The Project Pile Revisited

October 23, 2018



Several years ago, I sat at the computer and wrote down some of the DIY jobs on my seemingly never-ending to-do list and called it The Project Pile.

I carefully chronicled what needed to be repaired, completed or totally made over in this tiny little cottage of mine, in the hopes that by putting it out there for all the world to see, it would provide me with the motivation to find the time I needed to actually get it all done.

Did it work, you ask?

Well. Sort of.

If you're asking if I still have a project pile, the answer is yes. As many of you well know from your own experience, free time is an elusive thing to harness and those project piles seem regenerate themselves often.

While I can usually complete all of the large DIYs, like installing a new front door or replacing a faucet, with a little breathing room before a new one needs to be tackled, when it comes to crafts, I never really complete them all, before a new idea pops into my brain.

So whether that pile is replenished in waves or on a constant basis, it's always growing at a much faster rate than that of my free time.

If, however, you're asking if I accomplished everything on that particular project list, way back in 2015, well now, that I can answer that with a more more definitive kind of...

Two of the items that needed attention were a torn chair and curtain valance. The former was in desperate need of repair. The latter just need to be completed.

How To Add A Patchwork Skirt To A Chair

Funny thing happened on the way though, I actually combined the two and patched the chair with the valance. True story. My friend Nancy, sent me a link to a genius idea and I ran with it.

Three years later, I still adore my chair and it's held up fabulously in the face of daily use by me and many, many messy teenagers. They flop, scootch, curl up and generally disrespect it as they jam two or more tails into at a time. But it still looks perfect.

Of course, I never made the valance, hence my kind of answer.

The third project on the list, another chair in need of an update, is still on the list. It looks exactly the same. Not been touched. Actually that's a lie. I did cover it with velvet shams one Christmas to give it a holiday feel, but that doesn't really count.

Cover Furniture With Pillow Shams For A Quick Makeover

It was a temporary makeover. I'm determined to tackle it fully one day. Just not anytime soon. It's a big job.

My husband thinks we should toss it and just buy a better chair, but I like this one. It's old, which I love. It's petite and fits the space well, which I also love. Best of all, it has a story, which I really love...and I promised to share it way back when, but I don't believe I ever did. So here goes.

One day, many years ago, after the kids went off to school, I decided to take a walk in the neighborhood. Now, I don't have great lungs, so exercise isn't easy for me, but every now and then I give it go.

On this particular morning, I was doing ok, when about four or five blocks from home, I spotted the chair in someone's trash. The cushions were some orange nightmare from the 70's, but the bones were so good...and it had an ottoman!

I was in love. I figured I would walk home, grab my car and come back for it. Until.

Until I heard the garbage truck a block over and panicked. There was no way I could get home and back in time. In my fluster, I didn't think to wait for the garbagemen to explain to them that I wanted the chair. Plus, I didn't want to take the chance that someone else would grab it after the trash truck left.

I mean, it was awesome. Didn't everyone want it?? How it lasted all night without someone grabbing it was beyond me. But whatever, their loss.

Determined to keep my curbside treasure and hide it from the world until I could get it home, I grabbed the chair, dragged it a house or two away, struggling with it and those icky cushions, and hid it in someone's bushes. I tucked the ottoman in another bush nearby, and comforted by the camouflage I race walked home with my screaming lungs.

The scene of me trying to get it out of the bushes and wrestling into my four wheel drive completely out of breath and red faced, I'm sure, was just as ridiculous. Thank goodness, Ring Doorbells weren't a thing back then or I would've been all over the internet.

I was so happy when I got it home. Big shocker, my husband was not.

Where did you get THAT??

In the garbage. Can you believe that someone just threw it away?

Yes. It's horrible. YOU should throw it away. 

Cleary, his opinion did not count. I took the cushions to an upholsterer and had him use them as a pattern for a brand new set with fabric I grabbed off the bargain table. And the rest is history. It's served us very well and I fought hard for it. It's not going anywhere.

What's new on the project pile list? Another very good question. Although, let's keep it down since my husband doesn't know about most of them. Yet.

First off, we need a new bathtub. Yup...a tub. No, no, I'm not getting one of those fancy claw foot numbers, although they are lovely. My grandmother had one. It was the real deal, big, full size, heavy cast iron or whatever they were made of back then. She had a pull chain toilet, too. Crazy how cool that house was...especially that tub, I showered in it often.

Honestly though, it was not enjoyable. It was a monster. You had to climb in over these really high side walls and the curtain was a 360 degree wrap around that always stuck to you. It was a wonderful looking piece, but completely impractical.

Cottage Style Bathroom Decor Exquisitely Unremarkable

We have a tub/shower combo in the tiniest bathroom you've ever seen. It needs to function well and efficiently. Plus there's no room a free standing anything.

Right now, we have a jetted tub in there. BIG MISTAKE. We thought it would be fun and relaxing. Turns out all it is, is dirty. Jetted tubs are not meant to be put in rooms with a shower/ tub combo.

They never dry out and the jets get gross quickly and take forever to clean with a brush and a dishwasher tab. And dental floss. Don't ask...but it's not fun. At all.

Jetted Tub

So it needs to go. The plan is to just replace the tub itself, working around the existing wall tile and floor. I'm good with that, I still love them and the big guy agrees. However, I would like to change the wall color and maybe get a new vanity, sink, mirror, fixture and countertop.

The countertop is marble. Another HUGE MISTAKE with kids. The soap spills and stains the marble. It's soft and porous. I don't know what I want yet, but let's just say that whole bathroom is on the list. Shhh...

How To Make A Box Pleat Valance

Next up, the master bathroom. What's wrong with that? Well, nothing really, we recently renovated it and it's gorgeous. Basic, but it fits the house. The box pleat valance has been there forever though. It's my most popular post, so it's a bit nostalgic for me...I hesitate to change it, but five years is too long.

I need a new accent color, new towels, new accessories. That all starts with a new window treatment. It's a smallish to-do, but it qualifies for the list.

The rest of the items are also small. And doable, with enough time.

I'd like to recover the family room bolster pillow. I have the fabric. I just have to get the nerve up to confront my sewing machine. I'm never sure what I'm going to get from that one. And it's been a long time since I recovered a bolster pillow.

Fixing A Bolster Pillow

Sewing circles can be a challenge. I winged it last time and it was a little messy. I also closed it with safety pins. That always bothered me, I'd like to do better. Now that I know how to install a zipper, I should use one.

Lastly, I'd like to replace the wooden shelves in my glass front kitchen cabinets with glass ones so the lights in my cabinets shine all the way down to the bottom shelf. Right now they only properly illuminate the top shelves. I've never liked that. It's been on the list for almost fifteen years. I think it's time.

There's no DIY involved, other than dialing the phone to place an order. I've waited because the kids were small and I wasn't sure if they'd be careful enough grabbing dishes off glass shelves...even tempered ones meant for cabinets. They're older now, I think it'll be ok. So it's on the short list.

Beyond that, are the crafty projects. That list is too long to share.

Thanksgiving and Christmas alone could keep me typing into next week.

And I'd rather be done with the listing and get on with the doing.

Or at least the planning of the doing.

If I could only find the time...

What's on your list?? Do tell!!

Hey before you go, I'd like to announce the winner of the Debbie Mumm craft book. Congratulations to Teri!! Thanks to everyone who entered and keep your eyes open. I have more giveaways coming up soon. 

Giveaway Book Winner

46 comments:

  1. Huge list but really great idea Kim. I went back and looked at the chair your 'recovered' - amazing, I think I could do that especially using a hot iron and the tape you used as well as the staples and hot glue gun.
    Joy

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    1. Oh Joy, I'm so glad you found something inspiring in my project pile! I have to say it was really easy and it's held up so well. I highly recommend the process...if I can do it, anyone can!

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  2. Oh my gosh, Kim, I am so happy to be the winner of this charming book from your giveaway. Now maybe I will become as creative as you are. You never cease to amaze me with your creative treasures that you share with us. Again, thank you so very much and I look forward to sweet mail in our mailbox. I hope that you have a warm and cosy day. Homespun Hugs ♥ Teri

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    1. Teri, I just know you'll love the book. There's lots of pretty in there and it's perfect time of year to get crafting! Congratulations!! Hugs!

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  3. Oh!!!! I so get it, Kim. My list right now is to "get rid of excess that I have stored in the basement. Everything has a story which makes it kind of sad to just let some things go but I know it needs to be done. I also have many small "finish up/sewing" projects. Most likely these will NOT get done anytime soon either. LOL At least I quit lying to myself about doing it "soon". xo Diana

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    1. Diana, getting rid of things is number one on my list, too!! I tore through several closets this weekend, but there are always those things that I pull out determined to toss, but hang on to because of their story. Oh boy...I'm way too sentimental!! I hope you have more luck!! xoxo

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  4. I can so relate with you nabbing those curbside finds with excitement, only to get home and have my husband react the same way. Sometimes I sneak things into the house, and then hide them in plain sight in my craft studio as if they've always been there. It's a delicate dance! Some of the curb side finds on my list are a banker's chair, a bench and a vintage sewing machine table (just the tip of the iceberg). I also have finished projects completed that we don't even have room for. For me, it's hard to pass up perfectly good things going to landfill but also just as hard to part with them when they're finished and we don't have the space for them! I guess the biggest thing on my list right now should be to purge - lol!

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    1. Sara, I saw your sewing table and it was amazing. Lots of worth but totally worth the makeover...and the grief from the hubby!! I have a corner table sitting in the garage that he keeps wanting to toss and I'm begging him to just pretend it's not there...for now!!

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  5. you know I'm not a DIY'er. so the back end of this post left me with my mouth hanging open. except for the jet tub or whatever... I was already loving your bathroom just the way it is!!! I mean marble! I'd be teaching me some kids I'm thinking. but then I'm not there. lived in and loved is a look I like a lot.
    the CHAIR story? the little brown chair and ottoman? they're the STAR of this post!!! I LAUGHED OUT LOUD. yup. the writer in you sneaked out. I picture Doris Day at her peak starring in your role! LOL!
    LOVE YOU! LOLOL!!!

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    1. It was a ridiculous scene, Tammy, ridiculous!! And if you saw me as Doris Day, well then, wow, that is quite a compliment...which I will gladly take! Especially since people used to compare my mom to her all the time...so your words mean more than you could ever imagine...although I don't think my adventure was quite as well choreographed as Doris' would've been!! ☺️

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  6. Oh Kim, I hear you about the unfinished projects. I have two especially on my list that are projects for summer use that I am excited about that not only aren't finished but are barely started. Maybe this winter I will get them finished in order to use them next summer.

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    1. Lorri, some of these things have been on my list for years...and of course, there are the never-ever-ever-ending projects like cleaning out the cabinets, pantries and closets that keep filing up right after I clean them up and out. Ugh. I wish you a winter full of progress!! And some fun of course, too.

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  7. So your jetted tub makes me nervous...I have wanted one for so long. We're considering adding one to our master bath. It would be just the tub, no shower. We have a separate walk-in shower there. I want one for my poor arthritic joints. I love them when we travel....maybe I need to hire a housekeeper as well!

    I hate cleaning the bathroom more than any other room in my house.

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    1. Oh Jenny, it's been a real pain. I have to say, if you don't have a dual shower/ tub you should be fine. It was lovely when we used it, but the kids shower in there, a lot, sometimes several times a day as you can imagine with activities and such and the tub just never dried out. Perhaps today there are better versions, ours in about 10 years old. I would investigate, but don't let my story scary you. Your set up sounds different than ours...Good luck!!

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  8. Hi Kim, oh having a house and keeping it in good updated condition is a lot of work but necessary. It amazes me all of the DIYS you and your husband do together. You two save a lot of money. I just had my dishwasher replaced last weekend in my kitchen. I’m hoping I don’t have replace anything else in there. Lol.
    Enjoy your day and weekend. :)

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    1. Julie, I have to say that there's no way half of the things (maybe more!!) in the house would ever have gotten done if my husband wasn't so handy. It's saved us tons of money and I'm not sure that any handyman would go along with some of my harebrained DIY schemes. 😉 Enjoy your new dishwasher!!

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  9. What a fun post. You had me giggling several times.....because I can relate. Yes, my pile is pretty high too. And I can barely close my craft closet with getting certain "supplies" that I know will come in handy. some.day. lol Thanks for sharing. :) Cindy

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    1. I hear you loud and clear, Cindy, my craft closet is the same way!! I actually just cleaned out a closet to make room for my fabric stash...while I too wait for that elusive some day!!

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  10. This post is a hoot! I can just see you hiding the bright orange cushions in the bushes. You are so right...jetted tubs are not easy to keep clean.

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    1. My kids would've been mortified, Donna...it was pretty silly all the way around. But I do love that chair!! Ha!

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  11. Your projects sound wonderful and unique....glass shelves? fabulous! Thank God right now that you have a handy husband! My list is about as long as yours but I can't even voice it or write it. It's too depressing! I would like to at least finish the linen closet area off my newly remodeled bathroom. Time? Strength? Motivation? Still waiting for that to come!

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    1. AnnMarie, I hear you...if he weren't handy, half this stuff would never ever get done. And as far as my list goes, yes, time and strength are missing here, too. Trust me!!

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  12. Kim, you have a lot to catch up on but it sure will be great when they are all done. You will have some very nice items. I still haven't cleaned out my craft room yet so that is my excuse. Yes, those old tubs are very pretty, very unique, and very heavy! They are cast iron and mine came with the cottage so it is an old one. We had it resurfaced 30 years ago and it looks wonderful, but as age has a way of ever advancing, it has become not practical and downright scary, so don't get one..Happy Wednesday..xxoJudy

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    1. Thanks Judy! If I had the room, I might be tempted, but I remember how difficult it was to use way back when. I don't think it would be a very safe bet for me anymore. I like my walk in shower in the master. No tub in there...but that's ok. I'm lucky I have a master bath in this teeny tiny house!! Have a great weekend! xoxo

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  13. i'm a fairly new follower of your blog. I had to laugh out loud about your story of the chair and ottoman! What a hoot! I could just picture it... and Tammy J was so right.. I could just picture a Doris Day movie with her doing that! I too have many TO DO lists... everywhere... in books... on pieces of paper, taped to my closet door, etc. Things get done very slowly and I LOVE nothing more than crossing that one item off, but then usually add 4 more things to the list. They are all never-ending. I have things like "scan all of my photos onto my computer", finish that Craftsy class on watercoloring, start that quilt along afthan that I bought the yarn for a year ago!, get a new kitchen faucet (yet alone who is going to install it?), and pain the ugly brown headboard white, that hubby found such a good deal on for $5.00 3 years ago and promised HE would paint it white! (still brown). Big projects for sure.... and also have TONS of small crafty projects I want to do or need to finish! It's never ending but always feels good to get something done! I agree with the jets in the tub... I used to have one (the jets never did work) and had to clean those jets and hated it! I'll be waiting for an update on your project list! Marilyn

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    1. Marilyn, welcome aboard! I love to see new names in the comments...especially when they compare me to Doris Day! 😉 Your lists sound like mine. I have them on papers all over the house...blog lists, kids' lists, housework and craft lists. I love crossing things off, too...it's a very satisfying feeling isn't it? At least until we start adding to it again! I hope you'll visit and comment again! And I hope you have a lovely weekend.

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  14. There's no end to the projects that are on the list when you own a house, Kim!! Your projects all sound great, can't wait to see what you do with them....and that chair you re-did is still one of my favorites!! Hmmm what's on my list? Some touch up paint....clean the windows....scrub the tile backsplash in the kitchen. Not a ton, I'm truly exhausted after a kick-butt wedding season and I just want to relax. I do need to cut back the gardens for fall, but if I don't get to it before the snow flies, oh well!

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    1. ...and I hear the snow may be flying pretty soon in your neck of the woods. Man it's cold here, I can only imagine what it must be up there. I'm sure it's beautiful with all those leaves changing color on the mountain, though. I hope you take a break from you pile to enjoy the view!

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  15. Honey, your list just wore me out! The only thing I would be doing on that list is calling the handyman to come tackle it for me! :-) I have a small "to do" list and am working on it a little bit at a time. The biggie was painting that front door, then getting a new mailbox...both of those are done. We also added painting the trim around the garage door...done, at least the first coat. When then rain stops...IF this rain ever stops...I will put on the 2nd coat and paint the trim around the window. Then, ordering a new back door is next and having that installed. Then comes the biggie...redoing the stairs...that will be months of doing as we will only be able to refinish 2 at a time since we use our upstairs. Can we trade lists??!! ;-) Love and hugs!

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    1. Yikes! Those stairs sound like a tough thing to work around. I know you are a dedicated DIYer though. I mean if you're willing to sleep with the door open all night while your husband is out of town, well then, a little bit of stair skipping should be a breeze!! Ha!

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  16. I have a list in my head, but not written down. Most of the current projects are things that the hubs needs to be involved with and he's busy, busy with work. But soon, a big project - replacing the kitchen door and door frame will be getting done! Hurray!

    I mostly have painting rooms on my list right now, and I've decided I'm going to ask my kids for help. I'll buy pizza, they can help paint. Its the cutting in that kills me, I'm great with rolling!

    Good luck with your projects!

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    1. Oh that cutting in is the toughest part of the job...I totally agree. But pizza sounds great, it's my favorite. I'd work for a slice. Or two!! Good luck to you, too and stay dry this weekend!

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  17. LOL @ your curbside shopping! I love it! Can't wait to do some more around here. As for my list of projects and crafts... it is growing by leaps and bounds! ACK!

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    1. Tammie...it was ridiculous...but totally worth it. I'm sitting in my chair right now!!

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  18. I'm afraid to write down my list...it keeps swirling through my brain and I'm trying to ignore it, for now! After the holidays, I really need to get down to business.

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    1. I'm thinking that's when I'll get to that list, too, Ann. Especially that tub. The contractor said call me December 1st. Um...no thanks! I do not want my house ripped up when Santa comes to town. I'll be calling him in January!!

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  19. what........are you talking about my bathroom with no curtain?????
    my den with no valances???
    35 people due in for Thanksgiving.....
    Nah, I never put off projects....😉
    Blessings
    J

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    1. J... I hear you! My mom used to say that the best motivation to get the house spic and span and dressed its best was company!! Here's to the mad holiday rush! ☺️

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  20. I'm laughing so hard about you hiding that chair in the bushes! But really, that was pretty smart to think of that. And it worked because you got your chair! Brilliant! Good luck with the bathtub replacement. There are so many choices now days, it kinda makes it confusing on what to buy, but it's still fun to pick out new stuff. :)

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    1. You have no idea…I looked like such a crazy person, I’m sure. I think my husband was more horrified by my story than he was by the actual state of the chair. And thanks…that tub. 😡 It was not a good choice. It was fun for the first few years and when the kids were small, they loved the bubbles. I just can’t deal with cleaning it anymore...

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  21. I love that chair! The story makes it even better lol My project list was really long, but it's getting better inside the house. Outside is another matter! This past week I tackled the living room ceiling and a few things in the bathroom, which is getting closer to being finished. It doesn't sound like much, but it took me FOREVER lol Oh and two posts in a week and I'm actually visiting my blogger friends again. Hi! ;)

    love to you,
    rue

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    1. Oh...that does sound like progress, Rue! I can't wait to see what you've done. And I hear you with the blog stuff! I am so behind. Happy November! xoxo

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  22. Hi,
    HA .. the entire bathroom is on the list. HA, you sound like me about our kitchen. But it is the busiest room of all. I think we will wait until the boys leave the nest and tackle the kitchen. Maybe.. if I can last that long with it. LOL

    Love the chair story.

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    1. I may have to wait until after my kids leave the nest too, Carla. They’ve already told me I can’t get rid of the red in the red bathroom!! Uh-oh.

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  23. The projects are never ending Kim. I am doing the whole house one room at a time. At least the painting is done and that made a huge difference. The rest can go at a slower pace. And after I'm done it will be time to start all over again.

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    1. Totally, Mary. We need to start all over. I just don't have the energy right now. 😉

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