I have been (what feels like) crazy busy. Easter feels like it was a long time ago, but life has just chugged along and I have not been on here updating. I love looking back at my old blog posts since sometimes they are the electronic equivalent of a nicely checked off To Do list. A reminder to myself that, Yes, I did stuff. I finished stuff. My days fly by but I am actually accomplishing more than survival (sometimes, anyway).
I have projects from last summer to post about… I am very far behind! But for now, I am going to list off some of the things I have been doing, works in progress, and things I am looking forward to doing. Hopefully this will motivate me to keep at it :)
Stuff I have finished:
Window treatments: This was the first of my 3 House Projects to do in 2015. I made 2 lined and interlined, silk dupioni relaxed roman shades for the master bedroom. I then made 3 lined cotton relaxed roman shades for my girls’ room. Those were larger and 2 were ganged, so matching the pattern and getting them to hang straight immediately next to each other were my biggest challenges. I wanted to push my skills and make life better for myself, so I used real locking mechanisms and the heavy shades stay exactly where I want them, easily. They turned out great and I am loving not having cardboard boxes stuffed in the windows. #honestproject
Pool closet, phase 1: This was the third of my House Projects to do in 2015. I had my wonderful man crunch some numbers and muscle the 2x4 frame up for me, but I feel so good having successfully dreamed up, planned and executed this life-bettering project primarily on my own. There was a mini fridge, drawers, counter and crumbling upper cabinet there before, and it wasn’t very effective storage. We wanted a place to keep pool supplies, towels, etc, and this renovated space is exactly that. I used a bypass closet door kit from Lowes, cut to size, with 2 Ikea Pax closet doors to make a wall of accessibility. I got the doors on sale for 25% off, and my only regret was not also getting the shelves then. We put those in with 1x2 supports, and used a shelf for the floor since the floor was not usable under the cabinet/fridge. Hoping it holds up well, but if I have to replace any part of it, it should be pretty easy to do. The double bonus to this is that I had to repaint the bathroom right next to it which meant fixing some poor drywall joinery, so that whole area looks much better. We still need to swap out the sink cabinet and install a new countertop, but phase 2 is slated for early summer or so.
Dress alteration: I found a great Ann Taylor dress at (where else?) a thrift store, but it was about 6” too big around for me in the chest. I successfully removed 3” from under each arm. It has great armhole fit now, though it is clear (to me, at least) that the bodice is not fitting ideally. I knew this might happen since it is tucked instead of darted. It feels “bubble-y”, for lack of a better word… since I have essentially moved some vacant chest space around the body, it’s a little roomy still. I don’t think anyone will notice though, so I am choosing not to care :) I made the excess skirt into box pleats at the side seams to not have to rework the hem. Again, not ideal but a perfectly acceptable hack in this case.
Backyard leveling: This was not my project, but I did help and then water the sod copiously. My husband needed a flatter backyard in order to make a hockey rink in the winter (yes, this was a NEED) as well as for other sport uses. He surveyed it himself, rented a sod cutter and bobcat, and proceeded to rip up the lion’s share of a perfectly lovely backyard. The good news here is that, though it was intense amounts of physical labor and frighteningly ambitious at times, the original sod lives on, but on a flatter backyard. He caught parts of it on time lapse, and you can see it here.
Works in progress:
Pool chemistry: We are making the switch from Baquacil to plain ol’ chlorine for our backyard in-ground pool. Should be a big monetary savings (yay!), educational as we learn to do our own testing and break free from reliance on the pool store (yay!), and more effective at keeping the pool clean and sanitary (yay!). That’ll be going down in a big way over the next 2 weeks. The next step is to find the cheapest source of bleach/chlorinator and buy LOTS of it. My spreadsheet of cost analysis is up and humming, and hopefully the buying happens later today.
Pool repair: Tis the season to fix fallen tiles and crumbling coping (the concrete that goes around the pool edge). My mental saving grace here is that these do not affect the pool functionality at all, just aesthetics. How wrong can we go? We collected the fallen and loose tiles at the end of last season, and decided to wait over the winter to see if others loosened to make 1 repair session instead of 2. I have some tile experience as we laid a new tile floor 12 years ago in our last kitchen. This job will require some concrete base repair, then mortaring in the tiles in the correct pattern, then unsanded grouting. Then I’ll use a buildup of sanded grout to fill in the crumbled coping areas, and repaint the coping and pool deck. Sooner or later we’ll have to re-pour the full deck, but this should hopefully buy us some years of use in the meantime. We’re switching from an automatic cover to a floating bubble wrap type solar cover, so that will mean less wear and tear on the coping as well.
Vermiculture: Nerd alert… I started a worm farm. I am a long way out from knowing more than the basics here, but I used a couple 5 gallon buckets, drilled some holes, collected some red wiggler worms from yard detritus, and am hoping they live, multiply aggressively, and make compost. This is more of a science experiment than anything else, but I would love to see our food scraps turned into usable compost.
Yardwork: I am trying to learn about what perennials we have here so I can take care of them. Some I am moving around, dividing, and learning how to harvest. I just pulled some rhubarb and am going to learn how to freeze that. I have a lot of daffodils that need deadheading, and beds that need weeding. It has been warm and wet… everything is green and gigantic, especially the weeds! I bought some plants for my containers and am working on getting those done and getting them hooked up with the irrigation (you know, so they don’t die). We’ve been weeding the dandelions in the yard for fun (or whatever), but it’s a losing battle, especially after all the rain. We’ve been getting them out before they mature into the puffball stage, so hopefully that means something down the road. Or we’ll just give up :)
Stuff I am looking forward to doing:
Sewing a swimsuit: Well, hopefully the first of many swimsuits. I have inspiration, patterns, fabric I love, and supplies. Now I just need time! I am going to start with one for myself, and then make some for my girls.
Garage/estate/rummage saling: This should go under “works in progress”, but it is something I enjoy immensely. I am a haggler by nature, and I like a good deal. I had a great weekend whereby I upgraded our dinner ware and found some outdoor patio furniture for a song. Part of that is a chair that needs the seat sling replaced, and I am also looking forward to how to do that myself. I am purging the stuff we already have that needs to be upgraded or simply let go, so we should end up with a wash in terms of accumulation (yay!).
Riding a bike: My awesomely handy, bike-riding dad is fixing up a bike for me! I am pretty excited about this :) We have a single adult sized bike around here, but it hasn’t been working for a while. My dad fixed up a bike for my husband just recently too, so, pretty soon, our whole fam can go for a bike ride together!
Painting the stairway and hallway: Lie. I am not looking forward to this. It is the last remaining house project for the year. I am, however, very much looking forward to it being completed! It will require a lot of prep, wall repair, and trim painting. I am holding off on this for some time when I don’t have a lot of other things going on. So… never?