Tuesday, November 10, 2015

String Art DIY

Over the toilet at a friends house is a string art picture of a deer I absolutely love.

It's a little bit funky, a little bit strange - considering it's location, hanging above a potty - and totally fun. I thought about buying the same one she had (a Target special, natch), but decided that, like most other things...I could make that.

But a deer, while fun and apropos (the Hubs is a hunter), wasn't exactly what I was envisioning. What picture did I value most? What idea or image meant the most to me - to us as a family?

Then it hit me.

Hmmm..what could I do with this??

I began with a wood plaque piece I had rescued from a garage sale for $1. At the time, I had no idea what I would do with it, just that I needed it. Six months later, I was finally putting it to use.

I was able to print a 12x12 image of my desired picture.  Can you guess what it is?


I couldn't get the pic to turn but it's pretty recognizable, right?!

That's right. My Arizona home is decorated with my love of Texas. This among others.

I grabbed about 600 nails and started hammering them in around the image. Okay, okay, so it was really only 200+ nails, but it felt like a million. I winged it, hammering oh, about every 1/2 of an inch or so, and oh, maybe 1/2 inch into the wood. I wasn't really worried about getting it perfect.

You can take the girl out of Texas....

**Next time, I will use fewer nails, with a bigger space between them. Adds a little more depth to the piece.

After the hammering was completed, I grabbed some thick red string and wound it around the heart I had placed in the city that still owns mine.

Ah, Lubbock. 

Lubbock, Texas, in the panhandle of West Texas. The place that Mac Davis sang is happiness in your rear view mirror, but to me will always be the place I found my husband and my future. It's a good ol' town filled with good ol' people.

After the heart, I grabbed a deep blue string and began wrapping around the rest of the nails. There wasn't a pattern to this except that there was no pattern. I wanted to make sure each nail was wrapped at least once, and hopefully twice, but in no particular order.

Home sweet home. 
It sits on my fireplace, a reminder of my roots.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Pallet Sign

Remember all those pallets we had lying around that we didn't use for the Man Cave Wall?  I finally had The Hubs take two of them apart so I could use the boards for projects. Because I didn't have enough projects already half finished......

I decided to start with a pallet sign for Bjorn's room. For years, I have wanted a sign in his room with a particular quote, and since I knew I could make one, I had put off buying it.

Time to git 'er done.

I started with three pallet wood strips. I sanded them down by hand, trying to preserve their wood look, but still taking out all the splinters and roughness. I had to hammer down a few nails, too.

Then I grabbed my ever-faithful chalk paint (to see my first try with chalk paint, go here), this time in primitive gray, and mixed it 1:1 ratio with water. I was hoping for a whitewash finish, to see some of the wood underneath. I will have to tweak the formula a little, for it was still a little too thick for my taste. It was less a whitewashing and more of an all-out painting.

Americana Decor chalk paint. From Home Depot, I think?

I struggled as to how I would put the writing on the piece. Should I have a friend print it on her vinyl printer? Should I hand paint and wing it? I finally decided to print off the quote on my cheap-o printer for tracing. I chose a random font and text size (Times New Roman, 150 font size) and printed away.

Pretty high-tech, eh?!

Once the paint was dry (Which, seriously, took less than an hour - I LOVE chalk paint!), I taped it to the wood. I had to move it around a bit to get the spacing and centering right, and I could have used a ruler, but I don't mind imperfection. Then I took something sharp to etch the letters into the wood. I started with a pencil, but that broke from how hard I needed to press down.. I finally settled on an unclicked ballpoint pen, which worked great. With a faint outline able to be seen on the wood, I was ready to paint.

The hardest part of painting the letters was getting the paint into the nooks and crannies of the wood. It's not a smooth surface, and it took sometimes three coats of tracing in order to get all the niches filled in. But I'm very happy with my first try.

The first of three small pieces to secure along the back

Next, I cut down another piece of pallet piece into smaller pieces to attach to the back of the sign. This allows all three pieces to stay together, and gives me something to hang a wall mount onto. The most important part of this step is to find a nail that is LONG ENOUGH to go through both pieces of wood but not TOO LONG that it comes out on the front side of the sign. It needs to be secure without marring the look.

Strong words. 

When my Hubs gets home, he will hang it in Bjorn's room (And I'll add an updated wall picture then.) I am not allowed to hang things anymore. Something about when we moved the last time and he found the six silver dollar sized holes I had conveniently hidden behind our wall shelves. In my defense, it's hard to hit the exact spot right every time. Or every six times.

Oh, yes. We rock a lava lamp.

While the quote comes from A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh series, so it can be considered babyish to some, I find it applicable for a 6 year old.  Even at six, in the first grade, he struggles with peer pressure, and with academic pressure. He is caught between a little boy and a big kid. This is a reminder to him each day that he is so much more than he thinks he is, that he can do and be something bigger. It says that I believe in him. I believe in his ability to do great things and be a great person.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Olive Tree

When we were shopping around, part of the appeal of this old house were the established fruit trees in the backyard. We must have looked at this house 8 different times, and each time the kids grabbed and ate as many tangerines as they could stand.

Alongside the tangerine tree is a lemon tree, orange tree and grapefruit tree. The weeks after we moved in were spent grabbing lemons, complete with a homemade lemonade stand out front. 

There is also a tree that in winter stands huge: bare, white-boned, skeletal in the middle of the yard. I thought it was dead, and I searched for pictures of it online, trying to figure out what it was and how to remove it.  Six months later, at a July 4th celebration at our home, a friend asked if we had tried our figs yet this year.

Our skeletal tree was no longer merely branches but was sprouting elephant-ear leaves bigger than my head, and - we hadn't even noticed! - large figs ripe for the eating. We picked bowl after bowl of figs, making goat cheese and fig bruschetta. Eating them raw. 

I searched for homemade fig newton recipes only to find that the window for figs had passed. The early bird songbirds weren't there to wish us good morning each day. They were eating every last one of the figs from the tree. Next year I'll be ready sooner. 

It was a few weeks ago that we remembered our realtor had mentioned the huge tree in the front yard was an olive tree. We joked about making our own olive oil, and picking olives. Turns out, we weren't that far off. The tree was ripe with huge green olives ready for picking.

But not ready for eating. Just ask The Hubs. Apparently, they are incredibly bitter fresh off the tree. 

We watched a few YouTube videos (which is how we do all our DIY stuff around here) and discovered that making your own olives is a long and arduous process. Soaking for three months, changing out the water they soak in, then canning.......Boo.

Then we stumbled across a video that cur the soaking time to EIGHT DAYS. And the preserving process to three months. It didn't get my olives done for my Sunday Bloody Mary, but it would have to do.

First we picked as many olives as we could. We shook the tree. Put the kids on our shoulders. Climbed - or tried to climb - the tree. We grabbed the orange picker tool to shake out as many as we could. Dozens of olives were ready. Huge ones, small ones, medium ones. After gathering them, we soaked them in two bowls, changing the water 1-2 times a day. This was to draw out some of the natural bitterness.

Next, we went to can. 

The nice part about canning olives is that you don't have to do the whole preserving and canning process. You really just put them in a jar and let them sit. No boiling the lids on, none of the stuff that makes canning jam so complicated.

We gathered all the jars I had collected the last few months and placed olives in them. (Oh yeah, we did put a lemon at the bottom of each jar. Not sure why, but it was in the video we watched, so why not?) After putting in olives about 2/3 of the way or more in each jar, we poured in our water mixture, which was basically 1/2 cup of pickling salt mixed with a quart of water. A drizzle of olive oil covered that.

Then we got creative. In a few of the jars, we left the olives plain, just left them at that. But we added fresh herbs (rosemary and thyme) and jalepenos to the others.

Now we wait. And wait. And wait. For three months they will soak in their juices, just in time to be opened for a Christmas relish tray and Bloody Mary. Life is good at this old house. I'm also saving a few olive branches. Just in case I ever need to extend one.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Man Cave Wall, Part Three: Walking on the wall

Ever since pallet walls have become a 'thing', The Hubs and I have wanted one. It speaks to our Texas roots, the country-and-we-love-it down home feel that makes us comfortable. So when we had to take down an entire wall of the man cave and start from scratch, we knew how we wanted to replace it.

The Man Cave before we got our hands on it. We saw potential.

Pallets were placed in our backyard, and we researched how to take them apart, how to weather them so they looked naturally weathered, but wouldn't give you splinters if you rubbed up against them.

Months went by. The pallets sat there.

See, a pallet wall looks awesome. Sounds awesome. But it also sounds like a whole lot of work, and we already have a whole lot of work to do on this house. Why did we want to create more?!

Walking around Home Depot on Saturday morning (Home Depot is the new Target) The Hubs suddenly stopped, pointed to an end cap display and said "THAT'S what we will use for the wall."

Laminate flooring.

Laminate flooring?!?!

I was hesitant (how would that look? Would you be able to tell it was flooring?) but seeing as I had no desire to saw off pallet pieces, sand down rough spots and hammer out nails, I was willing to give anything a try. Even laminate flooring.

We loaded up three different colors: Saratoga Hickory, Alameda Hickory and Lakeshore Pecan. With three different patterns and colors, we hoped to make a random design on the wall, not unlike what you would get with pallets.

An online tutorial suggested Liquid Nails on the back of the flooring to attach it to the wall, but I very strongly suggested to The Hubs that we skip that part. In the off chance that we wanted to change the wall in two, three or fifteen years, putting liquid nails on it would destroy it completely, and we would have to do yet another redo on it. Since the boards locked together, we decided to try and lock them in place and then use a SUPER DUPER POWER TOOL to ensure they stayed up.

This thing was LOUD. And effective.

Disclaimer: I'm not like other DIY-ers. I HATE power tools. They scare the buh-jeezus out of me. I am always worried that I will be the idiot that trips while carrying the nail gun, accidentally shooting myself in the foot. I would rather spend 10x as long with a regular hammer than with something that has to plug in.  I also forget that power tools can be used to aid in small tasks. Many times The Hubs has walked into a room where I am grunting with a screwdriver, straining to "Leftey-loosey" a tight screw out. He reminds me that that is why electric screwdrivers were invented, and pops out the screw in 6 seconds. 

The Hubs borrowed a brad nailer from a friend, and besides making me jump every time he touched it, and making the kids cover their ears and watch with wide eyes, it worked perfectly. The flooring pieces stayed up easily.

The bottom row was the most important row, for if we got that part level, the rest would be simple. We spent close to 45 minutes probably on that row alone, leveling, then raising the boards 1/8 of an inch. Lowering, then raising, lowering then raising the whole way across until we got to the end. It was tedious to get it exact, but once that was level and set, we didn't have to do it for any other row, so the rest went much faster.

Row one. Done!
It didn't take long - less than 6 hours start to finish for the entire wall. That included multiple breaks to get the kids snacks and drinks, a good 1/2 hour to try and fry eggs on the sidewalk, and the numerous cuts that were made to fit in smaller pieces. See, when we got to the end of a row, we had to cut down many pieces to make them fit. Fortunately, we were able to work in most of the cut pieces throughout the wall so we didn't have to waste full pieces by cutting them. The theme of the process was "Make it work". If it looked good, and it fit, we made it work. Nothing was uniform. There was no "wrong way".

Looking good!

Spacing around the outlets and wall unit was the hardest

When we got to the second to last row from the top, we realized that it might have been better had we started at the top and worked our way down. We have a 3 1/2 inch strip at the top because a full board didn't fit. My suggestion to you would be to measure EVERYTHING before starting and figure out how it will fit before beginning. After completion, it didn't seem like a big deal - the strip at the top looks perfectly fine to us, but maybe you would want that at the bottom, where it might be covered by furniture? Up to you.


Wowza. It looks awesome.

We still have a few things to finish on the room (quarter round molding at the top. baseboards along the bottom, electrical extension on the boxes to make them flush with the new wall). But at least the most time consuming part of it is done. And just in time for football season, too.

Time now to turn this barrel into a pub table!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Still working on the Man Cave

So it's been 6 weeks since my last post, and we have done little things here and there, but with two birthdays, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, camping, work.....well, we are a little behind on our updo schedule.

Last night, after 6 weeks of prep work and procrastination, we finally began painting the man cave. Those awful 1980's wood paneling walls are going to stay, but under layers of a cool, calm blue. We were going for a steely gray/green/blue but we cannot seem to EVER pick the right paint color (why is it so hard?!), but we are sticking with what we have.

Obviously, I'm an AWESOME picture taker. Isn't this an exciting view?

Close up. It looks like the right color in pics. In person it's much bluer. 

It's a beautiful, calm blue, and we need one coat of touch-up paint tonight, and then on to steps two through what seems like 500.

Step 2: Paint doors and trim.
Step 3: Attach molding and baseboard throughout the room. (See above pic one. Can you see the wood paneling poking out from the top? Cover that up!)

Then it's on to the fun stuff. Prepping and attaching the pallet wall comes next. I've heard that it is a total PITA to get the pallets apart but I'm not too concerned. That's what power tools are for.

We need to buy some furniture for the room - a couch, a sectional perhaps, maybe a nice rug.

Does anyone else's spouse have a problem with used couches? I look at couches the way I look at cars - buying new is just throwing my money away, as the second it gets home, it is already devalued. Why spend $2000 when I can spend $500 on craigslist? But The Hubs is 100% super-anti used couches (does he realize that I never had a new couch until 5 years ago when we bought ours???) so the budget has to be re-figured for that. Also, I want to wait for the best deals. Labor Day weekend, maybe?

Did I mention that The Hubs got the best Father's Day present from me? I found him an old Jack Daniels whiskey barrel to turn into a pub table. Super easy, and looks awesome. I can't wait to start on it.

Yup, I loaded it in the garage upside down.

Hopefully within the month, the room will be usable. I know The Hubs could use it. Having the kids cooped up inside all day and night in this summer heat is wearing him down. He needs a relaxation place.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The couple that takes down walls together, stays together.

A few weeks ago, I gave the nickel tour to a friend who came by for the afternoon. We went room to room to room, ending up in the man cave. (Which, sigh, is apparently a thing. It's no longer "the addition" or the "extra room". No, it's a man cave. For cave men.)

While in there, I noticed that we had some wood paneling that seemed to be wet. Further inspection brought on more paneling and drywall and insulation. All wet. 

(And, yes, the room is completely wood paneling. Ugly, brown 80's wood paneling. I smell a painting project!)

A week later and our wall looked like this.

Because water leaking in through an old wall air conditioning system is not good.  (This room is an addition that is not connected to our home's HVAC system, so it has its own AC unit. )What IS good is that we caught it before it got bad, and we just had to replace the drywall on the inside, the insulation, and the outer wall. 

No big deal, right?

Ummmm.... No. Super big deal. It wasn't hard to pull it down, and to build it back up. Just time consuming and nerve-racking. Good news? We did it in one weekend with no arguing. Bad news? We had to replace a wall in our house! That's bad news enough. This is one project we, and our bankroll, had not counted on. But you do what you have to do, so we did.

Rolls of insulation went in where it was wet and falling apart. 

Then OHB (I think that's what it's called??) went up next, with a lot of measuring twice and cutting once going on. More like measuring 30, cutting once. Putting up this board was possibly The Hubs favorite part of the entire weekend - all because I suggested that with the amount of nails we were going to use, he should rent a nail gun. 

Everything is better with a new power tool.

I high-tailed it to the other side of the yard everytime he turned it on. Not because he wasn't safe; he has the utmost respect and care of power tools. I'm just not good with anything that has the word "gun" in it. Except staple guns. Those I can handle. 

So I cringed and held the OHB in place while he nailed it on, then ran to the opposite end of the yard as soon I could so he could finish in peace. 

Safety first, people. Wearing my racquetball goggles to protect these precious eyeballs of mine

We put up the weatherproof TyVek sheeting, and called it a weekend. A long weekend. A very long weekend of 97 degree record heat, the hottest day of the year so far here in Phoenix. Not the best time to be working outside. 

The siding still needed to go up, but since my Father in Law was coming in town, I decided to step back from the project and let him help The Hubs. They had the siding done within a few hours, and even added a few decorative touches. 

We don't have an air conditioning unit in it yet. The old one was rusted and needs to be replaced, and we are still researching all our options. Split AC? Another through the wall unit? Whatever it is, we need to do it soon. 100 degree days aren't too far away. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Front Porch Pickins market entry giveaway

From my love of old windows and church pews, to say nothing of my vintage home itself, it is easy to see that I love a vintage style. I like things to look comfortable and lived in. With my random, mismatched pieces, I often feel like I live in a vacation cottage; a little whimsical, a tad overstuffed and messy, completely cozy.

I've raided nearly every antique store in town, eyeing treasures I couldn't live without (vintage typewriter, artwork, a pottery bowl) and those that haunt me from being left behind (handmade dollhouse, rocking chairs, that one tapestry I can never match in color and style).

So when I heard there was a vintage market opening near me, I was thrilled and immediately planned to go. When they offered me two EARLY ENTRY tickets to giveaway to my readers, I was ecstatic. Early entry gets you into the market before all those other savvy shoppers who are there just to grab the only vintage rooster candle holder, or that Balloons Pyrex bowl, right before you see it. With Early Entry tickets, you can start shopping at 9 am on April 24th, one full hour before regular admission.

Front Porch Pickin's says that it is a market place for those who love all things "rusty, chippy, peely." Sounds like a perfect place to find that one-of-a-kind piece I can't live without. With over 75 vendors selling onsite, with a variety of handmade and vintage or re purposed goods, I just know that they will have exactly what I need. (Even if I didn't know I needed it!)

Open for two days, on April 24th and April 25th at Park West mall in Peoria, AZ, this year they will also be teaming up with Momma's Organic Market, so you will have access to local produce, goodies and more.

That sounds like a one-stop shop to me. It's also a way to see local merchants, putting our hard earned money into their hard working pockets, giving back to the local community. If I have the choice between shopping at a Big Box store or a local vendor, I will choose local every time. You'll see me pickin' through this vintage market.

How do you win two EARLY ENTRY tickets to Front Porch Pickin's market on April 24th?

1. Share my blog for one entry. (Once per day.)
2. Comment on a blog post for one entry. (Once per day.)
3. Like Front Porch Pickin's on Facebook and tell them you are coming by from We Could Make That blog for one entry. (Once only, and please comment back and let me know you did it!)
4. Comment what item you are searching for, whether it be vintage, repurposed or handmade for one entry. (Once only.)
5. Tag three friends that you think would love to go to Front Porch Pickins for one entry. (Once only.)

That is FIVE different ways YOU could win early entry tickets! Anyone excited yet? Winner will be chosen Saturday April 18th.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A gallery wall explained

If you plan on having a gallery style wall in your living room, DO NOT do it the way I did.

I obsessed over this wall. I was addicted to Pinterest, pinning picture after picture of these "perfect" gallery walls with their perfect pictures and perfect wooden arrow accessories. You've seen them; you know the ones. 

I placed all my frames and wall hangings on the floor, measuring exactly the width I had to work with, moving this frame here, and that frame there. I took pictures of my floor art, texting friend after friend. 

One friend told me it looked great, and even came over to my house to help my obsess a little more, arranging and rearranging for hours while our kids stared at a movie. 

Another told me I needed more metallics, something different than all the wood. A big metallic arrow, for example. Except - I'm not a metallic person. Or an arrow person. So while I loved the suggestion, it didn't feel genuine for my home. What I want most in my house, while being beautiful and comfortable and easy, is to be genuine. I want it to feel like MY home. 

I took a step back from my Pin-session and asked myself a few simple questions. What do I need to have when I come in the door? What do I need to use? What do I want to see?

The Hubs helped me with the first one. I knew I needed a place for the kids to throw their shoes, a seat for them to get ready as they rushed out the door. I was searching for mudroom benches - those ones with cushions on top and baskets underneath for storage. But they felt......normal. We aren't normal people. The Hubs suggested a church pew instead.

He was exactly right. (Don't tell him, though. It will go straight to his head.)

I searched antique stores and garage sales, Craigslist and OfferUp and finally found one, 8 weeks into my search. It was perfect. It is a simple and beautiful antique. I was a little concerned at first that it wouldn't hold up to my kids launching themselves on and off it (as they are wont to do). But then I decided that if it has stood up to years of church-goers sitting and kneeling and leaning and sleeping, it would hold up for my kids just fine. I love thinking about the people who have sat upon this pew, praying - what they thanked God for, what they asked. 

Now onto the wall itself. What did I want to see when I walked into my home? 

(Note: our entry wall is an awkward little wall. Instead of coming through a hallway into the house, the front door faces the wall,  and you turn right to go into the living room or left to head into the playroom/den. So the entry wall would be facing anyone coming to my front door.)

For me, the answer was simple. I wanted to see pictures of my family. I wanted my daughter's dance and my son's baseball picture. I wanted a big "O" to announce our family name. I wanted a vintage-y cottage-y style that didn't look like it was trying too hard. 

I wasn't satisfied with the collection of objects and pictures I had amassed for my wall, but couldn't put my finger on what was missing. So I took a step back, and went to help The Hubs tear down a wall (more on that later!). While clearing out that room for demo and renovation, I came across a big canvas painting he had received from his parents in college.

"Oh wow. I forgot about this! I've always loved it." I stopped for a second. "Hey - can I put this up in our entry way? Or did you want to keep it for the man cave?"

"I'd love it if you hung it in the entry way. You really want to?" he asked.

Oh yes, I really did. Because what was missing from before was him. If this wall was a collection of our lives together, a feeling of "home" every time we walked into the room, then he needed to be a part of it. A big part of it. Putting his canvas from Brazil into the mix added more color, a certain odd - but fun - flair, and it was HIS. It also didn't hurt that I really do love it. It became my wall centerpiece, that tied all the colors together.

After I discovered The Hubs' canvas, the gallery wall fell into place.

I walked around my house, seeing if there was anything else I had lying around that I had overlooked. An hour later I had an antique window that used to live in my daughter's room, some plaques and a wall shelf my grandfather had handmade. 

I printed our family pictures out and taped them to the window panes. A very generous friend printed out some vinyl lettering for me, and after I painted my boring black plaque a deep blue, I attached the simple lettering. "Hello", it said.  

My first treasure I bought in Phoenix 8 years ago. I loved it from the moment I saw it.

I found a few more tiny treasures around the house and placed them on my grandfather's wall shelf. A Paddington the Bear statue from my hubs childhood in the UK. A rock sculpture he had made when he was younger.  A Willow Tree figurine holding a dog, a reminder of my dog Hansa, who died in February. A pair of antlers from a white-tailed deer The Hubs hunted in college. 

I never thought I would allow a pair of antlers in my home. But there it is.

Although it's odd, and different....somehow, it works. It feels vintage and bright and cheery and most of all, US.  

The shutter used to frame our bedroom window. Now it holds important letters, and birthday and Christmas cards.

The view from my front door.
 It's not finished yet. The wall will be painted a light gray next week, and the generic coat rack is getting a face lift in either red or yellow, whichever strikes my fancy that day. I also have a hankering to write my favorite uplifting quotes in Sharpie around the mirror frame. Again, for another day.

Walking into my house every day, I feel so welcome and happy. A friend came by last week and said the same thing. "Your house is so comfortable. So cozy and homey." Mission accomplished.

What project are you working on? Or did you finish a project this week, too? Tell me all about it!

Friday, March 27, 2015

What happens when I leave the house....

Since the day I convinced The Hubs we needed we bought this house The Hubs has been talking about the day we renovate the kitchen. I had it on a 5 year plan, after the air conditioning, water heater, painting and bathroom remodel.  Apparently, it was higher on his list.

That's a lot of fluorescent lighting to trash!

I came home from a week in Texas visiting friends to find a hole the size of me in our kitchen ceiling. Good-bye long fluorescent lighting!!! Over the course of the next week, we (ahem, he) put in recessed lights, replaced drywall and textured. I painted. It's a tough job, I have here.

To be fair, we did need to do this before we put in the insulation, which again, needs to be done before the ridiculously hot summer days. Why do we NEED to do it? Because we have a hole the size of my head in our AC ducting, and the insulation is non-existent. If we didn't replace it, our AC bill would probably cost as much as it would to replace it. Over the long run, it costs less to do these repairs up front than in a few years to trample over the new insulation, resulting in replacing it. Again.

It's a slippery slope, this home repair.

I thought we were done with kitchen, and would do nothing more than peel off wallpaper and maybe, possibly, paint, but oh, I was so, so wrong.

I left for a Sunday morning jog, and came home to this.

Moral of the story: Don't leave my husband in the house alone.

Hidden in the middle of the cabinets that used to stand here is a vent hood. Over a laminate tabletop, completely across the kitchen from the oven and stove. Totally unnecessary, and releasing some of my costly, precious air conditioning into the attic. I don't need cold air in the attic; I don't plan on ever going up there.

That's the sky above my roof you see there. Sigh. 

Over the next 48 hours, the vent hood was capped, insulation and drywall replaced, textured, and painted.

Pre-paint job, but after drywall and repairs.

It was a laborious project, but worthwhile. The kitchen looks a hundred times better, which means I may be able to put off The Hubs a little longer for a full remodel. We also are now ready to replace our air conditioning vent, raise it (so we can take out the soffits and make our ceiling a little taller), and put in insulation. Or, rather, have someone else put in the insulation. Thank goodness, I can pawn that off on someone else. It's hot and cramped up in that attic.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Living the life you love

Yesterday my neighbor stopped by to welcome me home after our Spring Break vacation.

Have I mentioned I love my neighbors?!?!

I invited her in, even though we (and by "we" I mean, The Hubs) had demo-ed all the day, and the house was a total disaster. If I waited to invite her in when it was clean, she would never be able to come in! That's just who we are and how we roll around here. What you see is what you get.

She stepped over the laundry baskets and past the jumbo pile of kids shoes into the renovation zone that was our kitchen. Think plastic sheeting, drywall compound and dozens of nails and various tools scatter haphazardly.

She began to exclaim excitedly over the house. The same soffit and old cabinetry as in her kitchen, the wonderfully done original wood floors, the double fireplaces. The kitchen and bathrooms. We talked of quirks and facets, money pits and projects. The love we share of our un-ordinary home, our fixer, our unique lifestyle.

"Why do I need a big spa bathroom?" I asked her. "I want my square footage in my living space, not wasting around in a big bathroom. I need to shower, use the bathroom and that's pretty much all!"

She agreed. "Yes! I can sit on the toilet, brush my teeth and spit in the sink, all while turning on the shower. It actually makes it much easier to get ready when I don't have to move!"

I laughed, but it's true. Standing in the middle of my bathroom, I can hold out my arms and touch the walls in all directions. Still it has everything I need: a toilet, a shower, a sink and some storage.

"It's a lifestyle to live here," she went on. "It's an attitude you have to have to be happy and content with something different than the norm. These houses, with their tics and quirks, they require a different way of looking at life, and at what you really want and need."

She's right.

While others are buying big homes, with new everything, and rooms and rooms to spare, we opted for a good-sized home with yard and yard to spare. Most buyers want brand new, so they don't have to fix anything for 10+ years, We chose a fixer-upper with incredibly good bones, but needs a major facelift. We won't be done with renovations until.....well, probably for as long as we live here.

The first thing I loved about this home was its two fireplaces, followed quickly by the five different floorings throughout it. What puts others off actually interested me. It's different, and I like different.

While I know some people walk into my house and are shocked at what it doesn't have - two bathtubs, a laundry room that fits side by side washer and dryer, an updated kitchen - I absolutely love what it does have.

Originality. Fun. Years of life.

Neighbors that welcome me home from vacation.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Another Day, Another Project

Another day, another project!

At least this time we are not the ones actually doing it. We just have to pay for it. 

But, oh I am so glad we didn't do it ourselves because we are going on 10 hours now and he still isn't finished. And he's a professional!  Here's what we have so far....

I told my son I would give him the world...so I did...

Her favorite color is princess... and pink.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What The Hubs has been doing

So while I was busy painting rooms and creating clouds (things The Hubs would not ever, ever want to do), he was busy with his own projects.

Yes, that's a hole in my ceiling.

Master bathroom circa 1963

See, I don't know how people have been living in this house for 55 years. There is NO FAN in the master bathroom. Think about what that means for a minute...

I didn't like it either.

Yes, there is a window. It's about as tall as my hand and just a little wider. Doesn't do much for ventilation purposes, but if you accidentally leave the bathroom door open overnight, the rising sun hits just right to blind you through it in the morning. FYI. So apparently it is big enough for that. 

Haven't any handy husbands wanted to do a weekend project?

My husband lives for weekend projects.
This was not a project I would have tackled my own for a million dollars. I mean, he had to drill a hole through the side of my house.  I cringe just thinking about it. I say I'm all good about renovations, but then when it starts, all I can see is dollar bills flying through the air to fix whatever we messed up.

It's not like he hasn't done this before. He drilled a hole in our last house to install the outdoor stereo system. It sounds like a pattern with him. But, whatever, because I have a fan in my bathroom! Woo hoo!