Happy New Year everybody!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I am writing this post in advance so it is sure to go up, but if all goes well yesterday we should have attended Kevin’s first ever Steelers game!  I just want to take the time to wish everybody a safe and happy new year.  Have a wonderful time out there tonight, to everybody near and far.  Cheers to you and to 2013.

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Windows!

Back here, I remarked that a certain loved father-in-law of mine promised me he’d help us oust the blocked in windows that are to either side of our fireplace.

The man came through.

Way more beautifully than anybody could have hoped.  That’s not to say we had low expectations of him, that’s to say he does beautiful work.

In Laws revealing the windows

In Laws revealing the windows

Windows boxed up so we can paint the trim.

Windows boxed up so we can paint the trim.

Revealed!

Revealed!

So I know these have Christmas decorations in them so it sort of distorts it. BUT… Its tradition that I put my tree up on Black Friday while the rest of the Country is out pulling each other’s hair out and generally forgetting the values of the day before.  So I had to do it.  I hate breaking tradition.

 

But regardless…. HOW AMAZING DO THOSE WINDOWS LOOK?

Thanks again to my in laws… they are endless and incredible help!  Looks so amazing.

 

 

 

Then & Now – Living Room Edition

The end of November & beginning of December brought a lot of rapid fire changes to the living room area.  It was an area that basically remained stagnant from when we finished the painting and ripping up the floor.  We filled it with furniture we already owned and went on with life.

Here’s what it looked like at our first walk thru.  When we “fell in love” with our diamond in the rough.

Living room - February 2012 (before we bought our home)

Living room – February 2012 (before we bought our home)

Gross carpet, ugly blinds, brassy fireplace cover. But also- beautiful fireplace, huge window, great bones.

Now here it is on Thanksgiving Day 2012 (about 9 months later)

Living Room on Thanksgiving 2012

Living Room on Thanksgiving 2012

So what’s changed in the last 9 months?  Well the obvious – it’s been painted and the carpet was ripped out.  We put our own furniture in it.  But also, Kevin used high heat paint (its actually marketed for a grill – Rustoleum makes it) in flat black to paint the fireplace cover.  How much better is that?  Seriously amazing.

We have a lot of plans for this space.  All in all from the wall in the left of the photo to the window is about 12 feet.  From the fireplace to the wall that I am standing beside when I took this picture is either 19 or 20 feet.  I don’t remember exactly.  So with where the couch is the living room is about 12×10 roughly.

Here’s the living room plans-

  • Paint fireplace grate
  • Buy new curtains
  • Possibly buy a new more fashionable blind
  • Buy an area rug
  • Box out the windows hidden in this photo
  • Probably buy a new couch
  • Build built-ins on each side of the fireplace that are mantel height & the TV can be hidden in
  • Paint the trim glossy white
  • Paint the front door (can’t see it here)
  • Mount the artwork (I made that) above the fireplace (it’s just leaning in this picture)
  • Pare down on the houseplants.  (actually we accidentally killed them.. so that was an easy step…unfortunately)

It’s basically a whole whole bunch of buying.  So that’s why it’s coming along slowly.

Luckily though, a lot of this list was knocked off over Thanksgiving weekend… Thanks Billionaire (thats what I call my father-in-law, Bill)!

Ghetto Photoshop

Yes I am serious.

I have found that really really quickly done terrible quality photoshops are really helpful.  I don’t like to put more work into them as necessary because usually the quick stitch is all I need to convince myself.  My half-assed photoshopping skills suit my purposes well.

So our office… It’s an office work area. To the right of the door when you walk in is a long double desk with our computers on it.  On the wall across from the entry door is a giant window and a huge double work station desk.  I craft on it.  Kevin builds and takes ebay photos, etc.  It’s really suiting.

I want our office work area to be fun and fresh and inspiring.  I want to come in and feel awake.  I work everyday out of this office.  It needs to feel good.  SO I went to IKEA and bought the brighest funnest curtains they have and I am obsessed with them.  Even tho, I bought them MONTHS ago and only have one pair hung up.  Reason?  (1) I really needed the one pair hung up (it blocks the closet full of printers) and (2) I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to hang the other set, so the 3rd set fell victim as well.

Blank Window and Wall

Blank Window and Wall

So that’s what it looks like.  Thats basically what it has looked like and still looks like since the beginning.  See that random stuff under the desk?  That’s the dogs’ lair.  They love it under there.  See the random shelves leaning against the wall to the right of the right bookshelf?  Those are still there.  More stuff is actually leaning in there too.  It’s okay.. Things take time.  Also see how empty that workspace is?  That’s a lie.. I cleared it all off so I wouldn’t have to photoshop with it.  Right now its full of half done Christmas gifts, my sewing machine, and a bunch of stuff Kevin is working on as well.

So back to photoshopping… I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to hang the curtains here.  I figured I had two choices – long on each side of the desk OR short over top of the desk.  After photoshop, I realized I had a third, kinda strange option that was exactly what I wanted…

Long Curtains, Short Curtains, Combined (Click to enlarge)

Long Curtains, Short Curtains, Combined
(Click to enlarge)

 

As you can see, I even fake photoshopped in a curtain rod on the last one. I’ve decided to go with that.  The plan is to cut the two panels in half length wise.  Then sew in the cut edges so I end up with 4 half panels. Hem two of the half panels to floor length and the remaining two to desk length.  The floor length panels will basically just hang there like art and not move, but the short ones can close then to cover the window.  When I say ” in half” – I don’t mean 50% each side.  It will probably end up where the floor length panels aren’t as wide as the window ones, since I never plan on using them.  They are just decoration.

I also want to make rods out of pipe since a rod that is that wide (~100 inches) is ridic expensive.

Thoughts?

 

Central Perk, Pittsburgh Edition

We have a tiny kitchen.  We don’t live in a McMansion by any means.  Our kitchen is about ~11’x~11′ including the cabinets.  One section of our countertop is taken up by a microwave that I have yet to find another home for.  Then our Keurig and coffee parts took about another large part.  When you looked in the kitchen it was a giant eyesore to look at.  But it’s about as necessary as oxygen in this house.  No coffee and we’d all die.  No doubt.  So what to do.

Thank you Pinterest, I *Will* make an area in the house just for coffee.  Hells to the yes.

I don’t really have a before picture of where the Keurig was at the kitchen.  But in the “After picture” you can see it back in its original spot.  I also don’t have a picture of the coffee bar stocked and loaded because… because I never got past just putting the Keurig and the coffee in and on it.  I eventually want to add some shelving above it and some art and make it look nice, but for now it’s just coffee essentials.

So to do this, we took this IKEA kitchen island we had from our apartment (That has been living in a closet with no where to go since we’ve moved in) and sawed off the ends to make it fit in this awkward previously empty corner.  You know what awesome people do?  They saw things in their kitchen without covering things up because they are lazy and want immediate satisfaction.

Sawing in the Kitchen

Sawing in the Kitchen

 

Empty Coffee Bar

Empty Coffee Bar (we actually have the other drawer too…but I was just excited and snapped the photo prematurely).

There ya have it.. our new coffee locale.  Without pictures of what it ended up looking like.  But I think its a great lil use of that nook.

Best Foot Forward

I walk like a dude.  I walk heavily.  I walk not lady like.  I also have a career path that requires me to wear high heels on occasion and on every one of those occasions I stomp around like Godzilla.   Needless to say, I go through a lot of heel tips.  In the past, that meant shoes to the trash.  Then I found out you can buy new tips and replace them yourself.  I watched plenty of videos.  I found out Target sells 3 or 4 sets of new tips for about $5.  I was on board.  I was.

Just let the man do it.

 

It’s not as easy as it sounds.  Or maybe it would be if I had tried it earlier on in the actual carnage of my heel tip.  The truths is I had worn the tips down so far they would not come out.  Kevin successfully got them out of one heel, but not its twin.  So I really have no update other than DO THIS BEFORE YOUR TIP IS COMPLETELY GONE.  Has anybody ever successfully replaced their heel tips?  Any tips on replacing tips?  Seriously, I want this to work on the new shoes I just bought.  I threw all the old ones out in frustration.  Poor girl with new shoes.  Boohoo.

 

More Painting…Obviously

I finally got around to painting the interior of our now open corner shelf.  I used the wall paint and cabinet paint to make it look like framed shelves on the wall. Let me just show you the picture…

Open Shelving

Open Shelving

I still have to paint the shelves and get them mounted in there.  I haven’t done that yet because I want to put a lip on the front of the shelves to make them a little more substantial looking.  Also, I want to paint a pattern in the green – I think.  I have a small sample of the green that is in a different finish (our walls are satin finish & the sample is not…yeah I don’t know what it is).  The pattern would therefore be very subtle.  Actually, to tell you the truth, it may not even be a big enough difference to show up.  Ha.  Whoops.  I’ll see what happens when I do it.

But its painted!  Let’s focus on that achievement.  We’re obviously slow over here.

Update:

  • Prime, paint, and seal the cabinets. (we opted to not seal)
  • Buy new hardware and add it to the cabinets (duh)
  • Paint the walls and ceiling
  • Re-do the countertop (either paint or re-laminate)
  • Re-redo the countertop again (surprise surprise!)
  • Replace the floor
  • Finally finish installing the big light (it needs a sealing gasket thing installed, but we couldn’t find it for awhile lol)
  • Replace the under cabinet light
  • Find a permanent solution for the trash and recycle bins (on our way!)
  • Make the upper corner shelf open shelving (just have to add the shelves back in – more on that later)
  • Paint the new open shelving in the corner (still have to paint the actual shelves + maybe a pattern in the background + hang the shelves)
  • Possibly replace the above-window light
  • Add some sort of curtains to the window and the door
  • Strip and repair the doors to the outside and to the basement
  • Paint the doors to the outside and the basement
  • Bright gloss white paint on the trim and doors
  • Create a family command center on the big open wall that includes a calendar, mail center, meal planner, and anything else we may find useful.
  • Add a light in the little nook where the doors are?
  • Decorate.
  • Enjoy.

 

Gross Grout

5 people read my blog on a regular basis.  Five.  I spell it out so you know that’s not a typo.  You, one of the five.  So it’s really silly that I type this like it’s some sort of big shot blog, but I like to cover my bases.  With that said, nobody paid me for this post or any other (seriously though, where do I sign up for that?  Cash money.)   Not a dime is made from this blog.  I actually make negative money when you think about the time I put into it means time I am not getting paid for my actual real job.

Rejuvenate White Grout Restorer Marker Pens

Rejuvenate White Grout Restorer Marker Pens

You may have heard me say the word gross..or disgusting.. or dirty before in reference to our house and specifically in reference to our kitchen.  We love our little first home.  It gets more perfect everyday.  However, it really was filthy when we moved in and some things refuse to come clean.  Like the white grout in our kitchen.  So one day early on after moving in I was in our Second Home (Depot) and discovered these bad boys right here.

They’re about $6 for two of them and I love them.  I should tell you I ruined the first one.  Completely utterly destroyed it trying to grasp a technique that works well.  If you have ever used a paint marker, you know something about these.  In fact, I can’t specifically say these aren’t just paint markers marketed for a specific purpose.  I don’t have any inclination of what makes them special to use on grout.  But I bought them and love them and would totally buy them again.

Let me tell you about some tips I picked up while ruining the first marker.

The package says to press in the tip to get the paint flow.  Yes, that’s a great idea.  But a bad idea is to press it into the grout to get the paint to flow.  That will eventually destroy the tip and you will end up like I did with a 3/4 of the way full marker and no tip to use it with.  Luckily I had enough with my second pen and I never ruined it, but learn from me just in case you have much more grout than I do.

I eventually worked out a system.  It consists of finding something that you can stick the pen into when you are using it to store it point down.  Mine was a fancy trivet thing that I don’t use as a trivet.  It has a little hole in it that the capped marker fit perfectly in.

Got your trivet like thing?  Great.  Now, start by cleaning your grout.  Always clean everything.  It sucks, just do it.  I hate cleaning and I did it so you can manage.

Once you’re clean and dry (and so is your grout), then get your pen and some sort of rag you don’t mind ruining.  I happen to have a gigantic pack of lint free cloths that we bought when we painted the cabinets, so I used one of those.

Grab your pen and shake it like a salt shaker shake it like a salt shaker shake it like a salt shaker (I know not a single other line from that song).  Once you are convinced your paint is flowing well, press the tip into the rag gently.  I’d say gently as if you were popping a pimple (just keeping it real) or squeezing a grape, but not like you hate the pen or it threw a drink in your face or perhaps works for Fox News.   You’ll see the paint start flowing out on your cloth.

Once you can visibly see the paint, run the marker gently (don’t press too hard – just hard enough) over the grout either until the paint stops flowing or you’ve done about a square foot of grout.  You don’t want to do too much painting at once because if it dries, you can’t get it off.  As far as running the marker over the grout, I found that dragging it down the tile so that the fibers in the tip weren’t pushed against themselves worked best. To say it another way, if you look at that picture of the hand holding the pen in the product picture – holding the marker like that, drag down, DON’T PUSH UP – NEVER UP, so as to maintain the pen tip.

Now you’ve got your square foot of paint done or however much you just did (hey maybe you don’t listen and you just read random blogs to not follow their advice), put your marker cap back on and place it in your little trivet hole so that the ink can follow gravity towards the tip.  Take your throwaway towel and wipe off the paint that got everywhere but your grout.  I found that if I put light pressure on the rag and just ran it on the grout lines, the paint genuinely stuck to the grout but came off of everything else.  Every once in awhile, I had to focus in and really detail get the paint off the tile. Generally tho, the quick wipe was all I need.

Once you get the paint off the tile, pick the pen up again and give it a couple shakes and then run it over more grout.  You may need to press the tip into the rag every once in awhile, but once I got into the rhythm  I really did not do that often.  I found letting it rest tip down while I cleaned up the excess paint was the most helpful at keeping the process rolling.

Also, I am 27 years old and I still can’t spell rhythm.  Thank god for spell check.

So here’s the side by side I snapped while I was doing the worst part (directly above the st0ve).  The black thing to the top of the pic is our exhaust fan.  The grey is the cabinet to the upper right of the stove.  And just in case I have to point it out, the gross orange is how the grout started out before the paint and the white is the after.  It’s not perfect brand new looking white in these really awful parts like the area in the picture, but I think it still looks pretty incredible.

Grout Side by Side

Grout Side by Side

Not bad for $6 and a couple hours of work.  Granted it’s work that some people would find tedious.  But I think the after makes it gratifying.  I don’t know if I have any parks & recs fans out there in the 5 of you that read this, but if not, really get on that.  Its incredible.  Anyhow, there’s a scene where they have to stuff envelopes and Jerry finds out he’s really relaxed by mundane repetitious tasks.  Me too, Jerry, me too.

I still have a small part of the grout to do in the back corner behind the sink. I just can’t reach it comfortably.  So when we take the sink out (again) to redo the countertops (again), I am going to pop myself up in the sink-hole and get that back part.  Why endure the back and neck pain to do it before then?

So all in all, I seriously seriously recommend these pens.  It’s really gratifying and worth the time.  It’s very easy.  Very affordable.  Just do it!

I’d add the kitchen list & update it.. but this was never on the list so.. bonus! ha

 

 

Let there be light!

One of the things on kitchen-checklist-mania is to replace the undercabinet light that is above the sink.  It’s not a terrible light persay.  It’s great to have light there.  However, it is disgusting and dirty and while I could probably scrub it clean, it hums.  The humming is mindnumbing and drives me insane.  So the fix?  Kevin replaced it with an IKEA light we had hanging in our super dark apartment closet before we bought this house.  It’s just been hanging out on the floor of our basement.  So free fix!

Under-cabinet Light

Under-cabinet Light

I know that’s a ridiculously exciting picture… but it’s actually quite nice to be able to turn on a light there and not immediately regret it.  The little things!  Let there be light! Pun Pun Pun!

Update:

  • Prime, paint, and seal the cabinets. (we opted to not seal)
  • Buy new hardware and add it to the cabinets (duh)
  • Paint the walls and ceiling
  • Re-do the countertop (either paint or re-laminate)
  • Re-redo the countertop again (surprise surprise!)
  • Replace the floor
  • Finally finish installing the big light (it needs a sealing gasket thing installed, but we couldn’t find it for awhile lol)
  • Replace the under cabinet light
  • Find a permanent solution for the trash and recycle bins (on our way!)
  • Make the upper corner shelf open shelving (just have to add the shelves back in – more on that later)
  • Paint the new open shelving in the corner
  • Possibly replace the above-window light
  • Add some sort of curtains to the window and the door
  • Strip and repair the doors to the outside and to the basement
  • Paint the doors to the outside and the basement
  • Bright high gloss white paint on the trim and doors
  • Create a family command center on the big open wall that includes a calendar, mail center, meal planner, and anything else we may find useful.
  • Add a light in the little nook where the doors are?
  • Decorate.
  • Enjoy.