Friday, June 27, 2008

A little bit of happy

I know this is more of a house blog, but I saw this video yesterday and it made me happy. I highly recommend you watch it if you need a little sunshine in your day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Small projects accomplished!

As we get ready to welcome Beech-nut #2 (BN-2) to the family, I am starting to panic about the upcoming sleepless nights and the inability to have a coherent thought. My doctor yelled at me when I was dumb enough to complain that I feel sick after raking leaves and weeding. So instead, I'm trying to wrap up some craft projects before the chaos arrives.

Here are a few of the things I've managed to complete:
Shoes for BN-2

Shoes for BN-2. Sorry, this picture is slightly out of focus. Just squint while you look at it. Made from this pattern

Baby shoes

Shoes for a friend's baby boy.

Once upon a time Quilt from this book, for BN-1. The top is pieced together and I still need to figure out how to quilt it. But here it is on the floor in our bedroom. BN-1 is laughing, not crying...

Black apple doll for Genevieve
And finally, a Black Apple Doll for another friend's baby girl. BN-1 picked out all the fabrics. If you make one of these dolls, be prepared, the limbs are hard to turn-out, but its darn adorable.

Monday, June 23, 2008

What's the story, Morning Glory?

The morning glory was starting to climb up the rhododendron. It's the purple flowering thing shown in the middle of the photo. Although it is technically a weed, it was flowering. And, since most things I plant thank me by curling up and dying, I decided to encourage this little guy with a trellis.


I found this wood in the garage and it only took a little encouragement for Jeff to bust out the nail gun, and roughly 10 minutes later we had a trellis!

Trellis - after
Now look! I can grow a plant that actually will flower! Who cares that it's a weed? I am claiming victory!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Home Cure

I bought the Apartment Therapy book last year, right before the holidays with grand plans to get the house in order before my family came for Christmas.
Needless to say, one should never take on an 8-week home exorcism before the holidays. My efforts were defeated by the evil demon Clutter shortly before Thanksgiving, around Week 4. (The book warned me about this, so its not their fault. I didn't listen to their advice about when to start).

The photo above shows the After/Before (before shot is on the right) shots of the alcove where we usually pause, take off our shoes, coats, and drop our bags before we enter the kitchen.

We added a shoe rack and tried to be more diligent about getting the junk out of this area. The shoe rack was built using the tutorial on Not Martha, and I love it. It was really easy to put together, and if that window wasn't there, we'd have the racks going up as high as I can reach.

I have been thinking about this book again, and trying to use the lessons on clutter-control regarding building a "landing strip" near our kitchen. We desperately need a place to store the mail, a place to file, and a desk for the computer.

Something like this photo from Pottery Barn looks like it would solve all our problems, well, except for the price tag.

I plan to (make Jeff) move some furniture this weekend to see what we can salvage from our current belongings to create an "Oasis of Organization" in the kitchen. I'll post photos after the weekend.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Recent instant messenger exchange between the authors of SOABT

Jessie: I think you should update the blog about the termites.I have nothing to say that doesn't include how grumpy and pregnant I am. No one is going to want to read that
Jeffrey: here's what I want to write:
Jeffrey: Title: TERMITES!
Jeffrey: The End
Jessie: Fine. I'll write about the termites.

As part of the kitchen project we've included insulating / air-sealing the "Cold Room" in the basement. A little tip to anyone who's buying a house, open the fuse box and see how things are labeled. We looked at the house in the late summer and purchased in early fall. The house wasn't very cold in August, however on the fuse box there's a room labeled "Cold Room". I've never seen a fuse labeled more correctly. This section of the basement was previously uninsulated, walls and ceiling, and mostly covered with just barn board.

Jeff started in on the demo of the "Cold Room" to prepare for the Icynene installation with his trusty Fubar. It wasn't long before The House threw another surprise at us.

The sill between the foundation and the vertical studs holding up one wall of the house crumbled away and the majority of 3 of the studs had vanished. A frantic trip to the lumber store ensued to buy new supports to shore up the wall of our house.

We followed this up with a liberal application of Bora Care to make the house unattractive to termites in the future.

The depressing part about this: examination of another wall showed that there was also termite damage, but a previous owner had already repaired it. I don't recall anything in the seller's disclosure about termite damage...
Since my time machine is in the shop, I have no way to know if we would have bought the house knowing about termite damage, but I wish we'd known 3 years ago to start looking for it. I wonder how much damage we could have stopped just in that time.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Garden in the shade

A consequence of living in the shade of a huge Copper Beech tree is the lack of lawn. Or more correctly, the lack of available nutrients/water/sunlight to grow any sort of lawn. The tree sucks up all the water and the dirt we have is just plain dusty. We did make an "effort" to add organic material back to the soil this year by not raking up our leaves last fall, so that might help this season.

After several years of trying to grow grass in the back yard, we have decided to give up, and start a new plan. I noticed this article on Apartment Therapy about growing moss and I think the new plans for the backyard are going to include a flagstone patio surrounded by moss and a play area for the kid(s) covered in playground mulch.

I wouldn't mind the backyard to look like this:

Moss seems pretty simple to plant. You just need to get some, grind it up in the blender, and add either beer or buttermilk to make a slurry, then spread it around wherever you want the moss to grow. I love the idea of gardening by blender. If it turns out that I can't grow glorified mold in my back yard, perhaps we should just mulch the entire backyard and call it a day.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A boring post where I agonize over tile

I'm not in love with the blue tiles that I've seen so far and the plain white subway tiles seem so unimaginative.

Jeff and I went to Waterworks on Newbury Street this weekend to indulge in a little eye candy and then I saw this picture on Black Eiffel, and now I'm thinking about the back-splash with carerra marble tiles, to match the island.

I am sick of looking at tiles.


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