DIY Round Up: Staying Warm

Four years ago when we bought our huge old fixer upper the going rate for a gallon of oil was under a dollar a gallon, and I complained bitterly about how much money it cost. This year I just paid around $3 a gallon. I say around because frankly looking closely at the bill is too painful. As the price has climbed I have definitely lowered the temperature in my house. I bought heavy lined curtains for some of the windows that have the greatest heat loss. ...more

In addition to using R-19 shades on the windows in our previous solar home, we made window ...more

DIY Round-Up: Decorating the Renovation Zone

I love decorating for Christmas. I love hanging wreaths, putting up the tree, stringing the garland up my staircase, and taking out the decorations and trying to find places for them among the rubble that is a house under renovation. The Country Doctor's Wife, Rechelle, writes about Christmas decorating "Au Naturale" fresh evergreens, bright red and green fruits, swirly gold sticks, fresh wreaths, gorgeous natural arrangements and a great selection of urns.... ...more

I loved this, the renovation tree felt like an old friend!

Can you remedy the link to your ...more

It's That Time Of Year...

When the rodents fall in love. Make lots of babies. And move into the walls of your house. I was going to write about the never ending stream of mice that we have coming into our house lately, but then a friend of mine reminded me of this story. And I simply had to share it. This happened two years ago when we were in the midst of a huge remodel. There were walls torn down to the studs, pipes exposed that lead down to the basement. It was a mess. One Sunday afternoon,I was going into my mudroom from my kitchen when out of the corner of my eye I saw something scurry near some pipes that lead to the basement. I screamed, because I whole heartedly embrace the rodent fearing female stereotype, and ran out of the room. But, after thinking about it more thoroughly, I convinced myself that I saw nothing but a shadow or a dust bunny... a dust MOUSE! Yes, that's it! An innocuous DUST MOUSE! ...more

I just found mice. Or a mouse. Whichever, I don't want it! ...more

DIY: When Contractors Go Bad

People ask me all the time why my husband and I do all of the work on our house by ourselves. Why not just hire someone they ask. Someone who will get it done in a timely manner, professional quality, and get it over with. They of course are assuming that one can actually find a competent contractor who can fit you in before the second coming. ...more

Despite the fact that I would ALWAYS rather have someone else do the dirty work, I will be ...more

The Holiday Dining Room

How many of us have dining rooms that only get used a handful of times a year? Or have dining rooms that can not accommodate all of our guests comfortably? I fit into both of those categories. For the sake of this post we will all pretend that my dining room is NOT filled with huge cardboard boxes that contain my new kitchen cabinets. cabinets which may or may not be installed in my kitchen before I die of old age. ...more

DIY Round Up: Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

Cottage at Wits End writes that all of her Thanksgiving plans are on schedule. And if her husband is done over there, I have a refrigerator and several closets that could use cleaning at my house. Bungalow Chronicles begs us not to show her house guests what really goes on at her dining room table on regular days. Ooops, just did. ...more

Question of the Week: Have you experienced any holiday food fiascos?

My misadventures in the kitchen are legendary, so legendary in fact that my family has just come to expect them as the inevitable fact of my cooking. Let's see there was the time I cooked the turkey with the plastic wrapped neck and gizzards still inside. But who hasn't done that, right? Let me see a show of hands. Thank you, I feel better. ...more

Yes, I cooked a turkey with the bag of giblets still inside! It was my first Thanksgiving ...more

DIY Round Up: Random House Blogging Tidbits

My house is a never ending project. Last weekend my husband built stairs for our kitchen door. No longer do I have to jump down onto a upturned bucket of joint compound to exit and enter my house. After he was done we all went up and down the stairs a bunch of times, marveling at their sturdiness and the ease with which we could now leave the house. Though now I have no excuse for throwing the garbage bags out the door. But just as one thing is finished, something else breaks. This time it is our wood burning stove. Which, ironically, is new. ...more

DIY Round Up: Getting Ready For Winter

Getting ready for winter is something that all homeowners have to do to their houses, but when you own an old house the getting ready takes on new meaning, beyond raking the leaves and filling your oil tank. You never know when some old thing around your house is going to decide to stop working. Then you realize that some periodic maintenance had been ignored by the previous owner and has now reached a critical juncture. ...more

The Unfitted Kitchen: Throw Back to a Simpler Time

I love looking at photos of other people's kitchens and reading about how they renovated them. It is funny because I don't actually enjoy cooking, but still on any given night my entire family will be in the kitchen with me as I try to prepare dinner. It really is the heart of the home, as tired and worn out that cliche might be. A new trend in kitchen design is actually a throw back to the way kitchens used to be. The Unfitted kitchen. In the unfitted kitchen you will not see walls of matching upper and lower cabinets or vast expanses of counter top. The unfitted kitchen uses separate individual pieces of furniture for storage, adding a more "homey" feel to the kitchen. ...more

Done, Alanna. Thanks.


Notes From the ...more