Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Long Weekend in NOLA

Since I was traveling to New Orleans for a Color Marketing Group conference for work, Greg decided to take a few vacation days and travel along. Most of the time I was inside the hotel in various color discussion sessions while Greg wandered the French Quarter. We did get to wander the Quarter together most of they day Saturday. We wandered the streets admiring the city's unique architecture, looked at some fun and cooky lighting in the antique shops (unfortunately out of our budget), sampled the pralines (Greg enjoyed the traditional pecan flavor, I particulary enjoyed the coconut version), ate dinner at Red Fish Grill, listened to music on Frenchman St at d.b.a. and The Spotted Cat (thanks to Cat's recommendations) and finished the night at Cafe du Monde with coffee and beinets.
Greg really enjoyed the the fresh creole seafood. I think he had seafood for almost every meal, including breakfast. My most memorable meal with Greg was our final lunch. He had been searching for boiled crawdads since we arrived and had targeted a specific restaurant. The boiled seafood took a little longer to cook but I think Greg thought it was worth the wait. The crawdads were a bit spicier than he had anticipated. After two big glasses of sweet tea, he was able to finish them off. Good thing he opted for the smaller plate or we may have missed our return flight.

Sunday night we went to dinner with Mary and her husband Chris. Mary and I had met at the CMG conference last year in Phoenix. Greg's requirements for dinner were seafood (of course) and a big screen TV to watch the Colts vs Patriots game (still can't believe the Colts won). Mary and Chris were a lot of fun and we had a great night. Lots of good food and drinks.

Monday night my friend Cat, who spends part of her time in NOLA, met up with us. She picked us up in her shiny white Mustang and drove us outside of the Quarter. She took us through a few of the neighborhoods still recovering from Katrina. Interesting to see the architecture being produced in the new Brad Pitt area. Typical New Orleans colors but odd angles that grew on me. Interesting roof lines that morphed and twisted to the ground. Porch railings were sheet metal with organic cutout designs. I should have remembered my camera. After the neighborhood tours, we stopped at The Columns for happy hour drinks. After drinks we went to a Lebanese restaurant for dinner. I had never had Lebanese before but definitely would again. Yummy rice, lamb, veggies and lots of hummus! We ended our evening at a retro gelato shop - always good.

Be sure to check out our photo site for additionals pics.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Small projects update

Last time I wrote, we were working on painting the front door. We have since finished painting the door surround and the front door...just in time for fall. The orange door not only matches our home's mortar, but is perfect for the upcoming Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays (unintentional I promise). This weekend I sewed a curtain panel for front door. We removed the old sheer a couple months see if the door needed a sheer. Soon we agreed that we liked the privacy of the sheer. I finally got it sewed and hung this weekend. Privacy restored.

Our coffee table is complete. The final touch was an antique art nouveau tile that Greg gave me for Christmas last year. The table now resides in our living room. We eat dinner at it; it holds our laptop; we rest our feet on it as we watch a movie; the cats use it as a part of their obstacle course. What did we ever do without it?

Speaking of Poppy and Sophie, they have settled into their new home. Never a dull moment. They use magazine pages as a slip n slide. Poppy crawls around our necks like a scarf. Sophie likes to sleep in Greg's sock drawer, even when Greg closes the drawer and leaves her there for a couple hours (unknowingly). Poppy has tried that out too. And their newest past time is watching the fish tank, their version of a TV.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Front Door, Gargoyles and Coffee Table

The first coat of paint after the primer. Rather than repaint it orange, we have selected a rust orange to coordinate with the mortar color.
Still needs another coat or two but it's getting there. Hopefully I get the final coats complete before BSU homecoming next weekend.

Greg hung up the gargoyle photos from our honeymoon.

First coat of paint on the coffee table top. Another coat and the tile can be installed. Almost done....

Monday, September 21, 2009

A peeling front door

The front door paint is starting to peel away. Time for a fresh coat of paint, and a fresh new color, before winter weather arrives.

Tonight a coat of primer was put on the side lights. Wow, it is very bright. Glad we don't want a white front door.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Poppy and Sophie

Welcome the newest additions to the Jones Family...Poppy and Sophie. We adopted them from a local Humane Society. They are about 4 months old. We were happy to hear they would let us bring them home today rather than the usual 3-day waiting period. They are having fun sneaking through the house...lots of energy. Poppy has climbed up my jeans and shirt 3
times...because I wasn't paying enough attention. Sophie seems to think the litter box is the beach...she just likes to lay in it. Finally, the cats, and Greg, have worn out. Nap time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dining Room Curtains are Done!

After a long delay, I finally finished the dining room curtains. I couldn't find any fabric that I liked at work or at the local fabric stores so I began my search online. I opted for a bold organic print and I think it works well. I really like how the grommets worked and will likely use them again for curtains in other rooms of the house. Looks like my many years of sewing for 4-H have paid off. Hmmm...wonder what our next project will be?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Odds and Ends

Sometimes finishing a project is the most difficult part. Here are a few projects we've completed as of late. And of course, not all projects were completed, so there's an update on those, too.

I drew this as one in a series of three a few years ago. With the new Ranchito Red walls in the dining room, the drawing pops off of the wall. It's as though they were meant to be together.

A couple years ago we bought these dressers at a furniture sale for $15 each. Only issue was that the dressers didn't have any tops. With some free leftover faux leather, we covered two pieces of MDF and secured them to the dressers. Two complete dressers: priceless.

As for projects still in progress...this fabric will soon be transformed into dining room curtains. The grommets I ordered months ago are finally being delivered by UPS. Let's hope they don't get lost.

Just finished painting these brackets. Finally. I claimed my first bracket around 1999. Yes, ten years ago. Between then and now, I collected 3 more and the plan is for them to become the legs of a coffee table. Now it's time to work on the table top and finally use the tile that Greg got me for Christmas last year. Nothing like taking my time.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hot Sticky Weekend of Painting

We were able to put two coats of 'free' paint on the hallway walls this weekend. One Saturday, one Sunday. We were concerned the paint color may be too dark but after the first coat we knew we liked it. The wall color really makes the pendant light pop out. We have some more touchup to do on the radiator, but for the most part, the color is done. Next, we will paint the white trim and all of the doors in Alabaster. You can't really tell from the pics, but the current white is a tad yellow, and I want to make it a more crisp white. Greg also removed the hinges from the many doors in the hallway to remove the paint from previous paint jobs. Not sure when we'll get the doors back up. Not a big deal, unless you want to use the bathroom. Either use it at your own risk, or use a different one.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hallway Transformation Continues

We've had a couple of productive nights this week. Greg spent the last week tediously adding daily skim coats to the holes in the plaster. Wednesday night he felt the holes were sufficiently filled so it was time to sand. After closing off doorways in attempt to control the dust as much as possible, and with protective eye wear and mask in place, we began sanding. The air looked like a snow globe. Luckily the hallway leads to the backdoor so when we were finished, we exited through the garage to use the garden hose to rinse off. I looked at my arms and legs to see I was white as a ghost. Who knew I could be even more pale than I normally am? After taking Voltron (our 1980 two-toned green Ford truck) through the Arby's drive thru for dinner, we returned to the hallway and put on a coat of primer on the walls and ceiling. A very productive night. Tonight we painted the ceiling with the first coat of Alabaster white paint.

As for the wall color...that is still to be determined. A couple months ago, when looking through the 'oops' paint at Lowes, we found a 5 gallon paint, a dark khaki color, originally $100, marked down to $15. We couldn't pass it up. When making our purchase, we got a $20 rebate coupon so essentially Lowes paid us $5 to take this paint. Tonight I brushed the dark khaki paint on a small section so we can live with the color a day or two. We can decide if we like the color or if we need to lighten it up a bit. Stay tuned to see the final color....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dining Room and Hallway Update

We were actually home this weekend so we had some time to work on the dining room. We touched up the ceiling and crown molding and cleaned up our mess. Then we were able to move our furniture in back and actually use it as a dining room once again. We still need to make and hang some curtains, as well as hang some pictures on the walls, but so far we think it looks great.

Of course when one project ends, another begins. The 1st floor hallway had been started back in May when my Aunt and Mom helped remove the wallpaper. Next up: remove the paneling. Unfortunately, it doesn't come off as easily as the wallpaper. The paneling was glued to the plaster so when we pulled down the paneling, we also pulled down pieces of plaster. When traveling in Italy, I liked this weathered look, but in our own house, it's just a crumbly mess. Looks like the next task will be plastering. Be sure to check out our photo site for more renovation photos.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The crown molding begins in the dining room

Greg and I finally did some home improvement this weekend - the start of crown molding in the dining room. We haven't done much since Memorial Day weekend. We have been either too busy or too hot. Greg did make a temporary top for the dishwasher a couple weeks ago. New countertops are not on the to-do list quite yet. This temporary top prevents the dishwasher from tipping forward when we are loading it. Everyone knows I'm prone to hurting myself so Greg knew it was a necessity to secure it.

What have we been doing instead of remodeling? We celebrated our one year anniversary. The first year just flew by. We have friends who are getting married July 4th so a few weekends have been filled with pre-wedding celebrations. I was on a Relay For Life team one weekend. Another weekend was spent canoeing. I can't admit that much of this weekend was spent remodeling...only Sunday afternoon. Friday night we went to the movie theatre to see Year One. I don't recommend it, unless you are looking for a couple of quality hours of air conditioning, like us. We will see a lot of movies in the next few months. Saturday night we went to a local summer theatre to see their performance of A Streetcar Named Desire. Today actually brought us a nice breeze. I'm enjoying it right now, sitting outside under our big maple tree. The wonders of wireless internet.
Chris, Greg, Jon, Adam and Chad during their Wisconsin fishing trip while my Mom, Marilyn and I painted the dining room.

We have blooms from the plants Greg planted ealier this year.

The first layer of crown molding in dining room. More to come, hopefully in July.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Same walls, different looks

It's that time of year when Greg, my brother Jon and Greg's buddies head off for northern Wisconsin for their annual fishing trip. With the house to myself, I recruited my Mom and Aunt Marilyn down to visit to help with the next house renovation. They truly are the best because I don't know of too many people who are willing to spend their 3-day weekend working on someone else's house.
Since Greg had fixed the hole in the dining room ceiling last weekend, this weekend we could change the color in the dining room. After collecting 20+ colors of orange paint samples, I had given up on Greg's wish of an orange dining room. All the oranges I could find were either too bright or dark. I found a greyed brown that we agreed upon (I think Greg just gave in). One day while waiting for Greg in Home Depot I wandered the paint section and came across the Ralph Lauren section and found Suede paint and a lovely orange color called Ranchito Red. Apparently what ranchers think is red, I think is orange. Either way, Ranchito Red Suede is now what covers our dining room walls. Kudos to Greg for constantly reminding me that he wanted an orange dining room. It looks really great. It's amazing that paint can look like suede. When Greg returns home, he can install the crown molding. It's time for me to make some curtains.

Dining room before we painted it orange.
Dining room before we painted it orange.
Dining room after it is primed.

Dining room is Ranchito Red Suede.

In addition to the dining room, we began to strip wallpaper. Normally I stick to our 'one room at a time rule' but it's hard to turn down the offer of those willing to strip the wallpaper that covers our plaster walls, ceiling and even the back of a door. The wallpaper in the hallway that leads to the back door came down quite easily. The kitchen required the use of a steamer but still wasn't too bad. Now, to select a color for the kitchen walls. Can't wait...

Sammy, our renovation mascot.

Be sure to check out additional renovation photos on our photo website.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Yes, we have a working dishwasher

We seem to work on the house in spurts. The last couple of weekends have been spent camping and traveling to Indy to visit friends. This weekend we stayed home and worked on the 'list'. This list focused on projects I wanted Greg to complete before he leaves for his annual fishing trip next weekend.

1st up: hooking up the dishwasher. The dishwasher arrived a couple weeks ago and we were excited to have some time to get it set up. Greg's plumbing and electrical skills came in handy once again. Happy to report that the first dishwasher use didn't leak and it cleaned the dishes. Someday, we'll get a new countertop.

Next Greg set out to fix the hole in the dining room ceiling. We've had this hole since late last year when the upstairs bathroom plumbing leaked into the dining ceiling. My goal is to paint this room while Greg is fishing so I needed the ceiling finished first. Not only did he get the hole fixed, but he also filled in some cracks/holes in the walls, removed the radiator and took down the old ceiling trim. We learned that in prior lives, the dining room was a pinky beige with border that tried to look like wood trim and before that it was hunter green. Stay tuned to see what color it will be next.

While Greg was busy with his projects, I cleaned the house and finished the cabinet in the basement bathroom. I added one last coat of white paint and installed the door knobs.

I'm sure you've been waiting in suspense, wondering why we HAD to clean out the garage a few weeks ago. Your wait is over. The reason was because we needed extra space in the carport. During inclement weather, we need a place to store our new hammock. I've been wanting a hammock for years. We agreed to buy it as our one year anniversary gift. Hard to believe it has almost been one year. The hammock has already arrived so we've been relaxing on it under the carport since the season of April showers has extended into May. It has been quite relaxing to swing on the hammock to the sound of rain hitting the metal roof.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Found: one car garage and kitchen hardware for $5

After a few weeks of catch up after being away on our honeymoon, we set off the weekend to work on our 'list' of projects. That list isn't just a list in our heads. We have an actual list of projects on our refrigerator. Projects that range from replacing missing mortar in brick, fixing the hole in dining room ceiling and cleaning the garage, among many others. Our first project this weekend: clean the garage. Since Greg moved in a little over two years ago, the garage has been a storage facility, not a garage for the car. We are expecting a fun surprise this week (we'll share what it is once it arrives) but we agreed that we had to have the garage cleaned before it arrived. Hence, we set out to clean the garage. Take a look at what we had to clean:

As you can see, we have an assortment of bikes, old table and chairs, old cabinets from the beauty shop that used to be in our basement and various garage sale items. We had talked about having a garage sale since we moved in, but never found the time or motivation to do it. I kept threatening to donate it all at the local goodwill store, but again, never did it. On Saturday, we opened the garage door and began to set out anything we didn't want or need in the yard along the street. I painted a 'free' sign to set against our junk, other peoples treasure, and two hours later it was all gone, except for the two large beauty shop cabinets. Some items went to a woman who had just moved to Washington 3 weeks ago, other stuff to some guys who were opening a new bar and various sinks went to a man who does maintenance work here in town. While we grabbed some lunch, someone took the old ten-speed bike and the railing that once enclosed "The Corner". Each asked if they could give us something for the items they were taking. Nope. Payment to us was having a clean, usable garage. We were just happy that the items were able to be used because they were dormant in our garage. Greg broke down the remaining two cabinets to put out with the trash. I'm not too upset about their destruction. While I was helping Greg work on some countertops, the wind knocked over one of the cabinets and it fell on me. Yes, thank you for asking, it did hurt! My head and back ached all day and into the night. I'm happy to report that it's now a distant memory. Now take a look at our pleasant surprise: the car and hanging bikes fit in the garage at the same time.

A project that I started a couple weeks ago was updating our kitchen cabinet drawers and door knobs. New door knobs can range anywhere from $1 - $10 each. It may not sound bad but when we have 50+ knobs to buy to redo our kitchen, it gets costly. After reading a home renovation magazine, I was inspired to spray paint our current brass hardware. I went to Walmart, bought a $5 can of Metallic Charcoal spraypaint. I finished them this weekend. I was looking for a project with instant gratification. This definitely met my wishes. The rest of the kitchen isn't on 'the list' to be done anytime soon. But it's nice to think that it has started.

Brass hardware before

Metallic Charcoal after

Last weekend we purchased a base cabinet from a local cabinet sale for our newly remodeled laundry room because we want some extra storage. We looked for a white cabinet but they were sold out. Instead we bought one with a brown wood finish and decided to paint it to go with the rest of the room. The cabinet is almost done. I'll share pictures of it when it is complete...hopefully later this week. While I was painting the cabinet, Greg was busy planting flowers. Our tulips have bloomed and wilted away. I bought some freesia bulbs to put in some new green pots we bought on sale last year. On Earth Day, National gave each us at work a package of seeds. I received Cosmos. I've never heard of this flower, but the package says the flowers grow 3-4 feet tall. We are starting them in some pots. Let's see what happens. I don't have a green thumb...let's home Greg's touch is just what they need.