Words of Wisdom

Today Molly and I were cleaning out some things just getting ready for the arrival of the baby boy and I found a canvas bag that I had set aside a number of months ago.

It was from my grandmother… I pulled the papers out, and on top was a manilla folder with my name on it. I don’t really know how it got there or if someone else put these in that folder with my name on it. I opened it up and found a single sheet of paper with about a dozen little sayings that she felt important enough to write down.

“The best things in life aren’t things.”

“Sometimes the best helping hand you can give is a good, firm push.”

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”

“You test the depth of the water with both feet.”

“Learning from your mistakes is smart. Learning from the mistakes of others is wise.”

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

“Examine what is said, not who speaks.”

“Don’t tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done.”

So I decided that these needed to live on somewhere other than a piece of paper that I’m bound to lose, and I sat down to type these out and staring me in the face, it was 11:11 AM.

Thanks for checking in, Mimi. ūüôā

Update 4/17

Who would’ve guessed my New Year’s resolution was to blog more? That worked out well, didn’t it…

So here are somethings we’ve been working on:

This is John bustin’ out the Jacuzzi tub in the master bath. ¬†This picture is actually flipped because I took it with my laptop camera. ¬†We removed this tub sometime last Fall.

These are two shots of the master closet before I tackled it. ¬†As you can see it was nasty and needed a good scrubbing. ¬†I spent my Christmas break working on and painting this closet (including the ceiling). ¬†It’s actually a good size closet, but it’s hard to tell on camera because I can’t get a good full shot with the camera.

This is what John did over Christmas break. ¬†He’s getting ready to drywall after we moved the plumbing for the master vanity about a foot and a half to the right. ¬†The vanity we got off Craigslist is about a foot and a half shorter than the original (we knew that when we bought it). ¬†John’s brother is a plumber so his skills were really came in handy.

We removed the crooked yaupon holly in our front flower bed.  This was pretty good timing on our part because it snowed heavily in the next couple days.  The yaupon holly tree next door lost some big limbs from the weight of the snow.

So here’s how we’re living currently:

This is our Craigslist vanity. ¬†It’s taller than the old one (yay). ¬†Also, you can see we’ve pulled the mirror down and most of the wallpaper. ¬†The sinks are hooked up, but we still mainly use the house bath since it has a mirror and functioning shower.

Hey there! ¬†It’s our new white toilet; an elongated bowl in a compact size. ¬†I know you’re jealous. ¬†We picked this up a Home Depot in the clearance section. ¬†We actually bought two and the other was installed in our house bath a year-and-a-half ago (time is passing fast). ¬†That is the mirrored, sliding closet door on the left and yes the toilet does slightly stick out in front of it (which it also did before we replaced it). ¬†Again you can see my handiwork on display as the Main Wallpaper Peeler in this house.

This is a peak into our closet (I cannot get a good picture, but the paint is all white).  You can see the concrete floors that are patiently awaiting tile.  On the left is the sliding closet door for the guest bedroom.  Down below are some tools related to installing the plumbing.  To orient yourself, the toilet is just to the right of the frame and a window is on the adjoining wall on the left.  This picture is taken from the doorway out of the master bedroom.

This is where the Jacuzzi used to sit – the motor is sitting in the corner. ¬†The window is covered by a blanket and you can just make out the old tub plumbing in lower left. ¬†This is what it’s like to live in a project. ¬†Make sure you’re ready for it before you get too excited.

And this is the old shower with the shower glass leaning on the wall.  You can see that demo here.

This is the office/study/3rd bedroom. ¬†The front door is to the right of that door frame and the living room is to the left (I’m standing in the foyer). ¬†As you can see, we finished the floors sometime last Fall. ¬†Now that I’ve done a little more decorating, I hope to use this room. ¬†The mirror you see in the corner is the old master bath mirror that we tried to cut down to fit the new vanity. ¬†That didn’t work out so well and we have yet to decide what to do with it.

I love typography and have collected letters and numbers as I find them.  I hope to have a full alphabet someday, but part of the fun is collecting it.

This is the guest bedroom. ¬†I hadn’t originally planned on it becoming a nautical room, but I got on a kick and bought a few things I liked. ¬†This is how it ended up. ¬†Hmm. ¬†This room will also be my sewing room once I figure out how to use the my mom’s sewing machine again.

So there you have it. ¬†That’s what it’s like in our house. ¬†It can certainly be a bit unglamorous to live in a project. ¬†I’ve actually become quite accustomed to it and am only bothered when we want to invite people over. ¬†I can live with it, but do find it a little embarrassing to have others realize this is what it really is. ¬†That and both of our bathrooms have foundation slab floors.

Here’s to less than six months before our next post!

In the last few months…

Yes.  We have been working on the house.  We spent the Fourth of July installing outlets!  Before that, my brother stayed with us for a week for a training session he was attending.  I like to say we made him install the floors in the guest room as his rent for the week, but he was very helpful and did a really good job.  It was kind of fun having him here.

I would have a picture of the guest room, but it’s packed with furniture particularly because we moved the trunk in there. ¬†John procured a piano from a generous co-worker and it replaced the trunk in the living room.

I also painted that canvas on the wall. ¬†I totally copied the idea from a post on Apartment Therapy. ¬†I loved the colors and thought it would be a solution for our large wall space that gets sun. ¬†I didn’t want to be too concerned with putting anything there that would fade.

I’m no longer concerned about fading because we went ahead and installed blinds on the small windows above the tall ones on the wall with paneling. ¬†I had to shorten them myself as they don’t sell them in the proper size. ¬†It’s really not that hard.

In the picture above you can also see our new Ikea coffee table.  It replaces our heavy wood coffee table that prevented the rose in the center of the rug from being seen and enjoyed.  Here it is up close:

I’ve also been working on framing and hanging photos and diplomas! ¬†Photos to come soon eventually. ūüôā

Wood Floors

I recently had a friend ask for advice on how to do wood floors on a budget.¬† I can only pull from my own experience so here goes…

Figure out if you want hardwood or laminate and figure out if you’re going to glue, nail, or float it.

You’ll have to Pro/Con the differences between hardwood and laminate.¬† It’s been awhile since we picked our floors, but laminates are typically less expensive than hardwoods.¬† Laminates do not sound like hardwood when walking on them, but can give you the visual effect and warmth of wood.

I’m sure laminate gets scratches and scrapes like hardwood, but it is likely a better choice if you want to rent out your house later.

Even though it costs more, I feel that hardwood is a better product and we’ll see the investment come back when we sell the house.

We actually have an engineered hardwood from Bruce.¬† (If you’re curious, we got the ‘Gunstock’ color.)¬† You can see the layers when you slice into it and only the top is a hardwood veneer.¬† ‘They’ say you could sand the top layer off and stain it, but that makes me nervous.¬† I’ll leave that to someone else if they really want to change it.

I also saw this next bit on the box, but didn’t pay any attention to it as it didn’t apply to us.¬† Apparently, you can’t/shouldn’t use some choices in basements.¬† I’m guessing this is related to a moisture or grading thing.¬† I know nothing about basements; we don’t have them here in Dallas.

Alright, we are now at the point were I have no other input on laminate (I just don’t know about it)… so some flooring options will allow you to glue, nail, or float your floor.¬† Other options will allow one or two of those choices.¬† Figure it out; it may make a difference in your cost or amount of time spent installing.

As our foundation is slab, we’d have to put down plywood before nailing the floor down.¬† We axed that idea.¬† Also, we don’t have a nail gun, so we’d either have to purchase or rent one.¬† If you have those tools or someone is installing it for you, nailing might be the quickest option (at least it looks that way on TV).

I also, don’t like the sound of a floated floor.¬† It sounds a little hollow to me.

We went with glue.¬† The glue we picked has a vapor barrier in it so ground moisture or something doesn’t come up?¬† I don’t know.¬† This glue is expensive (!) and extremely tacky.¬† It will not come off your clothes and can be difficult to get off your skin.¬† The longer it has been exposed to air, the harder it is to spread.¬† You will need a grooved trowel.

Shop different stores to compare prices.¬† We actually ended up a Lowe’s and worked a deal with them.¬† As we bought somewhere around 1200 sq ft, I guess they gave us a bulk deal.¬† I think it was normally $2.79/sq ft and we got it for $2.19/sq ft (I’ve slept since then).¬† They also gave us a deal on glue which ran regularly at $140 a bucket (5 gallons?).¬† We bought 5 buckets for $100 each.¬† You just have to ask for their best price and be prepared to walk away or have other store’s ads (Lowe’s price matches).

As we installed the floor, we placed heavy objects on top of the wood to make sure we had a solid connection.¬† If you don’t have a good connection with the floor, it will sound hollow when walking across it.¬† I found this to be inevitable.¬† You just can’t avoid it completely.

If you will not be installing the floor yourself, factor in labor costs.

Extra pointers:

– You need to bring the wood inside to acclimate to your interior climate before installing.¬† Wood expands and contracts and you don’t want a drastic change to occur after installing it.

РYou will have warped boards.  Most of them will be fine and only make it a little more difficult to install.

– If you get glue on the surface of the wood, it will mostly wipe.¬† Once it is dry, walk around on the floor in your sneakers and it’ll wear off over time.

РYou will scratch the wood at some point.  Try not to do it on purpose, but get over it.

– The glue is really heavy, but makes a great weight to hold down the boards while they are setting.

I have a lot of other tips that are mostly geared toward installing it yourself.¬† I’d be glad to answer any questions.

Spring Snow

I suppose it’s a first world problem but the SD card containing pictures of the other snow storms we had this winter is in John’s computer at work and so I only have photos from this weekend’s storm.

Yeah, it was the first full day of Spring, but Texas doesn’t care.¬† Our favorite weatherman was predicting maybe one inch were we live.¬† It ended up raining most of the day so didn’t think much of it.¬† We woke up on Sunday morning and John started laughing…

Click on the images to make them larger.

6.5 inches in the grass
8 inches on the cars

We got John a new (to us) car to save on gas.  You can check it out in the photos above.  Ha!

And that’s our backyard.¬† Still no fence.¬† Ha ha!¬† Take that neighbors.

As to be expected in Texas, the snow was all gone the next day.

*Master bedroom update coming soon!


Our First Christmas Tree

So in the ongoing effort to be economical, we borrowed my dad’s tree for our first Christmas in the house. ¬†He wasn’t going to use it as he went to Atlanta for Christmas. ¬†Anyway, it’s a lovely tree and I borrowed the traditional red balls and red bows that my mom made before we were born. ¬†The rule is that the red balls go on first and the bows go on last; it’s been that way forever.

The goal was to score our own tree at an after-Christmas sale (why pay full price when you know it’ll get price-killed in a few weeks). ¬†As mentioned in the last post, I succeeded in finding that tree! ¬†John was so excited and I was curious to see how tall it really was, so we set it up… after Christmas… and took all the decorations off the other tree and moved ’em over to the new tree… ’cause we are crazy.

We had a great break and a true white Christmas. ¬†We got almost 3 inches of snow on the 24th and it stuck. ¬†Particularly amazing because it was 75 degrees on the 23rd. ¬†I got so lucky in that my job gave us the full week off between Christmas and New Years. ¬†I got even luckier when John didn’t have to work much either. ¬†We had our own lazy vacation in our house and enjoyed doing not a single thing but watching movies and hunting for shopping deals. ¬†That week I realized how little time we really get to spend together simply enjoying each others company. ¬†It was great and I’m very thankful.

Happy 2010!

Hot dang!

I learned how to replace the header image!¬† I tried creating a collage of images in Microsoft Paint, but that didn’t work.¬† So there it is, a close-up of the vinyl floor removal in the kitchen.¬† Maybe I’ll attempt something else later.¬† At least it isn’t the stock image anymore!

And yeah, it’s been awhile.¬† Not much going on construction-wise at the house.¬† Got some more flooring down, only three rooms left.¬† I need to gear back up and paint trim, but what a hassle.¬† I did finish putting up blinds in the master bedroom (one was a custom size).¬† The house is actually presentable now and we had a small get together of church friends the day after Christmas.¬† When I get home, I’ll try to remember to post pictures of the house all decorated.¬† (We scored a 9 foot tree the day after Christmas for $40!)¬† Bet you can’t wait to see it!