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August In Review: Reveals! Reveals! Reveals!

If there is one word that sums up the month of August, it would be REVEAL.  In the history of my blog I have never had another month where I had more room/makeover reveals.  Finally all the work I put in over the summer is paying off.
 
Obviously, the biggest reveal was my kitchen.  I am so excited to hear that my de-80's-fied kitchen was really a big hit.  I am shocked that my post over on Hometalk has been shared nearly 25,000 times! HOLY MACARONI!

The most common questions I have fielded about the transformation were in regards painting the cabinets and updating the lighting which I addressed in earlier posts. I'm still working on a detailed tutorial about the pencil tile backsplash install, as well as a breakdown of the complete $3500 budget. 

This month I also gave you a tour of the rest of the money pit 2.0 and the changes I have made at the one year mark.  Can't believe it was already 12 months ago that we were moving into the house!  At this time last year I was busy installing board and batten in the girls' room.

That was a lot more fun than how I spent the last few weeks of this summer: repairing a termite damaged pergola:

The other big reveal this month was my garage makeover!  It was the biggest project I did this summer and am NOT sad to see it end.   Just in time too, since my DIY garage mudroom is getting plenty of use now that school is back in session.

I also finsihed my kids' artwork gallery wall including my no-sew "home is where the heart is" fabric states wallhanging:

Another reveal you may not have noticed involves my blog.  I have organized my past posts into categories with buttons on the top of my left sidebar.  I haven't completely finished, but for now you can find blog highlights here:
   
Click on the sticky notes
 
Lastly, no month would be complete without a few new recipes:




I am really looking forward to September.  The kids are back in school and the holidays are approaching.  I am going to be focusing on a few decorating projects and not as much home improvement, but I promise they will still be great posts! Be sure to stick around.
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Grilled Ginger Teriyaki Pork Chops

If you are frequent reader of this blog you probably think I have some weird obsession with pork chops.  In the past I have crusted them, smothered themglazed them in the slow cooker and today I am grilling them.
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The truth is that my husband actually doesn't like pork chops (he is more a "boneless skinless chicken breast" type), but when they go on sale I get them since they really are so versatile.  Today's version is just another example.  Three ingredients and NO PANS! My kind of dish!
Grilled Ginger Teriyaki Pork Chops
3-5 (about 1 lb) Boneless Pork Chops
1/2 cup Teriyaki Marinade (I use Kikkoman)
1 Tbsp oil 
1/2 tsp. ginger (or 1tsp fresh grated ginger root )
Combine all ingredients in a bag and seal, making sure all areas of the chops are in contact with the liquid.   Marinate 6 hours to overnight:

Marinating helps keep the pork (which doesn't contain much fat) from during out. 
Place on hot grill for a minute or two on each side to get a good sear.  Then turn down the heat (or move it off the coals) for 10-15 minutes more.   The internal temperature should reach 165.
Let them rest 5-10 minutes before serving. 
Here is served them with herbed quinoa and some asparagus I also grilled.  Grilling asparagus is a great way to make it.  (I just shake it in a zip-top bag with some olive oil and put it on a medium grill for about 8 minutes)
 

Garage (and Mudroom) Reveal!

To say this has been a long time coming is an understatement.  I began the journey of completely finishing and organizing my garage back in MARCH and now (5 months later) I am ready to show the "new" garage to you:

Can you believe that is the same place? Wait.. let me step back a little farther so you can take it ALL in:

If you don't remember, my goal was to get five distinct areas for things I needed to house in the garage (plus my giant mini-van).  They were:
#1: Storage
 #2: Workshop
#3: Mudroom
#4: Freezer
#5: Trash

Here is the original plan I drew up back in April:
I am happy to say that I was able to successfully incorporate all those areas, and more! Let me give you a little tour. 

#1: Storage
This was a biggie.  I wanted to sort and organize all the junk that we keep in the garage.  Holiday decorations, camping and sporting gear, kids clothes and equipment, suitcases, coolers.. you name it.  We don't have a basement or attic so everything is stored in the garage.   There was some rough shelving already installed, but it was quickly overflowing with our stuff:

I taped, mudded and painted the walls (and ceilings), as well as painted the shelves, sorted and boxed all the stuff and labeled it all with my label maker.  It is amazing how much stuff can fit once you just get organized!

The niche to the right of the shelves was the perfect spot to house my #4: Freezer.  I surface mounted an electrical outlet near the shelves above the freezer so I would no longer have to run an extension cord to it.  (I also surface mounted an outlet above my workbench to use with my circular saw and other power tools.) 

 #2: Workshop:
The full reveal of the workshop can be found here (in case you want to see how I was able to figure out exactly how to fit all my tools, lawn equipment, paint, workbench and paint.) Needless to say I am thrilled with being able to find everything at a glance. 

 

And my favorite part of my workshop is still my painted pegboard:
 
 
Previously this side of the garage was stacked with boxes of old kids clothes and lawn/garden equipment.  It was pretty much a disaster.  Now there is plenty of room, not only for my workshop but also to house the  #5: Trash and recycling bins:

Hanging the bikes off the floor, and in front of the furnace and water heater (which are ugly but can't be enclosed) is another great space saver.  And to honor the fact that is a garage, I hung all the license plates we have collected off the cars from all the states we have lived in over the door. I love them!

#3: Mudroom 
Without futher ado, here is everyone's favorite part of the garage, the mudroom built ins: 

This is still one of my most popular posts of all time.   The fact I constructed this unit out of $300 worth of Ikea Cabinets seems to hit home with people:
 
More details about the construction of the built ins can be found here, as well as additional FAQs here.

It has been great for us, since it provides a lot of easy-access storage right at the threshold to the most trafficked entry point of the house.  And speaking of thresholds, lets not forget my newly beautified garage door:

Before the mudroom install, this space was my workshop, but it was so cluttered with stuff that you were barely able to get to the door.  The grungy white door and unfinished walls made the garage feel like it wasn't a real 'room' of the house.   But no more: 
 It was a LOT of work.  I would even say it was more work than my recent kitchen makeover and it ranks right up there with the Money Pit 1.0's kitchen remodel as one of my biggest projects of all time.  And even though it may not be nearly as dramatic, I am still really proud of it.   Not everyone can say they love their garage.. but now I can!

Kids' Artwork Gallery Wall (The Lazy Way)

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My family/play room is one of the places in my house that have been the most neglected.  Mostly because it is always a hot mess of toys and shoes and clutter.  It is also the room that houses the TV and the room we spend most of our time.  

I have updated the fireplace and built-ins, but that is about all that has been done.  I have a bunch of cheap IKEA furniture (since I love the washable covers in bright colors), but it isn't really a cohesive design. It is definitely very kid-friendly with lots of toys and colorful artwork above the fireplace:

Because the room is really intended to be the kids' playroom, I decided I wanted it to truly reflect them. I have been collecting their art work for a while and frequently taped it to the sliding glass door in this room.   After a while I got a little sick of scraping tape residue off the glass and I decided that it was time for a gallery wall. 

I mean, come on.. with drawings like this how could I resist? 

Because I was going to be using all sorts of random art and photos, I knew I wanted the frames to be one color.   I have previously done an all black gallery wall (with black and white photographs) in my dining room, so for this space I settled on white. 

Inspired by this pin on Pinterest I knew I wanted to use the girls' initials, and also wanted to do something other than all rectangular frames like I did in the previous gallery.

Enter the thrift store:

I picked up these lovelies for a steal:
And although they were FILTHY dirty, a little bath in the kitchen sink made them look as good as new.  
 

I removed the embroidery and sprayed them white.  A quick trip to Ikea (where I spent about $25 on cheap frames of various sizes) and I was ready to start my gallery.
 
I know there are a ton of tutorials out there on "how to make a gallery wall" and most of them require all sorts of templates and measuring and blah blah blah.    And if you know nothing else about me, you know I am BUSY and I am LAZY.   Which means, no templates or fancy markings.  A little chalk and I am good to go.

The first thing I did was collect up my frames and laid them out on the floor until they were basically a large rectangle. 

I measured the length and width of what was laid out on the floor and drew it with chalk on the wall:

Starting in the outside corners and working my way around, I added all the frames to the wall, eyeballing them as I went and making sure they aligned with the chalk line.  

Eventually I got them all up on the wall.  You can see how some frames (which previously held photographs) were turned on end.  I re-used the large black initials that were previously in the girls' room, and I also added in my fabric 'home is where the heart is' art. 
 You will notice that the frames aren't all perfectly straight at this point, since they are all going to come down and get filled with artwork.  That also gives you a chance to tweak the nails if you need to.

And after the art is added I made sure all the frames were level and used a small square of double stick foam on each frame to make sure they didn't rotate (especially in a room with two kids constantly banging into stuff.)

I used some of my favorite drawings and pages of homework that I have been collecting:
 

Some of the art is a little more abstract than others, but that is because one of the little artists is only 3! 
 

 I also considered the idea of constantly upgrading the art as I get new favorites.  This little guy reminded me that fall would soon be here:

I have a sofa table pushed against the wall, and I set up a vignette with some fruit, a plant and a little ceramic rabbit that the girls picked out during that same trip to the thrift store.  They love her (she is a she since she has eyelashes) and eventually I have big plans for her, but for now she can hang out in the playroom. 

Not bad for a couple thrifted frames and a quickie trip to Ikea! 
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Linking up to some of these parties:

*MONDAY*
Tutorial & Tips – Home Stories from A to Z
Craft-O-Maniac Monday- Craftomaniac
DIY Project Parade- The DIY Showoff
Creative Me Monday- The Southern Institute
Boogieboard Cottage - Masterpiece Monday
Keeping It Simple-Motivate Me Monday 
 Serendipity and Spice - Manic Monday
The Girl Creative-Just Something I Whipped Up
Metamophasis Monday- Between Naps on the Front Porch
Mop it Up Monday - I Should Be Mopping the Floor

*TUESDAY*
Today's Creative Blog-Get your Craft On Tuesday 
 Uncommonly Yours- Link Party
Sugar Bee Crafts-Take A Look Tuesday
Show Me What Ya Got- Not Just a Housewife
Tip Me Tuesday- Tip Junkie
Trash 2 Treasure Tuesday- Sassy Sites
Tuesday Tutorial Link Party- Kurtz Corner
Daunting to Doable- Project Queen  
*WEDNESDAY*
 Wicked Awesome Wednesdays - Handy Man, Crafty Woman
CSI Project Link Up- The CSI Project (Weekly Challenges)
From Dream to Reality: DIY Dreamer
Link It Up Wednesday- Junk In Their Trunk
Someday Crafts- Whatever Goes Wednesday
Show & Share- Southern Lovely
Pin it and Win It - Cheap Crafty Mama
  

Replacing a Termite Damaged Pergola Post

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I know I have posted a lot of projects that a whole lot sexier than this, but sometimes you just have to go back to basics.  DIY projects aren't always about making something beautiful. In fact, frequently they are about uglynasty things that just need to get done.  Home repairs fall into that category.

This project actually sprouted from a "beautifying" project where I was hoping to replace the ugly lattice air conditioner surround with something prettier.   Of course, like a lot of projects, things were NOT going to go as planned.

As I showed you during my backyard tour, I have a teenie patio with a pergola over the door.  

Attached to the pergola was a shoulder high "fence" (I use that term lightly) that surrounded the A/C unit.  The fence was really wobbly and was falling apart.  The lattice work was falling out and leaves and debris were getting stuck under it..   Like a dimwit, I forgot to take a true "before" photo, but here is my virtual rendering of what it looked like.  
Trust me. It was UGLY.  And it was too tall.  There was no need to have it shoulder height.  So I decided to tear it out:
 

My original idea was to replace it with something a little less, um, lattice-y.  I liked the look of a shorter louvered screen, maybe even with flower boxes on top.  This was my inspiration photo:

All was going well, until I realized that the reason the screen was falling apart, was because it had severe TERMITE DAMAGE.  *duh-duh-duuuuhh...* 

The post next to the A/C unit was completely destroyed. I had to replace it. 

To get the old post out, I loosened the bolts that were holding up the top of the pergola. 


The nut was a little more stubborn than I had hoped, but with a little help from my favorite penetrating lubricant. 

(This is the same stuff I used to loosen up my 100 year old cast iron steam pipes in the money pit 1.0) I was able to get the nut loose.

Before removing the support bolt, I rested the weight of the pergola on my ladder, and only then did I take out the bolt and remove the post:

This is what I pulled out:

After seeing the post was rotted completely through I was so thankful the pergola was still standing.  In fact, when I pulled the post out, the bottom half  was still embedded in the dirt and required a crow bar to remove,  it had been completely severed!  YIKES!

The next thing I did was remove all the wet, compacted clay from the hole.  I knew that if I wanted to prevent further rot I would have to get better drainage under the post.  

I filled the hole in with pea gravel, which packed easily, but still provided good drainage:

The original post was an 8x8 (a biggie) and had NOT been pressure treated. That is another reason it didn't last more than 15 years.  8x8 pressure treated posts are not standard so I had one custom milled from my lumberyard for about $80.

I painted the post with oiled based primer on the areas that were going to be in contact with the ground and with any other wood surface.  I eventually will paint the whole post but I was in a hurry to get the new post installed and only did the critical areas first.  I used the old post as a template for where to drill a hole for the support bolt.

Measuring the bottom (how deep into the ground the post needed to sit) was a lot harder. Since the post was rotten and split in half, I had to measure down from the top to mark how low the post would be below the patio surface:

Finally I was able to drop the post into the hole and made sure the top of the patio lined up with the mark. Then I replaced the long bolt that attached the top of the pergola to the post.

To prevent any shifting or swaying (especially in an earthquake) I decided I would attach the post to the patio on two sides  using L-brackets, large screws and wedge anchors.


Wedge anchors are pretty straight forward.   You drill into the concrete with a masonry bit and you also make a pilot hole in the post.
 Using a turkey baster, you suck all the dust out of the hole and then drop in the anchor.

Put the L-bracker over the anchor and then attach the top part to of the L to the post with a large screw.  Finally, screw a nut over the top of anchor using a ratchet.  

And there you have it.  A super secure post:
 A little gravel back fill and we are finsihsed! 
   $78 and a few days later.. and we are right back where we started.  But now I need a break.  I don't feel like looking at that stupid pergola anymore! 

 
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