Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ain’t that a Kick in the Pants

I received a lovely email a little over a week ago about wanting to feature one of my previous de-hoarding posts.  I felt honored, of course.  So many thanks to Cassity from Remodelholics.  Amazing sight for gleaning DIY ideas.


She kindly featured my Nightmare Sweet Dreams Room!

[Summer 1159.jpg]

It really got me to thinking about how much I’ve accomplished over the past year.  The post is nearly a year old (hence the beautiful autumn leaves outside).  It was such a breakthrough in my recovery. 

And one year later…

It’s even better. 

I guess I should prove it by posting pictures right?

Alas, my camera battery is dead and I really wanted to give a shout out to Cassity.

But until all the pending pictures come out, please rest assured that my bedroom has been clutter-free every day since the original post.  That means…

Are you sitting down Mom???

FawnDear made her bed every day for nearly a whole year!

I know… Incredible right.

Probably made my bed more in the past year than in the previous Forty(cough)ish previous years put together. 

See I’m not hopeless.

And as for the kick in the pants.

Sadly the recovering hoarding has been in a bit of a rut lately.  Other than painting the trim on the outside of the home (which is only 2 hours away from completion), things have drastically slowed down.  Well, 2 painting hours away once the rain stops.

I’m trying to figure out how to motive myself to finish.  I’m so close to being done.  Only three rooms left, including one you can’t even walk through. 

On the bright side – I haven’t slid back.  Just stuck in a rut.  But shout out’s like Cassidy’s help remind me of where I’ve been, where I’m at, and where I’m going.  I’ll get there.  One lousy garbage bag at a time.



Monday, September 26, 2011

Slow and Slightly Unsteady

One Year ago, plus eleven days, I began the biggest transformation my home has ever experienced. Dehoarding doesn’t happen in just an hour like on TV.  It takes a while.  My mentor, Mrs. Passion, warned that it would take 6-9 months.  I’m at the year mark and still not done.  I blame it on life.  Six kids and a crazy schedule tends to shoot the best laid plans out of the water.  You know the whole two steps forward, one back. 

However, I am still progressing – in the right direction as well.  I’ve been itching to show you progress, but I’m such a fruity-tootie perfectionist that I want to wait until everything’s done.  Then you’ll get the WOW effect to the oomph degree.  Now I’m kicking myself, because makeovers don’t happen in one post.  Unlike ‘Hoarding, Buried Alive’ on TV, the work to declutter can take weeks, and sometimes months, and in my case I’m now in it a whole year.  One of my biggest lessons:  Procrastination equals Pain… and anxiety.  Neither of which is fun to deal with.  In the past I’d bury them with more projects and stuff.  Now I’m confronting them head on.  I still don’t like pain.  But getting through it is finally worth more than letting it fester.

Case in Point:  Never, and I mean never let your house scream at you for a paint job like this.

summer 2649

Twelve years ago we paid an arm and a leg to have a professional paint it.  Within 5 years we noticed the paint bubbling, and three years ago we really knew it needed to be done.  But the unbloggable happened and stuff like painting the home retreats to the back of your mind.  When we started the whole transformation process a year ago we knew that our first outside order of business was to paint the home.  This summer we realized that if we didn’t tackle the project now we would be forking over thousands to replace the siding as well.

So began the most painful home improvement project we’ve tackled to date.  Believe it or not twice as stressful as retiling the kitchen floor.  What we thought would take a week has turned into four weeks of nightmarish adventure.  Add in the fact that we’ve never attempted a project to this magnitude which played into the tension as well.  We helped a friend paint her home and it only took 6 1/2 hours from start to finish.  Yes, a lot of people showed up to help.  It gave us a false sense of confidence that it would be easy-peasy.

We pressure washed our home for nearly three days trying to knock off all the chipped paint and not tear up the siding.  The results were disappointing.

summer 2690

Sure we got a lot of paint off but there was still too much chipped paint hanging on by a thread waiting to be scrapped.

summer 2691  Some of the siding didn’t survive and had to be replaced.  In replacing some of the siding we also discovered shortcuts taken by the original builders where they had cut corners, not laid down the vapor-barrier in full which led to rotten wood underneath the trim and siding near the bottom.  So some lower trim had to be totally ripped off.  Our efforts to save money by doing the job ourselves ended up costing us as much as paying someone else to do it.   But only because we had to replace damaged sections caused by our procrastination. The only redeeming note of comfort is that I don’t think a professional would have fixed the damage, just covered it up.

Abner, my boy, was my rock.  He and his friend Chet put in hours daily for nearly two weeks scrapping the paint down to this.


Our favorite tool of choice was an angle grinder with a steel wool bristle brush.  The paint sander attachments made for chipping off paint didn’t last nearly as long.  So we were thrilled with the recommendation of the steel wool attachment. 

summer 2692

Another hard lessons to learn was don’t buy cheap tools.  We burnt through the motors on two angle grinders and even a paint sprayer before we bit the bullet and bought the proper equipment.

Poor Abner had to also deal with the nasty heights.  Our home sits on a hill which makes two stories nearly three on the backside.  Thankfully we’ve the best friends in the world who loaned us scaffolding and ladders, ropes and harnesses.  Friends are the best.  So glad I’m not a recluse.


Triple glad I’ve got a son willing to help.

Then there was another couple of days spent caulking every corner, window, door,  and siding seam.

Since we were down to bare wood on two sides of our home it only made sense to prime before we painted.

We were blessed with some more wonderful help our first day of priming.  Our church was wrapping up a community service project for Northwest Day of Service and many members stopped by after the community project to give us a hand with our adventure.  It’s amazing how many hands can make quick work of taping up and priming.

Fall 002

And another lessons learned was…


Teenagers all will volunteer for any work if they get to be on a roof.  I had to pray like crazy that no one would get hurt.  I think I drove a couple people bonkers with my worry.  Sorry Prince Erik.


Here’s my manly men priming the back side of our home, while dancing on boards in the effort of trying to give me a heart attack.  I am not a fun person to be around when I’m worried.  Yet they survived me.

And as for the what our home looks like now…

Well, it’s painted…

mostly, except for the trim…

however… it’s raining…

but we beat the rain.  Our home is safe and protected and we learned some valuable lessons.

*  If you want something done right – do it yourself or find someone you really trust to do the job correctly.

*  Plan on it costing more than you thought.

*  Don’t skimp on tools.

*  Plan on it taking three times as long as you thought it would.

*  You’ll also be amazed at how many wonderful people there are that are angels on earth.  To the S.V.’s of the earth and especially to Abner’s friend Chet and his family.  They are the best sort of friends one can every hope for.   

*Abner learned he wants to get a great education to land a great job, earn some big bucks to pay someone else to do the work so that he will never have to ever do something like this again.  That’s my boy – he’s a dreamer like me after all.

There, now you know the before and during part.  I’m praying the liquid sunshine lets up so that I can show you the after pictures by Wednesday or Thursday.  Until then I’ve got to tackle the housework and laundry that’s been piling up while I was distracted outside.



Thursday, August 4, 2011


Since my last post…

Spring 870

I’ve had Surgery in Two Hands

Helped run a Family Reunion in one State

Helped run another Family Reunion in another State

Certified as a Ropes Course Instructor – don’’t know how my body managed that one.

Attended a Week of Girls Camp – no one told me lack of sleep came with the event.

Made over 300 rope bracelets.  (More about that later)

Improved my belly flopping technique.

Been a Ma on a Pioneer Handcart Trek – Always was last into camp, but had the biggest smile on my face the whole time.

Dusted off my mad harmonica skills too.

Sewed three pioneer dresses, two aprons, three bonnets, and one pair of bloomers.

Held Two separate Garage Sales and the garage is still bursting with stuff.

Church Calling Duties too numerous to list.

Learned a new talent:  Whip Cracking – I know, crazy.  Can snap that cracker three different ways. – Comes in handy when trying to impress pioneer youth, and keeping kids in line.

Had my new (anniversary gift) camera Stolen.  Stupid Seattle.

Found it on Craigslist.

Cops did nothing so we lost it for good.  Stupid Seattle.

Husband took pity or got tired of me moaning about it and bought me a new one.

Sent kids off to Especially for Youth for a week.

Sent husband and boys off White Water Rafting for another week.

Continue to work on my dehoarding & the interior of my home.

Lost 27 lbs.

Found 23 lbs.  (Sigh).

I should take up yo-yo’s.  I’d probably be really good at it.

It’s been my craziest summer ever… and… I’m almost back. 

with pictures.

Missed you all.



Thursday, March 10, 2011

Someone, Please Pinch Me!

Prepared to be Wowed!  FawnDear finally completed another milestone in my De-hoarding.  The Dining room is DONE!!!  Happy Dance.  I know it seems like forever since I’ve last shared a completed room in my recovery from hoarding.  Honestly it’s because our family has stretched out to be working on 4-5 rooms at the same time.  But we are progressing.

Because it’s taken just that long, let me remind you of the abysmal state of the dining room last November.

Summer 1345

Every surface so cluttered you could barely see the table from the front room.

So sit back and relax, this is a long, picture heavy post.

Remember how I de-cluttered in time for Thanksgiving.  Switched the wall that the China Cabinet went on… with reservations.  Ms. Passion told me to trust her and I did.  Now I’m so glad that I listened.  Are you ready???

 Summer 1440

From that to this…

Spring 009

And yes, it is the same house.  It’s amazing what a lot of hard work can do.  I know blue might not be most people’s first choice of color, but it’s mine.  I need the calm it brings.

Many thanks to my big boys for wielding the poles of paint rollers.  Painting cathedral ceilings are not fun.

So the Tall Wall went from this mayhem of mess…

Summer 654

To this…

Spring 011

Say it with me, ‘Ahhhhhh.  So refreshing, Yes?’  Ms. Passion helped me find my voice and style.  It’s been there all along.  I love antique linens and the color blue.  The wall however we painted a Mt. Rainier Grey (True Value), but it looks blue all the same.

The large framed doily was made by my talented Mom.  It had been sitting in a drawer because I was too afraid of my kids damaging it.  But I’ve pulled out the best linen’s.  I’m going to live in my Dream home today and not wait for a someday home that may never happen.  In the Movie ‘Knight and Day’ the comment is made about Someday being the code word for Never.  That struck a nerve with me.  So I’m redefining my Dreams.  My Someday is Today.

Spring 026 

In deciding on an arrangement of plates, Ms. Passion and myself tried out several different configurations on the floor.

New Year 1893

Then, when we finally settled on the one we liked the best we laid it out on the back side of some old wrapping paper I had stashed away in my closet. 

New Year 1897

You mark where the plates are positioned by outlining them on the paper.  Then tape the paper to your wall, adjust the height if necessary.   Then without removing the paper, add your nails, or whatever means you decided to use, to hang your art.  Then once they are all in place, slowly tear away the paper.  Ms. Passion and my neighbor Ethel kindly helped with this part.

It’s the easiest way, I believe to hang a collage, and make sure you get  the positioning you want, right the first time.

I wanted more doily art but until my mom sends me more (hint, hint), or better yet until she comes to visit and can teach me how to do them, I settled for filling a couple of my frames with $1 store doilies.  I took a frame and  lined it with blue material from a thrift store T-shirt dress that I found that matched (nearly exactly) my accent wall. I folded the material over the cardboard that came with the frame and taped it onto the back side.   On the large doily display I actually laid the material on a piece of cardboard that had been treated with a spray adhesive.  Trying to insure that the weight of the crochet wouldn’t cause the knit material to sag.  It turned out beautiful.

New Year 194

I used an acid-free glue stick in a couple of places on the back of the doilies to have them stick better to the knit material background.  I also tried to do something a bit different and cut the $1 store crocheted find in pieces.  Yes, I hacked up a doily.  So one doily was used in two different frames.

Spring 027

And the all the coordinating dishes I’ve found over the past few months (super cheap) at the Thrift store or the local antique mall.  It required a lot of patience and multiple trips.

Spring 028

My favorite one, the top platter, I did get on EBay.  I love that it’s of Washington Crossing the Delaware.  And another plate pays homage to my pioneer heritage.  Go Wagon Train!

Spring 029

I love my new Stitch and Dish Wall.

“Each decision we make becomes a stitch in the pattern of our life.”  ~My Mom

Okay, onto another dreadful before view.  Here’s another Clutter War Zone before photo.

  Summer 1343

And here’s the after.

New Year 2005

This wall run’s the length of my dining room/family room and is a much darker blue.  ‘Blue Dusk’ from True Value, is the name of this paint.  It isn’t too overwhelming because the huge China Cabinet helps break up the color nicely.  You’ll have to wait to see what it amazingly does to my front room.

Notice how my huge sagging rectangle table is gone.  We replaced it with a Thrift Store treasure.  Ms. Passion found me this solid wood, Diamond-In-The-Rough, oval table, with two inserts, last October for just $43.  But it needed a lot of help.  Stripping the stain and varnish, then sanding, and re-staining to match the dining room chairs and finally applying nearly 6 coats of varnish.  Yes, my kids are that tough on tables.

Summer 1050

We decided that the new oval shape would help simplify the room.  Not only is it simple and beautiful, but it’s shape actually gives us more room in which to move around.  And we didn’t lose any seating.

Once again T-rev and Abner were major Elbow-Grease contributors.

Summer 938

Sanding the little crevices are not too much fun.  Special thanks to my little Dremel tool for getting all the nooks and crannies for me.

Summer 1053

I also went the extra step and recovered the Dining room tables chairs.  Good-bye brown.

19w Year 012

Hello Beautiful.

22w Year 018

Love it.

Spring 045

We also, took down the bronze colored ceiling fan and replaced it with a craigslist find.  I nearly jumped for joy when I found this on Craigslist, as it matches (style- wise) a smaller one that I found for the entry way. 

Christmas 001

However the old brass didn’t really fit the new rooms color scheme. So, I taped up the candle sticks and pulled out the metal friendly Spray Paint.

Christmas 008

I did spray a Primer on first, then followed that up with a couple coats of Silver. 

Christmas 021

Now it fit’s the room perfectly.

New Year 2007

I also made my first ever woodworking project. I love doing FawnDear firsts.  This first was attempting wood cornices to go over the windows.

The molding was a little tricky, so I must say thank you to whomever invented Wood Putty, sanding and a couple coats of good thick paint to hide my little flaws.

New Year 281

Oh, and another kudos to Prince Erik for mounting the heavy sucker’s on the wall.  Thanks Stud for being such a Stud Finder.  I ended up making a total of three box Cornices in total for the two rooms.

New Year 347

It took me a couple of months to find the curtain material.  But I finally went with a Waverly Toile Print from JoAnn’s.  Home Decorating Fabric can be a jaw dropper at times, but I made sure to only buy it after it reached the 50% off.  I then scored with another 20% off total purchase coupon so ended up getting nearly 70% off regular price.  The lining for the curtains was… can you guess??? Thrifted White flat sheets.  The rods… cheapo Electrical Pipe from Home Depot hung on Closet Rod Holders.  I punched grommets through the top of my curtain material and hung them on the pipe with shower curtain hooks.  So they slide open and shut so easily.  And you would never know about the unconventional assembly because it’s hidden up in the cornice.

  Spring 100

The white cornice box was beautiful, but adding a stripe of my accent ‘Blue Dusk’ really made the molding stand out. 

Spring 016

Not only am I decorating with colors I love but I’m adding more of me.

The yellow roses remind me of the wild yellow rose bush that flanked the small walkway to the farmhouse I grew up in.

Spring 020

And if you look closely… you might spy something magical.

Spring 018

My wee little friends have picked little play spots all over the room.

Spring 035

The wire bird cages I found super cheap at the local antique mall.  I did spray them with an heirloom white to match.

Spring 032

And they provide even more play space for my pixie and wee feathered friends.

Spring 034

My whole starting point for this room lies with the china that my Grandmother gave me when I got married.

Spring 039

My fairies have their own personality.  Some are more shy and only peak out at you if you’re very patient.

Spring 037

Others dance in the open, loving the spotlight of my mix & match china.

Spring 038

It feels so good to finally express me, in the decorating of my home.  I know it might not be what is most current in the design world, but it’s calming,peaceful, magical and downright perfect for me.  For the first time in my married life I finally feel like this is my home.

Surrounded with items reminding me of my contributing heritage…

Spring 043

As well as my love of Imagination.

Spring 033

There you have it.  My new dining room.  The bonus is our family has had dinner at this table every night for the past two weeks and ‘Glory Be’ we are keeping it this nice all the time.  I’m not even tempted to bring clutter in this magical space.  Thank you Ms. Passion.  You are my Angel.