Saturday, June 29, 2019

Introducing...The de Jong Lake House

If you've been following this blog since the beginning back in May of 2011, you might remember that this blog started as a way to record the building of our new home, which we called the de Jong Dream House. Over the years, the blog has turned into more of a quilting blog as Jen has taken over and we were done building the house and were thoroughly enjoying living in the house.

But as the great theologian John Lennon once said, "Life is what happens when you make other plans." For as much as we thought we considered everything when building our home, we could not have known that our son would be so passionate about NASA and have some social-emotional challenges to go along with his giftedness. So, as much as we love our dream house, we love our son more. Time for a new dream.

It took 16 months of looking at a lot of houses, but as of June 15, 2019, we are officially moved into the new de Jong Lake House. It is utter chaos here at the moment, but we are all under one roof. And by "all," we are now including my Mom and her Havanese, Mury, who have left sunny Arizona for Ohio with all its willy nilly seasons.

We quickly learned that it is much easier to design and build a new house than it is to re-imagine a current house, but we are up for the challenge. There is a long list of items on our to-do list, but it will take a few years to get them done. Our immediate focus is to replace the kitchen, create a family foyer, replace the floor in the new sewing studio, create a circular driveway, and address the landscaping neglect.

But first, let me give you a tour of the house as we first saw it.

The Kitchen:

We like the size and symmetry of it. We like that the kitchen, dining area, and great room are one big open space, very similar to a plan we had sketched up when we were considering building again. 

What we didn't like is that the kitchen cabinetry was very basic. There were very few drawers and the ones that were there were shaky. 

We were so spoiled by our custom kitchen in the dream house, it was disappointing to see this quality in a more expensive house. We knew we could live with it, but we also knew that making a more functional kitchen would increase the house's value and help us feel more like it was "our" home.

Mom's Suite:

One of our priorities in moving, in addition to being closer to D's new school and Niels' work, was to give Mom more space. In the Dream House, she had a bedroom, en suite, walk in closet, and a slider to the back porch. We wanted to find her a living space as well. In the Lake House, we say that she has the prettiest view in the house. 

Her living room has large windows on two sides, and a French door leading to the back porch. It has a beautiful few of the lake and all the creatures and critters that hop or fly around the yard.

Her bedroom is almost the exact same color as her room in the Dream House which made it really easy for her to move in.

Unfortunately, Mom's new bathroom isn't designed to be accessible like her old bathroom, but it's on the list for our second wave of renovations. In the meantime, she'll live with it for awhile and think about how to design the layout better. 

Guest Room:

It was also a priority to us to have a guest room to continue hosting friends, family, and anyone else that needs a place to stay. The guest room is on the same side of the house as mom's suite and has a full bathroom just outside the door. We haven't even fully moved in and we've already hosted five soccer coaches from England and Ireland! We look forward to hosting more new friends in the future. 

Master Bedroom:

The master bedroom is on the other side of the house from mom's suite, off of the kitchen. Our bedroom also has a door to the back deck. The master bedroom is quite large. As you can see in the picture above, you could put a couple of king size beds in the master bedroom. We haven't figure out what we are going to with the leftover space once all the kitchen, pantry, and mudroom boxes are emptied!

There is a funky little corner between the bedroom and bathroom. The house wasn't furnished when we saw it, so we have no idea what they used it for. Any suggestions?

From what we can tell, the theme for the couple that built this house was "big." All of the rooms in the house are bigger than we would have chosen, but the we couldn't resist the overall layout.

The master bath continues the oversized theme with a massive shower and tub and twin vanities surround the tub. 

There are two huge closets off either side of the bathroom. Since we don't have nearly enough clothes to fill two closets, we are turning one of them into an office for Niels.

The other closet is off the laundry room--brilliant! It only has wire shelving, but that too will be part of our phase two renovation. 

Utility Rooms:

Entering the house from the garage led to claustrophobic cluster of rooms and niches. To the left is the laundry room.

To the right of the laundry room was a little niche for hanging up coats and a wire shelf pantry. 

On the other side of the pantry closet was a pocket office.

As part of the renovation, we took out all the walls from the office, pantry, and laundry room to make one big family foyer. We're still in the middle of the renos so finished photos will have to wait.

Back Porch:

One of our favorite parts of the new house is the back porch. We have already spent more time on this back porch then we ever did on the old back porch. We love looking out at our little lake. We have had some spectacular sunsets.

Boy's room:

Originally, we thought D would want the bedroom by Mom's suite, but he surprised us by asking to be downstairs. 

He didn't get the en-suite he was hoping for, but he does have his own little living area outside his room. We can already imagine him hanging out with his friends down there when he's a teenager.

Home Theater: 

I think real reason he chose downstairs is because his room is close to the home theater. What a great unexpected surprise that room turned out to be!

We were really happy to learn that the screen, sofas, and audio equipment were included in the sale. I can finally see the subtitles when we watch TV!

Sewing Studio:

The biggest surprise of the house which is not--as some have teased me--the reason we bought it, is my new sewing studio. It is a ridiculous 28' by 29'. I was hoping for enough room for a long arm. I have it in spades! Welcome to the new Vesper View Studio!

Our renovations are well under way. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll get some sneak peaks of our progress. I look forward to having everything done, getting settled, and getting back to quilting!

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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Quilt #127 :: Long Arm Minnie

I should be getting my new sewing studio set up, but it's a rather overwhelming mess, so I will procrastinate a little long to share one more quilt I finished before we left the Dream House.

A while back, I bought several panels on sale with the idea that they would make good practice quilts whenever I got a longarm.

For my birthday in January, the boys bought me longarm lessons at my local quilt shop. Carol teaches on a Handiquilt Avante, so that's what I got to learn on.

Before my first lesson, I added a few borders to my panel to make it lap size. My first lesson was spent learning how to load the quilt (there are a lot of steps!). Then I got to play!

When I came back for my second lesson, I brought the Minnie panel. I used a solid black backing on it and loaded it on the machine with the batting. I didn't really think ahead to what I wanted to do, so i just jumped in, using the borders as my guide. 

I wouldn't usually use hot pink thread with black backing, but it showed my stitches very clearly, which was the goal. It isn't the prettiest of quilting, but I'm pretty happy with it as a first effort. I'm going to hold on to it for awhile as I improve my skill. It'll be nice to see improvement with each quilt. 

Eventually, when I feel better about my quilting, I'll find a new home for the quilt. I'm sure I'll be able to find a Minnie-loving girl who will love it despite my novice quilting.

D wasn't so keen on modeling with Minnie, thought he did do his part to sleep with it. 

Niels was also a reluctant model. 

He came around though, because love conquers all. 

Fortunately, our neighbor was a good sport. She may have a new quilt in her future.

I did take the opportunity to take a last set of quilt pictures on the back porch of the Dream House. (I'm still trying to figure out my go-to spot at the Lake House). 

From the back you can better see what I tried to do with each border. Apparently I lost the muscle memory of the heart doodles I wrote all over my elementary school papers!

For the panel itself, I outlined Minnie and eyeballed straight lines back and forth. I'm looking forward to learning how to use rulers!

But the best part of this process is that Carol, my LQS owner, called me and asked if I would be interested in buying the Avante because she was getting a new machine and needed to make  room. I happily said yes, especially after she agreed to hold it until we moved into the Lake House.

As I write this from the Lake House, we are surrounded by chaos. We are renovating the kitchen and created a family foyer. We also did a lot of painting and swapping light fixtures. In my new sewing studio, we changed lights, touched up the paint, and replaced the carpet with cork. It's hard to unpack with some of the most prominent rooms are under construction, but I'm slowly making progress. 

My new as-of-yet longarm is in her future home, just waiting to be assembled. 

Soon, my new friend, soon.

To find pictures of my progress on this quilt, as well as the setting up of my new studio check out #LongArmMinnie and #VesperViewStudio on Instagram. To see what I'm currently working on, including my 2019 Brain Injury quilt, follow me at deJongDreamHouse.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

One Monthly Goal :: June 2019 Update

My OMG for June wass to pack up the craft room in the de Jong Dream House If you haven't seen it in it's glory, you can take a tour here.

Depending on how you look at it, my June One Monthly Goal was either really easy or really hard. It was easy in the sense that all I had to do was sit back and watch the movers pack up the craft room in my beloved de Jong Dream House. But realistically, it was really hard because change is hard. Whether or not you choose it or are chosen for it, change is a disruption to normal. Living with a brain injury, for me, means that routine and organization are necessary for me to function reasonably well. Moving is chaos, and I don't function well in chaos.

I mentioned in my original post that once we knew we were moving, my goal was to finish a specific few more quilts before moving day. I could not have cut it any closer!

In May, I was able to finish three quilts.

Big Lake Blooms was sent to my hometown in Minnesota for a fundraiser.

Theo's Milestone Quilt made it home to its new owner in time to commemorate his first month of life. 

Omigolly Miss Jennifer went to our school secretary.

June is when things got hairy! I had one quilt left to finish, the school year was ending, and the movers were set to arrive a week earlier than we originally planned.

The night before the movers came, I had the top of Coded Thank You pinned and ready to quilt, and the binding prepared. 

I should have saved myself some time and made a single print binding, but I was deep into my code theme and lots of little pieces to say "thank you" in Morse Code. 

I woke up ridiculously early on moving day to start quilting. 

By the time the moving truck arrived at 10, the quilting was mostly done. Much to Niels' chagrin, I would pack for 20 minutes, then quilt for 5 minutes. I really wanted to finish the quilt before moving because I knew it would take a few days (weeks? months?) before I would be settled enough to quilt in the new house.

We actually moved in two days. On the first day, we cleared out the second floor (bedroom and craft room) and lower level (so many books, and memory totes, and media!). The crew came back a week later to get everything that was left on the main level. So on this day, I was packing up the bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs, as well as my craft room during my intervals. 

Fortunately, I keep most of my supplies in totes so I saved the crew time in having to wrap things up. 

By the time the truck was filled and ready to make the first trip up to the Lake House, I had finished quilting. 

By this point, the tough-looking movers were cheering me on. But they had a job to do. I was able to get my binding attached while they took the bowling alley top of my craft table. 

While the guys wrestled with that beast, I used the unbored door that used to be the top of my craft table to clip and iron the binding.

When we returned for the second load, I ran upstairs to finish the binding while the crew removed items from my room.

It really came down to the wire.

The room was nearly empty by the time I finished.

My cheering section, aka the movers, volunteered to help take a "finished" picture.

And just like that, the craft room at the de Jong Dream House has become a bedroom in someone else's house.

We've been completely moved into the de Jong Lake House for ten days and it's still chaos. As expected, I have not done any sewing. I have been running on adrenaline for so long that my brain just gave up. So I've been doing a lot of sleeping and only a little bit of unpacking. Our new kitchen cabinets are installed, but we don't yet have appliances or counter tops. Our new family foyer has been painted and has flooring installed, but no cabinetry. So that means we have mudroom, laundry, pantry, and kitchen items in our bedroom, and our "kitchen" is a couple of portable tables with disposable dishes, a crock pot, and toaster. It's overwhelming but the end is in sight. 

Also overwhelming is the current state of the new craft room, Vesper View Studio.

Maybe making sense of that mess will be my July OMG.

To see more pictures of my progress, check out #VesperViewStudio on Instagram. To see what I'm currently working on, follow me at deJongDreamHouse.

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