Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hallway Wrap-Up

This feels like it has been the longest little project, all totaled it has been over a year in progress.  In reality there has been one frame waiting for photos sitting in the office since May.  You can check out what the front hallway looks like here and here.  There are a lot of doorways in the back hallway; the office, full bath, both bedrooms and the front hallway.  This doesn't leave a lot of wall space for hanging.


This is the view from the office, we replaced the existing light because we couldn't find a shade to fit it.  The shade that we managed to break about a month after we moved it.  We replaced it with a  ten dollar fixture from Lowe's that Bruce removed the pull chain from, then I spray painted a bronzy color.  I've had that frame since college, I painted that the same color as the light and swapped out most of the photos for some more recent ones.  I'd like to find a cute way to frame out the thermostat but I don't think Bruce would go for it.


This is the view from our bedroom doorway.  The frame on the right has an antique "pocket book" of Shakespeare's Henry the Eighth that Bruce gave me for Valentines Day a few years ago (an homage to my love of all things Tudor).  On the left is a print from Poppy and Pinecone on Etsy.


It is so nice to feel like this space is finally finished!  Sorry the photos aren't the best the angles are pretty difficult!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Where We Live

I almost titled this post "Where the Magic Happens" but I thought that might be a little to MTV Cribs. It was going to be this nice house tour where I used the tripod and took lovely composed photos of our house just after I spent all day cleaning it.  But life happens and I didn't clean the whole house and I just grabbed the camera yesterday morning, put up the shades and closed the toilets.  As a result the white balance is bad, there are messes and a few photos might even be a little blurry.

I didn't do the breezeway, it is better than it was but I still can't let you see the utter mess. So into the kitchen.

We need new counters, something needs to be done about the cabinets and the layout of where the fridge is (which you can't really see) needs work.  I love our appliances; particularly the stove, I love that stove. Off the kitchen is the half bath, not much has changed since I finished it in 2010.

Now into the office.  We are mid-makeover.  The Murphy desk needs a few finishing touches, then we need to organize, purge, re-organize, purge, toss the other desk, find a couch/sleeper sofa . . .  hence the mess, most of my time in there is organizing and purging.

I didn't re-photograph the hallways, the back hallway still needs one more frame and these photos of the front hall would be ruined by an 8am photo session. We also haven't done much in the full bath since the reno we did right after we moved in.  I had one of our favorite photos from our Cape Breton Adventure made as an acrylic print and bought a new (not see-through) shower curtain.  You also might notice what looks like a pile under the sink, it is actually a square wire basket to catch laundry, honestly one of my favorite things.  It doesn't take up much room visually when empty (helping to make the room look bigger) and corrals the laundry during the week.

Since the last master bedroom update, we've hung new curtains and some artwork.  I just hung those faux pewter frames this past weekend and the hangers on the back are irregular so they look pretty wonky right now, they also don't have anything in them, still working on that.  The other print I made for Bruce for our anniversary, it has lyrics from our wedding song over the infinity symbol.

There isn't much to say about the guest  room, Bruce gets ready for work in there hence the ironing board.  It is kind of the catch all for lost things, including furniture.  There are plans, that's all I am going to say about this room for now.

Last the living room.  We tossed the big couch in July when the dumpster was here.  The speakers have moved to the basement (another home for lost furniture) and we decided that we like the room better with out a big coffee table.

The dining room decor hasn't really changed since I "finished" it.  There still isn't any art on the walls but I have fun in here with seasonal decor. Right now I'm in between summer and fall, so there's nothing.

So that's what we're living in every day. Yes, I make the bed every morning that way at least if the rest of the place is a disaster the bed looks nice. Since I took the photos I've already cleaned up my desk so you can see the top of it again.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Adventures in Roofing

July first we started our Big Roofing Adventure, it also was the start of a huge heat wave, perfect for roofing.  The dumpster was delivered, oh so exciting. But the first thing that went into it was not roof related, it was our big broken recliner couch!  (More on that in another post).
July third we spent three hours at Home Depot, then got up the morning of the fourth sometime entirely too early. Bruce's parents arrived and work began, Bruce's parents were present for 95% of this roofing adventure and their help was invaluable.  Looking back now the days seem to run together, but I know that we collapsed after dinner.
Many of the joists on the back of the breezeway needed to be reeinforced and all the plywood needed to be replaced.  We knew that we would need to replace the plywood but not the joists.  We didn't even have the right size boards so Bruce and his dad had to rip 2x8's down to 2x6 which added significantly to our timeline.

Our friend Jon came down on Saturday and Sunday of 4th of July weekend and his help was also invaluable.  And even I (not a big fan of heights or a person who functions well in the heat) got up on the roof to assist laying the flat roof. Kenny was the spotter while we were all on the roof.

By the end of the day Sunday all the roofing felt was down (making the roof water proof) some of the front was done and the flat roof was done (the hardest part.)
Have I mentioned yet that it was 102 degrees while they/we were up on the roof.  It was so hot that the special tar for the flat roof wouldn't set and it was sliding under our feet as we were trying to lay it.  You might notice in some of the photos that Bruce is wearing a big straw hat, i bought that while we were in Jamaica on our honeymoon.  I also implemented frequent water/gatorade breaks and kept frozen wash cloths in the freezer that we rotated into the cooler and luckily no one had heat stroke.  There was also a lot of 50 spf.

We both took Monday off.  I would love to say that we spent quality time together but I can't.  We went back and forth about calling someone to finish the job it was unpleasant but we worked through it and were fine by bedtime.  Bruce called for an estimate but after looking at the few rows of finished front shingles for the rest of the week we made some command decisions.  We returned the original 3 tab shingles and got architectural shingles, they look no different once they are on but they are much easier when there is a lot of cutting involved and our roof has a lot of cutting involved.  Then into the dumpster went the first few rows on the front, replaced with the new kind of shingles.  Then we (and by we I mean Bruce) decided to do both sides of the garage.  Initially we were only going to do the side of the garage that meets the breezeway, but we decided that we had enough materials and still had the dumpster so we should just go for it.  So Jon came back and helped to strip and felt the far side of the garage.  We emptied a few more things out of the dumpster and called the company to come take it away.  The dumpster was hauled away on Monday July 22.

Like I said before the timeline is a little hazy Bruce's parents came back the first weekend of August (I think Sunday) and they got all the shingles laid on the far side of the garage.  The rest of the shingles Bruce did after work.  The breezeway peak is done and vented, so all that is left is to finish the garage peak.

Now to finish the inside. :-)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Long Over-Due

So Tuesday's post was obviously very very long overdue. Opps! A Few weekends ago we sat down and put together a list of all the things we need to do around the house; for right now, for the near future and for what we think should be done for re-sale.  It is big and scary and we kind of put it together and ignored it for a little bit. Not to say that we haven't been chipping away at it.  But it has sat over on Google Drive barely organized for ten days.  Earlier this week I gave it some attention.  I mentally divided it into two major categories: This year's outside tasks and everything else.  Then I organized everything else and semi-prioritized our fall list. So here it is:

Our Big Adventurous List
Before the Snow
FINISH JETTA (and probably tidy the garage)
Fix flat tire on Snapper
Get mulch
Front wall bed
Fix Tractor
Check out chipper/mulcher
Garage door trim
Replace old garage door
Finish trim on the garage
Replace shingles on the side of the house
Paint new Shingles
Paint outdoor breezeway trim/clean up
Call Dillon roofing about replacing the roof
Order firewood
Clean chimney
Finish painting front door.
Build back step
Replace back gutter
Scrap/Donate Passat
Scrap/Donate Big Red Truck

New light box for overhead lighting.
New window
Ceiling (bead board) and insulation
Remove wall heater and install baseboard heater.
Vinyl/snap together floor
New doors/windows in the front.
Fix or replace back screen.
Solution for cabinets (repaint/reface/replace)
New counters
Solution for dining room/fridge wall.
New flooring possibly matching/coordinating with breezeway
New range hood. (vent outside if possible)
Living Room
Prime and paint coat closet (smells bad)
Prime and paint
Hide TV wires
Hang art.
Master Bedroom
Built-Ins for master closet
Hang art work
Find/build new bedside tables.
Move mirror inside one of the closet doors and put hooks on the back of the bedroom door.
Second Bedroom
Prime and paint ceiling, walls, trim, closet and radiator.
Finish murphy desk
Replace paneling with drywall
Replace Bruce’s desk pullout couch or futon.
Install hot water heater
Finish waterproofing and cleaning out.
Build a bike rack.
Get rid of metal shelving in the basement and move wood shelving together.
Mount die grinder
Make workshop functional
Build wood rack
Lift washer/dryer have defined laundry area.
Define wood stove area (under living room) with old metal desk and seating.
Second Floor
Clean out
Whole House/Outside Projects
Clean/Seal hardwoods.
Remove cedar tree and build deck/low patio off breezeway.
Remove pine tree by the street.
Have stumps pulled or ground down.
New garden fence.
Remove “widow maker” branch.
Paint house exterior.
Replace windows.
Craig’s List/Donate/Trash old furniture with no use.
Replace Front Door

Of course looking at this made me realize that the project list over on the sidebar needs seriously to be updated.  So I've given each of these categories their own spot on the list so we can all keep track of the progress around here.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Adventure to Cape Breton

Back in June Bruce and I drove to Cape Breton with my mom for a week.  My aunt passed away in the spring and wanted her ashes scattered where she and my mom spent their summers as children.  So off we went.  We left bright and early on a Saturday morning back in June  It is about a twenty hour drive from my parents house to Glace Bay on Sunday afternoon (where we were staying with family) and we have usually done this drive over two days. On the way up we stayed in Moncton, New Brunswick and on the way back we stayed outside Bangor, ME; honestly we didn't do much sight seeing while in those two places after spending 10+ hours in the car.

We did however do a little bit of sight seeing while in Nova Scotia and lots of visiting (in true Christine fashion I forgot to take any photos of people). Tuesday I could not be convinced to get back into a car.  But Wednesday Bruce and I were off to drive the Cabot Trail.  I encourage you to go to Nova Scotia, enjoy the scenery and partake in the amazing treats the province and especially Cape Breton have to offer.


We left Glace Bay and drove to Baddeck, picked up some maps and took some photos of the Bra's 'dor Lakes and the Schooner Ameboa which gives tours.  At some point while chasing the Ameboa to take photos Bruce remembered that he really enjoys photography and confiscated the DSLR, so the photo credits in the post all go to him (unless he's in the photo).

From Baddeck we drove to Cheticamp where we had lunch which was excellent. It was rainy when we left Glace Bay but just as we got to the coast it cleared up and the weather was beautiful, as was the scenery.  Then headed into the provincial park.

We stopped at pretty much every "scenic overlook" so I apologie for the photo-dump.  We also saw a bear cub crossing the road but I couldn't get the camera up to take a photo of it, You'll just have to take my word for it.

We stopped at MacIntosh Falls for a short hike.  It was around two miles total and flat, it was a great time to get out of the car and get some blood flowing back in our legs! There are many great places to hike around the park, with difficultly levels for everyone.


From there we drove to St.Ann's for dinner.  Now if we had wanted to we could have taken a short ferry and maybe cut down on our driving but we really wanted to complete the whole Cabot Trail and we would have missed the very end by taking the ferry.

We got back to Glace Bay just in time to watch the Bruins game. It was another 10 hour day in the car but it was definitely worth it!  Thursday night we had an amazing lobster dinner, which I failed to take any photos of because I was way to busy eating it!  Friday we climbed back in the car for the long drive home.  Saturday we stopped in Freeport and did some shopping, we got some great deals at the L.L.Bean and Northface outlets.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Because July was Crazy.

Because we are a little crazy.
SERIOUSLY you guys! What is going on around here!?!
We'll re-do the breezeway roof over the fourth of July holiday Famous last words.  It's almost done.  While you do that I'll paint the front door, we should build a 'Murphy desk' from the free Expedit TV system we got, I'll re-seal the floors.  More Famous last words, the desk is done but not organized and with no system to hold it up, there will be a tutorial someday; it will be great.  The front door still needs another coat of paint and only the living room floors are sealed.  Chole the chinchilla has conjuctivitis because she had been in the basement since March, well either that or she needs a CT scan to see if she needs a root canal (are you kidding me!!!).   Last weekend we spent with friends and family for my big 3-0 it was great, almost as great as the Saturday of fouth of July weekend would have been if Bruce had been with me.  This weekend I made fresh pasta and ribs.  I cannot say that we have not been productive.  But I can say that this is the first year since 2003 that I have missed all the NSW planning meetings and have not visited camp at all and I can say that this is one of the first "first weekend of August" that I have missed in a long time.  And I have been prickly (to quote Bruce), in a definet funk, but now I'm getting out of it and there are new posts in the works.

Monday, July 1, 2013

June Wrap-Up

June was crazy busy. This is my google calendar, it has everything on it, see any empty days in June? Me either.

Bruce has a big project planned for long weekend, so hopefully I'll get lots of little projects done and post about them when they are done.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pride and Hope

I am not alway proud of our country, nor am I always hopeful. But this week I am. 

I took for granted that Bruce and I went to town hall, got a marriage license and tied the knot last year and filed our taxes together this year.  Everyone should have that right.  I also believe in the separation of Church and State. I do not think that our country will ever force your pastor, rabbi, priest, imam, bishop, witch doctor, instrument of God  (or whatever else you'd like to call them) to do something against their/your theology.  That is what makes this country great.  So this week I am proud and I am hopeful.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Heat Wave

We just got back to our house yesterday afternoon. Priority number four was to get the air conditioners into the windows! 

We took so many photos on our trip it's going to take me a little while to weed through them but I wanted to let you know that we are back at the homestead for a little bit so keep your eyes peeled for some new posts!

Were you wondering what priorities one through three were? Unpack, tidy the house and get propane (for the grill because I do NOT want to turn on the stove or the oven in this heat!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


No, nothing is wrong, I've just been very very busy.  Every year my boss is the co-organizer for a large workshop at our university and my job title changes from research assistant to workshop coordinator.  This involves some catering, some schmoozing of vendors and speakers, generating ID's, etc. . . It also means I may or may not have had wine and pepperoni and cheese for dinner more than once.  It's a welcome change of pace and a very welcome return to normalcy when the week is over.  Then Bruce and I packed up Friday afternoon and went to Newport for the weekend.
My parents sent us some snacks, we ate some great food, did some shopping and celebrated the wedding of a friend.
We also slept in! We're leaving Thursday for ten days but I hope to take lots of photos while we are away!
Also I am soooo bad at taking photos of myself, but I did take all these photos with my iPhone.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hallway Adventure: Part Two

Getting this hallway finished is taking forever, but I've made a little more progress.  Bruce asked me when he came in if this was my "decorating hallway".  Also known as one of the only places in the house that is truly finished.  I proved him wrong by hanging our anniversary art in *gasps* the bedroom.
I'm so happy with the way it came out.
We replaced our circa 1970 doorbell with pretty white one.  The bud vases are from CB2, they are just on nails that I painted with the wall color so the vases look like they are floating on the wall.
My mom brought home some vintage (looking?) keys from my late aunt's house and I snagged them.  Then I took the glass out of a regular 8x10 frame, punched two holes in the back and a piece of white card stock then attached the keys with some floral wire.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Adventures in Gardening: Progress Update

We last left off here, I had "potted up" all the squashes and restarted the peppers.  Right before Mother's Day I "potted up" all the tomatoes and last week I ordered peppers from Burpee because my little baby seedlings won't be ready until August at the rate they are going.  I have to say that Burpee's Mix and Match plants are great, Burpee has perfected shipping live plants.  I planted beans at the beginning of last week before the rain so hopefully with some heat this week they'll come up.  The peas are looking great and loving the new trellis. I planted salad greens in all four short rows around the trellis but only this side came up.
Don't mind the weeds, it's so much better with the mulch this year than without like previous years.  The garlic is huge, so I hope it's a sign of good things to come.  The onions look ok and I think they will do as well as they did last year.
We've had some monster asparagus but not a lot of them.  I'll have to research if they need to be separated.
I got the winter squashes: spaghetti, butternut (x2) and acorn, hardened off over the past three weeks and finally into the ground on Memorial Day.  I ordered bush variety instead of vines this year and I'm hoping I'll get more than one fruit from each.
I also built a trellis Memorial Day for my cukes, summer squash and zucchini.  The cucumbers and summer squash were hardened off with the winter squash and went into the ground the same day.  My zucchini seeds never germinated so I picked up a plant at Home Depot.
The tomatoes have been hardening off for just over a week, they were in the breezeway for the first week (acclimating to temperature and light changes) and Memorial Day I moved them all outside.  I hope to get them in this weekend with the peppers.
Things are looking good!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Our Wedding Adventure: One Year

I had a plan to do a big photo heavy post with all my favorites that Jess took.  Then life happened.  I had a crazy week at work, the Bruins are in the play-offs and did I mention work is crazy.  I haven't had time to resize a bunch of photos but this is my absolute favorite.
June is going to be very busy for us so for the holiday weekend we opted to stay home and have a quiet weekend (I also had to run in to the lab both Saturday and Sunday.)  I made stock and caught up on laundry, Bruce cleaned the garage and worked on our cars; we watched the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indy 500 and then the Coke 600. Bruce's brother Tim came for very late dinner Sunday nightToday we worked outside around the yard and garden.  We ate wedding cake that my mom perfectly froze and my cousin Dan brought to us last weekend.
This photo shows our hard work today, no make-up, dirty, and a little paunchy from a few to many beers and burgers lately.  I picked a poorly lit spot, Bruce is anti-posing for photos, I had the ISO up to high so it's pixely and out of focus, and my remote battery was dead so I had to set the timer and run.  But it's us on our anniversary.  Bruce gave me a Pandora charm, a new cross necklace and a Wonder Woman apron.  I made a print for our bedroom with the lyrics from our wedding song.  And we're spending the weekend in Newport in a few weeks which will be awesome and I'll be less of a stress-ball.  Hopefully I'll be back later in the week with fun house/garden stuff!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Better BBQ

Now that we're really trying to be grown-ups, last weekend I thought I'd try for a BBQ that was a little more sophisticated than burgers and hot-dogs.  With BBQ season kicking off this weekend here are a few tips to help you easily elevate your BBQ:

Skip the Burgers and Dogs.  We did strip-steak and a whole roasted chicken, right on the grill.  For ten people I purchased two strip steaks and a seven pound roasting chicken. I purchased the steak on sale weeks before and froze it in the marinade all I had to do was pull it out of the freezer a few days before.  We have a grill roaster, but you can just as easily use a beer or soda can; just remove and discard the giblets, rinse, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss that baby on the grill over indirect heat. Once the chicken is done crank up the heat and toss on the steaks while the chicken rests, pull off the steaks and let them rest while you carve the chicken. Slice the steaks and you're ready to go.
What Can I Bring? A side.  It's that easy; if your friends don't ask get new friends, pick something up from the deli, make a pasta salad or make something else quick and easy.  Depending on your crowd you might want to have some easy appetizer dips on hand to prevent anyone from getting hangry.*

Use Your Dishwasher.  I'm not telling you to pull out the fine china but for steak you'll need real knives.  Use plastic plates that can be thrown away and your everyday silverware that can be tossed in the dishwasher.

I Don't Drink Beer. Everyone has a few friends that are adverse to beer, throw together a pitcher of sangria or margaritas.  Set out soda next to the pitcher as a gentle suggestion to mix them; this will do two things, it will stretch your liquor and it will prevent the non-beer drinkers from becoming too tipsy too fast.
Keep it Simple. Don't try new recipes go with something that is tried and true, that you don't have to think about, that you can make while having a conversation, that you can make ahead. And have fun!

*Hangry - verb. Hungry/Angry, grumpiness caused by hunger.