Tuesday, March 30, 2010

the Magic of Macy's

About a year ago, I was checking the Macy's website almost every day, to peek at what had been purchased off of our wedding registry.  We were so glad that we registered at Macy's, because not only did they have a wide selection of options in their home store (at least our King of Prussia Macy's did), plus the Analon cookware that we were hoping to receive (thanks Mom & Dad!), but their cash back rewards incentives were great, not to mention their amazing sales.  We got a gift card a few months after our wedding for nearly $100 - 5% cash back from all gifts purchased by our guests, and 10% back for purchases we made for the wedding such as the groomsman gifts.

And usually, I lose everything, and am surprised that after moving twice, I still had the gift card!

I just happened to check the Macy's website today to see if they were having any sales, and today was the preview sale day for one of their One Day sales tomorrow.  So after work, I made a quick stop.  And, man, I sure was glad I did.

I scored a Martha Stewart white ceramic pitcher, a set of pillow shams for the guest room that is soon to be decorated, and a cast iron griddle/panini press... ALL FOR $40 (marked down from original prices of over $150)!  The salesperson was nice enough to give me an extra 10% discount, since I shared that I had registered there - she just printed out my registry from last year and added these items so I could get a better deal.

So, if you haven't lately, and you need a gift or something new for your home... don't forget to check out Macy's.

Note: Macy's did not pay me whatsoever to mention them in this post.

Monday, March 29, 2010

March Update

March is almost over, and I have been a lousy blogger this month.  I think the beginning of Spring has gotten me re-energized to start new projects, and we have definitely been spending more time working on things outside, and later into the night since it stays lighter outside for so much longer.  All of this has meant less time to blog.

Or maybe that's just my excuse.

Kitchen Update: All the wallpaper is finally down, and Rob has spent countless hours scraping glue remnants and sanding in preparation to paint.  We have also spent lots of time planning how to use our tax rebate money to change as many things as possible, and have found some great deals so far, like under-cabinet mounted lighting for $5.99 at Ollie's (usually cost $14.99 each at Lowe's).  We have also decided on butcher-block countertop from IKEA, and a dishwasher with the utensil holder on the door... Rob's choice... making room for more dishes in the bottom drawer so we don't have to run the dishwasher as often.  I am trying to find a white farmhouse-style sink that I like and that fits the dimensions that we need.  The plan is to get a lot of this done while we won't be living at home for a month - that's right! back to camp for us this summer - which will be nice, since I won't be needing to cook then, and might actually be able to enjoy the renovation more.

Bathroom update: The pink toilet has been running constantly.  It used to stop running if you jiggled the handle, but that stopped doing the trick about two weeks ago.  We knew we would need to replace the toilet eventually, but we were hoping to wait until next year at this time to work on projects in the master bathroom.  On the upside, we're getting more money back for our tax return than we anticipated, and we also have a friend who is going to help us with another bathroom project prior to replacing the toilet - installing a tile floor!

In other update news, we've been able to do small projects, like get the front door prepped for painting it red later this week, hanging some more artwork (especially in our master bedroom), and hanging a coat rack/assembling a shoe bench so that we have some semblance of a mini mud room near our front door.  Rob has also replaced a few more outlets, and installed the new wireless doorbell.  Oh, and we're also brand new premium members of AAA, because we drive cars that are getting up there in age and you never know when you'll need a friendly tow. 

I officially feel like a grown-up now - I have purchased my first toilet, and have joined AAA without my parents paying the membership for me. 

Blogger Improvements

Thanks to some "home improvement" of it's own, Blogger has become even better to use for managing this blog, and has allowed us to be more creative and organized! And if you're a fellow Blogger blogger, be sure to check Blogger in Draft for all the newest, latest and greatest blog-techy stuff.

We hope you enjoy the new look and some of the new features on our blog. Take time to explore and make sure to check back as we add more content!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bye, Bye Wheat!

The time has finally come.  Something yesterday in me triggered the reality that I could not bear to look at the wheat wallpaper that has so lovingly adorned our home's kitchen walls for years...er...decades...any longer.  It just had to come down.  Surely what was behind it couldn't be any worse!?

There it is.  The lovely wheat pattern up close.  Can you see the texture?

So last night on my way home from work - after doing a little research about the removal process and what supplies I would need - I picked up some wallpaper removing supplies (after a brief stop at IKEA, of course).  My parents recently moved, and found a half used bottle of DIF Wallpaper Stripper Gel Solution, so I just had to purchase a scorer (a small round tool that creates perforations in your wallpaper without damaging the walls so that the solution can get through to the glue), an empty spray bottle so that I wouldn't have to roll on the solution, and a paper scraper (fun to say!).  Oh, and an industrial-size sponge for wiping down the walls as a final step in the process.

The four-step simple removal process goes like this:
1. Start in an inconspicuous location (I did behind a door) by scoring a small section of the wall.  The more you score, the more the solution will soak through the paper and loosen the glue, and the less you will have to scrape.
2. Then, simply spray the scored area and let it soak into the wallpaper for 2-10 minutes.  I waited about five on the first try.
3. Then, using the scraper, start at an edge and begin to slowly loosed the paper until you have a section of paper where you can get your scraper under - then scrape away!
4. Finally, wipe the walls with warm water to remove any remaining residue or solution.

Easy, right?

Well, let's just say I am glad I used my fingers first before opening the scraper which I will be able to return.  As soon as I got to step three and peeled a section, I realized that the whole thing was just peeling right off!
The glue probably weakened over the last century.  ;)  Soon, my kitchen was looking more like this:
Whole sections, from floor to ceiling, ripped right off the wall! I've never gotten such huge results with so little effort in my life. Another plus is that I can save some money by returning the paper scraper!

Anyone want me to send them a piece?  I am sensing some gag-gifts coming on...
(Note to self: wheat wallpaper + hideous vinyl flooring = EW!)

And this is what Rob came home to...
We're almost ready to paint again! Stay tuned for more kitchen reno...

Oh - and here's another shout-out to my iPhone, which came in handy when I realized my camera's battery was dead and I was having way too much fun to wait for it to charge before I continued!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Connectivity Problems

Our internet has been down for the last week or so, and sadly, that has meant no blogging (I am actually doing this post at work over my lunch break!).  We may need a new modem, so as soon as Comcast sends us a new one, hopefully we'll be back up and running.

The second half of February was busy, and went by in a blur... due mostly to the snow.  It's been the snowiest winter in history on record in our north-west of Philadelphia area, which has meant for 5 snow days during the week in the second half of February, lots of shoveling, and learning about snow drifts due to our home's location next to a farm/cornfield.  We're talking 9-10' drifts.  Insane to see in person, and a picture doesn't do justice! 

February was also my birthday month.  I love celebrating my birthday, mostly because it's something fun to get excited about in all the dreariness of winter.  This year, Rob took me out to dinner (also, my birthday was on a 6-day weekend due to snow days!), and then we went to New York and spent a long weekend in the city - saw a show (The Fantasticks) and went to some great restaurants, bakeries, and cafes... such as SEA, a really great Thai restaurant in Brooklyn's up-and-coming Williamsburg neighborhood.

My parents also moved from the house I grew up in to a townhouse/condo in late February, so we were very busy helping them pack and move (and getting some free stuff from them for our new place, like lawnmowers, rakes, and camping gear). 

We are glad March is finally here, and are looking forward to the warmer weather and blooming buds (alliteration anyone?).  And to working on some of our "warmer weather needed" projects and getting our hands dirty with some gardening and landscaping (stay tuned for our compost bin build project!).  What are your plans for this spring?

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