Friday, December 30, 2011

Modern on the cheap

We have seen this done on a few other sites so we figured we would try it out ourselves.

First take the interesting owl statue you got for free but is a little too 70's looking.

Clean the surface well to get rid of all the dust and oils from hands touching it. I used Mineral Spirits but rubbing alcohol will work well too. Be sure to use a cleaner that will evaporate quickly and not something that will leave any kind of residue that will mess up your paint job.

If the statue is not painted you will need to prime it. However, ours was so we were lazy and skipped the priming.

Apply 3-4 light coats of flat white spray paint. It's better to do light coats in order to prevent runs in your paint.

Let things dry and step back and enjoy your new modern looking statue. It almost looks like it came from the Jonathan Adler store.

Be seeing you.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Chop Chop Round 2

Ever since we had the goats out we have been slowly removing the rest of the little junk from our backyard. We decided it was time to bring in some people to take care of the big stuff that we couldn't do.

We went with Limb-it-Less Tree Removal which is the same company we used before. Initially, we called them out to remove the logs on the ground and 2-3 standing trees in the back yard. After talking a bit we decided it would be cost effective to remove more trees since the tree guys would already be there with the equipment. 2-3 trees quickly became 7 trees which ended up turning into 11 trees.

I'm shocked this tree hadn't snapped yet. It was one of the tallest in our yard and there was hardly anything to it.

The first thing they took care of were the left over piles I had made and the privets we had not chopped down yet.

A loader was used to carry out most of junk and all the logs. If I had a good looking yard this would have bothered me but since it's all pine straw and weeds I didn't care.

You could never pay me enough to do this job. I'd either fall off the tree or cut my arms off on the first day.

I never get tired of watching trees fall. It's scary and exciting at the same time.

Our neighbors and I were happy to get rid of these trees for 2 reason. The first was because they were leaning towards the neighbor's house. The second is that now both yards can get a little more sun.

All of the stumps plus an additional 15 or so were grounded down the next day. We were so happy to have all the privet stumps done because it is a pain in the butt to dig them up.

It still amazes us how big our back yard is. We never assumed it was this big when we bought the house.

The next steps will be to install a fence and come up with a plan for what we are going to plant back there. We don't want it totally open like it is now but it's nice we have a clean canvas to work with.

It will be a while before we can fence or landscape though. We just found out the county is coming to dig up our back yard (as well as the yards of several neighbors) to get to a sewer line. More on this as it develops.

Be seeing you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Susan's Christmas Gift

This is just a start. I will post more about it as things get going.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How I made those eyes

Someone requested a tutorial for the spooky house eyes. It's a pretty simple process.

1) Go to an office supply store, like Staples or Office Depot, and buy several packs of black poster board. The bigger the sheets the better.

2) Place enough pieces together to fill the window and tape them together. Some trimming and measuring will need to be done so it will fit nicely into the window frame. Our windows are 3 feet by 6 feet so we needed a lot of poster board.

3) Once the two panels are taped together, draw an eye on one of the panels. I made sure the pupil was in the center of ours so it would cover as much of the center window frame as possible. This may not be the case for you.

4) Flip the second panel over and staple/tape it to the back of first panel. I did this so I would only have to cut out the eye once and both would match perfectly. Just make sure you flip over the second panel otherwise you will have two eyes facing the same direction.

5) After everything is cut out place the panel in the window frame and tape it to the edges. This worked out fine on one window because there was nothing in front of it. However, the second window had a desk in front of it and made it difficult to tape up all the edges. The lack of proper taping and the fact that our windows get covered in condensation on the inside caused the eye to fall down after a few days.

6 - Optional) Cut some scrap wood, I used quarter round, and tack it to the sides and top of the panel. That made it more structural and prevented the sagging.

7) Attach some semi sheer fabric to the back of the eyes so you can't see in the window. Unfortunately, the fabric we used was a little to sheer so you could still see through the windows some. Next year we will just get some better fabric.

8) Arrange the light(s) in the room so it will illuminate the eyes nicely. Usually we just place a lamp in the middle of the room that is sitting window height. If the lamp is too close to the window it won't look right. This will probably involve you walking outside and looking at the eyes numerous times until you find the right arrangement.

The hardest part of this whole process was laying out the poster board to fill the window. I went through several arrangements until I found the one that worked the best for our window. I know this probably isn't a big deal, but I wanted to use as little poster board as possible.

Next year I will most likely get a couple of sheets of luan and cut the eyes out of that. That way I won't have any sagging issues like I did with the poster board since our windows are so big. If your windows are smaller the poster board will be fine.

Since I didn't take pictures while putting the eyes together, here are a couple of after shots so you can see how it was done.

Here is the back side of one of the panels. This is also the one I attached the wood strips to.

Here you can see the panel placed in the window frame and the fabric attached to it. We were lazy and didn't trim the fabric to fit.

This is what it looked like during the day.

I hope this helps you make your house extra spooky next year.

Be seeing you.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from the O'Cropolis! We're watching you.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The most adorable way to clear a yard

We had a VERY exciting week over here!

Since we bought the house our backyard has been a jungle. We don't have any official "before" shots but if you look in the background of these pictures you will get the idea.

Now, take what you just saw and multiply it by 20 or maybe 200. Only then can you understand what the yard was like. We couldn't even walk back there for fear of falling in a hole, getting bitten by a snake or being lost for all eternity. Every time I attempted a venture I would get a horrible case of poison ivy.

We got a lot of estimates from lawn companies to clear everything out. They were all laughably expensive. So after much (well, not really) debate, we hired a much cheaper (and more adorable) alternative!

Eweniversally Green!

The guys came to our house and set up an electric fence....

...that runs on solar power!

Then the real fun started!

Sheep and goats in the yard!

Lyndsay was the friendliest lady.

Ruby is the Anatolian Shepherd who makes sure everyone stays safe.

Nom nom nom!

In this video the sheep are being herded so that the fence area can be widened. You get to see the border collie at work and a cute puppy in training at the end!

We miss our temporary livestock. They made the house a lot more exciting. However, it is great that they're gone because look at the yard! We can walk back there!

Before they came EVERYTHING in those pictures was completely covered in English and poison ivy (as well as some terrifying spiny thing that would wrap itself around your pant leg and refuse to let go). We had been fighting it for months. The sheep and goats happily munched it all away in a matter of days. Now we can see that what we thought were mounds of dirt are actually trees. Hooray!? There are some other random goodies we will post about later

We tip our hats to you, Eweniversally Green! Thanks for giving us our yard back in the most amusing way possible. If you are reading this, tell Lyndsay we said hello!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Coming soon

Two big things are about to happen at the O'Cropolis. The first one is a new roof. This is not something we had planned on but it needs to be done. It will be exciting to get rid of the tar and gravel and put down some modified bitumen. I'm tired of moss growing in the gravel and all the rocks piling up around the house. Also, the new roof will be insulated unlike our old one. Hopefully, that will make things a little better this winter.

The other big thing is the yard being cleared out. We had planned on having our yard landscaped this summer but the roof took away our hopes and dreams of that. However, we found an effective and cheap way to clear out all the ivy. Goats and sheep. That's right. We are going to have a bunch of animals clean up our yard for us. It should be fun to watch.

I'll be sure to post more about these projects when they happen in the next few weeks.

Be seeing you.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hole in the wall

A while back when we were re-doing the door we removed an old window unit from the side of the house. This project was completed a couple of months ago so I apologize for the tardiness.

The first thing we had to fix after taking out the A/C were the two studs that had been cut out when it was installed. We cut two pieces of 2x4 and screwed wooden strips on the side so they could be attached to the existing studs.

We ended up enlarging the hole for two reasons. The first was just to clean up the edges so when we put the patch in the joints would be nicer. The second reason was to hide the vertical joints under the new slats of wood we were going to put on.

Here you can see the patch with the four new slats we put on. We ended up cutting our own slats because the 1x2's today are not as wide as the ones that are on the house.

Primed and ready.

It's not perfect but I think it turned out really well. Then again, anything is better than the old AC hanging out of the side of the house. Eventually we will replace all the siding with Hardy board but that is way down the road.

Patching the inside was pretty straight forward. We filled in the hole with some new insulation and then cut a piece of drywall to cover the hole.

The main issue we had with patching the inside was that the wall was warped. The weight of the AC had pulled the wall in above the hole and pushed the wall out below. Once we started to do the mudding we realized it was going to take a lot it to make the wall look smooth.

This is the only picture I took of this stage of the job. Once all the mudding was done the patch was about 3 times the size of what it looks like now.

Now that everything is sanded and painted you would never know there had been a giant hole in the wall. We are so happy to have this fixed. Now I don't have to explain to people what the box on the wall is anymore.

I took this shot because Hayward wanted to be on the blog again.

Be seeing you!