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Mid-month update – Caulk and Church Paintings

No pics this time, just talk.

It’s been raining cats and dogs, so after a lot of positive feedback from my 30 in 30 church painting challenge, this retired girl is putting the ones not already spoken for up for sale on etsy.

We did do a lot of indoor caulking, blocking, cleaning, and re-arranging in the barn, but I did spend some time looking around, and realized, if I’m going to keep painting, then I either need to start painting over some of them, or try to sell them.  As always, Mr. Architect, dear husband, BFF was encouraging to the sell option.

So… all that being said, and with additional knowledge from my art teacher, Susan Jones, I’ve posted images of my paintings, as well as photographs on two other websites.  These are called “print on demand” websites, which is kind of full circle since I used to work for a printing company, but way different.  These sites allow you to upload a photo, and then you can have that image printed on literally anything… leggings, phone cases, greeting cards, canvas, coffee mugs, etc.  I have personally ordered greeting cards of several of my photos and paintings, and have been pleased with the quality.  (BTW, I don’t set the prices – some of them seem pretty high to me, thus me ordering greeting cards.)

Just in case you are suffering from insomnia and want to check them out they are RedBubble.com and FineArtAmerica.com.

I have come to realize that I do truly LOVE painting, and the church series was so challenging and an awesome learning experience.  I only wish that dear husband could do the same with his banjo and furniture building.  It’s just not so easy to build a banjo or a piece of furniture in a day, much less 30 days, but we’ll get there.  Tiny house first, next career second.

Life is still good… life in the country… life working outside… life with my sweet, handsome, loving husband – swinging hammers, just not at each other.

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October update on the Tiny House

Gosh – what a heavy heart I have writing this post after the tragedies we have had within the United States, (not just continental) this last month… hurricanes and shootings, some close to home, some close to friends.  The circle of life and mother nature are not being very friendly this late summer and fall of 2017.

Today – Oct 4 – We are COMPLETELY sheathed in (vertically).tiny house sept a8

We have made progress!  Visible progress!  I fear that once we get inside, hopefully this month, that progress will not be quite so visible.  The next step (roofing) also makes me quite nervous.  We’re still open to possibly hiring that out, I mean, who really wants to strap into a harness if you aren’t doing a zip-line? Not this girl, but I will, (if dear hubby can do it, I can do it).

We had quite a few visitors, some unwanted, this month.  Ms Black Widow Spider, and her sister came to nest in our concrete block pile.tiny house sept a4-spider

“Spot,” the frog, named by one of our granddaughters, took root in the barn, seemingly entranced by this bottle of water on top of a tool box.

 

 

tiny house sept a3-frog

…and there is always “Hank” the neighbor dog who comes by most days for a treat and spray of the hose.  He’s also camera shy, and actually dodges the treats if you toss them to him, but he will sit and high five for a treat.

Now for the guts and glory!

  • House completely sheathed, check
  • Five front deck 6×6 cedar posts installed, check
  • Decks on front and back framed, check
  • Roof deck on back deck framed, check
  • CoPpEr roof gables, ordered, delivered and installed, check (my FAVE this month)

Oh yeah, there were a few watermelon success stories from the garden, this beauty came home with us today.

oct 4 2017 - 9

 

 

 

 

This month we also took a mini time-out for ourselves.  We were headed to South Carolina to a sweet house that backed up to a waterfall, (here – photo from airbnb)westminster sc, airbnb photobut passing thru Chattanooga we got a call that Hurricane Irma had impacted the sweet treehouse, and the power was out at our destination for the duration of our quick trip.  So I got on the phone and we re-routed to Lake Lure, NC and landed in the Patrick Swayze Suite IMG_20170912_195306482at the Lake Lure Spa and Inn who claims Mr Swayze actually stayed in the same room as us while filming the classic movie “Dirty Dancing.”  Luckily, (depends on your perspective), we just missed the 30th anniversary of the filming festival.  But we did get to do some amazing rock climbing and garden viewing… pizza eating… beer drinking… etc

And saw this Devil IMG_20170913_100055035_BURST001

near the top of Chimney Rock, which we climbed… over 900 steps, (there is a staircase to the top, IMG_20170913_093404595i.e. stairway to heaven, then a 2 mile hike to a waterfall, at over 2,000 feet elevationIMG_20170913_094951741_BURST001

where I relaxed, finally!

IMG_20170913_095653665

 

 

 

So it was a nice break from hammering nails, sawing up boards, taping seams, etc… but it’s always amazing to be back “home,” and working on the tiny house.

P.S.  The church painting challenge… I believe I finished 25 paintings in 30 days – and we were traveling 5, or so of the 30 days, so I feel like I made my goal… the fact I was still painting every day after a week is pretty amazing – here are some of the pieces I didn’t post last update.

 

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!

May update and Q&A with the Architect

We are making progress!  The foundation has been poured, and the concrete block foundation is in place.  The stone mason (David Travis out of Hampshire TN) began his magic this week.  What an amazing craftsman!  What started as a big pile of LOCAL cut stone like this:  2017-05-08 foundation wall 4

has turned into this piece of intricate stacked stone facade for the foundation of our tiny house, (back porch piers in the front, house business in the back):

05-15-2017 stone foundation.jpg

I thought it might be interesting to share a Q&A I had with the architect, who wears many hats.  The hardest, perhaps is being my husband, but he is also the foreman, the contractor, the heavy lifter of all things “heavy,” (decisions and physical), and the mind behind all things creative.

Q:  When designing a house, what are the “ideal” dimensions?

A: increments from small to large – 8″ – 16″ – 2′ – 4′ – 8′ for room and exterior dimensions.

Q:  When buying boards what are the actual vs. standard (aka “nominal”) measurements of the product?

A:  A 2″ x 4″ board is actually 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ … any inch measurement on boards up to 8 inches is one-half inch short.  Over 8 inches is three quarters inch short, i.e. a 2″ x 10″ board will be 1 1/2″ (the 1/2″ off) by 9 1/4″ (the 3/4″ off).  The original cut boards are the actual size; the reduction comes from planing and dressing the boards.  This works well withing finishing because they typical drywall thickness is 1/2″.

Q:  OK, so what about other materials, like the concrete block we used for the foundation?

A:  Concrete block is usually a 3/8″ nominal difference because the typical mortar bed is 3/8″.  (A 8″ x 8″ x 16″ concrete block is actually 7 5/8″ x 7 5/8″ x 15 5/8″)

Q:  What do you prefer for a framing material?

A:  Southern yellow pine is preferred for structural framing, including rafters and floor joists.  Spruce fir is common for studs.  (FYI:  Southern yellow pine is either loblolly pine, short leaf pine, long leaf pine or slash pine.)

Q:  What can you tell me about roof pitch?

A:  Roof pitch is rise over run (y-axis to x-axis for all of you geometry nerds like me).  The range spans from flat to 12/12, which is 45 degrees.  The Southeast is good for a 4/12 (18.5%) to 8/12 (33.75%).  Our “barn” has a 8/12 roof.  For perspective, Florida would be fine with a flat roof, but the snowy regions would need a steeper roof.  An advantage of a steep pitch is a reduction in leaks.

Q:  What is our tiny house roof pitch?

A:  The pitch on the house is 8/12; the pitch on the porches is 2/12.  The change in pitch is purely aesthetic.

Now for some credentials and personal interest questions…

Q:  What and where did you study?

A:  I graduated from Auburn University in 1985 with a 5 yr Bachelor of Architecture degree and a Minor in Art History.  I am especially intrigued by the Mockbee Rural Studio that Sambo Mockbee started at Auburn after I graduated.

Q:  Who is your favorite architect?

A:  Frank Lloyd Wright

Q:  What architect has inspired you?

A:  A Nashville Architect, Robert Anderson.  I knew of him and personally knew some of his family, and have lived in one of the first houses he designed in Nashville.

House Pictures 3 2009-10-25 014

Q:  What is your favorite Architectural style?

A:  Traditionally, I would say, the craftsman style, specifically the Gamble House in California.

Alex Vertikoff - gamblehouse.org

from gamblehouse.org (c) Alex Vertikoff

Locally, I would say, the Carpenter Gothic style you see in Rugby, Tennessee.

Christ Church Episcopal

Christ Church Episcopal – Rugby TN

Q:  What is your favorite house?

A:  Like many others, Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Falling Water

fallingwater.org

Q:  What’s next for you after the Tiny House?

A:  Well, I’d love to design and build something for someone else, or build banjos, or furniture in my new shop.

More on the banjos and furniture in future posts… as wells as the 5+ house plans we’ve developed for this one site that could work on “your” site.  We love using local craftsmen and incorporating the layout of the land to the plan… leave a comment or email me at rrbarber@yahoo.com if you have specific questions or are interested in custom architectural / banjo/ furniture commission.

P.S.  Life in the country is good.

 

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

 

 

The Admiration Project – 2015 Issue # 5

from theyodysseyonline.com

from theyodysseyonline.com

Wow!  It’s September and “my” schedule said I’d be posting Issue #9 of The Admiration Project this month.  Well, better late than never, and NEVER let late keep you from doing what you said you’d do.

I’m taking a different approach to this post… I think I learned the Five W’s and one H questions sometime between 4th and 6th grade.  The answers are considered basic in information gathering.  According to Wikipedia, they constitute “a formula for getting the complete story on a subject.”  My subject this month is a friend I’ve known for 25 (really!!) years.  I’m changing up the official order of the Five W’s, and will save the “Who” for last.  All that being said…

What:  This issue is dedicated to a fantastic female I have known since 1989.  I had just decided to train and try out to become a Jazzercise Instructor.  I met her at one of the initial meetings for all of the “wanna be’s.”  Little did I know I was pregnant and would soon be fighting morning sickness before this journey got off to much of a start, but she was right there, encouraging every single newbie, even the sick, pregnant one.  She immediately got my attention as the one to watch closely if I wanted to succeed.  I had no idea that in a few short years, we would become close friends and she would be the one I could turn to during what was one of the hardest times in my life.

Why:  This lady has been a sister I never had, a mentor, a mother when mine was 200 miles away, a peer, a teacher, an employer, a confidante, a defender, a cheerleader, an example, but most of all… a friend.  While the cartoon I posted up top makes me chuckle, I liked it because it said we’d be new friends.  I think that is true of any long-term friendship.  Over time, as you remain friends, (if you do remain friends), it is because you have “new” levels to your friendship and as you each become “new” people, your friendship either deepens, or becomes distant.

from wikipedia.org

from wikipedia.org

And she did teach me the proper preparation and enjoyment of a good martini…

When:  1989 – current.  After the training, tryouts and birth of my daughter, I was at a meeting with all of the Nashville area Jazzercise instructors.  I again saw her as someone that had “it.”  It, being the keys to success as an instructor, little did I know that her “it” went far deeper than being a mentor.  I sent her a letter, actual snail mail – I don’t think we even had “email” back then, and asked if I could meet her for lunch.  Fast forward a few decades, and let’s just say, she is one of the few people I call “best friend.”

Where:  Right here in Nash-vegas, TN.

How:  Gosh – how do any of us become who we are?    How do any of us become best friends?  We endure; we put on our big girl panties; we laugh; we commit to helping each another; we forgive; we learn from mistakes; we trust; we lean on others when we have to; we cry; we hug; we love; we become what our innate being meant us to be… we hang on!

from utsports.com

from utsports.com

And we both do love our Vols!

Who:  For the sake of her private story, I will not disclose her life’s personal details.  However, she has survived more than her fair share of the worst life has to offer: the untimely death of loved ones, the low’s of being a mother, a business owner, a wife, and fighting health/weight/life issues…  She has also had life’s best offerings:  being a mother, a business owner, a wife, and winning health/weight/life issues…  I’m sure I do not know all of either of those low’s and high’s for my friend, but I’ve seen her at her best – she’s seen me at my worst – and she has always been a class act in both situations.

So for this 5th issue of The Admiration Project, I’d like to honor my friend that I admire so much, Mary Helen Yarbrough, by making a donation to the Middle Tennessee YWCA.

And by the way, if you want a killer Jazzercise class and you’re in the area,

from jazzercise.com

from jazzercise.com

check out her class schedule here.

To my friend – Thank you for being a friend.

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.

 

 

 

The Colorado River – Grand Canyon Rafting Trip

Image Ummm — Check

This trip for hubby’s birthday was BEYOND expectations!  I mean, really, how does a high maintenance girl like me spend 4 days and 3 nights without any electricity, running water (well I guess those rapids on the Colorado could be considered running), potty, shower, mirror, and heaven forbid cell phone or internet access???  What was I thinking when I said, “sure honey, I’d LOVE to take this trip of a lifetime with you for your birthday?”  I’ll tell you what I was thinking… I was thinking, “this martini tastes pretty good!”

So we sign up for our little adventure and off we go, just like to summer camp, “2 pair quick dry shorts, 1 long sleeve fleece top, 1 pair socks, sturdy water sandals, hat, sunscreen… you get the picture.

First up is to arrive at a small airport on the outskirts of Las Vegas.  After each person is weighed, separate from their expertly packed duffel bag, we are assigned a seat so that the weight is equally distributed on our little cigar plane… wouldn’t want this baby flying sideways.ImageWe take the 40 minute or so ride to Whitmore International Airport in Arizona, landing oh so carefully on the dry dirt runway, 80 miles from the nearest town.ImageWe arrive at the Bar 10 Ranch for lunch and a debriefing on the activities for the evening, (horseback riding, 4 wheeler tour down to the river, cowboy lasso school, hike over to the original cabin on the ranch for a history lesson, and the evening’s entertainment by the staff at the ranch).  Just a little chef note – dinner included beef from the cattle being raised on the ranch – it was quite tasty.  The evening was relaxing and we all got to mingle and meet our fellow rafters — you know scope out who you think will and won’t “rock the boat” so you can kind of make your way to the right side of the group when they are dividing you up into groups for the rafts.  For me, that’s basically people who want to get their hair wet versus people who don’t.

Our first night’s accommodations.  Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning after a hearty cowboy breakfast prepared by the fine folks at Bar 10, we were again, weighed, measured and grouped for our next transport.  I can’t begin to describe the exhilaration of getting into a helicopter that literally comes to your doorstep and then leaps off the mountaintop as you make your way down through the cabin landing on the banks of the Colorado River.  

ImageImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So we meet on the banks of the river for our next debriefing… distribution of our day dry bags, night dry bags, sleeping bags and an introduction to the guides that will be responsible for keeping us alive for the next several days, both on the water and off.  Our existence is literally in their hands… from picking a campsite, to cooking our meals, to helping locate a missing camper the first morning (SCARY), to treating those suffering from dehydration and hyponatremia (the opposite of dehydration).  Luckily, dear hubby and I were spared of any maladies.

Second night accomodations:  Image

And one of the most invigorating showers ever… 

Image

There are just soooo many great pics, but none can show what it was really like to experience a trip like this first hand.  Here is the group we shared this wonderful adventure with on our last day ImageSo while that hot shower back at the hotel felt REALLY, REALLY good the next day, the four days spent completely enveloped by nature touched all of my senses and gave me and hub memories of a lifetime.  I am so blessed to have someone in my life that makes me push the envelope and get out of my comfort zone… and have a bucket list worth sharing. 

Just a few of those memories… ImageImageImageImageImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

C is for Change

Hugging my best buddy, Tabasco

Hugging my best buddy, Tabasco

I’m sure there’s a reason I happened upon an old posting of mine today which reminded me that I once started a blog and so I went to read it and found that I seem to have been triggered to post in “recent” years when it was a dog-day.  Well, I am sad to say that this big fella just passed last month and so we are empty-nesters in the dog world.  The good news is that now Tabasco is up in doggie-heaven playing with RocksAnne and telling her how much we still miss and love her; the bad news is that Tabasco had to go way too soon due to cancer.  When we lost RocksAnne, we already had Tabasco, so while her loss was painful, we still had someone to greet us when we came home from work, finish our dinner plates (with our without permission and sometimes before we were actually finished, or even started), take our spot on the couch the minute we got up to do something and comfort/protect us by sleeping in our bed at our feet at night… not to mention taking up more and more space in the bed during the night and kicking us when he had those all too familiar “chasing rabbits” dreams.  (I miss those bruises on my legs.)

So here we are… dog-less.  For the first time in 15 years… sad times, but I would not trade one day of this sadness for any of the days of joy these dogs brought us day after day after day… remember, dog is God spelled backwards.

Getting Back in the Swing of Things

Tabasco2

Tabasco

It’s been a rough few weeks – everyone in the house is missing RocksAnne – including our other Chessie, Tabasco.  He’s our 4 year old baby, so hopefully we’ve got a long wait before having to endure this kind of heartbreak again.

I was doing ok until the following Tuesday night when I went to make dinner and RocksAnne’s rug in the kitchen was empty… she loved lying there watching and waiting — watching for me to drop something on the floor, knowing it would be “hers” as soon as I turned my back, and waiting for me to bring her a sample of whatever concoction I was cooking up.  My girl was the best mop on the market – she left not a single crumb on my floor tiles!

So the rest of the time has been filled with lots of neighborhood walks with Tabasco – in fact on the Thursday after we were about 15 minutes into the walk, he dug his heels/paws in and just said, “no, mommy – I can’t do this walk again today.”  Remember, you only “negotiate” with a Chessie, so we promptly headed back home.  I gave him a few days off before starting “occasional” walks after.

In addition to the walking, I’ve been cooking, testing recipes to add to my personal chef client menus.  I’ve had some great inspirations from my fellow chefs at the USPCA (United States Personal Chef Association) as well as looking for recipes to use up the goodies brought in this weeks basket from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), Delvin Farms.

Amongst the goodies I cooked and stocked in our freezer this week is my first attempt at “raw” cooking.  Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it?  A raw food diet (or living foods diet) is a dietary regimen consisting of uncooked and unprocessed organic foods.  I made a “raw” Key Lime Pie.  This dessert concoction was made from a host of ingredient, some seemed common, some not so common.  The crust was a mixture of coconut, macadamia nuts, lime zest and agave nectar… the filling ingredients included lime juice and zest, cold-pressed coconut oil, more agave nectar and avocados!  At this point I’m thinking the calorie and fat content must far exceed it’s “processed” counterpart, yet reports are that eating a raw diet is healthy and often results in weight loss.  Healthy — yes, weight loss — I’m not convinced.  However — I’m basing that on this one recipe experience.

The tasting:  I thought it was a great substitute, but obviously not the real thing.  Middle daughter (who is totally interested in this kind of thing) wants no one else to eat any of it.  In fact she scooped up 3/4 of the pie and took it to her vegan friends.  A few days later we went to a gathering at her space, Little Hamilton, and at the door when I said, “I’m Laura’s mom,” three people immediately said, “OH! You’re the one that made the key lime pie!  It was amazing!”  I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel to be known for my food!

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