Let it pour

Sorry for my absence!  Work was crazy and holidays were busy.  But with a few days off before next year, I hope to catch up on some posts I have been wanting to write.  Happy holidays!

As I stated here, we recently had our patio all formed up and ready to go.  We had hoped to pour it the weekend after we formed it but the weather was less than cooperative.  So during the week a month or so ago, my dad came up to pour the concrete.  I apologize for the lack of pictures (I was at work and had to leave Chase with the camera duties).

My dad arrived early in the morning and started to check the grade to make sure there was a proper slope, etc.  He then added back the luan we had removed to finish the form.  Once the concrete arrived, he and some other guys started wheeling concrete from the front to the back of our house.  Honestly, I can’t tell you what they were doing at that point.  I wasn’t there and I know relatively nothing about concrete work.  I think they used a tool called a bull float and smoothed out the concrete.  Then they used textured rollers to give the patio a textured, stone-like surface.  After that, my dad threw a lot of charcoal release onto the wet concrete.  This stuff is the finest powder ever so he tried to cover parts of our house with plastic.  We didn’t have the right stuff so he only covered the door but you would ideally want to cover the whole back of the house.

Once the release was on, you have to leave it for 24 hours.  After that, you can remove the forms and start to spray the release off and then use a mild dish detergent like Ivory or Dove with a push broom to start washing it off even more.  The more you scrub, the lighter the color will get.  We wanted the concrete to be pretty dark and black so we didn’t have to scrub too much.

Once we were satisfied with the color, we let the concrete dry completely.  Then I used a roller with a long extension to apply a coat of sealer.  The sealer needs to dry for at least an hour and a half.  I had to go to work and then it started raining so I had to wait longer than I had hoped to apply a second coat.  With the second coat, you have to roll over it several times until the first layer of sealer starts to create sort of spider webs indicating that it is bonding with the first coat.  The most important thing about sealing is that your patio is clean.  You want to make sure you have clean shoes (I actually wore clean socks) and be sure to spray off any dirt.  Anything not cleaned off will permanently be sealed in once that sealer goes on.

After the second coat, we made sure to keep things off the patio for about a week until the color had really set.  Now we have moved everything back on the patio and are so in love.  We can’t wait to get some more furniture, etc, but are just enjoying what we have so far (although today it is covered in a foot of snow!).

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Now you see me – Now you don’t.

We have this window in our bedroom shaped like an octogon.  Why that shape?  I don’t know.  It lets in the morning light and is impossible to cover in any sort of decent way with a curtain or blinds.  The previous owners cut out a piece of styrofoam to fit in it and cover the whole window.  They took it with them when they moved.  Maybe they had a window in the exact same shape at their new house.  Either way, we needed to do something about it.

When walking in the bedroom and looking out the window, you only saw the roof above our garage.  From the other direction, you would have to stand against the wall where our bed is to see out and then you see empty lots and a pond.  Either way, we were self-conscious that people could see in at night.  We wanted to create a bit more privacy while still being able to see outside and let light in (the lighting is terrible because there is only one light in the middle of a giant room).

When I found this post on 7th House on the Left, I knew it was perfect.  I ran it by Chase who approved and off I set to tackle this one evening.  It was so simple.  I printed out a template on 7th House’s blog and then traced a bunch of them out on contact paper.  Once I had enough, I started applying them to the window.  I started in the middle and just slowly pulled the paper back and pushed the contact paper down.  I wasn’t crazy precise about it.  I just eyed it and it turned out pretty great!

When I got to the edges, I followed the same process but then used a razor to cut the edges.

We LOVE it.  Chase said he wants it on all the windows.  The pattern is great and allows us to still see out but mostly blocks any ability to see inside.  And the best part: it isn’t permanent.  I can just take it off if we ever decide we don’t like it.  For now, we love it!  Check out 7th House’s blog for full instructions and for lots of other great inspiration!

27th Year Challenge: Month No. 3

While October is nearly over, it didn’t pass without me crossing off another item on my list of things to do in this 27th year of life.  A couple of weeks ago my dad came to help us with our new patio.  I will have more updates (it is completely finished now and totally gorgeous) but this is a quick post about what we did to prep for the patio.

Before my dad arrived, we had already torn out all the concrete from the existing patio and had started to till the dirt where the patio was going.  We thought we had made good progress.  Until my dad arrived.

At 8:00 am my dad rolled up and told us we had to dig up the sod where we were going to pour.  That required shoveling 4″ of dirt out of the soon-to-be patio.  The new patio measures about 14’x23′ so that was a lot of shoveling.  Once we had shoveled it out, we had to level all the dirt so it was a pretty consistent depth throughout.

While Chase and I dug up sod, my dad started forming the patio.  Don’t ask me to fully explain how he did this.  Basically, he put boards around the perimeter where the porch was going to be straight.  He sloped the boards so the porch would have a 2 inch slope.  This means that the height of the end of the porch is two inches lower than the height of the porch by the house.  This ensures that water runs off the porch and away from our house without being overly sloped causing everything to roll off the porch.

For the curved portions of the porch, he used luan which he then screwed to the boards and used stakes to help it keep its shape.

Once the forming was done, he ran another board from one side of the porch to the other.  From this we could measure the distance from the board to the ground so we could make sure the grade in the ground was consistent.

Then Chase and my dad went to McCarty’s – our favorite place to get dirt, rock, and mulch.  Total, we picked up one cubic yard of #53 rock.  This weighed about 2700 pounds.  #53 was a mixture of lime and fairly small rocks which is perfect to pack down before pouring concrete.  We then spread the rock until there were four inches from the top of the rock to the bottom of the board.

Then I basically stomped all over the rock to pack it down.  Then we removed the luan so it wouldn’t get wet (the stakes were in place so we will know exactly where to put it back when we pour), and we started spraying the rock with water so that everything would pack down.

Then dad drilled holes into the foundation and ran rebar into the holes.  He and Chase then created a sort of grid throughout the entire area where the patio would be and then wired the rebar together so nothing would shift.  The rebar helps give the concrete better stability, and running it into the house keeps it from sinking by the house which my dad tells me is the place most likely to sink.

At the end of about 5 hours, we were exhausted.  I have a crazy amount of respect for my dad who does this kind of physical labor everyday.  There is no way I could do it.  My wrists, back, feet, and legs all hurt and I had to take a nap.  I don’t know how he does it, but I’m so glad to have had his help, guidance, and expertise.  There was no way in the world we could have done this without him.

So with the patio complete, here’s where I stand on my challenge:

  • Print some family pictures from Mexico and modge podge them onto canvas or wood or something!
  • Buy barstools for our kitchen.
  • Level the light in the kitchen (which you haven’t seen yet) and paint the ceiling where the old light was.
  • Submit plans for a new patio.
  • Pour new patio.
  • Buy and hang curtains over our back doors (please send me suggestions…I can’t make up my mind!).
  • Pick out fabric and upholster chairs from my grandmother (also need suggestions).
  • Build a console table for our entryway.
  • Make or hang some art in our office.
  • Find a new light fixture for the eat-in-kitchen.
  • Upholster a headboard for the master bedroom.
  • Make/Buy and hang curtains in the master bedroom.

It’s Hammer Time!

Ah yes!  We are making progress on the porch and are so exhausted!  I thought we could all use an 80s-90s flashback to M.C. Hammer because we got crazy with a sledgehammer this week!  Chase tore out half and then I, yes I, sledged out the other half!

So before starting this step of the project, my dad was sure to warn us to cover our patio doors with cardboard in order to prevent any stray concrete chunks from crashing through the doors.  So we used some cardboard we had stored failed to throw away and taped it to the house using Frog Tape.  We didn’t want to use duck tape (although we all love duck tape) because in the heat, duck tape can get sticky and that sticky can transfer onto the side of the house.  No thank you.

So after protecting the doors, Chase got to work with a giant sledgehammer my dad loaned us.  It is affectionately called the Bubba sledge by my dad and brother.  I think it started its life by belonging to my brother…who is 6’4″ and weighs probably at least 50 pounds more than Chase … who is 5’10”.  My husband and I may not be as big as my brother but we managed just fine with that sledge.

Chase started with the corner Maggie had already dug under. (Sorry for the less than great photos.  These were taken with Chase’s phone which is five or so years old.)

And then he just kept making his way along.

I don’t have pictures of it all sledged out, but I will share the progress pictures of what we have done since this.

Great right?  Okay, maybe it isn’t pretty to you, but it looks great to me!  I think I like the house better without a patio at all than I do with the one we had.  I will keep you updated as we progress through the project so stay tuned!

Not so little anymore

Well it’s Friday – and that makes me pretty darn happy!  Not much is going in our world as we are just preparing for some concrete work to start next week.  But I wanted to send you into the weekend with some pictures of my little (or not so little anymore) puppy.

Here she was the first weekend we had her:

I miss that sweet little face, the fact that she slept, and the days when her toys were in one piece.  But as she has gotten older, she has become more snuggly which I totally love, and she has developed a personality.  I think she is demanding … like me … and lazy….also like me.  She loves laying in the bed:

And chewing on bones (which she frequently gets under the blankets and then chews through the blanket to get to):

And standing outside barking at us to come get her and let her back in:

And snoozing on the way home from a fun weekend (wearing her doggie seatbelt, of course):

Here’s to another weekend of wearing her out!  Or maybe she will wear me out!

What are your plans this weekend?  Are you spending it trying to exhaust a puppy so you can get some rest?  Enjoying the beautiful fall weather we are getting that we so deserve?

Do you approve?

As I posted back here, we recently submitted plans for a new patio.  And it had been several weeks and we had received no response (the HOA covenants, etc. state that we should get a response in 30 days).  There is some tension in the neighborhood between the homeowners and the developers/builders who control the HOA so we weren’t really sure if we would get a response at all (some of our neighbors haven’t gotten responses after a year even).

But the other day, we got an email that had one, and only one, word: “Approved.”  YAY!  We are so excited!  We can’t wait to tear that eye-sore out of the ground! 

So next weekend, we will probably be forming up the patio, with the expert help of my dad.  That means this weekend and next week, we have to tear out the existing patio (without sending concrete chips flying into the glass patio doors), till up the grass where we want the porch, and get rid of concrete.  Lots to do, but oh so excited, and I just wanted to share!  I guess this means we are well on our way to completing another task on my 27th Year Challenge!

Happy Thursday!

And if you know of anyone looking for some fill concrete in the Indy area, let me know!

I love lamp!

Our house is fairly new so one might think we have good lighting.  That person would be wrong.  I can’t tell you what I would do for some recessed lighting!  We have a large living room and the only light in the room is a ceiling fan.  Thus, I was in need of some lamps.  We had these little guys from IKEA from our days in the apartment.

They were really inexpensive but didn’t give enough light and were certainly too small for the size of the room.

So I have been on the lookout for some new lights, and two weekends ago, on a trip to Target, I found what I had been looking for.  I found these clear lamps that can be filled with items during the different seasons.

And then I found these shades.

I love me some quatrefoil and I knew the yellow would look fabulous against our gray walls.  So I picked them up, took them home, and turned them on.  Let me say, I think they turned me on!  I LOVE them.  And every time I say that, Chase says, “I love lamp.”  (Name that movie!)

And what do these lamps really show me?  Well, we definitely need to get some curtains in that room (like a year ago), and we need some more fun patterns and colors.  I guess I need to start shopping for rugs and pillows.  Darn!

Oh, and check out these amber lamps by mom bought for her living room.  They are more clear than they look here and they aren’t cloudy at all.  She has a gorgeous shade of blue on her walls and these will look so great!  I almost wanted them for myself!

So how about you?  Bought any lamps lately?  Anyone else wonder why it isn’t illegal for builders to build homes without proper lighting?  Someone should do something about that!