DIY Baby Brooder: Built in under 2 hours for under $150

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Man At Work

Man At Work

So we built a brooder (I should say the hubby built the brooder; I held baby ducks). It was a last minute operation and most of the materials we had to purchase. This is the model we designed ours after; we figured that we are only going to be using it for a couple of months and we wanted it to be budget-friendly and easy to clean. This seemed to fit those needs.

A few differences:

*we used a bigger Rubbermaid container because we were getting so many chicks

*we added an extra measure of security by locking the lid tight the bottom part using an arrow (hole through both lid and bottom, push arrow through both)-plus it made it seem more bad-ass Katniss-y

*we used zip ties to secure the screen; I got that idea here.

Wondering why we needed more security?

Curious or hungry...

Curious or hungry…

So far we are pretty happy with the design and ease of cleaning. We added three “roosts” last night; there were some broken arrows (flashback to the days when MTV actually played music videos) in the basement that we repurposed into roosts. I added a disposable cake pan under the water dish to catch all the water that the ducks spill everywhere. It works better than not having anything, but does not catch it all, the ducks are a wet mess. Right now there is poultry bedding in the roost, but I am debating switching to sand. Not sure if that will make it easier or more difficult to keep clean.

*Additional information since this post was written: we are going to split ducks from chicks this week. The ducks are a crazy mess. They are cute fuzzy balls of poop and bad decisions. I am not sure if the chicks have gotten a clean drink of water in a week. We fill the waterer up at least 10 times a day, and as SOON as it hits the brooder they are trying to smash their chubby, squishy duck baby bodies into the small space between the waterer and the dish to drink/swim. Swink. Or maybe drim…anyway, they chicks have had it, and we are making the move tonight. I got a huge, see through-tub at Target for $14 and the hubby is going to use leftover supplies to make them their own home. 

All in all we spent about $110 (before Operation Move Smelly Ducks) on the supplies for the brooder,the started chick food, electrolytes for water, feeder, waterers, heat bulbs, etc.

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Overall between the cost of the chicks and the brooder materials it has been about a $250 experience. Actually make that $260. The hubby also made this purchase to add to my homesteading book collection.

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We are starting to think about coop ideas, so that will add more to the cost. But the joy of baby ducks and chicks peeping in your kitchen? Priceless! Are you raising babies in your kitchen or anywhere else? Let me know how it is going or if you have any advice below. I would love to know that there are other crazy adventurous people out there.

Pippa Turns 2: Chick-themed Birthday Party

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Happy Birthday Pippa!

I had a DIY brooder post planned for today, but since it was Friday and the start to a holiday weekend, I  decided to do something a little more frivolous. (DIY brooder will be posted Monday.) Pippa’s 2nd birthday was on March 19th, so inspired by our impending chick delivery AND the plentiful assortment of chick-themed decorations due to it being Easter season,we decided to go with a “chick-themed” birthday party. Usually we throw rather large events that always leave us exhausted at the end of the day, with a counter-full of dishes to clean, feeling like we should have t-shirts that say “I just spent a ridiculous amount of money to hang out with our friends and family and all I have to show for it is this mess”. In effort to keep things a little more sane, and to assure we actually got to hang out with the people we wanted to celebrate with, we decided to split the event into a few small gatherings. We had pizza and cake with the hubby’s family for her actual birthday, and then we had a few friends over that have kids the same age as ours for a chick-themed party the Sunday after her birthday. My family is last on the list; they will be joining us Easter Sunday for a HUGE egg hunt and birthday cake, and that will mark the end of Pippa’s extended birthday celebration.

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Birthday Cake Number Two

For the chick-themed party I wanted to keep it as simple and as cost-effective as possible, while still allowing for a reasonable level of Pinterest-inspired ideas that always cost more money and take more time than you think they are going to. I stuck to one color, yellow, to pull everything together. Finding things was super easy since it is Easter season and baby chicks go with the territory, if you want to do a chick-themed party after reading this post, I would suggest hitting up the clearance sections for Easter stuff next week to stock up. I am not sure if this would be as easy to execute during the off-season.

Because I am lazy, because it was 10 o’clock at night, and because I was more worried about drinking my beer while it was cold, I do not have any “tutorial pictures” on how to do things. However, I will try to provide links for where my inspiration came from where applicable.

Party Prep

Party Prep

Some of my favorite decorations were the fabric banners, I think I spent about $20 on fabric scraps at JoAnns, prepped the material by cutting little slits in it, and then let Maggie (our 7-year old) tear them all into strips ranging from 1-1 1/2 inches in width. If you are interested in making your own there is a great tutorial here. Once I had all the fabric ready, and the kids in bed, I just tied them onto some brown string I had lying around the house. I had picked up some burlap letter “Ps” in the Target dollar bins ( I have no idea how to type that, and none of my versions looked correct). I got one completely done Saturday night, and then Sunday morning Maggie and my sister’s husband finished the big one for the kitchen. The really great thing about these is that we can use them every year to decorate for Easter!

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The next crafty idea involved taking the girls on a hike up the mountain to look for the perfect “tree”. We found a nice branch with lots of places to hot glue gun fluffy chicks and lace, which I then displayed in the middle of our kitchen island. So cheap, so easy and so cute. Definitely wait for small hands to be asleep before you attempt the hot glue gun. Definitely do not wait until you are four beers in before you attempt to hot glue gun. I made it out with only one fingerprint erasing burn; so compared to other past hot glue projects, this was one of the least painful yet.

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Another super easy, and super cheap creation were my chick pom poms. My sister picked  up some yellow expandable poms at Party City, and then I had Maggie cut out triangles and circles for the faces. I hot-glued the “beaks”‘ and “eyes” on and we hung them around the house. The black eyes make them look a little LaLaLoopsy-ish, but adding white made them look too cartoonish, so I stuck with plain black.

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The rest of the decorations just involved using some things I had picked up in the Target dollar bins (little wooden boxes) and at Joann’s (yellow poufs of feathers and green paper “grass”) to fill out the party. I also went through my Easter decorations in the attic and found some chick baskets that I repurposed as snack bowls, and some other odds and ends. I had some Sticky9 prints featuring Pippa’s little face that I set out with the party decorations. Eventually I plan to turn these into some sort of display somewhere in the house, but it has not happened yet. Also, for kids parties especially, I love butcher paper. I picked up a roll from Lowes for under $10. Kids can color on it, spill things on it, and at the end of the party you just roll it up and compost it (or throw it out). Maggie cut out some chicks from yellow scrapbook paper and glued them onto the butcher paper to add some “chickness”.

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The dessert table was the major focal point of the party. We had three things on it: the chicken cake (decorated by my sister, baked by me), eggs in a nest cupcakes, and chocolate-dipped Birthday Cake Oreos decorated to look like chicks. I baked the cake in my Kitchen Aid bowl. It did not ruin the bowl, and it baked all the way through, but boy was it dense! And small. And dense-did I mention that already?

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The party went really well, I did not over plan activities and stuck with a coloring activity, a chick shaped piñata my sister picked up and an egg hunt outside. It was nice weather (a little breezy and cool, but at least the snow had melted from the day before), so the kids spent most of the time on the play set outside. I was hoping that the chicks would have been delivered before the party, but that would have been a little more crazy than a three-ring circus run by toddlers, so in retrospect that was a complete blessing in disguise. Of course, once the party started I forgot to take pictures so all I have that evidences the good time had by all is this pic of the birthday girl searching for eggs. How do you celebrate birthdays? Low key, all out or somewhere in between? Share below, and if you have any links to fun birthday themes I would love to check them out!

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Chick In A Box

On Monday I ended my post with a picture of a package I picked up at the Post Office, and because most of you who are reading this right now are probably my Facebook friend, you already knew what was in it. Chicks in a box!

Chicks in a box!

Chicks in a box!

So last year the hubby and I started talking about getting some chicks for the kids to raise (Pippa has been practicing carrying water in buckets) and to increase the amount of farm fresh eggs we have access to. Currently his brother has chickens that love to roam into our backyard and wait on the back steps for Cheerios. (Not a plug for Cheerios, the ladies are very specific in their tastes. Do not try to pass off stale Raisin Bran at 7 AM because they will call your bullshit.)

Chicken Sit-in: Hell no, we won't go

Chicken Sit-in: Hell no, we won’t go.

Before we even moved I had started talking about getting some chickens, to which the hubby’s response was always “No. They are dirty.” Fast forward 3 years and he is enamored with the squatter chickens and their antics. We had been debating on when would be a good time, and then we had a friend over for brunch and Bloody Marys. She was getting some chicks, which sealed the deal for us. I did let the vodka wear off before I acted on our impulse, but two weeks later this still happened:

You can buy anything on the internet.

You can buy anything on the internet.

So we got some peeps! I had ordered the Guinea Hens for tick control, but then after doing some research POST-purchase, I decided against it and switched them out for a Polish Buff and a something that sounds like it should on the menu at Oktoberfest. We are the type of people that are painting the nursery the night before the baby comes, so as expected, the night before the chicks arrived we had to construct our brooder. Frantic Pinterest searching and list making led to the hubby taking the 7 year old out Tractor Supply at 7 o’clock at night (it was a busy week). Somehow he not only came home with $120 worth of brooder materials and chick supplies, but also $20 worth of fuzzy ducklings. Baby Ducks. Cuteness overload. If you ask him, he was “just kidding” about the ducklings. I don’t understand how you send a text message like that as a “joke”.

#jk

#jk

I am not going to lie, this could be worst idea ever. It seems like I have had a run on those lately. Also, do not be fooled by the mind-numbing cuteness of these little faces, they have the same effect tequila does on the decision making process. They “get grown”, and they “get grown” fast. Cute, fluffy Easter basket stuffers become big, loud fowl who need space and poop everywhere. And rather than just start with a “few” we somehow ended up with a brooder of 10 babies and 5 more on the way in May. I will share in my next post the materials we used to construct the brooder, in case you get any grand ideas. Remember though, if you fall for the fluff, your of walk of shame the next morning will include an audience of ducks waddling after you. Pooping everywhere. Friday morning I got the call from our local post office (which interestingly is NOT the closest post office to our house) that the chicks had landed! Finding the post office was the first obstacle because it did not look like a post office; it looked like a house. Post office masquerading as a house. Once I turned around (twice) and parked outside I actually had to sit for a minute and pull myself together because I was so excited. The excitement was legit though because as soon as I opened the door I could hear the peeping! And not only did they have my chicks; they had my mail-order coffee. When I told the hubby about the BEST POST OFFICE PICK-UP EVER, his response was “huh..those ladies probably think you are something else…”. (Since moving I bought a coffee subscription from my favorite Harrisburg coffee shop, Little Amps. It makes me a feel little less Harrisburg-sick every month.) Best PO Pick Up Ever After the pick up I rushed home and had minor panic attacks the whole way that one or two may be dead. Even the most reputable hatcheries cannot guarantee that all chicks will arrive alive. http://lancasterfancyfowl.com/policy#guarantees Luckily when I opened the box they were all living and breathing balls of feathers and fuzz. I checked the little bottoms for “pasty butt” and dipped their beaks into the water the brooder per these directions. The ducklings had been in the brooder since the night before and it took a little while for them to adjust and stop hiding behind the feeder. Ducks being not impressedSo what are we brooding (is that even a word)? Here is what we have:

All chickens came from Lancaster Fancy Fowl, rather than have to orchestrate a pick-up with our crazy schedules, we paid about $30 to have them mailed to us. They were sent out around 5 PM Thursday and arrived at the post office around 7 AM Friday. Let me know if you are current flock master or thinking about getting starting one. Any advice for new babies would be greatly appreciated. Also, you may still be looking at that list above, thinking, so you have 10 feathered fowl in that brooder, all who could be male? Yes. Yes we do. But let’s not worry about that now. Let’s just focus on the cuteness. Pippa loving up on a ducky, hopefully a girl ducky Handful of cuteness...hopefully female cuteness Also, if you read this far, tell me this skit from SNL did not pop into your head when you read my post title. Christmas Present Advice from SNLSource: http://s3.amazonaws.com/rapgenius/justin_timberlake_dick_box.jpg

And We Are LIVE!

So it has been about two years since I last posted. When you have full-time jobs, part-time jobs, kids and babies and renovations and everything else that makes life “life”, trying to find time to blog about that life is difficult. But we are still here; and much has been going on. Pippa just turned 2 last week, Maggie is heading towards the end of her 1st grade year, and I am wrapping up my 10th year of teaching. I think almost daily about Yrppies and all the missed opportunities I have had to share our transition from uptown 2nd Street in Harrisburg, Pa to the outskirts of Klingerstown, PA. It has been an interesting one. Note-the suffix “town” is rather misleading, because in a town one would expect to find a gas station. Fill your tank up BEFORE you visit. However, there is a bar and a little shop that I hear sells great breakfast sandwiches. Really what else do you need? So part of the reason I have not met any of my self-imposed deadlines is because I absolutely have no idea how or where to start. Plus one of my worst traits is over promising and under delivering. So when something has to be cut, it usually something connected to my own time. However I finally decided to just start where we are now, and then fill in the blanks as I go. Lots of fun projects have been started, some have been finished. Lots of funny stories have happened, some have not been so funny. I still work from home as a cyber teacher, most of the time that is pretty awesome (when you work with awesome people online it almost seems as if they are there in the room with you). But there are times when the only having the chickens to hang out with at lunch is a little isolating.

B*tch I see you in there eating your chicken salad.

B*tch I see you in there eating your chicken salad.

I finally feel as if I am catching my breath, a bit, and also am reaching the point that I realize I need to actually focus on me a bit before I want to jump into traffic (which around here would be challenging, some days I swear only four wheelers and tractors go by). Anyway, blogging more, along with exercising more, eating more kale and putting laundry away as soon as I get it out of the dryer have been added to my Spring resolution list in order to gain a little “me” back (New Years has come and gone). Plus there are really some exciting things happening around the Yrppies homestead that I want to share. Someone talk me out of getting a milk goat. So for now, to honor my goal of keeping posts short with pics that do not have to be perfect, I will leave you with a hint about what my next post will feature. Can you guess what is in the box?

Mail-order cuteness.

Mail-order cuteness.

I work to deadlines…

Today is August 18, which means I have gone a whole summer “meaning to blog”, “planning on blogging tomorrow” and telling people that “the blog will be updated soon”, but not actually blogged. (Unless you count paying $127 to recoup my domain name after I unknowingly let it expire. I am still shocked that no one scooped up “yrppies”; it is brilliant.) While Yrppies and I have remained estranged over the summer; Pinterest and I have only strengthened our relationship. We compiled a fabulous menu of tasty “easy weeknight” dinners, decided 30 days is all I need to get the ass back that I thought was fat in college, and devised a list with of 15 MUST DO DIY projects that make Pottery Barn executives cringe. As of today I am officially out of summer vacation days. Like many teachers tomorrow is my first day back, and while my Pinterest boards are full of fabulous things that I will probably never make; I will not feel accomplished unless I get ONE blog post done before school starts. So here it is (I work to deadlines :)).

I am not sure where to start as so much has happened since my last post in October. The past year and a half has been a whirlwind of barely contained chaos that I tried desperately to control. The universe kept putting me in my place though, reminding me that I don’t call the shots in renovations, relationships, work, childbirth or anywhere else. We did not move into the Yrppies’ homestead until the end of January, much later than I had planned. There is still a ton of work to be done, both inside and outside, but the house has definitely become a home over the last 7 months. I have been dutifully taking pictures of projects completed to document all the “fun” we have had.  Now that I have finally faced my fears and opened WordPress I am determined to carve out a little blog time each week to share what we have done, what we are doing and what we are planning to do as the renovation process continues.

Something we “did” last summer definitely derailed my goal to update Yrppies this summer (*inappropriate pun alert, as long as one person laughs it was worth inserting…). I did spend enough time on the computer this summer to accomplish my updating goal, but could not execute it due to the fact that most of the time I only had one available hand to type. You can blame the little angel face in the picture below. She is a wiggly boob-fiend who requires one hand while nursing. Blogging one handed=ineffective use of time. Pinning one-handed=successful multi-tasking.

Peek a boo! I see you!

Peek a boo! I see you!

Philippa (Pippa) Wren was born on March 19, 2013 at 7:33 PM. She was 7 pounds 3.6 ounces of baby love and 20.5 inches long. She was a few weeks weeks early (ready or not!) which did deter some of our progress and plans for the house in the spring, but we would not have it any other way. At a later date I will share the details of her early arrival; I want to meet my deadline and still have things to get ready for the first day back tomorrow, but know that the Yrppies’ household is completely smitten with this adorable little lady. Well maybe not the whole household, sometimes these two have secret conversations about sending her back.

New allies brainstorming how to get rid of furless puppy who is always attached to mama.

New allies brainstorming how to get rid of furless puppy. 

Guess who’s back. Back again.

Happy Sunday!

This morning I woke up around 7 AM and decided it was time. It has been months. It feels like years. The public has been clamoring for updates and pictures (basically my friends are nosey :)), but I have not been able to pull myself together and make time for one more thing. This morning I put on my big girl panties made a hot cup of coffee with a big scoop of Nutella and then spent 20 minutes trying to remember the password to my WordPress account. It has been a while. I ended up having to change it. It must be the baby brain.

Baby brain?!?!?! Yes that is correct. The week before my last post we found out we were expecting. Due date April 7th. An exciting birthday present, but I could have done without the all-day “morning sickness”. We still had a great time at the Mumford & Sons concert; I drank anything alcohol-free and carbonated; the hubby drank beer. Thankfully the worst of the morning sickness held off until we got back. Just in time for school to start, yippee!

At that point things got a little crazy, maybe slightly overwhelming. First trimester nausea, beginning of the school year stress and in-progress renovations left little time to blog. Not to mention we started back at our part-time job right around the same time. Basically something had to give and Yrppies took one for the team. Even as the morning-sickness has disappeared, work-craziness and renovation-induced single-mommyhood has left me in state of reaction rather than “pro-action” (not sure if that is a legitimate word…).

So many blog-worthy opportunities have been missed in the last few months, but do not worry; I plan to bring you up to speed. For now I will summarize:

  • No, we have not moved yet. The day is closing in though (my loving sister already started packing us up).
  • Yes, this has been a pretty hellish experience.
  • No, we are not divorced, but I think that in the list of life-experiences that cause you to want to rip your loved one’s eyes, renovations are at the top.
  • Yes, the hubby is super-human and has done majority of the work (As I type he and my incredibly patient mom are painting the second floor rooms; I would be helping but the house is wrapped up tight like a Tyvek-covered Christmas surprise. Currently there are no windows to provide ventilation…this is a story worth its own blog post so I will just let that be for now.)

In closing, I will share a few pics of the progress that has been made over the last 6 months. Looking at these makes me realize how far we have come, and not panic as much about how much is left to do.

Living room BEFORE; stairs on left-hand side

Stair-shoot from the living room

Stairs in living room sans paneling and insulation

Living room shot AFTER dry-wall; stairs on the left

Stairs from living room after dry-wall

And now for a sneak-peek at one of our favorite parts of the whole house:

Sneak-peek at NEW KITCHEN DOOR!

As you can see lots has happened in the last few months. The hubby has been building a house and I have been building a baby. And the child, well she has just been building up a complete resistance to listening and driving me batty.

She thinks she is a model…

Mismatched socks are “her thing” and drive me crazy

No idea.

Hope all has been well in your world and I look forward to keeping you updated on ours!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Birthday Day to ME!

Yesterday was my birthday. I am not 35. I will just leave it at that. Since it was my birthday, I gave myself permission to abandon my Photoshop project (not much headway had been made anyway, yikes is that a difficult program to teach yourself!), and instead took the child and got our nails did.  We ended up having a great day, we did a mommy and Maggie afternoon full of Thai food, fro yo, manis & pedis and a quick stop at the make-up store.

The child dressed herself for the occasion; t-shirt, jean skirt and her trusty leprechaun-stomping shoes. I cannot wait until she grows out of them.

This face is still adorable even with the crusty, poison ivy around her eye.

Last night we celebrated by eating home-made carrot cake cupcakes made by my incredibly talented sister and watching this hilarious video more times than I care to admit (I actually had to take a break after the 5th time of narrating, the child figured out how to hit “REPLAY” on YouTube. Sorry Farmhouse 38, I cut her off after the 15th replay.) You can check out the whole post here: http://farmhouse38.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/tiny-warrior/

I wish I could tell you I had a post about how the renovation is going or that my chair reupholster tutorial is done, but neither is true. The hubby and I are getting ready to head out the door for a birthday road-trip. We are so excited!!! A few months ago, I got tickets to Mumford & Sons Gentleman of the Road Stopover tour in Bristol, VA/TN. I cannot wait for a weekend full of music, beer and mommy/daddy time. One thing I am not looking forward to is the hotel/motel we are staying in (no it is not a Holiday Inn, yes that song plays in my head anytime I use the word hotel or motel). It costs 52/night. I am taking my own sheets.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I am crossing my fingers that this music bound road-trip ends better than the infamous 2010 FarmAid Milwaukee trip. About half way through the 14 hour drive out to Milwaukee we hit a milestone with our Honda Civic, 250,000 miles. This took place right outside of South Bend and was a big deal. The hubby pulled the car over, we had a little celebration, took some pictures, and the continued on our way.

A milestone for our little black car, 250,000 miles

We had a great weekend, and then on the way home, in the pouring down rain on I80, mommy got the first buck in the family.

RIP little black car, we still miss you

I cried for the deer and the car. The hubby cried for the car. The truck driver behind us made sure we were okay and then asked if he could have the deer.

I will share with you on Monday how our weekend goes. We enjoy road-trips together, surprisingly we get along rather well when trapped in a car. What are you doing this weekend? Any road-trips or concerts planned?

The Big Reveal; what fabric did I choose?

Hello all, the long-awaited reveal is here. I apologize for the wait; Monday I was supposed to reupholster, but I needed one set of hands to stretch and one set of hands to wield the staple gun. I tried to get the 4-year old to help, but it just did not seem worth the $200 co-pay at the emergency room. My other option was the dogs, damn evolution and their non-opposable digits. I told them they need to start earning their keep, all they do is lay around, eat, shed and bark.

“What do you mean I have to earn my keep? As soon as you get that new fabric on I am going to figure out a way to lay my short-haired, yet sheds constantly body all over those chairs.”

Since no one was available to help on Monday, I had to wait until yesterday for some available adult human hands. My prayers were answered by my very close and very crafty friend, Julie. I hesitate to type the word “crafty”, as that word does not begin to cover her multi-tasking skill set. Julie goes beyond crafty, this girl can install a toilet and change a tractor tire with one hand, while processing a bushel of tomatoes and sewing a peacock Halloween tutu with the other. She is ah-maze-ing. And she probably has arthritis after all the fabric pulling I made her do yesterday. However, the chairs turned out fantastic, and it was a blast.

I wanted to share pics with you last night when we were done, but I had a technical glitch trying to load them into our newly acquired Photoshop program. Luckily, I was able to fix the issue today, and once I figure out how to use Photoshop (on tonight’s agenda) I will post a step-by-step tutorial so you can reupholster your own dining room chairs. Trust me, you are going to want to find some $7 chairs at a flea market and make them your own after you see how mine turned out.

So without any further ado, here are the new, old chair seats:

Newly reupholstered chair seats

What do you think? I have decided not to paint these; I really like the bright, bold print with the dark wood. Instead, I plan to do some more Craig’s List/flea market hunting and find 4 MORE wooden chairs that are not as nice. I am going to paint those a green or red to coordinate with the newly reupholstered seats. We are planning to get a big, farm-style table, so we will need more than 4 chairs, and I really like the idea of some painted and some not.

As a reminder here is what they used to look like:

Chair-before new fabric

And here are what they look like now, we decided to highlight each design in the fabric.

Chair #1

Chair #2

Chair #3

Chair #4

So what do you think? I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them. I am sure they would have looked as equally awesome with some of the other fabrics, but am so happy with the one I chose. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I love hearing from you!

Weekend Wrap-up: Choosing Fabric & Moving Boxes

I hope everyone had wonderful weekend, ours was a very productive one. On Saturday the child and I went fabric shopping, and on Sunday we moved boxes…again. Hopefully for the last time, the next time they are moved it should be to unpack them. We are running out of friends to move our stuff :).

Let’s start with the hot, sweaty, no-fun part of the weekend. Moving stuff. Again. I mentioned last week that we needed to empty the attic so the spray foam could be sprayed. To lighten the load (literally), I bribed my mom and some wonderful friends with crabs and beer in exchange for manual labor and sweat. Lots, and lots of sweat. (There were torso sweat marking the sides of boxes.) The hubby got up bright and early Sunday morning and headed up to the Yrppie homestead to remove the tub from the shanty bathroom to make room for boxes. By the time we arrived, my beast of a husband had ripped out the carpet that smells like urine and had lugged the cast iron tub OUTSIDE. HE IS A BEAST.

Here is what it looked like before the beast was released:

Shanty Shower

Shanty Room with urine carpet (this is from last summer, there is no AC unit in the window now)

After the beast was released:

Missing shower, cast iron tub and wall to wall carpet

Shanty room without carpet

Obviously I missed the point of this picture and did not get a good shot of the uncarpeted floor, but you get the point. We had to move everything that my sister and her boyfriend had helped us move to the attic two weeks ago, back down the attic stairs, and then down the main flight of stairs. We also had to squeeze an attic-full of stuff into two small spaces, the shanty bathroom and shanty laundry room. I remembered to take pictures of the attic once we had it half empty, but you get the idea:

Hubby kindly wondering why I have a topless shoebox full of Martha magazines

Attic stuff

More attic stuff

Even more attic stuff

Last of the attic stuff

After about two hours of time and two hundred gallons of sweat, we had completed the greatest game of “moving boxes Jenga” ever. Below you can see how many boxes we fit into the old shower/tub space and shanty laundry room:

Goode’s tight bicep and tightly packed boxes

Shanty Laundry Room filled to the ceiling

We rock.

While we were working the child kept herself occupied by coloring, feeding stray cats, taking pictures of her feet and posing as the Statue of Liberty:

The child keeping herself out of trouble

One weird kid

A portrait of Maggie’s feet as a young girl

When we were moving things a strong storm blew through, which cooled things off significantly. The cool air was greatly appreciated, as were the beautiful views afterwards. Images like this remind me how lucky we are that we have this opportunity to move our family to the middle of nowhere:

Fog rising from the mountains after the storm

The weekend was not all about moving boxes and sweaty beasts. Last week a number of you asked what kind of fabric I would be using to reupholster the chair seats. This was an excellent question, which I could not answer. My plan was to decide to paint or not paint and then go pick fabric. However, fabric first definitely makes more sense. I knew I wanted something with a bold print, colorful and bright, so I did have some idea of what I was looking for when Maggie and I went on a fabric hunt Saturday. When we arrived at JoAnn’s I saw this sign.

60% of all outdoor canvas and upholstery fabric-yippee!

Maggie saw this (FYI-she has poison ivy around her left eye, the more it heals the grosser it looks):

Maggie loves pink animal prints

Once I convinced her that it was not the correct fabric type for chair covers, we moved to the back of the store and starting picking fabrics. I only had my phone on me, so the pictures are not fantastic, but I did try to adjust the pics so the colors are close to what they looked like in the store.

Citrus Background, Pink Flowers

Fruit Stripe Gum Fabric

Bright green, pink and yellow print

Hot Pink Zebra

Green & Purple Circles

Coral Coral

Bold, Orange circles

Green Zebra Print & 4 year old with an attitude

Those are the finalists. We were there for a while. I wanted to pick three and then get some input from the blog world. However, 60% is a great deal, and that deal ended Sunday, so we had to make a decision and a purchase. Which one would you have chosen? Do you love zebra as much as I do? The choice was really, really difficult, but I think the chairs are going to look fantastic. I cannot wait to share them with you, check back tomorrow to see the results!

Friday Pie-day (and a follow up on the paint or no paint dilemma)

To start, I still have not made a decision about painting the chairs. I do agree with people who said they need more information, so the child and I are going to JoAnn’s today to pick out some fabrics. I will post the choices Monday and you folks can tell me what you think. It is pretty divided down the middle,  I love that people are passionate about what to do with $7.50 chairs; it makes me feel normal :).

Today’s post is not a DIY or renovation post, but a recipe for pie. I thought Friday would be a good day for a Pie-day. Delicious, sweet blackberry pie.

Blackberry Pie & Sunflowers-summer on a table

When I was little we lived on a dirt road in one of the cutest named towns ever, Fawn Grove (the street signs have baby deer on them and the phrae “A Deer Little Town”, the hubby finds these signs amusing). Every summer black raspberry, blackberry and wineberry bushes along the roadside and the wood edge would fill up with plump, sticky berries. We would pick them to eat and to make pies with. When you are little, living in the middle of nowhere and being able to eat berries straight from the bush is awesome. This is part of the reason why I wanted to move when we were given the opportunity, children should have wild spaces to roam.

Still, even though I spent my childhood living in a very rural area, roaming all over the woods and creek beds, I still have a lot of anxiety about moving from Harrisburg to really rural, really small, Klingerstown, PA (population 102 according to Wikipedia). When I start to feel myself panic I try to think about all the good things that will come with the move, because there are a lot. For instance, moving an hour away from a grocery store with an organic section is not a big deal when you can pick your own berries for pies and jams from your backyard. I had every intention of picking berries after mom and I put the sink together on Tuesday to make the hubby a birthday pie, but we ran out of time. Instead I bought some beautiful local berries and made this old-fashioned and yummy Blackberry Sugar Pie inspired by The Runaway Spoon. I was intrigued by the simplicity of the recipe: pie crust, berries, milk, sugar and flour. I added two other ingredients, a splash of lemon juice and a little salt. For the pie crust, I used a recipe for the “best pie crust” from Eat, Live, Run. Check out the results (taken from my phone, I was too lazy this AM to get out the camera):

Slice o’pie

If you are in the mood to make some pie but not totally turned on by latticing crust or peeling peaches, try this one. Obviously it was a hit in our house (I did not even get a picture of it before someone ate it for breakfast; I will not mention names).

Blackberry pie, breakfast of Olympians

Make sure you check back on Monday to weigh in on the fabric choices for the wooden chairs, and in the meantime I will daydream about sitting in my newly installed kitchen, with a big mug of hot coffee and some home-made pie.  I am really trying to instill a no-stress or at least a low-stress philosophy as the summer wraps up. Renovations will continue to renovate and I will continue to waver on life-altering decisions like chair painting, what kind of tub to put in the bathroom (post coming next week), who has better abs, Lochte or Phelps, etc, etc.

Are you making any pies this weekend or cooking up something delicious and summery? Let me know in the comments below; I get really excited when my comment icon lights up orange :).