4.24.2015

Variety Pack Day!

Hey hey, all right, it's Variety Pack Day!  Lots of non-interconnected mini check marks!  Yay!  So let's get to it, shall we?

"Why did you make a jumbo cat toy?"

That's the response I got to the yarn art.  Well.  At least Mike's honest with his responses.  He hasn't said anything more so maybe secretly he's ok with it.  Maybe?  I dunno.

Oh!  Oh oh oh!  So here's why it's great to peruse the free section of Craigslist sometimes!

Ferns!
I came across an ad for free ferns!  Look at the size of those puppies!  Holy cow.  And they're gorgeous.  I responded right away and somehow I managed to be first.  Crazy!  That never happens.  He said he had at least twenty plants so I said I'll take eight without having much of an idea where to plant them but look at them -- couldn't pass those up.

When I got there, a bunch were gone already but I walked away with at least fifteen, probably close to twenty.  Free!  Yeah, I had to dig them out, he got free labor, but hey, whatev's dude, I saved us easily a couple hundred bucks had I purchased them instead.  He had trimmed them down to their wee little pineapple-y stubs last fall so I am anxiously awaiting them to start growing.  Like pacing.  Yeah.

About seven are around the south and west side of the patio out back and the remainder are all the way out front out front, outside our gate circling the city tree.  When things are growing, I'll share photos.

Cool, yeah?

Got the new drain in for the master bathroom sink.  A-yup, I did.

Ah, lookie there, it's a new drain!
The most challenging part?  I had cranked way the heck down on the old one so getting it loose was, um, special.  But, I am woman, hear me roar, I got it.

It was a much easier install this time in that there were way far fewer parts which was great.  Not so great?

Much smaller, more different pop up 'der in da center.  In my best Chicago-ese for you.
Look real close there in the front.  Gap.  The sides, if you will as math taught me there are no "sides" on a circle, were fine, no gaps but in the front and back, yep, gaps.  And the guy thought this would fit better....Anywhoo.

I smudged a ring of plumber's putty between the drain and the sink and so far it's holding just fine.  Whew.

Things I'm not real keen about with this drain?  That first part, the gaps.  Second, the water pools and sits there, doesn't drain entirely.  Things I do like?  Much smaller pop up -- the other one was quite large, bordering on too large.

So we'll see.  Fingers crossed!

Got the rest of the touch up's done on the foyer paint so that's good.  Now it's more than ready for a rest-of-stair paint decision.

Oh.  Speaking of paint.  Right.

Mike and I are out to dinner the other night and as per usual, I ask him what he had done for lunch that day at work.  So he tells me this insane story about how he and a coworker, Juliana, go out for lunch.

She told Mike she needed to stop at the paint store to grab some paint chips before they eat.  Her and her boyfriend Al, a fellow Menards fan, bought a house and are reworking it before they move in.  Smart!  Anyway, Mike claims he grumbled about stopping but agreed to.  Shocked stare #1, I shoot him.

Shocked stare #2:  he went in the store.  Into the store.  Got out of the car and went into the store.  My jaw dropped.  I can't get him to look at paint chips in my hand let alone ever get him to go to the store and look and yet, there he is, in a paint store.

Huh?!?!  What the....

He claims Juliana was hedging indecisive-like and in a desire to squelch his rabid hunger, grabbed three paint chips, handed them to her and said let's go.  "I think I ended up picking her house colors," he said.

Shocked stare #3.

Jaw on restaurant floor (gross).

What the....?!?, I am so perplexed and before we delve deeper, because he sees the look on my face, he brushes it all off, changes the subject.  Luckily for him, I let him.

Huh?!  Wow.  I am so picking up paint chips today.

But also speaking of paint, I finally got around to sanding the patch over the master bathroom door and trying out that Goodbye Cracks* stuff.  I thought I'd try it out there first as it's less of a crack than the one in the dining room.

Whooie, that stuff stinks to high heaven.  Fyi.  Whooie!

So I sanded the joint compound extra special well as the can label says the product is not sandable.  Instructions good, read them.  ;)  Gave the area a good wipe to remove the dust and lightly, oh so lightly, sprayed a first coat.  It's a yellow ocher color, rather surprising but ok.


After a half hour plus, I sprayed another light light coating then extended the spray up a bit to discourage any further splitting up the wall.

It's freaky stuff, a rubberized coating, hence my light light spraying.

I am hoping this close up shot is useful....
But it makes sense as the rubberized will stretch and move should the crack be determined to rear again.  My concern was mostly in painting over it, how much the rubberized texture would show.

But, in examining the dry paint, it's good.  There's no evidence of the crack.  Time will be the true test but for now, all good!  Keep ya posted!

Gone!  For now anyway.
In the bummer news category, Sirens got cancelled.  The production company is looking to see if another network will pick it up but....sheesh, sadness.  Boo, thumbs down.  That puts a big damper on the house project budget too.  Welp, guess I gotta tighten the purse strings even more now.  But it's sad news, and if you ask me?, the wrong choice.  But, USA Network didn't ask me.  They should have though, right?!

Ah yes, Variety Pack Day recipe....Ummm.....How about a make-y up-py one that I slung together last night for dessert?  Let's call it, um, Apple Puffs?  I defrosted some puff pastry dough, rolled it out and cut it into four pieces.  Meanwhile, I sliced up three medium to small gala apples relatively thinly, tossed them in a saute pan with a clump of dark brown sugar, a swirl of honey, a grating of nutmeg, cinnamon and a splash of water.  Cooked the apples a bit with a lid on, removed them and cooked the syrup down, tossed the apples back in, added raisins and chopped walnuts, let it cool a bit,  piled the mix onto the dough, fold, vent holes, sprinkle tops with cinnamon and sugar...425 for about twenty minutes or lightly golden brown and....bingo, dessert!  It was pretty good too.

Oh, a reminder just dinged....Birthday present making time for the nephews!  Last year I made this and this.  Off to research!  Or paint chip hunting....Ack, the returning job just emailed.  Ok, so much for any of that.

So that's the scoop my friends.  Have a great weekend!  xo

*The Goodbye Cracks link is an Amazon Affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!

4.21.2015

Let's Make....Yarn Art!

Aka, My 70's are Showing.

Aka, My Genes are Showing.

Aka, Let's Use Stuff I Bought For Other Projects But Didn't Use, Can't Return, and Feel Guilty for Not Using.

Aka, Let's Avoid Doing Any Other Project Around the House and Make Yarn Art!

Nah, it wasn't really an avoidance tactic.  Some days I just, yeah, feel like working on something different.

Granted.  That, yes, does preclude many other maybe more pressing projects from getting done and/or started and/or wrapped up. Hey, what can I say.

Groovy!
So right!  Yarn art!  Or Fiber Art.  Or Faux Macrame, if you will even.

My first intention with this project was to make something to hang up in the ol' depressing back stair area but as I was going along, I thought of a slew of other places I'd rather hang it and opted to rethink the tentative vision I had for the back stair.  Currently the finished product is in the master bedroom and depending on Mike, we'll see how long it lasts there.  (He's uh, not the biggest fan of the 70's aesthetic.)

Anywhooo.

My supplies were as follows:

  • various colors of yarn (brown, oatmeal-y, gray, off-white)
  • 30" piece of conduit
  • jute twine
  • two 3" foam balls

Foam balls mysteriously absent for photo day.
Total cost:  for me today, free.  Or pre-paid maybe is more apt.  I had all the stuff already.

Yes, thanks to stuff I bought but hadn't used for the DIY rug but also thanks to the yarn my sister in law had sent me.  I attempted to learn knitting in a how-did-I-not-learn-this-while-doing-props kind of way but after one scarf Mike doesn't wear and one hat, I lapsed.

But this project, it only took a couple a' hours and is plenty simple to make.

It all kinda started when I was in the basement, passing through, and saw the leftover piece of conduit laying about from the pallet wood blinds.  Hey, psst, wrap me up in some yarn and call me art!

I started by cutting a looong piece of twine and threading it through the conduit.  Tie it to a nut or something semi-weighty to help get the twine through easily.  I cut it extra long in case I wanted to change how high or low it would hang.


For ease of process, I popped a lil' nail in the wall and hung it up.  The walls in the basement are hardly precious to me -- I have so much patching, sanding, and painting to do, what's one more itty nail hole?!

Next, the yarn.  And guess what?  I had no plan.  Shocker, right?  I just kinda went with it, cutting unmeasured lengths of yarn, making a larks head knot over the conduit, then a regular plain old knot under it to keep the yarn from loosening.


How I worked out the "pattern" of colors?  Randomly.  Ugh, I know, so not helpful!  But for every strand of color I put on one side, I put one on the other side, stepped back and watched how it developed.

Yeah, see?  Tons of patching, sanding, painting of the walls to do.  Why was I not working on that, you ask?
Once I got the whole piece of conduit covered, I did some macrame knot research.  Now, this should have come naturally, I should have inherently already known the knots as my Grandma was a prolific macrame person.


That's the one piece I have of hers.  I thought I had more but it appears I do not.  It could use a cleaning but I'm so paranoid about ruining it -- I'll look into it though.

Right, so internet research on knots.  Again, I thought maybe it was in my genes, and even as a person of the theater, I should have a healthy grasp of knots.  Not.  Nope, do not.  They perplex my addled brain.  So I went for some basic stuff as that's all my basic mind can handle.

I pretty much stuck with square knots.

Um, all right, not the best at knots, ok?
The yarn itself isn't terribly weighty, in the sense of gravitational pull and I found that the more knots I made going down, the more askew the yarn went.  Nice thing about this is if you leave the knots looser, you can undo something if it's not working for you.


To give the thing more of a dimensional 70's punch, I dug up some three inch foam balls I had camping out from some unknown way distant past project and decided to wrap them in the twine, bring that fiber-y natural twine element back in for added texture.  I drilled holes through the middles first.

Yes, I know, I need to make the lighting more photo-friendly in the basement.
Thankfully, and in this particular case only, my hot glue gun is on its dying last legs as it wasn't super hot -- the foam ball stayed intact as well as my finger tips.  Normally, and generally, hot glue melts foam faster than you can pick up a stick to shake it at.


So twirl twirl twirl, hot glue, twirl and the foam balls are covered.  I cut a long piece of twine, pulled it through with a loop at one end...


...and made the same larks head knot on the conduit, letting the ball hang.  I tied a thick double knot under the ball to, ya know, keep it on there.


Once I had the second ball on, I grabbed a sharp pair of scissors and gave the bottom a somewhat uneven even-ish triangular trim, dipping lowest to 36" in the middle.  Heh, this is definitely a project for those who enjoy the imperfect-ness of it all.  ;)

First I tried hanging it up over the headboard but there was too much competition between the two for attention so I moved it to the wall opposite.


And there it is!

Wow does it look super uneven at the bottom in this photo.  Heh, I will be rechecking that....
Easy breezy fiber yarn art with a 70's kick!

Stay tuned....another Variety Pack Day will be upon us shortly!

Oh hey, and by the way, I did it.  I recycled the bag of 339 or so paint chips.  Uh huh!  I am mighty not-hoarder!

4.18.2015

Back!

Oh my gosh you guys, I'm so sorry!  Wow, I've been gone a pathetically long time.  Phooey, not good!

That returning job took a lot outta me, man.  Hopefully it's down to only a few minor revisions and then done.  Here's a friendly lesson for you:  when frustrated, please a.) skip yelling, especially at someone you have not met and b.) avoid taking it out on the person brought in late to the party whose sole purpose is to assist and resolve.  Cough.  Just, ya know, FYI.  Things will go plenty smoother, guaranteed.

Moving on....an evening this past week Mike and I discussed the previously aforementioned massive Bag 'o Chips in kind of a farcical manner.  He read what I had written and expressed he would absolutely not be touching that bag, dropping in, "I mean, who has a bag of over 300 paint chips anyway?"  Why, I do my love, the one you married.  "That's hoarding," he said with a knowing smirk.  Knowing he'd be reading about this exchange at a later date.

I can throw them out at any time, I countered.  He scoffed.  Defiantly I grabbed the bag and tossed it in the pantry recycle bin.  "Ha HA!" I said.  He shrugged, shooting me a doubtful eye.

Truth be told, I did rifle through the bag yesterday to extract a few more colors to tape on the stair wall.  But the bag is still in the bin.  And I will toss it.  I can do this.

Know why?  

Unfortunately for Mike, he set himself up for failure on this one, his plan to backfire.  By dumping the Bag 'o Chips, he's only encouraging me to run out to Menards more often.  Right, I know, as if that's possible.  I can hear him now, "aw dammit!!"

Unless.  Unless he already knew that and he's got some other evil Jedi mind game going on.....omg, I never know with this guy!!  Omg, now I'm freaking out!  Omg!  Ok, not really.  Mennnnaardssss.

Great news and thanks for sending good vibes out this past week because.... big boy Finn's Giardia issues are gone!  Negative test!  Yay!!  Yay!  So pleased.  Whew, finally.

FYI, that window sill is at 31".  Yes, he is large.
It wasn't the smoothest vet visit ever but slightly better than I anticipated. The doctor was a bit befuddled by Finn's lack of graciousness.  With all the dog flu going around town, we weren't able to weigh Finn -- he was skin and bones back last October when we got him so we were terribly curious as to how much we've healthily porked him up.  Alas.  We entered a side door into their back room event space for the appointment so that we'd avoid any chance of dog flu which was cool of them, but hence no weigh-in for Finny.

Now if only I could figure out why his poops aren't more normal....it never ends, the fretful Mommy.  I worried about Hailey constantly.  Ask Mike, poor guy.  And what is it about being a dog parent where your conversation always revolves around poop?!

Sadly I can't say I've gotten much of anything interesting done around the house though. I feel like I've been living under a rock for the last two weeks, so when I reemerged yesterday and it was such a beautiful day out, it was blindingly revelatory.

Since it was warm and sunny, I tried to be outdoors.  I had all sorts of ideas lolling about my head for building planters or window boxes or something plant holding for all the nonexistent plants we have but a general clean up of the yucky yard was in order.  

I booted the dumb rain barrel into the gangway next to the garage out of view.  I was shocked that the ice inside had melted -- I really thought it'd be there until next winter!  Well, not really but it was a huge cylinder o' ice.  And after some teak oil touch up's on the chairs we were too lazy to move indoors or cover for winter, I tidied up the backyard a bit, spring tidying, as best as one can in a frumpy perma-messy weedy yard.

Also tidied up my side of the garage again.  My side gets all in disarray somehow.  I don't know how. Not fair.  Dumping ground side I suppose.  But it's less of an oodle-y eyesore now when I drive in so that's great.  Got the other record cabinet indoors so it's definitely time to get a-strippin'.

That same evening as Chip Bag tossing we briefly chatted about the kitchen.  Ah the kitchen.  Sigh.  *head droop*  It plagues me daily, that room.  Such a conundrum.  I keep waiting for the flash of a brilliant solution to wash over me but it seems to be delayed, caught in traffic, missed its flight or something.  Or run into Alison Victoria who does that Kitchen Crashers show on the DIY Network.  Or something.

Mike suggested painting the doors in a similar fashion as the swanky dresser.  Interesting idea.  I did discover that the smaller bead of trim on the doors could potentially be removed with some persuasion which would ease the visual busy-ness and traditional-ish appearance.  

Before I could say anything, Mike spouted his utter disdain for the dopey lame crown trim.  I was thrilled to hear that as that has been a nagging me and nagging me and making me daft for the entire time we've been here. Coming up on two years.  Whaaaa?

Dopey lame annoying crown trim before.
Wow, how did...almost two years already?!  Holy cow.  What the....*head shake*

Anyway, I ripped the darn trim off.  Yup.  Poof, gone.  Out to the alley wit 'cha.

No dopey lame crown trim after.  Yay!
Yeah so now it's that thing where I've been staring at this one detail literally daily, it's been making me nuts for an extended period of time and finally it's gone.  But.  Huh, does it look funny and bizarre now or is it because of the change that it's weird?  Like when I put the shelves up in my office.  Is it odd because it's new, I've been looking at the blank wall for so long or is it that it's not right?

Oh this is right but yes, currently it looks odd for being a change.

So now something must be done with the cabinets.  There are brad nail holes along the top edge and one of the errant nails scratched up a door.  Oops.  Hmph.  

Ok.  It's on.  Wrack brain.  

No pressure, right?  Uh huh, right.

Lots of catching up to do, ya know like silly boring time wasting stuff like cleaning and folding backed up piles of laundry.  But hopefully I'll have some snazzy stuff going on quite soon.  

I did pick up a tile saw on my last Menards outing though.  Ahem.  Albeit a seemingly wimpy one but a tile saw nonetheless.  Trying to garner enough courage and confidence to plow into tile demo and re-tiling.  Oy, sheesh, dear me.      Big.             Big

The back stair area totally needs a revisit.  It's a train wreck.  Federal disaster zone actually.  It's a frustrating area being a mere 37 inches wide, the entry from the garage and the crazy mud pit, aka the backyard.  The door is um, how shall we say instead of stupidly placed, off-center...

Back door closed.  Looks like a muddy dirty dark prison.
...and the catch, well, you can see how it operates by grazing the wall.

Seriously quality craftsmanship here folks.  Yes, that's the interior wall to the right of the jamb.
The door placement makes it difficult to cover the wall in anything durably dimensional such as wood or wallpaper or any kind of easy clean material of some sort other than just paint.

How I long for a window in the door or above the door to shed some light in this dark depressing area too.  It's not that they couldn't have put a window in either as the ceiling goes all the way up to our first floor ceiling.

Hm.

Oh, the two new drains showed up for the master bathroom sink.  Turns out the one that the guy sent the link to may actually turn out to be better, we shall see.  He could have done a much better job of explaining it than he did that's for sure as it seems completely different than he described.  But, I appreciate them handling the situation properly.

Okey doke, so there are plans ahead.  Right, next time:  more interesting stuff.  Fingers crossed!  Ok, gotta run, running way way waaaaayyyy behind on all the plans I had for the day!

4.13.2015

Avalanches into Sinkholes. And Comparison? #MotivationMonday

Aw jeez, I feel like I haven't been here in forever!  My goodness, sorry my friends.  Everything's ok!

I probably shouldn't make joke titles about sinkholes and avalanches though, considering my long-standing courtship with Murphy's Law but that's how the previous week felt.

Some work came in from my pal which was great and then a job that I had been working on came back in again absorbing all my time, keeping me from anything house and from you.  Obviously work = cash = good but work ≠ house progress and the returning job has been particularly stressful, making for a tough week last week and it's only heating up.

Man, I haven't been to Menards in, wow, I can't even remember.  Like two weeks?!  More?!?  Oh dear.  They're fretting for sure.

So what has been going on?  Heh, well, nothing sadly. 

I know, real exciting, right?  Yawn.

I haven't even had time to tape new color chips to the stair wall.  Yeah.  Seriously.  I did toss the bag of them to Mike one evening and he said, "ooooOoh no.  No.  No no no no no," banishing them to the coffee table.  Waltzing away I chuckled out a "yeah babe," then kept hope alive.  The bag is still sitting there, untouched.  I guess he kinda really meant no, huh?  Hmph.  Darn it.

Finn goes to the vet this week, a new one, to check on his ongoing pain in the butt Giardia issues.  I pun but we are a wee nervous as a.) new vet, b.) Finny barked unfriendly-like at everyone on a casual drop in visit to the previous vet several months ago, c.) he still exhibits inter-species disdain and d.) we just want this poop to clear up, in every sense there.  Yeah ok, sorry.  So, send good vibes out Wednesday morning if you would please!

Hailey's been at the forefront of my mind as of late, occupying my thoughts.  She's always on my mind, I know, but sometimes more so.  I keep waiting for the day when happy fun memories come flooding to me rather than that horrifying morning on repeat.

Two things that helped bouy me during the stress last week were some unexpected plugs as little ol' me, just a-typin' and DIY'ing it away, doin' my own lil' thing, goodness -- I'm speechlessly flattered.  In a tip of the hat to The Colbert Report, humbly and with no facetiousness, it's a new segment:  Who's Honoring Me Now?  

Cory of Handyman How 2 built a sixteen foot workbench (sixteen feet!! Holy super cereal jealous!) and revealed that I inspired him with my workbench.  Aw jeez, that gave me the warm fuzzies!  And then Jennifer of Noting Grace included my pallet wood pantry floor in a Hometalk clipboard that she put together.  Super cool, yeah?!  I'm so honored! 

So thanks guys, that was way neat, you made me blush, and you were two St. Bernard's in the avalanche.

One thing I've been thinking about recently though is comparison.  I had a long conversation with myself in my head while walking Finn in the park the other day.  It's something we all do on a daily basis.  Comparison that is.  Unless you too have long conversations with yourself in your head then I'll feel less crazy.  Comparison can result in positive outcomes but it can also do some harm.

Comparison?  Why the heck are you thinking about that and what could that possibly have to do with anything?

Because in thinking about what can cause decision-related fear or make people feel "stuck," it dawned on me that comparison is a huge influencer on design, how we think about design, and how we make design decisions.  It's comparison that freezes us.  Comparison kills, dude.  Maybe that sounds like a stretch but here, think about it with me a minute....

It happens in lots of ways:

Of course there's the obvious, Keeping Up With The Joneses.  We might compare what we have, what we've done to the storied Joneses, feel in some way that they "did it better" then get ourselves wrapped in a wallet-pounding venture that leaves us left with an environment that doesn't reflect ourselves.  All because we compared.  Boo, likely no happiness there.

Comparison situation two:  ah the ilk of Pinterest.  I am quite fond of that site, don't get me wrong.  I think it's a valuable tool for sure and I visit daily.  The crux lies in comparison -- you see The Room all done up to the max, it blows your mind, kapow....One of two things happen:  you get beau-coup motivated and in a whirling dervish get that space that's been nagging at you done the way you've always dreamt it.  Sweet!  Or, you compare your whichever room to that room and sigh "I wish," turn all opposite-Stuart Smalley, that you'll never be good enough nor smart enough to ever achieve your dream.

Situation three?  Aw, I had this great idea, it's a smidge off the wall but oh ok, I see, when I compare it to others or similar versions or other things in general, oh ok, I must be totally nutso, this is less of an idea, a bad idea, all right, ok, never mind, I won't take that chance.  Opportunity?  Lost.

Similarly....Oh lookie at that fabulous who's-a-what's-it that that person did!  Damn, that's cool and I'd love to do replicate it!  But.  Hmph.  My skills couldn't even begin to compare to that person's, I'll never be able to reproduce it.  Pfft, forget it then.  (Ummm, noooo, not true.)

Situation four?  So-and-so (insert any whoever person/people), their house/office/place/whatever is all x, y, z.  X y z may be a good thing or maybe it's, well, the opposite for you.  You compare your design choices to theirs and you either feel more skillful or you feel less design-savvy, like you have no taste, can't decorate your way out of a paper bag.  You feel poopie.

That whole big thing of late, comparing yourself to others' highlight reel as the kids say these days.  Yeah, it can be a motivator but it can also stifle creativity, shut down our abilities to make design decisions (or any decisions) lest we get judged or made fun of or told we're wrong or doing it wrong or whatever yucky that brings you down.  

Therefore?  We don't do anything. That room languishes in that color you dislike for years.  That furniture arrangement because you felt powerless against it.  Those sad droopy curtains because why bother.  You catch my drift here.

You should never feel bad about your design choices.  Never.  They are distinctly and uniquely yours, something to be proud of no matter how "normal" or "weird" they are.  (Those are all just relative terms, honestly.  Am I right?)  It's who you are.  It's what makes you happy.  Who cares what anyone else thinks?!  Do they live there?  No?  Then screw 'em.  

Go bold!  Go big!  Go greige if you want (though I might urge otherwise)!  Be yourself, gosh darn it!  Get out there and do it!  There are no mistakes, only choices to learn from.  Besides, if you make a "mistake," you know what that means?  You get the exciting chance to redo, to try again. 

Once you let go of comparison, as when it dawned on me the other day, the world feels brighter and lighter.  Or it did for me anyway.  I'm not saying bam, done, easy peasy, oh ok we'll all suddenly stop comparing things -- it may not be so simple, but start small and it will grow.  Pick a corner, muss it about, don't compare it to anything else out there in the world and see how it goes.

So yeah, #MotivationMonday for you.  Get 'em.  Rawwr.

A photoless post, hm.  Always meant a photo of Hailey.  Finn can join the fun too.

Sweet pea Hailey
Big boy Finn




















Hopefully I'll be back soon!  xo

4.06.2015

Odds and Ends, Recipes...Hey, Variety Pack Day!

Yay everyone, it's Variety Pack Day!

Great photo by Mike of our block, huh?  The composition, the colors...yeah, nice work babe!
Even though Mike has a-ok'ed the paint in the foyer/stair area, I'm kinda at a standstill until I can find a carpet runner for the stair.  And damn if we don't need a boatload, crap.  My calculations came out to nine yards!  Holy poop that's a lot.  We've got eleven stairs then a roomy landing with a ninety degree turn then the last two steps.

Ripping out the icky nasty cheap a** carpet down to the bare wood, or just painting it might freak Finny-boy out as slippery and scary so that's clearly something we'd like to avoid.

I did pick up some non-slip paint additive powdery stuff at Menards but when I read the back recently it said the stuff is known in California to be cancer causing.  Back to the store that will go.  Yikes, huh?!

So, yeah, trying to figure out an affordable stair runner option.  Project in limbo.  Really aching to get that done.  Boo.  Sigh.

Heh, I did, which reminds me thank you self, tape up some happy bright color paint chips in the stair for Mike to take a look at.


Bright.  And happy.  Cheerful colors, indeed, yeah?  (Oy I hate that dog vomit yellow color.  Sooo much.)  I pointed them out to him the other night and what did he say?  Heh, "I'm leaning towards those two near the middle."  The darkest, most saturated ones of the bunch.

Huh?!  What the...who the hell are you, he who doth not like dark colors?!  I was astonished when he wanted dark for his office; he's been anti-dark, well, always.  "What?!" I said, "you're leaning towards the darkest colors up there?  I thought you wanted bright, happy."  "Those are bright and happy," he said, skipping away.  Sooooo confused!  That guy, man, always keeping me on my toes.

The reminder is I need to dig out my bag o' chips again and tape up some new options for him.  Heh, that guy!

In the mean time....that fancy pop up drain I purchased for our master bathroom vanity?  Yeah.  It is a drain of pretty good quality, it's well constructed, heavy, feels sturdy, the pop up operation is strong.  But now it leaks when the drain is closed.  The water, whoosh, just runs bloop bloop bloop right out.  Not even two and half months later.  BummmMer.

Oldy photo for ya.
Bigger bummer?  We're out of Amazon's return/refund phase.  The only option they had for me was to contact the manufacturer.  Which I did.  I sent an email, got no response.  I called, spoke to someone who took information and said someone would call me back.  A week went by with no word so I called again.

The guy I talked to next seemed rather distracted.  Not listening.  His product knowledge left a lot to be desired.  He asked that I send my receipt and photos which I obliged.  He wrote back offering to replace the drain with something completely different, the drain that is shown with this faucet which is not the faucet we own, saying the drain I purchased may not entirely be compatible with our super gorgeous Kohler Vox* sink.  Ummm, ok?  Huh?

I wrote him back and said, um, yeah, no, please explain the compatibility thing and no we can't do that drain because our faucet doesn't allow for a lever type.  Which is why I bought the drain that I had.  Can't you send a replacement of the one I have or similar?  No word yet.  Frustrating.  And confusing.  They will hear from me again.  Squeak squeak goes the wheel.

The dresser.  Aww yeah.  The dresser.  I am so, so, so thrilled with the way it turned out.  Mike loves it too which makes me smiley.


Looks great, yeah?  All juiced up with the Howard Feed-n-Wax,* black paint retouched.  Way better than it did to begin with for sure.  It makes my tummy flutter with happiness.

Lookin' good there, hot stuff!
I added a shelf to one of the workbench tables.  I used up the last of my 2x and just need ughhh, only 17.5" more!  Heh!  Always the way, right?!


Yeah, that shelf is heh, yeah I know, way shoved up under there but that's ok.  It holds whoo-ha like my soldering iron, rotary tool, hot glue gun, box o' bits, sandpaper, ya know, smaller items.  But it sure alleviated the cacophony on the lower shelf all right.

Got some more reworking of the basement done as well and it's suddenly vastly better with another few moves of things, a shelving unit removed.  Mike, not-noticer of seemingly smaller changes, was duly impressed saying the basement looks quite improved.

Yes, I know, I already hid that pile in the middle and it's back out.  I'm going to try some Space Bags on that pile, first time ever for Space Bags.  I always made fun of those ads too.  May eat those words.
Yay, we like that.

Gotta. get. rid. of. that. awful. paint. and. chair. rail. though.  Ugh!!

I managed to drag in one of those record cabinets today (repeat link, sorry).

Chalk paint?, I think my mom said.
And heh, finally opened it up to take a look!  They've only been in our garage since, I dunno, last summer?  Pathetic, I know.  Sheesh.  Anyway.


Needs some help.  The interior appears to be mostly laminate with maybe Masonite?  The exteriors of the doors from what I can tell are veneer and by a worn corner, the top is too.  No markings on the piece other than No. 46 on the back and a few other illegible numbers.

Worn corner on the top.
So, we will see how this puppy cleans up.  Yay, more stripping!  Love it.


The handles are cool, yeah?

So now it's recipe time!

We went out to my parent's house for dinner last night which is always nice.  I brought dessert as is typical.  I made this Apple Cake.  I hemmed and hawed on this one.  That's a ridiculous amount of oil which seemed totally gross but I thought well, maybe with the flour/sugar/egg/apple quantity, it'll be ok.  The batter came out like a paste, so odd.  After I unmolded the baked ring and touched it, I panicked.  Super greasy.  Quickly I thought what if I sub a cup of butter but I didn't have enough walnuts nor apples to start over.  Rats.

But I, in crazy jiffy-ness, because I'm a dessert nutcase, whipped up a stand-by Chocolate Bread Pudding recipe rapidly as I was running out of time before having to leave.  A few alterations of course -- leftover challah, part heavy cream, less cinnamon, only one egg, and a dash of bittersweet chocolate.  (I'm wondering how it would turn out if I made the bread cubes into large fluffy bread crumbs instead, hm....)  Anyway, no one ate them but please, they've gotta be nummy.  I mean, chocolate.  I will have one tonight!

I brought the cake with anyway.  My folks said they liked it.  Unless they were being polite.  Mike, eh, not so much.  When we got home, I got the scrunched up face with head shake from him when queried.  "Don't make that again."  I, I had doused my piece in whipped cream so I can't say for sure.  I wouldn't suggest the Apple Cake recipe though -- take the share as a friendly advisory warning.

So that's the word, my friends.  Hope you had a great weekend!  Mike has the next two days off, woo hoo!  Very excited.  See you later this week!  xo

*The Kohler Vox sink and Howard Feed-n-Wax are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!

4.02.2015

Let's Make a...Wood Block Lamp!

Boy, am I getting crafty in my old age.


I waltzed past the leftover stump of 4x4 from our headboard project the other day, gave it a glance when it whispered, "hey!  Psst!  You there!  Cut a block off me and make it into a lamp!"

Seriously, I had not inhaled any wacky fumes that day either.  Can you believe it?  Oh.  Wait.  Actually I did.  Never mind.

Regardless.

Clever idea though, making a lamp out of a block cut off.  Great way to use leftovers from other projects, eh?  Note too, this also gave me an excuse to use my beloved newly-ish-set-up toy, the miter saw.  Mmm hm, you're seeing how this works now, yeah?

Over to my fave Menards I went.  Selling stuff on Craigslist that day only served to feed my problematic Menards habit.  Anywhooo.....

Here's what I bought:

Yeowzas, yeah, that's all I needed and now I have a spiffy lil' lamp!  Granted, for what I paid for the parts, I maybe coulda bought a ready-made lamp but then I would not have had the satisfaction of executing this creative plan.

Total cost:  $16.50 sans tax

So a slightly pricier project than I normally present to you, heh.  But bright nonetheless.  (Ah ha, I said bright!  Lamp!  Ha ha!)

I started by unpacking the parts and doing a rough dry fit to see how tall the assembled lamp parts would end up being, which is how I decided the size of the block.  I had a 2" block sitting on the workbench which also helped gauge, so I went for 2.5".

Lovin' me some laser line there, uh huh, yeah. Boy, I am not a normal girl, am I?
Turns out there were far too many extra parts in that lamp kit than I needed so I'll be searching for a more streamlined set o' parts.

So ok.  Cut the block, measure the diameter of the brass piece, find corresponding drill bit size, and it's 3/8".

I marked center on the block which was tricky as this piece of remaining 4x4 turned out to be mildly skewed unfortunately.  I probably bought this one when that cold was setting in, therefore I didn't check for square.  Dang it.  Ah well.  Personality!

Right, so I drill the hole in the top a decent way in.  Because....I thought it'd be cool to shoot the lamp cord out the side.  So next I grabbed a slightly larger than 1/4" drill bit, drilled from the side until I met up with the first hole.


Cool!  I get so proud of myself when a plan in my head works as it's not too terribly often that it does!

I sanded smooth the cut face and used that way stinky but highly effective wood conditioner* on it then off I went to work on the dresser.  (Which is now finished by the way....photos forthcoming!  It is awesome.  So thrilled!)

Pried the sticky lid off the Watco Black Walnut oil*, gave the wood a swipe plus touched up any other areas in need around the block.

Next I threaded the lamp cord into the smaller hole and with a pair of thin needle nose pliers, grabbed it from the top larger hole.  Be sure to twist the ends together.  You gotta kinda pull and push at the same time but it'll go.


And then yay!  Almost there.

Yank apart the socket, thread the lamp cord through the brass tube, then through the bottom half-round socket part and tie a knot.  The knot keeps the cord from getting pulled out and burning your house down.


Happy accident?  The bottom of the socket actually screwed onto that brass piece easy peasy as pie -- the threading matched!  Holy cow, did not expect that at all.  Suh-wheet!

All you gotta do now is wire the cord to the socket, squish all the parts back together and bam!


Lamp!

Tighten the fancy pants, normally not my thing vintage-y retro bulb in there, find a spot in the house and bingo!  Cutie little lamp!


Aww, isn't she sweet?  Came out just as I had envisioned it too.  Mike thinks she needs a creative little of shade but I dunno, I kinda think it's cool on its own.


My precious widdle lamp!  Heh.  All that in under an hour even!  Nice.  I may or may not add some felt on the bottom and may or may not wrap the cord in twine similar to what I did on our re-socketed-for-non-Ikea-shades Ikea floor lamp.

Either way, it's a cutie, yeah?

*The Watco Danish Oil and Varathane wood conditioner links are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!

3.31.2015

Stair Paint Update. Dresser Update. Hey, Updates!

The verdict is in.

The funky paint job in the foyer/stair area......

OMG you guys!!  OMG!

In typical Mike fashion, he let me know at a most out of the blue moment, subtly, and in his surprise attack low-key-ain't-no-big-deal way when he knows it's kind of a big deal.  He likes to lie in wait, wait for me to be utterly unsuspecting then pounce with announcements.

Talent.  The guy's got talent.

And one day I'll finally learn to expect the unexpected from him.

Scene:  finishing dinner the other night

B:  "(some whatever dribble words related to what we were talking about)"

pause pause pause, then as we're getting up...

M:  "mmph mmph mmmph wall paint mmph mmph."

Yes, he kinda muttered and mumbled which is why I asked him, "what?"

M:  "mmmmph mmph mmphh wall paint," gesturing his head over towards the foyer area.

Ok, again he kinda mumbled and honestly I didn't understand what he was saying.

B:  "What?"

M:  "You heard me.  You can keep the paint.  It's grown on me."

What what WHAT?!?!  Oh my gosh.  I stared at him all wide-eyed.  The left corner of his mouth kinda curled into a smirk.  And that's how things go around here.  Heh.

B:  "What?  You're sure?  You're positive?  You're not just saying that?"

M:  "I'm sure and I'm not just saying that."

So yay!  Good news!  Keeping the paint!  Whew....Yay!!  Now I'll do the necessary touch up's and keep moving ahead.  We need to pick a paint color for the rest of the walls, Mike would like the stairs to be just plain white with no fancy pants paint treatment, we're thinking a colorful striped runner if I can find an affordable one.

To be perfectly honest, I tried doing that faux wood grain on the first step which I painstakingly cleared of carpet and four trillion staples, caulked and painted semi-gloss white.  I didn't have the picture in front of me (excuse) and it uh, I didn't do such a hot job of it.  Ah well.  This is how we learn.

So that's where that's at!  And no lie, what a relief.  Forward!

Got the sides stripped on the sweet old dresser and ah!  Scratches.


Lots of 'em.  They aren't too terrible but they would not make an antique dealer eager, let's just say that.  I don't mind them.  I emptied the dresser of draws and dragged it down to the hall bathroom for the stripping in case you're wondering.

Oh, heh, here's my mom's response to my questions of what price she paid (I somehow remember $15 or $20) and how bad off it was when she got it:  "Dresser?  What dresser?"  In other words, she forgot.  Heh, that's ok.  The mysteries continue is all.  :)

This is post light sanding, post Restor-a-Finish so it's good to go. 
The stripper, the Zinsser Strip Fast, yeah, not good for vertical surfaces, fyi.  Blooop, runs right down the side but it does sort of gel up thicker a tad as it sits.  A tad.  And while it does a decent job, it's the same as any other regular stripper I've used in the past, nothing special.

Here's Hailey's chewed up corner.  Looks absolutely perfect to me.
Anyway, so yeah, some scratches on the sides but that's quite all right.  I'm not intending to ever sell it.


Looking pretty sharp, eh?  Well, if you ignore all the uh roughed up not quite finished parts.

Almost finished dresser!
I need to pick up that wax still and get a small thing of black paint.  I had planned on using the flat black I have and mixing in some gloss medium but rats, appears I'm outta gloss medium.  So much for that plan.


Of course, as per usual, my handy dandy Trusty Furry Assistant Finn was nearby and working his assigned task at peak performance as you can see above.  Poor guy slipped in that first snow last week while bounding around amok like a maniac and boo boo'ed his right front leg.  He's been all gimpy limping and we're trying hard to keep him resting.  That, my friends, is a tough one for an almost about two year old with lots of energy.  He's so frustrated, poor guy.  He yells at us because he's so frustrated.  Seriously.  Heh, it's kinda cute and sad at the same time.

I admit, I had a flashback freak out a bit as Hailey slipped in the snow a year ago January, started limping and everything went downhill from there.

I'm sure Finn is fine.  He seems much better today.

Well all righty!  I'll keep you posted on the dresser.  And the goings-on with the stair too.

In the mean time, I reopened my old Etsy shop and listed that spiffy pallet wood clock.  I'm hoping to make more in various fantastic variations.  I also added a new feature there too, Ask Humboldt Art Dept.!  If you're in need of assistance choosing paint colors, I'm happy to help you!  With years and years of paint and color theory behind me, you're in good hands.  Check out the links on the right side of the page or click that "my old Etsy shop" link above and let's get to painting!  Thanks!!  Mwah!