Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Eek! It's a Mouse in the House!

Last night, at the hour of midnight, we were awoken by the sound of chewing.

Gnaw Gnaw Gnaw,
Chew, Chew, Chew.

My husband rolled over and said, "Is that a mouse?"
We tapped on the wall, and the sound silenced.

Four hours later, we were again awoken to the sound of chewing.

Gnaw Gnaw Gnaw,
Chew, Chew, Chew.

Again, tapping on the wall silenced the interloper.

When I awoke at 6 am, there was that unmistakable sound again.

Gnaw Gnaw Gnaw,
Chew, Chew, Chew.

We have mice.

I took a trip to store and bought 2 live traps and a Pest-a-cator 2000. Hopefully, we will catch the mice in the walls in the live traps, and drive any we don't catch out with the Pest-a-cator.

First, a nice dollop of peanut butter in the bait tray.
Then, trap placed along wall.

Then, we wait. I hope we catch them. I plan on releasing them on the banks of the canal down the street, which is likely where they came from, looking for warmth and food. I bet they LOVED the peppermint bark!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Peppermint Bark! (and yes, it's related to home improvement)

I was inspired by Aimee at Aimee's Blog to make peppermint bark. It looked like such a good (and easy) idea for coworker gifts. Her pictures make it look truly elegant and scrumptious, too.

My own made-up recipe:
2 bags (24 ounces) of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 bars (12 ounces) of Ghirardelli white chocolate
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
18 Candy Canes

First, I smashed the candy canes with the hammer wrapped in tinfoil. The best tool for the job, I must add. I love my hammer. This was FUN! (Hint: Don't crush fingers... only candy canes)
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Then, I melted the chocolate chips in the microwave on 50% heat. Start with 1:30, and then stir. If it's not melted, heat for :30 and stir again. Repeat until creamy. Add 1/4 tsp of peppermint extract.
Smear (I love that word) the chocolate all over a tinfoil lined baking sheet and chill for an hour.
Then, melt the white chocolate (same process as above). Stir in 1/4 tsp peppermint extract and the crushed candy canes and smear over the hardened dark chocolate. Chill overnight.
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In the morning, use your HAMMER to break the peppermint bark into pieces.
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I wrapped the peppermint bark in candy boxes and tied a pretty gift tag on for decoration:
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How is this home improvement related? It uses a hammer, of course!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Before and After the Fence...

Before: (Last year in 3 feet of snow)
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After: (This morning in 1 foot of snow)
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The dogs LOVE the fence. LOVE it. Happy snow day!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Color Choices and Beadboard?

The very first home improvement project we undertook when we bought this house was to paint the bathroom. We attempted to paint the walls the same grey color we thought the tub tile was... except, when that color covers entire walls it's actually a lavender/blue shade.

My bathroom in it's current purply-blue and white glory:

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We would love to paint a different color. We are thinking one of the shades below.. probably the second or third saturation level.

The great part about #1 is that it is from the same tint family as the living room and bedrooms. The living room is the lightest color on the swatch, and the bedrooms are one color lighter. It might make a nice visual connection between the bathroom and the rest of the house to stay in that family. Of course, the green in #3 is nice, too and the chocolate in #4 just makes me hungry!

Suggestions of different colors are more than welcome...

Also on a slightly different note, I've been toying with the idea of adding white beadboard around the bottom of the bathroom and just painting the upper portion the above color choice. It's a small space and wouldn't cost much. Would it be too much of a contrast/too white?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

More Bathroom Plans...

Our bathroom is coming together. We are a backwards sort of people, so we did the floor first. Here are more plans:

This window in the shower needs to go. It is rotting, and covered with a small piece of vinyl shower curtain. Definitely not attractive.

The plan?
To replace the window with glass blocks.

The problems?
The window is 24 inches wide. Glass blocks are 8 inches wide. If I put 3 blocks in the window, there is no room for mortar. Also, it is 35 inches tall. What should I use to fill the gap? Must research this further.

I HATE the tub surround tile. It is fake marble. FAKE, FAKE, FAKE. So fake that you can SEE the pixelation from the printer that created the pattern. Each tile is exactly the same, too.
Even WORSE than the fake marble tile is the accent tile. It is a baby blue/slate grey concoction that gives the appearance of being rope.
They do not match our bathroom at all.

The plan?
To carefully chip out the blue accent tile and replace it with slate tiles cut to fit. I'm trying to decide whether to do long pieces of slate or short (1 inch) pieces of slate.

Our bathroom needs more storage.

The plan?
I am going to build two extensions to the vanity that will fill in the area between the vanity and the wall. They sell cabinet doors for fairly cheap, so I will be able to match the existing doors.
I'm going to put marble countertops on top of the two units, to "match" the fake marble shower surround.
I want them to look different than the existing white counter, since they will never look like "part" of it.

Fourth through Seventh:
Replace the shower curtain and rod.
Finish the doors.
Finish the molding and trim.
Paint and texture.