Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A break in the rain

All week I was looking forward to Saturday. Finally, a break in the rain and temperatures decent enough to spend some time outside. Hoping for sun, I settled on an overcast day to start, what i'm sure will be a never ending death march, some landscaping. When I bought the house, I wasn't able to see what hid under 2 feet of snow. Hoping for the best, I waited months until finally a ray of grass was peaking through the tundra. Overall, the yard is in decent shape. Concrete pathways aren't damaged enough to justify re-pouring them, block walls look to be from within this century and are holding up well, and aside from some over-growth the bushes look like they will fill out just fine.

But once I took off my rose colored glasses, I saw the project list growing. Thankfully, we tackled a few on the list this weekend. Here's what's on the docket:

-Remove random rock pile (they removed a tree here, but left the rocks?) and lay grass
-Trim back bushes
-de-leaf the yard
-Remove window awning over garage and house
-Paint railing and flower holder-thing
-Remove/replace edging on rocked areas
-Remove clothes line
-Build a fire pit

Of course, with every project ever there are issues that arise crushing your dreams of accomplishing it all. We started with the awnings, because i've wanted the ones off over the dining room windows since like day 1. These windows face south and I want ALL THE LIGHT in the house. UNFORTUNATELY it seems we need the strength of the HULK to de-screw this thing. I didn't want to take a hammer to it as i'd like to avoid replacing the siding.


The awning over the garage window came down much easier, thankfully.




Next up was a weird rock pile in the middle of the yard. We dug up the rocks and relocated them, then spread some seed in the area. I suppose the upside to all the rain this week is I won't have to water it?


Little moments of overgrown bushes line my house. I can see that a few rabbits have taken over the area since the house has been vacant. I cleared out the area and trimmed them down... here's hopin' they are pretty once they grow out!


Last on my to-do list for the day was to tackle a rusted railing on the side door to my house.


 The first thing in any paint job is to make sure the surface is clean. When metal rusts, it chips. So I used a metal wire brush to scrap off all the chips.


I have painted a few railings in my day and the worst thing that could happen is that some of the paint drips onto the concrete steps - which is basically impossible to un-do. So I taped all the edges and used a make-shift drop cloth of a paper bag.


Then I just used a little brush to coat the whole thing.



Working outside is a nice little change of pace from all the indoor projects this winter. But ALAS! The rain will be keeping me indoors once again. I guess it's time to finally put the trim on in the bathroom....








Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My favorite place on EARTH

Happy Earth day everyone! go plant a tree or clean up your yard or something, give this beautiful place we call earth some lurveee! 

For the past decade, when spring break rolls around and the schedules in my family align, we head south to our home away from home. This place feels so familiar to us, we know all the best places to go (the beach) and the best food to eat (grouper). We have found little gems in the strangest of places (trailer parks!) and never fail to have fun. It's pretty hard to have a bad day when you spend the morning at the beach searching for unique sea shells, the afternoon on a deck drinking beers and playing Catan (new obsession!), and the evening getting fancy and eating dinner by the water.



This year was a much needed break after the polar vortex that was Minnesota all winter. We left after 6" of snow pelted the grounds - how our flight wasn't delayed is beyyyondd me. ::fist bumps to MSP:: We spent the week in our typical routine of events but switched it up one afternoon and went GOLFING when the winds prevented us from going on a little pooonntooon ride (I've always wanted to check out Cape Romano - hopefully next time!). 





Oh and a few things we learned whilst on this trip (always a lesson!). 1 - BANANA BOAT SUN SCREEN IS HORRIBLE. My goal on the trip was to not become lobster status - imagine my horror when I failed ON DAY ONE. Prior to hittin the beach (i'm sorry, but I live in a frozen tundra all winter, I need to be in the sun and not under and umbrella, mmkay?) I put on SPF 30 all ovah my body, all thick-like. Then I put on my coverup and walked down to the beach. Fast forward 8 hours and a few more applications later and I am FRIED. But only in certain areas (the oulines of my swimsuit and my coverup). WHAT HAPPENED? Basically, after rubbing in my lotion, it then RUBBED OFF and onto my swimsuit and coverup (which don't need it as much as me). So basically don't use that product...mmkay?!







2 - You can have an allergic reaction to the ocean! So, I kinda already knew this because of a Red Tide epidemic a few years prior. But this wasn't the case this year...Day 1 (again, day 1!) my sisters and I took a little dipski in the ocean. The next morning? 'Lil sis had a swollen forehead. YUP, you read that right. Although hilarious, this little woman ALWAYS gets sick on vacation. So when she prevented an oncoming cold by downing vitamins, she was still struck! All was better a few days later but JUST her luck. 

Anyways, less chat, more pictures? Here you go! Oh, and obvi we had some jumping pics and some yoga poses - it's what we do, yo.

















Shout out to my parents who planned this beautiful week together, love you both!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Increasing the FUNction.

This house came with AMPLE storage. Like every wall in the basement is covered with cabinets, storage. Today's focus is in the kitchen, because I spilled rice. I have found that the order of renovations in this house has a lot to do with what annoys me the most at that particular moment. So, a few weeks ago, I went to make some rice, casually. Upon returning said bag into the back of the cabinet it bent in the most perfect way to only spill it's entire contents all over the cabinet/counter. ::sad face::



The cabinet above has officially been dedicated to food. It's a huge cabinet (although, not ideal for my 5'4 self), but now that there are three humans living in the house things got cramped, and it all came to a halt when I tragically spilled the bag of rice. Also, there was a spice jar issue that needed to be handled. I bought one of those spinny turntable thinggies for spices, it works well but we had a massive overflow...


Thankfully, in the abundance of cabinets, there lay a not-so useable space. The previous owners used the tall cabinet to the right to store around 20 mops/brooms suited for EVERY surface imaginable. Some of the contraptions I had never seen before - Broom with an awkward vacuum feature? Unfortunately, most of the items were broken/gross/I didn't know the use of it. So I move the two items I do use (broom/swiffer) to the hall closet and decided these needed a few shelves to host some pantry-ish items.


First, I mapped out a few layouts and found that three shelves would work best. I wanted them to be tall to fit some larger items. After taping it out, I realized how deep these cabinets were and I didn't want some items to be lost in the cabinet-abyss, so I decided to recess the first shelf a bit, and lower the bottom shelf a few inches.



I had some leftover wood from the great 2nd floor renovation of 2014, which I used for supports. Make sure to pre-drill holes in wood to prevent splitting! Then drill some long screws into the studs of your wall.




Next, realize that you need a table saw, and use a circular saw to cut the shelves. I just used some pine boards for these. Initially, I was going to leave the shelves as they are in the image below. I'm planning a kitchen makeover in the coming months (years?) where these cabinets will get major-beefed up, so I was going to hold out. But again, when something annoys you (seeing the supports), it moves to the top of your list.


So I used a little molding strip to cover the edge. Nailed it in with my nail gun (new favorite toy), filled the holes and sealed the wood with some poly!


Next on my list was to handle some of the spices. I was going to build one of those tiered towers people use for spices, but realized it kinda wastes space, and then i'd have that weird turn table to figure out something to do with it. SO, I broke up the band of spices and put the plastic ones (because they are lighter) on the door (conveniently, these are also the most used) and the rest will chill on the turn table inside the cab.


First, I walked around home depot with a magnet to find the cheapest piece of metal to use (not aluminum!!). I found it in the HVAC isle, it's a vent cover for around $5 - came in a few different sizes which was niice #cuttingmetalishard.  


Sups easy - just cut a piece of magnet the size of the container, tape it to the back and voila!



I hung the metal with some 3M tape - I used 9 which holds 3lb. each, so it's not going anywhere soon. The magnets stick well, I might have to invest in some more heavy dusy shizz in the future of they fall - but works for now!



This little update has me excited to start a kitchen over haul....perhaps that will be moving up the list :)
Happy Friday!