Wednesday, June 29, 2011

time off.

We've taken this week (and probably next) off from doing work around the house but James wanted to make sure everyone knew that he helped out with yard work last weekend.  Well, he helped after some cheerios - and after all of the hard stuff was done.  He learned that strategy from me.

With a full tummy, he was finally ready to help...

I have a black thumb so I don't know what kinds of flowers are in the following pictures.  All I know is they are growing like crazy in the back yard and they look purrrdy.

Oh yeh, and James met a few chickens.  And no, they are not ours.
Exciting stuff, I know.  As not to overwhelm, I'll wrap this up now.  TTFN.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

rainy saturday

We planned on getting up early and cleaning the yard.  We woke up to rain so plans changed.  While waiting for better yard-work-conditions, we decided to get rid of some of the 1970's in our kitchen.  45 minutes later...

I would like to thank the wallpaper gawds for allowing us to pull this crap off the walls so easily.

Now we just need to re-do the cabinets, tile the backsplash, paint the walls, replace the countertops, replace the floor, and buy new appliances.  For now, the sun is starting to peek through so it's back to our original plan for the day.  Boo.

Monday, June 20, 2011

month one.

We've only been in the house for a month and it already feels like so much has changed since the day that we moved in

Here are a few interior changes:

Living Room:

The walls were painted, we hung curtains, stained the tv stand, got a new sectional, got a new rug, and finally got around to framing and hanging a few pictures...

The walls were painted, we replaced the light fixture, brought in our furniture and hung a few pictures...

James' Room:

The walls were painted, his furniture was moved in, we bought a new rug, and I replaced the old lace curtains with navy blue roman shades.  Now we just have to hang his frames on the walls and get some closet doors!

Most of our sweat has been poured into the outside of the house.  I should point out that my Mum has put just as much - if not more - time as us into the yard.  We've spent hours removing the pool and chopping down unwanted vines, briars, and branches but she has volunteered several of her afternoons to haul away much of our "debris".  We pay her by letting her watch James 3 days a week.

First, our pool was removed...

Next, we ripped out half of the vines/briars/brush that was growing uncontrollably in the back left corner of our yard.  It was crawling it's way up the surrounding trees and strangling them to near death.  For now, we have a 25ft. sandbox in our backyard.  We plan on putting a small stone patio down and then laying grass to cover the remaining portion of the yard.  That big tree in the middle of the picture below is what is rotted and needs to be removed - eventually.  We still have a lot of brush to get rid of on this side of the yard, obviously.  We're holding off on ripping the other briar patch out because there is an egg filled bird's nest inside.   Oh, and the drum barrel...we use that to cook...marshmallows?  No, town fire department, we wouldn't dare burn anything outside of the designated burn season!

We also started to rip out some more briars/vines from the back right corner of the yard.  The vines that are wrapping around these trees are even larger and stronger than the ones on the other side of the yard...

The next project I want to tackle is our bedroom.  Or maybe the main bathroom.  Or maybe the kitchen.  Arrgh.  The bedroom will probably be the least expensive of those options so I should probably focus my energy there.  (Although its getting more and more difficult to ignore the kitchen wallpaper and cabinets and bathroom sponge paint everyday.)  While we're saving up for bedroom furniture, we should be able to spruce up our room with a coat of paint, some new curtains, and a treatment on the back wall to mask the small, off-centered window.  For now, I guess I should just work on trying to figure out which piles of my laundry are clean and which are dirty.

And just because he cracks me up...

Thursday, June 9, 2011


As mentioned in a previous post, I had been looking for a black and white stripped area rug but hadn't had much luck.  Sites like Overstock have decent selections of rugs but nothing struck my eye - at least nothing within my budget.  I'm a member of - a website that offers products at up to 70% off retail.  The daily selection is usually pretty random and consists of anything from cutlery to furniture to artwork.  It’s free to sign up for access to their site so give it a whirl!  If anything, it’s fun to browse through their interesting selection of pieces from up-and-coming designers, unique artisans, and even well known companies.

No, I don’t work for but I DID purchase a living room rug from the site.  The rug we chose retails for over $1,000 but we got it for $310 – and that includes shipping.  And it’s an 8x10.  Even a thin 8x10 from Ikea would set you back over $300.  Needless to say, I jumped on it.  It wasn’t a striped rug that I had previously been searching for but it was black and white and had a classic pattern – houndstooth.  Like our sectional, men’s-suiting-inspired patterns tickle my fancy.  It hasn't arrived yet but I'm crossing my fingers and toes that it "goes" with our room.   Eh, if not, they offer free returns.  Until the rug arrives, here's a little taste of our new purchase:
We also hung a few pictures up on the bare wall behind the sectional.  James is already developing a hint of narcissism and looooves looking at himself.  If he is sitting with us on the couch, he practically does an owlish head spin just so he can get a glimpse of his picture on the wall.  If he is in his little wheely-chair-thingy, he will scoot across the room just to get a better view of his picture.  Despite being a little under the weather this week, he smiles and giggles each time he looks at it.  It’s pretty funny/weird.  Here is a pic of James enjoying his visit to the doctor and a pic of some pics. (Both are taken with my bberry so not the best quality.  Deal with it.  Oh, and the urine sample cup that James is playing with is clean and un-used so don't call DSS on me.)

We’ve also been doing more clean up in the backyard.  We don’t have much time to get anything accomplished during the week after James goes to bed and before the mosquitoes invade our space but we’re chipping away at it.  We got one of the huge briar bushes ripped out – no easy feat.  We started burning a bunch of the crap in a large drum barrel but the weather has been too hot/dry so we didn't burn much in fear of a spark getting away from us into the woods and burning the town down.  So, the briars are still in a heap waiting to be burned or dumped - but at least they're one step closer to being out of our life.  That also exposed the base of the giant pine tree – and exposed the fact that it had been attacked by termites and/or carpenter ants.  I don’t know how the tree is still standing and producing greenery at the top but it’s gotta go.  There are still more briars to be pulled out but Joe was yelled at by momma bird for getting too close to her nest full of eggs so we will probably hold off a bit longer to rip that bush out. There's way too much going on back there but I will try to organize some pictures to share at another time.

An area rug and a pile of dead briars doesn’t sound like much but it’s progress to us – especially considering the lack of any substantial time blocks that we’ve had to dedicate to the new house.  We'll continue to use any spare minutes we have to chip away at the yard before we lose the energy and enthusiasm to do so! 

Aside from the yard, a few other things on our semi-immediate agenda are:
  • get wood burning insert installed
  • build console table - to separate sofa from dining area and to provide another space for storage and lighting (and depending on how that turns out, maybe a smaller matching table to serve as a desk on the empty wall in the dining area?)
  • hang new roman shades in James' room
  • hang pictures/art in James' room
  • make a drapery wall in our bedroom
  • lose 50lbs.
...and on our not-so immediate agenda:
  • paint and tweak kitchen cabinets
  • remove wall paper and paint kitchen
  • install new counters and backsplash in kitchen
  • build a headboard
  • do something about our ugly bedroom
  • do something about our ugly downstairs bathroom
  • do something about our ugly upstairs bathroom
  • add a full dormer to the back of the house
  • lose the 50lbs. that I put off losing from the other to-do-list
Check back in 2021 to see if half of this stuff has been accomplished.

Friday, June 3, 2011

the bird is the word

As you might already know, I hate birds.  There's something about those little beady eyes and jerky head motions that creep me out.  I always catch birds looking at me and I just know they're thinking about dive bombing and pecking my eyes out.  Totally rational, I know.  Several years ago I was in Piazza San Marco, Venice and found myself surrounded by, what felt to be, millions of pigeons.  Yeh, I almost had a mental breakdown.

Anyways, last night James and I were playing on the floor of his room when I spotted a little bird right outside of his window.  Normally I would have just flicked the window to scare it away but I'm attempting to conquer my fears rather than pass them onto my child.  So, I grabbed my camera and started to take a picture of the bird on the other side of the window pane.

Here's the backside of the flying rat.  Oddly enough, the pattern of feathers on it's back seem to form the shape of a face.
The little fella even turned to give me a nice profile shot.

...and started showing off by opening it's mouth.  I think it was just taunting me at this point.

It even started to make some weird, gurgling noises...

I had one eye closed while looking through the viewfinder of my camera so I didn't see anything other than what was in the frame.  All of a sudden, I realized that the bird wasn't making noises at me...
I was pretty startled so juggled my camera and missed a few frames but it was just about 10 seconds of these two pecking each other...

I'm not sure if the brown bird is a baby cardinal and it was feeding time or if they were fighting - but I didn't see any worms being transferred into it's mouth.  I think my exclamation "holy shit!" broke up the altercation and eventually they both flew away.  (Sidenote:  I'm working on not passing my fears onto my child and will work on not swearing in front of him next.)

So, there's your ornithological piece for today.