Saturday, April 30, 2011

I've got gas!

Okay well, not yet, but I'm getting gas and no, not the beans for supper kind of gas.  Instead, I am finally ready to have a natural gas line run in my house for cooking, heating, a dryer and eventually a tankless water heater.  It's been in the plans since the beginning, but after getting a bid from my contractor's plumber, it took me a long while to save up enough cash to pay for it.  I now have the money for the line in the house and a generous gift has allowed me to have the city fees paid.  I'm on the list for running the lines, in four weeks, but I'm still on the list!  Wahoo!!  I'm sure I'll be letting you know much more in the coming months!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why Does Uh-Oh Spell Cha-Ching??

Recall the recent picture of my new pantry?  

You may have wisely noticed that it appeared pretty dark inside of the pantry.  We noticed, so off I went to Lowe's with a gift card from my birthday.  Soon I was the owner of a set of six can lights.  (Nope, haven't lost what's left of my mind, but it was cheaper to buy 6 in a contractor's box and split their use.  The other four are going in my hallway, while two will reside in my pantry.)

So, I, yes me, so proud of myself, carefully cut the two holes in the ceiling in preparation for installing the lights.  Then we headed to the breaker box to check out where to hook the new lights on. 

That's where the issues began.  My box is a Federal Pacific box that when first glanced at appears fine and full of breakers, no room for more.  

That was headache number one, but there was a chance that we could switch out some of the smaller breakers for larger ones, at least that's what I think was going to happen. (Disclaimer:  I am being watched by someone who is VERY adept at electricity and has previously wired entire apartment buildings, homes, offices and other buildings, so you don't need to panic that I'm going to burn myself down.)  Back to the search for replacement breakers.  No luck at the local big box stores, so I googled Federal Pacific Breaker Box to buy them online and up popped this:

Yikes!  This is most definitely not good.  After doing a little more research, it seems that the breakers fail to stop the flow of electricity when flipped to the off position.  This is not bueno.   

The problem is so large that the company had massive recalls and banks have been known to turn down homes because they have Federal Pacific breaker boxes.  (I am blessed that no one looked that closely...)  Federal Pacific Electric Company is now out of business and while you can find old breakers that have been tested, I'm not impressed.  So, off to my GC I went in a panic.  (I love my logic here, like somehow I can't sleep because now I know about exact same breaker box that was in my house last night when I slept fine, but it was still my logic.)

My sweet GC, Jack, gave me the name of a local electrician that I am having a bid run with.  It's going to be interesting to say the least.  My exterior box, nope, no clue exactly what I'm talking about, has 140 amps running thought it now, which would be fine except for the fact that it's a 100 amp box.  Technically 180, but odds are good that I won't run the furnace and the a/c at the exact same time.  The line from the box goes up the inside wall and over a stud in the top, which has been known to cause local fires.  GREAT...  As my electrician tells me each of these little facts, I doubt to scare me, we were having a conversation about remodeling and the perils, I see the dollar sides adding up and up.  

Thankfully I have a tax return this year because I'm pretty certain it has been spent in full! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The New Pantry

Now that the new pantry is starting to look more like a pantry and less like a giant hole, I'm starting to fall in love with it.  I decided that a plain white pantry wasn't really my style, so I used my favorite shade of green from my kitchen to add a little pizazz.

I've been surfing blogs lately and seen where people have added interest to blah walls with simple paint and stencils.  A blogdom favorite has been Cutting Edge Stencils.  (I'm not being paid by them to write this and to be honest, they most likely have NO idea I'm even blogging about them.)  I'm currently in like with their Casablanca All Over Stencil and their Hourglass All Over stencil.  I'm only in like with them, so I haven't taken the plunge.  The big issue is the cost, not the idea of painting.  My cheapness reigns again!!  It's not that I don't think they are worth the money, quite the opposite actually, I just have several big cost items planned within the next month, and can't justify the expense just yet.   But, when I can justify it, any thoughts on which one to get???

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Easter is finally upon us and I have a few thoughts racing around in my head.  Normally, I'm not very vocal about my faith.  I struggle to live day to day with the ideas set forth by Christ and I know that I haven't near perfected them yet, hence my leniency to tell others how to live.  Add to that my shyness in situations like that and I become practically mute.  In blogland though, it somehow becomes easier.

I've heard the traditional Easter story every year all my life and each year I'm in awe of it and somehow bored with it.  Not that I don't treasure God's love, but I know the "punchline" so it gets old.  This year, for the first time I started to really think about the concepts of Easter and the stories behind the main story.  Now, most of these ideas are mine, and they're not the smartest ones I've ever had, but I feel an odd need to say them.

I know the pain I feel when one of the children I watch gets hurt, I want to scoop them up and make it all go away IMMEDIATELY.  Washing their wounds or drying their tears tears me up inside and these aren't even my children.  Mary, though, had to stand there and watch for hours while her child was in pain and couldn't do a darn thing about it.  How her heart must have ached and how she must have wanted to rail at God for not stopping it.  Instead though she kept her faith and stayed by her son's side.  I think about her faith and stumble at how weak mine must seem in comparison. 

After Then, the two women who went to care for Jesus' body after he had been gone from it for 24 hours.  Now, I'm not trying to be gross or disrespectful, but think about it.  We've all seen CSI or another show featuring a body.  It's not pretty folks!  The smells, the blood, the pallor, to love someone so much as to want to go and clean their body and anoint them with oils after they've been gone from it for a day???  That is faith and love beyond my fathoming.

While standing in front of the grave, all of the sudden, a huge boulder starts moving, Hello?!?  I've been to Colorado on several vacations and once spent hours stuck on the Pikes Peak Railroad because a boulder crushed the tracks.  That was a GARGANTUAN rock and what I picture when I think of the tomb.  To see a rock that large roll away and better yet stop rolling would be a miracle in itself and that didn't even compare to what was going to happen next.  While standing there, I'm hoping in shock from a huge rock moving of its own accord, an angel appears to them.  Maybe after the rock it wasn't such a jolt to see someone appear to them, but odds are good I'd be a bit disbelieving.  (magic shows are a real drag if I'm around...)  Then again, maybe it was incredible to them,  something you've dreamed of and prayed for two days to come true actually does.  Jesus is alive and coming back to you??

I don't say these things to lighten God's sacrifice, rather to help bring it into focus.  Each and every part of the Easter story, no matter how small, was a miracle and to me that somehow makes the entire thing even more impressive and awesome in my eyes.  I promise to be back to my picture-ful posts and lighter comments, but I just wanted to get this out of me head...  Have a very blessed Easter and don't forget to look for all the little miracles all around you!

Friday, April 22, 2011

My "new" table

Not too long ago, I mentioned a new table that I purchased while on a fateful trip to Warrenton.  I haven't forgotten that I never posted a picture.  My mom's keen eye spotted this gem hiding the back of a tent out there.  It was a perfect match for my mother's larger drum table.  This table is special because it was my grandparents' table in their home in Waco and I assume prior to Waco.  So, for me to find a smaller version for my own living room was doubly special.

For those of you following, you know that I usually paint or refinish all pieces that come into my house.  You can breathe a sigh of relief.  Other than a coat of dark wax to protect it, I have no intentions of altering this table in any way, now.  In fifteen years, I might change my mind, but hey, that's then!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Filling the hole

So, here I am with a rather large hole in the side of the wall in my carport and it's slightly cool outside while we're trying to close the hole.  Hmmm, what's to do???

Note the icicles on the back of the car as we try to fill in the frame with a stud, floor brace, insulation and a new wall facing, which again took the better part of the afternoon, but for the sake of time, poof, it's done!!!  ;)

Now I am happy to say that from the outside, if I were to paint, you wouldn't even be able to tell that there was ever a door there.  What do you think??

Monday, April 18, 2011

A little hole...

When I last left you, faithful readers, I was lamenting the fact that my perfect laundry room was FINALLY finished and someone wanted to cut a giant hole in it.  I realize that it was a good thing and that the results would be well worth the effort, but I was a woman on the edge, people, on the edge!  I'd been living in the middle of a remodel for months on end and we'd finally finished a room and we were supposed to destroy it?  See, are you getting why I was dancing on the edge??

I knew better than to argue with the idea and I did realize that the idea of having a huge walk in pantry would be a large boon to the house and that a garage closet wasn't the best use of space by far.  You see, in my carport was a locking closet that was used to store sheep lye and other odds and ends.  (The lye wasn't mine, it belonged to the previous owners.)  The floor to the closet was a good inch or more higher than the carport floor, which Marc, my dad, to realize that it was the same height as the floor/concrete inside the house.  After some quick measuring, he discovered that the closet was on the end of the laundry room, just off the edge of the kitchen, a perfect place for pantry.

So, one day while I was at work, a poor laundry room took a hit on its way to greatness.  The entire wall was carefully taken down , not harming the insulation or the electrical and water pipes in the wall.  In fact the insulation was carefully removed and replaced in the walls of the closet to insulate the "new" exterior walls. 

After putting a large hole in the wall, we had to have a way to secure the hole and make it look presentable.  So, I took the original door from the laundry room to the kitchen and refinished it.  It then took its rightful place as the new pantry door and the hole was closed...

Remember that insulation from a couple of paragraphs ago?  Good thing we reused the insulation.  Living in Texas keeps you in a constant state of flux as far as the weather is concerned.  We have crazy days of hot and cold and apparently cold is an understatement in this instance.

Yes, that reads 27 degrees and that's Fahrenheit, not Celsius in case you were thinking that.  What happened on this chilly day you ask?  Why we decided to remove the exterior door of the carport closet and repair the wall.  Doesn't that make sense in below freezing weather???  Yeah, didn't think so either, but I digress.  So, off came the cedar boards and slats that make up the walls of the carport and out came the door.  This took a lot longer than the length of time to type a sentence.  It also took a lot longer because we kept running in and out of the house trying to thaw out our fingers.  At least it was a toasty 61 degrees inside!  Hey, it felt warm...


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time there was a little room that was a huge mess.  After hours and hours of demolishing, scrubbing, painting, moving heavy things in and out, and a couple of tears, okay bunch, I had a finished perfect laundry room.  In case you forgot, here is the before.

Ugh right?  It's okay if you want to go take a shower, I'll excuse you as long as you come right back when you're done.  I wanted to shower the first time I saw my house as well.  Yet I bought it anyway.  Yes, I know I need to seek mental help.  Working in it folks.  Again I've really, really digressed.

Here is the laundry room in all its gorgeous-ness.  It was the day that this photo was taken that it was suggested that tear a huge hole in the wall and create a pantry.  While the idea sounds fabulous, it was at that point that I burst into tears.  Keep in mind that for a year and a half I had been working toward getting a "real" laundry room and the second it was finished and beautiful someone wanted to tear a huge hole in it and make a mess.  In case any guy is reading this, not a good idea to tell a girl with a new room that you want to make a mess of it!

So, stay tuned for the consequent hole and creative mess that followed...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Growing Up

I'm not a neat person by nature.  Eventually I get around to cleaning and I like having a clean house, but I'm not neat by nature.  What I am is lazy, but I digress...  With my tax refund, I picked up something in an effort to attempt to help me with my laziness neatness.  As a effort to grow-up, I purchased a 2 drawer lateral filing cabinet. 

The cabinet, which I got on "sale" at Office Depot and with a coupon, is supposed to look like the one pictured above.  Instead when I got it home, it looked more like this...

A million pieces ALL over my floor.  I've put together a ton of furniture before in my life, but this one was CRAZY!  I broke a sweat putting this sucker together, but in the end, I succeeded!  Then came the truly rough part, filing about eight million pieces of paper.  I select the paperless option on everything I can in an effort to streamline my life, but I still seem to be drowning in paper.  Ugh.

I had a random file box, hey, it was cute, and a plastic tub that housed all of my junk.  Now it is finally labeled and sorted in two really cute drawers and when closed, doesn't scream file cabinet.  I'm thrilled!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sooooo much better

My hallway, with the addition of the caulking on the trim is almost finished.  I still have plans for can lights running the length of the hallway, but...  Anyway, as you can tell, when I moved in, the entire house was painted an awful shade of mint green.  AWFUL!  They painted everything, ceiling, trim, walls and part of the carpet.  While I might not be the best painter (I'm well known for cutting in my cut in.) I do know that ceilings, walls, trim and floor shouldn't all be the same color.  What do you think of the before??

And now the after...

Friday, April 8, 2011

I have a peeping tom...

Last week I happened out back with my parents and it was pointed out to me that someone has been watching me!!  I never even noticed him.  Now, before you call me a fool, can you spot him?

See?  Not so easy is it?  There he was, all day lazying around watching me.  Now, if you don't believe me and think I'm making it up, here he is again.  Stretched out and eying me.  Hmmmm, what to do...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


My house was blessed with a fabulous back patio/yard.  Directly out the backdoor is a large patio surrounded by brick.  While this may seem to be a great blessing, it cut off too much of my backyard from view and access. 

The patio also featured a small bbq pit grill thingy centered on one side.  The wall to the right of the pit, (if you're looking at it from the backdoor) was loose and seemingly dangerous.  Sooooooo...

I took my hammer and large short flathead screwdriver and went to town.  The bricks came down amazingly easy.  After I pulled each brick, I carefully took off the bad mortar which was crumbly and cracked.  The cleaned bricks were then carefully stacked on the other side of the pit.  Eventually they will be used to repair the pit and the horrific plumbing mess left from a supposed pipe repair.  If you know me, and I'm assuming that if you're reading this you do know me, then you should know that taking the wall down one brick at a time didn't last.  Sooooooo...

One good shove later and the entire wall was down. Take that!  As much as I would love to claim that it was my superior strength that led me to push over an entire brick wall, you should notice that only 2 and 1/2 bricks were still connected to anything.  It scared me how easily it fell over.  With a simple trip or shove, the entire thing could have tumbled over and crushed someone or something.  Not to worry, the whole thing is down and the rest of the wall is steady and still standing, hopefully for sometime!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The lowdown on the lowboy

I was a lucky/blessed girl when I moved into my house because so many friends and family donated NICE pieces of furniture to me to help furnish my house. One of the pieces came into my house as a part of matching set for a bedroom, 2 side tables and a dresser. I already have a highboy dresser in my bedroom and don't need another, but I desperately needed storage in my living room. So, I plopped down the piece against my wall and left it there for almost a year now.

While the piece was nice and heavy, man is it HEAVY, it just wasn't my style. It took me a long time to realize that it wasn't the shape of the piece or the accents, it was the color. It was too something. So, after much perusing on Miss Mustard Seed, I decided to bite the bullet and go for it. As I mentioned this piece is super heavy, so I pulled the drawers out and put them on my super special custom painting station in my backyard. Jealous aren't you?!? After a good spray of primer and Heirloom White spray paint, I used 100 grit sandpaper to distress the edges and bring out the texture.

I then broke out my new favorite tool, toy, stuff??? Minwax Finishing Paste Wax in special dark. The finishing wax brought out the details in the furniture piece and added a soft darkening hue to the creamy paint. I was so excited about the new look that I put the drawers back in the piece, unmatching and all!

Last weekend I was able to cajole family into helping me haul the base of the lowboy outside to the carport. There I sanded and sanded and sanded to take off the old finish and reveal the wood beneath. I then hit the sides with more Heirloom White and prepped the top for staining. I chose the darkest stain I could find, since I wanted the biggest contrast between the top and base.

I have to say that I was super impressed with the results. The final look is FABULOUS and matches so well now in my living room. The texture and finish of the paint is so cool and I am so excited that it worked. The top however was another fail, but I cleverly photographed it so that it wasn't too noticeable. Eventually I will haul it back outside and redo the top, but until then, I'm going to enjoy the look it lends to my living room!


Domestically Speaking

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A place to rest

When sitting on my couch, your eyes are immediately drawn to the built-in shelves flanking the television. After I spent the hours refinishing them, priming them, and painting them, I placed a bunch of collectibles, books, antiques and new, and pictures up on them. While each seperate shelf looked okay in my book, altogether they looked busy and crowded. The visual weight was unbalanced and while not screamingly obvious, it nagged at me.

After much begging of one of my closest friends and a bribe of supper (which she didn't accept!) a very successful hour was spent rearranging and reweighting my shelves. Now when I sit down to watch TV, there are other places for your eye to rest and the entire room feels more balanced. SOOOOOO much better!