Monday, September 8, 2014

Can We Talk for a Second?

Let's talk for a second. You and me.

I found something a few days ago that made me weak in the knees. Made my heart pound with excitement and my cheeks flush with the idea of the gloriousness that I just discovered.

Guys? I found the most AMAZING website. :)

I dunno, maybe I'm just late to the game...maybe everyone else on the entire planet has already discovered these guys...maybe...but I still hafta share. (Ain't no paid advertisement...)

Rustica Hardware.

OH. EM. GEE. Ohmigosh. I can't even. (That was for you, Julie.)

As I've mentioned before, we're planning on doing a "barn door" for the door to our mudroom. Enter in my idea of door opening widths, bullheadedness, and lack of proper research, however...and now we're looking at a custom door. UGH.

See...I INSISTED on having a 36" opening for the mudroom/diningroom entrance. IN. SISTED. Only thing is, standard doors don't come any larger than 36" and having a door that BARELY covers the opening?

Well, shoot. I hadn't thought of that.

So, now we're down to two options: 1. Make it ourselves (Hee hee. Hoo hoo. Ha.) or 2. Pay a crap ton of money for a custom door.

Then I stumbled upon Rustica Hardware and while they ain't cheap, it's looking like this might be our best bet! But gosh. Do we do it? I mean, it's still gonna be a chunk of change...and we are at the UPPER (as in, we've REACHED) end of budget. But do we cheap out on the barn door?????

Oh Sweet Baby Jesus...why can't we be filthy rich? Sigh. Alas, we are not. And the decision has to be made...make a door that we'll be "ho hum" about? Or, scrape together the money to splurge on the gorgeous barn doors over at Rustica Hardware?

The woes of a maxed out remodeler...

Friday, September 5, 2014

It's Friday!!

Whoa nelly. Week one of school down and OH. EM. GEE. The children. They are at each other's throats!!

For kids that usually get along pretty well, we have had way more than our normal amount of tears, raised voices, disagreements, hurt feelings...the list goes on and on! This first week of school business is tough stuff. 

Speaking of first week (day) of school...I'm a terrible mother. How could I NOT post the obligatory first day of school photos??? Let me remedy that quick:

Cracks me up that it looks like she's wearing shoulder pads!!

Please forgive Belle's "one of these things is not like the other" photo...she started the day after the other kiddos and I was already out of practice by then and forgot to have her pose inside. Oh well, at least I got a photo, right?!

Anyway, I'm super thankful for the reprieve of the weekend. A chance to regroup. To sleep in. To have mornings that are not ruled by pressure of the clock. 

I'll tell you what else I'm thankful home. I have a small confession to the numbers were adding up, I became fearful that it was "not going to be worth it". I was afraid we had made the wrong decision about remodeling...but now? Now that we're SO CLOSE to being finished that I can taste it ( on)? I'm so happy. So content. I catch myself standing in my new kitchen grinning like a goofball and just looking around.

AND...I'm thankful that I can cook again! My family has been treated to meal after homemade meal since we "moved in" to the kitchen! Chicken, pork chops, roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, my kids (and my husband) are beyond thrilled to be at the receiving end of my "back in the kitchen" excitement! 

My Belle said one night, while mmmm'ing and ahhhhh'ing over her meal, "I NEVER thought I'd get sick of eating at restaurants!" I couldn't agree more, Belle. Whoda ever thunk that I would've gotten sick of the treat of eating out?

Not me! But I did. We ALL did...and now? Now we're even more appreciative of the goodness of a home cooked meal!

And now, I'm going to sign off and go stand in my kitchen with a goofy grin again... ;)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Down to the Details

So...the kitchen? It's usable!!! I'd say we're 75% done with the kitchen...BUT the most exciting thing is that I CAN COOK AGAIN!!



Do you get a sense of my excitement? I'm giddy. Excited to cook. And not wash dishes by hand (although, I'll be totally honest...we contributed our fair share to the landfill in the form of paper plates. Sorry Mother Earth!) in a sink that was perched on the edge of our deck and where a person was likely to get eaten alive by mosquitos as they tried to wash the dishes. Classy class.

I am in love and in awe with our kitchen. It makes me so happy! And proud! And content!

We do still have a fair amount of work to do, however, until we can lay this beast to rest! Staining doors and trim, installing aforementioned doors and trim, finishing dining room, installing heat mats and flooring in mudroom, finishing up painting, tiling backsplash and (and here's where I need your help!) installing shelves in our pantry.

We left a window in our pantry, which means we need something "customish" (i.e. Not the metal shelving units one can buy from Costco/Sam's Club) but sturdy enough (and cost effective...cost effective in this case meaning "as cheap as we can get") to take the weight of many cans, food items, miscellaneous kitchen items. Suggestions? Ideas? What do you have in your pantry?

We also need to figure out trim for our fireplace...ceiling AND floor. And, for whatever reason, I have something against quarter round...I'm not sure what quarter round ever did to me, but I'm not a fan of fact, I'd like to avoid it at all costs. (As you can see from the above kitchen photo, we went with a very "arts and crafts" look...I'd like to keep with those clean angles and avoid rounded edges, you know?)

In the meantime, if you need me, I'll be gazing at my lovely new kitchen!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Yesterday...and Tomorrow

Yesterday, I was honored and blessed to be at the birth of my sweet, beautiful, amazing niece. When my nephew was born, it just so happened that I was working and I captured some pretty precious first moments of him...this time, my brother and sister-in-law asked me if I would come to take photos of baby girl's birth.

Um, lemme think about that...YES!!

So, I showed up bright and early, tried not to be too intrusive, and was able to capture some pretty sweet moments! And you guys? That baby girl?

I die. She absolutely melts my heart!

And then tomorrow. Whoa nelly. TOMORROW.

Tomorrow I will drop my baby boy off at college. Did you hear that? COLLEGE. As in...grown up. Moving on. Going out into the big world.

I keep finding myself saying super cheesy things like, "Do you REALIZE that you are about to embark on the greatest adventure of your whole life????? Like, you're about to meet friends that you'll be friends with FOREVER. You're about to decide the fate of the rest of your life! You are probably going to meet your future wife, the future mother of your children!!" and he looks at me and says, "Yeah. Um. Guys don't think about things like that."


Whoa. Seriously...mamas, hug those babies tight because before you know it they, too, will be embarking on the greatest adventure of their lives.

I'm excited for him and nervous for him. I'm happy for him and sad (for me). 

Thankfully, he's not moving too far away...and, I'm totally not afraid to pull a "Love You Forever" move and haul a ladder over to his dorm room window so that I can climb in and rock him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.


Have I mentioned: college?

Oh my.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


It's been 12 days since my last post...TWELVE!! (There once was a time in the history of this blog that that would've been a sin! Blasphemy! TWELVE DAYS WITHOUT A POST?! Gah.) And guys...this project is really coming together!!

Our flooring is (mostly) in...thanks to the help of some amazing friends who persisted in asking us if we needed help (we did) and more amazing friends who showed up day after day to see this through. We are blessed and thankful for these people in our lives (and NOT just because they help us...they are all incredible friends that we cherish!).

Part of my purpose in blogging this is so that we can look back and remember the pain and agony we went through if we ever decide to do any major renovation again. Which, I'll be honest, there's not a whole lot left in our house to renovate! (We sorta did it all with this one!)

The last time we "talked" I had left you with some before and "during" photos...and while we aren't quite to the FINISHED photos, I do have some that give a good glimpse into what this will be like when it's done!

First up, the flooring. Oh sweet mother of Jesus, the flooring. 

I am head over heels in love with it. It is "Asian Blonde Walnut" (or Acacia) and the rustic look of the variable colors is EXACTLY what I was looking for! And BONUS: It's harder than oak! Just what we needed with these hooligans running through our house!

Next, the paint. I had picked two colors for our as an "accent" and the other for the rest of the house. My Gram saw the main color and suggested that perhaps it was a bit dark. Now, I love me some pigment in my paint...but when we got it up on all the walls, I realized my kitchen was going to be pretty darn dark with the cabinets, counters, floors and paint. Gram was right. So, approximately three days after we painted the whole house (another shout out of thanks to my sister-in-law and parents for going gang busters with us to paint ALL THE WALLS!), I insisted on changing the color in the kitchen.

My husband loves me. I have totally embraced the "high maintenance" title with this project. I want it done and I want it done right! (See above flooring photo for "accent" color...and original dark color!)

Anyway, going light was the right decision. I want our (GORGEOUS!!!) cabinets to be showcased, not to blend in, and the color on the walls lets them shine!

Speaking of cabinets...holy moly. I am in love with them. I'm pretty sure we drove our cabinet guy bonkers, with our "we want them knotty" request (I'm discovering that cabinet makers must be perfectionists and want the wood clear and free from any knots. Cracks. Variations. Which is EXACTLY what we WANTED!)

Maple. Knotty. In fact, we probably would've even gone with MORE knots, but I'm still (very) happy with what we've got! 

Next up: Installing doors and windows, IF they ever come in (I'm looking at YOU, Home Depot), finishing flooring, and deciding what to do for shelving in our pantry. It'll have to be "custom" something, no prefabbed metal racks from Costco, because we have a window in our pantry that we have to work around. Any suggestions? What do YOU have for shelving in your pantry? Ideas? Thoughts?

Also, speaking of those prefabbed shelving units...can they be cut down and re-soldered (welded?)? That IS what I wanted in our entry closet, but I need a 45" unit and guess what? It doesn't come in that size. And 36" is too small. Help.

As we speak, the "granite guy" is doing the "field measure" for our counters...which will be installed next Friday. Good gracious, I don't know if I can wait that long!! I'm so ready to have my house back...and back BETTER than it ever was!

Looking forward to sharing the "AFTER" photos with you soon!! Eeeeek! Yay!!! Hooray! Yippee!!!!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

My Life...It's in Shambles

I have officially and ferociously reached the "GET THIS DAMN PROJECT DONE!!!!" part of our remodel. 

I'm tired of having plywood floors and drywall walls. 

I'm tired of having a rouge oven in the middle of my kitchen.

I'm tired of my washer and dryer being in the middle of my dining room.

I'm tired of the dust.

This isn't moving fast enough. I just want it, yesterday.

In the spirit of seeing forward progress, let me share with you a few before and after pics...more for my own mental health than anything else.

Here we go:

Before: View from Living Room:

During: Same View

Still During: Same View:

Before: View from end of stairs:

During: View from end of stairs. Whoa:

Okay...that helped. I now see the forward progress...but HOT DAMN let's hurry up!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wherein I Overuse the 'H' Word.

There's a little four letter word that I hate. Oops. I just used it. Yes, the word "hate" is not on my favorite list...and I use it way more than I like to, but you know what? Sometimes, a situation calls for the use of four letter words.

Like HATE.

As in, "I HATE (loathe, despise, dread) HATE HATE HATE removing wallpaper.". See? Totally justifiable, no?

I know I totally need to do a remodel update for y'all, but for now...just lemme vent.

The entire time we've lived here, I've always assumed that the previous owners (not the original owners) updated the wall paper in this house. Well, when we removed the cabinets, we discovered the wallpaper went BEHIND the cabinets, which leads one to believe it was original wallpaper, no? And 40 year old wallpaper shouldn't be THAT hard to remove...right?

Wrong. (If you look closely, you can see some of the wallpaper ...thankfully, most of this was removed with demolition...crazy to me already, to see that this is what our mudroom USED to look like!)

In every house I've lived in, I've had to remove oodles of wallpaper and let me tell version of hell is removing wallpaper. If said wallpaper removes easily in nice large sheets? Well then, I can tolerate it...however, if said wallpaper peels off in teeny, tiny itty bitty scraps? (As it did in our current house.) Forget it. I'd rather have you stick hot pokers in my eyes and pull my fingernails off one-by-one while making me try to figure out math word problems.


Thankfully, there wasn't a TON of wallpaper left to remove in our house (I had painstakingly done it several years ago...) but that which was left? Freakin' cemented on to the wall with some sort of bionic glue. (Likely the same dang glue they used to put the flooring on with...that stuff is STUCK.)

Seriously. I tried just saturated the drywall underneath, which resulted in me peeling layers of drywall off. I tried hot water and vinegar. I tried fabric softener. I tried ironing. (Yes, you read that right...IRONING.) I even tried to get my dad to help remove it.

NOTHING worked. Teeny, tiny scraps or peeling layers of drywall. I was losing time off my life. My hair was turning gray. I wanted to run away, screaming. I whined. I pouted. I almost cried.

Then we realized drywall was, like, 6 bucks a sheet and for the space I had left to remove we figured, "Aw, the heck with it, tear the whole dang drywall off!!"...we figured the time I was losing off my life, and much blood, sweat and tears, painstakingly removing the wallpaper, then, needing someone to come in and patch up all the torn off layers of drywall...we'd be better off starting from scratch.

So that's what we did.

Ripped out the wallpapered drywall.

HALLELUJAH!!!! Adios wallpaper!!

And, to the person that invented wallpaper? I hate you.

*GASP* I just used that word again.

Totes warranted, though, right? ;)


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