Monday, April 30, 2012


For Christmas my father got Daniel and me a home wine making kit (coolest gift ever right?). It's no secret that we love wine (hello, we devote an entire meal to it once a week) and we've always been interested in the process so it was the perfect gift for us.

It got put on hold for our Mexico trip but when we came back we got it going. The process is pretty involved so I wont tell you all about it, but so far it has been pretty neat. Last week we racked the first fermentation in to our carboy. No idea what that means? It looked something like this

Yes we are making bathtub wine.  The pets found it pretty interesting. Apparently wine is as fascinating as water.

Norman just wanted to drink it. We've got about 28 days until bottling and then 2-3 months before the wine is ready to consume. I still need to come up with a label and all of that but I can tell you now it will be Cabernet Sauvignon wine when we are done. There are some seriously cute labels out there so I've got some fun ahead of me on that.

I'll keep you posted on how the wine is turning out. We plan to do half sized bottles as well as whole to easily do taste checks as it ages. Anyone know of any pitfalls I should be looking out for? So far we are just following the directions and hoping for the best.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

When Lilacs Last In the Dooryard Bloom'd

I'm not a huge Whitman fan but his Lilac poem always sticks with me. Yes, yes, I know it is ostensibly a poem about death, but to me, lilacs mean Spring. I always forget in the depths of winter how much I miss flowers and every year Spring seems almost miraculous to me. Things that I thought dead are now alive again (thankfully I'm a lazy gardener and don't pull things out just because they look dead). But I digress. Really this post is about my little window in the stair-well.

Since Spring has been springing I've been keeping flowers here to brighten my days and today the lilacs stole the show.

I love their delicate fragrance and the cute little milk glass vases. The stairwell is tight and they fill up the space with such a beautiful perfume (this is how I found out daffodils smell good). I love seeing them there as I go up and down for the laundry. Sometimes even the smallest detail can brighten a space. Need a pick-me-up? Put some flowers wherever you have space. They will most certainly brighten your day.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hole No More

We are still inching along but I can now say that we have finally removed the last obstacle in the kitchen. The final remnants of that horrible beam are gone! What used to look like this

Now looks like this

No more holes, no more post, no more strange ceiling beams. Now I just have to finish my spackle job (obviously) and we can finish painting! I am so excited to hopefully get the shelves up and get my dishes out of the bed room. We are trying not to rush anything and do it badly so this may seem glacierly slow to most people but we are getting it done. We only plan to remodel this kitchen once and I want whomever has this house next to feel like it was done well. I can definitely understand the desire to pay someone else to do it though.  It is so hard to do things right when you've never done them before. So kudos to all of you out there who've done this before. My hat is off to you!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Reclaiming Some Space

The front porch was one of the selling points of this house, but, for the last few months it has looked like this

and then like this

Not exactly peaceful or useful. This weekend it was so nice I just couldn't take it any more. I finally took charge (in between spackling and sunning) and moved the last bits of drywall away.

 Much better right? Now I can finally show off the planters I finished last weekend.

Now on warm days we can sit and sip wine and watch the sun set.


Cheers! Linking to

Frugal Friday

  Weekend Bloggy Reading

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I wish I had more progress to show you but our kitchen has stalled out a bit. We've gotten to the point where I need help with all of the next steps which means, waiting for Daniel to not be at work. Luckily, since he works from home there is more of a likelihood that he will be able to help, but it is never something to count on. It is finally starting to feel like a kitchen though.

Whenever I get down on how much there is still left to do I remember that it looked like this two weeks ago.

I'd say that's an improvement no?

There are still a few glaring holes but we are getting there. Obviously since we are adding space to the kitchen we need a few more cabinets. I finally figured out what style they were and where to get them and there is even a 30% off sale right now! We did the calculations and decided what we needed and put the quote together.  After the discount it was $849. Not bad. Not small change but not bad. Then I proceeded through the check out only to find that there would be $300 in shipping charges. WHAT!?!?! No dice. I was not going to spend $1,200 when we have three perfectly good cabinets laying around. I think I've come up with a plan to modify/make what I need. If that doesn't work I'll lay down the $$$ but I figured it doesn't hurt to try right?

So there you have it. An update on our kitchen. Slowly but surely we are getting to the finish line. We've been spending so much time working on the house we decided to take a break this weekend. Arcade lights is Friday (a food fest) and then I think we are heading up to the tulips. Can't take things too seriously right?


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Curb Appeal

Not going to lie, we still haven't touched the front yard. It is going to be such a huge project that we are still budgeting and planning for how to tackle it all. Clearly this is not going to happen before the kitchen is done. But, it has been too nice the last few days to stay inside so I figured I'd get a little closer to bringing that much needed curb appeal to the house.

Remember last fall (on my last planting binge) when I worked on the curb strip? Well some how over the winter it went from this

to this

Apparently this is what happens if you don't weed. Live and learn right? I wasn't even sure what was still alive under all of that but a few hours later I had found my original plants. Then I added more (because more is better right?)

You can see my original plants didn't get very far. I added a few Euphorbia (top left) and some more gound cover type plants. The tree is still in the pot because I wanted to be able to keep using it at Christmas on the porch. Here's to hoping with some regular weeding they will thrive.

Anyone have any luck getting rid of crab grass? I swear that stuff has roots to China!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Busy Busy Busy

Hope you had a great weekend. Ours was very productive. We tidied up, uncovered a few secrets, found out how to save $1,200 and even enjoyed a few sunny days. I've got work things to do today but I thought I'd leave you with a taste of how our weekend went.

I'll be back to tell you more later.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Couch to 5K

I've never been a runner, but I've always wanted to be one. I see them effortlessly running through town and think "why can't I do that?" I even made it a personal goal this year (remember?)

You know what? I think I can.

Running plan

The sun is out, the birds are singing. Today is the day! And since I can't take myself too seriously (that was a resolution too)

I Work Out Because


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April Showers

I've been secretly hating my bathroom for a few months now. Well, hate is a strong word. Let's say I love my bathroom but hate what it is doing to our relationship. The thing I love most about my bathroom is the tub.

It is just the right depth that I can really get a good soaking in there. I love it so much in fact that I take a bath about once a day. So what's bothering me? The water bills. That bath holds something to the tune of 300 gallons of water, which means, if both Daniel and I decide to become clean in the same day we have used around 600 gallons of water. Water = $$$. Lots. So Daniel has been after me to get the shower kit installed. We've talked about this before right? It has been one of those classic projects where nothing works the way you think it will and everything is 10X more expensive. Who knew polished brass was the most expensive option? Or that you can't find risers tall enough for anyone over 5'4" to shower under? It was a mess. 

Needless to say I finally worked it all out and ordered and waited and payed the money to find that the sales person had neglected to tell me I needed one more little piece. The one that holds the whole thing up. So the kit sat in the corner until we got another water bill (less this time but still bad) and I caved. A few more weeks and now I can finally shower in my bath.

You wouldn't think such a few pieces of metal could bring a woman to tears so many times but I have to say this has not been my favorite project. At least now I can say it is done! (Kitty likes it too)

So now, when you visit my house you can take a shower, or a bath. Your choice.

Daniel and I are off to the Museum today so maybe I'll find a bit of art for above the toilet. That place holder frame has been there too long.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I can feel this Kitchen project coming to a head. You know, that glorious stage where it stops just looking messy and starts looking like a Kitchen again? But still, you've got to keep your motivation up...

Who wouldn't want to live in this kitchen?

Pinned Image

The hood comes tomorrow (even though it can't be put up until after the tile) so the last piece of electrical will be in and I can start patching the rough spots. Joy.


Monday, April 9, 2012

What Do You Mean We're Not Done Yet???

I've been a negligent blogger this week. Mostly due to the fact that progress has been s-l-o-w. That, and much of it has been behind the scenes. While I wish I had a finished kitchen to show you I can at least show you where we are. By the end of last week we had this

Now it looks like this

Now that I can see my before and after pictures I feel better about where we are in the process. We had the plumber come Thursday and move the gas line and then Daniel finished the electrical Saturday so most of our Easter was spent drywalling. Not super thrilling but not as bad as I expected it to be.

The biggest challenge we faced was realizing the beam in the ceiling needed to go before the drywall could be installed. You probably can't tell from the before picture but the kitchen used to be two rooms (way before we got the house anyway). Whomever took down the wall left the top of the wall in and just plastered over it. See?

Not exactly the best feature in the room. It didn't take long to remove it but, as evidenced above, it left quite the gaping hole. Good thing I've developed these new found drywalling skills. With luck we will be putting things back together in their soon. I'm torn between my desire to have my cabinets back and my desire to paint before I move anything just to save myself the taping. Which would you choose? I guess it will really depend on whether or not I can bite the bullet on the wall color I chose. That may be the bigger question.

How was your Easter? Did the Easter Bunny visit your house? Mine brought Peeps and Cadbury Eggs (my secret weakness).  Thank God they only make them one time a year. Though after Daniel showed me this comic I may rethink a few things.

Cadbury Eggs


Thursday, April 5, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The sun came out for a few hours last week and I decided it was the perfect time to putter around in the yard. Gotta catch those rays while you can right? We did most of the planting last fall when I went a bit crazy ordering bulbs. All of my daffodils are up and some of the tulips are starting.

I also seized a 50% off sale at Home Depot to add some fruits and veggies in. I got rhubarb

And strawberries

The classic tomatoes

And a few sweet pea plants that will hopefully grow up over the trellis

I planted zucchini and cucumbers by seed but I've never planted that way so it will be interesting to see what grows. We also scored a blueberry bush at Costco.

With some luck we will be feasting this summer (that is if Norman doesn't strip all of my bushes clean). My yard has come quite a way in the last year. Can you believe it used to look like this?

Yikes! But it least it goes to show how far a little work can take you.

Linked up to
Centsational Girl's Garden Party

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Mantel

I'm not a big Easter person (not being religious or 5 will do that to you) but I love me some sparkles. After seeing a few glitzy Easter egg tutorials I thought why the heck not? So I booked it to Target and bought me some pretty eggs (in the colors I wanted) and got going.

Spray adhesive worked really well for the project. I just slapped some clear tape over the holes in the eggs, grabbed my coordinating glitter (I love Martha Stewart's glitter line) and sprayed away.

After some spraying and rolling I had these lovely sparkly eggs.

I also had club hand.

Note to self, wear gloves when using spray adhesive. It took three days to get all of the glitter off. Accidents in glitter aside it took about 30 min to do and then I let them dry for an hour before arranging them.

I still think it could use a really big mirror or something tall to add height. Daniel is holding out for a nice piece of art work so we are using what we have for now. I like the subtle nod to Easter and Spring without it beating anyone over the head.

Here's an up close and personal shot. Look at them sparkle!

TJ's had these beautiful lilies so I snatched up a few. I love lilies.  Daniel's bagel scale got an upgrade too.

There you have it, something in my house that doesn't look like a disaster. Score one for the team! Now if only drywalling would go so well.