February 28, 2010

Ceiling Adventures Part II

Remember how we had our ceiling drywall fixed in our kitchen? And then we needed to paint the new drywall to match the rest of the ceiling? And remember how I assumed it was flat white paint, only to find out that it was not flat, NOR white (only after I got the flat white up there and could compare the two)?

Well as a last ditch effort, I went digging around in the box of “to be dried and tossed” old icky paint in the garage (which I thought I’d looked through already) hoping that maybe I’d find a clue as to the ceiling color.

There was a quart can out there that was covered in dirt and dead bugs, full of rust and half dried (whoever used it last didn’t pound the lid back on all the way). I’d looked at it before, but all I remembered was how nasty it was, so I must’ve subconsciously assumed that nope, that’s DEFINITELY not what I’m looking for. Definitely not. And I must’ve subconsciously known that I’m right about this one. Yep, Like I’m always right. Right like rain. (In the Mojave Desert.)

It had a barely-legible mysterious orange label from Sherwin Williams on it stating that it was semi-gloss and Dover White. No date, brand, or any other additional information.

Gross paint


But I gave it a shot because I had no other ideas.

I got enough clean-ish paint out of it and onto the ceiling to realize that……. I did indeed have Dover White semi-gloss paint on my kitchen ceiling!! YAY!!!! So without thinking, I popped over to Sherwin Williams to get a fresh quart of the exact same stuff.

Got home, got it up on the ceiling and was happy with the results.

Until I saw the ceiling from another angle.


The new drywall has a slightly different texture than the old drywall. And it’s really obvious with that shiny happy nasty paint. Let me just ask the world why anyone would put semi-gloss paint on a ceiling? What in the heck were they thinking??? And an even bigger question……..WHY was I so lazy to match it instead of using my brain and realizing semi-gloss would look like crapola up there!?

Next step: back to Sherwin Williams to buy more Dover White, but this time in a FLAT sheen. And I’m going to have to paint the whole ceiling like I’ve been trying to avoid this whole time.


I shall prevail. Eventually.

I'm linking up this week to the Before and After Party over at Thrifty Decor Chick! Sarah over there has some of the COOLEST ideas and you must check her out!

February 25, 2010

Cutie DIY $39 Hooks/Shelf for $11!

So I’ve been looking for new, pretty hooks to put next to the back door.  I was going to show you my shoe organizer today too, but I’m afraid the post will be SUPER long.  So you’ll get plenty of pictures but I’ll post all the organizer details tomorrow.
For the hooks, I knew I wanted something white…
…With a shelf, to provide a little extra storage if necessary (and a cute place for decor if not).
…And it had to be about 18” or less in length to fit in its designated spot.
After MUCH googling around, I found this, which is perfect:
It’s also $39.  That seems a little much, so it’s going to be Plan B.
Plan A is making my own.  See that wooden shelf hiding in the back of the pile there? (That’s my pile of recent Goodwill treasures- some of which have already been transformed/placed.)  It’s going to get a makeover!  Right now is a good time to say that there is a TON of wooden stuff at Goodwill (or maybe just my local Goodwill).  Shelves, trays, all kinds of weird shaped things that someone built….and I really think that the wooden-stuff aisle there has some SERIOUS potential for some really fun projects, especially if you are into Shabby Chic!!!  You should absolutely go check it out.  And it’s cheap (even for Goodwill prices), because there’s so much to choose from.

I don’t remember the exact price…but I’m going to say it was probably around $3 and I got everything for half off on this particular trip. $1.50.  Big Spender, I am!

I primed it because I had the primer out.  Then I realized I wanted to cut a little off each end.  So I did that, using my handy-dandy little hand saw, and primed it again.  I use grocery bags instead of newspaper under my painting projects so I can be sloppy.  That way I don’t end up with newspaper bits stuck to my paint .  Keep in mind that the ink on grocery bags will come off on your project so make sure you use the back of the bags or you only set your pieces down where ink on them won’t matter.
IMG_1151 IMG_1150
You know what’s great about a hand saw?  I don’t have to take my project up the stairs and into the garage :)  I can be the Queen of lazy sometimes.
Then I grabbed a piece of extra bead board from the garage.
I decided to use the beadboard on the whole back instead of just a strip between the corbels (like the $39 one has just the skinny back piece.)  I think it will add a little more stability, and it’ll show more of the beadboard detail.
I cut it to size, and screwed it on.  I also put a screw down into the top of each corbel as they were a little wobbly.
Little bit of sanding and several coats of paint later:
(Quick little aside – I actually bought “tack cloths” to use for my sanding.  Usually I just use a wet paper towel to clean off the sanding dust.  Tack cloths work really well, but they are SO sticky – like fabric covered in sticky stuff, and they leave your hands sticky for a while afterwards.  They come 3 to a pack for about $3, and they’re in the paint department at the hardware store.)
Then I installed the “hooks”, which are actually drawer pulls.  ($3 each at HD)  I had to be careful with what I chose because they needed to be installed from the back of the piece so nothing would stick out into the wall.  All the traditional “hooks” I saw required screws to go in from the front, which wouldn’t work this time. 
And then I put it up on the wall with drywall anchors.  The hooks aren’t really designed to hold a whole lot (since the shelf itself isn’t mounted to studs), but a light jacket or a purse or both will be just fine.
You can see how compact these little storage solutions needed to be!  Below the shelf is the shoe/mitten organizer I keep mentioning.  I’ll go into more detail on that in tomorrow’s post.  The basket is our “junk” basket.  It’s a catch all for keys, wallets, a fuzz roller, gum etc
IMG_1176 IMG_1179  IMG_1180

This tin holds our loose change.  It came with lip gloss in it and I think it’s so cute here!


So, let’s see…. I had the beadboard scraps.  I had the primer and white paint.  Had the tools.
Total cost =  $1.50 for shelf + 3 hooks at $3 each = $10.50
Not bad!  I guess I didn’t need a $39 Plan B after all.  If you don’t have beadboard scraps on hand, a sheet of the beadboard paneling is I think around $12 and HD or Lowe’s will cut it into smaller pieces for you (for free!).  You’d still come out ahead, AND you’d have LOTS of extra beadboard for other projects!!!  Maybe the best part :)
And I’ll post all about my shoe/mitten organizer tomorrow!
Happy FRIDAY!  Happy happy happy happy Friday!  That’s the Friday dance, in written form :)

I'm linking up to Frugal Friday over at The Shabby Nest!
Feature Yourself Friday over at Fingerprints on the Fridge!

February 24, 2010

Wednesday Rambles


Electric saw manufacturers need to come up with quieter saws. 

Maybe I’d actually buy them and be willing to use them if it didn’t sound like the Apocalypse every time the things turn on.

And maybe prettier saws.  Why not have a girly one that’s pink, quiet(er), and comes with easy directions?  They have pink drills…..why not saws?

I’m using a hand saw to get my laundry room hook/shelf ready to show you on Friday.  It works great but it’s a little tricky to get a straight cut.  Good thing my shelf is going to be rather shabby anyway. 

My gallon of Kilz smells funny.  And it had crumbs and dead bugs in it when I opened it for the first time.  How does that happen?  And it seems more watery than usual.  But it was totally full, so I didn’t return it.  Maybe I should’ve…….

There’s lots of work being done on a house across the street.  It’s giving me the bug to hurry up and get our floors done and kitchen makeover started.  That house was a foreclosure and I think the real estate agent bought it and is flipping it.  Probably the best thing that could happen for a foreclosure directly across the street from us!

There’s some peach iced tea (Crystal Light) in the fridge that we need to hurry up and drink.

Does everyone know that the roasted red peppers that come in a jar go bad SUPER DUPER fast?  Ewww.  When it gets gross enough I guess I’ll walk it out to the compost bin.

I’ve had some crazy busy last few days.  I hope I can get my laundry hook/shelf done in time to show you a fun DIY project on Friday (including my new shoe/etc organizer which has been done for a while, I’ve just been waiting to show you both at once).  I need to make a trip to HD.  And March needs to get here so my budget will reset.

Happy Rambling Wednesday!

February 22, 2010

Ceiling Adventures


So I tried to paint our kitchen ceiling this weekend and get it looking normal.  I failed.  Here’s the rest of the story:

We had our horrible fluorescent light fixture replaced with recessed lighting while we had an electrician here for the fireplace project.  Here’s a shot of our kitchen at Christmas.  See the giant light fixture? (Not the ugly one on the left.  The ugly one in the middle.)


Here’s another shot to show you how enormous it was.

over the sink light

After the fixture came down, we found out why it was so big.  Can you see the 3 huge holes poked in the ceiling near the center?  Apparently Huge Fixture was also tasked with hiding those holes. And you can also see the damage to the drywall where the old fixture had been stapled up. 



So the drywall needed to be fixed.  Luckily, we had the “drywall guy” coming the next day for the fireplace work, and he fixed the ceiling at the same time.  Updating the lights was definitely a spur of the moment decision, but we are VERY GLAD we went ahead and did it – even though the drywall was a bit of an issue, because I’m not sure there would be a lot of motivation to get it done if the electrician wasn’t standing right in front of me.



Mudded.  Soon to be textured.





And up until Saturday, our ceiling looked like this:


The holes have been fixed and the drywall is all better, but it needed to be primed and painted in order to be completely done with this project.

Priming was no problem of course.  But it concerned me, because the primer was waaaaay whiter than the rest of the ceiling.

Not knowing what color our ceiling was painted (and assuming it to be whatever builders typically use on ceilings), I consulted the friendly Home Depot paint department and came home with flat white (untinted) paint.  Slapped some up there to see if it matched.  Um, no.  Not even close!


Awesome.  Now we know the kitchen ceiling has been painted something other than “builder-basic”.  After looking a little closer at the contrast between the primed and unprimed areas, it’s not with flat paint, and it’s obviously not pure white. 



Another shot of how awesome it looks at the moment.





Yet another mystery handed down from our home’s prior owners.  Have I mentioned I am LOATHE (yes, that’s right, LOATHE!) to paint the whole ceiling (it goes into the laundry room) because I don’t want the extra work of redoing/protecting the perfect dark edges in that room? 

Back to HD for me to figure out my next step. 

Knock Knock.

Who’s there?


Orange who?

Orange you glad you don’t have this problem? 

Happy Monday, even if you have a multi-tonal ceiling :)

February 21, 2010

Of Happy Lists and Trash Day



I make lists.  All the time.  It helps me remember things, helps me focus on the order they should be done, and I really like crossing things off.  My desk right now has four lists on it, two  three four craft/design ideas sketched out on scraps of paper, and my bulletin board has 3 more lists.  You can go ahead and think how crazy I am…for the next five seconds…..5,4,3,2,1……ok and now try it for yourself and see how crazy you become :)

Part of my list-making includes “Good Stuff” lists almost every week.  Sometimes, on a Sunday night, when thinking about the week ahead puts me in a grumpy mood, it helps to have a list of things to look forward to.

You can see my “This-crappy-pen-isn’t-working-Good-Stuff-list” above.

Here’s what it looks like this week:

  • Gas bill gets paid on Tuesday (automatic bill pay – my BBBBBFF)
  • UPS shipment arrives Tuesday
  • Weather warms up Weds
  • Trash day Thurs

See?  It doesn’t have to be big stuff AT ALL, though this is an admittedly shorter list than usual. 

Financial items like paying bills might seem weird, since they are all automatic.  I love my Bill Pay, but I still don’t trust it.  I keep close track to make sure it actually pays the bills when it’s supposed to.  (In the name of frugality – I refuse to pay late charges!)  If transactions occur as expected, I get to cross things off the list.  And that makes me happy.  And probably weird, but I’m good with that. 

My list almost always includes trash/recycling day.  Every week when the trash is picked up, my world feels a little cleaner and less cluttered.  I’m a nut, I know.  But besides, too many “good things” (even if one is trash day) is never a “bad thing”.   :)  Right?  RIGHT?

So this means I have four “good things” this week!  (I put them in quotes because that doesn’t mean that the rest of my week is necessarily bad.)  It’s my way of appreciating otherwise-boring-sometimes-depressing weekdays and helps me appreciate the little things in life, like having my trash picked up for me every week. 

Maybe my quirky little ‘happy list’ will help somebody with their own, or maybe I’m just off my rocker.  Life is more fun either way, so I won’t stress!

How you do go about brightening up otherwise-dull days and the routine of life?  What’s on your Good Stuff list this week?

February 19, 2010

Keeping Pretty Candles Pretty



Here’s a great tip my mom showed me this weekend to keep candles looking pretty.  It has nothing to do with that cute little twine-wrapped ball there in the picture.  I just liked that picture.  And it was in the immediate vicinity of the candles-in-question.  So…deal with it.  :)

It also works GREAT if you love candles but have dogs-with-tail-feathers who unintentionally knock things off tables, or cats-who-own-the-place who intentionally knock things of tables.

This is probably a no-brainer for all you smarty-pants’ out there, but just in case it’s not…… (cuz it wasn’t for me):

First, burn those candles down just enough that a tea light will fit with the top flush with the top of the candle.

If you’re ok with actual open flames, stop here and enjoy burning hidden tea lights instead of ruining your nice candle.


BUT, if you’re not a household that does open flames:

Let the pretty candle cool and harden around the tea light.  Then gently pull the tea light wax out of its tin.  The tin should stay stuck.  Like this:


Place an LED tea light in the tin (these come in inexpensive packs of 4, and they’re even cheaper right after Christmas), flip the switch, and enjoy your “flame”!


IMG_1101  Ok, so it doesn’t look all that real.  But turn the lights off and you won’t even notice :)


P.S.  My little “half-title” problem should be fixed for all you Internet Explorer folks out there.  (Please let me know if it’s not!)  Big cuddly thanks to Hubby for fixing it for me!!!

February 18, 2010

Crafty Birdhouse Fun



I love garden decorations!  You know what I mean:  bird houses, bird baths, stepping stones, little cutesy sculptures, stakes with something interesting on top, looking balls etc.  I like them for my own garden and yard, but I especially like them for my mom.  Her garden is Ha-uuuuge and it’s gorgeous!  And there are a LOT of decorations out there hiding in the plants (the best kind are the ones you don’t notice right away, dontcha think?), and they do get worn out eventually from the weather. 

Bottom line?  Garden decor is a fun gift idea that never gets old because older ‘garden accessories’ are always getting worn out. 

So the other day, I happened to wander into the wood-goods (?) aisle at Jo-Ann.  There I saw some mini bird houses for…..$1 each!  I was stoked!  (except I would’ve been more stoked had I remembered to bring my Jo-Ann coupon with me) ….<SIGH>. 

I bought a few (umm, six?) of them and painted them with various paint I had around.  My painting wasn’t super precise because I want them to look like they belong outside.


Then I fished around in the garage for a scrap of beadboard from our laundry room redo, and cut it to size.  The cutting didn’t take any precision at all because I could just line up two of the birdhouses with each end, and center the third between them.  I used this saw,


which I’m actually not very good with (it jumps around and sticks and I guess I need more practice!)  I keep it stored in its sleeve on the pegboard in the garage.

A little bit of Liquid Nails did the trick to affix the bird houses to the backing piece.  I also put a little screw through the back of each bird house for extra reinforcement.


I got the idea to just attach my hanging wire to the existing screws, but that didn’t work out so well.



You can tell that I probably belong in Mensa. 



So I put in two new screws and tried again:






Not bad, but I don’t like how they still lean forward



Clearly my vehement avoidance of any physics class in high school or college has caught up to me.






I tried AGAIN, this time with eye hooks and some white cotton ribbon to hide the wire.                                                                  


With the hanging hardware all done, here’s the finished product! 

I think it might be a birthday present …. : )



OH and I made one for myself too! ;)  I even know where it’s going once our backyard project starts this spring.  I can’t wait to blog about that one!  These birdhouses have OFFICIALLY given me spring fever.  And it’s not even March.  ugg……I wish I had a cave where I could hibernate.


Happy Thursday!  It’s almost Friday :)

February 16, 2010

Fireplace Before: The Elephant in the Corner


Weird title, right?  Yeah.  This is The.Fireplace.Post!  Get ready for all kinds of crazy weirdness.  (I think I’ll probably have to split it into two posts…..stay tuned.)

Let me explain.

Meet the Deluxe Home Entertainment Center:






um….. apparently so?


This is what our fireplace looked like when we moved in.  It’s “deluxe” according to the builder who built our 10-year old house.

Not bad right?  Well, not terrible at least.  Just sort of boxy.  And kind of Southwestern-looking.  And a huge waste of space.  The fireplace structure was also not centered on the corner, which drove me completely batty a few times. 

So how about that TV?  We thought our sellers were So Sweet! for leaving their TV behind for us.  But really, it was because you couldn’t get it out without removing the trim AND part of the drywall.  So sweet.  So.  So.  Sweet.


And when the TV finally came out, we saw that we were stuck.  Our flat screen TV (sitting humbly on the floor there) definitely wouldn’t fit and of course there was nothing left to mount it to.

So we ‘made do’ for a while. It was our Sheetrock Elephant in the Corner.  In cleaning the fireplace one day we realized the brass strips were held on by magnets!  They decorated the recycling bin very nicely for about a week ;-)  That was a nice little improvement for a while.


Now you can see where our TV lived.

And the lovely cords running hither-thither.

And the wine rack trying to hide the 50 feet of cable shoved behind it.  I really don’t think 50 feet is an exaggeration.  Really!


Have you also noticed the big hole inside the cubby?  I got impatient one day and took a pry bar to it.  I do get impatient sometimes.  Just once an hour in a while ;)  And I figured it couldn’t get any uglier?  Yeah, well it could.  And it did.  My fault, just this once.

trying to see inside 2 inside - shocker

Finally, after five months we had saved enough money and found one FANTASTIC contractor who agreed to rip the whole thing out and rebuild it.

Right after Christmas, this is what it looked like:

1-Sunday night


So I might’ve also used it as a canvas to test out some paint colors too…. (it was going to be ripped out anyway, so why not?)




AND THEN the fun (and dust) began!  Stay with me for Part Deux tomorrow morning!

February 11, 2010

DIY Victorian Art

Remember when I said yesterday that I had some art projects still to do in the guest room?  Well I got one done last night!
I started with these two Goodwill finds and I picked out some fabric I liked:

I feel pretty silly.  There were two identical frames at Goodwill – one with a backing, and one was just the frame itself.  I paid extra for the one with backing because I thought I’d use it.  I didn’t.
I overpaid!!!  Not my favorite thing to do! (But I kept the backing just in case…)
So I originally planned to use the fabric kind of like this:


it just wasn’t right.
So I rummaged around in my craft supplies and found some old scrapbook paper that I picked up forever-ago from the $1 bins at Jo-Ann.  It was perfect!  Cream-colored with a sparkly gray swirl!


Because I’m laZy with a capital Z, I went for the first glue I could find – a glue stick!


The kitty is always so helpful.

I ended up ditching the back of the frame because I planned to put stuff in the bird cage, and I didn’t want the overall effect to get too busy.  I thought letting the wall serve as the background would be cleaner looking.
I got out some STUFF that I thought might work as filler…….

Some ribbon, silk ivy, two kinds of moss, a strand of fake pearls, and some clear faceted vase filler stuff (those 5 ice cube looking dealy-bobs)

I used the vase filler beads as “eggs” in my bird’s nest :)  
I have no idea where I got these things.  They look like fancy little plastic ice cubes.


I had a little trouble getting the frame to hang straight on the wall, so I jimmied it with some floral wire:


The finished product:

             IMG_0964     IMG_1049    IMG_1023

I love it because if I ever get tired of my artsy bird’s nest, or the ivy or ribbon, or the pearls, I can put all kinds of other stuff inside and on it!  (I’m already wondering if the ivy/ribbon combo is too much…)
But for now, it’s got an old-fashioned, Victorian feel to it that I think works great with my garden-guest-room. 

Hope you liked it!  Have a beautiful day, and I hope everyone’s SNOW melts!!!! :)
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