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thank you, Mr. Squirrel

… for carving my pumpkin for me.


I get a lot of questions from friends & readers about where I find inspiration and ideas for house projects. The honest answer is that it’s a full-time hobby. I’ve been collecting magazine pages, jotting notes and saving websites for years. It’s easy to pin photos and magazine pages on a bulletin board. But what do you do with photos you find on blogs, and products you want to bookmark to buy later? There’s never been a truly great way to do that.
Until now.
It’s called Pinterest, and I’m officially addicted.

It’s like someone threw my RSS reader, Amazon wishlist and magazine clippings in a blender. The result is so clean and crisp and fantastically useful that it’s quickly replacing all my other systems. Now I have a place to collect images and ideas from all over the web. Here’s a board I’ve started for house stuff (you’ll recognize at least one item from a previous blog post):
Plus you get to see all the great things that other people are posting, and can repost them to your own boards. Pinterest keeps track of your links for you, so you don’t have to worry about bookmarking or copying&pasting all those URLs anymore. (LOVE that part.)

It’s still in beta, but I have a few invites left. If you want to join the fun right away, let me know and I’ll shoot one your way. Otherwise you can also request an invitation here.
Anyone else out there using Pinterest? Find me! I can’t wait to see your boards.

the first snow

We had flurries a week or two ago, but last night was the first real snow. And by last night, I mean, it’s been snowing steadily for sixteen hours.

bookshelf for sale

For my local readers:

I’m selling my IKEA Billy Bookcase (medium brown, including the five original shelves plus an extra glass shelf). I’ve had it for three years, and it’s in great shape other than a crack in the bottom of the back panel that’s been reinforced and is easily hidden with books from the front. The photo above shows a white-ish area along the side panel but that’s just a reflection from the windows. $50.

Leave a comment or shoot me an email if you’re interested in taking a closer look.


It’s not something I would normally think to write about here, but today is Blog Action Day, and the topic is water. Since I have a blog… and some thoughts on water… it seemed appropriate to join in the fun.

Being a homeowner has absolutely changed my view of water – for practical and economic reasons alike. I was taught to conserve water from an early age – to turn off the faucet while brushing my teeth, to take short showers, to only water the lawn at night and run the dishwasher during off-peak hours.
But things change when you’re the one paying the water bill all alone. And cleaning up the mess from a flood. Etc.
So here are some thoughts on water, for what they’re worth.
1. I’m grateful to live in a city with some of the cleanest, best-tasting public water in the country (#10 on this year’s list from the EWG). Growing up, we always paid for bottled water. Not only is that not in my budget, but I’d rather be able to drink public water since my taxes pay for the infrastructure. (Also, no way do I have room for a bottled water cooler in my kitchen.) I have a Brita pitcher in my fridge for guests, but I’m mostly a tap water girl now… and totally cool with it.
2. My water heater (while only a few years old) is definitely not big enough for a family of five. It’s big compared to other houses my size, according to the realtor and inspector, but when my family is visiting, we’ve learned we have to shower in shifts. When it’s just me, it’s usually not a problem. But knowing that the hot water could run out at any moment does help motivate me to keep my showers short… which is a good thing.
3. Paying a water bill every month is kind of a bummer… but again, it reminds me to be grateful that I even have running water. And clean water. Piped into my house, ready for me anytime I want it. It is unlikely that my house had running water when it was built in 1900, which makes me even more appreciative of this modern convenience.
4. Water is powerful. A flash flood can overtake your street before your very eyes. Basements can be ruined in a big rainstorm, as many of my friends experienced just a few weeks ago. I count myself lucky to have a solid roof and an amazingly dry basement. During our record-breaking deluge in September, I only had a trickle of water find its way in, and no real damage was done. But water damage is unpredictable, and not often covered by homeowners insurance, and something I’ve learned to fear over the last six months.
5. Conserving water is not only the right thing for our world, but it’s the right thing for my budget. There’s no reason to waste water while gardening, cleaning or anything else. I don’t have a dishwasher and I don’t mind it. I do laundry only when necessary, and I water my vegetables at night. Next year I hope to attach my gutters to a rain barrel so I’ll be able to reuse that water as well. It takes a little extra effort, and I know we’ve all heard about it to the point of not listening anymore, but conserving water is important. And it is worth the effort.
For those of you who made it here through Blog Action Day, welcome! For all my regular readers, I’ll be back this weekend with some pretty exciting updates to show you. Stay tuned.

drill baby drill

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with Father’s Day. I love my dad, but he’s notoriously difficult to shop for. So it can be stressful.

But I have a new reason to adore this Hallmark holiday: hardware store sales.

Every thing a girl could want for her new home seems to be on sale this weekend.

Case in point, my new drill:

And never fear, I got a nifty drill bit and driver set, too.

All on sale.

You betcha.

So this year, my Father’s Day gift is learning how to do all the fix-it-up stuff around my house… so my dad won’t have to do it when he comes to visit. Pretty good present, huh?

machines on strike

I’m not sure how I killed the washing machine. Really. It just stopped working after I opened the door to add something. I thought maybe I could fix it by unplugging it… but apparently, what works for laptops and wireless routers does not exactly work for washing machines (even fancy new-ish ones).

btw this is not what you want to be doing on a saturday night before a birthday party.
oh and did I mention the dryer also up and quit? it, too, was working just fine…
I’m hoping my neighbors just think I’m hilarious, rather than weird, when I do things like hang laundry in the backyard and play country music all afternoon through my outdoor speakers.
– LG
PS: this all happened last weekend. but since I don’t have internet OR a washer/dryer right now, this is what you get. both repairmen are coming today. so.excited.

dear new house

“I know they say you can’t go home again
I just had to come back one last time…

If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave
Won’t take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me.”

– Miranda Lambert
“The House That Built Me”
In honor of moving day:

San Antonio, TX | 1985-92

San Antonio, TX | 1992-94

San Antonio, TX | 1994-96
photo: Thanksgiving 2003

Davis, CA | 1996-2007

Northfield, MN | 2007-08

Minneapolis, MN | 2008-10

Minneapolis, MN | 2010-

Dear new house,
We’ve been getting to know each other for a while now. But today is the big day. I will no longer be able to run away from you, back to my comfortable apartment where I know every creaking floorboard. I’m excited, and only the teensiest bit apprehensive, about spending all my time with you from now on. I promise to take care of you, and to try and remain charmed by your sloping floors and uneven walls. If, in return, you can shelter me, and make me smile with your surprises, and help me entertain friends and family as often as possible, then we’ll just call it even.
It’s not your fault that you are number seven. Blame it on the Air Force, if you want (although it’s not really their fault either). I’ve loved every house I’ve lived in, so the bar is high – but I have faith in you. Plus you’ve been around longer than any of the others, so that’s got to count for something.
Here’s to many happy years.

Twenty-four hours and twenty-five minutes!

Just 24:25 until I get the keys! The final walk-through is tonight, and the mountain of paperwork is finished. I haven’t used a fax machine this much in years. So, I’m starting this blog to keep friends and family posted on my adventures in home ownership.

Most of you know that I’ve been busy collecting things for the new house via Freecycle Minneapolis for a few weeks now. My goal is to get the majority of must-have items (like tools, gardening stuff, paint and furniture) for free or on sale this spring, and work on finishing the rest of the decorating throughout the summer and fall. I’ll be posting photos of my best finds, and my tips for freecycling and sale-shopping, as I go.

For now, I’m concentrating on the workday and getting ready to celebrate. Tomorrow, the paint chips come out in full force!