Monday, April 16, 2012

A Weekend of Windows!

Recently, we purchased some new windows to replace the huge 12 foot and 2 foot single pane windows (from the early 50's) in our living room. The hard part of the whole bit (up until yesterday) was waiting for the windows to come in - because of their odd dimensions, we had to custom order them. In fact, they had to put the big picture window in a casement frame so that it would be able to withstand the weight of the glass! It's a BIG window.

     With the help of a few friends and relatives, we installed all three of those fine windows yesterday. Thanks again, everyone for all of your hard work! The windows look amazing. There's still a bit of work that needs to be done (framing, caulking, painting) but that will be a project for next weekend!

** A special shout out goes to our friend Nate, who helped us immensely with ordering the windows and completing the window installation. He ensured that we had the right materials and equipment to work with, and that our windows were framed and level! Thanks again, Nately! **


Daniel taping the large window so that it didn't break when we took it out ... or at least if it did break, the tape would hopefully hold it together.

Jim and Steve started the project while Daniel and Nate picked up supplies. I was in charge of drinks and food... ahem, I mean I was the "overseer."

Steve hard at work prying the framing out. Thanks again for showing up to help, Steve-o! We love you! 

Jimbo tearing out nails and all sorts of goodies from the framing. He was a trooper - he even got a few battle wounds from the windows (thankfully via plastic edges, no rusty nails)!


 
They were quick! Before I knew it, we could see the edges of the glass...

 which were covered with some sort of nasty glue and old glazing. It took a good while to scrape all of it off so that the windows could come out successfully.

We decided to put some tape on the smaller windows as well, and create "handles" for better leverage when taking the windows out.

The first window almost made it out without breaking. Luckily part of the window stayed in place in the frame so that we could take the broken part out without anyone getting hurt.

Success! At this point we still had the plastic behind the windows, which was nice. It probably saved my allergies from being worse than they are today, what with all of the saw dust floating around inside the house. It's a small price to pay for awesome new windows. My job didn't really start until yesterday evening (and today) ... clean up! ;)

Learning our lesson from the first window, we scraped away all of the glue from the remaining windows. We took them out without any breaking. 

We put up some sealant-type stuff (Nate would be able to tell you what it was... I can't remember) so that the windows would be air-tight as well as water-tight!

Wow, our house is a bit drafty without any windows. As you can see, all of the plastic had to be taken off of the windows so that we could take the framing and sill off from the inside of the house.

After a while it seemed pretty silly to keep having to use the door to go in and out of the house... hmm, 16 feet of open area to straddle, or a door...

The guys did a great job of taking out the sill without damaging the wainscot. Thanks!

The first window went in smoothly.

Daniel secured the window by screwing the nail fins in while Nate made sure the window stayed level.

On to the next window!

Our deck took a bit of a beating from all of the work. Sorry deck, we'll clean you soon!

This window was a bit trickier to put in... still pretty easy, though.

Looking pretty good!

We saved the best for last - the big picture window. It was NOT fun putting in. Unfortunately, the framing from the original window had sagged, which made putting this window in ... well, not fun. At all. We had to angle the window and put the top in first, then the bottom...

 at which point we had to use a mallet (and pure awesome strength *flexes muscles*) to get the bottom of the window into position. Yes, I did actually help and not just take pictures.

Daniel secured the window.

We then caulked and foam insulated the outside and inside of the windows. Actually, there's still a little bit of work to be done on both yet. It ended up being pretty late by the time we got the windows in. We'll finish up in the next day or so.

Caulked, compliments of me. Don't mind the dirty window.

We then cut, primed and painted pieces of wood to frame the window out, and screwed them into place.

 The inside of my house doesn't look so hot anymore... *cry*
It'll look better next weekend when we finish up and put the framing and sill back in.
All in all, it looks pretty darn good! Great job, everyone! I took these shots this morning, as it was too late to take a picture of the mostly finished project last night.

Pano-view!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Solar fountain Fun!

Daniel has humored me lately with my projects around the house - one of which has been the construction of a solar fountain. I could have just gone down to the hardware store and bought a solar fountain kit but I decided to do things the hard way; I decided to put everything together myself (minus the construction of the solar panel, because I looked that up and boy, oh boy... that's another project all in itself).

So, I began with a pot. To make it more natural looking and to keep the idea simple, I made a solar fountain pot versus a traditional fountain. I decided that I wouldn't have anything cascading, I simply would have a pump floating (or stationary) in the pot that would shoot water a portion of the way out of the pot.... simple and soothing.  I found a good-sized plastic pot at Costco for a great price, and managed to find a submergible fountain pump online for cheap, too (that claimed it has a vertical lift of 10ft...wow).

Then, I researched for days on end online (at which point I think Daniel thought I was crazy) for the perfect solar panel. I found a panel online that said it was only a 9v 5w but from reading the customer reviews I discovered that it was actually a 9v 22w solar panel. It also inluded a control box that you could connect your battery, load and solar panel to. This ended up being the perfect solution to fit my needs, as it had the ability to charge a battery when there wasn't enough direct sun to keep the pump running.

So, once I ordered the panel and control box, I simply had to wait... a whole week. It was tough. In the mean time I then had to figure out where I was going to purchase a 9v battery that would have enough amps to power my pump and collect a charge from the solar panel. I had been discussing this project with Steve, who shares my enthusiasm on solar energy uses, and he graciously gave me an old 9v UPS battery. Thanks Steve!!

So, yesterday I drilled a hole in the pot and found a plastic container that would keep my battery and control box safe (drilled hoes in it, too). I bought some silicon and slapped it onto the holes once I ran the wires through the pot and to the battery and control box. I was supposed to let it dry for 24 hours, but I couldn't wait long enough. After about 12-14 hours I filled the pot up with water and,  lo and behold, nothing seeped out!

I decorated the pot with lots of large rocks I had in the garage (see? I'm not a pack rat... everything has its purpose), dug a hole large enough for the plastic container to sit in... and voila! I didn't put the plastic container all the way down into the ground, as I'm still testing it out to see if the silicon will do its job of keeping condensation out. As for the pump, it works great (sometimes too great when there isn't enough water resistance... it soaked me when I was moving it).

Anyhow... long story short, enjoy the pictures below!

I wish I could get that darn sticker off of the pot. It will just have to wear off, I guess...

Pretty rocks.

Hehe, Apollo wouldn't stop sniffing this box, as it used to contain his treats.
Hopefully he doesn't try to dig it up. Hmm, just thought about that...

Control box, 9v Battery. All safely (hopefully) contained.

Beefy Solar Panel.

Set up but not hidden.

Hidden (mostly)!

Heh.. see the water there on the groud? That was when I tried to raise the pump a bit and see if it would shoot more water. It does... far.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

New Year Celebration

To celebrate the New Year, we hung out with our friends Nikole, Todd, Vita and Nate. We went to our favorite sushi bar, Ozeki. We call it Ozeki's.

We had a blast laughing, eating and exchanging gifts with one another. Great times are always had when spent with those you love.


Above: Todd, Daniel and Nate. This was the only photo where I got them all smiling and not being goofy. ;)
Below: The only good photo of Vita, myself and Nikole. Vita hates photos of herself, so she made sure every photo of her was a blur.

Thanks for a great time, friends! We love you!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dog Tales Edition 1: Snowflake Silliness

Apollo has been having a blast lately with the winter storm that has been blowing through Washington. Here are some videos of his excitement. Like his crazy obsession with bubbles, he loves the snow... and tries to catch snowflakes in his mouth. He recently has learned a new skill in the snow; I think it's his version of sledding. Oh, and the last video is for Annie and Mark. Apollo loves his Christmas present, thanks!!

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The videos aren't the best... but they're funny.

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This was his first encounter with Annie and Mark's Christmas present: a Kong treat feeder. Most of the time we use this to feed him breakfast and dinner because it entertains him and it slows his eating down. He was VERY excited about this toy. In fact, he still gets insanely excited every time we use it.

Christmas Creations!

This year I decided to make everyone home made presents for Christmas, mainly because home made presents are awesome... and mostly because we needed to provide good gifts on a low budget. I didn't realize how much fun I would have creating all of these wonderful concoctions! I thought I'd share some photos of how the presents turned out, and how hard it was to not eat them all (well, the edible ones, that is). Knit hats normally don't taste very good. Too dry. 

 So most of my home made gifts this year were "____'s in a jar," which consisted of either pies in jars, peppermint stick hot cocoa or ginger blueberry pancake mix in jars. They all sounded delicious. I got the recipes off of a few different websites online and adjusted the ratios to fit my mason jars.

Above is a blueberry pie in a jar. I bought very small cookie cutters in different shapes (but used mostly hearts) to cut out pieces of the crust for decoration.

 This was the apple pie I made for Grandma :) This little guy had Splenda in it instead of sugar. Yay, Splenda! I also sprinkled a bit of cinnamon on the top of it.

 I got a little wild with the different designs for the pies - it was so much fun.

  I obviously couldn't send the out of town relatives pies in jars, they would have spoiled. So the out of towners got the dry goods - above is the ginger blueberry pancake mix. These puppies actually had crystallized ginger and all sorts of yummies in them, so they should have been really tasty (sadly, I didn't save any for myself).

And, of course, I had to write directions on how to prepare them! You can't rightly make pancakes without adding some liquid and eggs. :) Well, I guess you could but they'd be very dry...

 Above is the peppermint stick hot cocoa mix. It also had its own home made tag filled with directions. Sadly, I didn't get a photo of one. It IS delicious; I can speak from personal experience! After making so many batches and drooling over them, I finally made one for myself (I'm a hot cocoa hound). Below I will show you my wonderful experience of mixing and making peppermint stick hot cocoa mix! 

 Taking the jar off... by the way, I had to hand crush all of those peppermint sticks (they were actually round peppermint candies, not sticks).

 Flop contents into a bowl!

 Stir until well mixed!

 (Well mixed)

 Place desired amound into a mug of hot water (or milk), stir and drink! And boy, did I! Speaking of which, I need to make another batch because I'm already out.

 I ended up having an extra pie, too... so I baked it to see how it would actually come out.

 I was somewhat wary of baking it right in the jar, but it was a canning jar so it theoretically could withstand the temperature. It did, by the way.

 Straight out of the oven!

 And, of course... it needed a little bit of whipped cream. It was delicious. Daniel and I shared it.
Anyhow, that about wraps up the Christmas creations. I also created some chapsticks, vitamin c serums for the ladies (anti wrinkle for the win), home made soaps, a creative framed photo and a few knitted hats... all of which I have no photos for. Oh well. Horray for home made gifts!!