Wednesday, November 03, 2010


On the North side of our yard, we had a GIGANTIC bush... it had little white flowers when we first looked at the house. It didn't seem so bad. We did want to remove it, though. Much to our disappointment, it contained billions of 1" thorns. This bush was not going to give up a fight. Luckily, Mike did most of it.

I forgot to take a true "before" photo, but this is when about two-thirds of it was gone.

One weekend at a time... Mike found a tiny little fence.

A few weeks ago, we rented a green waste dumpster and got most of the bush in it. Sadly, not all of it would fit so we are (im)patiently waiting for Dec. 2nd when the next one shows up.

There it is! All gone (minus a stump you can see on the right). Wahoo! If you can imagine it, the bush went about 3 feet higher than the fence for the entire length. The bush was 12 feet deep. We gained 120 square feet of front yard. CRAZY!

That is the pile that we have left to fill another dumpster with. We also want to cut down some of that rascally tree. It is growing through the fence and under the sidewalk. Rascally! As you can see, we live at a dead end and just beyond that barrier is the gate that opens to the back playground of Cohen's elementary school. AWESOME! On cold days, he listens for the bell and then runs to the school and makes if with a few minutes to spare before the tardy bell rings.

Here is our house in all of its 1970's split level glory. I wish the leaves were still on the tree. The Halloween storm took them all off. Now that the crazy bush is gone, we have to put a fence in between the shed (that thing on the right of the house). My mom helped me build (what will be) the flower garden. I can't wait for spring. I was hoping to get a lot more done this Fall, but we've come a long way.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


This room is so far from being an "after" because one wall is still lined with boxes and we haven't put up the baseboards or door molding. However, this room took THE MOST work of all of the rooms in the house because of it's fabulous wallpaper and oil based paint and paneling. YIKES!

This is the basement living room. I don't know the difference between a living and family room, but this is the place that houses the television. So, which one is it?

That bookcase hides the water main shut off for the the house. We needed to keep it open, but didn't want that shelf there. The carpet was a nice purplish colored Berber that had been loved by dogs. Are you jealous? Are you wondering why we thought this house was the one?

The white is the 1970's finest paneling. The creamish color is a really rubbery natural patterned wallpaper (that was falling off) and the border well...

... it was just lovely. AND - they left three whole rolls in case we needed to do some touch ups.

We enlisted the help of my sister and her husband (there may or may not have been a baby in the blanket) and got to work. I hope all of you have a sister like Lyndsey with a husband like Darin. They are hard workers! (side note: they do it all with their little son strapped in a backpack on their back. They are teaching him young!)

Mike worked on this section in the hallway for 2 days. He was determined to get it smoothed out. After all of this hard work, he just knocked the wall down and started over. We have cement lip through out the entire basement and the previous owners tried to hide it with lopsided walls and poor taping. Mike raised the drywall up above it and we're hiding it with wide baseboards.
The paneling came off and the bookshelf came down. As we removed the wallpaper, we started noticing some yellow shining through the white primer. We started washing the wallpaper paste and more yellow was showing up. UGH. The yellow was an oil based paint that they didn't cover correctly so we had to wash all of the old primer off and then do some perfect primering (not a word). Mike framed out where the water main is and made it look much cleaner.


A nice smooth wall with no bulges and bows in the sheet rock.

This is where the bookshelf used to be. Mike is going to build a door that will hide the water main, but I think he did a stellar job on this room. We've got a few more things to finish (after we're done concentrating on the outside) but over all it is a billion times better than it was.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


We looked at several (at least 50) houses before we decided on this one. I could tell the previous owners were cluttery, but their house didn't seem dirty. HOLY SMOKES! When they moved out and we were finally allowed to go in I could not believe the amount of junk they left. I would expect it from a short sale or foreclosure... but we bought the house from them and paid the full asking price. Seems pretty jerky to me. We have about 2 more garbage days to finally be rid of what they left behind; shoes, pillows, a sweet dream catcher, tools, dog poop, dishes, but no treasures. Here are some things I took pictures of.

A closet before:

The same closet all cleaned and painted:

The scary laundry room (that is still scary):

The carpet remnants on the top shelf were so dusty and filled with spider webs. I actually took this photo after I threw a lot of the stuff away. I can't wait to get our tax return because we are turning this dungeon into a functional and bright laundry/storage.

More junk and a black market operation table. YIKES! It is now gone. That white blur on the right of this picture was a giant dream catcher. It had that weird fluffy dream catcher stuff on it, pheasant feathers, and SO MANY COBWEBS! I carried it very carefully out to the dumpster along with those pillows and random shoes.

This is what it looks like now (only it has our washer and dryer in there) and really this is as good as it will be for awhile. No more moldy carpet and scary dream catchers. The "after" pics will come after Uncle Sam writes us a check.

They also left us this sweet totally broken dog kennel, complete with a giant pile of petrified poop and some shredded tarps that are not pictured. This dog kennel is gone - I gave it to some scrap metal pickers along with a bottle of water. It was the least I could do. The grass is dead on purpose... we're killing it and all of the weeds that come along with it and starting over next spring. OH I CAN'T WAIT!

But on a brighter note, we have a great back deck (that I have powerwashed 1/2 of the paint off of) that is bigger than most of the rooms in the house and a fantastic view of the Wasatch Front. I look at this picture and wonder why I killed the lawn, but then I remember that more than 1/2 of the lovely green color in this picture are weeds.

I wish I had more to brag about on these spaces, but they really are the worst part of the house.

Monday, September 13, 2010


As per request, here are some pics of before and after painting and carpet. We painted EVERY surface of this house (minus 3 ceilings) and a few cabinets. So here we go. (I'll do this in a few installments)

Living Room Upstairs:


Notice the lovely mauve curtains. They are replaced with the curtains I wrote about here.

Notice here the wall mounts for the television. Every room in this house had a cable running to it and wall mounts for the flat screens. If you want to mount your television to the wall, be sure you know where to put it. These were AWFUL to mud, tape and repair.


We painted the walls a grayish color called Stormy Weather. The carpet is DELUXE and called Heather. I wanted strait gray, but Mike convinced me it needed to be a warmer gray (towards the brown side) and I am so glad I did. It is such a great neutral.

Our home is a split entry, so this is the 1/2 wall between the living room and the entry way. I love the white ledge. The entire house was a yellowy color and the previous owners did a very sloppy job and it was all over the baseboards and trims.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Yesterday I enlisted the help of my neighbor to help me hang some stuff. For the most part it turned out, but then I got cocky and put some extra holes in the walls. Woops! Mike spent all summer making sure this house had no more holes in the walls... mudding, sanding, mudding, sanding... so he is hesitant about hanging anything. I am just sick of of everything leaning up against the walls and being on the floor. I want to feel like a I live here.

I tackled the easy stuff first. Cohen is a creative little guy. He loves drawing maps and anything related to Mario Bros. He was dead set on decorating his room with all things Mario. He wanted a mural (NOOOOOOOOOOO!) but we settled on posters instead. They are on the way. I digress... I wanted to give him his own little working corner. So here is what I did:

I grabbed this cork board from a friend's donate pile. I bought this little rod and 3 bucket thing at IKEA for a grand total of $5. He can keep his scissors, some markers and chalk/eraser in them. I have found that he keeps his creations for about 3 weeks. That is what the cork board is for. Usually he just tapes them wherever he wants them to be. The blue dresser houses his paper, crayons, stickers, beads, etc...

I bought a scrap piece of plywood from Home Depot for $4.01. I used some leftover chalkboard paint and there you have it. I just screwed it right into the wall (Mike was stoked!) because I didn't have any picture hangers handy.

The important thing is that Cohen loves it. LOVES IT! He couldn't wait for Mike to get home so he could show him. He spent a good part of the evening in there. I hope he doesn't grow much more in the next few months because his knees are barely fitting under that table.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


I wouldn't say that have OCD in most parts of my life, but there is something about adorning Piper's head with flowers and bows that sends my serotonin into shock. MUST.HAVE.DIFFERENT.BOW.FOR.EVERY.OUTFIT. It is a strange thing considering the lack of bows/flowers I've had in my hair during my lifetime (she has me beat... hands down) and how un-girly I've also been. The mess that was becoming every surface in her room and bathroom was driving me bonkers, so I organized her bows in a fancy manner.

I took this frame from IKEA:

I spray painted it white and covered the back with batting, fabric, and ribbon.

(If I could make this again, I would do a better job measuring.)

Hide the imperfections with a whole lotta flowers/bows.

Admire your work and then hang the first of many P's on the wall. I want the whole wall covered in Ps of all fonts and sizes (If you see any goodies, let me know).

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


I figured that after living here for almost 2 months, and a comment from the neighbor about seeing us through our big front window, I should probably get some curtains up. I've been so wishy-washy about what I wanted. We have bright purple couches and they are definitely the elephant in the room. It is hard to decide what goes and what doesn't.

When Mike suggested orange I instantly knew that this IKEA fabric was the right stuff. I really wanted to find premade curtains because they are a pain(!) to make, but I bought all of this and then had second thoughts.

I made one and then let it sit there for 2-3 weeks. Today I finally hemmed it and finished up the other one during Piper's nap. I don't ever want to make curtains again. Lining and measuring and hemming and UGH... not my favorite project. But they are done, and our neighbor won't be able to see us anymore.

Monday, September 06, 2010


Literally... my SIL in labor with her first boy as I type. Another little Van Wagoner boy. This brings the total VW boy count to 10 with one lonely Piper girl.

I've decided that since we're finally moved in our house and school has started I should probably start posting again. We've been working our butts off all summer to get this place ready and still feel like there is so much to do. I have a lot of projects to share if I get around to it. I've decided that Saturdays as a homeowner are not as fun as Saturdays as a renter. SO MUCH TO DO! I almost feel guilty just sitting down to relax sometimes. But I must remind myself, I am paying for the cable now so I better watch it. Plus... college football just started. Wahoo!

We like our new area a lot. I say if you live in Salt Lake County and can't afford to live in Sugarhouse or the Avenues, Taylorsville is the place to be. Every thing is so convenient. I don't have to drive very far to find things and I love that. Cohen loves his teacher and school and has met many new friends. Piper loves throwing shoes down the stairs to the front door. I love mowing the lawn. Ahhh - about 95% of the time, home ownership is the BOMB-diggity.

I really need to sort through all of my photos so I can show you all some "before/after". I've been a little slow because while I have plenty of 'befores', I don't feel most 'afters' are as 'after' as they should be. We've still got boxes lying around (the above photo has nothing to do with anything - Piper was stealing Cohen's sucker and I thought it was funny).

Good luck to Missy and Andy as they have this baby au natural! Good luck to me to keep this bloggity-blog alive. Good luck to Mother Nature to keep this weather at a constant 75 degrees. I love it.

I need to go see the outcome of the BSU game. Adios!


Thursday, July 01, 2010


There is a contest going on, and I know I should be the recipient! Check it out... but don't decrease my chances of winning. :P
:: UPDATE ::

We've been really busy, but things have really calmed down and we're almost back to normal. I might add photos to this post later when I pull them all off of the camera. But, with the way things have been going, probably not. Here we go...


Piper turned 1! She was so cute and loved being the center of attention.
Piper's hair also was long enough to start putting it in pig tails.
We decided to buy a house.
Cohen lost his first tooth.
We attended the Mule Dear dinner with my family.


Cohen lost his second tooth.
We found a house and went under contract (thanks Obama! for the extra cash)
We dug up the flowers in Grandma's beds that we should have pulled up last fall.
I coached Cohen's soccer team. He actually enjoyed it this year.
Easter and General conference.


We had lots of visits from out of town guests.
Cohen finished Kindergarten.
We closed on our house but didn't get the keys.


We finally got the keys to the house and we're still not living there.
We've spent a lot of time fixing it.
My Grandpa Seegmiller passed away at the age of 94.
We planted Grandma's flower beds.
My sister Jenny had a baby #4 - Payton.
Attended the crazy Twilight: Eclipse midnight release party. CRAZY.

So now on JULY 1st I can't believe so much of Summer is gone. We have been waiting for carpet to be laid in our house for a full month now. Boooo! I sent off the first mortgage payment and can't even live there. Our carpet will be laid on July 12th, so we can start moving in the next day. Wahoo!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Today I went to the hardware store. I have A LOT of projects on the horizon. I just can't wait to share them all. This blog will soon be reborn.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


Cohen lost his first tooth this week. Notice how the other little front tooth has started moving to the middle of the gap. It is pretty funny. Luckily that tooth is loose, too, so that gap will go away. We're getting family pictures taken this month and I really wanted those teeth to stay in two more weeks. Oh well. Can't fight natural causes.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Dear Boden,

Why must I be so chubby and you be so pricey? I really could be a great customer.

We really would be the best of friends.



Wednesday, January 27, 2010


(Image Source: Bree Despain)

I needed something that would fulfill my need for a quick, engaging read. I read the reviews of this book and thought it would work. I just bought it because the hold list at the library was WAY too long. And... upon further investigation, the author is my neighbor's good friend. Am I a little embarrassed that this book is written for teenage girls and I'm just so excited to read it??? I sure am, but whatever. I exposed my book list two years ago and you saw all of my guilty pleasures. I also picked up Wuthering Heights. It is just a classic, more mature version of all of this silly thwarted love stuff.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


(image source: tatertots&jello)

So, I don't love Valentine's Day for the chocolates, flowers, and forced dates... HOWEVER, I sure do love Valentine's Day crafting. There is something about it. I have billions of ideas stored in my "craft ideas folder" (so handy on my desktop - I also keep a 'crafts' bookmark tab handy) that would really give my home a 'heart attack'. But I LOVE this one above. I can't wait to do it. Click on the link above to get a full tutorial. DIVINE.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

:: BUCK UP ::

(Fantastic Esty Shop: Buy Here)

In the bedroom that we stay in, I have mostly made it my own. Ya' know... clothing hanging over the back of chair, messy bed, piles of receipts on the dresser, random projects taking over the floor, etc. However, there is a wreath in there. It is all that remains of Grandma's fabulous decor. It is a grape vine wreath with a big mauve bow and lots of pinkish silk flowers. Like I said fabulous. I guess I leave it there to remind myself not to get too comfortable. To remind myself that this is "just temporary."

I get a little down when I think of my situation. This isn't where I thought I'd be "when I grew up." Grandma has been so great to us. I've really started to enjoy hanging out with her and having love lazy afternoons. I'm starting to realize that I'm really happy. Sure, I am not getting as much done as I normally do, but I'm learning to take my time, and be happy for my healthy (although extra chubby) body. There is no reason to be such a grump all of the time.

When I am 87 and talking to my Granddaughter-in-law, I want to tell happy stories. I need to do great things to make great memories. I don't know why I am even writing this post except to publicly declare that it is time to buck up and realize how lucky I am. My life is pretty okay, and I am good with that. And although the wreath is just fantastically lovely, I think I need to replace it with the one above, because I LOVE french fries and I know just how that little bird feels.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I have a list of at least 20 things that need to be done. I'm about to enter FREAKOUT mode because I am over-tired and starting to get stressed. I write this post as I wait for some files to upload for work. It is all about multi-tasking if I am to accomplish anything.

And... this little munchkin isn't helping because she is all over the place and into everything. The hardest part about being at Grandma's house is keeping Piper away from all of the expensive figurines. This house is SO not baby proof. Also, you'd never guess by the smile on her face that she doesn't take naps. When I don't get sleep, I get cranky. She just squeals a little louder.

I was able to go to the fabric store and get the most delicious fabrics for Piper's new quilt that I am making for her first birthday (she is 10 months this week... what the???). It is pink, yellow, red, green... oh man. It will be so darling. However, buying the fabric is the easy part. Now I need to cut it out and put it back together.

My files are just about done. I need to get the laundry changed before they are finished. Wish me luck with this week. "just keep swimming"

Sunday, January 17, 2010


In our recent move I had to come to terms with just how many craft supplies I had. As I started going through each closet to organize everything into plastic storage bins, I was in shock of how it had been multiplying. Craft supplies reproduce, right? There is NO WAY I purchased all of this stuff. Where did I hide it all? Were you all lying when you came to may apartment and didn't say anything about my craft supply hoarding issues? Wowzer!

Above is just my fabric. This stack does not include my felt & work in progress (you know... 1/2 finished quilts, bags that need a lining, etc...) bins. I have an additional 6 drawer plastic storage tower that just holds thread, ribbons and trim, notions and other sewing stuff. Since moving, I have not purchased any sewing supplies at all. I realize that I have a big enough stash to work with. You want to know the sad part? I have TWO - yes two - garbage bags to the thrift store.

I also uncovered another 6 drawer plastic storage tower of just stuff. Wood findings, wreath forms, cellophane bags, adhesives, buttons, and what-nots. I have a 3 foot stack of scrapbook paper (which I didn't buy a lot of it. I have a few inside connections with friends who work at scrapbook companies - wahoo for free stuff!!) and 3 big bins of silk flowers (for Piper's head accessories, of course), paper flowers, and brads & eyelets. Let's not forget the 2 drawers of paper scraps, including so much old sheet music and vintage valentines. A drawer full of decorative scissors and punchs, stamps and ink, and all other little 'things' to decorate scrapbook pages.

The good thing in all of this, is that in going through it all, I have discovered what I have and now I am ready to use it all. I've made 10 scrapbook pages this weekend (I'm only 3 years behind on Cohen's short 5 1/2 years and I don't even get very fancy) and I made a Snuggie wannabe, for Heck's sake. My goal is to do a major stash bust. However, I still spent $40 at Roberts yesterday because I didn't have the exact color of paper I needed for our "Day at the Park" layout. Go figure...

* I've been following the CRAFT blog lately because they are doing a feature on organizing craft supplies and how people are doing it. It helps me feel better about myself because these people have WAY more stuff than I do.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I hate Snuggies. They are the weirdest "it" gift ever. At least Furbie talked back and the George Forman grill produced dry burgers. The Snuggie is really bad because about once a week I am sitting on my couch reading a book and think "I could really use a Snuggie." I COULD NOT USE A SNUGGIE. I have my old trusty brown Independent sweatshirt to keep my arms warm.

Cohen however is obsessed with anything advertised on television. In fact the other day he said after I hung up my cell while driving, "Mom, there is now a safer way to talk on your cell phone while driving in the car." WHAT THE??? We really need to go to the park. Anyway, obviously he is smitten with the Snuggie. Over Christmas we were at my parents house. As a joke, my mom bought my younger brother a Snuggie (Tim has the same thoughts on Snuggies that I do). Cohen loved it. The next day my niece showed up with a pink child sized Snuggie... Cohen was in H.E.A.V.E.N. He hasn't stopped talking about it since. I refuse to buy a Snuggie. They are just weird. However, I ain't too proud to make one. I had to keep it on the downlow and make it while Cohen was away because he wanted one from the store.

So... here you go. You too can make your own dang Snuggie.

Step 1: Wait until the boy goes to school.

Step 2: Put your grumpy sidekick down for a nap.

Step 3: Dig about 3 yards of blue fleece out of your stash (if you don't have 3 yards of fleece, you might as well go buy a Snuggie. It's cheaper than the fabric).

Step 4: Fold the fabric in half.

Step 5: Find a long-sleeve shirt that fits your kid loosely and match the neck up at the fold (oh... be sure your sidekick is asleep before you go sneaking in the bedroom to find the shirt... or else she will be your helper).

Step 6: Start cutting up toward the armpit, starting at the bottom. Stop about 3-4 inches from the armpit and cut out toward the sleeve.

Step 7: Do the exact same thing to the other side. It looks like a snow angel.

Step 8: Sew the side seams. If you don't have a serger, use a wide zig zag stitch so the seams don't pop.

Step 9: Lay the outline back on the floor. Starting in the middle bottom, cut a strait line up to the fold. From that center point, cut 5" slits out toward the arm opening on each side.

Step 10: Turn it right-side out and put it in a Target bag so the boy thinks you bought it. (I know... I know...)

Step 11: With warm fuzzies, present it to the boy and expect a giant hug and kiss and yelps of excitement.

Voila! You have yourself a Snuggie-ish thing that can totally pass for a Snuggie. I shouldn't have been surprise when this conversation came about:

Cohen: "Did my Snuggie come with socks?"

Me: "No, was it supposed to?"

Cohen: "Yes"

Me: "Oh... well yours' didn't"

Cohen: "Where did you get this Snuggie?"

Me: "Ummm...."

Cohen: "You should have got it off of the TV, because if you 'call now' you get a free pair of Snuggie socks"

Me: "Oh, well... you just got a Snuggie... do you like it?"

Cohen? "Yeah - but I wish I got the Snuggie socks"

Oh well. He wore it all day and wanted to take it to show and tell. He's used it about 3 times since. I guess it was a good enough stash buster.
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