Help.

This is not what I had intended to post today.

I had intended to share the curtains I made for the kitchen and talk about how I was going to hang them. Riveting stuff, I know.

But I woke up this morning to discover this:

Inky Rug

In case you can’t tell, that’s the remnants of a blue ink pen on our new-ish wool rug that’s been devoured by a dog that shall remain nameless (but it was definitely one of these two).

Rosie & Indy

The trouble is I have no idea how to get ink out of a 100% wool rug. My sister suggested WD40 (having tried it successfully herself) and another friend suggested hairspray. Do you have any tips? I’m desperate!

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Dilemma Thursday… I mean Tuesday.

It’s Tuesday. Our first annual Beals’ St. Patrick’s Day Crawfish Boil is on Saturday and… we still have a few things to do. I mean, only like 27 things. Ish.

Let’s just say that the therapeutic list making has begun in earnest. If I have a list it’ll all get done… or at least that’s what I tell myself.

One thing I need to cross off my list is food. Yes, we’re having traditional boil fare -crawfish, corn, red potatoes, and andoulle sausage boiled in a delicious melange of spices- but some people don’t fancy crawfish, as crazy as that might sound. For them, we’re planning on making Kevin’s homemade Jambalaya recipe (PS. If you haven’t tried this one, you need to).

Jambalaya

I’ve also been thinking I’ll make some Guinness and Bailey’s cupcakes like these from From Away. Their recipe is really similar to mine.

car-bomb-cupcakes

I’m stuck on what else to have though. I’d like to have some traditional-ish Irish food (maybe for an appetizer), but I’m not sure what to do. I thought about maybe some small boxty with toppings or a cheese plate with some Dubliner, Cashel Blue, and other Irish cheeses, but that might get expensive.

Cashel blue

What else would you serve? Anything? We know of sixteen people that are definitely coming, but may have more than that show up.

Thursday Dilemma: Red(wood) in the Face

Last week we expressed some concern about matching the stain on the old, existing deck boards and the new ones we used to repair it once we finally have the deck professionally cleaned and stained (more on that here).

Deck repair DIY

We had a few great suggestions (including using vinegar to weather the new deck boards) on how to match the boards and were feeling pretty confident that our repairs wouldn’t cause an issue with the overall look of our new stain job.

And then we had our first fencing and deck contractor out (dun dun dunnnnnnnn).

He informed us that our existing deck was built using redwood, not pine as we had assumed. Even when stripped of the old stain and weathering, the old decking will be a completely different color than our shiny new pine repairs. Looking at the pile of damaged boards we removed, I don’t know how we didn’t notice before.

Redwood Decking

Now we’re in a quandary on what to do. Do we replace the remainder of the deck boards (which will cost about $500)? Do we try to stain the new boards with a redwood stain prior to staining the entire deck? Do we paint the thing?

Help! What would you do?

Thursday Dilemma: Sprinkler Woes

Aaaand we’re back. We’ve had one of those weeks, you know? Cancelled flights, work deadlines, dentist appointments… there’s been a perfect storm of craziness this week to keep us from our typical posting schedule. We’ve got two great posts left this week though to make up for it.

Last week Kevin and I shared our plans to finish our backyard before our big crawfish boil on March 16. A major part of that plan is to install a sprinkler system in the backyard to water all of our soon-to-be new baby grass. With Dallas’ hot, dry summers it would be like throwing money into the wind to lay new sod and not have a sprinkler system to water it consistently (at least, if you’re as forgetful about watering things as we are).

floorplanner

We’ve been planning on DIYing our sprinkler system and started researching the process last week. Here’s what we found.

Designing a sprinkler system will be hard, even for two engineers (one of which deals with piping systems every day… that’s me), so we’ll likely have it professionally designed before building it ourselves. Toro has a free design service for DIYers; all you have to do is send in a detailed sketch of your yard and they design your system and send you a parts list to get you started. TORO-logo.361101658_std

There’s a lot of red tape involved in DIYing your own sprinkler system, too. First, if you haven’t filed your homestead exemption, it’s illegal for a homeowner to DIY their own sprinklers. Even if you have everything on file, you’ll need a couple (expensive) permits, several inspections by the city, and and a professional to complete several parts of the installation, no matter what. I’ve spent hours going over Dallas’ irrigation code trying to decipher what we’re allowed to do, what we have to call a plumber for, and when we have to have the city plumbing inspector come out (a very nice lady, by the way… I’ve already spoken to her twice with questions about the irrigation code).

The alternative is to hire professionals to install our system start to finish. Inevitably this will be the more expensive option, but considering the work involved to DIY everything, we’re not convinced that it might not be worth it in the end. That’s why we’ve called several companies (three, in fact) and asked them to come out and give us an itemized estimate on both grading our yard and installing our sprinkler system.

We’re also going to go ahead and use the Toro design service. This will not only allow us to get a good estimate on how much DIYing the project will cost, but will also give us a check on how much the contractors are charging.

We’re hoping to have all of our estimates in by next week and are going to work on getting our sketches submitted to Toro this weekend.

Have you ever DIYed a sprinkler system? When do you call in the pros? Are you as forgetful about watering the lawn as we are??

 

A Lamp Unto My Bedside

Remember way back in August when we had a Thursday Dilemma about our hand-me-down Walmart bedside lamps?

We finally did something about them… it just took us three months to do it.

Most of you suggested we spray paint them a bright coral color. I agreed with you until we got our spiffy new curtains hung last week.

Now I think that coral would blend in as much with the curtains as the white does with the table. Instead, I decided to go with my new color favorito: navy blue. Specifically, Rust-Oleum’s Ultra Coverage 2x in Gloss Navy Blue.

First, I wiped down the lamps and taped up the sockets and cords with blue painters tape (left over from making our Euro Sham pillows).

Yes, it was dark when I painted these (thanks to dumb-butt daylight saving’s time). Funny story: there wasn’t much light coming from our garage, so every five minutes I ran down the alley waving my arms like a crazy woman to set off the neighbor’s motion-detector flood lights so I could see to paint.

Anyway. After taping up the lamps, I hit them with a light coat of primer just for good measure.

Once it was dry, I coated them with several thin, even coats of navy blue.

After letting them dry, we removed the tape and brought them in.

I love the glossy pop of navy next to the white and coral of the curtains!

You guys were definitely right about these lamps, though; all they needed was a little TLC and a can of spray paint!

Did you spray paint anything this weekend? Have you ever salvaged hand-me-down lamps with a little spray paint therapy? Can you believe it gets dark at 5:45 now?!

Thursday Dilemma: Wednesday Edition

I’m in a quandary.

Last night I painted the large canvas we’d bought for the bedroom.

I mixed up some beautiful dark navy, coral, turquoise, and yellowy orange and went to town.

I’m just not sure I like it.

In real life, what looks magenta reads coral and the orange is much more yellow.

I’m also not sure it will play well with the other art I created for the room (they’ll be on opposite walls).

 

What do you think? Can these two place nicely together?

Thursday Dilemma: Skirting the Issue

Welcome to Thursday and our dilemma! Kevin and I are famously indecisive (we think, maybe, we’re not sure), so we thought it would be a great idea to let someone else help us with the design dilemmas that come up in the Little House. That’s where you come in. Whenever we’re stuck in a particular quandary, we like to ask for your advice to help us in our decision making process. We really do use your tips, ideas, and suggestions, so keep them coming! We love to hear what you think!

When Kev game me the go ahead (and a 20% coupon) on our curtain fabric I went ahead and ordered enough to make four curtain panels and a bedskirt.

20120927-084056.jpg

I’m having second thoughts, though. I’m not sure how the large scale print of our fabric will look. I love this inspiration photo from Pinterest, but, to be honest, I’m scared of pattern!

20120927-084702.jpg

What do you think? Would you make a bedskirt out of the same patterned fabric as the curtains (we have all white bedding, btw)?

Help!

PS. Please excuse the wonky formatting on this post… I wrote it on my iPhone!/em>

Thursday Dilemma: Computer Crazy

Welcome to Thursday and our dilemma! Kevin and I are famously indecisive (we think, maybe, we’re not sure), so we thought it would be a great idea to let someone else help us with the design dilemmas that come up in the Little House. That’s where you come in. Whenever we’re stuck in a particular quandary, we like to ask for your advice to help us in our decision making process. We really do use your tips, ideas, and suggestions, so keep them coming! We love to hear what you think!

On any given evening, I can be found editing pictures and writing the next day’s blog on this (baby) dinosaur:

Because both our school lap tops have died, this is our only personal computer. It’s an Acer netbook. It gets the job done, but it’s slow. Very slow. And tiny… the screen is just 10 inches. Kevin got it for free with credit card points, so you know it was top quality to start with.

We decided the other day (after much deliberation) that we want to purchase a new laptop. First and foremost, it would make blogging 1000 times better. A larger screen, real keyboard, and faster speeds would make both writing posts and editing pictures much easier. Decision made. Boom.

Now comes the hard part: picking out a computer. Thankfully, God graced me with a husband that knows about such things. I do not. I want a pink laptop with a big-ish screen. Kevin wants gigs of ram and gigahertz and processing speed. And no pink.  Our budget is fairly tight, so that means that our first choice, something Apple, is out.

What’s in is a Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, 8GB of ram, and at least a 15.6″ screen (don’t quote me on any of that). We’ve narrowed the field down to three vastly different competitors.

Competitor 1: Acer Aspire

$174

The Acer Aspire is at the low end of the performance and price range we’re looking at. It has a Intel Core i3 processor and a 15.6″ screen. What’s attractive about this laptop is it’s price. At only $174 it doesn’t break the bank and we could use the money we save on something else… like chairs for a certain patio project? The down side? We’d likely have to upgrade this model in a year or two. Plus, it’s not pink.

Competitor 2: Sony Vaio


$399

The Vaio is in the middle of the price and performance range. It had the Intel Core i5 processor Kevin’s looking for and the 15.5″ screen I want.  It’s right in the middle and a good compromise. It is, however, not pink either.

Competitor 3: HP Envy


$645

I don’t know a thing about computers and I know that the HP Envy is a thing of beauty. It has a Core i7 processor, a 17.3″ screen, and even a number pad on the keyboard. We added this computer into the mix because it’s normally over $1,200. That’s right folks, it’s half off. That’s like a giant coupon and you know how we love our coupons here at LHBH!

We’re really stuck on what to do. All we know is that we want to do it soon (as in this weekend while these prices are still valid).

Which laptop would you go with? Are you as computer illiterate as I am? Does this post serve to show just how nerdy Kevin and I really are?

 

Thursday Dilemma: The Backyard… again.

Did you know that today is Thursday? It’s news to me. Here I was, minding my own business, putting on jeans for casual Friday when the hubs walks in and say, “Uh, today’s Thursday.”

Bubble bursted.

Anyway. I’m on my way to recovery with the help of a second cup of coffee and a Thursday Dilemma for you. Remember our mood board from yesterday?

If you missed the update, I gave in and bought three of the Parker laneterns from Z Gallerie even though they only had black. They were marked down even more (to $8) and I figured this way we could spray paint them to match our new chairs.

And speaking of new chairs… that’s our dilemma for today. What color should we paint them? I’m 95.89% sure we’re going with the chevron fabric above for pillows and we already own several of the talavera pots in the same pattern as the one shown.

What color should we paint our vintage metal rockers? Does anyone else think of old guys in spandex when they say vintage metal rockers? Would you go with a gloss or semi-gloss?

Thursday Dilemma: A Lamp Unto My Bedside

It seems we’re really working hard on our bedroom makeover these days– mostly because of our new self-imposed rule that we can’t work on another project until this one is completed… remember our project ADD? It’s only gotten worse. So we decided to ixnay all other projects until the bedroom is 100% complete.  The sooner we finish it, the sooner we can move on to greener pastures (like the back yard!)

One major step to finishing the bedroom is accessorizing our dressers and nightstands. I haven’t even started, save for the two lamps we were given by Kevin’s mom (thanks Mary!) last winter. They’re simple white candlestick lamps that have tons of potential.

I just don’t know what sort of potential.

I’m not a big fan of the white on white on white of the shade, base, and table, so I think if anything I’d like to spraypaint the base and maybe cover the white shades (with burlap for texture?).

I’ve also considered putting these lamps by for the spare bedroom and going with something else here. I’m very fond of the trendy glass lamps out there these days (like the on below, on sale at our Target) and have even thought of DIYing something like the driftwood lamp below.

(via)

(via)

We’ve got to come up with something and soon. It’s going to be cool enough to start working on the back yard before too long (there’s not a single day in the 100s in the forecast!!) and we don’t want to waste any of the perfect fall weather working inside!

I need your advice! What would you do? Would you spray paint the candlestick lamps that we already own (and what color)? Would you save the candle sticks for the spare bedroom and buy new? Help! I’m drowning in options and indecision!