Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Construction Day 4...

Welcome back.  The construction crew is making great progress!  All of the insulation is in, as is the electrical wiring and the plumbing, and now the drywall is well under way.  It's a nice large space...not much smaller than our first house!

Allow me to show you around.

This is the stair entrance before...

and this is the stair entrance today...


When we reach the top of the stairs, we turn into the entrance of the apartment.  The first room is the living area...shown here before...

...and this is what it looks like today with the walls enclosed.


Going to the far end of the apartment is the bath... before...

...and the bath today has the shower installed.  To the left of the shower I believe there will be open shelving in the oddly shaped opening.


Across from the shower is the vanity area before...

...and the vanity area on Day 4.  The commode will be under the window, so that window will be the very first with window covering!


This photo was taken just as I exited the bath.  This shows the bedroom before...

...and this is the bedroom Day 4.  If I put out my left hand, I can reach the closet in the wall behind me, and just to the right of the doorway that you see ahead, you can sort of see another doorway to the right but still inside the bedroom...it leads to a small room which could be used as another larger closet, a dressing area, a small study, etc.


This photo is taken from the bedroom door facing back into the living area...before...

...and here is the living area Day 4.  The doorway seen straight ahead is the stair entrance/exit.


This is the right side of the living area, and will be the kitchen area.  Like my rather primitive drawings?  It's getting late, and it was the best I could manage in PhotoShop tonight.  It represents from left to right: pantry, cabinets with sink, a small surface and stool for a possible eating area in the dormer window, stove, cabinet, and to the very right is where the refrigerator will be.


 And now we are back at the top of the stairs heading down...before...

...and the top of the stairs on Day 4.  The large opening in the wall seen straight ahead will be storage, and will have doors.


This brings us to the end of today's tour.  So glad you could come.  Please watch your step on the way down...no handrails yet.  :)
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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Construction has begun...


Two and a half years in, we are FINALLY sucking it up and hiring someone to finish the garage apartment.  This is the before photo from the entrance doorway looking in.  It's a very good size, and has good light from all the windows.

I'll be sharing progress photos soon.  The crew says they will be done in 3 weeks.  The painting and some of the finishing will be completed by 'us' after the paid crew leaves.

Edit 1/3/2015: I had a comment today asking if there was an exterior photo of the apartment, so I am inserting the photo below.  The apartment is the upstairs portion of the garage.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

If at first you don't succeed...

My endeavor to mail 52 letters in 52 weeks continues.


The 'hang in there' card from last week's Saturday snail mail post haunted me.  I really wanted a do-over.

So here's this week's version.  I am much happier with it.  I came across the plain-colored clothes pins this week.  I KNEW I had some somewhere.  Isn't it crazy how you always come across something lost JUST after you exhausted yourself and gave up looking for it?

Accountability stats:  29 weeks / 25 cards
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Monday, July 15, 2013

For your consideration...

I have a sweet blog friend over at Notes From The Frugal Trenches.  I have followed her blog for years, and we have exchanged many, many emails as well as snail mail.

She is a wonderful  godly woman, who is generous and caring towards all.  She is a single mom who adopted two beautiful special-needs children in 2011.  Her son has recently required hospitalization that is expected to be long term, and to make it more difficult the hospital is not local.

Her children's godmother has recently started a fundraising campaign to assist them through this rough patch.  If you are so inclined, please consider donating here (you can also access by clicking on the GoFundMe link on the right of this page) to help out this sweet family who is struggling right now.
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The birthday gift...

Jared's birthday was this weekend. This was the gift I was looking forward to giving to him. It's a painting of his old dog, Spike.

I did it at a Painting With A Twist class.  About a week before the class, they have you email them a high quality photo of a close up of the face of your pet.  When you arrive for the class they have a canvas ready for you, with your pet sketched on it ready to paint.

I was a little leery of what it might turn out like, but I am pretty happy with it.  I think it looks a little like Emmett Kelly.  You be the judge.
photo credit: AP file

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Saturday snail mail...

My endeavor to mail 52 letters in 52 weeks continues...

It has been a long time since I posted any Saturday snail mail.  Here are a few cards that I made/sent this week.

This first one is for a client that turned 89...

This is a simple one, but that's what I like about it.  

And this is one I made this morning.  I had exactly what I wanted in my head, but everything went wrong with it.  Sewing machine acted up...I couldn't find the clothes pins I wanted...the printing smeared...but I was in a rush, and didn't have the time or will to redo.  Oh well...it had an honest-to-goodness letter written inside, and it is winging its way to a dear one.

Accountability stats: 27 weeks / 22 letters
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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Birth House by Ami McKay

I finished this one yesterday.  Pretty good.  A seventeen-year-old girl apprentices to a midwife in a secluded Canadian village during World War I.  I spent most of Sunday doing nothing but reading and an occasional load of laundry.

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Seven random thoughts on the 7th...


1.  I am suffering guilt and self loathing about not getting several cards off on time.  Today I shall work on that!

2.  This dining room table...


...and this kitchen island may never have both had clear surfaces at the same time before.
So, you know, I thought I'd take a picture...just in case they never do again.  :)

3.  I am so excited about a birthday next weekend, because it is someone SO hard to gift to, and this year I have the perfect one!!  I'll be showing it as soon as it is given.

4.  I have probably mentioned this before, and I probably will again.  Yesterday as I was preparing cupcakes and continually having to wipe up spills etc, and this morning as I was washing my face, I remembered each and every time how WONDERFUL it is to be able to wring out a wet cloth.  I've gone back to taking for granted the other things I missed SO much when my hand was in the cast forever, but five years on I NEVER wring out a wet rag without giving thanks for two healthy hands.

5.  I love wireless service in my home.  I'm sitting with my feet up in my living room, and I just printed some more cupcake wrappers in the home office across the house.  Who would have imagined that a decade or so ago?

6.  I am feeling really guilty today for something I said yesterday to someone.  I said I didn't like my house.  It sounded so whiny and self-indulgent.  Of course I DO love my home.  I love being close to my kids and grandkids.  I love and am so thankful for a comfortable, sheltering home filled with modern conveniences.  I guess what I meant to say was that I still feel homesick for different aspects of homes I've had in the past.  But I definitely appreciate the peaceful haven that this one gives me.

7.  Aack!  Tomorrow it is back to my regular work schedule.  For the past few weeks there have been holidays and vacation days and, thus, short weeks.  Bye bye short weeks...for awhile.
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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Frappuccino cupcakes...

It's birthday season around here again, and on Monday Bobby will be 14!

I've posted some of the sweets and treats I've made for the kidlets before.  Awhile back, Bobby asked me to make him some frappuccino cupcakes for his birthday.  Luckily, you can find ANYTHING on the Internet.

I found a DElicious looking recipe made all from scratch.  However, I have had a ton of things to get done, and did not feel up to tackling that one.  So I dumbed down the amazing inspiration recipe (found here) to fit my schedule and energy level.

I started by baking chocolate cupcakes from (gasp!) a mix.  Then I used this little gadget to hollow out their middles.


Very nifty, eh? 

I set the middles aside for later. 

For the filling I used a package of Jell-o Mousse (chocolate flavor) made to the package directions, except that I added one packet of Starbuck's VIA Iced Coffee. 

I placed the mousse in a large Ziplock bag, and snipped off one corner...

...and thus piped each cupcake center almost full. 

When they were all filled... 

...I took the reserved middles, and cut the bottoms off, so that they could sit atop the filling. 

Then I corked them back into the top of each cupcake. 

For the frosting, I used two containers of prepared Duncan Hines Frosting Creations Frosting Starter, one envelope of Duncan Hines Frosting Creations Caramel flavor, and a packet of Starbuck's VIA Caramel instant coffee.  I mixed those together, and then I added enough confectioners sugar to get a stiff consistency to the frosting. 

I clipped a corner of another large Ziplock bag and put a star decorator tip in and secured. 

Now, maybe everybody but me knows this, but I just learned it, so I'm passing it on.  I used to try to hold the bag open with one hand and fill it with the spatula in the other hand, and I always had a big sticky mess.  Then I saw somewhere to put the tip down into a container (I used a big travel mug) and fold the top down over the top and sides of the container.  Then fill the bag with frosting, and lift the still clean top of the bag up and twist it closed to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.  It worked like a charm. 

I made little Starbuck's cupcake wrappers...drizzled the top with prepared caramel topping...and put on a few chocolate sprinkles for good measure.  Now they are all stored in air-tight containers in the fridge until Bobby and family come over tomorrow.  Pretty cute, huh? 


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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th...

Independence Day is already here.  The year is half over!  How the time flies.


Last weekend the girls made cards with a patriotic look for their great grandmother, and I got them in the mail on Monday.


I love that they are really progressing with their letter writing skills.  I no longer have to give any suggestions or promptings. Caitlyn reports the facts.

 Chloe's are just a bit more dramatic.  Love, hope, and justice, indeed.  :)  

My mother-in-law loves receiving their letters.  Last month she called me after their Mother's Day cards to her arrived.  She was tickled pink with what they had written.  I have made major daughter-in-law points in the past couple of years with this activity.  :)
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