Monday, September 26, 2011

Day Tripper

Well, weekend tripper, but I thought since I’m singing The Beatles in my head, you should too :)

This weekend Matt and I went on a trip to the Oregon Coast with my family. It was great spending some real time together and taking my sister to the coast since she’s finally living in Portland again.

From the start of the car ride, we had a great time (well, besides my sister telling me I’m a crazy driver).

road-trip

We puzzled and played games.

puzzle

pool

We spent some time on the beach (and got some exercise!)

IMG_3000 Its nice to have proof I exercised :)

IMG_2975 My cute sister

skipping-rocksFour skips!

We saw some wildlife (though I’m not sure how ‘wild’ that deer is).

lincolncity

Emmy and Matt even went in the ocean!

IMG_3039 I love how Matt looks like he’s dancing

For the end of September in Oregon, we had some beautiful weather. Combined with good beer and wine, lots of food, and great company, it was a fantastic trip.

beach

Although I’m embracing fall, it was so nice to have one more summer weekend.

Have you guys taken any last minute trips before Fall (completely) arrives?

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Measure Twice, Cut Once

So, I totally kept a secret from you guys. Not really on purpose. At first I was a little embarrassed. But as many bloggers say, I gotta keep it real. Plus, one of my main goals for this blog is that you can learn from my mistakes!

I didn’t include this info in my post about tiling the floor, because I had already rambled on too much (I do that a lot). Plus, we hadn’t fixed it, till last weekend. And it feels much better to own up to my blunder now that we’ve finally fixed it :)

So without further ado, here’s the big mistake we I made when tiling our bathroom floor.

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You know the age-old advice to measure twice and cut once? Yeah… I didn’t do that.

Side note: I think I’ve googled the origin of more sayings than I ever wanted to know since I started this blog. Its amazing how much more you think about what you say when you write it down. Well, in case you wanted to know, “age-old” doesn’t have an interesting origin so much as a simple definition in Webster’s: having existed for ages. Who woulda thunk? :)

When we tiled the floor, Matt was in charge of the cutting, but I did all the measurements. And I don’t know how I did it but I was at least an inch off on that tile near the toilet, leaving a big gap.

What was I thinking? I probably got distracted by a tv show or the cats or something. Maybe Diego was opening the door.

Luckily, we had a few extra tiles. So, we removed the old tile, chipped out the surrounding grout, and started over.

fix-tiling-mistake

Don’t worry, Matt helped me with the measurements this time.

tiling-mistake

We followed the same steps we did the first round of tiling.
Thinset… wait… grout… wait… replace toilet.

I tell ya, it felt much faster with only one tile! Now its time for me to seal the grout and install trim and the floor will officially be done.

But for now, we (and our guests) are happy the toilet is back in place. And look! The gap is gone!

tile-around-toilet
We need to cut that screw so the cap fits correctly.

I love it when such a small change makes a big difference. I feel like our floor looks much less like an amateur tile job now :) And I won’t make that mistake again. Fixing it was a pain in the ass!

tile-bathroom-floor

Here’s a sneak peak at our next task in the bathroom…

bathroom-remodel

Do you see that shiny new countertop?

We have to install that bad boy. I can’t wait to tell you how it goes and why we decided to splurge for a granite slab (hint… it may have to do with my tile measuring abilities).

What DIY mistake have you learned the hard way?


PS. Did you know Newcomb Home is on facebook? I love connecting with readers and other bloggers there, and its my favorite way to share others' great ideas. I'd love for you to head on over and by my FB friend :) 


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Sunday, September 18, 2011

The best thing about yard work

Instant Gratification.


Seriously. Unlike mudding drywall or tiling, which often take days (or in our case, months) to finish, you instantly see results with yard work.


You may wonder, if its so gratifying, why has our side yard looked like this since we’ve moved in?


before-yard
Well, I have no real explanation except that we’re busy and lazy :)


I’m one lucky girl though. A few weeks ago my recently retired mother decided she wanted to do some volunteer work. A dear friend of mine took her to the Humane Society for volunteer orientation. Her cat-loving heart couldn’t handle it, so she decided to volunteer at the second most needy cause: my yard.
My dad and sister tried to tell her that this doesn’t count as volunteer work but I kept mum. After all, I’d love her help!


So I took Friday off and we went to work. My mom is an animal (I mean that as a huge compliment). She arrived at nine, gloves in hand, ready to work. She immediately grabbed the chainsaw and went to town.


Let me back up a bit. We were planning to tackle the left side of our front yard. A few month ago I showed you the progress we’d made on the right side of the yard.


yard
But I purposely left out pics of the left side. Because, well, it looked like this.


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Apparently it was bugging my mom, because when she ‘volunteered’ to help, she knew exactly what she wanted to do.


First, we removed three azaleas. They bloomed beautifully for a few weeks a year but otherwise are pretty ugly, and weren’t doing so well. When we started to remove them we could tell that a lot of the branches were dead. I have no idea how old those bushes were but I think they were near the end of their lifespan.


Removing them was no small task. Check out this stump!


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At first Matt didn’t believe that my mom and I did all the work. He kept asking me which neighbor helped us. It was kinda insulting, actually :)


After removing the azaleas, we weeded, raked, smoothed out the ground and spread bark dust. Bark dust seriously makes such a difference! I can’t wait to put it all over the yard. Oh, and my mom completely cleaned up the lilac trees bushes trees. Technically I don’t know what they are, but now they look like trees.


Here’s the results of our day of hard work.
IMG_2883


My mom and I are so proud of ourselves! And really, really sore :) Who knew my abs would get sore from yard work? And my hands! The next day I could barely hold my coffee mug.


Totally worth it though. Here’s the before and after.


YardSept2011-1


And our neighbors’ improved view from their house.


YardSept2011


Now that the rest of the yard is getting in shape, I may be more motivated to water the grass :)


In the middle of removing the azaleas, I broke the chainsaw. That’s why there is still one ugly overgrown bush left to remove (in the back by the fence). My dad walked me through fixing the saw, so hopefully that bush will be gone soon too.


Here’s one more look, I still can’t believe we did all that in one day!


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And a totally unrelated side note: Cost Plus has some of their outdoor stuff on sale – 75% off! Check out this cute outdoor pillow I got for six dollars!


IMG_2918

What is your favorite ‘instant gratification’ task to complete at home?



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Friday, September 16, 2011

Grandma’s Famous Zucchini Bread

Hi all! Wow - this week at work has been crazy! Can't wait to go home a little early and take a nap today :)

Anyway, my blogger friend Kirsten of Restored Style recently tweeted that she didn't know what to do with the zucchini she had coming out of her ears thanks to her neighbor's successful garden.

So of course, I wrote back and raved about my Grandma Delaney's zucchini bread recipe. Thankfully Kirsten loved it, even enough to share it with all of you!

I'd love for you to head on over to Restored Style, say hi to Kirsten, and check out my Grandma’s zucchini bread! The bonus is you can see what else Kirsten is up to on her fantastic design and home decor blog.

restoredstylelogo

Thank you Kirsten for trying (and sharing) Grandma's recipe! Pin It

Monday, September 12, 2011

Little Miss Yellow growin’ strong

What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter?

Pumpkin pi!

Just a totally cool, not-at-all nerdy Fall / Math joke. 

Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I was trying to come up with a good plant pun for the title of this post. I even resorted to googling ‘plant puns’, but that pumpkin joke is the best I’ve got.

Anyway. I had one of those weekends where I felt super busy and started a bunch of projects, but finished none of them.

I bought a few cool pumpkins from a local pumpkin patch for Fall decor.

We started fixing a mistake on the tile floor in the bathroom. I haven’t shown you this yet. Did you really think we tiled the floor without making a mistake? :) I’ll share what we did wrong and how we fixed it later this week.

I also started making some book page pumpkins with dollar store supplies.

mod-podge-book-page

We also did a little yard work and I spray painted a bit :)

But I’m waiting to actually finish something (and get some fun ‘after’ pics), so those projects will have to wait.

I do have some good news with little Miss Yellow plant.

revive-plants

She’s growing! A couple months ago I shared my Operation Rescue to try and revive her and a runner bean plant. The bean plant… um, isn’t doing so well.

But Miss Yellow, she’s a fighter. Look at the progress she’s made the last two months.

deadplants-2

I’ll keep posting update pics on Facebook, but I wanted to show her off. Look at those leaves standing tall!

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The bigger pot and regular water must be working. So simple. Why do I kill so many plants?

I can’t wait for her to have her yellow flowers back.

DSCN1027

Hopefully by next spring she’ll be good as new. In the meantime, I vow to keep remembering to water her!

Have you ever brought a plant back from the dead? What’s your secret?

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tips to Make Household Tasks Easier

I get sucked into things pretty easily. TV shows, hobbies (hello blogging!), and now… pinterest :)

So far, in addition to scrolling through pics for hours at a time, I’ve used pinterest to get craft ideas and design my dream home.

Now, I’m hooked on finding great tips and tricks to solve many problems in my home.

Like this idea.

found here via pinterest

Use caulk to slip-proof your rugs. Brilliant!

I love this cheap version of a wreath form. (Slapping forehead for not thinking of this.)

found here via pinterest

Go to this link to get yardage info for upholstery.

found here via pinterest

I’ll use this when I get around to reupholstering my first chair.

I need this in our bathroom sink! How to un-clog a drain without so many chemicals:

found here via pinterest

One more :)

I ALWAYS need this when baking! Having ingredients substitutions handy is great – I swear I’m always one ingredient short!

found here via pinterest

What wonderful tips have you found on Pinterest?

Let’s be Pinterest friends! Then we can share all the wonderful ideas we see. I'm not sure if you need an invite still to join but if you do, leave me a note and I'll send you one.

Follow Me on Pinterest

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Behind Bars (or, the never ending quest to figure out what to do with my ottoman)

So, I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that I’m not sure what to make of my garage sale ottoman. It was priced at $40 and my bargaining fever got the best of me, so when the guy said OK to $25, I was sold. I thought it looked great outside in the person’s yard.

family-room-ottoman

But inside, its just so…….. big.

Also, my mom told me it looked like something on the set of an S&M video. So its got that going for it :)

I have to agree with her more PG assessment, that there was too much going on. The bars on all sides (except one) are a little too industrial for our cozy family room. (I think industrial is the right way to describe that look.) Anyway, those bars were really starting to bug me.

IMG_2686

So while watching Happy Endings (and with little forethought) I started tearing them off :)

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BTW, have you seen Happy Endings? Funniest new (to us) show we’ve discovered this summer. Seriously, both Matt and I laugh out loud every time we watch it. And yes, I  realize admit that we watch more than our fair share of TV. Can’t help what you love :)

I’m not sure if I’ll take the bars on the sides off. I’m worried about balance. The table is so big, I’m thinking without the bars, the legs might look really puny compared to the rest of the ottoman.

I’m also not quite sure how to patch the holes. The surface of the wood reminds me of IKEA furniture, I think its veneer. But even with the holes, the less jail-like look is an improvement.

IMG_2850

Now I’m going to try and get the little metal pieces out and clean off the glue.

IMG_2853

And clean the rest of the wood. Look how dirty that is! Embarrassing!

After that’s finished, I’ll take some time to ponder my next step. No more rash decisions.

So what do you think?

Should I remove the rest of the bars?

Do you know how to fix holes/dings in veneer?

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Monday, September 5, 2011

The Best Part of Blogging

How nice was it to wake up this morning and not have to go to work?!

I love government holidays. A guilt-free extra day. And really, don’t you think we should all work 4-day weeks? You’d think technology would help us be productive enough to warrant 3-day weekends all the time. Maybe I need to write a letter :)

Anyway, Matt and I have had a busy weekend so far. On Saturday we watched a very rough start to Oregon State football and attended a fun, beautiful wedding. A good friend of mine got married in the Columbia Gorge. If you’ve never been there, I’ll give you a taste. The view was like this.

gorge_crest_2 via

So much better though!

On Sunday we got to spend the day with MY SISTER who is home from South Korea. We just laid around and went to dinner, but it is so nice to be in the same town as her again. Yay!

This post has a point, I promise.

One of my very, very favorite things about blogging is that friends have come out of the woodworks excited to do crafts together, go thrifting, or talk about decorating. I love it.

A couple times I’ve had the honor of someone telling me, “Your post inspired me!”

I want to share a couple of those times with you. Back in March I posted about my $70 wall art that is the first (and only) thing on the wall of our big family room.

aftercloseup copy

A couple friends have made some scrapbook paper art themselves! I am beyond excited that my ramblings on this blog helped them decorate a wall in their homes.

First, one of my close college girlfriends sent me a pic of her version of the scrapbook wall art.

P1010142

Love it! J Bo (she’ll always be J Bo, even when we’re all grown up (will that ever happen?) and she’s ruling the world) bought her house around the same time we did and I love swapping stories with her about the good and bad of being a homeowner.

Did you like that use of double parens? My grammar is awesome.

The second pic is from a long-time friend who also used some scrapbook paper and frames to spice up her bedroom wall.

IMG_6660

Brynn said, “I got the frames on sale for $7.48 a piece at Michael’s and some of the paper in the scrap book aisle was also on sale! All in all I spent about $65 on this and I LOVE it”.

So happy these women are patient enough to read my blog (and be my friend!). I’m a lucky woman. Thanks gals for sharing your pics!

What is your latest artsy addition to your home?

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