Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My Wooden Clothesline

Now that we officially don't have neighbors, I was biting at the bits to have my very own clothesline.  We talked about metal posts versus wood, mounted retractable versus umbrella style, you name it!  In the end, we really liked the look of the wood and it was sturdy as all get out, at least this video by Jon Peters made it look pretty impressive.  I stumbled on the video (found at the very bottom of this post), which provides a fantastic tutorial on how to build your own clothesline.  We followed the directions and here's the outcome....

I couldn't wait to try it out, this photo was taken before I even put the stain on!  Here's a photo with the stain, proudly displaying the clothespin apron I threw together.  I wish I could say I had a pattern for you on this apron, but I don't.  I totally winged it.  (winged, wung?  whatever, you get it)

The clothesline has become a place where the kids know they can find me and have quiet one on one talks. It's become our bonding place where the chickens come watch the action and the dog lays in the shade keeping me company.  It's everything I imagined it to be.  Oh, and it dries our laundry for free, delivering a crisp, fresh smelling product every time without fail!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Oxidizing Wood

With the building of the headboard complete, it was time to give it some character.  There's been a lot of talk lately about "reclaimed wood" and its popularity in various building projects.  Obviously I didn't have wood to "reclaim" so I had to make do with what I had.  After some Googling and Pinterest stalking, I stumbled on the oxidization process.  The look was stunning and it seemed relatively simple, so I gave it a shot.

Supplies Needed:

  1. Glass jar with lid 
  2. Steel wool
  3. White vinegar (I didn't have enough white vinegar so I mixed white with apple cider vinegar and the process worked just fine)
  4. Tea bags (preferably a black tea but any will do)
  5. Paint brush
  6. Sealant/Protectant (in this case, wood oil)


Plan on allowing 6-7 days for your vinegar mixture to set up prior to beginning the oxidizing process. 

To create your vinegar mixture:
  • Fill your jar with enough vinegar to paint on to your project (more if you plan on storing it for additional projects in the future)
  • Break apart the clump of steel wool and add to your jar
  • Loosely place lid on and swoosh the contents so all the steel wool is covered
  • Each day, give the jar a swoosh
  • This mixture is ready for use 6-7 days after it's creation 

To Start

  • Brew 2-3 bags of tea in about 2 cups of water, the darker the brew the better.  
  • Paint the brewed tea on to your wood project.  You won't see much of a difference but you need the tea to soak into the wood to enhance the chemical reaction.  The end result is deeper and richer in color.
  • Allow 30 minutes drying time
  • Rinse your brush with water (you'll reuse it for the next step)

The Reaction

This next step happens fast...right before your eyes.  Here is where you simply paint on the vinegar mixture that's been steeping for the last week and Voile! the magic happens.  


After the project has dried, protect the wood with the sealant of your choice.  In this case, I used a wood oil.  I chose an oil because, unlike a dining table or coffee table, the wood would not experience a high amount of traffic or use.  Options for actual protection and durability include water based or oil based polyurethane.

TIP: Be careful of drips, painting over areas that have already started to oxidize due to drippage will cause the wood to be darker in those spots.  

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Our Rustic Headboard

Bear and I needed a new headboard.  I can't stomach spending hundreds of dollars on a silly headboard and would rather go without but I had some scrap wood left over from a few projects that I decided to put to good use.  I had found brown plaid bedding from Woolrich that we liked and I tailored our room to the bedding.  Since the plaid was screaming "rustic!" I decided to go with a wood headboard that would scream back.  In order to achieve the proper balance of screaming, I decided to oxidize the wood (more on the oxidizing tomorrow).

I measured the height that I wanted the headboard (which needed to fit just below my window ledge). Then used two long "posts" (1x4's) on either end and using the measurement from the width of my bed, laid them out on the ground.  Then I cut a piece of plywood to size, laid it over the top of my posts and nailed it in.  I flipped the headboard over and then cut random sized pieces and nailed them in to created the rows between the posts.

Stayed tuned for the oxidizing process!

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Chicken Coop the Grand Finale

Color, color, color.  Oh, what color was a girl to choose?  Go whimsical and quirky or neutral?  We decided on neutral to fit with the coops surroundings.  I decided on a blue pine color (exact name to come, as soon as I mozie out to the garage and dig through the countless paint cans to find it).  I liked the look of wood stain with greens or blues so I found a gallon of stain left behind in the garage from the previous owner and decided to put it to good use.  The run would be stained, the coop trim would be stained and the rest would be painted.  Here's the coop before we attached the run....

And here she is with the run attached.....

I allowed the hardware cloth to hang 2 feet below the bottom of the run and used it as an apron topped with river rocks.  That's a half log border you see trimming the run.  I added planters not only for decoration but for planting my herbs in.  Lavender, cilantro, oregano, and mint.

So after all that hard work, I'm pretty sure it's safe to say, it paid off.  In case you're wondering, the design of the coop is the Daisy Coop.  We purchased the plans online and it was our first official build, not bad for newbies.

See Part I
See Part II

Linking up to Chickadee Homestead.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Chicken Coop (Part II)

At this point, Bear and I were beginning to get at each others throats.  The weather was getting hotter and the kids sports and work schedules only allowed us to work to the bone on the weekends. Frustration was getting the better of me and while Bear was at work one day, I decided to roof the coop without him.  He sure didn't complain and I definitely proved to myself that I could pull off such a feat with minor cuts, a few scrapes and an aching back that lasted a week.

The one dilemma I ran into while roofing was the shingles didn't line up well once I reached the top....I was just an inch short of clearing the cap line which required another row of shingles and aesthetically, it didn't look very good.  If I didn't just point that out to you, you probably never would have known.

If I were to offer a tip....wear pants.

For Part I, click here.
For the Finale, click here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Chicken Coop (Part I)

The very first thing we had to do when we moved here in June was build a chicken coop.  Our chicks were no longer "chicks" (more like juvenile delinquents) and they were busting at the seams in their little brooder.  So while my poor children slept on a mattress on the floor in their room, Bear and I slaved over the construction of the chicken coop.
Bear Clearing a Spot for the Coop

I wanted a coop that was raised for multiple reasons:
  • Safety
  • Shade and shelter underneath
  • It kept them off of the cold ground in the winter
  • I didn't want to or have time to lay a cement floor

On my hunt for the perfect coop plans, I came across the Daisy Coop.  You may have seen it at, or  It's a beautiful coop and I thought it may be a stretch for Bear and I to make....we had never built anything beyond a headboard.  There were a few parts of the plan that we had to rig and brainstorm to figure out but overall, it really wasn't too bad for a beginner builder.  


The Coop Wall Framing
Choosing a location was tough.  We thought about clearing out a section of brush to the west side of the house but we wouldn't be able to see them without having to walk through a patch of trees and it would be too time consuming considering the crunch we were under.  Plus, it wasn't near an electrical source in case we ever decided to run electricity to it. 

We ended up deciding on a spot on the east side of the house close to the driveway, close to the garage for electricity, and viewable from the windows of the house.  Bear rented a brush hog for a few hours and cleared out a nice spot beneath a pine tree in a matter of hours.  We were officially on the road to building our coop!


Before we started, we made a trip to Lowe's for the proper tools.  Out of all the tools we bought, I have to say, the Bostitch air compressor nail gun was by far the most appreciated.  I can't imagine having to do the project by nailing in each nail manually.  It would have taken 3 times as long to complete.  I truly feel like I can build just about anything now that I have one of those...stay tuned for other posts on things I built using it.  

Coop Base and Framing

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow, or skip ahead to the Finale!

Monday, September 21, 2015

I'm gonna raise chickens?

Never in a million years did I think I could raise chickens.  As a child, I dreamed of living in an old yellow farm house with a wrap around porch and animals at my feet.  I guess I didn't look close enough in those day dreams to see what kind of animals lingered there...I just knew they were there.

One of the first things Bear (my husband) and I wanted to do when we moved to this new home was raise chickens.  Before we even put an offer in on the house we made sure to check the zoning ordinances and find out what, if any, animals we could have on our land.  Chickens were a "go".  I scoured the library and web for any and all information I could find on chickens.  Bear's grandmother, who lived in Detroit, had chickens but she kept them in her basement and eventually moved them to the garage before calling her brother to assist in their demise.  She didn't know the text book stuff on raising chickens, she just knew enough to keep 'em alive long enough to fatten 'em up.

After much research, I found myself going back to the same website for practical information in which I could find an answer to just about any question I had regarding chickens.  The website is Backyard Chickens, and is a fantastic source for first time chicken owners.

We researched the most friendly chicken breeds (production was important, but not as much as character) and these are the breeds we came up with:

Light Brahmas
Buff Orpingtons
Barred Rock (Bear thought they looked cool)
Black Australorps

We build a little brooder covered in chicken wire with a lid and kept them in the house.  This all happened at moving time!! For two weeks we had them in our old home and they made the move with us to the new place seamlessly.

Stay tuned for the good stuff.... The Coop!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Crabby Apple Tree

This tree.  This poor tree.  It's a crab apple, a borderline annoyance tree but if we end up with more fruit trees in the yard, it may prove to be I'm going to try and nudge it along.  The amount of suckers growing on this tree is just overwhelming.  I probably should have waited until late winter/spring to prune but it was in dire need of help.  I pruned it back today and will keep my fingers crossed for it's return to grace.

Before                                                          After

Au Naturale Jewelry Holder on the Cheap

Ever since we downsized I've been on the hunt for solid organizing solutions.  My jewelry has been sitting around in a knotted heap and this weekend was the perfect time to get it organized.

We've had a brush pile sitting in our yard for some time now and I've been wanting to make a jewelry hanger out of one of the branches.  Our room is a bit more rustic/cabin like in decor so the branch would be a proper fit.

I eyed up the branches for something that was flat (by flat, I mean without knobs or branches that would cause it to protrude from the wall).  The perfect branch emerged and it even had a few stubs that were perfectly located for hanging my chunky bracelets.

The cost of the project ended up being no more than a couple of anchors and screws.

After cutting to size, Bear (my husband) drilled two holes in the back of the branch on a slight upward angle (so the branch wouldn't slip off the screws when hung).  I measured out the drilled holes in the branch on to the wall and even added a slight angle for kicks and put in anchors and screws for hanging.

Up she went and with the addition of cup hooks, I had the perfect solution to that clump of jewelry that's been begging me for a home.

Linking up on:

Oak Hill Homestead

Friday, September 18, 2015

New Home = New Blog!

Well, we've moved on to another chapter of our lives and it only seemed fitting to start a new blog!  Two months ago we left behind the suburban life we always knew in exchange for a small home nestled in the woods on 3 stunning acres.  We downsized dramatically (from a 1700 sq. ft. house to 960 without a basement) and we couldn't be happier.  Less clutter, less "stuff", less to clean, and more of a focus on our family and spending quality time together.  I understand this may not be what most people dream of, but in this ever-changing world it's easy to get caught up in the material things and keeping up with the Jones'....something we had grown very tired of.  We wanted a place of solitude and innocence, away from the influences of the modern culture that surrounded us and our children.


and now....

This is an extreme lifestyle change for the both of us, something we're very excited about.  It will take learning, work, and dedication but we welcome every bit of it and are eager to get started.  We hope you follow along with us through our trials, errors, and successes as we chronicle our life at Flutterbee Farm.

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