Monday, April 23, 2012

Cell Phone Pics

We're off to Hawaii this week, so not too much to report as we've been busy working and packing! Here are some photos that we've snapped of Mia over the past couple of weeks.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Laura's Thesis Defense

 One of my best friends, Laura, successfully defended her Ph.D. this week! We did the traditional champagne and snacks back in the elevator lobby on the floor her lab is on, then hit up the Campus Club for a drink, then came back to our place for carnitas, sangria, beer, and some sunset lamas (a signature cocktail consisting of Chambord, Grey Goose, and champagne - layered in a martini glass). It was a great celebration, although I think I'm still feeling the effects of less sleep and too much fun two days later! Here are some photos from the big day, along with a couple of goofy videos (you are welcome, Laura). 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Introducing our new blog...

The hubby and I started a new blog! It's going to cover the renovation of our first investment property, which we've lovingly named The Pit! Learn more about our big adventure over at Making the Pit a Peach! Here's a sneak preview of The Pit:

Friday, April 06, 2012

Miss Mia Update

The kid is 2 and 1/4 already!  She is a crazy whirlwind of activity these days (hence the picture above)! For one, she's counting! I tried to capture her counting at the dinner table last week, but she refused to perform on command. Nonetheless, she can count to 12 (!) on her own now! She especially likes to count as we walk down the stairs together (with her holding my hand as she actually walks down the stairs instead of crawling down backwards).

She has also started to repeat everything that we say. This has resulted in her calling daddy "David" and talking about how "David's birthday" is coming up. (Daddy doesn't much care for this...) She has also said, "Oh, shoot!" and "Oh my god." We are definitely trying to be extra careful what we say around her these days!

She is loving the warm weather lately - she enjoys taking the dog for a walk (although she wants to walk, too, which we haven't allowed yet...), playing on her swing set in the backyard, riding around her whee-ooo-whee-ooo (fire truck), playing t-ball (softball, as she calls it), and playing with her new big blue bouncy ball. She's been a pretty good sport helping mom and dad out as we try to get the yard in order for summer - she's helped clean garbage out of the lilac bushes and carry branches and sticks to the compost pile. This usually lasts about 2 minutes, and then she's off to do something else.

She has started wanting to dress herself a bit more - she can even manage to put on most of her shoes herself now. She got rain boots this spring for splashing around in, and she loved that she could pull them right on all by herself! She still loves to read and do puzzles, and is enjoying stickers and coloring more. She still loves Mickey, but is also in love with Dora now. Piglet is still around - we have 2 original ones that we use, but both are looking pretty ragged. We do have 2 new backups, but we aren't sure we'll get away with swapping those in anytime soon as she can already tell when we swap the current dirty one for the clean one!

Here are a few cell phone pics that I've been able to snap lately...

Monday, April 02, 2012

Wine Cork Backsplash

It's done!  We finished it last week, but I had to wait for the weekend to find time to take photos! Here's a quick how-to for those that are interested.

1) Drink lots of wine, save all corks.
2) Measure your backsplash, cut 1/4" plywood to match. (We cut ours into 3 separate pieces to make it easier to install.)
3) Start cutting wine corks. There are a lot of ways that you can do this, but we chose to cut them in half lengthwise and then keep track of the pairs (this was a bit tricky with lots of corks). We found the easiest way to cut the corks was with a sharp X-acto knife. (Beware, the hubby sliced open his hand using a new utility knife!) The best thing for me was to press down gently on one side, score the end so you keep it even, and then finish on the other side (no sawing back and forth).
4) Ask all of your friends and family for their wine corks when you don't have enough. Better yet, get them to come over and help you cut! (Thanks again Laura and Gabe!) Drink more wine yourself to help the cause.
5) Cut more wine corks. We didn't start assembling the backsplash until we were sure we had enough corks. This allowed us to have the best assortment of corks from all of our contributors - otherwise we would have had pockets of different wines based on everyone's favorites.
6) When you've checked that your plywood does, in fact, fit the space that you cut it for, you can start assembling and gluing the corks. We cut out spaces for all of our wall outlets and light switches, so we had some gaps that we had to be aware of for cork placement. We found that it was best to keep the corks level on top (even if the boards weren't perfectly flush) simply because it gave us a little room to get the plywood back into the space with the additional width of the corks. We also left a little gap at the bottoms for this same reason, but also to provide room for caulk in certain areas.
7) Assemble all corks. You can choose any pattern you like - we chose to do a basket-weave pattern with ours. One cork (2 halves) was assembled side by side vertically, followed by another placed horizontally, then vertically, etc. This allows a little wiggle room, which is needed because corks come in different sizes and thus, you can adjust accordingly. I didn't glue anything until my entire board was layed out.
8) Glue corks. We used hot glue (beware - I ended up with 2 bad blisters from the glue on the final night - ouch!). It was quick, easy, and cheap, and when I found that I had made a mistake (or two), I could usually pry the cork off pretty easily to re-position it.
9) Attach the board (with corks) to the wall! We chose to screw our boards into the wall with no adhesive behind the boards. This ensures that the next owners won't have a horrible time of removing our artwork. In order to do this, though, you need to remember to leave the 4 corner corks off of the board until AFTER you secure the boards.  I forgot to do this.  Every time.  So I pried off the corner corks, had David install the boards, and then glued them back on!
10) We chose to seal our corks with Spar Spray Varnish (satin finish). This is a marine durable spray varnish, so it should be nice and water resistant (if not waterproof). We only did 2 thin coats instead of the 3 recommended for marine use. (Note: there is NO solvent to dissolve spar varnish, so be very careful to tape and cover everything in the area! I'm pretty sure we had varnish fumes/splashes that ended up covering various things in our sink or on our counters!) This provided not only a seal, but a nice glisten to the corks.

11) Caulk below the bottom row of corks to create a waterproof seal for the juncture between the countertop and the backsplash. (We chose to only do this at the sink.)
12) Enjoy! Vow never to do this again. Drink more wine to recover.