Friday, October 22, 2010

It's Not All Fun and Games

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When it rains it pours, or in our case when the city's sewer main backs up it makes the grass really green. During a drought GREEN grass is a sign that something is wrong. An abandoned sewer drain line that ran under the cement sidewalk in our backyard was leaking moisture into the ground. The moisture caused the sidewalk to sink and broke the grey water drain line for our kitchen and washroom. After Steven identified the broken drain line and repaired the line we thought our troubles were over. He pumped out the hole and within hours the hole filled with water. We thought maybe it was just water leaching out of the soil, so he pumped it again and once again it filled quickly...HELLO SEWAGE! That's when we realized there was more to the GREEN grass than just our leaking grey water.

Poor Steven spent most everyday of this week, digging holes in the yard, repairing plumbing, talking to city officials about easements and sewer mains and digging around in sewage. Things could be worse. We could be living in our neighbor's house. Her home sits right on top of the City sewer main that's causing all of these problems. A crew of guys came out today and dug a swimming pool size hole in her backyard and capped the old abandoned service line from the tap that once serviced our home and out buildings. Hopefully that will be the end of our sewer fed GREEN GRASS.

I always share the fun aspect of remodeling This Old House, so I thought it only fair to share the yucky side too. Sometimes it's about choosing paint colors and custom cabinets. Other days it's about sewage, digging holes in the yard and drinking BEER, lots of beer.

So here's to here's to the adventures of remodeling an old house and having an UBER talented Handyman by your side. Thank you, Steven.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkin Carving Party 2010 {The Invitation}

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This little beauty is the 2010 Pumpkin Carving Party Invitation. I L.O.V.E. it!!!!! My UBER talented brother-n-law Kevin Kaleh (aka Kevin Elliott) created the fun, colorful watercolor illustration inspired by vintage pumpkin pails.
The event is just days away and I am scurrying around trying to pull the details together. Atleast the invitation was done well and sent out in a timely manner (ha)!

This invitation is a beautiful tribute to our seventh year! Thank you, Kevin.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Vinegar and Salt to Clean Old Faucet Bodies

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After researching ways to remove lime and mineral deposit build up from these old faucet bodies, we settled on a concoction. Five table spoons vinegar to two teaspoons salt. WORKED LIKE A CHARM. After testing a few small pieces, we made a large batch of the mixture and let the faucet bodies soak. That was the key. That and then scrubbing them gently with a wire brush. The tedious part was picking at the grooves with a set of "dentist" looking tools Steven bought for the project. After paying to have the visible parts of these faucets rechromed, we just couldn't bring ourselves to screw the new, freshly chromed pieces, to these green scummy faucet bodies. What a pleasant surprise it was when, after a little elbow grease, they came out so clean and shiny. Steven has put one faucet body back together on the fresh, refurbished porcelain sink. Will take pictures of the final product once the sinks are hanging in the bathroom. Little by little...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pumpkin Party Piñatas

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In preparing for this year's Pumpkin Carving Party I thought it would be fun to do a recap of the last six years. It's fun to see each of the piñatas I've created, but it's even more fun to see the kiddos grow up right before your eyes. The kids are lined up according to age, so you'll see the same nieces and nephews in these pictures.

I create my piñatas using BIG blow up bouncy balloons as a base and then layers and layers of paper Mache (strips of news paper dipped in 1 part water to two parts flour mixture). I've found that colored tissue paper is the best for giving the final design the textured look. I brush on Elmer's glue and then scrunch pieces of tissues paper onto the surface where I've applied the glue. Hope to take pictures of my process this year and let you in on a little piñata durability secret! Stay tuned.

Pumpkin Piñata - Pumpkin Party 2004

Candy Corn Piñata - Pumpkin Party 2005

Acorn Piñata - Pumpkin Party 2006

Sucker Piñata - Pumpkin Party 2007

Corn Cob Piñata - Pumpkin Party 2008

Trick-Or-Treat Bag Piñata - Pumpkin Party 2009

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Reuse or Repurpose Your Wedding Invitations

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Photo by Jackie Ray Photography.

My sister and I came up with a great way to reuse/repurpose her extra wedding invitations. We made fans out of them by attaching a trimmed invitation to either side of a large, wooden popsicle stick. They were perfect for her outdoor summer wedding. My brother and his wife did the same thing with their extra save the date cards for their September, outdoor wedding. By cutting off the extra text and dates, they were left with a beautiful photo and their names.

This was a simple project that family members helped Katherine complete the evening before the wedding. Guests appreciated the fans and the final product fit nicely with the rest of the wedding look and feel.

From Photo to Watercolor Painting

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My very talented friend, Cole Carter, painted this watercolor portrait of my brother Joshua and his wife Sarah. You might recognize the portrait as it was based on one of the photos from their engagement shoot. If you are interested in a portrait of your child or family, Cole Carter is your man. He captured them beautifully!


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