Saturday, November 16, 2013


I got to spend the last week crafting with my mom. We spent the majority of the week in my shop working. The weekend before she came, Jody found a couch, shelf, and kitchen table at various yard sales. It made the shop comfortable and fully functional. I got so much accomplished, and it was great to have my mom along my side. She went home today and I feel so sad. I wish she didn't live so far. We will be going to visit her for Thanksgiving and for that I am grateful. She found a house she is interested in right down the road from me. Hopefully the owners don't get any offers on it, and my dad can come and see it after Thanksgiving. It would be wonderful to have them so close. So tonight I am sad and missing my mom. I can't wait for our next visit.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Shop Pictures

I've finally gathered all the pictures of my shop renovation. Here is the progress:

This is how the building looked when I bought it. It's a 13'x30' metal building. There is a back door at the rear of the building that opens to the side that you can't see in the picture. There is a little porch that it opens up to. I would eventually like to enclose the porch and turn it into a closet.

A friend of ours wired the entire shop for me. And he wired it during the hottest part of the summer. I will forever be indebted to him! We wanted to put in our own meter loop but it was going to cost $1500 so instead my in-laws were kind enough to let me tie into their box. Jody borrowed our neighbor's tractor to dig the trench to bury the line. What you can't tell is that it was about 100 outside. There is a bit of a learning curve digging with the tractor so it was frustrating for Jody. He was able to dig most of the trench though. We had to shovel out the places the tractor couldn't get to and it was HOT! I was glad when that part was finished.

I had the shop insulated with cellulose insulation. I found a local company that did a great job. They did the walls first, and after the drywall was up, they came back and did the ceiling. We had two different companies come out and give quotes for drywall. In the process we realized the ceiling would have to be framed out to support the weight of the drywall. We hired a man we have hired in the past to do odd jobs around the farm to do the framing and drywall. He did a great job framing but, I think he was a little over-confident in his drywall abilities. It ended up taking twice as long as he thought and after so long we decided to finish it up ourselves. I wasn't too worried about it being perfect. Most of the wall will be covered anyway.

Next came texture and painting. We thought about texturing the drywall to help hide some of the many imperfections. After pricing everything, I decided to try to texture using a method I found online using drywall mud as the texture. It was a lot of work, so I ended up only doing the ceiling. I don't know if it made a difference. I bought some samples of paint from Lowe's to see what color I liked best. Before painting I had to primer the walls and ceiling. It look two long coats. Then I painted the ceilings white and finally the walls a light gray color. One step closer!

Now we were on to the floor. I originally wanted to put down laminate but I realized there was too much of a slope in the floor. I looked at different alternatives. I went so far as to go to a flooring store and pick out some vinyl. I wasn't sold on vinyl though, so I Googled cheap flooring options. (Google has been my best friend during this whole process.) I saw where people made plank flooring with plywood. Eureka! I loved the look and the installation seemed easy enough so we went to work. We went to Lowe's and bought cabinet grade plywood. We had them cut it into 8" slabs. They ended up charging us for all the cuts, but it was totally worth it. We staggered the boards to make it look like hardwood floor. It only took Jody and I two evenings to get it finished. The hard part was finding two evenings to work on it.

While we were working on the floor, I'd been keeping an eye on Craigslist for some cheap cabinets. I finally saw some that looked like they might work listed in a town 45 minutes away. I was low on cash so I tried to ignore them, but that voice in my head told me to go for it. I ended up "borrowing" money from our savings to get them. They were a great deal- $160 for 5- 2 door sets of cabinet and they look like new. I'm so glad I decided to get them. With the help of Google we became proficient in upper cabinet installation. They were actually really easy to install.

The cabinets were installed and the floor nailed down.

Next came varnishing. Ugh. The instructions called for 3 coats. It hurt to walk after the first. Luckily Jody stepped in and finished the last strip of boards with the first coat, and he showed up when I was 2/3 of the way through with the second coat and finished it for me. I think I would have been in tears had I been on my own. We ended up only doing 2 coats because I was almost out of varnish and completely out of money. I think it will be ok because the floors won't have a lot of traffic and I plan to put down some rugs.

First coat:

Second coat:

All finished!

And lastly, I wanted cabinets on both sides of the wall and a cutting table in the center. I made enough money to buy the cabinets and counter for one side. I wanted to go ahead and install them so I could start using the building to sew. The man at the store gave me a deal so I was able to go ahead and buy both counters. I bought four 12" cabinets and a 12' counter for the sewing side. A friend of ours cut the base off the cabinets so they would be at a better height for sewing. Then my father in law and I installed them (with the assistance of Google yet again.)

I still need to get a picture of everything moved in and set up. I still have several projects to do. I need to buy cabinets for the counter on the other side and I need to trim everything out. I need to buy another strip of pegboard for the back wall. I also want a couch and some shelves. I have a big sale in Nebraska that I'm trying to get ready for, and I'm running low on funds so those things will probably have to wait until December or the new year. If there is one thing I've learned during this process, it's to double the cost of what you think everything will cost. I still can't believe my building is finally usable. All the hard work was worth it!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

It's ready! I finally got to sew in my building for the first time today! It's been a long journey. It felt like I was never going to get it finished. I can't believe how much time, energy and money it's taken to get it where it is now. I have to admit I got a little teary as I was moving my craft stuff in yesterday. This has been a dream of mine for a long time, and it's nice seeing all my hard work pay off. I've also had a lot of help from our friends and family. I couldn't have done it without them! Pictures of the progress will follow.