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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Around the House: Guest Bedroom and Bathroom

I originally had one looooong post about the guest bedroom and bathroom as they stand, plus all of my hopes and dreams for the spaces.  But I figure my three loyal readers don't want to read a 2340987 word essay in one sitting, so I'm breaking it up.  First up, the guest bedroom and bathroom as they were and are.

The guest bedroom started out as this sad little room with a boob light.  (Those are azalea bushes right outside the bedroom window-- beautiful in April!)

The boob light is still there (I'd love to replace it someday with a ceiling fan to keep our guests cool), but it looks much more friendly these days.  Isn't it so happy?  I've loved that comforter since the day I bought it -- I've got a thing for stripes -- but it's a twin-size comforter and the bed is actually a full.  A little short on the sides, unfortunately, but it definitely works until we can revamp this room a bit.  Once I get around to getting another comforter, I'm stashing this one in the attic until I can put it in a girl's room someday.  I just can't give it up!  :-)  And a tip for any of you who doesn't have a bed skirt that matches your comforter, just follow Martha's lead.  I just bought a full-sized sheet that matched the green comforter stripes, and voila!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How Much is that Chewy in the Window?

The last time we rearranged our couches, one of them ended up right in front of our living room picture window.  Chewy had already enjoyed perching on top of our couches in their previous configuration, but the way it's set up now, his favorite spot in the house is the cushion of our window couch.  We kid that it's the best yet worst thing we've done since we moved in-- Chewy loves the vantage point (so many cars! people! squirrels! birds!), but inevitably every time we leave, his little face pokes out from behind the curtains and makes us feel just a bit guilty for leaving him behind.

Every time he does it, though, it makes me think of this song:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Check out my new page!

I just updated the "Our Garden" page on the blog, and 
I'll keep adding photos as our garden grows.  :-)  
See it here or just click on that nifty button above!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Equity falling in U.S.

We've all been hearing terrible things about the housing market, but I don't think it all sunk in for me until I read this article last week.  It said that Americans own a smaller percentage of their homes than they have since World War II, and that the average homeowner now has 38 percent equity, down from 61 percent a decade ago.  Normally, home equity rises as you pay off the mortgage-- but if your house, like so many others in the past five years, has lost significant value, you are losing equity even as the balance on your home loan is getting smaller.

One of the main attractions of buying a house when we did was the prospect of equity.  Living in an apartment was like throwing our money away every month, but paying toward a mortgage actually meant something for our financial future.  Our house was priced fairly low for the area since we purchased toward the end of the financial meltdown, and after we'd lived here for a year, it was cool to be able to say that we actually owned a portion of it.  (Granted, a small portion... but we take what we can get.)  It's also wonderful because equity is like real money when we go to buy another home or do big improvements to our current one.  But what happens if our equity gets washed out from under us, like so many other American homeowners?  Issues that we have no control of, namely foreclosures in the surrounding area.  How can you even ensure that your equity really means anything in the current market?  Go door-to-door to your potential neighbors asking them if they plan to default on their mortgage?  Seems a little absurd, doesn't it?  But when we're being responsible homeowners, it really sucks that others' actions could impact our financial well-being, even if their actions were unintended consequences of an economy in the gutter.

I think the silver lining of the article was that out of 74.5 million homeowners, about 40 percent (or 29.5 million) have either paid off their mortgage completely or bought their home with cash.  Hopefully that number will rise along with home equity in the next decade.  Come on, America.  Let's get moving ahead instead of backward.

Image here

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Just popping in to let you know that I changed the comment system on The Great Indoors, so no one should have any problems commenting.  And you should know that I love hearing from you.  :-)

In the meantime, enjoy this random gem from the interwebs.

Image here

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Around the House: The Man Cave

First of all, let's meet Mr. Great Indoors.  Ain't he cute?

On our trip up the Blue Ridge Parkway last summer

Mr. GI has lots of manly hobbies that required his own space, just like my girly hobbies required my own space (which is up next in the house tour!).  Our realtor sold our house as "three bedrooms," but this space -- from the minute we bought it -- was the Man Cave.  Or perhaps I should say The Man Cave.  The MC is the tiniest room in the house, probably only bested by the master bathroom. As such, it's really tough to take a picture of the entire space.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Daily Reads

One of the reasons I started my own blog is because my blog roll had grown out of control, and I was constantly sharing house-related stuff on my friends' Facebook pages, via email, text message, etc., and I finally decided I needed a place to get my own ideas out!  So I thought I'd share some of my favorite reads in case you'd like your own blog roll to go crazy.  [Hey, maybe it'll inspire you to start your own blog!]  I've got a few more mentioned in the Must Reads section over there (<<<---), but there are my favorite daily reads.

Young House Love
This is the first blog I started reading (thanks to an article about the Petersiks in The Nest) right when we started thinking about buying a house.  I can't believe that was almost two years ago!  John and Sherry used to be This Young House, but This Old House told them they'd better pick up and move to a different domain name.  Not sure how that could be confusing, but whatever.  They moved (homes, this time) right around Christmas last year, so a lot of their new house is still waiting for work.  Can't wait to see what they do with it!  The style in their old house was very beachy neutral, but they're trying to take more risks in their new place, and it's totally paying off thanks to Sue the Napkin.  Chihuahua Burger and Baby Clara are both absolutely precious (Burger used to have his own blog, but John and Sherry Burger put it on hiatus when he started getting really busy last November.  Still hilarious to read.)  They post twice a day with awesome giveaways on Monday afternoons!

I discovered H*T via Dana's house tour on Apartment Therapy and then saw her again on AT when they featured her bathroom barn door (ooh, I want one so bad).  Dana has such an accessible but beautiful style, and she has two young boys so you know all of her stuff has to hold up to forts and everything else boys do.  Instead of moving to a bigger house like so many other bloggers did last fall (it's like there was something in the water), she and her husband, Handy Hubby, decided to downsize.  Their goal is to pay off their new house in five years so she can quit her pharmacist day job to go into interior design.  They're currently juggling both houses, selling their current house by owner and starting to gut the new house, which she calls The Underdog.  She's precious to boot and usually posts once a day.

Friday, June 3, 2011

How Our Garden Grows

Heading into our second year of gardening, Mr. GI and I have been talking about some lessons we learned after our first year.
  • Don't sow eight okra plants unless you have LOTS of friends and families who reeaaaalllllly love okra.
  • Happy bees = happy squash. Our poor squash only put out a few tiny little fruit last year. It turns out that there's a short window each morning when the female flowers can be pollinated by male flowers, and if you don't have happy bees around to do that pollinating each morning, you don't end up with any squash! This year we're giving it another go, but planting some flowers close by to see if that attracts some bees. The last resort is to try hand pollinating.  We also ended up with powdery mildew last year-- more about that in a bit.
  • Mulch! Last year we only mulched around each plant to help with weed control and water retention, but this time around we're also mulching the aisles to clean up the whole look.
  • Planting radish in the summer. Radish is definitely a cool weather plant, and if planted in the hot summer it will peace out. Last year we didn't do very well about planning a fall/winter garden, but I'm definitely wanting some carrots, lettuce, and other cool weather goodies.
  • Our tomatoes last year went crazy. We got the plants from my sister, who threw a tomato in her backyard and ended up with plenty of volunteer seedlings to share. We sowed the plants underneath our clothesline so it would be easy to stake them up, and it worked pretty well last time.  So far we've had at least three volunteer plants from last year's tomatoes.  Looking forward to some tomato sandwiches again this summer!