Jun 29, 2015

23 hours of hard work later ...

This was officially my last full weekend of work at the new house before we move, because we'll be traveling to and from the beach over the next two weekends.

I wanted to make it count, so I spent every possible hour there Saturday and Sunday. My three priorities -- even though I still have many other things on my "list" -- were to finish the gazebo ceiling, stain and seal the upstairs cedar wall, and seal the upper cabinets in the garage.


When we last left the gazebo, I'd started to paint the ceiling shades of light blue and grey. (I KNOW IT ALL LOOKS LIKE ONE COLOR.) Once I'd gotten all the paint on three of the panels, I decided I liked it better with a few of the boards left natural. So I sanded it back off the last ones I'd painted.

Well. Then they didn't look the same as the ones that hadn't been painted at all. So I either had to go ahead and paint the ones I hadn't painted yet -- only to sand the paint back off -- or decide that I could be happy with it the way it was.

I tried to be happy with it the way it was. GUESS HOW LONG THAT LASTED. One week. That's how long that lasted. Technically, quite a bit shorter than that, since we don't even live there yet. It was really more like an hour.

Saturday I painted the rest of the panels, then sanded the paint back off. Internet. Have you ever. I mean, the whole thing just about drove me nuts.

After I got done with that, I moved upstairs to the kids' loft, where we have that new wall of cedar. Here's what it looked like when it was newly installed.

I'd purchased four shades of Minwax stains that I'd tested on scrap pieces of cedar in the garage, and I started putting the first one on random pieces on the wall.

At the end of Saturday night, this is what it looked like.

I wasn't going for anything really drastic ... just some variation in the wood tones. It did take me about six hours Saturday and then another six hours yesterday to get the entire wall stained and sealed, so it was a LOT of work for maybe not a lot of intense results.

I spent a good bit of time about 12 feet up in the air on this ladder, which was leaned against that wall because the legs couldn't spread out on the steps:

Good thing I'm not afraid of heights.

In the end, I added the darkest stain I had -- which I wasn't sure I was going to use -- in a few spots. It looks better in person than it does in this picture, probably because I took this with my phone at night.

This might be a little truer sense of the colors ... I don't know. I'll attempt to get better pictures in the daylight with my nice camera soon.

Regardless, I'm glad it's something I tackled myself. My painters wanted $1,400 to do it. Um, nope.

Let me tell you something, Internet. Before I started this on Saturday, I'd never stained anything in my life. All I did was read the directions on the can.

Saving $1,400 can be a very motivating factor.

Jun 26, 2015

A final look at the house for the week

As the week wraps up, the painters are almost finished with what they can accomplish at the moment -- meaning, the interior rooms of the house.


They still need to paint the garages and the laundry room, but those areas are still full of building materials and furniture that have yet to be installed, so until we make some more progress on that side of things, the painters have some time off to go earn money somewhere else.

I'll be adding a Paint Color post to my Home/DIY page once everything is finished so you'll always be able to go there to refer to it if you have questions about the paint colors in our house. And when I post the rooms when they're finally furnished, I'll give you sources for the furniture and accessories when I have them. For now, I'm just gonna say, "THIS ROOM IS FINALLY PAINTED."

Nick and Jake's room is now blue. This picture is a couple of days old ... the baseboards are now shiny-white ... not spattered with blue.

The boys' bathroom (which all three will share) is now light grey ... there's no natural light in there, so it's really hard to get a decent picture of it. Especially with a cell phone. I'll try to do better with my big camera once we move in -- you're just gonna have to take my word that it doesn't look as institutional in person as it does in this picture. And of course artwork will liven it up.

Nathaniel's room is green, which I love against the dark grey doors. (The blue in the other boys' room looks great with the dark grey doors, too.) I hesitated for a millisecond before committing to the dark grey doors, but I LOVE them. ADORE them. Now that the walls are painted, I am so glad I went with my gut and didn't shy away from the bolder choice here.

This is the view out Nathaniel's window ... he looks out over the firepit and the trampoline area. It's hard to tell from this vantage point, but the firepit area is built up about 18 inches, and the trampoline area about three feet.

Amelia's room is light grey with the board-and-batten wainscoting that I love so much. It's identical to her room at our current house, but the doors of course are dark and the carpet will be a little darker.

This is her bathroom after one coat of grey paint ... it now has two or three. SUCH an improvement over the busy wallpaper that was there before!

I know I've already shown you her light fixtures, but that flower one. GAH. We just have to look at it one more time.

The master bathroom is still a work-in-progress, but it's coming along nicely. My painter seriously questioned my sanity when I told him I wanted the ceiling in there painted blue. NO REGRETS.

Obviously when I took these, the finish work wasn't complete around the top of the shower, and they hadn't cut back in and painted the crown. But now they have, and I'm totally happy with it.

I chose a beveled subway tile -- not the standard subway -- and the way it catches and reflects light is really nice.

For the shower floor, I chose a one-inch hexagonal Carrara marble. I would love to have used this in more places throughout the house, but it's prohibitively expensive. This little area will be much-loved!

Again, nothing had been cleaned when I took these pictures, so there's grout and haze all over the tiles. Sorry. I just figured you'd rather see A post today than a PERFECT post today.

More of the herringbone Carrara is going up in the kitchen for the backsplash ... it's not grouted yet, so you can't get the full effect. But it should be next week!

Just yesterday and day before, the blue went up on the walls in there.

As is the case with just about every paint in the world, the blue looks bluer, greyer and greener depending on which part of the room you're in. But I love the way it looks against the trim white and the new cedar beams in particular.

Last but not least, I promised you some better pictures of the yard now that the landscaping is in place. Here's the firepit from another angle:

We have four coordinating vintage-style chairs to put together this weekend that will finish out this area.

You can see the various sprinklers and hoses I have snaking around the lawn, trying to keep my sod alive in these 95-degree temperatures we've been having.

And I've now hired my friend Lisa's sons to come every morning or evening and water the shrubs individually, because they've just been suffering. If I don't get over there every single night after work and give each of them a good watering, the next day they've already started to shrivel.

Just watering the bushes takes me (by myself) about 45 minutes, so having them take on the bushes and turning on the sprinklers to help the sod -- which I rotate when I get there after work -- is helping a lot.

If no one's told you, taking care of newly planted sod and shrubs -- ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU DON'T LIVE AT THE HOUSE YET -- is a lot like having a new puppy.

But once everything's established and we get past the heat of the summer, it will be much easier to maintain. Also, ONCE WE MOVE IN, sheer proximity will help.

Okay, that's it for this week. It's hard to believe, but if we stay on schedule (don't jinx us now!), this weekend will be my last weekend to work at the house before we move. Our annual beach trip is coming up, which will take me out of commission for two weekends, and then it's Go Time.

Keep your fingers and toes crossed for us!

Jun 24, 2015

Sometimes it's the little things

One of the things I've done at our current house over the many years we've lived here is paint the insides of our cabinets and drawers white.

The cabinet doors and drawer fronts are real wood, but the cabinet boxes themselves ... I'm not sure. They might be closer to fiberboard or MDF. At any rate, they absorb a lot of moisture and they absorb ALL THE LIGHT.

The only two cabinets that I hadn't managed to get to with my paintbrush were the ones under our master bathroom sinks -- and a few weeks ago when we had our countertop replaced in there, I had my opportunity.

Here was my cave-like side before:

And Grayson's:

I'd thought it would be the same quick process the other cabinets had been, but because our plumbing had just been disconnected, there were some damp spots on each side. I had to get some fans out and blow them dry for about 24 hours before I could even start.

Then I just took my leftover trim paint and brushed on two good coats, using the fan to help dry them in between.

Shoulda caulked, too. Didn't.

I still had some shelfpaper leftover from when I did the pantry and island shelves, so I used some of that to finish it off.

It didn't reach all the way to the back, but I don't think anyone will be looking back there with a magnifying glass.

If you've got any dark, dingy cabinets or drawers, I highly recommend brightening them up with white paint. It's so much easier to find things in there, and it's just a whole different vibe in there.

Jun 22, 2015

Slices of Life, Vol. 50

Reading the SuperWhy book The Little Red Hen to Amelia one night:

Me: "The Little Red Hen asked all of her friends to help her make cornbread so she could feed her hungry chicks, but all of her friends said 'No.' "

Me: "AMELIA! It's so rude of Little Red Hen's friends to tell her they won't help her make cornbread for her chicks! Why do you think they told her 'No'?"

* * * * * * *

Jake was telling me a story recently, and it contained a lot of detail.

Me: "Jakey, you have such a vivid imagination."

Jake: "What does 'vivid' mean?"

Me: "Lots of detail, really clear. It's impressive."

Jake: "OH, like Emmett had a really vivid imagination and that's how he got to be a mastah buildah."

Me: "Exactly. Emmett had a vivid imagination, just like you do. YOU could be a master builder one day, too."

Jake: "Well, ALL of the mastah buildahs had good imaginations, but they only got a fweeting gwimpse of the big picture ... but EMMETT got to see the the WHOLE picture."

* * * * * * * 

Playing outside with Amelia the evening of grandmother's funeral:

Amelia: "I'm hungry."

Me: "I am, too. Do you want to go inside and eat supper?"

Amelia: "Nope. You're still having fun with me."

 * * * * * * *

On the way back to Grandmother's house after her funeral, I could hear Amelia singing something in the backseat but couldn't quite make out the words.

Me: "Amelia, what are you singing?"

Amelia: "Gigi got old and then she died, Gigi got old and then she died ..."

* * * * * * *

Me, to Grayson: "Did you get my text?"

Grayson: "No, what did it say?"

Nathaniel & Nick: "What'd it say?"

Amelia: "WHAT IT SAY, MOM?"

Jake: "Did it say you're having another baby?!"

Me: "NO. I wouldn't text Daddy that."

Nathaniel: "Yeah, you'd Instagram it and THEN you'd text him."

* * * * * * * 

At the end of supper one night when Jake had slowed down his pace noticeably:

Me: "Jake, are you full?"

Jake: "Not my dessert stomach."

* * * * * * * 

My animal lover Amelia was watching squirrels play in the front yard through the storm door.

Amelia: "I wanna go out and pway wiff the sqows."

Me: "Well, I think if we go out there, they'll probably run away. It's probably best if we watch them from here."

Amelia: "Why would day wun fwom me?"

Me: "Because they don't know you. You're a stranger to them."

Amelia:  {sweetly}  "DAY CAN CAW ME UH-MEE-LEE-UH."

* * * * * * * 

Nathaniel: "Mommy, can we PLEASE go camping sometime soon? As a FAMILY?"

Me: "Hmm. We'll see."

Nathaniel: "I really want us to all go TOGETHER."

Me: "The thing about camping is ..."  [trying to come up with a not-ugly description]  "... it just seems so ... HORRIBLE."

Nathaniel: "Well, it has the POTENTIAL to be horrible. But if everything goes as planned, it's great!"

* * * * * * *

On June 16, in the car:

Jake: "Mommy, how did it get to be halfway thwew the ye-uh alweady?"

Me:  [sigh]  "I don't know, buddy ... Time flies."

Jake:  [thoughtfully]  "Hmm. It weally does. Even when I'm not having fun."

 * * * * * * *

Bonus Material: As I was putting this post together, I realized I didn't have a single Slice saved to attribute to Nick. That's crazy! I don't know how I missed him this time around, but I certainly don't want you to miss him in pictures, so here are a few of him and his Dimples. And one of all four kids together for good measure.

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