Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Handy Man, Crafty Woman and Handy Boy.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin Massacre

Every year, Handy Man and Handy Boy carve a pumpkin to put out on the steps for Trick-or-Treaters to see. This year, my photos came out terrible...(I'm usually pretty good with the camera, but I blew it this time!), so I looked back to October 2007...when we had a pumpkin massacre!

The pumpkin that we picked out that year was very, VERY hard. Rob couldn't cut into it with a regular knife, no matter how hard he tried. Handy Boy was getting a bit upset about it, thinking that we wouldn't be able to get into it.


So Rob did the typical Handy Man thing.

He got out his reciprocating saw, and cut into it that way:

 
Problem solved! Handy Man 1, bizarrely dense pumpkin, 0.

Actually, I found the only decent photo I took of this year's pumpkin carving, it happens to be the pumpkin itself!
2008 Nov 285

Monday, October 26, 2009

More Fall Decorations

Here are some more of our fall decorations. I've picked these up at various places over the years. Most of them I bought at Holiday craft fairs. Have you ever been to a local Holiday craft fair? 

Look in the newspaper or online (especially this time of year!) for local craft fairs. You can pick up nice handmade fall and Christmas decorations at a great price. Or, you can always shop the after-Holiday sales for huge discounts.

Unless you are like me and SAY you are going to do that, then forget until you go to a store and see two crumpled, trampled, Halloween decorations left for 90% off and say "OH YEAH, I was supposed to do that!"

I think I'll stick with the craft fairs. They're more fun!



Handy Boy decorated this pumpkin with marker, and wrote "I'm a pumpkin!" on it.

Linking up to: Thrifty Decor Chick

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mommy Vase

I don't know where I ever read or heard about this, but somewhere, I got the idea to buy a little vase like this. Mommy vases can hold little tiny flowers that children tend to pick for their Mommies. :-)


I have no idea how Handy Boy found even this little thing in the yard in October, but brought it in for me. The vase is only 4 " tall, and its perfect for little things like this. It makes him happy to see his little flowers (and sometimes weeds!) in my tiny vase.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Christmas in October

This summer, Rob and I found some cute, old, ceramic Christmas trees that we just had to have. Both of us had grandmothers who had Christmas trees similar to these, with little colored lights.


Rob had to put a new electrical cord into one, but that was an inexpensive fix. The trees didn't cost very much either; the little one cost $10 and the larger one was $15. Sweet!

Rob cleaned them up, and we wrapped them into bubble wrap until Christmas. I'm looking forward to putting these out in December.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Frequently Asked Questions

How many homes have you lived in?
We have lived in two apartments, one rental home in between moves, and three houses. We've only done major decorating and renovations on the homes we have owned.

Where do you get your ideas for decorating?

We get a lot of ideas from watching decorating shows on HGTV, reading decorating magazines, surfing decorating websites, from homes of friends and family, visiting stores and antique shops, etc. There's so much out there that inspires us.


Where do you get the time to do all of your renovations?

We fit renovations into nights, weekends, and Rob's vacation days. Some days, we only work on projects for 30 minutes, or an hour or two. You can get a wall or two painted in a short amount of time! Some days we do work for 6-8 hours at a stretch, but more often than not, we work during short bursts of time.

How do you afford all of these renovations?  

We save a lot of money, since Rob and I do 99% of the labor on our projects. We have used very few contractors over the years. Although Rob knows how to put on a roof, we've hired roofing contractors. It just takes too long to put a roof on a home, and we're not fond of being up high and climbing high ladders.

We plan out our renovations, make a list of materials needed, and start shopping. We might go to Lowe's or Home Depot with our list and write down prices; or shop online for prices. We add everything up and save up the money before tackling a project.

Some people spend money on cars, vacations, clothes, jewelry...we spend money on paint, tools, wood, drywall, etc. We save up and it's what we love to do!
 

We'll be posting more info on this page as we get more questions. Have a question for us? Email: handymancraftywoman@gmail.com

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall Craftiness

Since the weather is turning cooler, I decided to take out my fall decorations and set them up. However, I noticed that two of our fall wreaths were looking pretty awful!! 

Two years ago, we got a lot of rain in the fall, and before Handy Man could put up the storm doors, the wreaths got POURED on and some of the decorations on them were faded and started to look "icky."

I didn't take a "before" photo...but I took out my glue gun (or, I should say, Handy Man's glue gun) and got to work.

I took some fake fall leaves, pine cones, berries, etc. that I bought cheap at a craft store (on sale for a WHOPPING $3), and I took off the faded pieces and glued the new pieces on.

Aren't they purty now? While I call myself "Crafty Woman", I'm definately not the type to make wreaths like this from scratch. But I can fix them, so we don't have to buy new ones.
 

Linking up to: The Shabby Nest

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Books

I've started to get into reading a bit more, now that Handy Boy is bigger and I can take some time to read more than a magazine article. We do have several books that I like to read and re-read...but I also like the library for borrowing books.

I used to work in libraries, so here's a tip: If your local library doesn't have the book you want, ask for them to order it for you through inter-library loan. This may sound obvious, but some people don't know about inter-library loans. 

You can ask your librarian to order a book for you from another library. It could take up to a week, but the library will call you when the book is in. Another advantage to this is that you can usually keep the books you borrow from another library for longer than two weeks, sometimes for about a month.

Another way for me to read books on the "cheap" is to buy them at places like Goodwill, library book sales, or yard sales. I've been excited to find books that I've been "meaning to read" for just $1 or even just 50 cents! You just never know what you will find at Goodwill, especially in the book section.

Or bookcase from this post has gotten filled up pretty nicely...but in the interests of keeping our book collection to a manageable amount, if I don't like the book and/or I know I won't read it again, I bring it back to Goodwill and donate it back. We have a good amount of books, but not a lot of space for bookcases, so I try to keep the amount we have down to what we have space for on our shelves.

Do you collect books? How many do you have? Enough for one bookcase, enough to fill a small public library, or something in-between?

Sunday, October 11, 2009


About Handy Man
I’m Rob (aka Handy Man). By day, I’m a computer geek. But when I get home at night, I strip off the slacks and shoes and don the jeans and sneaks.

My weekends are my most productive times as a handy man. As a homeowner, there are no lack of things to do. Laurie (aka Crafty Woman), maintains a "Honey-Do List" for me that never seems to get any shorter… no matter how many tasks I complete.

In addition to home maintenance, I’m known to build an occasional stick of furniture. Most recently, I built a nice cabinet for our new TV. From time to time, I’ve also been recruited to help Laurie decorate the room we’ve remodeled.  And yes, that even includes sewing.




About Crafty Woman 
I'm Laurie; I work part-time at a school, but I’m mostly an at-home mom to our Handy Boy, who is 9. 
I love reading, photography, home decorating and scrapbooking.

I’m “the Boss” when it comes to choosing paint colors, but sometimes it goes wrong and we have to re-paint! Before we renovate a room, I talk with Handy Man about what I want it to look like, and we make decisions about which materials to use. 


We shop mainly at Lowe’s and Home Depot for renovation materials, and at lots of thrifty places (like discount stores, consignment and antique shops) for decorating.

I also love to take photos and scrapbook. While this won’t be a blog about scrapbooking, I’ll share some of my ideas for organizing photos and scrapbook supplies.



About Handy Boy
Age:10
Grade: 4
Likes: Legos, Hotwheels, chicken fingers
Dislikes: homework, broccoli
Favorite holidays: Halloween and Christmas
Favorite Home Projects to do with Mom and Dad: yard work, anything that involves a hammer

This was posted on our 13th Anniversary, September 20th, 2010:

Today is our 13th Wedding Anniversary.

Lucky number 13! Aren’t we cute? I was 25 and Rob had just turned 26.  Some fun facts about us:
 
Number of apartments we’ve lived in: 2
 

Number of homes we’ve lived in: 4 (one was a rental, three were homes we bought.)
 

Number of times we’ve moved our crap from apartment to house to rental to house: We don’t even want to think about it!
 

Number of years we have been renovating homes: Over 13, yikes!
 

Number of bathrooms we have renovated over the years: 5
 

Number of kitchens we’ve renovated: 3
 

Number of bedrooms we’ve renovated: 11
 

Number of wounds we have sustained from renovating projects: Too many to count. Cuts, bruises, many splinters, a few mild (!!) electric shocks. Thankfully, all were treatable without a trip to the ER.
 

Number of ceiling fans we have installed: Eleventy-billion. (We like ceiling fans.)
 

Number of sewer back-ups we have had: One. And let us never speak of it again.
 

Most difficult renovation project: Handy Man: The kitchen in our second home. (Crafty Woman: I will post pictures of this sometime.)

 
Crafty Woman: The upstairs bathroom in our current home. (Pictures to come for this as well.) Everything needed to be torn out, carried down a stairway, and heaved into a dumpster. In the winter. Then we had to heave all new fixtures INTO the house, and up the stairs. Think about carrying a toilet and a bathtub up a flight of stairs! During the project when everything was ripped out, we had to go DOWNstairs to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. I hated that! 


Runner up: Renovating the one and only bathroom we had in our first house.
 

Easiest renovation project: Uhhhh…we’ll get back to you on that one.
 

Handy Man’s favorite room reno: The kitchen in our second home, because it was so difficult. (He said something about it being “rewarding.”)
 

Crafty Woman’s favorite room reno: The above-mentioned upstairs bathroom in this home. More relief than rewarding, for me, I think.


Happy Anniversary to my Handy Man!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The "Fruits" of Handy Man's Labor

This summer, Handy Man tried to plant some vegetables in containers on the back deck. It didn't work out too well, unfortunately! Usually he is very good with plants, yard work and such...but we had an extremely rainy summer this year in New England. Some of the plants just didn't grow at all!! We got a few measly roma tomatoes out of it. Here they are:


When I say "measly", I'm just referring to the amount we got, because these two tomatoes were delicious!! I cut them up and we ate them in a salad.

Handy Man will regroup and try again next spring. He says he learned a few things that he will change next year. Container gardening is not something that we will be giving advice on any time soon, as you can see from our results!


Do any of you garden? Anyone else in New England have problems with too much rain this summer?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fruit Pizza Recipe

I haven't made this in ages, I first tried it at a Pampered Chef party. YUMMMMMM! It's soooo tasty. Of course, mine didn't come out as fancy-looking as you might see in a cookbook, but it tasted great. That's something I need to work on, I can bake pretty well but my "presentation" isn't the best.

Fruit Pizza 
2 packages of refrigerated crescent roll dough (I've also seen that people make this with sugar cookie dough, but I used the crescent roll dough.)
8 ounce package of cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons of cornstarch
4 cups of assorted fruit. I used: blueberries, strawberries, kiwi and bananas. (Dip the bananas in lemon juice to keep them from turning brown quickly.) You can use any other fruits that you like.
 
Unroll the crescent dough and lay down into a shallow pan, pressing the edges together. Bake according to package directions, then let the dough cool. 

Drain pineapple; reserve the juice. Chop up all the fruit into bite-sized pieces.
 
This is a HUUUUGE jelly roll pan, mine didn't fit the whole pan and the edge came out crooked. But apparently, that's how I roll.

Frosting: Combine 2 tablespoons of the pineapple juice with the cream cheese and sugar and mix.

Cook remaining pineapple juice with the cornstarch over low heat. Stir until the mixture thickens up and looks like this:
 

Once dough is cool, spread the frosting mix over the dough.

Lay the fruit over the frosting. Then, drizzle the fruit with the glaze. I (CAREFULLY) poured the slightly-cooled-off glaze into a ziploc bag that had one SMALL SNIP cut out of the corner. I used it like a frosting bag. Make the snip in the bag SMALL, or the glaze will spray everywhere. (Don't ask me how I know this.)

Do the best you can to make it look purty, and then fail miserably. Wonder if anyone will eat this mess.
 
Refrigerate the whole mess for a while to cool it off before serving. You can even cut it with a pizza cutter!

Printable recipe:

Fruit Pizza 
2 packages of refrigerated crescent roll dough (I've also seen that people make this with sugar cookie dough, but I used the crescent roll dough.)
8 ounce package of cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons of cornstarch
4 cups of assorted fruit. I used: blueberries, strawberries, kiwi and bananas. (Dip the bananas in lemon juice to keep them from turning brown quickly.) You can use any other fruits that you like.
 
Unroll the crescent dough and lay down into a shallow pan, pressing the edges together. Bake according to package directions, then let the dough cool. Drain pineapple; reserve the juice. Chop up all the fruit into bite-sized pieces. 

Frosting: Combine 2 tablespoons of the pineapple juice with the cream cheese and sugar and mix.
Cook remaining pineapple juice with the cornstarch over low heat. Stir until the mixture thickens up.

Once dough is cool, spread the frosting mix over the dough. Lay the fruit over the frosting. Then, drizzle the fruit with the glaze. Refrigerate for a while to cool it off before serving. You can cut this dessert with a pizza cutter.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

New (Old) Bookcase

We recently bought a book case at an antique store. I had been eying it for a while, hoping the price would come down a bit. We had a lot of books that were still packed away since our move here (in 2005!). We like to buy antiques since the quality is usually better than most of the newer furniture built these days; plus it can be less expensive.

One day, I was driving past the antique store where the bookcase was, and I had an urge to go in. They were having a sale on certain pieces, and the book case was STILL there, and better yet, it was marked down from $209 to $150! I called Handy Man on his cell, and he said "Buy it!" He had to go back a few days later and strap it onto his car to bring it home.

Behold our new bookcase! It is made out of mahogany. The back panels of the bookcase were a bit messed-up looking, but I knew Handy Man could fix it. He took the back panels off, and put them back into their correct places so they would lay better. 


The back has a label on it that says "Paine Furniture Company, Makers of Fine Furniture, Boston."
Do any of you buy antiques? What has your experience been with antiques?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Introduction

I've been thinking about starting a blog like this for a while now, so here we go!

I'm "Crafty Woman", and my husband, "Handy Man" and I have done a lot of work renovating and decorating houses. We are now living in our third house, and we wanted to share our ideas and photos with you. We'd also like to share photos of other people's renovations and home ideas, once we get some readers.


We live in New England. Our first house was built in approximately 1830. Our second home was built in approximately 1870. Both houses needed a LOT of work. Our third and current house was built in 1994. However, we've done extensive renovations on this home that we'll be sharing with you here.

We'll also share some of our ideas about decorating, organizing, collections, woodworking and scrapbooking. I'll post lots of pictures as well.

Feel free to post any comments, or send us an email to say hello or share any ideas to: handymancraftywoman@gmail.com

Thanks for reading!
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