Nous aimons parler français

We’re trying to learn how to speak French over here. There are at least two practical reasons for this, but I won’t bore you with them. Instead, I’ll just tell you that it’s fun and we’re going to try it.  I took French for six years through high school and college and Tony has never taken a class. However, we are at roughly the same level because I am really bad at language acquisition and Tony is really good at it.

So far we’re just using Duolingo, which is a free app you can download on your smartphone or iPad. It offers a bunch of languages besides French. If any of you want to learn a language, you should download Duolingo and add Tony and I as friends. Then you’ll be able to see our daily point totals and try to beat them. My username is squirtle_squish and Tony’s is pop-corn.homme.

On the D.I.Whinos front, here’s our latest before and after:

Once we got rid of that dude, the whole house improved! Just kidding. We actually removed that terrible purple and green faux stained glass from the front door. We had to get a new sheet of glass cut, since the “stained glass” was permanently glued to the window.

Fortunately, Tony knows how to replace windows because, this summer, he accidentally put his shoulder through a window at my parents’ house after I painted over the seam, thereby making the window impossible to open.  My brother knows how to replace windows because something similar once happened to him, so he taught Tony how to fix it. And that is how the ancient art of window replacement is passed down from man to man through the ages.


The other day in my psychology class I had to take a personality test. It scored you as either high or low on five factors: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. I ended up with low scores on extraversion and agreeableness, and high on everything else. I was willing to grant most of it, but I really took issue with the agreeableness one. When I tried to explain to Tony all of the reasons I disagreed with the agreeableness assessment, he just laughed at me. But really, I certainly have it in me to be way more disagreeable than I currently am. Does that count for nothing around here??

I got to (had to?) dissect a cat in my anatomy class. It was kind of cool and kind of horrible. My group’s cat was really skinny and seemingly pretty old. His liver was enormous! Here is a picture of my thumb with the cat, in case you have a morbid curiosity.

Posted in before/after, D.I.Winos, homely home | 3 Comments

D.I.Winos do some “updates” and invent a new date

Yesterday was a beautiful day in the Ozarks, so Tony and I spent it doing what we love most: painting everything around us. My parents gave us an old dresser that was a little worse for wear. We could have sanded and re-stained it, but there were a bunch of relatively deep scratches in the wood that would have been difficult, if not impossible, to sand away. (We did spend some time wondering what caused the scratches. It’s hard to imagine why a human would try to scratch open a dresser. Is my dad a werewolf?). So, as much as I am generally opposed to painting over natural wood, we decided to paint it. This allowed us to spackle over the scratches, thus solving that problem.

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Another problem was that one of the drawers had a corner broken off. One of the only helpful things that my parent’s realtor ever told me about is Bondo, which is made for repairing dings on cars but works beautifully to fix things like this. Bondo is basically a putty that you can shape. It quickly dries rock-hard, so you can then sand it down and paint it. Amazing!

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Note broken corner on second drawer. Also note werewolf (?) scratches.

We almost bought some fancy gold metal knobs at Lowe’s, but they would have cost us over $30 for all 10. $30 for a dresser? Ridiculous! We instead bought cheap wooden knobs and spray-painted them gold. We wanted a gold and white dresser, even though Pinterest is saturated with gold and white as a color combo so it’s probably played out.

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Look at the pretty dresser! Look at the even prettier trees behind it!

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Note fixed drawer and absence of werewolf scratches.

Because I know you love a before and after:

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Since we had gold spray paint, I decided to do a really dumb update. Probably as a result of years of use and subsequent cleaning, the silver plating had rubbed off the plastic on the handle of the toilet in the half-bathroom. This meant that, despite how clean it was, it was perpetually gross-looking.

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A couple coats of spray paint later and…

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…I diagnosed myself with obsessive compulsive disorder! Just kidding. But, really, what a dumb update.  When I look back on this time in my life years from now, I’m sure I will be overjoyed that I chose to spend precious minutes spray-painting a toilet handle. /sarcasm

In other news, we saw Interstellar on Saturday with Grace and Phil. Tony and I really liked it, Phil liked it a little, and Grace did not like it.

Hopelessly sad Mathew McConaughey stars in this season’s biggest blockbuster, Interstellar!

I thought it was really beautifully shot and incredibly engaging. It reminded me a little bit of a Kurt Vonnegut book in the way that it combined cool science fiction with poignant human emotion and loss. And that is really saying a lot, because for some reason everyone arrived at the theater super early and so we had to sit in the very front seat of the IMAX.  I basically spent the entire movie looking up sad Mathew McConaughey’s nostril and still enjoyed it!

Oh, I also wanted to tell you guys about an idea I had. You know how frequently in women’s magazines or on lifestyle blogs, there are lists of fun date ideas? And it’s always the exact same ideas, like go to dinner and the movies or have brunch and go to the farmer’s market? Well I had a date idea that is actually very different: YouTube date. The premise is that you and your significant other pick a song category (like, “prettiest sad song”) and then trade off playing your individual picks. Talking is encouraged (although please do not talk during the most pretty parts). If you’re doing it correctly, it will only take a few rounds of picking within the category before it spins off into another category. For instance, when Tony and I “went” on this date, I picked Gillian Welch’s Elvis Presley Blues for my second or third prettiest sad song. We then had to go on an Elvis tangent, and then eventually a Ray Charles tangent.

I realize that picking songs on YouTube together is not, in itself, revolutionary. But calling it a date just might be. We’ve all heard plenty about the amazing advances the internet has afforded us in terms of commerce, communication, health, etc. But have we heard enough about how the giant, collective brain at our fingertips can be incorporated into date nights? I think not.

Posted in before/after, D.I.Winos, homely home, Internet | 2 Comments

D.I.Winos go to the dump

Well, we moved again. How many times do I write this on Fawn Log? Many, many, many times. Tony and I must really love moving.

Someday soon I will do a moving post complete with architectural drawings, since I know how much Kristina (an actual architectural student with tons of talent) enjoys laughing at my sad floorplan attempts. But before I write that post, I need to do an installment of Fawn Log’s newest series: D.I.Winos!

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(Thanks, Grace, for giving us this awesome tagline in this comment!)

Before we moved all our stuff into the cool country house that I mentioned in this post, we wanted to renovate the master bedroom. My aunt and uncle (who own the house) gave us the go ahead. Here’s what we did:

1. Remove shag carpeting. I don’t have any pictures of this step because I am a terrible blogger. But here’s what the shag carpeting looks like elsewhere in the house.

It’s actually in remarkably good shape! I think it was originally brighter blue (you can tell that it’s more vibrant in closets and other places that haven’t seen much sun) but these days it’s kind of a muted mid-tone blue. It’s definitely quirky and, while we generally love quirk, we both wanted something a little less quirky to walk barefoot on in the bedroom. It came up really easy.

2. Remove the wallpaper. This part was hard since the room had 3 distinct wallpaper parts: the top floral half, the chair rail border, and the striped bottom half. They all came off separately. We eventually developed a good system that involved a wet sponge, a paint scraper, and lots of Judge John Hodgman podcasts.

Yes, that is a giant hole in the armpit of Tony’s shirt. Why do you ask?

3. Spackle. Removing the wallpaper left some uneven spots on the walls, so we spackled and then sanded to get everything smooth.

We thought about doing a Killz primer coat in this step, too, but decided against it. Mostly because of laziness.

4. Paint! My sister and bro-in-law have a great paint in their house that we tried to match. Their paint is called Racoon Hollow by Benjamin Moore:

Benjamin Moore is too fancy for us, so we got Olympia Icon’s Eiffel Tower  (from Lowe’s):

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Eh, it’s pretty close, right? We like that it can look gray, brown, purplish, or vaguely green depending on the light. Sometimes we lie in bed and talk about what color we think it is. Our lives are that interesting.

The trim in the room was originally a funny whitish-green, so we painted it a semi-gloss cream that was left over from my parents’ house.

5. Carpet. My aunt and uncle are going to eventually install new flooring throughout the house, so we wanted something cheap that they could get rid of in a few years without feeling guilty. We priced wall-to-wall, but weren’t sold on the options available at the low end of the price scale. Also, it was going to be a pain in the butt to install. Enter: my favorite store on earth, Cardins. Tony and I love Cardins because the dude who owns it is so, so nice. Like us, he embraces cheapness without shame:

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He had previously sold us some carpet tile for a project we did at my parents’ house. In turns out that, while you’re supposed to use a special (expensive) glue with these tiles, you can also just place them down on the floor. If they’re tight enough against the walls, they stay down just fine, even when vacuuming. Since the tiles come with an attached carpet pad layer, they’re a great deal at $0.55/sq. foot. We eventually decided to go with tiles for the bedroom, and I’m happy we did.

The only “install” you have to do is around the edges of the room, where you cut them to fit with a sharp utility knife.

If you choose a dark color, you can barely tell that they’re tiles once they’re installed:

6. The final step was to move all our crapola in! Luckily we don’t have all that much stuff, so this step was easy.

We’re pretty happy with how it turned out. We still need to hang stuff on the walls, buy actual bedside tables, and do this headboard tutorial, but for now it’s done.  (I am hoping I win the lottery and can justify spending $600 on two of these beside tables. *swoon*).

Here’s one last before and after for the full impact:



Total cost: around $150 for carpet tiles and paint. We saved some money using leftover trim paint, rollers, and brushes from my parents’ house.

Things we drank: Bud Light Lime (duh), PBR, Rolling Rock, and probably some other beers that I’m forgetting.

This weekend we took the carpet we removed to the dump, and it was depressing and weird. This planet is going down the tubes, one shag carpeting removal at a time. Here’s our going-home-from-the-dump selfie:

Okay, bye!

Posted in D.I.Winos, homely home | 9 Comments