Pre and Post.

This year’s big project (or at least one of them) with the house was the siding and the front porch. I had been planning on doing the porch with dad, but the contractor (Brian Olson, out of La Crescent, for those who may be interested; I would recommend him!) gave me a quote for both the siding and the porch that was equal to all the other bids I got just for the siding, so I decided it was worth it to have his crew do the work.

This post is pretty picture heavy, because I wanted to do some before/after comparisons, so I’ll throw in a cut here for those who may not want to deal with the pictures on a feed reader. Continue reading



(All are clickable thumbnails.)


Isn’t it beautiful?


I feel like I have a brand new back yard now.

Pergola on the left, extended deck on the right, strawberry and asparagus bed in front of the pergola.


This has to be the perfect place to spend a warm spring evening.

New “cure” for rain..

I’m afraid I may have found a new cure for bad weather. It’s not one I’m likely to attempt regularly, though.

This morning dad and I awoke to overcast skies that quickly opened up into rain. Given that we were planning to start the deck construction this morning, we were a little concerned, but decided to run into town for breakfast and to run a few errands and see what things looked like when we got home. Some $300 later, the sun was breaking through and we were back on our way home to begin the framing for the deck. I’m trying not to think about how monetary “sacrifices” to the weather deities might work, but I am hoping the storm we’re getting now moves through before morning!

Even with a somewhat truncated working day, we did get the deck framed and the decking down:

Photobucket View standing at the back door (As usual, all are clickable thumbnails.)
Photobucket View standing under the pergola on the patio, with a bonus shot of the little black pig

Yesterday dad pressure washed the existing decking, so while the color shift from the old to the new is noticeable it’s not nearly as glaring as it would have been had he not taken the time and effort (thanks, dad!). He also built the railing between the house and the stairs and on the stairs, all while I was at work.

At the moment, the deck is quite lovely and even though it’s only 8×16, is rather large enough for my tastes. Here’s a shot with the deck furniture (a decent chunk of the “sacrifice” from this morning) we assembled this evening for some scale:


The table is 42″ and there are four rocker chairs, all of which fit comfortably on the new part of the deck. It may feel a little more enclosed tomorrow once the rest of the fence and the railing is in place, but even so it’s a grand little spot to sit and watch the birds. I can’t wait to be able to step out on a sunny morning with a cup of coffee and watch the neighborhood wake up!

.. and then some!

It’s been an absolutely beautiful weekend here, after a dry but slightly chilly end of week; all of that was much appreciated, however, after the rain from last weekend prompted some jostling of plans. (We had been intending to pour the concrete footings for the deck extension last weekend, but the rain (which was much needed and therefore will be spared the full force of my wrath *smile*) delayed that.)

Note: I’m beat, so this post may be lacking in poetic phrasing and.. yeah, all that. While the tone may not convey it, I’m rather terribly excited and happy with everything we’ve accomplished! Since this one has lots of pictures, I’ll throw a jump in here for those using a feed reader. Continue reading

*sniff* My house is getting all grown up..

The holiday this week seemed a good excuse to take some time off and work on some more stuff around the house before Old Man Winter really got into his stride. Mom and Dad came down Sunday afternoon and spent the week, so we got quite a lot done. In keeping with the theme, I’m extraordinarily thankful that my parents are both so skilled and talented, but even more thankful that they’re both young enough for me to enjoy their company as an adult. In addition to being a rather productive week, it was also quite a fun vacation. The productive, however, is all I remembered to get photos of. *smile*

The red wall down the stairs is now a deep cranberry red with no light spots.

(As usual, all photos are clickable thumbnails; click them to load larger versions.)

The chairs are now covered in a lovely stripe-y red fabric, and the futon  has a complementary red cover.

The two chairs – which were originally my grandma and grandpa’s chairs – are in rather dire need of refinishing: the varnish has gotten slumpy and tends to get sticky when it’s humid. Dad took the taller of the two (the one closer to the stairs in the photo above) home with him to strip down and re-finish and I expect sometime in the next month or two he’ll return it and pick up the other.

The upstairs hallway is freshly painted a light golden yellow. This now officially makes the craft room the last thing that needs to be done in the upstairs.

I also have four new side tables that dad built for me for Christmas (delivered a bit early) – three identical ones in the living room:

and one taller one that fits perfectly in the gap above the stairs in the upstairs hall:

They all have bottom shelves – handy for storing things like phone books and the cable modem and wireless router – and drawers – handy for storing things like my knitting notions, matches for the candles, and spare lightbulbs.

My birthday present was also delivered a few weeks early – a lovely roll top desk with lots of cubby holes and drawers – including two file drawers – that looks wonderful in my living room (and significantly classier than the cheap black desk that I was using).

The screens that were on the shelf in the garage, along with all the cardboard and two large bags of garbage (one containing mostly big chunks of styrofoam*), were removed. The tent, poles and tarps all fit quite nicely on the shelf and the lawn mower and my pottery wheel fit underneath it. The extension ladder is hung on the wall, and my bike is hung from the roof behind the door. My car is currently parked in my garage (*squee!*). I also have a working garage door opener remote.

The screens from the garage were joined by the screens from the basement, two more large bags of garbage (one containing mostly big chunks of styrofoam*), and several more big bundles of cardboard, all of which were delivered to the county dump Wednesday morning. The basement is organized and all the tools, remodeling stuff and camping stuff have homes that will keep them safe from any further incursions of water into the basement. All the tools are in toolboxes, and the toolboxes have been sorted somewhat so that general use tools (screwdrivers, tape measures, hammers, etc.) are in one, plumbing-type tools are in another, etc.

The workbench is now on the west wall next to the old cabinet that was there, making the storage space under the stairs a handy place to keep the shop vac.

The camping stuff is on the table in the southeast corner, including the box of camp kitchen stuff that was next to the fridge upstairs. The original solid wood doors are now stored against the wall under the stairs, propped up on a couple pieces of 2×4 to keep them clear of any water.

I also managed to get some knitting done, but I think that will get saved for a separate post since this one is already quite long! I hope you all had a joyous and safe Thanksgiving!

* Garbage removal is paid for here by requiring all curbside garbage to be in garbage bags supplied and stamped by the garbage removal company. The bags aren’t horribly expensive – $14.50 for 10 – but I don’t like having to use essentially one whole bag to throw out the packing material from some appliance (I think the styrofoam in the garage was from the lawn mower and the stryofoam in the basement was from the dehumidifier), so I tend to just stick it away somewhere until we do a run to the dump when I can stuff it in a regular garbage bag and drop it off with a bunch of other stuff for what amounts to less than $1.45 per bag. *shrug*

What a weekend!

Whew! *grin* Mom and dad were here this weekend. (All photos in this post are clickable thumbnails.)

What used to be the den is now the guest bedroom and a most lovely and delightful shade of blue.

Painting finished, but clean-up still in progress.


I *love* it.. it’s so immediately peaceful to walk into that room now it’s a little astonishing. The closet in that room has been cleaned out and the various and random detritus that was in it now either has homes or will shortly. The air conditioner is out of the window and stashed safely in said closet. This room still needs a chair and some stuff for the walls, but otherwise, it’s “finished”.

What used to be the guest bedroom/craft room is now just a craft room and has been sorted and organized. It still needs work to be functional, but it’s decidedly closer to it than it has been for quite some time.

This is going to be the hardest upstairs room to finish up, mostly because it’s in the worst shape – the walls were never properly primed (in the whole house), so the paint has bubbled and chipped over time; previous owners apparently decided that simply painting over the bubbles and chips were best, so there’s quite a bit of clean up.

It’s hard to see in these pictures, at least on my laptop, but it’s quite a mess.

Additionally, we suspect that at some point the roof leaked and caused a fair amount of water damage to the ceiling in that room (and also to the floor because there’s a piece of the hardwood floor that was cut out and “repaired” with a plain board). When they “repaired” the ceiling, they nailed up plasterboard, but didn’t do a good job of spackling the seams, so it’s a lumpy, ugly mess.

But, on to what we did this weekend instead of dwelling on what still needs to be done!

Last night, the wall running down the stairs looked like this..

Yes, it was a light mauve.

But it’s now a most delicious dark cranberry red. *grin*

(The mauve was the primer, which I’d actually have preferred were darker to begin with because it was far too light to really be *that* much of an improvement over the white.) I could not be happier with how it turned out, though – I’ve wanted a red wall like that in my  house for a very long time, but was worried that it would immediately shrink any room, so using it as the accent color down the stairs is perfect, especially as it complements the stair runner we put in some time ago quite well. The red was a pain – going from a white wall to red is notoriously difficult – and it *might* need a third coat, but as the second coat is still drying and I need my (taller, longer armed) father to do the top of the wall above the window, it’s good enough for now (unless, of course, you take a full flash photograph of it).

I also love that standing at the top of the stairs, the room colors flow very well – the sagey green in the bedroom to the lavender in the bathroom to the blue in the guest bedroom.

Similarly, standing at the bathroom door, the sagey green from the bedroom flows very well to the red of the stair way wall.

Hard to see the bedroom color in this picture because the door is in the way.. sorry!

And speaking of the bedroom, in clearing out the used-to-be-den to prep for painting, I put the small dresser that was in there in the bedroom underneath the prints. I’ve decided I like it so much, it’s staying there!

Sorry for the flashback on the semi-gloss paint!

My desk has moved down stairs into the living room (by rights this happened last week sometime) and the Bowflex has been disassembled and is stored in the basement until I can find someone who wants to buy it or a charity to whom it could be donated (preferably after the first of the year if the latter). The hutch that used to sit behind the television is on it’s way north with mom and dad because they have a Goodwill that will still take furniture. My desk is in the far corner where the Bowflex used to be, so that while sitting at it, I can see out the large front window and if I turn, can see out the side window into the neighbor’s backyard. The view from both is blowing snow at the moment, but I’m trying not to dwell on that. *smile*

My fridge and freezer are also now well stocked for winter. Dad brought me Firesides from Pine Tree Apple Orchard (and apple donuts, but we ate all those while they were here). Mom made cream of wild rice soup for lunch yesterday and left me with four healthy(?!) servings individually frozen. We made up the ham that was in the freezer for dinner last night, with a big batch of cheesy potatoes, so I have ham in 1-2 serving packages, some suitable for sandwiches, some thicker that are suitable for frying for breakfast, and some diced/cubed suitable for throwing in soups and stews *and* 6 or 8 individually wrapped servings of cheesy potatoes. Mom also gave me her recipe for ham and bean soup, and we started a batch this morning (well, last night really since we soaked the beans overnight) with the ham bone from dinner and another ham bone I had in the freezer. It smells delicious and once I fry up some bacon to throw into it and season it a bit, I’m sure it will be a very satisfying dinner. The leftovers – of which there will be many – will get frozen for enjoyment on some of the many truly snowy days to come.

In keeping with the theme..

.. started earlier this summer, I spent my holiday weekend once again painting, this time in the bedroom.

Before painting (all pictures are clickable thumbnails):

You may or may not have noticed that the walls in the room were actually two colors – not in an accent wall kind of way, but in a two walls are pale aqua and two walls are yellowish white kind of way. The ceiling is, of course, different from both former wall colors (the second picture shows all three the best), but fortunately it’s white so I opted not to paint it. I did, however, decide that it needed to be primed:

I loved that they tinted the primer to match the paint – it really made it a lot easier, especially because you could tell that a single coat of the paint wouldn’t have covered the lighter paint underneath – as you can see if you look closely at the primed walls. I still ended up doing two coats of paint because I must not have mixed as thoroughly as I should have at some point and the brushwork was noticeably different from the stuff done with the roller. In the end, though, it looks pretty good:

I still need to go back and do some touch up in spots where the tape pulled a little bit of the paint away, as well as some spots on the ceiling that I didn’t notice got smudged, but that is pretty quick work once I get around to it.

The reason for painting *right now* arrived today: