The End of an Era

After living in and perfecting our first house for eight years, we found a new fixer upper that stole our hearts.  Our first house will always be our first house love, but we’re officially back to owning one house.  It’s a little sad,  but we’re so happy in the mountain house.  Even more so, we’re happy the buyers are happy in our old home.  Let’s take a walk down memory lane with a reverse before and after picture tour.

Living room before, recently opened to the kitchen:

After our move out:

Dining room before:

An empty after:

Kitchen, just after finishing a complete gut and remodel:

And after the after:

Guest bedroom before:

Now ready to house a cute little girl:

Main bathroom before:

After, emptied out:

Boys’ bedroom before:

And now, ready for the new owner’s stuff:

Master bedroom before:

And after, complete with the custom-made bed built (our buyer bought it from us):

Master bedroom before:


When Ben bought this house, the basement was completely unfinished.  Here it is after finishing it while I was pregnant with Everett:

And two years later:

My office, stocked and ready for work:

Now sad and empty, but ready to work for someone else:

The basement bathroom before:

We never did finish the steam shower under the stairs, but that can be a project for the new owner:

Laundry room and Ben’s reloading office before:

And after we moved everything out, including the washer and dryer:

The small basement bedroom as we had it just before moving:

And after moving:

The large basement bedroom pulled double duty, acting as both a bedroom and a storage room before:

When emptied, it feels even bigger:

Seeing the house empty is especially strange to me because I’ve never seen it this way.  Ben bought the house a couple years before we met, so he had already moved in.  If we’re in this house again, we’ll be visitors.  We’ve become friendly with our buyer, and we’d love to see how the house evolves over time.

Have you been a house after selling it?  Was it odd, or cool?  Did the new owner make any changes?

P.S.  To see true before and afters, check our Our First House page.

And Then Tweak for Perfection

And the ombre dye saga continues.  Last Wednesday, I eluded to yet another dyeing issue.  You’d think I would have learned my lesson, but no.  Sadly, I didn’t rinse the dye out thoroughly enough because the undyed areas were a faint purple with splotches (yes, that is a technical term) of darker color, just like my first round.

Initially, I thought I’d just hem the side with the worst of it, but I would have to remove too much of the fabric and the curtain wouldn’t be wide enough.  I thought I could live with it, but it taunted me every time I looked at it.  I needed to do something about it, or at least try.  While at JoAnn’s, I found a box Rit dye color remover.  I figured if anyone or thing could fix this, my best bet would be to use the same brand.

I gathered more supplies, my trusty five gallon bucket, hot water, (I boiled a small pan and filled the rest with hot tap water) rubber gloves, and a spatula.  I poured the powder in the water and let it do it’s thing.

It seemed to work.  I let the curtain soak for 30 minutes, rinsed it out, then tossed it in the washer for another quick clean.  Happily, I had stunning results.  Finally, I could hang my ombre curtain.  Our bathroom is tiny, so it is really hard to get pictures from top to bottom.  Please bear with me for the abundance of photos.

I love that the colors blend well, but you can still see the lines of each level.

When the shower isn’t in use, we usually leave the curtain open to let as much light from the sky tube into the bathroom as possible.  So, this is what it looks like 95 percent of the time.

Here you can see the opened curtain and how it works with the rest of the bathroom.  That’s how small this bathroom is.  I had to reflect the rest of the bathroom in the mirror.

When closed, this is what you’re welcomed by.

The dipped end hand towels are pretty fun, too.  If only the white stitching took the dye, too.  Oh well.

Now, I need to get around to painting the ugly wooden doors.

After a little Pinterest search, (I love how Pinterest has become the new crafting Google) I found another ombre dye project with a wonderful tip that may have eliminated the need for color remover.  After dyeing, let the fabric dry before rinsing.  Apparently, this sets the dye to keep the colors vibrant, so I’m guessing it can also help reduce bleeding.  Though, this was my second attempt to dye something, so what do I know.

Now, for a total cost break down:

Flat sheet: $9.99

Three boxes of purple Rit dye: $8.25 ($2.75 each)

One box of Rit color remover: $2.75

Thread: Already owned

Grand total spent: $20.99

I’ll probably dye more things in the future, just to hone my skills.  Are you a fan of the ombre trend?  Do you have ombre in your house?  Your clothes?  Your hair?  My sisters are trying to convince me to ombre dye my hair, à la Jessica Biel.  For more ombre inspiration, check out this ruffle shower curtain and this painted dresser.  What is your favorite ombre colored item as of late?

Try Again

As I shared, my first ever fabric dye slash ombre project didn’t go as well as I imagined it would.  (Thank you so much for your tips and tricks.)  Bummer, but I don’t give up that easily. I’m Polish after all.  Wait, maybe Polocks aren’t known for stubbornness as much as ignorance.  Either way, I was determined to try it one more time.

Having learned from my mistakes, I bought two boxes of purple dye and a full-sized flat bed sheet.

I also used the main bath tub. About half way into my process, I laid a junk towel under the bucket to protect the acrylic tub.  Pretty sure a dyed bath tub would be an epic failure, even if I successfully dyed the curtain.

To keep the dye line as even as possible, I hung the sheet on the shower curtain using the existing shower curtain rings and a set of curtain clips I had in the basement. 

I slipped the curtain clips through the curtain rings because the clips were too small to fit on the shower rod.  Then, I clipped my sheet up so I wouldn’t have to touch the curtain, just the rod and clips.  I highly suggest this method.

I decided to use one half of a box to dye my first ombre layer.

I didn’t realize it until later, but I completely forgot to add salt or liquid soap.  Oops.  I did however let the sheet soak for about 20 minutes, stirring constantly with a stainless steel spatula.  With a nice, saturated color, I moved the curtain rod up about eight inches and added the second half of the box to the bucket.

After 20 or so minutes, I moved it up another eight inches and added the entire second box to the mixture to let it soak.  Before dumping the dye solution out, I dyed the ends of two white towels, just for fun.  I rinsed out the sheet and towels, but as I neared the end, Everett woke up from his nap, so I quickly rinsed out the rest and popped it into the washer for a quick clean.

Now, I had to figure out a way to hang this thing.  I started by sewing the sides to the width of our shower curtain liner.  I ironed the edges and got freaked out because the heat of the iron turned the dye pink.  After 15 seconds or so, the color did go back to normal.  So, I continued ironing and folded the edge over twice to get a clean edge and pinned.  I planned to only sew one side and the top to get my measurements.  The white thread from the sheet didn’t absorb the dye, so I was safe using white thread to hem everything.  I sewed my side first.

I considered sewing button holes to hang from, but my button-hole function didn’t want to work for me.  Plan B.  We needed a new curtain liner for our bathroom, so I cut the grommets off the old one to sew to my sheet.  I pinned right sides together so my seam would look as seamless as possible.

Then, I stitched right along the plastic edge, but not on it.

A quick pressing with the iron made a nice crisp seam.  Unfortunately, I did have dyeing issues again.  Off to rectify that situation.

So far, I’ve spent 9 dollars and 99 one hundredths of another buck on a flat bed sheet, and $5.50 for two more boxes of Rit dye, bring our total (including yesterday’s failure) to $18.24.  Not too bad considering the only other curtain I liked cost $29.99.  So, we’re still $11.75 under budget, failures and all.

How much are you willing to spend on a shower curtain?  Have you ever made one yourself?

If at First You Don’t Succeed

I’ve been itching to add more color to our house recently, without breaking the bank.  While innocently browsing Pinterest, I came across an idea.  Dip dyeing fabric.  Easy peasy, right?  You’re smart enough to realize this wasn’t as easy as I originally thought.  So, I went to Hobby Lobby and picked up one box of purple powdered dye and set to work.  What did I dye?  I decided to ditch the plain white shower curtain we had in the main bathroom.

Of course most shower curtains are synthetic or a blend, but the people at Rit suggest an all cotton fabric.  So, I found an old white king sized flat sheet to dye, hem to size and hang as a shower curtain.  With my dye in hand, I gathered the necessary supplies.  A 5 gallon bucket, hot water, salt, dish soap (I didn’t have liquid detergent so I improvised) a measuring cup, bowl, paint stirrer stick, and rubber gloves and took my dirty work outside.

Now looking back, that was mistake number one.  I decided I wanted an ombre dyed curtain, with the top two-thirds white and the bottom a three-layered ombre.  Because of my layers, I decided to divide the box of dye to make my darker shades.  I used 1/4 of the box and about 2.5 gallons of hot water for the lightest layer and let it soak for about 15 minutes.

Then, I mixed up another 1/4 of the box to add to the solution I had going to dye my second layer.

Again, I let this soak for roughly 15 minutes.

I thought the distinction of layers was pretty noticeable, so I continued on with my plan.

Then, I used the remaining half of the box for my bottom layer, adding it to the mix and letting it soak.

When I thought I had several distinguished layers, I started rinsing the fabric in warm water, again outside.  Lesson to you folks, don’t dye large pieces of fabric outside.  Why?  Because the fabric started falling and I grabbed it with my gloved, dye hand.

Mistake number two, I didn’t rinse the fabric out thoroughly enough.  After washing in the machine, I had about 10 areas where the dye touched the undyed portion, leaving ugly blobs.

Mistake number three, I just gathered he fabric in my hand, so the bottom wasn’t even, making the dyed are wavy.

Mistake number four, I either used too little dye or didn’t let my fabric soak long enough because the dyed areas weren’t nearly as dark as I’d like.  Of course, this mistake is personal preference.  Total failure cost: $2.75 and a smidge of my pride, which doesn’t make it an epic failure, but annoying none the less.

Please tell me someone out there has made at least one of these mistakes when dyeing something?  Don’t you hate when you have a brilliant idea and it doesn’t work well for you?

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

I know Friends has been over for years, but I still love it and watch the reruns.  When I sat down to write this post, I thought of Phoebe’s shower song and had a good laugh.  What do I have to share that would remind me of Friends?  A spiffy new set of soap pumps for the shower.  Remember Phoebe’s “Lather, Rinse, Repeat” song?

I started with two cheapie, $2.77 each, ceramic soap pumps from Wal Mart, a ceramic paint pen and an idea.  To limit guests searching through drawers or keeping ugly bottles out, I decided to make pretty pumps for shampoo and conditioner.

I made a template in Photoshop and printed several onto plain paper.  Then, taped over the bottle, placing my template over, to make a stencil.  It worked, looking like this:

Using the paint pen left over from these mugs, I filled in the exposed area and removed the tape.  Unfortunately, the ink didn’t blend well, so I nixed the filled in look.  I had hoped for something similar to Target’s line.

So, I thought of another way to make a pretty design.  Dots were the answer.  So, I carefully drew an S on one pump and a C on the other.

They letters are far from perfect, but our guests now know what they’re using.

Of course, if you want to do this at home, you could easily print off a letter to use as a template.  I used the Engravers MT font.  And, the ceramic fared just fine in the oven.  Just remove the pump part.

Don’t the new pumps look nice in the shower?

I’m considering making one for my face scrub.  But, these could look and work great for lotion in a bathroom, in the kitchen, you know, where ever a pump is necessary.  Or, mark salt and pepper shakers.  Pretty designs would look excellent and add a custom touch.

Want to make a set of your own?  Do you have a favorite bath set?  Have you used the porcelain pens?  If so, what did you make?  Do you use any Friends phrases?  My friend and I recently moved a piece of furniture and I yelled, “Pivvvvvvaaaaaat!  Pivvvvvaaaaaaat!”  We both started cracking up.

P.S.  We added a new tab including quick links to projects.  We’ll add this project soon, but check out the page for inspiration and projects to do this weekend.