Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.


Farm Apartment: First Things First (in which we remove the roof in order to raise the roof)

When remodeling old things to make them new and useful once again, you often have to take a few steps backwards before you get to the fun stuff.

In the case of the Farm Apartment we’re building (YES! For real! Click here to catch up), we needed to remove the roof in order to raise the roof. I know, I know, it seems backwards to me as well.

But in order to support the weight of the ENTIRE SECOND STORY, we took the whole roof down. Did I mention that we’re DIYing the whole thing? THRILLING.

Let’s jump right in with a picture. Believe me when I say that this was a WEIRD, WEIRD feeling–being in the building and yet completely outside.


Oh, but it wasn’t as easy as the internet makes it out to be. I just decided to spare you of all of the hard work and the two GIGANTIC dumpsters worth of debris we chipped off that old roof. That, and I forgot to take pictures. The roof was the tar type with about an inch of accumulated tar over the decades. We would use a sawzall to cut through the tar and then we’d chip it off in large-ish chunks with a nifty shovel/prybar thing meant for this type of work. I obviously don’t know the real name.

Once we removed the tar, we removed the roof boards. In today’s construction, 4×8′ sheets of wood are used, but when this barn was built the used individual boards that were about 8 inches wide and a half-inch thick. Since they were all tar-covered and filled with nails, into the dumpster they went!

Next we removed the old joists–in this case, long lengths of 2x8s. In the picture below, you can see one of the two beams that helped support these joists.


Now THOSE we could keep and reuse–which meant removing HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of nails. But not having to PAY to get rid of them and not having to purchase new wood means it’s worth it! They won’t be reused as floor/ceiling joists, as today’s code requires better support than that, but they can be used to frame the second story outer walls.

Oh, and let’s back up a sec and dissect that picture above. YES, that’s my dad using a CHAINSAW to get that huge beam down (the beam was actually made of three side-by-side 2x10s, not solid wood). We couldn’t reuse them, so the billion pound beam pieces went into the dumpster.

We replaced the 2 old wooden beams with one custom steel beam and three supporting steel poles. Oh yeah, and we had to take out the concrete floor and pour new concrete supports for the beam poles. Currently the floor looks like Swiss cheese–the rest of the floor will come out eventually and be replaced with a fresh new concrete slab. The old slab was too thin and rough to keep. In essence, all we are keeping of the old barn are the cinder block walls–and even those have to be raised a bit to create 8″ ceilings.

Obviously this is all very exciting, and Kenny and I are racking up the miles (and gas $$ used) driving the 35 miles to and from the farm. We’re loving it.



May 2013 Bloggy Recap (in which summer arrives and I wallow in it’s wonderfulness)

Let me begin with a question: how is it possible that May is finished and June is well upon us?!?

This time of year makes me want to pack up everything and move back to camp, but I distract myself with my husband and my job and this blog and hope that everything will be okay. And it usually is. ūüôā Frequent trips to the beach and to Captain Sundae’s also help.

But before we fully move into June, let’s look back at May. Mmmmk?

Personal…Just For Fun:

Friday Flashback: Bachelor Edition (in which I take you back to a scary place in our lives)

Graduation Day (in which I find myself one step closer to retirement)

Spring=Lambs (in which we enjoy a practically perfect evening)1


Hexagon Magazine Collage (in which I use cut and paste skills I acquired as a kindergartner)

Happy Yellow Task Lamp (in which I give you a rare glimpse into my fragile emotional state)

Banishing the White Elephant (in which I celebrate the start of spray paint season)

Un-Upholstering a Parsons Chair (in which I try to imitate Restoration Hardware and basically succeed)

Embroidered Pictures (in which I overcome the urge to keep a commissioned gift for myself)

Sponge-Painted Thrift Store Art (in which I discuss my feelings on internet trolls and overcome selfishness once again all in the same post)


Home Decor:

$2 Kitchen Bling (in which I update our kitchen into the mid-1990s at least)

Updated Living Room (in which Ken makes pancakes and I fritter time away on this blog)

Pottery Barn-Style Home Tour (in which I become dehydrated from drooling so much)

And Finally, a Recipe:

Epic Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake (in which I make cake, mousse, and ganache and mash it all together)

My favorite project this month was the sponge painted artwork¬†(which now lives in Canada…sniffle), but life-wise, Ken’s graduation and birthday were this month’s highlights. He’s kind of my favorite person.


February 2013 Bloggy Recap (in which I recall a whole bunch of excellent things)

In the interest of recapping the previous month’s worth of blog posts before all of our memories from that time have expired (unlike last time), I now present you with the February 2013 Bloggy Recap. ‘Twill be hard to top February, as it was my favorite month on the blog yet, and by far. SO MANY great things happened…and usually February is such a dud of a month.¬†Not this year, friends. Not this year.

Let’s recall.

February 2013 Recap

Personal…Just For Fun:

Thrift Shop Challenge (in which my soul apparently longeth after secondhand mammals)

Hey Girl (in which my husband soundly trumps Ryan Gosling)

One Last Hey Girl and a New Face Accessory (in which I finally‚Äďand¬†ironically‚Äďconform)

February 2013 Recap


Doily Wreath with Mini Pennant Banner (in which I may have outsourced a craft to a pharmacy)

Putty Knife Painting (in which I introduce fairy princesses into our apartment decor)

Purple Herringbone Painted Canvas Rug (in which I reveal just how cheap I actually am)

February 2013 Recap

Home Decor:

Master Bedroom Makeover: Flooring (in which I *almost* take credit for something I wasn’t even there for)

Gallery Wall Version 28.0 (in which I halfheartedly attempt to decorate like an adult while simultaneously clinging on to my childhood)

Master Bedroom Makeover: Homemade Curtain Rods (in which we use drawer knobs and electrical conduit to hang drapery)

Master Bedroom Makeover: No-Sew Dropcloth Curtains (in which we use painting supplies to make fake drapes)

More Thrift Store Art Work (in which I hang a Van Gogh in the bathroom)

Antique Doorknob Hooks (in which I continue to let Dad produce content for the blog and pass it off as my own)

reese's peanut butter cup chocolate chip cookies

And Finally, a Recipe:

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Chip Cookies (in which my husband and I display what can only be described as a disgusting amount of self control)

I also broke all blog records (set by myself, of course) in terms of stats, which indicates to me that I have awesome readers. I could be wrong on that count, but let’s just say I have a strong suspicion that you guys are very cool. So. Thanks for that.

Here’s to a great March…well, the second half, at least.

Oh, and I have to ask. What was your favorite post? I am obviously ineligible to decide, since I love them all equally and favoritism is not cool. So, do tell.


January 2013 Bloggy Recap (in which late is better than never, right?)

Do you know those items that you jot down on your to-do list that end up just languishing there indefinitely? You can never really finish your list because you always intend to get to that one nagging item, but somehow other things just always seem more important.

Well. On my list has been “monthly blogging recaps.” I love it when bloggers give an overview of the past month’s posts. If this isn’t your cup of tea, I give you full permission to sit this one out, because really, it is just regurgitated content. I know. But come back on Wednesday, when there¬†mayyyy be a room makeover reveal post coming. If you’ve been following along you know the one.

Or, take a moment to frolic down memory lane with me. It’ll be a good time.

skiing and chaco tan line


Bucket List Item #2 (in which I am quaking in my boots)

Chaco Tan Lines (in which I make you long for summer by sharing photos of my feet)

In With the New (in which I forcefully shove my blog’s design into 2013)

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Lace Infinity Scarf Tutorial (in which I give you a perfectly valid reason to purchase frilly thrift store curtains)

Elephant Decor (in which I walk the thin line between eccentric and whimsical)

String Art (in which I admit to using litter in a craft project)

My Foray Into Watercolor Painting (in which I become a mixologist of both paint-water and cocktails and find it hard to visually differentiate between the two)

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Home Decor:

Fine Art Gallery Wall (in which I question whether or not to put a bird on it)

Dark-Stained Wood Furniture (in which Anne composes an elaborate story around Ken’s fictitious thoughts)

Master Bedroom Makeover Part 1 (in which we gleefully say bye-bye to butterfly wallpaper)

Master Bedroom Makeover: Dark Painted Ceiling (in which I embrace a new trend whilst having a terrible haircut)

Master Bedroom Board and Batten (in which I learn how to wield a nail gun)

Master Bedroom Makeover: Craftsman-style Wood Trim (in which we cleverly use waxed paper in a carpentry project)

Master Bedroom Makeover: Carpet Removal 101 (in which we unearth bushels of antique dirt)

So as you can see, January was a busy month! Just wait until I get to February’s recap…in like June. In theory, I would eventually categorize all of the blog this way, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. One month at a time, please.

Now, do tell. What were you up to back in the day in January? Luckily I have a blog record of some of my activities or these memories would never be recalled…

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Mason Jar Soap Dispenser (in which I make a valiant attempt at “artistic” photography with my point-and-shoot)

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed it, (HAHAHA), but all of the pictures on this blog were taken using my trusty old point-and-shoot camera.

I also have the good sense to use our ratty apartment carpet as a backdrop to these photos.

Perhaps someday when I get older I can be entrusted with a DSLR camera. Perhaps.

But I digress. Since Christmas is over (weeping/gnashing of teeth), I can now share a few of the gifts I’ve been working on.¬†For my mother, I made a mason jar soap dispenser. IT WAS SO EASY. And bonus: I even got to use a hammer.

Here’s a picture of (some of) my supplies and our plush carpet. I got the mason jar from the thrift store for $.25, so this was an affordable craft. It’s also a sweet odd size, somewhere between a pint and a quart. Oh, and since my mom lives on our farm and actually does a lot of canning, this gift does not look out of place at all in her house.

I began with one hole centered in the mason jar lid and a closeup of the carpet.


Then I got rid of some anger by doing it a bunch more times.


Then I used my sister’s needle-nosed pliers (that I borrowed to make my brooch bouquet and have yet to return) to sort of rip the metal away. I sound like quite a beast, don’t I? But it was actually pretty easy. You can kind of see that I bent the metal downward as I ripped it off…which, now that I think about it, probably doesn’t matter at all. (Don’t you hate it when you have a thought and then you realize it is not actually a good/logical one? Yup. Happens all the time to me.)


Then I slipped the dispenser part of a lotion bottle into the hole. I had periodically checked this as I ripped apart the metal, so it is pretty snug, like you want it.

For this shot, I thought a blurry shot would be best.


Just kidding. Actually, what I was going for was the “water droplet” look like this since I’d just washed the lotion off the dispenser.

rose with water drops

Picture obviously not taken by moi.

I did have to trim the “straw” part of the dispenser to fit in the jar. If you keep it angled (which it probably was in the first place), it can still suck up almost all of¬†the soap.

Next, I got out my trusty hot glue gun (NEW! This was it’s inaugural run!) and glued the pieces together from the underside of the lid. It’s not going anywhere soon, and it’s sort of sealing the jagged edges of metal, so my theory is that it won’t rust as easily.


Then I ditched our carpet backdrop and took these artsy photos of the dispenser in what could be its natural habitat in a bathroom.

This is actually a pretty normal photo, but the photo shoot quickly devolved from here.

Also, that drippy paint on our mirror? It drives me nuts. Don’t get me started. Our shower and counter/sink area is bright white, our walls are yellowish-cream, our outlets are almond-beige, and our industrial plastic baseboard is gray. It’s almost as if an¬†amateur decorator¬†like me designed this bathroom.


And here where this post derails and my artistic photography falls on its face. True confession: I can’t be trusted with any camera, much less a nice one, because I take pictures like this.


And then I gave this to my mom and she liked it.

Finally, if you don’t hear from me in a few days, it’s probably because I’ve been thrown into photography jail.