April 30, 2013

Just about two weeks ago I heard some drumming in the house. I thought it was one of the kids but quickly realized it wasn't anyone inside the house. No, we were under attack! Two woodpeckers found our home a perfect place to peck at. I quickly scared them away but they came back. WARNING: If you hear woodpeckers at your house scare them away for good right away. I wasn't that smart - but I've learned my lesson.

Woodpecker Solution

Our woodpeckers were beautiful Northern Flickers. Don't be fooled, as beautiful as the bird is - you don't want it pecking on your house!

Just a week later I woke up way too early with the kids. They watched shows while cuddling their sleepy mom on the couch. About two hours later I realized that there had been drumming that entire time, but it was way too early for the neighbors to be out working on a project. That's when I bolted from my seat, ran out the patio door, and quickly scared away another woodpecker. This is what I saw next:

Woodpecker Attack Insulation

Woodpecker Attack House Siding

There were two woodpeckers and we're certain they were trying to make our house a home. I searched for all sorts of solutions but most of them were things like: call animal control, buy this spray (which took 5-7 days to arrive), buy a fake owl, hang some reflective things up, etc. So I kept looking for something cheap. Finally I found THIS PAGE. Seriously, if you are under attack - the suggestions there are great!

After a quick read of their suggestions my husband got excited. He quickly ran out and purchased a water gun and hot sauce. He loaded the water gun with hot sauce and soaked the entire wall of the area where the woodpeckers were visiting. (Don't worry, our kids will not be using that gun ever.) The next morning they were back, as usual. The two woodpeckers landed and pecked. My husband ran out ready to scare them away. After two pecks they flew away before he could even scare them. They haven't come back since! Yay HOT SAUCE! My husband rocks! Now to get the hole repaired so we don't have other surprise visitors.

Woodpecker Repellent

*One of our friends (who owns a Pest Control Business) also recommended Bird-X Scare Eye Balloon from Amazon.com. He says many people he refers to them have success.

April 25, 2013

I've been so excited with all the changes in lighting around here. In our great room we removed the track light that ran on the edge of the room. It was good at lighting the room when the spotlights were pointed towards the roof, but then they were in-your-face lights. You know how that is - like when the sun shines in through a window and blinds you in your seat. It wasn't quite that blinding, but much more annoying because it never went away.

Taken the night before we moved in! That old couch is no longer there.

It took me some time (4.5 months to be exact) to decide what to do with the lights. What I wanted was the same amount of light, division of spaces and versatility. I didn't want the new lighting to prevent me from putting up bookcases, rearranging the room, or changing things around later on down the road.

I finally decided on adding two new recessed lights and putting a light fixture above the table. That fixture could be a chandelier, a special light, or changed to a simple flush mount depending on how the space was being used. You can see in the before and after images I whipped up quickly the differences.

Great Room Lighting

We still have to install the light above the dining room table. Just like with the entry-way chandelier I went through and chose several and then let my husband look at them. Below are our top choices. Which one do you think we got? (That's not our table, just one that I popped in to help me through the thinking process.)

Drum Shade Choices

Drum Shade Choices by maggiemuggins on Polyvore

Hopefully next week we will have the light installed and I can show you some after photos!

April 24, 2013

Years ago, when I was a teenager, I was over at my friends house when the power went out. We had been making some special potato dish for her dinner. I remember that her grandparents were coming over and her grandpa was a picky eater so we had to make sure all the potatoes were pealed perfectly. Anyhow, as we were preparing this dish the power went out. We continued as much as we could in the dimly lit area and then talked and did some other things while we waited. But that potato dish had to be in the oven by a certain time so it continued in the back of our minds as we did the other things. What seemed like hours later (but was probably not even an hour) my friend commented about how we needed power soon and the loudly proclaimed "And then there was light!" That very second the lights came on! It was so awesome - we were stunned and had a great laugh over it. Every time I hear those words, I still think of that story.

Nuvo Harmony Chandelier

I wish it would have been as easy as proclaiming some words this time around. We had the electricians here doing lots of work over the course of 4 days last week. It was noisy, dusty and dirty - but the results were exactly what we hoped for!

One of the first things they did was replace the entry-way chandelier for us. I asked you for suggestions recently - and showed you our top choices. In the end - we didn't go with any of them.

I looked through all my before photos and don't actually have one of the old chandelier. Oops. This is what it looked like:

How We Chose

The first reason is we decided two-tier might be too wide of a chandelier for the space. The chandelier hangs right at the bottom of the stairs so the old light actually made my husband feel like he was going to hit his head on it. We needed to be really careful what we replaced it with so we chose a one-tier version of one of our favorites. It also needed to hold about 5 regular bulbs to provide extra light to the adjacent room - which had no lights at all.

Another factor that influenced our decision was the entire collection. Many light fixtures come in a coordinating collection with chandeliers, flush mount, semi-flush mount, pendants and wall lights all made to match. We're replacing a lot of the other light fixtures in the house so we wanted to be able to use some from the same collection. Some of our top choices we ONLY liked the chandelier in the collection and nothing else.

Lastly we chose based on style. We wanted a modern style but something that was still elegant.

If the price hadn't been so much higher than the rest ($400 more) my husband would have picked #7 from our top choices. The prices were so much better on the rest of the styles though. Also - we found the lights on LightingDirect.com but purchased them cheaper on Amazon.com.

I have to confess, even after it arrived, even after choosing it, I was still nervous until I saw it hung and lit up. What a HUGE difference it made. The space is so much brighter and the room next to it didn't need the lamps anymore.

Nuvo Harmony Chandelier 2

I'll be back soon to show you some of the other lighting/electrical work we had done.

April 22, 2013

I've used the Silhouette Frosted Vinyl a few times now and it has never disappointed me. I showed you how I used it on my "Everything Has Beauty" artwork last year. I also used it on a mirror - and the results were amazing!

Lauren over at The Thinking Closet has a great post about Frosted Vinyl today. (A really cool blog to read.) Her project is really pretty and the round-up of other projects will likely inspire you to buy a roll to try - if you haven't already!

This is a Nativity Silhouette that I made combining several Silhouette shapes. The frosted vinyl was easy to cut. It did require higher settings than regular vinyl. It's a little more thick.

Frosted Vinyl Nativity on Mirror

It's hard to get a nice close up of this, so this was my best attempt. You'll notice a few bubbles if you look closely. I wasn't careful enough while applying this vinyl.

Frosted Vinyl Nativity

I have to warn you - frosted vinyl sticks REALLY well. So it can be a lot of work to remove it! I left this vinyl up for over a year because it was so hard to remove. On the plus side, if you use it on a vase, or other things you might want to rinse, you won't have to worry about it coming off.

Now, head on over to The Thinking Closet for some more ideas for Frosted Vinyl!

Silhouette Shapes:
(Click on the shapes to link to them in the Silhouette Online Store.)