New Mexican finds

We are still here in New Mexico, and today we explored Old Town, which is a part of Albuquerque. There we got 2 cute dodads for our new house- the stores were so kind as to wrap them up for our flight so I don’t have pictures. We got a stone (or maybe adobe?) candle holder that’s four lizards giving each other a hug with a spot for the candle int he middle and I picked up a few mexican-style painted tiles that I’m going to turn into coasters.

I was happy to find out today that our house safely survived the storm and although our cats are getting a little restless, they’re doing ok as well.

Keep your fingers crossed that we get an earlier flight!

Greetings from New Mexico!

So far we’ve had a great time in New Mexico, and thanks to hurricane Irene we’ll be here for 6 more days- there are literally no flights at all from here to home until then. But we’re making the best of it and seeing the sights and visiting with family. There’s plenty of work waiting for us back home, and as much as I miss our house and our animals we won’t get another vacation for another year or so, so we might as well enjoy it while we got it!

So with that, cya you next weekend!

Jimmy Rigs & Shortcuts

Last night, amidst thoughts of if I packed my toothbrush and whether or not my hair stuff is smaller then 3 ounces, I was also kept awake by my downstairs bathroom.

Matt & I have found many shortcuts the previous owner took to fix her home (instead of you know, actually fixing them). She used a rock to close the gate instead of fixing the latch, she balanced the sink on the pipes instead of buying a new sink, she hung a tension rod curtain on the bathroom vanity instead of replacing the doors when they broke… but the latest one really annoys me. I thought we had some really nice wainscoting in the downstairs half bath but last night I discovered it was just painted contact paper with cheap molding nailed to the top of it. That has now begun to peel and bubble. UGH. Unfortunately it’ll have to wait until we finish painting the first floor, and the second, until I get to it.











This whole half bath will need the contact paper taken down, the molding removed, the wallpaper from inside the nooks removed, and fresh new paint. Luckily it’s a small enough room to just be a weekend project (I hope).

On the road again

Tomorrow we leave for a week long vacation, which I’m excited about but also I can’t stop thinking about all the painting we’d get done if we were here. The past 2 days have been very productive though:

  • Attached a door to the basement (just hinges, no knob yet because we need to cut out a hole for it)
  • Discovered our bathroom sink is broken and needs to be completely replaced
  • Got the washing machine working (but not the dryer, I believe there’s an electrical problem)
  • Scraped a fair amount of nonsense off the front window
  • Touched up the sunroom paint & moved a little furniture in
  • Weeded the flower bed behind the driveway
  • Bought a cute pillow for the living room couch
On tap for when we get back next week:
  • Call our electrician friend to help with wires
  • Call our handyman friend to install the new sink (which we will hopefully get at the Habitat store for cheap)
  • Paint the living room
  • Paint the kitchen
Cya on Monday!!


Today Matt & I got up at 6:30am to paint the sunroom before his parents arrived for the day, and it was so worth it! It looks amazing, like a completely different . Please excuse the shadowy picture but we’ve been going strong all day so I didn’t get to take pictures until sundown. His parents arrived right as we were finishing up wiping the paint off the floor (with warm water, a little laundry detergent, and a brillo) and it was nice to be able to show them around and hear the ooh’s and ahh’s coming from outsiders.

Throughout the day we got a door hung up on the basement entrance- which we bought for just $10 at the Habitat for Humanity Restore, we worked on the kitchen sink- and learned we need a new sink, and we figured out how to get the  mop and glow burned in stain off the living room window pane- white vinegar and a razorblade. Whew! And amidst all that, I sat out in the yard for a bit and just enjoyed having a yard and a rocking chair.

Check out the sunroom:





Today we got the whole downstairs (kitchen, living room, sunroom) primed and also got fresh ceiling paint up. The before and after pictures are CRAZY- they don’t all line up perfectly but you can get the idea. I am so excited to get the color up on these walls after seeing the difference just primer makes.


Front entrance when we toured the house & front entrance today with primer and no clutter





Kitchen when we first toured & kitchen today with no wallpaper & primer



 Living room when toured & living room with primer (wow!)




Sunroom when toured & now primed with no wallpaper (another WOW!)




My family busted their butts for about 8 hours today to get the walls spackled, 2 coats of primer up and the ceilings done and I am so very appreciative. It is looking amazing and it’s really starting to feel like home. Tomorrow we’re going to try and put the final color on the sunroom, then hopefully Monday do the living room or kitchen, and then we go on vacation so the rest will have to wait.


Yesterday afternoon I took a little ride to Home Depot to get paint for this weekend’s extravaganza. I have to say, I find Home Depot incredibly intimidating and I hate going there but the sales person in the paint department was very nice and friendly and all in all I think I got what I need. I ended up with a grand total of $250 of paint: 5 gallons of primer (should be enough for the whole house), 4 gallons of ceiling paint (also should be enough for the rooms that need it), and 4 gallons of color for the rooms we’re painting. Of course when I got home I realized I totally forgot to get white paint for the trims, but we’ll just prime those and finish them later.

Over the weekend and early into the weekend I hope to get the sunroom, kitchen, living room, and master bedroom all painted. The sunroom will be a deep sage green (the darkest on the swatch), the kitchen a light sunny yellow (the darkest on the swatch), the living room a grayish white (the lightest on the swatch) with a yellow accent wall, and the bedroom a cream (the middle on the swatch). I have been imagining the colors of these rooms since before I even starting looking for a house, so it was pretty easy to go in and just grab the swatch I wanted. It also helps that Matt is color blind, so he’s pretty impartial to whatever colors I choose. I called in reinforcements on what kind of paint to buy, because that’s what Dads are for, so we got Behr Premium Plus wall paint and Glidden ceiling paint.




I decided to buy the primer and ceiling paint in bulk to save on costs, and because we’ll use it all over the next month or two anyone and it’ll mean less trips to scary H.D. Also, I’m sure these huge buckets will come in handy for something…. maybe to throw weeds in when I garden? To spray paint and use as flower buckets? To store old rags in the shed? Who knows, but I’m a hoarder so I’ll keep them just in case. Plus, it looks like Luigi has some plans of his own for them.




Today’s agenda includes the super awesome delivery of our brand new sectional and a rearranging of boxes and furniture to prepare for painting. We’re going to take it easy today because this weekend will be crazy with all the family coming up to help and trying to get so much done.

It’s the little things

Small things about owning a home that have made me smile:

  • No longer writing an apartment number when I write out my address
  • Saying “I put your tent in the shed” (we have a shed!!!!)
  • Going upstairs for a bit… stairs!
  • Picking out paint colors because we don’t have to have apartment white & beige walls anymore
  • Making plans to plant flowers and set up a garden

Dear Wallpaper, I hate you

Update: This is one of my first blog posts,  yet somehow one of the most popular ones. Please excuse my poor small photos. :)


Things are really moving along quickly at the house these days! Tuesday after work the walls were prepped for dewallpapering:

  • Take down all the outlet and light switch covers and store them (and the screws) in a plastic baggy
  • Wallpaper essentially has 2 layers: the design layer (that you see) and the adhesive layer (that sticks it to the wall). Peel as much of the designed paper lay off as you can. There were two types of wallpaper on our walls, a patterned section and a checkered section. The patterned paper stripped down pretty easily, but the checkered part (death paper, as I call it) did not. It’s most likely that only the top layer of paper will come off when you’re peeling it, not all of it.
  • The more of the paper you can get off , the easier it is to get down the adhesive so don’t skip this step!

The next day we brought in our supplies:

  • DIF!
  • A paper tiger and a wall scraper
  • Some nice hot tea and a snack

Some people recommended using white vinegar instead of DIF, but the smell of it would have driven me crazy and DIF was basically odorless. Total cost of supplies was about $50, which made me cringe a bit, but I’m hoping when we see it all nicely painted I’ll feel better about it. DIF just mixes in a bucket with hot water and you’re ready to go, it’s pretty idiot proof which is great because I’ve never done anything even remotely close to this before.

First step, the paper tiger! Rawr! This little buddy tore tiny holes into the adhesive so that the DIF could get underneath it and work it’s magic. It worked really well but man oh man the sound it made could drive you crazy. All you do is go over the walls in a circular motion making as many holes as you can- the more the better. You don’t need to dig it in, because you don’t want to damage the wall underneath, so it’s not too awful. I’m not sure how well this picture shows it, but that’s the best shot I could get.

Once the whole area was scored we got to work with the DIF solution and the scraper. Be prepared to have it drip all up your arm, in your armpit, on your hair, all over your clothes… It’s a big giant sloppy mess but it works and it all sweeps up later. Luckily we only had one layer of wallpaper to get down. The drywall scrapes off too if you’re not careful, and we’re most likely going to have to spackle and sand before we can repaint those spots.

Strip by strip we sponged on the DIF and scraped off the paper– 5 hours each room, 10 hours total. We only took snack breaks because we knew if we didn’t get it all done we’d have to do it today and we never, ever, ever want to go through this process again.

But alas- TA DA! CYA WALLPAPER! After hours and hours and hours the sunroom and kitchen are completely dewallpapered. It looks absolutely awful right now, but I’ve got my family coming up this weekend to help paint so soon it should look gorgeous. I will say, as awful as this was I was prepared for much worse. Go into it knowing it’ll be messy and wet, and that it’ll take a very long time, and just get through it!