Monday, September 30, 2013

Garden Bar-B-Que Party

So, we decided to have a block party in our back yard to get to know our neighbors a little better.  It was a success with a good 60+ people in attendance.  Well, a few days before the party I injured my shoulder, which meant I couldn't be remodeling.  This left me with WAY too much time to think about the party.  So, I decided to use that time to come up with some simple party decorations.  We had 0 budget for decorations, so I made some from what I had on hand (except for some disposable and vinyl table clothes I picked up--I had 5 tables to set as well as two food tables).  I set all the paper plate products on basket weave plate liners that I have.  Then, to continue the "earthy" theme, I weighted the paper products down with a rock on each plate that I pulled from our backyard (since I always have trouble with the wind catching the paper products and table cloths).  I washed each rock well and wrote "enjoy" on each rock.  I used several different "fonts".  I wanted to use a chalk pen to write on them, but soon found out that chalk pens are ridiculously expensive in a small town.  So, instead, I used an oil pastel I had on hand and then sealed each rock with spray polyurethane.  Then, I wanted to add a little color, so I snipped little sprigs of plats from throughout our yard and put one under each rock.  The previous owners of our house left a bunch of mason jars in the basement, so I ran them through the dishwasher and wrapped them with twine to use for glasses at each place setting.  I used the extra jars as vases for flowers I cut from our yard and set atop my wooden bread boards for a little more depth for each center piece.  I used some empty canned food cans to hold the utensils at each table.  I also made a few labels on the computer for various things.  Finally, I set up a "picnic" area for the kids to use that had a basket with all the paper products and utensils they would need.  I lined the basket with a pillowcase that matches the blanket I laid out to make it look more like a picnic basket.  I think it all turned out pretty cute for not costing anything.  What do you think?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Elecrtical Wiring Projects

So, I've  been doing ALOT of research on electrical wiring diagrams and codes so that I would be able to safely add a light or two or move or add an outlet every now and then without having to hire an electrician for every little job.  I'm feeling pretty proud of myself.

My first electrical project on this house was simply switching out the old outdoor fixtures for newer, updated ones.  Super-simple.  Here are before and after pictures.
This is the only "before" picture I have.  If  you look closely, you can see the old, brass, too-small, builder-grade fixtures.

Here is the "after" picture that shows the newer, lantern-style, bronze fixtures.  They look SO much better!  I love the new fixtures.

My second electrical project (and first wiring project) was adding a light to the reading nook in the boys' bedroom.  I wanted the light to be a ceiling fixture that had a pull chain.  Unfortunately, the only affordable ceiling fixtures with pull chains were hideous.  So, I added a pull chain to a standard ceiling fixture and wired the light from an existing outlet on the opposite wall (which meant not so much fun hanging out in the hot attic to runt he wire).  But, here is the final product.  It turned out really nicely.

My third electrical project was super-simple.  I think anyone could do it--it wasn't near as scary as one might think.  I simply removed the old light fixture from the old ceiling fan and added a new one (I also painted the old fan to match the new fixture and give it an updated look.  Here are the before and after pictures.  I'm very pleased with the results and saved a ton of money by using the fan I already had.
After painting and adding the new light fixture.

Before alterations of any kind (sorry, only pic I have of before)

My next electrical project was to add lights to the outside of the shed.  I put flood lights on the side of it so that we would have light on the firepit area of the yard at night.  And, I added a wall light to the front of the shed that matches the ones I put in on the house and give light to the driveway in front of the shed.  Here are some pictures of the lights I installed.

My latest electrical job has been on the second bedroom remodel that I am currently working on.  I wanted to add storage drawers and such to the existing window seat so I tore out the window seat in order to build a new one.  When I pulled it apart, I found a working outlet inside of it.  Because it can't be used if it can't be accessed, I decided to move the outlet above the window seat so it could be accessible and thus usable.  My son was excited when he saw it and said now he could use it to charge his Nook when he was laying in bed or reading on the window seat.  That was reward enough for me. 

I have also now added reading lights with pull chains above each bed in the second bedroom.  You can see one of them in the picture above.  I was quite a sight, pulling the wire in the attic and trying to squeeze my huge pregnant self down near the eve to drop the wire down the wall--had to spread my legs across the joists and lay my belly between them. I don't think there will be anymore attic climbing during this pregnancy.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Remodel--Bedroom 2

Sneek Peek--This is how the bedroom looks today:

So, I still haven't picked out the carpet for the first bedroom remodel (which can be seen here).  Nor, have I gotten around to decorating that room.  You see, about the time I moved the two boys into that room, I found out I was expecting our fifth little tike.  A trimester of being way too sick to accomplish anything then followed.  But, being that I only have a few months before we welcome this little one into our home, I need to get at least the second bedroom done so that I can move the other two boys into it and free up the little room for a nursery.

Here's how the bedroom looks before.  Notice the "delightful" Phantom of the Opera theme left by the previous owners.  Needless to say, my boys haven't been thrilled with that theme for their bedroom. :)

Today, deconstruction on the bedroom began:

I have removed the closet doors and tracks, pulled up the carpet, removed the baseboards, disassembled the closets, and am now in the process of tearing out the closet walls and patching drywall.
My two oldest are finally big enough to actually be helpful with some of the work.  Here they are pulling out drywall nails.  They even said that it was "more fun that video games"!  What more could a mother ask for?

Next, I will begin building the built-in beds.  Keep posted for updates as things progress.  Things with this room may be slow-going as the demands of pregnancy seem to slow me down.

I am hopeful, though not really optimistic, of also being able to do the third room so I can have a cute nursery for this baby (since my last two babies didn't get to have a nursery--both being born during transition stages of our lives).  I would love to get the nursery done and not feel the urge to do it when the baby is actually here.  I would just like to enjoy having the bedrooms done and functional for the kids once the baby is here.  We shall see how it all goes.

UPDATE:  The closets are completely removed.  I moved the swamp cooler's water line to inside the wall.  I've got that beds and the window seat built.  I found a working outlet inside the old window seat, so I moved that above the new one so it is accessible and usable.  I've assembled and installed the drawers (sans the drawer fronts which I'm hoping to build this week).

Next, I will need to build the drawer fronts.  Then install the rest of the bed nook.  Then, it will be onto building the closet armoire and installing base and window trim.  Stay tuned . . . .

Drawer Fronts are routed, built, and ready to paint and install:

Window Seat is cut, routed, and ready to be finished and installed:

Window sill is cut, routed, and ready to be finished and installed:

Door casing and base boards are all installed and ready to be finished (since all the molding is doubled-up, this was twice the work as I had to make all the cuts twice):

And, my final accomplishment for this week--Pull-chains added to lights and wire finally pulled so that lights are ready to be wired and installed:

Things have been slow-going with the pregnancy slowing me down, but it's been a productive week.  I'm exhausted but hoping to continue to make good progress toward finishing.  Next, I need to trim the remainder of the built-in bed nook and then build the closet armoire.  Then, all that will be left is priming and painting everything.

UPDATE:  Walls and ceiling are painted and the window seat and window sill are installed:
Now onto finishing the bed nook and building the closets . . . .

UPDATE:  Ceiling and back wall of bed nooks, installed:

UPDATE: I have the BEST parents ever!  They decided to come visit for a day and help me with the remodel--a much welcome visit as I am so exhausted and need to get this room done soon!  As a result, I am almost ready to start building the wardrobe!  The face trim is now installed on the bed nook and the window seat.  All the trim and walls are primed AND painted.  The ceiling fan is refinished and ready to be hung.  The reading lights are wired and installed in the bed nook.  The drawer fronts are installed and pulls attached to the drawers.

Trundle bed fits nicely.  Mattress fits properly--just need to add the second one.
Now, all I have left to do before building the wardrobe is to install the door in front of the trundle and hang the shelves along the back wall of the bedroom nook.  I would also like to add a faux beam above the window alcove and need to install the ceiling fan, but those can both be done either before or after the wardrobe.

UPDATE:  Shelves are installed.  One mattress in place (though still need the other and matching bedding) .  Now onto installing the trundle door and faux beam . . . .

UPDATE:  The boys are already insisting on sleeping in their new room, even though I haven't built the wardrobe yet.  But, I finished everything else today--Ceiling fan is refinished and installed and beam is built, stained, and installed:
Now we just need carpet and a closet . . . .

UPDATE:  I am on the final part of the remodel--the wardrobe.  First, I made a plan and shopping list:
Over the last couple days I have built the bones of the wardrobe:
As you can see, Nathan already moved his shirts in.  :)  Now, all that is left is to build and install the drawers and doors, cut the shelves, and add trim.  Then, it's painting the wardrobe and we will be ready for carpet!

UPDATE:  The wardrobe is built.  I'm just waiting for the mirrors to be cut and trying to make a final decision on the hardware.  All the "open" spaces in the picture will be mirrors.  Also, it only has one coat of paint on, but the paint guys COULD NOT mix the color I chose and a second coat is definitely not going to get it as dark as I wanted.  It was supposed to be darker and grayer.  Instead it seems kind of like a robin egg blue.  I'm not loving the color--it's more feminine and I wanted a more masculine color--and I am debating if I should try to mix paint again so I can paint it a different color before I insert the glass.  What do you think?

UPDATE:  I have finished the wardrobe:  the glass and hardware are now installed.  No goign back on the paint color now!

UPDATE:  After just nine MONTHS of trying to decide on a carpet choice (yes, it really did take me that long to make a decision), the carpet is FINALLY in!  It looks so much better in person than in the pictures.  it is a textured carpet so it looks very classy.

And,  because my sister insisted that we need to remember how pregnant I was while doing this remodel, she made me take and post this picture (as well as one in the other remodel, which I will add to that post):
And, check out this adorable hamper my sister found for me to use in the room!  I'm so relieved I don't have to make one myself.  Haha!
UPDATE:  "Santa" brought the boys pillows for their window seat.
And Grandma bought them these beautiful quilts for their beds:

UPDATE:  I just build this little bed-side step-stool to go next to the beds so my two-year-old can climb into bed more easily: