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Tag Archives: DIY

Suburban Wildlife and Hand-Painted Curtains

I think a rabbit lives in our shrubbery.

It’s scraggly shrubbery, but at least one bunny calls it home. Our neighbor has reported seeing at least two together, so maybe we’ll have wee bunnies hopping about someday.

No wonder the cats like to leer out the front window.

But the real reason for this post (other than my “Ooh! Fuzzy!” moment) is to share our do-it-yourself closet “doors.”

Maybe door isn’t the right word. Maybe more of closet covering I suppose. Details.

When we moved in, there were only two accordion-style closet doors still barely hanging on to any of the closets. We addressed that early in the process by removing the offenders and moving on to the next project.

But it bugged me. Particularly the part where one of the now gaping holes was in the library where I wanted the space to feel less like a catch-all and more like a library. A home furnishings store was going out of business at about that time and I went a little crazy buying curtains that could work wherever without much concern for the overall color scheme. In an act of desperation, I tossed one of the curtains up on an expandable tension rod and rather liked it.

The idea of covering the closets in this fashion has since become something of a habit. We have a curtain in the podling’s future room and a curtain concealing our toolbox at the top of the stairs.

For the entry-way though, we wanted more of a unifying look. Ultimately, we’d like to make the downstairs something of a Steampunk space. We’ll use the fireplace as a centerpiece and also draw attention to the Desk of Doom Owen inherited from his great-grandmother. Until we can agree on how to retro fit the doorbell cover though, the Steampunk plan will have to wait.

The pass through to the kitchen, however, could not and needed some way of concealing our coats. With baby incoming, I’ve also felt a little bit frugal these past couple of months so I wanted this to be as inexpensive as possible.

Since I couldn’t find any curtains for cheap that I liked and I’m not nearly good enough with a sewing machine to trim my own, I decided to completely fabricate them instead using canvas drop cloth and grommets.

In all, the project took me two afternoons because I wanted to make sure the paint was good and dry but the grand total came in below $50.00 which included the brass curtain rods. Pretty sweet all things considered.

Extra bonus! I removed the unfriendly metal bars from our screen door and reused them as the design for my curtains.



Why Adults Should Go To Summer Camp

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I miss summer camp.

Or rather, since I never actually went (a one-week dance sampler and a week of Vacation Bible School don’t count), I miss the idea of summer camp.

Our local community centers have started advertising their camps. If I were between the ages of 12 and 16 I could spend a couple of weeks at The SPOT in Longmont where it’s not just day-camp trips to the water park and to our local branch of Six Flags, but outdoorsy how-to. Like eating healthy over a camp fire. And developing the skills to become competent at camping. (Someday, Mr. Pirate and I are going to go out and pitch a tent in the rain and it will be hilarious.)

Or Renaissance Adventures in Boulder! They even have a girl group which makes me happy because although I’m all for coed interactions, it’s easier sometimes to develop a love of storytelling and being comfortable in your own skin when you don’t have to worry about cooties.

But adults don’t get to experience summer camp unless we can live vicariously through our offspring or through some other kids in our lives. Since I have neither, I think I’d like to come up with my own program of summer camp for big kids.

I think there are two big obstacles standing in the way of adults going to summer camp.

  1. Time. When working 40 hours a week, allowing for the structured  leisure pursuits as offered by summer camp involves an extreme force of willpower. Mowing the lawn, doing the dishes and generally being a bum are easier than carving out time to learn arts and crafts or to go on a nature hike.
  2. Money. You cannot stop to tie your shoe without being reminded of how much our economy sucks right now. Being an unemployed or only part-time employed adult does not provide the disposable income to enroll in a taekwondo class just for fun.

As adults, we’re supposed to be responsible. Responsible with our time. Responsible with our budgets.

My issue with this perceived notion of responsibility is that it adds pressure and thus stress to people’s lives. Maybe a little bit of organized time to learn something new or to get out and enjoy the place where you live could benefit our society in big ways. Besides. It’s better to lead by example and maybe summer camps could benefit from kid enrollment if the adults in their lives engaged in summer camp activities too.

So that’s why I think summer camp shouldn’t end when you’re 12.

And this is what I plan to do for my own adult summer camp this year.

  • Practice driving a manual clutch once a week
  • Knit a bunny
  • Take a dance class with LaRissa
  • Learn to cook something new (mint chocolate chip cake with green icing, I’m talking about you!)
  • Build a window seat
  • Take violin lessons

Maybe this will lead to me completely over-taxing myself? Or maybe I’ll learn ways to budget my time more effectively.

We’ll see.


DIY demi-Diva

Colorado really is remarkable when it comes to judging snow. In the high country, any amount can add up to good powder. For the rest of us on the plains it’s hit or miss as to whether or not the weather will be nuisance or a serene blanket of white.

Turns out, between 10 to 20 inches of snow counts as a snow day for our school district. Anything less than that and you just shift into 4 Wheel Drive and call it good.

It’s my first official snow day as a district employee and after sleeping in for an extra hour I decided to tackle the problem of our house’s outdated heating and insulation problem. See, I went home to Virginia last weekend and my dad suggested this really neat way to block out unwanted wind down the chimney when you don’t use the fireplace: foam board, duct tape and a hanger. It sounded like a McGuyver solution to drafts and thus I decided that it was the best idea ever for combating the chill in our basement, Ravenholm.

We have two fireplaces and do not use either one. There’s multiple reasons. We’ll go into those later. Right now I wanted to be a DIY Diva and get ‘r done. I even took pictures so that I could detail the process and triumphantly describe the project on the blog.

Except, not so much.

A custom-fit foam board insert to cover the opening makes great sense in theory and in application for my parent’s fireplace. For ours though, the existing glass doors got in the way and without my pirate project buddy (who is working from home today so I do my best not to pester him) it did not end well.


I guess I’m more of a DIY demi-diva. Before I can claim full diva status I need to complete some more quests. For now I’ll just cover the windows in Ravenholm with the plastic shrink wrap and toss on another layer. So this is me, learning to be a Colorado home owner one season at a time.