Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring Indoors

In my part of the Pacific Northwest we have had rain for most of March, making up for a fairly dry winter I suppose, but it is slowing down my usual outdoor activities!

So I decided to bring Spring indoors.


One of the things I wanted to do this year was to use more fresh herbs in my cooking, and what better way than to have them in the kitchen!



Parsley in the windowsill over the sink, and an array of herbs in a nearby sill; rosemary, lemon thyme, spearmint and oregano.


The colorful pots are cheery and remind me that Spring like weather will indeed come eventually.  :)
I also planted some flowers in the sills of the mudroom for more trickery on my senses. 

What Spring activities are you planning in your part of the country?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy New Year and Blog-a-versary!

I'm about to celebrate three years with this blog, started on January 16th, 2011.  Wow, where does the time go?  Happy anniversary to me!

Welcome 2014!  This blog has taken you on my journey of remodeling this old mobile home, as well as my own personal self discovery and reinvention.

As I look back over the posts these past three years, it's obvious how much you all enjoyed the building and remodeling projects.
New Pioneers Wood Shed is the most popular post to date with over 1200 views.  Not far behind are others, including painting projects, before and after photos, windows and doors, and the addition.  It's clear that there are many folks out there working on their places and applying their spin on DIY.

So thank you readers!  Also a big thanks to my loyal followers who have been with me through all of the posts - from whimsical to gardening to hairy winter storms!

So to start off 2014, I have cleaned up the blog layout and cleared the clutter.  The additional photos are gone, but you can still purchase garden art images on my website at www.jenigray.com .

This year I picked up the craft of metalsmithing for jewelry, and converted my back bedroom into a full art studio!  It took months to get it just right.  You can learn more about it and my jewelry on that blog at www.jenigraydesigns.com .  I am also selling the new pieces in a shop at Etsy  .

I'm not exactly sure what projects I'll start here this year.  I'm thinking about a slider in the dining room that would open out onto the privacy deck.  This is a south facing wall, so would let in more light.  That will require some assistance.
I may do some gardening again, but on a much smaller scale than in previous years.
Who knows, I'll just let the inspiration arise on its own.

Happy New Year fans and readers!  Thanks for all your comments and support over the years!!

Now for a little photo recap....










Saturday, November 30, 2013

Nature Walks and Family Visits

Time flies when you're having fun, doesn't it?  I apologize for the absence here on NPD, but I'm not sure where the time went!  I have been creating, visiting with family and friends, and enjoying a milder than usual Fall here in my part of the PNW.

I built that table just in time for company!  My brother came out for an early Thanksgiving in mid November, and we had a great time catching up, touring the area, and I got my crash course in "iPad".

Our first full day together we ventured out into the woods via the trails behind my house.  It was a little rainy, but not too cold.  We walked and walked, spotting mushrooms and little picturesque openings in the trees.  All of the plant life looked as if it had been carefully placed there in perfect order.




Later the sun came out through the fog and our walk back was even more picturesque!



I especially like this photo he took of me walking down the path.


I saw this interesting old stump that has been eaten away by woodpeckers and weather over the years, eventually forming into an amazing natural abstract sculpture.


It was a great time and a long awaited reunion.  Now all but one sibling has visited the NP pad.
I am so glad I have this blissful area to share.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Reclaimed Wood



Another fun project I have been saving wood for.  This is my new kitchen center / eating table.  It still smells a little of wood stain and saw dust as I just finished it today.

I have been saving the reclaimed wood for years - - as I knew it would be something special once I thought of it!  The top of course is a new piece of pine.  I didn't have enough of the reclaimed wood for a top and wasn't going to wait another couple years till I did!




This is basically 2x4's, 2x6's and a couple of odd pieces on the ends which I found on the beach.
I really like the upper pieces of 2x6 under the top. 



It's a super basic design that anyone could do.  I don't have a skill saw so I couldn't make indented cuts for a flush fit, but actually, I like it rough looking like this.
It's the perfect height for me to sit at with my stool.


So here's where you'll find me for meals, binoculars close at hand for bird watching!

Total cost $32.  $24 for the pine and $8 for a box of wood screws.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bathroom Repairs


 Now here's a subject we mostly don't want to see or talk about until we need to fix something - then we're googling all over the place looking for answers.

I haven't posted any repairs lately, because, well, thankfully, I haven't had to do any!  But this one has been rolling around in my head for a while.

I have had some kind of leak from my toilet or the incoming water valve or maybe just from the tank sweating.  It was a mystery, but the floor was obviously showing signs of water absorption.

I called a friend to see if he knew of any carpenters in the area who could take a look at this.  He said he had done repairs like this and would be happy to inspect it and see what we should do.

Here are some before photos:






Actually I have seen worse than this, and it wasn't getting any worse - but I was sure there was some kind of monster under there.
My friend poked around and discovered some dry rot, but nothing was moist any more, so whatever it was wasn't happening any longer.  He offered to take the toilet off, inspect further and put on a new seal.  He also had a great idea for a plate of sorts that would level out the floor so the toilet sat level.



Gotta love the mind of a repairman.
This is made from a sheet of plywood that is stained.  Perfect fit!






For those of you with an older mobile home, this is a great fix as long you do not have major dry rot underneath your floor.  I once saw a similar fix with a steel plate.  This will probably last another 10 years.

Total time four hours.  New seal, bolts, plywood just under $40.
So I only got to play assistant on this one, but I am grateful that I was not the surgeon this time!!!
And so grateful for good friends!!  :)


Friday, September 20, 2013

Summers End

I haven't taken a vacation, let alone an over-nighter in seven years!  Some of that was due to low funds in the beginning of my New Pioneer adventure, later it was an unreliable vehicle that left me leery of going too far.  But in the past two years I have had a reliable new car and enough money for at least an over-nighter - some place.  However other things had to line up as well - like two days off in a row, near perfect weather and not during a holiday.  

Finally this month it all aligned and I was off to drive the "loop" as we call it out here.  It all happens on highway 101 and goes all the way around the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state.

I left from my place in Lilliwaup on the Hood Canal at 7:30am and headed north through Sequim and Port Angeles.  Then there's a lovely drive around Lake Crescent.


Next stop is Forks, filled up the gas and another quick 30 minutes to Ruby Beach, totaling 4.5 hours drive.




 There is something magical about Ruby Beach!  It has the coolest rock formations, pebbles, wildlife and spectacular views.  The sun was shining brightly and after the fog burned off it was 76 degrees!


Next stop just south of Ruby is Beach #4.  I do not know why they call it that.  It too has some fabulous rock formations and views.

Then it is back on the road for another hour and a half drive inland around the Quinault Indain Reservation, then out Moclips Highway back to the coast.

I reserved a room for one night at the cozy Sandpiper Beach Resort.


This was the view from my cabin.  I sat out on the deck till after sundown.


 Finally I got to see the sunset on the coast.  What took me so long, who knows, but I won't wait this long ever again. 

As a PS, it's only another 2.5 hour drive home from here around the southern end, through Aberdeen, then east to Shelton and back up 101 to home.