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Home Improvement Shopping Adventures

July 14th, 2020 Comments off

Saturday 06/27 we did a little shopping out in Geneva. Our first stop was At Home to look for patio furniture. We arrived as soon as they opened and while they didn’t have anything we liked, all was not lost – we found a shower curtain, rings, and placemats.

At Home Purchases

Unfortunately the white shower curtain makes the master bathroom tub look dirty (because it’s off-white), so we ended up getting a grey/cream striped shower curtain from Target instead, and moved the white one to the guest bathroom.

Target Shower Curtain

Tuesday 06/30 we made a quick run out to the Walmart in Elk Grove Village to buy this awesome patio rug that I saw online only to learn their website lies and there were none left in stock.

Walmart Patio Rug

I could order it from Amazon if I was willing to pay $62, but I’m just not. I wish you could order it from Walmart to be shipped but it’s not an option. I keep looking elsewhere for rugs but am not having any luck. Maybe I’ll get lucky and it will drop in price on Amazon. Or we’ll find something even better. I feel like (most) things happen for a reason.

We did come across this adorable welcome mat while at Walmart.

Welcome Mat

I’ve been keeping my eye out for a hefty welcome mat for years and this one is not going to be blowing away, I will tell you that! Only $12.

Friday 07/03 we decided to visit IKEA. Since they didn’t open until 10 am, we stopped at Dollar Tree first. The one we visited (in Villa Park) is the biggest DT we’ve ever been to which make social distancing easy. They were listed as having an expanded craft section but it didn’t really feel that much larger than the DT’s near the house. I did appreciate the wider/shorter aisles to avoid other people, though.

IKEA ended up being a bust. There was a line around the corner from the entrance and they were just letting everyone in at once (unlike Trader Joe’s when we visited – they would stagger people entering the store). We left without even going inside. Our fault for not realizing that just like Joe, many people were off work for the 4th of July holiday. Couple that with their late opening (10 am) and it’s not too surprising how busy they were.

Thursday 07/09 we went to Goodwill to look for a mantel clock and a container to keep the dishwand in by the sink. Struck out on those things, but found this beautiful white vase for $3.

White Vase from Goodwill

We also went to Dollar Tree and I got this woof sign that I used command picture-hanging strips to put above the wall decals that were already there.

Woof Sign

We ended up going back yesterday (07/14) and it was much less crowded. Ironically enough, we didn’t get the main item we were there to get because it was out of stock (despite saying otherwise on the website). I did get this cute planter for my succulent, though, so all was not lost.

In addition, we got a new light for the dining room.

IKEA Light

We have been wanting to replace our foyer light since we moved in (16 years ago) but have put it off because it requires obtaining scaffolding to reach the ridiculously high ceilings. We decided we’re going to do it very soon, however. The problem is we haven’t been able to find a light we liked. The other night it occurred to me that we could find an inexpensive light for the dining room and move the light that’s there now to the foyer.

Current dining room light (to be replaced by the IKEA light discussed above)

Dining Room Chandelier

We just need to buy a longer chain. We rarely use the dining room light anyway because we dislike over-head lighting. Not only does making the switch make sense, it saved us money. We’re also planning on replacing the ceiling fan in the living room so we bought a new one from Lowes yesterday for $95 (they sent me a $5 off coupon).

Hunter Fan (Lowes)

I’ll include photos of the entire before and after once the work is complete.

Landscaping & Associations

July 3rd, 2020 Comments off

We ventured out to Home Depot and Menards a few weeks ago in an attempt to spruce up our patio. We bought Salvia for the patio planter at Home Depot in hopes that it will attract hummingbirds and butterflies. I also picked up this cute succulent at Menards for only $2.50.

Succulent

It’s a Echeveria pulidonis. I named him Mr. Cuddles.

Approximately a week later we also bought a bunch of mulch from Menards and river rock from Lowes since the landscapers have not been doing a great job of keeping the area nice. Hopefully we won’t get in trouble for adding the rock to the areas near where the gutters drain and where there was previously just dirt by the air conditioner.

River Rock

It’s bad enough we had to buy our own gutter extensions to keep rain water away from the building.

I bought some sunflowers from Meijer too but in less than a week the squirrels ate them all so I never got a good photo of them. Lesson learned – don’t buy sunflowers and don’t feed the squirrels so they aren’t encouraged to visit.

Luckily the petunias in the hanging baskets we got 2/$10 at Lowes are thriving. Now I understand why my grandmother always planted them – they are hardy and animals seem to leave them alone.

Multicolored Petunias

Purple Petunias

The seeds from Dollar Tree are sprouting too, so we have a pretty nice looking patio.

Flower Seeds

Planter

The small box ones went into pots in the front of our unit but there’s not a bunch of growth on those yet.

Now, if only we could find a decent table and chair set that won’t break the bank. No one seems to have what we’re looking for and it’s frustrating. I’m not spending $500 on our small patio. I found a really cute 5×7 outdoor rug at Walmart for only $35 but it’s sold out everywhere, including the store where they claimed there were two left, so that was disappointing. Not that we can sit outside very often lately with how hot it’s been. Maybe by the time it cools off we’ll have found something suitable.

A few weeks ago before we did anything with the mulch and rock I emailed the association to ask about the landscaping rules because I’m not very fond of the rose bush out back. They said we needed to fill out some request form which includes descriptions of work, the company hired to do said work, etc. I was merely asking about removing a bush, not asking to build a gazebo! Suspiciously enough, 10 days later we got a violation for having a security sign in front of our home. Never mind the fact that it’s been there ten years (no exaggeration). From talking to another neighbor, people seem to be issued violations after requesting things of the association. Real nice, huh? I mentioned this to another neighbor who also had a security sign out front and he took his down even though he wasn’t sent a violation. There’s one a block away, though, so clearly we were targeted or they would have asked everyone with signs to take them down. I removed ours but requested a discussion at the next board meeting because I think an exception should be made for security signs (the rules state no signs at all are permitted).

Categories: House & Home, Neighborhood Tags:

Completed Projects (05/25-06/07)

June 10th, 2020 Comments off

Reorganized the freezer and pantry. I am especially pleased with the freezer because I’ve wanted to make it easier to find and remove things forever but the narrow shelves made that next to impossible. Thanks to TikTok, though, I found the perfectly sized containers at none other than The Container Store.

Organized Freezer

Now I’m just working on finding the best labeling process for the bins. As you can see in the photo, I’m testing a few options.

Label Option 1 Label Option 2

For the bins with several items, I can’t see using a general label as much, as I want to know exactly what’s inside. For the bins that are all chicken or beef, though, I can use the new Dollar Tree sticky labels I found. I think I will use my label maker, however, so they look nicer since I don’t have the best penmanship.

Sorted through and categorized all our paper manuals so everything is easy to find.

Reorganized closet in the former rat room, now Joe’s office.

A month or so ago I used the Discover cash back to buy Groupon bucks and ordered a couple of cabinet shelves as well as a sink organizer. I hate the latter. It is so annoying!

Groupon Sink Organizer

I ended up boxing it up and plan to give it to my step-daughter if she wants it. I am now using this set up instead and prefer it because either way water collects at the bottom of any container I use and it’s easier to pour out of the pot vs. the organizer that has a piece that slides out if you don’t hold it the correct way.

Sink Organization

Plus I prefer the look of the planter better anyway. I would love for Savers to re-open so I could find another planter since I like using this one for fake flowers in the house.

I was cleaning the cold air return in the dining room one day when I realized that while, yes, it was dirty, the paint was also yellowed, so no matter how clean it was it still wouldn’t look like it. I bought a can of white spray paint and quickly remedied that issue. Now it looks brand new. Of course there’s no before photo because I always forget to take one!

The garage in general is more organized that ever, although we still have a lot of stuff. We did free up a couple of “under the bed” organizers that never actually fit under our bed, so were in the garage. I used two of them to store my fake flowers and one to hold party supplies. Because they are so lightweight I can store them at the top of the shelf by the door and not kill myself trying to get them down.

I went through my Cure memorabilia and put all the LPs in the special vinyl box I ordered from The Container Store.

Vinyl Storage

I went through the magazines and clippings and put them in clear plastic pockets in a binder, and moved the t-shirts and cassette tapes elsewhere, thus freeing up a storage tote I can use in the garage for other things. I also came across Cure posters, as well as other posters, in the garage.

Robert Smith Poster The Cure Poster

Yin Yang PosterGlow Poster

I took them out of the tubes they were in and combined them all in one very wide tube that I also put my Cure calendars in.


Cure Calendar (1993)

Cure Calendar (1995)

Cure Calendar (2009)

Because of all the organizing, we are now up to six large boxes in the garage waiting for Savers to open so we can donate them.

Pending Donations

If they don’t open soon we will either donate them to Goodwill or post them on a free site.

Categories: House & Home, Media, Music, Photos Tags:

Weekly Accomplishments

May 9th, 2020 Comments off

Monday (05/04) – I went through my recipe binder and threw out the ones we never make, then reorganized what was left, adding in new ones I’ve been making for awhile but haven’t printed out.

Tuesday (05/05) – I gathered all our old “homemade” VHS tapes and the VCR to figure out what was on them and whether any were worth retaining. There were not. So I recycled their cardboard cases, destroyed the actual tapes (not sure why, but I just didn’t want them to be playable), and threw them away. Felt good to get rid of them after they’ve been sitting on a bookshelf for over ten years. I can’t get rid of the VCR, however, because I have some Cure tapes that cannot be viewed any other way. I need to look into whether I can digitize them myself. I guess that’s my next big project.

Wednesday (05/06) – Cleaned and reorganized the junk drawer.

Thursday (05/07) – Finished scanning in my CDs to complete our media cataloging project.

Categories: House & Home Tags:

More Spring Cleaning & Home Projects

May 2nd, 2020 Comments off

This past Sunday (4/26) it was warm enough outside for us to get in the garage to do some decluttering. Initially it was in the hopes to make room for a deep freeze, but we’ve decided against that. It was nice to go through all the empty boxes and consolidate the boxes of things we’d like to donate once Savers is open again. Plus we cleaned out the box where we keep extra computer parts. I also went through my trunk and cleaned that up a little.

About a year and a half ago a woman I know from the local dog park gave me her old doggy stroller. It’s been sitting unused in the garage because we haven’t had an occasion to use it, until we were doing our declutter. I put Wookie in the stroller so she could hang out with us without getting in the way. I pushed her around the block afterward but she really didn’t like that because she wanted to get out and explore all the smells. She doesn’t mind sitting in it when it’s not moving, though. I had thought about getting rid of it but I think it will come in handy when we’re sitting on the patio or out in front and she wants to be with us. I ended up cleaning it real good yesterday and today she sat in it for two hours while we worked on the garage some more. We consolidated some storage totes, broke down a bunch of empty boxes for recycling, added some wood shavings to old paint we want to discard, and cleaned up our bikes.

Other things I’ve done recently:

Rearranged the hall closet again and removed some towels we rarely used. I put them in space bags under the bed in the master bedroom.

Cleaned out the workout room closet so it’s ready for future guests and threw out a torn comforter and an old yellowed pillow.

Rearranged Joe’s side of the master bathroom cabinet.

Sharpened all our knives.

Rearranged the freezer.

Filed some paperwork that was piling up.

Made homemade hummus & zucchini bread, both of which turned out delicious.

Planted some green onion bulbs.

While working on the hall closet I found a brand new throw rug which is perfect timing since the rubber backing on the one in front of the stove was crumbling. I was having a hard time finding a suitable replacement online. There are some things that are just too hard to shop for remotely. We had been in the process of changing the color scheme in the master bathroom and had already purchased new towels before the lockdown went in place. I can’t seem to find a shower curtain or bathroom rugs I like, so we’ll have to wait until this is all over before we finish that process.

Categories: Food, House & Home Tags: