Status Report

You may have not noticed, but I’ve been absent from the blogoshpere. (You probably didn’t notice, but just humor me for right now) I decided to take a break from blogging to see what life would look like without it. In a nutshell, if I don’t take time to post to my blog I get a lot more done.

I started this blog mostly to document the destashing of my paint stock, but also to advertise my work. I had hoped I could bring in some income either by selling my salvaged pieces or creating a money-making blog. Having been born to parents with Hoosier work ethics, the drive to produce never takes a break. It’s a little voice in my head saying, “Surely you could be doing something better with your time.” (It’s constant…….and stop calling me Shirley) If I’m not working, I’m feeling guilty about not working. There is no other option available to me. Even though I have made a little money, it seems to take a lot of time engaged in marketing to get results. I’m figuring out that I really don’t enjoy all the time I have to spend on the computer, but mostly because it’s keeping me from painting and fixing things. So I took a month off to just work and I’ve been very productive.

I’ve been working on getting this house ready to be sold this summer. During a recent home appraisal it was brought to my attention that my work on the design of our home had taken it from the starter home we bought in 2001, to a home that will now sell at the high end of our development. The phrase “bidding war” has been thrown around, which is really exciting.

As a result I have decided that the best way to contribute to our income is to make this house a knockout. So I’ve been working my way through the house restoring every part to it’s original condition, or upgrading it to be even better. I know this is all good material for blog posts, but here’s where I’m at; blogging slows me down. And secondly, a lot of what I’m doing is boring, and definitely not worth photographing. For example, I spent a fair amount of time this week scrubbing, staining and restoring the original finish to worn areas on my bathroom vanity. I know…….mind-numbing.

I am committed to the challenge of this blog and will continue to post significant projects that involve whittling down my stash, but it’s not going to be an every day thing. I am getting way more work done by not constantly posting. I also feel especially good about not filling your inbox with details about the grunge that builds up in window tracks when you don’t clean them for 13 years. Be glad I saved you from that photo. Gross!

I think we can all feel good about that.

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Christmas Decorating without a Tree

Christmas focus wallI will admit that Christmas is not my favorite holiday. I don’t like spending endless amounts of money, or overeating and it seems senseless to buy decorations that sit in a box 11 months out of every year. I know you could say the same thing about Halloween, but Halloween is fun. There’s just so much guilt wrapped around Christmas. Did you spend too much? Not enough? Did you cook it right? Cook enough? Are you making it memorable? Are your kids disappointed? Spoiled? Ungrateful? The list goes on and on, mostly in my head, but it weighs so heavily on my heart as well.

I combat these feelings with making a lot of the gifts I give and the decorations we put up. For the past few years I’ve had an argument inside about the Christmas tree. I really don’t like putting them up. We had an ugly, fake one for a long time. We bought it because it was ugly. It made me feel like I was thrusting my middle finger at The Christmas Police. “You want me to have a tree? Here! Here’s your freaking tree!” A couple years ago it became too ugly, even for me. Ever since, I’ve had to figure out some way of putting up my ornaments, without buying a tree. This year’s solution is my absolute favorite because it was free and it used up four spray paint cans out of my stash.

branches painted blackI brought home five branches that I found on the ground at the park next to my house. I painted them first with black floral spray paint to make them stand out a little more since my wall is a little busy. To make it look like they had snow on them I sprayed them a few inches at a time with clear topcoat spray and while they were wet I sprinkled them with small mica flakes and then I coated them really well with more topcoat to get the flakes to stick. I had the flakes on hand from when I used to make countertops. (I didn’t want to use glitter because I was afraid my dog might eat it and get sick)

mica snowmy kind of ChristmasTo hang them I put four small eye hooks in the ceiling about 3 inches from the wall and about two feet apart.  I tied thread in two places on each branch and suspended them at different heights.

Christmas branchesOrnaments on highI love the way it really shows off our ornaments. Plus, unlike a tree, there’s no bad side, no broken lights and no need to water it. Way better than a tree, at least for me. Please don’t get me wrong, I think Christmas trees are beautiful and I love all the lights, I just hate doing it. My hats are off to all you Christmas tree decorators out there. I admire your tenacity. You’re a better man than me.

Haunted Halloween Porch 2013

2013 Halloween PorchSeeing as we will be moving next summer, this will be our last Halloween in this house. We don’t know where we’ll end up just yet, so I don’t even know if I’ll have a place to decorate, like if we move to a condo. My daughter and I put everything up yesterday and we’re pretty pleased with the results.

creepy abandoned porchWe have two new pieces of furniture to work with on the porch; the repurposed sewing table and the garden bench. We draped the bench in white sheets and topped the sewing table with a variety of creepy decorations.

love my creepy dollI got my creepy doll last year at Matilda’s Mouse Antique Show and I still love her. Earlier this year my friend found these glass display globes and she knew they needed to be on my porch on Halloween. They came complete with years and years worth of dust accumulation from her grandparents garage. Thanks, Kate! The creepy clown bottle in the back is for my friend Jeremiah because I know he loves clowns. He’s coming for you, Jerry!

Halloween crows and pumpkinsWe love crows so they are placed throughout the porch, in bushes, on planters, etc. I go to Trader Joe’s for my pumpkins because they sell both the fantasy pumpkins and what I call, ugly pumpkins. I like the black ones and the ones unfortunately stricken with small pox.Halloween signs zombie-Halloween-decorThe signs hanging from my wine barrel rings are new and came from Target’s $1 bins. I love the zombie reference, “Eat Locals.” The back of the Stop sign says, “STOP Scaring Me.” Cracks me up.they're watching youMy daughter had a great idea for the white sheets covering the bench. We poked holes in the sheets, pushed red twinkle lights through and then drew eyes around the holes. Way cool, totally love it, she’s brilliant.

So that’s our porch for Halloween. Come by if you need candy on October 31st. We’ll be open for business.

Vintage Patchwork Curtain

Mollie Makes Magazine

Mollie Makes is my favorite magazine right now. It’s a British publication, but you can either subscribe (it’s my annual birthday present from my husband) or pick it up at Barnes & Noble. It’s not shown above, but it always comes with a little gift like a crafting kit or a spool of ribbon, it’s adorable. It has lots of crafting how-to articles, and highlights artists and stores both in Europe and America. I love it.

Anyway, in one of the issues this summer they showed an idea for making a patchwork curtain out of vintage handkerchiefs and napkins. I tried to find that image (I gave the magazine away) but I can’t find it, so sorry for that. The image energized me to make one for my studio.

Inspired by my husband’s aunt Crystal and her craftiness, I’ve collected quite a few vintage hankies, tea towels and napkins with the intention of turning them into pillows. Crystal makes these beautiful patchwork pillows out of vintage pieces and they’re so pretty. However, since my husband and daughter can’t deal with texture (don’t ask) I never attempted to make any. (I also noticed that some of my pieces were a little stained, which when you consider they’re hankies, is kind of gross and who wants to rest their head on that?) So I had a collection, but nothing to do with them. Then Mollie Makes gave me a new idea.

vintage patchwork curtain

First of all, forgive me for the quality of the photos. I have photoshopped the crap out of these images. Taking photos of windows still has me baffled.

Anyway, this is the curtain I made from my collection. Making this up are tea towels, napkins, handkerchiefs and pillow case edging, all vintage. It’s nice because even though I mounted it all on a lining of sheet fabric, it’s still transparent enough to let the light in, but protects me from the searing afternoon sun that hits my window every day. I am not complaining about the sun in San Diego……it’s perfect compared to everywhere else in the world………I’m just trying to minimize the skin damage.

patchwork hanky curtainsThis is what they look like when they’re tied back. Again…adorable. I don’t know why, but they remind me of curtains in old Airstream campers. So cute.

hanky tie backI made tie backs out of embroidered napkins……..also……..adorable. I love them. I used up my entire collection, which fits the Destashio mission statement, so I feel pretty good about it. It didn’t cost anything, except time and backache from hunching over it while I pieced it together on my floor (no table big enough). So that’s another plus.

Well, that’s what I made last week. It was a bit of a brain teaser, but I love the results. Thanks, Mollie Makes!

The Bathroom Remodel is complete

finished remodelThe remodel of my daughter’s bathroom is finally complete. The studio and the downstairs half of my house is clean and I’m finally at peace. Let’s visit the Before shots for a moment shall we……….

BEFOREI shudder just looking at this. This was the starting point of our unplanned bathroom remodel. In our defense, it was this way when we bought it. But at the same time…..it was this way when we bought it……12 years ago.

ugly bathroom BEFOREThat nasty piece of terry cloth has been hanging there for 12 freaking years! Some model home designer stuck it there in a stroke of brilliance and I chose to ignore it for over a decade. Amazing what one can deny exists in our own homes. Now back to the pretty pictures:

beauty centralFirst thing to go was the wallpaper, which sucked to remove because the walls hadn’t be primed and they installed it right on the drywall. The glue really wanted to stay on forever but we washed it over and over and over and then primed. Dianna went with a great shade of blue on the walls and bright white on the cabinets. We raised the height of the vanity and added some new hardware on the drawers and doors which I love.

wood countertopWe removed the old counter top and tile backsplash and replaced it with a solid wood top and a backsplash made from “clear wood” which I think is code for “plastic with a faux wood veneer.” It’s light weight and cheap but I bought it because I thought it would be a good choice considering the risk of water damage.

Both the top and splash were stained with a Faux Effects product called Stain & Seal and three coats of C-500, a urethane product also from Faux Effects.

Lace flowersI know it looks like I put stickers on the backsplash, but this is a painted detail I swear. I used a Martha Stewart silkscreen design to create this border. This is my first time using a silkscreen. What I liked about it was that I could use much thicker paint than with a stencil, creating a more dimensional design, which is why it looks like a sticker. My daughter loves lace and she chose the design. She also has a connection to my mother through daisies, so she loves having these around.

union jack organizerThis jewelry organizer, complete with Union Jack design is one of our favorite additions. I can not take credit for the design. My friend Melanie created this design on an old IKEA door for a photo shoot, but then didn’t need it afterward so I got to take it home. Being huge fans of all things British, we had to incorporate it somehow. Thanks Melanie!

the new Assmaster 2000The new Assmaster 2000 has been installed and is no longer being crowded by 12 year old terry cloth (so nasty). My daughter decided that a door to the shower area was stupid since she’s an only child and no one walks in on her. She opted for a curtain in the doorway instead. Kind of like a dressing room.

The photo above also shows off the new floor. It’s vinyl planks which are really easy to install and extremely cheap. They look really nice and give the look of wood without having to take out a loan.

cool teen bathroomWe removed the giant sheet of mirror and replaced it with two new mirrors. We paid $15 for each of them but they came with ugly dark brown frames. We made them over with high gloss white spray paint. I filled the gap between them with two shelves I made from the scrap piece of MDF left over from the new footer on the cabinet. We also made over the clock and the light fixture with the high gloss white and they look brand new.

remodel on the cheapSo that’s our little project. We did get rid of some paint and stain from The Stash which is always good. Dianna loves her grown up bathroom and I love having my life back.

Inventory Used: latex paint and Stain and Seal

The Consequences of Home Improvement

remodel debrisI know you’re all having trouble sleeping because you haven’t heard if I finished the bathroom remodel today. “Did she check everything off her yellow legal pad list?” “Did she cave to the whisperings of her couch and watch Downton Abbey all day?” I wish!

I finished the bathroom today. Yay Me! Unfortunately, I finished late in the afternoon and the light isn’t perfect, so I’m going to wait until tomorrow to photograph the remodel in all its glory, and believe me, it’s glorious.

studio disasterWhat’s tempering my enthusiasm is the fallout from 2 1/2 weeks of working on this project…….aka: my studio is a disaster. For the last two weeks I have been completely focused on finishing this project which means things like putting stuff away, throwing stuff away, dusting, washing, cleaning, showering, etc. have definitely fallen by the wayside. That ends tomorrow.

Tomorrow, after the photos are taken and before the congratulatory Starbuck/Barnes & Noble outing, the studio will have to be cleaned. I actually love this part of the process. It brings me back to center, back from crazy, manic, I’ll kill anybody that gets in my way girl.

The truth of the matter is, three weeks ago my daughter told me about all her plans for her final year in high school. I tried to picture her getting ready for each day in a bathroom with primary striped wallpaper and a vanity made for a toddler. The same bathroom she’s had since she was five. I know it’s a first world problem, and I’m not going to cure cancer, but at the very least, and I mean the very least, I wanted to give her a grown up bathroom, so she could grow up. I think in this bathroom, she will start to see the beginnings of the woman my whole family knows she is becoming. Go get ’em Dianna! We’re right behind you.

How do you know when you’re done?

I think I’m one day away from being done with the (unplanned) remodel of my daughter’s bathroom. It’s turning out beautifully, but I’m not posting photos because I’m not done. How do you know when you’re done? When everything on the yellow legal pad has a check mark next to it, you’re done. At least that’s what my dad taught me. Another thing I’ve learned from my dad……invest in yellow legal pads. Sometimes the list has to be revised.

Do you know why people in the middle of a remodel underestimate when the project will be finished? Because they remember only the big things like replacing the counter, but forget the small things like filling in nail holes. Small things add up to a lot more time than you’d like to believe.

Our bathroom remodel is what most people would call, “finished,” but I’m not done working in there. I mean, my daughter brushed her teeth and used her new Assmaster 2000 before she left for school this morning, but I was still down on my hands and knees in there all day.

Here’s the list of piddly sh*# that’s on my yellow pad for tomorrow:

  1. clean electrical outlets (covered in paint)
  2. clean window screen (nasty)
  3. install shelves
  4. install hooks, jewelry holders and art
  5. clean window blinds and install
  6. clean and install vent covers (still covered in wallpaper)
  7. install carpet trim pieces
  8. caulk toilet
  9. clean floors and mirrors

None of this stuff is noteworthy, but this is the stuff that’s between me and the moment when I take pictures and scream, “I’m done!” This moment will be closely followed by an even greater moment involving a Grande Latte at Starbucks and a magazine purchase at Barnes & Noble. (I know, I’m such a cheap date) Anyway, that’s what I’m doing here…..trying to get the last few chores off my yellow legal pad. Photos will follow when there are nine check marks on my legal pad. Wish me luck……..or send more legal pads…….only the yellow ones, the white ones don’t work.