Archive for February, 2011

I’m Blue Da Ba Dee

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Posted by Rebecca, February 8th, 2011

Okay so remember this shot of our family room after we hung our roman shades?

Well it’s a little blah, missing something. My original plan was to keep the family room fun since it’s a room that can be fun.  I didn’t feel the need to make it classy or formal and I wanted to get away from my blue/brown color scheme. So I thought I’d add pops of green in.  I’ve known since we went to Hawaii that I wanted to add some of our amazing pictures above the mantel, so I decided to go for a Hawaii inspired color scheme.  I figured we could incorporate some green from these pictures…

So for a few months, I had some striped throw pillows with various blues and greens on the couch and some green plants around.  But the plants died and I couldn’t think of how else I would like to incorporate green to give it enough of an impact in the room. Then I found this gem in Crate and Barrel…

And my plan switched. That pretty gemstone of a blue? That is my new accent color.

We have no shortage of Hawaii pictures to work with…

Seriously, are those not the most inspiring pictures you have ever seen?? That dolphin is not photoshopped… AT ALL.  And this is just a small sample I pulled out of the over 3,000 pictures I have sitting on my laptop. I couldn’t even find some of my favorites at this very moment. I love that place.

So I had my vase and my pictures for a few months now, but I wasn’t sure how to bring it in elsewhere, when we decided that our white roman shades weren’t enough and we needed panels.  Cue the Merete pretty blue panels from Ikea…

Then I got sick and didn’t get a chance to hang them.  But while we were at Bed, Bath & Beyond last weekend getting some hardware to hang them, I had a throw pillow revelation.  I knew I wanted some texture, but I didn’t want anything too solid against the curtains. Then I found this beauty…

I cautiously walked it over to Mike, half hiding it, because I could have sworn he was going to say “TOO GIRLY! NO WAY!” but he loved it.

I love the texture, shades of blue and how it almost mimics water. We picked up 2 of them to add to my collection of pretty blue accessories…

That picture in the frame is one of my Hawaii favorites that I didn’t stumble upon tonight. It’s in one of the millions of folders!

After finding those pillows, I am so excited to finally accessorize this room. We’re planning on getting a sectional one of these days and If I could only refrain from getting sick and having mass amounts of homework for long enough to hang some curtains, I’d be a happy camper. Almost as happy as I was here…

Not another soul in sight. This is the first time I’ve seen this picture because we have just so many.

I received an email today about using my frequent flier miles and within an hour of that, I received a promotional email from one of the resorts we stayed in for part of our trip. I take it as a sign from god that it’s time to go back. Until then, I’ll be snuggling with my Hawaii blue curtains and pillows…

Touch This Way

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Posted by Michael, February 7th, 2011

With the floors completed and my cold somewhat fading away, I took to install the Delta faucet my parents had given to us on Christmas.  It’s the Delta Pilar Touch 2O Single Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet; you know the faucet with the catchy commercial, “your hands can do so many many things!”  Don’t act like you don’t know it.  The entire time I was installing this thing, I was singing the jingle.

Good thing I didn’t film that part for you.

I was going to show you how to install this thing and take some pictures along the way, but honestly, John from Young House Love pretty much covered it.  No sense in reinventing the wheel. I didn’t have much experience with faucets and or plumbing so going into this thing, his post did help quite a bit.  And the parts I was lost?  Good ol’ dad was there to help.

Some things I learned along the way and stumbled on (maybe you could learn from?)?  First, get yourself a basin wrench for those hard to reach areas.  I spent a good hour trying to get at a nut until I called my father for help and he replied, “uh yeah, there is a tool for that.”  Next, be prepared for the curve ball — maybe something doesn’t fit right, maybe your house is wired with pex and the faucet is ready for copper.  In which case, be patient and go to Home Depot (for me, go to Home Depot with my dad) and ask one of the associates in plumbing.  They helped us out greatly when we needed to go from a 1.2in pex tube to a 3/8th’s inch pipe.  Third, you’ll want to have teflon tape handy for when something might be a bit leaky.

And last, never, ever, ever say to your wife, “wow, I can’t believe how incredibly easy this is going.”  Because right when you finish saying those words, you’re going to run into problems.  Fortunately, I had my dad to call upon to help me through the problems (thanks Frank Barone!).

So lets go to the final product. Please excuse the backsplash — we’ve yet to actually properly grout or caulk that thing.

The faucet is pretty simple and straight forward.  No fancy curves or decorations here.

And an action shot!

The one suprising thing about the faucet install is the abundance of wires now in the cabinet.  I’m surprised Delta didn’t recommend any wire organization tips and tricks, but I plan on cleaning this thing up tomorrow night.

First impressions?  This thing is going to be incredibly useful.  It’s going to take some time to recondition the way we use the faucet while cooking, but with all the messy cooking we do, it’s going to be well worth it.

The faucet appears to be a bit sensitive; it picks up on your every touch.  It’s supposed to be able to distinguish human from say cat (Macky), but I’m not exactly eager to put that to the test.  And even if Macky was able to turn this thing on with his paw (believe me, he’ll try), it automatically shuts itself off after 4 minutes.  Translation: Macky and The Wet Bandits will have nothing on us.

Also, the faucet handle needs to be on the up/on position for the touch technology to work.  Planning on cooking a big messy meal?  Put the handle up and it’s ready to go.  Leaving for the day, pull the handle down so it’s off.  Kind of convenient with some planning.  I suppose you can just always leave it on, but again, I’m not sure if I really trust Macky…

That’s all I have for now.  If anything good (or bad) comes up with the faucet, I’ll be sure to keep this post updated.  Until next time, I leave you with some live action footage.

Oh and when I mentioned my father as Frank Barone above, it’s a reference from the show Everybody Loves Raymond.  You see, my mom got offended the other day when I said my life is like a never ending episode of the show.  She couldn’t see the humor in it.  Oh, that Marie…  I love the episode when they encourage Raymond and Robert to box.

The “New” Floors Are Done!

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Posted by Michael, February 3rd, 2011

It’s deja vu all over again.

Ok, it was a bit more funny when Yogi said it (Go Yanks!).  It seems like just yesterday we walked into a brand new house with brand new hardwood floors.  Wide planks, dark cherry color — we were in heaven.  But unfortunately, things took a turn for the worst.  Boards started to chip, some started to “creak,” “crack,” and “pop,” and some just decided to no longer stay flush against the subfloor.  Fortunately for us, the builder was willing to rip everything up and install new flooring.

They started on the area that used to push up and against the wall.  If this incline had some more time, it’d be a skateboard ramp for Macky.

And before we knew it, the wood just started to pile up.

After some hours coding away in the office, I came out to discover a good portion of the new floors were already installed!

Here is a good shot from the formal living room looking into the entry way.  Please ignore the the room covered in plastic — that is my office and you can’t see it until the master reveal!  I’m kidding, there was dust flying everywhere, the contractors felt bad for me while I was working.

Not quite kid tested, but…

And finally, some shots of the completed floors.  Almost as if nothing ever occured these last few days.

The install wasn’t too bad.  A bit of dust here and there and some scuff marks on some of our molding.  The builder is sending in a cleaning crew tomorrow to, well, clean and also a painter to touch up some of the molding.  Good stuff.  I’m hoping everything works out with these floors; they already feel and look better compared to the previous floors.  I am, however, a bit concerned about the previous floors.  Where will they go?  Will they sit in a landfill for the next X hundred years or can they be used/recycled?  I’m hoping to get some of these answers tomorrow morning when the builder stops over.

What We Ate Wednesday- Blackened Mahi Mahi

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Posted by Rebecca, February 2nd, 2011

My first post for Jenn’s ‘What I Ate Wednesday’ link party was such a success (and fun) that we decided to do it again!

I know there are some vegetarians out there whose heads are currently spinning. You eat fish? Well, yes, kinda sorta. I have never really liked fish. I don’t like shrimp or even fried calamari. My dad is an avid fisher so there was always a lot of fish around when I was growing up.. and I hated it. But I like Mahi, it is the only fish that I like.

So why would I choose to not eat meat but to eat fish? Well for me it’s the “I don’t know what kind of life these animals lived” factor that ruins meat for me. We eat Mahi and Yellowfin caught by my father. It has roamed (swam?) the ocean and was no doubt killed humanely, since my father is a huge animal lover. What, did you think I was just born like this? I was raised to respect every animal out there as another life.  Growing up we rescued cats, squirrels, chipmunks, birds, turtles, ducks and I’m sure I’m missing some. Though I personally don’t think I could fish, I know my dad does it as humanely as possible.

So on to the menu!

Mahi filets…

The standard broccoli…

Some peppers and onions…

And perhaps my favorite food of all time, mashed potatoes…

We put some melted butter on the filets and sprinkled them with Phillip’s blackening seasoning…

Then we put the filets on the griddle that sits over the 5th burner on our stove. This griddle is fabulous. Cooks great, super easy to clean and convenient. We also have a $15 electric griddle we’ve used for years that works wonderfully.

(ps- please ignore the filthy burner in this picture, if you can even spot it. We had a spillage issue somewhere along the way…)

Mmm buttery goodness, I never said this was necessarily healthy 🙂

We added the peppers and onions, which we cooked for a little in a frying pan (somehow cause of dirty burner) to the skillet for a few minutes…

Then all done! We skip to Mike’s partially consumed plate because we were so anxious to eat that I forgot to take pictures…

I’m pretty sure we’re obsessed with blackening seasoning. We now use it on fries, veggies….practically everything!

Be sure to visit Jenn over at Peas and Crayons for some more cooking fun 🙂

Paint Color Trial Run

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Posted by Rebecca, February 1st, 2011

Okay so I told you last week that I had pretty much decided on the Oatlands Subtle Taupe for our master and the Smoked Oyster (Valspar rendition) for the sitting room. When we had most of our downstairs painted before we moved in, we chose three Benjamin Moore colors- Wedgewood Gray for the kitchen/family room, Waynesboro Taupe for the living/dining room and 2 shades lighter than Waynesboro Taupe, Himalayan Trek for the entryway. The Wedgewood Gray was more blue than we had wanted and the Himalayan Trek was a little too gray. Since the entryway is two stories and we had to hire someone to paint it, we knew changing it wasn’t an option. I do like it though, it’s just not what I had pictured.

While we’re on the topic, I’ve been meaning to do a ‘how I choose paint colors’ post since I started this blog. Outside of the blog, it is probably the #1 question I am asked. I’ve gone paint shopping or have visit quite a few people’s homes to help them choose colors, though they don’t always listen to me or they end up not painting at all! I know this is a very poor business model, I won’t be quitting my day job for this one. But the moral of the story is, I don’t think anyone has a fool proof method of choosing paint. It is all a bunch of trial and error that depends on so many variables. Our Wedgewood Gray is a little blue because we overestimated the amount of light the room would get and went one shade darker than we were going to go. But it’s okay, because it’s still pretty close to what we wanted. In fact, I was watching HGTV a few nights ago and commented that I liked a wall color on one of the shows. Mike pointed out that it was our exact family room color, as evidenced by the fact that the TV is mounted on the wall color itself for a side by side comparison. Whoops. But we seem to get the blue/gray feel we were going for more at night than during the day.

So for the bedroom, we decided to take the extra step and pick up some testers. We headed to Lowe’s and paid $2 and change for these things…

Then I pulled out my brush and got to painting! And can I tell you, even a little dabble felt great. I cannot wait to actually paint. I added the two new colors to the old failed Waynesboro Taupe trial area

The big giant light one is the Oatlands Subtle Taupe.  The top dark one is the ruled out Waynesboro Taupe and the bottom one is the Valspar Smoked Oyster. Not having enough evidence, I added the Oatlands to another wall…

And the Smoked Oyster to the sitting room (where it would go)…

(Please ignore the cats’ scratching post and playhouse. Yes that is a Crate and Barrel box and they love it…)

The verdict? Love the lighter Oatlands, but the Smoked Oyster is too purple. Which is ironic because the Benjamin Moore Smoked Oyster IS purple but this Valspar one looks more brown on the swatch.

The Smoked Oyster on the right is the one on the sitting room wall, doesn’t it look completely different??

For a second opinion, I called upon my always present sidekick, Macky.

“HmMmMM!”

“No like!!”

I’m going to try one more option, Olympic’s slightly more gray versions of these colors. I like the Oatlands Subtle Taupe, but I get nervous when trying to do two different shades between different brands/swatches. I’ve made that mistake before and though they may look like they go well together, it’s tricky to match the undertones. Plus, I want to use Olympic paint regardless, without a doubt. I asked the worker at Lowe’s to color match the Valspar color to Olympic and she told me they couldn’t. I’m pretty sure she was lying. But we might as well try the pre-existing Olympic colors first. The no VOC aspect is huge to us since a) the room is our bedroom and I’d rather not sleep on the couch for a week while the stench leaves b) it’s winter and we can’t open any windows while painting and c) Macky has seizures and we try to keep him away from any and all possible triggers- chemicals being one. We had our downstairs areas painted long before we moved in and in the spring, so we dodged that bullet. But from now on, I’m sticking to no VOC, and I’m thankful Olympic has provided an easily accessible and affordable option!

Back to the drawing board!

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