Thursday, April 26, 2012

DIY Cage Light

Since moving into our house, I haven't been able to truly enjoy a meal, due to the hideous light hanging over the dining room table. At first I thought maybe we'd go ahead and get a new one, but everything that we even considered was well over $100, and that just wasn't in the books for now, so... I decided to try my hand at a DIY "cage light". I basically just disassembled the old ugly light, spray painted it "Oil Rubbed Bronze", and zip tied two painted planter baskets to it. I love it so much that even when we do a kitchen overhaul, I might just hang on to it! I also REALLY love that the entire project came in under $20!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Our Dickinson Digs

It's official, we are Dickinson, ND homeowners! 90 days ago when we put in our offer neither of us realized exactly how difficult 3 more months apart would really be, so we are THRILLED to finally be living in the same house! Believe it or not, after 8 months of a "Long Distance Marriage", where the longest I would see Matt was 5 days I was VERY ready for this. I was also getting sick of being the "not single "single mom"". The boys are pretty psyched too!

Anyways, we closed on our house exactly a week ago, and while I sit to upload pictures and write this blog post it is by far the longest I have sat down since we got here!

The house was built in 1964, and other than some kitchen cabinets in the 90's, and white appliances in 2000, I don't think a single inch of the house has been updated, not window coverings, flooring, or anything else. I'm also pretty sure a cabinet maker lived here, due to the massive amounts of built in cabinets. There is not a square inch wasted, and there are built ins EVERYWHERE. Although they are pretty dated, free additional storage isn't something I'm going to complain about. Maybe one day I will take pictures of all the built ins, because they are everywhere. In case you forgot, our new house looks VERY similar to our house in Denver.

We're no Young House Love and I have no plans to start blogging every little project, mainly because I am so dang antsy to get started on everything that I don't take before pictures, and I am not patient enough to walk you through the steps with me. So... in order to show you a few of the projects we've been working on I had to use some of the pictures from the Real Estate Listing as my "Befores", and the "Afters" really aren't anything special either, but it will help you visualize these projects.

We got a new dining table, Matt put it together. I am in LOVE with it. Eventually there will be a built in banquette bench across the windows and the wall behind the chairs on the left will be torn down, and the table will be turned horizontal, and the light fixture will be updated, and most importantly there will be wood floors under it (imagine 2 toddlers eating all their meals on carpet... yuck).

We tore down the sliding shower doors on the tub and installed a curved curtain rod. I am in love because it feels huge in there. Under the shower doors was the nastiest gunk I had ever seen. A combo of mold, caulk, hair, and dirt. Worse than what you pull out of a clogged drain. I seriously scraped the tub for about 3 hours after removing the doors and almost threw up many times. I am also in love with this shower curtain I found at of all places because it matches the old school tile beautifully!

We also have been a little "door removal happy", taking down excessive doors. We took down the door to the basement because in a 4ft area, there were 4 doors that opened and closed! I drew you a diagram. The door to the basement and the door to the garage were always hitting each other and they couldn't be open at the same time, and it was just a few too many doors.

We also took down the door to the bedroom hallway because again, in a very small area there were way too many doors. I drew you another diagram. And Really... who puts a door at a junction of hallways???

The living room has a seriously dated built in entertainment center and radio system including built in speakers, a gold veined mirror wall, and a faux fireplace. I took most of the cabinet doors off and pulled out the speakers and stereo. Temporarily I have some well placed cardboard pieces from a diaper box in place of the old stereo, but I'll have to come up with something a bit nicer when I think of it. The speakers are now stacked sideways in our bedroom and make a perfect nightstand for Matt! I did some hunting online and the stereo was pretty state of the art back in 1963 (and sold for over $2,000), so I'm trying to find out if its worth anything now? Since removing all the cabinet doors the shelving doesn't feel nearly as dated and I'm starting to sort of like it!

The faux fireplace was interesting, complete with plug in glowing logs, a fire screen, and a brass fireplace tool kit (for tending the fake logs). Before we were even done moving in I had removed the brass cover, and eliminated all fireplace accessories. Now it houses a mirror and some candles. MUCH better. I think I'll paint the inside of it black this week since I'm not going for the red faux fire look.

In the cluster of doors when you walk in from the garage there was a tiny coat closet that you could have hung about 5 coats in, after moving into the stairwell to shut the garage door first. So... since there's an additional coat closet just through the kitchen, Matt turned it into a wonderful pantry for me! It has a beautiful pocket door for hiding away the disaster, and I am in love with the additional food storage.

On a side note, does this really look like almost $300 of dry goods to you? Not to me. I dropped $600 at Wal-Mart in one trip, with 1 cart full of dry goods, and 1 cart full of perishables! I couldn't believe that's what it took to stock a fridge and pantry.

On to the living room, there is a wall of thick old ugly curtains. You can't even tell where the windows start and stop. It is held up by an elaborate pulley system and tonight the spring popped, so in order to keep the curtains closed for the night I had to tie the ropes to the front door. The sheer inner layer is actually shredding straight off the rod! Every pleat is completely shredded. Between the 8" deep curtains, and the 2 ft deep built-ins they had this room feeling much smaller than it actually is. Because I don't want our house to look like a fishbowl I haven't taken down the curtains until Matt is going to be here to help me hang the rods, but after tonights door knob rigged curtains I have a feeling that will be our Sunday afternoon project!

Because I need a 11ft curtain rod, and they don't really come in one piece, and I hate when you're curtains get hung up on the seam where the two rods connect, I bought a huge piece of electrical conduit and I am spray painting it for our new rod. I know this picture probably makes no sense, but it is the rods I am spray painting "oil rubbed bronze".

Wow... I had no idea that post would become so long. Along with the above mentioned projects we also built bunk beds for the boys, and then I disassembled them the next day because I didn't like not being able to lay with the boys and snuggle them in. We also re-caulked a bunch of spots in the bathroom, did some yard and patio clean up, removed gross brass fixtures from throughout the house (lamps, fans, phones, built in shelves, and more). We hung a second closet rod in the boys closet, built some "ready to assemble" furniture (which I vow to never buy again), and we've done a bunch of random other things throughout the house. We pretty much make twice daily trips to Ace 1 mile away. The girls at the register already know the boys names, and the guy in hardware has helped me find and fill out slips for about 30 different screws and bolts.

If you're still reading, now you know what we've been up to, hopefully I get a little better at taking "Before" shots so I don't have to dig through old listing photos! I'll also try to take a break once and while to show you our progress!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Easter is my favorite church day of the year, belting out, "Up From The Grave He Arose", and "Christ the Lord is Risen Today". Along with the Easter hymns I also love the Easter outfits. This year I tried my hand at some sewing and made pants and bow ties for the boys. I made a bow tie for our nephew Harrison too and they looked so adorable in their bow ties.
 Jack doing his, "Happy Dance" for his Easter candy.
 Jack and Mase showing off their chocolate bunnies!
Both boys ate WAY too much candy. Masey even learned to ask for a jelly bean any time I wanted to wipe his nose.

 A rare pic of me with the boys.
 My grandma Verna with all three "great grandchildren" (although her 4th was just born in Arizona!)
Britt and I attempting to take a picture together that we are both happy with. A true successful picture will probably never happen, but this impromptu one passed both of our approvals for now.
 Isn't Harry such a cutie in his bow tie???
The only thing that could have made our Easter better is if Matt would have been here, but... we're all packed up and tomorrow Matt and I close on our house in Dickinson!!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Masey Moo Turns Two!

Can you believe it, our little Masey Moo McGoo is Two? I can't. It feels like just yesterday that I was bringing him home from the hospital!
 And it really feels like yesterday that we were celebrating his 1st birthday with the "Caterpillar Party
We celebrated Mase's 2nd Birthday with a little family party. Just the four of us, Britt, Bri, Harry, and Great Grandma Verna. Of course we got phone calls from all the grandparents in Illinois, Kansas, and Florida. We still decorated, made a chocolate cake, and had a great time!

Grandma Caroline's Chocolate Birthday cake, loaded with frosting and sprinkles.

 The first present he opened was his pirate sword which became the tool of choice for opening the rest of his presents.

Some of his notable presents included a Fleece Pirate Blankie made by mommy, a Curious George monkey, a backpack with wheels, Toy Story and Batman figurines, a cardboard house, and "Cars" shirts.

 Mase's famous "Fishy Face"
 It was a beautiful day outside so we got a few hours of playtime in!
 Jumping off the rocks.

 Flying along on his scooter!
My favorite picture EVER!
We headed to Zorbaz for Mase's favorite food: Pizza, where Mason ate 4 huge pieces of pizza!
Went to sleep with his new blankie and his last night ever of a pacifier!

Mason's Thank You!

3x5 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

As you know I am just totally in love with Shutterfly, and ESPECIALLY their photo cards. I just can't resist an opportunity to get these adorable thank you's for Masey to send out!