Plaid Shirt, Plaid Dress & a Pity Party

My, my, it has certainly been quiet around here for the past month or so. I’ve been fighting with chronic sinusitis for several months (since mid-July). It’s easy to take things like smell and taste for granted until both of those senses are removed from your life for months. It was especially difficult to get past the constant nagging fatigue and general feeling of being ill with no way to resolve it (Since it isn’t a bacterial infection, antibiotics are a waste of time and money, and you can only take Sudafed and other sinus meds for so long before they start doing more harm than good). Despite the post title and the tone of this paragraph, I’m not fishing for pity, just letting y’all know what’s been up in my corner of the world.

A couple of weeks ago I started having energy again, and we’ve made a lot of progress on our house renovation. We’ve picked up our pace on the renovation because we only plan on staying here in Southern Maryland until early next spring. Having deadlines to motivate us has been helpful. My momma and my youngest sister are coming for a visit in a week, and we’re having family and friends over for Thanksgiving. Luckily, we’ve had the help of my in-laws the past few weekends. I’ll tell you more about all of that in a renovation update soon.

Since my brain was a bit foggy for about a month and I’ve worked almost exclusively on house stuff the past couple of weeks, I haven’t made the progress I was hoping on pattern related tasks. Verity extended sizes are still on the way though, as well as a free pattern. Hopefully, I’ll have a sew-a-long for Verity soon. I guess I got a bit ahead of myself and with the changes to the renovation timeline, things are just moving a bit slower than I’d planned.

I did make some progress here and there with some sewing for the fall, as my fall & winter wardrobe is seriously lacking. That’s what today’s post is really about (I know, I know, I buried the lead). This top and dress were made using an altered version of the same pattern as the dress in my last post.

IMG_9156Since I was testing my different versions of this pattern, I used thrift store materials with limited yardage. That’s why the plaids of the skirt aren’t ideally matched at the sides or the bodice/skirt seam.ย  The horizontal plaid lines on the front of the skirt are not, however, crooked as the picture below would suggest. I guess one side of the waist seam got caught up under the belt. My biggest concern was that the plaids on the bodice matched on each side, especially along the darts. Nobody likes crooked boobs. ;-D


The dress fabric seems to be a rayon blend of some sort, and the shirt fabric is cotton.

IMG_9183This dress version of the pattern has an extended placket. It’s more fitted at the waist and omits the elastic of the first version.



My side bodice darts are a little wonky. I’ve adjusted them down now on the pattern, so they actually point toward the apex of the bust. As you can see, the front bust darts also needed to be adjusted for future versions because they end about an inch too high.





I really prefer wearing this dress with a cardigan to break up the plaid a bit.

IMG_9401The shirt was made using my first draft of the fitted button down shirt. I just drafted a peplum option at the same time as the standard button-down shirt.


I really need to tack the cuffs down all the way around.

IMG_9196I gave the shirt short sleeves because I tend to wear cardigans in the fall and winter anyway. This way I can wear it in the spring to.

IMG_9168The dress was made after some adjustments to the armscye of the pattern, but the fabric that I used stretched out. ๐Ÿ™ The sleeves are really way too loose for my liking, so I’ll probably take those in.

IMG_9330The shirt has snaps rather than buttons for closure.

IMG_9192IMG_9205I tried to put snaps on the dress too, but the snaps weren’t having it. Apparently my placket was too thick. Needless to say, I was VERY upset when I had some holes to fix after my attempt at snaps. I definitely threw a tantrum: stomping, and fist shaking, and all.

IMG_9375IMG_9427Let me tell you, this dress is so stinkin’ comfy! Paired with tights and a cardigan, it doesn’t get any better for fall weather wear.


I’ve got a couple of variations of the Verity pattern coming up soon. One version has a peter pan collar. I’ll also have some tips about adjusting the split collar depending on the fabric you use (the body and stretch of a fabric really affects the look of the split collar).

I promise, I will take pictures of my lacy top and the skirt I reconstructed to go with it. I also have one more top and an orange corduroy skirt to show you.

Posted in General, Sewing & Crafting Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | |17 Comments

Grey Tie-Neck Button-Up Dress

I really NEED more fall clothing, so I’ve been pushing myself to get some clothing done since the weather is a changin’. I’ve really been lacking in the button-up shirt and dress department, and I want so more clothes that are “fall appropriate” in color, etc. Anyway, I decided a couple of weeks ago that it was about time that I drafted myself a button-up pattern with several different variations that I could use to make myself pieces for my fall wardrobe.

IMG_9279This dress was actually the first thing that I drafted a couple of weeks ago.

IMG_9221My sister actually asked me to make a very similar dress for her, so I figured I may as well draft it in my size first and test everything out. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The dress I’m making for her will have pockets on the bodice and a regular collar. This is the picture she sent me.

IMG_20130810_182704I first planned for my dress to have a regular collar, but I decided pretty last minute to extend the collar into ties.


IMG_9232IMG_9292The fabric is a lightweight rayon material. The color was really difficult to capture, but it is such a lovely shade of grey.

IMG_9229It’s unfortunate that the dress is wrinkly in the photos, but I have to say it’s not bad for a full day of wear pre-photos.


IMG_9297IMG_9244IMG_9282IMG_9281IMG_9269IMG_9230This is definitely my new favorite dress. It’s perfect for layering with a cardigan and tights when the weather cools off.


Here are some detail shots.

IMG_9214IMG_9218I just love edge stitching!

IMG_9216The inside…

IMG_9212After drafting this pattern, I drafted a pattern for a similar dress with a non-elasticated waist. That version will have sleeves. I added darts at the waist in the front and back. I’m working on making this dress from a plaid material.

I also drafted a peplum to make a little button-up shirt. That shirt was actually the first item I made from this set of patterns, but I’m going to show that in another post.

I then traced the pattern and extended the bodice into a full-length shirt, and drafted a collar with a collar stand and a flat peter pan collar to mix and match with the pattern.

Since I like necklines to be a bit lower when there’s a peter pan collar, I decided to draft another shirt pattern with a lower neckline, as well. I just finished a lace shirt using that pattern, because of Zoe‘s comment in my last post. I’ve wanted a lace shirt for a while anyway, and that gave me the push to finally just make one.

Here's a little preview :)

Here’s a little preview ๐Ÿ™‚

Due to my feeling really icky for several weeks and having no desire to take photos of finished garments, the list of things that I need to post about has reached ridiculous proportions. So, I’m going to skip over posting some makes from the summer and just move on to fall garments. I’ve got some variations of the Verity pattern to share soon, as well.

Things may be a bit slower than usual around these parts, as I will be spending a lot more time working on our house this next month. We have some pretty lofty goals and deadlines to meet on that front. I will still be popping in once in a while though. I hope everyone is enjoying the advent of fall.

Posted in General, Sewing & Crafting Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | |13 Comments

Dotty Flared Wrap Skirt

Boy, do I have some finished project posts to catch up on. We’ll start with this fun knit wrap skirt.

IMG_8667Yep, I made a wrap skirt…with huge dots on it…and I LOVE it! I’m sure some of you will think both me and the skirt are dotty, and you’d be right! I’m a crazier person than some people believe. I just do a good job of hiding it most of the time.

Now that I’m looking at these pictures it almost looks like something Ms. Frizzle would wear. Haha! Frankly, that realization changes nothing; if anything, it adds more appeal to the skirt. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Side Question: What type of Magic School Bus adventure/occasion would Mrs. Frizzle wear giant polka dots for?

Anyway, some days I like to wear things that are a bit out of my comfort zone, and this certainly fits that description.

IMG_9072I actually finished this skirt back in July.


I can’t believe you can see my slip sticking out of my waistband in every single one of these pictures. Ugh! Oh well!

I used a knit fabric that I found at a thrift store for less than $1 a while back. There was some serious yardage of this stuff. I’ve barely made a dent in it, and I made a flared wrap skirt. Whoa!

IMG_8664Since I already had Tilly’s Miette wrap skirt pattern, I decided to just alter it to make a flared skirt. I really wanted a skirt that would work with knit fabric and allow it to drape and move.

To make it a flared skirt, I slashed and spread in two places on the skirt pieces. Since the skirt pattern was already A-line, I thought it would be overkill to slash and spread along more than two lines. It’s always best to slash and spread along at least two lines to ensure better distribution of the flare, but the amount of lines you slash and spread really depends on the pattern you start with and the amount of flare you want to add.

I marked lines beginning an equal distance from the center of the waist of the pattern pieces. I made sure the lines met the hemline in places equally spaced apart along the hemline. I cut from the hemline up the line as close to the waistline as possible without cutting the pattern piece apart.

IMG_20130731_102918_448Then, I pinned the center front in place and spread the pieces apart until I achieved the flare that I was looking for. If you want to add flare to a skirt, this is the way to do it. NEVER just add to the sides of the pattern pieces. You’ll end up with a skirt that doesn’t hang right. You want the skirt flare to be distributed evenly all the way around the hemline. Plus the waist needs to have a curve that echoes the hemline.

I traced around the pattern once I had it spread to achieve the flare I was looking for.

IMG_20130728_213945_844Once it was traced, I removed the old pattern and “trued” all the lines. I also made sure that the bottom, outer corner (along the side seam) was a 90 degree angle.

I gave the back piece the same flare and shape as the front piece (slashed and spread the same amount).

IMG_20130731_102119_688This is important because otherwise I would’ve end up with a different hem front to back. I lined the new front and back skirt pieces together along the sides seams to check that the hemlines met each other evenly. I also added the new grainline to my new flared skirt pattern. To do this, I lined up the old pattern piece on the new pattern piece and lined the side seam section with the center piece, aligning the grainline.

IMG_20130731_102918_448Then, transferred the line to my new pattern piece.

IMG_20130731_102931_173I also added some inseam pockets, because some days I just want to wear something with pockets. I don’t always like inseam pockets because they tend to add bulk to my hips, but I felt like this skirt really needed them, for some reason.

IMG_8686I drafted a pocket bag and marked the placement on the side seam of the skirt pieces. Basically, I just used the notch that was already at the side seam of the original pattern as the marking for the top of the pocket.

Adding the pocket was simple, but I neglected to take pictures of it. :/ If anyone is interested, I’ll happily figure out a way to squeeze a tutorial in at some point.


Please disregard my merwitch hair in this picture. ๐Ÿ˜›



IMG_8666I don’t know why, but green is my favorite color to pair with this skirt.


IMG_9070So, it was like 90 degrees and beyond humid when I took the photos with this long sleeved shirt on (View C of the Verity pattern). You can probably tell from the horrendous wrinkle situation going down with those sleeves. They were sticking to me like a glue trap. Eeewww! I think I really was melting. The things I do for the sake of the ol’ blog. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in General, Reconstructing & Thrifting, Sewing & Crafting Tagged , , , , , , , , | |14 Comments

Assemble PDF Patterns with Contact Paper

Today Iโ€™d like to share a trick for making PDF pattern assembly easier.

Two words: contact paper.

Instead of laying out pages and taping them together, worrying that youโ€™ve made the pieces crooked, try lining up and sticking your pieces to contact paper. I’m sure there are some of you out there who already use this method, but I thought I’d share it anyway.

Something I really like about this method is that you can peel and re-stick if you make a mistake. An added bonus to the use of contact paper is that your patterns are more durable. I would advise using pattern weights when cutting fabric out, as putting pins through the contact paper will cause them to be sticky.

Here are some ways that you can go about assembling a PDF pattern with contact paper.

Assemble the tiled pages

Cut pages out along the frame lines and smooth the pages onto the contact paper, aligning the frame lines.

Cut your pattern pieces out.

It’s that simple!

Skip cutting out the tiled pages

If youโ€™re especially brave and confident in your computer skills, you can forgo cutting out the tiled pages by printing directly from the copy shop version. Once youโ€™ve done this, you can simply line up the 8.5×11 pages (just make sure to keep them in the correct order).

Hereโ€™s how to do it:

Open the copy shop size PDF, and select print.

Choose your printer, and select “Tile pages”. Select 8.5×10 paper size (or whatever paper size you’re working with) and change the overlap to 0.

Print the first page first, so you can measure the test square before printing the rest of the pattern.

If your printer wonโ€™t let you print borderless or very close to the edge of the page, then this is not an advisable method for you to use because you may lose markings or pattern edges in the borders.

Skip lining up every page

If youโ€™ll permit me, Iโ€™m going to be so bold as to suggest cutting out around the pattern pieces first and lining up the pattern lines, rather than matching up all of the pages. I only suggest this because I have managed it successfully myself with several PDF patterns. DO NOT do this if you are not very confident in your ability to keep everything organized and match the pieces. If you mix things up, I suppose itโ€™s not the end of the world, just a waste of time and paper. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Below are some pictures of some pieces I put together using this method. I cut roughly around the pattern pieces and lined them up on the contact paper.

IMG_8724You can see that my printer didn’t let me print very far into the borders, so I ended up with a few missing markings on some of the pieces. If you have the same problem with your printer, I’d advise against this method, unless you are very confident in your ability to do without a few markings.

IMG_8723Here are the pieces all cut out.

IMG_9087I love how stiff they feel, because I know that means they’ll last forever. I also really like the way that the contact paper makes them so smooth on the bottom; it makes it much easier to maneuver them around on the material, and it protects the material from getting snagged, etc.

Anyway, I hope that some of you will find this a useful tip. Although, I have no doubt there are probably some of you smarty pants out there who already do this. ๐Ÿ™‚

Posted in General, Moxie Patterns, Sewing & Crafting, Verity Tagged , , , , , , | |19 Comments

Verity Knit Dress and Shirt Pattern Now Available

The day is finally here! It’s time to introduce the Verity dress and shirt pattern to the world. I guess I was off by about a week for the estimated release. What can I say? Sometimes I set goals for myself that are a bit too lofty.

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Everything had to be just right. I had to add more details, double and triple (and quadruple ;)) check measurements and instructions, and work out a few more kinks than I originally anticipated. Things will run much smoother in the future now that I’ve worked out my process.

You can purchase the pattern here through Paypal.

The pattern is also available on Craftsy and Etsy.

The pattern and instructions come in PDF form. You will receive two PDF’s of the pattern: a tiled version (Letter/A4 format) and copy shop version (36×80 for large format printers).

Sample pattern page

Sample pattern page

The instruction document provides cutting layouts, detailed assembly instructions with photos, short and sweet versions of instructions for experienced sewers, sewing tips and suggestions, a detailed pattern measurement breakdown and metric conversions of the measurement chart.

Sample of instructions

Sample of instructions

This pattern is designed for moderate stretch knits. However, you may find that you will be able to use other knits with slightly less stretch. While it is recommended for knits with 25%-35% stretch, really, you can get away with using knits that have 20% stretch. The samples were made using two jersey knits of different weights and a pique knit (the dress). The pique knit provides an example of how the garment will look with a much stiffer knit. A stiffer knit is really ideal for achieving a split cowl that stands up.

Just to give you an indication of the sizing for this pattern, I’ll tell you the sizes that I cut. My measurements are 35.5″ bust, 26.5″ waist, and 39″ mid hip. I cut size S at the bust and hips and XS at the waist (I prefer my waistline to be very defined). That gives you an idea of how insignificant the hip measurement really is, unless you don’t like fitted shirts.

Here are some more pictures of Views A, B and C as real garments for you to peruse.

View A

ย View B

View C

There are several other versions which I hope to share soon, as well as tutorials for other pattern variations.

Sizes XL-5X will be available soon.

Iโ€™ll be back in a day or so with a tip for assembling PDF patterns.

Posted in General, Moxie Patterns, Sewing & Crafting, Verity Tagged , , , , , , , , | |35 Comments

My Louisa Coat in Threads Magazine

I’m just poppin’ in real quick with some more fun news that I neglected to share last week. Last Thursday, I received my copy of the current issue of Threads.

IMG_8738I love Threads magazine, and the current issue has a lot of cool ideas in it (heirloom buttons, I will make you soon). Anyway, this issue was even more exciting than usual to look through, because guess what! My Louisa coat is featured in the Reader’s Closet section!

IMG_8739Woohoo!! It just so happens that I received my copy of the magazine on my birthday last week. How perfect is that?

Posted in General, Life & Writing, Sewing & Crafting Tagged , , , , | |34 Comments

Verity Pattern Coming Soon

I know it’s been pretty quiet around these parts recently, but I hope you’ll forgive me when I tell you why. I have some exciting news! Next week, I plan to offer a digital pattern of my own design. Verity will be the first pattern from Moxie Patterns.

envelopefrontVerityfinalThis is one of the secret projects–referenced in my beginning of the year goals post–that I’ve been working on this year. This summer I’ve made several variations of my favorite self-drafted design, some of which I have yet to share. You’ve seen so many variations of this pattern (see this post for other variations that I’ve made over the years) because I’ve been testing and tweaking it. I’m finishing up a combination dress-shirt pattern, with several different neckline and sleeve options. I tried to hold out until the pattern was completed to make this announcement, but I just can’t hold it in anymore. I was hoping to have it ready to release on my birthday (this past Thursday), but I didn’t quite finish in time. I plan to release the digital pattern in PDF and copy shop versions within the next week or two.

envelopebackVerityfinalThe first release of the pattern will include sizes XXS-L. However, I am working on adding more sizes (XL-5X), which will be available very soon after. Moxie patterns are graded from two sample sizes (S and 3X) for a better fit, which is why I’m still working on XL-5X. In the future, I plan to make the full size range available at first release.

I have several other patterns in the works, as well as plans for paper patterns cut to measurements by next year. Since I know some of you will be wondering, if you are interested in pattern testing for future patterns, you can send an email to me at I also started a Facebook page for announcements about Moxie Patterns until I can get a Website up and running.

Posted in General, Moxie Patterns, Sewing & Crafting, Verity Tagged , , , , , , , , , | |39 Comments

A Negroni Shirt for My Husband

I have finally ventured into the realm of menswear. I finished this shirt at the beginning of the month, but I didn’t managed to coerce my husband into standing still for pictures until the end of last week.


He insisted on looking as awkward as possible. Haha!

I’ve said that I would make him a shirt for years now, and I finally decided that it was about time I made one. I finished this shirt for his birthday at the beginning of August, but I had to make a few adjustments. So, he didn’t actually end up wearing it out until my birthday last week.

ResizedImage951377220606056I used the Colette Patterns’ Negroni (which I’m ashamed to admit I’ve had for more than a year and a half now and just got around to sewing up). He doesn’t care for slim cut shirts. So, I thought it would be better if I made a size up, but it turned out way too big. Next time I’ll just make the size his measurements are closest to and adjust the shoulders, armholes and sleeves, and length a bit.


He was being goofy while I took all of the photos. When I asked him to turn so I could take a picture from the side he said he felt like he was in a line up. ๐Ÿ˜›

I had to remove the sleeves and take the side seams in quite a bit. I also, re-cut the armholes and sleeves before re-attaching the sleeves. The fit isn’t any worse than RTW shirts he’s had, but the pulling in the back armholes really bugs me. Oh well, this was basically a fit test garment anyway.

IMG_8730He really didn’t care for the hemline of the shirt when he first tried it on, so I shortened it and made the curve a lot less exaggerated. He also likes his clothes to be really simple, so I went with just one pocket.

IMG_8729I cut the pocket, pocket flap, and back yoke on the bias to make the shirt a little more interesting.


IMG_8731I really like the flat-felled seams at the side seams and armholes and the top-stitching on the collar.

IMG_8652IMG_8732I want to make him a plaid version with long sleeves and sleeve plackets next. Hopefully, it won’t take me another couple of years to do so. ;-P


Posted in General, Sewing & Crafting Tagged , , , , , | |19 Comments

Blue Skies Are Callin’ Dress

This is the sleeveless and cowl-less variation of my Verity dress/shirt pattern. I cut this one out before I made the changes to the pattern that I noted with this version from earlier this summer. That’s why the bodice is still too short. Oh, well. Who cares? I still like it. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_8552The dress has a flared skirt, just like the first one. This time, since I was working with a striped fabric, I decided to make a chevron on the front and back seams. I should have let the fabric settle before hemming the dress, but I didn’t think about it. I sure have been throwin’ out a lot of “shoulda, coulda, woulda’s” lately.

I made the chevron point down instead of up. Why? I just like to be contrary sometimes. ๐Ÿ˜›


Oh, before we go any further, I should point out that I’m aware of the spots on the dress in all of the pictures. Sorry to disappoint, but I didn’t pee my dress (I suppose you have deduced that I’m a female, so you’d have to wonder how I would’ve managed that anyway.). You see, I have this drinking problem…

striker-struggling-to-drink-water-1It’s a closely guarded secret. I’ve been working through this problem for years, but I’m not sure I’ll ever overcome it. Don’t say I never share any of my secrets with you.

IMG_8553The weather has been beautiful lately. Every morning I’ve been tricked into thinking that I want to be outside, until the bugs turn me into their petite dejeuner.


The wind came along at just the right moment for this photo. I just love how the skirt looks!

IMG_8559I serged the seams, as usual, and I stabilized the shoulder seams with seam finish tape.


I guess my center front seam needed a good pressing before I went out.

I could’ve topstitched the armhole binding down, but I opted for handstitching. IMG_8613I like the way topstitching looks too, but I was in an unusual mood to hand stitch. Besides, I handstitched the hem, as well. So everything looks nice and clean on the outside.

IMG_8615I wish I had a yellow belt to go with this dress. I may have to make one because I haven’t had any luck finding one.

IMG_8573I’m really starting to LOVE working with stripes. It takes extra effort to carefully cut the fabric out and match the stripes when sewing, but it’s so worth it. I suppose I’m shedding some of my sewing laziness and molting into a new and improved seamstress. ๐Ÿ˜€

IMG_8577Photo dump time!

IMG_8575IMG_8588This dress is perfect for frolicking around on summer weekends or evenings (when I’m not working on the house or yard, that is).





IMG_8605All I can think about now is projects that involve directional fabric patterns. ๐Ÿ˜€

IMG_8589Can you believe it’s already August? Fellow sewers, do you have any more sewing planned for this season, or are you planning for the season ahead already?

Posted in General, Sewing & Crafting Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | |32 Comments

House Renovation Progress: Mid-2013 Update

I finally got up the strength of will to draft a renovation update. I must give you fair warning: this will be a LONG post because it has been over half a year since I’ve done a renovation update. (*Reminder: if you are not interested in posts about our home renovation, you can choose to subscribe to just the sewing & crafting section of this blog in the sidebar.*)

The Yard

At the beginning of the year, we got rid of our fence in preparation for all the work we’d be doing to the yard. We advertised the old fence for sale for a good deal to anyone who would come out and take it down.

In April, we regraded the yard, removed old concreted (including the porch) and filled in the pool. You may remember that the pictures on my porch during MMM showed a big dirt lot for our backyard. It is now a combination of weeds and grass.


IMG_6557We plan to expand our driveway and have it circle back around to the street near the house, so we dug the path for the new driveway.


IMG_6549Before we started to redo the yard, I had to temporarily pot any plants that I wanted to save. Since we haven’t planted anything, this mostly meant that I had to save as many Daylilies as I wanted. So, I spent half a day pulling out a veritable tub full of them. In the picture below, it doesn’t look like many, but trust me, those are large pots. They’re stuffed to the brim.

IMG_6537I also had to move most of my pots to the deck for safe keeping.

IMG_6555We put a lot of concrete in the pool as we were filling it in, but we still had a lot leftover.

IMG_6567It was done in a systematic way, eventually. No sink holes in the future. We did find a sink hole on the edge of the concrete pathway in the backyard when we started tearing the yard apart. I’m glad none of us were unlucky enough to fall into that over the past couple years.




IMG_6934We finally had someone come out to haul most of the remaining concrete away this past weekend. Yay!

IMG_6718The most important thing that Alex accomplished with the skid steer was fixing the grade of the yard. Water will now flow away from and around the house and down and out the back of the yard properly. Water used to flow right along the house and either leak into the basement or keep the basement walls damp.

IMG_6841One section of the yard looks really good, because we were very diligent about seeding and watering.

IMG_7335I can’t wait to build our planters around those trees. Under the plastic are piles of tilled up grass and weeds that have turned into a nice mulch. It was a lot of work smoothing out the dirt and raking all the clumps toward the trees to build up around them.

We put grass seed down in that area, and we then scattered seed in the rest of the yard over time. At first, I spent a significant time watering every day. It was a good excuse to be outside. Then, it got hot and I became less interested in attending to the watering. ๐Ÿ˜›

We’re putting planters around the crabapple tree and cherry tree in the front, as well (the trees in the picture below).

IMG_6931Around the same time we regraded the yard, I cleared out the overgrown side yard.

IMG_6576There were overgrown bushes along the side of the road, tons of little trees growing, downed branches, piles of leaves and debris (A.K.A. plastic bottles and soda cans).


Beyond the mailbox is the cleared side yard area. Sorry ’bout the renegade trash can. ;P

Now it’s cleared out and I threw some flower seeds down in the area. We’ll see what happens. Unbelievably, with all the time I spent in that area, I only ended up with one tick. Still icky, though! ๐Ÿ™ They’re disease ridden, so it’s best to do a thorough search and find them before they can transfer a disease into your bloodstream. I think it takes 24 hours before that happens. For those who may have missed it, I found out last summer that I had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever from a tick. Blech!

Anyway, moving on… Our neighbor was clearing out some of his property as well, so we had a fire going every evening for about a week.

IMG_6853Since Alex had the skid steer, he helped our neighbor fell a tree that was leaning toward his house.

IMG_6846That was quite the neighborhood event. ;D

The House

Master Bathroom and Closet

Recently, we tore out the old closet walls in our bedroom (they used to separate the bedroom from the old kitchen), and Alex started framing the new, master bathroom and walk-in closet.

IMG_8486IMG_8495Since we didn’t have another place to put the clothes, We temporarily piled them on the bed and covered them.

Once Alex had most of the framing up for the wall between the bathroom and closet, we made a makeshift closet with a couple nails and one of our closet rods.

IMG_8496He almost finished framing the new closet. The picture below shows our current closet. Haha!

IMG_8501Luckily, once he’s done with framing, we can quickly put drywall up in the closet and keep the clothes safe and clean.

I’m so excited about the bathroom.

IMG_8481There will be a lot of natural light in there because there are two windows. The shower is about 8 feet by 3 feet!


This is the shower. It’s bigger than it looks, trust me!

We decided to forgo a tub in the master bathroom to have more closet and shower space. Besides, the upstairs bathroom will have a tub.

Kitchen & Living Area

In the kitchen, we’ve got most of our cabinet boxes in and some of the trim up. I’ve filled a lot of holes and done a lot of sanding. The insides of most of the cabinets have been painted, although they will need another coat.

IMG_7394I’ve had most of my kitchen stuff stored on a shelving unit that I stole from the basement. Where that shelving unit is now (see the pic below), there will be a full-height, pantry cabinet. There are curtains around the shelving unit now, to keep any dust, etc away from everything.

2013-03-07_18-47-29_890We had been working on concrete countertops. Alex really wanted to go with this option, so I went along for the ride. We tried several different methods, but have never gotten it quite right. He told me on our anniversary that he’s decided it’s time to just order granite countertops. I am STOKED!

IMG_20130309_160936We put three big beams up to replace the wall that used to separate the kitchen and stairs from the living area. Surprisingly, Alex and I managed by ourselves to carry the beams up from the basement and put the beams in. It was all due to my massive muscles, I’m sure. ๐Ÿ˜‰

2013-03-07_20-12-29_856We put our mark on the center beam with a little meat branding iron that I got Alex last year.

2013-03-09_16-04-38_983Alex did the electrical and reinstalled insulation for the front living room wall and put drywall up.


IMG_7403We finished taking the fireplace apart and poured a cement base for the wood burning stove. We’ve carried some heavy things up the stairs, but let me tell ya’, that was a beast to get up the stairs.

Front Porch Progress

This past weekend, Alex’s parents came over and started working on our front porch. They started pouring the cement footings for the wood porch.


Laura was also kind enough to trim up my trees for me. ๐Ÿ™‚ They look so good now!

IMG_8511We made our mark in one of the concrete footings, just like on the beam inside the house.

Upstairs Demo

I think it was March when we started to demo the upstairs. Our first steps were the bedroom and bathroom walls.


IMG_6709Then we removed tile from the bathroom floor and shower and removed the wall between the bathroom and second bedroom.

IMG_6712We tore out the cubby walls, which we plan to remove. Alex cut out part the bathroom floor and part of the cubby floor of the bedroom near the stairs.

IMG_6708Now the center dormer is open to the entryway, which lets a lot of light in.

2013-03-08_16-57-59_613Our ultimate plan is to give the entryway and bedrooms vaulted ceilings.

In April, Laura and I tore out the attic wall and back bedroom wall.

IMG_6711We also finished removing the drywall from the cubbies. A couple of weeks later, Alex started tearing out part of the attic wall framing.

IMG_7395We’re going to utilize some of that attic space as a den area. We plan to add a skylight on that side of the house, opposite the front dormer, in order to flood the entryway with light. The other section of attic space, behind bedroom 2 is going to be a bathroom. We’re moving the back bedroom wall forward a tad to give us enough space for the new bathroom.

In May, I started tearing out the ceiling in the upstairs bedroom closest to the stairs.

IMG_8467Unfortunately, there was blown fiberglass insulation above the ceiling.

IMG_20130721_124522_468You may remember the MMM post in which I sported fiberglass insulation covered clothing. I’ve grown wise since then and started wearing long sleeves despite the heat. Being extremely hot is better than getting covered in fiberglass.

Once I did that, I cleared out all the drywall, wood, insulation, tile, etc from the upstairs.


IMG_8469I had spread plastic sheets out on the floor of the bedroom before I started ripping the ceiling out in the bedroom. So, all I had to do was bag some of the excess fiberglass and tie up the sheets like bags.

Alex and his dad took most of that upstairs junk to the dump last week (including the tub).

Once the upstairs was clean, I started to get it dirty again. ๐Ÿ˜€

This past weekend, I spent my time monkeying around in the hot attic space. After I tore out the ceiling in one bedroom, it was easy to get up in the attic space. In preparation for removing the ceiling drywall, I had to bag up all the fiberglass in the center section of the ceiling, above the entryway and old bathroom.

IMG_20130725_164344_021Naturally, we didn’t want to have fiberglass all over the house. This was a bit scary at first, knowing how high up I was. Luckily, I’m not too afraid of heights. I used a heavy piece of shelving from one of the closets and a couple planks of wood to scoot along the ceiling joists.

IMG_8502I stopped bagging fiberglass insulation once I reached the area above the second upstairs bedroom. I figured I could just spread a sheet out the same way I had in the other bedroom to catch the insulation.

I knocked down the drywall upstairs in the middle section of the house. Things really started getting fun at that point. Now, I could see how high up I was. Knowing how high you are is one thing; seeing it is another. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the photo below of me among the ceiling joists.

IMG_8508Here is another one that shows just how high up I was.

IMG_8509When I was in the area above the stairs, it was quite nerve-racking thinking about how high I really was. Just below those stairs are the stairs to the basement (see the picture below). :0

IMG_8522Once I got to bedroom 2, I broke a hole in the middle of the room and pushed the fiberglass out into the middle of the plastic sheet that I’d laid out.

IMG_8517I tore out the rest of the drywall,

IMG_8526and sat back and enjoyed the view at the top.

IMG_8514Then, I had to move all the drywall downstairs (it’s easy to throw everything on the trailer through the sliding glass door) and bag all the insulation.

IMG_8523As I said, our plan is to have vaulted ceilings. It will be necessary to support the roof with beams. We’ll need beams across the length of the house in each section (entryway, bedroom 1 and bedroom 2) to hang the beams on that will span the roof like the ceiling joists are now. I’m sure that will make a lot more sense once it’s finished and I can show you pictures and/or video.

Over the next few weeks we’re going to put the new master bathroom plumbing in and start on the new framing upstairs. We poured a concrete pad for the air conditioning unit, and hopefully, we’ll be putting our ducts in soon. We have a little window unit to keep us cool in our bedroom, but the rest of the house can get pretty warm. Luckily, the weather has been much cooler this last week than it was throughout the beginning of July.

We’ll be doing a lot of work on the renovation over the next several months to meet our self-imposed deadline. So, I’ll probably be posting monthly updates from now on. I’m going to try to do a video update soon, because I know that will make it easier to understand the layout, etc. Soon enough, the house will actually start to look like a house again. ๐Ÿ˜€

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