Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Inspiration= 5 Minute Fabulous Bracelet.

I was going through my monthly pile of magazines my mom brings over that she's finished with, when a necklace caught my eye. Then I saw it was at Target! But I wasn't won over by the pricetag of $30. What can I say, I'm cheap. So I decided to make one from my own supplies.
Here's the inspiration. I thought about making out a ribbon necklace like this, but I have way too many necklaces, and pearls are my everyday staple anyhow:
So I ran upstairs and grabbed some of my supplies. We just cleaned up the attic and I saved a few things that could be reworked into new projects. Of them, was an obvious fake engagement ring (I have a growing collection of them, I'm at 4 now) and a plain silver bracelet that I actually sized to my little wrist about 6 (!!!) years ago and never did anything with it. I also had quite a bit of ribbon left over that was used on our wedding favors. I grabbed two pliers to open up the chains, and scissors to cut the ribbon:
And I came up with this. It's edgier, which is more me:

I know the end result isn't much like the original, but I love it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It Was All A Dream

Or at least, I hoped it was. To back track a little, a storm came through about a month ago. We already had a few trees taken down, which I blogged about before, and this one stayed because it was alive and healthy. Well, the storm made the ground super soggy, and we realized the roots weren't very long. So...
It ended up uprooting and falling in the neighbors yard, taking out their deck, elecrtricity, internet, cable, propane tank, and our shared fence.

It was a vacant home that was waiting for new renters, so we had to track down the owner. He was on vacation that week, of course. So it took a week to get him, then another week to get coordinated and get our tree guy back out to clean it out. We decided to have one more tree taken down in our yard while he was here, and remove all the stumps from all the trees he took down last time. Well, that tree that we decided (rather impulsively) to take out, fell the wrong way, and this time onto OUR deck:
It hit the roof, and cracked our 60 year old cement deck floor, and cracked the walls holding the cement flooring. We have to get the entire thing ripped out and redone. Surprise, they don't make things like they used to. And that awesome railing :P is no longer made, so we're getting a new wood railing. Writing it out, I'm actually sad to not have that railing. Looking at it in pictures I actually think it's quite endearing. Here's a close up of one of the cracks:
Sadly, it's been a week since we've heard from the tree guy since he said he would send out his contractor friend. We wanted to talk to his friend first to see what he said he would replace, and then we're getting our own quotes to compare. Obviously the deck held up for-ev-er, so I want to make sure it's built just as sturdy. After all, we didn't drop $15k in renovations in this house to slack on ANYTHING. It's an investment in not only us having a happy life here, but also for resale, should we sell it. Hopefully it will all be over with soon so we can plant that dang grass!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Painting Tips

We've been doing a LOT of updates. Which means we have quite a bit of practice, and have learned some tips and tricks along the way. I finally thought to document some helpful hints to get the job done with just a few important tools (some do double duty!).

So you decide you just HAVE to repaint that room AGAIN! Well, that's always my favorite phrase every few months. But I was brainwashed enough by commercials to finally try the Behr Paint+Primer:

And I loved it! I first tried it on my former black trim. I turned it from black to white with ONE coat. ONE!!! I ended up going back over it again in some spots that I realized I was a little light on. But really, one?! So I decided to just go ahead and spend the extra couple bucks to get it in my bathroom paint as well. I'm glad I did again. It's so nice and thick, and covers so well. It did take two coats because I went pretty dark and had a light color behind it, but it beats the pants off primering first.

But lets not forget prep work! I am really bad about this, not only do I hate dismantling, but I hate having so many tools in my way. Since we repainted the entire house before moving in, I had a real a-ha moment when I was opening up probably the 5th can of paint. I realized the tip of the paint can opener was the same size as the end of the flat head I used to take off the switch plate. Seeing where I'm going with this?

You guessed it. I was so happy to have just one less tool in tow. Also, when I was trying to remove this switch plate, I realized it was stuck, majorly, to the wall. Well, that handy dandy paint can opener comes to the rescue again!

Also, I've never understood why people waste SO much time taping off trim for edging. I always just use it for super tight corners only, such as around my bathroom fixtures. So when I went over to my moms to help her repaint her guest bedroom, she was actually shocked I didn't have tape with me! I introduced her to... dun dun dun:

Have you ever looked to the left of the paint counter at Home Depot and realized they have a sign that says "best" "better" and "good?" There really is a difference in quality depending on your brush. I'm sure some are thinking "well, duh Samantha." But you'd be surprised how MUCH better they are. I'm fond of the Purdy brand, it's never let me down. But I have NEVER needed painters tape once I discovered this heavenly brush. I can cut an edge almost perfect everytime, and my mom even became a pro at cutting the edges.

Painting is faster, easier, and better looking. So go for at least the "better," but it can't hurt to have the "best!" Be sure to wash out the brush when you're done until the water runs out clear. You don't want to waste such an expensive investment!

There's one thing I learned from the outrageous advertising efforts on Clean Sweep: Clorox cleaning wipes are good for cleaning up paint booboos on walls. If you accidentally drip on the baseboards when painting the walls, just wipe it off. It picks up the same as a wet washcloth, but it doesn't leave it wet like water would.

Now go get cracking on those (hopefully a little easier) painting projects!

Bathroom Remodel

To start off, our old bathroom smelled like mothballs and gold bond. Delicious, right? It needed a major overhaul. So major, we had to take it down to the studs (and even replace those!). It was moldy underneath, and we couldn't salvage the ORIGINAL tiles or walls because of all the glue they used to hold up those nasty vinyl walls. I was heartbroken. Anyhow, it started off looking like this:

Vinyl, waterproof walls, the toilet was being held up by a stick of wood, the tub had permanent foot stick ons, it was rusty around the drain, and the plumbing, I kid you not, was duct tape. It was that bad.

We replaced every single, solitary thing in the bathroom EXCEPT the exhaust fan. It was the only thing worth keeping. It actually looks pretty cool. New toilet, sink, plumbing, tub, tile, fixtures, everything. ALL new, and totally glorious.

I'm so glad that's over with. Next up: dining room HOPEFULLY!