Work on the House Returns

May 12, 2016 § 2 Comments

Last fall, we had drywall cracks in the bedroom and master bath fixed by a professional since our efforts didn’t take. Unfortunately, the cracks came back this past winter. Our repair guy said that if that happened, there might be a more serious problem and we should call him back. So, we did.

Turns out that there were structural issues. A vertical support beam that should’ve been solid was build hollow instead (apparently that kind of a beam construction is called a pocket), and couldn’t bear the load. That’s why our bedroom door corners cracked. No wonder we couldn’t get them to stay away!

Adding Support Beam 1st Fl w Mark

We got a beautiful hole in the stairway wall and an added 2-by-4 for support (which I lined with orange in the photo above to see it better). Seriously, I’m not kidding about the beautiful part. This crew is so neat and tidy!

There was also a second spot where the support was inadequate. A wall continuing up through the first floor to the second was essentially floating between two floor joists, and consequently the first floor flooring had started to sag. This photo is not at its worst, but it’s noticeable:

Green Room Floor Sag

We got a new lolly post in the basement underneath the wall / sag. It required a hole to be dug into the foundation, and a lot of work, but it’s soooooo worth it not to have the house slowly fall down under you.

Basement New Support Post

Neither of us is upset at having an additional post to deal with in the basement. Sure, it’s a little inconvenient, since we’ve been used to not having a post there. However, it’s actually in a place that we’ll be able to easily accommodate – essentially just push a shelf against it and forget it’s there. And it could’ve been so much worse. (Plus, the whole house-not-falling-down-under-us thing!)

In addition, the same issues caused the floor to sink in a few places all the way upstairs by as much as 0.25” / 6 mm or so. Aaaaah! That we hadn’t noticed at all. The guys added support under the basement stair landing to combat it.

Basement Stairs w Added Support

The orange line in the photo above shows you the new support; there’s another set at the other end of the landing.

It’s such a relief to have all of this stuff done. There’s still some patching and repainting to do, and a back door rot issue to check out (hey there, mushroom from last fall and persistent ant issue), but we’re close to being done – hopefully for a good long while.


Work on the House

September 29, 2015 § 2 Comments

Last winter’s snows made our roof leak, and since we were going to have to get someone in to look at that anyway, we decided to have some other work done while they were at it.

The good news is, there doesn’t seem to be permanent damage in our walls or roof. Nevertheless, at one point we did get a mushroom of some sort growing in between the floorboards by the back door:

Back Door Mushroom

Yikes! It hasn’t been back, so most likely it was a fluke.

The biggest task was to repair and repaint drywall damage from the leaks and a few spots elsewhere in the house. I don’t seem to have a good photo of all the water damage by the back door and the fireplace where most of it happened, but here are two shots. The picture below shows the biggest ceiling stain when it was still of middling size:

Back Door Ceiling Damage

Living Room Work

In the picture above, the back door is just out of the picture to the left. The leaking water dripped down along the ceiling beam, ran along the beam to the fireplace and finally ran down both the side and kitchen front of the fireplace to the tile floor in front of it. You can kinda tell where the primer covering the damage is by the different reflection (gleam / lighter shade).

We’ve had cracks in the bedroom drywall for almost as long as we’ve lived in the house, and our efforts to patch them haven’t worked. It was fantastic to get those fixed!

Bedroom Doorway

A few other spots:

Upst Blue Bath

Upst Yellow Office

We also want out basement to look a little nicer, plus painted and water-protected to some extent:

Painted Basement North Wall

Painted Basement South Wall

The white on the walls is a kind of sealant, the green is just floor paint.

Then we got two of these beauties put in:

Dual Flush Toilet

Dual flush toilets! It’s a glamorous life we lead if new toilets can get you excited. πŸ˜‰

And finally, we had a bathouse hung in the south west corner of the house:


Mr. E made the bathouse following his father’s proven design. The funny thing was that the evening when the bathouse went up, we kept the garage doors open till dusk to release the fumes from the basement wall treatment. As we went to look at the work and close the garage doors, we startled a bat in our garage! The poor thing flapped around inside for a bit, confused and scared by us (most likely), then flew out. Unfortunately we can’t yet tell whether it’s settled into the bathouse or not. Here’s hoping!

And only two days after this round of work, we had to call in a plumber to replace the leaking overflow tank on our waterheater. He also discovered that our water pressure way exceeded the recommended, and installed a valve. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Ohwell. πŸ™‚

Quick Project: No-Sew Sheer Curtain for Back Door

June 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

Our back door has a huge window on it. Since the door faces south west, the nook it opens to gets unbearably hot in the summer. For a long time, we’ve wanted a sheer curtain there to block the sun. I finally got one made. Here’s the back door before:

Back Door Before

I used scraps of the same sheer fabric we used elsewhere in the house, round elastic, eye screws and small nails. Voila!

Back Door After

Much better. πŸ™‚

October Trees and Sky

October 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

It’s been a beautiful, colorful fall for far. We’ve had some yo-yo weather – down to 40s, back to 60s, up to 70s, back to 50s – which has been odd, but it hasn’t been too wet. I hope the plants manage well nevertheless.

October Trees and Sky

Happy Halloween, U.S.!

Recycled Cardboard Inserts as Snowflake Ornaments

December 12, 2013 § 2 Comments

While rearranging our kitchen cabinets, I came across a box of small soup bowls I bought in the summer of 2012. For some reason I still can’t fathom*, I made a decision to just take out a few pieces for our immediate use and leave the other half of the bowls into the box. And of course the box has been sitting in the corner of the cabinet since. While getting rid of this inconceivable clutter, I rediscovered the cardboard inserts that separated each bowl, all of which I also had inexplicably kept in the box. (There are times I really don’t understand my brain, and I live with it!)

For once, this hoarding fail turned out well: for the effort of 5 minutes at most, I got 5 white β€œsnowflake” ornaments for our living room window.

Inserts into Snowflakes

I just punched holes into the inserts, threaded loops of regular sewing thread through the holes, and hung the ornaments from a tension rod.

Inserts w Holes and Thread

Here’s a shot taken during our November special dinner:

Nov 2013 Table w Window

Although this is the first photo of them, I had them up during the first week of November. I guess I technically started decorating for Christmas very early this year, yikes! πŸ˜€

Another one with our little tree:

Tree 2013

For such little effort, I’m very pleased. πŸ™‚

*) Actually, I think I can. 2012 was the summer when my family from Finland visited, and we were neck deep in preparations and hosting. It was exhausting. No wonder my decision-making faculties weren’t all there.

Five-Second DIY Bookmark

October 17, 2013 § 4 Comments

What if I told you you can make a bookmark in five seconds flat? The project was born when I was about to throw a product info tag into the recycling: I thought the tag was a bit too neat just to throw away, never to be seen again.

This bookmark β€œproject” is hardly worth the name, but there is it nevertheless. πŸ™‚ It won’t cost you a thing if you’re in the habit of saving your scrap materials for crafting. If not, you might be able to scavenge a bit of string and a corner of cardboard. Here we go!


– Product information tag from a piece of clothing, toy, purse, etc., as long as you like the look and the size is suitable for a bookmark. The tag already has a hole, so you save yourself the trouble of punching one. (Of course you can also use a piece of pretty cardboard or the like and a hole punch. This is just the super-duper fast way.)

– A length of thin ribbon or thick yarn, approx. 5-6 inches (15 cm) long

How to:

DIY Bookmark Mashup

Fold ribbon in two, loop through the hole on the tag, insert ends of ribbon through the loop, pull to tighten. Enjoy!

Finished Bookmark

In fact, it took waaaay longer to write this down than to make my bookmark. πŸ™‚

My Office: Slow Progress 2

August 2, 2013 § 1 Comment

Changing jobs has kept me busy this June and July. Most of my home projects have been on the back burner as I try to adjust to the new circumstances. For me at least, progress happens more slowly than I’d like, but I seem to be getting a handle on things at last.

Unfortunately, the work-related progress still hasn’t translated to home project-related progress. Well, in a minor way. My office re-do has moved from this

Bookcase Standing

…to this:

Slow Bookcase Progress

Sigh. At least all my stuff is off of the floor and protected from dust. Everything still needs to be rearranged and neatened up a bit. I’m sure these metal(!) magazine files from the Ikea As-Is room will help:

Ikea Magazine Files

We happened on a big pile of them the other week, only for $2 each. Score! I can’t wait to have a day to myself and get my hands on those bookcases!

(Note: I do not not publish sponsored content, or accept gifts or discounts to write about products. Blog posts are based on my personal opinion.)

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