Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Well, looks like June

I have been out of town and will be out of town for the rest of the month of May.  I thought I could get posts schedule ahead of time but I couldn't!!  Part of the reason is we have a new waggy tail!!  Her name is Lady and she is 9 weeks old and I love her oh so much!!!

Most of the reason is just being places without internet!  My parents are in between carriers and I don't think we will have it on the mission trip, so I am waving a white flag and hoping you have a wonderful rest of May!!

I will be doing my first giveaway when I get back!!

Smiles and waggy tails,
Lee Ann

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

We'll Work 'til Jesus Comes Wednesday #2

Welcome to our home!  In my last (and first) Work til Jesus Comes Wednesday post, I showed a few pictures of our house before we started working on it.  You can see those here.

The first few projects we did focused on getting the basement livable and the kitchen usable.  First priority was the central heating & air unit.  I tend to be hot-natured so AC was important the summer was coming up fast down in the Sultry South.  Normally, this isn’t a DIY project so it would just be picking the company and waiting on them to install it.  My hubs knew a certified company that would allow him to do part of the work, thus reducing our cost!  Such a smart man! 

It was during this time, we removed the old gas furnace from the floor of the hallway. 

Since, it almost gave me a concussion on more than one occasion (one time it was not good, I just sat in the floor for awhile), I happily took my birthday present to it!  Let me introduce you to Demi, one of my birthday presents last year.

This isn't actually my sledgehammer but looks just like it did when it was new.

I am happy to report the furnace now resides in a junk yard north-east of Athens where we sell our junk metal. J
The kitchen was next on the list.  Hey, we both love our food and prefer to eat at home.

My MIL found BINS and we used it to paint the inside of the cabinets to control the stains and smell.  It worked great!! If you have any area that needs the super primer approach, then you should, most assuredly check out BINS!

I will take this opportunity to explain the smell and stains because in some places the stains still haunt us.  We have been told they are from cigarettes and the tar contained in the cigarettes.  In some rooms we have primer and two coats of paint and I can still pick out the stains.  Most people wouldn’t notice but I do.  Later we will have to repaint some rooms.  The kitchen of course had the added bonus of the stovetop and all the fun smoky things that come with it.  J

Well, once we painted the cabinets, we needed a countertop surface that would hold up for a little while.  Once we get the “new” kitchen area up and going we are going to tile the countertops with a 12” porcelain tile which you will get to see in the future!!

We decided to use the plywood we would be using for the tile as our temporary countertops after we checked the price of even cheap Formica ones.  I used an exterior paint to help with stains and water and then screwed them down.  We installed the stainless sink we scored for $50 at a discount building place on our honeymoon.  Oh yes, on our honeymoon! LOL

The sink was actually an undermount with clips around the sides that are used to install it.  This is where my other birthday present came in handy – my Dremel!  I told you I have an awesome hubby!!

I used the dremel with a metal blade to cut off the clips and then it started it’s new life as a drop-in.
After we got our “countertop” ready, I lined the cabinets and went to unpacking the kitchen stuff.  Let me tell you, this is where I realized (and this is not the first time) that I have too much stuff!  So this is what the kitchen looked like after all this work.

Downstairs in the basement, we had two rooms and a hallway to deal with on the floor issues.  The bank had said they had reached the end of their useful life.  And next week we will go down to the basement and see what we can get in to!!

Don't forget to come back Thursday night to see my first giveaway!!!  Get your tastebuds ready!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Mutterings #2

What makes me smile . . .
First is definitely my amazing husband, who sometimes surprises me with breakfast in bed when we stay up too late watching episodes of Bones (and he is the one who has a job to go to!!)!!!  I could go on about him but I won’t except to say he also doesn’t mind occasional splurges like the next item on my list.
My new purse by Liz Claiborne (which was half-price, yippee!!).

Yes, it’s yellow and that is my latest obsession!!  My nails are yellow also, and the sandals I found the other day at Charlotte Russe for $10.  Now to find the belt to tie it all together (hehe).
And you can see some more things I like on my Yellow Love board on PinterestJ  Which is the next thing on my list of smile worthy items, and it is oh so addicting!!  I want to go through my bookmarks and pin them all so I have a visual of them.  J

I am really getting into vintage styled dresses.  My red dress is not vintage but to me it has that vibe.  Because of this new interest, there are two dress patterns I would like to find and make.  One is the one below I found on Sew Weekly (  Mena is sewing all of her own clothes and they are vintage styles!  You should check her out!  Look at this fabulous example!!

The other is a shirt-dress that I have seen online at times in different versions but I don’t have a single image to show you.  I am going to dig through my grandmother’s patterns and hopefully find something I can work with to get what I have pictured in my head.
The problem I have with vintage is that most of the time it costs more.  I wait for sales to buy patterns as it is so I have a hard time paying that much for patterns and then it may not be the right size.  So we will see how this turns out.  Always an adventure!!
And the last thing for today is my fun find at Goodwill, a bed tray:

As I mentioned above, Hubby and I like to watch Bones episodes at night.  Well, we don’t have cable or satellite so we watch them on the laptop via Netflix.  The laptop gets a little warm when it is on the covers so I had been looking for a tray or something to set it on but didn’t want to pay the prices I saw.  Then I found this at Goodwill for $3!! Yay!! LOVE thrift stores and being in a college town, they have some good stuff normally.  I will be updating this tray, and give it a happy look.  Can you guess what color I am going to choose???

PS Be sure and come back later this week for my very first giveaway!!  It's going to be yummy!! :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

We'll Work 'til Jesus Comes Wednesday

Well, any of you that have done any remodeling on a house or even just decided to update a few things, know exactly what I am talking about with my title.  I have to credit my MIL and her MIL with this song title.  This is what they say about our house and the work they have done already, and we have sang this lovely hymn a few times while we were working.  :)

So this will be the first of many installments on our progress remodeling our home.  Don't worry, I will try to keep it in somewhat short doses.  We will start with the beginning, when we first found our home.

My wonderful, amazing husband and I got engaged Christmas Eve 2009 and on Martin Luther King weekend we started house hunting.  Well, we looked at a lot of places and were getting pretty discouraged and then a friend told us to look at the foreclosures in the paper.  We did and found 3 or 4 to check out.  Our house was one of them.  We didn't call a realtor because we wanted to get a feel for things first.  The house had a side door unlocked (still wonder about that!) so we could sneak in and take a peak, so come join me walking around our house and what it used to look like.  :)

I believe our house was built in 1961 and they added a carport which they later turned into a screened-in porch.
The screened-in porch

 Front yard view and the front door.

The dining room area and the kitchen. 

The living room.

The 3rd bedroom and the bathroom on the main floor.

 The 2nd bedroom (check that closet!) and the 1st bedroom.

The basement stairway (love the fabulous green carpeting - NOT). 

 The first area in the basement.  It will be like a den or family room with couches, TV and a small table and chair set.  The wood stove has come in handy this year.

The doorways to the basement hall and the basement bedroom.

This was the gas furnace that was in the floor of the hallway upstairs so it protruded in the hallway in the basement.  Stay tuned for what happens to it later.

The basement bathroom and the basement bedroom.  The blue tape around the toilet is from the realty company.  They taped saran wrap around it so no one would use it since the water was turned off for the entire house.  :)

This lovely carpet was in the basement and holds surprises yet to come!!  

This picture shows what bad shape the hardwood floors were in when we got the house.

So if you are still here, yippee!  I feel like I have been through some of the work all over again just looking at these pictures.  Next week, we will start with the things we had to do to be able to live in the house much less make it pretty, but we always try to do that right? So we will be in the basement for a little bit.

Love and waggy tails,
Lee Ann

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday Mutterings

Well, I am still trying to figure out what schedule to do so for now, today will be the first Monday Mutterings.  Mostly it will be an update of my life and that entails.  Hope it's not too boring for you!

One of the reasons I have not posted as much lately is I have been starting a new business.  Well, it's a new to me business, Bowtique Expressions.  One day in Hobby Lobby (gotta love that store!), I met a lady and her cute daughter and we discovered we had a lot in common.  She was working with two other ladies making handmade dresses, bows, ribbon sculptures, headbands and flip flops and you get the idea.  They would set up a booth at festivals to sell their wares.  The lady I met made the dresses and did the sewing and she was feeling overwhelmed so they invited me to join them.  Yippee!!  Well, apparently things were more overwhelming for her than we realized because she has decided to take a break for awhile and that has left the sewing to me.

So things have been quite busy for me and the other two ladies.  I have had orders for 11 dresses in 3 weeks along with a couple other things for gifts.  Most have been simple dresses, so not difficult but time consuming to figure out my work flow.  We are working on a website since most of our orders are from online.  Currently, we are using a Facebook business page.  :)

I did manage to get my "Easter" dress made last week.  Yes, it was the week after Easter but I still wanted to make it.  I made the Jaime dress by Sis Boom.  Sara over at Sew Sweetness had a sew along on her blog but I didn't get a chance to do it in her time frame.  It was very easy to follow and I had a lot of fun making it.  And since the royal wedding was happening, I got out one of my hats and donned some gloves!

On the home front, hubby and I are continuing to work on the house.  We are working in the kitchen and dining area.  With the help of family, our most recent lesson is about cabinets.  You cannot build a cabinet and then bring it in the house when you only have 1/4 inch clearance.  Happy to report we figured this one out before we put it together.  I picked out two pantry cabinets that are 96 inches tall so we had to work on these before we can do the tile, which is what we are working towards.  :)  We have a little demo to do first.  And yes, I love this part!! I even have my very own sledge hammer!! (and yes I can use it!! haha)
My MIL and BIL working on the pantry cabinets.  They rock!!

Well I think that is enough for the first time.  I don't want to mutter too much! I can talk a bit now and again, LOL.

Smiles and waggy tails,
Lee Ann

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blog Update and Renewal

Even though we still have a good 3 months of work on the house, I am resolving to get back to my blogging.  I really enjoy it and have learned so much from other.  SO I am going to start with the title of my blog, it will be Markham Made because I do a lot of different things and it covers anything my little o' brain can conjure up.  A few weeks ago I designed a few different logos and got some opinions and I think this is the most liked one:

I think it is my favorite so far, although there is another with swirls that is appealing to me.  Any hoo, this will be the start of a redesign.  :)  There will probably be a good mix of whatever project I happen to be on, our little family and what we have done with our house.  I am going to try to make a schedule for certain days to help me keep up.  So just like Shelby and Briggs, look for fun things to come!

Smiles and waggy tails,
Lee Ann

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Breathe a sigh of relief

Well, today the appraiser came out to the house and hopefully in a couple of weeks we will have the mortgage loan on the house and not just a construction loan.  One day in the near future I will take you on a journey with us as we have renovated part of our house this past year to be able to obtain this mortgage.  :)
It has definitely been an adventure for sure!
Probably the best advice I can give is research your options thoroughly and don't feel an obligation to your local bank because they will not feel the same way towards you no matter what they tell you.  They are under so many laws and regulations that it doesn't matter if you are Uncle Joe's 4th daughter, they still might not approve what you have worked and slaved over for the past year.  This reason for this is the _______  people who gave mortgages to anyone a few years ago.  (Feel free to fill in the blank with any choice, mine is idiot.)
We have been blessed with friends and family who have helped us work on our house and hopefully in the next few days, we will have the mortgage.  Yippee!!   You will definitely hear when that happens.  So hopefully, once it does I will be able to get to my sewing and crafting with more regularity because I love it!  It is definitely my sanity at times.
So, the appraiser said everything looked great, so Thank you God for that!!  Next step is the bank officers.  Pray for us that it all goes smoothly.

Love all of you to smithers!!
Lee Ann

Monday, March 21, 2011

Recent "Housework" :)

We have been working around the deck area to fill in in front of the retaining walls and have a step at the front of our deck.  Of course, when we needed to start moving dirt, the truck was full of wood from the recent construction of the deck and wood siding.

Step 1: unload wood from truck and stack neatly in the chicken house.
(Yes, I said chicken house!  Our property used to have an active production laying house, not it serves as storage for us.)
Don't miss the 12x12 post!  It will become the post in the center of our kitchen one day in the future.  It is from a tree that my husband's parents cut down from their yard in South Georgia.

Step 2: Fill truck with dirt from pile that was removed from under the carport turned screened in porch that is now the addition to our house.  (Is that a real sentence? Not sure, but you get the picture.)

Step 3: unload dirt to fill in front of retaining walls.

Rinse and repeat steps 2 and 3 about 9 more times!!  I am about dug out!  I have dug some during the day while my husband is at work, then we have dug together once he gets home, and he has dug some once I gave out and sat on the deck and watched.  No, seriously I did sit and watch him.  I felt guilty at first but that didn't last long.  I was too tired!

During the dirt transfer, we also put it a drainage pipe to run from the gutters around the retaining wall and eventually it will water my fun flower bed that will line the retaining wall.

You can see the pipe just barely on the left under the spicket.
Not this wall, but the one we will build that will go to the driveway from this one.  :)  Yes, more digging is in my future, but that's okay with me. My wonderful husband and I are building our home (we are actually remodeling this one) together.

Once we got enough dirt in front of the deck we put the concrete table-top, I mean step down.  :)

Fun times and memories with our families.  His parents were able to come help with the deck (see this post), and now my mom is coming for a week to help texture the walls and maybe paint if we have time.  Our parents have been a tremendous help along with some friends too.

During a break from digging, we also put up my swing!!  Yippee!  His dad and our friend JR built the frame for me about 3 years ago and the swing used to belong to my parents.  I have already sanded and redone it once but I think it is time to show it some more love!

So, have a fabulous Tuesday because I know I am.  :)   I will be in my swing with my  honey at sundown hopefully, and deer tenderloin and veggies for dinner.  Yum yum.

Much love,
Lee Ann

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Laundry Detergent Homemade

Well, last week I read a post here, at Dukes and Duchesses, about making your own laundry detergent and I emailed Randi to ask how it turned out.  She replied that is worked well but like most detergents you buy you still need to use spot removers.
So I set out to give it a try.  I clicked on the page she references for the "recipe" and picked one to try. (Really I just went with the first one! LOL)

1 quart Water (boiling)
2 cups Bar soap (grated)
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda
§  Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.
§  Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.
§  Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.
§  Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel)

Well I made my selection and went in search of my ingredients.  I found everything at our local Wal-mart except the washing soda, they weren't even sure what I was talking about but said to try Kroger.  I went there (it's just across the street next to Home Depot, another place we frequent), and found the washing soda.

I then mixed everything according to the above recipe and put my detergent in a five gallon bucket.  I used a food processor to grate my soap and 3 bars made 6 cups so I put 4 in zippies and used the 2 I needed for the recipe.

Here is what I paid for my items:
Borax, 76 ounces:  $2.98 for $.03021 per ounce
Washing soda, 55 ounces:   $2.79 for $.050727 per ounce
Ivory soap, 44.7 ounces:   $3.76 for $.084116 per ounce

So using the recipe the cost per batch is:
Borax   $.62736
Washing soda   $.811632
Ivory soap   $1.34586
Total  $2.78 per batch.

A batch yields 168 loads of laundry using the amount suggested  in the recipe per load (1/4 cup).  SOOO, the cost per load is $.01657!!!  Compare this to our normal detergent, All Free & Clear at $.11427 per load ($10.97 divided by 96 loads, price from and you can see the cost-benefit.

I would like to insert here that I used Ivory in my recipe and previously used the All Free & Clear because certain detergents make me itch.  I have tried to keep it simple.

Now as to  how does it work?  Well I have washed about 5 loads with it and cannot tell a difference between it or what I had been using.  I have washed delicates, work clothes and dress clothes with it and seen no evidence of problems.  I did give a hard test with our inescapable red clay.  We live on a mound of red clay in North Georgia!  I washed some of our work clothes with only the detergent to test it.  It did not completely remove it but it did get some out of the pants.

It is hard to tell but in the first picture, I laid out our pants for you to see.  The second picture is my pants after I washed them, I couldn't get my husband's because he was wearing them.  There is still red clay but not as much.
I have to show you my cute containers!  I used my Cricut and Make the Cut software (yes I am aware of the lawsuit and may be looking into a Silhouette if I can't use my software any longer) to label them.

I am currently researching some more cleaning solutions using my ingredients because I still have a lot more left to use up.  :)  Apparently, there are a lot of uses for Borax and washing soda that I had no clue about!  Dishwashing powder being the one I will try next.

So, my end results please me enough to continue using it i the future.  If you decide to try it, let me know how it goes!