February 23, 2012

Rock and Roll Grammar Lesson

Oh, the difference a comma makes.



Now try to listen to the song and NOT hear her singing about homegirls.

February 9, 2012

Pantone Colors 2012

Tonight I explained to Keene the idea of the Pantone seasonal colors and why they're important. At the end of my lecture, I had the feeling he thought it was some kind of ultra-powerful, super secret society.

Boys.

It occurred to me, though, that Etsy sellers may not think to research such things as which colors have been designated as "upcoming trends." I won't explain the logic behind staying up to date on these shades, but it may be worth your time to either add some new products in the Pantone colors...or see if any of your existing products already match them.

February 7, 2012

Upgrades, Repairs, and Other Joys of Home-Owning

Back in July, when we were so young and fresh-faced, Keene and I walked through what would become our home. We oohed and ahhed and peeked in rooms. We mentally redecorated the living room and pictured the children playing in the backyard. We immediately began the process of buying the house.

But you know what we should have done? We should have been pulling the previous owners' clothes out of the closet. We should have knocked all of their dishes out of the cupboards. We should have pushed their toolboxes off of the workbenches in the garage. Because you know what we found once the house was empty and ready for us to move in? A whole lot of particle board.

Bowed particle board in the closets. Sticky particle board in the pantry. Waterlogged particle board in the garage. There was more particle board in the house than in all of Home Depot.

So, I've had some people ask for pictures of our various upgrades and repairs. (Yes, really! This isn't a situation where I just want to talk about something, so I say, "People have been asking me ________." No, people really have been asking me. Seriously, I can prove it.) So here are our latest projects.

Pantry

This was the very first thing we blew money on fixed up. Now, this is actually a picture of our closet, but the shelves are similar to those in the pantry. Meaning, exposed particle board, haphazardly installed, and awfully inefficient where space is concerned.


Keene started by ripping out all of the shelves. Turns out, the walls behind the shelves were just as gross:


We repainted the walls and Keene installed wire racks instead:


And then he installed a broom/mop/child-holder on the back of the door:


Now, ten points if you can spot our next repair in this picture.


Think you've got it?

Yup, the door itself. Notice how it awesomely opens so that it effectively blocks you from the rest of the kitchen? We have found that that area is like a little Bermuda Triangle: In the span of four feet, you have a bathroom door, pantry door, two spice cabinets, the fridge, and the dishwasher all vying for the same opening space. At least once a week, somebody finds him or herself trapped in this mess of doors. While it may not solve the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle, replacing the pantry door (so it swings in the other direction) will be a quick and easy fix.

Before:

After:

Here is a dramatic reenactment:


Garbage Disposal

Moving along, we also installed a garbage disposal. I wish I had pictures of the before/after and installation process. But that would have been very boring, so I didn't do it. Instead, here's the after:



Spider Tree

There is a large fir tree in our front yard. It was so close to the house, it literally pressed on it. An inspector told us that it would eventually have to be chopped down, as it would wreck havoc on the house. We decided to just trim the branches which were touching the house--rather than chopping the whole thing right away.

So we started with this:


And we started chopping branches.


And then we discovered something horrific: old pine needles literally two feet deep below the branches. Which emitted strange, green fumes and set forth hundreds of wolf spiders when we tried raking them.

Blehuhuhchu. That's the sound I made. Over the course of a weekend, we alternated chopping branches with exorcising the pine needles using a snow shovel and garbage bags.


Once the trunk was naked from seven feet down, we called it quits.

Landfill cleanup

One thing we did notice during the initial walkthrough was this:


A large pile of junk, garbage, and rotting wood. "No worries," we thought. "That'll be gone before we move in! Yay!"

But guess what was waiting for us once we moved in.


Another weekend of hauling garbage to the curb and further testing our garbageman's boundaries.

Kayden's New Room

Finally, a fun project! Kayden got his loft bed about four years ago:



For those not in the know, a loft bed is basically a bunk bed, except instead of a bed on the bottom, it's just open space. Or you could think of it as a bed on stilts.

Anyhow, the loft bed was fun and novel when Kayden was a little boy of eight. But now he's a strapping young man of eleven and the loft bed has lost its appeal. Every night, climbing up and down a ladder has started to wear on him. Moreover, his new room has a lot less space than his room at the old apartment, so we were facing a serious organizational dilemma.

So I came up with a brilliant idea.

We took out the mattress from the loft and measured the area:


Then we had a piece of heavy plywood fitted (albeit very tightly fitted) to the area:


Keene bolted the plywood to the metal bars, using carriage screws, nuts, and these weird metal things:



Then we lay down a rug which appeared to be made from the fur of a Muppet.


Maia did the honors of smell-testing the new carpet:


Keene built a wall-hung bookshelf, which was promptly filled to bursting:


When times got hard and our motivation wanned, Kayden pushed us to keep going:


And gave his approval of his new reading- and play-nook:


Lastly, we moved Kayden's mattress (temporarily on the floor) to underneath the loft and his desk against the wall. I wish I had taken a before picture to show what a huge change this was and how much space it created for him. Next time, next time.