Friday, December 9, 2011

Tutu Pretty

In the spirit of Christmas, I volunteered to help a family in need by making a Christmas present for the 2 girls.  If you read our other blog, Bloggle Baby, you know that I recently learned how to make a no-sew tutu.  I thought it would be fun to make one for each of the girls.  I found out their favorite colors and approximate waist sizes and got to work.  I sewed on flowers for an extra touch of whimsy.  ^_^  I also made a matching hair barrette with the leftover ribbon and tulle.  I like how they turned out, but I especially hope the girls that I made them for like them even more.  :)

Purple Tutu and Butterfly Hair Clip

Pink Tutu and Butterfly Hair Clip

What do you think?  Will the girls like them?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Where We Stand

I've been playing around with our camera's panoramic function.  I haven't quite gotten the hang of it yet, but I wanted to post some pics of our progress.  These were the best of the bunch.  ^_^*


Guest Room


When we have finished these rooms, I will break out our tripod and take better panoramic pics to show you.

Last night, I was finally able to decorate the Christmas tree while Jim was outside staining.

I still need to add the tree skirt.  We also need to find a decent tree topper.  We looked for one last year, but didn't find one that we liked.  We'd like to find a star that lights up instead of an angel with a tree stuck up its butt.  LOL!  We put the tree in our dining room this year since the library is still full of stuff for our upstairs projects.

Stocking Feeder for the Birds

If we get around to putting lights up outside, I'll take a picture of them.  I'd like to at least get a picture of our Christmas tree from outside.

Other House Distractions

Besides working on the nursery, guest room, upstairs hall, and stairwell; we've had some side projects pop up.

Unwanted House Guests:  Shortly after we brought Avonlea home from the hospital, we discovered that she wasn't the only new resident.  Three different types of bees decided to move in as well!  A family of bumblebees and some type of smaller bee tried to move into our basement.  At the same time, a type of wasp or hornet was getting into our house via the downstairs bathroom's vent.  Yikes!  We decided to call an exterminator to take care of the problem.  We haven't seen any bees since, thank goodness!...
Well, except for this one.

Winterizing: The weather-stripping on our exterior doors were disintegrating, so we've replaced them.  We've also covered all the older windows with the plastic film to prevent drafts and air leakage. 

Roof:  We noticed something wasn't right with the ridge vents on our roof, so we called a roofer.  It turns out that the nails holding the ridge vents down were popping out.  The roofer removed all the nails and caulked the holes.  He then secured the ridge vents down with screws.  This should prevent the ridge vents from separating from the roof again.  Fortunately, he only charged us $110.  While he was up there, he also removed an old TV antenna for us.

Our home minus the antenna
The roof line looks so much nicer now.

Mutiny! I'm Taking This Blog Back!

After Avonlea was born, we decided to split our 2 blogs between us.  I would write mostly on Bloggle Baby, and Jim would take over Blue Century Home.  Unfortunately, it turns out that Jim isn't much of a blogger (as is quite evident); so, I'm reclaiming this blog.  ^_^
Since we've made quite a bit of progress, and it would take me forever to give each piece justice, I'll just do a quick recap of the past 3 months.
We utterly failed at finishing the nursery before Avonlea was born.  In fact, we are still working on it.  However, we have made some significant progress on the upstairs.  The walls and ceilings are painted, trim is completed in both bedrooms (except for the closet baseboards), carpeting is picked out and ordered, and we have finished staining all the stair parts and hallway woodwork.

Here is a picture of Jim holding Avonlea in the nursery before the window trim was up. 

Our sliding 5 panel closet doors that we bought way back in April-ish.

Our 4 panel door

The windows with custom-made window sills

The trimmed-out Guest Room

This is a picture of Jim ironing on the veneer for the landing.

The stair landing balusters lined up in our garage for staining.

Jim has spent a lot of time and effort on building the newel posts.  I would post pics, but I'll leave that to Jim. He wants to write about how he built them, and I don't want to give away any spoilers.  All I will say is that I think they look great!  :)
As I've mentioned earlier, we have ordered the carpeting for the upstairs.  We have chosen Shaw Stainmaster carpeting.  The hallway and stairs will be a medium brown with a leaf pattern.  The nursery will be a light beige and the guest room will be a light grey.  Jim wanted to go lighter in the hallway and stairs, but I was adamant not to go too light.  I don't feel like having to constantly clean the carpet (especially on the stairs).
Hallway and Stairs:
Style: Lasting  Color: Amaretto
Style: St Amien II  Color: Bridal Veil
Guest Room:
Style: St Amien II  Color: Mineral Alloy
Right now, they are scheduled to install the carpeting on Dec. 22nd.  If all goes well, Avonlea might have her nursery by Christmas.  ^_^*  Well, almost...her closet won't be completed by then since we want to try something fancy besides just a single rod for clothes to hang on.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Look at those colors!

Once all of the wall spaces and cleilings were freshly primed, we formed color-teams to fill them in. Amanda worked hard to find the perfect colors for the rooms. After a few weekends of painting, and with my parents' help, our project spaces are looking more finished than ever.

We have a charming nursary in light Sage Green, which will eventually be decorated with songbird theme.

Also, We have a comfortable Lilac Time purple/grey/blue guest room, where you may stay when you visit. This photo also shows the custom windowsill we built. The windowsills are designed to be an easy transition between the window caseing and the baseboards, as the large windows are so low to the floor.

The interconnecting hall is in traditional Lyndhurst Timber, and will look remarkable with the stained wooden handrail and built-in shelf.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Painting by numbers

It sure seems like a while ago that we were doing all this painting. During the first weekend in September, my parents came to help prime all of the drywall we had recently finished finishing. Mom and Dad are a great team, and they white-washed the bedrooms and hallway in no time.

Dad and Mom working diligently. 

While they were upstairs working with white primer, Amanda and I were out in the garage working with white paint on our surplus of window and door casings and baseboards . As Amanda had a limited number of comfortable maternity clothes, she also wore a blue disposable coverall. Incidentally, she looked like a blue M&M with a paint brush. 

Jim and Amanda pretending to work while no one was looking. 

Soon enough, our working construction zone was gone. Evidence of the rough original studs, electrical wiring and insulation was only barely visible along the bottom edge of the wall. All of the measurement notes, chalk lines and repair work on the drywall had been replaced with a fresh clean coat of while primer. We now had a 'blank canvas' that resembled two bedrooms and a hallway! 

How refreshing, it looks better already! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Well Side-Project Conclusion

Woah, no real posts since August?! You probably figured that we lost our motivation in our various projects, or moved out, or were eaten by trolls. Well you figured wrong. We ate one of the trolls.

Actually, we have had a wild ride during the last month or two. This was the last leg of the headlong race to finish the nursery before the birth of our first child. There has been much productive work in the last few weeks; however, our sweet daughter Avonlea won the prize. Not really a photo finish, as she was born two weeks early and our 'completion' status is about a month or two away. In reality, Avonlea is sleeping (sometimes) in a bassinet in our bedroom, and our projects are in pretty decent shape.

The day before Avonlea was born, my family came over for a working party. While Mom, Dad, Amanda and I were painting upstairs, two of my brothers Andy and Tom worked together to finish our well side-project. As you may recall, our well was way overgrown and needed some serious help. In one afternoon, my brothers spread out twenty 40lb bags of chipped granite around the well. The area around the well looks really super great, and I am thankful that I won't have to pick up 800lbs of stones on my own.

See how great it looks now, thanks Tom and Andy!

 Mom and Dad purchased all the granite, then Tom and Andy installed it as a belated birthday present for me. To think, I would request bags of rocks for my birthday!

As if it wasn't cruel enough to make my out-of-state brothers, who I don't get to see but once or twice a year, move around a bunch of stones; once they had finished, I asked them to walk around our yard and pick up rocks. Here is a photo of our incredibly strong and resilient outdoor workforce. 
 Thanks guys, you're amazing!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Updates Coming Soon!

Sorry, Folks!  We have lots to post and pictures to share of our progress, but we've been a little derailed by our daughter coming 2 weeks early!  Things are a bit chaotic, but I hope to have a new post(s) for realsies by next weekend.  I'll try my best!  Thanks for your patience.  :) 
In the meantime, here is a picture of our newest member of Blue Century Home.

Avonlea Rose

Monday, August 22, 2011

Weeds Be Gone!

We have continued our work on the well weed deforestation project.

These are pictures of what the area looked like after we finished pulling up the weeds and raking up the lava rocks.
 Looking better already!

And here is the area after putting down the weed barrier.

The next step is buying the gravel to put on top of the barrier.  So far, we've only checked out Lowe's.  Who knew rocks could be so expensive?  Maybe we're just frugal.  LOL!

We've also been working on the upstairs.  This past week, we've measured the rooms and hallway for trim (baseboards, window and door trim).  We've ordered it from Galehouse Lumber and it should be delivered in about 2 weeks.  We'll hopefully be ready for it by then.  We still have a little bit of mudding to finish in the hallway, but then we can start the priming and painting process.  I can't wait!  I think my subconscious is waiting for paint to be on the walls before it will let my pregnancy nesting drive kick into gear.  We decided to go with the same style baseboards that we used in my craftroom.

Awesome News!

Our humble little blog has been discovered by the people at Be @ Home.  This is a website that has awesome little articles about home and garden decorating.  You can find their website at:
( .
They contacted us to be featured on their Best of the Web.  This is a page that features blogs around the interwebs that have caught their eye.  We felt honored to be considered.  :)  Here is the link: .
Our blog is mentioned about 1/2 way down the page.  Since the feature went up, we have had over 100 new blog views.  No new followers or comments yet, but we'll take what we can get.  LOL!  :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Let the Weed Deforestation Begin!

Our poor yard.  It is a bit neglected because we have been concentrating on the inside of the house so much.  Plus, because of the new septic installation, it already looks battered.  We decided to take a weekend and give the yard some much needed attention.

Our first task was to remove the weeds from around the water well area.  The weeds were so bad that it looked like we were purposefully growing a weed garden...NOT that kind of weed!  LOL!

This is what it looked like.
 I drew an arrow so you could see the well amongst the weeds.

Once the weeds were removed, we raked up all the red gravel in the area.  We plan to put a weed barrier down to try to prevent the weeds from returning.  Since I didn't like the look of the red gravel against the blue of the house, we transported all the gravel to the back of the yard to surround the firepit.  It looks a lot nicer back there.  We'll probably put grey or white gravel over the weed barrier.  I'll make sure to take a picture of it once the project is complete.

Our Snowball Bush might not have survived this spring and summer, but our Mimosa Bush is thriving in this heat and rain.

In fact, it is doing a little too well.  We need to restrain some of the heavier branches so that they don't break off.  Hmmm...I wonder when we'll have time to do that!

Another task we did that weekend was to cut down some of the webworm webs in our trees.  They especially seem to love our black walnut tree.  Some of the webs were too high for us to reach, but we did get all the lower ones.

Here is what they looked like.
 Ick!  Creepy looking, aren't they?  They remind me too much of spider webs, and I'm afraid of spiders. :(

Since I'm on the topic of bugs, here are some more for you to see.

Some Type of Fuzzy Caterpillar
 Isn't he cute?!

Red and Black Insect
He wouldn't stay still for the camera, little bugger!

Mud Fight!...Well, not really.

The mudding for the drywall has been progressing.  Both the Nursery and Guest Room might be complete by the end of today.  Jim and his mother are currently upstairs mudding as I type.  I'm not much use to them at the moment since I am now 32 weeks pregnant.  I'm not allowed on ladders, and I can't bend over easily; so I would just be able to mud in the middle.  LOL!  I would just be in the way.

Here is a shot of them that I took this morning in the Nursery.

After the bedrooms are complete, all that is left to mud is the hallway.  We want to have everything mudded before we start to prime for paint.

Jim has continued to work on the new hallway closet and built-in.  We went to Building 9 to see if we could find any discount doors and drawers for the project.  It was a success!  We managed to find a 3 panel door we liked for $30, matching cabinet doors for $10 ea, and $5 for a drawer front.  Sorry, no pictures yet of the doors, but I do have one of the closet framing.

The bottom part will be cabinets.  The middle is where the fake drawer will be, and the top will be open shelving.  That is a peek into our Master Bedroom on the left.

We have also finally installed the fire-rated drywall for the attic stairs.  I actually screwed it in place while Jim held it up.

Because an old house always has a trick up its walls, we recently had to replace our kitchen light over the sink.  The previous owners had installed a fluorescent workbench light for over the sink at some point.  The kitchen isn't one of our top priorities at the moment, so we just left it like that.  Well, one of the lights burnt out  and wouldn't work even with a new light bulb.  After a bit more fiddling, we decided to scrap the whole thing (it was ugly anyways) and traipsed over to Lowe's to peruse their clearance rack.  We were delighted to discover that they had a 3 pendant light fixture on clearance for $25.  Score!  The fixture didn't include the glass pendants, so we had to buy 3 of those.  We ended up still paying less than what the original price of the fixture would have been, so we're happy.  Oh, and in case you were wondering...Yes, Jim did have to fiddle with the wiring since the previous owners did it wrong.  Surprise!  Surprise!   Not!
Here are some pics.
 Of course, now the rest of the kitchen looks really sub-par with these new stylin' lights.
Haha!  Oh well!  Don't worry, Kitchen.  One day, your time will come for a remodel. :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Colors, Colors, Everywhere!

Now that the drywall is completely up and the mudding is nearing the least in the 2 bedrooms...I've been stalking the aisles of the local hardware stores for paint samples.  It was a grueling competition for the color swatches, but in the end, there could be only one!  Well, actually 6 if you count the 2 bedrooms, 1 hallway, and 3 ceilings.  ^_^

Here is a taste of the culling
These were the finalists for the nursery.
(Yes, that is an Ugly Doll in our color selection.  We just really liked his coloration.)
Haha!  I know, we are weird.  Poor, Enishi.  ^_^

These were the winners:
Walls: Light Sage (Olympic Paint)
Ceiling: PaleVista (Olympic Paint)
Guest Room
Walls: Lilac Time (Olympic Paint)
Ceiling: Windsor Haze (Olympic Paint)
Walls: Lyndhurst Timber (Valspar Historic Paint)
Ceiling: March Ice (Valspar Paint)

Jim and I agreed on the general color for each area (ex: grey-tinged purple in the Guest Room, green in the Nursery and brown in the Hallway), and I then picked out the specific colors.  Jim gave his final approval afterwards.  I think it worked out well.  I used the same method of elimination when I picked colors for the Craft Room.  I would put all the color swatches on the walls and see what they looked like throughout the varying times of day.  If I didn't like how a color looked, down it went.  The method must have worked well because I've gotten a lot of compliments on the colors of my Craft Room.  You can see pics of it in the Before and After Section of this blog.  Speaking of which, I can't wait until I can add the After pictures of the Nursery, Guest Room and Hallway.  Hopefully, I'll be able to by October.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Extra service during septic installation

I forgot all about the extra service agreement that we signed with the contractor who installed our septic tank. During the day when our new system was installed, and while our yard was churned-up, a third guy came to our property in order to assess the soil. Most of the time, he was digging holes and trenches around the back yard; although, I did see him with a bicycle pump once or twice. He told me afterwards that we had a few pookas and a fire breathing dragon underground. He was able to get rid of the infestation by inflating them until they burst! Shown below is a photo during that work day.

I can't believe I nearly forgot about good old Dug.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stairway to Heaven? Nope, Just the Upstairs

Apparently, we've been super productive this month.  Once more, my in-laws came up on Sunday and helped us to install the hallway drywall.  I am once more amazed at the progress.  They are drywall installing gurus or something.  Our upstairs hallway is actually starting to look like a hallway.  :)
Here are some pics of their work.

 Looking up from the stairwell

 Looking down the hall toward the Nursery

 Looking down the hall from the Nursery (Ignore the mess in the Bonus Room/Renter's Kitchen)

Looking down the hall toward the Guest Room

There is only a little bit left to drywall and then the mudding can begin in the hallway.  Yea!

Of course, after all the drywall was up, Jim noticed that the illuminated switches in the hallway didn't seem as bright as they should be.  Jim checked it out, and he discovered the the current was active even when the lights were in the off position.  Hmmm...not good.  He was afraid that maybe a drywall screw nicked a wire or something, but he couldn't find any live screws.  He did some more investigating.  Fortunately, it was a simple fix and he didn't have to take down any of the drywall.  It turns out that the 2 switches at the top of the stairs were faulty.  He has since removed them and will replace them.

We recently had our water tested for bacteria by Davis Water Treatment for peace of mind.  Ever since our septic failed, I've been worried that our well water was contaminated.  I've been using bottled water for cooking, drinking, brushing my teeth, and other activities since.  I didn't want to take any chances with me being pregnant and all.  It also didn't make sense to have the water tested until after our new septic system was installed.  Well, the test came back negative for bacteria.  Yea!  This means that we don't have to shell out even more money to have the well chlorinated.  

We've seen some new wildlife in our yard and house lately.  On Sunday, we saw a skunk come moseying up our neighbor's driveway.  It went into the bushes beside their house.  It was at this point that we saw their cellar door open by the bushes.  Oh no!  We called our neighbors to let them know that they might have an unwanted and quite stinky house guest.  While Jim was on the phone with them, the skunk appeared once more and kept on walking and exploring the yards.  I hope it doesn't decide to take up residence nearby.  PU!  Jim came across a mouse in our basement the other night.  We bought some mouse traps and baited them with peanut butter.  The next morning, we found the mouse in the trap.  We're not sure if there are more of them, so we baited the traps again.  So far, no more mice.  I've been enjoying watching the finches at my new finch feeder and have managed to get a picture with both types in it.  I took it from my craft room window.  Our camera doesn't have the greatest zoom, so I cropped the pic.

Gold and House Finch at My Feeder
Sorry, it is a bit blurry.

Well, we've researched appropriate style/vintage newel posts for our stairwell landing and have decided that the best fit would be a box newel.  Unfortunately for us, this also seems to be the most expensive kind of newel post.  :(  Vintage/salvaged ones are just as expensive as new ones.  They can be upwards of $300 or more per newel.  We just don't have the budget for that.  So, Jim and I are playing around with the idea of making our own.  I'll keep you posted on what we inevitably decide.

This is the style box newel we like the best:

Whether or not we'll be able to replicate something like this is another story.  LOL!  Our's might end up being a little simpler since we do have to make 2 1/2 of them.

If you are interested, I have recently added 2 new entries into the Spirit Watcher page on this blog.