Posts Tagged ‘Free’

Our basement is officially gutted.

We’re finishing this floor before we start on the kitchen and the bedrooms upstairs. This way, we can escape the remodel disaster zones and maintain slightly more sanity.

Here is the current layout:

basement layout current

And the intended layout:

New Basement Layout

We’re making some large changes, but we have our reasons 🙂

Reasons 1 & 2: Bedroom-caves

The two rooms down here are pretty useless. They need an egress window to be a legal bedroom.

Bedroom of Cave-ness

The plan is to combine the two rooms into one legal bedroom with a gigantic storage closet. Since we’re turning an upstairs bedroom into the master bath, this will keep our bedroom count at 4.

Reason 3: Terrible bathroom

As we talked about in this post, the bathroom has a terrible layout. Actually, the only thing I like about it is the adorably ugly sink.

Mini Sink

We’ll be removing the space-eating linen closet, and redoing the resulting 7.5 by 8 foot bathroom.

Reason 4: Utility looking room

We’ve introduced this project, also.

Utility Room

We’ll be covering the pipes and wires when possible, and upgrading the floor.

Reason 5: Wandering layout

The basement is currently split with this short hallway.Maze of Doors We’ll be opening the wall up to make the basement feel less cramped and reduce the likelihood of someone getting lost in the maze.

Reason 6: It isn’t pretty

Spider Room

Brick linoleum and paneling is not my idea of a good time.

We started demo in the laundry room. Then we scratched our heads a bit about whether we were starting on the laundry room, the bathroom, or the entire basement. The only thing we used on this floor was our 35 year old dryer and it’s slightly younger pal. We decided to gut the whole floor, and hook the new washer and dryer up in their sad little concrete room full of pipes. At this point, that laundry room is frightful looking.Somehow, it looks worse

After making a mess with the laundry room, we realized that step 1 should have been removing all of our stuff. Whoops 🙂 A ton of it is being sold or donated, and we moved everything else upstairs into a spare bedroom. Just emptying out our junk took most of one day. Note to self: have less stuff .

Then we removed bits of the building 🙂  We listed the paneling, carpet, media cabinet and interior doors on Craigslist for free, and it was gone in a weekend. Someone actually paid us $50 for the carpet… even though it was free.

Less basement

Electrical outlets and plumbing fixtures were donated, and we knocked down the hallway wall and  linen closet. The only trash was the carpet pad, some linoleum, broken trim, and the shower.

Voila! Empty(ish) floor.

Empty Basement

After Demo came Discover. The best thing was this linoleum hiding coyly under the bathroom floor.Beatiful vintage find

I think I may keep it.

We also found 29 mice skeletons in one wall. That’s not an exaggeration; we counted. They had a lizard buddy hanging out too.

The less fun discoveries include water :{ Water seeps between the floor & concrete block in the laundry room.  That seam is easily fixed, but both corners of the basement  have seepage through the wall. Shucks

The adhesive on the floor looks like a puddle in that pic, but only the concrete bricks are damp. Coincidentally, that’s exactly where the gutters drain to. Our plan is to improve the gutter drainage, which should fix it. We’ll waterproof the interior corners as a back-up.


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We haven’t finished anything big recently, but we did make two small changes that I’m very fond of.

1.) We moved our wedding arbor

Michael and I built this for our wedding at his parent’s farm. It’s made entirely of cedar trees from near the field (Free!). We’ve been living here nearly two years, but just now finally moved it.

I like having it in the front yard 🙂

2.) Swapped out a picture on the photo wall.

This is a tiny, tiny change. We went from this placeholder printed-out map of NZ…

To this art print from Etsy artist Elisabeth.

Same subject, same size, lol. Like I said, small change.

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DIY Stretched Canvas

We have had this fabric poster since Michael’s dorm days. It never hung very flatteringly.

And so we built a frame out of scrap 2 by 4 lumber,

stapled some thin black cotton as a wrapping,

and then used hem tape and an iron to mount the fabric flag to the (fabric-wrapped) frame.



It took Michael about an hour to do all the hard stuff (build the frame, staple the black fabric on), and it took me about 30 minutes to mount the actual poster.

Total cost was $0 🙂

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Okay, I don’t personally want to lose 350 pounds. I’m only 60 inches tall; even weighing 350 would take talent…

I do want our basement to lose 350 pounds, though. We have two rooms without purpose in our basement. As with all rooms with no purpose, they collect stuff.

One is the ‘troll room’. It’s the bigger of the two, and I figured a basement troll would spring for the room with a closet.

The troll room’s semi legitimate purpose is to store sporting equipment, camping stuff, etc. It’s also storing all of the orphaned furniture from the 2nd floor (being redone), and some boat project-stuff, and inexplicably large amounts of craft stuff. It’s so terrible.

The other is the ‘spider room’. Face it, this room looks prime for a spider den. We spray for bugs voraciously, so I highly doubt anything survives in here, but if a spider could pick a pad, this would be it.

The spider room is the designated storage room. It’s  awesome for that purpose. Unfortunately, I’m using 60% of the shelves for stuff left over from our DIY wedding that I really need to sell. (24 sets of  S&P shakers, tablecloths, all sorts of junk!) I’ve been sitting on this stuff for nearly 18 months. There was even a deadly ‘left over yard sale’ pile. There are also some items that belong in there; Christmas decor, painting supplies, electronic components ( more wires and adapters than most Best Buys), etc. These pictures are after I removed some things.

My goal for the next… um… six weeks? Sure. My goal for the next 6 weeks is for the basement stuff to be neatly contained entirely in the spider room, and for that basement ‘stuff’ to be severely reduced in quantity.

I’ve already taken most of the deadly pile of yard sale leftovers to Goodwill (two boxes and a giant bag). I’ve also sold 15 of the centerpieces from our wedding (silver plated coffee pot sets… and yes, that is an odd choice), and sent some stuff to Habitat for Humanity. I’ve also severely reduced the pile of the packaging materials that I’ve been hoarding to ship them in. The pictures below are just the packaging that I gave away on Craigslist.

I’ll be back at the end of April to see how I’m doing.


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I’m still working on that frame gallery wall in the living room. I have something in 15 of the 27 frames.

Free Art

The first free art is filling up a 14 by 17 inch frame. I claim 0% creativity for this one; I found it on Pinterest.

It’s made out of spray painted toilet paper tubes. You can use wrapping paper or paper towel rolls instead, and it’s still free 😉

The original creator used a wood frame with no glass or back, but I had a frame that fit this project well; it had a thick Styrofoam spacer between the glass & back, so I could fit the rings inside the frame.

The most difficult part of this whole project was remembering to save the rolls instead of tossing them. Once I accumulated 7 of them, I got to work.  I cut them into rings the depth of the frame (about 1/3 of an inch). I creased them to lay flat, and cut some of them into strips to act as stems and curly-cues.

I then fiddled with the rings until I liked them, and used Elmer’s craft glue to stick them together. I ended up using about 6 rolls.

I used white Rustoleam spray paint to camouflage the cardboard-ness of the project. Then it went into the frame. My original plan was to line the back of the frame with scrapbook paper, but none of the paper I had was large enough for the frame. Plan B: One of the blue napkins we used at our wedding reception.

It photographed pretty well… but I didn’t like it much. So, I tried again with different spray paint; a metallic hammered finish, still by Rustoleam. I didn’t like it then either.

I removed the back of the frame and let it hang on the wall.

Done for now.

A second free art came from the rejected wedding reception napkin. I put it in a smaller frame with some of the lace used on my wedding dress.

Sure why not.

Key Art

This was fun to make, probably because it involved a hammer. I may or may not have nailed the back of a frame to our kitchen counter during this process 🙂

World Market (which I love) had this little stash of keys on a ring for $8. One “Sure, why not” later, I had it at home. I chose a darker scrapbook paper to be the back, and used 3 wire nails to mount the keys to the back of the frame.

I’m happy with this frame and the Warrior dash metals; they contribute some depth that a wall full of matted pictures wouldn’t have.

Tennessee Art

This piece isn’t for the frame wall. I’m actually not sure where it will end up. The inspiration for this piece came from Pinterest (as usual) and also from this very creative blogger’s site. These are available from several shops on Etsy from as low as $20, but I like making things like this.

I used a 2 ft poplar project board from Lowe’s as the base ($3.68). I trimmed the length a bit, sanded the surfaces, and then pre-treated, stained, and polyurethaned (x2) the board. I used Miniwax Early American stain for this, see the post about our stain ‘paint stick’ here. It took me two days just to prepare the board; being patient was difficult!

Then the fun part began. I printed a road map of Tennessee, trimmed it to size, and traced the outline on the board. I then hammered 10 million 3/4 inch #16 nails. Actually, I only used a 2 oz package of them ($1.23).

The map trimming and tracing ended up completely unnecessary.  I nailed the paper down in two spots to hold it, and then put the nails directly through the paper. P.S. – Tennessee has a long perimeter.

The stash of tools I used is below. I used the needle nose pliers to help keep the spacing even , and flat nose pliers to keep a consistent height.

I made it this far before smashing my finger with a hammer; pretty good!

Some in action shots..

I was able to hand-place many of the nails, but the needle nose pliers helped along the west and east borders.

I used the flat pliers as a template for how tall the nails were.

I used white sewing thread I had on-hand to connect the nails, and done! This part would have been much easier if the nails forming the heart had more space between them.

A note to anyone attempting this; the wood will split along long straight stretches.

I really like this thing, but I’m still not sure where I’m going to put it. At least now I can cross it off my list of steal-this-Pinterest-idea art.

Total Cost: $5

The Frame Wall

Here’s the wall so far! I need to add photos in the remaining spots; it has too much crafty stuff going on.

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We’re working on the 2nd floor! Michael’s dad and uncle drove 3 hours to help us hang drywall. It’s all hung, and the cut-out in the wall is framed. Tomorrow is mud day. It’s still a super mess.

It’s definately not done.

In the mean time, we gave Michael’s little brother a file cabinet for graduation. It’s a pretty lame present, so I tried to truss it up a little. Joe likes Lord of the Rings so I spray painted the white tree of Gondor on the side.

First I cut out the way-too-intricate tree with an exacto knife.

And then I used a glue stick and stuck it on the file cabinet.

I spray painted it white, and then repeated with a smaller template on the front. The glue worked fairly well. I ‘erased’ the spray paint with a Sharpie where the stencil didn’t adhere perfectly.

Done! The good thing is, if he decides to no longer enjoy LOTR decor, it can totally be spray painted back black.

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