Thursday, June 28, 2012

Curse that wind

When I first showed you our family room it had four unattractive light fixtures.  The middle light was some cheap looking white ceiling fan.  The previous owners must have really liked wind, because every room with a ceiling fixture had a fan.  I personally hate wind, which brings us to today's post...

After three years of light browsing I had finally decided on the style of light I would replace the fan with.  I wanted to go with a round drum shade style light that wouldn't hang too low since the ceilings are standard 8'.  Even though our family doesn't produce super tall people, a low hanging light would make the room look even shorter and smaller.

The first option I found was a nickel fixture with a white shade seen here.I loved that the white shade wouldn't darken the already dark downstairs like an amber shade would, and the brushed nickel would go with the other hardware we already had.

Next, I found this light.  The shade on was wider than the first, which would be nice since the family room was fairly large, therefore, the light would be proportional.
Last, I found this Rutbo light from Ikea which at $39.99 was by far the cheapest.  Knowing Ikea, I worried that this light could be a little too papery for us and likely hang too low.  However, in the interest of saving some money, we opted to check it out in person.

Turns out it is completely papery in a wrinkly sort of way.  It reminds me of one of the Chinese lanterns, which would totally work in some rooms, just not what we were going for in the family room.

Slightly bummed, we continued to browse the seemingly never ended rows of affordable goods at Ikea which led us to our destiny.  Destiny went by the name Alang and was willing to come home with us for only $29.99.

After looking at Alang a little closer, we discovered he took three light bulbs which was a huge plus because he would need to light up our whole downstairs world.  We happily brought Alang home and made new room for him by removing the ugly white fan.

We did so only after turning off the light switch as well as the breaker for his light box.  Then, we took Alang out of his box and awed at his lovely woven shade. I wouldn't classify the shade under the material fabric; he is more of a textured plastic type substance.  The bottom of the shade is actually paper, however, it isn't the wrinkly sort of paper like the other Ikea light we had looked it.  More of a standard smooth light fixture paper.  He is also light cream in color, so that was a nice compromise between white, which would give the most light, and amber, which would give a softer feel.

His parts were certainly not what I am used to seeing when assembling light fixtures.  He had some sort of traingular shape made of plastic as the base of the fixture.  I had to wrap the wires around like the Ikea directions showed.  The directions were slightly hard to follow at times, and even though the directions specified languages they supported, no words were actually written in the directions.  Apparently pictures are language specific.

After putting the lights into the triangle, and wrapping the wires, the light was ready to be hooked up.  Alang's wires were the kind that had the ridges on one wire and not on the other, which annoys me because I always forget which is nuetral and which is hot.  After a google search I was reminded that the ridged wire is neutral and is therefore connected to the white wire in the box, and the smooth wire is hot, and is therefore connected to the black wire from our box.  The ground wire is connected to the ground screw on the metal plate which connects to the box.  You can see that metal plate hanging between the plastic triangle and the light box in the picture below.

After the wires were connected, I connected the metal plate to the light box with two unprovided screws.  Ikea just hates including the necessary screws with their goods.  After the metal plate was screwed in I actually had to connect a zip tie to the plate which then went through the bottom of the plastic triangle to hold it up.  You can see this zip tie in the middle of the picture below.  It is sort of a glow in the dark green color.

After screwing in the three bulbs I attached the shade to the light.  See the three little metal arms coming out of the plastic triangle above?  Those actually have little magnets on the end which correspond to magnets on the shade.  So I just had to match the magnets up with the shade and the installation was all complete.

When I switched the breaker back on this is the lovely glow I saw:

I love the woven texture, and the fact that the light doesn't give off a nasty yellow glow.  Especially considering the yellow potential with the yellow walls down there. 

Definitely an improvement from the cheap white fan.  Now, to replace those other three inappropriately shaped lights down there...

Sorry, the after picture isn't one of my best lit photos...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Paper Party

As you know, Monday was Titus and my first anniversary.  We thought it would be fun and creative to follow the traditional anniversary gifts in which the first anniversary is the paper anniversary.  Titus and I both DIYed some amazing paper anniversary gifts for each other.

But before I get into our amazing paper fancies, I will digress into some anniversary weekend doings.  The weekend started with the Hillcrest Invitational Golf Tournament which is a fundraiser for Titus' high school.  My mom started off by getting a chance to make a putt to win a free bike. 

Even with perfect form, she ended up missing the putt.  The guy behind her made his, which she attributes to her showing him the correct line.

Our team consisted of my mom, dad, Titus, and me.  

We actually ended up getting the lowest net score with our -11 gross.  They do some sort of handicap equation I'm unaware of to determine this net score.  We did also end up getting second in the gross category which was nice, as well.  I'm assuming no women have ever won this tournament because our prize was a men's polo shirt.  We're hoping our win will pave the way for a more gender equal tournament in the future which will in turn prompt the government to name a coin after me for my works toward gender equality. 

After our big win, we got to enjoy eating the top tier of our wedding cake with Titus' parent, his sister, and my parents.  My mom was happy to have the huge cake container out of her freezer, and I was happy I finally got to eat a piece of our wedding cake.

I don't know why I was standing so weird.  Look the inside of the cake matches my amazing shorts.

The next morning we went to Fargo to stay in a hotel and eat too much food.

Which brings us to our amazing paper gifts.  I made Titus some DIY framed art.  The frame is a shadow box type frame from Ikea in which I secured a 4x4 array of hearts.  The two pink hearts have our initials strategically arranged since they can be taken out of context if improperly ordered. 

The rest of the hearts are actually little maps of different locations that were significant to us.  There were hearts for each of our home towns, the location of Titus' house and appartment, and places we had gone on vacations (which you can read about here).  The map hearts were folded slightly so they appeared 3D and the pink hearts were placed flat.  Each heart was made from a printed Google map image which was cut using a heart punch and secured with a glue dot.

Titus waited until our actual anniversary to give me my paper gifts, but he did give me an amazingly awesome bow ring which I adore!  After the exchange it was time to go stuff our faces at Spitfire.

After supper we were so deathly full we had to lay on the bed and watch the US Open before we were able to venture to the hot tub.

We were sad to leave the hotel Sunday morning, but I was happy to to pick up my puppy who was staying with his Grandma and Grandpa Brue for the night.  

We returned to work Monday (our actual anniversary), but our celebration continued after work.  I gave Titus his non paper tennis racket which he had been wanting.  I thought it was appropriate since we had played  a lot of tennis on our honeymoon so it was slightly wedding related.

The paper fest continued when he presented me with an amazingly colorful bouquet of hand made flowers.  Folded by the hands of Titus!  This was pretty much the best idea ever since I love when he gets me flowers, but this was about 18 times better because they took thought and time and awesomeness. 

The paper didn't end there.  He also printed out the love letter my pastor had us write for each other before our wedding.  He did some fancy word coloring and font changing.  We'll let you know where we hang it up.  We have considered doing the same with my (much longer) love letter and hanging them above each of our nightstands for a morning reminder of our blessings.

I'll spare you any more mush related to our much loved first anniversary celebration and get back to general house doings...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I know guys.  It's been a long time since the last post.  Truth be told last week was super busy between the day job... and Titus and my very first anniversary!!!  So I will diverge from my usual house chatting with mushy anniversary chatting. 

On June 18, 2011 Titus and I got married.  We picked the 18th because it is my very favorite number.  I was number 18 in college and my love of numbers (math degree...) keeps me clinging onto that beautiful number.  Now I get to cherish it for the rest of my life.

Onto my cherished husband and our first year of marriage...  Word on the street is the first year of marriage isn't a walk in the park.  We definitely had some ups and downs.

Like the process of finally selling Titus' house a month after we got married.  But only after his insurance redid the roof, siding, and the government shutdown ended.

And of course there was the touchy situation of splitting holidays between our newly acquired families.

Luckily having two families means you get to celebrate Christmas a lot.  We celebrated in Bemidji on Christmas, Fergus over New Year's, and at our home the weekend before Christmas.

I can't possibly leave out the amazing vacations we got to take together.  Like our honeymoon to Jamaica.

In September we got to travel to NYC and Mt. Bethel, PA for Titus' brother's wedding.

And the vacation of my dreams to Disney World!!!

We made sure to stop in at Harry Potter World at Islands of Adventure along the way...

Titus and I also very much love camping together, which is definitely one of the things we were most excited to do after getting married.

With the adventures of this blog, we have started our biggest adventure yet.  Somehow we have not only survived all the renovations we have done, but we have managed to have a great time doing them.  This may just be the beginning, but our first year of marriage is easily the best year of my life.   Love you Titus!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Snow White and the Seven Coats of Paint

When I last left you in our kitchen we were ready to repaint the cabinets.  You may remember that we originally painted the cabinets the beautiful color Swiss Coffee.  It was all super neat until our extremely white Corian Glacier White countertops were installed which made our Swiss Coffee look nasty yellow.  Which brings us back to our protected paint ready kitchen.

When repainting the cabinets we are using Benjamin Moore Advance in its off the shelf white.  Do not confuse that with Base 1 (which can be tinted white).  The paint I used is pretinted paint in white.

Digression:  We did not cover the floors out nearly far enough.  If you will be using a paint sprayer, you need to cover the floors out at least 10 feet past the surface you will be painting.  We did not do this and we ended up scraping billions of little dried paint droplets off our brand new irresponsibly chipped and painted floor.  

I will be using the exact same process as the first time I painted which you can see here.  The only difference is that I will only paint one coat of paint since there are already two coats of a similar paint color on the cabinets.

After I removed the hinges and doors and all the food, dishes and everything else I never wanted to remove again I was ready to paint.  The garage floor was once again covered in thin painters plastic for the doors to be laid out on some scrap wood just like the first time.

The drawers got to sit on some wood raised up on sawhorses.  The fogginess of the picture is from all the dried paint in the air after I had sprayed all the doors and drawers in the garage.  This is why you need an attractive mask while you paint.

After one coat of paint we had a beautifully white set of cabinet boxes that matched our counters perfectly.

Below is the best illustration I could get of the color difference between the White and the Swiss Coffee paint colors.  The door leaning on the cabinet frame is Swiss Coffee and the cabinet frame is White.  You may think there isn't much of a difference but you're wrong.  The Swiss Coffee was gross and old lady and the white is clean and bright.  If I have to be honest, I like the Swiss Coffee color better in general, and we will continue to use it throughout the house in all the trim and board and batten, but against the counters, pure white was essential. 

 After a couple days of curing I put the doors were ready to go back up.  Remember it takes a solid 30 days for the paint to fully cure.  So even though I put the doors back up, we have to be very careful for the first month of use. 

 After all the paper was removed and the doors and the hardware are back up we have our after.  Clearly I need to repaint the Silver Sateen on the walls where the overspray ruined it.  But for now our cabinets just appear to have a special glow.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Expecto Patronum

One day I was casually browsing Home Goods for trio decor and I spotted the perfect aluminum Stag bust. I had been drooling over several much more expensive busts like this one, and this one. But at $19.99 at this silver stag was in the bag.

Since this stag is clearly Harry Potter's Patronus it will also protect our home from any dementors that come howling.

My new Patronus was born to live on the closet wall between our entryway and kitchen where it could watch over the entire upstairs.

When hanging the Patronus I put it at a height that looked balanced with the height of the actual wall without any regard to the height of passers by. The height wasn't super important since the Patronus doesn't actually stick out terribly far from the wall. So really the only people who would ever run into it would be tall people who like to hug the wall while walking in an effort to take the most efficient path.

After marking the location I wanted the Patronus, Titus drilled a whole and put in the anchor and screw since it wasn't on a stud and hung him up. I love him. Not as much as I love Jacque. I told you he is always on those stairs staring at the door.

My mother is convinced my Patronus is some idol from the Old Testament. I don't know who she thinks I am, but I can assure you, this house stay prays to the one and only.

Look how awesome his shadow looks in the light with his slightly curly horns. He rules (not my life Mom).

It's definitely relieving to be moving on to accessorizing and getting closer to being finished. I think it's about time for an updated to-do list.