Sunday, June 24, 2012

Home Improvement: The Kitchen Cabinets

Here are some kitchen photos we took a few months ago, when we saw the house for the first time.


As you can see it needed a major face lift! I think a lot of it might be original to the house, which means they're about 60 years old. Over the course of the past week, among other things Joel has done, he also painted all the kitchen cabinets inside and out and we replaced the pulls. Then I added contact paper to the inside, just for a nice clean finish. It was the first time I've ever used contact paper, and I'm not totally sure, but I think it might be love. It reminds me of the first time I held a label-maker. Suddenly, I wanted to label all things in my universe. Haha. Well, a similar feeling overcame me while working with contact paper. Hmmm... what else can I cover with this stuff?? :-) Anyway... back to the results.






Much Better!

This will hold us over until we can get new cabinets (hopefully next year). And at that point, we'll also look into installing a dishwasher (which will be welcomed to my home with trumpets and rose petals), a new countertop and sink. I can't wait! It's gonna look so good when it's done!

The kitchen floors are almost finished, too. Another major improvement! More on that next time. ;)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

First Day of Summer

I continued my "Seasons" photography project yesterday (which was the first day of summer)

Wow, everything was so GREEN, even greener than it was on the first day of spring! And there were many more people out, enjoying the sunshine and UGH 100 degree weather.

Here is the winter shot for comparison, taken the same time of day:

There is one small difference that you might not notice right away, but I thought was interesting. Here is a story in the local news from a few days ago about one of the sycamore trees falling into the pool here in Lower Bidwell. So I knew even before I went to take photos that they would look different. It's barely noticable, though. It took me awhile to even find which tree was missing. You can see it better in the spring version:

and the summer shot once again - green, vibrant, full of life, but with one tree missing... :}

The project is really coming along nicely and I can't wait to see what autumn brings!

I have lots of other spots where I took these photos, but here's just one other fun set I have so far (It might be easier to compare them if you click on one to enlarge it, then scroll through sideways) :




Hope you are enjoying your summer so far!


Nerd moment: Curious about why summer solstice was day early this year? Read here! 8-)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Home Improvement: A little distracted

As if I don't have enough to do right now...

I started out here and got a little lost online for awhile. :) These look like fun projects to consider for the "someday" list.

Stay cool out there!


(I saw this on Pinterest once, but it was the entire floor of a new skate shop in Indiana. Wow)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Home Improvement 4: General Update

Today I'm feeling very pregnant and HOT and so exhausted from two weeks of hard work that I could barely keep my eyelids open all afternoon. Which is probably just as well, since I sprained my back yesterday and should be resting. So, in this forced holiday so to speak, I decided to try to put together some semblance of an update for you.

Lately life has been a blur. All the days meld into one. I have thrown all my usual schedule and routine to the wind in favor of the task at hand. Which is: to remodel the house and then to slowly begin to unpack some boxes. The unpacking has to wait until after the remodelling, you know. For instance, in the kitchen, the cabinets need to be repainted. And by that, I don't mean that I really wish they were a different color, I mean the paint that's there now is peeling and flaking off, and we don't want that in our bowls and cups, so they really need to be repainted. In the meantime, all my pots and pans and recipe books and tupperware and even my entire pantry of dry goods, sit in boxes quite patiently on the living room floor. :) Take that scenario and apply it to every room in the house.

But painting cabinets is not the most pressing need. Which is why we haven't done it yet!

Joel has been amazing. I think there must be something special that God puts in a man that really makes him want to work so hard for his family. I can't imagine what other explanation there could be for the momentum that seems to drive them sometimes. He has done so much around the house already, it's kind of mind-boggling. I hope you'll indulge me, as I give into temptation and just share the huge list with you of some of the things he has done in the last 17 days:
  • Pulled up the carpet
  • Sanded down the floors
  • Stained the floors / polyurethane for protection
  • Installed the toilet
  • Pulled up the old linoleum and even some of the subflooring in the bathroom
  • as well as the kitchen and the laundry room
  • Installed new subflooring (underlayment) in those same three rooms
  • Installed the flooring (vinyl tiles) in those same three rooms (this part is almost done)
  • Researched and order a new fridge and oven /range
  • Installed a new back door
  • Fixed a leak in the spigot outside
  • Trimmed the loquat tree branches that were rubbing against the house
  • Started painting in the laundry room
  • Hooked up the washer and dryer
... and about 50 other 'littler' things that I am sure I'm forgetting. Not bad, huh? Especially for someone who has a 40 hour/week job and only 'gets to' work on the house in the evenings and on the weekends! I am so proud of him. And I am sure he is even more exhausted than I am.

There are precious few things that I can do in my condition, but of course I waddled around and did what I could too :) Which mainly involves trying to clean the place from top to bottom (no easy feat - I think the guy who lived here before us was an elderly bachelor, so it's obvious to me that he was neither handy with a hammer nor a sponge), and pruning the jungle of flora in the front and back yards.

OH! I have rose bushes! Did I tell you that?

They were a little intimidating to me at first, but like most things in my life that intimidate me, I googled it and educated myself. Haha. I was a champion rose-pruner in no time. It took me about three days just to prune the 6 rose bushes with my little hand pruners, as well as a very large (and overgrown!) Camellia hedge in front of the house. Here are a couple of my favorite ones that have bloomed since:


I wish this was Smell-a-vision, because really half the charm is in their intoxicating aroma...

Another thing that takes up a LOT of my time is my War on the Box Elder Bugs. We have a huge Box Elder Maple in the backyard, which is very nice and shady. But it has attracted thousands of these creepy little beetles into the backyard

and they have gone unchecked for over a year now (that's how long the house was vacant before we moved in). I read somewhere that, of all the pesticides you could use, soapy water is actually the best thing, because it suffocates them. So, I kinda want to just flood my yard with soapy water, but unfortunately the little buggers fly, and a lot of them would get away. Instead, I spend the better part of an hour a day out there with an ortho-sprayer filled with hot soapy water, killing them one by one and drowning out the little hatchlings. They don't bite or anything, they are just a nuisance and so gross, I get the heebyjeebies just thinking about them. It might just be my imagination, but I think their numbers might be going down. My goal is to kill as many as I can before they mate and lay eggs so there will be less next year and so forth. What really creeps me out is that I just read they can find little crevices in your house to hibernate for the winter and then there is the chance that you will have little beetles flying around your house in the spring when they wake up. YUCK! Our old stucco house has cracks and crevices a-plenty! So my main goal is to keep them OUT. Oh, that reminds me, add this to Joel's list (he did it yesterday).
  • caulk the windows and a bunch of crevices around the outside of the house
There are a few other options we might look into for pest management.

All of our new neighbors have been very friendly, taking time to introduce themselves or at the very least wave hello from across the street. I cannot count the number of times they all said to me "Well, you've got your work cut out for you!" How do they do how much work I have cut out for me, I wonder? I think they must have all got together at some point and taken a group tour of the house when it was on the market. :-)

Well... I hope this post didn't sound too much like complaining. I am really so excited to be in our new place and we have such BIG vision for it. But it just seems like so much work sometimes! And we add things to the ToDo list every day. I really don't want to speak evil on it at all, but sometimes it reminds me of the movie The Money Pit... or maybe that old Jimmy Stewart one, Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation. I am chuckling now just thinking of them. It's just humorous to consistantly find something else in the old house that needs repairing or some new strange quirk with the place. Sometimes I stare at a new Thing I have found and go "Hmmmm... what the heck IS that and what is it supposed to be for?" It's kinda funny.

Seems like I've shared a lot, and still have more to share, but I'll give us both a break for now. I'll post some befores and afters soon. Well, befores and "still working on it but doesn't it look betters" ;)

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mystery Tree

We have this beautiful and very interesting fruit tree (possibly two of them, actually) on the side of our new house. It offers some nice shade, helps keep the house cool and looks almost tropical. Any guesses as to what it might be? ;)

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