How to completely ignore your blog and all of it’s followers, then come back and pretend like you haven’t missed a post.

Just kidding. I honestly did not plan on being gone for so long but I was in a coma – at least a blogging coma. The truth is: we got pregnant. With twins. And those first few months were rough – reeeaally rough. Like, I didn’t go anywhere without ziploc baggies to puke into rough. And then they were tiring – reeeaally tiring. And now I have no excuses. I’m on modified bedrest and I’m bored out of my mind and I feel a little guilty to even write this blog – because it’s been so freaking long since I’ve written anything. I almost thought I should just delete this blog, pretend like it never happened, and start a new one. But then I’d lose all those great moments and I’m too sentimental to lose all of those – especially right now – when just about anything brings me to tears.

The bad part about trying to just pick right up again is it’s been 7 months. A lot has happened in those 7 months and I would hate to shortchange all the accomplishments we have made in 7 months by just a quick summary. So, here’s what I’ll do: I’ll give you a nice photo tour of our house right now and maybe I’ll post later about how we did it.

We finaled with our addition about three months ago – at least as far as the city is concerned. Apparently  they don’t care if your front yard is done – because up until last weekend it had about 2 feet of weeds growing everywhere. It’s now freshly graded and trenches are dug for our future front yard. M is at work for the next four days, so nothing is going to happen there…and I was too lazy to walk outside and take a picture so just pretend it looks just like how it did back in July. And honestly, aside from the massive trenches, it really does. So, no pics of the front yard today.

Here is our new entry/music room:

Our livingroom and the tv console table I built from one of Ana White’s plans:

The stairs we still need to finish the skirts and the baseboards on the landing and put in the runner:

Red’s room/alcove bed:

You can see we still haven’t put up any closet doors. Red loves her chandelier. It came white and I just spray painted it yellow.

E’s room:

The dressers are Ikea’s Tarva’s hacked into dressers with bookshelf hutches. I will follow up with a tutorial (probably in the next 7 months…). I built those somewhere between puking my guts out and sleeping my life away.

One of her bookcases opens up to make a little desk. Mike get’s the credit for this hack, I just gave him detailed instructions and some hinges and clasps.

The girl’s Jack and Jill bathroom in all it’s messy glory:
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Our massive master bedroom and bathroom. We still need to stain the end panel on our kitchenette. I also have a canvas coming of a picture I took in Yosemite that will hang over the sink.
You can see I still need to finish painting a lot of the door/alcove trims. Mike says I have until the twins are 3 to finish…I guess he’s basing his timeline on my recent lack of motivation.
Mike’s closet…imagine how it looks with better lighting. Mike and I had a contest at this point: see who could finish their closet first. He did all of the woodworking in his, and I did all of the woodworking in mine. Technically I finished first – only because I caulked and touched up all of the baseboards in my closet and he’s still waiting for me to do that in his. Honestly, his clothes were moved in to his closet about three days before mine were. His also has a secret door that I’m not supposed to talk about…ssssshhhh….if you come over, try and find it.

My closet. These are really crappy pics. You should see it in person.

The Master Shower and WC:21215_master721215_master1 21215_master2
In case you are curious, that’s a painting I did – I based it off of a painting I saw at Target a long time ago but didn’t buy because I didn’t like the colors it was done in…so, it’s a copy of something I saw at Target #expensivetaste

The future nursery with some blankets I’ve been working on:

On the outside we have rain gutters and solar panels. That is all.

Finishing Touches!

This past week Mike has been hanging fans and connecting all the electrical receptacles (light switches/outlets). I put in the trim pieces for the can lights, hung a few sconces and a cute chandelier over our front door.

Mike strongly dislikes the chandelier, he hasn’t flat out said he doesn’t like it, but I can tell. dislike
It’s the same face he made when he found out our new sofas don’t have built in recliners. He passive aggressively refers to me as “design eye” and we move on.

I don’t care what he says, I like these couches and they are super comfy. This fan used to be in the top of our ceiling vault, right smack dab in the middle between our kitchen and livingroom. My “design eye” said it needed to move into the livingroom. It looks much better in it’s new home.

That’s not a shadow on the ceiling you’re seeing, it’s paint. Mike sprayed the walls before we rolled the second coat and he didn’t mask the ceiling. On purpose. Because we are doing this to the kitchen and livingroom ceilings:
(not my kitchen – source unknown – but the stone floors look just like the stone we picked out for the upstairs bathrooms)

Speaking of ceilings I made a a little wooden frame to go between our whole house fan and the ceiling, for some reason it wasn’t made to sit flush and had a 1/2″ reveal (nice language for big gaping whole) around the entire edge of the fan.

I looks much better trimmed out. I almost got fired though because it’s been awhile since I’ve done any woodworking and I couldn’t find one of my tools. I looked like this:

I pulled it together, Mike threatened to do the project himself and his finish work makes me look like this:
Building that frame got me in the mood to start the rest of my trim work and now I’m working on the window sills and casings.

Mike’s working on getting our showers ready for tile. Here is a pic of the girls shower/tub:

Do you see that soap/shampoo niche? I got it on ebay. It’s foam covered in cement (or foam coat if you want to get technical). It’s totally waterproof and ready for tile – sloped and everything. It fits right into your framing. We could have framed one ourselves, but this was $40 of awesomeness – so I bought two. The other one is in our shower.

I got these sconces on ebay too. They were the first things I’ve ever bought from another country and I was scared. I love them!

I really wanted these lights from Restoration Hardware but they are $299 EACH. And that would be fine if we didn’t like to eat on a regular basis. But we do, so $600 for two lights was the type of price tag that put it in the “dream on” category. Until my friend mentioned finding something similar on ebay. I must have done something right in this world because sure enough for less than half the price of one light I got two including the $20 shipping to the USA from Hong Kong. Thank you Hong Kong.

The one caveat? When we put the box in the wall for a sconce we used the oversized ones. Light fixture boxes come in roughly three sizes: pancake, normal and oversized. You’ve seen them, they look like this:

We put in oversized because we just happened to have two lying around and at the time it didn’t make a difference to us. Fast forward to finishing time and wouldn’t you guess it, Hong Kong sent sconces that aren’t made for standard USA electrical boxes. That’s cool because Mike still hung them and I patched the little bit of plastic that was showing. See, you can’t even tell.

At some point between polka dots and lights I noticed this wall looked a little blank:

A little closer perhaps?

I swear I put an electrical box here…I sure did, here’s the light switch for it. Funny that when Mike put the switch in, it never dawned on him that the actual light box was nowhere to be found. Details are just not his thing.

Mike has a plan to find it though (I told him it is exactly 79″ high centered on the wall – cuz I’m OCD like that) he is going to turn the switch on then use his current finder or some little electrical tool he has to pin point its exact location behind the wall – hey! wait, didn’t I tell you it’s 79″ high centered on the wall? Who cares…he’s got his “tool”. It’s a digital multimeter (DMM). It’s red because Mike says, “All great tools are red.” Whatever, you buy Makita.

PS. I love Mike. With all my big, red heart.

DIY: Make your own vinyl polka dot decals


This was probably one of the easiest DIY crafts I have ever done. Mike can attest to that – since he’s had to deal with me sewing ruffles for two months straight when I was making the girls duvets. This craft took me MAYBE an hour cumulatively if you don’t count drying time/shopping time. I can’t wait to re-purpose it and make lots of other vinyl decals! I’m thinking vase decor, milk jug numbers, framed silhouette…the possibilities are endless. The contact paper is vinyl so you don’t have to worry about water damage to the sticker. The sticker side won’t damage your walls yet it sticks really well since its made to be a shelf liner.

Here’s the tutorial!

White contact paper – this is the stuff you line shelves with or cover books with. It’s matte vinyl on one side and sticky on the other. It’s $1.97 at Lowes for a 10′ x 12″ roll. That’s 10 feet people for less than $2!
Spray paint – I used brushed nickel in a matte finish.
Hole punch – the size I used is 1.5″ diameter. I got it at Michaels. I used a 40% off coupon and it was about $5.

Step 1: Estimate how many dots you need. I’m not a big estimator so I just cut off about 3′ of my roll.

Step 2: Lay the roll out on something you don’t mind getting paint spray on. We are doing a huge addition so I happened to have a plastic tarp.

Step 3: Spray your paint on the vinyl side of the contact paper. Obviously if you don’t have spray paint you can roll or brush paint on. Spray is just the easiest. I also had some primer laying around so I put a coat of that on first. I don’t really think the primer was necessary. So if you don’t have any don’t stress it – especially if you buy the spray paint that has primer in it. I did three coats of my chosen color and let it dry an hour between coats.

Step 4: Cut the newly painted but now dry contact paper into 2″ wide strips. If you are using a larger or smaller hole punch make your strips about .5″ wider than you need so you can line the punch up properly.

Step 5: Using your hole punch, punch out your dot or other shape from your color strips.

Look at all these lovely dots!

Step 6: Prep your walls. Wipe your walls down with a damp cloth so any dust or residue is removed.

Step 7: Stick the dots to the wall. You can obviously do any pattern. I did just a standard polka dot diamond pattern. My wall is 6′ wide and 8′ high. My polka dots are placed 12″ apart. I didn’t want my dots to land on a crease/corner/edge so I started my pattern 1.5″ away from the corner of the room and 1/8″ from the top of the ceiling. I used a level and a tape measure to make sure everything stayed relatively in line. If you butt your tape measure up to the top of the ceiling and let the body of it drop straight to the ground with it laying flush against the wall you’ll get a pretty solid straight path to line your dots up on. I then took a pen and marked a period at 1/8″ moved my tape measure down to 1/8″ then from there marked at 12″, 24″, 36″, 48″, 60″, 72″, and 84″. That made the first row of dots. The second row of dots have to be offset by 6″ to make the diamond pattern. To do this measure along the ceiling edge 6″ from your ceiling dot then 6″ down – this should give you a dot roughly 6 1/8″ from the top of the ceiling and 6″ across from your first row of dots. Then just drop your tape measure down the wall to the floor and mark from the first dot 12″, 24″ 36″, 48″, 60″, 72″, and 84″. The next row of dots will start 12″ from the very first row and line up with the first row down the wall. Then repeat this across your wall or door or mirror or … 🙂
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Yes I did just throw the trash on the ground. I’ll clean it up later. With all the drywall dust it could use another sweep.

Hint: To remove the backing off the contact paper hold the contact paper with the vinyl side facing away from you then fold back a small edge of the paper. It should separate easily from the backing and the crease goes away when you smooth the decal onto the wall. It’s also a great idea to smooth the decals onto the wall with a credit card to make the edges adhere really well.

A Down and Dirty Update

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted an update. Some people have been asking if we’ve either given up and decided to become trailer trash for life or if we’re all moved in to the house again.

Maybe in two more days.

At least that is what I tell myself everysingleday. The truth of the matter is, we will be lucky in two months if we are painting and moving back in. However, in order to get through each day living in the trailer I tell myself, “just two more days and we’ll be done!” If anyone out there is a runner you probably can relate because we make mantras like this with every breath. Sometimes when I’m running I will count all the street lights that I pass, then on my way back I count down from ten. Maybe it’s just me. But that’s how I cope. I lie to myself until it becomes reality. I like to call this positive thinking.

Others call it what it is: denial.


So where are we exactly in this project for reals? We are about 99.8% complete with everything we need to do before we put in insulation and start the next phase: Drywall and Finish Work.


See…lie to yourself til it’s true. It works almost every time.

Our inspector came by with his boss on Wednesday for them to both check it out. I guess the people at city hall see our house as a “teaching moment”. Apparently second story house additions aren’t done very often – especially with floor trusses instead of I-joists and especially not without a general contractor. They gave us a green light to call for combo inspection next week as long as we make a few minor tweaks…so minor they aren’t even worth mentioning.

I would have updated sooner, but all the guts of the house are absolutely boring details. The photos all just look the same.

Down and dirty highlights from this past month:

  • Lath inspection passed
  • Drywall delivered
  • Insulation delivered
  • HVAC upstairs and downstairs complete
  • Electrical complete – this includes rewiring the entire downstairs – what a nightmare that was, the smoke detector circuits, low voltage wiring for entire house network and smart tv’s.
  • Framing complete – all blocking, all nailers, all straps/ties/clips/nail plates, all of it done. phew. soooo happy about this hurdle
  • All the exhaust vents and a whole house fan (thanks to all our friends who talked us into this one)
  • A million other minute details not worth mentioning that are all expected to be in the wall before you actually close the wall up.

What’s left? Not even a day’s worth of work.

By next week we should be insulated and probably drywalling. Then the pics will actually start to look good again.

If anyone out there is interested in adding a second story to your house feel free to email, we’d love to hear from you!