Thursday, July 26, 2012

NB Progress

Still working away here at "home."

Is it just easier to decorate someone else's house other than your own?  Or is it because Target is only 7 minutes away?  (I timed it - I'm there at least once a day, sometimes three)

I love me a good "before" and "after." 

Coming next week!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chicagoland Fun

Steve flew in for the weekend and the boys loved it. 

Or did they just love LEGOLAND!?

Legoland - Schaumburg, IL

If the entrance wasn't awesome enough, the inside was awesome-er.

Not a Baby Jaguar
Silly Monkeys
Scary Spider

Yes, it was a whole jungle made of Lego.  And that was just the beginning!

First, we hit a ride and a 4D movie.


This is our favorite picture because it is typical Henry.  Where is he looking and what is that look on his face?  No clue.  Totally random.  That's Henry.

Then we hit up the best part.  Racing cars.


Car-Making Pit

We could have spent the whole day here.  It was endless Lego to make endless cars racing down the tracks.  All that = boy love.


Even when they exploded -99% of them did- it was still fun rebuilding them and racing all over again.

Wheels Galore

We broke for lunch and a photo session.

Pizza and -gasp- Soda!
Happy Henry
Jake & Mommy

Then we went back for more...

Master Builders

Like a free intensive Lego build session for "Master Builders."  For us, it was a goldfish!

Having Fun.

The instructor sat up front with his own set of Lego and a camera above his hands to show everyone what and how to build.

Bad Blurry Shot

I was floored that 4-1/2 year old Henry could keep up.  But he did. 

And he rocked it!

Goldfish and Friends

It was a stiff entry price, but you got to do everything inside for "free" (well...taking the goldfish home was $5 each kit).  But lunch for 4 was $25 including those two miniature lego men.  So all in, family of four, all day event for under $100 was worth it for these out-of-towners.

Beware, I saw a sign saying Legoland Toronto is opening in 2013!!!  Maybe by then, George will be Lego-ready.

Finally, to wrap up the weekend, I took my favorite shot yet.

I think this epitomizes Summer 2012.

Boys of Summer

Less than 2 weeks left in the USA!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Home Stretch

Catchy title: I'm at home and I'm in the home stretch.  Get it? 

I'm losing it!!!!!!

Must be the painting for two. days. straight.  The good news?  We gained major ground.  Major.

Let's pick up where I left off.  Everything was primed.  So I moved on to finish.  First up - the crown moulding.  Painting white over primer really makes for great photography.

Sheen on the Left Side

The only way to prove this picture shows a newly painted surface is the reflection of the flash in the satin sheen on the left side.  But it's there!!  And it's my tried and true Benjamin Moore "Cloud White" in satin finish.  LOVE.

More Sheen

More proof.  Better proof!  I need to learn how to take better pictures.

Ceiling Proof

And then I painted Cloud White flat ceiling paint over white texture paint.  That's even harder to photograph.  So I caught the wet rolls.

With the moulding & ceiling done yesterday, I attacked the walls today.  With a vengeance.


I had nightmares.  I couldn't sleep.  How do I cut the wall into the moulding without it being a total disaster?  The wall color is, well, a color.  Not Cloud White.  It's BM Weimaraner.  It's gorgeous.  But it's rich. 

Rick S. warned me that I needed to freehand it and I had to find the "sweet spot" in the bottom of the gullied caulk line.  It took the whole first wall (from the blind corner) to find it.  But once I did, I sailed through. 

It was a blend: the right amount of paint on the brush with the right amount of pressure to fan the bristles in exactly the right spot - skimming the bottom of the moulding/top of the wall.  I swear, I couldn't even breathe as I was moving the brush.

But it was worth it.  Rick stopped by, took a look, and gave me his approval.  I could have dropped to the ground in a heap of joy.  But I had to keep PAINTING.


Thank goodness George helped me.

Enough talking.  More pictures.

Cutting the Bay
Finished Bay

The best part of this project?  The finish paint.  Rick S. insisted I go with Benjamin Moore's Aura paint line.  It's the best.  It really is.  It dries super fast - but to the painter's advantage.  You can lap the paint over and over and it doesn't show. 

At all.  Wow. 

Perfect for dirty little grandchildren fingers messing up the walls.  It washes well and touch-ups disappear.  Yes, please!

Oh, and I also tackled the door.

Before - Wiped Down

It's the front door, which is rarely used.  I wanted to "hide" it, so I decided to paint it the same color as the wall.  Yes, the trim makes it noticeable, but the more I could make it blend in, the better. 

Except, even after painting, I wasn't done.

Inside Trim

Remember that guy who installed the tiles and patched the ceiling?  He painted the inside wood trim with regular primer and then tried to stain it.  Gosh, if only I could have a chat with him!  I decided to just paint it out in a color dark enough to hide it. 

Much Better

This picture makes it look grey/black, but in real life (or "true life" as Henry says) it matches.  Or at least disappears. 

So the finished door looks like this:


I'm pretty happy about it.  My dad keeps saying he has a brand new door.  He also keeps saying he has a brand new house.  Let's see if he's right.


I think I see what he's saying...


The evening news does look better...even if it is all FOX all the time...


Ok, that might be my favorite before & after. 

What a difference! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Love Me Some Moulding

This vacation has really been a work-ation for me.  My tail is tired.  But don't be fooled...I love it.

Before I jump into the work, here's a snapshot of last weekend. 

The Brookfield Zoo!
And Me Too!

My sister-in-law has a membership to the Brookfield Zoo, just outside Chicago, so we decided to take my monkeys and see real monkeys.  Or dolphins.

Wave Hello!
Loved the Show

We got lucky, the 30 minute thunderstorm started and ended while we were watching the dolphins.  So then we hightailed it to the Xtreme Bugs exhibition.

Inside the Aquarium of Bugs
Running From a Fake Bug

This is my favorite picture ever.  The exhibition had an outdoor trail of gigantic animatronic bugs that were constructed true to life, but on an ENORMOUS scale.  And being anamatronic meant that each one moved. 


But J & H loved them.  And loved fake running from them for the camera.

So after the fun weekend, I got down to work.  With some crown moulding (!)

To change it up a bit, I'm going to show the entry into the livingroom in stages.

Before - With Tiles
After Tiles

Before Moulding
First Moulding

This piece went on the easiest.  We started here because it's the "blind corner," meaning the entry way into the room.  When you walk in, you don't see it because it's behind you.  That's where you always start.  (So I learned)

Back to Blind

MANY HOURS LATER, we came back to the blind corner.  I took a hundred pictures, but you kinda had to be there to appreciate them. 

All I can say about installing crown moulding is: installation is hard.  And I'm thankful I had Rick S. there to help.  Or do.  Actually, I helped.  And learned.  That it's HARD.

Really want to know why I'm happy I had Rick?  He turned this:

Blind Corner - Don't Look
Into this:

Blind Corner - Rebuilt

And after I caulked, we had this:

Blind Corner - Look At Me!

Oh yes!  Look at me!!!!

Wait, first let's prime you.  And the wall.

Cutting In - Not Fun
Rolling the Wall - More Fun
We're All Primed

Better.  But it's just tinted primer, so don't get too excited.  Yet. 

We bought the finish paint tonight, so excitement is building...

Want to see another angle?  Here's that go-to bay window:

Before - With Tile
After Tile
Before Moulding
After Moulding
After Caulking
After Priming!

Yup, the bay's more exciting. 

But for now, I'm dragging this tired tail into the home stretch.  And then I'm never doing another project again.