Basement Remodeling

The walls have pine boards on the bottom 3 feet and drywall above that. Why? If it floods again we wont have to redrywall, just replace a few boards. My parents are brilliant.

The walls have pine boards on the bottom 3 feet and drywall above that. Why? If it floods again we wont have to redrywall, just replace a few boards. My parents are brilliant.

The basement finishing project has been ‘on’ for months now. Team awesome (myself, my mother and father) have been working on it sporadically and things are coming along. There still is a lot of stuff to do, but when I look back on photos of where it was when I bought the house and moved in, well it reminds me just how lucky I am to have such selfless workers in the form of my family to help me with the gigantic project. (We’re effectively doubling the usable square feet of the house by finishing the basement).

When I bought my house in June the basement was completely unfinished. It had been victim of lack-of-electricity based flooding and had to be gutted by the previous owners. They never did quite get it refinished after that. We’ve had to stud out the basement, board and drywall everything (sans mudding at this point), and now we’re working on adding a suspended ceiling. We’ve done most of the work ourselves, but we did call in professionals for a handful of elements. BedroomAlthough we know wood working basics (we built a 1 1/2 story garage in our backyard with a work force of mom, dad, and kids aged 16, 13 and 10 – which is, of course, why we’re team awesome) we weren’t well versed in plumbing, electric or stair building specialties.

The latest project is getting the drop ceiling installed so the electrician can come back and finish the lighting. After months of little light in the basement, I'm sure it will seem like a lit-up stadium once it's finished.

The latest project is getting the drop ceiling installed so the electrician can come back and finish the lighting. After months of little light in the basement, I’m sure it will seem like a lit-up stadium once it’s finished.

There have been countless nights and weekends of diving in to an aspect of the project, running across some issue, and putting our heads together to find the solution. The motto for my mom and I (or something we say at least once a week, if not once a day) is “we’ll figure it out”. Between you-tube and online forums there isn’t much we haven’t been able to do. (I use ‘we’ generously. My mom is the one who figures out the more technical things and then just tells me what to do. I have learned many processes via this method. Anyone need help shortening a door? I can now help you with that.)

At first it was all so, technical, getting the structure in place. But now, now we’re getting to the fun part: decorating. However with decorating comes trips to crazytown.

For instance: here are a couple of poorly lit shots of the bathroom:Bathroom

Now on the left (the color with the ‘x’) is what I picked originally. I painted bits of the bathroom months ago to see what I thought of the color. This photo doesn’t show the actual color all that well, but it never felt quite right. So yesterday we got the color on the right. Such a huge difference right? It might be stuff like this that makes people say women are crazy. However, crazy or not, I now have all of the grays picked for the basement. Gray, in my opinion, is a tough color to get right, so I’m very happy to have that hurdle done with. Now all we need to do is mud and I can get the top half of all the rooms painted!

Until next time
~ Q

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Closing Day

New Home

Porch with a swing, new reading spot!

Well the day has arrived and I am quite nervous. I’ll be leaving shortly to officially sign all the papers (or perhaps be told that I’m insane and no, they wont let me buy a house. I’m not sure how these things work). Yesterday I had the final walk through of my house and I must say it’s starting to hit home that this will be my home. I didn’t want to believe it before in case something went wrong, but now that I’m on the threshold all that is left to do is to cross it. The ‘to-do’ list for this weekend is fairly basic. Photograph everything (to have proper ‘before’ photos) and then clean it all. Once we get that done we’re going to tape out the basement, marking where we plan to put walls etc. That way when the plumbers and electricians come to give us quotes they can confirm (or alter) that where we will be putting studs will work for the final vision. (Which as a surprise to me, the plumber will be stopping by on Saturday-can’t wait!) The final item on the agenda is to get test paint and do test areas for the upstairs rooms. Lucky it’s a small house since I seem determined to paint the entire thing (except the outside, it’s a brilliant red).

Although I wouldn’t recommend staying out late before the start of a warrior weekend it did help me stay distracted last night. I had my first sand volleyball game of the season (third set of games for the team, first time I could attend personally). To say I was overly excited and unable to appropriately channel that energy would be a understatement. I was just so excited to see my teammates again! I quickly fell back into my roll of team jester. I am lucky that they seem willing to put up with my antics since, wow, my playing was especially erratic last night. Hopefully I’ll have reined it in a pinch for next week’s match-ups. (We won our first official game and the second set was forfeited so we won by default. However we found some random people to play instead and also won that game. We were on fire!) After the games I then met up with some of my theater peeps and we ended up going to karaoke. Although I lacked the courage to go up and sing myself, it was still a fun evening and again, a great diversion from today.

However, I guess I can only distract myself for so long. Now the day has arrived and it’s time to get started. Let the work begin on the new home! A new chapter of my life begins today, I suppose. Scary, but true.

Until next time ~ Q

Big doings in my online abscense

If you follow my blog you will realize that in the last couple of months there hasn’t been anything to follow. This is because I’ve been busy in the doings of the world around me.

See that person to the far left in front (shorts and stripes)? That's me, being a little joiner.

See that person to the far left in front (shorts and stripes)? That’s me, being a little joiner.

In March I auditioned for a community theater production and that has eaten much of my free time. On top of that I decided it’d be a brilliant idea to buy a house. A week later I gave my landlord notice, two weeks later I’m out of my apartment (and back with my parents who very kindly agreed to give me refuge) and two days later I’ve bought a house. Apparently once I’ve truly put my mind to something there isn’t much that will hold me back. This can be seen as both positive and negative, I am sure.

So here I am on June 4, 2013. Tomorrow is the opening day of the musical Joseph and The Technicolor Dreamcoat (I play Dan’s wife) and in ten days I take possession of a house. I am both exhilarated and terrified. I mean this is a house. I will own something of real value and if I mess it up it will be a HUGE deal. It’s not like my apartment where if something went wrong I could call the landlord. If something goes wrong I might be able to call my parents, otherwise I really will just have to figure it out myself.

My future house!!

The realtor’s photo of my future home.

Bear with me over the next month (or two or three) because there will be many posts about the house; that is if I can maintain any sort of regular posting schedule. The basement is completely unfinished and my parents have agreed to help me finish it off pretty much as soon as I get the keys and can go in the house. So it will be lots of DIY and decorating, which falls under the purview of projects and such that I post about. I’m lucky I’ve been swamped with rehearsals over the last month or I might have gone completely mad with waiting. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’ve driven by, pulled up the drive way and even sat on the porch. This sounds creepier than it is because it’s actually vacant. So it’s not like anyone is living there to see me stalk my future residence….except my future neighbors.

Also, the town’s festival (Scandinavian Days) is this weekend (which is what the musical is for). Again I will be participating in the parade; in two floats if I can finagle it. Further updates about the festival, musical, and of course life in general to come.

Pinspired Project: ‘Fancy’ Mason Jars

Although you can find this project most anywhere these days I followed the particulars (almost) from the Thirty Handmade Days blog for creating a fancy mason jar. (Also called redneck wine glasses and many other things.) While I was shopping about for the materials I decided I didn’t want to do a mason jar, mainly because 1: I didn’t have a particular need for an elevated mason jar and 2: the glass tones of the mason jars and candlesticks didn’t match. The clashing really urked me so I decided to use a simple clear jar instead.Glass I found a super cute and simple one at Hobby Lobby and set to work.

I very carefully spread the glue onto the edge of the candlestick and let it set for a moment. (I had actually read the glue instructions, perhaps a first for me.) Then I centered the stick on the glass as best I could and let it set. After a couple hours I decided I was going to hit the sack. The glue had said to let the glue to dry for twenty-four hours, for some reason after two I figured it would be a good idea to add weight to the glass. Just to make sure that there was pressure on it. I grabbed my two biggest books (Art & Architecture book on Rome and my Visual History of Graphic Design). I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and heard a crash. I returned to the living room to find the books on the floor and this on the table. BrokenGlass

Yep, I did not take into account that these things were still GLASS and therefore highly breakable. We didn’t really have glass around growing up knowing we wouldn’t have any glasses left. Perhaps that makes me forget that it isn’t an indestructible material. As you can see I forced this project to fail. It probably would have been just fine if I had left it, but no. I had to go and put those heavy books on them. Oh well, in hind sight I didn’t really need an elevated jar anyway. However of the two pieces I wish the candlestick would have broken, it was a super cute jar. I may need to replace it…and get a second candlestick because having just one seems weird.

Pinspired Project: Easter Center Piece

Center Piece ThumbIf you have somehow not heard of pinterest, or even if you have,you should know it is an extremely dangerous website. I have waaaaay to many pins (both liked and on boards). Many of them are arts and craftsy and I decided to start trying some out. This week’s project? A center piece just in time for Easter. The nice thing about this project is that it uses 2/3 a box of peeps, because one can only eat so many peeps. However it also used almost an entire bag of jelly beans which are really addictive and yummy. But since I’m trying to be healthier, it’s good most of the bag was used as well. Project Supplies

Supplies:

  • two vases (one wider than the other so they can stack inside one another)
  • 3 stems of daisies
  • 8 bunny peeps
  • 1 bag of jelly beans (I used the all reds starburst ones)

Directions:

  • Clean vases
  • put water for flowers in skinny vase
  • place skinny vase inside the wide vase
  • fill outer vase with jelly beans (I didn’t want my bunnies standing too much higher then the outer vase so I didn’t use the entire bag)
  • place bunnies on top of jelly beans
  • place flowers in skinny vase and voila.

I decided to use a monochromatic color scheme of various reds, but as you can see from the pinspiring post here you can really do whatever you want. This project really was as easy as it appeared on pinterest, thumbs up.

Until next time.
~ Q

Center Piece

41 days of Celebration: Days 5-15

Day 5: Monday, November 26: Mani-pedi Day – not
The plan was to give myself a manicure and pedicure on Monday night. Really embrace the green and red and the only time of year you can really get away with wearing them together. Only instead I got the biggest surprise to date (I would say of the entire time, but who knows what next week will bring). I was stricken with an 15 hour flu. I started getting really tired at about 4 at work. Then I went home at my usual time (5:30) and was sick and in bed by 6. I told myself I would only nap until 7, ha. When 7 came around I was still under the weather so I just stayed in bed. Hours later I was awake convincing myself that it was the middle of the night. I was convinced it was like 5, but told myself it was probably only 2. When I finally broke down and checked the clock I believe it was 10. Yeah, that was the longest night ever. To my nephew, the germinator, you win. I think getting the entire immediate family sick trumps me giving my sister her second bout of Chicken pox. Although considering she was on vacation in Denver when it struck she would likely disagree.

Day 6: Tuesday, November 27: Christmas Card prep
I had this elaborate idea for my Christmas card. Last year I did a timeline-esque design. This year I thought about making it look like my Facebook timeline, complete with some of the posts, but since that evening have since changed my mind. So in the end that night just didn’t really count. I’m still working on my own idea, I had originally planned to mail them out yesterday, but we’ll see how long it takes me to finish. Next Monday is my new goal. Fingers crossed.

Day 7: Wednesday, November 28: WHO Wednesday: The Christmas Invasion
Poor London, always getting attacked around the holidays. Since Doctor Who is in it’s seventh revival season there are certainly enough Christmas’ specials to last until Christmas. First up was The Christmas Invasion. I’ve seen it before, but it’s always fun to go back and see the tenth doctor’s first adventure, even if he sleeps through most of it. How can you not appreciate an episode that has the hero sleeping most of the way through, then wakes to save the day in his pajamas while quoting The Lion King. Few shows can get away with such antics and I’m glad Doctor Who is one of them. Also I also enjoy who it makes you scared of Christmas stuff. For example this one had attacking Christmas Trees controlled by evil Santas. What a great way to spread Christmas cheer.

Day 8: Thursday, November 29: Decorate/Create Tree
I had planned to decorate my tree on Thursday, but my volleyball team decided to get together to play before tournament started on Friday so the task was postponed to Friday/Saturday. However I will say that sometimes my apartment lease makes me sad. No cats, no pets of any kind (including fish – it was very specific) and no live Christmas Trees. I’m sure there are other restricitions I’m ignoring right now, but those are the two that hit me most often. Since I’m not well-versed in the art of reanimation to make myself my own cat I decided to make my own non-living Christmas. As is the case now a days I got the inspiration from Pinterest.

Day 9: Friday, November 30: Movie Night
Once I’ve padded my Christmas’ movie collection I’ll be able to watch proper movies, but Friday I watched Someone Like You. It is in no way a Christmas movie, but there is one scene that takes place at a Christmas Party. That must have been my justification when I threw it in the mystery bag last month. While watching the non-Christmas movie I built the base of my Christmas Tree. Using a broken IKEA floor lamp (I should say that the light works, I just broke the paper lantern cover that use to surround it – not to tarnish IKEA’s reputation), chains, wire, and lights I made my own version of the tomato cage tree.

Day 10: Saturday, December 1: Cooking and a Classic
After sleeping in a bit I headed to our local thrift store, Affordables, to supplement my Christmas Light collection. They had a ton of icicle lights (whcih I didn’t have any of) and I’m quite fond of the result. The icicles helped fill in some of the more obvious gaps and it still works as a fairly bright source of light in the living room, especially if I turn on the light properly ChristmasTree(which is not the case in the picture). Win-win. Oh, and I still get to decorate a real tree. In a couple weeks my parent’s will be getting theirs so it’s really is the best of all worlds. I just can’t decide if I want to add ornaments to my ‘tree’ or not. However that thought shall be set aside for another day.

I also flip-flopped my standard Sunday with Saturday and did my cooking and a classic. This week I made Grinch Cookies, Mint Kisses and Pretzel hugs (recipes to come) and that was quite fun. Hugs and KissesThere weren’t even any major mishaps. I was interested to see that for the Grinch Cookies I used a sugar cookie base instead of a standard chocolate chip cookie base. The difference is slight, but a difference all the same. Also for the Grinch Cookies I used food coloring while for the Mint Kisses I just chopped up (to the point of being a fine powder) mint chips and the coloring is nearly the same. Oh the discoveries of baking.

I nearly forgot! The classic I watched was Breakfast at Tiffany’s but that is going to require it’s own short post because it’s related (in sentiment) to Casablanca and I’ll just hit them both at once.

Day 11: Sunday, December 2: Tour of Homes
It was a bit of a work outing when two of my co-workers and I decided to hit the tour of homes together. If you don’t know what this is, pretty much a few community members volunteer to have people come into their homes and walk through it to learn/see all the random stuff. For instance one of the houses this year was quite old and the couple that lived there had kept a lot of the original wood work and even restored some of the old details (like the stenciling at the top of the living room). Each of the houses had there very own feel. One was quaint, old and comfortable. Another was large and antique-y while the third was large and modern (with a restored barn that had a partial basketball court in the hayloft). All were fun to walk through and see once.

Day 12: Monday, December 3: Fancy Dinner
I never get to dress up. I don’t really have the occasion for it, so I made myself dinner and then got dressed up. I think this one would be more fun with other people, but I still quite enjoyed it. There is something about the juxtaposition of being fancy-like and eating (in my case) soup. ‘Posh’ indeed.

Day 13: Tuesday, December 4: Dinner with a FriendMonthly I head on over to this townie-esque bar to meet a friend of mine for dinner. We both live about an hour from this place and it’s been changing recently. The first few times we went to this bar it was run by this old rough looking guy. It was quite random, the next few months it was always a surprise who was going to be running the place (it doesn’t seem like the place that requires many employees). Once there was a santa-esque man (including really long beard), a middle aged woman and a semi-ditzy college aged girl. We’ve been going to this place for a couple years now, what can I say, it’s grown on us. Also, sometime this summer, it came under new management. This guy in his twenties bought the place and it’s evident. The place seems a bit more lively now. Granted it’s never crowded, but it’s not so awkward. It use to be that me and my buddy would be the only two in that evening. Now there is a nice buffer row of people at the bar. That’s probably enough about The Town Pump though.

Day 14: Wednesday, December 5: WHO Wednesday: The Runaway Bride
Again with the Doctor, always really. I enjoy Catherine Tate, and the Donna Nobel character but I did forget how crazily self-centered she was in her first introduction to the Doctor.

Day 15: Thursday, December 6: WreathsThursday is my unofficial decorate/craft night I suppose. I threw together a couple of wreaths to decorate the apartment. Wreath_01First I swapped out the decorations on my front door wreath. I decorate this wooden wreath according to the season. Last night I removed the fall leaves and gourds to replace them with greenery and pine cones. A simple, yet festive, alteration.  Wreath_02Secondly I gathered up my ornaments and a hanger to make a quick wreath for my guest-room door. I, for whatever reason, have roughly a bagillion ornaments. So this was a good craft, used some of those suckers up. Now if I can figure out what to do with the rest. The real problem is I get all of these ideas and want to do them all so then I find I don’t have enough and think about getting more then have to rein myself in. We’ll see if I can keep myself in check.

Wow, this is novel long, clearly need to be more prompt with writing up my days, ten days at-a-whack is too many. Until next time – Q

DIY: String Nail Art

I don’t know what the correct term for this DIY home decor but today I made one. Done in a monochromatic scheme it is only gray scale. Odd choice, somewhat, since my apartment is more tans and warm colors. However if you look at my clothes it’s more gray scale and now this is getting boring. Any who I started with making a marbled (if that is the right concept) background…grungy might be a better adjective. Then I printed out the shape and shallowly nailed the nails, more to mark the shape. I had to do it this way because I then had to remove the nails so I could take the paper out and flip it upside down to get the mirror image on the other half so they would be symmetrical…in shape anyway even if not in any thing else. Then I actually had to nail them in for keeps. I was using a teeny tiny hammer that may not be the most efficient for nailing into oak but I have yet to retrieve my real hammer from my parent’s place from doing some residing over father’s day so I made do. My apologies to the people in my building who had to listen to my intermittent tinkling throughout the day, I won’t be overly surprised if I hear from the land lord people next week. Now to decide where to hang it, I may have to wait, I don’t have the heart to hammer any more today and I’d need to put a couple nails in the wall to get it placed where I want. So for now here is a picture of the finished product.  Until next time~Q