Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's that smell?

So, a week or so ago we started smelling this awful stench coming from somewhere around our backyard. We originally thought it might be the trash that our neighbors who live behind us had out back but this past weekend, they removed it all and the stench was still there. We figured it must have been just something remaining from the trash so we just dismissed it, until Sunday. Sunday we spent with two of our really good friends enjoying an Easter brunch. After brunch (and a quick Home Depot trip) we got home only to hear a beeping coming from the house next door.

Remember this house? Yes, that's our next door neighbor. Awesome.
We finally figure out it's their fire alarm and since no one currently lives there (or has since the fire back in January), I called the fire department. While I'm on the phone with the fire department, Ryan decided to take matters in to his own hands and jumped over the fence to make sure there was nothing crazy going on. When he comes out of the neighbor's house, he tells me that he knows what the stench is... a decomposing snake in the backyard. Apparently, the neighbors had a pet boa constrictor who was a casualty of the fire, or so we think and in stead of them throwing the dead snake out (or burying it, I suppose) they left it to decompose out back. I sure do miss those neighbors.... I kid. So the next day I left a note for them: Please remove the dead animal in your backyard. Which was returned with a mean message about there being a fire there... well, obviously. And yes, we checked, the snake is still there. And no, the place didn't burn down. Apparently they just have horrible smoke alarms (or someone had been in there and left).

I'm crossing my fingers that they finish fixing this place up and sell it....

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Trial & Error

Monday night, after our usual trip to the dog park and subsequent checking of the plants out back to make sure they are still alive/don't need water, we headed upstairs to spend the night tackling curtains (the we I'm referring to is me and Monkey and for the record, Monkey wasn't much help).

I managed to have Ryan clear off enough of the desk to be able to put my sewing machine there while I used his dresser as the measuring "table". The conditions were clearly not ideal but they were good enough. After a quick You-Tube video to refresh my mind on how to thread a bobbin, I was on my way.

Sewing Table

Measuring Table

I decided that I would do one curtain at a time so that I could make sure that my measurements were correct and that I liked where the curtain fell. So I cut both the yellow fabric and the white lining fabric, pinned them together and started to sew. It all went rather smoothly until I turned the fabric right side out and was trying to sew the rod pocket. This was to be my last line of stitching and it was by far the most painful (this is an under statement). At this point, it's 9pm, I'm tired, hungry and cranky and every time I sew this darn line the bottom thread bunches up and I have to rip out all the stitches. I must have re-threaded the machine like 6 times, including re-threading the bobbin. Finally, I decided to take a break and make dinner. While I'm waiting for dinner to cook, I start googling my issue on my phone and wallah it says that my bobbin must be winded too loosely. This does not surprise me because for some reason I have this mental block against how I should be winding my bobbin and it always looks less than perfect. So, after dinner, I watch my trusty You-Tube and learn that I had been skipping two steps. I re-wind my bobbin and what do you know? It works! (I'll skip the part where my tension was too tight and kept breaking my thread because that just shows how much of a sewing failure I am...) So, I sew my last line, iron the curtain and ask Ryan if he'll hang it up for me. Which he does.... and wallah, the windows are starting to come together. I think I'm going to shorten them a little bit but I do like the pop of color on the otherwise, very white, windows. Excuse the dark pictures, my phone does not like the lighting in our bedroom during the day.

At first I thought it was too yellow but once I flipped over the comforter I think it really brings it all together. Plus our winter comforter is pretty white so that pop of yellow really helps.
While I was being indecisive about whether or not I liked it, I asked Ryan what he thought. He said he liked it which ended in me asking him if he ever had an opinion (about decorating) or if he was always just appeasing me with mine. He responded with, "I have an opinion when I really care, it's called picking your battles." Touche.

Note to readers: Ryan was working on the brickwork downstairs the entire time I was working on the curtains, he didn't just pop in at the end to hang the curtain :)

Tuesday night I managed to shorten the first curtain and sew the second curtain. 2 down, 1 to go! I'm actually getting pretty good at this :)

Yes, please!

You like?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ryan's Nemesis

Brickwork has pretty much taken over Ryan's days and nights. It seems like whenever he finishes one part of the brickwork, he realizes another part needs to get done and we're really trying to get this project done right (so we never have to go through this again). While Ryan was working on the brickwork above the door in the kitchen, he noticed some cracking on the brickwork in the addition. So for the past week or so he's been working on fixing up that.

Probably thinking, "What did I get myself in to?"

Filling in the brick with mortar.

"Finished" product
Saturday, he managed to get almost all of the brickwork done above the door in the kitchen and boy is it looking good. I'm really excited that we're keeping this area exposed.

Brickwork over the door.

Hopefully, we can get the brickwork all finished this week. It's just a reallly slow process and it's hard to do work like that at night.... in the dark but he's been managing to do it :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tackling the to-do list

Happy Monday! It's supposed to get to 86 degrees here in DC today! Good riddance cold weather!

Note to self: water the garden when you get home.

We had a gorgeous weekend in DC and we happened to have made it quite productive (minus Sunday, Sunday we pretty much just ate and drank all day... totally worth it). Back to Saturday, Saturday, my Mom came down for the day so while Ryan was working on the never-ending brick work, me and her went to Virginia to tackle some of my other errands. First stop was G street fabrics where, after searching the entire store from top to bottom, we picked out some fabric for the curtains in my bedroom. After discussing our curtain options, we decided that we would do two panel curtains by the window where the radiator is and valances for the other three windows. Luckily, they had just enough fabric for all of our curtains in the fabric I had chosen AND they were having a sale (and by just enough, I mean not enough but we were willing to work with it). Score! So we paid and headed out (after saving more than $50!). Fabric- check! Our second stop was Home Depot to get blinds for the bedroom and curtain rods. I had originally wanted real wood, white blinds but once we got to the store, it was either faux white wood or custom order white wood so we went with faux. We also picked up curtain rods for all four of the windows. Blinds + Curtain rods- check! So after a very successful trip to Virgina, we headed back to DC to tackle our projects. Once we got home, we roped Ryan in to helping us hang up the new blinds. Side note: Usually my Mom and I are pretty self sufficient when it comes to our projects but my Mom and sister had tried to tackle putting up blinds at her house themselves and it turned in to quite the mess, that my brother in law had to save them from. So, we decided to not waste any time :)

New versus old.
Mom and Ryan taking down the old blinds.

Ryan putting up the third blinds.


It's crazy how much of a difference the new blinds make. They're just much more my style and they actually darken the room at night! Granted, I actually had gotten the wrong size blinds for one window so Saturday night we had to sleep with a sheet over that window but still I consider the blind project a success (plus I got the correct size Sunday so it wasn't too much of a tragedy).

After the blinds were up, my Mom and I went outside to plant the garden. We ended up planting 4 tomato plants, 4 eggplant plants (although I think I already killed 2), 5 or 6 pea plants and lettuce. We also re-arranged the outdoor space to make it much more conducive to having people over (once we don't live in a construction zone).

Can you spy the toilet? My garden is to the right of the stairs and my herb garden is to the left of the stairs (rosemary, oregano, basil and a couple of tomato plants for good measure).

Grill and seating areas.
We still have some work to clean up this area but it's pretty low on the priority list right now.

Once the outside area was set up, my Mom and I started on our last project of the day, making the curtains.

Fabric selected
After re-arranging the office, we realized we still wouldn't have enough room to work (since the paneled curtains would be floor to ceiling and our ceilings are 9'). So my Mom brought home the panels to make at her house (which isn't a construction zone), while I'll be tackling the valances myself this week, eek!

Bedroom to-do list:
Buy white blinds (wood or faux?)
Measure window for fabric measurements
Buy fabric for curtains (use groupon for G street fabrics)
Make curtains- in progress
Buy curtain rod
Hang curtains
Frame life sized mirror
Hang life sized mirror
Get artwork for above the TV
Frame artwork for above the TV
Hang artwork for above the TV

Not so bad, ey? We also managed to do the garden which was on another to-do list while re-arranging the outdoor space was just an added bonus! Thanks, Mom! You're the best! I swear, we'll pay you back with hard work ... some day ;)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lesson Learned

Last night was our second trip to the laundry mat. We, of course, waited until all of our laundry baskets were overflowing and Ryan had no boxers left to load up our car and trek our things down to the laundry mat. I'm a wuss so we go to one about 6 blocks away versus the one a little closer to the ghetto which is about 3 blocks away, and for the record, I think those extra 3 blocks are worth every second of my time....

The first time we went to the laundry mat it was kind of fun. We got there late (8:15pm) so we could only wash our clothes which isn't so bad since our dryer is still hooked up which means we were there for less than thirty minutes. We also just played cards the whole time so that whole twenty-four minutes that it took to wash something like forty pounds of laundry flew by but last night, last night was a different story. First off, we get there at around 7:20pm knowing that we would have plenty of time to wash and dry our clothes. When we get there, all but one jumbo washing machine is broken so we have to use four small washing machines (and at $3 each it sure isn't cheap!). It's also like 80 degrees outside so probably somewhere around 95 degrees inside the "mat" (since I now go there I can name it whatever I'd like, thank you very much). So Ryan and I go sit outside with this group of kids who must be in DC doing a high school internship or something like that. After about twenty minutes, my lovely fiancée ditches me to go play soccer and leaves me at the laundry mat alone... so I switch the laundry over to the dryer and sit there to wait.

Note to self: Always bring something to do at the laundry mat and a fan, most definitely a fan.

Those must have been the longest forty-eight minutes of my life waiting for this laundry to dry. At this point it's like 8:15pm and there is no one in the "mat" except me and the attendant. Although he's nice, it was super awkward and the place is small... very small. He also had to lock us in once it turned 8:30pm since the place closes at 9pm (last wash at 8:15pm which we learned the first time). So I was bored, sitting in a 95 degree room with me, the attendant and some horrible game show on the TV (which I clearly watched). I actually watched the last 4 minutes on my dryer (note to self: if you think it's hot standing in a laundry mat, just go stand by the dryers) and must have been the happiest girl in the world when it was done. I also vowed to never be locked in a laundry mat with one other person (who has the keys to said laundry mat) ever again.

Mistake #1: Make your fiancée stay there with you the whole time so he can share in the pain fun.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April Showers

While I was off celebrating my friend, Sarah, the lovely bride-to-be, Ryan was hard at work fixing the brickwork above our doorway.

He used a car jack to hold up the doorway while he was replacing a brick or two.

He also talked to the plumber to start the process of getting the building permit (score!). So we're moving, even if it is awfully slowly. The plan is to finish the brickwork this week and hopefully move on to the floors this weekend. We were really hoping to have the kitchen done by Memorial Day weekend so hopefully this warm weather will kick us in to gear!

I was also lucky enough to spend some time with my niece this weekend. She's pretty much the cutest baby ever.... I love her facial expressions.

Taking a walk

Speaking of lovely weather (oh, no? I wasn't talking about that at all? just go with it...), my brother in law picked us up a grill a few weeks ago so we grilled out for the first time in our new house last night. Of course, I brought it down in the mini cooper yesterday so it was in fifty pieces and had to be put together so, dinner turned in to more like midnight snack :)

Ryan putting it together.

Tah dah!
But it was totally worth it! One less meal in the crockpot ;)

I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful weather! I can't wait to get my garden started :)

First flowers in the backyard.

Happy Spring!

Friday, April 15, 2011

And so it continues...

Isn't my hubby-to-be talented? He figured out how to draw our plumbing plans so we could get a building permit and get this show on the road! I shouldn't jinx ourselves but I did just scan the plans over to him so he could send them to our plumber...

On another note, I had been on a bedroom decorating binge for a few weeks but once I got it to a "livable" point, I kind of just stopped. Replacing the blinds would be expensive and making the curtains was intimidating so I kind of just threw up my hands... but now, I think I've gotten to the point, where I need to finish this room. (And by now I mean some time next week when I actually have time.)

Bedroom to-do list:
Buy white blinds (wood or faux?)
Measure window for fabric measurements
Buy fabric for curtains (use groupon for G street fabrics)
Make curtains
Buy curtain rod
Hang curtains
Frame life sized mirror
Hang life sized mirror
Get artwork for above the TV
Frame artwork for above the TV
Hang artwork for above the TV

So, about the artwork above the TV. I've been scouring the Internet to get ideas on what to do with the space. The dresser/TV is in a nook of sorts that needs some serious help. You'll notice that I have never included this view before on my blog and that's because I'm thinking of an artwork collage of types but what would you do with this space? The curtains will (most likely) be yellow or black and white and will hang on that left wall and the right wall has a mirror on it currently (which I'm thinking needs to go).

I'm thinking I might want to replace the jewelry box with a large vase or something that takes away from the TV. We considered taking the TV out of the bedroom but decided that those late night movies/ tv shows were worth keeping it in there.

Oh and sorry for the terrible picture, like I said, I was laying in bed (with a glass of wine) and the view was still driving me insane.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Team Bride

So, this week I asked my friends/sister to be by my side on my wedding day. How did I do it, you ask? Although I would have liked to do it in person, I don't live that close to a few of them, plus one of them just got married and I was (impatiently) waiting for after her big day to ask my ladies, so, I sent them a card (I mean, who doesn't love getting mail?). I had jumped the gun on one of my bridesmaids, so she got a handwritten note (and since I'm not artsy it was, unfortunately, way less cute than these). The rest of the ladies got the cards below with a personal note inside.

You like? I created them at my all time (new) favorite site, Tiny Prints. I also loved the fact that the ladies were all (sort of) surprised by the card. 

ps. does anyone have a 2 person bike? ;) Because I definitely need one after this photo....

Photo from Green Wedding Shoes

Friday, April 8, 2011

Money Pit

I know, I know, I haven't been posting much but it's been a very busy week!

Last night we were out to dinner with my cousin (who is also renovating his house) and he was saying how his hair dresser mentioned to him that it must feel like he was throwing away his money on the house. He than told us that he told her that he sees it more as a bank because yes, he's putting a lot of money in to the house but he also expects to get every dollar (if not two dollars) back... Plus, finishing a project in your house is a pride and joy moment. You look back and forget all the pain and agony of getting it done (except for us since I have this lovely blog to document it!).

It's been a big week, Ryan and I both turned 27 (one year closer to 30, yikes!). Cheers to a new year with new projects and a new kitchen!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sarah Grace

Yesterday, my beautiful niece, Sarah Grace Stewart, was born at 4:40pm. She was 10 pounds and 5 ounces and 21.5'' long. She's absolutely perfect and I can't wait to watch her grow up.
2 hours old
Ryan and I were lucky enough to meet her last night. I couldn't be happier for my sister and her husband on their new addition to the family <3

Monday, April 4, 2011

"It was a Good Day"

Does anyone else remember that song from Ice Cube? I think my best guy friend got me that CD when we were in high school... I can probably still recite the lyrics.

So today is a pretty big day (and also a good day). Not only is it my birthday but it's also my sister's due date. At first,  I was a bit resistant to allowing (haha) baby S share in my birthDAY but after nine (plus) months, I think we've waited long enough and are ready to see her smiling face. Come on baby S!

In house news, we had a productive weekend. Ryan got a lot of brick work done so the walls are looking more... together.

Replacing random wood pieces with brick.

We're keeping part of this wall exposed so we cleaned it to see what it would look like. Yes, this is clean.

We also mulched the front garden and bought our first flower for the back yard. I think I'm really going to like gardening. Bring on the vegetables! Wow, I think I just aged twenty years. 27 going on 47....

We also took our first trip to the laundry mat, which didn't turn out so bad. Of course, we got there about 40 minutes before they closed so we could only wash the clothes but hey, it's better than dirty underwear ;) We had brought beer and cards but unfortunately, laundry mats are alcohol free. Who knew?

I leave you with what the cat was doing while Ryan was doing the brick work.... causing trouble, like usual.

To jump or not to jump? That is the question.

Have a good day, or not, the choice is yours. (Wow, I'm totally bringing back some Unionville High School memories...)

Friday, April 1, 2011


In case you've been wondering about my lack of posts, it's because Ryan's been drawing up the electrical and plumbing plans, so that we can get a building permit, and I didn't think that was too interesting for our lovely readers (you're welcome).

Drawing plans
You see the plumber can't do his thing and we technically can't be doing anything but demolition with our current permit so, we're on hold... for now.