Saturday, August 17

bye bye wires [#weeknightprojects]

if you've ever been to our house you've see the wires (no explanation needed...see below). We've tried lots of different ways to have them more discrete which really just meant piling them up in a big basket or tacking them alongside the wall. Not to undermine the previous efforts, but our past bandaids just weren't cutting it anymore.

our house was built in the 1940s which we knew when we bought it and its always "fun" to see what you find out about as you're knee deep into an already challenging project. sometimes you need to just drill a hole and find out what's behind the wall...except for in our case drilling into plaster or wood paneling isn't always as easy to repair as patching some Sheetrock. 

as all our projects this one started out no we looked at having the wires professionally rerouted it was determined that we have our very own in house TWO wire hiding experts! The kicker for us was hanging our tv over our brick fireplace. I imagine cozzing up to a crackling fire in the winter in our 1940s husband on the other hand imagines boarding it up and never bringing anything flammable anywhere near the thing. Needless to say, I was determined not to ruin the fireplace. 

that being said we started investigating...what was actually behind the wall? was there a little hole we could stick a camera into and check out? as my googling lead me down many rabbit holes, it also sparked many other [unrelated] questions like, why was the fireplace in the center of our house & not on an external facing wall?! needless to say, if the fireplace was built "right" for the era which of course is never likely, there was to be 3" of space around the brick of the fireplace and the walls that it was "touching." 

yahtzee! in our case, that was just it! the tv immediately came down and i'm sharing these photos and in an attempt to spark any other creative ways for others to do this themselves...everyone else out there made it seem so easy! when i speak of "day 1" or "day 2" that really is after work with a glass of wine for an hour or two versus a full Saturday of working on one set project. 

the overall goal was to have the wires go from the tv behind the fireplace, around the corner, and into a little cabinet that we have in between our living room & dining room. not only do the wires have to lead to here but we need to make sure that we have our AT&T box, the battery back up for the wireless Internet, the Wii, the bluray player units all get in the cabinet properly. 

first we got our safety gear on [or i did at least] goggles are multipurpose 
then we took the massive TV off the wall.  We marked the wall with a pencil after measuring where the TV cord holes should be. HDMI and Ethernet cords were on the right, power cord on the left. Joe drilled a 1.25" exploring hole in the wall where we thought the power cord should come up. lucky us! after getting through the paneling, we hit space and sure enough if you stick a ruler in the hole, you've got 3" of void space before the bricks of the fireplace! 

Joe made the holes larger so we could get the actual wires through the hole (& the connection ends too) and made sure to drill holes on both sides of the tv where the wires would be coming out (but would still be hidden). the TV went back safely on a wall with no wires plugged in as drilling the holes was enough for day 1 let me tell you! 

before the next time we worked on the tv, i did "inventory" and made sure that we had all of the wires would need in the proper lengths. we guestimated [rounding up] that we would need 110" of potential wire space to make the turns behind the wall. we also calculated how many outlets we'd need space for in the cabinet. 

on day 2 we couldn't find the small hiking rope that joe was hoping to use due to its narrowness and ability to turn corenrs. however i had taken an Excedrin migraine and was on a caffeine kick & ready to work so we got creative & used wilson's [the dog] old 30ft leash that he chewed up as a puppy. using coat hangers we were able to feed the leash through the holes that we had drilled and through to the hoe in the closet making a big loop.

each wire was then taped, one at a time, to the leash and we roped it through the hole taking off the tape it at the other end. once we were through the wall, we'd label with masking tape on each end and tape it up to the wall to keep it out of the way.

after the wires were run, we went to power. joe turned off the breaker and from the hole at the top of the closet we ran power cord to the outlet already existing outlet below where we will splice [without my involvement] the power cord to power all the items in the closet.

all the wires are bound up neatly
& hung on the wall!
after day 2, the tv is safely back up on the wall but we are still not done! AT&T needs to come and move the ethernet wire for us so that we can get tv to the box. as you can imagine that was the hardest part!

after the AT&T wires were moved, we got the Niles infrared repeater system with the "dots" as I call them that transmit the signal to the proper place. This allows the things such as our AT&T uverse box, bluray player, & wii to be in the cabinet around the corner and transmit via their own remotes by pointing the remotes at the new dot under our TV!

Needless to say, we're all set up now!!!

Great resource for someone doing this on their own which we found after the fact: Crutchfield In Wall Wiring Guid
no more wires!!!!

Wednesday, August 14

my love

always working on my photography skills...wilson tends to hide from the camera [i wonder why?!]

Monday, August 12

chicken stuffed with goat cheese & arugula

i love cheese and most types [minus stinky ones]...about par with cheese is arugula these days. this is a super easy way to get rid of any cheese that either is nearing its expiration date or you just want to use! 

i don't know that there is an easier meal than this that looks as pretty when its done. also, you can totally customize it to what you like! 

start off with chicken & marinate it in some balsamic salad dressing or italian dressing. make sure that its trimmed and pounded before you put it in the marinade. i get the 20lb bag from Costco that comes already trimmed & cut to size to make my life even easier. i defrost it in the marinade. 

when you're ready for primetime, make sure you use your chicken room temp [especially important for this dish so you don't dry it out with the folding. pam a pyrex and then lay out the chicken. place some this case i used trader joe's herbed goat cheese. add arugula. fold and secure with 2 toothpicks [i did say this was super easy...right?!]. once you are done you can top with some garnishes that do well in the oven. in this case, more goat cheese & fresh diced tomatoes for my hubby and just goat cheese for me. 

two great trader joe's cheese on the left with the blue label is a great one for any crowd & the one that is shown in this recipe! 
my other great combo is spinach & honey goat cheese. the bite of the arugula seems to be soaked into the cheese and chicken though and is a great blend if you are trying to go outside of the box!

bake at 375 for about 20 min. i start checking the meat temp at that time because i think the worst thing on the planet is dried out meat...especially chicken! this is so great served with something not too crazy like a jasmine rice or quinoa and a green like broccoli or green beans so that you can use any extra cheese that may fall out of the chicken as garnish on that as you're eating it without overpowering it!