I had my second prenatal visit about a week ago. Kid still has a heartbeat which has got to make us parents of the year or something (don’t set the bar too high and you’ll always feel good about yourself!).
This past week one of the (male) cafeteria employees at work asked me if I was pregnant. I debated for a split second about answering with “no, I’m just fat” but decided not to be a total asshole. I’m growing as a person. Plus, this guy keeps me in french fries so it’s best to stay on his good side. I still need to ask him what he would have done if I had said no… It’s generally considered unwise to ask a women if she’s pregnant, but I suppose I was waiting there with my hand on my 4-month-belly looking like I was about to puke so the question wasn’t totally out of the blue.
Also this past week I had a major pregnancy epiphany. Technically I’ve got 2 hearts at the moment–I’m a Time Lord! er… Lady. Now where’s my TARDIS? I REALLY wish I had thought of this at my first appointment when we got to hear the heartbeat for the first time. The midwife probably would have thought I was absolutely nuts (not that she would have been wrong…).
And finally… we were out at breakfast yesterday and there was a soccer game on that Matt was half paying attention to.
Matt (watching an “injury”): Magic spray!
Me: You’re going to use that on our kid, aren’t you? They bump their head–magic spray!
Matt: That’s brilliant!
Me: We’d really just need a little spray bottle filled with water… I’m not opposed to this.
Matt: No way, I want the official EPL** Magic Spray!
Me: Good lord, I’ll make a fancy label for the bottle.
*If you never watch soccer, pretty much any time there’s an “injury” (ie someone pretends they’ve suffered extreme bodily harm in the hopes that the other team gets a penalty) someone inevitably comes out and sprays the afflicted area with “magic spray.” I think it’s Windex.
Well, at least I am…. literally! Matt and I are super excited to announce that we’re expecting a new addition to our family in July!
Which also means that this…
… is the future baby room. (and yes, this picture was taken today)
Will we get it done in time?
Will I give up and say “screw it, kid can sleep in a box, I want ice cream”?*
Will I whack Matt with a crowbar for treating me like a fragile flower?**
Will I have to trust Matt to handle painting projects?***
Stay tuned….. same Bat Time. Same Bat Channel.
If you’re interested in the details (if not, skip down to the next break, it’s cool), I’m officially in my second trimester as of today. Woot! According to different trackers baby is the size of a beet, a lemon, a cupcake…. or a mouse? Either that’s some tiny produce (and mini cupcake) or someone out there gets some ginormous mice…. I also feel like the produce comparisons are kind of weird because there’s such a wide variation in sizes. Twin Cities peeps, if you’ve been to Lunds and Byerlys you know there are lemons out there the size of naval oranges. Anyway… there’s a baby, it’s the size of a something and it’s continuing to get bigger so wearing jeans kinda sucks, even with a belly band thingy. I still maintain that leggings are not a proper substitute for pants unless your ass is covered. Luckily I tend to like tunic tops anyway, so I’m in the clear of my own personal prudishness.
I seem to have lucked out with my first trimester in that I never got bad morning sickness, although I tended to feel pretty gross in the evenings. Sources seem to say I should be feeling mostly normal again around now, but actually this last week has kind of sucked and been filled with day-long bouts of dry-heaving. Hopefully that will end soon (it sounds like 16 weeks is the sweet spot for the majority of people… please?). I know it could be way worse, but I’m still feeling ucky enough to be generally uncomfortable.
In terms of plans for the blog… yes, there will be baby stuff happening but I still plan to focus primarily on design and DIY. The current project though is obviously the nursery (I’ve always wanted to design a baby room!). As a first time mum though, I obviously have no frickin clue what I’m doing (I didn’t even hold an infant until my mid-twenties!) so I’m clearly not one to be doling out advice. Babies are exciting though so he/she will definitely be making an appearance here and I’m sure I’ll be sharing both my excitements and epic failures, because, let’s face it, life is filled with both.
And because I’m just full of news today, we have a more recent addition to the household as well.
We adopted a new sweet little boy cat (age 2-3 years) to hopefully be a companion for Schmutz. She’s still pretty pissy but slowly (very slowly) coming around. Mort is an absolute sweetie who loves snuggles and following me around… Matt might be a tad jealous because we seem to have ended up with another mama’s boy. He’s also spent a large part of this morning chasing his own tail so he’s a bit of a goofball. Mort’s very interested in Schmutz and we’re hoping she’s more friendly with him by the time the baby comes because that’s going to be pretty hard on our little furry diva too.
* Not gonna lie, this is a real possibility. I stared at a BOGO ice cream sale at the grocery store for a full five minutes before convincing myself I could in fact live without it. I was always told being an adult would come with hard choices.
** And then take a nap because hefting a crowbar is a lot of work and man am I tired.
*** Thankfully this sounds like a no since interior paint is almost all low VOC now.
Matt decided to get his DIY on this weekend, which is general is awesome! This time though… he was a little off his game.
Project 1: Fix the leaky radiator
The radiator in our dining room had a small leak. Nothing super noticeable, but it was causing some rust on the pipe and, because radiator systems rely on pressure, was also causing some issues with the radiators on the upper floors. So Matt did some research and decided to try a fix with epoxy putty and fiberglass tape. “I don’t know if it will work, but it can’t possibly make it worse” was basically his mantra.
Except it made things worse.
I wasn’t supervising watching his progress, but he had to chip off some paint to get the putty to adhere. Paint that had been partially sealing the leak. And then the epoxy and fiberglass didn’t really do anything (except look awful) so we just ended up with a slightly larger leak.
I don’t have a before picture because I wasn’t expecting this to be a big deal, but this is the aftermath. I told him he wasn’t allowed to “fix” anything else this weekend.
Project 2: Study Demo + Outlet Replacement
We’ve been steadily ripping out the paneling in the study and were down to the last wall this weekend! The only annoying thing so far is that the outlets in the room were installed over the paneling, so they needed to be removed in order to take the paneling off. Which means once the panels were off we had to put the outlets back in, but properly this time.
Matt picked up new electrical boxes that could be secured to studs (so they wouldn’t be wibbly-wobbly). To reach the studs he had to cut through some of the old plaster and lath. He was pretty excited because he got to bust out the reciprocating saw we got for Christmas.
The first outlet went smoothly… but the second. Well, I was downstairs and heard a crash. I shouted up that I didn’t want to know about it, but I found out anyway. He was cutting a new opening for the outlet on the wall that runs along the stairs. The wall where we had recently hung a gallery wall. A gallery wall I was planning on photographing that same day. If you’re unfamiliar with reciprocating saws, they create a lot of vibration. Vibration doesn’t mix well with wall art and one of the pictures came crashing down off the wall.
Yeah. There goes my project for the weekend. I made him take down the rest of the art before continuing and he made it through the rest of the project without destroying the house.
If you’re more on top of things than I am at the moment, Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year is probably old news. I’m super excited about this year’s choice though! No offense Pantone, but last year’s colors were kind of bland… and essentially baby boy blue and baby girl pink. This year though, they’ve given us Greenery.
I happen to love green. I loved the year of Emerald (2013) and now we have Emerald’s fresher younger cousin!
If you happen to hate green, that’s cool. You’re not under any obligation to use or even like the Color of the Year (I pretty much ignored both of them last year…). What it means for the green-lovers out there though is that we should be see a lot of bright, springy green popping up in stores.
Here’s a like green inspiration to help kick off your year.
There is, of course, slapping that sucker right up on your walls! I love how they worked a gallery wall in with a bold color here. You need to be aware of the colors in the the art you’re using for it to really look polished with a bold background, but if you have a lot of black-and-white art it’s pretty much guaranteed to look smashing.
If you’re really gung-ho for green you can also just completely immerse yourself in it. If you’re going for a monochromatic palette, just make sure to bring in plenty of texture to keep it from looking flat.
Some people are afraid to bring color to their kitchen cabinets. I get it, it’s a lot of work to repaint it all and, let’s face it, color trends (and our own personal preferences) come and go. If you don’t mind the elbow grease, adding a punch of color to kitchen can look pretty amazing. Heck, if you have an island, just making that a bright focal point could really bump your kitchen to the next level!
Another one not for the faint of heart… Not gonna lie, painting trim is beastly! I can guarantee you I would never do this, but not because I don’t like the the look. I’d probably just change my mind before I ever finished painting and have to start all over again. I’m fickle like that. If you don’t want to redo all (or even a single room’s worth) of your trim, maybe just a door update. I happen to love me some bold front doors.
If cabinets and trim are too much work, but you’re lucky enough to have a claw foot tub, this is another way to colorize a fixture. Painting the exterior tub base is also super easy and can be done with just a little sample pot of paint!
You may have guessed by now that I’m kind of diggin’ the black-white-and-green combo. I think it’s fun and lively without being too in your face. Plus, green accents are easy to work in and switch out if you like to change up your decor periodically.
Green’s not just for stark black and white spaces. A nice neutral palette with some natural wood plus pops of green will make for a cozier space.
One of my favorite things about this year’s Color of the Year choice is that it’s even pretty awesome for color-phobes (don’t worry, I still love you). Even if you aren’t super into colorful walls or furniture or accessories, you may still enjoy plants! And like it’s name suggests, this is a color that really pulls from nature. Plus plants pretty much go with everything!
About 8 and a half years ago I went out shopping for work pants. In one shopping area I passed a PetSmart that was advertising Cat Adoptions that day. I had moved to MN only a few months prior, was still bummed that I had had to give up my dog who didn’t handle apartment life well, and was still really missing being around cats (I had grown up around cats and am definitely a cat person). I figured I’d wander in, get some kitty snuggles, and be on my way.
Only I ended up leaving with a cat.
He was so chill despite being in a strange place surrounded by strange people. The lady from the rescue group saw me petting him through the cage and told me to go ahead and open the door. As soon as I did, he stretched up and gave me a hug. I melted.
I brought him home and named him Spencer. He immediately waltzed out of his carrier and investigated the apartment then picked a chair and took a nap. He was friendly right off the bat but it wasn’t until a few weeks later that he started snuggling. One night I woke up to find that my arm was completely asleep–he was curled up next to me with his front paws wrapped around my arm and completely blissed out.
Spencer was the most mellow cat I’ve met. He liked strangers. He liked dogs. He did well with small children. He even tolerated the vacuum cleaner (he’d put his ears back because of noise, but rarely moved). Every night he’d cuddle up to me in bed to sleep. He loved bread and he loved curry (I once tried sprinkling cayenne pepper on my plants to stop him chewing on them…. he thought they were even tastier). He loved having his belly rubbed… and wouldn’t spontaneously change his mind in the middle.
About 5 years ago I met Matt, we started dating, and eventually moved in together. Matt already had a cat when we met and we had to blend households. Schmutz was super social with people, but Matt was told when he adopted her that she didn’t really like other cats. Spencer won her heart anyway. The two of them would snuggle and play together, and Schmutz would groom the heck out of Spencer whenever she had the chance (and put him in a headlock if he tried to move away). Anyone who’s had cats know that blending cat families is hard and pretty much a crap shoot. Most people hope for an ignore-and-tolerate situation, but these two were buddies.
Then a couple weeks before Christmas our super-sweet, snuggly, floofy boy-cat started just picking at his food. We brought him in to the vet, they ran some labs and started him on an anti-nausea medication because their best guess was Inflammatory Bowel. A few days of the meds didn’t change anything but the lab work didn’t show anything abnormal so they had us start him on Prednisolone. We were hoping to see an improvement before we left for Christmas to visit family, but nothing really changed. He’s a super difficult cat to pill so our cat-sitter couldn’t really continue his meds while we were gone but we made sure he would always have plenty of food available to him.
When we got back home he was super skinny and really wasn’t eating so we hauled him back to the vet. They gave him another shot of anti-nausea drugs and some IV fluids plus an appetite stimulant and he seemed to be doing a little better that day…but then immediately went back to not eating. We started syringe feeding him a prescription, high-calorie diet but still couldn’t get a lot into him.
We took him back to the vet Saturday since he still wasn’t showing improvement. They re-checked his red blood cell count and it had tanked, so he was clearly severely anemic, but the blood work didn’t show any clear causes of the anemia, which the vet thought meant there was a strong chance he had cancer which was attacking his bone marrow and bringing his RBC count down. We had the option to do more tests and a blood transfusion…but the likelihood that anything would change the outcome was very slim and we just didn’t want to put him through additional stress.
We brought him back home. Snuggled. Cried. Matt cooked him some super-buttery tialapia which he even picked at a little bit. We later made an appointment with MN Pets who will come to your home. We didn’t want to stress him out anymore by bringing him back to the clinic.
Dr Heather came out today and was very supportive and patient. We went over everything we had done so far and what his labs showed and she agreed that it also sounded like cancer, but even it wasn’t he was too severely anemic for there to be a good prognosis (especially since he was already on steroids and they weren’t helping). There’s no way to feel good about this decision, but I’m pretty confident it wasn’t a bad decision…. even if it was an incredibly painful one to make.
I got to hold in my arms in the end and I hope he was aware of how much he was loved. I already miss him like crazy but I couldn’t bear to drag this out and watch him get even weaker. He was one of the best companions anyone could have ever hoped for and it breaks my heart that I had to lose him so early. I feel so lucky that he was able to be a part of my life.
Now that Matt has moved into my study, we’re ready to start tackling the demo work on his study (well, he’s starting the demo, I’m still trying to tame all my crap in the other room). The main reason we decided to work on this room next is because it is currently the grossest room in the house. While we have plenty of rooms that still need a good ‘ole paint-and-style, this is the room that actually needs WORK.
Do you see that trim? Matte-black, skinny trim in a 115+ year old house? Are you kidding me?! Half the reason I love old houses is for the big, chunky, amazing trim! This makes me want to cry.
And the ceiling… we had this same nasty acoustical tile treatment happening in our dining room. I’m terrified of what we’re going to find underneath it… but it absolutely HAS to go.
We’re also missing a closet door in here…. and it’s currently Matt’s closet. We’re planning on getting a wardrobe for the master bedroom so he can keep is clothes in there, but I still want this closet to have an actual door. Thank god it’s a standard size at least!
What you can’t really tell from the pictures is that these walls we also all paneled at some point. It’s actually fairly hard to tell in person too so I think the paneling may have gotten skim-coated too. We’re a little on the fence about what to do about the paneling. And by “we” I really mean me (Matt doesn’t want to deal with the walls at all). It’s honestly pretty inoffensive in person so the tentative plan is to leave it alone unless it gets damaged as we rip the trim out.
This past week Matt already got started on the demo and took out all the ceiling tiles.
Wow… that is nowhere near as bad as it could have been! We’re a little concerned about some of the bigger cracks causing issues when we rip out the furring strips, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the moment! Hopefully all it will need is some crack repair and a fresh skim coat…hopefully!
We also found some more awesome electrical work! And “awesome” I mean wtf? It’s been a total crap-shoot if fixtures here have an electrical box and/or modern wiring or not and this one seems to be another not on both counts. I want to get this light wired to a switch anyway and adding an electrical box isn’t a huge undertaking. I am a little concerned that an electrician will want to redo the wiring as well. It’s not a bad thing by any means, just a more expensive thing.
We spent Christmas in Wisconsin and then brought Matt’s mom and brother back with us. If there’s one thing college boys are great for, it’s manual labor, so we put him to work with Matt.
The furring strips were soon removed. And the ceiling stayed up! I was a little concerned that the furring strips might be propping up some of the cracked areas, but so far so good!
The offensive trim soon followed the ceiling into the garbage.
The paneling took a bit of a beating in the process so Matt is finally coming around to just taking it all down and re-drywalling. It may be a lot of work, but I think it will be worth it in the end. I’m hoping the ceiling just needs a skim-coat. I do NOT want to deal with the ceiling so I’m hoping for a budget-friendly project that can be hired out.
Most of the demo was done with pretty small pry-bars, about 1 foot long or so. They’re better for getting into tight spots. We’ve got a 3 footer too which is better if you need a lot of leverage. As sissy as the tiny ones look though, they’re super useful to have around.
Here’s to ending 2016 on a destructive note! If we had a fire pit we’d probably be ending it with a bonfire as well. Hopefully we get it all put back together next year.
Our current tree-topper is a star from the dollar store which is a little too dinky for our new tree, and also doesn’t seem to fit the floofy top spike of the tree, I love the modern-ness of this Himmeli-Style one! I think it’s made my holiday to-do list too!
Here’s a roundup of the cookies we made this year. Even though it’s probably too late for cookie-baking for most of you, you may want to file these recipes for next year.
Ok, so I took more than a week off. It’s full on cold and flu season here in Minnesota and I’ve been feeling a little under the weather. Plus, I finally had an appointment with an Endocrinologist right before Thanksgiving. She supported the first Doctor’s conclusion that my wacky thyroid was only a temporary/viral thing but ran some more tests (have I mentioned I HATE needles? This fall has been miserable) and found that in body’s attempt to fix the situation it had over compensated and now my thyroid levels are too low. So now I’m being medicated for that. Yeah, it’s been fun (and hopefully, still all temporary… I go back for still more blood work after Christmas and will hopefully be able to stop the drugs).
Now onto the house stuff! If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen me have a small IKEA breakdown a couple weeks ago.
Basically we’re putting the hallway work on hold for the winter. It’s too cold to work on the porch and I don’t relish the idea of stripping and staining inside with no ventilation. Instead we’re moving on to Matt’s study. It’s a bit of an anomaly in the house–I think the floor, the radiator, and the door are the only original elements remaining. The ceiling is the same gross acoustical tile that we had in the dining room, the walls were paneled (and possibly skim-coated?) at some point, and all the trim was replaced with boring, modern, builder-grade trim…. then painted matte-black. The closet door is also missing. Pretty much, I have no clue what in the hell happened here, but it’s not pretty.
This weekend we started moving all his crap into my study (we need to empty out the room in order to basically gut it). His study will be uninhabitable for quite some time so we’re trying to make my study functional for 2 people. We tried a few layouts for 2 desks, but ultimately liked the idea of shoving them together… the only problem was my existing desk was a smidge shorter than Matt’s. Yes, I was neurotic enough to care. Plus, we figured a quick trip to IKEA for a (cheap!) matching desk would solve the problem.
Unfortunately, this particular desk was discontinued. There were however 3 different models from the same line, and we assumed the one with the closed shelving would be the same size.
We got it home and it was six inches too short.
We brainstormed a few different options, including trying to hack the new base onto my old desk top, except the top was too deep. Finally we agreed to suck it up and go back to IKEA for a matching one since it’s a pretty cheap desk. Neurosis for the win!
Apologies in advance for the crap-tastic photos… this lack of daylight during the week is killing me.
Matt also hung artwork while I was taking a nap. To his credit he googled the correct height to hang artwork…. unfortunately google is wrong.
Or at least Google is wrong if you search “how tall to hang pictures.” How tall? I’m not a grammar nazi, but that just sounds wrong. I googled “how high to hang pictures” and got an answer of 60″ to 66″.
My go-to height for art work is 60″ on center. If you’re taller than average you may want to go a little higher, but I wouldn’t go lower unless everyone in your household is incredibly petite. Matt caught me glowering at the too-low artwork (my desk is the one facing them) and insisted that he is not adjusting them for two inches. Fine, I understand. Really. But someday when I’m bored, I’m sure I will re-do all of them.
Because I’ve already shown I have no qualms about embarrassing myself online… here’s what the other half of the room looks like.
We had got our first snow of Friday. It was nice because it was so late this year (and it’s been unseasonably warm , but also crappy because snow. I’m already done with winter (I may be living in the wrong state…)
At least the sunsets have been pretty lovely lately!
If you’re also getting snow and not thrilled about it (or even if you are) here are some amusements to help get you through the week.
Homesick Candles. They’re supposed to smell like your state, but WI doesn’t smell like beer and cheese with a hint of cow so I have my doubts. On the other hand, MN basically just smells like winter so maybe they’re actually on to something. I’m also a jerk and thought ND should have just been “unscented.”
Do you Twitter? I don’t, but if you do and sometimes find yourself running out of ideas you can always check out Yes, That Can Be My Next Tweet. It’s also Bloggess approved. (and if you’ve never read her blog, you really should… unless you’re super put off by random taxidermy. Then it may not be a good fit).
A friend and I hit up a local craft fair this weekend. If you’re looking for handmade (and green!) gifts, some of my favorite vendors were Made by Liz P. (there’s not a lot in her etsy shop at the moment, but look at her sales history to get a better idea of her full range), Tired Ol’ Belts, Raju’s Arts, and Nest Pure.
I’m taking the week off because this week off because I’m in tight with the boss (aka, Me) and Holidays are hectic (plus it’s getting dark early and I have things I need to photograph yet). Enjoy your Thanksgiving!
I had visions of being completely done with the hallway by now! Unfortunately life and a pissy thyroid ate up a lot the time I had planned for this so I’ve very much not done yet. I thought I’d share my progress anyway though.
If you need a refresher on what I started with, check out this post.
One of the first projects I had planned was replacing all the busted newel caps on our staircase. I had a good start on it but petered out. So right now I have replaced…. one. Yes. One. But that one looks good!
The chunky post at the base of the stairs in all original, but the second post has a brand-spankin-new newel cap. Is a it a perfect match? No. But is pretty darn good? I think so!
Even in old houses I think it makes sense to weigh every investment. Is it 100% historically accurate? No. Is the cost of a 100% historically accurate reproduction worth it for this particular house? Sorry, but no. It’s a pretty basic, standard old house for St Paul (heck, there’s even a near-perfect doppelganger house a couple blocks away!). It’s sort of like trying to make an average 1950’s ranch a high-end MCM masterpiece. We’re also not restoring this house, we’re renovating it. We’re just renovating it while still trying to be mindful of it’s origins.
Anyways… one newel cap down, 5 more to go!
Oh the doors! I had such high hopes that they would have been done weeks ago! Unfortunately barely being able to get off the couch for nearly a month set me back a bit. We’re 1/2 way there though!
I posted about my love of black doors a while back, but Matt was adamantly against it. He also didn’t want to paint them white (so picky!) so we compromised with a darkdark stain. It’s a shit-ton of work, but I think it looks pretty fab. Please ignore the orange-y railing, I’m working on it. Slowly.
I also ordered glass knobs to replace the black ceramic ones. Yeah, the ceramic ones were probably original, but they just disappeared into the dark stain (the brass back-plates are more noticeable in real life, but I’m still thinking of cleaning them up a bit). Half the upstairs door knobs were already glass anyway and I wanted continuity. I ordered these beauties from House of Antique Hardware. It might be my new favorite place on the internet. I could make a shopping list a mile long from this place if I had the budget for it, but alas. I still may get the dust corners at some point because they’re super cute and cat fur clogging up the stairs is a legit problem in this household.
The Cat Tree
Why is pet furniture so often really ugly? I mean, where are the homes where the standard fleshy-beige cat upholstery fits in? My best guess is that it’s designed to hide most fur colors. These are the sorts of things I tell myself to make sense of this crazy world.*
Regardless of the reason, the fleshy-beige had to go! The scratching posts sections had also gotten pretty beat up over the few years we’ve had it. It’s seen a lot of love from the cats and needed a makeover.
I dissembled the whole thing, wrapped the flat pieces with a faux sherpa fabric, and wrapped the polls top-to-bottom with jute. I did a bit of reconfiguration of the pieces too to make it visually lighter and provides the cats with a taller section they so they stretch out and scratch. They usually only hang out on the top section anyway, so it really didn’t need the extra bulk. I still am not sure what to do about the top basket yet (helloooo weird blank space and lonely screw), but I’m working on it.
Still Working on:
Staining the railing
Refinishing the doors
Planning a gallery wall
Building a new cabinet for the entryway
So that’s the current State of House address. I’m planning on doing a check-in with the kitchen too to let you know how my temporary fixes are holding up. I just need to clean it first…
*At least I’m not alone in my “Why does pet furniture have to be ugly” thoughts. There is a shop in St Paul called–I shit you not–Custom Cat Purrinture. Yes, Purr-niture. Believe it or not Matt and I haven’t checked it out yet.