Abarnment Series

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree…

….you smell so lovely! 

Because you are a real live tree! Cut down from a real tree farm!

Ok, enough with the signing, let’s get down to business!

1- Choose the type of tree you want.  Mr. Jones (my family has been going to The Jones Farm for over 15 years!) has Florida Sand Pines and Virgina Pines for “hunt and cut” out in the field.  Those two species are nearly identical but the Florida Sand has longer needles and is native, so it’s always my personal choice. Mr. Jones also has Frasier Furs and some other “fancier” pre-cut trees too, but I like cutting down my own tree.

2- Pick your victim….err, the tree of your holiday dreams.  A few tips:

  • First off, don’t fret about height, my family needs a 10ish foot tall tree, but Mr. Jones is in a “regrowing year” so he had mostly 12-14 footers, or under 8 footers. So, we started looking at the taller trees, but mentally lopping off the bottom 2-3 feet. This is really easy to do, just make sure that none of the limbs are growing “up”, in which case a hole could be created.
  • Ensure that your tree is “centered.”  Some farms use pre-set machines to groom their trees, and if the “comb” is not centered you will end up with one side of your tree being very heavy with branches. This leads to the dreaded tree crashing at home, and no one likes that. (PS. did you know that most species of pines used for Christmas Trees grow 3 times a year, so they have to be groomed and shaped after each growth)

 Our winner for 2010! This baby was over 12 feet, so Dad started the cutting process about a foot up from the ground.  After about a minute of sawing, success!


 Shaking out some of the dead pine needles.
Mr. Jones then gave our pine-y friend a trip on the shake-rattle-roller to remove even more needles. You can’t tell from this still shot, but that thing vibrates like crazy! (For my fellow science nerds, its like a vortex on crack!)

After a 20 minute ride home in the back of the truck (there are some benefits to living in the boonies. Mr. Jones farm would be about 1.5 hour journey if I lived in Gville proper!) Daddy was on light and garland duty, Mum and I add the ornaments and then Mom also adds tinsel to the tree at the end, in spite of my yearly tantrum objection to the fake, plastic silver strands. For a run down of my favorite ornaments, check out my decorating post from Christmas 2009.
Since I rent from my Dad, and live just down the hill from Mom and Dad’s house in my abarnment, I opted not to do my own tree this year. But of course I had to bust out a few holiday decorations. 
Enjoy the winter spender:

 Living room window: My bird lives on the sill year round, but she got some snowy, holly greenery with pinecones for company and a little holly wreath on the window.

A reindeer ornament graces the little kitchen window. 

My favorite: I picked up this vase from the discount isle of Target back in September for something like $6 and I make it seasonal specific with different flowers, feathers and thistle.  For a winter scheme: a third piece of the greenery from the living room windowsill and a pretty little sparkly cardinal.

My salt and pepper birdies enjoy foraging for holiday mini-bows under my mini-silver fiber-optics tree (a find at Boarders last year) on the dinning room table.

The mix-match reindeer herd kicked out the pumpkins and gourds that have been hanging out on my sidetable/sewing machine all fall long, and brought some more mini-bows with them! 

I love the pink/black one the most (also from Boarders, circa 2009), but don’t tell the big silver guy, ok?

My most cherished item is this beautiful German wall/window hanging that Abigail sent me from from Germany during her winter holiday last year. I love it. I wanted to you really see the detail, so enjoy the couch shot, too!  It normally hangs on my dinning room sliding glass door.

Last but not least, my two favorite March of Dimes holiday animals are chilling in the leaf dish on the coffee table. So cute and a throw back to my dorm days, as Mom used to send me a seasonal care-box with one of these guys every year to spice up the space.
Love to all,
~the little holiday decorator gal, Jess

PS. I added a string of white lights to my living room window and I’m loving it.

Categories: Abarnment Series, Celebrate Good Times-Come On | Leave a comment

Cooking in the Abarnment

It’s official! I am an abarnment dweller (errr, rather I have been since last Saturday! whoops-I warned you I would be slacking on the bloggie scene this week!)

I’m really digging having my very own space again, and busting out my “things” from storage-it’s amazing how having your own art, pictures, textiles and of course magnets (I have a thing for funky/cute/cool/unique/etc. magnets) can put your soul at ease.

Even more soothing? Cooking my own meals, my way. Now admittedly nothing has been super creative this week cause A-I’m busting my arse with 3.5 preps at school and over stocked classes means shitloads of papers to grade and B-I had to do my grocery shopping at the dreaded Walmart after a holiday weekend, but I’m happy with the results thus far.

These innocent ingredients
Had a lovely little interlude with George (Foreman that is)
And this lovely little baby arrived.

Hello heaven: Deli ham, Jarlsberg Swiss, roasted red peppers, spinach and my new obsession: Grey Poupon on whole wheat.

Simple, delicious, and a perfect “I love summer time but I’m pretty much ready for fall” transition meal.

Love to all,
~the oh so glad to be “home” gal, Jess

Categories: Abarnment Series, Waz Sup(er) | Leave a comment

Abarnment Update: We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging….

…..to bring you this special report: There will be no regularly scheduled blogging this weekend, because I’m spending it moving into my abarnment! Whoot.

And doing important things such as this:

Come on, you know papering every drawer, cabinet, shelf, etc. is way more important than finishing my DC mini series. (Well, actually it isn’t, but I have to take my Mum up on her offer to help this weekend while I can!).

See you on the flipside of the holiday weekend for the last of the DC posts, some recent reads, local dinning adventures, some Stubbies news and possibly a new series on the blog!

Love to all,
~the “I’ll stop the blog world and move into the abarnment with you…” gal, Jess

PS. Must share: I set a new record mile for myself tonight: 13.05! Whoot…that is nearly 3 minutes ahead of the golf cart….now I just have to repeat it 4 more times exactly 31 days from now!

Categories: Abarnment Series, Get It Girl | Leave a comment

Model Home…..err Abarnment

This kitchen looks ready to roll……
……and so does the bathroom…..
….with it’s super cute door that I’m pretty much obsessed with…..
Alas, there is no running water, much less HOT water to be found. Even more upsetting, is the plumber (aka, my Father) isn’t interested in having a plumbers assistant, so I must sit and wait for my dream abarnment to be finished. 
And while I’m sitting and waiting (because you all know how well I do both of those….not!) I’m researching a new oven. Because we caught mine on fire today. Terrifying. We’ve gotten all the major appliances, except for the refrigerator, as hand-me-downs from my dad’s friends, who are in the kitchen remodeling business. We had figured out how to fit in the oven into my house since it was a wall mounted dealio that I don’t have a spare wall to install it into, so we were having to modify one of the bottom cabinets to make it fit. Today’s agenda was to test wire it to make sure it was in working order, and hardcore clean it, since the previous owners apparently didn’t believe in cleaning. 
Dad wired it up, flipped the breaker on, the digital display lit up, but before we could start our victory dances the control panel LIT.ON.FIRE! It was horrible. My biggest fear is of my house burning down, so this is a BIG DEAL in my book. Luckily we were testing this sitting out in the open, in our barn stall downstairs from my abarnment, but if that had been installed it would have caught the whole cabinet on fire, which would have caught the whole kitchen on fire and lord knows where it would have gone from there. 
Needless to say, that oven is toast. Literally.
Love to all,
~the “well, at least I don’t have to clean that nasty oven now” gal, Jess
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…. which is not to be confused with Love My Life but rather Love My Flooring!

It’s Sunday, so how about an Abarnment Update?

The super huge accomplishment this week was installing the flooring! Did anyone figure that out from my hint last weekend?  So, I did get the flooring I wanted from IKEA-which is a “click together” laminate system. It went pretty well, although I’m a little bummed to report that I wasn’t strong enough to actually “click” the pieces together-it required more of a “slam with control” tactic so once again I played carpenter’s assistant while Dad wielded his strong hands and got the job done.

Pretty right? I love it! And the product is super scratch proof, which is great because I’m a bit of a klutz, and I have a 100lb dog with rather long toenails. Winner-winner chicken dinner on both accounts!

What kind of flooring do you prefer? Obviously I like wood, and while I would prefer hardwood, I’m beyond pleased with the laminate and would recommend it to anyone else who has a “champagne taste on a beer budget” (which is kind of a dumb saying because plenty of my beer choices cost significantly more than my also beloved Andre. What? I’m just saying!)

Love to all,
~the “does it make me vane if I’m in love with my floor?” gal, Jess

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Blank Canvas

The painting is finished…..leaving me with a lovely blank canvas, just waiting to be decorated! Hooray!

If you look closely here you can see the “off white” color we chose. 
Exciting I know, but it’s actually a “warm white” so I like it.

Not sure why the light is so funky in the kitchen here…probably because I didn’t have the ceiling lights on.
If you are saying “um Jess, why are you showing us these boring pictures?” check out the before in this post where we had just finished the drywall. It’s a big improvement and after texturizing the ceiling, then priming and painting everything a big accomplishment, too! 

So, what is next in on our project list? I’ll give you this hint:
Do you know what that is? Major props to the first correct guess! 😀
Love to all,
~the, “you know I don’t really mind painting too much” gal, Jess
PS. TWO abarnment posts back to back? Can you see what my July has been dominated by? But I can’t wait to be finished, so it’s all good! 
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Hello, Custom Closet!

So, Rachel was talking about BHN this week. I’m talking BFN (that’s “basic female needs”) today.

No doubt about it, a custom closet with 105 inches of hanging room (that’s over 8 feet people!) is for sure a BFN. Thank you, Daddy Dearest!  I so cannot wait to move my shoes onto those lovely shelves!  Until the project is done, hammers, caulk, sanding blocks and spare light fixtures will occupy those shelves instead. 
Love to all,
~the Carrie Bradshaw in the making girl, Jess
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Operation Dry Wall

It’s that time again…..you guessed it folks: An Abarnment Update! (Please read all the above in the announcer voice from the Price is Right….umkthanks!)

I’ll keep this post simple and to the point. We are thisclose to being done with all the dry wall, and I couldn’t resist doing a photo update any longer, so here we go!

La Cucina (eventually!) 
The dining room/living room as taken from the “front” (and only!) door
Glorious closet! 
El Bano (one day a toilet will occupy that blank space….)
View from the “living room” Yay for semi-vaulted ceilings!
Chillin’ with Freddy, the super wonderful AC unit! My main man! Whoot. 
So, in spite of how nice and neat all the finished dry wall mud looks on the walls….well, this was a perfect opportunity to show you all why I’m known as Messi Jessi ’round the block:
This picture doesn’t even begin to show how much dry wall mud I am covered in everyday when we close up shop….I keep finding mud in random places, my hair, my hip bone, behind my ears, go figure! (oh and that shop I just mentioned? Check it: The second floor of the barn you see in the background will be my abode very soon!)  Also, installing dry wall mud is a full body workout my friends (please excuse the I’m so tired poochy belly in the above photo! I promise I’m getting a daily workout)….who needs Body Pump when you have Dry Wall Mudding Pump? bahaha, I crack myself up!
Love to all,
~the little mudder herself, Jess
PS. Want to see all the progress? Just search for “abarnment” in my super fabulous search bar! yay technology!
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Abarnment Update and my very first Vlog!

I fought with YouTube and I won! Whoot. I finally was able to upload that video I was talking about from my last Abarnment Update and here it is:

This was filmed over a month ago, so the progress is actually much further along. I’ll do another update before we paint (which is very VERY soon now! Yay.) since we now have all the drywall hung and nearly all the mudding finished, just checking for any spots that need a touch up here and there.

Now the Countdown until Finished List looks more like this:

  • Finish mudding details
  • Paint Ceiling
  • Install Fans/Lighting/woodtrim (that’s all Dad’s Department)
  • Paint walls, etc (Mom and I can do this while Dad tackles the ceiling details)
  • Install plumbing/run water lines/install septic tank and drain field/gray water system (yay green technology!)
  • Install Flooring
  • Install Kitchen-appliances and cabinetry.
  • MOVE IN.

Dad hopes to be done in July….I do too, but that to do list is still pretty damn daunting. I bought some cute placemats yesterday that match my dinning room set and the material that I’m doing the curtains out of so, obviously I’m itching to get in there and decorate! yay! 

Love to all,
~the sometimes I do get my way with technology gal, Jess

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Abarnment Update: I can see the light….

So, I had this really awesome video for you all, in addition to the following post, but in spite of my amazing Harvey (my super fabulous MacBook Pro luuuuuver) I still cannot post a damn video. Neither YouTube nor Blogger will upload my stupid 3 and a half minute tour in progress of the abarnment….but here is what I have in pictures for now. Suggestions? I have DSL so this really should NOT be an issue!

Moving on….here are some photos from about a month ago:

Daddy installing the kitchen window….got to love a man who can make a platform out of tractor!

Oh! Hi there Daddy!

Letting the light shine on what will eventually be my kitchen, yay!

Oh and speaking of light, I will be illuminated at night too, because baby I’ve got POWER!

The circuit breaker installed in what will be the wall of my bathroom/bedroom.

We actually have finished a lot more than is shown in these pictures (and I would love to share with you via my cute little video! grrrr):

all wiring: electrical, cable (tv) and phone
all wall insulation-complete by Mummy and yours truly!
99% of the dry wall (it looks like an apartment!)
1/2 of the bathroom pluming!

The to do list is still pretty lengthy though:

Finish the bathroom plumbing
Put in the last little bit of drywall- have to finish putting the plumbing in first
Patch and tape drywall
Run water lines
Run sewer lines (and install septic tank, etc)
Install flooring
Install all kitchen cabinets/counters
Install all kitchen appliances
Install bathroom- toilet and sink and fixtures
Finish all trim work/doors, etc

Phew! I’m hoping to move in this summer though! Very excite! 🙂

Love to all,
~the little construction apprentice, Jess

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