Friday, March 30, 2007

Mini-muffin baking

Mini-muffin baking
Originally uploaded by manueb.
While it's raining, raining, raining :( And then Shad comes home from work with a big smile on his face "You've been baking!" :)
Sure have!

These are:
-cocoa and bitterwsweet chocolate chips
-dried cranberries and white chocolate chips


Monday, March 26, 2007

Too cute, Hugo feeding Lucas

My beautiful nephews

Garden expenses, not so bad...

...Considering we had first seen a landscaper who wanted $23,000 to do the front and backyards, with irrigation systems.

Total cost of what we've done:
-$1,300 for grass sods and good top soil (The Grass Patch)
-$290 for 7 cubic yards of gravel (3/4'-1'1/4) that did actually both the riverwal AND the driveway
-$200 of lawn edging
-$24 for 1 cubic yard of mulch
-$150-$200 of plants and flowers
-$64 for the lattice beneath the deck
-$50 for hoses and sprinklers
-$150 tools (new shovel, leaves vacuum/blower and metal reciprocating saw)

TOTAL: $2,238!!! So, less than 10% of what was originally bid.

Of course, it took us longer, but... :)

Our new garden...

... Or should I just say "our garden"! We can't really say we had one before, it was rather a dump field..

Lots of hard work, possibly what was the hardest physically all round the house, but so rewarding. Especially when we get the nice long ratan chairs to go with it and relax. Even if we haven't really had time to relax yet!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Home Improvement in Austin, who to go with.

Now that all the contractors and workers are out of our house, here's a few contractors' names I can give you, if you're looking for things to be done.

- Chase Electrics, for electricity work. They're beyond good and we've trusted their judgment in much more that electrical stuff. We've become friends :)

- ManorFoster for foundation repair. Extremely competent guys and working with a good spirit. Eager to get the job well done. Plus, will repair a few things here and there, broken pipes, a bit of carpentry. Very efficient.

- Rob Clinchard and Harold Starke, for floor refinishing.

- The Grass Patch, for grass sods. Extremely fast and competent.

- Texas Painting Company, for the house exterior paint. very nice guys.

- A1 Restauration, for the restauration of tubs and sinks.

- Austin Landscape Supplies, for gravel delivery. Quick delivery.

- JLJ Building construction for drywall demolition and construction. Great customer care too.

We've used other contractors for other improvements, but as it did not necessarily go well (too moody or rude), I will not put up there names here.

Over all I'd give the advice of planning twice the time you've estimated to get everything done. Some of the work is dependant of weather conditions. And also, the contractors might be working for somebody whilst working for you... That's what we experienced at least!

I hope this is helpful!

Upstairs floor refinishing

Upstairs floor refinishing
Originally uploaded by manueb.
The floor is finally done! By Rob Clinchard's workmen. Very very good results, we're pretty happy with all that was done. They told us that we had exceptional floors, that boards like this were not cut anymore. So we're a bit proud :)

Friday, March 16, 2007

New grass sods!

New grass sods!
Originally uploaded by manueb.
They were laid down yesterday! Finally!
Now we have to water it like crazy for 4 weeks, and we can't walk on it nor put any weight on it for the same amount of time. A bit tricky, especially for our coming party... but we'll manage.
It's not very green right now, but it will be in a couple of days, once the grass will have had enough water again.
Now, we're "left" with edging the grass, preparing or riverwalk with weed control fabric. We're getting 7 cubic yards of pebbles delivered on monday! CRAZY!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Weather Project by Olafur Eliasson

I was browsing through old pictures to print some for our dinning room project, and I absolutely wanted some of these.
The Weather Project from Olafur Eliasson, danish architect, artist...
Set in the Tate Modern end of 2003, through the 1st trimester of 2004, basically a "sun" would rise and set at the time the real sun would rise and set, get warm during the "day". Brilliant, brilliant concept, a semi-circle, made of mono-frequency lamps (we all appeared to be in 'black and white'!) projected in a mirror.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Our house paint

Our house paint
Originally uploaded by manueb.
Finally the job is (well) done! We went from white to bright green! It matches the trees, and will look more cheerful in winter!
Now we need to hang the screens back up, one they'll be refinished. And some day in a far future, fix the front porch, whenever we'll be able to afford that!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

With Benoit in Barton Springs

With Benoit in Barton Springs
Originally uploaded by manueb.
Benoit visited us in Austin this sunday. He drove from Houston where he's staying all week for a convention. Good thing is, he'll be back in 4 weeks for the party in April :)
We ate at Curra's, a classic, for its avocado margarita..
We showed him Barton Springs and the Umlauf Sculpture Gardens (that we had never visited before... hmm), it was a great day, except for the weather that abandoned us, just today! pfffff :)

Monday, March 05, 2007

New fence, and yard work

New fence, and yard work
Originally uploaded by manueb.
That's it, our fence is done! The job was extremely well done and quick, we're very happy with the result. It might make it harder to have grass sods in, but we'll see. It's moving forward!