Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I cannot believe it! I never win anything. But, believe it! We won the My First DIY contest on It wasn't really skill or anything, just random chance, but I do not look a random chance in the mouth.

I am already dreaming of a million ways to use the $300 gift card.
  • Will it be a new vanity for the bathroom (instead of recycling the current one)?
  • Will it be a new medicine cabinet for the bathroom?
  • Will it be a new toilet for the downstairs Harry Potter bathroom?
  • Will it be shelving for our basement so our DIY paraphenalia isn't all over the floor?
  • Will it be something else?

Hooray for!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ding, dong, the doorbell's dead

Oh, sad. Our doorbell - which is probably as old as this 90-year-old house - has died. It gave one sad little last hum today and then promptly up and died. Serendipitously, TOH Magazine had a little story about fixing doorbells this month. I started with step one, which included seeing if it was the bottom that was broken (according to TOH, this is the common problem). However, the screws were corroded and stripped. I called Paul to see if he had a screw extractor I could borrow but he instead came over with his arsenal of tools and got it unscrewed. Unfortunately, it wasn't the button. We checked the chime - it wasn't the chime. So it appears to be the transformer. I guess the issue will be finding a transformer that is the appropriate voltage - 12 volts, I am guessing. I don't know how lucky I will be in this quest. I think while we're at it, we will also get a new label for the box - it's poorly labeled and we have no idea what breaker is for what.

So, no sexy pictures - sorry. Maybe once I get a new transformer I will take one or two photos. Because, you know, transformer=sexy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My First DIY

It's often pleasant to walk down memory lane. I was inspired to do so by the new contest sponsored by I have absolutely no qualms about shameless self-promotion if it means a chance at a gift card (hey, we need to finance the bathroom remodel somehow!).

It was fun reminiscing about the first days of homeownership and revisiting my blog posts. Now that we're closing in our second year in the house, I love going back to see how far we've come. What was my very first DIY project? It was ripping down the hideous wallpaper in the kitchen, as you can see above. I quote myself saying, "I was tickled to find out that I could remove all of the wallpaper in the kitchen with one hand, no chemicals or scraping needed! The whole thing took me less time than taping one room to prepare for painting!" Of course, I did come to find that the paint that was underneath that ugly stuff was lead paint.

It's amazing that we went from that to this:

It's even more amazing that I used to tape off rooms before I painted. I really have come a long way in my DIYness and, yes, I love my DIY kitchen!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What seems the easiest project...

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I picked up a new faucet at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for a steal - $9. Well, here it is successfully installed in what we lovingly refer to as our Harry Potter bathroom, or the tiny bathroom under the stairs. Before we had the ugly cheap model that could be picked up for about $9 brand new. I think this makes quite an improvement over the old one. I decided last night around 5pm to put this in, really thinking it would take me 30 minutes, tops, to take out the old one and install the new.

You'd think I'd know better by now.

Thom and I (admittedly mostly Thom) toiled and strained and swore for several hours at this thing. Taking the old one out: piece of cake; putting the new one back in without a leak: not so much. After many scraped knuckles and enfuriated tempers, we gave it a rest for the night. I think the basic issue was the very tiny space in which we had to maneuver. I did go to HD last night to get a basin wrench but we couldn't even fit that in the tiny hole underneath the tiny sink.

After some rest, some church, and a good bagel, I gave it another whirl. It seems that laying on my back with my foot up in the air and my tongue out made the basin wrench finally fit in there. No leaks! Much improved! We'll put in a new toilet and tile floor perhaps after the New Year and then that bathroom will be more or less complete.

The plan is still to do the full bathroom upstairs during Thanksgiving week (although I am admittedly a little afraid to attempt to do this with our usual savior, Paul, being out of town that week). If nothing else, this little lesson has reminded me to assume the worst and plan for way more time than I generally think I'll need.