Thursday, August 29, 2013

Making popsicles

Seven weeks ago, Owen still had all of his baby teeth.  Now he's down three with another one on deck to meet the Tooth Fairy.  And he's only 5!  This is kinda early, right?  You should have seen the condescending look he gave me the other night when I offered him apples at dinner.  Popsicles are clearly a much more friendly choice for someone in his dental condition.

I'm trying to make the most of this last week with him before he starts kindergarten, so when he asked if we could make strawberry cream popsicles (I blame Steel City Pops for his refined popsicle palate) I thought we could make a fun half-day out of it.

First we went online to choose the recipe.  He went for the one with the yummiest pictures.  She's going to have to change her blog name for me once Owen can read, though ;)   Then I gave him a notepad and he wrote down the ingredients we would need, 'strawderries' being one of them.  Next we were off to the grocery store where he got his own cart, 'read' his list and filled the basket.  Owen would much rather be running around whacking things at any given moment, so it was great to see him so focused and proud of what he was accomplishing.

The cute monster pop molds are from his Beck Beck, and they work great.  I just saw where they have push-pop molds now too.  That's tempting!

He's been having one outside after dinner each night, and he says they taste just like he wanted.  Ooh, I'm going to miss him when he's at school!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

B&A: Basement Bathroom

While Scott was in Africa last month, I decided it would be a good idea for me to have a project so I wouldn't just sit around and miss him and be jealous of his adventures.  Not a flattering admission, but at least I've gotten better at the 'knowing thyself' thing.  

The bathroom in our basement has looked exactly the way it did the day we moved in almost 4 years ago- mostly because nobody ever used it and partly because I thought the paintings the previous owners' grandchildren made on the walls were quirky and sweet.  I mean, look at that smiling bird!  I really do hope when I'm a grandma I can be laid back enough to have a home where there's room for my grandchildren to have fun and leave their own mark.

When Scott started hosting guys' nights on the patio off our basement, I got self-conscious about the condition of that bathroom though.  It had that damp smell and peeling paint and gunky grout on the floors, so I decided a good cleaning, a nice coat of white paint on the walls and a fun color on the cabinet would freshen it up.  

When the walls were all finished and I was ready to move on to the cabinet, I remembered reading this post and decided the little backsplash had to go... and that's when things got ugly.

My mistake?  The tutorial on Young House Love was for a granite backsplash that's only been glued/caulked in place.  Mine was laminate with about half-a-dozen gnarly (do people still use that word?) screws connecting it to the countertop.  So when I ripped the backsplash off, I ripped all kinds of holes in the countertop too.  And where I was lucky enough not to have big holes, I had about an inch of the end of a screw left pointing out of the counter instead.  

I borrowed my neighbor's Dremel to saw off the screws.  Can you hear me yelling for my mom to grab the camera and snap a photo of me looking cool with sparks going everywhere?  'Cause that's how it happened.  I trimmed the screws, patched one big hole I made in the (freshly painted) wall and clued the countertop back together as best I could.

And then another blogger made a very timely post that saved me from thoughts of just going down to Lowe's and paying $100+ for a new countertop and installation.  For about $20 instead, I sanded down the counter and skim coated it with 3 layers of feather finish concrete.  I was kinda shocked when it worked.  (Oh, and it did not escape my notice in the tutorial that she wisely left her laminate backsplash alone and it looked perfectly fine in the final room.)  Not bad, right?  I don't think I would get away with having only drywall behind a sink that gets daily use, but this sink is used maybe once every week or two.

While the countertop drama was going on, I would take breaks to work on something a little easier- the cabinet below.  I decided to put faux feet on it to make it look more like a piece of furniture.

There weren't any pre-made pieces at the hardware store big enough, so I Frankenstein-ed two different ones together.  And I'm a chicken about electric saws, so I had to saw them by hand.  Took forever.

So here's a before and after of the cabinet.  Sorry for making you look at the toilet :)

I needed to Kilz the inside of the cabinet to get rid of the damp smell, so I went ahead and grabbed some leftover grey paint (named Squirrel!) from this project and had a little fun.

And I cleaned the scary bug and scorpion carcasses out of the tiny closet and gave it a coat of Kilz too. (Just noticed I didn't paint the top of the closet door.  Guess you should do that if you plan to unleash photos of your basement bathroom on the internet.)

Pretty underwhelming before and after, but I painted the doors grey, installed a hook for towels since I chose not to reinstall any of the big towel bars that were originally in there.  And that's a souvenir Scott brought back for us from Africa- a little hand sewn bird ornament.  Thought it was a fitting nod to the little bird who used to be in the bathroom and to the reason I decided to tackle the project in the first place.

A few more after photos:

The bathroom rug was the final touch I added yesterday afternoon.  That little guy had a heck of a time getting here; it was on the UPS plane that crashed in Birmingham two weeks ago.  I'm all sorts of conflicted about having that rug in our house.  It was handmade in Turkey 60 years ago and it was my birthday present from Scott's parents, so I'm so happy it survived.  But seeing the package with grass and mud all over it and knowing what happened to the pilots just makes me sad.  What are your thoughts?  Would you keep it?  

I'm pretty sure I will.  It's bittersweet, but that's how most of life is anyway, right?

Thursday, August 8, 2013