Thursday, August 22, 2013

Life continues …

… one day at a time. Those who follow this little blog know that I’ve been working on the bedroom lately.  Our little cottage is around 675 sq. ft. The bedroom after taking down wall between two tiny bedrooms is now 8 ft. 9 inches by 23 ft. The smaller bedroom had been storage.  Stuff left over from being in business, personal stuff, stuff from the attic because we had emptied it so that DH could take out old insulation, and he put in thick pink insulation and a new plywood floor, two to three years ago, ended up being in this tiny space. Being artistic and always having more than one project going at any given time,  and not knowing what to do with stuff, the stuff just kept accumulating. We had had ups and downs and worked at living life one day at a time. It’s all any of us can do. Life throws us curve balls, things that hurt, things that try to destroy us, try to destroy our faith. But you keep plugging away.

We’ve basically lived on a shoestring our whole married life. We had low times financially and we had better times. We always wanted to work with our hands and that’s what we did. We were in picture framing for awhile, but a recession happened in ‘76 and we couldn’t hold on. We went hungry, we hibernated, then we got the urge to pick up and start again. We had yard sales, then set up at a local flea market for 15 years, had a booth in an antique mall, then had our own little antique shop for 8 years. Our landlord decided he wanted our shop for himself, and wouldn’t renew our lease and gave us 30 days to get out. We found a shop in the next town, but it wasn’t the same, we were alone, where as the area we had been in was known for all the antique shops there in a three block area, it’s still there to this day.  (The landlord didn’t last but a couple of years in our old shop.)

The new shop we moved to ended up having a huge leak onto our stuff after the landlord had told us he had fixed the roof and it would never leak again. Then we found out that the road was going to be worked on and that would take a year or more, so we decided to get the heck out of Dodge. We decided to auction everything off, which was heartbreaking, and it was all gone in one day. We were depressed, but in time we started to feel free again and relieved to not have to be under that pressure of having your own business. We worked for two years for a wealthy couple on the intra-coastal as a ‘handy couple’.

My DH had done antique restoration for us and for other shop owners and one day a friend of ours who still had a shop where we had been, called and said someone wanted to know who he used for antique restoration, so had given the guy our phone #. The guy called and came out to our house and lo and behold, he had bought from us when we had our shop.  DH did do antique restoration for him, and then the guy asked DH if he thought I would like to run his shop when he wasn’t there.  DH said yes, because I had missed having our shop, but he would ask me and we would let him know. Well, he asked, I said yes, and I’ve been there for 16 years now.

DH retired from doing restoration work, and I’m wondering now if the cancer wasn’t already growing and making him not feel good. He did work for neighbors on their houses, and worked on projects here. His being a ‘jack of almost all trades’ saved us LOTS of money through the years. We did the work ourselves, except for concrete work on out buildings.

Anyway, to get back to the bedroom. Yesterday morning I went out to my shed to look at what I needed to do to be able to bring the small desk from there into the bedroom, and started clearing out some stuff there, when all of a sudden I felt, wait a minute, I don’t have to do this now. It was horribly hot, humid and there was too much to accomplish in a day or even two. I was really starting to get depressed with the house being a wreck from having things stacked all over while I went through stuff, sorted into keep, throw away, give away and sell. Our ‘accumulation’ took years to ‘accumulate’, I can’t go through it all and have a perfectly redone little cottage over night, it’s going to take time. I wasn’t taking care of my gardens, I wasn’t creating any more needleworks.  WAIT  A  MINUTE   !!!  What is wrong with this picture? I got nudged to just clear the second shelf unit that I ‘was going to move out to my shed, and refill the shelves with what I wanted to hang onto until I decide what to do with it. Some is artwork for sale and I don’t want to put it out where bugs might eat it.

I worked on that all day yesterday and was bushed but satisfied with my days progress.  I look at all the posts of lovely put together homes and want to just crawl in a hole. I’ve shown parts of our cottage and have enjoyed all of your comments, but I never showed the ugly, who would. I’m going to show it now, the before, the now that is during, and later I will show the after. I eventually want to have the bead board paneling on all the walls. IN TIME.  It doesn’t all have to be done yesterday.

I am still a new widow, I need to relax more. I had a good sob when looking at the pics to post here. I’m now doing the work of two, and it’s a new way of living. It makes me really feel for young widows with children. I’ve read some of their stories and am amazed at how they go on as best they can.  God gives us the strength we need no matter what our situation is.

Ok, here are the photos. There are some that will cause ‘gasps’.

I posted the desk area I worked on recently and will repost the pics here so that you can get an idea of how I want the whole room to look when finished. This is looking north into the storage space. As you can see, we just had a path way to the back door.


This is the wall to the left/east which has the bathroom on the other side. The plumbing of shower had leaked  so we had taken the wall boards off the wall to look at the problem. The pipes are behind that beige piece of furniture.


I put up a sheet of the particle board bead board paneling and hung pantings. I love it.


Here is the back door, with closet space behind curtains on either side. The little oil paintings were done by DH’s grandmother and his grandfather did the pine needle work around them. Pine needles collected on this property.  This was their house before they passed away, before we came home from Spain.


Now, we have some of the ugly. I am truly embarrassed to even show it, but it’s to inspire others out there to take ugly areas and transform them the best you can with what you have.


I bought 4 three drawer Sterilite units on wheels for $10 each and changed them into three 4 drawer units to raise it to the height I wanted for the old enamel table top that we had.  You can see the old gray linoleum flooring. Talk about ugly.  We laid down oak looking laminate in the kitchen, living room and hallway, and I have the flooring stacked in the workshop to lay in this room.  We were going to camp out in the caravan while we emptied this room so that we could redo the walls and do the flooring, but alas, God had other plans and called DH to his heavenly home.


Here is the two overloaded shelf units with stuff stacked in front too. Good grief!


Here this space is as of this morning. On the top shelf of the metal shelf unit is an antique wall clock that I want to hang again. We bought it in Spain from a little elderly lady who was selling it out of her house. It’s too heavy and awkward for me to lift off the shelf by myself, so I’ll need BIL’s help the next time he comes down to work on a project.


This is our sleeping area. I’ve since changed the curtain arrangement on the windows, but the rest is the same. We ‘found’ the head and foot boards in Spain, we think they are Spanish colonial in style, dumped on the side of the road. They are made of beech, I stained them dark on our balcony with a little utility brush. It’s a double size.


This is our dresser, which we paid $150 for many years ago and I wanted to keep it instead of putting it in our little antique shop because it went well with our bed. They both have similar wooden turnings that I love.


So, there you have another glimpse into Plum Cottage. The living is simple, there has been much love, laughter and some tears and this little place holds lots of memories for this girl named ‘FlowerLady’ by her DH.

Home is where your heart is. No matter how big, small, finished, unfinished, do what you can with it and be thankful. So many in the world have a lot less and feel blessed with what they have.

I made forward progress and now feel like I can catch my breath for a bit. I can see things better, I appreciate things more and am ever so grateful for the love DH and I had.

This has turned out long and I hope I didn’t put you all to sleep.

That’s it for now. I’ve still more to do, but there’s always tomorrow, and when it comes I’ll do what I can and do my best to not stress about the rest.  Life is too short for that.

Love and hugs and God’s blessings for you all ~ FlowerLady


Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I keep thinking you are so ambitious.It is a good idea to step back occasionally and take a deep breath.Don't rush things,it will all get done in time.

Julie said...

Love your desk area with the paintings up! Sweet!!! That dresser is very nice too!!! Is that a stained glass of irises in bedroom window? Beautiful.

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

My goodness you've been busy. I see lots of change. The desk area is darling. Love your bed and dresser. They go together great! You are so clever with the topper on those storage drawers. You should sleep sound tonight.

Mrs. Mac said...

I'm impressed with all you are accomplishing .. a little here .. a little there. What a charming cottage with a rich history and full of memories. Bless you.

Deb said...

Hello Lorraine -
Thanks for sharing the pictures of all the progress you are making. We having also been purging this summer - lots of trips to the thrift store with donations and lot of things thrown out. It feels good to lighten the load even though at one time all those things we stored seemed so important. Do take care of yourself. Be kind and patient with yourself. I enjoy your blog and will visit again soon!

denimflyz said...

Dearest FlowerLady,
You will get to it when you get to it. Please don't stress about what something looks like or the mess. Moving, sorting, and tossing are going to be a mess until you complete the task and get it the way you want it.
When we moved, I TOSSED a lot of STUFF! I am now free of "stuff", which was an anchor around my neck. I made a vow that I would never accumulate that much crap ever again. When I am in the new house, I can see things, and the things I have are special to me and I can enjoy them, as a lot of stuff was "stuffed" in the closets and the storage shed as I did not have room to hang, or show anything in the old place.
Please just take your time, as I did. I had several piles of things that were to look at later, and see if I could get rid of it. After a few months, I could and did not look back.
Please take care and please do not fret. And please do not be embarrassed of what someone's home looks like, its YOUR home.
Love and Hugs

Linda Fox said...

I like taking the baby step approach to big projects. Don't forget to have time for fun and rest too. Do a little each week and eventually you will come to the end. Hugs.

Betsy Adams said...

Bless your heart. I can understand how your collections through the years can get overwhelming.. BUT--you are doing really good so far. As you said, "One Day at a Time"... Just do a little each day --making sure you also take time to do some of your arts/craft projects and your yardwork... Just find a good balance --without over-doing....

Hugs and Prayers,

KathyB. said...

I love what you have done and am so glad you showed the ugly . It is inspiring to see what creative & determined people can do to affordably ( as in really cheap ) make their homes appealing, comfortable, and practical, all the while keeping those items that sing to their hearts.

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

I found this post to be very inspirational. We have a room in our house that used to be our daughter's room, but she has been out of the house for years, and it has now become a catch-all room. When I see how much you have been able to accomplish, it makes me feel like going in there right now and starting to purge and organize. It is 4:20 am and I still have not gotten to bed yet, so I think tomorrow I will start and just do a little at a time. If I could do just a few feet of the room at a time I could have it done in a month or less, but for some reason I keep putting it off.

Thanks for sharing your before and afters. My befores would be very embarrassing to post, but your before and after postings have definitely encouraged me.

I love your bed. The turnings on the wood are beautiful. The matching dresser is wonderful, too, and the quilt is perfect for the furniture style. Very cozy.

gld said...

I love before and after pictures. Somehow it makes all the work worthwhile and we need to remind ourselves what we have accomplished.
And you, dear friend, have accomplished a great deal.

I could use you on my back porch. I have a shelf full of 'stuff' that will never be used again. I fully intend to get rid of most of it very soon. See, you have inspired me once again to get busy

I love the bedroom pieces. I have two dark colored pieces that we got from an old neighbor that we were just going to use temporarily.....that was over 50 years ago and they are still with us.

Sallysmom said...

Lorraine, I understand exactly where you are coming from. I look at my home and look at my friends and I get so down hearted. I am thinking of you and holding you up in prayer.

NellJean said...

I didn't gasp; I identified. I must start on tossing 'things' and there will be no before photos.

One of the blogs that I read, Curtiss Ann Matlock is recently widowed. She is in that time sitting and reflecting.

I started looking at my treasures with an eye toward, "When I'm gone my DIL will throw this in the Dumpster."

Thanks for commenting on my Oxblood Lilies. Glenda said she had pink, which I didn't know existed and I found yellow and white when I googled. Still discoveries out there waiting.

Balisha said...

Dear, dear Lorraine,
I really admire you for showing the before and after pictures. Looking at it all, can be overwhelming.As everyone else steps.

Your desk area is wonderful...the fact that you can do the particle bead board yourself, should give you some encouragement.. to know that you don't have to hire someone to do this.

When my husband passed away, and I sold my house..I set goals for myself. I wrote down what I hoped to accomplish each day.I had to empty the whole house...with not much help. I organized a big sale and didn't price a lot of the things. It was a three day sale and a lot of work, but it was well worth it. Now,I'm trying to keep the clutter from accumulating, because I know just how much work it would be for my kids.

I see a lot of things in your home that you might sell...if you could part with them.

You have all winter to just take a day at a time.I did something everyday...whether I had 10 min or hours to spend on it.
You are so resiliant and have accomplished so much in just a short time.

Please don't overdo and try to lift heavy don't want to hurt yourself..Just remember, while you are doing this job...many others will be joining you clearing out years of accumulation because of your post today. I'm sure you are an inspiration to many.
Take it slow...

Anonymous said...

I don't see "ugly". I see 43 years of living, loving, saving, etc. tucked away. . . and your entire cottage (clutter and all) looks so very cozy. I love it, FlowerLady - I really do.

And I especially love this post!

Rebecca said...

You sure DID make great progress! Your bedroom is my "dream". Seems almost European to me. I really like the dark wood & small space. Cozy, relaxing & peaceful to me. :)

What a great idea with those Steralite drawers!

(As others have already suggested, pace yourself wisely!)

With love and admiration. ♥

Leslie said...

I think it's really neat that your house has so much history, that it belonged to your husband's grandparents--that is so cool. Also, I really enjoyed reading about the interesting jobs you have had. I have always had to work in a boring office, so I'm very envious! Anyway, this was a great post. I could have gone on reading all morning.

Kit said...

You are right to just take it one project at a time. It took years to accumulate and it may take years to pare it all down. Relax. It will happen, just not by tomorrow. I have been purging my attic and it is very freeing to be rid of items I no longer use. I no longer live by the "I will keep this item, cause I may need it in the future mantra". If I haven't touched it in over a year, I do not need it. Goodwill has loved me the past months. :) Kit

Lynn said...

Your gumption to make your bedroom your sanctuary is admirable, Lorraine. You inspire us all to take it one step at a time no matter what issue we are facing. Hope your weekend is going good.

L. D. said...

Changing and arranging is a healing process in itself. I know that you will feel accomplished in anything that will improve you house. I think that is a Ginny Lind bed. My Aunt and Uncle had one and they are old and valuable. There seems to be a lot of them in antiques stores in this area.

Kerrie said...

Awesome changes!! Hope when I get un packed that my house looks that great! Hugs, K

sharon said...

thank you for being so open with your is so refreshing after all the private seacretive scared peopel ot there...did you DH paint the woman in blue sweater..its an amazing paintng..and the crown jewel inside

Ilene said...

I love Plum Cottage, clutter and all.

I have sisters that are "clean freaks". They never have clutter, spots on their carpet, grease spatters on their cooktop, spiderwebs, or dirt of any kind, unless it's in fancy, color-coordinated flowerpots.

The only thing is, they do nothing else but clean house.

Back when they used to visit me, they were obviously uncomfortable at my house. I always have clean bathrooms and a clean kitchen. But I don't always make my bed, and I almost always have clutter somewhere.

There is so much to do here on RockWhisperer Hill that Hubs and I just rock along and do what we can. I say, if we only spend five minutes doing something, it's progress. One of the things I've been doing for the past several months is not letting myself leave a room without looking around for something to take with me in the direction I'm intending to go, and putting it away. Mostly this is not to reduce clutter, but to be able to find things when I need them. THAT is a huge time-waster for me, having to hunt for something I need that is not where it's supposed to be. I still have areas that I need to go through stacks of things, mostly in the sewing room, maybe this winter when there is no garden to think about.

Anyway, good post, good lesson about pacing oneself and setting priorities. Rock on, girl.... Hugs XOXOXO

Rose ~ from Oz said...

It's nice to be home and able to catch up on all of my favourite blogs, especially life at Plum Cottage.
Lorraine you're doing great!! Aside from the wonders of the before and afters (which on your part are very creative!) its the glimpse you give into the life of love and wonder you shared with DH along with your journey of widowhood. I am always deeply touched with what and how you share this journey.
Much love and hugs

Darcie said...

To the dear lady that we know as are truly amazing. You have shared so much of your heart to us lately, and it makes us love you all the more! I find myself reading this in awe, because I know if you had asked yourself a year ago if you could have done this all by yourself the answer would have probably been no...yet you have. Not that you wanted too, but you found strength to do what you needed to do. You are amazing.