Friday, July 22, 2011

Just Call Me Joe the Plumber

We have had quite some issues with plumbing the last few months… including a cracked shattered tank that required the replacement of the entire toilet twice - not pleased. I couldn’t bring myself to call another plumber to come out and fix our loud toilet (different than the one that was replaced). Every few minutes it would fill the bowl with more water even though it had enough – it was very confused. It was just annoying to me that I would hear water running every few minutes so I took matters into my own hands. After doing some research online I decided the best course of action was to replace the fill valve which is the thing in your tank that rises as water comes into the tank. I’m not a plumber …but I’m not afraid of fixing toilets either. So I picked up this Korky’s replacement fill valve at the local hardware store for $10 and kept it in case HB’s dad (the master of DIY) stopped by.

When I couldn’t take it anymore I asked HB’s dad if he thought I could fix it myself – his exact words “you have a master’s degree in accounting – if you can read the instructions and look at the pictures I think you will be fine.” That was just the encouragement I needed. It took me about 30 minutes to disassemble the old valve and install the new one and a week later it is still working fine; the best part is that there are no more random bouts of running water. Talk about empowerment – I’m still doing the happy dance!

I am putting this out there for anyone who is afraid of repairing toilets – the simple stuff of course. If you can read and understand the pictures then you can tackle projects like this. I promise the scariest part is putting your hands in the water for the first time – well at least it was for me and when I realized that my hands didn’t fall off I kept going (N.B. I definitely got a manicure after). I do however recommend the Korky's brand of plumbing supplies not because I work for them or anything but because their supplies are made in the USA - gotta love that.
See ya old fill valve....

Thursday, July 21, 2011

We're Back!

It’s been too long since my last post. We’ve been busy with family visits, weddings, and work is getting in the way of my projects. Our foreign subsidiaries merged and it has kept me quite busy making sure there were no accounting emergencies - yes they exist. As mentioned in our very first post we mentioned the awful blue carpet. I just knew I had taken “before” pictures before we moved in and could not find them anywhere – the pictures you see in our first post are after we removed the blue carpet and painted some of the walls. Luckily for me I was whining telling my mom that I could not find those pictures anywhere and she mentioned that they were still in fact on her camera (cue the angels and hallelujah chorus). I took the pictures using her camera when we brought my parents by the house before we moved in. These are true before pictures – it does not even reflect how heinous that carpet really was.

I haven’t seen these pictures in a while…some of my favorite things:
1. Obvi the ugly blue carpet - I was so satisfied when we threw it out.
2. I kind of forgot that there used to be a fully functioning sink with garbage disposal (gross) in the basement - that is where we have our washer and dryer now.
3. The kitchen looks totally different now and I love being able to look back and see its entire transformation. We were able to get rid of the appliances that came with the house and get them to people who really needed them.
4. A reminder for HB who has lost 40lbs since this pic was taken - he is going to be super embarrassed that I mentioned this but I am proud of him.
5. This is before we painted every wall in the house.

Take Your Seats!

We inherited these chairs from HB’s parents.

Lucky for us they were moving at the same time we closed on our home which meant that we received a Duncan Phyfe drop-leaf table and 4 chairs (I am not sure if the chairs are Duncan Phyfe but I still love them all the same). While I loved the chairs (especially the legs), what I didn’t really love were the blue vinyl cushions. I have such an appreciation for old, well made furniture - truth is if its been taken care of well it can be modernized easily. After watching how simple it seemed on TV to recover the cushions I was ready to tackle the DIY project.

Items needed:
1. Fabric (I brought a cardboard cutout of the seat cushion with me to the fabric store to make sure I got enough fabric)
2. Foam for padding – can be purchased at the fabric store (I used ½ inch wide foam)
3. Batting
4. Spray adhesive
5. Staple gun
6. Screwdriver
7. Needlenose pliers

The Details:
1. First I removed the cushions from each chair. If the don’t pop right off they might be attached via screws from the bottom. The best way to remove them is to turn the chair over and unscrew the cushion from the bottom of the seat area.
2. If after unscrewing the cushion is still attached you can give the seat cushion a little push from the bottom to free them. After years of people sitting on them they might be a little stuck
3. Make sure you keep the screws they will be essential in getting the cushions back on when you are finished.
4. Remove the old cushion by removing the old staples first. You can use needlenose pliers to pull out the old staples or use a flathead screwdriver to get under the old staples to pry them free. I prefer the needlenose pliers approach.
5. After removing the old cushion you should be left with the wooden part of the seat. Use it to determine where to cut on the foam first. Use the seat’s shape as a stencil and trace around it on the foam and cut it out of the foam using scissors.
6. Now that you have a foam piece for your seat use some spray adhesive to affix the foam to the wooden seat piece you used as your stencil.
7. Now that you know how thick your seat cushion will be, place the seat (with foam affixed – foam side down) on the batting to trace the batting. This time you will want to make sure that the batting will reach to the wood seat and leave room for you to staple the batting to the wood later. Cut out the batting.
8. Use the staple gun to affix the batting to the wood seat using one staple per about 3 inches. You will be adding more staples when you put the fabric over the seat - and you won’t see the batting.
9. Repeat steps 7-8 with the fabric this time. If using a patterned fabric make sure the pattern is straight before you cut it out.
10. When stapling the fabric make sure that the staples are about ½ inch apart to hold the fabric – if you leave too much space between staples you could end up with a bumpy looking cushion.
11. Put the newly covered cushion back on the chair and screw it back into place.
Here is my chair before and after; a quick and easy solution to make the chairs fit into our home a little better.

A little before and after action so you don't have to scroll back up.