Getting Occupancy

woman in safety gear
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Lifestyle Change

That was a frequent work outfit last year. I’ve certainly never worn anything like it for quilting. We finally got our certificate of occupancy and are living in Vicky, our no longer condemned Victorian house. I figure if something is going to take this much work and time, it deserves its own name. It’s been quite the adventure renting out our old house and discovering we couldn’t move into Vicky yet.

There was a lot of scrambling and multiple moves. But, we’re now living on the ground floor, which is still bigger than our entire previous house. I apologize for the long silence while I was putting in serious sweat equity into this house. And while I have some painting and basic mudding skills. I had to ‘up my skills’ and learn new tricks to tackle this house.

I’ve painted all the wall, trim and stairs on the lower level of the house. Here’s a before and after picture of the foyer stairs. It had a carpet runner with peeling paint all around it. I ripped off the runner and when I tested the brown paint, it was positive for lead.

before and after shots of stairs


I had a little freak out, I do have 3 kiddos, ranging in ages from 3-8 years old. Then I sat down and reasoned through the problem. Millions of people have grown up in houses with lead paint and they were fine. There are tests to monitor lead exposure. And, as a quilter, I have the patience to tackle some pretty tedious detail work. I donned my fun outfit and started chipping the loose trim/stair paint while using my new construction grade HEPA backpack vacuum. I filled in the chipped areas and age grooves with wood putty. Everything got sealed up with a heavy duty primer and then 3 coats of a different color paint on top of that. The gray trim has grown on me but it’s main purpose is so I can see if the paint starts chipping again and quickly fix it.


We got into the house in early winter but then, there was the holiday craziness and getting settled in. There’s still most of the second floor to tackle, but we’re no longer juggling a mortgage and rent. I finally feel like I can take it easier and start playing with my blog again.


Craft Rooms

As part of last year’s adventure in buying this house, we wound up moving our family of 5 and our rottweiler Karlee 3 times in less than 6 months. You read that right, 3 freaking times. I didn’t even manage to unpack my downsized craft spot in the first move. We were there about a month.

first two craft spots

The second move was to an apartment in a converted house that was only a mile from our real house. I’d drop my kids off at school/daycare and then swing on over to the house to get to work. I set up a craft spot in the apartment but I only managed to tailor a few curtains for some friends. Old houses often have interesting window situations that are more manageable with some sewing creativity. I have a number of crooked windows that I had to hem the curtains crooked so it would look right.

empty attic studioAfter living here for a few months, I’ve decided to use the converted part of the attic for my future creation studio. The library gets too much traffic and the attic has a nice feel to it. One of the previous owners converted half of the attic to a dance studio without pulling permits from the city (not the only room in the house they did without permits). We had to disconnect most of the electricity up there before we could get our certificate of occupancy and it technically is only suppose to be used for storage.

I’ve had a code enforcement officer up and he is researching what it would take to make sure the spot is legal for me to use. The room is well finished, the windows are large enough to climb out of in case of an emergency and I plan on getting a roll out fire ladder. I want to make sure it’s all legal because I am very concerned that if something happened to my crafting stuff, insurance might not cover it because the space was suppose to be used for storage. (LOL, another future research project.)

foyer sewing areaSo in the meantime, we’re finally settled into our house and I’ve taken over the foyer as my temporary sewing area. We mainly come in through the mud room, so not too much traffic. It’s a little hard going backwards sewing room wise, but it just means I’ll have to figure out how to make things work in this space. And, I will most likely appreciate my future studio even more when I finally get it set up.

Next Week–Fiskar Cutting Mats

Now, as I’m sure many of you know, when you move, things have a way of getting lost. I managed to misplace my 24×36 cutting mat. LOL, never thought I’d loose something that big, but some times I’m an over achiever. So, I figured that it wouldn’t hurt to buy a new one and if I eventually found the old one, I’d just have lots of coverage for a future cutting table.

Well, it suddenly occurred to me that the last time I bought a cutting mat was about 10 years ago and it was a little 12″ x 18.” I got my big mat as a present. There were some interesting things I noticed while shopping around. One of those things was how to figure out the best price when you can’t wait for a sale. Check back in with me next Monday for tips on buying a cutting mat.

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4 thoughts on “Getting Occupancy

  1. I haven’t checked in here for some time because I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

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