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Back Up

October 16, 2014   //  Posted in: Buying and Renting and Selling   //  By: Emily   //  5 responses

I volunteered to back up my mom’s digital camera a few weeks ago; the Kodak EasyShare my sister and I bought her in 2004 now had a decade’s worth of memories stored on it, and I figured one of us had better extract them for safe keeping. I spent a nice few hours reliving her assorted vacations, memories of various apartments, holidays, and photos like these, which she snapped the rainy day that she accompanied me through the inspection of my first home. Recognize any of these rooms?

Old house inspection.Photo 1: Sunroom. Pre-blue ceiling, pre-bright windows, pre-refinished floor.
Photo 2: Dining room. Wood trim, vertical blinds, wallpaper. Pre-paneling, pre-pendant lights.
Photo 3: Living room. Basically, that’s what it would have looked like if I hung curtains over the windows.
Photo 4: Kitchen. Oak overload. Pre-stained cabinets and pre-new countertop.

Finding That Big Vintage Chalkboard

October 01, 2014   //  Posted in: Being Thrifty, Decor   //  By: Emily   //  one response

Our huge, vintage chalkboard.

Unlike previous years where I hoarded up all of the cheap candles and rehab-able decor that I could find, my sights were more focused this year when we browsed garage sales on sunny Saturdays. I collected almost no tsotchkes but instead, practical items like 20-gallon gas cans, a garage shovel and rake organizer, Harry Potter books and DVDs (book 5, starting tonight), lawn chairs, wood screws, and lots of adorable infant and toddler clothes and accessories in near-mint condition for mere pennies. And I think you’d agree that it’s pretty hard to pass up a giant school chalkboard wherever you come across it. No surprises here, I claimed it as soon as I saw it.

We found a vintage chalkboard at a garage sale!

It’s not slate, but it is heavy-duty and is in good shape. Only a scratch in the lower right corner, and a couple of extra holes in the frame to show its age. At install, it took extra dads and aunts to get it level and hung properly using anchor bolts. So, there are virtually no other pictures to prove what we went through, only memories of pinched fingers, lots of cursing, and general confusion.

Installing the chalkboard in our kid's room.

I keep saying aloud (and on here over and over again) that we still haven’t really put a lot of stuff on the walls of our home–it actually pains me, after all of the patching we had to do–but this one makes up for our lack in wall decor in a big way; it’s so practical and fun to have that I think it’ll be with us forever. Plus, obviously, it’s sheer size covers a lot of wall, that will never again require my decorating attention. (Side note: New outlets arrived. Decided to go Legrand Adorne throughout the house for consistency. Been chipping away at it all week. Don’t put your fingers in there, kids.)

A vintage school chalkboard for our kid's bedroom.

Shelving is a line item on my “next thing to spend lots of money on” list, because we want some permanent, quality shelving in very specific sizes for our living spaces and bedroom. We started to chip away at this need a little bit by picking up a great mid-century shelf for $20 (on the left, shown after a little outdoor cleanup when I brought it home – bought from a nice local couple I follow on Instagram!), and a solid 5-drawer rolling cart with melamine drawers that’ll eventually serve as practical kid craft and magazine storage in our living or dining room. Needs a good scrubbin’.

Midcentury shelving solutions for our home.

The 5-drawer rolling cart came from an estate sale that we ventured through about a month ago, the property of a local curator with Kodak connections who had amassed some incredible goodies in his mid-century Rochester home, including some amazing art and fine wood furnishings. I don’t like to dwell on things that we passed over, but in hindsight it was probably one of those moments when I shouldn’t have been so “thrifty.” The guy had a super-powerful digital antennae that would have made it way easier to get local TV channels through the trees, an OJ Simpson’s high school yearbook (weirdo convo piece?), and lots of these completely useless but neat glass lenses that ranged as tiny as my pinkie nail, to as large as my head (for film developing?).

Big photography lenses at a Rochester estate sale.

And an awesome darkroom timer (big regret, so cool, shame on me for trying too hard to not be a random tsotchke collector). Please just remind me that I’d never have used it.

A cool darkroom timer that I wish I bought.


What dust collectors did you pick up or pass on during the summer?

A Modern Dog House, And More

September 19, 2014   //  Posted in: DIY, DIY Network Projects, Dog-Related   //  By: Emily   //  one response

How I made a modern, DIY Dog House.

I’m in the process of wrapping up a few Halloween-themed projects for DIY Network’s blog (and getting side-eyed glances from the neighbors, not all of whom approach to ask what the hell I’m doing with all of those tombstones) and it occurred to me that I forgot to show you one of my latest projects: A modern dog house designed to match our new treehouse.

Cody’s stoked, and though I totally suspected he wouldn’t want to get near it after witnessing me wailing away with a pneumatic framing nailer (scarier than the vacuum?), he actually curled up right inside even before I was done staining. Homey, happily.

For what it’s worth, we have a big dog, so the dog’s house is pretty large too, and when Codeman’s not snoozing, the kids have taken to using it as an annex to their big, new playset. Could we have gotten away with building them a dog house in a day instead of spending our entire summer raising the treehouse? Ergh, maybe.

For the dog lovers lurking out there, I also wrote a few more pet posts that might interest you: health and safety tips for your pet and awesome dog water toys (both of those are worth keeping in your back pocket for next summer), and the most extreme dog toys I could find.

But wait, there’s more. Read other DIY Network posts that I wrote for Made + Remade right here: