Thursday, March 28, 2013

The closet where things go to die.

Today I finally began cleaning out the closet in my office. It could be dubbed as the closet where things go to die, as I avoid it and throw everything possible in it when guests come over. For almost two years it has proudly displayed my stained wedding dress. I totally mean to bring it to the cleaner, but I'm sure they will charge more because it's a "wedding dress." I also love the fact that it is totally covered in makeup, white wine, dirt and grass stains. It just points out that I had an awesome time and part of me doesn't want those stains to leave.

But back to the closet. Over a year ago I bought some shelving to throw in the closet and it's been sitting in the corner ever since then. The closet goes to the left about a foot inside and I figured it would be a great nook right now for shelving for books and baskets of stuff that I have in my office. Later on when that room is home to a child, they should work well for kid things -- games, books, and other smaller toys.

Part of the problem is that I already shoved a book shelf and a filing drawer contraption in there when we moved in. It's been that way ever sense. And I just kept piling stuff on top of stuff on top of stuff...

While this is slightly embarrassing (I'm sure everyone has an evil closet), I'm posting this to hold myself accountable. And to hopefully have something great to show in the end.

At the end of today, this is where I'm at:

Everything else has been pulled out. All of the paper stuffs are in a big container to go through later. The file drawer in the closet still needs to be cleaned out but the smaller drawer is empty. The plan is to later go through all of those papers and appropriately file the keepers and shred the unnecessary stuff. All of the actual things are sorted -- garage sale/donate box, recycling, garbage, craft stuff, and house hold stuff (nails, random shelving brackets, etc.). I even went through the plastic stacked drawers and pulled out things for a garage sale/donation. It houses an assortment of odds and ends that I need to go through better still. Once we're closer to actually putting the shelves in, I will pull everything out completely and make sure it's edited and sorted properly before anything enters again.

Hopefully, I can talk Bill into cutting my shelf boards down either tonight or over the weekend...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Windows and Siding?

With the weather slowly warming and and snow slowly melting, our home's issues are becoming more apparent. One of the main reasons I was not entirely into even looking at our house when it came onto the market was because of what the outside looked like (along with the horrible fake wood laminate kitchen flooring).

It's becoming more and more evident as the days go by that we're going to need to replace the siding. Soon. Things are peeling, there are gaps, and nails are popping. We have wood shake siding and I'm not sure if it is original or not, but it's really showing age.

Along with that are our windows. They definitely are not original, but we're at about 50% for windows that no longer stay open on their own. It was sort of ok when the first couple started to not stay open, we purchased a long wooden dowel and cut it down to shove in them. Last summer, the window over the kitchen sink decided to just not really stay attached. The inner portion that you would slide up doesn't even stay in the frame (?) when you open it, so the entire pane / slidey portion just comes off and we lean it up against a wall in the corner. Not really ideal for many reasons.

On top of that, there is definitely some air leakage. I have been "wrapping" the windows in our bedroom and my office/2nd bedroom for the past few winters, which definitely helps in those areas. Unfortunately, wrapping the windows in the living room would look bad and be a pain. We have faux wood blinds that stick out, so any sort of plastic would have to be loose in order to be able to open and close the blinds all winter.

I know the siding and window stuff costs big money, but I'm fairly certain that changing it now will make our home much toastier next winter. I have a feeling there is just a layer of plywood with the wood shakes nailed into on the outside... So, adding appropriate insulation and getting rid of not so great windows will hopefully make a big difference.

With those issues and our original plan to get working on the basement. We're at an impasse of sorts. We could save a (probably) ton of money and do all of the basement stuff ourselves. This could take forever knowing us... Or we could just dive in and procure a loan or something for siding, windows, and more of the basement than we had planned to do on this first chunk. We were just planning to get the sides of the stairs and a family room done. But having someone else do it, it might be better to just do all of it at once, leaving a 'room' for a bathroom for later on, as I'm not sure we are willing to go that far in terms of spending large amounts of money.

That brings me to finding someone, a contractor. There are a couple of known possibilities in terms of people, but I worry about messing up any current friendships by going that route. My mother recommended someone I know from way back when (played volleyball with his daughters in high school) that did work on her house.... so, I guess we're going to get some quotes and see where that gets us. This sounds like not fun. Also, I'm looking for a contractor in the Minneapolis area...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bathroom Before & After.

Finally, here is my official before and after bathroom post. Well, really a before and an 'in progress' post, as I am never really done with things... We've been here almost four years and it was a big project for being first time home owners. It took us 3 years of off and on work (mostly off) and doing things in stages. Really, we had never done anything like it. In an ideal world, our home would have come complete with it's original bathroom, but alas it did not. I think we know that this isn't a forever home, it's tiny. While it might be fine for starting a family, more than one child might be really cramped. So, we went with what would probably be more appropriate on a resale level. Plugging too much of that wonderful 1950's originality would probably be too much for most people and lets face it, anything was better than the 90's update we were looking at. (So, I just settle for the small things at this point, like the cabinet knob.)

It has come a very long way and there are still a few small details to clean up but they are things that you can't really see in photographs. Some you can, which you can see on our bathtub... it needs to be repainted still.

Where is it from?
Vanity - Menard's
Tile - Home Depot
Towel Rods - Home Depot
Towels - Target
Jars - The Container Store
Shower Curtain, Curtain Rod, & Rings - Target
Owl Candle Holder & Glass Jar Candle - Target
Shelf Brackets - The Container Store
Light Fixture - Lowe's
Cabinet Knob - Rejuvenation
"S" - Michael's
Painting - DIY --> Found Here

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Camera Avoidance

... at its finest.

I will NOT look at you!

Oh, ok...

But I'm not going to be nice about it.

He's still cute. Also, I'm accepting volunteers to dust under my couch ...

Friday, March 22, 2013

Bathroom Cabinet Knob.

I was trying to think of a good pun or something for a title about knobs... that didn't happen. I found exactly one on the internet and it involved door knobs. Lame to the max.

Last weekend the knob with star backplate that I ordered from Rejuvenation arrived last weekend (and with a catalog!). This week has been semi busy so, I finally got to trying it out in the bathroom.

This is what we've been staring at for a couple years. Not exciting. Actually, this isn't even the original one because this is one Bill went and grabbed because the original was so much more horrible (ok, this one really isn't that bad).

Side note: I'm going to point out that I think this looks bad straight on... I don't like that I can see everything. Should I maybe do a white contact paper over the glass in the inside? Really, no one looks at it from this angle so, it's not generally an issue.

When the new knob arrived, I quickly ripped open the packaging because I never measure anything to see how it would fit but knew that if it didn't work in the bathroom, I would find another use for it. I ran into the bathroom and discovered that it could in fact work, but there was a "but"...

Where the hole is currently drilled for the knob, the play would have to sit as a square. If I drilled a new hole more in the middle, it could be at its full "star" potential.

I'm not entirely sure if I should drill the hole. Is it worth it? Drilling holes that I can't patch, like in a wall, make me nervous. And on top of that, does this knob even work here?

I'm thinking we will live with it like this for awhile and see how it feels... It's easier to sit on it and think for awhile now than to go ahead, drill a hole and regret it later.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


...has not sprung. Sadly.

Yesterday was the first day of spring. Really, when I look out the window, it still looks like we're still somewhere in the December to February range. It's still very snowy and very cold.

I can not wait until I can walk outside barefoot, enjoying the grass between my toes... but I think I'm more eager for weather that I can complete some projects that have been piling up. Projects that involve spray painting and stripping (not clothes, paint... get your mind out of the gutter). I have a very long list that is growing by the day. The lack of warm weather and the abundance of snow is really getting old and starting to wear on me.

Let's hope for some warmth up here in Minnesota...!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Stitch Fix #4

Over the weekend, I got my 4th Stitch Fix. Yay! I skipped a month because I felt like maybe I had a slight shopping problem for a few weeks and tried to scale down. While this is by no means a fashion blog, nor do I know much about it, I think Stitch Fix is pretty awesome. It's a great way to get some new things into your wardrobe that you might not ever see because of where you normally shop or they may be things that you would never pick out and/or try on.

To the items!
  • Karine Sultan - mini silver circle studs
  • 41Hawthorn - Wren V-neck Cap Sleeve Jersey Top
  • Angie - Moni Stud Detail Printed Top
  • Tea N Rose - Rickhouse Ruffle Trim Cardigan
  • Glam - Edison 3/4 Sleeve Tie-Waisted Tunic
Karine Sultan - mini silver circle studs

These are great and are something I would actually pick out myself.

41Hawthorn - Wren V-neck Cap Sleeve Jersey Top

The color was great for this top, but I wasn't really feeling the fit. I think I might have a weird shaped body because I have the toughest time with the fit of things.

Angie - Moni Stud Detail Printed Top

My favorite. I had a good feeling about this one right out of the box. While I wouldn't normally pick something that is pink, especially a light pink, I was totally feeling the pattern. And then the studs... that just added to the print. It fit good and I have a feeling it would be really cute with some gray skinnies... now I just have to find a pair of those.

Tea N Rose - Rickhouse Ruffle Trim Cardigan

This was my least favorite item in my fix. I actually have a similar cardigan in a neutral color that has 3/4 sleeves. It fit good, but I just wasn't really into the color or the ruffles. It just wasn't for me.

Glam - Edison 3/4 Sleeve Tie-Waisted Tunic

This is the one item that I really wanted to work, but again with the whole weird shaped body thing. The color is great and I liked the material too. It would be great with leggings and something with a great pop of color, maybe some funky shoes. The button up top could remained buttoned for something more work appropriate or unbuttoned for um... more fun?

Want to try it out? Sign up HERE!

Check out my other Stitch Fixes: #1  |  #2  |  #3  |  #5

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Junk Bonanza -- April 18th-20th

Junk Bonanza is coming up! Mark your calendars! If you've never heard of it or never been and are in the Minnesota area, you may want to check it out! If you are looking for just the perfect thing for your home, you'll probably find it here.

I went for the first time last fall with my little sister. We had a great time! We didn't make any huge purchases, but now that things are coming a long more in the house, I will be on the look out. We did take lots of photos though...

Junk Bonanza takes place at Canerbury Park in Shakopee, MN. It spans over three days and is inside, so it is happening rain or shine. This year's spring dates are Thursday, April 18th to Saturday, April 20th with times varying on those days.  Admission cost $9 at the door and there is also an early bird time frame where you can go in two hours before the doors open on Thursday.

There are a ton of venders with a wide range of things from antiques and collectibles to unique, handmade items. All of the information is available on their site.

Check out my two part post from last year here and here!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Animated Dog.

I might have the cutest dog ever... I caught him the other day in a moment of no camera avoidance, which is rare. Very rare. I snapped a few and decided to try try out an animated gif creator and this is the result.

 I used and you don't need to set up an account and you can make it so that your gif doesn't go into a public gallery, which is nice. It took a few tries to get it. Photos can't be too large and I was trying it at the different pre-set speeds you can choose from. This one might be too slow, but the next one up (default) was really fast... and it did downgrade the quality of my photos some.

He's just so cute...

Monday, March 11, 2013

One wall down, three to go.

I posted last week that I was hoping to get those prints from Etsy finally hung up Thursday night. Well, they finally got hung up, but that didn't happen until Saturday. The husband and I may or may not have turned into complete nerds and read the whole evening with a bottle of wine, which was actually a nice break from the usual routine of things.

I made Bill the husband help... mostly because he's better at mental math and is a good double check for me when it comes to having to measure. We wanted the prints centered with the couch and since the couch is centered on the wall, that made it easy. We found the center and then measured out for two nails for the first print. Bill is usually all about anchors and screws just to be safe, but these are all smallish and on two nails. Plus... under our drywall is a layer of plywood, which is very interesting...

When we first moved in, the only things I tried to nail into the wall were in our second bedroom / office and I thought it was crazy that I was constantly hitting studs. Well, when we ripped out the bathroom walls we could see plywood through. I figured it was just that room and maybe had something to do with the bathroom...? Then we running wiring for the wall mounted television in the bedroom, we were a little confused as to why we were having such difficulty making holes in the wall. The bedroom was originally plywood with wallpaper. I'm guessing this was a cheaper alternative in the early 50's. I was hoping for more sweet wallpaper in the living room, but that only resulted in what I'm guessing was just a thin layer of plaster that had been painted a few times.

Back to the point, so nails through drywall and well into a sheet of plywood worked just fine in this instance. Most exciting photo ever right there... Don't mind the orangey, it's from our arc lamp...

We tried to be very meticulous about making sure all of the nails were straight. So, Bill stood to the side and examined my nail holding abilities the whole time to make sure I wasn't off.

We got all of the nails in and for a minute, I thought we had messed up... The print on the far left was off by almost a quarter of an inch. We pulled everything down, but the nails were all level. And then I finally realized, it's those darn teeth on the hangers that were throwing it off.

We put them all back up on the wall and got them all situated. I've been moving them around now, because those teeth are now causing the spacing to be a little off or rather, not even. I think I have them pretty good at this point.

 This part of the living room is looking real good. Very exciting!

The black wall is done. For now at least. That just leaves the other three, which are proving to be slightly more of a challenge due to moving of things and what not. It's really just a matter of doing it and having the time.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Black Wall.

Just over a year ago, around the time I started collecting furniture to re-do the living room, I reached a tipping point. The living room felt like an endless muddle of brown tones. The walls, the couch, the floor... It was all forming into one big gross brown blob with some red and black mixed in. When we first "decorated" the living room, the couch was on a different wall that had red curtains. Those curtains made everything ok. We eventually rearranged the living room for a better layout and ended up with the brownish couch on a brownish wall. It was too much... Instead of painting the whole room, because I'm slow tend to take forever and I actually still like the color, I decided accent wall was the way to go.

We went with our usual Behr paint from Home Depot and used Beluga (770F-7) in Satin. Lately, I always go with the paint and primer in one. It covers better and, well, primes.

My 'made' paint swatch is a little off... the photo of it above is more accurate in terms of colors.

Now with switching out the furniture and painting the other walls, I still like the black wall and it still seems to fit. So, I removed all the old wall decor and patched up the holes and we've been in a state of limbo for awhile now. The other night I dug out the black paint and got to work. Besides needing to fix those holes, there was some spots that the paint didn't cover up so well. Additionally, the paint that was on the walls when we moved in had a really strange texture to it. Probably one of those weird add in the paint deals, but it was weird and made any new paint obvious in the sheen and texture where there wasn't enough paint. You can kind of see the sheen issue above. Really they were things that only I would notice, but I figured giving most of the wall a fresh coat was the best idea.

Here we are as of right now, all dry...

You can still see a little change in the sheen/shine of the paint, but I think that's mostly the camera. It takes the to be standing at the exact right angle at the perfect time of the day to see it. That photo was taken in a corner of the room no one stands in... Overall it looks WAY better than it did, but that's sort of a no brainer when you're dealing with patched up nail holes.

I was actually hoping to be able to include hanging up the new prints for this wall into this post, but due to snow storms and schedule changes, I had to move some things around. I'm hoping that we can get everything hung tonight with what free time there is...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I think I found...

... the right curtain/drapery rods! Bam!

On a whim, I decided to check out Restoration Hardware online. It's at a mall close by and we take a stroll through every once in awhile and check out all of the neat stuffs. I showed the husband what they had and totally sold him... Luckily, they were about 20% off. We were up in the air for Antique Brass, Antique Silver and the Dakota Chestnut, but the Antique Brass won in the end. We thought it would work best with the brass accents found in a lot of Mid Century furniture and what we currently have.

Restoration Hardware | Classic Antique Brass Collection
We went with the larger diameter to hopefully help make a statement.

I can't wait until they get here. I plan on raising them up from where they currently sit and have the rod wider as well. I'm hoping the make the windows look a little bigger than they are, as they're nothing to write home about right now. I'm also hoping that I can get the trim switched out on those windows, so it's not so... well, ick.

And just as a reminder, this was where we were at when we moved in...

And where things sit now...

Hopefully it all comes together and looks fantastic...

Update: 3.13.2013
I've been sitting here for a week (not literally) trying to figure out why this hadn't shipped yet. I double checked my order confirmation... Expected delivery date mixed in there as on or before May 4, 2013. I guess it will be awhile before we get those up... Sad. I contacted them and they said that they were currently out of stock / on back order. I wish their site would have said that when I was ordering, I might have picked something else. Now my poor, little heart is set on them and I will accept nothing else. Maybe I'll get a pleasant surprise and they'll come early.

Update: 5.29.2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Star Backplate Love.

Yesterday while perusing the internet for mid century style drapery hardware (yes, that subject again), I stumbled upon Rejuvenation: Classic American Lighting and House Parts. I didn't necessarily find what I was looking for, I found a bunch of other awesome hardware. This site could get me in some serious trouble...

I am seriously loving their hardware in the Mid-Century Modern section... They have some great house numbers, exterior door knobs and lots of knobs and pull for inside your home. I am most excited about those exterior door knobs with the star backplate. When I get to a point where I am working on the exterior of the house more, I may just have to order one.

They also have some great drawer pulls that I'm really hoping are the right size for my desk that may or may not be sitting in my garage as it has for the past year and half or so.... oops. Sadly, I threw away those handles because they were in such horrible condition... I probably should have tried to make them pretty again.

In the mean time, to satisfy my hardware itch, I ordered one of these guys...
Rejuvenation  |  Dish Cabinet Knob with Star Backplate
How awesome is that? Plus it is 10% off at the moment! I thought it could replace the knob on the vanity / cabinet in the bathroom, as it is hideous... I'm super hoping extra hoping that it fits. I'm too afraid to measure to make sure. If it doesn't fit, I'm sure I can find some other home for it. That may require ordering some more...

And now I sit and wait for it's arrival... *sigh*

Monday, March 4, 2013

February Wrap Up

February flew right by as much of time tends to do as you get older. I thought it might be a decent idea to wrap up each month as a way to see where I am at with everything and where it should all go.

The most popular post of February was the one on curtain / drapery rods. After that post, I talked with the husband and showed him what I found. We were both leaning towards the BCL Drapery Antique Gold Metal Double Curtain Rod. We did have a chance to go over to West Elm and Lowe's to check things out. Lowe's didn't have the antique gold in stock, but they had a few other colors and we were not impressed. In real life, they looked very plasticy, which is not what I want. The options at West Elm were pretty much what they're photos show. The Oversized Metal Rod was definitely MUCH larger/bulkier than I expected. I'm not really sold on any of them, so I think I will just have to keep searching. I feel like I'm no further than when I started and that most of my "research" just brings me in circles. It will come, I guess.

In terms of getting the living room put together so it actually looks somewhat presentable... I have about half of my 3 light gray walls painted. Now that we finally have the old couch out of the way, I can get to the other half. This would probably be done by now if I hadn't gotten so sick during the end of February. My goal is to get the black wall fixed up by the end of this week and our fantastic Etsy prints hung up (finally).

Here is my month in Instagram photos...

Let's see... we got our Etsy prints. Bill found what I call "Koala Yummies," I ate them. Yum. Bill played some video games and I took lots of photos of the dog, which is very normal for any month. Enjoyed some red bull, admired the Martha Stewart mirror in the living room. A Thrive box occupied my living room for a week or two. Valentine's day happened and I enjoyed some Godiva Truffles and roses. And last, but not least, the Eames Foundation print arrived! Nothing too crazy...

Things I would like to get done in March...
  • Finish painting the living room
  • Get the furniture on the main floor back to where it should be 
  • Nail down a plan for the basement -- family room
  • Get some small projects crossed off the To Do list
  • Explore this whole curtain/drapery rod deal
And now to work on all of that... really that list isn't that bad so it should be do-able.