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Archive for the category “Careers”

Small / Tiny House Update – April

2018-03-31 FRONT PORCH ROOFMARCH MADNESS BABY!  WE KILLED IT!  No we didn’t have a perfect bracket, nor did we have Sister Jean, but we had some no-rain days, and got a lot accomplished.

May I first bring to your attention the beautiful front porch roof joists and decking… I mean – it is amazing, right?  Well maybe amazing if you knew:

  • how many times I got on top of it,
  • each board was:
    • jointed to square one edge
    • ripped to make them a consistent width
    • routed to make the edges interesting
    • painted with two coats of primer and paint
      • Why is the porch ceiling blue?  (From Gun & Garden magazine July 2015 issue), “So is the tradition of painting a porch ceiling blue. Some say the idea stems from the notion that blue porch ceilings prevented insects and birds from nesting. But more often than not, the color is attributed to the story surrounding the Gullah/Geechee shade known as “haint blue” and its influence on American design over the centuries.”  Our shade of blue is Sherwin Williams “Morning Fog.”
  • how incredible it is that hubby got all of those joists perfectly positioned,2018-03-31 front porch roof under side
  • a hip roof (the part where the angles all come together in the above photo is one complicated piece of construction (and apparently one bathroom steam shower salesman in Spring Hill didn’t think we were capable after we had already done it, and judged us by looking at us when we walked in the store looking to purchase a couple thousand dollars of supplies for our steam shower – I won’t dog him on my blog, but let’s just say my tongue is an inch shorter because I did want to tell him, “yes, I not only know what a hip roof is, but I built one, which is more that you can probably say AND having a hip roof on your house has nothing to do with whether or not you can put in a “simple” square box shower that you are selling, (or not selling to us).”
  • the ends of those rafter tails are pretty amazing in the light and cast some amazing shadows, not to mention add to our craftsman themeporch roof joists 02-2018
  • I caulked each one of those joints on the top, even though there will be felt and a metal roof on top… because, that’s just what you do when you are doing it for yourself

There was also a lot going on inside:

  • plumbing rough-in has begun,2018-03-31 plumbing washer
  • running underground electricity to the house has started, (although the day after we dug the trench, it turned into a canal)2018-03-27 canal
  • an interior bathroom wall was moved out 16 inches.  (This is something you can do when your are building it yourself and not add hundreds of dollars to the cost.)  However it’s a 20% increase on the size of the bathroom – which basically means our steam shower is 75% larger – WOW, that sounds awesome, right!  Well it is awesome when you are going from a 3 foot by 3 foot shower to a 4 foot by 4 foot shower!  Maybe not so awesome by some standards, but put some tape on the floor – stand in a 3×3 space, and then a 4×4 space… it probably will save you us a few elbow bruises.

Back in my October update I mentioned a few visitors to our humble dwelling, well now we’ve got dogs for days.  We’ve got “white dog,”2018-03-27 white dog  “brown dog,”brown dog.jpg and “black dog.”2018-03-27 black dog  “Black dog” is HUGE – like his head above my waist huge.

“They” are really cute UNTIL they (“they” is only white dog) starts digging up hubby’s watermelons.  So starting today – when the doggy train shows up, I walk them back home – no more treats for the digger and, unfortunately, his buddies cannot hang out either.  Because, as soon as I plant “my stuff,” I am going to be a lot more passionate about white dog up to her shoulders in garden dirt!  I cannot show the actual digging picture because there may or may not have been tears involved, but “white dog” was up to his shoulders in dirt.  Lucky for me, I go by the “do not plant until after April 15th rule, so my plants are still trying to survive in their mini trays.

Now the really, really hard part… picking out tile, flooring, lighting… follow my boards on Pinterest, and comment, please.

P.S.  So I have also been corrected that technically, a “tiny house” is 400 square feet or less, so since our “small house” is 600 square feet, I need to stop referring to it as a tiny house, (plus it is not on wheels).  So from here on out – “tiny house” will be referred to as “small house.”

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Tiny House – February Update + 30-in-30 Part 2

Here is where we are at the start of the eighth month.porch beams 02-2018

The front porch posts and beams have been installed.  We used Western Red Cedar and stained it a natural color.  The triangle above the porch, (gable end), will be finished out with handmade cedar shakes that we are waiting on from the Amish shake-maker to tie it all together.  We wanted something special for the metal t-brackets that connect the posts to the beams, so I trusted my best friend Google to help me find just the thing.  t-bar 2018

We decided it would be nice to try to tie in the location to the design theme.  Our property is located on what is called Chestnut Ridge, so I sketched a couple of chestnut leaves and sent it to Cutting Edge Metals.  They forged these pretty awesome t-brackets (and square head screws) to “beautify” our structure support system for the front porch.  And like everything else we seem to lift into the air, they are hefty – about 20 pounds each… and that 20 foot beam going across the top is also one solid piece of lumber, weighing in at around 100+ pounds.

 

porch roof joists 02-2018

The weather is still refusing to cooperate more days than not right now, so we have been working inside the workshop on painting chores – like the roof joists for the porch – 2 coats of primer – 2 coats of paint – 6 edges – it keeps a girl busy for a few days.  Hubby routed out a special trim edge on the bottom sides to make the painting more interesting (time-consuming) for me.

raised beds 02-2018Hub doesn’t seem to mind the weather as much as I do, so he has been keeping busy building some new raised planting beds for the spring.  They are conveniently located right between the house and the workshop.  I cannot wait to get some watermelons, peppers, herbs and more started in these beauties!

Standing guard over the fruits of our labor will be a bluebird family we hope finds its way to their new home that hub crafted and installed.  Note that no bluebird house is complete without a little engraving…

 

Another cold and rainy day project he completed with our oldest grand-daughter.

As for me, I joined the second 30 paintings in 30 days online challenge sponsored by artist Leslie Saeta.   The last one in September, I chose to paint rural Tennessee churches.  This time around, the subject matter is barns.  Here are a few of the completions so far.

 

 

You can see all of the churches and follow along on the barns on my Instagram page.

September Update – with a 30 paintings in 30 days BONUS

Here is where we are at the end of today!IMG_20170903_144000388.jpg

Isn’t that stone foundation just the BOMB?

We’ve added a roof – square cedar columns for the back porch roof & rail, “tar” felt on the bottom exterior sheathing, and started the second row of sheathing using the “Zip system,” (it means we won’t have the extra step of coating the exterior with Tyvek or something similar because it is built into the 4 foot by 8 foot sheets (coated in green).

Some terminology, (because I had to keep asking Mr. Architect / Construction Foreman / Sweet-Patient Hubby).

tiny house august 7.jpgRidge board:  the LEVEL 2×10 board at the peak of the roof that extends from the back to the front.

Rafters: the boards that are angled from the ridge board to the top plate of the walls.

Roof joists:  the horizontal boards going across the house perpendicular to the ridge board that host the rafter tails.tiny house august 8

Bird’s mouth cut:  the special v-shaped (also special angled cut) that allows the rafter to sit on the top plate.  The bird’s mouth cut is mostly covered up by my amazing hurricane clips (300+ nails driven by hand = sore forearm).

 

 

 

The roof rafters were a challenge – second to getting the ridge board straight and level.  The most challenging part, of course, was trying to stand and balance on top of the roof joists while lifting and bracing to make everything “plumb and level.”  (Plumb & Level seems to be really ReAlLy REALLY IMPORTANT!)

We had several rain days this week, (thanks Harvey), but nonetheless, we “topped” out the roof tiny house august 6.jpg

We installed the posts on the back deck for the rail.tiny house august 9c.jpg

And we put on the tar felt and zip-system sheathing (pic at the top).  It’s been a great week – but EVERY week is a great week when Hubby and I are out at the site – working together.

My father-in-law was out today, and he said we worked together like a surgeon and a nurse – I’m pretty sure it was a compliment to both of us.

BONUS TIME
Just to keep this blog interesting – since it is about more than our Tiny House Project, I’ve got a personal side challenge going – 30 paintings in 30 days – my theme is rural Tennessee churches, the first 5 are below, but you can follow me on Instagram to see my daily posts for the rest of the month – click here

Old Trinity Episcopal – Mason, TN1 churches - Old Trinity Episcopal - Mason-Actual Painting-7x9.jpg

Unknown Church – Adams, TN2 churches - Rutledge TN-Actual Painting-9x12.jpg

Cobb’s Chapel – Santa Fe, TN3 churches - Cobbs Chapel Methodist - Santa Fe-Actual Painting 8x8-1

Headricks Chapel -Wears Valley, TN4 churches - Headricks Chapel - Wears Valley - Actual Painting-8x8.jpg

Abandoned Church – Adams, TN5 churches - Adams - Actual Painting-9x12.jpg

August Update

Well, well, well – it’s been really sunny AND really hot!  But sunny days make awesome work days on the tiny house front.  We’ve made A LOT of progress, (for us) in the last month!  As in, you can see where the walls go, and that there’s going to be a roof!

Tiny House foundation 07-06-2017Here’s where we were a month ago… see that dark sky – that was one of the not so sunny days, where we were spending more time carrying the tools in and out than we were actually building anything, but hey, a day building in nature is a good day.

We were so proud – we had squared a not-so-square foundation and we had leveled a not-so-level foundation.  So we were “good to go!”

 

The most recent “lumber package” as hubby so fondly calls them, came this week.  I think he only orders lumber in “packages” so the cost is at a level he can swallow, and the visual is a level I can fathom.

We built the walls in sections of approximately 9 feet high by 10-12 feet wide.  We used 2 x 6 studs and we placed them 16 inches on center, for all of you building techies.  2017-07-29 framing week 1-3Additionally, each wall section that fell in a corner had a diagonal (literally) inlaid support 1 x 4 mounted to maintain structural support and “square-ness.”  By the way – in the words of Huey Lewis, it is TOTALLY “hip to be square!”  (That’s my Huey doing the hard work.)2017-07-21 wall building.jpg

2017-07-24 framing 1

As of today – we have all of the walls in place, interior and exterior.  We have the temporary supports in place (and level, of course) for the ridge beam (roof).  The stone columns in front are for a covered porch that wraps around to the front door (where the step ladder is on the right).  There is an equally cool set of even taller stone piers on the back side for a similar covered porch and awesome view.

2017-08-09 Roof Images 3

In the meantime, I made PICKLES!  First time growing the cukes & actually canning ANYTHING! 2017 pickles

 

Life is good in Santa Fe (TN) and I couldn’t be a luckier girl than to have this awesome builder/boss for a husband!

The Next Chapter…

I lost my job.  Not sure whether to follow that with a happy or sad face emoji… so I just won’t put either.

My husband, the architect/woodworker, retired about 2 years ago.  We sold the only house we’ve ever owned together and moved to “the country.”  In full disclosure, we’d been planning this move for a while, but with the loss of my job, we decided to go full tilt and start building the next house on our 10 acres of land.

A little history… about 18 months ago we started “the barn.”  It’s really hub’s woodworking shop, but it was an experiment — well, many experiments.  Can we really work together on a job site (aka can I take direction)?  Do we really like it out here?  How fluid are we on the plans?  Are two “retired” people able to co-exist after living in the corporate world for so long?  I’m happy to say, all of the answers have been a resounding “YES”!!!  Here’s “the barn” as it is today – still needs shutters, siding on the back, deck on the far wall… and more, but basically, it’s a go… AND WE DID IT ALL OURSELVES!  (except for the roof).

barn Apr 2017.jpg

As these posts evolve, I’ll include the barn raising story, but for today, the excitement is all about breaking ground on the TINY house.

breaking ground

Our 600 square foot house will be close living quarters, but I think the most challenging part will be a single bathroom!

Our inspiration…

houseplans.com tiny house photo.jpg

What’s the goal?  Well, given our record of a pretty slow pace, it’s “this year.”  Given, we are renting, “it’s 4-5 months” until occupancy and giving up our rental.  Maybe putting that goal out into the world will give us a greater goal, and we’ll “make it,” otherwise, we’re still renting!

The great part in building a tiny house when you haven’t built a “big” house, is that it’s practice:

  • building walls (check on the barn, done that)
  • building decks (check on the barn, done that)
  • picking out cabinets
  • picking out lighting
  • picking/installing flooring
  • downsizing… do you really need 45 t-shirts when there’s only 7 days in the week?

Oh yeah, we also upgraded to a Toro 60″ deck, zero turn mower… I’ve always loved mowing (thanks dad)… but I hated my first time mowing and accidentally taking this “big” guy out… I never saw him (thank goodness), else I’d been doing a wheelie back to the barn on the mower…

snake.jpeg

Next up… I’m trying a hay bale garden

 

 

Can you believe it’s almost here?

fist_full_of_money_svg_med

 

No, I’m not thinking about Christmas!  Although that is just around the corner, but I’m one of those people who like to celebrate my holidays one at a time, so no lights, decorations or stockings at my house until Thanksgiving has been thoroughly enjoyed with family and dear friends.

The “IT”  I am referring to is tax season.  That dreaded time of year when dear Uncle Sam decides it is time to “settle up.”

I have spent the last eight months working towards being ready to take on this tax season with the launch of a new business.  I am taking on clients and will work with you to make this tax season pain-free.

There is no one size fits all in the tax preparation business.  I will only work with clients for whom I can provide quality service specifically for their needs.  There are several keys to finding a perfect fit; ask these questions of any potential tax preparer.

  • Do you have a PTIN?  (A tax preparer must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number issued by the IRS.)
  • What records or documentation will you need from me?  (A qualified preparer will insist that you provide your W-2, 1098, 1099 and other verification of income and expenses.)
  • Can I file electronically?  (It is the fastest way to get your refund.)
  • Who will sign my return?  (Don’t trust a preparer who will not (or cannot) sign your return.)
  • When will I receive a copy of my return?  (You should receive a complete copy of your return within a reasonable amount of time following your submission of documents.  You should ALWAYS receive a copy for your own records.)
  • How do I find you if I have a question after tax season is over?  (My business is not confined to tax preparation; I am available all year.)

You want to end up creating a relationship with your tax professional, just as you would with your hair dresser or doctor.  Do your research and ask questions; it will be worth it.

If you are interested in tax preparation or other money management services, please submit the contact form below.

 

 

 

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