Home Improvements

Home Improvements

I recently had a wonderful weekend at home, all to myself!  Scott took the kids on a mini vacation, and I had the opportunity to work on things like little home improvements.  Since about Christmas time, I’ve been trying to work on my “spring cleaning.”  I dug in deep with my sewing room, a project that took about 2 weeks to complete (with a bout of the stomach flu somewhere in the midst), set up a proper office for Scott, rearranged lots of other little areas around the house to improve flow, and worked on setting up our seed starting area.  But there was still a decent sized list of other things I really wanted to fix up or rearrange around here, and finding time to work on these things is always a challenge.  So this little vacation was just perfectly timed.

Prior to the family leaving, I spent a day just cleaning up the kitchen.  I pulled just about everything out of all of the cabinets and off of the counters and spent at least 20 minutes just thinking and staring while the kids ran around playing with some friends who were visiting.  My cleaning and rearranging went well, but I realized that if I wanted to finish the job well, I was going to have to build a small cabinet to go between the refrigerator and the stove.

There is a beautiful glass cabinet that goes between the kitchen and the dining room that I was just never able to set up a proper display for.  I had mostly just stuck things in that cabinet in the “cleanest” way I could think of at the moment, but truth be told, the “clean” display had kind of fallen to the wayside since I had never thought it looked good in the first place.  Well, I spent that day trying to decide how to make that cabinet look good, and finally came up with a solution, but it would require that I finally make a plate rack (a project I have been thinking about since we moved in).

So, while the family was away, I got to work.  The problem that I had was that I was on a pretty small budget.  Most of my materials were going to have to come from what we already had lying around the house, garage, or granary.  Thankfully (once again), we have been very, shall we say, thrifty.  We have gladly taken all kinds of odds and ends from family and friends, and there was a mountain of such things left with our house.  Things like the metal cabinets I put in my sewing room.  Things like a random old piece of counter top, or buckets of random fasteners.  Things like a giant plywood crate.  To build the cabinet, all that I had to purchase were a few 2x4s and a pair of hinges.  I used the plywood from the crate (really nice, cabinet grade plywood), and that random chunk of counter top to build this little cabinet.  For now, I didn’t take the time to get quite as nice with the whole thing as I had the kitchen sink project.  I didn’t bother to paint the inside, and I could have been a little bit more detailed with certain things, but I had a time limit and lots to get done.  I’m happy with it 🙂  And if I become a bit dissatisfied with the fact that I didn’t take more time, I can do a bit of sanding and painting to fix it up right.

For the plate rack, I just used a piece of scrap wood, and purchases a few dowels.  It was actually a somewhat annoying project, but in the end it turned out.  And I can’t tell you how much better I feel about that cabinet now!

To make a long and somewhat long story short, we now have E and Doodles in a bedroom together, on an old bunk bed that was left with the house.  I had added a few boards to the bed for added reinforcement, but I had been wanting to repaint their bedroom (it had been Peanut’s room initially, and was painted per his request), and also paint their beds.  I took advantage of the family being away to get their room and bed painted, and I re-hung some curtains that had been torn down by the previous tenant.  (I absolutely adore my kids, but they have this amazing ability to break/damage things with or without intending to.)  I love how their room looks now and the little guys seem to be just as happy with having their “new” special room, and are thoroughly enjoying sharing this room together.

I had also recently converted the older boys’ beds into bunk beds as well, and both sets of beds needed a decent ladder, so I picked up a couple of 2x4s for that project as well and made a ladder for each bunk.  

I also spent at least an hour, maybe two scrubbing the walls and touching up paint all around the house.  We have young children who like to drag their hands along the walls as they walk which inevitably makes them look dingy and dirty.  These same small people also sometimes like to do sassy things like draw on the walls, though it is not always intentional.  (Like when the baby drags a crayon along the wall.)  There were a few places on the walls where a year or so ago, some tiny graffiti artist had used a sharpie on the walls.  I had tried a “magic eraser” on it to get the marker off with no success.  I had tried a few other methods as well, again with no success.  But while the family was away, and I was shopping for supplies for my projects, I stumbled across the “extra strength” magic eraser.  It works to remove permanent marker!!!  However, it can rub off paint if you get too aggressive with it, but I’d rather take a few lightened patches of paint to the marker.

Another project that could really only be done while the family was away was to paint the bathtub.  Our tub was originally an avocado green.  A fact that I would not have known if the previous paint job (probably 13-17 years old) had not started to chip and then peel away in the time since we moved.  Painting a bathtub requires special paint, and also a long drying time.  The paint job is far from perfect.  It’s an epoxy paint, so it’s kind of messy and sticky.  Despite my prep work, I ran into a few issues.  Regardless, it looks better than it was by a long shot.  Even if the paint job only lasts a few years (I hope), then maybe by that time we’ll be ready to remodel the bathroom like we’ve talked a bit about.

And my last big project for the weekend was to build a special cabinet for my record player.  I wanted to make something along the lines of a jelly cabinet, but again, I was limited to the supplies we had on hand.  I had begun working on the doors for the cabinet, but a child decided to “hang” on it and broke the frames for one of the doors.  Oh well.  There was something not quite right about them to begin with, so now I have the opportunity to try again and do it right!  Hopefully I’m successful this next time…whenever I’m able to get around to it!

I spent a lot of time while they were away just cleaning the house.  Tidying each room, doing laundry, washing windows… And I went out to dinner one night with the lovely ladies of my family as well as making 2 different trips to town to run errands (grocery shopping, picking up supplies for projects).  All in all, it was a highly successful 3-day weekend.  The family came home to a clean house, one that was a little more organized, and everybody was pretty well refreshed.  The days that followed did hold a little chaos.  The kids needed time to readjust to being back at home, I was bone-tired after working so hard for 3 day, and Scott was exhausted as well with his job, from the weekend (even though he said it was great and that he would have happily been gone for yet another day).  But it was worth it!

I feel so relieved to have finally worked on some of these home improvements.  I still have some “spring cleaning” to do as the warmer weather arrives.  There are a few closets that need a good cleaning/organizing, and pretty soon, I will have to wash all of the bedding and put away the flannel sheets and the warmest blankets, but besides that, I’m beginning to focus my attention outdoors!  We’ll be working on our garden plans over the weekend, I started building the chickshaw, and we’ll be starting the first of our seeds any day now!  AND, I’m really happy to announce that we’ll be partaking in a Bakers Creek Heirloom Seed giveaway in cooperation with a few bloggers and YouTubers.  The winner will get to choose their seeds from the catalog or online, and pick out 10 packets, up to $45 value!  I’ll be sharing a post on Monday with the form to enter the giveaway, as well as sharing the first steps in our gardening process.  I highly, HIGHLY recommend coming back on Monday to enter 🙂

What have you been working on lately?  Have you been doing any spring cleaning before the outdoor work starts taking all of your attention?



  • Tami Green Minor

    Wow!!! You accomplished so much. I am in awe… and admittedly looking around my house feeling guilty for things that seriously need doing. I will say, it must be a blessing to have a husband who is willing and able to take the kids somewhere for a few days! Ayway, all your projects look great. I think it is great that in addition to being handy with a needle, you can also wield a hammer and paintbrush equally well! You have made me consider painting our old china cabinet…it needs a facelift!

    • Spring Lake Homestead

      Thanks Tami! I’m either highly productive or highly unproductive, and for years, there has been little to no middle ground…something I’m working on… becoming more balanced! But it’s good to sometimes have a weekend or a day or days to just work insanely hard to get things crossed off the to-do list. It is a wonderful blessing to have a husband willing to do that! He started to do it last year because I was on the verge of a mental breakdown (okay, maybe not fully, but I was really, really stressed and overwhelmed) and I told him I needed a break from the kids for more than just 24 hours so I could have a chance to actually MISS them, and so I could take care of some of the projects around the house that were holding us back from having a clean or organized house. It turned out to be a fantastic bonding experience for them all, and he then decided he wanted to do it every year! I wasn’t about to argue 🙂 And thank you! I’ve learned how to do a lot of different things because at some point in my life, I naively thought “I could do that,” and so once I got started, I had to do a TON of research to make sure I didn’t fail! Or at least not too badly! If you paint your cabinet, I’d love to see pictures!

  • T. Lindemann

    Everything looks great! I will have to come over and see it one day soon. I really like how Paul and Elijah’s room looks. You must definitely appreciate having that extra space by the stove now

    • Spring Lake Homestead

      Thank you! I kind of can’t get over how different it looks in the kitchen. It actually looks and feels clean in there now, and I know where to put everything! It’s been a week, and it’s stayed clean every day!!! It has been so nice to have a bit of counter space next to the stove, and since we got rid of the old water pitchers and replaced them with the Berkey, there’s more counter space there as well. There’s more counter space everywhere!
      I am really, really happy with the little boys’ room. Now I’m thinking about painting the upper portion of the wall in the older boys’ room. I don’t like how dark it is in there.

Leave a Reply