Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sunday Funday

Jim and I spent this past Sunday doing something that we've been talking about for weeks - cleaning out the garage. I'm happy to say that our garage wasn't as cluttered as it could be - we certainly still fit my car in there - but it needed some organization. Rather than tackling the whole thing, we just took care of one section first - what I like to call "the nook". The best part about this project? We didn't spend one penny! Everything we did was made with supplies we already had!

The Nook before.

The area to the right of the nook.

The right side of the garage - we mostly left this untouched... for now.

We started by clearing off the large shelf above the nook, and pulled out everything else.

Then, we assembled some shelving. Just some 1x2s and plywood.

 The shelves were very secure, but we added the front vertical support to stop any sagging of the shelves over time. Jim even took the time to notch out the wood for each shelf.

Then, we simply loaded the shelves back up - much more organized! Thankfully, we didn't need to throw out stuff as much as we just needed to organize it and make it easily accessible.

So much better, right? I love the shelf at the bottom for our outdoor work shoes.

Tutorial tomorrow on how to make the sports ball shelf/basket.

Phase two of the garage transformation will be getting rid of the old fridge (and putting a newer one in the basement), and creating a countertop and deep sink area at the end of the garage.

Phase three will be insulating the exterior walls and putting the epoxy finish on the floor. When will that be? Who knows! :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mosquito bite remedies

The only regret I have about this past weekend's visit to our friends' house in MA is that I did not douse myself in enough Off with DEET to kill a small elephant.

I thought that the several applications per day of regular Skintastic Off would have been enough to keep the little suckers at bay. It wasn't until we were about halfway through our six hour journey home that I discovered otherwise, and have been paying the price ever since.

So, as I sit here and type at the start of what will surely be my second near-sleepless night due to the torture that are my mosquito-bite-ridden feet, I have decided to experiment with some home remedies for the common mosquito bite, and tell you all about it.

After about 24 hours of too-frequently applying hydrocortisone cream to my feet, I thought I would investigate the natural home remedy route. I came across this list of 40 mosquito bite itch relief tips, and I'll let you know which ones work for me.

**So far, in all honesty, the best temporary relief comes from ice cold water from the tap - I run it over my feet for as long as I can stand it. Won't work so well when I have to go to work tomorrow.**

Hydrocortisone cream - not working at all. In fact, I think that the act of rubbing cream on the bites irritates them even more.

Benadryl cream - worse than hydrocortisone. No relief whatsoever.

Baking soda and water - mix into a paste and spread it on the bites. I tried this one about an hour and a half ago and it worked really well, but only for an hour. Pretty messy when the paste dries and then it cracks and falls all over the floor.

Vinegar - I tried this at the same time as the baking soda. Right foot was baking soda, left foot was vinegar. Vinegar was not that great. Left it for about 15 mins and then covered my left foot with the baking soda.

Antiperspirant deodorant. This is on my feet right now. Although they smell nice like Jim, they itch like hell. Time for another ice bath.

Bag balm. Usually a cure-all - this did nothing for the bites.

Hot water. Well, I did this when I took a shower and was in more agony than I had been all day. I think the heat aggravates the bites. Ended the shower with cold water on my feet to get some relief.

Ammonia - don't have any in the house, but used this as a kid in FL and it worked. 

Rubbing Alcohol - very temporary relief. Like 3 minutes.

Soap - not working at all.

Toothpaste - seems to be working. Gel kind of the peppermint variety is cooling. Quite messy. After 20 mins I can't tell if the peppermint tingling is soothing or aggravating. Going to wash it off.

Morning report: Woke up every hour throughout the night - my feet in burning agony. Doused them in cold water each time for a few minutes and went back to bed. Did the baking soda thing one more time - but again, this only lasted for about an hour, and made a horrible mess. I'm about to endure a hot shower, which I will follow with cold water on the feet, and apply some hydrocortisone that may or may not get me through the day. Taking a cold compress to work, and will likely have to apply that several times.

Perhaps I'm getting used to it, but I think the itching is lessening ever so slightly.

Tips, anyone?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back in the saddle...

Hello there. Sorry I've been away for a while. Busy, busy summer, and no time to tell you about it.

I think I'll start with the most recent happenings and blog about the rest in between throughout the coming weeks.

Jim and I just returned from a wonderful weekend in Lancaster, MA with our great friends Jo and Eric, and their new baby boy Dylan. They have a beautiful historic home (built in 1771!) with plenty of room for guests. Other friends were there also - Danielle and Gerard and their daughter Maya came up from Long Island, as well as the newest marrieds of the group - Kate and Kyle all the way from DC.

I took the weekend as a great opportunity to explore my new camera and some different settings, and then take those photos and play around with them on iPhoto.

I was really pleased with most of the photos, but then the editing process has me even more excited! I really should take the time to edit my photos more often...

Beautiful Maya before

Beautiful Maya edited - cropped, enhanced color, played with color saturation, tint, shadows, etc.

Maya in the sunshine

Maya in the sunshine edited - just cropped and enhanced.

Danielle and Maya

Danielle and Maya edited - blurred edges, faded the colors, fine tuned other color settings.

Handsome baby Dylan

Handsome baby Dylan edited - black and white, cropped, and got rid of those mosquito bites on his head :)

Joel and Dylan

Joel and Dylan edited - cropped, faded the colors, tweaked the color settings.

Maya in the pool

Maya in the pool edited - cropped, antique effect, changed color saturation.

Jim and Dylan

Jim and Dylan edited - cropped, black and white, retouched some of his skin, played with shadows and highlights.

Cutest Dylan

Cutest Dylan edited - cropped, enhanced, used color saturation to brighten and enhance.

Floating Maya

Floating Maya edited - cropped, antique effect, enhanced highlights.

Maya and Gerard

Maya and Gerard edited - cropped, enhanced, sharpened the image.


Arwen edited - cropped, enhanced color, played with highlights.

Not bad for my first real go at it. I like using some of the effects, even if the end result isn't exactly the true colors. I also have Aperture on my computer, and I've only played around with that a little. At some point I'll move my photos over to that program and try some more sophisticated editing. 

Do you edit your photos before blogging, posting to facebook, or printing? What program/s do you use?