Looking for answers to life's questions

I know you’ve heard the old cliche, “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” Well, I beg to differ with that comment. I’ve done it and will do it again. How did I get hold of a sow’s ear in the first place? The price was right.

Good bones equals skylights in the kitchen. White paint reflects light and you can wash it now.

Good bones equals skylights in the kitchen. White paint reflects light and you can wash it now.

I was looking for bones, good bones. This place has them and somehow, they managed to cover the smell. I’d like to know how it was done and patent it. It had a musty smell but I think the realtor opened it up way before I got there and it was a dark house. All it needed was some white paint, right?

My son wanted a clearer view so he went on the roof and washed the outside. What a view from the kitchen ceiling.

My son wanted a clearer view so he went on the roof and washed the outside. What a view from the kitchen ceiling.

I’ve been working on this place since June 14th and the work will continue for months if not years to come. The list kept getting longer as we worked. My son and daughter are both weary from helping. They were both more than generous with their time and muscle. I’ve moved in some of my sister’s furniture as she will be staying awhile till she regroups and this will save her some storage costs. Somehow, it all works, I hope. I just go with the flow.

I have more of this to do. Like the rest of the house.

I have more of this to do. Like the rest of the house.

My daughter did all the prep work and a lot of the painting. She doesn't like her picture taken.

My daughter did all the prep work and a lot of the painting. She doesn’t like her picture taken.

Once, many years ago when I was young and strong, I moved into a house that had been previously occupied by a classic hoarder. It took YEARS to transform that place from the sub-floors up to the roof and the yard. Many old friends drove right by the house because it became unrecognizable from its previous life.

The color on the walls was watered down (alot) paint. No washing this stuff

The color on the walls was watered down (alot) paint. No washing this stuff

Happy laundry room. I can work in here now and not be depressed by it.

Happy laundry room. I can work in here now and not be depressed by it.

I find the process of transforming a house a true labor of love. This one is no exception. It felt sad and worn. Somehow, I feel the need to revitalize this house into the home it wants to be. The contractor thought I was a bit off when I said I need to take things slow and let the house tell me where it wants things and what it needs. Yup, I’m a hippy-dippy-woo-woo kinda girl. We are doing the Feng Shui treatments for the house as it sits on the lot sideways. (that’s not ideal) It’s all about the energy.

I really don't know where to start. It got away from us.

I really don’t know where to start. It got away from us.

When we finished the hoarder house, it sold for so much more than anyone thought we’d get for it. The new owners had decided to buy before they ever walked inside. Don’t think curb appeal doesn’t matter. My husband (last) couldn’t understand why I’d leave that house after all the work I put into it. It was never meant to be my home but it was happy for the facelift. Homes have energy and I think they are living things. Oddly, neither my sister nor daughter could remember my address at the apartment even though it was a lovely place. They both know this address already. It feels right to them.

It just looked too sad and blocked the way from the carport to the front door.

It just looked too sad and blocked the way from the carport to the front door.

Landscaping will be important here. The first thing we had to do was take out a tree. I know, I hated to do it but the roots were in the water lines and it was an invasive variety. It looked so sad in front of the house. We are going to make a lovely path from the carport to the front door and give the roses that are there a chance to shine. They were hidden and too wet. To me, this is as much a creative endeavor as sewing, quilting or my embroidery. I hope to get back to some of them real soon but this place was rolling in something that needed to be cleaned

Yuck and double yuck. There was a lot of this hiding in plain sight.

Yuck and double yuck. There was a lot of this hiding in plain sight.


and I really hope to make the house smile and welcome everyone more and more with each project done. This house and I are breathing life into each other and I know that silk purse is around here somewhere.

Do you think houses are living things? Do they speak to you?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Comments on: "In Search of a Silk Purse" (17)

  1. Oh yeah, houses, buildings have always spoken to me. Like you said, if you take it slow, they will tell you what they need or want. I completely understand! I bet it’s going to be wonderful once you are done, or once more is done. Good for you! You have found something that needs you and you needed it. 🙂

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    • Thanks for reading Jackie. Have you noticed my absence from reading lately. I finally sat down today while I decide which direction to go next. The nicotine smell is so bad that even the flooring guy measuring for laminate in living/dining could still smell it. I paid $500 to clean these carpets and they still stink. only the 2 bedrooms and den will get carpet and I have to seal all the floors first so I have to take the carpet out myself. There will be no TV for this girl until maybe Christmas. 🙂 I’m trying to catch up on the reading now that my son has gone home and the big push is over. I’ll be by to read soon. Hugs. This house is very demanding! Numerologically, the address adds up to spiritual growth.

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  2. lonnymissy@comcast.net said:

    Great story, Marlene…so glad your new home is becoming a home ~ Missy

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    • Thanks Missy. I had no idea that this would become a full reno project. Pulling out ALL the carpet now. Not an expense I wanted right now. Has to be done. This is going to take awhile. It will be worth it.

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  3. I found it! I’m pleased you let me know. This is such a great post and absolutely how I feel about houses. Good bones are everything and a neglected home means you get it for a song and break your back getting it ship-shape again! 🙂 But so worth it….. you imprint yourself into it and clear out the dross of other lives. I light candles, play music and sing as I work and I know it helps clear away smells and energy you don’t want. It is indeed a labour of love and living in a house for a while is absolutely the best way to go. Thank heaven for your helpful children getting you kick-started. I hope you get to kick back and enjoy some part of your days as well as working hard Marlene. How wonderful that at last you have a home of your own xoxo

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  4. Hi Marlene, so glad to see you’ve moved in at last. Never an easy task but it’s so wonderful that you have your son and daughter to help. I know you are so busy but I wanted to let you know that I finally posted my thank you in an award’s post and have also awarded you with The Butterfly Light Award. It’s so shimmery and pretty and thought it would make a lovely house-warming gift for you, spreading light and beauty in every room! Please don’t feel obligated, I just wanted you to have it!
    Here’s the link. The previous award’s post referred to in it has my thank you to you. Congratulations – Sherri 🙂
    http://sherrimatthewsblog.com/2014/07/15/the-butterfly-light-award/

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    • Thank you so much Sherri! That is so kind of you. I LOVE butterflies. Collect them as well as Angels. Things will be down to a slow roar in the next few weeks. But as soon as I paint the guest room floor, I’ll be back to take care of this. I really appreciate the housewarming gift. Hope things are going well with you. My unread e-mail is up to 300 so I have a lot of catching up to do. Hugs, MH

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      • You are so very welcome Marlene, and no hurry whatsoever. I’ll be taking a break myself for a couple of weeks after this Friday, so no worries. I’m so glad you like your housewarming gift, yay! Things are as well as they can be here thank you, although I always worry about my Aspie daughter…but we had a super weekend with my eldest son home and my middle boy this weekend, so good times!!! All the best with your painting and just think how wonderful and fresh it will all be when it’s done….and it’s all yours! Many congratulations to you too…and how wonderful about the butterfly collection along with the Angels. Enjoy 🙂

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  5. Looks positively cheery Marlene! Nothing like a fresh coat of paint to brighten things up immensely. We did the same here. I rattled my brain picking a colour. In the end I settle for a beige called Chamois. Not exactly glamorous, I wanted to use Seashell because it sounded right but the colour wasn’t quite right. There you have it, I’m swayed by the name of things or numbers. We looked at once house that was #15 and I really interested until we realized the house next door was #11, which meant the one we were view was actually house #13. I immediately hesitated and had to ask myself if I wanted to live in house #13. So I do think houses have vibe. I can really feel sad for a neglected and forlorn home with promise. You immediately want to take care of it. Sounds like you’re well on your way of making your little gem shine. The opportunity to make it reflect *you* is a bonus too. I’m taking it slow as well. You do need to experience a home before some decisions can be made. The cleaning part is true for any house I think. The owners here left things pretty tidy here, but not Boomdee tidy, which admittedly is a standard most don’t even care to go for, LOL (like clean baseboards, oh man they were dusty). Loving the skylight and the view past your new garden. Is that the front? Well, do enjoy the process (if your weary muscles can manage). It’ll be spectacular to see things change with your own initiative and children’s generous help. Hugs xoxo K (Hippy-dippy woo woo…LOL….I can relate)

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  6. Thanks for taking a breather and reading sweety. I know how busy you are and you even have a job and a husband. (another job). 🙂 I only have 2 rooms of carpet to rip out and paint the floors. Finished one more today and cut the grass. Yesterday was lazy. I love color on the walls but have learned that white-white opens a room and lifts the energy of the room and me. I add color with curtains and artwork. The house feels brighter and bigger. We get gray weather here so much I need all the lift I can get. But the carpets smelled so bad they just had to go. Then comes the outside. The view of the garden is out the kitchen window at the back of the house. I really need to get the windows washed but on such a time crunch with the floors. Did the inside, outside will wait a bit. I have to power wash the whole house and deck and reseal decks and porch. Roofer will be here in 3 weeks to fix the carport/house connection and replace gutters. The list goes on and on. But it’s fun. I sleep well at night. Bet you do too. I know what you mean about the level of clean. I’m with you there. Looking forward to more pics too. Bunches O Hugs. M

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  7. Yes! I do indeed believe that houses have vibes – my husband and I have often walked into houses and walked quickly out again. We just know if the energy is not good (at least not good for us anyway). And I agree with your approach of taking time with the place – getting settled in and feeling what needs to be done. Our home is sideways on a corner block and there is no flow into the back garden. Over time, we are making it feel like a real country homestead in an urban suburban area…..we just love how it is starting to have such a warm homely energy as we put our love into it…slowly and thoughtfully. Enjoy your ‘getting to know’ your new home intimately and making it better and better….and better. Steph 🙂

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    • Thank you for reading Steph. Very few understand that all things have energy and are living. Even rocks. I talked to the tree before I took it out. It was sad, in a bad, unhealthy spot. I’ll plant others somewhere else later. I’m hoping to give this place that same kind of homey feel. It could take quite some time. We will add a winding path from the carport to the front door to bring the energy to where it needs to go.

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  8. Yes, homes do have energy and we need to sit with them as long as necessary to know what they need from us to combine our energies. I adore your skylight I’ve always wanted skylights or even those solar tubes, maybe one day. I don’t envy you the work I’ve been there but I am always drawn to the worst looking property/home and want to save it so who knows maybe one day I’ll do it again.

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    • I think I’m done with this one. I definitely bit off more than I planned for. But I really wanted to be able to flush the toilet at 4 a.m. and not bother anyone. I was tired of hearing others start the shower or washer as I was dropping off to sleep. This could have been much smaller and I would have been thrilled to have my space. Rents will continue to go through the roof as long as the housing market is bad. They get what they can. I had tube skylights in Arizona. One always had a hole in it that we couldn’t keep patched. Flies kept coming in. I like the skylights though.

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      • When your home is completed and you can sit back and enjoy the ambiance you will be so happy. Do you plan to have a sewing room?

        I know what you mean about the noises from neighbors, that’s one thing I have to say I am happy with here, I hear very little.

        I will have to rethink the solar tubes now. ;-(

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  9. willowmarie said:

    Just keep on breathing Marlene- i think you’re closer than you think to that silk purse – Bravo!

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