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Blow by Blow

13 August 2010

Whew!  It has been a long week, but we did it.  J and I are officially homeowners!  I never thought the day would actually come.

Tuesday right after settlement we raced over to the new house we’ll call home.  We took some cheesy “enter” shots and a few of us holding the first set of keys together.  Unfortunately they are all on J’s camera, so once I’m able to snag them from him, I’ll post them.

We got right down to business on Tuesday.  I took off all the registers and face plates with my trusty new tool set (thanks, mom, for the well-timed birthday gift!) as well as alllll the doors.  Might sound kind of strange, but they were all those old-fashioned hollow wood doors that were wood-colored.  We plan to introduce our 1958 rancher to the 21st century by bringing in all four (or is it six?) panel WHITE doors shortly.

We also removed the extremely greasy stove (to be replaced with our new stove, which we ordered yesterday {!}) and pulled out the fridge to try to repair it.  Unfortunately it looks like someone messed with it because we could a cord in the back that had been ripped.  Oh well.  We had planned on buying all new appliances, anyway, but it would have been nice to have an overflow fridge in the basement for all our Zazz*.

J installed our new deadbolt (so don’t try anything funny!), and then we cleaned up.  And that was just Day 1.


Let me tell you the torture I experience alllllll day sitting at my desk, waiting for the day to end so we can do more.  Sucks.


Day 2:

J invited some family over to help, and boy, did they!  I can’t believe how helpful everyone’s been.  It’s really amazing.  We all got right to work.

I started by scrubbing our one bathroom from top to bottom, including the floors.  It was then that I realized that the windows are disgustingly dirty, which is going to make for an ongoing project for me.  So then I moved on to the craft room windows to tackle those as well.  I think it’s one of those projects that doesn’t seem too important until you see the final results.

We got the water turned on Wednesday, which was exciting but also caused some leaks, so J, his dad, and his brother-in-law attended to those.   His dad also cut some pieces of wood to prep for our crown molding (so exciting!).

J and his brother-in-law, D, in the meantime ripped down all the wood paneling in the master bedroom.  It already looks way better.  Photos of that to come, too.


Day 3:

I continued to clean some windows and then moved on to spackling to prepare for paint.

J’s sister helped with spackling and cleaning as well.  J’s dad put up the crown molding in the craft room.

J, D, and J’s dad ripped out part of the wall to widen a hallway, also updating the look of the house to be more current, more open-space living, less 1960s.

They also ripped out half of a wall in the kitchen to open that up as well.  We plan to add a breakfast bar there, so that was a good start.


Though it must sound like we’ve done a lot, I feel like we still have a lot more to do.  Obviously.  But I mean, a LOT more.

The agenda for this weekend:

{} buy paint for all the rooms

{} rough up the wood paneling in the craft room and prime it

{} paint the craft room

{} put up the crown molding in the office and finish spackling

{} prime and paint the office

{} repair the drywall in the master bedroom and put up the crown molding

{} fix the leaky toilet

{} clean the remaining windows

{} prime, paint, and laquer the chandelier for my craft room

Okay, so this might be a bit ambitious.  Especially considering we have my stepdad’s engagement party to go to tomorrow night and J’s sister’s birthday party on Sunday.  Throw some catch-up sleep in there, and we may not be left with that much time to work on the house.  But with the help of some family and friends, we’re definitely going to try to get all of this accomplished, and more!

Hopefully I’ll have a “house tour” prepared for you by next week so that I can begin to document the transformation in real time.

Have a great weekend!

*We’re officially obsessed.  Zazz is Giant’s version of seltzer water, and it comes in a few flavors.  It’s FABULOUS.


Yule Aight Up Mile Eiff*

10 August 2010

This weekend J and I did some shopping for our new house, though it was a bit early for it, I suppose.  The superstitious person in me (and in J) told us “nooooo, don’t do it!”  But the shopper in me said “bring it on!”.  Luckily after a few weeks of nagging, J was on board, too, so we spent all of Saturday hitting up the usuals.

First, we bought a lawn mower.  By Husqvarna.  That’s who makes my sewing machine.  J and his friend, S, who sold it to us at Sears, thought that was funny.  And it’s orange.  Double-score for J’s favorite color.

Then we bought a ceiling fan for the kitchen.  After craning my neck upward for 10 minutes checking out all the weird blades and swirly light covers, I’ve come to a conclusion: I don’t really like ceiling fans.  Sure, they’re great for circulating air, but my curiousity got the best of me and I googled “living room” and almost NONE of the photographs included a ceiling fan.  You know why?  Because they don’t usually add to a room like a big drum light might.  Perhaps the fans were cropped out of the photos (the ones that didn’t show the ceiling), but still, my research didn’t sit well with me.  I’ve tried to convince J to change our plans for a master bedroom** ceiling fan to a light, but with three dogs, it gets hot enough.  Oh well.  Now I’m just on the hunt for a nice looking one.  Good luck, right?

Next we hit up IKEA, where I got this chandelier for my craft room:

Which, by the way, IKEA calls a “ceiling lamp”.  I don’t like that.  And I’ll be painting it, just in case you forgot.

Of course my trek to the thrift store yesterday uncovered a few old, gold chandeliers for about a quarter of the price, which bums me out (1) because they’re cheaper, and I’m thrifty, and (2) I went to the thrift store last week JUST to look for chandeliers, but apparently I went right past where they were all hanging yesterday.  Bummer.  But then it occurred to me – how do I know that they work?  So I think my “choice” to buy from IKEA was well-founded.  At least that’s what I tell myself.

I’m dying to find a place for this one but can’t think of it now.  Maybe the down-the-road dining room?  I love the texture and of course the natural color:

Then I tried to convince J to get a few of these for over the kitchen sink (to go with our fabulous color palate!), but his color-blindness evaded him (damn) when he said they weren’t the right shade.  And they were on sale for $14.99 each in the store.  Oh well.

Then we bought a few of these really ugly ceiling lights for the hallway and the “office”.  I say “office” because it’ll be a place for J’s computer and allllllll of other crap as we renovate until the basement’s done.  I’m hoping to replace the ugly light in the hallway after we’ve painted, but in the meantime these will do.  And as for the “office”, more on that later:

I hope I don’t turn into one of those light fixture-crazed people, which I doubt I will because they kind of scare me.  They’re so critical to a room’s impact, yet I know nothing about them.

We also got some inexpensive rugs to get us through the first few weeks months of renovations as well as a flatscreen hangy thing, which J is very excited about.

But, in more exciting news: today’s THE day!  We’re going to settlement around 2:30, which means that we’ll pay eyeball-bulging amounts of money for a very special set of keys.  And then it’s alllllll ours.  Can’t wait!


*Sorry – only a few bests will get this one.  And as Shannanigans says, inside jokes aren’t fun for anyone when they’re explained, so you’ll have to let this one go.

**Master bedroom sounds so fancy, doesn’t it?  So adult?  Not sure I like that!

What’s Cookin

9 August 2010

Friday afternoon I was able to leave work a bit early because of an early meeting that day, and I was feeling pretty creative.  I was pumped up because it was going to be our last weekend before becoming official homeowners, and I finally felt ready to celebrate.

Well, to be honest, I had felt like I wanted to celebrate before this weekend, but a lot of things were getting in the way of that.  A combination of my stressed attitude over the loose ends and paperwork and some family drama put me in a bad place.  But I was trying to let that go and just really live in the moment – something very difficult for me.  As is evidenced by my planning of my firstborn before even getting into our new house.

I decided to first tackle the very last step of a gift* I made for friends A + J for their upcoming wedding, a step I completely forgot when I was finishing up the gift a few weeks ago.  After some ironing and a few minutes, I was able to happily check that off my list.

Next I decided to begin sewing a dress I’d recently cut out but hadn’t gotten around to assembling.  It was going to be my first dress on my own (I took a class my mom gifted me, but we used a hideous pattern.  I used that class mostly for learning the skills, after all).  I modeled the pieces I cut after a dress that I had bought and absolutely loved.  Well, after a few minutes of pinning the pieces together, I realized that I hadn’t cut some of them big enough.  And because I had only a few scraps of fabric – a recycled sheet from the thrift store – left, I decided I’d have to make something else with my already-cut pieces.

Enter my obsession with aprons.  It really makes no sense.  I rarely cook, and when I do, it’s usually stuff from packages with little possibility of spilling them all over myself (though I am pretty clumsy!).  So why the obsession?  No idea.  Perhaps because aprons can be as feminine or utilitarian as you’d like for them to be, with prints to match.  And the fabric I’d cut out for the dress was a wonderful yellow with splashes of coral and green which I thought would be oh-so-feminine as a 50’s-cut apron.  So I got to work.

Because I had cut two large full skirt pieces for the front and the back, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to make the apron skirt fit almost all the way around my body, with a slight curve.  I also wanted to tackle my much-thought-about pleated neckline, so I got to it.  I’d like to say I “threw together” this apron, but it took about three hours – not including the cut-out time.

Since we’re getting ready to move and we’re already packed into my mom’s house like pickles, these pictures are HORRIBLE.  I’m warning you.  So just try to deal with them until I get a chance to set up a little photo shoot spot in my new craft room.  I also couldn’t get a good shot of me wearing the apron, but you can probably figure it out.

Because I was almost out of fabric, the top piece doesn’t cover nearly enough of my torso, but that’s okay.  I think the slender shape makes it almost more feminine.  Voila:

I think it’ll look so cute hanging up in my new kitchen.  And maybe it’ll encourage me to cook.  Doubtful.  But a girl can dream.

*I’ll show some pictures of these gifts after I give them, of course!

Little Things

5 August 2010

A few {} little things {} in life for an otherwise hectic month:

{} free coffee at the new yob*

{} great parking at the new yob

{} relatively quiet cubicle-mates at the new yob

Life-related, not yob-related:

{} getting so much inspiration for crafty ideas, even if I don’t have enough time to execute them

{} celebrating friends and family getting married

{} yoga with bffs

*Silent j.

Velvety Goodness

4 August 2010

This afternoon I spent hurriedly browsing the aisles of Joann Fabrics, one of my favorite places to be.  A lovely etsy customer asked me to craft her a custom listing, so off I went.

I bought these two ribbons to make a belt, like this.

The inner ribbon is a rich velvet in black.  The outer is my attempt at “olive green”.  I guess it depends on the olive, right?  The green ribbon has a gauzy lineny texture to it.  I’m dying to make a headband out of it if my customer* chooses to go with the black velvet instead.  We shall see.

I’ll try to remember to post the finished product, though you know I’m horrible with posting photographs on the blog.  Something about taking photographs, then sitting at my computer with the cable, transferring them over to my computer, then editing them, then uploading them bores me to death.  I don’t like technology and it doesn’t like me.**

I spent all of a portion of my morning dreaming up a new shop.  It’d have tons of brightly colored, shiny household objects.  Reclaimed, of course.  Maybe it’s the {future} homeowner in me, but I’ve had a much more serious interest in home furnishings recently.  Perhaps after we get settled***, I’ll open that bad boy up.  I can have two shops, right?  Why not.  I’ll probably do some practice runs on some items for my own house and see how they turn out.  After all, I’m filled with ideas but sometimes the execution is, well, lacking.

Ahhh.  I’m off to cozy up to my man and craft my little heart out.

*I wish I had another word for this.  Not client.  Waaay too B2B.  Even customer feels cold.  Have any suggestions?

**I can’t wait for the option to wirelessly upload your photographs.  Oh, it already exists?  Yeah, I don’t earn $300,000 a year and therefore can’t afford that technology.  Maybe one day.

***Hello, 2014.

Nest This

3 August 2010

Oh god, the nesting.

A combination of watching the episode where Bethenny brings home her baby, reading months worth of posts on my new favorite bloggy, Shannanigans, which is written by a woman who is literally ready to burst, and THEN reading the extremely exciting news that A + J of One Cat Per Person have enrolled in this course, and I am officially ready to be “with child”.

Okay, maybe ready isn’t the right word, but I want to be ready.

Yesterday afternoon after work, I began to tend to my nesting tendancies.  I’m sure I’ll get plenty of opportunities with the new house, but in the meantime (only 8 days to go!), I first bought some Christmas gifts.  I know, I’m extremely neurotic.  I actually began my shopping and planning probably around April of this year.  It always makes me feel good to buy gifts.

Then I went to the thrift store, scouring the rows for a chandelier to pretty up for my new craft room*, kind of like this:

Though I didn’t find one, I’m going to keep checking Craigslist before folding and buying a cheap one from Walmart to redo.  I’d rather my chandelier have a bit of history, even if I don’t know what it is.

I also finally found some old wooden salt and pepper shakers, that I hope to transform into something like these:

…a la the tutorial by Heart of Light.  I still need to determine what our dining room color palatte will be, first, and that’s way down the list of construction projects for the new house, so it’ll be a while yet for these bad boys.

I also got a matching laundry basket for the one I already had.  I figured we’d need another since we’ll have a whole house to fill up with J’s rogue socks and layers of t-shirts.  It’s amazing how much space his clothes take up compared to mine.

And since it was a Monday, my two items were 25% off.  I spent a total of $4.16.  Pretty sweet, huh?

Then I went to the grocery store to buy some ingredients for a tasty dinner – something I NEVER do.  We had a cooked chicken, gravy (mmmm), corn, steamed broccoli, and mashed potatoes (okay, they were instant, I’ll admit).  Delicious.

I worked on said Christmas gifts (which are DIY, of course!), and then watched some Gossip Girl (addicted! Season One, what what), before falling asleep.  Despite some twinges of depression** and a few snaps at J about some overly expensive appliances we’re considering, I’d say all in all it was a good night.  And I’m that much closer to being ready for a little bean of my own!

*J’s the sweetest.  He’s giving me a whole ROOM for my crap crafts.  We always agreed I needed a dedicated space, but it’s a bit different when you find a home with three bedrooms and then need to concede one to a craft room – of all things.  Then again, I don’t see the sense in wasting a whole room on guests which will likely never come.  So, another reason why I love him.

**The yoosh.  Nothing new here.


2 August 2010

Poor J.

I’ve been a raging you-know-what the past few weeks.  No one told me that AFTER picking out the house but BEFORE settling, I’d still be feeling anxious.  Granted, I thought I’d feel impatient, but I’m still feeling stressed out.  And it’s that kind of stress that you don’t realize until you’ve bitten someone’s head off.

This weekend J and I went to his grandmother’s river house in Virginia for a weekend away.  His mom and grandmother were going to go down a day before, but we couldn’t go until after work on Friday.  Which means we arrived at 10 pm.

I don’t think I actually STARTED to relax until about 4 pm on Saturday.  Which left very little time for river-house relaxation before we turned around to leave around 1 on Sunday.

And about half the time there I spent sleeping.  Literally.  The last leg of the drive down I slept.  I went to sleep around 12:30 Friday night.  Woke up around 11 Saturday.  Took a three hour nap (with J!… it wasn’t just me!) Saturday, then went to bed promptly at 11.  Woke up at 9:30.  Took a nap at 10:30.  Then when we arrived home, we took another 2 hour nap.  Can you believe that?

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say I’m pregnant.  With my new jizzob and shorter days, I’m able to wake up a whopping hour later than I used to.  Which is glorious.  I am so not a morning person.  And yet, I still need sleep.

At least I’m not as bad as my old coworker who literally went to sleep around 7:30 every night so she’d get at least 9 hours for her 5 am alarm.  Can you believe it?  7:30?  Goodbye, life.

Anyway, here’s to hoping that this last week until our settlement, J and I are able to focus on fun things, not stressful things.  Like fans and lighting.  Oh boy, lighting!  I already found a fanfrickintastic drum light on etsy – for only 88 buckaroonies, at that! – that J and I BOTH loved.*


Oh, except.

I contacted the etsy seller to see if she had the fabric for said drum light in stock, since her listing mentioned that it was customizable, and no.  Nope.  That fabric is not in stock.  Way to devastate me.**  Though, thankfully, she’s going to source some similar fabric for free.  I’ll let you know how that turns out since I’ve got my mind made up and won’t be happy unless she finds. that. fabric.

Happy Monday!

*After almost four years together, I can’t believe how many things J and I have disagreed about regarding the new house.  It’s pretty much a safe bet that if I like a, he’ll like z.  His grandmother told me that if we can survive buying a house, we can survive anything.  I say bring it on.

**Cue the realization that I’m becoming one of those people who’s life crumbles because shecan’t find the wedding shoe in her size/the linens are the wrong shade of mulberry/the baby booties have robins when I wanted finches/the couch is three inches too long for her space!  Oh please help me.