Monday, October 22, 2012

Guest Post at A Home in the Making

Hi friends! Today I'm over on Jenn's blog, A Home in the Making, talking about one thing I'm loving this fall.

Please stop by to learn about one of my favorite fall things, and check out Jenn's wonderful blog. She's also in the midst of a kitchen remodel and is far more efficient than Matt and me :) Go check it out - its beautiful! 
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Friday, October 12, 2012

Kitchen Addition Update {Help! I’m Exhausted!}

So, we finally have a good pace going with the kitchen remodel. And man. I. am. tired.


After a busy summer of weddings, baby showers, and a liiittle bit of kitchen work, we finally got going. We’ve been trying to still put in 40 hours a week at work and make some real progress. I’m completely exhausted. I imagine this is what parenting is like :) (Just kidding to all you parents out there!)

As my fellow Portlanders know, we’ve been having fabulous weather here. Not a cloud in sight! Its October! But about a week ago, “chance of rain” and “showers” showed up on the forecast.

So Matt and I thought, “Hey! Time to demo the kitchen!”


We welcomed all of the elements into our house as we removed the old kitchen and dining room.

Luckily it looks like this today, because boy did it rain. And rain. And it’ll keep going till Tuesday.


But let me back up a little bit. I think the last update we shared was when we were still

digging hole. We’ve come a long way, baby. (Is that phrase from a cigarette ad?)

I’ll get into all these steps in more detail once I’m not so brain-dead (details like whether I’d EVER DIY an addition again), but I wanted to show off a few pics of how far we’ve come.

After the hole was dug, we poured concrete footings and Matt built the framing for the foundation and poured the concrete.

After the foundation was poured, cured, and inspected, Matt installed the floor joists.


I have to admit, up until this point, Matt did some all the heavy lifting. (Literally. That saw weighs like 50 lbs.)

Frankly, I had absolutely no interest in pouring the foundation and lots of interest in getting a new kitchen quickly. Matt and I definitely had different visions of how this addition was going to go. Its been the source of most of our marital disagreements thus far. But, now we’re working together and still like each other (most of the time ;) Maybe some day I’ll regale you with all of the tales of our remodel woes (kidding!).

Anyway, the real fun began when the dumpster arrived. (Note: in Oregon, if you order a mixed construction debris dumpster and keep normal garbage out of it, the waste company sorts and recycles the material!)

We took out the cabinets in advance (nicely) so we could give them away on craigslist, and then had some very kind and generous-with-their-time friends and family over for a demo party.


After a few hours, we had this.

After the demo was mostly done, it was time to start putting our house back together before the rain.

First, subfloor.

Then, framing the walls.

Then, sheathing (the boards underneath your siding).

And that’s where we stand. Right now, there is a big, temporary tent of plastic over that corner of the house to protect the sheathing from the pouring rain.


We hired someone to install windows tomorrow, our first (hired) help! We’ll also be finishing up demo and framing the interior wall (i.e.. staying inside).

Then, siding arrives Monday and we supposedly have a few days without rain next week to finish up the exterior wall before we have no rain breaks till June.

I’m tired just typing about it :)

What are your plans for the weekend?

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Family Room Update (New Curtains!)

Finally! I finally pulled the trigger and got new curtains. I’ve been slowly decorating our tv room since we moved in and replacing the old, just-bought-them-caught-they-were-on-sale curtains was long overdue.

I had no idea what tdo do with curtains to cover our 11 foot window so I blogged about it and asked for advice. I received many helpful comments, and a detailed email from my aunt that was so smart and full of great suggestions that I think she should probably be writing this blog :) 

As a reminder, here are the oldies.

And here are the newbies.

I love them! I love the texture of the linen fabric, the subtle pattern, and how light and airy they make this huge room feel.

They diffuse the sunlight but still let enough natural light to hang out in there without the lamps turned on.

I also like how they are no longer Urkel’s pants, but gather a bit on the floor. I’m just worried the cats are going to love that too.

Cat view.

And for good measure, here is the before and after.

(The updated photos to the right of the curtains help too. I learn over and over the importance of scale.)

I hope you love them as much as I do! Oh! I almost forgot. They’re from West Elm, called the Bamboo printed curtain panel. I think they’re on sale right now.

Now, my Aunt Bonnie really did have some blog-worthy advice about choosing curtains, so I’ll share her tips with you soon! I was just anxious to show off my new purchase :)

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Thursday, September 6, 2012


I ignored Instagram for a while, for fear that it’d be like Google+. I’d sign up, find a bunch of people I know on it, and then never use it.

But really, I love instagram. I was hooked pretty quickly. Its easy (and very fast!) to use. And my favorite part (besides the pretty pictures) is seeing insights into people’s daily lives and what is important to them.

Apparently, what is important to me is food, and my pets.

Though I do love the shot I got of Mt. Hood out the window.

So, let’s be insta-friends!

Are you on instagram? What is your handle? Mine is newcombhome (original, huh?).

Please leave your instagram handle in the comments or find me on there so we can connect!

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How to remove a toilet ring stain

I know. I have you on the edge of your seat with that title, don’t I?

I was reading a blog about getting some stains off a bathtub a while back and it occurred to me that I never shared my ‘this is too easy’ way of removing the ring stains from the tub and toilet.

(I can’t remember which blogger did this. Damn! She tested a bunch of methods in her tub. If its you, please tell me and I’ll add a link!)

Cleaning this ring off took me about 7 seconds.


Seriously, so easy. It works in the toilet too, but I thought you’d probably rather stare at a tub than the inside of a toilet.

I tried all kinds of different chemicals to get the ring off the toilet and nothing worked. I had given up until I was wandering the aisles at the local hardware store (A-Boy) and  found this little tool. It taunted me to come out of toilet stain fighting retirement, so I snagged one to try and finally win that battle.


And win I did. It worked like a charm.

Its a pumice stone. I don’t know if you need to but I ran the water over the stain first and then used the pumice stone to remove it. Easy as pie.

Like I said, I got this at A-Boy but I think you can get them anywhere. Here’s a link to one on

Pumie Toilet Bowl Ring Remover #TBR-6.

Its a little spendy but as far as I can tell it will last a looong time and takes the elbow grease out of cleaning the toilet which is really nice.

And just because I’m talking about toilets, and toilets make me think of butts, here you go.

Now if I only had a really easy way to clean up after these three.
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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Deals on Kitchen Accessories

I recently learned a fantastic tip from Matt’s aunt during a mini-vaca to Coeur d’Alene. (We were staying with his aunt and uncle while we were there to celebrate at a dear friend’s wedding. More on that wonderful celebration later.) I learned a few things during my weekend in Idaho:

1. Paddle boarding is really, really fun.
2. Anyone who swam in the Oregon ocean as a kid thinks any other body of water is warm. 
3. A restaurant supply store is a great place to look for kitchen accessories.

That’s the tip from Matt’s aunt that I wanted to share with all of you.


She had one of those industrial, diner-style metal coffee makers with the brewing pot on the bottom and a warming dish on the top. It was such a great thing to have for visitors (or a split coffee/tea household).

I decided to take a look at some of the fun items at restaurant supply website and compare the price to home decor stores.

For most kitchen tools and accessories, the restaurant supply websites were a much better deal:

Crate and Barrel vs. 

Pottery Barn vs. 

restaurantsupply-001 Food Service Warehouse vs. Williams Sonoma

Note: Just to see what the ‘middle of the road’ price is, I searched for a 5 quart colander on and found one for $16.92 (ExcelSteel 242 5-Quart Stainless Steel Colander):

71i8 nZBfmL._AA1500_
The restaurant supply sites did not, however, have the best furniture prices (in general. I didn’t check each type of item, just a couple).

West Elm vs. Food Service Warehouse

In addition to being an inexpensive place to buy common kitchen items, you can get fun, unusual gadgets too:

Napkin dispenser, condiment caddy, luggage rack

Have you ever purchased anything from a restaurant supply store? What did you get?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Front Yard Updates

Last year I was lucky enough to be the beneficiary of what my mom calls her ‘volunteer work’. No, she’s not really helping a needy cause (just a lazy one), but I’ll take it. She comes over twice a year and helps me fix up the yard.

Last fall we tackled the south side of the front yard. The transformation is seriously amazing, for one day of work.

This summer, we tackled the other side of the front yard. Like a fool, I forgot to take before pics. Of course. But, I do have some pics of the way the yard looked when we bought the house.

Matt and I already completed some pretty big changes to the yard a few years ago when we removed about 9 bushes and extended the lawn. But then we fell off the nice yard bandwagon and have done almost no upkeep. So my mom arrived to a mess.

My mom and I trimmed two large trees and many bushes, pulled a TON of weeds, and spread bark dust everywhere. At lunch time, my dad rode over on his bike to help for the rest of the day, which was awesome. Poor Dad. I don’t think he knows yet that now he’s also permanently signed up for the semi-annual Volunteer in Katie’s Yard Day.

My mom tackled all the weeds, which were taking over the yard.


(Old pic, but the weeds looked like that everywhere.)

Here are the changes we made:

1. This spruce (I think?) was growing to the ground. It had been there and untrimmed for so long that it was growing around two trees, a bush, and four strands of Christmas lights from 1985. Seriously, the tree branches had grown around the lights! We trimmed it up, got rid of the puzzle of lights, and removed the trees and bush growing underneath.

2. Weed, weed, weed. Like I said, my mom weeded the entire yard. She’s a champ.

3. We edged the grass and spread bark dust everywhere.

4. My mom trimmed up some bushes that were growing out of control.

It was a hot, humid, sweaty day but the yard looks so much better now. The transformation isn’t as dramatic because I forgot the before pics (like I said, I’m a fool), but our neighbor said the first thing they noticed when they drove up the street was our bark dust :)

See what a difference it makes?

Yay bark dust!

Here’s a look at the whole yard. As a reminder, this is what the front yard looked like when we moved in.


This is our yard now.

No, we still don’t water our lawn. We don’t have an efficient system in place and I just feel too guilty using water without one.  But without the jungle of bushes and weeds, the other plants (besides the grass) are doing great!

The near-death hydrangea has come back to life, and the other flowers are blooming away.


So now I owe my parents a glass of wine and a nice dinner. They can collect at Volunteer Day this fall :)


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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Outdoor Decor Inspiration (And Finally a Clean Deck!)

I power washed our deck this morning. That chore was not in the plan for today. But it was slippery and grimy and gross and I guess I just didn’t want to fall down anymore :)

For 50 bucks, a couple hours and wet shoes, its the most embarrassing and glorious Before & After ever.

Seriously, how did we let it get that gross?

I like to think its because when we bought the house there was no stain or water seal on the deck. But man, we should have addressed this two years ago.

Here’s me in action. Hot outfit, I know.

Got me thinking though. Someday, maybe in 2015 or whenever we’re done with the kitchen remodel, we can start on the backyard :) Once we get the whole yard cleaned up, I’ll finally decorate the deck!

At least the deck is looking nice and clean, for now.



Of course, one productive thing is enough for Sunday so rather than work on anything worthwhile, I went to the interwebs for deck decor inspiration.

Which is your fave? What screams “put your feet up and have a glass of wine”?

Lay Down Rugs for Style & Practicality

Under Cover Porch


sources: Fayette Woman, DigsDigsBetter Homes and Gardens, Homes-Designs

This weekend was also my mom’s semi-annual volunteer day. (I was lucky – my dad came to help too!) We got quite a bit of work done in the front yard. Can’t wait to show you!

What did you do this weekend? Work around the house? Relax? Drink wine?

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