Thursday, November 17, 2011

Other Weekend Happenings

Weekend project No. 1:

After working in the yard most of the day Saturday we made an exciting Saturday evening trip to Lowe's. The employees at Lowe's have started to recognize us.  I guess they've seen me looking through tile and grout, tile and grout, tile and grout, over and over enough while Andy is hanging out in the much less exciting plumbing and electric aisles (at least I find them less exciting) that I've become a familiar face.  As long as they don't start running the other way when they see us coming I guess we're okay.  We had a huge list of items to buy which included drywall for the new wall at the top of the steps.  In the interest of not having to store the full sheets of drywall overnight Andy got right to work measuring and hanging the new drywall.

It's definitely starting to look like a wall.  We still need to trim out the top and bottom, but that will have to wait until all of the other drywall is hung and we can hire someone to come and finish it.

We started Sunday with some delicious flax seed pancakes.  At least the stove works even though the burners are extra close together.  It's not nearly as bad as our oven that doesn't heat to the right temperate and causes things in the back to burn.

And then Andy was able to start Weekend Project #2:  New closest and re-route more baseboard heat.

Since we gave up a closet for the master bathroom expansion we need to add closet space to the master bedroom.  There is an existing closet on the right side of this picture (doors removed) and while it's a large closet it isn't a very effective use of the space.  We decided to frame out new closets on either side of the window.  The one on the left (partially framed) will be a square and we will make an identical space on the right that ties in the the existing closet making an "L" shaped walk-in closet.  I moved my stuff into other closets several months ago, but Andy has been using the remaining master bedroom closet.  We put this part of the renovation off for a long as possible because it creates a closet/clothes storage nightmare.  We have stuff everywhere!

Here is the first step to re-routing the baseboard heat.  That's a large section of pipe that he removed.

More baseboards removed.

And into the closet to remove the existing wall. This was a first real renovation hurdle.  Once Andy got the drywall removed we noticed the header across the top of the closet.  Whomp, whomp, whomp. We are not planning to start messing with any structural elements of the house and we don't want to hire someone to do the work either.  This just means that the little wall to the left of the picture will remain along with the header.  No big deal -- just means Andy didn't really have to remove all of the drywall.

Weekend Project #3: Yard work and finish a new flower bed.

I spent most of the weekend outside collecting leaves and getting a few more things ready for the winter.  This included finishing a flower bed that my parents helped to plant a few weeks ago.  They spent a day planting some liriope around the mailbox and some Little Henry Iteas along the back.  Andy and I had one more Little Henry to plant because of a large rock that needed to be removed and then the bed needed some mulch.  We used The Beast to chop up some of our massive piles of leaves and spread them around the flowers.  We tried this instead of newspaper on the bed because 1) there wasn't a ton of grass left to kill just in case it doesn't work and 2) we have oodles of leaves.

Here is the bed with the leaf mulch.

And here it is with a final layer of pine bark mulch nuggets.

What good is all that work collecting leaves (the pile was a tall as me) if you can't play in them??  We took a break from working and even Kodak thought it was a blast.

So I leave you with the FLYING SQUIRREL!  (aka Andy)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Planning, Planning, and More Planning

We're still chugging along with the bathroom renovations.  Even though we haven't made a ton of visible improvements in the past few weeks we have been doing a ton of planning when it comes to tiling the tub surround.  We plan to add some wall niches to hold soap, shampoo, etc., but they definitely create some planning nightmares when it comes to making sure that the tiles line up nicely and that we don't have any skinny rows of tile directly above or below the openings.  We're both very visual learners so we had to layout the tile in the basement to see how everything would come together.  If you look down the length of work bench it's like looking up the wall -- you can see where the niches will be located.

We marked the wallboard thickness...

And start of the tub...

And with a little vernier caliper action were able to finally decide on a layout.

And after all that planning it took just a few short minutes to install the niches.

Part of the planning delay was deciding how we want to finish the niches.  We looked at some bullnose tiles around the sides and bottom with some mosaic tile in the back, but I wasn't sold on the finished look and Andy wasn't sold on the installation.  After a little research I made a trip to a nearby Tile Shop and found this idea.  We both like the look -- we will have similar tile on the sides and bottom with the pencil tiles to frame the niches.  The mosaic tile we chose for the back is a little different.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Beast

Last weekend's snowfall caused some significant tree damage in our backyard in addition to an almost 48 hour power outage.  We had a festival of damage: huge branches, trees that broke in half, trees that uprooted, and more fence damage.  I know the hurricane and this freak October snowfall are both extremely rare events, but we're sick of the clean-up and are starting to think that our fence installation is cursed.  

Large tree missing the whole top half.

More trees missing their tops.

Uprooted tree.

Fence damage from another tree on the water company property.

Large branch.

We borrowed a chipper shredder from my dad.  This thing is a BEAST (aka Eats Trees for Breakfast).  We spent the day collecting branches and putting them through the chipper.  Andy worked the larger branches and I worked from the other side feeding smaller branches into the hopper.  Yes, that is a step stool.  I needed it reach the hopper.
Getting smaller.

And smaller.

We also spent some time this morning removing all of the old plants from the garden.  We wanted to use the mulch from the chipper shredder to cover the walkways.  

Spreading all of the new mulch.

Just to prove that I really do work since I'm always taking pictures of Andy.

All of the walkways covered.

Some leaf mulch on the actual beds and the garden is ready for winter.