Searching for a Surveillance Alternative to Dropcam

If you've asked anyone for their opinion on a good video monitoring solution recently, the almost automatic answer seems to be "Get a Dropcam, they're great!" But the question I've long had is simple, "Is the Dropcam really all it's cracked up to be, or should we look elsewhere for a more effective, flexible, and economical solution?" We've actually been searching for a good monitoring/security camera for some time now. This search began around the same time Dropcam hit the market and started generating all of its buzz. Incidentally, at about this same time the copper gutter downspout was stolen from the side of our house, kicking my desire for an improved security surveillance solution into higher gear ....more

Llamas and Drill Bits and New Tools, Oh My!

We hope your holiday and New Year was a relaxing and non-strenuous one, spent with family, friends, and way too much food. Wendy and I spent time with our parents and Christmas with Wendy's very large extended family, and with good friends for a low key New Years. But before we headed out of Alexandria, we noticed a little holiday magic had returned to our neighborhood ....more

Walnut and Goat Cheese Stuffed Endives

Is anyone else in complete denial that tomorrow is the last day of 2014? I can't believe how fast this year has flown by, and in true fashion, I've been so focused on Christmas that I roll into new year's eve feeling generally unprepared and burned out. Even though hosting another party or cooking an extravagant meal is the furthest thing from my mind, I still like to put together a little something special to celebrate the new year ....more

Wendy's Christmas Clawfoot Miracle

Over the past few years Wendy has asked Santa for just one simple thing, yet each year it seems to be the one thing he's failed to bring. Her wish, though not a pony, Frozen soundtrack, or power tool that's new, would ultimately require a lot of effort and proved to be much harder to do. While many people may wish for extravagant bobbles, toys, and trinkets, Wendy's wish was far more practical than a pair of Super Bowl tickets ....more

Going ROG with Cleaning on Our Clawfoot Restoration

There's little "good information" out there regarding the rehabilitation of a salvaged clawfoot or other cast iron porcelain enamel tub. Whether it's a tip that is immediately contradicted by another, or simply a complete lack of real photos or high detail before and afters, finding information on how to proceed with this step of our restoration has been hard to come by. For this reason I've decided to go a bit more in depth about our efforts to first clean, and then restore the interior of our salvaged tub without going the nuclear route ....more

My Dryer, My Nemesis

The history of the world is shaped by the rivalries of great nemeses. The Hatfields had the McCoys, Aaron Burr had Alexander Hamilton, Ali had Frazier, Nikolai Volkoff had Hulk Hogan, England had George Washington, President Taft had a bathtub, Grumpy Cat has fun, and even Narcissus had Nemesis herself. A great nemesis can frustrate, intimidate, infuriate, incite deep emotions, and elicit a visceral response from its counterpart unlike any other ....more

Reader Reward: The Cordless Rockwell Oscillating Tool that Rocks

As many of you may know, I'm a bit of a tool junkie. Whether I'm researching, using, or wishing I had a particular tool, I've become tool obsessed over the last few years. I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but at some point my Christmas list experienced a metamorphosis of magnificent proportions ....more

Decking the Halls, the Walls, and So Much More

Today marks the start of the Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend here in Old Town Alexandria. It's my favorite weekend of the year, and is the perfect festive kick off to our holiday season. The town is abuzz, homes are adorned with their holiday finest, and the chill in the air hints of fun, family, and much cheer throughout the month....more

Reader Reward: Tickets for the 2014 Scottish Christmas Walk Holiday Home Tour

They don't say "it's the most wonderful time of the year" for nothing. In our home and in Old Town Alexandria in general, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. A nip is in the air, the lights are all hung in the trees along King Street, and the storefronts are all decked out in their holiday finest ....more

How Does One Attach Claw Feet to a Clawfoot Tub?

Our tub may be in the bathroom, and the overbuilt drama of how that would happen may be behind us, but there's still a lot to do before we're done. Among the many aspects of getting this tub into its final resting place, we have to get the feet into shape and onto the tub. The problem, we don't know exactly how to attach these feet ....more