Monday, June 25, 2012

Have a seat!

We have had our kitchen table and chairs since I lived in Horsham and they were second hand when I got them. They lived with friends for a while but when we moved back to Lansdale we got them back for our smallish dining room and now here we use them in our kitchen. The table looks great but the chairs were starting to look worn.

I was going to paint them but while they were the same style as our kitchen table I just wasn't in love with them. I figured if I was going to put in the time and effort on painting 4 chairs I wanted it to be chairs I really liked. I found these on craigslist.
4 chairs that also were in need of a little love but they were only $25 for all 4! They have a more cottage-y/farmhouse vibe that I totally love. I did have a few problems with the current paint chipping as I was prepping the chairs to be painted. let's just say whoever painted these first didn't do it right. I have read enough tutorials to know you sand, de-gloss, prime and then paint. Whoever painted these only painted which is why they were chipping. I did the best I could and here is one ready to paint.
I also decided after painting them since they were blindingly white-
That I wanted to use antiquing glaze on them (excuse the pictures I took them inside because it was raining)
I know it doesn't look a whole lot different in this picture, but they aren't as blindingly white and it gave them more of a distressed look. I was really pleased with the transformation. I asked Matthew what he thought and his answer was, "They look old." Which is how they are supposed to look! After the new chairs were all painted I was able to sell the old ones on Craigslist in 1 day for the same price which means my chairs were FREE! The makeover was only the cost of the spray paint which I would have paid to do the old chairs as well.  Sounds good to me!

This post has been a couple weeks in the making. Free time is sparse these days! I hopefully should have an update on the guest room for you soon!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Under Pressure

I spent a good portion of my day yesterday (13 hours... ) listening to the plumber making a LOT of noise in my basement and talking about water pressure. Since I have been hearing "Under Pressure" in my head going on 2 days now I figured it was an appropriate blog title for today.

We were so excited when the plumber called us last week to set up our time to have our water supply lines replaced. The water pressure in this house has been one of our biggest issues since we moved in. The pipe issue was also a big step for us in getting ready for the kitchen remodel which will give us the end result of having an INSTALLED dishwasher instead of having one taking up the corner of the foyer.
It's just not useful sitting here plus it's not all that great to look at either.

I took some before pictures of our pipe situation in the basement so you could see what we were working with. This isn't one of the "pretty" before and afters but as far as function goes it is one of the best things we have done with this house. Here was our list for the plumber.

1. Remove and replace water supply lines. Our water lines were mostly the old galvanized steel pipes. We had several spots where the pipes weren't just corroded on the inside. They looked like they could burst at any moment.
The insides weren't in any better shape. I didn't take any pictures of the insides because they were pretty gross. The plumber said they were among the worst he had ever seen and he was surprised we had as much water pressure as we did. We also had a lot of pipes to no where going on.
There were more abandoned pipes than I realized because the amount of pipes in our basement were drastically reduced.

2. Fix awkward laundry situation.
This corner of our basement is not going to win any beauty contests and we were ok with that but the awkwardness was maddening sometimes. The way the water supply lines and power sources for the washer and dryer meant that the washer and dryer overlapped and couldn't face the same direction. It's hard enough to reach into the bottom of the washer when you are 5'2" but when you can't really stand in front of the washer because it's mostly blocked by the dryer makes it even harder.

3.Remove the radiator from under the kitchen sink. When we put in the new cabinets we can have storage under the sink instead of an ugly radiator.
Under our kitchen sink it totally gross and quite frankly I am a little afraid of it. I cannot wait for the day that I can think of this as Usable space.

The plumber got to our house about 8am. Remember I said he was here for 13 hours? We had a few hitches along the way, but we started off great. We had already used the water that we needed to use so he was able to get right to work. He started cutting out the old pipes right away. Talk about noisy! The kids (and the dog) were totally freaked out. The vibrations made stuff fall off the table. It was crazy. When the racket finally stopped around 10 (just in time for nap time!) there was this outside in the driveway.
It took me a little while to remember where I had left the camera so this isn't even the whole pile. The plumber's helper had already cut some of it up and put it in their van. Like I said, there was a lot of abandoned pipe!

After the pipes were all removed they got started on installing the Mana block. We decided to install pex instead of regular pipe. If you don't know what pex is, it is a flexible tubing that connects to what looks like a circuit breaker, called a Mana block. A picture will explain this so much better so here you go:
Kind of crazy looking right? This is what they put in new houses. It's nice because each of those are labeled and we can turn off only what we need to. He also installed a water filter ( the blue thing at the bottom of the picture) which will make this crazy momma feel better about using water out of the tap.The spots where there is no pex attached are extra spots to add stuff in like the dishwasher when we get to that point. He even has a line for the ice maker but that one isn't hooked up yet since we aren't sure yet what we are doing with the floor in the kitchen. Now we get to the ironic part. He hooked up the upstairs and the water pressure in the tub is at least double what it was. The powder room sink was Blasting when it came back on. The kitchen sink- the last sink he did, and the sink we REALLY were excited to have some water pressure in- was less pressure (flow) than we had before. What?!?! I was sooooo disappointed. What it was, is that all the crap that had been in the pipes, and not in the way before, got knocked loose by having an unrestricted water flow reach it and clogged the diverter in the faucet. Total let-down. We are debating installing a cheapy to get us through the next however many weeks until we tear out the cabinets. I think we are going to give it some time to see if the extra pressure knocks the crap loose. Sigh
Well at this point is when the inspector showed up. West Reading is totally crazy about permits and since we have the code enforcement guy driving past our house at least once a day we are trying to do it all by the book. I would say it was about 3pm. And this is where our plumber went from having a 9 hour day to having an 13 hour day.

The inspector noticed there was no trap on our laundry sinks. That is where our washer drained. He was fairly certain it didn't lead to the sewer pipe because the pipe was several feet higher and there was no pump to get the water there. That meant that it was completely out of code and had to be changed. We either had to get rid of the sinks and move the washer OR install a pump for the sink and washer. Either way it was an additional $700.

It ended up being a no brainer because we wanted the laundry sinks and moving the washer meant having to relocate electric. We really just weren't having any luck yesterday but now we at least have a nice, normal laundry set-up.
 And here is our new little pump.
It could be worse. Because of the whole no trap/pump situation the pipes under the laundry sinks had to be replaced and the old pipes had been leaking, which we were unaware of. So that is a positive. These are the types of things you have to be ready for when you buy an old home. It's just a shock in the moment. The other good news is that because I found the plumber on Angie's List there was a 10% off coupon that he is letting us use off everything he did yesterday which will really help offset the extra cost. I felt bad watching them leave at 9pm last night. It was definitely a long day.

Oh and the radiator? it's cut and capped and ready to come out when the cabinets come out. There was just no way to take it out without destroying the cabinets.

So that is our adventures in plumbing. Step 2 in the kitchen remodel is DONE! Woo Hoo! Next comes the good part. Aaand since you read this whole thing you get a gratuitous kitten shot because they are just too adorable.
They are 3 weeks old today!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Babies, babies and more babies

It seems like every time I get on Facebook there is at least one announcement that someone is expecting or that someone finally delivered. And for some reason everyone seems to be having boys. I keep getting to make cute baby things but I am putting my request out there for some girls everyone!

I wanted to share a few things I made for someone at Matthew's work who is having a boy.

I wasn't exactly sure what I was going for when I got the fabric. It turned out to be a cute little gift set with a receiving blanket, bib and 3 burp cloths.

Cute right? I have a little fabric left over so it will be fun to see what I can do with it. I was working on some bibs last night. Going through my fabric and matching up different fabrics. All the ones I seem to be making to build up some stock seem to be very girly. Hmm, wonder why? Here is a sneak peak of some works in progress.

 Everyone's hours were cut back at Matthew's work which means he will be home more and hopefully that will give me a little more time to sew and maybe by Fall I will be able to get my Etsy shop up and selling. In the meantime if you are looking for a quality, handmade baby gift I would be happy to work something out with you!

Off to see how much I can accomplish during nap time!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Be Our Guest

or you just may want to wait a few weeks because right now our guest room looks like this.

There is one wall of dizzying wallpaper in there. I have actually made a little bit more progress but it is not a super fast moving project for one person. The color scheme that came with this room looked a little like this.
There was initially black carpet in this room too but when we ripped out all the carpet that went away even though it was probably the newest carpet in the whole house. This room really has a sloppy paint job. It's all over the ceiling. Since it's such a bright color I think we are going to have to prime everything- including the ceiling and start fresh.
After shuffling some things around we decided to put this room at the top of our project list so people actually could come to visit and have a place to stay. This room is going to be as DIY as this house gets I think so while we have professionals ripping out our plumbing and cabinets this is something we can totally do ourselves. So we are hoping the wallpaper will come down by tomorrow with both of us working on it tonight and then I can start painting. I promised Matthew I would worry about the paint but I might need a little help with the ceiling. We'll see. We will keep you updated. Remember you are always welcome and right now there is a couch but hopefully in a couple weeks we will have a much nicer space to offer you!


Friday, June 1, 2012

Welcome to the Family

So we have an announcement to make.... We have added to our little family. We now have 3 kittens!
Our cat, who only answers to "Cat" but is named Adelaide, had three kittens on Wednesday night! They all look so much like her.
The kittens are so sweet and I can't wait until we can cuddle them! The kids have been so excited and it is really hard to keep them away from the kittens. We don't really NEED 3 more cats so when they are big enough we will be looking for homes for them so if you are interested or know anyone who might be please let me know!
I have always heard that cats didn't like having people around when giving birth but poor Adelaide didn't want me out of her sight. If I left the room she would try to follow me no matter what was going on. She had a little bit of a rough time with the first 2 but by the time the third one got here she was a pro.
Right now the kittens just eat and sleep but at 2 days old they are already getting around a lot more. The next few weeks should be crazy but a lot of fun.
The other good news is that the electrician is finished! (Until we do the upstairs) Instead of our scary electrical situation going on downstairs we now have this:
 The scary old fuse box turned Junction box is gone!!! Remember?
To know that is no longer lurking in the basement is such a relief! And we also have a new panel:

Isn't it pretty?? Of course we were used to looking at this:
I really do sleep easier at night knowing this house is safer after getting this huge project done. Next up is still the plumbing. We had a plumber out on Tuesday to take a look. I am waiting to get his official estimate. He got really great recommendations on Angie's List and seemed very knowledgeable. The general consensus from everyone that has seen our basement is that all the supply lines need to go. So I will do a more comprehensive plumbing post when we get everything settled and I have exact information to give you. Maybe it will help someone else who has an old house with issues :)

Off to check in on some cute kitties!