a room with a barn feeling, so we chose to keep the boards running in the vertical pattern as they were hung on the old barn. It gives the room the feeling of a general store or cabin from the old west that we both love.

Barn wood about finished on wall with windows

Barn wood about finished on wall with windows

This photo shows a late afternoon sun shining on the walls so the floor colors appear shadowed and darker than they really are. The wood on the other hand is really that bold and different in color. We chose not to plain the wood and only lightly sand the rough finish off the boards. We are trying to give the room a true rustic barn feel and I think we really are getting that feeling so far.

The work is going faster than I though, mainly because we are using an Air Nail Gun to attach the boards to the walls. The nails we are using are 2 1/2 inches long and we nail the board at the top of the walls frame and then at any stud that we can find and at the bottom frame of the wall. Some of the boards are very warped and need cut to straighten them for use and others are fine off the wood pile. So each piece is an individual in a larger puzzle. We have chosen to keep the imperfections and natural coloring because that is what people really do when building a barn. You don’t toss out a good board due to a knothole  or split in the grain,  you just use it and move on, so we have saved and used the knots and splits as part of our over all design plan. Not every one is comfortable with the imperfections of the barn wood like we are, but this application is simple and less time-consuming then other wood treatments.

The remaining walls should be pretty easy to cover up until Tom needs to cover the fuse box. He will need to make a door with country hinges and an old fashion lock for decoration. Then 4 inch molding will go across the base of the wall and 2 inch molding around the top. Again this will be nothing fancy just simple cut boards and nails to finish off the look.

So if you want to read more about how we got the boards for this project or have interest in reclaiming barn wood check out some of my other posts about working with The Barnwood Builder TV show and Our House Remodel #2

In the future I hope I am able to post more photos of the family room and our new little friends I just wonder if I can get more photos of them before they leave the nest forever? We will see!

Categories: Baby Animals, Barns, Barnwood Builders, hobbies, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, nostalgic, slate tile, Squirrles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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