Deuce Cities Henhouse

Pipe Dreams

Deuce Cities Henhouse
Dudes, we’ve had our fair share of basement plumbing issues throughout the last year. We made it through the first four years with barely issues and since this time last year we’ve probably had 5 back ups and spent bunches of money on fixing and cleaning out lines. We’re thankful that there is currently tile in the basement or the damage would have been much worse.

The most recent problem was a real mess. For the last month or two I had noticed that our secondary line had been backing up from time to time. I called the plumber when it started happening regularly and he suggested a line clean out. This is something that happens all the time when you have old houses, lines need to be cleared out almost yearly. Anyway, the snaker-dude paid us a visit and said we had a lot of rust in our pipes, cleaned out the line and was on his way.

I thought we were good. After a few weeks I noticed some mold growing on the drywall in the space near the pipe. I figured it was due to leftover dampness from the back-ups we had earlier that month. I quickly put together a spray bottle filled with a 50/50 mix of bleach and water. Within minutes that little bit of mold was gone and the problem seemed to be fixed. A few days later I notice more mold, so I did my little trick again and it was gone. Then the mold showed up again! I couldn’t figure out why this happening, and then it hits me. Like duh, Scoops! Could there be mold growing on the other side of the drywall? Just, duh. Sometimes knowing stuff about your house isn’t always naturally instinctive.

The next day I made plans to get the kids out of the house, I invested in a good mask and went to town on the basement wall with a sawzall and a prybar. It didn’t take me long to find a huge mess of mold and rotten drywall. Sorry if the photos might make you squeamish, mold makes me wanna barf. Luckily for me, my super hero mom instincts came into play and I became very brave, the mold didn’t bother me. I just needed that mold out of the house ASAP, for the good of our fam! I did what I had to do. I bagged up the moldy drywall immediately and removed all of areas that had been effected by the leak plus an extra 6″ to prevent further mold from growing. I drenched the whole place with bleach and within a few hours it was looking much cleaner.

Now, with part of the wall removed I could see that there was actually a small rusted out crack in the back of the pipe, and a slow leak within the wall had been occurring. The crack is actually where the original problem was stemming from – the backed up water I had seen months before was actually my leaky pipe, and not the lines needing to be snaked (although I’m sure that helped with the flow).

Deuce Cities Henhouse
I’ve got this new great plumber in my back pocket, and he was able to come over and tell it to me straight. He told us that we had a few options, expensive ones and not so expensive ones. The first option was fixing the major problem and running a new line all the way up to our sink, the other was more of a stopgap solution replacing only the cracked corner piece. Since we are planning on doing a full basement renovation in the spring, the latter was the right choice for the time being. We most likely will be replacing plumbing in the spring, and it didn’t seem prudent to do the same job twice.

I’m pretty sure the mold didn’t help my recent cold, I’m still sniffling and it’s been nearly two weeks. That stuff is bad news and should be taken very seriously. I feel bad that I didn’t catch this problem sooner, but relieved that it is no longer in our house and we can move on. Old houses, man – they always be breaking.

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Let’s Talk About Fence Stain, guys.

Behr Semi-Transparent Fence Stains
Hey Guys, long time no see! I just spent the last week nearly dying from the worst cold ever. It was one of those colds where doing any of the things just makes you feel exhausted. I still don’t feel that great, but I have a bit more energy this week.

So you know how I’ve spent most of the summer avoiding staining the new fence, well my time has come my friends. I can’t avoid it any longer and I need to get moving before the cold cold air moves in.

I have absolutely zero exterior staining experience – so I started going into this project in a pretty clueless fashion. But I’ve been visiting the hardware store, reading on the internets and now I feel like I have a little bit more know-how under my belt. In short, I will stain this fence, it will look great and it will last a good amount of time. Here’s a little of what I’ve learned.

If you are starting this process with an already greyed fence you are going to want to power/pressure wash that bad boy. If your fence is fairly new you should always wash your fence according the stain manufacturers instructions. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before you start your staining job. Temps should be at least 50º and rain shouldn’t be predicted for a good 48 hours.

Typically folks stain their fences with either a brush/roller combo or a stain sprayer. Both work, however, you guys basically told me not to spray my fence when I mentioned this project back in the spring. A bunch of you had bad experiences with inconsistent coverage and drips so I never even considered it. I will be using a brush and roller. The internet tells me that I need to make sure to use a brush made for staining, it’s actually called a “staining brush”. Word up, a staining brush is not the same as a paint brush it is larger and has a wider base of bristles – get one. For larger surfaces I need a roller with a rough nap – the instructions on your stain can may even recommend a certain depth nap. I plan on rolling out the stain and then using a brush over the top to make sure I get in all the crevices.

Oil based stains typically last longer than acrylic stains. I just learned this. I did my tests with behr semi-transparent acrylic stains but I will be ordering Behr Semi-Transparent oil based stain when I go back to order it up at the Depot. I want this thing to last and it better not even think abut peeling or chipping!

Dudes, use a drop cloth or cardboard to keep stain off yer vegetation. I am however a genius and waited till the end of the growing season so I could cut back plants that were in my way. Or I could be a real badass and just go stain it without feeling bad about dripping stain on end of season plants.

Typically there are three different types of stain; solid, semi-transparent, and transparent. I choose to go with the semi-transparent because solid looks like paint, I think it’s kind of ugly, and transparent only comes in a hand full of color options. It wasn’t that hard of a choice for me. However if you are restoring an old fence that has seen better days solid might be the way to go for you, it will help cover blemishes and give the look of a stained fence. Transparent will give a much more transparent look really showing off the grain of the wood but will break down more quickly after being exposed to sun and heat.

I could’ve considered ten colors if I wanted to because I am crazy and can’t make up my mind, but somehow I was able to narrow it down to only three. These are all Behr semi-transparent stain colors and the sample above illustrates ‘Chocolate’, ‘Chestnut’ and ‘Cedar’ shown in 1, 2 and 3 coats respectively. I like how dark the chocolate stain is, but it’s darker than I am brave, the cedar is good and I like the color against the house color but it’s just too orange for me. I think I’ll probably go with two coats of the chestnut stain and I need to start this project soon as it is getting GD cold around here already!

Behr Stains
All you fence staining pros out there, give me your tips. I need your help and advice!

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in Outdoor

Wrap-around Fauxdenza?

Plans for a wrap around fauxdenza and wallpaper
Okay guys, so if you didn’t know this about me, I love surprises but I totally suck at keeping secrets. I thought I was going to be some sort of awesome blogger and build suspense around this whole wallpaper thing, but who am I kidding. I’m too excited about it to keep it a secret. So if you couldn’t tell by the image above, we decided to go with the Rifle Paper Copper Peonies wallpaper, yes it’s totally not like my usual steeze, but man, I can’t stop thinking about. Not gonna lie, I went back and forth, it was actually a really hard decision and took me and Waffledoppledingdangdo (aka Jeff, my husband) and I a lot of focused brain power to come to a decision. Eventually it started to seem more and more apparent that the rifle paper was the one, even though it’s totally unlike us to go this route. We are excited to see it up on the walls. Can’t thank you dudez enough for your feedback on wallpapers. It was all a lot of information to consider but def helped steer us (me) in the right direction. I’m still going to hold on to the Woods wallpaper though, maybe we’ll use it in the basement renovation going down early next year.

Okay, can I stop for just a second? I’m going to take a minute to mention that it is only the 2nd week of the school year and the whole fam is already coming down with really dumb colds. My brain is about a million miles away from my actual skull space, so sorry if sound totally looney in this post. I blame the cold medicine.

Alright, so now that I got that PSA out the way, lets talk about my other plan. Since our bedroom is divided into two sections, the bed/sleeping area and the dressing/changing area, I thought it would be best to utilize the space as efficiently as possible on the sleeping side. The space isn’t huge and having floor space to move around the bed is essential. Narrow floating furniture would really allow for storage without overpowering the space. After much brainstorming I started to consider adding a fauxdenza to the corner of the room similar to what I did last spring in the sunroom, (which is located directly off of our bedroom, FYI).

Anyway, I like the idea of a crisp white modern piece of furniture juxtaposing (yeah, I went to art school, we say that stuff there) itself against the new beautiful modern-grandma-chic wallpaper. Our plan would be to finish the top of the fauxdenza with lightly stained wood, just like we did in the sunroom and then arrange a collection of white ceramic pieces, plants and other such business. Also, did you happen to notice that I left a space without doors in the middle of the cabinets? That space would be for shelving and books. We really liked having our books around us in the bedroom before (see here) but we didn’t need to have all the books out on display. Maybe we’d just have a few of our favorites hanging out in this area being all pretty and styled and shiz.

My major beef with this plan is that I’m afraid of it reading as an explosion of low hanging swedish kitchen cabinetry. I am super afraid that my new adult bedroom would look cheap. I really want it to look fresh and minimal-ish, and clean, and grown up. I’m just not certain the fauxdenza is the best way to achieve this, although for now I am really liking the idea of it. I’m going to let it simmer for awhile, I dunno what do you think? Can I pull off having a piece of “furniture” like this in my bedroom?

Guys! If you guys ever need to plan a kitchen or a fauxdenza, you gotta try the Ikea kitchen planner tool. It is one of my favorite things on the interwebz, I only wish they had it available to use with all Ikea pieces. That would be awesome. It gives you a parts list and everything, all you have to do is go to the store, give yer list to the ikea kitchen guys and they’ll send the order down to the stock room. So tyte.

Plans for a wrap around fauxdenza
Here’s the fauxdenza from a few more angles. The top view is looking in from the hallway door, the bottom view is looking in from the sunrooom. Please let me know if this is a crazy cool idea or just a crazy dumb idea, you guys.

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in Bedroom, Furniture

CSA Recipe : Veggie Thai Salad

Recipe : Veggie Thai Salad with Kale and Cabbage
TGIF, dudez! This is probably one of the last CSA recipes of the season and it’s a good one, maybe even the best. You just have to make it!

Things about it that rule, the dressing is so tyte and delicious, I would even make a little more of it next time and add even more sriracha. The sweetheart cabbage is a fantastic compliment to the kale adding the perfect snap of bitterness. You know how good cabbage is for you, right? It is full of vitamin K and anthocyanins that help with mental function (which I need a lot of) improving your defense against Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. I love cabbage and even make my own kraut (i’m a whole lot of german), I eat a little every day, cause this girl’s gotta poop (tmi, sorry)! Chick peas are totally the best and provide tons of fiber – 2 cups give you a wholes day worth. Isn’t it pretty? If this salad were a lady it would be a total babe, just look how beautiful it is! A total winner, and you should make it!

Recipe : Veggie Thai Salad


Kale, Broccoli & Cabbage Thai Salad
Recipe from Driftless Organics


▼ ½ head of sweetheart cabbage, thinly sliced
▼ 1 bunch of kale, thinly sliced
▼ 1 red shallot, chopped
▼ 1 cup bell pepper, thinly sliced
▼ 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
▼ 1/2 head or broccoli, chopped up into bite sized pieces
▼ 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
▼ 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Thai Dressing
▼ ¼ cup peanut butter
▼ juice of 2 limes (about 4 tbsps)
▼ 2 tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or Tamari or good soy sauce)
▼ 2 tbsp water
▼ ½ tbsp toasted sesame oil
▼ 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
▼ 1 tsp sriracha (or lots more)
▼ 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
▼ 1 tsp garlic

Combine all dressing ingredients into a jar and stir or shake until smooth. Make sure all your veggies are chopped into bite-size pieces and toss into a large bowl to combine. Toss in chickpeas and top with dressing. Mix until all ingredients are well coated and serve immediately.
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in Eats

Bedroom Update : Week 3

Deuce Cities Henhouse - Skim Coating & Repairing Walls
Hey Guys! Hope you all had a sweet labor day weekend. It’s always so nice to have a long weekend, but it’s super sad and depressing when that long weekend just means the summer is ending. I guess we’ll all be ready to to hunker down and cozy up in no time, right?

I’ve been spending the last week or so working crazy-mad-hard at skim coating, sanding, caulking, priming and painting the walls in our master bedroom. I have literally been living my life covered in dust. The flip side, I totally won! I ruled this wall.

Let’s start at the beginning. Just one short month ago I found myself staring at a huge tank that I just happened to find while snooping around in the bedroom. By snooping, I really mean going at the corner wall in my bedroom with a crow bar and sledge hammer, but whatev, same dif. Anyway, there was obviously a few hurtles I was going to have to fly over if I was going to remove the panelling, get rid of the pressure tank, and fix the damaged corner that had been covered up years (and years) ago.

Deuce Cities Henhouse - Skim Coating & Repairing Walls
After discovering the tank I found myself facing a lot of questions and big unknowns – How was I going to get the tank out? Could it come out? Was it an integral part of the heating system? How was this all going to happen? How would I patch the baseboard? Would I have to texture the ceiling? And how the hell does one skim coat a wall?

After thinking hard and consulting with some heating dudes, we discovered that we could actually remove the tank. The best way to do it without causing the most damage was to remove a section of the hardwood floor in the bedroom in order for them to cap off the pipe running to the tank. The biggest cost of this project was removing the tank. In order to do that I had to bring in the heating and cooling experts in to drain our boiler and radiator system, remove the tank from the wall, and then refill the system. That set us back $400 bones – which without a doubt was totally worth it to have the square footage back.

After the tank was gone, I very carefully reinstalled the floors in the opposite manner I had taken them out. I took a lot of photos when I removed them, and even numbered the bottom of the boards. Next was a trip to the salvage warehouse to find baseboard and trim to match the existing so I could patch in the bare spot left in the corner. That set me back a whopping $40. Before installing the trim I finished texturing the ceiling for $30, and then I was able to begin skim coating the wall. The tools and supplies for the walls cost me roughly $50.

I had never skim coated a whole wall before. I had done a patch job behind the stove in the kitchen in preparation for tiling and a long time ago I was able to watch our friendly handyman Ken show me a thing or two when he skim coated the music room walls. Between raw natural instinct (ha) and scouring over Daniel’s plaster repair post at, and in turn discovering Alex’s plaster series at, I was able to piece enough information together to take on the task. I knew that I didn’t want to use real-deal plaster as it takes a true pro to apply it the proper way without effing it all to hell. Joint compound on the other hand is much more forgiving, and was something a nobody like myself could take on.

Deuce Cities Henhouse - Skim Coating & Repairing Walls
Of course I had to do it my own way (aka not the proper way). Since the job wasn’t insanely big I only used a few tools. First, I used Ultra Lightweight All Purpose PRE MIXED joint compound. It took me one 4.5 gallon bucket to do the wall and corners. An 14″ taping knife, a 4″ putty knife to load up the back of the taping knife with joint compound, and this awesome 4″ inside corner tool used for making the most perfect corners ever. You guys, I love the corner tool. I was trying to be all cool and do the corners myself using the taping knife. I was doing a pretty good job of it, and then for kicks I tried the corner tool. Jesus, it was insane – perfect corners with no effort.

I did the first and second coat of joint compound in sections. I was able to get a nice smooth surface by doing the left and right sides of the wall first, and then after letting the joint compound dry for a few hours I came back and smoothed out the center area. This worked well for me as I wasn’t advanced enough to take on the whole wall in one go. I wiped down the walls with a damp sponge and sanded in between coats with a medium coarse sanding sponge specially designed to be used with joint compound. For the third coat I filled in spots that needed a little extra attention. Using a lamp with a pivoting head I was able to angle the light in a way that I could see the shadows and imperfections on the wall very easily – you should do this! After the last touch up layer had dried, I sanded the entire wall with a fine sanding block. Sanding the last layer with the fine sanding sponge was essential, and made the walls become insanely smooth and perfect – ready for primer and paint.

Guess what I did? I had the Home Depot match some Farrow & Ball shades of white paint for me, actually they didn’t even have to match them because they already had the blends all calculated into their system, yeah man, they know. All I had to do was ask. So instead of spending $100 bucks on a gallon of paint I spent $60 on two gallons of paint and had the depot mix up some All White for the trim and Wimborne White for the walls using Behr paint. Do you know what? Those cheap paints blend perfectly with my very expensively painted walls – so consider that a tip.

I did learn a good lesson and hopefully it’s something I will take with me for the next time I attempt a project like this. I have a tendency to jump in feet first if you haven’t noticed, and I really need to slow down just a little bit. I came out of the gates running charging, and began working on the project before I had all the proper supplies – this is a bad habit of mine. I patched in the first layer of cracks with fiberglass mesh and joint compound (normally a good idea), however I used some joint compound that I just happened to have on hand. It dried much harder than the ultra lightweight joint compound I skim coated with, and every time I sanded a layer of the new joint compound, the first-patched-layer, made with the much harder joint compound would show through. It was insanely frustrating and cost me a lot of extra time. So there, now you know.

Deuce Cities Henhouse - Skim Coating & Repairing Walls
Next up is wallpaper and after much debating I think we have a winner. It was a super hard choice, and I’m really insanely-crazily-excited to order it and share it with you! But first, it’s the GD fall and I need to get my butt in gear and stain that fence and get the yard ready for winter and do a bunch of other dumb crap. Inside projects are for cold weather so you’ll/I’ll just have to wait.

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