Thursday, April 25, 2013

Oh The Places We'll Go

A new trend that we love is travel pinboards, essentially a corkboard map (whether just one country or the world). Then you put pins in all the places you visit.

We decided we loved the idea of documenting our travels together, but wanted to put our own little spin on things. Instead of buying a board or print, we decided to paint a map of the work onto the wall.

The project was tackled by myself and my mom (I tend to rely on her skills for any artsy projects, though she comes in handy for some construction type projects too). We started by projecting the image on the wall and tracing it with a pencil. Note: pencils work great because if/when you mess up, you can just erase and fix it.

Then we watered down a few different shades of wall paint to get a watercolor effect (three different greens so it tied in with the adjoining living room). Then we just went to town filling in all of the land area. I tackled the islands (there are a lot of islands on this planet, fyi) and my mom started with the larger landmasses.

After the mural was complete, I made little flag thumb tacks. I printed out small country flags from each of the place we had traveled to and mod podged them onto the heads of the thumb tacks. Here's what the markers for our most recent trip look like:

And as we continue to travel more in the future, we will be able to add more tacks to the map. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Honey Do List

People keep asking me if the work is done/almost done in our house. I usually don't have much of a response other than laughter, since we manage to keep adding things to the list before we even get close to finishing it. So here's our list (as of now) of things we still want to do. Let's start from the bottom of the house and work our way up.

-Paint. We bought a nice light tan color last year in hopes of painting the basement and lightening it up a bit (the dark green and orange make it a bit dark and creepy down there). We'll get to it eventually.

-Forth bedroom. With the replacement of windows, we now have egress access to a fourth bedroom in the basement (woo safety and legality). Once it warms up a bit, we're planning to spring clean the basement a lot and set that room up as a guest room and craft area (instead of just a giant catch-all).

-Water heater. Right now our water heater is old. Like survived Y2K old. We really would like to replace it with a tankless one to save on utilities and space in our basement, but it's not at the top of the priority list just yet.

-Fridge. We would love to get a second fridge/freezer for the basement for overflow (or when I bake a ton and need to store cupcakes somewhere). I've been keeping an eye on prices, but energy star is a big priority for us and right now the prices are just a bit out of reach.

-Finish the basement. We both think it would be great to finish the basement eventually. It's a HUGE project though, so who knows if/when it will ever happen. It would involve reworking the ducts, leveling the floor, electrical, framing, insulation, etc. etc. etc. One day it may happen, but definitely not in the foreseeable future.

First floor: The first floor is actually pretty put together. We spend most of our time here, making it a higher priority for us to get done.

-Under cabinet towel holder. My mom made us these reusable "paper" towels a while back. They've been a great, green replacement to disposable paper towels. But right now the roll is just sitting on the counter. Since our counter space is limited, I'd love to get an under cabinet holder for them.

-Decor. I've started adding decor to the tops of the cabinets to bring in a bit of color to the kitchen. It's still a bit sparse, so we'll keep adding more as we find more things we like (and catch sales).

-Shelves. We put up pipe shelves, but they still need to be stained. I'm waiting on spring to really arrive in Chicago so I can open windows and not stink up the whole house with the stain, though.

-Pantry. Our pantry started out decently organized. But I made the mistake of not telling Kevin the organizational setup. And now it's just one giant mess. I'd also love to get reusable containers for things like snacks and cereal and drink mixes and the like.

-Jade plant holder/storage cabinet. The previous owners left a side table/cabinet behind. We've been using it in a corner of our office to hold our jade plant and have filled it with all sorts of crap. The plans are to paint it green to bring some color to the office and to organize the stuff inside a bit.

-Doors/trim. We started to stain the doors and trim but realized the color is a bit off. We'll need to sand down the doors and restain them, along with staining the door frame. We'd also like to stain the trim in the office and kitchen to match the rest of the house while we're at it.

Living Room:
-Bookshelves. The plan is to box up/move to the basement shelves all the books and movies that we rarely use, and use the shelves for more practical storage. I foresee a container store shopping spree in my future.

-Pictures. The ultimate goal is to fill the wall going up the stairs with pictures. This will probably be a long, ongoing project as we have more and more pictures we want to display.

-Race bibs. We hung a some beaded twisted cord at the top of the stairs to hang all of our race bibs on. Kind of like bunting. There is plenty of space still for us to add future race bibs to it.

Second floor: The majority of our upcoming projects will take place on the second floor. There's a lot we want to do up here.

Master bedroom:
-Mirror. I really want to get/make a nicer mirror for our room. Right now we have one of those cheap, over-the-door mirrors from my college dorm room. The plan is to either revamp it to make it look a bit more adult, or get a new mirror. I'd love to get one of those vintage free standing mirrors. We'll see.

Second Bath:
-Paint. We have yet to actually paint this bathroom. I'm thinking maybe painting it white and then doing a couple light, lime green chevrons around the room.

-Hooks/Storage. Right now there is no where to hang towels or store anything in this bathroom. Well other than a hand towel. This bathroom doesn't really get used much so it's not a big deal yet.

-Complete overhaul. This is on our list as the next BIG project. The plan is to remove a window and put up a wall in the back room, separating it into two defined rooms. Also, open up the doorways from the bedrooms into the back room space, which will make it feel more like one cohesive room each. Lastly, closets will be added (old house means no closets in the bedrooms) and some electrical work for lighting and outlets.

Outside: We did a good deal of curb appeal work last summer, but there is still plenty more to do.

-Parkway. I would love to create a low maintenance rock garden in the parkway in front of our house. With the new fence out front, it's difficult to mow/water, so low maintenance is key. Also people tend to walk on that area a lot when parking in front of the house, so the idea of a rock garden would allow us to have some plants but also a good area for people to walk and not kill the plants.

-Backyard. So much to do in the backyard. Clean and refinish the deck. Replace the handrails that have been eaten by squirrels (yes, the lovely squirrels in our neighborhood ate our deck rails). Finish the fire pit and surrounding seating area. And plant a few gardens, veggie and flower. Eventually we'll completely replace the deck and front porch. But for now we're just kind of putting makeup on things to hold us over until a full overhaul can be done.

-Siding. One of these years (in the foreseeable future) we will need to replace the siding on our house. Currently we have a layer of wood siding covered by a layer of asphalt siding. The asphalt is falling to pieces (literally), but we are afraid to pull it off the entire house in fear that the wood might be in even worse shape. We're thinking we'll end up with vinyl siding when we do replace it all. Cross your fingers that we can get another couple years on the current stuff so we can attempt to save up a bit (and pay off the windows first).

So now you can see, we still have quite the list of things we want to do. And even with this long list of stuff, I feel like I'm probably forgetting some things. And by some, I mean a lot.

Also, sorry for all the words. I'll try to make the next post more pictures.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

This is a quick diversion from the typical house post, but I was too proud to not share. For Easter dinner this year I was asked to bring dessert (which is pretty typical for holiday meals, parties, random summer days by the pool, etc.). In the past I've made a lot of cupcakes, cookies, brownies, cheesecakes, pies, and more. This year I decided to make a shaped cake. A bunny butt.

The cake was two layer vanilla with raspberry filling, raspberry frosting, and shredded coconut. The carrots and foot pads were made from airheads and the dirt from chocolate cookies. It turned out quite well for the first time making it and everyone seemed to like it (either that or they're good actors).

Hope everyone had happy holiday, whether you celebrated or not.