This week I worked on an Our Old House project.....
Originally, when we bought this house, this small room had been a pantry with a sink. The previous owners had added some modern light oak cabinets and also had the refrigerator and dishwasher in this section. There is a larger main kitchen that had only contained the stove and a small set of cabinets original to the home,
To me, it didn't make much sense to have the sink and fridge and dishwasher all crammed into this little pantry, but the stove out in the main kitchen with the table and chairs? It was sunny and bright but tight quarters. Only one person at a time could be in there cooking or cleaning up.
This Part Happened Four Years Ago:
We decided (four years ago when we bought the house) to revamp this pantry room a bit. That meant moving more items into the main kitchen room.
First, we added more cabinets to the main kitchen. I found some beautiful 100+ year old ones that came out of a mansion in Fond du Lac. I lovingly refinished them and we installed them all along the north wall in our main kitchen.
We also added a large island of dark woodwork to match. Inside the island on the other side we installed the dishwasher underneath. This is the way the main kitchen looks now. Ahhhhh I love it!
Now back to that smaller pantry room---- our solution four years ago:
We pulled out the lower cabinets and sold them on Craigslist. We also moved the refrigerator and the dishwasher into the Main Kitchen leaving the smaller pantry room basically empty. We laid new flooring to match what we had in the main kitchen.
Our plan was to now make this a First Floor Laundry Room!
That is when we moved up the washer and dryer from the basement and the laundry sink too. The laundry sink is important because our washing machine has a wonderful feature called "Suds-saver". (I had this on my washing machine in Green Bay and loved it) When doing multiple loads of laundry I can have the sudsy wash water pump out into the sink.When when I'm ready to start the next load I turn the switch to a feature which pumps it back into the washing machine. By creatively managing the loads, doing the least dirty light things first, the same load of wash water and soap can be used two or even three times depending on the items I am washing. Saves on water too. I used to use the third load for Steve's work clothes, which were usually pretty grubby. Now that he is retired, I'm only doing two loads lately.
Anyhow, the light oak modern cabinets always kind of bugged me. They were not original to the house and the woodwork didn't match. I am a "Matchy-Match" kind of girl. See how they do not match the dark reddish brown original woodwork of our home?
Fast Forward to This Week:
I had considered going over the cabinets with a poly stain varnish to try and make them a darker like the rest of the woodwork. But the more I looked at them and how dark they were in that room as it was, I decided I would paint them white! Yes! From a person who abhors painted woodwork, I was going to take a brush and roller to paint over these cabinets. Blasphemy I tell you!
Steve HATES painting, so this project was totally all on me.
First I've removed all of the cabinet doors and brought them down to the basement and laid them out on saw horses. From there I sanded all the surfaces with a palm sander to rough them up a little bit. Then I gave it a coat of Liquid Sandpaper. This product helps prime the wood and makes the previous finish kind of sticky so the new paint will adhere better. I opened up the windows in the basement for fresh air to help with drying in between coats.
My prep work also included the front face frameworks
of all the cabinets up in the laundry room too. I used a small foam roller to avoid any brush marks.
I didn't bother to do the insides of the cabinets.
It's only pantry storage and laundry supplies in these cabinets.
The Next Step was to apply a primer. Well I had this wonderful primer paint mixture that was for exterior painting. So I used that and I figured it should hold up pretty good. I gave it all two coats, thoroughly letting it dry in between. The last coat, I used some white enamel paint on both sides of the doors.
Now while that was drying, what I needed to do was to prep the walls and ceiling in the laundry room. They were a deeper golden yellow, not quite a Harvest Gold of the seventies but still pretty dark. I had half a gallon left from painting my sewing room... a soft pale lemon yellow. Lighter and much softer and muted than what was on the walls and ceiling right now.
Up on the ceiling there was a little bubbled up area in one corner. I got up on the ladder and started chiseling away at it with my putty knife. Rut Roh! Here it was a big wide swatch of fibered seam tape. As I pulled on it a little bit I realized it was traveling across the entire width of the laundry room from one side to the other! It had been covering a long skinny crack. Well, there was no going back now. I had to pull the whole piece off!!!
So now, instead of just spackling one little area I had to do a complete plaster patch repair job. I hauled out a bag of plaster and the tools and mixed up new plaster. I eased it up into place and made it as smooth as I could.
While that was drying, I decided to go ahead with painting the ceiling and walls. I could paint up to the fresh plaster and just take care of the rest of it in the morning. I painted the upper portion of the walls that were original plaster.
On the lower portion of the walls, there is a kind of funky vinyl covered wallboard paneling stuff kinda grayish-white. I decided I will throw a coat of paint on that too. If it doesn't hold up, we can always yank it off. I would love to put a white beadboard wainscotting in here and it would really dress it up. That can be my backup plan if this does not hold up.
Also, as a backsplash when it was a kitchen, there is a wide sheet of a mottled printed cream Formica being used as a backsplash between the underside of the cabinets and the trim rail. I really don't like that color so maybe someday in the future I can add beadboard wainscotting back there to to match. That's where Steve can come in and use his talents by doing the woodworking for me. For now this is a kind of interim solution to improve the laundry room.
I cleaned up my mess for the evening, popped a couple of Aleve in my mouth and took a nice long soak in a bubble bath!!!
After the plaster dried the next morning, I used the sanding tool and took down the high edges and smoothed it out as best I could, I put a coat of primer on the patched crack and now I was able to paint over it and make it match the rest of the ceiling and walls. Voila!
Now it was time to bring up each of the doors and install them back into place. I had carefully numbered each one with a tiny marker on the hinge itself so I would know what order they went back on.
The original white ceramic knobs look just fine on the cabinet so I attached each knob back into place. Don't you know it, on the very last door, the very last knob would not screw back in properly. I tried to force it with the screwdriver (which of course it slipped) and jammed right up my fingernail! Owiee Owiee Owiee!!!
I got all of the doors back into place, put the curtain back up, attached to fire extinguisher back on the wall, and put up the hanging rail on the other side for the clothing hangers. It was originally a dish towel rod but it works well for hanging clothes as I unload them from the dryer.
It's hard to take pics in this room because of the bright light coming in through the window. So I pulled down the shade and now it appears darker than what it really is. Believe me, it's a very soft light lemony yellow and nice bright white cabinets to match the white washer and dryer and freezer.
There is a really neat swinging door that leads out to the main kitchen. We usually leave it propped open, but it is also handy to block off the noisy washing machine sounds from the rest of the house. We also close off the dogs into this room when we need to contain them in one spot. They have not figured out how to push on the door with their noses, so it is essentially doubles as their little indoor doggie room too.
I cleaned up and put away all my mess and tools. It felt so good too have a bright clean fresh light airy room. This is the last room in the house to get painted. So during the last four years every single wall in the house has been coated with a new fresh coat of paint since we bought Our Old House!
I would like to take this time to wish
our oldest daughter a
VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!
It seems like yesterday she was a tiny baby in my arms. Awwwwww Erin and her happy family are on the road heading out for vacation with Waylen's folks in Oklahoma. Happy Birthday On The Road!
What a beautiful, accomplished woman you have become!
First and Last Days of school....
One of my most favorite camping pics of Erin
Where does the time go, sweet little baby girl?
I just wanted to pop a few more pics on here.... I was sitting out taking a break in the front porch. I just LOVE how the clematis on the south side is climbing up, covering the windows. I zigzagged thin white string across the window frame, wound around tiny white nails. I looks so pretty, even from the inside.
Plus it makes a nice shade from the sun streaming in
on the south side on the porch.
I am also working on a new quilt... I got 8 blocks done, and it is slow going and putzy challenging, but fun! Nice to work on during the rainy days we have been having lately.
I am also keeping myself busy with some new rugs on the loom..... My elbows both were suffering from a "tennis elbow" condition the past 6-7 weeks since we built the fence. Now they have healed enough to slowly weave and take it easy. It's hard, because I tend to push myself and overdo it.
On my little trip to Cedarburg on Sunday, I stopped by a Historic Landmark. This is the last covered bridge in Wisconsin. It is located just north of Cedarburg near the intersection of Hwy 60 and Covered Bridge Road by Five Corners.
I have fond memories being here as a child coming for picnics. Somewhere in the bridge both my father and my mother have their initials carved into it. Yes, it is vandalism and I do not condone marking up national historic landmark. I can not control what my parents did before I was born! LOL .... I never let my kids carve on it, so that is a step forward in progress.
I walked back and forth through the bridge couple times looking for their carvings, among the many thousands of such marks inside, but I didn't have a lot of time. I had to get back home to let the dogs out.
Here is a trip back in time..... a little 6 minute long video clip of visiting here in my old motorhome, a 1977 Winnebago. The Ultimate Behemoth. This video was probably about 1992 or 93? My brother and I took a vacation together with our kids. We brought our beloved Grandma Kafehl to the bridge to spend an April afternoon and have a little lunch. The first part is all the little cousins and our dogs, Akasha and Bonnie, playing in the park by the bridge. The second half is with Grandma inside my old motorhome.
I miss Grandma so much.
I am glad that my own children got to know their Great Grandmother
and love her as much as we all did.
Once I got home from my emotional day...
I had to unload my car.
THIS is why I went to Milwaukee and Cedarburg in the first place:
This is called Stash Enhancement!
My friend Karen (yes another Karen) was moving items from her Wisconsin home down to her Florida home. In preparation of selling their Wisconsin home in Milwaukee, she had an overabundance of fiber supplies and decided to share the wealth with me. She made me a very good deal and it was worth it to go down to Milwaukee and load up my car. I may sell some of it to recoup my initial investment, but I will keep the favorites for my own fiber pleasure
These bags are roving. It is prepared from sheep wool that has been washed and then picked apart into loose fibery pieces and then run through a large commercial machine called a "carder". It comes out in one long continuous strip that can then be spun into yarn.
It's an expensive process to go from raw sheep fleece to these beautiful finished balls of roving. Karen, Katrina and I had a bunch processed all at once a few years ago at a commercial business. This is some of her leftover stash she didn't think she would get around to spinning into yarn.
Each one is about the size of a soccer ball. Look how many bags I have here. It would take me quite a while to spin this up into yarn.
When it is in this roving form, it is easy to handle and manipulate. It can be soaked gently in soft loose loops into a dye bath and create beautiful multi-colored wool before it's even spun into yarn. Here is a pic of some of what I had dyed in the past. WHEEEE what fun!
Back to the stash.....
This section here are a bunch of large cones of cotton yarn that I can use in weaving. Some can be used in rugs, others for towels or table runners.
This section is large amount of Loopers. Loopers are left over factory sock waste from making socks. They're kind of like those little loops that were sold with children's frame looms for making hot pads, remember those from your childhood? The large bag on the left are white and natural, the bags on the right are various colors.
I chain these loops together to create long long sections that then I weave into rugs. They make the most delightful bumpy thick rug. I called them my "birch tree rugs"!
This last section of the stash are some skeins of yarn, all ready to be knit. Some of the beige yarns on the left are rather large commercial skeins of lopi yarn which is a thick single strand. I think I gave these to Karen many years ago --- and now I'm getting them back. I am all out of what I originally had, so I'm very happy to get some again. Full circle!
Karen had also gotten some Easter egg dyes when they go on clearance after Easter. Yes, the acid dyes of the food colored pellets are safe and non-toxic to use for dying. They do permanently dye wool if you add vinegar and salt as mordants to the dye bath water. This does not work for cotton or polyester, just on wool. I always grab what I can at after Easter sales and it was nice of Karen to share some extra with me.
Now that I've got it all unloaded, I have to sort through what I want to keep, and photograph what I'm going to list and sell.
Have any of you been lucky enough to revisit your childhood home 46 years later?
Well, you CAN go home again, if the people who own your childhood home are nice enough to let you come and visit!
Yesterday I had the emotionally charged opportunity to GO BACK HOME AGAIN!
Let me step back a little bit here. A couple years ago I had Googled my childhood home address in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Not only did the address pop up on the maps for Google Earth, but also a business Facebook listing came up.
Of course, I had to pop off a message to her saying "You don't know me but..."
Since then, we have become Facebook friends and have chatted back and forth. She gave me a standing invitation that if any time I come down into that area I will be more than welcome to stop by.
It just so happened that Sunday I needed to run down to Milwaukee and pick up some items from a friend of mine who is moving. So I contacted the owners of my childhood home and asked them if it would be possible to stop by and visit?
They emphatically said yes and that hopefully I could spend the afternoon.
I drove down to Milwaukee and met up with my friends Karen and Herb. They are moving items from their home in Milwaukee down to their home in Florida and she had a large amount of weaving and spinning materials to get to me. We met up at Trader Joe's where I could stock up on my favorite Two Buck Chuck wine (Charles Shaw) and cookie butter. Then we went out for a little lunch to Applebee's and enjoyed some time together.
After piling my car full of bags of wool roving and weaving supplies, it was time for hugs and goodbyes.... now I could head on out to the next step of my adventure!
I swung up on the exit to Cedarburg which was crammed full of traffic due to the Strawberry Fest going on downtown. I didn't go anywhere near the downtown and instead cut around through Hamilton to go up to the cemetery first. I added some flowers to Grandma and Grandpa and Great Grandma's graves, it looks like cousin Laura has already been there along with some of the other Staton cousins.
I talked to them for a little bit and told Grandma I'm trying to do the best I can to become a grandma just like her. She is my role model for being a grandma. Always unconditionally loving and making sure everything is fair and giving all she could to her grandchildren.
Then I got back in my car and cut back over on Pioneer Road to the other cemetery. This is the one that my little sister Su Su is buried in. I made my way to her familiar grave and cleared off all of the overgrown weeds. There's some beautiful little statues and figurines there that my mom and my cousin Laura also put into place during previous visits.
I added new flowers to her grave and talked to her a little bit too. I told her I was going back home to where we used to live when she was such a sweet little girl. Sadly at the age of 2 and a half years old, she had been hit and killed by a car in front of the home.
Here I am with her at a birthday party...
and one of her with our big old tom cat, Tabby.
But I wanted to focus on the happy years that we lived in that home
and not focus on the loss of my little sister.
As I turned my car north up Horns Corners Road and headed over towards the house, my heart started pounding. I drove past all the familiar houses along the way. Along my old school bus route. Many houses have taller trees or are remodeled-- but mostly the countryside is still the same as I remembered it.
As I drew up closer to the house, I had to slow down a bit and snap the picture of the home from the car. My heart was leaping up into my throat. The house came into view with taller trees around it. I was joyously happy to see it again.
Parking my car in the driveway, I eased out and took a deep breath. I was shaking. I don't know why but I was shaking. I looked around and it felt good. I was HOME!
Here is a quick 30 second clip I put on Youtube:
Long ago, it had been a country school house,
on a rural crossroads.
It had already been made into a home
when my parents bought it when I was 2 years old.
J and L (I will call the owners) came out to greet me. With hugs all around they told me they were happy to give me this opportunity to see my childhood home. L never had a chance to revisit her childhood home and said she was happy to give me this chance as it was something she couldn't do for herself. J said that he had driven past his childhood homes a couple times and wished he could go inside. So both were very happy to give me this opportunity and use up a couple hours on a beautiful Sunday afternoon
We started walking around the yard, a lot of trees are new and different, but the old apple tree and the crabapple tree are still there as well as the big old white lilac bush and some of the purple lilacs. If you recall a few blogs back, for Mother's Day I just planted a white lilac bush in my own yard, remembering the one that I had as a child at this home.
From there we went to the garage. I reminisced as I looked at Dad's old work bench still in place. I saw the crazy cross boards pounded on to two of the wall studs leading up to the attic of the garage. We used this as a ladder to get up there.
I remember as a child crawling up this makeshift ladder and we would sit in a big aluminum flat cement mixing tub that Dad had stored up there. It was a hideaway or a clubhouse for us kids.
I saw the patched-up hole in the cement where the lightning bolt had hit on the floor.... Right at the entrance to the garage door on the right hand stall side. Dad had been in the garage as a storm was rolling in and a lightning bolt struck the floor and blasted a hole in the cement. Dad said the lightning bolt flashed around inside of the garage and all of the dust and dirt flew up into the air from the static electricity. He got the dirt in his eyes and came running into the house hollering and bellering and scared the bejesus out of us kids. I remember him bending over the kitchen sink with Mom at his side trying to rinse his eyes out with water --- and we were all terrified about lightning after that. What a memory.
We walked around the yard and admired J's wonderful work at arranging new flower beds and trees and bushes and shrubs. L showed me their special area where they buried their pets of the past years. It was right where we used to bury ours. She had a little Memorial Garden setup for all of her pets. I remember our pets well when we lived there: we had Duke the collie mix, Big Mike the big black lab, and Scooter a terrier mix... All who are buried in that yard.
Me n Duke at the door...
and us kids with Scooter at the Doghouse
We also had Petunia the Beagle who moved up to Michigan with us in 1970.
I remember all three cats that we used to have over the years when we lived there. There was Tabby, Moonbeam, and Hasdroopal. Here I am with Hasdroopal... whatever Hasdroopal means, I don't know. It must be some German name we came up with?
In the background you can see the old apple tree (still there)
and our big Cabin Crusier boat
Now it was time to go into the house. Oh my what a flood of memories! Right from the hallway as I entered the landing is a shelf to the right. This is where we lined up mason jars full of things we would collect like caterpillars and fireflies and bumblebees and whatever else we would catch in mason jars. The old door latch is still the same and the door knocker is too.
I tried to take pics of the little things that sparked memories.. and not just sweeping pics of whole rooms. I wanted to protect the privacy of the new owners, but also the memories are seeing the house through my eyes, not their decor and possessions.
I had been telling L about some of our exploits in the basement so we turned to the right and went down to the basement first.
Oh my goodness what Memories. Underneath the wooden steps I remember all of us kids crouching on a old sleeping bag as tornadoes passed overhead and how scared we were hiding in the corner of the basement. Our house was not hit and we were very fortunate. But it became our go-to place to go whenever there was a storm.
I remember sitting on the old wooden steps in the basement with the neighbor kids. They taught me the song "Found a Peanut Found a Peanut Last Night" I have no idea where that memory came from but it comes back, clear as a bell.
On the wall to the right I could see where the old shelves had been at one time. The paint on the wall showed where the location was. My mother kept laundry supplies on that shelf including bluing. Do you remember bluing? For making white laundry even brighter? Well underneath that shelf she had a big old baby buggy. Mom would stick my little brother and sister in there while she was running clothing through the wringer washer (which can be very dangerous). She turned around to see my sister who was probably 4, squirting the bluing into my brother's light blonde white hair who was about the age of 3. My sister was playing hairdresser! This all happened while I was at school but I came home from school that afternoon to see my brother stretched across the kitchen counter, with his head in the sink, while my mother was scrubbing his hair under the faucet. She was trying to get the bluing out. His snow white blonde hair turned into green! It lasted for a couple weeks and I think this was around Easter time. So that meant that he had to go to church with green hair! Ahhhh the things we remember...
As I looked around the basement I remember things like riding around on our tricycles and our old pedal tractor. Or playing with roller skates clamped to our shoes... going around and around in figure eight fashion around the metal posts that supported the center of the house.
I don't remember it so much, but my mom said I broke my collarbone down there. I do remember my brother pulling me around on my tricycle like crack the whip and Mom said I came around the furnace and smacked into the hot water heater and broke my collarbone. I do remember wearing a harness. Being that we were out in the country we played a lot in our house in the basement and the attic and in the yard. We played a lot with each other because we were rural kids. We were each others best friends. Sometimes we would play with the neighbors kitty-corner across the road too. But usually we were pretty much six brothers and sisters all together in that one small house
We laughed about the sewer pipe where I would crawl up as a kid and i would pad it with a piece of dirty laundry, usually a towel, stolen from the washing area. I would lay up there on the pipe like a cat, and it was my Hiding Place. It was one horizontal section that joined into the vertical section and I could crawl up there on the ribs of the old cast iron sewer pipe. We kids found lots of cool places to hide or play. Maybe with a family of 6 kids I like to find places to hide so I could read a book. I fondly remember sitting in a crook of the apple tree, reading up in the hidden greenness of the leaves in my own little sanctuary. I was a voracious reader and read everything I could get my hands on.
Next, it was time to go up the stairs and see more of the house on the main floor. Amazingly so much is kept original. All the original hardwood floors, the trim woodwork, the doors and knobs, the arch to the hallway, yes.... everything is still the same. New paint of course, but the cabinets were the same and the layout, even some of the light fixtures were the same.
Amazing after 50 years that this was still my childhood home... and it was intact. Even the cutting board!!!! Some of those cuts were made by my mom, canning vegetables, preparing meals, making our sandwich lunches....
I felt the familiar groove underneath with my fingers as I pulled it out.
It was J's idea that I sit on the kitchen counter in the same spot where this original photo was taken. What a hoot. I said I did not need to sit up there, but he insisted. They moved over their canisters and coffee maker and toaster etc to clear a spot for my butt to plop on their counter. They brought over a little step stool and made me perch there for a couple pictures.
And through the magic of Photoshop
here I am doing dishes with myself 50+ years later!
This picture makes me cry,
I could never imagine this fanciful imaginative emotional child in the picture
would someday be doing dishes with her own self 50+ years later?
I got to look at my old bedroom and envision where all of our beds had been. The home has 2 bedrooms on the main floor and an unfinished upstairs/attic area. As each kid came along, our parents just made more room for another bed. The room is small but soon there were two sets of bunk beds and a crib crossways on the north wall. We had five children in that one bedroom! The two girls had the bunks on the right and the two boys had the bunks on the left. Toddler SuSu was in the crib and when baby Umpee (Eugene) came along, he was in a bassinet in our mom and dad's room across the hall.
Dad started building the bedrooms in the upstairs. There was room to make three or four bedrooms up there. He studded in the wall and started a room for the boys with some walls studded in and low pieces of sheetrock and never got any further before becoming disabled.
But the boys moved their beds up there anyhow which gave more room to the bedroom for us girls. In the open area of the unfinished attic he had made us a little school room. We had three little school desks up there and he put a chalkboard on the wall of unfinished studs. Imagine my surprise when J and L pointed to the chimney. Even though they have the entire upstairs now finished, they left the chimney brick exposed. Look at this!
Yes, this is our artwork from one of us six kids. I have no idea what it says or who did it. All I know is it is for sure from one of us. How amazing that they did not cover it over or repaint the chimney in any way. It is preserved for us children, now grown, to know that we spent many happy hours in the upstairs of this house playing "School".
The other thing we did in this upstairs is very unusual. The wide plank floors had a lot of knot holes. The knots had fallen through and there were these big holes. It became a fun game for us to roll marbles across the floor and see if they could make it from one end of the attic to the other without falling in a hole. Of course many of our marbles did fall in the holes...
Can you imagine J and L crawling around on the floor with a flashlight looking in these holes and finding our Treasures? The holes are too small to reach in and grab anything... but it one hole L even spotted a little pink beaded bracelet that must have come from one of us girls. J mentioned as he was finishing off the attic area he did find some small toys crammed around the edges where he was doing the insulation in the eaves and blocking it off. He said he found little toys like old Fisher-Price people and marbles and whatever ----and said he saved them in a box somewhere. Maybe someday if he comes across them I will be able to see our old toys? What a treasure!
The job they did with finishing the upstairs off is absolutely wonderful they made such a nice area. L has a separate craft room, and a bedroom and some huge walk-in closets as well as a nice open seating area and lots of storage. That is what my parents had wanted to do, but circumstances changed and we moved away before dad ever had a chance to finish it.
Sadly, the circumstances were that my sister had died, plus my dad had been disabled from some accidents and surgeries on his stomach. Mom just couldn't bear to live there anymore.
Dad had some friends whose father had been fixing up a house up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (his hometown area). Their father had died and the family still owned the house and wanted to get rid of it. So we had an opportunity to buy that house. Dad went up ahead of time and started fixing it up for us to move there. They put our little Cedarburg home on the market it sold very, very fast. We had to rush to pack everything up and leave.
I was almost 10 years old and I did not want to leave. We were so close to our Grandma and all of our cousins and this was the only life we had known. This quaint little pioneer theme town of Cedarburg, full of culture and art and wonderful things, was going to be left behind. I remember that day of October 10th, 1970. I looked out my window for one more time from my bedroom and said I will remember this view forever. Then I picked a little rock out of the driveway and I still have that rock to this day and it has been in my jewelry for box 46 years.
Yes, good things come to an end. But through the kindness and compassion of J and L, I was able to go back home again and relive it one more time.