Last week I experienced something for the first time in my history of DIY -- The scrap yard cash out.

Over the years we've adventured to garbage dumps, salvage yards, antique stores, yard sales, dumpster dives, and countless old houses, all in the name of projects. But until last week, I'd not yet ventured out to a full fledged scrap yard. 

We have a bit of a mixed relationship with the scrap yard. On one hand, when someone stole our copper downspout from the side of our house, we cursed the scrap yard for enabling the degenerate to get cold hard cash for their thievery. But on the other hand, now that we have a lot of legitimate junk, we'll be able to get cold hard cash for all of our hard work. Oh the dilemmas we face.

As a major part of our work in our new house we've been tearing a lot of old busted stuff out of the house. Lots of stuff.

The freeze wrecked plumbing and baseboard radiators in every single room. It meant ruptured pipes, cracked valves, broken joints, and damaged fixtures.

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Our bathroom cabinets are really becoming something!

While we're busy bouncing from project to project, the time and effort I've been putting in on the two large cabinets that will flank our bathroom vanity are slowly transforming them into something cool.

We left off on the base cabinet build with two basic cabinet boxes. Though progress was definitely being made, they were far from complete, and I was ready for the next steps.

One of the things I've long been considering with these cabinets was to add a round over bead detail around the openings. This is a detail I love on high end custom cabinets, like those from Crown Point Cabinetry. The problem is that this is typically an integrated piece of the face frame, and one that needs to be planned from the start. And I hadn't don't that.

However, I decided I was going to go ahead and cheat a little bit on this element. Rather than cutting the beads before assembly, I decided to cut the beads after initial assembly and apply them as embellishments.

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Summertime is a wonderful season, filled with sunshine, warm weather, and my personal favorite, casual and relaxed outdoor entertaining. I'm not one to show up to a party empty handed, and while I love to bring a homemade treat or bottle of wine, there are times when I like to do something a little more fun. Which brings me to gift baskets.

I love putting together gift baskets for friends, family, and clients alike, as I feel there's no end to how creative you can be. It is a great way to celebrate the recipients' personalities, a special occasion, a holiday, or even a theme or destination (like this New Orleans inspired basket I did a few years ago). 

I recently put together a summer themed gift basket for friends and clients, who are now fortunate enough to call Hawaii their home. (Can you imagine??) I wanted to give them a gift that could be enjoyed in their new home, or more likely, outdoors on the lanai. The same type of basket would also make a great birthday gift, hostess gift for a 4th of July celebration, or even just a fun surprise for a friend. So if you're looking for a good guide for a gift basket this weekend, this post is for you.

To start I hit up some of my favorite go-to stores, including HomeGoods, in search of the perfect items, including the "basket." I like to find containers that have multiple uses, and in this case, it's a casual woven serving tray that can function to easily transport drinks and food from the kitchen to an outdoor space. Metal or enamel drink tubs also work well for this type of summer theme.

I then begin to layer in items that corresponded to outdoor entertaining. When putting together a gift basket, I try to establish not only a theme, but also a color scheme. In this case, my summer/outdoor entraining basket will have a subtle nautical theme (a nod to their Hawaiian location) as well as a good mix of natural textures, neutrals, one strong accent color, and one metallic shade. Using this casual set of burlap placemats as a jumping off point, I picked a light red/coral as the accent color.

Playing off the red accent, I also included a set of dishtowels in a corresponding shade as well as a casual, rough cotton texture. Since it's not as significant of a texture as the placemat set, it's a good bridge between the rough placemats and the rest of the basket's contents.

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In fun news, we're considering our many options on how we want to refinish our antique heart pine floors!

However, this is not an easy decision, and not one to be taken lightly. We're fortunate in our new home to have beautiful 110 year "random width" heart pine throughout all three floors. Best of all, it's all in relatively good shape (save for a few bad patches, face screwing, and majorly in need of refinishing).

We were originally told the floor was likely antique southern yellow pine, but a more recent assessment from a vintage reclaimed lumber expert believes it's flat sawn clear heart pine...and we think he's probably exactly right. 

We've been debating the best approach and look we'd like to achieve since we purchased the house, and the debate sometimes feels endless. We want it to look less formal, more coastal, and more authentic to the house. Right now it's a darker brown stain with polyurethane. This masks a lot of the original richness of the wood and its natural color, and it makes the whole house feel less relaxed.

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The past week we've violently oscillated between outright angst over work being done on our house and utter exhaustion from the work we're doing.

The work on our house's HVAC and plumbing repairs has been progressing, and we've been trying to stay ahead of the contractors with our responsibilities.

Since the price tag for new geothermal HVAC and the re-plumbing of the entire house exceeds the insurance settlement to repair the existing systems, we're trying to save money where we can by doing some of the leg work, demo, and prep for the work ourselves, leaving the HVAC and plumbing work only for the HVAC and plumbing experts.

The problem with this approach is simple. Our time to get away from our day jobs and daily life to work on the house is limited...and there is no air conditioning at the house (or plumbing for that matter), so any work is done in the sweltering 90 degree plus confines of the cozy house.

Last week this whole effort kicked into high gear when the excavator started digging for the horizontal ground loop that is the key to the HVAC system's function. We knew it was going to be a mess, but we didn't understand just how bad it would be.

The rub of this whole thing, it was happening on a day when neither of us could get away from work, so we were stuck watching the whole thing unfold on the web cam we had hastily stuck in the window a few days before. Oh the agony.

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