Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Before & After: Trash Day Screen Door Renovation

Hello There!

I've been so excited to show off this before and after. It took FOREVER. It seemed like every time I went to work on it, we had something come up. I suppose that is just summer in general. We have this unusual entry way behind our house. The entry would be open if it wasn't for the need to keep the dogs in the fenced in yard. When we moved in (& as you know, we rent), there was a door that did the trick for a while. However, it seemed that the wind wasn't its friend, and it's looking quite brutal.


What a sad looking door. During city wide clean up, I found this awesome door. So, the door was free. However, it was in pretty rough shape. It needed a good clean up and deconstruction.

This is how I found the door on the curb. Sad and dirty.

Time to sand it down and remove that scary looking screen. I thought I might cut a finger off.
What a great chance to use my detail sander accessories for the first time! Love LOVE it. As you may remember, I did a review of my sander here. 
All sanded and repainted. I had some chicken wire sitting around from a purchase at the Habitat for Humanity store. Yes, they sell chicken wire there. I think I paid 2 bucks for a huge roll.

So, I thought I was in the homestretch when I finished this part of the door. Uh. Not even close. I knew the door was a bit too tall and narrow from measuring it, but apparently I wasn't paying attention when I measured it because it was much more narrow and tall. Tall we could deal with. Tall was actually kinda nice because it will keep the wind from pushing it through the door and beating it up. However, narrow wouldn't work. So we had to buy boards to frame the door in more. Then we had to return them since they were the wrong size (I would like the record to show I told my husband they were too narrow but he insisted he had the right ones.) Then we had to cut them, then paint them and attach them. That process took much longer than it should have.

Since we rent, this door is completely replaceable. We kept the old one just in case they would like to put that one back on, or if we decide that we would like to take this door with us. It's just a matter of removing some screws and putting the old one back up.

Here's the final product!


I love the bright color and I love how it makes the cart we keep our child's outdoor toys on just pops. The lattice isn't my favorite, but it does the trick and since we don't own the house, I don't mind it staying. I did freshen up the paint since I had to paint those extra boards to frame in the door. Does this door scream "welcome"?
As an FYI: The project was quite affordable. With new paint, chicken wire, hinges and boards to frame in the door, we spent around $20.00.





Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Welcome to the Wild Kingdom

I no longer need to go to the zoo. Apparently my home has become a home of the living and not so living wild.

How many bats does that make now?!?!?

A few weeks ago my husband was out of town for work. I was getting our daughter ready for daycare and myself ready for work. Our three dogs were acting strange…more wound up than normal. I didn’t think much of it except it was rather irritating to not be able to walk without having a dog under foot.

As I was about to walk downstairs, I found the source of the dog anxiety. There was a bat sitting on the ceiling above the stairs. I ducked into my room with my daughter to hide and considered my options. I could attempt to chase away the bat with a racket like my husband normally does, or I could just open a window and hope the bat decides to leave while I’m at work. I decided on the latter option. I am in favor of passivism. Make love not war, right?

I grab a towel to throw over our heads as I ran downstairs in case there was a sudden dive attack. My daughter thought this was a very fun unusual way to get start her day. I locked the dogs downstairs (last thing I needed was a dog chasing the bat out the open second story window.) I mentioned to my daycare provider we had a bat in the house, and she offered her husband’s help if the bat didn’t leave on his own accord. I told her I might have to take her up on that, but I was pretty sure the bat would leave.

Now, I usually do okay with things that are kinda of “icky.” I’ve cleaned up feces and vomit atrocities. I have killed spiders that have made my husband squeal like a girl. I have killed snakes and picked up various dead items my killer westie brings me. I just can’t deal with bats. I didn’t have my first encounter until I was in college. I had moved into a house off campus and was living with my brother that had just started college. We had just come home from his first college gathering. He was attempting to unlock the front door on our screened in porch, and all of a sudden something black swooped down at him. He screamed, fell into the kitchen and promptly locked me out. Then, he refused to open the door for me. He was in no state to deal with the black bomb on the porch anyways. I went to a house party next door and implored one of the six male roommates to take care of the problem. One of the knights in shining armor, or rather in his collar popped polo shirt, put down his beer cup and grabbed a golf glove from his car and went to work. I didn’t point out that his glove of choice was covered in holes and therefore, not all that protective from a bat bite. He picked the bat up and threw it outside. End of story. Eventually I convinced my brother to let me in the house again.

Second time, my brother had moved out and my new husband had moved in. My husband was on a hunting trip, and I took a late night shopping trip. I experienced a similar surprise attack on the screened in porch. Unfortunately, this time my party loving neighbors had been replaced by a nutty gun fanatic dad with an equally nutty family. I didn’t have any guy friends in town, and no girlfriends willing to deal with the rodent. So, I did the logical thing in this situation……. I called the police. 

Now, I didn’t call 911. I did call the non-emergency line (although I’m not sure how much that really matters since it was 3:00 am.) I explained if this wasn’t something they dealt with, it was okay but I would really appreciate some help. The dispatcher was nice and said if an officer was available, she would send him over. I propped the front door open and sat on my front steps (a safe distance from the creature) and waited for the officer to show up. I saw the cop car coming down the street, breathed a sigh of relief, and just then, the bat decided he had enough of this show. He flew out the front door, and I stood there both relieved and a little irritated that I now had to tell the officer he wasn’t needed. The officer was polite enough about it, but I learned that the police *probably* aren’t the ones to deal with bat situations in the future.


So after work, I am driving home and am trying to amp myself up to deal with the bat in case he hasn’t decided to vacate the premises on his own. I try to reason with my over active imagination. What is the worst that is going to happen? I get bit? I would just catch the bat to get it checked for rabies. Worse case scenario I would get the rabies vaccine. Some mid-day work Googling had confirmed pregnant woman can in fact get the vaccine. If I took proper precautions, there’s no reason I couldn’t prevent getting bit.

So, I pick my daughter up, and I’m all amped up to deal with the bat. I put “Eye of the Tiger” on repeat. I get some jeans on. I put on my boots. I go find my racquetball racket. I put on a sweatshirt, pull the hoodie strings tight and put on my never worn racquetball goggles (I knew there was a reason I saved those things). I put on some of my husband’s hunting gloves, and I’m ready to rock. I’m going to prove that I can deal with this bat.

I get up about three stairs before I turn around and run back down. I jump up and down. I shake it out. I give myself a little pep talk. I get up a few more stairs before I run back down. My daughter looks at me like I’ve probably taken up recreational drug use. I think out my plan trying to focus and motivate myself. Then I realize that I didn’t really think beyond getting all geared up. How was I going to get to the bat? I couldn’t reach it by leaning over the stairs. I suppose I had to throw something at it to get it to fly…but what if it flew downstairs where I have elevated ceilings. Then, I’d be forced to get a ladder….to do what? Chase it with a racket. I start realize my plan had significant holes. Yeah. Time for Plan B.

It took my daycare provider’s husband about 3 minutes to grab the bat and throw it out the window. I had changed back to my work clothes before calling….no need for anyone to see me in my assault gear. Thank goodness there are people out there to help in such dire bat situations.

What about the not so living wildlife?
Best Puppy Friends Forever

My husband called me yesterday while I was at work and the conversation went a little like this:

“Husband: Uh..well..mmm..I have to tell you something.

Me: What? (silently panicking because that phrase never leads to anything good.)

Husband: Well. I figured I probably should tell you before tonight.

Me: Yes, what is it? (cold sweat is starting)

Husband: Well, you’re going to want to wash the sheets really really well tonight.”

At this point, I’m figuring that we’ve got something like bed bugs or fleas or there was another f**** bat in our bedroom. I have a very paranoid view of bed bugs and fleas. I’m terrified of getting them. The minute I get even a fleck of dirt on our mattress or I see something on the dogs, I freak out.

He goes on to explain why I need to wash the sheets “really really well.” He had gotten done early from school, put our daughter down for her nap and then decided he would take a nap himself. He is laying in the bed sans glasses when our little westie comes running up the stairs with this hedgehog toy our dogs love in her mouth. She is running around the bedroom with it in her mouth and our German Shorthair Pointer is chasing her. This is a pretty regular occurrence. Our westie is the “alpha” dog and often walks around taunting the pointer with toys. She even shakes her tail at him to tease him. So, this is going on for a few minutes. Husband keeps hearing the tapping of the dog feet on the hardwood as she wanders around, a whine from the shorthair and then a growl from the westie.
Finally, Husband gets sick of this tapping, whining, growling routine and calls the westie up to take away the toy. She jumps up and like she normally does, she goes in for a kiss/shove toy in your face to show off what she’s got. Only, now that it’s actually on his face, Husband notices it isn’t the hedgehog toy. It’s a dead chipmunk. He must have made some sort of noise, because she decided to be really nice and set the dead chipmunk on my pillow. I’m such a lucky mom. I get the best gifts.

So, the sheets got bleached and scathed with hot water, and my westie got another bath. So goes life in the wild kingdom of my home.

Monday, August 20, 2012

DIY Planters Follow-Up


Hello There! 

I realized the other day that I didn't really ever follow up these outdoor projects I did with the finished result. 

At the beginning of the summer, I did a tutorial for a DIY burlap planter. I had an ugly plastic planter that blew into my yard. I waited a few weeks for someone to claim it, but it was never claimed. So I grabbed some burlap I had sitting around and decorated it. It turned out pretty cute. It also ended up being my prettiest planter. The flowers must have liked it too!

Planter sitting out with my old bench and old Pepsi box.
Ready for some dirty and flowers!!
Getting the Pepsi box ready to become a planter. I used this garbage bag to make it at least a little water proof and then poked drain holes in between the slats of the box. Fun planter for less than a dollar!
Planter with some flowers at the beginning of the summer.

Mother's Day flowers.

Junk & flowers are one of my favorite combinations! 

And then the flowers just TOOK off. Look how crazy they spread! Even my Pepsi container looked pretty cute!

Next, remember that desk I painted for my front porch? It became a planter as well!

The "before"...or as how it will look during the winter.


The summer "After." Next summer I will use succulents instead...these flowers didn't get much water being on the porch and didn't fair as well as others.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

DIY Sunday: Burp Cloths

Hello There!

I've slowly started to work on projects for our little one on the way. (When I feel like I'm able to keep my eyes open for longer than 10 minutes.) We recently found out we're having a little baby boy! We have a wonderful daughter already, which means everything we have is pink and purple except for the big items.

With my daughter, I made a ton of burp cloths. I thought I had made too many, and I ended up using every single one.

The burp cloths I made for my daughter.

Since I used pretty pink fabric, I decided it would be an easy project to cover up the pink fabric details with cute boy fabric. It's a silly project really...who cares if the item that is meant to clean up spit up is pretty? But, it's fun to dress up things sometimes, and I had the fabric so I figured I may as well.

I have a few hints when doing burp cloths. Many people put the fabric down the center. I wouldn't recommend this. You are covering up the more absorbent part of the cloth diaper, and the cotton fabric you decorate it with isn't nearly at absorbent. I would recommend putting it across the bottom. Also, some people also make burp cloths out of flannel. Flannel isn't all that absorbent either. Really, the most important part of the burp cloth is absorbancy. Cloth diapers have the same purpose and are great for using for spit up. Save some clothes from terrible spit up!

Camping fleece fabric.

Airplane fleece fabric

Monster fleece fabric