Blog

Autumn, Color, and Life

Photo cred: Letterfolk

I am taking a quick break from our #sweetfixwithlaurenandnick series and doing a bit of a personal post. We are done with demo at the house and starting to reconstruct. We finished the fireplaces, painted 2 rooms and started to construct a wall. We feel overwhelmed regularly by what we got ourselves into and how inadequate we feel… but we just keep moving along because we hope to move in at the end of the month! Even if only 2 rooms in the whole house work.

Something I have been working through in my business while I am largely not baking is my company vision. I put together a vision, mission, goals, and plan at the beginning of 2017. But as any good business and business plan, they grow and flex with you as you discover who you are, as a business owner, and what you want your business to be. Something I discovered when I was doing some Instagram planning was my need for color. I discovered how color makes me feel and how it represents joy, life, happiness, fullness, and laughter. I discovered how much I want those things to be a part of my brand and the aura around my company. I had never thought about how images and color specifically communicate your vision. But now I am spending a lot of time thinking about it! (Mostly when I want to stop thinking about how much it will cost to turn a hallway closet into a laundry room…)

I have always felt that autumn has or should have a slowed down pace to it. Summer is just full of projects and get togethers and trips and excitement. Winter is so holiday centric at the beginning and then at our house January is a planning month, February is full of birthdays and then we’re almost into spring and more excitement. But when fall comes I think we’re all tired and the best thing in the world sounds like warm drinks and long drives to see the foliage. Color, movement, warmth, and company (some of the pillars of my life) all mascarading as peaceful.

But this autumn has already started with a different flavor. Lots of personal things have been changing for us in addition to all the changes in our house and business. But through everything we are just driving hard to finish enough so we can reopen this fall. I don’t know if we’ve ever had such a clear driving force in our adult lives. Autumn needs to be rebirth for us even as the earth is dying and getting ready to hibernate. We need to be having a personal springtime!

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Sweet Fix – Starting to Make it pretty!…..Maybe?

Today I (Nick) started off with a grand plan of getting the fireplace ready to seal. However, I purchased the incorrect attachment for the grinder. No problem! There is plenty else to do. The second floor kitchen needed the second layer (yes, second) torn up. Carpet, padding/linoleum, then the third layer is just what’s stuck to the wood. See a picture!

If anyone knows how to get this linoleum/glue mixture off the floor please let me know.

Since I didn’t have the correct tool for the fireplace I still tried to make some progress with a hand wire brush……not a great idea. I went back to Harbor Freight and they gladly helped me get the correct tools I need to start on the fireplace next time.

Here is the progress with the hand tool. Look at the center bricks. That is the result of about 30-40 minute of using a wire brush. Angle grinder with wire attachment next time? Yes.

Also! Inside the fireplace I noticed that the “floor” of it was just a layer of what seemed to be left over plaster. I took it out to expose a neat pattern of stone. See here.

There was a 3-4 inch layer of what seemed to be plaster laying at the bottom of this fireplace. Why did they do it?!

Next time, the plan is to properly begin cleaning up with bricks with the grinder and wire brush attachment.

See you then!

– Nick

#sweetfix #sweetfixwithlaurenandnick #bakedtruenorth

And… here’s the link to the post explaining Sweet Fix, some before pictures at Before the Fixer Upper was Sweet, the first set and second set of demolition pictures, and Nick’s first play by play.

Sweet Fix – Nick Edition

Ladies and Gents,

The demolition could last for months!! We’ve begun to learn this. Thank goodness we decided to work on specific projects that’ll allow us to move in before we take on the rest of the house. There’s also that thing called a “budget” that I need to remember when we go to Home Depot or Harbor Freight (muwhaha).

As of today we have made some great progress on the first floor kitchen setup, second floor kitchen, and master bedroom. Not to mention the hallway. We are most likely going to sand and re-finish the hardwood floors. They are way too nice to cover back up. Here’s a sneak peak.

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On a future post Lauren and I will take a nice picture after we clean up some of the dust that engulfs our rooms right now.

This past weekend we removed more lath and plaster. It’s one of the messiest and sweatiest activities……ever. Here are some after pictures.

The next 3 pictures were a wall we took down that used to have a dumbwaiter in it! Very cool.

 

3 of the master bedroom

This is the un-insulated ceiling after we took off the plaster and lath.

Exterior wall

 

Interior wall with lots of fun knob and tube wiring

 

Next, we are going to go clean the rooms up and what’s left of the plaster and lath. Then I’ll begin working on the newly exposed fireplace.

Fireplace!?

Yep! We exposed the fireplacec that is in both the second floor kitchen and master bedroom. Stay tuned!

-Nick

 

 

Sweet Fix Demolition #2

Here is a nice picture book of the next phase of demolition.

3 layers of wallpaper and 2 layers of paint removed from the master bedroom walls.

The upstairs kitchen demo, including the half torn-up wall and the hole in the back corner of the floor. All the carpet was cut and torn out of this room becasue… you just can’t have carpet in a kitchen (in my opinion).

An old letter that was found in the upstairs kitchen… addressed to “pupils” from the “Elementary Supervisor” regarding “Walt Disney Shows” in 1964!

Dad removing the appliances and the last of the tile flooring from the downstairs kitchen. Thankfully both of the appliances are in good shape and we’ll put them upstairs.

This is the old sink from upstairs kitchen that I plan on having refinished and reinstalled with new cabinets in the upstairs kitchen.

Unfortunately the metal cabinets attached to the old sink were rusted through, but I removed the hardware which I plan to clean up and reinstall on the new piece we get for the sink to sit on. #whyiseverythingpaintedwhite

Just a shot of someone’s signature of the drywall before we ripped the final bit of wall out of the downstairs kitchen. “Dick Mitchel

Back upstairs we are pulling the plaster down and getting all this lath exposed. (Lath is apparently the horizontal wood behind plaster nailed into the wall studs. I didn’t really realize it had to come down… or what the phrase “down to the studs” meant.)

Thanks again for your support during our journey and we truly love you all.

Have a cookie!

Lauren

#sweetfix #sweetfixwithlaurenandnick #bakedtruenorth

And… here’s the link to the post explaining Sweet Fix, some before pictures at Before the Fixer Upper was Sweet, and the first set of demolition pictures.

Sweet Fix Demolition #1

The first day we started tearing the wall down in the kitchen we could see there were layers of wallpaper behind the newest wall… and that was my favorite part!!!!!!!! We wish we could have left them there… or left some semblance of the paper there, but unfortunately we knew the walls had to come down and all the wallpaper with it.

The first layer of particle board over top of drywall was removed by Nick with only a hammer. Then after removing some wallpaper with an x-acto knife, we took down the second drywall with a crowbar and a flat bar. That was a lot of fun.

The first section that was exposed happen to have a little gem inside it!!! There were three recipes folded nicely and tucked into the wall. Two were for donuts! We decided it was a blessing on our new bakery efforts!

Here are some additional pictures of the walls after we got more of that awesome wallpaper exposed.

Thankfully I managed to salvage a bit of it and hopefully will be able to frame and preserve it, along with the recipes.

A lot more work has been done in other areas of the house as we are completely gutting four rooms and redoing the flooring on at least another two. Other side projects have also been inching there way onto the agenda, like opening up the entryway/hallway, refinishing the upstairs bear-claw tub (see picture below!!), and putting a laundry on the second floor. Not to mention the foundation reinforcement and radon remediation projects that the previous owner is paying to have done. Yup. We definitely found a real diamond in the rough… just more rough than shiny at this point.

Thanks again for your support during our journey and we truly love you all.

Have a cookie!

Lauren

#sweetfix #sweetfixwithlaurenandnick #bakedtruenorth

And… here’s the link to the post explaining Sweet Fix and some before pictures at Before the Fixer Upper was Sweet.

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Before the Fixer Upper was Sweet

Here is where it’s all beginning! Here is the state of the home that we purchased in order to set it up as a half livable home and half commercial business space!!!! There was not much cute and vintage/Victorian left in this pre-1900 home because somewhere along the line it was “updated.” But I need to be gentle in my criticism because the only reason I prefer 1950s vintage to 1980s/1990s… is because I do. But that’s that.

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Those are the pictures of the downstairs kitchen. It’s almost sad looking back at these because (spoiler, we’ve already demolished) the kitchen looks pretty good in this picture. Decent. But I keep reminding myself that it will be great when it’s done. This kitchen was not original to the house, but an addition when the original kitchen was later turned into a bedroom. It’s pretty small, but we are expanding it into the bedroom, so it will still be perfectly functional as the hot baking space for all my SWEETNESSES.

This other space is harder to show because it’s empty, but it will soon be the cold/prep room right around the corner from the hot baking room. A very nice room actually. It was truly too bad I had distinctly other plans for it because it would have been one of the few rooms that didn’t need much changed… so we decided to change everything. Naturally.

So there you have the original home with no changes done and lots of plans brewing and baking in my hypothetical oven. Stay tuned for the next round of pictured featuring what inevitably ensued after tools were dropped off…

Thanks again for your support during our journey and we truly love you all.

Have a cookie!

Lauren

#sweetfix #sweetfixwithlaurenandnick #bakedtruenorth

And… here’s the link to the first post explaining Sweet Fix.

Sweet Fix

Hello everyone!

It has been far too long since I blogged based on the amount of travel and BAKING I have been doing this spring and summer! But life has taken a different turn for Baked True North!

I recently posted the following picture on social media letting people know we’re closed in August 2018.

I was really nervous about closing down, but it had to be done for many reasons. So far I have received a lot of positive support and I just knew I loved my GF community and my Bellevue/Pittsburgh community for a reason! One reason we had to close temporarily… full disclosure here… is because it has become apparent that we didn’t have all our ducks in a row with county requirements for our kitchen. This process is confusing and not for the fair-weather bakers. But I’m determined to cross every T to get this kitchen situation fixed and back opened! Another reason it made sense to close is the amount of work it takes to get a kitchen up and running doesn’t allow much time to bake!

One thing that picture above is NOT implying is pregnancy. Haha. “Things in the oven” I realize is an idiom for babies… but remember people, I’m a baker! There are physically ovens and edible things that get baked… and I am reclaiming the phrase for my bakery. But thank you to all the lovely people that checked in on that front!

Okay, on to the point of this post… WE BOUGHT A HOUSE! And praise God, it has two kitchens! (I don’t want to understate how long it took to find a house with two kitchens or the hard work our lovely realtors at Piatt Sotheby’s put in to find this place… so don’t read that as us just stumbling upon a diamond in the rough. Totally a God-thing.)

So we are launching “Sweet Fix” blog/vlog series on how we fix up our new house to support my growing and exciting gluten free baking company! We will probably be showing you lots of what not to dos. Definitely will show you some kitchen deconstruction, planning, and reconstruction. Hopefully we will be showing you how two people in love, who have no experience with house renovation, stumble through everything from the “what on earth is that!?”s, to the “wow, we actually can figure it out!?”s… and everything in between. Nick will be taking the mic here as well as chief renovation officer of our family, so look out here for his awesome content!

If you are still reading this far into the post then I think it’s fair to say you probably like us or are interested in this effort… or both. So leave us a comment below telling us: 1) what you’re looking forward to seeing from Sweet Fix, 2) a house/kitchen renovation nightmare you experienced, 3) practical advice for first time renovations, or 4) whatever comes to mind because you are a verbal processor like me.

Thanks again for your support and we truly love you all.

Have a cookie!

Lauren

#sweetfix #sweetfixwithlaurenandnick #bakedtruenorth

Valentine’s Day

Okay friends, here it is.

  • Conversation Chocolate Chip Hearts: simple chocolate chip cookies covered in white chocolate to look like a conversation heart, but HUGE $3/each

  • Cinna-sugar stained glass hearts: cinnamon sugar cookies with hard candy cutout centers $1/each

  • Raspberry Lemon Scones $2/each
  • Red Velvet Cupcakes with either raspberry or strawberry buttercream frosting $3/each (full-size), $1.50/each (mini)

  • Cherry Doughnuts: cake doughnut with cherry pieces throughout and topped with a simple cherry icing and sprinkles $1.50/each

  • Strawberry Cupcakes: strawberry cupcakes with real strawberry puree inside and buttercream frosting $3/each (full-size), $1.50/each (mini)

  • Chocolate Cupcakes with RED Velvet Frosting $3/each (full-size), $1.50/each (mini)

AND REMEMBER: Order anytime in February (any products) and you’ll get one free RED velvet cupcake for every $20 you spend.

HAPPY FEBRUARY!

Hello Everyone!

Happy 2018 and Happy February! I am pretty excited about this month because we have made it through the month of January where we all are recovering from overeating during the holidays. Personally, I did a sugar detox (The 21 Day Sugar Detox, by Diane Sanfilippo), and now I can’t think of anything except brownies.

February is a real month of celebration for us. First is my dad’s birthday, then Galentine’s day, Valentine’s Day, and lastly my beloved husband’s birthday, amidst other close friend’s birthdays mixed in as well. We don’t actively celebrate all of those, just so you know. This is in fact the first year I have been invited to a Galentine’s party and was not aware of its origins. We usually bypass Valentine’s Day as well due to the fact that my dad’s birthday ALWAYS includes a large amount of chocolate intake. And my husband may be one of the healthiest people I know. Last year I made him a low carb pistachio cream cake, which was a real smash hit.

So this year, Nick has requested a RED velvet cake for his 30th birthday. RED and RED velvet have been on my mind for Valentine’s Day anyway… so I am excited to get into the RED AND PINK BAKING SPIRIT!

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Valentine’s Day Doughnuts

Last year for Valentine’s Day I made my coconut cake doughnuts with white chocolate frosting instead of dark chocolate frosting, and then dipped then in PINK glitter! So I am already thinking of a new fun doughnut recipe that may have some PINK-ish foods in the batter… which that description sounded more appealing in my mind. But you’ll just have to wait and see!!!!!

While you’re waiting for that reveal… here is a list of fun RED AND PINK options I’m promoting for February:

  • RED velvet cake pops

  • RED velvet cupcakes with strawberry, raspberry or cherry frosting!!!

  • RASPBERRY lemon scones

  • PINK lemonade bars

  • …and 2 more fun things coming hopefully!

Order anytime in February (any order at all) and you’ll get one free RED velvet cupcake for every $20 you spend.

Until then, have a cookie!

Lauren

(sneak peek at some Valentine’s cookies in the making…)

December Options

December Options are available!

In order to get your items by Christmas and New Year’s Eve, please order by December 16th.

December Specials

  • Red Velvet Peppermint cake pops
  • Eggnog rolls
  • Chocolate/ Chocolate Peppermint rolls
  • Red Velvet cake rolls
  • Raspberry Shortbread cookies
  • Peanut Butter Kiss cookies
  • Gingersnaps (can request half dipped in white chocolate)
  • Chocolate Chip Peppermint cookies
  • Maple Pecan scones
  • Cranberry Orange scones
  • Cinnamon Roll almond flour biscotti
  • Variety Cookie Boxes!!!

The variety cookie box will contain 1 dozen variety cookies and/or small scones.  You can request certain items to not be in the box (i.e. no nuts), and you can request all cookies or mix of small scones and cookies, but no specific variety requests. The boxes will be $20 each and I will guarantee at least 4 different varieties in each. The variety may contain the following:

  • cake truffles (cake pops without the sticks)
  • shortbread cookies
  • gingersnaps
  • small chocolate chip cookies
  • small snickerdoodles
  • lemon/lime bars
  • pumpkin walnut waffle cookies
  • peanut butter kiss cookies
  • small scones (if requested)
  • …more options might be coming soon!

 

Get your orders in now!

Have a cookie,

Lauren