Friday, March 28, 2014

Sponsor A Child!

I had a post ready today about construction debris and a broken furnace (fear not, it's now fixed!), but something has come to my attention that trumps that post. Some of you may have seen in the news of World Vision's employee policy change a few days ago. I'm not here to start a political debate or push my beliefs on anyone, but something about it made me angry.

So the gist of what happened:
A christian organization said it would hire same-sex people (celibacy policy still stands)
2,000 children lost their sponsorship because people were angry
The organization retracted, children are still left unsponsored.

The news is blowing up about it here and here if you'd like more information on it.

SO many children, who had aid, are now left without because people forgot the reason they were sponsoring. It's not to prevent gay's from working or aiding in the advancement of our society (all great things!), it's to help those in need. There is a relationship that gets built overtime between the children and their sponsors. Letters written, photos sent - some people even travel to meet their sponsee (a word?!) in person. How does someone explain to these children that their sponsor is no longer based on an employee policy change? And I get it, it's a Christian organization who ultimately need to abide by such ruling. But is a True Christian someone who would leave a child without help?


Little Lilian!



Anyways, if you have ever thought about sponsoring a child, the need now is more than ever.I've sponsored a child through this organization for a few months now, Lilian, who lives in Guatemala - she will continue to be sponsored.  (I had a goal last year to help someone who could never repay me, and I will continue to do that until Lilian turns 18!) Click below to join me :)







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Friday, March 21, 2014

FUN FACT!

SO, during my inspection my inspector (If I ever (never) become an inspector, totes dressing up like inspector gaget #themepartiesforlife) was all "there are power lines resting on your roof" and I was all "maybe they are tired?"

Turns out, once the snow melted they were still hangin' low. So, having NO idea what to do, I e-mailed Xcel totes thinking they'd be all "ummm you have to pay an electrician with your first born child and 800 gems" or something equally reasonable. 


MUCH TO MY SURPRISE!! Xcel was like "yo girl I gotchu, unless a catastrophe happens we will be there soon okay lylas!" And as I came home from work I saw this nice young man on my roof manhandling my power lines and raising them up to a less concerning height! #winning ...excuse the rouge directTV dish laying in my yard. Trying to keep things classy around here?


In other news....trucks are funny.


And St. Patty's day was a hit! Three claps for these dudes for waking up early for the Get Lucky Run!


Have a nice weekend!



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Cherry on Top

This past weekend we finally hooked up the sink in the bathroom and set up furniture all house-like. It feels amazing. I know the renovations in the house weren't super drastic and I was still with full amenities for the length of it - it's still a bit draining coming home to a construction site each night, living like you are on a camp site at times. I chalk it up to giving me better survival methods in case of an apocalypse! Anyways, now comes the fun part in buying a house - the finishing touches! Although this step will likely take aboutttt a year, with a jillion DIY crafts along the way, it excites me. 

So the upstairs, let's talk those little built-in's on the side. Started out as blue drawers with some blue laminate tops...not tooooo shabby - note the previous owners paint job on the side...got some yellow over flow?! Perhaps they didn't have blue tape back then?



So, we painted these babies (2 coats of primer rolled on, followed by 2 coats of simply white paint) to match the trim.


Side note: I really like built-in's. Although it limits the layout of a bedroom, in this case it works perfect. With the pitch of the roof on either sides, long dressers will not only clutter the space, but be tight to the knee wall. There is about 1' of dresser hidden in the attic with these suckers. 


Right after finishing all the major constructiony things upstairs, I was ready to install some final touches. Most are borig non-mentionables, but the tops of these suckers needed to be addressed. As they were, the counter space was 7", which was a little awkward. So, in an effort to beef them up, and hide some of the gluey particle board that resulted in the great de-laminating of 2014, I put a cherry plank on top.






A few coats of poly to seal it up and highlight some of those pretty knots, this baby is donzo!



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Concrete Countertops - DO IT YOURSELF!

Pretty sick of hearing about the upstairs renovation? I'm pretty sick/done working on it (slow claps for jenn). So in an effort to finish a few more projects, let's get back to the bathroom! SO! Let's recap...we took out the carpet/vanity, demo'd the concrete base, put down the underlayment, and set the tile. Then we re-installed the toilet and stopped. I wish in this past month I could have cloned myself (and my parents/boy who have helped along the way!). One person to work on the 2nd floor renovation, and the other to finish up the bathroom. Instead, I lived with a half-functioning bathroom (better than no bathroom!!). So, post 2ndfloorisfinished happy dance, I got my bathroom game face on. The vanity was re-installed (thanks dad!) and the counters were inching closer to being finished...so let's talk about that huh?

Sometimes being frugal has it's upside, a happy little surprise which also saved you loads of money. I love those times. In the case of my bathroom counters, I think i've succeed with the frugal happy little surprise. If you recall, the quotes on getting new counters came back wayyy above my countertop budget (5$...jk, but close to that). The reason was the shape of my counter. Most counter cutting machines can only do straight cuts. I had 2 angles at $150 a cut, plus the cost of the material. Down the road, this might be a good idea. But for now I wanted to try a little sumptin sumptin to rid me of that expense. Perhaps this is a phase one of the countertop and phase 2 are new counters. Maybe this will be phase 2, i'll keep ya posted, k?

K, so i'll give a brief tutorial on this technique, but here's where I got the idea/inspiration/tutorials: Little Green Notebook and Kara Paslay Designs. Props to them.

Materials needed:
Ardex Feather Finish (will need to order online)
Trowels of various sizes
Bucket
Towels

The first step was to remove the countertop and rough up the top a bit. I thought for a moment to remove the laminate top for an extra rough surface, but I didn't want to compromise the thickness of the counter as I was re-installing it in place. I used a 60 grit sandpaper, a few knives (sometimes, you need to get creative) and sharp trowels to get scratches all over the laminate.




I spent about an hour roughing it up, the concrete will stick fine to a smooth surface, but making sure there is something to grip is added insurance. Once that's done, mix up some of the Ardex in a bucket..follow the directions on the bag.




 I used a few difference sizes in trowels and spread it all over. The first coat won't cover the counters completely. After an hour of the concrete setting I went back in with a sander to smooth it out a bit, then I let it sit over night and fully dry.

The next day I went in with a 60 grit sander to smooth it out even more. I repeated this process 6 times...coat, sand, dry, sand, repeat. After my 2nd to last coat I used a hand sander and 100 grit sandpaper to buff/smooth everything out. The final coat was a very LIGHT coat, and I used a rubber float (If I do this again, i'll just use a rubber float the whole time. Much easier to work with) so that the lines weren't as harsh as with the metal trowel. Once that dried I sanded with 120 grit and let it sit for a few days to cure.

Here is what it looked like with the metal trowel. In the beginning I didn't care what direction I spread the concrete, just that it covered the area. This technique gives it a bit more textured look. By the final few coats I started to trowel on straighter lines to give it a cleaner look.







 Once I was happy with the look, and the entire counter was covered, I got out the sealer. NOTE: if this stuff freezes it becomes useless as the chemicals separate! Damn you Minnesota Winter!! I ordered the Cheng sealer, wax and cleaner. Sealing the counters is pretty easy, but very messy.

There are a few youtube videos on how to apply this stuff that I watched prior, the instructions don't give you as much details and you will need.

Step 1: saturate the counters with cold water. Throughout this whole process, don't let water pool anywhere, it can make weird marks.

Step 2: Mix 1/2 water to 1/2 sealer in a bucket and set a timer for 5 minutes. splash around the mixture for about a minute, after that continue to add more sealer to the water mixture. At 5 minutes you should be using only sealer. Coat the counters thoroughly. After the 5 minutes is up, lightly wipe the liquid from the counters, you want to keep a little sealer on there so don't scrub it dry.

Step 3: Come back in 30 minutes and repeat.

Step 4: This isn't mentioned anywhere to do, but it worked for me. I repeated step 2/3 twice. After that I just coated the counters a few times with the sealer and a rag (not letting it sit, just a light coat). This gave it a little extra protection.



The sealer defiantly darkened the counters a bit, but they made them nice and shiny.  


I let the sealer sit for a few days then scrubbed on the wax. The sealer makes sure water doesn't penetrate the concrete (concrete is a porous material and will make bad water marks!) and the wax protects the sealer from scratches - something I wasn't overly concerned about but whatevs. I also bought the cleaner for some added juju with the counters. 

Let's look back quick where we came from, the not horrible but not awesome blue laminate gems below. Oh, and obvi that faucet had to go.




Woo! Now I just need to magically gain plumbing knowledge and get water in that faucet! It's 2014, why can't we upload information to our brains like in the Matrix yet?!



Friday, March 7, 2014

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls...unless you are installing carpet...

FUN FACT about the TLC HIT song Waterfalls: Cee-Lo Green sang backup - crazy huh.

Anyways, why are we talking about Waterfalls? WELL, did you know that there are TWO ways to carpet a staircase? K, maybe if you've never carpeted before you fall into this bracket. But I had NO idea I would have to make decisions when Carlos and his crew were here installing carpet (if you know me, decisions can sometimes paralyze me, which they did here). He helped me weigh the pros and cons of each and I googled a million images and I THINK I made the right decision.

So, there is the Waterfall and the Hollywood:

Source
Initially I wanted the Hollywood, not sure what drew me to that but it seemed right. Then Carlos pointed out that some of my treads overhang more/less than others, and the landing doesn't hang over at all. So the first few steps will look a little wonky. After some quick research on google images, I agreed that the Waterfall was the way to go.


The carpet install took 6 men 2 hours to complete. It sounded like they were demoing the walls up there so I was a little nerv as they went along, but super happy how it turned out. I chose Morocco Sand which is a neutral tan with a little variation in it, in a low pile.


Wanna see some before and afters of this beast?!






Before and afters are just so great. So fresh and so clean clean.

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Carpet Prep and Huffing VOC's

Let's roll back for a hot second and remember where we started, just to feel extra accomplished today...



The furniture was removed/sold, the carpet was removed, insulation was added, and we prepped for some paint. The next step was to fix a few things that would be hidden with the carpet and needed to be addressed now - missing/broken floor boards, squeeky floors/stair treads, and this...a railing. 


First of all, let's see past that it's actually an outdoor railing. It's what I inherited so i'll love it just the same. The guy who inspected my house noted that it would need a fix/change since it was so wobbly. Railings, to meet code, need to withhold around 250lbs. The end that isn't attached to a wall can be bent a good 6" from side to side, which isn't so safe. After exhausting a few alternatives (Build a new railing! Buy a custom one!) my options were few and expensive since typical lengths are 6' and 8'. Guess how long mine is?! 7. SO, option C, have your father lug over 3 tons of welding equipment to attach a sturdier plate to the bottom! #victory ah, he's such a trooper. 


While he was working on that, we (mom, boy and I) cranked out this:







SO much brighter/cleaner/beautiful, dontchathink?!

Now I just need some carpet/painted doors and this room will be deemed DONE.