Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Year in Review

It's that time of year again, and for my own reasons I feel the need to make a list (new year's organizational tendencies kicking in) of things worthy of being in our 'Year in Review':

1. We decided to sell our house, bucking the trend of our usual claim of 'we might sell the house'. And we sold it in a week.

2. We worked like crazy people to finish our house so we could sell it: tiling an entranceway; renovating the master bathroom and powder room; and painting every single door, window and piece of moulding.

3. We bought a dining room table that we both love (and now it's in storage).

4. We went to Seattle for my birthday, and did the same for Trevor's birthday.

5. I started my letterform collection.

6. I sewed my first quilt (wonky, but who's counting?).

7. We bought a house, and inherited a huge mess.

I'm not one for making resolutions, but I have big hopes and dreams this year of moving out of our cramped trailer and into our house. We've got 365 days to make it happen!

(Image snagged from here.)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry, Merry

This is as festive as we're getting this year, throwing some mini lights and the odd ornament around the reno shelf. Here's hoping next year will be different!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Frosty Sunrise

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Lights

Christmas lights were a challenge this year. In past years, I've channelled my inner exterior illumination demon (usually takes the form of Martha Stewart with an extra shot of OCD holding a light pole) to put up Christmas lights. Not so this year.

This will be known as the year where I got owned by our new yard.

The light pole (for stringing lights into trees) snapped in the autumn, so this explains why none of our lights make it over the 6 foot mark. Also challenging is our power situation (being drawn off our trailer, which is known for shorting out if you run the microwave and toaster at the same time).

And this explains why it looks like a crazy person ran in circles weaving through trees, fencing, and the odd birdbath.*

(*and it took me a week to convince myself to live with it and not to go out there and fix it. I think the freezing temperatures might have had a hand in this.)

At one point I just threw it over a branch and ran towards the fence.

If you stop and cover your eyes just the right way, it does look pretty. I think. Maybe.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

9 Christmas Gift Ideas for DIYers

We've been renovating for a while (years) and over that time I've found that there are certain tools that get used over and over, or just make a job easier. So I figured I'd sprinkle a little glitter over these items and suggest them as gift ideas for DIYers:Rigid Wet/Dry Vac
We have this vacuum and it rocks my world. It has lots of power (a must for me, I don't want to mess around) and a large diameter hose. So far I've used it to suck up gravel, dog kibble (from the ceiling), small chunks of blown-in insulation (complete with rat poop, YUCK), drywall dust and all sorts of other goodies.
This is Trevor's go-to tool. He's got a ton of screwdrivers, but this allows him to just carry one tool instead of running back and forth and searching for the right screwdriver.
Crappy paintbrushes just make for more work. I'm a fan of the Purdy brushes because they keep their shape and don't get those bristles that decide they no longer want to be part of the group and fly off to the left or right. They make painting trim slightly more enjoyable.

I get a bit intimidated with air tools, but a little brad nailer is a piece of cake to use, and fairly lightweight (compared to a framing nailer, which I won't touch because I get the shaky jello arms).
A DIY staple, and I particularly enjoy the green (!) with this Hitachi model.
I have these exact gloves and they're great for protecting your hands. I used to use the bulky leather gloves and I'd rather set fire to them than use them again.
So handy for cushioning your knees, and the straps are thick enough so you don't feel like you're being sliced with knives behind your knees (my cheaper ones did this, even through pants).
Stop buying the cheapy-cheap caulking guns! (This one is around $5, so not bad.) We have a cheapy-cheap model and I can't stand using it -- the trigger sticks and it's uncomfortable to hold -- which increases caulking rage.
Trevor's handier than me with tools, but I'm his assistant. One of the pains of being an assistant is always hunting down tools and passing them to your handier partner. With a tool belt I get hassled less and tools don't go missing (as much).

Monday, December 7, 2009

Exterior planning

So far we've had the fascia boards replaced, new roof put on and gutters installed (hurrah!). Windows have arrived and are waiting to be installed. Here's the grand plan for each side of the house.

The south side of the house, also home to the kitchen and two bedrooms upstairs:

The north side of the house, with the family room below (the window seat will be under the large window at the bottom). The green door (of course) is where the mud room will be. We're adding a window upstairs in the master bedroom, which will have a nice view looking out to the pond (ps - check out our awesome appliance storage!):

I'm not a huge fan of the back of the house, it reminds me of a tall, stacked building -- really boxy and boring (and so different from the cottage look of the front). I want to do something different with the deck on the back (eventually), it's fairly shallow and I'd like to see it made a little more interesting (which always means more money). The bottom level on the left hand side with the double doors will be my studio, on the main level is the kitchen and mud room window, and on the top floor (left to right) a bedroom, the main bathroom and we're removing the window from the master bedroom to make way for the walk-in closet that will be there:

Friday, December 4, 2009

The night the tent blew away

The one that made it.

With all the crazy storms that have come rolling in lately, (and the fact that we don't have any good places to store things) we had a few casualties. The major one besides power/water/heat loss was our poor storage tent. We have two, one that made it, and the other that didn't.

It up and left during the night, and coincidentally, Trevor had a dream that night that it had blown away so he got up to look out the window, and lo and behold it had taken flight. It wasn't like we just sat the tent on the grass, Trevor had pounded rebar into the ground to hold it down -- but Mother Nature just laughed at that and flung them out like bent toothpicks.

The tent managed to drift/tumble/gracefully take flight to this location, and not the ravine further back:

Boo tent! Boo Mother Nature!!

Here's the really sad part, because of all the rain, we haven't been able to get back out to resurrect it to it's former glory (and pound in double the rebar, and then say 'screw you' Mother Nature). Luckily we weren't actually storing anything in it yet (another issue altogether).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Because everyone could use a little duck bum in their day