Friday, December 6, 2013

A Good Ol' Texan Arctic Blast

It rarely snows in Texas...maybe once a year? We get ice usually. I don't remember getting much last year but this year it came early. It began to sleet Thursday evening and went through Friday morning. The roads were frozen solid and people were slipping and sliding everywhere. Fortunately, I had already asked for the day off several weeks ago because we were to get our back splash installed today but...they cancelled. So, I got to stay home all warm and snugly all day! I've been able to catch up on a lot of things but also be lazy too! I practiced a little with my camera shooting in manual as well. 

I would like to get a macro lens for my camera so I could get better close ups. 

Penelope loves the snow and ice. The ice is so think her paws don't even sink into it! Poor thing hardly has any hair so she needs her sweater when she goes outside.

She tries to eat the ice. She loves water and can't really figure out why it's frozen.

It is a winter wonderland out there. Perfect for being cozy.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I can't believe it is already the holiday season! I feel like I have been so busy it has crept up on me! We decided to have Thanksgiving at our new abode this year. I thought it would be a good change of pace for everyone. My grandmother passed away in May very unexpectedly and a few years ago so did my grandfather and uncle. Celebrating in a new environment I thought would be good for everyone. We've only been in our new house for just 2 months so we have been working on lots of preparations. My sister and her gang rolled into town late Tuesday eve and were a great help! 

My niece is so stinking adorable and a master chef in the making! She made a buttermilk pie from scratch!  She even carved pie decorations out of her homemade crust! 

Apparently I forgot to take pictures of the food...but I took plenty pictures of the pies because pie at Thanksgiving is what is most important...aside from family of course. We had a buttermilk pie my niece made, I made a pumpkin cheesecake, my sister made a rustic cherry tart and chocolate Bourbon pecan pie, and my aunt brought the most delicious chocolate pie from the Black Rooster Bakery. Yum.

My mom came over and helped with getting the table decor down.  I wanted a simple rustic theme this year. 

My brother in-law is super handy and made the place card holders out of sassafras. My sweet niece made the place cards!

Hosting Thanksgiving sure was a ton of fun and it was lovely to have my family in my new home. I feel like now they have all been here... and my in-laws have been here feels more lived in and more our own, more like our home. I lived in my other house for 8 years. It was comfortable and familiar. Moving into another place full of uncertainly is quite a transition. But, I am thankful. I am thankful at how fortunate I am to have such great family and friends.

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Countertops Are Here!

You have to say that in the tone of Pauly from the Jersey Shore.

Anyhoo...finally... things are starting to shape up around here. The counter tops were installed in the kitchen and hall bathroom and they look great! We had one minor mishap where I felt like passing out because Thanksgiving is Thursday and I am having a party of 14 but hey, we got the kinks worked out around 9:00pm that night. Thank you to a very kind plumber who has hit it off well with Mr. Lucas and to the nice counter top installation guy that actually answered his phone after hours and came back at 7:40pm to make the sink whole bigger in the bathroom because the sink wouldn't fit. Who knew installations and updates could be so stressful. I didn't...but I have a bit more insight on the topic now.

So, the bathroom is finally (almost) updated, needs a bit more decor. We took down wall paper, painted, added new towels and a shower curtain, then put a new counter top in and vessel sink. Now, in addition to some more decor in here I am going to replace the cabinet knobs. 

I feel some sense of accomplishment now. But more work is yet to be done! 

They installed counter tops in the kitchen and an under mount sink. We had the plumber install a new garbage disposal too because the other one spewed water everywhere when we ran the dishwasher. Ah, the quirks of home ownership. The big kitchen reveal is coming soon!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

El Diablo

This my friends is the devil!

 Yes, those little dainty flowers. Those little dainty flowers are etched  into the master guest bath wallpaper. Where the flowers are, there is a quilted like texture causing much turmoil for removal and there are hundreds of little dainty flowers all over this wallpaper.

I waltzed myself into the bathroom with my trusty turquoise steamer thinking the wallpaper would come down like the first bathroom. Boy, did I ever have a rude awakening. The first bathroom took about 8 hours total to take all the paper down, the backing, and wash off the glue. 

Here is the bathroom before, in all it's glory.

It's got potential...that is the only saving grace.

Now, for the wallpaper removal, this little tiny bit....took 2 hours.

Since the wallpaper was not only vinyl but  quilted, the paper wouldn't peel off as easily as it did with the first bathroom. It peeled off in little bits and pieces. Every now and again I would shriek with joy when I could peel off an 8 inch section. That happened, maybe 2 or 3 times?

So, after scraping and peeling...

And more scraping and peeling....

And even more scraping and peeling, I finally got the stuff down. Huge sense of relief afterward. It was hard work and my body ached! 

This wallpaper removal project took all day on a Saturday and Sunday and then a few hours after work on a Monday and Tuesday. I did not want to step foot  back in that bathroom...ever. But, during my own personal torture process, I discovered that the walls had no texture. Nuts.

I researched drywall texturing and purchased a drywall texture hopper. Frankly, drywall texturing sucks. I bought what I thought was a good electrical drywall hopper. It was a disaster, more to come on that later.

First, I prepped the walls so the texture wouldn't get all over the place. I have watched enough episodes of Dexter to know how to cover the walls adequately.

I got the hopper all muddied up ready to go.

Then started spraying. At first things were going well. It was making a mess even with the plastic up. Then, it started spewing chunks on the wall. I had been warned this may happen from reading reviews. But some reviews also said it worked great so it was a risk I had to take.

I couldn't just wipe the chunks off the wall because then it would ruin the good texture that had been sprayed on so, I got savvy and started to blot it with a paper towel. It slowed me down a great deal but worked out just fine. Took 6 hours to spray it all on and I think it should have taken less time really. Oh, and I can't forget to mention right when I had only 1/8 of the bathroom left do to the dang thing clogged!! I wanted to throw it up against the wall and jump on top of it and kick it like in Office Space. But, that 1/8 of untextured wall would seriously disrupt my OCD so I took it out back and hosed it off. Put it back together, mixed more texture to put in the hopper and it was still clogged! I managed to do a maneuver or 2 that made some of it spit out and went with that to finish up.

So, here is the final drywall product. Not great but not bad for a first and frustrating attempt!

The 3rd and almost final step was to paint the walls. I didn't like those blue flowerdie tiles at first but they started to grow on me and I like them even more once all those dang flowers came off the wall. 

I wanted a bright blue but not a knock your socks of bright blue. I went with allen + roth Valspar Signature in liberty.

The painting was the easiest part! All this wallpaper tearing, drywall texturing, and painting gave me plenty of time to figure out what kind of "theme" I wanted in this bathroom. I decided to go with a "coastal" theme. I already had a nice set of brown Martha Stewart towels to use so all I needed was accents  and accessories. Between Bed Bath and Beyond and the Home Goods store I got some good loot. There is still a bit more that I need to get to finish things off but I think it is a good start so far.

Eventually I want to update the counter top in this bathroom but since there were no leaks or malfunctions like the other bathroom sink it will have to stay like this for a while. The old homeowner was quite ahead of his time. This is a marble counter top, original to the house when it was built in 1959! Unfortunately, it is a little worn and I haven't figured out how to shine it up a bit. We also just can change the fixtures either. The hole thing is connected together, the sink, fixtures, and the counter was custom fit for the sink and they don't make them that way anymore. 

Mr. Lucas was handy again and installed the new light fixtures. 

Just a suggestion to everyone out there. Hire someone to take your wallpaper down for you, especially if it is vinyl and quilted. No bueno folks!


Friday, November 8, 2013

The Empire Has Arrived

Over the past week we met with a rep from Empire Today to pick out flooring. Mr. Troy was very kind and knowledgeable. I have to say I am quite impressed with Empire Today. They have a lot to choose from and great deals! I like a good deal. So, I took the day off for the installation. I had no idea how loud floor installation is. So my day off wasn't necessarily relaxing. But the crew was great and did a good job.

This is a view into the kitchen. Gotta love old linoleum.

We had carpet in all bedrooms, hall, and living area. We decided to keep carpet in the bedrooms but replace the carpet in the living room and hallway. 

Here is the hall before:

 And the living area:

 Here is the hallway after with the new wood flooring:

This is a sneak peek at the kitchen floor. I wanted to install wood in the kitchen but Mr. Lucas was completely against that. I actually found only one tile selection that I liked and thought would go perfectly with the counter top and back splash we have picked out. Jeff also cut a cat door in the closet so he cat box can be incognito! The big kitchen reveal will be later, when it is all complete!

Living area after with the wood installed:

The living area still needs some work. I think that happens when you move from a small house to a larger house, there is not enough furniture to fill every room! I am still trying to figure out my inspiration for this room too. I know I want to paint the buffet to brighten the room a bit since it is so dark. I also need more lighting because there is only one chandelier. It's a work in progress.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Update On Bathroom Numero Uno

We are getting close to finishing the "face lift" on the hall bathroom. It needs to be in much better shape than it is now because we are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year. Can't have my fam traveling in time back to the 1950's (in a bad decor way) every time they use the restroom.

I decided to go with a dark gray for the bathroom walls with green accents. I came across these great succulent wall hangings at Bed Bath and Beyond! My internal bells and whistles were going off when I saw them and they were also on sale, bonus!  

At Target I found the loveliest little fake succulent arrangement and that is when the whole succulent themed bathroom came into play. Why not? I love succulents! 

After searching for the perfect shower curtain for weeks finally Kate Spade spoke to me. A Kate Spate shower curtain...and on sale?? No way!! How the heck can you beat that? Thank you Ms. Spade.

I must say, Mr. Lucas proved to be very handy with this project. He replaced both the light fixture above the bathroom sink and the ceiling light fixture in the bathroom. 

It made all the difference. It is amazing how just the little things can do so much. We are on a budget and a total gut renovation is not feasible but these few things we are doing to give it a face lift have really worked well to perk the place well. 

Now, we wait for counter top and sink installation in a few weeks. Wahoo!


Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Wallpaper Must Go!

Wallpaper. I don't like it. I never really have. I prefer my walls to be left pure. ;) Taking wallpaper down.  I don't like it. I never have and I have never even taken it down before! 

I did some Internet research and watched a few you tube videos so I think that makes me an expert now, right?

The culprit

The weapon

My research findings are that is it much easier to take down wallpaper with a steamer. It is also much easier to take down non-vinyl wallpaper. However, to my dismay, vinyl wallpaper is what I discovered I had.

So with a few choice words after that discovery, I started with steaming the heck out of the walls. When that didn't work, because the steam could not penetrate through the dang vinyl, I began to peel and peel the vinyl paper away. It left the paper backing still on the wall, unfortunately.

Removing wall paper requires beer. 

Once I got all the dang vinyl off the wall I was able to bring out my trusty weapon...the steamer! I steamed the backing and it easily peeled off. I also got a good facial in the process.

Some parts needed a little scraping to get started but once it got started it came off in large pieces, yeeeah!

After I steamed and peeled a million times over it was time to wash the glue off the wall. I used a damp soapy don't want to saturate the drywall otherwise you may ruin it. I used the rag to wash off all that gunk and soap, it came off pretty easily and then I used a clean dry rag to wipe the walls down. 

Many hours later, clean white wallpaper free walls emerged! 

I am awfully proud of myself if I do say so. Next on my agenda for this bathroom is a fresh coat of paint, a new counter top, and new sink installation! I also need towels and a shower curtain.

Oh...and also on that bathroom update agenda are new light fixtures, did you see that funky fixture a few pics above?? It is just not doing the trick for me.


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