Monthly Archives: January 2012


Day’s dear sweet granny passed away this week.  I am sad that our children will never get to meet her.  But I know that my husband is going to be an amazing father because he has an amazing father, and that is all because of this woman.  So I thank her for being the loving, gracious mother and grandmother that she was.  The impact of her love was unmistakable as friends and family gathered in Georgia this weekend to celebrate her life.

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Shower Redo- From Scary to Serene

Remember a while back when I showed you this picture?

Well we finally demolished our old master shower.  It had bugged the bejeezus out of me since day 1 of living in our house.  It was your basic square porcelain tile, which would have been fine (but boring) if it would have been in good shape.  Let’s just say I would have rather spent the money on something more fun than a shower that only my husband and I see.  But we had no choice and I’m about to show you why.  (Note: I’m kind of embarassed to put this picture out in the online world, but since it no longer exists, I guess that is a little redeeming.)

Every time I stepped in this thing, I felt like I was back at Bates House, my freshman co-ed dorm.  Those showers were so disgusting you had to wear flip flops.  Now, I try to use non-toxic chemicals when I clean, but I made an exception for this bad boy.  I’m talking toothbrush, straight bleach.  You could barely notice a difference after over an hour of scrubbing.  It’s hard to tell in this picture, but in many places between the tiles, the grout had completely worn through.  I began to worry about compromising the walls behind the tile with moisture.

Since Day and I know nothing about tiling a shower, we called in for reinforcements.  I called my bro-in-law who had recently redone his guest bathroom and asked if he could come visit and help.  He is a DIY junkie (like me except with tools and actual know-how) and offered graciously to help during the Thanksgiving visit.  I already told you I had the best in-laws in the world, right?

Now let’s talk a little about the tile I picked out.  After some pinterest searching, I had been lusting after the big rectangle tiles.  I think they look more modern, and since our bathroom floor tile (not pictured but picture green quatrefoil tile reminiscent of the 1970s)  is more on the vintage side, I thought it might be a good choice to keep our bathroom from looking too dated.  They were somewhat of a splurge, but after my experience with trying unsuccessfully to clean grout on the previous shower tile, I wanted as little of it as possible in my new shower.

The tiles were supposed to arrive on the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  I ordered them from a local tile shop and called them on Weds afternoon when I had not heard from them.  They told me they did not know why, but the tiles were not on the delivery truck, and due to the holiday would not arrive prior to the following week.  Panicked, I explained that my relatives were coming in town to help the next day and the tiles would do me no good next week.  She said she would see what she could do and call me back.  Hubs and I went to Home Depot and Lowes to find a suitable replacement.  Neither store carried the rectangle tiles or had anything with a modern but neutral look.  Luckily, the tile lady called me back and told me that some relatives of the owner were coming to Greenville from Florida for Thanskgiving and they would stop by the manufacturer (in Georgia) and pick up my tiles. The owner would deliver them to my house on Thanksgiving morning.  And that’s exactly what happened.  Isn’t that amazing?  I’d like to think that this is an example of the benefits of supporting local businesses over big box stores.  If we would have special ordered something from Lowe’s or HD, as much as I love those stores, there is no way they would have gone to that much trouble to make sure the shipment got to me on time.

So anyway, prior to his arrival, Zeph talked to me about the demo part and I told him Day and I would attempt to have that done before he got there so he could get straight to the technical stuff.  I watched some videos and demo looked simple enough.  A little tap tap tap with a flat bar and the tiles pop off like butter.  So we tapped tapped tapped and got a big fat wake up call.

No, mold wasn’t our wake up call (Thank God!).  Those black marks were from the flat bar.  Our dilemma was that behind the tiles was cement backerboard, which meant those tiles were not going to detach and we risked doing damage to the wood frame if we tried to pry the whole shebang loose.  So much for getting a headstart.  We waited for the expert.

Zeph was able to cut just above the tile, which made the whole thing much easier to pry loose.  At first they were taking the big chunks of debris through the house, but then they realized they could drop them out the window.

Since Day, his father, and Zeph were doing most of the work, I only got to stick my head in for a few minutes at a time.  Hey, somebody had to do the hosting since the rest of the family was staying with us as well!  Here are some pictures I got when the guys were outside mixing or cutting.

Here is the drywall installed.  Next, Zeph and the boys starting mixing the thinset and placing the tiles.  Once Zeph needed to cut some of the 12 x 24 tiles, we hit another roadblock.  His tile saw was made for 12 by 12 tiles.  It would only cut about 4 inches down the middle of the tile before the arm of the saw blocked it from going further.  We thought we were going to go spend extra money on a larger tile saw (and we were already over budget with having to replace the drywall due to the cement backerboard fiasco).  So Zeph cut 4 inches down one way, and 4 inches down the other way, leaving 4 inches in the middle.  He then scored the remaining 4 inches and tried to snap it in half on the corner of our brick patio.  It worked!  It wasn’t a perfect cut, but it made the tile 12 x 12 so that Zeph could use his tile saw to make more accurate cuts.

Here’s the man himself, putting up the tiles.  He used a board at the bottom to make sure the tiles were level, in case our bathtub was not quite level.

Although he had to leave before the tub surround was completely done, he finished all of the complicated stuff and left us with grouting and putting on the new fixtures.  Davison’s dad helped us with the grouting.  I actually like grouting.  We used very small spacers (1/16) so it was pretty easy.

Then we had to caulk.  You would think that we would have been done in no time, but I’m here to tell you that we’re not so good at finishing projects.  We went almost six weeks without a shower.  Well, not without a shower at all, just without our master shower. I’m not a fan of caulk.  The tinted one the tile shop gave us worked fine.  But we were worried we wouldn’t have enough so we used white caulk from HD around the top of the tub.  And that stuff was not forgiving.  We still haven’t gotten all of it off where we got excess on the tiles and it wouldn’t come off.  But since there’s no telling how long it might be until we take on a process that tedious, I’m going to show you my new shower/tub surround anyway.  Luckily, my mother scrubbed the tub for us or we might still be using the guest bath.

Sorry for the weird shadows and poor lighting.  It’s completely awkward trying to get pictures in that bathroom.  Unfortunately my husband is a pragmatist and he wouldn’t let me replace the plastic showerhead with something pretty. The caulk in the corner isn’t as dark as it looks in the picture.  Here’s a closeup of the tile.

I adore it.  It’s got so many different shades of tan and gray. I feel like I’m at a spa instead of in the movie Psycho.  So here’s a final before and after for comparison purposes:

And after:

Ahhhhhh, happy showering yall!

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Redneck Fridge

Our fridge quit cooling on Friday afternoon.  The joys of being a homeowner.  A repair man came out today and fixed it (praise Jesus!), but all weekend, we’ve been eating out of a cooler on our back deck since it’s much colder outside.  I wonder what our neighbor thinks. At least our friend the possum seems to be staying away.  We ordered Chinese takeout tonight and, since it’s still going to be a few more hours until our fridge temp is where it should be, we had to make some real sacrifices to make room in our redneck fridge for our Chinese leftovers.

I was just about to complain about how unexpected repairs are really a pain in the arse, but then I thought about people who don’t have the luxury of a fridge, or electricity, or even food.  And that smack to my face puts it all back into perspective.

The crazy thing is, my household is among the richest 1% in the world (although we won’t be once we have children).  Is yours?  An interesting article about the world’s wealth.

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The Newest Member of our Family

I mentioned in my year-end wrap up that my cousin (the youngest) Blair got married the week before Christmas.  He married a sweetheart named Lindsey.  Lindsey and Blair have been together even longer than me and Day (and we have been married for four years!), and the entire family adores her.

picture from Blair’s college graduation celebration

Lindsey loves my two nieces as much as I do, and they are smitten with her as well.  In fact, the night we got back from Blair and Lindsey’s wedding reception, Raylin and I were getting ready to go to sleep.  (Raylin insists that she and I have a sleepover when we visit Dillon, so she and I sleep in her double bed while Day gets bumped to the couch or the single bed in Brylee’s room.)  After the wedding, Raylin and I are lying in the dark and she reaches over and throws her little arms around my neck.  She breathes in deep and says, “You smell just like Lindsey; that’s why I love you sooo much.”  Isn’t that precious?

Pic of Raylin and me from their rehearsal dinner, dressed like twins (unplanned)

So, welcome to the family, Lindsey!  We may be dysfunctional, but we make up for it in love!

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last Christmas post this year…I promise…until Christmas.

My homemade gifts…..

Sports coasters.  My family is full of sports fans so I made these out of scrapbook paper and porcelain tiles. I learned how to make them from this girl:

Who happens to be sporting another one of my DIY Christmas gifts…a t-shirt scarf…while making her typical awkward picture face, which I adore.  Tutorial (for how to make the scarf, not the awkward picture face) found here.

First Christmas Wedding Invitation Ornaments for my newlywed cousin and his beautiful bride…Inspiration found here.  Wish I would have taken a before pic of the invitation…I adored the navy and yellow color combo.
My mom and I also made fabric beaded necklaces a la here, and sadly, I seem to have forgotten to snap a photo.
I spruced up the plain white and brown paper gift bags from the dollar store with my Hobby Lobby (half off) stamp.

During our visit to Dillon,we danced via my nieces’ Kinect.  Isn’t that the most precious picture?  My three loves.  I took about ten pics and someone was blurry in each of them.  Mostly, Brylee just ran around in circles while Dora the Explorer politely told her to stay in view.  Sidenote: Isn’t my cousin’s mantle absolutely beautiful?

Every year, my church does a live nativity scene outside before and after the Christmas eve candlelight service, so people can observe as they enter and leave.  This deceptively sweet-looking rascal took the baby Jesus (a baby doll) out of the manger while the rest of the nativity actors (actual humans) were inside listening to the sermon.  When they came out to resume the nativity scene as the churchgoers were leaving the service, it took a while to find and recover the baby Jesus from my niece.  Don’t let her within 20 feet of a baby doll unless you don’t plan on getting it back.

And with that, I’m officially closing out the 2011 chapter and opening a new one for 2012.  I’ve got big plans, y’all!

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more Christmas loot

My last post was a little premature.  We finished the last of our Christmas festivities this weekend in Greensboro with my in-laws.  It was lovely and low-key.  Day’s mom and dad surprised me with a Kindle Fire for my Christmas/birthday present.

(image via Amazon)

I was completely shocked and in love.  I’m still playing around on it, and I’m hoping I’ll use it more for good (reading) than for evil (angry birds).  Of course, they also bought me a half dozen real life books to borrow, including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, so it’s more likely that I’ll continue reading the old fashioned way for a bit longer and keep playing games on the Kindle.  I did buy a cute Clemson orange case for it that should be here in a couple of days.

We decided not to exchange with Day’s sister and bro-in-law this year, which was kind of nice because I’m sooo over missing out on really enjoying the holidays because of all the time I spend shopping and stressing about what to get for everyone.  Instead of a gift, they gave me a card with a poem. It read:

Jerri Jerri
She was so merry
She married a man who was not hairy
Upon his face or upon his chest
But she knew this choice, it was the best
And with this choice, a family we became
We’re loving, we’re caring,
But our jokes are lame!

Haha, tis true that my husband cannot grow a beard, but strangely he has abnormally hairy hands and legs.

 Anyway, the moral of the story is, who’s got better in-laws than me?  🙂

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Christmas loot

So I wanted to share two of my favorite gifts that I racked up at Christmas.

First, my buddy Lynne found two vintage owls for sale at a craft show and gave them a makeover with some gold spray paint.

Aren’t they absolutely delightful?

And second, my husband absolutely knocked my socks off with a print by Casey O’Connell.  I totally have a crush on every piece of art this woman produces.  And I’m not the only one, because her paintings sell for like 2 gees flat (“no need to worry, my accountant handles that’—Biggie, anyone?  anyone??).  Anyway, my sweet lovin got on her email list and when a limited edition print came up in April, he hurried up and bought it.  It was more than he should have spent on me, cause we are pretty cheap with gifts around here, but he did it anyway and hid it until Christmas.  I was totally surprised and madly in love–with the print and my wonderful soulmate.

Here it is on my dining room wall, which does not do it justice.

 Here it is on Casey’s website.

Since she doesn’t sell all of her prints at the same time, I don’t know which ones will be available next, but I definitely have my eyes on this onethis onethis one, and this one.

My new gifts have got me really itchin to paint the dining room.  More on that to come.  🙂

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Year End Recap and What’s in Store for 2012

I want this blog to be a way to track progress on projects and to keep me motivated/hold me accountable, but I think I will truly value this blog many years down the road if I can use it to look back at memories.  Therefore, I want to do a recap of 2011. And I want to start including more moments on here.  (Resolution alert!)  I have been trying to force this to be a craft blog, when the truth is that I work a full-time job and when I’m home I like to rest and spend time with my hunk o love, so I can’t work on house/craft projects as often as I would like.  So instead I’m going to try to post more frequently, even if it’s short and sweet to keep track of memories that I don’t want to lose.

We started 2011 off right with a New Year’s party at our house.  It was delightful.

Then we got our biggest snow (as a couple) and played around for a bit.

Turned 30…

Went ice skating for the first time together…

Visited a new city…

Dressed up in 70s attire…

Was a bridesmaid in my baby cousin’s wedding..

worked on a dozen or so house projects…

participated in my first craft fair (still working on that post)…

hosted Thanksgiving for the first time…

And created many more memories for which I’m so very thankful.  This year I want to be more deliberate about trying new things (restaurants, cities, house projects) and to make more memorable memories.  My goal for 2012 is “to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” (Thoreau)

Now I’m going to go get started!  I’ll keep you updated.

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