Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Follow Up

Finally finished with the front yard!

Even after several deluges, nothing budged!  


Next on list . . . getting grass to grow instead of weeds!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Have I Told You Lately . . .

Have I Told You Lately . . . 

This project is definitely NOT paired with a Rod Stewart soundtrack.  More like a power ballad Journey soundtrack to get you through the tough parts & a Beck (Guero) track or two for the times where you're grooving & making progress.  So, what is the project? 

Well, with the pros tackling the ceiling issues (soon) I needed a new project to focus on that was not too destructive, messy or inconvenient & the staircase was screaming for help with all of it's stains & crud.  So today, in a fit of rage, I decided to rip the carpet off.  At first, when I pulled the carpet back & it EASILY came up I felt pure JOY.  I may have even high-fived myself.  But, after 2 steps, I wanted to pull my hair out!  There were 2 tack strips on each step & someone was a little too ambitious with the staple gun!

Motivation was quickly restored when I realized that the carpet was ORIGINAL to the house & was quite possibly a health hazard - YUCK!  30-year-old carpet, on a high traffic surface quite frankly is disgusting.  I don't get grossed out easily, but I tell ya, this was nasty business!

The basement stairs, which were finished & stained 30 years ago, was a good indication that the main staircase would be decent & partially finished under all of the 80's carpeted funk.  Luckily, the treads are in good shape & already bull-nosed. I was so afraid new treads would have to be installed.  Why would anyone go to the trouble of building a beautiful set of stairs then cover them with funky, white carpet?  We'll never fully understand the 80's mentality of carpeted stairs (& wallpaper).  I digress . . . There are small gaps to fill, lots of paint overspray to sand away, not to mention about 5000 staple & carpet tack holes.  I see using Soy Stripper in my future & lots of wood putty!  

Our house is pretty basic.  A simple, brick clad, "5-4 & a door", with a fantastic open floor plan thanks to the previous owners hard work.   Although there have been some questionable choices made in this home's past the potential is there & it's future is bright.  So I figure what other place to add some pizazz than the main staircase.  After all it is the first thing you see when you walk in the door.  

This project will have it's ups, downs, good, bad, ugly & even uglier moments.  Hopefully it will be a huge pay off & become a show piece that this 80's track house desperately needs to stand out.

Finished product pics soon, complete with ending soundtrack, too (maybe some Queen, OutKast, Black Keys, Gogol Bordello . . .). 


Monday, July 30, 2012

Cardinals 2012

A recap of the Cardinals that nested by the kitchen window this Spring 
- their first brood of 3 fledglings 
- Mama Cardinal building her nest -

- Dad fueling up -

- sheathing is turning white & becoming brittle - 
siblings help pick sheathing off of head feathers

 - feeding is constant now for the parents - 
Dad is taking a shift

 it is getting crowded in the nest

 they're out! 
(got this one out of the street - Mama & Daddy were in a panic)

 resting while Mama & Daddy relocate the other two fledglings 

- staying in contact -
responds to every "peep" from Mama & Daddy

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No-Brainer of the Day!

If you aren't sure what to do with your husband's old undershirts that are not donatable because quite frankly who the heck would want to wear them after he's deemed them "smelly"?  Well, check this out.  

I saw these at Pet Supply Plus . . . DOGGY DUVETS!

This idea could also be used with floor pillows for the kids or any other pillow/sham you need to fill up.  I really like this idea because I hate to waste anything.  I realize it is a no-brainer, but I have destroyed, ruined, even melted throw pillow inserts (the melted ones were filled with synthetic material)  & this is a great way to recycle.  So easy to clean too.  It's just like doing a load of your husband's stinky undershirts!

Nikon Coolpix L120

Dan & I purchased a new camera awhile ago.  We went with a Nikon Coolpix L120.  It is basically a point & shoot, but it looks more like the fancy SLR/DSLR cameras.  One reason we went with this was the price.  The other reason, we're not professional photographers so spending thousands of dollars on a SLR/DSLR camera, lenses, etc was not practical at all.  So, for under $300 we went for it & don't have a single regret!

We have been MORE than pleased with this camera but were hoping for more zoom capabilities, etc.  While on Amazon one day I saw this . . . 
It is a kit that allows you to use lenses with your "point & shoot" camera.  On Amazon this kit cost only 30 bucks or so & it came with more than what is pictured.  An adapter to connect the lenses to the camera itself, a Digital High Definition 2.2X Telephoto Lens, 3 Filters, a High Def Wide Angle Lens, 2 cloths,  & that fancy brush thing.  

For those of you who are looking for a great affordable camera with some extras, I highly recommend this camera & this kit.  All available on!

MacGyver to the Rescue!

Oh home ownership how you are becoming a bad taste in my mouth.  And a mess on my floor, & a burden on the wallet & the testing of my sanity!  

The water leak.  A pinhole in the hot water line to the master bathroom upstairs finally let it's presence be known.  Late one evening we noticed a bulge in the kitchen ceiling.  What's that about?  Don't know?  Let's poke at it.  Ok. 
Can we please have just ONE project at a time?  No, of course not, don't be silly. 

This was quite a freak-out moment for Dan & I.  Granny, she was clueless & banking on it being a reason to send her back to the farm on her own.  Yeah, right.  

Well, thank goodness MacGyver showed up & helped us with this awesome funnel rig.
Luckily Dan & I are well trained . . . Ok, adequate enough at plumbing, we were able to repair the pipe.  

The ceiling?  Well, we were at a loss on that one.  We surfed the internet & talked about bead board.  My parent's have beautiful bead board ceilings in their addition with faux beams which Dan & I both agreed looked great.  But, could we really pull this off?  

It took me a few days (while Dan was at work) to pull down most of the ceiling in the kitchen & above the cabinets. Yeah, there is drywall over/on top of the cabinets. It sucked.  

Luckily, none of the wood joists were wet, but we still let everything dry out for at least a week while we bought supplies & planned out this new adventure.

Adventures in Soil Erosion Management


Yep, we did.   We cut the cable.  But, it got fixed & all was once well in the world of interweb & boob-tube entertainment.  Another thing we accomplished was planting around the giant Maple in the front yard to deter more soil erosion.  Blah, blah, blah.  We planted a bunch of stuff, ok!?

Over the past 5 years we have experienced some soil erosion during storms as well as the floods of 2009 or Floodmageddon 09.  Our gently sloping yard becomes a cascading waterfall, beautiful, but destructive.  Not only did the water take a lot of soil & grass with it, it also flowed into the front flower beds.  Most of the flowers & soil from the beds ended up at the bottom of the driveway.  Not cool!  
(water would cascade from the top left area where the lovely transformer & phone tower are located, around the tree, in front of the steps, down the walkway & thru the front flower bed)

(14 low/ground cover Junipers & 40+ plugs of Monkey Grass/Lily Turf. Only half of the mulch is down & there are more plantings to the left of the Maple tree, but you can see it taking shape)

Also, the corner of the yard by the walkway had dried up from the drought.  Weeds & ants abound.  I decided to dig it up & make a planting area for sun loving plants.
 Loropetalum, Wax Begonias & Lily Turf

I am still in the process of figuring out the best way to "edge" the corner garden.  I really hate landscaping bricks, like the ones here, so I came up with something for the edges that touch the concrete of the walkway & driveway.  What do you think?  

The best part about this solution to edging, it was FREE!  I collected sticks from all around the yard, cut them down to 6-7 inches with a jig saw, then using a rubber mallet, hammered them in one-by-one.  
Time consuming? 
Yes indeed.  
Do I love it? 
One reason is because when looking at the yard from the street, these sticks disappear into the mulch & do not distract from the plants.  The other, it is not bulky like the ugly landscaping bricks.  I gotta pat myself on the back with this one! I plan on taking the landscaping bricks which flank the walkway out & hammering in a few hundred sticks.

Oh, and did I mention IT WAS FREE!