June 2010

I’ve been working on a list. Lists are kind of fun. They are also kind of a beyotch. Usually when I look at a list I’ve made, I say things like “Oooh, I can cross that one off as soon as I ______!” Then my heart falls a bit because I can’t actually cross it off yet, and approximately seven minutes later I forget what the ________ was, then I lose the list, then six months later I make a new list and go through the same process again.

Well not anymore! You see, it’s impossible to lose a list when it’s published to the internets, so that’s what I’m doing. Next to “My to-do list” that includes all the awesome stuff I want to do in my life like climb mountains and go on awesome Sex-And-The-City-esque trips (except not like this past movie- please, let’s just forget this past movie), there is now “My house’s to-do list“.

Please, feel free to check it out and leave me encouraging comments! Or you know, comments like “Wow, uh, GOOD LUCK.”

Oh and yes, I did kinda copy this idea from some of my blog friends. Thanks for the idea.

A while back I was featured on HomeownersInsurance.org’s list, 50 Do-It-Yourself Blogs: DIY Must-Reads for Home Improvement Projects. Wow, thanks guys!

I did notice my description- ahem- …“slowly renovating her 1926 brick bungalow”…

Nothing like getting a pat on the back and a kick in the pants all at the same time!

Really though, thank you very much, HomeownersInsurance.org. I feel very honored, and from now on my goal is to work on the “slowly” part!

My living room struggles have been a bit ridiculous at best, I know. But come on- this room is seriously the size of a bedroom. I guess back in 1926 they didn’t have big poofy couches and 42″ TVs (okay, neither do I). I debated keeping this more of a “sitting room” with just a couple lighter chairs, maybe a chaise, maybe a minimalist love seat. But then I realized that I want to actually use this room for plopping down after a long day of sitting on my butt at the office, and that probably won’t happen if I get rid of my beloved comfy $110 craigslist couch.

Also, I’m kinda broke.

So the couch stays, along with all the other hand-me-down/secondhand/Ikea/collected items.

Here’s an old pic of the room from right after the tornado known as the “Moore Family” left after remodeling my kitchen (sorry, no after pics because there are still approximately 38,129 little details remaining).

I have a few problems with this setup.

  1. The microwave (it’s gone now)
  2. It only fits 3 people- c’mon, I have more friends than that!
  3. The stripes on the rug accentuate the room’s long narrow skinniness
  4. Where is the TV supposed to go?
  5. The couch blocks the fireplace

What I really need is an extra 2-3 feet on each side of the fireplace, or even just on one side! But I am pretty sick of tearing out walls at the moment, so I’m just going to try and make this work.

Here’s the new setup, including a new friend I like to call “craigslisted Ikea chair”. Seriously- how many people buy these then get rid of them 6 months later? To me Ikea products are some of the easiest things to buy used, because if you’ve spent any time at all in their store, you know exactly what you’re getting. I knew I wanted this Ektrop chair (is that right?) because they are really compact but surprisingly comfortable.

(Oh and please pardon the dusty floor. Mop or no mop it looks this way. Floor refinishing is coming up soon.)

I’m not too crazy about the black or the exposed legs, so I bought a cover for it (new).

I think I like the white a lot in here (besides, white is cheaper than any other color by $20). I love that the cover can be washed and bleached.

Here’s the other view.

And with the cover.

The chair on the right is another project for a rainy day. I would like to re-cover it with a cool pattern and possibly refinish it. I’m told this isn’t too hard for a chair like this.

I still have a long way to go in this room, and I still hate how the couch blocks the view of the fireplace, and I still absolutely despise that the old owners chucked the original window on the right to put a stupid swamp cooler vent there, but I’m going to stop listing things I hate right now before I put anymore unnecessary strain on my circulatory system.

I found this guy via Stan, who found him via Girl Talk (awesome).

I have a feeling I’ll be dance-cleaning my house to this song tonight.

This one’s cool too.

This weekend, I did not finish a project. BUT. I came really close. Remember back when I got the wild idea to rip my strip? (Sorry, I still can’t say that without wincing.) And then I started building a rock pathway which got about 1/3 finished before I let it sit as an unsightly pile of rocks for two weeks, which I’m sure my neighbors loved.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to say that the Rip Your Strip project is now at 75% completion! Feel free to imagine the before, which was first plain grass, then black plastic, then bare dirt. And here’s the almost after!

Here’s another view.

I used a lot of rocks, because they don’t need to be watered. And yes, I bought some rocks- let the mocking begin. I bought some low water plants, but I also got a lot of starts for free- all drought-tolerant and hearty. Some of the plants I have in my newly ripped strip include Yarrow, Globe Mallow, Blue Oat Grass, Catmint, Snow in Summer, Iris, Indian Rice Grass, and Irish Moss. I can’t remember what all of them are.

I put rocks on the end because it’s right by a driveway, and I wouldn’t cry if someone drove over them.

I planted thyme between the rocks- I hope it’s going to spread…

I really like this Irish Moss and the label claims it doesn’t require much water and that it spreads, so hopefully this area eventually becomes a nice lush blanket. The spikey one is Hen and Chicks.

What of the unfinished 25%? Okay fine, here it is.

There’s one more stone pathway to go (although this time I’m spending the money for the nice flat rocks instead of spending the precious hours of my life and precious vertebrae of my back) and some more plants and a repeat of the river rock edge from the other side, and I’m done!

Aahhh, sweet almost- victory.

The rock path turned out a little gnarlier than I would have liked, but by the end of it I was just so thrilled to get it done I didn’t care. I think it will look pretty nice with some thyme growing between the rocks (fingers crossed).

Some concerns I have are that the plants may not get enough sun (I’m only mildly concerned about this, especially after trimming some of the low branches from the tree) and that raking leaves out of here is going to be a real PITA. But I’m thrilled with how little I’ll need to water it, and more importantly, how cool it looks! Yeah, I’m proud of this one.

Special thanks to Stan and Duncan for stepping in to save my sanity this weekend, and my neighbors and Garden Goddess for the free plants.

Mistakes- we’ve all made them. Whether it was dating the guy in 9th grade who wore the matching Adidas track suit to school every other day (and that was probably his least-bad quality), or just burning the toast, I know I’m not alone here. (Am I?)

Back when we were doing a major overhaul in the kitchen of all things electric (before the cabinets, floor, etc.) we measured where the new bar was going to go, and where these hanging bar lights should go. So just so we’re clear, when we were figuring this out, the bar didn’t actually exist yet.

So we drilled two holes in the ceiling based on our measurements, and put some of those blue round thingies in there for the time being.

Well I’ll be damned, but we were wrong! After the bar went in, I realized that somehow we had misjudged where these things should go. I hemmed and hawed about whether I could just get over it, but I knew that it would end up driving me nutzo having them be that close to the shelves and that far from the stools.

So we moved them, leaving two fabulous holes in the ceiling.

Holes in walls/ceilings ain’t no thing ordinarily. Check out some of these doozies from before I moved in.

But these are (cue serial killer music) ceiling tiles! Dum dum duuuuuum. First of all, I know, I hate them too. But not as much as I hate the thought of sheetrocking the ceiling, so stay they will for now.

I searched high and low for some matching ones, but would be believe these babies are pretty hard to find? True story. So we had to turn to our best friend joint compound to get the job done.

Looks great, eh? After several coats of that, it was time to work some magic with a sanding sponge. Holding it at an angle, I skillfully sanded lines out to try and blend it with the other lines.

Skillfully may be too strong a word.

The lines are crooked, but the ceiling tiles themselves aren’t the most perfect things either, so I’ll just say I did that on purpose.

Jonny came over to spray on some spray texture, and honestly I wouldn’t know about this little mishap unless I knew what to look for.

The texture needs a light sand and a quick coat of paint, and I also need to clean the texture off of those “medieval boob-looking things” as Jonny calls them.


I discovered this site on a facebook ad (they do work!)


and it’s given me an all-new obsession. I really want to finish a bed/bath in my scary basement. And to help pay for it until I really need it in the future, I could rent it out on a site like this! The “suite” could even have its own entrance, as my back door goes into a split entrance (up and down). It seems like a pretty good way to make a few bucks without committing to a tenant, no?

Before you start getting visions of slumlords renting out their extra roach-filled rooms to unsuspecting travelers, hear me out. Just a quick search on the site reveals that there are some pretty sweet places!

For example, if you were coming to visit scenic Salt Lake City, would you mind renting out this room in The Avenues from good-ol-boy Ron for $75?

He even stocks the bathroom…

…and makes you breakfast!

Sweet! (Hey, I think I have that same table…)

Or how about your very own apartment in New York City for $195 per night?

You can find anything from someone’s spare bedroom to their spare French Chateau on the site. Doesn’t it seem a little more fun than a Motel 6? Or does it just sound scary?

I’m seriously considering trying it out with the extra bedroom that I already have (although in all honesty I don’t think I could sleep unless I had a lock on my door, no matter how nice my guest was). I’m not sure how popular it would be, considering the person would have to share my teensy bathroom with me. Am I crazy? I feel like kind of a crazy person right now.

Would you rent a room this way?

Would you rent out a room in your house?

Would you rent out a “suite” with a separate entrance?

Update: WEIRD. Young House Love posted this today saying that someone had taken pictures of their lovely house and tried to advertise it as their own (across the country, no less!) Maybe it’s not all it’s cracked up to be…

Welcome to earth Ruby!

Ruby Jane is my newest niece. Isn’t she  a doll? And I have to say, she is quite lucky to have entered the family she did. Especially the extended family, which includes me. Har har.

Really though, her mom is a rock star- she took a chemistry test just a few days after Ruby was born! Congrats guys. 🙂

Thanks for all your comments on my previous Basket Case post– and I actually followed your advice! Some of you told me to chill out because they don’t need to fit perfectly, others told me to spray paint different ones to make them coordinate, Babs even told me to take a basket weaving class (above water)! That actually sounds really fun and maybe I will at some point in my life. In the end I followed Kim‘s advice to go to Cost Plus World Market, where I found four big beauties. I did have to take out a shelf on each side, but I don’t mind.

Here it is before, with three compartments:

And here it is after, with two compartments and bigger baskets:

Other side before:

Other side now:

And my concern that the other compartment was too big so they wouldn’t fit?

Well they don’t, but that’s okay. No one really sees the empty space over there when the stools are in place. And besides, I’m sure I’ll come up with something to stack up to fill the space.

Oh and by the way, I kept the other shelf I took out, ya know, just in case.

I love em! Now I just need to start eating bazillions of potatoes and storing them in here.

So thanks again to everyone for your help!

What would you put in these baskets if they were yours?

Do you like them??

As if I don’t have enough unfinished projects around here, I started a new one. A while back I blogged about the Rip Your Strip program and replacing some of the lawn with more drought-tolerant plants. The parking strip really is the best place to start. Having lawn there isn’t really necessary- it’s not like you hang out there- and besides, the ripped strips I’ve seen look so gorgeous, so what better place to do it then right in front of your house?

We came up with a rough plan for it (below). I thought having two flagstone paths would be great- one as a continuation of the front walk, and the other right where you park so it’s easy for people to walk up the strip. However, after visiting the stone yard and realizing that it would cost me $160 for all the stone I wanted (more per square foot than any flooring I’ve even put inside my house!), I decided that we should see what we could do with the rocks that were haphazardly put in my yard by the previous owners.

These aren’t nearly as nice to work with as the light and thin flagstones you can buy, but hey, they were free and although they are thick, most of them are really flat.

So I started lugging the rocks to the strip.

And trying to make an “organic” but well-defined path.

It’s actually pretty fun- it’s like a really heavy puzzle with multiple solutions. Of course I don’t care that they don’t fit perfectly together, especially because I’ll have something growing in the cracks.

Almost done!

Puzzle complete!

I started digging and placing the rocks flush with the ground too, and surprisingly they sit really well with minimal rocking and moving. I’ve heard you should use sand or gravel, but it seems to me that they’ll be just fine especially when they get some grass or something growing between them.Unfortunately I only have enough rocks for one path.

Anyone have any tips on getting cheaper stone?

Anyone adamantly opposed to me not using sand/gravel?

Anyone have any great ideas for what I should grow in the cracks?

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