home improvement

Our New Washing Machine

April 6, 2014

Five years ago, when we bought our house, we got a great deal on a second hand washing machine.  That machine served us well ever since, but it started to fritz out a couple months ago.  It wasn’t spinning the clothes out, and would sometimes just stop in the middle of a cycle.  We live […]

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$20 Window Well Makeover

August 25, 2013

When we moved into our house, the basement was completely unfinished, and that included the window wells.  We spent a year and a half finishing the basement, but we never did anything about the window wells.  For the past six months, “window wells” has been on our “to-figure-out” list, but we weren’t sure what we […]

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Towel Racks On A Budget

April 15, 2013

When we were putting the finishing touches on the new bathroom in our basement, I knew that we needed somewhere to hang towels that were currently in use, as well as a place to store additional towels, since that is now our guest bathroom.  I didn’t know exactly what I wanted in that room, so […]

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A Kid-Size Coat Rack

January 2, 2013

Last summer I turned an empty wall in the hall between our kitchen and our garage into saucepan storage, and I still love that system.  It’s easy to find exactly what we need, and the cupboard that we used to use for all of our pots and pans now only has my two big soup […]

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Window Coverings On A Shoestring

December 27, 2012

Last summer, we put a window in our dining room, for free.  Last week, I put a curtain on it – a project that cost us a total of $10.  We love how it all turned out, and I thought I’d share the details. Until we put in that window, our house only had two […]

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A Frugal Curtain

November 17, 2012

Last night I made a curtain to go between our downstairs bathroom and the under-stairs storage area behind it.  The whole thing cost about three dollars, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. This is an old sheet (leftover from when I bought fabric to make diapers for our first son five years […]

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Simplifying For Fall – Taming Drawers

August 22, 2012

Are any of you following along with the Simplifying For Fall Challenge?  I’ve been doing some of it, but mostly tackling areas that were particularly bad and in need of attention.  I’m constantly de-cluttering kids’ toys and clothes, so those areas didn’t need much.  This is our younger son’s closet for example, which I haven’t […]

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Too Much Inspiration

January 18, 2012

EDIT – just discovered the fitness and food sections on Pinterest.  I might have to up my time limit from five minutes to fifteen. I have been purposely avoiding Pinterest for quite some time.  From what I had heard, I knew that it could be the sort of site that could suck me in and […]

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It’s OK To Stop Improving

October 27, 2011

Last week we got a sale flyer in the mail from Lowes.  The front page has a big picture of a beautiful wall that is made entirely of huge windows, with the words “never stop improving.”  As far as life lessons go, that’s a good reminder.  But context matters.  When it comes to ourselves, our […]

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Free Building Blocks

October 25, 2011

For the past several weeks, my husband has been spending his weekends building stud walls in our basement.  He’s making great progress and should be finished in plenty of time for our framing inspection (it has to be completed by the end of the year). Building stud walls means lots of 2×4 offcuts.  They were […]

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I’m Still Here!

March 20, 2011

My apologies for the dust on the blog lately.  Our baby is due in just over two weeks (and our son came ten days early…) and we’re in a mad dash to try to get all of the loose ends tied up on the various projects we have going on.  We’ve been spending every weekend […]

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Getting Started Is Half The Battle

January 31, 2011

Last night, we measured our basement and drew out a rough sketch of how we want it to look once it’s finished.  I got all the information from our town regarding getting a permit, and we’ll be submitting our permit application this week.  We have to provide them with a drawing of the plans, so […]

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Starting On Our Basement

January 20, 2011

We’ve been in our home for more than a year and a half now, and have finally decided to tackle the basement.  We kept going back and forth on whether we wanted to put money into the basement now, or wait until we have the mortgage paid off.  Eventually we decided that it would be […]

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Vinegar As An Herbicide

June 30, 2010

In addition to our awesome backyard, we also have a really big front yard.  We started getting rid of some of the grass last summer, putting down weed blocking fabric and using a wheelbarrow to spread out existing areas of gravel (happily, the former owners had ordered more than they needed when they put in […]

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New Furnace Trumps New Shoes

June 22, 2010

Last weekend a good friend stopped by to visit us.  And she had fantastic shoes.  I wanted some too!  I knew that they would be expensive, but I figured that I could fit them into the budget and after a few months we wouldn’t even remember spending the money.  But then I thought about the […]

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Free Wall Mirrors (Craigs List Is Awesome)

January 5, 2010

Sometime later this year we’d like to start finishing our basement.  For now, it’s just a huge storage area, but we have big plans for it.  Our first financial priority this year is our HSA and our IRAs, but after that, we’re planning to start putting some money into the basement.  We’d like to use […]

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Kitchen Decluttering

October 11, 2009

I don’t particularly like cleaning.  I love to cook, do laundry, work in the garden… but cleaning is pretty far down on my list.  But I love living in a clean house, and having lots of wide open, clean space around me.  And therein lies the conundrum.  Lately I’ve been on a mission to purge […]

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Wrapping Up The Outdoor Chores, And A Few Good Links

October 3, 2009

I’ve been doing some good kitchen magic lately, and I recently made a batch of spinach burgers that turned out great.  I didn’t have any cheese (we’re mostly vegan these days) so I made cashew cheese by blending cashews, water, garlic salt, apple cider vinegar, and some spices.  It turned out creamy and wonderful, and […]

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Now I Can Cook In My Underwear

September 27, 2009

When we moved into this house, there was no blind on the window in our kitchen.  The rest of the house has basic plastic blinds – which are fine with us – but the kitchen window was bare.  It only looks out onto our side yard, and beyond that is our neighbor’s garage, so there […]

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Another Do It Yourself Project

August 13, 2009

My husband finished a window well cover earlier this week, and is nearly finished with the second one.  I’m pretty darn impressed, especially given that this is his first real welding project (he considered the umbrella stand practice, since it just involved attaching a piece of pipe to a piece of I-beam).  Here’s a picture […]

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I’m Married To A Welder

August 3, 2009

My husband is teaching himself to weld (with a little help from YouTube and Google).  It’s something he’s wanted to do for a long time, but now that we’ve moved, he has more space to do it, and lots of things to weld.  He found a welder on Craigs List, and a welding mask on […]

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Progress On Our Little Homestead

July 20, 2009

It has been a busy three weeks around here, but we’re making progress.  We finished building a gate in our fence that will allow us to move large things in an out of the backyard.  The previous owner had tried to construct a 15 foot gate.  He bought a bunch of expensive hardware that would […]

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Sailed Through The Inspection

June 9, 2009

We had our inspection today on our house today, and the results are pretty sweet. The only things the buyer is asking us to do is add GFCIs to the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room (the new section of the kitchen that we remodeled last year has GFCIs, but the rest of the house was […]

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We Found A New House!

May 27, 2009

It’s been a whirlwind few days around here, between all the house buying and selling, and then a visit from my husband’s parents.  But I thought I’d post an update on what is going on with our housing situation. Everything is still looking good with the sale of our current house.  The inspection was last […]

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We Got An Offer On Our House!

May 16, 2009

And they offered our full asking price!  Doing a little happy dance…. Ok, I’m back.  We had three more showings today (that made nine total), including a second showing for a buyer who was here on Thursday.  That showing ended at 6:30 this evening, and by 7:45 they had made an offer.  Our realtor said […]

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House Is On The Market!

May 14, 2009

Don’t worry, I’m still here… it’s just been a crazy week.  Our house finally got listed on the MLS yesterday, after a whirlwind weekend devoted to all sorts of last minute touch ups.  The photographer was here on Tuesday and took fantastic pictures and 360 degree videos for the virtual tour.  We’ve already had three […]

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Our Professional Staging Consultation

May 11, 2009

After all the staging we did on our own, we were excited about having a professional stager come over and check out our house.  Our realtor uses a stager as part of her service, so we gladly took her up on the offer.  The stager was here on Friday, and we spent Friday evening and […]

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How To Lose A Sale

May 1, 2009

In 2002, when my husband and I went house shopping the first time around, we used a Realtor who was recommended by the mortgage broker we were using.  He had impressive credentials.  He had been in the business since 1986, was Realtor of the year in this area at least once, was in the ‘hall […]

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What We’ve Done To Our House

April 28, 2009

Several readers have asked for more details about what we’ve done to get our house ready to put on the market.  We’re just about to the end of our very long list, and planning to call our Realtor this week to get things moving.  We started sprucing up our house back in January, when we […]

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Home Staging Continues

April 24, 2009

The Fesitval Of Frugality was hosted this week at MyLifeROI.  If you haven’t done so already, make sure you head over and check it out.  There’s always plenty of frugal inspiration in the festival – something for everyone. I’ve been hard at work again this week, getting our house ready for the market.  We painted […]

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Garage Facelift: Zero Dollars

April 14, 2009

We’ve never really given the asthetics of our garage much attention.  It’s a typical 1980′s garage.  It fits our two small cars with very little room left over.  In order to get the lawn mower out, my husband has to back his car out into the driveway.  The jogging stroller and bike trailer are hanging […]

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Crawl Space Is Back To Boring Old Storage

April 13, 2009

Since we’re going to be putting our house on the market, we decided we needed to reclaim our crawl space.  Having the hydroponic garden in there has been great for us, but most people would want the space for storage, and the garden was blocking off most of the storage area. Last month, we transplanted […]

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Staging Our House

April 8, 2009

We’re continuing to make progress on our goal of putting our house on the market this spring.  The bedroom is done, the bathroom is done, and last week I got the guest room finished.  The guest room had been sort of a multi-purpose room for the last few years.  It had a bed, but it […]

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I Used My Iron!

March 28, 2009

Last year, we replaced our old laminate counter tops with new laminate counter tops.  My parents helped us install them, and they make the kitchen look so much better.  At the mitered corners, we used the seam sealer that was sold to go with the counter top we bought, and it worked well.  But on […]

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A Bedroom Makeover

March 15, 2009

We’ve had a very productive weekend, although I feel like I need another weekend so that I can have a little time for doing nothing!  We made another step forward in our house-beautification project.  I tackled our bedroom, and now we’re wishing we had done this years ago.  When we moved in, the bedroom was […]

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A New Bed Frame

March 10, 2009

Now that the bathroom is finished, I’m moving on to other sprucing up projects around the house.  As usual, I’m looking for ways to have a large impact without spending a lot of money.  Our bedroom is average size for a smallish house.  If we’re going to try to sell our house, anything we can […]

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Giftcard Winner And Wall Texture Details

March 9, 2009

I got a comment from a reader yesterday that reminded me that I had never announced the winner of the $25 Mandee gift card giveaway.  My husband drew a number last Wednesday, and the winner was Donna S.  I notified Donna and the rep at Mandee who sent out the gift card, but I forgot […]

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Bathroom Pictures

March 7, 2009

Our budget bathroom remodel is nearly complete.  All we still have to do is paint the trim white, which should be a breeze compared with all of the texturing and painting we’ve done so far.  I’m hoping to get it done tomorrow.  For now, I thought I’d show some of the before and after pictures.  […]

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Partial Bathroom Remodel On A Shoestring

March 3, 2009

The carnival of personal finance was hosted yesterday at Free Money Finance.  I’ve been meaning to dig through the entries and pick my favorites, but I have a teething 10 month old and a bathroom that is halfway through a paint job.   I’m feeling very glad that we decided to hire someone to re-roof our […]

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Getting A New Roof

February 24, 2009

I’ve mentioned several times that we need to replace our roof.  We had planned to do it ourselves, but the more we thought about it, the more we decided that might not be such a great idea.  One of the slopes of our roof is steep and two stories up, with nothing but the glass […]

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