Monday, January 28, 2013

it's tile tiiiiiime.

Like in the Paulie D. voice from Jersey Shore.  You know you watch it.

Made with Shapely.

Alas, it's finally time to slap some tile up on those walls.  It's only taken 3 months to get the balls courage to do it.  We took a tile class at The Tile Shop (they have them every Saturday morning at every location) and while we didn't actually get to practice tiling, we got to watch the instructor do it.  I'm one of those people who learns by observing so the class was beneficial.  We went with the advice from The Tile Shop guys and this is how we did it.

After putting up the backerboard, we were ready to tile.  We mixed up the thin set and got to it.  We started with the niches first by using the mosaic Key Largo tile.  Let's just say I dropped the F-bomb about 327 times those first 56 few minutes.  We realized we put too much thin set on the niches and it all squeezed between the mosaic tiles.  We spend about 30 minutes after that cleaning out the extra thin set.  We learned our lesson.

My sister's dog Chalmers came to help and make sure we were doing everything right. 

First cut.  See how he's smiling?   He wasn't after 2,304 cuts. 

This is me, pre-F-bomb dropping:

No F-bombs yet:

After many F-bombs:

We finally started making progress.  We felt overwhelmed after we realized how long it took to do these seven rows.

 See how he's still smiling?  It didn't last much longer than this.

We were going to put a strip of the mosaic tile around the perimeter of the shower but we thought we would keep it simple and classic and only do the insets.  We spent every hour of our time on the weekends tiling the shower.  We got 3" x 6" Carrara marble tiles and we were wondering, "why didn't we get 12" x 12" instead?!".  It took forever and by forever I mean probably 5 or 6 weekends to do it.  The mess was driving me crazy, as you can imagine.

It took a great deal of time to do the insets, the pencil tile around the insets, along with running up and down a flight of stairs every time we needed to make a cut with the tile saw being in the garage.  I'm sure our neighbors were happy when we were done using the saw.

This is my "hey, look at this shower we just made" face.  Ain't no thang. 

We decided to tile all the way up to the ceiling to give a more dramatic look as well as make the room look larger.  When something goes up to the ceiling (curtains, bookshelves, shower curtains, tile) it draws your eyes up instead of cutting off your vision 2-3 feet from the ceiling, emphasizing the height of the room.  With our bathroom only being about 32 square feet, we need that!

We thought the shower looked great when we were done tiling, but it wasn't until we grouted that we thought, "wow, this looks amazing and we did it ourselves!".  If you would like a good shoulder workout, I recommend grouting 85 square feet of wall.  But first, you must grab a couple beers, preferably Bud Light Lime since it's the summer and you're sharing 12 square feet of shower with your husband and need something refreshing.  Then grab a couple more when after a couple hours you're wondering "why is there still grout on my sponge?!"  It worked out to have Ehren apply the grout and me buff it until it shines like the top of the Chrysler building.

After we finished tiling, we sealed the tile, then grouted, then sealed the grout.  When we finally completed the shower, we were beyond pleased with how it looked.  It's dramatic and bright and everything we wanted!

Next, we installed the shower doors.  We got them from Lowe's and you can find them here.

I really hated the idea of drilling into our new marble shower, but it had to be done.

Cozy didn't like that idea either.  Or the noise.

When it comes to bathroom renovations, 100% silicone is your best friend.

He is in a glass case of emotion.

I know it doesn't look like I helped with any of this, but I did!  See, I have proof below.

Get your eyes off my husband in the shower.

Cozy likes it.

Let's take a look back at the before and after shots.

Slight improvement?  I think so.  Worth all the hours of being covered in thin set and tile spacers?  Definitely.  And does our fabulous new shower head feel good after all of this hard work?  Abso-freakin-lutely.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

ten years ago...

I was part of a team that won a national championship in college cheerleading.  We were on ESPN2 and it was amazing.  And I can't believe it's already been ten years.  Cheerleading was a huge part of my life back in the day.  I was on my high school cheer team, an all-star cheer team, and then went on to cheer at a community college in Coffeyville, Kansas.  Cheerleading paid for my first two years of college and created many memories that I keep in two plastic tubs in our basement.

The best cheerleading shoes?  High top Reebok sneakers with velcro.  Yes, I kept them.  

Lawrence Cheer Academy uniform.  I may or may not still try it on from time to time to make sure I can still squeeze fit into it. 

In 2003, we went to the UCA College Cheerleading competition in Orlando, Florida.  We went there thinking, "ugh, we suck, let's just try and not get last".  In prelims, we went out there, dropped half of our pyramid, and were absolutely astonished to find out we were ranked first going into finals.  Us?  First?  We could not believe it.  We thought, "all we have to do is hit everything and we win!"  And that's exactly what happened.

We did the really fast jumping up and down that cheerleaders do when they win.  We celebrated for an embarrassing length of time and got our trophy.  All four feet of it.  We were beyond excited and I think you can see it on our faces below.  This is a group of people who will be forever bonded by this national championship.

Stuntin' is a habit. 

When we got back, we started the process of ordering our national championship rings.  Since it's been ten years, I started getting sentimental and thought I better look for my ring.  Luckily, I found it in the bottom of a box.  Phew.

It's hard to read, but the inside of the ring says, "don't suck, stick it".  It was our slogan for the season.  It sounds inappropriate but in cheerleading world, it makes perfect sense.

The next year, we went back to try and do it again and we got second.  We were upset.  We got beat by a large 4-year college while we were the only community college in our division.

We still had fun and even ran into former teammates.

I will never forget my cheerleading years and neither will my joints for that matter.  I will never forget the months and months of practice.  The two and three-a-days with no time off during the holidays.  The "do it again", "one more time", and "don't be scared, just throw her up there".  The bruises, bloody lips, and falls.  The jumping, lifting, throwing, catching.  The literal blood, sweat, and tears.  All for two and a half minutes?  Worth it.  

the black plague, part III: front door

Now the black plague has moved to the front door.  While I think the "rustic" and "distressed" look has its place, I do...

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