It's been awhile

Monday, April 15, 2013 - Posted by Lauren at 6:38 PM
...but we're still working towards getting our home listed for sale.

From the time the builders drove away through the 4 years Jonathan has owned it, zero improvements have been made on this place, so we still have a lot of work ahead of us.

In the past few months, I've made or done the following to help stage the interior:

a faux padded headboard
floral arrangements
wall art and original paintings
painted furniture
painted lamps
painted mirrors and frames

I'm sure I'll eventually get some photos and tutorials posted of how those projects have gone.

Last week Jonathan took off a few days from work in order to do some outdoor work with me.

I painted the front door. He painted the porch beams.

Several week ago we had some help planting a weeping cherry tree and hauling medium-sized river rocks to create a little rock garden in our front yard.

Then it was time to do something to help our "porch" look more finished. So we had a couple more tons of small river rock delivered.

And we shoveled and carried and shoveled and carried for the next several hours.

We had to haul rock in buckets since we don't have a wheelbarrow.

We were able to get it all done about 30 seconds before it started raining.
And here are our exhausted smiles of relief to be done before the deluge.
(I sure love my darling husband!)

The next day, despite our incredible aches and pains, we got back out there and worked on cleaning the siding. I was the least dizzy of the two of us (with so much pollen in the air, it's hard for anyone to remain unaffected), so I spent most of my day on the ladder, while Jonathan held the bottom steady or worked on the lower areas.

        And then one of our really nice neighbors came on over to offer us the use of his mammoth pressure washer. (He had also kindly lent us two additional 5 gallon buckets for our rock-moving day.) Apparently he's in the business of selling detergents, so he had some killer bleach and highway detergent all mixed up for us. He stuck around long enough to be captured digitally as he helped spread the caustic solution. Even with the totally fabu oscillating pressure-washing nozzle, detergent and broom, the crazy red clay here was a major pain to remove. When we returned the pressure washer he gave us tips about buying some sealant to paint the concrete with. So... when the weather dries up a little that will probably be our next big project along with putting larger river rocks along the border of the rock bed around the "porch."  

I know it's cliche, but it's awfully difficult to put in all this work to our really endearing home and property and still know that we need to move away. Especially with our nice neighbors doing all they can to keep us here!


Sunday, January 27, 2013 - Posted by Lauren at 1:02 PM
Yesterday, as our night was winding down, we were sitting in the office. I was trying to help Jonathan write up some copy for his website. He was leaning backwards in his ugly-but-serviceable office chair. (I plan to spray paint and attempt to reupholster it soon.)

I was sitting across from him in the plushy chair and had somehow tucked my foot up under the seat of his chair. Deep in thought about the website, I didn't realize what a HORRIBLE DECISION THAT WAS. 

But it immediately became clear when Jonathan leaned forward and crunched my little piggies between the bottom of the seat and the base of the chair. At first I was just "Oww, oww"ing and laughing and trying to catch my breath and convince him it wasn't his fault! It felt like slamming your fingers in the sliding door of a minivan (now how would I know that?), so I was just waiting for the pain to stop making my tummy flip. But it was taking longer than normal. 

Jonathan was adorable and was trying to figure out what he could do to help. We decided that an ice pack might be nice. As he went to go get it, I finally had the courage to remove my other foot that was applying pressure in order to survey the damage. I wish I had looked sooner.

Because the floor looked like a slasher movie. 

I yelled to the other room, "Oh no! Honey, I'm bleeding. A LOT. Ack! There's blood everywhere! Ahh!!! The carpet! Bring me a towel, please. And a Band-Aid, or no, wait, the first aid kit with the gauze and tape. And we need to google how to get fresh blood out of carpet." Meanwhile, I sacrificed a nearby pair of jeans to stem the flow.

I hobbled to the bathroom and started trying to wipe the black grease from the chair out of my wound while my darling husband brought all the supplies I requested. Google told us to put household ammonia on the carpet, but we didn't have any. Fortunately, I'd recently picked up some hydrogen peroxide in case of a situation like this. It worked wonders on the blood! Then we used Dawn soap to get the black grease out of the carpet. Yay!Everything looks good as new.

Except for my foot.

"Down with the Clown Couch!"

Thursday, January 24, 2013 - Posted by Lauren at 10:44 PM
That's what all the filthy plebeians are yelling in the streets.

In the streets here.
In my head.

*Cough* Melodrama. It's how I stay motivated for draining DIY projects.

Several of which I accomplished today! Yay! Even while battling bronchitis! Yay!

So, back to important matters. The Evil Clown Couch has been ruling our lives. Kind of. Well, I mean, it's really ugly and smells kinda funky and is fairly uncomfortable. I don't care if you adore vintage fashion, this thing would wrinkle your nose, too. I don't know where it originated, but Jonathan's parents may have had the clown couch before it lived with his older sister's family before migrating here. Aside from smelling vaguely of decomposing straw and looking like it escaped from a 1960s circus, it harbors even darker horrors within. Because it's a sleeper sofa. You would have to be shoveling cash to convince me to open this puppy up.

Until now, we've been throwing a faded blue comforter over the monstrosity and pretending ignorance about what is concealed. That plan worked fine until we started to think seriously about listing our house for sale and trying to stage it for photos. Since The Evil Clown Couch inexplicably weighs about two tons *shudders to think what might be weighing it down,* relocating it before we move out is not an option. The only thing that's going to budge this beast is a sledge hammer.

So an alternate plan had to be formulated. How to disguise this monster for the smallest financial blow to our slender pre-listing repair budget? A $22 9x12 canvas drop cloth from Lowe's has saved the day as well as the aesthetics of our media room. Let it be known that I do not understand working with fabric. So a little nervous measuring, cutting, pinning and a lot of praying later...

The beast is vanquished!

Yes, the arms look messy and awkward. I totally knew that was going to happen. So I had planned ahead for it! Ha-HA! I bought a yard of this happy, hip orange fabric that was massively on sale at and whipped up a couple pillow slipcovers to hide the messies.

Behold! A phoenix rising from the ashes!

So despite the fact that I'm posting this on the Internet and being all super-excited, I totally am aware that this is a pretty lame DIY slipcover. You won't find me giving a tutorial. But considering that this thing is either soon going to the dump... or possibly to my other sister-in-law's future dream house, it wasn't that important to me to pour blood and tears into it.

Now tell me the stories behind the ugliest furniture you've owned!

More Singing.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - Posted by Lauren at 9:54 PM

I've been thinking about singing a lot. It started when I was (again) marveling at how amazing a hot shower feels. I am continually thankful for the novelty of clean hot water that comes out of the wall whenever you want it.

And that got me thinking about birds who take birdbaths and sing about it.

And that got me thinking about songs that mention birds and singing.

And one of them happened to be this one.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? 
And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  
So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows."
Matthew 10:29-31

Nature is singing down here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012 - Posted by Lauren at 6:21 PM

 Let the field exult, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy
 Before the LORD, for He is coming,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
And the peoples in His faithfulness. 
Psalm 96:12-13

This afternoon, Mrs. Benevolent taught me how to make her version of a ziti pasta dish for a fellowship potluck type thing at church on Sunday. The secret ingredient? Sour cream. Interesting. She worked it out so that I could make a little batch of it for myself using my rice noodles. I'm excited for supper! 

Then she took me on a LOVELY walk through the trails that go through the "subdivision" here. It was very nice to get out in this weather (near 80 degrees here) and walk around and get a feel for the area.

The trails felt a lot like Lincoln Memorial Gardens to me... except that they had the occasional pile of "road apples" which were reminders that these are actually horse trails. 

They also have beavers! We must have seen five or six beaver dams blocking up the little creek. Mrs. Benevolent said that the subdivision has to bring in a backhoe (what are those claw-thingies called?) to pull them apart every year. 

She also said that the ferns (which are EVERYWHERE) grow all year round.

And the trees were all budding. I can't wait to see all the dogwoods she was telling me about! I love being out in nature because it always makes me think about how amazing God is... and with what detail He works. It reminds me to be calm and trust Him.

Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
Psalm 96:3-4


Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - Posted by Lauren at 11:43 PM

Happy Leap Year. I was kind of uninspired by it this year, but since it only happens every four years, I still feel compelled to acknowledge it. :)

I went to Wednesday night service this evening and helped with their version of kid's club... The Buckaroo something or other. It was cute.

And for LOTR fans, have you ever tried this? I saw it on a website and thought it was just Photoshopped, but no. It really works. Type these locations into google maps (in the walking mode) and you get a stern warning. Jonathan tells me there are other things you can enter to get funny results.