Sunday, December 22, 2013

Who Needs Pintrest?! (Our Shed Update!!)

If you read my last blog post then you already know how hard my amazing husband has been working at getting my soaping shed to functioning status.  If you haven't read it, I encourage you do so, so you can see the "before" photos and get a better impression of what he's accomplished and why he deserves the "husband of the year" award.

We are almost there!  And I have to tell you, all week I have been feeling like a little kid  - overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation.  I absolutely LOVE renewing spaces. If you asked,  my husband will tell you that I am a very simple woman: nothing makes me happier than a can of spray paint and some old furniture (okay... and a few trips to the thrift store).  Getting his "go ahead" for me to start bringing my things from the garage into the shed made me all giddy inside.

Okay, enough about me.  Let's get right down to the progress we have made.  I warn you - this post will be picture heavy. :-). 

This (below) is what the shed looks like on the outside now.  It is a lot more leveled than it was before.

I added old shutters that were sitting in the garage, after painting them brown and green, for some character.  

The tall dresser (left) was left behind by the prior owner. I painted it and it now stores all of my soap packaging supplies.  I am pleased that everything is organized in one spot, further fueling my OCD nature.   I have had this gorgeous painting (above dresser) for a long time. It was a gift from my late father and I am glad to have found it a home in this special space.
Are you wondering why so much "green and brown" yet?  Well if you hadn't noticed, green and brown are M&M Soaps' signature colors.  So I appropriately decided to incorporate those colors into the space to enhance the creative energy I seek in this sanctuary.  I was seriously thinking of painting the exterior green, but have decided to hold off on that idea for now. :-)
 I love how the space does not look commercial at all.  I wanted it to be much more than just a place for making soap.  I wanted to be surrounded by things that speak to my spirit and things that are  an extension of what is in my home.  It was important to make this very small space as multi-functional as possible, where my children could sit with me and keep me company while I work, or where friends and family could also stay when they come to visit.  All we would need to do is whip out the blow up mattress and electric wood stove (if it's cold), and voila!  Instant comfort and privacy. Okay, well there is the small issue of no toilet or running water but hey, at least they'll have a place to sleep. :-)  
This (left) is another one of the dressers left behind by the prior owner.  This one houses my soaping equipment, soap molds, safety gear, etc.  The empty picture frame above the dresser was also from our old home. 
I found this gorgeous antique looking wrought  iron vase (below) at a local flea market.  When I saw it I just knew that it would be the perfect place to store my cello wrapping paper rolls.  I love it!  The small wall shelf  to the left was used in our former home and has found a new life here as a place for my oil and spice extracts.
I wanted to keep all of my regular essential oils together and in a convenient spot.  Luckily I remembered that we had a brand new bathroom cabinet that we brought with us in the move.  The tall cabinet fit perfectly in this corner and I was able to fit all of my essential oils and other additives with room to spare.
We re purposed one of the old counter tops from our kitchen (below) and turned it into a work table. 

The shelving you see on the wall above the finished work table (below), was a hutch to a bedroom set we had purchased second hand for our children which they never used. I painted it I did a miserable job at painting it because it was really windy outside that day. Have you ever tried spray painting in the wind?  Then I know you can totally relate.  Besides, my new mantra is "done is better than perfect".  So there!  It IS perfect. :-)

I was also able to fit a floor cabinet that I once used for the children's crafts (beneath work table) for more storage. Directly on top of this floor cabinet I now sit my bulk oils and more additives. 
  My new mantra in print as a daily reminder.  This truly helps balance out my OCD tendencies.

This corner shelf was another great find at the flea market.  It was originally black and I knew that once painted, it would make a nice addition on one of the corners.  I really like love it! 
On top of this dresser (left) sit images of a few of the most important people in my world.  While working in this space I want to surround myself with positivity and images of people that bring out the best in me.  
While the weather has been favorable, it has been raining tremendously here which made it hard to do much to the exterior.  We plan on sprucing it up a bit once the ground dries up.  One of the things we will finish doing today is adding a few tons (literally) of flagstones that are being offered for free by a neighbor up the road.  They will make a great pathway and cut down on the mud tracking when it rains.  I was also excited to find three wood pallets in the barn that he will add to the front to make a small porch where I can put a flower planter on one side and also have a small box for my muddy shoes. 

The outdoor sink will be placed on the left side of the shed in the next few weeks.  There is currently a chicken/rabbit coop there that will need to be relocated - it is massive in weight and we just can't move it on our own.
My husband also found a large bay window in the barn (in perfect condition) that we will add to the back wall in an effort to bring in some much needed natural light into the space. 
In the end, this did not turn out like the Pintrest inspiration shed at all.  Actually, I think it turned out a million times better.  Why?  Because my family's sweat and energy is invested in this space.  Even our two small children had a small part in it. 

And I am extremely proud of the fact that only a fraction of the materials needed to rebuild the walls and floor were acquired commercially.  We used as much reclaimed wood and building materials as we could find in our barn to rebuild the floors and wall boards, including the tin ceiling.  With the exception of the two flea market finds (second hand corner shelf and wrought iron vase), everything else you see here came from things we already had laying around in the barn,  garage or house.  That to me is so gratifying!

There is another shed that my husband wants to convert into an outdoor school/play room for the children.  He is a brave man.  That shed is bigger but needs A LOT more work.  Stay tuned for that adventure!
Thank you for allowing me to share this chapter of our journey with you.  I hope you've enjoyed reading about it as much as we have enjoyed the experience.
Blessings to you and yours in all of your endeavors!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Our Shed Adventures!

I am now convinced more than ever that Pintrest is a very dangerous place.  Like most, I have a great collection of photos that serve as inspiration for many things. 

Before we moved into our farm house, I expressed to my husband how nice it would be for me to have a space just for my soap making and crafting... you know, like a "soaping studio".  Sounds nice doesn't it?  I could see it clearly with my mind's eye, and Pintrest was going to help me him make it happen:  a modest and simple soaping shed with electricity and running water, just feet away from our home, where I could escape to and spend hours upon hours lost in my creative flow.

I now present to you "Exhibit A"!... my Pintrest inspiration:

Isn't it adorable?  Can you blame me for wanting THAT... or something similar? 

It just so happens that there are two decent-sized outbuildings on our farm that could lend themselves to such an endeavor.  Well, so I thought.  It has only been a week, and while I do have complete trust in my husband's abilities, from the look of things, I might end up with something shall we say completely different a bit less ambitious.  To my husband's credit, he has tackled this project with the utmost enthusiasm (even working late nights to get it done).  Yet, it has turned out to be a bit more involved than we had hoped for.  By day 2, I think he began to grasp just what I had gotten him into: the poor man had to dismantle all floor (and wall) boards in order to straighten the structure out because it was caving in so badly.  I felt SO guilty that I was almost tempted to suggest that we call it a day and go to the local Amish store to order one of their amazing pre-built sheds.  But aside from the cost, doing that would totally betray our purpose to live a more sustainable life-style... right?  Right.

In retrospect, from where I was standing it sure did look simple enough; clean out the shed, spruce it up with paint, add shelving and make a few other adjustments.  The most significant adjustments being the adding of electricity and a re-purposed outdoor sink like this one (yep... you guessed it... Pintrest again!):
He is working really hard to make an old dilapidated structure functional.  If you think I am exaggerating, take a look at what I am he is working with. Enter "Exhibit B"... the dilapidated shed:
  So, am I exaggerating?  Am I really?

Aside from what the photos reveal, it is  a real solid structure  I want to convince myself that it is a solid structure.  Really, it is.  And I have witnessed some miracles in construction work and home improvement projects.  I know that where there are "good bones" there is potential.  In fact, our farm house is a classic example of that.

At this point, I really wish I had amazing "after" photos to share with you (like those perfect ones from my Pintrest inspiration board), but  I don't.  It is still very much a work in progress, so you will just have to wait in suspense along with me for the finished product.  And even though these photos may not be as inspiring, I do have faith that it will turn out just perfect... for us.  And the truth is that even if I don't end up with a shed REMOTELY similar to the one on my Pintrest inspiration board, I am so grateful for his efforts in wanting to give me my very own sanctuary -  a space where I can work undisturbed.  The fact that we have a VERY long to do list around here, yet he has put everything else aside to do this,  means the world to me.  He's definitely a keeper. :-)

There are many things that I can do around the house without the help of my husband but I am realizing how much more I need to step my game up in order to assist him in accomplishing the things we want to accomplish together.  I can use a power drill and a few other tools just fine but when it comes to measuring and cutting, I am really challenged.  I will be the first to confess that in my next life I want to be a carpentress (yes I just made that word up).  I really, really do!  It is my humble opinion that carpenters rule!

I would love to hear what skills you have developed out of your desire to be more self-sufficient!Please do share!