Disclaimer: we aren't professionals

Thanks for reading our silly little blog! As the disclaimer says, we aren't professionals in either blogging or house stuff, but we try. This is mostly to let our friends and family know what we've destroyed so far in the house. We post irregularly and usually forget to take pictures, so thanks for your patience, and please feel free to comment with your thoughts and suggestions!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pictures of very poor quality

In my hunt for pictures, which was limited to my desktop at work, my external hard drive, and my cell phone (I don't have the cord to connect my camera to my computer), I found these. They are all from my cell phone, so I apologize for the quality and randomness of them.

In honor of Towel Day, May 25, I baked a rhubarb pie that reads "Don't Panic!" and has a towel next to it. Yes, I am a dork. But I am a dork that can make pie crust from scratch!  

One of the Ikea options for a buffet-like storage system for the kitchen. It's probably not going to work out.

This is a print I saw in Target that I think is cute and that I could totally reproduce myself (using the fancy GT library printers) without paying $20. 

I finally finished the cover for my Roomba, whose name is Goomba. Here he is in action at work:

The backyard! I loooooooove the hammock that Chris' dad got me for my birthday last year. We grill, we play with the puppy, and in the background you can see where Chris burns stuff (like trees that he cuts down - I have a video somewhere of the chainsaw in action) and you can also see his teeter for mountain biking and dog trick training.

At the Dogwood Festival, I got four little dogwood saplings for $10. It supports the Friends of Piedmont Park, and we need trees anyway. One has died, but one has lots of fresh little leaves, and the other two are still green and growing leaf buds. I hope they'll survive! They're all in their own planters, too, until we can put them in the ground. 

Hula is a typical cat. "Clean laundry? Now it's hairy laundry. You're welcome."

I took this after the guys did the first coat of stain. Omigosh it's so pretty! 

Here's after the first coat of poly. We'll have to get some pics of it now. It's not quite as shiny (because this was taken when it was wet, and they actually used a satin finish topcoat instead of gloss because the floors in the rest of the house do not have a gloss finish)

Again, I apologize for the quality of the pictures, and I promise that we'll round up some more this weekend. 

Sort of update, haha; wood floor refinishing, etc.

Hello hello!

We really are terrible at this blogging thing.

Chris has been spending most of his time working on the HVAC still, but I think he's working on the last return duct today. On Wednesday he turned on the AC despite the incomplete ductwork and it was aaaaaawesome. As in we both went "ahhhhhhhhh" and really really appreciated the cool air coming from the vent in the living room. It's so close to being done! I'll let him post pictures and a summary if he wants when he's done.

One big thing I guess we haven't updated all 2 of our readers on is that we got the floor in the corner bedroom (future office) refinished. This is the room that had the rot originally, and we (Chris and his dad, really) replaced the floor joists, wall studs, parts of the hardwood floor, and then put up drywall again. The wall has been ready to go for a while, but the floor was sanded a bit and then we hadn't gotten around to renting a heavy sander and doing the whole room and staining the whole room and trying to get an even coat of poly on the whole room.

It was time to call in the professionals! I called at least 4 people, ended up getting 3 quotes, and although we didn't go with the cheapest, we definitely went with the best. I was really impressed with the original guy, who called me within 5 minutes of my 2nd quote request via ServiceMagic (a contractor-finding tool, free and pretty handy, with reviews). The 1st quote request yielded 3 contractors, 1 of which didn't do small jobs, 1 which kept flaking on coming out to give an estimate, and 1 who said "tell me what the other guys say first" and wouldn't give me an original quote. The 2nd quote request yielded the people we ended up using (S & S Flooring), another guy who just came in, gave a price, and didn't elaborate at all on details, and one guy who didn't contact me until after both other guys had called me, given me a quote, and I'd agreed to go with S&S. If you want pricing, let me know, but in this case the cheapest was definitely not necessarily the best.

Anyway the guys were really professional, and we had the job done two weeks ago (May 12-13). They worked half a day on Thursday (sanding, staining, 1st coat of poly), and came out Friday to finish the other coats of poly. Then Chris and I conveniently left for my brother's graduation, and came back to a perfect floor. They did the whole room, all the way up to the drywall (I'd removed the baseboards), and it looks great! Now we just need to paint, and we can make it an office! I think I'm going to try and get that done this weekend. That is my goal.

I'm rambling a whole lot, but here's what else has been happening:

  • We found carpenter bees eating our pretty mailbox post. Chris killed them with brake cleaner and I'm building a carpenter bee trap. See this hilarious video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7g2TRanAkSA (I love Southerners. These folks are from Alabama)
  • Haha actually I just found a video with an easier way, so maybe I'll just do this. I've hit a "bottleneck" (womp womp womp) in the construction process with what bottle fits the hole in the bottom... anyway here's another carpenter bee trap http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD5ExhmaZA8
  • I decided to make Jezza an elevated feeding box, where we'll put some stainless steel bowls in there and she can eat up higher and Hula won't have to stick her whole head in a deep pail in order to get water (to clarify, Jezza's water is in a pail right now, and my cat Hula drinks from the pail, but she's little so if the water level is low she sticks her entire face, ears allllll the way back, in the pail). 
  • We got a slidey thingy for under the coffee maker. Now that the tile backsplash is done (still needs to be sealed, though), the coffeemaker and toaster live on the counter in the corner. Chris has had to pull the coffeemaker all the way out every morning, and then it just stays there, and that's no good, so we got a fabulous AS SEEN ON TV product called the Handy Caddy from Amazon. It works well for him so far, I think. 
  • We made a compost pile from green plastic fencing, and shoveled part of the leaf pile from last fall into it. That stuff has been decomposing already all winter. If it was cold out while we were throwing the frisbee, Jezza liked to lay on the pile because it was warm. Someday we'll have a garden and we'll be glad we have the compost pile. It's movable, too; all you do is pull up the plastic circle (about 3.5 feet diameter), move it somewhere else, and shovel everything back into it, except now the leaves and stuff are all mixed up. 
  • We did try to grow tomatoes and peppers from seeds. I started a bunch inside in March, but they were only 4 inches tall or so and they all died when we put them in the planter box. I had hardened them off on Elise's porch for a month or so, but squirrels kept digging them up. So, we had the tomato cages in place already, and Chris wrapped some leftover green plastic fencing around the cages to protect them. Still, we were down to two feeble little plants, so we were like "well let's see if we can buy some at Home Depot". So we found out that 4-packs of 8" tall seedlings were only $1.68. I say, forget ever trying to grow from seed again! It's so not worth it! It's not like we're trying to grow organic or anything, so I will make the extra $0.68 investment beyond a $1 pack of seeds and get happy young plants. We got 4 tomatoes and 4 jalapenos, and planted them in the planter box (with fencing protection) and hope they will grow big and strong in time for a harvest this summer! 
I think that's it for now. Sorry this is so long. I'm going to fish around for some pictures that I can share to show you. I'll check with Chris this weekend to see if he has any, and if not, we'll take some. Happy Memorial Day weekend! 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

This weekend: potting bench & pegboard organization!

This week, my Kreg Jig came in the mail. It makes pocket holes soooo easy! So before I use it to make the console table for behind the sofa, I wanted to learn how to use it properly. Also, there was a potting bench plan on Ana White's website, and it used pocket holes to attach the shelf boards to the supports. Here's the plan:

I used treated wood, and bought some 2" and 2.5" coated deck screws (and then Chris bought a 5-lb box of deck screws later, womp womp). The wood was probably $30 (plus interior primer for the office at $15, and another $15 for the screws makes the total bill about right).
I cut all of the pieces, but alas, Chris had taken his impact driver and both batteries to Blankets Creek to help with a trail there, and I was drill-less. I did have my Black and Decker drill, but its battery was dead, and even after charging it, the highest torque setting was barely enough to drill a hole successfully.

Anyway, that's when I started organizing the tool shed part of the garage. It had gotten a little messy, and I felt we needed to clear the table top and cabinets and start over. I also wanted to build some shelves into the exposed studs to store paint cans, so I made the measurements and started cutting for that.

Chris finally returned, bringing his batteries, and work on the potting bench eventually resumed. Chris helped me finish it, and it is very sturdy! I'll eventually put it out by the rain barrel out back. That's the side of the house where we'll eventually put a vegetable garden, so I think it will be very convenient.

Anyway, I didn't take any pictures of stuff in progress; only after it was dark outside and we'd closed the garage door did I remember. So I'll just add them here without further ado. And if anyone reading this ever comes over to the house, you will know exactly where to find whatever pliers, saw, caulk, tape, or other tool that you need.

Paint shelves, immediately opposite the door to the storage room. All made using scrap 2x4s taken from the studs of the house.

Our old kitchen cabinets, freshly reorganized! Also the great shelves that Chris built to hold all of his cased tools. They're all labeled too. Mmmm labels.

Reorganized paint and drywall shelves, with other salvaged shelves for spraypaint and paint samples.

Mmmm perfectly organized tools. This totally indulged my latent OCD tendencies.

All of our handy, most frequently used tools in one convenient place! 

Safety and saws. Never misplace your safety glasses, respirators, earmuffs, or Sawzall again!