Thursday, November 10, 2011

Stepping Up

When people come to my house, I generally tell them to "ignore the ghetto parts". Pretty much referring to all of the excessive eyesores I've got reminding me that I'm no where close to being done with my house. The stairs going up to the bedrooms/bathroom area were definitely one of those eyesores....

As you can easily note... these stairs are ugly. They have remained ugly for over a year and a half because, despite their lack of aesthetics, they still functioned perfectly as stairs. Well, that was until I did this...

I'll have you know I cleaned what was underneath the stairs before I took this picture. It was GROSS! I bought new oak risers for the stairs ($26ish a piece) and that meant that I got to rip the old ones out. I do enjoy the demolition part of every project! Then I was going to paint the back of the stairs to match the wall and give it a "floating step" kind of feel.

Painting... so many projects require painting. Using one of the old risers, I cut it to fit on the face of the very bottom stair. Now there is no gaping hole!

Risers are back on. Don't mind the wall damage from the demolition phase... I'll patch that.

Walls patched, steps sanded, last coat of verathane... All finished! In total, the project ran just under $200. Most of that was the cost of the risers and verathane. Oh and the new handrail I had made was $100. I could have done a wooden one for cheaper, but I like the look/feel of the metal handrail. (Yeah I know... let the inappropriate comments begin)

Special thanks to Chad and Ryan on this project for their help!

To removing the eyesores in life,


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday! When I was a kid it always seemed like a 'lame' holiday. I mean I got out of school, but there were no costumes, gifts, or fireworks. As I have grown older, I have learned to LOVE that about it though. I don't have to worry about crowds of people, impossible parking at events, going to parades, buying people gifts, or finding parties to go to. We cook a bang of delicious food (cause we have some talented cooks in the family), and just get to *be* together. We get to eat and talk to each other. I just find it to be some of the best quality time that I get with my family.

This year my family is coming to my house. Not because my house is that awesome, but because my house was really the best available one this year. So... in preparation for people coming over, I've been working around the house like a mad woman! (Yes, that means more blogs to come, at least in the month of November). I had been doing stuff throughout the house since my last blog, but just not blogging about it.

Note the following video:

This may not be exciting for some, but I was SO excited to be able to have ice in my fridge WITHOUT having to use ice trays :) My dear good friend Sam helped me with this project, but mostly because I was unsure of myself. It really ended up being super easy. I got this working back in August... better late than never right?

Other things I've gotten done in the house:
-finished putting up baseboards in all the finished rooms
-finally finished the last piece on the bathroom vanity
-new kitchen light
-put up beadboard on kitchen cabinets
-refinished stairs and got a hand rail
-applied verathane in the hall (which has been on my to do list forever)
-put in transition pieces from the wood floor to the tiled rooms
-caulked the kitchen backsplash (thanks mom!)
-closed up the second door from the house into the garage
-much, much more

Some of these items will have their own blogs for you to see, other didn't really have that stimulating of a visual. Lots of progress is being made though and I'm proud of all that I've accomplished this month. Mostly I'm grateful for all the time and help that I have received from all the wonderful people in my life. The guys in my ward have been very helpful and it has been so awesome to have them to rely on. My family remains so supportive and my new roommate wonderful AND handy.

Needless to say, I'm excited for Thanksgiving to get here.

To things that light a fire under you booty,


Monday, August 15, 2011


So.... my house has been baseboard-less ever since I have moved in. I got a little demo happy when we started tearing stuff apart June 2010. I've been working my way to the baseboards for quite some time. Now that the doors and casings were up, it was time to start working on the trim!
Before: Hallway without any trim or a return air vent.
After: Baseboards up and the return air vent is in. Looks SOOOO much better.
Rather than cutting the corners at 45 degrees and putting them together, I opted to use my coping saw. While I was originally rather intimidated by this process, it ended up being really easy! If you use your saw to taper the end at a 45 degree angle, then the white primed MDF boards will have he exact line that you will need to cope. This saved me from having to draw on every piece. My corners look amazing in case you were wondering!
Baseboards really just finish the look of a room. I'm excited to have another part of the living room taken care of.
Kitchen before the baseboards were up
Another before shot
After! PS, the corners that point out like this are a royal pain. I wish I could figure out a way to use my coping saw for those too!
After :) Looks way better!

For me, I preferred to paint my trim, then cut it with the miter saw and immediately hang it with Reba. Once the painting is taken care of, then it is really easy to get the trim up and looking fantastic! I had been cutting then painting with the casings, but this was a way easier order of operations.

To some finishing touches,


Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Shade Cooler

Back in April I decided to start getting window shades for the rest of the house. I had finally gotten curtains in the living room, but really needed them in the bedrooms upstairs. I still have broken central air and needed to start blocking out the light to help keep things cool as it would begin to get warm in the summer. Lucky for me, this summer hasn't been terrible.

Around this time, I had gone to Jack and Stef's condo and they had some really nice panel curtains from IKEA. I just really liked the look that they had. So, I went down to IKEA to get the panel system. After two trips and spending $345, I had everything I needed to block some sunlight from my bedrooms. While it seems expensive... I got six windows out of it.

Putting together the panel system from IKEA was time consuming, but once I realized the best order of operations, it made things go by much quicker! One thing that I enjoy about buying IKEA products is that all of the packaging is recyclable. So I was able to recycle most of the stuff :)

Office window panel

Both windows in the office

Windows in the master bedroom

I also did the window in the second bedroom and the bathroom. I really enjoy the look of them and have the fabric to do more window panels for the addition when I get that far in the house. The project did take a full weekend, but really I was glad to cover up my ugly windows :)

To beating the heat,


Friday, August 5, 2011

Casing Out My Place

So I mentioned in my last post that I had gotten a lot of things done at my house. One of the reasons that I hadn't been posting about them is because I'd already written about the start of the projects. In my post I'm Not Dead! and A Little Privacy Please... I showed everyone my progress on getting my door casings up and getting the first three bedroom doors up.

Well, I'm pleased to announce that I finished the remainder of the interior doors. My bathroom has new door (YAY!) as well as my coat closet and pantry. My turn around on these doors was much quicker. Mostly because showering with a sheet for a door was quite chilly. I've also got most of the casings up around the doors. The only four I have left are the inside of the bedrooms/bathrooms. It really has made such a big difference in starting the "finished look" that I want to have.

Front door and closet before the casings.

After the casings and new closet door are up.

Pantry with the casings, but before the door.

Pantry with casings and door. Got to admit, it's really nice not having all my food on display all the time.

This was sort of a finishing up of some other posts. I still have a few more casings left, but all the interior doors should now be taken care of. Reba was super helpful in this project. I also quit using paintable caulk for my nail holes and opted for white nail filler. Works MUCH better.

To showers without the draft,


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Meet Reba....

Be nice everyone! Say hello to one of my BFF's :)

Reba is my Porter Cable pancake compressor with three (yes 3!) attachments. I have a stapler, nail gun, and finishing nail gun. I got her as a Christmas present from my Dad, which meant that I finally returned the compressor I had borrowed for over a year. (Thanks Jack!)

Over the past six months I HAVE been working on the house. I just haven't been blogging about it because I'm a failure. Here I am, starting my process of catching everyone up. During my recent projects, Reba has played an integral roll in their completions. Don't know where I'd be without her!

So.... the question I'm sure some of you are curious to know.... Why do I call her Reba? It was a rather easy name to come up with:

1-She's really red
2-When she "sings" I wear earplugs


Sorry to all the Reba fans out there... I don't mind her songs really, but she's one of my least favorite country artists. I'm no expert on the genre and I'll be the first to admit it. However, I do love MY Reba.

To red heads that pack some heat,


Friday, February 4, 2011

A little privacy please....

Once upon a time (April 10th, 2010), I wrote a post about the door slabs I snagged at the ReStore for $10 a piece. Not sure if anyone recalls, but I took all the doors down during the demolition, then moved in half way through June.

There have been no bedroom doors this entire time! Bless my sweet roommates soul for her patience. I didn't have the money to do them. After I had the money, I didn't have a truck to take the slabs and the old doors to Wheelwright Lumber for the mill to match. After I got that done, then I had to paint them. Two coats... EACH SIDE! Needless to say... It's taken quite some time.


The days of no bedroom doors are officially over! My roommate (and her bf) can finally utilize the privacy that bedrooms are supposed to afford an individual (or couple). Thanks for the motivation Brit, I would have NEVER gotten around to it without you pushing me the whole way through! It only took me around ten months to get it done... no big deal...

Doors lined up for painting

First coat. I'm putting this on here to show that the doors were no where near white. Everyone thought I was crazy for painting them, but it make a huge difference.

One coat done! Only three more to go :(

Attaching the hinges to the wall

Hinges on the door

First door up! Yay!!!!

Knobs in too ;) Sorry this picture is a little blurry. Now the door are up and the knobs are in. Privacy can not be enjoyed!

While I did put the first door up all by myself, the others I did have help. I still need to get the bathroom door done, but I'll have to have a much quicker turn around than ten months on that one...

To the glories of shutting things out (when appropriate),


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Yay for Tax Returns!!!

Ok, so this post has nothing to do with renovating. It has no pictures, videos, or really anything to show my progress like I promised in my previous post.


The house has benefited me greatly this evening. I filed my 2010 taxes and am getting a great return. Before I put in my house information, my return was minimal at best. With all of the write-offs that I have because of home loan interest, mortgage premiums, and property tax my return ended up increasing by around 300%.


Since I was able to write so much off, I actually qualified for itemized deductions. I generally have too few and take the standard deduction. This year I was able to claim a lot of little things that I usually can't (like tithing) and it made such a difference.

What am I going to do with the money?

I'm actually going to put it in savings. There is a potential for a some expenses this year (central air, getting my car passable for emissions and inspections) that I want to be prepared for. I've got a lot of work that needs to be done around the house that I have *most* of the supplies for. So I'll continue on that for a little before I get too excited about spending all the money on new exterior doors or tile for the fireplace.

... But I would like to buy those things soon :)

To Uncle Sam,


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Utilizing Wall Space

As I have alluded to in other posts, I really like being organized. :) There is something about seeing a group of items neatly organized that warms my soul. Plus, being organized makes it a lot easier for me to be clean. How is this not a win-win?

Recently I organized some stuff around the house that gave me more space and a cleaner home. I was particularly thrilled that I was able to get these done because I've noticed them for a long time and have been putting them off. They were really easy to do, I just was too busy and full of excuses to get them done.

The first organization project was in my closet. I have accumulated a collection of purses and needed to me able to find a way to more beautifully store them in my closet. What? Women and purses? That's never and issue is it? I hate it when I'm so stereotypical...

Before they were just sort of crammed up in the top of the closet and as I took some out and put them back it just steadily became more and more of a disaster. Britney, my fabulous roomie, had a purse organizer that she was no longer utilizing. I traded some pj's I never wore for her organizer and now my purses hang beautifully in my closet. I'm mostly pleased that this little "nook" in my closet is being better utilized.

Cute little bags, all in a row.

The next little project was one in the garage. Since buying a home I have accumulated some things that all needed a place. The garage already had an organization strip attached to the brick, but I hadn't put all my odds and ends up on it yet. So one day after work, I didn't pull in the garage so that I could have the space to organize it. I was satisfied to get all of my useful tools up where I can easily see them, but to be able to have them out of the way.

My parents stopped by and were jealous of how clean and organized my garage was :)

For the record, I have been making A LOT of progress at the house! This project wasn't really part of the renovation, but I have gotten my butt in gear and completed some projects that I have really needed to get taken care of. So hopefully the posts to follow will be enjoyable as well.

To the peace that a clean house can give a soul,


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Just a spoon full of sugar...

Sometimes I don't feel like doing things around the house at all. Then a person comes in and asks if I need help and it can make all the difference in the world. Not too long ago Justin was over and saw my curtain rod out, unpacked, but also collecting dust. He asked if I wanted to put it up right now. Right now?! Don't worry, I bought it back in July. Sometimes that is just the push that I need in order to get things done.

We were able to get the curtain rod up that I got at Bed, Bath, & Beyond up with relative ease. I got the curtains at Tuesday Morning for $20, a good deal in my eyes!

After we got the curtains up, he also helped me put up the beautiful clock that my mother gave me for Christmas. Sorry the pictures are blurry! They are from my phone and I was apparently rather shaky.

Sometimes a little help is just what I need to help move things along.

To helping the medicine go down,


Monday, January 24, 2011

Not so simple after all

I have like a bazillion little projects around the house that I've been needing to get to. So my next few posts will likely be of these "small victories". So while they aren't terribly exciting... Just be proud of me anyway ;)

One small project I've been needing to get to is finishing the vanity. The middle section still needed the drawer and the door attached to it. No... I didn't finish it, but I took a step in the right direction! I got the faceplate of the drawer back in. I didn't just want a to put the faceplate back on though; I wanted a tip out drawer. You know the ones that are kind of like a secret organization spot? Yeah, we know how I feel about organization :)

So I got this tip out kit from Lowe's and proceeded to install it back onto the faceplate for the vanity. What should have been a twenty minute project took me like two hours. It was ridiculous! The faceplate actually was the front of a drawer so the grooves that it had were of course in the exact spot that needed to have the screws. So then the screws weren't long enough and I had to find more... Luckily I have a bunch of odds and ends on hand. After I finished installing it the first time, it wasn't tall enough, so then I had to do the whole thing over.

But I prevailed!

Now it's closed, but then it...


Now it is a little hidden location that I store my make-up. So I just sit in front of the vanity, tip out my secret drawer, and get going in the morning! It's pretty nice.

To not sweating the small stuff,


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Better Late than Never

I know that Christmas was almost a month ago, but I never got around to uploading these pictures from my phone. While these aren't really "home improvement" items. I still found them to be an adventure at my first Christmas in the house.

For all my neighbors/coworkers, I decided to make a little Christmas treat. As strange as it sounds, I have a very strong connection to jelly. Not just any jelly, my grandma's apple raspberry jelly.

Whenever I would stay at my grandma's house the breakfast of choice was toast with jelly. So in the morning she would toast me up a slice of bread and cut it into fourths. Now it is important to note that she did not cut it from corner to corner, yielding triangles. She cut it down the middle, yielding me four delicious squares of jelly slathered toast.

I have never had anyone cut my toast that way. It left such a strong impact on my memory, that I can stil close my eyes and see her handing me a plate of toast cut that specific way. You also better believe I have every intention of cutting toast that way for my kids. Just a little way of remembering her and keeping the legacy she left for me alive.

I'm not particularly domestic, but I had the recipe and had my mom come over for the first batch to make sure I did everything right and that the bottles sealed correctly. It really wasn't as difficult as I thought it was going to be. Here are some of the pictures of my adventure :)

The cute little jelly bottles, cooling and sealing.

For packaging I got little Christmas decorated Chinese take-out boxes.

Christmas gifts and thoughts of Grandma, all in a row.

The gift was slightly selfish in that I made it so that I could have some. To my credit though, I really did enjoy giving something thoughtful and different to people for Christmas this year.

One of my favorite sights this year was when the Christmas tree started getting surrounded by gifts. My roommate and I would wrap them and put them under the tree throughout the month and it was so fun seeing all the interesting shapes appear to give to those that we loved.

Isn't it cute!?

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

To creating new traditions with old memories,