December 2010

You guys have already seen a lot of these (here, for example) but I figured I owed you a more recent update.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

As much as I love writing about my house, sometimes I have a need to share something totally bizarro off-the-wall, or- gasp!- wedding related. So I hereby declare Wednesdays fair game- on Wednesdays, I’m allowed to post any of the following things:

  • Wordless Wednesday (of course)
  • Weirdo Wednesday (have you met my family?)
  • Wedding Wednesday (my neediness for opinions doesn’t stop with home-related issues!)
  • Whisker Wednesday (for the animals, duh)
  • Whiny Wednesday (I’ll try to keep this one to a minimum)
  • Wishing Wednesday (stuff I want)
  • Wunning Wednesday (I’m running another half-marathon)
  • Whatever-I-Want Wednesday (I’m free to come up with more “W” words)

So if all you ever want to hear about is house-related stuff, please stick around (I love you, dear reader) but just skip Wednesdays. I feel like is a good way for me to not pretend that other parts of my life don’t exist, but also to give me some boundaries so I don’t post cat and rainbow videos and veil and centerpiece choices every other day.

For this first one, let’s go ahead and do a Weirdo Wednesday. You give me 4 seconds, and I will make you smile (or at least raise an eyebrow and wish for those 4 seconds back).

I’m a scarf girl. Anyone else out there a scarf girl or guy? It’s nice because I can wear the most boring outfit ever, and totally spice it up with a scarf. But when my scarves are hidden away in a closet (a teeny one, at that) I don’t always remember they’re there, and then I enter the dangerous “extremely boring outfit zone” more often than I like.

So I decided to make this space between the bedroom door and the closet my “dressing corner”, since I will probably never have an actual dressing room to call my own (curse you Sara!).

(That big white rectangle is just the light reflecting in the mirror. Maybe someday I’ll learn how to take pictures.)

I got this $5 Logga hanger at Ikea and it sat around my house for weeks I installed it right away.

It seems like every time I have to use anchors, it ends up taking way longer than it should and also generating way more muttered curse words than it should. And then it also seems more blog-worthy than it probably should.

Look at all my fun scarves!

Blanche approves.

I excitedly said to Stan “It’s functional art!!!” He replied “Well… it’s functional.” Wop wop wop. But this room won’t be his for another 158 days or so according to the super-naggy Knot, so if he doesn’t like it by then I guess that will be our first speed bump as a married couple. HA!

Today is mine. A few days ago I was being all whiny like “I hate my birthday! It blows that it’s two days after Christmas! Everyone is all worn out from Christmas and drinking too much egg nog and whatever else the songs say and pleasing their loved ones with gifts and decorating their houses and they’re all broke so I just feel guilty making anyone do anything for my dumb birthday! Way to go mom, getting pregnant 9 months before Christmas!!” And other totally rational ramblings.

It's aliiivvvveeee!!

Today though, I’m feeling pretty happy about the whole thing. I’m taking a half day to eat a big huge burrito and go skiing with my sweetheart, then eating sushi with my awesome family who loves me enough to muster up one last burst of energy after Christmas to celebrate with me. Does it get better than huge burritos + skiing + raw fish + people you love? If you think it does, then you can just shut your trap, because it’s MY BIRTHDAY today. Sorry, that was the birthday monster.

We totally rock the teacher-style Christmas shirts, borrowed from an actual teacher.

So anyway, happy birthday to me, and happy normal day to all of you!

Never has been. In fact, I’m quite impressed that I used actual wrapping paper this year.

The roll wasn’t as wide as this present was tall. I guess I could have laid it the other way so I had enough for the ends.

At least they’re pretty sweet gifts, though.

I’ll leave you with a beautiful version of O Come O Come Emmanuel by Sufjan Stevens:

Remember when I won that giant giveaway that Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog so awesomely put together? I won so much cool Etsy stuff! I’ve been thrilled seeing the gifts arrive at my house, and I have plans for all of them. Ok so I won’t lie- I’m going to keep some of them. But I’ll also get into the Christmas spirit and give some of them away.

The first one was not a Christmas gift, but a baby gift. When I won a print from Our Humble A{Bowe}d‘s Etsy Shop, I decided that it should go to someone I hadn’t even met yet- little “Baby E” as her mom, my friend Kristin, referred to her throughout her pregnancy. I had Amanda customize the tree-ring print with “baby e” and a green color that I thought mom would like, and put it in a frame. I also figured she could probably use some diapers.

Just hours after I dropped off the gift, her mom went into labor and the little miracle was born!

Meet Eleanor.

“The loveliest little lady her mommy ever met” is how the photographer described her. I just can’t get enough of this picture.

…and by “new”, I mean “was built or updated after electricity became a standard feature”… then you probably take certain things for granted. Like for instance, you come home with your arms full of groceries, you unlock the door, and you switch on a light that illuminates your path safely to the kitchen. You do not come home with your arms full of groceries, unlock the door, and trip over your cat and kick several pairs of shoes across the room because you can’t see anything until you reach a switch halfway across the house.

If you can’t tell, I get the latter experience. But this weekend, that all began to change.

See, the only switch by the front door was for the porch light.

But just like Ariel, I wanted more.

I wanted to be able to switch on a light inside my house the instant I walked in the door. Is that so much to ask? This would normally be a piece of cake to take care of, but my house is a double brick walled beauty. Brick is hard. Brick must be dealt with using big, powerful tools, like angle grinders and frightening looking drills.

Not my piddly $30 Harbor Fart drill. After considering our options (one being a low-voltage impulse relay system- basically running teeny wires discreetly next to the trim, that when switched, tell the bigger wires to turn on the lights) we (and I use the term “we” loosely) decided to dig a trench in the plaster and brick, lay some conduit in there, and thread solid wires through there (not romex, because romex is big and our conduit was only like an inch around or something).

is bigger than

Since I wanted four switches- one for the dining room chandelier, one for the living room, one for the porch light, and one for a switched exterior outlet (for Christmas lights, hence the switch, but also for other yard tools) there was just not enough space to run all that romex. I do not really understand how it works, but somehow, you can get away with using the little single wires rather than the triple-wired romex for each switch. I just nod my head.

Manly Stanley used a turquoise colored pencil to draw where we should dig the trench. He’s so artistic.

Then, we trenched that SOB. We trenched it good.

The jolt at :06 was when a large number of sparks flew onto my hand. Ouchie. You can see that we’d do some grinding, then some chiseling. Not the first time I’ve chiseled some stuff.

Here it is, ready for conduit:

Side note: Did you spot the conduit that’s already there? (If not, are you blind?) We had a brief moment of excitement that we could possibly use that instead of trenching for some new stuff, but alas we could not get the old wires out. Ah well.

Here’s Stan’s dad, feeding the pretty blue new conduit up into the attic:

We color-coded the wires before fishing them up through the conduit.

It’s… beautiful!

Next up was hiding the conduit, using some Fix-All and some plain ol’ brick mortar, since we’d knocked about one too many bricks loose and wanted to provide a little more structural support.

Here’s Stan hiding the evidence:

And here’s how it looks right at this very moment:

That’s some intense mortar, huh? Hey, we didn’t want the wall to collapse. And no one should be needing to fuss around with the 4-gang box anytime soon- the conduit offers the flexibility to fish wires in and out if need be.

All that’s left to do now is patch and finish the mess, hook up the switches, and do some more stuff in the attic (I am usually not very involved in that part, so I’m not sure exactly what.) Then, my friends, I can walk in the house and flip on a switch to illuminate my way straight to the fridge. Mmm… leftover Indian food.

Once we had all the conduit buried and the wires run, I turned to Stan and said “It’s sick to think how easy this would have been if we were dealing with sheetrock, isn’t it?” Seriously, the three of us spent about 4 hours on this. If it were a sheetrock wall, it would have taken… oh, ten minutes? But ah, the joys of living in an old house.

…who puts pepper spray in my pocket when people come over to buy my Craigslist stuff?

Thing #1: I recently bought an item that may necessitate the purchase of one of the flat screen TV stands offered by CSN! (OK, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what I just bought.)

Thing #2: I’m going to review a CSN product in the near future. Hold on to your seats, peeps!

On a completely unrelated note, how awesome is this for a backyard wedding?

Image from

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