Home. Finally

Hello. Remember me? So the blog has been on hiatus for a few months, but I’m just about ready to start up regular posting again. Here’s what’s been going on: we bought a house!

Here is a somewhat condensed version of the whole long, painful process: when I last posted about the house situation at the end of the year, we were still on the market and had had two contracts fall through. This was…disheartening to say the least. Then in February we finally had another buyer! Our closing date was set for March 24, and the race was on to find a new house.

We. Looked. At. So. Many. Houses. Our realtor Matt Cupp of the Derek Maples Team at Keller Williams Realty was soooo incredibly patient with us. We were looking for 4 bedrooms, 2+ baths, a 2 car garage, roughly the area we were already in, with a still reasonable commute to work for Nick, fenced in back yard, AND a bonus room/5th bedroom for a craft room. It was the craft room that was a killer for us. There were 4 bedroom houses galore, but very little with a space for me.

Then we found this amazing house that we fell in love with. It had everything we wanted. Everything. And the craft space was a detached space the size of an extra long single car garage, with its own bathroom and huge closet. It was a foreclosure, bank owned, and bidding was open. So we put in our very best, maybe even stretched a little too far bid. But we felt pretty confident that we would get it. Our bid was solid, we had a closing date already set for the sale of our old house, and had already been through inspection on it. Nick’s dad has years of construction experience, and he checked out the new property for us, so we were even submitting our bid with no inspection contingency.

Nick’s parents loved it, my parents loved it, we loved it, the kids loved it. This was it. THE HOUSE. And then…

A cash offer came in. They went with the other buyers. We were devastated. But we knew God had a reason. And the old house was sold, so we had to pick ourselves up and start looking again. Nothing we saw appealed to us. Everything looked so unsuitable next to the house we had lost. We ran poor Matt all over Knoxville and Powell and Maynardville and Clinton. There were a couple of houses that would have technically worked, but our heart just wasn’t in them. We actually signed a contract on one, but were relieved when the inspection came back with issues that allowed us to back out of it, because we just didn’t love it like the one we had lost.

Then Matt showed us the newly listed house on Cartmill Dr. And we loved it. And we bought it. We closed on April 22 and moved in the same day. Right now there are still a lot of boxes in sight, but we are making progress. And there’s even a craft room!

Here’s a quick recap of the journey over the last year with selling and buying: 136 showings, 3 contracts, foundation damage and repair, 5 (FIVE!) extensions on the closing date, 4 weeks living with my parents, and 1 contract extension on the contract for the new house (because of the 5th extension for the buyer on the old house). This was the 5th house we had made an offer on, and the 3rd one we had had a contract on.

I have to give a shout out to our whole realty team. Derek Maples of the Derek Maples Team of Keller Williams listed our house for us last year in a very slow market and kept a constant stream of buyers coming through. As I mentioned, we had 136 showings. And he was a serious rock star when it came to getting us through closing. Unfortunately our buyer’s finance company dropped the ball a number of times, causing the 5 extensions, which resulted in our closing getting delayed 29 days. Derek really advocated for us and ended up getting that finance company to reimburse us for the expenses we incurred due to those delays, which was a huge lifesaver for us.

Matt Cupp showed us house after house, and often checking listings out in person without us beforehand when we were unavailable for showings. He showed us houses as early as 7AM and as late as 9PM, every day of the week. He worked hard to get us the price we needed on the house we bought, and he showed up at closing with a lovely etched glass casserole dish as a housewarming gift. He was almost always available to take my call, and he was awesome about getting back to me quickly if he was unable to answer. Even though we went through way more listings that most of his clients, he never got impatient or tried to push us into buying a house that we wouldn’t be happy with. We always felt safe in his care, and we could tell that his goal was our happiness, not his commission.

Brandon White is the Director of Operations for the Derek Maples Team, and he really is the glue that holds it all together. I could always call him if I had a question, and he was there to hold my hand at closing on the old house. He followed up on a lot of items for me, especially during the drawn out closing process.

This was a really long process for all of us, through no fault at all of anyone (except maybe our buyer’s finance company, but that was only the last few weeks), and they never gave up on us or lost patience with us. I can’t say enough about how much we love them. If we ever decide to sell this house (not that I can even imagine that at this point), we will definitely go with them again.

Most important to us was the fact that this is a team that puts God first. Their motto is God, Family, Real Estate, in that order, and they have a weekly prayer meeting for their clients every Thursday morning.

So anyway, that is what the last 5 months have looked like. Now that we are finally home, we can start settling in, and I can start sharing a few of the crafty things I’ve managed to squeeze in!

Since right now we’re not quite ready for pictures, I’m going to leave you with the listing photos, courtesy of Zillow. We have put up a fan in the master bedroom, but otherwise we’ve not done much else.

LOVE all the wainscoting!

My new Craft Room!

A laundry room! No more laundry in the garage!

This closet. I die!

Secret pass through door between Sawyer’s and Lily’s room.

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Hodge Podge End of Year Update

Guys. Come on now. You didn’t really think I was going to go the whole rest of 2015 without blogging again, did you? Okay, okay, so I’m cutting it close, but I’ve been a little busy. Here’s all that’s been happening:

First of all, the house. We got the foundation work all completed, and it is now completely steady and under a transferable lifetime warranty. Unfortunately, the buyer ended up backing out with no real explanation the very day we were having the work done. So that was disappointing, but the foundation repair needed to be done either way, so we are more prepared than ever for when the right buyer comes along. We also put in new kitchen counter tops and new backsplash along the sink wall, so it went from this:

to this:

Halloween was definitely better this year than last, but I didn’t do anything crafty in the costume department. Or take really any pictures, apparently. This seems to be the sole picture I have of the two littles who trick or treated. Lily was either Rapunzel or Sophia the First, depending on her mood and whether or not she wanted to wear the wig. Sawyer was a little more put together as a pirate. But seriously, what was the deal with this picture? Mom/photographer/blogger fail.

We also had a couple of things going on with the ladies ministries at church. Our Teachers of Good Things group had their quarterly craft meeting, and this time around we made easy burlap wreaths. Nick came up with a pile of wire coat hangers and helped me (mostly just did it for me) shape them into wreath forms. Then we just unhooked the top, accordion folded burlap ribbon, threaded it on, and rehooked the top. My awesome mom, who is a licensed florist, whipped up burlap bows for everyone.

My SIL Leah the wreath model.

We used basically this tutorial on Just Call Me Homegirl although as I mentioned, we accordion folded the burlap instead of zigzagging/twisting to save on time because our church life center had a second event happening after ours. In retrospect, I wish we had followed Homegirl’s tutorial more exactly, because folding it the way we did required more burlap (about 15 yards a wreath) and I found that over time it tends to compress and sag down to the bottom. I think it would work well this way if you were to first use a fabric stiffener on the ribbon.
We also did a fun Christmas Sock Exchange/Cookie Party. Everyone brought a fun pair of new Christmas socks filled with goodies and we all baked cookies and exchanged socks. So fun!
In other news, I finally got to upgrade to a Cameo, and I did a lot of fun projects for Christmas with it, I made a couple of cool guy gifts out of paracord, I made some awesome drop cloth Christmas stockings, and I participated in the Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange again, all of which deserve their own post. Happy New Year, guys!
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Poking my head up…

I’ve been trying to post for like a week now, but I’m sick, and it just seems like by the time I finish all the necessary tasks like feeding the kids and putting on pants, I have nothing left in me. It’s nothing terribly serious, just a sore throat, but I’m on antibiotics now, so hopefully it’s on its way out.

So here’s what’s happening. We have a contract on the house. Yay us! Actually, we had a contract before this one, but the buyer backed out because the inspection turned up some foundation damage. Boo! BUT, we are getting it fixed in 10 days, with a lifetime transferable warranty, so it shouldn’t be an issue. Even with that, the first buyer didn’t want to stay on board. Fortunately, he’d been in a bit of a bidding war with another buyer, and they were happy to take his place with the assurance that the foundation work is being done.

So now the race is on to find our next house. We found one that we really liked, but it sold the day before the contract went on ours. And we’ve since found one that we really love, but there are some issues with it that would have to be resolved for it to be an actual option for us. It’s all very much up in the air from our viewpoint, but God has definitely been moving and providing, so we will see what happens.

So as far as crafting goes, there’s been a little bit. Not much, but a little. And I don’t have any tutorials for you right now, but here are a few things I’ve made.

Back in July a little girl at our church had a birthday, and I made her this fun candy colored paracord bracelet and earrings set. The bracelet actually ended up being a little small for her, so I made her a bigger one and she sent this one back to Lily.

My friend Melissa just had her gorgeous baby girl MacKenzie. Her nursery is done in gray and yellow with accents of teal in an elephant motif. So back in August for her baby shower I made her a few gifts. First was this paper banner with bows made using my Sizzix Bow Die.

I found this yellow and gray photo box at Hobby Lobby to put it in for gifting, and she can use the box in baby girl’s room.

I made her a couple of curved burp cloths out of white terry cloth and this super soft cuddle minky.
And I also made her a faux chenille blanket. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t entirely happy with how the blanket turned out. The blue looked more teal in the store, and I should have used it as the one of the chenille layers and not the base fabric on the back. I should have sewn the lines half as far apart so the chenille strips would have been more even and stuck out less from the blanket. But it’s still super cuddly, and she said she loves it.

My mother-in-law Brenda’s birthday was also in August, and I made her this card.

It’s very simple, but I like it. I’d really like to get into making cards on a more regular basis. I’ve got stamps, stamp pads, and embossing folders for days, but not much of a place to do it right now. And most of my stamps and ink pads are in storage right now anyway. When I get a craft room one of these days I plan on making up a bunch of different elements and having my girlfriends/sisters in law over for a card making party.

I also made Brenda this pretty patchwork zipper pouch.

The mint fabric was a duck cloth remnant from Hobby Lobby I think, and the coral polka dot fabric was from a pair of pants in the giveaway pile. I made my Mom a very similar one for her birthday in July.
Inside the pouch for Brenda I included this simple bead and chain set I made with these awesome metal filigree beads I got on clearance at Hobby Lobby.
We also had another Walridge Baptist Church Ladies Craft Meeting last month, but that one deserves a post of its own.
We could really use your prayers that God will show us to the house He has for us and that everything will go smoothly with the sale/closing on our own house. It looks like the timing may end up pretty tight on it – for us to close on the new home the same day as we close on the old home we will have to find the right house and have an offer accepted in the next week or so. Exciting times, people!
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Where We Are

I know I’ve been absent here. I’ve kind of had the blog on hiatus while we were dealing with selling the house, and while we’re still dealing with that, this seems like a good time to update.

So here’s what’s been happening since my last post. Both of our families came together on a couple of days to help with the final push getting our house to market. And they (and we) worked HARD! And we got it all finished. A few days later a very sweet photographer showed up to take listing photos, and we went live a few days later on May 2.

We started getting showings right away, 5 in the first couple of days. And though it eventually slowed down some, it’s been very steady. But we’ve not found the right buyer yet. And the contingency contract we signed on the home we wanted to buy ran out 6 days ago. We contacted the home owners, and they agreed to renew if we wanted, but we wanted to go see the home again. So we went to see it 3 days ago, and we noticed a few things that hadn’t really stood out to us before. We still love the home, but basically there are too many things that would need to be taken care of as soon as we move in for us to be able to afford with the combination of their asking price and the profit we’re likely to get from selling our current home. So after much prayer and discussion, we opted not to renew our contract with them. And we’ve not ruled it out completely, but there are a few things that would have to change if we do buy it. And of course it may sell before ours does, so we’re just trusting God to work things according to His plan. 
So anyway, here are a few pics of our current home. You know, if you’re in the market.
The Kitchen. We painted the cabinets white a few months ago, and I couldn’t believe how much it brightened up the whole space. 
That pantry cabinet holds a TON.

That hallways leads down to a bathroom and two bedrooms, plus a linen closet. And that door you see just down the hall is a pretty roomy under-stairs storage closet.

The Living Room. First of all, I feel that I should point out that the stuffed fish, deer head, and ducks on the walls are not actually part of the building structure. This might seem obvious, but we did in fact have one viewer that left feedback that they didn’t like the house because of the taxidermy. Those are, uh, ours. Fear not, they will be moving with us.

I realize that the couches and chair we chose are a maybe bit large for the room, but frankly we spend most of our time in this room, and it’s nice with a family of 5 to have space to comfortably seat 8 so that we can all sit with some space around us. Assuming I can untangle Sawyer from my hair and get Lily off my shoulder.

The Downstairs Bedrooms. 
Bonus picture of Sawyer helping paint before the new carpet went in.

When we just had Taylor, this one was our family room/den. It’s very roomy.

The Downstairs Bath. I hate trying to get pictures of bathrooms, don’t you? Anyway, it’s a full bath.

The Master Bedroom. This is where all the magic happens.*

I can’t quit staring at my crooked bedspread. What happened? Anyway, lots of room and his and hers closets.

The En Suite Bathroom. Also a full bath.
The Great Outdoors. This deck has a fresh paint job here. And by fresh paint job, I mean we decided the night before the photographer came to go ahead and paint it, and we did much of this by…flashlight. Fortunately it proved quite passable by the light of day.

The Back Yard.

One last shot of the outside. The roof is 3 years old, and the HVAC unit with air purifier is 5 years old.
If you or anyone you know in the area is interested in a great starter home in a quiet older neighborhood, please feel free to contact our Realtor using the form on the listing page.
So anyway, that’s la casa. Meanwhile, we’re still planning and praying (but praying more than planning). The really excellent news is that all this waiting and showing is getting the whole family in excellent practice for keeping a neat and tidy house, and with so much of our stuff in storage, we’re really finding out just how much we can live without. Except for my craft stuff. I need all of that. All of it.

*I just ruined this post, and possibly this whole blog for my mom. Sorry, Mom. Mystery of the grandkids revealed.

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Someday A Craft Room (a longish post)

Someday A Craft Room – it’s the title of one of my Pinterest Boards, and one of my fondest wishes. Oh, I’ve got plenty of stuff to stock a craft room – it’s just the room part that’s missing. 🙂

Nick and I are working on some things with our house to get it market ready, nothing too crazy, just basic repairs, like fixing that little chip of stone Sawyer managed to remove from the hearth and giving the walls a fresh coat of paint. We don’t have it up for sale yet or even have a solid line on a house to buy, but we are praying that, if it’s God’s will, He will put us in a bigger place.

Back when we bought the house as first time home buyers and brand new parents (Taylor was 6 months old when we moved in), the 1200ish square feet it came with was an abundance. The home was a foreclosure, and it needed a few things, like all the light fixtures, an upstairs toilet and sink, and a door between the kitchen and the garage. Someone had stolen everything they could cart away, the carpet was a mess, and the garage door was busted. The paint on the walls was atrocious, and the kitchen needed new linoleum. Because it had been empty for over a year, the power was off, so when we went to view it on Labor Day evening of 2001, we explored it with flashlights.

Even with all the surface chaos, we could see the features that had long been on our wish list: a fireplace with a stone hearth, a two car garage, two bathrooms, a dishwasher, a front porch, a huge fenced-in back yard. We decided standing right there in that dark, lavender painted living room to put in an offer. We heard back within a couple of days that we had won the bidding. Closing happened within a few weeks, and we and both our families got to work.

Nick’s grandfather Charles, who passed away a couple of years ago, was the greatest handyman I ever knew. He bought us a door for the kitchen and fashioned a gorgeous cover for our exposed doorbell chime from a brass kick plate and one of Nick’s grandmother’s earrings. He painted and installed tile and light fixtures and anything else we needed done. Working right alongside Charles was Nick’s dad Mike, who inherited all his dad’s talent for carpentry and construction. He helped install the new garage door and lighting, and helped Nick and my parents paint and lay the flooring in the living room and kitchen. My mother-in-law Brenda worked just as hard, helping with everything she could get her hand in. My dad took care of the toilet and sink installation, and my mom and Nick’s grandmother scrubbed the house from top to bottom.

I rocked and nursed Taylor in my mom’s antique bentwood rocker in the barren living room, singing Amazing Grace to my baby girl to the background of the hammering and drilling going on in the rest of the house. We painted the living room a rich tomato red and the kitchen and hallway a mossy green. Our big master bedroom was white and airy, and the master bath, the gem of the house, was finished out with bright white beadboard and foresty green ceramic tiles. Taylor’s room was pale blue with bright yellow stars and fluffy white clouds, and that lovely 3rd bedroom was a luxury we turned into an earth toned family room with a big green sectional couch and our tiny 13 inch TV. We had brand new carpet laid in all three bedrooms, and we couldn’t get enough of walking on it barefoot.

We moved in on Halloween, tickled pink by all the neighborhood kids who oohed and aahed over the inviting living room beyond the front door. It was such a perfect first real home for our newly expanded family, and coming from a two bedroom single wide we rented from my Papaw for ridiculously low rent, it felt like a mansion.

For many years it was plenty of room. Then when Taylor was 8, Lily joined our family. Pragmatically, we gave up the den and turned it into a new bedroom for Taylor, and painted her old one pink with big chocolate hued polka dots for the new baby.

I became a full time stay at home mom 3 weeks before Lily was born when my doctor put me on bed rest. When my maternity leave was up, after much prayer and conversation, I went in and quit the bank job I’d had for the last 10 years. Going from two full time paychecks to one was an adjustment and a lesson in faith to be sure, and when Christmas started getting close, I started trying my hand at making some of our gifts. I found that I was my mother’s daughter indeed when I fell head over heels in love with creating.

The problem with that was that now that all of our bedrooms were, well, bedrooms, there was no place to put all the supplies that went along with my new-found career as a crafter. Then when Sawyer came along when Lily was two, it got even more cramped.

Now it’s a juggling act between keeping my craft and sewing supplies put away and inaccessible (rarely) and having access to them at the cost of having our kitchen table relatively buried (usually).

We hope and pray to sometime in the relatively near future be able to buy a house with a bedroom for everybody, and a craft room too. And if/when we do, I’ve got a few things planned for that craft room!

It’s going to be bright, bright, BRIGHT!

Yellows and pinks and oranges and turquoises, greens and purples and polka dots and adorable printables up on the walls and a nice long table where my sewing machine and my serger and my Silhouette machine can live in harmony.

I’ll have a nice big cutting table for fabric and maybe a desk so that my Sizzix machine and dies don’t have to live shoved in a closet.

And of course a cheery corkboard to pin up inspiration, and a big chalkboard to make lists on, and a nice spot to take photos of my projects.

And since I’m really going overboard with the dreaming here, I’ll have a gorgeous white beadboard Workbox.

Of course that’s probably all wishful thinking, but it’s sure fun to dream isn’t it? For now I’m off to continue organizing all my buttons and brads, just in case…

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