November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I'm going to take a cue from fellow renovation blogger Kim over at Reluctant Renovator and give you a little Wordless Wednesday post.  Here's how my world looks right now.  Wait, already way too many words.


Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

November 29, 2011

DIY Birch Candles

Now that the winter has hit Minnesota, our crazy back yard beyond the fence line is starting to calm down from this:

to more like this:

So I could get back there to do a little exploring without disappearing in a clump of weeds or poison ivy.  Although I did discover these little netties or thistles, and my dry fit shirt will never forgive me.


Looks like I'm going to have to pick off each one by hand. I haven't decided if it is worth it yet.


My little exploration was totally worth it though when I discovered these little treasures.

What?  Not impressed?  Maybe you don't know what you're looking at. This is a stump and a piece of birch that I found already cut and laying on the ground on my own property.  Oh, that is what you saw?  Well aren't you fancy... not even a stump can impress you.

Where you may see old wet logs, I saw beautiful candles holders like I've recently pinned on Pinterest from here.


So I started by cutting my piece to 2 smaller lengths. 


 Yes, mine are a bit more "rustic", so next I gently wiped them with a soft bristle brush to clean them up.  Then after drawing where I wanted my circle to go, I bored out a hole with a 1.5" spade bit.


It was that easy.  I dig out a couple of metal lined tea lights I had on hand, and in about 5 minutes time and zero dollars I had this:


Here's how they look on the full shelf, which I forgot to show you in yesterday's I Kicked The Hubs A$$ Ikea Off post.

Not bad for free, ah-natural art, huh?  I'm still not sure how I feel about actually lighting these, it seems a little dangerous to light a fire on kindling, doesn't it? At least they look good.  

November 28, 2011

The Ikea Off

Over the weekend the Hubs and I picked up a couple of Ikea shelves for the Living Room.  Since most Ikea furniture builds get pretty interesting around here (and by interesting I mean that the Hubs usually curses like a sailor and throws tools), we thought we'd make a little event out of it.  

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the first ever One Project at a Time Ikea Off.  We had two identical book cases, all the required tools, and the goal was to see which one of us could build it first.  The video is just under 4 minutes and sped up in places, so don't worry, you don't have to watch us build furniture for an agonizingly long 30 minutes.  I also included sub titles for those of you watching at work, but I would suggest watching with sound if you can to experience the Hub's full pain.


video 

I'm still working on the styling of these, but here's how they look today.




 Are we the only ones that nearly get divorced after purchasing cheap, Scandinavian furniture?  Seriously, I think those marriage classes should include a big Ikea build.  If you have any great Ikea build stories, please share.  Consider this group therapy. 


November 23, 2011

#4- Tackling the Mud Room

After a bunch of small projects lately, I'm glad to finally check another project off The List. When we last left the Mudroom, I was getting into trouble with the Hubs. My simple "install more convenient hooks" project took on a life of its own when I couldn't help but patch the holes and scratches in the walls. 




Seriously though- look how nasty this wall was.  I can't be the only one that thinks that painting this wall was a good idea.


I raided our paint cupboard and found about a half gallon of extra Behr "Ashes" gray paint from the Guest Bedroom paint job. 


Oh yeah, and did I mention that I installed the hooks that I bought for 4 for $3 at Ikea?


Unfortunately, my half gallon didn't go as far as I thought it would, and I had to pause for the night to return to the Home Depot and buy another quart to finish up the project.  The Hubs was thrilled.

Here's how it looked 24 hours later, with the paint still a little wet in spots. 



I also painted this storage bench, which was the first furniture project I built entirely on my own.  It's also filled with shoes. (I put winter shoes in here in the summer, and summer in the winter.)  I have a problem.


And I could have only filled this closet half way and staged it beautifully for you, but you know I'd rather keep it real with you all.  Here's how the finished project looks today.

Before


After
Before

After

It's nearly impossible to photograph this tiny room, but I assure you that it looks 100% bigger, and 1000% cleaner.  And as a bonus, I took the small set of hooks that used to be in this room, and hung them out in the garage so we have a place to store our totes and grocery bags.


Ignore the unpainted wall patch left over from Bath Crashers.  They had to tear this wall open in order to wire electrical up to the new bathroom, and this is the closest it got to being completed.  Someday I'll paint this whole garage into my ultimate workshop, but for now, I'm happy to have a place to store my grocery bags. 

So was it worth it... well, maybe.  I mean, we've all got our own brand of crazy, but there's something pretty gross about living with someone else's dirt.  It was #4 on The List after all, and I had to tackle it eventually, so why not right now, at the beginning of what is bound to be a long and messy winter here in Minnesota.

I hope you all have a great Holiday weekend.  I'm going to take some days off to spend with my family and just relax.  (Hopefully I can figure out how.  I'm guessing some wine will help.)  Enjoy the turkey and we'll see you on Monday!

November 22, 2011

My Accidental Project


It's officially winter here in Minnesota, and that means it's time for the coats, boots, snow pants, hats, mittens, etc... And then a few more coats.  In Minnesota, there are lots of coats.

We were thrilled that the new house came with a pretty big closet that we named the Mud Room even though it's really just a big closet.  I've always wanted to have a Mud Room, and aint' no one gonna hold me down. (Uh oh, I got to keep on movin'.)

The problem is it's kind of a hot mess.



I keep my shoe rack down here so that I'm not always running up 4 flights of steps to get the shoes I need. But the Hubs told me, "Your shoes are becoming a problem, and I'm going to have to solve it."  For those of you that remember his propensity to trash stuff, you know this is a bad sign.


On this side we try to hang our most frequently used jackets, but it doesn't really get used, because, well, it just takes a long time to hang things up on a hanger.  So we don't.


And on this other side I hang extra bags and shopping totes.  Stop judging me.

So I started with a simple plan.  I was going to remove the closet rod on the left hand side of the room, and the small set of hooks on the right, and replace them both with a series of hooks so that it would work better for how we live.

I didn't want to just stick a bunch of hooks in the wall, so I used this inspiration from JennaSue.  Isn't it great?


I had an extra 1x4 in the garage, thanks to my sweet scrap pile, so I cut it into two 4' lengths.

Ignore the white floor boards in the back.  More on that project soon.

They were a little rough, so I sanded them down to make the tops and sides perfectly smooth.

 And then attached my board to the wall with 2" screws at the studs.


 That's where things got out of hand.  At first I taped it up and rubbed a little stain on it, but I immediately regretted my decision.  Why would I add any more golden pecan to this house?

So before I knew it, I removed everything from the room.

The pile that was my Mud Room.  It can hold a lot of stuff!
I pulled out a bucket of white trim paint left over from Bath Crashers, and slapped on the first coat. 

Gettin' ready to paint.


But once my new wood pieces were painted a crisp white, the cubby bench and shoe rack looked ridiculous.   So I painted those too.  And then I couldn't help but be annoyed by the holes and scrapes in all the walls.  So I patched them before I realized we didn't have a left over bucket of this color paint.  Which means I am going to have to paint the whole room.  Oops.


It was at around this time the Hubs came home.

J- "Erin- what the hell is going on in the front hallway?"
E- "Oh, that?  I'm sort of painting the Mud Room.
J- "Sort of painting it?
E- "Well, I am painting it.  But I didn't mean to."
J- "Seriously? Only you could 'accidentally' paint a room."



I'm waiting on it to dry now, so I'll fill you in on the details tomorrow.  And just in case you're wondering, no, I am not proud that of the fact that of all the projects I could choose, I chose to paint the room that no body ever sees.  But sometimes you don't choose home improvement projects, they choose you.  (I can literally hear the Hubs rolling his eyes at me as he reads this.  Love you babe!)


November 21, 2011

Paper Whites

The problem with remodeling a project house like ours is that it takes months, and maybe even years to get it looking the way you like.  And in the mean time, if you're anything like me, you get super jealous of Pinterest and blogs that have time to do all the small touches that make a house a home.  Mine's still not feeling very homey, Homey.

So even though I don't want to spend a lot of time on the details yet, not with my Main Bath still looking like this, I did want to take just 5 minutes to add a little life into the house for the holidays.  Cue the paper whites.


Nothing can outsmart a Minnesota winter like fresh blooming plants inside, and since paper whites are so easy, I knew even I couldn't mess them up.  (Well, I hoped.)  I started by picking up 5 bulbs at our nearby garden store.

I dug around in my garage for a container, and then followed the instruction sheet that came with the bulbs.  I learned that adding a handful of activated charcoal to the bottom of the pot helps to reduce rot.  (Luckily my parents had some at their house and they swung by one day to drop it off.)


I used a combination of sand and rocks to plant my paper whites in since my container didn't have any drainage holes.  I stuck them in the sand close enough together that they didn't touch each other or the sides, and then filled the rest of the space with rocks.  Now all I have to do is keep water in the container just below the bottom of the bulbs.


I ended up having one extra, so I dug up a high ball glass to plant it in for a small, single flower I can place on a small table. 

It wasn't that pretty though, until I found this transparent bag in my "Ribbons 'n Stuff" drawer.


I just placed it over the glass,

And then folded it back down, tying the strings on the sides.




I've never actually grown these before, so I'll keep you in the loop on how fast I kill them.   I mean how they end up looking.

What about you guys? Anyone get started on holiday decorating over the weekend?  We actually did a couple of big projects, but were up working too late to blog about them, so stay tuned this week for some fun updates!



November 18, 2011

As long as I'm being honest...

Last week I shared with you the disaster that was my garage.  Usually I'd be ashamed to out myself and my hoarder tendencies to a large group, but it was surprisingly liberating.  Yeah, someone could have hid a dead body in my garage and it would have taken us months to notice, but you all still love me.  That or reading about our disaster makes you feel a little bit better about your own life.  If that's the case, then you are going to love this.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the workout room.


 Yikes.  Maybe this is more embarrassing than I thought.  Here's the deal, this room started when we moved in as the place we threw our boxes once they got unpacked.  Then as the boxes hit the dumpster, it became the place where decor that hadn't found a home yet lived.  And a little storage... And then the worse it got, the less we cared.  Until it became this.

It wasn't really a problem though, really.  It was hot outside, so I spent most of my work out time running outside, and the Hubs would lift weights at the gym so Ry could spend a little time with the daycare friends he loves there.  But now that the weather is turning, and it gets dark outside by 5PM, I've really been missing the treadmill in our home.

First things first, we had to give this room light.  Part of the problem was that this room came to us with this strange light fixture.  Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the ugly boob glass dome that went over it, but here's a shot of the light sockets.  Try as we might, we couldn't find any light bulbs that would fit this fixture.  Not at any big box store, not at the small ones either. 



So we did a little zero dollar DIY, and switched it out with this fixture that we removed from the eat in kitchen.

It was a quick switch, just shut off the power, unhooked the old one, reattached the new one the same way and fliped the power back on.  Luckily I had to clean a little path in order to get the light up.



And now that we can see what we're doing, we're going to make some big progress on this room.  Hopefully we'll have a lot to share with you after the weekend, and I can loose a little of the shame of this room.

How about you guys?  Any big plans this weekend?  Any DIY?  Seriously, I love hearing about your projects, it makes me feel like I'm amongst my people.  So lay it on me- let's chat projects.

November 17, 2011

Have I Mentioned that I Hate Heights?


Talk about your all time back fires.  One thing I never considered when moving into this house is the crazy high heights.  First there was the painting of the Living Room and Loft.

Looking down the steps from the top of the Loft
My Dad helping me paint the super high peak of the Loft.  I was taking a break to breath into a bag.

 And then there was taking the shades off the windows of our Master Bedroom.  I nearly fell, and my life flashed before my eyes.  Stop laughing.



And of course removing the blinds from our trapezoid window.

Smiling while I shake in terror.
And then there's the gutters that I've been trying to put up at my house for weeks, but I'm too big of a scaredy-cat to actually do it.  (For the record, the Hubs is totally scared too.)


I mean, I can't even change a lightbulb around here without my life flashing before my eyes.

 Imagine me standing on the very top rung of this ladder unscrewing a light
bulbs while repeating over and over, "I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay...

At least I had a chance to dust the fan while I was up there, which I'm certain hasn't been touched in years.  Probably because you need a 20 foot ladder to reach it.




You'd think it would be getting easier, but I think it's getting more traumatizing each time.  I'll fill you all in about the gutters once I finally get up the courage to tackle that project.  And if I live to tell the tale...