Thursday, March 31, 2011

Project: Bedroom Closet Expansion

We decided to take advantage of the nasty weather we've been having this week and stayed inside to work on our bedroom.  Our cottage is small and our closets are even smaller.  Here are a few shots of our bedroom before we began demo this week:

[Wall facing the front of the house/waterview]

[Opposite wall- the Trouble Spot, aka the smallest closets known to man]

[Better view]

[Entrance to the bedroom, off of the living room]

Remember this post about a little road block?  Well, Bubba and I agreed that the problem needed to removed rather than worked around.  So we took the doors off the hinges, removed the drywall, and exposed the super old woodstove chimney that the previous owner had simpley covered up rather than dealt with it.  And here it is:

[This was after Bubba took a sledge hammer to the top of the chimney. It was completely full of what looked like pine that a common practice when you decide to cover up an old chimney?  Or did we just stumble upon the biggest birds nest of all time?!?]

[My dear Bubba...he isn't afraid of anything]

So once the chimney was destroyed and removed, I went into action with the broom and shop-vac with the speed and OCD-ness of my grandmother, and cleaned the incredibly dusty and dirty room up.  And this is what we were left with:

[We are putting thin panneling in the back of the closests in order to take up as little room as possible.]

[Now you can see just how ridiculously small the closet space in this room is.  PS- Our headboard was another crafty/thrifty project I did.  I found it at the Habitat for Humanity store in Lexington Park, spray painted it with a brownish metal paint and here it is!]

*Stay tuned for updates...

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Unusual Weekend

My weekend was fairly unusual, but in a good way.  I didn't spend it at a wedding, shower, party, doctor, show, etc. Friday was my day off from work and I spent most of it with these two wonderful people:

Nan and Pa, Boyd and Janet, Nanny Goat and Pappy.  Whatever you prefer to call them, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents this weekend and it was so nice.  It was simple and unplanned, but it made for a memorable time.  Pa bought a new computer and printer last week, so I helped him set it all up and install everything he needed.  *Special note to anyone wishing to see Pa- He may NEVER come out of his "Pin" now that he has a fully functioning computer.  If you want to visit with him you might want to shoot him an email and make an appointment ;)  I also got to just sit with Nan and catch up on things we normally don't.  It really felt like one of the carefree days when I was younger and I got to spend the night with them, or if they would watch me while I was home sick from school.

When we moved back to the 7th from Leonardtown, I was about 8 or 9 years old.  And just a few short years later, we added on to our house and they came to live beside us.  So really we were very lucky in having our grandparents so close, but it did mean we constantly had to share our time with them between the 3 of us.  So this weekend, hanging out with them by myself was really a treat.

Another fun thing I got to do this weekend was go watch my cousin, Myles, play basketball in the Recreation and Parks league.  I've been watching him play since he was little, and haven't had a chance to catch a game yet this year.  Better late than never, this was their South Division regular season championship game and they WON!  Tonight they start the league playoffs at Chopticon High School.  I have to say it will feel good to be back in my old gym for basketball, but very weird that I won't be the one playing.

Good luck tonight, Wildcats!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Project Porch: Part 2

This weekend was dedicated to priming and painting our beloved porch. After my grandfather and Bubba worked so hard to rebuild the spots with rotten wood and give it a little more life, I figured the least I could do would be to help paint.

And paint I did. My grandfather, Pa, is the eternal perfectionist. If you mention the words “Pa” and “Painting” in the same sentence my family all tends to have the same reaction…you see Pa doesn’t do anything fast. He takes his time, and since he’s retired from the Navy and a government position I think he’s earned the right to do things at a slower pace. Regardless of his speed Pa is an incredibly talented painter. I know what you’re thinking, “does it really take that much finesse to paint a porch?” If you want it to look good it does.

I’ve learned everything I know about painting from my grandfather whether it’s about brush strokes, the length of a stroke, how far to dip the brush in the pain, whatever it may be, Pa has taught me the correct way to do it.

Did I mention we had some unannounced visitors on Saturday while we were hard at work? The Aflac duck and a few of his friends made their way into my yard to beg for some food. It’s really unusual to see these kinds of ducks in our neighborhood. They look like they may belong to someone as pets, so I’m thinking they are lost.

Absolutely no fear. They walked right up to me and quacked for a while until I went in the house and got them some bread. Which I used to lure them out of my yard and back down to the beach with. No sooner had I started painting again and the little rascals had waddled all the way back into the yard…

***Stay tuned for some "after" shots of the porch!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Natural Disasters

The world has been feeling the wrath of Mother Nature lately and it's not pretty. Just this past week Japan suffered a crippling 8.9 earthquake followed by one of the most destructive tsunami's in history. The media coverage of this terrifying event is truly jaw-dropping. Unless you live under a rock you've seen what I'm referring to. The Japanese people affected by this quake/tsunami combo have been left in a state of limbo; their homes are destroyed, their possessions now belong to the ocean, and many have even lost their loved ones.

Displaced and disoriented, these people have not given up entirely. They have shown true composure and compassion for their country and those around them. If the same were to happen to the United States and you had a few sparing moments to get what provisions you could, would you take all twelve bottles of water sitting on the shelf? Or would you take only one, knowing that there are so many others in need of that water as well? One man in Japan took the latter route. Would you fall into a state of panic; stealing, pillaging, fighting and other criminal activity? Or would you be considerate of others around you, no matter who they are, and lend a helping hand to all you can when you don't even have a coat on your back? The Japanese have shown incredible strength during these disastrous times and should be an example to all communities that have faced crisis such as this. (ex: New Orleans, Haiti, etc.) And finally, would you sacrifice your health and wellbeing to fix a destroyed nuclear power plant that is posing a huge health risk to the general public in order to save the lives of thousands? Or would you go running for the hills in order to save yourself? Some 150 brave Japanese workers are sacrificing their lives and exposing themselves to radiation right this moment so to save the lives around them.

I've never experienced such a natural disaster or been in a situation similar to this, so it's hard for me to say what exactly I would do. But I do hope that if I were exposed to an event such as this I would have at least half of the composure and kindness that the Japanese people have displayed. Japan will, without a doubt, get back on their feet eventually. It may not happen for several years, but it surely will over time.

Please pray for them, I know I am.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Unexpected Delay...

Oh boy, this is going to throw a wrench into our big closet project we have planned for our bedroom...

Yes, that is a super old chimney in the wall between our closets.  Not a cool fireplace, just an old chimney that was probably hooked up to a wood stove at some point.  It doesn't lead anywhere either, when they renovated a few years ago and added a loft they must have knocked the top part of it down.

Guess the closet project will take a little longer than expected, but that's alright, we'll get it done eventually!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Little Curb Appeal

It's no secret that Bubba and I have been pretty busy lately working on OUR new house.  (I love saying that, sometimes I still can't believe it) Even though it was in pretty good condition when we first started renting, we knew that there were a few things we wanted to change if it were ours.  And now that it is, we've been drawing up plans, brainstorming about the most economical way to tackle our projects and basically making sure we're on the same page.

We have done a few projects for the interior, but I'll get to those later.  Today I want to tell you about some of the changes we have made outside to increase our curb appeal.  First stop?  The front porch.  Before we even knew we were going to have the opportunity to buy the house, Bubba would always complain about our screened in front porch.  I didn't really mind it because it kept all of the bugs away from me in the summer, but the more I looked at it the more I realized it was really obstructing the best part of our property...the water view. It wasn't 3 days after we had signed the paperwork that Bubba began ripping down the old screening.  I was leery at first, but once he was able to remove it all I couldn't believe the difference it made!  These pictures may be somewhat misleading as to how annoying and bad it looked before since they are from our engagement pictures, but I think you'll get the point.


In Progress:

Of course the before pictures were taken in May/June when everything was sunny and in full bloom, and the in progress pictures were taken yesterday on a dark March evening, but you still get the point, right?  Even though it was very cute and painted before, opening it up allows us to take full advantage of the view, gives us more room for guests and prevents us from having to deal with the screen door that was always sticking.  Some of the posts were rotten too, so Bubba replaced them and then built the hand rails coming down by the steps.  The weather at the end of the week is supposed to be nice, so my grandfather is going to come down and help me sand, prime and paint the whole thing.  (Yes, I am in charge of the painting...)  Stay tuned for an update on the finished product.

Another quick project that probably wouldn't have happened if my mother hadn't suggested it were these old things.


[Yes, I'm referring to those small brown chairs in the front yard.  Weather-worn and god knows how old, these chairs are surprisingly comfortable.  Well, really only if you're wearing jeans because they are a little splintery and wobbly.]

Bubba wanted to throw them out and I didn't object because they mainly got in the way while mowing the grass.  My dad was probably the one who sat in them the most when he'd come down to visit.  So when we were about to chuck the old lounging chairs my mom came to their rescue.  She suggested we sand them and give them a fresh coat of paint.  Thinking our yard would look good with a little pop of color, I went along with it.  And this was the finished product.


Trying to be resourceful we just used some leftover paint my mom had from other projects and used it on the chairs.  Technically the blue was more of a stain than a paint, and trust me applying it wasn't very time savvy.  Regardless we were able to paint these in about one day and give the old chairs a new life.  And they are occupying a new spot in our yard too!  We have a problem with people going on our pier (obviously ignoring the 3 no trespassing signs we have posted) so we are hoping to put a pretty sign that says Private Property alongside the chairs and put out a few pretty pots of flowers or something just to let people know that just because we are the last pier along the beach it's not public and for anyone elses use.  Some may think I'm overreacting, but you'd be surprised how many brazen people there are out there who will stroll right out there and fish off our pier, have a picnic on our land blocking our view, or use the pier as their own personal diving board.  Can you say lawsuit waiting to happen?!  Anyway enough preaching...I hope you enjoyed my update on our curb appeal projects!

More to come...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mindy's March Madness

I do love March for the college basketball excitement, but this March Madness isn't quite the same.  A normally dull and rainy month has suddenly turned into a busy and exciting month! 

The month started out on a bad note when I developed a pretty nasty sinus infection and had to drag myself to the Doctors and miss a few days of work.  But with a few antibiotics I think (*knock on wood*) that it's mostly cleared up. 

Work has been pretty crazy as well.  The primary project my team has been working on is all coming to a head this week.  We market a government product and part of our plan is to create a forum for people who use this product and brief them on how to utilize it better, upcoming advancements, etc.  This week will be a true test of our hard work in planning this event.  Since the forum is in sunny California some of the team is out there to run the event while some of us (unlucky ones I guess) are here in deary Maryland maintaining any other problems or tasks that may occur.

The highlight of March?  This past weekend.  My sister-in-law married her longtime sweetheart and it couldn't have been more perfect.  They are clearly meant to be together and the love and respect they have for each other was very apparent at their ceremony and reception.  I won't give away too many details here because I plan to post about it in its entirety later in it's own post.  Unfortunately because Bubba and I were both in the wedding we didn't get to take a *single picture of our own, but I have not doubt that the photographer took some wall hangers!

I plan on wrapping March up with something I've been looking forward to for a few months now.  Back in December I received a performance bonus from work and since we were buying the house and saving for our Europe trip I decided to save the majority of it.  I did manage to pull out a chunk of it to pay for a National Geographic Photography workshop/seminar in Washington DC.  If you know anything about National Geographic, you know that they have some of the most memorable and beautiful photographs around.  The topic of discussion at this particular seminar:  A Passion for Travel:  Photos that tell the Story.  I can't wait to go and absorb every bit of information and advice that I can from these esteemed photographers and learn how to enhance my hobby and passion.

*Ok, so I did get to take 1 picture at the was on my cell phone, but you can still see what a beautiful bride Ashley was!  Like I said, more to come on her wedding...

And because this is supposed to be a writing and photography blog, here is a shot of my old and disabled cat, Max.  He may not be able to hear or see very well, but he is still hanging in there and was definitely enjoying the warm weather and sunshine yesterday:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Weekend in Cell Phone Pics

I've done it again...neglected my dear blog.  But that's ok, because I'm going to wrap up my weekend through the use of pictures I took on my cell phone.  Not quite the quality I get from my Canon, but it'll have to do.

First up?  An update to our house, which is always fun.  Bubba and I were both off on Friday so that meant we had time to work on our newly purchased house.  Well, I guess I shouldn't say we since I really didn't do much to help, but I guess you could say I was supervising.  My grandfather came down to lend Bubba a helping hand and they were able to put up a handrail on the porch.  Since we just opened it up and took the screening and screened in door off a handrail was need.  It's not finished yet, but it already looks 100 times better.  Our view is completely unobstructed and it makes the porch look so much bigger.  Check it out for yourself:

(More detailed pictures to come)

Saturday my mom, sister and I went to a home show in Dulles, VA sponsored by the one and only HGTV.  It was pretty neat to see all of the home vendors displaying all of their products and services.  I was mainly going to get ideas since I am married to the handiest man on the earth.  I figured I'd get the ideas and then tell him and he'd make, build, design, create, whatever it is!  There was a booth with all of these framed butterflies, which at first seemed strange, but upon closer look it was pretty cool.  They were all raised on a butterfly farm and died naturally, but once they died they were preserved and turned into art.  Can you imagine how beautiful a butterfly farm must be?

(My favorite was the white and pink in the middle left)

Sunday, while my dear husband was recovering from a bachelor party in Baltimore, I trekked out to some Thrift Shops around town to see what I could find.  Unfortunately it was an off weekend because I didn't find anything worth coughing up a few bucks for.  Actually that's not entirely true...I did find a really cool wooden wheel chair.  Obviously I don't have any use for a wheel chair, let alone a wooden one, but I thought it was so cool and it really worked too!

(The tag on the back)

(I wonder how old it actually is?  I felt like it was something the American Pickers would like to come across)

Finally on Sunday once Bubba was done resting up, we spent some time visiting my parents and decided to take a walk through the woods.  I wanted the exercise and Bubba was looking for deer sheds (Antlers).  It was fun, I hadn't wandered around those woods like that for several years so it was nice.  It was a pretty overcast day on Sunday so the woods had an almost eerie and spooky look to them.

(The meanest looking tree I've ever seen!)

(It was very hazy and the huge trees and quiet woods reminded me of Harry Potter)

So that was my weekend in cell phone pictures, I hope you enjoyed!