I’ve caught the “buildies”

I haven’t done any sewing for a while, between our mini vacation (and it’s aftermath) and a couple of nice days, I’ve been working on some other stuff instead. Namely I’ve been learning more about using Sketchup, and have designed a desk for our office, a rough idea for a new shed in the backyard, and also a new layout for the backyard. We’re also putting in new windows, and I’m hopeful that we get them ordered today! 🙂

So anyway, back to the “buildies”. I thought I’d post my sketchups (is that a word?) of my desk, because I’m pretty proud of how quickly I’m learning how to use the program. If you’d like to play with it, they have some really good videos on their website and on youtube.

If it works out like I hope, this desk will be pretty freaking awesome, and we’ll actually be able to navigate our office–right now, we have to shove chairs around to get to the printer/mechanical room (which holds the deep freezer)/pretty much anything in there. We have a big corner desk and a card table that we use for “desks”, plus two sets of kitchen cabinets that sit along the wall blocking half of our outlets. We also have wall cabinets above those kitchen cabinets, but we’re keeping those. I’m planning to leave one pair of the cabinet boxes with a gap in between and a formica top (which it already has) as a secondary makeshift “desk” + storage. Hopefully, that gives us the balance we need between enough storage and efficient movement from computer to printer, which is crucial when you’re scanning a few hundred pages into many different files at a shot.

I’m also trying to figure out a fun and inexpensive way to do our small backyard. Budgets suck. 😦 Plus it will just be one more thing to work on and we’ll have to do a lot of stuff by hand since it’s impossible to get any sort of decent sized equipment in the back yard. 😦 (This is why curved streets suck–developers should never have started that B.S.)

Backyard Dimensions

This is the aerial view of our backyard, based on my measurements and putting them into sketchup. It leaves off the grassy “paths” that run along both sides of the house, but I wasn’t planning any work in there anyway.

Here’s the map “key”:

  • Blue-ish rectangle is the house
  • The white rectangle is the patio
  • I drew in the A/C unit as a grey square
  • The green circles are supposed to represent bushes/trees. (I’d like a few fruit bushes–hubby demands at least one be a blackberry)
  • The box that says “garden” on it is currently the swingset of despair, so I’m either going to have to figure out a new location for a nicer swingset (or at least a couple of swings), or a new garden location, or give up on the garden altogether.
  • The shed is the same size as our current shed, but we’re thinking about making it a couple of feet bigger in both directions when we replace it, it’ll depend on how my idea for under-the-deck storage works out.
  • The slat wood looking box is supposed to represent the deck, it’s a half-story tall, because we have a split level house and it meets up to the upper level, I think it would be a great place to store things like our bikes, and maybe a few gardening supplies if I put a tin “roof” under the floor joists that slants down toward the yard. I’m sure I’ll put some guttering in too after we’ve seen how much water actually hits it with all of the deck flooring.
  • There’s a firepit.
  • And I’m going to have to figure out where to put a sandbox, which may be in place of a garden, or right up next to it. Right now, the boys play in the dirt under the deck with their little toy skidloaders and bulldozers, and I’d like for them to have a fun place to play too.

I don’t know. I’m not completely happy with the layout I’ve designed, but I hate the current layout (which is basically the same minus any trees and a fire pit). And I also hate that the yard is a trip hazard with all the potholes in the grass and the “river” that runs behind the shed (and along where I’d like to put the shrubs/trees) when it rains because the drainage sucks. I’d actually like to figure out how to catch that water as it runs off and use it to water plants, but I’m not sure how without mega $$$ and big equipment tearing up the neighbor’s yard.

So yes, that’s what I’ve been working on. Those things + new windows and siding should go a long way in making our house a better place to live. Or at least give the outward appearance of it. 😉

New Front Door!

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen it, but for everyone else I thought I’d give a quickie update on a project for the current house. 🙂

Here is the “before”:

If you look very closely, you’ll see a gap in the glass at the top of the screen door. That’s what happens when you take the bottom glass and shove it to the top because the top glass is completely missing.

As you can see, this was not exactly a “looker”. Not only that, but the old door was a solid wood door which had very deep details cut into it. Hubby estimates that the thickness of the door in those decorative grooves would have been 1/2″ or less. Needless to say, this door let a lot of cold air in. And when it was nice enough to leave the big door open, the screen door didn’t exactly do a great job of keeping the bugs out…

So it had to go. I decided this time that since we sleep in the basement but shower upstairs (we have bad luck with basement showers and rotting walls, apparently) that I’d go with a smaller glass window for less of a neighborhood peep show. I chose what is called a “Craftsman” style door, but left off the dust-catcher shelf. They’re pretty, but I was just seeing it as being yet another thing to keep clean.

Since the house is eventually going to be a pale yellow (think the color of real butter) with white trim, I thought a red door would be just the thing. And both colors happen to go nicely with the brick we have on the front. It took two cans of paint to get the right red (the first was mixed wrong), but it was worth it, because it is absolutely gorgeous!

Isn’t it beautiful?! I love it!

Since we were already there, we opted to go ahead and change out the siding around the door too. It’s cedar right now, but I’m going to go ahead and paint it. It’s pretty like this, but I hate how cedar turns that grody shade of grey pretty quickly and I think it will be better to paint it when it’s new rather than wait until it gets weathered.

I’m planning to use the red from the door to paint our house number and the little doodad that surrounds the door bell button. It’s either going to be red or black, I haven’t totally committed yet, but I’m leaning towards red.

What projects are ya’ll working on? We’ve got a couple of windows that are waiting for a warm snap, but then we’re probably going to have to save up for a while. There’s definitely not a shortage of projects for this place, but we’ve gotta take it slow for a while. 🙂


Things that tick me off Thursday…again!

Ack! I get really annoyed when quality control fails to do its job. Wouldn’t that just save everyone a headache? Or do they think we won’t notice that the paint is all scratched up and that the miters in one corner of the door are welded crooked by almost a 1/16th of an inch (which leaves bare metal exposed to rust)?! This was a rather expensive SCREEN DOOR for Pete’s sake! Thankfully, it appears that they are going to work with us on getting it replaced, but still, it should never have left the factory to begin with! It definitely will make me think twice before ordering from this company–not because they don’t stand behind their product–but because I shouldn’t have to deal with the hassle in the first place!

So, our adventures in home improvement came to a grinding, screeching, teenager-with-a-stick-shift, halt. After that we just decided that home improvement wasn’t high on the priority list for the day. So hubby and the kiddo sprayed weeds and I got some stuff ready for supper (and made a banana bread recipe that I fear will be a FAIL). My banana bread sure smells good though, and I have to say that they’re the most beautiful pair of loaves I’ve ever seen, so I could still be pleasantly surprised. 🙂

*********Edited to add: The banana bread is delicious! Even without the nuts! 🙂

It is done

We finished painting the trim/endcaps on our house Wednesday. It took 3 coats of the dark teal to cover fully, but it’s done. 🙂 We’re so glad to have it finished. We’re hoping to put on our screen doors this weekend, but with the wedding, we’ll just have to see if it happens. Thank the good Lord that the weather was nice while we finished painting, goodness knows that for November it’s been incredibly nice. I think I’d not miss winter too much if he didn’t make it this year. 😉

As of now, we’re taking the winter off from house projects. So, barring any catastrophes, we’ll be saving our pennies up for either the basement bath or kitchen remodel next spring. It’s a tough choice as to which one would be better to have done, because both would be extremely nice to have. I’m surprisingly leaning towards the bathroom downstairs, because it really sucks that we can’t use the shower downstairs, which is super nice when people stay over. But then again, it would be nice to increase my counter space and have a dishwasher. *Sigh* I guess I’ll have plenty of time to think about it.

Big window in!

Woot-woot!! We have finally achieved window success!! Our big window is now happily in its new home in our front room. We must be such losers, because we’ve been admiring it since we got it in yesterday. It just looks so…..nice. Of course, there was a fair amount of work that went into getting that big sucker in there, but we didn’t have any major drama this time around.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this or not, but the new window is all one unit, not 3 separate units like what was there before. We used to have a big picture window with two small double-hungs (one on each side), and we replaced it with a large unit that has a sliding window on each side–it’s 95″ long, so it was one inch shy of the maximum window size…

We had to do more nailfin demolition on this one, but after being in practice, it wasn’t much of a chore, and the reciprocating saw made things so much easier than trying to saw it by hand or something. We did discover that our big window was actually for a stick built house, not a brick house as we had originally ordered, but we made it work without any major issues; basically it just has an extra little flange next to the nailfin on the bottom edge that we cut off along with the nailfin.

Lessons learned from this project:
1. Plan to wait a long time for your windows to arrive.
2. Plan for errors–some of them fairly major.
3. Brush up on your patience.
4. Have help lined up in advance.
5. Don’t wait until October to put in a window that is bigger than your front door.
6. The right tools for the job are essential.
7. Did I mention not waiting until October to take on a window that is bigger than a front door?
8. Remember that you’re likely to have at least one window that isn’t what you ordered.

So, with that, the window project is completed!! Woot-woot!! 😀

Home Improvement Drama

You know how it just wouldn’t be a home improvement project if there wasn’t some drama involved? Well, I guess we’ve a home improvement project! *eye rolls* There were like 5 windows that the previous owners didn’t replace, the big picture window in the living room, the bathroom window, and the laundry room window. When we were scraping to do some repainting, we discovered that the big picture window was in pretty sad shape, so we decided to replace it. You might remember from a while back that I had gotten it priced so that we could actually replace all of those windows for the same price as it would have cost to get the local guy to order just the picture window (and the two tiny windows on each side). Well, we had ordered those windows and gotten them the other day, and were super pumped to get them installed…..until we looked a bit closer. It turns out, that the replacement windows I had purchased (and waited three and a half weeks to get) had a nailfin that wouldn’t work with our current setup.

Blasted nailfin!

Blasted nailfin!

So, we contemplated taking them back, but ultimately decided that with a bit of retro-fitting, we could potentially get them to work if we cut the nail fin off. Enter the DeWalt version of the Sawzall…we broke that baby out to slice the nailfin off before carefully filing the plastic ridge down smooth. Man I love that thing–no homeowner should be without one. 🙂

Cutting the nailfin

Hubs cutting the nailfin

Nailfin carnage!

Nailfin carnage!

Enter problem numero dos. The window frame that the replacements fit into has a slant going downhill, presumably to drain water….which, if you haven’t already guessed, won’t work with the replacement windows.

Can you see the slant?

Can you see the slant?

So, after calculating (very carefully) we determined the perfect angle at which we would have to cut a 2×4 to make it sit level (which, was NOT 17* as suggested by someone as a “common rule of thumb”) and so we cut that board a couple of times to get just the right fit.

Whew! No slant!

Whew! No slant!

So now, we’ve got the bathroom and laundry room windows in. I’ve still got to stain the trim boards for the one in the laundry room, and I’m waiting for the stain to dry so that I can put some poly on the ones for the bathroom after hubs gets the window foamed, but the hard part is over! Yay!

As yet, the big picture window isn’t going to happen, because we don’t have a method of transporting it from the store to our house, nor do we have enough help to get that heavy sucker in/out of the frame. Hopefully, by this weekend we’ll have some family come up to help, but we’re taking this one window at a time.

BTW, our new windows are fabulous! We got the obscured glass for the bathroom (which I highly recommend) like what was in there before, and it’s nice and quiet, keeps the cold out, doesn’t get a lot of condensation (except when someone is showering!), and just looks a lot nicer. 🙂 I’d take a picture, but honestly, my bathroom is too much of a mess to show off to anyone for any reason…sorry! 😉

Pictures of the Door!

As promised, I’m posting the pictures of the door. First though, there’ll be some stats:

    1. Brand: Jeld-Wen
    2. Material: Steel
    3. Style: 1/2 Light with raise/lower/tilt enclosed blinds.
    4. Color: Exterior–Sherwin Williams “Tempe Teal”
    Interior–Sherwin Williams “Warm Buff”
    5. Hardware: Kwikset in Rustic Pewter
    6. Interior Trim: “Colonial Maple” stained Maple
    7. Caulk Type: Solar Seal–White

We’re still trying to figure out a color for the exterior trim on the entire house. Right now I’m looking at two “aqua” colors to really pull out the green in my teal doors, but haven’t decided which one for sure yet. 🙂 Maybe by tomorrow or Friday we’ll have something figured out.

So now that the boring stuff is covered, on to something slightly less boring–PICTURES!! 😛

You probably would have trouble believing it, but yes, that nasty looking hollow core door was the only thing protecting us from the elements…there was an equally nasty one on the front which we also replaced.

Oooooh! *Not* Sexy!

Oooooh! *Not* Sexy!

Here’s the inside view of the new door…this picture really washed out, it’s more of a cream color IRL.

Aint it perdy?

Ain't it perdy?

Here’s the hardware–it’s the same inside and out, and also the same as the INSIDE of the front door. Which if I were smarter, I’d have thought about the ramifications of having that type of door handle with a toddler….don’t make the same mistake I did, or your child will be constantly in the backyard playing in the sandbox too!

Door Hardware

And since I’m wrapping up the door posts, here’s some pics of the front door. It’s also a Jeld-Wen steel door. I think the glass style is called “Madrid”, but I’m not positive.

Front Door Glass

Anyway, I just thought that my door choices were WAY better than what we took out. 🙂

Back Door Part 1

We’ve installed our back door! We worked really hard on it today, and got it in, installed the hardware, cut/stained the interior trim, and caulked the bottom side of the door before dark. Tomorrow I’ll have to clear coat the interior trim and pick up some more brick moulding (we were about 1″ too short) then we’ll be able to tack those up and be done with it. *sigh* I’m so glad to have that project off the table (and out of the garage!) 🙂

Only real disappointment today was that the trim color isn’t exactly what I had hoped…it’s sadly more blue than teal, and it doesn’t quite go with the doors. So I guess tomorrow when I’m picking up the brick moulding, I’ll have to be sure to stop in and see about re-tinting my paint, or replacing it entirely. 😦 However, I’m so pleased with the appearance of my beautiful new back door that the paint thing isn’t really getting me down too much. And I’m also thrilled that the color choice for the interior of the back door is perfect–it’s EXACTLY what I had in mind. 🙂

Window WIN

I think I must be failblog deprived, since this is the second post referencing them this evening.

So, I just wanted to update the status of the window(s). We ordered the replacements today, and they’ll be here in 3 weeks…..yeah….I’m excited about getting them, but seriously?! THREE WEEKS?! I’m really hoping that they just tell you three weeks so you don’t call in the next morning doing the impatient child routine: “are they there yet?”

FTR, if you ever get the chance to order new windows, be sure to win the lottery first–them suckers ain’t cheap!


Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband…but sometimes he exasperates me. I really don’t understand how his mind works some days, and it’s made worse when I’ve wasted TWO days trying to get quotes together to make this work, all for him to tell me that he’d rather half-ass it and “save some money”.

No! Let’s spend the same amount as we had originally agreed, do the WHOLE project, and NEVER HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT AGAIN! I found the deal to do it–the whole project–for the amount we had originally agreed on just to do half of it. 😦 The only thing I don’t like about the deal I found is that it isn’t with our local guy–I really want to support him….but darnit! He just won’t come down…and I understand, he can’t compete on the same level as a bigger store, because he simply doesn’t have the volume…but if the budget fits…..*sigh*