Insulation is really important…

When we first moved into this house, we had an energy audit performed. We were told they would tell us the inefficiencies in the home which would allow us to fix them and save on our energy bills. It was kind of a sham and really the people came in and told us we needed to buy new air conditioning units because they were old (Information we already had) and conveniently they also installed the units. It wasn’t overly helpful.

After moving in, summer rolled around and we noticed our daughter’s room was almost 10 degrees warmer than other areas of the house. We did the best we could to remedy the problem with the information we had. Three years later, it was still the hottest room in the house and we called an insulation company to come in an assess the situation. They concluded we didn’t have nearly enough insulation in the attic, so they made the needed change. We waited almost two months to see if we noticed a change – no luck. We had them back out to reassess. One wall in particular, an exterior wall, showed a very high thermal reading. They agreed to blow in new insulation if we ripped out the drywall and removed the old insulation.

Late one night last week, Steve and I got busy cutting a strip of drywall out across the entire length of the room. You can imagine our surprise and frustration when we realized there wasn’t insulation in the wall. An east facing exterior wall in Arizona without insulation. What?! I’m not sure how that was not noticed by the builder, the inspector or even the ENERGY AUDIT!

Blown-in Insulation
Blown-in Insulation
Blown-in Insulation
Needless to say, we’ve taken care of the problem. We’ve had the insulation blown in. The drywall is now reinstalled, taped, mudded and textured. All that’s left is some primer and paint. But if I have to buy new paint – shouldn’t I just paint the whole room?! And if that’s the case, wouldn’t it be best to refresh the color?! Decisions, decisions!

Sizzling weekend…

We’ve had a relatively mild spring – not too warm – and it’s been lovely. We’ve been able to get a lot done outside before it got too hot.

That’s about to change because summer is coming with vengeance. This weekend it’s supposed to hit 115. That’s pretty toasty even for seasoned Arizonians. With heat like that the kids are dying to be in the pool and I’m singing praises that we finished the yard. No yard work for us this weekend. Thank heavens.

As a sidenote: Our yard has been the talk of the neighborhood for almost 6 months. And now that its done we’ve received many accolades for sticking with the never ending project. As Hallie’s bus drove by one of the last times for the school year, the driver yelled out the window, “Love the yard.” Our observant UPS man also commented on how nice it came together. He also remembered that we removed the step up to our house – the step he didn’t notice one time and tripped sending our packages flying – he’s glad we did away with it. And some stranger who clearly has seen us out there working honked repeatedly as he drove by giving us thumbs up. So glad that project is behind us.
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Easy DIY Shiplap Wall…

I’m not sure how I missed posting this sooner – considering it’s been done for over a year now!

Easy DIY Shiplap Wall
I know I’m not alone in my love for shiplap – thank you Joanna Gaines! And yet it always seemed like a lot of work. Not only that, but I questioned just how long I would love shiplap. And when I get tired of it, I will have to rip it down and repair the wall behind it. Yet, I had a wall in Hunter’s room that was screaming, “Cover me in wood!” And I obliged.

I found a pinterest image of a wall in a nursery room that I fell in love with. I loved the variation of the color in wood, I liked the relclaimed look. I found a company locally that sold reclaimed wood and I priced it out – over $2000 to cover one wall. That wasn’t in the budget. I went back to my inspiration picture and traced it to a design group website – who just so happen to sell a tutorial to the wall. Part of me knew it couldn’t be that difficult and I could definitely figure it out on my own. But part of me wanted to follow a step by step instruction and get it done. I spent the $15 and bought the tutorial. I’m glad I did.

The tutorial walked me through step by step as to what to do. I did deviate from the plans just a bit. It called for pine boards in different widths. I knew finding nice, straight boards would be hard. I bought plywood and had Home Depot rip it down to the different widths that I needed. The most helpful part of the tutorial was being told what custom stains to purchase and the process of creating different colors. Paint white on these boards, stain these boards wipe off after 3 minutes, stain these boards, wipe off after 7 minutes…you get the idea. It gave me the color variation I loved in the reclaimed wood.

Here’s how the room started out.
Easy DIY Shiplap Wall
Easy DIY Shiplap Wall

I prepped and stained the boards per the tutorial.
Easy DIY Shiplap Wall
Easy DIY Shiplap Wall
Easy DIY Shiplap Wall
I located the studs on the wall and used a brad nailer to nail the wood directly to the wall. I started at the bottom (I chose a plywood depth that worked with my baseboards) and worked my way up putting a penny in-between for spacing.
Easy DIY Shiplap Wall
Easy DIY Shiplap Wall
Easy DIY Shiplap Wall
It was a weekend warrior project while Steve was out of town and he was pleasantly surprised to find it finished upon his return. It’s very masculine – perfect for my boy’s room and definitely a look that will grow with him.

Front yard progress…

The front lawn has become the longest and most drawn out of any project I’ve worked on – it’s also the most labor intensive. Almost every Saturday, we find ourselves outside working in the yard…for the entire day. And much of the time it’s been back-breaking labor. Digging a hole in our clay/rock soil to plant a bush is a long and tiring process. And we’ve planted a lot of plants so far.

Steve and I had a date (with Briggs and Hunter in tow) at the nursery to pick out our plants. Steve wanted an easily maintained hedge to line the walkway and patio – but a hedge is made of many plants…that’s why we’ve been digging holes (which ended up being a trench) for days. Not only did we have to dig holes, but we had to run individual water lines to every single plant. Steve’s shoulders were burning from the digging and my thumbs and fingers were cramping from running all the water lines.

Another Saturday was dedicated to running low-voltage wire and hooking up LED landscape lighting.

Another Saturday was spent breaking up concrete from a previous garden bed that just so happened to be exactly where we needed to plant.

Another Saturday was spent picking out the rocks from our lawn area. I’m pretty sure the kids are tired of hearing us say every week, “Go get your shoes on, you need to go pick up rocks.”

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I keep trying to convince Steve that we’re nearing the end – but then he lists off all the things we have left and we’re both discouraged once again. I’m not sure if I’m more excited to finish this project to get our Saturdays back or to be done tracking crazy amounts of dirt throughout our entire home.

We’re crossing our fingers that we’ll be ready for sod in three weeks – I think all of our neighbors are crossing their fingers too!

Easy hat rack…

I found these cool animal head hooks at Home goods over a year ago. I wasn’t sure how I would use them but I picked them and put them in Hunter’s closet until I figured out a permanent place for them.

They found their permanent place on Hunter’s wall just before Briggs was born.

They were different finishes when I purchased them, so I used a glossy Rustoleum spray paint and gave them a couple of coats of paint.
Easy Hat Rack
Easy Hat Rack
I had a scrap pine board in the garage that got a fresh coat of white paint and I mounted the hooks to the board. Hunter was excited to come home from school and find he finally had a place to hang his hats.
Easy Hat Rack
Easy Hat Rack

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