Friday, December 31, 2010

Goals for 2011

One of my friends got me started thinking about goals for the new year.  I figured if I was sharing them with friends on email, I might as well share them with you - so I'll be counting on you, dear readers, to keep me honest this year!

I'm even going to go ahead and print my list out and laminate it so it can live long and prosper on my fridge. Taunting me. Goading me.

Goals for 2011


Money
• pay off credit card debt
• read the Ramsey book to keep spending in check and beef up savings for house projects/new car

Personal (ie, the year of the Debbie)
• get back into fighting shape
     o first use personal training sessions
     o then sign up for get fit bootcamp when personal training is done
     o sign up for a 5k and start running again
• make meal plans/grocery lists to help stop eating out for lunch/dinner (will also help with $$$)
• start the baking soda/vingar hair routine
• make a schedule - workouts, cleaning, etc

House Projects
• tear down rotting deck, replace with paver patios
• install baseboard trim upstairs
• clean out and organize pantry
• sew curtains for kitchen and bedroom

Other
• buy new car (new for me)
• start dating
• get another cat

What about you?  Do you have any goals you're making for 2011? House related? Crafting? Personal?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Energy Audit Report

I know everyone was waiting with bated breath. Bated? Baited? At any rate. Click on the Sherlock Holmse-y auditor guy and read my report. (or here: Energy Audit Report)


I am getting attic insulation installed this afternoon - I was quick on the trigger so I could still get the federal energy tax credit. I love me some free money!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Home Energy Audit

In September I had the Home Energy Squad come in and do a few things to save energy in my house - they installed a programmable thermostat, low flow water aerators, and weather stripped the front door.  They told me about a full scale energy audit that I could do, but seeing as I had gotten my two wisdom teeth out that morning and was doped up, I was not really paying attention.

Fast forward to November.  It's getting cold in Minnesota, and my house is getting cold. Especially my 2nd floor.  When you would walk up the stairs to the second floor, you'd get about halfway up and the temperature would drastically change. Brrrr. 

My friend Justin was going to come over and put down some more insulation in the attic, but the Saturday he was going to was our first bad snow/ice storm of the year.  Instead of just having him come and put some down, I decided to go ahead and get a full energy audit.  It was only $100, through Xcel and the NEC and included a blower door test and infrared photos on the walls.

Thursday, December 16. Energy Audit day.  Mark the auditor came over with his van full of equipment.  He measured the outside of the house first, checked the furnace and water heater for age and defect, climbed up into the attic crawl space to look at the insulation situation, then set up the blower door test and measured the drafts and cold air coming through the shell of the house. He also snapped infrared photos at this point as well.  It's going to take maybe 10 days to get my official report back (I'm hoping sooner, since I have a contractor coming out to give an estimate on Tuesday!). 

Here is the brief list of findings I can share now though:

Major Problem: My exisiting attic insulation he measured at about an R19.  For our area of the country, the insulation should measure about an R50. Explains the Brrrr. 



Other problems exist with the attic as well.  First, the existing insulation doesn't extend all the way to the eaves - there's about a 2 foot gap that is a dead cold air zone.  The vents under the roof have to breathe, but there are these handy rafter vents that you can install that lets you insulate all the way to the edge of the floor, while still allowing the fresh air to flow.



Second, there are useless vents cut into the celings of the bedrooms, that aren't connected to any duct work - so I'm essentially sending heat to the second floor that goes right up into the attic. Third, the vent fan in the bathroom just vents into the attic, and is not vented up and out the roof.  These last two problems explain my fourth probelm - frosty ceiling joists. Ruh-roh.  Fifth, I need to weather strip and insulate the attic hatch.

Less Major Problems: I need to air-seal framing gaps and penetration leaks in the basement rim joist from the interior face of the foundation wall to the outer rim. 



This explains why my basement is so cold and why I have so many spiders.  This also includes the scary crawl space, that is dirt floor. So the dirt floor should be poly sheeted and caulked and air sealed.

2nd Less Major Problem: My first floor walls only appear to be insulated to an R5 value.  They should be at least an R14.  The auditor cut a hole in a closet wall and saw that the cavity was only about 1/3 full of insulation.  The two ways to fix this are by taking down ALL the drywall on the first floor and insulating or by cutting a hole in between each stud to stick a hose to blow insulation in. Don't those options sound exciting?

The simplest problems that I can and need to fix are caulking different spots where air is seeping in the house - around window framing, the drywall along the stairs, etc.

Once I get my full report, I'll share the infrared photos and other info, because I bet it's going to be awfully exciting. Plus, it'll show me the cost savings I should expect to see if I address some of the different issues.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dear Santa

Hi Santa, how are you?  I hope Mrs. Claus has been giving you lots of cookies and milk and ice cream.  How are your reindeer?  I like Comet the best.  Do your elves get to go on vacation?  I bet they'd really like to go on vacation to a fun place, but maybe not an amusement park, because they're so short and they might not be able to ride all the cool rides.

I've been a good girl this year.  I always pick up my room and I never fight with my brothers and sisters.  I remember to do all my chores (even cleaning out the cat box!).  I always remember to say please and thank you and I'm even nice to the people I don't like.

Here is my Christmas list.  I hope you can bring me lots of presents from this list because I've been such a good girl this year!

What I Want for Christmas 


  • baseboards for my upstairs.  I need about 140 feet of baseboards.  I'd like pre-finished white that is at least 5 inches tall.  It would be great if I got crown molding too, but I really just need the baseboards

  • I'd really like to get electric outlets and another range of lights in my basement.  I can't plug my freezer in because I only have one outlet for the entire basement right now that the washer and dryer are plugged into.  The basement also only has two lightbulbs, so I can't really see anything by the furnace and water heater or by all the storage stuff.  Sometimes it can get really scary down there, Santa!

  • Merry Maids once a month for a year.  I really don't like doing floors.

  • A personal trainer at the Y for 1-2 times per week.  Maybe for like 3 months?  I think it would really help me get motivated to exercise and be healthy.

  • Zubaz.  I know, they're so not cool, but I really do want a pair. I'd like the maroon and white pair.

  • Chia Pet.  I've always wanted a Chia Pet, but I never had one before. If I got the cat grass, I think Katsa would really like it too.

  • a new car - I'd really like a crossover SUV or a hatchback.  Hauling stuff is so hard in my compact! Plus, it still smokes and smells like something is burning after driving on the freeway.

  • the Dremel Trio looks pretty awesome.  I could cut stuff then.

  • White Interior doors for the 2nd floor. Now that all my trim is painted white, the doors look even worse.
Thank you Santa!  I promise to leave out cookies for you on Christmas Eve.

Love,
Debbie

PS - maybe you could bring some cookies back for Mrs. Claus too.

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's beginning to look....

a lot like Christmas around my house. 

Generally I follow the rule that Christmas, Christmas music, and Christmas decorations are strictly NOT ALLOWED until after Thanksgiving.  Or, to be more specific, until Santa comes down the Thanksgiving Day parade - then we can officially start the Christmas talk. 

But, as folks in MN know, yesterday was miserable.  I'm talking sleet, freezing rain, cold, more freezing rain.  I was trapped.  Trapped in my house.  Since I don't often get entire days in the house I figured it was a perfect time to do my labor and time intensive work of Christmas decor.

First up, snow village! (no, I'm not 82 years old)  My mom started a tradition giving her daughters pieces for a snow village every year.  We've stopped, just because we've run out of space!  We always loved helping set up her snow village when we were growing up and it's such a part of our holiday tradition that it has been great to make it mine now too.  While my mom has the Original Snow Village, my oldest sister Kris has the North Pole series, my sister Jen has the Christmas in the City series, and I have the Alpine Village.

With the addition of my built in bookcase unit in the living room, this years set up was a snap!  I had plenty of room for all the pieces and had an easier time arranging the all important electrical set up as well. 

I snapped some photos yesterday from my phone - sorry for the poor quality.

My villiage is full of little houses (Hofburg Castle and the von Trapp family villa too!)


and full of little people doing important mountain things. Like drinking beer. And climbing mountains.

The one piece I do have up that is not part of my series is the limited edition Ice Palace.  A must have for any St. Paul Winter Carnival lover.

Next up, the tree!

I totally cheat with the tree.  I've got a pre-lit fold down number that only requires me to attach 4 pieces together, tighten one screw and plug four plugs into power. And voila, I have a lit tree!

The tree is lit, but it is sadly not decorated

Decorations were easy.  Started with some tinsel, then moved onto ornaments. I've got so many awesome ornaments that I don't need to use the filler ornaments anymore.  I don't really get into the *theme* trees, where its all one color.  I love using ornaments that have a history, that were given out of love, that were made.  I can't wait until I have children so I can have a tree full of handmade ornaments.

My most absolutely favorite ornaments are the ones that I bought when I was studying abroad my junior year of college.  I sent home 3 boxes of hand blown, hand painted ornaments from Krakow to give as presents to my family and friends.  I did keep an entire box just for myself, of course. Every year as I decorate the tree, I remember all the fun I had on my trip, the great friends I made, and the magic I experienced as the holiday season approached on the Rynek Glowny.


A spattering of my Polish ornaments

I also have a few ornaments I bought during a long weekend in Moscow (the most harrowing experience of my life).  Adorable little Santa's carved out of wood and a stacking doll that I keep out all year long.  By the way, I was AWESOME at haggling.

And the finished product.  I got the living room cleaned back up and boxes back down into the basement.  Baked some cookies and it was a perfect end to a day stranded in my house.


I love the way the lights glow on the gold wall color



Sunday, September 19, 2010

Simple and Inexpensive

I love doing simple and inexpensive projects.  Keyword on inexpensive. Even if its not simple, I can call in help from family and friends.

So, easy project for today - Scarf Organizer!

I first saw the idea for a scarf organizer from the blog Ikea Hacker. I loved the idea of it, except for using the office binder clips to hold the scarves.  But, I feel I really one upped it by what I used instead.

Supplies:
BYGEL rail from Ikea
S-hooks from Ikea
4 screws and anchors from my local True Value hardware store
Shower curtain rings from Target

Bam! That's it!

Now, assembly. Just measure and drill holes in the wall for the anchors. Put in anchors, grab the rail and go ahead and screw it in.  Hang the S-hooks and then just place rings on the hooks.  Pull scarves through the curtain rings and....Voila! You're done!  This project was done in about....maybe 5-10 minutes. But, it makes a huge difference for my storage of scarves and adds instant color and interest.

Here's the finished project.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ingredients for a Guest Basket

  • Towels
  • Toothbrushes
  • Hand Lotion
  • Tissues
  • Slippers
  • Wine (with glasses and corkscrew)
  • Box of Chocolates
What else, say you interwebers? 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Welcome Guests!

Inspired by some blogs that I read (I'm talking to you Young House Love!) I decided that it was high time I finished the guest room. Really, all that I needed to do was to finish painting the trim and hang something on the walls.  It's not *quite* 100% finished, but then, what ever is?

I got the bed and frame for free from my parents. Score!  The side table was also free (taken years ago from my parents house. Double score!  The wall painting happened the first weekend after I closed.  I've been sitting on finishing the trim for months.  Because really, painting trim is horrible. Horrible horrible horrible. I detest it. But, I finished the entire upstairs, except for the closet and windows in my bedroom.

What I have left to do - baseboard for the entire upstairs, which includes the guest room and I'd like to hang plug-in lights/lamps above the bed rather than using the free standing lamp.  Unfortunately, Ikea didn't have the one that I wanted in stock.  Ikea FAIL!

And, here is the almost finished project.

















I bought a $10 jewelry stand that is sitting on the end table.  I love that it is a birdcage, because I almost feel like this room sometimes feel like it is up in the trees. You can't tell by the photos, but the window on the left faces out towards the giant oak tree in the front yard, and when the sunlight comes in through the leafs...amazingly beautiful.  Plus, what female guests don't want a place to hang their earrings and necklaces?

















This gives a better view of the jewelry stand and the Poang chair that I moved into the room - mostly for my sister in case she wanted to nurse my nephew to sleep upstairs while putting her feet up.

What is that you see? Oh yes, that is a basket on the Poang chair.  The guest basket!
















Inside the guest basket is guest towels that match the color of the room, slippers for the ladies, toothbrushes, a bottle of wine, glasses, and opener, and a box of chocolates.

So...my door is open. Welcome welcome!

Friday, August 20, 2010

One of those, I haven't been posting posts



What I’ve been up to:

• Painting upstairs trim (le sigh)

• Weeding the garden (itchy!)

• Mowing, mowing, mowing (keep your lawnmower mowing)

• Replacing toilet seat
• Buying and installing built-in bookcases (love! swoon!)

• Travel

• Weddings

• Family parties

• What? You say it was MY BIRTHDAY! Party!



Reasons why there haven’t been updates:

• See list above



I’m going to try and catch up on some of the more exciting projects – like, replacing a toilet seat cover (!) and more importantly, the purchase and installation of my second favorite piece of furniture EVER. My first favorite so happens to be the 5 foot tall card catalog I bought in about 2003 at an antique store.



What I want to be up to:

• Hiring a Merry Maid (please, oh please!) = $

• Demo the deck and replacing it with a paver patio = $$

• Building a front porch addition (the ultimate addition my house needs. And I mean needs. This needs to happen.) = $$$

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ice Ice Baby

I had a productive day at my house today.  Well, I use the term "I" loosely.

I've been conquering tasks left and right, but a smart DIY'er knows her limitations.  The day I purchased my closet organizer from Menards, I opened the box, removed the instructions, and then promptly stuffed them back in the box.

This is said organizer - but for a much cheaper price purchased at Menards
This is said instructions that came with organizer.  Now do you see my fear?

So, this purchase came in March.  I posted a help wanted ad on Craigslist for a handyman, but put the project to the backburner.  I had a lot of things going on this spring - re: garden, painting, etc.

I finally pulled back up the emails from different handymen and decided to go with Michael Varness, LLC.  He's the Caring Contractor!  He had a decent price - middle of the pack from replies, but was actually pretty legit, with a license, website, etc.  So, I scheduled him up for my day off work and set at cleaning out my closet.  A giant bag of donations and two boxes of clothes that don't fit later, my closet was ready for install.  

The closet - post clothes clean-out



Now, the closet is ready for my handyman. And he was so fast! Maybe an hour and a half later, the closet was done.



I know - it doesn't look that complicated, right?  But step back. Take a look at those directions again.  Ok....now, you understand. Limitations.

But it was ready for my clothes! Now, for an action shot!



 Dresses and slacks on the left, shirts on the bottom right, sweatshirts and jackets on the top right.  I was even able to clean out two drawers - my cardigans now living on the middle shelf and my sweaters here, on the top left shelf.

There you have it.  A brand new closet in just 2 hours.  And not even my two hours of work! While he was doing that, I cleaned the kitchen, organized the basement, skyped with Jen and Joseph, watched TV....

Later this afternoon, my uncle Art and cousin Joey came by and hook up my automatic ice maker on my fridge.  Surprisingly simple! Well, simple if you have the right tools, supplies and have been doing it for years.  All it took was a hole drilled through the floor, a copper tube running from the fridge, through the hole, above the basement rafters, all the way to the water line that supplies my washer. Then Art attached it with a special little thingamabob, twisted the thingamabob until it punched a tiny hole in the line, unscrewed the thingamabob, and BAM. I had water running up to the fridge.  

See, now you understand the title of the post.  Ice Ice Baby....I even went out and bought some gin, vodka and tonic, all ready for cocktails to make with my ice cubes.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Basement Water Update

The dehumidifier I bought Saturday is working wonders.  It's been running for about 24 hours and it went for 90% humidity to 65% humidity.  Yea!  It is remarkably better.  I'm still thinking about doing the drylok, but I have to do a lot of prep for it.

I *might* be getting more electricity and lights in the basement and the water hooked up to the fridge for the auto ice maker this week.  Just hoping for Uncle Art to have time....

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bad News Bears

Last night in the Twin Cities a crazy ridiculous storm passed with flash flooding, hail, and lots of electricity.  We apparently got about 2 inches of rain in a very short span.  Probably like many home owners around me - especially owners of older houses, my basement is WET.  It was wet before, but now my concrete is definitely discolored with water.  One side of my basement is cinder blocks, but the other side - the side showing all the water, is the old stone foundation.

You can see the type of wall it is behind the plumbing in this photo.

So....the question of the day/week/month/year is what I can do about this problem.  I know the best solution would be to trench and lay a sump pump, but I really don't have that kind of cash.  I need a solution that I could maybe DIY - and maybe make the basement more user friendly in the process - creating an actual laundry nook with cabinets, storage, etc.

What say you, interweb?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dear Miss Debbie...

Thank you for helping us find books. and now I can find books.

The library was fun hope I see you again. have a good day bey bey Debbie.

thank you for leding us see yer stuffed.

thank you for the stuffed animals thank you for the books

I liked wen we went in the back roum. it was secret. it was a good feal chrip.

Thank you for showing us how people return the books.

thank you for letting us see the book return

think you for leting use seeing your stuffed animals think you Debbie

I like your library Debbie But your library is Cool the End.

I will miss you vare much you did ware mace for mrs. **** i will miss you.

I love it when you showed us the book return machine. thank you Debbie. you’re the best.

Thank you for leting us to see yur Libre we lie miss you.

I love when you shoud us. The cool stuff and you are cool and fun. I like books

I like the bow You have. I like your stuffed animals. I like the books.

Thank you for letting us see every thing in your library and for letting play stuft anmals with you.

Thank you for the book. The book in cool. I bocb as me.

Thank you for thok us aoynnd Thank you for let us read books to my mom.

I liked when we saw your shiney meschin

Thank to you brat size to your lobry

thank you for showing us animals. thank you for showing us stuff.


Love, 1st grade class from local school

Garden Update

I made some changes last week to my garden.  And managed to get heat stroke at the same time. Score!

I didn't like the way the hostas looked in the front garden - they were just too big for the space.  So, I decided to take those out and fill the empty space with red mulch (is that mulch? wood chip stuff?).

I likes, I really likes!



Next, I had a dead space that was next to my driveway - the small strip of earth between the driveway and fence separating my neighbors yard.  I say small strip of earth because it was mostly weeds, a little grass and a lot of dirt.  I bought some more black dirt topsoil and some seeds morning glory's and wildflowers.  I shoveled up the sod and pulled out all the weeds (this was the portion of the afternoon that gave me the heat stroke).  Soon I was left with a fairly cleaned out ready to go garden.  I planted the seeds and watered the heck out of it with miracle grow.  I even saw some green poking out of the dirt this morning. Success!



I put up that little white fence to offer some protection and to give it a little prettiness.  I'm sure it'll look much better once the flowers start growing...right? RIGHT?

In addition to those two projects, I also assembled a wheelbarrow.  That now has to be disassembled and returned because one of the handles is broken. Urgh.

I retired into the house and was so heat stroked out that I couldn't even muster the energy to take a shower. Finally I was able to get up, feed myself and lay on the couch with a deep headache.  When I went to bed, my headache had progressed to the point of a migraine and I couldn't even lay there without excruciating pain.  So, I helped myself to prescription strength pain med (to remain unnamed).  Thank goodness for left over medicines.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Brand New! Never Saw Before! Visitor, Visitor!

yes, that is from Cinderella (when Gus comes to the house)

But its not a visitor I want repeating.

Funny story.

Katsa will go outside, especially at night.  And she's made a rip in my screen door that I haven't been able to fix yet, so she is letting herself in and out.  Last Wednesday night she was outside and came in on her own quite early which was unusual.  She came into the living room and even though it was kind of dark, I noticed she was holding something in her mouth....

"Katsa, NOOOOOOO" and she drops it.  It was a friendly neighborhood mouse.  That I am sure was almost frightened to death.  She drops the mouse and the mouse of course takes off.  She chases it around and around and around. Great fun for her, not so much for me or the mouse.  Finally the mouse cowers behind the entertainment center.  I look at the clock, and its just after 10 p.m.  Too late to call my dad for advice, so I do the next best thing.  Text my sister saying its an emegency and to call.  She calls back ASAP (it was an emegerncy, kwim). 

Conversation goes something like this (from memory):

Me: oh my god, katsa just brought a mouse in the house and she dropped it and it ran off and now its hiding behind the entertainment center and i don't know what to dooooooooooo!  I want to cryyyyyyyy!

Jen: its ok (in voice that she uses with 1 year old Joseph), it'll be ok, its just a mouse.

Me: I'm FREAKING OUT

Jen: Lock the cat in the bathroom and try to catch the mouse in a big pot.

Me: I'm SCARED

Jen: silence

Me: I'm cowering on the COUCH. I want to CRY!

Jen: try catching the mouse in a big pot.

(isn't she just the voice of reason.  But it's easy to be the reasonable one if you're in Georgia and the Mouse that Attacks is in Minnesota)

So, i lock the cat in the bathroom to attempt to save the mouse by shooing it out the door with a broom.  I reach behind the entertainment center with the broom and I see the mouse... I try shoving it out from behind there, while blocking the way to the kitchen and rest of the house.

But then I lost sight of the mouse.  I swept behind the center, under it, behind it, near it.  Can't find the mouse anywhere.  In a fit of desperation, I let the cat out and hope that she drags the carcass back outside after she kills it. She's apparently good at catching mice, but she appears to have some sort of ADD - she gave up looking about 30 seconds after I let her out.  What the heck Katsa!

I go back to cowering on the couch.  Luckily for me, my friend Molly who lived on a farm is online so I chat her up real quick.

(Actual Chat Transcript)
Me: can a mouse climb my stairs and attack me in bed? omg there it is!!!! its on the window sill

Molly: oh lord

me: ugh, I dont know where it went. It was on the sill and by the time i opened the door and got the broom it disappeared again

Molly: mice are speedy

me: HOLY JESUS omg omg omg

Molly: what??

me: its back!!!!

Molly: debbie, there is very little i can do
Isn't she a great supportive friend :-P

So, while I am cowering on the couch, imagining the horrors that awaited me when the mouse attacked me while I was sleeping...I keep attempting to shoo it out the door. I coudn't understand - why wouldn't the stupid mouse cooperate.  I was trying to save its miserable little life by not being eaten by a cat or trapped and killed. 

So, I'm sitting again and it reappears again.  This time I manage to chase it around the living room to the open front door and out it went

YEA!

We both made it out alive.  It took a good 30 minutes for my heart to get back to normal.
 
Katsa and Mouse = 0 Debbie = 1

Friday, June 11, 2010

How does your garden grow?

My garden is growing fine.  Part of my Memorial Day weekend warrior blitz was gardening.  I started at nothing.  Especially after I yanked those bushes out of the front space, I really had nothing but a patch of dirt.  Let the blitz begin!



What I started with - so lonely and sad
I convinced my mom to take a trip to Home Depot with me on Sunday morning for my major plant purchase.  Luckily for me, one of my brothers friends was working and I found him right away to help me. Well, it was luckily for me, not so luckily for him.  There was a lot of heavy lifting to be done.  $260 later,  Iwas the owner of several snowflake viburnum bushes, astilbes, bricks for edging, dirt, gardening tools, weed kill for that pesky creeping charlie, solar garden lights and several flats of annuals.

 
For the life of me, I always have trouble remembering the names of these things...marigolds! and...Dusty Miller!  I can never remember it...but it always makes me think of whisky.


The hard part of this venture was clearing the dirt of all the grass, trees, bushes, etc.  There was a lot of tree seedlings from the maple tree that had started growing.  I pulled out all I could by hand, but wound up having to get my dad over with some extra tools to take care of the remaining stumps.


Look at those pesky stumps!

Once everything was cleaned out, I couldn't believe how fast the planting went.  Within 30 minutes I probably had all of my plants in there.  I got some hostas for free from one of my parents neighbors.  They are super big right now, but my garden expert told me that in the fall they'll die off and start from scratch next spring and they should be just what I want.



Now, onto the side garden!

There wasn't a side garden for me to start with - so I started out by digging up some grass.  This was hard heavy labor, but I got most of it done before my mom came to go out to the Depot. 


Once it was cleared, the easy part was on - time for planting the marigolds and dusty miller.

1,2,3, DONE!


And so was Mom.


Poor tired Mama

A few finishing touches - planters for the side garden and by the front door and a house for the hose.




Done and Done!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

It's Curtains for You!

I've wanted to take down the heinous vertical blinds hanging at the patio door since the day I bought the house - I'm just not exactly sure why I waited so long.


A few months ago, I bought white roller blinds from the Home Depot, but it's just been sitting in a corner, waiting for me to hang.  I thought that it was going to be too complicated for me to hang myself.  Today, I suppose i finally got tired enough of the stupid vertical blinds being in the way of the patio door (who hangs blinds that slide to the side that the door way is?!?).  Tear down was easy. Bada-bing bada-boom. Ha.

Then the tough part.  I measured the blinds and figured out how far from the center hanging spot for the hangers on either side and drilled me some holes and put in the first two eye hooks to hang.  Turns out I must've measured to the end of the blind and not where the hanger was, so I had to re-drill the hole on the end and then drilled the hole on the other side.  But then it turns out that the center must've been off. Le sigh.  So I re-drilled the center hole and then re-drilled each side again.  Moral of the story. Measure once, drill once, measure once, drill once, and on and on.  In the end I have three holes on right edge, two holes in the center and two holes on the left. But you totally can't see them. Awesome.

After admiring my handi-work, I decided I should probably go get the curtains I needed to complete the look.  The look being this inspiration from Young House Love, one of my favorite blogs.  Off I went to B3 for curtains and hardware.

I did better this time with the drilling of holes - although the stupid anchors were giving me mega-trouble.  I'm pretty sure the curtains won't fall off of/out of the wall, and since you can't see what it looks like, I'm just going to let it go.  Suffice it to say, it wasn't my best effort. Some days you have the DIY handiness, and some days you don't.

But, the end result is faboo!


(sad note, was that being up on the stool drilling holes and hanging, made me realize how desperately I need to clean the blades of my ceiling fan)

I am so impressed with what the curtains do for the room - I can see it from the living room on the couch, and it completely changes the feel of dining room.  It had the same effect on me as well when I came in the side door.  I love easy projects that have mega-impact!

From a design viewpoint, I had white blinds to go with the white cabinets.  I knew I didn't want white curtains, but I also didn't want to get anything that would compete with the turquoise walls.  I went with a "natural" color that really compliments the hardwood floors and natural dining room table.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Weekend Warrior - Door FAIL

Second on my task list for the weekend was installing my storm/screen doors.  The door on the front porch was old and wouldn't latch. Just in terrible shape.  And there is no door on the side door, which feels weird to me.  I had already purchased matching doors a few weeks ago from Menards.  I just needed a volunteer (preferably with experience!) to help.  Luckily for me, my dad stepped up to help out.

Opened the box and directions directions.  We puzzled over them for a while and then finally decided to just take the old door down.  Cordless drill fail for me when the battery died.  Plugged it in while my dad ran to his house for his corded drill and some other necessary tools.  We get the door off but can't dig out the last piece that is under the brick moulding (a piece of trim at the top of the door).  We decide to let that go for a while.  We go to install the new door - and it turns out that the door is too small.  Ergh.  Load it back into the box and go to exchange it at Menards.  Reciept fail when I can't find the door receipt in my wallet or receipt pile. Yes. A pile.  But lucky for me, as long as you paid by plastic it can be looked up. Woot!


Old door parts and that tricky moulding piece

Get the 32 inch door.  Stop at my parents house again for a pry-bar to get the moulding down.  Get home, unload, get a beer.  Open up the new door and start drilling.  Got the holes drilled in the door and hung!  Yea!  Stepped back, admired the view...and noticed....a 4 inch gap at the bottom of the door. What the....



Turns out, the door opening there was 84 inches.  Rather than the standard 80/81 on most doors.  Take door down (sob) and measure again.  Decide that the door has to be reframed for a header at the top.  We give up. Le Sigh.  Now I have NO screen/storm door on either door.  Looks really strange.  I'm hoping I'll get a header soon. 



Payment for a days hard work

As it would happen, the screen door for the side door also won't fit - it measures at ~35.5 inches, which makes it too small for the 36 in. door, but too large for the 34 inch door.  What's a girl to do?!?!!?!?  It is, however, a standard height.  Small miracles.

Hi Grandpa

My grandpa who lives in Arizona is in town for a visit (which might turn into him moving here!). 


Hi grandpa - I know, right, I look kind of rough, but I was gardening all day!

When I was taking him back to his brothers for the night, I drove grandpa by my house (couldn't take him inside since it was so messy!)


"You did good, girl".

High praise, indeed, coming from him.  He's got that stoic, 80 year old man thing going on.

Weekend Warrior - Art!

I had big plans for myself Memorial Day weekend.  And big plans for anyone who would help me.  I made a handy to do list for the weekend.  It was uber long and I knew that I wouldn't be able to get everything done on it, but it was nice to see what I wanted to accomplish.

First up - Friday night I finally grabbed my frames from Ikea and fabric from JoAnn's to make my "art" for the bathroom.  The frames from Ikea are squares, but I knew I wanted to make a rectangle.  So I finagled six pieces to form a rectangle.  The only spot I wasn't able to screw together I used glue (I hope it holds!)

Here's the finished product.

And the view from the mirror

Yikes! Sorry about the spotty mirror and bathroom mess!

Fast and easy project for a Friday night (although I waited until Monday to hang it).