Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Say yah to de UP eh?

So I do have a project to share with you on the home front, but it's not done yet. So it'll have to wait :).

In the meantime, does anybody know what this weekend is? That's right! It's the 4th of July!!! This holiday gets that many exclamation points because it's a pretty big one for my family. Every year my entire mom's side of the family (approximately 17-20 people) treks up to the Upper Penninsula for the event. Specifically a little town called Munising. This is where my PopPop grew up, so we've been going up there and staying in the woods, on the same lake (Great grandma Mumu [Finnish for grandma... *the more you know!*] has a cottage on it, we stay in a different house though these days, we're too big!) every year. For about 30 years.

This little town throws one heck of a shindig, with fireworks so huge and close up you get ash in your hair! And multiple parades, not to mention traditions like chicken poop bingo and the grease pole!

Chicken Poop Bingo: Several young chickens are set in a pen, beneath them is a large bingo board. You buy a number which is given to you in the form of a paint stirrer. (1$ each) When they say go everyone makes noise, this startles the chickens into pooping -classy I know- and if they poop on your number you win 20 bucks! It's run by the Vietnam Vets in the area.

Grease Pole: A pole the size of a tree trunk is attached to the pier at an upward angle. It is coated liberally in this horrible grease stuff. You try to climb out to the end and get back without falling into Lake Superior. I usually just watch this one...

Anyway we weren't sure if we'd get to go this year because I've had so much work lately. But we finally got the green light, and to the frozen north we go! And yes, it is frozen. Usually we have to wear hoodies and blankets to watch the fireworks... that don't start till 11:30 or so because that's how long it takes to get dark up there!

So we'll be gone for about 4 days to the land of trees, waterfalls, moose, and lemon drops:
ps - I might be changing the design of this blog. I like the 'look' but I don't like how thin this setup is. It makes me look even more long-winded then I actually am!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wedding Shwag

So last weekend was NUTS:

Friday: Evening appointment
Saturday: Work most of the day then go to a wedding.
Sunday: Try to catch up on keeping the house clean and laundry.

I'm still tired from it. But I got a nice pretty at the wedding:
Is that not the coolest milk glass vase ever? The bride had made all the centerpieces herself, and there were probably 50 white vases, and they were all different. She encouraged us to take them home so she wouldn't be drowning in vases, and though it was a burden, I decided to help out ;-) I love the style, and I can't wait to put seasonal stuff in it all year!

Also, I worked for about 5 hours last night on wedding invitations. And during this process I was reminded multiple times that I have it really easy compared to some:
Being in the way is just SO exhausting...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Small Progress

Wow, with all the extra time I've spent at work lately I haven't gotten much done huh? Well I made some small progress on the front Thursday night:

Most of the front bed is now all broken up! Oh my God, it was like digging through wet cement. I don't think any of the yard has been mixed up (much less aerated) EVER. I was dripping and covered in bug bites by the time I called it a day.

Also, see that pile of stuff on the stoop? Yeah, those are the bricks I've found AFTER we thought we'd found them all... They are buried all over the place!!! Too bad they're so beat up and busted, it'd be nice to use them if we could.

And I apologize for the fact that I can't take a non-blurry picture.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Dresser is Dressing Up the Dining Room!

Yay the new/old dresser is home! Brian and I got it up into the house and in place. First we tried the back wall under the window, then we tried along the side wall. And even though I think along the back gives us a smidge more space, we both liked the side wall better. The angled light really looks neat over there.

In the store this looked like some sort of hideous yellowish color, but really in our house now it's not bad! I'm still thinking it's gonna get painted, but now I'm not in a giant rush for it. This is very good, seeing as I have a TON of other stuff to do!

Also, here is the mirror, in it's new home but not painted/taken apart/hung yet. My friends have dubbed it the 'shoe mirror' since its current location is fabulous for checking out one's feet:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Excuses and Such

Ah what a whirlwind! Life has been busy in a big way this past week. I've gotten to see some great friends that I don't see very often, work is crazy (how unusual is that though really), and I'm completely broke and almost never home. Kinda fun I guess.

We did pick up the dresser yesterday, or I should say Brian picked up the dresser yesterday. I helped bring it in though. Right now I have it under the window, but I might move it tonight to the other wall and see if I like that better. Where it is now isn't bad though, just gotta find the best spot! I unfortunately don't have any pictures of it in our house yet, I left my camera at work last night, so sorry all of you 1 person that reads this. You'll have to wait.

Also, we had yet ANOTHER massive storm last night and guess what? The lower level stayed dry! Woo!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Yay Thrift Store Find!!!

So even though we've only lived in our house a little under 2 months (holy crap!) I have already felt the need for a sideboard/buffet in the dining room. Our kitchen is seriously lacking on upper cabinet space, and I don't like putting food or table settings down low. The first for sanitary reasons, the second, because that would be annoying. So I'd been shopping around and I'd found a few I liked but they were pricey (we're talking 300 bucks, insane!) and I was also keeping an eye on craigslist and the thrift stores.

Last night I went to Ann Arbor PTO thrift store, and I found something SWEET! Please excuse the lovely cell phone picture, it's the only one I've got right now:

I heart this dresser! I bought it for 75 bucks and we're picking it up early next week. From my inspection appears to be solid wood. The drawers don't have tracks (but they work quite well), and it's actually a pretty heinous yellowish color, but wow, the detailing rocks! And it would definitely have enough room for all our dishes and serverware and placemats, etc. Since it's a dresser it has an attached mirror (you can see the bottom of it there in the top left). It has the same detailing as the drawers. I'm going to detach that, strip it, and probably paint it black and hang it in the entry.

The dresser definitely needs to be sanded and refinished (some sizable scratches), but I'm not sure what to refinish it with. We could try to match/coordinate with the multitude of oak that we have in the kitchen:
Or I could paint it black to go with a lot of our other storage furniture:
 Or I could do contrasting stain to emphasize the decoration:
 Or I could paint it black and do white (or another contrasting color, or stain) on the drawer fronts:
Excuse the crappy photoshops, I didn't have a lot of time. Also I'm definitely going to put new brushed nickel hardware on there. Any thoughts? Other ideas I haven't thought of?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Front Door Progress

So since we had all the trees pulled the front of our house is pretty bare bones. I thought, since we can't plant anything until those stumps come out why don't I put some planters on the front step?

Why don't I indeed...

So I did. Last night I went to Meijer and picked up everything I needed. I got 2 pedestal planters (made entirely from recycled materials), Miracle Grow Potting Mix, and flowers. Lord knows what it looked like before:

Please ignore the random pot of super fake flowers the previous owner left... it's seriously not as cute as it looks in this picture. I'll save the pot for something else though.

And what we've got now:

Obviously we have a long way to go (check out all those stumps!!!). And I haven't even tilled up or edged the planting bed yet but again, I have to wait. And of course it'll take several years to get it all planted and working the way we want it. And now we'll have a little something pretty to enjoy while we do! I just hope I don't kill them...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Flowers and Weddings and Girly Stuff

So the few flowers that are on our property are blooming! Well some of them. We have roses and hostas and lilies and iris. And only 1 each of the last two. But the roses are going NUTS. They are on the side of the house surrounding the chimney. After the trees came down I got out there and weeded everything, and it's already looking a lot better, but I want to post a REAL before and after, so you'll have to wait to see what they look like. Rest assured they are covered with hot pink flowers and look horribly neglected at the same time.

Some of the branches came down with all the rain we've had, so I cut myself some stems for inside! It was a tricky process, these bushes have thorns the size of my thumb... but in the end I think it was worth it. They're so pretty! Also why is it that mangling living plants for decoration makes me feel 'civilized'?

Also, in other estrogen-fueled news I spent about 6 hours last night starting our wedding invitations! I have the primary piece designed, and now printed. But I still have to finish cutting them/embellish them all, then there's the backing card, and I still have to do the RSVP and other stuff. This might take up much of my home time in coming weeks. I do want to post a picture of what I did last night, but there won't be another until they go out. Don't want to completely ruin the surprise!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Drying Process

So it's STILL raining, but I think I'm finally comfortable calling the den 'dry'. Getting it to this point was quite a bit of work, but here's what we did:

1. Get fan and dehumidifyer and towels in the room, wait till daytime when we can do something about it.
2. Buy shop vac, realize there is not actually enough water for shop vac to do anything.
3. Rent carpet shampooer.
4. Spend 2 days sucking water out of the floor, while dehumidifyer and fan are still going.
5. Return rug shampooer, and pull up carpet. Discover carpet pad is still a sponge.
6. Leave carpet up for 3 days while airing out and drying pad.
7. Replace carpet. Still smells like damp feet.
8. Keep airing out, feet smell mostly gone, but buy glade plugins anyway and hope we don't have to replace the pad soon.

This is what the den looked like for several days last week:
So that was fun.

Also, I'm totally nosy but one of my neighbors had critter control at their house last night... I wonder what they had!

Friday, June 11, 2010

So I'm back...

So I made it back from my Chicago Conference. It went well, but I am exhausted beyond all reason.

While I was gone something rather interesting happened. This is what I left:

and this is what I came home to:

Holy smokes! The tree guys finally came!!! When we bought this house one of the few things we wanted to do right away was remove the trees from the front of the house. Unfortunately each and every one was way too close to the structure. And it was just choking it.

Going up to the front door wasn't very friendly before, but now...

Soooooo much nicer!!! I'm excited to landscape this now. I think it'll be a fun experience and make this house 'ours' even from the street! 

One thing we have noticed though, is that now we have to work on window treatments more... without all those trees you can see straight in! And I don't want to keep the decorative drapes pulled. I'd really like linen rollers, but the windows are oddly sized, being really wide but with 2 different sized segments within them. Any thoughts?

Also they haven't ground down the stumps yet (as you can probably see in the pictures). When we called to ask why it hadn't been done they said the ground is too wet from all the rain, but they'll come do it when it dries out. Which means I might be stuck with stumps and not able to actually plant for a while the way our weather is still going.

But yay! No more obnoxious tree in the front door!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


So after hours of going over it with a rented carpet shampooer, the den floor is mostly dry! Woo! We'll have to keep an eye on it to make sure we don't need to replace the carpet padding, but hopefully we won't. We got it up quick, and it was just groundwater not sewage or anything. And I've gotta believe this is a one-time thing. These are the facts I got from talking to people around town:
  • The sirens went off 3 times Saturday night.
  • There was a tornado touchdown about 20 miles south of us.
  • Every rentable carpet cleaner in the city was taken Sunday (lucky I went Monday I guess?) because a ton of people in the A2/Ypsilanti area had water in their houses.
  • Some people had water up to 2 feet deep in their basements.
So we appear to have gotten out pretty lucky! It's supposed to rain some more tonight/tomorrow but hopefully it won't be much. This has to be a fluke spring and we won't normally have water issues. Kind of like the super hot summer of '88 was a fluke summer.

And I won't be posting the next couple of days, I'm going to a conference in Chicago! I have to get up at 4:30 in the morning tomorrow to catch our flight... we'll see how that goes.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Soooo much H20

So our water saga continues.

This past weekend we were at my parents for most of it to celebrate my brothers college graduation and birthday (Congrats Beau!). Saturday night we were watching the weather as another apocalypse worthy storm rolled into Ann Arbor. Everyone kept telling me, "just be glad you're here and safe!" as there were loads of tornado warnings. Meanwhile I was just petrified for our house!

Well that night there were tornadoes, and epic storms. We heard from others upon our return that the sirens went off 3 times that night! And when we got back around 11 Sunday night? Water in the basement... great. Luckily it's confined to the central space of the room (it's a little lower) so the bookshelves/desks and computers were not harmed

It appears that the water table got so high that it's just seeping straight up through the floor. There is no wall or ceiling damage at all it appears. *knocks on wood* I don't have a picture because there is nothing to see. The carpet is about as wet as when you have it cleaned, and you're not supposed to walk on it yet. We laid down towels, and brought the fan and dehumidifyer down. When we got up this morning there was 4 inches of water in the dehumidifyer (thanks Mom and Dad for giving us that! Even though it's 30 years old it really works!) but the floor was still just as wet. I called Brian a bit ago and he seems to think there has been improvement this morning.

So we're going to have to figure out what to do to eliminate the possibility of a repeat flood. Since we're pretty sure we don't have a sump pump that's an option. Luckily even though it's been pouring for a straight month this is the first this has happened, so hopefully it means it's a rare thing? yes? please???

Also, I think Google is spying on me. When I pulled up my internet this morning, this ad was front and center:

Haha Google.... you're soooooo funny! Now stop playing big brother! This is not George Orwell's 1984!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Curtain Saga

So originally we had these curtains up in our apartment:

And trust me, when there they didn't look nearly this craptastic. They really fit our ikea meets secondhand vibe we were going for...

But I don't like them in the house. They just don't fit. Soooo I went on a curtain hunt. I found the perfect curtains at Target! Wait, let me rephrase. I found the perfect curtain at Target. They only had one. I asked the guy working there if there were any more in the back or at another store. He scanned it, and proceeded to tell me it wasn't coming up on his scanner which meant it didn't actually exist in our current plane of consciousness at all. All while giving me the 'I hate you for making me work' look... jerk.

So I tried to put them out of my mind. I ended up back at Target again for a wedding present for a friend. I wandered through the window treatment section thinking wistfully of the panel that got away... when suddenly there was a herd stack of them! I snatched 2, cackled maniacally, and ran home to put them up:
ahh... much better! Sorry for the bad picture though.

ps - see what I meant below about the rain?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Water water every... you know the drill. It's wet!

Soooo we're in the middle of planting season! The time where everyone and their sister is out gardening and making the yard pretty for summer! Have we been doing the same? Noooooo no we have not. Not for lack of wanting to mind you.

We have had almost completely non-stop rain for the last month.We'll get a little sun, but before the ground can even think about drying out it rains again. So the mess of a yard that I was hoping to have at least somewhat pretty this first summer? Yup. Still a mess. We also have a low spot near the back fence that I was hoping to fill with dirt and get grass seed in (our neighbors planed their yard so it drains into ours. Jerks.) so that it won't flood when it rains hard. Yup. Still there.
Still so... blah!

At this point it's feeling like not much landscaping will be happening this year. We're already in June and I have about half a planting bed raked and weed free. Another issue we've had is that all the planting beds and anywhere around the fence or near the house, there are these bricks and pavers. They are BURIED in the ground, sometimes 3 or 4 deep! It's almost like the previous owner stole them and was trying to hide the evidence... Unfortunately with all the time it's taken to pull them up, they aren't really usable for anything. They are oddly sized and in pretty bad shape. Especially sad considering that we have 2-300 at this point.

One major thing will be happening though, we're having all the trees on the front of the house pulled out. SO once they show up we'll be able to do something to the front.

Now you're going, wait Bre, this post is supposed to be about water! We demand more water! Well, take a visit to our bathroom. The genius lovely person who flipped this house did not put in a fan in the room with the shower. Then they painted it with FLAT paint. That was one of the only rooms I was not going to paint right away. Well now I have to, the paint is already peeling off from the shower humidity. And we're getting a fan installed as well. It's not too bad yet. In reality it still just looks like this:

But in my mind I see this:
I borrowed that picture.

The question now is, what should I paint the bathroom? And how nuts do I want to go? Ideally I'd like to get a new sink cabinet (not oak + laminate) and mirrors and install bead-board. I don't know if that's in the budget though. Thoughts?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Long Weekends!

Happy belated Memorial Day!

We went to dinner with my parents on Friday, then spent most of the weekend with friends at Brian's Parent's lakehouse. Tubing was painful and fun was had by all. As is evident by this picture:

Ah friends... looking at them explains a lot about me I think.