Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The block is here

November 20, 2009

Judgemental much?

November 20, 2009

One of my jobs during this construction process, while Matt is busy working at the shop, is to call and drive around getting quotes for building materials. After finding the cheapest concrete block in town, I had driven up to pay for the block which would be delivered in a few days. Then I had to return the day of delivery to add mortar mix to our order so they would put it on the truck before it left at lunch time. I had spoken to the receptionist on the phone and told her I wasn't sure if one of us would make it there in time. But I did and showed up to pay for the mortar. While I was waiting for the paperwork to print the receptionist happened to ask if I had to take off of work to come there. Fair enough question. I replied, "No, I don't work". Now I'm not sure if it was because most people can't afford to build a house right now or because this company is located in the Lake Norman area, or what, but the lady said to me, "Oh, are you one of those princesses that won't work?" Excuse me? Who says that OUT a customer no less! Maybe it was the way I worded my response. I could have said, "I don't have a job" or "I don't work right now", but does it really matter? Maybe it was because I was dress in a cute wrap sweater and jeans, wearing makeup and jewelery. Maybe I should have showed up in my work boots and jeans with mud and concrete stains and a ponytail. How does she know I don't have 3 kids at home to take care of? I don't really care if she wants to think that silently in her head, but who has the audacity to say that out loud to the person you are talking about? Am I crazy here? I wish I would have showed a moderate reaction when she said that, so she would realize it was rude. But I never have the nerve to say anything until after the fact. I was friendly and simply said "Actually, I was laid off. And so is my husband and we are doing all this work ourselves because it's all we can afford." And proceeded to tell her what work I used to be in and chit chatted about the school system for a few minutes. This, or course, was all after we had given their company $1300. It's not like we can afford to go anywhere else. Oh well. What do ya do.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Where did the fall go?

These pictures were taken back at the peak of leaf season. I love fact that we own so many beautiful trees. You just can't see most of the from our future house. Go take a hike!

So this is how they get the water out!!

November 3, 2009

This is how they drill wells. It was very interesting. I still don't completely understand how wells works. So primitive, yet it's come so far.

Gotta say, we were VERY anxious about this because they can't give you an estimate because they JUST DON'T KNOW how deep it will go. We knew minimum would be 200ft, but it could be as much as 600ft or more. Our neighbors on either side have wells that are almost 500 feet deep. They just keep drilling until they hit water. They way it's priced is, you pay a minimum for the first 200 ft plus the well pump and materials. Then, it's $10 for each additional foot. That adds up FAST. So the price range was about $3000-$8000. We were just praying our well would be less than 400 ft.

This is the drill bit in the ground. That white stuff if "drilling mud", some kind of foam to keep the bit from getting to hot and to clean the debris from the hole. There was so much of it, it formed a river down the hill about 150 feet. That visual helps me grasp just how deep they are drilling.

Don't fall in the river of foam, Matt!

This is the PVC casing that protects the top 150 ft or so of well from caving in.....or something.

That's WATER BABY!!!! We felt like we struck GOLD! Or maybe they stopped taking gold from our pockets. We have a 345 ft well. With a flow of 10 gallons/min. Ideal flow is 2 to 12 gal/min. Looks like we're good on that one.

There she is! Pump is inside the PVC. All we need to do now is wire it to the power so the pump works. I was not about to pay $150 for a ugly fake rock. We'll have to think of something better.
Wishing well perhaps?

Mack Daddy of a Truck

October 30, 2009

Here comes the concrete. They mix it on site, so you don't have to pay for what you don't use. Kinda unheard of in the construction world. That truck was state of the art. All the way from South Carolina. They are also the best deal in town(especially if you pay cash)

Kinda blurry, but you can still see the look of immense satisfaction on our faces.

Rain, Rain Go AWAY!

October 28, 2009

Sunny days all week gave us just enough time to dig out the footings, but not enough time to put in the dams, grading stakes, and get it inspected. We knew it was going to rain and we knew there wasn't much we could do about it.

So, after the rain, we came to assess the damage and dig out the mud. It wasn't so bad although it did take us all day to clean it out.

Hopefully the inspector will come in the morning. While Matt was working at the shop, I went to the land to get a head start on scooping out the water. It was some back breaking work. I was there for 4 hours before Matt arrived to help.

The water level was up to where my hand is when I got there. That's about 12 inches of water to scoop out with the 5 gal bucket(I can only scoop 2.5 gal at a time though).

Once the bucket has done it's job, there are still little puddles of mud all around that have to be removed as well. That's where the shovel comes in. You've got to hop down in there and get dirty.

I could feel my shoes getting heavier and heavier, but no point in cleaning them yet. This picture is actually right after I scraped the over hanging globs off, so I could walk a little better. No picture of the before.

Now I haven't seen a many of footings in my day, but those are some downright purdy footings if you ask me. Clean and relatively dry and ready to pass inspection.

Breaking Ground!

October 19, 2009

With one scoop of dirt, progress begins. There is finally something happening!! My posts are about a month and a half behind. I forget I even have a blog to post to. So, I have to play catch up for a while.

Here is the after. Our footings are dug. Now get the concrete poured in them before it rains. For inspection, there cannot be any loose dirt or water in the footings because they can't tell if it is solid enough ground to hold a house. With many rainy days ahead this will be quite a juggle!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Construction Starts!

We got our building permit on Oct. 2nd, which we were very nervous about. The county looks over your plans to make sure it passes code. Since Matt drew the foundation plan himself, we weren't sure if it would pass, but it DID! Now we can start.

Batter boards are up. They tell us where to put the foundation block. I'm standing in my future kitchen!

Garage/Apartment Plans

Fall Mantel

Total cost of this mantel(not including portrait): $8
Candlesticks $1 at neighborhood yard sale,
white candles from walmart $3,
pumpkins $4,
oak logs from yard $0,
clippings from yard $0

Originally, I had the two logs on the same side and 3 candlesticks on the other, but mix them up to it would stay visually balanced.

Before and Afters

New fabric on my patio table chairs. Old fabric was not outdoor fabric and had gotten mildewed, not to mention the boring color. It will sit in our future patio with my lime green antique glider.

Cheap fan makeover. This is the only before photo I had. You can see how awful the scalloped globes are and you can't see the gold painted designs on the fan blades. But they were there, I promise. New modern globes at Lowes cost $5 each, but I found decent clear hammered-glass ones at a thrift store for 50 cents. The clear glass was awful, as I expected(because it does not filter the light), so $5 I bought a can of frosted spray paint. I also flipped the blades over to the plain side. Perfection! $7 fan makeover.

Before and Afters

Don't let the picture fool you. The chairs were multi toned with a really bad finish. I got them off of craigslist for $10 each!! There are actually 6 chairs. Great for guests! I distressed them on the edges and put a few dents in them.

This is the area right next to the carport that we walk by everyday. I also just planted pansies to add color while the knock out roses are dormant.


Welcome to my new blog! I am so excited to be starting this and sharing our life with you. I have been contemplating writing one for some time now. We have so many exciting things happening in our life right now that I needed a place to share our thoughts and pictures. This blog is not just a DIY home renovating blog, and its not just a blog about our family life. It's also not just a blog where I can share my thoughts. It is a combination of all three, or whatever else I feel like posting. I guess you never know what you're going to find, so check back often! I can't wait to hear your comments!

First, let me introduce myself, if anyone reading doesn't know me. My name is Allison Kelly. My husband is Matt and we currently live in Charlotte, NC. We've been married for about a year and a half. For that time, we have been renting an old ranch house that needed major help. Since our landlord is my father-in-law, we have a lot of freedom with what we do, as long as it's nothing major or expensive. We have painting ever room in the house and planted 30 new shrubs in our 1 acre yard. Currently, Matt and I are both unemployed, so the challenge has been how to make this house livable by spending as little money as possible(landlords do pay for what we buy for the house i.e. paint, bushes).

Matt and I own 18 acres of land in the nearby Gaston Co. town of Stanley. It is heavily wooded and we have been working for the past 2 years to clear out a place to build our house. Since we are doing most of the work ourselves(and have no money to do it), we are actually building a temporary living space first, so we can get on our land and stop paying rent. We recently starting construction on our garage/apartment, in which we will live until we can build are permanent home attached to the garage. I will be posting pictures as progress gets made, along with my little design tips.

No, our house doesn't look like the ones in the magazines or the ones on all the other DIY blogs. We are UNEMPLOYED. I would agree that most of the other DIY bloggers don't go crazy with their spending and they do some creative things on a small budget, but when you don't have an income, you don't have a small budget, you have NO budget. So I fix things little by little. And always go to my neighborhood yard sales to see what needs a good coat of paint. I make no excuses for it. For it is.... A Work In Progress.


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