Artwork & Glass Ball

The dining room is continuing to come together. I am keeping my eyes peeled for a buffet or cabinet that I can paint black to match the rest of the furniture. Not only would this provide additional storage space and a place to put dishes during a party, I think it would complete the room. I hung the beautiful glass ball that my mother got me for Christmas a few years ago from the chandelier. I also hung a print that my sister Grace made on the wall. The pictures don’t do either thing justice.

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Decoupage

10247316_10101633458283378_2078095633289696838_nI realize that this is not entirely house-related, but I must occasionally talk about my crafts. Since I was 13, I have been a huge fan of decoupaging. First introduced to me by my mom, I was fascinated by the fact that I could take a picture or magazine clipping and essentially paste and varnish it onto wood or cardboard. My latest project, of course, seen in this post is an old wine box turned Star Wars.

10253858_10101633460044848_7088156880103311298_nYes, the boyfriend has a pick up truck now so he tends to bring home even more odd items that he finds lord knows where. This particular item was claimed immediately by me since it caught my eye as being full of potential. It was a plain, wooden wine box. Now, thanks to my scissors, Mod Podge, and some patience, it is a geek box.

There you have it.

Paint, Paint, and More Paint

Blue Dining Room

Blue Dining Room

Painting is not my cup of tea, but ever since my best friend encouraged me to purchase and edging tool, it has been a heck of a lot easier. I ended up painting the kitchen nearly the same color that it was. The new color is called “whispering wheat.” Who comes up with these names? WHISPERING WHEAT. I suppose it could be worse. I hope that my walls don’t start talking after this.
Anyway, because the tile is so specific, I needed to go with something neutral, and even though it is no fun to paint something the same color, it was entirely necessary. Now that the contractor’s paint is gone, I don’t have to worry about accidentally spraying, touching, or bumping into the wall and then leaving a permanent mark behind.

Before: Brown chandelier.

Before: Brown chandelier.

After: Hammered Black

After: Hammered Black

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Jack hanging out on the floor

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This was when it was drying in the garage. It looks like a dungeon.

It took a while to choose a color for the dining room. I ended up with a light blue and it is taking time to get used to. Nevertheless, it’s a nice change and I’m happy that the contractor’s beige is gone. My “Whispering Wheat” has now been put in the kitchen, hallway, entryway, one wall of the dining room, and one wall of the living room (because the wall is continuous). I also finally painted the chandelier. I used this “hammered metal” spray-paint and it really gave a neat affect. Now I need some artwork and a small buffet. Then I think the dining room will be complete.

This is the nifty spray paint. The trigger was very easy to use.

This is the nifty spray paint. The trigger was very easy to use.

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Painting the entryway

Another picture

Another picture

Spring Refreshers

Me with a giant leaf blower!

Me with a giant leaf blower!

It’s finally Spring and I am so excited and looking forward to all of the wonderful things that happen this time of the year. The weather has warmed up, the birds are chirping, that terribly harsh winter has finally taken a vacation (and I hope it’s a long one). My house is doing well, too. I have some Spring and Summer projects in mind, but nothing major. Part of me is relieved about that, but the other part truly loves the larger projects that can be easily noticed. No matter, though. I will notice my smaller details, and that’s what matters.

Audrey "helping" with the sand.

Audrey “helping” with the sand.

As soon as the weather was nice, Adam borrowed a large leaf blower, and we tackled what should have been done a long time ago. The leaf blower was a beast-monster and I just HAD to try it.  Needless to say, I could barely lift my arm the rest of the day.

While he continued to rake, I decided to do some patio maintenance. I headed out to the semi-permanent sand dune that resides in my back alley, and got to work. Audrey helped.

As soon as I had a weather forecast with warm temperatures and low chances of rain, I

The patio survived a long winter.

The patio survived a long winter.

took full advantage and re-painted the front steps. It has been 2 years since they were first painted (I have now owned the home for 2 years!), so they needed a fresh coat due to foot traffic. Luckily, I still had the original gallon.

Front steps are painting, garden is mulched.

Front steps are painting, garden is mulched.

I am pleased to report that my garden looks well! The perennials that my mother and I planted last year are thriving. I took the time one day after work this week to lay some fresh mulch and it made a beautiful difference, as always.

My projects for the next few months include:

  • Painting the kitchen I don’t plan on changing the color very much, but when I moved in, the entire interior of my house had been painted contractor’s beige. While I find the color to be warm and neutral, the paint itself is a true nightmare. It feels like sandpaper, cannot be cleaned, and takes on any and all fingerprints that it can. It doesn’t help that I had an oatmeal incident in the hallway one clumsy day before work.
  • Painting the dining room, family room, downstairs hallway, up the stairs, and upstairs hallway (Please note that all of these rooms have unfortunate fingerprints/wall stains that cannot be removed. This WILL be annoying. The most disappointing part I think is that I don’t know if the new paint will be that big of a change. It’s one of those things that just has to be addressed. Wear and tear.
  • Painting the Garage Door (It’s just cracked and icky.)
  • Cleaning out the yucky plumber drum-ma-bob that links to my bathtub (should be interesting).

Craving a Project

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Before-scuffed up dresser

Having endured one of the most unpleasant winters of my life, I was beyond ready to do some sort of house-related project. On Frigarageday, I spent hours upon hours organizing the garage. It was worth every bit of dirt and sweat. I am always seeming to acquire more STUFF. My garage was a colossal mess. Unfortunately, I do not have a before picture. But this is the after! The reality is that I will need more shelving because I am soon to acquire more stuff but I can enjoy the anti-clutter while it lasts! It’s truly a relief.

After-ta da

After-ta da

The other project that I did over the weekend was bedroom-related. It has felt a bit shabby and mismatched for a while now, so at the suggestion of my mother I decided to paint the old dresser that the b/f has been using. I know I know. Painting wood is a little bit sad sometimes. I just didn’t find it worth my while to refinish this piece.

I wanted a quick-fix, and seeing that I don’t have a strong attachment to this particular dresser, painting it white was the way to go.My paint was absolute Goo. “Pot of cream” is the color, and it was quite fitting considering the consistency. Perhaps more like, marshmallow cream. Nevertheless, here are the results. I am anxious for spring and some delightful warm weather so that I can start gardening again. Peace.

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Hard to get a full pic of my room but p.s. I got a new mattress.

 

 

Workbench Time

It has been a while since I have done any major home improvements. The patio was my last great feat, and to be honest, it was tiring. I can assure you though that I am craving something new to do. I have been organizing the basement little by little. There are still things that I would like to put into plastic containers, but I am getting somewhere. My boyfriend and I were lucky enough to stumble across a gold mine a few weeks ago in the form of someone’s trash. We found plastic shelving, a large piece of peg board, working extension cords, and some other little trinkets.

Anywho, I am pleased to present the newest addition to my house-the workbench! I did take a part in this project-I stained the darn thing, and helped choose the wood from the pile at home depot. I also may have held a few pieces together while Adam attached them, but he gets all of the credit. I will say that, like most things, it is a work in progress. Eventually the peg board will be behind it, and some other little additions will be made here in there. But I can tell you that this thing is SOLID. I recommend building one!
The plan came from this handy site: http://www.familyhandyman.com/workshop/workbench/how-to-build-a-workbench-super-simple-50-bench/view-all

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Making some initial cuts

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Frame

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Skeleton

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Bottom shelf frame

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Securing table top

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Basic model created

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Stool obtained from someone’s trash-perfect size! -Marker board will eventually be attached.

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Stain for protection, which really ended up looking clear.

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Adam and the cat on the (almost) finished product.

 

My brick patio-

Completed patio with furniture

Completed patio with furniture

FINALLY!-I am pleased to announce that my (approx.) 225 square foot brick paver patio is complete! While I don’t have a final count on labor hours, sweat, and tears, I can certainly tell you that the project was quite physically demanding. My legs are bruised and my muscles are sore, but at least now I have a wonderful outdoor living space! Digging sod was an absolute nightmare, and as with anything, my skill improved drastically over time. The initial cuts took ages in comparison to the rest. I kept thinking that my next step would be easier than the last, but that really was not the case. I wanted to be thorough and do it right. So-here is the breakdown of my construction process. My next post will have all of the pictures.

1. Spray-painted the ground to get a general idea of the shape. I ended up putting a bit of a curve on the outside.
2. Pounded wooden into the ground and ran mason’s line across the space. Determined the proper slope needed for drainage, and raised line accordingly.
3. Removed sod from space. (That was a grueling process filled with sweat and tears.)
4. Watched as birds of all kinds gathered to feast on the bugs in the large pile of dirt. I saw blue jays, cardinals, and an extremely pregnant robin.
5. Installed edging. A lot of people wait to do this until the end. I used the edging, however, as a guide, and it ended up helping tremendously in the screeding process.
6. Ordered limestone gravel. This stuff is fantastic! It is also quite heavy, so moving it from one side of the yard to the other in a wheel barrow was interesting to say the least. Spreading the gravel created a solid foundation for the patio.
7. Ordered over 1000 bricks from home depot. I had these delivered directly to my backyard. I still have quite a few leftover so I will let you know what I do with them!
8. Ordered sand. Sand is a miracle worker. Working as both a leveling agent and base, the sand sunk between the gravel and smoothed beautifully.

9. Screeded the sand with two connected 2 by 4’s. This was one of my favorite parts. I felt like I was building a giant sandcastle. In fact, I have enough leftover sand to build one the size of a dog house.10. Laid the bricks. I used the herringbone pattern. I love the variation and interest that this pattern provides.
11. Rented a wet saw made for masonry from Home Depot. I saved all of my cuts for the end. This was new for me. I did alright for my first time. My boyfriend did a little over half of the cuts though.
12. Spread additional sand with push broom in between bricks. Sprinkled with the hose.

Some notes: All-in-all, the patio project was a great success. While it was physically demanding and required a large amount of patience, all of my hard work was well worth it in the end.

Approximately 85% of the labor was done by me, however, my dad stopped by here and there to help oversee the project. He had built a few of these in the past so had a better idea of the technicalities involved. My sister and her boyfriend helped fill the space with gravel, and my boyfriend helped with the brick cuts (and lifting that wet saw!).