Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oops, I did it again.

My sincere apologies to anyone who's singing Britney Spears after reading the post title.  Literally, I have only met one person in my life who like Britney (but his middle school appreciation for her was enough to make up for everyone I've met who doesn't share that view).

But anyway, in all seriousness - Oops, I did it again.  I got carried away with house projects and totally forgot to update the blog at all.  In fact, even I was shocked when I went to the blog homepage and saw the bedroom curtains.  I mean, that's OLD news!

Since then, we've got rooms of new colors, a finished upstairs bathroom, and grown-up furnishings (i.e., a couch, not a bed pushed against a wall; a bed on a bed frame, not sitting on the floor; a guest night stand; two sweet little lamps; and an ottoman for my new chair Lilly).  We've also finished countless little tasks, like installing the covers over the light switches upstairs.  Man, is it nice to walk into a dark room and turn on the light without fear of accidentally hitting the wires and frying yourself.  It's also very nice to shower upstairs and not make a late-night or early-morning trek up and downstairs in a towel.  Also, to own a couch.  Also, to have 90% of our construction tools stored in the basement (vs. the 1st and 2nd floors!)

Yeah, so although we've been busy beavers getting projects done, perhaps the real reason that I've been delinquent on blog posts is tat I've been too busy enjoying living here.  I've realized recently that this is the first time in my life that I'm simply living.  In the moment, enjoying each day.  Every other period of my life seemed to have a deadline - high school preparation for college, college preparation for a job, my Harrisburg job preparing for a wedding and a move.  Not to say that I didn't have good times during each of those previous stages.  Or to say that I'll be a newly-wed in a slowly-coming-together old house forever.  But for this moment, I'm loving this life.  For the first time, I feel like I'm living my life, not just waiting for it to start.  What a fabulous feeling...and one I hope each of you reading can also say you share!

Sorry for the picture-less post.  I'll work on getting some meaty updates posted soon.  But I can't promise I won't stop and smell the roses (or the tiny little unknown bulbs sprouting by our driveway) before then :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Strange, but true

Tonight I decided to do something about the 10+ outlets and light switches in our house that are sans-cover.  It's one of those small projects that seems to drag on after finishing a room - the space returns to normal (or in our case, becomes inhabitable), and we get so busy living and enjoying the house that we don't really mind the tiny projects (also, paint touch-ups, installing the bathroom door-knob, etc).  Having recently booked several dinner guests AND a weekend visit from a good friend, the tiny projects suddenly seem more important (particularly that bathroom doorknob!).

So....I bought a whole bunch of new covers today.  And, strange but true, it took me longer to decide on those than it did to decide on paint colors.  Seriously.

I'll be busy running around doing the little jobs and other visitor prep-work this week, but hoping to pop back on here with a more substantial update.  Oh yeah - and I painted the living room on Saturday - guess I owe you some pictures!  :)

Until then...reader participation: am I the only one with detail-decision-paralysis? 

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I've (finally) updated my House Tour & About Me pages - click on the links at the top of the page to read more!  My about me is named "Who am I and What do I hope to find?" - this is Finding Former Glory, after all!


Friday, March 18, 2011

Power tools

Picture from here
On Wednesday evening, Justin went out for a mandate ("man - date," aka guy time) with his former roommate. 

After I was sure I'd heard the door close, I got out the power tools.  You see, typically, I'm not supposed to use the drill without the close supervision (really, the additional upper body strength) of my husband.  We've had a few instances where I've tried to "help" putting screws into drywall or other projects, and that has quickly resulted in my return to the tool holder/fetcher role. I'm totally OK with the fact that I'm not able to do everything that Justin can. After all, there's plenty of things that work in the reverse.  Like making curtains.

But therein lay the problem.  I was itching to get started on turning the fabric my sister and I had chosen into master bedroom curtains.  I didn't want to start sewing until I knew the exact length I needed.  And I couldn't decide on the length until the curtain rods were hung.  Enter my best Rosie the Riveter impression.  I was bound and determined that I could do it, and low and behold, I did!

Obviously, I also spent some time with my own power tools (the iron & sewing machine) and sewed the curtains.

You're looking at one of two windows.  The second has only the rod.  You see, there was a slight hold-up in the form of a minor injury.  In a very ironic turn to the evening, I managed to hurt myself - not with the drill, but with the sewing machine.  I have been sewing since age 5, and have never before gotten my finger too close to the needle.  Apparently I just needed a little humbling after my pride at hanging the curtain rods!

Pierced finger and all, I'm still pleased with the evening's progress!

P.S. My finger is totally fine, I only caught a little edge, and you can barely see the mark two days later.  Also, I realize that hanging curtain rods isn't really that big of a project and lots of women do far more, but I was excited for doing something I hadn't done by myself until now!

Anybody else out there with sorely ironic injuries - home improvement or otherwise?  Don't forget...I love comments :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lilly's in the house!

Some of you may know that since high school, I've dreamed of naming a little girl Lillian Patricia.  My affinity for this name was so strong, in fact, that I used to say that I wouldn't marry someone opposed to that choice.  Well, folks, turns out ol' Justin was just too charming, and he wooed me, despite his lukewarm (if best) appreciation for a beautiful name.

With dreams of a real-life Lilly dashed, is it any real surprise which of the two chairs I was considering (remember this post with the debate?) made the final cut?

Welcome home, Lilly!

Although the name certainly was icing on the cake, the Lilly chair actually won over competitor Addyson (also from Pier 1) for the functional arms - thanks to the many commentors who made me realize the importance of such a feature in a chair!
Addyson Chair

The first time I saw Lilly at the Pier 1 store, I was concerned the bold pattern would be too much for a small space.  But, now that I have it home, it's not too much, and it does a lot to help the pink guestroom look more grown-up chic and less little girl.

And check out the fantastic legs - one of my favorite parts:

And the flowers couldn't have played off the pink any better:

Is there any doubt in anyone's mind where I'm sitting to write tonight's blog post??  There are many evenings to come in this cozy corner, and some mornings, too - I just discovered that the morning sunlight streams directly to this corner.  And we all know I love the sunshine as much as I love a sweet someone something named Lilly!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Guest Blog: SURPRISE!!!!

I must say, there is nothing that says “welcome to Spring Break” quite like 14 inches of snow….I guess I should have packed my snow boots.
This was just the first of many unexpected surprises my week had in store for me.  During the blizzard, Emily and Justin took me to get tacos (my favorite food) at Viva Taqueria (a nifty Mexican restaurant).  I was shocked to discover that I don’t even like “real” tacos! Only the fake American kind.  However, it was still an interesting and fun experience. 

The next surprise was not so unexpected, but still exciting…getting to see all the work on the house since I’d last been there in July!  The den which I had previously spackled and scrubbed is now painted and completely done! The stairs that I scraped unidentified solids off of are now nicely carpeted! And most importantly, THE ROOM THAT PREVIOUSLY LOOKED LIKE BIRTHPLACE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN IS NOW MY SUPER AWESOME BEDROOM!!!!!!!!

Surprising to Emily and our mom, but not to me, was the fact that I am actually good at picking out material for curtains!  All along they had thought my “wild” (superb) taste in colors was good for nothing but splatter painting and other random crafts.  Turns out they were wrong.  I am proud that not one, but two of my very own selections will soon be found hanging from the walls!

I was surprised (but probably shouldn’t have been) when a bathroom fan installation went bad.  Given the history of home improvement projects here (think kitchen ceiling, basement sewage), I think I can generalize and make the statement that nothing goes as planned.  We had purchased a fan/light combination for over the bathtub and decided to try to put it in to make the upstairs bathroom functional.  Two hours later as Justin was emerging from the attic looking like he’d lived there for 10 years and Emily and I were bailing nasty chunks of century old insulation from the bathtub, I had a revelation…whoever made the call on printing “EASY INSTALLATION” on the box was a LIAR!

Homework that took a surprisingly long amount of time filled most of my days while Emily and Justin were at work.  The rest of the time I spent doing some painting, reading, and just relaxing.  I got to walk around Cornell a bit and see a concert at the top of the clock tower, which was really cool.

As for the “inside scoop from an outside perspective” I’m sure everyone is eagerly awaiting, here it is!  Life here is pretty unsurprising, in general.  They go to work, come home, eat dinner, wash dishes, etc.  While it gets pretty busy between all of that and trying to do work on the house, the lovely couple still finds time for playing a board game together or sharing a hug as the nice little happy family that they are.  To be honest, I was expecting a little more “welcome home Sugar-baby-muffin-candy-cakes!”, but I cannot say that I’m disappointed.  All in all though, Emily and Justin’s home is a very nice place to be, and their love for each other can be seen in their actions.  

The final, and biggest surprise for my Spring Break in Ithaca would have to be discovering the inch of water that had seeped into the basement overnight…I guess I should have packed my waders.

 Some pictures from the week!

Surprising: Emily trusted me with a paintbrush

Non-surprising: What happens when Emily trusts me with a paintbrush

Surprising: Water in the basement (I’m a wet/dry vac expert now)

Non-surprising: My selection of paint samples I collected on a Home Depot trip

Surprising: My new-found material picking skills

Non-surprising: The most “Maura” print didn’t make the curtain-cut

Surprising: Most of the events of Spring Break

Non-surprising: It was AWESOOOOOME!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  A freshman nursing student at Bloomsburg University, Maura is an exceptionally fun individual who enjoys fake tacos, colored pens, playing racquetball, and life in general.  She resides in her dorm room with her roommate Rosemary, and their pet fish, Sharpie and Gilligan.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A change of heart

Many of you have probably noticed (perhaps while checking the blog - in vain - for a new post within the last week or more) that I've revamped the design again.  This is version 3.0, after a bland brown version and a green leafy version.  Consider this my take at a sophisticated looking blog, although don't get too comfortable with this look, because I'm likely to continue to tweak or completely revamp, and may never find something I 100% love.  Although the new magnifying glass logo really does tickle my fancy at the moment!  Speaking of fancy, I also added tabs at the top ("Who am I & What do I hope to find," "House Tour," "Blog Archives," and "Current Posts").  Perhaps these empty placeholders will get me one step closer to my goal of having an "About Me" and a house tour, as I mentioned in my New Years blog-olutions.  Stay tuned, but - as always - don't hold your breath.

In other (and I think, more important) news, there are bigger changes going on around these parts.  I started the blog to share our progress in renovating our house, and to date, with little exception, the posts have focused on material improvements, purchases, and tasks.  But now, as we enter the holy season on Lent, I've been thinking more about the constant call to renovate our hearts - to draw nearer to the One who has bestowed on us so many blessings.  I've begun to more clearly understand my previously dormant beliefs in the purpose of our home and the meaning of all of our projects.  I haven't articulated - even to myself - the source of joy as we find the former glory of this home.  The golden prize of this search isn't the magazine perfect pictures for which I had previously dreamed, but rather the joy in acknowledging our many blessings and developing a place that radiates love and peace, a place that gives us the creature comforts to recharge from the weariness of the world, but leaves us longing still for the comforts of Heaven, and encourages us ever to seek that end.

I have many more thoughts on this topic, many more roads to travel in my spiritual journey.  And I think it's only fitting that my change of heart is reflected on the blog as well.  Don't worry, I'll still have pictures and show you the latest in our renovations, but perhaps with a little more reflection - a little more realization that there is something beyond pretty pictures and and an unquenchable thirst perfect rooms.  Going forward, this will be about building not just a worldly home, but a Godly home.  I hope you'll continue to read.

P.S. Check back tomorrow for a guest-blog from our first guest-room resident, my lovely sister, Maura!  She's spending her collegiate spring break in "sunny" Ithaca, NY, and is very excited to share the inside scoop from an outside perspective!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A pipe dream

I have been waiting to write a post titled "A pipe dream" for a very long time.  In fact, I started to make a list of future blog topics in November, and this was the first and only entry.  Obviously, I've been pretty excited about plumbing changes!  So excited, that I was so busy enjoying the updates (namely, the washer, which is currently running its 10th or 11th load in its short lifespan) that I didn't even post pictures!  Wait no longer!

First, our washer and dryer.  The "before" actually looks a little better in this case, because there's a bit of drywall work to do, not to mention the room hasn't been painted yet.  I can easily look beyond that for the joy of doing laundry at home! 



We chose a smaller pedestal sink for the other side of the room (on a previously empty wall) to allow for the laundry machines.  The old, large vanity, was sold via our friend Craig (as in Craigslist) for $100!

That will also look better post-drywall patching, painting, and laundry!

The upstairs had a more dramatic change.





Not too shabby, eh?  I'm excited to tackle the small remaining projects (like putting on the switch plates, painting the vents, cleaning the mirror, etc) to reach the picture-perfect "after" I have in my mind. 

After all of this work, we could not have been more pleased with our plumbers!  I think we're on a first-name basis now after our sewage disaster, all of the upgrades, and....did I mention?...they'll be back tomorrow.  The hot water heater pilot light unexpectedly decided to stop staying lit today!  At least my cold shower will have nice fixtures ;)  I'm the unabashed optimist when it comes to our old house ~ and the "after" pictures above are certainly enough of a bright side to keep me happy for quite some time, cold water and all!