Loose Ends

Loose Ends

the creative impulse gone awry

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Where I pretend I'm a home improvement blogger

You know, It's possible that I find blogging difficult because I read all of these blogs that have a theme, you know, food, sewing, knitting, home improvement/decorating, blah blah blah, and I like to do *all* of these things so I feel like a spaz when I stop knitting like a crazy person for a while and build furniture, or paint, or bake pastries.  Like I'll disappoint you when there are no knitting things for a long time, or all I do is talk about paint.  I find it hard to write when it isn't coming straight from my brain, I have a hard time planning my writing, I have to just be struck by something and run with it. 

We've been living this weird limbo between putting our house on the market and someone falling in love with it.  For a long time (ha what feels long for me is, seriously, 2 weeks) I just did nothing, twiddled my thumbs, kept things clean, played with the girls... but I don't really thrive without a project, and I don't like feeling like a visitor in my own home.  So I tested the waters by doing a little landscaping, just to see if it felt weird to work on a house that I've already set the price on.  I mean, we felt it was worth every penny a week ago before I worked on the yard!   But, it felt rewarding, so I took another few pokes at the house.  You know when you clean up 99% of everything, you start to notice little things that were not important when there were larger issues.  A lot of these things are just finicky little things that no one would notice except for us, but maybe, just maybe, the general feeling of them being *gone* will make someone fall in love and buy it.

After we caught this adorable Bob moment, I thought I should shoot a couple of my tiny and cheap-o projects so I could share what the girls and I have been up to.  Bob helping me fill in some nail holes on some baseboard trim I added in the kitchen:

After we added new floor, all we could do for a while was just swoon every time we walked into the room -- marveling at how lovely it looked, how nice it felt on bare feet, how much warmer the kitchen was with the addition of another layer of flooring.  But after a while those places where the floor met the toe kick, or the edges of the base cabinets just started to look really shabby.  I popped a piece of baseboard trim and some quarter round on one edge of the counter (the worst offender) and after a couple of days I ripped it off and did the entire kitchen.  Trim and quarter round on the parts that were exposed and just quarter round where I could get away with it.  The result is probably not noticeable, which is kind of the point.  Josh and I notice it only because we really noticed how crappy it looked before. 

sooooooooo pretty.

Once I had that done, I realized how annoyed I was that our baseboard heating register had started rusting.  Being new to baseboard heat (I grew up with forced hot air and then we had steam before converting to forced hot water a little over two years ago) I didn't realize that this is just what happens.  Apparently they all rust and people just keep painting them.  Don't we have stainless steel for a reason?  Shouldn't there be a special bathroom only heating register?   I mean I have a phone that acts like a computer that is the size of my palm and yet we can't figure this out?  I think, truly, that I'm the only person this annoys, but it kills me.  I hated looking at that rust every day, several times.  And when you're helping little ones on the potty, you spend a lot of time looking around in your bathroom.  So I decided to take them out and spray paint them.  Little did I know how impossible it is to remove the entire cover.  I am, however, nothing if not persistent about such things.  After much swearing, sanding, and quite a few coats of paint, then some more swearing (as I tried to put the thing back together) it looks so much better.  Of course, that was only primer, so I should really paint the thing on top of it, but trust me, it's a big improvement.  (if I were a real home improvement blogger I would have taken before, during *and* after pictures... sorry bout that :)

While I was at it, I decided to spray paint our towel bar and toilet paper holder to match our new-ish fixtures.  The ones that I put in last February.  It bothered me slightly that they didn't match the (real estate stager recommended) satin/brushed nickel finish for the light fixture and outlet covers, but I ignored it because they are good quality, sturdy, and not ugly.  But, hey, spray paint is cheap!  So what was chrome and white plastic now blends a bit better with the rest of the bathroom.

It was at this point that I, as usual, got a little ambitious.  But seriously, the thresholds out of our half bathroom downstairs have *always* bothered me, and Clara and I do love to tile things.  The tile used to come straight up to a wooden threshold and then there was this wretched grout that filled in between the tile and the threshold that was broken and coming out.  It was, just, really, unappealing.  I popped up the thresholds to see what was under them and discovered that if I put down another layer of subfloor (instead of ripping up the old floor when previous owner renovated, he just popped 1/2 inch plywood on top of the existing floors -- he also decided not to hire an electrician or plumber for anything as well... joy) I could extend the tile further out and do some easy pre-finished thresholds as I used from the kitchen into the hall and into the dining room.

So Clara and I got to work and we're halfway there:

And so you can see what I mean about the threshold.  Of course, I have to trim the door so it will close on top of it... haha.  Clara and I grouted it today and it looks quite nice.  So much better than the crappy threshold, weird grout situation we had going on before.  I will be so happy to step on it as soon as we are allowed to step on it!  Tomorrow will definitely be full of trimming a door, and nailing down some thresholds and then doing many little happy dances. 

Now, do you have time for one more?  Because, really, it's so silly and cheap that I can't believe that it worked.  You see we had all of these holes in our floors that are leftover from having our steam radiators (and the pipes that fed them steam) removed.

I didn't care about them that much, we just stuffed a bunch of old plastic grocery bags in them to help keep the cold air from the basement from coming through -- but they bothered Josh and once I started on this small project kick he said he'd really like to tackle that as well.  I was wandering through the hardwood flooring aisle at the home depot looking for something I could use when I realized that the holes were probably no bigger than the free hardwood samples they have....  Ta Da!

I figure when we have the floors refinished it will look pretty awesome.  It's already loads better than our peepholes into the basement.  And hopefully less noticeable to our potential buyers as well.  Of course I've only done the one, and there are, um, more.  But really, when all it takes is some banging with a chisel and a wee bit of wood glue and a *free* hardwood flooring sample... the rest should be done in a few days.  Unbelievable. 

Can you believe I've also been knitting?  I have no pictures of finished items to show you yet... we're building patterns for another Cowls eBook and possibly another eBook on this crazy easy color knitting technique called Helix knitting that has me knitting more than is good for my hands.  And the girls you ask?  They're great.  (watching little einsteins with Grandpa Ron)
More soon -- knitting this time, hopefully.  (also, I've been spending wasting a lot of time on pinterest recently -- follow me if you like!)  We're getting used to this odd limbo and just hoping each showing is bringing us closer to our big move to (hopefully) Warren.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the house we really would like to buy stays on the market long enough!  Until then I'll just keep pecking at these little things in this house!