Mom Car

EO’s two months old now!

 
And it’s official. I’m now the proud owner of a “Mom Car” – one that can hold the baby, the fur-baby, and still have room left for some luggage. We spent one afternoon, two evenings, and a stormy morning at various dealerships trying to find just the right new-to-me vehicle. 


And now that we’ve made the decision, it’s time to move in! The spare blanket and cold weather gear is stored in one little compartment, a couple diapers and wipes are in another compartment, and all my favorite radio stations have been preset. We are ready to take the whole fam out for a ride! Except for one thing. Right now that car is clean. Super clean. And I love that! So before we could take Charlie to the park, I had to prepare his special seat. 


I picked up a couple yards of that fabric lined vinyl that’s usually used for table cloths and cut it to fit the trunk space. 


Right now the vinyl is attached with Velcro. We’ll see if it will hold up to Charlie and can keep my new trunk dog hair free!

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Picture Windows

A few years ago I was driving to my parents’ house, and one of their neighbors had a bunch of old windows out at the end of their driveway. Jackpot! Mom and I hopped in her SUV and went back to junk pick them. The homeowner even came out to help us load them up! I ended up with probably 12-15 windows – WAY more than I needed. I’ve been able to give some of them to other people over time (though if you want one… or three… please let me know!!) but I’ve been trying to find a use for the rest for the last three years. You may have seen those attempts in this Potting Table Decor post or this Ugly Shed post.  

Two of the windows were painted grey and put over the dresser/changing table in EO’s room. This week I made a quick modification to the windows so they could hold all of his adorable photos! 

  

The key was to start from the bottom. I measured up 6 inches and made a little dot on one side of the window. Then I could use the level and a tape measure to draw a corresponding dot on the other side of the window. I didn’t even have to take them off the wall! Twine tied tight connected the two nails, and voilĂ ! 

  
Even with how simple this project was, it still took me a few days to complete. That’s just how it is now with Little Man calling the shots! 

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Floating Bookshelves

I am loving my time with little EO! What a privilege it is to watch him grow and grow!  

Tony’s having a good time too. Here’s father and son reading poetry.  And we were finally able to snap our first family photo today! Even Charlie joined in, looking all regal. 

 Anyway, as much fun as we’re having with Edmond, what a blessing it was to send him overnight with Grandma Mimzy. We missed our little guy, but man did we sleep well! And I was finally able to catch up on some dishes and laundry and putting away the winter clothes (Yes, I know it’s July!). I also completed one teeny tiny project I’ve had on my To Do list – the bare wall over EO’s toy box.    It was a lovely wall over a really lovely toy box, but it was bare, and bare is just not my thing. I decided on some floating shelves to hold the books that were too tall for EO’s bookshelf. 

I’ve said for several years now that I knew some day I would value premade things over homemade ones, but that I’d go homemade while I had the time. Well, that day has come. Plus, Ikea’s floating shelves are just $6.99 apiece. No brainer!

Holes drilled, anchors placed, screws installed, and done!   Tony’s only complaint is there aren’t enough books up there!

 

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Flag Day Wreath

Happy Flag Day! In honor of this patriotic holiday, I put together a very quick little project – a patriotic wreath. 

  

A burlap wreath is truly one of the easiest projects to put together. It requires just a few supplies: 

   

Can you believe that stars and stripes burlap was in the holiday section at Walmart? I’ve had it for awhile now, knowing that this was the kind of project I might have time for once Baby arrived. 
    

A burlap wreath is nearly impossible to mess up. You just weave the material between the metal slats of the wreath frame. The hardest part is gauging how much material to use. You want it to be bunched pretty tight to make the wreath full, but not so tight that you run out of burlap before it’s finished. 

For this project, the stars and stripes burlap was shorter than most rolls. I could have probably used a second roll of the stripes, but I mixed in the plain burlap instead. 

  
I’m not usually very good at decorating for the summer holidays. School wraps up and I just sort of forget to transition my decor from Spring to Summer, but this year I’m prepared! I’ve also updated the little photo frame in the front hall… Though everything else up there is still the same!

  

In other news, family has begun to arrive from out of town to meet little Edmond! We’re all trying to get used to our new titles – Mom & Dad, Great Aunt Amy, Grandma (Mimzy), and Great Grandmother & Great Grandfather!

  

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New Windows, Baby!

We can now start describing Edmond’s age in weeks, not days. It’s hard to believe that just 2 weeks ago we brought him home! So much seems to have happened in that time.  I sure am glad he held off his arrival until after the kitchen (and the school year, for that matter) was finished. Every time I wash a bottle in the new sink I think about how much nicer it is than the old one! 

In anticipation of the questions I’ve been getting most frequently:

     1. Edmond’s eating really well. He’s up to 8 lb. 1 oz. from his birth weight of 7 lb. 7 oz.

     2. He’s sleeping pretty well too. We’ve enjoyed several nights where he’s slept 5 hours at a time!  He’s a loud sleeper, so I’m hoping we’ll be ready to move him into his room soon.

     3. Charlie is doing a great job as Big Brother. When Edmond is in the Rock’n’Play or the carseat, he’ll go up and sniff at or lick his feet. When we’re upstairs in the glider, Charlie will lay patiently on the rug for us to finish.  He does have a little trouble when people come to visit because he wants to see them and Baby Edmond, so we’re working on improving guest behavior.

 Per everyone’s instructions, I’ve been focusing on healing from labor, sleeping, and getting to know our new little man, but there are still a few things happening around this old house! The biggest thing is the culmination of our window replacement project. This was supposed to be a long-term project. You may remember we replaced about half the windows last Fall. We financed that purchase, interest free, for three years. Our intention had been to pay off the first half of the project, then have the rest of the windows installed at that point and take another three years to pay off round two. It was a good plan. In the meantime, though, we decided not to do the full scale kitchen remodel that we’d been saving for, and a few months ago we started kicking around the idea of replacing the rest of the windows with that money. Well, we finally decided to book it around the beginning of May. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, right?! We ended up with a little delay due to a window broken during shipment, but they were able to come out and install the rest of the windows on Thursday last week. 

I have no “before” pictures. It was either track down my memory card or feed Edmond before the workmen arrived, and I figured the latter was the more responsible choice. But this batch of windows was in similar shape to those that were replaced previously – drafty, rattly, and enclosed by ill-fitting storm windows with years and years of grime. This batch also included a broken kitchen window which was painted shut years ago and the plastic bathroom window that I’d previously covered up with  faux stained glass. You can just see the window over the window on the right side of this before photo from the downstairs half bath/laundry. In an effort to create some privacy for people using the privy,  I used a (really stinky) can of frosted glass spray paint on the bottom sash, but the top sash was actually a sheet of scratched up plexiglass! Nice.  That big window hung in front of the plexiglass and also provided some extra privacy.  

 
Anyway, the new windows were immediately  put to good use, and not just because we have had beautiful weather. When I got home with Edmond from hanging out at Mom’s during the window install the house was pretty stinky from all the freshly applied caulk. On Tony’s suggestion, I opened up windows all over the house, then closed Edmond and myself up in the half bath, the smallest room in the house and therefore the easiest to air out quickly. While we were in there, EO got hungry, so when Tony got home from work, we were still in there, chilling on the floor, while I nursed the little guy. 

  
Check out all that natural light coming in! Plus it’s actual glass, and it opens! Bonus.

The next day was even better. I was napping on the couch when there was a knock on the door. It was a fireman in full uniform, to let me know that a gas line outside our house had been hit by the Google Fiber installation crew. (Later we found out from a neighbor that they hit the line and immediately jumped in their cars to hightail it out of there!) The fireman tested all the rooms in the house and assured me that my ten day old baby and myself would both be fine, but the lady from the gas company asked that we please vacate the premises anyway, just to be safe. After an hour or so of hanging out at Dad’s, we returned to a very stinky home. Tony opened every window in the house (because he could!) and it aired out quickly. Since then we’ve had various crews out every day digging in our yard. 


Despite the excitement of the new Windows, it’s fantastic to 1) be able to see out and 2) be able to open all the windows in our house! And now I don’t have to worry about EO leaning against a window in his room when he gets a little older and having the glass shatter all over him!

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It’s a Boy!

  
We’re excited to announce the arrival of Edmond Oliver Snethen, born May 23rd, 2016, at 10:19am. Edmond entered the world at 7lb. 7 oz. and 20.5 inches long.

  

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Everything and a New Kitchen Sink!

  
The last step to the kitchen counter reno was to install the new sink and faucet. Check out the countertop painting process and the beadboard backspash, if you haven’t seen those already. This part of the project really fell on Tony… And during finals week, of all times! While he did remind me several times that he had wanted no part of this project whatsoever, he was a good sport and indulged his very pregnant wife despite his jam-packed schedule. I’d picked out two sinks and two faucets from Lowe’s and The Depot previously. At one point we had a sink in the front hall (the one that went back), a sink in the dining room (the one we kept), and one on the back porch (the one we got rid of)!

Since this fell to Tony, and he doesn’t like to have his picture taken… And there were a couple issues that made it harder for him… I mostly just have before and after shots. Here’s the old sink:

  

It was just your standard stainless steel sink – not much to it. It was fine. 

  
But since we were taking it out anyway to redo the countertop, it just made sense to put in a nice new one! I’d had my eye on a sink with one gigantic bowl. It always drove me nuts to try and clean baking sheets and large pans that didn’t fit in a standard sink, but Mom convinced me that it’s nice to have two bowls for those times when you just want to use a little water, so I picked a sink with one really big bowl and one small one, like a 75/25 split. 

  

It’s fantastic! I can fit an entire cookie sheet, or in this case my oversized cutting board, in the larger side. The right side has been a fantastic place to thaw meat or put pots that are drying without having to leave them on the counter. Even Tony commented that the sink was pretty sweet – high praise from him! 

Our one stipulation with the faucet was that it needed to have a pull out sprayer, and I loved the old fashioned shape of this one. 

  

Once everything was installed I used wood glue and a few nails to install the final piece of trim, and this project was a wrap! 

  
Here’s the same view just 2 1/2 years ago:

  
Cabinets, walls, trim, and countertops painted, new backsplash, new sink and faucet. Yay!

  

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Painted Countertops

 
I may have mentioned before that I wanted new countertops in our kitchen. It really wasn’t a necessity. Our existing countertops did a nice job of holding things. I hated them, so I didn’t mind using the crap out of them. And to be completely honest, I secretly kind of like linoleum. It’s not cool or chic, but it’s super durable, and that’s really the most important thing when it comes to a countertop, right? Our linoleum had two major issues though. First, the wall in the kitchen is terribly uneven, to the point that whoever installed our existing cabinets and countertop had to install a tapered 2×4 just to get the cabinets to sit flush with the side walls, and that was pretty ugly. 

  
This is the thickest part of the 2×4, right under the windows and over the sink, and it’s probably an inch thick or more. (Side note: we think these windows were installed where there was once a back door. When you look at the siding from the outside it looks like it’s been repaired (rather poorly, obviously, since we can see it) to cover an old doorway. We think that might also explain why the wall is so bowed in this particular spot, as the wood piece tapers down to about a 1/4 inch thick underneath the open shelving and remains relatively consistent the rest of the way down the wall.)

The other countertop issue was this giant seam. I always felt like food particles were going to fall in the crack – gross! 

  

In addition to function, I also appreciate pretty, so a few months ago I went out to price new countertops in a linoleum (because it’s cheaper and it’s more durable than the wood countertops I really wanted) designed to look like Carrara marble (because it’s pretty). I nearly had the order placed at The Depot when the kitchen designer lady mentioned the countertop would come in two pieces, and where would I like the seam? To which I said, “No thank you.” The seam was the worst part of the existing countertops, and a big part of why I wanted them replaced at all, so I left. 

At that point I was prepared to let the project go… for awhile… at least until after Baby arrived. I know, letting things go isn’t really my style, but this time I was going to, I swear! I mean, this is my ninth month of pregnancy after all.

Speaking of, some maternity pics:

   

 
But then I asked my friend about her DIY countertop experience. She painted her countertops a little over a year ago, and I wondered how they’d held up. She gave me all the details, and said, “Oh Lindy, if you’re going to do it, you’d better do it before the baby comes, because you’re not going to want to wash dishes and bottles in the bathroom sink with a brand new baby.” Well, crap, I thought. I guess I’d better get on this! And since I was going to be doing the countertop, it just made sense to do the backsplash and upgrade the kitchen sink and faucet at the same time! Poor Tony just shook his head and said, “What do I have to do?” Thus began this latest kitchen remodel. You’ve seen the backsplash (Phase 1), and this post is about the countertops (Phase 2)!

Last weekend I prepped the counters by filling the seam and the joint where the 2×4 meets the back rise of the countertop with woodfiller. 

  

Then I sanded it as smooth as I could.

 
Based on my friend’s recommendation, I had ordered a Giani countertop refinishing kit from Amazon. The kit is designed to create a granite look, and I was looking more for marble, but they had a little YouTube video that covered that. 

Step 1, after sink removal, was a thorough cleaning and a coat of black primer. 

 

I kind of liked the look of the black, but I pressed onward with the original plan after the primer dried overnight. Since I was going for Carrera marble, I started Saturday morning by rolling on a layer of white paint, then sponging on”white flows” in random patterns.
  

It was a little zebra stripey, but I just kept going! The next step was to add the veining. There were a lot of different techniques mentioned online about how to do this. Many people used a feather, but I just couldn’t figure that out, so I played around with a couple options. The combination that worked best for me was to mix a little of the black primer and the white paint to make a dark gray. Then I used a fine tipped artist brush to paint lines through the gray spots on the counter. The lines were very uneven, on purpose, then I sprayed the lines with water and they kind of took on a life of their own.  The difficult part was that rise at the back. I wanted the marbling effect that the water created, but the first time I tried it, the water (and therefore the black paint) just dripped straight down.  It looked awful! So I would paint the veins, spray a light mist on them, then use my sponge to catch the extra water as it fell down. It worked pretty well.
 

As the veining dried I sponged over the whole counter with more white to mute the veins a bit and lighten the whole thing up. The scariest part was the next step. I mixed water into the white paint and was supposed to pour it over the whole countertop! I thought this sounded like a terrible idea, but that’s what the directions said to do. So, when Tony went to bed, I snuck back downstairs (just because I knew I wouldn’t sleep for thinking about this next step) and went for it. I used the foam brush to spread the watery paint around, but I was concerned about brush marks, so I also gave it a couple sprays with the squirt bottle as well. Then I used the foam brush to keep the excess paint from dripping off the front of the counter or from pooling where the counter met the rise. When I was satisfied that there wouldn’t be any more drips, I went to bed and hoped it would be okay in the morning. You can see a bit in the photo below how wet it was.

  

This is what it looked like in the morning: 

  

That day I applied 3 coats of the clear that came in the kit, and we began the wait. The directions said we could use the counter after 24 hours and put appliances back after three days, but we’re waiting the full two weeeks for the paint to completely cure before we put anything back to sit on the counter.


The review:

This is probably the first house project I haven’t been totally in love with. It’s good. I like it. I just don’t love it. 

Pros: 1. The 2×4 at the back of the backsplash is totally covered; it looks like one consistent piece now. 2. The seam is mostly covered as well. I don’t feel like crumbs or juice are going to get in there anymore. 3. It was a relatively quick project, completed in just one weekend, and we were without a kitchen sink for less than a week. 4. The price is pretty fantastic –  a complete makeover for under $100.  

  
Cons: 1. It’s not quite as white as I was wanting, but more gray. If I could do it over, I’d roll on 2-3 coats of white before sponging in the “zebra stripes.” 2. I sponged some of the Pearl Mica color over the top, and that was a mistake. I couldn’t really see the pearl color when I was sponging it on in the morning, but by the afternoon it was catching the light coming through the kitchen windows, and it makes the counter look dirty from certain angles. 3. Despite my best efforts, some of the watered-down white paint ended up pooling at the base of the rise. I tried sanding it out the next morning, but it didn’t work. The thicker band of white is probably only noticeable to me, but it’s still a con.

  

At this point, I’m still glad I tackled this project, despite not loving the outcome. I love the idea of painting anything and everything, and the new sink and faucet are fantastic. Our two week waiting period will be up this weekend, and then we’ll see how this stuff holds up over time! 

 

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Kitchen Backsplash

You know how sometimes you think and think about something but you just never do it? Well, I’ve wanted to do something about our kitchen backsplash for a long time now. When we moved in it was this row of cheap, ugly tiles that I just hated. But we were planning a full kitchen remodel, so it seemed silly to try and mess with the wall that we were pretty sure was plaster. You just never know how those plaster walls are going to take a reno project, and boy is it messy! 

Then a few months ago someone commented on an old kitchen post (someone I don’t know – that’s always exciting!) suggesting I just cover over the tiles with beadboard wallpaper. It was a good idea, but the tiles weren’t installed very well – they’re kind of uneven and I thought the grout lines would show through the wallpaper, so I just dismissed it. Then one day, it hit me. Why use wallpaper when I could use actual beadboard? I still didn’t want to take the tile down, so I just didn’t! And let me tell you, this turned into one of those projects that was so flipping easy, and fabulous, that I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner!

My dad had some extra beadboard from building the bench seat in the baby’s room, and we already had the paint, so all we had to buy for this project was a tube of construction grade adhesive. Dear, sweet Tony, who’s in the middle of three(!) graduate classes and super busy, has been very supportive of his crazy, pregnant wife, and he cut all the beadboard for me. I’m pretty good with a miter saw, but I’m just not yet wild about taking on the circular saw freehand. 

A coat of primer and two coats of paint, and these babies were ready to go up! Here’s the adhesive.  

 We pressed the wood paneling straight onto the tiles and held it there for a minute or two. Then I came back and just pushed on everything every few minutes until there weren’t any more air bubbles. There was one spot where the tile was installed particularly unevenly, and the beadboard wouldn’t stay put. Rather than one of us sitting there for ten minutes waiting for the glue to dry, Tony grabbed some 20 lb. weights and we leaned them against the trouble spots. 

  
A quick coat of caulk and a topcoat of white paint finished it all off. What a difference!

  
There will be a piece of trim along the bottom of the beadboard, so that will take care of the gap that is visible in a couple areas, but this project ended up being the first in a series, so I haven’t gotten to that detail yet. More to come soon!

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Baby Shower

Let me just say, I have some amazing friends. Holy cow. Last weekend they threw me the most fabulous baby shower! Monica even flew in from Colorado as a surprise! 

 
I was horrible about taking photos – bad blogger! Amy and Emilee had put together a delicious spread of muffins, cinnamon rolls, quiche, yogurt, fruit, and mimosa/mom-mosa. Makes my mouth water just thinking of it! 

Then we decorated onesies. A couple months ago several of us got together to dye said onesies. I have very little experience with RIT dye, so it was a bit nerve-wracking. Tony pulled out some 5 gallon buckets and paint sticks for stirring, and we moved the kitchen island off to the side so there was plenty of floor space. 

  
It took the better part of a Sunday afternoon, but when we were done we had some beautiful colored onesies! 

   

This was about 1/2 the stash we dyed that day. The other 1/2 were for the baby shower of our friend Anna, who now has twins girls at home! 

Anyway, at the party, each guest picked a onesie and a design and ironed it on. I had each person take a selfie so I’d know who made each one. It’s been fun for me to look back at the photos because so many of the designs people chose are so reminicent of their personalities! 

  
Check out the finished designs, all laid out on Charlie’s kennel: 

  
After onesies it was time to open Baby’s gifts. I’m still overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity. 

   

And look at this great baby washcloth wreath that Amy made!

  

That afternoon Tony’s mom, Jeanne, and I unpacked everything in Baby’s room. 

    

The bookshelf is full of new board books.
  

The blankets are all unpacked and washed, including two beautiful hand-crochetted blankets. 

  
The artwork has been hung on the wall.

  
Even Baby’s closet is filling up!

Thank you Emilee and Amy, and all my sweet friends and family! 

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