November 23, 2010

Busy Busy Busy


It’s Thanksgiving week.

And I feel so busy!

Our master bath is still rough plumbing and 2x4s….

I’ve got some cookin’ to do.  Ok, just one casserole, but still.  It’s on the list!

I went somewhere at lunch today…my car died three times.  Fabulous.  I’m embarking on some DIY car repair tonight.  Wish me luck.  I hope it solves the problem. 

Gotta travel halfway across the country for work on Monday morning.  Found out about it …yesterday.  ugh.

The electrician is coming tomorrow.  At 7:30.  In the morning.

We leave tomorrow night for Thanksgiving #1.  Then we leave Friday morning for Thanksgiving #2. 

Fun fun fun.

Busy busy busy.

November 17, 2010

Construction Update


As of today, both our heat registers and the vent from the downstairs bathroom have been rerouted.

It did look like this:

And now:

We also have a drain for the new shower:


And the toilet plumbing has been relocated (turns out he didn’t need to cut into the laundry room ceiling either!):


And the bedroom heat register which found itself UNDER the new framing was also relocated:


Making progress!!!  There’s more plumbing to be done tomorrow.  Then no more work until next week when Mr. Electrician comes on Tuesday.  Meanwhile, our vanity is being made (we chose knotty alder with a walnut stain).  Sometime this week, I’ll make the final decision on the faucets (need to make a trip to the plumbing supply house) and then this weekend we’ll get our vanity/sinks and tile ordered.  We’re going with a black solid surface vanity top with undermount sinks.

A little more info on the vanity top if you’re interested:

We initially were going to go with the new “hi def” laminate that looks like stone.  We like it a lot and it’s definitely the least expensive option.  It was something like $200 for our project.  But then we found out that if we wanted undermount sinks with the laminate, it would cost $350 extra just to install the sinks! 


Well, the next choice up in the price line-up was solid surface.  And for about the same price as the laminate + undermount cost, we could get the solid surface with undermount sinks included and factory installed. 


Well…(a lot of “wells” today)

Then someone told us about granite remnants.  If you pick your granite countertop from a remnant of someone else’s project, it’s like $15 a square foot.  What they DON’T tell you is when you add the cutting, polishing and installation of that remnant, it jumps to about $55 a square foot.  And what they also don’t tell you is you have to buy your own sinks and provide them to the granite people to be undermounted.  (I assumed sinks were included in the cost because they ARE included in the cost with the solid surface counters.)  So we got all excited that granite would be affordable for our bathroom….and then found out it would actually cost around $1000.  

So we fell back to Plan B – the solid surface!

November 15, 2010

Master Bath: Demolition!


Over the weekend, we went from this:

The closet, with one section of drywall removed.

Looking into the bathroom from the closet.  Flooring has been removed (a strip of carpet covers the sticky adhesive and makes the floor tolerable to walk on.)



New and improved!!  NOT.  The bathtub and old vinyl surround were installed pre-sheetrock, so the tub in this picture is actually stuck until those studs come down.  We learned a LOT about plumbing this weekend.  I won’t mention the hairball that became our “cheerleader”.  Oh wait, I just did.  Well, thank me for not taking a picture of it. Winking smile


The closet, complete with a mile of cable.  The “cable” cable comes down from the attic.  But we don’t use cable, so the line from our satellite dish comes in along the baseboards on the other side of the closet.  Yay.  Cords.  At least they’re usually attached nicely to the wall.


Anyone want some 12-year old cream colored carpeting?  We’ll even throw in the pad FOR FREE Winking smile


And now the pros can handle the hard stuff.  I think I hear a Saws-all right now!

November 11, 2010

It’s Snowing! Snowflakes and Sheetrock


We got our first snow last night!  Average first snow for our area is October 19th…so we’re a little overdue.

And, since we’re still on track to start our bathroom/closet remodel next week, we got started on some demo last night as well.


Because we’re still using our bedroom and our bathroom (we’ll move out of them officially in the next few days), we only demo’d the inside wall of the closet, to contain some of the dust and get our feet wet.  We’ve never demolished anything before Smile  It’s pretty fun!

IMG_3104 IMG_3105

We also took up the carpet in the closet as well as the adhesive tile in the bathroom.  The tile left some very sticky residue, so we used a strip of the old carpet on the floor.  We may need to get some adhesive remover…we’re not sure yet if it’s safe to tile over stickiness. Does anyone know?


We’re still waiting on a revised bid, since we changed one aspect of the reno, but that should come in soon.  The contractor is still planning to start next week, so I guess that’s a sign he’ll have the revision ready for us this week Smile

IMG_3109  IMG_3108

We started demo’ing a little early so we could take advantage of our mostly empty trash bin and Thursday pick-up.  I forgot it won’t get picked up until tomorrow due to the holiday, so it’s already out there, stuffed full and ready to go Smile

Then we’ll fill it back up!

P.S.  I met with the ‘cabinet guy’ yesterday.  He’s going to custom-build our new vanity.  Usually, I assume the home stores will be cheaper because they benefit from economies of scale.  BUT…the exact same size and style of vanity ordered from Home Depot would have been…..$550 more than having it custom made.  So check with your local craftsmen next time you’re thinking of ordering from a home store – you might be surprised what the price difference really is.

November 8, 2010

Monday Musings


Ahhh our front yard has that lovely sweet fall smell of rotten leaves.  Sounds gross, smells good Smile 

Has anyone ever tried using a leaf blower to

  1. Blow shredded bark mulch out of areas it shouldn’t be (like out of the rock mulch)? 
  2. Blow leaves out of shredded bark mulch areas?

Has anyone ever tried renting a leaf blower? 

Obviously, I’m thinking of trying out a leaf blower for a couple different purposes Smile but I don’t really want to buy one before I know whether it works for the uses I mentioned above.

Our weather is supposed to be 73 degrees and sunny today.  Barf! 

Fall is not supposed to be 73 degrees.  And you already know that I don’t like sunny fall days either.  Wind, clouds, rain…I’ll take any of those over sun in the months of October-January.

We need to figure out what we’re doing for Thanksgiving.

Did I tell you about the tree protector/cage we had to rig up last weekend?  We were diligently watering our newly replaced tree (making every possible effort to keep this one alive because if it dies too, the replacement won’t be free next time) when we noticed something.


…something that looks a little bit like….cat scratches?

Well, FUNNY, but our backyard grass/mulch/garden beds happen to be the neighborhood litter box for all our neighbors’ roaming kitties (at least 5 separate cats appear in our backyard on a weekly basis, sometimes 2 at a time and we have really entertaining and LOUD cat fights), so it makes perfect sense that our tree has become the neighborhood scratching post as well. 

So we grabbed some fencing and some stakes from the garage and rigged up a little solution.


Next summer’s solution? One of these:


Don’t know what this is?  I shall draw you a picture:


It’s a motion-activated sprinkler Open-mouthed smile  And I didn’t actually draw that picture Winking smile

I do like cats.  But not when they poop in our yard and scratch our trees.

Happy Monday!

November 4, 2010

Ugly Brass Lamps Repurposed

Got ugly brass lamps lying around?
You probably don’t.
But I bet you’ve seen plenty of them at the thrift store!  I see them at Goodwill ALL.the.time and I’ve wondered what I could do with them…..
They look a little like a candle holder, don’t they?  And they’re always priced to sell.
I finally just dove right in and spent $2 on a brass lamp to see what I could do.
Got it home and unscrewed all the pieces.  Threw out the light socket, cord, and shade support.
This particular lamp body (maybe all of them?) actually came apart in…about 12 pieces.  So I rearranged on the rod them in the order I thought they would look most candle-holder-like :)
Beautiful. Not.
Had to go buy a new nut to secure the rod from the top (since it only had a nut on the bottom after I tossed the unnecessary lamp hardware).
Before the rod was secured with the second nut.
Glued the top piece of brass to a glass candle dish I already had (using Gorilla Glue, then I used a razor to remove the portions that squished out around the undersides.)
Glued that brass/glass piece to the top of the new candle holder, which also served to hide the rod and nut holding the rest of the pieces together.
Took the whole thing outside and primed and spray-painted it along with my refurbished tray
How lovely the garden is this time of year.  When it’s 70 degrees out in November and all the plants are confused.
The lamp-turned-candlestick actually turned out pretty well!
Here it is with the other Goodwill candle holder I found, dressing up the inside of our TV hutch:

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for matching lamps now that I know they turn out pretty cute!
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November 3, 2010

The Christmas Rats




Meet our “Christmas rats”.  They’ve prompted a few giggles and questions from our friends lately, so before I put them away, I thought I’d just get the story out in the open so everyone knows. :)

A loooong time ago, I was in Wal-Mart with my mom.  I was hanging out in the Halloween aisle, looking at all the cool stuff, when I noticed a scary white Halloween rat buried under the costumes and masks.  I thought it was the COOLEST decoration EVER.  Only problem was…it was the only one on the shelf, and it didn’t have a price tag.


We called an employee over to help us figure out what the price was.  He didn’t know and he couldn’t figure it out, so we took it to the register, where the cashier suggested a price.  I don’t remember exactly what the price was, but I’m pretty sure it was around $2, which I thought was just a total STEAL for such a COOL rat!  My mom was totally thrilled.  thrilled.

White Rat came home with us and decorated our entry way for several Halloweens after that.


Fast forward several years.  My then-fiance-now-husband was invited to my parents house for Christmas.  He must’ve thought we were the weirdest family on the planet….because under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning was a giant, scary, rubber rat.  A black one. 


My dad had found it somewhere and picked it up to be a match for the white rat, and he thought it was the funniest thing to put it under the Christmas tree.  Can’t take ourselves too seriously, ya know?  My mom unloaded those particular decorations on us as soon as she could!

So the rats will now be forever known as the Christmas Rats, and their cheesy awesomeness will always have a place of honor on my hearth amongst the other Halloween decorations. 


And now, when you see them in various pictures, you can stop wondering “What is the deal with those RATS?” :-D

November 2, 2010

Halloween – A Retrospect

We actually had to come up with costumes this year for a Halloween party on Saturday night.  The party’s theme was “Heroes & Villains” so we came up with this:

A detective and a ‘cat burglar’! 

But to really get the reference, notice the huge pink “diamond” ring I’m wearing….

NONE of our friends got it, because apparently we’re the only ones who’ve seen any of the Pink Panther movies.  We were not just ANY detective and cat burglar…..we were Inspector Clouseau and the jewel thief who stole the Pink Panther diamond!

The costumes were pretty easy – all black clothes for me, plus the plastic diamond ring, the stuffed cat (Goodwill), and a mask painted on with face paint.   Then I put a black belt with it and went around the house looking for stuff to attach to the belt to make it a "utility belt”.  I ended up with a flashlight, a bit of wire, a multi-tool, and our camera all attached to my belt :)  Who needs a purse?


For the Hubster, we found a trench coat at Goodwill, a bucket hat which I modified slightly with glue and twill ribbon, a fake moustache, and a magnifying glass we already had. 

 IMG_3030 IMG_3032

Hubs couldn’t smile with the fake moustache – it was the biggest waste of $5 EVER!  It didn’t stay on more than a couple minutes at a time.  We should’ve just painted a moustache on.

Either way, it was fun even if no one *quite* got the message :)

Halloween10 K

Halloween10 N

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