Friday, December 09, 2011

IKEA Karlstad

Oh hey LOOK, it's December! Yay! This means that it's almost time to bust out the snowshoes and I. Can't. Wait. One of the cool things about working at an outdoor shop is that you meet people who don't mind being out in the cold or the rain too much. Of course I have to attribute it partly to the fact that most them all own really good gear, which obviously helps. Because really-- who wants to go rainstorm hiking in a poncho? Not me. No. Oh dang it, weren't we talking about snow before? Geeez. Sorry about that. I'm just super thrilled to be tromping around the snowy woods with my friends soon. AND and and, a friend and I were hiking a few weeks ago and found the BEST PLACE EVER to carve out a sweet sled luge as soon as the snow flies. Well...second best place. Joe and I found an even cooler place over the summer, but it would take a lot more work and it's not as accessible. Ooooh dang. I'm sooo excited.

But anyhow, that's all in the future and I came here to talk about the now, so let's talk about the now. After 6 and a half years of cringing, loathing and hating our old couch, we finally have a new one. WITH a chaise lounge, of course. In dark grey, of course. And much bigger than our last one...of course. 

After a couple years of swooning over the CB2 Annex Sofa, which was discontinued last year, I droopily moved on to other thoughts and found a couple new ones that I liked. These couches stayed on my lust-list for quite awhile, but over time I began to realize something that was kind of hard for me to swallow. I'm a firm believer in holding out until you can get the best quality you can afford when it comes to making purchases. And with that in mind, the months went by. And then the years. And then years of years. I eventually realized and admitted that there was [a] no way we were ever going to afford the $2500 couch I had been eyeing [b] we really needed a new couch and [c] who the EFF spends $2500 on a couch unless they've got mad cash?

And so, I snailed on over to the drawing board again and began to sketch. First I looked at the mega-box ugly furniture websites. That lasted for about 3 minutes...who was I kidding? While I am not going to spend a fortune on a couch, I'm also not bringing something that I find to be hideous into my house. Sorry...I'm sure it looks great in my best friend's aunt's house, but it's really not my cup of coffee. Enter IKEA.

First and foremost, I was a bit reluctant to even consider a couch from IKEA. But when I started browsing, I really liked what I saw. A nice, sleek sofa, in a color we liked, in the size we were after, which a chaise lounge [this was a muusssst] and at a price we could afford. And so off we went to Schaumburg, IL to scope out our options. When we arrived, we headed straight for the couch area. I was deciding between the KARLSTAD and the KIVIK and crossed the KIVIK off the list as soon as I saw it. Kind of cool, but not right for the space. I sat down on the Karlstad that was in the color I liked. Ugh. I looked at Joe and told him that something wasn't right about it. It felt....icky...and I didn't like the way it sounded when I ran my fingers across it. I got up and went to another material that I loved. But the color was terrible. I then went over to the felted one that I REALLLLY loved...but there was no way in hell that would ever co-exist with 2 shedding cats. Ah, cats, you axed my plan for a leather couch AND a felty couch? Come ON.
[Hi Clem!]

So back to the first one I went. I sat down again and was just getting the worst vibes. I was trying not to make it obvious...I was trying to love it. And I was trying to figure out what the heck it was reminding me of that was so entirely repulsive. And then it hit me. This material was the same stuff they use on all the generic couches found in dirty hotel rooms. That smooth finish with an almost silky feel. And not the good kind of smooth and silky that I expect from my BIC each morning. Along with that was the noise...the sound was driving me NUTS. I decided to do the IKEA floor loop and think about it for a bit. After we went back, I hesitantly agreed to it. But we weren't taking it home that day because we were counting on delivery. Until we found out it would be almost $400. Ha, yeah. Okay.

The thing was that we were kind of in a time crunch. We wanted something before Thanksgiving, when we'd have both of our families over. Thanksgiving was fast approaching....and so I put a second IKEA trip on the calendar and called it a day.

That day came, and down to Chicago I drove, trailer in tow, $20 in change for those annoyingly prevalent Illinois tolls. And there I was, in IKEA, eyeing the sofa, and trying to maintain some form of composure. Yeah. I was pretty fucking nervous. F bomb, I know, but it's true. Let me slide past the next 12 things that happened and say that I am currently at home, on my couch, enjoying it rather heavily. The noise doesn't bother me.....the feeling doesn't remind me of a sleezy motel.....and I think it's safe to say (and equally dangerous to admit) that I'm enjoying my couch quite a bit.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

So I Painted the Interior of My Door Black...

Hey friends! How are things? I hope you are all doing well and enjoying life. Things have been quite good around here. I haven't been doing many house projects, but it seems that every year around this time I tend to go a little crazy whenever I look around the house. As in, pretty much everything about it bothers me, and I can't rest until I make a few significant changes. 

Recently I decided that I am totally over my soft and calm and airy and restful hey look, everything's WHITE! phase. And so, it was only natural that I turned around to march in the other direction.

This part of the house has been making me clamp my teeth together and wince for, oooh, about a year now. It finally came to the point where I absolutely could not deal with it any longer about 4 days ago. Sorry, I wish I could have gotten a more vibrant photo, but this corner always gives me trouble.

So yeah. I woke up on Tuesday morning, got on the internet, started my rounds, sipped my coffee, glared at the door, read a few emails, glared at the door, closed the computer [much sooner than usual], glared at the door again and eventually dropped to the basement to collect some tools and fuddled my way back up the stairs with my arms filled. Along with me came a tiny pot of Behr Stealth Black paint that I found on the mis-tint rack for $0.50 a few months ago. I threw on a knit cap and my cleanest dirty clothes, ran to the hardware store in town for painters tape and returned to tape off all the windows so I could start painting.

And then there was black. Ahh, it was perfect. And warm. And cozy. I cant wait to watch the snow come down through those windows...the black will embrace it so much more than the white ever could. 

Later I pulled down the Halloween owl, hung the vintage tin sign and set my plant on the stool I had used when I was painting the door. I should also mention that I painted the trim in this corner to be the same color as the walls. The grey door within the white trim has bothered me since the day it was painted 2 years ago. Joe laughingly questioned my decision to paint only the trim in this corner, as opposed to all of the trim in the room. [Breeeaath.] Okay, so first of all, it's such a subtle change that you hardly even notice the difference in color. And second- who ever said there were rules for painting and why is this considered to be strange? [head shake. ugh.] 

The next day I decided that the black door felt too heavy, so I painted it again.

I'm totally kidding. But it did feel rather heavy since there isn't much black in the room, and it was too much of a focal point. So I decided to hang a print that I love [cole gerst|option-g] but haven't had a good place to put it. And as you can see, I hung it on the door. Which, of course, is another thing that will most likely be questioned by someone at some point. But again, there shouldn't be rules to this sort of thing, and I'll be sure to let them know how I feel. So anyway, after the print was hung, I thought that I needed some more yellow to balance it all out, so I grabbed the rug that had always been under our shoes, threw it down and called it a day.

I really really like it. A lot. It feels so much more stately and sophisticated now. And comfy cozy toasty. I've been wanting to raise my umbrella plant for some time, and the stool is only a temporary solution until I finish [start?] my tree stump table. I'm also going to get a new light switch cover soon. I'm pretty excited about it all, it was just what I needed to feel better about the space. Until a few minutes later when the TV wall got under my skin. But that's another thing that's bugged me forever, so I kind of expected that to happen.

Alright, that's all for now. I have a few more projects in the works as well. I hope this means I'm back...I miss it around here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

DIY Halloween Gravestones

Hey friends! What's new? Not a whole lot here. Joe and I have the day off together (!!!) and we're going to try and find a super huge washing machine so we can wash our 10' round flokati. Oy.

But before that, I wanted to show you a fun weekend project for you and yours. DIY gravestones with fun epitaphs. Easy, cheap and sure to make you laugh, I encourage you to try your hand at these on your next free day.
Check out the DIY over on Houzz! My favorite part is coming up with the epitaphs. 

Okay, well off I go! Have a great weekend. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Studio Action

It seems to be around this time every year that I find myself with inked fingertips and a yearning to cut up my (dwindling) stash of old medical books, gathering a pile of clippings to be carefully tweezered over and glued onto new art pieces.

Ready to be towed through the escalating pour of evening darkness, I started this piece a couple nights ago and it has been slowly (slowly) progressing, as they generally seem to do. One of my favorite things about mixed media is that I don't have to work as quickly as I do with block printing. I can shuffle my scraps around throughout the course of the work and nothing has to be entirely trusted until it's glued down or penned out...and even then, I can always undo the liars.


A few scraps have been added since taking this photo, but now I'm pretty much at a standstill as I broke my almost $30 nib. Uuugh fckshtdmn. I'm not sure if I'm more bummed about the fact that I have to shell out $30 that I will have to wait until my next paycheck for or if I'm bummed that I have to wait in general. Probably both. I got to a point last night that my ideas seemed to stream together and I was excited to start drawing my raindrops. Ah well, worse things have happened. Like the time a customer at my work said "I really like that shirt!" and I replied "Oh, thank you!" only to realize she was talking about the one she was buying. Rather than playing it off like any halfway decent person would, she had to make it awkward for me. Come on, lady.

And speaking of ladies, Moonshadow is my studio mate and she excitedly follows me to the basement every time I go down there. She really likes to be involved and seems to enjoy when I'm doing things around the house, whereas Clementine is more of a couch kid and would rather me stay on the couch so he can lounge on me (as he's attempting right now.) Plus, Moon likes to go down there because it's musty and she can find piles of sawdust and cobwebs to roll in. I like to call her Pigpen. Sometimes I envision those little squiggly lines following her around like they did to Pigpen on Charlie Brown.
So anyway. Other than art stuff, I've been doing the year end yard thing. I have to admit-- I am so very glad that garden season is over. I left the garden high and dry sometime in June or early July...I think I mentioned that...and really haven't had the desire to go back out there all year. I avoided it like the plague, unless it was dark out. The yard generally seems to overwhelm me, which is really quite a drag; it's 1.68 acres and there is always a bunch of shituff to be done. Of course, I don't really *have* to do most of these things. But that's the problem- in order for me to be able to chill out and enjoy the space, it seems as though things have to be a certain way, and for things to be a certain way takes up almost all of my free time and by the end of the day I don't want to sit and enjoy what I've just done, I just want to get away from it. And then I resent it. It's a vicious circle, really. I hate it. I think that will be my next goal in self improvement, although I am a bit nervous as it's kind of a far-fetched goal. We'll see. For now I'm going outside to attend Ganglefest 2011. So far I've cut down 5 juniper bushes and have 7 or 8 more to go...I have no idea where I'm going to get rid of all these branches. They're huge and prickly and would be a bitch to cut them smaller and an even bigger b to set flame to. 

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Welcome to My New Purple Kitchen

So I have a feeling that when I mention that I painted my kitchen purple, most people usually think PURPLE. You know...Royal purple...Grape juice purple...Minnesota Vikings purple...Dimetapp purple...Crown Royal purple...All things-that-I-don't-like purple. It's easy to see why so many people have negative connotations toward the hue. I mean, just look at that list. Yuck, right? But the purple I chose is more of a fuchsia-y tone, and I couldn't be more pleased.

I had been set on re-painting for a little while now, but always leaned in the direction of slate blue. The first time around didn't turn out as dark and chalky as I had hoped, and I kept envisioning this beautiful slate blue wall to frame the view into our long, snowy Wisconsin winters. I thought the contrast between the slate and the snow would be pretty much perfect.
But then one evening after work I was sitting at the kitchen counter, dragging about being in such an anti-cooking funk that had started sometime around the melting of the snow. I remember staring at the walls for a while and thinking that it was to be blamed on my summer schedule. I don't get home from work until 7 or 9 in the summer, and by that time concocting a full meal sounds less than appealing. The problem with this idea was that my summer schedule had gone through the yearly rotation and I had recently transitioned to my winter job. The latest I'd get home from work would now be 4:30 or 5. 

So I decided that I'd get some new wooden spoons and a couple other things I'd been wanting, paint the room slate, and then I'd be good to go. Of course, I would have to start planning meals again but that was fine. And then it occurred to me. Changing from "steely blue" to "slate blue" was the furthest from what I actually needed...I needed a color that was fun and bold. 

While I do appreciate and even envy color in other people's homes, it's something I've never had an easy time with in my own. Our house is in a quiet town. It's rare to see more than 20 cars drive by in the day. Whenever I come home from Madison, it's like I dip into this mental valley of somber. So after driving through the golden flats surrounded by beautiful rolling hills, and pulling into my driveway to see the pale blue facade of my home, the last thing that would feel right would be to walk into a house filled with oranges, yellows and reds. 

I knew that purple would be zingy enough to wake me up and would hopefully give me the energy I was seeking. It's still on the cool side and it matched the tone of my living room quite nicely. Rather than spending a lot of money on paint, as I naively did in the past, I read some terrible reviews on the paint I had found, cringed a little, and decided that I was going to try it anyway. Something I never, EVER do if I read bad reviews. But something told me I'd be okay. So off I went to get a gallon of Behr Forest Berry. It's a paint and primer in one. I know, something you should never use, right? Well, whatever. It worked just fine for me.

And I love it. I think I danced around Joe and sang how much I loved it all week long. It's fun and refreshing and so much more lively. It fits my recent mental status perfectly. And the funny thing is, I hadn't realized how depressing the blue was until after I painted. It's made a huge difference in my mood when I'm in there and has even prompted me to be a little bit more okay with color throughout the rest of the house. The color makes me feel like I can add more warmth in the living room...I've been thinking about a new rug so I can move the flokati into a different room.  But before I get off topic, especially since I've already typed your eyes out, here is what it looked like before:

So so much better, right? Yeah. I really love it. A ton. Although, I must say, the blue was a huge improvement from what it looked like when we moved in. Ugh, that was just terrible. Here's a quick photo for kicks:

So yes. There is still a lot I want to do to the kitchen, but for now I will try to be happy with what it is rather than what it is yet not.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Hey It's October

Did I do this last year? Totally cut out for like 2 or 3 months and then swoop back in? Well I suppose I haven't really totally cut out. I did check in here and there. But that aside, I think the end the lull drawing closer and closer as the days tick by. We'll see.

Today we went to Dr. Evermore's Art Park, which absolutely blew my mind. I'll be sure to get more photos the next time I go, but for now just imagine living in a heavily surreal carnival-like world filled with herds of welded metal creatures in every direction you turn and endless amusement over the fact that you can actually touch these things. Oh man. I was totally geeking out the entire time. I highly recommend a visit if you're ever traveling through central Wisconsin. For real.

Later this afternoon, Joe and I also started Operation Shrub Removal: Part II in the yard, which was mostly gratifying except for the fact that now we have to fill these areas with different shrubs because there are huge holes everywhere now. The ones we got rid of today were junipers, and I'm pretty sure that one of them had a span of about 10'. Ugh, those things are so gnarly. I called it ganglefest, because they are really ugly and gangly and you have to lop like mad before you can even think about sawing them. I made the task more fun by naming my loppers Cindy. 10 points if you get the joke.

Anyway, that's all for now. But like I said, this house and project hiatus that I took this summer seems to be ending, which can only mean that there are more blog posts to be had in the near future. So till next time...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rack = Finished

Hello hello! I just made the worst enchiladas in my life and I'm recovering from the disappointment through blogging. 

Today I finished the rack that I used my new design on. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. :)

Check out the DIY on houzz if you are feeling so inclined.

3 things:

+ I painted our kitchen. Purple! Photos to come, but you can catch a small glimpse in the last post.
+ Scarf and sweater weather is here!
+ We're getting rid of our hot tub on Saturday! This is awesome! We've saved about $30 a month after we unhooked it and lots of money on chemicals. It came with the house but we're happy to move onto better things. More to come on that topic.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Design

Hey guys! Yesterday I was sitting at a red light and I started thinking about blogging and how it seems to come in waves. For awhile I'll blog like crazy...and then it suddenly seems as if I've jumped ship. Ah well, that's life I suppose.

I'm on training day 8 of 8 at my 'winter' job. I have to leave in a little while but thought it would be nice to check in first. I can't stay long...I have to shower, get ready, make lunch and figure out what I'm going to wear all within, ooohhhh, the next 56 43 minutes. Soon I will start at 6 a.m. and that's usually when things go awry. No time for coffee, cereal and internet before work? Heh, that always screws with me more than I wish it would, but anyway...

Last night I started carving a new block. You'll see the freshly inked pattern soon. I work with rubber whenever I do patterns that I'm going to print on wood because it transfers much better than wood to wood or linoleum to wood. On my list of things to get are nicer tools (one day.).

But everything on said 'list to get' is on hold right now, because I am currently saving my pennies for my solo canoe...a Bell Merlin II. It's used and I'm getting it for a great deal. Kevlar. Super easy for me to sling up onto the Pilot...and perfect for a person my size. I can't wait. :)

Friday, August 26, 2011


Hello to anybody who still comes around these parts. Blogging has really taken the back seat this summer. While I do have a lot of fun projects planned, I have been in such an anti-project, anti-house funk.

It could be subconscious efforts to kill my perfection issues. Or that I've embraced some new escapes. Or that I am tired of not having "fun" things and who wants to buy more paint when there's a solo canoe on the wish list?

But it's most like a combination of all those things. This summer I have been enjoying life at a slower pace. Going with the flow. Trying not to care about things that don't really matter. Like the damn garden I spent hours upon HOURS cleaning up this spring. Yeah, gardening is fun and all, but sometime in June I realized how much it stressed me out, how much time I wasted to just watch things whither away, how much I resented the backyard by the end of the day. And really....what's the point of that?

I have come to the conclusion that it's never what is done, but always what's not done. Rather than exhausting my energy on trying to look find the positive, I have chosen to pick up and move to things that don't require me to actively look for it all the time.

I have to say- Since taking this new approach to the ins and outs of my day to day, it seems as if I'm the only person I know who doesn't feel like summer "flew by". I've been setting a lot of time aside for myself. I've sat in the coffee shop for hours on end more than a couple times, just to people watch and write letters, wondering how I never found the time to do that before and answering with "oh yeah. because i'm always gardening. painting. doing and re-doing just to re-do once more. running errands for various house projects. stressing. wasting."

So anyway, yes, I will return soon, once the weather cools. I've been doing lots of hiking and canoeing this summer. Hoping to do my first solo trip down the Wisconsin River within the next couple weeks. Of course I'll give you the full report once I do. See you soon.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Still Here

Hey friends! I'm still alive...don't ask me where my time has been going, because I can't really tell ya. I haven't felt busy, but I've been taking it easy and enjoying the summer at a slower pace.

I know people keep saying "Oh my gosh, it's already August?!", but for some reason, I'm not feeling the "summer's almost over" emotions that most seem to be. 

Anyway, nothing fun to share right now...except for this sweet outdoor space that was bookmarked the minute I saw it.

Camping this weekend. See you next week. :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Block Printing

We're in the wallows of summer and I have to say that it's probably the best summer I've had in quite awhile. I cut down from 5 days to 4 days at my job, and I can't tell you how much it's improved my general mood. Don't get me wrong, I do love my job, but I also enjoy having 3 days to scatter the other things that bring me happiness. By the way, this shirt makes me smile and I get compliments on it every time I wear it. Just in case you wanted to know that. $10 Target Halloween score last fall!

Anyway, after ditching my studio for over half a year, I finally found the pull to bring me back. I generally reserve making art for the winter, as Wisconsin winters are quite long (but fun if you can get outside and enjoy it) but I've been feeling the groove lately, so off I went.
This is an older design, but it was still fun to be printing again. I like the rush of printmaking; I think it's one of the most beautiful forms of art, and although I generally only dabble in small designs, it still does the trick for me. I often think about doing more "art" with printmaking, like actual images with multiple colors, but I don't think it's quite right for me. I'll leave that to the people who are already great at it. ;)
I also found a few minutes to sit down and draw a few new designs. Admittedly, this has always been the hardest part for me. But then I found a super secret magic trick. Markers. Why didn't I ever think of that? I mean, it only makes sense. Why draw with pencils or pens that only provide the thinnest of lines when you can play on the same field as the finished blocks, with big, thick, bold lines? 

Anyway. The photo above were my first pattern drawings in like...2 or 3 years. They'll get better. For now I'm testing the waters I suppose. I do like the circle one on the bottom, though. It's probably going to be the next design I carve. It will be about 2.5" wide and I'll use it for coat racks and mixed media. Hoping to carve and print over the next week. We'll see.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wisconsin River

Joe and I returned home from a beautiful trip on the Wisconsin River this afternoon. Everything about it was perfect. Here are a few photos from our 48 hour adventure.

This is the island we stopped at for lunch. The Wisconsin River is a wide and sandy stretch, dappled with islands big and small. It eventually feeds into the Mississippi River.

The canoe we paddled is a Nova Craft Pal, which I borrowed from work. I'm lucky enough to have a job that offers incentives like this; it's pretty cool to have free access to boats. I'm hoping to buy a solo canoe soon, though.
After paddling for a couple hours, we decided to find an island to rest on for the remainder of the night. The one we found was pretty cool. We were hidden from all 2 of the people who passed us...we pretty much had the river to ourselves.

Camping has become so much more enjoyable since we started buying good gear. We have an MSR Mutha Hubba HP tent, a Sierra Designs Diamond Spring 15 and a Thermarest NeoAir.
The sun finally sank into the horizon and we were able to enjoy a fire while listening to the ripples of the river nearby. I was beat and felt pretty jacked up, so I only lasted until about 10 PM or so. Or maybe it was like 9:30...

Now it's morning, which is my favorite time of day, especially when camping. Time to make coffee and oatmeal! I have an MSR WindPro stove and MSR Quick 2 System, which make this task a breeze.
Once we were packed, we snapped a quick photo and got back on the river. The sun was shining and it was supposed to get hot, so we headed out to find our next site. It was Friday and I thought it may be harder to find an island later in the evening, so getting out early was nice.

After paddling for a bit, we found our next island by about 2:00. We had a huge beach to ourselves, which was perfect for playing frisbee. By now the sky was becoming overcast with slate blues and pewter greys, which is my favorite.
It started to rain around 8:00. I'm a big fan of rainy weather because it stimulates the senses of sound, touch, smell and sight. I wish more people could appreciate rainy days. Rain coats help a LOT. Anyway, on went the rain fly and we built a fire. You can see another fire on a neighboring island, too.
We enjoyed our fire in the rain for an hour or so and eventually retired to the tent for the evening. Next on my purchase list is a tarp so we can extend our time in the rain and sun and wind.
We didn't take any photos the next day other than this one. My camera batteries were dying and I didn't feel like changing them and I was out of space on my memory card, as usual. But now we were home from our quick adventure and already planning our next one.
Once we were unpacked, I took a shower and a 3 hour long nap. Then we headed out to the Old Feed Mill to celebrate 8 years of being together. It was a great few days. Today is supposed to be in the mid 90s and I have a garden to water, so I better get going. Oh, and it's National Ice Cream Day, so I have to go to town and buy some. Ice cream is one of those things that I have recently allowed back into my life, along with peanut butter and ketchup. Oh man. Anyway, back to ice cream- our favorite non-local brand is Breyer's. What's yours?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DIY Fire Pit

Photo post! So as you may know, I've been working on the fire pit on and off for quite some time now. Before that was the major garden overhaul. The main reason behind all the work on the fire pit (lately) was because I had an article to write for Houzz, and I needed a finished fire pit before I could submit it. It was published today, so I have officially decided that the rest of the summer will be for hanging out and having fun. Not that I don't consider house projects to be fulfilling and fun. I mean, that's why I do them. But I need to be camping and canoeing and just hanging out.

Last summer was a wash between being sick for so long and the other various sad and bad things that happened and as a result, I don't even remember it being summer last year. So I think it's time that I stop going going going on house stuff and just hang out for a bit. I'm banning myself from feeling like I NEEEEED to finish things for at least a week. I know, that's kind of short...maybe I'll try for 2 weeks. We're going to kick it off with a trip down the Wisconsin River for a few days. Photos to come. For now, here are a few fire pit shots from beginning to end. Check out the full story here. *PS: I am absolutely elated and in super high spirits after reading all the lovely feedback over at Houzz. Thank you SO much, Houzz readers! :) :) :)

Saturday, July 09, 2011


Over the last couple of days, I spent a large portion of my time working on the area that surrounds our fire pit. I bought these flowers to put somewhere in that general vicinity about a week and a half ago and still haven't planted them. All because I haven't decided where to put them yet. I need to just pick a spot and move on already. I mean really, if I end up hating it, I can just move them.

Yesterday I transplanted a lot of flowers and laid more mulch and did some other little things here and there. It will be a much welcomed feeling when I'm finally happy, or at least content, with that area but we'll see when that happens. Looking at this photo that I snapped today does make me happy and helps me to remember that I need to appreciate all that I've done rather than dwell on what I feel like I still "need" to do.

Sometime this afternoon I opened my mailbox and found the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living resting inside and it made me cringe a little. I think I should probably void this publication from my life because I'm pretty sure it only fuels my struggles with perfectionism. I wish so badly that there was a switch I could turn off and just be fine with things rather than spending countless hours trying to get to the point where I'm okay with something. That would be the coolest thing ever. Or maybe the second coolest thing ever. But either way, I'd love it.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

House Paint

In my last post, I mentioned that Joe and I did a bunch of fun things over the weekend. I don't know how much fun most people consider painting the outside of their house to be, but it definitely increased my mood, and that's coming from somebody who doesn't even like to paint.

We made the jaunt out to Home Depot on Sunday morning to look for paint. Joe yanked a small piece of siding off the back of the house for comparison sake. The idea wasn't to change the color of the house, but to make the painted wooden area off the front of the house match the siding on the rest of the house. The wood was always a little bit more lavender-blue while the rest was more of a sky blue with slightly green undertones. When Joe pulled the siding off, we realized that the reason it was different wasn't because of a bad color match, which was always the assumption I had, but because the siding had actually been painted at one time, and the wood was not. The wood was still the color of the original siding! Oy...
So anyway, while I was at Home Depot, I started grabbing swatches to try to get somewhat close to the siding color. I just wanted to paint the entire front up to the corners where the difference wouldn't be noticeable. First I picked up Martha Stewart paint swatches...of course...but didn't find anything close. Then I went through some Glidden, but nothing still. Another brand was next, and I found one that would work if it had to...and then off to the wall of Behr swatches, where I found an *exact* match. So basically, I found the same color that they used when they painted. The color is called "Harmonious".

So far we've only gotten one coat on, and haven't even touched the siding yet. We plan to do the back as well. A lot of the siding is faded and it drives me nuts! We spent a couple hours scrubbing the exterior and that alone made it look 5 times better, but paint is still necessary. More front of house photos to come. I'm sloowwllllly trucking away at the adhesive left on the cement of the deck, which is a project I started last summer. I think I'm about 90% finished, which means that I only have like 2 hours to go! Yay. ;)

Monday, July 04, 2011

HEMNES Bookcase

Hey friends! I hope you are all enjoying your holiday weekend! Joe and I have been lucky enough to get 3 days off together, which is quite a rarity 'round these parts. We've been kicking ass on the house project list and it confirms that I do indeed have to find a weekend-less work schedule at some point in my life if I want to continue to have fun AND get house stuff done.

We kicked the weekend off with a super fast trip to MN to visit a friend and go to a baseball game. Of course, we can't make a trip to the Twin Cities without a stop at IKEA. I had a long list of things that I'd been saving for, but then I made a $200 mistake a couple weeks ago and there went over half of my budget. Ah well, such is life. But we did come home with one item from IKEA...
A HEMNES bookcase, in grey brown. I must say that I'm really super excited about it. And contrary to the popular "IKEA is such a pain in the ass to assemble!" nonsense I always hear, it was actually quite easy. It probably took about an hour, which included the various interruptions from the cats (side note: Clem is about to find a new home outside if he doesn't stop being such a dick head.)


Pay no attention to the lack of shelf styling thus far- I just kind of threw the books and decorations on half ass-edly and stepped back to breath a sigh of relief- there are no more book piles in every corner of the house! I have been trying not to collect books since we didn't have anywhere to put them, so we don't really have very many, but now we can start the gathering process. Yay!

We did a whole bunch of other stuff this weekend, although you'll have to wait a bit for the stories as we're preparing for some friends who will be arriving shortly. Joe's smoking pork shoulder on the gill and I just made potato salad- yum! Hope you all had a great wknd!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Front Yard

So it's finally happening...after talking about it for almost 2 years, our front yard remodel is in progress. We haven't really done much of anything with the front since moving in (don't tends to fit in with the rest of the street......). As much as it's always bugged me, there's only so much time and ambition provided by each day. But the day has arrived.

When we drove by the house while we were house hunting, I think I said something like "No way. Never." and kept driving. Not only was I anti-ranch house, but I was also anti-old person looking-house. 

A few days later, I was sitting in our apartment and had just opened my third or fourth beer a rich bottle of wine. I slid over to the internet and looked up the MLS listing again. I realized that the place had a lot of potential and that it was a really sweet deal. Any work it needed was purely cosmetic, and I use the term "need" quite loosely here. I think I even used the line "it's a really great family house" when I was trying to convince myself, which is funny since we haven't really felt the urge since moving in...

So anyway, with that preface, I bring you the front of the house:
Not terrible, right? No, not terrible at all. I think it's because you don't see the garage in this photo- I think the garage really pulls the "old lady" feel in and ties it all together.
First thing on the to do list was to rip out the "outdoor" carpet, which we did last fall. Since I don't have any project money right now, I thought that it was a good time to carry on with the agenda: remove bushes and remove railings. And all it cost me was 1 Ibuprofen at the end of the day.
My mom was in town and she kicks ass at all things house-to-do-related. Seriously. My parents burn us out sometimes! In a good way, though...they've always been weekend warriors. Anyway, after we spent about an hour and a half removing these stupid rocks and later realizing that they spanned the entire length of the bushes and that we were SO OVER rock removal, she convinced me that I should buy a tow strap (so i guess it cost more than 1 ibuprofen...) to yank the bushes out. The whole time I kept petting my transmission and telling it that everything would be okay. Kind of like the mom that tells her kid who just lost 2 teeth the night before picture day that he looks fine. Liar. Anyway, those bushes were pretty damn ferocious. But they finally came out and next we removed the jerry-rigged deck railings. And then we had this:
And a view from the front:
Aaahhhh, much better. I really dig the openness. Like, a lot. I'm sitting on my front porch for the third time ever right now. I no longer feel like I'm sitting on an apartment balcony. Or in a baby crib. Or in jail. Those railing spindle thingies were no fun.

So yeah, that's about it. We're going to get bigger columns, remove the shrubs in front of the brick on the right side of the house, add a step in the front, get a new bench and a new light fixture, some different house numbers and a few other things. Oh, and of course we're going to fix the yard, plant more trees and paint the porch. :) I can't wait!