Several weeks ago while we were having our hot water heater replaced with a tankless unit I shared a shocking photo.

While the picture may look quite a bit like a set prop piece from a dream sequence in A Nightmare on Elm Street, it was actually the deteriorated metal flue ducting that had long served its purpose of directing the exhausted gasses from our water heater up and out of the chimney. Though it had done its job for years, its structure rusted away to the point where it was becoming a potential hazard.

I was quite relieved to remove the whole vent duct when we replaced the water heater (new heater is direct vent with PVC), but this left a hole in the brick where the old vent entered the flue.

To resolve this issue I mixed up a little mortar we have leftover from the repointing project last year and used a half brick to patch the area up.

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Comments 13

This fall marked the 12th year in our annual tradition of throwing a Halloween costume party, but this year, for the first time, we had our party on Halloween night. 

Though we typically hold our party the weekend before Halloween, with the holiday falling on a Friday night (along with Alex's now crushed hopes and dreams of the Nationals making it into the World Series, which in theory would have tied up a few of the other weekend dates), we decided to hold out until the last day of the month to throw our annual bash. 

We're a few days behind in sharing the details, but this year's party was a spooktacularly good time. I guess when you combine friends, food, drinks, and some great costumes, it's really hard to go wrong. 

After last year's Orange is the New Black inspired costumes of ours, lots of people were curious what we would dress up as this year. I'm a fan of couples costumes, as they really add a lot of options for creativity in costumes, so that's the route we went again this year. We kicked around a lot of different thoughts on the subject and tried to figure out something that would be relevant and fun without breaking the bank. Alex had the idea to dress up as a Scotsman representing Scottish independence, but tethered to the Queen of England. He enjoys every opportunity to wear his kilt, and I liked that the idea was timely and relatively easy to pull off and gave me an opportunity to embrace my inner queen. He ordered a "Scotland Aye" tee shirt to round out his ensemble, and I combined costume jewelry and sensible shoes with a new wig and monochromatic ill fitting dress and jacket I picked up for just $25 at our local bargain shopping outlet. Here's a look at the full effect.

While Lulu was dressed as a little bat, we really should've gone the extra lengths and had her dress as a little corgi. Overall we got a pretty decent reaction from our party guests, and Alex got the question of "So, your kilt...are you full Scottish? (wink wink, nudge nudge)" more than once.

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Comments 5

We've finally arrived at the final home on our house hunting tour.

Thus far we've shared three very different homes located on waterfront property, from a 1980's ranch to an 1880's Victorian. Many readers have been divided on both their opinions of the homes and whether or not the home featured was the one we'd ultimately choose. Today we'll show you just one more home before we let you all in on the house we've ended up purchasing.

The final house we're sharing that we have on our list of second home contenders is this three bedroom, two and a half bath 18th century gem.

As you can see from the photo, beneath the glass porch exterior is a somewhat traditional historic home that's been added onto over the years, not too much unlike the home that is the focus of the blog/journal Enon Hall (one of our all time favorite blogs that's no longer being updated).

There are three primary aspects to this house that simultaneously speak to us regarding its tremendous potential and terrify us to our basic DIY foundations.

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Comments 21

Are you ready for house three on our house hunting trip? And since it's Halloween, we'll even give you a little Halloween twist we experienced while we were looking at this house.

But before we get started, we're going to make a slight change to our game. I know in the intro post about our second house we mentioned sharing three homes that we looked at, but that was a mistake, or at least a misprint.

All along Wendy and I have been planning to share four houses with you, but I referenced three houses rather than sharing four (House Hunters on the brain). So apparently, I lied. But I will remedy this by now going back on what I said and instead sharing four houses. Take that, journalistic integrity.

Yes, this is the advantage we get by not needing to fit this into a 30 minute television show. It does mean you'll ultimately not know which house for a bit longer, but it's not like we're getting behind on filling you in on anything important. It just means the tease goes on for a few more days by way of one more house that we'll share next week. But we hope you like the fourth house enough to forgive us.

Okay, on with the show, let's take a look at house number three.

The third house we have on our list of solid contenders is an early 20th century home with four bedrooms and three baths.

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Comments 18

It's no secret that Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday. I love the opportunity to transform myself into a costumed alter ego, adorn our home with creepy accessories, and throw a huge bash for our friends and neighbors. While many of my tried and true decorations have come out of the attic for another year of display, I have a couple new additions this year that I'm particularly excited about.

I've long been smitten with paper lanterns, as they're a cheap, whimsical, and impactful way to liven up a party. Earlier this year when I saw a set go on clearance from Victorian Trading Company, I knew I had to snatch them up. 

Using orange ribbon from a local craft store and 3M easy release tape, I hung these vintage-inspired black cat globes in the doorway between our living and dining rooms. The dining room is where we set up our buffet, and the look should create a dramatic entrance to the party and to the food serving area.

All in all, it took less than ten minutes to assemble and hang this new decor. While it looks like these particular lantern are now sold out, a similar look could be created using plain paper lantern in alternating orange and black, and a little craft paint if you're feeling ambitious. They're really inexpensive (like this 10-pack for just over $1 per lantern), and the key to maximum impact is to use them in groupings. More is more! They'd be fun hung above a buffet table, from a tree, or from a porch ceiling. You can even buy LED light kits so the globes are illuminated for additional ambiance.

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Comments 2
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