• Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
sunshine & unicorns: a blog about love, learning, and life in the upper midwest

13 June 2010

Sunshine & Unicorns has become NODAKADEMIC. (I've moved!)

It has to be important. I broke out the ALLCAPS.

For several weeks now, Pink Hubby and I have been diligently working in our spare time to get me moved into my new home on the web. Yes, you're going to have to update your links. Sorry.

There are a couple of reasons I chose to move, but mainly it's because I do not any longer wish to have the moniker Pink Helicopter. It's not the pink and it's not the helicopter. It's the combination of the two that was the issue. (Look it up on Urban Dictionary if you want to know why.) Upon trying to think of a new nickname, I decided maybe it was time to retire the scattered 'wtf' notion that sunshine, unicorns, shininess and powerful pink flying machines (or flopping male... uh... parts...) creates.

So please join me in my new space, with my new name.


To make it more convenient for those of you using RSS readers, Pink Hubby (in his nerdy glory) figured a way to redirect you all automatically. But please do UPDATE YOUR RSS. *Here* is a link to the new feed.

See you over there!

11 June 2010

a constant reminder

After I booked the trip, I decided to lose about 10 pounds before we go to Jamaica. My reasoning for this is two-fold:

1) Look/feel better in a bikini.
2) Ability to gain weight from gorging on all-inclusive food and beverages, and still fit in to pre-trip clothes upon return.

(Some of you may want to comment that I look fine and don't need to lose weight, and I do realize that I am not fat. Losing 10 lbs wouldn't kill me though, OK?)

Anyway, at the time, it would have given me about 4 months to lose the 10 lbs. So what is that... a little over 2 lbs a month? No problem! Except that here we are, within weeks of our trip and I'm still fighting those same 10 lbs. What can I say? I like to eat almost as much as I like to procrastinate, and I am a queen 'negotiator' -- even with myself.

So last week I started wearing an extra ring. It's the 'stand in' band I bought to wear to Jamaica instead of my wedding set (which I didn't want to risk losing). I put it on my thumb. My thinking was that as I reached for snacks or extra helpings, I'd see this Jamaica ring and give my eating choices a second thought. After all: what's more important? Another handful of Doritos? Or the fact that we'll be in Jamaica in a matter of weeks and my ass doesn't quiiiite fit in my short-shorts?

the ring reminds me [52/365]

Funny thing is: I didn't actually expect this method to work! I love me some sweets and junk food. And we have so many delicious baked-goods around at work too - which I have to walk by all the time. But it HAS been working! Granted, I don't always say no to snacks. But I know this ring has stopped me from eating several things I'd have otherwise snarfed down (with much guilt).

I think about grabbing another muffin, scone or chocolate-covered macadamia-nut cluster, I look at my Jamaica ring, and I refill my water bottle or coffee cup instead. I'm amazed at how well it's working!

What are your best bad-habit-stopping tips?

09 June 2010

mirror, mirror, on the floor...

I can see a light at the end of the tunnel (and it's reflecting off our beautiful sunroom floor)! In this, the sixth (yeah, sixth!) chapter of the sunroom floor project, I'm going to shine it up.

So, in the photo below, you can see the stained floor, a gallon of high-gloss polyurethane, and the recommended lambswool applicator (purchased at Lowes).

stained and ready to seal

I followed the instructions on the applicator (you're supposed to rinse it thoroughly with mineral spirits (paint thinner) before using it). I was all excited to start applying the first coat. I poured some of the poly on, made a stroke, and then another. Let's see how it looked!

uck. stupid lambswool applicator

Failtastic. That's how it looked. The goddamn applicator was leaving linty fuzzies all over my extremely clean, sanded and stained and previously-perfect (well, maybe not) floor. WTF is that about. Reading the can told me I could also use a foam brush, and so that's what I did. I discarded the stupid $15 lambswool applicator, picked up the slimy, sticky fuzzies as best I could, and found a $0.50 foam paintbrush in the basement. It was small, but I did the whole floor with two of these:

A time-consuming process [42/365]

It took a while. Here it is, almost done!

finishing coat #1

after 1 coat of poly

So shiny!

I gave it a generous 3 days to dry, in which we did not walk on the floor or even open the door to that room. Apparently 24 hours is enough, but with our humidity I wanted to be sure it was dry before I did any sanding. This Old House recommended a pole sander for sanding between coats.

Y'all: this is what a pole sander looks like.


I looked at them at Lowes. They're about $20 for the tool, then you have to buy special sanding attachments for them. Lucky me! I already had a comparable tool in my basement!

make-shift pole sander

It did a good job, too.

my 'pole sander' at work

See? The floor isn't as glossy anymore.

1 coat; sanded with pole sander

I put a second coat of polyurethane on after sanding. I did not take any pictures. Just scroll up and look at the first coat when it was done - it looked exactly the same. After that second coat dried though, I wasn't entirely happy with the smoothness of the floor and I didn't think that hand-sanding was the trick. I broke out my orbital sander (with 220 grit) and quickly went over the floor with that. I think I used up four pieces of sandpaper getting the bumps and lumps off. I assume these imperfections occurred because I did not sand the floor well enough before staining. If I could travel back in time, I'd tell myself to go over it one more time with the drum sander, using a finer grit. Anyway, sanding it this way really helped.

2 coats; sanded with orbital hand-held sander (220 grit)

Because after three coats, look! (But take note: the color is truer in the photos above. It is not quite this golden (though I wish it was!!). I will try to pay more attention to my color-correcting in the future.)

It's shiny after 3 coats!!

And Rusty was so happy to be allowed access to his window once again!

Rusty couldn't wait to get back in his window

I took these photos on Sunday.

Taped and read to fix the trim

You can see that I have taped up the floor. I decided to go this route to touch up the quarter-round trim rather than removing it prior to beginning work on the floor. There were two reasons for this:
1) I forgot/it didn't occur to me until it was too late.
2) The quarter-round trim is really painted on. It'd probably damage the rest of the trim if I tried to pry it off.

Anyway, I painted the trim on Sunday (but neglected to take any photos). The end of this project is near! I can feel it!

08 June 2010

just as i was thinking about how good he was being with all this floor-refinishing business

Each time I have finished a coat of stain, and later polyurathane on our two-season room floor project, I have to do the last little bit with the door to the house open (because it's the last uncoated spot in the room).

Rusty loves that window on the far side of the room, and he hasn't been able to sit there for weeks due to the wet floors.

he loves this room

On Thursday night, he took his opportunity to sneak up behind me and go running past just as I was finishing up the third and final coat of polyurethane. Three paws in -- as I was dropping my brush frantically to grab him -- he slipped (since it was all wet). He got it all over his feet and one of his hindquarters. What a sticky mess.

Thinking fast (but maybe not thinking clearly*), I took him outside and wiped him down with my hands and paper towels coated in paint thinner. Then, I took him to the kitchen sink and attempted to rinse him off in the sink, but he wasn't having it. So I took him upstairs and shut his wet, stinky butt in the bathroom, then I hustled down stairs, stepped on to the slippery floor myself, wiped up and painted over the marks he made, then wiped up and painted over where I had stepped. (And THEN I had to hop through the house on one foot, wipe my own foot off with the paint thinner in the back yard and hose it off under the outdoor faucet.)

Less than 5 minutes after I left him, I was back to poor Rusty, up in the bathroom howling and stinking like paint thinner. I gave him a bath, but he still stunk. I did not want him to lick it off or rub it on the furniture and rugs, so he got a second and more thorough bath, complete with a bathtub full of warm water and a Paul Mitchell shampoo-lather.

And then he got several Pounce treats.

wet cat [48/365]

And spent the rest of the night licking himself.

after a bath

after a bath

And on Sunday, he got to sit in his window. Hurray!

What are YOU looking at.
Obviously, I was being bothersome.

*Paint thinner is obviously not good for cats, and it's hard to wash off. Not as hard as polyurathane though. My only other option, I guess, would have been to cut or shave the poly- off. And how would I wait for it to dry? Cutting it off wet would have been a sticky, furry mess I don't even want to consider.

07 June 2010

the florida rug

When my parents and I moved to Florida in the late '80s, they built a house. The house had mostly tile floors (which I understand is pretty common in the south since tiles stay cooler). For the family room, my parents bought a very large area rug to warm up the space a bit. Friends and I laid on the rug and watched TV. I sat on it while opening Christmas presents and digging through Easter baskets. Twas a comfy rug.

When we moved to Minnesota, the house we lived in had a formal dining toom. That's where the rug ended up. It was, from then on, a dining room rug. When my parents moved east about 5 years ago, it once again found a home in their dining room. That is, until a month or so ago... when they bought a new dining room rug.

Knowing that I'd been on a hunt for a good master bedroom rug (largely unsuccessful - it is very hard to find a rug to compliment burnt orange walls), they emailed me asking if I wanted 'the florida rug'. About 2 weeks later, here it was. Rolled up, folded, bagged and stuffed in to a moving box, it arrived on our porch.

rusty with the 'new' rug

It was Rusty's new best friend. It's been professionally cleaned, but it still apparently has 20 years of good smells in it! (I made a hilarious time-lapse video of him frolicking around and sniffing it, but YouTube flagged it because I used a Hall & Oates song as the soundtrack. Fail.) Anyway, as you can see it is a pretty neutral rug. Tans and browns dominate, with subtle hints of dull pink and blue. It's not a real Oriental rug, as it says it was made in Belgium. It's big too: 11' long x 8' wide.

The extra large rug pad I ordered from Overstock.com arrived on Wednesday, so we finally unrolled the rug in our bedroom on Saturday. (That was a feat. Ever try to roll out a huge rug on a non-slip pad, under a very solid (read: heavy) sleigh bed? Shit. I have bruises and Pink Hubby's hands are probably still swollen.)

Before the big 'reveal', I have one more bedroom component to tell you about: I also recently bought some end tables. I've been looking for some small ones for quite a while, and finally found some on sale on Amazon.com. They arrived in flat boxes along with a bunch of other stuff (including the aforementioned rug pad):

box day [47/365]
See that FLOOR? Hot damn it looks good! I will blog about it again later this week!

The tables were quite nice once assembled. They match the bed really well too, I think! And for thirty bucks each, I'd say I got my money's worth!

New nightstands (other one not shown, obviously)

And now, check out the difference a rug and some matching furniture makes. Here's the 'before' (taken a few months ago, after we bought the bed).

Our new bed

And here's the photo I took on Saturday.

Bedroom with the rug

So much more inviting, right?

05 June 2010

and lucky me! he doesn't mind sharing!

My gifts to Pink Hubby to celebrate the educational milestone he recently accomplished:

new toys [50/365]

On the E-510 (left): 50-200 mm f2.8-3.5
On the E-500 (right): 12-60 mm f2.8-4.0

These sexy, sexy lenses arrived today. Something tells me it's going to be a photo-heavy weekend!