Saturday, February 28, 2015

Claudia the claw foot

One of my most sought after Pinterest projects is now final!!!! For the record this project was estimated at one weekend. It took us 7 months! I have to admit, it was well worth it! We found beautiful Claudia in our upstairs bathroom when we bought Nell. She was an original cast iron, clawfoot bathtub made in she is the same age as Big Nell...besties, I imagine. BFFs. They must have some stories to tell. As soon as I saw her, I envisioned her downstairs in the master bathroom. The downstairs bathroom did, however, have a monstrous cast iron tub, although it was neither in good condition, nor a a beautiful clawfoot. It took a sledgehammer and some muscles to get big Bertha out. (I have a thing with names.) It was not near the feat to remove Claudia from upstairs and carry her all the way down the stairs. Big Bertha was a mean beast. Claudia, on the other hand, was slender and lightweight, but as you will gather in a moment, she is a diva of the high-maintenance kind!

I began working on Claudia in August. I was big, pregnant and impatiently waiting on Jude! This tub needed a lot of work, but we had it all figured out! It would be done in a few days and into our newly remodeled bathroom to go alongside out new big daddy shower. Claudia's exterior was painted a drab gray. The inside porcelain finish was stained, dingy and there were a few gouges that needed repair. These were our first looks at Claudia.  

After we brought her from upstairs, we put her in the front yard to refinish. Little did we know that  every Tom, Dick and Harry would stop by to inquire about my tub!!! Many a stranger stopped by with inquiries about buying it, scrapping it and just plain curiosity.

 This is her before I ever laid hands on her.
 Taking all of the old, rusted hardware off was a job for the manly, man...aka my hubby.

 First, I washed her off really good. She was caked with years of dirt and grim.

 Then, I sanded her down smooth. Let us all reminisce for a moment back to hot August...almost TEN months pregnant! Only in the south will you find that pregnant of a mama wearing some shorties of this nature. 
 Still not pretty, but smooth and ready for paint.

 This is the underside with the manufacturing date stamped into the cast iron. She is the real deal!

 Help me Rhonda, this was after 74 coats of automotive spray paint. I finally had it as smooth as I wanted it. It was either too thick and starting to run, or grainy. The outside was complete!

 We used Bondo to fill in the gouges in the porcelain finish and sanded those smooth. Then, we moved her inside.

 We put her legs back on her.

 She was then moved into her new home and prepared to be refinished with an epoxy kit.

 We applied some kind of chemical wash. Then rinsed her. 
Then used steel wool to removed any stuck-on debris.
 With our cute little respirator masks on, we picked a late night to apply our epoxy kit. We had to time it well. We only have one bathroom Currently and eight people to date. We started at 8:45 just after the last child pottied. We had to apply another coat after 3 hours. We ended up putting a third coat which gave her a near perfect finish.
 Then we added the fixtures to match the era of the tub.

 She works like a charm! We are so proud of how it turned out. She is not perfect (and not just because my plumber scuffed it with his massive boot before my very eyes and made my heart hurt! But, I could not even tell him. He has been too good to us.), but the character she has makes up for her minor flaws and then some.

Mama got the first, and well deserved bath!!!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Jude: 6 months

Jude is six months old! He has surpassed 20 lbs at this point. HE HAS TWO TEETH ALREADY! Did I know about these teeth, no I id not. Bad mom had no idea. Our pediatrician found them.We took the kids for physicals with our pediatrician to update our home study. She even asked if he had teeth. i told her no. In my defense, he is the only child to get teeth this early. He is sleeping sporadically each night. sometimes he wakes once, sometimes twice. Oh, how I took the days of sleeping through the night for granted. He exclusively nurses 7-8 times each day. Naps three times a day. He is sitting somewhat supported. He does really well, but get wobbly at times. Wood floors are not good for baby heads and baby chins, it seems. Still only takes the binkey at nap time. Loves his siblings. He is very curious and easily distracted. Laughs often. Precious!

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Nell's first snow.

We finally got some significant snow and we LOVED it!!! We have so much yard to enjoy in the snow! We have actually had a very mild winter, thankfully. It was a big concern with our home only being heated by our wood stove. This is a temporary solution that is working, for the most part. The kids loved have a snow day, or two, and having the opportunity for playing and hot cocoa drinking. Mom needed the break as well. There is something so peaceful and pure with everything covered in white.
My snow bunnies!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

New Life in Nell: Refinement

We are six months post move. And while I had hoped to give monthly updates, it never came to pass. That was much too high of an expectation that I thought I could handle. We are still adjusting to life in a new place. So what has this life been like exactly? We are finding our stride. All things have changed. We JUST unpacked our last box (except the picture frames). It felt A LOT like Sanford and Son (cue music). I LOVED  that show as a kid!! However, I do NOT much like living in what looks like a salvage yard! There was equipment and tools all over the front porch, a bath tub in the front yard (that kept drawing unexpected visitors), and debris everywhere for months and months. Homes built in the early 1930's were obviously not built by hoarders, so we have had to improvise in the way of storage, temporarily giving up a bathroom until we can create an access to the attic. Yet another construction project. This was another time to purge.We DO have an uber small closet in our foyer (which currently has an old chimney that was used in the kitchen "way back when" that will be taken down before it can be heard that, right? Demo project on the horizon), everyone has a closet in their room, and there are three storage closets up stairs. Also, we did close up a closet in our bedroom and removed the linen closet in the bathroom to provide space. The shower was totally worth it!!! We are getting creative with bath storage ideas. PINTEREST to the rescue!  My husband told me during initial renovations, that Pinterest was of the devil. :-) I told him that Pinterest saved him a bundle with all of the ideas and DIY projects in which I had him and the crew involved. At the moment, this house is not the Home Sweet (dream) Home, like my Pinterest board title, but she is not the hot mess where which we found her either. We are working to make it our dream though. But, I have to work harder yet not to pick up my old perfectionist tendencies. My sweet friend Melissa came to visit from the burbs of Seattle and asked me a very real question? She asked if I was okay with the months and months and years and years that it will take to get her done. My answer is NO! I may have stretched a bit far with the goal of BEING DONE ALREADY, but she should be finished within the year. Oh please, I may not make it if she is not done soon! This whole process has given me a new appreciation for God's grace and how He has changed me...Him and Him alone. I could never have changed all of the things about me that He has wiped away. And, y'all...He is nowhere near done with me yet. Thank you, sweet Jesus.

We are growing accustomed to our new surroundings, though slower for some of us (ME) than others. Every routine I have ever had, has been shot all to...Helsinki! My grocery shopping, my home schooling, my cleaning, my storage, my organization has all changed! Our go-to stores are different. Wal-Mart south, not Wal-Mart north. Lowe's south, not Lowe's north. Lynwood Kroger, not Stonebridge Kroger. I have found that my house is equally close to both Goodwill north and south....bonus! I love it here. I do not love the disorganization. I cannot find things that I need. It seems like everything hangs on the completion of one undertaking or another. There are countless small projects that linger....and by linger, I mean they run amuck all over this place! Our life is full and busy. What would take some a weekend, might take us three weeks or more to complete. We work when we can. We will not let this home, and it's constant need for attention, be CONSTANT. Now, it has been no where near easy. I have not enjoyed all of the moments shared in this place. Refinement is not pretty or fun, but needed. A goldsmith removes impurities from gold by putting it into fire. That is how it becomes pure gold. If she is to be all that she can be, she must be mended and then tested. in Nell's refinement, I find myself being refined as well. I could let all of the loose ends kill me if I did not have Jesus. I am still a type-A, although it does not rule me like it once did. I know He is not trying to kill the type-A. He created me this way. I have to remind myself of this constantly. I often view this as the thorn in my own side. But, he does not want it to define me. He wants to define me. He wants to define you, as well. He wants me to let Him make me into something beautiful that will take a lifetime to achieve. So, I keep pressing forward. Some days the little that is done, inching us toward our final state, is enough. Some days it just is not. I am only being human. My flesh is still a very real part of me and it will until I am in my eternal home. And in that glorious place nothing will need a single renovation!! Clinging to that hope today!! Until then, I keep trying to adapt...remain clay in the hands of the potter...keep having faith that He did not bring me here to abandon me. He has something great in store and it is unfolding before my eyes.

 It feels like this is where we live...
 ...and this is what renovation feel like!

 Marcus just asked me the other day, on yet another run to Wal-Mart/Lowe's, "Do you miss our old house?" I had not given that life a second thought. I was struck by the fact that Stone Spring Circle was totally off my radar. I do not think about our old home. That is quite funny to me. I am looking forward. I know this is where we are supposed to be.We have a new life here!She will be amazing in her own time. To us she is amazing already. We will continue to chronicle this transformation. I hope to update one completed room at a time. Stay tuned...