I Totally Made This

A Brag Post.

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Here. We. Go.

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On Sunday, I took Kevin to his first regular season NFL game.  We bought the tickets before the season started, so it was before we realized it’d be two teams out of the playoffs.  But we still had a great time!  (I didn’t know the Steelers could not be in the playoffs?? how is that possible?  ugh.)  I am bummed because these circumstances means Kev still didn’t get the complete experience as the stadium was half empty and mostly quiet.  My favorite part about going to games is how loud it is and how the crowd overcomes you.  But any game I get to go to feels like the super bowl to me.. so it was still an amazing time!

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)!

A “taste” of what’s to come

I’m so punny.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled kitchen updates for a preview into what I hope is Kevin’s addition to this blog!  He “claims” he’d like to add about his homebrewing to this blog, so to get him started, I uploaded the ridiculous homevideo of us both trying his first batch for the very first time.  Cue awkward dog scenes!

Small Changes Out Front

…that may some day have flowers.

The last owner(s) of our home had hired a professional landscaper to take care of their grass cutting needs.  The grass was a beautiful emerald green when we took the keys in March.  It was perfectly trimmed and edged without a weed in sight.  That was March… it’s now September (holy crap) and it totally doesn’t look like that anymore.  It was a hot summer and things happen.

In May, we started doing some yard work, itching to get outside and into shorts.  It quickly became evident that this was not the summer of outdoor labor for us as temperatures got to the triple digits here in Western PA.  Naturally, before we realized how hot it was going to be, we started ripping things apart with big plans for beautiful flowers to greet us and our guests.

I mentioned how nice the lawn was.  Key to this story is not the lawn, but the front garden under our big living room window.  It was ugly.  Things weren’t planted right and they definitely were not taken care of properly.  It was a sad story out front and it didn’t make me happy.  Still in my YAY SUMMER mindset, blissfully unaware of how sweaty and miserable I would soon become, I vowed to make it a much more inviting front flower garden.  Here’s the before (from our very first house tour)…

House on First Tour

House on First Tour

Here’s a close up of just the front garden.  It’s a really great picture that I slaved to make sure was the perfect white balance and everything as I am known to do.  Just kidding, I just took the previous picture and cropped it close in on the garden.  Enjoy.

Bush Closeup

Bush Closeup

Photography awards I will not win.

But, as you may possibly be able to see, there wasn’t much to love about this front garden.  Half-dead bushes, no color, no structure, all blah.

I took a shovel and dug up the bushes, most of them were falling apart and dead.  Three of them looked like they may be able to be revived.  The roots of those three bushes were still shaped like a pot so I sprayed them with the waterhose and tried to unclump the dirt around them.  Then I just took them back and planted them around our fence.  Months later, they still look exactly the same, so I don’t think thats a good sign.  Wait, no thats a lie, Kevin mowed over one of them, so two of them look the same, the other is just a stump.

So what did we do with this space?  A whole lot of nothing really.  After ripping the plants out, I started hand-tilling it with a shovel.  Basically, I would just shovel up a clump of dirt and then dump it someplace else, then stab it with the shovel a couple times to break it up.  I did this for about an hour and had managed to move around the dirt in about 3 square feet.  It was exhausting. Then, something was donated by the in-laws…

International Harvester

International Harvester

Yep! A tiller!  It threw Kevin around a lot… I have a video of it, but it was after he had basically gotten the hang of it, so it’s not nearly as entertaining as watching him learn.  This little 3hp workhorse made the job much much easier though.  Soon enough we had freshly tilled soil.  Kevin tilled in some peat and it was soft and lush and beautiful.  The next day, we got to work moving some random stones that weren’t serving any purpose around the back yard, until…VOILA!

New front flowerbed

New front flowerbed

It doesn’t look like much here, but once there is grass around it and some flowers in it, it will look amazing.  That’s right, we started this in May and it’s still empty. Well that’s only kinda true.  The part that is supposed to be grass is full of weeds (we’re awesome).  As for the interior of the bed, Kevin dumped multiple (I think around 5..seriously) boxes of old wild flower seeds into it before we left for vacation.  There may be one flower growing in there now.  It may be a weed.  We bought some gladiolas bulbs to put in it, and the end goal is to have it full of perennials so each year theres beautiful color out front with only weeding+mulching work to be done.  Really, the less work the better.. we kinda have our hands full.

Have you started any projects thinking they’d be quick and easy only to be foiled by the elements?

 

 

 

The Case of the One-Sided Window

On one of our multiple visits to our new home before closing, somebody noticed that there were windows visible from the outside with no trace of them on the inside.  From the walkway to the patio, you could see two glass block windows, one on each side of the chimney.  From the inside, nothing framed the fireplace.  My father-in-law asked me if I’d like windows there and I replied.. well, why not.  So he got immediately on that…

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As you can see, he actually just poked a hole in the wall and stared into it before covering it up with masking tape.  I think I even have a picture of him and my hubs doing just that.  He promises the window boxes are on the way and it’s a fun thing to tease him over.  So for now, we just have masking tape painted to our wall, but I believe him that one day he’ll deliver and we will have light boxes.  Until then, let the teasing continue.

Wait… aren’t there windows there?

I can’t seem to find a picture of it, but on one of the few tours before ever closing on our home, we realized there were glass block windows visible from the outside, but not on the inside.  You can see them on each side of the chimney from the outside, but when you come inside, theres no trace of them framing in the fireplace.  My father-in-law asked, “would you like windows there?” to which I replied.. well why not!

Let me show you the beautiful windows he framed in for us…

 

Window Hole Up Close

Window Hole Up Close

Window Hole from Afar

Window Hole from Afar

Yeah, so it’s not quite windows yet… which is the running family joke.  We like to give Kev’s dad a hard time about it, but we do appreciate that maybe, someday there will be windows there.  After all this time talking about them, I sure do hope we like them haha