Friday, October 28, 2011

Lucky

I just bought an old rusty horseshoe at this crazy random store that I love. (http://www.artandarc.com/)  
I have big plans for it.
Let's see if husband thinks my sanity is completely gone after this purchase.
It was only $5
A steal, for an old, dirty, rusty horseshoe, right?!
I'll let you know on Monday.
Wish me luck! (pun totally intended)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Couch calamity. A serendipitous sofa situation.

In case you missed the memo, we moved into our new house last November. Since that time, we have had some sofa drama.
  • We moved into the house with my old sofa which I purchased in college, then moved to my condo, and finally into our house.
  • April: I decided the sofa didn't match the new house...and put it up on craig's list one day to see if it would sell. It sells. Very quickly. I then have to come home and tell husband that I sold the sofa. 
  • April: We have no sofa.
  • That weekend my sister in law and I went shopping and ordered a new sofa. They say it won't arrive for 3 months. Woops. Didn't know couches took so long to arrive.
  • July: New sofa arrives...with a hole in it.
  • Fight with company for many many hours. Finally order replacement sofa.
  • September: Receive a phone call that replacement sofa has arrived, they want to schedule delivery. I give them an earful about how I think this new sofa is wearing terribly and explain that I want to return it. Apparently sofas are not returnable. Didn't know that. Regardless, I got them to take it back. After many more hours of negotiation. To my credit, sofa was wearing terribly. They take sofa with hole away.
  • Early October: We have no sofa.
  • Mid October: After searching high and low for a new one, we walk into Macy's furniture store and literally order the first sofa we see. No lie. First sofa we see. It also happened to meet all of our criteria. We order this sucker so fast that we left and worried we had ordered the wrong pieces. 
  • Late October: New sofa arrives (this one didn't take 3 months..thankfully....dear husband's patience with no sofa would not have held for another 3 months). The delivery people unwrap the sofa, and I clearly make a face that looks aghast. The delivery man, while holding my sofa in the air, turns to me and says: "Lady, is something wrong?"   "Uh, no..no, nothing is wrong sir, just keep going" I say out of complete sofa exhaustion, and then run to my phone. 
          I was fairly certain that the sofa we ordered was dark chocolate brown. New sofa comes in the door in a light taupe color. This does not appear to be the sofa we ordered. But, I quickly convince myself that unless the thing is purple and pink, we are keeping it. Husband is in a meeting, which leaves me to stand there, panicking, not sure what to do. You would have seriously thought I had just witnessed a crime with the amount of panic on my face.

The delivery men complete the job and then ask me if everything is okay once again. I think in my head, "Speak now or forever hold your piece girl. This is your chance. But, you better be pretty certain that you are right, and this is in fact the wrong color, rather than just another ADD moment."  And so, I say nothing is wrong, paralyzed by fear of being sofa-less once again.

And so they leave. And I finally get a hold of husband. And we look up the order. Yes, in fact this is the color we ordered. We were so couch-less-ly-depressed that we ordered the wrong color. Which turns out, is really a much better color than the one we thought we were ordering.

A serendipitous sofa situation.
  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Jeremy and Kara, master gardeners

This past weekend we spent some time planting flower bulbs so in the Spring we would have beautiful flowers popping up! We were discussing how much we've learned about plants and landscaping over the past few months. Marveling at ourselves, two, totally inept people, who have really made this house look good! It's true. We're pretty talented. So talented that we can now dig holes for flower bulbs with ease. I know...you're all impressed with our mad skills.

We have almost lived in our house for one year now and we have had a few trials and tribulations in this, the first year of home ownership. I thought I would do a little update on the status of our yard, since well, it has been a bit of a disaster/surprise/disgusting mess/fun project/backbreaking/excellent use of ever swear word in the book.

As I have mentioned, we renovated our house before we moved in. And by renovate, I mean keep a small corner of the house, and gut everything else.
Exactally 1 year ago today, our house looked like this:
Yup, a giant pile of dirt. And then winter arrived, and thankfully, covered up the dirt. The snow gave us 6 months to think about what to do about the dirt pile shown above. If you have grass, and don't appreciate it, make today lawn appreciation day.

So winter arrived in a hurry, covered our yard. Around Christmas time we adopted this guy. He is not related to this blog post about our yard, but he's cute.

And before we knew it, the snow started melting and we found that yard was sinking. We had neither grass, nor pavers, nor snow, and the pooches had nowhere to poo. And so, as referenced in this blog post: http://www.karafrank.com/2011/02/novice-homeowners.html, we decided to make an ill fated trip to Home Depot to solve our sinking problem. (note the insulation TAPED to the top of our car)

Winter ended...and we were left with this...
Pretty, eh?!

So we decided to start from scratch and re-grade the entire front and back yard. Leaving us with ZERO grass.
And now, today, almost a year after moving into our house. 10 months after adopting the little guy. 6 months after taping a giant piece of insulation to the top of our car to attempt to create a solid surface on which to stand. 4 months after saying screw it, and re-grading our entire yard....

We have grass. And how beautiful it is. Lawn appreciation day. Each blade planted with seed. Most of which were planted by us. Turns out grass is pretty essential.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

H-A-L-L-O-W-E-E-N....spells Halloween

I want to dress up for Halloween this year. We're not going anywhere, just staying home and handing out candy, but I think its way more fun to get candy from someone whose also dressed up. I have a pretty stellar cow costume that I could rock...
Or make a witch costume...
Thoughts from the blogosphere? Are you all dressing up?

How about you answer that question and possibly win a prize!?!? A prize from our favorite friends at Freschetta Pizza!

Tell me what you are going to be for Halloween...or what you think I should be for Halloween....or what your dog/child/spouse is going to be for Halloween...and if you are randomly picked (using random.org) then you will win this fantastic prize...
*Two sets of awesome ear buds...one for you, one for a friend!
*A coupon to try any Freschetta pizza...FREE



Friday, October 14, 2011

Updates!

The big reveal...our new tile floors! I'm really pleased with the result. They are beautiful, and a much better fit than the former VCT. They flow nicely from the wood floors into this 'dog area' and is a much more permanent finish.

We have Brazilian walnut hardwood floors throughout our house, so we selected this dark, brow tile to blend and not stand out. We didn't want a statement floor, we just wanted something that meshed well with the hardwood. Success!

(and note to other first time tilers out there...steel wool. It's the trick to tiling cleanup. We learned that on day #2)


And as an update to this blog post ....photos of our fall decor. I'm particularly pleased with the stuffed, dressed turkey pilgrim.

 This one is not so much fall...but it's new.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tile project - in process

Well, we spent this past weekend on the aforementioned tiling project. It was actually pretty fun. Fun due to the fact that I had a skilled teacher showing me what to do, and making all of the tile cuts, creating the pattern, and I just had to put them in place. So for me...it was fun! Until Day #4.

Day #1 - Removed the wall trim.
Installed new backerboard on the floors. This gives the tile a flat, thick, solid place to stay.
Put down thin set mortar and then lay the tile in place using spacers for even grout lines.
Day #2 - Wait for tile to set
Day #3 - Grout the tile, and then wipe it clean every 2 hours
Day #4 - Day #25 - Clean the fu%^$ng tile that has thin set and grout all over it. Scrub until your hands fall off and then scrub some more inside the smallest room known to man. Sing songs with your husband about how much you hate scrubbing while scrubbing the floor while requiring that he calls you Cinderella.
Jeremy: "Kara, I'm really sick of this, can we call it a night and work on it tomorrow?"
Kara: "Uh, it's Cinderella. Not Kara. And no, we cannot go to bed, we need to scrub the floor to get all of this impossible cr%& off the tile. No sleep. More scrubbing."
My sister called while we were scrubbing and Jeremy screamed out in the background, "SAVE ME". Did I mention the scrubbing part is the worst part of the tiling process?

I will post pictures of the project tomorrow, but for now, when considering if you should tile yourself, ask yourself these questions:
1. Do you have a very skilled helper that will show you what to do and perform all mathematical calculations for you?
2. Do you own a tile saw, gigantic screw driver, and knee pads?
3. Are you really tidy, and clean up every piece of mud/dirt/thin set after use?
4. Do you have hands of steel that are accustomed to scrubbing something that is essentially the consistency of concrete, off of tile?

If you answered yes, then tiling is for you. If not, considering hiring out.

Okay, it wasn't that bad. It's really just the scrubbing that is awful. Jeremy says he's going to go shopping for some industrial strength cleaners today. Who knows what he will come back with. When we moved into our house he said he needed to go to Target to get something to clean our wood floors. He came home with 3 vacuums. Yes 3. A steamer vacuum, a mini vacuum, and a carpet cleaning vacuum. He can't be trusted at Target.

Tomorrow...pictures of the tile! Woo-hoooo!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Renovation Project #2 (really more like #498)

So our house has a basement. If you can even call it a basement. It's more of a dungeon. I refuse to go down there. In like a childish, stand at the top of the stairs and offer to hold the door open, and refuse to move--kind of way.

I tried to take pictures for the blog so you could see how truly awful it is, but it was so ugly, I couldn't even get a decent photo. It was too dark, and nasty, and they all just looked black.

And so, you will have to picture a dungeon, inside a cave, placed into a 1947 house. That is what our basement looks like. No lie.

Jeremy thinks we should renovate it. I think the status quo is great. Lock the door, pretend it doesn't exist. My parents had a basement in their house that was also unfinished. Much nicer, and at grade level, with big windows and doors, but nonetheless a basement. And still, to this day, I refuse to go down there alone. I hate basements. Hate.

Jeremy believes if we removed some of the creepy factor, this could be functional space. I question his sanity.  This is the single creepiest basement you have ever seen.
It looks a little something like This...
So, Jeremy met with the basement remodeling guys this week to get a bid to renovate the basement. It's pretty reasonable, but here's my question. Will I ever use this space? Will I ever get over my total, paralyzing fear of basements? Is there like a recovery program for people who fear basements? It's one of those childish fears, like the boogeyman in the closet, that I never got over.
So blog readers...what do you think? To renovate the basement? Or leave it in its current, dungeon-like state?

I mean I would probably use it if it looked like this...


But the current state....more like this:
Feedback time...what should I do?  I really need to apply for one of those basement remodeling shows. Imagine the transformation! Come on HGTV, I know you're reading my blog. Finish my basement!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Time to renovate

We've lived in our house for 11 months. It was 99% new 11 months ago. It's clearly time to renovate.
I don't like the flooring in our "dog room". We choose VCT (Vinyl Composite Tile) for that area as it was cost effective and easy to clean. It was reasonably decent looking and I thought it would be a practical choice. However, after 11 months of rolling out the dog food dispenser, dogs jumping around etc...the VCT was scratched beyond repair and looked pretty bad. (in my opinion)  I never really liked the stuff, but it seemed to work at the time.

And...I really want to learn how to tile.

And these guys need new flooring.
So, a friend of mine is quite handy and offered to teach me how to tile. We could remove the flooring and tile the room. It would then be a new, more durable surface, and I could learn how to do it at the same time. Wooo hoo.

Husband finds this less exciting. We have spent the last week scraping up the VCT with one of these suckers...

It's sort-of like a massive, heavy, super violent looking, ice chipper. And this room is about 4 feet by 4 feet. And so, we are trapped in a tiny room, scraping up 11 month old flooring.
Have I mentioned I have an extremely patient husband?
Many bumps, bruises, sore arms, and shoes permanently ruined with leftover, extraordinarily sticky, VCT adhesive later...we are ready to tile!  (Below see the room with half the flooring removed)

"How to Tile 101" lessons with Brian begin Friday afternoon. I'm pretty excited. More excited than one person should be about tiling a floor. 

I know you're all so excited to see the finished product...but you have to wait for next week!!! Hold on to your seats. It's going to be exciting!

On an even better note...I have never been more excited for any technological reveal than the iPhone 4Gs, which was announced yesterday. My 3 year old, smashed-screen, non-functioning voice-mail, can't access Facebook in less than 6 minutes, phone calls may or may not come in, iPhone is so excited to take a trip to the garbage can. Prepare for much more beautiful blog photos with the new 8 megapixel camera on this puppy. Can't wait!