Monday, January 11, 2016

Project: Stair Baluster Replacement

One of the smaller projects Dean has talked about doing since we moved in was to replace the balusters with something fancier. We are very fortunate to have a lovely layout but not a million balusters to replace- 50 to be exact:

There were a few unexpected hiccups during this project:

1. The hole left by the old balusters was larger than the new shoes. Dean had to drill the holes, then sand and paint the entire base to make it look right. These extra steps took a while longer but the finished product looks great.
2. The top part showed some of the lighter wood when the old baluster was removed. Dean painted the areas so that there is no flash of wood showing.
3. Cutting the new balusters stinks. Literally. Even though he did it in the garage, the burning smell was acrid.

The end result looks stunning- at first I worried that the new balusters were too thin, but now that they're in the size seems appropriate. It took several hours to get them all done- probably best for a long, dedicated weekend. I recommend you take the first piece apart so that you can see the scope of your project.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Project Completed: Backyard Oasis

Remember last February when I shared all about our new backyard? At the time I was predicting that we'd have the cover on our patio section by June...the reality ended up being slightly different! The good news is that we have the cover and, come summer, we will be enjoying the space:

The not-so-great part was that it took literally until the middle of October for this to get installed. We ordered it in February, they came out and measured then told us they would ship from Japan once they had enough orders to fill the container. Apparently, with the record snow we had in March, their ordering slowed down so that by May they had delayed our anticipated install date to early July. Well, that date came and went and at the time I was disappointed not to have it in by my birthday party which was the last weekend of July- the earliest they could manage was the Monday after. 

Come that Monday we had a very unpleasant surprise- once they opened the box they realized that the wrong parts had been received- we needed to have another order shipped from Japan and installation was now anticipated for the end of September. I could have cried! In fairness to the company that installed it, I have to say they promptly offered us a $500 discount if we could wait it out. With the total project now dropped to under $3000, we figured we would wait it out. 

After some other rain-related delays, they finally installed it in October and I could not be happier with the finished product and how it makes my 'lanai' complete:


The poly material is sort of transparent so that it really allows a lot of light through it but it blocks the sun:

It also allows us to sit out in a gentle rain (hard rain makes the gutters splash so it does get a bit wet). I am so glad we didn't go with a wood cover- it would definitely change the lighting inside the house.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Our Next Project

We are excitedly planning our next project and have agreed on this color palette! Any guesses on what's coming up next??

Holiday PSA

This holiday we put our tree up on November 8th...this is my story:

I woke up this morning with a vague sense of uneasiness that only got worse when I walked into the living room. Standing before me was the source of my discomfort- my Christmas tree was making me ill. I had come down with a bad case of Christmas fatigue. You see, the average person can cope with a Christmas tree for about 4 weeks... 5 for the extremely hardy...but after having our tree up for 7 full weeks, I just couldn't take it anymore. Friends tried to warn us- Bunmi posted an ominous "What's today's date again?" when he saw the tree going up on November 8th. Even Christmas-loving Kris wrote "Omg! Extra early!" But we didn't take notice of these clues. We thought we were being smart.
As I spent hours this morning frantically flinging ornaments off the tree and putting away our Christmas decorations, I am forced to make a stunning admission: I kicked off Christmas way too early this year. I realize that no matter how excited I get in November, I cannot extend Christmas for 7 weeks without repercussions.
Please. Talk to your friends and family about decorating too early. Signs include references to Christmas during Halloween, a general unwillingness to acknowledge Thanksgiving as a holiday, and humming carols in late September. We went through this but no one else should have to. Ask your doctor if decorating in November is right for you. I wish I had.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2016!

Last year was filled with so much joy and happiness that I am excited to see what this year brings! Quick recap of 2015:

1. Completed our first full year in our new home (we bought it Oct 2014)
2. Bought my first (and second, lol)  Lexus!
3. Had my mum for a visit in the summer.
4. Went to Boston between Christmas and New Years for a pop-up visit with my aunts and cousin.
5. Completed my first full year at my wonderful job (started June 2014).
6. Did home renovations out the Ying Yang (replastered pool, grew garden, change stair ballusters)
7. Threw an amazing birthday party
8. Got the art of throwing parties down to a science after having several during the year!
9. Became friends with most of my amazing neighbors (joined Bunco group!)
10. Started a bit of a fitness regimen walking twice a week with some of my friends.

For 2016 we plan to:

1. Renovate kitchen (paint cabinets, have granite counter tops, new backsplash)
2. Trip to Prague (hopefully my bff can join us there)
3. Have family game night once a week.
4. Have more fitness and health!

Bring on 2016!