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House Tour of Our New Home (finally!)

September 20, 2012

Before we closed and moved into our new home (mentioned here and here) I snapped a bunch of  “before” pictures.   My favorite thing about all the DIY’s we did on our first home was having the before photos to compare it all to.  There was no question that I would do the same with our second home.  I took a bunch of pictures when we first decided to buy the house but neglected to take and pics when it was vacant…whomp, whomp.  The house tour I am about give was conducted at the beginning of the year when the previous owners (aka Ryan’s parents) still had the house furnished with their belongings.

Our new home is an updated 1960’s rancher with a full basement.  It totals somewhere around 5,000 square feet.  The front of this house is very deceiving.

The door opens into a nice size foyer.  It’s huge compared to the barely-there foyer we had in our first home.  That chandelier was removed before we moved in and I have since purchased a new gem.

Immediately off the foyer is a large kitchen, completely updated with granite countertops and new appliances (about 2 years ago or so).  I plan to refinish the kitchen cabinets to lighten up the room a bit.  It has a great eat-in kitchen area that I plan to make my own as well…maybe a settee or something.

From the kitchen you walk into the formal dining room which is also connected to the living room.

The trim in this house is amazing.  Did you notice the wainscotting in the dining room?  The trim carries into the living room.  I adore the crown moulding throughout.  It’s painted a glossy creamish/beige color.  I plan to paint all the trim a crisp clean white so it pops off the wall.

Also on the first floor is a room I call the den.  I guess it could arguably be called the family room as well.  This room has beautiful built-in shelves that flank the fireplace.  The cherry paneling has got to go though.  It makes the room so dark….and we all know how I adore light, bright, crisp, and clean.

The master bedroom is located on the main floor.  Currently the room is sorta two separate rooms.  We plan to take out the wall/french doors and open up space up (do you see a trend here?!).  We also plan to gut the full master bath and create a space more functional for our twenty-first century needs.

The second and third guest bedrooms are also on this floor along with a full guest bath.

The “blue bathroom” as I refer to it, definitely needs an overhaul.   It’s really not on the top of our priority list though since it rarely gets used.  Actually if you were to see it in person, you would be in awe of how beautiful the tile and marble are….too bad it’s powder blue 😦

The basement is completely finished.  It includes a large rec room, a bar/poker area, pool room, and my craft room (or 5th bedroom).

Also in the basement is bedroom #4 aka, Ryan’s childhood bedroom.

And Ryan’s favorite part of the basement is his new work shop!  He can’t wait to add to his collection of power tools…I think there may be a tool or two on the list to buy this weekend so we start some projects!

Last on the tour is the sunroom.  It’s a cozy little space lined in beadboard (my favorite!) and brick.  It’s located off the kitchen and leads into the beautiful backyard.

In the summer, when everything is in bloom, this outdoor patio is just amazing.  Ryan helped build that pergola when he was a kid.  It was his first ‘big’ project with his dad.  We plan to put a metal roof on top and add a ceiling fan.  Luckily electrical already exists in the space!

It’s a great place to entertain.  We “borrowed” it a few years ago when Ryan hosted my 30th birthday party:

The backyard alone is about an acre and completely fenced in.  The pups are happy in heaven.  The have managed to find about 3 holes in the fence but I think we’ve remedied those spots.  (fingers crossed!)  …Talk about heart palpitations!

Along the stone wall (that separates the patio from the lawn)  is a great outdoor fireplace.  I can’t wait to (maybe) cook a burger on it… or just start a fire and roast some marshmallows!

The steps up to the lawn make a great place to take a family photo.  We took this family pic the weekend of the Surprise 40th Anniversary party….one of the last days Ryan’s parent’s lived in their home of 23 years!

I bet you can’t wait to see what the house looks like with my furniture in it!  I’ll give you a hint, it looks amazing!  I plan to start a few DIY projects soon then comes the big reveal.


Officially Closed on Our Second Home!

September 6, 2012

On Friday, August 31, 2012  we FINALLY closed on our new home!!  Friday was day 87 of our (supposed) 30 day closing.  It was the most stressful and agonizing experience ever, thanks to Chase bank.  I won’t get into the nitty gritty of it all, but it involved underwriters, appraisals, second and third appraisals…just a mess.  The whole process was one-eighty of the experience we had six and a half years ago with Chase bank when we bought our first home (before the bubble burst).  In true Michelle fashion, I made Ryan get in front of the house with our for sale sign for a photo-op.  I’m sure our new neighbors already think of me as the crazy lady with a camera and tripod.

I know it’s cheesy, but we did the same pose with our first home on closing day.  That closing photo hung in our home for six and a half years.  I would glance at in every now-and-then to remember how different our home looked the day we bought it.  I like before and after’s in case you didn’t know.

I look forward to see how the outsides evolves over the next 30 years…assuming we don’t move anytime soon.  After this whole closing and moving process I am never moving again.  They can roll me out and bury me in the back yard, haha.

We ended up closing on both homes on the same day by some act of god.  Both closings were very last minute.  Not last minute like we found out on Monday we closed on Friday, try last minute as in we found out the day before.  Serendipitously both closings were at the same title company as well.  We came in early to sign off on the house we sold then returned at 4pm to sign our life away on our new home.  We celebrated by taking the boat out for a sunset cruise (which of course included cocktails).  Later that evening we popped some bubbly with friends, just as we did six years ago.

So now that we officially own our new home we are rearing and ready to go on zillions of projects.   I’ve actually already started on a few.  Our (very) long list includes:

  • Remodel of the master bath
  • Remodel of upstairs full guest bath
  • Painting all the beige trim and crown moulding white
  • Painting paneling in the den (I don’t want to hear it)
  • Painting the kitchen cabinets (I don’t want to hear it)
  • Resolving drainage issues
  • Creating a craft/sewing room for Michelle
  • Creating a shop for Ryan
  • Garage addition (make the 2 car a 4 car- for the boat)
  • Moving the driveway off the main road and to the side street

I know there is way more, but these are the big projects we have on tap for the next few years.  We’ll see how our vision changes as we live in the house and our needs change.  I’ll be back with before interior photos soon!

And a few last photos of our last day at our first home….August 30, 2012…we will forever miss you R. Hills….Especially the ever important closet photo where Ryan proposed to me on my custom built 6×8 shoe shelf about five and half years ago.  If you look closely, you can still see the “will you marry me” in stain 🙂

We hope you are in good hands, R. Hills…………..xoxo    Love you, mean it.

Moving On…..

August 21, 2012

It’s official, we are moved!

The moving trucks packed us up this past Friday.   We used a local company named Dunbar Transfer.  They sent 2 trucks and 4 men to transfer all of our worldly belongings from one house to the other.  I can not speak highly enough of this company, these men were MACHINES!  Only two of the men even stopped to eat the lunch tray we provided for them.

The whole moving process only took about four and a half hours… which was 4 hour less than what I expected.  Around 11am we said good bye to our first home.  Yes, I cried.      …And snapped one last picture.

Well, it’s wasn’t goodbye forever.  I was back the next day.  We actually haven’t closed on either house.  The banks are backed up right now because of these historic low rates which caused mass re-financing.  Luckily, the new home we are buying is Ryan’s childhood home.  His parents have so graciously allowed us to move in prior to closing.  It goes without saying, we couldn’t ask for more understanding parents!

After shedding a tear or two we hit the road (all of 5 miles) and waited for the moving trucks at our new house.  They arrived and quickly unloaded boxes and furniture while I gave direction (something I am not usually very good at since I like to control and do everything myself).  I took a minute to snap a few photos.  There’s nothing I love more than ‘before’ pictures.  And if you know me as well as I know you do….there will be many after’s to come over the years.

We are very excited to start the DIY process on our new home.  We have big plans.  Huge Plans.   Ginormous Plans!

So far what we love about our new house:

  • More bedrooms!
  • Double the square footage!
  • Acreage!
  • Fenced in (fairly flat) yard!
  • Well taken care of!
  • Updated kitchen!
  • Wood floors!

Of course there are a few things we don’t love, like the powder blue bathroom and the smaller garage but the good far outweigh the bad!  SUPER PSYCHED!

Now if we could just get the banks move their butts along so we can close on both these properties…..

Neither Here Nor There…

July 18, 2012

It’s officially been a week since we listed our house with a real estate agent.  We went By Owner for about 2 weeks, got some good traffic through the house, but really couldn’t get the exposure that Old Colony Realty could provide us.  Ryan and I had high hopes to git r done on our own, but this marketing guru called it quits.

To my knowledge I did everything I could:

Oh well.  My dear friend Addy is doing a lovely job.

It was slightly annoying packing up the dogs and leaving several times a day for showings, so we have unofficially moved out of our house.  The pups jumped into the car and we piled in some clothes and necessities and set off to the new (semi-vacant house).  We haven’t officially closed on the new house, but we know the owners (wink, wink) who have mostly moved out.  Because we want to keep our house staged we brought nothing with us.  We ended up buying a new mattress (that will be used in a guest room in the future) and have been sleeping on it.  No bed frame or headboard, it’s totally college style.  We also have a sofa that was left to us and a kitchen table, but that’s about it folks!  I must admit it’s quite inconvenient but in the long run what’s (hopefully!) only a few weeks?

Last night I went through and snapped a few photos, so here is a sneak peak of our almost-new-semi-vacant house in it’s current lonely state:

And if you look real close in this one you can see our college-style matress in the background…

Yep, that’s what we’ve been up to…a whole lotta house moving/buying/selling.  Hopefully it won’t take me another half century for our next update.  It’s just kind of hard to blog when you haven’t had the internet in about a week!!!  Internet: love you, mean it.    Until next time, we are neither here nor there….

Officially on the Market (By Owner)

June 28, 2012

After six years of living in the space we’ve made a home it’s finally time to sell…and it’s so bitter sweet.  We bought our fixer-upper home with visions of what it could be.  Today it is officially that.  We’ve worked so hard over the course of so many years to get where we are. Now that our house is finally ‘finished’ we are moving on…

And a walk down memory lane….

We built retaining/landscaping walls out front and removed/added landscaping, giving this house some great curb appeal.  Here is  a before and after from the day we bought the house.

In our living room we knocked a hole in the wall to open up the space between our dining room and living room.  The working fireplace is a great place to get cozy in the cold winter months.

And the before and after in the living room:

The dining room wasn’t much too look at but now it’s a great space for entertaining, having hosted many parties.

The dining room the day we bought it and now:

In our master bedroom we took out a wall and built a custom master suite equipped with a large walk-in closet and granite bath.

The custom built master closet contains a 6×8 shoe  shelf.

 The kitchen was our most recent over-haul, installing tile flooring and granite countertops.

Two guest bedrooms.

The upstairs full bath was renovated several years ago with porcelain tile and wainscoting.

The rec room walks out on to a 50 foot private patio, a great space for outdoor entertaining.

It’s hard to believe just how much she has changed over the course of 6 years!

If you or anyone you know is interested in our south hills home, let me know.     It’s a great piece of updated property that’s been well loved and taken care of.  Send me an email at

A Surprise Ruby Anniversary.

June 26, 2012

It’s been several weeks since my last post.  We’ve been so consumed with moving that I haven’t even thought about blogging or documenting what we’ve done (and we’ve done a whole lot!).  Bad blogger, I know.  In the mix of the whole moving/selling process we also planned a surprise 40th anniversary party for Ryan’s parents on June 15th.   Ryan’s sister and I started planning this shindig at the first of the year.  It’s killed me not to blog about it.  Seriously. Killed. Me.  I DIY’d so many great things (and went a little over budget in doing so) but was so thrilled with the end product.  So without further ado, here is the way late blog post on the surprise ‘Ruby’ (40th anniversary is Ruby) party we threw….

The above is a picture of my in-laws on their wedding day, June 17, 1972 in Rialto, California.  That’s the picture I used when creating the invitations and the same photo I posted in the paper!  I just love that photo.  My father-in-laws ‘chops’ just kill me.  It’s a great reminder that everything goes out of style then comes right back in and leaves again…haha!

The biggest hurdle in planning this party was trying to figure out how to get the parents to the venue (The Women’s Club of Charleston).   We decided on a plan.  A very well thought out plan.  That of course got altered several times due to ‘complications’.

While we waited with 40 of their closest friends we were notified that they were running late….a sure sign they had no idea about the party…score!  The moment my in-laws walked in the door made all of our hard work worth it.  I think they were a little confused, but ultimately completely shocked and appreciative.

We planned out every detail from the food to the drinks/bartender and the music…Ryan’s sister and I are definitelydetail oriented girls, no question.  Joe Zando from Catering Unlimited prepared a wonderful spread of heavy appetizers and Mike Hackell with Men in Black Bartending set up a fully stocked bar.

As part of a photo tribute to the  happy couple we blew up a 24×36″ photo (taken the weekend before… as my father-in-law said ‘happy 40 years” (awe..) to his loving wife while I took the photo) along with a photo board of historical black and whites to spell out ’40’ on a ginormous red board.

Along with these ridiculously large photo displays we set up a table with framed photos from the past.  How did I get all these photos you ask?  I snuck into their attic while they were gone!  We pulled out 5 boxes stuffed with albums and loose photographs.  I then spent 4 hours scanning any photo I deemed relevant.  They were uploaded to and printed off.  Ryan’s sister also created a photo book from Kodakgallery and left blank pages in the back so that it could also serve as a signed guestbook at the party.  I found their wedding album and  garter in the boxes of photos, so they were displayed on the table as well.

Since we had my mother-in-laws wedding garter from 1972 we found it only appropriate to set them up in the middle of the floor (while “I’m Too Sexy” played in the background) and replay that moment from 40 years ago….

After the garter removal it was time to cut some cake.   We made them stand behind the cake (made by my dear friend Holly at Holly Pops) and cut it together just like they did 40 years prior.

And of course it wouldn’t be my mother-in-law without a little direction…

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty of party planning….

We all know I like to DIY as much as I can, and this party was no exception.  I bought everything in strides over the course of 5 months.  First off was the table linens.  The Women’s Club supplied the white table cloths but it needed some umph.  I found some great chair sashes at the table cloth factory to cover the ugly plastic chairs then decided on a teal accent color and purchased  12″ table runners as well.

I also decided to DIY the centerpieces.  I bought 8 matching vases and spray painted them white.  After researching flowers, I found that Sam’s Club (who knew?!) sold bulk flowers.  I had 150 stems of red carnations shipped in 2 days before the party for $66 bucks.  When they arrived from Columbia I immediately cut the box open and placed the somewhat dehydrated flowers in a  Rubbermaid tub of water and Flora Life flower food.  It took 2 days, but the flowers completely hydrated as indicated.  Amazed.  I spent all morning the day of the party putting these 8

centerpieces together.

I’ve never actually tried to be a florist.  Ever.  So it was really brave of me to assemble 8 center pieces using 150 flowers the morning of the party.  Looking back on it now…what was I thinking???!!  Luckily it all turned out well and they looked beautiful in the end.

My goal was to make contemporary low lying vases.  I watched a few videos on you tube, so I had some sort of ‘idea’ of what I was doing.   Very impressed.  I may go into the florist business…not.   Next to the centerpieces I added 2 black and white framed photos on each table.  I got the frames at the Dollar Store  so they only ended up costing my $16 (plus the cost of the prints).  Here’s what the canterpieces ended up looking like:

In a last minute frenzy I decided to order some red cloth napkins from the same website I got the chair sashes and table runners.  My biggest pet peeve is an empty table at a buffet party.  I would have none of that.  I decided since there was no formal place setting there needed to be something on the table to fill each seat.  I bought the napkins for about 75 cents each.   On my computer I created cute little “Dave and Cathi: 40 Years” wraps to go around each napkin.  I printed the wraps on card stock and wrapped them around each freshly washed and ironed napkin then secured with double stick tape.

It ended up only costing me about $30 extra, well worth it for the ‘Ruby’ tablescape.

Last but certainly not least was the candy buffet.  I was totally unsure of how this would play out, but it ended up being the most visited table of the night.  My vision was a mis-match of candy jars flanking the cake.  Well, it turned out to be just that.  I can’t tell you how many people repeatedly hit up the candy bar, leaving us with very few left overs (thank goodness!).

I spent a few hours DIY’ing these ‘To Go’ candy bags for our guests.

And a close-up of the cake….

Being the great party host that I am, I cut the cake.  I’ve never cut a tiered cake so I was a bit nervous but I think I did an OK job (with some guidance from Joe Zando).

There is a balcony at the Women’s Club so I was able to get an aerial before everyone arrived. Here is one last photo of this magnificent surprise Ruby Anniversary Party  (6 months in the making)…

To sum it all up….it went off without a hitch.  Everyone had a blast and no one went thirsty or hungry.  We would especially like to thank Joe Zando with Catering Unlimited, Mike Hackell with Men in Black Bartending, and The Women’s Club of Charleston for helping us throw  a wonderful surprise 40th Anniversary party for our parents!

P.S.   we stayed up until midnight at Ryan’s parents for an family ‘after party’ which included late night pizza and a very wide-awake niece!!

And the Packing Begins….

June 7, 2012

Yesterday we met with the loan officer and we are officially moving forward!  We are in contract on the new house and if everything goes as planned we should close on our new house in 45 days!!!  It’s exciting and scary all at the same time.  We’ve grown so comfortable in our first home, it’s scary to think about moving to a home twice the size!  Ryan and I have been hording boxes from work and they are starting to take over our family room.

Last night I decided to start packing up the dining room.  I have a large curio cabinet in there stuffed with serving platters.  I don’t plan on having any parties (but knowing me it can always change at a moments notice) anytime before we move so I started the process of wrapping up those babies and packing them away.

It took six boxes to empty out that cabinet.  If that’s any indication of how much stuff we’ve obtained over the last 6 years- I’m gonna be in packing misery.

My sewing station is also packed away.  I have no plans to sew/mend anything anytime soon, so no one ask!  Michelle’s embroidery service is officially closed.

That’s what we’ve been up to…lot’s of paperwork.  Not much DIY’ing around the house lately.  Although I did pressure wash the front walkway last weekend.  No need for pictures of that, a sidewalk is a sidewalk no matter how you spin it.

Finishing Touches on the Kitchen Shelves.

June 1, 2012

I bet you thought the kitchen was finished, right?  Well that’s a big fat no.  We are still in the process completing those few last details.  You probably don’t recall, but back in April I gave you a sneak peak when Ryan surprised me by cutting the shelves for the wrap-around cabinets (found here).  Well, about two months later we finally got the motivation to finish those bad boys up.  It’s really no surprise that it’s taken this long since we are officially burnt toast.  And now that it’s boating season our once high motivation (which dropped to a 4 a few weeks ago) has now leveled out at 2 on a rating scale of 1 to 10.

Needless to say, those bitches be done!  Excuse my french, but the process just took forever.  After Ryan cut the three boards back in April, the kitchen looked like this:

Michelle set up her unofficial paint shop in the basement and primed and painted all three shelves over the course of a few days.  Ryan hung the  bottom and middle shelves by screwing them to the side of each cabinet.  We lived with these two bare shelves for about a month and a half.

To hang the third (high) shelf Ryan had to cut some support brackets.  There was absolutely no way he could secure this shelf from inside the cabinet since it sits right on the soffit.  (yes, we know we have to patch the crease between the ceiling and wall)

This wall is funky which is why the support braces look like a jigsaw puzzle.  Ryan pre-drilled the holes and halfway drilled in each screw before going into the side of the cabinets.

I used a small level and pushed against the wood to hold it steady while Ryan drilled the screws on the opposite wall.

Obviously the raw wood needs to be primed and painted (story of my life) but before doing so I got out the wood putty so I could fill in the screw holes and the gaps, making the shelves seamless into our existing cabinetry.

I used a putty knife on the screw holes to pack the filler in, but in the cracks I ended up just using the trusty ‘ole finger.

It looks pretty nasty, but after smoothing out the filler with some fine 220 grit sandpaper, you will never notice my handiwork.

I find it completely ironic to put so much work into something that you don’t want to be seen.  Never really thought about that one before…HA!  But anywho, you guessed it, I hit the smoothly sanded areas up with some more Kiltz latex primer and paint.  I think in all I gave the shelves two coats of paint and one final overall touch up.  They look all purdy, glossy and white.  As usual, love.

I have absolutely no idea what to display on the top shelf.  It’s so high so it has to be something purely decorative.  Maybe I should shuffle the aloe plant (a homegoods steal for $5, holla!) to the top and stack some cookbooks on the middle shelf.  We really enjoy the bottom shelf housing our ripening fruit.  It frees up some counter space and the fruit gets  good light.

One last glimpse…….


It only took 2 months to git-r-done, but I am very pleased with the final result.  Now that we’ve officially kicked it back into gear I foresee completing several more project this coming weekend.  What about you?  Any good DIY plans for the weekend?!

What’s Behind Door #2?

May 23, 2012

A whole lotta work, that’s what!

Over the course of 6 years we have slowly replaced the old 1964 hollow doors in our house with 6 panel doors and contemporary door handles.  We had only 2 left on the list and decided to finally tackle them over the past five weeks.  Yes, it took five weeks to complete this project.  The two doors happened to both be in our master bedroom:  our walk-in closet and master bath.


Ryan first removed the doors from the hinges by popping out the pin with a screwdriver and hammer.

We went the cheaper route on these doors and opted to buy the panel and not the whole door and frame.  The panel ran about $30 where as the entire door and frame is about twice that price.  In the long run Ryan strongly suggests buying the door slab and frame together…it’s not a simple task to install the slab on an existing frame (hence why this project took five weeks!).

Ryan set up his work area on our front porch as usual.  He laid the new doors across two saw horses and clamped the old door on top to mark exactly where his hinges on the new door needed to go.

Of course the door slab couldn’t be a perfect fit.  The door was a wee bit too tall so Ryan had to take a little off the bottom.  After calculating how much to take off, he clamped his level to the door and drew a cut line.

I carefully held each door steady while Ryan ran the circular saw and cut the bottom off each door.

The next and most frustrating step of installing new door slabs is chiseling out the area of the door where the hinges are secured.  This is the step that caused a five week delay.  The two slabs had no desire to take residence in their new frames.  After a few curse words, we decided to take a break and try re-hanging the doors when we had the patience.    Ryan ended up taking a few hours off work last Friday and completed  the project as a surprise.  His solution was to shave about a quarter inch off the inside of the door rather than continue to chisel.  It ended up working perfectly and the new doors fit comfortably inside the frames.

When we brought these doors homes from Lowes about six weeks ago they were completely primed.  Before we started this whole hanging process I hit them up with two coats of Sherwin Williams HGTV white trim paint.  I thought it was rather smart of me to apply paint before they were hung…you know, be one step of the game.  Well that ended up backfiring since Ryan had to shave off the inside.  Needless to say, I broke out the primer and paint….again once they were hung.

After studying the doors while I was priming and I couldn’t help but to be drawn to the ugly paint-spattered brass hinges (blaming previous owner, obviously).  I decided one  solution was just to prime and paint those brass hinges and see how it went.  I figured we could always replace them with new hinges if it didn’t work out.

Well, you know what?  It did work out!  I call myself genius.  They look fantastic.  I know it’s only been five days since I painted them but they seem to be holding up really well.  of course Michelle could stop there.  I ended up painting every other brass hinge in the house.  We have 12 doors with visible hinges times 3 hinges per door for a total of 36 brass hinges.  They all look so good I wish I primed and painted those babies 6 years ago!  Here’s what the two finished door in our bedroom look like:

And a closeup of the primed hinge:

And the hardware:

So there you have it.  It took us five weeks to hang 2 doors, but it resulted in the transformation of 36 ugly brass hinges.  And to repeat myself like a broken record, Ryan strongly suggests if you want to replace interior doors just go ahead and purchase the entire door in the frame rather than the slabs.  Yes, it may cost a few more bones, but so worth it in the long run.  Just think, Ryan may get a chance to re-hang a few more doors in the new house…we shall see!

The Columbus Zoo in Charleston.

May 14, 2012

This past Saturday our good friends and next door neighbors (mentioned here) held their son’s 5th birthday party at  a local park.  It was no ordinary birthday party though.  They called in the Columbus Zoo and a van full of animals!

The Zoo put together a private showing for my friend Amanda and her 50 party guests.  They brought with them 7 animals and one exclusive animal, not on exhibit at the zoo.  The first was a Dingo.  The Australian Dingo is a free-roaming wild dog unique to the continent of Australia, mainly found in the outback.

The birthday boy was able to feed the Dingo a treat.  It was 7 years old and very docile.  The zoologist walked him around so everyone could pet him and let him smell your breath (something they are apparently known for).

The second (and my favorite animal of the day) was a flamingo.  He was absolutely beautiful.  Two shades of orange and black hidden feathers under his wings.

Unfortunately the bird became a little spooked with so many young children and we could not pet his feathers.  I say ‘we’ but to be honest, I did not attempt to pet ANY of the animals.  Which I find strange since I love animals so much.

The third exhibit on our zoology lesson was an armadillo.  He was presented in a ball (just like a potato-bug) but eventually came out of his shell and expanded his legs for a little run.

So the armadillo was kind of cool.  Next up was a legless lizard also known as a ‘glass lizard’ which freaked me out.  I am not a snake person.  At all.  I know this squiggly creature is in fact not a snake.  It adapted to the conditions and changed color to camouflage itself in the mud.  But in my mind if it looks like a snake, acts like a snake, it is a snake!  Eeek!!

Needless to say, I didn’t get too close to our friend the legless lizard.  Many of the party guests had no qualms about any of these exotic animals….hence their smiling faces!

The last animal on the Columbus Zoo’s agenda was the one that freaked me out the most.  We were told to be very quiet (which is very hard with a large group of 5 year olds, by the way).  This was the exclusive animal not on exhibit at the zoo.  It was a Lynx.   Yep, a medium-sized wildcat (Go UK!).  Lynxes have short tails and characteristic tufts of black hair on the tips of their ears. They have a ruff under the neck, which has black bars resembling a bow tie (which wasn’t visible on this one).  This little guy was 7 months old and the most aggressive of all the animals.

He tugged on that  leash and wanted to play…or eat, whichever side of the glass you are on.  I kept hiding behind Ryan because I thought that little cat wanted to pounce me…over-reactor, I know.  Obviously he didn’t harm me or anyone else, but he was definitely aggressive compared to an armadillo, penguin and Kanagroo (I forgot to post pics of the penguin and kangaroo).  After the wonderful show by the Columbus Zoo it was time to (finally!)  blow out some candles and eat cake!

Amanda’s son blow out that #5 candle like a champ!  And you better believe that everyone else got their cake on.  Maybe a little too much since I left in a sugar comatose.

And it totally can’t be a party at the park without pictures of the kids on the swings!  They had so much fun and Amanda’s son was so cute pushing his best friend.

So that’s what we did this weekend!  What did you do?  Are you planing a kid birthday soon?  I totally urge the Columbus Zoo for anyone in the area looking for ‘entertainment’.  It was a HUGE hit!!

Burnt Toast.

May 8, 2012

I’ll be the second to admit (Ryan will be the first) that we’ve been completely burnt out from the home improvement scene over the past few weeks.  We.  Are.  Toast.

Go ahead, call us lazy, but I was sick this past week and the week before we just needed a break.   Our “To Do” list sits prominently on the fridge and been has completely ignored for a couple weeks.

Even though I was ill, I still got outside this past Sunday to plant a few more pots.  On my usual weekend trip to Lowes I came across these babies.

They’re called Vinca.  I planted them last year and they became absolutely amazing flowers in our front yard.

In a far removed section of the Lowes greenhouse there is a little area (usually in the back) where half dead plants go to die.  It is called the clearance rack.  With a stroke of luck I found these babies on that rack.  Originally sold for $5 each, I was able to score these ‘last chance’ flowers for one buck each.

Normally I don’t mess with half alive/half dead plants (depending on how full your glass is) but these Vinca really didn’t look all that bad.    Last year I  scored 12 of these on that same clearance rack and they become an absolutely beautiful part of my garden.  All they needed was a little love, water, and some Lesco 12-12-12 fertilizer.

The plan for these Vinca flowers: to inhabit the window planters on the right side of our house.  We have some great windowsills on our basement-level side windows.  I planted the same $1 clearance flowers in these planters last year and they grew to be ginormous (that’s a technical term).  I also have two more smaller pots on our back patio that were in need of some greenery.  When I pulled my planters out of the shed I was happily surprised to find they were still in tact with last years’ soil.

There are two windows on this (what I call ‘ugly’) side of the house.  My hope is these Vinca flowers will make this side of the house a little less ugly.  I gathered all my supplies on the back patio, ready to plant again….and hopefully for the last time this season.  I started by pulling out all of the dead and molded parts of each plant and was then left with just the healthy stems.

Three of the flowers I picked up were bright red-ish pink and the fourth was a light pink.  I played around with them a little bit and decided the odd man belonged in the red pot.

A little fertilizer, water, and potting soil later these babies were ready to go.  Dollar Vinca, holla!

Luckily , deer do not eat these plants.  At least that was my experience last year.  I’ve probably just jinxed myself by saying that.

And the ‘ugly side of the house’ with the planters:

I agree, these windows look pretty wimpy right now.  But remember what these half dead flowers turned into last year?!

That’s what I am aiming for….and I have absolutely no doubt they will grow out of a pumpkin and into a  princess.

Hopefully Ryan and I can muster up a little motivation in the next few days and kick it back into gear.  Time is ticking away and the To-Do list continues to grow.  I know I can’t be a perfectionist when It comes to this house, but I sure can try, can’t I?!

Getting Schooled by a Desk (Part II)

April 27, 2012

Part II of refinishing my new ‘old desk’ (mentioned here)  took place while Ryan hung our shutters and between my Hibiscus planting.  It was a cool 65 degree Saturday afternoon so I pulled the desk out of the garage and into our side yard.  I figured there was no need in gathering all the paint fumes in the garage when they could fly freely in the open air.

In efforts to keep the grass (sort of) clean of black paint, I put an old blanket beneath the desk.  I’ve been scolded before for painting the grass.  I always thought it would just grow and get cut  but according to Ryan, I “suffocate” the lawn when it gets painted.  Not an issue I want to argue, so I am willing cover the grass.  I didn’t want the legs of the desk to sink into the lawn so i put cardboard pieces under each leg to prop them up.

After an internal debate, I decided on painting the piece black.  I (overbought) six cans of black Rust-oleum High Performance Enamel in a gloss finish.   I have a professional paint sprayer, but sometimes it’s just not worth the hassle of cleanup when I can buy spray paint fairly cheap.

For a few bucks you can pick up an easy spray handle.  I started out using it but halfway through the spray can started to drip something awful.  The Rust-oleum brand (like many others now-a-days) comes with a comfort grip spray nozzle which worked perfectly fine for me.  No cramping this time around!  I applied several very thin layers of paint.

I know the first coat looks awful, but trust me, slow and steady wins the race.  In my experience, applying a heavy full coat only creates long term problems.  This is a desk.  It will be used.  I need long term hold-up!  (I didn’t spend hours sanding, scrapping, and oil priming for nothin’).  Because it was windy I didn’t get that nice even coat like I would have in the garage.  But with many coats she will eventually be even.

I ended up only using 4 of the 6 cans of paint I bought.  I knew I would never use all six, but I find it better to overbuy than to run out.  Everything can be returned, that’s my philosophy.  Buy, save receipt, and return….story of my life: in DIY and fashion.

Here is a picture of the finished product:

She really is  a black beauty.  I am happy with how my reclaimed piece of oak turned out…for the most part.  That brings me back to the “getting schooled” part of this post(s).  We let black beauty cure for about a week or so in the garage then Michelle got all Stretch Armstrong on a school night.  We hoisted the piece up a flight of stairs (after moving around bedroom furniture) so I could get the desk into our master.  I dream all the time about staging our house, an important part of the house selling process (selling our house was mentioned here).  My dreams told me to put this desk in our bedroom since we are eliminating our office and making it a bedroom for resale.  I figure showing that our large master can also double as an computer area is a plus.  Well, it helps if the desk (that you just put about 10 hours of work into) will actually fit through the door to your bedroom.  This is the corner into our master from the hall:

And the same corner from the bedroom point of view:

Yulp, you guessed it.  We couldn’t get black beauty maneuvered around the corner.  Major boo.  We tried and tried, flipping that desk every which way but it just wouldn’t go.  I never thought to measure it.  I guess I figured if we could get a king size mattress through the door why the hell couldn’t a 30″ tall desk go through?  Well, 30″ is about 16″ wider than our Tempur-Pedic mattress.  It wasn’t for lack of effort, that’s for sure.  There is just no way to get the desk through the narrow opening.  So these are now our options:

  • Shave an inch of each leg to make it a 29″ desk
  • Set the desk up in the current office with the guest room furniture
  • Just move the  desk to the new  house and forget about having it in our current house.

Ryan’s vote is to take an inch off each leg.  I haven’t decided so the jury is still out.  In the mean time the desk sits on it’s side in our dining room…all banged and bruised from our efforts to get it into the bedroom…

So there you go…I was completely “schooled” by this desk.  It really disheartens me because I put so much time and effort into it.  So until further notice she lays on her side in our dining room, completely nicked and scrapped.  Whatever I decide to do with it, it is certain she will need a touchup coat of paint.  I promised to share all the successes and failures and I file this desk into failure…for now.

Getting Schooled by a Desk (Part I)

April 24, 2012

About 4 or 5 years ago good friends of ours bought a major fixer-upper of a house.  If I went into more detail about that I would be posting for days.  Anywho, down in the dungeon basement the previous owners left a solid oak saw horse-like desk.  It was covered in years of paint spatter and some foreign sticky substance.  Our friends had no desire to keep the piece, but I had vision (as always).  This desk has some serious bones.  I asked to keep the desk and it has been in storage for the past several years.  A few weeks ago I had Ryan pick up that desk and finally bring her home.

You can see how the top is covered in paint and goo.  I knew it would take patience and time but it could look totally awesome.

The drawer has a funky old-school pull.  Not my style so the plan is to remove the hardware and putty the holes.  By adding a new contemporary drawer pull the desk could totally fit my style.

I toyed around with staining the piece black to match the other black cabinetry in our Master Bedroom but ultimately decided on painting it black.  We have a bunch of black pieces in our bedroom, which is where I envision the desk going for staging purposes when we move (mentioned here)  and to be honest painting is way less time consuming.

I spent an entire Friday evening sanding that baby down.  First thing was to remove all that old paint and varnish.  As usual, I got out my good old trusty Ryobi Orbital Sander.

I started with a low grit and gradually went higher to get a smooth finish.  I also wore a heavy duty mask to protect myself from all the sawdust and paint particles.  Knowing my luck, it was probably lead paint so better safe than sorry…haha.

It took me a good hour to get that baby sanded down.  My poor little hand didn’t have feeling from all the vibration of the orbital sander  for what seemed liked days.  The surface turned out pretty well, but there was still some of the sticky residue left behind.  I ended up getting out a scrapper and removing the gunk.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of the scrapper sooner, I guess I just assumed the goo would sand right out.

After the sticky substance was gone I gave the top another run over with the orbital and 220 grit sandpaper.  There were a bunch if holes in the desk so of course my prep wasn’t quite finished.  I had to get out Elmer’s wood filler and my putty knife to fill all the imperfections and the old holes from the drawer pull.

I used the putty knife to get the filler into the holes by slowly dragging the knife across, getting it on the table smoothly.

Of course, I waited for the wood filler to dry then took the orbital sander to it one last time with the same 220 grit sandpaper.  The top of the desk was finally smooth as a baby’s butt awaiting the next step in this forever going Friday night prep.

Whenever I re-finish any piece of wood furniture I always take the time to prime it with oil-based primer.  I’ve tried latex primer in the past but it doesn’t adhere and finish as nicely.  My favorite oil-primer is the original Kiltz formula.

They actually make oil-based primer in a spray formula, but with a project this large it would end up costing me an arm and a leg.  The spray primer goes on very smoothly and is less messy in clean up.  I absolutely hate cleaning up anything oil based which is why I try to cut as many corners as possible.  I lined my paint tray with foil.  It’s genius if you ask me (of course, because I thought of it!).  When I’m finished priming all I have to do is remove the foil and throw it away.  No messy mineral spirit cleanup here!

I used a brush on the legs, sides, and the underneath then used a 4″ smooth foam roller for the top.  Again, I am lazy so i just threw away the roller and brush when I was finished.

I made sure to wear my mask and crack the garage door while I applied the oil primer.  Apparently that wasn’t good enough because I definitely had some light-headedness going on when I finished.  Good thing I have a few brain cells left to kill….haha.  When it was all said and done, this is what my finished oil primed desk looked like:

Phew!  That was a lot of work on a Friday night.  Immediately following I rewarded my hard work with an ice cold Michelob Ultra…and it was well deserved!  You’re probably wondering how I was ‘schooled” by this desk…that’s still to come.  I am in the current stage of trying to remedy this….stay tuned!

They Call Me Sparky.

April 17, 2012

Okay, so no one really calls me that.  It’s an inside joke between my father and I when we do electrical work!  Our house, which was built in 1964 is littered with these really dated almond color receptacles.

Nothing says “I was built in 1964” more than these ugly outlets.  It’s been on the list for about 6 years to to replace, but like many things we’ve just never got around to it.   Several of them have cracks (like the one above) and they all are covered in 60 years of dirt and grime.  Who wants to live with other people’s grime?  Not me.   We are not completely lazy though.  We’ve replaced a bunch of the outlets as we’ve worked on the house.  Our master bedroom, master bath, upstairs hall bath, and kitchen were all replaced when we gutted each one.  That leaves our living room, dining room, office, and basement in need of a little switch-out…pun intended, haha.  At Home Depot, I picked up several contractor packs of plugs,switches, and covers to get started.

Ninka made sure to sniff out my purchases before I started.  First and most importantly, I turned off the power to each room before I attempted to stick a metal screwdriver into all that wiring.  When working on electrical always make sure to use rubber handle screwdrivers.  It’s suppose to prevent getting a shock if the outlet happens to be ‘hot’.  I triple checked each receptacle with a volt meter to make sure the power was truly off on each outlet.

Many women may think this is a “mans” project, but let me be honest, it’s really very simple.  The most terrifying part is getting electrocuted (which is pretty scary), but if you triple check to make sure the power is off, it really is just a matter of screwing down a few wires.  I would never try re-wiring a house, that’s something left to the professionals, but changing out a few outlets is easy-peasy.  Once I knew the power was off I started to unscrew the outlet cover and receptacle.

Ryan attempted to scare me several times.  All stealth-like, he would come behind me, shake me, and make a jolt noise…what an a$$!

With a few screws removed I was able to pull the wiring out of each box.  White wire were on the right and black wire on the left.  I carefully unscrewed each side.

After the outlet was removed I was left with a metal box of wires that looked like this.  The black wire is the ‘hot’ wire and the white is the neutral.

I made sure to remember which wires wrapped around each screw on the outlet box.  They are labeled brass and silver.  The black ‘hot’ wire wraps around the brass screw and the neutral wraps around the silver.  After getting the raw wires wrapped around each respective screw I used my rubber handled screwdrivers to secure them down.

When each new white outlet was wired up correctly I was able to push it back into it’s electrical box.  These old wires were really stiff so it took me a bit more than am little push to get them into them home.

Each outlet has two screws, one at the top and one at the bottom which secures it to the box inside the wall.

If you have outlets that work on a light switch (we have a few) there is a metal ‘bridge’ between the two screws.  This bridge has to be removed with a pair of wire cutters/dikes.   It breaks right off.

After the wires were connected and screwed back in, I replaced the outlet cover….and Voila!

Not so hard, now is it?!  Anyone can do it with a little patience.  I am completely thrilled with how they look.  Who knew a little white receptacle could put such a big smile on my face?  Bye, bye almond, hello crisp clean white!

Hibiscus Planting.

April 11, 2012

I was introduced to the Hibiscus flower by my mother when I was growing up.  She planted them every spring to grace our back patio with it’s beautiful pink and red 5 pedal flowers (and she continues to this day).  It’s a tropical plant that flourishes in warm climate areas such as Hawaii, Mexico, and Florida.  In West Virginia they only stay alive in the warm spring and summer months, but that’s fine by me.  I was lucky enough to find some on sale for $12.99 at Kroger this past weekend.

It’s kind of tradition for me to plant these on the back patio, I’ve been doing it for 5 years now.  I just love how it makes the patio feel like a luxurious outdoor living space, Resort de Bauer.  I usually don’t even look at the price tag, that’s how much I love them.  Traditionally they cost about $16-$18 each at Lowes or Walmart, so when I discovered them for $12.99 at Kroger, I considered it a steal.

The Hibiscus flower only stays in bloom for a day or so but when watered regularly they will bloom continuously all summer long.   They are so awesome.  After the flower closes, I snap it off to encourage a new bud to grow.  This year I snagged 2 red, 2 pink, and 1 yellow.  You should have seen me toting that cart around the grocery store…”watch out people” is what I was thinking, I could barely see over all the green bushy leaves!

I have 4 of these grey-ish/green planters on the back patio and one larger one between the two garage doors on the driveway.   Five years ago I drilled three holes in the bottom of each one to allow proper drainage.  I also filled them 1/3 the way up with rocks to allow water to flow through (and to save $$$ on buying potting soil).

Having the pots ready to go makes it easy to replant the Hibiscus year after year.   I started with a plan on how I wanted them on the patio.  I decided to put the red and pink plants on backside and the yellow one between the two garage doors.  I thought a “pink-red-pink-red” pattern on the patio would like festive and the yellow flowers would contrast nicely against the red brick between the garages.

I planted these Hibiscus the same way I planted my Dianthus flowers out front (mentioned here and here).  I use Lesco 12-12-12 fertilizer and some potting soil to fill ‘er in.

I started by digging out a hole in the soil with my pretty little pink gardening shovel and put that soil into a bucket.

I “tested” the hole depth several times to make sure I dug deep enough.  Once I knew the plant would fit nicely, I added my Lesco 12-12-12 fertilizer so the roots would  immediately get nutrients.

I forgot to mention that this was one of my projects while Ryan was hanging shutters over the weekend (found here).  It worked out well.  I was right along side him while he scaled the ladder.  Every time he yelled for help and could easily drop my gloves and quickly come to his aid.

Of course I repeated the same steps 4 more times until each of my bargain Kroger plants made their way to their new homes.  The last step in the process, of course, was to water.

I’ve got this process down to a science, having done it for 5 years straight.  I’m still trying to figure out where I’m going to put all five pots once we move into the new house.  The new back yard is a completely different setup so I will just have to play it by ear until we actually move in.

This past Saturday we had some friends over for dinner so I decided to go ahead and get out all the patio cushions and set everything setup for entertaining.  I must admit, the beautiful Hibiscus plants are totally my favorite thing in the backyard space.  I can’t wait for them to start growing and blooming everyday.

It’s kind of hard to see the Hibiscus plants that I just potted.  They are so green and the grass is so green so it all just sort of blends in until more flowers start blooming.

My second favorite part of the patio is our dining table.  I just love the table cloth and matching Tiffany Blue seat cushions.  I found all those pieces last year at Target.  The red tray is actually functional.  Not so much for the flowers, but they add the extra pop of color our dinner guests will totally appreciate.  Okay, that was totally an exaggeration.  But they add that extra pop that I appreciate and that’s all that matters!

You may have noticed the Hibiscus plants in the “after” photo of the shutter post.  I noticed them when I wrote the post but decided to ignore it.  Maybe you noticed them too.

You can also ignore the kitchen sink leaning against our house.  We have yet to donate that to the Habitat for Humanity…among other things on our to-do list.  And the cement piece next to the sink you ask?  That’s the windowsill for the window on the right, over the garage.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know!  So now you have an idea of what I was up to while Ryan hung shutters.  But of course you know that can’t be it, and it’s not.  More to come…

Shutter Bugs!

April 9, 2012

No, I’m not talking about cameras, I’m talking about the other kind of shutters.  Backstep: about 4 years ago I bought some black shutters at Lowes to hang on the windows above our garage doors.  It’s a really blah open space that I always thought needed a little sprucing up.

Four years ago Ryan attempted to hang those shutters, but his old school drill didn’t have enough power to cut through our brick.   I recall about 5 broken masonry drill bits and a bunch of swear words.  Needless to say it was a project that we started and never quite finished.  This past Christmas, Ryan received a new Milwaukee drill set (mentioned here) which included a hammer drill.  This drill gives Ryan  A) the power and B) the hammer capability to cut through that doggone stubborn brick.

This weekend we moved a bunch of boxes in our shed and come across 4 of these beauties.

With the 19″ foot extension ladder and the Milwaukee hammer drill, we were set to go.  Ryan scaled his way to the second story window, measurements in hand.

The shutters are held into place by 6 screws each.  That meant Ry had to drill 24 holes into the exterior brick, ugh.  I won’t lie, it took like what seemed an eternity for all 24 holes to get drilled, but in all actuality was a few hours.

Masonry anchors were needed to go in each hole, but for some stupid reason the shutters  didn’t come with them.  Boo.  Maybe the shutters did and we lost them over the course of 4 years, but I highly doubt that.  How do you lose 24 anchors in separately packaged shutters?  I prepared for another run to Lowes, but was happily surprised to find out one of our friends was headed to that shopping center so he picked them up for us.  Another Lowes trip avoided.  Mucho Gracias.

It was nothing for Ryan to climb that ladder two stories up, but I had a very nervous stomach the entire time.  You never know what can happen.  At first I held that ginormous piece of steel, but after awhile I realized the ladder was going nowhere since our driveway is flat at the bottom.  I made sure not to walk under it though.  No bad luck needed for Michelle, she creates enough damage on her own!

After a few hours our little big shutter project was complete, sore arm for Ryan and all.  I can’t believe the difference it makes on that side of the house.  It adds a little dimension and breaks up the red brick.  Instant love.   Here are the “after” photos…I don’t think I’ve ever posted a picture of our house at this angle….(the window on the left is our dining room and the window on the right our living room).

In case you were wondering, the stone windowsill on the right just “magically” fell out of our window one night while we were fast asleep…it’s on our “To Do” list.  In the mean time, Ryan has a piece of plastic stapled into the sill.  He also laid a few bricks  in the hole to weigh down the plastic…which is why that right window looks all wonky and sill-less.

You also might be wondering what the white streaks on our red brick are.   The answer is simple.  Those streaks were actually there when we bought the house, they are from the white painted siding above.  After 60 years of life, this house has gained some character with the help of rain.  My theory is that the rain hit the white siding and caused rundown which stained the brick.  I tried to clean it when we first moved in without luck.  Ryan said I need to use muriatic acid.  We’ll see if I get around to that one.

And don’t think I was Lazy Susan while Ryan worked hard on those shutters this weekend.  I accomplished a few things as well and yes, you know I’m going to write a post about them 🙂

Happy Monday!

Sneak Peek: A Surprise from Ryan

April 6, 2012

Once a month a bunch of my girlfriends and I have a lovely “girls night out” dinner and drinks and a local bar/restaurant.  It happened to fall on this past Wednesday.  We met at a local downtown bar, drank a few pints/glasses of wine, had an gluttonous dinner then went our our merry way until next time.   When I got home I expected to see my hubby laid up with the pups in his lap.  Instead he greeted me in the garage, without pups.  I made my way up the stairs and immediately noticed that the hole in the living room ceiling (from our old fan) was totally patched.  Then I stepped into the kitchen and noticed this:

Yep.  He totally surprised me and cut all three shelves for the transition area between our two cabinets in the kitchen.  Whoop, whoop!!!  This was one of the best surprises I could come home to.   We’ve definitely been in “Kitchen Burn-Out” mode for the past 5 weeks (maybe longer).  These shelves are the last of the two items left on our kitchen list (found here) before we completely call her complete.

How awesome is it to come home come to custom cut cabinet shelves?!  I’d say pretty awesome since I’m a big DIY nerd.  Of course they are not anywhere near finished.  Ryan did his job in measuring and cutting the raw wood.  Now my job starts here.  I’ve got to hit them up with some 220 grit sandpaper so they are as smooth like a babies butt (not that I would actually know how smooth that is).  Once the shelves are sanded I plan to prime, paint, and install them this weekend.  So there you have it, a sneak peek into one of our (I’m sure many) weekend projects.   Happy Easter!

Roped into a Friend’s Kitchen Re-Do.

April 4, 2012

Ok, so I wasn’t totally “roped” into this, I entered willingly….nobody else get ideas!

My good friend Eddie has been inspired to re-do just about everything in his house.  It started with ripping out carpet then that led to re-decorating the master bath, which led to buying and installing new doors and door frames throughout the house.  Now that the “little” projects were complete he decided to start tackling his kitchen.   I got a text at 9am a few Sunday’s ago and this is sort-of how it played out:

Eddie: whatcha doing today?

Michelle: running errands.  you?

Eddie: thinking about a DIY kitchen project.

Michelle: what kind of project?

Eddie:  not sure.  You wanna come over?

Michelle: I can be there at 11.  What are we doing?

Eddie:  tiling a wall in the kitchen.

Michelle:  so does that mean you want me to bring my tile saw?

Eddie: yes.

That was it.  When I got home from shopping I unloaded my groceries then packed up my tile saw and other miscellaneous supplies.  I headed to Eddie’s house not knowing what in the world A) what we were tiling B) how much we would be tiling or C) what kinds of tile he wanted to lay.  My biggest fear was that Eddie wanted those 12×12 tile sheets with the little mosaics (which I’ve never cut or laid  before).  When I arrived, Eddie’s better half packed up the two dogs and left, not wanting any part in the hot mess we were about to create in their kitchen.  At Lowes my fear was confirmed.  We found these really cool glass tiles that we both fell in love with.

Unfortunately this Lowes was only had 5 tiles in stock (we needed 18) but a different location was showing about 45 of them.  Before we went out of our way to buy the tile I decided to stop by Home Depot to check out their inventory.  We didn’t think it would happen, but we ended up finding even cooler sheets of contemporary glass tiles and they were less expensive!  We loaded them in the cart along with some tile adhesive, tile spacers, grout, and a few diet cokes.

We really dig the Home Depot tile.  The glass sheets are complied of two shades of grey, grellow (green/yellow) and some random porous ceramics in a neutral.

I forgot to get the ‘before’ picture with everything in-tact so just envision a wine rack, shelf, and some art on the wall for this ‘before’. The wall we are tiling is the 2 foot jut-out on the right side.  Eddie’s vision was to make this odd divider a cool accent wall.

Before we started, Eddie removed the baseboards.  He purchased new white trim to be installed after the tiled wall is finished.

I’m definitely skilled at using the tile saw (mentioned here and here) but I’ve never tried cutting or laying the mosaic tile sheets, let alone glass tile.  I will totally admit nerves went through my body with every cut.  I didn’t want to mess anything up and cost my dear friend money.  We started at the bottom and carefully made our way up.

Eddie worked the trowel and applied the adhesive and tiles to the wall.  My job was to measure, mark, and cut.

Once we got the first row in place the rest was pretty much smooth sailing.  We followed the lines, used tile spacers, and went on our merry way!

About an hour and a half later, we (that being the Eddie part of ‘we’) laid the last tile on the wall.

The wall turned out pretty awesome.  I was a little skeptical at first but I could finally seeing Edwardo’s vision.  Here is what the entire wall looks like before grout.

I left Eddie to apply grey grout the next day.  He had never done it before, but did an absolutely fabulous job.  He also painted all the walls grey except for the little nook we tiled, he painted that a lighter yellow to accent the tile focus-wall.  After buying a new table and grellow accent chairs he was left with this final product!

The whole makeover turned out pretty darn awesome!  Their kitchen went from 1960 to 2012 in just the blink of an eye.  It goes to show with a little sweat equity you can make anything your own.  I especially love the grellow chairs that Eddie bought to go with the Pier One table.  They add an extra pop that totally brings out the grellow tiles on the wall.  In the week or so after our tile project Eddie also did a little DIY to his side window.  I think it’s so darn cool so of course I took some pictures of that as well.  On the picture below you can see the before window, just a plain window with 2″ wood blinds.  The after window is obviously on the right.

He didn’t want blinds on the window but definitely needed some kind of window treatment for privacy.  I suggested buying frosted glass film, kind of like what you buy for window tint on cars.  He was able to find the material at Lowes and applied it to both panes of glass.  Eddie totally did me one up and added these two pieces of art (also from Pier One) on each window pane.  Totally cool.  I love that fact he thought outside the box and created such a unique window covering…So Miami!

I don’t usually loan out my services, but Eddie hit me on a good day when I had no project in the works.  We had such a blast working together and I love his vision.  I may actually offer to help him with future projects….may being the key word, HAHA!

Yellow Flowers and Some Bargain Pots.

April 2, 2012

So I’ve been looking for greenish/blue/grey planters for about a month or so for my front porch.  The cushions that came with our wrought iron love seat are a weird green/blue/grey color, so I needed something in that color range to tie my front porch together.  I really wanted 3  square planters…so cute and modern, right up my alley.  Mucho problemo….they not sold in the exact color I desire.  These are the ones I found at Lowes.


The colors weren’t right so I kept looking.  On Friday, I hit up Gabriel Brothers, a random clearance-type store here in Charleston.  I wasn’t looking for anything specific, just looking.  Low and behold, I came across some cool 4″ square pots.  They were an ugly brown but I ended up buying them with all kinds of vision floating through my head.  Once I brought them home, I placed them on my outdoor coffee table to get a feel.

I was sold.  They weren’t too big or too small, just perfect.   The best part of this whole planter process is that I found these babies for a cool $1.99 a piece.

I headed to Lowes to buy some yellow flowers.  My mom read (somewhere) that yellow flowers on a front porch help sell a house…I don’t know if I buy it, but hey, it doesn’t hurt.  These Marigolds were the only yellow flower in stock.  They were $1.88 per six pack, I bought three.

The next step was trying to find a spray paint to match the blue/green/grey-ish color to match the cushions on my front porch loveseat.  Lowes, no go.  Michaels, no go.  Walmart??  Heck yes!  Who knew.   I first primed the planters with Valspar primer spray paint.

Primer is a unique character.  It never goes on even, which is ok.  The point of primer is to give the surface a place for the new paint to stick.  It doesn’t matter if it looks all wonky…as long as it’s covered, it’s good to go.

I let the planters cure with the primer for about 36 hours.  There was really no reason for the long wait except for laziness.  We had the final four UK game on Saturday, so there wasn’t much home improvement on my mind the entire day…just a nervous stomach.  Yesterday I finally hit those planters up with some greenish textured spray paint.

There was no name on the can, so I can’t tell you exactly what the color was, but it was a Rust-oleum green textured spray paint. I applied three light coats of paint to get even coverage.  There’s no point in rushing the job and laying down one thick layer of spray paint, that’s just disaster in the future.

I applied each coat over the course of a few hours.  It was a beautifully sunny 75 degree day so they cured nicely.

Once everything was dry I moved the pots to my front porch to get an idea if my paint was a match.  It was…and almost perfect!

The Marigolds were introduced to their new blue/blue/grey/ homes last night.  Normally I would’ve waited a day or so to plant the newly painted pots, but I was having company for dinner and I wanted to make sure they had a warm yellowy welcome on our front porch  (nerd, alert, I know).

The Marigolds are very welcoming and charming.  Hopefully my mom is correct is saying that yellow flowers on the front porch welcome home buyers…we shall see.

CATlanta, Baby!

March 28, 2012

Channeling Dickie V, I couldn’t resist adding the “baby” to this post title.

When our beloved University of Kentucky made it to the Sweet Sixteeen, Ryan and I immediately got on Stubhub to see what tickets were going for at the Georgia Dome.  We waited until that Sunday (big mistake) to finally make a decision and loosen the purse strings to buy 2 tickets.

We got the last 2 (somewhat reasonably priced)  lower level seats at the time, section 130 row 36.  They didn’t appear too bad from the diagram.  The next day we both requested vacation time, then patiently waited for our tickets to arrive.  Last Thursday we packed up both pups and headed to Atlanta after work.  We arrived around 1230am to the northern ‘burbs of Atlanta to my parents home.  Mom and dad are still ‘wintering’ in Florida so we had a pretty sweet 3,500 square foot ‘hotel suite’ (as we referred to it) for the weekend all to ourselves…best of all, the price tag equaled FREE!

The ticket package we purchased included the Friday night Sweet Sixteen games: 715pm Baylor vs. Xavier and 945pm UK vs. Indiana as well as the Elite Eight game on Sunday.   We were able to meet up with two of my best friends and sorority sisters on Friday afternoon to get in a little pre-game action.

To beat the traffic and avoid drinking and driving, we hopped on the MARTA train to the Georgia Dome.  Not surprising at all, the trains were completely filled with UK kin folk, all chanting C-A-T-S, CATS, CATS, CATS!!!

At the 715pm Baylor vs. Xavier game we rooted for the underdog, Xavier.  To no avail Baylor (in their god-awful neon yellow) beat Xavier 75-70, sending the Bears to the Elite Eight hopefully against Kentucky.

At 1015pm, when Kentucky finally took the floor, the entire arena erupted in massive chants for the Cats as well as Indiana.  Unfortunately we were sort of near the Indiana section so the  “Whoah oh oh oh ah” cheering coming from the Hoosiers was more than slightly annoying.

Luckily UK beat the Hoosiers 102 to 90…and on to the Elite Eight we went!!!  We had all day Saturday to cruise around Atlanta in mom’s convertible so we stopped by our favorite pizza joint (as seen on Man vs. Food) Big Pie in the Sky.  Click on this link for a short clip of Adam Richmond and the Carnivore Challenge from the Travel Channel:  Big Pie in the Sky

And a longer clip from the episode:

On Sunday morning, we packed up the pups and headed to my friend Beth’s house again to pre-game before the Elite Eight.  Her 130 pound Great Dane, Otis quickly became great friends with my two 20 pound Frenchie-Pug mixes.

Otis seriously thinks he is 30lbs, not 130lbs.  He is the most adorable over-sized lapdog I have ever met.  Otis is so tall that comes up to Ryan’s hip.   He and Ryan became quick friends, hugs and kisses and all.

Our goal on Sunday was to spend a little extra time taking in the Big Blue Nation atmosphere in downtown Catlanta.  We hit up Centennial Park where a bunch of Lexington vendors had tents set up, selling all kinds of UK paraphernalia.

At The Dome, a sea of blue was all you could see looking both right and left.  It was awesome.  We found an empty wall to sit on and sipped some adult pre-game beverages.

The Cats went on to whoop some Baylor butt: 82 to 70.  It was a intense and cheerful game to watch!  We had such a great time seeing our Cats make their way to the Final Four!

It is tradition at the University of Kentucky to put the Wildcat at the top of the cheerleaders’ pyramid in the last timeout of the game.  They turn a 360 degree circle while the pep band plays and the crowd screams at the top of their lungs.

To get the full effect you have to watch this video.  This is from a home game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY.

Needless to say, we had a awesome, once in a lifetime experience in Catlanta for the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight.   I will totally admit it was well worth the money!

What about you, were you cheering on my Cats this past weekend?!  Did you spend way too much time on SportsCenter like we did?  Root for the Cats this Saturday when we play our arch rival Louisville!!!