Friday, March 30, 2012

Our Biggest DIY Project to Date: Building a Vintage Log Cabin

Now that we are finished building our vintage log cabin, circa 1860s, I wanted to take the time to chronicle the construction of it. Mostly for my benefit to always remind me that I CAN and to hopefully inspire you to tackle that dream that you think is a little too big. I hope you'll follow along through this journey with me. I plan to post a "chronicle" weekly leading up to the completion of the cabin and then continue with the fun part, our current decorating projects on the inside!

It all started with a dream. My husband's dream to build a vintage log cabin from the ground up, all by himself. We began dating shortly after he had purchased land in South Carolina and started envisioning a log cabin there. His construction plans quickly included me as we proceeded to get married and move our lives from the beaches of South Florida to a different world state. This beach girl was now newly married at 33, living in the middle of nowhere, away from family, friends and anything I had always considered home. I jumped on board half-heartedly with this plan to build a cabin. I can't see it, my dreams of it were more like nightmares, I don't know a thing about construction or tools and definitely had never spent my free-time working harder than I did at work. Well, unless you count working on your tan on a boat in the ocean hard work:). I wanted to be a "good wife" and support my new husband in his endeavors, so he handed me a tool belt and we began. It was during the winter of 2007, six months after we were married, we were taking a drive through the mountains of beautiful Cashiers, NC and stumbled on a log structure that was for sale. By March 2008, we had ourselves a set of logs, from the 1860s, delivered to our address.

Once the logs were neatly set in piles on our ground and the delivery guys had left, we were there, all alone with these HEAVY logs. Even my little dog, Madison, wasn't so sure of this.

Each log was tagged with a wall side A,B,C or D and a row number 1, 2, 3 - 9. Now what? I can kindof see how this is going to work, but not really. With a lot of arm twisting encouragement from my husband and his "you can do anything you set your mind to" attitude we began. Foundation first, made sense to me, but how? He did most of the research and studied a lot before each part of the construction process to gain an understanding of how to and our states building code requirements. He had decided to build the cabin foundation on 9 concrete cinder block pillars that were reinforced with steel rods. In order to determine the placement of these pillars, we had to lay the first row of logs out and raise them up on blocks to level them. It was time to grow some serious muscles and quick. Bring on the spinach.

We dug shallow squares into the ground, built wood frames to fit the squares so that we could pour concrete into them to make pads for each pillar. We decided that if we filled the bottoms of the holes with the small rocks that had been dug up it would take less concrete to fill each form for the pads.

With that done, we poured the concrete, stacked the first row of cinder blocks, reinforced them with steel rods, stacked the remaining rows of blocks needed to make things level and filled them with concrete. Now we had 9 pillars! We've actually started this and not without mistakes on the first weekend either. You'll probably notice that some of the pads were put in the wrong place the first time and had to be redug, reframed and more concrete poured to fix them.

The next step was to add the top block to each pillar and secure it with concrete. We put additional threaded rods through this block in order to have a way to attach the wood foundation frame to the pillars.

Well, there you have it. The foundation! Yay! I can start to see it now, maybe!?!? If only I knew then how many more weekends would be spent like this. It was exactly how I had always pictured my life as a newlywed. Note the sarcasm there:)

                                        I'm so glad you stopped by and I pray you have a blessed day,

                                                                  to be continued next week...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Easter Planter Centerpiece

What a fun, inexpensive, unique Easter centerpiece for our little cabin table.

Another idea inspired by Martha Stewart.

The basket, eggs and burlap I had on hand already. I couldn't find a faux chocolate bunny online anywhere so I was going to order a candy mold to make it with clay. Luckily I stumbled across this one at Hobby Lobby for $2. You can't beat that price, so the candy mold idea was happily scratched. All I needed now was clover, so off to the garden nursery. They didn't have any :( ,oh well, I purchased two pretty ivy plants for $4 each and came home to assemble everything.

 First I cut a strip of burlap fabric to line the open basket. Then placed the ivy plants in the basket and arranged the vines to fill the basket evenly. Next, I cut a few short pieces of heavy gauge wire and inserted one end of each piece of wire into a few green and cream colored eggs along with the chocolate bunny. Then I just stuck the exposed end of the wires on the eggs and the bunny into the dirt to finish the arrangement.

For a total of $10 and a little bit of time, we'll have a pretty centerpiece until Easter.

I really love how this turned out and I love that it is a neutral pallette.
 Let me know what you think of my version.

'til next time

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Seedlings Martha Stewart Style

Remember this?

Here's my version

After saving a dozen eggshells I was off to find seeds. I chose to plant colorful zinnias in hopes of transferring the growing eggs to a planter soon for the porch of my workshop.

Hopefully I will be enjoying pretty blooms all summer long! I'll post pics later in the summer.
Enjoy your day!

'til next time,

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fresh Rosemary Herb Wreath

I absolutely love the smell of fresh rosemary! I find myself running my hands through my rosemary plant when I walk by it just so that I can smell my hands over and over. Am I crazy or does everyone do that??? I decided that since my plant flourished so well through the fall and winter I would trim it a little and bring some inside to enjoy.

I started with a heavier gauge wire shaped into a circle. Then twisted floral wire around small bunches of the rosemary trimmings and wrapped them around the wire circle until the wreath was equally full all of the way around. It took about ten wired bunches of rosemary for this small wreath. Each bunch was layered over the last bunch to cover the wires.

I added a candle to the center of the wreath and placed it on a cutting board in the kitchen for now. I also thought about hanging it in the window with raffia or a strip of burlap.

You can always add different herbs or even make a wreath out of fresh lavender. Make the wreath larger for hanging or even smaller wreaths would work as napkin rings.

The scent of the rosemary can be enjoyed for weeks like this. Yummy.

'til next time,

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Handmade Rustic Spring Nest Decor

If only I could walk away from Pinterest more often.
This is what happened when I forced myself to leave the computer today.

I decided to make my own rustic version of the following nest from

I had a handmade pine needle nest, a few turquoise eggs and some moss already in my craft stash, so it was off to the woods to find a few small branches. Once I chose three branches and cut them to the length I liked, I wired them together with green floral wire.

Then I hot glued the branches together under the wire and glued moss around the wire to cover it. I also hot glued the nest in place between the three branches and added a little moss, faux leaves and spring flowers.

So here's my rustic version. What do you think?

'til next time

Monday, March 5, 2012

Upcycled Wood Frame Wall Flower Vase

When I stumbled on these little handmade wood frames for .50 each I couldn't pass them up. I instantly had an idea of what to do with them. I would add a little wire and a glass jar to make a rustic wall vase.

Once I got home I searched through items that I already had on hand that would work for my idea and came up with two old square spice jars missing their lids and a roll of wire mesh used on gutters to block debris. All I needed now was a little bit of wire and some picture points to hold the wire mesh to the frames. (both of which I purchased at Lowes for a total of $3.48)

With the wire mesh cut to size for both frames I started hammering the picture points around the mesh to hold it in place.

Then I found the center of the mesh at just the right height to wrap a wire around the neck of the spice jar and tie it around the wire mesh openings.

Once I had the jars both securely wired to the mesh I added a fresh sprig of rosemary and a bradford pear blossom to my new vases. They rest very nicely in a window or I can always add small sawtooth hangers later if I choose to hang them.

This is a perfect place to keep fresh cut herbs in the kitchen!

Easy, inexpensive, versatile and fun accents for any room.
Ooh, I just had another idea! What about hanging them in the bathroom with fresh eucalyptus sprigs. Eucalyptus + steam = great for the sinuses. Let me know if you have any great ideas for these!

'til next time,

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