Mason Jar Mummies

I recently found a Mummy Candle Jar idea on Pinterest and thought it would be cute to do these in lieu of pumpkins this year.  Since I was out of town the last two weekends, it didn’t make sense to carve pumpkins just to have them rot before I could enjoy them.

Here is an easy project made of medical bandage wrap, mason jars, paper and a candle.  The original design came from here.  I didn’t have the goog-ley eyes (I only get these for Justin), so I just cut out some paper and stuck ‘er on.  I had everything else on hand because I am a mason jar hoarder, and because Justin slid into 3rd during softball playoffs last week (so I had plenty of bandages on hand).  The candles inside are actually Christmas scented – I’m hoping the trick-or-treaters enjoy the balsam fir scents emanating from my  home.

Seriously, adorable…right?!

This is one of my favorite Halloween projects. Ever.  I completed it while eating dinner – it was that easy!  And they are so cute.  Even though I did these instead of carving pumpkins, I think they would look cute on the front porch next to some nicely carved squash 🙂  Don’t worry – Justin will get his bandages back after October 31st.  Note:  These were unused bandages.  Bloody bandages, although appropriate, just didn’t seem healthy.

Who else has bought way too much candy this year? Have you carved the old traditional pumpkin or did you switch it up this year? 

It’s like Arachnaphobia. But Real.

They could film Arachnaphobia II in my garage.  Or they could’ve before we evicted the spider colony that recently resided in here.  Remember when I replaced the garage door late last year?  Even though I have an oversized detached garage with a brand new door, I still use it for nothing more than an oversized shed.

Why?

Because my garage has this thing.  It breeds the largest spiders I’ve ever seen.  In my life.

If I ever had to enter the garage, I would do so very carefully.  Being mindful of any spiders that might try to attack from their invisible bungee cords.

One web got so big last year that we couldn’t even see through it.  That’s a true story.  And that’s exactly why I refuse to go into the garage, let alone park my vehicle within the infested area.

I realize that now Fall has begun, it’s probably time to actually share my summer projects.  Back in July, during my blogging hiatus, Justin and I were fed up with the infestation in the garage and decided to attack the suckers head on.

We bought 3 spider-killing foggers from Home Depot for $10.  Each fogger is good for 2,000 sq feet.  And with the garage being only about 500 square feet, we figured we were covered.

We set off one fogger, placed it on a stool in the middle of the garage, closed the door and waited.  Four hours later, we opened up the door and couldn’t help but notice that all the spiders looked to be happier hanging out in their hulk-sized webs than before we set it off!

So we did it again.  And then again.

Nothing.  Everyone was still alive and well.

That’s when we realized our current method wasn’t going to work.  The foggers weren’t doing their job.  Even though the garage is an enclosed area, it is old as dirt and there are weaknesses to it.  Gaps around one of the windows, no insulation, and one large garage door that probably doesn’t seal that well.  So we had to take a different approach.

We looked at the walls.  And realized what the issue was.

The walls of my garage are covered in brown peg board.  It is disgusting stuff full of water damage and mold.  I can only assume it’s been on the walls for the last 40 years.  And protecting the spiders and and their children hidden safely behind those walls.  Generation after disgusting generation.

The moisture in the peg board gathered over the last few decades must be what has drawn the spiders to the garage.  Well, that was our assumption.

So one summer day, Justin and I removed the aged walls.

We tore down all the peg board, and vacuumed out the 40 years worth of dirt, weeds, spiders and spider webs with my shop vac (that is now not allowed back into the house until it’s been de-tox’d).  Then we soaked sprayed the walls with Ortho Home Defense.  And when it dried, we sprayed them again for good measure.  (This is not a blog post on healthy living or natural alternatives – I would not recommend licking the walls of our garage).

And then we waited.

And guess what?  Not one spider has been spotted.

I spent all day in the garage while we held a garage sale.  I didn’t find any survivors or new tenants.

I’ve opened the door and eyed the place for a new web each week since we sprayed 2 months ago.  NADA.

So, the garage is not pretty on the inside, but it is an improvement from where it was.

We don’t know if we’ll ever do anything with the garage (like put walls back up or maybe paint).  Frankly, I don’t care what my garage looks like on the inside.  At least not right now. holylongtodolist.  I’m just happy that my house is no longer breeding guiness-book-worthy arachnids.

The spiders have been given a permament eviction.  At least from the garage.  Keep your fingers crossed that they haven’t moved onto the house.

And the cost of this project:  $40.

Well, that’s what my co-pay was at the urgent care facility that I visited after I stepped on a 3 1/2″ rusty nail.

The good news is that I now have my tetanus shot.  And the puncture hole from the nail only hurt for a day.

So, that’s what the garage oversized shed looks like.  Now maybe I’ll be brave enough to park my car in here overnight.

I still dream of a beatiful spider-free garage with an epoxy floor and floor-to-ceiling shelves of organizers.  But not today.  Today, I’m still dreaming of a paint color for the guest bedroom.  Or decorating my mantle for fall…

Have you madeover a garage? My parents just did theirs – complete with crown molding and a rubber floor.  It took 25 years of owning their home to do that…and my dad is retired so he has the time to hang crown molding in the garage.  I mean, who doesn’t hang crown molding in a garage…

Anyone else have crazy parents??   😉

Mary

Transition to Guest Room/Workspace: Phase 1

We haven’t really gone public with this bit of info…so here’s the big announcement.  Justin has let his rental go and he officially moved in as of September 1st.  Since we are combining two houses into one, we spent some time minimizing all of our things.  Justin went through his belongings, I went through mine, and we decided what would be “ours” and what would be donated/sold.

Fortunately, for all parties involved, Justin lived with two roommates who owned most of the items of the household. So he was mostly moving his bedroom and some items from their man cave in the basement. At one point, Justin owned a pool table and a futon. I feel somewhat guilty for being as happy as I am about this…but neither of those two items made the transfer. Woohoo! The pool table had been pretty beaten up and he didn’t want to move it. The futon was up for discussion – but we didn’t have the space for it. So it didn’t make the cut. Thankmyluckystars.

We really only had to make space for one item – and that was his full-sized bed. We have several family members and friends who live out of town and visit quite often, so we decided that keeping the bed would be a great idea.

This house has two bedrooms. And the second bedroom was being used as an office. Which I do need since I am always working at home – but I don’t need an entire room dedicated to this kind of space. Especially since I’ve picked up a bad habit of working from my dining room.

So that’s the story of how this…

Turned into this.  An hour later.

Let me remind everyone that a remodel gets worse before it gets better.  This is only phase 1 of the transition.  All we’ve done so far is sell the office furniture, remove decor from the walls, patch the holes and move in the bed.
I’m excited to have a new project!  It helps me forget all those other projects I’ve been pushing back.
The only items I’ve purchased specifically for this room is the quilt and sheets – everything else was just grabbed from around the house. We needed sheets.  Justin was using sheets fitted for a queen bed (and this is a full-sized bed) so my first priority was to get the correct size of sheets. Men…Don’t ever let them do the shopping. Turns out that finding full sized sheets are harder than I thought. Homegoods had 1 single set of full sheets. It must’ve been my lucky day because they were white. My favorite color.
I found that cabinet at a garage sale earlier this summer.  For $40.  It’s my new favorite piece of furniture.  I didn’t have a place for it, but I couldn’t pass it up!  Best. purchase. ever.  It’s perfect for this itty bitty room.
One purchase that I would like to make for this room is a headboard (a footboard might make the room too cramped).  So something like this, or this is what I’m thinking.  Otherwise, I might just DIY something.
The lamp is from Target – I got it on clearance late last year for only $9.98.  I painted it this silver (it was originally a dark yellow), but I still don’t like the color.  In the end, it will work out great for this room – after it’s painted once more.  Or twice.  I can get a little crazy with the spray paint.
The nightstand was given to me by a friend.  When I had the garage sale, I allowed her to walk through and grab what she wanted.  So in return, I snagged this nightstand from her.  I plan on painting it and swapping out the hardware.
And that mirror.  Oh that mirror.  I love it.  It’s one of those items that I bought a while back (from HomeGoods), but never found the perfect place for it.  This room will be the perfect fit for it.
The wicker chair was a gift from a friend.  And it’s perfect for that little corner.
So, I lost an office, but gained a really great guest bedroom.  Or maybe a nap room.
Let’s get back to the office space.  I actually do need a space to store my work stuff (it’s in the closet for now).  And my ultimate plan is to turn that closet into a workspace.  I’m dreaming of something like this.  But maybe a bit more built-in, like this.  Who knows when I’ll find the time for this (every weekend through November is booked), but in the long haul, that’s the plan.
I’ll be painting the bedroom something less cream-y.  But still very neutral.  I’m playing around with a few different paints, but I’m a sucker for white cottage bedrooms.  I’m going to mull this over for a bit longer.  But, if you want to know where I’m at….I do like this mix of colors.
(source)
I’ve got a few different ideas – including doing something cool to the ceiling.
We’ll see how the next few months go.  We’ve kickstarted our house-search once again and expanded our area hoping to get more options.  (Which also helped my argument in keeping the room very neutral – we would list the house the second we find something and a neutral room will appeal to more buyers).
If we don’t find something soon, I’m going to have to remodel this house again!
I’ll post updates and ideas as we progress.  And life living with a boy?  Not much has changed, except that the finished basement has now been decorated with sport memorabilia.  And I don’t really mind.
Mary

Country Living Fair 2013

As promised, I am sharing my pictures from the Columbus Country Living Fair road trip this past weekend.  Let me warn you – there was so much good stuff here that you’ll want to reserve your ticket for next year.
My girlfriends and I started to plan this weekend way back in April – and it actually worked out for all of us!  Amy, Lindsay and Julie each have a family of little ones (7 kiddos between the three of them!) and it’s not often they can sneak away.  So the fact that this one weekend worked for everyone was a miracle in itself!
We left first thing Friday morning.  Our first stop (before we even got out of town) was at Starbucks.  We had to get the official drink of all girls weekends….yeah, you know what it is.
The CL Fair is held in the Ohio Village area of Columbus and runs for 3 days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) from 10am-5pm each day.
This was our first time to the CL Fair so we had no idea what to expect.  We had very low expectations – we expected large crowds and overpriced items.  Overall….it was WAY better than any of us imagined.  The prices were very reasonable.  Think…better-than-antique-store price tags, but way more variety.
Our plan was to arrive at noon, enjoy the fair until it closed and then hit the town at night.  Saturday we would spend a whole day at the fair then drive home.  It worked out great for the four of us!  Friday didn’t bring as large of a crowd as we expected so we were happy to take advantage of the elbow room.  And thank goodness we did!  Saturday we arrived 20 minutes after the doors opened and were met with long lines and a huge crowd of people.  Not only did we have to wait to park, but we had to wait in line just to purchase an item.
Luckily, the fall weather was perfect for shopping outdoors all weekend so waiting in lines wasn’t all that bad.
I tried to take as many pictures as possible to capture what the fair has to offer.  Most pictures were taken on Friday.  There were such large crowds of people on Saturday that I had to wait for the crowd to clear so I could snap a picture.  And it was definitely picture-taking ADD – Every where I looked I saw more items that caught my eye.  It’s a very good thing I have a small house.  I would’ve filled a truck myself with everything I wanted to take home.
I mean burlap pillows, barn wood signs, marquee letters, vintage fans and screen printed tea towels -they were everywhere.
No matter what you might have been looking for, I bet you would’ve found it.
Are you in the market for letters?  Maybe to spell a word or use as a monogram?
These red letters were about 18″ high and cost about $10.  I imagined a large red letter sitting above the barnwood headboard of a little boys bedroom.
And these vintage printers blocks in ‘his’ and ‘hers’ initials would look cool on a nightstand or bookcase.
I think my favorite “letter” idea is below.  I’m in love.  I think these letter-cut books would be an awesome gift…and definitely do-able at only $22.  It could be a pretty easy DIY project using a band saw and drill press.  Yup…I need a band saw…and a drill press.  I have a birthday coming up if anyone wants to rush out and get one of those 😉 
Maybe you’re in the market for antlers?  There definitely wasn’t a shortage of those.  I think every vendor had some to sell.
One vendor displayed a whimsical version of the rustic antlers.  She wrapped colorful yarn around random areas to pretty ’em up.  This would be a very easy DIY project!
I’m more of a fan of the au natural antler.  One or two gracing the shelves of a built-in or sitting on a side table add some dimension.  I like this arrangement below.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this exact setup in the pages of Country Living…
If I had a foyer, that cabinet would’ve came home with me.  And maybe a set of antlers.
If antlers aren’t your thing…then maybe you’re looking for bunting.  You know, those flags seen all over Pinterest?  There was a ton here!  Triangular, square, vinyl, paper, burlap, chalkboard…
No matter what your style, there was a bunting for you.
Or maybe you’re into wooden crates and baskets.  Yeah, they had one or two…at every tent.
Peck baskets were $16/each (eek!) and those crates I think were $22/each.
Maybe a dough bowl or cutting board is more up your alley?  Sure you can get them from Potterybarn. But these are the originals worn with years of usage.  I would LOVE one of these hanging in my kitchen.  And if I had a kitchen with huge walls and tons of light, these would’ve came home with me.  I’m actually tearing up a little that I left with out one…maybe next year.
These type trays are very popular with the country folk.  I’m not sure what I would store in them, but if you have a thimble collection (?) or maybe a tiny GI Joe collection, this would be perfect 🙂
 Have you been looking for vintage shoe trees (mannequin feet???)?  Who isn’t?
Vintage road signs?  They got ’em.  Lots of them.  See that industrial cart sitting behind them?  I’ve been eyeing these for a while!  I would love one for my coffee table.  This definitely almost came home with me.  There were rows of these carts…so I’m confident there will be more next year.
There were plenty of rustic homemade racks too.  Like this one below, which I think would be a cool DIY project.  Those are spoons flattened and nailed to weathered wood, and then the handles are bent so they can be used as a hanger.  How cute would these be in a kitchen to hold a hand towel or apron?
I had an immediate connection with the repurposed door knob racks below.  Love at first sight? Oh yeah. 
Here’s another idea with silver flatware – a silver pie server bent to go over a door or cabinet.  Mind. blown. 
How about unique lighting? There were so many great ideas – baskets, jars, cages… all repurposed as light shades.  These were some pretty cool ones…
And you know I’m partial to mason jar chandeliers.
All of those lights were plugged in to an outlet, but could also be hardwired.  And they were only $40 each!! What!?
These aged maps are one of the first items we saw.  They can be used as framed art or wrapping paper.  A little pricey at $5 each if using as wrapping paper – but a steal if framed out.  I’m a fan… I actually snagged one of these exact maps a year ago while we were visiting Baltimore.  I’m still trying to find the perfect spot for it…
If you’ve ever flipped through the pages of Country Living, then you will probably agree that any of these items would be seen in the pages of the magazine.  There was just so many different items…
Old and new.
Repurposed and replicated.
Antique…
Timeless…and just random.
I didn’t know what kind of prices to expect prior to our trip.  So I mainly went with the thought that I would bring back some great ideas.  And I definitely got a few.
Like these word cards.  These could easily be recreated (although the vintage ones are pretty cool).  I can picture this hanging among a photo gallery on the wall.  A little reminder for all my friends who think grammar and spelling isn’t important.  Spelling is cool.  And so is this little sign.
While these little signs were only $7 each, they would be an easy and free DIY project.  And a cute sign to direct wedding guests to the ceremony and reception.
I particularly like the shape of the sign below.  The saying is pretty darn adorable, and I like the weathered wood.
Oh, and this is my favorite weathered art piece.  Ever.  I love the wittiness of this.  I may just have to recreate this to go over my own sofa.
There were so many great ideas for fall.  Like these fabric pumpkins with a stick used as a stem!  The fabric choices weren’t really my style.  These pumpkins were actually creating by sewing fabric pieces together.  I’d have to use this idea, but avoid the whole sewing part.  I’ve seen other fabric pumpkins where the actual stem from a real pumpkin is used – which I like even better.
Or I can just scrap that idea all together and make a book page pumpkin.  Love love love this idea.  This will definitely be a project for craft night.  Who’s in for craft night book page pumpkins?
I snapped this picture below to remind me what this burlap wreath looked like.  The price on this guy was only $38, and I almost sprung for it.  Amy convinced me that I can make this.  So I guess I’ll be making it…
Look who represented Michigan!  Cari from HGTVs ‘Cash and Cari’ had a stand with her goods.  Her storefront is in Ann Arbor.  I didn’t realize she was actually working her stand until after I took a picture.  But she was there!  Recognize her?
It took us 1 1/2 days to see the entire fair.  I think we would’ve done it in one day had we gotten there early enough.  But we had such a great time that we decided to make this an annual trip.  Next year we plan to to drive out Thursday night and then spend all Friday at the fair to avoid the weekend crowd.
Even the food at the fair was unique.  We stopped by the Sweet Carrot Casual Cuisine Food Truck and indulged in this housemade pulled pork with corn salsa and cole slaw on a corncake.  Oh, and loaded with a layer of mac and cheese.  Yum and yum.  We didn’t say this was a healthy eating weekend…
I had to make a stop at my favorite ice cream spot.  I first had Jeni’s Ice Cream in Nashville – who knew they had food trucks!  Come to Michigan, please!!
Salted Caramel and Brambleberry Crunch ice cream.  This treat can even entice the most lactose intolerant folk to try it…
And finallyhere’s what I took home.  I practiced a lot of control people…
This burlap Christmas stocking and wire bird ornament.  I buy a new bird ornament each year for my tree, and I like having a variety of different stockings. 
This bird necklace.  Justin calls me Katniss Everdeen when I wear it.
Two vintage tea towels, and one new one.  I have an obsession with tea towels.  I don’t understand it either.
These dachshund pillows.  I couldn’t pass them up!  You’re rolling your eyes.  I know I know.  It’s a dachshund thing…we’re all crazy.
And finally, this doorknob coat rack.  I haven’t found the perfect place for it yet, but I’m thinking it will hang in my bedroom to hold my purse and maybe a sweater.  Because I keep the temp in my house just above freezing in the winter.  Why?  Idontknow.
So, what do you think?  Annual girls trip?
Mary

Vacation

Vacation has officially started!

The phones are off and we are looking forward to just enjoy each other and the island.

Let’s hope the 3-year expired Dramamine holds out for the 30 min boat ride. Apparently motion sickness is a side effect to being ‘almost 30.’
Have a great weekend everyone!
Mary

The Best Homemade Sea Salt Scrub (in Lavender, of Course)

I have been on the hunt for a great sea salt scrub for a while now.  You know, a natural exfoliant to renew skin and moisturize in those dry, wintry months.

Everything I found was either too rough, too sticky, too oily or too chemical-ly (yeah, that’s a word).

My brother’s wife’s sister (got all that?) made this mix, shared it with me, and I had to share it with all of you because it really is the best.

I’ve tested it.

I worked off of her recipe and found what I think is the best combination to give great results.

And now it’s time to share the love.

Here are the ingredients to make the best sea salt scrub. ever:

Lavender Sea Salt Scrub

  • 1/2 c. Almond Oil (you can also use Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but EVOO is more fragrant and it may become rancid over time)
  • 1/2 c. Coconut Oil (not shown – I use Organic Virgin Coconut Oil which is solid at room temperature)
  • 2 c. Fine Ground Sea Salt (make sure it is fine ground…anything more course will just scratch your skin)
  • 6 drops of Vitamin E Oil (or 6 capsules with the gel squeezed out)
  • 20 drops of Lavender Oil*
  • 1/4 c. Lavender Buds (optional)*

Unless your household is 78 degrees, the Coconut Oil will be solid.  Place the jar of Coconut Oil in hot water and let it liquefy (I would not recommend microwaving it).  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.  This should make 2 generous jars of Sea Salt Scrub.  This stuff lasts a long time – I’ve had my mixture for 4 months and it still smells like it was freshly made.

*You can swap out the lavender oil for your favorite oil of choice.

To use:

  1. Place a quarter-sized amount of sea salt in the palm of your freshly-washed hands (wet or dry). Rub your hands together for 2-3 minutes making sure to exfoliate cuticles, in between fingers, palms and back of hand.
  2. Wash salt mixture off hands under warm water. Your hands will feel oily. This is a good thing.
  3. Pat hands dry. Feel the goodness.

I would recommend exfoliating 2-3 times a week. I understand that you may love this so much that you’ll want to use this every day, several times a day. I did this. It was not a good idea.

Works great as a body scrub too!  I wash with my favorite Everyday Shea Body Wash, then lightly scrub all over with the Lavender Sea Salt Scrub, rinse off the salt, then pat the water off with a towel.  On the days that I use the sea salt scrub I don’t need to moisturize with anything else.

As always, exfoliate before shaving legs.  I wouldn’t recommend exfoliating and shaving on the same day anyway.  The oils could gunk up the razor blades and render the blades useless.

I like to pair my salt scrub with a spoon or spreader to get the mixture out of the jar. This will keep the mixture fresh longer (since you’re not placing dirty/wet fingers in the jar).

I found this antique spreader at an estate sale earlier this year (4 for a $1 – gotta love a bargain).

I try to make all of my household products myself – especially beauty products that I put on my skin daily.  I love when I find a great recipe for a homemade product that works better than any other commercially produced and bottled product on the market – and even better when I already have the ingredients in my kitchen!

Enjoy!

Mary

Happy Birthday, Joe Louis!

We took a little break from the projects and blogging to spend some time with our little man last night.  Joe Louis is 1 year old today!  That’s right, exactly one year ago today this little guy was born.

 

Birth Day!

Quite hamster-ish, right? Joe was a handsome little devil right from the start.  And only one year later he is a full-grown dachshund, weighing it at a hefty 9 lbs.  Getting better looking every day…

So we tortured him yesterday by making him wear a festive hat.  He’ll put up with anything for a treat.

1 year old

Warning: cat people may want to click that red X in the upper right hand corner.  Oh yeah, this is definitely a crazy-dog-mom post.

Here are some snapshots documenting Joe’s first year.  This is what you do when you don’t have kids.  Dress up your dog and celebrate his birthday.

2 weeks old

Joe Louis with his littermates.  He’s the one looking at the camera. 

4 weeks old

We picked him up at 10 1/2 weeks.  Pic from his first day home.

10  1/2 weeks old

And first time meeting Lucy.

Of course we had to get him a life jacket for his first day on the boat.

Joe Louis made his way around…visiting Justin at work.  And he even travelled with me one day to visit clients.

11 weeks

12 weeks

13 weeks

14 weeks old

Here’s our all time favorite video of Joe Louis.  He’s very passionate about eating… (turn your speakers down before playing…I’m apparently screaming into the microphone)

It turns out that Joe Louis travels well.  He’s endured several road trips with more than 9 hours in the car at a time.

4 months old – Somerset, PA

5 months – Carlisle, PA

He met his first house guest when Yuki stayed with us for two weeks in December.  Yuki and Joe Louis became great friends.

6 months old

For the first four months, Joe Louis was a breeze.  He had picked up potty training, never barked, learned a bunch of tricks (sit, stay, lay down, play dead and roll over) and he was so laid back I thought we had hit the puppy lottery.

Then…he reminded me why I vowed never to have another puppy after Lucy.  Overnight Joe Louis turned into a little terror.  He got into everything.

 6 months

7 months

8 months

We thought having his little beans removed might help him calm down…

10 months

Nope.

10 months

11 months

The vet got to know us very well after the multiple phone calls I’ve had to make regarding different items he would ingest.  The kid has a stomach of steel and a huge personality for such a little body.

11 months

11 months

One thing is for sure.  Lucy has a little buddy – I even catch them playing together sometimes.

Don’t be fooled by the cute pictures.  When Joe isn’t getting into trouble, he’s planning his next move.  Don’t trust him.

1 year old

Happy Birthday, Joe man!

                                                                                 1 year old

Thanks for enduring the crazy dog photos for me!  Celebrating a dogs birthday really isn’t all that crazy.  Celebrating the birth of a Corvette – now that’s pretty crazy.  Right Dad??

Mary

 

I knew that Dachshunds are prone to several disesases, including eye disease, and more commonly, back problems. I had also heard that some doxies can be nasty and mean – so I set out to find a breeder who bred only doxies and cared mostly about health and attitude. Before I get attacked by Sarah Mclaughlin, let me be clear. I feel very strongly about not buying a dog from an unethical “breeder” – while all animals deserve equal amounts of love, I won’t support a shady individual to continue mistreatment and misbreeding of animals. We should all do enough work to find out if our money is supporting a puppy mill or a crappy person. I wanted a dog bred for health and attitude. And I found a breeder who loves mini doxies and bred them to be healthy, loving – and obviously, handsome.

 

Penny Ball

I finished my very first Pinterest-inspired project.  This occasion should be documented!

Yes, that is a ball covered in pennies.  It serves a purpose.  I promise.

Why should we document pennies being glued to a ball?  Because I started this project 18 months ago shortly after I joined the addictive Pinterest community.  It’s not the only Pinterest-inspired project (see more projects herehere and here), but it is the very first.  I was inspired by this Penny Garden Ball (original source here) and shortly thereafter, snagged a free bowling ball, started sticking on pennies, and then I ran out.  And so it sat.

If holding this 12 pound ball in front of my body like this feels anything like being pregnant, it will be a very uncomfortable few months.  (Just to clarify…I am not pregnant).

Last week, during a spree to complete the “unfinished” projects laying around the house (there are many),  I finished this one up.  Thankfully, 18 months seemed to be enough time to add the appropriate number of pennies I needed to the spare change jar so I could tackle the rest of my penny ball.

Why cover a bowling ball in pennies you ask?? Apparently, when placed in a garden the copper from the pennies repels slugs and can even change the acidity of the soil.  The acidity changes can turn hydrangeas blue.  I can’t speak to whether this is true or not because I plan on displaying this in the house.  As a dear friend pointed out, you could also just toss pennies into the garden and receive the same effect.  This never crossed my mind. 

Just in case you want to tackle this project yourself, I created a short tutorial below.  Otherwise, you can check out now and toss those pennies into the mulch.  Here are some tips that could be helpful if you decide to make yourself (or a friend) a penny ball:

  • Ask the owner or manager at the bowling alley if you can have a bowling ball destined for the trash.  They should have a few extra that aren’t being used or maybe cracked – this is how I got mine for free.  I’ve also found several at garage sales and a couple even marked for $1.  That makes this a pretty affordable project for just about anyone.
  • In order to assure a strong, waterproof bond I would recommend using an adhesive meant to stand up to water.
  • Expect to use about $4 in pennies.  This is just a guess.
  • If you want pennies that are shiny you can soak them in vinegar and this should make them new again (I wanted a variation in colors so I did not do this).

1.  Find a bowling ball.  Don’t worry about the color since you can change this.  You will see the color of the ball below the penny layer and if you don’t like the color, you can paint it after step 2.

2.  Lightly sand the bowling ball with 100 grit sandpaper to remove the glossy surface.  This will help the pennies (or paint) adhere to the surface better.

3.  Remove any finger protectors.  Not all bowling balls have these finger protector things.  Mine did, so I just pulled these out with some needle nose pliers.

4.  Fill the finger holes.  Wine corks fit perfectly.  I trimmed them to size and glued them in place with the hot glue gun and smoothed the surface with some extra glue.

I wanted to make sure the pennies would stick strong enough to withstand the outdoor elements.  Plumbers Amazing Goop (which is a solvent based adhesive) seemed to fit the bill.  It’s waterproof, doesn’t become brittle in cold water and stands up to wear and vibration.  I’d feel pretty good about using this as a bowling ball at the alley.

Start to adhere the pennies by adding a dot of glue to the back of each penny and sticking it on.  I liked the variation in color, heads and tails (and some Canadian ones too) so I didn’t use any special method to stick them on.  The adhesive dries in a minute or two so the ball should be ready to place as soon as it’s done.  Or for good measure, let it sit around the house for 18 months to ensure a good bond. The dust will really add to the “aged” look.

And that’s it!

Now you can enjoy your garden penny ball.  Or your house penny ball.  Either way I’m definitely a fan.

Anyone else take 18 months to finish a project?
I’m linking up with the Link Party at Liz Marie Blog!
Thanks for reading!
Mary
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Powerwashing and Prepping the Fence

The outside of the house is in desperate need of some TLC.  And that’s where we’ve been since we haven’t been blogging lately.  This tends to happen when you focus all your energy on renovation projects on the inside…

 

When my parents visited a few weeks ago to help with the bathroom they brought along their pressure washer so we could tackle the grungy, dirty, ugly yard.  And we definitely put it to work.
One power washer tackled a little bungalow, a two-car garage, a privacy fence, a wooden porch and a stamped concrete patio in one day.
Do you wash your house?  Am I the only one?  Because really, I’ve never seen a neighbor outside with washer fluid and a hose.  I think this should be done annually, but I took a year off from maintaining the exterior of my home.  Maybe that’s why it’s so bad…
I washed the exterior of the house only two years ago and it was already pretty nasty again…See the grimy roof line below?  I hate looking up and seeing this.
You can actually see above how quickly and easily the dirt is removed.  I’ve tried using the hose to loosen the dirt, and the grossness doesn’t budge.  Add a little bit of water shooting through a gun at bullet speed and the dirt disappears.  The left side of the picture shows the dirt-free zone completed with only one swipe of the power washer.

The great thing about a power washing is that you don’t really need soap to get the job done.  However, I would recommend spraying soap on, letting it sit and then blasting the dirt off.  It does help loosen to loosen the dirt before it’s blasted off.  I didn’t take any other pictures of the before and after, but believe me, the house glowed.  Bonus…if you use soap (I use Windex Outdoor Cleaner) it also washes the windows so it’s not necessary to take a sponge and squeegee to the windows.  Psst…I would recommend not pointing the power washer on the windows as the pressure can break the window seal (this is not good).  Stick with a hose and the Windex Outdoor Cleaner to protect your windows.

While we had the pressure washer out, we took a few minutes and power washed the stamped concrete patio as well.  The stamped concrete patio is starting to show some wear so it’s time to reseal.  Before we can reseal it though we needed to clean up the dirt and grime.  We didn’t use a cleaner – just used the pressure washer and got it prepped to be sealed with a few swipes of the gun.  There was a distinct line where we had cleaned!
The house and patio were in need of a good cleaning.  But the fence – that was really desperate.
Can you believe I scrubbed this fence only two years ago?  It was already covered in green stuff (algae??) after only 24 months.  The fence needs to be re stained, and I have plans of tackling that project later this summer.
Before I can stain the fence though, the surface has to be cleaned and prepped for a new coat of stain.  It was recommended to use Olympic Premium Deck Cleaner (about $16) at full strength to get the results I was looking for.  I picked this up at Lowe’s and ended up using the entire 2.5 gallon bottle to clean the single side of my 6′ privacy fence that wraps around my back yard (which surrounds a little less than 0.1 acre).  I sprayed the solution onto the fence with a garden sprayer, let it sit for about 20 minutes then rinsed it off with a plain hose.  And then it looked like this…
It only took about an hour to spray down and rinse off the entire fence and the result was immediate.  (The Olympic solution smelled just like bleach so I’m a little curious if I could have saved myself $14 and bought a bottle of Clorox).
We have spent two full days this spring making the outside a bit nicer to look at.  And hopefully with only two more days working outdoors we can get this list completely crossed off.
Some people love to garden…I really wish I was one of those.  Give me some low maintenance perennials and I’m a happy girl.
  • Trim tall trees (September 2012)
  • Repave driveway (August 2012)
  • Replace garage door (December 2012)
  • Repair lawn (May 2013)
  • Trim bushes (May 2013)
  • Clean out landscaping (May 2013)
  • Mulch (May 2013)
  • Power wash house, fence, patio and porch (May 2013)
  • Seal concrete patio
  • Stain porch
  • Stain fence
  • Replace garage light

The house is clean, the concrete patio is bright and the fence is spotless. Until it rains. Now we have some staining and sealing to do. Does anyone know how to stain a fence??

I swear, the house is either clean or we are out having fun.  It’s one or the other.  Wouldn’t it be nice if all houses came with a drain in the middle?  You could just hose it down with a power washer and cleaning would be done in 5 minutes.
Mary
Do you want to try power washing, but don’t have a dad with a pressure washer? 😉 You can rent one at Lowe’s or Home Depot on a daily or hourly basis. It really cuts down the scrubbing work you might have to do!

A (Almost) New Home

One week ago today, Justin stopped by after work and I handed him an envelope.  In the envelope was a key – my way of telling him that our offer on this house below had been accepted.  We celebrated and I cried.  I cried because we’ve been looking for a house for 5 1/2 months.  Because this would be our first place together.  But mostly because I couldn’t believe that we found our dream home.  It’s better than I ever could have imagined and I can’t even explain how much I love this place.

The house sits on over a 1/2 acre of a beautiful, private lot off a dirt road.  It’s surrounded by tall trees and is the exact kind of peace we were looking for.  The home is actually on the historical register for the city, and although it is outside of our desired area (which is why it’s in our price range), the old home captured our hearts.  The original woodwork was still in existance – the crown and 8″ base moulding, built-ins, wood floors, slab doors and hardware.  Everything I wanted and never thought I could afford.

I am not sad about moving on from my current home.  Yes, it’s my very first home and I put a ton of work into it, but I’ll get so much reward out of someone else loving it as much as I do.  I’ve had 5 1/2 months to prepare myself for the moment of listing it, and I knew once we found our home it would make it easier for me to move on.

Over the past 5 1/2 months, we have seen dozens of homes.  We’ve rode the crazy roller coaster of searching for a home in this market…bidding wars, houses off the market the same day, overpriced properties, etc.  We’ve only put one other offer in on a house (back in February – we didn’t get it), but haven’t found anything else that we wanted to call home.  Our list of wants is based around those things we can’t change…location and privacy, and apparently a basement (since I have this inexplanable fear of tornados).  We have budgeted for a renovation – and we expect it.  You should see some of the places we’ve walked through and considered.  One even had “squishy” hardwood floors.

When we walked through this historic home, it immediately felt like ours – which was the exact feeling I got when I saw my current home for the first time back in 2011.  And then I broke the number one rule of house-searching.  I fell in love with it before signing the closing documents.  I planned the chicken coop and vegetable garden, the kitchen layout and butler pantry, I imagined my reading and yoga room on the 3rd floor, and Justin planned his man cave in the 200 sq foot studio.  I saw our family growing there together.  It really was love at first sight.  I loved it so much that I included a letter to the seller with our bid.  Our offer was accepted above 3 others – and we weren’t even the highest offer.

I was so excited to get the phone call that night telling me our offer had been accepted.  We wanted to share our news with everyone, but we decided rather to keep our secret until after the appraisal went through.  But we never made it that far.  I had a feeling that this seemed too perfect and something would go wrong.  I would love for this post to be our announcement that we found our dream home.  Unfortunately, the ending is a little bit different.

After our offer was accepted on Monday, it was a whirlwind of a week.  The financing was approved and going through underwriting, we booked the appraisal and scheduled the inspections.  Learning from the experiences on my own 1926 home, I called in everyone I could to look at the house on inspection day and I even prepared Justin for the scary things we would hear.  An old home is compared to a new home and current codes – so there will be many things mentioned and it could feel overwhelming.  We called in our electrician, the general home inspector, then we hired a chimney inspector and a septic drain field inspector, and then I called my brother to give me his opinion of the roof.  This home is only a year older than my current home, but double the size so we had low expectations when it came to the inspection.  We knew there was work to be done.  We mentally prepared ourselves for what we thought we would hear.

However, the issues the inspection revealed were far beyond what we could prepare ourselves for.  One major issue that would have to be dealt with immediately was estimated between $8k-$25k…and possibly more.  It was an issue that would have to be approved by the city, which could take months.  There was another that was uncovered that could cost triple that estimate, not to mention the list of other “old home” problems that would have to be fixed before we could make cosmetic changes.  While the list grew, the thought of those two major issues lingered in front of us and overwhelmed us.  We were already starting to feel like we were drowning financially and we didn’t even own it.  I could feel my hopeful heart breaking.

I left the home inspection in tears knowing what we had to do.  I expected to comfort Justin and reassure him of the “old house” issues.  Except I was the one feeling like it was all too much.  And after a very serious conversation, we chose to walk away from our offer with very heavy hearts.  We could have at least tried to negotiate with the seller to fix the major issue or decrease the purchase price based on the inspection reports, but honestly, we felt slighted.  The owner had opened a permit with the city to fix the issue several years back, yet never fixed it and never listed the issue in the disclosures.  It didn’t come up until we were with one of the inspectors.  The seller even tried to hide it by hiring a company to “clean up” hours before our inspection.  We felt the owner should have been honest about the issue – instead it cost us $600 to discover what they already knew.

So, we walked away.  And I’ve spent all weekend silently sulking and asking Justin to remind me that we did the right thing.  Just looking at the picture of the house above still makes me really sad.  We kept ourselves busy this holiday weekend by working on our “to-do” list like we planned – doing the necessary work in prepping to list the current house.  We also treated ourselves to several nights out…you know, since we aren’t buying another house.  On the bright side, we get to enjoy a new toilet for a little big longer.  And we even talked about actually tackling the bathroom renovation.

I’m glad I could finally be honest with all of you.  I’ve spent the last 5 1/2 months finishing up projects and prepping to list my house.  Justin and I would like to eventually sell this home and find a new house together.  I’m sure we’ll find another home we love.  It could happen in a month or in 5 years and until then, I will enjoy every moment of living in my “first home.”  And I guarantee the projects won’t stop.  In fact, we already made a list of projects we are going to tackle this summer…since we’ll be here anyway.

Mary

Our search for a home continues and I promise I will update if we find anything.  Searching for a home is frustrating…atleast for us.  I am so thankful for Justin in this all of this.  We have kept each other within our budget (so far) and bring each other back to reality.  I was very apprehensive when when we first started looking for a new home together.  I thought he would want something “move in ready.”  Thankfully, the man has a love for the quirky, unique character and history of an old home.  And he’s not afraid of a little bit of work…or maybe he has no idea what he’s getting himself into. 

I thought I would share this quote I came across on Pinterest.  It should be the theme of our house search because most people wouldn’t find the beauty in some of the places we’ve been…