March 28, 2014

The House: One Year Later

As of about 3 this afternoon, we have owned our house for one year. It's crazy to think that it's been that long, but also that short an amount of time! So much has changed in the house and in our lives - I graduated & started work with D6, Mike's company was bought out and now we're in the third trimester awaiting Baby Girl - but at the same time it feels like there is no possible way we've been here a year! 

To mark the occasion, here are some before and afters on our house projects:

The living room:



The kitchen:



The master bedroom:



And the upstairs bathroom:



Soon to come:
Nursery/Kid's room
Dining Room

March 21, 2014

House Projects: Surprise! Dining Room Part 1

All was well on Wednesday afternoon. I had worked late on Monday, so I was home instead of being at the church. I sitting on the couch in the living room, thinking through my to-do list for the rest of the week as we have 4 people coming to stay with us Saturday night for a Sunday wedding. But then, I thought I heard a drip... and another... and then a hissing sound. I got up and looked in the dining room and found a giant bubble in the latex-paint-covered-plaster above the door connecting the living and dining rooms! I grabbed a couple towels and a bucket and luckily got them under the slight stream of water before the bubble burst, sending a waterfall to the now towel covered floor below. I called Mike, found out where the water shutoffs for the upstairs are (we have like 4 sets of valves instead of one shutoff for the whole house) and got them all shut off as he hustled home from work. The area of yellow that's missing is how big the water bubble was.

When we started busting into the wall and ceiling to remove the wet/moldy parts and get to the leak, we discovered that we actually have TWO ceilings in the dining room. Apparently the plaster had cracked in enough places that the old homeowners had wanted a new drywall ceiling, but instead of tearing down the plaster and lath, they just nailed up 1x2's and hung the drywall from the plaster. So we have drywall, an inch gap and then plaster and lath.

I have to say, it's kind of nice that in projects like this all the frustration that the project exists can get directed straight into the hammer swinging at the ceiling. Pretty cathartic :) By the time we had to stop for dinner plans with friends (a well deserved Pint Night at Old Main throughout which I may have seriously coveted Mike's beer) we had found the joint where Mike thought the leak would be and had made a dent in the wet drywall/plaster.

When we turned the water back on shortly on Thursday night to confirm the location of the leak, we discovered it was actually a different joint further down in the pipe. Not as easy a fix, but still a clean water line, so that was exciting and MUCH less gross than it could have been! Mike got started working on the pipe, cutting it to get the rest of the water out to be able to get it hot enough to work with on Friday night. Notice how wet the couple of remaining pieces of lath close to the pipes are. The leak is in that elbow. It had soaked the lath/plaster below it until it was wet enough to run down the 1x2 holding up the drywall (which ran along the joist above Mike's head) and into the wall above the door about 5 feet away, puddling in the plaster on the wall behind our pretty yellow paint. 

This is about half an hour before we reached the point of ceiling removal needed to get all the wet and/or moldy parts removed. We decided that it would be easier and possibly cheaper to take down the whole room worth of ceilings, and only replace the drywall instead of patching the plaster/lath and then the drywall. While we're in there, we're also going to install some can lights that were on our "maybe someday" list of to-do's for the house to make the room much brighter.

So we went to town tearing down the drywall, plaster and lath. However, we ran out of trash can space on Thursday night, so we had to pause demo and work on the massive amount of clean up needed to have 6 people staying in the house Saturday night.

Friday night the pipe got fixed, so both bathrooms are fully functioning to get ready for the wedding and to have the dining room back in working order (minus being pretty)! Next week we'll continue demo and start running the new electrical next week after garbage pickup on Monday. Here's the current dining room minus cleaning:

And to remind myself - I present the silver linings on the leaky pipe situation

  1. I worked late Monday so I was home to catch most of the water before it got to the floor/electronics despite usually working Wed afternoons. And even if it had, we don't have any carpet to be ruin! 
  2. It happened long enough before our company is coming that we should still have time to get both bathrooms up and running in time - the dining room just won't be as pretty. Not to mention it happened after our respite placement last week and before Baby Girl comes in June! No kiddos makes this much less stressful. 
  3. We have separate shut offs for the two bathrooms, so one still fully functions, meaning we can do all this work without worrying about where to shower when we finish late and crazy dirty.
  4. Adding more lights in the dark dining room will come much sooner!
  5. I've had a very tame pregnancy, so I can be just as helpful now as I would have been "pre-pregnant" AND we have friends already offering to help when we reach the stage where I can't really help anymore - I'm just not burly enough to help drywall a ceiling ;)
  6. I have a handy husband and a dad on call for questions about what to do when this kind of stuff happens! Plus this means we had all of the tools on hand that we needed for the first few days of demo including respirator masks, etc for when we found the mold. 

March 9, 2014

Baby Girl's DIY Memory Book

After looking at the relatively sparce options available for pre-printed baby books, I decided to design my own for Baby Girl. The pre-made ones were either too cheesey in style, had extra blanks for things that didn't apply to Baby Girl (multiple sonograms, siblings' reactions, etc) and/or didn't have space for some of the big events that we will want to record for Baby Girl (her dedication, Aunt Jennifer's wedding, etc). Plus, this way I get to create a family tree that has spaces for the "steps" in our family!

The first thing I did after deciding to make my own was to start researching on Pinterest and by looking at lots of different baby books (our nephew's, mine, my sisters', and most entertaining, my dad's) to compile a list of everything I wanted to include. It's pretty hefty, but I'm okay with that - a lot happens the first year!

After getting a pretty good list, I started story boarding. I get the template off the internet because it is really helpful for me to be able to see everything laid out visually. By doing this I can also think through what images I will have to find (or create) and make lists of pictures and keepsakes I want to be sure to save.

My next step was choosing a style. Soft and sweet like this one? Super modern like this one? Bright and colorful like this announcement? I would create the style/feeling mostly using colors and fonts, but also things like the pictures and their frames. To pick, I made a couple options for the family tree page, because I knew it would have the most stylistic decisions to make because of the tree background. Do I want a full tree? Just a branch? The rings of a tree? Color or BW? Graphic, drawing or a photo? And how do those options work with different font styles?

It ultimately came down to these two trees (rotated, resized and grayscale). Both are just from a Google Images search.

And three different font pairings (covering two options for color use):

After consulting Mike, we picked this one - now we just need to pick her name!

Once I had picked a style, the page creation could begin! I'm designing them in GIMP (free photoshop) and then will print with Shutterfly as whole page spreads in an 8x8 book to match our "family yearbooks". I am still deciding if there are any sections that I want to print "blank" and fill in by hand, so I'm making it with blanks and will either add text as layers or leave the blanks. That way I will have a template for any future siblings too.

They are in process now, but I will include the spreads here when I get them done!