lucky strike – carpet removal 101

10 Apr

This is another time traveling post from inside the house. Officially, I believe this was conquest #2.

This was my bedroom the way it looked on closing day. Hot stuff, right? Booger green carpets and more beige. Well, the paint color is still not final, but we did take care of that carpet. Wanna see?

How To Remove Really Old Yucky Carpet


Dust Mask

box cutter

lots of garbage bags

vacuum, broom, dustpan

something to scoop large volumes of carpet padding out

A small (8 inch or less) crowbar or flathead screwdriver and hammer


First, make a cut starting a few feet into the carpet at the wall towards the middle of the room.Careful not to cut all the way  through the padding into whatever is under it!

Cut and then roll the carpet back and out of the way. Repeat this until all of the carpet is gone. Remember to use manageable portions of carpet because when you roll it up it will be awkward to carry and very heavy!

When you get rid of all or some of the carpet, find something to scoop up all of the padding leavins (no, that’s not what it’s really called), that won’t scratch the floor. I had this snow shovel that I thought was a regular sized snow shovel, but was told it is a snow shovel for children. If you are very short and have a plastic snow shovel for children, I highly suggest it.

And then you scrape.

And scrape.

And then you clean and sweep and get rid of all of that carpet padding. We went with a good broom sweeping followed by a vacuum once over. Then I used my steam cleaner on top of that. Carpet padding is disgusting and gritty and itchy. And if you do it in 90 degree weather like we did, it’s even worse.

What you will be left with after all of that hard work is more hard work in the form of tackstrips. See those pieces of wood there? There are nails poking out on both sides of it, so be careful. To get rid of those, take a crowbar made for the job, or a flathead screwdriver pop it underneath, tap with a hammer to push them in farther,  and pry them up. The tackstrips will either pop up whole or snap in half. If they break, just repeat the hammer and crowbar step on the little piece.  They usually aren’t too difficult to get up, there’s just a lot of them. Be careful not to scratch your floor too much once again, and just move around the room popping them up. Then you have a bunch of pieces of wood with nails sticking out of them to throw away. Be careful with that!

Once your tackstrips are removed, you can assess the best way to deal with your floor. If it needs refinished or stained or whatever. I hit floor gold, and hit it with a nice coat of Orange Glo and that baby glimmers! Why would you cover this up with booger carpets?!

It’s not great, but the floors sure do look much better! So hate that carpet you’re dealing with? Pull up a little corner and have a look see underneath. Perhaps there’s something lovely under there.


nature claims flawless victory

6 Apr

So tragedy has struck me for the first time this season. It’s not a surprise, considering my many life follies. I can preface this by saying I have been to the doctor regarding a piece of q-tip stuck in my ear. In my adult life. That being said, it is not a shock anytime something hilariously awful happens.

I’ve been on a roll. I mowed the yard by myself and still have my legs. I have used a handsaw. I drive to work every day without much incident. It caught up to me today.

I know you’re probably blown away by my photo editing skills, but focus for a minute!  There’s poison ivy all over my face and on my eyelid. I chanced it and put on mascara (you’re welcome), but it’s a little uncozy. I have no idea how it happened. I know I’m really into plants and stuff, but I don’t recall rubbing my face all over them out of adoration. Really, I didn’t. It’s a lot worse than in the picture too. My blindingly pale skin tends to blow everything out, usually to the point that I appear to only have eyes and a mouth in a picture. But I digress. This is simply a warning to everyone, it’s out there. Be careful, kids.

today in the yard

5 Apr

I’ve been a very busy bee. Last Saturday, I planted all of my new acquisitions into the sloping bank of death. It certainly doesn’t look like much right now, but hopefully will fill in and be the nicest looking driveway in town.


This is what it looked like pre-Saturday.


And here it is now. All of my yucky plastic garden markers are still there because I haven’t had a chance to switch them out. It looks better already, right? Or am I insane? I’m going with a dark foliage and chartreuse type theme. More on that as it fills in, looks like I spent more than five minutes on it, and makes the crippling back pain more acceptable.

There’s not much showing off out there today, but there are a few gems worth posting.


Well, these were outside. I planted them last year in a faraway corner because I didn’t know what else to do with them. I think they’re kinda fun. Even if they are tulips.


I am not sure what these are, my Mom gave them to me in a huge bin. I think the tag said summer blooming daffodils, but it’s not summer. And they’re a lot saucier than daffodils. I give them a resounding thumbs up whatever they are.


The $2.50 Hellebores are still putting on a show. Seriously, thank you Home Depot. Annuals? Pfft. Now, if only the stubborn f1 hybrids will start blooming so I know what color they are…


Yes, jerk. I’m talking to you. This dirtbag is teasing me. It could be white, pink, green, red or black. I have no idea. But knowing my luck, it will be a white one with red splashes all over it because I don’t like those. If it doesn’t bloom this year, I will probably fistfight it.


And my little Lakeside Cupcake hosta showed up this week. Last year it had an epic battle with the slugs (and lost). Right now it looks okay. I might be fistfighting some slugs this year too. It’s going to be a busy summer of hand to hand combat.

interlude with a dining room

1 Apr

Since this is to cover the whole house, and not just the yard, I’m going to back peddle a little bit and talk a bit about the little lady herself. As I mentioned before, we bought a monster of a house last summer. Built in 1925, it was lived in prior to us by an elderly couple that sold it for the reasons that an older couple would sell a house with stairs in it.


It comes with all of the things an old house of that time period comes with. Iffy electricity, hilarious curtains and a huge hill. It’s really just exactly what I’ve always wanted.

It is incredibly hard to take a decent picture of it because the ground is so warbly. This is the best that I can do, and pretty much the same angle the realtor took, so I guess it’s a common issue.

And now that you’re caught up with that, let’s show off a partially finished room, shall we? Hooray! Okay, so the house was beige on beige on beige when we signed the papers and took over. And we hit the ground running the weekend we moved in. Hilariously enough, the last room either of us really cared about was the dining room, and wouldn’t you know it, that’s the one that got done-ish first.


Beige-y right? This is the only picture of the dining room before that isn’t all blurry. Apparently, I was terrified of the impending legally binding paperwork.

The room was in really good shape, and other than some paint on the walls and some bravery in the form of painting the fireplace tile, it just needed the furniture.


I used an oil-based paint and thinly painted over the hideous hunter green tile. After about four coats, it looked really good. I was worried it would be sticky, but it’s not. I haven’t really scratched at it, but it has been wiped down. So far, much better.


I did a checkerboard pattern in brush strokes, alternating up and down and side to side. It’s subtle, but it definitely makes it look like they are supposed to be gray and gives each tile a little variance from the next when the light hits it.

I made a roman shade following this tutorial. I like them a lot, but need to fiddle with a backing or something. They look good when they’re raised, but the view of the treadmill isn’t exactly postcard-worthy. Might I suggest using fabric you can’t see through if you  were to make one of these handsome devils for yourself.


And now, here she is painted up and looking fancy.


Some serious thrift store shopping is planned and I’ll post new updates as she gets fancier. We have already made it a habit to eat food here from time to time instead of on our laps like cavemen. Maturity +4!

so many things

28 Mar

There are so many things happening outside that it’s really hard to focus. I’m everywhere all at once, trying to do everything now. Before my plant orders start showing up, you know? Oh, wait…


As Liz Lemon would say, “Blurg!” I really thought I had more time to prepare, but alas. Some of the lovelies have arrived. They’re hanging out in the laundry room till I get a day off. Until then, the battleplans are being drawn. Saturday is the big day.

I’m really excited about fixing up the yard. I’ve been a renter for so long, I have had to suppress all inklings for pretty plants. Now I am in an unstoppable frenzy. It’s ridiculous. Last fall, before I was able to do too much planning, I read a lot of gardening blogs. And thanks mostly to this, I became obsessive of hellebores. So I ordered a few, a few more, and then stumbled upon some for $2.50 at Home Depot (listed as annuals!). I bought some called Sunshine Selections from Sunshine Farms. These are wildcards, and you have no idea what you will actually get. I have at least five of them, and the suspense has been killing me since I put them in the ground in August. I am not sure if they will be blooming this year or not, but if they don’t I might have a freaking stroke. The little teases.


And like I don’t have enough on my plate right now, I found some hosta babies planted literally in the middle of the yard. I even mowed over some of them. I went on a rescue mission despite being in danger of being late for work.


Why hello naked tree bottom! Are you particularly fond of those unsightly weeds you’ve been seen with?  How about a more respectable (albeit predictable) crew?


I’ll give you an update on how that’s going later on. So, I’ve given some insight into the perplexing landscaping disasters I have on my hands, how about yours? What’s the most befuddling yard-related encounter you’ve ever had? I’m very curious to know if this sort of thing is a widespread epidemic.

And now I’m off to look at my new leafy pals.


today in the yard

25 Mar

Despite the previous update, it’s not all bad, you see. Some things are starting to pop up and bloom in this March heat wave. Here’s a few morsels of hope that are tiding me over until all of my orders get here.

The Hellebore was bought at Home Depot. They were huge, blooming, and marked as annuals. Oh, and they were $2.50. Ca-Caw! That is the sound of me swooping in and taking too many of them. My Cube was packed to the brim with Hellebores. I drove away feeling like a villain with a curly mustache. Bwah ha ha!

and so it begins….

24 Mar

Later than projected, the grand tour of the yard will now commence. It’s a mess. It’s neglected. It’s bewildering. Shall we?


I’m going to ease into it, and let the shock of it all slowly sink in. So, here you have a bed that I actually may have finished. What was once two barberry (Satanicus x. hellfireous) bushes and four prehistoric and butchered azaleas (see banner photo), is now full of all sorts of shady friends. I will get into it more as it comes in, but there are the expected hostas and ferns with a few little surprises tucked here and there. It is the equivalent of castle grounds in comparison to the rest of the yard. Behold:


This monstrosity is running beside my driveway. It is unmowable, and therefore, a perfect spot for a large bed of awesomeness. I am actually the party responsible for the landscape cloth job, in an effort to get it all ready for spring planting. Protip: if you don’t have garden staples, you CANNOT use just plain nails to keep the cloth down. Live and learn. There’s a little sliver that is “done” so we could see if it would stay in place. I have been ordering things to go there since January, and they start shipping tomorrow (eeeek!). It’s half shade, half sun. No spoilers, you just have to wait and see. All I can say is that it will be a game changer.


This immaculate little plot of earth is the other side of the driveway. The holly has contracted a luscious blight, it seems. Or maybe it is committing suicide, I can’t be certain. Don’t be jealous. We can’t all be naturals.


This is at the top of the driveway, and the part I was most excited about getting my hands on. At the point you see here, I have ripped out 4 tumerous weigelas, two more barberry bushes, an absurd amount of ivy, and random weeds. This is all cleaned up, if you can imagine. To your left you can see the wobbly stairs of death. Big plans for this guy as well. There are still five or six (!!!!) azaleas in this little spot and a huge half dead rhododendron. The jury is still out on their fate. I would like to take this opportunity to declare that I absolutely hate weigela.


This is my side yard. If you squint, you can certainly see it’s potential. In this large bed in the foreground, I have removed a full size holly tree. I cut it down with a handsaw and felt like a champion. The only other thing in these beds was another horrible amount of ivy. The daffodil fairy must have visited here many times because they are planted in very random places. I am making my way through that and putting them in more appropriate places, dividing as I go. Lastly, there were 4 massive clumps of pampas grass planted on the house. Yes on. And by massive, I mean like four feet in diameter each. The always helpful internet informed me that a truck and fire was the best way to remove them. I used a ramp digger. Two days later, I am the manliest gal in the world. From that alone, I have Hulk Hogan’s biceps. It’s magical. At this point, I would like to vocalize my opinion on pampas grass: it should be illegal. I hate it more than a lot of things.

And finally, I would like to introduce you to my partner in crime, Davey Havok…Image

He’s my shadow in the yard. He’s nine and loves his new house. He could also use braces.


It’s going to be a busy week, I’m sure I will have more for you soon.