Jan 29, 2012

Sunday Thoughts

tee hee.

Feels like I'm playing hookie...

...it's Sunday...

...and I'm not at Church.

*sheepish grin*

A gorgeous sunrise this weekend - such wonders in God's creativity!

But it's okay, hubby said I could...actually he told me TO stay home.  I'm all filled up with a cold.  The runny nose, tired eyes, phlegmy cough kind and the kids kinda have it to.

So they are hunkered down with a Veggie Tales movie and I'm....uh.....being productive....?!?!?

You know it's weird, when you have renovated a place for over four years...not to mention...but I will...the fact that the house we owned before this one, we renoed for the whole one year we lived there too, before selling it.

Patterns are not all they are cracked up to be!

Sooo back to what I was saying, it's weird that we are finished now.  Plus with all the showings my house is actually clean AND organized!  Yes, crazy, even my studio!  What's up with that?!?!

So we have time now.  Strange!  I mean in the past when we had a 'free' weekend, we often felt guilty if we were not using the time to finish off projects around the house.  But this weekend we have no projects, no where to go and colds to make us not what to go far anyways.

It has been nice!

A blessing even.

We actually took time to go on a little family date - guilt free!  Walked downtown to a local spot for a nice lunch, chatted with some strangers people, window shopped, enjoyed the sunshine and then headed home just in time for the snow flurries to start again.

Our afternoon was spent with hubby and the kids playing a board game, I made some homemade cards, we listened to music, ate freshly baked cookies and enjoyed each other.

Ahh the simple things.

I know that may sound funny that taking time to do these things is weird to me and it's not the actually things themselves, but having the freedom, without the guilt, to do them.

And yet, we place our house on the market and look at other fixer uppers to purchase....

...strange people we are!



But there is something very satisfying by taking a place, a neglected home, a project and pouring yourself into it, watching it change and become something so much more, becoming that which you knew it could be.

It's a lot like us.

It's a lot like us when Christ comes into our lives!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

He enters into our lives, broken as they are, and transforms us! 

...to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

So though a house is just that, a house, and though it has no lasting effect on the world per say, it can be a beautiful picture of what God has done for us.

Be it a small, not really comparable picture...a picture just the same.

And at least I'll remind myself of that as we traverse through another 'handyman special' and pray for God's guidance, grace and mercy.

Or lots of money....either way!


Have a blessed day!


Jan 27, 2012

Kitchen Makeover Part 4 - DIY Counters

So with just a few weeks until Christmas and 15 people set to come that day - we set out to finish the last phase of our Kitchen Makeover!  'Cause that's how we roll - the busiest, kitchen messiest, people visitingest time of year is obviously the best time to reno your kitchen counters and sink!

Or not!

Just saying.

But it's done now and it turned out better then I could have hoped!!

Here's the ol' before photo.

Getting up close and personal with the counter.  It was in great shape, no dents, scratches or what have you, it was just....dated.  No offense if this is your counter and you love it but it just isn't us, nor did we think it would be conducive to selling.

So hubby tore out the old barker tile back splash and added a plywood base to put the new ceramic tile on.  Our kind neighbour gave us the plywood, thus reducing the budget that little bit more. :)

So here is where the most ingenious and inexpensive kitchen reno bit comes in.  We have a twelve and a half foot length of counter and this is not cheap to replace!  We are not even talking anything fancy, just to replace them with a more modern laminate counter top would have ran us around $1400! 

You have to be kidding me!

So we did some ol' research and LOW AND BEHOLD....you can actually PAINT laminate counters!

No, seriously!

Ah ha!  A challenge if I ever saw one! 

So we bought a can of anywhere primer and went at it.  Just coated the whole thing. I figured even if we messed it up we wouldn't be any father behind then where we were.

Looks purdy, don't it! ;)

Okay, so sometimes you read things and you are like, "That's great for them, but there's no way that would happen for me.  They're just blessed/lucky/fortunate!"  But can I just say that God loves to provide for us in the smallest, tiniest ways!  Oh sure He can and will do big things for each and everyone of us - but I like to think He shows His real care and personal touch in our lives by providing for us in the smallest details.

And this is a little story of how He did it for us.  Simple, sweet but just that gesture that says to me, "You know I'm there!"

We discovered, that in order to paint the counters, all you need is regular acrylic paint, you know, house paint - the same stuff you'd use to paint your walls!

Yes way!

We wanted just a few shades of brown, to match an existing piece of newer counter that we already have in the kitchen.  So we went to the local hardware box store.  We really wanted to keep this whole project cheap and weren't sure what to do about the paint.

So after mulling about for a while, we decided to take a quick glance at the 'oops' paint section.  If you have never checked out the 'oops' paint part of a paint place, DO IT!  You'd be amazed at what you can find and it is so inexpensive too.  If you are not sure what I mean by oops paint, it is what the stores label paint that they mix wrong.  So it is often great paint, just the wrong shade for the person who originally wanted it.

Anyways, there wasn't much selection in the ol' oops section that day....except for a few of the little sample cans.  You know the ones where you can get a tiny can to take home and paint a big splotch on the wall to see if you'll like the colour.  Well guess what??  Two of the colours we needed were sitting right there....yup!  Sitting there, in tiny perfect sample size cans, just enough for a project such as ours, the two perfect colours.....

....I'm still in awe of it!

Oh and because they were sample size and because they were 'oops' they were A DOLLAR each!

*stunned look*

Yay...okay so maybe you don't find this all as exciting as I did...but seriously, pretty cool none the less!

Okay...so back to the DIY bit of all this. :)

Once the primer dried we painted a base coat over it of a nice brownish/tan colour (also an oops purchase from the summer...but I won't go into details on that one....not this time - but it was a pretty cool story too!)

So yes, primer, base coat and then the fun bit.

I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper (ask me how much I love parchment paper, 'cause I really, really do!) and then poured a big glob of paint on it.  Take a plastic grocery bag, scrunch it up and dab it into the paint splotch.  Then just start dabbing away at your counter. 

Try to be very random - don't think about it at all!  Just remember to get the rounded corner of where the back lip meets the counter top and the very front edge.  Oh and dress appropriately, I've never gotten so messy painting and I do a lot of it - in case you haven't figured that out by now! HA!

Work in layers of each colour, allowing each layer to dry before adding a new colour.  I recommend two things:

1.  Less is more - don't over do it, the beginning looks like junk but once the layers come together you will see it all working out nicely!

2.  Work in at least three tones, dark, medium and light (you can add more but this should be sufficient for most beginners.)  I would work in this order; base coat (which is the one solid colour, I recommend it being close to your medium tone), then dark tone, medium tone (this I made by mixing a bit of my dark tone with my base coat), then the light coat.  If you like, another layer of the medium should finish it off nicely.  But go with your gut feelings though all of this!

Finish with a water based varnish, we used semi gloss, two coats.

And Voila!

Sooo, do you like it?  Because we really do!  It turned out so good!  We have fooled just about everyone who has come to our home, including our agent! ;)

Now a quick before and after.

And hey, don't our floors look fantastic?!?! Crazy, it's really just a different angle and maybe different lighting.  But you'd swear we had waxed them or something.

My tile talented brother-in-law tiled the back splash for us and my hubby grouted it.  So that only cost us feeding the brother-in-law a steak dinner and materials.  Oh and we had to get a new sink as ours was rotten out in the drain, but we found a great one on Kijiji for $40! :)

So I think for the entire Kitchen Makeover we spent just under $600!  That includes:
-tiles for back splash (purchased on sale! Oh yay!)
-grout, glue and other tile associated things
-paint, paint and more paint
-new pillows for my beloved window seat  (I could have saved money here...but hey, that's why I cheaped out, went inexpensive on the counters!)
-varnish and primer for the counters
-new sink
-and other supplies that I can't remember about! ;)

One last note on the whole counter thing, once you do this it is no longer 'food safe'.  Meaning something like - don't cut food on your counter....not that you should anyways, but they just are no longer 'safe' to do so.  Though there is no product out there that truly is...it's just the legality of it all okay?!? 

If you want to see the complete Makeover from start to finish, here are the other links:

Kitchen Makeover Part 1: Kitchen Cork Board
Kitchen Makeover Part 2: The Coffee Corner
Kitchen Makeover Part 3: Kitchen Shelves

So there you have the completion of our suppose to be long weekend makeover project....from August! Hahah!

I'd truly love to hear your thoughts and learn any inexpensive home reno projects you know of!  I love a good DIY and a DIY that saves real money...money to spend on pretty things, like pillows...is a good thing! ;)

Happy Homemaking!


Jan 24, 2012

House stuff update

So our house hit the market last Thursday - we had three showings over the weekend and one more tonight - my house has NEVER been cleaner....or more organized! 

I want to thank you lovely ladies for your sweet comments, prayers and encouragement!!!  It really means a lot!  Thank you! ♥

There is still no word on the place we are interested in - so we checked out an open house on the weekend.  It was nice.....okay nice in a "handy man special" kind of way.....

Why is that always 'nice' to us?!?!?

Can't I have just ONE kid and not be head long into major renos?  No....okay, just thought it wouldn't hurt to ask....!

The story is the same on the one we saw this weekend.  Bank owned, can't put an offer in with a house to sell, already offers are going in on it.....

....so we sit and I worry trust!


It's all good though, I feel good about it....most of the time.  I had a bit of a break down the other night, when I realized that I had no, and I mean NO control in any of this.

But the Lord knows!

And I put my trust in Him and in my husband!

Speaking of husbands....have you seen Courageous yet?

We finally did!  A local church played it on the big screen, which was nice...sure beats our 22 inch! ;)

It was good!  So good!

I had heard it was good but I didn't expect that!

What a rollercoaster of emotions though....that's tough for the average person....now throw pregnant ME into it! Hahah, oh well at least I brought lots of tissue but I also wasn't thinking and did my make-up all purdy before leaving to see it.

Ah well! ;)

Anyways, that's all for today...just want to keep you posted on the house business!  Thank you again for the prayers.  Oh and go see Courageous - and if you have, see it again!!! ;)


Jan 22, 2012

Microwaved Potato Chips


Because I know I was....

My mom mentioned to me the other day that she made potato chips in her microwave - so naturally I HAD to try!

And can you say "Answer to prayers!"


Crazy thing is that there is no oil needed of any kind!

Want me to repeat that,

NO oil!!!

The only things you need are...

potatoes and (optional), sweet potatoes
paper towel
plate - paper or regular
salt and or seasoning
mandolin - the food slicing thing, NOT the musical instrument (that should clarify some things!)

So I borrowed my mom's mandolin - (so we ALL know what this gal has on her wish list now!  )And I got to slicing.

Sooo easy!

Slice up a potato or two, I decided to try the sweet potato too!  Lay them out on a paper towel or dish towel to dry for about ten minutes.  They won't be completely dry, but it helps.

Now, for the fist two batches I used this fancy cooking thingy that my mom has, did I forget to mention she works for a kitchen supply place.....did I also forget to mention we get a discount....did I forget to also mention this is NOT a good thing....know what I mean...!

Anyways...she told me you don't need to get the expensive cooking thingy, that an ordinary plate and paper towel works too!  And after trying it both ways, the paper towel and plate way is the best!  And by far too!

So, you scrunch up some paper towel and put it on a plate.   After the chips dry a bit, season them and lay them on the paper towel, don't be too neat about, just try to make sure the don't overlap.  They'll look more like kettle style chips if you just let them lay which ever way!

Put the whole thing in the microwave.  Mine took about 10 minutes, but we have a much older microwave...so watch, start with 7 or 8 minutes and go from there.

And let me tell you, I was skeptical at first!  But whoa!  These totally rock!!!!  Okay sure, they don't taste exactly like regular potato chips, they taste more like the expensive organic type!!  They are full of flavour and not heavy and oily. 

And I'm a girl who likes her savoury and salty snacks....notice the kosher salt...tee hee....maybe regular salt next time...maybe......  ;)

But for someone who enjoys a good chip, these may just be my new staple!  So cheap, so easy, so good!!! AND because they do take a little more effort then opening a bag and devouring away, I think I will enjoy them more and eat less...follow that?!!?

Plus they are awfully pretty too!

Go on, give em a try - betcha can't eat just one! ;)


Jan 17, 2012

Moving On...again

Well...haven't I been silent as of late....it's not that I've been overly busy just, you know - life. That and also, I haven't used my camera much lately and I hate posting without pictures....it's the visual learner in me - I can't focus if there aren't any pictures....so I hope you all can....maybe I'll dig around and find some to go with this post.

I should have some photos since we have had the most amazing dumping of snow and ice here over this past weekend - it was terrible and mighty beautiful at the same time.  But it was also very cold!  So combine that with me not loving the cold and my youngest daughter having Raynaud's phenomenon, we don't head out much when the temperature drops well below zero!  So sorry, no photos but trust me it was real purdy!

Well...hmmm how to write this out.  We're doing it again....yes having a baby, but no that's not what I'm talking about...I already covered that one.....we're going to sell our house.

By now you think we either really don't like the place or we are some crazy fools!  The first one couldn't be more wrong....and...no comment on the second.

So hmmm the long story or the sweet and simple....let's aim for something in the middle...especially because I have no pictures to really share with you...

Hubby and I can't help but keep feeling the desire to move to the country.  When we aren't buried underneath mounds of snow, we often will take drives though the beautiful country side around here.  Anyways, we had our house on the market back in May because we had an offer on another place but someone came along and took it right out from under us.  They didn't have a house to sell....we did.

Now, every time a place that we like comes up - it's the same story, we can't put in an offer because someone else has an offer in, conditional on the sale of their home or that condition isn't there at all.  Am I making any sense....are you bored to tears yet?!?  If not, great, hang in there!

Sooo that being said, and this is where I'll make a long story short, we found another one - ooooh we both really, really like this one.  This one, is finally the one that checks ALL the boxes!  BUT... and oh it's a big ol' but too, we can't put an offer in - not yet - this other house just might be under a little legal issue and so we are waiting until that all clears up to put in an offer.  The thing is....so are like four other people and guess what - none of them have a house to sell....


Sooooo we've done some serious praying and then some more serious praying and then asked some other people to do some serious praying and well we have decided to finally list our home and sell.  Now, the scary....and "okay, let's be crazy and trust completely in God and leap without exactly looking" bit is that we have no idea if we will be able to get the other house.

We don't know if we will sell in time.
We don't know if it will even be available when we do sell.
We don't know if our offer would even be the winning one.
We don't know how long the legal issues will take to work out on that property.
We don't know if we'll even sell our home.
We don't have a clue what the other house looks like on the inside - as we're not allowed on the property until the whole mess clears up.
We don't know what we will do if our home sells and the other one is not for us...
We don't have a plan B.

We DO know that we will be taken care of regardless. Luke 12:24
We DO know that the Lord will bless us when we seek Him first above all else. Psalm 9:10
We DO know that our intentions good and our plans are to glorify Him in all things.  Romans 14:17-19
We Do know we have nothing to fear (even though I am scared...just a little bit) Psalm 27:14

So I have contemplated over a lot of this....seeing as I wake every morning at 4:00 am and lay there thinking and praying....for an hour.....it's all just prep for when this little one comes, I'm sure!  But I realize that though we love our home and feel it has been a blessing from the Lord, it is just a temporary thing.

God has blessed us with this home, a place that we have put many hours of work into.  A sad house that we have poured a lot of love into and made it into a home of love.  But in the end, it is just walls, floors and what have you.  That no matter where we might go, where the Lord will lead, home is where the heart is. 

I walk on the path of fear, fear of losing something - this blessing we have but in the same breath I have fear of being held back from what could be by hanging onto....onto something so material....onto something that is hindering the vision my husband has for us and a vision that I share with him.

So with butterflies in my stomach I anticipate the coming weeks - we are already in contact with someone who may want a private sale....but I'm not counting any chickens yet....not until we're all settled in a sweet little home in the county and the coop is built and the kids are chasing those birds...then I'll be counting chickens! ;)

Have you stuck with me so far...?? Nice!  Well I think I have some photos for you.  House photos, 'cause who doesn't love house photos.  If you want to see the whole transformation, the before renos and the afters, you can see more here on the posts I did when we listed last May.  Here and here.

We've repainted a bunch since then, rearranged a few things and updated the kitchen, so I'm posting here the changes since May.  I hope you like 'em.  I plan on blogging about the last phase of the kitchen makeover soon - we updated the counters for $30!! And you won't believe how easy and amazing it was!

So I leave it all in the hands of God - for where better else should I place it?  I am following the lead of my Godly and blessing of a, husband and taking each day as it comes.  There are worse things in life then selling your house and looking at the unknown and wondering where you will go - so I rest in the blessing of my Saviour and looking forward to where He will lead.

But I will keep you all posted - at least hubby has told me that if we don't sell before June we will take it off the market - so I can have some time to enjoy my newborn and not have to clean the house!

Of course your prayers are welcomed! :)

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
 Hebrews 10:23


Jan 5, 2012

A New Direction OR Two Years Ago

Hello Dear Readers!

Happy New Year to you!

I made it- I stayed awake until the ball dropped - yay me!

This year feels full of promise, do you feel it?  I see it around me, I see it all through blog land and though most new years come with their hopes and prospects - this one feels a little different.  People seem more optimistic, more hopeful and more willing to embrace what lies ahead. 

So here is to what only the Lord knows - the future and the hope of the coming months.

I sat down, thinking on my blog and where I have come with it and what I had originally intended with it...two years ago. 



....two whole years have passed since I fist sat down and took the leap to put myself out there.

Two years ago I never thought I could do it.  I never believed I could write, let alone have people actually interested in what I had to say. Two years ago I figured I wouldn't last more then a few months.  And two years ago all this was started to be an online magazine.

Homemaker Design - making your house a home - was to be the title and catch line for my ezine.  After pouring myself and some supportive people into it for three months, I decided this was not the season for an online magazine...at least not my season for one!  So I kept the blog portion of it and stuck with that.

Two years have passed and the direction and feel of my blog has changed a bit.  When I started I tried to keep it less personal, more informational and magazine-ish.  But I've come to change and see that I enjoy the personal part of blogging, the satisfaction of expressing myself through the written word and working out my thoughts and struggles on here.

So I have made, and plan on making, a few changes to my blog.  Nothing big but for starters I have removed the 'catch phrase' -making your house a home - from the header.  I thought it fit so well with my ideas for the direction of the magazine...but I don't feel it makes much sense with my blog now.  Though I always try to make whatever environment I live in a home - it is not necessarily the focus of my blogging.

Homemaker Design is me though- the name came to me one night after thinking along time for an appropriate name.  With the craze of Home Design and my interest in all things art and design and with my ever growing discovery of my role as a homemaker and what that means, I think the name was God inspired and I'm sticking with it!

A technical change that you might not notice is that I finally got my domain to work properly - if you aren't tech savay...not that I am really- you may not get what that means - but what it is, is that instead of finding me at:  www.homemakerdesignblog.blogspot.com, you can find me at homemakerdesign.ca.

I've had the domain for the last two years but could never get it to work out where it was a direct link.....whatever that all means right?  Anywaaaays.....just basically, the old address will work but if you want to, you can update your links to the new and simple - homemakerdesign.ca

just saying...

Okay so what does this all mean you ask.  Well it means I plan to delve more into our personal lives, into our joys, our struggles, our crazy antics and of course our endless renos!

I plan to be more open.  It will be a struggle in some areas and not so much in others.  My hope is to be real, honest and true.  To share the good and the bad...I think this is what I need to do.

I've never been good a keeping a journal....as in I have never done it at all - but for whatever reason I like the blogging format.  And so I shall record here, our lives, our lives as God leads us and as we continually learn to follow Him.

So I hope you'll stay with me, I think it will be much of what it always has been but with even more personality to it...or at least I hope so.... ;)

This means you will still find delicious recipes, oodles of pictures of my kids, stories of family fun, struggles in faith and joys of working through them, stories of lessons leaned and of course photos from our latest projects.  (hint...wait for the last instalment of our kitchen makeover coming soon!)

What will be new will be more stories of our family, more in depth into my life and thoughts, I will talk more about my pregnancy and life with my two darling girls.  More of what I have learned in (almost) eight years of marriage with my best friend, more of our continual growth in our faith, more of our church life and well just more of our lives altogether.

I think for me the hope of this new year is that I find more of me in Him and that I can share it all with you.  My prayer is that your find yourself longing more for Him and sharing with me all your thoughts and struggles along the way!

So a Happy New Year, once again and may God richly bless you!



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