Monday, November 24, 2014

Gratuitous Eye Candy: A Before-And-After Montage

I don't know if you all like before and after pictures, but they're kind of my porn. (Not that I've ever seen porn, Mom.) I swear I could spend the whole dang day on sites like Better After. So in honor of my lust for home makeovers—and to give you all a little glimpse of some smaller but still worthy upgrades we've made recently—allow me to share this lovely mish mash of B-and-A pics.

Let's begin in the front yard, shall we? When we bought the house (and actually for months upon months after that...) the big swath of yard next to our driveway was a combination of weeds, decades old, dilapidated rose bushes, and totally unruly geraniums. It's no wonder a snake lizard took up residence there and tried to kill me during the clearing out process.

After pulling out all the vegetation, oh I think maybe THREE TIMES, we finally laid out landscape fabric and planted everything we'd picked up at the nursery. Hopefully in the spring those monstrous artichoke plants will give us lots of good stuff to eat.

Yes some of the blue fescue grasses we bought died. But the yard's still better than ever before!

The guest room is the one place in the house that has stayed largely the same since our first "move in." It's a cute space (at least I think so) but definitely needed (and still needs) some sprucing. We started by replacing the light fixture, which I'm sure was installed the week the original owners moved in in 1959...
So menacing. This light totally plays with a Ouija board
and eats moths for dinner.

A trip to IKEA, and the room was transformed.

So much cuter, right? This light wears pink nail polish and
likes karaoke bars.

The next project was turning what had been a sort of blankish wall (there was one picture, then three) into a mini gallery of family pics and collected art. Mr. W thinks it's a bit much, but I totally dig it. One of these weekends, I plan to DIY a little bench to put under it so guests have a nice spot to stick their suitcases when they stay.

Are those baby pictures of the chickens? Why yes they are.

Finally, we had a big before and after situation when Mr. W decided to partially demo the cute little bathroom featured at the very top of this post.

We had been planning on totally remodeling it—moving its door into the hallway and reconfiguring the floorplan—but I thought we might wait awhile. Nope. We're back to temporarily being a one-bathroom residence again. But I think this one will move much faster (*crosses fingers*) and hopefully I'll be posting a new "After" sooner than later.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Freshly Cut Tiles and a Chicken in the Bathtub

You know the old saying, "If you give a girl a cut tile, she'll lay it in the entry closet. But if you teach a girl to use the tile saw, she'll tile the entire closet on her own?" Yeah, I'd never heard it either.

Until this weekend.

When we moved into our house, the closet in our entryway had what probably was the world's most disgusting, putrid carpet in the history of floorweavings. We should have donated it to science, as I'm pretty sure there was some new strain of Anthrax growing in it. Needless to say, Mr. W ripped it out almost immediately and we just left the exposed concrete in there and piled all of our junk on top of it.

Purdy, right? That brown stuff is carpet glue. A treat to clean.

But since we started working on the backsplash in the kitchen this weekend, and the tile saw was hot, we decided to finally put something more permanent down in the closet. We used leftover tiles from the kitchen floor, AKA the hardest, heaviest tiles ever forged. They took forever to cut because they're so solid, but it was kinda fun to do it.

After I sliced through several (and trimmed some of the marble ones for the backsplash—which were SO much softer and easier to cut) I even got really ballsy and tackled a corner cut where the molding intercepts the floor space. I think I may have a new career.

Here's what the closet floor looks like now:

Better, right? Still needs to be cleaned—but a big improvement.

And in case you were wondering, here's a peek at the new Carrara backsplash tile in the kitchen. (Don't tell Mr. W because he asked me not to share any more kitchen pictures until The Big Reveal when everything is finished. Let's pretend I'm just showing you the chicken apple sausages from Trader Joe's that we ate for dinner last night...)

Amidst all the tiling, we also had some major chicken misadventures this weekend. Saturday while I was clearing a new spot for kale and letting the girls free range, little miss Carrie Birdshaw hopped the fence, cut through a hole in my neighbor's hedge and wandered over to say hello to them. All of the sudden, I turned around and she was gone. As I started frantically calling her name (as if she's going to come when called...) I heard my neighbor's voice say, "Uh Melissa, are you missing a chicken?"

I raced over to their yard and there she was, happy as a clam to be cruising around on a lush green lawn. We exchanged some words and she went directly back into her run where she wrote "I will not wander into the neighbor's yard" 40 times on the blackboard.

While she was out gallivanting all over town, her sister Samantha was coming down with some unknown bird affliction. I noticed her acting spacey in the yard, and later she was sleeping inside the coop and seemed to be keeping to a corner of the run.

As per my natural mode of operating as a chicken mother, I panicked and started furiously consulting chicken blogs.

Then I remembered something a friend had shared with me on Facebook about remedying various hen ailments with "the spa cure." So I headed to Rite Aid and bought some Epsom salts to give my girl a bath.

Unfortunately I was so worked up, I didn't think to take a picture of her in the bathtub. It was pretty darn adorable. She was very relaxed as her little feet and belly had a good soak and I stroked her back and neck. It was so late when we took her out that Mr. W insisted we blow her dry so she wouldn't catch a cold when we put her back in the coop to sleep. Shockingly, she just stood quietly while we literally blew hot air up her butt. I thought for sure the sound of the hairdryer would send her into a frenzy, but I guess the calming, warm breeze overruled it.

How could anyone not love that face?

A little olive oil and some vitamins and oatmeal and she seemed okay enough to reunite with her sisters.

The next morning, she was good as new. Phew.

Now if she'd only get cracking on some egg-laying already.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

7-Year Crack Itch

Last night as Mr. W and I stood side-by-side in the bathroom getting ready for bed, he turned to me and said, "You are one sexy woman..."

I'll get back to the rest of the sentence in one second.

Yesterday marked the 7-year anniversary of our first date. I remember that night so vividly, still. It was a Sunday. It was chilly. I carefully chose an outfit that was warm but still seemed kind of chic (black sweater, jeans, and flats). I had my hair highlighted the week before. I tried hard to temper my excitement throughout the night as I realized this guy could be somebody important. I'm sure I made coy facial expressions all through dinner.

We ate fondue. We drank wine. Mr. W put his arm around me to keep me warm when he walked me to my car.

We were on such good behavior, so committed to putting our best selves forward to woo one another.

Flash forward seven years, and this is what my husband said to me last night:

"You are one sexy woman. Polka-dot pajama bottoms under your dress while you're scratching your butt."

Yep. I was scratching by butt in front of him. On the anniversary of our first date.

The old seven year itch.

It's funny how relationships transform over the years.

I cannot express enough gratitude for the fact that Mr. W stays married to me even though I act and dress this way (ask him how many times a week I stay in my workout clothes until bed...) He is a gem and I am so lucky he liked me enough on that first date to ask me on another and another.

Before I climbed into bed, I changed out of the flannel pj bottoms and dress and into something with a bit more black lace on it.

And then, of course, we worked on scratching a different kind of itch.....