Master List 2016 – June Updates

It’s nearly halfway through the year and so I suppose it’s a good time to update what’s been done around the house so far and what’s coming. I’m also linking to the static pages which I’m in the process of updating with new photos

In the kitchen I haven’t made much progress and still have most of these things on my list (plus added another one)

  • Fix the faucet or replace it with one that has more clearance
  • Get the counter tops re-sealed
  • Add trim around the cabinet base – started
  • Line the curtains with a solid white fabric NEW
  • Fix the curtain hangers so they don’t fall off the wire

Dream goal:

  • Replace the stove/oven

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The dining room project will be underway soon and I’m excited to work with the electrician soon

  • frame out the door to the garage and paint
  • reconfigure the garage light switch
  • Install new outlet and move existing outlet
  • Install built in dinette and bookshelf
    • build a built in bench 6′ long
    • create a countertop along the back
    • build a bookshelf 8′ tall across 6′
    • add lighting
    • trim and paint the entire contraption
  • Reinstall baseboards
  • Paint base of bench and add cross supports

In the living room I can’t think of much that needs to be done but I would very much like to replace the two green arm chairs with a big leather stuffed chair. It’ll be low on the priority list but I still want to think about the seating situation.

  • Add 2 new feet to the couch (in the middle) stained to match the others
  • Re-finish the dresser (possibly paint)
  • Replace green arm chairs

The guest bath has had the most progress so far.

  • Skim coat the walls
  • Paint the walls blue
  • Install a can light in the shower
  • Trim out the door
  • Sand and re-paint the tall cabinet
  • finish replacing floor tiles
  • remove the baseboards
  • install new baseboards, bead board & chair rail
  • paint the trim

Half of the bath is done all the way to the chair rail but I still need to fill nail holes, caulk the edges and paint.


Dream goal:

  • take down the shower surround and re-tile it with subway tile
  • upgrade the faucet in the bathtub

In the office the paperwork project is well underway and getting really organized!

  • finish trimming out the door and paint the frame
  • trim out the window with a new frame and sill
  • replace the window
  • organize all of the papers, boxes and binders –HALFWAY DONE

The guest room needs a bit more work in organization within the closet and around my fabric but overall has been working really well.

  • finish trimming out the door
  • find a runner/small rug for the guest room
  • recover the desk bench with a new fabric
  • paint the foot chest in the guest room NEW
  • create a pad and cover for the foot chest
  • add feet to the window bench to raise it up (used a different bench in here)
  • work on fabric projects to use up material – HALFWAY DONE

My master bedroom has a new bed set up which added a ton of storage and I also got a new mattress

  • finish the trim on the door (hallway side) and paint
  • find a solution for the bed frame to raise it up 12-24″ higher
  • make a headboard
  • buy a new frame for picture above dresser NEW

Dream goal:

  • replace the sliding glass door with a single french door to the backyard

The master bathroom still has the dream goal:

  • re-do the shower
    • take out the shower surround
    • replace the floor pan
    • tile the walls with subway tile
  • recycle the door and install a shower curtain

The backyard has some goals for the new year to make it more useful:

  • take out the corner patio and save the bricks
  • take out the raised garden bed under the guest room window
  • take out the back door patio and walkway to the side yard
  • build a new patio outside the back door with access to the side yard
  • install a water barrel on the gutter downspout
  • take out 2 dead rose bushes
  • make minor fence repairs
  • reseed the lawn

The side yard hasn’t changed much since spring with everything growing out there

  • build a trellis around the bougainvillea to support it growing up and over the raised garden beds
  • keep the lantana from taking over
  • make space for the lawn mower and garden tools (protect from the elements)
  • Take the old gutters in for recycling NEW

The front yard also needs a lot of work:

  • haul away the rest of the wood from the maple tree HALFWAY DONE
  • grind down the 2 tree stumps and take out prominent roots
  • remove the palm tree (attempt to re-root in the front yard)
  • take out 2 orange rose bushes
  • get rid of the bricks around the old tree and level that flower bed
    • replant the lily growing in that box
  • build a fence out to the front of the property
    • add a gate to the end of the fence
  • fix the walkway up to the house
  • take down the patio cover over the front door HALFWAY DONE
  • replace the gutters along the side and front of the house
  • install new downspouts to divert water
    • add water barrels
  • plant a tree in the front yard

And I made a lot of progress in the garage

  • install new can lights throughout the garage
  • paint the floor when the temps are within range
  • finish trimming the window, caulk and paint it
  • reconfigure the wood cabinets
  • move the food pantry
  • get the holiday storage bins up on the walls
  • build a new box for the water heater

Dream goal:

  • add a water softener for the house

Then I have a couple of whole house changes:

  • Add quarter round to all baseboards, re-caulk and paint all trim
  • Install and secure floor transitions for laminate flooring – all but 1 is done
  • Choose color and paint the exterior of the house

Dream goal:

  • install crown molding in every room
  • replace ALL windows with new, more efficient models and trim them out

Should be easy, right? I’ll keep telling myself that.


A dozen little things

I’m discovering that most of the work I need to do is the super small, annoying stuff that lingers instead of the big projects. To “finish” rooms I made a long list room by room of all the things that need to be done and I’m checking them off little by little.

Here’s what I accomplished this week:

1. Finished installed the front door transition. This one was by far the hardest as I kept having to cut into the boards piece by piece. But it’s secure and looks wonderful!


2. Installed a new shelf in the garage. These brackets were from the shelf I used to have behind the sofa and I just used some spare 1x3s for the shelf. Eventually I’ll get a larger piece of lumber or join them with the Kreg Jig but for now it’s just holding outdoor stuff that’s not breakable if it falls.


3. Hung the air dryer up on the wall just to get a little more room beside the washer and dryer. Luckily this is super lightweight!


4. Installed hooks for the extension cords, although I could only find 1 of the 3 I own…


5. Cut a bunch of spare wood into uniform lengths for a game of giant Jenga. I thought I had so much wood but it looks like I need a LOT more to make a serious tower.



6. Began installing the quarter round trim on the kitchen cabinets. These came up when I installed the floors and the originals are so splintered and crappy I got new ones.


7. Went through all my DVDs and wrote them down in a Google Drive Excel sheet. It’s nice to have everything I own in one place and I also threw away one DVD that wasn’t working and returned a duplicate TV season to Target.

8. Cleared off the front of my fridge. It’s a small thing but feels so much cleaner this way. On the side I still have some cute magnets and the folder for my receipts but it’s otherwise clean!

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9. Purchased a new frame at Ikea for the picture in my bedroom that went crash! boom!


10. Bought 2 cheap pool noodles and cut them with a serrated knife to fit my boots. Now the boots stand straight up in my closet.


11. Hung the chalkboard I made in the garage. I need to pick up some old school chalk to season it but then I’ll probably just use my chalk pen.


12. Stuffed the back pillow from my office Ikea chair with a ton of poly. This one was so wimpy, especially with the dogs sitting on it all the time so I opened up the seams and stuffed until it was more supportive.

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Living Yolo

Living in Yolo county is so different than most people assume – it’s not that exciting and there’s not a whole lot going on. But what we may lack in nightlife and excitement, we more than make up for in views.

Sunday I was driving back from the store and noticed some awesome clouds, a sure sign it would be a beautiful sunset. I stalked a good location and set my alarm for 8pm since the sun is setting around 8:30 these days.

Here’s my first stop:


You know how much I love sunflowers, right? Well, you should.

There were some great, big walnut trees shielding the bee hives (which I stayed far away from):


This field had a good mix of open and closed flowers, they’re months away from harvesting:


After awhile I jumped back in the car and raced up to the gravel access road above the fields between Zamora and Knights Landing. Aka no man’s land.

I reached the place I wanted to shoot just as the sun disappeared but that didn’t mean the view disappointed.



As I was driving back I noticed that the irrigation canal had a plant growing along the surface and the reflection of the sky was so beautiful I had to stop:


One more shot from the trip back


Getting Shit Done

What I actually accomplished this past weekend was far more than I thought possible!

  • I painted the back door white to match the new trim:


It needs a third coat to cover the gray completely but I love it!

  • I also worked on the floor transitions, trimming the floor tiles with my Dremel and then chipping the pieces away with a chisel. I secured the metal transition piece in place with liquid nails and then used a mallet to get the trim piece in securely. The only one that needs more work is the front door.
  • The Ikea curtain wire set up in the master bedroom closet was falling out of the wall so I took it down, installed 2 braces and a solid wood curtain rod. It needed to be trimmed down on the miter saw a little but fits great!



  • The closet shelves got a little update when I added another, lower shelf so now there’s enough room for all my shoes (with space for ones I’m wearing at the moment)


  • I also picked up a little tool to cut copper pipes. Since I’m not using the towel rods in the master bath anymore I took off a few inches so this one could be installed inside the cabinet to hold headbands

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  • Also in the master bath I switched the towel hooks and hand towel rack back – I prefer to have the hand towel right by the sink and it’s easier to hang my robes when the dog water bowl isn’t right underneath.

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  • Speaking of bathrooms, the guest bath got another few rounds of caulk and I started painting the trim. Even though the beadboard comes in white it’s a weird off-white that I hate.


  • I had a piece of MDF leftover from a project (literally cannot remember which project) so I drilled 4 holes in the corners and then painted it with chalkboard paint. That quart was separating so I had to mix it quite a bit and it’ll probably need to be used up soon. Once it’s dry that will go in the garage, maybe as a list of things in the chest freezer?


  • I picked up this big, square, brown pillow for $4 and knew it would be great in my office but needed a cover. Luckily a few weeks back I found a single panel of my closet curtains in Ikea’s As-Is section for a couple bucks. I was able to sew this pocket pillowcase right before my sewing machine needle broke.


  • I took off the pad from this little bench that goes with the desk in the guest room, it had an ugly pink cover. Using the palm sander and Dremel, I sanded off the reddish stain and wiped it clean. Then covered the top with a bright outdoor fabric.



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I’ve also made a handy checklist of the projects I want to finish in each room before I update my house pages (here). Only 3 projects will require me to spend actual money, most are simple updates and I already have all the materials on hand.

What I’m working on

In lieu of real updates, I thought I’d share what’s going on around the house to show myself I am actually very, very productive.

First and foremost the door frames are *thisclose* to being completely done. They are all installed, caulked and painted but then, of course, one of the vertical supports on the front door warped and had to be replaced. A few coats of trim paint and they’ll all be D.O.N.E.


Second, while I liked the gray door to the garage before, now it’s driving me crazy. That one will get a fresh coat of white paint as well.

#3 – I am working on the floor transitions (finally!) to the garage, front door and sliding glass door. I’ve been worried about cutting these pieces because they are NOT cheap and I don’t want to screw it up. Bah. I’m doing it. I’ve got to find a better way to secure them though and am trying liquid nails on the metal track that goes on the subfloor. It’s meant to be screwed into the subfloor but my concrete foundation is already cracking so much around the edges.


My currently “almost finished” project is (4), the guest bathroom. I’d already replaced the floor tiles, added a new vanity and skim coated then painted the walls. Now I’m in the midst of trim and all the baseboards are in, bead board paneling is installed and yesterday I got the chair rail installed around the new mirror. Now I just need to fill nail holes, caulk all the seams, paint the whole thing and reinstall the switch and plug covers.


Fifth, while rehanging a picture frame one of the nails came out of the wall and the picture went crash-boom. The glass survived but the frame was destroyed so that’s going on the list to find a new one or build one.

Speaking of building, #6 is I’m taping off the floor and beginning to build the frame for a new dining room bench. So far the plan is a bench along the back wall of the dining room with a hinged seat for storage underneath. Gotta pick up a kreg jig first to make it all pretty and fancy-like. I see many nights of sanding, caulk and paint in my future.

I didn’t even mention the yard because that whole thing is a disaster and a half right now. I need to take old gutters in for recycling, round up the old wood for projects, pull a thousand weeds and take down spider webs, remove a bunch of paver stones, take out a tree stump, pour a new concrete pathway and the list goes on. It’ll be a miracle if it’s done in the next decade.