Dec 27, 2010

Bit the Dust

Regular vacuums cannot be used as shop vacs.

Dec 24, 2010

Ho Ho Holidays

A peek into our home for the holidays:


A mini tree in the entryway, alongside a toilet drain pipe.


Peppermint taffy and some nuts for snacking.

Tip: Don't launder the peppermint taffy in your pockets.

Stockings and some fruit and candy canes.


Heavenly Bamboo clippings as the table centerpiece.


Another tree upstairs along with some poinsettia. And a glimpse of our rocking new windows.

Garland up the banisters.


Another garland. With a ton of stockings again. And a Christmas tree scented candle (because we have a scent-less artificial tree).


Paperwhites blooming just in time.


Some bells strung on the console. And a neurotic border collie to go with.


And of course the tree. Decked out with a very obvious bath ventilation fan gift sitting underneath.

Happy holidays everyone!

Dec 23, 2010

Sprinkle On

Here's our sprinkler control system:

See all those sliders? Each represents a zone on our property. One of the reasons we don't use our sprinklers often is because I'm not good with numbers. As in, I don't deal with them if possible. See those numbers all over the sliders? Yeah.

So this is how I can actually deal:


I made a chart to show which numbers are which zones. It's probably an accurate way of seeing how my brain thinks - in colors and shapes.

Do you have the same dilemma?

Dec 22, 2010

Buttered Up

Some indoor entertainment (for both humans and canines) in this dreary weather:



I could use some more ideas, we're running out of peanut butter...

Dec 21, 2010

Window Opportunity - Before and After

We woke up bright and early on Black Friday to spend the most on a project on our house to date. And we did it from the comfort of home. Sans internet. By now you've probably guessed from the post title, that it was new windows for the entire house.

Before:


After:


And we got them just in time. They are awesome and we couldn't be happier. So glad we didn't DIY this project...

Dec 13, 2010

Bites of Dust

Does anyone know how these things get dusty and debris-y?


Annoying.

Dec 10, 2010

Set Time

Remember how Karma did this a few months ago? After spending our evenings with things like this:



And this:
We did much research and test viewing, and decided to take the plunge and get a new TV. We decided to go with the LG Infinia PK950. For us, we had no interest in 3D viewing (at least where the technology stands today). We don't want to have to wear special glasses (when the bf already wears regular glasses), and then only have 2 pairs of glasses, leaving other people watching dizzying fuzzy graphics. I will admit that the 3D technology was much better than in the movie theaters. But frankly, it made everything look too artificial for my liking.

We also decided against LED technology despite all the marketing hype. They are all LED backlit LCD technology. Sometimes you will see it listed as LED-LCD (not to be confused with OLED which is for real and only found on tiny screens like smart phones). Because it's (seems) new, it's expensive - even though it's not new technology. Picture quality is brighter than with plasma, but frankly too artificial for my liking as well. So that is why we decided to go with plasma.

So after our research, we got a new TV but there was a shipping incident which delayed technological entertainment in this household for a bit longer:


We finally got our new TV and a new console to go with it (conveniently taller than the TV attacking dog):


We still don't have cable but we got a ton more channels than we need. And the TV even has a couple of built in video games which is fun to use with our motion thingy remote. And with the wi-fi dongle that is connected to the back of the TV, we are using the heck out of the widgets like Netflix's Watch Instantly.

Thanks Karma, you secretly did us a favor :)

Dec 7, 2010

Game Plan: Master Bath

Here is my vision for our master bathroom:


  1. Behr's "Chinese Jade" paint in semi-gloss
  2. Heater bath fan with light in the shower area
  3. 3" recessed lights (the same ones we used in the kitchen) along the long back wall
  4. Big chunky mirror placed over the sink vanity
  5. Sconces to flank the mirror
  6. Possible tall shelving with
  7. Possible resin laundry hamper baskets -OR-
  8. Possible shorter, wide shelving with
  9. Possible bamboo laundry hamper
  10. Marble floor tiles
  11. Natural fiber waste basket
  12. Bath mat, simple and in the same family as the wall paint
  13. Fuzzy bath towels
  14. White fabric shower curtain (like the texture of this but maybe will attract more dust than this one)
  15. Curved shower rod
  16. White subway tile for tub surround
  17. Delta "Addison" tub and shower hardware
  18. Whirlpool tub
  19. Delta "Lahara" widespread sink hardware (although we are also considering the similar "Addison" as well)
  20. Brentwood 42" sink vanity with Italian carrara white marble top
Any thoughts on which shower curtain to go with? Which faucets? Which hamper? Which storage shelf?

Dec 6, 2010

Go to Seed

I collected seeds from my Canna Lily plants:


All you have to do is wait until the pods dry out and just collect them before they fall to the ground. Next I'll have to wait until spring to plant, but will I remember? Will I lose them? Will I remember to not lose them?

Dec 3, 2010

Flat Broke

Thanks to Karma, this is no more:

Ever since we went away for July 4th, she has become an absolute TV junkie. And I don't mean her eyes happen to be pointing at the screen when she's on the couch.

It used to be that she would hear animal sounds on the TV and run up and watch. Or maybe look for the ball during tennis matches, as they whiz across the screen.

Quickly her favorite commercials became: King Kong 3D Universal Studios, Empire Flooring, and Cymbalta. But now it's anything on TV. And her watching habits have become, how do I say, interactive?

She killed the screen in 2 shots. First was the Empire Flooring commercial, where there is an animated cat at the end*. And then the final shot was when a woman was walking her dog at the end of a Cymbalta commercial.

After she slaughtered the TV screen, she would continue to sit and watch the black screen. As if hoping for it to turn on. She's even moved onto watching computer screens now. Her new favorite activity is to Skype.

Anyway.

RIP little guy.

To the TV grave yard you go tomorrow (monthly e-waste collection).

*if we sing "588-2300 EMPIRE" she will run to the TV screen.

Dec 2, 2010

Thanks Loads

Home projects were not the only thing that we did on Thanksgiving. We did manage to make some food and stuff our faces:


Cranberry sauce (made with orange juice)


Stuffing


Mushroom Gravy


Green beans washed for green bean casserole


Breaded and fried shallots to top the green bean casserole


Green bean casserole


Boiling potatoes to be mashed


Buttermilk mashed potatoes


Opening our tofurky


Tofurky (before basting) with veggies prior to roasting


The compost was happy


The dogs were happy
(we found some organic boneless skinless chicken breasts in the freezer).



And the humans were happy.


(This is for you Betty and Dave, my most loyal readers)


Right before we plated our food we popped a pecan pie in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.

I failed to get "after" shots of all the food after it was all done cooking. We were so hungry and it was getting late and we ate in record time.

Just as we sat down to enjoy our meal we* knocked over a glass of water. Then we cleaned it up. Then we* knocked over a glass of wine. Then we cleaned that up. Then we finally ate and when we came up for air, there was still 15 minutes left on the timer. Sometimes this is just how life goes. Do you have holidays like this?

*And by 'we' I mean the bf. But he made the pie which rocked so he is forgiven.

Dec 1, 2010

Painting himself in a Corner

I hope everyone had a great holiday. Wanna know how ours was? This is how we spent Thanksgiving day (and into the night as you see):



Here's the 'before' shot:


And here's a view of the rest of the house all festively decked out:



We had home work on Thanksgiving (removing all window treatments and clearing all the areas in front of the windows). I guess it serves us right for leaving it to the last minute. Photos of the new windows soon!

Nov 24, 2010

Thanks, but No Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to all (2) of you reading this! This year, we're saying no to turkey and yes to tofurky:


More accurately, we're saying no to having turkey on the dinner table. But yes to sponsoring one:

And specifically, this turkey:

This is Harley*. He is in Farm Sanctuary's California shelter, you know, just chilling out.

The adoption certificate is on the way! Stay tuned. And have a great holiday!

*no relation to this Harley

Nov 17, 2010

Window Opportunity



Here was our list of pros and cons to help us come to this decision:

Pros of DIY:
  1. all money goes towards the windows, which means we can get top of the line windows
  2. top of the line windows would obviously qualify for the energy efficiency tax credit
  3. after this project, we'd know how to install windows
  4. $400 off right off the bat by opening 2 new Home Depot credit cards
  5. rental of truck is pretty cheap (we get first hour free with the Home Depot credit card)
  6. rental of scaffolding is pretty cheap (like $70 a week)
Cons of DIY:
  1. rental of a vehicle to pick up the windows
  2. rental of extra tall ladders and scaffolding
  3. need tons of caulk to seal around the windows, and other finishing touches
  4. disposing old windows
  5. we have a 2 story house
  6. I'm not very big or strong
  7. if we broke or dropped a window, that's a lot of money wasted
  8. if we broke or dropped a window, that's several weeks until a replacement arrives (and see #1 of this list)
  9. we're going into rainy season
Pros of pros (professionals):
  1. the windows they offer qualify for the energy efficiency tax credit
  2. we sign the dotted line and they do everything in 1 day
  3. we instantly free up a lot of time by not having to study up on this and making several hundred trips to the hardware store
  4. we instantly free up a lot of time by not planning to do this on nights and weekends
  5. they guarantee their labor
  6. they have all the proper permits and know all the current city codes and laws
  7. we don't have to source tools or ladders
  8. we don't have to worry about how to get the new windows here
  9. we don't have to worry about how to get rid of the old windows
Cons of pros (professionals):
  1. it costs a lot more
  2. they will see our messy house
So as you can see by my lists above (or by the photo), we decided to get 'er done by the pros.

When they came to give us a free quote, they informed us that our city's new laws require all windows to be tempered glass, and they have all the appropriate permits that are apparently required to do this job. We didn't know about any of this.

We got a quote and it seemed reasonable, at less than double the price of DIY, for better windows (rated #1 by J.D. Power and Associates), with an awesome warranty - a double lifetime warranty. What's that? It means that the warranty carries over to the next homeowners as well. And it covers accidental breakage. And we can use our Home Depot credit card to finance this super blingy job.

This was all music to my ears.

So we offered him leftover Halloween candy, signed on the dotted lines, and handed over our plastic.

Hallelujah.