Thursday, August 29, 2013

a little front door update

When we last left our hero the front of the house, it was looking quite a bit spiffier.

But still needed a little bit of work.  Here's a closer look:

The pretty door knocker was a tear-inducingly sweet Christmas present from Matt; it says "Gardner" and "Welcome".  But did you notice that the knob and dead bolt don't match?  The knob is brass and the dead bolt is brushed silver (and didn't actually bolt).  Yes, that's what happens when the bank re-keys your doors - you get completely mismatched hardware.

After a quick trip to Home Depot, I found a set that I love, and Jason, our carpenter, installed it for us (it involved drilling through the metal door, otherwise we might have attempted it ourselves).

We still need to have a locksmith re-key all the locks so we can use the same key for all the doors (I think we're up to 3 different keys for various doors, and one or two doors don't have any keys that go to them at all), but at least now it looks a bit better.

Happy Kitchen

Our kitchen has been sad for the last few months.

The floor had been refinished, the counter tops were in, the sink was installed, the appliances were working great, and the cabinets were in place...

...well, all the cabinets except for one.

The corner appliance garage is supposed to be sandwiched between the counter top and the upper cabinet.  But apparently our counter tops are 1/2" thinner than they should be, because there was 1/2" of floating space between the pieces of the appliance garage and the cabinet it was supposed to attach to.

And then Jason, our carpenter, broke the appliance garage.

No, that's a good thing!  He was playing with it, trying to figure out a way to get it to fit, and the roll-up door came off the track and wouldn't roll any more.  Since it was still under warranty, Home Depot sent us a brand new cabinet, so Jason could cannibalize the broken cabinet and add pieces to the new cabinet.

Now our kitchen is happy and complete!


...apparently autumn is coming.  It's not even Labor Day yet, and this is what I see next to our driveway.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Naaaa na na na na na na na na na na na na na na naaaa.....

 Bruce Wayne was hanging out on the sunroom window last week.  Not gonna lie, I shrieked and almost fell over.

Ugh, gross.  All furry and creepy.  Ugh ugh ugh.

Friday, August 2, 2013

To-Do List

It's our 4-month House-iversary!  We look back and are amazed at how much we have gotten done since we bought the house at the end of November, and how much we've gotten done since we moved 4 months ago.  We also have a lot of stuff left (I'm pretty sure we'll ALWAYS have a lot of stuff left to do!).

To celebrate 4 months in our gorgeous home, I thought I'd share some things that we have already gotten done, and more that will be happening in the future.  Some will happen sooner, others will take longer.  After all, there's only so much money in the bank.

This is also mostly so I can keep track of everything I want/need to get done.  And it feels SO GOOD to be able to cross things off once in a while!

Items in BOLD are things that absolutely, positively will get done.  And hopefully soon.  Items in regular type are things that I'd like to get done, but maybe not for a little while.  Of course, items that are crossed out have (yay!) actually gotten done.


  • upgrade to larger/prettier lights on the garage
  • do something about the planting beds next to the porch
  • maybe add some hardware to the garage so it's a little less boring
  • power-wash all the siding
  • replace all the gutters (about half of them are missing)
  • re-key the doors so we can use the same key for all the doors
  • replace the river stones that edge the planting beds with something more brick-like (like this)


  • repaint the chipped/flaking floorboards, railings, ceiling
  • paint the front door a sunny yellow
  • get rid of the ugly address sticker on the door and put up nicer house numbers
  • replace the door hardware
  • replace the doorbell to match the hardware
  • buy a doormat that really scrapes the mud off shoes
  • build a porch swing (there are already hooks in the ceiling)
  • build an adirondack chair or two


  • buy a runner
  • build a long, skinny storage bench so people can sit to take shoes on/off
  • stain the railing on the stairs and put it back up (it's hiding somewhere)
  • touch up the trim paint on the stairs (it got scuffed when the stairs were installed)
  • paint the inside of the front door a crisp white


  • clean and seal the backsplash grout (it inexplicably started turning yellow about 2 weeks after it was originally grouted)
  • have the appliance garage installed in the corner next to the sink
  • find a pretty mat for in front of the sink
  • figure out a pretty curtain for the window over the sink
  • collect some pretty decor
  • fix the horrific mess of a ceiling


  • buy curtain rods and curtains, and hang them so people driving by at night (and all the time in the winter) can't see straight into the living room from the street
  • build a giant wall-to-wall entertainment center for the TV wall with lots of storage
  • upgrade table and floor lamps
  • install a gas fireplace with faux-stone surround and a driftwood mantel
  • buy new chairs for the dining room table
  • buy a rug for under the dining room table
  • buy a chandelier for over the dining room table
  • fix the doors on the corner cabinet
  • paint the inside of the door to the sunroom a crisp white


  • hang photos and art
  • print photos that I've been hoarding, buy frames, add to the wall collection
  • maybe buy a runner


  • buy and install doors for the closet
  • put up some art
  • build/thrift a headboard
  • install blinds so people driving by or on the porch can't see right in
  • put up curtains to soften the bamboo blinds


  • new towels
  • put up some art


  • OMG everything.  Move along.  Next.


  • buy and install doors for the closets
  • hang the lyrics from our wedding song that I framed for Matt for our first anniversary
  • paint the french doors that go to the deck
  • build a pretty bed
  • buy a rug for under the bed
  • buy an overhead light
  • add some art
  • upgrade from old Ikea dressers to thrifted antiques
  • hang a mirror over my makeup table
  • put curtains/blinds over the windows so the neighbors don't get a show
  • re-mud some weird holes in the bathroom walls, and fix some paint


  • buy a runner
  • buy and install doors in the laundry area
  • add a shelf to the laundry area
  • paint the door to the garage white
  • paint the dry sink a fun color and move it to the other wall
  • buy a rug or something so cat little doesn't get tracked through the whole house
  • build a shelf with hooks for coats to go on the wall opposite the washer/dryer
  • find a better spot for the ironing board


  • disconnect the backup battery on the garage door opener so it STOPS BEEPING, buy a replacement battery
  • buy new clickers for the garage door so we can actually open it and park in there in the winter
  • organize the gardening stuff (maybe move it to the basement), painting stuff (ditto), camping stuff
  • build a shelving system along the back wall (will help with the organization)


  • buy or build more bookshelves (we want this to be our "library" area)
  • buy a rug to make it cozier
  • buy a light fixture
  • organize the storage area


  • hang art CJ has collected
  • hang the "tic-tac-toe" shelving unit that Amy gave me
  • build/buy some more storage for office supplies


  • build/buy storage of some kind
  • build/buy a little desk for Matt
  • hang art Matt has collected
  • hang curtains
  • organize 


  • repaint floor (FYI, wall paint doesn't work so well on floors.  oh well.)
  • build a storage bench along the wall with the door for seating and storage
  • replace the droopy fan blades
  • find some art/decorations


  • build the deck
  • buy outdoor dining chairs
  • build an outdoor dining table
  • buy sun loungers/chaises
  • build an outdoor sectional?
  • buy outdoor fabric to make pillows (working on it!)
  • decorate
  • buy a light for outside the french doors that go into the bedroom (there's wires for a light, just no actual light fixture)
  • have the electrician install a second light outside the kitchen window and an outlet installed below
  • wrap columns with faux stone
  • maybe hook the house propane line to the grill so we don't have to refill the little gas cans (still thinking about this one)


  • aerate and re-seed the whole yard (nobody loved it for a long time, it just needs some help)
  • since the front yard slopes down to the side yard and the back, maybe eventually put in a retaining wall and steps, and level out the side/back yards
  • replace the river stones that edge the planting beds with something more brick-like (like this)
  • replace (or eliminate) the river stone walkway that goes to the well pump
  • double the size of the garden, since we tried to cram way too much in the little raised beds this year
  • have the tops cut off of some of the trees at the back of the house so we can see the mountains
  • cut a trail down to the stream and lay crushed stone or pavers to define it
  • build a little deck platform by the stream so we can sit there and listen to the water
  • cut down dead trees for firewood

Wow, that kind of seems daunting when it's written all out like that.  But it's ok, I know some/most of it won't get done until next spring/summer, or even further into the future.  We plan on being in this house forever, so we've got plenty of time.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Just call us the Garden-ers

One of the things Matt was most excited about when we moved into the house was that he was going to get to plant a garden.  I kill plants like it's my job, so I was happy to let him try.  We started seeds in a porch container back in April...

...and by the end of May we had some pretty promising green stuff going on!

And then Matt went a little crazy and kept trying to pack as much into as small a space as possible.  And now we have this:

Yeah, his drivers license should say "Matthew Garden-er".

Here's what we have growing in that jumble of greens:

Well, that's SOME of what is growing.  He kept planting more things and not telling me, so I'm not exactly sure what else we have underneath everything else.

baby zucchini

"sunset" cherry tomatoes - they turn orange, not red
There are 2 more kinds of tomatoes in the buckets - Roma (for sauce) and round slicing tomatoes for sandwiches.  The slicing tomatoes are growing nicely, and should start to turn red soon.

Matt found this monster underneath some of the zucchini vines.  It's seriously longer than the length from my elbow to my wrist.  Here is the comparison to a normal-sized banana:
found my zucchini bread recipe!  yay!
And that's not all!  Out on the deck we have strawberries (in the blue and white pot) and basil (in the bucket that says "lavender").  The lavender is with the lillies.  I was at the grocery store this week and needed basil - a pouch of basil leaves were $3, and a live plant was $2.  So here's another plant that I will approach warily and Matt can take care of it.

We've already been able to eat some zucchinis, cherry tomatoes, kale, spinach, and chard.  It's pretty fun for this city girl to be able to run outside and have dinner half-planned!