Sunday, May 22, 2016

What The He$$ Have We Done, Part 1.

You know,

when the Jeffro first talked about putting in a pond, I thought he meant one that was like, this big (Imagine me holding out my arms in a big circle.) 

I didn't think he meant a massive, 3+ foot deep, we-need-to-rent-a-mini-excavator-to-get-the-job-done, type pond. 


I josh not when I say that I've spent my life working in the yard the past month, nay, it's been two months now, working in my yard.

Sorry neighbors for any unintentional saggy pants I sported during this time.  It happens. I don't mean it to, but it does. 

It dawned on me the other day, when I was hauling my 100th bag of soil/manure/mulch out of the car:

I'm a farmgirl. But let's go with "farmboy", because that's more fun. So I'm saying to myself, 

"Farmboy, polish my horse's saddle. Want to see my face shining in it by morning."

"Farmboy, fetch me that pitcher?" (The one that's right above my head within arm's reach but I'm too lazy and prefer you to be in kissing distance? That one?)

So I'm a farmboy/girl. 

ANYWAYS.

Let me tell you how this project has snowballed. It starts with the digging of a monstrous hole in the ground with said mini excavator,


And then things got really exciting and spicy. We found the phone line! The one that wasn't marked by Blue Stake! Gosh, that was fun. 
Jeffro and I will be in our rocking chairs on the porch staring at this pond (oh, by the way, the official name for the pond is "the da$% pond". Let's go with that from now on. We certainly do.), anyways-- Jeffro and I will be rocking along in our chairs, staring at the da$% pond, and we'll be 80 years old and we'll be like, 

"Remember when we dug up that there phone line? What a hoot."

Because you give everything 20+ years and just about everything that doesn't involve death or dismemberment is a hoot. 

So then,

poor little farmgirl me is left with is a massive mountain of dirt in my yard. Massive. This shall never disperse, mountain. Daunting mountain. Brokeback Mountain.

 And what does one do with a massive amount of dirt in the yard that must be moved in order to not kill the grass? (Plus I cannot even deal with leaving projects undone?)

(The mountain was bigger than this. He wasn't done yet in this picture. I exaggerate a lot, but on this I'm not pinky swear)

You take this backyard you just pushed forward and fenced in, 

and you make the flower beds you've seriously considered putting in all along the fence line, and dang it, you make it happen! Shovel after shovel and wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow-- it happens, dang it. 'Cause the grass don't grow well there anyway, and it's ugly, and it shouldn't be.


And my back ached when I would sleep for weeks and I would dream of shoveling and dumping and SHOVELING AND DUMPING and my hands have new calluses and my fingers look permanently dirty despite the use of work gloves, and I'm probably in the best upper body shape of my life because I'M A FARMGIRL, HERE.


Everything went by the wayside-- my house looks like crap, my nails look like crap, the house is a mess Jack, the kids are a mess Jack, you're a mess Jack. . .

(gosh I love that movie.)

But here we are.

Perhaps you're wondering,

"One small row of flower beds took you that long?"

1. Don't you judge me.
2. I had more dirt. Much more dirt. Thus, the front yard got involved too but let's chit chat about that over donuts next time.
3. Don't you judge me. You don't know! You weren't there! 

Meanwhile, the Da$% Pond:


 Shaping of the da$% pond is done. Plumbing is set. Supplies are purchased--

but there's a kink in the pond liner plans. But I can't go there yet. It's too soon.  The Jeffro is like, 

"If we could go back and decide on this again, would we move forward?"

Do you mean do the actual work again?? All over again??  Do you wanna keep your wife?  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Wall of Shame.

Bonjourno! How the heck are ya?  

We're doing great-- we're digging up the lawn to hide dead bodies er I mean to add some more hopefully attractive landscaping features these days.  Putting our backs into it. Throwing caution to the wind as far as keeping the pants appropriately pulled up. I mean, we're swinging pick axes out there-- we can't be concerned about propriety, people. C'mon. 

Okay. Before we get into a fun lil project I finished up this week, I have to pat myself on the back for a moment:

BREAD BOOT CAMP OVER HERE. 


I cannot tell you how many times I've attempted and big-fat-failed in the breads department. I was seriously skipping around the kitchen, grinning ear to ear that these even rose, let alone baked decently and tasted good.

It's the little things. Never mind that the neighbor boy asked for a slice and promptly told me he didn't like it. I said NEVER MIND! 

Gosh.

So, once upon a time, I had a wall that looked like so.  Remember? Maybe ya do, maybe you don't- 


And frankly I'm hoping you don't. It wasn't the clothes pin idea that I'm now embarrassed about-- that was fine. It was the vinyl saying above it that hopefully you can't quite make out. The picture was strategic! All you need to know is that I thought it was hilarious at the time and then came to my senses.

Sigh. I've grown up a little.

So, a lot of the clothes pins had broken over years of use, and it was just lookin' a tad . . . poverty stricken. Shabby. I took it down nearly a year ago and this strange wall that heads downstairs to the man cave stood there empty. I didn't hang any of my kids artwork or good grades-- they all went straight to the trash. I was totally fine with it but for some reason the dang kids didn't like that. Picky, picky.

I knew I wanted something a bit more. . .mouldy. Hmm. That sounds green, furry and nasty; surely there's a better word for more moulding. 

I knew I wanted the back of this to be V groove. (oh boy here she goes again talking up that stupid v groove).

I love this stuff!



It's basically larger slatted beadboard. I find it to be so classy, with a slight nod to a farmhouse style. It's very underused. AND speaking of that!

I've got a bone to pick with Lowe's. They don't carry this V groove paneling anymore. In fact, there's a half dozen things they don't carry anymore that I need, from moulding to hot tub products to closet organization. One time, I went there with a list of 4 items and they don't carry ANY ONE OF THEM ANYMORE. I NEED TO STOP YELLING. 

It was a very frustrating visit to my local Lowes. You've really let me down, Lowe's. You don't care, but I do. 

Go Home Depot! The end.

Anyways! Because I have the world's largest scrap pile, I happened to have a piece left lying around in the garage. Good thing I'm not picky about stuff, 'cause I may have been unhappy with the size otherwise.

I don't typically turn this stuff horizontally, so I's feeling pretty bold and frisky at this point.



So I snapped this picture, and then immediately noticed how absolutely disgusting my wall was. Don't you judge me! You try 20 different kids in a 48 hour period running their little fingers down your wall to the basement. See how your Wendy's Frosty wall color fares okay?

So I scrubbed the wall furiously,

and then went to 2 different Lowe's locations for some MDF. And they didn't have any. Annnnnd they told me the whole country wasn't receiving shipments of MDF right now and everyone was out. 'S what they told me for reals. 

So I went to the Depot a block away and picked up some MDF. That wasn't available. Anywhere. No way. No how. Except Home Depot has some, no problem. 

Holy crap Lowes you have let me down. I feel like a best friend has stabbed me in the back. Top of my crap list for you!


Ack I'm liking it so much more and I haven't even painted it yet.

Little paint, more wall washing (WHY? Seriously boys), simple string run across and some cute, petite lil clothes pins,


and boom, the kids spared no time to start hanging their crap up on the Wall of Shame. Done, and done.

Suck it, Lowe's. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Lotsa Goings Ons-es.

G'Day mate! How are ya? Say you're well.


It's beautiful weather here, I've got two projects going down inside the house, and a gajillion projects outside the house, and I'm feeling excited and spring-y and life is just good. Know what I'm sayin'?

Side note; have I mentioned I'm taking sewing lessons? Bless my teacher's pure, patient heart. I'm sure I make thee best stories for other, real sewers. "She did WHAT?"

I don't even know what I'm doing in this picture. I was really excited about this sewing pocket belt thingy we whipped up one lesson, and I was doing this freaky butt slapping dance while taking a picture of it--


which explains why all the pics I took of it are blurry. Hold the freak still, woman.

But back to the point! Life is good. Sewing lessons are happening. Violin lessons (about to enter my 3RD YEAR, people!) are still happening. My new nailgun is seeing lotsa action, and my days are full of fun 'n exciting stuff.

But can we talk about my backyard again? Pwease? Just as a refresher, we've really put our backs into this place the last couple years. If you'll recall,


we started here.

And then, we worked our buns off and got here.


Planters, pergola, and a firepit way back there that I was originally super unhappy about but I really don't give a doodoo about anymore. It is what it is; we use it. we like it. We haven't set fire to many things yet, so that's good.

Anyways, after a few years of deliberation, we opted to move our fence out to be able to utilize the space we have better.

So you can see our original fence on the left, and we were pushing it forward to the new posts on the right, see? Gaining quite a bit of footage on this side of the house, 


and enclosing our swings and garden on the other side, and really opening up the firepit/hot tub side. And that's all I want to say about that because I used to be excited about it but we upset the neighbors and now it's a sore subject the end.



Anyways!


Happier subject: my first wheelbarrow! That's something to be excited about. ("If we only had a WHEELBARROW, now that would be something!" name that movie.) Also, I finally caved and traded my pergola swings ropes with chains. Those ropes were just spiky, slivery buggers. 

We have soooooo many different ideas floating in our head about how to best utilize the space, make it less of a mowing headache, less of a water sucker, and enjoy the entire space better. But we aren't sure what should go where and if we'll regret more planter space.?. Ack I need someone to come boss me around! 

Can I ask you: what's your take on grass vs. planting areas? I do love to plant, really I do-- I'm an animal during the spring and early summer; you could pimp me out anywhere to dig and plant during that time---

and then. . . .

August hits and I want nothing to do with watering and weeding. Burn myself out every.single.time.  What's your thoughts? Deep feelings?  

What we definitely are going ahead with, as we've already gathered massive quantities of materials, is a water feature.



The Jeffro's sketch. I love it when he sketches stuff up. Sigh. A teeny waterfall into a pond with lilies and fish (I'm seriously trying to talk him out of the danged fish but his heart is set on it). Visible from the windows in the house, the pergola/deck area, and the road. I'm excited! We're excited! Now someone come boss me around some more. Gosh I hope the sprinkler adjusting won't turn into a nightmare.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Moulding. More Moulding.

Hey hey hey there! Long time, no see!  How's your February treating ya?

Can we talk about my family room today? This, is my view from my sofa. Perhaps I'm about to turn on the TV and watch "Better Call Saul" (oh wait, I finished that up. So what now??).  I didn't clean the area up; I didn't stage it. There are lots and lots of cords. Too many cords. And dust. Plan on it.


ANYWAYS--
you know what a great thing is about being in my home for nearly 7 years? I don't have many projects left. You know what's sad about it? I don't have many projects left.  Seriously, I have a small list of things I'd love to see happen in this house, and they are all HUGE, monstrous projects that will be a huge pain and cost a fortune (hellloooo coffered ceilings).  

My brother really wants me to sell and move by him. . . . which does mean more walls to mould. . . but that's a big ole topic for another time.

ANYWAYS AGAIN--

Here we have my family room. I stare at this area a lot-- I ponder on extending my mantel all the way to the left across that wall like my dad told me to in the first place (dang it Daddy-o! Why didn't I listen to you? Sigh.)-- I've pondered on making that area below the TV where my subwoofer and playstation and all that junk goes look better and hide the cords-- I'm tempted to put moulding on that half wall thingy that goes up the stairs. . . can you see it? Perhaps an angled box of moulding on there? Would that look strange? Nobody's even following me on this anymore.

One little thing I do have left to do, is to add some trim on the top of that wall going up the stairs. You know, the one I so kindly pointed out down there with the arrows?? So it matches the trim on the wall going up. Let's call them the "drywall banisters". Mmkay?



Oh.my.heck. I should have done this ages ago-- some friends really shouldn't have, but they gave me a Home Depot gift card and I ran right out and bought myself this.


My first battery powered nailer. I know! It seems so stupid to buy another one when I already have an air compressor in the garage with a perfectly decent nailgun, BUUUT this is soo handy for those simple little projects when you don't want to fill your compressor up for just one teensy little thing. Serious, I've fixed a whole bunch of stuff around my house I'd been putting off since I got this. Huzzah! More small moulding projects to come. You just wait 'n see.

So I got down to biznis and picked up some MDF, ripped it to be just a half inch or so wider than my "Drywall Banister", and then went ahead and routed it for a nice curve. 

I know, I know- it looks amazing up there all MDF-y.  I matched this one to look like the other wall below it, but truth be told I'd prefer to have beefed it up, but for the sake of continuing what I'd already done, you know-- to be "consistent" (huge air quotes), well, here we are. So it has come to this. I added moulding on the sides to give it some more beefyness (just like the other one),


and a coat of paint, and voila.  I shoulda done this ages ago. Ages. Gosh, I've been in a rut this winter.


It's a simple thing from down below, huh? I never thought I would say that my stairs are one of my favorite things in my house. Never ever never. Recall that I use to call it the crotch of the house-- and now I love it. No more crotchyness! And a new word to boot.


Ack, I do believe this new tool has breathed new life in some moulding projects. . . (rubs hands together; evil grin). 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Oops, I Did It Again.

So I just keep doing that thing where I get on here and complain to you about how I take my kids on trips and I don't think it's worth it waaa waaa blah blah. I won't do that again. Because apparently,
I am a glutton for punishment. Why else would we take our kids on another cruise this year? Because we are crazy. Freakin' weirdos.


Actually, it was our best trip thus far. So I guess practice does make perfect, even traveling practice.

But that's not what I want to talk about today. I told ya the last time we talked that I got a new lens. I really wasn't sure what I thought about it and was thisclose to returning it.


And then I took it on this trip and decided that I cannot live without it/where have you been all my life?.  Oh, also, this picture above is like "Where's Waldo?" in Mandi form. And this is the only picture I have of me on this trip.

That's what happens when I'm the camera wielding nerd. Lots n lots of pictures; none of me. Just the way I like it.


So,

I've been studying photography for about 8 ish years now, and I really feel like I'm stuck in a rut and not improving. Sad face. Get out your teeny violin and play me a little something.


Hopefully I can continue to improve; but in the meantime,


I really wanted to get into videography. With only the equipment I currently have. Can't be spending more cash on equipment, knowwhatI'msayin'?

So a lot of this trip was spent figuring out how to use my camera in video mode, and it went. . . ooookay. I learned a lot. And I still have a long way to go.

But ANYWHO! I threw together a video of our trip. Typically I'm a slideshow nerd; and this time I'm a music video nerd. Emphasis on nerd.

So, there was the camera/video learning curve, annnd the video editing software curve, too. I like a challenge.
In short: we had a great time. Thanks for listening. Gosh, you guys are supportive.

Monday, January 4, 2016

What We've Been Up to.

Happp-py New Year! (said in an obnoxious exaggerated tone).
How was your holidays? Ours were fantastic. Lots of family, lots of food, lots of weight gained (ugg. Swear word, sigh), lots of snow, lots of chaos. . . 

(Watch out. Sledding train. And they want to take your legs out from under ya, ya sucker.)

I'm crying inside that my hubby headed back to work and my kids went back to school. Time really does fly when you're having fun. And eating, whilst having fun.

And now we're back to real life. Early mornings and carrot sticks and homework and Science Fair crap. (clenches fists. Ohhh curse you science fair.).

 But ANYWAYS.

I typically go in full hibernation mode during winter time. ("She's alive, and in perfect hibernation." Yep. Carbon Freeze.) It's just. . . too DOGGONE cold in the garage to be using power tools. I cannot stand it out there! You could totally cut off a digit and you wouldn't even know for a while because you were already numb. 

But did I mention I got myself a new jig saw? Teehee. Yes ma'am I sure did. It's a Bosch and it's all I ever dreamed of and I actually bought all the correct nice blades for it 'n everything. . .

Since I had that, and I also needed/wanted something wintery to go on the front door, I decided to make Ana's monogrammed snowflake . 'Cause why the heck not. Drown out my sorrows with my jig saw.

Note to self: grabbing a scrap of lumber out in the garage that is 1/8" too small sounds like a great idea, and you think you can adjust for that measly 1/8", but your math skills bite and you can't.


It took me about 30 minutes to measure and do craptastic "adjusting", and probably about 40 minutes to cut it all out, and don't you judge me for my lack of jigsaw skills. I'm getting better, okay? Gosh.


Little bit of metallic spray paint in the frigid garage,


And boom. Huge, heavy snowflake on the door. I expect this bad boy to fall at about 2am tonight and scare the poo out of me.  Side note! I picked up a new, pricey lens for my camera over the Christmas break. I'm. . . I'm not. . . really. . . loving it thus far. These pictures are just so so. Hmm. 
Anyways, I have hee-uge plans for my living room next, but gosh dang it, it's got to raise at least 10 degrees during the day. Waaaaay too many cuts with Jaws to make out there.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I Don't Even Know Who I Am Anymore.

I cannot believe I'm saying this either,

but I have done a complete about-face with painting.

I've whined, complained, gone on and on until someone wants to smack me around a while, 

and. . .I'm like a new woman. I actually like painting! A ROOM, that is. Flat walls, that is. Painting a project with little nooks and crannies that take 5 coats? Nope. Nuh uh. It's like having my gums scraped.

So, check it. 

My boudoir. It's been this color for 6+ years now. There's nothing particularly wrong with this color;


and nothing really right, either. 

I'm telling you, I'd wake up some mornings, and go, 

"Pink. PINK! WHY?"

Pink tones, peeps. 

"Good, 'cause we're racing for pinks."
"Pinks?"
"Pinks you punk! Pink slips? Ownership papers?"

Name that movie. Grease! I beat ya.

I should have changed this up 5 years ago, but, well, my serious aversion to picking up a paintbrush talked me out of it every.single.time. I'd see myself cutting around all the moulding in this room and I'd just shake my head and walk away.

So why the change of heart, you ask?


I can now accept that painting a room will take me the day, and then. . .

 I turn on a favorite show and listen while I work. 

This project's movies? Thanks for asking. "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels",
("'Scuse me, may I go to the bathroom first?. . . . . . . . .thank you.") 

And "Mannequin". Gah, I love a good 80's movie.


So I took a big chance with a navy wall-- I'm not a big dark wall fan typically, but I do love it. And the other color-- a friend picked it out for me in 5 minutes flat (thank you Tonya!), and it's like this icy gray-blue sitch that I can never figure out and keeps me guessing. I wasn't sure about this color at first but now I love it. It's a mystery. An enigma. 

Annnnnd it's very masculine. Speaking of which, my husband loves the colors (done without permission, cough, while he was away on business), and now the room isn't sooo, estrogenal. Not a word. But it should be.


Of course I still have and love my vanity! And of course that's extremely feminine (you need one. Seriously this is in my top 3 fave house projects), but having this wall color took the space down a notch. In a good way.


And here we have the wall with the faux random fireplace mantel. Bwahahaha I put that "J" back up there backwards again, didn't I? Not my first time, and def not my last.

So? Boom. It's like a whole new room.


Who'd have thought I'd ever come to terms with painting? And guess what? I'm even learning to love winter, too. Nope, no head injuries, either. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Old School.

This crazy kid turned 8.

Just letting that sink in. My youngest son is 8 years old. . sniffle. . .


I can't get over this picture. He was like, what? 4? It tugs at my heart strings.

And here he is at the actual age of 8, in all his crazy browed glory. I had to say it before someone else did.  Always wanted him to be Jareth from Labyrinth for Halloween, but he won't have it. You're half way there, buddy! Be the Goblin King!

 

I think crazy brows are better than angry brows. Crazy is interesting, but angry is just angry. Well, I suppose that could be interesting, too.

ANYWHO.

So all this little kid wanted was a desk. No idea why; but he's begged for one for almost two years now, and I figured this birthday was as good as any.

And I was all geared up to build him an old school type desk. Had the Daddy-o on it to draw me up some simple desk plans, because I don't do math.  Well. . . if I can help it.

And then instead of just drawing me up some plans, the Daddy-o was awesome enough to just build one for my little dude.


And he made this totally awesome creation. We have to talk about this bad boy-- because I think you should make one for your crazy browed son, too. You wish you had a ceramic milk carton like I do, huh. I know. You're jealous.

It opens up for some fan freakin tastic storage. And the beauty of this desk? Super cheap, and ultra light weight. I mean, it's amazing how easy it is to move around. My kids can pick it up and hoist it over their heads for crying out loud.

And I got to thinkin'-- I was all, "self, what if someone else wants to build this fabulous cheap ultra light desk?"

Well looky what we have here. The Daddy-o's pictures as he worked, and his plans, complete with a parts list that he was kind enough to scan in for moi. And for you, too. He says you're welcome.



Now, I totes recognize that these plans don't hold your hand. But if you've followed even a couple other plans to build a little something something this shouldn't be too much of a step up. Totally doable, peeps. You know how to get the job done. Fist pound.


Can you see what's going on all up in here? You're cutting the angled pieces to give it that neat-o 1950's school desk look,


with a simple butt joint to the back piece. Heh. I said butt.




Lotsa wood glue. Lotsa clamping.


Take a look-see -- Johnny- the-8-year-old-crazy-browed-one loved his desk so much that my other kids were kinda jealous. And thus the school desk conveyer belt began.


Poor grandpa.


See how he used piano hinges for the lid? He actually bought the long ones and cut them in half.


This picture shows the top pencil holder that's so nifty. He used a router to do that. And that's all I have to say about that because I'm not really quite sure how he did it either.


A quick coat of shellac,


And all my spoiled little butt munches got their own desk (the original one being already upstairs in it's designated spot).


With an adorable little note inside and out for each child. Awe. That Daddy-o. Everyone needs one.


So we love them! You could paint it, you could stain it, but we're going au naturel. It's who we are.  Wood purists of a sort. Make one. Or more. Your kids'll love you for it.