Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I'm pretty sure he's lying...

My husband is amazing with paint. Since I, in contrast, suck so very badly at anything that involves paint, it makes his abilities stand out that much more.

He did teach me how to "cut in" much better than I used to. This is an example of my work, sans painter tape:
Even I was impressed by that sort of stuff, and I don't impress all that easily. Especially over something like painting. Anyway, here's an example of me complaining about how crappy I am at painting...I knew that my husband was going to be painting a fresh coat of white paint on the trim after we finished the walls, but all the same, I felt terrible about messing up at all while I was cutting in. Hence my complaining about even trying.

You can't see it all that well in this photo, but I painted the final coat in the living room when we painted it in 2006 (again, documented here in the run down of the 4 Gallon Miscalculation Debacle of 2006), and it looks pitiful in some places. My arms and hands get tired after a certain amount of rolling. And so lines in the dried paint can be visible in spots. It's kinda embarrassing.

Anyway, a general argument between my husband and I with the garage remodel concerns the paint going up. We are agreed on the paint color for the will be the same as the paint in the living room, since we have so gosh-darned much of the stuff, still! (Side note: We have an acquaintance that wanted to unload some left over paint she had in her house from a project she did, which she assured us was high quality stuff, and we had planned on using that. The only thing was that she wasn't sure that the colors were all the same, but she wanted to give it to us if we needed it. We accepted her offer, and then every time we saw her, she said she was sorry she had forgotten the paint, but would bring it to us the following week. No joke, this went on for literally months. She finally was able to give it to us at a party we threw to celebrate the completion of the new addition around Christmastime, and we opened the cans last week to see what colors we were dealing with. Only, they aren't really a specific color anymore, so much as they are just a separation of materials that once constituted paint, but now is so old and separate, it just constitutes trash. Gee, thanks acquaintance. Now we have to figure out how to dispose of 3 gallons of crap that is completely useless, and would be harmful in a landfill. Goody. ::rolls eyes:: Moral to the side note: before you give someone something like paint in hopes of being helpful to them in some way, check the quality first. Especially if it's been under your basement stairs for over 10 years. Not that this moral isn't already generally a given amongst most people...)

I am a fan of using paint that we already have in our possession, in the interest of saving some cash, and also using resources that we would otherwise likely just need to dispose of eventually. Our bathroom and bedroom both are different shades of blue, and we have some paint leftover from that project, but it's not a lot of paint. I thought it would be the perfect amount to cover the ceiling in the garage, but Jesse was against that idea. He wants the ceiling to just be white. ::sigh:: I think that's boring, and also a waste of $8. Last night, he informed me that there isn't enough blue paint to cover the ceiling, but I think he's lying. I think he could make it work if he really wanted to. The thing is, I'd do it myself, but painting the ceiling is out of reach for me, literally. It would be very hard for me, as a sucky painter, to complete the overhead job, andplusalso, it would be guaranteed to look absolutely terrible when I finished with it.

So I'm getting a boring, plain, blah white ceiling in my garage. Yay.

BUT! I saw a picture in a recent Elle Decor that I was finally getting around to reading of a high gloss white ceiling that inspired me. So I think that if I have to have white, I'm gonna go high gloss. That will make me happier, I think.
Thing is, I think it'll make Jesse happy, too. Part of his reasoning for not wanting the blue (even a pale blue like we have in our master bedroom and bathroom...) ceiling is because he doesn't want it to feel closed in, or dark at all, as it used to. The high gloss should solve that!
I think I'll go buy it tomorrow, on my lunchbreak...and then give it to him like a present at dinner. :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

::dusts off blog::

Hi! I think the best way to get this baby back on track is to just jump into it, right? Ok then...

The garage remodel is still rolling, although we did finally bid adieu to the contractor when he finished the drywall last week, so the rest of the process is in our hands at this point. We're going through several cans of primer and then painting this week, and hopefully, I'll have some "process complete" pictures up early next week that I can share. The biggest hurdle to get past for now is convincing my husband that using leftover blue paint from the bedroom on the ceiling in the garage is a good idea. He wants it to be white. ::insert "blah" face here:: We're using leftover paint in order to save some money, and also so it just doesn't go to waste. We have scads of paint left over from the Living Room 4 Gallon Miscalculation Debacle of 2006, so we're using that on the walls in the garage. And as far as I'm concerned, a blue ceiling sounds very pretty and fun, and that's the final design aim for the garage...for it to be pretty, I think I should win this argument. Maybe I'll hate it, and he can gloat and mock me for the next 4 years. Wouldn't that be a win/win for everyone, really? No? I dunno...

One of the things we decided to do with this remodel is replace the door that leads into the kitchen from the garage. The old one was a stock, inside-use only kind of door that was neither fire proof nor very attractive. It would be putting it lightly to say that we hated it. So we had it measured for a replacement in the future by Home Depot a few months ago, and then we went in and purchased the new door along with all the other supplies for the garage project, so our contractor could hang it for us.

Unfortunately, I don't know if they measured wrong, or what happened, but this is what the door looked like when it was hung:
There was a looot of light and air that was able to get in through the spaces left by the mis-sized door. It was almost a full half-inch at the top!
And the side wasn't much better. I was pretty disappointed with that...
But the contractor was a talented guy. He did his magic, and managed to get the door to come together in the end. More pictures of that completion with the rest of them next week, I promise. In the mean time, know that we are exceedingly happy with our new door, the way it looks, and the way it closes and opens, and everything. Yay!

Not only are we at the point where we pick the paint colors, but we're also at the point where we can decorate the space. We needed nicer, newer shelves than the ones we already had. Considering most of the shelves we had in the space were all thrown away since they were old and falling apart, we don't have much of a choice but to buy more storage options, really. So we got something similar to this from Home Depot last night:
The one they had in stock was a chrome one for $109, but it's similar to that black one, except it has 6 tiers. I'd also like to pick up a set of drawers like this one...
We need a good place to organize all of our smaller tools, and a set of drawers like that would fit perfectly. I'm just trying to figure out if I want to spend the $109 on that right now, or not. I'm inclined toward the thinking that it will be charged to my credit card before the end of the day. Can't be sure, but it's seeming likely.

Anyway, I can't wait to update with more pictures of the finished product! A clean, useful, pleasant-to-park-in garage has seemed like a pipe dream for most of the years I've lived in our home, and to finally be this close to the reality of it is something to celebrate, for sure!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Challenge accepted...

My mother-in-law, Valerie, reached out to me last week, asking if I would be up to the "challenge" to help her find new lighting for the kitchen in their house they moved into a little while ago. Unfortunately, my husband and I haven't had the opportunity to visit the new house yet, so she had to send me pictures to give me an idea of what it is that we're working with, style-wise. Regardless, I'm totally up for the challenge...Lord knows how much I love lighting!

And I honestly don't know how their current situation can't be improved upon, so the challenge is made even simpler by that fact. And before you think I'm being all nasty and awful about what their lighting is like now, just know that my in-laws fully agree with how bad it currently is, ok? Otherwise they wouldn't have asked, and also? LOOK:

Yeah, those are the two ceiling fixtures in the space right now. Classic in their own right, of course. But they certainly aren't going to appeal to everyone's design sensibilities, as they do not for my in-laws.

They remind me of the light that our friends received from their neighbors as a house-warming present when they moved in to the home they bought last year. It's become a running joke between the two households, being passed back and forth as gifts for various occassions, because it's too terrible and funny to just throw away. It's like the chandelier in the picture above, except it has more heft and size, and I believe it has a "going west" scene on it, with the covered wagons, and everything. I can't remember exactly...I think I've managed to block it out, thank goodness!

Anyway, these are the details in the kitchen that the lighting will be illuminating:

A lovely yellow (eh-em, plastic) tile backsplash in certain spots...
(It can be removed, but I think there's a reluctance to do so, since the glue holding it to the wall is such a nightmare to have to deal with, they'd rather have the tiles up!)

Here is the stove/oven area, which shows a bit of the talent my mother-in-law has when it comes to her artistic skills. She painted those flowers there...
As well as here...
Now, what I think needs to be done, in addition to changing the lights, is to update all the hardware on the cabinets. Firstly, its in an odd place. Almost in the center of the door, which is weird to me. So I'd recommend a pull like one of these:
This one is a traditional style that goes for $3 a piece...
While this one is a more contemporary style in a brushed nickle finish that goes for $2 a piece...
And then there's this one, that I think would fit in as well as the traditional style above, however it's more pricey at almost $10 a piece. But it would be lovely...
With that said, here are the lighting ideas I found.
This is a pretty hand-painted option that goes for just under $50 at Lamps Plus.
I also like this model a lot...its a little bit more modern, but would definitely fit in with the botanical feel Valerie has added to the kitchen with her painting. It's reasonably priced at $52.50, and can be found at Lighting Universe.
This one is also at Lighting Universe, for $66.60...
...and this one as well, which goes for $75.85. I like the schoolhouse design, for some reason. I can't put my finger on it.

Then there's this simple, but pretty option which can be found at Sears for $49.99.

I think I like this one a lot, though. It would be more of a fade-into-the-background light fixture, but that's kind of what they need in that kitchen. It costs $65.95 at Lamps Plus.
So I'm off to send Valerie an email, hoping that my suggestions will be helpful and that maybe one of these options will work for her and the kitchen! They've done such a wonderful job updating the bathroom that I don't really think she needed much help on this, to be honest. But I'm glad I can be involved, even if only in spirit from such a far distance. Wish her luck on finding something that works!

Friday, March 13, 2009

So long, you old, beat up, tired thing, you!

Ok, not to try to scare anyone, or anything...this being (one of three this year, mind you) Friday the 13th, and all. But we've started the garage remodel this week, and I thought it might be nice to share some "before" pictures with you.

Here is the beast that I've been living with for the past 5+ years:

What's that screaming sound??? Oh, its just me. Sorry. I'll calm down now.

I hate the walls, I hate the lack of walls, I hate the ceiling...I hate it ALL. So it's time for the change to happen. This is how we hang our tools...or at least some of them, anyway.

The lighting is inconvenient and unhelpful. So we're redoing that, and rewiring things so that they can be flipped on with a - get this - switch. I know! Seems too modern for most people, but we're ready, I promise. Right now, we have all of our garden supplies in the plastic shelving there next to the door...

It smells all chemically, and toxic when I open the doors, so I'm hoping we can get the chemically and toxic things out onto properly ventilated shelves after this is over, and I'll store tools and plastic lawn bags and stuff in there instead from now on.

We're also replacing the broken-down ugly-assed step into the house, too. I'm more excited about that than I should be, I have to admit. But it's been a sore point with me to have to step on it to access the kitchen all this time, so having a brand new, fresh step to use? I'm giddy.

This is the wall of shelves tha scares me the most. They don't have proper support, somehow, so they all tilt forward with whatever weight is put on them...
I just love how the paint cans all look like they could slide off and dump on the floor/car/whatever is there at any given moment. It's like a fun GAME, or something. (Except it's not fun, and it really, really sucks.) This is the only wall we're completely removing, as it doesn't have any insulation in it, and being that it's an outer wall? The insulation is kinda important, we think. We're also replacing the door with a proper outdoor-type of door. That's framed correctly. Here, this photo shows it a bit better...
It's just like one of the inside, hollow doors we have on our bedrooms, and stuff. Except that it has a different handle. And no frame. It's coming OUT.

That back wall of insulation has always been exposed like that, and it made me hate doing laundry out there when our washer and dryer used to be in the garage. It seems slightly damaged in some places, but it will come in handy in sealing up the gap that exists in the attic between the garage attic and the rest of the house's attic space. Because right now, that's completely all one space. Our contractor thinks that our heating and cooling bills will dramatically improve once we block the two off from each other with insulation. I'm looking forward to that!

Monday, they tear that wall down. And then we get moving on all the rest of the project. I'll keep everything posted here as we go. So excited!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My favorite blogs...

Well, I finally got "off" my lazy butt and added the blogroll to my sidebar over there -->. I don't know why I didn't do it sooner than now, really. I'm lazy...that's my best excuse, and I'm sticking with it! :P

This week, along with hoping that I still have a job after March is over, my husband and I met with a contractor about updating the garage. Its been a project I've wanted to have done for years...since I bought the house, really. And I'm finally at my wit's end with it, so we asked for a quote. I'm still waiting for it to come through, but that's ok. I don't find out until next week whether or not the company will keep me on, so we have some time to be patient on this one...

I'm really hoping it's doable, though. I don't have any pictures of what the garage looks like right now, but I'll make sure to get some soon and post them. So you can all live my nightmare with me!

Cross your fingers that the job sitch stays as is, will you? I can use all the mojo I can get right now.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Here's what I say to the weather forecast...

Spring is right around the corner. Lazy nights spent out on the deck with drink in hand, trying to train the bark out of our youngest with a new eh-em...collar of some sort or another, in lovely temperatures that aren't too hot or too cold are around that same corner. And I think I'll whip out the ol' outside area rug for the deck again this year (we didn't have it out at all last point, thanks to all the construction we had going on, we didn't do much entertaining out there).

But I also stumbled across some chairs that caught my eye in the Domino from February that I think I'd like to have, and which I want to place out in the yard somewhere...instead of on the deck. Someplace where we can look back at the house, sip drinks, and chit chat while the dogs run crazily around us in the yard.
The little round chairs there are plastic with an iron base, and colorful, and I love them. They're from a company called Lost & Found (323-856-5872), and go for $195 each. I am interested in either putting them out by the back fence, straight out from the deck...
...or over by the nonfunctioning gaslamp we have in the yard, maybe. With the addition of a drum table, perhaps. You know, to set our drinks on.
We have a lot of stuff we'd like to do with our landscaping this year that likely won't be possible, thanks to the bill we got from the State and from the Feds this year for our taxes. But these chairs might make it just a little bit easier to handle the wait until next year to do what we wanted to do...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Oops! Did I promise to have these up yesterday? Eesh...

(Please allow me to apologize in advance for the formatting on this post. I tried to get all fancy with the pictures, and while I've done this sort of thing in other posts, and have managed to get them to work out ok, this one just isn't getting there. And its been a long week. So what follows is a rather disorderly looking post about organization. ::sigh!:: I need a glass of wine!)

Ah, the pantry. This pantry was so huge to us when we had it built, that it's beyond describing. We needed it badly, let me just say. It was a welcome behemoth once installed, because we'd already been running pretty short on space before we started planning the wedding, but by the time gifts started showing up, we really ran outta space!

So, as you can see, once we had it, we sure did take advantage of it!

<--- THIS is what we did to it. Crammed it full of spices, sauces, bread crumbs, rice, noodles, molasses that we never use in anything since the recipe it was purchased for, and there might even be small woodland creatures lurking about in there...not sure.

The spice shelf had some semblance of order. We had risers to put them on, but you still have to shuffle them around and pick them up to see what they are before you can find what you want, unless it's cumin, salt, or pepper, since those sit right at the front of the shelf. (I mean, duuuuh. Where else would they be?)
But I hated the messy way it looked. And the shuffling and lifting to find the spices I needed when I needed them.

The sauce/vinegar/oil/ketchup shelf was better, but not by a lot.

So, as was mentioned in that previous post, I started scouring the internet world for a spice rack set up that fit our life, our style, and our pantry. And I found it!

(Does anyone else hear a choir of angels singing in perfect harmony right now? Just me, then? Alrighty...)

This little shelf has 18 bottles that it comes with, and you can get them with chrome lids, or white ones. I thought I was going to have to find labels, but they came WITH them! ::gasp!:: (<-- I actually did when I opened the box and found them. There might have also been a little hand clapping and jumping happily from foot to foot as well, but I digress.)

They each hold a fair amount of spice - I think about 2.5 ounces. I filled them all with the spices we use most frequently, and although I had a few spices left over after filling all 36 jars, they store neatly on a set of shelf risers I had in another cupboard and shifted over to the top shelf in the pantry to help out.

As you can see, the shelf is much easier to navigate now. The spices split into the top shelf and the one below it, and I have them in alphabetical order.

This top shelf also houses our favorite salt grinder, some specialty salts I bought for my husband just because I love him, as well as the spices my in-laws brought us from my husband's grandfather, who picked them up the last time he was traveling in the Middle East. (I need to get them into jars of their own...currently they reside in those fancy plastic bags there next to the new rack.)
The next shelf down holds the bottom of the alphabet in spices, as well as our vinegars, oils, and favorite sauces. Can you believe the empty space in there? ME EITHER! I love it.

It didn't end with the spice rack purchase for me when it came to organizing the pantry. I also bought a rack for holding our plastic wrap, foil, and baggies. This left room for the dry and canned goods to be shelved neatly on the same shelf.

The wrap and foil (along with one size of baggy) used to be stored in a drawer along side of the pantry. I HATED it. See why?
UGH. So ugly. And such a pain to deal with. So I ordered some drawer organizers as well, making it easier to find the ice pick, or the meat thermometer when we need them.

I also organized our "junk" drawer over by the back door. I didn't think to get a before picture on this, but just imagine all of those pens, lighters, candles, scissors, and whatnot all swimming together in a messy concoction instead of separated out into neat, identifyable trays. Aaaahhhh...the sigh of relief is a palpable one on my end. Along with a "thank GOD I finally did this!" exclamation.

I've become obsessed with organizing, so don't be surprised if this isn't the last post on this subject that you see here! A clean, orderly home is one I think we all can agree is the easiest to relax in.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Sorry for the lack of posts! I was on vacation for a week, and I have pictures of the pantry transition that I want to share, but I also have about 83,674,920 other pictures from vacation that needed uploading, renaming, resizing, etc...and it's taking me a bit longer than I wanted to pull it all together.

I will have the pictures of the pantry up tomorrow...that I promise!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Its like the mothership is calling me home...

I just found out about a store here in Kansas City that I think I want to move into. Thanks to a link on my friend Cate's blog, I discovered the Hudson Home website. Where I then promptly found a link to Bright Chair. Where they carry furnishings named such alluring and warm things as "Edmund," "Ted," and "Lea."


Hudson Home, I promise I don't take up too much space. And I'm really rather neat. We should get along well, you and me...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Feeling Spicy!

Ok, so my plans to completely revamp my spice section of the pantry over the weekend did not happen. BUT! I took pictures. However...I did not upload them yet. I feel compelled to clean up the space, really. But the Superbowl got in the way. That's my best excuse, so I'm sticking with it.

Anyway, it was good that I didn't just go running out to buy any random new spice rack that I came across, IMO. In looking around at the different options available out there today, I found more than I thought I would! Now I just need to sort through them all and decide what will work best. Shoot.

This handy-dandy model is convertable for drawer and countertop usage, so it could be nice in the future should we move somewhere where we can store the spices on our countertops, like I wish we could now. It's an in-drawer model available through for $60. But I can't figure out if the spices are included, or not. It doesn't say, but I hope for that price they are! I don't really need the spices, just the storage for them. So it's not the option for me, personally.
It does come with these nifty labels. So that's nice, I guess.I like this in-drawer option a lot. I found it through the Container Store online. It costs $7, and holds 9 jars...I think I could fit two of them in my drawer at home I want to use, but I'm not sure as I haven't measured yet. The jars are sold separately for $1.50 if you want a white lid, or $2 for the chrome. And they have the plastic shaker top that you can keep on it, if you like that sort of thing. (I don't.)

Another in-drawer option is from Williams-Sonoma. This one comes with 12 jars, and costs $50.
I would definitely need more than 12 jars. I can buy an additional set of 12 jars for $18.
This is a magnetic spice rack from Bed, Bath, & Beyond, which can be used in a drawer, or set up as an easel. But it comes with the spices. Drat. (At a much better price than the one from Target, though. Only $40.)You can get additional jars for $3 each. Which is just crazy, IMO, but ok.

And while this teeny, tiny picture doesn't do it justice, this spice rack might be my Rack o' Choice. It's a 15 jar jobbie from Crate & Barrel, and costs $40. The jars come empty as the day they were born, and I think I could easily fit 2 of them in my pantry, depending on if the measurements are right.
Here's a similar option (with a better picture) from the Container Store. And it might be the winner! It comes with 18 jars, and it only costs $30! Dingdingding!!! I just need to check the measurements, and we'll be golden. Cross your fingers for me!