December 10, 2012

Hello? Anybody Home?

Yep! We're back! With exciting news, house updates, and more!

Yes, it's been a long, long time since I've posted anything on this blog. So, to my loyal readers (if there are any left), thank you for your patience!

While a break in blogging became a sudden necessity at the end of June due to an unusually busy summer/fall and several life-changing events that occurred, I am hoping to be back in the swing of things just in time for...


Yes, this is it. The official announcement of announcements. A little late in the game, perhaps, but better than nothing at all. I found out I was pregnant on June 19th and had a 7 week ultrasound to confirm it on July 3rd. We shared with family shortly after that.

If I felt like giving a full history now, I could go into the fertility treatments, miscarriage, and surprises that led up to this pregnancy. But I think I'll save that for another time if it deems appropriate.

For now, I'll say that we are so excited and blessed to have a healthy, growing baby boy who is due on February 23rd, 2013.

Speaking of baby boy, here he is at 20 weeks - with a cute, button nose, feisty personality (according to the ultrasound technician), and all the right *ahem* parts...

Immediately following the ultrasound that determined it was a boy, Joey and I immediately went to Target and bought some boy gifts. I purchased a few newborn outfits, and Joey got the baby his first superhero movie (that he won't be watching for a while).

Amidst the chaos of pregnancy, we are nursery-planning, bathroom-remodeling, and living up the holiday season. I've already had a baby shower. I've been on 2 trips to visit family in Maine (one for my grandmother's funeral) in the last few months. I just don't know when we've ever been busier.

BUT I will try to keep you updated with our ongoing changes in life and home as best possible.

Look forward to a few posts coming up on random topics like holiday decorating, nursery planning, and baby bumps. In no particular order...

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June 21, 2012

(P)inspiration Time!

It's time for a PINTEREST update! Oh yeah. Don't think I haven't been pinning away during these hot summer days. I don't think the world wide web is going to run out of pinable items any time soon!

Psst - don't you love that you can add anything after the prefix "pin" and make it into a new cool word related to pinterest? Great, right?!

So, here are some of my latest diggs...

1. Bathroom Inspiration: I've pinned a TON Of bathrooms recently. Probably because our full bath is due it's major remodel in the next 6-12 months. So, I'm already schemin' and dreamin' (and rhymin'). I'm loving white, bright, and lots of pretty subway tile.

2. Living Room Inspiration: Sooo many living rooms I LOVE! From wrap-around bookcases to stone fireplaces and awesome pendant light fixtures to beautiful board and batten walls and wood-planked ceilings, these living rooms have so many elements I love! The last pic is my favorite though.

3. Organization Nation: I love the idea of creating a little cabinet on the side of the fridge to hang a mop or hold some cleaning supplies. It wouldn't have to be very deep to store a lot of stuff.

Have extra wall space in the closet? Install wall-mounting brackets and set baskets on them for storing socks, scarves, purses, or other belongings.

And here is a cleaning schedule I would follow if I didn't have to go to work all day. As of now, I cram most of this into the weekend. Boo.

4. Tips and Tricks: I'll share the one tip I tried recently - Miracle Laundry Whitening Solution

Here is what the article calls for: Hot Water, 1 cup Laundry Detergent, 1 cup POWDERED dishwasher detergent, 1 cup bleach, and 1/2 cup borax.

It recomends filling the laundry tub so that the water is just covering the items and let it soak for a while (like a couple hours or overnite for bad stains). Then run the wash as usual.

Here's what I did...
  1. I used all the ingredients except the borax (cuz I have no clue what that is and I was too lazy to go to the store and find it).
  2. I poured the ingredients into the washing machine first
  3. Then I filled the machine with hot water about 1/2 way - then insterted the laundry - then filled it the rest of the way. I had a big load. So, I needed a lot of hot water.
  4. I then let the tub churn around a couple times - just to mix everything together and get it a little sudsy.
  5. Then I stopped it and let the items soak for about 30 minutes.
  6. Then I ran the load as usual.
I did this for my white King-sized sheets and pillowcases which I've had for 8 years and are now a slightly grayish/off-white color. It worked wonders! Nice and white again!

I need to try this on our not-so-white socks, undershirts, towels, and washcloths.

Not sure how well this will work on badly stained items. And not sure how much the missing borax ingredient would make a difference. But it's worth a try!

So, there you have my favorite recently pinned items. Now it's your turn to pin away!

Pins in order: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10

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June 5, 2012

Tool Time: Chip It! by Sherwin Williams

Ever need help picking out the right paint color? Ever see a great inspiration photo and wonder what paint colors were used in that room?

I'm sure most of you can answer "yes" and "yes" to both of those questions. Well, in case you haven't already heard, Sherwin Williams created a website designed to help pick out paint colors for you! Genius!

The website is will let you turn any picture online into a color palette.

There is an instruction video (which I did not watch), and you can see there is a tool you can drag to your tool bar (or right click and add to your "Favorites" if you use Internet Explorer) and it will place a little "Chip It!" tool onto your internet bar (much like the "Pin It" button for Pinterest).

Once you have the Chip It! icon on your toolbar, pull up a favorite picture on the internet... I used one I saved Pinterest... and with the picture pulled up, click the "Chip It!" button on your toolbar. Your page will then look like this...

Once you hover your mouse over the picture you want to use, a little Chip It! button will appear for you to click...

And once you click it, a pop up box will appear with coordinating paint colors from Sherwin Williams...

Ta Da! Shop away for your paint!

Here is another Navy room that I love...

...but it is a slightly different navy than the first room...

Chip It! suggests the color "Dark Night" for this second room, and when comparing it with the "Bunglehouse Blue" in the first room, I think Dark Night seems more like a true Navy color. It's a bit deeper with less gray undertones to it.

It's nice that you can compare similar colors with this tool! The website will also let you create an account and save your color palettes online.

And of course, you don't have purchase your paint at Sherwin Williams. You can grab their paint chips and take them to any other store to color-match for you. We do this at Menards most of the time.

So what do you think? Helpful? Fun? Try if for yourself!

Note: All opinions are 100% mine. I was not paid to advertise/comment on this website tool.

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June 4, 2012

The Fence: Panels + Lattice = Completion

Happy Monday to you all! I hope you had a lovely Memorial Day weeked (last weekend) and a lovely 4-day work week after that. I know we were super busy, but had a lot of fun and relaxation time.

Over the course of that long weekend, Joey did complete work on our fence! Only a few details remain - which I will get to - but I figured you might want to see what the end results look like. So, here are a hundred pictures to capture the changes!

I left off with the individual planks being screwed into the horizontal boards to create what looks like a panel from the inside of the fence...

Joey notched out the end post to get the fence tight with the side of the house. Very precise. We don't want puppies or kitties or anything else slipping through the cracks!

Joey worked his way down the fence very methodically. It was a pretty speedy process putting the cut-to-length boards up.

Next to go on was the gate on the west side of the house.

Joey built the gates to blend right in with the fence. Only the bottom is cut differently so that there is room for the gate to swing open.

In the picture below, you can see the horizontal board that goes across the panels on the back of the gate - for added security. We don't want boards falling off!

At this stage, I was starting to get really excited, but at the same time I was a little nervous the fence might not be tall enough. We were aiming for the privacy panels to go up 4 feet and the lattice on top to add an additional foot for total of 5 feet in height. But with the way our yard slopes a little and how high the house sits above the ground, I worried there might not be enough privacy. But Joey assured me it'd fine. So, I waited.

Next up? Boards that run across the top of the panels to cap off the planks of wood. It gives the fence a very finished look.

Then Joey routed grooves in this cap board and the posts so that the lattice would sit inside the boards slightly.

Finally it was time for the lattice to be cut and installed. Joey used a pair of saw horses to steady the lattice. Then a chalk line to measure the height needed. Then he used a circular saw to cut the lattice as needed...

The lattice fit right into the grooves he created. PERFECT!

I missed some photos of this whole phase in the process, but basically he put the lattice in all the way around the fence and then put one final piece of wood on top of the lattice to cap it all off. This piece of wood also had a little groove in it to fit the lattice into it...

Note: Ignore the splintered wood. It will get sanded before painting happens (way down the road).

And here is the finished product! It's amazing to me what a difference it makes to our newly-defined back yard space. I keep saying that over and over because it's so true. The height even ended up being perfect. Not too private - we want to be able to stand up and look over the fence if need, plus not block off too much of the house from the street view - but private enough so that we can sit around our new little fire pit (seen below) or have kids running around the yard and people driving/walking by won't see it all.

Notice that Joey even got the screws in each board to line up perfectly! I love a detail-oriented, perfectionistic (is that a word???) husband. :)

We kept the fence 12 inches off the sidewalk and driveway for extra breathing space. Glad we did that. I can park and exit the car with no troubles. You can see below that we did bring the gate out to meet the driveway. So, there's a little bump-out there. That was necessary for the gate to line up with the garage.

I love that we decided to include the side entrance of the house into the fenced in yard. Not only does it make the back yard space seem bigger, but it's super convenient for letting the dog in and out of the house.

It also makes the "front door" of the house less confusing. With 3 entrances (the front, side, and back porch), people didn't know where to go. Now the true "front" of the house will be more obvious since the side and back entrances are enclosed.

Pretty nifty for being done all within a couple weeks? I just love the look! Once we get some plants/bushes/flowers planted in the new mulch beds we created last summer, it will look even better.

Now, there are two parts of this fence project that are not completed. One being the latches for both gates. We're not exactly sure how that's going to come together. For now, Joey screwed up little blocks of wood to turn and keep the gates from swinging open. I'll show you final results on that once we have a solution.

The second part yet to complete is the painting of the fence. Green-treated wood has to sit and "dry out" for about 6+ MONTHS. So, we're looking at next summer to paint the fence white. That should work out well though given we also want to replace the siding on the garage and back porch next summer.

In the meantime, we'll enjoy the fence as is! We've already used the yard 100% more than we did before the fence went up. Memorial weekend was great with parties and s'mores over the new fire pit.

Note to viewers: Put something that can tolerate heat UNDER your fire pit so it doesn't burn your grass. Whoops!

Now tell me your thoughts! What do you think of the fence? Anything you would do differently? We're smitten.

Pssst... If you want to see prior blog posts on the fence, click here, here, and here.

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May 22, 2012

The Fence: (Stop) Oh yes, Wait a Minute Mr. Post-man!

If you’re familiar with The Carpenters (not my husband, but the musical artists), you’ll have that song in your head the rest of the day. Anyhoo…

I’m back with an update on the fence project. Let me tell ya, it’s come a long way very quickly.

I left you hanging with the fence post holes dug and the posts getting set up in said holes. Here’s the layout of the holes/posts/soon-to-be-fence….

Being on a small corner lot, it wraps around the back and side yard to create one “area”. It makes a huge difference in the feel of the space, but more on that later.

Following the hole-digging, the guys took the bags of concrete we purchased and mixed the concrete with water in a wheelbarrow to create cement and that was subsequently poured around the base of the posts. Joey filled up each hole about 3/4 of the way. That equaled about 3 feet of cement. These posts ain’t goin’ nowhere!

Joey used a level to make sure the post was straight up and down – not leaning left to right or front to back. Then he used 2 scrap pieces of wood – lightly nailed to the post – to ensure it stayed upright…

Then he was able to string 2 pieces of pink string across all the posts and use that to help make sure they were all level with one another. It seemed to work pretty well.

The guys worked their way down the line, post by post – securing each post with wood sticks as they went…

They even kept their smiles up while mixing and pouring all those bags of concrete.

The entire process – digging the holes and setting the posts – took about 5 hours. The concrete started to cure right away, but we let the posts sit for 2 days to ensure they were secure.

So, fast-forward to 2 days later… Joey removed all the scrap wood attached to the posts, and then began the next steps – filling the remaining quarter of all the post holes with dirt (and collecting leftover dirt in a pile to haul away) and then attaching the horizontal boards along the posts. This cleaned things up quite a bit.

Joey actually started by cutting the top of the posts so that they were all the same height. Then he measured from the top of the posts down to determine where the boards should go. We wanted to be sure they were level across all the posts. The top board is about 4 feet above the ground – which is how high we want the paneled part of the fence to go. The bottom board is about 6 inches from the ground.

Small brackets were screwed into the posts at the exact heights and then the horizontal boards were screwed into the brackets.

With these boards in place, the fence panels began to fly up! Each panel screwed into the upper and lower horizontal boards to create and mostly private fence up to 4 feet…

I’m gonna stop here. More pics to come with all the panels in place, hand-made gates hung at the entrances, and what’s next!

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