Today’s Unexpected Workout Brought To You By…

February 19, 2015   //  Posted in: Backyard, Tools   //  By: Emily   //  2 responses

Excessive snowfall and a month of below-freezing temps lead me to introduce to you our newest tool. A 24′ Shovel Roof Rake. I wish you could tell how completely laborious it was to maneuver, because a photo makes it look carefree. Snow is heavy, so all muscles engaged.

Check out our new roof rake!

Basically, until this month, buying this tool seemed like the last thing we needed. Our roof isn’t flat, and as long as we’ve lived here (and at the other house, for that matter), the snow has always melted away reasonably quickly thanks to the unpredictability of New York winters with the alternating below- and above-freezing day temps. The last month has been different, and a few weeks ago on a (still frightfully cold but) sunny day, we began to see the beginning signs of a slow melt and ice damming (damning). We had 24″ icicles in literally… hours.

What Pete knew that I didn’t was that if we clear away the snow on the roof, we could help prevent the damming at the gutters, eliminating the snow up there that could turn to liquid and refreeze as icicles, or worse, not be able to leak over the gutters already filled with ice and leach into the house. There was one day that he was up there with a shovel, and maybe also with the electric snowblower which is effective but definitely not recommended by me or the manufacturer, and we saw an immediate improvement with the development of those icicles. Back in business, our gutters would not be torn down (well, hopefully not).

Climbing on the roof every time every time we get some substantial accumulation just isn’t as awesome as it sounds, even if there is a 4′ snow cushion below to catch your fall, hence the ~$50 purchase of the roof rake

The roof wasn’t the only concern, our treehouse that we assumed was perfectly structural also showed signs of severe bowing in the 1×2 cross braces for the roof, which in hindsight was obviously too flimsy of a board for the application. You can kind of see this in the above photo, where I spent a solid half hour trying to relieve some of the hundreds of pounds of snow from the rooftop sliver by sliver. Live and learn, and in the spring we’ll bring in 2×4 roofing reinforcements.

I’m pretty sure I assumed this thing was in the neighborhood of ~$24.99 when Pete told me that he ordered it because it’s a shovel, that is until I went to check out our Amazon Order History to see exactly which product we bought and found that when we ordered the price was twice that; it’s quite a bit more now, come to find, but still a nice-to-have winter accessory in our tool arsenal. Especially if it’s helping us to prevent the gutters from pulling themselves off the roofline. Just price-shop around, OK?

Blah blah, snow and cold, shout-out to shoveling at the rental, Valentine’s Day, poop circlescats in the mall, and ridiculously expensive car repairs.

Genuine Amerock, Circa 1950

February 13, 2015   //  Posted in: Kitchen   //  By: Emily   //  one response

A vintage Amerock Chromium knob from our 1950's kitchen.

It’s not that our basement was filled with junk when we moved in; quite the opposite, really, but we’re still just discovering things that were left on the shelves like extra blueprints and shiny new door hinges, pencil notes on the beams, and a whole bunch of the kitchen and bathroom cabinet knobs stuck in a box, brand new, in original 1950s packaging.

Little treasures that help us understand the past are the best.

Pretty awesome find for me, maybe not for you. I spent a lot of time getting to know those knobs when I painted the kitchen cabinets last summer and cleaned them one by one, and it’s nice to know where they’re actually from in case I ever need to source more. The pricing on ebay for this and similar products runneth all over the place, and as far as I can tell on the website, the closest product match is a pretty round knob from the line named “Allison.” There’s nothing quite like the original, though.


Succulent Gardens Are Boring, And Other Things

January 29, 2015   //  Posted in: DIY   //  By: Emily   //  one response

Sometimes, often, a lot of the time I’ll do a project with the intention of writing about it here, but if I don’t get rightonit, I transition into forgetting about it, or deciding after the fact that it’s boring, uninteresting, not relatable, not blog-worthy, or simply something that it doesn’t warrant its own post.

I’ve got a whole folder of these projects and activities. Maybe smushing some of them into one succinct overview will pique more interest than one-offs. Enjoy! Many more to come.

1. Sometimes I just really like a detail found in our home.

Like the thoughtful trim work around the front door. You just don’t see this anymore. Man, those are some drafty gaps.

Attention to trim detail in the entryway.

2. Sometimes I drink too much coffee and make poor painting decisions.

On the last random 70-degree day in October, I found myself with the time and motivation to complete something that had been on my list for a year: re-painting the garage door. The door itself is great; very solid, very heavy, no windows for peepers and creepers, and original to the house. It had some peeling paint, typical maintenance stuff, and I took the unseasonably warm weather as an opportunity to GO-GO-GO. The prep stuff all went really well, except for the fact that my favorite painting jeans had (and have) an absolutely ginormous tear in the right butt cheek region, rendering 95% of my photos NSFW, nor not my style for the internets. This priming image is about all I’ve got for ya, folks.

Priming the wooden garage door.

In what I would say is a “typical Emily” fashion, I convinced myself part way through paint scraping, power sanding, and then priming, that white paint would simply not do (“new white paint is soooo bright!”). Having Sherwin-Williams tint the paint I had already purchased would be an excellent idea; a light brown! Brilliant – it would look great with the mortar between the flagstones on our house, plus they could shake-shake-shake that paint can that had been sitting around the garage since the Memorial Day sale, and save me some extra stirring (never completely satisfied with my own paint stirring abilities = OCD).

There are reasons you bring home paint chips and consult with your gut on things like this, and because I didn’t, I had painted half of the door in SW 6154‘s yellowy-beige (arguably not a “warmer white”) before realizing that it was completely wrong for our home, and moped away to clean my brushes without finishing the job. It is incredibly humiliating to admit that our street-facing garage door is two awkward shades of white/beige, and now I’m forced to look at it however many times a day when I come and go until the weather turns around and I can buy more paint and spend more time on this project. Eye roll. (Pete wants to add that it’s not as bad as I’m making it sound.)

3. Sometimes all it takes is a bullseye.

I never told you about the time we bought Julia an archery bow and arrows; it was immediately after moving into the house, her housewarming gift from us. What we wanted were a few big bales of hay for her to launch bows into, but what I came upon were a set of f-r-e-e 1x1x2 solid styrofoam blocks that had been delivered to Tractor Supply Company as packaging around lawn mowers. I also drove them home 200 miles, because Tractor Supply was something I was passing randomly on the way home from traveling somewhere or other, and I could only take 10 because they filled the entire back of my Jeep. I’d still recommend this solution as a completely viable (and free/affordable) solution for target practice; they worked really well for us when it’s not windy, and we still have all of the blocks, which is a testament to how well they’ve held up after being stabbed at high speed, repeatedly.

And… spray paint disintegrates styrofoam, if you weren’t already aware. Use alternate means of painting on that target.

How to make a free DIY archery target.

4. Sometimes we make cool discoveries.

Pardon our mess, but do you see the rectangle of poorly patched wall above our “floor lamp?”

Was there an inset shelf in my bedroom wall?

Do you see it now?

Was there an inset shelf in my bedroom wall?

Probably took us a year to notice this, because the lighting had to be right. Have been meaning to ask the previous owner about this for some time, because to us, it would appear that there was once a cool inset shelf in the wall.

5. Succulent gardens are never interesting.

But use aquarium gravel for an inexpensive, nice polished-looking stone topper. You’re welcome.

DIY succulent gardens are not very interesting.