Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Turning the Stairs

These are the old stairs. They faced south and some of the steps weren't actually secure so you had to be careful not to step on the edge. This is also a peek of before the window.

I decided that I wanted them facing east because I want my desk in front of the window so I can gaze out into my yard and garden. My brother tore them out a while ago. He found very old filthy clothes shoved in that hole under the door. Prize!

Yesterday he started rebuilding the stairs since he finished most of the mudding and was waiting on the door. The door is actually in as of today but the rest of the front of the house isn't back together enough for a final photo.

Here is the somewhat finished product. I needed something to post and for the most part, they're done. The risers will stay white and the landings will be black to match the floor. I'll do a separate before and after floor post eventually. The space under the the stairs has been left open so I can store something but I'll have to think of what that is later.

Monday, May 28, 2012


We had just a few dead spots on the lawn. Some were the result of sod that didn't take. We got it replaced.

Here's the new lawn so far. It will look much better after it is mowed and after we replace a few more spots.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The BIN is IN.

Here it is in the far back corner of the yard. It is secured with corkscrew stakes so it won't get knocked over by any critters. I also planted that Hosta there to the left which will hopefully spread fast.

I looked up what I was allowed to put in it AFTER I had already deposited a few things. I did well. I got the lists below from the EPA's website.

What to Compost – The IN List
  • Animal manure
  • Cardboard rolls
  • Clean paper
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Cotton rags
  • Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint
  • Eggshells
  • Fireplace ashes
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Grass clippings
  • Hair and fur
  • Hay and straw
  • Houseplants
  • Leaves
  • Nut shells
  • Sawdust
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Tea bags
  • Wood chips
  • Wool rags
  • Yard trimmings
What Not to Compost – The OUT List
Leave Out/Reason Why
  • Black walnut tree leaves or twigs
    • Releases substances that might be harmful to plants
  • Coal or charcoal ash
    • Might contain substances harmful to plants
  • Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt) and eggs*
    • Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Diseased or insect-ridden plants
    • Diseases or insects might survive and be transferred back to other plants
  • Fats, grease, lard, or oils*
    • Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Meat or fish bones and scraps*
    • Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)*
    • Might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans
  • Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides
    • Might kill beneficial composting organisms
* Check with your local composting or recycling coordinator as some commercially run composting facilities may be able to process the asterisked materials.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Easy Clean Up Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been using the same recipe for many years(20+). Basically since high school when I altered the Nestle Toll House recipe to my liking. It started with reducing the amount of butter to 3/4 cup (Tupperware carries these) and then changing it to Crisco which I learned from the family that I babysat for.  

Somewhere along the line I realized that the only measuring cup that wasn't 3/4 was the flour and after mentioning this to my dad (math head) he said that 3 * 3/4 cups is the same thing as 2 1/4. Perfect! That officially made this the easy clean up recipe! You only use 1 measuring cup! I'm in!
I spent many years making these for friends and boys throughout the years. They were requested often and eaten within minutes of delivery so I had absolutely no reason to find a different recipe. 

Julie's Easy Clean Up Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 Eggs
3/4 Cup Crisco (Butter Flavored or Regular)
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar (I prefer dark)
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Baking Soda
Cream the above ingredients and then add:
3 - 3/4 Cups Flour (That means 3/4 Cups 3 times to equal 2 1/4 Cups)
3/4 Bag Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (or the whole bag if you prefer)
3/4 Chopped Walnuts Optional
Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes
Makes about 3 dozen

All you have to clean is a 3/4 measuring cup, a measuring spoon, a mixing bowl, a rubber spatula and a cookie sheet. I highly recommend using a baking stone, a Kitchen Aid mixer and serving them with OJ.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Shop Window - Back

 This is what the back of the house/shop looked like "Before". I snagged an old photo from the roof "Before" pics since my brother was in the way and then it was too late. Notice the new roof in the last picture.

 This is what we found when we removed the siding. There was actually a window sitting in there when I originally removed the inside wall. I saved it for another project. This stuff was just nailed to the frame.

 My brother decided to remove the old wood siding and replace it with plywood (not pictured because I didn't want to post every little step but we did take one).

 This is after the plywood, Tyvek house wrap, and the inserted window. It stayed like this for a few days.

DONE! We spent most of today putting the siding back up. Who knew I was so good at measuring and piecing the siding for a perfect fit! I did. I'm pretty good at drywall too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Say Hello to My Little Friend

I found this little guy sitting near the edge of my yard. He decided to hop out into the middle of the street and so I couldn't help but guide him back into my ground cover. It appears that he can not fly. He just hops and trips a lot.

Later, as I was watering the sod I am laying (another post coming soon), he hopped on over toward the hose as if I was offering him a treat. That's why he looks wet. He took a little bath. 

Once he was done bathing, I sent him over to under the shrubs by my front door and gave him a Frisbee full of water. Then I added one of my unpainted peanut tins with some dead sod and later guided him in. Now that it's getting late, I thought this wire and plywood would suffice as some protection through the night. I hope.

Bird Update: He made it through the night. He's out of his pen, hopping around and chirping. Yay!
Another Bird Update: I've lost track of him. Earlier today I found out there were 2 of these birds in the same situation so I left them to hang out together.

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Yard Accessories

This is my new (used) composter and pond compliments of my mom's friend Heidi. She heard that I was going crazy with my garden and offered up these gems. Thank you Heidi!

First we have the compost bin. It is the non-spinny kind. It just sits here on the ground. You keep it secure with stakes. The top opens up like a trash can lid and that is where I dump my compost. At the base there is a door where I can shovel it out. I intend to "stir" it with my favorite tool... The Claw. The compost bin's new home is in the back corner of the yard in the corner next to the shed add on.

Next we have the pond and this is where I plan to put it. The white fence will be moved out further as previously planned for the entire garden area. I'm excited to have a pond and I can't wait to get it going because I want to put a frog in it. I have a lot of digging ahead of me but I have to wait until we're completely done with the craft room window. Almost there.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Blog work

Yesterday I spent most of the day updating my blog buttons. Not on this blog (see sidebar)... on this one... SeeJulieStamp.

I took all of the junk off the sidebar and changed them to these cute little black and white buttons. I don't have a need for them on this blog just yet but on that one, if you follow the link, you'll see that I added these buttons:

Each button links to the appropriate page as related to my SeeJulieStamp blog: facebook, Twitter, Picasa web album, calendar, Stampin' Up! shopping cart, Feedburner for subscribers and eMail me. I will add Pinterest when the button becomes available. I requested it. 

I also updated my favicon on both of my blogs. That's this little "J" next to my blog title on your tabs. I squared this one off to take away the white edge because it didn't look right that way.

Here's where I got my buttons:

Yeah, I figured most of it out myself thanks to some tips and tricks from my IT friends. Nathan actually helped me out a few times via IM but mostly just put up with my questions until I figured it out myself. I actually enjoy doing this stuff. Click away!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Moving on to the Ceiling.

This is the ceiling and south wall "Before". Dad and I finished the walls up to there about 2 years ago before I moved. Now I'm back to finish it. Well, my brother is...

We decided to square off the ceiling so he put in some framework. We also had to move the existing light fixtures so that they'd be over my work space. I hadn't picked out my work space location before I left so the lights were just for that side of the room.

This is the ceiling and south wall "After". Okay so that one spot to the right wasn't done when I took the photo but you see. Over here to the left is where the loft/attic access will be. 

It's all coming together quite nicely. I'm currently searching for the lighting fixture for the main area and the floor junk. It's more of a "who's got it in stock" issue than anything else. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Loft/Attic Before and After

This is the storage loft/attic "Before". Not so easy to get around up there without a lot of over and under movements which were usually done by me since I was the smallest. I hated it because it was gross up there with bugs and the floor felt like it wasn't going to hold me. It was, I just didn't trust it.

This is the storage loft/attic "After" (But before the outer wall/ceiling goes up). Since we're remodeling the entire room, my brother decided we needed to fix the loft first. He moved the roof supports and added many more, secured the floor better, added a plug and a lighting fixture and finished up the insulation. Much better.

This is the other side (front) where he added some supports, plywood and drywall. It gives a little more space above and finishes off my ceiling easier.

Tomorrow, which is in 5 minutes, I'll show you some more.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Extreme Mutt Makeover

This is Dusty, named for his appearance. My parents have problems grooming their dogs. It drives me nuts. It's an old picture but that doesn't matter. He always looks like this.

This is Dusty if he's left with me. I can't help but cut him and bathe him after a few days. I'm no professional but who cares, I saved $40. He still needs a few matted pieces combed out and his feet trimmed better but for now, he's looking good for being at least 15yrs old and he likes being able to see.

Dusty with Max. They don't usually sit together like this. I made them do it and clearly Max was too tired to care. Yes, his eyes are shut because he's sleepy, not because he blinked.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Flower Cans

A few years ago, I worked at a job where we had peanuts delivered on a regular basis for a short time. Thanks Bruce! What I saw was an opportunity for a project. I was originally thinking stamp project but after hanging out on Pinterest, I found another use for the cans. The post I found was just a link to a flicker photo by "rosping" so I can't tell you who originated the idea. The larger ones anyway. Yes, I have a bunch more smaller ones that I can still use for a stamp project/camp. These peanuts are awesome by the way.

Here is the large tin/can on the painting stump before and after I primed it. This is a spray paint project.

Here are 10 of the 12 cans that I spray painted. I'm still deciding on the color of the last 2 cans. Possibly white.

This is all still a work in progress. I'm waiting on Nutrimulch to finish my garden. Every time I go to IFA, they're out. I only want one bag! I'm also waiting on a fence. My brother is building me one however, there is another project that trumped this one. I will most likely be hanging these colorful cans on the outside of the garden fence. That is my plan.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Garden Box $45

Finally! The new box. I went to Lowe's by myself and picked out 2 of the 2"x6"x12' pressure treated lumber and had 4' cut off of each one. With my 10% discount card they came to $36.50 tax included.

As it turns out, we decided that the box needs to be right there where you see it and so I will be digging out more grass. Lots more because I have to do it over there by the old fence too. See that board to the right of the garden box? That marks the spot where the new fence will go. Yep, new fence. My brother is going to just build one out of some materials already have.

While at a friend's house, I noticed she had some disassembled garden box pieces with hinges on them. I thought it was a great idea for the edges of my box. I went to the ReStore and found some (8) hinges for $1 each. I am very pleased with my choice of hinges and the way it turned out. The box is approximately 4'x8'.