Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The tile on the wall

I know... it's been a while since I blogged! I do apologize. We have been really quite busy this summer. This past weekend was spent recuperating from all our recent travel - cleaning, laundry, errands, etc as well as some time spent with friends. It was good to feel like I got my feet back under me again. We even made it to church on Sunday which was great. On Sunday, I started a new project. I had picked up some ceramic tiles at Home Depot for 50 cents a piece and wanted to try stencil spray painting them, as seen in this blog post. Except I wanted to make them into something to hang in the guest bathroom, not coasters. I'm pretty sure I used the exact same Martha Stewart stencils from Michael's as she did.

Here was my setup for the priming step. I was also pray painting a frame and the trash can for the half bath. It was ivory, and was clashing with all the white in there, so I decided to give it a try. I haven't done anything with the frame yet.

Here's a closer look at the stencil. I used stencil adhesive to stick it to the tile during the spray painting. I did a coat of primer followed by a coat of yellow spray paint. It is the same yellow I used on the shelf in the guest bath as well.

My other items:

Here's the first one after it was done.

I had to get creative with masking off some of the stencils. Even then, I did have to use some mineral spirits and a q-tip to clean up some mistakes. But they all turned out well in the end.

I used a glue gun to attach ribbon to the back to hang them on the wall.

And voila! White tiles turned artwork.

Here are some more shots for you. There was some glare from the flash.

I'm pretty thrilled with how they turned out. And the color goes so well with the yellow and gray theme in there. It really is amazing what paint can do.

I also installed a sprinkler for the front flower bed. We have been pretty light on the rain recently and my flowers were definitely needing some extra help. And I was getting tired of hosing them down after work. Now, I can just turn on the sprinkler, go on a run, and the flower bed is watered. I suppose I could have gone all out with the soaker hose and a timer, but I decided to be cheap this time around. And it gets the job done.

I also found this cutie in Ace hardware and couldn't resist. Isn't this such an adorable watering can? Plus, I had been using a cup to water my indoor plants. This works much better.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Flowers and a Wedding

First of all... big announcement! (I'll tell you right now, it's probably not what you are thinking). But, the blog has gone over 5,000 pageviews! Okay, so maybe it isn't that exciting, but I am super thankful to all my loyal readers. Thank you for finding my little adventures entertaining and enjoyable. It really means a lot to me.

Not much to report from the homefront. We have actually been quite busy this summer. This past weekend, J and I made the long trip up to New York (state not city) for J's uncle's wedding. After getting a slow start (we spent our Friday afternoon stuck in DC/Maryland/Pennsylvania traffic), we finally made it up to the lake. J's uncle and grandfather both have houses right on a small lake. Uncle W and Aunt S (just to keep the initial thing alive) got married on the lawn in front of their house. It was a gorgeous day and a lot of fun.

Here are some pictures from the weekend. J & I before the wedding.

The setting.

Keeping it classy.

The happy couple.

The ceremony.

J and his twin cousins.

My in-laws

Back at home, we have had only a few updates. My mom and dad brought an azalea plant for the front of the house.

Here is a before shot.

And after.

Also, our lilies are finally blooming!

I've had several people ask me about my next big project. I'm not sure quite yet though. There is definitely some painting on the list, but I think installing an automatic watering mechanism may be high on the list. I've started to get tired of watering the hydrangea every afternoon. And the flowers get dried out pretty easily if I don't. But more on all that later.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

.... ._ _ _ ._. ._ _.. .. _ _ _

My grandfather was an amateur radio operator for many years. He started when he was around 12 years old and did it well into his adult life. The last time we saw my parents, my dad asked if I would like some of his QSL cards from back in the day. Since I am pretty into RF stuff myself, I jumped at the opportunity. (J and I have been playing around with the idea of becoming hams - amateur radio operators - ourselves). What are QSL cards you ask? Wikipedia has a decent article on it:, but essentially, they are cards that verify communication. They were sent in the mail between operators. My grandpa had a ton of these to choose from. But I only had 3 frames, one of which I plan on using for another purpose. So, I limited myself to 4 cards. First, I spray painted the frames. I kind of forgot to take pictures of the process, but I spray painted them and then waited 2 days for them to cure.

Here they are hanging with my great-grandfather's QSL card from his early work in television (engineering runs in the family in case you couldn't tell).

Let's take a closer look. I mounted them on construction paper that I already had. The top one is a card that my grandpa would have received. It came from Georgia Tech, who were acknowledging his D4AGO signal, the one he used in Germany when he was stationed there during WWII! Actually, he told me a great story about being an operator in Germany. After the war, a lot of the men were kept in Germany instead of returning home to the US. My grandpa found parts from various places and set up his amateur radio station. He then bounced the waves off the ionosphere to communicate back to the states. He would find the closest operator to his fellow soldiers' hometowns, so that the men could send messages back to their families. Isn't that awesome?

These are both his cards. One he used in South Carolina (where my dad grew up) and the other in Illinois (where my grandpa grew up).

So, that is it for my little QSL framing project. Now, all I need is to add some of my dad or mom's old punch cards and maybe a circuit design project of my own (J and I did a joint one in college that would work) and we can have 4 generations of technology. :)

While I was at it, I also spray painted the grate for the vent fan in the newly re-done powder room. The off white wasn't looking too hot.

But, things were much better after a fresh coat of paint.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I just wanted to post a quick update... We celebrated a birthday this week (mine)! J actually had all this waiting for me when I got home from work. Isn't he a sweetie? We had a pretty simple celebration, but it definitely made the beginning of the week enjoyable! Without going into too much detail, he mostly got me smaller gifts, but I really love them all -- 2000 piece puzzle of a castle in Germany we visited right after we got engaged, a candle, some cooking stuff from Williams-Sonoma, some small blue and white plates, 2 seasons of the Big Bang Theory, and a few other things.

And lots of sweets!

He also got me (at my request) a new adjustable wrench. I know... it's exciting!

The reason I asked was that I splurged at the Home Depot this weekend, and ended up buying a new shower head. I have been meaning to do this since we got the bathroom redone last May. We really had no idea what we were doing during that renovation. But, it was a very good time to update the shower in the master bedroom, and so we did. Instead of picking out all the bath hardware like we did for the powder room, the less-than-impressive tile guy told us to pick up the fixture from a hardware store. Well, J and I were in for a shock. Bath hardware is expensive! So, we picked the cheapest one in the finish we liked and went for it. But the shower head wasn't amazing. And actually, someone had switched out the correct finish (Satin Nickel) on the shower head with a chrome finish. I had thought that I would replace it quickly, so whatever. But, it took me a whole year to actually get around to it.

There is really no need to go into details. I pretty much just unscrewed the previous one with my new wrench and attached the new one. The cord needed some relaxing time in this picture, but you can see that it is working.

Here its is after my shower. The new fixture is pretty awesome. It has 5 settings per nozzle, and three options: nozzle A, nozzle B or both.

But the best part is that it matches the other shower fixture now! Yay!

Also, a big thank you to my family, friends and co-workers that made my birthday special! I really appreciate it. :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Impatiens switch out

As some of you may know, J and I were away for most of the weekend (and had a great time). But I decided to do some work around the house when we got home. It's almost like I feel weird if I don't get a project done over the weekend these days. Anyway, our spring plants have been looking a little sad in this hot weather.

So, it was time to rip up the pansies and replace them with some impatiens. Impatiens have done really well in our garden because it is so shaded, so I am looking forward to them taking off this summer. The soil was already really fertilized from my spring planting, so I pretty much just stuck them in the ground and that was the end of it. The soil was still really moist from all the rain, so watering wasn't really necessary either. Although, as I was planting, a little bit of rain did fall (even though it was sunny). Nice little gift from God. :)

Now, back to the inside. I think we all remember these mismatched outlets and switches.

I was talking to one of my friends this weekend, and he mentioned that I really needed to switch these out for white ones. And I did, and it made me really want to get on it quickly, since it was an obvious issue. :) You can see in this picture where I take some paint off the wall (don't worry, I fixed it). This electrical was super easy. Just line up the new connections with the old ones and you are good to go. No degree in Electrical Engineering required (promise). The only annoying thing is that it is slightly time consuming. Also, please make sure to flip your breaker switch if you are doing this at home. Otherwise, you might be in for a shocking surprise! I always double check by plugging in a light into the outlet to make sure.


It really does make a big difference and is much less of an eyesore. And, at around $1 per switch/outlet, it is well worth the money.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!