Archive | March, 2012

I’ve Made Up My Mind…. I Think

March 31, 2012

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I’m going to finish the living room this year, Lord willing. This is easier than ripping out rooms and rebuilding them, but it’s still no easy task. The hardest and lengthiest job will be building the built-in bookshelf units. I have never done anything remotely like it, so I must study up and find some good plans. It involves precision carpentry which, I admit, is not my forte. I have little patience for slicing and dicing dove joints and picayune stiles, so…. I may go with some stock cabinetry pieces if I can find some cheap enough. My local store sometimes sells defective or broken units which are easy to repair.

newdesk1

I got this cabinetry very inexpensively. It doesn't look pretty yet because the set is not complete, but it's a start.

I also plan to move the gas fireplace unit to a better location. I will create a nice fireplace box and mantle and The Hubs will reroute the gas lines. I’ll paint the walls, the trim, and sew curtains (I’ve had the material for a year!). I’ll install carpeting (first time for this) and *hopefully* get new furniture. All we have is hand-me-downs (one huge couch and a broken but beautiful wing chair). There will finally be enough storage space and organized working space for all the home office, school stuff and all the computer stuff. The more I think about it, the more excited I am getting!

Of course, nothing is budgeted yet! I will have to take it on a pay-by-pay basis. That’s how I did the kitchen in 2010. So I have to make a list of needs and then start bargain hunting at the scrap yards. It’s amazing how much money you can save in the “dent and ding” aisle!

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Renovation Season Off To a Slow Start

March 31, 2012

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Spring is faking us out. We had some snow last night, and it’s been chilly today. This after 80 degree temps and a yard full of blooming plants!

Oh well, such is New York State.

So I’m hunkering down again and replanning my summer activities. By now, I’d hoped we’d have the gardens ready but I think this realistically won’t be done until the end of April.

I am, Lord willing, finally going to finish the living room this year.

I gutted it and rebuilt it in 2007, but I never finished the final touches. We still have some molding to install here, paint to apply there…. and I have yet to build my biggest project– a wall-to-wall bookshelf unit. I want to convert the living room into a library. It will be my office and a place where I can retreat when I need to work or relax. Currently, it is the half schoolroom, half living room, half work office and half home office (that’s a lot of halves!). It’s a disaster, with books and boxes and papers piled everywhere. Since we have no storage space in the house (thanks to no attic and a basement that floods), I have to build all my own storage spaces. The bookshelf unit will store basically ALL my electronics, books, papers, parts, files, everything!

I ADORE these built-in units! And what beautiful furniture! Oo la la

Then I am going to get some new furniture for the FIRST time in my life. Lord willing, it will be beautiful and it will be my haven.

We also have to finish installing the windows. And we have to renovate the upstairs yet. The black mold is becoming a big problem up here. It’s because the interior of the house is so warm and the upstairs is uninsulated. When warm air meets cold air inside the walls, it creates condensation and mold. We wash it off but it always comes back. šŸ™ I’m looking forward to gutting the upstairs, believe me.

So there are many plans in the making. How about you? Got any projects coming up this year?

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Face. Palm.

March 30, 2012

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I love this site “There I Fixed It.” It’s the only site that makes me feel good about my own rickety old house. Because no matter how bad I think my house is, there’s always something worse.

white trash repairs - It Could Use Some Rerouting

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Find the Kitty Friday: Kitty Count Bass-y

March 30, 2012

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LIvvybassy

She’s been feeling very musical these days. šŸ™‚ Isn’t she adorable?!

Everyone has, as a matter of fact. Hence the bass in the middle of my dining room. :S

The husband bought a new drum machine a little while ago. He promptly stuffed it in his “musical supply” box under the couch (remember, we have no storage space here!) for a more convenient time.

Last week was the convenient time. The husband and my two boys unpacked every box of musical gadgetry and spread it all out in the dining room. Don’t ask me how they got it all cabled together! It was quite the accomplishment. They all gugged for a while, the hubs on lead, son #1 on rhythm and son #2 on bass. Sounded great. Would have sounded even better somewhere besides the dining room, though.

I have GOT to build them a music room. Either that or place a table for eating in the living room!

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Brrrrr

March 26, 2012

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Has everyone been experiencing an unusually warm and early spring, or is it just us here in the Northeast? Spring is about 5 to 6 weeks early here, “unprecedented,” say the weather gurus.

My daffodils are blooming and the lilacs are budding, but it’s the weeds that are really thriving. After all the years of flooding we’ve had, my yard is filled with weeds. I used to have such a nice lawn, nice gardens. There’s no way I can manage all these weeds. So if you can’t beat them, join them, right? Weeds can be very decorative…. well, kinda. I think there’s no redeeming burdock, except that the roots are edible.

Anyway, the heat was climbing into the 80s so I unpacked my summer clothes and wore shorts for a time. I even unpacked the box fan to run in the window! But then, all of a sudden– WHAM. Winter is making a comeback! It’s freezing today, with the thermometer barely getting above freezing. And looks like a bit of snow is on the way, too. No worries, though. Even though I unpacked my shorts, I didn’t pack up my warm winter clothes. This IS the Northeast, after all.

So the weather gurus are in their glory. They don’t usually get this excited about weather except when there’s a huge lake effect snowstorm on the way. And as if we just CAN’T get enough of the weather, they bring up the “drought” index.

Seriously?! Drought in New York State?! It appears that the word “drought” has different meanings across the country. I always through a drought was a long time (years) with very little or no rainfall– you know, The Dust Bowl and Grapes of Wrath and all. But here in NYS, “drought” means more like “a few weeks without our usual deluges of rain.” So we haven’t had our usual 5 inches of rain this month— who’s worried about a drought?

Yes, yes, I know local farmers rely on rain. But if there’s one thing New York State does not lack, it’s rainfall. How I wish we could import it, we’d be rich! I remember a few years ago we had a very dry summer with very little rainfall (for about 2 whopping months). Our garden and lawn thrived, though. We’d redirected our sump pump pipes to the gardens, and poked holes in the pipes. Drought or not, that sump pump runs ALL THE TIME. So we had plenty of water and the plants grew enormously. I’m never worried about drought. I welcome it, actually. But that’s just my own little world so I still hope for rain for the farmers’ sakes.

How is your weather in your area? Is it another crazy year of unpredictable events and weird patterns?

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She’s a Maniac

March 24, 2012

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I really dread taking Livvy outside. She’s an absolute maniac. But she begs and whines and BEGS and WHINES. Finally, I succumb. Why oh why do I acquiesce every single time?!

Maybe it’s because she does this.

Livvy At Attention

Boy, she is cute when she does that! She’s like a little kid– adorable. zany. CRAZY.

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Chic-ifying a thrift store ottoman

March 24, 2012

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Guest post written by Robin Powers

I love going thrifting and finding all kinds of little things to go in my home that would otherwise cost way too much in a store. That’s how I’ve decorated most of my home and it’s an interior decorating tactic that I’m going to keep using. I recently picked up an ottoman that I knew had all kinds of potential that I couldn’t wait to uncover.

I went online to see if I could find some good ideas for refurbishing the ottoman and saw some HVAC Deals. Spring, or I guess I should say summer, is just around the corner and I think that it’s time to replace our current system. It was definitely on its last leg around August.

I’m so excited to see the final result of my little ottoman overhaul makeover. I bought some great upholstery fabric that matches our living room decor and I think it’s going to be perfect for some extra seating and a little place to put our feet when we’re watching TV.

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102 Years Later… New Windows!

March 17, 2012

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…my living room has new windows!

I’ve endured these old windows for a long time. When we first moved here, we got a few new replacement windows to replace the broken ones. The remaining windows had to wait until we had the cash to buy new ones. I reached my tolerance level last year, when these old windows developed icicles on the panes in the winter and no longer kept the bugs out in the summer. It was almost better to have an open hole in the wall than these old windows!

OldWindow1

They would no longer hold paint. I had painted them and painted them, but every year the paint peeled off. Time to replace.

OldWindow2

These windows are not original to the house. They were installed in 1910 or so, after the builder died and his housekeeper bought the place. She did many “improvements,” such as replacing the old 9/6 windows and painting over the beautiful Black Walnut trim in the living room. šŸ˜

Garage Window

This is one of the original windows, protected behind a storm window. They are called 9/6 because they have 9 panes on the top and 6 on the bottom. Hstorians can determine the age of a home by inspecting window styles.

 

Well, after 100 years, the windows have reached the end of their life span. (Actually, they reached the end of their life span about 25 years ago). On with the new.

The hardest part of replacing the windows is removing the old. We have to cut through the paint seal (more like HACK THROUGH the paint seal) and pull off the sash stops and the parting stops. 160-year old wood does not like being removed, you know that?

OldWindow3

You have to be very, very careful with this kind of job. Old timers put all sorts of toxins in their paints back then. We had to clear the living room, cover everything with sheets, and make sure no one spread any of the paint chips or dust. I frequently misted a spray bottle to keep the dust from flying around.

OldWindow4

Another problem was fitting the window into the existing frame. The height and length were very good, but the depth of the window gave us trouble. The old sill was too narrow for the thick replacement window. Our only option was the chisel away the 3/16-inch wood off the sill.

OldWindow5

AH! Success!

We got two out of the three done so far. One more goes in the living room, and then it’s to the upstairs. And because we had to remove the old window stops and chisel the sill, I also have some patching up and molding replacement to do. But it is SO GOOD to have new windows!

NewWindow1

Windows are not difficult to replace yourself. Oh sure, you can pay a professional, but expect the bill to be twice the amount. I figured that our labor was worth $100 an hour. we just watched a few instructional videos on the computer, read a DIY book, and away we went. It’s not that difficult. The hardest part is making sure you measure for the new windows accurately and removing the old window…. And containing the mess!

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Find the Kitty Friday: It’s In the Bag!

March 9, 2012

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There’s nothing Livvy likes better than when we rip the house apart, rearranging furniture or pulling pieces out to dust or vacuum. She zips around the house, finding all sorts of new things to do and explore.

She also loves it when we get a new package. She’s like a little kid! We throw the packaging material for her to wrastle and wrangle through.

LivvyBag

She’s in her glory.

Gotta love kitties. šŸ™‚

Happy weekend, friends!

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Find the Kitty Friday

March 2, 2012

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livvyleg

Do you see her?

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