Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Portraits

Halloween is always here before we know it!  Our favorite, besides handing out candy to all the little ghosts and goblins, is carving pumpkins!  Rogér has a little tradition of carving Clint Eastwood portraits into his pumpkins.  This year, he decided to put a new spin on it.

In college,

The Good
This year,

The Bad 
(I made the swamp monster)

Next year, The Ugly

Hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Upcycled! - Baby Diaper Changing Station

We weren't sad to see our old cabinets go, but I felt bad scrapping all that wood, so I was trying to think of ways use them. In reality, the cabinets were so hard to get out that most of them got broken apart (and used as firewood), but we did manage to salvage this one section.

After staring at it sitting on our back patio for a few days, I came up with and idea!  A baby changing station!  I liked the idea that there were drawers, and it has a handy pull out cutting...ur...diaper-holding board!  Of course, it needed a little make over.

Materials:  Home Depot paint mistakes 1 pint lt blue - $1,  Martha Stewart sample paints - $1 each, Paint brushes $1 each, Painter's tape - $3, Not shown: Wood putty - $2, Ceramic drawer knobs - $2 each, leftover white paint from our walls - $0

  I sanded down all the surfaces, removed the pull handles and filled them in with wood putty. I painted the base light blue and the drawers white.  Then I taped off two drawer faces to paint light brown squares, and taped vertically on the three other drawers to get the lines. The hardest part was waiting for different coats to dry.

For the top surface, I took two cabinet doors, sanded them down, nailed them on, and painted them white. I drilled holes for the new knobs in the center of each door and put on the knobs.

I couldn't be happier with the results! The whole project cost less than $30 and took me, alone, about a week to complete (keep in mind, I have a growing belly and I need a nap about every two seconds).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Groutable Vinyl Tile Flooring - Our Experience So Far

I said I'd share more about our groutable vinyl tile floor, so here it is.

There are sooooo many floor options to choose from.  We were really excited when we this tile at Home Depot because we liked the look without the tile hassle. I looked it up online to see what advice I could find and there were a couple good suggestions. For the rest, we just took our chances.

The whole install was relatively painless.  My mom and I marked the centerlines of the kitchen and then laid out tile (with the backing on) in a square around the kitchen island, we did this to make sure everything was square. That looked good so we got to it, starting with our initial square and then building out.  We tried to avoid doing one long straight line of tiles all at once, in case things got a little crooked, which only happened once.  Once you lay the tiles down you can't really make adjustments like with real tile.  We did have to pull up one or two and re-lay them.  I'm not sure if this will affect the life of the tile.

We used 3/16" tile spacers because we liked the way it looked.

Grouting and floating was a little tricky.  We got pre-mixed, quick dry grout.  Never used it before.  This was much more convenient than mixing yourself. Warning:  It dries quick!!  At first, Rogér and I both grouted and when I went to go float over the tile, the grout was already drying, leaving patches of grout on the tiles and a rough finish in between the tiles.  After that, Rogér grouted and I floated over the grouted tile almost immediately.  This worked really well.  We didn't have problems with the grout not sticking in between the tiles. 
Pros and Cons so far:

-Easy install and no need to account for extra thickness of floor like with ceramic and stone tiles
-Quick adhesion and drying
-Easier to cut than stone or ceramic (although, they are thicker than other vinyl tile, so cutting is still a bit of a challenge.  We used garden shears and a box cutter)
-Low cost - Ours was about $1.16/sft
-Looks great, almost like real stone (our baby shower guests had to touch it to tell the difference)
-Seems like it would be easy to replace
-Cleans up easy
-Less sealing (You should still seal the grout, but the tiles don't need it)

-Can't adjust tiles once they're laid down
-May have trouble sticking (one of our tiles is lifting at a corner. maybe it got too wet underneath during float?)
-Must prime the floor if you don't have a super smooth subfloor.  Wood will need primer.
-Grout film - everywhere.  Cleans up after a mop or two though (after the grout has set of course).

Helpful tips:
1.  Use two buckets of water (dirty and clean) for the float, and clean the water often.
2.  Float quickly after grouting if using quick-dry grout.
3.  Use a large piece of wood as a cutting surface for the tile, score with the box cutter and fold to snap a clean line.  Use garden shears or heavy duty scissors for cutting more intricate shapes.

That's all I can think of.  We're pretty happy with our new floor :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

10 years since high school

Really?  I guess so because we just went to Rogér's 10 year high school reunion, which made me think about my own high school reunion....oh wait, what reunion?  Yeah, because I graduated from Mattole Triple Junction High School with a whopping 15 other classmates.  And, most of them are still hanging around Humboldt County and see each other all the time anyway.  I did have a dream that I was at my HS reunion.  Two of my classmates came and re-introduced themselves to me and asked if I remembered them.  What kind of dumb dream question is that?!  I only spent every day of my life for 9 or so years in the same classroom as you!

Actually, I spent 3 years of HS at Ferndale High School.  But I didn't graduate from there so I didn't get an official invitation to their reunion.  And I wasn't in town to crash it either.

So, after attending Rogér's 10 year, I'm still left wondering if I kind of missed out.

How many of you are going, or went to your 10 year high school reunion?   Any thoughts or regrets?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ro's Ink


We've had Ronin for about 2 years now (dang!), and a few days after we got him, we realized he had a tattoo on his upper lip.  He's a thoroughbred and supposedly off the track, so the tattoo is his identification.  We never got his paperwork though because how he got to where he was was somewhat of a mystery and the guy who gave him to us didn't have the papers.  Anyway, when I first looked into finding out Ronin's past through the Jockey Club, I thought you had to pay $35.  Now that we had to pay close to $400/mo for horse boarding, we weren't in any position to throw down $35 to find out his name.  Recently though, I checked the Jockey Club website again and it turns out that tattoo research is free! yes, FREE!  I found out on Thurs. and not only could I not remember Ronin's tattoo, but also, we were going out of town so I couldn't go look at it!  How aggravating!  Now, today, I went and looked at his lip, but here's the's kinda hard to read.  I think it says "H21056".  I tried to take a's how that turned out:
yeah, not so great.
So I tried to enter H21056 into the Jockey Club website and it came up with a horse named Surf N Saddle who was born April 23, 2004 in California.  Promising.  But when I did a little more research, Surf N Saddle has more white spots than Ronin has.  None of the other letter/number combos come up with anything that really resembles our horse.  Like I said, crappy.

Now what?

Ronin it is. (Better than Surf N Saddle anyway, right?)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Catch up

I know, it's been a while since we've posted anything.  As I mentioned last time, we're super busy.  Not to mention that I'm exhausted and totally uninspired to write or go through pics to post.  But here's my attempt to get up to date, so that we can start on a fresh note when I get that blogging spark again.

First of all, we've been preparing for our baby shower, which, like I've mentioned before, we decided to have at our own house (yeah, a little ambitious, ya think?).  Anyway, my big requirements for that were the completion of the kitchen floor and base cabinets/countertops, and cleanup of the trophy room and patio.  My mom came down on the Wednesday before the shower so she could help us get the place up to snuff.

We worked our butts off from 7am until 1am each day, but I have to say, the results were pretty incredible!!  We almost got all of our cabinets in (no countertops though).  We also laid our kitchen floor.  We chose to use groutable vinyl tile.  This was really....interesting.  Not too difficult.  Actually, laying the tiles down was easier than I thought.  Grouting was a little tricky.  I'll try to provide some more info in a separate post.

Our appliances came in as well!  They look great!  I don't know how the work cuz we haven't installed them yet.

The shower went really well, but what else did I expect?  When you're surrounded by wonderful, loving friends and family, who cares what your house looks like anyway?  Baby Balyon is set for life! He's probably got enough stylish clothes to wear 10-15 different outfits per day for the first 3 mos!  More on the baby shower later...

Here's some pics to tell the rest of the story:

Hard to believe this all got done in a matter of a a couple weeks. 

Stay tuned for the results!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


We have so much to catch up on sharing;  Like our wall demo, Ikea kitchen snafus, plumbing disasters, and a little side project I'm working on, but that'll all have to wait, because we are super busy and totally exhausted!  We've been going non-stop. 

Our baby shower is coming up this weekend and we're frantically trying to get the kitchen to a liveable condition before then. My mom is coming down to visit tomorrow to help with the house and to prepare for the shower. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Salinas Airshow and a Bonus Garage Sale

So earlier, we semi-promised that we'd be spending some time in Salinas (everyone's favorite California destination, right?).  The weekend finally came for the much anticipated Salinas Airshow!  But since we are on a budget and have some sweeeeeeeeeet connections, we got to see the show for FREE....from our friends' back yard.  Yup, that's just how we roll.

Well, honestly, we couldn't see that much.  We looked through the binocs every now and then when we thought something cool might be happening.  Save for the Thunderbirds, who did put on a fantastic show at the end of the afternoon.  The stuff they do is seriously amazing!  And they flew right over our heads quite a few times.  They were definitely worth the wait. 

But the best part was spending all day with Mr. & Mrs. G (two generations of them actually, but I'm especially referring to our friends Craig and Lisa).  In the morning, we hit up the neighborhood garage sales and scored an "antique" manual push lawn mower for $15, a baby jumper-thingy for $10, a baby ski bib for $1 (I'm talking the real deal ski pants, yeah, Baby Balyon is probably going to be on skis before he can walk), and a jogging stroller for $35!  That's some serious loot!  Then Lisa whipped up a phenomenal lunch/dinner, while I stuffed my face with most of their Reese's Pieces stash, and we watched the Giants lose to the Padres.  At least they kicked some SoCal butt in the final game.

I'd put pics up of the Thunderbirds, but we didn't take any cuz were lazy or forgot or something.  Our pics wouldn't really compare to Lisa's anyway.  Maybe she'll send some to me so we can share, or post them on her blog, Photos by Lisa G.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Guess who's ba-ack!

The Big D! (Domino).  Ronin's feet are fixed too, thanks to our very kind and patient ferrier, Nick.  And that makes us almost back to normal. 

We can feel winter coming on fact, this Wedsnesday is supposed to sport thunderstorms.  I do love the onset of winter, with one exception,  we have a horse.  All the empty stalls are making me ponder the possibility of putting Ronin back in a stall (he's in pasture now).  This is a purely selfish debate, but seriously, who wants to go muck through a foot of mud to grab your wet, dirty horse and then spend an hour cleaning and drying him before a ride?  Two downsides to moving him back into a stall - 1.  Cost - we're not exactly swimming in our savings like Uncle Scrooge. 2. Excercise/anxiety - Ronin LOVES the pasture.  A little too much.  He's at the top of the herd, which makes me wonder if he'll try something crazy stupid if he's separated.  And with Baby Balyon on the way, are Rogér and I going to be able to get up there to work out his crazies all the time??  Do you remember last winter?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Oh where oh where has my little dog gone?

Oh where, oh where can he be?
With his tail cut short and his ears cut long
Oh where, oh where can he be?

Dom is having a week long slumber party with his paw-pal, Koda.  So nice of Koda's parents to dog-sit for us while we have contractors come to work on the house!  I'm sure he's having a great time too, but we miss him!

It's so weird without him here. We keep hearing dog tag jingles and thinking "Where's Domino?"


Koda and Domino.....angels.
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